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By Ways Unseen – Teaser Tuesday

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Epic Fantasy
Date Published: July 12, 2018
The Provinces are falling. From the south, the immortal Knights of Galessern raid. From the north, the trees of the Kalen Woods have awoken, and are hungry for their second city. And from the east, Haydren Loren flees a childhood bully whose hate is now fully grown, and capable of murdering his way to becoming the Earl.
Haydren might find safety in the west. Or, he may find himself suddenly forced on a suicidal mission: face and defeat Lasserain, the strongest mage history has ever seen.
His quest is joined by a medley of friends foolish enough to think they might succeed: Geoffrey, a former knight of Rinc Na who betrayed his country and friends, and now seeks forgiveness through this final, desperate act; Sarah, a sorceress who will do anything to prove she is worthy; and Pladt, the famed archer whose only wish is to travel as far and wide as his name.
The God of All only knows the ways they must go – He, and a voice in Haydren’s head that is constantly growing louder.
Insanity. Capture. Death. All roads seem doomed for failure. But they must quickly choose a path, for Lasserain’s full fury is descending, and no one else has been able to stop it.
EXCERPT

 

Haydren sighed; he needed to play. The two greatest gifts he had received since enrolling in the School were a small harp and the lessons to be able to play. Often, when frustration overwhelmed him, the music would calm him. He sat up, reaching under the bed to retrieve the instrument. After pulling it out, he leaned back and rested his fingers on the strings. He closed his eyes, and began with a familiar slow tune as he allowed his thoughts to drift.
The song took him back to a broad plain, with the wind sweeping through the grasses. He was sitting on a newly bundled sheaf, the smell of fresh-cut hay in his nostrils. A few broken bits of straw drifted on the breeze. In his mind, beside him, a man of nearly thirty worked with a scythe; a man with bright chestnut hair, and dark black eyebrows.
Haydren opened his eyes, stilling the strings. Something was tugging at him, something about the notes he had just played. Still without looking at the harp, and as he tried to return in his mind to the images he had just seen, he played tentatively.
The notes that followed were notes he had never been taught, but that rang in him with a familiarity that brought tears to his eyes. He knew there were lyrics attached to the song, lyrics about war and grief – but he could not remember them. He played the song over and over, the notes purging him of all thoughts yet leaving him with a sense of fullness that welled in his eyes. He played until exhaustion tripped his fingers upon the strings; he stopped before the discordant notes shattered the delicate construction within him. The notes continued ringing in his ears long after he stopped playing, and they continued to echo through his dreams that night.
About the Author
Daniel Dydek was born in Raccoon Township, PA, where he dreamed of living out west. So far, he’s made it to Ohio, where he lives with his wife. He began writing at age 8, and never really stopped. After three years with the US Army, he went to get his Bachelor’s degree in English Writing from Geneva College of Beaver Falls PA, and is currently finishing up a Master’s degree in Natural Resources from Virginia Tech. Besides writing, he also enjoys mountain biking, reading, coffee shops, book stores, and Durango Colorado.
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Echoes of the Past – Teaser Tuesday

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Military Sci Fi
Published Date: 5/10/2018
A republic under attack. A reluctant soldier. An all-out fight for the galaxy’s soul.
David Cohen prays he’ll live to see the other side of his first deployment. His people thought they had left war behind when they fled Earth centuries ago. Time, though, has not dulled the hatred and intolerance of their erstwhile oppressors. To defend his homeland’s freedom, David abandons his dream of becoming a rabbi for the battlefield… and discovers a side of himself he is not sure he can live with.
David’s focus is clear when the bullets are flying. In the long hours after, he must reckon with the toll that blood and blame bring upon his mind. Can he square the tenets of his faith against his responsibility to crew and country? Nothing has prepared him to make decisions that could cause ruin or an end to generations of conflict… except for trust in God, himself, and those who serve under him.
If David Cohen survives it all, who will he be?



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About the Author
Ever since watching Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back at the age of five, with his father, Daniel has loved science fiction. Reading hundreds of sci-fi novels, during his teenage years, Daniel came up with the EOTP (Echoes of the Past) universe. Twenty years later, its finally becoming a reality!
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A Whole New Life Teaser Tuesday

 A Whole New Life cover
Sweet Romance
Date Published: 2/24/2018
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A Whole New Life is a sweet romance combined with the dangers of the underground crime world. Find out what happens when a beautiful mafia princess goes to a small town in Iowa to start over but quickly becomes intrigued with a hunky deputy.
Can romance ensue when she is always looking over her shoulder and worrying that her past will catch up to her? Check out A Whole New Life to find out if love can really conquer all, or if the past is always doomed to repeat itself.
 
