A Menu of Death by Lucy Pireel

A Menu of Death

 3D-MofD

AMAZON | SMASHWORDS | KOBO | iTUNES | B&N | FLIPKART

A collection of short stories about vengeance, obsession, cravings, and selfishness.

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Pick one item of the Menu or devour the entire buffet

Make sure you don’t bite off more than you can chew

Read, but not with greed for

Death awaits, ready to come and collect its due

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Why not listen to some music while we wait for the main course to be served?

Book Tour and Giveaway – Confronting the Demon by Ciara Ballantyne

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Today, a bit late, but better late than never (sorry Ciara and Kriss for being late), I host the tour and Giveaway for 
Confronting the Demon by Ciara Ballantyne
A book I’ve read and reviewed. You can find the review here.
But I also jumped to the opportunity to interview the author. 🙂 Below you can read how that turned out.
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Hi Ciara, Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions. I know you must be very busy right now with the tour and stuff so I won’t waste any time dilly-dallying.

Tell me, would you rather ride a horse or a dragon?

Oh my god, now there’s a real stumper. I’d never even thought of that. I love a beautiful horse, but who wouldn’t take a dragon if they could? Unless I get flight sick, and then I might change my mind…

Are you a more analytic person or do you act on impulse?

I am totally an analytical person. I would rather die than act on impulse. OK, maybe not quite, but you get the idea. My personality type is known for planning, and then planning in case the plan for when things go wrong, goes wrong…

How does an David Eddings fan become a financial service lawyer? I mean, what went ‘wrong’? *wink*

Ha ha . See above. Also, I figured writing wasn’t going to get me a lot of money (at least it was unlikely) so I thought a good back-up plan was in order. Something that pays the bills, you know? Plus I like to argue. And be right. So far law is really working out for me on those counts!

Now a few fast questions, one-word answers please.

Sweet or savoury? Sweet

Wish for or have what you want?  Have

Staying or moving? Staying

Organised or go with the flow? Organised

Complain or act? Act

Fight or flight? Fight

Revenge, hot or cold? Cold

And then, why you are really here? Chance.

What is the title of the book you would like to talk about?

Confronting the Demon

Of course! Silly question, never mind me. Tell me, did you have difficulty coming up with the title?

A little. It had the working title ‘tentacles’ for a very long time. It’s not like me to not have a workable title from early on, and this one I had to sit down and think very hard. It’s about demon, but it’s about more than that, it’s about facing one’s personal demons, and I wanted a title that spoke to the external and internal conflict simultaneously.

Can you tell me how you celebrate finally getting that tricky chapter (or para) right?

Wow, people do that? It never even occurred to me. Usually I allow myself to go on and write some other part of the book that’s not so hard 😉

What do you do marketing wise and what do you think generates the most attention to your books?

If I knew that, I would be a millionaire by now, because I could sell the trick to every other writer out there. I think ‘being visible’ is what sells books, but you need an amazing amount of visibility for any sales. So for every hundred people who look at your book, only a very small handful buy – that’s called conversion rate, the number of interested people you actually make a sale to. My conversion rate is around 1.5 – 2% which isn’t bad for a debut book from an unknown author with no backlist which has only been available two months, but I tell you what, the other 98 people who looked and didn’t buy? They are depressing. I tweet my book as much as I can without being in people’s faces, but honestly I feel better about making sales to people I connect with – they feel like a better return for effort. I’m sure all or most of the sales I made this week were just to people I followed and interacted with. So there is no golden rule – only hard work, and hit and miss.

Is there any food or beverage that is a constant factor in either your books or life?

Tea. I have a mild caffeine addiction, and if I don’t have my tea in the morning, I get a headache at 3pm. I quit once and don’t ever intend to do it again – caffeine withdrawal is not fun. But I love my tea. I have about a dozen varieties of black tea at home. I only do black tea, not herbal varieties. My current favourite is Orange Pekoe, which is a black tea despite the misleading nature of the name. Given a choice, I only drink Twinings.

What is your favourite dish and can you give me the recipe? Does it have anything to do with tentacles? Deviled octopus perhaps?

Ha ha, you’re assuming I can cook? There are two things I can cook, and one of them is lamb roast and the other is the second little-known traditional Italian spaghetti Bolognese recipe. I suppose you could imagine the spaghetti as tentacles… I actually don’t eat seafood. Maybe the tentacles is a reflection of some subsconscious fear!

