Alina Popescu's Blog

March 30, 2019

Magic Unleashed – Chapter X – Blunt Magic and Crooked Spells #FreeFictionFriday


Genre: gay romance, gay fiction, fantasy, magic, light BDSM

Main characters: Eikki (spell caster) and Charis (familiar)

Blurb: coming soon! It entails magic, two stubborn men, and lots of steamy stuff (at least somewhere down the line)

Length: Anywhere between novella and novel? Read and see!

Chapter I – Absent Choice

Chapter II – What Makes a Home

Chapter III – Rules of the Game

Chapter IV – Not all the Way Through

Chapter V – Cold, Hard Light of Day

Chapter VI – Herald of Doom

Chapter VII – Of Claims and Bonds

Chapter VIII – Enemies and Truths

Chapter X – You Can Never Go Back Home

Blunt Magic and Crooked Spells

“Dark Magic bonds allow the spell caster and their familiar to establish a psychic bond. They can communicate across vast distances and even when either (or both) is (are) asleep. Dream imagery forces them to communicate through symbolic suggestions rather than straightforward exchanges, thus being open to interpretation.”

I growled at the book the library had allowed me to take out and dropped it on the small side table I’d pulled next to my armchair. If Eikki hadn’t insisted on giving me time, if I’d been more convincing, I’d share this magical bond with him. I’d know where he was. I wouldn’t worry about why he was so late.

A few days, a week at most, that was what his note had promised. Three weeks had passed since his departure and I was no closer to locating him now than I’d been when I’d thrown myself into this foolish research.

There was an entire book on location spells in the library, but it wouldn’t allow me to pull it out. I’d tried to force it out and the magical forces protecting it had zapped me and sent me flying across the room. I begrudgingly admired the grace and subtlety of this protective spell. Not only did it know how high up my magical understanding I was, when it repelled my attacks and turned me into a human projectile, it never damaged any of the books or the shelves storing them. Now that I thought about it, it even spared Eikki’s old and battered furniture.

I closed my eyes and focus. There was this faint tingle I could feel and I knew it was Eikki’s presence in this world. Not enough to reach out in any meaningful way, but I at least knew he was out there, somewhere. Alive.

“Damn you for leaving me here and never sending word.” I’d muttered like that a lot, my way of dealing with the fear that had taken hold of me and kept growing, reaching depths I never knew I was capable of.

“Right. What now?”

I pushed myself up and grabbed the still sharp charcoal stick and a sheet of rough paper. I’d planned to take a lot of notes on potential spells, but I’d found nothing useful so far. I dragged the large mobile staircase to one end of the library and went up to the very top. There had to be more books in here that might reference a locating spell I was low level enough to try.

It all depended on the library’s interpretation of my abilities. My magic was strong, few matched my gifts in Zalmos. I still was no more than a familiar. My training had always revolved around mine being a supporting role. I needed a caster to put my magical energy to good use. It wasn’t unheard of, a familiar casting spells. Our connection with our animal spirit and the way we shifted back and forth was, at its core, an instinctual type of spell casting. A novice, definitely, but I hoped the protective spell could sense the potential within.

I’d learned a lot over the past three weeks. At first, I’d wanted to impress Eikki with my progress when he returned. Then, it had become a way to keep myself from worrying incessantly. Now… now I feared no one would be looking for Eikki unless I did it. I knew he wouldn’t have stayed away this long if it were up to him. Or he’d at least sent word. I needed help, I knew as much. Who could I call? The Council and my parents would be useless. I had no one else to turn to. I’d never felt this powerless in my entire life.

The list of books kept growing and I moved up and down the shelves, left to right, until I’d written down all the titles in the library that could help me. I decided not to try and force my way through again. Certainly not from atop the moving staircase. If I managed to break my neck, I couldn’t help Eikki.

I ended up with ten battered tomes. When I inspected them again, I realized they’d been the stuff I added to my list just in case, a last resort of sorts. I’d guessed they were the lowest level of magic and the library had agreed with me. I grumbled my discontent and started reading.

Books had always fascinated me. Magic books more than any others. Today I found them dry and boring. These introductions to magic were so basic, kids who’d barely started training as spell casters or familiars knew all about their content. Other than a few final chapters, nothing seemed useful.

By the fifth book, I’d started to lose hope. I needed to stop, otherwise I risked missing something because I’d already decided it wouldn’t be there. I couldn’t eat or sleep or go for a walk, I’d feel guilty about slacking off. I instead decided to take care of the practical aspects of my journey. I’d need food, maps, coins. Eikki had spelled his kitchen so nothing would spoil. I couldn’t recreate that spell so I’d need to pay for my future meals while traveling.

