Amethyst by Jesse Nolan Bailey

Today I’m featuring an excerpt from Amethyst by Jesse Nolan Bailey as part of a blog tour from the team at Storytellers on Tour. To see what the rest of the roadies are posting, you can find their links HERE.

Amethyst cover

Synopsis –

Rashell’s brother has vanished. When the local villagers express no concern, she enlists the help of a stranger from a faraway city to find Teth.

Investigator Derrik discovers the people worship a massive stone known as the Amethyst. Even more bizarre, an ancient relic of a mummy fuels their reverence.

Given limited time, Rashell and Derrik confront these mysterious elements at play, all the while striving to uncover what happened to Rashell’s brother.

Chapter 1

Rashell held her breath while the hushed forest begged for silence. She waited, just as the forest waited, wondering if the distant sound from moments earlier had been a cruel trick of the mind. She’d stepped out of the cottage, unbothered at such a late hour to exchange her nightgown for daylight attire, or her bandana for one of her wigs. Most likely, the sound had only been a phantom—a side effect of restless sleep.
Fresh screams lacerated the air, stripping the silence with wild agony.
Rashell startled as the cries swept across the rolling hills and sunk to a disgraced murmur at the tree line. More panicked and crazed screams followed. Flashes of violet light illuminated in perfect synch with the sounds, blooming in the distance beyond the branches. Her eyes trailed after the haze of color. It bled out from the nearest house of the fields, positioned atop a hill. The grand display of color banished the darkness for mere seconds, like flashes of lightning. The screams were its thunder.
Rashell sprinted. The cries continued, and she swore they quickened and intensified the faster she ran. She breached the tree line within a dozen strides and her feet adjusted to the changed terrain of packed dirt. Her heartbeat pounded in her ears, adding organic drums to accompany the pained shrieks
dragging across the night air. The house grew closer. The purple beams leaked out of its windows, streaking between the tall crops. Rashell entered the light’s reign, and skidded to a stop outside the house. Darkness overtook the night again for the briefest moment, only to relent again to a blaze of purple flashes from the house’s windows. More cries punctured the air. Rashell squinted and tentatively made her way to the window’s ledge to peer in.
She knew what she’d see. She knew what the flashes and screams meant. But she’d never personally witnessed the trial by purge. It had never occurred during her residence.
She only stood in the window long enough to soak in the scene. As expected, the house’s rustic interior featured minimal and plain decor—quilted rugs, stitched curtains, and the such that warmed the otherwise bland kitchen and connected hallways. A few candles lit the space.
The figures gathered in the kitchen captured Rashell’s attention. She instantly recognized the residents of the house, as well as their obvious guest. Uthar, the patriarch of the house, and his wife Terra stood in a tight embrace. They stared with wide eyes at the scene unfolding within the confines of their home.
Rashell bristled at the sight of The Village Head, Keer, looming over the couple’s eating table. Bundled in a thick, unblemished white cloak that contrasted the dark shadows, he held an exquisite staff outstretched above the table. Candlelight reflected off the staff’s slender, metal frame.
Someone unfamiliar to Rashell lay prostrate across the table. Realization snaked through her mind within seconds, just before a bright flash erupted from the head of the staff, choking out the darkness in an explosion of purple light. Rashell leapt from the window over to the adjacent door, not waiting for the screams. By the time she burst through the door, the stranger’s cries from the table echoed through her ears once again, and she witnessed one last flash as she broke upon the scene. The sound of the door opening broke the stares of Uthar and Terra, who startled at Rashell’s entrance.
“What are you doing here?” Uthar asked with indignation. A moan broke from the table. “What’s happening here?” Rashell demanded. She kept her tone level, hoping it would deescalate the tension of the room. Accusation wouldn’t get her far with this audience.
“Don’t act naïve, Rashell,” said Uthar. “It’s not flattering.”
“Do you even know this stranger’s name?” she asked. “Did you try conversing, or did you go immediately to purging?”
Uthar scoffed. “He was blabbering like a madman, which was enough reason to summon Keer.”
Rashell shifted her attention to the Village Head, who had not turned around at her intrusion. Keer’s cloak defied the darkness, startling to behold without a single blemish. He had propped his staff against his side, head declined as he silently stared down at the traumatized stranger on the table.
