• 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

Come visit w/Nationally Best Selling Deborah Cooke and join our #giveaway! #Dragonfire #UF #PNR #romance

Good morning Swamp Folks! How are we doing this fine spring morning? Did you all make it past Dreamer’s SnapDragons? *wincing* Yeah, seems the seedlings got mixed with the Venus FlyTraps, hence the sharp teeth on those little puppies.

Well, now that you’re all settled in, get ready, because today we welcome the Nationally Best Selling Mistress of the hunky men of her Dragonfire series–Deborah Cooke . You may also recognize her as Claire Delacroix, the NY Times Best Selling authoress.

And because Deborah is such awesome sauce, she’s going to do a giveaway right here!

So in the comments, share with us a piece of life advice you found helpful or not so helpful and you could be our lucky winner of:

A SIGNED TRADE PAPERBACK OF THE DRAGON LEGION COLLECTION!

Dragonfire is a paranormal romance series featuring dragon shape shifter heroes on quest to save humanity 

DeborahCooke_DragonAnthology_200px

Don’t forget to include your email so we can reach out and gift you! (winner announced on 3/19/14)

Without further ado, I give you Deborah…

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?

Well, maybe this is backwards, but I always wanted to be a writer. I was an avid reader as a kid and just loved books. I also loved making up stories. Now we’d call it fan fiction, but I used to continue the stories of characters I’d met in books. The idea that I could be someone who wrote books, who was responsible for putting stories out into the world, was just a thrilling possibility. I was told, though, that being a writer wasn’t a practical way to make a living, that I should write as a hobby and find a “real” job instead. Well, writing books isn’t a practical way to make a living, but if it’s what you want to do, “real” jobs are just too boring to endure. I had real jobs for a while and ended up scribbling books on the side. I had to follow my bliss, and I did. Even before I sold my first book, I quit my real job and I’ve never looked back. It’s been challenging sometimes but so rewarding that you take the challenges in stride.

–I did the same thing for books and movies, generally creating my own character, because, well, because I’m a writer.  I also heard the same thing about writing not being a “real” job. *snort* Shows what they know.  I’ve got a plan where the day job goes bye-bye, but we’re not quite there yet. Soon, though *rubbing hangs together*

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

I expect my characters would be frustrated with me for not writing more quickly. They’d accuse me of being easily distracted by shiny new ideas, which isn’t entirely unfair. Shiny new ideas are exciting! The fact is that I’m pretty prolific, but I still have too many ideas to write them all as quickly as even I’d like. I also have a tendency to create secondary characters who want to steal the book so they can have their own stories told. I make them wait, even though they’re interesting, and they don’t like it. The line of characters wanting their particular book written forms to the right, and my office tends to be pretty crowded. So long as no one fictional does injury to anyone else fictional, I’m okay with the crowd. I doubt they feel the same way – and really, if I was waiting on an HEA, I’d be impatient too. This also explains why I talk when I’m writing, but I’m not really talking to myself (although it looks like it): I’m calming the crowd. =0)

–Yep, have to watch for others listening in, they start to consider us “unbalanced”.  Explaining it, seems to make it worse!

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?

I made many first attempts at writing, and took creative writing classes in high school. The first full length book that I completed is the proverbial one under the bed. It’s a paranormal romantic suspense set in Venice. I loved that story to bits and revised it many (many!) times. I really didn’t have the skill to do a good job with such a complicated hybrid genre book then. I submitted it to many publishers and agents, but in 1990, there was no market for that kind of book. There still might not be a market for it, but over the years, it’s haunted me and I now have a better plan of how to write it. I might rewrite it one of these days. We’ll see. For now, those characters have joined the line in my office.

–So I’m going to ask, do you have one of those paper ticket dispensers, like a deli? “Please take a number and we will serve you as soon as we can.” =0)

What’s some of the funniest/sweetest/strangest things you’ve heard from your readers?

I’m always honoured to hear from readers. There’s something so private about the act of writing that it’s frequently a bit startling to realize that other people are actually reading my books. Of course, that’s the point of publishing them, but still, it’s very exciting to hear from a reader. The sweetest thing someone can say is “I loved your book X.” Wow! That never fails to give me a thrill. Meeting readers in person is also a treat. One of the most exciting changes for writers is the development of the internet and the opportunity it gives of interacting with readers, through blogs, emails or other social media. It’s so much fun to have that immediacy and even to be able to correspond.

–Well, let me be another one, I love, love your Dragon series (and I know Snarky is just almost speechless that you’re visiting).

