Nightmares Rise (Dark Shores Trilogy Book 1) by Mirren Hogan and Erin Yoshikawa

Nightmares Rise is the first book in the Dark Shores Trilogy. It is a great book. I had the wonderful opportunity to edit this project and work with these two ladies. Who are great to work with. I wish them all the success in the world. Below is an excerpt and interview with the two of them. Check out the book and pick up a copy you won’t be disappointed. 🙂

Excerpt

His next words were cut off by the sound of a woman screaming. It echoed through the trees from somewhere uncomfortably close.
Makani turned towards the scream, “Let’s go!” She darted up and grabbed branches and roots to keep balance, heading straight to the entrance of the trail. But instead of crossing the stream back to the jeep, she started through the bamboo grove, the sound of Flynn’s footsteps right behind her.
“There, just up ahead,” he hissed, making her jump.
She slowed down, careful to keep her knife at the ready. Her feet were nearly silent, even on the thick covering of dead leaves. Just through the grove, in a clearing to the side that opened up to a small off-shoot of the stream.
Laying on the mud and rocks, was something that might once have been a person. A woman. Bent over it, was something completely different from the things they had seen in the cave.
“What the hell?” she whispered as she tightened her grip on the knife.
“What is this, the bloody Hell-mouth?” Flynn had stepped up beside her. She could see his face whiten in the corner of her eye.
“What is it? Will salt even work?” Before she could stop him, he brought the salt up and flung it, sending a spray of crystals through the air.
The creature turned reptilian eyes at the two, and its mouth gaped wide. Sharp teeth, still coated liberally with the gore and blood that had been its victim, gnashed and clawed fingers gripped the ground. Its head was indented into a bowl, and it held water that sloshed over the side and ran over its face. The salt, unfortunately, didn’t do anything. It just made the creature very upset.
“Flynn! Go!” She pushed at him, urging him up into the bamboo grove and off the trail. Makani searched her mind for what she might be seeing, but couldn’t quite think of what it was. She looked behind them, but the creature had disappeared. “Oh, no…”
Flynn started off at a run but skidded to a halt after a few steps. “Oh no what? Makani? Oh no what?”
She pushed him again, going the opposite direction. “Just split up! Keep quiet! Get away from the water! Now!” She maneuvered herself between the bamboo, narrowly avoiding the broken stalks that jutted up. She made as much noise as she could, keeping herself in line with the trail that split the grove up the side of the valley.
He went the other way, in the direction of the jeep.
She moved high up the hill, keeping her ears open for anything. Makani knew the stories, having heard them as a kid running up and down the valley with her siblings. She would never have believed them, though. Not in a million years. But faced with this thing, after everything they had seen… what else lived on this island?

Have you been writing for a long time?

Erin: Maybe? I recall starting a lot of stories but never finishing them. The first time I finished a story, I was 11. The first time I finished a story well, I was 15.
Mirren: I’ve always written. I’m not sure I’ve always written well, but that’s the point of practicing and growing.

What inspired you to start a writing career?

Erin: Twilight. No, seriously – if not for the success of the series and subsequent trends in writing and readership, I would never have considered dipping my toes in the water. That, and Mirren gave so much of herself to get things going for both of us. Without her support and legwork, nothing would have gotten out of the water.
Mirren: That’s pretty much how our collaboration started, yes. We were discussing the popularity of that and also 50 Shades of Grey and that we’d certainly write things differently. I’d never claim to be trying to be better than anyone, but we wanted to write something our way, but have wide appeal. I think we’ve done that with this series.

Is this book a stand-alone or part of a series?

Erin: Nightmares Rise is book one of a trilogy. And, if the winds blow the right way, there may be a companion book to them. Keep your eyes peeled!
Mirren: What Erin said. Book 2, Shadows Deepen should be out in early 2018.

Why did you choose this genre?

Erin: The genre chose the book. Actually, there were a few factors. First, romance comes naturally, which is ironic. Second, being raised in Hawaii meant I was constantly surrounded by stories about the supernatural. It’s just a part of the collective culture that comes with so many people mingling in a confined space. Those stories live on long past the teller or the culture that birthed them. It seemed only right to bring these spooky beings back to life in the modern world.
Mirren: We also wanted an exotic location which was familiar to one of us. Where in the world is more exotic and appealing than Hawaii? And the genre fit in afterward.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Erin: Just keep writing.
Know that every story has already been told already but not by you, so it’s worth telling.
Your vices will be your constant companion through the process. Try to develop some that are healthy.
Nothing comes from a vacuum.
Be prepared to work hard: finishing a story is tough but editing your own work is harder. And finding someone to publish it is even worse! But if you believe in your story, it deserves to be released into the world.
A strong support system comprised of anyone who will listen and give honest feedback is absolutely necessary. They may not always say what you want to hear but they will assist your growth in vital ways.

