• 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

Need new read? It’s HERE! HUNTED BY THE PAST has arrived! #newread #PNR

The first in an exciting new Paranormal Romantic Suspense series-HUNTED BY THE PAST is now available from Muse It Up Publishing

When facing danger, some situations require a unique skill set. Come meet the men and women of the Psy-IV Teams…

huntedbythepast

HUNTED BY THE PAST: PSY-IV Teams book 1

Sometimes death is the only way to out run the past… 

A reluctant psychic who can relive the past, a man well versed in keeping secrets, and a psychopathic killer enter a deadly game where the past determines the future.

Changing the past is an impossibility ex-Marine, Cynthia “Cyn” Arden, understands all too well. Struggling in the aftermath of a botched mission, which cost her two teammates, her military career, and a fledging relationship, she’s brought home by a panicked phone call. The psychic killer behind her nightmares has escaped military custody to hunt down the remaining teammates, one by one. Next on his murderous list–Cyn. Her only chance at survival is to master the psychic ability she’s spent years denying.

The killer’s game brings her face to face with the one person guaranteed to throw her off kilter—the unsettling and distracting man she left behind, Kayden Shaw. Once she believed he’d stand by her side, until he chose his job and his secrets over her. A choice that’s left the scars of the past etched deep on her mind and heart.

To survive this twisted game, Cyn must risk trusting her heart and accepting who and what she is, or lose not only her life, but the man she loves.

Available at:  MUSEITUP Publishing  in all digital formats!

READ AN EXCERPT

Since I didn’t want to touch him, much, I poked a finger against his chest, ignoring the unexpected zap of awareness. “I don’t know how you found me or why, but right now I have other, more important things to do. So, why don’t–”

The ringing of the phone interrupted my tirade.

I shot a look at the phone sitting on the counter to our left, and then narrowed my gaze at Kayden.

He quirked an eyebrow.

The phone rang again.

“You going to answer it?” he drawled.

Stepping back, I plucked the receiver off the cradle. “Hello?”

“Cyn?” What do you know, it was Thomas Anderson Gunderson, A.K.A. Tag.

I stared at the man standing across from me. “Yeah.”

“Where have you been? And why the hell won’t you answer my calls?” Despite his questions, there was a thread of relief in my friend’s voice. Ex-friend, I reminded myself.

“Why would I?” I gave my answer absently, watching Kayden make his way over to the other side of the counter and take a seat on a barstool.

In my ear, Tag cursed. “Dammit, Cyn. I don’t have time to explain shit now— ”

“Why are you calling me?” I cut him off, ice coating every word.

“Why are you in Sedona?” he shot back, his voice hard.

“I’m more concerned with how you got this number and why everyone seems determined to turn my cabin in to Grand Central Station.”

Momentary silence filled the line. “Shaw’s there?”

“Got it in one.”

“Thank God,” Tag muttered. “Be as bitchy as you want, Cyn, but tell me you’re okay. You ran away—”

“I didn’t run from shit, Tag, I was kicked to the fucking curb as soon as you and everyone else got what you wanted.”

“That’s not what happened.”

“Really? Because from where I stood, it sure as hell looked like it.” Silence answered. Turning away from Kayden’s too avid gaze, I tried to regain control so I could kick both of these men back out of my life. “I’m fine, but I’m little busy dealing with my own situation.”

“What kind of situation?” It actually sounded as if he gave a damn.

Closing my eyes, I tried to shove aside the urge to bang my head against a wall at the single minded intensity of the male gender. “My sister is AWOL. Now, can we just focus on why you’re bothering me and Kayden has decided to pursue a career in B&E?”

“How long has Kelsey been missing?”

The urgent note underlying Tag’s question reignited my earlier sense of unease, as if there was something bigger at play here. Worry about Kelsey trumped hurt feelings, so I answered. “Not sure, a couple hours maybe. Her car is here.”

The string of oaths spewing over the line from Tag proved no one could swear like a Marine. “Son of mangy bitch,” he muttered, then he took a deep breath. “The cabin’s an hour and half outside of Phoenix?” He didn’t wait for my answer. “I’ll meet you up there. Stay with Kayden.”

“Tag,” his name came out as a warning of my waning patience. My fingers tightened around the phone, and it took an amazing amount of will-power to not share my own colorful vocabulary. “You need to tell me what’s going on. Right. Now.” The last two words emerged around gritted teeth.

“It’s about Flash. His killer is out.” His unexpected answer stabbed deep, drawing blood under my skin. Brutal memories boiled up and I almost missed his, “Stay with Kayden, Cyn.”

