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Annabel Horton and the Black Witch of Pau Tour

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Fantasy
Release Date: Oct. 1, 2019
Publisher: Chattercreek
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Annabel’s husband, who has been missing for years, is finally discovered among the bowels of White Chapel England during the horror of Jack the Ripper. His discovery brings Annabel and her family to the turn of nineteenth-century England hoping to rescue Michele from the Black Witch’s cage. What they discover is that the Black Witch has been forced into an insidious pact with the devil and the devil, with malicious intent, is luring them all into a web of death. Can they escape his grasp?

Excerpt

Whitec Chapel, London

 1888

Geneviève Têetu, the Black Witch of Pau

     The moon floated past my window like a round, celestial ship; it seemed detached from the sky as it beckoned me, this segregated, white, globular light. Clouds that looked like smoke nearly covered it, but it was still bright and full. I stood in the shadow it threw across my floor and whispered the incantations of conquest as I stared at it. Only when the moon is full could I do this. It kept me potent, this incantation. I have been whispering it many years, mostly for others, but tonight, it was for me.    

  Urbain has beckoned me, the great and most obnoxious Urbain. I was surprised to be his chosen one, but then again, I am the most wanting. He has given me a command and I must obey if I know what’s good for me. But I must admit, this command he has given me fills me with excitement, this command from the devil’s disciple is most miraculous.  I was titillated and beyond containment though I must also admit to feelings of weariness and discontent. 

I reached for the windowsill and held fast to steady my nerves. For all the miracles I could manifest, there is still magic I cannot perform. The great Urbain was a far greater witch than me, but what would I owe him for doing his bidding?

I turned from the window to stare at the massive man clothed in a Catholic priest’s robe. What a joke that is! His cross was the color of blackberry jam and marred by scratches, and the starched white collar around his neck was so stiff I wondered if it irritated him. I closed my eyes and mumbled a prayer of gratitude. I had been turned away from him, facing the moon, but of course, Urbain has heard my mutterings.

     ““What are you mumbling about?”” he asked.,

      Tthe irritation in his voice surprised me. I am after all, a witch,. I do a lot of muttmbelring—: incantations, curses, and dark prayers. It is not unusual for me to mutter. I wanted to tell him that, but I held my tongue and .

     I met his eyes. I was impressed hHe hads been patient up until now , and I have been impressed, but I have had also become leery. But it is my nature to be leery.

 But it is my nature to be leery.

     ““I was calling upon my gGoddess,”” I said.

     ““You have no need of gGoddesses. You have only need of me. Will you honor my command, or do I have to strike you down?””

     ““No need for violence, Urbain.””

     ““YSo, you say that Annabel has come to your window. How do you know this? How do you know the face of Annabel?”

     ““I don’’t know the face of Annabel, but the old man called her thatby name, and she was beautiful, so I surmised it. You told me that the old man was her husband, Michele Guyon.””

     ““Yes, the old man is Michele Guyon, but all the time travel he does has made him a blithering idiot.”” 

     ““So, you said, and now he is in my dungeon, as you commanded.””

     ““Yes, good move. Well, I imagine Annabel might have come to your window, though she certainly knows not whose window she stood before. I’’m sure she thinks, from the bowels of her limited brain, that it is her love of music that beckoned her to you. It was I who beckoned her, though I did not really think she would obey me, but. She never has. I am pleased to see that I have power over her still.”

     ““I’’m sure your power is greater than hers. She must be putty in your hands.”” I kept my sarcasm buried behind my veiled smile; a smile only partially visible behind my veils.

     ““Of course,, she is,”” he said. ““I wanted you to see her, to rest your eyes upon her, to and fall in love with her great beauty, so to speak. But I had no idea she succumbed to my will. Yes, I must admit that I did not.”” 

     ““How did you trick her then?”” I asked him. ““How did you get the old man to my window?””

