Integrating the Erotic in Romance and Hitting a Groove with Best Selling Author Joey W. Hill

sherylnantus:

If you’re looking for a wonderful author to add to your “must buy” list – check these books out!

Originally posted on Lady Smut:

By Elizabeth SaFleur

JOEY W. HILL is en erotic romance author and storyteller who causes one-click, trigger-happy fingers. She’s garnered a legion of fans for her contemporary works, which feature a diverse cast from boardroom executives to cops, as well as her paranormal tales, which involve mermaids, vampires and angels.

Her stories never disappoint to melt your panties off while causing your heart to swell in your chest. Expect to fall in love along with her characters. Also plan to drop everything else in your life so you can finish the book.

She’s penned more than forty acclaimed titles and six award-winning series, and been awarded the RT Book Reviews Career Achievement Award for Erotica. And for good reason.

Joey generously stopped by LadySmut to answer some burning questions about her writing, how she comes up with her characters and what’s next in her many series.

Thanks for stopping by, Joey. Of all the writing genres you could write, why erotic romance?

Romance…

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Blood of the Pride on sale for only $1.99 today!

BloodofthePrideFinalThe first book of the acclaimed “Blood of the Pride” series is on sale at Amazon for only $1.99 today!

http://www.amazon.com/Blood-Pride-Sheryl-Nantu…/…/B006IIX02I

When a severed rabbit’s paw is delivered to her office, outcast cat shifter Rebecca Desjardin recognizes the summons home. One of their own has been murdered—and a shocking photo published in a local tabloid—and her Pride needs Rebecca, now a private investigator, to track down the killer.

Investigative reporter Brandon Hanover wants to find out who slipped the photo of the half-shifted cat-woman under his door, marking him as a suspect in her death. Determined to stay one step ahead of the sexy journalist, Rebecca reluctantly agrees to partner with him to find the real murderer. But as their mutual attraction heats up, Rebecca finds it harder and harder to keep Brandon from discovering the existence of the shifter society—and her own true nature.

When the search leads them back to the Pride, Rebecca must attempt to Change for the first time in years to face the killer, and save the man she loves…

This book won a Third-Place Prism Award for the first book of the paranormal series, “Blood of the Pride”

Check out where it all started today! Or better yet, give a copy to a friend!

Game Review – Three Cheers for Master by Atlas Games

Sometimes the best games are those you don’t find yourself. When we attended the last Origins Game Fair we took along a friend to her first gaming convention. She had a great time and found some wonderful games that she’s now introducing us to for the first time. And one of the first, and to me the best one, is Three Cheers for Master from Atlas Games.

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Here’s the cover copy:

Master Has Been Blue, Lately…

It’s just not the same now that all lands known to evil have been conquered.

When Master’s blue, it’s the minions who suffer. As a lieutenant in Master’s army — a foreminion — it falls to you to cheer him up. Not the easiest task, even in the best of times.

But then it hit you: What better way to cheer Master up than a cheerleading competition?

Whichever foreminion builds and scales the most impressive tower of war-hungry minions will surely win Master’s heart.

…What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

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Indeed… what can go wrong?

A whole lot and it’s fun as heck to find out!!!

This card game has a lot going for it – hilarious cards, hysterical flavor text, interesting mechanics and a simple gameplay that means you can get a game going almost immediately with new people.

pic2527639_mdFirst the deck needs to be prepared – there are three types of cards; minions, movement cards and Big Hairy Fight cards along with two cards signalling that the Master is coming and that the Master has arrived… thus ending the game. Preparing the deck only takes a few minutes to fold in the needed cards for a game, depending on if you have two or more players. Then each player gets three cards and a ForeMinion token. This little fellow has to rise to the top of your cheer-leading pyramid to score the most points.

3C4MHughbert_400pxBut… Minions don’t play together well. That’s why they’re minions. And fights can and will break out. And you just might want to handicap your opponent to make sure THEIR pyramid will not be as spectacular as yours is… after all, YOU deserve the Master’s approval, yes?

So out of your three cards you play two – there are three types of cards; Minion cards, movement cards and Big Fat Hairy Fight cards. Minion cards are exactly that – minions that can be placed on your creation OR on your opponent’s to cause havoc. Movement cards are the same – they can shift cards in your pyramid to create a better stack or to prevent a fight OR to mangle your opponent’s build.

Big Fat Hairy Fight cards are exactly that. Randomly inserted in the draw deck, you must stop as soon as each one of these cards appears and resolve ALL combat actions. This means some pyramids will collapse, some minions most certainly will die and your ForeMinion might end up flat on his back.

3C4MSwagamemnon_400pxAfter you play two cards you draw back up and the next player goes. Play suspends when each Big Fat Hairy Fight card appears and combat happens – and when the Master finally appears you fight three times to show your worthiness and then count up your points to see who gains the Master’s approval.

Because it’s not just about how high your ForeMinion got – it’s also about the size… your point score will rise depending on the point value of each card and which level it’s at. A two-point minion on the second level will be multiplied by two, delivering four points. If the same card is on the third level it’ll be worth six and so on – up until where the ForeMinion sits.

3C4MSeafor_400pxWhich is, of course, why you must CRUSH YOUR COMPETITION!

Combat is fast, logical and hysterical – arrows on your minion cards show which way they will attack and in what priority. Three arrows go first, then two and then one. They will kill the minion next to it, leaving a gap in your pyramid.

But there are defenses. Barriers and shields can help your minions survive long enough to keep buildings… until, of course, the minion below them die and then gravity takes over.

Because We’ll Always Have Gravity.

3C4MCreeper_400pxGravity will kill most minions and if it doesn’t it’ll definitely affect the stack build, forcing you to change your plans. And since combat doesn’t happen until a Big Fat Hairy Fight card appears you have time to fix any nasty cards your opponents play on your stack until… you can’t.

And then the Master arrives.

And then the Reckoning happens…

I loved this game if only because of the art and the flavor texts. It’s a great fast, fun game that’ll have you laughing as you tear each other down, waiting for the Master to show up. The game mechanic is sound and it’s not a case of how high you build your pyramid but the number of cards at each level as I discovered… there IS a strategy here and it’s a good one!

pic2574046_mdIf you see Three Cheers for Master I’d say to grab this game up off the shelf and settle in for a few fun hours of running your minions wild as you try to cheer the Master up!

Game Review – Parfum by Queen Games

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With both my husband and myself searching for new games there’s going to be times when one of us will look askew at the other – AKA, “What the heck?”…

Parfum was one of those games. When the hubby announced he’d played it and bought it at Origins I was a bit leery about the game – it sounded pretty boring from his initial description and, frankly, I wasn’t sold despite his enthusiasm.

One game was all it took to sell me – and hopefully, you too!

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Let’s start at the beginning – you’re a perfume vendor looking to create and sell your special creations to the lovely ladies (and men!) searching for sweet-smelling aromas. But it’s not as simple as just pouring chemicals into a bottle and hoping for the best – there’s more than a little luck in this game!

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First you place random tiles on the playing board to represent the mixtures – the different colors stand for the different aromas – red for roses, green for lime, black for vanilla and so on. You need to use the dice to fulfill the requirements of each tile before you can pick up the tile. The tile also represents the top, middle, or bottom of a full bottle of perfume you need to construct in order to have product to sell. You can build a bottle with just a top and bottom if you want, but that’ll only give you two bottles instead of three to sell.

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So how many dice do you get to throw to meet the different tile requirements? Ah, here’s where the strategy comes in!

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You bid on which order you’d like to play in, much like in Five Tribes. What this means is that for a two player game, for example, you can play first and last, second and third, first and… well, you get the idea. Now you could be asking yourself – why wouldn’t I want to be first?

The number of actions you receive grow the further down the line you go – the first player only gets three actions, the second player four actions, the third five actions and the fourth place tag gives you six actions. Now, what does an action give you and why wouldn’t you want to be first?

An action gives you the chance to throw ONE dice or replenish ONE tile on the factory floor. Most tiles require you to throw at least two dice and you need to roll little flasks to fulfill the requirements of the tile you’re aiming for. For example, if you need two purple dice and one black to fulfill a tile and win four points you’ll need to expend at least three actions to pick up the three dice – and it’s not guaranteed you’ll win! But if you add more actions to your attempt you can add more dice and push the odds in your favor. You can also use water drops (you get some at the start of your game and can earn more later on) that can help change the results of the dice. But, in a nutshell, the more actions you have the better to win multiple tiles and build your perfume bottles! Thus going later on the game might be better for your strategy – but that’ll leave less tiles for you to win and less points! As you can see there’s more to this game than just rolling a few dice…

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After you win a tile and place the tile in your rack to build bottles you can attempt at the end of the round to sell your product to the waiting customers. This also goes by the sequence of turns determined at the start of the round. But you need to have a finished bottle to sell it to the customers AND meet their requirements. Each customer has certain needs and if your perfume doesn’t have the minimum scents it won’t sell.

You receive points for earning the tiles to create your bottles and for selling them to the customers – and your water drops have a point value that can also be used at the end of the game to boost your final numbers.

After the first round I saw what my hubby liked about the game – there’s a randomness to it that you can only negate so much by stacking up your actions. You need to be able to roll more dice to fulfill more tiles but then you’ve got less actions to do other things and going first might not be the best move – or last, depending on where you are in your perfume-building empire. You need to win tiles and fill bottles to sell them and at times going first to snatch that tile you need to finish off a bottle is worth only getting three actions – but then you better be good at the dice!

We enjoyed this greatly and will be playing it a lot in the future – there’s an expansion that adds “joker” dice and we’re looking forward to seeing how that works out.

Overall Parfum is a lovely game with a different concept, one that might be a bit confusing at the beginning but it all comes together in a great fun game that I recommend if you’re looking for something a wee bit out of the ordinary – I never thought I’d be so excited about selling perfume!

Unfortunately there’s not much information on the Queen Games website so you’d be best off going to the Kickstarter website for an overview. Hopefully they’ll update the website soon!

If you’re looking for a nice family game with plenty of dice rolling and a bit of strategy I recommend Parfum – it’s not going to gather dust while on our shelf!

Game Review – Bring Out Yer Dead by Upper Deck Games

pic2265983_mdI had a wonderful time at the Origins Game Fair (we’ve been going for over a decade!) and found some faboo games – some of which I’ll be reviewing here over the next few weeks and months when I’m not prattling on about writing and my own books.

Hey, you can’t say that my blog is boring!

Anyway – let’s start off with a brand new game out of the blocks – Bring Out Yer Dead by Upper Deck.

First a lovely disclaimer – I was lucky enough to play this at Origins and not only got to see how it worked but won a copy! Yes, if you went to the Upper Deck area and got in a game with four other players the winner not only won the game but also won the game!

So my thanks to Upper Deck for allowing me to take a copy home with me… and I can tell you this is a fun game you’ll want to add to your shelves as soon as possible!

pic2245393_mdThe concept is pretty simple – you’re the head of the family and responsible for laying your relatives to rest – except the graveyard is getting pretty full, prime real estate isn’t to be had unless you’re fast and sneaky and if you don’t watch out you’re going to have coffins floating down the river!

Yep. That.

Each turn you and your opponents will get to place coffins in the graveyard, taking up spaces that generate points. There’s the obvious strategy of snagging the most expensive spaces first out of the gate but there’s other things to watch – for example, every turn you get a new “cart” into which you must place your coffins. But when it’s full, it’s FULL and you may end up dumping the rest of your coffins into the river. So when you choose your three cards to play each turn you’ll be keeping that in mind.

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Gameplay is fast and fun – one player turns over the card depicting the size of the cart and which side of the graveyard is going to be used that turn and then everyone chooses three cards from their hand to play. It goes from highest number down to the lowest with the high numbers getting to place their coffins into the cart first. If you play low numbers you might not get your coffins in at all… But you can also get Fate and Treasure cards that will affect where you place your coffins – you might end up switching coffins with another player, placing your dear dead relatives in a better spot while tossing his coffin to a lower point site. Or you could end up with treasure from plundering the graves!

Point scoring is through a variety of ways from grabbing simple straight high-point coffin spots to ruling the majority of a lot to graverobbing – leaving plenty of ways to win or lose!

This game is great for everyone in the family with fast, entertaining turns and a whole lot of fun – while strategy is obviously a big part of the game there’s no guaranteed way to win. In my own game I went from having zero points to winning at the end when we counted up the points because I not only had my coffins in good grave sites worth ten points but I also had the majority of coffins in certain areas and despite losing points for having some in the river managed to win.

I highly recommend Bring Out Yer Dead if you’re looking for a good fun game with plenty of morbid, macabre humor. It scales down to two players and up to five without any issues and I daresay will be snatching awards in the next year – be sure to get your copy now!

.@TheMarySue Casually Smears Romance: Twitter and I Respond

sherylnantus:

‘Nuff said.

Originally posted on The Amazon Iowan:

Today we’ll unpack an article from The Mary Sue. “Tropes of Love: Gender Roles in Romance.” Sounds like a wonderful topic. We need more discussion of romance, and gender roles, and tropes are the best! Let’s go.

“I’ve always felt a strange fascination with romance novels. There’s no genre that the general public will associate with bad books faster than romance, with their bawdy covers and superficial plotlines. Of course, that’s an enormous generalization.”

Yes. That’s quite a generalization. It’s also disrespectful, it’s perpetuating an insulting stereotype, and it’s demeaning. Wow. Awkward start. But do go on.

In truth, romance has its good and bad books just like any other genre. Some are brilliant and some will make you feel ill. But there is something special to be said about bad romance novels: they illustrate gender roles better than any other form of media. It’s the books where the…

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Designing Worlds explores the Literary World of New Babbage

Originally posted on Designing Worlds:

Join us at 2pm today, Monday 8th June for what might be an unexpected episode of Designing Worlds atour studio in Garden of Dreams, when we’ll be learning about the surprising very real world literary output of the steampunk city of New Babbage – a city based in Second Life.

This is a rather different show for us as usually we get caught up in dangerous adventures when we visit the city. But this time we are able to three of the people closely involved with the development of New Babbage’s Literary output. We learn about the inspiration for this – the determination that what had been created in New Babbage would live beyond Second Life through publications in the real world. And we hear about some of the writers who have been involved not only in the creation of the three Tales from New Babbage books, but…

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Cover reveal! Strictly Business – Book one of Hooded Pleasures!

I’m thrilled to announce the first cover in my new erotic romance series with Samhain Publishing – I give you Strictly Business, Book One of Hooded Pleasures!

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You can lead a Domme to love…but you can’t make her fall.

Kate Dubois is a Domme-for-hire for the highly exclusive Hooded Pleasures, a service offering private BDSM sessions to those who can’t—or won’t—risk appearing in an actual club.

Lately, though, she wonders if professional burnout is causing her to have painful flashbacks to a past heartbreak. When her boss insists her next client will be a breath of fresh air, Kate reluctantly agrees to an interview.

Alex Hanson dominates the world of computer game programming, but secretly he suspects he might be a sub in the bedroom. There’s only one good way to find out—hire a professional to show him the ropes.

Their first meeting puts both of them to the test—Alex’s self-control, and Kate’s realization she might just like him a little too much. But there’s no denying their emotions are inextricably entangled…a dangerous step Kate’s not sure her heart is prepared to take.

Coming October 20th from Samhain Publishing!

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And there’s two more books on the way!

Strictly Pleasure and Strictly Yours – due to be published in March and May of 2016!

So set aside a little reading time to meet Kate and Alex – you won’t regret it!

But wait… let’s take a look at what Kate Dubois is all about–

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Strictly Business

Kate Dubois was bored.

She looked down at the man nuzzling her bare ankle. She’d let him strip off the leather boot after he’d pleaded for the privilege, begged for ten minutes.

His lips ran over her ankle, soft kisses caressing her skin. He sighed as he worshipped her body.

A memory resurfaced of Carl, kneeling at her feet and doing the same. It’d been different, felt different—his body tensed up like a watch wound one twist too tight.

He looked up, and she knew it was over.

Kate gulped.

“Mistress?” Dan looked up at her with wide eyes. “Am I doing something wrong?”

Damn.

“No, pet. You’re perfect.” She reached down and patted his head before tangling her fingers in his long black locks. A gentle tug brought a moan from the kneeling man. “But I don’t recall giving permission for you to speak.” Kate ran her fingers along the leather collar. “Do you?”

The momentary flash of panic in his eyes warmed her heart.

She tapped the leather paddle she held in her left hand against her leg. “I thought not. I think a few strokes should remind you of your manners. Continue your venerations while I make my decision about how many you’ve earned with your disobedience.”

He shook with a mixture of need and fear before bending down.

Kate switched the paddle to her right hand and eyed the already-pink skin on Dan’s exposed behind. She’d worked him over for a good half hour, bending him over his couch like an errant schoolboy.

He could take ten more strokes.

Maybe twenty.

Dan gasped as the black leather snapped against his sensitive skin, but said nothing, continuing to lick and kiss her bare foot.

Nineteen to go.

The soft chime from her phone reminded her she had fifteen minutes left. Kate smiled and continued the count.

Never leave a good job unfinished.

Never leave them fully satisfied.

She’d pulled on her track pants and sweatshirt while Dan was in the washroom, trading her boots for a pair of comfortable sneakers. Most times she could slip her trench coat on over her attire and leave, but it was a bright and sunny day outside and the coat would only raise more questions than it’d quell.

Dan met her at the door, wearing a pair of shorts and with a damp towel around his neck. The leather collar was gone, safely tucked away. He was still munching on the chocolate bar she’d given him during their post-session hugging. His pupils were focused and clear, showing her he’d come back to himself after the intense emotional trip.

“Thank you.” He held out his debit card. “Really needed this today.”

She smiled. “Glad I could help you.”

In another life, Dan was a high-priced lawyer, one of the best in the city. He ran his law firm with an iron grip and was famous for his vicious verbal attacks in court that eviscerated lesser lawyers and their clients.

Here, he was a bad boy needing to be punished and put in his place for imagined slights.

Dan couldn’t go to a regular BDSM club—the danger was too high he’d be recognized. Thus he’d become a client of Hooded Pleasures, the company Kate worked for.

In retrospect, she wondered why no one had thought of doing something like this before. Safe, sane, consensual and all within the privacy of your own home. There were plenty of men and women who wanted the experience but couldn’t or wouldn’t go to a club. Or who wanted the thrill without the relationship.

This was perfect.

She ran his debit card through the slot on her cell phone and handed it back to him. “Two weeks from now, then?”

He nodded, his steely blue eyes a thousand miles away from the meek sub she’d had at her feet earlier. “I have a big murder case coming up. Definitely need the time.”

“I understand.” Kate hefted the duffle bag onto her shoulder, the leather paddle safely tucked away with her other toys. “Please call the switchboard if there’s any change. I’ll see you then.”

He opened the door to let her out. “Nice sweats.”

Kate smiled, going with the joke. “Feel the burn.”

“Next time, then.” Dan raised his voice as Kate walked out into the hall. “Need to work on my cardio.”

It wasn’t for her benefit.

Kate nodded at the nosy little old lady neighbor who peeked out from two doors down.

Mrs. Henderson never missed a chance to eavesdrop on what happened on her floor.

Good thing Dan enjoyed the ball gag.

Game Review – Survive: Escape from Atlantis! by Stronghold Games

Last year I received an email from Amazon for Cyber Monday, the next “holiday” after Black Friday. It listed a number of board games and one of them was Survive: Escape from Atlantis!  with a note on the cover saying it was the 30th Anniversary Edition.

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This intrigued me because I’d never heard of the game before. So I snagged it on sale along with others and waited to see what the game was all about. If it’s been around for thirty years, I figured, it had to have some staying power.

Good news: It does. And you definitely want this game for your collection along with all the expansions you can gather!

Let’s start with the premise. You, an intrepid explorer, has found the fabled Atlantis and have been merrily exploring the island! However the island has started to sink and you need to evacuate yourself and your team before you perish – don’t worry, there’s small islands off to the sides you can escape to and survive… if you can get past the sharks and sea serpents, the whales and your competitor who wants to be the only one alive to report the find!

That’s the story. Now let’s set up the board! You start with a lovely board with the aforementioned islands in each corner. The base game goes from two – four players so there’s plenty of room to stake out your home base. Next you build the island.

Yes – I said build the island. That’s one of the big draws of this game – every time you play it’ll be different. Each player now takes a turn to place one hexagon tile on the board within the defined lines. There’s three types of terrain – beach, forest and mountain. And the tiles vary in thickness from the thin beaches to the thicker forest to the Very Tall mountains. So after you run out of tiles you’ve built a three-dimensional board to play on.

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After this you choose a color and collect your meeples/valiant explorers. Players rotate placing one meeple on any tile until you’ve placed them all – and each player gets two boats that they can put next to any tile (not only the beaches) to collect and sail your meeples to safety. Each boat holds three meeples… but anyone can use any boat!

Each turn you must play a tile (more on that in a second) take a tile off the map and move some meeples – or the boat they’re in. When you remove a tile you check the information on the back and see if it can help you or hinder your opponents because there’s more danger here than just the island sinking! Sharks roam the waters eager to snap up meeples swimming to safety, whales can destroy boats trying to make it to shore and sea serpents not only wipe out boats but also eat the swimming meeples. The tiles allow you to place these creatures and move them around the board to attack your opponent. The opposite is also true however and you can find yourself quickly trying to get your people to shore while chased by a series of sharks.

Some tiles do help out however – some allow you to move sharks away from your position, for example, or bring in dolphins to help your meeples to make to shore. Meanwhile the island is being chipped away and in danger of being destroyed by a volcanic explosion!

There’s another level of strategy being added here – obviously if you have X number of meeples and your opponent have the same number it’s not hard to figure out when you’re falling behind in the count and can’t possibly win the game. A few well-placed sharks or whales and you can lose meeples faster than you can munch potato chips… but there’s a trick here!

It’s not the number of meeples you save that determine the winner – each figure has a small number written on the underside showing how many points that meeple is worth – from one to five points. So you could in theory save only two or three of them and score higher than your opponent who brings home a lot of low-pointed meeples. This final bit makes this a much more fun game and adds more strategy to you and your opponent’s gameplay as you try to put on your poker face and not show where your high-point meeples are while trying to get them to land.

After playing this a few times it’s easy to see why it’s been around for thirty years and why it’s not only spawned expansions but also another upcoming version taking place in Space – it’s a fun game that changes every time you play it and has a level of strategy that makes it great for family play. Add in the three-dimensional game surface and I’m wondering why I didn’t find this game before!

If you’re looking for a fast fun game for your family shelf I highly recommend Survive – it can be played with just two players but runs best with four – and the expansions allow you to go up to six players, making this a great game for your buddies!

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Arrow: 10 Things You Must Know About Tonight’s Wedded Nightmare

sherylnantus:

*Kermit-flail* Can’t. Wait. Until. Tonight!

Originally posted on TVLine:

Wednesday’s Arrow (The CW, 8/7c) brings with it the nuptials of Oliver — excuse us, Al Sah-him — and Nyssa, but the specter of that dreaded union will be the least of everyone’s worries by the time the crazy cliffhanger rolls around. Let’s just say the seven-day wait until next week’s season finale will be torturous.

[pmc-related-link href=”http://tvline.com/2015/04/20/may-season-finale-spoilers-2015-sweeps-photos/” type=”RELATED” target=”_self”]May Sweeps/Finale Preview! Get 100+ Spoilers, Exclusive Photos From Your Fave Shows’ Season-Ending Episodes[/pmc-related-link]

Having screened the penultimate episode, “This Is Your Sword,” we’re divulging seven teasers that should ensure you get to the proverbial church on time:

* Holy, epic fight sequence! When Diggle, Felicity, Laurel, Malcolm and Tatsu land in Nanda Parbat with the hopes of saving their city from the Alpha Omega virus, a battle breaks out against The League (with a last-minute assist from Atom) that might be the show’s lengthiest and most impressive to date.

Arrow Season 3 Oliver Nyssa Wedding* Diggle’s…

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