Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Cauldron Presents: Beyond Realms by Brian Bigelow

My friend Brian has such a wonderful way with words. An eloquent storyteller with a flair for suspense, I have enjoyed learning this wonderful artist and how skillfully he uses the craft. Ladies and gentleman, I now present Beyond Realms by Brian Bigelow.
 
Being hidden far away, the Princess will have to return through time and space. Being controlled by another, the King becoming no more than a shadow of himself. Only a single tear from someone pure in spirit would break the spell and set him free. Step into another world, a place beyond the present, as you journey through the world of "Beyond Realms."



Around her, the fog continued to decrease with every step she made. As it got brighter her eyes finally adjusted and the brightness became less painful. She was glad for the relief that came with it because it felt like she had the beginnings of another migraine. The last time she had one of those headaches she had to stay in bed for two days the thought of which wasn’t very appealing to her.

Soon, the fog faded away to a mild haze and she could begin to see some indistinct shapes. A few more steps and the pea soup she had been walking in had completely gone. What she was seeing now brought her to a sudden stop. She found herself standing near the top of a beautiful grass and sedge-covered hillside to her complete and total surprise. It confused her to find herself in the place she was now at. She pinched herself on her elbow to make sure she wasn’t dreaming it.

White branches pointed up in many places from the deep carpet that was covering the hillside. More verdant rolling hills extended out into the distance. She couldn’t get over how wild this place looked. It reminded her of some of the nature pictures she had seen on some wall calendars. Knowing such a place existed, and actually seeing it, were two very different things in reality. As her eyes passed over the shin high grass, the only shadow she could see was her own. It was obvious that a mower hadn’t been anywhere close to this place, and most probably wouldn’t ever either.
Trying to correlate this place with her life experiences was impossible. She’d never been any place that was like this. It even smelled different than what she was used to:  clean and fresh. There were definitely none of the odors she was used to in Los Angeles here. She breathed in deeply as she tried to understand what was going on.

Turning around, she looked up toward the top of the hill. She could see the ruins of some rock walls that must have been intended to be fences. She also saw what was left of a stone building with jagged square openings in the side that was beyond her comprehension. The openings looked a little like they were windows, but where was the glass and the casements she expected to see? The heavy stacked rocks the building was made of didn’t give her any answers to her query.

Looking up into the bright blue sky, she saw a few puffy clouds were floating by lazily. The color of the sky was particularly startling as she was used to seeing yellowish-colored pollution-filled smoggy skies. There weren’t any contrails from passing planes either.

Then she really began to wonder what this place was where she now found herself. It looked strangely familiar, like she had been here before, almost like she was experiencing déjà vu. Yet, at the same time, it was so very different from what she knew except for a few memories of an Iowa farm she once visited when she was much younger.

There were no buildings, sidewalks, streets, cars, or trash to be seen anywhere around her. She realized she didn’t hear any of the noises of the city either, which was very odd. There were no horns, engine sounds or stereos. Only the sound of the wind rustling through the grass reached her ears and it sounded loud with the absence of any other sounds than her own heartbeat. I must be having some weird twisted dream of some kind. I just don’t understand any of this. She closed her eyes and shook her head to try to wake up and clear the image. When she opened her eyes though, the expansive green landscape of rolling hills was still there.

Taking a deep breath, she felt more alive than she had for a long time and filled with pure energy as a sense of wonder filled her entire being. It was as if her spirit had been renewed completely in an instant. This place was so amazing, she was awestruck. She wanted to go exploring and see everything that was around the area and she was sure there was plenty to see. Deciding that the stone walls and empty building didn’t interest her all that much, she looked down toward the bottom of the hill. It looked like it held some promise and just maybe, once she was there, she would be out of this almost constant wind that was buffeting her.

