Pages

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Savvy Saturday: The Care and Feeding of Creativity by Elizabeth Fountain

It’s still January, right? So we can all claim we continue to work on our New Year’s resolutions. Not that I truly made any. I’m over fifty now, and that means, among other things, that I know the odds of keeping any resolutions are low.

Still, there are things I want to accomplish. Works in progress, for example, crying out to become finished books. So, I ponder making resolutions anyway.

Resolutions focus us on outcomes: number of pounds lost, skills learned, things accomplished. I wonder, though, if creative work requires something else. Inputs. Nourishment. Feeding.

How do we nurture our creativity as this year gets underway? What does your creativity need to grow and thrive in 2016?

After contemplating this for the last few weeks, I’ve come up with my resolutions for feeding my creative endeavors this year. Feel free to borrow any that you believe will work for you.

1.     Every day, notice something beautiful. In my valley in the heart of Washington State, this is easy. Sunrises and sunsets paint glorious pictures in our sky. Winter snow falls gently or sparkles in the sun. Our local galleries showcase the work of painters, sculptors, glass blowers, photographers – and, best of all, the kids in our schools. All I have to do is notice what is already there.

2.     Every day, read something interesting. Interesting reading is also tremendously easy to find. A tidbit in the newspaper, a chapter in a book, a profile in a magazine, a poem in a literary journal, a paper by one of my students. Any of these can spark questions, curiosity, the desire to learn or think or explore.


3.     Every day, connect with a bigger perspective. The universe is vast, and I am not. As I write this piece, our own winter snow is melting, yet the other coast of my country is being slammed by blizzards. As I write this piece, the continents are shifting imperceptibly. As I write this piece, new stars are being born as old ones die. And, my friends excel at giving me opportunities to realize there is a large world out there. They go out and do amazing things, and share their wisdom learned from experience. My only job is to listen.

4.     Every day, recognize someone else’s efforts. Easy, because every day someone helps me in ways large or small. Thank the person who clears carts from the grocery store parking lot. Recognize the person who let you have the right of way through a narrow path in the snow. Acknowledge the mail carrier. Notice the hard work of a custodian. Smile, say thank you, and watch them light up. Notice how you light up, too.

5.     Every day, laugh at myself. Now this one can be a real challenge, but it helps if you surround yourself with people who are able to laugh at themselves, too. It’s not that hard to catch myself being ridiculous. It’s only difficult, at times, to quiet my ego long enough, so I can remember to laugh.


How does all this add up to the care and feeding of creativity? I mean, will all these steps lead to the results I want? Will I become thinner, kinder, more beautiful, richer? Will my works in progress become, finally, the completed books I want them to be?

Well, that leads me to the last item on my list:

6.     Don’t worry about it. Beauty, interest, perspective, gratitude, and laughter – if these things are in my life every day, what else do I need?


Elizabeth Fountain is the author of An Alien’s Guide to World Domination and You, Jane, both published by BURST Books. She writes stories of aliens and angels, humans who try even when the odds are against them, and dogs who save the day. You can read more of her thoughts at her blog, Point No Point.





Monday, January 25, 2016

Amber Legacy by Kevin B. Henry Review by LASR

Amber Legacy by Kevin B. Henry

LEGACY
Amber Legacy by Kevin B. Henry
Publisher: Burst Books
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Historical
Length: Short Story (80 pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe
Mitchell and Crystin are living on the west coast of Florida in the Seventies. He has the beginnings of a loving family and couldn’t be happier. It’s remarkable how quickly things can change. Perhaps the fate of a Teithwyr Amser is to never be stable, never find love without defending it against the rest of the world, against evil and against the fabric of time itself.
A simple TV documentary will spin Mitchell out of control as he first attempts to prove the filmmakers wrong and then ultimately find and protect his new family from a monster of his own creating.
A simple research project goes horribly wrong when murder and time travel is involved.
You can’t always predict bad consequences ahead of time. Sometimes they appear before anyone can stop them.
While there were a few times when I would have made different choices in their shoes, I always understood why the main characters thought other responses would work better. It was nice to spend time with characters who were so intelligent in both the academic and the practical sense of the term. This is something I look for in a story because I like to read about people who think through their options carefully and logically before deciding what to do. Seeing a character take these things so seriously is nice.
There were pacing issues in the first several scenes. The beginning was slow in large part because the narrator was explaining what happened in the first two books in this series. While the refresher was needed in order to make this something that can be read out of order or without already being familiar with the characters, I would have preferred to jump into the main conflict earlier on. At times I had trouble paying attention to what was happening because the first few scenes had much more exposition than they did anything else.
With that being said, once the pace picked up I was hooked on the storyline. One of the things I appreciate the most about Mr. Henry’s writing style is how much detail he’s able to pack into his scenes. In some ways this tale read like something two or three times its length because of how many different things happened during the course of it.
Amber Legacy made me wish I had the ability to time travel. This is a good choice for anyone who likes science fiction that asks its audience to help it answer questions about what humans should and should not do.

Unbalanced by Courtney Shepard Review by LASR

Unbalanced by Courtney Shepard

BALANCED
Unbalanced by Courtney Shepard
Publisher: Champagne Books
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full length (226 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Daisy
Asha is fire.
Every generation four sisters with power over earth, air, fire, and water are born to fight against a fanatical, secret faith. The Order exists only to sacrifice the sisters for their power. With each success their strength and control grows. They have never failed, for their rule depends on it.
The sisters, separated at birth, are unaware of what hunts them…but they are coming.
A handsome stranger discovers Asha in hiding, and swears allegiance to her cause. She falls for him; though he is not who he says he is. Betrayed and imprisoned inside the Order, Asha is without her power for the first time in her life.
As the war heats up haunting secrets and true motivations are revealed, but the sisters must unite and override their instincts and trust the untrustworthy if they are to fight their terrifying destiny.
Elemental magic threads through this story in more than one way. The narrative focuses on the protagonist Asha – who controls the element of fire – as she meets her equally powerful sisters for the first time, and a dashing young man with blurry allegiances. The heat between these two is as fiery as her element, and as unpredictable.
Their blossoming romance is steely and confusing at first, particularly considering the circumstances Asha is being held under. However, the relationship doesn’t feel out of place here, only stunted and under suspicion. Later, it really comes into its own and there is a magical sex scene with all kinds of arcane power blowing around the room. I will say the sex scene was steamy, but it wasn’t a fully fledged drool-worthy affair and not every detail was spelled out. I also felt there was a slight disconnect between the emotions and the physicality of the event, but that may have been a personal disconnection. The scene would be perfect for those who like their romance heavy-light, and without too much vulgarity.
The plot itself is one in which the sisters and their companions are under threat of death from a mysterious, powerful force. There are subtexts of evil and good, with each side sure the other is in the wrong. By the end of the tale, I have swayed to one side in the debate but have seen no definitive facts of how the past came to be, or hints of how the future will play out. There is a lot of ambiguity, which I like. I feel future books will explore the truth and unveil the mystery of the history in greater detail. This may well take the form of dangerous country-hopping adventures, like the snippets of holiday/investigative snooping which take over the latter half of this book.
However, this unresolved ambiguity is also part of the reason I wasn’t completely satisfied by the ending to Unbalanced. It leaves the issue of this mysterious force attacking the protagonists mostly unexplored and little has been resolved.
Despite this, I can see this plot choice leaves room for a sequel, or three, with the other three sisters – Ivy, Mere and Avia – and their soon to be love interests. There’s a symmetry to this which I like and I love how the sisters are paired up, and the implied chemistry behind it, but this may be too predictable for some.
I feel that this book fits perfectly into the young adult and new adult market. It has similarities to the ‘Lorien Legacies’ books in terms of cared for and hidden away young, supernatural girls and boys coming into their own and battling a near unbeatable power.
If you like magical tales with dashes of romance and an almost certain sequel in the same world, pick this up. There are very few grammatical or editing issues, the narrative style is easy to read, and the characters are believable. Plus, who doesn’t love a good fire, air, earth and water tale?

