Review of Piercing the Darkness (The Rise of Nazil Book 3) by Aaron-Michael Hall



Piercing the Darkness is a complex, twisting ride through a richly layered world!

This novel starts where Seed of Scorn leaves off, with impending conflict in Faélondul and between the members of the house of Benoist. Once again, Aaron-Michael Hall weaves magic to create a captivating and enthralling tale of love, lust, betrayal and commitment. This is a truly writhing plot with multifaceted characters that are eternally evolving in such unexpected twists.

Aaron-Michael Hall excels at creating a portrait of humanity at its best and at its worst, with characters that are three-dimensional and compelling. The stakes are high and the emotions are real. And moving behind it all is a theme just as timely as it is timeless.

I am very proud to recommend this book.  Aaron-Michael Hall is one of my favorite fantasy authors, and this book proves why.

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Author Interview – Mackenzie Flohr

16684872_1313696542002169_1123684344_nAuthor Spotlight
Mackenzie Flohr

Thank you for taking the time to sit down and talk with me tonight. Can you begin by telling me a little bit about yourself?

Thank you for the invitation! I’m happy to be here. My name is Mackenzie Flohr and I am a fantasy author through BHC Press.

  1. Have you always wanted to be an author?

I have always dreamed of writing a book and being an author, but seeing it actually get published? That part I wasn’t sure would ever happen. It’s one thing to start a book, but it’s another thing to actually finish it!

My parents nurtured a love for the creative arts from a very young age. From the time I could hold a pencil, I was already creating pictorial interpretations of classic stories, and by the age of nine, a childhood friend and I were authors and reviewers of our own picture books.

  1. What inspired you to write your first book?

I wanted to write a fantasy of my own, one that could inspire imagination in others and lead them into a magical world of their own making.

  1. What genre(s) do you write?

I write fantasy and soon will be tackling the sci-fi/horror genres.

  1. What is the name of your latest novel?

The Rite of Wands. It’s the first in a new YA fantasy series, coming out on March 10th in both paperback and eBook. It will appeal to fans of The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and even Doctor Who (specifically fans of the eleventh Doctor)

16731019_1313696615335495_318096750_nIs there a short excerpt of your current book that you would like to share?

One boy…one Rite… And a world of deadly secrets that could change the course of history—forever

 And so begins the tale of Mierta McKinnon. When a horrible fate reveals itself during his Rite of Wands ceremony, he must find a way to change not only his destiny but also the land of Iverna’s.

 Forbidden from revealing the future he foresees to anyone, he is granted a wand and his magical powers, but still must master the realm of magic in order to save himself and those he loves.

 But Mierta is not the only one with secrets…especially when it’s impossible to know who to trust.

  1. How did you come up with the concept for your novel?

I wouldn’t say I came up with anything, it more like came to me! When I’m traveling, I often stare at road signs to see if I will come across any names that just kind of jump out at me, and this one particular sign did more than just that. It gave me a story!


  1. Who is your favorite character and why?

Mierta McKinnon. He is a “discovery” character. Most of the time I have no idea what he is going to do in a scene, which makes writing his scenes fun and exciting! Plus without his character, there would be no Rite of Wands.

  1. Who is your least favorite character and why?

Queen Anya. I have a hate/love relationship with her character honestly. I was actually inspired by Glenn Close’s Marquise de Merteuil in the 1989 film Dangerous Liaisons. I wanted to create a character who be successful in manipulation like she was, and I believe I have that. But why she’s my least favorite character? Probably because I cannot get through a scene between her and Mierta without them flirting with each other, which is wrong, wrong wrong!!!

  1. Which character do you relate to the most and why?

Overall, I’d say I would relate best to Mierta and Orlynd. I’m like a mix of them honestly.

Like Orlynd, I was also an outcast growing up. I had to endure bullying, beatings, and verbal abuse from not only kids, but adults, too, from elementary school up till when I graduated from college, just because of how I dressed, looked, etc, so I really sympathize with his character.

