• Who We Are

  • Schedule

    Mondays ~
    Tuesdays ~ Snarky
    Wednesdays ~ Dreamer
    Thursdays ~ Naughty
    Fridays ~ Dreary
    Saturdays ~
    Sundays ~

    Whenever ~ Smokey, Mighty, Eerie and Wicked

  • Snarky’s Tweets

  • Kinetic’s Tweets

  • Dreamer’s Tweets

  • Wicked’s Tweets

  • Eerie’s Tweets

  • Mighty’s Tweets

MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE!

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I want to wish all my loyal Swamp Followers, friends, family and anyone reading this a wonderful Christmas and an exciting New Year.

Thank you so much for sharing 2013 with me.  Here’s to another year filled with joy and laughter!

And to ensure a grin, I have to share this lovely piece with you (however, I have to admit to stealing it from Ilona Andrews.)

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Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas! #ebook #sale #vampires and #romance

Present Stock Photo

Another year. Another birthday.

Ask my kids, Mom is 24 years old… again 😀

This year, I’m happy to give all of you a present. For a limited time only sale, you can get three of my books for only 99 cents, total!

Heart of a Vampire, Bundle (Books 1-3)

by Amber Kallyn

HeartofaVampire_Bundle_LRG If you’re interested, you can get a copy at this sale price at

Amazon     B&N/Nook     Apple

***On Sale for 99 cents for a limited time***

***This is a book bundle
of the Heart of a Vampire series, Books 1-3

Book 1 – Bloodstorm

(Available Free on all Etailers)

When duty forces a shaman to stop a vampire from her revenge, love doesn’t just burn… it bites.

For two hundred years, Niki DeVeraux has been tracking the monster who murdered her family and made her a vampire. She finally catches up to him only to face more than she bargained for in a too-sexy sheriff who makes her remember she’s still a woman. With duties as Keeper of the peace and Sheriff, Shane Spencer must protect humanity and stop the friction between the local Arcaine races before it turns into an all out blood war.

When wolves start turning up dead, the tension between the races grows and suspicion falls on Niki. Shane knows she’s not to blame, and it has nothing to do with the primal urges she stirs within him. Working together, they must stop the hostilities from going over the edge. Trouble is, the desires raging between them might prove more dangerous than the surrounding threats.

Book 2 – Hungerstorm

After centuries alone, can a vampire king trust the woman who’s woken his heart?

Jordan MacDougal, laird and King of his vampire clan, walks a thin line of civility between his clan and the local shifter pack. When his vampires began to disappear and the wolves accuse the intriguing woman who’s touched his heart of being evil, he discovers that the traitor in his midst may be closer than he thinks.

A newly turned vampire, Dalia Jensen wakes to an unusual and frightening new world with no memory of the past year of her life. Accused of working with the Master Vampire who held her prisoner, her inability to remember the truth leaves her reeling under the allegations of vicious past actions.
Uncertain of her culpability, she’s unable to trust her own instincts as the reigning Vampire King turns her world upside down.

When the wolves call for her trial, demanding her life for those killed and tortured during that blank year, Jordan and Dalia must work together to find the truth, and save the love blooming between them.

Book 3 – Darkstorm

After a millennia apart, can two vampires rekindle their love, or will the line between right and wrong keep them apart?

Hunted by the demon who imprisoned her for hundreds of years, Ashlyn MacDougal is fleeing with a secret which could destroy her soul. When she runs into her lost love, Connor Gregory, life twists upside down.

Thrown together by circumstance, they must resolve their past. With demons after them, Ashlyn and Connor come to find their love still burns. Yet, the secrets she hides, and his duty to his job, might just keep them apart for another eternity.

Buy at Amazon     B&N/Nook     Apple

And here’s to the upcoming holidays. I hope you and yours have a hell of a time filled with great friends and lots of love!

Spotlight’s on Bonnie Vaughan’s contribution to THINGS THAT GO BUMP FOR THE HOLIDAYS! #paranormal #anthology @spacebornishere #SciFic

To conclude our THINGS THAT GO BUMP FOR THE HOLIDAYS spotlights, we have the talented and lovely, Bonnie Vaughan! Today she’s sharing a peek into her upcoming Science Fiction novel, SPACEBORN (coming in 2014 from Black Opal Books). Don’t forget to pick up your copy for the holidays!

3D Paranormal AnthologyAvailable now:  AMAZON  or BLACK OPAL BOOKS

Jami, thanks for hosting me on your blog and for spreading the word about THINGS THAT GO BUMP FOR THE HOLIDAYS. It looks like the perfect extra gift. I’m signing copies and putting them under the tree for my children and grandchildren, but shh, don’t tell them before December 25.

“An Unexpected Blessing” has an ending that might tingle your spine. I can’t wait to read the other stories in the book. My husband, Lee Vaughan, says they’re very good.

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The following excerpt is from SPACEBORN, my science fiction novel about a pregnant astrogeologist who discovers something strange on Mars, published by Black Opal Books this year.

Michelle drove Morgan, Randy, and Vlad to the site. The others emerged from the portable habitat in their spacesuits just as the new team joined them.