Professional Grievers by Mickey J. Corrigan Review from LASR

Professional Grievers by Mickey J. Corrigan

PROFESSIONAL
Professional Grievers by Mickey J. Corrigan
Publisher: Champagne Books
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (58 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern
Until he gets hired to attend funerals for Florida’s most unpopular dead people, Seymour Allen has no life. When he meets a mobster’s gorgeous girlfriend, things begin to heat up.
They say opposites attract. Professional Grievers mates noir with romance, a beautiful young woman with a depressed older man, and humor with pathos to create a surprising, funny, sexy little love story.
Seymour Allen’s life had ground down to a dull bore. Lonely, self-medicating, and wallowing in self-pity, he’s in dire need of a stiletto kick in the butt. Then the weirdly generous Raymond C. Dasher hires Seymour to attend the death ceremonies of the not-so-dearly departed.
As Raymond explains to Seymour, some people have so few friends they are willing to hire an audience for their own funeral. Working as a professional griever, Seymour’s life picks up. Fascinated and often moved to tears, he frequents local chapels and cemeteries, posing as a bereaved friend of the departed.
At an Irish wake, he meets a hot redhead named Yvonne, the former mistress of the deceased; a man with the most dangerous kind of family. Sexy Yvonne needs to grieve her loss and Seymour offers a padded shoulder to cry on. Soon enough their friendship steams up. A lakeside distribution of ashes brings them closer together. Only in South Florida.
You’re only as old as you feel, and Seymour feels like a million bucks around Yvonne. Are his feelings for Yvonne enough to give him the jolt he needs to jump-start his life?
Professional Grievers is a unique, quirky romance presenting the upside of funerals and a hopeful, tender look at second chances.
Two hundred dollars – paid in advance – for a few hours fake mourning at a funeral was almost too good to be true for Seymour Allan. Professional Grievers gave Seymour the chance to mourn his lost love and even get paid for the performance he gave to other funerals to pad out the numbers a little. Seymour thought it would be some easy money, and a good way to continue his grief without raising any eyebrows. He never expected to meet a damsel in distress, a bunch of criminals and a number of very hungry alligators. Turns out he had to earn his “easy money”.
This is a fun story, lighthearted considering it’s all about death, grief and trying to find your way out of the quagmire of losing a loved one. With much of the story-telling tongue in cheek, it’s a delightful book I found myself thoroughly enjoying. Seymour is certainly sad – possibly even a little depressed – and the Professional Grievers is a company I can understand the appeal of. It’s completely insane, but somehow logical at the same time. And the fact the author managed to mesh all this with Florida gators and a crashed wedding really just made it perfect for me.
I had a little difficulty following some of Seymour’s retelling of the story. It’s mostly in the first person and jumps around a bit. But following his varying trains of thought was a small price to pay as the story itself is alternately hilariously funny and deeply moving. There is a single sex scene, detailed but not erotically explicit. I feel that readers who like a bit of spice in their romance – but that doesn’t really cross over into the strongly erotic – will find this scene satisfying and tastefully written.
I thoroughly enjoyed the way in which the author wrapped up this story. There was a slight twist I didn’t see coming and that made me even happier than the laugh out loud moments I had. I found this to be a fun, darkly comic story about love, loss and piecing back your life together once again. Recommended.

Menagerie à Trois by R.J. Hore Review from LASR

Menagerie à Trois by R.J. Hore

TROIS
Menagerie à Trois by R.J. Hore
Publisher: Burst Books
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery, Historical
Length: Short Story (108 pages)
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe
Things are looking up for Randy C. Alysious – and that makes him nervous. Instead of struggling to drum up some business, he’s got three cases on his hands. There might be a common thread uniting them, if only he can figure out who the real bad guy is. To make matters worse, old, powerful magic might be involved and there’s no outrunning the reaper, though his kid might be outsmarted – at least for a little while.
Even magical worlds sometimes have unsolved crimes.
As interesting as the descriptions of other parts of the plot were, the food is where the narrator really made me visualize what was happening. Would I want to try everything described in this book? No, but there was something appealing about almost every dish. Figuring out which parts of new dishes were appetizing to me only made me enjoy the storyline more than I already did.
There were times when I had trouble keeping all of the characters straight. This was especially noticeable when it came to individuals who weren’t directly connected to the crimes that Randy was trying to unravel.The story simply didn’t have enough room to show what was going on with all of them without also slowing down the plot. While it was definitely a smart decision to keep everything moving, the end result of this was that I wasn’t able to get to know certain characters well enough to keep all of their backstories attached to the right people and creatures.
The dialogue regularly made me smile. One of the things I appreciated the most about it was how closely the author tied it to the setting. There are certain words and phrases that make more sense when they’re used in the same room as a goblin, elf, or gnome. I hadn’t even realized that a few of them are so well-suited to these scenarios until I saw how Mr. Hore interpreted them. Once this happened, I only grew to like the dialogue even more than I already did because of how smoothly it all fit together.
I’d recommend Menagerie à Trois to anyone who enjoys fantasy tales that include a few mysteries to solve as well.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Savvy Saturday: A Conversation with Alexandra Wellingway, Rich Girl and Witch By Ron D. Voigts

I am waiting at small coffee house on an off-street in Maiden Falls, WV, called The Rusty Cup, a place with steampunk décor and mismatched furniture. A clock with exposed gears, a painting of a man in a top hat and gas mask, and poster for the 1960 movie, The Time Machine, decorate the walls. My interview with Alexandra Wellingway hasn’t started yet because she is running late.

The establishment’s front door opens and she waltzes in. She looks the same as I saw her last time— short black hair, gold nose ring, and Ankh tattoo on her neck—except today she wears earring with Gothic crosses dangling at the ends, a silver scarf wrapped around her neck and a black duster coat that stops above her ankles. She slips into the chair opposite me, points to the barista who nods back and flashes me a brief smile.


Ron: Miss Wellingway I was worried you would not make it. Good to see you.

Alex: I told you before, please, call me Alex. All my friends do. <Loosens the scarf.> Mother had one of her hissy fits. She’s been talking to dead ancestors again, worried that I’d get into an accident by driving my Vet too fast.

Ron: She speaks with dead family members?

Alex: Perhaps, I said too much. Mother thinks they communicate with her, and who am I to say they don’t. <Raises an eyebrow>

Ron: Do you drive too fast?

Alex: Hey, what’s a Corvette for if you can’t open her up and take a few fast corners? Driving the mountains of West Virginia at 80 or 90 mph is exhilarating. Of course it makes Cavendish nervous. Sometimes he shuts his eyes on the hairpin turns. <Giggles>

The barista places a steaming mug in front of her.


Alex: <Winks at him> Thank you, Arnie.

Ron: So tell us a bit about—

Alex holds up a finger for me to wait. She sips her drink and sighs.

Alex: This is really good. You must try some. <Pushes the cup towards me> I won’t take no for an answer.

Ron: <Sips> That is good. I taste something sweet but not sure what.

Alex: Peach brandy. The brew is something Arnie makes just for me.

Ron: I was about to ask about your friend Cavendish who you mentioned earlier. What kind of guy is he?

Alex: He’s loyal, trusting and ready to help. Sounds like a boy scout. <Laughs> He’s a good guy. Had it rough when his wife died. Got himself in a bit of trouble with the law. Something about sending a guy to the hospital although I hear the idiot had it coming. Mother fixed things and arranged for him to come back to Maiden Falls. She put him in charge of the town newspaper but she has other plans for him. <Takes another drink> Mother doesn’t share them with me but I gather it’s something big, and I think she’s trying to play matchmaker between us. <Rolls eyes>

Ron: What about the woman, Jane? I heard she’s a psychic.

Alex: She is quite gifted. Puts her hands on something and experiences whatever the last person who touched it saw and heard. The girl sees auras and can sense the good and bad in people. Unfortunately she has the mind of a ten year old. Mother says there is more to her than that. She’s like an onion with many layers and we haven’t gotten to them all yet.

Ron: Tell us something about Alex.

Alex: <Eyes narrow on me> I’m the poor little rich girl who grew up in a town where everyone knows you.

Ron: Was it hard growing up a Wellingway?

Alex: Everyone was overly polite to me. I could go and do whatever I wanted and no one disagreed. Teachers always gave me a break when I didn’t have my homework done, except for Mr. Welsh in the 4th grade. He didn’t patronize me. Once when I misbehaved, he made me stand with my nose holding a penny pressed against a blackboard for a half hour. <Snickers> I had Lincoln’s image on the tip of my nose for the rest of the day.

Ron: Do you have favorite food?

Alex: Tough question. I must tell you I was a vegan until I went off to college. Growing up I ate no meat. I refused to be at the table when animal flesh was served. This worked out well since my parents took dinner much later than I. For a short while, Mother allowed me to have a job. Builds character, she said. I worked at a fried chicken place downtown. My first customer ordered two wings and a chicken breast. I stood for a long time with the tongs and stared down at the bins of chicken parts. When my boss finally asked if I had a problem, I said, “What does a chicken breast and wing look like?” He took me to his office and brought out the corporate manual which had pictures. <Laughs and sips drink> My favorite food now would be sushi or pizza with pepperoni. Funny how we can change.

Ron: I must ask about the 800 pound gorilla in the room. Are you a—

Alex: <Interrupting> You really shouldn’t talk about Arnie that way, although I’ve heard he does like bananas.

The barista, hearing his name, looks her way. She gives him a playful wave and points to her drink.

Alex: <Leans towards me> You were going to ask me if I’m a witch, right? <I nod> A certain amount of preternatural talent runs in my family. Some of it is innate. Other stuff you got to work at like spells and potions and such. I leave the hard work to Mother. She concocted this brew last month and drank it. Saw double for two days. <Snickers>

The barista arrives with another cup of Alex’s special blend, sets it in front of her and leaves.


Ron: Then you are a witch?

Alex: I actually ordered this for you. <She points at the drink and it glides across the table on its own, stopping in front of me.>

Ron: Moving on then. What about the family curse? Can you tell us about that?

Alex: Very messy affair. Happened about 150 years ago. Some bad things happened. Somebody killed somebody. Revenge and more deaths. Then this necromancer got involved. Poof! No more boys are born in the Wellingway family. Only one daughter per generation.

Ron: And here you are.

Alex:
Just little ol' me and Mother living in that drafty house on the hill.

Ron: Is there anything more you’d like to tell our readers?

Alex: If they haven’t read The Witch’s Daughter, it is a must read. It’s required for all seniors at the local high school. <Laughs> Okay, I made that part up. But the story does tell how Jane, Cavendish and I met and solved a cold case murder. <She reaches across the table and touches the back of my hand.> A little birdie told me you’re working on the next book.

Before I can say anything, she jumps up, comes around and gives me a hug.

Alex: Got to run. Cavendish is meeting me at Bunnies Tavern for chili and a beer.

She rushes out. I hear the roar of a car engine and the squeal of tires. I imagine her yellow Corvette racing down the main street of Maiden Falls.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Savvy Saturday: Some Book Trailers!

Today on Savvy Saturday, we are going to feature some book trailers from a few of our authors. So sit back, turn up your volume, and enjoy!

Traitor Knight
Keith Willis
eBook $6.99
Amazon
Kobo
Champagne Bookstore
















Lotus Petals
Brantwijn Serrah
eBook $4.99
Print $13.95



The Silver Cord
J.C. Mead
eBook $4.95



Tuesday, January 12, 2016

UNBALANCED by Courtney Shepard Review from LASR reviews

Unbalanced by Courtney Shepard

BALANCED
Unbalanced by Courtney Shepard
Publisher: Champagne Books
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full length (226 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Daisy
Asha is fire.
Every generation four sisters with power over earth, air, fire, and water are born to fight against a fanatical, secret faith. The Order exists only to sacrifice the sisters for their power. With each success their strength and control grows. They have never failed, for their rule depends on it.
The sisters, separated at birth, are unaware of what hunts them…but they are coming.
A handsome stranger discovers Asha in hiding, and swears allegiance to her cause. She falls for him; though he is not who he says he is. Betrayed and imprisoned inside the Order, Asha is without her power for the first time in her life.
As the war heats up haunting secrets and true motivations are revealed, but the sisters must unite and override their instincts and trust the untrustworthy if they are to fight their terrifying destiny.
Elemental magic threads through this story in more than one way. The narrative focuses on the protagonist Asha – who controls the element of fire – as she meets her equally powerful sisters for the first time, and a dashing young man with blurry allegiances. The heat between these two is as fiery as her element, and as unpredictable.
Their blossoming romance is steely and confusing at first, particularly considering the circumstances Asha is being held under. However, the relationship doesn’t feel out of place here, only stunted and under suspicion. Later, it really comes into its own and there is a magical sex scene with all kinds of arcane power blowing around the room. I will say the sex scene was steamy, but it wasn’t a fully fledged drool-worthy affair and not every detail was spelled out. I also felt there was a slight disconnect between the emotions and the physicality of the event, but that may have been a personal disconnection. The scene would be perfect for those who like their romance heavy-light, and without too much vulgarity.
The plot itself is one in which the sisters and their companions are under threat of death from a mysterious, powerful force. There are subtexts of evil and good, with each side sure the other is in the wrong. By the end of the tale, I have swayed to one side in the debate but have seen no definitive facts of how the past came to be, or hints of how the future will play out. There is a lot of ambiguity, which I like. I feel future books will explore the truth and unveil the mystery of the history in greater detail. This may well take the form of dangerous country-hopping adventures, like the snippets of holiday/investigative snooping which take over the latter half of this book.
However, this unresolved ambiguity is also part of the reason I wasn’t completely satisfied by the ending to Unbalanced. It leaves the issue of this mysterious force attacking the protagonists mostly unexplored and little has been resolved.
Despite this, I can see this plot choice leaves room for a sequel, or three, with the other three sisters – Ivy, Mere and Avia – and their soon to be love interests. There’s a symmetry to this which I like and I love how the sisters are paired up, and the implied chemistry behind it, but this may be too predictable for some.
I feel that this book fits perfectly into the young adult and new adult market. It has similarities to the ‘Lorien Legacies’ books in terms of cared for and hidden away young, supernatural girls and boys coming into their own and battling a near unbeatable power.
If you like magical tales with dashes of romance and an almost certain sequel in the same world, pick this up. There are very few grammatical or editing issues, the narrative style is easy to read, and the characters are believable. Plus, who doesn’t love a good fire, air, earth and water tale?