The drone of a dial tone filled my ear. My world spun. I concentrated on setting the phone back in the cradle. My legs were doing a great impression of spaghetti noodles, so I let them fold under me and sat on the cool tile. Six months, I’d run as hard, as fast and as far as I could, but in a matter of minutes I was right back where I started, trapped in a never-ending nightmare.

You have to wonder which fickle fate decided to dump everything on me at once. If I ever got my hands on her, I’d beat her to a pulp. Damn, damn, and triple damn!

The past surged, breaking through to rise in a swamping wave of ghostly screams and the stench of burnt flesh. I dug my fingers deep into my thigh muscles in a desperate attempt to stave it off. No such luck. Greedy memories sucked me down.

My kitchen disappeared, replaced by a fetid alley behind a dive in Where-the-fuckistan. Sprawled on the ground, my head spinning with dizzying sickness and my leg screaming with agony, all I could do was watch and listen. Watch the spreading pool of blood and brains seep from Ortega, his sightless eyes staring past me. Listen to the snap and crackle of a raging fire hissed through the night while the smell of burning flesh wrapped around me. Behind me, someone screamed, his wail high-pitched and full of hopeless agony.

I knew that broken voice.

Even as excruciating pain beat inside my skull, I turned my head, recognizing the figure in the midst of the hellish scene. Searing loss, rage, and fear rose to a scream. My mouth opened and the stench coiled down my throat, blocking the air in my chest. No, no, no!

The shocking feel of hands against my face snapped my paralysis, bringing a touch of the present into the past. Desperate to escape, ignoring the pain radiating down my leg and through my head. I struck out, my hand connecting with flesh. “Don’t touch me!”

Harsh breathing filled the air around me. It took a few seconds to realize it was coming from me. A few more before the low soothing voice penetrated the layers of the past. “Come on back, Cyn. You’re safe.”

 

Now available at: MUSEITUP Publishing

 

Jami Gray Small

Jami Gray is the award winning, multi-published author of the Urban Fantasy series, The Kyn Kronicles, and the Paranormal Romantic Suspense series, PSY-IV Teams. Her latest release, SHADOW’S MOON  was a Golden Claddaugh Finalist, and the first in her newest series, HUNTED BY THE PAST, hits shelves in July 2014. She is surrounded by Star Wars obsessed males and a male lab, who masquerades as a floor rug as she plays with the voices in her head.

Come stalk Jami at any of these fine locations:

Website  /  Facebook  /  Twitter  /  Goodreads  /  Google+  /  Amazon 

 

Cover Reveal and pre-order for new PNR series by @JamiGrayAuthor #HuntedByThePast #newrelease #pnr

I’m so excited to share with you the cover for the first in my newest series: Hunted By The Past. It’s hitting shelves July 11th from Muse It Up Publishing. After tormenting my cover artist for weeks with nit picky changes, we have a beautiful new cover to share. Without further ado, may I introduce…Hunted By The Past….

Coming July 11th, the first in an exciting new Paranormal Romantic Suspense series-HUNTED BY THE PAST available from Muse It Up Publishing. From now through end of July, you can pick up your digital copy for $2.99. Don’t wait too long, because come August, it’ll be back to $5.95.

When facing off with danger, some situations require a few more unique skills than most. Come meet the men and women of the Psy-IV Teams…

huntedbythepast

HUNTED BY THE PAST: PSY-IV Teams book 1

Sometimes death is the only way to out run the past… 

A reluctant psychic who can relive the past, a man well versed in keeping secrets, and a psychopathic killer enter a deadly game where the past determines the future.

Changing the past is an impossibility ex-Marine, Cynthia “Cyn” Arden, understands all too well. Struggling in the aftermath of a botched mission, which cost her two teammates, her military career, and a fledging relationship, she’s brought home by a panicked phone call. The psychic killer behind her nightmares has escaped military custody to hunt down the remaining teammates, one by one. Next on his murderous list–Cyn. Her only chance at survival is to master the psychic ability she’s spent years denying.

The killer’s game brings her face to face with the one person guaranteed to throw her off kilter—the unsettling and distracting man she left behind, Kayden Shaw. Once she believed he’d stand by her side, until he chose his job and his secrets over her. A choice that’s left the scars of the past etched deep on her mind and heart.

To survive this twisted game, Cyn must risk trusting her heart and accepting who and what she is, or lose not only her life, but the man she loves.

Now available for pre-order at:  MUSEITUP Publishing

READ AN EXCERPT

Since I didn’t want to touch him, much, I poked a finger against his chest, ignoring the unexpected zap of awareness. “I don’t know how you found me or why, but right now I have other, more important things to do. So, why don’t–”

The ringing of the phone interrupted my tirade.