     I had heard that the great Urbain was no match for Annabel Horton, but of course I would never tell him that. Annabel also had the power of several of her wretched family members, quite competent witches, to ward off any threats from Urbain. Together, they could probably crush him, the way Annabel’s magic had crushed our daughter, Jeanne Elemont, was crushed beneath the cross, crushed by the magic of Annabel Horton.

     He looked away from me for a moment, but. I saw the twitch in his cheek. He needed me for revenge., Hhow cunning he was to think of it. Whose need for beauty was greater than mine for beauty? 

     ““As I have always tricked her,”” he said. ““But that is not important., I wanted you to see what possibilities there are. It surprises me, yYour doubt, your and hesitation surprise me.””

     ““But I do not doubt you. and I am not hesitating. I am merely thanking the Goddess Hecate for the magic you bring me. I am,  . . . how do you say it . . .? Joie., I am with delight, Urbain.””

     ““I bring you no magic. It is not magic. It is power, the power of evil intent. I wish to destroy Annabel Horton, the way she destroyed our daughter, Jeanne.””

     ““Why are you choosingchoose me?”” I asked, though I knew the answer. ““There are so many you might have called upon.”” 

     He shrugged his shoulders. ““And why shouldn’’t I choose you? You have the most to gain.”” He laughed in the most wickedly way, as if he were crushing a small dog under the weight of his hand.

      ““I am about to give you a great gift, Geneviève. You will be beautiful once again, the way you were when we first made love under the light of the moon,.”” hHe said, standingwas standing in the shadow by mya parlor window in my parlor. “The way you were when we first made love under the light of the moon. “Do you remember?””

     I nodded, though it was a memory I would have preferred to keep buried. forget for it was notHe called it making love in my experience;, I called itit was something else, violence against me, perhapsrape.

      “As he came outwalked out of the darkness, he walked to me and took my face in his hand,. I could see his blue eyes, shinning like two icicles that hunghanging from a rotting roof in the starlit night sky, illuminated by stars.

 ““What greater power is there than beauty?”” he said.

     ““I am to be a pawn in your revenge,”” I whispered.

     His great height overwhelmed me for a moment as he released my face. I could still feel his touch, like heat from the sun.

 ““I can take my exit,”” he said,. ““aAnd leave you to your misfortune for all eternity.””

     I knew instinctively I should have let him go, but his offer was too prodigious. ““No!””

     He smiled again, benevolently. The cross he wore hung low, nearly to his stomach. His priest robes dusted the floor like drapes, that falling in gracious folds. One could easily trust him, and how foolish that would be.

     ““I will do your bidding and take the risk,”” I said,. ““I will do what you ask. I will take the risk, for indeed there must be risk.””

     ““There is,  … but if I succeed, it will be worth it.””

      ““I will need a powerful, cogent potion to accomplish the task of bringingbring Annabel to me. But, of course, I will do it. Annabel Horton will come to me of her own free will, and I will have her eating out of my hand.”” I showed him my imperfect teeth, and he returned my a smile. His smirk was like a long road into hell. And if I defied him, that’’s exactly where he would banish me., this I knew.

     He handed me a music box. ““Your bait. Sometimes, potions are not enough.””

     I took the box in my hand and stared at it. ““What is this? A box?””

     ““I have sent her music boxes over the years. She thinks they’’re from her husband. Women can be such docile fools when in love. She’’ll know you have her precious Michele if you give her this, or at least, she will think you have him. She will make the connection immediately.””

     ““Fine, where is she?””

     ““She lives in Brooklyn.””

     ““Where’’s that?””

     ““It is in America.””

     I stared at him in disbelief. ““I cannot go there,”” I said. ““How in the devilDevil’’s name will I get to America?””

     ““In the devilDevil’’s name? Ha! You are funny.” He let out a small laugh, almost like a giggle.” She lives in the twenty-first century. She lives among despair and, souls damned with an odd intelligence. Imagine,”” he said, turninged to me. ““They have lost their spirits, these so- called modern, arrogant raboteurs.””

     ““But I cannot go to her. ” I began to panic. ” I cannot cross time.” I began to panic. “You say she lives in the twenty-first century? I cannot go to the twenty-first century. Perhaps I can get to Brooklyn but not in the twenty-first century. I’’ll need someone else to give her the potion and, not to mention your . . . … uh . . . …  box.””

     ““Well, then, send that fool of a priest,”” he said. ““He can go anywhere. She will come. She will follow him. Imprison her immediately or she will get away. Then summon me at the Church of the Holy Ghost at, Nightiengale Square. We will bring take her to Julian’’s church for the exorcism, and I will be forever in your debt, Geneviève.””

     ““And I in yours,”” I whispered. I sat beforefaced him on my settee,. staring I faced him stoically. ““What if she does not come?”” I asked, myMy fear of him was far more obvious than I wished it to be. ““Why should she go where Julian tells her to go?””

     He laughedlet out, a deep bellowing sound that hurt my sensitive ears. ““She will think he comes with God’’s intent. She trusts him.””

     ““I see.””

     ““Would you prefer to live as you are with the face of a donkey? Aan ass? A chimpanzee? Or would you prefer to have men falling at your feet as they used to?””

     I had no answer. It was clearly obvious. I ached to be beautiful, as any ugly woman would.

     ““I thought as much,”” he said. ““We can accomplish anything if we want it badly enough.”” 

     And with one brief, perturbing glance over his shoulder, he was gone, leaving me to the impossible task of ensnaring a witch that could crush my soul if she chose. Could the great Urbain really assure me that it would not be so? I stared at the dust he left behind as and a shiver ran through my very bones.

     I was afraid. I will admit to being afraid for I was to trick the notoriousgreat Annabel Horton. For that I would need more than the fingernails of a beggar for my brew.

About the Author

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Olivia Hardy Ray is the pen name for Vera Jane Cook. The Author has published Three fantasy novels as Olivia Hardy Ray and five women’s fiction titles as Vera Jane Cook. The Author is writing a sequel to Pharaoh’s Star called Fox Hollow Road. The author’s women fiction title, Kismet, is due out this winter.
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Fantasy Release Date: Oct. 1, 2019 Publisher: Chattercreek Annabel’s husband, who has been missing for
Fantasy Release Date: Oct. 1, 2019 Publisher: Chattercreek Annabel’s husband, who has been missing for
  Science Fiction, mystery, fantasy Date Published: February 6, 2018 Publisher: Chattercreek The mystery that
Fantasy / Paranormal Date Published: March 11, 2015 Publisher: Chattercreek From the Salem Witch trials

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Children of the Cursed Tour

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Fantasy
Publisher: Next Chapter Pub
Date Published: 8/21/19
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 In a kingdom in turmoil, people only care for riches and power. As a war breaks out between countries, a godly power is awakening.
Two boys train at the Academy to become Knights of Valor. Best friends, one is filled with light while the other leans towards darkness.
They both have the power to change the world – or destroy it – in their battle for what they believe is right.

EXERPT

This was one of my favorite scenes to write. Began the book off with a bang.

Alistair pulled off his helmet, his long blonde hair fell down his back. His blue eyes were filled with rage, aimed at Ballard. “If you do not move out of my way, I will be forced to move you,” Alistair hissed, this time his hand on the hilt of his sword.

Ballard slyly grinned, “So you would be willing to do battle within these walls?”

“If it means getting to see the King, then yes,” Alistair replied, standing tall and unwavering.

Ballard unsheathed his blade, “If you refuse to back down, then have at thee.” His determination was just as unwavering as Alistair’s.

Alistair felt as though his hand had been forced, and he too unsheathed his blade. The two men were now set to do battle. Ballard was the first to strike with his blade, but Alistair parried the attack, “Not bad, Chamberlain. But now it is my turn,” he said, then lunged at Ballard.

Ballard knocked the blade away without even trying, “Not bad yourself Knight, but you will have to do better than that if you want to best me,” he sheepishly grinned.

The sound of steel clashing against steel could be heard all throughout the castle as the two men fought each other. Hearing the sounds echoing through out must have drawn the ire of King Edward, for he stormed out of the throne room, and unbeknownst to the two men he used his blade “Kings Defender” to knock Alistair and Ballard’s swords from their hands, sending them both to the floor without trouble. “What is the meaning of this? Fighting inside my castle walls is forbidden.” 

The King was infuriated with the both of them. “Tell me. Why would my first Knight and most trusted adviser be in my halls fighting like two fools,” he shouted at them both. “I want answers, or so help me I will have both of you locked up in the dungeon for months.” Instead of answering King Edward. Ballard made a big mistake by reaching for his sword and King Edward took notice by stepping on the blade, keeping the sword just out of reach, “Reach for your blade one more time Chamberlain, trusted or not I will cut off your hand,” the King yelled. “Now which of you are going to give me the answer I seek?”

Alistair on one knee placed his arm across his chest and bowed before he spoke, “Your majesty. I have urgent news for you, but before I could deliver. The Chamberlain here refused to let me have an audience, and this is urgent and I did what I felt was right. Even if it meant fighting inside these walls. I do apologize, I should have thought this through.”

Edward then looked over at Ballard, “Is this true, Chamberlain?”

“It is my Lord,” Ballard answered.

King Edward’s anger was solely upon his Chamberlain now, “Why would you stop my First Knight from coming to see me? You know it is important whenever he rushes in like this.”

“My Lord, you’ve been ill lately and do not need the stress. I was only thinking of you your majesty,” explained Ballard

“You had no right,” the King responded. “As long as I am the King of Drasal, and have the aid of my blade, I refuse to be treated like an old frail man. I shall always be here for my knights and my people. Get out of my sight, Ballard!”

“But your majesty-” the Chamberlain tried to speak but the King would have none of it.

“I said to get out of my sight,” King Edward shouted again.

The Chamberlain stood up and asked if he could have his sword back, of course, the King was not a heartless man and allowed him to take back his blade. But Ballard did not go far, instead, he hid out of sight and listened in on what King Edward and Alistair had to say to one another.

“Go on Lord Alistair, tell of this news you speak of,” the King said, now in a much calmer state, but still as serious as ever.

Alistair sheathed his sword and picked up his helmet. “The Dark Knights have returned and are on the move, your majesty.”

Edward’s face had now changed to a look of despair, “What? The Dark Knights have returned? You must be mistaken, Knight. That evil was laid to rest a lifetime ago.”

“Yes, I remember my Lord. I was just a kid when you vanquished that evil with the King’s Defender, and a handful of knights to aid you. But believe in my words, I have seen them with my own eyes. They have returned and are not far from here, my Lord,” said Alistair.

King Edward held tightly onto the hilt of his blade, “If that is the case, then I shall ride out with you and vanquish that evil once more.”

“King Edward, you musn’t. You are ill! And who knows what could happen out there. Your people need you now more than ever. If you would, please allow me to take some more men and go out to scout, and see what they are up to that is. At least allow me that before you get involved, my King. Please. I beg of you,” Alistair pleaded.

Edward was reluctant but agreed to do as Alistair had wished, “Okay, Alistair. I will do as you wish and allow you to take a few extra men out with you, under one condition.”

“Of course.” He bowed. “Name your condition.”

“You take only a few men, and some from the Academy as well. And under no circumstances do you engage the Dark Knights. Understood,” King Edward explained.

“I understand your majesty. I shall do as you ask,” replied Alistair.

“Then go now Knight Of Valor, and assemble your team. I shall be awaiting your return, may the gods watch over you,” King Edward said.

Alistair crossed his arm over his chest and bowed to the King, “I shall take my leave now, your majesty. And thank you for placing your trust in me once more.”

King Edward stood there for a moment, mumbling a few words under his breath before turning and walking back into the throne room. However, there lurking in the shadows was the King’s Chamberlain, and he heard every word that was said. “So the Dark Knights have returned from the ashes, that must mean “the dark powers” are up for grabs again. And all the mythical blades powers must have been resurrected as well. Which would explain why the King took us down so easily while being so frail.

“This could be good for me,” Ballard whispered, before disappearing back into the shadows.

About the Author

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I am the author of Albert: Killer In The Woods and many more. I love to write horror novels and short stories as well. I live in Powell Wyoming with my fiancee and two kids.
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RABT Book Tours & PR
Fantasy Release Date: Oct. 1, 2019 Publisher: Chattercreek Annabel’s husband, who has been missing for
Fantasy Release Date: Oct. 1, 2019 Publisher: Chattercreek Annabel’s husband, who has been missing for
  (The Mix-Blood: Book One) Young Adult, Coming of Age, Fantasy Date Published: October 1,
Fantasy Date Published: 09/30/2019 Publisher: WordFire Press Wes Rockville, a disgraced law-enforcement agent, gets one

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Annabel Horton and the Black Witch of Pau Blitz

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Fantasy
Release Date: Oct. 1, 2019
Publisher: Chattercreek
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Annabel’s husband, who has been missing for years, is finally discovered among the bowels of White Chapel England during the horror of Jack the Ripper. His discovery brings Annabel and her family to the turn of nineteenth-century England hoping to rescue Michele from the Black Witch’s cage. What they discover is that the Black Witch has been forced into an insidious pact with the devil and the devil, with malicious intent, is luring them all into a web of death. Can they escape his grasp?
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Excerpt
Whitechapel, London
1888
Geneviève Têtu, the Black Witch of Pau
     The moon floated past my window like a round, celestial ship; it seemed detached from the sky as it beckoned me, this segregated, white, globular light. Clouds that looked like smoke nearly covered it, but it was still bright and full. I stood in the shadow it threw across my floor and whispered the incantations of conquest as I stared at it. Only when the moon is full could I do this. It kept me potent, this incantation. I have been whispering it many years, mostly for others, but tonight, it was for me.   
  Urbain has beckoned me, the great and most obnoxious Urbain. I was surprised to be his chosen one, but then again, I am the most wanting. He has given me a command and I must obey if I know what’s good for me. But I must admit, this command he has given me fills me with excitement, this command from the devil’s disciple is most miraculous.  I was titillated and beyond containment though I must also admit to feelings of weariness and discontent.
I reached for the windowsill and held fast to steady my nerves. For all the miracles I could manifest, there is still magic I cannot perform. The great Urbain was a far greater witch than me, but what would I owe him for doing his bidding?
I turned from the window to stare at the massive man clothed in a Catholic priest’s robe. What a joke that is! His cross was the color of blackberry jam and marred by scratches, and the starched white collar around his neck was so stiff I wondered if it irritated him. I closed my eyes and mumbled a prayer of gratitude.
“What are you mumbling about?” he asked.
     The irritation in his voice surprised me. I am a witch. I do a lot of mumbling—incantations, curses, and dark prayers. I wanted to tell him that, but I held my tongue and met his eyes. I was impressed he had been patient, but I had become leery. But it is my nature to be leery.
“I was calling upon my goddess,” I said.
“You have no need of goddesses. You have only need of me. Will you honor my command, or do I have to strike you down?”
“No need for violence, Urbain.”
“You say that Annabel has come to your window. How do you know this? How do you know the face of Annabel?”
“I don’t, but the old man called her by name and she was beautiful, so I surmised it. You told me that the old man was her husband, Michele Guyon.”
“Yes, but all the time travel he does has made him a blithering idiot.”
“So you said, and now he is in my dungeon as you commanded.”
“Yes, good move. Well, I imagine Annabel might have come to your window, though she certainly knows not whose window she stood before. I’m sure she thinks, from the bowels of her limited brain, that it is her love of music that beckoned her to you. I did not really think she would obey me, but I am pleased to see that I have power over her still.”
“I’m sure your power is greater than hers. She must be putty in your hands.” I kept my sarcasm buried behind my veiled smile.
“Of course, she is,” he said. “I wanted you to rest your eyes upon her and fall in love with her great beauty. But I had no idea she succumbed to my will.”
“How did you trick her then?” I asked. “How did you get the old man to my window?”
I had heard that the great Urbain was no match for Annabel Horton, but I would never tell him that. Annabel had the power of several of her wretched family members, quite competent witches, to ward off any threats from Urbain. Together, they could probably crush him the way Annabel’s magic had crushed our daughter, Jeanne Elemont, beneath the cross.
He looked away for a moment, but I saw the twitch in his cheek. He needed me for revenge. How cunning he was. Whose need for beauty was greater than mine?
“As I have always tricked her,” he said. “But that is not important. I wanted you to see what possibilities there are. Your doubt and hesitation surprise me.”
“I do not doubt you. I am merely thanking the Goddess Hecate for the magic you bring me. I am . . . how do you say it . . . Joie. I am with delight, Urbain.”
“I bring you no magic. It is power, the power of evil intent. I wish to destroy Annabel Horton, the way she destroyed our daughter, Jeanne.”
“Why choose me?” I asked, though I knew the answer. “There are so many you might have called upon.”
He shrugged. “And why shouldn’t I choose you? You have the most to gain.” He laughed wickedly, as if he were crushing a small dog under the weight of his hand.
“I am about to give you a great gift, Geneviève. You will be beautiful once again, the way you were when we first made love under the light of the moon,” he said, standing in the shadow by my parlor window. “Do you remember?”
I nodded, though it was a memory I would have preferred to keep buried. He called it making love; I called it something else, violence against me, perhaps.
As he walked out of the darkness and took my face in his hand, I could see his blue eyes, shining like two icicles hanging from a rotting roof in the starlit night sky.
“What greater power is there than beauty?” he said.
“I am to be a pawn in your revenge,” I whispered.
His great height overwhelmed me as he released my face. I could still feel his touch, like heat from the sun.
“I can take my exit,” he said, “and leave you to your misfortune for all eternity.”
I knew instinctively I should have let him go, but his offer was too prodigious. “No!”
He smiled again, benevolently. The cross he wore hung low, nearly to his stomach. His priest robes dusted the floor like drapes, falling in gracious folds. One could easily trust him, and how foolish that would be.
“I will do your bidding and take the risk,” I said, “for there must be risk.”
“There is, but if I succeed, it will be worth it.”
“I will need a powerful, cogent potion to bring Annabel to me. But of course, I will do it. Annabel Horton will come to me of her own free will, and I will have her eating out of my hand.” I showed him my imperfect teeth, and he returned a smile. His smirk was like a long road into hell. And if I defied him, that’s exactly where he would banish me.
He handed me a music box. “Your bait. Sometimes potions are not enough.”
I took the box and stared at it. “What is this? A box?”
“I have sent her music boxes over the years. She thinks they’re from her husband. Women can be such docile fools when in love. She’ll know you have her precious Michele if you give her this.”
“Fine, where is she?”
“She lives in Brooklyn.”
“Where’s that?”
“It is in America.”
I stared at him in disbelief. “I cannot go there,” I said. “How in the Devil’s name will I get to America?”
“In the Devil’s name? Ha! You are funny.
“But I cannot go to her. I cannot cross time.” I began to panic. “I’ll need someone else to give her the potion and your . . . uh . . . box.”
“Well, then send that fool of a priest,” he said. “He can go anywhere. She will follow him. Imprison her immediately or she will get away. Then summon me at the Church of the Holy Ghost at Nightingale Square. We will take her to Julian’s church for the exorcism, and I will be forever in your debt, Geneviève.”
“And I in yours,” I whispered. I faced him on my settee, staring stoically. “What if she does not come?” My fear of him was far more obvious than I wished it to be. “Why should she go where Julian tells her to go?”
He let out a deep bellowing sound that hurt my sensitive ears. “She will think he comes with God’s intent. She trusts him.”
“I see.”
“Would you prefer to live as you are with the face of an ass? A chimpanzee? Or would you prefer to have men falling at your feet as they used to?”
I had no answer. It was obvious I ached to be beautiful, as any ugly woman would.
“I thought as much,” he said. “We can accomplish anything if we want it badly enough.”
And with one brief, perturbing glance over his shoulder, he was gone, leaving me to the impossible task of ensnaring a witch that could crush my soul. I stared at the dust he left behind and a shiver ran through my bones.
I was to trick the notorious Annabel Horton. For that I would need more than the fingernails of a beggar for my brew.
*
About the Author