She made her way down through the sea of tall grass. The way it impeded her movement, it felt like she was wading through water as she strode along. An overwhelming impulse to wander because of her curiosity seemed to impel her and was guiding her in the direction she was travelling. If asked about it, she couldn’t have explained the desire. Even if it took the rest of her life, she wanted to explore everything this place had to offer her. There was so much that she wanted to be able to see. And if it was all just a dream she wanted to hurry to see as much as possible before she woke up.

Reaching the bottom of a small valley she walked up to the top of the next hill. Cresting it, she could see what looked to be a copse of trees down at the bottom of another valley. By now, the bright sunshine was making her feel really warm so the shade the woods offered was enticing. As she walked down the hill a pair of meadowlarks were singing somewhere off into the distance. She figured they were presently roosting in the trees below.

Further down the hill she heard a rustle off to her left. To her delight, a red fox peeked out in curiosity from behind a short bush. Its little nose excitedly wiggled as it tried to smell her from a distance. Once it satisfied itself about the girl it bounded off across the landscape. She couldn’t help but stop and watch the beautiful creature leaving. The blaze of red appeared to undulate as it fled through the tall grass and weeds until it finally disappeared from view.

She stopped for a moment and watched the place she had last seen the fox. Then, she heard a screeching cry from above. Her attention was grabbed and she looked up into the sky. What in the heck is that thing? At first it looked a lot like a bird until it got closer and could see that it wasn’t. It wasn’t like anything she had ever seen before except in fantasy movies.

Small wings flapped on either side of the elongated body. It had a reptilian head and a long tail was extending out behind. When it was directly overhead she noticed the scales that were covering the length of its body. A mixture of fear and awe held her in place as she watched it fly off into the distance. She couldn’t believe that it was real. Is that…can that be… that can’t really be a dragon, can it? It screeched once more as it crested the next hill and disappeared over the other side.

Standing there for several minutes with her mouth gaping wide open she watched the place she had seen it last before it disappeared. Mulling it over, she tried to come up with anything else that fit what she had just seen and nothing did. She’d just seen something she was sure was impossible. At least that’s what she tried to tell herself. Slowly, she became aware of how vulnerable she was out here if it came back. She recomposed herself and decided she needed to find some cover, the sooner the better. She continued making her way down the hillside toward the copse of trees. As she got closer more of it was visible and it was actually part of a ribbon of treed forest.

The ground was becoming noticeably rougher the closer she got to the woods. Here rocks were peeking up that she had to struggle over. Several times she fell down and felt bruises forming on her knees. By the time she made it to the trees she felt thoroughly exhausted.

Standing under the canopy she breathed a sigh of relief since she was no longer in the open where that dragon would be able to find her. She found a log lying on the ground and sat down on it to take a little breather. Rubbing her knees and stretching out her legs she looked around and listened to the birds singing. On a nearby branch, a pair of mourning doves were cooing and nestling into each other. She thought about how romantic the pair looked together.

Feeling tired, and no longer quite as hot and sweaty, she wanted to lie down and maybe take a little nap. She knew she had to get moving though since there was so much it was obvious she didn’t know about this place. Staying there was probably not the best option considering all of the various creatures she was seeing in the vicinity.

It was just a matter of time until she saw a wolf or a bear. There could possibly be something even worse coming to investigate. It crossed her mind for a moment to ascend the hill and spend the night in the ruin but then realized her knees weren’t going to want to cooperate with her. Groaning, she got up and began to push her way through the dense undergrowth.

 Brian Bigelow
The author of:

Fiction:
Beyond Realms (children's, epic fantasy)
Hall and Muscato Publishing

An Ill Wind Cometh (horror)
Authors Allies Publishing
 
Rip Tide (horror)
Horror Bent (horror)
Macabre Moments (horror)
The Visitation (horror)
The Sea Witch (sea adventure)
The Box (children's)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

