Thursday, December 29, 2016

Eve The First Book Tour and Giveaway

Eve the First:
A Fairy Tale Revision
by Teresa Edmond-Sargeant
Genre: Fantasy, Fairy Tale Retelling

A retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale "The Wicked Prince," "Eve the First" introduces a princess unlike any other in popular fairy tales: ruthless, power-hungry and ambitious enough to conquer Heaven. After successfully monopolizing the known world, Eve lays her eyes on taking down God so she can reign supreme over Heaven and Earth.

She was called Eve the First.

And once upon a time, that name, and its infamy, petrified the hearts and minds of anyone familiar with her conquests, capabilities, and cunning tenacity fueled by her volatility.

Eve’s innocent beauty belied her passion to conquer the world. Her doe-like eyes concealed the twinkle that reflected her megalomaniacal thirst for power. With her youthfully plump, pink lips, Eve barked demands at her subjects and soldiers, threatening to execute them if they failed to carry out her commands. She wore her lustrous locks in braids and pinned up into exquisite loops with hair ornaments crafted from the bones of her enemies and decorated with precious jewels like pearls, diamonds, and sapphires.

In Eve’s kingdom of Regnum, the populace sought for worldly knowledge, wealth, and prestige. Above all, the people pursued the supreme form of existence: immortality. To these ends, they excelled in architecture, arts, music, literature, alchemy and science. With the practices of Pagan worship, drunken orgies, and human sacrificing, they prided themselves on being their absolute best in knowledge and wealth, while their crude and barbaric natures situated them at the bottom of human existence.

Eve ruled the land of Regnum with the utmost passion of all kinds: love, fear, cruelty, and intensity, but mostly the last three. Every day she studied maps of foreign kingdoms, plotted her next conquest, and trained her soldiers until their feet bled and their sanity broke. Wherever she went, her subjects genuflected and lowered their heads, averting eye contact. If Eve caught anyone sneaking furtive glances at her, she screamed the dreaded words, “Away with him and off with his head!”

The next time that person was seen, his headless body was at the bottom of a ravine near Eve’s castle.

As she brandished her sword and ambition, Eve led her army all over the world, from the nearest to the most remote lands. She left behind trails of bloodshed, death, and tears. With every swing of her sword—a stab here, a beheading there—Eve radiated joy as blood splattered all over her armor and corpses piled up. Villagers said their bountiful fields, once ripe with harvest, were cultivated with the blood of the dead. Whole carcasses and body parts littered the meadows, turning them into rolling graveyards, as though the dead had been dug up.

“I have unyielding determination that cannot be matched,” Eve once said. “If that makes me an evil woman, so be it.”

Once Eve conquered a village, she marched into its public square and staked her coat of arms into the soil. Her soldiers kept the crowd back while the crowd admired Eve’s glorious beauty sullied with dirt and blood. Clutching the flagpole, Eve placed her right hand over her heart.

“Today’s victory is in memory of my dear mother, the late Queen Catherine the Third,” Eve said to her new subjects. “She would have been proud to know that I will bestow upon all of you a new day, a new life, and a new era. I acknowledge that from this day forward, this is the age we start to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, and heal the sick. I have ushered in a Golden Era of Peace where the sun will always rise in the east, trees shall forever bear fruit, and harvest season shall forever be abundant. This is the time when we unite as one to remake this land so it will transcend our utmost expectations and ideal selves.”

Eve then signaled her soldiers to present her newly conquered subjects with baskets of bread and meat and vessels of cider.

“Today, what I have done was quite a sacrifice, but it was all done for you my beloved people,” Eve continued. “I will give you whatever you yearn for—food, shelter, clothes—and promise to alleviate you of the agonies you long suffered at the hands of your demon of a king. That will happen if — and only if — you crown me your ruler and allow me to erect my statues everywhere in your village.”

Then her soldiers demanded that the peasants form lines in front of them. Cries of “Long live Eve” rang throughout the land as soldiers passed out equal rations of food and drink to the peasants.