Familiars never had to worry about their finances. Spell casters, even the lower level ones, were treasured throughout the realms. And they were rewarded for their efforts. It helped that most races feared angering a magic user. Eikki and I had had other issues to bicker over. I’d never bothered to ask about these things. So here I was, unsure of his wealth or lack thereof, where to find everything, or who to borrow from if needed.

Eikki had a small desk in the library. I’d watched him sit there and write letters or bend over ledgers many times. I approached it carefully, wondering what spells he’d used to protect it. When I reached it, I felt the familiar buzz of a spell. Definitely something I’d experienced before and often. I closed my eyes and reached out, touching its essence with my own magical energy. I recognized the spell immediately, it was the same spell he’d used on the house. If he hadn’t modified it to grant me access, I couldn’t take anything from his desk.

I took a deep breath and closed my eyes. I reached out to the top drawer on the right, grabbed and pulled. It opened with ease and I lifted random objects to test my permissions. I almost crumbled under the wave of relief that hit me. Eikki had granted me access to every corner of his house and life. Stacks of papers, ledgers, deeds, coins from many different places, and everything else I could ever need. All I had to do was find him.

Reinvigorated by my success in funding my expedition, I returned to the books the library had granted me access to. I read until the clock in the library rang midnight, but came up empty-handed. I stood, fat tears staining the cover of the book I’d been holding. I wiped them angrily and glared at the shelves stacked with books I couldn’t touch.

Something niggled, a barely formed thought in the back of my mind. I’d gone through ten books on magic, I’d learned nothing useful. But maybe now the library would acknowledge I was ready for higher level spells.

I feverishly ran my outstretched arm along the shelves I could reach without climbing up the stairs. A couple more titles allowed me to pick them up. Then a few more. I ran between the shelves and the small table I worked at, stacking it up with fresh tomes to search through. Seven this time. Strong magical number. I wiped the drying tears from my lashes and got to work.

Despite their deeper explanation of magical things, these weren’t the most advanced spell books ever written. I read on the principles of locating objects and people through spells, but it wasn’t enough. The most advanced book was, to my dismay, written in Naru. When it came to elvish languages, I could decipher a few words of Karran. But dark elves, the Naruus in their own tongue, wrote and spoke Naru, not Karran. Eikki was a Narim, it made sense he’d have spell books in his own language. More so since the dark elves seemed to be one of the only races to bother with dark magic.

The alphabet was close enough to Karran, so I stubbornly turned the pages of the old tome, hoping something would jump at me. I used my eyes as much as my magic. Finally, I stopped at a page depicting a spell with some runes that looked a lot like old locating spells I’d seen during my training. The sequence of runes was different, there were more than I remembered as well. I couldn’t understand the instructions, but, as this was for beginner spell casters, there were pictograms as well. I recognized the herbs needed, a map, and a bowl. I could scrap all that together and pour all my magic into it.

I searched through Eikki’s herbs, knowing I’d have to run into the forest if I couldn’t find that particular blue-green one in here. I could have gone to a herb shop in the morning, but I didn’t know the name of this one. And I feared that the shops here wouldn’t have it. It was a dark magic herb in the end. I found it and grabbed it, then picked a bowl from the kitchen.

What map should I use, I wondered? I rummaged through Eikki’s desk and found the largest one I could find. It was in Naru again, but I recognized the different lands and cities dotted throughout it. It would suffice.

I stretched the map on the floor, placing a books over each corner to keep it in place. I filled the bowl with hot water, dunked the herbs in, not knowing if the quantity was important, and sat cross legged at the southern edge of the map. I held the bowl over Zalmos, then dipped a finger in the concoction I’d made. As I drew the runes I’d seen in the book on the bottom of the bowl, I infused each with my magic.

High level locating spells would find the person on the map and show me exactly where they were and in what state. I waited for that flash of images, but nothing came. The bowl shivered and spilled, the dark-green liquid flowing neatly from Zalmos, across forests and hills and rivers. It stopped at the edge of the nearest city, Tallos.

I drew the runes again, poured more of my magical essence into the spell, but nothing else happened. That awareness that Eikki was somewhere, alive, expanded. The more I thought of Tallos, the brighter it burned.

Tired, but happier than I’d been since finding Eikki’s note, I cleaned after my clumsy spell casting and headed for the kitchen. I intended to eat well, stuff my pockets with coins, then leave. It would be dawn soon. I could get horses and ride out to Tallos. That would still take a week. Maybe more.

No, my panther would be faster. If I had enough nourishment, I could run and run, unencumbered by nightfall. My magic would make me swift and strong. No horse could match my speed.

I didn’t shift right away. I doubted anyone in Zalmos loved Eikki. If they’d seen me run off, they might realize something was wrong and try to stop me, return me to my parents. I couldn’t risk it. I wrapped myself into a long, heavy cloak and made my way out of the city and the comfort of familiar streets I’d grown up on.

