BOOK REVIEW: Exodus 20:3 by Freydis Moon #LGBTQ #Fantasy #Romance @ninestarpress @GoIndiMarketing

Title: Exodus 20:3

Author: Freydis Moon

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 02/01/2022

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 21800

Genre: Paranormal, LGBTQIA+, PNR/fantasy, horror, romance, Latine, transgender, D/s power play, construction worker, angel, suspense

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Description

Religious eroticism and queer emancipation meet in a claustrophobic monster-romance about divinity, sexuality, and freedom.

When Diego López is guilted by his mother into taking a low-key construction job in New Mexico, he doesn’t expect to be the only helping hand at Catedral de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe. But the church is abandoned, decrepit, and off the beaten path, and the only other person for miles is its handsome caretaker, Ariel Azevedo.

Together, Diego and Ariel refurbish the old church, sharing stories of their heritage, experiences, and desires. But as the long days turn into longer nights, Diego begins to see past Ariel’s human mirage and finds himself falling into lust—and maybe something else—with one of God’s first creations.

Excerpt

Exodus 20:3
Freydis Moon © 2022
All Rights Reserved

“You have the address. Go.”

Diego López gnawed his lip as he leaned against the rusted tailgate on his father’s busted Chevy.

He cradled his phone against his ear and tried to focus on his mother’s voice, exhausted and cold, rasping through the speaker. The gas station was quiet—nearly abandoned—but his attention darted to an oasis floating above the highway and a napkin tumbling across the empty lot. He pitched his shoulder upward to steady his phone and smacked a pack of Lucky Strikes against the heel of his palm.

“I can find a way to pay you back,” he said and pulled a cigarette free with his teeth. “I don’t need another handout, and I definitely don’t need to play carpenter at some bullshit church to—”

“Cállate,” his mother snapped. “You listen to me, mijo. You get in that truck, you drive to that church, and you make this right. No one put you behind the wheel of that car—my car—and no one put the… the drugs in your wallet, and no one—”

“I know.” He sucked smoke into his lungs and switched his phone from one ear to the other.

“This isn’t about the money. This is about honor—familia. You go, understand? Go, work, get paid, come home. Do your community service and fix your life. This man, this Ariel, he’s giving you a chance. Take it before he changes his mind and hires someone else.”

“Yeah, because every able-bodied worker in town is trippin’ over themselves to go rebuild a church in the middle of the desert, Mamá. Sure.”

“You made your choice. Go.”

He angled his mouth toward the sky. She wasn’t talking about his fourteen-hour stint in jail or the cash-bail she’d worked double shifts at the diner to pay for. She was talking about the sickle-shaped scars beneath his shirt, the choice he’d made three years ago—eighteen and able to say, Yes, do it. Same vague guilt trip, same acquiescence. You’re like a coyote, she’d said to him once. Halfway to a wolf but still something else. He thought about that as she breathed on the other end of the line and imagined her sitting in the recliner in his childhood home, rolling a slender joint, watching fútbol while a pork shoulder braised in the crockpot. Sometimes she tripped over his name, her tongue unused to making the sound, but when she’d met him at the door after he’d been released from El Paso Detention Center, she’d said Diego with her full voice. Cracked every syllable like a bone.

“Yeah, okay.” He sighed. “Do you want me to call?”

She huffed. “Eres mi sangre.”

He shook his head and finished his cigarette, then crushed it beneath his boot. “Sé.”

“Tomorrow, then. You’ll tell me about the church?”

“Sure, yeah. Tomorrow.”

“Drive safe,” she said.

Diego ended the call without saying goodbye. He stood with his thumbs tucked through his belt loops. Endured the heat. Watched the road. Pictured himself elsewhere, across the state, settling in Austin. He’d bartend to make ends meet. He’d never touch narcotics again. He’d rent a studio apartment, and fill it with houseplants, and learn how to cook. He’d send money to his abuela, and he’d visit her more, and he’d grow the fuck up. Becoming another disappointment on the López family tree wasn’t an option anymore.

It never had been, but stealing the car, crashing the car, getting caught… Yeah, that changed everything.

Early summer rippled through the dry air. He scanned his phone again, reading and rereading the address his mother had sent him—coordinates, actually—before he hoisted into the driver’s seat and turned the key in the ignition. According to Google, Catedral de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe was located in Luna County, New Mexico. He pulled his lip between his teeth again. Seven grand to help rebuild a decrepit church in the middle of the desert? Camming paid more. He’d found that out after getting hit with top-surgery bills. But now that his mother knew about the Vicodin, he certainly didn’t need her to know about the porn too. He manifested the future he’d imagined—bartending in Austin, visiting his grandmother, making pozole in his apartment—and drove toward a city called Sunshine.

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NineStar Press | Books2Read

My Review – 4 stars

I really enjoyed the perspective on religion. The part that resonated with me the most was Ariel’s belief the things we see as wrong or sinful aren’t necessarily God’s thoughts, but are instead man’s version. I’ve often felt that way.

The description of Ariel’s true self had so many parts I had a hard time piecing them together into an image I could “see” as I was reading. I did like that he wasn’t the typical angel we see depicted.

Diego had his flaws, but he also had a hidden strength. Despite his rocky past, he wanted a second chance to do something with his life. I admired him for dusting himself off and trying again.

For me, the ending felt a bit unfinished. I realize this is a shorter story so there’s less room for a more in-depth storyline, but I guess the romantic in me wanted a more definitive HEA for Diego.

