Monday, September 30, 2013
I never thought that I could feel so...numb.
At first I went through those known five stages of loss or grief. I couldn’t believe it and thought that the culprit would be right outside. I would have tackled said person to the ground like a wild child! But the robber was long gone and left behind a broken front door and my broken heart.
The worst part was the depression and anger. I mostly anger at myself for leaving my laptop just sitting there! I should have made sure to stash it in my room or keep it close by and in sight, but I mean why would I have thought like that? I was in my home! A place where I felt safest and where nothing bad could happen to me. I never would have thought that someone, some stranger from the outside that didn’t know me at all, would break the lock on the door using a shovel and walk right in to grab whatever the person wanted.
The robber took four laptops and an assortment of other digital devices. The other worst part? We were home! We were having a get together with about 12 people in the house! Because of the music and loud chatter we weren’t able to hear the snap of wood by the front door and the falling of items as the person trashed my brother’s room.
I feel unsafe now and violated.
My work is gone, part of my soul is just gone.
But thanks to the support from family, friends and fans I am slowly pulling myself back together. It is just ridiculous that I have to rewrite so much work. I had just completed a novel of 80 000 words and was half way with a novella of 30 000 words. Really, it is a good thing I love writing otherwise I would just give up!
The thing I wanted to point out here is that please everyone and all authors make sure to back up your work because this kind of heartache is terrible and, like I have recently discovered, don’t give up.
I was so close to doing that but I refuse to give in to the crime of this country. Like my cousin and sister said, my stories are still with me and after I am feeling better I will be able to write again and maybe even make the stories better.
I never knew I could be so strong when I have this void in my life now. I will continue writing, it is my passion and hey, it will be OK.
I am just thankful that nobody got hurt. I thought my work was the most important thing in my life but actually it is my family and friends. If I had lost them I would defs have given up on everything.
Thank you to everyone and thank you God for protecting us in a situation that could have turned for the worst. Here is a quote that suddenly appeared on my FB after the incident and I was crying my eyes out:
“God may let you bend, but He won’t let you break”
The Order of the Black Swan
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: 7th House
Number of pages: 320
Word Count: 85k
Cover Artist: Victoria Danann
The fifth installment in the Black Swan serial saga. READING IN ORDER STRONGLY RECOMMENDED. That’s why we have a try-before-you-buy-program. The first book in the saga, My Familiar Stranger, is PermaFREE everywhere.
THE NEWSLETTER: Z Team, a.k.a Zed Company, is transferred to Jefferson Unit, which is being temporarily retired as an active hunter facility and converted to a research / training institution. Sol takes his first vacation – ever – leaving Glen in charge with Storm supervising. Rosie is proving to be an extraordinary little girl and Deliverance is in BIG trouble with her mother.
THE SURPRISES: Storm is really not himself. Former members of B Team must reunite to preserve his image and reputation. No one could have prepared for the surprises Rosie delivers.
THE ADVENTURE: The Ralengclan send a second wave assassination team to Jefferson Unit at the worst possible time, when it’s been left defended by only Z Team, Glen, the Lady Laiken and the trainees.
Glendennon Catch caught the eye of the bartender who simply pointed toward a back corner. He couldn't see what the man pointed to, but he nodded and began making his way toward the rear.
He wound through a few layers of standing people who were holding glass mugs and talking loudly to be heard over the music, until he could see a corner snug in the back. It was close to a window so there was enough light to see, even with the smoke, that the bartender had been right in surmising that he was looking for Z Team.
There they were - the farthest thing from inconspicuous. Glen couldn't begin to guess how they had managed to be successful vampire slayers when everything about them drew attention and broadcasted vibes of this-is-your-last-chance-to-run. It was a message that floated around them like a diaphanous cloud of warning.
The four of them fit comfortably in a snug designed for eight. That was partly because of their sheer size and partly because they had a casual way of draping arms and legs so that they took up as much space as possible. It also communicated disdain for established notions of propriety. Glen knew instinctively that even the word "propriety" would make Black Swan's infamous misfits laugh out loud.
One of them was wearing a sleeveless shirt that had once been a denim jacket. His left arm had been transformed into a tattooed sleeve by an intricately inked mural of muted colors. It was odd to see bare biceps when it was brittle-dick cold outside, but Glen supposed that if he'd made that much of an investment in ink he might want to show it off too.
Glen's initial impression of the guy sitting next to Sleeve was that he should have the nickname, Dark, or Black. He wore black jeans, a black metal band shirt that was probably a collectable, and his spiky hair was so blue black it had to have been dyed that color. All that with eyes so pale he could almost get away with going undercover as a vamp. He wasn't wearing eyeliner, but the contrast between his ice-color irises and those thick ebony lashes made his eyes pop in a dramatic way that probably drew interest from a lot of babes. The Black Knight. Glen smiled a little to himself. He enjoyed his own company and his own offbeat sense of humor.
The third wore a plain gray long sleeve tee that covered his upper body, but Glen could see black ink climbing out of the neck of the guy's shirt, stopping just below his pronounced jaw line. Either tribal pattern or angel glyph. Hard to tell with just snake tails in view. He had a serious case of bed head going, probably by design, and one eyebrow that was raised and had been since he'd noticed Glen standing there watching them.
He said something to the others. Then the fourth, the one facing away with one long arm draped over the back of the snug, turned to look at Glen, revealing elfin ears. Those ears were outlined by light brown hair with titian streaks. Same curl as Sir Hawking. Had to be Torrent Finngarick.
They looked exactly the way Glen had expected them to look. Hard. Tough. And like they belonged together. He was thinking, So they're Black Swan knights with a little bit of a nasty reputation. They put their pants on one leg at a time just like me. Right?
It was an inadequate internal pep talk, but he just wasn't feeling it. He decided to go with Plan A, which was taking life straight ahead, one step at a time. Glen had a reputation of his own for being easy going, but he made an exception for passive aggressive nonsense. He didn't like it, didn't like people who habitually avoided the front door, and didn't mind letting his irritation with bullshit bubble over.
Plan A meant walking straight up to them, stating his business, hoping for the best, but being prepared for the worst. That was the thought bouncing around in his mind as he observed their reactions to seeing him approach the table.
When he was standing over them, he looked around the table and said, "I'm Glendennon Catch." Then he zeroed in on Torn. "Sorry for your loss, Sir Finngarick." He said "sir" quietly enough so that only they heard him, but they got the message. It was as good as a secret handshake. "The office sent me with a message from the HR department."
They left him standing there for a minute without saying anything or changing expression. It was a thinly disguised intimidation strategy to get him to reveal nervousness, timidity, or some other weakness that would register as a flaw in their eyes. That sort of thing didn't work on somebody who had inherited the dominant werewolf gene. He could stand there all day without flinching or looking away.
Finally, the big guy with the glyphs crawling up his neck grinned, showing dimples which seemed entirely out of place against the persona he'd so carefully crafted. "So go ahead and deliver your memo, Sweet Cheeks. We're waiting."
The other three chuckled softly without taking their eyes off of him. Glen laughed openly and good-naturedly, but let the sound trail off ending in a low level growl, incongruent with the smile on his face. The growl wasn't loud enough to draw attention from the wake-goers, but it was definitely heard by Z Team. They all sat up a little straighter and took another look at the kid. He had their interest, but that was worlds away from respect.
Looking at Glyphs, he said, "My briefing didn't mention that any of you are hard of hearing. If you want to call me by a name, it's Glen."
Finngarick's blue eyes twinkled in a way that brought Ram to mind while the other two laughed at Glyphs being put down by a kid who was years away from growing into his big frame.
"Long way to deliver a message. Would you no' have a pint with us then? Glen." He reached out with a long leg, put the toe of his scuffed boot through the leg brace of an unoccupied chair, pulled it up to the snug, and made a gesture of invitation. "You'll find we're no' much on formality. Call me Torn."
Glen nodded then looked at the others. Torn pointed at the guy with the sleeves and said, "This is Gunnar. That's Raif." He raised his chin in the direction of 'black knight'. "The fella with the questionable personality is Bob."
"Gunnar. Raif, Torn, And Bob. No way."
Finngarick's eyes twinkled with that special elvish sparkle. "Aye. Make no mistake. Name's Bob."
Glen shook his head. "Let's rename him."
Finngarick looked at Bob and then back at Glen. "What we have here gentlemen is a cool, gloomy Irish day with no place to go and no' a thin' to do, but have another pint. So I say we'll play that game. What would you call the man if it was up to you, young emissary?" Glen shrugged. "Come now. No ideas?"
"Well, yeah, I sort of named him in my head on the walk across the bar."
"Pub," Torn corrected.
"Yes. Pub. Sorry."
Bob raised both brows. "I, for one, cannot wait to hear what you named me in your head on your walk across the... pub."
Glen looked at him with speculation trying to decide whether or not to tell the truth. "Glyphs."
While Bob studied Glen, his three teammates studied Bob in turn, like they were trying it on for size. Bob lowered his eyebrows and rolled his big shoulders in approval.
Finally Torn nodded as if to say he'd reached a conclusion. "Right you are. Now that you point it out, I can see he's no' a Bob. Glyphs suits him fine. Congratulations, trainee. You just named yourself a knight."
Torn Finngarick called for a Guinness Extra Stout to be served to Glen, who wasn't used to alcohol at all and certainly wasn't ready for Irish black beer. He took a manly mouthful, thinking he had arrived, and promptly spewed it all over Torn in a spectacular demonstration of human fountain power. The other three members of Z Team laughed so hard they had to wipe tears.
"That was almost as funny as the night that Chokarzi stripper puked half a gallon of half-digested Cuervo in your face in the middle of a lap dance."
Glen borrowed a wet bar towel and offered it to Finngarick with a blush. "I'd offer to clean you up, but your file says you prefer to get personal with women."
Torn took the towel without a word, but with a glint of amusement in his eyes. When he was as clean as was possible without a shower and fresh clothes, he handed the towel to Glen. "Go get yourself somethin' else. Drinks are on me. Milk maybe?" he teased.
When Glen returned with a mug of root beer, no one asked him what was in the glass. Torn simply motioned to the chair. Glen sat.
"You're needed at Jefferson Unit. You're to accompany me to Fort Dixon after the funeral. Your things are being gathered and moved as we speak."
As Glen looked from one to another, he saw no discernible reaction. They were a cool bunch. He'd give them that.
Glyphs shrugged. "New York's no worse than any other place. Maybe better than some."
Finngarick looked at Glen like he was a lab specimen on a microscopic slide. "Would you be happenin' to know why we're needed so urgently?"
Glen thought about it for a minute and decided there was no reason to withhold the truth. "Yes."
A ghost of a smile seemed to cross Finngarick's handsome elven face. "And would you be sharin' with us then?"
Torn glanced at his teammates as if the four could communicate telepathically. "See. The thin' is, we're accustomed to hearin' The Order needs to sweep us further under the rug. No' brin' us into the light. We would no' be the least surprised if you came to say we're bein' transferred to Antarctica. But this? Naturally we're curious, you understand."
"Of course I understand. But I'm not at liberty to say."
Torn nodded thoughtfully. "Well, then. Might you be at liberty to say why you were sent to escort us?"
It took Glen less than a second to process whether it might be problematic to divulge that information. "The Jefferson Unit sovereign is retiring. I'm being given a try-out for his job. He sent me to get you." Z Team stared at Glen as if they were waiting for the punch line. Finally, he said, "No. Really."
Gunnar cleared his throat. "So. You're saying that, at some point, we might be calling you boss?"
Glen responded with a shit-eating grin so big, it begged for comeuppance. Gunnar swept his gaze around the snug before it came to light on Glen with a chilling mix of challenge, mischief and amusement.
Torn leaned forward. "Seems we have limited time for the application of a right proper hazin' then. Glen."
Four sets of eyes darted to the movement in Glen's throat when he swallowed.
Tour wide: One entire set of signed paperbacks, Books 1-5.
If you're looking for something new and different in PNR, you've come to the right place.
I write unapologetic romances with uniquely fresh perspectives on paranormal creatures, characters, and themes. Add a dash of scifi and a flourish of fantasy to enough humor to make you laugh out loud and enough steam to make you squirm in your chair. My heroines are independent femmes with flaws and minds of their own whether they are aliens, witches, demonologists, psychics, or past life therapists. My heroes are hot and hunky, but they also have brains, character, and good manners - usually - whether they be elves, demons, berserkers, werewolves, or vampires.
My first book, My Familiar Stranger, was nominated for Best Paranormal Romance of 2012 by the Reviewers' Choice and Readers’ Choice Awards. Each of my books has remained on the Amazon best seller list in category every day since release. All four also earned the Night Owl Reviews TOP PICK award and have remained on the Amazon Best Sellers list every day since release.
My work has been compared to J R Ward, Karen Marie Moning, Sherrilyn Kenyon, and Lara Adrian. For example:
"I do see shades of Lara Adrian's Breed books and shades of J R Wards Black Dagger books, but this story is unique enough that it stands out all on its own and can stand up along side those other books and I think given time will elbow them out of the way with the rich story telling and deep emotional core that makes you want to know more." - Kerry, Musings of a Bookworm
The Order of the Black Swan is a series that is also a serial saga. Each book is an episodic installment in an ongoing story. Join me for the adventure.
Friday, September 27, 2013
Dragon’s Fate Book 2
Genre: Paranormal romance
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Date of Publication: September 24th 2013
Number of pages: 118
Word Count: 32K
Cover Artist: Kanaxa
Between hate and lust lies heaven, hell… and smoldering love.
Like his brothers, Madoc is a dragon born by blood magic. Unlike them, he has only once bitten a human in a near-hopeless quest to find his eternal mate. Watching that woman die nearly destroyed him.
Now he works to invent a watch that will rewind time. When he attends the Spectacle of Time in Paris, though, he finds a woman who shakes the foundation of his world and crumbles his ferocious control.
Ever since the black-haired man with the red crescent on his cheek ruined her family, Fina has hated him. When she runs into him in Paris, she is determined to show him just how much. Instead, overwhelmed by the desire to both kill him and bed him, her body betrays her and she melts in his arms.
Sparks fly, and—when his teeth sink into her skin—she ignites. But she can’t run far and fast enough to avoid the burning truth. She is now part of Madoc’s dangerous world?body, soul, and fire.
Warning: This novel contains explicit sex, time-shifting, distance-hopping, a super-hot dragon, and a woman who can take the heat.
Short Excerpt: http://www.lacydanes.com/books/open-flame/#read-an-excerpt
1 Author’s Favorite Things pack: Fun cocktail accessories and recipes Makeup from Lacy's favorite lines 60.00 Amazon gift card- open to US Shipping
Lacy Danes made a New Year's resolution to write a hot, historical romance. A year and a half later, she achieved her goal. She lives in Portland OR, where besides writing she enjoys horseback riding, gardening and savoring a great martini while watching the world go by.
Visit Lacy at her web site:
Thursday, September 26, 2013
Today on the blog we have author Sara Walker for an interview. Thank you for joining us Sara.
Where are you from?
Kawartha Lakes, Ontario. I'm incredibly fortunate to live where other people cottage and retire.
When and why did you begin writing?
I can't remember a time when I wasn't making up stories because I get grouchy and difficult to live with when I don't write. My mother says I had an imaginary friend when I was two years old; I consider this friend to be my first character. Obviously my story convinced my mother. J I remember as a kid I knew I wanted to be an author when I grew up. In my twenties I made a conscious decision to teach myself how to write novels because at the time there wasn't any such program or course that did this. But there has always been writing in my life. Always.
What inspired you to write your first book?
I was at the library and I picked up Diana Gabaldon's DRAGONFLY IN AMBER. I always start by reading the author bio and acknowledgements and she mentioned the Compuserve Writer's Forum. So having found a support group to help me learn to write, I started my first novel. That was 1996. I have learned much since then and a lot of it from the Forum.
How did you come up with the title?
I went through many titles before settling on CATCHING A SORCERER. I was certain the title was going to be BLOOD OF A WITCHLING, but then in revisions witches became spell-turners and I found out "witch" is a bad word in Mel's world. So I needed a new title. I wanted something active that also described what happens in the book and somehow hit upon CATCHING A SORCERER.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes. I think it's important to remember that although tragedy happens and we are changed by it, it does not define us. For Mel, her mother was killed by a sorcerer and now she has to struggle through life without a mother, but what she has to figure out is that her circumstances don't give her permission to seek revenge or vigilante justice, either.
What books have most influenced your life most?
So, so many. Books that introduced me to fantasy: ALICE IN WONDERLAND, WUTHERING HEIGHTS. Books that gave me permission to write stories the way I want to write them: CITY OF BONES, LOOKING FOR ALASKA, DEAD WITCH WALKING.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Kelley Armstrong. I immediately felt a connection with her writing when I first started reading her books. Her style was very similar to my own. She's also Canadian and in Ontario. I've been fortunate enough to even learn from her writing instructor, and last summer I took a course Kelley was teaching at the University of Toronto.
What book are you reading now?
LOOKING FOR ALASKA by John Green. Love it. I really enjoyed THE FAULT IN OUR STARS last year, and now I can't wait to read PAPER TOWNS and AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES.
What are your current projects?
I'm currently working on the sequel to CATCHING A SORCERER and a YA fantasy project that owns my soul.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
The opening line to the sequel to CATCHING A SORCERER: Gran's best copper spell pot was on fire and for once it wasn't my fault.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No, but I have been to Ottawa many times. I've also been to Halifax. And the cobblestone streets of the Sanctuary are based on the streets in The Shambles of York, England, another place I've been to.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Editing it to get it into shape. Trying to decide what to keep and what to throw away and what to rewrite is much harder for me than first drafts. It's also a much longer process than the first draft because I work with critique groups and beta readers to get the feedback I need for this part of the writing process.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Sit down and study ten novels that are a combination of your favourite books, books similar to what you want to write, and bestsellers. Figure out why and how they work on all levels—from the first line to the last line to the big picture to the scene sequences to the climactic events to the themes to the relationships to the character development—all of it. Write out the first chapter of each book by hand. Study each word choice. And aim to read more than fifty books a year.
Describe a typical day spent writing. Do you have any unusual writing habits?
A typical day begins with me getting up before six, firing up the computer and banging out words before my kids get up. Then I feed them and send them off to school, after which I'll either head out to the day job or sit down and write until the kids come home from school. Then it's time to do stuff around the house, eat dinner and spend time with my family.
As for unusual habits, I have to write in silence, but in a busy household that isn't always easy, so I write while wearing noise-cancelling headphones. It's gotten to the point where I can't concentrate unless I'm wearing them.
What was your greatest moment since becoming an author?
It's been a great experience all around, but it makes me very happy to see that people are reading my book and liking it. Writing is a performance art, so to be finally seeing audience reaction and no longer writing in a vacuum is really great.
Author: Sara Walker
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Audience: Young Adult
Formats: Paperback and E-book
Publisher: Sara Walker
Cover by: Melody Simmons
Date Published: May 2013
After a sorcerer kills her mother, fifteen year old Melantha is asked to help catch him. She wants nothing to do with it, but then she learns one of her classmates is the son of the sorcerer. With her spell-turner powers not yet developed, the mission will be dangerous, but it will be downright deadly if the sorcerer figures out who she is and decides she will follow in her mother's footsteps.
Sunday night and I was learning to turn a summoning spell. Though I'd spent most of my life being home schooled, I had a feeling this was not a normal family activity for other fifteen year old girls.
"Gran, when I told you I wanted a cell phone, this wasn't what I had in mind," I said.
Gran picked through a handful of wheatberries, looking for just the right one to add to her pot. We stood at opposites sides of the round table with a copper pot in front of each of us and a host of ingredients filling the table between.
"Cell phones don't work for members of the magical community," she said.
"What community? It's just you and me."
Dumping ingredients into a pot had nothing on the convenience of electronic communication. Kids at school were constantly using theirs to call each other, text, watch videos. But not me. I wasn't allowed to have one. I had to learn the "old ways."
Gran sighed, and I knew by the way her lips were pursed that she didn't intend to elaborate. She'd been trying to get me to learn spells every night for weeks now. I'd finally caved in hopes she would back off, but that plan hadn't worked out quite like I'd hoped.
"I have to go to the library tonight," I said. I dumped a handful of crispy dried lavender flowers—for devotion so the line of communication would stay clear— into my pot.
In another time we might have been called witches. But now that term was considered derogatory. We were spell-turners. Well, Gran was. I wouldn't be a full spell-turner until I turned sixteen and came into my full powers. In all my fifteen years, in all the time I'd spent in Halifax and my current residence in Ottawa, I'd never met another turner, not another magical creature of any kind, until the day my mother died.
If there was a magical community out there, I wouldn't know it.
I hadn't been out of the apartment except to go to school in six weeks. I needed to get away, to hang with some friends— even just for a little while.
"We have books here," Gran replied in a stern tone. This was an old argument.
She was right— we had books here. Every wall of the living room was filled to the ceiling with shelves, every shelf filled with books. All had belonged to my mother.
Without coming right out to say so, Gran was subtly reminding me of the reason I was confined to the apartment. My mother had been killed by a black-spell sorcerer— that is, a sorcerer who chooses to use death to fortify his spells. For some reason Gran thought he would come after me. But I wasn't a full turner yet. I had only partial powers. Until my sixteenth birthday, every spell I turned would dissipate the moment it came together. "Learning powers," Gran called them. "Just enough juice to see what you're doing, but not so much as to harm yourself or anyone else."
She seemed convinced I had these learning powers, but for some reason my spells never seemed to turn out right no matter how carefully I followed her instructions. And that was bad news. Even though they didn't want me to know, I'd heard my mother and Gran fighting about me. Gran thought I was either a late blooming white turner or a null— a turner's daughter born without powers. My mother refused to believe I was a null. So Gran was on a mission to prove one way or another I had learning powers or I was deliberately faking not having them out of extreme laziness.
"Your mother was a good white turner," Gran said. "She loved turning spells with me when she was your age. Couldn't get enough of it."
Her mention of my mother hit me square in the gut.
"Didn't she like to do anything else? Anything normal?"
Gran pinched her lips together again. She didn't like to speak about my mother beyond her gifted spelling abilities.
I directed the conversation back to the topic at hand.
"I really need the books at the library," I said. I followed her actions and, using a wooden spoon, swirled in two cups of diluted bay leaf extract for strength. I turned the spell clockwise, same as she did. We were on opposite sides of the small round kitchen table, so I had to think for a minute which way to turn my spoon.
"Why?" Gran asked suspiciously, narrowing her eyes. Everything was suspicious to Gran.
I barely kept myself from rolling my eyes. "I have homework."
"What do you mean? I go to high school now. I get homework." I used to be home-schooled. Right up until 52 days ago when I lost my mother. Then Gran had to take over as my teacher. She used to be able to teach my lessons for the few months of the year when I went to live with her in Halifax, but now that I was in grade ten, my studies had advanced to the point where she didn't understand anything in my textbooks. So she marched me down to the nearest high school. She would have signed me up right then, but they were closed for winter holidays. Imagine that.
"The new semester starts tomorrow, February second, according to the literature I received from the school," she pointed out.
Crap. "I'm catching up from last semester," I said, carefully examining a handful of calendula. I felt more than saw Gran carefully examining me.
"Who's the boy?" she asked.
"There's no boy," I answered quickly. Too quickly. Double crap.
"I might not know much about quadriplegic equations or—"
"Quadratic equations," I corrected.
"Or, what goes into a good Theseus statement, but—"
"Thesis statement. Theseus killed the Minotaur."
"But," she said again with emphasis, ignoring my corrections, "I know my granddaughter."
This time I did roll my eyes. "Whatever."
His name was Rory Macdonald. But I wasn't about to tell Gran that. I met him in the principal's office on the morning of my first day. It was his first day, too. A drunk driver had killed his parents and now he was living with his aunt. I met him again later in the day at the guidance counsellor's office. A special grief counsellor had been brought in to meet with us. Neither of us wanted to meet with her, but nobody asked us. His aunt was almost as controlling as my Gran.
We didn't have plans for tonight, so I didn't have to worry about calling him to cancel. He'd mentioned he'd found this place, where he liked to go on Sunday nights to play bass guitar for a band. I'd only hoped to stop in and hear him play.
"You may invite him to come here," Gran said, ignoring my denials. She released three drops of cedar oil, for dedication, into the liquid swirls in her pot. "But you won't be going out."
I bit back a scream. It used to be my mother and Gran had no trouble keeping friends out of my life, what with shipping me off to Halifax twice a year and homeschooling me. I never got to go to birthday parties, Halloween parties, camping trips or any other fun thing that normal girls did.
"Friendship is dangerous," Gran would say. My mother would agree. She would even agree when they were having that big fight that lasted for weeks.
I tried a new angle. "I need to use the computers at the library."
"What do you need those confounded contraptions for?" she asked. Her tone was one of surprise, even though this wasn't the first time we'd talked about my needing a computer for schoolwork. She just didn't get the concept of computers. Ever.
I listed the reasons on my fingers. "Research, report presentation, statistical analysis—"
"Hmph. In my day we had to do all of that by hand." She peered down her nose at the runny swirls in my pot. While mine was little more than a pathetic soup stock, hers had taken on shimmering hues of purple and green. I didn't have to see her face to know she was disappointed.
Still, I pressed my case. "Look, it's not a big deal. I can take care of myself."
"Hmph." She tapped the wooden spoon on the pot rim.
"Please? Can I go for an hour?" Oh, man. That sounded so desperate.
"No," she said simply, placing her spoon on the table next to her pot. She carried the empty vials to the sink and turned on the hot water.
"Gran—" I cried.
"I cannot permit it, Melantha. If you do not go outside this apartment with me, then you do not go outside this apartment at all."
I rolled my eyes and groaned. "You are completely impossible!"
If my words stung even the slightest, she didn't show it. She carried on with washing the dishes. "I'm sorry, Melantha. But I promised your mother."
"Promised her what? Promised you would keep me a prisoner and never talk about her?"
I slumped into a chair with my arms crossed. This was hopeless. Gran was super stubborn. I needed a new approach.
Temporarily abandoning my potion, I snagged the tea towel on the way to the sink. Unexpected helpfulness always put Gran in a good mood. I hoped it would be good enough to let me out.
She cleared her throat. "Your potion is incomplete."
"My potion is nothing but water with twigs and leaves in it." I noticed she didn't tell me not to dry the dishes. Nor did she tell me to start over and make the potion again. We'd been down that road before. It always resulted in the same thing: failure. Whatever it took to make a potion, I didn't have it. My mother and Gran had been convinced my spells would come together the closer I got to my sixteenth birthday, but so far they always amounted to nothing.
"Did you project your light into it?" she asked in that snippy tone that said she already knew the answer.
"Yes." I hated it when she said "light" instead of "magic".
"And?" Gran prompted.
"And what? Nothing happened." I shrugged. I felt my power, my magic. It flowed through me, the same as blood and oxygen flowed through me. It was there. I could feel it the entire time we put together these spells. But magic also dredged up too many memories of my mother. And there wasn't much light there when I thought about how she died. It was more like a choking sensation. I hated that feeling.
"You're not trying hard enough," Gran said. That was what she always said. I didn't answer. There was no point. She'd already made up her mind.
Maybe the truth was, I could have tried harder, but turning spells just felt wrong. If my mother had been killed by bullets, would I still be expected to attend target practice?
"I don't understand what's so bad about having friends," I said, plucking a soapy plate from the drain board.
She shut off the water. "You know the reason. They can be used against you. And you against them. It's better for everyone if you just don't have them to begin with."
Yeah, I'd heard that part before. It was stupid. For some reason my mother and Gran thought I would be kidnapped and held for ransom. I couldn't understand why. We didn't have anything of value. It wasn't like we were millionaires.
So who were they protecting me from?
"As for going out alone," Gran continued as she washed a pot, "there are many kinds of evil out there. You are not safe on your own."
"But I won't be on my own. I'll be with friends!"
"Together you'll be on your own."
"But that makes no sense at all!"
An eerie wind howled outside the windows. If the weather was getting worse, I was sure to lose this argument. I crossed the apartment to the living room windows and used the tea towel to clear away the condensation on the cold glass. Snowflakes swirled under the streetlights below. Even the weather wanted to keep me inside.
There was a sharp knock at the door. I met Gran's gaze. She appeared as surprised as I was, but where I welcomed any and every visitor, I knew she would send away whoever was on the other side of that door. By the expression on her face, she suspected I'd invited a friend over without permission. I hadn't, but knowing Gran, that wouldn't make a difference.
I dove for the door, but Gran beat me to it. She leaned cautiously up to the peephole.
"Open up, Alberta. I'm here to speak to the girl." It was a man's voice— muffled, old and tired. The voice of someone older than Gran, someone ancient.
The girl? I hoped for his sake, he wasn't referring to me. There was something familiar about the voice, something that sent a nervous sense of foreboding all the way down to my toes. This was one visitor I didn't want to see.
About the Author – A former bookkeeper, Sara always preferred books over numbers, and finally put aside her calculator to write stories and work part-time in a library. She is the founder of UrbanFantasyLand.net, a website established in 2008 that specializes in promoting urban fantasy and speculative fiction. Her articles and fiction have been published in anthologies and online.
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Genre: Women’s Fiction/Suspense
Publisher: WiDo Publishing
Date of Publication: April 2013
Number of pages: 286
Word Count: 88,000
Cover Artist: Steve Novak
When Marlie agrees to attend a cadaver ball at Vanderbilt Medical School, she did not expect to actually see any cadavers. Or, that a strange apparition would issue her a chilling message.
Despite the cadaver's warning, Marlie is married a year later to Tennessee State Senator, Daniel Cannon, and living in a plantation-style mansion with two step-sons. Add to the mix her growing suspicion that something is amiss with the death of Daniel’s first wife, Gentry, and newlywed Marlie is definitely in over her pretty Yankee head.
What begins as an innocent inquiry into her new husband’s clouded past ends with Marlie in the midst of a dangerous conspiracy.
A modern twist on the classic Gothic romance novels of Rebecca and Jane Eyre, Replacing Gentry follows Marlie’s precarious journey as she learns the truth about the man she married.
The loud clank of the door fastening shut behind me gave me a start. My steps skidded to a stop in the sudden darkness, and I pulled a breath deep into my chest. The air was heavy like icy needles probing my throat. I rubbed the chill bumps on my arms with the heat of my moist palms.
Where am I?
Squinting against the hazy glow of a single bulb, I scanned one way, then the other, unable to determine the end of the passageway in either direction. From the other side of the door, the steady drumming of the bass from the Cadaver Ball sounded miles away. The perceived distance was a welcome relief. I needed some time to think, to center, and to get a grip. What had just happened between Daniel and me? One minute he’d been leading me around the dance floor, the next I’d lost track of how many dances we’d shared and found myself kissing him. Sure, I’d considered the possibility, but fantasizing about kissing a total stranger and actually going through with it were two very different things. I’d only known one man before who’d been able to draw me in so quickly.
I’d also met Finn at a ritzy Nashville party I had attended with my best friend Anna-Beth. Only that had been years ago, back when she and I were still in college. Like Daniel, Finn had been handsome and wealthy. My time with him had ended in heartbreak and loss. Tonight, being back in Nashville, it was like I could feel him all around me—a cagey presence deft at staying just beyond my line of sight. And then I’d met Daniel.
Julie N. Ford graduated from San Diego State University with a BA in Political Science and a minor in English Literature. In addition, she has a Masters in Social Work from the University of Alabama. Professionally, she has worked in teaching and as a Marriage & Family Counselor.
In addition to Replacing Gentry, she is the author of two women’s fiction novels, The Woman He Married and No Holly for Christmas, published in 2011. She also wrote a romance/chick-lit novel, Count Down to Love, published in 2011. Count Down to Love was a 2011 Whitney Award finalist.
Currently, she lives in Nashville, TN with her husband, two daughters and one baby hedgehog. For more information or see what Julie is working on now, you can visit her at JulieNFord.com.
Monday, September 23, 2013
Today on the blog we have Keeley Smith for an interview. Thank you for being here Keeley.
Where are you from?
I’m from the UK, a small part in West Yorkshire.
When and why did you begin writing?
I can’t remember not writing to be honest but I really pushed it more in my teens. I wrote because I loved the escape, what you could do to worlds you made up, it fascinated me J
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I still don’t. How strange is that? I write and see it as a hobby... I would love to do it full time though.
What inspired you to write your first book?
I was coming out of the Harry Potter craze and I ended up in a funk so I decided to write my own witch series J
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
That things are worth fighting for. Life is for living and you have to live it to the best of your ability because you never know what is around the corner. Although in Cora’s world they are slightly stranger circumstances but the message remains the same.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Not in the Pendle Hill series but in the Soul Keeper series the book have lots of real life experiences, the main characters are based on my brothers and my sister.
What books have most influenced your life most?
I couldn’t say. I read lots of books and they all influence me in some way.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Nora Roberts. I adore her books, her writing, her character development, she is the writer who inspires me.
What book are you reading now?
At the moment of writing this, I’m reading City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. Trying again anyway. I read a year ago but hated the ending and it put me off reading the rest. I’m giving it another go J
What are your current projects?
I’m writing the last Pendle Hill book and also continuing with the Soul Keeper series. I have many more things in the pipeline J
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I find the first draft the most challenging. Once the bare bones is done, I find it flows a little easier.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Nora Roberts. I think she has the amazing ability to create a character and a world that sucks you in and doesn’t ever let you go. She is the master in my opinion J
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I wish. I would love to travel! I keep my fingers crossed that I will eventually travel and sign my books J
Who designed the covers?
Two amazing ladies, Phatpuppy Art design and the Font Diva. I love my covers!
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
That you could continue to change your books when they are finished, sometimes it is about letting them go.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write, write and write J
Pendle Hill Series
17 year old Cora Hunt has one wish, to live the life of a normal teenager. Her wish never comes true.
After her reluctant move to a sleepy village in the middle of Lancashire Cora's life is turned upside down when she discovers she is a witch. Cora is not just any old witch, she is the daughter of Alizon Device who was one of the most powerful witches of her time.
Dealing with her new found powers is quite a challenge, but when the past she didn't know about unearths new complications in the form of Jack Thomas, her life becomes increasingly dangerous with each waking minute. Jack also has a secret past, a past that clashes with Cora's.
A confrontation between the two results in a life or death situation. The brutal events of 1612 happened hundreds of years ago, but what Jack and Cora face is a definite déjà vu.
The only question is, will their fate be the same as those who perished in 1612?
A Pendle Hill Novella
Cora and Jack are childhood friends who have always lived next door to each other in a beautiful, idyllic part of Lancashire. What binds them as lifelong friends are their powers.
As young witches, life is hard. If the commoners find out their secret, they will be killed. But Cora is lucky, she has her best friend Jack by her side.
Having grown up together they know each other, they trust each other, they love each other. However their blossoming relationship is cut short by the events of one day. A date that will bring their perfect worlds crashing down around them.
20th August 1612
Cora and Jack are forced to face the reality of being a witch during these turbulent times, however they don’t know that their lives will become part of one of the most famous witch trials to have ever hit England.
The Pendle Hill witch trials of 1612.
I've always loved reading, it is a common known fact that I pretty much demolish a book a day. Expensive hobby, but a great one! I've dabbled with writing since the day I could actually write. So, it was only fitting that I had my first book published when I was 15.
If I'm not writing you would generally find me reading, creating jewellery, trawling social networking sites and listening to music. I will pretty much listen to any kind of music but I have two favourites, country music which has been with me since I was a little toddler and I also love to listen to movie scores, especially when I'm writing!
I currently live in Yorkshire with my husband.
Friday, September 20, 2013
The Divine Chronicles
Publisher: Progressive Rising Phoenix Press
August 17, 2013
Print Length: 229 pages
The gods work in mysterious ways…
Avery McClain is normal. Or so she thinks.
Until her life is shattered and she is rescued by a Thracian warrior. He takes her to the Haven, a realm of safety for the magical race of Olympians. There she discovers her life was meant for a higher calling as the mate of an Olympian Prince.
Her choice will change everything.
Ryse Castille has one job: convince Avery to step into her role as a Divine Grace. As with any mission, there are obstacles to overcome. Including the fact he is captivated by her. Of all the gifts the gods have given him, romance was not included. But Avery belongs to him and he will stop at nothing to protect her.
The enemy might be closer than they think.
Can Avery find the courage to embrace her destiny? Or will evil separate them for eternity?
JoAnna Grace lives in a world of alpha males and strong females where true love conquers all—at least in her mind!
From the time she started holding a crayon she began to create magical worlds. Her first book was a series of pictures about a puppy princess. The story changed each time she told it, but there was always a happy ending! Her first written story was about girls who changed into tigers.
Hmmm… Guess some concepts stick around even into adulthood. Now those stories have become a bit more complex!
JoAnna’s tales are spun at her home in East Texas where she lives with her husband, three kids, a couple dogs and a few fish. When not hiding behind the computer screen you can find her camping, boating, and shopping. She is active in community ministry where she hopes to pass on the blessings she’s been given.
Member of the East Texas, North Texas, FFP, & PRO chapters of RWA, Texas Association of Authors.
JoAnna loves to hear from readers and fans! You can find her at the following places:
Thursday, September 19, 2013
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Her Ghost Wears Kilts
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Date of Publication: August 26, 2013
Number of pages: 240 approximately
Word Count: 69,660
Drag queens, a ghost and murder, oh my. Love spirits through the modern day tale of inheritance and greed, crossing the vale between worlds.
Baillie thought life was content, successful in the Pacific Northwest until her bookshop became haunted. Inheriting a Scottish castle leads her on a wild adventure of Celtic chaos where she meets her gorgeous ghost. Finding her life in danger, Baillie calls the diva squad to the rescue: her friend Gillian Nation and his girls.
Will she choose her normal, safe existence or grab onto an unusual love that makes life magical?
The cat flattened itself to the carpet near the front bookcase, ears lost against its orange-striped head, frozen in fear. A terrified hiss leaked through his open mouth and, slinking backward, the cat spun and ran toward the back of the store. Catching a brief flash of orange out of the corner of her eye, Baillie shook her head. “Now what’s gotten into Sebastian? Must be a mouse.” She fanned her painted fingernails along the spines of books stacked on the shelf beside her. Listening to the hushed clicking sounds of her nails against the bindings as she walked down the aisle, she inhaled the intoxicating aroma of paper and leather around her. She loved opening her bookshop every morning, where antique classics, used and new volumes of various sizes filled the shelves around her. Framed paintings by local artists dotted the walls between the bookcases. “Morning,” Baillie called to the previously owned hardbacks without the slightest apprehension of appearing insane. She talked to inanimate objects all the time—great audience, no heckling. Besides, I’m alone in here unless you count the cat, and you can’t count on that spoiled feline for anything. Where did he dash off to just now in such a hurry? A thin volume of poems lay exposed on a shelf. “You don’t belong here,” Baillie said, sweeping it up to reshelve. She hesitated; the book cover felt cold in her hand, the worn leather chilling her fingers, sucking the warmth from her fingertips in seconds. She quickly shook her head to keep her thoughts from running amok. Of course the book was cold; in the Northwest, things always seemed cold. “I swear someone helps themselves around here at night. The least they could do is put the books back where they belong when they’re done.” She turned and pushed a ceramic bookend aside and placed the wayward book next to the others as a quick chill shivered down her spine. “Hey, Einstein, ol’ buddy.” Baillie grabbed an ornate feather duster from a brass umbrella stand nearby and took a few housekeeping swipes against the framed lithograph hanging on the wall. “Dang, I’m looking more like you every day.” She checked her reflection in the glass. “Tell me, did you see who moved Robert Burns’ book of poems last night? Maybe I need to borrow your glasses —going blind in my old age and missed putting it away after closing.” Baillie turned, whistling the theme song from Fame, at the end of the aisle. She missed seeing the slow, deliberate movement as the same book silently shifted out from the shelf. The dark brown edition slid away from the other poetry books, hanging suspended for a moment, then lay back on the empty surface of the shelf. The ceramic bookend moved, closing the empty gap. The front door of the shop opened with a tinkling of metal chimes. “It’s just me,” yelled a female voice as she came in. “I’m in the north quarter, Sally. Would you turn on the computer?” Baillie responded from somewhere behind the walls of books. “Time to open up, I guess.” “No problem, boss.” Sally dropped her purse under the counter.
Baillie knew her assistant’s routine by heart: She’d click the black toggle switch on the power strip with the toe of her shoe, sending juice to all the electronics at the same time. Baillie heard the calculator, printer and credit card unit each create its own hum as Sally pressed the power button. “How are the hot flashes this morning?” Sally asked. “Midlife under control, thank you very much young whiner.” Baillie dusted another shelf with a few fast swishes. “You can kick the personal heater on for a while.” “Just a little damp for June this year, you know. Some of us don’t have the benefit of hormonal heaters,” she taunted. “I heard that!” Baillie continued up and down the aisles, swishing the duster back and forth. Suddenly, a bitter cold swept around her, sending a blinding chill through her body. She gasped from the icy shock. Baillie couldn’t catch her breath as the splash of numbing cold flowed into her heart and out again, pounding inside her chest. The reddish blond hairs on the back of her exposed neck stood on end. Her teeth chattered against the chill, like Lucy Ricardo locked in the meat freezer. “What the …?” She leaned against the shelving for support. “Whoa.” Baillie blinked rapidly and focused on her right hand, more specifically the beige metal shelf under her crimson-painted fingernails. The metal felt warm, warmer than her soul at the moment. Goose bumps traveled up her bare arms and under her short-sleeved blouse. Titles describing Scotland and its clans stood in military straight rows in front of her. As quickly as it had struck, the air around her trembling body returned to normal temperatures. She took a shaky breath, mentally searching for some logical explanation for the bone-chilling cold. “Who turned the air conditioner on?” she whispered to herself with mock confidence. Looking around the cramped quarters of bookshelves as she moved away, the store seemed peaceful. She dropped the feather duster into a stand with a soft thud.
About the Author:
Kathleen Shaputis, author/ghostwriter, lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, Bob, where curling up with icy Diet Coke, writing romantic comedies is her ultimate paradise.
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Cover Artist: Renata Fontanive
PANDORA’S BOX, the last installment of the TRUST TRILOGY, accompanies Ethan, Alistair and Sophia in their search for a happily ever after.
Ethan’s parents reappear in his life, making him full of anxiety and unnerved. Ethan is beginning to get attached to Barbara, whom he pays to physically replace Sophia in his bed and keeps hidden. Inadvertently, Barbara has already felt in love with Ethan. Ethan still cannot stop admiring and seeking Sophia’s company.
Alistair’s sister-in-law and ex-lover, tries seduce and blackmail him. He denies her sexual offers and clearly informs her he’s in love with Sophia; but pays for his compromising photos. Although, he thrives in business and in his personal life, he feels sad for not being able to fulfill Sophia’s desire of having another child.
Sophia, happily settled in her new life, is threatened by her late husband’s parents, who want their granddaughter taken back to Brazil, accusing Sophia of being incapable of taking care of Gabriela. Sophia finishes her Cambridge PhD and, encouraged by her supervisors, travels to India for her charity new branch with its biggest contributors, Ashford Steel and its Board President, Ethan.
Pandora’s Box has been opened by a greedy man, who uncovered that the so many secrets and wrong deeds committed by Ethan, Alistair and Sophia could bring him millions of pounds.
Many are invited to join his team. Each one has an agenda. Each one has a target.
But things get out of control and now, all the demons are on the loose.
With so many enemies out for revenge, what will be reserved for the future of Ethan, Alistair and Sophia?
Coming out in the end of November or in the beginning of December.
I live in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with my husband and two daughters. I'm a lawyer, who specializes in cases of sexual abuse and violence against children and women.
I also have a Masters in Business Law and a BA in Fine Arts.
I've always loved to read, write and listen to music. I lived and studied in England, France, Italy, Switzerland, and, of course, Brazil.
After twenty-two years of practicing law, I decided to give romance writing a go. And - amazingly - it was just the piece that was missing in my life.
Amazon author's page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00A85DHT8
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