Magic and Murder Among the Dwarves by Erick Bundy Blog Tour

Magic & Murder Banner

Title: Murder and Magic Among the Dwarves
Author: Erik Bundy
Genre: Paranormal Mystery
Publisher: Untold Press
Tour Host: Lady Amber’s Tours

My thoughts:

LOVE this book! Great mystery, a lot of humor and fantastic characters.

Definitely recommend to any lover of fantasy or paranormal.

M&MADBlurb:
Amanda is used to living a life that is less than ordinary. Haunted nightly by her late husband, she is a psychic living next door to a colony of dwarves. Despite males normally taking on the task, the colony’s females ask her to find a lost baby for them, and then hire her to tell them who strangled their midwife with a diaper and cut out her gossiping tongue.
She’s thrilled at the honor, but Amanda must learn to tame her own unruly psychic power. The shadowy side of her gift raises a demon that attacks her, stalks her, and slashes her hand. When she feels something live wriggle in her wound, she knows no one can fight her battle for her. She must face her demon alone.
The town’s sheriff asks Amanda to help him solve the disappearance of a missing teenage girl. Her involvement in this case brings a predator into her life, an enemy who allies himself with her demon. To make matters worse, the midwife’s murderer comes after her, too. Amanda, though, has no intention of becoming anyone’s victim.
Death is no longer her worst possible fate.

Author Bio:
Erik Bundy lives in the magical North Carolina woods where chocolate is a semi-sweet vegetable, female chipmunks are called chipnuns, and mice claiming to be cousins move in for the winter then take the bath towels when they leave in spring. The federal government pays him not to work in one of their offices. He is a graduate of the Odyssey Fantasy Writing Workshop and a grand prize winner of the Sidney Lanier Poetry Competition. He has published more than thirty stories and poems.

Connect with Erik:

[Webpage][Twitter][Goodreads]

Links:
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Magic-Murder-Among-Dwarves-Bundy-ebook/dp/B00J0NMFRE
Amazon Smart Url: http://bookShow.me/B00J0NMFRE
Goodreads- book link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20930528-magic-and-murder-among-the-dwarves
Book Trailer:
You tube link: http://youtu.be/UObdj_79Ssw

Embed code:

Excerpt:

