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C.D. Verhoff on Writing and Her Favourite #Author @CDVerhoff #EpicFantasy #AmReading

1.  C. D. Verhoff – why do you use initials instead of your given name?
It fits easier on a book cover. Outside of writing, I usually go by Deanna, my middle name.
2.  Tell us a bit about your family, Deanna.
I grew up in a working class Catholic family from Fort Wayne, Indiana. I was the fourth of five sisters (no brothers). My mom was a file clerk and self-taught artist of local renown. My dad worked at a tire plant. He had a tough exterior. All the neighborhood kids were scared of him because he yelled a lot, but he was a good father.
As a child, money was tight, but I never lacked for necessities. I fantasized about having less sisters and more Christmas presents. Now that I’m older, I realize that my siblings are best gifts my parents ever gave me. Even though we live hundreds of miles away from each other, they are my best friends in the world.
Unfortunately, only one of my sisters is open to fantasy and science fiction. It’s definitely not her first choice though. She hasn’t even watched any of the Star Wars movies. Can you imagine? My other sisters are into romance novels. They used to devour Danielle Steel and Nora Roberts paperbacks like candy. I try to be respectful of their reading tastes, but I’m not above bugging them to beta read for me.
Enough about them. Let’s move onto how I met my husband. I’ll start by saying I wasn’t looking for one. Since grade school, I was determined to stay single. When asked why, I’d explain that I had never seen a marriage I’d want to be in. Then I met this one guy. He talked too much, wore his pants too high, raised chickens for a hobby, had zero housekeeping skills, went to Mass every Sunday and my resolve flew out the window (I will testify in court that love isn’t rational). My friends said he wasn’t my type, but we hit it off. It was a whirlwind romance and a year later we were married. My husband has only read one book since I’ve known him...and it wasn’t one of mine. I suppose I wouldn’t want him to bring an inmate home for me to babysit (he’s a prison guard), so we’ll call it even. We have a daughter and a son (in that order).
Moving onto my favorite subject—my babies. Well, they’re adolescents now, but a part of me will always think of them that way. Until I became a mother, I didn’t understand the meaning of unconditional love. It’s fierce, protective, incredibly painful at times and wonderful. Being a mom is my calling. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
3.  How do you work through self-doubts and fear? 
I’m still working through the self-doubts and fear, so I’m not sure how to answer this one. My approach might be overly simplistic. I acknowledge my feelings, but I don’t dwell on them. My internal pep talk goes like this:
Don’t worry about stupid shit. Just keep your eyes on the goal and write the damn book.
4.  What makes you happiest? 
Spending time with loved ones, Christmas, warm chocolate chip cookies, a clean house, alone-time to work on story, French vanilla cappuccino, the sound of summer rain against the roof, the first snow fall, autumn leaves, the crackle of a fire in the hearth, cozying with the kids on the couch to watch a movie, a good book, those rare moments in prayer when I feel God’s presence, walking through an old cemetery, making a book sale, getting a good book review, finding a ten dollar bill left in my coat pocket from last winter, reminiscing about younger days with old friends, enjoying a good meal that I didn’t have to make myself.
5.  Why do you write? 
I’m addicted. When a scene comes together, it gives me a high. When I’m forced to stay away from my computer too long, I get jittery until I get my daily fix of wordage. The compulsion sometimes interferes with my other responsibilities—housework, social life, and even my health. Writing is my blue meth, I guess.
6.  What writing are you most proud of?
Glory Alley and the Star Riders. I wrote the skeleton of the book, from beginning to the end in less than three days. Didn’t eat, didn’t sleep, it was as if the story poured into me from some other realm. I haven’t had the same experience with any of my other books.
7.  Who is your favorite author? 
From a purely entertainment standpoint, I’d have to say Dean Koontz. I like the way he portrays ordinary people in heroic ways. With Dean as the guide, when realistic people get thrust into bizarre situations, it’s always a fun trip. He frequently contrasts the worst of the human condition against the best and the latter usually wins out. I like that kind of optimism.
The last survivors of the human race are riding out nuclear winter in an underground bunker when disaster strikes. Forced to the surface centuries ahead of schedule, what they find blows their minds. Who can explain it? Two social misfits work together to unravel the mystery.

