Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Book Review: "TheTrader: Man with No Face" By R.K. Mann

Today we are reviewing the sci-fi enigma "The Trader: Man with No Face." By R.K. Mann!


“A Patusian master trader on an intergalactic mission awakens to discover that his space vessel is missing and his eyes and ears are gone. Only gaping holes remain where his nose and mouth had been. In place of his main senses he has inexplicably gained the power of telepathy, which he must harness as his only defense against the ferocious and highly evolved aliens, the drogan Kin, who immediately begin hunting him for food.
Maranth, a stunningly beautiful young doctor, is briefed about the depravities of sex, violence and intoxication before she leaves her cultured home planet, Veddi, to begin practicing medicine at an off-world mine. But when savage Afthari raiders attack the mine and enslave Maranth, she finds herself in a world frighteningly different from the perfect, structured society in which she was raised.

Against all odds, the Trader finds his way to the Afthari raider camp and uses his newfound telepathy to communicate with Maranth, the only kind soul he encounters there. Together, they embark on a daring journey to return home.”


The Trader: Man with No Face” By R.K. Mann is a freaky sci- fi thrill read. I mean that in a good way!

We first meet The Man with No Face as he refers to himself who ends up on this planet with no face not even ears! He meets these crazy telepathic bird creatures who like human blood, so he is immediately hunted as their main course. A strange thing happens though. He can read minds, and they can hear him!

Next we are on the mining colony Addehut where we meet Meddoc Maranth who gets kidnapped, sold into slavery by the Afthar Radiers then taken to their camp to be their doctor. What? What does this have to do with The Man with No Face? Reading on it all comes together as these two characters end up intertwining. A daring adventure ensues. Lessons get learned. Lessons that perhaps there are some things out there greater than ourselves.

The Man with No Face character is very enigmatic. Even without a face he is an alluring character. You are instantly drawn to him and his odd connections to the bird like alien creatures that are trying to eat him. You even start to like these killer creatures along with him as he makes a bit of a limited truce with them to help their dying species. He also is a Trader by trade so it makes sense for him to be alluring.

Maranth on the other hand is a blossoming character. Coming off a bit uptight, her escapades and meeting The Man with No Face opens her up changing her character dramatically. In fact every character in the book in the end walked away changed.

Overall Thoughts

Overall science fiction is not my normal read. I enjoy sci- fiction don’t get me wrong. I normally watch it, not READ it. Challenging myself to read something out of my comfort zone I found myself slipping deeper and deeper in the book. I loved how the two main characters started out separate and then got interwoven into an engrossing story. This is a book I want to add to my book shelf.


About the Author: R.K. Mann began her full-time work life

as an economist, then computer consultant in NY. Later, her hobby screenplay became Vestron’s Backtrack (Catchfire), starring Jodie Foster and Dennis Hopper. She was Associate Producer of the comedy Round Numbers, starring Kate Mulgrew, Marty Ingles, and Samantha Eggar. She also co-wrote the novel, Catchfire, which was published in several languages other than English. The Trader is her first solo novel. A few years ago. R.K. Mann moved back to her native Florida. She is a life long sheller and amore recent kayaker.

Connect with R.K. Mann at:






Friday, February 6, 2015

Audio Book Review: The Progeny(Book 1 of the Progeny Series) By Ashlynne Laynne

Today we have the pleasure of reviewing the audio book version The Progeny (Book 1 of The Progeny Series) By Ashlynee Laynne!


“The timeless creed and tattoo bore by the Rousseaus— a vampire clan with the purest bloodline of any vampire family. Out of this clandestine group came one who was different, yet the same: Ascher, a half-bloodling— half- human, half vampire. Ascher questions the purpose for his existence and which world he truly belongs to: the human world or the vampire world. Two months from sealing to Ursula—a prearranged union to a woman he abhors —he’s at his wit’s end. He knows if he calls off the sealing, the Romanian clan will strike with deadly force, but he cannot see eternity with a cold empty shell of a woman like Ursula.

