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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Tumble Into a World Where Magic Rules and Hope is Hard to Find

Marked by Fortune
Tumble into a dystopian world where magic rules and hope is hard to find.
By Ann Gimpel
Dream Shadow Press
95K words

Release Date: 11/10/15
Genre: Dystopian Urban Fantasy Romance

Also available on ARe and Google Play

Book Description:

Magic levies a steep price on anyone brave enough or stupid enough to dabble in it.

 Wizards never forgave Ned for not being one of them. They didn’t exactly come out and say his life was expendable, but they didn’t have to. He figured it out fast enough when they conscripted him into their long-running war the second he was old enough to fight. Isolated, different, he puzzled out how his brand of magic worked on his own. When he’s finally, finally sent on a solo mission, he vows to make the most of every single moment of freedom.

Fleeing the tide of doom wiping out humanity, Amanda and her family escape to a remote corner of California, where they eke out a hardscrabble existence. With her parents at each other’s throats and her brother mysteriously gone, Amanda runs up against malevolent power beyond her wildest imaginings. Captured by the undead, she’s about to join their ranks when Ned shows up.

Attraction ignites—hot, urgent, delicious—but celibacy may well be the price of Ned’s magic, and he can’t risk his power. Or can he? Even though he stands to lose everything, Ned doesn’t hesitate after Tantalus—one of the insidiously beautiful dark gods—kidnaps Amanda. Defying a direct order from his wizard battle lord, he goes after the woman he loves. Even if she can’t ever be his, he’ll be damned if he’ll leave her to the dark god’s whims.



Ned crouched amid the remains of what was once downtown Sacramento, using a convenient, partly-decimated building as cover. The rest of his unit hid in close proximity—at least he hoped they did. A low, whistling noise ratcheted his heart into hyper drive. Enemy magic. Maintaining his crouch, he spun, searching the late afternoon gloom for clues. Not quite sure what tipped him off, he leapt out of the way just before a concrete block exploded, showering him with debris.

“Whew! Way too close.” The words tore out of him before he could stop them.

He drew his lips into a disgusted snarl and wondered for the thousandth time how he, a human mage, ever got mixed up with the wizards’ war.

Because the bastards didn’t give me a choice.

Sweat trickled down his forehead. His leather headband caught some of it, but a few drops fell into his eyes. They stung like hell, and he shook his head to disperse the salty liquid. The beginnings of a headache throbbed behind one temple.

“Landarik.” Ned focused his commander’s name into his mouthpiece. “Where are you?”

“Right behind you.” A voice dripped sarcasm into Ned’s ear.

“Son of a bitch.”

Ned whipped around. Landarik stood so close, Ned’s braids slapped against the wizard’s helmet. “I wish you wouldn’t do that,” Ned sputtered through clenched teeth. “I hate when you sneak up on me. Especially when it could’ve been one of them. You’re lucky I didn’t blast you.”

“Like your puny human magic would’ve made a dent. Cut the shit. What do you want?”

Speaking through the slit in his bronzed helmet, Landarik looked like a robot. Only his blond braids, with debris tangled in them, ruined the automaton image. He must’ve noticed Ned’s stare because Landarik gathered his ratty braids and tossed them over his shoulders.

“I’m beat. Request permission to return to the caves.”

“Mage or no,” Landarik grunted, “you humans are more work than you’re worth.  I have no fucking idea what the goddess had up her sleeve when she created those like you.”

“Fine. Neither do I. Now can I go?”

“I release you—but only because you’re more worthless than usual. Return no later than first light.” Whistling sounded again. Without apparent thought or effort, Landarik raised a hand. A bolt of power flew from his fingertips and vaporized a small building a hundred yards away.

“How can you know so…precisely?” Ned sputtered.

Landarik tipped the visor of his helmet up. Extraordinary blue eyes shot darts at Ned, and the sharp-boned features characteristic of the wizard race twisted in irritation. “I’ve told you and told you,” he lectured in a patronizing voice that grated on Ned’s nerves. “Hold your inner parts still, human. If you managed yourself better, you’d hear where the enemy is hiding.” He snorted. “Sometimes I find it difficult to fathom how you’re still alive.”

“You and me both,” Ned mumbled.

Sketching a rectangular portal in the hot, dusty air, he jumped through into the Ways, picturing the wizards’ caves as he did so. Wizards developed the Ways thousands of years ago so they could travel to distant locations. Their harmonics were so well matched to galactic magnetics, they remained fully functional despite minimal maintenance.

As he sped through the dimension carrying him to a few hours of safety, Ned’s empty stomach clenched in anger. It wasn’t fair for Landarik to expect him to know everything the vetted wizard warriors did. Most of them were hundreds—if not thousands—of years old, while he was a mere…well, something. Young, anyway. In truth, he wasn’t precisely sure of his age. Wizards lived so long they didn’t bother keeping those types of records.

Ned didn’t know if it was fortune, or her opposite, but he’d drawn his first breath in a wizard stronghold. He had little memory of his first few years, but around the time he turned five, one of the wizards—the acolyte master, Karras—took notice of the little human who carted power after him the same way other youngsters dragged beloved toys.

The discovery he held magic within him turned out to be a two-edged sword. His mother was a normal human, and the wizards kicked her out of their stronghold after she refused to divulge his father’s name. Ned offered her points for courage. If she’d given up his father’s name, the wizards would’ve hunted him down and probably killed him—for having the temerity to be intimate with one of their servants.

Once his mother was out of the way, his lessons in mage craft took off like a shot and never really stopped, but catching up with the wizards proved impossible, particularly since they reminded him about his inferiority on a regular basis.

Things may well have gone differently had his teachers been other human mages. Perhaps they would’ve been more sensitive to his skills—and less critical of his efforts. Come to think of it, maybe their teaching style would’ve suited his magic far better. It took several years, but Ned finally figured out that his gifts manifested quite differently than the wizards’. He fought off a wave of bitterness and severed his line of thought. Surely other human mages existed—his father, for example—but he’d never met one in the flesh.

He sent magic spiraling outward to make certain he was still on course. Infernals might try to sabotage the Ways, despite maintaining their own traveling portals. “They’d have to get in here, first,” Ned said, talking to himself. “It wouldn’t be easy.”

The Ways required special spells and an affinity established by one of the wizards. Without those things, they’d refuse to open. Ned wished he knew more about other races, like humans for instance. Or elves. All his history lessons had focused solely on wizards, which made sense because everyone else in his classes was one. He’d felt quite the misfit. Worse, wizards weren’t fond of humans and rarely missed an opportunity to pound the point home.

The deceleration presaging his arrival began, tugging at his midsection. Ned summoned magic to call up a portal. It formed slowly because he was so tapped out. How long since his last rest? He did some quick calculations and came up with sixty-five hours. Wizard physiology was different. They could last five or six days on the battlefield without a break. No matter how hard he tried, Ned had never managed much more than three. Even then, the last hours turned into such a struggle, they were hardly worth it. Ned set his teeth in a grim line. Like he’d told Landarik, he was surprised he was still alive too.

His portal glowed. Warm and inviting, it radiated a soft blue light, the color of many of his workings. Ned peeled the door back and jumped through, so dead on his feet his eyes were half-shut.

The minute he stepped into the flickering, magic-driven torchlight of the sloppily excavated cave the wizards used as a re-supply station, Ned knew something was wrong. He felt the subtle presence of something malevolent in the air currents moving through their subterranean quarters. He didn’t close off the portal—just in case. Sibilant swishing from deep in the shadows dragged a last bit of adrenaline into his bloodstream. He felt sick, jittery, but at least he was wide-awake again.

A horny snout came into view, accompanied by a hissing shriek as the thing raced out of the darkness right at him. Running on nerves and instinct, Ned didn’t stop to examine his adversary. The thing intended to kill him. He jumped backward—body surprisingly nimble given his exhaustion—and sealed off his portal before he resurrected the spell that had carried him from the battlefield. Because the Ways required a destination, he visualized Sacramento. He could always correct his course en route.

What in the nine hells was in the cave?

Ned cleared his mind. He examined the feel of the wrongness. He didn’t sense Infernals. Not exactly. No, it was more like one of the trogs: a cross between trolls and warthogs. Infernals kept them for pets. It was a safe bet if a trog were in the entry hall of the wizards’ cave, its masters weren’t far distant.

Ned shuddered. He’d fought trogs more than once in this war. Their highly poisonous bite could kill on contact if it hit a key spot. His Comparative Zoology instructor at the wizard stronghold in the Carpathian Alps had taught him about genetic catastrophes developed in the Infernals’ labs. Trogs were only one of the perverted creatures born from those unnatural experiments. Closing his eyes, Ned visualized the wall chart with trogs, wargs, the undead…

Why bother?

Can’t change any of it.

Where can I go? Not back to the battle. I’d be worth about as much as a drowned dragon.

He needed to pick a destination, and fast, so he could grab a couple hours of badly needed sleep. Sacramento wouldn’t do it, even if he skirted the worst of the fighting. The large urban areas weren’t any worse than anywhere else, but he’d need to stay sharp to avoid danger. Right now, he wasn’t.

Ned racked his mind, calling up the geography of California. He’d almost decided to head for the Sierra Nevada Mountains—a place Karras took him years ago—when he rethought things. No matter how much he wanted to retreat somewhere safe, he needed to let Landarik know about the breach in their cave. With a great deal of reluctance, he linked what was left of his magic to the frequency of the Ways, and reiterated his command for them to take him back to Sacramento.

Ned didn’t like the wizards any more than they cared about him, but they were the only family he’d ever known. Despite all the times he’d wished Landarik would die a slow, painful death, he did value the concept of duty. Ned shook his head to jar himself into a more wakeful state. Thinking pain might rouse him, he bit his lower lip until he tasted blood, but it didn’t help much.

He still felt like one of the undead.…

Monday, November 2, 2015

A Warm Welcome to Christy Gissendaner and Her Brand New Release, Christmas Spirits

Baoule Spirit Lovers

Guest Post by Christy Gissendaner


The Baoule people of Africa’s Ivory Coast believe a parallel universe, called the Blolo, exists where the spirits of newborns waiting to be born and the deceased co-exist with the real world. Every spirit has a mate in the Blolo, who can be enlisted to save their mate’s problems while in our world. Interesting? I certainly thought so. Enough to write a Christmas novella centered on the Baoule culture.

              Romantic problems, infertility, and general unhappiness in the real world can be cured by commissioning figurines of spirit mates. Blolo bian (males) and Blolo bla (females) are generally carved from wood and are created to the specifications found most desirable in a spirit mate. Food, money, and attention can be given to the spirit mate to keep them appeased, thus allowing a person to find happiness in the real world.

              Active relationships are maintained between spirit mates, particularly in a dream state. It is believed that nocturnal visits from a spirit mate will initiate healthy interaction between a person and his or her physical mate.

              Much detail is given to these figurines - plump bottoms, elegant necks, thick legs. All the attributes desirable in a proper Baoule mate. Social status and individuality is acquired by use of adornment, costume, and hairstyle. Even skin tone is considered when commissioning a spirit mate statue.

              This very primitive…yet romantic...practice provided the inspiration for Christmas Spirits, a holiday themed novella set in modern-day Georgia. A chance reading in an old encyclopedia and Tedros, the “spirit” of Christmas Spirits, was born! The story is meant to portray the reality of spirit lovers, and I took a very atypical approach to most romance novels.

              Keep reading to learn more about Kia’s quest for happiness and just what role Tedros plays in her search for happiness. 
Genre: Paranormal, Contemporary, African American, holiday romance
Publisher: Christy Gissendaner
Word Count: 20,000
Book Description:
Kia Mays has little time for anything as her lifelong dream of being a fashion designer comes to fruition. For Christmas, she takes time out of her busy schedule to visit her family in Georgia where her beloved grandmother, Naya, reveals a secret of her Baoule heritage.
In Baoule, located on the Ivory Coast of Africa, the people believe in spirit lovers, which you are separated from at birth. Tedros, Kia’s lover from the spirit world, appears to her and reveals that he is there to assist her in finding a mortal lover.
Elliot Melton, the brother of Kia's new sister in law, is also invited to share the season with the family. With the help of a meddling grandmother and an otherworldly spirit, Elliot and Kia soon find out that Christmas is the best time to fall in love.
Buy Link:
Naya motioned her toward the living room with a smile.  “Sit down.  I’ll be right back.”
The couch was the same one that had been in the home Naya had shared with Geoff for decades.  It was worn and threadbare, but still comfortable. 
She settled into the cushions with a heartfelt sigh of relief, dropping her head against the crocheted afghan that always hung on the back of the couch.  Not a thing had changed except the fact that her grandfather wouldn’t be there to greet her. 
She blinked several times to clear her eyes.  It was their second Christmas without Grandpa Geoff, and it still saddened her whenever she thought of him.
“Are you ready?”
Kia looked up expectantly when Naya appeared carrying an item wrapped in tissue paper.  Naya glanced at the gift in her hands, then gave Kia a considering look.  Her dark eyes seemed as if she held the secrets to all life’s mysteries.  “I’ve never shared this with anyone but your grandfather.  Not even with your mother.”
Kia sat up straighter.  It wasn’t like Naya to beat around the bush.  She was about as straightforward as they came.  “What is it?”
Naya sat beside her, still cradling the item in her hands.  “The others wouldn’t understand, but you…”  She paused to touch Kia’s cheek.  “You’re the most like me.  You’ll understand the importance of what I’m about to show you.”
Kia was used to her grandmother’s dramatics, but this was different.  A force inside her recognized the truth of it.  She barely drew a breath as Naya unwrapped the tissue paper to reveal what was beneath.  She didn’t know what to expect, but it surely wasn’t what was revealed. 
She glanced at the wooden figurine with a puzzled frown.  “A doll?”
“No, not a doll.”  Naya’s wrinkled fingers stroked the figure gently.  “It’s your soul mate.”
“Um, Naya?  I hate to disappoint you, but I’m not really into wood.  Rubber, maybe, but…”
Behind her bifocals, the rolling of Naya’s eyes seemed overly pronounced.  “Hush your mouth.  He may hear you and take offense.”
Kia’s frown deepened.  Naya was getting on in years, but Kia had never suspected senility.  “Perhaps you should rest.”
Naya gave her a stern look, one that brooked no argument.  “I’ve not lost my mind, Kia LaShae, and shame on you for thinking so.  This figurine…” she held it up to the light.  “Is the physical reincarnation of your spirit lover, the one you’ve been separated from since birth.  The one you will rejoin in death.”
“My spirit lover, hmm?”  Kia tilted her head to one side and studied him.  “He’s a bit smaller than I would’ve liked.”
Naya put a hand to her forehead and mumbled a few words of her native language, ones Kia doubted were very complimentary.  “In Baoule, when you experience bad luck with your flesh and blood lover, it’s because your spirit lover needs to be appeased.  You must show attention to him to end the bad luck.”
Kia took the figurine from Naya and turned it over in her hands.  “Nice ass.”
“He’ll not like you poking fun at him,” Naya warned.
“Who’s poking fun?  He does have a nice ass.”  Kia pulled up his shirt and ran her forefinger over his ridged wooden abdomen.  “Nice six pack also.”
“I created him according to your specifications.”
Kia lifted an eyebrow.  “I didn’t say anything about a six pack, Naya.”
Her grandmother shrugged.  “I took the liberty of adding a few of my own.”
Kia touched the waistband of the hand sewn, miniature jeans he wore.  “Really?  Exactly what sort of traits?”
Naya slapped a hand over hers.  “Later, Kia.  First I must know if you have any questions.”
Kia placed the figurine, her supposed spirit lover, on the coffee table and crossed her legs.  “Yes, I do.  Did you forget your medication?  You don’t seriously expect me to believe this mumbo jumbo, do you?”
“Have I ever lied to you?”
“There was that bit about the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus.”
About the Author:
Christy Gissendaner is a paranormal and contemporary romance author who believes laughter and love should go hand in hand.
Christy lives in Alabama with her husband and three sons. She’s always hard at work on her next novel, but in her spare time she loves blackjack, karaoke, and anything resembling a vacation!
To find out more, please visit

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Full Moon Blog Tour -- You're In The Right Place

Be sure to check out Broad Universe while you're here! It's an international group of women who write science fiction, fantasy, and horror--in all their iterations!

I'm so excited to be part of Broad Universe's Full Moon Blog Tour. Lots of fun and prizes to usher in the winter season. In addition to the Rafflecopter prizes, most of the blogs listed below are giving away something special. Just follow the instructions.

What is it about the moon?
People have sat around fires staring at it since the dawn of time. The various moon mother goddesses loom large in my books. Arianrhod, Celtic moon mother goddess who also controls the tides is in my Dragon Lore series. So's Hecate, a Greek who served much the same function in addition to being a patron goddess for witches.

I've worn a pendant for the last thirty years, give or take a few, of Artemis around my neck. You'll recall she's the same as Diana in the Roman pantheon.

I'm sure it's not accidental, but all the moon mother goddesses are virgin huntresses, so they're strong, independent, capable women. In a way, they're a compilation of the triple goddess (virgin, mother, crone) rolled up into one. They "mother" animals or the tides, and they're always crusty and opinionated, which is the crone's purview.

To me, they epitomize the very best of what it means to be female. I'm sure that's how they end up in my books. Someone once asked me how I manage to incorporate deities into my stories. My answer was this: If a god, say Arianrhod for example, shows up in one of my books, she'll remain the same character if she's introduced in a different book, even if it's in another series. So the characteristics that make her Arianrhod run through whichever of my books she finds herself in.

It's sort of like having your Aunt Sarah show up at several different functions. The setting may be different, but she's still Aunt Sarah.

I hope you're all enjoying this blog hop. Broad Universe is a stellar organization of women who write genre fiction. I've made some great friends in this group over the years, and we get together at science fiction/fantasy conventions to do readings.

Be sure to check out all the other blogs taking part in this tour. You can enter to win a special gift at each stop.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Will You Take Up The Dragon's Dare??? Available Now!! Last Dragon Lore Book

Tumble into myth, magic, and Scottish Dragon Shifters!!


Available at all e-retailers and in paperback too.
All Romance E-Books
Google Play

Because a picture is worth many, many words, take a peek at the series! I'll be back later today to fill in buy links! By then, I'll have it up on All Romance E-books and Google Play too.


Monday, October 12, 2015

Live Life on the Edge!!

Obliterate the lines between fantasy and reality! Join us at the Edge of Never with nine novella and novel length stories by bestselling and award winning authors. 

Celebrate today's release of this special urban fantasy and paranormal romance boxed set. Nine novella and novel length books from a great mix of authors including Caridad Piniero, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and Julia Lake Mills. If you like dragons, this is the set for you! Six of the books feature them.

Sign up for the Rafflecopter below. You could win a $50 Gift Card.

Click on the Rafflecopter link above to enter. You'll need to log in with FB or another social media venue. The more items you click on, the more entries.

Join 9 Awarding Winning Authors at the Edge of Never ...
***$30 Value for just $.99***
Paranormal‬ and Fantasy‬ Lovers -- New Box Set Today!
Obliterate the lines between fantasy and reality with nine spine-tingling tales from your favorite bestselling and award winning authors.
Dragons, gods--fallen and otherwise--ghosts, vampires. A touch of steampunk. More than a splash of romance (mine is open door, HEA). From magical lands to a chilling glance into post World War II Europe, Edge of Never has something to tempt everyone.

Copyright © 2015 Ann Gimpel, Author, All rights reserved.

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Copyright © 2015 Ann Gimpel, Author, All rights reserved.

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You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list