When Angels Fall by Lachelle Redd

 
Pondering his tedious existence, the demon breathed a heavy sigh. A fresh soul would arrive soon and his chamber of pain would come alive again. The raven, mail carrier of hell, squawked his landing on a wrought iron perch. The tormentor, aware there was fresh meat, gazed into the bird’s cold, black eyes studying the victim’s soul. A young male seated at a large oak desk was in the throes of committing suicide. Too much money, power, and women proved detrimental and now the darkened soul of the young CEO begged for relief. David Thornbrook, wealthy, spoiled, and silver-spooned seemed the answer to the demon’s relief. Hmm embezzlement, bankruptcy, and loss of financial status, this may be worth looking into. Margonne teleported forth and found David, a silver plated semi-automatic handgun in his mouth. Shocked at the appearance of the dark figure before him, the yuppie pointed the gun and fired off one round. The bullets penetrate and exit the being and scorch a nearby vase and wall.

“Now, is that any way to treat your master?” Margonne removed the weapon from his quivering hand. “My, my you are a shivering, limped dick son of a bitch aren’t you? This is gonna be too easy.”

David managed a sentence, tears streaming down his face. “Who are you? Am I dead, did I pull the trigger?”

Margonne laughed an evil chuckle and replied. “No you didn’t, but I did.” With a loud crackle, the monstrous instrument exploded into the night igniting a hole in young David’s skull. The demon licked the crimson liquid from the wound and examined his handiwork. “What a pissant, see you in a month or two. I’m taking a vacation.” The specter possessed the body of the dead man, healing the gaping hole, and taking on his very countenance. I should be able to get tons of pussy with this body, not a bad looking kid.

The following morning David Thornbrook marched into Thornbrook, Hall, and Caine just like any other day. The shocked looks on the faces of staff and colleagues were plentiful. Speaking casually he strolled to his office and took a seat. Amanda, his secretary, was quick to appear with the usual, a notepad, and his morning coffee.

“Sir, there is a board meeting to appoint a new CEO. Am I to submit your resignation?” Amanda was baffled at David’s composure.

“No, Amanda.” His smile sly and straight lined. “What you can do is go to your fucking desk and wait for me to call you. I have a few words for the board and will remain in charge like always."
 
 


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Hot Cauldron Presents: The Virgin Charmer by Rachel Olson

Today, I take great pleasure in presenting Rachel Olson's The Virgin Charmer Book One of The Triple Goddess Trilogy
 
 
 

Hope Richards has only ever known the life of a big city girl. When her boss gives her an ultimatum, she decided to try out the country life during her forced vacation. After falling in love with a mysterious old mansion on the edge of a town that time forgot, Hope finds herself caught up in a whirlwind of someone else's crazy love obsession, and realizes in the middle of it all how lacking her own life is in that department. Hope is faced with a decision: return to the mundane life she thought was her passion, or find a way to experience something far stronger that she secretly yearns for.


 
 
 
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About Rachel
 
Somewhere amidst her forty-hour job and playtime with her three-year-old, Rachel finds time to walk the streets of worlds only existing on manmade paper. She resides in small college town Northwestern Nebraska with her young son, just a few blocks from a city park, the public schools, and her parents. She enjoys socializing with adults, sipping strawberry wine, and head banging to music that doesn't carry a beat worth the effort of rock star hair slinging.

"The paranormal world is a much more desired realm. There's no limit to possibilities, no comparison to probabilities, no concept of actualities. There's no solid platform for racism, judgment, or hierarchy. It is exactly the manifestation you choose it to be, darkness and death included."

 AUTHOR LINKS:







 
Excerpt
 
“I think we should get a drink before we start Q and A.” The sound of Abigail’s voice made Hope jump enough to bump her knees on the table. Her tone was ice cold, sending prickly chills down Hope’s spine. She only nodded, certain that questioning how Abigail could be so dead about something involving her own brother would be a bad idea.

Abigail snapped her fingers in the air two times, and the man behind the bar immediately jumped on command. The closer he got, the stronger the pull became that Hope had felt previously. He walked with his face downcast, most likely watching where he stepped in an attempt to avoid tripping on anything or anyone. When he finally reached their table, Hope was in the middle of scrambling away, utterly terrified by what she was feeling. As soon as she caught sight of his face, her chair tipped back with her still in it.

