The Train

The Train: A Short Story

by Cendrine Marrouat

Genre: Literary Fiction

You never know what a train ride may have in store. Maggie is about to find out as she journeys to Coueuses to visit her family.

“A powerful and deeply touching story with layered characters that all felt real.” – Berneta L. Haynes, Author of Eve and the Faders

Release date: January 20, 2023

Pre-release reviews

“In her short story The Train, Cendrine weaves a compelling narrative that quickly draws you in, making you care about her characters both naturally and organically, the emotional connection makes them very real to behold. Just like the journey itself, you find yourself getting caught up and travelling alongside with them, indulging in the intrigue that surrounds the protagonist; and before you know it, you have found yourself in a position of admiration and sympathy for the protagonist with all that she has been through.

Cendrine makes the writing process seem effortless but it is her engaging dialogue and sharp observations that drive the story to its compelling conclusion and ultimate redemption for those involved. I enjoyed this tale and its immersion immensely, this story showcases Cendrine’s emotional growth and storytelling abilities with quiet confidence and a careful undercurrent of understated panache.” – David Ellis, Author of See A Dream Within: Found “Poe”try Based On The Collected Poetry Works Of Edgar Allan Poe

The Train is a hauntingly sweet story with undertones of love, forgiveness, and loss. Rarely does a short story use characters and setting to evoke emotions so masterfully. I highly recommend Cendrine Marrouat’s The Train. Her pointed, poignant storytelling conveys an emotional story that will stick with you long after you finish reading.”- Katrina Moody, Writer & Editor at KatrinaMoody.com

“The writing was simple, but powerful. As soon as I started reading, I was drawn in. It didn’t take long to read, but it was a thriller, and I found myself comparing it to Murder on the Orient Express and The Lady Vanishes. There was suspense, and a good story that made an impression.” – Kelly Marie Purdy

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Hello, my name is Cendrine Marrouat (“san-drEEn mar-wah”). I am a poet, photographer, fiction writer, and the co-founder of Auroras & Blossoms and A Warm Cup of Cozy. I have authored and co-authored more than 40 books, including A Particle of You: Love Poetry (2022), Tree Reflections (2022), In Her Own Words: A Collection of Short Stories & Flashku (2022), After the Fires of Day: Haiku Inspired by Kahlil Gibran & Alphonse de Lamartine (2021), Songs in Our Paths: Haiku & Photography (2020-2021), Seizing the Bygone Light: A Tribute to Early Photography (2021), Rhythm Flourishing: A Collection of Kindku and Sixku (2020), Walks: A Collection of Haiku (2019-2020), and In the Silence of Words: A Three-Act Play (2018).

My work has appeared in many publications, including Synkroniciti Magazine, On Landscape, Real Creative Magazine, Spillwords, Sweet Deluge, Life Pixel, Still Waters Run Deep (Lovely Silks Publishing, 2016), and eight cuts. I am the creator of the Sixku, Flashku, Sepigram, and Reminigram; as well as the co-creator of the Kindku, Pareiku, Vardhaku, and Hemingku.

I live in Winnipeg, Canada.

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Owl Totem

Owl Totem

by Sean E. Kelly

Genre: Epic Fantasy

Famine has swept across the island of Dearviél. The threat of war looms on the horizon. The Vacids, the people of the owl-totem, wilt under the dominion of a foreign king. Their greatest hope lies with two sisters.

Leara and Caileigh Mana had trained to be scholars. But the famine has compelled them to take on the task of healing their weary people and averting even greater suffering. Leara’s quest to find a mythical seedling that can sate all hunger will require all her knowledge and skill in the sciences, both the physical and the arcane. But she isn’t alone. She’ll find friends in the most unexpected places-friends she’ll need when she comes face-to-face with the otherworldly Fae, who will do everything in their power to stop her from reaching the seed.

Meanwhile, together with a ragtag group of companions, and hiding a secret power deep within herself, Caileigh must convince the Vacid nobles to put their quarrels and scheming aside and come together for the good of the people before it’s too late. But just as her strength of spirit is tested, so too will be the bonds of family.

