COVER REVEAL: Playing With Darkness By Susan Illene

Hey, two posts in one week! I’m so excited to be back blogging in time for this cover reveal. Playing With Darkness is the second companion novella to Susan Illene’s Sensor series. It takes place after the events of the third book, Darkness Divides, so you definitely want to pick that one up. I finished reading it earlier this week and it was a fabulous installment. I’m looking forward to this novella, mainly because—shape-shifting fae kitty! Who is awesomely featured on this spectacular cover…

Playing with Darkness medium cover

Aren’t those colors striking? I’d love a notebook of this cover. Watch for Playing With Darkness coming May 31st!

Description:

There’s no avoiding it.  Melena must keep her promise to return the fae device that opens the portal to Purgatory.  Except there’s one problem—Kerbasi.  How can she go when she has one of heaven’s minions practically attached to her hip?  One who will strike fear in the hearts of the fae the moment they realize who he is.

When her shape-shifter cat suddenly gets sick, she can’t delay the trip any longer.  Only the fae can help get Sable healthy again.  And if Kerbasi tries to cause any trouble while they are there, she’ll just have to find creative ways to keep him in line.

******

photo of SusanAbout Susan Illene:

Instead of making the traditional post high school move and attending college, Susan joined the U.S. Army. She spent her eighteenth birthday in the gas chamber…an experience she is sure is best left for criminals. For eleven years she served first as a human resources specialist and later as an Arabic linguist (mostly in Airborne units). Though all her duty assignments were stateside, she did make two deployments to Iraq where her language skills were put to regular use.

After leaving the service in 2009, Susan returned to school at the University of Oklahoma to study history with a focus on the Middle East. She no longer finds many opportunities to test her fighting abilities in real life, unless her husband is demanding she cook him a real meal, but she’s found a new outlet in writing urban fantasy heroines who can.

*You can find a listing of all the books in her urban fantasy series either on her website or Amazon author page.

Connect with Susan online:

Website- Darkness Haunts

Cover Reveal: Darkness Taunts

It’s a celebration of cover reveals on the blog this week! Darkness Taunts is the sequel to Darkness Haunts, a kick-ass urban fantasy featuring a heroine who is in most ways, plain human. Except for the fact she’s a sensor, able to detect magic and neutralize it. Melena isn’t a damsel in distress, however. This ex-military chick knows enough moves to give you a good beating…or just shoot you. Anyway, on to the cover, which is GORGEOUS, and a sneak peek excerpt.

Darkness Taunts by Susan Illene

Book two of The Sensor Series

Cover Design: Phat Puppy Art w/typography by Bookish Brunette

Expected Release Date: June 30th, 2013

Add the book to your To-Read list on Goodreads.

 Darkness Taunts - final copy

BLURB:

Melena Sanders has managed to avoid all things inhuman for most of her life, but after coming to Fairbanks, Alaska to rescue her best friend from supernaturals she hasn’t been allowed to leave. That is, until her long-time nemesis comes to collect a favor she owes him. Lucas might be half angel, but he’s all bad as far as she’s concerned.

Paying him back might get her out of town for a while, but her new destination will be anything but enjoyable. Mel’s got to help the nephilim take care of a demon possession outbreak in Juneau. Although something like this hasn’t happened for thousands of years, Lucas is certain Melena’s rare abilities are the key to solving the problem.

With violence in the capital city growing, she’s going to have to figure out how to stop it fast before the trouble spreads to other places. Not only that, but working closely with Lucas is changing the dynamics of their hate-hate relationship—worrying her even more than the demons. Getting back to her captivity in Fairbanks never looked so good.

EXCERPT:

Lucas climbed into the passenger seat. Though his large frame took up a lot of space, he still looked comfortable, in control. There were no delays leaving the airport. The whole thing had been arranged for a quick and smooth pick-up. I wasn’t used to Lucas being so accommodating.

“Did you eat?” he asked.

“Yeah, Emily and I went out to a restaurant earlier.”

He glanced over at me. “You didn’t feel like poisoning her with your cooking before you left?”

I fiddled with his navigation system—might as well get the lay of the land. “That joke got old a long time ago.”

“I wasn’t joking,” he said. “Leave the GPS alone.”

I switched to scanning the radio stations. “Where are we going?”

He nudged my hand away from the controls and shut it off. “To my cabin. We made some progress during your absence. I want you rested and ready to help interrogate a demon first thing in the morning.”

A thrill went through me. My job in the military had been as an interrogator and I was damned good at it with my lie detecting abilities. Plus I’d gained a lot of experience during my combat tours. “You got one?” I asked.

“Yes,” he said. “I’ve worked on him already, but he hasn’t revealed anything of value…yet.”

I shot him a disgruntled look. “You should have waited for me.”

“Time was of the essence, sensor. You’ll get your chance.”

“Then why not go talk to him tonight?” I asked.

“Demons are at their strongest during the hours of darkness. You’ll have better luck after dawn.”

“Fine.” I sat back and tried to admire the snow covered mountains. They would be easier to see during the day, but the moon lit them up enough for me to catch brief glimpses as we drove.

“Sensor,” Lucas broke the silence. “The next time I call…pick up the damned phone. Do not make me come in person to speak with you.”

“That’ll give me incentive,” I said. The pompous ass. He wouldn’t threaten me and get away with it. I let a couple of minutes go by.

“Do you know why I’m glad you never call me by my real name?” I asked.

We were stopped at a traffic light. I’d waited for that. He turned to look at me and raised a blond brow. “I suppose you’re going to tell me.”

I studied my fingernails. “Yesterday, when I heard you say Melena for the first time it gave me chills. It was like the devil himself had walked over my grave and spit on it. I’d rather you not say it again.”

The light turned to green. He jerked his attention back to the road. Lucas was a master at keeping his emotions in check, but he still gripped the wheel a little tighter than before.

 

 Pick up the first book in the series, Darkness Haunts, at Amazon, B&N, and Kobo.

photo of SusanABOUT SUSAN:

Instead of making the traditional post high school move and attending college, Susan joined the U.S. Army. She spent her eighteenth birthday in the gas chamber…an experience she is sure is best left for criminals. For eleven years she served first as a human resources specialist and later as an Arabic linguist (mostly in Airborne units). Though all her duty assignments were stateside, she did make two deployments to Iraq where her language skills were put to regular use.

After leaving the service in 2009, Susan returned to school to study history with a focus on the Middle East. She no longer finds many opportunities to test her fighting abilities in real life, unless her husband is demanding she cook him a real meal, but she’s found a new outlet in writing urban fantasy heroines who can.

CONNECT WITH SUSAN ONLINE:

Website- www.darknesshaunts.com

Facebook- http://www.facebook.com/SusanIllene1

Goodreads- http://www.goodreads.com/Susan_Illene

Twitter- https://twitter.com/@susan_illene

Heroines of Fantasy: Miss May

May is such a sweet sounding month, but I do not have a sweet heroine for you today. For this month’s Heroine of Fantasy feature, we’re heading back into the book world to meet Jeaniene Frost’s Cat of the Night Huntress series.

 Cat Crawfield

Due to her mother being raped by a vampire and getting pregnant, Cat is both half-human and half-vampire, which gives her the unique strength to combat these evil undead creatures. Every night she goes out hunting, hoping to find her father and kill him so maybe her mother can stop living in fear.

One night, she tries to lure and kill Bones, a vampiric bounty hunter that’s on to her. He imprisons her in a cave for days until he convinces her that the two of them would make a pretty good team. Of course, romance isn’t far off.

Cat is very young in the first book, so it’s no surprise that she can be immature. Throughout the series she does grow up some. She serves on a secret military team hunting vampires for a while, and delves deeper into the vampire world with Bones (I’m not going to go into detail and give anything away, but it’s a wild ride). Cat is stubborn, tough, and not afraid to take risks—she’s basically been using herself as vampire bait since she was sixteen.

She also has a hot temper, as does her lover, Bones, which makes for some very fiery spats—and fiery make-up sessions. Caution to those who may not like the racy so much: Frost is very graphic in her descriptions. But if you’re comfortable skipping over the sex scenes, the rest of the story is a lot of fun and very imaginative.

Cat is a badass girl we can all admire. Be it monstrous vampires, ghouls, or ghosts, she’ll take them all on. She is, after all, half dead herself.

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Cover Reveal: Darkness Haunts

I have a treat for you guys today, a new urban fantasy book set to come out January 15. I beta read this book and can say the characters are compelling, the world building engaging, and features one kick-ass heroine. If you enjoyed reading the Alaska setting in Earth Tones, this one’s set in Fairbanks. And this cover is absolutely gorgeous.