Jamese walked up to Morgan and blocked her progress. “Why did you come? We can do our jobs without you looking over our shoulders.”

Morgan stopped and waited, without speaking. Anything she said would give Jamese something to criticize. It would be best to let the others handle her.

“Please move aside,” Cass said.

“We didn’t say we needed her here,” Jamese said, not moving. “She doesn’t have to take credit for everything.”

Randy stepped between the women. “We should turn on the broadcast now, Jamese. Would you mind narrating again?”

“She shouldn’t even be outside,” Jamese said before she moved out of the way and started recording.

Morgan set her suit camera and radio for broadcast as she started walking uphill. She held back what she wanted to say to Jamese so that it wouldn’t reach Earth.

“The rest of the Pax crew came out to see the remains that the exploration team found this morning,” Jamese said for the distant audience. “This discovery might prove to be the most significant of all at the excavation site.”

“Over here,” Aiden said, motioning for them to hurry.

Morgan had never seen his eyes open so wide beneath his untamed forelock, which his comm-cap could not contain. She rushed to his side, put her helmet faceplate against his, and said, “Congratulations on your amazing find.”

He jumped up and down like a child who couldn’t wait to show his mother a new drawing. His boots kicked up sprays of dust each time he bounced off the red soil.

“Come see it.”

Morgan walked over to a shallow pit and looked down. Long, tubular objects lay at the bottom like scattered pipes. Could they be bones?

She knelt and leaned over for a closer look. Near the edge of the pit she saw a tiny spot of green. “Michelle, would you please bring me the tweezers?”

“Here.” Michelle handed her the foot-long instrument.

Morgan grasped the green object with her tongs and lifted it up in the pale light of the Martian afternoon. The end of the tongs held a ring.”

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Bonnie Vaughan became fascinated with space travel when the first lunar lander took off from the moon, a feat she had thought was impossible. As the author of numerous newspaper and magazine articles, her most exciting interview was with Colonel Al Worden, pilot of the Apollo 15 command module, who told her how fragile the Earth looked from a distance. A journalism degree from San Jose State University landed her a job as an award-winning technical writer, including an Award of Distinguished Technical Communication from the Society for Technical Communication in 2013. She has authored many software books for Silicon Valley companies and writes her own science fiction stories on weekends, at home in San Jose, California.

Visit her website at www.bonniegvaughan.com.

T’was The Night Before The Zombie Apocalypse

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Greetings and Salutations,

This is the last Friday before Christmas so I’m re posting my version of The Night Before Christmas. It is in the name of fun, so enjoy.

On a serious note, remember we are celebrating the birth of our Savior. So be a little more patient, a little more forgiving, and a little more loving.

 THE NIGHT BEFORE THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE

T’was the night before Christmas when all through our shelter,

Not a creature was stirring, not even the smelter.

The mac-tens were hung by the chimney with care,

For the undead horde that soon would so

The guard dogs were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of raw meat danced in their heads.

Mom and her uzi and I with my launcher,

Had just settled down to plan for the slaughter.

When out on the lawn there arose such a racket,

I leaped from the bunker and put my jacket.

Grabbing my Kevlar I flew like a flash,

Turned on the search lights looking aghast.

The lights on the breast of the new fallen dead,

Gave luster of midday to zombies in red.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh, and eight zombie reindeer.

The driver was quick, his head wrapped in gauze,

I knew in a snap it was Zombie Clause.

More rapid than missiles his coursers they came,

He grunted and slobbered, and called them by name.

“Now, Femur! Now, Sacrum! now, Kidney! and Bicep,

On, Liver! On, Stomach! On, Colon and Tricep.

To the top of the porch and over barbed wire!

Now dash away! Dash away! Far from the fire!”

Above all the landmines and away from the moat,

They went higher and higher like some flying boat.

So up to the lookout the reindeer they flew,

With a sleigh full of entrails, and Zombie Clause, too.

And then in a twinkling I heard on the roof,

The prancing and pawing of each rotting hoof.

I switched off the safety and pulled back the hammer,

Down the chimney came Zombie with quite a clamor.

He was dressed all in fur from head to the floor,

And his clothes were all bloody and splattered with gore.

A bundle of severed limbs on his back,

He sat himself down to have a late snack.

His eyes—they were sunken, his flesh was so pale,

His nose was held on with a bright shiny nail.

The stump of a leg he held tight in his teeth,

As I pulled my new sword clear of its sheath.

He was rotten and putrid but looked quite surprised,

As I sliced off his arm and poked out his eyes.

He ran to the chimney forgetting his snack,

So I picked up my shotgun and gave him a whack.

Sticking a finger far up his nose,

Giving a nod up the chimney he rose.

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all flew like the led from my pistol.

I heard Zombie moan, as he flew through the night,

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good bite.

To You and Yours,

Have a Scary Christmas and a Happy Ghoul Year

Dave Benneman

Under the holiday anthology lights, it’s Debbie Christiana’s turn! THINGS THAT GO BUMP FOR THE HOLIDAYS #anthology #PNR #BOB @DebChristiana

We’re almost done spotlighting our holiday anthology contributors for THINGS THAT GO BUMP FOR THE HOLIDAYS,  which, I know you now have your copy of. (If not, stop everything you’re doing and go get it!)