If you’re looking for a quick steamy LGBTQ read that will also resonate on a deeper level, you can’t go wrong with Exodus 20:3 …

*Disclaimer: I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. The review above is only my opinion.

Meet the Author

Freydís Moon (they/them) is a biracial nonbinary writer and diviner. When they aren’t writing or divining, Freydís is usually trying their hand at a recommended recipe, practicing a new language, or browsing their local bookstore.

Website | Twitter

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BOOK REVIEW: Seeing by Patrick Winters #horror #bookreview

A secret revealed. A legacy undone. A horror immortalised.

For generations, the Berdeaux family name had been synonymous with hospitality and distinction. But that all changed in the summer of 1979, when Dewey Berdeaux’s “hobby” came to light. It was a revelation that stunned the town of Barrville, and ever since then, the Berdeaux family mansion has stood as a grim reminder—with its fair share of ghosts, if rumour is to be believed.

Now, a brother and sister will bring their team of paranormal investigators to the ancestral home, seeking evidence of the supernatural. They aim to show the world there is something more beyond our passing.

But sometimes, some things are better left unseen…

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MY REVIEW – 3 1/2 stars

Seeing is the first story I’ve read by this author. I’ve always loved horror books and movies, especially ones about haunted houses. However, that also means my expectations are high.

The Berdeaux House is home of a famous murderer, who supposedly haunts the halls. Sounds like an amazing, spine tingling read, doesn’t it?

The beginning, for me, was a bit slow. When we get to the creepy, haunted house, the author set the stage with a short conversation and tour with the owner. To this point, the pacing is slow. Incredibly so for such a short novella.

Once left to their own devices, the ghost hunters set up their equipment and start their hunt. I was ready and waiting for some action! And then waited and waited…

This is the part that dragged for me. Instead of letting me experience the initial rounds of their investigation, the author “tells” us about it. The pages with little to no action drag the pace down further.

Then we finally meet the ghost!

Once the ghost enters the scene, things go from almost stagnant to warp speed. Action. Drama. Violence. I could feel the emotions at this point in the story and was eager for more. Sadly, over 70% is spent setting up the actual haunting so it was over far too quickly.

Those short action-packed pages were thrilling, and a perfect blend of horror and suspense.

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

BOOK TOUR: Last Stop – Horror on Route 13 (anthology) #horror #anthology @RRBookTours1

Today, I’m happy to share another chilling release from Eerie River Publishing, Last Stop: Horror on Route 13! Read on for my details and a chance to win a $25 Amazon e-Gift Card!

Last Stop: Horror on Route 13

Publication Date: October 30th, 2021

Genre: Horror/ Anthology

Publisher: Eerie River

A terrifying journey into America’s forgotten regions.

You ever heard of Route Thirteen? No, not that one.
The real one.

It ain’t on no map, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone who’s travelled it. I dare say this book’s the only evidence you’ll ever come across mentioning that forgotten road. Or the bar.

Goes by the name of Whiskey Pete’s.

That shiver you just felt? That’s a warning, and so’s this book. Thirteen stories of pure horror, blood-curdling violence and spectacularly bad decisions, inspired by the poor folks who fell foul of old Route Thirteen and Whiskey Pete’s.

Let this book be your warning. If you find yourself on that forsaken road, with the warming lights of Whiskey Pete’s upon your windshield, turn back. Or it’ll be your Last Stop

A shared-world anthology of dread authored by

Holley Cornetto ~ L. T. Emery ~ Peter J. Foote
J.W. Garrett ~ David Green ~ Stephen Herczeg
Abigail Linhardt ~ Beth W. Patterson ~ Lynne Phillips
Austin Shirey ~ Joshua D Taylor ~ V. A. Vazquez ~ Patrick Winters

Available on Amazon

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Book Tour: The Resurrectionist by A.R. Meyering #supernatural #horror #fantasy @PRBookPro @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours #Books

Welcome to the book tour for The Resurrectionist by A.R. Meyering. This tale is sure to inspire chills!

The Resurrectionist “Inspired by the true story of the Burke and Hare murders”

Publication Date: July 3rd, 2020

Genre: Supernatural/ Horror/ Fantasy/ Based on Real Life Characters

Synopsis:

Scotland, 1854

On a skinny, forgotten road in Edinburgh stood a shop without a name—a shop that could be found only if one had previously been led to its door. William, who was blind, rapped his knuckles on the door. The shop owner opens the door and says, “I recognize you. You’re the thief who slithered away while your partner swung by his neck.”

William begs the woman to break the curse that has been set on him that prevents him from dying. The curse, says the woman, cannot be broken, but it can be displaced. Is your death so precious to you that you would destroy one more innocent life to get it? The life of your own child?”

London 1895

In 19th century Scotland surgeon Edgar Price has only days to live. He has become host to a revenant that will corrode both his body and soul. Edgar’s fatal mistake has not only doomed him, but also released six more of these malignant wraiths onto the world. In his remaining time, he has vowed to stop the revenants from claiming other victims. His perilous travels lead him to the Witches’ Wood, a haven for a sisterhood of powerful enchantresses. There he meets Ainsley, who is also racing against the clock to save her life and will go to any lengths to spare the life of her lover Colleen from the grief of losing her. Despite their mutual dislike, Edgar and Ainsley find that the only way to traverse the twisted, otherworldly labyrinths that the revenants have created is to work together. Their mission becomes further complicated when Edgar begins to develop feelings for Fana, the guardian goddess of the Wood in spite of Ainsley’s forbidding warnings to stay far away from her.

