Web Site Revamp

Hi Folks!

We had a release party for the Dark Monolith over the weekend. At the end, Shannon posted some screen shots of the website revamp we have been working on. I am really excited about it. Shannon has done a great job, despite all the changes I keep inflicting her with… *grin*  She is a real trouper and I highly recommend her as a website developer. But don’t listen to me, judge for yourself:

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Anyway, look for the updated site sometime end of this week.

F.P.

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Lloyd and Glo

Hi Folks,

Been kind of crazy these last few weeks. Alot going on including: getting the final edits in and publishing book 3 of the Heroes of Ravenford, redoing this website, planning a release party (thanks Shannon!), and life in general. A while back I commissioned a portrait from an incredible artist I found on Deviantart, Jackson Tjota. He finished it today and sent it to me, so I figured I would share it here with you. Here it is, Lloyd and Glo:

Lloyd and Glolindir 4 finalI hope you all like it. I was personally extremely pleased with it. In fact, I liked it so much, I commissioned a second portrait of two more characters. Who they are will remain secret until it is done, but if anyone has requests, I will take that into account for any future commissions.

More news coming soon with the big release of Book 3. Seen you all soon!

F. P.

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The Serpent Cult: Free this weekend!

The Serpent Cult (Heroes of Ravenford Book 2) will be free this weekend from Friday, Feb 20 thru Sunday, Feb 22. Download your copy from Amazon.

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Book 3: The Dark Monolith – Draft Cover

Hi Everybody!

So book 3 is well into the editing stage, with potential release date still this March. Two of my favorite people in the whole wide world of indie books are working on this: Melinda Martin and Natasha House. I will be posting more excerpts in the next couple of weeks, but for now, here is a very rough draft cover for Book 3. Opinions are more than welcome.

Thanks!

F.P

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Interview with Bridget McGowan

Hi everyone. I know it has been awhile, but I have another author interview today. This woman is an old friend who has been writing since she was 10, which is *cough* ahem *cough* number of years. She is very creative and always thinking outside the box. In fact, when asked, she typically answers, “What box?” Everyone, say hello to author Bridget McGowan!

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Hi Bridget! Thanks for stopping by today. Lets start with where are you from. Do you have pets? Family? Imaginary unicorn friend?

I am originally from Bucks County, PA, where I was born and grew up. I now live in New Jersey. I currently have a pointer/lab mix dog. My only imaginary friends are my characters … but one WAS a unicorn…

I believe that counts! So then, tell us a little about your writing. When did you start writing, and why? 

I started making up stories at about the age of three. At that time I didn’t like some of the stories my mother read to me, so I told her that wasn’t how the stories went, and then I told her my versions. I began actually writing stories once I learned how to write. I attempted my first “novel” when I was ten. I never finished it because I was trying to write about a girl with three sisters. Having no sisters, I wasn’t exactly writing about anything I knew. I began writing poetry at 12, and I still do it badly. When I went to college I began seriously writing short stories and not-so-seriously writing “news” stories and commercials for one of my broadcasting classes. They were mainly tongue in cheek. The first time I ever actually finished writing a novel was in 1989, when I completed the first of a series of five books on a character who worked for a television station in Philadelphia – and who also was gay – in the early years of the AIDS epidemic. I have since completed several other series and two children’s novels.

That must have been very edgy for its time. So you obviously cross genres. What genres have you written for and what is your favorite genre?

I have written fantasy, fictional biography, children’s stories and young adult fiction. I enjoy writing fictional biography. 

That is indeed quite the gambit. Sounds like a few other authors I know who jump around genres. Based on that response, I am going to guess that you are not a planner type writer.

I seldom plan anything about a story. I write what the characters tell me to write.

You are not the first author to say that. Most tell me their characters talk to them. That being said, where did you find your inspiration?

Generally, I create a character, and give him a shove to see what he will do.

Sounds fun…especially when they shove back…*grins*…ahem, anyway, can you name a positive experience from your writing and a negative one?