Today’s guest is Debbie Christiana and she braved the slushy mud trails and the icy drips from our surrounding swamp trees to bring us a peek into Spooky Millane’s world, with MAKING SPIRITS BRIGHT.

3D Paranormal Anthology

Making Spirits Bright–A Spookie Millane Holiday Short Story

By Debbie Christiana

Their touch is invisible but I know they’re near.

I’m not psychic nor do I see dead people. My visitors are what I affectionately refer to as the nearly departed. Those souls who come to me in the hours before their death for help to finish something they have run out of time to accomplish.

How is part of their life essence able to leave and appear to me while they are still alive? I couldn’t say. I have no formal knowledge of the metaphysical and intend to keep it that way. Blessing or burden, it’s my fate in life and I don’t question why.

Along with any otherworldly guests I may have today, I’m excited to meet with Jocelyn Jordan, a psychic paranormal investigator and filmmaker. When I received her hand-written letter asking for an interview, I was intrigued. In this day of emails a posted letter is odd and she described in detail her visions of my unusual talent. As private as I am about my skill, it’s a lonely existence. I sometimes ache to talk to someone who might understand.

The clock chimes two forty-five. Fifteen minutes until she arrives. I’m a bit perplexed at what to do. I rarely entertain actual people.

The nice thing about the almost dead is their simplicity. They don’t care that I prefer to dress in gothic style, that Halloween is my favorite holiday or if my house is clean. The other side of the coin is they don’t make appointments, often appear at importune times and have issues with personal space.

My humble abode reflects the festive time of the year. A small Christmas tree is lit near the fireplace and the alluring aroma of frankincense and myrrh swirls around the room. My life size Jack Skellington, dressed as Santa Claus, and his love, Sally the ragdoll, are positioned under the mistletoe by the door. Their dog, Zero is at their side, his jack-o-lantern nose glowing bright

In the kitchen I turn the teapot on and place gingerbread cookies on a plate. I take out two of my favorite holiday mugs. One with a black and white picture of Morticia and Gomez Addams decorating their dead Christmas tree, the other with a headshot of Lurch dressed as Santa Claus. I keep Lurch for myself.

I’m ready.

Then I feel the familiar tingle down my spine.

I know you want more, especially since you’ve devoured THINGS THAT GO BUMP FOR THE HOLIDAYS, so here are some very tasty tidbits to add to your reading pile:

SOLSTICE–on sale for 99 cents until Dec. 31st, 2013!

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Time is running out for Armend Zogu. The 250-year-old family curse on his head will claim his life on his 30th birthday, the winter solstice.

Sofia Palmalosi might be just the Strega who can save him. A descendant of a long line of powerful Italian witches, her family’s magic was a gift from the Goddess Diana.

Together Sofia and Armend embark on a journey from New York, to Sicily and the ancient ruins of Diana’s temple, and back to New York, all the while fighting a battle of magic and wits with a psychopath who wants them both dead and the curse intact.

If the curse doesn’t kill Armend, breaking it just might.

Pick up your copy of SOLSTICE from AMAZON or BLACK OPAL BOOKS

TWIN FLAMES

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She’d never met him before…or had she?

The last thing forty-year old Natalia Santagario expected was to be sitting on a Manhattan barstool ogling a man she’s never met, but swears she knows.

He didn’t know her at all…or did her?

The mysterious dark-haired woman at the end of the bar stops twenty-eight year old Marc Tremonti in his tracks. His head assures him she’s a stranger, but his heart tells him otherwise.

Together they embark on an adventure that will change their lives forever.

Their attraction instant and enigmatic, they undergo past life regression and discover that, not only have they spent hundreds of lives together as lovers, Natalia holds the secret to Marc’s puzzling birthmark.

But what should have been a joyful reunion is complicated by a kind, albeit confused, almost ex-wife, an unfortunate accident in a taxicab, and a bout of temporary amnesia that threatens to ruin everything. On top of all that, they must contend with a mischievious ghost from their past.

What else could possibly go wrong?

Buy your copy of TWIN FLAMES at AMAZON or at  BLACK OPAL BOOKS

Debbie Christiana loves to read and write about mysteries, unusual love stories and things that go bump in the night. She’s been fortunate to publish two novels, Twin Flames, a paranormal romance and the romantic suspense, Solstice, with Black Opal Books. Forever Flames, A Twin Flames Novella will be out in 2014. She also has published two dark fiction short stories in The Ten Tales anthology series. Debbie is a member of RWA, her local RWA chapter and the International Thrillers Writers, Inc. She lives in Connecticut with her husband and three children.

You can find her:

WEB: www.debbiechristiana.com

BLOG: www.debbiechristiana.com/blog

Twitter @DebChristiana

Facebook: Debbie Christiana, Author

A Season for Rambling

And so it begins…

This is my favorite season of the year. Maybe because I live in a place that’s nearly always hot. I love anything that isn’t sunshine, especially rain, but cold is a nice change too. Sometimes I dream of snow. I’ve only seen it a handful of times in my life, but in my dreams, it’s always so clear. But it isn’t just the cold, or the dreams of snow, it’s the changes in life this time of year. People behave differently, sometimes for the better, and sometimes for the worse.