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

It wasn’t given to me specifically, but is from the writings of Joseph Campbell: Follow your bliss. You have to do what makes you happy, regardless of whether other people (or even you) think it’s a sensible choice. Another saying I just love comes from Julia Cameron and the Artist’s Way: Leap and the net will appear. That’s about trusting your instincts and following your heart (as well as your bliss). We know more than we believe we do, and need to be reminded to trust in ourselves and our own instincts.

–Instincts, we have ’em for a resin =0)

Time for our favorite things, our bullet list…

Blades, guns, fists or feet?

Whatever suits the character. =0)

Favorite Fairy Tale of all time?

I love so many, but would choose Beauty and the Beast.

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

My TBR pile is very scary. It fills an entire bookshelf in my office. On my nightstand, though, are Agatha Christie: The Mousetrap and other plays (I admit I’ve been on a bit of an AC binge this fall.)
Margo Lanagan: The Brides of Rollrock Island (This is just lovely. I’m trying to ready slowly and savour.)
Ursula K. Leguin: Voices (Recommended by a friend who reads a ton more fantasy than me. I love UKL’s work, though, and am looking forward to diving in.)

Greatest one liner of all time?

“I know.”  Hans Solo en route to his inevitable demise, right after Princess Leia cries “Hans! I love you!”

–Ah yes, Star Wars, greatest space soap opera EVER!

Sarcastic witticism, Southern sweetness or Geeky disdain?

Oh, I like wry humor. The deadpanned one-liner is my fave.

Strangest item currently taking up space in your writing cave?

Hmm. There’s the usual clutter of books, music dvd’s, computer parts, notebooks, file folders and knitting in various stages of completion.

Favorite supernatural creature?

Dragons, of course. (Shape-shifting dragons that can become hunky heroes are even better.)

–LOL!

Much thanks to Deborah for taking time out of her very busy schedule to be with us! Don’t forget to leave your comment and email below. 

Need more…

SONY DSC

Bestselling and award-winning author Deborah Cooke has published over fifty novels and novellas, including historical romances, fantasy romances, fantasy novels with romantic elements, paranormal romances, contemporary romances, urban fantasy romances, time travel romances and paranormal young adult novels. She writes as herself, Deborah Cooke, as Claire Delacroix, and has written as Claire Cross. She is nationally bestselling, as well as a USA Today and New York Times’ bestselling author. Her Claire Delacroix medieval romance, The Beauty, was her first book to land on the New York Times List of Bestselling Books.

Deborah was the writer-in-residence at the Toronto Public Library in 2009, the first time TPL hosted a residency focused on the romance genre, and she was honored to receive the Romance Writers of America PRO Mentor of the Year Award in 2012.

Currently, she’s writing the Dragonfire series of paranormal romances as Deborah Cooke, and the True Love Brides series of medieval romances (with fantasy elements) as Claire Delacroix.

The current Dragonfire release is The Dragon Legion Collection, which includes three paranormal romance novellas. You can read more about it right here:
http://deborahcooke.com/deborah-cooke-books/dragonfire/the-dragons-legion-novellas/

DeborahCooke_DragonAnthology_200px

The current True Love Brides release is The Highlander’s Curse, which is a paranormal Scottish medieval romance. You can read more about it right here:
http://deborahcooke.com/claire-delacroix-books/the-true-love-brides/the-highlanders-curse

ClaireDelacroix_TheHighlandersCurse200

Deborah has also republished a trilogy of urban fantasy romances featuring fallen angel heroes and set in a dystopian future called the Prometheus Project. There’s a new fourth book in the series called Abyss and you can read more about it right here:
http://deborahcooke.com/claire-delacroix-books/the-prometheus-project/abyss/

ClaireDelacroix_Abyss_200

Find Deborah at these locations:

Deborah’s website and blog is http://deborahcooke.com

Deborah is on Facebook as herself:
https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDeborahCookeFanPage
and also as Claire Delacroix:
https://www.facebook.com/AuthorClaireDelacroix

Deborah is on Goodreads as Claire:
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/12694.Claire_Delacroix

It’s all about NYT, USA Today Best Selling Rom Suspense Authoress, @KayleaCross! #romsusp #giveaway

Gather ’round the campfire, kiddos, today we have the pleasure of talking with NYT and USA Today Best Selling Author, Kaylea Cross. She’s agreed to spend some time answering a few of our questions. 

