Wednesday, April 30, 2014

No Innocent Affair by Edward Mrkvicka

Edward Mrkvicka is a lifelong Christian, award-winning author, lay minister and counselor. He is devoted to saving families from the ravages of adultery, and the divorce that almost always follows. Most important, he is devoted to the innocent children who are damaged by the selfish acts of their parents who give in to temptation.

Mrkvicka believes the only hope for betraying adulterers is the Word of God. This is what he tries to do with his books and counseling – ensure that as many as possible know what a true evil adultery is, and that they know it before-the-fact, as it is far easier to avoid the evil than to get back once the line has been crossed.

His efforts on behalf of families, understanding adultery, and the devastating effect of divorce on children has earned him a United States Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition.

He started writing professionally in 1980.

Author Links:

Book Genre: Religion: Christian Life
Publisher: Tate Publishing & Enterprises
Release Date: Sept. 2011

Book Description: 'Thou shalt not commit adultery' (Exodus 20:14).
Have you found yourself contemplating committing adultery? Are you currently in an adulterous relationship? Have you been affected by an act of adultery? If you answered yes to any of these questions, No Innocent Affair: Making Right the Wrong of Adultery is the tool you need.
An avid student of the Word, Ed Mrkvicka addresses the fact that adultery is one of the main contributors to the destruction of the American family and seeks to reverse this terrifying statistic. Mrkvicka posits that few who engage in adulterous relationships realize the enormity of the cost of infidelity, both to themselves and innocent people in their lives.
Beginning by comparing God's view of adultery to society's view, No Innocent Affair explains in frank yet loving terms that unrepentant adultery is more than just an innocent affair. It is choosing Satan over Jesus and death over life. Mrkvicka desires to lead adulterers to repentance and eternal life with Jesus Christ.
Most importantly, No Innocent Affair takes you on a step-by-step biblical progression that leads to the sin of adultery being forgiven and salvation reclaimed.
Infidelity is no easy subject to discuss, but it is one that must be addressed. Follow along on this exploration of the consequences and ways out of adultery.
Nothing could be clearer. Unrepentant adulterers will not spend eternity in heaven.

So if you’re thinking about committing adultery, don’t. The cost to everyone, especially you, is just too high. Adultery is more than physical lust or an innocent affair and/or choosing another person
over one’s spouse. Adultery is choosing Satan over Jesus, death over life, and hell over heaven. But God does not condemn us to that fate. Instead, if we will follow the step-by-step instructions culled from the Bible and offered in this book, He forgives us so we may be saved. Of course, as with all things God asks of His children, our obedience is rewarded far beyond what we deserve: “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34).

If you’re in an adulterous relationship, end it. Now. As with all sin, adulterers must first admit it and then quit it. Thank God we can be forgiven, but only if we repent and make right that which we have made wrong.

Lastly, no matter how far removed we are from the Light of the Lord, we must never forget the life-affirming words of Jesus in Luke15:7. “I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over on sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.”

Monday, April 28, 2014

Spotlight for Plus One by Elizabeth Fama

Title: Plus One
Author: Elizabeth Fama
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Date of Publication: April 8, 2014


Divided by day and night and on the run from authorities, star-crossed young lovers unearth a sinister conspiracy in this compelling romantic thriller.
Seventeen-year-old Soleil Le Coeur is a Smudge—a night dweller prohibited by law from going out during the day. When she fakes an injury in order to get access to and kidnap her newborn niece—a day dweller, or Ray—she sets in motion a fast-paced adventure that will bring her into conflict with the powerful lawmakers who order her world, and draw her together with the boy she was destined to fall in love with, but who is also a Ray.
Set in a vivid alternate reality and peopled with complex, deeply human characters on both sides of the day-night divide, Plus One is a brilliantly imagined drama of individual liberty and civil rights, and a fast-paced romantic adventure story.


4:30 A.M.