I shot a look at the phone sitting on the counter to our left, and then narrowed my gaze at Kayden.

He quirked an eyebrow.

The phone rang again.

“You going to answer it?” he drawled.

Stepping back, I plucked the receiver off the cradle. “Hello?”

“Cyn?” What do you know, it was Thomas Anderson Gunderson, A.K.A. Tag.

I stared at the man standing across from me. “Yeah.”

“Where have you been? And why the hell won’t you answer my calls?” Despite his questions, there was a thread of relief in my friend’s voice. Ex-friend, I reminded myself.

“Why would I?” I gave my answer absently, watching Kayden make his way over to the other side of the counter and take a seat on a barstool.

In my ear, Tag cursed. “Dammit, Cyn. I don’t have time to explain shit now— ”

“Why are you calling me?” I cut him off, ice coating every word.

“Why are you in Sedona?” he shot back, his voice hard.

“I’m more concerned with how you got this number and why everyone seems determined to turn my cabin in to Grand Central Station.”

Momentary silence filled the line. “Shaw’s there?”

“Got it in one.”

“Thank God,” Tag muttered. “Be as bitchy as you want, Cyn, but tell me you’re okay. You ran away—”

“I didn’t run from shit, Tag, I was kicked to the fucking curb as soon as you and everyone else got what you wanted.”

“That’s not what happened.”

“Really? Because from where I stood, it sure as hell looked like it.” Silence answered. Turning away from Kayden’s too avid gaze, I tried to regain control so I could kick both of these men back out of my life. “I’m fine, but I’m little busy dealing with my own situation.”

“What kind of situation?” It actually sounded as if he gave a damn.

Closing my eyes, I tried to shove aside the urge to bang my head against a wall at the single minded intensity of the male gender. “My sister is AWOL. Now, can we just focus on why you’re bothering me and Kayden has decided to pursue a career in B&E?”

“How long has Kelsey been missing?”

The urgent note underlying Tag’s question reignited my earlier sense of unease, as if there was something bigger at play here. Worry about Kelsey trumped hurt feelings, so I answered. “Not sure, a couple hours maybe. Her car is here.”

The string of oaths spewing over the line from Tag proved no one could swear like a Marine. “Son of mangy bitch,” he muttered, then he took a deep breath. “The cabin’s an hour and half outside of Phoenix?” He didn’t wait for my answer. “I’ll meet you up there. Stay with Kayden.”

“Tag,” his name came out as a warning of my waning patience. My fingers tightened around the phone, and it took an amazing amount of will-power to not share my own colorful vocabulary. “You need to tell me what’s going on. Right. Now.” The last two words emerged around gritted teeth.

“It’s about Flash. His killer is out.” His unexpected answer stabbed deep, drawing blood under my skin. Brutal memories boiled up and I almost missed his, “Stay with Kayden, Cyn.”

The drone of a dial tone filled my ear. My world spun. I concentrated on setting the phone back in the cradle. My legs were doing a great impression of spaghetti noodles, so I let them fold under me and sat on the cool tile. Six months, I’d run as hard, as fast and as far as I could, but in a matter of minutes I was right back where I started, trapped in a never-ending nightmare.

You have to wonder which fickle fate decided to dump everything on me at once. If I ever got my hands on her, I’d beat her to a pulp. Damn, damn, and triple damn!

The past surged, breaking through to rise in a swamping wave of ghostly screams and the stench of burnt flesh. I dug my fingers deep into my thigh muscles in a desperate attempt to stave it off. No such luck. Greedy memories sucked me down.

My kitchen disappeared, replaced by a fetid alley behind a dive in Where-the-fuckistan. Sprawled on the ground, my head spinning with dizzying sickness and my leg screaming with agony, all I could do was watch and listen. Watch the spreading pool of blood and brains seep from Ortega, his sightless eyes staring past me. Listen to the snap and crackle of a raging fire hissed through the night while the smell of burning flesh wrapped around me. Behind me, someone screamed, his wail high-pitched and full of hopeless agony.

I knew that broken voice.

Even as excruciating pain beat inside my skull, I turned my head, recognizing the figure in the midst of the hellish scene. Searing loss, rage, and fear rose to a scream. My mouth opened and the stench coiled down my throat, blocking the air in my chest. No, no, no!

The shocking feel of hands against my face snapped my paralysis, bringing a touch of the present into the past. Desperate to escape, ignoring the pain radiating down my leg and through my head. I struck out, my hand connecting with flesh. “Don’t touch me!”

Harsh breathing filled the air around me. It took a few seconds to realize it was coming from me. A few more before the low soothing voice penetrated the layers of the past. “Come on back, Cyn. You’re safe.”