Hope found herself sprawled out on a grubby wooden floor that didn’t look like it’d been swept in several days. Her sweater had somehow tangled itself around and between her knees, making any attempt she made to stand look very similar to a fish out of water.

Hope stopped all futile attempts to stand independently when a very masculine hand jabbed itself in front of her nose. With large, crossed eyes, she gasped and managed to scoot away from the floating hand by a few measly inches. A deep, silky chuckle rolled across languid airwaves and nearly choked Hope with its thick perfume. Hope glanced up through half mast eyes at the blurred face hovering just beyond the floating hand, and smiled crookedly, one eyebrow popping up a hair higher than the other. Another bout of chuckling ensued just as something lifted Hope to her seat.

“...Bump her head?”

“I’m...sure.”

Hope was only grasping portions of surrounding conversation. Her head swam through an enervated, unknown substance, causing a reaction similar to that of narcotics. She tried to shake herself and clear her mind, but whatever it was, it insisted on clinging tightly to every inch of her, inside and out.

“Do you mind telling me what your nose is doing on my boyfriend?” Hope was ripped from her strange trance when a cold, bony little hand landed abruptly on her shoulder. Her eyes flew open, finding that her nose was indeed buried into the chest of a man.

No, not just any man. The man. The one that was causing the pull.

“Holy shit,” she muttered to herself, stuck in the glistening eyes of a man several years younger than herself. She was fully aware of the stares she was earning, as well as a perfectly annoyed Abigail behind her. She was also aware that, at that particular moment, she didn’t have the willpower to pull away from the younger man directly in front of her, or whatever it was that possessed her.

Slowly, Mr. Gloriously Addictive stepped away from her snout, swallowing loudly as he did. Hope could hear Abigail impatiently tapping her foot on the floor. The further he got from her, the stronger she felt. Finally, Hope managed to turn a bit to look at Abigail over her shoulder, knowing her cheeks would match the color of unfriendly fire. She opened her mouth to apologize, and the next thing she knew, she was falling face first toward the table. Abigail clumsily caught her full weight, gently lowering her into the nearest chair. Hope opened a single eye, finding the bartender entirely too close for comfort, and no doubt the cause of her sudden lack of leg control and balance.

He was frowning at her, probably just like Hope frowned at him. Abigail popped up out of nowhere next to him, the man that was yet to own a name, offering Hope a crystal clear glass of liquid heaven. She swallowed a mouthful, expecting it to slide down like the cool, refreshing water it should’ve been. Except it wasn’t water, and it ignited the very fires of hell in her throat and belly.

 “Sorry,” Abigail winced as Hope coughed and sputtered. “I should’ve told you it was Vodka. Your weird dizzy spells and swooning had me convinced you were in desperate need of a hard drink.” Hope only offered a half smile, practically glaring up at the man still standing entirely too close to her. “Oh jeez, my manners ran away with my good mood. This is Garrett, my boyfriend.” Garrett offered a friendly hand to shake, but Hope just stared at it. She was more concerned about the close proximity of that hand, and why his very presence made her feel like her skeleton had decided to take a vacation without the rest of her.

“I think I need some fresh air,” Hope finally managed to announce.





Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Hot Caudron Presents the Virginia Templeton Stories

Another romantic and steamy tale from Marsha Cook. Please meet the beautiful, graceful, and attention loving Virginia Templeton.

 
Nicholas watched Virginia, waiting until she was ready to start. It always took her a little bit, as she prepared to start the sessions in her own way.

After strutting around the office, Virginia kicked off her leopard, four-inch Stuart Weitzman pumps and sat her ass right smack in the middle of Nicholas’s desk. She was wearing a very tight, black leather skirt, and a see-through, white lace shirt. Because she was all leg when she crossed them, which she liked to do, Nicholas could see her black lace panties and the tiny rose tattoo on her upper right thigh.