It takes guts to deliberately mutilate your hand while operating a blister-pack sealing machine, but all I had going for me was guts. It seemed like a fair trade: lose maybe a week’s wages and possibly the tip of my right middle finger, and in exchange Poppu would get to hold his great- granddaughter before he died.
I wasn’t into babies, but Poppu’s unseeing eyes filled to spilling when he spoke of Ciel’s daughter, and that was more than I could bear. It was absurd to me that the dying should grieve the living when the living in this case was only seven miles away. Poppu needed to hold that baby, and I was going to bring her to him, even if Ciel wouldn’t.
The machine was programmed to drop daily doses of Circa-Diem and vitamin D into the thirty slots of a blister tray. My job was mind- numbingly boring, and I’d done it maybe a hundred thousand times before without messing up: align a perforated prescription card on the conveyor, slip the PVC blister tray into the card, slide the conveyor to the right under the pill dispenser, inspect the pills after the tray has been filled, fold the foil half of the card over, and slide the conveyor to the left under the heat-sealing plate. Over and over I’d gone through these motions for hours after school, with the rhythmic swooshing, whirring, and stamping of the factory’s powder compresses, laser inscribers, and motors penetrating my wax earplugs no matter how well I molded them to my ear canal.
I should have had a concrete plan for stealing my brother’s baby, with backups and contingencies, but that’s not how my brain works. I only knew for sure how I was going to get into the hospital. There were possible complications that I pushed to the periphery of my mind because they were too overwhelming to think about: I didn’t know how I’d return my niece when I was done with her; I’d be navigating the city during the day with only a Smudge ID; if I was detained by an Hour Guard, there was a chance I’d never see Poppu again.

About Elizabeth Fama

Elizabeth Fama is the author of Plus One (FSG, 2014), Monstrous Beauty (FSG, 2012), a YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults selection and Odyssey Award honor winner, and Overboard (Cricket Books, 2002), an ALA Best Books for Young Adults. She is represented by Sara Crowe of Harvey Klinger, Inc.

Cover Reveal for The Luthier's Apprentice

Releases on May 15th


Niccolò Paganini (1782-1840), one of the greatest violinists who ever lived and rumored to have made a pact with the devil, has somehow transferred unique powers to another…

When violinists around the world mysteriously vanish, 16-year-old Emma Braun takes notice. But when her beloved violin teacher disappears… Emma takes charge. With Sherlock Holmes fanatic, not to mention gorgeous Corey Fletcher, Emma discovers a parallel world ruled by an ex-violinist turned evil sorceress who wants to rule the music world on her own terms.

But why are only men violinists captured and not women? What is the connection between Emma's family, the sorceress, and the infamous Niccolò Paganini?

Emma must unravel the mystery in order to save her teacher from the fatal destiny that awaits him. And undo the curse that torments her family—before evil wins and she becomes the next luthier's apprentice… 

About The Author:
Mayra Calvani writes fiction and nonfiction for children and adults and has authored over a dozen books, some of which have won awards. Her stories, reviews, interviews and articles have appeared on numerous publications such as The Writer, Writer’s Journal, Multicultural Review, and Bloomsbury Review, among many others. When she’s not writing, reading, editing or reviewing, she enjoys walking her dog, traveling, and spending time with her family. Represented by Serendipity Literary.

Author Links:

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Taking Chances by Ariadne Wayne

Taking Chances - Release Blitz
By Ariadne Wayne
Contemporary Romance
Date Published: April 27, 2014

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Lauren and Mark Burrows lost their parents in a car accident one night. Despite their father being the drunk driver, both struggle with the urge to turn to drink; Lauren most of all. When all they have is each other, Lauren feels lost when Mark falls in love with Cassie Warren and moves out.

Ethan Stone has been alone since his divorce. His ex-wife took him for everything, and he has felt empty for a long time. He's not looking for love, but Lauren brings him back to life. The question is whether she can fight her demons for the man she loves, and if Ethan can handle the wild ride that is life with Lauren.


With Ethan’s arm around her shoulders, Lauren nestled up close, nuzzling his cheek.

“I did want to watch this, Lauren. You’ll distract me.”

“That’s the idea.”

