Tuesday, June 10, 2014

White Heart of Justice

White Heart of Justice
Noon Onyx
Book 3
Jill Archer

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Ace

Date of Publication: May 27, 2014

ISBN-10: 0425257177
ISBN-13: 978-0425257173

Number of pages: 304
Word Count: 95,000

Cover Artist: Jason Chan

Book Description:

Since Lucifer claimed victory at Armageddon, demons, angels, and humans have coexisted in uneasy harmony. Those with waning magic are trained to maintain peace and order. But hostilities are never far from erupting…

After years of denying her abilities, Noon Onyx, the first woman in history to wield waning magic, has embraced her power. She’s won the right to compete in the prestigious Laurel Crown Race—an event that will not only earn her the respect of her peers but also, if she wins, the right to control her future.

However, Noon’s task is nearly impossible: retrieve the White Heart of Justice, a mythical sword that disappeared hundreds of years ago. The sword is rumored to be hidden in a dangerous region of Halja that she is unlikely to return from. But Noon’s life isn’t the only thing hanging in the balance. The sword holds an awesome power that, in the wrong hands, could reboot the apocalypse—and Noon is the only one who can prevent Armageddon from starting again…



I can’t be with you anymore. That’s what she’d said. Six words that had become sixty then six hundred then six thousand . . . sixty thousand . . . six million . . . reverberating in his head, bouncing around inside his brain, driving him absolutely mad. There were no other words. No other memories. Only that last one of her. Standing at the edge of the oozy stew of the destroyed keep’s moat, flanked by two Angels, one preternaturally beautiful, the other full of purpose. The same purpose he’d had until those six words stripped him of it.
Flying out, he’d barely cleared the wreckage of the keep. His heart beat against the walls of his massive chest, and his monstrous wings beat against the infinite, empty sky, but the beats were slow and grew slower still. Slower. Until finally . . .
He made it across the river and then dropped like a ten-ton stone, crashing into the brush, breaking tree limbs and a wing. He lay there amongst the blackening scrub refusing to shift back into human form.
Man’s thoughts were unwelcome.
In time, the rogares came. Water wraiths. He killed them all. And then sickened by the smell of blood and meat he couldn’t—wouldn’t—consume, he left his nesting place. By then, the wing had healed, but unnaturally, so that flying straight was impossible. For days, he traveled in circles, never getting far. It wasn’t just the wing. The yearning to return to her was nearly unbearable. The emptiness inside of him an abyss.
Was she still in the Shallows? If he could just . . .
But then he remembered the Angels. And the look on her face when she’d said the six words. And the feelings in her signature. She’d need more than mere weeks for them to abate. She might need months. Hopefully, not years. Years meant nothing to him, but they did to her. And then the reminder that her time was more precious than his drove his yearning to a new level of ferocity. Ruthlessly, he tamped it down. He realized then that it might be best to return to man’s thoughts. After all, she was a woman.
And he wanted her back.

Chapter 1

“Glashia calls Noon the ballista.” Waldron Seknecus’ low voice rumbled through the Gridiron, a deep, cavernous underground space used by the upper years at St. Lucifer’s for sparring. “Because of how she fights now. Watch.”

He was speaking to three other spectators: my father, Karanos Onyx, executive of the Demon Council and the man who would ultimately employ all of the magic users who trained here at St. Luck’s; Friedrich Vanderlin, an Archangel who was the dean of Guardians over at the Joshua School, the Angel academy we shared a campus with; and a woman who looked unsettlingly familiar to me, though I couldn’t remember when we’d met or who she was. I cleared my mind and concentrated on my opponent, Ludovicus Mischmetal, who preferred the moniker “Vicious” for short. He was a second year Maegester-in-Training at Euryale University. We were competing against one another in the New Babylon MIT rank matches, which St. Luck’s was hosting this year.

All second-year MITs were required to compete. The top-ranked MITs from each school would then be eligible to compete in the Laurel Crown Race. The object of the race was to bring back an assigned target. Targets were either rogare demons or priceless artifacts that needed to be recovered. Participation in the Laurel Crown Race was voluntary, but the MIT who returned to New Babylon with his (or in my case, her) target before any of the others, won the coveted Laurel Crown. Winning the Laurel Crown often set a future Maegester up for life because winners could choose where they wanted to spend their fourth-semester residency. And ofttimes, those residencies turned into permanent positions. Everyone else would receive offers, but it would be the Council that decided which of those residency positions they accepted.