Though THE RESURRECTIONIST is a work of fantasy, many of the settings and elements are based on fact. Horror and fantasy intermingle in this novel inspired by the true story of the Burke and Hare murders.

From 1828-29, Irish immigrants William Burke and William Hare were responsible for the murders of sixteen people in Edinburgh. Their methods generally involved luring a victim to Hare’s boardinghouse, where they plied them heavily with alcohol before suffocating them. They were motivated by greed, selling the corpses of their victims to a local surgeon, Robert Knox. Each victim was publicly dissected, and Dr. Knox is largely thought to have been complicit in the crimes.

During their ten-month killing spree, William Hare’s common-law wife, Margaret Laird, was pregnant with their child. Hare was pardoned for his crimes due to his confession and condemnation of his accomplice Burke, who was hanged and publicly dissected as punishment.

After being pardoned, Hare, Margaret, and their infant are thought to have escaped to Ireland. It also has been rumored that William Hare was thrown into a lime pit and subsequently suffered blindness before becoming a beggar. The victims in THE RESURRECTIONIST are also based on real life people.

Reminiscent of Tess Gerritsen’s The Bone Garden, THE RESURRECTIONIST explores a real-life horror story through a riveting supernatural thriller that is guaranteed to hook readers from the very first page.

Available on Amazon

About the Author

A.R. Meyering was a graduate student studying philosophy. She has worked as an English teacher in a small town in Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan. Her dark fantasy novel, Unreal City, won a Literary Classics International Book Award gold medal for YA horror and a Moonbeam Award bronze medal in YA horror. While doing her undergrad in English she studied abroad in Edinburgh, focusing on Scottish occult literature and folklore.

Sadly, A.R. Meyering passed away in 2021.

A.R. Meyering

Book Tour Schedule

November 15th

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com

@dystopianserenity (Review) https://www.instagram.com/dystopianserenity/

Nesie’s Place (Spotlight) https://nesiesplace.wordpress.com

@evelovesbooks_travel_art (Review) https://www.instagram.com/evelovesbooks_travel_art/

November 16th

@dreaminginpages (Review) https://www.instagram.com/dreaminginpages/

Coffee + Books = Happiness (Spotlight) https://bookscoffeehappiness.com/

@acourtof_plants_and_books (Review) https://www.instagram.com/acourtof_plants_and_books/

addictedtobooks86 (Review) https://www.instagram.com/addictedtobooks86/

@she.gets.lit.erary (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/she.gets.lit.erary/

November 17th

@bookaholic__reviews (Review) https://www.instagram.com/bookaholic__reviews/

Port Jericho (Review) http://www.aislynndmerricksson.com

Bunny’s Book Reviews (Review) https://bookwormbunnyreviews.blogspot.com/

November 18th

The Faerie Review (Spotlight) http://www.thefaeriereview.com

Series Book Lover (Spotlight) https://seriesbooklover.wordpress.com/

@rusticbookhermit (Review) https://www.instagram.com/rusticbookhermit/

November 19th

B is for Book Review (Spotlight) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com

Stine Writing (Spotlight) https://christinebialczak.com/

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Book Tour: It Calls from the Doors #horror #anthology @EerieRiver @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours

Letting the scares continue with It Calls from the Doors, another scary collection of short stories from a group of talented authors! Read on for more details and a chance to win a $25 Amazon e-Gift Card!

It Calls From the Doors (Foreword by Dave Jeffery, author of “A Quiet Apocalypse”)

Publication Date: October 15th, 2021

Genre: Horror/ Anthology

Open the door to your nightmares.

They are the silent guardians of our inner spaces. We throw them open to welcome friends and family. We shut them tight against the darkness and trust them to keep us safe. But they also hide our true natures, ward off intruders, and seal away what can never be allowed to escape.

But, what happens when the thing that we rely on the most, welcomes the bad things in? What happens when our protector becomes the thing we fear?

Turn the key, pull back the bolt, unfasten the latch and let the darkness through. Discover 19 tales of terror and despair that lurk on the other side of the Doors in the fourth instalment of Eerie River Publishing’s horror series.

Eerie River Publishing

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Book Tour Schedule

November 1st

Reads & Reels (Guest Post) http://readsandreels.com

I Smell Sheep (Spotlight) http://www.ismellsheep.com/

@dreaminginpages (Review) https://www.instagram.com/dreaminginpages/

Rambling Mads (Review) http://ramblingmads.com

November 2nd

Horror Tree (Guest Post) https://www.horrortree.com/

Breakeven Books (Spotlight) https://breakevenbooks.com/

Nesie’s Place (Spotlight) https://nesiesplace.wordpress.com

Cats Luv Coffee (Review) https://catsluvcoffeez.blogspot.com

November 3rd

Bibliolater, Jennifer Mitchell (Review) https://www.jennifermitchellbooks.com

Bunny’s Book Reviews (Review) https://bookwormbunnyreviews.blogspot.com/

Stine Writing (Review) https://christinebialczak.com/

November 4th

The Faerie Review (Review) http://www.thefaeriereview.com

@authormalmccartney (Review) https://www.instagram.com/authormalmccartney/

Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.com/

November 5th

B is for Book Review (Spotlight) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com/

Books + Coffee = Happiness (Review) https://bookscoffeehappiness.com/

On the Shelf Reviews (Review) https://ontheshelfreviews.wordpress.com

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BOOK REVIEW: Bleed More, Bodymore by Ian Kirkpatrick #horror #bookreview

HORROR IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN EVIL OVERTAKES THE HEART.

