Book Your Tour Today by contacting us using the form on the side of the Website or emailing us at directly.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Tour Kick Off: The Secret King by @TeamSecretKing

Sci-Fi / Fantasy
Date Published: September 30, 2015

Kendro, King of the Aonise, can do nothing to prevent their sun from collapsing, consuming their home planet Letháo in a single fiery blast. Running out of time and options, he evacuates the entire population, setting off into the unknown galaxy in four crowded ships. Under constant danger from their ancient enemy, the Zefron, treasonous dissent seeps into his inner circle. Threatened inside and out, Kendro struggles with who to trust, until a mysterious vision finally brings hope to the distraught King. A new home awaits the Aonise, if Kendro can only unite them long enough to survive the journey.

#1 – Do You See Writing as a Career?

I do see writing as a career, I am a script writer and a novelist.

#2 – What was the Hardest Part of Your Writing Process?

I have to say, editing, but I’ve a fantastic process which works for me now, and I will continue to work this way, even if it is much slower than some authors.

#3 – Did you have any One Person Who Helped You Out with Your Writing Outside of Your Family?

I have a very good network of writing friends. EJ Runyon is one of those friends and my partners Steven Kogan and Jaime Bengzon.

#4 – What is next for your writing?

TSK is moving to book 2, which is in its second beta run.

#5 – Do you have an addiction to reading as well as writing? If so, what are you currently reading?

I am currently reading one of TSK’s editors books. Heather Anne Osborn’s novel, The Soldiers Secret.

DESCRIBE Your Book in 1 Tweet:

Speeding through unknown galaxies, Kendro must unite his people against the common enemy in the hopes of reaching a new home.

This or That?

#1 - iPd or Mp3?  - Ipad

#2 – Chocolate or Vanilla? - Vanilla

#3 – Mashed Potatoes or French Fries? – Uggh, neither.

#4 – Comedy or Drama? - Drama

#5 – Danielle Steel or Nicholas Sparks? Nicholas Sparks

#6 – Fantasy or Reality? – Fantasy

#7 – Call or Text? – Text

#8 – Public School or Home School? – Public School

#9 – Coffee or Hot Chocolate - Coffee

#10 – eBook or Paperback? - Paperback

Dawn Chapman has been creating sci fi and fantasy stories for thirty years. Until 2005 when her life and attention turned to scripts, and she started work on The Secret King, a 13 episode Sci Fi TV series, with great passion for this medium.
In 2010, Dawn returned to her first love of prose. She’s been working with coach EJ Runyon who's encouraged her away from fast paced script writing, to revel in the world of TSK and Letháo as an epic prose space journey.

She’s had success with a web series, co-written with 'Melvin Johnson', produced by Nandar Entertainment, and a short film Irobe, also co-written. This year her experience of working with Producers/Directors from the US and AUS has expanded. From Drama, Sci Fi to Action, Dawn's built a portfolio of writing, consulting and publishing.

Contact Information

Twitter: @TeamSecretKing

October 4 - Indy Book Fairy - Excerpt
October 5 - Tea Time and Books - Interview
October 6 - Satin's Bookish Corner - Excerpt
October 7 - A Life Through Books - Interview
October 8 - Steamy Side - Excerpt
October 9 - Literary Musings - Excerpt
October 10 - Mythical Books - Guest Post
October 12 - Bound 2 Escape - Excerpt
October 13 - My Reading Addiction - Interview
October 14 - Novel News Network - Excerpt
October 15 - Us Girls and A Book - Review
October 16 -  Queer Sci-Fi - Interview
October 19 - The Indie Express - Review
October 20 - Chosen By You Book Club - Excerpt
October 21 - On A Reading Bender - Excerpt
October 22 - Texas Book Nook - Review
November 5 - Avenue Books - Guest Post 
November 11 - Gally Wampus - Interview
November 17 - Avenue Books - Interview
November 27 - RABT Reviews - Wrap Up

PROMO Blitz: Short Stories by @ThomasR29738457 #excerpt #giveaway

Suspense/Thriller/Short Stories
Date Published: January 2014

 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

From Best Selling Author of The Jeff Bradley Thriller Series Thomas Ryan is a collection of suspense/thriller short stories.

Award winning thriller novelist, Thomas Ryan, is a prolific writer of short stories. Ryan’s short story’s span the spectrum of human emotions, from the creepy ‘Nightmares’, to the fun and humour of ‘The World’s Biggest Bun’. Ryan believes all good short stories should have unexpected twists and turns. Applying his thriller writing skills he manages to achieve this end and readers will find Ryan’s short story writing gripping but also easy to read. Quoting a recent review, ‘these are very intriguing, original stories, all well written and enjoyable. Ryan really gets inside his characters and makes their world our world, whatever its moral code or unwritten rules. These stories are powerful and stay with you once you've finished them.

Volume Two Was Released in February 2015 - Short Stories Volume 2”: Incudes 'John Wayne' and 'Gerry'



After hitting the kitchen floor and suffering the sickening sensation of her head bouncing off the grey slate, Ruth Deverett found her vision blurry. Squinting eyes couldn’t make out the position of the hands on the wall clock above the fridge. No matter. She knew it was six o’clock. There was no mistaking the news signature tune streaming from the television set in the lounge.
And the day?


From the cheese and garlic aromas in her nostrils, the dish now splattered across the floor could only have been lasagna. Robert demanded she keep a strict mealtime regimen. Roast on Sunday, steak on Monday, curry on Tuesday and….

Lasagna on Wednesday.

So, Wednesday it was.

A cautious hand lifted from the tiles and drew up the rough weave of her husband-prescribed white linen apron. Tips of fingers gently patted the side of her head. A wince as Ruth encountered a newly formed lump.

Her head never used to jar this badly when it hit vinyl. She had argued with Robert against replacing the vinyl, but as usual a forceful justification of the soundness of his decision had silenced her. How fortunate, Ruth continually reminded herself, to have a husband who was so supremely confident of the correctness of his opinions.

Out the corner of her eye she caught sight of a movement. A defensive hand flew to her side. A boot deflected off her wrist and into her thigh. Needles of pain stabbed through her upper arm. She knew another blow would come and squeezed her eyes tight. She worried her wrist might be broken. How could she iron Robert’s shirt in the morning with a broken wrist? Her own fault really, she should not have tried to defend herself. Robert had repeatedly yelled at her not to do so. It only made him angrier.

She should apologise for her foolishness. After all, Robert only ever offered helpful advice.

Without opening her eyes Ruth curled into a fetal position and waited. The toe of Robert’s boot tapped against the table leg. She sensed him looking down at her, almost certainly disgusted by her weakness and deliberating his next move. This usually meant he was calming. She held her breath, guarding against sound. A groan would set him off again. She ached, but it wasn’t so bad. Not as bad as other times.

She heard the news reader introduce a news bulletin.

That meant the ad break was over. Robert would not miss the news, not on her account.

A bowl smashed against the wall. Ruth flinched. Lettuce and tomato sprinkled across her exposed calf. Shards of crockery skittered across the floor. This was a good sign. Robert only threw dishes at the wall when it was over. A final vent. Footsteps moved away from her. The sound became muffled. He’d reached the thickness of the broadloom carpet in the sitting room.

“Don’t move yet,” she whispered. “Not yet.”

About the Author

Award winning novelist, Thomas Ryan, has been a soldier in a theatre of war, he has traded in Eastern Europe, trampled the jungles of Asia, and struggled through the trials of love and loss. Armed with these life experiences Ryan turned to writing thriller novels and short stories. Ryan considers himself a story teller, a creator who has enthusiastically plunged his psyche into the world of creativity and fantasy. With the reader in mind he weaves colourful characters into the threads of his riveting storylines. Taking readers on a thrilling journey is what motivates Ryan as a writer. Find out more about Thomas Ryan and his books on his official website

Contact Links

Purchase Link

$5 Amazon Gift Card 

 photo readingaddictionbutton_zps58fd99d6.png

Friday, October 2, 2015

PROMO Blitz: Immortal Kiss by @autlauradaleo #excerpt #giveaway

Paranormal Romance
Date Published: February 2015

 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

Centuries ago ten powerful vampire gods first walked the earth; their blood thirst knew no boundaries. The destruction of mankind was inevitable. Recognizing their weakness, they selected twelve wise human beings to transform with their godly blood. These twelve, known as The Old Ones and The Council, govern The Ten. A blood lottery appeasing The Ten’s hunger was set forth into the human world and passed down every fifth generation, continuing into the present day. All of Beth Ryan’s life a mysterious mist watched over her, a mist she believed to be a vampire. On a cold winter night, she comes face to face with Philippe Delon, a 700 year old vampire with a human soul. Beth is certain Philippe is the vampire behind the mist. She is drawn to him, accepting his immortality without question or fear. Beth and Philippe cannot deny their love for each other, nor do they try to fight it. Within days of their encounter, Beth accepts Philippe’s invitation to move into his mansion. The mansion unlocks the door to the vampire world and exposes secrets from Beth’s past. Within its walls, she learns the true identity of the mist, her link to the blood lottery, and betrayal of her loved ones. Surrounded by lies, Beth stands before The Council begging for resolution.


My bedroom door stood ajar. It reeked of dewy rosebuds. Inhaling an intoxicating breath, my head spun. I inched closer, running my hand along the wall and peering through the parted doorframe. The mist drifted past the opening. My heart jumped into my throat. Pushing the door wide open, I hurried inside and flicked on the light. Red rose petals drenched my bed, cascading like a waterfall onto the carpet. I opened my mouth, but no sound came out. My feet seemed rooted into the floor. He’d done this for me, for my birthday. Catching my breath, I shut the door, closing us off from the outside world. The mist shifted into the silhouette of man, gliding across my room toward my bed. His translucent hand pointed to a folded sheet of pink paper resting on my pillow. My palms tingled. Was it a love letter? I ran to my bed, pick it up, and fell backward onto the blanket of rose petals. They fluttered, crashed onto me, and caressed my skin. Stroking the coarse paper between my fingers, I bit my lip and opened it. My gaze flew across the page. If I had to choose whether to breathe or to love you, I would use my last breath to tell you that…I love you. The paper trembled in my hands, his words blurring behind my tears. He loved me, and I him. I rose to my feet and faced him. My mouth went dry. I forced out each word. “What…are…you?” He waved his hand over the rose petals, spinning them faster and faster. As they came to rest on my mattress, a letter unfolded…V. The others quickly followed. My small human life shrunk into the background. All that remained was a word…VAMPIRE.

About the Author

Laura Daleo was born and raised in San Diego, California where she majored in Fine Arts at Mesa College.  Laura is best known for her love of animals.  She is an animal advocate and shares her home with five humorous Basset Hounds, Edie, Lucy, Stuart, Morgan, and Dexter, her toughest critics.  Laura has held positions in several industries, Restaurant, Telecom, Biotech, and Research.  She enjoys anything paranormal or urban fantasy related, and writes in both genres for adults.

A creative writing class in junior high sparked her desire to tell stores.  Throughout Laura’s professional career, she crafted her writing skills by taking courses and by joining a writer’s critique group and Writers Digest.

Contact Links

Purchase Links

$5 Amazon Gift Card

 photo readingaddictionbutton_zps58fd99d6.png

Thursday, October 1, 2015

PROMO Blitz: Birthright by @tjpulley #excerpt #giveaway

Christian Fiction
Date Published: August 2013

 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

Experience a journey that leads to a legacy. Birthright brings the imagination to life and explores true faith. Orion discovers that life can be so much more.

There are so many things in life that we must work hard for. Other things come to us just from being born. What an amazing feeling to have something of importance given to you. In Birthright, author T. J. Pulley tells the story of a young college student Orion who inherits an extraordinary gift after suffering the loss of his grandpa. In the reading of the will Orion heard, 'To my wonderful grandson you brought me much joy in life so I give you my greatest treasure; I leave you my faith.' Sitting and waiting for the rest, he realized that there wasn't anything left to hear. What Orion thought to be pointless becomes the foundation of his existence. Join in this story as Orion navigates the challenges of life while he comes to grip with his purpose. This is a story of someone receiving something far greater than they could ever imagine. We all share in this story because we all have a birthright in God.


I could see it all. I remembered every thought and fear.

I remember everything before I blacked out. I had shortness of breath, intense emotions, and disbelief. I was scared but I had an unsettling peace. I was being asked the same things in different ways, so I attempted to explain, but some of the details were hazy, so I had to go to the beginning of that day and work my way to where I was at that moment. That day wasn’t the greatest day for me because I had to attend my Grandpa Miller’s funeral.

I wasn’t hurt because he was too young—he actually lived to be ninety-eight years old. I was more hurt because of the connection we once had, and without warning, it was gone forever.

Sometimes you can feel that a person will mean a lot to your life, and that’s how I felt about Grandpa Miller.

I felt like he was teaching me without even trying to.

Despite the fact that he was seventy-nine years older than me he never bored me or even seemed old for that matter. Part of me felt like he would actually live forever. It’s nothing like someone close to you leaving your life to make you feel like your whole life has been flipped upside down. He once told me this world is a bad preview of the coming attraction. He was always finding common ground, and he knew I loved the movies. He would occasionally watch one with me even though he had no use for them. After a while Grandpa drifted away from normal things and behaviors and always seemed to be preoccupied. No matter how brief our activities got I would always remember my talks with him the most.

There was always wisdom that he had to pass on to me.

We could talk for hours on just about anything except for the one sore subject, which was my grandma Miller.

About the Author

T. J. Pulley was born in Chicago, IL. Growing up in the church was one of the best things that happened to him. It not only gave him a relationship with God but it exposed him to talents he would have never known that he had. Pulley’s writing was mostly geared toward music, but he asked God for the ability to be able to write in every way possible. Religion is a big part of his life and draws upon his beliefs in all aspects of his life and his writing. His wife, Ashlie is a great support for him and was a great encouragement while creating his book, Birthright. T. J. really hopes people are blessed by this book and he is thankful for the chance to express this story in his own way.

Contact Links

Purchase Links

$5 Amazon Gift Card

 photo readingaddictionbutton_zps58fd99d6.png

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

PROMO Blitz: Vengeance by @TakingVengeance #excerpt #giveaway

Historical Fantasy
Date Published: Revised August 2015

 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

After four centuries of political infighting with Linden, the ruler of the Marches, all Mariah wants is a little peace and quiet. Then, privateers attack her daughter's family, leaving Norerah at death's door. Mariah’s anger boils over. Ashton, her ring-mate and Linden’s half-brother, and Mariah seek vengeance, ignoring Linden’s decrees, only to discover a strange magic that threatens everything the three hold dear.


Linden, the Lord High Commander of the Marches, strode across the main healing hall of the southern district, where Mariah was helping that day. One of the healers had had a family emergency, and the lead healer had called Mariah to replace him. She now stood by the door leading into the private consulting rooms, feeling the heat of his anger. The veins bulged in Linden’s neck as his face reddened when he saw her standing by the interior door. Mariah unhooked her thumbs from her honor belt and crossed her arms over her chest, ready to withstand his tirade, though she did not know what had angered him this time.

Halting in the middle of the room, Linden’s growled words boomed through the waiting room. “Stop interfering in my business, woman.”

The ruler’s head lowered as if he were a bull readying for the change. The people, waiting to consult with the healers, shrank away though both combatants were unarmed except for their boot knives used mostly for eating.

Mariah’s dark eyes blazed. Though she no longer wore her sword and seldom visited his ranger camp, Mariah still dressed in warrior's breeches, unlaced shirt, and knee-high boots, much as he did. Only her honor belt differed, displaying healer's insignia on its interlocking buckles, though the belt itself was embossed with as many death stars as his.

Biting her lip, Mariah longed for Linden’s younger version. The angry, stocky man had swallowed the slim, hesitant youth, who had once shared her bed with his half-brother long years ago. Linden pushed forward until his large nose almost touched hers, bringing his sharp elven teeth close enough to bite. The heat of his anger brushed against her tan skin. Mariah tensed, ready to defend all in the room.

The air in the public area crackled as elven shields snapped into place.

The common Half-Elven patients and their families cowered against the walls. The audience’s eyes rolled like nervous horses, fearing what powers the combatants might unleash. Mariah's skin itched from the static raised as the watchers pulled what energy they could from the air to strengthen their protective shields. But she focused her attention on the ruler who had once been one of her closest friends.

About the Author

Long time fantasy reader and non-fiction writer, M. K. Theodoratus now writes about elves, mages, demons, and other preternatural creatures. While she mostly writes to amuse herself, she's willing to share her stories.

Contact Links

Purchase Links

$5 Amazon Gift Card

 photo readingaddictionbutton_zps58fd99d6.png

Release Blitz: The Secret King: Lethao by @TeamSecretKing #excerpt

Sci-Fi / Fantasy
Date Published: September 30, 2015

 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

Kendro, King of the Aonise, can do nothing to prevent their sun from collapsing, consuming their home planet Letháo in a single fiery blast. Running out of time and options, he evacuates the entire population, setting off into the unknown galaxy in four crowded ships. Under constant danger from their ancient enemy, the Zefron, treasonous dissent seeps into his inner circle. Threatened inside and out, Kendro struggles with who to trust, until a mysterious vision finally brings hope to the distraught King. A new home awaits the Aonise, if Kendro can only unite them long enough to survive the journey.


From Ch 2:

“I can’t help but worry.” Chace’s hands shook as he locked eyes with Octav. “You know we don’t have a destination.”
“You’re privy to that information.” Octav shot him a glare.  “Do not speak of it.”
Chace stepped backed, “I’m sorry, Sir.”
Octav stared at Chace’s shimmering forearm where his birthmark betrayed his fear. Wearing their traditional uniforms had been Kendro’s idea. He’d hoped to bring calm to everyone, as their open birthmarks reflected their emotions. Winter wasn’t the time of year to be showing bare skin though, the chill Octav felt inside was almost un-bearable, not all of it from the weather.
Chace’s emotions were there for everyone to see, from the flicker across his striking facial mark, to the swirling pattern of his arm. He was terrified and more.
“Listen to me,” against his better judgment Octav reached for Chace. Pulling his own croex to the surface, Octav allowed it to trickle through into Chace’s skin. “Trust me. We might not know where we’re going, but we will find a new home.”

About the Author

Dawn Chapman has been creating sci fi and fantasy stories for thirty years. Until 2005 when her life and attention turned to scripts, and she started work on The Secret King, a 13 episode Sci Fi TV series, with great passion for this medium.
In 2010, Dawn returned to her first love of prose. She’s been working with coach EJ Runyon who's encouraged her away from fast paced script writing, to revel in the world of TSK and Letháo as an epic prose space journey.

She’s had success with a web series, co-written with 'Melvin Johnson', produced by Nandar Entertainment, and a short film Irobe, also co-written. This year her experience of working with Producers/Directors from the US and AUS has expanded. From Drama, Sci Fi to Action, Dawn's built a portfolio of writing, consulting and publishing.

Contact Links

Twitter: @TeamSecretKing

Purchase Links

 photo readingaddictionbutton_zps58fd99d6.png

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

PROMO Blitz: Last Light Falling: Into the Darkness by @lastlightfallin #excerpt #giveaway

YA Dystopian / Post Apocalyptic Thriller
Date Published: July 2015

 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

Arena has left the nation’s administration with a dead president and a weakened military, and while the tragic memories continue to scar her, the government struggles to regroup without its leader. For the people who still remain in hiding, it’s evident the country is all but lost, and with Russian operatives taking over, the nation’s hope of recovering is grim.

After months in hiding, Arena and her brother, Gabriel, fight to survive the aftermath while they trudge through unkindly terrain across the country to rejoin their friends, but what they soon discover may staunch their journey. The government’s failed attempt to rebirth a broken nation has caused civil unrest like no other.

After reuniting with their friends, Arena’s decision to stay changes when she discovers the secrets of a refugee camp behind a clandestine group of rebels, known as the Southern Resistance. With an opportunity to escape to a permanent safe haven, Arena risks her life to lead the new fellowship. But the darkest days are upon them, and with a new war brewing, Arena’s path will take a dark turn as her survival is in jeopardy.

Into The Darkness captures the cruel truth behind our darkest secrets which may often cause us to question our faith. In this graphic second installment of the LAST LIGHT FALLING series, J.E. Plemons continues the grim story of Arena Power’s fate, testing her faith while she and her brother search for an answer to their survival in a brooding world filled with chaos.



In the midst of tragic suffering, we all have fallen by death in one way or another, but because of His suffering, we are given hope and a gift of eternal life. I’m still hopeful for those who still remain in this wicked world, regardless of the unleashed hell that awaits us all.

The light draws dim, and Gabe and I are forced to set camp as the sun sets behind the horizon. We find a small spot beyond a brushy field where a clump of trees stands out in the middle of nowhere. The trees are packed fairly tightly, but there is very little underbrush where we can start a fire without burning everything in sight.

“How many more days you think?” Gabe asks as he clears the ground. I brush the sweat from my eyes and gaze wearily to the east. I’m afraid Carrington won’t be the same as we left it.

“Hard to say,” I simply answer. Fact is I haven’t the slightest clue. Nothing from this landscape looks familiar to home. I lay my pack on the cool soil and rest my swords peacefully against a gnarled tree trunk.

“You hungry?” I ask.

“Is the Pope Catholic?” he caustically answers. The sun quickly sets well behind the trees, leaving the horizon to glow.

“Why don’t you get a fire started and I’ll fetch us some-thing to eat.”

While Gabe dresses the ground with kindling, I venture west, anxious to hunt. Night hunting is not my forte. With-out ample light, there’s no telling what’s lurking in the high grass that surrounds us. Although the land here offers abundant species of game birds, I fear the coyotes and bobcats

will scare them away. I kneel down in the brush and wait for something appetizing to cross my path.

It’s been long since Gabe and I have had a decent meal we haven’t had to kill ourselves—not since before all this shit happened. Myra, our foster mom, was the chef of the household. Her roasted duck, a staple on special occasions, would have your taste buds hypnotized for days. And not many people know how to cook duck properly, but she sure did. Though she is dead along with my real mom, not a day goes by without some memory of her.

It’s been twenty minutes now and not a single creature has stirred. I’ve impatiently waited too long to stay here. I trek further out toward a small thicket of live oak trees about a half-mile to the west.

About halfway to the coppice a small hare hops past my boots. I lunge to grab it, but catch a handful of dirt instead. I can’t see a damn thing out here in this nest of weeds. My only hope is to nab something in that cluster of trees up ahead. I wade through the thick brush until the sound of heavy breathing halts my pace. I rest still and for a moment the labored wheezing stops. The sounds in the dark can be misleading, but this certainly doesn’t sound friendly. The tall grass suddenly rustles, but I can’t tell in what direction it’s coming from. Whatever it is, it seems to be scurrying frantically all around. I know it’s not a coyote, because he wouldn’t be moving this much; he would cowardly wait until I made the first move. A small tree limb snaps on the ground to my left about fifteen paces. I quickly bend down and hide within the scratchy underwood. I slowly draw one of my weathered arrows and carefully place it in the string of my bow, waiting for this animal to show itself. The rustling stops and the deep croaking sound of a bullfrog echoes in the distance. That is a pleasing sound, because I know there must be water nearby and I desperately could use a drink. No frog in its right mind would hop around in this barren land without water.

It’s been too long for whatever is hiding out there not to move. Just then, my stomach decides to harmonize with that old bullfrog, growling with starvation. I’m so hungry right now, I’d eat a hot dog from a gas station, but I’m not leaving this spot until I find out what’s hiding out there.

I slowly stand up and walk toward where the raspy panting first started. The rustling in the grass continues when two pheasants fly out in front of me, trying to flee. I must have stepped near their guarded nest. A devilish squeal pierces the air, and two glowing eyes stare at me. In an instant, the tall grass begins to move toward me like a wave in the ocean. I raise my bow and pull the string back, but the arrow nock splits and falls from my hands. I quickly turn and run, hoping I won’t be mauled by what-ever is chasing me. The grass gets thicker and thicker, slowing me down, and that monstrous squeal pierces my ears.

I dart through the weeds as they slash against my thighs like stinging whips. The persisting beast moans with a hellish roar, closing in on my pace, until I finally exit the brushy pasture into a small clearing. There’s not a safe enough distance between this creature and me to look back. It’s fast whatever it is.

I alter my course toward an old oak tree in hopes I will climb far enough up its gnarled limbs for safe harbor. My sides ache from the exhausted running, and the muscle in my lower left calf gives in as I stumble hard to the ground beneath the old tree.

I quickly roll over, pull my dagger from its sheath, and unexpectedly recognize the beast’s twisted tusks driving rapidly toward me. The moonlight shines through the clouded skies and reveals an infuriated feral hog ready to tear into my flesh with vengeance. If I falter, or lose my grip on my knife, I will be at the mercy of its sharp, bristling tusks. The savage pig bows back its hairy ears and leaps, its jowls open wide exposing its razor-sharp teeth. I swing my arm forward and thrust the end of my blade into the back-side of his thick, hairy-coated neck. The hog violently flops about, squealing, not going down without a fight. I stab him again and again until the shrieking finally stops.

I lie there on the ground panting, the two-hundred-pound dead, bloody boar resting on my legs. I’m too tired to move, but the stench emitting from this fowl beast persuades me to do otherwise. Not what I was expecting to find for food, but it’s all we have, and unless a nice pheasant or squirrel decides to pleasantly drop in my lap surrendering to be eaten, it’s pork for dinner.

I push the hairy hog off my legs and pull out my knife. Before I slice into its belly, a small wooden cross near the tree catches my eye. It leans to the side, sitting atop a pile of rocks. It reminds me too much of my uncle Finnegan’s burial that I can’t seem to peel my eyes from it.

Six months have passed since Gabe and I left Finnegan’s grave, and yet I still haven’t forgiven myself for his careless death. If he hadn’t shielded me from the soldier’s bullet at the training facility, I would be the one lying in that grave right now. But my raging hatred for General Iakov caused more pain and misery to our fellowship, and it got Finnegan killed. Though Iakov has fallen with his sol-diers in the facility, leaving a heavy stain on this new administration, it has broken a part of me I can’t get back.

I feel less convinced of the path God has led me on with every step I take in this dark depraved place. If it is my des-tiny to help wipe evil from this world, it’s tearing me apart, because I can feel the fragility in my faith growing now. While I wish I could go back and change things, my fate has brought me here. . . hunting in the dark for survival.

I quickly cut into the hog before the meat spoils and the blood taints our meal. There is just too much to carry back to camp, so I cut and skin what I can for the night and leave the stinky carcass for the vultures. The smell is just too repulsive to continue butchering this nasty beast, anyway. It’s beyond the depths of foul. I tie up what meat I can carry with me and wander toward the small coppice where that bullfrog was bellowing. I’m sure to find water somewhere nearby.

The exposed roots twisting along the ground like a snake suggest an underground spring feeding these lonely trees. There stands a soaring cypress tree hovering over the bank of a small running creek that effortlessly meanders with twists and turns. I follow the brook until I reach the end where it pours into a clear spring. My weary eyes widen, and my dry, parched mouth salivates over this aquatic nectar.

I dunk the canteens into the cold spring water in a less-stagnate area away from the growing moss and algae. I’m so thirsty, I couldn’t care less what’s floating in this sweet, quenching pool of goodness. As long as I don’t have to see what I’m drinking, I’m just fine. Bottoms up, I say.

The unbearable frigid temperatures of winter have finally subdued and surrendered to the fresh blooming beginnings of spring, just like this water. Unfortunately, summer has found a way to creep in, because these long hot days have been murderous. It’s nearing May, I think, but I can’t be for sure. I lost track of time long ago.

For six long miserable months, our weary legs have ambled through snowy drifts of white expanding as far as the eye can see. We have traveled through lifeless towns, abandoned farms, and fields of emptiness, but traveling by foot is our only way now. The roads are no longer safe. Our nation has changed into an ever-growing evil, and those who see it for what it really is have become a liability under harsh scrutiny.

The hundreds of miles we’ve traveled from the East Coast have worn us thin, but I feel our journey to reunite with our friends is not too far away. Texas is the only thing on my mind, and I won’t be discouraged by another day of swollen feet. We haven’t come this far just to give up.

There’s a glowing ember in the distance and I realize just how far away I am from Gabe’s warm fire. The air is starting to get a little chilly and I shiver. I make my way back to camp and find Gabe asleep on the ground in a fetal position. The egregious smell of pork smoking above the fire should wake his stomach up. Gabe has already built a spit-fire high enough above the flames to cook our meal. He’s a Boy Scout after my own heart.

