top of page
  • N. N. Light

Ashes and Blood by @Zaberbooks is a Spring Break Bookapalooza pick #fantasy #giveaway

Title: Ashes and Blood

Author: Katie Zaber

Genre: Fantasy

Book Blurb:

You can travel the same path countless times, but it can sometimes lead to another realm.

A mystical tree captures the attention of Megan & her friends, morphing the environment & transferring them to an exotic planet. Saved from deadly beasts by hunters, Megan finds herself stuck in a rural town still maimed by the plague. A chance encounter with a familiar face gives Megan & her friends some security during their adjustment to this new world. While settling into promising lives, they are attacked & stalked by planet Dalya’s humanoid inhabitants, who focus solely on Megan.

One dark night, after a magical attack, the Fae King’s knight is sent to fetch Megan for a reason she can’t possibly guess. When she wakes up a prisoner, she learns that there is much more to this strange place, & it is oddly more like home than she ever would have expected.

The more Megan learns, the more she realizes that finding a way home is insignificant compared to everything at stake.


We aren’t on Earth.

I’m uncertain if the girls looked up, but high in the night sky shines three moons, confirming we aren’t on Earth. A tiny rose-colored moon that resembles Earth’s moon with a crater-face smile, one large gray moon, and one not-too-big but radiant, smooth moon. Assuming Ciara saw the sky, she would freak out and scream—she doesn’t handle change well. Not that there’s any right way to handle being transported to another planet, but freaking out only hurts situations.

We have no weapons, no supplies other than sub sandwiches, snacks, more alcohol than water, three cell phones, and the clothes on our backs. No hoodies or sweatshirts. We only have tanks and t-shirts on. It’s dark and chilly. Thank God we’re all wearing jeans or else we would be cold. The torches keep our arms warm enough for now.

We need to figure out things quick. We don’t know what wildlife lives here, so we should follow the strange men, but where are they leading us? Yeah, there’s four of us and two of them, but this is their home. Plus, they appear to be strong, rugged, hard-lived men. They might be hunters living off the land. The four of us might need to launch a surprise attack, if it comes to that.

I didn’t see it at first, with the dense forest and my own torch’s glow, but out of nowhere we enter a ring of fire with two large firepits in the center. Eight huge bonfires illuminate the whole cleared area. Two are stationed directly in the middle. These cousins have lived here for a while. I can tell because there’s a lean-to set up between the two center fires, a simple three-wall, slanted roof shelter to protect them from the elements in this world.

Their wool pants and loose shirts look well made, as if a professional tailor constructed them. “Is there a town nearby you could point us toward?”

“We’ll take you to Capo in the morning because the nunda hunt at night. You can set up behind the hut.” Xander motions to an area between the two middle fires.

He wants us to set up camp on the other side of their hut, outside, completely exposed. As much as all this scares the shit out of me, the ring of fire between me and the mutated panther elephants makes me feel slightly safer for the moment. We are as safe as possible while in the company of two strange men who live in the woods and can overpower us with ease. I wish we had a knife. Something. I’d welcome any form of protection besides the torches.

The men don’t seem menacing, but you can never tell. In the light, you can see they are cousins, sharing a family resemblance. Both have dark brown hair, brown eyes, and the same pointy nose. Xander is shorter and broad-shouldered with a bristled, serious face. Tristan is tall and limber, clean shaven, and with a sly grin.

“Where’re your belongings? Where did you come from? Where’re your weapons and fire?” Xander questions, realizing we have little to nothing.

Tristan stares at our jeans. “Look at their clothes. They’re from some city. Someone or something must have attacked their caravan. We have food and shelter to share for the night. Capo is a two-hour hike. It’s downhill from here, so it’s an easy trip. Is that where you’re headed?”

Tristan’s sympathetic smile seems genuine, but his cousin looks pissed about the whole ordeal.

“Well, what happened?” Standing with his arms across his chest, Xander raises his eyebrows, making lines in his forehead appear as he waits for an answer.

“Robbers attacked us on our way to Capo. My cousin lives there. We would be grateful if you brought us to town. We have little to offer, only food and alcohol. You are welcome to share.” I blurt out my first thought. The girls return a blank stare.

They will never believe we aren’t from this world or universe. I don’t completely believe it myself, and the most believable story is the simplest. It seems like attacks on caravans occur, so it’s not unheard of. Our best option is to play along till they need to know otherwise. Make them think someone waits for us in town. I should have implied it was a male cousin. I have an inkling mindsets are old-fashioned. Women may have little to no rights here.

Dana takes the cooler backpack off to rummage through it. She takes out the four sub sandwiches, two large bags of chips, two large bottles of water, and a bag of chocolate chip cookies. Sarah has a hydration backpack filled with Chardonnay, which fits three liters of wine. There’s a bottle of whiskey and a bottle of Coke. Part of me doesn’t want the men to drink, unsure if they are friendly or angry drunks, but damn does a Jack and Coke sound good after the day we had.

Xander eyes us as if he’s taken aback by our lack of story and supplies. Even if he suspects we are lying, he can’t think we are a threat or capable of hurting him or his cousin. So any lie we tell shouldn’t affect them. Tristan seems more gullible, while Xander is the decision maker. At least, that’s the dynamic I get from the two.

After a few seconds of contemplating, Xander shrugs, rubbing his chin. “You can sleep in the hut—we have two blankets you’re welcome to share. We have nothing else to offer regarding more blankets or warmer clothes. Stay by the fire and you will keep warm. I’m hungry. There’s stew leftover from lunch, not much, but you’re welcome to it. Don’t cause trouble or headaches.”

Flashing a thankful ruby-red smile, Sarah grabs the bottle of whiskey, passing it to him. “We won’t.”

Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):

If money were no object, where would you go for a Spring Break vacation and why?

I’d go to Sicily. First, I love Italy. It’s food, culture, architecture, and history—I’m a history fanatic—there’s so much to see and do, it is easy to fall in love with the country. Now, I’ve never been to Sicily, but it’s next on my list and I think it would be a perfect spot for a spring break vacation. It has white sandy beaches, crystal clear water, delicious food, wineries galore, with historic cities as enchanting as the ones on the mainland.

Why is your featured book a must-read this spring?

Ashes and Blood takes you away to Dalya, a new exotic world filled with mysteries, feuds, love, and death. Did I mention Fae, Druids, and magic? Nothing is how it appears and everything is at stake in Dalya. It’s the first book in this series and the second book, Below Dark Waters is available on Amazon. The third book, Stranger Shores comes out this summer!

Giveaway –

One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon US or Canada gift card

Open internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US or Amazon CA account to win.

Runs April 1 – 30

Drawing will be held on May 2.

Author Biography:

Social Media Links:


Unknown member
Apr 27, 2022

Wonderful excerpt

Katie Z
Katie Z
Apr 28, 2022
Replying to

Thank you


Katie Z
Katie Z
Apr 27, 2022

Thank you for having me :)


N. N. Light
N. N. Light
Apr 27, 2022

Thank you, Katie, for sharing your book in our Spring Break Bookapalooza!

bottom of page