 

Now available for pre-order at: MUSEITUP Publishing

 

Jami Gray Small

Jami Gray is the award winning, multi-published author of the Urban Fantasy series, The Kyn Kronicles, and the Paranormal Romantic Suspense series, PSY-IV Teams. Her latest release, SHADOW’S MOON  was a Golden Claddaugh Finalist, and the first in her newest series, HUNTED BY THE PAST, hits shelves in July 2014. She is surrounded by Star Wars obsessed males and a male lab, who masquerades as a floor rug as she plays with the voices in her head.

Come stalk Jami at any of these fine locations:

Website  /  Facebook  /  Twitter  /  Goodreads  /  Google+  /  Amazon

 

Timothy Desmond brings THE DOC to the Swamp #suspense #interview

Today, fellow Black Opal author, Timothy Desmond found his way into our Swamp.  He even brought his  Suspense novel, THE DOC (arriving soon), with him. (heh, he may need that doc if Eerie’s Free Range Zombie herd gets riled up again!).

Rifling Of Old Cannon, View On The Inside

 

When a dying friend and fellow Civil War reenactor asks California physician Hank Houston to find his daughter’s killer, Hank has no idea what problems his snooping will cause. The last thing he expected to uncover was a US murder squad being run by the DHS. But this domestic black ops unit is determined not to be exposed and, as Hank gets closer to the truth, he discovers just how far they will go to hide all their dirty little secrets.

EXCERPT:

 

Hank just wouldn’t seem to die—so this time they were going to make sure…

The hospital hallway was quiet, with the exception of the echo of a patient chart being tossed on a desk and crash cart draws being opened and closed. A night nurse checked the current supplies. The cop at the doorway watched as a well-dressed man approach Hank’s room.

“I’m Doctor Terry Graf. I’d like to check on Henry Houston

The cop motioned for him to go into the room.

Hank had just closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep again. He remained asleep as Terry entered the room and removed a syringe from his pocket. The sterile snap of breaking plastic did not disturb Hank, as Terry prepared to inject him. He and Hank had been friends at one time, but this was a necessity. Hank had to go. There could be no loose ends.

This method was so clean. Hank’s nervous system would just go out and, with that, everything would shut down. There would be no pain, just total lights out, like a switch.

Terry kept the syringe pointed up, but hidden from the door, as he picked up Hank’s IV line. He followed the line looking for the piggy-back injection site. But he did not find it. The line led back to a pump on a stand.

He looked at the top of Hank’s hand. Damn. I could inject into the line. No, the pressure increase there will set off the alarm on the pump. Will have to risk waking him and go right into the vein.

Terry saw a shadow move on the wall and turned his head toward the door. A nurse stood there, watching him.

 

COMING SOON TO THESE FINE PLACES:   AMAZON  /  BLACK OPAL BOOKS  /  KOBO  /  BARNES AND NOBLE  /  ARe

 

Without much further ado, let’s just get into the nitty, gritty of Timothy’s psyche, shall we?

If you were to hold a dinner party for six, who would you invite and share at least one question you would have for each?

  • Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain – Did you ever meet California rancher and former Hannibal Missouri native Henry Clay Daulton, after your California years?
  • Ernest Hemingway – aside from the book “Across the River and Into the Trees” why didn’t you write the World War Two novel that was planned?
  • Lina Wertmuller, film director – Knowing the movie business as you do, have you remained as anti-capitalist as your characters?
  • Queen Elizabeth II – What did you like the most about Dickie Mountbatten?
  • Michael Chrichten _ Why did you leave Medicine?
  • Diana Gabaldon – You’ve written so much about your process and sources, is there anything we don’t know?

Whoo-eee, now that’s a dinner party, Timothy. 

 

As children we tend to have an idea of what we want to be by the time we’re ten. Before you decided to pursue the artistic dream of being a writer, what did you want to be and why?

At 10 years old I wanted to build cars. Yes. I didn’t know about DeLorian’s problems. At 12 years I wanted to build an airplane – like Lindberg’s Ryan NX211. At 14 I wanted to be an architect, at 16 an artist, at 17 a sculptor, at 18 a writer.

 

If you turned your laptop/computer/pen/typewriter (yes, some of still use these!) over to your character(s), how would they describe you?

They would probably say, “Dear Gawd, man, what the hell happened to you? You had it made in ’64, then ……. What? ……. a waste of a career.”

Many writers have that first novel which will never see the light of day. Out of curiosity, do you have one stashed somewhere? Inquiring minds want to know: what was your first attempt at writing and how old were you?

