A Birthday, a Snippet, and a Sale!

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Hey everybody, today is my birthday! Tonight I get to eat a birthday cheesecake with my family and on Saturday I’m going to visit the local cat cafe, Mauhaus. I supported this cafe run by a local shelter in their Kickstarter and am so happy to finally get to go there. And of course I’ll share pictures here of the kitties next week.

In the meantime here’s a sneak peak …

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But wait, there’s more! Yesterday marked a huge accomplishment for me – drum roll please! – I finished the first draft of P.A.W.S. 4 and even gave it a name. So this is a title reveal P.A.W.S. 4 will be called Londinium.

Want to read a snippet? Of course you do!

“The pea soup has spoken,” said Caradog. “You are destined for Londinium.”

“Londinium?” asked Miri.

“It was the ancient city from which London sprang. The P.A.W.S. Institute of Londinium is the oldest in the world. It started before the city of today existed and straddles the old and the new. Unfortunately today it is run by a fool.”

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And one more thing – want to help me celebrate my birthday then pick up a copy of P.A.W.S. – it’s on sale today for just 99 cents or 99p!

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Precipitous Brew (5)

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Occasionally when I’m out I have a random idea for a scene far ahead in the P.A.W.S. saga. All kinds of things inspire such scenes and in this case it was a cryptic crossword clue I created – “Precipitous Brew” – the clue is a double definition. Both parts of it lead to the same answer. I’ll leave the answer off the post in case you’d like to guess it.

Anyhow I gazed at that clue and thought what a wonderful character name it would make, and then started thinking who Mr. Brew would be. I decided that Precipitous is Hugo Hogswarth’s counterpart in the London P.A.W.S. Institute that is hidden deep within Hampstead Heath. Now in a future P.A.W.S. episode Miri will visit London P.A.W.S. and encounter Precipitous Brew.

Here’s a little snippet of their first meeting:

(In the kitchen at the P.A.W.S. Institute of London in Hampstead Heath.)

Precipitous Brew stirred the soup. The cauldron bubbled ominously. “Needs more mustard,” he muttered.

“Oh Hello, what can I do for you?”

“I was looking for the mugwort,” said Miri, “Professor Holdum sent me.”

“Mugwort … mugwort. Can you hold this please?” He beckoned Mir forward and with some trepidation she grabbed for the large wooden spoon that rocked back and forth in its lumpy green ocean.

“Is that pea soup?” asked Miri, peering into the cauldron.

“Ah yes, its traditional, you know … NO! NO! Widdershins. You must stir it widdershins. Oh for a wizzlewoop.” Precipitous Brew stepped back from his cauldron, closed his eyes and sighed.

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Imprisoning a Duel Discord

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Imprisoning a Duel Discord By Louise Findlay

The world is in musical order and a team of Government Agents called Harmony track down, experiment on and sometimes kill those who express the music of dissonance. Psycha, a duel Discord of Vyla and Sios is a prime lab rat to Harmony. Being able to disrupt harmony just by voice and hands alone makes her even more dangerous than the usual Discord. Will she run into trouble trying to protect her boyfriend, Caleb? Will her desire to destroy Harmony prove fatal for her? What will be left of her if she ever does get captured?

Excerpt

Psycha

What had Caleb gotten himself into this time? We were discords for music’s sake. We couldn’t strike back against Harmony if we ran, and be damned if he got caught. He was a Tara Discord not a Vyla like me. He was more vulnerable and I knew for a fact he left his Tara back at camp. Careless. That was so unlike him. He was usually methodical and paranoid. He couldn’t afford to throw his life away on a whim. I was the reckless one.

I hummed a tune to try and find his wavelength. Discords stuck out like a sore thumb, and he was a Tara. He was invisible without it, but I knew his musical signature like the back of my hand. I was almost certain I could pick something up, and I did. The three note discordant hum that was uniquely Caleb was faintly ringing in the air. I rushed to try and catch up to him. There was no way he would get captured on my watch. Cinder would kill me.