Joey’s a mechanic. One night, she receives a call from her best friend, asking for his car to be picked up from the infamous body dumping grounds of Baltimore: Leakin Park. When she arrives, there’s little more around than a stalled-out car and a couple of ravens, so she leaves only with the car. Back at the body shop, it doesn’t take long for the smell of rot to permeate the trunk. Inside? A corpse. The cops say her friend did it. His absence is his guilt, but Joey knows better. She will find her missing friend and she will prove his innocence.

But something isn’t right in Baltimore. It’s not just the feeling that someone is always watching from the city’s abandoned buildings… Her search for her friend reveals something much worse hiding under the city. A ghost town, a reaper, regret. Suddenly, the city’s rage and the stink rising out of the dirt make much more sense.

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MY REVIEW – 3 stars

The cover snagged my attention first then the description. It took me about a chapter to settle into the author’s style. I wanted to love this book, and there was enough action at first to keep me reading… until things got weird. Or weirder…

At first Joey came across as a male character, which left me feeling confused. She’s so masculine at times it was hard to picture her and Jag together. With the way she constantly pushes him away, I’m not sure she genuinely cared about him as more than a friend. There wasn’t much about Joey, or even Jag and Donny, that I found even slightly likable.

The book starts with a murder mystery, and Joey trying to find her missing friend. And then it takes a strange turn. While I think the paranormal aspect of the book had potential, it was so randomly thrown in and rushed, it comes across as more of a square peg being jammed into a round hole. I found Val and Charon to be the most interesting characters in the book. They stole the show, casting Joey, Jag, and Waylon into the shadows.

Too many questions left unanswered. There was entirely too much crammed into the book in not enough pages. It didn’t give the author room to adequately complete the various story threads and tie everything up.

Since the book ends with an unfinished feeling, I hope the story will continue. Preferably with Charon and Val as the main characters.

*Disclaimer: I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The review above is only my opinion.

BOOK REVIEW: The Haunting of Leigh Harker by Darcy Coates #horror #bookreview

From bestselling gothic horror author Darcy Coates comes a chilling story of a quiet house on a forgotten suburban lane that hides a deadly secret…


Leigh Harker’s quiet suburban home was her sanctuary for more than a decade, until things abruptly changed. Curtains open by themselves. Radios turn off and on. And a dark figure looms in the shadows of her bedroom door at night, watching her, waiting for her to finally let down her guard enough to fall asleep.

Pushed to her limits but unwilling to abandon her home, Leigh struggles to find answers. But each step forces her towards something more terrifying than she ever imagined.

A poisonous shadow seeps from the locked door beneath the stairs. The handle rattles through the night and fingernails scratch at the wood. Her home harbours dangerous secrets, and now that Leigh is trapped within its walls, she fears she may never escape.

Do you think you’re safe?


You’re wrong.

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MY REVIEW – 5 stars!

Fabulous! Just absolutely fabulous…

The Haunting of Leigh Harker will give you chills and have you begging for more. Just when you think you have it all figured out, another twist is added. One part haunting and one part murder mystery, it will keep you on the edge of your seat.

There were times the story seemed a bit confusing, but the more I read, the more it all started to fall into place — until the author turned everything upside down, leaving me enthralled, in awe, and scrambling to find out what happened.

A must-read for horror fans!

*Disclaimer: I purchased the paperback edition of this book. Neither the publisher nor author requested a review.

BOOK REVIEW: Hetty by Eddie Generous #horror #bookreview #NetGalley

Hetty Stanley was a schoolteacher. Hetty Stanley was a prudish spinster. Hetty Stanley was a murderer. Hetty Stanley has been dead for more than a century.

Dane Butler is doing his best and his best isn’t enough, but a little luck puts him into an inherited home that shares a property line with a woman and her son. Winona and her son Casey are no better off than Dane, forcing the strangers to rely on one another.

One day, Dane looks up from his computer at the sound of Winona shouting in through his door. Her four-year-old son is missing—no boots and no coat, January in Minnesota. Hours pass. Police scour the woods and begin pointing fingers at the only plausible suspects, but one high-ranking officer knows the painful history. Children have been disappearing from the old schoolhouse property for decades, and although it is impossible, there’s only one likelihood: Hetty Stanley.

To save Casey, Dane and Winona must find the link to Hetty and follow it, no matter how impossible the route seems or what trials they might face and what stakes they must overcome.

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MY REVIEW – 3 stars

I’ve struggled over my review and rating for Hetty the last two days… and finally decided on 3 stars. Here’s why…

The book got off to a decent start, letting us meet Hetty right off. It went downhill a bit from there until about 60% into the story.

While I understand and appreciate a more active way of getting Dane’s and Winona’s backstories, the constant flip flopping, and time warps, made it confusing quite a bit if the time. It also made the story lag quite a bit. We went from immediate action to humdrum daily life for such a large chunk of the book. Had this not been called the scariest book ever by quite a few people, I’d have never made it to the “scary” bits.

Admittedly, the sex scenes in Winona’s point of view with “the Cowboy” very nearly made this a two star read for me. They were unrealistic and had I not known going into the book it was written by a man, those scenes would have made it glaringly obvious. I think I actually cringed a few times.

The creepy factor would spark then die again as the dead kids made their appearances. I’d get excited, thinking things were about to take off, only to go back to the humdrum parts that lagged. Until Casey disappears. That’s when the magic happens …

I wouldn’t call this the scariest book, in fact, I would call it slightly creepy and at times a bit chilling, but as horror goes, it didn’t make my heart race or make me want all the lights on. It was a decent story and seems to be set up for a potential spinoff.

I just don’t think this author’s writing is quite to my taste, even though the idea behind Hetty was rather fabulous.

*Disclaimer: I received an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The review above is only my opinion.

Interview with E.J. Dawson #authorinterview #horror #supernatural @ejdawsonauthor

Are you a regular visitor at Books+Coffee=Happiness? You may have noticed I’ve -been reading more horror books lately. I’ve always loved the genre, but for a while they all seemed to be the same, so I took a step back and read other genres. Well, I’m diving back into the realm of horror and all things spooky.

I recently had the pleasure of reading an ARC of E.J. Dawson’s latest book, Behind the Veil, and it’s a definite 5 stars from me. If ghosts, murder, intrigue, and romance are your idea of a thrilling ride, Behind the Veil is a must read! I simply couldn’t put it down! I loved it so much, I reached out to Ms. Dawson and she agreed to an interview! (yes, I totally fan-girled for a moment)

BooksCoffee: Often writers started out as readers. Was there a particular book that inspired you to be an author?

My mother read a lot aloud to us, I often talk about her reading Lord of the Rings to us, twice. But the books that really caught me was the Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper. A five book series threaded with Arthurian legends. It wasn’t the Arthurian legends that I loved, but the subtle darkness of the story. The slow build until even the simplest things like crow’s feather invoked absolute dread of whatever was coming next.

BooksCoffee: Do you tend to read the same genre you write?

Not at all. I read quite diversely. On my shelf is a range of urban paranormal romances, along to the Anita Blake series with Anne Rice, down to gothic romances and thrillers, with M. M. Kaye, further along to the Justin Cronin and Kerry Greenwood’s murder mysteries who has good company with Agatha Christie and Ellie Marney. I’m a devoted Terry Pratchett fan, who has a shelf to himself, but for scifi/fantasy I have loved Anne McCaffrey, Anne Aguire, and of course Neil Gaiman. There are other odds and ends on my shelf, I find it hard to say no to any book.

BooksCoffee: Can you describe your office or writing space?

An old boss gave me my desk, its one of those fancy corporate affairs with metal legs and black painted faux wood. While cheap looking, it is expansive enough for all the things on my desk, including a cat bed. Behind the desk on my wall is my goals and failures. These are divided by a line of quotes which change. At the moment, the best one is from my spouse, who reminded me earlier in the year during a dark period that while I may be failing at some things, they are things I’d never dared try before. He told me to keep failing upwards. Immediately above my desk is a list of what I’ve accomplished this year to keep me motivated.

BooksCoffee: Writers sometimes have furry, feathered, or scaled helpers. Do you have a writing companion?

Oh boy do I ever. We have two rescue dogs with special needs. My beloved is Dobby, a mastiff cross who was a skeleton covered in skin, who “smiled” at people. The pulling back of his jowls when nervous/eager to please put him off adoption. After watching him for several weeks, and sending several pleading glances at my spouse, we were allowed to adopt another needy dog. It turned into the best reward I never thought I’d deserved. Dobby loves hugs, and while his namesake was because he was huge eyed, grey, wrinkly and pathetic, he’s now a thirty five kilo brindled mastiff who will happily sit on my if I don’t get out of bed.

BooksCoffee: Is there a book, movie, or song that inspires you when you’re working? (Something you have to read, watch, or listen to in order to set the mood)

I *always* write to soundtrack music. My favourite composer is Bear McCreary who I fell in love with from the Battler Galactica remake, and in fact walked down the aisle to Roslin and Adama. I find it evocative and inspirational. For example, I wrote Behind the Veil to a track on Youtube called the Untold album from Secession Studios. I often find that a song can inspire a story, I forget to this day what I was listening to, but a dark song on my Spotify caused me to stop my walk home from work in the rain, and under the eave of an abandoned shop I wrote a poem. That poem went on to inspire two books, One with Rage an urban magical cyberpunk romance, and Echo of the Evercry, a NA fantasy that later was contracted to be published with Literary Wanderlust.

BooksCoffee: When you pick movies or TV shows, do you tend to choose something similar to the genres you prefer to read or write? Do you have a favorite movie?

My all time favourite movie is Clue, closely followed by Arsenic & Old Lace. I do have a thing for American Horror Story, Firefly, and Killjoys, but I also enjoy watching a lot of anime. Oran High School is a favourite, but so is Blood Plus and Trinity Blood. What I look for in all of these is the hook, the taboo, the thing that’s not like everything else. I love emotional angst and its prevalent in comedy tales as it is horror.

BooksCoffee: How long have you been writing, and how long did it take before your first book was published?

How long have I got? I kid. But I kind of don’t. I’ve been writing picture stories since I was a little girl about a princess who didn’t need a prince. I wrote my first book when I was sixteen, but bullies tore up the notebook I carried with me everywhere. I met up with a friend from the same school years later, and I will be forever grateful for what she said to me when I told her. “If you know what happens, why can’t you write it again?” I wrote it again, better than before. I made a semi Ok attempt at a paranormal romance in the naughties, but when I turned thirty and was told I may never have children, I knew I had to do something with my life. I started an overly epic steampunk series, before funds ran out and switched to a dark paranormal tale that became Behind the Veil.

BooksCoffee: Do you have a routine you follow when you’re working on a book? A certain time of day when you write, or a snack you keep nearby?

