Guest Post by Sharon Bayliss: “It Can Only Get Brighter From Here”

I want to introduce my Fistful Faithful to one of my top-five favorite Texans, author Sharon Bayliss. Sharon is in the thick of her December People series… a series which fans of the Dark Choir might do well to go investigate. Lots of overlap here, folks… Sharon’s world is repleat with wizards living normal lives, whenever the Cosmos allows. There’s intrigue, magnificently catastrophic consequences for magic, and families torn apart and mended back together through the power of love and hate alternatively… I’ll let you decide which is which.

Today is also SHARON’S BIRTHDAY HOLY CRAP HAPPY BIRTHDAY SHARON!!!!!

Ahem.

I think I’ve primed the pump enough, so I’ll hand the reins over to Sharon for the day, and allow her to discuss the Winter Solstice, and what it means.

~~~

 

On the winter solstice, the dark wizards in Destruction take a moment to celebrate the darkness itself. It’s a moment of acceptance and celebration of who they are–a time to experience darkness without fear or shame.

However, winter solstice celebrations are truly all about light. The winter solstice is one of those glass-half-full or glass-half-empty things. You can call it the darkest day of the year, or you can call it the day the light returns. Either way, you’re right. But for the majority of cultures, the winter solstice is all about the LIGHT.

Look familiar?

St. Lucia’s Day – Mostly celebrated in Scandinavian cultures. On 12/13, a young girl dressed in white carries candles to celebrate the triumph of light over darkness.

Christmas - The 25th was chosen as the day to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the Christian light of the world…not a coincidence.

Hanukkah – The Festival of Lights itself! A celebration surrounding a light that overcame the darkness.

Saturnalia – An ancient Romans celebration of the sun god, from 12/17-12/23.

And of course just about any pagan or Wiccan celebration of the solstice will involve some kind of ritual or ceremony with light.

In the December People Series, not just winter wizards celebrate the winter solstice. All kinds of wizards do. In fact, spring and summer wizards celebrate the holiday as much winter wizards, and probably make an even bigger deal out of it. When the winter solstice passes, it’s time for the sun to return, which is reason for light wizards to party hard.

For this reason, some believe that winter wizards whose magical date falls after the winter solstice are fundamentally different from winter wizards whose magical dates fall before the winter solstice. The ones who land on the spring side are tending toward light, and the ones that fall on the fall side are tending toward darkness. Just a few days can make a big difference in how they see the world. This also tells us something important and dark about fall wizards. It also makes you wonder, if you’re a winter solstice witch or wizard, does that make you the darkest kind of evil there is…or the birth of life itself? Or…both?

About the author:

Sharon Bayliss is the author of the dark wizard family drama, The December People Series. When she’s not writing, she enjoys living happily-ever-after with her husband and two young sons. She can be found eating Tex-Mex on patios, wearing flip-flops, and playing in the mud (which she calls gardening). She only practices magic in emergencies.

Semi-finalist in the Kindle Book Review Awards and #1 category bestseller in coming of age fantasy.
About Destruction:

David Vandergraff wants to be a good man. He goes to church every Sunday, keeps his lawn trim and green, and loves his wife and kids more than anything.

Unfortunately, being a dark wizard isn’t a choice.

Eleven years ago, David’s secret second family went missing. When his two lost children are finally found, he learns they suffered years of unthinkable abuse. Ready to make things right, David brings the kids home even though it could mean losing the wife he can’t imagine living without.

Keeping his life together becomes harder when the new children claim to be dark wizards. David believes they use this fantasy to cope with their trauma. Until, David’s wife admits a secret of her own—she is a dark wizard too, as is David, and all of their children.

Now, David must parent two hurting children from a dark world he doesn’t understand and keep his family from falling apart. All while dealing with the realization that everyone he loves, including himself, may be evil.

About Watch Me Burn:

David Vandergraff lost his home, his job, and contact with his oldest son, but remains determined to be a good husband and father despite being a dark winter wizard.

His resolve is tested when a flyer for a missing girl–who happens to be a summer witch–begins to haunt him. David believes a spell needs to use him to save her, so he follows the magic’s command and looks into her disappearance. His teenage daughter Emmy resents him for caring so much about a random stranger. But when she uncovers some disturbing evidence close to home, she begins an investigation of her own.

David and Emmy quickly learn that the mystery is not only about a missing girl they barely know, but a deeply personal story that impacts everyone they care about. As their world crumbles, they fear the warning may be true—never mess with summer wizards, because the good guys always win.

Enter to win!! Get a paperback of your choice of Destruction OR Watch Me Burn. International entries welcome. Also join The December People Winter Celebration for more giveaways!!

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The Curse Servant now available for pre-order through Amazon

Never one to bury the lead… the post title basically says it all!

The Curse Servant is now available for pre-order on Amazon… right here: http://j.mp/cursesrv

But wait, there’s more! The release date has been moved UP! Curse Servant will now be released on February 26th, 2015.

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So, if you’ve read The Curse Merchant, liked it, and want to read more… you don’t have to wait until May. Pre-order now, and it’ll deliver on Feb. 26th. It’s a hell of a book. A bit grittier than Merchant, a bit gloomier, and a bit more dire. Just the way I like it!

Fall into Fantasy, Week 15: The December People Series by Sharon Bayliss PLUS Cover Reveal for Watch Me Burn

Welcome to the Fall Into Fantasy Tour, where we are keeping your mind off any end-of-summer blues and welcoming the cooler weather by introducing you to some incredible fantasy reads to curl up with and giving you plenty of chances to win awesome prizes!

Week 15: The December People series
Book 1: Destruction
Book 2: Watch Me Burn
By Sharon Bayliss



Introducing a new dark wizard family drama, Destruction by Sharon Bayliss, Book One in The December People Series.
BUY NOW–99 CENTS FOR A LIMITED TIME!
An independent family-owned bookstore. The ONLY place to buy signed copies!
A locally owned book store in Austin, Texas.
David Vandergraff wants to be a good man. He goes to church every Sunday, keeps his lawn trim and green, and loves his wife and kids more than anything. Unfortunately, being a dark wizard isn’t a choice.
Eleven years ago, David’s secret second family went missing. When his two lost children are finally found, he learns they suffered years of unthinkable abuse. Ready to make things right, David brings the kids home even though it could mean losing the wife he can’t imagine living without. 

Keeping his life together becomes harder when the new children claim to be dark wizards. David believes they use this fantasy to cope with their trauma. Until, David’s wife admits a secret of her own—she is a dark wizard too, as is David, and all of their children.  

Now, David must parent two hurting children from a dark world he doesn’t understand and keep his family from falling apart. All while dealing with the realization that everyone he loves, including himself, may be evil.



Destruction (Book One of The December People Series)

Cover Reveal!!
Watch Me Burn
The December People Series 
Book Two

David Vandergraff lost his home, his job, and contact with his oldest son, but remains determined to be a good husband and father despite being a dark winter wizard. 

His resolve is tested when a flyer for a missing girl–who happens to be a summer witch–begins to haunt him. David believes a spell needs to use him to save her, so he follows the magic’s command and looks into her disappearance. His teenage daughter Emmy resents him for caring so much about a random stranger. But when she uncovers some disturbing evidence close to home, she begins an investigation of her own.
David and Emmy quickly learn that the mystery is not only about a missing girl they barely know, but a deeply personal story that impacts everyone they care about. As their world crumbles, they fear the warning may be true—never mess with summer wizards, because the good guys always win.
Coming January 2015 from Curiosity Quills Press!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sharon Bayliss is the author of The December People Series and The Charge. When she’s not writing, she enjoys living happily-ever-after with her husband and two young sons. She can be found eating Tex-Mex on patios, wearing flip-flops, and playing in the mud (which she calls gardening). She only practices magic in emergencies.



Want to get involved with the Fall Into Fantasy promotional tour?

  • Don’t forget to join us at the Facebook party here
  • If you are interested in joining up as a blogger, you can always sign up here. We are happy to welcome more bloggers into the fold as the promotion continues. 
  • If you are an author or blogger and want to sign up to help with the party, please fill out this form.

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Fall into Fantasy, Week 14: BOUND by Kate Sparkes

Welcome to the Fall Into Fantasy Tour, where we are keeping your mind off any end-of-summer blues and welcoming the cooler weather by introducing you to some incredible fantasy reads to curl up with and giving you plenty of chances to win awesome prizes!

Week 14: The Bound Trilogy
Book One: Bound
By Kate Sparkes


Welcome to Darmid, where magic is a sin, fairy tales are contraband, and the people live in fear of the Sorcerers on the other side of the mountains.

Rowan Greenwood has everything she’s supposed to want from life—a good family, a bright future, and a proposal from a handsome and wealthy magic hunter. She knows she should be content with what she has. If only she could banish the idea that there’s more to life than marriage and children, or let go of the fascination with magic she’s been forced to suppress since childhood.

When Rowan unknowingly saves the life of one of her people’s most feared enemies, that simple act of compassion rips her from her sheltered life and throws her into a world of magic that’s more beautiful, more seductive, and more dangerous than she ever could have imagined.

Rowan might get everything she ever dreamed of—that is, if the one thing she’s always wanted doesn’t kill her first.


Buy it from: Amazon  Kobo  Barnes & Noble  iBooks
Or add it to Goodreads



ABOUT KATE SPARKES

Kate Sparkes was born in Hamilton, Ontario, but now resides in Newfoundland, where she tries not to talk too much about the dragons she sees in the fog. She lives with a Mountie, two kids who take turns playing Jeckyll and Hyde, three cats with more personality than most people she meets, and the saddest-looking dog on the planet. Depression has almost consumed her more times than she likes to admit, but writing Fantasy (be it epic or urban, fairy tales or superhero cat stories) keeps her afloat… most of the time. She released her debut novel Bound (Ya Fantasy) in June 2014. The second book in the trilogy is due out in the winter.

Find Kate online: Blog  Sparrowcat Press  Facebook  Twitter


Want to get involved with the Fall Into Fantasy promotional tour?

  • Don’t forget to join us at the Facebook party here
  • If you are interested in joining up as a blogger, you can always sign up here. We are happy to welcome more bloggers into the fold as the promotion continues. 
  • If you are an author or blogger and want to sign up to help with the party, please fill out this form.

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Bait & Witch is coming… and here’s where you’ll find it!

So, who’s in the mood for some late-week news? I know I am…

Faithful Fistful readers will recall I released a short story prequel to The Curse Merchant back in January of 2013. “Bait & Witch” recounts one of Dorian Lake’s earliest cases shortly after hanging his shingle several years prior to the events in The Curse Merchant.

Anywho… the Dark Choir series was picked up by Curiosity Quills, and now The Curse Merchant has been re-released unto the world, and is busy pillaging and/or plundering… while its sequel, The Curse Servant, is on-deck for publication next May.

“But I’ve read Curse Merchant,” you say, “and I don’t want to wait until May to read more!”

Good news, sunshine! “Bait & Witch” is coming back, and soon! Where? Here:

Curiosity Quills seriously has the best covers in all of publishing!

Curiosity Quills seriously has the best covers in all of publishing!

What you’re looking at is this year’s edition of Curiosity Quill’s annual short story anthology. Proceeds go to an animal rescue charity, and the anthology offers up a panoply of CQ authors rolling out choice bite-size morsels for your reading enjoyment. This year’s Anthology will also feature an original short story by the architect of the Xanth series, Piers Anthony. (I’m more a fan of his Incarnations books, but that’s neither here nor there)

Chronology will be available for purchase on January 1st, 2015. So keep that in your noodle for all of those Amazon Gift Cards you’ll be getting for Christmas, and keep your eye out for “Bait & Witch”.

Never rub a witch the wrong way, is all I'm saying.

Never rub a witch the wrong way, is all I’m saying.

Fall into Fantasy, Week 13: The Darkworld Series by Emma Adams

Welcome to the Fall Into Fantasy Tour, where we are keeping your mind off any end-of-summer blues and welcoming the cooler weather by introducing you to some incredible fantasy reads to curl up with and giving you plenty of chances to win awesome prizes!

Week 13: The Darkworld Series
Prequel Novella: Fear’s Touch
Book One: Darkness Watching
Book Two: Walking Shadow
By Emma L. Adams

This is a standalone novella, intended as a prequel to the Darkworld series. As it takes place one year before the events of Darkness Watching, it doesn’t contain any spoilers (although it does hint at things which will come into play later in the series).

Freakish powers and staring demon eyes aren’t part of Claudia’s plans for the future – and neither is ending up stuck at the gloomy, isolated University of Blackstone. But bad life decisions are the least of her problems, when a split-second decision to help out another magic-user puts her in the crossfire of both the shadow-beasts and the creepy organisation which hunt them down.

Claudia’s never had to worry about making the right choice before, but every decision matters when you have a Darkworld connection. Soon, she’s going to have to make a choice: turn her back on the crazy and try to live a normal life, or take the monsters down.

But in a world where everyone seems to have secrets, can she really trust her fellow magic-users – or even herself?

Now available at retailers! 
Buy it from: Amazon  Amazon UK  Barnes & Noble  Kobo
Add it to Goodreads

Eighteen-year-old Ashlyn is one interview away from her future when she first sees the demons. She thinks she’s losing her mind, but the truth is far more frightening: she can see into the Darkworld, the home of spirits– and the darkness is staring back.

Desperate to escape the demons, Ash accepts a place at a university in the small town of Blackstone, in the middle of nowhere – little knowing that it isn’t coincidence that led her there but the pull of the Venantium, the sorcerers who maintain the barrier keeping demons from crossing from the Darkworld into our own world.
All-night parties, new friendships and a life without rules or limits are all part of the package of student life – but demons never give up, and their focus on Ash has attracted the attention of every sorcerer in the area. Ash is soon caught between her new life and a group of other students with a connection to the Darkworld, who could offer the answers she’s looking for. The demons want something from her, and someone is determined to kill her before she can find out what it is. 
