Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Light From the Grave Guest Post #GayBookPromotions


Book Title: Light from the Grave

Author: Sara Dobie Bauer

Publisher: Carnation Books 

Cover Artist: Natasha Snow Designs

Release Date: October 24, 2023

Genres: Paranormal M/M romance 

Tropes: witches, anti-hero, age gap

Themes: grief, mental health, redemption, family

Heat Rating: 2 flames

Length: 94 000 words/374 pages

It is a standalone book and does not end on a cliffhanger.


Buy Links - Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

I’m what nightmares are made of, but I’m not sure who’s more dangerous: him or me.


In the world of witches, Keller Rex is a legendary monster—a dark sorcerer with a gift for suffering. He has long been the protector of the Zayne coven and their ancestral home in Charleston, South Carolina. When the family matriarch, Vivian Zayne, dies under mysterious circumstances, he is tasked with finding the only person who can open her sealed Book of Shadows: the son no one knew she had.

Dylan Quinn has never bothered to figure out why cats follow him everywhere, but it’s been that way for as long as he can remember. After the unexpected passing of his adoptive mother, he had to make a new home for himself in small-town Ohio. Things have been quiet ever since, but lately, there are strange voices in his dreams and a sense of being watched.

When a striking Southern gent appears in town, Dylan welcomes the distraction. Keller is handsome and charming, but Dylan can tell there’s something else, something eerie about him. And he discovers he's right, as Keller goes from being Dylan’s seducer… to his abductor.

Now back in Charleston, Dylan’s newfound family is shocked when it’s discovered his magical affinity is for death itself. Despite his fears, he’ll need to learn to control his terrifying powers in order to open the Zayne Book of Shadows. He also needs to keep his coven safe, and time is running out. The estate's protective wards expire on Halloween, and power-hungry witches from all over are ready to pounce.

While Dylan’s awakening darkness threatens to overwhelm him, Keller finds himself confronted by feelings he thought long dead. Keller will do anything to protect his young necromancer and open Vivian’s Book of Shadows, but the Zaynes are in for a surprise when Dylan resurrects someone he shouldn’t.


Dylan stood by his kitchen island drinking a glass of water and froze at the sudden arrival in his home. Keller moved with inhuman speed. He appeared right in front of Dylan, who gasped and dropped his glass, which shattered on the wooden floor at their feet. Taking hold of Dylan’s shirt, Keller shoved the smaller man against the fridge.

“What are you?”

Dylan’s chin trembled. “What?”

Keller clenched his teeth. “What are you?”

“I-I don’t understand, but I’d really like you to leave please.”

Keller let go of Dylan. He chuckled and paced halfway across the small apartment and back. He was tired of playing games, tired of trying to work his magic on someone who seemed impervious to his influence, so Keller chose truth. “Your family is waiting,” he said. “Long story short: your biological mother is dead. She was a bitch who won’t be missed, and there is no time to spare. Several lives depend on you, so we need to go. Now.”

“What the fuck, man?” His words shook. “I don’t know who you think I am, but my biological mother died giving birth to me. That’s why my adopted mom agreed to give me her family name.”

“Zayne,” Keller said.

Dylan took a startled step back and again rammed right into the fridge. “How do you know that?”

“Because your biological mother did not die giving birth to you. She died a week ago.”


Keller snorted. “That’s up for debate.”

“I don’t—”

Keller held up a hand between them, a silent but visible order for Dylan to listen. “Your biological mother’s name was Vivian Zayne, and she was a very powerful witch. We, as her coven, didn’t know you existed until the reading of her will. Imagine our surprise.”

Dylan’s eyes widened. “What?”

“You come from a family of witches.”

“Witches aren’t real.”

“Are you sure?”

Dylan didn’t look sure of anything. He looked like a frightened child.

Keller leaned his elbows on the kitchen island. “How long have cats been following you?”

“They’re just … cats,” Dylan said. “They follow everyone.”

“They follow you. How long have they been following you? Your whole life, I assume.”

Dylan glanced at the row of cats watching from his bedroom doorway.

“We call them familiars.” Keller clicked his tongue and stood. “Now, you may continue to have an internal crisis on the drive to Charleston. You’re coming with me. You don’t have a choice.”

“I’m not going anywhere with you.” He reached for the chain around his neck—a nervous tic Keller had noticed before—but his fingertips found nothing.

With that, Keller leaned his head back and roared with laughter. He didn’t have much time to enjoy his dark amusement though, because even if Dylan didn’t believe in witches, he did believe in that necklace. 

