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Anzel Spectrus has been alone as long as he can remember. So long so that he has convinced himself he prefers it that way. At least until he discovers what it’s like to have others in his life.
Mongo the minotaur usually spends his time trying to bully Anzel, until one day he asks for Anzel’s help out of desperation. Mongo’s request leads to Anzel meeting Brucie, who tells him that his aura is the color of a powerful being that seemingly no longer exists outside of a children’s bedtime story that Anzel has never heard. The three set out together in search of answers in an attempt to either prove or debunk the details of that bedtime story, and to hopefully find an answer to who Anzel really is.
The question remains, who – or what – is Anzel Spectrus?
Rachel A Olson resides in rural Northwestern Nebraska, along with her husband, three children, two cats, and a yellow lab. She is a bit of a workaholic with a full-time day job, working as a freelance graphic designer and formatter in her spare time, as well as squeezing in her writing. Rachel is also passionate about her faith and stays involved in her church as much as she can. She enjoys the quiet outdoors, loves to travel, and often craves spicy foods. She considers herself to be a helper by nature and wants nothing more than to see other artists succeed in the areas they are most passionate about.
Mark Rosendorf ‘s writing is based on the personalities and experiences he has come across throughout his life, coupled with his own wild “if only I could do that” imagination. He is the author of the young adult series, The Witches of Vegas. He is also credited with The Rasner Effect series, a suspense/thriller trilogy published between 2009 and 2012.
Born November, 25th, 1974, and raised in Queens New York, Mark holds a Master’s Degree from Long Island University’s Human Development and Leadership program. He is a licensed Guidance Counselor for the New York City Department of Education’s special education district. He began his counseling career in September, 2001. Prior to that, he worked in the hotel industry.
Mark has also moonlighted as a professional magician. Today, he teaches magic and Illusion to his students in order to teach teamwork while developing their confidence. Having accomplished his goals of becoming an author, Mark decided on an early retirement from writing. Then, one night, at two a.m., a new and unique story shot into Mark’s brain like a lightning bolt, screaming for him to write it. Mark found himself spending several nights taking notes on the characters and their stories. That is how The Witches of Vegas was born.
Where can Witches and their vampire mentor practice their powers without being discovered or persecuted?
By using their magic, the Witches of Vegas become the number one act performing on the Las Vegas Strip—a great achievement for them, but not so much for the magicians—who can’t possibly keep pace.
Isis Rivera is the adopted fifteen-year old daughter of The Witches of Vegas. Zack Galloway is the teenage nephew and assistant to the last magician left in the city. Although they should be rivals, when Valeria, a four-hundred-year-old witch with a long-seeded grudge against humanity arrives in Sin-City, both teens act to bring their families together to stop the evil hag in her tracks.
But can the combined witches’ powers and the ingenuity of the magicians be enough to stop Valeria from taking over the city and possibly the world?
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They say every author has some weird habit when they write. For the most part, this is a true statement as creativity comes with quirks. I’m no different. My weird habit: I do most of my writing in the shower. I’m not sure why, but that’s where most of my ideas flow just like the water that hits my body from the faucet. Unfortunately, my ideas are like lightning—one bright flash, then it’s gone. That’s why I have notepads and a pen tacked up on the wall next to my shower. When I have an idea, I stick my arm out of the shower and write it down. It’s part of my writing process.
The Witches of Vegas is a story about a family of witches, and their vampire mentor, who hide in plain sight as magicians on the Vegas strip. It is an award-winning young adult novel that has taken its audience by storm. It was also, mostly, written on notepads from the shower. The same can be said for the upcoming sequel, Journey To New Salem, which is scheduled for an early 2021 release. Both stories are clean, and so is the author.
Every writer has a weird writing habit. Now you know mine. What’s yours?
Driven, talented, and determined to live up to her family’s fame, Sasha Nikolayeva is ballet’s crown princess. But just when Sasha lands her most prestigious role yet, she falls prey to a host of disturbing neurological symptoms that threaten to end her career and her very life. As her mind and body deteriorate, Sasha spirals into a nightmare world where beauty and cruelty exist in the same breath and villains rule from the shadows.