“What did this man say, Keer?” Rashell asked.
The question finally stirred the man to turn and bestow her an even, calm expression. Cleanly shaven hair, raked to the scalp, and a well-trimmed goatee evoked a pious and vain allure. Keer was surprisedly handsome, even as he donned the wrinkles of prime age and past the years of typical courtship. Yet these features became lost in the abrasions and scars traveling across his skin in chaotic patterns. The dancing shadows from the candlelight conjured a motion that made his wilted skin appear to writhe with unnatural life.
“As Uthar so crudely stated,” Keer murmured, “the man spoke of blasphemous things.” She swallowed to ensure her voice didn’t crack. “Surely, he said nothing so terrible to provoke this treatment.”
“You twist your words.” Keer said slowly. “This is not a punishment, but liberation. We are cleansing him of outside taint.”
His voice sent a chill down Rashell’s spine. Something in his tone always set her on edge. Perhaps it was the articulated way he pronounced words or the hint of sanctimonious conceit. Most in the village either buckled in the man’s presence or worshipped his dung-stained boots. Rashell saw him for what he was—a man with a dangerous ability to manipulate. At times, she wondered if Keer was even aware of his innate ability to sway others.
“Strangers are given a choice,” Rashell said firmly. “To turn back, or endure this trial of purification. Did you give this man that choice?” She noticed Terra’s expression twist with conviction, but the men’s faces remained stern. No one answered, which only confirmed Rashell’s suspicions. As an immigrant to the area herself, she knew what outsiders thought of the village. No one dared breach the wall that guarded the land, and whispers of the village’s purification rites joined the pool of rumors cultivated by Keer’s intolerance of outsiders. No one would willingly choose purification—not this kind. Or at least not with
“This man was crazed!” Uthar insisted as he broke the silence and pointed to the stranger. “If you’d heard the things he said—”
“I asked you about that,” Rashell interrupted. She cocked her eyebrows at Uthar and glanced around the room at each of them.
“He claimed to have been summoned here,” said Uthar. “We know that isn’t true. He’s a bad omen. Maybe even the culprit behind the graveyard thefts.”
Keer’s hand shot up, and a tense silence fell across the room again. All eyes latched onto the Village Head as he bestowed a curt glare to Uthar. He put down his hand and turned his heated gaze to Rashell. A lump formed in her throat, but she swallowed it. She refused to be intimidated. Keer opened his mouth to speak, but she spoke first.
“By law, the man is now protected,” Rashell stated. “You’ve robbed him of the chance to refuse our rituals, and you’ve mistreated him just to satiate your own appetite for power. Our people now owe him a debt.” The tension of the room inflamed, but she pressed on. “If you’d simply taken him into the village until morning, I would have been able to clear up any confusion. It was I that summoned him here.”
Shock visibly spread through her audience. Keer’s eyes grew so wide she thought they’d burst. Uthar and Terra simply stared at her as if she’d grown horns and a pair of wings.
“Why in the Oracle’s good graces would you do that?” Keer asked, his hands curling tight around the staff.
“My brother has been missing for over a week, and you’ve done nothing!” Rashell shouted, no longer able to maintain a civil tone. “He didn’t just wander off like you’ve insisted. Nobody leaves this village without you knowing, and yet, you have no answer as to his whereabouts. So, I’ve brought help from outside. Maybe this man can find one of your flock, Keer.”
“You should have consulted me before committing this atrocity,” said Keer. “You’ve brought taint into our homes and you’ve doomed us with your naivety.”
“Stop acting like this stranger is a fungus,” Rashell snapped. “Maybe if you help us find Teth, he won’t be here for long. Regardless, he’s here to find my brother, and I don’t need your approval.”
Keer raised his chin. “If you do this, he is your responsibility. If he commits any crime, it will be on your head.”
Rashell straightened, squaring her shoulders. “I accept any consequence of his stay.”
“Watch yourself, Rashell,” Keer warned. “You know better than to meddle where you don’t belong. I will permit this arrangement, as I have no wish to abolish any laws that our village has acknowledged since its inception. We failed to give this man his choice.” He held up his index finger, a foreboding pinnacle. “One week. At one week, he will be asked to leave or else endure his purification.”