This is the recipe for the spaghetti Bolognese:

  • 500gms of mince
  • 2 onions
  • 2 carrots
  • Other vegetables, such as celery, optional
  • I x 800gm tin of tomato soup
  • 120gms of dry spaghetti
  • Butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • Sugar

Place the mince, the tomato soup, the carrots and onions (diced), any other optional vegetables, a chunk of butter, and 1-2 teaspoons of sugar to a large pot. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cover the large pot and simmer for an hour (on an electric stove – gas is trickier. I use a simmer mat and simmer for 30 – 40 mins, and it needs to be stirred frequently to avoid burning to the bottom of the pot). Stir occasionally.

Add spaghetti. Break into whatever size you prefer. Cook for a further 30 mins uncovered (or until the spaghetti is done).

It’s pretty easy, and virtually cooks itself. I thought it was spaghetti bolognese done ‘Aussie’ style until an Italian told me it’s actually an Italian recipe, but more ‘home-style’ than the version most people know.

Sounds delish and like something I can try to recreate! Thanks for that. 

Okay now that we have the mandatory questions out of the way, shoot your mouth off. Tell me whatever you want the blab about. But please no cat’s, dogs, or children. Make me laugh, or cry, or even envious. Tell me something none has ever heard before from you. hehehe, love those little dirty secrets, real or make believe. 🙂

Ha, something no one has ever heard from me before? You have GOT to be kidding! I’m known for my rants. Can’t keep my mouth shut, including maybe sometimes when I ought. Give me something that I can take an opinion on, and provided that I actually care about the subject matter, I’ll be off and running before the starting gate opens. I recently travelled to Dallas and met some writer friends while I was there, and after I left a few have been heard to say they miss my rants – and I even thought I was rather subdued while I was there.

What can I tell you?

Here’s a few things that aren’t well-known outside certain circles:

I hated reading before about the age of eight, and my change of heart is due to my third grader teacher, Mick Kelly, who was a retired Australian Rugby League footballer from the local team, the Penrith Panthers.

I was a quiet, shy, retiring little girl who didn’t say ‘boo’ to anyone before about the age of eleven.

All the daughters of both sets of grandparents married men named ‘Robert’. So my maternal grandparents had three daughters who married men named Robert, and my paternal grandparents had a son named Robert and their only daughter married a Robert! My poor husband is so confused.

I met my second husband online, but not through a dating website – just a random encounter on Yahoo! Messenger before Facebook and Twitter really took off.

I hated social media and refused to join any platforms, until I had to for my writing, which was 2011. I’m still not a huge fan of Facebook, which for some reason seems to encourage people to behave more stupidly than usual, but I’m totally addicted to Twitter.

I do not suffer fools gladly.

I love Scotland. If I could live there six months of the year, and Australia the other six, I totally would.

I’m not sure there’s much left to say after all that!

Apart from giving us the places where we can find you online then? So readers, here they are:

WEBSITE†|††GOODREADS†|††FACEBOOK†|†TWITTER†| PINTEREST

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The gates to hell are thrown wide when Alloran is betrayed by his best friend, Ladanyon, and framed for forbidden magic. He is hunted by the guards and the wizards both, tormented by the gruesome murder of his friends and loved ones, and crippled by fear for the living.

Now Alloran must face his demons, or damn the woman he loves.

Also featuring bonus short story ‘A Magical Melody’

Genre – High Fantasy (17+)
Length – 110 pages
Published – September 24th
buy-the-book
TRADE PAPERBACK Amazon $6.99 ~ Amazon UK £4.39
KINDLE – US Kindle Store $2.99† ~ UK Kindle Store £1.93
ALL OTHER E-READERS
Kobo $2.22 ~†Nook $1.99~†Apple device $1.99

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What early readers are saying about the novella

ìBallintyne gives wonderful descriptions and I found myself becoming lost in the magic of her words in a picturesque world with every turned pageBella Doerres

ìThe power-packed action will leave you breathless and the eerie suspense will make you chomp on your own nails, beware!î†Satarupa

ìWith imagination and detail that paints a full scene for the mindís eye, Ciara takes us on a short but exciting journey into a world of magic, love and demons from hell.ì†Miranda Wood†of†DustyKattís Stuff Reviews