At the edge of Zalmos, I gazed upon the unknown stretched before me. I’d never been anywhere, not allowed to leave until I’d bonded. Familiars were easily captured and forced into bondings they didn’t want, so travel wasn’t a luxury I’d enjoyed. Had that rule made me weak and worthless? For Eikki’s sake, I hoped not.

Chapter XI – Coming Soon!

Did you enjoy this new installment of Magic Unleashed?

If you enjoyed this week’s read and would like more, please consider making your thoughts known. Comment below or share the story with your friends. If you’d like to stay up to date with new chapters of this story, consider subscribing to this blog by email, joining the newsletter, or follow me on my social media profiles. All details for these can be found in the sidebar.

If you want to check out my other published stories, both free and paid, check out the Books section on this website. Following me on Amazon also guarantees you are notified when new books are released.

Thank you!

The post Magic Unleashed – Chapter X – Blunt Magic and Crooked Spells #FreeFictionFriday appeared first on Alina Popescu, Writer.

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Published on March 30, 2019 02:30

March 22, 2019

Magic Unleashed – Chapter IX – You Can Never Go Back Home #FreeFictionFriday


Genre: gay romance, gay fiction, fantasy, magic, light BDSM

Main characters: Eikki (spell caster) and Charis (familiar)

Blurb: coming soon! It entails magic, two stubborn men, and lots of steamy stuff (at least somewhere down the line)

Length: Anywhere between novella and novel? Read and see!

Chapter I – Absent Choice

Chapter II – What Makes a Home

Chapter III – Rules of the Game

Chapter IV – Not all the Way Through

Chapter V – Cold, Hard Light of Day

Chapter VI – Herald of Doom

Chapter VII – Of Claims and Bonds

Chapter VIII – Enemies and Truths

You Can Never Go Back Home

I didn’t get a chance to enjoy the quiet of our home, the knowledge it was only Eikki and me for the foreseeable future. The very day after Arris’ departure, a letter arrived. I recognized the wax seal immediately. My family’s. The familiar panther embossed on black wax, its mouth open to show its impressive teeth looked right at me. However, this wasn’t a letter addressed to me. My parents had written to Eikki.

Worry coiled inside me, twisting and killing whatever appetite I’d mustered for our lunch. Despite Arris’ absence, the morning hadn’t been enjoyable. Eikki kept his distance, reacting to everything I did or said with a detached coolness. I didn’t like it. I sensed he was upset with me, and while annoying, he had a point. I hadn’t ever acted this way before Arris had stormed into our lives. How could he trust I wouldn’t revert to my old ways now that he’d given in to my requests.

There was another issue, one that made me snarl and glower. I suspected he missed Arris. He missed the elf who was in love with him. Also his closest friend. And I’d forced him to send Arris away. Sure, Arris had provoked me. He’d sensed my insecurities and turned them against me.

And now this letter than spelled nothing good. In the first year of bonding, families were strongly advised not to interfere. There were exceptions for deaths and other major events. I sighed and walked back into the house, giving up on my walk through the woods in search of new herbs I’d read about.

“It’s for you,” I said lamely, handing the letter to Eikki.

He opened it with smooth, practiced moves and read through it. His serene expression darkened more with every line, a deep frown splitting his forehead by the end.

“Is everything all right?”

Eikki lifted his head and met my eyes. “I can’t say.”

“What do you mean? Is someone sick? Or dying?”

He pressed his lips together and handed me the letter. “Read for yourself.”

I read as fast as I could, then read the short and precise letter again. I could tell from the style and briefness that my father had composed it. Other than that, it made no sense.

“They’re asking you to allow me to visit them, yet they give no reason.”


“They’re not supposed to see me during our first year together.”

Eikki shrugged. He looked exhausted, which made me feel even worse. I’d made his friend leave and now my family was requesting things they had no right to ask of him. The letter wasn’t even friendly or especially pleading. More of a demand masquerading as a polite request.

I threw the letter on the floor and plopped down on his lap. “You shouldn’t allow it. They have no right to interfere.”

If someone had told me, even a few days ago, that I’d advise Eikki to deny my family’s request, I’d have suggested they checked themselves for symptoms of insanity. And here I was, holding on to Eikki a little too tightly, and hoping he didn’t allow it.

“They’re worried about you, Kitty Cat. They know nothing of me or my magic. And they had no say in what happened to you. Of course they’d want to see you.”

“Yes, but if you reported their attempts to interfere—”

“No.” He touched his forehead to mine, his breath wafting over my lips, making my skin tingle. “I think it would be good for you.”

My gut turned to sinking stone, the pain so physical, I gasped. “You’re sending me away.”

Eikki said something I couldn’t make out and crushed me against him, his hands tight around me. It still didn’t feel like I was close enough. “I would never do that, Charis. I never want to be without you. It’s only a short trip to Zalmos. Go spend the afternoon with them, have dinner and stay the night. I’ll be here in the morning, waiting for you.”