My routine has changed over time, but generally I outline now after being a prolific punster for years and having one too many novels with soggy middles. I also tend to write in sprints, so I’ll write nonestop for a set time, have a small break, and do it again. These times can be from ten minutes to two hours. I am always working. Work and writing for me at first molded into social media management, editing, beta reading, critique partners, dev editing work, and writing, but now writing often takes a pleasurable activity. I’ve worked hard to learn the rules, but my stories still very much run away with me, and I’m eager to be taken.

BooksCoffee: Did anyone give you writing advice when you were first getting started? Do you think it helped?

I absolutely hold my current status to Scott Vandervaulk, an Australian editor who edited my self published series, Last Prophecy. I also have a huge thanks for other editors I’ve worked with, including the great staff at Literary Wanderlust, Sharon Salonen (Behind the Veil) and Jennica Dotsen (Echo of the Evercry). But also the publisher herself, Susan Brooks. I’m also indebted to Marcus Vance and Jennifer Jarrett, who worked on my self pubbed scifi romance Queen of Spades. Each editor has pointed something out to me, about my writing, where to improve but where I shined. I recommend getting a professional editor to work with you on your script, because their outside and unbiased opinion is what you need to make your story up to scratch for the reader.

BooksCoffee: What is the scariest thing you face as a writer? How do you handle it?

People think that rejection or bad reviews is the worst thing you can experience. And its not. As someone who’s worked at this for eight years now the worst thing I wake up to is nothing. You cut pieces of your heart out, swathes of time, to write, edit, and publish a novel. I will love everything I work on but nothing is dispiriting as feeling as though you’re offering your heart and no one wants it. But its not all darkness. It’s never not worth doing. For the people who review my book and want it added to their shelves. To the story where my mother, bless her, had Behind the Veil as a draft, started talking about it at the hair dresser, and describing one terrifying scene, had the entire salon’s attention as she described the scene where Letitia realizes where an evil entity is, and that it isn’t after her.

BooksCoffee: If you could pick your top 3 favorite books of all time, what would they be?

Oh gosh I always hate these. I always go back to the books I read again and gain. Nine Coaches Waiting is an old Mary Stewart novel that I’ve loved. Anne Rice the Witching Hour, and everything with Granny Weatherwax from Terry Pratchett. I can’t put a single book to Granny’s name because she’s stayed with me during some very dark times. She was my humor when I couldn’t laugh, proved there was a way to beat every problem, and was a light in dark times.

BooksCoffee: What do you think is the most important thing to remember when following your dreams?

Never quit on a dream you aren’t willing to let die. It’s a saying that I constantly come back to, and its complicated but works for me. Things don’t always or ever turn out the exact way we predict and often leaves us somewhere very distant from where we thought we’d end up. Life’s thrown a lot of curveballs at me, and I haven’t always handled them very well. What I carry with me is that people like what I do, enough to buy my books, to keep reading, to put their hands up every single time I need a beta reader. I’ve been told I write good stories often enough I believe it. Now I’ve got this experience, I’m going to keep creating from the heart, knowing I tell good stories despite imposter syndrome, but aiming for great stories. I keep failing upwards.

BooksCoffee: Does your family support your writing?

I struggle with this question a lot because I know that many writers not only have very unsupportive families but most importantly unsupportive spouses. I am autistic, and as such have needed my family and spouses support and they’ve been exceptionally giving. I’m so grateful to them, for inspiring me and believing in my writing journey. But the thing about their belief, is that at first some of them were a little skeptical. I’ve been doing this for eight years now and I have nothing but their love and devotion. Yes, you will always have doubt at the start, within and without, but the best advice I can give is to persevere.

Now, let’s talk a little about your current book…

What’s the title of your current release and is it part of a series?

Behind the Veil is a gothic stand alone, but other books of a similar nature are drafted.

Who published Behind the Veil?

Literary Wanderlust

Do you know what cover artist designed your cover? Have you worked with them before?

Violeta Nedkova designed my cover, she also designed the covers for the Queen of Spades trilogy.

Was there something in particular that inspired you to write this story?

My love of the supernatural, ghost stories, and the subtle insidious of the gothic genre

If there’s one thing a reader will take away from this story, what do you hope it is?

Strength. That even a coward like Letitia, who isn’t a coward at all, (but annoys my mother, much to my amusement), that strength isn’t about saying yes. Sometimes its about saying no.

Any funny stories (or something memorable) you can share about writing this book, or something that sparked the idea for it?

I knew I had something that might be greater than I’d done before, when my mother was recounting a scene from the book, and was just telling her hairdresser about it. But by the time she was finishing, the entire salon had stopped everyone listening. She is a master class story telling, but I like to think I had something to do with it. I sent her hairdresser a copy of my book as thanks for the assurance that I told a good story.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Can she keep the secrets of her past to rescue a girl tormented by a ghost?

In 1920s Los Angeles, Letitia Hawking reads the veil between life and death. A scrying bowl allows her to experience the final moments of the deceased. She brings closure to grief-stricken war widows and mourning families.

For Letitia, it is a penance. She knows no such peace.

For Alasdair Driscoll, it may be the only way to save his niece, Finola, from her growing night terrors. But when Letitia sees a shadowy figure attached to the household, it rouses old fears of her unspeakable past in England.

When a man comes to her about his missing daughter, the third girl to go missing in as many months, Letitia can’t help him when she can’t see who’s taken them.

As a darkness haunts Letitia’s vision, she may not be given a choice in helping the determined Mr Driscoll, or stop herself falling in love with him. But to do so risks a part of herself she locked away, and to release it may cost Letitia her sanity and her heart.