Last semester, we’d been given our first field assignment. It was an assignment that had been full of rogare demon attacks and other lethal situations. That assignment had lasted a mere three months and I’d barely survived it. My residency would last for twice as long, so I was well aware of how important the residency venue would be. Winning the right to choose where I spent next semester, not to mention who I would be working for, would go far in preserving not just my happiness, but also my life. The Maegester who was judging the match, a middle-aged man with thinning, ginger-colored hair and a near permanent frown, called out for us to begin.

I’d watched Vicious spar with other MITs. He was smart. His infliction of pain would be very calculated, very precise. There was nothing personal about his desire to beat me. He just wanted to win the match so that he could retain his current Primoris ranking at Euryale and compete for the Laurel Crown. Of course, I was similarly motivated.

Vicious gave me a curt bow, his long, black, razor-cut bangs briefly falling forward before he shook them back and used his waning magic to fire up a weapon, a flaming broadsword. It hissed and spit with fury in the damp air of the Gridiron as Vicious raised it toward me in an opening invitation to spar.

As a sparring partner, Vicious looked fairly intimidating. His front teeth were shiny, silver, and sharply pointed (likely, his real ones had been knocked out in fights) and he was much larger than me. He wore the usual black leather training pants and vest, but he’d elected to go shirtless underneath the vest. I guessed it was an intentional show of muscle, literally. He flexed his forearms and grinned at me, his message clear: I might be a woman playing a man’s game, but he wasn’t going to spare me any blows.

That suited me fine. Sparing me blows wouldn’t win me the match.

About the Author:

Jill Archer writes dark, genre-bending fantasy from rural Maryland. Her novels include Dark Light of Day, Fiery Edge of Steel, and White Heart of Justice. She loves cats, coffee, books, movies, day tripping, and outdoor adventuring.

  $50 Amazon eGift Certificate (or bookseller of winner’s choice) (international)

5 copies of White Heart of Justice (or an earlier book in the series, winner’s choice) (international so long as Book Depository ships to your address)

Dark Light of Day themed SWAG pack (incudes signed copy of book and other awesome goodies) (US only)

Fiery Edge of Steel themed SWAG pack (incudes signed copy of book and other awesome goodies) (US only)

White Heart of Justice themed SWAG pack (incudes signed copy of book and other awesome goodies) (US only)

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Thursday, June 5, 2014

Cry Wolf

There is a boutique hiding out between the fractured, narrow storefronts lining New Gotham’s foggy docks. The shingles are ribbed and black. Washed, peeling paint and displays offering views into wicked leather and lace studded glam. The mannequins are ghoulish beauties stitched together from whatever was left from the last fool to cross one of the sinister witches.

Welcome to Sinister Stitches

“…apparel for a wicked fairy tale.”

A spicy trinity of black magic sisters breathe star-dusted dreams to life with their gothic apparel boutique. They are schooled in the old ways of “fabric-bending” by the Needlewitches of old. With this knowledge, they’ve created an entire line of clothing that all share the same basic design element: one-size fits all. Each garment will magically tailor itself to its wearer once worn. Last time the Witches-Who-Stitch, hosted a literary catwalk, heroines were called from all walks of life and genres to challenge their seamstress skills. This time, their men have joined the fun—apparently, they’ve been sent to the boutique. (Whether they like it, or not.)

The witches were NOT expecting men. Their expertise is usually limited to DEMANDING their husbands NOT wear that in public, and, of course, the fashioning of fantastic clothing for all of literature’s heroines. (New Gotham’s men usually get their goods from Rumpel’s Twisted Threads, BUT that’s beyond the point, the girls put a quill to their interview, changed some bits, and rose to the occasion.)

To enjoy the hilarity, please check out some of the questionnaire Adrianne Brooks’ Gabriel Evans from Kissed by the Moonlight (The Wild Hunt series) was asked to fill out after he swaggered into Sinister Stitches. 


Please provide the witches with your name: Gabriel Evans

Please provide the witches with the following:

Hair Color: Blond
Hair Length: [x] Short and Sharp, [ ] Shaggy and Sexy, [ ] Lush and Long
Eye Color:  Amber

Skin Tone: [ ] Ghoulish, [ ] Snow White, [WTF does this one mean?] Cina-baby, [ ] Mochalicious, [ ] Dark Chocolate, [X]  Other: Uhhh…tan. Maybe. Is that a tone?

Please provide the witches with your measurements and body-type.

a.) Height: 6’2

b.) Body Type: [ ] Skeletal, [ ] Lean and Tender, [X] Lean and Tough, [I very much like this description] Ripe and Edible

Do you have any extra extremities? Place an “X” to all that apply.

[ ] Horns or [ ] Halo
[ ] 20 ft. of Hair or More
[ ] Gills and Fins or [ ] Hooves
[ ] Wings (Span:   )
[X] Tail (How many: ) - Does it count if it’s only there part of the time?

How many heads do you have? (Your boy bit doesn’t count!)


Do you have arms and legs? If so, how many?

Depends. Is it a full moon night?

How dead are you? [X] Living, [ ] Undead, [ ] Astral Form

What are you? (Species/Breed)

Hell Hound

What is the occasion? (Ideas include: Wedding, Funeral, Sabbath, etc. Oh, and seduction is a valid occasion. The more details, the better.)

I’m getting married J

What’s the occasion setting? (Beach, haunted castle, grand ball, etc.)

The Seelie Court

Will you be fighting for your life at some point in the evening? 

(sigh) Past experience says yes.

Will you be set on fire? Better yet, will you be setting other people on fire?

I don’t set fires… (naughty grin) unless they’re the kind I can help put out.

Will you be grave-robbing? (Dirt is a tailor’s tedium.)

No. There are no graves to rob. I eat my kills like everyone else.

What are you wearing right now? Who picked that outfit out? (Basically, who let you leave the crypt in those?)

I’m wearing a gray suit, jacket unbuttoned, no tie. I pick out my own clothes. I happen to have excellent taste.

Do you hope to be naked at some point in the evening? (All right, dirty birds. Such questions are actually intended toward the weres and shifters in regards to their transformations.)

Yes please. Thank you for asking.

Describe your last brush with Death in two sentences. (Helps us plan for the unexpected.)

River. Styx.

Do you need a secret compartment for gigantic swords? Guns and condoms? Eyeliner, maybe?

Eyeliner? What the hell is that?

What are your three favorite colors?

I don’t really have…

I don’t…I mean I’ve never really thought about…

Her eyes are blue.

I like blue.

What two colors ninja your brain, sweetie?

I don’t understand what colored ninjas have to do with anything. But I like the fact that you called me ‘sweetie’. Proceed.

Please pick a style that you feel embodies you the best. If none apply, feel free to surprise us by providing your own brilliant description in the “other” slot.

[ ] Dark Angel: This is for the spoonfuls of charming. The good-natured and naughty boys next door types. Thoughtful and sensual. Loyal and intelligent. More often than not, his head is in the clouds, but those dreams and that smile holds hope for all of us. Our philosophers.

[ ] Beast King: This is for the warlords and alphas. The type of men who walk into a room and their presence hushes out the sun. They live in their bodies, but their minds are searching for the next challenge. Hands for fighting and these boots for ass-kickings. Our protectors.

[ ] Smooth Criminal: This is for the bad boys. You know, the types---mother’s worse nightmares. The kind of man that makes your skin itch every time he devours you with that hundred yard stare. Chances are his senses of humor is as wicked as his tongue. To hold him, isn’t to catch him. Our scheming rogues.

[ ] Black Knight: This for the mysteries. The ones no one can quite make heads or tails out off. He’s a mixture, a melting pot of strong, sinister, and sweet. He might be Dark Angel one day, and a Smooth Criminal other days. Our brothers.

[X] Other: I am a creature carved of nightmare. I can quote your name into the scented flesh of your skin like a song whose lyrics I’ve learned by heart. In my mind, charm is a weapon to be used against the unwary. The weak. I have it in spades. It has taken me centuries to perfect the art of being ‘human’ but don’t worry. I have the hang of it now. I am the big bad wolf, and sooner or later I always collect my due.  

Who is your favorite comic/storybook villain?

Spiderman….what do you mean he wasn’t a villain?

If you could be any comic/storybook book hero, who would it be?

Superman. Or maybe Hit-girl. I like her.

Now, tell us who you love the most.

Phaedra. I love Phaedra. I don’t know much about being a human. Sometimes I lose myself. She’s the only thing that sticks. The only thing that makes any sort of sense.

Anything else you’d like to add…

How do I get home from here? She told me to wear a blindfold and…let’s just say that there was a lot of false advertising.

After many barrels of chocolate, a dash of magic, and furious sewing…
Sinister Stitches’ Gothic Dame
Madame Mari presents Gabriel’s
Completed Threads
“Boy Blue”

The fey lingering in the shadows is old, monarch-like butterfly wings dwarf her face in dark shadows, and her flowing Mortisha gown was spun from cobwebs and spider tears. All you can see are her eyes. Slanted, glowing and violet. They’re almost…arachnid. If you’re a woman, you’re just a little disturbed. If you’re a man, you are most intrigued. (If you’re LGBT, you’re lovin’ it.) After all, a Diva never ages. She motions toward the ghoulish mannequin, and a smile pinches her wrinkled, red mouth:  
Welcome to Sinister Stitches, shugah. Now, you’re in the wrong place. Yes, yes, this is a clothing store, but we’re dressmakers. Twisted Threads is that way, dear. You can pick up a business card before you leave. I do think they’re closed today. (That is the only explanation for all this mayhem.) In the meantime, I will fashion you something appropriate to wear on your big day. Let’s talk about color, first. I’m a fan of the unique, and I think we’ve captured that in this suit. We went for a rich, cobalt blue. Something that pops, but that says “sophisticated” prince. Blue, blue, blue. There’s really no contest.

The fabric is 100 Neverland sky cashmere. Regular Cashmere is extremely expensive and very soft. It really isn’t as durable as most other fabrics, and it does not press well. However, Neverland sky has a very light blend of silk and ghost cotton. That will make it as durable as piece of full-pixie dust armor. You should be able to take anything short of a silver bullet in this suit. We’ve also taken great care to make it stain resistant—no need to worry about ruining it in a frenzied moment of passion. Just take care to take it off, beforehand. Usually, in the cases of werewolves, we fashion “tear-away” clothing, but it simply wouldn’t suit this type of suit or the occasion. So, do behave.

In terms of cut, we went with a classic “Italian” thin-man cut. Think “Armani or Gucci.” These suits don’t usually suit wider frames, because they are tailored and form fitting. They’re meant to create harsh and clean lines. We did pad your shoulders just a wee bit to give you that extra balance. We want to really bring out that “triangle” silhouette. We did cut thin lapels, but you’ll note that you do have a vent in the jacket. Most Italian suits don’t feature them, but we figured it would be nice to have the extra freedom of movement. The outfit has a white double-collared shirt and matching cobalt silk tie with elfish striations. And Brenda threw in your Nevernight Aviator shades. But don’t embarrass me, son. You be sure to take them off during the ceremony. Now, here, take your old clothes.

Now, why don’t you go make yourself useful, and go be that girl’s “something blue.”
(And save me a piece of cake!)

For more information about Adrianne Brooks’ and Gabriel’s adventures in Kissed by Moonlight (The Wild Hunt series) please check out her author website. Adrianne also invites readers to her Facebook page here.

Care to check out the last round of Sinister Stitches interviews? Check out Sophie Avett and Jennifer Blackstream’s paranormal den, the Brimstone Pub. All SS interviews are retired there after their tour until the release of the SS e-book.
Fancy a tour of New Gotham? Check out New Gotham’s Survival Guide! It might save your life!

For more information about Sophie Avett’s New Gotham Fairy Tales, the Sinister Stitches series, and recent releases, please check out her website.
Image Credit(s):  javiindy

Image Editing Credit(s): Elaina, For the Muse Design

Cry Wolf
A New Gotham Fairy Tale
Sophie Avett

Genre: Dark Fantasy Romance (MM/New Adult)
Publisher: Skeleton Key Publishing
Date of Publication:  May 1, 2014
Number of pages: est. 22 pages
Word Count:  est. 10, 000
Cover Artist: Elaina, For the Muse Design

Amazon   BN   ARe    Kobo    Smashwords

Book Description:

There’s a wild animal on the loose in the black forests surrounding New Gotham...

Not that anyone cares.

Well, Peter doesn't care.

Peter Ume is more interested in finding a way to alleviate the skull-numbing boredom of a city wide shut down. So far his ideas for excitement hover between stealing an unwary idiot’s underwear (soul works, too), setting someone’s eyebrows on fire, or stabbing the next person he meets in the eye with a hot French fry.
It turns out, he’ll be able to save assault and theft for a rainy day. As luck would have it, this naughty kitsune is about to meet the big bad wolf.

And man, is the wolf in for a surprise...
Warning: This story can be read as a standalone, but you will want to smack Sophie for it. (Or so the ravens have said.) So, do keep in mind that there is a part two. (And it will be a freebie. Sophie’s Pixies will carrier pigeon everyone more information soon.)

About the Author:

Sophie Avett is kind of a nerd. Like not even one of the cute, hip ones everyone brags about nowadays. More like the socially awkward hippie who eats way too much bread and dreams about being a dragon from behind towers of mythology books. Um...yeah. Picture old, tattered paperbacks and comic books--mostly Batman and Wonder Woman--dwarfing a tiny desk, with just barely enough room for the troll who writes there and the 70 pound hell-hound that insists on laying it's wet nose on top of her bare foot.
Granted not the most exciting existence, but she tries to make up for it by writing romances populated with her own peculiar ilk of paranormal beasties. Trolls, wyverns, the obscure Nordic brownie--she likes to keep things interesting. And bloody. (And mostly naked--but, we'll keep that bit between us.)

Sinister Stitches Boutique Blog: http://sophieavettsinisterstitches.blogspot.com/
Brimstone Pub, the Blog: http://thebrimstonepub.com/