Just when he thought life was complicated enough, he meets Shauna—a beautiful, bi-racial human Wiccan—and immediately develops an unshakable attraction to her. She makes him feel alive and vital despite his origins and Ascher makes a decision that turns his immortal world upside down.”


 Listening to Ashlynne Laynne’s “The Progeny” come to life by narrator Shana Pennington-Baird took my breath away. I was totally engulfed into the world Mrs. Ashlynne Layanne created. To make a good audio book the writer and narrator must go hand in hand making a perfect match. This was it. I am normally not a fan of audio books, but I found listening to "The Progeny" amazing. In listening you could hear the smooth sensuous writing style of Ashlynne Laynne  purr into your ear with each intricate syllable.

Overall what drew me most to this book was the books lead female Shauna. She is a biracial woman. I have not seen much of bi-racial characters in books. Being a biracial woman myself I really enjoyed Mrs., Laynne’s choice in that. "The Progeny" is a highly recommend read.

About the Author:

Ashlynne Laynne is an award winning songwriter, poet, and author of erotic paranormal and contemporary romance. She’s always had a soft spot in her heart for vampires but grew tired of the garlic fearing, sun-loathing night stalkers of old. An avid horror movie fan, she tends to enjoy media and music of a younger, more eclectic nature. This was the catalyst for her writing The Progeny.

Ashlynne loves writing on the edge—combining the erotica and romance genres—and thinks of Ascher and Shauna as the wicked, damned version of Romeo and Juliet. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, reading, and spending time with her family. She juggles the hats of wife, mother, full time employee and part-time writer, hoping to write exclusively one day soon.
She lives in the Carolinas with her husband and son.

For more on Ashlynne Laynne and her book: : Ashlynne on FB * The Progeny Series on FB * Twitter * GR * Tsu * * Reader Email * Amazon Author Page * Ascher and Shauna's FB Page * Blog * Q-Rotic Press on FB Page * Q-Rotic

Buy Audio Version of The Progeny :AMAZON AUDIBLE iTUNES


The Progeny Ebook Available ONLY ON




Thursday, February 5, 2015

Spotlight Author: Allison Reid

In my motto of supporting fellow authors today we spotlight another indie author Allison Reid and her book Journey to Avid.


Threatening clouds and fierce storms besiege the city of Tyroc. More frequent and powerful than ordinary storms, young Elowyn, a weaver’s daughter living in the outskirts of the city, senses something disturbing and unnatural about them. She soon realizes that the storms are but a warning sign of much more frightening things yet to come.

Terrifying wolf-like creatures emerge from the depths of the wilderness at the bidding of a dark master. His name found only among the crumbling pages of ancient texts, the re-appearance of Alazoth and his Hounds is a dark omen for the people of Tyroc and beyond. Only legends remain of the heroes and prophets whose blood was shed ages ago to banish him into the abyss, which should have remained his prison for all time. How he has been released is a mystery, but all the old stories agree that death and destruction are sure to follow.

With the Hounds inching closer each day, the city of Tyroc caught up in religious and political turmoil, and her home life no less turbulent, Elowyn has nothing left to rely on but her meager courage and a budding faith in Aviad, the Creator. She and her sister, Morganne, set out on a remarkable journey that challenges everything they have ever known about themselves, the world, and the path that Aviad has laid out for them.


Vision of Darkness

News reached the cottage three days later that a member of the renegade group had been caught. Such a thing had never happened before. Everyone had begun to believe that this mysterious group was completely impenetrable, beyond capture, injury, or even death. The latest rumor going about was that they weren’t people at all, but an elusive band of evil spirits. Whether they were made of spirit or flesh-and-blood would be revealed soon enough. By proclamation of the Sovereign’s sons, all were required to attend the renegade’s execution. This was a momentous victory for the two sons, and they wanted everyone to know it.