Teresa Edmond-Sargeant is an Orlando, FL-based poet, author and journalist originally from northern New Jersey. Her poetry has appeared in anthologies featuring NJ poets. During her time as a reporter in Jersey, she won two NJ Press Association awards.
In 2006, she published her debut poetry book, "How Fate's Confusion Connects"; the book's second edition will be released later in 2014. She is the author of three (so far;-)) Amazon Kindle ebooks: "Eve the First," "An Estella Exclusive" and "Ethical Strains," all short stories.
Edmond-Sargeant is a member of the Florida State Poets Association. She is now a staff writer for The Apopka Chief, a newspaper that covers the Apopka, FL, area (

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Dark Fey Book Tour and Giveaway

Welcome to mythical, enchanted forest of Jyndari and the Village of Hwyndarin where The Fey of the Light, who are Light loving Fey, reside. 

Where there is Light there is also darkness and the Fey of the Light live in careful vigilance, protecting themselves from the Dark Fey, known by many names, such as the Fallen, the Dark Ones, and most particularly The Reviled, who live in a realm of darkness and shadow known as the Uunglarda. 
Although their two realms exist in close proximity, most Fey of the Light have never seen an actual Dark Fey and many Dark Fey only encounter very young Fey of the Light; yet crossings and abductions happen every day. 

As their temples are desecrated, homes are pillaged and plundered, and the peaceful tranquility so important to the Fey of the Light is repeatedly shattered, the Fey Guard stand as protectors. They are mighty in battle and fierce in their vigilance to protect the fragile balance of life for the peaceful Fey of Light. 

All Fey are born with special abilities, or gifts, such as telepathy, empathy, discernment, or the ability to dream walk. Many also have a gift of magic, though not all, such as spell-casting, enchantment, light bending or element wielding. While the Fey of the Light are beautiful and live harmoniously, the Reviled Fey are the opposite; they revere darkness and fill their lives with cruelty and evil, but all Reviled Fey begin their lives as Fey of the Light. The change comes only if they are abducted as childfey and forced to undergo the Integration, a process of intentional neglect and cruelty designed to twist them away from the Light.

This level of horror is not incorporated into the Dark Fey Trilogy simply for the sake of it. One does not need to open the pages of a book to discover the unthinkable, as the darkness typically embodied in fantasy genre stories by some terrifying being or creature is very much alive in our own reality and this is the underlying motivation for the darkness woven into Dark Fey.   It was based in great part on the terrifying, yet true-life events of the Lord’s Resistance Army or LRA, a rebel militant group in Uganda that has for over 20 years abducted children from their homes; forcing them to commit horrifying acts of violence against each other and their own people. These children suffer a very real Integration and, like the childfey of Jyndari, they endure violence and cruelty at the hands of truly sadistic overlords.  This is how the Reviled came to life and became the horrifyingly cruel beings depicted in Dark Fey. 

This story shares the Power of Hope, Acceptance and Forgiveness through the ideal that you can change the world, if you take Positive Action to Create Change through doing what is Right.  

Many times during your journey through the Dark Fey Trilogy, you will encounter words that seem to be capitalized for no apparent reason; yet, it should be noted, these capitalizations are anything but random. They mark either proper nouns, such as Fey of the Light, the Temple, Fey Guards, the Reviled, or the Light, which is not simply a glimmering of illumination, but a connotation that is highly important in the spirituality of Fey. If a word holds specific meaning, it may also be capitalized, such as See, Know, or Understand. You may encounter such words when they are in reference to a Fey gift, such as telepathy, empathy, or discernment, and they carry significant weight so, in order to emphasize their importance, capitalization is used.

Join me as we embark into this realm of Light and Dark. Allow your imagination take over as you experience the Jyndari forest and The Fey of the Light's struggle with The Reviled. Let the Light reach outward from these pages and draws you into on a journey that promises to change your way of thinking.