When the boy charged for his bedroom, Keller sprung into action. He wrapped his arms around Dylan’s upper body and held him captive against his chest, but Dylan still struggled against him, struggled to reach the necklace Keller saw hanging on the lamp by Dylan’s bed.

Keller spoke with his lips against Dylan’s ear. “All you had to do was wear that necklace, and I couldn’t control you. What a day to forget to put it on, hmm?”

In his arms, Dylan gave up fighting but did tremble with silent tears.

“Shh,” Keller whispered. “I’ll only hurt you if you make me.”

Dylan started shouting. He called out for help, but Keller covered his mouth with his hand and subdued his screams. The dampness of Dylan’s warm breath mixed with the saltwater of his tears against Keller’s palm.

Then, something strange happened. Keller found himself thrown backwards. He landed with a thud against Dylan’s bedroom wall. Dylan was no longer in his arms. Dylan was also no longer screaming. Keller, recovered from the invisible attack, raised his head to find Dylan standing in front of him—Dylan, but not Dylan. His eyes had gone black, just like they had in the coffee shop. Tiny black veins appeared around his eyes and spread down his cheeks.

Keller stared in wonder while cats hissed from Dylan’s windowpane but came no closer. “There you are, gorgeous,” Keller said.

About the Author  

Bestselling romance author.

Bisexual witch.

Feminist. Pro-choice. Anti-censorship.

Timothee Chalamet freak.

Horror movie aficionado.

Vampire mermaid in a past life.

Sara Dobie Bauer somehow survived her party-hard college years at Ohio University to earn a creative writing degree. She lives with her precious Pit Bull in Northeast Ohio, although she’d really like to live in a Tim Burton film.

Author Links

Blog/Website  |  Facebook  |  Private Facebook Group

Twitter  |  Instagram  |  Newsletter Sign-up  


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Spooky Stuff: Writing Witchcraft as a Witch

By Sara Dobie Bauer, author of Light from the Grave

I suppose you could say I “came out” as a witch about two years ago, although I’d been practicing since I was fourteen, saw The Craft, and thought, “I wanna do THAT.” For the record: witchcraft is not Satan worship or human sacrifice. For most of us—especially me as a “green witch”—witchcraft is about setting intentions, using herbs to heal, and paying attention to the moon.

In Light from the Grave, I got the chance to use my real knowledge to infuse details into the story and characters. In the book, I’d say I’m somewhere between Mama and Uncle Zelig. Mama is a nature witch, who’s into gardening and, well, voodoo. Zelig is a potion master who uses herbs and other, ahem, creepier ingredients to achieve his goals.

Leading man Keller explains it best: “Witchcraft is about intention. It’s about the energy you invoke and channel into whatever work you’re doing.” It’s the same idea as manifestation or even setting goals, to be honest. Witches just use herbs, crystals, candles, and moon cycles to strengthen those “goals.”

Dylan, our hapless baby witch, has to learn all this the hard way. Unlike the rest of the Zayne coven in Light from the Grave, he did not grow up with witchcraft. He thinks he’s going mad for half the book—which does add some lovely comic relief to a story that has very sad elements. (Thank you, adorable and hysterical Dylan.)

There are things in which I do not dabble; love spells are definite no-no’s. Trying to force someone to love you through spell work is like forcing someone with celiac to eat a loaf of bread. The love will be more an illness than a genuine feeling. This might be why I write romance novels. I hate insta-love. I need to watch the characters learn each other and find things to love. I need to watch them conquer conflicts together. Plus, there’s the first kiss, first snuggle, first … you get the idea.

I would also never dabble in dark magic like hexes or curses, which is something Dylan must battle as a necromancer. If one practices dark magic, does that person become darker and darker the more spells cast? In Light from the Grave, Keller certainly believes this, but Dylan fights against the idea, striving to continue to be a “gay ray of sunshine.” Does dark magic make a person inherently dark? That’s a matter of opinion, it seems.

I use witchcraft almost exclusively to heal myself, like the time I made a spell jar to banish my ex-husband’s energy from my house. (Not a curse or a hex, okay? I just wanted positivity!) I also built a rather heart-wrenching spell to ease my own grief after losing my dog.

Of course, there was also the time I pulled a Mama and healed a dying wisteria bush in my yard with overwhelming success. She often tries weaving her long green limbs into my front door, for instance, as if to say, “Hi, Mom!”

I really enjoyed adding my own knowledge to this book, and I hope it adds reliability and Easter eggs for those “in the know.” Even if you are a muggle (kidding), there is power in setting intentions and making goals. And don’t forget connecting with nature; a spooky cemetery walk never hurts. Happy Halloween!  

Blackloop Release Blitz #rabtbooktours


YA Sci-Fi Romance

Date Published: 10-31-2023

Publisher: Firehorse

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A freak electro-magnetic pulse leaves 17-year-old Bo and six other teenagers trapped inside a building in the British seaside resort of Blackpool, desperately trying to work out what just happened, why they can’t get out, and how to survive the weirdest weekend of their lives.

Dealing with each other’s egos and issues is nothing compared to the fallout unleashed by the solar event, because hidden beneath the building they discover it has activated a powerful energy device called blackloop.

As blackloop starts affecting everyone and everything in its vicinity, can Bo, who’s still grieving the loss of her mum, summon the courage to confront her fears, realise she’s falling in love, and make a move on Karim before it’s too late?

About the Author

Sarah Holding is a children's and YA author and poet, known primarily as a climate fiction writer. She is the author of six books: SeaBEAN (2013), SeaWAR (2014) and SeaRISE (2014), Chameleon (2020), How to Write a Poem (2021) and blackloop (forthcoming, 2023). She has been featured on Guardian Children’s Books, BBC Radio Scotland and given over 500 talks and creative writing workshops. Her books are now being taught in primary schools across the UK.

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RIP Challenge 2023: Day 31: Phantasm



Ornery Owl's Rating

Mini Review

I've saved the best for last, Boils and Ghouls. Phantasm is a low-budget cult classic from 1979. It's horror with a touch of comedy, never taking itself too seriously but also presenting some entertaining chills the likes of which you just don't see in today's fright fests. 

"thoroughly silly and endearing". --Vincent Canby, The New York Times

This is a story from a time when horror was fun. It's one of my favorite films and the late Angus Scrimm is one of my favorite character actors. Nobody does it like The Tall Man!

"Best let me take this one, Owl!"

Image by Jo Justino from Pixabay
"It's your show, TM!"

Monday, October 30, 2023

The Shadow Elf's Mission #SilverDaggerTours


He is committed to protecting her, but can he convince her to trust him?

The Shadow Elf's Mission

Elves of Eldarlan Book 5

by Elisa Rae

Genre: Fantasy Romance

Favian lives torn between two worlds. As a shadow elf, he serves Eldarlan as a warrior in the spymaster’s ranks. All the while, evidence of his gargoyle blood remains hidden beneath a spell. Despite this, he is content in the life he has chosen until one day, he spots his fated mate, but she is out of his reach in more ways than one. Years pass before he is offered the opportunity to actually meet her, but she isn’t who he thought she was.

Cersei has spent her life hiding in plain sight as the companion of an oligarch’s daughter. By blending in and not calling attention to herself, she has avoided the fate that took her father’s life. Then, political factions change, tensions rise, and her employer and his family are in danger. To make matters worse, the elven bodyguard they hired for protection won’t stop challenging her perceptions of those around her.

The Shadow Elf’s Mission is a light, fantasy romance novella about a romance between an elven/gargoyle and an elven/human woman. It features a fated mates romance where cultures clash when they encounter peril.

Amazon * Goodreads

**Don't miss the other books in the series!**

The Elven Spymaster's Thief

Elves of Eldarlan Book 1

Goodreads * Amazon

The Shadow Elf's Rescuer

Elves of Eldarlan Book 2

Goodreads * Amazon

The Elf King's Sacrifice

Elves of Eldarlan Book 3

Goodreads * Amazon

The Elven Healer's Apprentice

Elves of Eldarlan Book 4

Amazon * Goodreads

A reader of fairytales and folklore, Elisa Rae loves a happy ending. Noblebright characters, dastardly villains, and chemistry between characters delight her. When she isn’t writing, she loves to watch superhero movies and literary dramas.

Elisa Rae is the pen name of Rachel Rossano.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads

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RIP Challenge 2023: Day 30: The College Admissions Scandal

Ornery Owl's Rating


Mini Review

The horror in this true crime drama is not murder, rape, or physical assault. The movie contains no gore and only the mildest of harsh language. There are no ghoulies, ghosties, long-legged beasties, or things that go bump in the night hiding in anyone's closet. 

There is, however, possession.

The parents involved in this case were possessed by the twin demons of Greed and Entitlement and their siblings, Vanity and Pride. They were willing to sacrifice even their children on the altar of Appearances. Besides more wealth and opulence than most people will ever know, what could a bottomless pit of a soul desire more than for their offspring to become Golden Children, beefing up the social clout of their Looks Good On Paper family?

This is not a horror story that will have you jumping at every bump in the night or seeing heebie-jeebies creeping in the shadows. It is a cautionary tale of a failed society that worships the most insatiable social vampires.

 ~Ornery Owl Has Spoken~

Ornery Owl would rather hang out in the field with a bunch of pumpkins than spend even one minute in the presence of entitled rich gobshites.

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Fugitive New Release #IndiGo

Title:  Fugitive

Series: The Steele Pack, Book Two

Author: GiGi DeGraham

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: 10/24/2023

Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 92500

Genre: Paranormal, contemporary, paranormal, magic/magic users, romance, gay, shifters, genderqueer/genderfluid, asexual, interracial, action/adventure, dark, suspense, tribal politics/spiritual beliefs, off-grid living/isolation, subsistence/hunting, soulmates, rivals to lovers, second chance, graphic violence/tribal warfare, mysterious wolves, soulmates, cross-dressing

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Ryan is stubborn, he always has been. Patience has never been Thomas’s best trait. It’s been nine lonely years. Ryan thought Thomas was dead. Some secrets can’t be told. There are rules and laws that can’t be broken and often unreasonable Gods enforcing them. It’s going to be an uphill climb to fight for Ryan’s forgiveness. All Thomas wants is to spend the rest of his life with his soulmate (even if he is a fugitive), for them to have the picture-perfect life they always dreamed of together. They’ve finally got their chance to have it all, but…

The Bellum Pack is coming, and that can only mean one thing.

Thomas doesn’t have time to plan a war, win back his soulmate, and worry about his best friend, Penn, and whatever he’s got going on with the worst Pillar of all. How does the sweetest guy fall for their most feared God?

Thomas has to figure out how to keep Ryan safe and protect his entire pack from the encroaching war-hungry Wolves. As if that weren’t enough, having Tristan Steele, a human, as his Alpha might be what pushes Thomas over the edge, not to mention keeping Penn’s heart from getting broken. And somehow, he has to manage it all without burning down their world.


GiGi DeGraham © 2023
All Rights Reserved

His eyes were fixed on the classic red and gleaming chrome Peterbilt emblem in the center of the hood. That oval was all he could see as 80,000 pounds of semitruck and trailer barreled out of control across the median towards them. An unharnessed scream ripped from Thomas as he yanked furiously on the steel handcuffs and chains bolting him to the van floor.

Seconds—he only had seconds.

Time stalled as Death lifted its fist to pound on the front door.

“Oh my God,” the driver yelled and jerked the wheel of the transport van hard to the right. The collective fear was as abrupt as the jolt of the vehicle. Men screamed for their lives.

The unavoidable impact was a bomb exploding, in slow motion, frame-by-frame—a force as powerful as the fist of Muhammad Ali. The collision knocked all the air out of the world around Thomas, out of him. Oxygen ripped from him in a terrifying vacuum, creating a breathless panicking void, where all he heard was the internal lack of gasping in the eighth round. Sucking desperately for denied air, Thomas was Foreman when he finally went down. Glass flew through the interior, suspended, as bodies hurled into the side of the van.

The guard in the front passenger seat was instantly ejected. There and then gone. Blood from the dying driver, who sat at the point of impact, rained, blowing back through the cargo area as the passenger van careened to the right as if propelled by a hurricane. They left the roadway, momentarily airborne, and crashed hard before flipping through the woods, tires over hood. Once, twice, and again in a blur, with the impacts breaking out the remaining windows and slamming the unbelted but chained passengers against the walls, then the ceiling, and finally the floor.

And oh, God—the screaming.

It broke the unbreathing silence—that deafened ringing in his ears as Thomas’s head struck the left side metal window frame. The inmate behind him, unnaturally twisted and flipped over, landed between Thomas and the window. His seatmate, a big guy, tatted with a heavy hand, lay over him on his right side. He had to be at least 250 on the hoof. Hot blood spat rhythmically from an artery onto Thomas’s body. For a moment, the air smelled like old patina-greened plumbing pipes. Or the smell of sweaty palms after clutching pennies to throw at your buddy’s bike wheel. Copper and mechanical mixed.

Somehow, in the chaos of the accident, Thomas had been sandwiched between a back passenger and his seatmate, now dead after bleeding out in only hot, pumping seconds. Even the big guy bled out fast in what seemed like gallons. Neither had their seatbelts on. Thomas opened one eye, and it was a meaty crimson bath inside the Econoline.

Thomas sucked in a second, at last, ragged full breath. It burned and now tasted and smelled like machine smoke and hot metal. If a nightmare could have a scent, this was it. Thomas’s heart pounded; his nose stung as more fumes mixed together. It was hard to breathe—toxic, heavy, and overwhelming. Bits of glass tinkled and clinked around him as they dropped from the now open window frames, releasing from their rubber seals just as the tumble cycle ended.

With tremoring hands, he lifted his chains against their attachment. The floor bolts and hasp jingled and clanked—his manacled hands now freed from their installation. A broken tree branch had pierced the van’s steel floor. Thomas traced the path of the limb where it kabobbed through tatt-man and the back of their shared bench seat. His head pounded with pain, and blood covered his left eye as he tried to blink it away. Gore soaked Thomas, and he wasn’t sure if it was even his own. And something was on fire, searing in his left arm.

“Is anyone okay?” Thomas cried out.

The real panic set in when there was no response. Nothing. No one screamed anymore. For a moment, he heard a gurgle behind him, a wet exhale, and then nothing. Just that heavy dripping and another steady sound. The smoke thickened, and the engine ticked even louder. Like a timed device warning Thomas with its steady tick, tick…before the boom. The message was clear.

Thomas twisted, worked his hands back beneath the behemoth slumped over him, and frantically felt for the seatbelt latch at his right side. He’d been the only one they belted. The first one picked up and the only transport from juvie. A juvenile transport liability rule had just saved his life. Jesus Christ, he had to get out of here right now.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck,” Thomas yelled over his wet, fumbling fingers. His fine motor skills were forgotten until finally, the clasp released its deadly hold on the buckle.

Frantic, he worked to maneuver the belt off and then wiggled and slid his way out from under the impaled passenger. Thomas turned back to him to check for a pulse, but he was dead. Thomas didn’t have time to feel bad for him, but he still did. No one deserved to go out like that. He looked to the guy pretzeled half in and half out of the side window. His leg was gone from the knee down, his skin already ghostly white. His eyes were wide open, mouth frozen in a dying scream. The other three inmates were a fresh Jackson Pollock on white metal.

Thomas swallowed hard, trying to thrust down the emotions that wanted to well, and assessed himself, wiping his eye with his shoulder. He couldn’t see out of one but looked around wildly with the other. Everyone was dead, and Thomas screamed. He scared-shitless screamed. Thomas dumbly shook his seatmate with his cuffed hands, unwilling to be in this nightmare alone.

Something popped towards the front of the van, and there was a crack. A splitting of wood, and the van jerked forward in a hard punch. Thomas looked through the opening, where the windshield should have been, to where the van clung precariously at the edge of a drop-off. He was the front car fool approaching the high pause of a rollercoaster, only hearing the clicking countdown before the shit-your-pants plummet.

“Help!” Thomas tried to yell through the smoke.

Get out now, then run…from one of the voices inside his head. Thomas had heard this voice so many times before and didn’t question it now. He scrambled over the passenger hanging from the window, clinging to his body like a ladder, then slid over him and dropped to the ground. He looked around—frantic for his bag of personal property—his letters.



NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

GiGi DeGraham lives, plays, and learns in New Orleans. She is a proud southerner and enjoys fixing up old houses and writing. Most of her story and character ideas develop while sanding and painting. She loves to roller skate and has a favorite author-named cat called Irving, after Washington Irving. You’ll always find her with an audiobook in her ear and listening to everything narrated by Kirt Graves. 

 GiGi prefers the outdoors when the weather permits, going on rock and fossil hunts or visiting local rock shops. Otherwise, she’s clacking away at her keyboard until the wee hours. GiGi firmly believes downtime should be spent on a porch swing. GiGi is a life-long supporter of the LGBTQ+ community.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


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RIP Challenge 2023: Day 29: Psycho BFF

Ornery Owl's Rating

Mini Review

This movie states at the beginning that it's based on a true story, but I can't find anything saying what "true story" it's based on. It seems a bit contrived. 

I have to wonder whether plastic trash mean girls like Adele actually exist. Granted, I went to school in the dark ages, aka the 1970s and 1980s. There were preppies, but they were mostly harmless. There were snobs, but I steered clear of them. Most of my worst abusers were in the middle class like I was. 

When I was in high school, I didn't start things, but if someone like Adele had tried to start shit with me like she did with Deandra, I would have apologized for bumping into her. If she let it go, I would have let it go. If she had continued, I would have verbally ripped her to shreds. I was shy, but I also had a mean streak. 

Anyway, what can I say? It's a Lifetime movie. If you enjoy that sort of thing, you'll probably like this one. 

I'm not going to call Lifetime movies a "guilty pleasure." I don't feel guilty about the things I enjoy. I'll say it with no shame whatsoever. I like a little trashy entertainment sometimes.

Image by Gitti Lohr from Pixabay

"Hey, Foxy. Hey, Rocky. Thanks for bringing the snacks for Trash Movie Night!"