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Savvy Saturday: The Inspiration Behind D.J. Davis' Courageous Cain

Our lives, like good books, have themes that run through from beginning to end. Often setting the course of events or reflecting the outcomes. Sometimes they’re glaringly obvious or perhaps subtle and hard to recognize.

A main theme in my life is dogs. I was born into a family of dog lovers—dogs usually outnumber humans at our family gatherings. I have never been without at least one good dog at my side. That led me to work a dozen years at a veterinary clinic and that led to working with shelter dogs. Those deep in the trenches of animal rescue see things that threaten to destroy belief in mankind, but also see those bright moments that restore their faith in the human spirit.

Many years after leaving that line of work, I started writing. Dogs, and the way they respond to good treatment— or abuse—became a theme in my debut novel “Courageous Cain.” We’d all like to live in a world where there is no abuse and every dog has a home, but that’s not reality. Putting myself back in that situation through my character, Josie Shepherd, rekindled many of the feelings I had when working with shelter dogs. Well, that could only mean one thing: it was time to adopt another dog.

I have a soft spot for big breeds and had a Great Dane pup who wanted a playmate her size. I found a wonderful rescue specializing in large breeds, Big Bones Canine Rescue in Windsor, Colorado. They had just brought in a dog from a high kill shelter in California. A year old, male Boxer mix. When went to meet him and he was a perfect match for us. He was also starving and in desperate need of a home. We named him Ty.

I wish I knew his story, but he can’t tell me. It wasn’t good, I know that much. I always enjoy watching my dogs dream. Twitchy, rabbit chasing dreams. But not Ty, he had nightmares for weeks after we brought him home. He would cry, yelp, and cower in his sleep. That all seems to be behind him now. He’s healthy, happy, and loves playing with the Great Dane. He was never taught anything, so has been learning things like how to live in a home, good manners, and basic commands. I bought him a backpack and he enjoys his new job, carrying light loads on our hikes.





Ty’s been with us six months now and the changes in him are dramatic and satisfying. But it isn’t enough. Big Bones, like all shelters, is struggling to keep up with the demand. There are far more dogs than there are homes for them. And, like most shelters, they are in constant need of food, supplies, and veterinary care, all of which cost money. So, once again I find myself wanting to help shelter dogs, but this time in a different way. A portion of sales of “Courageous Cain” are donated to Big Bones.

The story I’m currently working on features a dog. Naturally, it’s the theme of my life.






DJ Davis is a Colorado native and the rugged high country sets the scene for her stories. When she's not writing, she can be found hiking with her dogs, photographing the wildlife, or camping with her husband. A Great Dane runs her life.

A portion of each sale of her novel Courageous Cain will be donated to Big Bones Canine Rescue in Windsor, Colorado. Help us help big dogs in need.

Find Courageous Cain on Amazon, Kobo, and the Champagne Bookstore

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Excerpt from Angels Keeping **Warning: HOT**

Angels Keeping
A Blood and Fire Novella
By Brantwijn Serrah
Paranormal Erotic Romance/F-F
$1.99
Amazon: http://goo.gl/tkuS0U
Kobo: https://goo.gl/KDMK2X
Champagne Books: http://goo.gl/DyhBft

Even fallen angels can wish for a miracle.

EXCERPT

The waitress ditched her tray of drinks and took Rasche by the hand, leading her into one of the back rooms. The Christmas theme survived even in the private show quarters, though with a more generous degree of triple-X action. The small space Raschael's escort chose had been decorated with garlands and wreaths, and a stocking hung by the door, but on top of the holiday trimmings there were also striking boudoir pictures. They all contained the same sweet, golden angel, but in much less "angelic" form.

Raschael spun to address the woman personally. "Who are you?"

By way of answer, the woman nodded her head at the bright red stocking. Noelle, it read in sapphire blue, glittery letters across the trim.

"Noelle?" Rasche asked. "Really?"

"Yes, really," Noelle replied with a brilliant smile. "It really is my God-given name. Honest."

"Alright, Noelle, then about Kyrie--"

"Oh, now, now."

Noelle took Rasche's hand again, stroking her fingers, and led her to the soft red leather seat stationed in the center of the room. She gestured for Raschael to sit and, before Raschael could stop her, climbed expertly up into the succubae's lap.

"First thing's first, gorgeous. How about we get a little more...intimate?"

She raised a hand and snapped her fingers. The faded strains of Blink 182 from the main room became inaudible, as Lady Gaga's "Speechless" flowed into the room's own speakers. Noelle lowered herself over Raschael's body, rocking in time with the sultry piano, wrapping arms around the fallen one's neck.

Forgetting herself for the briefest of moments, Raschael closed her eyes and let the first swell of carnal desire stir to life in her loins and chest. The dancer didn't stop her when she lifted up her hands and cupped them over warm, soft buttocks.

Noelle smelled of warm vanilla. She had a luscious body, petite with classic curves, Renaissance in a way...but with eyes closed, Raschael's mind made her Kyriel, little and lithe and naughty. Under her hands, Noelle's plump hindquarters might have been Kyrie's slim, boyish ass instead, and the sweet scent of heather rose up with the remembered sounds of Kyrie's intoxicated desire, from earlier in the evening. Rasche lowered her face to nuzzle against a plentiful swell of tender breasts, and she sighed before she could stop herself, moving her body against the other woman's with yearning.

"Why don't you tell me about your friend," Noelle whispered against her ear, gyrating ever-so-delightfully against Raschael's body. "Why are you out searching for her on Christmas Eve, hm?"

"She ran away," Raschael said. Her palms caressed the dancer's ass greedily. "And I'm responsible for bringing her back before she gets in trouble."

Noelle tsk'd her. "Now, now, Raschael. You make her out to be some sort of bad puppy."

The dancer extended a leg and swung herself neatly around, facing away now to grind her pert little rear down on the succubae's lap instead. Noelle's hands stole to hers and guided them up to stroke tits through gauzy white fabric. Raschael's fingertips found stiffened nipples, and she teased them through the thin material.

"Who told you my name?" she asked. "Kyrie?"

"Mm, could be..."

Noelle's hands closed, warm, over Rasche's own, as the dancer welcomed her to knead, stroke, and caress. Rasche inclined her head to breathe in deep, relishing the scent of beautiful blonde hair.

"Listen, honey," she whispered. "I'm sure as hell enjoying this, and if I had the time to spare I'd be all over you in ways you can't even conceive."

"Mm-hm," Noelle replied. Her hips rolled in languid, mesmerizing rhythm, and Rasche let out a little growl as she returned the the motion in kind.

"Oh, sweetness, I'd fuck you until you couldn't stand," she said. "But not now. You're going to tell me if you've seen my girl, and where she is, and then we'll see about making it up to you. Sound good?”

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Excerpt from Desiring the Darkness

Desiring The Darkness
Darkness, II
By Shiela Stewart
Paranormal Romance
$3.99
Amazon: http://goo.gl/W8avE2
Kobo: https://goo.gl/9BnGm6
Champagne Books: http://goo.gl/TBzxim

Before all hell broke loose, Gypsy Dawn was an average woman. And then she was turned into a vampire.

EXCERPT
“Remind me again why I have to be the bait?”

Dante heard Jonah’s voice in his ear as he hid behind the dumpster. Lowering his voice, he replied, “Because I was bait last time.”

“Right. You’ll tell Ariel I love her if I don’t make it?”

“You’ll be just fine, Jonah. I’ve got you covered and Basil is lurking about, ready to jump in and snatch the bastards. Just stay calm.”

“Yeah, easy for you to say. Oh shit! Bloodsucker, eight o’clock.”

Dante swiveled, looking in the direction Jonah instructed. He saw the chubby guy heading Jonah’s way and prepared himself for the attack. The vampire’s ugly yellow eyes caught sight of Jonah and Dante could imagine what was going through his mind.

Fresh meat!

Not this time.

“Get ready.”

“I’m ready.” Pulling the tranquilizer gun from his belt, Dante aimed it at the vampire and waited. Because Jonah had the microphone pinned beneath his jacket, Dante could hear everything, including the vampire’s comments.

“Well, looky here. What have we got? Oh, and I smell lots of fear. Gonna be a nice snack for me.”

“You don’t want to drink me. I’m anemic. I won’t satisfy you much,” Jonah added with a great deal of quiver in his voice.

“Oh, I’m betting you’ll be just what I need.”

He heard the growl, heard Jonah scream, and took his shot. The dart hit the vamp right in his backside and as Dante stood up, he saw the vamp pull back in shock. He didn’t waste any time and took another shot. This time he hit the vampire in the arm. The vamp looked up, searching for where the shot came from as Dante raced toward him.

“Took your time. He was about to bite me.” Jonah took a couple steps away from the vamp.

“I had to make sure I got a good shot.” The vampire hissed as he approached, then his knees gave out and he went down. “Damn, I was hoping to knock him around a bit first.”

“You’ll get your chance later.”

“Jesus Christ, Basil! I hate when you do that.” His heart pounding, Dante aimed a steely glare at Basil. The guy loved to make an entrance, but did he have to appear out of nowhere without warning and scare the living shit out of him?

“Good shot,” Basil stated as he lowered down to the vampires body. “But next time, aim higher. If you can get the neck or near the heart, he’ll go down with one shot.”

“Yeah, thanks for the advice.” He’d only known Basil a few short days and was still on the fence about him. The guy was the last of the true vampires and had several advantages over the rest of the vamps. For one, he could materialize at the blink of an eye and transport himself anywhere. Two, he could transform into any creature and blend in everywhere. And anyone that didn’t know him personally would think he was your typical average human being. Until he bore his fangs and his icy blue eyes began to glow. Only the truest vampires had the icy blue eyes, all the others were yellow.

A sign of impurity.

“He one of Chaos’ men?” Dante asked, looking down at the unconscious vampire.

“Won’t know until he wakes up and talks. Let’s call it a night for now and get some rest.” Basil hoisted the vamp over his shoulder. “You can ride with me, Jonah, and make sure this guy doesn’t wake up before we get to the castle.”

“Gee, thanks, boss.”

“You can follow us in your car, Dante.”

While the sun was nonexistent they had all agreed to stay at Basil’s castle. It was a smart idea, keeping them all under one roof, but Dante was feeling the crunch of hanging around the same people day and night. He needed a bit of a break now and then, and though Basil’s place was huge, he still managed to run into someone often enough. He was used to living on his own, having no one around but himself.

He missed his privacy.

But he climbed into his car, ready to follow them anyway. Glancing in his rear view mirror, he watched them pull away and saw what looked like a woman, running towards him. He turned around to get a better look, then hustled out of the car. It had been a woman running towards him, clad in only a bra and panties.

And two burly men were right behind her.

“You’ve got to help me. Please, help me,” she screamed as she ran.

Running towards her he pulled out his revolver. “Get behind me,” he ordered to her and took aim. It utterly shocked him when the two men halted then spun around and took off in the opposite direction. “Fuck!” He turned to the woman who was shivering in the cold air. “Get in the car and lock the doors. I’m going after them.”

“No, no, please, don’t leave me.”

She grabbed hold of his arm and pressed her body so tightly to his he could feel the curve of her breasts through the thickness of the suede jacket he wore. “I have to go after them.”

“No, please, just let them go. I don’t want to be alone.” She clung to him even tighter.

What was he going to do, shake her off of him and drag her to his car? Not likely. So the only chance he had was to stick by her. “Okay. I won’t go after them. You can give a description of them to the cops—”

“No! No police. Please, don’t take me to the cops.”

He didn’t know what her deal was but she sure was adamant about not involving the cops. And that worried him some. “You have to tell them you were attacked.”

“I don’t want to follow up on this. Please, don’t make me. I don’t trust the cops,” she sighed, still clinging to him.

He could feel her body tremble and he wasn't sure if it was entirely from the chill in the air, or from fear. “Okay, I won’t take you to the cops. You’re cold. Let me give you my jacket.” When she didn’t release him, he patted her arms. “I need you to let me go so I can take off my jacket.”

“Oh, okay.” She released him and wrapped her arms around her chest.

He stripped from his jacket then held it out to her. “Here, put this on before you catch a cold.”

She took the jacket and hurriedly slipped into it. “Thanks.”

“No problem. So why don’t you tell me where you live and I’ll give you a ride home.”

“I don’t have a home.” Dante’s brow lifted and she continued. “I was evicted a few days ago.”

He heard glass breaking in the distance and assumed someone was breaking into yet another building. “This isn’t the safest place to be right now. Why don’t I take you to my place and we can figure out what we’re going to do next.” He held his hand out to his car then walked with her to it, holding the passenger side door for her. After she’d settled in, he hurried to his side and climbed behind the wheel. He got them rolling and was damn glad they were only three blocks from his office/apartment.

“My name is Dante, Dante Vega.”

“Gypsy Dawn.”

Monday, January 4, 2016

Two GREAT Releases for January

Our authors really outdid themselves this time. Both Brantwijn Serrah and Sheila Stewart have released books in their sexy paranormal romance series. They wanted to melt snow, and these hot releases really do the trick.


Desiring The Darkness
Darkness, II
By Shiela Stewart
Paranormal Romance
$3.99
Amazon: http://goo.gl/W8avE2
Kobo: https://goo.gl/9BnGm6
Champagne Books: http://goo.gl/TBzxim

With the cloak of darkness surrounding Jacob’s Cove, Dante Vega must work to protect the humans from the blood-thirsty vampires trying to take over the human race. When a half-naked young woman races into his arms begging him to protect her, he is compelled to help despite the fact that she is a vampire.

Before all hell broke loose, Gypsy Dawn was an average woman carrying on with her ordinary life…until she’s turned into a vampire. With no family and no where to go, she clings to Dante. Aside from his dark, mysterious, good looks, she finds herself inexplicably drawn to him. And when his life is threatened she discovers just how protective she has become.

Trying to bring back the sun is not easy, especially when the creature responsible, has gone into hiding. With Dante’s long lost brother working with the enemy, one friend is killed and another is taken hostage.

Will Dante be able to save him before it’s too late?


