Witch of the Red Thorn by Maria DeVivo


Witch of the Red Thorn 
Dawn of the Blood Witch 
Book Two
Maria DeVivo

Genre: Occult Horror 
Publisher: 4 Horsemen Publications
Date of Publication: June 5, 2022
ISBN: 1644505614
ASIN: B09TGWNY76
Number of pages: 254
Word Count: 58k

Tagline: Three years after the Salem Witch Trials, a new evil awakens to terrorize an unsuspecting town.

Book Description: 

The residents of New Haven Harbor, Massachusetts think they’ve escaped the madness of the Salem Witch Trials, but when a new Reverend is dispatched to their church to take over for their aging vicar, they soon realize the darkness is far from over. Dutiful Christian wife Barbara Flynn is immediately affected by the new pastor’s presence. Intense thoughts and feelings she has never experienced before stir inside, drawing her close to the strange man.

When a series of grisly occurrences tear through the town, Barbara and the new Reverend join together to wade through the carnage. But on their journey, Barbara soon discovers she is part of a larger design – a plan that has been in the making since the dawn of time. As shadows loom over the quiet seaside town, the simple townsfolk grow frightened. Fear soon turns to anger as fingers point in every direction to snuff out the source who has once again brought witchcraft into their midst.

Can Barbara control the demons within her to assure the town’s safety? Or will the mob force Barbara and the new Reverend to atone for the sinister magic devouring New Haven Harbor?

Reader Advisory: Witch of the Red Thorn contains violence, gore, Satanic rituals, and graphic sexual situations



Excerpt:

I didn’t realize how long we had been out in the clearing of the woods until Tansy’s screaming snapped me back into reality. It was almost like a dream—when you fall asleep into that dream world and your story just picks up in the middle of a scene, yet you have all the memory and knowledge of the world your mind has temporarily created for you. One moment we were walking out into the forest in the purest daylight to gather fresh flowers for the chapel, and in the next instance, it was pitch black and Tansy was pulling hard on my pinafore dress and howling at the top of her lungs for us to run.

“Run, Barbara! Run! Go!” she commanded as I twirled at the edge of the clearing, awestruck at the sight that lay before me—strewn in a circle lay twisted animal parts covered in leaves and muck and blood. Symbols arranged neatly with twigs, flower heads drenched in the crimson sticky blood, and black candles burned to their nubs protruded from the ground. Something about it enthralled me, bewitched me, and I stared hard at the tableau—unafraid and somewhat curious at the peculiarity of it all.

With one final tug of my dress and a shake to my shoulder, I locked eyes with my sister. Her words finally registered in my head, and her urgency struck deep into my soul: Run. Go. Now. We both took off running, my legs swiftly carrying me to presumed safety, my hands still clutching tightly to the cluster of Bellflowers I had previously picked (with no recollection of doing so).

When we finally made it to the edge of the Black Wood, the both of us slumped forward, hands on knees, panting hard for air to fill our lungs back up.

“Did you see it? Did you see it?” Tansy struggled to force the words out.

“Yes, Tansy, I saw!” I answered.

“I… I… I thought we were done with all of that! I thought that was passed us! I thought…”

“As did I. As did I.”

Tansy’s upper body shot up with a sense of awareness. Her torso tensed and stiffened, and her face drew dark and contemplative. She furrowed her brow as if trying to piece some wild puzzle together or connect the dots to some great revelation. I saw it glittering in her soft hazel eyes, like words and images dancing in her mind, yet they were too fast for her to catch and put together. When it dawned on her, it was like a candle flame flickering to life. “Today’s the 20th, isn’t it?” she asked.

“Yes, why?”

She stepped closer to me and lowered her voice. “It’s been almost three years, Barbara. Almost three years to the day that Martha Corey and the others were hanged in Salem. You know, the last of the trial judgments. Do you think it’s happening again? Do you think what happened over there is now happening here?”

“Hush your mouth, Tansy Wilkins!” I snapped back. “We are God-fearing women of our community. Peace-loving. We reject Satan and all his minions.” I paused after those words. For some reason, it didn’t feel right for me to say them. A creeping feeling of doubt entered my heart, but I pushed it aside. “Don’t you be putting that energy out into the universe,” I continued my admonition. “And for God’s sake, don’t go saying that around anyone else. You know how on edge everyone has been since all that business over there.”

“But Barbara, I’ve heard stories. Been hearing stories…”

“And stories they just are. The same ones I’ve been hearing, too. Nothing but silly ghost tales and monsters under the bed. Now shush, and don’t go putting wood on someone’s fire. Because the last thing we surely need is what happened there to infect us here. It’s still fresh. It’s going to take a little while for that wound to heal.” That much was true! I knew our town of New Haven Harbor would never be able to survive the horrors of Salem.

Her face darkened again at my words. It was obvious she wasn’t fully convinced by what I told her. I knew I wasn’t convinced myself, but I had to say the words to quell my sister’s suspicions. It would be a shame if she had opened herself to the hysteria of our neighboring town. Who knows what influence or bogeymen she might allow in?
Like a pinprick in the back of my mind, I could feel the scene in the clearing calling me—beckoning me to go and investigate. But I ignored it, and instead, I tried to convince my sister nothing nefarious was afoot.

“Winnie Gordon told me that two young children went missing over in Salem just last week.

They were playing at the bottom of the ledge where the witches were hanged, and no one has seen them since. Winnie says those little kids must have awakened something because strange things have been happening since then.”

“You know I can’t stand that Winnie Gordon. Never could,” I barked.

Tansy’s eyes went wild. “Barbara, stop that! How could you say that! Winnie has been my best friend since grammar school!”

“And pray tell, why is it that she needed to repeat her studies multiple times? Winnie Gordon is not the smartest of women, now is she? There are at least four, maybe five children in this town who bear the face of her sweet husband Jedidiah Gordon yet do not belong to Winnie herself…”

With a swift shot to the shoulder, Tansy huffed, “Barbara!”

I smirked from the corner of my mouth. “I speak nothing but truth, dear sister. And as for Winnie Gordon, I don’t think she could recognize truth if it slithered its way from between…”
She gasped again at my seeming vulgarity. “Barbara! Enough!”

I must admit, I too was taken aback by the images in my mind and the words that formed on my lips. It was no secret that Winnie’s husband was a fine catch for her. A brokered deal among their families to afford the best financial possible outcome for all parties involved. And it was no secret that Jedidiah Gordon was the desire of many of the women in New Haven Harbor, to which he heartily obliged. I envisioned all types of women in our town lying on their backs, receiving the full weight and girth of Jedidiah at once in a passionate ceremony, as if he were shapeshifter who could penetrate them at the very same time, all at once, thrusting and pulsating and rising and… I shook my head to rid myself of the thought, but the pinprick sensation was still needling its edge in the back of my head, sending electric waves down my spine.

I gave Tansy the bouquet of bluebells and instructed her: “Take these back to the chapel.

Someone will probably be wondering where we are and why we’re taking so long. Not a word of this, though. To anyone. Not even Winnie Gordon, you understand me. Someone is clearly playing a cruel joke, trying to get everyone excited and spooked for the upcoming anniversary. I’m going to go back to the clearing to tidy up so no one else sees it. I’ll be quick and come back with more flowers. Say I was unhappy with what was out there and wanted prettier ones.”

Tansy gave a quick nod and went on her way. I turned on my heels and headed straight for the clearing—straight back to the scene of grisly ritualistic murder, straight back to the scene that seemed to call to me, that drew me in. On closer inspection, I realized the twigs were arranged in the shape of a makeshift circle with the five-pointed star in the center. At each point of the star, a black melted candle was stuck into the earth. The waxy pools at their bases held them in place. A squirrel’s severed head was in the center of the star and there was blood—so much blood— adorning the center and outside of the circle.

But the blood sings.

I knelt at the end of the ground altar, entranced with the precision at which it was constructed and thought: Who could have done this? Why did they do this? What is the meaning behind it all? But my internal questions were drowned out by the song of the blood and replaced with the only thing I could describe the feeling as—knowing. The scene was suddenly beautiful to me, and a wave of guilt tumbled into my soul. I should not feel this way. I should not feel this way…

Yet something in me did.


About the Author:

Maria is the Author of the Amazon bestselling and award winning series The Coal Elf Chronicles, the YA psychological horror series The Altered Experience, and the NA Urban Fantasy series The Aestrangel Trinity. 

When not writing about dark fantasy and horror, she teaches Language Arts and Journalism to middle school students in Florida. A lover of all things dark and demented, she takes pleasure in warping the comfort factor in her readers’ minds. Just when you think you’ve reached a safe space in her stories, she snaps you back into her twisted reality.














The Glint of the Luopan by Sally Feng


The Glint of the Luopan
Sally Feng

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: CinnamonBooks
Date of Publication: 11.11.2022
ISBN: 978-3000739385
ASIN: B0BKY2KQ15
Number of pages: 292
Word Count: 65.000
Cover Artist: MiblArt

Tagline: A Daoist journey through New York and Beijing. A secret society. A young woman on a mission to find her dad.

Book Description: 

Lai Fang, a Chinese native living in New York, is working to recover her lost memory and find her father. Along the way, she finds herself in the arms of the mysterious Suresh who supports her search in unconventional ways.

Guided by a Luopan, scattered remnants of recollections, technology, and a little magic, Lai Fang desperately clings to what she hopes will be the path to her truth. However, what if the truth lies far beyond the scope of human comprehension? What is the truth to begin with?

The Glint of the Luopan weaves a mesmerizing web of a world that begins as a dream and unfolds in a journey for family, hope, and love.

Excerpt

The elevator jerked to a halt and the doors slid open to a circular room with high Greek-looking columns in the corners. Everything was in muted colors, beige, and blue-grey.

“Oh wow.”

In the middle, there was a circular table with a model of China on it.

“So, this is where we plan our utopia, or at least its rough outlines.”

Izzy went up to the table and propped her hands on it.

“These are all regions in China where we have established so-called cities in the sky. You might even have seen a picture of it on the news that went viral a couple of years ago, in Foshan.

Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to prevent it from becoming public. Of course, most people took it for a mirage, a Fata Morgana.”

“Cities in the sky?” I had actually thought that nothing could shock me anymore, but this was just unbelievable.

“Yes. As of now, about half a million Chinese people live there. We are still in our experimental phase, but so far, we have made good progress.”

She talked about it as if it was an everyday thing.

“You know, China has had a demographic explosion during the last couple of years, after the pandemic. Even during the one-child policy, population growth was significant, especially in the countryside. China couldn’t admit that to the rest of the world. The outcry and the fear would have been enormous. Not to mention, the Chinese themselves began to suffer from the density of the population in the cities. They began to house people everywhere: in cellars, in tents, but there were just so many. Also, the space programs didn’t bring the desired success.” She stroked the table.

 “So, the Dreamer Society began to look for other options. They rounded up a team of people from all disciplines – geologists, biologists, remote viewers – to map out a future for the Chinese population. What they found was just so, so much more interesting than anyone had ever thought.”

Izzy took a deep breath and pushed a button next to the model of China. There was a whirring sound, something opened in the middle of the model, and a glass pillar rose up. At the same time, a hissing sound rang out as the pillar f illed with smoke. I couldn’t take my eyes off it. Slowly, very slowly, tiny outlines began to form out of the smoke. They looked strangely solid. The smoke pooled into walls and roofs, culminating in towers…

“What the-?”

“This is Jindan, the substance used for creating the sky cities. It’s a kind of energy that can condense into something solid. Initially, it was only used for manipulating the weather, like at the Olympic Games. Then we found out how powerful it really is. If you achieve a tremendous degree of compaction, you can actually create solid bodies. It is said to be inspired by the early Daoists who practiced inner alchemy.”

The smoke in the glass pillar was still forming and condensing. By now I could also see small roads. I slowly circled the pillar, keeping a cautious distance, and found more and more details.

“I mean…how do you create whole, life-sized cities?” It seemed suitable for a small project in chemistry class, but how could you create something lifelike with it?
Izzy circled the model and looked at the pillar as well. “Guess why it’s called the Dreamer Society?”

“Dreams?”

“It turned out that the Jindan substance interacts very well with dream energy. Before that, the Society experimented with all sorts of things – hydrogen, carbon, and so on. Then, someone had what is called a ‘happy accident’. They fell asleep in the lab, and when they awoke the next morning, their dream was hanging from the ceiling. In 3D and touchable. Then, they went from there. Actually, what you see in the pillar is a sky city in its purest form, without dream energy.”

I searched Izzy’s face, but I couldn’t find any trace of exaggeration.

I didn’t know how much more absurdity I would endure. I only knew that the sky city in the vessel was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen: an airy, fluffy-looking, slightly glittering thing, like cotton candy that seemed to be constantly reassembling itself.

About the Author:

Sally Feng is an expert in Chinese culture and philosophy and loves to spread the word about these topics. She holds a Master’s degree in Literary Translation and Sinology. Her interests also include the paranormal and Asian religions.

After completing her first novel translations for different publishers, she published the Urban Fantasy title “The Glint of the Luopan”. It’s set in New York and Beijing and deals with Chinese magic and philosophy, among other things.