Keep your voices down, there may be a few…ummm…men in greasepaint armed with some serious weapons looking for her. We promised she’d return unharmed, but they’re a cautious bunch.

Kaylea has some seriously exciting series out there–two of my favs, Titanium Security Series and Bagram Special Ops Series, only because I haven’t picked up the others yet. If you like Maya Banks, Christy Reece and Cindy Gerard, you have to add Kaylea to your reading list.

And to help with that, Kaylea has agreed to give one lucky commenter a free e-copy of IGNITED, the first book in the Titanium Security Series.  Just share some of your favorite Romantic Suspense authors in the comments.  Don’t forget to include your email with your comment.

Okay, since Eerie’s signaling me frantically, we’ll get this show on the road. 

My fellow conspirators, I give you Kaylea…

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?

Always an author. Always. For my 5th birthday I ask for and received an old-fashioned typewriter. I vividly remember sitting down and hacking away at the keys on a story that night. I didn’t start my first novel until much, much later though!

–Me too, well, and a judge and a vet, and a journalist…My typewriter sat at the kitchen table. My parents were pretty great about the fact it took up a permanent residence. I have 250 pages of a YA fantasy under lock and key.  It’s been banished. 

We all have favorite characters, either main or secondary, and there are always bits and pieces of them we don’t share with our readers, but keep close to our hearts.  Choose your favorite from your cast of characters and tell us a couple of things that you haven’t shared in your books/writing.

Oh, hands down that’s Luke Hutchinson, from my first suspense series. He’s the love of my writing life and no hero will ever match him (I’m loyal like that). I guess the biggest thing I didn’t really dwell on for him is that there’s still a lot of darkness inside him that he struggles with.

Personally, I tend to be a bit on the introverted side so the thought of being in the actual presence of one of my favorite writers makes my heart race, my knees shake and tangles my tongue (yes classic fan girl behavior).  Who could reduce you to such a level and how do you imagine your initial meeting?

I’d have to say JR Ward or Suzanne Brockmann, because I absolutely adore their writing and their characters. Though I will admit I’m pretty shy and my knees were wobbling pretty good when I attended an air show to interview some flight crews two summers ago. There I was, surrounded by a wall of men wearing flight suits as I went through my list of questions with them. I did NOT tell them I was researching a romance novel, however, since in my experience that’s the kiss of death as far as credibility is concerned. (Hey, it’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it!)

–I’m with you on JR and Suzanne. They’re awesome character creators. Kudos to you on the flight crew interviews, I’m not sure I could have done anything remotely similar without stuttering (all hail the blogverse, where I can type without stumbling over my words!)

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?

Well, this year I managed to publish the first book I ever wrote (a Civil War romance called The Vacant Chair), BUT, I had to rewrite it a couple of times and then I hired a freelance editor to go through it with a fine-tooth comb. It definitely is near and dear to my heart, though it’s far outside of the romantic suspense genre I’m known for.

–A historical? Wow, I’m thoroughly impressed. Historical’s scare me because of how accurate you have to be on your world building.

What is the best advice you can share with others?

Don’t give up, and don’t compare yourself/your work to others. Your process and voice will be unique to everyone else’s. Find what works for you and stick to that.

–Hear, hear!

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?

Aww, only one? Okay. I’m absolutely freaking terrified of flying (it’s a long story with a good reason behind it!), but for my Bagram Special Ops series I interviewed several helicopter pilots, flight instructors and even a Navy vet who survived a crash so I could get the details right. Then I went up in a helo five times to get the feel for the aircraft and the basics of the controls/mechanics. Best part was, I lived to tell the tale!

–It was well worth it, because I love that series. Your world building was awesome. I’m not much of a flyer either, but it’s more a heights thing than flying…

Now for our fun bullet list. Ready? Aim. Fire…

Blades, guns, fists or feet?

Guns! All my heroes are adept with firearms of all sorts.

Favorite Fairy Tale of all time?

Beauty and the Beast. I love that theme of redemption, and seeing past the physical to what’s inside.

–Love Beauty…even before Disney made a movie out of it =0)

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

Uncommon Pleasure, by Anne Calhoun
American Sniper, by the late Chris Kyle
SEAL Team Six, by Harold Wasdin

–I’ve got Wasdin’s and Kyle’s on my TBR too. They’re compelling reads.

Greatest one liner of all time?

“Nothing like a good piece of ass.” (From Steel Magnolias)

–*snort*

Sarcastic witticism, Southern sweetness or Geeky disdain?

