Jeremy Higley presents “Son of the Dark,” from Barbara Edwards

Hello Jeremy Higley, author of My Darksome Thorn Series, Son of the Dark:

April 28, 2018

My Darksome Thorn series was originally just a thought experiment. I wanted to take some of the traditional elements of a fantasy world, then twist them until they were uniquely mine. 

A race of goblins whose names are just strings of consonants? I can twist it further. What if they reproduce like clownfish, except in reverse? Just one male, and when he dies one of the females becomes male. How does that biology react with their culture? How does it influence their laws, their population dynamics, their relationships with each other? 

Okay, that’s a good start. 

Now, what if they used to be fairies, but are only goblins now because they’re cursed? That’s not that original of an idea, but if I twist it so that as a fallen race they’re actually holier and closer to the god they once defied than the humans and other races who didn’t rebel… that makes it more interesting. They have something to prove, or at least it started that way. After a couple millennia, they love the god who spared their lives and gave them a chance at redemption. 

When you twist an idea around so far that it starts getting familiar again, that’s an idea you might benefit from exploring. What is this thing you’ve created? An abomination, or an apotheosis? I guess only time will tell.

I took this approach and reworked elves, nymphs, fairies, humans, and a few pet projects I’d always been curious about. Some were unrecognizable after I finished. Some I had to tone down a bit, because the result was too disturbing or too overpowering and threatened to take over the series. 

I might return to those. 

Then I built a world and a history around the different races. I had to develop a cataclysm worthy of a world built out of extremes, something my characters would actually find threatening after all the nightmares I’d worked into the history. I had to create a pantheon that wasn’t just a reworking of Greco-Roman and Egyptian mythologies. I wanted the world’s gods to reflect a bit of that complexity, though, the way that Greek and Egyptian gods and goddesses picked up new powers and domains as time went by and cultures changed.

Then, and only then, was it time to come up with a story. Something that would offer more than just one motive, so that my characters would be in conflict with themselves and not just the world around them. Also, something big enough to take them across the continent, so they could visit more than just a few of the races and cultures I’d dreamed up. It was fine if I missed a few, so long as I touched on the most important ones (read: the ones I liked the most). 

I took my three favorite ideas and meshed them, then threw out the pieces that didn’t fit. I wrote the beginning of the story about five times before I decided on the tone and the approach I liked best. It was hard to balance the story between the need to get characters across my extensive milieu, and the much more pressing need to focus on the characters and their needs and plans. The result was a storyline that would have to save a lot of my favorite locations and races for later, as the plot expanded to take in more characters. 

As it stands with the first book, Tales of the Darksome Thorn is just a thimbleful of the ideas I came up with because I wanted to see where they would take me. It’s been an adventure so far, and I hope it continues to feel like an adventure for my readers as I continue to explore.

About the Author:

Jeremy Higley was born in California but now lives in Arizona. As of 2016 he’s a graduate student working on a master’s degree in English. He’s also an instructional aide at a local elementary school, a novelist, and a contributing editor for a nonprofit student success company called LifeBound.

Find out more about Jeremy at:

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The Darksome Thorn, meanwhile, has revealed a new prophecy, and the very evil they failed to kill is working to use that prophecy to his advantage. 

Forces of evil run rampant in the land of Duskain. Ancient powers are stirring. A greater darkness is imminent…

…and Skel, the foster son of an elephant herder, finds himself caught in the middle of everything… 


Skel was running so fast as he went to warn Mynjar and Talon that the grass whipped at his bare legs like dull knife blades. As the tent loomed closer, he could already feel his movements slowing. His feet were starting to sink into the firm earth as if it were a sludgy bog.

The attack was beginning.

“Dun Ko,” Skel shouted, trying to rouse the Eltar in the circle of tents ahead of him. His voice sounded like a whisper to his own ears, but quickly he heard shouts in return. The tents went abuzz with the yelling of frustrated, terrified men and women struggling to rise from their own beds. Skel saw an Eltar woman leave her tent, scrambling with immense difficulty to get away from the camp with a

small child. Her child disappeared from her arms within moments, dissolving into a cloud of dandelion fluff that blew away on a nonexistent wind.

Skel tried to ignore her screams. There was only one child in any real danger tonight. The Dun Ko were simply trying to distract the rest of them, keep them occupied with nightmares and illusions while they sought out their true target. He spoke a few words to the wind. It pushed him faster with a strong gust, knocking over his foster family’s tent as he approached it and blowing it halfway over to the elephant herd. Mynjar, Talon, and their daughters stared at him in bewilderment as he ran past them to stand between the Dun Ko and their intended victim.

“Dun Ko,” he repeated, struggling to catch his breath.