The first novel attempt was at age 34. Yes, it is stashed somewhere. The title was World War Four. It was a post apocalyptic story. I sent it around. To an L.A. group. Later the movie Red Dawn came out that had some similarities. I may have been ripped off. Too a Larry McMurtry book had a similar scene in opening. It proved to me that there is such a thing as “simultaneous invention.” Now, I would be very embarrassed for WW4 to be read.

Just wait, everything cycles. You could take it out, brush it off, add a few zombies and re-titled it WW5.

 

Whether we’re plotters or pantsers (outlines not needed), creating our stories takes us on very memorable journeys. Sometimes we may be part way through before we realize some major aspect of our story is just not working (plot, character, setting). Have you ever hit this sharp, pointy snag and if so, how did you escape?

Always outlined and always had problems. Last one my editors helped.

–Outlines (shudders) Although they do have their uses, just don’t quote me on that.

 

Were you battered and bruised or a bloody mess?

Initially yes, a bit of a bloody mess. But, it was a huge learning thing. And, as all that interrupted the work on another manuscript that started as a “pantser,” I have problems with that too, but have a better idea how to solve it all.

Share one uniquely strange experience you’ve had that remains crystal clear to this day.

Back in the 60’s we lived in the country away from city glare. The starry nights were often crystal clear. Around 1963, I began noticing a moving red light, in the air, north of my location. The silhouette of the mountain was very black under the stars. The red light moved back and forth, up and down, and hovered. I was estimating it was ten to twenty miles away. I tried to imagine if it was a vehicle on a far road. No, it was a UFO, and that was the first of several spooky sightings during a two year period. Coyotes barking in the distance didn’t help.

What’s the one genre you won’t ever try and why?

I know it is huge, and I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes, but I can’t imagine writing “fantasy” type stories. Maybe everything we do in fiction is fantasy, but the Tolkien [spell?], romance, and others are good and great, it just isn’t me.

What is some of the best advice you were ever given?

Genres have rules.

–Probably THE best thing a new writer can hear.

 

What is the best advice you can share with others?

Try to be different. We all have favorite other authors and characters. Don’t copy.

Share if you dare, one of your favorite research experiences. Did you join a ghost hunters group? Did you step outside your comfort zone and into the wild world of your characters?

I have a hard time writing about murder. It’s repulsive. Yet, on some level I thought I needed to understand that, not as a writer, but because some bad things happened to either my student’s, when I was teaching, or to family. Part of me found some answers, but there is still a part of me that “really doesn’t want to understand that level of evil.”

Timothy survived our first round of questioning, so now we put him under fire with our BULLET LIST…

  • Blades, guns, fists or feet?

Fists.

  • Favorite Fairy Tale of all time?

Frog Prince

  • Three titles and their authors sitting on your nightstand/bookcase/table/floor waiting to be read?

1. Jackson Pollock by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith, 2. 9800 Savage Road by M.E. Harrigan, 3. Concrete Blonde by Michael Connelly

  • Greatest one liner of all time?

“That’ll be the day.”

  • Sarcastic witticism, Southern sweetness or Geeky disdain?

Southern sweetness

  • Strangest item currently taking up space in your writing cave?

A 12 inch ceramic pink pig

Check it out, Timothy shared a pic of said office

Blog Header - Work Area

  • Favorite supernatural creature?

A childhood idea of a bearded God in my grandmother’s back yard.

She must have had a rocking’ backyard to draw that kind of crowd…

Much thanks to Timothy for taking the time to visit with us and bring his upcoming book, THE DOC, along for the ride.

Family - Tim 2011

Tim was raised in Madera, California. He attended, on scholarship, California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, CA. Later, after graduating from California State University Fresno with a BA degree in Zoology, he earned his Teaching Credential. While writing since the college years, he taught biology, chemistry and physics for thirty-six years before retiring. He has written two novels, in 2005 a World War II flashback For Thou Art With Me and in 2010 the conspiracy thriller ebook version The Doc. He is married and lives in Fresno, California. He spends time painting and Civil War reenacting.

You can run Timothy down at the following locations:

Email: bobbitimdesmond@att.net
Amazon author page at: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00694KQQO
Writing at: http://timothydesmond.wordpress.com
Art at: http://artbydesmond.wordpress.com

SHADOW’S MOON is on Tour! #booktour #newrelease #UF #PNR

Look at the lovely banner…isn’t it pretty? SHADOW’S MOON is touring during the month of June. Much thanks to Enchanted Book Tours for setting this up for me.  To see the complete list with links, just click on the banner below.

We have giveaways, excerpts, interviews of all kinds. Come join the celebration as we follow Xander and Warrick’s further into the Kyn world!

Shadow's Moon is on Book Tour in June!

Shadow’s Moon is on Book Tour in June!