I have never finished the first novel I ever tried to write as an adult. I know everything that happens in it, but I’ve never finished writing all of it. On re-reading it many years later, I find it dull and pretentious. Originally, I used it as a talisman, believing that if I ever finished it, I’d never be able to write another novel. A positive experience has been experiencing the joys and sorrows of my main characters. It gives me a chance to understand life from someone else’s perspective.

Wow, a talisman, huh? I hope you never finish it then. I also know many writers who truly dislike their early works, so you are not alone in that respect. You would also not be the first to tell me they experience the ups and downs of their characters. It is difficult not to get emotionally invested in them as any good writer will tell you. Well then, do you listen to music or watch TV or do anything unusual while you write?   

With some I have listened to specific records (George Michael’s “Faith” while writing the Matt Nelson series.). But most of the time, no. There may be something going on in the background, but I’m paying attention to the page and the pen.

Okay, now I can’t get that song out of my head. “Coz I gotta have Faith… I gotta have… Faith” Oops, sorry. Got slightly carried away there…anyway is there a message conveyed within your writing? 

Don’t be afraid to go after your dreams, generally.

That’s a very straightforward answer. Usually folks need to think about that one. Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading?

I’m currently reading Game of Thrones, and just finished a historical fiction novel by Morgan Llewellyn.

Still haven’t read Game of Thrones. It is somewhere on my reading list. Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case?

Yes. I do it in stages, over the course of months. That gives the story time to cool, so I can catch mistakes and get enough distance from the writing of it.

Sounds like a good approach. Seems like one review is never enough. In fact most folks I know do that, as well as have beta readers to help them. So I take it you don’t believe a book suffers without being professionally edited?

No. I’ve had so-called professional editors try to take really good ideas and bland them down.

Ugh. That can be frustrating. Finding a good editor is hard. There are some good ones out there though, but too many bad ones as well giving the profession a bad name. Personally, I have been very fortunate, but I can see why you have the viewpoint you do. So then, what was your experience with getting your book published? How did you start out? Did you have help? 

I’ve tried to get my books published by regular publishers to no avail. A friend told me about Amazon.com publishing. While not that many people may buy the books, at least some people will. I just want to be read (becoming rich and famous would be nice, too, but I don’t expect that to happen.)

Ah, rich and famous…that would be nice…ahem, but yes, I agree, it is gratifying just to be read. Do you find marketing difficult? What strategy do you use, if any? 

I know absolutely nothing about marketing, and it shows. I have followed suggestions other people have made, like having an author’s Facebook page, but it hasn’t really been useful.

I am so sorry. I find it the most difficult part of being an author. I am not sure if there is one good strategy, but I am taking a marketing course right now. If I find out any good tidbits, I will be sure to share them. Onto the next question – I know you have more than one published work, but which book or series was your favorite to create?

My Nicholas Keating stories.

Ah, the Welsh violinist and his unlikely romance with the girl from America. That is a very heartfelt series. What is your latest book or series? Any forthcoming books? 

I’m planning to write a caper, which is an entirely foreign genre for me. I am letting the ideas swirl at the moment. And I have actually written an outline for this, something I’ve never done before.

OMG Bridget, you are planning! I promise not to tell anyone…ahem, anyway, just a few more questions. Are your characters ever based on real people?

No. They are unique. They sometimes play out scenes that have actually happened in my life, or take on expressions someone I know uses. I have based stories loosely on news stories I’ve heard about. But that’s only the basis. My story never actually follows the real news story. No one ever has to worry about ending up in my novel.

Have you ever used a person you don’t/didn’t like as a character then killed them off?

No, but I have killed off a character with whom I became bored.

Hahaha. That is too funny! Killing off a boring character…oh, well, one last question then. What formats are your book(s) available in (E-book, print, large print, audio)? Are you intending to expand these and if not, what is the reason? 

My books are available on Kindle and print on demand. I haven’t made them available in any other format because there doesn’t seem to be a demand for them. I would expand if there was a reason to.

Well then Bridget, we have come to the end of this interview. Thank you so much for your time.  For anyone interested in finding out more about Bridget, here are some links to her Amazon page and the Nicholas Keating series book 1:

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Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Bridget-McGowan/e/B00929UNO8/

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Excerpt from Book 3: The Dark Monolith

Hey Everybody!

