To Kill A Curse is LIVE

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There’s little to say other than, ‘Ta Da! It’s here!’

After almost a decade in the making, the Inside Evil series has finally come to its conclusion with To Kill A Curse. The fifth and final instalment means that you can read straight through from beginning to end. Follow Roberta on her quest to eradicate the curse, enjoy Martha and Susan’s quirky relationship as they explore their new powers (along with A LOT of Gin and Tonic), discover the parallel world of Gathin and uncover the hidden creatures living in our worlds.

So far it’s only uploaded at Amazon, so head over, grab a copy, read and, hopefully, enjoy. As ever, if you love the book then please consider leaving a review to help others discover the series too.

AMAZON US AMAZON UK

To Kill A Curse – Excerpts

TKAC (2)

As To Kill A Curse comes out TOMORROW, I thought I’d share a couple of small excerpts. :)

Excerpt 2 – Chapter 9, To Kill A Curse (Inside Evil series, Book 5 finale)

It didn’t take long for the tea to take effect, and soon Susan saw transparent limbs moving away from her physical body. She’d found it scary at first; the splitting process. But now it was exhilarating. Such lightness, such fluidity, such clarity of thought. She stood, and looked to where Sam was staring at her, no doubt wondering whether she’d left her body yet. He glanced around the room, but she knew she was invisible to his eyes now.

Focussing her full attention on the bag on the floor, Susan reached out for it, determined she’d be able to lift it the first time. She failed, and her fingers flowed straight through the handle several times before there was even the slightest connection. Finally, she managed to snag the cloth strap upon her finger and used all the strength in the world to hoist the bag to her shoulder, watching the amazement on Nastasia and Sam’s face as she did so. To them, the image of the floating bag must be quite a sight.

Monty had already completed his work, and the web was prepared. As she approached the mirror, he ran across the top of the frame, twanging each strand of silk as he passed and causing the small purple droplet to descend the full length of the glass. Within moments, the reflective surface was no more, replaced instead with a swirling glassy mass of sticky material that clung to her as she stepped through. And then, as it bounced back into shape, Susan left Earth and entered the Middlelands.

As soon as she set foot in the world that acted as a thin veil between Earth and Gathin, that prevented the two realms from explosively colliding and obliterating one another, she realised something was wrong. The pale yellow light of the world was thin, as if it had been watered down somehow. A howl filled the air, but not one that emanated from a creature, but from the beast of nature itself. Susan followed the noise, wandering through her wooded surroundings and crunching across the pine needle covered floor. The roar of the fir trees above was something she was used to; on Earth and in the Middlelands it had its distinctive sound. But this was something different; a howl, the juddering thunder of a great storm.

She walked onwards, not sure where she was going, but undeterred nonetheless. Martha had become lost in this place, but it didn’t seem important now that so many of them were gone. It was imperative she complete her task, that she return to Earth with the knowledge of what to do, how to save them. But what if she didn’t? What happened if she too became lost and weak and starved? She pushed the thought aside; she could not dwell on such matters.

In time, the ground beneath her feet became steeper, and Susan realised she must be following the path trodden by so many before her. Her inclination was correct as, ten or so minutes later, she emerged on the precipice that overlooked the vast forested landscape ahead. She’d been here before, of course. In the real world. In her world, but never in the Middlelands. She saw immediately that the roaring noise she’d heard, and the sound she’d become so sure was not from that of the wind in the canopy, in fact came from a great tear in the sky. Her skin pimpled as she felt the cold air whirling around her and saw the jagged slice falling from the heaven to earth as if a lightening bolt had been captured and caught in an eternal attack. From where she stood, Susan couldn’t work out whether air was rushing in or out of the bright void, but the noise was deafening as the atmosphere smashed, battered and tore at the edges. As she looked on, the roaring increased and one edge of the hole tore further. For the most miniscule of moments, the forest was silent and then, where the additional rip had formed, the most ear-splitting sound, as if an aircraft had exploded and sent its engines to a fiery end, filled the air. She couldn’t help but be bowled backwards by the sound, and she found herself against the trunk of a large pine that vibrated ferociously under the onslaught of the noise. Whatever the Queen had done, it seemed their worst fears had begun to happen; the fragile boundary between their worlds was fracturing.

Except 2 – Chapter 13, To Kill A Curse (Inside Evil series, Book 5 finale)

“Why were you on the North Realm’s side of the boundary?”

Roberta looked across to the two riders just above her eye level. They rode a black mare, her mane flecked with dust from the flat landscape they were meandering across. There was not a tree in sight, just a few measly shrubs here and there that sprang up in clumps amidst the fields of cereal that spread out in every direction. She’d been told they were about to cross the ‘Golden Belt’, and now she saw why.

The man holding the mare’s reigns continued with his work, but the other looked across to where Roberta and her motley crew sat in the back of the small cart, being jostled as the wheels bumped and clattered their way along the dry road.

“Rumours abound about you….about your copy,” he corrected himself, eyeing her carefully. Since she’d been freed from her chains, life had become a lot easier. That was not to say that each and every member of the procession didn’t still dissect her with a wary eye. There was less hostility, though it was clear on their faces that this was an act of will rather than natural disposition. Many simply avoided any interaction with her at all, whilst she caught others, such as the teenager, snatching glances at her when they thought she wasn’t paying attention.

“And you thought you’d just ride straight into Hilltree outright? She’d have never allowed that.”

“You think us all fools,” the man growled lowly. “You’re no better than that witch of yours.”

“I don’t think that at all, actually. It just struck me, in fact, that you’re too intelligent to think she’d have just bowed down before you.”

The man stared back as their journey continued, pausing to ruminate on her words before continuing.

“We have spies. Guess it don’t matter now who knows. One of our major informants failed to check in with us. We were sent to find out what was happening. We weren’t there for your rescue, before you think it. You were in the right place, at the right time.”

“Forgive me if I’m not exactly seeing things in the same light,” Roberta said frankly, realising the man’s idea of rescuing was very different from her own.

“You’d be in the belly of a wolf if it weren’t for us.”

“And instead I’m in the belly of this raiding party.”

“Raiding party?! You think us fools and a raiding party?” The man’s eyebrows arched in offence. “I’ll have you know, we are the Royal Boundary Guard! Each of us is here by official appointment.”

“If that’s true, I fail to see how you can’t compare yourself to us,” Sesane said dryly. “You call us North Realm scum, thieves, beggars, the uneducated scabs of life. And yet you expect me to believe that someone like Garner, or Antane, was royally appointed to this Royal Boundary Guard?” She mocked her last words, taking care to sarcastically imitate the man’s pride when it had come to naming his regiment.

“To the hells with you.”

The man nudged his comrade, who jabbed his sharp-spined boot into the mare’s side, causing her to trot quickly off amongst those ahead.

“Whatever got underneath his skin?” Sesane said with a smile upon her face as she nestled back against the timber frame of the cart. “I’m not sure why you even bother talking to them. We may be out of chains, but we’re far from free.”

“I was trying to gather some information,” Roberta said with slight exasperation. “Emily, you said it yourself, we’re getting through to them, getting them to realise we’re not the enemy. What’s wrong with a little fishing spree?”

To Kill A Curse comes October 15th

I’m excited; in less than a week’s time, To Kill A Curse will arrive. Having worked on this series for almost a decade, it finally comes to its conclusion when the fifth and final instalment publishes on October 15th. If you’re yet to read any of the books, Inside Evil (book one) is currently FREE across all platforms. You can find it at Amazon US and UK as well as other outlets (see links in sidebar; right). The Tower of Souls is also on offer for just $2.99 (again, see links in sidebar) so you can get the first two books for under $3.

If you’d like a heads-up when To Kill A Curse debuts, hop onto the newsletter. Alternatively, just keep your eyes peeled.

TKAC (2)Roberta’s had a year of hell. From fighting a deadly curse, to discovering a parallel realm hiding in the shadows of her own world, she’s narrowly missed death on many occasions. As both friends and foe have fallen, she’s miraculously survived. Though, with giant wolves, doppelgängers and her greatest nemesis’s minions around every corner, she’s not sure how. Now, torn from her loved ones and trying to survive in an alien land, she’s tasked with her most difficult challenge to date; destroy an ancient evil and save two worlds whilst she’s at it.

In the world of Gathin, Roberta’s had to rely on those once considered the enemy, and their relationships are strained even further in her last attempt to find vengeance for those she’s lost. Meanwhile, with Susan and Sam battling to protect Ridgewood from it’s greatest ever threat, the burden to survive and conquer until the bitter end is once again placed upon Roberta’s shoulders. 

First Chapter Preview:

To kill the enemy meant taking on herself. That was the constant and perplexing thought in Roberta’s mind. Many would think having insight into their foes was an advantage, but this time, every idea Roberta had was very likely also in the mind of the woman she sought to kill.

The Queen of the North Realms, the doppelgänger she had fought so hard to stop, had won. She’d crossed from Gathin to Earth. She’d restored the balance of nature; one Roberta living in each plane of existence. There was certainly no way to go home now. Though, as Roberta looked around her surroundings, she realised Hilltree, not Ridgewood, felt more like home than home itself.

Scooping the trailing white dress from the floor, Roberta reached out for Emily’s hand, before using the small metal step to enter the carriage. The dress was new. Actually, it was strung together from a collection of second-hand garments that Franca had begged and bargained for. But to Roberta, this second dress was a work of art. The original long and flowing gown in which she had expected to hide in clear sight, was sodden with the blood of many.

Roberta glanced across the large horse-drawn carriage to where Franca still fiddled with her daughter Emily’s dress. The crimson life force of the woman’s son, Crieg, had been so etched into the skirt and bodice of that beautiful dress there was no saving it. His body, and the others, still laid at the scene, too frightened were any of those around her to climb the great staircase and give the dead the burials they deserved. Everything was rather stark. This had never happened before. No army had ever marched between worlds. Most of those in Gathin still had no idea what had happened. But Roberta knew and she couldn’t even imagine what might happen next.

“Are we about ready?”

Roberta looked up as the doorway was momentarily filled and the carriage was cast into darkness. Soon after, bright sunlight penetrated once again as Sesane stepped into the coach and saw that Franca was still primping Emily’s outfit.

“We really must go,” she said gently, putting her one undamaged arm upon the woman’s shoulder. “If it’s too much….if you’d prefer she stayed?”

“No. She must go, she must do what small gestures of help we can offer,” Franca replied as she pushed hair from her daughter’s forehead and placed a small kiss on the teenager’s exposed skin. “Crieg did what he thought best, and ­­she killed him for it. That’s not our way,” she continued as she finally left Emily’s side and looked to Sesane’s scarred face. “Our children will not die for nothing”.

They hugged briefly, before Franca stepped out of the carriage without a word or glance towards where Roberta shrank into the uncomfortable silence. She closed the door with a slam, and her footsteps were heard on the gravel roadside.

“Where’s Laslay?” Roberta asked, noting the three women had not yet been joined by the Ammokra Acolyte.

“He’s to join us later,” Sesane replied as she considered sitting next to Roberta, saw that the ornate dress covered far too much of the bench, and took a seat next to Emily instead. “He is making a last foray into the tower.”

“It isn’t safe,” Roberta said as her jaw dropped. The Queen may have crossed, but many of her followers remained. “He shouldn’t have gone without us.”

“It is safer for him, than you or I, I assure you. And as long as she took her acolyte henchmen with her, Laslay will not be in harm’s way.”

Beneath her, the carriage wobbled into life and the four great horses that stood outside, their reigns harnessed into the large vehicle, began to snort and stamp their feet. Within a moment, the sound of gravel churning under the wheels began, and the entire vessel began to jerk as it finally moved off.

“I don’t even know why we’re going anymore,” Roberta said softly. “She got through. She won.”

“After everything we’ve been through, you go and say something like that,” Sesane replied sharply, turning her head back from the small window. “No. There is much to be done. She may have crossed through the veils of our worlds, yes, but she has not won. The Ammokra is yet to be destroyed. Her new weapon is yet to be vanquished back to hell.”

“We don’t even know what her weapon is.”

“It will be an Ammokra, of sorts. Let us not forget that it was you who discovered its being, you who found that she was building it from the souls of the original acolyte descendants.”

“And Maerthi paid the price,” Roberta said as she once again thought of the slaughter at the top of the staircase.

“Exactly,” Sesane responded sharply. “But there are souls you can still save, Roberta. You have opened my eyes. You have walked in the Gods’ Realm. There is none but you who can save the souls of those in Ridgewood. If you wish to protect your Gatekeeper and the thousands of lives she’ll use to fuel her curse, then you must find extra strength. This weapon, this curse; she brought it into being by sacrificing the lives of anyone remotely descended from the original six priests. Laslay believes those on Earth who share a similar bloodline will also be sought out to bolster the weapon’s power.”

“So Martha? Martha and every other poor, oblivious relative is in danger?”

“It is likely that they will be the first to fall, yes.”

The carriage fell silent, and Roberta looked through the small window to see scrubby wasteland rolling by. The sun was beating down heavily upon the steep and craggy hills. Their journey had been somewhat delayed by her jaunt into the forest. She’d raced to the precipice only to watch as the Queen strolled out of Gathin as if she’d never been there in the first place. The dress had been ruined, and the small group had needed to call in as many favours as possible to create a new ensemble. The carriage and horses that Crieg had originally organised had also vanished. Despite his age, he’d been well connected. With news of his and the other deaths flooding across Hilltree like a bad disease, they’d been hard pressed to find anyone who’d actually talk. The Queen was gone; that was the word on the hushed streets. She and her army had left Gathin. They’d marched into Earth, tearing through the very fabric that held the world together. But even with Roberta’s doppelgänger gone, there was fear, as if the scars left by her occupation wouldn’t ever heal. Some didn’t believe she was gone, and whispered that their Queen was simply deep in the catacombs of the tower forging some new evil. Others, though brazen enough to joke and laugh that they were free of oppression, still kept to the outskirts of town, not wanting to near the Central Circle’s gates lest a hidden wolf jumped forwards and sank its canines deep into their flesh. Gathin was not at all what Roberta had originally thought it to be; a realm of evil plotting against all those on Earth. Perhaps it had been Barry’s influence that had swayed her first impressions. Perhaps it had been the fact she’d been fighting for her life.

After several days of hiding in Franca’s shop, not that they’d been bothered remotely – for every resident was far too caught in the Queen’s web to pay the slightest attention to a bakery on the periphery of town – Roberta had been forced to wander back across the stone line and seek help in Ruinne. Her second visit was far from eventful. Laslay and Sesane had stood anxiously beside one another as Roberta was ushered across, warning her to stay safe, urging her not to die and allow her soul to be sucked into the stones and left in eternal limbo. However, given that, on her last excursion into the Northern Wilds, she’d almost been discovered by Luguolo, the knowledge he and the Queen were gone made her journey far more enjoyable. She had a huge bag of pastries and bread for trade, and she’d made her way to the remote and crumbling town by nightfall. Once again, she’d pulled her hair over her face to camouflage herself amongst the sickeningly thin and unwashed masses, made her way to Mrs Raveburn’s inn, and spent the night on a lumpy mattress after being fed vast quantities of vegetable soup with unpalatable slimy bits.

“Surprised you ain’t dead. Didnee think I’d be seeing you again,” the innkeeper had sighed as Roberta stepped down into the kitchen the following morning. “Still, y’er her copy, I s’pose. Got some iron guts about y’er. Now, I’m guessing y’er wantin’ some help.”

COMING SOON – OCTOBER 15th.

Read the first four books from Amazon US | UK and sign up to the newsletter so you’re the first to know when it hits the shelves. 

Talking Creatures – How Far Do You Take it?

I grew up with fabulous stories like The Animals of Farthing Wood, Redwall and The Deptford Mice. Seriously, these stories stirred my imagination and, I’m sure, put me on my own writing path. The thought that beneath our feet, all these little animals were chatting away and forming their own societies just

McGonagall might be an animagus, but her cat never talks.

McGonagall might be an animagus, but her cat never talks.

resonated with me so much. But, alas, we have to grow up (at least physically, if not mentally), and having started writing my own series, I’ve realised I’m not really a fan of the talking creature.

