Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Never Dawn by R.E. Palmer

The Never Dawn

All his young life, Noah has longed to see the sky he's only heard about in stories. For over one hundred years, Noah and his people have remained hidden, toiling deep beneath the Earth to prepare for The New Dawn – the historic day when they will return to win back the land stolen by a ruthless enemy. When Rebekah, the girl of his forbidden desire, discovers a secret their leader has been so desperate to keep, Noah suspects something is wrong. Together, they escape and begin the long climb to the surface. But nothing could have prepared them for what awaits outside.
First in an exciting new dystopian trilogy!

About R.E. Palmer

From an early age, developed a love of sci-fi, fantasy and horror. After writing a number of short stories since his late teens, he finally completed his first novel in 2012; SKY. The sequel, Stargazers, came out in June 2013. His latest project is a dystopian trilogy, The Never Dawn - the first book was published in August.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Paranormal Keepers (Book 1) by Jen Naumann

Paranormal Keepers

There’s no such thing as magic and monsters. Or so I once thought.

After a fateful night before my junior year that starts out as innocent goofing around with friends, strange shadows and mysterious noises seem to be everywhere and I’m starting to think something sinister was let into my life. When my boyfriend is brutally murdered, the police write it off as a freak accident, deciding my “strange” testimony is given under duress. I know whatever got to Gavin wasn’t human and I refuse to stop looking until I find his killer, even if it proves once and for all that there are monsters living among us.

With the discovery that ghosts, mothmen, witches, vampires and all supernatural beings are real, Harper Young finds herself amidst a complex bundle of unseen heroes who call themselves “Keepers," sworn to protect the secrets of the paranormal creatures that walk this earth. As she tries to understand what’s so special about her that she’s able to break an old Keeper law and attend Guardare Academy, Harper has a baffling vision of kissing a mysterious guy before a blade is brought down on him. Before she can get a handle on her future, she becomes central to a battle between the questionable “heroes” and the evil she’s been training to fight, leaving her to wonder if there’s any way to change the fate that has been foretold before it’s too late.

Read an excerpt:
The Ouija board, decorated with skulls and strange symbols, is cracked and the letters are worn, like it’s something her parents either had as teens or found at a vintage shop. I’m not gonna lie, it’s creepy. 
Jess pokes me in the arm. An eerie glow from the candles darkens her eyes, adding to the dread building in my chest. “Put your fingers on the planchette. I’ll ask the questions.” 
“This thingy?” I ask, touching the pointer on the board. 
“Duh.” Her eyes close for a beat before they flip back open, fixating on me without really looking at me. I squirm on the step. “Are there any spirits present?” 
The planchette takes its sweet time sliding across the board before landing on “yes.” When I look back to Jess, her eyes are as wide as someone who has just received a high-voltage shock. 
“Was that supposed to scare me?” I whisper, snorting. “You totally did that. I know how this works.” 
Her resolve doesn’t fade with my accusation. She peers down on the board, lips trembling. “Are you a friendly spirit?” 
Nervous, quiet laughter falls from some of the guys behind us. The planchette circles around the word “yes” once, then twice. My heart takes on a quicker speed until its erratic pounding fills my ears. If she didn’t seem uncharacteristically sincere, I’d swear she was moving it to mess with me. 
“Holy shit,” she mutters under her breath. “It’s never done that before. I’ve always done this with my sister, and I know she’s the one moving it.” Again, she closes her eyes. “Spirit, can you move something to show us your presence?” 
As we all watch closely, waiting for something to happen, my wild heartbeat rakes my chest until I’m unable to breathe calmly. All at once there’s a dull thud from somewhere in the dark. A few of the girls squeal. I nearly pee myself. 
“My bad,” Alec calls out. “I tipped something over.” Brooke lets out a drunken cackle. 
Jess presses her lips together, glaring down on the board. “Spirit, who among us will be the first to die?” 
“Are you mental?” Brooke asks, sounding as freaked as I’ve become. “Why would you ask that?” 
The warm temperature of the summer night plummets as quickly as the flip of a switch. I rub my arms, trying my best to ignore the creepy sensation inching up my back. A slight breeze flitters past, blowing my hair around my shoulders. Jess still has her eyes closed when the planchette moves from “yes” to the letter “G.” I snap my head back up to see Gavin, the only one whose name starts with that letter, shaking his head. 
“Let me guess, it’s me?” Rolling his eyes, he laughs in a relaxed tone. “If I had known my time was up, I would’ve skipped going to school last year.” 
The guys chuckle loudly behind him. My lips twitch when I try to smile along. But something crushes my chest, making it hard to breathe. “Jess, this isn’t funny,” I say quietly. 
The planchette springs back to life beneath my fingertips, faster this time. Jess holds her hands up by her head with her eyes bulging. “Ohmigod, do you feel it?” she whispers. 
Bile rises in my throat. There’s no way she could’ve manipulated the planchette. There’s only one way it could’ve moved. My eyes fall down to the board, finding the planchette resting on the letter “A.” It continues to move on its own accord beneath my hand, spelling out the rest of my boyfriend’s name. I yelp and snap my hands away before it reaches the “N.” The planchette flies off the board as if thrown, smashing into a nearby headstone and hitting the ground in pieces. 
“What the hell?” Jess asks, holding her hands to her mouth. “Why’d you do that?” 
“I didn’t!” I insist, jumping to my feet. “I didn’t do anything!” 
The collective ragged breaths of our friends sound like a living being waiting to pounce. 
Looking around at each of them, their stunned faces heighten my fear. Even Gavin looks unsure of how to console me. Something beyond our comprehension just happened, only we’re too terrified to admit it out loud.
Also available on Kindle Unlimited

