New Books and Free Stuff!

Hi All! Summer is upon us, bringing with it some awesome weather and some awesome new books! Check out this latest release by Ryan Lanz! Also, scroll to the bottom for FREE ebooks!
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Shadows of Tomorrow features two thrilling, post-apocalyptic short stories, Only One Mask and The Price of Art.

 

Only One Mask:

Nob only trusts two things: his knife and his breathing mask–the latter because he has to.

Ever since the world went crazy, he feels like he’s always on the run. Running from those who want to kill you. Running from those who want your food, your water, and your only way to safely breathe.

Tricia once said he takes things too seriously. That was a long time ago. Now taking things seriously keeps him alive.

He’s used to taking what he needs without an ounce of guilt, but now he’s faced with a moral dilemma that threatens his survival. They’ve never given him pause before, but this time, it’s different.

 

The Price of Art:

Jordyn prefers art to friends.

She remembered thinking that growing up, and it’s still true today. Art never let her down. Art never made fun of her. And art never tried to kill her.

She didn’t ask to live in a world where paintings are used for firewood, but that’s her reality. She’s constantly told to think practically–humanity can’t afford anything but the necessities to survive anymore. But she fought back and finally found a community who lets her keep every scrap of art she finds, anything to protect them from being destroyed.

But the day finally comes where she might have to choose between her survival and the survival of her art. The world isn’t a nice place anymore, and hard choices have become a part of everyday life.

Jordyn makes her choice.

 

Read it for only $0.99:

For a sample and more, visit the launch page!

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In other news:

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Because this month is my birthday month, Return to Royalty and Return to Gexalatia are free on Smashwords for the whole month of July! Yay!

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Simply go HERE for Return to Royalty and enter the promo code NM43C and go HERE for Return to Gexalatia and enter the promo code KT77G! Both codes are good until August 6, 2018.

Happy reading!

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More TTC to start off the New Year right!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas holiday and that you’re all looking toward a bright, new 2018! To kick it off right, I wanted to share another chapter of The Time-Traveler’s Cat!

CHAPTER THREE

Piper rubbed his face, looking at the clock. If it hadn’t been important, the time would have dragged by, but now that it was, it seemed like time was standing still.

He shook his head, blowing a breath between his lips as he looked down at the paper he’d been scribbling on all day. Formulas and graphs filled up the page, with lines crossing out some parts, and pencil-eraser marks nearly wearing holes through the paper.

“Well?” Daniel called, turning in his chair.

Piper shook his head, handing the mess of mathematics to his friend. “I just don’t know what I’m missing,” he said, his throat hoarse with exhaustion.

Daniel took the paper and looked over it, his glasses sliding down his nose as he did so. “Some of this looks like math,” he said slowly. “And some of it looks like you’re crazy.”

Piper scowled as Daniel tossed the paper toward him. “Not helpful,” he snapped, turning the paper over to reveal a blank backside.

“Look, it’s nothing to worry about, okay?” Daniel said, leaning across the cubicle. “Just finish running the wires tonight and we’ll bring the team in tomorrow to review the formulas.” He offered a helpful smile. “You always think best when you’re surrounded by those morons.”

Piper’s lips quirked slightly. “This is true.” He leaned back in his chair. “I still need to tell Charlotte the news.”

Daniel waved his hand as he turned away. “Good luck with that.”

Piper moved to his feet and dug his comm out of his desk drawer. He left their lab and stepped into the hallway, lifting the device to try to get a good signal. Beyond the window at the end of the hallway, Piper could see clouds gathering, lightning illuminating the sky. Tonight would have been a great night to stay in.

He leaned against the wall, scrolling to Charlie’s number. He pressed the call button, holding the phone out in front of him. It rang a few times before she answered, her smile filling the screen.

“Hey there, cutie,” she said teasingly. “Thinking about later?”

Piper felt the tension ease a bit as he returned her grin. “Well, yes and no,” he said slowly. He watched the smile slide from her face.

“What’s up?” she asked.

“Bobby’s making me stay late since I was late this morning,” he said, slumping back against the wall.

Charlie’s face fell and Piper felt his heart twist. “Oh,” she said.