ìI actually enjoyed a good fantasy novel that didnít take days and days to read, but still offered the opportunity to get caught up in its world and story.î -†Tracy Riva†Global eBook Awards Judge

“This story wasn’t quite what I expected; it was better! The first pages surprised me, reminding strongly of THE WAY OF SHADOWS by Brent Weeks (the scenes, setting and story feel). I was immediately drawn in.” – Dr. S. Drecker

“I will be recommending this to all my paranormal addicts.” – Leanne Herrera

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Alloran stared at the alley mouth, mallet hanging slack in one hand and chisel in the other. This wasnít yesterdayís alley. It was a different one, but it felt the same. Like seventh-circle demon. Like hellcat, now that he recognised the feel of one. Gooseflesh covered his bare arms. Did a shadow move in the darkness? A cat? Something else, something bigger than a cat? Surely, there couldnít beÖ Ladanyon wouldnítÖ.

Yes. He would. The man heíd once known, the man whoíd been his best friend for nearly a century, wouldnít. But the man heíd become, after summoning a few demonsñhe would. His footsteps dragging, Alloran ventured deeper into the alley.

Once he looked, the body, hidden beneath a thin blanket of rotting food and assorted garbage, wasnít hard to find. It was a man this time. He nudged food scraps off the corpseís face.

The victim had jade eyes, a nose too big for a bearded face, and almost invisible blond brows. The details hit him with the force of a hammer blow. A wizard. A mentor. A man heíd known all his life.

His knees hit the ground and his bones turned to water from the shock. The wizard, Mandron, lay close enough to touch with his belly sliced open by teeth sharper than any blade and his entrails gnawed on. The rest of him left to rot. Sweat dripped down Alloranís face. Another victim of a hellcat. Another victim of Ladanyon. What was the chance that Ladanyon coincidentally killed two people he knew and accidentally left them somewhere he would find them?

None. Every part of this had been planned, right down to the finest detail. Sweat broke out on his forehead. Ladanyon knew too much. He must be watching, watching and playing, as a cat does

with its food. Alloranís gaze darted up and down the alley as if Ladanyon would pop out of an alley or appear on a rooftop.

Nothing stirred.

The corpseís fist held a rolled-up piece of paper. With trembling fingers, he pulled the note loose and unrolled it.

How do I surpass you? Let us examine the matterÖ. I have mastered the minions of hell and enslaved them to my will.

The paper fell from his numb fingers and fluttered away.

Jealousy? Was that all? Thirty years had passed since Alloran gave up research. Ladanyon had nothing to prove, given he made every discovery worth mentioning since then.

Alloran wiped sweaty palms on the coarse fabric of his pants, his hands coming away filthy from the dust embedded in the cloth. The bodies would just keep stacking upñuntil Ladanyon ran out of things he had mastered better than Alloran. He backed out of the alley.

ëWhereíd you run off to yesterday?í

Alloran jumped and spun around, bringing the mallet up reflexively as his stomach sunk. The sight of Dek, even with his arms folded and a scowl plastered across his square features, elicited a sigh of relief.

ëWhatís the matter with you, man? Yer white as a sheet.í

Alloran affected a frown. ëDonít like dead bodies. Donít like violence. Got the heeby-jeebies. Supposiní they come back?í

That was true enough, as far as it went. Everyone thought heíd Choose martial magic when he came of age if only because of his height and the breadth of his shoulders, but heíd never been interested. What he wanted to know was ìwhyî and ìhowî. Why and how for everything. It was a pursuit more dangerous than martial magic as it turned out. He licked his lips and tried not to look at the alley. This was what too much curiosity brought.

Dek was staring at the alley, squinting in the sunlight. Alloran slapped him on the back before the mason could connect the alley and his partnerís nerves.

ëWe got work to do, aye?í He gently tried to steer Dek towards the statue. ëWhere íave you been all morniní anyway?í

Dek turned away from the alley. ëAnsweriní questions for the hell-damned city guards, which is where you woulda been if you hadnít run off faster ían a deer.í

ëDidnít know nothiní. Donít wanna know about no bodies or talk to no guards.í Turning his back on the alley and its gruesome contents, he strode back towards the statue and hauled himself up on to the scaffolding. His arms were cold despite the heat of the summer afternoon, and he rubbed them. ëTopís all done, I reckoní. Weíll be needing to break all this down and get started on the bottom half.í

Alloran slapped the rough timber with a gloved hand, trying to shunt the corpse and its message from his mind. Eyes that werenít there bored into his back. At least, he hoped they werenít there. To be sure, he glanced over his shoulder, scouring the edges of the square for movement.

Dek clapped a hand to Alloranís shoulder, causing him to flinch and fumble his mallet. ëHey, you got a parcel, did you know?í

ëA parcel?í Alloran lost his battle with the mallet, jerking his foot out of the way just in time. ëFrom who?í

Dek shrugged. ëHow should I know? Came in the regular delivery. Down there.í

Alloranís gaze followed Dekís nod. A crate sat at the foot of the statue. Heíd been so pre-occupied with the alley, the corpse, and Ladanyon that he didnít even notice. Stomach twisted in knots, he swung down from the scaffolding.

The crate was nailed shut. His breath whistling through gritted teeth, he seized a claw hammer and wrenched the nails out.

He removed the lid. A scream clawed its way up his throat and choked off into a whimper. The topaz eyes of a sorceress stared at him from a face locked in death. The pain of the crate lid falling on his toes was a distant thing.

Ismyn. Nearly eighty years ago, she was his first lover. He stepped back and stumbled, landing on his arse in the dust. Dek yelled from somewhere nearby, but the words were meaningless.

Recently dead. Her complexion was still the colour of clotted cream, and death hadnít filmed her fixed gaze. Straw filled the bottom of the box, absorbing blood from the stump of her neck, and more blood matted the ends of her red hair. Another scroll poked from rosebud lips.

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Click here to be zoomed to the Rafflecopter giveaway and earn your chance to win good stuff!

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Release Day Blitz – Finding Home by J.W. Phillips

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Finding Home

by J.W. Phillips

Publication Date: November 11, 2013

Cover by http://www.pdpexclusives.com/


Julie Emison never believed in demons, ghouls, or things that go bump in the night. Trucker Castleman never believed in love. Imagine their surprise when they discovered each other.

Eighteen-year-old Julie lived in a small town in Tennessee, where the most exciting thing ever to happen was the arrival of the charismatic Trucker. Seventeen-year-old Trucker was different from anyone that had ever lived in the town before, and he wanted Julie. She affected him in ways he couldn’t comprehend. Trucker had no right to love. He didn’t even believe he could. But he did love Julie.

With Trucker, Julie found isolation, unbearable pain, and that happily ever afters do not exist. However, she also never felt more alive. After a tragic accident, Julie faced a hard decision. Did she endure it all for the sake of love? Or was the price of sin more than she could afford to pay?

The trailer for the book can be watched by you on Youtube

J.W. is a stay at home mom with 2 0n-the-go kids, an amazing husband and 1 lovable

dog. She lives in a small town in Tennessee, where she enjoys writing, reading, and

talking. She was told from a young age that her dreams of writing were ludicrous.

However, after a talk with her daughter she pulled out her old laptop and rediscovered

her desire to tell stories. She doesn’t consider herself an author, more a teller of tall

tales.

Facebook GoodReads Author Page Add it on GoodReads

Release Day Blast for The Perfect Player

It is my pleasure to introduce Devon Winterson’s new and exiting work

 The Perfect Player

TPP Cover final new

Get your copy from

AMAZON | CREATESPACE | THE AUTHOR’s SHOP

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A forbidden tryst exposes a threat and sets a secret plan in motion, and twenty-year-old Marisa of Mynae discovers her life is all a lie. But even as a cryptic journal reveals her true purpose and a trail of hoofprints leads her to a demon renegade, Marisa balks at fate’s course until evil devours her people and imperils her father’s life. Only then does she learn what it takes to play—and win—a deadly game of predator versus prey.

???????????????????????????????I’d like to tell you a little something about the author. Not too much, just enough to get an idea of the woman behind the author.

Kimberly Grenfell (a.k.a. Devon Winterson) has been an avid reader of fantasy books since childhood, and has studied creative writing and editing both on her own and through college and independent classes. Since 2008, she has been a line editor, a contributing editor, and an art director for Writer’s Beat Quarterly, a free online magazine for The Writer’s Beat writing community. Kimberly has contributed several articles to this e-zine under the regular features “New Writer on the Beat” and “Mechanical Snippets” to help novice writers understand and master the craft of writing and its mechanics. She has also served as an acquisitions editor and line editor at a small publishing com.

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I’ve been fortunate enough to have read a part of this great book before it was done, it was enough to make me want to read the whole book. I am happy the wait is finally over and I can enjoy the whole story. For those who wonder why, I’ve added an excerpt below.

Late evening crept over the lands as Marisa hid near the mouth of the tunnel egress, waiting and watching. She’d already glanced up the curving main trail several times, then into the eastern sky where the almost-full Roseate peeked through the leafy boughs. Soon the gates would be secured for the night, and though her insistence to be left alone to study would keep Abigale from her chamber door, Marisa knew she’d been outside the city walls far too long. Eventually, her absence would be noticed, with reprimands to follow. She drummed her fingers on the slab of rock.“Come, Tayib. Where are you?”

Early evening had brought Kahlil in secret, before the border patrol, to which Tayib had recently been assigned, set out into the forest, an urgent message on his lips: “Slip away as soon as you can and meet my brother by the tunnel egress. He has something to give to you. And don’t breathe a word of it.” But before she could question him further, he’d scurried off, wary of stirring trouble.
Slip away? she’d wondered. Was this particular something important enough for him to risk leaving patrol rounds? She’d hoped so, for his sake. Yet . . .

She slumped in umbrage. “It’s not any easier for me to sneak out,” she muttered, and gave another surreptitious glance at the Roseate, higher now. Surely the patrol had finished its work securing the border, and she felt stupid crouching in the thickets, snubbed and alone. She made to rise . . . but a sharp crack and a nearby yelp lodged her heart in her throat and forced her back into the underbrush. Breath held, she scanned the moon-dappled forest.

There, beyond the pillarstone-marked border of the Unclaimed Lands, writhed an enormous, shadowy figure. It lurched, bucked, and whipped its horned head in snarls of rage with lips taut, fangs bared, spittle flying. A thin, tufted tail lashed. Fur bristled along its back.

Marisa crushed herself against the rock slab in terror. Dear Maker! The stalking demon — caught!
Body stiff and heart ramming her ribcage, she let out a tiny, strangled whimper and willed herself to vanish within the thickets. But instead of discerning her scent and driving her from the brush, the demon let out a low groan and limped off into the moonlit depths of the woods. Marisa huddled stone-still as slowly, almost excruciatingly so, the demon’s crackling retreat softened with distance, heavy hoofbeats dragging like a wounded heart: thump-thud, thump-thud, thump-thud. . . .

Silence.

In a cold rush, her body drained. Wild relief flooded in, and she made to rise again, to run back to Mynae . . . until a breeze tickled her face.

She paused. Odd. Normally, the play of a light wind was commonplace, easily ignored, but this one — she cocked her head to listen — this one hummed.

In a trice, the breeze strengthened. It breathed out from the tunnel, laced in the scent of aged elixir, and swirled through her hair like spectral fingers weaving ribbons, then it tingled up her spine to her ear, where it whispered a single, urgent word — Follow — before it dissipated with a crackling hiss.

Her brow furrowed. Follow? Follow what, the demon? She scoffed at once. Right. Utter madness, that . . . along with a speaking wind. She crawled from the underbrush.

Yet as she turned to hasten away, a curious notion began to rouse in her chest. What if she did shadow it, what would she learn? What would the creature unwittingly tell her? Secrets strong enough to help secure a better defense? Hidden weaknesses? Lore missing from the old stories? Marisa pivoted toward the Unclaimed Lands, her arousal now flame-fierce. Studying the threat, even a stolen glimpse, would gain her needed knowledge and offer powerful advantages . . . over Lamont. With fleet-footed soldier stealth, she could be out and back, quick and easy, forthcoming reprimands be cursed.

She grinned.

Champion.

Now determined, Marisa padded down the slope to the trickling stream, where she leapt soundlessly along its exposed rocks, then picked her way through the slowly darkening forest. At the edge of the border, she paused and crouched near a white pillarstone. Crushed thickets and snapped branches beyond it indicated in which direction the demon had shambled off, and she at once scanned the nearby ground. Concealed within the forest debris lay death: snare barbs glinted in speckles of moonlight; dagger-sharp jaws gaped, hungry for the flesh of the careless or unaware. Yet . . .

Churned soil in a narrow swath beckoned her forth — a clear path.

Marisa slipped through, thwarting the lethal mechanisms to either side, and crossed over into the Unclaimed Lands.

Skirt hitched up to her knees, she followed the trampled pathway for a time. She stepped lightly in a furtive dance through the forest as she shadowed the demon, confident her footfalls meshed with the scurrying sounds of frightened woodrodents through the underbrush. Leaves rustled overhead; the breeze caressed her face full on. Good. No scent to expose her, but an odd smell had wafted her way — earthy, with a strange, underlying tang. Soon, a hulking form came into view and, stifling a gasp, Marisa darted behind a small copse nearby. She clasped a hand to her mouth.

By the Maker! The demon . . . it was unreal!

It sat — or sagged, rather — on the mossy forest floor a mere stone’s throw away, bathed in the Roseate’s soft angled light. More than thrice her stature, the creature’s muscles bulged beneath crimson skin shades richer than the purest blood, as smooth as finely polished stone and pelted in a wide strip of coarse black fur down its spine. Two heavy, sickle-shaped horns sat on either temple, points curved toward one another. Its face was long and angular, with wide nostrils and a broad forehead partially obscured by a dense tuft akin to a length of fringe.

Marisa gaped, awestruck. Straight from the stories of old this creature was, brought alive in perfect reflection. How accurate would the tales prove? At this thought, she shrank farther behind the copse, reluctant to find out.

But the demon paid her no heed. It clawed in angered frustration at its lower leg, gnawing, tearing out clumps of fur, spitting them into a heap. Each tug-and-rip tightened its face in a wince, and soon a dark sap-like substance began to ooze from raked-raw skin around something embedded. Moonlight glinted, and Marisa startled. A snare! It bit hard, drawing forth the demon’s blood.

At once, fervor swelled into pride — Father’s strategy had worked perfectly! — but it quickly ebbed as a rumble rolled in her chest. She froze. Rumble rose to growl, then a snarl, and then the demon suddenly arched back, throwing its snout skyward, clutching at its face. It drew in a deep breath, fangs bared and jaws clenched. Marisa crunched down, hands over her ears, bracing herself for a furious and terrifying roar . . .

Yet nothing came. Instead, the demon flinched, twitched its head, and squeezed its eyes closed. Then it slumped forward in a long moan to lie motionless like a massive sack of seeds. A wretched, outstretched lump. Marisa blinked, dumbfounded. Pain? Did these creatures actually feel pain? Had her mother been right?

She huddled behind the copse, torn. Self-preservation was strong. Any rational person would abandon the demon to its misery, threat that it was. But as it sprawled upon the forest floor and breathed out miserable groans and pathetic whimpers — something she hadn’t expected to hear — Marisa’s gut wrenched. The defense had proven its worth; it had protected Mynae, warned the demon of its own retaliatory bite. Already a cruel experience for something so reasonless, primitive, and ignorant. Did the creature still deserve to suffer?

She had to release that snare.

Quickly, Marisa sized up the situation. Five strides forward lay the wounded leg. Two strides back, the escape route. In between, scattered woodland debris; not much, but enough to possibly crackle her approach. Mentally, she picked a safe path, then lifted her face into the breeze. Still upwind and with the demon’s snout pointed away from her, no scent would alert it. Perfect. She could be out and back, quick and easy, and the creature would be none the wiser.

She eased silently around the trees.

At once, she shrank into shadow. Ahead, the demon lay quiet and still, breaths now calm and steady; had it not been for the bloody wound torn raw, its rest might have been mistaken for a peaceful slumber. But Marisa suspected it couldn’t have been very comfortable. Not with the snare’s unforgiving hold. She edged forward.

Inch by inch, she crept toward the creature in a semi-crouch, one hand clutching the bundle of tightly gathered skirt to her hip, the other stretched downward for balance. She curled around thickets, stepped along a cushion of mossy ground. Time and again she stopped, breath held to listen and observe, to see if the demon sensed her approach. But it remained motionless, and Marisa skulked ever closer. Four strides . . . three . . . two . . .

A stride and a half away, mud-encrusted cloven hooves came into view. Carefully, she lowered herself to her hands and knees, then stretched forward as far as she could to examine. There, in the pale moonlight, glinted the snare . . . and the release latch. Her fingers twitched. Could she do it? Did she dare? One tiny twist. That’s all it would take. . . .