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Olivia Hardy Ray is the pen name for Vera Jane Cook. The Author has published Three fantasy novels as Olivia Hardy Ray and five women’s fiction titles as Vera Jane Cook. The Author is writing a sequel to Pharaoh’s Star called Fox Hollow Road. The author’s women fiction title, Kismet, is due out this winter.
Contact Links
 
Additional Purchase Links
Amazon 
B&N 
Kobo

 
RABT Book Tours & PR
Fantasy Release Date: Oct. 1, 2019 Publisher: Chattercreek Annabel’s husband, who has been missing for
Fantasy Release Date: Oct. 1, 2019 Publisher: Chattercreek Annabel’s husband, who has been missing for
  Science Fiction, mystery, fantasy Date Published: February 6, 2018 Publisher: Chattercreek The mystery that
Fantasy / Paranormal Date Published: March 11, 2015 Publisher: Chattercreek From the Salem Witch trials

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Blood Branded Blitz

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(The Mix-Blood: Book One)

Young Adult, Coming of Age, Fantasy

Date Published: October 1, 2019

Publisher: Breezy Pages Publishing

Defiance is paid in blood.

Their time is up. The crimsons are coming, marching on Hammerstone to crush the rebellious grays who renounce their rule. The graybacks have defied the ban that forbids trade or alliances with other races.

Frafnar understands intolerance better than most. Every season the grayback settlements send tribute to their oppressive orc cousins, and Hammerstone is no exception. After Frafnar is denied the opportunity to join the tribute guard because of his mixed heritage, he leaps at the chance to prove himself when his father’s signal horn is left behind.

Smoke rises in the distance. Frafnar must warn Hammerstone of the threat and comes to realize that his people are struggling with what he’s faced all his life. Now he must fight alongside those he loves—and hates—to protect his home.

Can Hammerstone withstand the siege, or will it become the final gravesite in a failed rebellion?

When the crimsons strike, always remember… strength in blood.

If you’re a fan of the epic or high fantasy genres, coming of age stories, or action-packed tales with haughty orcs and mysterious magic, then you’ll want to pick up Blood Branded.

Excerpt

Mix-Blood

“I have to win.”

The words pierced the chatter among the gathering, reaching Frafnar and echoing his own thoughts.

“I want to see a crimson!” another hollered.

“Better hope you’re not against me!” someone else shouted.

Then the energy of the group stilled as if everyone held their breath. Frafnar stood on the tips of his toes, but he still couldn’t see past the bobbing heads and shoulders of the other runts.

“Frafnar, son of Armastus.”

His elation was cut short by the groans of the group. The outbursts ceased when Trainer Groth roared for silence.

“His opponent will be…”

The gathering leaned forward.

“Bromh, son of—”

“No!” Bromh yelled from within the crowd. “I won’t be paired against the mix-blood.”

“Then you forfeit,” Groth said, already searching for the next contender.

“I never said—”

“Get over here,” Groth snapped. “Where’s Frafnar? Let him through.”

The circle of bodies parted enough that Frafnar squeezed between them, ignoring the sharp stares from the others. He kept his chin high and broke eye contact only as he passed the runts towering over him.

Trainer Groth and Bromh waited in the center of the ring.

“What’s the matter?” Frafnar taunted when he broke through the crowd. “Afraid you’ll lose?”

Bromh scoffed. “I’ll crush you in an instant, twig.”

Groth’s scowl deepened. Veins popped out of the tight flesh on his arms and neck.

“Fine,” Bromh stammered. “But everyone knows I should’ve had a real challenge,” he dared to add.

“Get into position.”

Frafnar met Bromh in the middle of the circle, a solid wood construction between them.

“Winner moves on to the finals,” Groth reiterated with a huff.

Frafnar mirrored Bromh by grasping the iron bar on the side of the wood platform with one hand and placing his elbow on the leather pad. Bromh glared over their clasped hands and squeezed so hard his knuckles paled. Maybe when he was younger, Frafnar might have cried out because of the pain. Today, Bromh would have to break his hand before he’d let go. When he won, they’d have no choice but to acknowledge him as an orc.

Trainer Groth balanced two thin strips of kindling on each side of their hands to ensure they started at his command. “Prepare,” he said. Then, after a suspense-filled moment, “Go.”

The audience erupted with noise, hollering as the strips fell over. Frafnar met Bromh’s strength with his own. He inched his opponent’s arm halfway down to the wood surface. The notion of a quick triumph crumbled when he heard Bromh snicker.

“That all you got, twig?”

Blood Branded Quote Release

 

JA_Alexsoophoto

J.A. Alexsoo lives in Ontario, Canada, and has forever been a fan of fantasy and science fiction. When not working on writing or imagining new adventures, she tours the lands with her two trusty canine companions. She’s the author of THE KNIGHT’S ORDER and her new book BLOOD BRANDED is scheduled to be released October 1st.

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Witches Protection Program Blitz

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Fantasy
Date Published: 09/30/2019
Publisher: WordFire Press
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Wes Rockville, a disgraced law-enforcement agent, gets one last chance to prove himself and save his career when he’s reassigned to a 232-year-old secret government organization. The Witches Protection Program. His first assignment: uncover a billion-dollar cosmetics company’s diabolical plan to use witchcraft for global domination, while protecting its heiress Morgan Pendragon from her aunt’s evil deeds. Reluctantly paired with veteran witch protector, Alastair Verne, Wes must learn to believe in witches… and believe in himself. Filled with adventure and suspense, Michael Okon creates a rousing, tongue-in-cheek alternate reality where witches cast spells and wreak havoc in modern-day New York City.
EXCERPT
Clearly, Wu had a bit of an attitude this morning. Scarlett wouldn’t let her talk down to her. What would Scarlett do; what would Scarlett do? Morgan racked her brain. Swallowing, she replied, her voice cold as ice, “I’ll get them there when I get them there. Deal with it.”
“You’re such a—”
“A what, Wu?” Morgan taunted. “Don’t forget, I answer directly to Bernadette, and she doesn’t take kindly to disrespect.”
Wu turned to lean on the sink, coming face to face with Morgan. “High and mighty today, aren’t we? You aren’t the only one with influence.” Wu’s eyes narrowed into slits. She had elegant hands that ended with long, graceful nails. She swirled them in the air, creating an eddy of wind that ruffled Morgan’s hair.
Morgan reached out, grabbing Wu’s hand in a viselike grip. “Don’t toy with me, and don’t use magic.” She squeezed hard, feeling one of the nails break. Wu struggled to break free, but Morgan maintained the upper hand. They stood nose to nose, hatred emanating from them both. She heard Wu’s quick intake of breath and let her snatch her hand away.
“I won’t forget this, Red.”
Morgan sniffed. “Don’t call me Red.” She turned to leave the bathroom.
“This isn’t over, Scarlett,” Wu called after her.
Morgan laughed as she exited the bathroom, thinking payback was going to be a bitch for Scarlett.
 
 
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About the Author

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Michael Okon is an award-winning and best-selling author of multiple genres including paranormal, thriller, horror, action/adventure and self-help. He graduated from Long Island University with a degree in English, and then later received his MBA in business and finance. Coming from a family of writers, he has storytelling in his DNA. Michael has been writing from as far back as he can remember, his inspiration being his love for films and their impact on his life. From the time he saw The Goonies, he was hooked on the idea of entertaining people through unforgettable characters.
Michael is a lifelong movie buff, a music playlist aficionado, and a sucker for self-help books. He lives on the North Shore of Long Island with his wife and children.
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