Ayla is one of the lead characters of Dark Fey.  She was present in my thoughts from the initial dream that Inspired the story; yet she is very often misunderstood by readers.  Although the story could not progress without her, even I find myself frequently annoyed by her overly emotional volatility, so I decided to give my readers a bit of background about her, as well as, perhaps, an explanation.  

Born with extraordinary gifts, Ayla can easily distinguish truth from lies.  She can look into the eyes and see the soul, Discerning beyond all the complications of guise. Empathy runs so deeply within her that she can even take on the pain of another and she is able to hear thoughts through Telepathic connection. This rare combination of gifts first drew attention to her as a youngling; then isolated her when she was sent off to the Temple, dedicated to a life as a Guardian of Childfey.

There she was guided by scholars who filled her mind with images of good and evil.  While her friends sat in cheerful classrooms and played with other childfey, she learned about secret arts and magic.  She also learned that using her gifts drains her own energy by an equal proportion to that which she extends to heal or ease anothers suffering.  As a result, she tried to learn to protect herself from her own Empathic inclinations, but blocking the thoughts, emotions and pain of others remained a constant challenge for her and when she reached her eighteenth birthday and took her place amidst the communal life of the village of Hwyndarin, this difficulty compeled her to keep others at a distance.

Beautiful, yet socially awkward and frequently overwhelmed by those sentiments and passions of others that she was never able to fully master blocking, she has only one friend, but when this friend introduces her to a young malefey close to her age of eighteen summers Ayla discovers magic of another kind; the enchantment of first love. Even his love, however, cannot alter her feelings of peculiarity and isolation.

Only when she hears the whispers of one who comes in shadows and silence does she begin to understand her own strengths and her own desires.  When he steps from the darkness, he throws her world in chaos, requiring her to make decisions she never thought possible; asking her to face dangers she only ever read about, and altering the course of her life forever.  Yet, in the process, he helps her to understand the truth about her gifts, which have set her apart for so long.

***A Snippet from Dark Fey The Reviled ***

“You are the only person who can help me, Ayla, because you are the only one who can know with absolute certainty what I say is the truth; that I am not deceiving you to serve my own evil purposes.” Gasping in fear, she shook her head, but Gairynzvl would not accept her refusal.

“It is your gift, Ayla, and your purpose.” She stared at him silently as tears slipped over her flushed cheeks, utterly overwhelmed by him.

“Read me, Ayla!” He growled impatiently, but she reached up and shoved him away from her with as much force as she could manage.

“I cannot!” His eyes narrowed suspiciously.

“You will not.”

“You are overpowering me!” She snapped back acerbically, “I cannot read through all that emotion.”

He fell silent, considering, but he did not move away and he did not release her from the intense stare he had fixed upon her that pierced into her very essence and made her shudder. After a prolonged moment, he closed his eyes and slowly drew a deep breath; visibly calming himself before he stepped closer and re-affixed her with his resolute gaze. She watched him hesitantly, released from the waves of despondency and resentment he had again opened to her, yet still fearful of what he might do next.
Unhurriedly, he reached out for her hand, patient in a way he had not been before when she started away from him to search his eyes nervously for any indication of reassurance she might find there before offering her small hand to him. Holding it lightly in his warm clasp, he reached out for the other hand, waiting just as patiently for her to understand that he would do nothing atrocious should she give it to him as well. When she did, he drew both to himself, laying her hands upon his chest, palms down over his heart, before releasing his grasp upon her. Spreading his wings wide then, he turned his face upward, closed his eyes, and opened himself to her fully.

Ayla gasped in surprised revelation. She had never done such a thing before; never physically touched someone to read them while they stood, silently surrendered to her, revealing themselves in a manner that was intensely stirring and intimate......