In the glittering, sharp-edged City of Roses, Sasha is no princess. She’s a thrall, a slave. Thousands like her suffer in cursed silence while citizens enjoy the splendor of the City, blissfully unaware that their servants are anything more than living dolls enchanted to do their bidding. But the City’s slavers know the truth, and they are always watching. One misstep could cost Sasha her life—or her soul.
Even as she endures the violence and indignity of captivity, Sasha can’t help being drawn to the beauty of her nightmare world and the underground rebels who offer her friendship, shelter, even love. Before Sasha can break her chains for good, she’ll need choose between the life waiting for her at home and the countless lives she could save if she stays. To choose a nightmare over her real life, her future, would be madness…but maybe a little madness is just what it takes to change the fate of a city built on lies.
Dreams and reality perform a captivating pas de deux in this tale of legacy and longing. A lyrical and original fantasy that, like its heroine, has the soul of a dancer.
In retrospect, I probably should have realized a lot earlier that I was meant to be a writer. Even as early as kindergarten, I struggled to pay attention in class because the outside world was just not as interesting as what was going on in my head. By that time, I had already made my storytelling debut (“Squirm the Worm,” delivered at age three) and had spent countless hours playing make-believe with my 284 stuffed animals, every one of whom had a name and detailed backstory.
Though I quickly learned to pay attention (or at least look like I was paying attention) during school hours, I retained a tendency to daydream and a love of stories. When I left high school to attend the Sunderman Conservatory at Gettysburg College, I learned to translate both emotional and programatic content into music. Now, as an exam prep and college essay tutor, I have the time and flexibility to really dig into fiction again. My work has appeared online and in print in such venues as Timeless Tales Magazine and Quantum Fairy Tales.
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“The legends say that in the earliest days, we lived and died in darkness and despair.” Luca’s voice tickles my ear, and, though he drops his hand, he stays close. “Farmers toiled in the fields without respite, never tasting the fruits of their labor. Blacksmiths forged tools and weapons, never toys or lovers’ trinkets. Housewives gave birth to children who grew too quickly into adulthood, never knowing laughter. Soldiers killed and were killed without mercy—without knowing why, even. But for all their toiling and striving, they were pale, listless, fearful beings. There was no beauty or courage in the world, only survival. Only hardship.
“But one day, a young blacksmith dreamed of something better. He dreamed of the three Graces: Joy, Passion…and, shining like a beacon, her arms around the other two, Beauty. When the blacksmith awoke, he wept, for now he knew all that his life lacked. He wept a lifetime of tears that had never been shed, and, when his tears ran dry, he fell to his knees and prayed.
“When the blacksmith rose, he went to his forge and fashioned a chalice from gold—a soft, silly metal that served no useful purpose. So he had been told, and so he had believed until he dreamed of Beauty. When the chalice was completed, he went to the vineyards, where the vintner made vinegar to preserve food, clean wounds, quench thirst—useful, practical, necessary tasks, of course. But the blacksmith told the vintner of his dream and showed him the golden chalice, and the vintner in turn showed him what he had discovered: His casks of vinegar, if opened early, produced a liquid with a pleasant taste and even more pleasant warmth.
“The blacksmith and the vintner filled the chalice with wine and offered it to the villagers, who began to laugh and then to sing. When the chief’s suspicious soldiers came to investigate, they, too, drank the wine. One soldier after another faltered in the march, and they began to dance.
“And so the chalice performed its miracles, passing from hand to hand, intoxicating the people not only with drink but with joy and wonder. ‘There is beauty in the world,’ one villager would say. ‘Drink deep.’ ‘Life is sweet,’ the next might say. ‘Drink deep.’ The villagers drank deep from the chalice and began to expect more from life than mere survival. As they sought out beauty and amusement and love, they also found genius and passion for good works, for excellence, for innovation. They found their Gifts.
“The villagers transformed their huts into houses, then villas. The villages grew into towns, then cities, then a kingdom. To this day we gather in the Temple of Graces to seek out the beauty in the world and in ourselves, and every year we celebrate the blacksmith and his Chalice of Gifts.”
Luca falls silent. I blink, still entranced by his story and dazzled by the stars. Finally, I look at him and feel a smile spread across my face.
“I love it,” I tell him, and it feels like something more, something like… I love you.