Elowyn worried that their mother was going to throw the crier out on his ear when he came knocking at the door. She had just settled at the loom with some newly spun, fine linen thread and was beginning the rhythm of the weave. Interrupting her weaving hours was dangerous, usually resulting in a backhand across the face. But the crier was not at her mercies, and even their mother realized it was ill-advised to oppose his demands. Irritated though she was, there was nothing she could do so long as she lived under the rule of Tyroc. So when the time came, she grudgingly dropped her threads and dragged Morganne, Elowyn, and Adelin out the door, grumbling the entire way.

To their mother, this execution meant nothing more than time away from her loom she could not afford to waste. She cared nothing for the politics of Tyroc, but she was keenly aware of the games the nobles often played with the simple tradesmen and artisans. Even the slightest delay or variation in what they asked for could give them cause to claim that they did not have to pay. She in turn would have little recourse against them. Considering that she had borrowed heavily to purchase the velvet and other materials she needed, if they refused to pay her, she would be ruined. But if all was precisely to their specifications, and the money was paid in full, this order would bring more wealth than she had seen in her lifetime. The risk made her anxious, which had the effect of making her more cross than usual.

They traveled the road together in an uncomfortable silence, each focused their own thoughts. Adelin was too young to know what was happening. She bounced contentedly on Morganne’s hip, pointing and babbling to any bright object that caught her attention. Morganne’s expression was solemn and somewhat tense. Elowyn could not guess what her thoughts were, but that was nothing unusual. Morganne usually kept to herself. Elowyn felt a kind of fluttering in the pit of her stomach and was dragging her feet, hoping somehow they would arrive too late. However, the end result was that their mother kept barking at her to hurry up, and each time she said it, she became more irritable.

There were others traveling with them, flooding in from the outskirts of Tyroc. Even laborers from the southern farming villages were given a reprieve by their lords so that they might attend. People flocking in on the smaller roads continued to join together like streams flowing into a river, until they became a massive flood of humanity surging forward. The main road took a sharp curve and sloped upward, running along the colossal eastern wall of the city. Rows of strategically placed guards stared down at them from the battlements, bows in hand. Elowyn could sense the tension in their muscles as they stood ready to shoot at the least sign of trouble. As the procession drew closer to the city gates, the crowds increased to an unbearable level. They were jostled along, pressed closer and closer together until one could only move forward, swept along in an unrelenting current.

Elowyn felt as though she were riding amidst a sickening sea, a swirl of men, women, carts, and livestock. There were other children too. The youngest ones clung to their mother’s skirts as shipwreck victims might cling to floating bits of wood. The whole mass swelled and moved along the wall in a gigantic wave, pushing, pulling, and roaring with an incomprehensible cacophony of shouts, laughter, jumbled conversations, and the groans of overburdened carts. The closer they came to the gates, the hotter and more foul smelling the air became. Elowyn felt as though she were being smothered. Every sound seemed louder than it really was, adding layers to the nervous ball that was beginning to form deep down in her stomach. One of the carts near her had a squeaky wheel. Though it was such a small sound in the midst of all that chaos, it completely unnerved her. She held her ears trying to block it out, but it only seemed louder with the dampening of the other sounds. It was like a tiny, desperate scream for help that went ignored.

Every once in a while a faint whiff of fresh air brushed Elowyn’s face, and she drank it in greedily as though it might very well be her last. She closed her eyes and tried to calm herself, hoping that once they were all squeezed through the gate into the city, there would be more room on the other side. But in that she was greatly disappointed. When they finally approached the gate, and were shoved through by the pressing mob behind, the inner city was just as crowded. She continued to push forward, through narrow streets lined with corbelled buildings that leaned out precariously over them. The doorway of every shop was jammed with buyers haggling over goods. The rest of the crowd attempted to converge in the central square where the execution was to be held. Not only was the square packed with eager spectators, but merchants had set up their carts any place they could, not willing to miss the opportunity to sell their wares to such a multitude. It was almost like faire time.