The Reviled
Dark Fey Book 1
By Cynthia Morgan 
Genre: Fantasy, Romance

In the mystical realm of Jyndari, a relationship blossoms between two unsuspecting, yet kindred souls.
Ayla, a Light-loving Guardian of Childfey, hides more than a few secrets — ones which isolate and set her apart from the rest. Yet Ayla’s veiled confidences entice one who lurks in the shadows. Silent and watchful, this dangerous presence knows all too well the secrets she wishes kept hidden.

The Darkness-revering Fey bids his time, waiting for the ideal moment to step away from the shadows and reveal himself to Ayla. But doing so will irrevocably alter the course of their lives, and shatter both their worlds.

Brimming with magic and mystery, beauty and enchantment, The Reviled is a fantasy novel like no other; an adventure for both mind and spirit.

On sale for .99 from Dec 19th- 25th!!!

Standing in Shadows
Dark Fey Book 2

After escaping captivity, Gairynzvl has been rescued by the Light-loving Fey. Now, he wants to return into the dark realm of The Reviled and rescue the innocent childfey trapped there.

But it will take strength, courage and more than one Fey to breach the borders of The Uunglarda, and to slip past the legions of Dark Fey who abide there. The daring mission will shake the foundations of everything The Fey of The Light have accepted as truth for thousands of years, but Gairynzvl knows the secret ways in and out of the dark realm.

Slipping into the darkness through darkness is easy; escaping with the childfey is another matter. Should they be captured, his band of liberators will pray for death long before it comes. Even is success, their deeds could spark a full scale war, unleashing the barbaric hatred and viciousness of The Reviled upon the peace-loving Fey of The Light.

Will the Fey of the Light risk a savage war in order to rescue the innocent childfey, and who are prepared to join Gairynzvl's quest to the realm of shadows and fear?

Book Three- Breaking into the Light 

coming soon!

Cynthia A. Morgan is the creator of the mythical realm of Jyndari and author of the epic fantasy Dark Fey Trilogy, which is based, in part, upon the true-life events surrounding the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda and draws readers into a mystical realm of primordial forests, magic and the lives of Light-loving and Darkness-revering Feykind. Not to be confused with pixies or “Tinkerbell” type fairies, the feyfolk of Jyndari are winged beings the size of any human who live in a realm where tradition, magic, and spirituality are fundamentals of everyday life. 

Dark Fey has earned many 5 stars reviews, including one of the leading industry review organizations, Readers Favorite. Dark Fey The Reviled was also awarded the New Apple Literary Agency 2016 Book Award for Excellence in Fantasy. Compared to a fantasy version of a play by Shakespeare, Dark Fey is a brutally beautiful story of Love, Hope, and finding Peace in the Darkness. Published by Creativia Publications in January 2015, Dark Fey is already among the top #50 in several Fantasy genre categories on Amazon.

Morgan is also the author of the popular blog “Booknvolume” where her ever-increasing number of followers are regularly treated to Morgan’s own brand of poetry, English Sonnets, and musings about life. She is a current member of the Poetry Society of America; is ranked among the top authors on the Independent Author Network; has had poetry published on numerous poetry websites and is rapidly becoming an Author to keep your eye on. 

Some of her other interests includes a deep love for animals and the environment. She is passionate about music and theatre; is frequently heard laughing; finds the mysteries of ancient times, spirituality, and the possibilities of life elsewhere in the cosmos intriguing. Morgan Believes in the power of Love, Hope and Forgiveness, all of which is reflected in her lyrically elegant writing style. 

You can find Morgan through social media in the following places:

Dark Fey The Reviled has been nominated for the Golden Book Annual Awards for Fantasy and is now a Semifinalist!!!!
Help the author out and vote for it!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Teresa Edmond-Sargeant, Ethical Strains Blog Tour

 Ethical Strains:
A Short Story
By Teresa Edmond-Sargeant
Genre: Dystopian, Fantasy SciFi

In a dystopian future, a rogue journalist uncovers what may be a revolutionary scientific discovery: a way for DNA to be extracted from the bodies of 'morally sound' people and injecting them into criminals as a way to reduce recidivism, and therefore the overpopulated prison system.