Preorder for October 1, 2021 at Amazon

ABOUT EJ DAWSON

Beginning a writing journey with an epic 21 book series, Ejay started her author career in 2014 and has taken on the ups and downs of self-publishing with her fantasy series The Last Prophecy since 2016. At the start of 2019, she put the series on the backburner to write Behind the Veil in 25 days, and signed a publishing contract for the gothic noir novel to independent publisher Literary Wanderlust. She resumed self-publishing a scifi series, Queen of Spades released across 2020 and 2021, as well as signing another contract with Literary Wanderlust for NA fantasy, Echo of the Evercry. Believing in more than one path to a career in publishing, Ejay pursues self-publishing alongside querying traditional publishers with multiple manuscripts.

Find EJ Dawson Online: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Release Blitz: To Summon Nightmares by J.K. Pendragon #bookreview #LGBTQ #paranormalromance @ninestarpress @GoIndiMarketing

Title: To Summon Nightmares

Author: J.K. Pendragon

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 08/23/2021

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 53200

Genre: Paranormal, LGBTQIA+, romance, demons, witches, horror, suspense, magic, mythology, psychic ability, PTSD, author, celebrity, Europe, small town, Ireland, new adult, transgender

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Description

Three years ago, Cohen Brandwein was a teenage media-darling, a popular author and internet celebrity. But ever since he came out as trans, public opinion has been less than golden, and these days he wants nothing more than to escape the big city and find somewhere quiet to work on his next book.

When he inherits an old house in the Irish countryside, Cohen sees it as a perfect opportunity to get away from it all. What he doesn’t count on is becoming embroiled in a paranormal murder mystery, and falling for the primary suspect, a handsome but mysterious self-proclaimed witch, whose reality makes Cohen’s fantasy books seem like child’s play…

Excerpt

To Summon Nightmares
J.K. Pendragon © 2021
All Rights Reserved

November, 2007

Jacky had crawled into Niall’s bed in the night. Niall thought about waking him and telling him to go back to the thin foam mattress on the floor, in case one of his parents walked by and saw them together through the crack of the door. But the floor was wood, and the house was old, and winter was setting in. Sleeping on the floor was cold, but Niall knew that wasn’t why Jacky had crawled into the bed next to him.

He stirred, and Jacky’s thin fingers grasped at his nightshirt, his legs wrapping tightly around Niall, and he muttered something in a soft and frightened voice. His hair, black and shiny with grease, fell limp in front of his sunken eyes. He was so beautiful, Niall thought, knowing he was the only one who saw it. He wrapped his arms tightly around Jacky, wishing he could protect him and keep him safe always. But Jacky couldn’t spend every night at Niall’s. He would have to go home tonight. Home to him.

“Niall!” His mother’s voice from down the hall spooked them both awake; Jacky’s eyes flew open in a panic. He jumped away from Niall and hurriedly scuttled under the blankets on the floor as the sound of footsteps grew closer and Niall’s mother pushed the door open.

“Morning, boys!” she announced, and Niall and Jacky pretended to wake up, rubbing their eyes and gazing blearily at her. “Oh heavens, it’s freezing in here; you’ve left the window open all night!”

Well, that explained the chill. She stepped over Jacky, who shrank away from her, to shut the sticky window tight. “Time to get up or you’ll be late for school. No more sleepovers if you’re going to be exhausted the next morning. What time did you boys go to bed last night?” She cocked her head, hands planted on her hips.

Niall and Jacky looked at each other guiltily. “Not that late, Ma,” said Niall. “I dunno. We didn’t look at the clock.”

“Well, get dressed.” She tutted. “Honestly, you boys don’t appreciate me. You think all mothers allow sleepovers on school nights?”

“No, Mam.” Niall managed a smile through bleary squinted eyes. “You’re the best, Mam.”

“Well, you’ve got that right. All right, up, breakfast’s almost ready.”

She left, closing the door behind her.

Jacky sighed and lay back on the pillow. “Why can’t I just live here with you, Niall?”

Niall bit his lip. “Well, y’know maybe if you told her, like, what’s going on with your dad—”

“She won’t listen,” said Jacky crossly. “They never listen. I told you. And me dad told me if I made a fuss again he’d hit me harder.” He flinched, his eyes going dark. “He said he’d kill me last time. I told you, Niall.”

“I know, but I bet Mam would let you stay here.”

“She wouldn’t, Niall. Anyway, I don’t wanna talk about it. We’re doing it tonight, aren’t we?”

“Yeah, I said tonight, didn’t I?”

“You sound like you don’t want to.”

“Of course I want to!” Niall jumped down onto the floor and grabbed Jacky, pulling him into a tight hug. “Hey, we’ve been planning it for weeks. I’m not gonna back out now.”

“Bet y’are though,” said Jacky, sniffling.

“I’m not.” Niall took Jacky by the arms and looked him firmly in the eyes. “I’m not just gonna abandon you, Jacky. Whatever it takes, I’m gonna take care of you. I love you.”

“I know.” Jacky sniffled again, rubbing his eyes. “I just can’t go back there again. I can’t keep lettin’ him—”

“You won’t.” It hurt deep in Niall’s heart to see Jacky cry. He couldn’t stand it. He pulled Jacky to him and kissed him hard, hoping it would stop the tears and take away some of the fear. “Listen, I got it all planned out. Everything’s ready. I’m gonna be there tonight at midnight sharp, okay? We’re gonna do it.”

“You promise it’ll make him stop? You promise it’ll work?”