And then like Mierta, I also wanted to please my parents and do the right thing, yet I often felt uncertain and alone. I’m also eccentric, and have this crazy amount of energy, which takes me forever to get rid of. It’s one of the reasons why I’m a chronic insomniac because I cannot get my mind to shut off!

  1. Is there a certain message (s) that you desire your readers to grasp?

Our lives are not set in stone. It can all change in a heartbeat. The key is not what we do, but how we choose to react to whatever the situation is.

  1. Who are a few of your favorite authors?

J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, Christopher Paolini, and Michael Ende

  1. What author would you love to have a conversation with?

Can I pick two? It would definitely have to be J.K. Rowling and J.R.R Tolkien.

  1. Any future writing projects you would like to talk about?

I am working on the beginnings of a short story to hopefully be included in upcoming an anthology. I am also beginning to work on another series, which is going to be a futuristic science-fiction horror. The series revolves around a teenage man who is living in an advanced medical facility in Area 51 and is suffering from amnesia. And I’m brain storming for the second book in The Rite of Wands series!

  1. Are there any future events you would like to announce?

Yes. I will be appearing on the SciFan webinar through Author Assist on facebook on March 5th. I will also be appearing at B2BCYCON in April, which I’m very excited about. Also in April, I will be a guest on ArtistFirst Radio Network on April 14. And if you’re anywhere near the state of Michigan, I will be signing copies of The Rite of Wands at the Ann Arbor Book Festival Street Fair in June!

  1. Do you have a favorite quote from one of your novels?

“East Indians used slugs to numb gums, but it often led to parasites that crawled from your stomach to your brain, which tended to kill the subject.” – Mierta – The Rite of Wands.

  1. Do you have any advice for up and coming authors?

Don’t give up, and if someone tells you can’t do something, don’t believe it. As one of my dear friends has said, sometimes in order for something to happen, you have to give to the universe, and the universe in turn, gives back.

  1. Do you have any links that you would like to share?

You can follow me at: Website,  WordPress,  FacebookTwitter, or  Goodreads.

My Publisher’s Page15941295_1185472728240005_174881961011296551_n

Thank you for taking the time to sit down and chat with me. I am looking forward to the release of The Rite of Wands. Great Success!

Blog Tour – N.D. Jones


Today, I welcome author N. D. Jones to the Desu Beast Blog. She is on a tour to announce her new Science Fiction Romance release, Bond Souls.

Bound Souls
Forever Yours
Book 1
Book Description:

A supernatural love triangle that tests the bounds of science, truth, and faith.

Regent Lela of Asiya is the most powerful person on her planet but she is powerless to save the life of her beloved soulmate—Zion Grace. For thirty years they lived as husband and wife, but Zion’s time is at an end. Lela must go on without him.

“There will never be anyone else for me.”

Despite having died, nothing can keep Zion from his soulmate. He’s back but not as the man he once was. Zion must help Lela move on with her life, lest he lose her forever. But how can Zion convince Lela to accept the love and affections of another man when he still wants her for himself?

“I love you, Lela. My heart is forever yours.”

Lela and Zion are bound souls, destined to live eternity together. For these lovers, death is not an end, but a fateful beginning.

This novel includes “The Garden,” a bonus short story.


Download for Free

 Amazon     BN    Kobo     Inkterra     iBooks

 Book Trailer


It was true, Zion had only three more years left on his thirty-year life extension. He was tired and felt even more so as the days, weeks, months and years crept by. Zion spared a sidelong glance at his wife, whose head was down, eyes closed and hand still fiercely gripping his own. She wasn’t ready for the ride to end either, yet they both knew it was slowing, preparing to grind to its final halt and he would have to disembark, leaving her behind.

This thing with Ammon had eaten away at Zion for the last several months. Yet Ammon was simply an outlet for his own anger, fear, and depression. He was growing older, his hair thinner and grayer, and his stomach… well, let’s just say he’d had to use the services of a good seamstress over the years. Yet Lela was still as beautiful and fit as when they’d first met.