Another groan rumbled and rose to a whine. Heart in her throat, Marisa lifted her gaze to the demon’s face scrunched tight as the breeze sighed swells of encouragement at her ear. Now. She had to do it now, before she lost her courage. And then she had to run. She reached out a slow, trembling hand . . .

Crack-twang!

The snare pinged off into the woods, and the demon roared, writhing upward — a furious behemoth armed with frothing fangs and dagger-sharp claws. Marisa shrieked, reeled backward, and crashed to the ground.

In a trice, tapered horns hemmed her in. Nostrils flared, searing breath blew as emerald eyes glowered hostile, still. Thick hands flexed and clenched, poised to crush her in their grasp. Marisa’s heart seized. She closed her eyes. Dear Maker! Stupid! Stupid and vulnerable! What madness drove her, filled her with pity — stupid, stupid, stupid! Lamont wasn’t worth this, and neither was the demon. And now she was as good as dead. She whimpered with hot tears. Oh Father, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry. . . . She cringed, flattened, braced herself.

But no attack came.

For a long, tense moment, Marisa lay in a queer silence, puzzled, before she eased her eyes open to the massive creature looming above. Slowly, it lowered its snout, snuffing at her throat, chest, face, and hair. Then it rumbled, soft and light, and lowered its clawed hands, drew back and trained its slit-pupil eyes to her.

And spoke.

“I know your scent,” it said in a voice clear and resonant. “I have been searching for you. At last we meet.”

If you want to read more, go to the sample on Goodreads, come back here and let me know what you think.AMAZON | CREATESPACE | CAENDORIAGOODREADS

Confronting the Demon by Ciara Ballintyne

The gates to hell are thrown wide when Alloran is betrayed by his best friend, Ladanyon, and framed for forbidden magic. He is hunted by the guards and the wizards both, tormented by the gruesome murder of his friends and loved ones, and crippled by fear for the living.

Now Alloran must face his demons, or damn the woman he loves.

Also featuring bonus short story ‘A Magical Melody’

Genre – High Fantasy (17+)
Length – 110 pages
Published – September 24th
buy-the-book
October 12th Indie-Vengeance Day Special!
Trade Paperback -†Amazon US†|†Amazon UK

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What early readers are saying about the novella

“Ballintyne gives wonderful descriptions and I found myself becoming lost in the magic of her words in a picturesque world with every turned page” Bella Doerres

“The power-packed action will leave you breathless and the eerie suspense will make you chomp on your own nails, beware!” Satarupa

With imagination and detail that paints a full scene for the mindís eye, Ciara takes us on a short but exciting journey into a world of magic, love and demons from hell.“†Miranda Wood†of DustyKatt’s Stuff Reviews

“I actually enjoyed a good fantasy novel that didnít take days and days to read, but still offered the opportunity to get caught up in its world and story.” -†Tracy Riva†Global eBook Awards Judge

In honour of Indie-Vengeance Day Ciara Ballintyne is offering up ìConfronting a Demonî for the sale price of 99¢

On October 12th after more than a year of planning, more than a dozen bestselling indie authors from around the globe (seriously!) will gather in Dallas, Texas for an once-in-a-lifetime signing and meet-the-author event; Indie-Vengeance Day.

Come join authors from the U.S, Canada and Australia and meet some of the most notable and recognized writers in the indie author movement.

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Alloran huddled in the shadows of the alley mouth across from the west gate, watching the guards search every man and woman leaving the city of Ehsan. He sweltered within the confines of his light dust cloak. The hood concealed his face, and a few days worth of stubble blurred the shape of his jaw. Anything to make him that much harder to recognise. Unfortunately, he couldnít hide his indigo wizard eyes from another wizard or a sorceress, though a spell concealed their colour from normal vision.

A queue of backed-up traffic wound out of sight along the Avenue of Falling Stars. Travelers, merchants, and farmers waited with resigned patience.

Seven hells, after three months, the delays were normal. Surely, theyíd give up soon.

Will they? For such a heinous crimeÖ.