After living in a posh underground shelter his entire life, Lars Steelsun is plunged headfirst into a mind-blowing adventure on the surface of the Earth. As Lars and his displaced bunker mates are led across the grasslands by Mayor Wakeland, a man of questionable sanity who claims to talk with God, they discover a primitive world where human beings are no longer welcome. Even more mystifying is the emergence of new senses and abilities from within. 

Learning to use them has become a priority, but his biggest challenge comes from the vivacious Josie Albright. Her lust for glory is going to get them both into trouble. Sparks fly when her gung ho ways clash with his cautious personality. Can they overcome their differences to find love and a homeland for their people?

May not be suitable for younger readers. 
Contains mild profanity, sexual situations (infrequent), and violence. 

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Genre - Epic Fantasy
Rating – R
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The Other Side of the Ice #Excerpt by @TheobaldSprague #Climate #NonFiction #Memoir

The main purpose of our trip the year before on Akademik Ioff was to find out the physical feasibility of our intended joint expedition and to see what the ice conditions were like in the Northwest Passage. For me, I hoped to gain a good visual sense of what I’d be trying to capture on film. Within the first few days, I knew I would bring back never-before-seen footage from The Passage. From Dan and Jim’s perspective, they grew confident that a Nordhavn boat could take on The Passage and survive. Each morning, the crew of Akademik Ioff provided the ship’s passengers with its own newspaper, giving the latest headlines. Each morning, the three of us would sit and discuss the sorry case of the world in general and feel all the more secure that our intended trip through the Northwest Passage was about as timely as we could hope for.
On September 15, 2008, with a growing sense of accomplishment and anticipation, I sat down for breakfast and opened the ship’s daily newspaper. I stared in abject and total disbelief at the latest headlines noting that Lehman Brothers was crashing, about to be financially erased from the face of the earth, and that the collateral damage was going to be unprecedented.
The collateral damage reached the Far North. As the days continued to roll by, Jim no longer wanted to discuss the trip. In fact, Jim no longer ate
with Dan and me. When the three of us actually were together, the talk was of anything but their $300,000 commitment to the trip and perhaps building a forty-foot boat so they could join in the adventure. By the time the trip aboard Akademik Ioff had ended, there was no $300,000 commitment. I saw it coming a mile away.
Dan Streech was the type of man who, when he told me of the offer’s withdrawal, he did it with tears in his eyes. I was completely in Dan’s corner. I couldn’t in good conscience ask for such a large amount of money while he was looking at having to lay off longtime trusted employees, people he truly loved.
But as much as I appreciated Dan’s position and honesty, I was devastated. Actually, more than devastated. I was completely and decisively screwed.

A sailor and his family’s harrowing and inspiring story of their attempt to sail the treacherous Northwest Passage.
Sprague Theobald, an award-winning documentary filmmaker and expert sailor with over 40,000 offshore miles under his belt, always considered the Northwest Passage–the sea route connecting the Atlantic to the Pacific–the ultimate uncharted territory. Since Roald Amundsen completed the first successful crossing of the fabled Northwest Passage in 1906, only twenty-four pleasure craft have followed in his wake. Many more people have gone into space than have traversed the Passage, and a staggering number have died trying. From his home port of Newport, Rhode Island, through the Passage and around Alaska to Seattle, it would be an 8,500-mile trek filled with constant danger from ice, polar bears, and severe weather.
What Theobald couldn’t have known was just how life-changing his journey through the Passage would be. Reuniting his children and stepchildren after a bad divorce more than fifteen years earlier, the family embarks with unanswered questions, untold hurts, and unspoken mistrusts hanging over their heads. Unrelenting cold, hungry polar bears, and a haunting landscape littered with sobering artifacts from the tragic Franklin Expedition of 1845, as well as personality clashes that threaten to tear the crew apart, make The Other Side of the Ice a harrowing story of survival, adventure, and, ultimately, redemption.

TO WATCH THE OFFICIAL HD TEASER FOR “The Other Side of The Ice” [book and documentary] PLEASE GO TO: VIMEO.COM/45526226) 

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Genre – Memoir, adventure, family, climate
Rating – PG
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8 Things About 'The Evolutionary Journey of #Woman' by @EvolutionWoman #NonFiction #Spirituality

8 Things You Didn’t Know About The Evolutionary Journey of Woman
  • This book tells the story of the beautiful, adventurous Sumerian goddess Inanna.
  • It debunks Man the Hunter as the primary, prehistoric hero of human evolution.
  • The Evolutionary Journey of Woman suggests that a number of key social, cultural and technological factors formed a key tipping point in the Mythic Age that led to thousand of years of women's oppression.
  • This books sees the emergence of feminism as evidence of the positive unfolding of consciousness in the world.
  • It expresses the hope that we are emerging into a new Integral age that might be able to reintegrate our lost female and feminine wisdom.
  • It also debunks the idea of a past matriarchal golden age of human history.
  • It explains the three waves of feminism as moving from a focus on social rights, to cultural rights, and finally to diversity.
  • It argues that women need a tradition of spiritual grandmother's to help them fully become who they can be in the world.


The story of human evolution that we've been commonly told is one built on the shoulders of male heroism, competition and dominance; but, what if it isn't the whole story? This book tells the lost story of women in evolution.

The Evolutionary Journey of Woman: From the Goddess to Integral Feminism looks towards a future that brings together and reintegrates women's wisdom traditions through establishing a spiritual lineage for women that is traced all the way back to ancient Sumer with the goddess Inanna. Marrying the ancient wisdom traditions with adult developmental theory, this book charts a pathway towards the full spectrum of possibilities for women's self-actualisation in the coming Integral age. The Evolutionary Journey of Woman is academically rigorous, historical, philosophical and spiritual, but, most fundamentally, it is a narrative that will change the way you think about woman as a heroine of history.

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Genre - Non fiction, Women's Spirituality
Rating – PG
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ANNA'S SECRET #Excerpt by @MargaretWestlie #Historical #Fiction #Mystery

“Someone’s gone to great pains to leave her comfortable.” Angus stared down at Anna. He was a church elder, and because of his wisdom, the unspoken head of the community. The ten minutes since Neil had arrived with his news had seemed an hour.
“Aye, they have indeed.” Duncan regarded the neatness of Anna’s grey drugget dress arranged modestly around her ankles, her folded hands lying across her abdomen. “It’s more than she deserved.”
“Hush now, Duncan, it’s bad luck to speak ill of the dead.”
“Yes, Duncan, she might come back and haunt you,” said Hector, his pale blue eyes quite serious.
“Och, Hector, you’re always thinking of ghosts.” Angus shook his grey head. “The poor thing probably has more to do than come back and haunt the likes of you.”
“She’s likely dancing in the hot place wishing for a bigger fan,” said Duncan.
A giggle erupted from Neil who had been hovering at the periphery of the small group of men. Angus looked hard at Duncan. “No more of that talk now, in front of children.” He squatted down beside Anna. “Is this the way you found her, Neil?”
“Yes, sir.”
“You didn’t touch her?”
“No, sir, only to shake her arm to see if she had just fallen asleep. She was stiff with the cold.”
Angus regarded Anna for another moment. “Help me turn her over, then.”
The three men knelt and turned her onto her left side. A small swarm of flies rose from their feast of sticky blood left on the pillow of yellow straw that had supported her head.
“It must have been someone who cared about her to take such trouble with her remains,” said Hector.
“Aye, it’s as if she was being put to bed,” agreed Angus.
“One more time,” said Duncan.
“Who’s going to tell Ian?” asked Hector.
“I will,” said Angus. “He’s my own cousin and we’ve known each other since we were schoolboys.”
“But we’re his cousins, too,” said Duncan.
“Nevertheless, I will tell him. You two will follow with Anna’s remains.”
“We need something to carry her on,” said Hector.
“There’s the door to Murdoch’s house that’s fallen in,” said Neil.
“Run, then, and be quick about it. Go with him, Hector, he’ll not be able to carry it by himself.”
Hector and Neil set out across the field where they had worked side by side with Ian only a few days before. The oats had been thick that summer and the straw had been plentiful, its shadowy roots home to field mice and grass snakes and crickets. Murdoch’s house had long stood vacant, its windows broken and its door fallen off its leather hinges. The roof had blown off in a winter gale three years ago and now the whole structure sat at a crazy angle not quite ready to fall into its cellar.
“You’re lighter than I am,” said Hector. “Go in and get the other end of the door, but mind where you step, it’s none of it very stable.”
The floor creaked and moved even under Neil’s slight weight. A few moments of careful manoeuvring freed the door from its bed of fallen rafters. In a few minutes Hector and Neil returned to the others.
Neil watched as Hector, Duncan and Angus loaded Anna’s remains onto the grey planks of the door. A smear of blood darkened the wood as they positioned her head for the journey home.
Hector shuddered. “Old Annie said this door would be smeared with the blood of the just.”
“Will you stop it, Hector,” said Duncan. “When did she say that?”
“The winter before Murdoch left for the Boston States.”
“That’s years ago, and Annie’s senile.”
“Not then she wasn’t. She said it as plain as day. I was there and I heard her.”
“And what did Murdoch think of all that?”
“There’s some say that’s the reason he left the Island.”

Anna Gillis, the midwife and neighbour in Mattie’s Story, has been found killed. The close-knit community is deeply shaken by this eruption of violence, and neighbours come together to help one another and to discover the perpetrator. But the answer lies Anna’s secret, long guarded by Old Annie, the last of the original Selkirk Settlers, and the protagonist of An Irregular Marriage. Join the community! Read Anna’s Secret and other novels by Margaret A. Westlie.
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Genre – Fiction, mystery, historical
Rating – G
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RJ Blain Shares Her Favourite #Books - #AmReading #Fantasy

What books did you love growing up?
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle, The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley, and all of the Valdemar novels by Mercedes Lackey. These were followed up by Stephen King’s The Stand and Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind. I skipped a lot of the younger age reading stuff and went for big fat fantasies and horrors pretty quickly.
Who is your favorite author?
Mercedes Lackey. She was the author who inspired me to write. My favorite of her works is definitely her oldest books, though. Nowadays, my favorites also include Jim Butcher (Mhmm Harry Dresden and Tavi!) and Brandon Sanderson.
What book genre of books do you adore?
Traditional and Epic Fantasy. I really love escaping to fall off worlds full of magic and wonder, with a healthy side dish of action, adventure, and excitement. I’m growing a bit more fond of Urban Fantasy as well, though I tend to favor novels like The Dresden Files.
What book should everybody read at least once?
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. This book made me think, and I really enjoy books that make me think. I feel this sort of novel has a lot of impact over time. That said, I think it needs to be read in the mindset of comparing the reality of our world with the presentation of the government and world from Brave New World to have the most impact.
Are there any books you really don’t enjoy?
I really have a strong dislike for A Song of Fire and Ice by George R. R. Martin. I never was able to get into it, and I keep getting pressured by people who think I should enjoy it when I don’t. I probably wouldn’t dislike it nearly as much if so many people didn’t act like I should like it when I don’t.
It doesn’t fit my particular tastes. I have nothing against people liking this series, but I don’t want it shoved in my face when I just don’t enjoy it.
What do you hope your obituary will say about you?
Obituaries are so interesting. If I had to have one written about me though, I’d hope it’d be written by a fan of my writing. My writing is an integral part of me, so that’s what I’d like for  it to be about. So I guess I’d like to be survived by my pets (and hopefully my spouse) and my fans – I’d like my writing to be remembered by people who enjoyed my stories.
Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live?
I grew up in the middle of the woods in Maryland. It was about 45 minutes to get to the nearest actual library, 20-30 minutes to the closest grocery store, and the morning commute to my high school took 2 hours. Once I learned to read, there was nothing else to do but play pretend and read books, so I got lost in my own little world fairly often.
The next door neighbor and I played abandoned on an island using a picnic table as our island and boat pretty often.
I abandoned ship after I turned 18 to move to Canada, as my fiancé (at the time) had work there, so it made sense for me to immigrate to Canada.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I don’t really know. I just love telling stories, so I tell stories. If anything, I’m inspired by the people who enjoy reading the crazy stuff I come up with. I don’t really get inspired by the usual culprits, such as sitting in front of a fire with hot cocoa or watching the snow. I just write. I’ve never been one to try to need inspiration to write. That requires some outside condition to do it, and that’s a trap I just don’t want to fall into.
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Genre - Fantasy
Rating – PG - 13
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The Sovereign Order of Monte Cristo by Holy Ghost Writer @SultanOfSalem #Excerpt #Action

After the much-needed bath, Dantes puts on his dressing gown and lies down on his old bed, which he finds deeply comforting. He has played and traveled hard over the past few busy years, and he knows it has worn on him; there is more silver in his hair than before. He hopes to slow down soon, for he loves his new home with his family close by and misses them terribly.

The sweet, baby faces of his daughters loom in the darkness of his closed eyes. How blessed he is! He resolves to enjoy Paris while he is here, though. He wants to go to the opera while he is in town and also visit a few of his favorite haunts. Finally, he falls fast asleep, only to awaken to a servant telling him the meal is nearly ready.

The servant helps Dantes dress and leads him to the dining room.

“The table looks divine,” Dantes says, thinking how nice it is to be out of his traveling clothes and into something more refined. He looks at the spread before him—fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as two huge pheasants with mint jelly. The yeasty smell of homemade bread fills the air and makes his mouth water.

“I hope this pleases you, sir,” Valentine tells him. “I know the food in America is quite different. Perhaps you have become too accustomed to their fare to appreciate ours.”

“Oh, nothing can compare to a good French meal, although American food has its own charms. When the baby is old enough to travel, you will all have to visit my estate in Georgia. It’s a different world, but one I believe you will enjoy,” Dantes tells them.

Just then, he hears the creak of a wheelchair. In comes M. Noirtier. Dantes rushes over to him and bids him hello.

“My old friend!” he says. “My heart fills with joy to see you—let us enjoy this magnificent feast as well as one another’s company.”

The next morning, Dantes plans to visit more of his old friends, at least those who still reside in Paris. A carriage awaits him in the hazy light of dawn, and he is flooded with memories as he drives through the streets. He wishes Mercedes and Haydee could be at his side, but knows his daughters are far too young for such travel; it would exhaust them.

Holy Ghost Writer

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Genre – Action, Adventure
Rating – PG-15
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"The Riddler" - Riddle Of The Diamond Dove (Arkana Mysteries) by N.S. Wikarski #Historical #Fiction

