Friday, November 30, 2012

Book Spotlight & Giveaway - Vigilnte of Shadows by Miranda Stork

Today is the official release of Vigilante of Shadows! The beginning of a new series from Miranda Stork, the action begins fast and hard with a murder, an immortal murderer, and a bright young police officer caught in the action. Oh, and shadowpeople and a demon. Did I not mention those? Vigilante of Shadows sets the series off on a path that will be humorous, horrifying, and just a little bit steamy. A path where this time…the whole of humanity hangs in the balance.

Aodhan clutched uselessly at his head, groaning. He knew it was useless, because the voice was not inside his head. It followed him, skimming across buildings and land. It had followed him since he was sixteen, and it still followed him today, like a memory too horrific to be forgotten…
Aodhan is a shadow-demon, hardened and cold after years of being alone, after his love, his Entwined, was cruelly taken away from him. He has closed his heart to the world, and now spends his life ridding the world of men like those who took his beloved away, an immortal hit-man…
Arianwen Harris is a young DCI, working for York City Police. When a known criminal is found viciously killed, she finds herself trailing a hit-man who has seemed to escape clutches again and again…but she begins to find herself drawn to his dark charms and roguish good looks…
As their two worlds collide, Aodhan and Arianwen find themselves coming together to escape a far greater enemy, one that threatens to create a world far worse than the one they live in. As they battle to hold back the oncoming forces, fate has another plan; one to draw them together and heal their broken pasts together…

He paced along speedily, hands shoved deep in the pockets of his jeans. The sounds of the night surrounded him--distant cat song, the steady hum of far-off cars, the soft sound of wind whistling underneath people’s windows. He loved being out at night, not because it was a time when his ‘kind’ were more active, but simply because it was so much quieter than the day. The sounds of people rushing around disappeared, and left a peaceful calm with the soothing darkness.
Of course, there were the voices in his head, but that was another story.
He shrugged his shoulders up, cutting off the wind whistling around his neck. He wasn’t particularly cold, but the noise was annoying when your ears were so sensitive that a pin dropping could sound like a two-ton weight.
Aodhan’s mind went back to the girl from the bar. He hadn’t meant to be so brisk with her, but it was really best that no-one got that close. He…didn’t do well with people any more. They always brought back memories of simpler times, of her. And besides that…he killed people. People who wouldn’t die if they hadn’t found out about them…
Aodhan was a demon.
A rare demon, as well, a shadow demon. He had been born to a Scottish clan just over eight-hundred years ago, to humans. Contrary to what he saw people believed in the media and books, demons were actually born to humans. There was no line of them, like vampires or werewolves. They were simply…random.
When he had been born, there were no noticeable signs of what he was. He just looked like any of the other babies born to them, strong and healthy, but definitely human.
As he grew older, he had shown great proficiency with all weapons, learning faster than any of the other boys in the clan. Even some of the boys older than him had a hard time keeping up. He was never big-headed about it though, simply trying to fit in with everyone else. However, the clan talked about how the strange-eyed boy was so much quicker and stronger than others twice his age, and whispered about ancient gods coming back to the earth. His looks weren’t too odd for his clan, everyone having black, brown, or auburn hair. But his eyes were odd. All others in his clan had mostly blue eyes; some of them had brown eyes. But he had startling clear green ones, more like a cat than a human.
When he was thirteen, he suddenly began developing strange growths near his temples. After going to see the clan’s wise woman about it, she simply cackled, and whispered, “Those who are given the gift of darkness, should not fear the unknown.” He had shaken off the wise woman’s words, telling himself that she had finally gone crazy.
The growths had developed further, until they started to look like small dark horns, about the length of his thumb. They curled close to the curve of his head, smooth with small ridges forming at each stage of their growth. Luckily, Aodhan’s hair grew wild and long, allowing him to cover them up as much as he could.
By the time his twentieth year was reached, he was a well-loved member of his clan. He was kind and helpful to all, and helped to fight off their enemies more times than he could count on both hands. But he was holding a dreadful secret from his clan. Since his horns had grown, he had also noticed many other things.
He had begun to...see things. Shadows.
When he was out hunting in the forest near to their home, he would think that he had seen someone moving in the trees behind him. But when he swung around to face them…nothing. Then he would hear a soft chuckle, his name being called on the wind. At night, in his bed as he tried to sleep, he would see black figures running around the walls.
He had tried to tell the wise woman of the village again, thinking them to be spirits sent to drive him mad, or something worse. She simply shook her head at him, and chuckled, rocking herself to and fro. He had got used to the shadows by now, drawing the blanket up over his head so that he couldn’t hear their taunting murmurs....
Aodhan suddenly stopped walking, snapping out of his daydream. He was sure he had seen one of...them. Looking all around, he scanned the buildings with his vivid eyes. The problem with them was that they could hide anywhere they chose--walls, buildings, floors, anywhere--especially at night.
The red brick buildings around him looked empty, the few alleyways just leading alongside the backs of houses, a small number of bins scattered about. No-one else was walking near him on the pavement, no sound anywhere.
Just as he was about to turn around and carry on walking, pulling his jacket up again, he heard something behind him. Something whispery and cold.

All images and writing related to Vigilante of Shadows is copyright and property of Moon Rose Publishing, and may not be copied, reproduced, or used in any form, digital or print, without the express written permission of Moon Rose Publishing

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I was born in Guisborough, North Yorkshire in 1987 and have lived in various places around Britain, including Newcastle and Glasgow.
My writing is inspired by various writers, including the vivid characters of Charles Dickens, the imagination of Stephen King, and the gothic imagery of Anne Rice.

