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Awaken by Vanessa MacLellan is a Trick or Treat Bonanza pick #99cents #darkfantasy #horror #giveaway

Title: Awaken

Author: Vanessa MacLellan

Genre: Dark Fantasy/Horror

Book Blurb:

Balin stands between two great Powers. One will shatter his mind; the other will destroy his soul. Only one of them can save his people.

Fort Resonbirg, a Norse stronghold in the New World, is besieged by the evil sorcerer Ursulard the Dreamspinner. Though their fields are scorched and homes destroyed, the residents and refugees do not worry, because Fort Resonbirg is Awakened with the power to provide, protect, and grow. But not all is as it seems when a wall of impenetrable mist surrounds the fort, and within the mist hunts the dragon, Nidhogg. Nidhogg hungers for more than flesh and bone. It instills nightmares on its prey, feeding on fear and pain, inevitably taking lives.

Balin Tremore, a commoner bound for the militia but hoping to stay by his noble love's side, never expected to amount to grand things. When the great power of Cradleweaving is awakened within him, Balin unknowingly becomes the one person with the power to pierce the wall of mist and banish the deadly beast within before it destroys them all—if he can master the new power in time. But to master the power, he must sacrifice much. The question is, will it be his position, his Lady, or his very soul?

The Mist meets Nightmare on Elm Street in this classic tale of personal sacrifice.


Time passed for Balin trapped in the cage, trapped in his nightmares. He thought his heart would rupture each time he thrust himself from that scorched earth terror, that his nerves would fry up like a grasshopper in a hot pan.

He knew they were dreams; half his life seemed to hover between that fuzzy daze and demeaning wakefulness. In lecture, Mistress Ingrid Lyall had shown them all a rare tome on the meanings of dreams. Though a Winddancer, a master of the wind and weather, Cradleweaving and Dreamspinning ran through the Mistress' ancestry, and the book had been a treasured heirloom, the script a flowing scrawl from the hand before the uniform lettering of the presses. From the book, he'd read that visitors could visit a dreamer in this quiescent state. They could take a single step and jaunt from one man's nightmare to another's daydream. “It is with a focused mind that a dream master can travel the currents of sleep thought and intrude upon another's under mind.” So, he figured it was one of these jaunters who had displaced his dreams of fire and pain.

Another Dreamspinner.

Now, instead of a spring prairie full of abundance, a hard, black ribbon of asphalt split parched, gray land in two. Cracks splintered the soil, no longer supporting the devil grass that had whipped his arms and legs. His dream landscape had changed, and no fires threaten to swallow him whole.

An entirely different world had taken form that Balin didn't think was dream at all.

This new Dreamspinner must have changed it, through his magic and his will. Balin hoped this man would help. Hoped it wasn't another face of Ursulard.

Taking a good look at the man—dressed in a long, brown coat made of oiled wool or maybe canvas—Balin was certain they'd crossed dream paths before, though their past meetings had never been as clear or vivid as the one he engaged in now.

Legs straddling a wandering crack down the center of the unending road, the tall man faced Balin, a beat-up wide-brimmed hat pulled low across his brow, the brim floppy with age. A thick, gray beard hung to the center of his chest. He looked like a frontier Odin, and Balin scanned the skies for ravens, only to see thin strips of purple clouds.

This man, he was different. New and different, and he rattled Balin even more than those cruel tortures Ursulard subjected him to every time his eyes dipped closed. Grasses and fire. Life and death. Promises. Balin refused to think about those nightmares, swept away to a corner of his brain where he filed the facts about the Westman wars and fencing score points.

At last, you walk this world.

Emptiness and silence settled over the black road.

Your eyes seize on the rotten fruits of your past restraint. Your pain smells like ancient sorrow. You called me.

It was impossible to tell if the words were spoken or thought. Maybe they just were, existing at this time, in this moment, and in the next, other words took their place.

Your time is now. Join me.

Though Balin stood dressed in shabby rags, he didn't feel cold. His feet were bare and the rough surface of the asphalt felt alien to them, so different from the smooth floor of his cell.

“Who are you?” he asked.

The words echoed across the endless plains: “Who are you? Who are you? Who are you?” until they faded into the stagnant air. Bordering the edge of his vision were foothills, maybe mountains. Everything looked dull, the colors eroded by wind and time. Nowhere did he see a speck of green.

I am he who brings the end. Some call me Enda, others call me Dust. I am known as the Sallaedi.

They faced each other. Time stretched out like a curse.

“Are you going to take me? Like a Valkyrie?”

Silent, the Sallaedi considered him.

Then a thought occurred to Balin; perhaps he was already dead, that he had died in that cell, abandoned William to Zebbens and his cruelty, and gone to Helheim. This must be that old trickster Loki, himself. Maybe he was doomed to haunt the lonely road with this apparition for all eternity, breeding nothing but fear and waste.

Then his eyes popped open and the cold, hard floor beneath him reminded him of his situation. The light above glowed steadily, and he wondered how long he'd been gone. What year it was. And in his bones, he felt ancient.

Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):

Grab your e-copy on sale for only 99 cents!

If you could dress up as anything or anyone this Halloween, what or who would it be and why?

A witch, with the pointy hat, striped leggings, black dress, and broomstick. I think it fits me quite well.

Explain why your featured book is a treat to read:

Everyone needs a good scare, a Charybdis choice, and a book that has you aching for the hero during Halloween, and Awaken is that book.

Giveaway –

One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon gift card

Open internationally.

Runs October 1 – 31

Drawing will be held on November 1.

Author Biography:

Vanessa MacLellan was born and raised in rural America, which gave her the impetus to invent fantasy worlds to entertain herself. When she's not writing, she attempts to travel to every nook and cranny of the planet. By day, she helps save that planet in her capacity as an environmental engineer, which, thankfully, also helps fund her travel addiction. Her website is

Social Media Links:

1 Comment

N. N. Light
N. N. Light
Oct 30, 2023

Thank you, Vanessa, for sharing your book in our Trick or Treat Book Bonanza!

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