He grinned. “I am trying not to make our relationship just about sex.”

“I know. I’m happy right here, but I’m still trying to distract you.”

Ethan laughed. “You’re so naughty.”

“Always.” She rolled her eyes. “As if I would be anything else.”

He kissed her lips softly. “Is that better?”

“Getting there.”

“If I keep kissing you, I’m not going to want to stop.” He said, in an attempt to look serious.

“That’s what I’m counting on.”

Ethan kissed her on the nose. “That’s all you’re getting until the movie is finished.”

“Spoil sport.”

She rested her head on his shoulder. Moving his hand down from her shoulder to rub her arm, he shared a smile before snuggling up again.

“I know I tease, but I do like this,” she said.

“So do I. You know, it’s been so long since I was this close to anyone. Just to have you here and in my arms is the best feeling.”

“I’m glad, Ethan. I’ve been looking forward to being here with you, even if it is only for a few days.”

“We’ll have to make the most of it. Spend every second we can together.”

He leaned back to look at her. What this beautiful woman saw in him, he didn’t know. Her long blonde hair hung in curls around her shoulders, and she had those gorgeous brown eyes that just sucked you in. The type you just want to look into forever.

She smiled, and his stomach plunged through the floor. There was so much to her that no-one else could ever know about. How anyone had never worked that out was a mystery, but Ethan saw it.

The depth of Lauren’s feeling in return was obvious. Looking at her, really looking at her, her emotions were written all over her face.

“How can no-one have claimed you before,” he said, softly.

She blushed, colour flooding her cheeks. The look on her face made his heart race at the thought she was his.

“Ethan,” she whispered.

Ariadne Wayne

Ariadne Wayne loves books and lives in Auckland, New Zealand with her husband and two children. Having always had a prolific imagination she now writes the words down instead of storing them in her head where she can't share them.

When she's not writing she works in Telecommunications, frequently banging her head on the desk with the random things that can happen to the ordinary phone line.

Author Links

Stirling silver bracelet & Amazon gift cards

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

10 Favorite Authors & Why with Tigris Eden

Paranormal Romance
Date Published: 5/6/2014


When a family celebration threatens to turn into a disaster, there is only one person to blame- Asia Thompson, a member of the pack who also holds the title of Draven’s former first love.
After fighting almost impossible odds, Jes and Draven are finally together, but emotions are high strung now that Asia has shown up unannounced with the intention to take what she thinks she’s entitled to, including Draven.
Dealing with the protocol of Draven’s pack leaves a sour taste in Jes’ mouth. She’s battled every inner demon she has in order to be with her man. She wants their family to be first, not second which is easier said than done when she feels Draven is choosing his pack over family.
The pack has a way of digging their claws into their happily ever-after, pulling Draven further and further from his family’s needs. With Asia’s manipulative schemes combined with the conflict over their daughter’s birthday ritual, the couple’s bond is truly tested.
Join the members of Shadow Unit as they celebrate Family, in Bonded in Shadows a Shadow Unit Novella.


