Her body started to reform, her lungs screamed for air as the concrete enveloped her, trapping her beneath the pavement, the darkness swallowing her whole. No light penetrated the inky blackness around her. Charlie took one choking breath and burst back into the world of above, light burning her eyes. She coughed up dust, taking gulps of air.
Her attacker flew at her.
Still coughing, she blocked his blow and raised her hand. Nothing happened. No magic came to her. She hit the ground when she tried to faze, pulled out her clutch piece weapon from her ankle holster and fired. A stream of blue energy shot out, knocking the man to the ground.
His hood fell back, revealing his bald black head, his dark brown eyes widened in shock. It was the man she’d seen that day in the warehouse. The one who haunted her nightmares. She’d recognise his face anywhere.
“You,” she gasped. “What…”
He fired an energy ball at her. It hit her in the stomach, sending shock waves of pain jolting through every nerve ending.
Charlie’s weapon fell from her hand. She couldn’t breathe, couldn’t think as blackness threatened to drag her down. Blue light flashed through her mind, the roar of the explosion tearing through metal and flesh.
Tiffany Shand started writing short stories when she was a child. She has always done writing in one form or another and started writing novels in her early teens.
Tiffany loves to read books and discovered her love for fantasy and paranormal romance. She writes both non-fiction and fiction, and love helping writers to build their author platforms.
After doing a creative writing course in her early 20s, she is now a freelance writer and professional editor.
Tiffany lives in Essex with her family and two very spoiled cats.
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WHIRLPOOLS, WORMHOLES, AND TIME TRAVEL
What do wormholes, whirlpools, and time travel have in common? In reality, probably nothing. But in Nikki Landry’s historical, yet fictitious world, legend has it that if you go into Lost Lagoon, you may never return, but just might enter into a land where strange creatures live.
A FICTITIOUS WHIRLPOOL
When a mad scientist arrives in Nikki Landry’s home town and hears the legend of the mysterious Lost Lagoon, he decides to build a machine that can traverse a whirlpool—which he calculates just might be a wormhole to a prehistoric time.
Nikki has been warned to stay off Flat Lake due to the frequent whirlpools and strange disappearances. But snooping around Mr. Beekers’ camp boat gets her and her friends kidnapped and taken to a hidden inlet in a swamp off of the large lake. Soon they learn what’s behind the mystery on Lost Lagoon.
A REAL WHIRLPOOL
In reality, in the South Louisiana bayous, there are many, many salt caverns beneath the ground. There are also oil companies drilling for oil. Those two can spell disaster, especially if those caverns are under a lake.
One such disaster occurred in November of 1980, when an oil drilling rig and a salt mine created a whirlpool that became large enough to engulf the rig, eleven barges, and a tugboat, sucking water in from the Gulf of Mexico, and changing the landscape—as well as a once shallow fresh water lake—forever.
While drilling for oil off Lake Peigneur, near New Iberia, Louisiana, a drilling rig owned by Texaco, drilled too far and punctured into an active salt mine. Fishermen on the lake that day saw the whirlpool that began pulling their boat toward it. Luckily they got away before it sucked them into the abyss. Beneath, fifty-five miners, seeing the water rushing in, managed to escape via an elevator. Amazingly, no one lost their life, but it cost Texaco millions of dollars.
Read the story of Lake Peigneur here. https://www.damninteresting.com/lake-peigneur-the-swirling-vortex-of-doom/
Spikes stuffed the papers into his shirt. “I need to finish reading this.”
The three of us dashed for the door. But a shadow covered the opening, and Mr. Beekers stepped into it, blocking our way out.
He looked at the broken door and then glanced around his home. “What have y’all done to my house?” he scowled.
“We didn’t do it,” I said. “Honest we didn’t.”
“Don’t lie to me. You kids have been nosing around here before. What do you want here?”
“Just let us go,” Tim said. “We promise not to come back.”
“No, you’re not going anywhere until I see what you’ve taken…or destroyed.” He stepped in and closed the crooked door behind him. “Now all of you sit.”
Spikes found a chair. Tim and I pushed some newspapers to the side and sat on a tiny sofa with springs poking out.
“Now, which one of you broke my door in?”
Mr. Beekers looked around, then ran to the window. “Where did they go?”“It was some men,” Tim said. “I think they were detectives or something. They had on suits and ties, and drove an official looking car.”
“They’re from Ohio,” I said. “I think they’re coming back. So you better let us go before they get here. Whatever you did, they might get you for kidnapping us too.”
“Oh, no you don’t,” he said. “I’m not letting you go. You brought them here, didn’t you?” His eyes were wild and his mouth turned into a snarl. His whole face turned really evil looking. “I know what they want, and they won’t get it.” He grabbed up some rope and began to tie Spikes to the chair.
About The Mystery on Lost Lagoon:
Legend has it… if you go onto Lost Lagoon, you never return.
Nikki Landry and her friends are off on a quest to track down the prehistoric-looking bird that’s been flying around a nearby swamp island. However, their plans get sidetracked when they meet a stranger in their small town who seems to have some secrets to hide.
The sleuthing group soon learns of a legend about a hidden lagoon. Is it all connected? Before they can find out, they are kidnapped by a mysterious scientist on a mission of his own.
Is there any truth to the legend that says if you go onto Lost Lagoon, you will never return? Is the eerie whirlpool that sits waiting to suck you in really a passage to another world?
Join Nikki, her friends, and one neurotic parrot, as they discover the truth behind the Mystery on Lost Lagoon.
Publisher: Mirror World Publishing; 1 edition
Publication Date: November 17, 2017
Meet the Author:
Rita Monette was born and raised in Southwest Louisiana. After retiring from her “real” job as an administrative assistant for the State of Michigan, Rita began doing what she always wanted to do…write and draw. Her stories are set in the beautiful, yet mysterious, bayous and swamps of her home state. The Mystery on Lost Lagoon is the fourth book in her Nikki Landry Swamp Legend series, which is based on her childhood. Rita now lives with her husband, four lap dogs, and one lap cat, in the mountains of Tennessee.
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The Sun God’s Heir: Redemption
Print Length: 468 pages
Publication Date: October 18, 2017
Sold by: Macmillan
Genres: Historical Fiction, Fantasy
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About the Book:
Death is not life’s final stop. There are worse ends.
Two brothers, once disciples of the Pharoah Akhenaten, reincarnate in seventeenth century France. From Spain to Morocco to Egypt, one is determined to rule, the other to protect.
Horemheb, driven to destroy his brother and end their ancient rivalry, invites an African shaman to assist in recovering ancient artifacts of power that will ensure his dominance. Twice before, these artifacts have raised and then destroyed civilization.
René Gilbert escapes from the murderous sultan of Morocco, closely followed by the sultan’s personal guard, the Bukhari. Trained from childhood, these assassins live to kill.
Now, in the blockbuster conclusion to the Sun God’s Heir trilogy, René must find a way to fulfill a commitment made lifetimes ago. His long journey across the ages hurtles toward its climax, with the fate of his soul, and perhaps our very world, in the balance.
Meet the Author:
Award winning novelist and international playwright Elliott B. Baker grew up in Jacksonville, Florida. With four musicals and one play published and produced throughout the United States, in New Zealand, Portugal, England, and Canada, Elliott is pleased to offer his first novel, Return, book one of The Sun God’s Heir trilogy. A member of the Authors Guild and the Dramatists Guild, Elliott lives in New Hampshire with his wife Sally Ann.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22835886-the-sun-god-s-heir?ac=1&from_search=trueWebsite and author page
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a witch is the last thing she wants…
About Bewitching Hannah:
Sixteen-year-old Hannah Fitzgerald has always known she is descended from a troubled legacy of magic. Although a stranger to her coven in Annapolis, she is no stranger to grief and denial. However, when an ancient prophecy reveals the rise of a young, powerful Chesapeake witch and the impending death of another, she realizes she can no longer afford to suppress the magic that has taken away so much. She seeks out the frighteningly scarred, yet mysterious W, a Calvert descendant who is destined to change her life, but even he cannot prepare her for the danger that lies ahead. Engaged in a deadly game without knowing who her true rival is, Hannah isn’t certain she will survive, and if she loses she may lose everything, including the ones she loves.
Read an Excerpt:
Lightning flashed, followed by a rumble of thunder, jolting me alert. A tempest churned over the Chesapeake Bay and was rolling toward town. I stared at the clouds, ready to calculate how much time we had before the rain hit. Another bright flash of white-hot lightning forked across the purplish-black sky. One, two…twenty.
The storm was at least four miles away. I pressed a hand over my chest, feeling the thumping slow.
I glanced at Aunt J, who was no longer bopping her head to the bad music. Instead, she blinked over and over, and rubbed her eyes with one hand.
“If you’re tired, I can drive.” Who needed a license when I’d already mastered a moped along with the Green Briar golf carts?
Her slender fingers searched for me as if I were a ghost she could only hear. She grasped my arm tightly.
“Hannah?” Panic drenched her voice.
My eyes widened. “What’s wrong?”
“I can’t see. I mean, I see something, but it’s not the road. What’s wrong with me?”
I peered out the windshield. A distant telephone pole grew bigger as her foot stuck to the accelerator.
A frightening swell of adrenaline flooded my veins, sending my heart into a frenzy. “Stop!” I yelled, but she was frozen with fright. I grabbed the steering wheel and threw my leg over to jam on the brake pedal.
It was too late. Absolute silence fell over us in the grim second before we plowed into the pole. My lower body slammed into the dashboard while the seatbelt squeezed hard against my ribs. Metal groaned. White bubbles deployed. Glass shattered with a scream. Or maybe the scream was mine. The car groaned to a halt with a hiss and clank.
Stillness settled over us. My head was reeling as I checked myself for injuries. Bursts of pain sparked from my chest and leg.
“Hannah?” Aunt J’s quivering voice reached out.
I pried my eyes open. She had escaped her seatbelt. Her lips and hands were trembling, but I saw no blood or broken skin. Inwardly, I sighed with relief.
“Are you okay?” she asked.
I sucked in a shallow breath. “Me? Fine,” I managed, not wanting to stress her out, but I struggled to breathe and my left leg was wedged under the intruding dashboard.
She reached over, wiping her hands across my cheeks and forehead, dusting away crumbs of glass. She touched her trembling fingers to the seatbelt release and pressed on it, over and over. “Come on, dammit. Let go.”
I pushed her hand away, restraining a whimper. “It’s okay. Go get help.”
She nodded and with a hard push, shoved her door open. “I’ll be right back.”
A heavy silence fell over the car’s interior until a hiss sounded from the engine. Within seconds, the smell of burning oil seeped in through the vents.
One toxic breath went deeper than I meant it to. “Ow!” I coughed and writhed beneath the unyielding seatbelt like a five-year-old having a tantrum. Panic swept over me as I struggled for freedom.
Stress vibrated deep in my gut. Self-soothe, self-soothe, I reminded myself. The air grew thicker with burning oil and a starburst of pain wracked my body. I was going to die. Unless…
No. How could I even think it? There had to be another way because what if I couldn’t send it back? What if it took me to the same terrible place it had taken them?
I peered out the windows, searching. There was no one. I turned my focus on the glove box. Maybe Aunt J kept a knife in there or a pair of floral scissors. I pushed the button hard, again and again. Jammed. My heart raced.
A burst of smoke puffed into the car’s interior. I coughed and closed my eyes. The pressure on my leg intensified and the sickening fumes filled me with dread. Eff it. I balled my hands into fists.
I recalled the spell I’d overheard my dad utter once. I recited it in my head before casting, making sure I had it right. “By the power of fire, I do summon and churn, and call thee forth to blaze and burn.”
I stopped breathing, trying to sense any changes. I felt no different. And then it filled my core like a warm sphere of energy. Quickly, the power expanded into a blazing inferno. My back arched, pressing me harder into the seatbelt as my internal fire surged. Every cell jolted awake. My heart pounded out of control as I imagined channeling the smoldering energy. Suddenly, my hands tingled with intense power. I swallowed hard and aimed my fingers at the strap. The fiery threads trickled out in a wiggly pattern until I steadied my hand. The seatbelt burned orange, then cooled to black before separating.
Mirror World Publishing eBook:
Mirror World Publishing Paperback:
Enchanting Ever-Afters ♥
In the summer of 1914, Jane Fairchild, a young English musician, is kidnapped by magic and sent to Spellhaven, an island city ruled by magicians. Here, peace and prosperity are maintained with the assistance of Unseen Spirits bound to the service of the Lords Magician. The Spirits must be kept in good humour by the performance of all kinds of shows, dance, drama and music. Jane is one of many people kidnapped from the outside world and forced to contribute to these entertainments for a set period of service.
Only Jane is having none of it. She will not perform for her kidnapper, Lucian Palafox, but agrees to undertake an apprenticeship with another magician impresario, provided she is taught magic in return. Jane’s forays into magic lead her deeper within the mysteries of Spellhaven, her rivalry with Lucian escalates and the quarrels between them grow strong enough to shake the city to its foundations.
Genres: Fantasy, Adventure
Hours later she was seized with panic. If she kept walking, her legs knew the right way to go and her headache remained bearable, but she had lost all sense of where she was in the countryside. She could not see any landmarks that fitted what she knew of the Chilterns. Her feet were sore and her back ached. But more frightening than being lost was the suspicion that she was not in control of her own movements; that some nameless force was choosing her way and driving her forward. As soon as this thought crystallised in her mind, she decided to test it. She halted and this time she forced herself to turn round. At once the pain in her head tightened so that she could hardly see. As she took one step back the way she had come and then another, cramps twisted her legs and shoulders until she fell to the ground and rolled around, whimpering. She clutched her music bag and cradled it to her breasts.
When she could stand again, she no longer knew which direction she had come from, but it did not matter. She let her mind go blank and plodded onwards. She looked at the mark on her arm, which was dark and seemed to have gathered weight, as though it was growing downwards inside her skin. She was angry and afraid but she did not think she would survive another attempt to break away.
The evening was cool by the time she came to the side of a river and saw a rowing boat, small and battered, pulled up onto a mud slide. She was no oarswoman and in her ordinary state she would not have taken a boat that did not belong to her. She could not even tell how leaky it might be. But these thoughts slipped quickly out of her mind, set against the knowledge that she could not keep still and that her feet would not carry her much further. She inched the boat back into the water and scrambled over the side.
She did not attempt to row; at first she sat upright, one oar gripped between her hands, in case she had to fend off rocks or steer away from weeds, but the boat moved past such hazards faster than she could react to them. She was very tired. The night was clear, more like deep twilight than full darkness. Starlight gleamed on twists in the current, pale scrapes of stone or leaves along the banks, alarmingly close or puzzlingly distant, but all these glimpses rushed past at dizzying speed. Before long, Jane set down the oar and curled herself into the bottom of the boat, which was almost dry. She put her head on the rowing bench and fell asleep.
She never knew how long that journey lasted. She woke now and then to see daylight and black cliffs on either side of the boat or woods of gnarled trees with yellow leaves which belonged nowhere in an English July. And at least once she woke at night to hear owls call and fish splash around her, but the boat swept onwards and sleep was less painful than staying awake.
When the boat stopped, she knew she would have to rouse herself. She sat up stiffly and found she was beached on a gentle slope of sand, surrounded by a thick mist. She could smell the sea and light shone from somewhere above her. She clambered out of the boat and crawled up the slope, her music bag slung at her back.
At the top was a paved causeway and mist in all directions. She could hear the surge of waves and the calls of gulls but she could see nothing except far off down the Causeway. There white walls shone under the sun. She looked around while the mist turned and shifted in gusts of cold wind but nothing else came clearly into sight. At her end of the Causeway loomed dark shapes, which might have been cliffs at the mouth of the river or might not. In any case, she could again feel the pains that had driven her there. They had been quiescent while the boat carried her onwards but now they flared up again and harried her towards those white walls. She stumbled onwards, stiff and slow at first, and then more steadily. Near her destination, she came abruptly out of the mist. She faced a city on an island, where battlemented walls encircled towers of golden brown, grey stone houses, bridges, trees, and fountains in rising layers on a great hill. She halted in admiration and amazement but her fever drove her on before she had time for a proper look.
The Causeway led to an open gate in the city wall, under an arch wide enough for a steam engine. The front bristled with spears from which hung many-coloured banners, flapping in the wind. Jane could not pause to study their devices but hurried desperately on. Then, as soon as she walked under the arch, she stopped. Her fever vanished away, as suddenly as if she had been dragged here in the claws of an invisible lion, which had now released her. And she felt mauled and half-eaten, like a lion’s prey, barely able to remember who she was or what it would mean to take decisions of her own accord.
A man in a cloak with badges came towards her and spoke in a language she did not know. She stared at him and he tried more words. ‘Where is this place? Do you speak English?’ Jane said.
But she fainted before any answer came.
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Meet the Author:
Sandra Unerman lives in London in the UK. When she retired from a career as a Government lawyer, she undertook an MA in Creative Writing at Middlesex University, specialising in SF and fantasy, and graduated in 2013. Since then, she has had a number of short stories published. In 2016, these included stories in Three Drops from a Cauldron, the Midwinter issue and Aurora Wolf, the September issue, both available online. She writes reviews and articles for the British Science Fiction Association and the British Fantasy Society. She is a member of London Clockhouse writers and other writing groups. Her interests include history, folklore and medieval literature.
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Judging of the Bull-Knox Sunflower Contest 2017 took place on Saturday 5th August.
Judge Bowd measured the contenders for the tallest flower and named Em&Em the winner:
On receiving the award, Clarky, the shorter half of duo Em&Em said, “I’m very proud to have won this contest. Being small, I never thought I’d win a competition for the tallest anything!”
New for 2017, the Indie Award, was introduced in memory of the beautiful bunny and chief sunflower slayer, Indie. Pauline and Mick had the task of picking the prettiest flower for this award and declared Shmelling the winner:
Melling, said, “It’s an honour to win the Indie Award for the prettiest flower. Our weedy plant was almost destroyed by snails in its early days but it just goes to show that an ugly duckling can turn into a beautiful swan.”
Many of the flowers are yet to bloom so I’ll post their pictures when they come out to say hello.
Thanks for following the Bull-Knox Sunflower Contest 2017 and to all the competitors. You’re all winners!
Bobaul was the first sunflower to show its pretty yellow face in the Bull-Knox Sunflower Contest 2017. Bears followed, revealing a beautiful orangey red flower.
As gorgeous as they are, the early bloomers may have peaked too soon (putting their energy into displaying their flowers rather than reaching for the sky) to be able to catch the tallest competitors. However, they are both still in with a chance of winning the new award for 2017: The Indie Award for the prettiest flower.
With 10 days to go the tallest flower is hard to call with Em&Em, Shmelling, Pears and Gibbles all striving towards the sun.
Sad news for Steclaire who, although the plant still looks healthy, was found to be headless. The perpetrator of this horrific attack has not been found but a trail of slime was found on the upper leaves. I’m not sure if it’s scientifically possible but I’m rooting (sorry about the pun) for Steclaire to grow a new head and get back in the race.
The official judging takes place on 5th August 2017.
Indie, the chief sunflower slayer, has passed away. Indie has been a big fan of the sunflower contest since it began and can be seen below hopping past the first flowers as a baby in 2014.
The next year she realised how tasty the flowers were and, along with her sister Pongo, fought through all defences to devour the plants.
Indie gave the competition an element of danger and will be hugely missed. But don’t worry, Pongo is still waiting to pounce on any sunflowers should they get too heavy and fall from their current safety on the fence.
Despite the sadness, the contest goes on and Gibbles has reached above the rest.
Shmelling has enjoyed a growth spurt and is now neck and neck in second place with previous leader Em&Em. Pears, Gramps, Bears, Steclaire and Choltman are hot on their heels. Although slightly shorter, Ricarah, Bobaul, Bull-Knox, Moomins and Amme are all looking strong and could make a late burst. Judging takes place on 5th August. Who will be the tallest?
Glastonbury 2017 was fantastic. I love the wear-what-you-like vibe, the bright flags, colourful bins, Brothers cider, weird stuff, amazing food, the giant fire and music blasting spider, and the fact it’s acceptable to wash down your breakfast with a gin. There is also some music going on. Here are my one line reviews of who we saw:
Glass Animals (Friday, BBC Introducing Stage) – Nice and chilled.
Blossoms (Friday, Pyramid Stage) – I’d prefer them if he cut his hair.
Declan McKenna (Friday, John Peel Stage) – Pleasant to sleep to.
George Ezra (Friday, Other Stage) – Good soundtrack to DIY henna tattoos.
Radiohead (Friday, Pyramid Stage) – Watched for 40 minutes and didn’t know any songs so went to the circus instead.
In Heaven (Saturday, John Peel Stage) – Background music to more henna tattoos.
The Amazons (Saturday, John Peel Stage) – Gave me an appetite to eat junk food.
Busted (Saturday, Avalon Stage) – Should have headlined Friday night.
Katy Perry (Saturday, Pyramid Stage) – Unexpectedly brilliant.
Birdy (Saturday, Avalon Stage) – Soundtrack to UV face painting.
Foo Fighters (Saturday, Pyramid Stage) – Awesome.
Dropkick Murphy (Sunday, Other Stage) – Fun but a bit screamy.
Rag ‘n’ Bone Man (Sunday, Other Stage) – Expected better but he’s only human.
Kodaline (Sunday, Other Stage) – Nice to relax with a gin to.
Haim (Sunday, Other Stage) – Pleasant to sleep off gin to.
Biffy Clyro (Sunday, Pyramid Stage) – Bifftastic.
Ed Sheeran (Sunday, Pyramid Stage) – Fun, jam packed Sunday sing-a-long.