I listen to Christmas music, sometimes a month before the big day. The songs are familiar and comforting. They bring back happy memories. And with each year, Christmas becomes even more special. I thought not being a child anymore would take away from the magic of this holiday, but in fact, it’s even more magical when you are preparing for your own children.

Traditions both old and new come together to create a sort of magic that almost jingles in my ears. As I talk about all the things to come, I find it easier and easier to see it all through the wonder of a child’s eyes.

So this time of year brings about an array of thoughts and emotions that string together to make only a bit of sense, but a lot of fun. I’ll leave my tree up long past a fashionable time. People will look at it quizzedly, wondering if I just haven’t had the time. But I’ll smile, and give some excuse, while all the while convincing myself that the holidays can stay as long as the tree remains.

Can you keep a holiday secret w/ @khlemoyne and THINGS THAT GO BUMP FOR THE HOLIDAYS? If so, you could win! #holidays #anthology #giveaway #BOB

It’s almost here! THINGS THAT GO BUMP FOR THE HOLIDAYS hits shelves TODAY, Dec. 14th! We wanted to get you ready for the release and today we have KH LeMoyne with us and she sharing, but shhh! don’t scream about it too loud, we don’t want to scare everyone away! Besides, you don’t want everyone to know what an awesome gift you’re picking up this year. 

((sigh)) Never mind, go ahead and tell everyone one….please!

3D Paranormal Anthology

Jami, thank you for having me on your blog. I’m thrilled to be in the Things That Go Bump For the Holidays anthology with you and so many other wonderful writers.

My contribution in the anthology, Heart Strings, is a follow-on short story with the characters from my first Portals of Destiny book, Return of the Legacy. For those of you who can commiserate with the difficulty of buy gifts and keeping secrets from your loved ones during the holidays, the task takes on a new level of difficulty in a family of gifted empaths and mystics.

Here’s an excerpt from Return of the Legacy to whet your appetite:

A glint of steel flickered in the shadowed dusk.

“What’s your business here?”

Logan shifted his eyes to make out the owner of the deep rasping voice. He slid his hand higher to palm the child’s head and shield her.

The sword was fisted in the hands of one short, but solid, old man, white hair plastered to his head. Fierce eyes challenged Logan’s, urging him to make a wrong move. Logan had no doubt a mistake now would end his life. Practiced calm seeped through him and froze him in place.

“Logan.” Robert moved closer, but a sword blade from a second person motioned him silent. Robert sank to his knees beside Logan, hands raised in submission in an attempt to defuse the aggression and take the brunt of the attention.

The position would make no difference. Robert was as deadly on his knees as he was on his feet. So was Logan if the protection of the fragile child hadn’t come first.

“There’s no need to hurt anybody.” Logan’s voice stayed calm and low. “We’re no threat.”

“That’s not for you to determine,” the older man rasped.

Logan moved his second hand from the anchor of the rock to the sling.

“Hefin, there’s a child.”

The deep, sultry voice drew Logan’s gaze to the woman’s face. His eyes narrowed. He moved back as she reached toward him, but the sword stopped his movement. Slender long fingers touched the sling with a gentle touch. They paused to cover Logan’s hand on the child’s head, and then retreated. Beneath her hood, he saw the outline of full lips and high cheekbones. Recognition struck a blaze through his body in spite of the wet and cold.

“Stay back from them, Briallen. They’re likely Vandals. Or scouts.”

Her hood feel back. Almond shaped eyes widened before her delicate brows drew together in puzzlement. “No, they are not.”

Ignoring the rivulets from rain that streamed down his face and the sword at his neck Logan met her gaze. “The girl is very sick. She needs a dry, warm place and some medical attention.”

Her hand gently pushed aside the blade at Logan’s throat. “Hefin, there is no harm here.”

Want more? I know you do! Check out her Amazon Author Page for all her titles. We’re going to share her Return of the Legacy:

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Three magical dimensions…Two mystical bloodlines…One undeniable destiny.

Born a magical empath, Logan MacKenzie has spent his life protecting his family from discovery. Evil has found them anyway. What begins as Logan’s search for answers on Earth becomes a race for survival in the magical dimension of Loci.

The battle to save those he cares about will reveal his true lineage—the bloodline of the Makir, one half of a pair of sentinels chosen to guard the mystical portals between dimensions. The price of his acceptance: a love he never imagined possible and a heartbreaking choice.

Her family attacked, her home destroyed, and now stranded on Loci, Briallen of Tir Thar, descendant of a magical race, has only to summon the power within her to return to her own dimension—or so she had hoped. Unfortunately, her powers aren’t cooperating, and the sorcerer bent on her family’s destruction will stop at nothing to possess her.

Raised without knowledge of the portals, the Makir guardians, or her own destiny, Bri takes a leap of faith in an alliance with Logan. Embracing an uncertain power and accepting his goals as hers offers her the only way home. If they fail, the consequences of allowing the portals to fall to evil are unthinkable—the destruction of every magical dimension throughout space.