About Jen Naumann

Jen Naumann grew up in southern Minnesota as an addict of such flicks as Indiana Jones and The Goonies until she discovered John Hughes, and spent her high school days locked away writing love stories with a sci-fi twist. Married to a farmer in southern Minnesota, she tries to follow the madness of her four active children while balancing an imagination that never shuts down.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Telemachus and Homer by Scott Locke

Telemachus and Homer

For every boy who grew up in his father’s shadow and every girl who has been underestimated, there comes a time to look within themselves to see if they have the strength to meet the challenges of the lives. For Telemachus this time arrives soon after Odysseus returns from his twenty year absence, when Telemachus comes to appreciate that his own life needs to be about more than waiting for his father to guide him. On the verge of embarking on an adventure, he learns that his community has been threatened and realizes that he does not know how to help. Swallowing his pride, he recognizes that Homer, a young blind woman is a necessary ally. Homer, like Telemachus, has something to prove, for although she is respected for her knowledge, she feels unfairly defined by her community. Together, as the people of Ithaca’s last hope, they begin their quest.

Read a more detailed summary:

For every boy who grew up in his father’s shadow and for every girl who was ever underestimated, there will come a time to look within themselves to see if they are ready to meet the challenges of their lives. For Telemachus and Homer this time arrives shortly after Ithaca’s most famous hero, Odysseus, returns from a twenty year absence, and a group of Trojans seek revenge on both Odysseus and his community.
As Telemachus grows up, his greatest dream is to welcome his father home. Unable to find his way without his father to guide him and diligently waiting for him to return, Telemachus spends his childhood isolated from most of his peers, instead befriending two mythical creatures, Amaryllis the Chrompath, whose feathers change color to reflect emotions, and Manos, a member of the Order of Olympian Timekeepers, who prior to meeting Telemachus spent years helping the crystals of time fall.
Telemachus’ only other friend is Homer, who unlike Telemachus is confident and eager to learn. She has insight into the world and a curiosity about it that Telemachus lacks. She tries to get to know Telemachus and to help him to cope with his feelings, but her efforts frighten Telemachus, who, just prior to his father’s return, pushes Homer away. With his immaturity, Telemachus does not appreciate that because she is blind and a girl who craves knowledge in a society that too often reserves that right for boys, she feels as isolated from their community as he does. But whereas Telemachus responds to his feelings by withdrawing, Homer uses hers as an impetus to improve her situation by learning all that she can about the medicinal arts and by becoming an expert on mythology and Ithaca’s heroes, including Telemachus’ father.
When Odysseus finally returns to Ithaca, his presence does change Telemachus’ world, but not in the way that Telemachus thought that it would. Just as Telemachus grew up without a father, Odysseus spent Telemachus’ childhood without growing into being a father, and the two of them do not know how to relate to each other. Telemachus is forced to watch as his community pours adulation upon his father, which leaves Telemachus jealous and no less isolated than before his father returned. At the same time, Homer is thrust into the limelight, having gained so much knowledge about Odysseus’ adventures that she tells portions of his travels at each of the many parties that Ithacans throw in Odysseus’ honor.
Realizing that his father will not give his life meaning, Telemachus decides that Ithaca holds nothing for him and that he needs to leave to find his way. On the verge of embarking on an adventure with only Amaryllis and Manos, Telemachus learns that his community has been attacked, and his father is missing.
Through an interaction between Amaryllis feathers and Manos’ time crystals, which are contained within an hourglass necklace that he wears, Homer is able to see the past and learns both how their community was deceived into ingesting poison and how Odysseus was captured.
She also learns and shares with Telemachus, Manos and Amaryllis that the attackers used a rare poison that she knows grows only in and around Troy.
The poison was administered by a group of Trojans, each of whom, like Telemachus, grew up without a father. However, unlike Telemachus, their fathers did not survive the war and they want nothing less than to exact revenge upon Odysseus and all of Ithaca.