The Riddler
Daniel sighed and looked at the large clock suspended above the librarian’s desk. It was only noon. This day wasn’t going at all as he had hoped. When he arrived that morning at the main branch of the Chicago Public Library, he had been looking forward to his daily visit with David, a reference librarian in the ancient history section. It was the only thing he looked forward to these days. Instead of the handsome young man he had hoped to see, he was met by a scowling grey-haired woman who informed him that David had called in sick. No, it wasn’t serious, just a case of food poisoning and no, she didn’t know when he would be back at work. Probably in a few days.
After receiving that news, Daniel sloped off to a back table and occupied the rest of the morning in brooding. He had spent nearly every day for the past three months in the library—not because he expected to further his research but because he couldn’t bear the oppressive atmosphere of the compound any more than he had to. Three months. He was shocked at how much time he’d managed to waste. He had idled away the entire winter pretending to research the clue that would lead him to the next relic.
He pulled a photo of the object out of his briefcase to study it. A dove with outstretched wings carved entirely out of lapis lazuli. Instead of the row upon row of glyphs which had covered the golden bee, this artifact bore a very simple message: “One dove flies to wake the helmsman. The course he sets reveals his fate.” The bird’s back was encrusted with diamonds in a circular pattern. The middle of the circle consisted of seven emeralds scattered at random. The diamonds at either end of the circle were interrupted by two rubies, one larger than the other.
Daniel looked at the picture of the relic for the thousandth time and still had no idea what any of it meant. Of course, he felt far less urgency in solving this riddle than he had about the earlier ones. His time in Spain had convinced him beyond all doubt that the trio of relic hunters whom he believed dead were still very much alive and after the same treasure that he was. However, since he was the one holding the lapis dove and the clue it contained, the trio had no choice but to wait for him to make a move. They would have to follow his lead. He didn’t particularly care if they anticipated his route and stole away with the next relic before he arrived. Daniel had no sympathy for his father’s ambition to collect these artifacts or the ultimate prize—the Sage Stone. Even though he didn’t know the Diviner’s plan for these strange objects, Daniel imagined it didn’t bode well for the rest of the world. Why should he eagerly assist in that?
Daniel felt his loyalties fracture a bit more after each field mission. The more he saw of the Fallen world, the less comfort he found in returning to the ways of the Blessed Nephilim. Of course, his father’s marriage to Hannah had done even more to alienate him than the relic hunt itself. Daniel was glad he had helped her escape. He just wished he knew where she had gone after he brought her to the city. A note, a phone call, anything to tell him she was alright. He gave a bitter inward laugh. That small gesture of reassurance might very well cost her her freedom if Leroy Hunt was stalking her again. No, it was better as it was. He prayed she had found a better life than as the fourteen-year-old bride of a seventy-year-old man. She could scarcely exchange that fate for anything worse.
Daniel glanced toward the librarian’s desk. The woman behind it was staring at him disapprovingly. He ducked his head down and pretended to concentrate on his paperwork. He couldn’t keep this up much longer. He didn’t simply mean the pretext of visiting this section of the library just to be near David—his only real friend in the world. He also meant the pretext of telling his father that he was on the verge of solving the latest riddle. He was nowhere near a solution to the problem. At best, he could only continue the charade for another month before he would have to get on a plane and go somewhere in search of the next relic.
An idea was nagging at the back of his consciousness. He felt he had missed something. Thinking back to the riddle that had preceded this one, there were lines in that clue which he had never understood. Perhaps it all fit together. Perhaps he needed to solve the earlier puzzle in order to understand the current one. At the very least, he might legitimately burn up some additional time in doing so.
He buried his face in his hands and rubbed his eyes. He hated living this way. His mind drifted back to his last conversation with Hannah. He remembered her final words to him before she disappeared. “How bad does it have to get before you finally walk away?” Perhaps that was the greatest riddle of all.

THE ARKANA SERIES: Where Alternative History Meets Archaeology Adventure
Volume Four – Riddle Of The Diamond Dove
From Kindle Nation fave N. S. Wikarski comes the long-awaited fourth book in her fascinating seven-part Arkana archaeology thriller series — with more of the wonderful characters, sly humor, intrigue and mayhem that come together to create the absorbing world of her intricate, fast-paced mysteries.” (Kindle Nation Daily)
Global Treasure Hunt
Where do you hide an ancient relic that has the power to change the course of history? As Cassie Forsythe and her Arkana team discover, you scatter clues to its whereabouts across the entire planet. Five artifacts buried among the rubble of lost civilizations point to the hiding place of a mythical object known as the Sage Stone. Thus far psychic Cassie, bodyguard Erik, and librarian Griffin have succeeded in recovering two of those artifacts.
Opposing Forces
Cassie and Company find their lives threatened at every turn by agents of a religious cult known as the Blessed Nephilim. The cult’s leader, Abraham Metcalf, wants to exploit the power of the Sage Stone to unleash a catastrophic plague on the world. The quest for the next piece of the puzzle has led both sides to Africa. They must comb an entire continent–their only lead a riddle carved onto a mysterious dove sculpture. Even as the Arkana team struggles to decipher the clue, new dangers hover over their colleagues at home.
Other Dangers
Metcalf’s child-bride Hannah has taken refuge at the home of the Arkana’s leader Faye while mercenary Leroy Hunt creeps ever nearer to her hiding place. His search for the girl brings him dangerously close to the secret location of the Arkana’s troves–a collection of pre-patriarchal artifacts which confirm an alternative history of the origins of civilization itself. While Hunt closes in on Hannah, Metcalf’s son Daniel dogs the footsteps of the Arkana field team in order to claim the next artifact before they do. Daniel recruits a clever ally along the way who might be more than a match for the opposing side.
Collision Course
When the forces of the Arkana and the Nephilim converge on a ruined city in a forgotten corner of the dark continent, the shocking outcome is beyond even Cassie’s powers to foresee. The quest for the Sage Stone will veer in an unexpected direction once both sides solve the Riddle Of The Diamond Dove.
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Genre - Alternative History Fiction
Rating – PG
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