My love of horror began at an early age, when I was only three or four. I could read proficiently at the age of three, and devoured fairy-stories, but I always had a bent towards the darker stories, such as the Brother's Grimm's tales...Red Riding Hood was always a firm favourite, although I always felt sorry for the wolf, despite him having tried to eat everyone!

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Book Spotligt - Tasting Fire by Michelle Holtzman

Tasting Fire is the story of the Pari people and how the existence of shape-shifters in the world changed how humanity looks at itself and its environment.  It's also a love story between Kai Tenzin, the leader of the Pari, a man whose ancestor's DNA was merged with that of an Asian Snow Leopard, and Dr. Rae Hales the beautiful American scientist he hires to try to hide the tell-tale DNA from modern science. 

Tasting Fire is not your average paranormal shape-shifting romance.  I created a plot that revolved around the hypothesis that if there were shape-shifters, how could they realistically come to exist?  I researched methods of bacterial transmission and eventually came up with the idea that if shape-shifters throughout history were caused by an infection, it would have to be difficult to catch, otherwise everybody and their grandmother would be a shape-shifter.  That was how I decided to make the infection come from a thermophilic (heat loving) bacteria that lives only in hot springs around the world.  You can't catch it from another shape-shifter, but you can inherit the condition  from your parents.  This method of transmission gives rise to the many different mythologies of shape-shifters that have evolved from every culture on the planet. 

As Dr. Rae Hales, my heroine surmisesif the Pari are real, doesn't that mean they could all be real?” (Hint ...more sequels) I treat shape-shifting in the books as a medical condition.  It has significant physical, social and economic side effects that arise from the condition and the thrust of the book deals with that.

There is no magic in Tasting Fire by design.  This forced me as a writer to develop a strong plot and create fully developed characters.   There is humor, adventure, passion, and intelligence.  Tasting Fire is not a light read.  If you want a book where the hero and heroine fall into bed within the first two minutes of meeting each other, than this is not the book for you.  If you are looking for a rich, textured story, full of world building and character development, and if you want to lose yourself in an intelligent, romantic, sexy, adventure, this is your book!






Shape-shifters have always walked the earth. Shrouded in myth and folklore, hiding in the shadows, watching and waiting. Advances in modern science are now about to reveal them to the world. Kai Tenzin is the self appointed leader of the Pari people. He and his kind evolved from the most reclusive predators on earth, the Asian Snow Leopard. They live and hunt in the most fearsome and rugged terrain known to man, the Himalayas. As a young man, Kai left his small village where the mountain touches the heavens, determined to do anything to protect his people. When he is forced to enlist the aid of the beautiful American scientist Dr. Rae Hales, the last thing he expects to find is a woman who will ensnare his heart and endanger them all. Their action-packed adventure will take them around the world to discover the truth behind the legends and reveal the future of humanity.


 Rae took an admiring look at the vista below as she dropped her heavy pack on the ground.  The mountains in the distance looked purple and the desert brush spread out below them like a master oil painting.  It was awe inspiring to human eyes.  Rae wondered what would it look like to a snow leopard.  She suddenly realized many a biologist would sell their very soul for the opportunity she had at that moment.  Rae turned to Kai who had been sitting on the ground with his pack and fishing around for lunch and asked him  what is it like when you're in your Shan form out in country like this?   Kai rewarded Rae with the most brilliant smile she had yet seen to grace the handsome shape-shifter's face.  He seemed truly delighted to discuss the subject with her.  Kai stood up to answer Rae's question.  He addressed the human scientist.  It's like nothing you can imagine Rae.  Every sense is in tune with the planet.  See that tree over therehe pointed a few yards away at an ancient gnarled pinyon.  Yes  Rae replied.  Kai walked up behind Rae and put his hands on her shoulders and directed her to look even closer at the tree.  He whispered intimately in her ear as if they were in a church or another sacred spacewhen you look at that tree with your limited human vision, the average person can certainly appreciate its form and color.   A biologist like yourself would ask what type of tree is it and how old it is.   A philosopher might ask who may have sat underneath it in the past or who might sit underneath it in the future.  All of you might even wonder when will it die.  That's the limit of your human perception.  When you're in Shan form every single leaf will bid you a glorious greeting as you walk up to the tree for the first time.  Every drop of sap tells you the history of the tree's life like an intimate biography written in the utterly sensual language of scent.  The tree itself will tell you if it's healthy or sick.  You can smell if the water that nourishes it is bitter or sweet.  If you deeply pay attention you can smell every animal that has ever been there.  Kai looked to Rae like he was experiencing a spiritual moment and Rae suddenly realized he was.  The enthralled shape-shifter continued to explain to Rae the nuances of the animal world  when you are ready to move on to another place you reach up with your powerful claws and dig deep into the bark to mark the tree with your scent.  It's added harmoniously to the scent of hundreds of other animals.  You do this not just to mark your hunting territory, but to tell every animal after you have left this world that you lived and breathed here at one time in the great mystery that is life.  That is your only immortality in the animal world.  There are no monuments to mark a man's ego, or family albums for a mother to remember her children by, but neither is there hate, nor fear of the future or regret of the past.  You are fully alive in each and every moment.  It's a wonderfully free existence.  I wish I could truly share it with you... words, words pale in comparison.   Kai looked so happy at that moment.  Rae was so moved by what he had just shared with her that all she could do was reach out and touch his wrist.Thank you!she whispered.  Kai nodded at her in acknowledgment, but he was too emotional to even speak.


My name is Shelly Holt and I live in the middle of the harsh and unforgiving Mojave desert. I write my stories looking out of a window that shows sweeping desert views. Outside is a barren and severe landscape, yet inside my head lives a world filled with exotic shape-shifters come to life, pulled from the pages of myth and legend, ready to entice and seduce any reader brave enough to take them on.