Telemachus’ initial response is to run for help and to leave Homer to care for the victims. But Homer asserts herself and makes Telemachus realize both that there is no time to look for help and that he needs her in order to find the antidote to the poison. Acknowledging that he does not know how to help his parents, Telemachus swallows his pride and begrudgingly accepts that Homer both knows more than he does and is a necessary ally.
Homer explains that the antidote can only be found in Hera’s garden, which is located near Troy. She also explains that no one is permitted to enter the garden twice, so they must obtain the entire supply of the antidote in one trip. Knowing that it is only a matter of time before the poison’s effects are irreversible, Telemachus, Homer, Amaryllis and Manos set out for Hera’s garden. But their arrival does not go unnoticed, and they quickly learn that the Trojans know that someone from Ithaca has arrived.
While trying to stay ahead of the Trojans, the heroes find that just getting to Hera’s garden provides its challenges. In the midst of an arduous journey, they find themselves being chased by wormites, which despite having no eyes or ears are deadly creatures because of their size and jaws. Faced with the danger of the wormites, Telemachus, for the first time, begins to show the qualities of a hero and is able to formulate a plan that allows his party to reach the edge of Hera’s garden.
Unfortunately and to their surprise, when they try to cross into the garden, only Amaryllis and Homer are able to enter it.  An invisible barrier shocks Telemachus and Manos into a coma, and because no one can enter the garden twice, Amaryllis and Homer are forced to leave them unconscious and unprotected outside of the garden while they search for the antidote.
In Hera’s garden, Amaryllis falls into a trance. Having left Telemachus and Manos, Homer knows that before she can find the antidote she must find a way to help Amaryllis. Risking her own life, Homer is able to break the spell that was placed over Amaryllis, and the two of them continue their search for the antidote. After they find it, they are deceived into following Selene, the leader of the Trojans, whose head looks like that of Odysseus’ Trojan Horse, and whose body is human.
Meanwhile, Telemachus and Manos are captured and forced inside the remains of the actual head of Odysseus’ Trojan Horse. There Telemachus comes face to face with his father’s past and with his own present. He learns that there is a third prisoner with them, his father. For the first time, Telemachus begins to see his father as a man and not the legend that the world created. Before Telemachus and Odysseus are able to explore this relationship, Telemachus and Manos find an opportunity to escape.
Telemachus and Manos take advantage of the opportunity and flee in opposite directions. The Trojans split up as well and pursue each of these two heroes. A first group is led by Foberos, a large Trojan wolf, and it captures Manos. A second group is led by Obelix, and it pursues Telemachus until he falls off a cliff. Obelix reunites with Foberos to witness the fall, and as the two of them return to the Trojan campsite, they discuss Telemachus’ death.
While Telemachus and Manos each engage in a failed attempt to escape from the Trojans, Homer and Amaryllis are able to escape from Selene and to find their way out of Hera’s garden. Homer then figures out that Telemachus and Manos were taken to Troy. Choosing to save their friends and not return directly to Ithaca with the antidote, Homer follows a path of crystals that she concludes Manos left behind. The trail leads Homer and Amaryllis to the Trojan campsite, where they hear talk of Telemachus’ death, and they see that Manos and Odysseus are being held captive. Homer devises a plan to save them, but the plan only works in part. She is able to free Manos, but she is not able to free Odysseus. Selene, who also has made her way to the campsite, realizes that Homer set the plan in motion, and she sends Foberos to find and to capture her, which he does.
Left with little time to save Odysseus and Homer, Manos and Amaryllis know that they need to take a stand, but Amaryllis insists on first paying respect to Telemachus. Fortuitously, she finds that Telemachus is not dead, only injured, and he is able to join Amaryllis and Manos in their mission to set Homer and Odysseus free.
Telemachus formulates a plan and proves that he is no less of a hero than his father. After the initial stages of his plan are hatched, Homer is able to prove her value to the team as well, and to join Telemachus, Manos and Amaryllis in the final battle with the Trojans.