Southern sweetness all the way!

Strangest item currently taking up space in your writing cave?

My late 18 ½ year old cat’s ashes and a little Ziploc of his fur. *sniffle*

((hugs))

Favorite supernatural creature?

Dragons.

—Oooohhhh, Snarky’s going to love you!

Big, huge Thank You to Kaylea for making time to drop in. Before we let her go, don’t forget to share with us your favorite Romantic Suspense author (with your email) for a chance to win an e-copy of IGNITED:

I_667x1000

When her father is murdered by a Taliban cell in the tribal regions of Pakistan, Khalia Patterson reluctantly steps into his shoes to carry on the legacy of Fair Start Foundation, a non-profit group dedicated to furthering the education of girls. There she meets Hunter Phillips, the ex-SEAL and head of her Titanium security team, and quickly learns that coming to Pakistan might prove to be a deadly decision.
Battling demons of his own, Hunter grudgingly leads Khalia’s protective detail  as a favor to his boss. From their first meeting it’s clear she’s going to be trouble, and that the cell that killed her father is hell bent on taking her out as well. Keeping her alive is one of the toughest assignments he’s ever faced, yet through one harrowing situation after another she continually impresses him with her strength and inner courage. Even though he fights his feelings for her, it’s a losing battle. And when the job is over, he doesn’t know how he’ll let her go.
Buy Links:

Come find Kaylea Cross…

author photo (2)

NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Kaylea Cross writes edge-of-your-seat military romantic suspense. Her work has won many awards and has been nominated for both the Daphne du Maurier and the National Readers’ Choice Awards. A Registered Massage Therapist by trade, Kaylea is also an avid gardener, artist, Civil War buff, Special Ops aficionado, belly dance enthusiast and former nationally-carded softball pitcher. She lives in Vancouver, BC with her family. You can find Kaylea through her website, Twitter, Facebook,and her blog.

@JadeKerrion has a new release–ETERNAL NIGHT #newrelease #pnr #newread

Our good friend, Jade Kerrion, has a new title out, peeps! Aren’t you excited? We are.

So check out the awesome excerpt below, then grab your copy of ETERNAL NIGHT!

Eternal Night ebook

“What makes Kerrion’s writing so compelling is the beautifully flawed characters that find themselves in unexpected relationships…these kind of character level conflicts make Kerrion’s writing so deliciously addictive.”—Noor A Jahangir, Author of The Changeling King

“Everything you want in a great story. Love, intrigue, action, betrayal, and understanding.”—Ch’kara Silverwolf, Author of Daughter of Light and Dark

Alone for a millennium, since a human murdered her beloved consort, Ashra, the immortal icrathari queen, rules over Aeternae Noctis, the domed city of eternal night. Her loneliness appears to be at an end when her consort’s soul is reborn in a human, Jaden Hunter, but their reunion will not be easy.

Icrathari are born, not made. If Ashra infuses Jaden with her immortal blood, he will be a vampire, a lesser creature of the night, a blood-drinker rather than a soul-drinker.

Furthermore, Jaden is sworn to protect his half-sister, five-year-old Khiarra. She is the child of prophecy, destined to end the eternal night and the dominion of the Night Terrors—the icrathari and the vampires.

As Ashra struggles to sustain her crumbling kingdom in the face of enemies without and treachery within, Jaden fights to defend his sister and unravel a greater mystery: what is the city of eternal night, and how did it come to be?

E-books available at Amazon / Amazon UK / Apple / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / Smashwords

Paperbacks available at Amazon / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository

READ AN EXCERPT

With Tera beside her, Ashra strode forward. A wall of vampires parted to reveal the other two icrathari, Siri and Elsker. A dark-haired human slumped at Elsker’s feet, his wrists cuffed behind his back. Ashra stifled a chuckle. Surely Tera was overreacting; the human was by far the weakest creature in the chamber.

Tera knelt down, wrapped her fingers into the human’s hair, and pulled his head back. The human’s face was handsome enough—the slash of his cheekbones accentuated his perfectly proportioned, sculptured features—but taken as a whole, he was not compelling enough to justify the fuss.

Ashra shrugged. “You’re wasting my time, Tera.”

Apparently undeterred, the icrathari warlord shook the human hard. His eyes flashed open. They were brilliant green, the exact color of the emerald ring Ashra wore on the index finger of her right hand. His gaze was unfocused, and the reflexive narrowing of his eyes matched the clenching of his jaw, hinting of wrenching pain.