BOOK TOUR SCHEDULE

June 1st: Starter Day Party @ I Heart Reading June 2nd: Promo Post @ I’m an Eclectic Reader June 3rd: Book Excerpt @ The Book Gazette June 5th: Author Interview and Giveaway @ The Single Librarian June 7th: Promo Post @ Book Club Sisters June 8th: Book Excerpt @ Bookaholic Ramblings June 9th: Guest Post @ Forever Book Lover June 10th: Author Interview @ Majanka’s Blog June 11th: Book Review @ Endazzled Reading June 13th: Promo Post @ Hollow Readers June 15th: Character Interview @ The Book Daily June 16th: Book Review @ Bookish Madness June 17th: Book Excerpt @ 365 Days of Reading June 19th: Guest Post @ Editor Charlene’s Blog June 21st: Book Review and Giveaway @ Forever Book Lover June 23rd: Promo Post @ The Reading Guru June 25th: Author Interview @ Cassidy Crimson’s Blog June 26th: Book Excerpt @ Realm Tramper June 28th: Book Review and Giveaway @ I Heart Reading June 29th: Book Excerpt and Giveaway @ Book Skater June 30th: Book Review @ Paranormal Romance Authors That Rock July 1st: Book Review, Excerpt and Giveaway @ Dalene’s Book Reviews

I Survived RT 2014…#RT2014

Yeah, yeah, another Romantic Times Booklovers recap, but bear with me as I get my feet back under me from the nuthouse of May. Not only did this month (which is fading in the rearview) see me type THE END of Shadow’s Curse (coming Fall 2014), but we had SHADOW’S MOON hit the shelves! Plus, HUNTED BY THE PAST is scheduled to follow along on July 11th, so it’s been a little (okay a-frickin’-lot) crazy. When you’re a newbie author, promo items fall squarely on your shoulders, so I’m trying to wrangle a virtual book tour and post all over the web-a-verse for SHADOW’S MOON, and get a head start on HUNTED’s own twisted promo paths.

Enough of my babbling, on to the actual post–RT2014 in New Orleans, was it what I expected or not?

For those who haven’t been following, this was my first time in NOLA and my first time at a convention the size (think GODZILLA SIZED) of RT. I even did a book signing, first ever again. Yep, a whole world of firsts. Keep in mind, everyone will experience the same thing very differently, and if you’ve noticed some grumbling around the writer social sites about the organization of RT, don’t be surprised.

RT had some great points, the location was awesome. Of course, I’ve never been to the Big Easy before, so I was truly excited about that. Loved the Ghost Tour and the fantastic story telling skills of our guide. Got a love a city where a Liberal Arts major can not only earn a paycheck but have fun doing it.  LOVED Cafe du Monde, so long as you hit at 2 am or after the line rivaling the Mississippi disappears. Did a psychic reading–nope not sharing, I want to see if it all comes about or not. Tons of great architecture (sue me, I love buildings).  Jackson Square, very cool, the Mississippi-muddy, just like everyone says. People and food–fantastic! Of course, refused to suck the head of animal with beady little eyes. Made him turn away while I devoted his tail.

Regrets–wish I had more time, wanted to do a Swamp tour, Plantation tours, see a little broader views other than the French Quarter. If you have a sensitive nose (I do) be prepared for Bourbon Street. Everyone knows why it’s famous, so I’ll leave it to your imagination on why if your nose is a tad princess-y you should tread carefully.Next time, I’m going as a tourist. There’s so much history and I want it all.

RT Conference–holy moses! I knew it was big, but hadn’t quite expected what I got. The noise level at the convention hotel remained at a deafening dull roar the entire time. I think my ears are still ringing. People, real live humans, were EVERYWHERE! I had to hide in my room for a few times just to breathe before diving back in. Elevators, by the way, don’t like handling over 2600 people in a given 15 minute time slot. However, I did get plenty of aerobic exercise.

Featured authors–I had hoped to touch base with some of my past guests (Faith Hunter, Kevin Hearne, Cynthia Eden, Jennifer Estep) or even some of my fan girl type writers (Charlaine Harris, Jeanine Frost, Kresley Cole, Stephanie Tyler, Nalini Singh) but after watching them being mobbed by fans, I just couldn’t add to it. I think it’s because I’m an introvert, I hate to push myself forward if I think someone already has enough going on. The authors were just unbelievably gracious and positive, I was so impressed and no disappointments there. They were incredibly patient with their fans, truly thrilled to talk to all these readers. However, during the Book Fair (Yep, we’ll hit that big red, topic button in just a minute), I did send my Knight to get a book or two signed. He braved the crowds for me. (Sigh).

