Monday, June 26, 2017


Guest Post from Thaddeus Nowak

The last men Stephenie trusts disappear, leaving her unprotected and vulnerable. She knows who abducted her guards, but there is little she can do against her mother, the Queen. With both her father and brother far away fighting the Senzar invaders, her only hope to warn them about her Mother's schemes is to escape Antar Castle and make her way to the front. However, her mother would never risk allowing anything fatal to happen to her. Tradition holds that should Stephenie die, the curse of witchcraft that possesses her will rebound against her mother and her mother could not bear to live under the curse her sins drew upon her own daughter.

My name is Thaddeus Nowak, but everyone who knows me calls me Ted. I have had a lifelong love of fantasy and the /Heirs of Cothel Series/ is a story I wanted to tell for many years. The character of Stephenie resonated with me the moment I realized who she was: a strong, independent woman determined to do what she knows needs to be done to protect those she loves and considers her family.

The /Heirs of Cothel Series/ follows Stephenie as she learns the truth about herself and magic. Accompanied by a close band of friends and confidants she meets and learns to trust, she sets off on several missions to rescue and help those she loves and feels an obligation to protect. Her journeys allow her to grow and mature into a leader worthy of respect and admiration.

The five book series, including /Mother's Curse/, /Daughter's Justice/, /Daughter's Revenge/, /Daughter's Search/, and /Father's Legacy/, came to life as a result of a writing exercise. It was born from a random scene about random people that featured a young woman alone in the world. Destitute and starving, she begged for a meal at a public house in a small community. While eating, a fight broke out and this young woman used magic to defend someone else. The whole town immediately turned on her, including the woman she tried to help, and she had to flee for her life. That single scene drew me in and I had to know just who Stephenie was and how she came to be hunted and hated. The result was Stephenie's story.

Much of who Stephenie is undoubtedly has roots in my early childhood. I grew up in a small community in which my family had the only boys. Raised by the neighborhood girls, I have always gravitated to stories featuring strong female leads. And to me, a strong person is someone who makes a decision and draws others to follow them. They do not have to stoically go off and save the world on their own, but instead, through their actions, inspire those around them.

Another interesting aspect of the world I created is the magic system. With my background in chemistry, math, and computers, I wanted a magic system based more on physics than anything else. Of course, very few of those living in the world understand how magic works, resulting in the belief in spells and enchantments. This ignorance and belief in superstition emerged as a result of long ago wars that led to what became the Dark Ages in my world. As time passed, people unschooled in magic began associating chants, physical movement, and certain object with effects that coincidentally manipulated the world around them. As a result, people started to focus more on the "spell" and less on the underlying realities of magic. For example, the title /Mother's Curse/ comes from the tradition that a mother who commits a sin against the gods will have a child born a witch, so Stephenie is, in fact, her Mother's curse. However, the actual mechanics of magic is simply the manipulation of energy fields with one's mind.

The world Stephenie lives in is vast with a wide expanse to explore. In the series, she travels across many kingdoms and lands. For my own sanity, as well as hers, I built a number of maps that show her journey as well as give hints to other stories destined to exist in this world. My latest project is creating old-world style maps that Stephenie would have used or have had access to in her Father's library. Like myself, one of her biggest weaknesses are libraries full of books and maps. My hope is that you will also find pleasure in exploring the world Stephenie lives in and join her on her journeys.

Pick up all of Thaddeus's books HERE!

Synopsis of Mother's Curse

Sword Woman, Princess, ... Cursed Witch

Tradition holds that a mother who commits a mortal sin against the gods will be cursed with a daughter born a witch. Stephenie, the youngest princess of Cothel is just such a curse.

Hostage to her mother's will while her father and older brother fight a war two countries away, Stephenie must overcome her mother's plots if she is to save her father, brother, and the many soldiers she trained with.

Fearful of her mother's growing traitorous behavior, Stephenie must escape Antar Castle. But to do so, she might have to rely upon her hidden powers, risking others discovering she is a witch...a risk that would most certainly result in her death by burning.