Tera looked up and met Ashra’s gaze. “Taste his soul.”

Ashra recoiled, her upper lip curling in disgust. She had no desire to taste a human’s soul. Over the centuries, humans had grown weak, their small lives consumed by superstition and fear. It was better to live on the edge of perpetual starvation than fill her hunger with the pitiful excuse humans called a soul.

“Go deep,” Tera said.

But why? Ashra’s brow furrowed. She glanced at Siri and Elsker, but the two icrathari shrugged, apparently no more clued in than she was. She looked back at Tera. The icrathari warlord known as Ashra’s Blade was the epitome of calm understatement. If she was so insistent, she must have had a reason.

Ashra knelt beside the human. Without flinching, she placed her hand against his muscled abdomen. It was bloody, his flesh ripped by a vampire’s talons.

The man tensed at her touch, and his eyes flared wide with agony when her soul-sucking powers leeched into him. His breath came hard and fast, his chest heaving with the effort as he twisted in Tera’s unyielding grip, trying to break free.

Ashra’s eyes narrowed. The human was weakened—tapped into his life source, she waded through his dazed thoughts and shivered from the echo of each spasm of pain that wracked his body—but still, he fought Tera on the physical plane and Ashra on the psychic dimension, denying her access to his memories and to his soul.

She frowned and slammed her will against his, tearing an anguished scream from his throat, but still, his will did not crumble.

Askance, Ashra looked at Tera. “Did you taste him?”

Tera nodded. “It wasn’t hard the first time; he didn’t know what to expect, but apparently, he does now and is doing a fine job of fighting back.”

Was that grudging respect she heard in Tera’s voice? “Does his soul really matter?”

The icrathari nodded again.

Ashra’s shoulders shifted with the motion of a silent sigh. His resistance left her with little choice. She leaned forward and glided her lips over his in a whisper of a kiss.

Human myths spoke of succubi and incubi—demons that, with a touch, could stir lust in their unwilling victims. All myths were based in reality. The maddening beauty and soul-sucking powers of the icrathari had spawned the legends of succubi and incubi. With a touch, the icrathari could lure their victims into a state of sexual ecstasy, bending the will and baring the soul.

The human tensed against Ashra, resisting the intimate contact. She almost recoiled. Had the centuries dulled her innate powers? Surely she had not forgotten how to lure a man.

She closed her eyes and remembered love.

As always, Rohkeus’s fine-featured face—those beautiful gold-flecked green eyes, so unusual for an icrathari, and teasing smile—came to the fore. With a dreamy half-smile, she deepened the kiss, driving the memory of love before her like a sharpened stake.

At last, the man relaxed, succumbing to the kiss. She leaned into him, heedless of his crimson blood staining her white gown. He was warm, feverish even. Just skimming over six feet, he had more than twelve inches on her, but his physical strength, compared to hers, was puny. She was well aged; over four millennia old, she was the oldest of the icrathari and the strongest. She could have broken his neck with as little effort as a human child snapping a twig.

Her hand trailed across his muscled torso. He made it easy for her to be gentle. His body trembled as if he longed for her. His mouth was hungry for her kiss. He arched up against her, as if craving more. His need was like a living creature, wild and aching for her touch.

Eyes closed, Ashra shivered. Only one other person had desired her as much.

And he was dead.

She forced her way through the memories of pale bodies tangled upon cool silk sheets. When her soul-sucking power leeched out, it found no opposition. Images of the human’s life rewound in a blaze of vivid sights, sounds, and sensations.

Ashra looked up at Tera, her smile little more than a barely perceptible curve of her lips. “He fancies himself the protector of the child of prophecy. Was she among those taken tonight?”

Tera nodded.

Ashra chuckled, the sound without humor. “It’s a pity her genetic heritage wasn’t sufficiently superior to prevent her from being culled.”

“There’s more. Go deep.”

She pushed past the blackness at the start of his memories, expecting deeper darkness. Instead, the colors shifted into shades of ochre and gray. Memories, older than his body, resided in his soul; memories of an Earth long since lost to them—a planet surrounded and nourished by water; images of tall buildings glistening beneath a benevolent sun, and of thriving cities filled with the bustle of humans; memories of quiet and intimate conversations beneath a silver moon, the same silver moon that now graced Malum Turris with its light, though a thousand years older and viewed only from beneath the protection of the dome.