Or for those who want a little more pulse pounding excitement, check out her Dragon Rider’s Gift:
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Three souls. Two hearts. One courageous calling.

Roark of Nedres spent his life absorbing lore, legend, and rumor to claim his dragon beast in order to save his people. Nothing has prepared him for the ultimate bond fate will demand.

Princess Nira Meriel Estar was born with the power of prophecy. Her most recent vision forecasts a dire fate for her people, promises few answers, and will deliver the country of Fyrhall a victorious future or crushing defeat. 

Kraz, an ancient dragon of mythical power and knowledge, has eluded capture for a thousand years. However, only a dragon of great wisdom would consider an eternal bond to his warrior rider to save his dragon race.

I bet you want your own copy of Return of the Legacy, or Things that Go Bump for the Holidays, or maybe even, Dragon Rider’s Gift?

Good, because KH is going to share one AMAZON or B&N copy of one of these with one of our lucky commenters.  Just tell us, do you like:

variety (Things that Go Bump for the Holidays)

a tale that tugs on your emotional strings  (Return of the Legacy)

 a fantastical tale of mythical proportions (Dragon Rider’s Gift)? 

Indicate your preference: VARIETY, EMOTIONAL, or FANTASTICAL, but don’t forget your email* so we can shower gifts on December 16th !

*we’ll only use your email for gifting, we promise not to send you a plethora of joke emails or newsletters

 KH LeMoyne 

KH LeMoyne left behind a career as technology specialist and now lives in Maryland with her family and two corgis. Her love of things mystical and magical keeps her writing, with characters who fight for never-ending love against insurmountable odds. Well, that and occasionally she gets to write about elves, dragons, immortals, and shifters. You can find Kate on the web at: www.khlemoyne.com, her blog: www.fantasypoweredbylove.com  and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/khlemoyneauthor

Put your hands together for our master of thrill–John R. Beyer…THINGS THAT GO BUMP FOR THE HOLIDAYS spotlight #anthology #BlackOpal #thriller

It’s getting closer…that soft shuffle of pages, the tantalizing scent of fresh ink, yes, THINGS THAT GO BUMP FOR THE HOLIDAYS is coming in FOUR days!

Our next guess is debut author, John R. Beyer. A storyteller of thrills and chills, his debut novel, HUNTED, flew the coop in May 2013.

His piece, WINGS OF CHANGE, is part of  our holiday anthology, THINGS THAT GO BUMP FOR THE HOLIDAYS, and will bring forth your goosebumps.

Wings of Change’ –  By John R. Beyer

He believed there might be a second chance at a new beginning with the woman he loved. It took a tragic accident to test that belief to its limit and to shed light on the question: What future lies beyond the grave?

3D Paranormal Anthology

John was nice enough to share a small peek into his novel, HUNTED (available now!)…

A killer without remorse, burning with pride, and having the time of his life, Zachary Marshall is unstoppable – until Detective Jonas Peters unexpectedly arrives in the midst of one of Marshall’s heinous crimes. After a bank robber goes from bad to worse and leaves three dead – including a little girl – Marshall finds himself the target of the most intensive manhunt Riverside, California, has ever witnessed.

Detective Peters becomes frustrated and half-crazed as the case falters due to lack of clues and evidence. Ordered to take a vacation from the the department, before he drives all the other detectives crazy with his constant tirades, he heads to his sister’s in Arizona. But an innocent remark to the media changed the entire scenario – and now the hunter has become the hunted.

Hunted J. Beyer

PROLOGUE
The pock face man sauntered up to the boy who was filling the gas tank on an ’eighty-six, baby blue Ford Mustang.

“Hey, kid, need any help with that?”

With a look of disgust, the baggy-trousered youth ignored the older man, who stood only a few feet away, and kept his eyes on the nozzle he held in his hand.

“Ain’t nice to ignore people, son,” returned the man with a grin in his voice.

“Listen, old man,” started the teenager as he completed draining the last drop of regular unleaded from the hose in his hand. He hated adults who thought they could tell kids how to do things. Didn’t this old fart know he belonged to a gang? One more word from the wino and he would let him have it. “I don’t need—”

“That’s right, boy,” continued the man, now standing dangerously close to the youth. “You just keep your goddamn mouth shut. I’m gonna borrow your car for a little job, and, if you is a good little asshole, I may let you live. Get in and slide over to the passenger’s seat.”

Fear shot through the boy as he stared down the barrel of a large-caliber handgun in the stranger’s hand. He could not move. He could barely breathe, let alone think.

Replacing the fuel hose, the boy gingerly stepped in front of the larger man and entered the vehicle through the driver’s-side door. He thought about jumping out the passenger side, but then he realized this stranger wasn’t fooling around. The boy knew he’d be dead before he got a chance to grab the door handle. He could tell from the look in the man’s eyes. This guy wasn’t sane. Lifeless, cold eyes stared right at him and sent chills down his spine. The boy was scared, truly frightened. This man was one serious badass.

The gunman tossed a large brown duffel bag into the rear seat. He pushed in beside the boy, settled himself behind the wheel, and started the Mustang. Slowly, he drove out of the ARCO gas station.

“I noticed you have one of those No Fear stickers on your rear window.” The man smiled as he turned onto the main roadway. “Is it true?”

“W–what?” the youth stuttered, badly shaken.

“Are you stupid as well as ugly, kid? Don’t you fear nothing?”

“I–I–”

“I bet you peed your pants already.” The man laughed as he turned north onto De Anza Avenue. “You shitheads with those stickers. You go out and skateboard or ride your silly-assed, off-road bikes and think you’re some sort of brave men. You all are nothing but a bunch of weekend weenies. Shit, you’re probably scared of the dark, ain’t you? With your pants hanging below your ass you gotta be some kind of queer or one of those big bad gangstas those niggers are always singing about. Pukin’ sissies!”

He was scared. Out-of-his-mind scared. “Mister, what do you want?”

“Nothing, now,” the driver answered calmly. “I got what I wanted. I got me a car and a young boy.”

“Oh, Jesus.” The youth suddenly felt sick to his stomach and started to reach for the door handle beside him. He stopped as the barrel of the man’s revolver pressed into his left temple.

“That would be real stupid,” the man whispered as he turned into a strip mall parking lot, drove behind the businesses, and slowed the car to a stop. “This is where you get out.”

The young man was suddenly shaking as he realized this nightmare was almost over. “You’re letting me go?”

“What’d ya think I was gonna do? Break your cherry?” The man stopped talking and pointed to a dumpster tucked up into a narrow alleyway behind a small Mom and Pop Liquor store. “Get out and climb into that dumpster. If you stay there until you hear me drive away, you’ll live. If you don’t…well, I guess you won’t.”

The boy didn’t hesitate as he jumped from the car and made it over the side of the dumpster in one tall leap. Quickly, he burrowed down into the trash, trying to put as much distance between him and the carjacker as possible. His heart suddenly skipped a beat as he heard the Mustang’s door open. “Don’t worry, kid. I gotta take a leak.”

There was silence and then the unmistakable sound of approaching footsteps on blacktop.

“Hey, boy! Fear this!”

The youth looked up and saw the barrel of the stranger’s gun pointing directly at his head. It was the last thing he saw.

The man shot the youth twice in the face. “Not bad, boy—very little noise, and it’ll be a while before they find you in the trash.”

The killer looked around, shrugged his muscular shoulders when he realized no one had come to investigate, and walked back to the dead teenager’s car. “No fear.” He chuckled to himself as he pushed the revolver beneath the driver’s seat.

“Fuck him.”

CHAPTER 1

April Phillips glanced right, left, and then right again before she stepped off the southwest corner of Central Avenue and Riverside Drive and into the crosswalk. Her parents always warned her and she always remembered. Hadn’t Sammy Mathews been run over last summer because he had darted into the traffic lanes without even taking a look for oncoming vehicles? April was a smart girl. Everyone told her so and she liked hearing it.

Staying between the two wide yellow lines painted on the asphalt, April walked her bicycle across the busy street. A red truck slowed to a stop and the driver smiled at the twelve-year-old girl in the crosswalk. April wanted to smile or wave back but, again, the advice of her parents sprang to her memory and she didn’t dare.

“Never get involved with strangers,” her mother had told her time and time again.

She always followed that advice. Safely on the other side of the street, April lifted her little pink BMX up onto the sidewalk and started riding west down the cement path toward Riverside Plaza.

April was very excited this morning. She had one hundred and forty-two dollars in the left front pocket of her jeans, which she planned on depositing into the Citibank located near her home on Laura Lane. First, of course, she had to open an account. But she had her parents’ permission and knew they were proud of her. She had done a good job saving that money from the small, around-the-house chores she did every week. She was still too young to do any serious baby-sitting, but in a year or two she would get all the sitting jobs she wanted, and then the savings would really start to grow.

Slowing the BMX as she approached the bank, April took a couple of deep breaths to calm herself. Then she slowly climbed off the brightly-painted bicycle and locked it to a steel rack by the front door. Patting the money safely tucked into her pocket, she pushed open the heavy glass door and walked into the foyer of the bank.

Today was the day. She was going to be an investor.

Want more? I bet you do, and I know where you can get more for your fix…

AMAZON       Black Opal Books       Barnes & Noble    Smashwords

photo 1

John R. Beyer Ed.D. spent nearly a decade in a Southern California law enforcement agency dividing his time between street patrol and as a member of the elite Special Weapons Assault Team (SWAT). Moving from law enforcement he has spent two decades in public education as classroom teacher and administrator. He is currently the founder and head-writer for J & L Research and Exploration blog and spends any free time traveling nationally and internationally with his spouse, Laureen, for the next ‘big’ blog. Being a native Californian he lives on a small ranch in the High Desert near the rural town of Phelan. His next novel, ‘Soft Target’ will be released in 2014.

It’s Melissa Groeling’s turn under the spotlight for THINGS THAT GO BUMP FOR THE HOLIDAYS… #holiday #anthology #PNR @stringbean10

We’re continuing our journey with the awesome sauce of Black Opal authors and their upcoming THINGS THAT GO BUMP FOR THE HOLIDAYS anthology coming December 14th!

And up next is the creative, mad genius, Melissa Groeling.  Not only did she contribute to the anthology, but she has a book coming out in TWO DAYS! Yes, indeed, her thriller LIGHTS OUT is hitting shelves on December 7th..

but before we let you in on what’s hiding in the dark, let’s get a taste of what’s in store for the holidays…

3D Paranormal Anthology

Jami! How are you? Hope you’ve recuperated from a weekend of munching, drinking, munching…and did I mention the munching? I’ve finally managed to pull myself out of my apple-pie coma to share with you the awesomeness that comes with sharing pages with some truly amazing authors from Black Opal Books! It’s a double whammy because not only do I get to partake in the Things That Go Bump for the Holidays anthology but I also get to take up some space right here on Jami Gray’s blog!

My short story in the anthology is called, The Ghost of Christmas Present. It centers on Colin who’s always been good at keeping secrets…until one comes back to haunt him…literally. Here’s a little bit to get the blood flowing:

He moved farther in, away from the comforting safety of daylight. The door slammed shut behind him, throwing him into complete blackness. Swearing under his breath, he backtracked, fumbling for the doorknob. When his fingers touched nothing but empty air, a funny skittering sensation went through his chest. He knew he wasn’t that far away from the entrance—

Something moved behind him. Startled, he turned to find a door opening. It swung outward, stopping about halfway so that it hid the threshold. But it threw a gratifying amount of soft, yellow light across the concrete floor.

Spooky, aren’t we? Colin thought sarcastically.

He waited for someone to appear, to welcome him in. When no one did, he went toward it but stopped, his eyes drawn to the giant puddle of shadows farther down the hallway.

“I assure you, there’s nobody here but us.”

Colin jumped at the voice that came from inside that softly-lit room. It was raspy but weirdly melodic like those sand dunes that sang in Death Valley. It was curious, urging him forward until he was abruptly warned, “State your business.”

He stopped. “Excuse me?”

“State your business.”

“I’d rather not from the hallway.”

“No one comes in here unless their minds are open to the possibility.”

He sneered. “I’m not here for a reading, ma’am. I’m here because my girlfriend comes to see you a few times a week. You may know her—”

“Julia.”

Colin blinked. “I have a gift idea for her and I wanted to ask you—”

“Why would you need my help to propose to her?”

He licked his lips. Lucky guesses, he told himself vehemently. That’s all they are.

“Who said anything about proposing?” he snapped.

There was a small pause. “Bring her by the day after Christmas. Around two. I will help you.”

He clenched his jaw. “Fine.”

“And be prepared. Your life is about to change.”

*Shivers* You have to pick up our collection of Paranormal shorts, you’ll never look at the holidays the same way.

If that little taste makes you crave more, never fear, you can pick up LIGHTS OUT, coming Dec. 7th.

Lights out

Even when the lights are out, he can still see you…

Paul Holten’s profession doesn’t leave much room for doubt or conscience but he’s reaching his breaking point. The nightmares are getting worse, the jobs are getting harder to finish and the volatile relationship with his boss, Aaron, is falling apart. Now faced with the possibility of an impending death sentence, Paul makes the fatal decision to run. Drawn into one hellish situation after another, he’s forced to confront his dark past—and wonder if perhaps dying isn’t the better option.

Melissa has even more creative tales for your enjoyment. You can pick up her YA thriller, TRAFFIC JAM now!

Traffic

When you’re caught in traffic, you’ve got nowhere to go…

Val Delton’s life is spiraling and there’s nothing she can do to stop it. Her dad lost his job, her mom works fourteen hour days to pay the bills and yet somehow there are high-end shopping bags and an iPod in her older sister’s room. Naturally, Val becomes suspicious but her sister’s lips are sealed. Then by accident, she uncovers a dark, dangerous secret hidden behind her sister’s bright smiles and cool indifference. Val has no idea how far and how deep the repercussions of her sister’s secret will reach but she’ll do whatever it takes to keep her family safe. Will she succeed before her sister’s secret destroys everyone she loves?  

AMAZON        GOODREADS        BARNES AND NOBLE         SMASHWORDS          DOYLESTOWN BOOKSHOP

Authorpic

Melissa Groeling graduated from Bloomsburg University with a degree in English. She lives, reads and writes in the Philadelphia region and wherever else life happens to send her. She is a hardcore New York Giants fan and loves chocolate. Traffic Jam is her first young adult novel.

Come find me at Facebook!

Twitter: @stringbean10

Blog: http://melissagroeling.blogspot.com

 

THINGS THAT GO BUMP FOR THE HOLIDAYS Welcomes Liv Rancourt to the stage… #holidayreads @livrancourt #anthology #paranormal

How was everyone’s Turkey Day? Good? Feeling well fed and lazy? Great! Because it means you’re our captive audience for our next author spotlight.

Today, our visitor from our soon to be released anthology: Things That Go Bump for the Holidays (coming Dec. 14th), is none other than LIV RANCOURT!