With the help of a select group of soldiers and an unexpected ally, she just might survive.


Synopsis of Daughter's Justice

Revealed to be a witch, will she survive?

The faithful followers of Felis and the other gods are demanding that Stephenie burn to prevent the spread of the demon god’s evil. However, another voice is rising up, declaring that she has already been cleansed of Elrin’s influence and that she is chosen by the gods; it is a claim Stephenie detests.

To make matters worse, her brother, who by rights of succession is now King, lacks the funds to pay his soldiers and keep control of Cothel. Their mother, having fled to Kynto with the treasury and war supplies, has some of the dukes and many of the barons demanding more control of the country in exchange for their support.

Can Stephenie avoid the fires of the followers of Felis and the people she once called friend or will their claims of righteous anger overwhelm her support?

Even if she avoids burning alive, will her presence simply be the catalyst that plunges Cothel into a civil war?

   Synopsis of Daughter's Revenge

Defeater of the Senzar, Protector of Cothel, Prophet of Catheri … but truly still only a witch

Stephenie, the youngest daughter of the late King of Cothel, overcame her mother’s treachery and escaped Antar Castle to stumble upon a lost city deep under Cothel’s capital. After awakening a ghost, she learned the truth about magic and the lies the priests have repeated for centuries.

With the help of a handful of soldiers, she rescued her brother and routed the Senzar invaders, crushing their army under an avalanche of rock when she unknowingly triggered an explosion in the Grey Mountains.

Consumed in an inferno from the explosion of magical energy, Stephenie defied all expectations and lived. Through the support of her trusted friends, many people were convinced she was the prophet of a long lost god who argued for justice. Declared cleansed of Elrin’s evil, she avoided the fires of a witch burning and slipped out of the country to steal back the treasury her had mother stolen from Cothel, thereby, securing her older brother’s place on the throne.

However, her mother has not forgotten the curse she believes herself under. Tradition dictates that a child born a witch is a punishment for sins the mother committed against the gods. Fearing the curse rebounding upon herself if Stephenie were to die, Stephenie’s mother will stop at nothing to protect herself from the demon god’s evil, including sacrificing Stephenie and eating her heart.

After a team of holy warriors capture William, Stephenie will let no one, not even her brother, stand in her way of protecting those she cares about. But this time, her mother has done something unexpected and that will once again change the course of Stephenie’s life.

   Synopsis of Daughter's Search

They say one can never go home — and that seems true for Stephenie

While Princess Stephenie has returned to Antar, the warm and loving welcome she hoped for has died before she even reached the castle. Speculation and fear surround her. Accusations of crimes she never committed fill the air. A series of grisly murders plague the city. And worse, her brother distrusts her actions and fears people might support her over him.

Despite trying to navigate through the politically charged environment, Stephenie cannot turn away from what she feels compelled to do, for the murderers are using her presence and assumed guilt as a pretense for the killings and she knows these murderers are using magic.

Stephenie, with the help of her friends, must quietly stop those responsible before a backlash of fear and anger sweep over the fledgling church of Catheri. If she cannot, demands to resume witch burnings will surely return. However, if the killers are actually Senzar mages, as Stephenie fears, they may exceed her ability to stop them.

Despite the maelstrom swirling around her, all Stephenie wants is to restore Kas' body and live a quiet life with her friends. Hints and clues indicate that a secret ruling class of Senzar mages may have the knowledge she needs, but she cannot seek help from those who have tried to kill her. Instead, she wants to pursue a deeply buried family secret for the knowledge. However, should she risk pursuing the connection when everyone close to her fears it?

   Synopsis of Father's Legacy

Driven to the ends of the world...

Princess Stephenie's pursuit of the murders that threatened the city of Antar took her across numerous countries and has left her with more questions than answers. Her personal quest to protect her family and closest friends exposed deeper connections to her past as well as links to the Senzar mages that invaded her country.

To gain answers to the questions, avoid the Senzar witch chasing her, and stop the man who appears to have set things in motion, she must travel north along the World's Backbone in search of a country that reportedly shut its borders twenty years earlier. For in that ice-covered country of Ista, she hopes to find the man who might be the reason her magic is so much stronger than anyone else's. The question is, can she, or any of those with her, survive what she hopes to find? And even if they do, will she ever find a way to recreate a body for Kas?

About the Author 
Thaddeus has always been interested in fantasy and science fiction. Early on, when just starting high school, his avid reading grew into a desire to write. A desire which has turned into a life long pursuit.

When not reading or writing, he enjoys hiking in the mountains, landscape photography, and spending time with an overly intelligent, but wonderful horse.

He has degrees in Chemistry, Computer Information Systems, and Business Management and has held a handful of jobs: some in retail, some in healthcare, but primarily in the technology fields.

Thaddeus currently lives in Kansas with his wife and horse, but wishes there were more mountains visible on the horizon.

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Friday, June 23, 2017

THE NIGHTMARE BIRDS: Magical Adventure from Amie Irene Winters, Plus Exclusive Chapter

Title: The Nightmare Birds
Series: Strange Luck #2
Author: Amie Irene Winters
Release: Available Now! 


Only those who possess wild eyes, an impulsive heart, and a wandering spirit hunt for the Theater of Secrets - and once they witness the darkest of magic, they don't return.

It promises to change your life forever—but is the mysterious Theater of Secrets legend or something more? Tasked to answer that very question, Daisy Darling sets out to uncover the truth and is thrown headlong into a life where inexplicably strange and dark things happen nightly. A life of deception and uncertainty. A life in the spotlight as the theater’s ringleader.

As Daisy assumes her new role, she not only discovers a surprising connection between herself and the previous ringleader, but also the haunting truth behind the theater’s limitless power. Determined to expose the theater and foil its wicked plan, Daisy must first embrace her heritage before she can defeat the dark forces at play.

Special Excerpt from Chapter One of 
The Nightmare Birds!

A cool breeze caught the door, sending it crashing into the cluster of rusty bells. The scent of taxidermy and stale air flooded my nostrils, a scent I had come to accept after spending hundreds of dollars on deodorizers and expensive scented candles to no avail. I wondered what the customer behind me must’ve thought. “Give me just two minutes to open up and I’ll look at your things. In the meantime, feel free to set them on the counter up front.” The woman hardly seemed to listen as she gaped at the shelves brimming with oddities. The cockatiel on her shoulder sidled across her neck and gave a mighty squawk when it reached the other side. First-timers always got lost in the front, even though the rare and obscure items lived near the register. After carefully examining a collection of vintage magnifying glasses said to reveal one’s true IQ if held up to their head on their birthday, she sauntered over to an alcove of alchemical books full of love and beauty spells before heading to the front. The woman briefly studied the medical tools, haunted pirate gold, cursed broaches, and the unsolvable puzzle box beneath the glass before setting her box of oddities so gently upon the counter you would’ve thought it was a newborn baby. Flicking on the rest of the lights, I rushed to the back room to retrieve the enormous ledger. 

“Mighty unusual job you have here,” she called. “Especially at your age.” 

“Yeah, I get that a lot. Most twenty-one-year-olds don’t work at an antique shop, let alone own one.”

“So I read.” 

I lumbered towards her. “Okay,” I huffed, placing the heavy ledger on the counter. “I’m ready.” 

“Knock yourself out. I think you’ll be pleased.”

Rubbing my palms together—something my father used to do before getting his hands on a new item when the shop was his—I peeled back the tape on the box and pulled an old record off the top of a stack of bubblewrapped items. The worn label read: Animalis Transmutatio “It means Animal’s Transformation.” 

Like the story so far? Read the full chapter for free right HERE!

About the Author

Amie Irene Winters is the bestselling author of the Strange Luck series. She holds a Masters in Environmental Leadership and works in public humanities. The award-winning author is originally from California, but currently resides in a small town in western Pennsylvania.

When not writing, she can be found hiking with her dog, baking desserts, or breaking a sweat in kickboxing class.

Connect with Aime on her website or Twitter

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Monday, June 19, 2017



When Jillian moved next door, she refused to get out of the car. I climbed into the backseat beside her and promised to never leave her.

Now, I'm driving her a thousand miles away, so she can leave me.

She has to go. What else would she do? Follow me and my band from one cheap bar to another, get hit on by sleazy promoters? Because Jillian would definitely get hit on. She's the most gorgeous, talented girl I've ever known, and she doesn't even see it.

This scholarship gives Jillian the chance to study at the best design school in the country. It's what she's always wanted. I won't stand in the way of her dreams, no matter how much it hurts to watch her go. I just wish she wasn't leaving without knowing the truth . . .


There's a drawer I never open. It holds a picture I never look at. It reminds me of a day I hate to remember, but I'll never forget.

I'd give anything to be like the other girls on campus. Going to parties, flirting with boys, planning for a future. But that's not me. And hasn't been since the day my parents died. The only thing that got me through was Griffin. Even though I didn't have my family, I always had him. Only, now I'm not so sure I do.

It's not just the eleven hundred miles separating us now that I'm at college. Or his band finally taking off, and all the gigs and girls suddenly demanding his time. It's as if everything is different-the way we talk, the way we text . . . the way he looks at me and the way those looks make me feel.

Griffin has been the only good thing in my life since that horrific day. But I can feel our friendship slipping away-and I'm terrified of what will be left in its place . . .


It's funny how a piece of paper can change your life-a diploma, a ticket . . . a plain, white envelope 

For as long as I could remember, I was the girl with the plan. Good college, good medical school, good career. I would save lives instead of standing by helplessly, watching while they slipped away.

That was before my father called for the first time in fifteen years to tell me about the terminal illness stealing his life-an illness that might be stealing mine, too. It was before he gave me the name of a doctor and a plane ticket to Italy. Before I flew across an ocean. Before I realized how brilliantly bright life could be. Before I met Lucas.

He's everything I've always wanted, and the timing couldn't be worse. I can't do this to him-he deserves so much better. My head tells me I can't afford to fall in love with Lucas, but my heart won't listen. Lucas is fearless about the future, while I'm not even sure I have one. There's only one way to know what's ahead and it's waiting for me at home inside a plain, white envelope.

All I have to do, is open it . . .


I thought I'd live in silence forever . . . and then I met him.

I'll never be able to hear, but music has always been a source of comfort for me. Rather than listen to the rhythm, I can actually feel the beat pulsing through me. It's pure bliss. So the moment I saw Thorin playing his guitar, I was mesmerized. I'd never seen anything more beautiful . . . or intimate. I couldn't tell where his body ended and the song began. He's everything I need in my life . . . I'm falling fast, hard, and deep.

I want him more than anything. But while I live in silence, Thor lives in secrets. He's holding something back-something that's keeping this intensity, this longing from being real. And the silence may be too loud to bear . . .


Sometimes getting lost is the only way to find your way home . . .

I'm grateful for many things-my work, my apartment, my amazing friends. But after that night years ago, I'm left with an aching weight I can't escape. And it's keeping me from living and loving the way I desperately want. So when a ruggedly handsome cop pulls me over, I'm shocked by what just the sight of him does to me-stirring up feelings I didn't think were possible again.

Cayden Sinclair is undoubtedly one of the good guys. A former Marine who's so sexy I can't seem to keep my hands to myself. But there are things I'm not ready to share, things that could change everything between us. Cayden deserves to have the life he's always wanted-which means walking away from him. But I don't know if I'll ever find the strength to let him go . . .


Marie Meyer was a language arts teacher for sixteen years. She spends her days in the classroom and her nights writing heartfelt new adult romances that will leave readers clamoring for more. She is a member of RWA and the St. Louis Writers Guild. Marie's short fiction won honorable mentions from the St. Louis Writers Guild in 2010 and 2011. She is a proud mommy and enjoys helping her oldest daughter train for the Special Olympics, making up silly stories with her youngest daughter, and bingeing on weeks of DVR'd television shows with her husband. Marie is represented by Louise Fury of the Bent Agency.

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Monday, June 12, 2017


A Starr gone. A team betrayed.
Starr Gone
Kim Briggs
Series: Starr Fall Book 3
Genre:†Young Adult Contemporary, YA Romance, YA Thriller
Publisher: Inkspell Publishing
Publication Date: June 3, 2017
A Starr gone. A team betrayed.
You never know who your true friends are until a gun is pointed at you. One will take a bullet, and the other will pull the trigger. Starr learned that lesson the hard way.
The perfect smile. A killer attitude. General Treadwell wanted nothing more than to turn Starr Bishop into the ideal assassin, but she is far more valuable as Jessica Chamberlain, granddaughter and heir to Chamberlain Chocolates. Luckily, he is found two enthusiastic replacements. They lack Starr's intelligence, but no matter, they possess their own weapons of persuasion along with a flair for the dramatic, and that is never a bad thing.
Di, along with Christian, Frank, Ben and Coda, are determined to keep Starr safe, but the depths of betrayal crack the very foundation of the team. When Starr becomes a pawn in a game of power, money, and manipulation, Di channels her WWSD (What Would Starr Do) to rally the team. She owes her best friend that much. No... More.
"I love this book so much and this series just won't stop getting better and better!"
- Meggan Turner, Goodreads Reviewer

Purchase Links

Starr Gone Teaser

Other Books by Kim Briggs

Don't miss the first two books in the Starr Fall series:
Starr Fall
Series: Starr Fall Book 1
When the Organization decides Starr would make the ideal assassin, she needs to escape the island and disappear. While in hiding she meets dark, moody, and dead sexy Christian Evergood. Christian makes Starr forget that the Organization is after her, but their lives are more entwined than either one realizes.
One Starr falls, and a killer rises!
Buy†Links: Amazon | Kobo | Barnes & Noble
Related LinksStarr Fall Tour Graphic
Starr Lost
Series: Starr Fall Book 2
A Starr falls, and a family is found.
On the run from the Organization, Starr and Christian find safety on the Qualla Boundary with their friends, Ben and Coda, but Starr needs answers. She owes her dear dead friends, Sami and Jody, that much. She forms a team of her own to fight the general and his recruits.
Life becomes tense on the Qualla Boundary, sparks fly, and the Organization is about to smash in their door.
Buy†Links: Amazon | Kobo | Barnes & Noble
"Amazing, Amazing Must Read. Had me edging from my seat, wide eyed with what's going to happen with each turn of the page."
- Amazon Customer, Amazon reviewer


Starr Gone Giveaway Graphic
Be the lucky winner:
$10 Amazon Gift Card, Starr Gone Paperback and Swag
Contest runs from June 6 - 19, 2017.

About†Kim Briggs

Kim Briggs
Kim Briggs once smashed into a tree while skiing. The accident led to a concussion, a cracked sternum, temporary notoriety as a sixth grader returned from the dead, and the realization that fictionalized accounts are way more interesting than just slipping on the ice.
An unhealthy obsession with conspiracy theories combined with a love of travel and happily ever afters led Kim to write her YA novel, Starr Fall, where a secret organization decides 17-year-old Starr Bishop is not only the model student, but the ideal assassin. While in hiding, Starr meets dark, moody, and dead sexy Christian Evergood. Cue the swoon worthy music. But it is not all happily ever afters for Kim. Her NA novel, And Then He, explores the dark and scary corners of the human psyche. Following a night of innocent flirting with a handsome stranger, Tiffani finds herself in the midst of a nightmare she can't escape. And Then He is available through Amazon and other major book retailers. Starr Fall released November 2016 with Inkspell Publishing, followed by Starr Lost in January 2017 and Starr Gone in June 2017. Her novella, Avalanche is part of the Valentine Kisses Anthology and released February 14, 2017.
When she is not doing something writerly, Kim can be found jumping into snowdrifts with her three kids, husband, and dog. She is careful to avoid trees.
Visit her website and sign up for updates:
She shares writing love with her INK Sister Alison Green Myers at INK Sisters Write
Connect with her†on these social media sites: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Tumblr

Book Tour Schedule

Follow the book tour from June 6 - 19, 2017.
Discover more features, excerpts, reviews, interviews, fun facts and other extras on the tour.
To check the latest tour schedule, visit the Starr Gone Book Page at Book Unleashed.
Starr Gone Tour Graphic

In partnership with
Book Unleashed Logo

by Kim Briggs

1.    Please tell us about something about yourself.

Honestly, I don’t like to talk about myself. I’m more of a take charge, “let’s do this” kind of girl, but I’m not bossy. I’m not comfortable with small talk. It makes me anxious to sit around and chitchat at parties. I’d much rather be the person handing out punch and delivering slices of cake. Speaking of desserts, have you tried s’mores? They are to die for. I would kill for one right now. (Don’t tell Treadwell. I’d hate for him to get any ideas.)

2.    How did you handle the way your life changed? One moment, you're the perfect student, then suddenly you have unknown enemies?

In the beginning, I didn’t handle it very well. I sat around, curled up in a ball at the halfway house for three days. Then it hit me. I was done feeling sorry for myself. I was Starr Bishop and I was going to get revenge for my friends’ deaths. I dressed like a Goth and went to Club Black. That’s where I met Christian. Well, that’s where he saved me. My life was working out, my friends became my team, my family, and now, well, I’m not sure of anything anymore.

As for the enemies, I had no idea I had so many until the youth group dance. Reality hit me hard that night. Then Frank took a bullet for me. My life is in shambles.

3.    Was there ever a time when you felt helpless at the way your life has turned out? What did you do? Who was there to help you?

I’m feeling pretty helpless right now. There’s a lot of things that happen in Starr Gone. A lot of things. I can’t even mention them to you without spoiling the events, but you know what I realized? I’ve got myself, and in the end, that’s all I need. I can either be a china doll kept high up on a shelf, too fragile to touch or I can manipulate my situation and kick some ass. I’m leaning toward ass kicking.

4.    Among your friends, to whom would you entrust your very life? Why?

Frank and Di without a doubt. Frank took a bullet for me. He’d do it again if I asked him. Just to be clear, I would never ask a friend to put their life on the line to protect mine. The risks I take and the actions that follow—I accept all responsibility for the consequences.

Di would do anything for me. We grew apart for a few years, but I knew, hell, I know, that I can trust her with my life. Case in point, she didn’t tell anyone that I went to her house Saturday night after my alleged fatal car crash. Well, she did tell Christian, but he was the only one. She didn’t tell Frank that I was alive. She even went to my funeral and watched him suffer. She will always be there for me. I can’t say that for my other friends.

I haven’t known Ben and Coda for very long, but they’re so protective of Christian I feel like they would be protective of me too. I can trust them. Even if Christian changed, I know they haven’t.

5.    How was it like being the granddaughter and heir to Chamberlain Chocolates?

When I was a little girl, there would be vases of candy all over the mansion. My mom never let me eat any—she was terrified I would leave a wrapper or a chocolate stain on the wall, but I’d sneak treats when she wasn’t looking. My dad would shove handfuls into my pockets. Being heir to Chamberlain Chocolates as a five-year old was pretty fantastic. Now, it’s a burden. I don’t want it.

6.    If you had one wish, what would you wish for? Absolutely anything is possible.

Well that’s easy. I would wish that my dad wasn’t killed in the car accident. I would give anything to have my dad alive.

7.    Looking back over all that had transpired, what is the one thing you would change, if you could?

The day I showed up to take the Leadership exam is the day my life changed forever. For weeks I couldn’t get past the idea that if I skipped the test, my life would have remained the same but that’s not true—General Treadwell and the Organization would have found another way to bring me in. They are not going to rest until I become the assassin they want me to be.

But right now, I wish that I never fell for Christian. I don’t know if I can ever forgive him for what he did to me.

So that's a wrap on the Starr Bishop Character Interview! What did you think of her answers? Are you dying to know what happened to her and Christian? And who is this Rebecca? You'll have to read the book to find out! Visit my website for a FREEBIE excerpt of STARR FALL!

Write on,

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