She saw herself as he must have seen her, a much-younger icrathari, still hopeful for the future, never realizing that the Earth they had all known and loved was irretrievably lost. Had she ever looked that vulnerable? Had her smile ever been so beautiful, so filled with love as she looked upon—

Rohkeus?” Oh, blessed Creator, was that stricken whisper her voice?

~*~

E-books available at Amazon / Amazon UK / Apple / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / Smashwords

Paperbacks available at Amazon / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository

Connect with Jade Kerrion at: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Amazon

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.”

vaughn-bonnie-100x150-100x150

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!

ApprovedSolstice_sm

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

TwinFlames_cover

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

KC Klein on Inspiration and a Giveaway @kckleinbooks

Please help me welcome the lovely KC Klein to the blog today, talking about a writer’s inspiration. Also, make sure you leave a comment and your email to be entered in her giveaway : )

Finding Inspiration In Texas

First, I wanted to thank Amber for allowing me to come on her blog and do a guest post. What better place to talk about my latest book in the Texas Fever series, Hustlin’ Texas, than at a blog dedicated to romance? Amber has been so kind to work around my schedule and all my last minute postponements. Thank you so much Amber for working with me. Your patience has been amazing. J

A few years ago, before I even thought about writing a series, I started thinking about a sweet little love story that was centered on a headstrong young woman who had fallen for the cowboy next door. Add to it my heroine’s absolute passion for horses and a desperate rancher, and I had myself a story. So naturally when I started writing, I had to place my book in a small town in Texas. Well, the problem was I live in Arizona and had nUntitled-1 copyever been to Texas.

I was grateful to learn that the southern part of Texas has similar landscaping as Arizona and after interviewing and following around some local horse ranchers I was able to pull off a realistic Texas setting. But…I still felt the need to visit Texas and get the feel of the local flavor.

My best friend, Pam Silva, took pity on me and invited me to stay with her family who lived in the small town of Whitesboro, Texas.

Untitled-2 copy I learned a lot. I toured both small and large working horse ranches, saw long-horned cattle up close, found out in Texas that just about everything can be fried…catfish, hushpuppies, okra, sweet hushpuppies, and that no one I saw seemed as interested in pool like the woman on my cover. (What a shame.)

I also found that I wasn’t the first author, by far, to be inspired by Texas. In the Stockyard Museum in Fort Worth there is a wedding dress on display called the “Bad Luck Wedding Dress.” Due to technical difficulties I lost my pictures of the dress, but found a photo and the history of the gown on the museum website. Though you can’t tell from this photo all I have to say is that the women back then must have been very, very tiny.Untitled-3 copy

Alongside the dress was a romance novel by Geralyn Dawson who was inspired to write an entire series around the legend of this dress. Here’s her book cover. Untitled-4 copy

How cool is that to find your book kept in the Stockyard Museum alongside the actual dress that inspired your book—if only. (Insert heartfelt sigh here)

Well, maybe my book won’t make it into a museum, but I hope it will make its way into readers’ homes and hearts.

Thank you for letting me share a tiny bit of what inspired me in Texas. Below is the blurb and teaser of my latest book, Hustlin’ Texas. I hope you enjoy it. If you do, leave a comment below with your email address and you’ll be entered into a drawing for an e-copy of Hustlin’ Texas.

Thanks again and happy reading.

Hustlin' Texas (ebook) (2)Excerpt

Jett nodded, then glanced around the crowded bar. When he turned his gaze back on her, a person would be hard pressed to describe his eyes as anything sweet or candy like. “I was hoping you’d be up for a little game of nine-ball.”

Nikki took a sip from her beer and raised her brow in question. Nine-ball was the hustler’s game. It was short and quick, without all the rules of straight pool.

He nodded his head toward the tables in the back. “I heard you played.”

“Then you heard wrong.” She took another sip, eying him the whole time. “I’ve given it up for Lent.”

The corner of his mouth hinted at a smile. “Found God, have you?”

“Among other things.”

Jett glanced to the tables, then back to her. “One game. No money.”

Nikki shook her head. “I don’t play for fun. No thrill in it.”

He swallowed, and she could see his jaw work. “Then we’ll play for a favor. A debt. You up for a little more red in your ledger?”

She didn’t want to ask, not really, but gambling was too deep in her blood not to hear the stakes. “What’s the favor?”

He smiled, not the golden boy smile she’d come to know, but instead one that lacked any charm at all. “Well, Texas, that’s the thrill part. You don’t know until the end. Anything goes. No boundaries.”

Her heart did a funky jump-start in her chest at the possibilities, but her game face was ice-cold. “No limits?”