The street was as quiet as the dead that lay in the cemetery. Jacob crouched outside the metal gate in the shadows. The moonlight waxed silver onto the graveyard’s greenery, giving off a choral glow of peace and terror. Jacob’s heart pounded, refusing to allow the silence to tease him into thinking the street was empty. He moved his hand to his side, above the holster that cradled his gun around his waist.

Jacob extended his arm – covered with the sleeve of his leather jacket – and glanced at his digital wristwatch. 10:10. He returned his attention to the street. The wind escorted the fallen leaves along the deserted sidewalk, scratching the pavement.

She said she’d be here at 10. She did say she’ll be late.

He moved his hand away from the gun and adjusted his collar. He paced in front of the cemetery gate, his mind an agitated rush of thoughts.

Down the street, two uniformed soldiers with ammunition strapped to their bodies marched on opposite corners of the intersection. Emotional rigidity hardened their faces, while the shadows that their hulking physiques cast swept the concrete. Jacob tried to study the face of one of them, but it was difficult with the masked helmet obscuring the soldier’s face.

For twenty years I haven’t seen a street without soldiers. Doesn’t matter if I’m a kid or I'm now working as a reporter underground – things haven’t changed. Those government goons are always on people’s backs, always patrolling these streets. The beatings, the arrests, the murders. It’s a miracle I’m still alive.

Receding further into the shadows, Jacob pressed his back against the cemetery gate’s brick wall.

So many laws I’m breaking –hanging out in the streets after 10, meeting with someone crazy enough to tell me at this time she has an exclusive. What’s next? Grave robbing?

The soft shuffle of footsteps made Jacob look up. Across the street, a woman broke through the screen of darkness and crossed the street. Her low heels tapped on asphalt, while the faint moonlight unveiled her petite hourglass frame cloaked in a trench coat. A purple floral scarf covered her head, face and neck; only her eyes revealed a personal aspect.

“Jacob? Jacob Franklin?”

Jacob nodded. “That’s me.”

The woman untied her scarf and presented a gloved hand. “I am Dr. Sydney Pelham. We have spoken over the telephone. It is a pleasure to finally meet you. I apologize for my tardiness. I had an imperative appointment that ran long. This this meeting is unusual, but given the nature of my overall work, we have to be discreet. Although I work for the government counseling prisoners, the information I’m about to disclose with you is quite crucial.”

Jacob nodded. Discreet. Somehow by the time I’m done here, that word will reek of irony.
Dr. Pelham began walking. “Follow me. I know a way underground that will lead us to my experiments.”

Jacob shadowed her. “Experiments, yeah, I remember you mentioning about them.”

Dr. Pelham chuckled. “Actually, it is more than that. It is a cause. I could not divulge the details to you over the phone because someone might have tapped the lines. You have reservations about meeting a mad scientist, quote-unquote. But given that we have so many problems surrounding us – with the rampant criminal activities and the federal government demanding the construction of more prisons at taxpayers’ expense – you will understand there is a method to my alleged madness.”

Jacob wondered if it were possible to withhold his sweat from bursting onto his forehead, similar to how people could hold back tears. As a self-proclaimed maverick journalist working with a ring of underground reporters, he didn’t dare to give Dr. Pelham the impression he was shaken at the ideal of being among “experiments.”

Their footsteps crunched the fallen leaves under streetlights that cast a dim, bluish-white glow on the foliage. Both turned a corner and into the woods behind the cemetery. They walked another few yards, and then Dr. Pelham stopped. Jacob almost bumped into her.

“We’re here,” Dr. Pelham said.

She looked around and crouched down; her modest length skirt rode up her leg. With her gloved hands, she cleared the leaves to reveal a wooden trap door. She retrieved some keys on a chain from her coat pocket and unlocked the door. The pair descended the staircase into a brick tunnel. Water drops echoed and the coldness bore down on Jacob.

Teresa Edmond-Sargeant is an Orlando, FL-based poet, author and journalist originally from northern New Jersey. Her poetry has appeared in anthologies featuring NJ poets. During her time as a reporter in Jersey, she won two NJ Press Association awards.
In 2006, she published her debut poetry book, "How Fate's Confusion Connects"; the book's second edition will be released later in 2014. She is the author of three (so far;-)) Amazon Kindle ebooks: "Eve the First," "An Estella Exclusive" and "Ethical Strains," all short stories.
Edmond-Sargeant is a member of the Florida State Poets Association. She is now a staff writer for The Apopka Chief, a newspaper that covers the Apopka, FL, area (

Shadows of Atlantis Blog Tour

Shadows of Atlantis 
By Mara Powers 

Genre: Fantasy

Atlantis is a luxurious paradise run by crystal technology built in alignment with nature. For thousands of years, Atlanteans have powered their cities with a Crystal Grid fed by psychic mindlight.
But the Grid has been infiltrated by parasitic shadows that feed off the negative emotions of humans - an epidemic called “the madness.” 
D’VINID, a dejected musician, is consumed by his personal problems. He meets Brigitte as she seeks to uncover the corruption in the Grid. Their magnetic attraction forces him to face his past and accept his future. He is among those born with a gene unlocking mystical powers once believed to be the birthright of all humans. 

As Atlantis slowly drowns in the trap of hubris and self-indulgence, he is faced with the shocking realization that his life may be mirroring Atlantis itself - he must choose to awaken or face destruction.

MARA POWERS has been researching Atlantis avidly since she was a teenager. 
Mara Powers is a true Gen X American nomad. She has managed to establish a life of travel, moving around all her favorite cities on a quest to chase the perfect weather. She discovered the myth of Atlantis at age 16, and has made it her life work to unravel the riddle. She studies both esoteric and secular theories, and incorporates them all in her stories. In a way, her Atlantis series is a dissertation on the knowledge and experience she has accumulated over almost 3 decades. 
Also a social butterfly, Powers spent the early part of her career as an event manager. She has worked at resorts, on boats, restaurants, in the festival circuit, and underground clubs as a promoter of bands, performers and electronic music. 
Her many travels have been incorporated into her work. For instance, her time spent as a denizen of Venice Beach is represented by the dog-town-style hover tricksters who have plagued the streets of Atlantis. 

She loves hearing everyone’s past life memories of Atlantis. Shoot her an email with yours.