“So, Nick, where shall I begin today?” Nicholas didn’t answer, and that angered her more than he knew. “What the fuck? Help me out here, Doc. I need some answers.”

For months, everything Nicholas had tried had completely pissed her off. At that moment, he felt she might be ready for a breakthrough, and quietly let her continue.

“Okay, let me tell you what happened last night,” she went on. “Slater, my loving, sweet jerk of a husband was out of town. I got in my car, went right back to my old stomping grounds, drank too much, and fucked a whole lot of times. Since you didn’t ask who I was with, let me tell you. Two men were in my bed last night. One was very tall, with dark curly hair. The other was very short with a long blonde ponytail, kind of a freaky looking guy. One was on my right and one was on my left. Blondie had one finger in my ass and the other dark, sexy guy, who looked a lot like you, was in my cunt. What do you think about that?”

Nicholas began to write notes. All thoughts of him having a conversation with his patient were off the board for now. He was so busy picturing the details that he couldn’t really concentrate. He was so far away from where he should be ethically that he stopped himself, took a breath, and then continued with his notes.

Virginia took full advantage of the moment, as she quickly scooted off his desk and proceeded to strut around the office. “Wow, Doc, when did you get that picture-perfect plant?” She didn’t actually give a shit about the plant on the floor; she just wanted Nicholas to enjoy the view as she leaned down to touch it. “Follow me, Doc.” Bending down even lower, she spread her legs, once again exposing her lace-covered bottom. Then, just as quickly as she had lowered herself, she stood up, turned around, and smiled beautifully.

“You know, Nick, you’re such a bore. You just sit there and write and write and write. Come on. Say something. Do you ever answer your patients, or do you like to totally piss them off? If that was your intention, it worked. You win. I’m totally pissed off.”
 
 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Cauldron Presents: Merita King

Merita King is the mastermind behind a number of science fiction and fantasy novels that are currently available for purchase. So the cauldron asks that you take a moment and share with a fellow friend, you may find your next read.


Bygora Vandos ~ Sinclair V-Log LB734/A
Sam Sinclair didn’t usually play the role of detective.  His job was just to chase and catch a specific target and deliver them into the hands of the Inter Galactic Law Enforcement Agency, so when his boss offered him an undercover job, he was only too happy to accept.
Together with his new partner Ren, Sam begins the slow process of investigating the secluded and secretive Calmarin Research Station.  Although set up to apparently investigate the cause of dying trees in the locale, rumours run rife among the local people about what really goes on there.  What Sam and Ren discover after weeks of carefully working their way in, is one of the most terrible crimes against humanity that either of them have ever encountered and both vow to do their utmost to bring it to an end.
Sam finds many allies amongst the local people but with his cover blown and Ren taken prisoner, he no longer knows who can be trusted.  As the job reaches its explosive climax and the personal cost to Sam takes its toll, the shocking truth finally comes out.
About the author:
Merita King has loved the science fiction and fantasy genre in both books and movies since she was a young child.  She has been greatly inspired by years of watching movies and reading books and has wanted to make a contribution to this genre for many years.  Her stories all contain a spiritual thread as she believes that spirituality is universal and crosses all boundaries.  She believes that the creative process is largely intuitive and can be very effectively blocked by too much pre-planning.  “Plot lines, characters and events all come to me intuitively,” she says, “and this makes the act of writing a constant pleasure.”  She is a psychic medium and lives alone in Hampshire, UK.
 