Darkness Haunts
~
     Melena Sanders faced her fair share of danger with insurgents and terrorists when she served in the U.S. Army, but now she is about to go up against a new threat.  Her best friend, Aniya, has disappeared while on a trip to Fairbanks, Alaska—a supernatural haven.  Most humans have no idea darker races lurk amongst them.  Mel has always known better.  If she wants to get her friend back, she’s going to have to go in alone—but not unarmed.
     Melena has a few special skills the Army didn’t provide, but the odds are still against her.  She’s got to come up with a plan fast that doesn’t involve her, or her friend, dying.  But danger likes to play it rough.  A war for power is about to rise in Fairbanks and if she wants to get Aniya back, she’s going to have to step right into the middle of it.
~
Here’s a sneak peek:
The woman caught me hovering at the door and waved me inside. I took two steps in and stopped. She wasn’t much of a threat, but coming near her still made me squeamish.“You look lost my dear. Are you searching for something?”Once my eyes had adjusted to the dim interior, I saw she had kind hazel eyes, and a face framed by long silver hair. The wrinkles lining her skin seemed to accentuate, rather than detract, from her looks. My senses told me she was pushing seventy years old, but she still appeared to be in good shape with a small, nimble body.The mystic must have been one of those types who got into the act of her profession because she wore a long, dark robe that flowed around her. Something I might have expected from a tarot card reader. Of course, her business did sit within the confines of a major tourist attraction. She would want to cater to customers’ expectations.“Actually, I’m looking for someone.” Pushing aside my trepidation, I pulled out my picture of Aniya. “Have you seen this woman?”She leaned over the black silk-draped table she sat behind and took a close look. After a moment, she shook her head.“No, I’m sorry. She hasn’t been around here.”“You haven’t seen her anywhere?”

She smiled. “I don’t get about town much these days. This is the one place I have a chance to see anyone aside from my family.”

I supposed that made sense at her age, but this was the last place I had left to visit in the park and had hoped for better results. It was the only reason I’d been willing to take a chance on her at all. Vampires couldn’t mesmerize her into forgetting like they could the humans around here. Not at her power level.

“Why don’t I give you a reading? Perhaps that will help.”

My body tensed at the offer. Sticking around a sup, any sup, for very long did not sit well with me. Never mind that I needed to work on getting past that particular problem if I was ever going to have any luck finding Aniya. I really didn’t think she was with a human anymore.

The mystic cocked her head at seeing my reluctance. “If you’re really worried about your friend, it could be worth a try.”

Doubtful, but this was an opportunity to work on overcoming my fear and see what she was made of. All the other readings in my past had been fake, done by people who had no skills at all. I went along with the show because it amused me to see how far they would go in their act. My ability to sense magic let me know they were doing nothing more than guessing. But this woman had magic—not that it would be any more useful than the fakers.

She took the twenty I handed her and stuffed it into a small opening in her robe. I contemplated asking her if she could do a spell with Aniya’s picture to find her, but didn’t feel ready to ask for that kind of help. One step at a time. Better to feel her out for now and keep my options open.

She turned her back to get a deck of tarot cards after indicating for me to take a seat. My muscles cramped as they bent down into the chair, the good kind of ache after too many hours on my feet. The run this morning must have taken a greater toll than I’d thought. I made a mental note to get myself into a better routine with my workouts. They were more important now than ever.

The mystic shuffled the cards and arranged them with care before laying them down. We both took an indrawn breath at what was revealed, or rather, not revealed. The woman gave me a startled look and I drew back myself. Every card she laid down came up blank—solid white, with nothing on them. It was the last thing I’d expected.

Her magic was trying to pull my information, but couldn’t, so it wiped out the details of the cards. She mumbled under her breath and her hands began to shake. Guilt stirred inside me at seeing her so upset. From what I could tell, the cards had their normal illustrations on them until she laid them down, then they blanked out. She tried several times with no success. My very nature made me a void for magic, but I hadn’t realized it went this far.

Our attention was so riveted on her trying a new deck that neither of us noticed the man who stepped in until he spoke.

“Those won’t work on her, Yvonne.” His rough voice carried over to us, making me jump.

~
About Susan Illene:
photo of Susan     Instead of making the traditional post high school move and attending college, Susan joined the U.S. Army. She spent her eighteenth birthday in the gas chamber — an experience she is sure is best left for criminals.  For eleven years she served first as a human resources specialist and later as an Arabic linguist (mostly in Airborne units).  Though all her duty assignments were stateside, she did make two deployments to Iraq where her language skills were put to regular use.
     After leaving the service in 2009, Susan returned to school to study history with a focus on the Middle East. She no longer finds many opportunities to test her fighting abilities in real life, unless her husband is demanding she cook him a real meal (macaroni and cheese apparently doesn’t count), but she’s found a new outlet in writing urban fantasy heroines who can.
Connect with Susan:

Twitter: @susan_illene

Watch for Darkness Haunts available January 15!

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