No. I caught sight of a man with the Harmony symbol on the back of his black suit. The tell-tale sign of a sharp, with two notes at the bottom and a treble clef in the middle, made him the enemy. I’d seen what happened to Discords when Harmony got a hold of them. They were mere husks of their former selves; dead and despondent inside. Their life cruelly ripped away. I would not let that happen to Caleb.

I screamed out notes at the man’s back, notes which clashed horribly. It was music to me, but the assailant recoiled, clutching his head in pain. How dare he try and take away the thing that made Caleb who he was. Being Discords defined us.

My enemy retaliated by taking out his Ko and trying to play me into submission. The harmony was excruciating to me. I was a duel Vyla/Sios Discord. Normal Discords were three parts discord and one-part harmony. I was fully Discord. I could control music with my voice and by touch alone. I hated Harmony for what they did to us, and I knew I’d be their prime lab rat.

“Caleb, run” I shouted.

I was bombarding him with musical assaults, but I had to be careful not to hit Caleb. He was powerless without his Tara. Why did he not bring it with him?

“I’m not leaving you,” he said.

Ah. Blood ran down my cheek when a note hit. Harmony and dissonance were opposites. One could hurt the other. Harmony were the government and Dissonance were the outcasts. I would make them pay for condemning us to a lifetime of running. Harmony agents lived to capture us.

“Go, you idiot. Get back to camp. You’re defenceless,” I ordered.

At last, he managed to see sense and fled. I couldn’t protect him if he was in the way. I waved a shield to protect against the agent’s next attack. Now Caleb was safe I could really let loose without fear of hurting him. I used my voice and hands in tandem to unleash a barrage of musical weapons at him. Streams of note swords and arrows flew at the enemy. He was pretty quick to keep up with me, but he couldn’t deflect everything I threw at him.

I started to hum a dissonant melody designed to sweep into his soul. I would poison his harmony with dissonance. He let out a hiss, which told me I was successful. I screamed as more musical implements of doom attacked me. I used the blood trickling down my arm in a note. Blood notes packed a mean punch. Judging by the look on his face, it did.

“Just die, Harmony bastard,” I said.

“Bring it, Discord cur,” he replied.

I screamed like a banshee. When he was distracted, I flung a spear at him. I turned his cries into a gag with a wave of my hand. His voice was grating to my ears.

Ah. A melody hit me straight in the neck and continued to constrain my throat. I tried to catch my breath, but it was impossible. I flailed around, trying to swipe him off me, but to no avail. I couldn’t let him get me. I couldn’t be captured. I finally managed to get him to relent, but my vision turned hazy as I gasped for breath.

Want to read more? Support Louise on Patreon – patreon.com/authorlouise

Louise Findlay - Dreamless Roads

Louise Findlay writes fantasy (generally short stories) and inspirational poetry. She enjoys reading and writing about mythological creatures such as angels and demons, but has a soft spot for vampires. Louise is currently in the midst of writing a vampire novella, A Spy in the Sagax Vampires, about two vampire clans whose deputies clash in a big way.

She generally writes ebooks, but she’s also part of a few anthologies which are in paperback and is working on a special secret project this year.

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Introducing the High King’s Will by M.A. Ray

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Today on Paws 4 Thought we’re celebrating the release of a brand new novel by M.A. Ray, The High King’s Will. Want to read a preview? Of course you do!

