After going through numerous amazing manuscripts, the judges have decided upon five entries that still has the chance of taking the grand prize! These five entries will receive a free book cover service provided by SolaFide Publishing for their acheivement. So, without further adieu, meet the five finalist manuscripts in no particular order.
Title: The Enigma
Author: Sheritta Bitikofer
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Katey McCoy lives in a small town in the panhandle of Florida. She’s an orphan, living with her abusive foster mother with only a couple close friends in her classes. She’s more than anxious to leave the town and strike out on her own, just like all the other teenagers. The evening that she turns eighteen, she’s invited to a party by a classmate, but eventually leaves the party to go do something she’s always enjoyed: walking through a graveyard. She was surprised to find that she wasn’t alone. She meets Logan, a handsome young man that looks a little older than her. They converse under the stars until midnight when Katey officially becomes a legal adult. When she turns around, she finds that Logan has completely disappeared, leaving behind only the jacket her had lent to her earlier.
Come Monday, her head is still reeling with the memory of the mysterious stranger and the evening they shared when she sees none other than Logan walking down the halls of her high school. And to her chagrin, he’s in practically all of her classes, even though the end of the first semester is approaching. What’s even more curious is that her three favorite teachers, Mr. Dubose, Mr. Keith and Mr. Myers, all seem to know him somehow.
After school one day, she eavesdrops in on a meeting all four of them are having and the topic is her. The words “bite” and “change” alarm her enough to run from the school. But she’s unable to stay away and discovers the horrifying truth that her teachers, as well as Logan, are werewolves – or as they prefer to be called “loups-garous”. She thought she’d be terrified of them, but after learning more and more about this strange pack, she doesn’t seem to mind it that much, and even becomes fascinated with their way of life and how close they all are as a family unit. When given the decision to be changed into one of their kind, Katey ignores the risks and willingly agrees. She becomes the first loup-gaoru in known history. Little does she know that when she agreed to a life of sharing her body with a wolf spirit, she also unwittingly agreed to becoming the last hope for peace between the feuding races of vampires and loups-garous. Along the way, she uncovers the truth about her true family and her heritage, as well as finding her place in her new pack.
About The Author
Sheritta Bitikofer is an author of eclectic tastes. Her mornings are spent dancing to Frank Sinatra and singing to hard rock bands. At work, she’s often found without shoes on or running to get her coworkers’ drinks from Sonic during happy hour. And when the day has been hard, she unwinds with a good book and chili cheese fries before snuggling on the couch with her husband. And on some weekends, she can be found at non-profit medieval historical society events either painting or shooting a bow. Every given chance, she devotes herself to the art of romance writing of all genres, especially with supernatural/paranormal themes.”
Title: Dying Embers: Scars of the Beautifully Broken
Author: Tracy A. Smith
Genre: Paranormal Romance
LILLIANA O’NEIL may look like your average garden variety young woman but she is as far from that as one can get. In fact she is a 517 year old half Loscannus demon with an often exaggerated bad reputation, an overly complicated life and a great propensity for attracting trouble.
Lilliana has a lot of demons but one should expect that from someone who has lived as long as she has. The problem lies in the fact that although she has plenty of the internal symbolic kind, she also has a literal one as well. His name is JACOB and he is the true meaning of the word. He is a dark, evil, merciless creature who wants Lilly all to himself. He wishes only to use her to bring the human world to its knees.
Lilliana has spent her whole life running away, mostly ineffectively, from her past, from the demon she sold her soul to, from what others say is her destiny, from relationships but mostly from herself. Unfortunately that is the one thing she can never escape. She is at the end of her rope and only wishes for it all to end.
That is until she meets JULIAN, a former angel who is tormented by his own fair share of demons. At first Lilly has a very difficult time believing that someone like Julian could ever love the likes of her; someone haunted by a dark past and pursued by an even darker future. She feels unworthy of his or anyone else’s love. She has become accustom to the pain of being unloved and alone. She feels she doesn’t deserve to be happy or loved so she has hardened her heart against such things but with Julian the walls she has painstakingly built so high around her heart easily come trembling down.
About The Author
Tracy Ann Smith lives in the upstate New York town of Binghamton with her family. She earned her Bachelors of Science in Biology from SUNY: College of Environmental Science and Forestry. She loves all things that enable her to express her creative side but her two greatest passions are writing and nature photography. Her love for writing began with poetry when she was a teenager and progressed into writing fiction. Throughout her life she found that expressing herself with the written word came much more naturally to her than any other form of self-expression. She gets much of her inspiration from the natural beauty of the world around her and the everyday struggles of living life with clinical depression. Through her writing she wishes to inspire others to see they are not alone, and that we all have demons and scars that we should never be ashamed to let people see. We are all broken in our own way but even within our brokenness there is beauty to be found.
Dying Embers: Scars of the Beautifully Broken is her first novel.
Title: An Evil
Author: Thomas Brittendahl
A modern-day retelling of the Book of Job
PAUL BELLOMY, head pastor of Riverwood Evangelical Church, awakens before dawn on Sunday morning to three of his eight children still not home from the night before. Paul’s wife, SARAH, advises faith and love, which prompts Paul to rewrite his previously planned sermon to focus on the need to love God above all else. After church, Paul and his family return home, followed by his three missing children, each one guilty of partying too hard the night before.
The next morning, Paul awakens at three in the afternoon, clothes soaked, nauseous and weak, and without memory of the morning. After picking up five of his children from school, Paul finds at the gas station that all his credit and debit cards have been declined. Sarah calls and tells him all their bank accounts have been closed. Paul drops the kids off at home and heads out to join Sarah at the bank, but as he pulls out the driveway he sees in the rear view mirror a SHADOW standing next to his youngest child. When he turns around, the shadow is gone. Once at the bank Paul discovers that he had pulled out all his funds earlier in the morning and donated them to a secular think-tank that has been openly hostile to his church.
After unsuccessfully trying to get his money back from the secular think-tank, Paul and Sarah return home, go straight to bed, but can’t sleep. Just as they are about to fall asleep, a scream comes from downstairs. Paul rushes down to find his three eldest children floating in the family room above a pool of blood spanning the entire floor. The paramedics arrive and transport the children when faint pulses are detected. Paul and Sarah follow the ambulance to the hospital, only to find that their three children were indeed dead. Paul then gets a phone call from the officer watching the five children at the house: there was a spontaneous fire, which destroyed the house and killed the other five children. Sarah’s faith and love in God fades, while Paul’s barely hangs on, despite questions of why such a fate befell him, a man of deep piety.
Paul and Sarah stay in the guest cottage about fifty yards from the burnt down remains of their house. Paul is tormented by the Shadow, who keeps appearing in the ruins. Paul goes to it alone. The Shadow transforms into Sarah, and the burnt down house suddenly reemerges whole and with a new family. Sarah tells Paul it can still be his, but only if he keeps faith. Paul tells the Shadow disguised as his wife that he had a family, and that no other could replace what was lost. Paul is thrown back, hits his head, and reawakens amongst the ashes of the ruins, only to find the Shadow standing before him. The shadow then enters Paul, forcing his body unresponsive, and his consciousness lost in a black, eternal void.
For seven days Sarah waits by Paul’s side, his rotting body deteriorating more with each passing moment. Her faith and love for God completely gone, she finally determines to kill herself, lest the evil invade her dreams and take away the only pleasant thing she has: her memories of her family. She leaves Paul on the couch of the guest cottage, goes to the ruins, and hangs herself off a charred but sturdy structural beam.
Paul travels through the eternal void till the ground rises up and the Shadow emerges, switching between forms–including Paul’s children–before finally taking the form of an angel. Paul believes he’s talking with Satan, who asks Paul if he’s ready for the test. Paul refuses to speak with the evil creature. When Paul is told his wife is dead, he demands to see for himself. The Shadow lets go of Paul just enough so he can see and go to his wife’s hanging body. The Shadow then takes complete hold of Paul to prevent him from dying, and so the test can finally be issued. Paul is told he was made to suffer precisely because he’d been of the most pius, and that the good suffer only so they can be tested, since they are the only one’s worthy of such a test. Paul is told that the test is necessary to determine if the subject truly loves God unconditionally, as God demands to be loved. When Paul fails the test, and cannot retain his faith, God appears and grants mercy on Paul. God touches Paul’s forehead, and makes it as if Paul hadn’t ever been born.
More about the author later as another one of entries is also a finalist!!
Title: Repository for the Unwanted
Author: Thomas Brittendahl
Savoy, 1611 A.D.. Inside the monastery, Sister ELMA eavesdrops on Father CAMILLO’s private confrontation with the Abbess, BETTINA. Screams emanate from Bettina’s closed office door, but Elma does nothing, suspecting the Abbess guilty of witchcraft.
Four months later, Bettina is condemned to death as a sodomite and Elma made Abbess. Elma visits Bettina in the Monastery’s holding cell, where Bettina swears revenge.
The next day, nine year old ANTONIA is abandoned by her father to the monastery while the small European town celebrates the burning of Betting. Antonia meets a young girl named FRANCA, then struggles through her first night alone.
Fifteen years later and Antonia’s gotten used to the life of a cloistered nun. However, on her way to choir, she loses time. She again gets lost in the same labyrinth that’s haunted her for years. This time she sees the image of a beautiful Sister who turns to ash before her eyes. She then awakens just in time for her choir solo. Later that night, she makes love to Franca before confiding for the first time her blackouts and dreams.
After two murders in two nights, Antonia suspects Sister CHRISTINA is somehow responsible, despite rumors Bettina has returned from the dead. When confronted, Christina warns Antonia that they both have a part to play. Confused, Antonia seeks information from an elder Sister about Bettina. She learns that Bettina and Christina were lovers, and that before she was burned at the stake, Bettina cursed those who were responsible for her demise. Upon such a revelation, Antonia tells the current Abbess, ELMA, who throws Christina in the dungeon.
The next night, Elma and her assistant are murdered by an unconscious Antonia, who opens them both from chest to naval before falling to the floor. Antonia dreams of an angel, who tells her to be strong and not fear the trial she will soon be undertaking. She then wakes up in the monastery’s dungeon with no knowledge of what happened.
Once Camillo (now Bishop) arrives at the monastery, Antonia and Christina are put through painful tests to determine if they are witches. When the Bishop finally presents himself to Antonia in an attempt to bait Christina, whom he tortured fifteen years earlier upon suspicion of witchcraft and sodomy, Antonia’s eyes glow yellow, and she kills Camillo too. Again, Antonia passes out without knowledge of what happened.
Christina is set free. During the night, hours after an exorcism is performed on Antonia, Christina breaks into Antonia’s cell, tells Antonia that Bettina is responsible for the murders: Bishop Camillo hated Bettina’s preaching and had two young men rape her; Camillo too sodomized Bettina when her preaching continued; and Elma turned them into Camillo after seeing them kiss, which resulted in Bettina’s inquisition and death. Christina then walks to the top balcony of the monastery and jumps to her death, certain she will be reunited with Bettina.
After being put through much torture, Antonia finally lies and confesses to being a witch. She does so with Franca in her heart, hoping they’ll see each other again and live happily in heaven. However, after her confession, Antonia is given the revelation that there is no record of Franca existing at any time within the nunnery or town. Antonia is then escorted from the monastery and fears her lover was only real in her imagination.
As Antonia awaits being burned at the stake, she is visited by Franca, who reveals herself as a fallen angel: a very powerful devil who rules over part of hell. Franca tells Antonia that Bettina and Christina prayed for vengeance, and that, unlike her own heavenly Father, she always answers those who pray to her. Franca admits feeling deeply connected to Antonia, both having experienced the same traumatic loss of a father who should’ve kept them in his loving embrace. After telling Antonia she will be a queen of hell, Franca disappears, and Antonia is escorted to the stake, where she burns until nothing is left.
Antonia awakens in a cold labyrinth, walks until she escapes the maze, finds Franca sitting on a throne, wings outstretched, gesturing to the seat beside Him. Antonia refuses and instantly finds herself back in the labyrinth, right in front of an open door. She turns, sees Christina, who tells her the devil holding them is Asmodeus. Antonia then flies backwards through the open door. Once she crosses its threshold, it slams shut.
After a timeless wait, Antonia agrees to Asmodeus’ proposal to make her the most powerful demon of hell, a queen to rule by His side. Antonia finally sees that Asmodeus and Franca are one, and that the love she bares Franca remains. Antonia agrees on one condition: that she can spend the rest of her existence taking the souls of those who corrupt innocence. Asmodeus agrees, brings Antonia to the throne beside his, where she sits and is given the power promised.
About The Author
I am currently polishing two of my five completed novels as well as a short story of about 25,000 words. My writing has thus far focused on science fiction and horror, but include elements of other genres. I never stop writing, and have the framework established for several other novels. I graduated magna cum laude from San Jose State University, majoring in History and minoring in Philosophy, receiving both university and department honors, and currently teach high school in San Jose, Ca.
Title: Guardians of the Ancient Earth
Author: Evan M Leigh
Genre: Urban Fantasy
On the island of Jamaica, in the rustic year of 1688, a pair of emissaries from a sacred order have located a witness of the creature they have come to hunt down. They meet in a darkened public house among pirates and privateers, buying trust and information from the young native with food and drink. Hunting down the prehistoric evil isn’t the only obstacle in their path. Alessandra is a Mediterranean witch and her partner, Father Donnelly, an Irish clergyman. They are an unlikely pair for any occasion but even more so to be on the same side of an ages old war and twice as unlikely as that to be in love. Bound together by an oath of service, they have spent years travelling the globe and now, by the failing candlelight in a rural pub, they finally confess their love for each other. Their happiness is cut painfully short when the creature attacks the patrons and Donnelly is killed in the crossfire as British soldiers fight off the beast. Alessandra trades her life to her Pagan Goddess in exchange for the privilege of taking vengeance on the creature in her next life. The Goddess agrees and enchants her own dagger with the ability to slaughter this monster and its kin.
Back in the modern world, specifically Portland, Maine, Gwendolyn Evans is anxiously awaiting the morning as she trudges through the midnight shift in the ER. Her husband, Kelyn Evans, has crafted a surprise vacation for them to celebrate their wedding anniversary and the waiting is too much to bear. With the rising of the sun, her lover arrives with flowers and whisks her away to the island paradise of Jamaica, where they set upon the task of celebrating their love. They do what every happy young couple does in paradise: gorging themselves on rich food and strong drinks, soaking up the sunshine and saltwater, and having plenty of spontaneous sex. The fun quickly turns dark as increasingly bizarre events unfold and surround them until there is no way to deny that they’re being stalked by something malevolent. A member of the very same order that Alessandra and Donnelly represented has infiltrated the resort staff and emerges from the shadows, sending an anonymous agent across their path. Tested by violence and their own recognition of the order’s ancient sigil, the Evans’ soon begin to realize that they are the reborn heirs of Antiqui Custodes Terram, or the Guardians of the Ancient Earth. Memories of their past lives filter back, seemingly out of nowhere, and they realize the truth of it despite their waffling enthusiasm. Throughout this journey of discovery, the Evans’ face a myriad of primordial evils as they find themselves lost in the Jamaican mountains. Attacked and persistently chased by a shapeshifting beast
that exists somewhere between a serpent and a woman, they also believe they’ve managed to kill one of the monster’s pets: a creature not unlike a wolf but also reptilian and bloodthirsty. Aided by the ghostly spirit of a long-dead English Lady, the couple heads for safety but not before they are both grievously injured. With one of them lingering on the edge of death as they flee through the cramped passages of a hillside cavern, the Pagan Goddess of the moon summons them to the very spot where Alessandra made her covenant and gave up her life.
With the Goddess on their side, the pair takes her instruction and the dagger back to the resort, still hoping to get off the island without having to face the insidious monstrosity as they know must happen. Gwendolyn calls her parents and asks them to return for them early but later that night, as they slept, the dark god, Formidos, descended upon the resort, unleashing his pack of unnatural wolves, and slaughtered every soul save for them. For the Evans’, he chose to lay in wait, knowing full well that his fate was tied to theirs.
As the Evans check for survivors, the hidden member of their order faces them for the first time and gives them the cryptic keys to victory before once again returning to the ambiguity of the shadows. Gwendolyn’s parent arrive at the resort and the four of them fight their way toward the exit but not before the spirit of Alessandra crosses over and merges with Gwen’s current soul. Interested in nothing but taking vengeance upon Formidos, Gwen refuses to leave
despite the better judgment of her parents. As the Evans part ways from Gwen’s parents, Formidos attacks and kills the elder couple. With her sanity faltering and the substance of her very being splintering, Gwen suffers a mental-emotional-spiritual breakdown.
Alessandra convinces her to fight and they stand together as one, ultimately defeating Formidos in a desperate grudge match of unreal magick, bloody violence, and lifetimes of retribution coming to fruition. Alessandra, now a permanent part of Gwen’s soul, raises Gwen’s parents from the dead and all four flee the resort before it
burns to the ground.
Back in Maine, the four of them enjoy a long visit over the holidays and begin to unravel their personal struggles with each other that stand in the way of their ultimately continuing this hallowed war against the brutal gods of the ancient world, who now wake and seek their thrones to be restored to them. At this, the door to the next adventure stands open, ready for the continuation of Gwendolyn and Kelyn’s saga.
Guardians of the Ancient Earth is an urban fantasy that straddles the line with paranormal romance. It’s full of death-defying adventure, quirky humor, spicy romance, and supernatural fireworks. In many ways it defies classification in the strictest sense of genre norms but still stands plainly in the urban fantasy spectrum.
About The Author
Evan M. Leigh hails from Pennsylvania Dutch country with strong tendencies to travel worldwide, but she is especially fond of Maine since visiting for the first time in 2010. She has been writing seriously for the last three years and can also be found anywhere outdoors or in her natural habitat, which is curled up on her comfy couch with her hubby and kitties.
Find out which one of these amazing novels will win the grand prize, November 1st!