From Carnal Passions
Angels Keeping
A Blood and Fire Novella
By Brantwijn Serrah
Paranormal Erotic Romance/F-F
$1.99
Amazon: http://goo.gl/tkuS0U
Kobo: https://goo.gl/KDMK2X
Champagne Books: http://goo.gl/DyhBft

As a succubus, preying on humans is Raschael's business, and mortal feelings are nothing but a waste of time. So maybe her king meant to punish her when he sent her out to hunt on one of the most holy mortal holidays. Or maybe he just wanted her far, far away, so he could banish Raschael's one and only friend.

Now Raschael must track down a missing fallen angel, and she doesn't have a clue where to start. Bigger predators are closing in, and Rasche's only lead is a Christmas stripper named Noelle.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Savvy Saturday: "My Favorite Part" with Amy McKinley

Welcome back to Savvy Saturday. Today we are doing something a little different. Amy McKinley is here to share her favorite part of her book Hidden. A bit of backstory: Hidden is about a woman named Jade, who doesn't have very many good things going for her. Running from the gods, stopping a prophecy, controlling her powers, and of course, falling in love. Just a normal day in the life. Read more about Jade's story on the Champagne Book Group  website. You can also find her on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.

CBG: So Amy, we are all dying to know, what is your favorite part?

Amy: Favorite part...there are several. Jade is high on my list and there are so many with her but I think I'll give you a little peek into some of the gods that are running rampant. I absolutely love to write about them, their characters are larger than life. Nightmare is a dream god and he happens to be a triplet. One of his brothers, Wraith, has a chapter in the book that I never tire of. Here is a tiny part from it. And if you find yourself liking him and Siena as much as I do, don't worry, he'll have his own time just as Nightmare does.

CBG: OHH! Is that a hint at more books?

Amy: Absolutely! In fact, the second book in the series, Taken, is being published by Champagne Books this spring.

CBG: *Squeals* I'm so excited! So, tell us more about Wraith's part.

Amy: Wraith plays a tiny role in Hidden. But his little moment is lasting as it hints at something much bigger. Sometimes, there is more to the story.

CBG: Let's take a look at this mysterious Wraith.

WRAITH:


“No.” Exasperated, Siena tossed her blonde mane of hair over her shoulder. “I meant it when I told you I want to do this on my own.” She huffed out a breath, glaring at him before she took the seat he offered.

“We need to talk about this. I want you to take additional care if I’m going to allow you to do this.”

“Wait, what did you just say?” Her voice dropped to a coarse whisper. “Allow?”

The corner of Wraith’s mouth twitched. He loved when she got all riled up. It wasn’t often. She was finally comfortable enough with him where he was beginning to see her temper emerge. It had taken years for her to get over her fears. But he knew she trusted him completely.

Now he just wanted to egg her on. “You heard me.” He did his best to control his facial features, staring her down.

One.

Two.

Three.

A dainty palm smacked him not so daintily on the chest. “Are you kidding me? You don’t get to dictate me. You don’t own me. What the hell century do you think this is?”

He couldn’t take it. His mouth stretched wider. She was so cute.
.....................

CBG: It seems like you really like writing about these dream gods. What are they all about?

Amy: The dream gods are the Oneiroi. Their playground is the dream world. In there, they can influence dreams, emotions, landscapes...and a few other things as well. But, what they have to be careful with, is abusing their power as they have in the past. They should have learned their lesson the first time.

CBG: If they did you wouldn't have much to write about!

Amy: So true! They are a bunch of troublemakers. But games are nectar to the gods.

CBG: So, what is this next favorite part about?

Amy: Hades. He's such a bad guy and an absolute blast to write about.

CBG: What role does he have to play in your *big smile* series?

Amy: Ha! Hades isn't really a backseat kind of guy. But when his brother demands he step up to the plate, does he? And whose side is he really on? That's something that will have to play out through the series.

CBG: Sounds like a character! What is going on in this scene with Hades?

Amy: It's a poignent moment between him and Persephone as they say their goodbye's for her allotted time above ground.

CBG: So they have a good relationship in this book?

Amy: Yep! I know that in their mythological stories they do not, but I put a little spin on it for the Five Fates Series.

CBG: Well let's not delay any longer and show you lovely readers this beautiful scene.

HADES:

Hades kissed his wife, Persephone, one last time before reluctantly relinquishing her above ground, where her mother impatiently waited.

“Behave while I’m gone, Hades.” Persephone traced a pink-kissed nail along her husband’s dark jawline.

He was loathe to shave too often as the rough stubble against her skin excited her. “Six months is ridiculously long,” he murmured against her lush lips. “Find a way to meet me at the meadow.”

Mischief danced in her eyes as she stepped onto the boat which would ferry her along the River Styx, leading her out of the Underworld. “It’s a date,” she purred, blowing her husband a sultry kiss.

That woman slays me. He watched until she was out of sight. Once his bride was gone, his attention returned to his beloved Underworld and the current state it was in.

Hades leapt onto his chariot. A resounding crack split the air as he commanded his four black horses to lead him past boiling lava pits and stalagmites to the deepest, fiery pits of the abyss—Tartarus.

Creatures scampered out of his way. Fallen angels and demons went about their business—lest they draw his anger—as he thundered past. Tormented screams echoed off cavernous walls and pools of fiery despair. His pulse roared in his veins. He reveled at what he was about to see…

The Fates’ curse had begun.

Reining his steeds to a halt, he dismounted, his black boots crunching on a mixture of bones and jagged pieces of rock. Amidst the prisons, the things of nightmares tortured imprisoned souls.

A laugh rumbled up from his gut and rolled out. He threw back his head then ran his hands through his black hair, freeing it from its tie. Pers wasn’t here right now, due to his brother, Zeus’s, acquiescence to Demeter.

Hades ignored the slow burn in his chest at the thought of his wife being gone for six long months and focused on the game of persecuting his brother instead, for he knew a thing or two about Aiesa’s offspring that Zeus did not.

An ear-splitting scream rent the air, snapping Hades out of his thoughts. New souls.

He knew who sent them. Although he benefitted from so many entering his domain, his brother would not be happy.

What a perfect time to pay Zeus a visit.
.....................

Amy: And then Hades' mischief begins...

CBG: Thank you for joining us Amy, and for showing us your favorite parts of Hidden.

Amy: I've had a great time! Thank you so much for having me.

Liked what you saw here? Don't forget to grab your copy of Hidden now from the links below, and watch out for Taken, Layla's story.


Hidden
eBook $4.99
Amazon: http://goo.gl/LeQR9f
Barnes & Noble: http://goo.gl/BlkhOf
Kobo: https://goo.gl/Iu6y8U
Champagne Bookstore: http://goo.gl/4oUURA












Friday, January 1, 2016

Tattle and Wrye column January 2016 edition

FROM THE DESK OF
DONA PENZA TATTLE, ESQ.
AND
ASSOCIATE WRYE BALDERDASH

Greetings,

“Happy New Year!” declares Tattle. 

“Whoo hoo!  And we are tickled to launch into our monthly Love of Literature Leaps.  To celebrate the New Year, we have not one, but TWO interviews as well as a review.  The very first for 2016!” adds Wrye.

“Wow, 2016, it sounds like science fiction, doesn’t it?

“That’s cause we’re getting old.”

Tattle’s nose does the snob lift.  “Speak for yourself.  I stopped aging at forty, and I don’t look a day older than that, either!”

Knows better than to respond, Wrye instead crooks an arm, and offers it to Tattle.  “Ready for our Love of Literature Leap?”