“Dude, you totally fucked up. Had I done something like that, Bells would have my nuts crushed between her palms.”
Royce wasn’t making the situation better, Draven thought to himself. Yeah, he fucked up, had admitted he fucked up, but she still wanted to sulk in it. He was not that guy. You fucked up, you apologized, and you moved on. Not dwell on it.
Ronin as always was silent.
“Who is this Asia broad anyway? And why did she think it was okay to climb you like a stripper pole?”
Did he really have a good answer for the second half of Royce’s question? Nope.
“My ex-girlfriend. We were going to be mated until she left me for my brother Aidan.”
“Fuck.” Ronin said under his breath. Royce pulled out one of his red cigarettes lighting it, he took a puff, spit out some of the stuffing that stuck to his lips before coughing. Yeah, that pretty much summed it up. He was fucked.
Royce placed a hand on his shoulders while blowing out his smoke. His eyes filled with concern.
“That’s tough. Why would she come here now?”
“My father has it in his head I should be with her instead of Jes. That’s the only thing I can think of, the only thing that makes sense. It doesn’t help that Jes and I haven’t exchanged blood. I’ve marked her, but that was it. I don’t smell like her, but she smells like me. To the pack she isn’t even recognized as my mate, more so because she’s not a Lycan. It’s like saying she’s my mistress”
“Well fucking exchange blood.” Ronin said. To the point. Problem fixed. He had an answer for everything. It wasn’t like Draven had no intention of doing that, but she’d gone bat-shit crazy back at the house. His anger made him leave, If he’d stayed he would have said worse things. He was a hot-head, he knew that, but he wasn’t going to take it out on her. Never.
He was reminded of how they’d run into each other back when she was looking to escape her ex-husband. She’d been scared of him then. She’d also been human. But because of what some bastard did to her while she’d been trapped in that warehouse, torturing her for his own pleasure, she was now immortal. Her life no longer fleeting. Now she didn’t care who the male was, if they did something she didn’t like, she went  ballistic. He’d seen her fight in the cage the night she’d almost died at Enri’s hands. She’d been ruthless and hadn’t even used her full power. A small part of him didn’t wish this kind of life for her or his daughter, but a bigger part of him was glad they were with him. He was selfish for thrusting Jes into his world without explaining the intricacies of pack law. He’d reasoned they’d only be here a few days and after that everything would go back to normal.
He’d been wrong.

10 Favorite Author’s & Why

Victoria Holt

She was my first journey into the Romance Genre

Larissa Ione

She was my first journey into PNR with Demons Hot ones at that and there is always enough action to keep me on the edge of my seat!

Sylvain Reynard

Because his words are poetry in motion and move my soul every single time I read his words!

Karin Tabke

Because Werewolf Sandwiching is in! & So are HOT COPS!

Virna De Paul

Her words make images in my head while I’m reading! I feel like I’ve gone to a night out at the movies!

Lora Leigh

Because she writes the best heart melting Ménage Series like EVER!

Jacquelyn Frank

Her words move me!

Kristen Ashley

Her male characters are drool worthy!

Colleen Hoover

She introduced me to New Adult Romance and it’s like CRACK!

Laura Kaye *Newest Favorite*

Her books are all awesome and I never ever skip a page when reading her!

Tigris Eden
One of Tigris’ fondest memories, was in the sixth grade, when her teacher read her story, “The Case of The Missing Pepperoni”, out loud to the class. It was then she decided she wanted to be a writer when she grew up. But like all childhood dreams, reality has a way of crashing in and disrupting plans. But her imagination and the voices inside her head never stopped talking. Every dream she could remember was jotted down in her dream journals.
Tigris is currently working on the Shadow Unit Series, Romantic Tales: Bedtimes Stories, and has expanded on the Genesis Project which will now be a trilogy introduced in 2014.
Tigris is a military brat who’s done her fair share of travelling, thanks to her Army father. She’s married to the infamous LL and has three boys. She currently resides in Houston and is actively seeking a book-buddy for the end of the world.

You can find Tigris on Twitter, Facebook, and at her website.
Twitter: @Tigris_Eden

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Interview with author Lisa Llamrei

Book blurb:
Title: Reflection of the Gods
Author: Lisa Llamrei
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Newly divorced Das MacDermott longs for a fresh start. As he packs up and prepares to move out of the city, he spots a young woman being held at gunpoint by three men. Despite being outnumbered and unarmed, Das does his best to intervene. Once liberated, the victim seems oddly ungrateful, but on an apparent whim decides to join Das in his new life in rural Ontario. Aislinn, as she is called, returns the favour; with her encouragement and support, his start-up photography business takes off, and more importantly, Das is saved from loneliness and self-doubt.
Das, however, is never quite able to fully dismiss the contrary aspects of Aislinn’s nature, and is strictly forbidden from asking about Aislinn’s past. All seems too good to be true, and indeed it is. Aislinn’s unusual talents and odd behaviour, unbeknownst to Das, come from her demigod status. Aislinn is half-Sidhe, daughter of Fionvarra, Ireland’s fairy king, and a human woman. Sidhe wars have so disrupted the mortal world that Aislinn has joined with other immortals in an effort to permanently separate it from Tir N’a Nog, the fairy realm.
Born in ancient Ireland, Aislinn spends millennia as the plaything of the cruel and narcissistic gods. The pain of being neither human nor Sidhe is offset by her relationship to the Fir Bolg, another race of fair folk who take pity on her lonely state; and the refuge she takes in being Das’s lover and protector. As Das comes to accept the possibility that Aislinn belongs to a supernatural world, he discovers that the two worlds are set to collide in a way that may mean the destruction of all humanity.