“What’s going on, boy?” Mynjar shouted. “How would you know if the Dun Ko were coming?”

Lonmar and Konsa screamed as they watched their father’s arms suddenly melt off his body like grease in a fire, gathering in black pools at his feet. Talon ran to grab Pynme from his crib, but sank to her chin in the dirt.

“The Dun Ko want Pynme,” Skel tried to explain, but Mynjar was on his knees sobbing, and Lonmar and Konsa were crowding around him, aghast, trying to comfort him. Talon was screaming hysterically, calling for her baby, but Pynme wouldn’t wake up. Smyra was the only one who

seemed to still have her senses in spite of the Dun Ko’s psychic onslaught.

“Are you going to fight them?” she asked. She seemed surprised, but not impressed. She somehow managed to sound condescending, even now.

“I have to try—” Skel started.

“And fail,” Smyra interrupted, “but I’ll help you anyway.”

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Featuring “Harmonic Differential” by Kenneth Gordon hosted by Barbara Edwards

Welcome to my blog, Kenneth Gordon. Please share with our readers what made you write this story.

The genesis for this story was a UFO Hunters episode. This event may or may not have happened. It seems someone built a ship based on Tesla’s theories and was able to have that ship travel harmonically. The skin of the ship would vibrate to the frequency of the destination and the ship would instantly travel there. The only problem is that upon the return trip, he could not remember anything that had happened during the trip. The only proof he had from his maiden voyage was some sticks and sand he had picked up from the ground.

This episode was the catalyst I needed to write again. My mind was off and running. I set my character in California. It took him a long time to build the ship much to the chagrin of his wife and family. Once built, he wondered if he may have dreamed it all or perhaps he was going insane. After several adventures, the reader is brought to the very crux of the story. It seems the character is trapped in a time loop. Each time he tries to save his father from an oncoming truck, he is killed and the loop begins again. Eventually, he is able to break the loop utilizing help from himself in different time periods. Ultimately, he must destroy the machine to prevent the military from getting their hands on it.

This was Harmonic Differential, my first full-length novel. Until then, I had written many short stories, a fan-fic story, and started a novella. It took nearly a year to write and even longer to find a publisher. I am grateful to Class Act Books for taking a chance on me. I continue to write and really enjoy it. I would like to turn this book into a movie and or a pilot for television.

Bout the Author:

Kenneth Gordon lives in Milford, NH. When he isn’t writing SciFi-infused horror novels, he plays PC games, electric and acoustic guitars, and drums. He also holds a brown belt in Kung Fu.

Ken has written five SciFi/Horror novels for Class Act Books: Dark City, Cadre of Vampires, Harmonic Differential, In My Blood, and Dirus Sonus.

Learn more about Ken at:

Web Site:

FB page:


Publisher’s website:

Blurb for Harmonic Differential:

“I may have made many trips to the future, to the past and points all over the galaxy, but I cannot remember any of them…”

This is how the journey of Andros, an astrophysicist professor at Berkley, CA begins. He is driven mad by dreams of whirling lights he cannot explain. These dreams lead him to build a ship capable of travel to the future, the past, and alternate universes. The only problem is, once he returns, he cannot remember the journey. To overcome this, he uses a video camera attached to his head to record his adventures.

Andros awakes thinking it all was a dream, until a mysterious package arrives in the mail…


Safe in my own bed, my snoring wife next to me, I came to and realized where I was. I didn’t remember coming the rest of the way home, nor did I recall coming into the house or taking off my wet clothes. I must have done so automatically. There were only two obvious things…the strange dream I just had and ohhhh

My head throbbed as I covered my forehead with my hands, trying in vain to make sense of the dream I’d had. This wasn’t the first time, either. I shoved off the covers and went to get an aspirin. I came back to bed and waited for the pain to subside.

Whirling colors, what could they mean? I’m not talking a disco ball, but it was that kind of disorientation, nearly vertigo-inducing…or maybe it’s just my head. I just needed to sleep. Sleep.

I had been up since four, unable to sleep. Earplugs were no relief from Judy’s snoring, nor could I turn off my brain. In the end, morning dawned, a bitter pill to swallow. I finally gave up about 8:00 and made breakfast. I heard one sneeze, two sneezes, three… I waited… four? Judy always sneezed when she first woke up. Thankfully, they were cute and feminine in nature. She yawned and stretched, walking into the kitchen with slippered feet and her hair in different directions. She never went anywhere around the house without those slippers. Jeremy soon joined her at the table. Bacon, eggs, grits, cereal, doughnuts…our breakfasts ran the gamut encompassing all American cultures and breakfasts without rhyme or reason. It’s just another day in paradise.

“How was your sleep, Daddy?” Jeremy asked.

“It was okay. I was up at four and couldn’t get back to sleep,” I replied.

“I’m sorry, Hunny,” soothed Judy.

“Who’s ready for breakfast?” I asked in my announcer’s voice, turning the frying pan towards the table. I was attempting humor and it was well received. The two at the table giggled as I served.

“What do you want to do today?” Judy asked.

“I think I may want a nap.” I yawned and closed my eyes.

“Ok, Hun, go ahead.”

“But Dad, I wanted to play…” whined Jeremy. Judy quickly chimed in that Daddy will play with you later. He pouted, but reluctantly agreed.

After washing up the dishes, I took a nap. I must have fallen asleep when…

Blue and green lights swirled around me; the air was charged with electricity. All at once, I felt a pulling… a pushing, a—

“Dad! You said you’d play with me.” I felt Jeremy rocking me back and forth, trying to get my attention. As I roused from my dream, I couldn’t help but think it meant something, that I was remembering something important, only to have it slip away from my grasp. The more I reached out for it, the further away it seemed to go.

“Yes, son, I’m up. Um… Let’s play,” I said groggily.

“Yay!” he responded jubilantly.

My mind still latched onto my strange dreams. The intensity of bringing a name and placement of it into my mind became obsessive. The day came to a close with no resolution to anything. The frustration grew. My son and wife seemed a distant memory, my thoughts all-consuming. After another sleepless night, I started to wonder if a solution would ever materialize. Perhaps I was afraid of these dreams? Maybe I was running from their inexplicable truth?

After several more days, maybe a week, possibly two weeks, I was no better off. The dreams had increased in frequency and good, peaceful sleep was elusive. My psyche was continually haunted by the questions the dreams raised.

Judy became increasingly worried about my mental state.

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Presenting Rage: Marcy by Linda Burson from Barbara Edwards

Welcome to my blog, Linda Burson,
Please tell us why you wrote this story.

I love writing. I always have. It’s been my passion since I was a young child. The reason for writing any particular story, for me, is to feel strongly about my characters. The majority of my writing experiences have been attempts at writing nonfiction, but I found I could never finish any of these stories. I wrote a one-act play once when I was a teenager. This was the first story I completed and it was fiction. This should’ve been a sign that fiction was more my forte; however, I continued to try to write nonfiction stories.

A few years ago when I decided to write full-time, I returned to fiction, remembering this was the only work in my life I have completed. My stories, so far, have been character-based. I thought about what I wanted to read. What kind of people I wanted to spend most of my time getting to know…who I wanted to be my friends, to laugh, cry, and talk with every day. After considering different characters, I realized the best way to go was to write about a character with whom I could relate. Thus, a strong, independent, beautiful, but emotionally challenged young woman named Marcy Jenson was born.

The first book I wrote is called Rage. I became so invested in the characters I wrote, I couldn’t stop. I felt strongly about this young, unique woman because she had strengths that I wished I had, but her flaws make her real and I hope relatable. My first attempt at writing fiction, and I had 197,000 words for a first book. Knowing this was way too many words, I had to adjust the story by splitting it into a trilogy. The story wasn’t complete after this, so I continued. Now, over five years later, there are thirteen books in this continuing series. At this point, my continuing story needed a name. Since Marcy was my protagonist and it’s written in first person, the Marcy Series was born. Still, each of the thirteen books has its own individual title.

Author Bio:

Linda Burson, a Connecticut resident for over 27 years, has been writing ever since she was a teenager. She started out writing memoirs and continued writing by attempting several nonfiction pieces.

More on Linda can be found at:


Twitter: @lindaburson23

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Marcy Jensen finds she is having nightmares that she can’t control. She is frustrated, angry and confused by this sudden change. Her boyfriend and love of her life, Brad Preston, gives her an ultimatum: seek help, or he’s leaving.

One dark, chilly evening after a terrible, emotional day, Marcy finds herself in the middle of a robbery and a gun to her head. After her stressful day, she snaps. Pushed over the edge, she finds herself attacking the gunman.

The same night after this attempted robbery, Marcy meets Liam with whom she feels an inexplicable connection. After talking to Marcy, because she still having the raw edge of the evening with her, Liam convinces her to join him on his quest to find his family’s murderers.

As they delve into the dark world of revenge, Marcy’s life begins to fall apart. Before she realizes it, she falls in love with this mysterious stranger. The two of them become close and gradually allow light and love to envelop them.


When we arrive at the commuter lot where my car is parked, I remain seated looking at him. My thoughts return to the moment I realized I was in love with him. Was it always there somewhere in the depths of my soul, or was it at the moment when I saw the real person? My heart skips a beat every time I look in his direction and my emotions take over.

“You must think I cry an awful lot,” I impart as the tears come streaming down my face again.

“No, baby. I know you’re in pain right now. I wish I knew how to make things easier for you—for both of us.” Then he adds,

Oh that my head were waters

And my eyes a fountain of tears 

That I might weep day and night.”

I look at him with my tear-filled eyes. “That’s beautiful.”

“Jeremiah, Chapter 9, Verse 1,” he replies.

“You’re a special man, Evan Liam Brooks. I don’t understand why all this happened, but I have to believe there’s a reason. I have to trust in my faith that everything will be fine and will work out as it’s supposed to.”

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Thanks for visiting: Please follow, friend or like me. I love to hear from my readers.




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In The Blood by Juanita Aydlette featured today by Barbara Edwards

  • Welcome to my blog, Juanita.
    Please tell us about your book.

    My novel It’s in the Blood was not carefully plotted out before I started writing. It was two cars of a run-away train that I boarded a few years back. What I mean by that is, I had so many non-corresponding ideas connecting each other, tangled up and all wanting to go in different directions.
    Since I was a real romantic when I was much younger—and I loved actor Johnny Weissmuller, I finally decided to go that “Me Tarzan, you Jane” route. Going back to the run-away train, I had nearly 182,000 words to decipher through. I knew I wanted a three-book series so my characters started out young.
    Now that I have submitted book two entitled Blood Ties and starting on book three, I’m trying to use what fragments I have left to build a base for the final book. It’s been a fun, frustrating and mind-scrambling journey, but I wouldn’t take anything for the experience.
    Thank you for having me. I really appreciate you giving me this space.
    About the Author:
    Juanita Aydlette is from Shreveport, Louisiana, and now lives in Texas. She’s the only girl in a family of four brothers. She love music, planting flowers and is a dog lover…that’s why she works at an animal clinic.
    What started out as a childhood obsession with magical creatures in storybooks, became a passion in her later years. She created such magic in her first novel It’s in the Blood, and challenged her imagination to bring readers into her world of romance, suspense and fear of the
    unknown. Her upcoming novel Blood Ties continues the saga.
    It’s in the Blood was voted among the Top Ten Young Adult novels of 2016 by Preditors & Editors Readers Choice awards.
    Find out more about Juanita at:
    Twitter: @Juanita Aydlette
    Never stare at a green-eyed, shirtless hunk. Gabrielle Madsen is drawn in by such a pair of eyes that captures her soul and leaves her a prisoner of an addictive kind of love–not that she’s complaining. But her educational trip turns out to be more than just a fun-filled summer escapade.
    She’s faced with a life-changing decision that could affect the world around her. Her discovery of this ancient, legend-come-to-life proves to be deadly, but her heart can’t break away. She and Josh Van Ness fall in love and must battle the forces that want to keep them apart.
    Away from the open menagerie was a path surrounded by dense trees. It was across a narrow decorative bridge built into the landscape. The thick greenery provided a shady side to the open garden. A spotlight created by the sun beckoned to me from inside and I walked away from the others. My eyes were fixed on the pink and red groundcover that glimmered with a hypnotic seduction. I ventured toward the fragrant breeze, unaware of how far I had strayed.
    After only a few yards inside the cover of the trees, my body was seized again by a rumble and a frightening snarl. A chill blanketed me and I couldn’t move. I didn’t dare look around, forthe back of my blouse had already been saturated by the heated moisture from the breath of the  beast. My first instinct was to scream, but fear had stolen my voice. So I took a deep breath and held it. The scent of horror filled my lungs. It was familiar. Was I being stalked by the animal that lurked outside my hotel grounds?
    Help me please, rang inside my head. My eyes squeezed shut as its sharp fangs pinched my  shoulder. Tears filled my eyes and my hands formed a fist. I waited to feel my bones snap when suddenly, it let go. The leaves crunched. The sound grew fainter by the second, then nothing. My eyes remained closed as I trembled and listened.
  • “Miss?” A woman’s voice severed my nightmare. “I saw you come out here. We’re getting ready to go to another area. You don’t want to be left behind.”
    Without hesitation I ran past her, clutching my throat and sobbing. The other tourists were boarding the van and I made my way to the back. The woman I believed saved me from certain death, came and sat beside me.
    My body trembled as the bus came to stop. I ran from the tourist center to the hotel. Once inside the bathroom, I stripped and examined my shoulder. A painful bruise was both in front and in back. I cried out loud, shook convulsively, and then laughed hysterically. Was I going mad?
    Publisher’s website:
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