I’m too hungry to wait for this meat slab to hang over the fire the next eight hours. I slice off small manageable pieces to cook, skewer them on a couple of sticks, and lay them on a rock next to the fire. I wrap the rest of meat around the long piece of hickory Gabe had used for a walking stick, and secure it with some left over wire from my pack. I carefully rest the meat above the fire to slow-cook overnight. Hell, maybe the stench will evaporate from the pores, leaving us with some nice tenderloin for breakfast.

I sit next to the crackling fire and dangle the small pieces on the wooden skewers right above the flames. The rendering fat drips from the pork causing the fire to flare up. The sizzling of the fat and crackling of the tissue begins to rouse Gabe, but I don’t think it’s the sound that has awakened him.

“Holy mother of God, what’s that smell, Arena?” Gabe says with his nosed pinched. It’s quite an uninviting smell, but I’ve been smelling and breathing it in for a while, so I guess I have gotten used to it.

“It’s our dinner,” I say.

“You’re kidding me. What are you feeding me, the inside of a pig’s ass?”

Not quite, but damn near close, I think, trying hard not to smile. Okay, I admit the smell is objectionable, but this is all I have to offer.

“Unless you have anything better to proposition, this is our meal. I suggest you take it and fill that empty stomach of yours.”

This salty meat may taste gamey, but when you are as hungry as we are, you’ll eat just about anything, and my stomach can’t wait until the morning to find something bet-ter. Sure I would like to have a nice juicy steak and baked potato, but this will just have to do. We both hold our noses from breathing in the smell of this wretched swine. I stomach what I can and try to dilute the taste with the fresh spring water.

Gabe eagerly falls back to sleep. I try to stay awake as long as I can to keep watch for any unwanted wild creature that may wander uninvited to our malodorous campsite. I’m pretty sure we have unintentionally attracted every wild beast for miles with the smoky scent of ass.

I watch Gabe sleep comfortably below the canvased trees while my stomach churns. The world seems so lonely. Gabe is all I have left right now, and I don’t think I could bear the thought of losing him too. There were times in my life when I detested my twin brother, but I never stopped loving him, and right now, I need him more than ever.

The harsh conditions we’ve experience in the last six months has forced us to both grow up, but none more than Gabe. He’s become a man before my eyes. His dirty blond hair drapes dingily below his ears and eyes. He’s still the same brother at heart, but he’s grown into something much different. Behind those skinny limbs and that frail body he used to carry, breathes courage now. We can never go back to what we were—time and history have changed, and so have we.

I want to believe there is purpose in all of this, but I’m not sure anymore what I’m supposed to do. I feel lost with-out Finnegan by my side. He was the only family Gabe and I had left, and now he too is gone. But his bravery will never be forgotten, and because it was his choice to follow my divine path, we’ve weakened a dying nation at its heart. My enemy may be dead, but my nightmares are still much alive.

I realize there is a reason for every event that happens to us, but I’m still having a difficult time accepting it. I may never fully understand my part in this world, but I will continue until I can no more. Many people left on this earth will accept their fate as meaningless acts of randomness. I believe now there is more to this world than just chaos and ruin. We were born with a plan, a purpose, and a choice. I choose to believe Finnegan saved my life to extend my fate, and I’m eternally grateful, but I wish not to endure any more hum-bling experiences through death.

Instead of sleeping on the padded dirt next to the fire, I nestle in between the roots of an old oak tree. I prop myself up against rough ridges of splitting bark and stretch out my legs. I grab Jacob’s necklace around my neck and stare down at the worn silver cross like I do every night. I rub the edges with my fingers as if it were a nervous tick. I’m afraid I will never let go. The only boy I truly loved is gone, but his death will remain very alive in my nightmares. I fight to stay awake, but my body isn’t willing to compromise. Sleep wins the battle.

About the Author

Jay Plemons’ life is nothing short of ordinary. From an aspiring chef, carpenter, educator, musician, husband, and father, nothing ever seems too busy when adding yet another hat into the mix as a fiction novelist. With a degree in music business, and a minor in English from Middle Tennessee State University, the aspirations to continue his journey in the arts, has followed Jay to write the Last Light Falling series, which has not only touched on some of his personal experiences, but has also helped him further explore the heightened convictions of faith.

Contact Links

Purchase Links

$5 Amazon Gift Card

 photo readingaddictionbutton_zps58fd99d6.png