Guest Post by Award Winning Author Christie M. Stenzel of The Occulti Series

Christie M. Stenzel

Multiple award-winning independent author Christie M. Stenzel has published five books thus far, with another nearing publication in the near future. Writing and reading are her passions and she primarily writes fantasy stories with an emphasis on the supernatural. As she has diverse interests, she has also written a suspense/thriller short story and plans future books in other genres as well. She holds multiple degrees, her current “day job” is as an ultrasound technologist, and in her spare time enjoys physical activities like yoga, running and weight lifting

Blurb

Have you ever received shocking news that turned your life upside down?

Would you love to have magical powers based upon the color of your eyes?

Imagine the shock of being eighteen year old Remy Verbetta and finding out that you are not only not “human”, but also are not from this “world”.  Remy’s life is turned upside down when she suddenly finds out her entire life has been a lie.  Another “world” is living and breathing along-side our own, a kind of alternate dimension.  On her eighteenth birthday, Remy finds out that she is not “human”, but rather a member of an ancient and almost extinct race called the Occuli.  Each Occuli has different magical powers based solely their eye color.

A multiple award-winning supernatural, fantasy novel, The Grey Eyed Storm: The Occuli, Book One, follows Remy on a journey of self-discovery, magic, mystery, romance and betrayal, as she tries to figure out a way to not only survive, but find a way back to her true home and save the Occuli from extinction!

Excerpt

The night of my eighteenth birthday, I also began sleep walking yet again.  This time, I couldn’t find a way to joke about it or even rationalize it.  Who sleep walks to their own mother’s grave?   Mama’s grave was decorated, which was strange unless dad traveled all the way back here.  I wasn’t even sure how I walked all the way here in pajamas in the middle of the night.  My stomach turned and I ran from my mother’s grave and lost the small piece of birthday cake I had consumed.  Violets, all over Mama’s grave.  Why not, jasmine, I wondered?  They were her favorite.  Why did they have to be the flower I saw in my vision?   I heard a ringing noise and it roused me from my queries; it was my cell phone.  Had I jammed it in my pocket before I left?
“Rubes,” I said, not even looking at the caller ID.
“I am so glad you answered!   What the hell happened?” she demanded.
I felt dazed and my stomach began to turn again.
“What?” I asked slowly, my voice sounding tight and far away.
“Where are you?”
I closed my eyes and I let the crystal tears fall.  Dad said Mama began to act unusual around her eighteenth birthday and he had joked that I would adhere to the family curse.  He couldn’t be more right.  I was a crazy person too.
“I’m at my mother’s grave,” I squeaked.
“How did you make it all the way there?!”  she demanded fearfully.
“I don’t know!  I just….”I sobbed.
Twigs and branches cracked behind me and I felt another wave of nausea wash over me.  I smelled a foul odor and I saw the trees wiggling as if something or someone was advancing.
“There’s somebody here…” I whispered.
“I’m coming!  Don’t worry.  I’m running out the door right now, okay?  Just hang tight, love.”  I could hear a thrashing around and I knew Ruby was grabbing her purse and keys and fumbling out the door.
I heard a low growl, then I saw a pair of yellow eyes, and the pungent odor became stronger, nauseatingly so.  “Ruby, hurry!”
I backed up towards my mother’s grave, accidentally crushing the violets beneath my bare, bloody feet.  What had I done?  Had I crawled here?  My hands and feet were gashed open and gushing blood.  I was covered in mud and leaves, head to toe.  I began to cry harder from confusion and fear.  What kind of person sleep walks miles in the middle of the night and awakens to find themselves bloody and dirty in front of their own mother’s grave?  I waited for Ruby as I watched the yellow eyes watching me.  Seconds passed by with my heart thumping so loudly I felt it was audible as it resounded in my own ears.
“Ruby!  Hurry!”
“I’m driving like ninety sweetie, just relax!!”
“I’m serious, there’s something here and it’s watching me-“
The next sentence died in my throat before I could even utter it.  The yellow eyes shifted and were somehow much higher in the trees, as if whatever was watching me was initially crouched down and was now fully standing up.  The sound of tires squealing alerted me to Ruby’s Ford Ranger pulling up.
“How did you get here so quickly?” I mumbled.
“Zias!”  she screamed into the forest as she jumped out of the truck.  I looked at her, eyes wide.  She stomped forward angrily.  “Zias!  Dammit!  You’re scaring her half to death!  Get out here now!”
Ruby then whirled around to face me.