Book Excerpt:
After some time, I drifted off to sleep. It felt like no more than a few moments. Maybe it was longer. I awoke to a wailing screech. I sat up, wondering where I was. I clamped my hands over my ears. The door opened and a triangle of light flooded in from the hallway.
            Uncle Patrick charged in, pointing a finger. “Stop that racket right now.”
            Aunt Mary stood right behind him, pulling on an arm. She wore an old robe and had curlers in her hair. “It’s not the boy, Patrick.” She pushed her way past him and flicked on the light in my room. She sat down beside me and eased my hands away from my ears. “That won’t help, but this might.” She took the crucifix down from the wall above my bed and thrust it into my hands. “Pray. Pray like you’ve never prayed before.”
            I stared at the crucifix in my hands and winced at the noise.
            “Grania did teach you how to pray, didn’t she?”
            I shook my head.
            “Pray with me then. Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.”
            I started mouthing the words. Again and again the wailing rose in a crescendo and stopped, like waves crashing on a rocky shore. As it rose, I covered my ears with my hands, but Aunt Mary continued, raising her own voice, “—mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen. Hail Mary, full of grace—”
Waves of carrion smell wafted in time to the sound. My whole body shook, and I cried some more. Aunt Mary put her arms around me and held me close while she continued praying, “—and blessed be the fruit of thy womb—”
            Uncle Patrick came into the room wearing his coat over his robe. “I’m going outside to find out what’s making that noise.” He left and came back, sniffing the air. “Must be a dead raccoon out there.”
            As soon as the front door opened, wind rushed through the house, as if whatever it was had been waiting for its chance to enter. The wailing was now ear-splitting and the smell of rotting meat hung in droplets in the air. I could taste it on my tongue. Aunt Mary stopped praying and we both covered our ears. All the lights in the house buzzed and went out. Silence.
            Aunt Mary’s breath was quick and shallow; the air, empty. She reached out for me again and held me, stroking my blond head.
            Uncle Patrick returned. “I couldn’t find anything outside, but at least it stopped. What happened to the lights? The streetlights are still on outside.”
            “If you don’t mind, I’ll stay in here until Mohandas falls asleep again,” said Aunt Mary.
            Uncle Patrick hesitated. “Well, sure, the little lad’s had quite a fright. You stay with him. I’m going back to bed. If the lights are still off in the morning, I’ll call the hydro.”
            After Uncle Patrick left, Aunt Mary lay me down and tucked me in. “Try to get some sleep, little Das. Everything will work out in the end. You will be loved here.”
Interview with Lisa Llamrei
1)      Would you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
I was born and raised in and around Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In my wild and crazy youth, I spent a few years as a professional belly dancer, and was even offered an opportunity to tour Egypt and the United Arab Emirates; unfortunately for so many reasons other than my dance career, the first Gulf War broke out at that time. I also did a great deal of acting and other stage work, but never achieved professional status. I am now a single mom to four girls aged 2, 12, 14, and 16. We live north of Toronto.

2)      Which project are you currently promoting?
Reflection of the Gods.

