Magic of Solstice – Joshua Robertson

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And so we reach the last day of the Magic of Solstice blog tour – I hope you have enjoyed meeting all the different fantasy authors. Today I will be visiting Charlotte Henley Babb‘s blog. Please come by and say “HI”.

Here on Paws 4 Thought we welcome Joshua Robertson.


Joshua Robertson is an ambitious writer that enjoys devising flash fiction, short stories, poems, children’s books, and epic fantasy novels. Joshua is the author of the transitional children’s book, Bo Bunny and the Trouble. He is also the author of the dark fantasy novel, Melkorka, in the Thrice Nine Legends series. A tabletop game based off of the novel and world, called Thrice Nine Legends,  is set to be released in 2015.

Joshua currently lives in Alaska with his spouse and children. His ancestry is primarily Slavic and Scottish, which is often recognized in his fantasy writings. He lives his life with the purpose of enhancing each moment, seeking happiness and connection. Joshua enjoys writing, teaching, reading and traveling. His philosophy is that life is an adventure worth experiencing.

Joshua talks with us today about what attracts him to fantasy.

Fantasy Attraction

The first three movies I remember watching as a child, before the age of four, was Masters of the Universe, Legend, and Willow. Each of these cult classics, along with other fantasy films viewed in my younger years (The Princess Bride, Dragonslayer, and Krull) had a huge impact on my childhood. It depicted how I perceived the natural world, it gave a framework for the elements of righteousness and malevolence, and it gave context to form the make-believe worlds from within which I played.

Before I could read, I was trekking the terrain [yard] on my divine quest. I had my sword [stick] in hand, a gunny sack [backpack] of gear [random toys], and battled through evil men and demons [invisible constructs of my imagination] to save the damsel at the tallest tower [tree]. The world was a dangerous place and it needed courageous heroes to right the wrongs, to protect all things beautiful, to wane the darkness, and to uphold justice despite whatever temptations evil would lay at my feet. These games persisted longer than I would ever like to admit. Sometimes, I find myself still playing them with my kids or through tabletop roleplaying.

Roleplaying games were the next best thing outside of my childhood games. I first found them in console games. Later, I was introduced to tabletop games like Dungeons and Dragons or Pathfinder. These experiences were as strong as those initial moments of watching He-Man defeating Skeletor [Masters of the Universe], Jack rescuing the fabled unicorn [Legend], or Willow becoming the most unlikely of heroes [Willow]. It was not long before I hankered for another story and moved into fantasy literature. The Lord of the Rings, The Wheel of Time, and Chronicles of Narnia were the primary influences and stories that I will read over and over again.

Through fantasy, I learned about myself and my own sense of good and evil. In fantasy, I found the origin of what made us human and what made us inhuman. In that realization, forever after, my heart goaded me to discover more within this ‘larger-than-life genre’ that the rest of the world seemingly overlooked. In fantasy, I found a purpose greater than myself and a sense of belonging. There was something tangible and meaningful. It was breathtaking, and magical; to this day, I am still enchanted by the beauty behind its idioms. Truly, I think there is a part in all of us that is attracted to fantasy stories. No only does it allow us to dream, but it is through these stories that we find a better understanding of ourselves in our own miraculous world.

It is my hope that I enchant audiences through my own stories as well as I was enchanted in my childhood.




Melkorka eBook

Melkorka Paperback

Kaelandur was forged by the Highborn to slay one of their own, Nedezhda Mager. As their slave, Branimir Baran never thought to question his cruel masters until he is forced to take part in the execution. His actions begin a chain of events that will lead him to confront demons, cannibals, and himself as he is forced to question his own morality and the true meaning of good and evil.




BUY: Melkorka

BUY: A Midwinter Sellsword


Gladiators and Thieves: Coming June 2015

Anaerfell: Coming October 2015

Dyndaer: Coming January 2016

Connect with Joshua


Crimson Edge






Magic of Solstice – Lee Dunning

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Welcome back today I’ll be visiting C.B. MacGillavry – Come visit!

Here on Paws 4 Thought I welcome fantasy author, Lee Dunning.

About Lee


Lee has always loved writing, and wrote her first book in ninth grade. It was deplorable, though at the time she thought herself the next J.R.R. Tolkien.  Since then Lee has written several short stories and books, but thankfully had enough sense not to publish them. Now as an older, and hopefully more skilled writer, Lee has published the first story she deems worthy of sharing with the world – Exile’s Redemption. She published it through Amazon in July of 2014.

In addition to writing, Lee absolutely loves reading, working on digital art (she did her book cover and has sold several covers to other authors (including Chris Kennedy’s novel, Can’t Look Back), wasting too much time on computer and tabletop gaming, and baking. The second book in her series is coming out in the summer and his called Exile’s Gamble.

Lee lives in Arizona with her two Siamese kitties, Yoshi and Shogun.

Yoshi and Shogun

Exile’s Redemption by Lee Dunning

Exiles Redemption

About the Story

Exile’s Redemption is, on the surface, a fantasy adventure tale about good versus evil, but it goes beyond that. It’s about paths taken which changed the course of history and sent a proud race down a road of slow decline – so slow they don’t even realize that one day they’ll exist only in history texts and children’s stories.

One of the individuals from days long past, Umbral K’hul, returns after ten thousand years of exile. He discovers his flare of temper as a boy not only saw him banished but set the stage for pride and ambition to run unchecked among his people. He must come to grips with his failings and work to rebuild his people while keeping them from discovering his true identity. Adopting the name W’rath, the elves’ first-born son, joins with a young, untried warrior and strives to save their people.

While the story tackles serious subjects, it is written to entertain and amuse. The characters express themselves in unique ways, and carry the story along in a fast-paced manner. Exile’s Redemption is very much a character driven story, quirky characters for certain, but never boring.

 Characters in Exile’s Redemption

Lady Raven

Umbral K’hul: Ten thousand years ago he tried to murder his father.  He failed and found himself exiled to the Abyss to face certain death.  Fate has opened a door and given him a second chance.

Raven: A young scholar, she has traveled to Second Home to research the truth about the first child born to the elves, Umbral K’hul.

Lady Swiftbrook: Driven insane by demons, she is rescued and healed by a small, filthy elf, and so starts a dangerous friendship.

Lord K’hul: Newest war leader to the elves, and lover of Lady Swiftbrook, he trusts not the smirking new arrival at his lady’s side.


Exile’s Gamble by Lee Dunning (coming July/August 2015)

Exile's Gamble

The demon possessed army of King Oblund has been crushed but at great cost. The people of Teresland, betrayed by their king, face a winter without leadership, manpower or food. The elves, unwilling regents of this devastated human kingdom, struggle with understanding a people foreign and hostile toward them.

Now, the demons which destroyed Second Home have scented the vulnerability of Teresland and set out to draw the elves into more conflict. Conflict which they cannot ignore but are ill-prepared to face. With Lord W’rath trapped within his own mind, comatose, the elves must prepare for battle without his strength.

Raven, restless to prove herself, decides on a reckless plan, one which could either provide the elves with a new weapon, or doom her and W’rath both.


W’rath laughed and snarled and taunted. He wheeled in a spiral of death, splattering demon entrails, burst eyes and glittering fangs across the gray walls of the castle, painting them in hues of carnage. A bubble of pulsating magic encapsulated him and he teleported free, appearing behind the demon responsible for the spell. Shadow’s Edge separated its spine from its legs, and then its head from its neck. Its head tumbled away, rolling over and over, surprise flashing by with each rotation, the last emotion to mold its features before it died.

A few lesser creatures skittered by the psion. He didn’t pursue. Seconds later blue and white light flared and the stench of things burning tickled at W’rath’s nostrils. He nodded in satisfaction. Lady Swiftbrook did indeed know her way around a proper lightning spell.

He ducked to the side as a sword sliced through the space he’d just occupied. The grey devil snarled in frustration as the psion slipped out of its reach. Two more joined it and W’rath raised his arm. Their blades bounced off of the invisible shield he’d conjured the instant he jumped ahead of the other elves. He gritted his teeth as the power of their blows vibrated up his arm. Time to even the odds.

Kill your companions, W’rath ordered the first devil. Most couldn’t compel a creature to go against their allies, but few could resist the Shadow Elf’s crushing will. Without so much as a shake of its head, the devil disemboweled the fiend next to it. The third devil hissed, and worked its blade to defend against the first devil. W’rath slipped to its side and hamstrung it. His new pet finished it off. Come along and defend me.

It stepped ahead of W’rath, its tail swishing as if it had a mind of its own. Hmmm. “On second thought,” W’rath said, “I mistrust that tail of yours.” He struck, and flicked blood off Shadow’s Edge as he skirted around the devil’s corpse.

He rode the shadows and stepped from a niche before what had once been the double doors leading to the throne room. Corpses clogged the hall. A half dozen elven soldiers lay in heaps, most dismembered in some manner, one completely turned inside out. Empty pieces of armor suggested others, now eaten, or dissolved or reanimated, had met their ends here. Something had shattered the doors leading into the throne room. Shards of wood littered the floor and the dead. More debris probably spread in the room beyond, but W’rath couldn’t tell. A translucent membrane draped over the gaping wound left in the wall when the doors blew apart. It pulsated with malignant life.

“What sort of foul beastie are you?” W’rath muttered.

As if in answer it flowed from the opening to the floor and leaked into the shadows of the fallen warriors. Too late W’rath understood what he faced. Faster than thought his shadow came alive, and oozed up from the floor to wrap itself around him. It didn’t matter how powerful his psionics, W’rath couldn’t teleport free of his own shadow.

With a malevolent chuckle it cut off all light, all warmth—all hope.


Exile’s Redemption at Amazon:

Lee’s Book Review Blog:

Lee’s Author Site:

Lee’s Goodreads Page:

Magic of Solstice – Allison D. Reid

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Today on the Magic of Solstice blog tour we welcome Allison D. Reid.

AReker Author Photo

Allison answered a few questions about herself and her writing.

Tell me a little about your books:

Journey to Aviad is the first book in a Christian fantasy series that was originally inspired by the characters I brought to life for an online multi-player roleplaying game.  Since those days they have become so much more, and their story has grown to take on new life and meaning.