EXCERPT

The void in the side of his favorite mountain: the yawning hole that led down into the Worm’s cave. Four days ago, and a lifetime. He didn’t know why he’d come when he’d meant to visit Vercingetorix, when it was all so clear in his mind, written in red glow and gold flashes, darkness and fire. Shivering, he hugged himself, rubbing his upper arm. “Wormsbane” seemed so empty compared to that drowning, dragging fear.
He gazed at the cave mouth as he retreated; he wouldn’t put his back to it any more than he would to Beagar. When the night trees swallowed it, he turned and ran with the ancient reptile stench imagined in his nose. He would never forget it.
His desire for something good and clean and pure strengthened, took him down the mountain until he reached a glade. At the edge of it he stopped again, looking out over the grass spattered with the white spots of hallucinogenic moonflowers. And then he stepped over the boundary.
Vercingetorix was there in a twinkling, looming over Eagle in breath-stealing glory. “You were here just yesterday. One might almost think you love me.”
“I do,” Eagle said.
“Nevertheless. You shouldn’t be here.”
“I know it’s late. My father gave me leave.”
“And why have you come?” Vercingetorix stood tall and proud, with an iridescent horn that pierced the dark.
“I’m leaving. Tomorrow. I wanted to say good-bye to you.”
The unicorn tossed his great head, turning a black eye like the depths of night toward Eagle. “Oh, Eagle Eye,” he said. “Nobody says good-bye to me. It simply happens that one day they cannot return.” With a sigh deeper than the ocean, he went on, “It wouldn’t have been long anyhow. You’re much too old for a child’s dream, too far grown for a child’s pleasure. The love I bear for you could never be enough to live on.”
Eagle said nothing. He only feasted his eyes on Vercingetorix, splendid under the moon, for the last time. The unicorn surpassed beauty. So white he dazzled, like fresh snow blazing on a clear night. Thick with muscle, bigger by far and more powerful than any horse of the People, with hooves of brightest gold, and those star-field eyes, huge and lustrous and ancient. He was an old thing. A holy thing, and wise, and frivolous with it.
He whuffed, stirring Eagle’s hair. “Where are you going?”
“I don’t know. Father says— Father says we can’t come back,” he whispered.
“Ah.” The unicorn turned away. “The High King’s will crushes all before it. Fimberevell would be better served by Bearach’s hand, but she has Beagar, who seeks only to rule her. Fare well, Eagle Eye Wormsbane. If you can.”
“I’ll miss you.”
“And I you. More than you can know.” Vercingetorix’s head swung again, and his eye glittered fiercely. “Behave yourself.”
“I always behave.”
“It’s well or badly that’s in question, hmm?”
Eagle smirked.
Laughter danced in the vast field of stars. “Good-bye, Eagle Eye.”
Vercingetorix flashed away into the glade that was bigger than it looked. He was a snowy blaze in high summer before he disappeared into the trees—down a rise, Eagle knew, that was inside a fold of the Real in the glade. The tall grass waved dark, and looked fathoms deep.
He stuck his hands in his pockets and went home.
M.A. Ray is a lover of fairy tales, comic books, classic fantasy, and power metal. I keep my meat shell in Wisconsin these days. I won’t tell you where I hide my heart. I’ve got a husband and two kids, and they’re the only reason I leave Rothganar.
Pick up your copy of The High King’s Will today and check out M.A. Ray’s wonderful array of books on Amazon.
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(banner is by Tiana Clawson and cover by Rachel Bostwick)

Sins of the Past – Meet Mad Mike Nagy

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  1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

First and foremost I’m a single dad and I live with my son who’s 16 this year. My day job is a mechanic. I’ve been in the motor trade for 20 years. Always been a massive film fan with horror being my favourite genre. It wasn’t till about 4 years ago that I started writing. I started a horror blog called Maven’s Movie Vault of Horror where I would write horror movie reviews and did the occasional interview with directors / actors. But what I really wanted to do was write horror stories.  So contributing to Sins of the Past was the perfect stepping stone.

  1. Who are your favorite authors?

This will probably sound weird , but I’ve never been a massive reader! It wasn’t till my late teens that I actually read any horror. Bram Stoker’s Dracula was the first bit of Horror I ever read. But if I had to pick one author that wrote a book I read, a book that really stuck in my mind and I couldn’t put it down, it would have to be Richard Laymen.

  1. Tell us a bit about your story, Nature’s Revolution?

Both my parents are Hungarian.  They came to England during the Hungarian Revolution in 1957. My dad actually fought against the Russians and some of the story is inspired by what he told me, his involvement etc. Then there’s the nature side of things. I’m pagan and a big believer in mother nature, so I’m very interested in pre Christian beliefs and the mythology of my Hungarian roots. I mixed the two together and came up with my story Nature’s Revolution.

  1. If you could travel back in time to any place and period in the past where and when would you go?

This is a good question. Something that I’ve often thought about. I would have to say, somewhere along the lines of a warrior in ancient Europe. I have warlords in my “lineage” as I like to say, like Attila the Hun and Genghis Khan. If I could pick a fantasy time period, it would be exactly like Game of Thrones!

  1. What attracts you to writing horror?

For me, it’s a release. It’s a way to get all of the scary stuff that rolls around in my brain out of my head and on to paper.

  1. What are you currently reading?

I’ve just started reading a graphic novel. Only just recently got into them and picked a few up from London Film and Comic Con. It’s called Hellblazer with features a character called John Constantine. The Constantine film starring Keanu Reeves is based on the graphic novels.

  1. Are you planning to write a story for Sins of the Future? Any hints about your story?

Unfortunately no. I’m having an extremely busy year. There’s a lot going on for me personally and socially with the horror community so a lot of time has been spent out of the house doing various things.

  1. What do you like to do to relax?

I put my feet up, grab a beer and watch reruns of Friends and / or The Big Bang Theory. Other than that it’s watching horror movies, or catching up with TV shows.

  1. What are you currently working on?

I’m working on a screenplay that I originally started as a story. It’s a genre mash up. It’s a revenge horror thriller with a lot of torture port in it. Kind of like the film Saw, but with less games and more intent.

  1. How can readers connect with you?

I’m a social media whore! So I’m easy to get hold of or follow.

Twitter: @MavensHorrorUK.

Instagram: @madmikenagy.

Facebook: My personal profile  or my page –  or the Maven’s Movie Vault of Horror page

Blog – Maven’s Movie Vault of Horror

Want to read a bit of Nature’s Revolution? Of course you do …

“I count one man in each tower” whispered Tamás as we drew closer to the camp. I sent him, Miklos, Zalán and János to take out each tower. The enemy had control of spotlights, but for some reason weren’t using them. So moving quietly through the darkness, they headed to their assigned tower, jumped over the makeshift fence and climb up the towers unnoticed and slit the throats of the guards. Phase one complete.  Meanwhile Lajos, Gábor, Szilárd, Attila, András and I moved into position at the rear of the camp jumping the fence. We were all in and that was phase two. Now to take out the tanks, the hard part!

Our plan was to set fire to one of the tents at the rear of the encampment to create a distraction. This was my job. I pulled out my box of matches and moved to the northeast corner of the base. This was the furthest part away from the tanks which were right near the west and only entrance to the base. As I got closer to my destination I heard two soldiers deep in conversation. My Russian wasn’t great, but from what I could tell they were talking about football. I whispered “Come here” in Russian to get their attention. They started in my direction so I doubled around the tent to hit them from behind. I drew my handgun and knife. As they stopped to see who had called them over, both still facing away from me, while crouched down I crept no more than a few strides away. I shot the furthest one away in the back of the head and pounced on the nearest soldier. As he turned around I thrust my knife up under his jaw. Dropping my gun to cover his mouth with my other hand, I pulled the knife out and ran it along his throat, covering my face in blood. He dropped to the ground face down. Then I thrust the knife through the base of his skull and up into his brain giving it a few twists just to be sure he was dead. I checked the other body. He was dead from the shot I had fired. The bullet had entered through his neck and exited out through his forehead. I stood up and moved round to the rear of the tent and struck two matches and slowly set the tent on fire.

Staying in the cover of darkness, I ran back to the others. As one unit, under the cover of Miklos, Zalán, Tamás, and János still in the towers, we moved through the camp as quickly and quietly as we could. The fire I started caught the attention of a few soldiers and they scurried around in a blind panic trying to put it out as we headed for the tanks. We were met by a pocket of resistance, but took care of them with our silenced guns. We may have been seen as a rabble by many, but we worked extremely well together. We were no more than ten feet away from the tanks when we were spotted.

“We’re under attack!” was cried out in Russian. “Enemy, enemy!”