I clung to him and, to my utter dismay, I whimpered. “It feels wrong. I can’t leave.”

He threaded his fingers through my hair and held me in place. His lips touched mine, slow but precise, and he did his very best to kiss the worry out of me. When he released me, I didn’t feel more at ease. On the contrary, a strange something coiled and lashed out inside me, telling me to stay where I was, by his side.

“I’ll go if you want me to,” I said, my voice breaking as I spoke the words.

“It will do you good, Kitty Cat. You must miss them.”

I did. Yet the idea of being away from him sounded far worse. I didn’t want to upset him any further, especially since I could sense he wasn’t thrilled with the prospect of me leaving.

“Okay then. Can we have lunch first?”

“Of course.”

By the time we were done with our food, I knew I’d made a mistake. I should have left right away instead of waiting. I’d given myself time to consider it and realize I’d be forced to be without Eikki.

I said a rushed goodbye and forced myself out of my dark elf’s home. I took the long, winding road circling around the hill and taking me further into the city, my heart growing heavier with every step. When I reached my old home, the buzz of voices coming through from inside, a flutter of excitement made its way through my gloom. I took a deep breath and knocked. It felt strange to announce my arrival like that, but simply going in as if I was still an intrinsic part of this family felt equally out of place.

“Charis, you’re here,” Mother said from the doorway. No smile, no twinkle in her eyes. She motioned for me to step inside, but didn’t make any move to hug me or kiss my cheek.

Her coldness shattered my heart. She’d always been a warm woman, never guarding her love too closely and showering it on me and my siblings.

“Hello, Mother. It’s good to see you.” The words came out clipped and forced, but there wasn’t much I could do about it.

“Your father is waiting in the greeting room.”

The hurt I’d thought completely obliterated me broke my heart again. The greeting room was for strangers. We huddled together in the kitchen or outside in the garden, laying on large blankets and basking in the sun’s warm touch. I knew I’d no longer find the same sense of belonging here, but I hadn’t expected to be treated like a stranger either.

Without a word, I made my way to the room my mother had assigned to our meeting. Inside, Father sat on a large chair facing the window, his shoulders stiff. He turned his head at the sound of my steps and nodded once. “Charis.”

He’d always called me son. My name was reserved for scoldings. Yes, things had changed since my bonding. A lot more than I was comfortable with.

I sat across from my father, a small, wooden table he’d made separating us. Mother pushed the chair between us closer to my father and sat. She took his hand in hers and squeezed, a little sob escaping her. I searched her face, but nothing there indicated why she’d made that sound. I’d always thought she’d been unable to hide anything. I’d been wrong, as I’d apparently been about a lot of things, starting with my own magic.

“Has the dark elf been treating you well?” Father asked.

“Yes, very well. His home is comfortable, I have everything I could possibly need, and I’m learning a lot.”

Mother whimpered, her face twisted in a grimace of pain. “He’s corrupting you, isn’t he? Teaching you dark magic?”

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. “You can’t learn dark magic. You can try to perform dark spells. The magic itself… you’re either born with it, or not. It appears I am a dark magic conduit, despite what the Spell Caster’s Council told us when they’d tested me.”

“Lies,” Father shouted, pushing his upper body forward. “We’re all light magic users in this family. It’s impossible for one of our offspring to harbor any other kind.”

I shrugged, feeling tired and alone. “Then there are two options. I am either not your son, or someone in our family lineage was a dark magic user. Their influence stayed hidden from generation to generation and manifested within me.”

“We were there, Charis,” Mother hissed. “We saw the Choosing. You were on your knees, he forced you. The Council is investigating this bloody dark elf of yours. Once we discover how he made you choose him, we’ll break the bond.”

I laughed humorlessly and stood. “Only dark magic users can break bonds. Eikki is an expert. Perhaps you should inquire about his services. I’m sure he’d give you a fair price, seeing how you are my family.”

Mother’s eyes filled with tears, but she reined them in. “He’s poisoned you.”

“We’ll find a way to rid you of his influence,” Father said, pulling her close to him.”

I ran a shaky hand through my hair and exhaled. “I did not expect this of you. It doesn’t surprise me the mages in the council deceive us about the nature of magic. Dark users frighten them. I didn’t think my family would fall pray to it, or reject me for who I am.”

“You are not a dark magic user,” Mom insisted, her voice pleading. Her will faltered and her tears ran free down her face. For once, I saw how she’d aged, and it quelled my rising anger.

“Mother, Father, I love you. But you are wrong. I know what and who I am. And I am not afraid of it or Eikki. He’s been patient with me, allowing me time to understand and to accept our bond. I won’t stand here and let you throw mud at him.”