“None. Unless that’s too much heat for you? We could place some ground rules if you want to play it safe.”

Nikki knew what Jett was doing. It was so obvious, and yet, there was that achingly familiar thrill that zipped up her spine and buzzed in her blood. Some families were predisposed toward red hair or near-sightedness. The Logans were addicts. Throw a dart at the family tree and you’d hit a vice—drinking, smoking, shopping. You name it, and the Logans could turn anything into a compulsion. But really, under all the addictions, there was only one. One vice that was as indicative of a Logan as dark hair, brown skin, and blue eyes.

It was very basic, really. The Logans were gamblers.

There were stories as far back as her grandfather, if stories in the Logan family could be believed, who won his first car—a 1950 Cadillac—on the toss of a coin. Then there was her father, Dakota, who’d bet on every sports game invented, and even ones that hadn’t, like golf without clubs. Her father had once bet a hundred dollars on his ability to throw a golf ball through the eighteen holes. Legend had it, he’d won that hundred, but lost the money in the same night in an “I can piss into a can from the second story” contest.

So Jett knew what he was doing. And Nikki was smart enough to know this was more than a simple favor and way more than a simple game of pool. She also knew something else. Jett was no match for her in this game.

She hid her smile with a sip of her drink. The thrill of a “sure thing” was headier than any shot of tequila, more exciting than a leather-jacketed man on a motorcycle.

“Oh, I can take the heat,” she said.

“But can you handle this much heat?”

“Oh, I can handle it. Because we both know I can beat you with one hand tied behind my back and blindfolded.”

His eyebrows arched. “Then you’d best start figuring out what your favor will be.”

Nikki put down her bottle, no longer needing the buzz. “Already have.” Her car fixed…for starters. “You really think you can beat me at pool?”

God, he was so cocky. It was almost tragic.

His eyes narrowed and there was absolutely no humor in his voice when he spoke. “Oh, I’m betting on it.”

BIO: KC Klein has lived most of her life with her head in the clouds and her nose buried in a book. She did stop reading long enough to make a home with a real life hero, her husband, for over sixteen years. A mother of two children, she spends her time slaying dragons, saving princesses, and championing the belief in the happily-ever-after. Her debut novel, Dark Future, is a finalist in the 2012 Prism contest and has been honored with a reviewer’s choice award. Her other titles include a sci- fi, 2012 RONE award winning romance anthology, Hotter on the Edge, and the first two books in her Texas Fever contemporary romance series, Texas Wide Open, and Hustlin’ Texas. KC loves to hear from readers and can be found desperately pounding away on her laptop in yoga pants and leopard slippers or more conveniently at www.kckleinbooks.com. Sign for her quarterly newsletter for updates on her latest releases, sales, and free giveaways.

Blurb for Hustlin’ Texas:

“Sassy, sexy, fun, but sweet at heart, KC Klein knows how to spin a tall Texas yarn.”—Lori Wilde

“A sexy read. KC Klein’s hero is as hot as a Texan summer’s day. KC is an author to watch..” —Rachel Gibson

Only one person in Oak Groves is happy to see bad girl Nikki Logan back in town…

Oak Groves’ most beloved bachelor, Jett Avery, lives by a simple set of rules. Getting involved with a complicated woman isn’t one of them. He learned that the hard way two years ago when he spent one of the most incredible nights of his life with Nikki Logan. But then she hightailed it out of town, never to be seen again—until now. It might be time to break one of those rules…

Picking up the pieces of her life, Nikki is back in Oak Groves, face to face with the one man she’s done her best to forget. But she has her reasons for being here—and they don’t include winding up in bed with Jett. Especially since he’ll never forgive her once he finds out the truth about why she’s back…

Buy links for Hustlin’ Texas:

Amazon: http://kckleinbooks.com/HustlinTexas

Barns and Nobel: http://kckleinbooks.com/BNHustlinTexas

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/hustlin-texas

Blurb for TEXAS WIDE OPEN:

“A tortured hero, a love that defies distance and time…this is a book you won’t soon forget.” –Cat Johnson

Katie Harris loved growing up on a ranch. She had her horse, the beautiful Texas prairie, and Cole Logan, the cowboy next door. But there are a lot of secrets hidden under a Texas sky…

Katie always knew she’d marry Cole one day—until he broke her dreams and her heart. But now that Katie’s father is sick, she’s back home, older, wiser and nowhere near the love-sick fool she once was.