“I promise, Jacky. I know what I’m doing. I’ve been studying this stuff for years; you know that. Magic works. I’ve tried it. You saw the stuff I can do.”

“It’s just little stuff.” Jacky crossed his arms.

“Yeah,” said Niall, feeling slightly offended. “That’s just ’cause I haven’t tried anything big yet. Look, if you don’t believe me, I’ll prove you wrong tonight. Right?”

“Yeah.” Jacky sighed and turned away to look for his clothes. “I hope it works, Niall. I dunno what I’ll do if it doesn’t.”

“It’ll work,” said Niall. “Don’t worry.”

It was impossible to concentrate at school. Niall’s mind was running through the ritual, remembering all the incantations. He’d be reading them out loud from a book tonight, but he had memorised them all anyway. He doodled the summoning circle in the margins of his notebooks, over and over again, so he’d have it perfect. It had to be perfect.

Jacky wasn’t in any of his classes this year. He had been in years past, but last year Jacky’s grades had slipped, and he’d been placed in learning support. Niall had tried to help him. Tried to make him learn. But his attempts had only been met with acidic responses and eventual tantrums from Jacky. He was smart, but no one could make him learn. So Niall had decided to leave it alone. He would learn when he was ready. And this might just change everything.

Jacky met him at lunch, in their usual spot outside the gymnasium. It was a corner that no one ever came near, so they were in relative privacy. He leaned his head on Niall’s shoulder and sighed. Niall drew him close, savouring the moment of aloneness. “How’s class?”

“Just stupid,” sniffed Jacky. “I can’t really think. I’m so excited.”

“Me too. I’ve been practising.”

“I got on the computer a little.” Jacky stiffened a little and leaned away from Niall to grab his bag. “I printed out some stuff.”

“What?” Niall leaned forward.

“Well, I thought—” Jacky pulled some papers out of the bag, printed articles. “I thought we might make a last-minute change.”

Niall bit his lip. “I don’t know, Jacky. It’s kind of a delicate thing.”

“Who’s the one you want to summon? Densel?”

“Denusel,” corrected Niall. “Well, he seems best; I mean, I looked him up in a bunch of different demonology books, right? He’s supposed to be really good at persuasion and mind control, so I figured he’d be a good fit. Plus, it said he had an even temperament.”

“It’s just…” Jacky frowned, chewing on his nails. “He’s not supposed to be very powerful, is he?”

“He’ll be enough, Jacky; it’s all relative. This is a really simple request, like a small transaction. The more powerful demons are much more dangerous, and they do much bigger stuff.”

“Yeah, but if you do it all right, it’ll be fine. It won’t be able to hurt us.”

“It’s— Sure, but we don’t need to—”

“Because I looked it up, and I found this.” Jacky shoved the article at Niall. It looked old like it had been photocopied from a book, but not one that Niall had ever seen before.

“Khireneth,” he read aloud. “Notably powerful demon, recordings include— No, this is no good. It doesn’t say anything about his power level or what he does.”

“It does down here, see?” Jacky pointed. “Look, it says he calls himself ‘Champion of the Oppressed.’”

“Sure, but that doesn’t mean anything; demons are all liars. They’re bad and dangerous unless you know how to contain them.”

“I know. You told me, but you do, right?” Jacky swallowed. “I want to make sure it works. I want to be sure.”

“I am sure.”

“Niall, I want to do this one.”

“No.”

“Please. Please, Niall.” Jacky blinked and a tear rolled down his face. “It has to work. There’s no other way. My dad—”

Niall clenched his jaw. He hated that man. And he hated even more that there was nothing he could do. Jacky wouldn’t let him tell the teachers, or the police or anything. Not since he’d come to school with a black eye once in fourth grade, and the teachers had sent a social worker to their house. Niall didn’t know what Jacky’s father had done to him as punishment, but he never talked about it. And when Niall even suggested telling someone about it, Jacky went white as a sheet.

Niall hated feeling helpless. That was probably why he had taken up magic. It gave him a feeling like he had some control over his life; that he could help. And he could help. If this summoning went well, why couldn’t they summon a more powerful demon? The transaction would be the same. And it would be a for-sure thing.

“Okay,” he said. “Okay, Jacky, we’ll do it.”

Purchase

NineStar Press | Books2Read

My Review – 4 stars!

A tale of magic, tragedy, and love… and did I mention magic?

The first bit of the book felt a little disjointed and confusing but once Cohen and Niall meet it starts to make more sense. I loved how protective Niall was from the beginning. What he saw as weakness was actually his strength. He had a huge heart, but it allowed people like Jacky to take advantage.

Cohen was brave, a bit quirky, and completely endearing. I was rooting for him and Niall to find happiness together. They’d both suffered and deserved a fairytale ending… but with the last scene in the book, I’m not so sure that’s in the cards for them. I really hope there will be a sequel.

Overall an action packed read that left me wanting more.

Meet the Author

J.K. Pendragon is a Canadian author with a love of all things romantic and fantastical. They first came to the queer fiction community through m/m romance, but soon began to branch off into writing all kinds of queer fiction. As a bisexual and genderqueer person, J.K. is dedicated to producing diverse, entertaining fiction that showcases characters across the rainbow spectrum, and provides queer characters with the happy endings they are so often denied.

J.K. currently resides in British Columbia, Canada with a boyfriend, a cat, and a large collection of artisanal teas that they really need to get around to drinking. They are always happy to chat, and can be reached at jes.k.pendragon@gmail.com.

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