3)      Can you tell us what the book is about?
Newly divorced Das MacDermott longs for a fresh start. As he packs up and prepares to move out of the city, he spots a young woman being held at gunpoint by three men. Despite being outnumbered and unarmed, Das does his best to intervene. Once liberated, the victim seems oddly ungrateful, but on an apparent whim decides to join Das in his new life in rural Ontario. Aislinn, as she is called, returns the favour; with her encouragement and support, his start-up photography business takes off, and more importantly, Das is saved from loneliness and self-doubt.
Das, however, is never quite able to fully dismiss the contrary aspects of Aislinn’s nature, and is strictly forbidden from asking about Aislinn’s past. All seems too good to be true, and indeed it is. Aislinn’s unusual talents and odd behaviour, unbeknownst to Das, come from her demigod status. Aislinn is half-Sidhe, daughter of Fionvarra, Ireland’s fairy king, and a human woman. Sidhe wars have so disrupted the mortal world that Aislinn has joined with other immortals in an effort to permanently separate it from Tir N’a Nog, the fairy realm.
Born in ancient Ireland, Aislinn spends millennia as the plaything of the cruel and narcissistic gods. The pain of being neither human nor Sidhe is offset by her relationship to the Fir Bolg, another race of fair folk who take pity on her lonely state; and the refuge she takes in being Das’s lover and protector. As Das comes to accept the possibility that Aislinn belongs to a supernatural world, he discovers that the two worlds are set to collide in a way that may mean the destruction of all humanity.

4)      How did you come up with the title for this book?
By polling several of my writer friends. The original title was Lifetimes, which was too bland. So, I turned to my supportive writing community and we tossed around a few ideas.

5)      What inspired you to write this book?
Fairy folklore, mostly Irish. I was particularly taken with stories about immortal women marrying mortal men and started to wonder how that would play out in the modern world.

6)      What made you decide to become a writer?
I didn’t decide to be a writer. I just couldn’t help it. Ever since I was young, I invented stories. As a teenager, I started writing them down.

7)      What genre do you generally write?
Urban Fantasy.

8)      What character out of your most recent work do you admire the most and why?
Nora. She’s in my current work-in-progress. I admire her because she’s smart, strong, and focuses on her strengths instead of her weaknesses.

9)      What other projects are you currently working on?
I have a near-complete first draft of a second novel. It’s about a deaf woman who is drawn into the crop circle phenomenon. I’ve also just started prep work for a third novel, which will be partially set in ancient Egypt, and will likely have elements of horror.

10)  When you begin a new MS, does it start with an idea, concept, or both?
It depends on what you consider the starting point of a manuscript. By the time I write the first word, I have a general idea of what story I want to tell. Prior to that, however, I am inspired by a concept, and generally spend months, or years, researching the concept before coming up with a story idea.

11)  What is your least favorite part about getting published?
Promotion. It requires a completely different skill set than writing, and I’m still struggling with figuring it all out.

12)  Was the road to publication a long one for you?
Much shorter than for most. I spent a couple of years pitching Reflection of the Gods to agents. After getting some interest, but no offers, and after learning some discouraging facts about the current state of the publishing industry, I decided to go the self-publishing route.

13)  Do you use a pen name? If so, why?
I do. Lisa is my real first name, but Llamrei is a nom-de-plume. I use it partly for privacy, and partly because my actual surname is very common (as is my first name), and so I cannot get the domain name. A pseudonym allows me a better web presence.

14)  Where do you see yourself in five years?
Hopefully as a full-time writer, with a combination of novel-writing and freelancing.

15)  What is the best advice you can give to a new author?
Just write. 90% of literary genius is simply getting your butt into the chair and doing it. Make up a schedule that you can reasonably fit into your life. It doesn’t matter if it’s three hours a week or thirty, as long as you are working consistently. Stick to the schedule. Treat it like a job, and get your family on board so they understand that your writing time is important.

16)  Where can the readers find more information about you?
On my website:

Author Bio: 

Lisa Llamrei was born and raised in the Toronto area. She studied languages at York University. At various times, she has been an actor, professional belly dancer, holistic nutritionist, and entrepreneur. She currently lives north of Toronto with her family. Reflection of the Gods is her first novel.

