Book Excerpt from The Granite Key


I’m happy to share an excerpt with you today, from archaelogical thriller “The Granite Key”. Enjoy the snippet!

Book Excerpt

At about three o’clock in the morning far outside the city, four people were staring bleakly at one other around a kitchen table. It was an old style oak table in an old style country kitchen. The kind with tin ceiling tiles and tall glass cupboards above the sink. A single yellow nightlight glowed from the wall.

At one end of the table sat an elderly woman in a terrycloth robe and slippers. Despite the late hour, she had managed to roll her white hair into a neat little bun at the nape of her neck. She sighed heavily. “I can’t believe this.”

“Believe it. Sybil’s dead.” The abrupt comment came from a blond man in his mid-twenties at the opposite end of the table. He sat slouched despondently in his chair, arms crossed, his legs sprawled out in front of him. “She called me and she sounded scared. She thought somebody was trying to break into the shop. Then the line went dead. I got there as fast as I could but the cops beat me to it.” He exhaled tiredly. “It’s my fault.”

“How do you figure?” The question came from a middle-aged woman with bushy red hair sitting to his left. There were distinct frown lines around her mouth. She took a long drag on an unfiltered cigarette.

The blond man glanced up. “If I’d just gotten there five minutes sooner maybe we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Maybe she’d still be alive.”

“Did she give you a physical description of her attacker?” The question came from a young man in his early-twenties seated to the right. He spoke with a British accent.

“Nope,” said the blond man succinctly. “For the past week or so she told me she had the feeling somebody was following her but she never knew who it was.”

 “I think we all know who was responsible.” The elderly woman rose stiffly out of her chair. She walked over to sink, filled a kettle and put it on the stove to boil.

The other three stared at one another in shock. Anger flashed in the middle-aged woman’s eyes. “Those bastards! What do they want from us now?”

The Granite Key

GK-Ecover-Bull-ExSmTitle: The Granite Key

Author: Nancy Wikarski

Genre: Archaeological Thriller

THE ARKANA SERIES: Archaeological Thrillers That Defy History
Volume One – The Granite Key

“Think ‘MEDIUM meets THE LOST SYMBOL’ and it only begins to describe the pleasures of THE GRANITE KEY – 5 Stars.” (Kindle Nation)

A Wake-Up Call
In a nightmare, nineteen year old Cassie Forsythe sees her sister attacked by a man in a cowboy hat who demands something called “the key.” Her nightmare mutates into reality before the night is over. Cassie is called to identify her sister’s body–murdered exactly as her dream foretold. Cassie dismisses her vision as a fluke and fights to get on with her life. Disconnected and aimless now that her only family is gone, she drifts until the evening when she catches the man in the cowboy hat ransacking her sister’s apartment. He bolts with an odd-looking stone cylinder–the granite key. From that moment, Cassie’s normal world evaporates.

A Secret Society
She learns that her sister led a double life–retrieving artifacts for a secret organization called the Arkana. The Arkana’s leader, an elder named Faye, explains that her group performs a controversial kind of archaeology. They scour the globe for evidence of ancient pre-patriarchal civilizations in hopes of salvaging the lost history of the world. Their network of troves safeguards artifacts from highly sophisticated goddess-worshipping cultures on every continent. Cassie’s sister had the psychic ability to touch an artifact and relive its past. Cassie has now inherited this gift. Faye wants the girl to take over her sister’s role in the organization. Cassie doubts her powers but agrees. Now an insider, she is transported to the Arkana’s mysterious underground vault in the countryside outside Chicago where the group tackles the mystery of her sister’s murder.

A Dangerous Cult
The Arkana learns that the man in the cowboy hat is a hired mercenary named Leroy Hunt and that he is working for a fundamentalist religious cult known as the Blessed Nephilim. He takes his orders directly from the cult’s domineering prophet–Abraham Metcalf. The granite key which Leroy stole is inscribed with hieroglyphics revealing the location of a mythological artifact reputed to have mystical powers–the Sage Stone. Although skeptical of its legendary capabilities, the Arkana is still afraid to allow the relic to fall into the cult’s hands. Abraham’s fanatical belief in the power of the Sage Stone could be the catalyst to start a war of religious genocide.

Unlocking The Key
Before she died, Cassie’s sister took photos of the strange markings on the granite key. The Arkana decodes the hieroglyphics which point to the ancient ruins of Minoan Crete as the hiding place of the Sage Stone. Faye hastily assembles a retrieval team including Cassie, her newly-appointed bodyguard Erik, and a British researcher named Griffin. The band of treasure hunters is mismatched and wildly dysfunctional from the start. Griffin has never gone on a field mission, Erik treats his inexperienced colleagues with contempt, and Cassie second-guesses her psychic hunches. She battles to prove herself to Erik at every turn. Their internal clashes rival the bigger crisis of what to do when they come face to face with their enemies.

A Matter Of Life Or Death
Even as they rake through megalithic tombs and Minoan palaces for clues, Abraham dispatches his son Daniel and hired gun Leroy Hunt to recover the Sage Stone. The Nephilim operatives won’t hesitate to kill anyone standing in their way. Will Cassie and her teammates avert global disaster or find themselves casualties of Abraham’s mania to exterminate the world of unbelievers? The Granite Key holds the answer.

Author Bio


“There’s a 52% chance that the next Dan Brown will be a woman … or should we just make that 100% now?”

–Kindle Nation

Nancy Wikarski is a fugitive from academia. After earning her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, she became a computer consultant and then turned to mystery and historical fiction writing. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, the Society Of Midland Authors, and has served as vice president of Sisters In Crime – Twin Cities and on the programming board of the Chicago chapter. Her short stories have appeared in Futures Magazine and DIME Anthology, while her book reviews have been featured in Murder: Past Tense and Deadly Pleasures.

She has written the Gilded Age Chicago History Mysteries series set in 1890s Chicago. Titles include The Fall Of White City (2002) and Shrouded In Thought (2005). The series has received People’s Choice Award nominations for Best First Novel and Best Historical as well as a Lovey Award for Best Traditional Amateur Sleuth.

She is currently writing the seven book Arkana Archaeology Thriller Mystery series. Titles include The Granite Key (2011), The Mountain Mother Cipher (2011), and The Dragon’s Wing Enigma (2012). The fourth volume in the series, The Riddle Of The Diamond Dove, is scheduled for publication in December of 2013. Ms. Wikarski’s work on the Arkana books has prompted Kindle Nation to call her one of its favorite authors.


Purchase Link – Amazon (for US store)


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Release Day Party The Cross of Santiago


We’re celebrating the release day party for “The Cross of Santiago” a time-slip adventure.  You can win an eBook copy of the book today! Scroll down to the Rafflecopter form to participate.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter Thirty-One

“I am running, barefoot across the cobbles.” “Where are you going?”

“To see Brother Thaddeus. I try to go there whenever I can, whenever father is away.”

Chris was sitting on a wicker chair that had in a former life graced his parents’ conservatory. He was sitting to the side of the treatment bed, where Amanda lay comfortably with her hands by her sides. He did not for one second take her trust for granted. However, he did feel slightly apprehensive about the fact that he had no idea what he was doing. He had read over and over the ground-breaking work of Dr. Brian

Weiss in ‘Many Lives, Many Masters’, and how he had struggled to understand what was going on, despite being a trained psychiatrist. His own credentials left a lot to be desired.

Still, there was one thing Chris knew for sure; simply because there is no explanation for something, does not mean it cannot exist. They would just have to explore together and as long as Amanda was happy to continue, he would be there for her, just like he promised her brother Jay. Her soft voice broke his pensive silence.

“It’s summertime; the bog cotton is growing like little white stars on the hillside.” “Where are you now Amanda?” he asked.

“Amanda? No, my name is Annora.”

Chris felt his skin prickled by a million goose bumps. He was terrified and exhilarated all at once. ‘What is going on here?’ he wondered to himself. Even her voice had changed, she was still whispering, but like a young girl. She seemed to be more innocent and naïve.

“We’re in the garden behind the monastery. The cloisters protect the herbs and keep the air still. I bring Brother Thaddeus fish from the market and he’s teaching me to read. We speak only in English or Latin, he won’t talk to me as gaeilge; he says I can learn enough of that at home.”

“And how did you meet Brother Thaddeus”, Chris asked in a conversational tone. “I told you, I bring them the fish. The Brothers won’t come to the market.”

Chris’s voice grew softer and almost inaudible, while for Amanda, the sights and sounds of the medieval city grew brighter and louder. Until…….

The Cross of Santiago

 The Cross of Santiago-Amazon (1)“One cross will bind two couples across four centuries”

An ancient love story, locked in the heart of a sunken treasure, is destined to find its happy ending… even if it takes four hundred years to do so.

Amanda Morrison does not believe in love or destiny, but when a long­lost aunt leaves her a mysterious golden cross in her will, her uneventful life in Galway City is turned upside down. The arrival of Xavier, a charismatic yachtsman in search of treasure and adventure, complicates life further, as their paths seem destined to cross. While Amanda tries to uncover the truth about her family’s past, a strange series of events ensues involving hippy hypnosis, five­a­side football, scary sheep, and radical reincarnation. Though, not all in that order.

Author Bio

 IMG_0077Evie has always been a storyteller. From a very young age, she held a captive audience (mostly with rope!) as she performed her party piece, which involved sitting on a high stool and telling extremely tall tales.

Things have moved on a bit since then and Evie’s love of storytelling has blossomed. Having published a number of short stories and articles for Irish magazines such as Woman’s Way and GalwayNow, she is set to launch her debut novel, ‘The Cross Of Santiago’, on September 16th 2013. A time-slip novel full of intrigue, humour and romance, it is an exciting blend of historical fiction and contemporary women’s fiction.

Evie lives on the West Coast of Ireland in Galway City, where she shares her home with two sewing machines, an easel and a guitar that refuses to stay in tune. She is greatly inspired by her hometown, which is not only the setting for her novel, but also the subject of her other passion, art. She has several paintings currently exhibiting at the local gallery, featuring vibrant streetscapes and quirky designs. Evie is currently working on her second novel and short story collection.


Twitter: @evgaughan





Win an ebook copy of The Cross of Santiago to celebrate the release day!

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Author Interview with Keira Michelle Telford


I’m having author Keira Michelle Telford on my blog today. She is the author of “The Magistrate”, a scifi/lesbian romance novel.

1) What is the hardest part about being an author?

Sometimes, concentrating on one idea at a time poses a problem! I just came up with an idea for a new paranormal romance series, and I’ve found that quite distracting. I should be working on something else, but I’m constantly jotting down ideas for other things. The other day, I wrote down a full plot outline for a book I’m probably not going to get the chance to write until the end of 2014! It can be frustrating to have to force myself to work on one project when my brain keeps wandering off in different directions.

2) Can you give us the synopsis of your book?

Poverty is rife in twenty-fourth century London, England. Crime rates are at an all-time high, and living conditions for many are bleak. Capital punishment and public hangings have been reinstated, and Magistrates, in their new role, are tasked with patrolling the streets to enforce arrest warrants and ‘terminate’ any civilians who attempt to evade justice — which isn’t always a noble pursuit.

The laws are strict, illiberal, and unsympathetic. If you can’t afford to feed and clothe yourself, you’ll be sent to the workhouse. If you fall behind on your rent, you’ll be sent to debtors’ prison. If you’re gay, you’ll be hanged.

For Carmen Wild, the latter becomes a potentially deadly problem when the discovery of a murdered prostitute brings her back into the life of her first love — the Madam of an East End cathouse — and the illicit passions between them are swiftly reignited.

3) Is this part of a series or a stand alone?

It’s the first book in a trilogy called The Prisonworld Trilogy. The second book, The Procuress, will be released in October. The third and final book, The Hook & Tail, will hopefully be released by the end of the year. I also have two companion novelettes planned: Out of Twig, and Unrigged.

4) How many hours do you write per week?

I try to write about 10,000 words a week while working on the first draft of a book, and usually I’m able to stick to this target pretty closely. The daily amount varies from as little as 500 up to 3,000, since I tend to self-edit what I’m writing as I go along, but it all seems to work out in the end. I write all through the night, from 6pm to 6am.


5) What is your favorite book?

In the whole entire world? Gosh, umm … I’m not sure I could pick one single book, since so many different stories have stuck with me. I’m inclined to cheat and say that Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot is one of my favorites, even though that’s a play, not really a book. (But I own it in book format, so I’m going to count it anyway!).

6) What are you working on now?

I’m currently working on three or four different projects! The next book in The SILVER Series, SILVER: Lex Talionis, is underway. This represents the eighth book in the series, and is also the first book in a standalone trilogy called The Outlier Trilogy. Also, I’m in the final stages of preparing the second book in The Prisonworld Trilogy, The Procuress, for publishing in October, as well as trying to find time to write two companion novelettes for the trilogy, called Out of Twig, and Unrigged. These will be e-book only releases, and will be just 5,000 words or so each. And then there’s the new series of paranormal romance novellas I have in the works … more details to come soon!

The Magistrate

Magistrate 12 ecoverTitle: The Magistrate

Author: Keira Michelle Telford

Genre: Dystopian SF / Lesbian Romance


Poverty is rife in twenty-fourth century London, England. Crime rates are at an all-time high, and living conditions for many are bleak. Capital punishment and public hangings have been reinstated, and Magistrates, in their new role, are tasked with patrolling the streets to enforce arrest warrants and ‘terminate’ any civilians who attempt to evade justice — which isn’t always a noble pursuit.

The laws are strict, illiberal, and unsympathetic. If you can’t afford to feed and clothe yourself, you’ll be sent to the workhouse. If you fall behind on your rent, you’ll be sent to debtors’ prison. If you’re gay, you’ll be hanged.

For Carmen Wild, the latter becomes a potentially deadly problem when the discovery of a murdered prostitute brings her back into the life of her first love — the Madam of an East End cathouse — and the illicit passions between them are swiftly reignited.

Author Bio

KM Telford headshotKeira Michelle Telford is the award winning author of a series of post-apocalyptic, dystopian science fiction books, The SILVER Series, featuring the character Ella ‘Silver’ Cross, and now also The Prisonworld Trilogy – a dystopian lesbian romance. She’s a British ex-pat, now living in British Columbia, Canada with her husband and 10 guinea pigs.

Yes, 10 guinea pigs 🙂

Fun fact: Her pet guinea pigs (all adopted from animal rescue shelters) were the inspiration for the monsters in The SILVER Series, the first one of which, SILVER: Acheron (A River of Pain), was released in November 2011.

Amazon Author Page:





Books: and




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Book Review Garrett’s Mulligan

garrettsmulliganfrontTitle: Garrett’s Mulligan

Author: Grant Reed

Genre: Humor / Fantasy / Mystery

Purchase: Amazon

At thirty-one Garrett Willigins has finally earned his private investigator’s badge. Unfortunately, the bills haven’t stopped coming and building a solid reputation won’t happen overnight. Forced to take employment wherever they can, Garrett and his miniature dragon partner Merle, must dirty their hands any way possible to make a buck. Shoveling manure, chasing cats, and dock duty seem to be the order of the day.
Working off back rent for a notorious gangster isn’t the safest of jobs on a good day, but when the other workers start turning up dead, Garrett finds himself elbow deep in a mystery that could spell a quick end to his short P.I. career.

I was eager to get started on “Garrett’s Mulligan”, because it sounded like the kind of book I’d enjoy – mystery and fantasy mixed with some humor. The book follows the adventures of Garrett Willigins as he tries to earn a living as a beginning P.I. and is forced to take on every odd job he can come across to earn some money. One of these jobs throws him smack in the middle of a murder mystery that he has to solve before his career, and even his life, are threatened.

The setting was all right, as was the plot. I loved how Garrett’s partner is a miniature dragon named Merle. We’re introduced to Merle in the first few pages, and this immediately sets the mood for a murder mystery with lots of fantasy elements thrown in. The mystery itself was done rather well, and the characterization worked too. I felt like Garrett was the only person really evolving though, throughout the book. The secondary characters more or less stayed the same.

What annoyed me the most however, was the grammar and spelling. The prime example of this was the endless use of adverbs. For example, on page 10.

The door to the office was opened forcefully and Garrett Willigins stomped into the reception area.

Why the use of the word ‘forcefully’ here? Especially when Garrett stomps into the reception area, the reader already knows he probably didn’t give the door a gentle push. Why not make this sentence active, like: “The door to the office flew open and Garrett Willigins stomped into the reception area.” Or something along those lines. Adverbs are never good, and they show weak use of verbs.

There are more examples on the same page. Some sentences later, this happens:

“Pardon me,” replied the dragon meekly.

And then this:

Garrett nodded solemnly.

There are lots of other grammatical tidbits that annoyed me, and which aren’t related to the use of adverbs. There is also a general wordiness to the book that slowed down the pace.

“That reminds me,” said Merle taking a sip from his coffee cup. (page 11)

“How many Piddles does that make now,” asked Garrett, adjusting the mirror. (page 11)

And then there’s the constant use of words like sulked, confided, etc. when just “said” would’ve been enough. Like on page 12, you get the following.

“It was only an observation,” sulked Merle.

“It’s been bothering me all morning,” confided Garrett.

Later on that page, the characters insist, huff and stammer. It goes on like that, page after page after page. The author and/or editor obviously never read this (and the reason why I’m linking to this particular article, is because I stumbled upon it yesterday, but I’ve read dozens of similar articles and tips before).

It’s tiring and annoying to read a book like that. While the plot and characters were all right, these errors, the wordiness, the awkward sentence structure, made the experience not as pleasant as I would’ve liked. The author has a story with lots of potential, but I wish he’d hired an editor (or if he did, another editor), because it really needs polishing.

I felt bad while writing this review, because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but I have to be honest to my readers. The way it stands now, I would hesitate to recommend this book to anyone.

Author Interview with Jacquelyn Sylvan


I’m hosting an interview today with Jacquelyn Sylvan, the author of YA supernatural thriller “Blind Study”. Thank you for answering my questions, Jacquelyn!

1) What is the hardest part about being an author?

Making pretty word-pictures. Seriously, the hardest thing for me is to translate what’s happening in my head into coherent sentences, so that hopefully the same thing will then happen in your head. The day they invent some sort of telepathic brain-to-page chip, I will be the first in line.

2) Can you give us the synopsis of your book?

The main character, Alice, has a terrible accident, but even though her wounds have healed, she’s still crippled by inexplicable pain. As a last resort, she enters a study for a new pain medication. It’s a miracle pill, but it gives her terrifyingly vivid nightmares. As it turns out, she’s not the only one—all the participants who are taking the medication are dreaming, including a boy she met in her dreams, Riley. The terror starts leaching out of their dreams and into the real world

3) Is this part of a series or a stand alone?

It’s a stand-alone, but don’t worry, I have more (though unrelated) books coming!

4) How many hours do you write per day?

I try for an hour a day—key word being try, since I do work full-time! I’m always writing in my head, though.

5) What is your favorite book?

That’s a mean question! How am I supposed to just pick one? Since it was mean, I’m totally cheating—the Harry Potter series. I reread it beginning to end every summer.

6) What are you working on now?

I’m working on the second book in a planned series, about a professional teenage thief whose life turns upside-down after a simple job turns out to be much more than she bargained for.

Blind Study

Blind StudyTitle: Blind Study

Author: Jacquelyn Sylvan

Genre: YA Supernatural Thriller

Eighteen-year-old Alice has spent the last year of her life in a hospital bed, held hostage by pain from a freak accident. Doctors can neither explain nor cure her condition, and her medical insurance is about to run out. Then, she’s offered one last chance—inclusion in a study for a revolutionary new pain medication.

Miraculously, the medication works. There’s only one side effect—vivid, terrifying nightmares, of imprisonment in a pitch-black cell, with no memory of her identity or how she got there. At least, she thinks that’s all they are, until someone from her dreams shows up in real life.

When other sinister happenings cross the boundary between dreaming and waking, Alice must choose: return to a half-life of isolation and agony, or confront the malevolent force behind the dreams, before she and those she cares about are trapped in their nightmares forever. But by the time she makes her choice—it may already be too late.

Author Bio

jacquelynsylvanauthorpicBefore Jacquelyn Sylvan became a writer, she worked as a waitress, video store clerk, trail-riding guide, and veterinary technician, among other things. She’s a few inches shy of five feet tall, which means she’s sometimes mistaken for a child when she rides her bike, and often looked at suspiciously by amusement park ride operators. When she’s not writing, you’ll probably find her watching Vampire Diaries or trying to warn people about the impending penguin apocalypse. Jacquelyn lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two cats, and two very large dogs. Her YA novel, Blind Study, a supernatural thriller, comes out August 20, 2013.


Twitter: @jacquelynsylvan