“Lead the way!”


Plops right back into the office as they remember their first interview is with Ron D. Voigts, author of THE WITCH’S DAUGHTER and winner of the Tattle and Wrye Award 2016.  On cue, a knock sounds at the door.

T:  Welcome to our office.  (Four dogs peer up from their napping beds.  One yawns, one offers a woof in greeting, the other two simply switch positions and go back to sleep). Oh, don’t mind them, they don’t bite.

R:  First let me thank you for inviting me to your office. I love the layout, the furnishings, even the paisley wall paper.  You must give me the name of your interior decorator. I am hoping he can do my office the same way.  Does he do the four dog grouping for everyone, or was that custom for you?

W:  Just for us, but I hear she offers a cat grouping, a bird ensemble and a dragon egg that will eventually hatch.  However, I digress.  (Wrye grins and does a bushy brow lift) Have a seat.  It is so good to cyber-see you, our very first winner of the Tattle and Wrye Award.  Congratulations!  (Tattle smiles and does a thumbs up) Needless to say, we totally enjoyed THE WITCH’S DAUGHTER.  Great blend of genres. 

Anywho, we have been told you have an eclectic mind, on a scale from 1 to 10, how eclectic?   Ten being, you are living in the tenth solar system in the Daleks’universe, one being you occasionally wear different colored socks.

Annnnd…. Do you know any Dalek personally?  If you don’t know what a Dalek is, then this question will disappear in 5 -4  -3  -2 -1! 

R:  I am honored to receive the Tattle and Wrye Award. This is my first time winning an award for my writing, so it is quite special to me. Thank you, so much.

Regarding the Eclectic Mind, I have not yet reached a 10, although I am working at it. I’m more of an 8-1/2. That puts me in a category of swimming in the ocean with dolphins and trapping squirrels in my spare time. For me an eclectic mind processes multiple thoughts that have very little to do with each other in a short time span. When in my element, I can contemplate steganography encryption, defend the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin and explain the subtle theme of the last episode of The Walking Dead. All of this occurs within brief span of time, somewhere between 12 minutes and a few milliseconds. At an earlier time in my life, I’d probably have been put on Ritalin, but that ship has left the port.

Daleks? We’ll leave that to Dr. Who to sort out.

T:     Can you really use chop sticks?  How about Cavendish Brown?  He seems more the knife and fork sort to us, or does he?  (Squints her eyes, trying to look mysterious, but false lashes get stuck, making her twitch as if in a fit)

R: To your first question, yes, I can use chop sticks. I picked up the art while spending time in China and Taiwan. It was learn or starve. Once while at a Chinese buffet (Locally of course. For some reason the Chinese don’t do Chinese buffets in China. Maybe they have American buffets!) I had gotten halfway through my meal, working on my second plate of sushi, kimchee, and something resembling pygmy octopuses, when a man in bib overalls and a dog-eared ball cap sauntered over to me. He gave me a curt nod and pointed to a table across the room where an equally handsome guy sat. “Me and Bufford over yonder have been watching you work them wood sticks. All we can say is you do a mighty fine job of it.”

You are right about Cavendish. He is more of a knife and fork, meat and potatoes guy. Although recently being on his own and having the kitchen skills of Tibetan yak, he’s become a can of soup and spoon guy.  We will get a peek at his cooking talent in the next book. (And I hope I am not giving too much away.)  He branches out in his culinary skills and tackles something more complicated. Mac and cheese.

W:  Would Cavendish prefer to be a superhero or a supervillain?

R:  Definitely superhero. He is the reluctant hero but will put on his super cape when necessary to right wrong, defend the weak, and protect the innocent. Just got to get the super adrenaline flowing.

T:  What would be his power?

R:  Cavendish would definitely want to fly. What good is a super cape if you’re not airborne? In the second book of the Cavendish Brown Paranormal Mystery series he could use flying to save a bunch of people. Sadly he didn’t have the power and must rescue them the old fashioned way. I’d tell more but that would give away the surprise ending.

W:  Same questions for you, superhero or supervillain?  Power?

R:  Supervillain sounds like fun. But I’m sure I am not ready to take over the world yet. I’d start small and maybe conquer east Hoboken, NJ, or perhaps a small dairy farm in Wisconsin. But unlike Marvel’s Magneto, I’d attract money and call myself Money-to. I’d wear tights, have a green cape and a $ sign on my chest. I’d walk through rich neighborhoods where wealthy CEOs live and suck away their money. Now that I think of it, maybe I am really a Superhero.

T: Who would you prefer to be, Napoleon Solo (Man from U.N.C.L.E. sixties spy show) or James Bond?  Does Cavendish have any of their sterling character traits? 

R:  Before I answer, I must tell you I got to visit Piz Gloria, the villain’s lair from on her Majesty’s Secret Service. The place is atop the Shilthorn Mountain in the Alps. The building rotates slowly, so if you stay in one place long enough, you get to see a 360 degree view of the mountains. Alas, Mr. Blofeld, Bond’s nemesis, had abandoned the hideout and now it’s a restaurant. I ordered an open-faced sandwich topped with lots of Swiss cheese, and not the holey stuff we know, but more like something Peter the Shepherd Boy would eat.

So much for that eclectic thought, back to the question. Bond or Solo? Hmm. Like them both. Grew up wanting to be them. Attracting hot women. Fighting bad guys. Cool gadgets. Saving the world. But alas I have learned I am more of a Maxwell Smart person. Phone in the shoe. The cone of silence that never worked. “Sorry about that Chief.”

For Cavendish, he can certainly handle himself in a fight. He’s not a womanizer and would be devoted to one lady. The coolest gadget he owns is a can opener (for the cans of soup mentioned earlier).  But like our spy friends, he will go the distance to save someone.

T& W:  Thank you so much for allowing us to grill… um…. Interview you.  You have been a delight, and again congratulations on the award!

No sooner does Ron exit then Joyce Ward, author of THE LESSON appears at the door.

W: Welcome to our lair, Joyce!

T: We do not have a lair. It is a perfectly grand looking office. (Lifts her chin with pride, very used to the
clutter, piles of papers and books, dust bunnies and the same menagerie of dogs. Now, all piled together and ignoring the humans)

W: Sit here. (Wrye snatched a tower of old bound manuscripts from a chair and pounds the cushion. Puffs of dust rise like miniature clouds) Tell us something about your book THE LESSON. The cover looks deliciously creepy. Also, when is your release date?

J: Thank you for inviting me to your lair. (Looking around) I can tell you love books...as do I. The Lesson is the story of Pam and Kevin, two twenty-somethings, who show up stoned to a mortuary. In their current state, they’re disrespectful and irreverent.  But things get dicey when Kevin ignores a warning sign and the couple’s terrifying journey begins. I’m a big fan of Twilight Zone and Night Gallery and, I hope, it
shows.

The idea for the story happened when I was in high school. My cousin and I attended our late uncle’s
viewing. We looked for the restroom and were sent downstairs to use the bathroom next to the embalming room. When we tried leaving, the door jammed. We were trapped. We called for help, but being in the basement, no one heard us. Eventually, we worked the lock until we got out. I knew in
my heart that I would incorporate that event into a story. It took a few decades, but I finally found a vehicle In THE LESSON.

The LESSON was released in April 2015. Feedback has been positive, which is encouraging.

T: Considering this is the New Year, do you have any non-resolutions? You know, resolutions you know will be broken in six weeks or so.

J: Next year, I plan to try my hand a self-publishing. My goal is to self-publish a collection of short
horror stories, both previously published and brand new. All the stories are quirky and (like THE LESSON) end with a twist. Very exciting.

I also write contemporary romance under a pseudonym, Linnea Alexis. "She" plans to self-publish a short story from a previously published anthology.

W: If you were a dog, what breed would you be? And why?  (Offers an intensely quizzical look)

J: (Rubs chin) Hmmm, let’s see.  Probably a cocker spaniel. They’re playful and have tender hearts. Growing up, we had a black cocker spaniel. He wasn’t particularly intelligent, but had a “tender
heart.” He had large, soulful eyes...and was an excellent listener. Perfect for a teenage girl with a lot of angst. Many tears were shed on his furry shoulders.

T: Soooo, you like haunted houses? Horror? Scaring the beejees outta people? Is there a dark, dank place deep within? Tell us…. (Poises on the edge of her seat, and bites a nail)



J: I’m a big wuss. I love reading and writing horror and creepy stories (which concerned my mother, incidentally).  But I’m too cowardly to watch them without covering my eyes during the super-suspenseful
or gory scenes. How pathetic is that?  

Growing up, we lived in a drafty, creaky farmhouse. I swear it was haunted. Below the house was a “dark, dank” root cellar, with a large spider web in front of the door. No matter how many times I swiped the web away with a broom, the dang spiders would rebuild it for the next time I showed up. We also had an old barn/hay barn that housed bats, rats, and snakes. Honest. I never went in there. Never.

T:  (Shivers)  I wouldn’t either. 

W: If you were to interview a ghost, what is the first question you’d ask?

J: I wouldn’t interview a ghost. I’m too chicken. But if I came face to face with a ghost, I’d scream, “What are you doing here?” and then beg them to please go away and leave me alone.

T: (Grins, knowing she’d do the exact same thing)  Do you use a nightlight? Don’t be shy about answering. I have a nightlight in every room, including closets. I can be a scaredy cat.

J: I’m right there with you. We have night lights all over the house. We also live in a community with
a lot of street lights.

W: Tattle, you are not a scaredy cat, you just keep tripping over everything. 

T: Not everything, just dogs. (Pauses and reflects) I wonder if there are ghost dogs? What do you think, Joyce? Do you think ghost dogs exist? Are you afraid of ghosts in general?

J: (Rubs chin) Hmmm. I don’t think ghost dogs exist, but being a big fan of the show “Supernatural,” nothing would surprise me.  (Laughs) I’m petrified of ghosts, though...and would probably become one if I saw one.

T: It was wonderful chatting with you. Can’t wait to read your book. Perhaps you’ll even let us do a review.
HINT HINT HINT.

W: Not such a subtle hint, but do let us know!

J: I had a great time. Visiting the lair wasn’t as “scary” as I thought. You made me feel right at home.

As a new writer, I’d love a review. Thanks again for inviting me. (Exhales) 

CONTACT INFO:
https://www.facebook.com/joyce.ward.75
https://www.facebook.com/JoyceWardAuthor/
http://joyceward.com/
https://twitter.com/jward645021/


The two jump from the office and slip right between the covers of Amy McKinley’s supernatural, fantasy thriller, HIDDEN

“Oh my!” Tattle scoots behind Wrye as she views Jade’s painting.  “A dead man and a bloody sidewalk is a bit scary.”

“It is very reflective of her nightmares, nightmares that just might be part of her reality,” Wrye offers, wincing.

“Jade, a quintuplet, is half-demon, half-goddess just like her four sisters.  That all on its own has its merits and problems, but being cursed by the gods makes life truly hellish.  Of all her sisters, Jade is the first to show the effects of the curse of the three Fates.  It unleashes a literal beast of darkness within her and only the balance can restore it.”

“Would be nice if she could figure out just what that balance might be,” Wrye observes.  “Especially since her inner beast threatens to fully overtake her more and more each day.  Only her painting helps to contain it, and she fears it soon will not be enough.”

“Again, like her sisters, she has nestled herself in Earth’s human society, wearing glamour, a magic that hides her true self.  The sisters, scattered around the world, each has her own special talents, and each tries to find the key to defying the prophecy that reveals the sisters will destroy the gods.  At the same time they must avoid the Oneiroi clan, especially Nightmare, a dream god who vows to destroy the sisters, with his sights currently set on Jade.”

“Ah,” interjects Wyre, “but he, too, is being played by the gods in a fiendish way, and knowing they could be equally threatened, Nightmare’s brothers are determined to help him in his quest.”

“Jade knows there are answers within the paintings she feverishly creates, especially that of a
picturesque lake and cascading waterfall. She feels a desperate, almost obsessive connection luring her to step into the canvas, somehow believing that perhaps she could, perhaps it was real.”

Wrye shakes his head in sympathy.  “Such pain, such loneliness for such a young demon/god.  It is certainly unfair, and despite all this turmoil, Jade longs for love.  Can’t see her way clear to ever finding it, but the intense need only adds to the sadness of her torment.”

“Then, at a vulnerable moment, Jade is plunged into Nightmare’s heinous dream world where she slips from one dark dream world to another, trying to escape the villainous demon-god, but floundering in attack after attack, slowly losing the battle for her very life.”  Tattle can’t help adding, “Da da da daaaaaa!”

Wrye grins at her, and then at Roen, who, of course, can’t see him.  Wrye motions for Tattle to take a look.   “Do you see what I see?”

“Ooooh, yummy, yummy and so devilishly divine, hottie hunka.” Tattle nearly swoons at the sight of the reclusive Worr demon, a demon who mates for life.  Roen has battled the Oneiroi before, and is now drawn to protect Jade.”

“Together they must change fate, outwit gods, demons and fate, save not just their epic love but her sisters as well.”

“Wow!  This book is hot, wild and mesmerizing from the very first page.”  Tattle fans herself as she gushes on, “Each page leaves you hungry for more, each paragraph has you biting your nails with fear and concern for the protagonists, and every chapter makes you forget everything but this unique dimensional world.  Amy McKinley has created a universe that totally alters the way gods and demons are normally portrayed.  Though she sticks to some basic myths, Amy’s imagination takes the reader on an endless thrill ride drenched with terror, mystery, suspense, and hotter than hot passion.”

Wrye adds, “Amy’s writing style is smooth and clean.  She juggles multiple characters with ease, and drapes every single one with their own distinctive personality as well as individual layers that unfold along with the plot.  She has a fresh new style, and reinvents well-known dogma with a peppering of original clans and demons.”

“This is a brilliant piece, and we can only hope she creates another book in the same universe.  Go, Amy!”

Hope you enjoyed our leap into CBG’s talented author’s worlds and books.  Until next time, keep reading!

Dona Penza Rutabaga Tattle, Esq. and Associate Wrye Balderdash
of Blather City, Wannachat

Created and written by:  Angelica Hart and Zi

Books by: Angelica Hart and Zi
KILLER DOLLS ~ SNAKE DANCE ~
CHASING YESTERDAY ~ CHRISTMAS EVE...VIL
Books by: Vixen Bright and Zachary Zane
STEEL EMBRACE
BOOK NOOKIE-A LIBRARIAN'S BUIDE TO THE DO-ME DECIMAL SYSTEM

angelicahartandzi.com