It was time to go loud! The first bang of a gun came from one of the towers. Tamás took out the soldier that was shouting. This of course got the attention of the whole camp! We didn’t actually know how many Soviet soldiers were left there and we didn’t stick around to find out. Szilárd, Attila and I jumped onto the tanks and dropped in two grenades each. “Run” I shouted as I jumped down. All four towers gave us cover fire as the six of us ran straight out the front gates. With an almighty BOOM the grenades went off, putting the tanks out of commission. We took cover behind a tree each and laid down cover fire for our four comrades to escape the towers. In the commotion of the gunfight the four of them doubled back to jump the east fence and headed away north of the base.

The six of us, while still under gun fire, worked our way north also to meet back up. We’d already shot at least ten men between us. But as we all regrouped we could hear the sound of jeeps revving towards our direction. Lucky for us, we had made up good ground in our escape and were headed into a deep wooded area where they couldn’t follow us with their vehicles. We were still only a couple of a hundred yards ahead of our enemy, but this gave us time to find advantage points and ready ourselves for the imminent attack.

Shots were fired randomly in our direction and we could see the bullets whizzing over our heads in the dark. We fired back using controlled burst as to not use too much ammo. We were still unsure how many they were.  Suddenly everything went quiet for a minute. One single shot was fired and the next sound came from near me. It was Attila crying out in pain. He had been shot in the stomach. I scrambled over to him and covered his mouth. “Shhh” I whispered “You’ll give away our position.” I told him “Bite down on this” as I gave him a large twig. There was nothing I could do for him. He was bleeding badly.

The enemy was getting closer and started to fire shots again. So we fired back. Again I heard a couple of my comrades screaming in pain as bullets hit. I grabbed Attila’s submachine gun and let it rip. By the time it ran out of ammo all went quiet once again. No screams this time and no gun shots. Deadly silence came across the wood for a good few minutes this time. It was as if the air had been pulled out. Then the eerie sound of a crying wind swept through the trees. This is where the real life I lived crossed with the fairy tale Lajos had often spoken about!

Want to read more? Pick up your copy of Sins of the Past today.

Sins Of The Past

P.A.W.S. Reboot! Release Day!

Be Brave Meine Katzel

Excerpt of P.A.W.S. by Debbie Manber Kupfer

Vienna, October 2, 1941.

Today was Celia’s tenth birthday. This was not how she imagined celebrating it. She was with her family – her mama, Miriam; her papa, David; her elder brother, Issel; and her baby sister, Sara. They were huddled together in the back room of their tiny two-room apartment in Grosse Spielgasse, in the dark, barely breathing.

Outside the building, the boot steps got nearer and nearer. Celia heard shouting, screaming, gunshots. She crouched down even closer to the ground, wishing that somehow they could all melt away into the shadows. Celia clutched her cat, Max, tightly in her arms, feeling his warmth, his soft tabby fur close to her skin, willing him to stay quiet.

Her mama cradled little Sara at her breast, nursing her so she would not cry out. Outside, the pounding footsteps were getting closer, closer: “Juden, Juden, Heraus, Heraus, Schnell, Schnell!” Now they were at the door of the neighbors – the Wassersteins. She heard crying and a single gunshot.

Miriam beckoned to her. “Celia, mein Katzerl, come here,” she whispered. “I have something for you, for your birthday.”

Celia approached Miriam cautiously, still clutching Max to her. “What is it, Mama?” she asked, gazing into Miriam’s blue, blue eyes. She studied her prematurely wrinkled face, memorizing every crease. Mama, my mama, she thought.

Still holding baby Sara with her left hand, Miriam reached around the back of her neck with her right and unclasped the chain that she always wore beneath her clothes, close to her heart. It was a silver chain with a cat charm on it. “Take this, Celia, mein Katzerl. Wear it always, and remember I love you. Ich liebe dich.”

“I love you, Mama,” Celia whispered as she fastened the chain around her neck just as the doors burst open. Six Gestapo soldiers rushed into their home – “Juden, Heraus, Heraus, Schnell, Schnell…” Celia watched as her family was herded out of the door.

Pick up your copy of P.A.W.S. today

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Amazon US

Amazon UK

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Signed copies

Goodreads Book Giveaway

P.A.W.S. by Debbie Manber Kupfer

P.A.W.S.

by Debbie Manber Kupfer

Giveaway ends September 12, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

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