Book Trailer:

The print book can be purchased here:

The e-book can be purchased for Kindle here:

Or for Kobo here:

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Key to Everything by Alex Kimmell

Title: The Key to Everything
Author: Alex M. Kimmell
Genre: Fantasy Horror
Cracked and weathered binding, hiding mysteries on pages tied closed by a bloodstained string. A happy young family enchanted by dreams and possibilities. A barren, empty room. A boy with no friends obsessively drawing angles, edges and diagrams. In his debut novel, Alex Kimmell captures a vivid and startling tale of fear. Auden's journey begins when he discovers a curious leather-bound book whose contents will soon endanger his entire family. The pages of this book draw him into a prison that cannot be breached, a place that can only be unlocked with a very special key. In The Key to Everything, fear is explored and heightened through jarring imagery and a terrifying, unique menace, ratcheting up the tension until the novel's gripping climax.
Book Excerpt:
You toss and turn for what seems like forever. Finally all the noise and static in your head silences down and you fade into sleep. Everything is black. No sound, sight or scent.  Floating. Full complete nothing… a pregnant emptiness. The deepest relaxation ever. You know you are flying, but there is no wind or sense of gravity’s pull to let you know direction. Not up or down. Not front or back. Slowly and gently there are brief caresses. First one brushes across your cheek. Another one moves softly along the nape of your neck. Your palms feel as if they are being kissed. A wetness slides across the backs of your knees. Hours later you feel a pressure right between your eyes. Sharp and unfriendly. Pushing harder, you struggle against the pressure holding you down. Skin cracks and the lock breaks open between your eyes. You realize now that what crushes into your head is the key. It stabs in like a drill bit, not spinning. It doesn’t stop. It will not stop. You scream and struggle but nothing moves when you tell it to. Your body is not responding to your commands. Trapped, a prisoner to the pain. There is nothing you can do but endure. The key rams further in, all the way to the wave-engraved hilt and stops.  It turns counterclockwise spinning around slowly. One revolution…two revolutions…three revolutions…you feel your brain being twisted and mulched…four revolutions…you can’t scream anymore, the agony is so sharp…five revolutions…everything goes dark…six revolutions…you try to think of your family…
“Seven, Daddy, seven.” Jason’s voice jolts you awake. You leap out of bed fighting to slow your heart and catch your breath. The sheets and your nightclothes are completely soaked with sweat. “Seven, Daddy, seven.” Jason’s voice sounds far away. He stands in the doorway holding his hand out in the dark.
“Jason? Hey buddy, are you ok?” You shake your head to get out of the dream and start walking to your son. The clock on the night table reads 12:07.
“Seven, Daddy, seven.” Still reaching out in the darkness, he begins to back up into the hallway.
Emily stirs and sits up, “Auden? What’s going on?”
You keep walking towards Jason as he backs further away. “I don’t know. Jason’s sleepwalking, I think.”
“Seven, Daddy, seven.” Arm stretched out to nothing, he moves strangely backwards, floating. The image of the boy blurs in the light shining up from the bottom of the stairs.
“Hey Jason.” You clap your hands. “Wake up, pal.” Following him down the hallway, you notice he is getting closer to the stairs.
“What did he say?” Emily follows you into the hall.
“I think he’s saying ‘seven.’”
“I have no idea. But he won’t wake up.”
“Seven, Daddy, seven.” Jason turns just before the stairs and begins backing into his room. Your heartbeat slows down a little in relief.
“At least he won’t fall down the stairs,” you say as Emily runs past you into Jason’s room.
“Jason.” She grabs his arms and shakes him hard. “Wake up, honey.”
“Seven, Daddy, seven.” His eyes stare blankly with black unfocused pupils completely dilated.
Jason sits down on his bed with his eyes stretched open. Stiff as a board he lays back and pulls the covers up to his chin. Emily stands above him crying. Putting your arms around her from behind you can feel her shaking. You can’t blame her. You’re scared out of your shit too. You don’t even bother trying to comfort her.
“I’m going to throw up.” Emily pulls away and runs to the bathroom.