Zion didn’t begrudge Lela her slow aging or fine, alluring features. In fact, he loved that about her. What did bother him was that other men could see what he saw. Everything about Lela exuded intelligence, grace, dignity, strength, and beauty. Zion learned a long time ago, she could never see herself the way others did, especially men.

While Zion rarely entertained jealous thoughts before or cared much when he caught a male giving Lela an approving look, now he saw nothing but. Under the circumstances, the little signs of masculine appreciation for his beautiful wife enraged him.

“I’m sorry,” Zion spoke into the quiet breach, lifting Lela’s chin with his bruised hand.

Tears flooded her eyes. Even wet, they were still the most stunning eyes he’d ever seen. Picasso marble Zion thought the first time she’d looked at him—a combination of black, brown, gray, and white. Back then, they’d sparkled with intelligence and curiosity, now they glistened with pain. Lela wasn’t ready for this conversation. How could she be?

“No, it’s me who should apologize. I thought you were paranoid, seeing things that didn’t exist.”

“I acted like a jackass, a Neanderthal, damn near dragging you out of the banquet room before the function was over. Hell, I might as well as hoisted you over my shoulder and beat my chest like a caveman.”

He rubbed his thumb across her right cheek, then lips. “You’re an incredible woman, Lela.” Zion paused, nearly biting his tongue on his next words. The ones his selfish heart screamed at him to not utter. “You’ll live for a long time, probably another four or five decades. I only have three years left. For an Asiyan, you’ll be in your prime when I pass on.” His voice cracked when the held tears dropped from his wife’s eyes. She knew where he was going with this, Zion realized.

“You’ll have to go on without me, and I don’t want you to spend the next fifty years by yourself.”

“I won’t be by myself. I’ll have Xavier.” Lela pushed off the bed and moved away from him. She walked to the window, refusing to acknowledge the true meaning of his words.

Zion followed, watching her stern but sad image in the window. Needing to touch and reassure her, he wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled Lela to him.

“The thought of another man being this close to you,” Zion whispered, stirring tendrils of her long hair, “makes me want to commit murder. When I heard Ammon offering for you, it took all of my self-control to not take a laser gun to him. The only thing I kept thinking was that he couldn’t have you. That you’re mine and mine alone.”

“Is that why you’ve been so angry these past few months?” She turned in his arms, then rested her head against his resilient shoulder.

“Yes and something else.”

“What else?”

Zion lifted her chin, compelling her to meet his eyes.

“I didn’t want to acknowledge how selfish I was being,” he said, leaning down and placing a warm, soft kiss on her lips. “I want you to be happy in those four or five decades you have left, Lela, but I don’t want you to find happiness in the arms of another man.”

“I have no desire to mate with anyone else, or to take a lover,” she reassured, initiating another kiss, a desperate embrace full of a wife’s integrity and denial. “I can’t imagine being with anyone other than you. I love you, Zion. I could never love another.”

He knew she spoke the truth. He believed her, but she didn’t understand. Zion did. He’d experienced the loss of a spouse.

“When Iman died, a part of me died with her. Like you, I thought there would never be anyone else for me. And that was true for a long time—”

Lela shook her head in protest, not allowing Zion to continue. “Don’t.” A heartbreaking plea. “Don’t say such things. There will never be anyone else for me.”

Zion saw the near panic in her upturned face, her Picasso marble eyes glowing with resolution and despair.

“It’s not the same. It just isn’t.”

It was exactly the same. Yes, what he felt for Iman was different from the love he had for Lela. But it was love all the same. Loving Lela didn’t mean Iman ceased to occupy a special place in his heart and mind. A small, warm piece of her and their life together would always be a part of him. As he would always be a part of Lela, but she couldn’t see it, not now. But someday. Zion didn’t want to think about that and clearly, neither did his wife.

nd2About the Author:
N.D. Jones lives in Maryland with her husband and two children. She is the founder of Kuumba Publishing, an art, audiobook, eBook, and paperback company. Kuumba Publishing is a forum for creativity, with a special commitment to promoting and encouraging creative works of authors and artists of African descent.