 Excerpt
As two o’clock approached, the officers started throwing cash on the table and getting ready to leave. Of course, it was Deputy Hotstuff who brought everything up to Jenna at the cash register. “It was nice to meet you, Jenna. Welcome to Pella. I’m sure I’ll be seeing you around. Anna send you up to the Bakker place?”
Jenna made change and nodded, trying not to look at those pretty blue eyes that were clearly checking her out. “Yes, she and Adam have been so welcoming, giving me a job and helping me find a place to stay.” She handed his change back. “Have a great day, Deputy.” She tried to smile professionally, but felt like she was grinning like a schoolgirl with a crush, heat rushing to her cheeks.
“You have a great day as well. And watch out for those ghosts up at the bed-and-breakfast.” He winked at her.
“What ghosts?” she asked, confused.
“Didn’t anyone tell you? The Bakker place is supposed to be haunted. Stories have been circulating about that for over a hundred years.” Henri smiled at her.
“You don’t really believe such things, do you?” Jenna scoffed. She’d lived through real hell; ghost stories weren’t going to scare her.
Deputy Hotty kept smiling and handed her his card. “My cell number is on there. You never know when you might want a deputy to come save you from the big bad ghosts. Of course, you can feel free to call me for anything else you might need as well.”
Oh my God, he really is flirting with me, Jenna thought to herself. Outwardly she tried to remain cool as she took his card. “Thank you, Deputy, but I stopped believing in ghosts a long time ago.”
“Why is that?” he asked.
“The living people around me turned out to be scarier,” Jenna answered before thinking. Damn her too-honest mouth sometimes, it always had gotten her into trouble.
Henri’s eyes seemed to focus a little more after her response. “I’m sorry. Still, keep my card and give me a call sometime. I’m good at all sorts of things, not just protecting people from ghosts.” With one final smile and wink, he walked out to join his fellow officers.
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Searching for Gertrude Teaser Tuesday

 

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Historical Fiction, Historical Romance
Date Published: January 22, 2018
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While growing up in Germany in the 1930s, Rudolf falls in love with the girl next door, Gertrude. He doesn’t care what religion Gertrude practices but the Nazis do. When the first antisemitic laws are enacted by the Nazi government, Gertrude’s father loses his job at the local university. Unable to find employment in Germany, he accepts a position at Istanbul University and moves the family to Turkey. Rudolf, desperate to follow Gertrude, takes a position working at the consulate in Istanbul with the very government which caused her exile. With Rudolf finally living in the same city as Gertrude, their reunion should be inevitable, but he can’t find her. During his search for Gertrude, he stumbles upon Rosalyn, an American Jew working as a nanny in the city. Upon hearing his heartbreaking story, she immediately agrees to help him search for his lost love. Willing to do anything in their search for Gertrude, they agree to work for a British intelligence officer who promises his assistance, but his demands endanger Rudolf and Rosalyn. As the danger increases and the search for Gertrude stretches on, Rudolf and Rosalyn grow close, but Rudolf gave his heart away long ago. 
How far would you go to find the woman you love?
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Excerpt
As usual, the clerk rushed out of the room as soon as it was lunchtime the next day. Rudolf waited until the other administrative workers had left, and then he waited an additional five minutes to make sure no one was coming back. He didn’t sneak over to the clerk’s desk. He strolled over as if he had business to which he needed to attend even as his palms sweated and his heart beat erratically. He tugged on the drawer to ensure it was locked before pulling the letter opener out of his pocket. He looked around to ensure he was still alone before kneeling in front of the drawer and sticking the letter opener in the tiny lock. With only a bit of jiggling, the lock clicked open. As quietly as he could, Rudolf pulled the drawer open and peeked in. Sure enough, the cabinet keys were sitting in the tray on the top of the drawer. He slid the drawer closed and went to stand. That’s when he realized his mistake. The drawer had to be locked when the clerk arrived. Otherwise, he would immediately assume something was wrong.
Rudolf kneeled in front of the closed drawer and once again stuck his letter opener in the lock. If the letter opener could unlock the drawer, it stood to reason it could also lock it. It took quite a bit of fiddling made worse by his shaky hands before he felt a click. He heard the clacking of boots on tile and jumped to his feet while thrusting the letter opener in his pocket. The sound came closer. He didn’t have time to check the lock was engaged. He rushed in the opposite direction of the approaching person, entering the hallway on the far side of the office. He walked to the toilet and waited until he was locked in a stall before he dared to take a breath. He leaned against the stall door and took deep breaths while his heart slowly went back to its regular rhythm.
After he managed to gain some semblance of calm, he splashed cold water on his face before returning to his desk where he waited for the clerk to arrive. Was the desk drawer locked? Would the clerk know someone had tampered with the drawer even if it was locked? It took all of Rudolf’s willpower to not constantly glance at the clerk’s empty desk. When the clerk finally arrived, Rudolf tilted his chair in the clerk’s direction and waited with bated breath. But nothing happened other than the clerk unlocking his desk after sitting down. Rudolf waited for the man to notice things were amiss. It took several hours before he realized the clerk was not going to notice anything, and he could relax. He could breathe for the first time since lunch and got back to work.
About the Author