Panels–here’s where my expectations and reality began to disagree. I think I had mistakenly considered the fact the conference offered various tracks (Craft, Industry, Reader, Specialty) which meant if I stuck to those tracks where I could get something new out of it, I’d learn a well guarded secret or two. Nope. Don’t get me wrong, the panels were good. Sometimes there were a few at the same time, then it became which one do you really want to go to as a determination factor. There was a speciality course I was really, REALLY looking forward to, then on the first day, I noticed it was no longer showing up anywhere. I checked under chairs and behind walls for a cancelation notice of the course and found–nada. My OCD kicked in, and I was quite bummed. Once I stopped pouting, I picked the other course I had been considering. It went well, but still…  Then the panels on craft kept themselves fairly general, with information I’ve heard/read before, with a few  personal views thrown in. Those did help reassure me, my writing career was not plunging off the cliff into a whirling vortex of death. The industry panels–whoo baby. Talk about conflicting information. Depending on who was talking, their views on publishing/writing, crap, you’d need a Magic 8 ball to get better answers.  My overall take away–the path of publishing is not GPS comparable–forge your own trails using whatever works for you and your stories.  I did enjoy the marketing ones, mainly because the speakers were bluntly funny and didn’t hold back. LOVED them.

Big, Red, Hot Topic Button–The Book Fair on Saturday:

Yes, I’ve read various points of view on this. Yep, I was there, in the Indie room with over 200 hundred, very talented authors. Yes, our supposed table space was severely under estimated. Yep, the doors opened late. Yep, the AC failed miserably (you would too–New Orleans, largest book signing EVER((it’s making Guinness World Record)), lots and lots of people). Instead of going over all of it, here’s what happened to me. I was very nervous about this. First ever book signing. No one’s going to know who the hell I am, nor will they want my books, what if I have lipstick on my teeth? What if…what if…

You know what made my entire experience? The other authors. Talk about an awesome community. I sat next to two beautiful women, KT Grant and Katie Graykowski. Those two made my time there fun and a blast. Add in Kendall Grey and yes, I had fun. Kendall had readers who were lining up. So Katie and I did what ever we could to keep them entertained. We helped them laugh, provided free AC (via hand fans) and chocolate. We even encouraged them to check out KT’s sheep. I sold three books, but you know what, I count it as a success because:
1. I got to meet Sunny and Susan in person. These two readers were so AWESOME, they almost made me cry. Their obvious enjoyment of my books just made my day.

2. I made new friends with KT, Katie, Kendall and other writers, readers, bloggers around me. I got to listen to what they’ve done and experienced which in turn, sent home just how big the writer/reader community really is.

3. Writers are funny as hell. And completely fearless!

4. The RT staff (who volunteer) have to be hoarding patience pills, because I’m not sure I could’ve handled the crushing crowds they faced.

 

Were their downsides to the signing? Yep, there were, but the one I had the biggest concern with was the two plus hour wait in line for readers to pay for their books. Seriously? That’s a bit much. However, I know the RT people are getting tons of feedback and re-evaluating how the set up the check out process next year.
As for the division between “Traditional” and “Indie”, here’s my take: at some point in the near future, every writer will wear both hats at some point, because it circles back to what I mentioned about the industry message: the publishing path is yours to forge, just make sure you use the right tools for you.

With all that being said, will I be back next year in Dallas? Probably not, but only because I can’t afford too many conferences each year and I’ve already made promises to some friends to do the RWA one in San Diego. However, Mighty will be there. She’s pretty persuasive, so I might show, you never know.

 

Come back next week, because I have  a new author to intro! Keep an eye out, I’ll be making rounds in June and July with Shadow’s Moon and Hunted by the Past!

2014–It’s going to be a BIG ONE! #newreleases #pnr #romance #goals #coverreveal

And now for our regular programming…

Dr Who 2

Before we get into the swing of 2014, here at the Swamp we do the annual creation and review of writerly goals for the Evil 7 (or 8). This means we’re trying to hold ourselves accountable while grasping for our writer dream.

For me, the last few months have been a hectic whirlwind.

My NaNo attempt fell short (hit 39K out of 50K)

My EDJ (Evil Day Job–a nifty new term I’ve learned and come to adore) has been undergoing a flux like the Time Vortex under the stunning gaze of our endearing Time Lords (yes, most of my holidays were spent with the Prankster Duo and a marathon of The Legendary Dr. Who),

Black Opal’s THINGS THAT GO BUMP FOR THE HOLIDAYS came out in December, including my Kyn short: WRAPPED FOR THE HOLIDAYS. Having all those great authors come visit was fun, but now I have to clean up the place.