In this intimate, emotionally charged adventure, the hand that heals may be stronger than that which wields the sword, virtuous deeds may count for more than titles and accolades, and the greatest power of all, whether in the material world or in realms beyond, may be that of compassion.

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Sean E. Kelly has been writing fiction since 2009, and has no immediate plans to return to the real world.

He published his first novel in 2015 under the pseudonym John Gaiserich, but later unpublished it due to poor quality. His writing exploits were reinvigorated five years later with the publication of Aethyr, which received rave reviews, being dubbed “philosophical cyberpunk” by one reader. This was followed up in 2021 with the technothriller Omega Noir.

Sean’s latest novel, the fantasy epic Owl Totem, is the culmination of thirteen years of world-building and backstory, finally coming to light. The novel draws heavily on the author’s Irish ancestry.

When not indulging his overactive imagination, Sean works as an aviation professional and is an avid photographer. He currently resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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Blackout Trail

Blackout Trail
Linda Naughton
Publication date: January 10th 2023
Genres: Adult, Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic


Doctor Anna Hastings is no stranger to disasters, having spent much of her career as an aid worker in conflict zones around the world. Yet when an electrical phenomenon known as an EMP brings down the power grid, Anna faces catastrophe on a scale she never imagined. She must learn what it means to be a doctor in a world deprived of almost all technology.

As the blackout causes planes to fall from the sky, Anna crosses paths with devoted father Mark Ryan in the chaos at the airport. Mark convinces Anna to travel with him and his seven-year-old daughter Lily to their family’s cabin in remote Maine. There Mark hopes to reunite with his wife, and find a safe refuge from a society on the brink of collapse.

Journeying across a thousand miles of backcountry trails, they will face a daily struggle against nature. Their biggest peril, though, may come from their fellow survivors. As Anna grows closer to Mark and Lily, she resolves to see them safely home. But can she hold onto her humanity in a world gone mad?


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EXCERPT:

I lowered the phone and narrowed my eyes at the blank display. No indicators, no clock —nothing. How could it be dead already? I’d charged it before I left Jess’ house last night, and the damn thing was barely a month old. I scowled. “Oh, come on.”

The nearby baggage carousel ground to a shuddering halt. A collective groan from the other passengers drew my attention away from the useless brick in my hand. Snatches of disjointed conversation reached my ears.

“Can you hear me? I think we got cut off. Frank?”

“The hell? I had plenty of charge left.”

“Moooommy! My movie stopped!”

A growing sense of dread pooled in my stomach. It wasn’t just our baggage carousel that had stopped; they all had. Both the overhead lights and the computer screens showing the baggage carousel assignments had gone dark too. The only light streamed in from the floor-to- ceiling windows lining the perimeter of the baggage claim area. Why hadn’t the emergency lights kicked on?

The automatic sliding doors had also stopped, confounding a gaggle of college kids trying to leave. Beyond the doors, an ominous stillness had replaced the constant bustle of parking shuttles, cars, and taxis creeping along the pickup lane. There should’ve been engine sounds. Horns. Something. Now there were just a bunch of confused and pissed-off people getting out of their vehicles.

Grumbling from the other passengers gave way to a stunned hush. Panic bubbled just beneath the surface. You couldn’t set foot in an American airport these days without being bombarded with reminders of terrorism. Everyone looked at each other, the same question written on our faces: Was this some kind of attack? What should we do? I expected some sort of alert or explanation over the loudspeaker, telling everyone to remain calm, but none came.

A thunderous crash from the opposite end of the terminal had me ducking and covering my head. Metal screeched on metal, accompanied by the tinkle of shattered glass and an ear- splitting grinding sound. A chorus of terrified cries erupted around me. I’ll admit it—I screamed too. I caught a glimpse of a plane fuselage crashing through the airport ceiling before plowing into the ground.

The plane flattened the south end of the building as casually as a child knocking over a stack of blocks, and the resulting fireball sent flaming debris flying in all directions. At the opposite end, the shock wave knocked me off my feet. A rush of hot air stung my face and hands.

People started picking themselves up off the ground. Dozens of survivors made a mad dash for the exits. Their screams sounded distant to my ringing ears. Non-functioning doors proved to be a mild hiccup for the exodus. The lucky ones smashed through or pried the doors open before they got smashed against the glass.