I grew-up reading everything I could get my grubby hands on, from my mom’s Harlequin romances, to Nancy Drew, to Little Women. When I wasn’t flipping pages in a library book, I was penning horrendous poems, writing songs no one should ever sing, or drafting stories which have thankfully been destroyed. College and a stint in the U.S. Army came along, robbing me of free time to write and read, although on the odd occasion I did manage to sneak a book into my rucksack between rolled up socks, MRIs, t-shirts, and cold weather gear. After surviving the army experience, I went back to school and got my law degree. I jumped ship and joined the hubby in the Netherlands before the graduation ceremony could even begin. A few years into my legal career, I was exhausted, fed up, and just plain done. I quit my job and sat down to write a manuscript, which I promptly hid in the attic after returning to the law. But being a lawyer really wasn’t my thing, so I quit (again!) and went off to Germany to start a B&B. Turns out being a B&B owner wasn’t my thing either. I polished off that manuscript languishing in the attic before following the husband to Istanbul where I decided to give the whole writer-thing a go. But ten years was too many to stay away from my adopted home. I packed up again and moved to The Hague where I’m currently working on my next book. I hope I’ll always be working on my next book.
Searching for Gertrude is my twelfth book.
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Chosen Path Teaser Tuesday

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Erotic Romance
Date Published: 4/28/2017
Yumiko Itsumoto wants it all. An accomplished artist and feared attorney, she gets what she wants, all else be damned. Now she wants love, even if it means charting a new course for her life, but changing course can be dangerous.  In mere moments, she tumbles from the dizzying pinnacle of success into a bottomless abyss of murder and treachery.  Yumiko will not live happily ever after—not this time—but can she at least find a way to stay alive?
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EXCERPT