Fate didn’t announce itself by rapping its hard-luck knuckles against my green cottage door. Nor did it bother to crawl in through my cranked-open bathroom window. So I gave it no more attention than I did the mountain air I breathed every day. That was my downfall, my sin. Fate might forgive greed, gluttony, or even bloodlust, but it never ignores being ignored. It punished my neglect with death and a demon. It yoked guilt like a leprous shadow to my heels.
Fate’s wakeup call came to me one cool spring night after I had lived on Crying Woman Lane for about a year. I was in bed, just skirting along the edge of sleep, when a guttural, female voice called, “Amanda,” through my window screen.
My bedside clock, instead of displaying numbers, looked back at me with a luminous green eye. Startled, I watched it, waiting to see if this obvious sign would make its meaning known. The eye winked, and the clock became normal again with the numbers 11:02 brightly displayed. The numbers added up to four, the number of wholeness. It didn’t describe me at the moment.
Fully awake, I rose up on one elbow, tucked a tuft of hair behind my right ear, and listened. Beyond my open window, the tidal racket of katydids rose and fell with the shrill anguish of self-centered insects braying for sex. I stayed quiet, hoping the female would go away but knowing I shouldn’t let her leave. The sign indicated this meeting was important. On the other hand, my body felt raw and jangled with a restless need for sleep. She could come back.
A second time she called my name from the tangle of darkness and moonlight in the woods. At least it was not a ghost’s voice. It had breath in it. The throaty intonation, though, was not quite human, the vowels veined in iron, the consonants ancient and startling.
“Not tonight,” I yelled back.
“Now,” the female insisted.
I punched my pillow. My eyes felt dry as dust, gritty, and probably looked as though threaded with varicose veins. One consolation was that they paid in gold, and come flood or parching drought, I was going to make them pay me a bucketful of nuggets this time.
Peevish as a cat sprayed with a garden hose, I delayed getting up and wished mouth sores on the jolly, jowly realtor who had sold me this cottage a year before.
Handing me two sets of door keys, he had said, “There’s one other little thing you might want to know.” His blue eyes twinkled. “Most of your neighbors are a bit peculiar. They live in a colony and only come above ground after dark.”
I knew about dwarves, of course. Everybody did, but I hadn’t known my newly bought property bordered the treaty land of one of their colonies. The realtor had lied by saying nothing. He had conned me, a young widow, and deserved the ulcerated mouth I wished on him now.
When the realtor saw his late disclosure angered but didn’t alarm me, he threw his head back and yodeled laughter at a ceiling fan.
“They’re allergic to sunlight, see.” His eyes widened with mock delight. “It paralyzes them, turns them into granite statues.” He held up an open hand. “Scout’s honor, petrifaction is their preferred method of suicide. It’s painless, see. It’s clean and saves their families the cost of a funeral pyre.”
He patted my arm as if to let me know I didn’t need to thank him for the favor of his settling me near these considerate suicides. Not amused, I flinched away from his presumptive familiarity. Sourwood was a valley village isolated by mountains, a place where everyone bumped into everyone else often. He and I would meet again.
“Don’t expect a Christmas card from me,” I told him and punched his forearm.
All the same, the realtor had been wrong, and I took childish satisfaction in that. Tall Tristan, he with the precious green eyes, and my closest human neighbor, had put the lie to that tale. The suicidal dwarves didn’t turn themselves into fossils to save their heirs the price of a funeral pyre. No, they did it for revenge.
They bequeathed a monumental problem to their daughters and sons. Where do you put Uncle Steen after he has become a statue of himself? The irascible Uncle Steens of the colony usually committed suicide because they felt unwanted and ignored. On their granite faces after death were the smirks of those who knew they now had their kinfolks’ full attention, even if only for long enough to find permanent storage for them.
So why would a female dwarf come calling on me? Did she want to use my psychic power, my oddsense, to find another killer? I had already solved two dwarf murders for Brialdur, the colony’s sheriff. He had been considerate enough, though, to come calling just after sunset while I was still awake.
A chesty cough for attention outside curtailed my reverie of resentment. I was not being neighborly. I glanced at the clock and saw only the time, no eye or other sign. Oh well, you couldn’t ignore a dwarf any more than you could the constant flush of a stuck toilet.
I slipped out of my canopied bed and slid into a fuzzy white robe that fit my body like a sock. The dwarf outside knew I had gotten out of bed. She could hear a spider tickle along its web toward a struggling fly.
I baby-stepped through my dark living-room so as not to stub my toes against furniture, wrenched open the cottage’s reluctant front door, and strutted outside onto the moonlit porch. There I knuckled my fists into my hips and stood balanced on both feet, my back straight, posed as if to wrestle any half-quart boogeyman that dared show up. I was a modern young woman, fearless and capable (with mace spray in my robe’s right pocket), and I didn’t care who knew it. Attitude was everything when dealing with dwarves.

Chasing the Green Fairy Blog Tour

Green FairyTitle: Chasing the Green Fairy

Author: Melanie Karsak

Genre: Adult Steampunk

Blitz Host: Lady Amber’s Tours

Novel Description:

Chasing the Green Fairy
The Airship Racing Chronicles Book II

A sabotaged airship.

A recovering opium addict.

A messenger with life-shattering news.

With the 1824 British airship qualifying race only weeks away, Lily Stargazer is at the top of her game. She’s racing like a pro, truly in love, and living clean. But on one ill-omened day, everything changes.

Pulled head-long into the ancient secrets of the realm, Lily soon finds herself embroiled in Celtic mysteries and fairy lore. And she’s not quite sure how she got there, or even if she wants to be involved. But Lily soon finds herself chasing the spirit of the realm while putting her own ghosts to rest. And only accepting the truth–about her heart and her country–can save her.