Catching my breath, I rose to a crouch. The putrid smell of aviation fuel mixed with acrid smoke tickled my throat and made my eyes water. Heart hammering, I surveyed the destruction in slack-jawed horror. The rectangular terminal stretched for the length of a football field, and nothing remained of the south half but fiery rubble. Between here and there was a wide stretch where it looked like a bomb had gone off.


Author Bio:

Linda Naughton is a writer, software engineer, paramedic, and mother of two. She’s the author of several novels, gaming products, and the blog Self-Rescuing Princesses. A proud geek and gamer girl, she enjoys TV, movies, video games, and role-playing games. Visit her website at https://lindanaughton.com.

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Everything You Dream Is Real

Everything You Dream Is Real

by Lisa de Nikolits

Genre: Speculative Fantasy Fiction, Romance

From the award-winning “Queen of Canadian Speculative Fiction” comes a futuristic, multigenerational love story and a gripping edge-of-your-seat thriller. Filled with a cast of loveable, unforgettable, and entirely unique characters, the novel is a fabulous, adventure-filled sequel to highly-acclaimed The Rage Room – or read it as a standalone. Mad Max: Fury Road meets a futuristic True Romance in a highly original and imaginative novel.

Eleven years after a world war destroyed the consumer-driven, plastic-based existence of 2055, a new order of players jostles for power. Streaky electricity, ravaging drought, a scarcity of food, and deadly Monarch butterflies make for an increasingly desperate situation.

Worlds collide when both Mother and Sharps’s children are kidnapped by the unstable plastic surgeon Alpha Plus and taken to The Fountain of Youth compound. There’s flowing water and beautiful people and beautiful clothes and an incongruous convent where children wear smart uniforms and are tutored by nuns. Lovely, until they discover that a subterranean sex trade funds the compound and the man who leads it is mad. Can Mother, Sharps, and the others take down Alpha Plus and his army? Or will they too become pawns in his bid for world domination?

Hilarious and at the same time poignant, Everything You Dream Is Real is a fabulous, adventure-filled sequel to highly acclaimed The Rage Room that will delight fans both new and old.

**On Sale for 30% off at InannaBooks with code “holiday22” !**

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holiday22
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Lisa de Nikolits is the internationally award-winning author of ten novels (all Inanna Publications). No Fury Like That was published in Italian in 2019 by Edizione Le Assassine as Una furia dell’altro mondo. Her short fiction and poetry have also been published in various anthologies and journals internationally. She is a member of the Mesdames of Mayhem, the Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime, The Australian Crime Writers, The Short Fiction Mystery Association and the International Thriller Writers. Originally from South Africa, Lisa de Nikolits came to Canada in 2000. She lives and writes in Toronto.

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On the Mating Habits of the Giant Squid

On the Mating Habits of the Giant Squid

by Peter S. Steele

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Thomas has a boring job, a boring life, and he just got dumped by his girlfriend.

When the opportunity to be the caretaker for a robotic research ship bound for the South Pacific offers, Thomas jumps at the chance to change everything.

Guided by the ship’s always-helpful computer, Archie, Thomas bumbles and stumbles his way from island to island trying to be helpful to the people he meets.

But when they arrive at the mating grounds of the giant squid, Thomas struggles to help Archie collect data and even to escape with his skin intact.

On the Mating Habits of the Giant Squid is a humorous tale of adventure and growing up when you’re already a grownup.

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Peter S. Steele is an author, archaeologist, and father. He lives in Pleasant Grove, Utah with his wife, Mary and two sons. Find him on Twitter at @pg2berlin or follow his writing on Utah’s history at http://www.historicutah.net.

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Borrowed Time – Blitz

Borrowed Time

Primetime of Life Book 1

by L.A. Boruff

Genre: Paranormal Women’s Fiction

Turning forty is less Witches of Eastwick and more Black Widow. Go figure.

I’ve always known I was adopted. It never mattered much…until my birth mother died.

I inherited a new power from the mysterious woman. But now she’s dead and I, despite the fact that I have exactly
zero training, I’m the next time-traveling assassin.