She works as an author, translator and editor. “The Glint of the Luopan” is her third novel.







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In the Moment Before by C.G. Coppola


In the Moment Before
The Coyote And The Claw 
Companion Series Novella 1
C.G. Coppola

Genre: New Adult Urban Fantasy Romance / 
New Adult Paranormal Romance
Date of Publication: 12/16/2022
ISBN: 9798201753146
Word Count: 39,000
Cover Artist: Wicked Smart Designs

Book Description:

I hate Grayson Knight with a passion. Ever since he pulled a prank on me as kids, I’ve kept him in the mortal-enemy category, and we both prefer it that way. Now we’re seniors in high school and he’s still the same immature jerk. I avoid him as much as possible, but when an argument turns ugly and lands us in detention together, I know my life is over—especially when my dad, the city’s police sergeant, finds out.

I have no idea how we’ll get through this, so I’m surprised when Grayson comes to my rescue after I’m cornered by a sleazy basketball player. Suddenly, the boy I’ve always hated isn’t the enemy. If seeing him with new eyes isn’t confusing enough, a secret kiss sends everything scrambling, leaving me to figure out what I want, and if I can even have it. Because Grayson isn’t like other boys—and I’m starting to find out why.


Excerpt 

“You said none of it was true.” I tighten my arms over my chest, leaning against the wall, hoping it supports me because this is about to get tough. “That people were spreading lies.”

“They are lies. We’re not dating.”

Ouch.

It’s like I’ve been punched. I know what he’s saying is true, but to hear it from him…and like that…doesn’t make it feel any better.

“You…didn’t think we were, did you?” He pops a brow, sliding his hands out of his pockets as he stands firmly in front of me, his olive hoodie unzipped. Surprise and confusion and something else brew behind his eyes, like he’s adjusting with new information.

Can’t show him I’m hurt.

I press my shoulders back, trying to project the confidence and strength I need. “That would mean I stopped hating you—and I haven’t.”

Pain flickers but disappears a moment later. He sinks his hands back in his pockets, rolling on the balls of his feet again. “You still hate me?”

“Well, it’s only physical between us, right?”

“That’s…what I want to talk about.”

“What?”

“We really should…stop.”

“Yeah?” I ask, tightening my crossed arms further. “And why should I believe anything you say? Last time you said it was a mistake, and you’ve only come on stronger since.”

“I know.” He rubs the back of his neck. “It’s my fault.”

I drop my arms. Is he being serious this time? Does he really want to stop this? Why is that thought agonizing?

“It’s not fair to you.”

My chest constricts, and I can’t believe the words as they tumble out of my mouth. “So, you don’t want to…anymore?”

He glances away. He takes a deep breath like he’s still considering everything. “Probably not smart. We’re enemies, Robin. We had some fun, but—”

“Fine. Get out.”

He stares at me. “What?”

“If we’re enemies, get out.”

“You’re seriously kicking me out?”

“If you’re telling me this has all been a mistake—”

“I didn’t say that. I said it’s not smart.”

“That’s the same thing.”

“No, the fuck it isn’t.” He steps forward, raising his voice a little. “I don’t regret anything, okay? But I also don’t think it’s smart. I don’t do the girlfriend thing and keeping this strictly physical isn’t going to work. And, on top of everything, it’s you—”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

He huffs. “It doesn’t make it any easier.”

I push off from the wall and pace in a small circle, everything inside boiling. “So, what, we just pretend none of it happened?” I ask, secretly hoping he disagrees.

“Afraid so.”

Double ouch.

This hurts more than I expected it to. Part of me wants to cry, and I hate that he makes me feel this way, that he’s able to hurt me like this. I stare at him, anger still fueling my words and actions. And maybe it’s the anger that makes me brave enough to ask what I’ve been wondering this entire time. “If we’re enemies, why did you even kiss me?”

He stares back a moment, his face softening. He’s had the answer ready all along; he just didn’t want to admit it. “I was tired of wondering what it would be like.”


About the Author:

C.G Coppola is the author of the sci-fi adventure series, Arizal Wars, and the contemporary romance series, Better Than This. In addition to stories that explore magic and the paranormal, she writes realistic fiction set in fantastical universes, usually with a lot of kissing. Married with two fur-babies she spoils rotten, C.G. Coppola lives in Florida where she grew up and attend college. When not writing, she can be found decorating the house, bantering with her husband, or dancing to Meghan Trainor—sometimes all at once.