Cole knows Katie doesn’t want anything to do with him. But after so many years, he can’t pretend she’s no more than a neighbor. Holding his ground was hard enough when she was seventeen. Now that she’s her own woman, Cole’s heart doesn’t stand a chance…

“Passionate, gritty and fast paced…with a hot blooded, honorable hero to make every woman’s knees go weak.”—Diane Whiteside

Buy Links for TEXAS WIDE OPEN:

Amazon: http://kckleinbooks.com/TexasWideOpenAmazon

Barns and Noble: http://kckleinbooks.com/TexasWideOpenBN

Blurb for DARK FUTURE:

A woman caught between two futures…

Awakened in the middle of the night by a future version of herself, Kris Davenport is given a mission: go travel in time to save the world–and his life. Of course, her future self doesn’t tell her who he is just sends her into the darkness and straight into an alien invasion.

…must choose between the man who has her heart…

He turns out to be ConRad Smith, the callous, untrusting military commander of Earth’s army and the world’s last defense. There’s only one way for Smith to know for sure if this strange woman is an alien spy–slice her throat. Except, he didn’t anticipate the desire he would feel as he interrogates the hot-tempered, warm-blooded woman.

…or the fate that saves the world.

As Kris and ConRad struggle to trust each other in a world on the brink of destruction, they each will have to face the ultimate choice of whether to fight or die… survive or forgive.

Buy Links for DARK FUTURE:

Amazon e-book: http://kckleinbooks.com/AmazonDarkFuture

Amazon print book: http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Future-Kc-Klein/dp/0062117041

Avon Impulse: http://www.avonromance.com/buy/dark-future-epb/

Barns and Noble: http://kckleinbooks.com/BNDarkFuture

Website: www.kckleinbooks.com

Blog: http://kckleinbooks.tumblr.com

WordPress: http://kckleinbooks.com/writing-from-the-edge-blog/

Links To Social Media:

Twitter: @kckleinbooks

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorKCKlein

Pintrest: http://pinterest.com/kckleinbooks

Amazon Author page: http://kckleinbooks.com/AmazonAuthorPage

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5163507.K_C_Klein

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:

5.5"X8.5" Post Card Template

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:
5.5"X8.5" Post Card Template

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.

Just Surviving

Sometimes life is more about surviving than living. Has anyone else experienced those times? Things are just so busy and chaotic that there really isn’t one moment to just sit down and relax. Not one. I have something close to twenty-three messages on my cell phone, and I’m sure a significant amount of older ones to delete before I can hear the new ones, but I honestly can’t seem to find a moment to check them. This moment, as I type this, might be the first time in nearly a week, where I can hear my own thoughts.

So right now I am surviving. Breathing in and out. Trying to keep everyone happy. And trying not to ask myself whether others have it easier, or if other people are just better at hiding that they too are struggling. My writing is all but forgotten. Occasionally, I reread what I’ve already written, amongst the chaos, just to assure myself that I did once have time to write.

I’ve also been trying to hold onto the shreds of empathy and understanding that I usually value so dearly, but I’ve been slipping more than a bit. When a friend complained about her bad haircut, I forced myself not to yell. But I did give myself the small satisfaction of an unkind thought: I’d give almost anything for time to get my haircut. Someone in a little car cuts me off and takes my parking spot, then sprints out, completely unencumbered by car seats and kids to carry. I fantasize about all their tires going flat, as I park a gruesome distance from the store. And at those rare times I complain to someone, I try really hard not to hate the people who suggest that I’m the one who chose to have kids. (Helpful, huh?)

Instead, I try to just survive, because if I set my goals low, little things delight me. A baby cooing, a toddler speaking a new word, a husband saying I look beautiful, even when I don’t. These are the things I hold dear to me now, as I survive. Because I know at the end of all this, I will miss these strange days. I won’t miss the lack of free time, but I will miss so many other things.

I know this is more mom related than writing related, but this is what is going on in my crazy world right now.

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). 
  • Follow The World of the 7 Evil Dwarves on WordPress.com
  • Enter your email address to follow the 7 Evil Dwarves and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 8,478 other followers

  • Blog Stats

    • 25,112 hits
  • Current Chats

    lisamorrowbooks on What Type of Dragon Are You?…
    lisamorrowbooks on Asimov vs. Dick – What D…
    bagcal on Asimov vs. Dick – What D…
    lisamorrowbooks on Asimov vs. Dick – What D…
    Mortimer on What Type of Dragon Are You?…
  • Archives

%d bloggers like this: