*AUTHOR POST* ~ Nicholas Boyd Crutchley on the inspiration behind Dream Alchemy (Life and Shadow series) ~ includes excerpt

 Dystopian Fantasy/Sci-Fi

We are delighted to welcome author Nicholas Boyd Crutchley  to our blog. Nicholas is the author of Dream Alchemy, an exciting dystopian fantasy/sci-fi adventure which is part of the Life and Shadow series, a labyrinth of interconnected stories through deep time. The novel explores the impact of human minds interfacing with artificial intelligences, the long-term effect of humankind on natural ecosystems and compassion in society.

I will be reviewing Dream Alchemy in the coming weeks and in the meantime Nicholas has kindly submited a post where he reveals what has influenced him on his writing journey. He has also very kindly shared an excerpt. Tina 🙂

Dream Alchemy

Book Blurb

A warrior battles hydra.

The Blood Plague liquefies eyes.

A rapper rails against Earth’s ecological ruin.

From the pitch Abyss, Chaos corrupts our dreams. 

On stealing the dreams of an old warrior and priestess, Chaos discovers them to be essential ingredients for his dream alchemy. With their souls the dark god can control Sol, Dragonland’s angelic ruler, and release his wanton daughter, Babalon, from Hell. If the devil queen returns and swallows the angel’s soul, the veil separating reality from the pitch Abyss will tear, and Chaos will pour forth and warp reality. Can Sol defeat Chaos? Or will Babalon’s poison kiss seduce him?

Through the psiqnet, a network of human minds and quantum artificial intelligences (QAIs), consumers shop Earth towards ecological ruin. The preachers of Gaia, ecoterrorists woven within the system, seek to bring economic and ecological harmony through Gaia QAI. Yet as Gaia begins to infect other QAIs with compassion, the Blood Plague rises, intent on exterminating humankind.

What force connects Dragonland and Earth?

The Life & Shadow Series explores how genetic engineering, synthetic biology and nanotechnology will impact humankind and Earth’s ecology. More specifically, themes include the outcome of human minds interfacing with artificial intelligences, the long-term effect of humankind on natural ecosystems, and compassion in society.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK   e-book  Amazon UK  paperback

Amazon US e-book  Amazon US paperback

Author Post

Seeds of Dystopia

At eighteen my first breakdown began, which continued throughout my degree and beyond. After graduation, I painted factory roofs, peddled Betterware, and sold computers, easels, music tapes, videos, and other junk bought cheaply.

At age twenty-four, a second breakdown conjured voices. Reeling from the chatter, I fled for five years, until I became a high school teacher. The voices pursued me to a teaching post in the Middle East, after which I returned to the UK. There, while hiking in the Scottish Highlands, a Canadian lass wearing sturdy hiking boots met me and said, “Hey, fancy living in the Rockies?”

Twice yearly, thousands of golden eagles migrate from Alaska to Mexico via the valley I lived in. While watching them from atop a frost-weathered ridge, my heart married the girl with sturdy hiking boots, and soon so had my legal status. Together we lived, tenting below -20°C, while conjuring in campfires wondrous imaginings. As she cooked up new recipes for wild camping, I imagined stories to write while waiting for a work permit.

At age thirty-six, a third breakdown conjured another me, who provoked a divorce. After signing my love away, I found myself back in the UK and no longer able to teach. While retraining through an MSc in Ecology and Conservation, I explored environmental contamination and habitat destruction, and wondered whether humankind’s avarice would continue to overharvest natural resources, and how synthetic biology might replace and enhance such resources. Could biologists and ecologists tailor organisms and ecosystems to create self-renewing resources for humankind’s industrial machine? Could humankind interface the biological world with the industrial complex, as researchers now splice flesh with machines? And what about nanotechnology, social networks and cybernetics? Would consumers and corporations connect via neural interfaces woven into brains by injected nanomachines? Facebook on LSD?

For some, the above may appear closer to utopia than dystopia, especially with probable advances in fusion power, industrial ecology, aggregate manufacture and artificial intelligence. Imagine a guilt-free throw-away society that efficiently recycles manufactured goods. A person, mentally linked to Prime, Amazon’s Quantum Artificial Intelligence (QAI) computer, finds no product that quite meets their specific need. With help from Prime, she designs a new product, and has it 3D-printed using locally sourced recycled materials and inputs harvested from renewable synthetic organisms. Fusion powers the process so no greenhouse gases are emitted or further planetary warming occurs.

Perhaps because of my PhD in mental illness (Paranoia, hallucinations and Delusions), and MSc in Ecology & Conservation, I saw the shadow side of the above. Dream Alchemy begins the telling of this shadow.

Excerpt from Dream Alchemy


Noah leans back against rock, sweat beading down his naked body. Ruby light, cast by gemstone scales adorning a colossal statue, bloodies his skeletal features. Beneath the effigy’s gaze, in the pit at the centre of the mine, fornicate slaves. Their rapture climbs rough-hewn walls, claws towards him, whispering for him to join them. The choice, to either crack rock for emeralds or debase oneself in the pit, all slaves endure.

Temptation draws the slave’s stare to the pit, and the statue of Queen Babalon, Whore of Hell, watching over it. The devil queen’s indigo hair caresses her scarlet flesh and voluptuous breasts, and trails along her ruby-encrusted serpent’s tail. The demon’s emerald eyes desire his descent into the pit, where lust consumes.

Around the pit, with scourges in hand, watch two slavelords. The bull-headed giants stand on cloven hooves, snorting approval at the debauchery below. One casts down a length of knotted rope, bellowing, “Use this.” Noah flinches on seeing the rope, as the slavelord booms, “I bet she survive; one urn snakebite grog.” The other brute responds by pawing the ground, crying, “Done.” Together, they each lift an urn and drink alcoholic aphrodisiac. Noah can almost taste the blend of naga venom and alcohol. The memory cascades into scarlet-lit images of a girl, bound by his hand. The slave’s head sinks as he recalls her screams.

The snores of a nearby slavelord, punctuated by hammer blows that punish rock, lifts the suffering slave from shame. Looking up, he sees the sleeping beast, drunk on snakebite grog, and beyond, Nombuso, whose muscles flex across his gangly frame. Noah studies the ebony adolescent’s thick lips, broad nose, and the rag swathing his missing eye, and wonders how he continues to resist the pit. Does Nombuso also believe slaves are brothers and sisters, who should care with gentle touch, not caress with a lascivious one? From the boy’s gritted teeth and wild eye, and the emotion behind each hammer blow, Noah understands anger, welling rage, not belief in compassion, fortifies Nombuso against the devil queen’s desire.

Athuen, Queen of radiant form …’

Noah’s eyes snap to the dark recess from where the whisper emanates.

‘Joined Alta, sunbeam on the storm …’

Standing, he leaves his hammer and approaches the shadowed alcove. The pit, Nombuso and the slumbering slavelord forgotten, he reaches the recess.

‘Together stars filled her womb …’

Where a pale rock face meets a charcoal-grey face, a vein of black rock meanders. There, Noah senses the source of the voice.

This world’s beginning, love’s bloom …’

The slave claws at the black vein, scraping free flake after flake. Blood stains torn fingers as from within the created cavity emerges rainbow fire. The volcano of colour overflows, then erupts—a plume of myriad hues. The hammers of slaves fall silent, leaving only bovine snorts to echo through ruby shadows. Before frightened stares Noah pries more foliated rock away, uncovering a multifaceted diamond, the source of the heatless flame. The gemstone’s triangular facets paint his face vivid crimson through deepest violet, and hypnotise. Forgetting all else, he frees the jewel and presents it to those gathering around him. The diamond’s psychedelic mushroom cloud coalesces into a gold sun cupped by a crescent moon. A mellifluent voice resonates:

Athuen, Queen of radiant form

Joined Alta, sunbeam on the storm

Together stars filled her womb

This world’s beginning, love’s bloom

So we blessed with joyous prayer

Nights with dreams, truth laid bare

The other miners see the vision, hear the voice, and do not see the waking slavelord. Eyes full of hope, hearts courage, they watch as sun and moon morph into their ruler, Queen Babalon. 

Then woke Chaos, pitch Abyss

Who conjured evil, poison kiss

Serpent enchantress of dark desire

Whose forked tongue, made all a liar

Whore of Hell he named Babalon

Devil queen, corruption’s paragon 


Babalon enslaved, people cursed

Corrupting all, in lust immersed

With emerald eyes and scales of scarlet

She seduced souls, gorged the harlot

This wanton whore so devilish

We lost hope, made no wish 

The slavelord stands, whip in hand. Neither Noah nor the other miners notice him as a winged warrior, armed with sword and shield, morphs from Queen Babalon. Noah weeps at the majesty of the shimmering angel, awed by eyes radiating sunlight and outstretched wings that shine moonlight. Shaking with emotion, he believes words that prophesy:

Now Sun and Moon, Gods of Light

Give their son, angel of might

And through Sol smite devil queen

Forge kingdom true, peaceful dream

Where wise children forever grow

Beyond the stars, forever go 


Seek your saviour, where hydra roam

Through toxic mists, choke and groan

Find Paradise Portal sparkling gold

In circle’s centre, seven stones old

Within soars freedom’s peace

From Beyond, angel Sol release 


“I said what that?” A crack of the slavelord’s whip flays Noah’s forearm, and sends the Prophecy Stone sailing. Holy vision and divine voice fade.

“Magic?” the beast snorts, bloodshot eyes wide. “Slave no magic. You die.”

Noah does not cower as the monster draws back his whip: emboldened by the Prophecy, he stands proud.

A dread sound silences the cavern.

The slavelord topples forwards, his skull caved in. Shocked, Noah looks up from the twitching beast to the boy with one good eye. “Nombuso?” he whispers.

“I heard the words,” Nombuso says. “I saw the moon and sun, and their angel child.”

The slaves glance at one another, overwhelmed by the power of the Prophecy. Then, they turn to the ebony boy wielding a sledge hammer, who eyes approaching slavelords.

About the Author

Nicholas studies ecology, plays chess, exercises and hikes. He writes science fantasy novels and short stories from a variety of genres. He spends his spare time identifying plants and trying to understand humankind’s impact on ecosystems. He lives with himself, barely.

Connect with Nicholas



**BLOG TOUR** ~ Katie in Love, by Chloe Thurlow (includes author post and giveaway)

 Contemporary Erotic Romance

18+/Adult Read


A big welcome today to the Blog Tour for Chloe Thurlow’s current release Katie in Love. Scroll down to read an author post and the book blurb. You can also find out about the author and enter a giveaway where you can win some signed books. Tina 🙂


Books write themselves. The writer has to sit plucking at the keyboard long gruelling hours every day for months (do pass another bottle of red), but once the characters are created, they grow wings and live their own lives.

That was certainly the case with Katie in Love, my new novel. Katie had been in my head for a long time. Not me, but bits of me mixed with borrowed mannerisms and characteristics I needed in order to explore something I have always been afraid of: LOVE, that intangible puzzle of raw feelings and fizzing hormones.

Katie Boyd is promiscuous, shallow (not like me at all) with long dancer legs and that disdainful half smile men go crazy about. She meets Tom Bridge – a doctor suntanned in winter from his job running an orphanage in Sri Lanka, and they really hit it off in Katie’s big bed with windows looking out over the skyline of City banks.

Now what? Tom when he leaves next morning forgets his cell phone – a device that shows he is preoccupied (a character trait: he is worried about the hungry, war victims, orphan children). When he calls his own number to invite Katie for lunch, she is uncertain (a character trait) whether he merely wants his phone back or, indeed, wants to take her to lunch.

Once Katie had become herself and Tom had become himself, real people with real problems, needs, worries and phobias, I followed the road map that slowly unfolded until Katie in Love reached an ending that surprised me completely. It was a nice surprise, and I am inordinately proud of this book that Katie and Tom made me write.



Katie Boyd has nothing in common with Tom Bridge, the volunteer doctor she meets at a party – except in bed she finds a passion to match her own. Tom is intense, puzzling, a man who cares about others and compels Katie to question her own life drifting through the hip clubs and London party scene.

When Tom returns to his post in a Sri Lanka orphanage, Katie isn’t sure if their passion was lit by its brevity, or if love, unexpected and not entirely wanted, has edged its way into her life. Should she go back to being who she always was? Or follow Tom into the unknown?

Katie in Love is a compelling erotic-romance that will grip readers as they follow Katie’s journey to an ending they may have expected – but not in the way they expected it.

Brilliantly written and coolly self-aware, Chloe Thurlow was described by KM Dylan on Amazon as “…the Anaïs Nin of our times.” With Katie in Love – her sixth novel – Thurlow reveals a writer at the height of her powers.


Link for Amazon downloads – http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00S1SMMIG

Link for Amazon books –  http://bookgoodies.com/a/1503014908


chloe thurlow

Chloe Thurlow lives in London, loves movies and chatting about them after over pizza with friends. She has too many shoes, loves dancing, Mediterranean nights, hairless chests and broad shoulders. Katie in Love is her sixth novel and she is well-known for her naughty, wise, hilarious blog @ www.chloethurlow.com

Website: http://www.chloethurlow.com/


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Use the Rafflecopter to gain entries—and be sure to follow the tour. The more posts you comment on, the more entries you will get into the drawing: http://www.writermarketing.co.uk/prpromotion/blog-tours/currently-on-tour/chloe-thurlow/



Zombie Takeover *Guest Post by Author Tera Shanley* ~ includes giveaway!

Zombie Baner

Today we extend a huge welcome to author Tera Shanley who, as part of her Zombielicious Takeover, is giving us valuable insider info on Vanessa Summers, the heroine of Tera’s upcoming Zombie themed romance, Love At The End of Days. A copy of the first book in this series Love in the Time of the Dead, an Amazon gift card and some super witches and angel themed prizes are up for grabs through the rafflecopter link. Tina and Caroline 🙂

Six Facts about Vanessa Summers

Release day is upon us for book two in the Dead Rapture series, Love at the End of Days, and to celebrate, I wanted to give you a closer look at the heroine of this book, Vanessa Summers. She’s a tough-talking, knife-wielding bad mamma jamma who is only afraid of Deads and getting her heart broken. And though she was introduced in book one, you’ll get to see her work through some of the grit that comes with being a zombie apocalypse survivor in this book.

Hard on the Outside, Soft on the Inside

Vanessa is mouthy and sarcastic, but once someone wiggles into her heart, they are there to stay and she will be a fierce and loyal friend.

Secret Crush

A year ago, the man she had a fling with left Dead Run River with her arch nemesis, and she’s taken all this time trying to get over him. He was the first man she allowed herself feelings for after the Dead outbreak, and when he blows back into her colony, she has to do some quick thinking to sever her heartstrings to the man who rejected her. But Sean Daniels, second-in-command at her colony, with his sexy eyes and undiluted attention make it a lot easier to move on.

Devoted Sister

She was responsible for getting her little brother, Nelson, out of the city alive when the Dead outbreak occurred. Weeks on the run with the constant fear for her brother’s safety made her afraid to allow anyone else into her heart. Her brother’s safety comes first, before anything else, and when he starts asserting his independence as he grows up, she has a hard time learning to let him go.

Not a Laney Fan

Laney Landry got the man she started having feelings for last year, everyone hails her as the reason for the possible vaccine that could save the human race, and even Vanessa’s brother, Nelson, has a huge crush on Laney. Vanessa is not amused, and when Laney comes back to Dead Run River, she must figure out how to deal with the emotional upheaval her return causes. But through the course of the book, and through their trials together, it is hard for Vanessa to continue disliking Laney.

Skilled with Knives

No one practices knife throwing as much as Vanessa. She’s dedicated, practicing her dead-eye aim at targets on a daily basis, and is determined that if she is ever in a scuffle with a Dead, she will be the victor by blade. Several knives accompany her at all times in the belt of her standard issue cargo pants.

Guard in Training

Vanessa had a bad experience with a Dead last year when she and her brother were caught unaware between colony gates. She was helpless, and frozen, just watching the monster come for she and her brother, and it broke something inside of her. She has grown an overwhelming fear of Deads. To rid herself of that reserve, she’s thrown herself headfirst into guard training, so she can get her stronger self back.

And oh, this girl gets tough and at the same time vulnerable in such a cool way. She was so fun to write!

 Goodreads link:


Click on the link to win$5 Amazon Gift Card, Book One in the Dead Rapture Series, and eBooks by Cherie Colyer, Lisa Sanchez, Carol Oates Kate Evangelista, Trish Wolfe.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


C.J. Pinard – Author Post

Carolyn_Author_PhotoMy name is Carolyn, but I’ve often been called C.J. throughout my life so I answer to that, too. I was born and raised in Northern California, but moved to Colorado as a young adult and spent about ten years there. About three years ago, I moved to Northwest Florida, so I kind of feel like I’ve lived everywhere! I’ll always be a West Coast gal at heart.

I am the granddaughter of a published writer, and my great-grandfather was the chief editor for the San Francisco Chronicle for many years. My mother also writes, but is yet to publish anything – but she will be soon, since I keep pushing her : ) My 9-year-old daughter also shows promise, and has written several very short stories. So you could say writing is in our blood.

I got my first (and only – ha!) Kindle for Mother’s Day in 2011 and began to see a huge trend in typos in self-published books. I decided to start my own editing business and quickly landed a little author named Tim O’Rourke. I’m still his editor, but more than that, we have become great friends, and I hope to skip across the pond to the UK one day to meet him and his family. I’ve edited several other self-published books and they’ve all been great fun. I have never edited a book I hated, or found boring. It’s truly a blessing to get paid to read!