You’ll have to excuse all the squees of delight, as Liv gets settled in. There are so many great authors in this anthology, I think our crowd will be hoarse by the end of our spotlight runs. 

Without further ado, I give you–Liv….

3D Paranormal Anthology

Thanks so much for having me as a guest on your blog, Jami! I’m seriously looking forward to December 14th, because I can’t wait to get my hands on Things That Go Bump For The Holidays. Being in an anthology with you and with all the other great Black Opal Books authors is such a thrill! And I know I sound like I finish every sentence with an exclamation point, but for real, I’m excited about this.

😉

My contribution to the anthology, God Rest Ye Merry Vampires, is a bit of a different spin for me. Last spring I did a bunch of research on early 20th century Seattle for a day-job-related project, and it just seemed like the most natural thing in the world to apply some of that research to my fiction. And, because of the way my brain works, vampires had to be involved.

So here’s a snippet from God Rest Ye Merry Vampires, my historical/paranormal holiday tale. I hope you enjoy it, and that you have a very merry holiday season!

Liv

                  Snowflakes the size of nickel coins melted as soon as they hit the street. Clydie wiped away a bit more of the frost that edged the perimeter of each pane of glass, hoping to find a different view. It must not snow tonight, Christmas Eve. Howard’s train would arrive soon, and she had to get to Seattle’s King Street Station to meet him.

Clydie moved away from the window, her steps small and careful, hindered by her narrow, hobble skirt. Walking any distance required patience, a quality she rarely exercised, but she loved the silken drape of the burgundy velvet as it tapered from her knees to her ankles. Tiny, seed beads edged the cap sleeves and daring neckline, and her hair had been turned into a crown of soft curls held in place by a gold band. She not only had to find a way to get to the train station, she had to do it without ruining her hair and dress. James, her father’s driver, held the key to her success in more ways than one.

The public areas of the house were trimmed with pine garland, candlelight, and a calm anticipation of the event to come. Two years ago, when they moved into their grand new house near Volunteer Park, Mother had declared the décor would reflect modern principles of efficiency and cleanliness. Her comfortably cluttered Christmas decorations, ruby-toned glass ornaments, holly wreaths, and swaths of greenery, undermined those principles. Mother would dim the electric lights when the guests arrived, wrapping everyone in candlelight’s honeyed glow.

Heel, toe, patience, patience. Clydie kept up a whispered chant as she minced through the main rooms, looking for James. Nerves twisted under her breastbone like otters at play, sliding and tangling and popping up where she least expected them.

“My dear, come help,” Mother said from the grand stairway, holding out a taper. Mother looked wonderful, her hair piled high, her cream silk and lace gown a nearly perfect copy of one made by the House of Worth.

Clydie tucked her hands behind her back. “I’m looking for James.”

“Why?”

“The candelabra in the dining room is tilted, and I can’t reach it.” Clydie kept her expression sincere, though she hadn’t seen the dining room since breakfast. Likely the candelabra had been hung with greens, and perhaps some had come loose and knocked it askew.

“Maybe I can help.”

Clydie whirled around, catching her balance on one of the small side tables strewn around the perimeter of the room. Lucas Bail stepped out of the shadows.

“Oh.” She gulped down her surprise, willing her heart beat to slow down. Her father’s handsome assistant made her nervous for more reasons than his uncanny ability to appear out of nowhere. “Of course.”

Lucas wore his hair somewhat longer than the latest fashion, and whenever she saw him she wanted to brush the loosely curled lengths away from his face. His neat beard suggested an earlier time, adding a subtle hint of mystery. Keeping her chant in mind, she forced a calm over her booming heart and led the way into the dining room. Her shortened stride made her hips swing, and under different circumstances she might have enjoyed giving him the opportunity to notice.

The dining room smelled heavily of the pine branches draped over the candelabra. Of course it wasn’t tilted. Clydie kept up the bluff, straightening to her full height and imitating her mother’s imperious tone. “I’m sorry for interrupting your work, Mr. Bail. James must have already attended to it.”

He raised a single eyebrow, the only indication he might not quite believe her story. “Of course.”

Even when she stood tall in her kitten heeled slippers, he towered over her. His eyes unnerved her, tonight more-so than normal. During the day, he wore smoke-colored spectacles, however in candlelight, his eyes were a deep amber brown, and he examined her as if he could peel away her burgundy velvet dress.

“I do apologize. I’ll just go help Mother.” With all the grace she could muster she brushed past him, heading towards the door.

You want more don’t you, greedy boys and girls? Good, because you can pick up some of Liv’s titles now, just to whet your appetite.  Check out her page at Amazon then pick up some awesome appetizers.

Forever Vamp's Deligh

Come meet Liv:

Liv_5

Liv Rancourt writes paranormal and romance, often at the same time. She lives with her husband, two teenagers, two cats and one wayward puppy. She likes to create stories that have happy endings, and finds it is a good way to balance her other job in the neonatal intensive care unit. Liv can be found on-line at her website (http://www.livrancourt.com), her blog (www.livrancourt.com/blog), on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/liv.rancourt), or on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/LivRancourt). 
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