“I’m so sorry, babe,” he said quickly. “I promise I’ll make it up to you.”

Charlie glanced over her shoulder and Piper got a glimpse of the dining room table set with candles and plates, prepared to host a meal. “I guess I’ll put the food in the warmer,” she said, her voice heavy with disappointment.

“I’ll be there as soon as I can,” Piper promised. “I’ll be on the seven o’clock train and home before seven-thirty.”

Charlie nodded as she looked at him. “Okay,” she said. “Just be safe.”

Piper nodded. “I will.” He tried to smile at her. “Can I get a hint at what your surprise is?”

The mischievousness returned to her eyes then. “Nope,” she said, the comm jiggling a bit as she walked into the kitchen. “You’re just going to have to wait.”

Piper sighed in annoyance, even though a grin was on his face. “Fine,” he said. He made a kissy-face at the camera. “I gotta get back to it. I love you.”

Charlie smiled. “Love you too,” she said.

Piper disconnected the call, tucking the comm into his pocket. He turned to go back into the lab, feeling a strange mixture of excitement and irritation. He wanted to go home and eat dinner with his girlfriend. His eyes landed on the machine inside the containment room. He did not want to be here messing with that thing.

He managed to sit still at his desk until the clock struck five. He also managed to keep his mouth shut as Daniel ragged on him on his way out the door. Once he was alone, he looked at his computer, pulling up the design schematics for the machine. He sent the wiring codes to his comm, standing and walking to the refrigerator in the corner.

It was small, but the perfect size for them to throw their lunches and extra sodas in. He popped the top on one, taking a sip and setting the can on his desk as he put his hand on his hip. He glared hard at the machine through the glass.

“This better not take all night,” he said to it.

The machine, of course, didn’t answer, but it looked like it was taunting him as it sat there, shining in the bright laboratory lights.

Finally, Piper knew he had to do the inevitable. He walked toward the door to the containment room, shrugging off his coat and opening the door. He pulled on a different white coat, one that was supposed to be ‘clean’, and headed toward a toolbox nearby. He pulled out the comm, flicking it to make the diagram jump into a hologram.

He set the schematics next to the machine on a work bench and pulled out a tool. His heart was pounding as he stepped inside the door to the machine. It was cool and crisp inside the door as Piper knelt under the dashboard of flickering lights. He found wires that still needed to be connected and run, and he set to work.

For the most part it was pretty mindless, but his fingers were raw from splicing and twisting the copper pieces. He glanced at the clock beyond the room after a while, thankful to see that it was almost time for him to go. He reached for the last green wire, feeling a smirk coming to his face.

It seemed like he’d be home earlier than he thought.

He lifted a pair of pliers and stripped the rubber away, leaving the copper innards bear. He did the same to a black wire, his mind in other places. He was thinking about what Charlie had made for dinner, and what they would get up to afterwards. His brain was on auto-pilot as he pulled the strands together, giving a good twist.

 

CHAPTER FOUR

A siren suddenly began to blare in Piper’s ears, making him drop the pliers and cover his head. He jumped to his feet, fear filling him as he thought back to his uncertainties about the math. He was almost to the door when it suddenly slammed, the dashboard flickering brightly as all the lights turned on.

“Oh, hell no!” Piper yelled, pulling desperately at the door. He knew it had a lock that was trigged from the outside, but none of it should have been functional yet.

“Hello!” he yelled, his voice cracking. “Help!”

The machine suddenly began to vibrate, the sound of motors whirling to speed filling his ears. Piper was yelling curses over the siren as he ran to the dashboard, trying to make heads or tails of the code that was racing across the screen. He pushed buttons, trying to get it to slow down, but it just sped up.

“Come on!” he yelled angrily, slamming his fist on the console. He blinked stupidly when the scrolling stopped, four bright green numbers stuck on the screen.

2028

“What the…?”

The machine suddenly rattled, throwing him backwards, away from the console. A deafening sound filled the machine, like the sound of a gun-shot. Then, just like that, everything was still.

Piper was breathing hard as he stared at the console, wondering what had just happened. He scrambled to his feet when he heard the lock on the door slide open, a hissing sound filling the room. He dashed out, desperate to get away from the damn thing, but unprepared for what awaited him just beyond the door.

As he staggered out into darkness, a cold feeling of dread came over him.

The sky was black. Shadows danced between the trees that surrounded Piper as he dashed through the brush. He could feel brambles and twigs grabbing at him, as if they were gnarly fingers, trying to trap him. Panic was filling him as he struggled through the dense forest. He could smell smoke and he finally caught himself around a tree, turning to look at where he’d come from.

The machine was leaning precariously, sitting in a small crater in the earth. The trees around it had been smashed and broken, and Piper stared at the door. Inside, the lights flashed, the siren still sounding loudly, echoing throughout the forest.

He drew a ragged breath, trying to decide where the hell he was. Had the machine worked? Had his worries about the numbers been accurate?

Piper wiped sweat from his brow. He definitely wasn’t in Crystalline City anymore, and this definitely was not the year 3088. The sky was too clear, and the night air tasted too clean.

A sudden screech made him jump, and he held tighter to the tree he hid against, swinging around. Unfamiliar sounds began to echo through the woods, making Piper tremble. He glanced back at the machine, knowing that he had two options: stay and die, or run and maybe survive. He chose to run.

Dashing like a madman, Piper ran through the tangled mass of trees until his lungs burned and his legs felt like lead weights. It felt like he was running in circles, all of the trees looking the same. Finally, unsure of how long he’d been crashing his way through, Piper staggered toward a fallen tree, collapsing on it.

He was definitely going to be late for dinner.

Another Sneak Peek!

Hi all,

This week has been really crazy. Some family stuff has come up and made writing difficult. I’m pretty behind on TTTC, but I wanted to share another chapter with you! Enjoy!

CHAPTER TWO

Piper let his head flop onto his desk. The clock had finally struck noon, meaning lunch time, but Piper knew he wouldn’t get away that easily. He’d come sliding in just behind the big bosses, just in time for them to not know he was late. He’d seen the way Bobby glared at him, but there was nothing Bobby could say as they gave the men in suits a tour of the lab and showed them the formulas they were working on.

Piper could tell it was all way over their heads, but they acted impressed, and made sure to shake his hand as they left. Bobby had flitted behind them all the way out, allowing Piper the time to sneak to his desk and crumble into a heap.

“Bro, what the hell happened this morning?” D suddenly appeared over the top of Piper’s cubicle.

Piper sat up quickly, his eyes blazing. “You didn’t remind me they were coming!” he hissed.

Daniel laughed, throwing his hands up. “Should I remind you to wipe your ass too?” he asked. He shook his head. “Come on, man, put a reminder in your comm next time.”

Piper scowled down at his desk, feeling his heart jump into his throat as the lab door slid open. He tried to look busy as Bobby walked into the room.

“Miller!” he barked, causing Piper to jump.

He turned slowly in his chair, forcing a smile. “Yeah, boss?” he asked, trying to play it cool.

“You were late,” Bobby growled, crossing his arms over his rather rotund middle. “That’s the second time this month.”

Piper shrugged. “It happens sometimes, boss,” he said. He knew he’d said the wrong thing when Bobby’s face turned red like the tomatoes he used to look at in books as a kid.

“You’re goddamn lucky you’re so smart, Miller,” Bobby hissed angrily. “Otherwise, I’d have kicked your ass out of here months ago.” He lumbered closer, intimidating as he towered over Piper. He lowered his voice. “You think you’re immune because you’re some sort of prodigy, but three strikes and you’re out, Miller.”

Piper was leaning back in his chair, his eyes focused on Bobby’s face. Truth be told, he didn’t have a lot of respect for the man, but he was scared of him. “Sorry, boss,” he said quietly.

Bobby was scowling darkly as he leaned away. “Youngest scientist in his class,” he muttered to himself. “Still a dumbass.”

Piper’s eyes felt huge as he watched Bobby exit the lab.

“At least he let you off easy,” D said, appearing over the top of Piper’s cubicle timidly.

Piper started to agree with him when the doors suddenly slid open again and Bobby charged back in.

“And one more thing, Miller,” Bobby all but yelled. “You’re staying late tonight!”

Piper caught sight of the maniacal grin on his face as he turned. “Tonight?” he demanded, jumping to his feet. “But, I can’t!”

Bobby waved his hand, silencing him. “You’re working on the machine tonight or you won’t have a job tomorrow, understood?” he barked.

Piper slunk back, knowing Charlie would be furious. “Yes, boss,” he said, letting his hand rest on the top of his desk. Once Bobby vanished for good, he groaned, sinking into his chair and pressing his hands against his face. “She’s gonna kill me.”

Daniel was still barely peeking over the cubicle wall. “Why?” he asked.

Piper rolled his eyes. “It’s our ‘six-month anniversary’,” he said, air-quoting the words.

Daniel suddenly grinned. “Bet she even had something sexy to wear, too,” he said teasingly.

Piper groaned again, leaning back in his chair. “I can’t believe this.”

Daniel leaned his arms against the top of the wall. “Is six months even a thing?” he asked.

Piper shrugged. “Hell if I know,” he snapped. He turned in his chair, looking at a plate-glass wall. Beyond it, a door opened into a room the size of a closet, blinking panels of lights winking back at him. “I just don’t want to be in there with that thing.”

D followed his gaze. “It’s not operational,” he said slowly. “Nothing to worry about.”

Piper gritted his teeth, a bad feeling in his gut. He knew that he should always trust his gut, but this time the need for a job out-weighed the weight in his stomach. “I dunno, D,” he said slowly. “Something’s not right with the numbers.”

Daniel sighed then, swiveling around in his chair. “You and your damn numbers,” he grumbled. He looked up at the clock. “Guess you have five hours to figure it out.”

Series Spotlight – The Rise of Aredor & The Wildcat of Braeton

This week I’m doing something different: a series spotlight on two amazing books by author Claire M.Banschbach as part of her relaunch blog tour! In January, Claire had the terrible news that her publisher was going under, so she decided to go indie! Check out her relaunch of her first book (The Rise of Aredor) and the launch of the second book in the series (The Wildcat of Braeton)! Also, scroll down for free stuff!! 😀


 

Rise of Aredor Webcover

The Rise of Aredor

Lost in a foreign land and separated from his family, Corin does his best to survive as a slave in the household of a Calorin lord. With newfound friends he fights for survival in ambushes and wars. For one act of bravery, he is awarded his freedom and returns to a home that has been invaded and ravaged by the Calorin armies. When Corin sets foot on Aredor’s shores, he has one goal in mind: find his family. He is driven into the forest, where he is reunited with childhood friends. From the shelter of the woods, they begin a spirited rebellion against Corin’s former cruel master, who now holds sway over Aredor. Follow Corin’s path in his quest to free his imprisoned brother, find a father who has vanished, and ultimately free his country in The Rise of Aredor.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Excerpt from The Rise of Aredor:

“What’s going on here?” A voice demanded in Calorin.

“Corin, there’s someone out there!” Trey whispered.

“Who’s in charge here?” Another voice asked.

From inside the storeroom, Corin’s heart lifted as he heard the slurred speech of the men. They’re drunk! he realized. He grabbed a flagon off the shelf.

“I hate this stuff,” he muttered and took a deep draft. Spluttering, he took another drink.

“Corin, what are you doing?” Trey hissed.

“Keep working. I’ll be back as soon as I can.” Corin clapped his shoulder. Liam and Martin watched bewildered as he staggered past them toward the soldiers.

“That’d be me,” he slurred the words. “Lieutenant Hamíd, at your service, boys!”

The soldiers looked at him through slightly unfocused eyes.

“I’m Lieutenant Zafir, and this is Lieutenant Hamzah,” one said. “What are you doing out here so late, Hamíd?”

“We were supposed to leave earlier, but they didn’t get the wagon loaded in time.” He jerked a thumb back at his companions. “You know how lazy those cavalry soldiers can be.” He took another pull at the flagon as Zafir and Hamzah voiced their agreement loudly.

“We were just going to the tavern. You should join us, Hamíd!” Zafir said.

When Corin hesitated, Hamzah clapped him on the shoulder.

“Come on! You’ll have plenty of time before these buffoons get the wagon loaded.” He took the flagon from Corin and drank.

“You’re right!” Corin took the liquor back. “There’s no reason I should have to stand out here in the dark while they work!”

“Aye, you look like you work too hard already!” Zafir said. The three of them roared with laughter.

“Don’t send someone after me when you’re done. You’ll probably take all night!” Corin raised his voice as he gave the order to the other “Calorins.”

Trey’s salute told him that he understood. Relieved, Corin draped a friendly arm around Hamzah’s shoulder as they made their way toward the tavern.

 

What is he doing?” Martin asked Trey.

“I hope he knows. Come on, let’s hurry with these.” Trey slung another bag up to Liam.

An hour passed and there was no sign of Corin. Liam scanned the street anxiously. They had finished filling the wagon almost half an hour ago.

“The sentry will be along any minute,” Martin whispered to Trey. “What do we do?”

“Wait,” Trey replied, equally uneasy.




Want a chance to win free ebooks and other swag??

Giveaway Graphic

What you could win:
The Rise of Aredor and The Wildcat of Braeton, a set of 4 notecards of the series artwork, and the grand prize is a paperback set of the books + 1 notecard of choice!

The giveaway will run from 9/28-10/4.

ENTER TO WIN NOW




 

Wildcat of Braeton Webcover

The Wildcat of Braeton

His term of service to Lord Rishdah now complete, Aiden returns to his home in Braeton. As he travels he hears rumors that trouble plagues Braeton. Clan Canich is being attacked from within. He arrives, determined to save his father, his brothers, and his Clan from the treachery of one man.

A year has passed since the Calorins were driven from Aredor and Corin is struggling to rebuild his country. Despite the peace, a fear haunts him that the Calorins aren’t far away. The Hawk Flight takes to the forest again to defend the borders against a possible attack from the neighboring country of Durna and its Calorin ally.

As Aiden and Corin struggle to adapt to their new lives they know one thing for certain – war is coming to the North!

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Excerpt from The Wildcat of Braeton:

“Ranulf came here too. I would have sent men, but we were in the middle of helping the Aredorians with the Calorin War,” Laird Dandin said. “And now this Adalwulf threatens Durnian invasion if we send men. Forgive me for saying, but I think Laird Gòrdan would only see the Clans coming tae help now as an attack on him. There would be war in Braeton.”

“I understand.” Aiden hated it, but he could understand.

“So what are you really here for?  I know you don’t want sanctuary.” Laird Dandin’s look urged him to be honest.

“I have no patience left,” Aiden said. “I’m going tae stop Adalwulf. But I can’nae do it on my own. We need the Clan back.”

Dandin sat at the table. “How is your father?”

“My father…” Aiden paused. “He is controlled by Adalwulf. He banished William and has almost disowned Ranulf and myself.”

“I didn’t know it was so bad,” Dandin said.

“My Laird, I’m not asking for your help. I just need tae know how many of Clan Canich are here.” Aiden leaned forward on the table.

“I’d say around forty. You’re going tae raise the Clan?”

“That is my intent, although it never should have come tae this.”

“The men here obey the command of a man named Artair. Convince him, and you’ll have your men,” Dandin said. “But I warn you, that will be no easy task. You are welcome here for as long as you need.”

“Thank you, sir,” Aiden replied gratefully, hoping he did not require the Laird’s hospitality for long.


Cool Trivia about The Wildcat of Braeton:

Random Fact 6

Want more random facts? Visit the other blog stops for more!



Two great books, and guess what?? Today is your lucky day!

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For THREE DAYS ONLY, get The Rise of Aredor for only 99 cents!!



About the Author:

Claire M. Banschbach is a native West Texan. She discovered a deep and abiding love for fantasy and science fiction at a young age, prompting her to begin exploring worlds armed only with an overactive imagination and a pen while obtaining degrees in Kinesiology from Texas A&M and Physical Therapy from Texas Tech University.

She talks to fictional characters more than she should while struggling to find time for all their stories. She currently resides in Arlington, TX where she works as a Pediatric Physical Therapist.

You can connect with her on Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Blog | Instagram

 



Thanks for stopping by and checking out Claire’s new books! Need more of the Aredor Universe? Try Claire’s short stories on her blog! Happy reading!