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:


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.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Wednesday Work-In-Progress: A Classroom Scene

One of the hallmarks of Young Adult lit is the depiction of school life.  The schools may be quite unusual (like Hogwarts or Vampire Academy), but many of the stresses involved are familiar to us all.  In this scene, Shiloh has a less-than-edifying encounter with a bully of a new teacher.


Shiloh sat in a small classroom with a dozen children, all under the age of ten, save for her.  In front of each of them sat a bowl of water.  At the front of the room stood Kevin Rangeborn, professor of Farsight.  He’d been away on a pilgrimage to holy sites in Gerne; this was, therefore, Shiloh’s first class with him.  It wasn’t looking too promising.  With hair more salt than pepper and a face full of frown lines, he glared down at his students with narrow eyes.

“Scrying, properly performed, can change the course of history.  It can reveal danger, expose treachery, provide insight.  Or it can be a cheap parlor trick for rich people with too much time on their hands.  I’ve no doubt that for most of you, it shall be the latter, if you can see anything at all,” Master Kevin proclaimed.  “Farsight arises only in those who possess an affinity for the element of water.  If your magic is devoid of water, you will see nothing.  Visions do not come to a busy mind, nor to a soul burdened with sin.  Your mind must be calm as the glassy surface of the water.  Your soul must be pure as the driven snow.  The Gods show nothing to those filthy with misdeeds and vile magics.” 

He turned his eyes on Shiloh, his expression full of disgust.  Her ears flushed pink as her hair, and she pressed her lips together to keep herself from replying in anger. 

“Begin,” the teacher ordered.  

The children obeyed, looking skeptically into the water, breathing deeply.  Shiloh did the same, though her mind was roiling at the professor’s obvious antipathy.  She closed her eyes and tried to let go of her anger, then gazed down into the bowl, letting her eyes become unfocused.
For an instant, she caught a glimpse of Queen Rose standing on a wooden platform, in tears, wearing only a simple shift.  In a blink, the image was gone.   She raised her eyes to find Master Kevin standing before her, glowering.

“You needn’t bother trying.  You reek of dark magic.  The Gods do not reveal truth to the unclean,” he hissed.  “No wonder Edmund didn’t bother trying to teach you farsight.  Even that traitor knew you were unworthy.  He should have killed you in your cradle.”

   Every child in the class had given up the assignment and focused their wide eyes on the spectacle at Shiloh’s desk.  Shaking, she stood to face the professor.  Drawing herself up to her full height, she barely came up to the man’s chest.  Still, her expression must have conveyed something of her rage and of her power, for the large man took a step back when she looked up into his face.

“Master Kevin, I would so hate to be a waste of your precious time,” she said, her voice sickly sweet and her eyes blazing.  “After all, who can know how much time one has?”  And with that, she turned on her heel and strode out of the room.

She kept walking until she found herself in the Temple in front of the shrine to the Mother.  She knelt down onto the pad and bent to rest her forehead on the railing.  A few tears fell, hot and silent, onto the stone floor below.

You shouldn’t have let him get to you, she scolded herself.  You know better than to let them see it hurts.

“Are you alright?” Brother Charles asked, coming up behind her.

She lifted her head and brushed aside a tear.  “I’m fine.  I just walked out of class in a huff.”

“What happened?” the priest asked, taking a seat on a bench nearby.  Shiloh rose to join him.

“Master Kevin started talking about how unclean I am, and how the Gods would never show me anything, so I needn’t bother taking his class,” she explained, voice hot.

Charles rolled his eyes.  “Kevin is an ass.  Always has been.  We shared a room our first year here.  He’s always been . . . strident.  I considered murder on a number of occasions.” 

Shiloh laughed.  “Will the headmaster be cross with me if I don’t continue taking Farsight?”

“I doubt it,” Charles replied.  “You could always ask to study it independently.  I’m sure there are books in the library.  Master Hatch is quite adept, I’m told.  Perhaps he would be willing to tutor you.”

Shiloh sighed.  “Somehow, I doubt it.  I should probably go tell the headmaster before Maser Kevin gets to him first and makes it sound like I did something wrong.”

Luka's Dawn, Episode 2

Good news, vampire junkies!  The second installment of Luka's Dawn is available here for pre-order.

If you're lucky, maybe one of these days I'll run out of Flannery O'Conner references for my graphics.

Here is a short excerpt:

Flannery looked up from her ice cream, suspicion in her deep blue eyes.
“Are you two going to yell at me, too?” she asked.  Raina and Luka exchanged glances.
“Kitten, have we ever yelled at you?” Luka asked.
“No, I guess not,” the child admitted sullenly.
“You want to talk about it?” asked Raina.
“I just thought she should know that her husband is stepping out!” the little girl erupted.  “And everyone is acting like I am the worst little girl in the world.  Does she want to get herpes?  Because that’s how you get herpes.”
The sound of her lisping the word “herpes” through her missing front tooth caused Raina to snort a laugh, which she tried unsuccessfully to hide behind her hand.
“It’s not funny!” Flannery insisted, scowling.
 “No, it isn’t,” Luka agreed, seeking to mollify her.  “It isn’t funny.  I know you meant well, kitten.  But humans . . . they don’t tend to appreciate such warnings.  They blame the messenger.  And they don’t have much patience for children who are different.  It’s not fair to you, but that’s just how they are.  The loss is theirs, kitten.  You are an ancient and powerful creature.  They are merely human.”
Flannery looked down at her dish, poking angrily at the melting ice cream with her spoon.  “My mommy is pregnant,” she announced, tears springing to her eyes.  “With twins.  I don’t think my mommy knows yet.  And they’re going to be all normal and perfect, and my mom and dad are not going to want me anymore.  I’ve seen it.”
Remind me again why killing them is a bad idea? Luka asked himself.
“Oh, honey,” Raina replied, pulling the girl onto her lap for a hug.  “I know they don’t understand you, but they do love you.  They’re not going to stop loving you just because they have more children.  That isn’t how it works.”  
Luka hoped she wasn’t lying.  It’s not as though either of them had any children.  What would they know about it?
“They’ll be easier to love,” Flannery insisted.  “I’ll love them, too, but it will still make me mad.”
“Well, I won’t love them at all, and if they’re mean to you, I’ll eat them right up,” Luka promised.  He extended his fangs and made a scary face until Flannery giggled.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Huge Sci-f- and Fantasy $0.99 Promotion

Hello, darlings. I just wanted to let you know that I'm participating in a Sci-fi and Fantasy promotion featuring tons of books on sale for only $0.99 July 1st and 2nd. My contribution is She Dies at the End, so if you have friends you've been meaning to turn into November Snow fans, spread the word. Have fun stocking up on your airplane/beach/staycation reading.


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Meeting Flannery

Today is the day!  The first episode of my November Snow Epilogue short story series is now available on Amazon.  For $0.99, catch up with Luka and see how he is handling life after She Marches Through Fire.  (Hint: not great)  Are you as excited to meet Flannery as he is?

I have two more stories in the series written and ready to go in the coming weeks.  I hope you will enjoy reading them as much as I did writing them.  Happy Reading!

Author Kim Cox

Today, it is my absolute pleasure to host a fellow member of Rave Reviews Book Club, Kim Cox.  I thoroughly enjoy her writing, and if you're a fan of romance, you ought to give her work a try.

Today, Kim is sharing with us her thoughts on being an indie author, as opposed to a traditionally published writer.

Doesn’t everyone dream of finding an agent and a publisher handle all the details? Don’t know. I did once. So how did I end up where I am now, an Indie Author?

I did everything I thought an aspiring author was supposed to do. I joined clubs, all the RWAs that I could join, and I went to virtual meetings. I joined critique groups. I even worked for a few clubs and groups as treasurer, contest coordinator, etc. I entered a few contest to get feedback.

I wrote a romantic suspense book and rewrote it until I felt it was publishable. I researched what to do next, and I purchased Writer’s Digest’s book, Writer’s Market which lists agents and publishers, their addresses, and their guidelines.

I queried a publisher that I liked, that had authors I loved to read. They requested a synopsis and the first three chapters within a month. After, I received a rejection but it told me what didn’t work for them. So I rewrote the book and sent a query to Harlequin Intrigue.

Harlequin sent for the synopsis and first three chapters. Then they sent for the whole manuscript. I thought this could be it. I tried to work on other writing, even started writing another book. I wrote some articles for a website and some short stories while waiting to hear if they’d publish my book. Eighteen months later, I received their rejection letter.

I was devastated. Because it was taking so long to hear something, I just knew they would accept my baby as one of their own. I had heard from a source that it had gotten to the last round before deciding to publish. While the rejection letter was a good one, it didn’t tell me why Harlequin decided to pass on it.

One of the clubs I belonged to had a workshop where an ex-editor was the guest speaker. I attended. During the workshop, she said she would give a FREE edit a manuscript to the first three aspiring authors to send her an email. I was one of those.

She told me why my manuscript was most-likely turned down for publication. I followed her advice and rewrote the book again, but I didn’t want to wait over a year to find out if it would be accepted or not.

By this time, small online publishers were starting to open their doors and publishing books in a new format, ebooks. Hey guys, this was before Amazon became to being. Anyway, I thought it was a great idea, and I knew a few authors who’d already gone that route. I did some research and found a publisher who had a good reputation.

One thing I loved, things moved very quickly. There weren’t the months or even years of waiting for an answer about publication. It was almost instantaneous when compared to my experience thus far. Did I say I loved it? I loved the speed.

You heard me say, I found a publisher who had a good reputation, right? Well, they did, up and until after I signed the contract. Then I started hearing stuff about non-payment to their authors, editors, cover artist, etc. Many were leaving the company. But I took the "wait and see" attitude. Some of the authors I knew still stood by them, and so I would too for the time being.

At that time, my contract said I had to keep my book with them for one year of publishing and that’s what I did. I know I sold quite a few when the book first released but my book had to make $100 in royalties before I receive any money from them. Not sure if it did or not but I never saw a dime.

During the next exodus, many of those authors and editors who'd stood by them the first time left, and the ones I knew well started their own publishing company. So as soon as my year was up, I left too.

My second online publisher, Amber Quill Press, was great. They knew exactly what not to do from the old company which went out of business within the next couple of years. I’d had a couple of other online publishers too but none as good as Amber Quill. But I had lost faith in making any money. I had a few sales here and there over the years but not much. Sales became almost nonexistent.

By this time Amazon was selling electronic and print books. I talked to other authors I knew who'd gone the self-publishing route. Then I read everything I could get on the subject. Something happened. I was excited about writing again. I pulled my books from one publisher and eventually from Amber Quill. I had to wait a while to get my rights back though. A few months before my rights were returned from Amber Quill, they announced they were closing business like so many before them already had.

So that’s how I became an Indie Author and I love it. I love the control over pricing and sales, and I love the creative and technical process of creating covers and formatting my own books. The promotion, though, I don’t love so much but that’s something I'd had to do with a small publisher anyway. From what I hear, unless you’re and author who already has a big-name, you’re not promoted by the publisher very much anyway.

On my own, I've sold more books than I ever have. I have also spent more money even with doing almost everything myself, mostly on editing and promotion. Keep in mind that finding a good editor is a must, and you should research for the one who is right for you, because there are those out there who say they’re editors who aren’t that great. So be careful.

I understand that there are authors who just don’t want to deal with all the other stuff that comes with self-publishing. There are companies who offer these services for authors, designing covers and formatting books. Some prices are reasonable and some aren’t. Some are reputable and some aren’t. So look around and make the right connections.

Like in all things, if you’re paying for a service, research and talk to others who have already used the services.

Thanks for your insights, Kim!  Did her story resonate with you?  What thoughts do you have to share about your own publishing experiences?

Kim is hosting a giveaway, where FIVE lucky winners will receive one of the following prizes: (1) ebook copy of "ALL THIS TIME" and a $10 Amazon Gift Card or (4) ebook copy of ALL THIS TIME. To enter Kim's giveaway, simply leave a comment anywhere along the tour!

This tour is sponsored by

Monday, June 26, 2017

Sale on Fantasy by Herb Mallette

As a huge fan of Herb Mallette's Charms and Witches, I was stoked to find out that his Delvonian Series is on sale this week.  The first three are reduced in price, and the last one is free!  I'm sharing the blurbs below to give you a taste for the series.  Happy reading!

The Last Tragedy

When two of the world's greatest adventurers disappear, it falls to their heirs - Jake Warbler and the half-sprite Noxie - to retrace their steps and confront whatever evil took them. The only clues point to a literary enigma from the depths of antiquity: the Last Tragedy of Coeldoetta of Jueln. Missing and unread since the fall of long-ago empires, the Tragedy has doomed a thousand previous seekers. Can Jake and Noxie unearth this legendary play after so many others have failed? Or will they fall victim along the way to the same bloody-minded cult that vanquished their missing elders?

Note: I'm told this one can be read out of order.

Avelia Warbler wakes from two years of magical healing with a price on her head and the minions of a bloodthirsty cult dogging her heels. The world has changed while she slept, and that sleep has changed her as well. Now a sixty-year-old woman in a twenty-year-old body, she must dodge assassins, bounty hunters, and the ghosts of her own past on her way to a sorcerous labyrinth of recollection where the face of her greatest enemy lies hidden.

The Sharp Edge of Memory is the first novel in a trilogy (The Aveliad), as well as the second novel of the Delvonian Tales. It is preceded by The Last Tragedy, but can be read independently.

To save her family from a bloodthirsty, sorcerous cult, Avelia Warbler must kidnap the most powerful woman in the world: The Identity of Cimone, who dwells in a castle beyond mortal approach. But when Avelia calls in all her markers for support, only Shoje Keindan shows up -- a master thief of extraordinary skill who is also madly in love with her. Can she manage to steal the cult’s high priestess when her only ally is bent on stealing her heart?

The might of an empire has been roused against Avelia Warbler as the cult of Cimone pulls a thousand strings to regain its kidnapped priestess. While her love and a cadre of loyal friends work to foil these pursuits, Avelia must attempt a harder journey still -- a search for some enchantment, if such exists, that can break the will of the most evil woman alive. For if the Identity cannot be made to reveal her secrets, then the cult she leads will inevitably swallow the world in darkness . . .

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Wednesday Work in Progress: Naval Battle

The action is heating up in my YA high fantasy work in progress. Here is a peek at a little magical naval battle I'm sketching out.

The first drops of rain splattered onto Shiloh’s face. The swells grew higher, and the ship began to rock. Shiloh’s stomach lurched in time with it.

“You know Kirkland’s spell of revelation?” Hatch asked.

“Yes, sir,” she replied.

“I'll calm the seas. You look for their vessel,” Hatch ordered.

She looked up to the crow’s nest. She knew it would take her an age to climb up there, but it would give her the best view in all directions. She sighed, hating to reveal one of her new tricks so soon, but there was nothing for it.

Holding her wand aloft, she bent her knees deeply and called out a spell in Estan as she leapt. A moment later, she landed lightly in the crow’s nest. Looking down, she saw Hatch throw back his head and laugh, then turned her attention to her task.

She began on the starboard side, aiming her magic in a line that began just off the deck rail and extended into the distance several hundred yards. When nothing appeared, she turned about ten degrees and repeated the process. It was exhausting work, sustaining the magic for so long. At least Hatch had been successful at calming the water, so her precarious perch ceased its, frankly, terrifying lurching.

Luck was with her, and a small, swift vessel appeared out of thin air. Quickly, she bound it, lest it disappear anew. The ship shuddered as cannons began firing beneath her, now that they had a target.

She pulled up the hood of her cloak, but her hair had already been soaked by the pelting rain. She turned her mind to setting a ward, assuming the fire would be returned. The water between the dueling vessels was lit by the curses now flying back and forth, as every sorcerer on board took aim at their attacker. She could make out Lord Mosspeak himself throwing curses off the starboard bow, his burgundy hat perched precariously on his head.

Remembering her riding instructor's advice, she cast the ward she had modified to dissipate energy. The ship the barely rocked when her shield lit up with the impact of incoming curses and cannonballs. Whoever was casting wards for their opposition had not been so thoughtful. She watched the smaller vessel rock so far over on its side that its mast nearly touched the water. She felt a twinge of pity as she watched men tumbling helplessly into the water.

Trusting her ward would hold, she continued to probe for another vessel. When she found it, it was just off the port bow, casting hooks to board while all were distracted fighting off the attacker on the starboard side.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

New Release: Brother's Keeper by Jolie Mason

Jolie Mason turns up the heat in the second offering in the Brother Assassins series.  Brother's Keeper follows assassin Bry's efforts to protect a whistle-blowing journalist named Cari as their society begins to implode around them.  Complicating matters is a heartbreaking deception Bry undertook to protect both Cari and her family.

Mason's tale is engaging as always, with a fun mix of excitement and romance.  The sex is a little more explicit this time than in some of her previous work, but it is still tasteful.  The emotions are heartfelt and touchingly rendered, and the characters are sketched beautifully.  The action is suspenseful and crisp.

Brother's Keeper can be enjoyed without having read Brother Mine (Brother Assassins Book 1), but I would recommend you grab that one first.  The emotional impact of the events will be far greater if you understand the back story.

If sci-fi romance is a new genre for you, Jolie Mason is the author to start with.  Happy reading!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Luka's Dawn, Episode 1 Available for Pre-order

The first story in my short story series about our favorite vampire villain is set to drop on Amazon on June 27th!  You can pre-order it for $0.99.  Or you can sign up for my newsletter and download it for FREE on June 22nd.  You know you can't resist reading it five days early.

I intend to publish three of these stories this summer, releasing them about every two weeks.  My subscribers will be getting the first crack at them, so don't miss out!

Luka's Dawn, Episode 1 picks up between the end of the final chapter of She Marches Through Fire and that novel's Epilogue.  So if you haven't gotten around to reading  November Snow Book 3, you'd better get cracking.  And if you have finished She Marches and haven't reviewed it yet, I would be most grateful if you would take a moment and drop by wherever you purchased it to do so.  Even one sentence makes a big difference.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Luka's Dawn

Wednesday is traditionally "Work in Progress Day" in the indie publishing world. Today, I'm sharing with you an excerpt from a short story series I'm working on, November Snow Epilogue Stories.  Major SPOILER ALERT for those who have not yet finished She Marches Through Fire!

These tales focus on Luka's life after the loss of November at the end of November Snow Book 3. Here's a peek at Luka's Dawn, Episode 1.

“When was the last time you ate?” Raina asked her brother.

Luka shrugged. “I haven’t the slightest idea.”

“That fairy, Briar, put a hex on you to bind you from killing or enthralling people. But you can still feed on them. And you can hunt, enthrall, and kill animals, no problem,” she reminded him, for the thousandth time. “There’s moose and deer. Bears, if you need to get some feelings out. Wolves.”

“I am well aware of the particulars of my magical leash, dear sister, as well as of the menu,” he replied coldly. “I’m not hungry.”

“You need to eat to heal, Luka. You know that,” she scolded.

He looked up from the page he was reading. For once, he appreciated his much despised father. At least the old bastard had thoroughly stocked his hideaway with books. Luka and Raina had been there four months, and he hadn’t yet run out of ways to hide from his own thoughts.

“I don’t care,” he replied.

“Obviously not. But I do,” she countered. “And November would.”

“Then maybe she shouldn’t have gone and gotten herself killed for people who didn’t deserve her sacrifice,” he spat, shocked at his own vehemence. He reached up to his mouth and felt fangs there.

“Anger is a normal part of grief, you know,” Raina pointed out patiently, taking a seat across from him.

“You don’t seem angry,” he retorted.

“I just took all mine out on a bear,” she replied. “And, for the record, I’m not hungry, either. But I’m also not going to act like a baby and starve myself for spite. You’re extra annoying when you’re haven’t fed. Go eat.”

He rolled his eyes and sighed. “Fine. Only to please you, dear sister,” he acquiesced, setting aside his volume. Only to shut you up, dear sister, he groused silently.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Fantasy / Science Fiction Instafreebie Group Giveaway

Today marks the start of an epic fantasy and science fiction book giveaway that I've organized.  We have most of the popular sub-genres: paranormal, high fantasy, steampunk, hard sci-fi, sci-fi romance, space opera, etc.  So, if you're looking for summer reading, you should stop by my webpage and check it out.  Happy reading!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Wishing Shelf Book Awards Feedback for She Dies at the End

I was pretty chuffed today to receive the reader feedback from a contest I entered, The Wishing Shelf Book Awards.  The certificate was nice, but the quotes made my day.  See for yourself:

‘This author works very well with description of character, setting and with speech to offer the reader a fascinating story, well plotted and packed full of wonderful characters. I enjoyed it very much.’ Male reader, aged 42 

‘This book is all about pacing. It’s got it in truck-loads.’ Female reader, aged 27 

‘There is nothing better than a fantasy where the author is capable of creating a fantasy world you can fall into. Well, I fell – pretty hard. Excellent. I’d highly recommend it to any fantasy lover.’ Female reader, aged 54 

‘November Snow is a memorable character. She’s strong, but not always, susceptible to love, but not endlessly (see Twilight for endlessly boring I’m in love with a vampire) and, best of all, her powers are fascinating. The author has a light pen, able to describe the world in depth but also keep up the pacing. I look forward to reading the rest of his author’s books.’ Male reader, aged 24 

‘One of the best things about being a reader for The Wishing Shelf Book Awards is that I get introduced to brilliant new authors. This author is one of them.’ Female reader, aged 61 

You can see why I was so excited.  It's nice to get a little encouragement.  You can read She Dies at the End for only $0.99.  Get your friends hooked.  :-)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Wednesday Work in Progress

I am about 45k words into writing my next novel.  No vampires this time!  It's a young adult high fantasy novel with a strong heroine, naturally.  My two point-of-view characters are Shiloh Teethborn, a 15-year-old girl headed to the Academy, and Silas Hatch, the king's "fixer," who is in his early thirties.  Regularly spaced flashbacks from each of their lives reveal back story and motivations.

The story is set in a world where magic is real, and it is hoarded by the ruling class.  Commoners with magical abilities are forced into serving the crown or the church and are generally forbidden from marrying or having children, in order to keep magical abilities from spreading through the population.  Those with the most impressive abilities are brought to the Royal Academy to be educated alongside the children of the nobility before being chosen for various posts at court or in the church.  About fifteen years prior to the events in the book, the kingdom suffered through a civil war in which two siblings fought each other for the crown, and the repercussions of this conflict resound throughout the story.  Shiloh is "hexborn," born with birth defects and chronic ailments caused by dark magic used by her mother during the war, while Shiloh was in the womb.

My inspiration for this story came, in part, from my interest in British history, especially the War of the Roses and the Tudor dynasty.  I also wanted to write a story in which the heroine lives with a chronic condition.  People with disabilities are often invisible in popular culture.

It's still early days, so anything can change, but here is a short excerpt to give you an idea of what I have created so far.  I hope that when the book is finished, you will love Shiloh and Silas as much as you do November and company.


“Eyes open, men,” Hatch directed. “Wand out, Percy.”

Percival swallowed nervously. “I’m starting to wish you’d brought an extra wand for the weirdling.”

Just when Shiloh was starting to think they might make it to safety without incident, she heard the familiar whistle of an arrow. “Get down,” she cried, throwing herself off of Hatch’s horse. More arrows soon followed, and she heard a cry of pain as one of the men proved too slow in heeding her warning.

Hatch remained calm under attack, sending out well-aimed hexes from his wand of flame. Percival seemed to be firing at total random, taking out more snowdrifts and tree branches than Wildlings. Shiloh could hear the cries of the ones Hatch had managed to hit, but the volleys of arrows kept coming. She heaved a sigh and looked around for something she could use as a weapon.

Shiloh broke off an icicle from the tree behind which she’d taken shelter and yanked her glove with her teeth, grabbing the ice in her bare hand. With this makeshift wand, she harnessed the power of water to cast a shield of protection around them, one which allowed the curses from Hatch and Percival to pass through unimpeded. The arrows of the Wildlings, meanwhile, didn’t simply stop dead upon hitting the ward; they turned and sped back toward their points of origin, betraying those who’d loosed them.

Silas threw his head back and fairly cackled in delight when he realized what she’d done, then continued to cast his curses. The rest of the men stood up now that they had no further need to fear incoming projectiles, save Bryan who lay bleeding in the road.

Shiloh, too, stood as to see the effects of her ward. In the heat of battle, her hood had fallen back. Her hair had escaped from its thick braid and blew in the wind, forming a halo of pink set aglow by moonlight. The remaining Wildings turned and fled down the mountain, speeding on their skis until they were out of sight. The three attackers who couldn’t stand remained behind, turning the snow red.

Hatch disarmed the wounded Wildlings with a few flicks of his wand. “If you wish to pray before you die, now would be the time,” Hatch told them. One of them began to beg mercy; Shiloh found herself feeling grateful when Hatch cut short his desperate plea.  She watched as he proceeded to kill the other two without so much as another word, then closed her eyes. She pushed herself through the shock and dismay that threatened to overwhelm her and turned to assess the damage to their party.

Thankfully, Bryan’s wound proved to be fairly superficial. Shiloh knelt and quickly yanked out the arrow and stopped the bleeding, focusing a spell with the help of her ice wand.

“You’re alright, now,” she said soothingly, as though the brute were but a little boy. “I’ve got you. You’re going to be fine. We’ll get you some whiskey for the pain when we get to town. You’re alright.”

She looked up to find Hatch looking down at her, face unreadable. He raised an eyebrow toward her hand, and she dropped the icicle into the snow. She pulled her glove back on with her teeth.

“Mount up. They might have friends,” Hatch ordered.

Their journey warily recommenced, Hatch whispered to Shiloh, “You are a dangerous little thing, aren’t you?”

Unsure how to respond, Shiloh held her tongue. She could have sworn she heard him laugh again, but it was hard to tell above the wind.

At last, they began to descend the pass. The cheerful sight of the well-lit village gilded in white brought the bedraggled group some much-needed cheer as their horses struggled through the deep snow.

“There’s a pub with an inn. I am told it is comfortable enough, compared to most,” Shiloh informed Silas. “You and your men should be able to get a warm bed and a decent meal, anyway.”

“Yes, I know it. I'll pay for a room for you, as well,” Silas hastened to assure her. “They are expecting us.”

Shiloh shook her head. “They'll never let me in.” She pointed to her hair, peeking out from her hood. “The best I can hope for is the stable. They might not notice I'm hexborn if I duck in there straightaway, as long as I hide the arm under my cloak. If they make me and see us together, they might not let you in, either.”

Silas shook his head. “I think you underestimate the effectiveness of my reputation in obtaining cooperation.”

“I think you underestimate how superstitious and ignorant my fellow Teethtrash can be,” she countered. “They will lose every other paying customer if I walk through their door. Mountain folk do not break bread with the unclean.”

“The cleanliness statutes were outlawed years ago, during the Reforms,” Silas protested.

“They keep to the old ways up here. The Reforms have not yet taken root, as I’m sure you are more than aware.”

“The innkeeper works for me,” Silas countered.

“One of your many sources of vital information, I presume? If he’s valuable and you want him to keep working for you, you won’t force me on them. I’ll be fine in the barn,” she declared. “The horses keep it warm.”

“Miss Teethborn—“

“Master Hatch, even if they let me in, they’ll be muttering and staring and spitting in my food. It simply isn’t worth it to me. Respectable people do not want me in their company, and I am willing to oblige them.”


If you want to be the first to know about developments in this new series, sign up for my newsletter.  Happy reading! 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Author Spotlight: LAURA LIBRICZ

I'm so pleased today to be hosting fellow author and Rave Reviews Book Club member Laura Libricz! Laura was born and raised in Bethlehem PA and moved to Upstate New York when she was 22. After working a few years building Steinberger guitars, she received a scholarship to go to college. She tried to ‘do the right thing’ and study something useful, but spent all her time reading German literature. She is now the author of the historical fiction novel The Master and the Maid, book one in a planned trilogy set in 17th century Germany.


Intrigued? I am. Here is the blurb:

She’s lost her work, her home and her freedom. Now, harboring a mysterious newborn, she could lose her life.

In 17th Century Germany on the brink of the Thirty Years War, 24-year-old Katarina is traded to the patrician Sebald Tucher by her fiancĂ© Willi Prutt in order to pay his debts. En route to her forced relocation to the Tucher country estate, Katarina is met by a crazed archer, Hans-Wolfgang, carrying a baby under his cloak. He tells her an incredible story of how his beloved was executed by a Jesuit priest for witchcraft right after the birth and makes Katarina—at sword point—swear on her life to protect the child. But protecting the child puts Katarina at risk. She could fall in disfavor with her master. She could be hunted by the zealots who killed his beloved. She could be executed for witchcraft herself. Can Katarina's love for the baby and Sebald Tucher's desire for her keep the wrath of the zealots at bay?

Set in Franconia, The Master and the Maid is an accurate, authentic account of a young woman's life in Germany in the 1600's, her struggle for freedom and her fight for those she loves.

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In the rest of this post, you'll find out more about the author and about her process. Take it away, Laura . . .

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Welcome to Day 5 of my #RRBC “SPOTLIGHT” Author Blog Tour! I would like to thank the RRBC and my host for this wonderful opportunity! Let’s talk about writer’s block today. Now, I don’t believe in writer’s block. When I’m fed up with a project, I like to write flash fiction. It helps me focus and write short, sharp scenes. I’d like to share one of my favorites with you today.


“We’re all human, even when we’re not.”

Humans are the second most dangerous beings on the planet surpassed only by mosquitos, which now spurs me on to renounce my life as it is amongst the fiends and settle in a world inhabited only by less-menacing denizens.

Professor Ott paid the cab driver, turned towards the red-brick entrance to the train station and snorted at the mongrels filing in and out like the brainless livestock they claimed to be superior to. He had lived in the city all his life but would never synchronize with the existence of these people. Their petty lives and mundane concerns left him empty and unfulfilled.

“Excuse me,” a young woman said and smiled as she disengaged the hem of her jacket caught on his rucksack.

He snorted and looked at the woman through his rimless bifocals like she was an insect under a microscope. “Satisfied with the dullest of nonimaginitive spittle, these creatures will never truly understand.”

He found his platform and a seat on the express train to the airport. The train pulled away and the dingy brick houses sped past; housing resembling rat cages that held anonymous, unsuspecting, dull-witted troops of overpopulation.

The train screeched to a stop and the herd disembarked, moving as one numb mass towards the departures court and into one holding pen, then another. He trudged through yet another holding pen and boarded his airplane. He settled in his seat and looked out the window. The only accomplishment this modern society made that somewhat excited him was flying. Speedy travel. No inch of the earth left undiscovered. The thought thrilled him and saddened him simultaneously.

He woke from an uneasy doze as the landing gear dropped onto the tarmac. The foreign characters on the signs atop the cargo hangars reassured him. He smiled as he surveyed his surroundings. Pulling the small rucksack from the overhead compartment, he snorted at the frail humans sagging under the weight of their belongings, ignored the niceties from the crew and left the plane. He wove his way through hurrying travelers towards the exit of the building.

Humidity and heat hit him and he breathed the sweet, wet, lush air. A bus waited at the designated spot. A classical piano piece played from what sounded like a cheap plastic transistor radio. He snorted and shook his head. One modern invention he insisted upon: superior sound equipment. Rather no sound than bad sound. But that had long ceased to fulfill him as well.

Now all he wanted from these people and their electrified, motorized world was the means to reach his final destination and end his journey. Then he would renounce their bustling, unimportant lives and their world forever. He needed no one. His ultimate goal? To reach a plateau of unadulterated knowledge, a pure and simple clichéd nirvana.

The bus ride was jerky, quirky, hot and muddy. The driver cursed every time mud flew onto the windshield. A child pouted and a woman sneezed. He tried to ignore them and stared out the bus window. Green, lush vegetation darkened the road and he felt enveloped in his new world. A few rays of sunshine penetrated the forest and created impressive images. He smiled wider. The world as he knew it and its cares and fears faded away.

“Dear God!” someone in front cried.

A wrenching jerk was followed by a slamming impact. A woman screamed. Silence.

Professor Ott opened his eyes. His glasses were askew on his face. The bus was on its side. He smelled smoke and diesel fuel. He adjusted his glasses and saw bodies strewn throughout the bus. A young man kicked out a window that faced upward and climbed out. Professor Ott secured his rucksack on his back and followed him out, appreciating what years of diligent physical fitness enabled him to do.

He turned and glanced at the bus. Tiny, white, floating parachutes surrounded the bus and sailed on the breeze towards the sun. It looked like the breeze had blown through a field of overripe dandelions setting the seeds adrift.

As he walked away, he unpacked a pouch filled with hydration gel of his own creation which would bridge him at least a few days before he needed to find water. The glen he had spent the summer before would be a four-hour trek from here, he reckoned. No matter, he had endured worse and this last stage could be mastered. He tried to clear his mind of thought and concentrate on his march.

Tiny, white parachutes crossed his path and floated up towards the sun. There must be a plant going to seed to create such a thing. He thought about his mother. She’d been dead for twenty years. He could smell her lilac perfume and a tinge of vanilla, butter and melting chocolate. He could see her face. Suddenly he missed her terribly. The more he tried to banish the thoughts and her memory, the more insistent the sensations became.

A path opened onto the road on his right. He peered through a gateway in the trees and climbed a small incline towards what seemed to be a sunny patch amidst the forest. The same seed play filled this path. Memories of a girl he had once loved, years ago, flooded his mind. He was never able to express just how deeply he loved her. He felt at the time that such love was indulgent and weak; an uneducated lack of discipline. He struggled for breath.

A bird of prey squawked behind his shoulder and he fell to his knees. A festival of songbirds answered and reminded him of sitting on his grandmother’s balcony, back in Germany. The blackbirds would congregate on the rooftops in the evening. A consuming loneliness like he’d never felt threatened to crush him. He bowed his head and allowed it to come.

Professor Ott got to his feet and started walking back to the bus to see if he could be of any service.

So, now it’s your turn! Tell me, how do you feel about writer’s block? Do you write or read short stories?

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Laura Libricz was born and raised in Bethlehem PA and moved to Upstate New York when she was 22. After working a few years building Steinberger guitars, she received a scholarship to go to college. She tried to ‘do the right thing’ and study something useful, but spent all her time reading German literature.

She earned a BA in German at The College of New Paltz, NY in 1991 and moved to Germany, where she resides today. When she isn’t writing, she can be found sifting through city archives, picking through castle ruins or aiding the steady flood of musical instruments into the world market.

Her first novel, The Master and the Maid, is the first book of the Heaven's Pond Trilogy. The Soldier’s Return and Ash and Rubble are the second and third books in the series.

Twitter - @lauralibricz

Facebook - @LauraLibriczAuthoress

Website -

Friday, April 21, 2017

Earth Day Erotica from Patient Lee

Patient Lee, fabulous pioneer of "erotic realism," is releasing a special environmentally oriented story just in time for Earth Day. The story is called "Milkweed and Gossamer" and was inspired by the plight of monarch butterflies.  Caution: adults only.

The blurb:

Jaime just turned eighteen, and she's so passionate about saving the monarch butterflies, people call her Milkweed. Josh Gossamer is four years older than Milkweed, but they fall for each other while delivering milkweed plants and working in the butterfly house. Milkweed's family does everything possible to keep them apart, fearing that Josh will talk her into giving up her virginity and then leave her forever at the end of the summer.

But there's something her family doesn't know about her brother, Scott, and he'll do anything to protect his secret, even lie about Milkweed.

The monarch butterfly population in the United States is in trouble. People can help by planting milkweed to give the butterflies a place to lay their eggs and the caterpillars the food they need to survive. This Earth Day story will teach readers about the plight of the butterflies in a sweet, sexy erotic romance.

Will the first time be the last time, or will Milkweed and Gossamer find a way to be together when he leaves for grad school? Find out on Earth Day.

Not appropriate for readers under 18.

For each copy purchased on Earth Day, Patient Lee will plant an extra milkweed plant in her effort to help the monarchs. This article from 2014 gives a good overview of the monarch problem.  Spice up your weekend, and help a good cause. :-)  Happy reading!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

November Snow Celebrates Read Self-Published Month

I've been participating in a wonderful event all month long. Read Self-Published Month celebrates the creative work being done by indie authors in all genres. Led by Zach Chopchinski, we are enjoying events galore, including this blog tour, giveaways, read-alongs, and Facebook takeovers.

And it's not too late for you to get in on the fun! Join the Facebook group for Read Self-Published month and discover a wealth of talent producing amazing work outside the traditional publishing system. Tomorrow, the blog tour continues with Lucy Felthouse, a U.K. writer of erotic and romance fiction.

Today, I'm sharing a short excerpt from the first novel in my November Snow Series, She Dies at the End. I recently completed the series with the release of my third novel, She Marches Through Fire. I want to give you a taste of my writing style. My protagonist, November Snow, is an eighteen-year-old carnival psychic who winds up in the middle of some very dangerous and supernatural shenanigans. I like to think of it as vampire fiction for the intellectual. ;-)  If you'd like to hear me read all of Chapter 1, click here.

From She Dies at the End (November Snow Book 1), Chapter 1

She watched them bury her again.

Four people stand in a garden. The short redhead, an impatient fireplug, has a dusty shovel in his large hands. His wide shoulders stretch his clothes. A tiny teenager with caramel skin stands beside him and places a hand on his arm, her tunic marred by drops of blood. A tall waif stands apart, distraught, shaking; blue tears fall from her eyes, eyes the same shade of electric blue as her hair. Closest to the grave is the bloody businessman: his dark suit stained darker still with blood, his white shirt ruined, his shoes dusty, his designer tie twisted, now turned more noose than accessory.

His face is stone. His eyes scream. His fangs catch the light. A girl is dead because she tried to help him. His girl is dead, just like the ones before.

Her corpse waits patiently, cradled in the gnarled roots of an old tree. Blood has soaked through her blue silk dress. It stains her mouth, covering the blue tinge of death. The businessman bends down and kisses her forehead. He lifts her up, leaps gracefully into the grave, and places her carefully into her resting place. Her dark blue eyes are still open, but she doesn’t look frightened. She looks relieved. He closes them gently, touches her cheek. A drop of blood wells in his eye, rolls down his cheek, falls silently onto her dark hair, evidence of his grief: her killer's grief.

She watched them bury her again.


November Snow awoke with the certainty that she’d overslept and promptly bashed her head against the bottom of her table. That was the one drawback to her little nest, but she’d take a sleeping bag on the ground and a knot on her head any day. It was far preferable to sleeping in her mother’s trailer and the consequent possibility of waking up to sounds she'd rather not hear. It was rather cozy, actually, along the lines of a blanket fort.

The girl crawled out into the dim light inside her tent and began to prepare for another day of work. She jumped to her feet; a quick glance at her watch confirmed that she had better hustle. Her oversleeping was no surprise, really, after the previous night’s shenanigans. She sighed inwardly and ran her hands through her long black hair, yanking out the worst of the tangles and steeling herself to face the day.

Her first task was to wash off the previous day’s dust and sweat, which she did with a quickness as the shower in her mom’s motor-coach lacked hot water. What I wouldn't give for a scalding hot bath, she thought. Pulling on her thrift store jeans and t-shirt, she caught brief glimpses of their former owners. Detergent could wash away many things, but not the imprints of those who'd previously worn the clothes. Thankfully, such visions tended to fade with time as she made her the items her own, but the first few days in someone else’s castoffs were always a real headache. She then attempted to wake her mother from her stupor, which this morning was a futile effort. Not that I'm surprised. The next job was breakfast.

She walked quickly down the midway toward the food stands. She grabbed an apple from Sally’s candy apple counter. Most everyone was busy preparing their games and rides for the influx of marks soon to ensue. Her few friends greeted her. More, however, crossed themselves, called her a freak under their breath, and kept on working.

Here's the blurb:

Bronze medalist in the Reader's Favorite Book Awards
Finalist in the IAN Book of the Year Awards
Short-listed in the Chanticleer Paranormal Awards
Finalist in the Wishing Shelf Book Awards
Second Place for the Rave Reviews Book Club Book of the Year

November Snow has seen her own burial a thousand times. It is the only thing she knows about her future.

In a war amongst vampires and fairies, a small advantage can mean the difference between victory and defeat. And a psychic who can peer across the globe, unspool the past, and probe the future is more than a small advantage. Everyone wants to use her for his own ends: the ancient king, the black sheep, the dutiful son, the lost boy.

But November Snow wants things, too, before death comes for her. She wants purpose. She wants friendship. She wants love. She wants happiness. She wants respect. And she will not settle for less.

Pulled into the midst of a royal family feud centuries in the making, she must forge her own path through violence, betrayal, first loves, and mortal peril as she struggles to come to terms with her gift and her destiny, even as she knows this for certain:

She dies at the end.

I hope you'll give my books, as well as those of the other participating authors, a try.  You can read She Dies at the End for only $0.99.  Happy reading!