It was not a thought he liked to dwell on. He slouched to hide his unusual height, and squinted at the mailed guards. They represented a minor inconvenience. The quartet of three wizards and one sorceress, though, were entirely different. Thereíd be no escaping their notice, even though the soldiers might be fooled. Almost involuntarily, his gaze flicked to the castleñnot the kingís castle in the central district but the wizardsí. Perched atop the mountain overshadowing the city, its turrets clawed the sky. Home, once. Now he hid from it like a beetle scuttling away from the sun. Only enough luck to fill the seven celestial levels kept him safe.

The wizards stood as the guards inspected each traveler and allowed passage. One, in linen shirt and leather pants with a sword on his hip, spoke companionably to the guard nearest him. The silk-swathed sorceress gazed down the street towards Alloran, or perhaps past him, with eyes that were yellow or purple, the mark of a woman of power. Easing back into the shadows slowly enough to avoid attracting attention, he headed to the square where Dek and the unfinished statue would be waiting.

A peaceful lassitude crept over Alloran at the thought of the statue. Three months ago, the notion of hacking a statue out of a lump of rock would have been distasteful, to say the least. Now, the act of creation gave him a refuge that he couldnít find anywhere else.

Stripping off the cloak, he tramped through the back alleys, his boots squelching through something he didnít care to examine too closely. Summer heat left the narrow streets ripe with the stench of rotting garbage. The muck would take weeks to clean from his boots, assuming he wouldn’t have to traipse through the same decomposing food tomorrow. But he knew better.

He heaved a sigh for the soft leather half-boots heíd favoured in another life. Of course, theyíd be ruined even faster than the heavy work boots. Oh for a clean street.

In the past, heíd waded knee-deep through any kind of muck as long as an answer lay on the other side. Two lives ago, that had been. Now, he did it in the hope of prolonging his pathetic existence one more day.

A tangled pile of crates blocked most of the alley. When he squeezed between the stack and the alley wall, the splintered wood scratched the stiff canvas of his smock and snagged his stonemasonís mallet. It was impossible to avoid the rubbish piled between wall and crates, and he wrinkled his nose at the stench.

If only he could take the main streets, kept clean by an army of royal sweepers, but theyíd be watching for him there and at the gates. No one at the citadel would expect to find him in this stinking back alley. No, not him. Not the man of silks and velvets.

As he slipped through the narrowest point, the crates shifted, allowing him a glimpse into the middle of the pile. An eye stared back at him. A fixed and glazed eye.

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Ciara-Ballintyne-smallCiara Ballintyne was born in 1981 in Sydney, Australia, where she lives with her husband, two daughters, one masochistic cat, and one cat with a god complex.

She holds degrees in law and accounting, and has been a practicing financial services lawyer since 2004. She is both an idealist and a cynic.

She started reading epic fantasy at the age of nine, when she kidnapped Castle of Wizardry by David Eddings from her father. Another two years passed before she began her first attempts at the craft of writing. Confronting the Demon is her debut book.

She enjoys horse-riding, and speculation about taking over the world. If she could choose to be anything it would be a dragon, but instead she shares more in common with Dr. Gregory House of House. M.D.

Website†|††Goodreads†|††Facebook†|†Twitter†| Pinterest

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

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join-the-tour

The Finishing Fairies is hosting a full two-week virtual book †tour for “Confronting the Demon” by Ciara Ballintye is now accepting tour hosts. We are looking for Reviews, Guest Posts, Interviews and †a few limited special spots available.

The tour will be taking place on Monday through Friday; 12-3 through 12-13, just in time to fill those Christmas e-socks 😉

If you are interested in participating please GO HERE and FILL THE FORM.

Hosted By:

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Of course I have read the book when Kriss was so enthused about it. She got me a review copy and here’s what I thought after reading it, twice! (yes, it was that good I actually read it twice!)

Demons and magic, betrayal and love, and a mystery as the cherry on top. This short story, or is it a novella, was well rounded, but so well written I wanted more when I reached the end.

I rooted for the characters almost from the start. The world and scenes were all very skilled written and had me imagining how it would all look. The Demon, now that was a surprise, and from now on I’ll not be able to eat a certain kind of seafood without thinking of this little book of surprises.

As a bonus the author threw in a short story to compensate for the fact that the main feature was only a mere 69 pages on my ereader. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think it was too short at all, but I want more!

Right, the short bonus story. More magic and magically written too. A well crafted love mystery with an end that made me smile.

(I received no compensation for this post, nor the review)