Mother covered her mouth with a hand, her entire body shaking with her sobs. Father held her through it, his eyes fixed on me. He didn’t seem upset, more curious than anything. He’d always been eager to learn. Even if, unlike me and my siblings, he wasn’t a familiar. He had some magic, too low to put to proper use. Yet he’d made a good husband to my mother who’d lost her bonded spell caster long before they’d met.

“I’m sorry you’ve been living with this burden. I wish I could have talked to you earlier. There’s nothing nefarious in my bonding. It looks strange, I know. It felt even stranger at the time. It’s different, that part is true enough. But it’s not good or evil. I hope you find it in your hearts to accept it one day.”

“What would have happened if that damned elf hadn’t shown up at our Choosing?” Mother asked, wiping furiously at her cheeks.

“Nothing. I wouldn’t have found a spell caster to bond with. I would have needed dark magic.” I made for the door, eager to leave this place and return to Eikki.

“Son, where are you going?”

Of course Father would give in first. He was the peacekeeper in our little family. I closed my eyes, standing still and waiting. I didn’t want to argue with them, but I wouldn’t let them badmouth Eikki either.

“What does he call you?” Mother asked, her voice so small, I almost didn’t hear her.

It was a strange question to ask, I thought. Then cold shivers ran down my spine. What had they imagined he did to me? “Kitty Cat. He calls me Kitty Cat, Mother.”

“Is it true, about dark magic users becoming their familiars’ lovers?”

I nodded. “It’s how they complete the bond. Why it’s so strong. We haven’t done that yet.”

“Why not? Is it because you do not want it?”

I turned to face her and shook my head. “Because Eikki believes I want it for the wrong reasons.”

She sighed, slumping into her chair, her eyes hollow. “I cannot accept this.”

“Then I must leave.” And leave I did, my heart as hollow as that haunted look of hers. I’d lost my family, in a more brutal way than any familiar I’d known had ever experienced. All of them light magic familiars.

“Charis, wait,” Father said, chasing after me. I stopped in the middle of the street and did not resist when he spun me around and crushed me in a hug. “Give her time, my son. She loves you and she’ll make an effort to understand.”

“It’s not me shunning her, Father.”

“I know, you’re a good boy.” With that, he released me and disappeared back inside.

I stood there for a while, staring at the house I’d grown up with. I’d never understood why people said you could never go back home. Until today. Today I knew what it felt like to lose the one place you’d always expected to be accepted and loved.

My panther egged me on, telling me to run to Eikki,insisting he was my home now, but I couldn’t. I needed time to catch my breath, wrap my mind around everything that had happened. I took the shortest way out of the city, jumping over a few fences and walls, until I reached the cool solace of the woods. I went far into the heart of the forest, seeking familiar sounds and scents of critters and leaves and strange flowers. When I was far enough from any other person, I shifted and curled in on myself.

I woke up in the dark and stretched. For a second, I was at peace. Then the memory of my afternoon barreled in and I whined. I didn’t return to my human form; as a panther, I’d be better at navigating the dark woods at this time of night. I was faster too. And I wanted to go back to Eikki, immediately.

I reached his—no, our home and shifted to my human form as I pushed through the door. Eerie silence greeted me, my heart picking up speed. I tilted my head and closed my eyes, opening my senses to find Eikki. My dark elf wasn’t here. I went from room to room, hoping I’d been wrong somehow.

He’d left a note for me in the library, on top of the book on foundations of magic I’d been reading. Eikki had been called away to help a familiar. He’d be back soon.

I fell on the floor and wept in silence. Another home I’d lost. Not forever, but long enough for me to feel displaced. Abandoned and forgotten.

It took me to the dying hours of the night to pull myself together enough to crawl into Eikki’s bed. I forced my eyes closed and tried to relax. Come home soon, my elf. He was too far to hear me, but I had to believe thoughts had power. That it would reach him somehow. A few minutes later, everything went blank.

Chapter X – Coming Soon!

Did you enjoy this new installment of Magic Unleashed?

If you enjoyed this week’s read and would like more, please consider making your thoughts known. Comment below or share the story with your friends. If you’d like to stay up to date with new chapters of this story, consider subscribing to this blog by email, joining the newsletter, or follow me on my social media profiles. All details for these can be found in the sidebar.

If you want to check out my other published stories, both free and paid, check out the Books section on this website. Following me on Amazon also guarantees you are notified when new books are released.

Thank you!

The post Magic Unleashed – Chapter IX – You Can Never Go Back Home #FreeFictionFriday appeared first on Alina Popescu, Writer.

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Published on March 22, 2019 07:35

February 25, 2019

Worlds Colliding: Merging My Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Settings

We’ve talked a lot about world building on this blog. I’ve had guest authors talking about world building and the importance of setting. I’ve been on world building panels at Euro Pride Con (both times I attended). I guess you could say I’m super into world building. It sort of comes with the territory of writing fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction.

First off, what worlds have I created?

A vampire world (Urban Fantasy)
A werewolf world (Paranormal Romance)
Several sci-fi worlds
A witch world (Urban Fantasy)
Several contemporary settings

From Many Worlds to Fewer Shared Universes

The first big merging that I plan on doing is to merge the vampire world (Bad Blood series), the werewolf world (the Tales of the Werewolf Tribes series), and the currently in-development witch world (Witches and Other Misfits – you can read an excerpt of this here).

This one is easy, as the seeds for this were planted from the start (at least in my mind). Alexa, who is the protagonist of Bad Blood (the first three books), had a childhood friend called Vicks. If you’ve read the werewolf books, you know Vicks is a secondary character in the two stories that are already out. I plan to further merge these worlds in a future crossover.

The Fall of Darkness vampire urban fantasyThe witch books, featuring Shayla, are also an easy integration. Heck, I’ve already teased Shayla at the end of The Fall of Darkness, which is the third book of Bad Blood. Her witch world will also play a big part in the events of the next three Bad Blood books.

The second merger is currently just a thought, as most of this hasn’t been put on paper. But does anyone remember the lovely small town of Riverbrook? It’s where Travel and Spice protagonist Dante returns for his high school reunion. Dante’s story isn’t location-dependent, much like his travel blogger career, but other things happen in Riverbrook.

Basically, Riverbrook will become the US variant of quaint English villages where murder is the most popular hobby. I have an entire cozy mystery series planned out in that small town. And a spinoff book that will be part of a cozy mystery collaboration with authors Clare Kauter and TA Woods.

Oh, yeah, and there’s a contemporary gay romance series happening in Riverbrook, all centered around an inn. And did I mention OWL Investigations, the LGBT mystery series I am currently working on, has some still unrevealed links to Riverbrook?

The Challenges of Merging Worlds into a Shared Universe

Timelines are the worst! It’s hard to keep track of them through one series, but making sure the timelines of three different series line up? That’s insanity. So… I’m definitely going to do that!

The other challenge is the limited reader crossover. The witch and vampire series are marketed to the same audience. The werewolves? Slightly different.

Supernatural beings galore. Yeah, there will be a ton. The three races I am focusing on and many, many more… All of them with subdivisions. Keeping track of all of them will be a time-consuming project.

Why Merge Worlds? What Are the Benefits of Shared Universes?

Despite the slight difficulty in marketing, there are great benefits in cross-promoting books. I can tease the witch books to the vampire crowd and entice witch fans to try my vampire series. Plus, they might want to try the werewolves and discover the wonderful world of gay paranormal romance.

The second great thing? Once I figure out my world and my rules, I don’t have to rethink them for all the series. I just have them and apply them.

In my particular case, it does help that the existing series only dealt with one type of supernatural so far. So the rules are establish and they work well together. I don’t have to change werewolf rules from other books, because there have never been werewolves elsewhere.

Who Will Love This Idea the Most?

That’s an easy one. My superfans!

Wait, I don’t want to sound like I’m full of myself, but I know of a few people (I still have enough fingers to keep track of them) who read everything I write. And for those readers, seeing hints at other characters they already love will be an extra thing to enjoy.

Plus, it gives me a lot of room to play with interesting concepts like… what would happen if Shiki from Strength to Let Go would run into Anthony from Bad Blood? I mean… can you imagine?

The Edge of Hope vampire urban fantasyStrength to Let Go Alina Popescu

Shiki vs Anthony

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Published on February 25, 2019 04:25

July 29, 2018

#SnippetSunday – Meet Shayla of Witches and Other Misfits

I’ve been teasing the Witches and Other Misfits series for a while now. I told you a little bit about my protagonist, Shayla, and how antisocial my witch is. Today it’s time to tease you even further with a little snippet

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Published on July 29, 2018 08:57

June 25, 2018

Muzeul National de Istorie a Romaniei

Instituţia a apărut în 1970, ca cel dintâi muzeu de arheologie şi istorie din ţară; dintâi – nu într-o perspectivă cronologică, ci sub aspectul reprezentativităţii.

În consecinţă, aici au fost aduse cele mai faimoase tezaure, în primul rând cele din metal preţios, în singurul loc public unde securitatea şi vizibilitatea puteau fi asigurate în aceeaşi măsură. De asemenea, o mulţime de alte piese de mare valoare arheologică şi istorică au poposit în expoziţiile Muzeului Naţional, pentru a ilustra mileniile de istorie, ori, pentru mai multă acurateţe, istoria de atunci.

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Published on June 25, 2018 03:27

Biserica Stavropoleos

Biserica a fost înălțată în 1724, în timpul domniei lui Nicolae Mavrocordat (domnitor al Țării Românești, 1719-1730), de către arhimandritul Ioanichie Stratonikeas, originar din Epir. În curtea hanului său, construit în 1704, Ioanichie a zidit biserica și o mănăstire, susținută economic din veniturile de la han (o situație frecvent întâlnită în epocă). În 1726 starețul Ioanichie a fost ales mitropolit al Stavropolei și exarh al Cariei. Mănăstirea pe care a construit-o poartă de atunci numele Stavropoleos, după numele vechiului scaun. La 7 februarie 1742 Ioanichie, în vârstă de 61 de ani, moare și este îngropat în biserica sa.

Hanul și anexele mănăstirii au fost demolate la sfârșitul secolului al XIX-lea. De-a lungul timpului biserica a fost afectată de cutremure, care au șubrezit turla până la cădere. Picturile turlei au fost restaurate însă la începutul secolului al XX-lea.

În prezent din vechea mănăstire nu a mai rămas decât biserica, alături de care există o construcție de la începutul secolului al XX-lea, care adăpostește o bibliotecă, o sală de conferințe și o colecție de icoane vechi (începutul sec. al XVIII-lea) și obiecte de cult, precum și fragmente de frescă recuperate de la bisericile demolate în timpul regimu

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Published on June 25, 2018 03:26

Palatul Voievodal – str. Franceza

Muzeul Palatul Voievodal Curtea Veche păstrează cele mai vechi mărturii istorice din Bucureşti, care datează din secolul al XIII-lea. Dar cel mai important lucru îl reprezintă continuitatea locurii acestui spatiu timp de peste 500 de ani. Foarte puţine locuri din Bucureşti au această valoare istorică. Muzeul este organizat in incinta Curţii Domneşti, reşedinţă a principilor Ţării Româneşti începând din secolul al XIV-lea. Muzeul Curtea Veche este cel mai vechi monument medieval din Bucureşti. Între anii 1459-1660, Bucureştiul a fost reşedinţa domnitorilor Ţării Româneşti, în paralel cu vechea capitală a Târgoviştei iar după anul 1660 a rămas capitală unică.

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Published on June 25, 2018 03:21

June 18, 2018

Summer Sale for Hot Reads and other Bookish Treats

Summer is full on here, at least where I am. It’s that time of the year where all you want to do is be lazy and read. Under an umbrella on the beach, in a quiet spot on the porch, under a tree, in a mountainside forest clearing. So I thought you might need some steamy reads at low prices and even some freebies to better enjoy the summer heat. So read on to find out which books are discounted right now and how to get them!

Touches – Gay Romance Short Story Collection for only 99c

For the next four days, my contemporary gay romance story collection, Touches, is part of a Kindle Countdown Deal on Amazon US and UK. This collection includes for different short stories, all revolving around the same group of characters.

Buy on Amazon US | Buy on Amazon UK

Sometimes a single touch is enough to change everything. Physical or emotional, a touch can tilt the world on its axis and shift your entire life. It can lead to hell, or it can lead to paradise, but things will never be the same…


Tudor has big plans for New York City.

Ditch his homophobic colleague. See a musical. Definitely check out the go-go boys.

Meeting one Phantom on Grindr wasn’t in the script.

Tudor gets caught up in a whirlwind when his favorite musical character steps off the stage and into his life.


Hauled to work in Hawaii, Tudor has little time to enjoy the island paradise.

His obnoxious friend Radu has it much easier, using his free time to set Tudor up, dangling a willing Hawaiian beauty in front of him.

Having been burned by long-distance relationships before, Tudor stubbornly resists Kahoni’s advances.

But can Tudor be worn down enough to enjoy a touch of paradise?


A moody and angry Tudor follows his friend, Radu, to the airport to pick up a client.

Despite Radu’s efforts, he’s still sulking over his boyfriend, Kahoni, not being able to fly over for his birthday.

But the airport only opens up the door to a stream of steamy surprises for Tudor. Will his mood improve?


Radu has always joked with Tudor about his friend’s gay rubbing off on him. Neither of them has taken that joke seriously until Radu’s meltdown and crazy confession: Radu thinks he might be gay.

Despite Radu’s insistence that Tudor’s gayness has helped him figure out his own, there’s more to that story of discovery. Charismatic, sexy, and all around amazing Marius, the man Radu has been crushing on for months, pushed the loud-mouth, offensive Radu into exploring who he truly is.

Figuring out he wasn’t all that straight is the easy part. Getting enough courage to talk to Marius, that’s a whole different challenge, as Radu seems to turn into a stuttering idiot around Marius. Will Radu learn to be confident enough to pursue Marius? Or will Marius act faster and challenge the confused Radu too soon?

Contemporary Gay Romance Novel Dusk to Dawn, 50% off on Amazon

Dawn to Dusk, the first novel in the Lover’s Journey Series, is currently discounted to 1.99 cents. For the next four days (today included), you can get it for 50% off! This Kindle Countdown Deal is available on the US and UK sites of Amazon and it’s a great way to get you started with this series.

Buy on Amazon US | Buy on Amazon UK

Edi’s life is made up of precious moments.

That first encounter with Robert in rural Romania at eleven. A summer spent together in the same setting a year later. Their first text exchange in high school. The first sexual experience. The first heartbreak—the second and third and fourth chance. The point of total breakdown and the despair of failing. More love than anyone could have warned him about.

No matter how much time passes, no matter how different their paths, every meeting brings Edi and Robert closer together. Those stolen moments shine brighter than any. Yet loving Robert is not easy, not when Edi wants to be true to himself and is met with dishonesty. Or when Robert keeps parading new conquests and ignores Edi more often than not.

Edi has always loved Robert, but he must decide if his journey leads to or away from his childhood friend. Is it true love or is Edi just unable to let go?

Are you a Kindle Unlimited subscriber?

Then you should hurry to get these two books for free using your Kindle Unlimited subscription. At the end of this discount period, they will both be out of KU and moved to wide distribution.

How about some free books?

If you’re a fan of paranormal and supernatural books, then you’ll love this! The All Supernatural giveaway over on Instafreebie has 42 books for you to choose from. Go check it out before June 25th when the giveaway ends. The giveaway also includes my vampire urban fantasy novel, The Edge of Hope.

Want more freebies, then check out my Free Reads page on this very site!

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Published on June 18, 2018 01:52

March 9, 2018

The AuthorTube Readathon – March 24-30

Since returning to my author channel on YouTube, and thus discovering Authortube, I’ve also delved into readathons. If you don’t know what a readathon is, it’s a dedicated chunk of time when you’re supposed to read as much as you can. I loved the concept, and after long months of wanting and planning, I am now hosting my own: The AuthorTube Readathon. Seven days, seven reading challenges, six authortubers involved, and six Instagram challenges. Read on to find out more!

The AuthorTube Readathon Basics

Dates: March 24-30, 2018

Where: YouTube, this blog, Instagram

Hashtag: #TATR18

For a more in-depth explanation on how and why I came up with the AuthorTube Readathon concept, watch my announcement video.

How to Participate in the AuthorTube Readathon

To participate, you have to let me know somehow. You can post a TBR video or blog post. You can post on Instagram and tag me. You can post a reading vlog, or a wrap-up post on your readathon progress. Or you can let me know in the comments (either for this post or any of my readathon videos). Being subscribed to my YouTube channel would help (you can always find it in the sidebar of this blog) or here.

The Challenges

I thought of a mix of reading and Instagram challenges. If any other challenges or giveaways happen, then I’ll update this post.

The AuthorTube Readathon Reading Challenges

The Clare Kauter Challenge – Read a Mystery Book
The Sarah Scharnweber Challenge – Read a Horror Book
The Nicki J. Markus Challenge – Read a Myth-based Book
The Trynda Adair Challenge – Read a Paranormal/Urban Fantasy Book
The Amy Tasukada Challenge – Read a Book With Bad Guys
The Alina Popescu Challenge – Read a Sci-Fi Book
The AuthorTube Challenge – Read a Book by an AuthorTuber

The AuthorTube Readathon Instagram Challenges

The Clare Kauter Challenge –  Books and Bath Bombs – March 24
The Sarah Scharnweber Challenge – Books and Bunny Ears – March 25
The Nicki J. Markus Challenge – Books and Classics – March 26
The Trynda Adair Challenge – Books and Words – March 27
The Amy Tasukada Challenge – Books and Tea – March 28
The Alina Popescu Challenge – Books and Coffee – March 29

I strongly suggest you watch the announcement video for more detailed explanations and examples on each challenge.

How to Win the AuthorTube Readathon

As long as you manage to read at least three books in a week, I consider you a winner. Of course, these books have to somehow be related to the challenges listed. You can absolutely use one book for multiple categories.

Special Treat: Complete all seven reading challenges and you get a prize. If you complete all the readathon challenges in a week, you can pick whatever title you want from my backlist and I will gift it to you. Check out all my books on Amazon to get an idea of what you could be winning.

In order to qualify for this, you need at vlog/wrapup video on the readathon, or some type of proof you’ve read the books during this one week period. Also, if you’re underage, you’ll need parental consent to receive the gift.

Please visit the other wonderful authors/youtubers who inspired this readathon:

Clare KauterYouTubeInstagram
Sarah Scharnweber – YouTubeInstagram
Nicki J MarkusYouTubeInstagram
Trynda Adair – YouTubeInstagram
Amy TasukadaYouTube

Hope you all join me in this fun way to make a dent into our to-be-read lists. Happy reading, everyone!

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Published on March 09, 2018 04:53

February 14, 2018

Valentine’s Day Book Release: Sunrise with You – A Gay Romance Novella

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! This has been my first year writing Valentine’s stories and I started with a bang, two of them

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Published on February 14, 2018 02:36