Jun gave me a towel, with which I wrapped up my hair, and a yukata, one of his. Its sleeves hung well past my hands, but its hem did not drag the ground. I decided to go ahead and indulge. I’d had a difficult night. A little smear of grease on my back would do the trick. I worked as quickly as I could to remove the rest, but it still took me perhaps twenty or thirty minutes.
I emerged from the bathroom with a much-improved mood.
Jun lived in a modest flat, sparsely decorated in Japanese style: tatami flooring and rice-paper screens to separate (or not) a small bedroom from the tearoom. I liked it. He had put on a yukata as well and sat formally in the tearoom. I duly went to the first guest position and knelt.
“Do you have any citric acid?”
He blinked and asked, “Citric acid?” I had woken poor Jun from a sound sleep and it seemed he was still trying to gather his wits.
In my gentlest voice, I said, “Yes. I was unable to remove all of the grease from my skin. If I might further impose upon your hospitality, I would be grateful for your help with it. Citric acid, lemon juice if you have it, might break down the grease more readily than soap.”
He stood and walked toward his small kitchen. I turned my back to him and widened my stance to sit directly on the ground with my feet beside me, and I opened my yukata to drop it from my shoulders and expose my deliberate grease smear. Holding the yukata up with the crooks of my elbows, I crossed my arms over my chest and turned my head down. His steps halted when he saw me. His voice, when he spoke, bore more confidence than his approaching footfalls.
“I would be honored to provide you with whatever counsel I can, Itsumoto-san.”
“Thank you, Jun-san,” I said, “and please call me Yumi.”
“Will you tell me of the matter?”
I inhaled to fill the hollow in my chest and kept silent, tasting enjoyment in dabs of cold lemon juice against my back, softer than raindrops. I’d have all day to tell my tale before he finished, and part of me wanted to drag it out. The better part of me wanted to rip the band-aid off and be done with it.
“I was in the subway yesterday. There was a woman next to me. She was killed by a passing train. I believe I will be charged with her murder.”
“Why would you be charged?”
Another deep breath did nothing to fill my chest. It was hard enough admitting my mistake, a mistake made in the making of another mistake. I had to tell him the unconfessed secret of my heart. In a way, sitting half-naked in front of him made it easier to let go of my pride.
“I believe she was engaged to marry a man I previously dated—a past lover. I had gone to his home yesterday hoping I could reconcile myself to him. When I got there, someone, I believe it was this woman, was there with him. I left without announcing myself. It seems she left not long after I did and intended to catch the same train as me.
“After the incident, I ran. That was foolish. I was scared, shocked, and not thinking clearly. I have not been sleeping well. I had not slept for perhaps a week. This insomnia has affected my mental state. I did not intend to kill her, but I stood to benefit from her death. There were witnesses. I paid my PASMO with a credit card. The police will be able to determine who I am.”
Jun’s hands on my back remained timid, but his voice reassured. “Your situation may not be so dire as you believe it, Yumiko-san, but I can understand how it troubles you.”
The room filled with silence until I deemed it thick enough to call attention to my next statement.
“Jun,” I said, “when a woman takes off her clothes and kneels before you, it’s safe to assume you can drop the honorific.”
“I never assume facts not in evidence.”
I sighed and gave instructions. “I want you to call me Yumi. I want you to press hard against the stain on my back and scrub until I am clean.”
He did as I told him, taking my shoulder in one hand to steady me and grinding into the grease with his other. Sooner than I might have liked, a smear of cold water slid up my back, and the collar of my yukata patted me dry. I gave him further instructions.
“I also want you to fuck my brains out.”
His hands snapped back.
I waited him out, wandering my gaze along the weave of his tatami floor. Eventually he spoke.
“Will you not be needing them?”
I liked the innocence of his question, so I answered earnestly. “They have functioned poorly in recent times.” I waited again to hear his next quandary.
“I would think it a difficult thing to do to a woman of your considerable intellect.”
“Take your time.”
I waited while he tried to think through what was happening, seemingly as disturbed by his own unanticipated circumstances as I had been by mine the night before. Clammy fingertips, followed by their palm, touched down high on my back and slid haltingly up my shoulder and alongside my neck. I tilted my head up, yielding to the almost imperceptible push of his index finger under my jaw. He followed, and I continued until I craned my neck back as far as it would go.
When his fingertips drew gently against my throat, I went with them instead of letting them drag against my skin. I kept leaning, transferring my weight onto my toes, which pointed back along the floor by my sides.
Flipping over my toes to set my weight on my spine and straighten my knees from that position is always an awkward move. Jun was unprepared for how suddenly I fell backward when my weight transferred, but he caught me with a hand behind my neck before my head hit the floor. That was just as well because his abrupt catch knocked the towel free from my hair and just in time because I held my back still fully arched and would have driven my head hard into the mat.
I’d left my hands in my lap, straightening my elbows as he bent me backward, leaving my torso bare in front of him. My yukata, folded inward over my thighs, provided only a pretense of modesty. His eyes struggled not to wander while I stared up at him, so I closed mine to let his have their way. I’d told him to take his time, so I parted my lips and waited.
“Did you do it?”
My eyelids rocked open. “You ask your clients if they’re guilty?”
“I’m asking you.”
I closed my eyes again and rolled my spine downward, relaxing my back to the floor. “Nice dodge.”
“Likewise,” he volleyed. “Shall we play again?”
“I’d rather not.”
“Then answer my question.”
His hand behind my neck firmed and steadied and was soon joined by his other hand to cradle my head. Jun had no idea how to handle a woman, but he knew exactly what to do with a hostile witness.
I had to tell him, and he knew it. I was the one asking him for help. He could simply decline and be rid of me. Something inside him clamped down and turned to stone. He was awake now, and our little back-and-forth spanned the full width of his patience. It takes a hard man to set murderers free every day and still look at himself in the mirror.
I drew a slow breath to show him I would answer. I needed a hard man. I was a murderer.

 

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About the Author 


A mathematician by training and computer programmer by trade, J. Whitney Williams lives and works under the X in Texas, thinking too much and speaking too little.
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