Get your own copy to see what happens next – Book Funnel

Jesse Nolan Bailey author photoAbout the author – Enthralled by the magic that written stories contain, Jesse Nolan Bailey has always wanted to be an author. With his debut novel, THE JEALOUSY OF JALICE, and his shorter fiction, AMETHYST, released to the masses, he can now claim such title with relief. He lives in Durham, North Carolina, where he has embraced the equally-gratifying lifework of hosting a trio of spoiled cats and two mini-aussies.


Website:  Twitter: Facebook: Instagram: Goodreads:

Amethyst blogger schedule


A Season of Whispers by Jackson Kuhl

Welcome to my stop on the A Season of Whispers blog tour, brought to the world by the team at Storytellers On Tour. The creepy factor was high in this one, so it was perfect to read over Halloween.

A season of Whispers by Jackson KhulSynopsis – In the summer of 1844, Tom Lyman flees to Bonaventure, a transcendentalist farming cooperative tucked away in eastern Connecticut, to hide from his past. There Lyman must adjust to a new life among idealists, under the fatherly eye of the group’s founder, David Grosvenor. When he isn’t ducking work or the questions of the eccentric residents, Lyman occupies himself by courting Grosvenor’s daughter Minerva.

But Bonaventure isn’t as utopian as it seems. One by one, Lyman’s secrets begin to catch up with him, and Bonaventure has a few secrets of its own. Why did the farm have an ominous reputation long before Grosvenor bought it? What caused the previous tenants to vanish? And who is playing the violin in the basement? Time is running out, and Lyman must discover the truth before he’s driven mad by the whispering through the walls.

A Season of Whispers is a supernatural gothic horror novella coming in at 130 pages. On each page Kuhl paints a vivid description, pulling us into the story, setting the scene and ramping up the overwhelming feeling of impending horror. From the lush setting, to the exquisite characters, every part of A Season of Whispers is exactly how it should be. I loved the way the characters spoke and interacted, I could see them like I was watching a movie.

The story and time lines are weaved together in such a way that you have to keep your wits about you while reading. The writing is clever and I often felt like I wasn’t the exact reader needed for the book. Not because I didn’t enjoy it, but because I think there is a lot more to get out of the book then I was able to get. It flowed well, with each character fully fleshed out with their own voice.  It was a great read, which I think many are going to love.

Released: 8th October 2020  –  Publisher: Aurelio Leo  –  Amazon

A season of Whispers authorAuthor Bio – Jackson Kuhl is the author of the Gothic novel A SEASON OF WHISPERS and the Revolutionary War biography SAMUEL SMEDLEY, CONNECTICUT PRIVATEER. Kuhl has written for Atlas Obscura, Connecticut Magazine, the Hartford Courant, National Geographic News, Reason, and other publications. He lives in coastal Connecticut.  You can find Jackson on Twitter  –  Website  – Instagram

A season of whispers publiaherAbout the publisher – Established in 2016, AURELIA LEO is an independent publisher and bookseller. Located in Louisville, Kentucky, we specialize in diverse speculative fiction, namely: horror, science fiction, and fantasy. Our flagship titles are Helios Quarterly MagazineSelene Quarterly Magazine, and Invictus: Quarterly Comics and Illustrations.

Grave Reflection by A. Lawrence

To celebrate Halloween eve (is that a thing?) I’m participating in a blog tour brought to you by the team at Storytellers On Tour.

Grave Reflection is a fun, creepy, inclusive read. Lots of ghosts, beautiful friendships and a town on the brink of mayhem.

