Friday, 23 March 2018

Book Feature: CURSE OF A DRAGON'S CLAIM by Ciara Lake

About the Book:
Curse of a Dragon's Claim by Ciara Lake
 The flame within a dragon warrior's heart awakens Arianna's passion as she begins a journey in which she will discover she's something more than she ever imagined possible.
The realm of the dragons is a world of magic, danger, and mystery. For centuries they've been at war with the vampires, but now the two enemies must work together to save all immortals, and the mortals they co-exist with, from an ancient evil. In order to do so, they need the help of the Forsaken, descendants of immortals who were cast out into the human realm, their memories wiped clean of their true heritage.
Clayne MacDagon is a powerful dragon warrior who is sent on a mission to find one of the Forsaken. Although he's told that this woman is his fated mate, he can't believe it could possibly be true. Arianna Mergliano possesses both dragon and vampire blood, and Clayne has an intense hatred for anything even remotely related to vampires, the evil beings who were responsible for his beloved twin's death.
When Arianna meets Clayne, she's convinced that the man is insane, or maybe he's a warlock or even the devil himself, but whichever it is, she wants nothing to do with him.
Clayne knows he can't fail at his mission. And once he meets Arianna he also knows that what he's been told is true—she is, ironically, his intended mate.
Convincing her to accept him is only the beginning. He has to protect her from those who might want her dead. Together, they must face the shadows and evil that have long plagued the immortal realms and find a way to survive the coming war.

Book Links:

Read an Excerpt:

“Arianna, please come and sit down so I can fix your hair.” Alba waved Arianna over to the chair in front of a long mirror.
“Sorry, I’m excited. Can’t sit down.” Nevertheless, Arianna obeyed Alba’s direction and sat down.
“We must be ready to leave within an hour. It’s quite a drive to the Allegretti summer home. I’m eager to spend time there. It’s beautiful.” Alba flitted around as she brushed then braided Arianna’s long tresses. “I’ve laid your emerald dress out. If you approve, I’ll pack it. I’ve another for you to travel in.” She pointed to the yellow traveling dress.
Arianna looked toward the bed where her garments were laid out in preparation. “Oh, a lovely choice.”
“Yes, it is. I thought it would make a wonderful impression for this afternoon’s luncheon. In the evening, you can wear your scarlet dress. You’ll be breathtaking.”
“Thank you, Alba. I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
“No thanks is necessary. I’m doing what your mama asked me to do.” Alba smiled. Arianna watched Alba in the mirror as she fussed with her hair, arranging it on top of her head.
“My hair looks wonderful.” Arianna appraised Alba’s handiwork.
“You should think more of things like hairstyles, dresses, and shopping. It’s what wealthy young women are supposed to do. You spend too much time thinking about other people. This event is important. Your papa and Signor Allegretti are depending on it to impress their new associates. Your papa is counting on you to charm them as you always do.” Alba set the carved jewelry box on the dressing table. “Perhaps you should pick some jewels out now so as not to risk taking all with you.”
“Perhaps.” Arianna frowned, her gaze locking on the older woman’s reflection in the mirror. “I feel particularly nervous about this garden party. For some reason I have this uneasiness…no, not really uneasy, I’m not sure what it is, but I’m worried.” Arianna placed her hand over her stomach. It pained her. “I feel something life changing is about to occur.”
“Hush now, Arianna.” Alba patted her arm. “Such talk makes people very nervous, including me. Change can be good.”
“I can’t help it, I feel something momentous will soon happen. I’m not sure if it’s good or bad. I need to be able to speak of things to someone, and the only one I can reveal myself to is you.” Arianna pouted.
“Put these thoughts from your mind and relax. You’re merely nervous about meeting the eligible gentlemen your father invited. I overheard your father say there will be several eligible, well-respected businessmen there. A widower and one who has never been wed are said to be present.”
“Father doesn’t know what an excellent catch is.” Arianna rolled her eyes. “He’s only looking at their wealth.”
“Of course he is, Arianna. It would do you well to understand the way of it. You’d never wed a pauper. You are meant for greater things. Hold still, your hair’s almost done,” Alba instructed.
Arianna handed Alba another pin. The words swirled in her head, a familiar mantra she’d long since gotten tired of.
“There, you’re absolutely exquisite. I want you to look wonderful as soon as you step off the carriage. We’ll refresh you once you’re there. But first impressions, you know.”
“I can’t believe you think wealth’s the only important thing. Not you, Alba. Love’s important. Don’t you think? Isn’t love with physical attraction most important? I know most girls don’t think of this. But I do.”
“I know you think differently in many things, but don’t speak of this to any other. Just remember, love doesn’t pay your bills or buy your lovely silks. Love doesn’t do much, and it may not last.” She motioned for Arianna to stand, then helped her into her dress.
“Papa and Mama loved each other, theirs lasted.”
“Yes, a rarity in itself. If you can tolerate him and he’s wealthy, you’ve the makings of a good husband. Love may come.” Alba stood back, inspected Arianna, and smiled. “You look gorgeous. Let’s get downstairs. The carriage is already parked out front.”
“There will be other females there to charm the gentlemen. They’re much better at being amusing. Sarah’s always so charming and delightful.”
“Yes, but these men are eligible suitors. You’re in need of a husband.”
“I don’t need a husband, at least not yet.”
“Hush, you speak silliness,” Alba scolded as only a beloved servant could do. “You’re a young woman, you need a husband.”
“The other girls need husbands too.”
“Don’t be foolish, you know as well as I, Rafaela’s engaged, Jenna’s being courted by a very appropriate suitor, and Sarah…well, she’s Sarah. You most certainly need a husband. You’re nineteen years old, and getting older every day.”
“You make me sound ancient.” Arianna giggled.
“Someone must take care of you. It won’t be your father forever, he grows older too.”
“Truly, I can take care of myself.”

* * * *

Clayne relaxed against the ornate couch, a drink in his hand. He appraised the home with a quick eye, the luxury of the human’s dwelling spartan compared to the spacious townhouse he’d recently purchased in the heart of Florence. The invitation to the Allegretti home was most advantageous. It allowed him to continue his search without breaking his cover of a rich merchant who recently relocated from Rome to enjoy the art and culture of Florence, the jewel of the Renaissance.
It amused him to interact with these uncomplicated people. Signor Antonio Mergliano had been insistent that Clayne accept the invitation to the garden party, assuring him an entertaining visit. For some reason, Clayne was compelled to accept, he liked the old man.
Clayne shifted. While fortuitous, the invite was a hindrance. He should be searching for a godforsaken female with the mark of the dragon. No doubt the Forsaken bitch was an ugly, cold-hearted, half-breed bloodsucker. His blood boiled at the very notion of a vampire’s offspring.
There’s no fucking way she’ll be my mate. Mother’s prediction is wrong.
Clayne stood up, stretching his legs. Taking a sip of his drink, it cooled his inner heat. He burned with annoyance at having to do the Goddess Amuliana Synvera’s bidding.
His hatred for anything remotely related to vampires ate at him. They were only good for killing, as far as he was concerned. As loyal as he was to his king, this quest made his temper burn. He’d much rather be back in Ejdeha Dragoni having his teeth pulled than searching for this abomination in human form.
Mother’s wrong. How could the fates be so cruel to me?
He sighed into his drink. It had been years since he’d spent so much time among mortals. Only his trips for his king drew him from his seclusion, and the grief still stung at the loss of his beloved sister.
Perhaps he’d find a simple-minded human female to dally with, relieve his frustrations. Dragon females could be so complicated and greedy of his time. Often, human girls pretended to be virtuous, yet he knew better, seeing through their facade immediately. Allegretti’s daughter was one such female, she smelled of many men. Perhaps she’d be willing and eager to sneak off to a secluded place where he could get lost for a bit between her thighs. The thought brought a smile to his face.

About the Author:
Welcome to Ciara Lake's World. Meet Gorgeous Werewolves, Vampires, Dragons, Mermaids, Wizards, Witches, Mythological Gods and Goddesses, Mere Mortals And More! Fiction has always been a passion of mine. Creating worlds and developing characters is a great way for me to relieve the stress and strain of my everyday world. In fantasy (paranormal) and sci-fi stories, the author has the unique ability to invent wonderfully exotic places and people. I do that in my books. These fantastic genres provide a limitless ability to be creative and inventive. My stories provide an escape into a special world filled with unique and otherworldly things. And there is always a happy ending.

Contact the Author: 

Sunday, 4 March 2018

The bucket is empty...or will be soon

Pen drawing of a bucket (from Linzé's journal)
Two days ago my husband mentioned that it is a month to go before we go on our annual vacation. It has long been a contentious issue between us because of the cost to visit the UK. The South African currency is horrible when compared to the pound, and Francois has always used that point to counter any argument I had in the past. We finally sat down and did a budget and realised that this year we could afford to go. 
Then we started planning the vacation because I finally got my wish to do the number one thing on my bucket list: visit Scotland.
While I could regale you with long and eminently dull tales of why a visit to that particular country is in the prime spot on my list, I will save you the tears.
My husband, with his no doubt innocent and excited remark, got me thinking about that bucket list. And I realised that pretty soon it is going to be empty. Let me tell you; it is not a good image to carry around in one's mind.
Of course, it was not the only thing on my list, but the other things have secretly wound their way to the outside world over the years. Write a book: check. Publish a novel: check - number four was published about a month ago. Be self-employed: check - did that for ten years, and loved it. Be financially secure for retirement: check. So what now? After Scotland, that bucket will be empty.
It is damn near impossible to describe how it feels to have nothing I want to do, no matter how farfetched or big. Sure I can put stuff in there like space travel and an Olympic gold medal in archery, but those are not my dreams. Although I do like archery.
Our trip is a month away, and I am thinking about what to pack and what to leave behind, but underneath all the excitement this empty list is bothering me. More places to visit? I do not know. I have been to the one country in Africa (outside of my own that is) that I wanted to see, more than once. I have been to other countries in the world too, although there are many more to go if that is what I want to do.
And here we get to the crux of my predicament: what do I still want to do? As I sit here contemplating the words of this post, I have no freaking clue. I think that any new destination can be delayed since it would only be fair to go someplace Francois wants to visit. Since he is a photographer, I doubt that it would be a chore to accompany him.
And my bucket will still be empty. I am not sure how to handle this. It is a very odd experience this not knowing, or at the very least have a vague idea. There is nothing looming in my subconscious either.
Then a thought struck: do I need a bucket list? Surely, it is not the end of the world if I no longer have some big dream to chase? I do have my goals, and are those not some form of a bucket list? Perhaps what I need is a change in perspective, not another big and/or impossible thing. Who says it has to be impossible...again a shift in perspective perhaps?
Some things to ponder in the weeks ahead while I pack my suitcase for Scotland.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

A booty of music to celebrate

What do you do when you have met all your targets for one day? I mean after three hours of painting, writing enough words to exceed my daily target four times, and then also managing to make my watch ping that I have achieved my exercise target for the day.
My word count target for the year

Now the exercise target is a tricky one on the best of days, that is I why I now have a personal trainer to put me through my paces. However, that only happens tomorrow. Today, however, I made it by accident, shall we say?
I was on my way to take a shower when one of my all-time favourite songs started playing. So I do what anyone does when that happens...I shake my booty in time to the song!
So I shook my booty all the way to the shower with my Bluetooth speaker in one hand and my mobile phone in the other. Shake-shake.
In the shower, another song came on, and boy now I had to move and shower at the same time. And trust me, the shower cubicle is not the size where you can change your mind easily. So here I was, shaking my booty, while trying to wash it, and at the same time trying to prevent my hair from getting wet.
Good thing I was not wearing my glasses, because I do not think even I wanted to see that!
The question remains what now? There are still two hours before bedtime. What is a girl to do with all that time?
With a thunderstorm and wonderful rain singing the background chorus to my evening, there is but one thing left to do: read.
So here is to my week ahead. And here is to your week ahead. May it be blessed with success and plenty of coffee and books.

Until next time!


Monday, 15 January 2018

Cover Reveal: WAITING FOR ADRIAN by Linzé Brandon

cover graphic, Waiting for Adrian, author Linzé BrandonLife was perfect for young  Erin Ville.
Her days were busy with normal teenager things, while her nights were filled with the romantic dreams of a young woman in love.
Until those dreams became so much more than the wishes of her heart.

Who was she really?
Where did Adrian fit into all of this?

Premonitions of war.
Prophecies of the future.
In the middle of it all a young woman too fragile to save the Nations of Peace, and yet they didn't stand a chance of survival without her.

Would Adrian be the man she needed, or was she destined to wait for him forever?

Waiting for Adrian is now available to order on Smashwords.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

StoryCubes Short Story Writing Competition 2018


The Competition

1. Write a short story using the nine story cubes in the graphic (see HOW TO ENTER below).
2. The cubes must be used in the way they are laid out, ie. the opening 3 must be in the opening scene of the story, the middle 3 in the middle, and the last 3 in the ending of the story. The order of the use of the three cubes in every part of the story, is left up to the author.
3. Each story must have a single author.
4. No changes are allowed to stories already submitted.
5. By entering this monthly competition you declare that the stories you submit are your own work, and that you have not committed plagiarism in any form. If any story is found to be the work of another author, copied from any source on the internet, or other published work, the entrant will be banned from any future entries and any work already published will be removed with a public announcement to that effect.
6. By entering this competition you grant permission that your story may be published on Butterfly on a Broomstick and promoted on social media
7. The entry fee is not refundable, so make sure you submit your story on time.
8. South Africa is located in the GMT+2 time zone. Late submissions due to miscalculations on the time zone, will not be accepted as an excuse.
9. Three winners will be picked every month and their stories will be promoted on my blog, Butterfly on a Broomstick. Promotions will take the form of shares on Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, and Twitter.
10. Linzé Brandon is the administrator/judge of this competition, and will not take part as an author.
11. Judges for the month are not allowed to enter, but are welcome to do so for other months.
12. The judges' decision is final.
13. The submissions remain the intellectual property of each author.
14. The top three authors (with the most votes) at the end of the year will be awarded Amazon gift cards to the value of - $25, $15 and $8. In case of a tie, the prizes will be combined and divided equally.
15. The cubes will send out the 1st of the following months: February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October and November.

The stories will be judged based on the following criteria:

1. Word count, excluding the title, must not exceed 750 words.
2. All nine (9) of the Storycubes must feature in the story.
3. All family friendly genres are welcome - that means no explicit sex, no violence, and no offensive language.
4. Stories that thrill the judges or make them laugh, cry, horrified or touched by your characters are what we are looking for.
5. The story is the most important, but take the time to edit your story before submission. Where stories are tied for a winning place, the better edited story will be chosen.
6. The top three authors for each month will be contacted by email.

How to enter?

1. Subscribe to my blog to get the nine Storycubes sent to your inbox, every month. No spam, I promise.
2. Submit your story in the BODY of an email message. Emails with attachments will be automatically disqualified.
3. Put the title of your story in the SUBJECT line of the email as follows: STORYCUBES {The Month you are taking part} - The Title of Your Story. The email addresses for submission and payment will be sent with the cubes every month.
4. Stories received after the deadline are not eligible. Since the cubes are different for every month, late stories will not be carried over to the next month.
5. Deadline for each story will be in your inbox.
6. Entry fee: $2. The Paypal reference number must accompany the entry to be valid.

How to get to the top spot?

1. Promote your story to all your friends on the internet.
2. Ask them to vote for your story.
3. Take part in the next month's competition.

NOTE: The details of this post will be relocated to a TAB on my blog, so you don't have to search for the rules next time.