Author Bio:

Melanie Karsak grew up in rural northwestern Pennsylvania where there wasn’t much to do but read books and go for hikes. She wrote her first novel, a gripping piece about a 1920s stage actress, when she was 12. Today, Melanie, a steampunk connoisseur, white elephant collector, and caffeine junkie, lives in Florida with her husband and two children. She is an Instructor of English at Eastern Florida State College.

Keep in touch with the author online. She’s really nice!

Blog: http://melaniekarsak.blogspot.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MelanieKarsak

Email: melanie@clockpunkpress.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorMelanieKarsak

Authorgraph: http://www.authorgraph.com/authors/MelanieKarsak

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/melaniekarsak/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6539577.Melanie_Karsak

Chapter 1:

A chartreuse-colored leaf fluttered down onto the wheel of the Stargazer. It was early morning. The mist covering the surface of the Thames reflected the rosy sunrise. Yawning, I reached out to brush it away only find it was not a leaf at all. Carefully, I balanced the fragile creature on the tip of my finger.

“Mornin’, Lil. Hey, what’s that?” Jessup called as he bounced onto the deck of the Stargazer.

Angus was cursing as he cranked out the repair platform below the ship. We were preparing for our morning practice run to Edinburgh.

“A luna moth,” I replied.

“I thought maybe you’d finally caught the green fairy,” Jessup joked as he climbed into the burner basket.

I grinned. The moth’s green wings, dotted with yellowish eyes, wagged slowly up and down. It was beautiful, but it was dying. “My mother once told me that they are fey things, that they live in the other realm until it’s their time to die. Then, they come to humans.”

“Why?” Jessup asked as he adjusted the valves. Orange flame sparked to life.

“She said that even enchanted things want to be truly loved at least once.”

“Don’t we all?” he replied with a laugh.

A harsh wind blew across the Thames, clearing the morning mist. It snatched the delicate creature from my hands. I tried to catch it, but the breeze pulled it from me even as it was dying. I lost it to the wind.

I sighed heavily as I picked up my tools then bounded over the side of the ship to the repair platform. I pulled out a dolly and rolled under, joining Angus who had fallen remarkably silent. The moment I saw the gear assembly on the Stargazer, I understood why.

“What the hell?” I whispered.

“Aye, lassie.”

“Jessup!” I shouted. “Get the tower guards down here!”

“What’s wrong?” Jessup called.

“The Stargazer has been sabotaged!”

I stared at the mangled gears. From the saw marks on the gear assembly to the metal shrapnel blown around the galley, it was clear what had happened. I felt like someone had punched me in the gut.

Seconds later I heard Jessup’s boots hit the platform and the sound of him running toward the guard station.

“They removed Sal’s torque mechanism. Sawed the bloody thing right off,” Angus said angrily.

“But . . . who?” I stammered.

“The Dilettanti?” Angus offered as he strained to examine the rest of the assembly.

“No,” I said as I touched the saw marks. The rough metal cut my finger. “That business is finished. Byron saw to that.” I stuck my bloodied finger in my mouth. The salty taste of blood mixed with the tang of gear grease.

“Then who?”

“Someone who didn’t want us to race in the qualifying. Someone who wanted to learn what had us running so fast.”

We were less than a month out from the British qualifying. While there were other good race teams in the realm, no one raced better than us. After all, we were the champions of the 1823 World Grand Prix. My stunt in Paris had brought us heaps of acclaim, but not all our British competitors were impressed. Envy had set in.

“Grant?” Angus suggested.

Julius Grant, whose team was sponsored by Westminster Gas Light, was our greatest competition at home. He hated us. He was annoyed that we were sponsored by Byron, annoyed that I was female, and annoyed that we were faster than him. Grant was the most likely suspect. But he was not the only one. “Almost too obvious. What about Lord D?” I wondered aloud.