There are many books where language skills come seamlessly to the creatures living in our world. The protagonist happily chats to a cat or passing squirrel. I never think it too awful if it’s animals of the same species – it’s not too far reaching to presume they could have their own language. Alternatively, If my human character’s dreaming, or just glugged a pot of ‘special‘ mushroom soup down, then it’s quite allowable in their hallucinogenic state. But even in a magical world such as Harry Potter, the animals don’t actually talk – crookshanks never hopped on Hermione’s lap and gave away Scabber’s secret. Even those skilled in transfiguration to the point where they’re an animagus aren’t able to speak when in animal form.

There's plenty of creatures in Inside Evil...but they won't utter a word

There’s plenty of creatures in Inside Evil…but they won’t utter a word

Don’t get me wrong; my stories are FILLED with creatures; I can’t help it, I’m an animal lover. There are cats, spiders, wolves and all sorts in my books. They never talk though; they’re just cute – well, most of them depending on your feelings towards bugs. The only exception is in To Kill A Curse, but you’ll discover exactly how and why it’s able to happen.

I suppose, looking at it logically, I’m a hypocrite. If I don’t like humans and cats talking, then I shouldn’t like fox and badgers fleeing Farthing Wood together, or the mice and squirrels of Deptford drawing up battle plans. As it goes, I shouldn’t think I’ll be writing talking animals any time soon. The unrealistic factor is too much: despite that I’m writing fantasy fiction!

But when it comes to fictional animals, do you prefer realism, or are you not bothered when the family hamster starts singing Happy Birthday? Is it okay for animals to talk to one another, as long as they don’t start conversing with humans too?

To Kill A Curse – Cover Reveal

TKAC (2)It’s here, finally. After months of writing, more weeks editing and a lot of back and forth between the cover artist and I, the artwork for To Kill A Curse can be revealed. It’s blood red for obvious reasons; it’s the end of the series! And don’t you think Luguolo looks quite sweet and harmless there? We all know that’s a completely falsity!

In terms of it’s release; that’s still in question. It’s had one edit and is awaiting a second. Meanwhile, if you’d like the chance to read it first, before it hits the shelves, then please sign up for ARC copies. This is a new group I have solely for those who want to take part in my writing process. To Kill A Curse will be the first release to this group, after which you’ll get a chance to see all my work as it’s written; so that’s more CRYO stories and whatever else lays in the future.

If you simply want to know when it hits the shelves, just sign up for my newsletter. I’ll send you mail on release day so you can head to Amazon, Smashwords or another preferred store and grab the book.

With the editing process now out of my hands, I’m onto CRYO. First, there’ll be a couple of short stories about podmates before they entered the program. And then it’ll be onto CRYO 3. Oh, AND, there’ll be a short story set in the CRYO universe within an anthology to be released at the end of the year so I’ll be sure to let you all know when that’s available too! :)

Inside Evil is now on GooglePlay

GooglePlay1Well, it’s taken me some time, but I’ve finally got the Inside Evil series on GooglePlay. One of the reasons many authors have stayed away is because Google automatically discounts books. So, if I upload The Tower of Souls for $2.99, then they slash it even further. Whilst this isn’t great for the platform itself, Amazon then price matches and there’s a whole circle of nightmare going on. BUT, fellow writer, T. K. Kenyon, found a way around this little issue!

Now, as if my books weren’t available on all manner of platforms already, you can now also grab them on GooglePlay. Just follow this link to see the series. Meanwhile, I’m ALMOST finished with finale. I want to get it right, hence why it’s taking a little longer than previously expected.

Inside Evil is going ON TOUR

IEBlog

So, I’m working hard at the moment to complete the first draft of To Kill A Curse –  I know it’s late, but I’m getting there. In fact, I’m hoping to finish it THIS weekend. With the finale almost done, I’m starting to prepare for a few plugs here and there in the future. As a result, in September, Inside Evil and the rest of the series is going on tour! If you’d like to participate by posting on your blog or reviewing (yes, that’s right – there’s FREE books up for grabs) then please sign up using the form below. :)

Inside Evil Tour Sign-Up

If you’ve read the books already, then feel free to join. Alternatively, if you want to be involved but don’t have time to actually read the series, that’s no problem either – just opt out of reviewing.

Have a great weekend – I better get back to work!