A desire to see more novels with positive, sexy, and three-dimensional African American characters as soul mates, friends, and lovers, inspired the author to take on the challenge of penning such romantic reads. She is the author of two paranormal romance series: Winged Warriors and Death and Destiny. N.D. likes to read historical and paranormal romance novels, as well as comics and manga.






  Tour giveaway

Autographed paperback copy of “Bound Souls” (3 winners, U.S. only)
Bound Souls New Release


Ides of March – Essentia


What is the Ides of March – Essentia?

A fantastic Facebook event featuring some of your favorite characters from Indie Authors and a few that you have never met!

The Essentia of any good fantasy or science-fiction story requires a believable character that the reader can relate to. It is our intent to bring to life, for you, the characters from such stories created by Indie Authors, so you can get to know them. If you find a character you love, then read the book and you may just have a new favorite author.

The focus of this event is on characters from the main genres of Fantasy, Sci-Fi and SciFan. Each 1 hour slot will feature a single character for guests to engage, question and become acquainted with. If you fall in love with the character, then buy the author’s book and get to know even more. That is what The Ides of March – Essentia is all about.


Who are the featured characters and authors?

Meet the Characters (all times shown are Central Standard Time, USA)
6:00 AM – Lily from Conquest: Rise of the Fifth Horseman (published)
7:00 AM – Adrienne McGinnis from Stormcaller (published)
8:00 AM – Kelia from Wielders of Arantha (work in progress)
9:00 AM – Lady Moonwalker from A Chance Meeting (work in progress)
10:00 AM – Baric from the Rangers of Laeran Series (published)
11:00 AM – Light from Blood Dragons (published)
12:00 PM – Lady Eithne from The Romance of Eowain (published)
1:00 PM – Katya Brie from The Secret King Series (published)
2:00 PM – Delina from The Dragonblood Throne: Legacy (work in progress)
3:00 PM – Dame Deidre from The Bewildering Adventures of King Bewilliam series (published)
4:00 PM – Pentanimir Benoist from The Rise of Nazil Trilogy (Published)
5:00 PM – Leilana Erovina from The Final Lesson (work in progress)
6:00 PM – Darland Courvenier from the Circe Series (published)
7:00 PM – Jewel from Norma Jean’s School of Witchery (published)
8:00 PM – Quin Reis from Darkstorm (published)
9:00 PM – Ken Brody from Jaxxa Rakala (published)

Come and join in the fun and possibly meet your next favorite author and character!


Valentine’s Blog Hop

For this special Valentine’s blog post, I would like to introduce romance novelist, Kim Knight. Kim is participating in a Valentine’s Blog Hop and celebrating her birthday! The Desu Beast Blog is just one stop on her internet journey!


Valentine’s Blog Hop and Kim’s 34th Birthday Celebration

February 14-18

Come and join in the fun and meet some new readers! Everyone is welcome.
The writing prompt is:

“Romance: The good, the bad, and the ugly…”

Do you have a story to tell? Visit my blog for details.

Giveaway: The ten most enjoyable blog posts that I read will win a FREE digital copy of one of my featured romance titles.

About Kim

Kim is 33 (born in 1983), from London in the UK. She’s a qualified teacher and mother to a beautiful toddler. As a reader she’s head over heels in love with romance, historical fiction, crime fiction, African- American, suspense and thriller genre books. After submitting three chapters of a romance /suspense novel she was writing to a USA based publisher in 2016, she scored her first publishing contact. Kim’s first novel is A Stranger in France (republished 2017) her second novella is Not Just For Christmas. At the moment Kim is writing her third novel, a thriller to be released in 2017. As a writer Kim enjoys creating stories within the general romance, romantic suspense and crime/ thriller genres, with a diverse and multi-cultural character line up. Kim also writes beauty and book related articles published in Love Life, Live magazine.

When she’s not reading or writing novels of her own, her other passions include practising her French, fashion and spending time at her sewing machine dress making, watching make –up and beauty tutorials on YouTube, letter writing and being a mum.

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 How did I get into Writing Romance?

Creating stories within the general romance and romantic suspense genres, for me started as a reader. I’ve always loved romance stories whether they are heart-warming, erotic or with an ethnic / African – American theme, it really does not matter, as long as it’s all about love! The first ever suspenseful  book I read was Deadly Embrace by Jackie Collins. I was in my teens, and I remember turning pages like my life depended on in it, what a book! I enjoyed every moment of it, the whole thrill of the story as a reader made me want to keep reading and find out what happens next. I remember thinking wowzers this is a good book after I finished reading it. From that moment on, I read anything and everything I could of Jackie’s, starting with her Lucky Santangelo books. I fell in love with the genre over ten years ago, and have been an avid reader within it since. I’ve always had a creative side to me, and a love for writing for as long as I can remember. It just took a few years and a few life experiences for the writer in me to emerge.

Later on in life out sprung the writer, I just started and got on with it when no one was looking so to speak. I realised as a writer I’d love to create great stories in the genres I love to read. Not just romance or romantic suspense, but the general thriller genre also. This is pretty much how I got into writing general romance and romantic suspense, I fell in love with the genre as a reader first and then started to write within the genre. In general, I think that the romance genre has so much to offer, there’s something for everyone no matter who they are or what kind of romance they like reading.

I started to write A Stranger in France in February 2016, I put what I was writing at the time to one side, as the idea for the story popped into my head, and I wanted to run with it. While creating the plot and writing A Stranger in France I knew, I wanted a romance story that is current and relevant to the present. Also a story that would take readers on a journey through the experiences of strong characters and not predictable. I remembered the experience I felt as a reader while reading other enjoyable romantic suspense stories and this fueled my passion, motivation, and general excitement while creating this romantic suspense story.

Happy Birthday and GREAT success with your Blog Hop! Thank you for including the Desu Beast Blog on your stops.

For more information about Kim, visit her WEBSITE, FACEBOOK. or TWITTER.



The Epic World of Faélondul by Aaron Michael-Hall

I recently sat down to discuss the fantastical land of Faélondul with Our Epic Worlds blog. Interested in learning more about the lands or your favorite characters? It is just a click away!



The Rise of Nazil is the first of the series. Currently, there are three published works in this epic realm!

In the 75th year of Alberoth, the AsZar summoned the Guardians. There’s an imbalance in the lands of Faélondul. The Zaxson, Draizeyn Vereux, conspires to exterminate the infestation in Nazil. He plans to eradicate the humans.

Led by the priestly cast called the Cha, the xenophobic Nazilians dominating Faélondul justify their brutalities against the humans. But when the First Chosen of the elite guard discovers Brahanu Ravenot lost near the gates of the city, not only his life, but also his entire system of beliefs, is forever changed.

With the demands of his position and the pressures of his family, can Pentanimir overcome his internal struggles and protect Brahanu, or will war erupt in the lands and consume them both?

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The Art of Worldbuilding: A beginning.

Interesting read from a great Epic Fantasy author and friend.

The Thousand Scar's Muse

Well, the art of writing stuff for my blog has diminished somewhat in the past week or so. It’s not writer’s block at all, I have plenty of ideas for the blog. It’s more…motivation? That would be it. You see, I’m focusing so much on my time on getting Counterbalance ready, it’s kind of killed all other trains of thought. I cannot have that, so here I am. This article I have been writing for almost a month, and it’s progression has been painfully slow: the art of worldbuilding.

To make worlds, you need to build them. Now, there are two main ways of doing this, what we call architect and gardening. And apparently in the current times, there is a third approach called the tourist. There is no right or wrong way of worldbuilding I might add. You can use whatever approach you like, whether it’s one or all…

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