Elowyn was tired of being jostled and elbowed and nearly run over by carts. She felt trapped in a prison of legs and long dresses, and was not tall enough to see what was going on ahead of her. A heavy-set woman with an edgy basket on her shoulders was pushing her way through the crowd. She shoved full force into Elowyn, nearly toppling the basket.

“Now then,” the woman said gruffly, “watch where you’re going.”

Never mind that Elowyn had been standing perfectly still, and it was the woman who should have been watching. But Elowyn knew better than to say anything. As the woman and her basket moved forward, a throng of people tried to follow in her wake. The result was that Elowyn found herself being separated from Morganne and her mother. There was no way she could help it. Soon she would be swallowed up by the mass of people around her.

To Elowyn, who never came into the city unless she absolutely had to, and who avoided even the smallest of crowds as a general rule, this whole venture was a complete nightmare. She looked around desperately for a way to break free. The only things she could see were the tops of nearby buildings, and one lone tree standing above the crowd to the east. Gritting her teeth, she made her way toward the tree, not caring whose leg got pushed out of the way, or whose toes got stepped on. After what seemed like an age, she finally reached it and scrambled up the trunk with experienced ease. A few people looked at her strangely, and a group of rough-looking boys pointed at her and laughed, but she didn’t care. She was relieved to be above the fray and felt safe in this small bit of nature amidst the ugliness of the city.

“Poor tree,” Elowyn said as she examined it. She was accustomed to the beautiful, healthy trees growing freely in the wilds. This one was bursting forth like an unwanted weed, stunted and sickly. Its roots strained at the cobbles, forcing them to bubble upward in rolling swells. Its trunk was full of nails, and holes, and deep scars from carts being rammed into it. She fingered a pale, listless leaf. The city was choking it, and yet it defiantly lived, even in this place where it surely didn’t belong. Or perhaps, she thought, the tree was the only thing that really belonged, and it was the city that was encroaching.

Down below, something was starting to happen. First came a crier, announcing the royal procession. Guards with long spears began to shove through the crowds, holding them back to make a wide pathway up to the platform in the town center. Then came members of the Circle—the late Sovereign’s most trusted personal guards. A mysterious bunch they were, with their faces always covered. They were supposed to be the best fighters anywhere in the Sovereign’s realm, and they guarded the Sovereign with their lives. Elowyn supposed now that the Sovereign was gone they belonged to his sons.

Sure enough, the two brothers appeared next, along with a figure she did not recognize who was wearing a rich black cape. The Sovereign’s sons wore gold circlets on their heads, and held royal scepters in their hands. Long brilliant red robes trailed behind them, the ends held up by servants. The extravagance of their clothing and jewelry was like nothing Elowyn had ever seen, even on the wealthiest of her mother’s clients. But Elowyn found that instead of making them look majestic and powerful, the excess of their attire only appeared gaudy and overbearing. After the brothers came the remainder of the Circle, and then the prisoner; a hooded figure bound around his chest, arms and wrists. Following the prisoner were more guards like the kind she had seen on the walls of the city. They carried short spears that were pointed at the prisoner’s back.

It was rumored among the people of Tyroc that there was something strange about the brothers. Everyone whispered that the eldest in particular “wasn’t quite right,” but because he had been favored by the Sovereign, none dared to speak against him openly. No one really knew anything about the younger son, who had remained aloof and mysterious. Indeed, this was one of the first times he had appeared before them as a public figure. Everyone was hoping that today the question on everyone’s mind over the last months might finally be settled—who would succeed as the next Sovereign? Though the elder had clearly been the beloved son, the people were uneasy about the idea of being ruled by a man who was quite possibly insane. However little they knew about the younger son, at the least he seemed of sound mind and body.

Once the procession was settled on the platform and the crowds had been stilled, the younger of the two brothers came forward to speak. Elowyn found that she was close enough to see his face, and she studied it thoughtfully. His expression was surprisingly vacant, cold, and arrogant. Before he had even opened his mouth, Elowyn knew that she disliked him. His elder brother sat behind him in silence with a dazed look, as if he was not really sure where he was, or what was going on around him. There was no question as to why people whispered that he wasn’t quite right.