 
Excerpt from Bygora Vandos – Sinclair V-Log LB734/A
Thirty minutes later I was kitted up and had received a huge welcome from Essy, involving lots of face licking and belly rubs and both of us were standing outside Spurrell’s office.  I raised my hand to knock but a thought raced through my mind and I looked at Essy.
“I need you to obey me without question tonight baby,” I sent her the thought and she looked up at me, her eyes focussed in that way I had come to recognise as understanding.  “I will ask you to do some things that are a little different from our normal work but I need you to trust me and obey.”  We locked eyes and I knew she understood and I breathed a sigh of relief as I knocked on Spurrell’s door.
“Come in Joss,” he said as he stepped aside.  “Thanks once again for coming in at such short notice.”
“No problem,” I replied.  “What’s the panic?  You said there was an accident?”
“Yes, one of our latest umm, patients went a bit crazy and injured a couple of our security guys.  It started a bit of a riot and we had to lock the place down to contain it.”
“Oh I see.  Are the guys okay?”
“Yeah, they’ll live.  They’re in the infirmary now.  It took several guys to hold the patient down so we could get some sedative into him.  He’s calm now.”
“Where would you like me to begin my patrol Sir?”
“If you go and relax for a while and maybe begin at eight?  Is that okay with you?”
“Of course Boss.”
“Thanks.  You’ll be starting with the patient’s cubicles tonight so report there for duty at eight okay?”
“Yes Sir,” I nodded and turned to leave, Essy at my heels as always.  I raced back to the staff accommodation and went into the same room I had used the week before.  First, I called Marlo and asked if Ren had got home okay.  His reply chilled me to the bone.
“He never arrived home Joss.  We’re worried sick.”
“Oh shit no,” I said as I remembered my conversation with Spurrell just minutes before.  “I think they have him prisoner here.  Oh fuck I have to get him out of here.”
“What can we do?”
“Get to the tunnels as quick as you can and wait for my call.  I’m going to call in the troops now, which will mean we have two hours until the shit hits the fan.”
“Okay, I’ll round everyone up and we’ll be there within the hour.  Be safe buddy.”
I then called the troops, gave them the details, and heard the siren going off in the background as I spoke with their commander.
“We’ll be with you in two hours Joss.  Just hold on.  We’ll have you both out of there, I promise.”
Another call to Kobey sent him into a panic, which did not surprise me knowing his obsession with schedules.  He rose to the occasion though and said he would do what he could with the guards he had on duty and promised the troops would not encounter any problems when they arrived.  The next two hours dragged by, the slowest two hours of my entire life and I spent every minute worrying for Ren.  Eventually I couldn’t stand it any longer and reported for duty fifteen minutes early.  Spurrell was in the patient cubicle when I arrived and smiled when he saw me enter.
“Hello there Joss, nice to see you eager for work tonight.  Come and meet the source of all our problems.”
I sent a thought to Essy as I walked to the end of the narrow corridor lined with patient cubicles.
“Be ready girl, watch my back.”  She slowed her pace a tiny bit and fell into line behind me.  I reached the cubicle at the end of the corridor and slowly turned to look through the glass partition wall.  He was hunched on the floor, one knee drawn up, his head resting in his hand.  Bloodied scraps of cloth dotted around the small cubicle explained why he was shirtless, the bruises already forming over his chest and shoulders telling me of a severe beating.
I leapt forward and banged on the glass.
“Ren, buddy.  What the fuck?  Why is he being held here?  He’s my friend, he works here.  I don’t understand.  What the fuck is going on?” I yelled at Spurrell, who took a step back from my angry onslaught.  I heard growls from behind me and turned to see Essy holding off an approaching lab guy who wielded a huge injector.  Instinct drove my hand to my tranquiliser pistol, hidden beneath my jacket and shot Spurrell at point blank range.  He was unconscious within twenty seconds and I turned back to see how Essy was doing.  The lab guy was retreating towards the door at the far end.  He didn’t make it; the sedative dart ensuring he was out cold before he was halfway there.  I turned back to Ren, who was almost unconscious in his prison.
“I’ll be back for you buddy, I promise.”  I called Essy and together, we raced out into the corridor.
 
 
LINKS
Where to purchase Bygora Vandos.
For paperbacks.
For E-books
Contact Merita
Merita King’s website – http://www.meritaking.com
Merita King on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/MeritaKingNovelist
Merita King on Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/MeritaKing