Friday, September 22, 2017

Pay It Forward Day: Jeff Haws

One of my author groups (Rave Reviews Book Club) has invited us to take a fellow member, learn a little more about him or her, and share his or her talent with the world at large.  I chose Jeff Haws, who has an exciting new release coming up called The Solitary Apocalypse.  It, as you might guess, falls in the category of dystopian fiction and is currently available for pre-order.  I was excited to see that the story is set in North Georgia, where my husband and I grew up.  It turns out that Jeff lives in my hometown of Atlanta.  Small world, huh?



Here's the blurb:

Along with the rest of a North Georgia town that survived a deadly worldwide plague, Michael's forced to wear a steel ring around his waist wherever he goes. He's seen cohabitation banned. Marriages dissolved. Families torn apart.

But he's a good soldier, supporting the leader's draconian policies -- until he learns an explosive secret about her that threatens to destroy the delicate balance they've achieved between safety and order.

Now, Michael must enlist help to confront the awful truth about the town of Alessandra, and the fate of what may be the last human colony on Earth.



This isn't Jeff's first time at the rodeo, either.  He is also the author of a short story called The Slingshot, a novella called Tomorrow's News Today, and a novel called Killing The Immortals.


Jeff has a great deal of experience in the world of journalism, so you just know he brings clean writing and an eye for detail to his fiction.  I encourage you to check him out.  You can learn more about him in the following places:

Twitter   

Happy reading!

Monday, September 18, 2017

New Release: MaryDee Night by M.S. Tarot

In the publishing world of erotic romance, M.S. Tarot possesses the rare ability to combine real emotion with transgression.  He's trying something new with his upcoming release, MaryDee Night, which drops October 3rd from Deep Desire Press and is currently available for pre-order on Amazon.


Here is the blurb:

For Oliver West, the local night clubs are his kingdom. Glittering palaces filled with music and erotic delights for all the senses. Known by the nickname “O”, he is a benevolent ruler, forsaking nothing in his quest to slake the desires that decent people hide. Like an angel fallen from heaven, he left decency and innocence far behind him long ago. Or so he thought. Enter, the lovely Paige Turner. With her mane of Cruella de Vil hair and a smile more wicked than any witch, she could tame the club-hound “O” if she wished. With a request for a single red rose and a wink that promises things he never dreamed of, fate is showing him that Paige can be the Queen to his King. But, given his past, will Oliver be able to do what he has never imagined himself doing to be worthy of her?

And an excerpt:

Living is making choices. Lying there in a military hospital for
the weeks that followed, my broken body held together with
plaster and steel rods, I made choices. Some were good, some were
bad, most were simply a different choice than what I would have
normally made. Some of those choices I made by myself.

And to be honest, some were made for me. By doctors
delivering medical reports to my superior officers. Reports that
testified about how I would never be a soldier again, but then I
could have saved them the time. I had no intentions of ever
marching another step, whether I was ever going to be capable of
marching again or not. See, that time in that grave in such terrible
pain, clawing at mud, begging for my life and for the pain to end, it
showed me what nothing had been able to show me before.

I was not alive. Oh, I breathed and I walked and I talked, but I
was not really alive. I was not living a life; oh no, I was, in fact,
trying to live a life over. My father’s life. And I had to
acknowledge that there, in that hole, I was not him.

Benson West had been a highly decorated war hero. Then a
mud-on-his-boots construction worker, slaving for pennies
building bridges in third world countries. Now in his late fifties, he
was a tough-as-nails, general contractor. A man known to drink his
weight in beer a week, to fight at the drop of any hat, and he would
still brag of the women he had fucked … sometimes even within
my mother’s hearing. A man’s man! That was my father.

That’s what I had wanted to be.

But I wasn't. Not even close.

Oh, I had tried to play the part. Only too late did I realize that
all I could ever be was a little kid with his tiny child’s feet stuck in
his dad’s oversized shoes. It took a lot of pain to come to realize
that, to accept that image. By the time I had my casts cut off, and
the crutches were more for help than for absolute movement, I was
decided. No longer was I going to be a fake person. Whatever
came to mind was going to be what I did. No matter what.

Happy reading!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Is there trouble? Must be Thursday.

Jolie Mason is coming out with her first thriller, Thursday's Child, on October 5th. She's known for sci-fi romance, where she adroitly balances technical detail with matters of the heart. I have no doubt she will bring the same skill and sensibility to a mystery thriller. Today, Mason is sharing with us an interview with her protagonist, Detective Thursday. Enjoy!




***

Is there trouble? Must be Thursday.

Teen City is one of the foremost, teen demographic e-mags in the Met, and we like to sit down with powerful female role models to empower our readership. Today, we sit down with none other than, the hero cop, Detective Hayden Thursday.

Thursday: I prefer just Metropolitan Police Detective.

Leslie: Yeah, but where’s the fun in that? So, detective… Who’s the guy?

Thursday: Excuse me?

Leslie: There’s gotta be a guy, right? Who is he?

Thursday: Um…. No guy. I don’t get out much. The job takes a lot of dedication, hard work.

In the interest of full disclosure, fans and readers, this interview took place in the detective’s workplace, the 15th precinct Homicide Department, and it was a good time. Detective Thursday works with a lot of guys because, despite today’s forward thinking policies on feminism, women are still underrepresented in law enforcement.

However, these guys are so supportive of Detective Thursday. They stayed around to give her moral support and laughed at all her jokes. It was heartwarming to see. I teared up a little.


Leslie: So, if there’s no guy, how do you… you know...relax?

The Detective is so shy, guys.

Thursday: (while looking at the supportive coworkers standing around) Mostly, I shoot things.

Leslie: Judging from the way these fellas are hovering around our interview, Detective, are you sure there’s no office romance? You seem to have all their attention.

Thursday: Yes, yes I do. And, it will be remembered, oh, you can bet, I will not forget each and every one of their supportive faces. These guys are my family, and we’re all professionals here. No dating.

At this point, some kind of silent emergency alert drew all the guys back to work. It must be inspiring for the Detective to work in such a great office environment.

We are interrupted again, by her partner, Detective Randall Ace, though everyone just calls him
Ace at the 15th.

He’s old enough to be Thursday’s grandfather but in a distinguished, hard-boiled sort of way. He runs up to the Detective apologizing.


Thursday: You said you’d be here!

Ace: I’m sorry! The captain held me up.

Thursday: (mutters) She did that on purpose.

Ace: Ms…?

Leslie: Leslie Cage. Teen City Magazine.

Ace: Ms. Cage. I am so sorry I have to cut this short. Detective Thursday has a homicide to attend. She’s instrumental. We absolutely cannot do it without her.

Thursday: Why, thank you, Ace. Thanks again for the great talk, Leslie. Good luck with the story.

As they hurry off, I have to say, this reporter enjoyed seeing a woman in law enforcement at work very much. Women are so empowered in this environment, supported and praised. It was an amazing thing to see.

So, remember, Girls, law enforcement has changed. Until next time, empower yourself!


***

Let me leave you with the blurb for Thursday's Child:

Detective Thursday just caught another homicide in the borough, her first serial killer case. So much for the holiday spirit. These horrific murders should be bad enough, but as she works the case, solves the puzzle and finds a witness to protect, Hayden discovers a much bigger intrigue at play, one that will change her life irrevocably.

In this debut thriller by Jolie Mason, she begins the tale of Detective Hayden Thursday, a young detective in the mega-city known as the Metropolitan City Authority at the dawn of the new century. She made homicide detective through hard work and determination, and she hates a good mystery. That's why she works so hard to answer the tough questions.

She and her partner, Randall Ace, are working against the clock to track down a serial killer in the Met, and it takes them into the underbelly of corporate research and development, leading them to illegal research, cybernetics and beyond. Hayden finds herself a little distracted by Dr. Gray Kerry, her witness and the biggest question mark in her life.

This series is best enjoyed in order and falls into the category of romantic fiction, but is not a true romance. If you love a good thriller, you might love Thursday.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

A Silver Medal for She Lights Up the Dark

I was so pleased to find out last week that am once again a winner in the Readers' Favorite Book Awards! My second November Snow novel, She Lights Up the Dark, received second place in the category of Supernatural Fiction!



This marks the fifth time a book in the November Snow Series has been recognized by a major indie publishing award.

If you haven't yet read She Light Up the Dark, the sequel to She Dies at the End, here is an excerpt:

I died. I'm a vampire.


For a moment, she wasn't certain if she would laugh or weep. The amazed cackle that escaped between her fingers settled that question. It was only after the glow of feeding had faded that she noticed the pandemonium that had erupted around her.

They were looking for something. Zinnia was on the ground. She looked completely undone. And Ilyn . . . Ilyn looked terrible. It took November a long, confused moment to realize that what they were looking for . . . was her. She stood up, covered in blood, and looked at her companions uncomprehendingly.

“I’m right here,” she proclaimed, waving her hands in front of Hazel’s face. “Hello? Can you hear me?”

She looked down at her own body, and it was perfectly visible and solid to her.

"Zinnia? Ilyn?"

She tried to touch her maker, reaching out a hand to toward his arm. Her blood-stained fingers passed right through him.

"It’s no use, kitten. They cannot hear you.”

November closed her eyes, willing that familiar voice to disappear, praying she’d imagined it. When she got up the nerve to turn around, rage filled her, and she tackled Luka to the ground, fangs bared, screaming like a madwoman, “What have you done?”

He looked up at her, unconcerned, and laughed delightedly.

“Oh, my, vampirism certainly does become you, November. More beautiful than ever. So savage," he winked. "But as much as I enjoy having you on top of me, it is a bit distracting. Another time.”

He threw her off of himself with ease, as the newborn was no match for the strength of his eight centuries as a vampire.

She landed lightly on her feet and demanded again, in a voice quieter but no less hostile, “What have you done?”

“Do allow me to apologize for the sniper, by the way. He's lucky he's already dead. It pains me to think how you might have suffered in your final human moments. As for your current invisibility . . . Ilyn managed to steal you from me: the final victory of a dying man. I have simply employed Willow to steal you back by hiding you quite thoroughly. Thank you for saving her life, by the way. That was most helpful. Perhaps after a few decades you’ll learn to be less merciful."

"But you lost," she argued with a childlike stubbornness. She shook her head in disbelief. "They defeated you. We defeated you."

His smile was a strange mix of pity and gloating. "Do I really strike you as the type to put all my eggs in one basket, kitten? For centuries, I've been amassing personnel and real estate to support my plans. My base in the desert was merely an outpost. An outpost I no longer require.

"Regardless, these people can neither see nor hear you. If you write them a note, the words will disappear before they can read it. You cannot call them on the phone, text them, send them email. If you try to use a human to pass on a message, they will fail. Post a video on YouTube, use Snapchat . . . well, you get the idea. There is not a single vampire, fairy, or werewolf on God’s green earth who can receive your communication except with my permission. The most you could manage is perhaps a game of twenty questions. I don't really understand how it works, but there you have it.”

He smiled. “The bottom line is that I am your only friend now, kitten.”

November shook her head. “No,” she whispered. “I would rather be alone forever than be with you.”

Luka walked toward her, his manner strangely gentle. “You say that now, of course. You think you hate me. You think you know what loneliness is from your hospitals and your carnies and your trailer trash adolescence with your ridiculous excuse for a mother.

"But forever is a long time. And now you’ve tasted what it is to have a family, and you won’t be able to bear true isolation for long. Being a newborn vampire is not easy. You need help. You need someone to teach you, to comfort you. Young vampires need physical affection as much human children do. Perhaps more. They need to rest in the arms of their kin.

"Moreover, you don’t know how to be a vampire safely. You don't know how to enthrall. You don’t know how your transformation will affect your clairvoyance. You don’t know how to feed without killing. How many human carcasses will you leave rotting in the dirt before you show up at my door? How many innocents will you kill before you bow to the inevitable? Savita managed to slaughter an entire village in under a minute one dark night, and it took her a century to recover.”

“As though you care about innocent people,” she spat, furious but unable to look away from him.

“I don’t, except insofar as I don’t like waste or the complications of disposal. But you do care. At least for now. We can help each other, November. Just come with me. No tricks. No imprisonment. You can temper my excesses. I’ll take care of you. Together, we'll reshape the world."

“I’d rather die,” she replied, her voice dripping with acid. "I can always go sunbathing if I can't hack it on my own."

“I don’t think so. If suicide was in you, you'd have succeeded at it a long time ago. I think you have a remarkable will to live. There’s fight in you. Inspiring, really. Lovely. Unfortunately, your maker lacks your fire.”

He took her by the shoulders and forcibly turned her around to face the others. She struggled, trying to pull away from his grasp, but his grip was too strong.

“Look at him. You’ve managed what 2500 years failed to do. Even after my mother’s murder and his inexcusable failure to find her killer, he managed to plod on another few centuries. But not this time . . . Look at his face. You’ve broken him. You gave him hope, and now it’s gone. And he will never find it again.”


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

New Release: Luka's Dawn Episode 3

The third installment of the November Snow Epilogue Stories is live!   You can find Luka's Dawn, Episode 3 exclusively on Amazon Kindle.




I'm bringing paranormal peril back to Livermore, California, to which Flannery and her entourage relocated following the events in Luka's Dawn, Episode 2.  Someone opens an anti-supernatural church, and they're interested int putting their beliefs into practice.  When danger strikes those dear to them, Luka and Raina need assistance from their favorite tween psychic.

Here is an excerpt to give you a taste:

“Are you sure this is such a good idea?” Raina asked warily.  She slammed the car door and gazed across the parking lot at the unassuming building that housed Flannery’s parents’ new church.
“What’s the problem?  Merrick and Hannah are not in attendance tonight.  They both have food poisoning.  Of course, I can’t imagine how they caught it while Flannery and the twins were spared,” Luka replied with an evil grin.
“Oh, I can imagine,” Raina muttered darkly.
“At any rate,” her brother continued, “No one we know would be caught dead or alive at this Jesus jamboree, so it is unlikely we will be recognized,” Luka argued.  “I want to know what her parents are poisoning her mind with.  Don’t you?  She has enough to worry about without those two finding a new way to teach her to hate herself.”  He pulled his cane from the back seat, then locked the car.
“I know,” Raina acquiesced.  “Let’s get this over with.”
They entered the building to an outrageously chipper welcome.  “Hi, are you new?  I’m Poppy!” a young woman chirped, handing them each a bulletin.
“Indeed,” Luka replied in his most seductive voice.  “I’m Jack.  This is Diane.”  Raina briefly closed her eyes in irritated disbelief.
“Awesome!  Make sure you fill out a contact card so we can keep you up to date on all our awesome events to keep the truth alive in the face of the demonic hordes!”
“Yeah, we’ll do that,” Raina replied, then grabbed Luka’s arm and dragged him into the sanctuary proper, where they were subjected to praise music karaoke style for what seemed like an hour.
“I’m starting to regret this whole immortality thing,” Luka whispered to Raina.  “Did you bring a stake?”

“Shut up and sing,” she growled back, but even the straights seemed to be getting impatient.  It seemed the good reverend was running late.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Wednesday Work in Progress: A Magical Flashback

Here is a little peek at my YA Fantasy work in progress.  This scene shows us a moment in the childhood of Shiloh, my protagonist.  I make heavy use of flashback in this book.  It's almost as much fun as writing November's visions.  I hope you find it intriguing.




“Fetch me the box, child. The red one with the lock,” the priest ordered his only student.

Little Shiloh rose from the floor to obey and crossed to the tall bookshelf opposite the wood stove. She smiled when she picked up the box. They had never looked at this one before, and Shiloh was a terribly curious little girl. She carried the treasure back to her master, her accustomed solemn expression of firmly back in place. Brother Edmund liked serious girls, not silly ones.

“Tell me about the four magical elements,” he directed.

“The four elements are earth, air, fire, and water. Each mage has a primary affinity for one of the four elements, from which the mage draws her power and through which she focuses her craft,” she recited, lisping through her missing front teeth.

“Good,” Edmund proclaimed, the praise filling Shiloh with warmth. “Now, we are going to find out how the elements react to you. Listen to me carefully, child. What I am doing here is against the law. Only with a bishop’s permission can a young person be legally tested. You cannot tell anyone, do you understand? Not even your father. Someone might overhear. I don’t want them coming for you before we are ready.”

“Yes, master,” she replied. “But if it is against the law, then why are we doing it?” she asked, head cocked in puzzlement.

“Because the law is bullshit,” he replied. “And I want to know if you're a waste of my precious time.”

Shiloh opened her mouth to ask another question, but the look on Edmund’s face told her to mind her tongue.

The priest unlocked the box with his wand and carefully tilted back the lid. Nestled in blue velvet sat four small spheres of glass. One was clear and colorless, filled only with air. One contained a bright flame, flickering without ceasing. One sat half full of sloshing water that moved in waves like a miniature sea. The last contained a hunk of granite speckled with pink quartz.

“They're beautiful,” Shiloh whispered. Her hand clutched her hook behind her back; she struggled to resist the urge to reach out. Edmund had long since taught her not to touch magical objects without permission; it had been a painful lesson.

“Aye,” Edmund agreed. “Now, when I tell you to, you reach out and hold your hand above the box. Do not touch the spheres. Just take a deep breath and clear your mind. Hopefully, one of the balls will react to you, just a little bit. Don't expect dramatics. It will just be a little wiggle. Go ahead, now.”

Shiloh grinned and held out her hand. She took a deep breath, as instructed. She closed her eyes. At the sound of an exclamation from Brother Edmund, they snapped back open.

All four balls had risen from their cradle and floated an inch below her palm. She turned over her hand, and the balls followed. They now sat suspended above her palm, rotating slowly.

She looked to her teacher, whose mouth stood gaping. “Did I do it wrong?” she whispered. Her eyes brimmed with worry.

Edmund stared back at her, incredulous. “No, poppet. You didn't bloody do it wrong. Gods above!”

He laughed loudly enough to shake the herbs hanging from the rafters, which only worried the girl more, as it was a sound from him with which she was entirely unfamiliar. He finally calmed himself and continued, “Time to put them away. They've told us all they're going to tell.” He waved his wand, and the orbs returned to their resting places.

“What did they tell us?” Shiloh ventured.

“That we’re both going to need to work harder,” he grumped. “And that you should stop pestering me with questions.”

Shiloh relaxed. That sounded more like Brother Edmund.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Wednesday Work in Progress: Luka's Dawn, Episode 3

Today I'll be giving you a peek into the third installment of my November Snow Epilogue short story series, Luka's Dawn.  Our dear characters are living a quiet suburban life, until an anti-vampire church brings trouble to their door.




“Are you sure this is such a good idea?” Raina asked warily. She slammed the car door and gazed across the parking lot at the unassuming building that housed Flannery’s parents’ new church.

“What’s the problem? Merrick and Hannah are not in attendance tonight. They both have food poisoning. Of course, I can’t imagine how they caught it while Flannery and the twins were spared,” he replied with an evil grin.

“Oh, I can imagine,” Raina muttered darkly.

“At any rate,” her brother continued, “No one we know would be caught dead or alive at this Jesus jamboree, so it is unlikely we will be recognized,” Luka argued. “I want to know what her parents are poisoning her mind with. Don’t you? She has enough to worry about without those two finding a new way to teach her to hate herself.” He pulled his cane from the back seat, then locked the car.

“I know,” Raina acquiesced. “Let’s get this over with.”

They entered the building to an outrageously chipper welcome. “Hi, are you new? I’m Poppy!” a young woman chirped, handing them each a bulletin.

“Indeed,” Luka replied in his most seductive voice. “I’m Jack. This is Diane.” Raina briefly closed her eyes in irritated disbelief.

“Awesome! Make sure you fill out a contact card so we can keep you up to date on all our awesome events to keep the truth alive in the face of the demonic hordes!”

“Yeah, we’ll do that,” Raina replied, then grabbed Luka’s arm and dragged him into the sanctuary proper, where they were subjected to praise music karaoke style for what seemed like an hour.

“I’m starting to regret this whole immortality thing,” Luka whispered to Raina. “Did you bring a stake?”

“Shut up and sing,” she growled back, but even the straights seemed to be getting impatient. It seemed the good reverend was running late.