“Happy 18th, sweets!  You’re now worthy of some to die for secrets….”

Other Books In The Occulti Series

LINKS

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Occuli series website

Author Website

Thank you, Christie, for sharing with my readers here on our blog today, it was such a pleasure to have you! Best wishes for you and your wonderful series and hopefully, many more books to come.  -Carol & Tom 

Blog Tour: John Priest, Author of The Curse of the Sea Shell Cave

Author Pic

I’ve been a children’s author since 1985, with books traditionally and independently published.

I am one of seven children (three girls, four boys) and live with my wife and family in the West Midlands, UK (two daughters, their hubbies and three great grandkids).

I have written many different types of books and scripts over the years and besides children’s books I have written adult horror, sci-fi and comedy thriller scripts.

I was invited to Pinewood Studios, UK, in the late 1980’s after a Director had read my script and thought it showed great promise.  He sent it to the USA for another reading but unfortunately nothing ever came of it. I keep meaning to change the script into book form but other new ideas always take over.

Book Cover

My latest children’s book is The Curse of Sea Shell Cave, a detective/whodunit for children.  Inside you will find the Jay-Pea-Eyes aka Junior Private Investigators searching for clues to solve another mystery.  It’s the second book in the JPIs series and is available in paperback and various e-book formats.

 

http://www.feedaread.com/books/The-Curse-of-Sea-Shell-Cave-9781784075163.aspx

Apple iBookstore:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-curse-of-sea-shell-cave/id838581712?mt=11

Barnes & Noble NOOK book: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-curse-of-sea-shell-cave-john-priest/1118904669?ean=294004575530

 http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Curse-Shell-Cave-Investigators-ebook/dp/B00JVM27IG

 http://www.amazon.com/The-Curse-Sea-Shell-Cave/dp/1784075167

 https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/417609

 http://www.general-ebooks.com/book/73020780-the-curse-of-sea-shell-cave

 http://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/childrens/the-curse-of-sea-shell-cave,priest-john-9781784075163

 

John Priest is always pleased to hear from readers. Simply use the contact form at: http://www.johnpriest.co.uk

 

Spotlight Author Blog Tour with Bill Ward, Author of ENCRYPTION

Am I an Author or a marketing consultant?

Author Photo

I now have two books published and am beginning to feel comfortable calling myself an author. Then again, am I truly an Author or have I become a marketing consultant? I have spent at least as much time marketing as writing over the last 8 months. I have discovered it is an unavoidable necessity if I am to sell books!

Although I knew it wouldn’t be easy to sell my books, I have to admit I thought it would be a bit easier than the reality. And I am a very experienced sales and marketing man. It must be very tough for those new authors who don’t have a similar background. So be prepared for a great deal of hard work once you have finished writing your book. Believe in your book and don’t think negatively about the need to market your book. The reward of selling books and reading positive reviews is just the best feeling in the world!

I have heard a few writers say they can write but don’t have a clue about selling. I recall a joke I heard a long time ago which I can fit to the situation: Writer: I can write but I can’t sell anything. Writer’s wife: Hell you convinced me to marry you, so you can definitely sell!

Marketing is not trying to get someone to buy something they don’t need or want! However, it is making potential customers aware our book exists and why it’s a great read.

Most of us don’t have a large budget for promoting our new book. Fortunately, there are a large number of free sites such as Rave Reviews Book Club, Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads where we can grow awareness of our book. Remember though, you have to contribute something if you want to receive something back! Don’t expect to sign up with details of your book and then just sit back and wait for the sales. Contribute to discussions and help promote other authors. As you become better known, so will your books.

Author Bio

Bill has recently retired from the corporate world and has finally fulfilled his lifelong ambition to become an author. He has written two thrillers, Revenge and Encryption, with the expectation of many more to follow. Bill lives in Brighton, UK with his German partner and has seven daughters, a son, two horses, a dog and two cats!

Encryption can be purchased at most online retailers including:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bill-Ward/e/B00F154DZ2/re

http://www.amazon.com/Bill-Ward/e/B00F154DZ2/re 

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/encryption-bill-ward/1118739503?ean=9781496053404 Encryption_AMAZON   Encryption Synopsis

In a small software engineering company in England, a game changing algorithm for encrypting data has been invented, which will have far reaching consequences for the fight against terrorism. The Security Services of the UK, USA and China all want to control the new software.

The Financial Director has been murdered and his widow turns to her brother-in-law to help discover the truth. But he soon finds himself framed for his brother’s murder. When the full force of government is brought to bear on one family, they seem to face impossible odds. Is it an abuse of power or does the end justify the means? Only one man can find the answers but he is being hunted by the same people he once called friends and colleagues.

Guest Post: A Forest Path, a Living Throne and a Magic Fairy Stone

A Forest Path, a Living Throne and a Magic Fairy Stone

by Susan Waterwyk

 March 30 2014 032

Our little acre in the Sierra Nevada is called Dragonwood for the twisted serpentine manzanita trees that live in the shadows of towering ponderosa pines and other evergreens. From my bedroom window I can see a path into the forest…a magic path.

The magic begins each morning when I open up the drapes. The morning sun sends glory-rays that penetrate the shadows and light the path to tempt me to walk into woods. Every path into the forest is a path to magic, for every forest is a kingdom of shadows, cool, silent, sheltering life.

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The deer that visit me each day are the ones that made the path. Soon the mother doe will be followed by the spotted fawns, and every Spring, one or two mothers will find shelter in my woods and birth their babies here. To see a newborn fawn take its first steps in life is magic indeed.

mama deer 005

Walking down the shaded path, I soon reach my little brook, dry now and waiting for the rain to return so it can flow again. Across a two-plank redwood bridge and up the other bank is a magic place —the Throne of the Goddess.

I named the twisted manzanita, the Throne of the Goddess, because the first time I sat on it, seventeen years ago, I felt like a goddess watching all the life around me, the butterflies and bees visiting the tiny pink bell-shaped flowers of the manzanita, and listening to the ever-present bluejays and the tap-tap-tap of the woodpecker.

March 29 2014 004

I told Hubby I wanted stones steps leading up to the throne with white crystal quartz on either side of the stairs. I had planned to sit here often and think divine thoughts and create beauty in the Universe. That’s what a goddess does, right?

“Stone steps, lined with quartz, I can do that,” he said. “Is there anything else Your Divinity requests?”

“Yes, I want a pool to reflect the moon so I can invite the fairies to dance.”

“A small pond, I can do that,” he nodded thoughtfully, “but it’ll only be seasonal with the rains….”

“And I want a mighty waterfall to plunge into the moonlit pool.”

“A mighty waterfall?” his voice full of doubt.

“Yes… at least eight hundred and fifty millimeters high.”

He did the math. “Okay, I can do that.”

That was seventeen years ago. Working on the weekends, a little at a time, everything came to pass. We even placed standing-stones next to the throne and a small stone bench next to the pond. When my granddaughters were born, I held them in my arms while I sat on the throne and told them a fairy tale or two When they grew older they sat on the throne and created their own stories of princesses, castles, dragons and fairies.

blog pic, Waterwyk

The years pass quickly…. Time took its toll on me. These old bones don’t walk the path as often as before. It takes more effort to climb the steps and sit upon the throne, but I feel blessed to have experienced so many magic moments here at Dragonwood.

I’ve sat beside the little pond at night and seen falling stars reflected in the water. I’ve listened to the soul-soothing music of my little waterfall.  Magic mushrooms and fairy rings have appeared over the years. Last Easter, the fairies gave me mushrooms shaped like little brown cups. My husband said maybe they were offering cups of love and hope. We needed it then, and we need it even more now. This may be our last Spring at Dragonwood.

Easter 012

The full moon just before the Spring Equinox was perfect for the fairies to come visit. We decided to walk the path and look for mushroom fairy rings and to take some pictures for this blog.  Alas, not one mushroom was found.

“When it was wet it was too cold. Now it’s warm but too dry,” he said.

“I’m still wishing for a fairy ring.  This time we’ll take some pictures.”

“If we get more rain… if the fairies show up… if they decide to give you a fairy ring and not something else like the cups last year.”

“Don’t be so pessimistic! They always show up.”

“Maybe they’ve already been here.” He pointed to the ground near the standing stones.

“A lichen covered rock, pretty.”

“Not the big one! The smaller one.” He picked it up and gave it to me.

March 30 2014 016

It looked like it had been hand painted with lichen!! I promise with all my heart that we did nothing to enhance the features. We picked up the stone and just took the picture. The smiling face was a gift of love. Then, in the lower center, I noticed an image that looks like a side view of a butterfly. I told Hubby that is the gift of hope! He said the image on the lower left looked like a symbol for our home, a tree on a hill with distant snowy mountains above it.

“Maybe the fairies are telling us to not give up yet. Maybe we will be able to keep Dragonwood,” he said.

March 29 2014 007

“Where there is love, there is always hope.”

Blessings of life,

Susan Waterwyk

P.S. My magic path into the woods inspired me to paint pictures, write poems, and eventually led to writing books. Here is my favorite poem and painting.

photo (6)

 Twilight Magic

 Along a winding shaded path

As twilight deepens into night

The trees begin their evening song

And from the branches fairies come

To guide me with their glowing light.

Now strolling down this magic path,

Where flowers only bloom at night,

I watch the fairies tender care

Of blossoms in the pale moonlight.

A flicker here…a glimmer there

Of wings a-flutter on the air.

From hollow trunk and mushroom top,

The fairy folk observe my walk,

And as I pass beyond the wood

Into a glade, I hear

The music of the pipes and flute

Come drifting to my ears….

 

The multi-talented Susan is also the author or two wonderful fantasy/sci-fi books, Lantamyra and A Tale of Two Worlds. She is currently writing the third and final book of this magical trilogy.

Large Lantamyra cover

Blurb for Lantamyra

For the chance to journey to another world, Tylya Lansing is willing to give up everything on Earth, including her lover, Josh Hamilton. All she has to do is find her grandmother’s crystal scepter, lost for decades in a rugged Sierra Nevada canyon. Since she was a child, she has heard stories of Lantamyra, a world where magic is created with myra crystals, where mind expansion is granted crystal powers, where keepers and wards respect and protect life. Once the scepter is found, she journeys to this earth-like world that is recovering from an ice age. Areas of the planet have been terra-formed by the mysterious Keepers of Akosh to provide sanctuary for the endangered species of two other worlds—humans from Earth and dragons from Lanluong. She learns that Earth is about to experience catastrophic changes from earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, and Lantamyra may provide the only hope for humankind to survive. Tylya is determined to learn the ancient Akoshic Secrets of the Ways, a mind-expanding process necessary to control the power of myra crystals and to become a keeper of dragons.

Excerpt from Chapter Five: Annoyed that her warning was shrugged off so easily, the queen brought her head close to Tylya. “You will pay for your training with your labor, but you will pay a higher price to become a keeper. It will change you in ways you cannot imagine…”

Lantamyra is an intriguing story with plenty of drama, humor and memorable characters and exciting scenes. Written for mature adults more than young adults, Lantamyra is not formula fantasy, no stereotypical evil villains.

Excerpt from Chapter Eight—Nightkeeper Kyra Starszyn: “This night belongs to lovers and dreamers, a night when threads of love are woven into a tapestry of fantasy, a night to magically transform in the character you wish to play.”

My Review for Lantamyra

Fall in Love with Lantamyra; I Did

 

Lantamyra is uniquely different from most other fantasy worlds. It is not break-neck action or violence racing you and your heart through every page. It is, rather,  a page-turner of discovery and delight. The author, Susan Waterwyk, masterfully crafted the magical and at times whimsical world, to enchant, captivate and fill your senses with a place alluringly different, peopled with characters and creatures so fascinating that you can’t help falling in love…with Lantamyra.

From the moment Josh Hamilton, Tylya Lansing’s long-time love, finds her grandmother’s crystal scepter you are catapulted into a world where dragons rule and humans serve. But there is neither tyranny nor coercion involved in the relationship, which is almost a symbioses of harmony in which they live and work to achieve their common goals and the welfare of all.

Lantamyra is full of great wonders like the crystal star-ships and the vast myra crystals that are so powerful they are not only energy for the ships but give the keepers and the dragons their magical abilities. You’ll even meet the Keepers of Akosh, ancient magical beings and the founders of Lantamyra who have  the ability to open doorways into the crystal realm. It was they who originally discovered the amazing giant myra crystals on Lantamyra which are capable of powering vast star-ships to search for more “living worlds”.

Many other marvels will captivate and astound you during your visit to this incredible world, such as the wee fairy folk (not too bright, but definitely beguiling), the mants (rather frightening and venomous beasties), and the scarp (a seafood delight of monstrous magnitude) and much, much more.

So what are you waiting for? Open a portal and send for a dragon to carry you away to Lantamyra today. But be warned: you may not want to leave.

 

 

 

A Tale of Two Worlds, Amazon Imae

Blurb for A Tale of Two Worlds

“The Earth, once asleep, has awakened, from deep in her belly come cries; her mountains and valleys are shaken and seas rise up to the skies.”

The ancient Keepers of Akosh can do nothing to prevent the catastrophes. They have known since the sinking of Atlantis that the living world of Earth would awaken. Volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and tsunamis threaten the people of the Earth so the Keepers spent thousands of years terraforming the primitive world of Lantamyra to serve as a sanctuary for the refugees from Earth. Now the Gathering begins.

The dragons that rule the three Great Houses of Lantamyra need the giant myra crystals from Atlantis to strengthen the large array in the House of Gaia Jade to be able to return to their homeworld, Lanluong. The Keepers of Akosh authorize a mission to Earth to locate and retrieve the crystals before the earthquakes bury them deeper in the abysmal depths of the Atlantic Ocean.

Recently arrived from Earth, Tylya Lansing has been trained in the Secrets of the Ways and knows how to use the powerful myra crystals. She is now a keeper of dragons in the House of Gaia Jade, and her first-hand knowledge of modern Earth makes her the best candidate to command the mission to find and retrieve the lost crystals of Atlantis.

Tylya’s lover, Josh Hamilton is also from Earth and trained in the Ways but chose not to serve the dragons. He is a crystalseeker working in the mine at Queen’s Heart located near an active volcano. The job is extremely dangerous since long exposure to myra crystals causes crystal sickness, and worst of all, ghosts of seekers are hungry for living energy and they wait in the myra crystals to feed on him.

My Review of A Tale Of Two Worlds

I was enthralled from the very opening paragraph of a Tale of Two Worlds by Susan Waterwyk. This author artfully weaves together just the right balance of descriptive prose and dialogue. She creates a world so vivid and tangible the reader soon feels like a participant in the tale, rather than a mere observer.

A Tale of Two Worlds is the second book of Waterwyk’s planned trilogy about the fantastic world of Lantamyra where dragons rule fairly and justly over the humans that share that world with them. But, Lantamyra’s history is tied to two other “living worlds”, the dragon homeworld, Lanluong, and the human’s homeworld, Earth.

Long ago when the Keepers of Akosh learned to travel between the stars in their fantastic spaceships powered by giant myra crystals, they searched far and wide for other “living worlds” like their own.  In time they found a number of these “living worlds” and used their great myra crystals to open portals to travel between them. Unwittingly, the keepers upset the balance of the dragon homeworld causing great upheavals which threatened the very existence of the dragons by the constant use of the portals.

As soon as the Keepers of Akosh realized what they had done they set about rescuing as many of the dragons as they could, relocating them to the safety of Lantamyra where the dragons ruled and lived in peace with the Keepers of Akosh and humans who had come there from Earth to serve dragonkind.

But the dragons longed for the day they might return to their own world of Lanluong and the Keepers felt honor bound to fulfill the dragon’s wish as soon as it was feasible. First however, they had to recover some of the giant myra crystals from the ancient site of Atlantis where the crystals had been submerged under the sea since the isle’s untimely demise.

Once the myra crystals were recovered there was one problem. There would be repercussions for using the crystals on such a massive scale again, only this time it would be planet Earth that would undergo horrendous upheavals that could entirely wipe out the human population. So the Keepers of Akosh had trained a number of chosen humans to aid in the “gathering” of a select number of the human race in order to prevent their extinction from the coming disaster and transport them to Lantamyra where they would be safe. In A Tale of Two Worlds this destined time is at hand.

A Tale of Two Worlds is a highly imaginative and enchanting tale surely destined to become a classic that the reader will remember long after the final page. It is time for “the gathering”. Read A Tale of Two Worlds and hope you won’t be left behind.