Grave Reflections by A. LawrenceSynopsis- Another Friday night, another trip through a potentially haunted house. Shay’s not a believer, but she’s willing to help her best friend, Max, with their amateur ghost hunting show. Little does she know she is about to be thrown into a world of witches and dangerous spirits.
With newly discovered abilities, Shay finds that she can both see and touch spirits. The downside is, the ghosts can touch her back, and it seems that they’ll do anything to get a hold of her.
She was never much of a ghost hunter. How will she do when she is the one being hunted? Continue reading “Grave Reflection by A. Lawrence”

A Ritual of Bone by Lee C. Conley

Blog Tour

It’s time for my stop on the latest blog tour from the team at Storytellers On Tour. Make sure you check in with the rest of the tour as there are some amazing posts so far, including a guest post by Lee.  

A Ritual of Bone is the first book in The Dead Sagas, and let me tell you it was a rip roaring first entry. Long since forgotten magic, warlords, plague and the undead, this story has it all. Plus book 2, A Ritual of Flesh, has just been released as well, so no waiting to find out what happens next.

A Ritual of Bone by Lee C. ConleySynopsis – Arnar is a land of warriors, its people as stalwart as the stones themselves. In a land of dark forests and ancient hill forts, a forgotten evil is awoken by curious minds.

The Great Histories and the Sagas say nothing of this evil, long passed from the memory of even the studious scholars of the College. For centuries, the scholars of Arnar have kept these records and preserved the knowledge and great deeds of a proud people. The story of these peoples forever chronicled in the Sagas of the Great Histories.

But now the evil spreads and the dead walk in its wake, terrible creatures roam the night and even the spirits are restless. The Dead Sagas could perhaps be the final chapters of these great records.

Many threads entwine to tell this Saga, interweaving the tales of those who played their part in the search for answers and ultimately their fight for survival. Amid plague, invasion and terror, the inexorable rise of the dead sends a kingdom scrabbling to its knees.

A Ritual of bone is told from multiple pov, each in a different part of Arnar, each experiencing a different sort of horror and as the story progresses you can see how the characters are going to intertwine. I think Lee has done an awesome job of building the world through these characters. He is able to build the atmosphere and the lay of the land, all the while giving you an in depth look into who these people are as a society. He builds the story and world up, layer upon layer until you feel like you can see the story play out in your head. (That’s rare for me.)

Lee manages to create this overwhelming feeling of impending doom. The atmosphere is oppressive and at times claustrophobic. Every time you think it couldn’t get worse for the characters, it does. There are so many different types of horrors occurring throughout that you never get a break. I loved that he took my zombie expectations and turned it on it’s head. He doesn’t shy away from going full horror. Gore, chaos, psychological mayhem, this story has it all.

“She had murdered them. She watched as they fell lifeless to the floor. Her instincts torn asunder, her children, who looked to her for protection, for love, betrayed. Killed by her own hands. She had eaten them. Trapped watching, screaming in her mind, trapped in a living nightmare, watching it all unfold. Her love, replaced with a terrible rage as her spiralling descent into madness consumed all that she was.” 

Because we are following so many characters, we get to watch the onset of each catastrophe. We watch through the eyes of the Apprentice as obscene rituals are performed in the name of learning. We follow the soldiers as the undead make their way through the land. We see the plague set foot in Arnar for the first time, with people bleeding from every orifice and dying in the streets. While I did initially have an issue with the amount of pov’s, once I found my reading rhythm I was able to follow along easily. Not every pov is given the same amount of page time and I found a couple of those not introduced until later becoming my favourites, so I will definitely be picking up book 2 to see how everything is going to play out. This book has such a build up that you just know that the carnage in A Ritual of Flesh is going to be crazy. 

The book seems to have heavy Norse influences, especially with the way the communities away from the cities live and the fighting styles and weapons. The battles were very well written. I liked the way the soldiers interacted with each other. The way the soldiers were developed was great. 

I went into A Ritual of Bone expecting a zombie story, I got so much more.

Goodreads  –  Amazon

lee-c-conley-2Author bio – Lee is a musician and writer in Lincolnshire, UK. He lives with his wife Laura and daughters Luna and Anya in the historic cathedral city of Lincoln. Alongside a lifetime of playing guitar and immersing himself in the study of music and history, Lee is also a practitioner and instructor of historic martial arts and swordsmanship. After writing his advanced guitar theory textbook The Guitar Teachers Grimoire, Lee turns his hand to writing fiction. Lee is one of the founders of Bard of the Isles literary magazine and is now also studying a degree in creative writing while working on his debut fantasy series The Dead Sagas, which includes the novels A Ritual of Bone and A Ritual of Flesh, as well as also generally writing speculative fiction and horror.