Had some vacation time and put a lot of work into book 3. Just when our heroes thought it was safe, dark things start rearing their heads again. It looks like the Serpent Cult was not vanquished after all. Information comes to light that leads our Heroes in a new direction, and new allies appear to help them. Here is an excerpt from Book 3, the Dark Monolith:

A short while later, Seth had reentered the performer’s campsite. The entertainers for the party had parked their wagons and pitched their tents on the hillside between the town and the keep. Earlier in the day, Seth had spied a number of new wagons at the other end of the camp. Upon further investigation, he had found a large serpent hidden in one of those enclosed wagon. Now, he slowly crept between those same wagons, invisible thanks to his magic cloak, and virtually silent. Abruptly, he heard an unfamiliar voice behind him.

“Where are you going little one?” it said softly.

Seth started and quickly spun around. A tall human female stood outside one of the wagons he had just passed. He could have sworn there was no where there a few moments ago. The strange woman was dressed in gypsy’s garb. The most striking thing about her though, was her bright violet eyes. They were currently staring right at him, even though he was supposed to be invisible.

“Yes, I can see you,” she said quietly, as if reading his mind.

Seth walked cautiously back over to the woman, keeping an eye out for anything that might be a trap. He stopped a few feet from her.

“Who are you?” he whispered

“Me?” she said in mock surprise as she pointed to herself. “I am a mere fortune teller,” she responded in a self-deprecated tone.

Seth eyed the woman skeptically. This was no mere fortune teller. Especially if she could see him while he was invisible.

“If you must, you can call me Elistra,” the woman continued with an amused expression on her face. “But what you really want to know is how I can see you when you are invisible. Am I right?”

“You might be,” Seth replied noncommittally. She was exactly right though. Seth was no novice to magic; he knew full well that wizards and sorcerers could cast spells to see the invisible.

They could even make items which would enable the wearer to see invisible things. Perhaps this woman was wearing such an item. She did have a number of rings on her fingers…

“No, it is nothing I am wearing,” she answered his unasked question, still appearing quite amused with the situation. “Let’s just say that I have certain gifts. And these gifts provide me with advantages that most people do not have.”

Seth was not often taken by surprise, but he was not quite sure what to make of this Elistra. She was either really good at reading people or she could actually read minds. Seth had known quite a number of carnie folk growing up and he knew most of the cons. Thus he was not that easy to read. She had caught him by surprise at first, but now he was on his guard. He decided to play along with her.

“So what are these advantages?” he asked nonchalantly,

Elistra placed a finger on her chin as if deciding how best to explain.

“For one I can see and hear things others cannot,” she finally said. “For example I can speak with spirits, and sometimes I can even divine the future.”

“That must be pretty useful…” Seth replied as he studied the woman carefully.

“It can be at times,” she nodded, a full-fledged smile sprouting across her lips. She appeared quite sincere.

So she is either trying to con me, or she is just plain nuts he thought archly. Still, there was a small possibility that this woman was some kind of psionicist. Someone with psychic powers. Either way though, Seth did not trust her.

“But it is not all fun and games I can assure you,” she continued quite casually. “It is a good thing that you are skeptical. There are dark forces at work here and it is best that you are on your guard.” She paused and watched him closely, waiting for his response.

Seth, however, was not in the mood to play guessing games. He stood and stared back at her, refusing to speak. The gypsy woman finally took a deep breath and sighed.

“Very well,” she began seriously, all traces of amusement gone. “I know that you and your friends are seeking them out. My instincts are telling me that I should help you uncover them.”

“My friends?” Seth replied cautiously, not willing to give her any bit of information.

“Yes, Seth, your friends,” she replied candidly. “I know who you are and who your friends are as well. You Heroes have become somewhat of a force for good in this area in these last few weeks. That is something that will be sorely needed in the days ahead. If I can help you in some small way, then that will be beneficial for us all.”

Seth mulled over what she had said. It didn’t surprise him that she knew who he, or his friends were. There had been gossip about them all over town. That could have easily spread to neighboring towns by now. Even Fafnar had alluded to hearing their name. He was still not quite sure whether he believed what she was telling him though. He finally decided to test her.

“That’s all well and fine,” he replied slowly, “but what I really need to know right now is if there are any more of these Serpent Cult folks around. Can your gifts tell me that?”

A smile crossed the gypsy woman’s face once again.

“Why yes they can actually.”

Her head tilted back and her eyes took on a faraway look. It reminded Seth of when Glo was in contact with his raven familiar. It only lasted a few moments, then her eyes finally cleared and her expression grew quite serious once more.

“While I no longer detect serpents or dark magicians in the area, I do in fact feel something dark emanating from that carriage.”

She pointed to an enclosed wagon about a dozen yards to his left. It was not much different than the rest other than the orange sides and green trim. Like all the others, the door was closed and the shades were pulled.

“Well then, let’s go and check it out,” Seth said warily.

Elistra laughed gaily at his measured response.

“Oh, you are the doubter, aren’t you? Very good. Do you want me to lead the way?”

“No,” Seth shook his head. “I’ve got this.”

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The Dead Game Blog Tour

 

The Dead Game 
Blog tour December 15th to the 19th 
 
Follow the tour!!!
December 15th
December 16th
December 17th
December 18th
December 19th
Synopsis 
 
Linda moves to a seaside town to live a quiet life. She opens a bookstore and makes new friends. Life is simple–that is until the dead body washes up on shore. Linda is horrified to find that dead bodies and disappearing tourists are common for this small town. As soon as the sun sets, the residents and tourists are stalked by dark shadows. But this is only the beginning.

Linda and her friends receive an unsigned invitation to a party at a deserted house. They are pursued through revolving rooms and dangerous traps, barely escaping with their lives. Two of their own remain trapped in the house. Or so they think. 
They must embark on a difficult journey, chased by unnatural creatures, not knowing whom to trust, to uncover the one controlling the game and everyone in town. Who are The Dead? Are they humans or vampires? Or a combination of both? Will there be an end to their evil game? Will Linda and Todd find love? Will a second book be needed?
The Dead Game has begun.
 
 
About the Author 
 
   Susanne Leist
graduated with an M.B.A. in Finance. Wherever life has led her, through the
hectic commodities’ markets or the number-crunching field of budgeting, she’s
continued to read and daydream. Unbeknownst to her, she had been pursuing her
dream all along, her dream of putting her words down on paper for everyone to
enjoy. She currently resides on Long Island with her husband, two daughters,
and Maltese.
     Her first book,
The Dead Game, is a paranormal thriller with humans, vampires, and vampire
derivatives. Her goal has been to write a book different than the usual vampire
story or murder mystery. She wanted a murder mystery with victims, clues, and
suspects. She created that and much more. The book has revolving rooms, traps,
falling cages, and anything her active imagination could create. The Dead Game
is a fun ride into the realms of the supernatural.
 
Book Excerpt 
Chapter 22
Their car neared the house. A stunning sight unfolded before
their eyes. Encased in a tight circle of trees, shimmering from the lights
strung through their heavy branches, the glass house sparkled against the dark night
sky: a huge glass ball shooting green sparks of light from within its rounded
walls. Its great dome twinkled as radiantly as the multitude of stars shining
down from above.

Todd left the car with the valet and led the way up the marble stairs to the
rounded front door. Two armed men, dressed in tuxedos, guarded the door, their
holstered guns only slightly marring the fantasy image running through Linda’s
vivid imagination: for as soon as she turned away to admire the scenery, she was
once again in fantasyland.

The panorama facing her was doused in white. Gleaming white snow caps covered
the tops of the tall trees and the great dome of the house. Snow was falling on
them from somewhere. She could feel snowflakes melting on her lips. They felt wet,
like real snowflakes. She touched her face and hair. Her hand came away wet. She had
snow on her fingertips. She searched the grounds for a snow machine, but
couldn’t locate anything—not on the glass domed roof or in any of the trees.
She  couldn’t have, genuine snow was falling on them from the dark sky.
The landscape resembled a winter wonderland despite it being fall in Florida.

Todd placed his hand against her back to escort her into the house. The others
followed them into the glowing green ball that was alive with dazzling lights,
music, and laughter.

Once inside, Linda was mesmerized by the glittering glass walls that mirrored
the dancing images of the guests twirling around the marble dance floor. These
images were cast in bright halos of light reflected from the myriad of crystal
chandeliers hanging throughout the room.

Soft candlelight from mounted crystal sconces flickered across the intricate patterns
carved into the green walls. It was the most beautiful and fascinating house that she
had ever seen. She glanced back and watched Shana’s mouth drop open. She was
certain that Shana would agree that the house appeared simply magical.

Couples were swirling around the immense dance floor. They were dancing in a large
studio between Diane’s life-sized statues. Each sculpture was carved from clear glass:
each one revealing a full-sized person. Linda found them to be too lifelike. She stood
next to one and stared into it frozen face. She was startled by a fleeting
expression of horror that seemed to cross over its features; as if a real
person was trapped inside, staring out at her from within his glass tomb. Then
the look was gone and the statue appeared lifeless once again
 
 
Author Interview 
 
Please introduce yourself and tell us
something about your books.
My name is Susanne Leist and I’m a new
author. My book, The Dead Game is a paranormal mystery. It takes place in a
small town, called Oasis, on the coast of Florida. During the day, this town is
a paradise for its residents and abundant tourists with its picturesque
streets, white-sand beaches, and warm waters. However, at night, the town turns
dark and deadly. Dark shadows roam the streets. Tourists begin to disappear and
bodies turn up dead on the beach. The evil in this town revolves around a
deserted house. The younger residents are invited to a mysterious party at End
House, and that is when the fun and games begin.
How did you come to write your first book
and how long ago was it?

I have been reading murder mysteries and thrillers since I was a
teenager. I’ve read all types of mysteries, from Agatha Christie to Sherlock
Holmes. In recent years, I’ve begun to read paranormal mysteries. These books
bring fantasy and the surreal to the simple murder mystery.

It is hard to find books that combine paranormal with mystery. That is
why I have decided to write a paranormal, murder mystery of my own. It is the
type of book that I search for and love to read.

My book, The Dead Game, has dead bodies and suspects like a traditional
murder mystery. However, it also has humans, vampires, and vampire derivatives.
And don’t forget the haunted house—we must have one of these.
When you sit down to write a new story, do
you know what the ending will be before you start or does it evolve as you
write?
This is the first book that I’ve written. I
began with a basic idea in mind. I wanted a murder to take place in a small
town. This murder would involve a house that was rigged with supernatural or
mechanical traps and moving rooms. But I had no idea how the story would evolve
or end. The end turned out to be a surprise to even me.
What do you do when you are not writing or
reading?
When I’m not writing, I enjoy being with my
family. My daughters and I love fashion and we love to shop. My husband gets
dragged along. I swim twice a week and read every day.
If you could holiday anywhere in the world,
where would you choose and why?
I would love to travel everywhere in the
world. The only countries I’ve visited so far are Canada, England, and Israel.
There are so many places I would love to see. At least I could visit them in
books.
I guess, like most authors, you are an avid
reader – who are your favourite authors?
Do you read many books by indie authors?
My favourite author is Brad Meltzer. It is
fun and easy to read his books. His words flow smoothly and keep me engrossed
in the stories. I like his characters. He weaves his extensive knowledge of
Washington into the story lines.
I buy a book by the description on the back
cover and not by the author’s name. This has led me to explore books written by
a wide variety of indie authors. I found Brad Meltzer by his book’s description
before I heard about him as an author.
Where do you normally source your reading
material – from your local library, a bookshop, Amazon or somewhere else?
I buy books anywhere I can find them. If a
book catches my eye, then I buy it. I buy online and in book stores.
Are you working on a new book at the
moment?

The Dead Game is the first book in a series. The first book resolves the
murder mystery, but at the same time, opens a Pandora box of new mysteries. Its
surprise ending will lead to more surprises.

Once my book is further established in the marketplace, I will begin
work on the second book. I have an outline and notes all ready to be used to
write the next book. My writing often leads me in unknown directions, so I
won’t know how the book will end until it does.
 Character Questions 
 
 Who is your main character?
My main
character is Linda Bennett. She moves to a small town to open a bookstore with
an attached coffee shop. She wants to lead a quiet and peaceful life. But she
is in for a surprise, since Oasis is anything but peaceful.
What should we know about
her?
Linda is a
good person who wants to be liked by everyone. She is sweet and kind. She
develops a crush on Todd, but at first, she is too shy to speak to him. Her
friendship with Shana brings her out of her shell and at times, gets her into
trouble. She develops the nerve to speak with him and to voice her own
opinions.
What is the main conflict?
What messes up her life?
Her crush on Todd brings
complications to her life. She finds him to be aloof. At first, she is drawn to
his mysterious nature. But as she gets to know him better, this mystery soon
becomes off-putting to her. She believes he’s hiding secrets from her; secrets
that have to do with the elusive residents, and the murders and disappearances
in town. 
What is her personal goal?
Her personal goal is to help save
the town from the evil threatening to kill them. She doesn’t know if the evil controlling
the town is human or a supernatural creature, but she is determined to find and
destroy him or her with the help of her friends. 
She has a secondary goal of
getting to know Todd better, and she has better luck with this than her first
goal.
Author Links and buy links
Kindle
Nook
Links
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The Ruins on Stone Hill Free this Weekend 12/13-12/14

The kindle version of The Ruins on Stone Hill will be available for FREE this weekend, Saturday 12/13 through Sunday 12/14, only at Amazon.com:

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San Francisco Book Review: The Ruins on Stone Hill

A week or so ago I mentioned receiving my first professional review, from the San Francisco Book Review Club. They gave for The Ruins on Stone Hill 4 out of 5 stars. For anyone who is interested, here is a link to that review:

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Excerpt from The Dark Monolith: Heroes of Ravenford Book 3

Here is a short excerpt from the third book in the Heroes of Ravenford Series, The Dark Monolith. The book is slated for publishing sometime in early 2015:

Donnie fell back into a defensive stance, slowly backpedaling, hoping to draw the remaining creatures away from Ruka. It worked. He had the undisputed attention of the single minded little pests.

He had managed to draw the goblins a good ten feet away from Ruka when the troll charged. Donnie looked on in horror as the huge creature rushed the girl. It was easily twice her size!

The troll closed the gap swiftly and was on top of the girl before he knew it. He watched on in horror as it swung its giant club in a long arc directly at the waiting girl. Ruka, however, did not move. Instead she merely stood her ground.

“Ruka!” Donnie cried in anguish, expected to see the girl crushed under the weight of that club.

Time appeared to slow as he watched the weapon close upon the teen’s skull, yet she still did not move. At the very last second, she dropped her sword and threw both of her hands up in front of her.

What happened next was impossible. Ruka grasped onto the club, swung with all the might of the huge troll, and stopped it cold!

The entire clearing went silent. Everyone froze in place, staring unbelievingly at the sight of the five foot girl holding the troll’s club fast.

Donnie blinked his eyes and looked again. Ruka still stood there, the troll’s club in her outstretched hands.

She had caught the club! Ruka had caught the troll’s club! he thought elatedly. Then he noticed something else. There was a faint golden glow around the Ruka’s body. It was just barely visible, but it was there.

The troll had been throw off balance by the abrupt halt of its attack. It began grunting angrily as it righted itself, then tried to yank its club back. Try as it might though, it could not budge the weapon from the girl’s grasp!

Donnie watched in awe as Ruka’s hair began to stir. It rose on its own accord, the crackling glow of electric arcs skirting across her body. The arcs swiftly grew larger and flew up the handle of the club. They reached the troll in moments, racing up its arm and quickly engulfing its entire body. The troll screamed with rage as electricity danced across its torso, burning it and singed it in numerous places at once. Try as it might though, it could not let go of the club.

Donnie shook himself, realizing there were still three goblins standing in front of him. The little creatures were rooted to the spot, terrified by the spectacle taking place before them. Donnie dispatched one of them quickly and silently, without the other two even noticing.

Meanwhile, Ruka had finished her onslaught. The arcs of electricity died down around her and then disappeared completely.

The troll was finally able to let go of its club, and staggered backward, blackened scars still smoldering on its green mottled skin. The big creature stared down at the girl, half its size, growling and snarling with rage.

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