Don’t get excited. The job sounds glamorous, but it comes with a huge learning curve and plenty of mishaps. Then there’s having to actually assassinate people. That part sucks.

It could be worse. I could still be working retail.

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Primetime of Life Series

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L.A. (Lainie) Boruff, USA Today Bestselling Author, lives in East Tennessee with her husband, three children, and an ever growing number of cats. She loves reading, watching TV, and procrastinating by browsing Facebook. L.A.’s passions include vampires, food, and listening to heavy metal music. She once won a Harry Potter trivia contest based on the books and lost one based on the movies. She has two bands on her bucket list that she still hasn’t seen: AC/DC and Alice Cooper. Feel free to send tickets.

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Biblical Retellings – Tour

All Things Are Possible

Biblical Retellings Book 5

by C.A. Gray

Genre: Biblical Fiction

Stories of the miraculous abound in the Bible: the parting of the Red Sea. David and Goliath. Daniel and the Lion’s Den. Nebuchadnezzar’s Fiery Furnace. Jonah and the Whale. Many of us learned of them on felt boards in Sunday School class, and might know them so well that we have subconsciously relegated them to the realm of myth and fairy tale. But have you ever considered what it might have been like to live through those incredible stories—without knowing how they end?

These stories and more are brought to life in All Things Are Possible, told through the eyes of the main character. As with the other books in the Biblical Retellings series, the fictionalized retelling is followed by an afterword explaining why I made the decisions I did in the story, and finally the scriptures themselves. Protagonists include prophets, prisoners, warriors, and kings, ranging from the budding nation of Israel to the glorious New Jerusalem, as seen by John the Apostle in the book of Revelation. What unites these tales is the common thread of the supernatural, depicting God’s goodness and mighty power exercised on behalf of those who trusted in Him.

That same power is still available to us today. Jesus promised that with God, all things are possible (Mark 11:27)—and He is the same, yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

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Blood Covenant Fulfilled

Biblical Retellings Book 4

God is a covenant making, covenant keeping God. From the dawn of prehistory, God’s dealings with mankind can be understood through the lens of covenant: a binding agreement of unending loyalty and faithfulness. His early covenants with mankind were one-sided, requiring very little from men in return. All of that changed with the birth of the nation of Israel, and her deliverance from slavery in Egypt through Moses.

The Mosaic covenant, also known throughout the Bible as “the law,” encompassed the rest of the Old Testament books through the death and resurrection of Jesus. With the perspective of hindsight, we know now that God neither expected nor intended for Israel to keep the law perfectly. Instead, He wanted them to recognize that their best human attempts would inevitably fail. What they needed was a savior who could do it for them (Romans 7:13-25): one perfect kinsman of Adam, who could redeem all mankind from the predicament of the fall, and restore God’s family to Him. This was always the goal, from the very beginning.

This second volume of the Blood Covenant duology picks up with Moses, God’s deliverance of Israel from Egypt and His institution of the law. Israel’s early interactions with God can only be understood in the context of this covenant, set against the backdrop of a heavenly war. It carries through to Jesus’ initiation of the New Covenant of His blood, and finally to the prophecy of His return through the eyes of John. Each chapter begins with a fictionalized retelling, followed by an afterword discussion of commentaries and why I made the choices I did in the stories. Finally, they include the original scriptures. Blood Covenant Fulfilled is the story of how God united both His justice and His mercy in one staggering sacrifice that changed the world for all time.

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Blood Covenant Origins

Biblical Retellings Book 3

One of the most common arguments against Christianity is that the God of the Old Testament seemed so drastically different than the God of the New Testament. In the Old, many claim He seemed cruel and capricious, while in the New, He suddenly became a God of love and tolerance. Yet Jesus said, “If you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen the Father” (John 14:9), and the writer of Hebrews tells us that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). If God hasn’t changed, how do we explain the apparent difference? The answer lies in a long-forgotten word: covenant.

Covenants play little to no role in our world today, but in ancient times they were all-important. Treaties between individuals, tribes, and kingdoms took the form of blood covenants. These were much stronger than our modern concept of a contract, which can be broken by finding clever legal loopholes or sometimes simply by a decision not to honor one’s word. By contrast, covenants were bonds broken only by death, and at times extending to the progeny of the two making the original agreement. Ancient covenants entailed unending loyalty and faithfulness, and often included the union of all assets, liabilities, and responsibilities between the parties. Most cultures had such a concept. They got the idea from God, who keeps His covenants to a thousand generations (Deuteronomy 7:9). But in order to make such treaties with mankind, God had to find a willing human participant.

This collection of biblical retellings explores the covenants between God and Adam, Noah, and Abraham, and how these covenants (or the lack of them) affected His dealings with mankind at various times. Each chapter begins with a fictionalized retelling, followed by an afterword discussion of commentaries and why I made the choices I did in the stories. Finally, they include the original scriptures. God’s ultimate goal was always love and grace for all mankind, and yet He had to balance this with justice, as well as with honoring His own original word. Blood Covenant Origins is the story of how He began the process that ultimately led to the cross.

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Daughters of Zion

Biblical Retellings Book 2

Have you ever wondered what it was like for Eve to be the first woman, created as an adult but with the mind of a child? What must it have been like for Deborah to be the only female judge in Israel’s history? Ever considered how Esther felt about being chosen as queen in the ungodly kingdom of Persia—particularly when she’d have to share her husband with a harem? What must Mary and Martha have thought when their brother Lazarus had died, and it looked to them like Jesus was not coming?

This collection of retellings from the perspectives of women in scripture explores these stories and more, including a few stories from female perspectives that also appear in Messiah: Biblical Retellings. While all of these women lived in various patriarchal cultures, and some of the most prominent women were even Gentiles, scripture shows that God cherished them all. As the Apostle Paul writes, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28)—and this was true for believing women under the old covenant as well, whose faith was counted to them as righteousness.

These are tales of miracles and victory: from brokenness, bitterness and envy to shalom: peace and wholeness, with nothing missing and nothing broken. For some, this meant a transition from barrenness to motherhood; for others, from widowhood to love and belonging. Still others went from bereavement to receiving their dead restored to life again. They included judges and queens, and also prostitutes and despised foreigners. God is no respecter of persons (Romans 2:11, Acts 10:25): what He does for one, He will do for all who believe in His promises.

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Messiah

Biblical Retellings Book 1

Have you ever wondered what it would have been like to be one of the five thousand when Jesus multiplied the fish and the loaves? Or one of his disciples when he walked on water? Or to have seen Lazarus come out of the tomb? Ever wonder what Mary thought when Gabriel told her she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit, or what the fallout was like in her personal life? Ever considered how those two disciples felt on the road to Emmaus, when they found that the man with whom they had been talking was in fact their risen Lord?

This collection of retellings from the gospels is designed to bring each of these stories and more to life in your imagination. They stick to the facts wherever the facts are known, from either the scriptures themselves or from extra-biblical commentaries. But they also add in back story when necessary, reimagining the sights, the sounds, the colors, and the emotions for the person most involved. Each retelling ends with an afterword discussion, summarizing the reasons for the choices made in the story, followed by the scriptures themselves.

Together, I hope these retellings help to paint a portrait of the Messiah.

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C.A. Gray is a Naturopathic Medical Doctor (NMD), with a primary care practice in Tucson, Arizona. She has always been captivated by the power of a good story, fictional or otherwise, which is probably why she loves holistic medicine: a patient’s physical health is invariably intertwined with his or her life story, and she believes that the one can only be understood in context with the other. For freebies, giveaways, and new release info, sign up for her newsletter at http://eepurl.com/F3rof.

Her favorite fictional tales have always been epic battles of good versus evil, with a strong tendency towards parable. An idealist herself, she has always been convinced that these stories have something deeply true to tell us about the human condition, and that is why we love them so much… or at least that’s why she does.

She still wants to be everything when she grows up. She moonlights as a college chemistry teacher (she has a degree in biochemistry, with minors in Spanish and Creative Writing), does theater when she gets the chance, sings, plays piano, was once a personal trainer and in coffee shop management. She is blessed with exceptionally supportive family and friends, and thanks God for them every single day.

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