Music began. Atlantean classical music was designed to weave the delicate harmonies of nature and emulate frequencies from the universal spheres. It had evolved in modern times to a more primal reminder of human existence, with multi-layered rhythmic pulses as its basis. It had become popular at revelries to feature the dark, grooving textures of percussive instruments run through resonance amplifiers. The dance style to this tribal heartbeat music was an individualized expression of character and personal power.
 D’Vinid, like all dabrina players, studied classical music. His unique musical contribution in his day was to run his instrument through the same resonance amplifiers to modulate universal frequencies. The ensuing melodic textures created a juxtaposition over the fierce pulsing rhythms. His legendary ingenuity had started a trend, and he was well known as the inventor of the fusion. He struggled with his vow to avoid the Watchers as he fiddled with the dabrina peg he now wore around his neck. They knew him all too well. His thirst to play for the gathering courtiers tugged at his every step. But if he played, he would willingly offer himself to Pan’s plan. The last thing he wanted was to be in Kyliron’s sights. His desire for this not to occur far outshone his desire to play music.
 The garden had been set up with swirling lights and long, draping streamers to disorient revelers and give the feeling of walking in dreamsight. Reveries were a cultural mainstay all through Atlantean history. They believed it to be their birthright as humans to enjoy the pleasures of sensory perception, while reaching for the bliss of higher consciousness. They had found the best way to do this was through revelries. D’vinid wandered aimlessly, pacing through the gardens in unsettled thought. He lowered his head to avoid laughing courtiers as they chased through the garden pathways. He thought perhaps an elixir would soothe his torment. Just as he had the thought, the path emptied into a small patio where a mixologist had set up a portable case of tiny glass vials.
 Some of the courtiers were relaxing on cushions around the woman’s tiny costumed form. She had a painted face which glowed in the twinkling lights, and an intricate, feathered head-dress. Her eyes landed directly on D’Vinid as he appeared on the patio. She gestured a delicate hand toward an empty cushion. The other courtiers gazed up at him with eager eyes and mimicked her gesture, urging him to join in their intoxication.
 “What is your pleasure?” she asked in a sing-song voice. “Are you sad and lonely?” She waved her hand over the vials, pushing their tops gently to make a fragile chiming sound as their various glass shapes clinked together.
“Do you need me to slip you a feeling of sexual arousal? Are you longing to see the other side? Or perhaps you need some excitement and adrenalin!”
 D’vinid carefully thought of his answer. Pan had the best elixir mixologists, and any feeling he wished to have, she would deliver. “I need to not care.”
Her expression darkened. “This is a specific feeling you ask for. You have many things haunting your thoughts. Do you wish to forget? I can give you temporary amnesia.”
One of the courtesans rubbed his thigh and leaned in to whisper in his ear. “Go for arousal. I will help you forget.” She giggled and fell back, landing in the arms of the man behind her, who caught her up in a greedy kiss.

Friday, December 23, 2016

The Forsaken Crown Book Tour

The Forsaken Crown:
A Desolate Empire Prequel
by Christina Ochs
Genre: Epic Fantasy

Sonya is a disgraced mercenary with shattered ambitions. Kendryk is a young ruler in danger of being overthrown. An unlikely pair, they must learn to trust each other to survive the turmoil ahead. But with a corrupt regent, a disloyal aristocracy, and an army in their way, the future looks grim.
The Forsaken Crown, a prequel to The Desolate Empire Series, delivers thrilling battles, devious political intrigue and compelling characters. The Forsaken Crown combines the action and excitement of the Three Musketeers with the sweeping imagery of fantasy. Readers are calling this powerful series "an all-ages Game of Thrones."
Check inside to find out how to get a free copy of Rise of the Storm, Book One in the Desolate Empire Series.

Rise of the Storm (Book 1)

Valley of the Shadow (Book 2)

Hammer of the Gods (Book 3)

Winter of the Wolf (Book 4)

Sonya crept to the edge of the clearing until she had a clear view of the nearest fire. Only two men sat there.
“Go to bed,” she muttered under her breath, not wishing to kill them if she didn’t have to. According to her information, they belonged to Kolnikov’s unit, and he was the one she wanted.
The men didn’t move, their voices a low rumble, interspersed by the occasional laugh. The rest of the camp grew quiet and one after another, the fires died down. Only this one didn’t, and she needed to get past it.
The longer she waited, the more could go wrong.
“Kill one, grab the other,” she whispered to her troopers. “The live one will lead us to Kolnikov.”
Faber, her sergeant, raised his eyebrows then nodded in agreement.
Sonya dashed forward, her already bloody dagger at the ready. The men at the fire weren’t looking, had been staring into the flames too long to see well in the dark.
One man grunted as Faber ran him through. Sonya grabbed the other around the neck, spinning him to face away from her, her hand over his mouth, her dagger at his throat.
“Not a sound,” she whispered in Brianski. “Take us to Kolnikov, and I’ll let you live.”
The man nodded, even as he sagged against her. He was only a little bigger than she was, and didn’t struggle. Her troopers fanned out, making sure no one else was nearby.
“Let’s go,” she whispered to her captive, prodding him with her knee.
He took a few hesitant steps, then moved faster. Sonya kept pace, making sure her blade stayed against his neck. The camp was quiet, though not completely asleep.
“Anyone sees us, you die first,” Sonya murmured by way of encouraging him to take them along a quiet path.
And he did, past the backs of tents, along the goat pens, right into the middle of the camp.
Sonya found its size and order impressive, but then Briansk always had the best of everything. Finally, they reached a large tent near the center.
“Kolnikov?” Sonya asked, and the man nodded.
Faber slit the canvas with a long knife.
Sonya pushed through, the prisoner in front of her. A lamp burned on a desk and behind it, a man had sprung to his feet.
“Try anything and he dies,” she growled at him.
“I’m unarmed,” the man said, his voice surprisingly soft.
“What’s your name?” Sonya held her hostage even tighter.
“Igor Kolnikov, Major in the imperial army of Pyotr, our immortal—”
“Yes, yes,” Sonya snapped. “That’ll do. You must come with us,” she said in a rush, looking over her prize.
Kolnikov had been writing a letter, but dropped the quill at the incursion. His face was broad and pale, framed with curly dark hair, black eyes slightly slanted. He wore a white shirt open at the neck.
“Threatening that man is unnecessary.” Kolnikov sounded so calm Sonya wondered if he had some trick planned. “Please let him go.”
“Once you’re in our custody, maybe,” Sonya said. “Faber, bind his hands.”
“You’re making a big mistake,” Kolnikov said. “The war is over.”
“Hah,” Sonya said, her tone mirthless. “It was still on an hour ago when one of your patrols ran into ours.”
“All right then.” Kolnikov shrugged. “Take me back to your camp and I’ll prove it.”
Brianskis were well-known liars, but just in case Kolnikov was right, Sonya didn’t kill her original hostage. Instead, she had him bound hand and foot, and left in the major’s tent.
Even though Kolnikov’s bulk intimidated her, Sonya would never show it and grabbed him by the arm, just as she had the other man. But she was more cautious this time, sensing a barely restrained violence under Kolnikov’s genial tone. With his right arm wrenched behind his back, she laid her dagger flat against his collarbone, the tip touching his neck.
“I won’t make any sudden movements then,” Kolnikov said, humor in his voice. Without turning his head, his eyes slid in Sonya’s direction. “Your Brianski is good. Where did you learn it?”
“From years of fighting scum like you.” Sonya let the tip of the dagger poke into his skin. “Now shut up.” Not even over a friendly mug of ale would she tell him how she’d learned the language: she’d spent nearly two years in a Brianski prison, her superiors judging her too unimportant for a speedy exchange. That proof of her insignificance had rankled far more than the freezing conditions, insufficient food and brutish guards.
Sonya grabbed Kolnikov even more roughly, then shoved him out of the tents and back the way they’d come. “Go ahead, Tchernak,” she whispered at one of her troopers. “Make sure the way is still clear and that there are no new sentries.”
“There won’t be,” Kolnikov murmured, as Irena Tchernak disappeared into the darkness. “The guard won’t change for another hour.”
“Good for us, better for you,” Sonya hissed through her teeth, her senses back on high alert. The camp was even quieter now as her party slipped between the tents. At the edge, she stepped around the body of the man they’d killed, the campfire nothing but coals now.
“You shouldn’t have done that,” Kolnikov said, nodding at the body.
“Shut up,” Sonya whispered again, shoving him toward the trees.
Tchernak had rejoined them by now. “Coast is clear,” she murmured. “And no sign of that patrol either.”
Sonya breathed a little easier now. Their horses shouldn’t be far away.
Christina Ochs is the author of historical fantasy series, The Desolate Empire, which is based upon the events of the Protestant Reformation and the Thirty Years War (1618-48). Many of her characters are also based on historical figures.
With degrees in history and business, Christina uses her writing to indulge her passion for reading and research. Publishing as an indie author provides an outlet for her entrepreneurial side and she is an avid supporter of fellow authors, both independent and traditionally published.
Christina lives in a semi truck full time, traveling the United States with her truck driver husband and two cats, Phoenix and Nashville.