“Good people of Tyroc,” the younger brother addressed the crowd. His voice was forceful and clear, but its tone betrayed his youthful age. “It has been nearly four months since the passing of my beloved father from this world into the one beyond. To find him taken so suddenly in the prime of his age was a great shock to us all. Regrettably, he left no clear will or documentation to establish the succession of rule. Were these normal circumstances, it would be clearly my brother Avery’s birthright. However these are not normal circumstances. My brother’s health is far too delicate to bear the strain of leadership, and I, according to the laws of our realm, am not yet come of age to claim the title of Sovereign. Therefore, the decision has fallen to the Council of Elders. They have spent these last months in grave deliberation as to what would be in the best interests of the people. I am pleased to announce that our good Lord Braeden, my father’s trusted Chief Steward, and my long-time, most learned tutor, has graciously agreed at the Council’s request, to serve as Protector of Tyroc, and to mentor me into my rightful place as Sovereign.”

The man in the black cape neither spoke nor smiled, but faced the crowd and made a low, dignified bow. Elowyn gazed at him intently, probing his features to figure out what sort of man he might be. His eyes were dark, nearly as black as the cape draped around him, and deeply set, leaving pronounced shadows above his cheekbones. Perhaps they seemed even darker due to the fact that his face was unusually pale—nearly as white as newly bleached linen. It was stretched thin in an unnatural way, almost as though he was wearing someone else’s skin. His nose was twisted, and his lips were hard and cruel. She had never before felt such a deep sense of distress just from looking into someone’s face. For a moment, his glance fell in her direction. She felt their eyes lock as he peered at her form through the branches of the tree. Elowyn suddenly felt uncovered and instinctively tried to shield herself, nearly losing her balance in the process. The strength of his gaze seemed to penetrate her clothing and her body, reaching through to the very depths of her soul as if to see if he could snatch away a piece of it.

   An intense sensation of dread overcame Elowyn and a cold chill violently shook her small body. She felt the same sickness in her stomach that she had suffered several days earlier when she had found the ground by the stream soaked with blood. As she stared at the man in the black cape, unable to look away, it seemed to her that a thick, dark cloud suddenly descended upon him. From where she could not tell, as the sun was blazing brightly in the midst of a flawless sapphire sky. She gasped and shut her eyes tightly, praying that whatever hold this man seemed to have over her would be broken. Gathering her courage, she cautiously opened her eyes. The dark mist had dissolved away, and despite his pallor, the Sovereign’s steward appeared once again to be an ordinary man in a black cape. Elowyn could not explain the experience, though it left her trembling and uneasy.

Elowyn glanced over the crowd below her. No one else seemed to have seen what she had, or felt that deep sense of foreboding in their blood. The crier had urged them to cheer at the moment when the man stepped forward to take recognition, and they had mindlessly complied. As far as they were concerned, the anxiety of not knowing who the Sovereign’s successor would be had ended, and now they could continue living their lives just as they had before. Tyroc was the largest city anywhere within close reach, and it had enjoyed peace for so many years that perhaps the populace had forgotten how easily and swiftly the winds of fortune could change.

“And now!” the younger brother said, holding up his hand for quiet once more. Elowyn saw the look of arrogance intensify as the cheering crowds made him bolder. “Now we come to the less pleasant task of dealing with the traitor in our midst. It is truly sad,” he paused for effect, “that one of our own would take advantage of our weakness in this time of mourning. This rebel group, whose members were once loved and trusted by my father, and who for so many years gladly partook of his bounty and endless generosity, have turned his grave into a stepping-stone. In a most dishonorable fashion, they have used our turmoil against us, striking out at the innocent while they themselves hide in the shadows like cowards.

“They have haunted our forests and roads, killing our guards on sight, unprovoked. Our many attempts to stop them failed until several days ago, when we caught this man skulking along the city walls. Even in these difficult circumstances we have tried to be fair. We asked what grievance this group has against us, and tried to understand their demands, but all we got for our efforts was silent defiance. These are not men who can be reasoned with. They are thirsty for nothing more than blood and power. They slaughter without cause, and without conscience. They are murderers and thieves, and our laws will punish them according to their deeds, for even in our hour of darkness, we are a just people.” He paused long enough to look upon the rapt faces of the crowd as they drank in every word of his carefully rehearsed speech.

“This man,” he said, pointing to the bound and hooded figure, “will serve as an example to the rest. Others will now know what happens to groups such as these, who strike out against the people of Tyroc. Justice shall be served here today as we avenge the innocent blood these men have spilled. Executioner, bring the condemned man forward so that the people may get a good look at one of the many who have caused them so much anguish.”

The hood was finally removed, revealing a fair-haired young man who was blinking painfully in the brightness of the light. The crowds were jeering at him and yelling insults. They might have thrown stones and rotten food as well, had there not been a chance of mistakenly hitting one of the Sovereign’s sons.

Elowyn’s stomach ached. The younger brother’s speech sounded noble, and it rang true with all of the rumors she had heard. Yet there was an uneasiness stirring deep within her being. The look on the captured man’s face did not speak of blood lust or greed. His eyes did not lack conscience. He stood there amidst the jeers with his chin high and a look of peace on his face. With shock, Elowyn realized that as horrified as she was at having to witness this man’s execution, he was not afraid to die. Perhaps that was what unnerved her so. He was supposed to argue, and struggle, and try to break free—what had he to lose if they were to kill him anyway? What animal in the wood sees the hunter and just stands there without any attempt to outrun the arrow or outwit the blade?

The younger brother continued, “Our law allows you final words before your execution. Do you have anything to say for yourself?”

“Only that such blatant lies do not become one of your stature, Milord. But, praise be to Aviad that He is beyond such deception. In my death, shall the truth someday be revealed.” He said it not with anger or bitterness, but as a quiet statement of fact. There was no question that he believed what he said.

The younger brother’s face flushed with emotion for the first time that day. He glanced at the man with the black cape as though asking for direction. He had not yet learned how to make a seamless recovery when something unexpected rattled his performance, and his inexperience was showing. The man in the black cape appeared to be completely unruffled, even slightly amused, as he whispered something in the brother’s ear.

The younger brother turned once again to the crowd. “Yes, fine sentiments from a thief and murderer,” he said in a smug, condescending tone. “Fortunately our laws are swayed by evidence rather than impassioned words.”

He pulled out a small scroll and waved it before the crowd, “This scroll certifies that this man has been convicted of treason before a court of Tyroc. He is found to be in league with those who have slain our people without cause or mercy. The customary punishment for treason is death by public impalement—a slow, torturous death. But we are prepared to show this man more mercy than he has shown, in the hope that his comrades will be brought to repentance, and return to the lives they once had. The prisoner, alas, must still answer for his crime, but we have granted him a swift death by the executioner’s axe.”

About the Author

Allison D. Reid was born in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Her love for medieval fantasy was sparked by the Narnia Chronicles by C.S. Lewis, which fed both her imagination and her spiritual development. When at the age of thirteen her family moved to Germany, her passion for medieval history and legend only increased, and she found herself captivated by the ancient towns and castles of Europe. Allison returned to the United States to study art and writing at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA.  She earned her B.A. under the tutelage of the well-renowned and prolific writer Andrew Salkey, a student of her other great inspiration, and the father of fantasy, J. R. R. Tolkien. After graduating from Hampshire College, Allison moved to Connecticut.  There she got the opportunity to attend seminary and further explore her faith before returning to her home state of Ohio. Allison now lives in the Miami Valley area with her husband and children. She continues to work on her first published series while taking care of her family, editing for other independent writers, and managing a home business.

To find out more on Allison Reid and Journey to Avid:  
Social Links: (main website) (blog) (JTA facebook page)

Purchasing Links:

Amazon & Kindle: