Thursday, July 24, 2014

Aphrodite Giveaway! Win ebooks of Chasing the Star Garden by Melanie Karsak and Deer in Headlights by Staci Hart


God knows, I'm a fan of Aphrodite . . . pun intended. Readers of my Airship Racing Chronicles already know that the Goddess Aphrodite features predominantly in Chasing the Star Garden. I actually got interested in this ancient goddess while working on another, yet unfinished, novel. That novel, set in the Renaissance, traces the origins of Celeste from Chasing the Star Garden's order. Maybe, one day, I'll get back to that project. But back to Aphrodite . . .
Ianna/Ishtar

We all know about Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love. you can't get out of 8th grade free without knowing your Greek Gods. But this Goddess, however, is really much more interesting and much more complex. Aphrodite used to be one of the chief gods. Before societies changed from matriarchies (women ruled) to patriarchies (male ruled) there was always a Goddess in charge: the queen of heaven, the great mother, etc. Aphrodite's roots trace back into ancient Mesopotamia. Research tracks her cults (her churches) to the worship of this goddess in the forms of Ianna and Ishtar. Aphrodite's earliest worship showed her influence over the very forces of life and death, love and war. Once, in her earliest incarnations, Aphrodite ruled as the Queen of Heaven. It was not until Aphrodite was incorporated into a pantheon of gods that she lost her place. Zeus came to stand at the head of the gods where the Goddess, and Aphrodite, once held sway.

The Great Mother

Today, I am celebrating this Goddess in her rawest form. And to celebrate, let's have a giveaway . . . a pair of Aphrodite ebooks: Chasing the Star Garden (or Chasing the Green Fairy) AND Deer in Headlights (or any other novel in the series) by Staci Hart!

 
 
Click to Amazon     http://www.amazon.com/Deer-Headlights-Good-Gods-ebook/dp/B00BF7CO4W/

HOW TO WIN?

Step 1: Subscribe to my newsletter! I promise you, no spam. I email about every other month just to let you know if I have a sale, new release, new cover, or with other freebies. Here is the link: Newsletter sign-up.

Step 2: Comment below to let me know you signed up AND tell me, who is your favorite of the Ancient Greek, Roman, or other Classical Gods?

Winner will be drawn on 7/31!

(Be sure to look at the post below for a chance to win Paperbacks of Staci Hart's series AND see her new cover!)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Release Day & Giveaway! Doe Eyes by Staci Hart, Good Gods Book 3

doe-photocovers

DE-release

Aphrodite knows better than anyone how the heart works. Just don’t ask her to figure out her own.

She’s been away from Olympus for weeks, which wasn’t near long enough for her move on from everything that happened, to get past the betrayal and loss. She has no idea what she’s walking into when she gets back other than a new competition, this time against Artemis. The goddesses have never been friends, but now they have more in common than ever, though they’d rather face eat ambrosia straight than admit it.

Artemis can’t help but be smug. Her player, Josie, is a private investigator who’s lost more than she’s won. Every waking moment is consumed by her fire to catch the man who killed her partner, and when Jon comes back into town after leaving her without a word, it’s more than she can handle. She’ll never let him in. Not again.

But Jon only did what he thought was right, and he’ll do anything he can, give her everything he has to give to prove that he can be trusted with her heart again.

With Adonis gone and the threat of Ares around every corner, Aphrodite’s past presses on her, leaving her more alone than she’s ever been. She can’t help wondering if she’ll ever escape, and how much pain she’ll endure before the whole ordeal is behind her.

TEASER LOVE!

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SERIES SALE - JULY 24-27

To celebrate the release of book three, get all three novels for 99c each, and the short story for FREE!

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Deer in Headlights --> http://amzn.to/ZtIv9h

Snake in the Grass --> http://amzn.to/13hpdJf

What the Heart Wants (novella) --> http://amzn.to/1fOrd0V

Doe Eyes --> http://amzn.to/1sSwYCi

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Learn more about the series at http://www.stacihartnovels.com/

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Join us for the release party TONIGHT (July 24) from 6-9EST --> http://on.fb.me/1qrDUFF

Come hang out and enter to win loads of prizes, starting with the rafflecopter below!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Cover-to-Cover Reveal and Giveaway of Dark Victorian: Risen by Elizabeth Watasin

 
One thing to love about the steampunk community is how talented the people are. From costuming to tinkering to artwork, steampunks know how to make beautiful things! I've loved getting to know the people in the steampunk community over the last year. One of my favorite people I've met is the multi-talented Elizabeth Watasin. Elizabeth recently updated the cover on Dark Victorian; Risen. Isn't it absolutely amazing! I have mad cover love. This lovely cover graces a really fantastic work that you really need to read. Right now.
 

Novel Description:


“Way will open.”
 
She is Artifice.
A resurrected criminal and agent of HRH Prince Albert’s Secret Commission.
An artificial ghost.
A Quaker.
 
He is Jim Dastard.
The oldest surviving agent of the Secret Commission.
An animated skull.
A mentor to newly resurrected agents.
 
In a mechanical and supernatural London, agents of Prince Albert’s Secret Commission, their criminal pasts wiped from their memories, are resurrected to fight the eldritch evils that threaten England. Amidst this turmoil, Jim Dastard and his new partner Artifice must stop a re-animationist raising murderous dead children. As Art and Jim pursue their quarry, Art discovers clues about her past self, and through meeting various intriguing women—a journalist, a medium, a prostitute, and a mysterious woman in black—where her heart lies. Yet the question remains: What sort of criminal was she? A new beginning, a new identity, and new dangers await Art as she fights for the Secret Commission and for her second life.

Experience female detective mysteries with a Victorian superheroine:
A gaslamp fantasy in a steampunk, paranormal London, follow the dangerous adventures of an uncanny female sleuth and her senior skull partner set in the same alternate world as Elizabeth Watasin's Victorian Gothic series, The Elle Black Penny Dreads.

Enjoy a bonus Art Gallery:
The paperback version of Dark Victorian: Risen contains a small gallery of illustrations by Elizabeth Watasin.

Learn more about the debut of this intriguing, steampunk lesbian series:
It is 1880; black arts sorcery had its time to grow in England and to battle the eldritch evils threatening, HRH Prince Albert's Secret Commission is born. Executed criminals are brought back to life without memories to fight as agents, and among those resurrected is Artifice, a six foot tall strongwoman, Quaker, and artificial ghost, guided by her senior partner, Jim Dastard, the animated skull.

Once awakened, Art knows only that she has risen with one purpose: to protect and serve England.  Her first mission is to track down a re-animationist who has raised murderous dead animals and children to take revenge upon the living. To do so she must quickly learn more about her past, her new ghostly powers, and especially how she must face threats when her Quaker nature interferes with the needs of battle.

But as the re-animationist rallies for a final confrontation, Jim, Art's skeptical partner and the most senior, surviving agent of the Secret Commission, learns what Art will do, and more.

The Dark Victorian series, a unique take on lesbian historical fiction:
Set eighteen years before words like 'homosexual' and 'lesbian' had yet to be invented, the world of the Dark Victorian series continues the 19th century tradition of British female marriage and romance into a future where same-sex unions thrive. Into this world, Artifice is reborn and while only four days living, quickly learns–from her encounters with a madwoman journalist, a mysterious woman in black, and a French prostitute–where her heart lies . . .
 
BUY THE BOOK HERE
 

About the Author:


Dark Victorian: Risen is the debut paranormal steampunk tale from speculative fiction storyteller Elizabeth Watasin, who delights in bringing you shilling shockers immersed in Gothic Victorian mystery, women sleuths, and the eldritch vestiges of an otherworldly London. Enjoy the deadly battles of a Victorian superheroine and her skull partner as Artifice and Jim Dastard rid the world of threats and monsters.


An Excerpt from Risen:

 

When Art emerged she felt there were several things torn inside of her. Were she human she would be vomiting blood, but since that hadn’t happen yet she felt she could manage consciousness for a little while. She leaned against a wall and tried to move the hand with the walking stick behind her. She needed to get at the pole ax stuck in her back.
Her vision clouded and one of her legs gave way.
When her eyes cleared, she thought she did well saving them from a fall because Jim was still in her hand, her walking stick was supporting her, and she’d only fallen to one knee. However, Jim was berating her.
“Art, while you were nodding a street rascal relieved you of your purse! A slew of boys came running and—good God, woman! You’ve a pole ax in your back!”
“Friend. . . the men. I hit them too hard,” Art gasped.
“What? Just eat something, hurry! Eating will heal you! I thought I saw turnips! Potatoes? There’s fried fish over there! And—what’s this?”
The street boys ran up to where Art knelt. The leader held Art’s coin purse.
“We snatched it back for you.” He grinned as he handed it to her. “And took our fee, too.”
“Keep it, you’ve a task,” Jim said. “You saw what Art did to the slaughter men, right? Go back in. Any that need a doctor, give them that.”
“Sir,” the boy said, instantly serious. He nodded and ran into the building with his companions.
“My thanks, Friend,” Art said.
“Now Art, eat something, damn it. Before I make someone force turnips into you.”
She stood with a jerk, her body trembling. She was surrounded by stalls of hanging red meat, frying fish, whelks being boiled—none of it called to her.
“DAMN IT, ART!” Jim cried.
She quickly lashed out with her stick. A man was hurrying by with his barrow full of live whelks and she hooked it. She stared at the shells and they began to shake. She opened her arms.
The whelks flew from the barrow and entered her body. They rattled within her as she drew the flesh out and absorbed the creatures. When she was done the empty shells dropped at her feet. The pole ax fell from her back with a thud.
The whelks seller grabbed hold of his empty barrow and ran.
“Wait, man, don’t you want payment?” Jim called after him.
Art set her stick to the ground. She walked. She was still shaky.
“Art, there’s more over there.”
“No,” she said. “Raw.”
“Who has live whelks?!” Jim cried. “Raw fish, oysters, eels, c’mon now!”
“Here, here, here!” A nervous man said, waving them to his stall. He had uncooked whelks in a basket.
“Do you accept the pin of the Secret Commission? Know what that means, right?” Jim asked. When they neared, Jim spat out a black shield shaped pin on a black ribbon. The seller nodded vigorously.
“Yes, yes, yes,” he said. Taking an empty shell, he placed the pin against it and it began to smoke. The image of the shield was burned into the surface.
“Good man! Take that to the Secret Commission’s payer. Art, eat now.”
 

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Saturday, July 12, 2014

RBTL Presents Falling Angels by Ami Blackwelder



Title: Falling Angels
Author: Ami Blackwelder
Series: Angelfire Chronicles #2
Genre: Angel/ Romance Suspense
Publisher: Eloquent Enraptures Publishing
Release Date: June 1 2014
Edition/Formats Available In: eBook & Print
Blurb/Synopsis:
Caption:
Enter a World Where Love Knows No Boundaries. A World Where Boundaries are Manipulated. A World Where Manipulation Might End Everything.

Summary:
After Ali Maney becomes Angelfire the stakes are raised and Dameon would like nothing more than her death. While Ali grows closer to Kian, they also find many differences that cause friction between them and after her best friends and brother are drawn into the angel wars, Ali will never look back until the war is over.



Ami Blackwelder is a Paranormal and SciFi author. Her stories range from Tween & YA to Adult. Growing up in Florida, she graduated UCF and in 1997 received her BA in English and additional teaching credentials. Then she packed her bags and travelled overseas to teach in Thailand, Nepal, Tibet, China and Korea. Thailand is considered her second home now. She has always loved writing and wrote poems and short stores since childhood; however, her novels began when she was in Thailand.
 Having won the Best Fiction Award from the University of Central Florida (Yes, The Blair Witch Project University), her short fiction From Joy We Come, Unto Joy We Return was published in the on campus literary magazine: Cypress Dome and remains to this day in University libraries around the USA. Later, she achieved the semi-finals in a Laurel Hemingway contest and published a few poems in the Thailand’s Expat magazine, and an article in the Thailand’s People newspaper. Additionally, she has published poetry in the Korea’s AIM magazine, the American Poetic Monthly magazine and Twisted Dreams Magazine.

Places to find Ami


Places to find Falling Angels 
Other Books in the Series 
 Dumah's Demons Book 1.5

Angel Codes Coming 


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Shadow Aspect Cover Reveal, Excerpt, and Giveaway!





Layla's adventure continues in The Shadow Aspect. I hope you love this cover as much as I do. I have to say Layla is looking a little bad ass in this image, the lovely cover art created by Liliana Sanches, Princess of Shadows. One might even say Layla's shadow side is showing! Below, please find the novel description and an excerpt from the novel . . . a prologue to be exact. Look for The Shadow Aspect later this year!


Novel Description:

When Layla took the final step through the labyrinth, she thought she was saving the ones she loved. 

She couldn’t have been more wrong.

The unwitting victims of a grudge seething for eons, Layla and the other survivors now find themselves in a war for our world. With vampires lurking and shapechangers plotting vengeance, if mankind has any hope of survival, Layla must decide whom to trust: the carnie girl? The quiet doctor? The tarot reader? The stranger with alluring gold eyes? Or the man she loves? And then there are the voices. What does it forewarn if the dead can speak?  

When the world burns, mankind’s shadow side rises. Do we deserve to survive?
 



Want a taste of what's in store? Everyone loved Grandma Petrovich, Vasilisa, so much I thought we needed a little glimpse into her back-story. Below, see how it all began . . . 
  
The Shadow Aspect Excerpt

Prologue: The Clarion Call



Soviet Russia, 1957

Vasilisa had walked down same path from her family’s farm to town every day for as long as she could remember.  She was barely strong enough to carry the packs of freshly harvested roots and herbs when her mother had tasked her with the job. But Vasilisa had never complained. What was the use? Now that she was a young woman, her daily routine seemed as automated as breathing: wake, wash her face, dress, feed her younger siblings, comb out the tattered mess her restless sleep had made out of her wheat colored tresses, then harvest herbs to take to the distillery. Only now she could carry more. Only now her mother was dead.
Vasilisa walked eyes on the pebbly path below her feet, from her farm, through the field, and into the woods. In ten minutes, she would meet the modern road.  If she was lucky, someone would give her a ride to town. If she wasn’t, it would take thirty minutes to walk there. If she was really lucky, Sasha Petrovich would drive by in his rusted truck and give her a ride. Vasilisa’s heart picked up a pace when she thought of it. 
In the forest, the sunlight shining through the canopy of green, Vasilisa stopped beside the old spring and took off her packs. Long ago someone had shifted the rocks to make a natural basin. She dipped her hands in the water and took a drink. The fresh spring water had a sharp, metallic taste. Vasilisa splashed water onto her face. That year the Soviets had sent a satellite into space, yet Vasilisa walked the same path her ancestors had followed for hundreds of years. She performed the same work they did in the exact same way. She knew this because they told her so. The spirits, sometimes clustered around her so closely in the family home that she felt claustrophobic, were a noisy bunch. Vasilisa’s grandmother, the stubborn matriarch who’d passed on her psychic gift to Vasilisa, was always the loudest. Sometimes Vasilisa felt like she was lost in time. And as she dug in her pack to leave three cubes of sugar at the side of the spring, a gift for the forest spirits, she felt the crush of the her discordant world: ancient and modern in one jumbled mess. 
She picked up her packs and headed back toward the road. To her luck, a truck was passing just as she emerged from the woods. But it was not Sasha. Vasilisa waved, and the truck slowed. With a nod to the driver, she crawled into the back of the pick-up and sat with the family dog. She dangled her feet off the back of the truck, smelling the exhaust, as the truck rumbled toward town.  It didn’t take long to get to get there.
Vasilisa hopped off the back of the truck as the driver slowed to let her out. She waved in thanks as the truck sped away. Vasilisa turned toward town square but first stopped, dug into her pocket, and pulled out the only tube of lipstick she owned; it was cherry red. She twisted the gold casing, carefully applied the lipstick, then trudged to the distillery. 
The distillery was on the far end of the market square. The square was bustling in its grim, drab way. There were no longer any breadlines, that was a thing of the past, but the townspeople still looked miserable. They carried their baskets and sacks of produce, their faces blank, their feet scurrying. 
The sign above the distillery door squeaked as it rocked in the wind. Its sound carried on the wind. Vasilisa pushed the door open. As usual, Yuri was in the front office laboring hard over heaps of papers, the room a blue haze of cigarette smoke. Crates of vodka bottles were stacked to the ceiling. The clear glass bottles twinkled in the morning light.
“Good morning,” Vasilisa said.
“Good morning,” Yuri replied absently. He didn’t even look up. Why would he? The routine had become mundane.
Vasilisa took her packs to the scale on the other side of the room. She set the packs down, noted the weight, and picked up the empty bags from yesterday’s delivery. The unbleached cotton bags still smelled like the anise, mint, lavender, and basil they’d carried.
“Five and a half kilos,” she told Yuri.
Yuri never looked at Vasilisa but turned to the till and started counting bills. 
As he worked, Vasilisa noticed she was there again. She stood beside Yuri, watching him work. The spirit of Yuri’s sister often came around him, but she rarely spoke. Vasilisa saw her and saw through her all at once. It seemed to Vasilisa her shade seemed cloudier today, her facial figures less distinct than they had been on other days. 
The shade turned at looked at Vasilisa. “Tell him to stop smoking,” she said then began to dissipate back into the ether, her cloudy, spiritual form slowly fading until she was there no more.
With a nod, Yuri handed Vasilisa her pay. He was about to go back to his work when Vasilisa asked, “Can I have a cigarette?”
He shrugged. “Sure,” he said, and quickly rolled a cigarette for her. His tin and papers had been sitting open on his desk.
“I think you smoke too much,” Vasilisa told him as she set the cigarette between her lips.
Yuri leaned in and lit the cigarette for her.
“You’re probably right,” he replied with a nod. “Drink?” he asked then, looking Vasilisa over as he was sometimes did when he stopped long enough to pay attention to her.
Vasilisa waved her hand. “Tu-tu-tu, it’s early.” 
“It’s never too early.”
She shrugged. “See you tomorrow.”
Yuri nodded and turned back to his work.
Vasilisa crossed the street to the grocer. In the small, cramped shop, she went to the metal cooler and pulled out a chilled Coca-Cola. The cold glass bottle made her hands throb with chill. She popped the metal lid off the bottle, dropped some coins on the counter, then headed outside. She leaned against the building. Tapping her heal into the ground, she smoked and waited. After thirty minutes, Sasha still had not come.  Maybe he had gone to the city. Vasilisa sighed. It was time to go back. She knew the little ones would be waiting; her father would already be working in the field. She left the town center and headed back to the road.
She’d been walking for ten minutes when she heard the familiar purr of Sasha’s truck. She grinned involuntarily. As the truck pulled alongside her, she dropped her smile and tried to look serious.
“I’m late.  I know,” Sasha said as he leaned across the truck’s cab and opened the door.
Vasilisa gave him a serious look.
“Come on, beauty.  I’m sorry.  The truck would not start.”
Vasilisa sighed and got in, pulling the truck door behind her with a heave. She slid across the seat and nestled under Sasha’s arm.
“I thought maybe your mother had you visiting Irina again.”
“My mother knows I only have eyes for Vasilisa.”
“That doesn’t mean she cares.”
Sasha shrugged. They road in silence, soaking in each other’s presence, until Sasha pulled the truck into the small alcove at the forest path leading back to Vasilisa’s farm.
“Your father should clear a road.  I could drive you all the way to the house.”
Vasilisa shrugged. “We prefer it like this.”
“We?”
Sasha looked closely at Vasilisa. He reached out and touched her pouty lips, the lipstick now faded.  He stared deeply into her green eyes. “Well, it does provide privacy, doesn’t it?”
Vasilisa smiled knowingly then turned and slid onto Sasha’s lap. They kissed with desperation. Their time together could only be brief. Most of their moments were stolen.  Vasilisa slid her hands around Sasha’s neck and kissed him desperately. His lips were warm and his mouth tasted like raw sugar. The sharp scent of milled soap perfumed his freshly washed skin. She nestled her head into the crook of his neck, inhaling deeply, then sighed.
 “I won’t be late tomorrow, my love,” he whispered in her ear.
“Good.  Don’t be,” she said with mock firmness then kissed him quickly. She slid off his lap into the seat. She smoothed her hair and checked her reflection. Wordlessly, Vasilisa kissed Sasha one more time then got out of the truck. 
Sasha sighed heavily. “Be careful,” he called, gazing back toward the forest.
Vasilisa laughed, waved, then turned toward home. As she receded into the forest, she heard Sasha’s truck maneuver onto the road. She listened for the truck until she couldn’t hear it anymore. She was left alone with only the sound of the forest and the taste of her lover’s mouth still ripe on her lips.  
Vasilisa walked happily through the woods, planning her chores for the day, savoring her memories of Sasha. She stopped once more at the spring. She took her time, washing her face, drinking the clear water. Vasilisa was so lost in her thoughts that when hear ears started to buzz, her head ring, she felt surprised. Usually she was more aware of her surroundings.  Usually she was more aware of the others who might be watching, especially in the forest.  Dreaming of Sasha, she had not even heard the other person join her at the spring, not as if they ever made any noise. Vasilisa stiffened and looked up. An old woman stood at one side of the spring and was looking intently at Vasilisa. Her clothing, no more than tattered black rags, brushed the ground. Her hair was long, gray, and matted. Her face, however, hinted that she had once been beautiful, even though she was now very old. Her sharp, dark blue eyes studied Vasilisa.
Vasilisa knew she was in trouble. This was not one of the departed. She was one of those from the otherworld. The woman had crossed the planes to join Vasilisa. Cautiously, Vasilisa leaned toward the spring and lifted the copper cup that dangled there. She dipped the cup into the water and offered the drink to the stranger. 
“This spring is older than your town,” the woman commented wryly, taking the cup from Vasilisa’s hand. “But the water is still fresh—unlike the rest of your world.”
Using her peripheral vision, Vasilisa eyed the old woman over. This was no common forest spirit, rusalka, leshi, or vodiovoi. Though she wore the clothes of a beggar, the woman’s stern authority, power, and presence made her identity obvious. There was not one child in Russia who didn’t know the name of the wise woman of the forest, the name of the powerful and terrible Baba Yaga. And Vasilisa knew, without a doubt, that it was this ancient matriarch who was staring at her. At once, Vasilisa was both feared and awed. What would the ancient one want from her? How many lusty leshi men had Vasilisa turned aside since her grandmother had taught her to recognize the others in our world. But Baba Yaga was something different, something rare and powerful. 
The old woman took a sip then handed the cup back to Vasilisa.
“You must leave Mother Russia and go to America,” Baba Yaga said then.
The randomness of the directive startled Vasilisa so much that she stared Baba Yaga in the face. The woman’s words shocked and confused her, but the ancient matriarch’s hard gaze told her that this was not a debate, it was a command.
“Why?” Vasilisa asked. 
The old woman laughed.
Vasilisa’s cheeks reddened. The moment the word left her mouth she knew she should have taken a more respectful tone. But the United States? Sure, she and Sasha had talked about going to America, about starting a new life there, but to leave Soviet Russia was difficult and relations between the United States and the Soviets were not good. She also had her family to consider.
“Because you must,” Baba Yaga said seriously.
“Because you said so?”
“You question me?” Baba Yaga replied, her tone precariously balanced somewhere between warning and amusement.
Vasilisa tried to smile softly. “One should never follow blindly.”
Baba Yaga seemed to like this answer. “If you value life, if you value the heart that beats within you, the blood in your veins, then you will go. You will be needed, and you must go to America to fulfill your role.”
Every hair on the back of Vasilisa’s neck has risen, and her skin chilled. “But I have a life here . . . Sasha . . .”
Baba Yaga shrugged. “What matters is that you go to America.”
“For my important role,” Vasilisa replied smartly, but this time she saw that Baba Yaga was losing her patience. 
The old woman’s lips curled. “No more questions.  If you can really see, you will know I am right.”
Behind them, a group of crow’s cawed, fighting one another over the remains of an animal carcass lying on the forest floor. Vasilisa turned to look. When she turned back, Baba Yaga was gone.
Vasilisa sat down on the ground beside the spring. She rested her head on the cool stones.  Her heart was beating wildly. Could she trust the word of the ancient matriarch? Could she trust the witch in the forest they had all grown up to fear? Surely Baba Yaga had taken pains to cross the border between the worlds, but why? And why Vasilisa? What could Vasilisa possibly do that would be so important? 
She turned again to the cawing crows. They pecked and danced as they fought over the bloody corpse. Their battle looked more like ballet than argument, but their caws rung loud and long and filled the forest with their clarion call.

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