Believe it or not, I still hold-down a fulltime job (in Corrections), that I probably won’t leave until retirement. My husband also works at the same place. I love telling people we met in prison and seeing their face.

My first book, Enchanted Immortals, was born in early 2012. It took me six months to write it, because I kept getting angry at the book and would slam the laptop closed and not look at the document for several weeks. Then one day while sitting in church (oops!) I had an epiphany of sorts and the rest of the book wrote itself in a couple of weeks’ time. I released the book around Halloween 2012. Since then, I have written two sequels, and am working on the 4th and final book in the series. I wrote a short story for St. Patrick’s Day in 2013 with two other awesome authors, LR Potter and Kristen Middleton, and had such a good time, we have something planned for the July 4th holiday, but I am bound to secrecy on that!

I’m open to emails, I love to hear from people and what they think. I know my type of writing isn’t for everyone, and you know what? That’s okay. To each his own. I just hope my stories help people escape reality for just a little while, the way they do for me when I’m writing them.

A little fun trivia fact about me: I’ve never been to Portland, or even the state of Oregon. I’m saving for a trip to Oregon so I can visit the Oregon Vortex. Yes, it’s a real place!


To e-mail C.J. Pinard, you can reach her at: cjpinardauthor@gmail.com

Please check out A Readers’ Review Blog’s review on ‘Enchanted Immortals 3: The Vampyre’ below! A Reader’s Review Blog would also like to take this opportunity to thank C.J. for her time and effort into writing her author post and for her support. Thank you, C.J. 🙂

The Truth about Genies, by Kellyann Zuzulo

Today we welcome author Kellyann Zuzulo to share with us the truth about genies….. Over to you Kellyann!

The allure of the desert, whether it’s Vegas or the Sahara, taps some primitive heat in all of us. I know it does for me.  The jinn, or genies, have been around for thousands of years. The Thousand and One Nights (also known as The Arabian Nights) brought these entities out of oral myth and into literature. Eventually, Western society got wind of these freeflying phantoms. Unfortunately, we turned them into bluish cartoons when all the research (yes, there is research on genies) says they are very similar to humans. 

genieignites_full-17942442_std[1]What a perfect antagonist for a romance! A guy who’s smart, powerful, alluring, and magical. That’s the basis for a heartthrob if ever there was one. In my novel The Genie Ignites, Zubis is that hero. Did you know that there are three types of genies? 1) Hunky. 2) Hunkier. 3) Hunkiest. (just kidding). Zubis is an Ifrit jinni. According to scholars, the Ifrit jinn are the more powerful of the three types. The other two types are Marid and Ghul. 

  • §  Ifrit are strong and powerful spirits that are not necessarily evil. They are the reference for the description in the Koran of genies as behaving, living, and looking very similar to humans.
  • §  Marid are wicked and malicious spirits, more like devils and demons as described in Western literature and religious lore. Marid function in The Zubis Chronicles as soldiers who do the bidding of Iblis. (Iblis is the oldest and most evil of all jinn and happens to be an Ifrit. Also known as Shaitan, he is the basis for the Satan legend.)
  • §  Ghuls are lesser phantoms who mostly cause mischief and don’t appear to humans, like ghosts and ghouls. The image of Middle Eastern ghuls is probably where the Western idea of ghouls came from.  

Genies are both male and female…remember Barbara Eden in I Dream of Jeannie. Not a bad depiction except for the harem 101Nights_ad-003pants…although I hear they’re coming back in style. In The Genie Smolders, which is the next novel in The Zubis Chronicles coming out this Spring, a female genie named Imitiri tries to come between Zubis and his one true love, Bethany O’Brien. Imtiri is a stunningly wicked and vengeful vamp who would do well in the Real Housewives of Jinnistan. And speaking of Real Housewives, I have another series called 101 Nights, which features a noble, beautiful, smart, and sometimes hot-tempered female genie named Amani. Girl power! Click on the image to find out more.

Are genies real? I think they are. But I also think that despite the definitions and the literature, we don’t fully understand what they are. They could be organisms on a molecular level that haven’t been defined by science yet. That’s when folklore steps in to describe things. In the meantime, I’ll keep describing the jinn as I think they exist.

Thanks to Tina Williams and A Reader’s Review for this chance to share the world of the jinn!

 ~Best Wishes,

Kellyann Zuzulo