You head down the hall to help her and glance back at Jason. His head snaps hard to the right and he stares directly into your eyes.
You launch yourself at him,  cradling him in your arms. “Jason. Wake up please. I’m right here.” You rock him back and forth. He feels cold.  A stone.
You don’t want to.  The very idea of doing it brings a stabbing pain in your stomach.  Your hand reaches out, swings through the air and slaps him hard across the cheek. Immediate silence. Jason looks at you, stunned. He starts to sob, tears pouring down his face.
“Why did you hit me, Daddy?” He pushes you and recoils into the headboard. “Why did you hit me?”
Emily runs in the doorway and jumps over you to get to her child. “Shhhh, baby.” She reaches back to you with one hand and grabs your wrist. “You were having a really bad nightmare and Daddy was trying to help you.” She puts her hands on his face and looks right into his eyes. “Daddy and Mommy would never hurt you. You know that, right?”
“But he hit me in the face. I was asleep and he hit me in the face.” Bursting into uncontrollable sobs, Jason buries his face into his mother’s embrace. Feeling fear and shame beyond words, you get up from the bed. Rubbing your hands on the top of your head, you pace around the room.
“Fuck!” You slam your hand down on the top of the bookshelf, knocking the soccer-ball lamp and all of the books on the top shelf to the floor. “Just great.” You kneel down and start picking up the mess.
Jason’s words are muffled by Emily’s arms. “That’s another quarter for the swear jar, Daddy.” First a moment of quiet and then the three of you start laughing. It starts quietly and Jason looks from you to Emily and back again. When it lets loose, it’s breath-stealing, foot-stomping, rolling-around-on-the-bed, tension-relieving hysterics.
You sit on the floor as tears roll from your eyes. Eventually you catch enough breath to say, “How about a dollar for this one, big guy?” Which just starts Jason and Emily laughing all over again. You stand up and resume putting the books back on the shelf. You leave “1,001 Fairy Tales” for last just like Jason would.
When you finally put it on the shelf, it doesn’t hit the back and stop. It keeps going into the wall.  Through the wall like it wasn’t there anymore. You pull the book back out and grab the soccer-ball lamp. Aiming it down closer, you try to take a better look. You see a dark crack where the back of the bookshelf should be. You turn to make sure Emily and Jason aren’t watching, and slowly reach your hand into the darkness. It feels moist and scratches your fingers like brittle branches on a dead tree after a cold snow thaw. It opens slightly, welcoming you inside. You feel it pulling you in deeper. Confused and frightened you’re screaming inside to stop and back away. Roaring to pull your hand back from the dark. Still, your hand slides deeper into the black. Farther than it should be able to. Your shoulder is pressed against the spines of the children’s books lining the top shelf. How can your hand still be moving further in? The branches dig deeper into your skin. Warm blood begins to flow down your forearm. Your panic finally takes hold and you are about to retract your hand when you feel it.
It’s cold and soft. It must be old, very old. You can feel the dust and something squishy like mold. You move your fingers a little to the side to get a good hold. There are no more brittle branches stabbing and scratching. You pull what looks like an ancient, dust-covered book off the shelf as if it were resting there next to “Goodnight Moon” the entire time. The blackened cover was probably expensive leather at one time. The faded string is still tied around the book keeping secrets locked inside. If you were to pull the knot out, the entire thing would disintegrate. You reach down for “1,001 Fairy Tales” to put it back on the shelf but it’s not on the floor. You look around for it and it’s already tucked away on the shelf exactly where Jason likes it.

Author Bio
Alex kimmell (the squirrel whisperer/twodoggarage/daddy not-so-much-bucks) is an accidental novelist, anti-rhyme-ologist, oxygen inhaler, carbon dioxide exhaler who often generates harmonious sounds with various instruments of different historical importance. his work has appeared on cool places around the 1’s and 0’s like Black Lantern Press, Front Row Lit, Dumb White Husband and The Wordcount Podcast. His novel “the Key to everything” and collection of short, horrific tales “A Chorus of Wolves” were released by Booktrope Publishing. come and join the neurosis at