“He’d love to, but he doesn’t have the stones,” Angus replied. “Might be someone who doesn’t want us in the Prix. If they take us out during qualifying, we aren’t a threat abroad.”

“That means it could be anyone.”

“Hell, maybe one of Byron’s lovers took a stab at you.”

“But I’m not even romantically involved with him anymore.”

“The rest of the world doesn’t know that.”

I rolled out from under the ship. Leaning against the Stargazer, I wiped my hands. The cut stung as grease mingled with the open wound. I wanted to either beat someone to death or cry. I wasn’t sure which. Maybe both.

Angus joined me.

“Can we get it fixed in time?” I asked him.

He wiped sweat from his bald head as he thought. “It’ll be close. I’ll need Sal’s help.”

“You? Need Sal?”

“Aye, lassie.”

“He’s busy getting the factory ready, but he’ll come.”

Jessup returned with Edwin, the stationmaster, and Reggie, one of the guards.

“Where the hell were your people last night?” Angus demanded of Edwin. We’d known Edwin for a long time, and we trusted the guards in London. Something wasn’t right.

As Angus and Edwin discussed, a terrible ache rocked my stomach. I set my hand on the side of the Stargazer. Her honey-colored timbers shone in the sunlight. Just as sleek and beautiful as she was the first time I laid eyes on her, she was my pride and joy. My ship. My love. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath.

“What do you think, Lil?” Jessup asked.

Clearly, I’d missed something. “Pardon?”

“Edwin suggested we post a private guard,” Jessup explained.

I nodded. “We’ll sort it out.”

“Lily, I’m so sorry. Someone must have sneaked past us. I can’t believe it,” Edwin said. His clear blue eyes were brimming with tears.

I set my hand on his shoulder. “Who was stationed on this end last night?”

“Morton.”

I sighed. I wasn’t one to point fingers, but that explained it. “Was he still drunk when he went home this morning?” I asked Reggie.

Reggie shifted uncomfortably as Edwin turned to look at him. “He was,” Reggie answered after a moment.

“That lazy, rummy bloke. I’ll kill him! I’ll kill him!” Edwin shouted, and in an angry huff, stomped back down the platform.

“Sorry, Lily. Angus. Jessup. I won’t take my eyes off her,” Reggie said sadly then went to take a post near the Stargazer.

“We’ll sleep on the ship until we get a guard on board,” I told Angus and Jessup who nodded in agreement.

“A guard . . . but who can we trust?” Jessup asked.

“The Stargazer is family. We need family to keep her safe,” Angus replied then looked at me.

“You mean . . . Duncan?” About three years earlier, I’d been, albeit briefly, in a relationship with Angus’ older brother Duncan. While I’d fallen for Duncan the moment I’d laid eyes on him, we were not suited for one another. Back then, I wasn’t ready to give up Byron or anything else.

Angus shrugged. “I suppose he’s over you by now.”

“That’s all well and good,” Jessup spat, “but we need someone to look into this! Someone needs to be held accountable! We should send for the Bow Street boys.”

Angus shook his head. “Only if we want everyone in London to know.”

“Well, we need to do something!” Jessup protested.

“Let’s keep it quiet. I’ll talk to Phineas,” I replied.

Jessup nodded eagerly. “Yeah. Good idea.”

Angus frowned. “Are you sure about that?”

Phineas and I had a convoluted opiate history, but as Angus knew well, I’d been keeping my habits in check. “It’ll be fine. I’ll check in with Phin, go get Sal, and come back. We can head out to the league meeting together.”

“If Grant looks even a wee bit guilty, I’m going to squeeze his neck,” Angus cursed.

“If he looks guilty, I’ll help you,” I replied. I set my hand on the Stargazer. It was so painful to see something you loved damaged.

“It’ll be all right, Lil,” Jessup said trying to comfort me. “We’ll get her fixed.”

I smiled weakly at Jessup then turned to leave. I knew he was right, but it didn’t make me feel any better.