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A ritual of bone schedule

Don’t forget A Ritual of Flesh is out now  – Amazon

I’m posting the synopsis for it below, so if you want to avoid possible spoilers for A Ritual of Bone, stop now…

A ritual of flesh by Lee C. ConleyAs evil ravages the north and the dead walk, all eyes fall to Arn… The apprentice journeys south, home to the College, unaware of the dark events that transpired in the High Passes after his departure. His leg in ruins, and haunted by watching shadows, the College council in Arn awaits him, but he does not travel south alone.
Arnulf and his warriors must travel to Arn also, with tidings for the king of the risen dead and the terrible curse which has destroyed all that he knew. Arnulf seeks vengeance upon the College, but must choose wisely if he is to save his son.
Meanwhile in the west, Bjorn and his strange Wildman companion report back to High Lord Archeon at Oldstones with grim news of cannibal Stonemen encroaching from the Barrens, but is embroiled in news of war and invasion as Archeon requests his service once more.
In the capital sickness awaits them all, Nym has fled to the city and must now continue her struggle for survival on the plague ridden streets of Arn, keeping all who she cares for safe from the halls of Old Night.

The many threads of this Saga converge on the city of Arn, but amid plague, invasion and terror, a greater darkness is looming. Dark forces are seeking to unleash evil upon Arnar, honour and renown is all, and sword, axe and shield is all that stands between the living and the grasping hands of the dead.


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Cover Reveal

A Ritual of Flesh by Lee C. Conley

Welcome all to my second ever cover reveal. Once again brought to the world by the lovely ladies at Storytellers On Tour. This cover is really cool, it has wicked art, it’s creepy and gives off a “Maxine you should read this series” vibe.

A ritual of flesh my made pic

How insanely rotten do those faces look!!! Also, I’m getting series Hemsworth vibes from the hero. The art is by Andrey Vasilchenko who I checked out, the work is amazing, definitely worth a squizz. The art cover design and layout was by Lee C. Conley a man of many talents. Continue reading “Cover Reveal”

Hollow Road by Dan Fitzgerald

Brought to us by the kickass ladies at Storytellers on Tour, I have another book to bring to your attention. Yay for blog tours and all the new authors and books they are introducing me to.

Hollow Road by Dan Fitzgerald is available for your reading pleasure on the 17th September, an adult fantasy coming in at 243 pages. You can check it out on Goodreads  –  Amazon Continue reading “Hollow Road by Dan Fitzgerald”

Cover Reveal – Shadow Debt by William Ray

Welcome to the cover reveal of Shadow Debt by William Ray, book 3 in the Tale of the Verin Empire series. Hosted by the team at Storytellers on Tour.


Cover art and design: Ramona Marc: (

SynopsisGlynn Sorley is sheriff of Keat’s Field, a tiny settlement in an otherwise lawless frontier. With the discovery of diamonds, her town is flooded with fortune-hunters looking to strike it rich. It’s also a target for competing colonial powers, savage goblin tribes, and outlaws. 

A rustler on the run from the law stumbles across his father’s mysterious legacy – a weapon of immense magical power. He uses it to ravage across the territory as the notorious outlaw Gentleman Jim. 

But the weapon’s power comes at a terrible cost, and Keat’s Field may just have to pay the price…

This third Tale of the Verin Empire returns us to the world of Gedlund and The Great Restoration. It explores a frontier trapped between competing nations, where goblins reign and a lone sheriff fights to keep the peace.

Continue reading “Cover Reveal – Shadow Debt by William Ray”

I, Exile by David Samuels

Synopsis – Exiled into a wasteland because of a heist gone wrong, Emelith vows to hunt down the one responsible. Except not all is what it seems in the haunted realm of the Cauldron.

Continue reading “I, Exile by David Samuels”