Thursday, April 27, 2023


World Famous author, Opëshum will be opening The 2023 Favorite Fan Competition on June 1st and closing it for entries on June 30th.
If you love SciFi and Fantasy Fiction Novels, and have a solid following on Instagram, Facebook or TikTok, you are eligible to enter the competition, and compete with others for the title of being her FAVORITE FAN of 2023 along with a cash prize of $75 U.S.
• Read "Beyond the Father -Book 1 of gods on Trial: The Series™️"
• Prepare a video reel on Instagram, FaceBook or TikTok, sharing your analysis of the book, the plot, theme, greatest problems facing at least two characters, and what you liked most about the book. 

• Reels must be authentically yours and reflect ACTUAL content in the book. Brief recap summaries of the book synopsis are not eligible to win.
• The competition opens on June 1, 2023 which means those competing may start posting their Instagram, Facebook or TikTok reels as early as June 1st.
• The competition closes on June 30, 2023, meaning the last eligible reels must be posted on Instagram, Facebook or TikTok no later than 12 midnight IST on June 30th
• Opëshum and staff members from 1iR3 Publishers will be viewing each reel to judge them for quality, depth, and to look for the person who provided the BEST analysis and details on the book. The person with the best analysis posted to Instagram, Facebook or TikTok will be selected as Opëshum's Favorite Fan of 2023!!
The winner will be named in mid July via 1) an announcement on Goodreads, 2) the author's Instagram and FaceBook page, and 3) on the publisher’s Twitter page.
• Only ONE winner will be selected. 

• Contestants can borrow a copy of the book from a friend, check out a copy at the library, or get a copy of the book on Kindle here
• REGISTRATION TO ENTER THE COMPETITION IS FREE: However, you must email the author directly to register for the competition before you start. Email Opëshum Patroz directly at 
• In your email include your name and link to your Instagram, TikTok or Facebook page so that the author and judges at the publishing house can view your reel
when you start posting your book analysis in June.
• The winner will receive:
🏆 $75 U.S 
🏆 A personally autographed paperback collector’s copy, signed with the author's famous purple pen
🏆 A gods on Trial T-shirt 
🏆 And the coveted title of Opëshum's FAVORITE FAN OF 2023!! 
Sponsored by:
1iR3 Publishers 
30 N. Gould Street Suite 26909
Sheridan Wyoming 82801

Obedience by Liza Snow #RomanticSuspense

Ties That Bind Series
Book One
Liza Snow

Genre: Romantic Suspense
Date of Publication: April 4th 2023
Number of pages: 617 pages
Word Count: 155000
Cover Artist: MiblArt

Tagline: He’d searched a lifetime for the perfect student. She’d always dreamed he'd be her teacher. Together they’ll soar in the silks.

Book Description: 


Growing up, I was mesmerized by a man soaring the skies.

The greatest silk aerialist in the world, Chandler Moreau.

He was once my lifeline, the dream I clung to after my parents died. I’ve always believed he was my destiny. To join him at the Dreamers Academy. To perform for him.

To soar with him.

He’s more than I ever imagined. Far more than a mentor. When I am high in the silks, turning, flying, falling, he’s my lifeline once again. Twisting my heart and my body into knots like the knots of his beloved Japanese rope bondage, Shibari.

I don’t want to live without him. With each lesson, each touch, I crave more. Only he can satisfy me. And only he can destroy me…

But I must keep him safe from the past that relentlessly follows me.


She is my protégé, the student I’ve been waiting to take under my wing for my entire career. Someone with whom I could share my lifelong journey in my family’s circus, Cirque du Lys.

I never intended to fall in love with the student I was supposed to protect—from myself and the demons that lurk in my shadows. But sometimes fate has other plans.

Cassandra, my beautiful butterfly. I know she’s off limits. Forbidden. Still, I want her in my life. My heart. My bed.

My grandfather's taunting words still linger.

Mieux vaut plier que rompre.

Adapt and survive.

It’s what we must do. Cassandra and I share a history that entwines us more than the silks we’ve spent our lives mastering ever could.

There are secrets from the past that must never be told. And truths that could destroy what we’ve just begun…

More to Love

In addition to the paperback, Obedience is also available in a full-cast narrated audiobook, starring Daniel Zbel and Rapunzaroo, along with a cast of additional voiceover actresses. 

Brought to life in the way the story is meant to be told, and it will be the best audiobook you listen to this year—possibly for a very long time.

You’ll love listening to the two voices of these iconic characters. And don’t forget to read along with them and enjoy a fantastic, immersive experience. You’ll need the paperback copy to fan yourself off from some of the narration!

Listen to An Audio Excerpt Here: 


I hadn’t needed to prompt her. She began, pulling herself upward, drawing those silks around her small frame as she went. Climbing high into the air as the two women began their duet. The French lyrics pulled me in every time. It was perhaps one of the reasons that while I simply tolerated most opera songs I’d heard, I adored this song.

Every time I heard it, every time I got lost in those little nuances of the language, it brought me back to summertime in Melun, France. Playing on the hills overlooking the city, lost in the grasses filled with wildflowers. Climbing into Meme’s apple trees. Perhaps the time in my life when it had felt so simple. All there were, were the memories of when I’d been happy.

And if there was any place I wanted to be, as I watched Cassandra ascending above me, knowing in seconds I would be right beside her, it was in those memories again. Bringing her with me.

The first stanza finished, and my mind immediately centered. My hands had already been wrapped in the silks without having to think about it. She paused, and I saw her attention drift downward. We fell captive to one another, and it was all I needed to see. I knew it was my turn to go to her. She was waiting for me.

In the same fashion she had moments earlier, I began my way up the silks beside hers, which had been a deep royal purple color. The entire time I made my way high into the room, I immersed myself in the French lyrics, the strings complimenting every rise and fall of the two women’s voices. Some moments, I’d lose myself in what I was doing, taking careful note of all the little adjustments my body was making. Other times, my attention drifted upward. Until finally, I was just beneath Cassandra.

When I paused again, I took a few deep breaths, steadying myself. Focused entirely on the beautiful woman above me, who was just as attentive to me. I nodded to her, signaling I was ready, prepared to follow her in whatever she had thought to do next.

At the precise moment when I had met her, she had already begun moving herself into a sailor pose above me, legs splitting, and much to my satisfaction, every single part of her in perfect position. All the small details I’d shown her the first lesson we’d had together were as pristine as when I’d helped her myself.

I would have taken more time to truly enjoy how proud of her I felt if she hadn’t twisted downward, dropping her torso straight toward me in a graceful fall. Before she’d completed it, I knew what she’d done. A Rainbow Marchenko. A famous move of Jeanne’s for many years. But watching her as she settled into it, I would have thought it was hers alone.

Cassandra’s hands dropped, releasing the silks. Dangling inches away. The only thing holding her in the air was the precise folds of those green fabrics wrapped around her legs.

Looking into her eyes as she hung there, waiting for me to act, all I could do was smile. She’d been focused, lost in her own world, but she’d come back to me. We were together again in the very place I had wanted to be with her ever since I’d seen her flying through the silks at her audition. I had dreamt about it every time since, every lesson we had, every time I’d watched her from the shadows of the theater while she practiced.

I had taken her to those fields in Melun with me, high in the trees. Trapped us both in those treasured memories, made all the better knowing she was there.

“I’ve got you, Cassandra,” I called out to her, gently. Steadying myself, my body locked in place. Breathing slow and rhythmic and calm. I watched her take the same breath as I had, waiting for the little drop in the lyrics before the next few lines began.

The moment their voices bellowed into the theater again, she let herself drop in a salto. In a gentle sweep of my body, I caught her gracefully into my arms. Twisted us together, letting the silks take hold of the two of us as we swung across the room, dozens of feet above the stage below us. Falling like two feathers locked together, dancing into the wind.

When the fabrics released us, I swung us outward. Our bodies drifted apart again as she spun around me, both of us still descending toward the floor. As beautiful as she looked, circling outward away from me, the moment she had, I wanted her back. I used my legs to give myself enough momentum to swing forward, latching on again once she’d appeared.

Cassandra had been so close I’d felt her breath against my face while we dangled above the stage. I got lost in the way it felt to be tangled up with her, a mess of bodies and fabric. Consumed by it. Convinced I might never let go of her again.

As we’d traversed the rest of the way back to the stage, I didn’t. The two of us descended together as a singular unit, just her and I and the fabrics. Improvising the graceful fall we were doing, finding little tricks and motions to carry out, all the while never leaving her side.

We’d both reached the floor, perfectly in sync with one another. I heard a gentle thump as we landed. Followed by the sound of both of our light, audible breaths. Steadying ourselves back on the ground.

Even having left the air, the silks still wrapped around us. Neither of us had freed ourselves. Cassandra was still in my arms, something I realized, when I hadn’t been so caught up in what we were doing all those feet above us, was happening for the very first time.

The sweet smell of oranges overwhelmed me. Her beautiful hazel eyes, those captivating flecks of grays and greens and browns, drowned out the world around us. I watched her breathing softly, holding her to me and those silks holding me to her.

And in those next few moments, every single solitary thing keeping me from her since the day we had met no longer existed in the little reality we were trapped in. Every fear I had, every reservation, disappeared. I tightened her to me, my hands capturing the sides of her face in a gentle sweep, as elegant as every other thing we’d done those last few minutes.

Our mouths fell together, and I lost myself in her. Trapped in those profound and so unbelievably relieving seconds in which the things that had stood in our way no longer mattered.

I hadn’t thought anything could have surpassed the experience the two of us just shared.

Undeniably, it had been the best minutes I had ever spent in those silks in my entire career. As simple as it had been. And we had barely started. This was only the beginning.

But this moment now was just as wonderful. As perfect as I could have hoped.

About the Author:

A bestselling independent author from Florida, Liza has been putting romance books into her readers hands for over a half decade and has loved every minute of it.

Liza lives with her husband, her two dogs and her cat, ten minutes from the beach. When she isn't writing, you can often find her walking and enjoying outside, with a coffee and a book in hand. 


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Monday, April 24, 2023

Caring for Your Monster Venus Flytraps with Loretta Kendall #MonsterRomance #RomCom

Caring for Your Monster Venus Flytraps
It is a common misconception that monster Venus flytraps are man-eating psychopaths from outer space. Since pop culture made these adorable carnivorous plants popular in the B-movie scene and on Broadway, they have gotten quite a bad rap for being a bit naughty and eating everyone in sight. These green chlorophyll darlings hail from the horror dimension with an ocean view atop Creature Cove Island. Spending their days in the sun, they love graveyard beetles and the occasional fruit bat or two. 

Gigi Stein, avid carnivorous plant caretaker and celebrity rat rod racing owner of Gigi’s Monster Garage tell us the little fellows are full of snuggles and love. Although, she did admit to having quite a few warning signs hanging around her garage to keep humans from getting too close. After all, they do bite and love causing mischief. Don’t worry. They’re just playing… sometimes. There was that one guy that lost a finger, but that’s what happens when you don’t read the signs. Gigi believes monster Venus flytraps are just misunderstood. Besides, no one gets angry at cacti for their gnarly attitudes.

If you are brave enough to venture into raising the horror world plants, here are four tips for keeping them happy and growing strong.

1. Flytraps love attention and tend to be a bit needy. Just like your adorable new puppy, they need lots of playtime and will return it with cheerful barks and plenty of pet-friendly face licks. Like human world plants, talking to your monster flytrap will help it grow big and strong. Once they have grown to trust you as their owner, the loving cuddles will melt your heart while you spend time with them listening to monster jams and humming together your favorite tunes.

2. Although these carnivorous sweethearts love window light, Frank-n-drag racer Gigi tells us they prefer direct sun. Days at the park playing fetch and catching butterflies are their favorite pastimes.

3. The dark truth—Flytraps are carnivorous and will eat just about anything, including your pet rabbit. But don’t try feeding them off their daily routine of small rodents and bugs, because they do have sensitive plant bellies. It’s not recommended to give them human blood or vampire flies as this will cause your plant severe stem issues. No one likes a belly ache. Large amounts of human flesh have also been known to make them grow at an alarming rate and cause psychotic manic episodes.

Instead of blood and body parts, keep your plant healthy and happy with graveyard beetles, earth bugs, and the occasional sweets. Gigi tells us her youngest flytrap loves lollipops and mini cupcakes.

4. Like earth Venus flytraps, fresh water is essential. Only necessary every 10-14 days. It is not suggested to give your flytrap any alcoholic beverages, no matter how much the older ones beg. Gigi tells us her buddy Poe took quite a liking to bloody margaritas, getting drunk and humming show tunes until he passed out in his pot. However funny to watch that it may be, graveyard beetles were not easy to clean out of the carpet the morning after from flytrap hangover.

Good luck with your new pet/plant. While you're spending time showing them attention, why not read to them? 

Check out Gigi and her pet flytraps in the steamy, slow-burn monster romance, Gigi’s Monster Garage

Gigi’s Monster Garage
Ghouls and Gals 
Book One
Loretta Kendall 

Genre: Monster Romance, RomCom
Publisher: Loretta Kendall 
Date of Publication: April 16th
Number of pages: 306
Word Count: 89,000
Cover Artist: LK Creative 

Tagline:  “I’m a rockabilly love’n, hot-to-trot mechanic with a need for speed. A little sass and not much class, but I'll keep you entertained and your car in the lane.” ~ Gigi Stein

Book Description:

Take a wild ride with Gigi, the former bride of Frank N. Stein, as she navigates the world of rat rod racing and explores the unfamiliar territory of understanding love. With a sassy rockabilly style and a lot of attitude, this stitched-up bad girl will capture your heart with lots of laughs along the way. Join her and her misfit friends, including an adorable Venus flytrap who can be a little naughty. Be careful and read the warning signs in the lobby - Molly Sue bites!

Get ready for motor-revving action as Gigi discovers the truth of the lost romance of her human past, uncovering a hidden agenda for why she’s not like others of her kind. Made for humans and monsters alike, Frank-n-people are nothing more than entertainment and sensual gratification for their owners, created by a madman. Not accepting that as her fate, this undead girl is blazing a path of her own.

With the mad scientist Victor’s decision to grant Gigi free will, she has mustered up enough strength to part ways with her abusive ex-husband, following a cataclysmic event that forces vintage horror monsters into the human realm. When she crosses paths with Fox Adams - a lonely human drifter, he wants to work alongside the beautiful, green-skinned drag racing icon in her infamous monster garage. Confused by the attraction to a man with dreams of racing stardom, it forces her to look into who her host body really is if she wants a future with Fox. Together, they form an unlikely bond that will show her she wasn’t just made to be a living Frank-n-mate doll. She was made for love.

Excerpt 2: Sweet Scene

“...It’s not good for people to have to dwell on death.”

Dropping her head to fiddle with her garage jumper’s zipper, she let out a breath.

“I worry about that. Some girls get deactivated when they remember their past. Frank-n-people can go mad when they remember how they died. They become obsessed with who they were before.”

Taking his eyes off the road for a moment, Fox wasn’t about to hear that. “Hell, no. I won’t let them de-animate you. They’ll have to kill me before I let that happen.”

In a fit of sudden anger at the thought, Fox pulled to the side of the road with tires screeching. The old truck's body shook violently as it came to a stop and dust from the roadside swirled around them.

The dirt that wafted in through the air vents made her choke as she looked at Fox like he’d lost his ever loven’ mind.

“Are you nuts? What is wrong with you?”

“I won’t let them do that to you. You’re not undead, Gigi. I’ve seen others like you. Those other creations are just basically walking, talking drones. You are nothing like them. You have a soul with real-life emotions and a beating heart.”

“That’s not true, Fox. I was made for Frank. He only wanted sex and a maid, so that was my design. It may not have been exactly what he ordered, but it’s how it is. Girls like me are made to serve. That’s it.”

“Really? Then why is it you have free will? Why are you not still bowing down to his every whim? And why the hell was he the only Frank-n-man to have a mate made for him since the original Frankenstein monsters? I’ve seen enough of those sex dolls to know they do whatever their masters say. You don’t call him master, nor do you ever refer to him as anything other than an abusive asshole. That, and whatever other choice word you can think of. If you were made for him, you wouldn’t hate him so much.”

“So, I’m just… stronger than the others. Maybe I’m a defective model.”

Fox nodded in agreement to that because she was right. “Yeah, you are. And for whatever reason, your creator let you be an individual, and that defect is absolute perfection. Maybe he didn’t want to see you as Frank’s slave. For whatever reason, he made you unique. Dare I say… human.”

Gigi didn’t know what to say. He was right, but no one had ever spoken to her like that. Even her friends never brought up her creator in such a way, except for Bear. She had wondered why she was different and why didn’t Victor keep to his sex doll plans.

“You’re special, stitches. And I for one, am thankful for it. You’re a kindhearted soul, and whatever you’re afraid of with Frank, I’ll fight to the death to protect you. I know Bear would too because that guy sees you like his little sister. He’s a good guy—you both are.”

“You barely know me,” she pouted.

“Yeah, but maybe I’m a man who sees you as more than just some sex toy to get off on. Others might see you that way, but I don’t. If I ever had the pleasure of making love to a woman as wonderful as you, it wouldn’t be about sex.”

“Oh yeah? Then what would it be?” she asked with a snarky tone, but still wanting to know.

Leaning in, Fox traced his finger down her lightning bolt scar, making her eyes slam shut expecting pain to come next. But it didn’t, making her curious as to why. His fingers traced her scar like it was a precious beauty mark and a soft breath escaped her lips when realizing he had no intention of hurting her.

When his lips grazed her earlobe, he answered, “It would be pure ecstasy. I’d make you feel things no man ever could. I’d show you what your heart wants, but you're too afraid to see.”

About the Author:

Loretta Kendall started her life with a dream and a story in her mind. For as long as she can remember, she was a storyteller, sharing tales with her friends from her overactive imagination.

After twenty-two years as an image consultant in the beauty and entertainment industry, the Indiana native revisited her childhood love for books while continuing working in photography and graphic arts. As a graphic designer she also spends her time creating book covers and marketing materials for advertising for clients.

She has been writing full time since 2017 following an amazing writing journey that led to the completion of several novellas, novels, serial stories on popular book apps, and anthologies. An award winning, traditional, and self-published author, Loretta has a passion for creating happily ever after romance stories with the perfect mix of steamy and slow burn moments. A hopeless romantic, she lives her own happily ever after of twenty-seven years of wedded bliss with her husband being a plant mom to her favorite Venus flytrap, Molly Sue.

Tour Giveaway 

Free novella download when readers sign up for Loretta’s newsletter. 

Top 10 Ways to Find Love in a (Magical) Hopeless Place with Terry Bartley #Fantasy #ShortStories

It is not always easy to live in a fantasy setting. Dark riders are always trying to kill you for your jewelry. Dragons will never just stand there and let you slay them. And don’t even get me started on the gods.

All of this frustration is a lot more manageable whenever you’ve got a partner by your side.

This article will help you identify a person you can trust (or at least think you can for a time) that will stay with you for the long haul. Fantasy hardships just seem to go down easier if there is a love story involved.

1. Sometimes the first person you meet is actually the right person.

It feels too easy. You get pulled into a fantasy world, and you immediately bond with the first person you see. Sometimes, these things just work out. Maybe there is some divine guiding hand that made you apparate into just the right spot. Who knows? But don’t question it too much. You’ll ruin it.

2. Pay attention to the prophecies. 

Almost everyone’s first instinct in a fantasy world is to fight destiny. “Just because something is prophesied doesn’t mean I have to do it.” This makes complete sense if your destiny is to die in some epic battle or be a sacrifice. However, if you are destined to fall in love with someone, just lean into it. Destined love can feel like a bummer in the moment, but don’t look a gift god in the mouth. You found your person. Just go with it.

3. Your love isn’t always the same species as you, and that’s o.k.

When you live in the real world, you might be worried about dating outside of your species. But you have to remember that we live in a world with only one obviously sentient species. In a fantasy world, there are several. Your love interest might be a dwarf, a werewolf, or a changeling. This is o.k. As long as you are an adult that falls in love with another adult that has the ability to consent (and does), then you’re good.

4. Determine if you are the main character.

This one is important and will tell you a lot about the potential longevity of your relationship. If every important plot point seems to follow you, and you specifically, then you are the main character. This may feel like a good thing. In some ways, it is. You will likely live for longer than those around you. But keep in mind that means that you may have to go through a number of love interests before you find one that can last longer than the span of a single book. If you have the occasional plot point, but your friends seem to be equally as important, then congratulations! That means you are part of an ensemble. You are free to fall in love with any of your fellow ensemble members. One of them will likely die in a dramatic moment, but you have a 1 in six chance of picking one that doesn’t. Those are good odds in a fantasy world. 

5. See if it is possible to settle down.

This is actually a great time to live in a fantasy world. There is a new trend thanks to Travis Baldree’s cozy Legends and Lattes. It might be possible for you to open up a business and settle down with your love interest. And coffee shops aren’t your only option. In Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicle, Kvothe opens up a tavern. And recent light novels are full of pharmacies, item shops, and restaurants. The options are endless!

6. Watch the power dynamics.

Power dynamics are really important in a relationship, and they can be even wider in a fantasy world. You could end up dating a chosen one, an immortal fey entity, or even a god. It is absolutely possible to have a romance with these people, but you have to be aware of your role in the relationship. When a human dates a god, at best, you are a temporary distraction. But there is a good chance they’ll go out of their way to protect you. So, it’s definitely worth it.

7. Be aware of age differences.

I have long felt like age difference in a relationship is much more about life stages than actual ages. Therefore, you have to be aware of what life stage your love interest is in. If you are dating a 200-year-old elf, it is possible that they are just beginning adulthood in the world you’re in. Just because someone is much older than you doesn’t mean you’re not a good fit.

8. Sometimes your best friend can be your love interest.

It’s a trope for a reason. You could spend multiple books trying to find the right person whenever they were actually by your side the whole time. If there is any attraction between you and your best friend, don’t be afraid to explore it. 

9. Keep your friends close and your enemies-to-lovers closer.

Not every love interest is going to have your best interest at heart. You may end up falling in love with the person that has been trying to kill you throughout your entire adventure. Don’t freak out, this is surprisingly common. But old habits die hard. I’m not saying you need to sleep with one eye open; that can get exhausting, but you have to be ready for a potential betrayal. If they ever ask, “How long are you going to hold that against me?” and they’re referring to the multiple times they tried to kill you, the answer should be “the rest of your lives.”

10. Savor what you have. It probably won’t last.

This is maybe the most important tip. Almost every adventure is going to involve some tragedy. You are going to lose something or someone. Keep that in mind and make the most of the time you have together. Whether you’re in a fantasy world or not, life is short. Savor the moments of joy.

Tyranny of the Fey
Terry Bartley

Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Starlight King Press
Date of Publication: 8/15/2023
ISBN: 979-8-9877958-1-1
Number of pages: 242
Word Count: 50,334
Cover Artist: Deryl Arrazaq

Tagline: Adventure Waits for No One

Book Description:

A collection of short stories in a connected fantasy world

A famed Elven researcher is worried about her home. When she discovers a new realm with massive magic potential, she believes she has found the answer. Will the Seasonal Fey Courts allow her to continue her research without interference, or do they have more nefarious plans?

An Elven princess runs away from her arranged marriage to a parallel world. Will she be able to find the adventure she seeks? While she is in search of battles with dragons and quests to obtain sacred artifacts, she finds that what she was looking for may have been a true connection with someone that understands her.

Two childhood friends, an Orc and a Goblin, have long dreamed of adventure. When a magic school dropout stumbles into their lives, they jump at the chance to realize their ambitions. This found family realizes the world of Galevyn is a much bigger place than the jungle they grew up in.


“Nice moves,” Aunt Poppy said.  Sweat was beginning to gather on her brow. Her sandy short-cropped hair glistened in the sunlight. “You must have been practicing while I was away.”

She raised her short sword to guard her face and torso and backed away from me. She certainly looked less intimidating in her formal pantsuit, but the shirt still strained from her hulking arm muscles.

“Something like that,” I replied. I didn’t exactly have fighting clothes, as my mother didn’t approve of this hobby. But my old, beat up riding clothes worked well enough. “Or you’re just getting old.”

I took a deep breath and flung my head to toss my dark black ponytail around to my back. I rushed towards her and she swiped her blade in my direction.  At the last moment, I dropped into a crouch and swung my leg around to trip her.  She jumped before I could make contact and flipped forward, over my head.  She lowered the edge of her short sword to my throat as autumn leaves fell around us.

“Got me again,” I laughed as she pulled her sword away and offered me her hand.  I happily took it and pulled myself up. The garden of the Autumn Maiden’s estate wasn’t meant for this sort of training, but it was always my favorite use of the grounds.

“You truly are getting better,” she repeated.

I pushed some loose hairs behind my ear and smirked. “Still not good enough to beat you.”

“Please girl, I have been adventuring for over a century now.  You are barely within your second decade,” Aunt Poppy reassured.

“I just really wanted to beat you before . . . .  Well, you know,” I admitted.

“Asha,” she began sympathetically, “just because you’re getting married doesn’t mean you need to stop sparring with me.”

“The future Autumn Maiden doesn’t concern herself with the martial arts,” I said,  pointing a crooked finger at her, mimicking my grandmother.  I pushed my nose out and opened my eyes a bit wider.

Aunt Poppy laughed. “You better not let her catch you doing that.  That woman never forgets.  You can trust me on that.”

That made a chill run down my back, remembering all the times I’d been scolded by my grandmother. It’s not what she says so much as how she says it. That tone will stick with you.

“But it's more than that, Aunt Poppy.  I don’t want sparring to just be a womanly dalliance for me.  I want to be an adventurer.  I want to be like you!” I exclaimed. I meant it. The princess life never seemed to fit for me.

“I know,” she said in a consolatory tone.  “But sometimes we just don’t get to choose our path in life.”

I liked to believe she truly felt things could be different. Why else would she send me such detailed letters of her adventures all the time? I hoped she might know about a loophole to get me out of this.

“But you did!”

Aunt Poppy sighed. There were some things, it seemed, even great adventurers can’t do. “That’s the blessing of being the second born.  I assure you, your father has made sacrifices because of his duty to the family. That is just something firstborns get saddled with.”

“It's not fair,” I whined.  I sounded like a small child. I always made sure to take advantage of my time with my aunt to get in all my overly dramatic complaints that I couldn’t do in front of the rest of my family.

“That it is not, Asha.  Life rarely is,” Poppy said solemnly, turning to look toward the Autumn Maiden’s expansive manor house.

“It's just,” I began,  “The way you talk about the material realm makes it sound like there is so much more opportunity there.”

“It is that,” Aunt Poppy admitted, “but there are troubles there too.  I’ll be heading back there after tonight’s dinner.  Perhaps if you make a good impression your grandmother might let you tag along.”

I smiled at the thought, even though I knew it was a far-fetched fantasy.

“Asha!  Sister!  It is almost time!” My sister Tinsley called, running out of the large decorative glass double doors on the back of the manor house.

“Very well, Tinsley,” I relented and began following behind her.

“Eh, not so fast,” Aunt Poppy said.

I looked down and noticed the training sword still in my hand.  I handed it over.

“I get it,” Aunt Poppy began, “I’ve had more than a few first dates I’d wished I’d brought a weapon along, but it may not offer a good first impression.”

“Probably not,” I laughed.

About the Author:

Terry Bartley is a journalism, literature, and English teacher at Scott High School and writer of the upcoming collection of short stories, Tyranny of the Fey. Terry is the host of the podcast “Most Writers are Fans,” about the intersection between writing and fandom. Terry has professionally written for the Coal Valley News and Screenrant. He has won awards for writing and broadcasting from the West Virginia Associated Press, the National Broadcasting Society, and MarCom. He has a B.A. in English from the University of Phoenix and an M.A. in English Education from Western Governor’s University.He loves tabletop roleplaying games, social deduction games, reading comics, and watching musical television shows. He lives in rural West  Virginia with his dog, Etsy.

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Character Confessions- Prophecy of a Vampire by Tania Gold #PNR

Zachary Phillips, the main character in the book has a backstory to his upbringing that I didn’t elaborate on.

He spent most of his time with his mother whilst his father was away for work, however, she didn’t treat him very well. She verbally put him down, and yet he kept trying to gain her love and respect. 

It was a cycle that was infuriating her and breaking him. The strain in their relationship is evident at the beginning of the book, and even on her deathbed. It was as if nothing was good enough for her.

It pains him, that he needs to let his mother go however she also never gave him the time and love that he believed he deserved as a son. In truth, Zachary missed his father the most and wished that he were at home more often to lessen the abuse of his mother and him battling loneliness.

Prophecy of a Vampire
Tania Gold

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Date of Publication: March 29 2023
ISBN: 978-1509248247
Number of pages: 254
Word Count:66572
Cover Artist: Diana Carlile

Tagline: One prophecy, a thirst for blood, and a tangled web of lies…

Book Description:
It’s been almost a century since Zachary Philips was turned into a creature of the night. A brooding man with a thirst for freedom and for blood. When he hears of the prophesied Vampire Queen being reborn, he hatches a plan to gain his freedom. Soon, their lives collide and although they are opposites, their sizzling sexual chemistry binds them together.

It doesn’t take too long before Ivy Litt finds herself ensnared by Zachary. She also realizes she can’t stay away from him. If only she knew about the web of lies he was spinning.

Will Zachary’s past and cry for freedom ruin his one chance of happiness, or will Ivy’s thread of humanity change the course of what could be something special?

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“Ivy, there is nothing you can do about it anymore. You might think that what you did was bad, but you protected yourself and it also happened to be in the natural way, for a vampire, that is. Which you are now, so you must learn to understand, and live with the knowledge that this will be a part of your future. You will get angry, you will get thirsty, and that thirst will be to kill whoever stands in your way. In this case, the mutts were advancing on you, and you did the natural thing and retaliated with fangs.”

 I give her another light squeeze, which then turns into my thumb, rubbing circles on her shoulder, just as I have done in the past. I feel her loosen up a little and all the anxiety and distress fleeing her body.

About the Author: 

Growing up with a passion for writing, Tania Gold, a wife and mother of two from Sydney, Australia, has always enjoyed delivering exciting stories to an audience. An avid reader of Fantasy and Romance novels, she had dreamed of creating her own world full of exciting and loveable characters.

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