In a world where darkness lurks beneath the surface, not everyone is what they appear to be…

Reviews:
“Demons, Sorcerers, evil, and secrets. Could you ask for a better supernatural suspense set-up? The plot is original, and completely gripping. From the first page, this book had me hooked.” – Rose at Desert Rose Reviews


“A suspenseful first part to an intriguing new fantasy series.” - Sharon Stevenson, supernatural author

“The story is extremely well-written with effortless, flowing prose, and the original magic-user mythology and Darkworld creatures are very entertaining. The author took what might have been over-done premise and twisted it into something very fresh and exciting.” – Lexa Cain, author of Soul Cutter 

“Emma is an amazing writer. She has become one of my favorites. I couldn’t put Darkness Watching down.” – Diane at A Creative Mind

Buy it from: Amazon  Amazon UK  Barnes & Noble  Kobo
Or add it to Goodreads


When you have a connection to the Darkworld, nowhere is truly safe.

Ashlyn has found a new home in Blackstone, but when a spate of grave robberies across the country spark fears that someone is practicing illegal sorcery, she comes under the radar of the Venantium, the protectors of the Barrier between her world and the Darkworld, who are suspicious of any sorcerer who doesn’t know their origins.
The trouble is, what Ash does know might just get her killed.
Sufferers of the dangerous condition known as the vampire’s curse are being brutally killed, and the latest victim is Leo’s guardian, the ex-head of the Venantium. Ash determines to help Leo find out what’s really going on, but it isn’t long before events are spiralling out of control. The dead are rising from their graves, and the barriers around Blackstone are threatened by a demon which looks exactly like Ash herself…

Coming December 1st, 2014 from Curiosity Quills

Add it to Goodreads


ABOUT EMMA L. ADAMS

Emma spent her childhood creating imaginary worlds to compensate for a disappointingly average reality, so it was probably inevitable that she ended up writing fantasy novels for children and young adults. She was born in Birmingham, UK, which she fled at the first opportunity to study English Literature at Lancaster University. In her three years at Lancaster, she hiked up mountains, skydived in Australia, and endured a traumatic episode involving a swarm of bees in the Costa Rican jungle. She also entertained her creative writing group and baffled her tutors by submitting strange fantasy tales featuring dragons and supernatural monsters to workshops. These included her first publication, a rather bleak dystopian piece, and a disturbing story about a homicidal duck (which she hopes will never see the light of day).

Now a reluctant graduate, Emma refuses to settle down and be normal. When not embarking on wild excursions, she edits and proofreads novels for various publishing houses and reads an insane number of books. At the age of 21, she signed a publishing contract with Curiosity Quills Press for the first book in her creepy urban fantasy Darkworld series. DARKNESS WATCHING was published in October 2013, and four more novels and a novella will follow. She chats about writing and other book-related things at her blog, From the Writer’s Nest, and looks forward to sharing more tales from the bizarre depths of her imagination.

Find Emma online: Blog  Website  Facebook Page  Twitter
Sign up to Emma’s newsletter to be the first to find out about new releases



Want to get involved with the Fall Into Fantasy promotional tour?

  • Don’t forget to join us at the Facebook party here
  • If you are interested in joining up as a blogger, you can always sign up here. We are happy to welcome more bloggers into the fold as the promotion continues. 
  • If you are an author or blogger and want to sign up to help with the party, please fill out this form.

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THE CURSE SERVANT – Cover Reveal and Launch Date Announcement

The re-release of The Curse Merchant is humming along quite nicely. Thank you all for reading… you make me feel giddy and humble!

So, what about the sequel? It’s a question that’s been asked ever since I put the publication on hold back in 2013, when Curiosity Quills picked up the series. I have news for you. Big news. And lots of it.

Let’s start with HOLY CRAP I HAVE THE MOST AWESOME BOOK COVER EVER! Thanks to the genius of Conzpiracy Digital Arts, The Curse Servant has a rockin’ cover. Here it is:

If you say "Dorian Lake" into a mirror three times in a row, this chick will crawl out of your paperback and strangle you in your sleep.

If you say “Dorian Lake” into a mirror three times in a row, she will crawl out of your paperback and strangle you in your sleep.

As you can see, the Dark Choir series takes a somewhat sinister turn in this book. Isn’t it grand?

So, when will it be published? The answer: May 4th, 2015.

But wait, there’s more good news…

Curiosity Quills is arranging for The Curse Servant to be made available for pre-order from Amazon. Keep your eyes open to this space to find out when we get that ball rolling.

And for those of you who have been interested in The Curse Merchant, but haven’t pulled the trigger on buying it, you will have a special opportunity. December 3rd – 4th, the eBook of The Curse Merchant will be on special sale promotion on Amazon. So get your Kindles good and warm, and get ready to dive into Dorian Lake’s twisted world. What’s the Christmas season without a little occult thriller?