The shack has become Grand Central Station during the end of year celebrations.

I had multiple offers for my new Paranormal Romantic Suspense series and after whirling like a dervish, I finally, FINALLY got to put my name to paper with an awesome house… (insert name here), so now I can officially say I’m multi-published.

Which means 2014 will be mad, I tell you, absolutely MAD, because:

SHADOW’S MOON, the third book of the Kyn Kronicles will be out in Spring/Summer 2014 by Black Opal Books. And here is the COVER:

JamiGray_ShadowsMoon1400

In May the Knight and I are joining Might Dwarf at the 2014 Romantic Times Reader Convention in New Orleans. ((mad dancing abounds)). For those who don’t know about this conference, it’s like a Red Carpet event for writers and readers. Since I can technically claim both statuses, and it’s in a city that’s on my bucket list to see, I’M EXCITED!

Then we come home, and, if my current contract negotiations go well, HUNTED BY THE PAST, the first book in my Paranormal Romantic Suspense, Psy-IV Teams series will release in Summer 2014. Once the ink is dried on the contract, I’ll tell you who I’m lucky to be publishing with, so stay tuned.

Then, then, as if that was not enough for any writer to giggle manically about, my fourth Kyn book is coming in Fall 2014 from Black Opal, SHADOW’S CURSE.

So because I have so much going on, I decided it is time to create a….NEWSLETTER.

See that nifty link over there in the upper right corner, you can click there and sign up. I’m hoping to have my first one out in Feb/March.  It may only come out a couple of times a year, but still, I wanted a way to reach out to my awesome audience.

Don’t worry, I don’t share your emails with anyone, not even under threat of death, so you’re safe.

I’ve got a couple other events throughout the year planned, but I’ll keep you posted as they come up.

Now, last year we had some of the most fabulous author interviews, and this year is looking just as exciting. Check out the Where Am I? Who’s Here? tab. Kaylea Cross, Deborah Cooke, Martha Bourke, Melissa Groeling, Mona Karel, Pamela Cross, Cynthia Eden and OH SO MANY MORE! (think Despicable Me “It’s so fluffy!” voice).

((big gasp of air))

And all of this would not have been possible without all of YOU! Thank you, all of you, sincerely, for following my blog and continuing to follow–through the interviews, rambling, chaotic writer posts, and blog hops.

Here’s to a rousing 2014!

Coming soon–SHADOW’S MOON…come get hooked! #MRFWhooks #bookhooks #PNR #shifters

I get to take part in Marketing For Romance Writers Book Hook hop and today I’m sharing a little teaser of  SHADOW’S MOON, the third book in my Kyn Kronicles, coming in Spring 2014.  

I don’t have my cover yet (that too shall be coming), but I wanted to share anyway!

SHADOW’S MOON, the third installment of the Kyn Kronicles…

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As the Northwest Alpha wolf, compromise isn’t in Warrick Vidis’s vocabulary, but when his reluctant mate, Xander Cade, refuses to leave off the hunt for the one threatening their pack, will he be able to bend before they both break?

A blonde, a brunette and a monster walk into a bar and all hell breaks loose.

It should have been the start of a bad joke, but days from a full moon Xander Cade, Tracker for the Northwest Motoki Pack, finds nothing funny about confronting an enraged Shifter in a crowded Portland nightclub filled with unsuspecting humans. The resulting carnage begins to fray the thin veil of secrecy shielding the supernatural Kyn community from public scrutiny. It also ensures there is no escaping the one man she’s been determined to avoid, her Alpha and mate, Warrick Vidis.  Dominating, protective and compelling, Warrick threatens her individuality like no other.

Warrick Vidis has no qualms using whoever or whatever necessary to protect his Pack, or his very reluctant mate. A series of unusual deaths involving lone wolves and anonymous threats against him and his Pack jeopardizes his normal steely control. Add in Xander’s continual reluctance to fully accept their Soul bond, and the line between intellect and instinct begins to blur leaving him wondering if one woman’s love and acceptance will be enough to save both man and wolf.

As the danger escalates, threatening not just their Pack but those closest to them, Warrick and Xander must find a way to trust each other and accept their rare bond or risk losing everything-their pack, their friends and each other.

If you want to catch up before Spring, get your copies of SHADOW’S EDGE and SHADOW’S SOUL, available now!

ShadowsEdge front

AMAZON    BARNES AND NOBLE    SMASHWORDS    ARe     BLACK OPAL BOOKS

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AMAZON    BARNES AND NOBLE    SMASHWORDS    ARe    BLACK OPAL BOOKS

Now continue onward to find awesome new reads for the new year, just click below

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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.

Spaceborn C02-2

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.

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

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

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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.

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