Mirren: I agree with all of that, plus read, read, read and read some more. It’s the best way to train your mind to understand the methods used to put together a good story. Also you can see what you think doesn’t work and avoid that in your own work.

Buy Nightmares Rise – Amazon

Author links

Erin Yoshikawa

Erin Yoshikawa’s author page- https://www.facebook.com/erin.yoshikawa.author/?ref=ts&fref=ts

Mirren Hogan

Website: Mirrenhogan.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MirrenHoganAuthor/?ref=bookmarks
Twitter: @MirrenHogan
Blog: https://mirrenhoganblog.wordpress.com
Mailing list: http://eepurl.com/cA1PCb

Bear with Me by Jennifer Blackstream

 

Bear With Me

(The Blood Realm Series, #)
by Jennifer Blackstream

 

 

 

Blurb:

Betrayal. Redemption. True love.

A beautiful bard looking for her voice

After witnessing her mother’s murder left her blind, Leta had to put away her sword and her dreams of becoming a bard. Now she is resigned to a calm life where the best she can hope for is a good marriage that will take the burden of her care from her father’s shoulders. When her father claims the gods have sent a man to be not just her husband, but perhaps her savior, Leta has to take a leap of faith…and hope she falls in love.

A handsome prince trapped in the body of a bear

Torben is a bear shifter struggling to pass a test laid on him by his power-hungry stepmother. Bound into his beast form during the day, able to be human only at night when the darkness hides him, he must find a wife. She can know him only as a bear and a bodiless voice in the night. For one year, she must let him keep his secrets, trust him as a wife should trust her husband. But what woman will climb into bed with a bear and trust it is a man waiting for her?

Even a blind woman can see when something is worth fighting for…

Available to

Excerpt

 

 A hand settled on her fingers. Heavy, and a little rough, it engulfed her entire hand. She swallowed hard, took in a slow breath, and raised her teacup with a shaking hand, trying not to spill it in her haste to take a sip. It smelled like the tea her aunt had concocted for her, and if the gods were kind, it would have the same effect. She just needed her body to calm down, to stop shaking, and blushing, and everything else. Then she could think. Then she could be logical.“How are you feeling?” Torben’s voice was gentle, his baritone soothing in its increasing familiarity. He gently lifted her hand from his shoulder and cradled it in his.

The warm liquid flowed down her throat, and a tingling rush of magic spread through her body, working into her muscles, seeking out tension and melting it away. She took another large sip, swallowed before taking a deep breath. Her hands stilled and the burning in her cheeks ebbed, leaving her clearheaded, calmer. “Better.” She allowed herself a moment to gather her thoughts, then turned her head in the direction her aunt’s mentor had spoken from. “Mother Strongoak?”

“I’m right here, child.”

“Could you hold my tea?”

“Of course.”

She couldn’t tell for certain, but Leta thought she heard a smile in the witch’s voice. As Leta had asked, she took the teacup, freeing Leta’s other hand. Torben was close enough that his body heat pressed against her like a warm summer day, and she had no problem discerning his direction. “May I touch your face?”

A flicker of tension passed through him—surprise, perhaps. Then he took her other hand and put both of them on either side of his face. It was much higher than she’d expected, and the muscles in her arms pulled as she stretched to keep contact.

“Sorry,” he mumbled.

He shifted beneath her hands, slouching so she could reach him more easily. His head was large, combining with everything else to paint the picture of a very big man. The tea in her belly held her in a protective bubble, letting her mind chew over that information without her body’s panicked input. She ran her thumbs over his cheekbones, appreciating his strong bone structure. His face was rough with the beginnings of a beard, and she smiled a little as it tickled her palms.

Her smile seemed to inspire one of his own, and the muscles of his cheeks flexed beneath her hands. She feathered a finger over velvety-soft lips, then slid her hands over his jaw, up the back of his head.

“Your hair is short.”

“Does that surprise you?”

“It does.” She furrowed her brow. “I’m not sure why. I suppose I just expected you to be more…”

“Shaggy?” he suggested dryly.

She cleared her throat. “Er, yes. I suppose.”

She toyed with the short strands of his hair a bit, then slid her hands back down the sides of his face. His neck was thick, and her hands barely made it halfway around. She’d just opened her mouth to comment on that when her hands fell to his shoulders. She froze. Seconds ticked by as a piece of information surfaced in her mind, conveniently forgotten until just now. The bare skin she’d touched. She suddenly knew with absolute clarity he was not wearing much, if any, clothing. Emotions battered against the wall of tea protecting her from physical reactions.

“Leta? Are you all right?”

“That wasn’t your hip I touched,” she croaked. “That was your shoulder, wasn’t it?”

A tiny laugh exploded into the air, followed by a snort from Mother Strongoak. Leta thought she heard Torben growl, but the sound stopped before she could be sure.

“Torben?”

It took him a moment to respond, as if he were glaring at the room’s other occupants and was reluctant to stop. “Yes?”

“Exactly how…tall are you?”

There was silence then, thick with expectation. Her hands still rested where they’d frozen on his shoulders, and his muscles tightened beneath her fingertips.

“A little over seven feet,” he said finally.

There was hesitation in his voice, a sliver of doubt. Leta pressed her lips together and raised her hands to cradle his face, forcing him to look at her.

“How much is ‘a little over seven feet?’”

His jaw clenched, then relaxed. “Eight foot two.”

It was a tribute to the tea that her heart barely skipped a beat. “Eight foot two? As in…eight feet and two inches?”

“Give or take.”

“Give or take what?” She slowly lowered her hands into her lap and leaned back on the couch. Part of her burned to ask him why he was shirtless, probably pantless, but she couldn’t quite bring herself to make that a part of the conversation.

“Are you all right?”

Something in his voice pulled at her heartstrings. More hesitation, a little shade of fear. He’s waiting for you to be afraid of him.

The thought caught her by surprise, and she sat up straighter. “I’m not afraid of you.”

“I told you,” Mother Strongoak muttered.

Torben made a chuffing sound in his chest that might have been irritation, but she couldn’t be sure. She clenched her hands into fists.

“I know very well what I must seem like to you,” she said calmly. “Feeling about as I walk, shuffling along. Having panic attacks for no apparent reason. Leaping into marriage with a perfect stranger—a perfect non-human stranger.” A glimmer of her old flame burned to life inside her, and she jutted her chin out.

“This is not who I am. Before my mother died, I was going to be a bard. I was going to travel everywhere—alone. I trained for years with different weapons, learned how to survive in the wilderness if I had to. I was very independent.”

“Indeed,” Mother Strongoak agreed. “I did so enjoy seeing you perform competitively as well. Always worth it for a chance that some sore loser would get into a snit, and then lure you into one of those delightful duels.”

Leta waited for Torben to comment on the “duels,” ask if she’d really engaged in combat, but he didn’t. He probably hadn’t even entertained it as a possibility. “This is not who I am,” she said again.

 

Review:

This is a great read. I couldn’t put it down. I really like the characters and world that Jennifer has created. It has some great twists and turns. Readers will definitely want to add it to their TBR lists. I look forward to reading more of Jennifer’s books.

The Blood Realm Series
 


About The Author
 
 
Jennifer Blackstream is a USA Today bestselling author of fantasy/paranormal romance. Urban Fantasy will soon be joining her repertoire, and if she doesn’t get hold of the insidious roving gang of plot bunnies, there’s going to be steampunk sprinkled in there too…
To date, Jennifer has two series:
BLOOD PRINCE SERIES (COMPLETE):
Book 1 – Before Midnight
Book 2 – One Bite
Book 3 – Golden Stair
Book 4 – Divine Scales
Book 5 – Beautiful Salvation
Bonus Adventures in the Blood Prince World:
Book 2.5 – What Big Teeth You Have (free when you sign up for mailing list mentioned below)
Book 4.5 – The Pirate’s Witch
Book 5.5 – Dead to Begin With (available only between Thanksgiving and whenever Jennifer takes her Christmas tree down)
BLOOD REALM SERIES (IN PROGRESS SPIN-OFF OF BLOOD PRINCE SERIES):
Book 1 – All for a Rose
Book 2 – Blue Voodoo
Book 3 – The Archer
For news, new releases, and a free copy of What Big Teeth You Have, sign up for Jennifer’s mailing list.
Jennifer has unfailing affection for the authors who have influenced her, including Laurell K. Hamilton, Jim Butcher, and the sorely missed Sir Terry Pratchett. Her books include humor, romance, and action, with enough darkness to keep things very interesting.
When Jennifer isn’t writing, she can be found re-watching Boondock Saints, Noises Off, or Gross Pointe Blank. With one of those classics in the background, she might also be searching Amazon for something she wants, but doesn’t need (Is there any such thing as a kitchen gadget that isn’t an absolute necessity? And don’t even get me started on office supplies…).
You can find Jennifer at 
 
         

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