New JTA Cover

When young Elowyn finds a mysterious looking coin in her favorite woodland stream, the simple life she knows is forever changed.  The discovery sets a series of events in motion that take Elowyn and her older sister, Morganne, on a remarkable physical and spiritual journey.  Dark clouds and unnatural storms begin to threaten their home city of Tyroc with growing frequency and ferocity.  Creatures that were once believed to be nothing more than historic legend suddenly emerge from the depths of the wilderness.  Even the once trusted leadership of Tyroc seems to have been swayed by the encroaching forces of darkness.  As Elowyn and Morganne struggle to make their way through a world thrown into turmoil, their untested faith is suddenly challenged.  They begin to realize that it is not always easy to discern between truth and falsehood, nor is the path laid out for them by Aviad, the Creator, free from perils.  Despite their fears, they choose to follow Aviad, who takes them not only on a journey away from Tyroc, but away from their old selves, as they grow in strength and maturity of faith.

Morganne and Elowyn’s journey continues in the second book of the series, which will be published later this year.

What attracts you to fantasy?

Fantasy is the one genre that makes me feel like a little kid again…it leaves me spellbound with its magic, mystery, and the thrill of adventure.  In real life, those who are fighting for good don’t always win, but in fantasy they can.  For me it is a genre of hope, that celebrates courage and integrity in the face of overwhelming adversity.  In fantasy, we can imagine our best selves into existence, and through those experiences, better learn how to be our best selves in the real world.

If you had a superpower what would it be?

I would want the power to go back and observe different places and times in history.  It would be amazing to follow in Jesus’ footsteps for a while, walk through a real medieval village, or visit some of the ruined castles I saw when I was living in Europe…back when they were whole and full of life.

What are you reading right now?

I am reading Bell Mountain, which is the first book in a Christian Fantasy series by Lee Duigon.  I’ve been eyeing this series for a while and am very excited to finally get started on it.  I am also going through Your 100 Day Prayer by John I. Snyder.

If you could travel to any place, real or imaginary where would you go?

Narnia, please! Though I suspect once I was there, I would never want to come back.

Tell me one odd thing about you.

I am terrified of storms—tornadoes in particular.  Honestly, my anxious little Morkie handles bad weather better than I do!  When I’m really stressed out or nervous about something, I dream about tornadoes all night long.  So when I was writing Journey to Aviad, it only seemed natural to give my villain the ability to conjure storms and use them as a weapon against humanity.

Allison shared some pictures of her fur family Roary (the cat), and Pattertwig (the dog).

Roary and Pattertwig

She told us a little about them:

“Pattertwig is a sweet little Morkie (Maltese-Yorkie mix) who loves his family and follows me wherever I go.  I refer to him as my little white shadow.”

Pattertwig  Roary

“Roary is a 1 year old tabby that we adopted when he was just a kitten.  We took Pattertwig with us to pick him up from the shelter and they have been buddies ever since.  They play together, and sometimes even cuddle up with each other, much to the dismay of my two older cats (Cera and Lirit) who would never lower themselves to fraternize with the dog.  We also have a Bearded Dragon, and a 60 gallon fish tank.  Yes, we like animals!

Connect with Allison:



Amazon  Author Page:

Pick up a copy of Journey to Aviad today!



Barnes & Noble:


The Learned Owl Bookshop:

And stop by Jan Marie’s blog to hear what I have to say today!

Magic of Solstice – Renee Scattergood

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Today on the Magic of Solstice blog tour we welcome Renee Scattergood.

Renee is the author of Shadow Stalker, a series of novellas that tell the story of Auren, a young shadow stalker who is being hunted by the Galvadi Empire because of their belief that she will enslave the people of the Serpent Isles.

Renee shares this excerpt of her story with us today:

Shadow Stalker: Destiny Reconciled Part 1 (Episode 5) Excerpt

By Renee Scattergood

His pain was replaced by fear. Whether it was fear of me or fear for me, I couldn’t tell.

“What does it mean?”

Kado moved toward me, pushing me to the ground. “Close your eyes and relax. Do not resist me and do not hide yourself by wrapping yourself in the veil.”

I closed my eyes and at first there was nothing. Then a tingling sensation started in my solar plexus. He was re-establishing the connection. My relief overwhelmed me when I sensed him again, but it was short-lived. I couldn’t move. It was as though my body had been covered in a lead blanket.

“Breaking the connection was the most dangerous thing you could have done, Auren. Contrary to what you believe, it’s not a way for me to spy on you. How else will I know what you need during your training? How will I sense if you are in trouble? This bond tells me how I can find you, so I can help you. Without it, and without your training, you are completely helpless.”

I understood that now, well most of it, but I couldn’t tell him so. Breathing was becoming difficult as I was crushed under an invisible force, similar to what the demon had done to me when I was in the hole.

“Any shadow stalker is capable of doing what I’m doing to you now, Auren, and worse. They don’t need a connection to you. Without training you have no way to defend yourself.”

He was right about that. I fought desperately to push whatever was crushing me away, but I may as well have been trying to move a three ton stone slab. My head spun as I gasped for air. For a moment I thought he might kill me, and I was powerless to stop it.

Please, Kado.

The pressure lifted, but my body would not move. Kado was restraining me, though his hands only rested gently on my forehead and belly. For a moment it seemed he was simply trying to calm me until my head began to ache as though something was boring into my skull. At the same time, a white hot pain seared my gut. My mouth opened to release a scream, but I couldn’t pull in a breath. Struggling was useless against my invisible bonds; I couldn’t escape the pain. Thankfully, it eased almost as soon as it began, and I found myself floating. Like perhaps I had died.

No, not dead, I realized. I wasn’t in the shadow world, so I struggled to grasp onto something real and felt a gentle caress against my forehead. Latching on to the sensation, I followed it back to consciousness. Kado had me cradled in his arms, brushing wet strands of my hair out of my face.

What did you do to me?

paw print line

About the Shadow Stalker Series:

Shadow Stalker Cover 3 JPG

 Shadow Stalker is a series of short novellas (episodes) that tell the story of Auren, a young shadow stalker who is being hunted by the Galvadi Empire because of their belief that she will enslave the people of the Serpent Isles.

 Episode 1: The Hidden Truth

Auren Trask’s perfectly normal life is disrupted when the Galvadi invade, and she learns a startling secret about her past. A secret that will change her life forever.

Episode 2: The Delohi-Saqu’s Fate

Auren is being targeted by the Council of Elders, and the only one who could put an end to their corruption is her father. But leaving the Dark Isle would turn Kado against her.

Episode 3: Shadows’ Betrayal

After seeing the monster she will become, Auren swears not to leave the Dark Isle. Despite that, the elders are conspiring against her. To escape their scheming, she and Kado decide to explore the Dark Isle. But worse things await them in the forests.

Episode 4: Forbidden Love

Kado and Auren survive a deadly storm, but when Auren is forbidden from pursuing love with another young shadow stalker, will it be enough to drive a wedge between her and her foster father?

Episode 5: Destiny Reconciled Part 1

Auren and Kado accept that they may not be able to avoid her leaving the Dark Isle. Now they have to prepare for that eventuality. Will the training be more than Auren can handle?

About Demon Hunt:

Demon Hunt

Auren longs for adventure and a break from her tedious life on Appolia. It’s the start of summer, and she is looking forward to her yearly camping trip with her foster father, Kado. She believes these trips are for fun, but when they arrive on Luten Isle, Kado informs her that she is a shadow stalker, and she is in training.

One morning, Auren decides to take her training into her own hands. She only means to practice seeing the veil to the shadow world, the world of the shadow people and the source of their power. Instead, she opens the veil releasing a demon, a guardian of the shadow world, into the physical world.

With the deadly beast loose, she and Kado don’t have long to hunt it down and return it to where it belongs, or many innocent people could die.

Pick up Renee’s books from her website, Amazon, or Smashwords.

Get the latest episode of Shadow Stalker free!

Renee Scattergood

Connect with Renee on her blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Goodreads, and Authorgraph.

And visit me today on RJ Mirabal blog.

Magic of Solstice – Ali Cross

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Welcome back. Today I will be visiting Cheri Schmidt blog. Please pop by and say “Hi”.

Today on Paws 4 Thought we welcome Ali Cross.


Ali Cross grew up watching Bruce Lee movies and dreamed of being a kick-butt martial artist like Cynthia Rothrock. Well, she never became the kind of ninja she envisioned, but she does hold a black belt in awesome. She lives in Utah with her kickin’ husband, two sparring sons, one ninja cat, one sumo dog and four zen turtles. And a cache of nunchucks, staffs, kamas and other dangerous ninja-weapons.

Ali moonlights as Alex Banks where she writes wild middle grade adventures set in the faraway places of her imagination.

alex books

Ali is the author of the Desolation series.

Become (Desolation #1)It’s never too late to choose.


Sixteen-year old Desolation Black wants nothing more than to stay in Hell where it’s cold and lonely and totally predictable. Instead, she’s sent back to Earth where she must face the evil she despises and the good she always feared.
When Desi is forced to embrace her inner demon, she assumes her choice has been made—that she has no hope of being anything other than what her father, Lucifer, has created her to be. What she doesn’t count on, is finding a reason to change—something she’s never had before—a friend.

Desolate (Desolation #2)Where darkness lives, all will become desolate.


It’s been two months since sixteen-year-old Desolation Black chose Earth over Hell and her friend Miri over her eternal love, Michael.

Desi goes through the motions of life: school, training, remaining vigilant against the forces of darkness, but her dreams are full of the choices she wishes she could change. When she’s injured by a strange demon, old temptations arise, and the lines between good and evil blur. Desi discovers those choices aren’t so final after all.

And this time, the power of love—for a friend, for a lover—may not be enough to save her from the darkness that lurks within.

Destined (Desolation #3)Destiny isn’t fate, it’s choice.


Choosing is a bad idea, because Desi always makes the wrong choice, and sometimes there are no do-overs. Certainly not this time, when all has been lost and Desi can’t even save herself, let alone her friends. For Desi, the hardest thing is letting someone help her, to accept their sacrifice on her\behalf. But that’s exactly what she’ll have to do in order to save the worlds from Helena’s destruction.

The goddess of Helheimer, long imprisoned by Desi’s father, Loki, is free at last, and she’s bent on reclaiming what once was hers. The nine worlds will be drawn into war, over Hell, over Earth, with innocent humans as meaningless collateral.

While Michael and the Gardians of Asgard, along with the golden-armored Valkyrie, lead the battle for freedom, it’s Desi who holds the destiny of all the worlds in her hands.

Can she set aside her doubts, once and for all, and claim the gifts that are hers to bear? Can she accept the sacrifice that is made for her and Become all that she was created to be?

Connect with Ali


Amazon     Goodreads

Facebook     Twitter

Google +     Pinterest

ali books2

Magic of the Solstice – Melissa Barker-Simpson and Gina Briganti

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Today we are luck to welcome two guests on the Magic of Solstice blog tour.


Melissa Barker-Simpson has been writing since, well…since she was knee-high to a grasshopper. She often looks back on those earlier stories, and apart from laughing at the heavy-handed drama, or cringing at her inexperience, she is reminded that she has always lived in other worlds.

Her first novel was published in 2008, and she loves nothing more than working on a new project. The voices inside her head invariably pull her in different directions, so although she tries to work on one thing at a time, those who know her would tell you it doesn’t always work!

She has a full-time job which, though does not involve writing per se, incorporates her love of language. As a British Sign Language Interpreter, she gets to translate information between two languages which is (mostly) fun.

She has two beautiful daughters who bring her great joy. They also keep her grounded, because otherwise she would have her head in the clouds permanently!

Changing Worlds 2

Melissa is the author of The Contract which appears in the CHANGING WORLDS anthology

It is a prequel to the Fractured Series. Here’s the synopsis:

After the Demonic War, a battle which devastated the mortal realm, humans now stick to the world’s major cities. To even the score, and to protect those cities, hunters joined together to establish cells across the globe. Maddison Wood is part of an alpha cell within the north of England.

Though a skilled fighter and powerful witch, Maddison can be brash, and unpredictable. She has a penchant for trouble, and is usually the first to volunteer in battle. When she accepts an assignment to protect the Hympe King, Tobias Locke, Maddison’s fate becomes bound to his. As the stakes change, and she finds herself trapped inside the bowels of an enemy camp, Maddison must fight for her freedom, her independence, and for a prisoner who has not seen the light of day for almost a century.

And here’s an excerpt:

Maddison roamed the Great Halls, her eyes blind to the ancient beauty. Instead, she was tormented by thoughts of Tobias Locke, the half-blood leader of the Enchanted League. She had pondered over his request for days. A request, coated in a demand, which amounted to the same thing – he needed her help. She should have been flattered, because Tobias trusted few outside the League. But what she felt – was anger. No, anger didn’t cover it. She was pissed. Royally pissed.

As a freelance demon hunter, she had often crossed paths with the League. In fact, more than once she had formed a tentative alliance with Tobias and his guards. Sometimes it was even fun, if she managed to convince herself he wasn’t an ass.

An ass who kissed you, don’t forget that.

Her boots hit the stone passage with a resounding thwack, thwack, as she tried to walk off her temper. Tobias hadn’t just crossed the line, he’d obliterated it. Taken a giant leap into a different continent and changed the very nature of their relationship. And the worst part – she’d enjoyed it. His sensuous mouth had dominated her dreams, which wasn’t all bad – at least it kept the nightmares at bay. Perhaps she should thank him for the distraction, and she would have. But beating him bloody probably didn’t count.

Still, she hadn’t accepted the assignment. Yet.

“Who crapped all over your day?”

She turned to Jonas, their self-proclaimed patriarch at Hunters-Are-Us. He was the only human among their band of merry fighters.

“The Enchanted League.” She grinned at him. “But you know I never turn down a paid gig.”

“Or the chance to get your hands dirty,” he said, raising his brows when she opened the electronic door with the flick of a wrist.

“Well, there is that.” She laughed, falling into step as they made their way down the long stretch of corridor.

Connect with Melissa:

Friend her on Facebook:

Follow her on Twitter:

Subscribe to her blog:

Visit her website:

Gina Pic 2 head 300ppi

Gina Briganti has been writing since she could hold a pencil. It has always been a comfort that to create she needs only three things; the pencil, the paper, and her imagination.

She lives in beautiful Joshua Tree, CA, the setting for her debut paranormal romance series, Natural Gifts.

Her story in the Changing Worlds anthology is Saunders’ Choice Natural Gifts novella.

In it Saunders finds himself in a plane of existence called the Dreaming, where he encounters Velvet, the most exciting creature he will ever meet.  The answer seems obvious, but Saunders’ life has never been easy.


Velvet visited with her dear friend Riddle for most of the next morning.  He showed her the history he had added to his sandcastle walls while she was away on the tour. One of the designs was a story from a world she hadn’t seen before.  She suspected that it was where Riddle, and possibly Debra, came from originally.

The story was about happy, content, creatures practicing the art of creating, sometimes with teachers, and at other times on their own. The final, cleverly painted frame of the story depicted the accomplishment of a luxurious looking natural world, full of wildlife, lush green trees, and crystal blue waters.

“This is a beautiful story.” Velvet planted a kiss on the top of Riddle’s head.

He blushed, as she thought he might. There were times when she held her kisses back, just so she wouldn’t embarrass him.  She enjoyed his new art too much to hold back this time.

“Thank you,”  Riddle mumbled, and then cleared his throat.

“Can I ask questions about it?”  She’d learned long ago to respect Riddle’s privacy and wouldn’t push the point if he was reluctant.

Riddle didn’t hesitate.  Apparently he already decided what he was willing to share about the story.

“You may have one, then your questions will be done.”

He didn’t always speak in rhyme, but the few who were lucky enough to know him knew that when he did, he was imparting a true gift. Few people knew Riddle at all.  Even fewer had heard him speak.

One question.  Velvet pondered.  The perfect question then popped into her head.

“What does this story mean to you?”  Velvet settled onto a chair while Riddle looked from her, to the picture, and then back again.

“It means that we all have a greater gift than we realize.  We can create infinitely more than we give ourselves credit for.”  Riddle settled himself into a chair like Velvet’s, and then smiled at her when he saw that she understood how much he meant what he said.

“Thank you for sharing that with me, Riddle. It means a lot to me that you did.”

Riddle simply smiled.  They sat together in companionable silence until Velvet decided to try a few of her new physical comedy jokes on him.

Riddle smiled and clapped, feeling giddy.  Seeing Riddle acting so happy was one of the best feelings Velvet could imagine.

Long ago, Velvet had knocked on the sandcastle door with the simple goal of telling the creature who lived there that she thought it was an incredible looking sandcastle.

The door had opened on its own, and Velvet stepped inside without hesitation.

Riddle took a small chance in allowing a new creature into his home, but his intuition was much more developed than Velvet understood at the time.

When she saw him for the first time, and accepted him completely through her reactions, they became friends.Their friendship was one of the most important in both of their lives.

Grand sandcastle on the beach during a summer day

Grand sandcastle on the beach during a summer day

Connect with Gina Briganti

Friend her on Facebook:

Subscribe to her blog:

Talk books with her on Goodreads:

Pin with her on Pinterest:

And pick up your copy of Changing Worlds today on Amazon or Smashwords.

Visit me on KJ Hawkins’s blog today.

Magic of Solstice – Nichole Giles

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Welcome back today I’m visiting fellow Rocking Horse author, Rebecca Jaycox. Please come by and say “Hi”.

Today on Paws 4 Thought we welcome Nichole Giles.

Nichole Giles had early career plans that included becoming an actress or a rockstar, but decided instead to have a family and then become a writer.

She was born in Nevada, the oldest of seven—a number which increased to eleven with the addition of four step brothers—and has lived in Utah, Nevada, Arizona, and South Texas.

Her future aspirations include owning a home on a tropical island, even if it’s just a vacation home. For now, she plans to travel to as many tropical locations as possible, scouting for her future paradise.

Currently, she lives with her husband, one of her two sons (the other is in college), two daughters, two golden retrievers, and one lucky bunny rabbit.

Writing is her passion, but she also loves to shop, spend time with her family, travel to exotic destinations, drive in the rain with her convertible top down, and play music at full volume so she can sing along.

Nichole is the author of three published novels: Water So Deep, Birthright, and Descendant.

She shares with us today:

13 Random Facts about Nichole Giles

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  1. I am the oldest of eleven children: two biological sisters, four biological brothers, and four step-brothers.
  2. I don’t like to read books that don’t involve some kind of romance, kissing scenes included.
  3. I must have lived during the regency period in a past life, because I love corset-style dresses and costumes. For Halloween, I’ll probably dress up, even though my kids won’t.
  4. My favorite ice cream flavor was discontinued over 10 years ago, but I still hold out hope that Ben and Jerry’s will bring back their Island Paradise flavor.
  5. My favorite food in the world is steamed snow crab.
  6. Whenever I struggle with creating or writing, I like to go for a drive with my convertible top down. I’ve even been known to do this with snow flurries in the air.
  7. Nichole’s ultimate dream house: on a white-sand beach, with lots of windows, palm trees in the yard, a huge patio, and within walking distance to a number of friends’ homes. Also near great shopping. It should also have a dedicated library where I can write.
  8. I have a growing collection of fairies. Statues, paintings, etc. And I’ve started picking up mermaids as well. I love to be surrounded by fantastical creatures.
  9. I have four kids. Two boys, two girls, all nearly grown.
  10. When I was in high school in Arizona, my friends and I haunted a local hangout, where I became highly proficient at playing air hockey.
  11. During my junior year, I had the opportunity to go to New York with my choir, where we sang in Carnegie Hall. We also toured the city, largely without supervision.
  12. My favorite candy includes Kookabura licorice and Black Forest gummies. All varieties of both.
  13. I have kissed a stingray, petted a shark, high-fived a sea otter, and hugged a dolphin, but I have never wrestled an alligator or tried to housebreak a lion—and I don’t think I ever will.

Thanks for hanging out with me for thirteen random facts. You can learn more about me and my books at

Water so Deep

Water so Deep

Seventeen-year-old Emma Harris is drowning on dry land.

mermaid a secret, but the truth is getting harder and harder to hide. From her adoptive family, from her friends, and especially from the irresistible James Phelps.

Her time in the ocean is spent dodging a possessive merman, while her time on land is split between caring for her special-needs brother and squeezing in every last possible moment of human life. She soon realizes falling for James is unavoidable when he constantly comes to Emma’s rescue and somehow manages to see through her carefully constructed icy facade to the vulnerability she lives with every day. Everything about James makes Emma yearn for a life on land she just can’t have.

When Emma’s brother disappears on her watch, James is the only person she trusts to help her save him. But even if they can save her brother, nothing can prevent her return to the sea. Whether she likes it or not, Emma is changing—unable to breathe without yielding to the tide—and it’s only a matter of time before she’s forced to surrender forever.



Two months ago, Abigail Johnson saved the life of the boy she believes is her destiny and defeated an army of demons that have pursued her ancestors for centuries. Now, she and Kye should be taking their place as leaders of the new generation of Gifted, but the curse they thought was broken has returned, and every minute together brings them closer to death.

When remaining shadow demons attack again, the Dragons send Abby to Mexico. But she isn’t any safer here than she was back home. The shadows have tracked her, the locals expect her to help with their own demon problems, and the more time she spends away from Kye, the more she doubts the destiny that ties them together.

When the demons destroy her safe house, Abby has no choice but to take the fight to them. The arrival of an old nemesis throws their careful plans into disarray, and Abby and her friends find themselves facing new adversaries in a battle that turns fatal. This time, not everyone will make it out alive.



Seventeen-year-old Abigail Johnson is Gifted.

Blessed—or cursed—with Sight and Healing, Abby lives an unsettled life, moving from place to place and staying one step ahead of the darkness that hunts her. When she arrives in Jackson, Wyoming, she is desperate to maintain the illusion of normalcy, but she is plagued with visions of past lives mixed with frightening glimpses of her future. Then she meets Kye, a mysterious boy who seems so achingly familiar that Abby is drawn to him like he’s a missing piece of her own soul.

Before Abby can discover the reason for her feelings toward Kye, the darkness catches up to her and she is forced to flee again. But this time she’s not just running. She is fighting back with Kye at her side, and it’s not just Abby’s life at stake.

Connect with Nichole:

On her Blog

Amazon page




Magic of Solstice blog tour – Louise Findlay

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Today on the Magic of Solstice blog tour we welcome Louise Findlay. Louise 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 about two vampire clans whose deputy’s clash in a big way, entitled A Spy in the Sagax Vampires.

She shares with us today the beginning of her poem, The Rogue’s Odyssey  which was originally included in the Dreamless Roads anthology.

 The Rogue's Odyssey Cover Finished


by Louise Findlay

Copyright © 2015 Louise Findlay.

It was the dead of night, on horseback I fled,

fled from the knights of the realm.

Their intent, to flay me alive,

was keeping me going, keeping me going.

A rogue I was, honourable though,

but they were scarce in supply.

They hit me, dead, dying, I fled,

traversing through the wood.

I had to survive, survive I did,

through the snowy wood.

I stopped for a second, to revel,

in its wondrous beauty,

but I had to keep going, had to keep going.

This journey I had to make,

the dangers worth the rewards.

The money was good, oh the pay was great,

A wizard was paying my way.

There was a more, primal reason,

a directive I had to follow.

The fate of the kingdom, rested in me, rested in me,

despite the knights following.

The knights,

corrupt they were,

twisted by the darkness.

Their lord,

dark at heart,

instigated the curse.

Read on when you Pre-Order at only $0.99


Dreamless Roads Anthology Cover

Connect with Louise

See her website

Find her other eBooks at her Smashwords Author page

Follow her on Twitter

Like her Facebook page

Add her as a connection on LinkedIn

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Be sure to check out Louise’s site today as I’m the guest over there and have answered a few rather fun questions!

Magic of Solstice – Rebecca Jaycox

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Welcome back today on the Magic of Solstice tour I’ll be visiting Nichole Giles. Come visit me on Nicole’s blog.


Today on Paws4Thought we welcome fantasy author, Rebecca Jaycox. Rebecca recently released her debut novel, The Other Inheritance, with Rocking Horse Publishing. Tell us a little bit about yourself, Rebecca.

I grew up in a small town—Berryman—in Missouri, but I now live in New York City. Before moving to New York, I lived in France for a year where I taught English at a French high school.

I officially have wanderlust and travel as often as I can, visiting places like France, Turkey, Greece, and Italy. Traveling has given me greater perspective on different kinds of people and culture and has also inspired my writing. If I won the lottery tomorrow, all I would do is travel, write, and eat fabulous food.

I work at the 92nd Street Y, which is one of New York’s premier cultural institutions. I’m the creator and curator of the YA Lit program. Over the past two years, I’ve gotten to meet Veronica Roth, James Dashner (total sweetie!), Susan Ee, Melissa de la Cruz, Chuck Wendig, Maggie Stiefvater, Cassandra Clare and many more! It’s a fun job.

When did you first start writing?

I started writing at a young age; I want to say around 10 years old. My grandmother had all these ancient typewriters that I used to bang out stories on.  As an only child growing up in a rural community, I used my imagination as a way to escape into faraway lands. The Mark Twain National Forest was my backyard; a place where green acorns become emeralds and my cats were generals fighting against dragons.

Who are your favorite authors?

I have a long list, and some authors I find belong more in the inspirational category than favorite: Ilona Andrews (writes one of the best UF series ever), Colleen McCullough (Yes, I loved the Thorn Birds!), J.K. Rowling, Patricia Briggs, Maggie Stiefvater (she’s brilliant), Anne Bishop, Laini Taylor, Neil Gaiman(writing god), Robin McKinley, Susan Ee, Kate Elliot, George RR Martin (that man plays a long game), Meljean Brooks (her steampunk world building is insane!) and Jacqueline Carey. I know I’m missing people!

What inspires you to write? 

Traveling inspires me to write, of course, providing me with great world building ideas, but I also get inspired just by observing the conversations that are happening around me. My NYC subway rides in the morning have given me great character ideas.

Tell us a little bit about The Other Inheritance.

The Other Inheritance is about Reggie, a seventeen-year-old girl who discovers quite shockingly that she can bring dead things back to life. She has a rough home life; her mother is an alcoholic and her father disappeared when she was young. He took a hike in the woods and never came back.  Reggie discovers that her father was from an alternative reality known as the Other and that she’s inherited his magical powers. The bad guy who killed her father is after her, and she has to travel to the Other to find one of her father’s friends who has promised to protect her. Mayhem, danger, romance, and betrayal ensue.

What attracts you to writing YA?

The YA genre has become a wonderful creative playground. Some of the best fantasy is being written in YA. Being a teenager on the cusp of adulthood and trying to find yourself is a universal human experience we can all relate to. Well, most of us are trying to find ourselves well into our twenties, but I digress. At 17, you really are starting to make independent choices about your future, and that makes a fertile writing ground.

What are you currently working on?

I’m slowly writing the sequel to The Other Inheritance. I’ve also written a bit on an adult UF that features a dragon that I’m having a lot of fun with (a certain Russian witch will make an appearance), and a few chapters of a YA/NA steampunk novel.

What do you like to do to relax?

Watch the Walking Dead! Weird way to relax, but I like it. I also read all of the time! The more I read, the better I write. And I love reading. I’m a gym addict. My life is so stressful that going to the gym keeps me sane.

If you could have any superpower what would choose?

The ability to control time like Hermione had with the Time-Turner. I would be able to write as much as I wanted and have a full-time job without the stress!

How can readers connect with you?

Readers can connect with me through my author page on Facebook:

They can also follow me on Twitter, my handle is @rebeccajaycox, and my website is

other inheritance

Magic of Solstice – KJ Hawkins

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Welcome to another magical day on our blog tour. Today I am visiting Melissa Barker-Simpson on her blog. Do go and check it out!

In the meantime I’d like to welcome KJ Hawkins to Paws 4 Thought.

KJ  is a young fantasy author making her way into print. She has had a strong love for fantasy since she was nine years old.

As an adult the magic stayed with her inspiring her to write stories of adventure and magic.  Hawkins, at her best, brings personality to every word she writes, exciting her readers with every page.

KJ shared this fun fact with us:

KJ Hawkins is actually a pen name taken from the initials of her real first and last name. Hawkins came from her favorite childhood film, Treasure Planet, the lead character is James Hawkins!


KJ has a story, Half-Blood Academy: Trisha’s Escape, in this anthology – The Magical Muse.

In it Trisha finds herself in the clutches of a monster like no other. She has to fight her way to freedom only to find herself looking at deaths door. Will she survive the fight or will a secret hidden from her be her saving grace?

The Magical Muse contains stories of fantasy ranging from dark, to light and inspiring, bring life to this anthology.  The creatures featured throughout, both good and evil, display the devastating or wonderful personalities they were given by the authors who created them for your enjoyment.

KJ came by to discuss the balance of power in her household and her stories and shared some pics of the fur persons in her life:

The Balance of Power

Trixie   Muffin

In my house there is a tipping balance. Things are tricky with having four pets that have vast differences in personality. First comes Trixie, the oldest, she is laid back and scary at times. She is the defender in the group. Then there is Muffin, Trixie’s daughter. Muffin is more like an alarm system that never shuts up. The fact that she is a mix of three yapping breeds, Chihuahua, Pomeranian, and Terrier, is probably the main reason. No wonder she drives me nuts.

They are the dog crew that helped me create the Kyres, who are featured in the world of Tarzinëa.  I just recently wrote a short story, featuring DarkDeath, I hope to publish in the next couple of months (the date isn’t finalized yet). The tale is about the bond between a father and son. DarkDeath goes to Digger’s rescue when he gets in over his head after crossing the border into the Twin-Tailed Foxes’ territory. The emotion that pulls him to act on his pup’s behalf was influenced by Trixie’s behavior. I have seen her take down dogs twice her size all because Muffin was scared.

Zoe  Joey

Then there are my two cats, Zoë and Joey. I wish I could have foxes, however it’s kind of hard to have exotic pets in my city. Ironically Zoë is the youngest, but she has been part of the family longer. She is skittish and extremely territorial. In other words, Joey gets his butt kicked a lot by her. Her behavior actually helped me write the Twin-Tailed Foxes part for the short story. SilverHide is cunning and deadly just like Zoë, and they share the same sleek body. Joey isn’t represented in this particular story, but I plan to later incorporate him somehow into the creatures in my worlds. For now he will just have to laze around and just be my fat boy.

The working title for this story is A Father’s Protection. There will be an epic battle scene between DarkDeath and SilverHide inspired by a battle for territory and placement in the pecking order in my own home. And like always Fat Boy (Joey) and I will sit back and enjoy the show.

Connect with KJ through:





Or by joining her Newsletter: