Author Showcase – G.E. Stills (When Cold Hearts Melt)

For the 18+ reader: Strong language and descriptive sex scenes. Extensive BDSM play.

When Holt answers the door of his hotel room, high priced call girl, Valorie, considers him just another john. Her plan is to go out to eat, maybe go dancing. After that she’ll spend the night with him, then go home. It will be just another business evening.

This was not going to be a normal evening. Her first clue was when he put a collar around her neck and attached a leash. Next, he told her to put on her coat and boots, but nothing else. “We’re leaving the hotel,” he told her. Hours later, Valorie has been kidnapped, humiliated and is being held captive on an island. She doesn’t know where the island is located, or what Holt’s ultimate plan is. It’s not for the sex she was hired for, she’s certain of that.

 

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**Excerpt**

 

Holt pinched her chin between his thumb and forefinger and tilted her head up. “You were a good girl in there.” He leaned in to kiss her and she twisted her neck at the last second so his kiss landed on her cheek instead.

“It’s my policy to not kiss clients on the lips,” she said.

“I see,” Holt said, and pulled back.

A cab pulled up and Holt held the door for her then slid in beside her. He gave the driver an address she didn’t recognize and the cab pulled away from the curb. Thirty minutes later they pulled into one of the smaller airports that served the area rather than the international one she was familiar with. The cab let them out at a two-story building and he guided her inside. A single, what she thought of as a ticket counter, occupied one side of the room and a man stood behind it. There were two rows of seats and three people, a man and two women, sitting in them.

Instead of going to the doors that led onto the tarmac, Holt guided her to a set of stairs that led up. At the top, he opened the door there and a blast of cold air smacked her in the face. Holt guided her across the lighted roof observation area to the outer wall that rose to just above her knees. From there up was a fence made of wire that reached over her head.

While the cold bit at her, falling snow collected on her shoulders and in her hair. A red and silver business jet was parked on the tarmac below. It was the only plane there. “Nice plane, I wonder who it belongs to.”

“Me,” he said.

Valorie glanced at him and her estimate of his wealth rose.

“We’re going to be flying out of St. Paul soon, but we have a few things to take care of first.”

“First of all, Mr. Frazier, I, nor my booking agency, ever agreed to leave the city. Second, remember you’ve only rented my services until tomorrow morning.”

“An oversite I intend to take care of right now.” Holt pulled his phone out of his suit jacket and called the agency. “Mr. Frazier again, I’ve decided I like Valorie and wish to retain her services for the entire weekend.” He waited to listen, then continued. “Yes, that amount is fine. Put it on my card.” Another pause. “I’ll have her back Monday morning. Thank you.”

He put the phone back in his pocket and smiled at her. “I’ve extended your services until Monday.”

“So I gathered.”

“Okay that’s taken care of. Next on my list; take your coat off, Val.”

“You’re fucking insane. I don’t have anything on under my coat and it’s freezing out here. Besides, I won’t get naked in public.”

Holt rubbed his chin. “Won’t? Or just haven’t had the proper motivation?”

Valorie said nothing, she just glared at him.

“I guess we’ll see.” He dug into his wallet and took out a bill but didn’t show her its value. “This is what I’m asking. You’ll take your coat off, then walk down the stairs with me and out onto that plane wearing nothing but your boots and jewelry.”

“For a fifty, or even a hundred, no damn way. It’s cold out here and there’s people down there”

“What if the bill is a five hundred? And you can put on this.” He dug into the sports bag and handed her a black mask that covered her eyes and nose.

She swallowed hard. “What do you think I am?” she growled.

“We both know what you are, Val. Your body is for hire. We just have to negotiate how much money it will take to motivate you into doing what I ask.”

“I beginning to hate you, Holt.”

He chuckled. “Hand me your coat.”

Valorie frowned, then, in resignation, untied her coat, slipped it from her shoulders and handed it to Holt. Her nipples stiffened immediately, and goose bumps formed on the rest of her body. Flakes of snow had collected in her hair and now they touched the rest of her with cold biting kisses. Her teeth began to chatter.

“All right, I’m naked and standing in the cold, satisfied?” she snarled.

“Not quite.” Holt stretched her arms above her head. “Hook your fingers in the fence wire.” Reaching down he slapped her inner thighs while ordering her to spread her legs. “Now hold that pose,” he said.

Valorie peered down at the workers around the plane and tears filled her eyes. They were partly from the cold and partially from humiliation. If any of them should look up she was fully displayed for them. She envied the hooded jackets they wore. Twice a flash of light highlighted her and Valorie knew Holt had snapped pictures.

He slapped one of her butt cheeks, the coldness magnifying the sting that radiated outward and causing the cheek to tense reflexively. The smack sounded loud as a gun report in the silence. “Ow, fuck, that hurt, Holt. You got your nudie pictures, can we go in now?” she asked.

“Not just yet. Turn around and face me in the same pose.”

Valorie spun, hooked her fingers in the fence again and waited for him to snap two more pictures of her in full frontal pose.

“Excellent. You’re a gorgeous woman, Val,” he said.

“Humph. Can we go inside now? I’m freezing my tits off.”

Holt stepped closer and pulled down on the leash attached to the back of her collar. His action forced her head to tilt back, her breasts to jut forward, and her back to arch.

“You’re an asshole Holt,” she snarled.

He grinned. “I’m your client, indulge me.”

“Danm it, take me inside before I turn into a Popsicle.”

“What will you do for me if I agree to take you inside?”

“What do you want? A blowjob? You want me to lick your balls?”

“The price of taking you inside is a kiss…full on the lips. Right here and right now.”

“Fine! You win. I’ll kiss you.”

Holts grin widened. “I’ve changed my mind and I’m upping the cost.”

“What the hell do you want?” Her lips trembled from the cold and frustration.

“The price is still a kiss, but the open mouth, tongues jousting kind.”

Tears gathered at the corners of her eyes. “Okay, but do it now while I can still feel my lips.”

Holt pulled her into embrace and sealed his mouth to hers. His suit coat was cold but infinitely warmer than her bare skin. The taste of his kiss and the passion behind it nearly stole her breath.

Holt broke their kiss, and said, “See? Bending your rules and kissing me wasn’t so bad was it?”

Valorie frowned at him. “Fuck you.”

“That will come later at the time and in the manor of my choosing, not yours.”

Valorie bit her half frozen lip to silence her retort and glared at him instead. Holt gathered the sports bag and her coat then took her hand. “Let’s get you inside now.”

“Thank you. I’m freezing. I’m going to turn blue.”

“Are you ready to go in without clothes, Val?”

“Yes.”

Leaning down, he stuffed the bill into her boot, again preventing her from seeing its value. When they entered the building and the door closed behind them, she relished the warmth. At the bottom of the steps they paused before going into the lobby. Holt held one of her hands and she automatically placed the hand of the other over her pussy.

“Uncover yourself and put your arm at your side,” he ordered.

She growled but did as he commanded. Valorie wanted to dash across the lobby, but Holt’s restraining hand prevented her from doing so. Instead they crossed at a slow pace. The man behind the counter gawked at her as did the trio that was seated. Her nipples slowly relaxed from their stiff condition.

“I feel like some damn prize racehorse that you’re parading around for people to see and admire,” she grumbled beneath her breath at him.

“I’ve had racehorses before and they were fantastic to display for all to see. They’re beautiful and so are you. If my plans work out, you’ll probably cost me more than a racehorse.”

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” she asked.

Just as they reached the door leading out onto the tarmac, the man seated behind the counter spoke, causing her to forget her question to Holt. “Nice handprint on that tight ass of yours, babe.”

Valorie’s cheeks heated. “Fuck you,” she mumbled low enough that only Holt could hear.

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G.E. Stills is zany but has a serious side. He lives in the southwest with a wife and two fur babies. He cares deeply for his friends and hasn’t met an animal yet he didn’t like. He lives in the southwest but often longs to live by the sea. He frequently says, “We have the sandy beaches but where is the water?”

Most days will find him hovering over his keyboard putting to words the stories of the many characters that pace into his mind. Their tales are both serious and humorous. A multi-published author, his stories cover many genres including contemporary, paranormal, and science fiction. Most of his stories have action, adventure, and humor. Some of them are erotic and some are not, but all have romance. His paranormal stories normally involve witches, demons or vampires with an occasional shape shifter thrown in for good measure.

G.E. Stills loves to hear from his readers and can be contacted at any of these sites.

Website / Blog / Youtube
Personal Facebook Page / Facebook Author Page
Twitter / Amazon Author Page  / Goodreads / Google+

 

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Author Showcase – Susan R. Hughes (Romance Novella: Halloween Kisses – An Office Love Story)

One kiss can change everything. Dulcie has had a secret crush on her co-worker Rowan for ages, but she’s too shy to let him know, and preoccupied with raising her rebellious teenage sister. When she bumps into him in the darkness of a haunted barn, she can’t resist stealing just one kiss.

That kiss enchants Rowan. If only he could figure out the identity of the woman whose kiss haunts him. While running from a troubled past, he may find that the woman he least suspects could lead him out of the dark forever.

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Chapter One courtesy of Susan R. Hughes’ Website

 

Two weeks before Halloween

The first kiss happened in the dark. It couldn’t have happened otherwise. Though Dulcie had longed to kiss Rowan for ages, ever since he first ambled by her cubicle at the office and tossed her one of his affable smiles, she wouldn’t have dared to let him know. How could she? Rowan Pearce was beautiful. Self-assured. Magnetic. Everything Dulcie Brooks wasn’t.

Of course she hadn’t planned the kiss. Kisses were the furthest thing from her mind as she strode toward the haunted barn at Sumner’s Farm. The ramshackle building stood on a small rise overlooking the farm’s expansive cornfields on one side and forest on the other. Above the craggy black outline of the treetops, a half-moon gleamed against a swath of inky sky.

Stepping around the slanted, weathered-looking gravestones that flanked the path leading to the barn’s entrance, Dulcie merged with the lineup of visitors waiting for the dour Frankenstein’s monster guarding the door to usher them inside. Red lights glowed in windows laced with cobwebs, where shadowy faces peered out and ominous moans and creaks emanated from within the wood-plank walls. Cheesy as heck, but just creepy enough to rouse goose bumps on her arms.

When a pair of hands gripped her shoulders from behind, Dulcie jerked and let out a startled squeak.

The hands pawed her hair. “Brains! I must find brains to eat. Where can I find brains?”

She spun to face her coworker, Nora, who flashed a wicked grin.

Dulcie folded her arms over her chest. “So very droll.”

“Scared?” Nora waggled menacing eyebrows. In the evening dark, the shadows crossing her face deepened the hollows of her eyes, lending her normally elfin features a ghoulish aspect.

“Only afraid that you’ll flay the skin off my arms like you did on that haunted hayride.” Dulcie plucked a sprig of straw from Nora’s pale blond curls. Huddled in the tractor-drawn wagon that had brought them to the barn, Nora had screamed like a six-year-old as zombies and masked men with chainsaws emerged from the woods and shambled behind in chase. Dulcie could still feel the fingernail gouges in the delicate flesh above her elbow.

Nora laughed. “This place is a blast. Why didn’t you bring your sister?”

Dulcie rubbed her hands along the sleeves of her cardigan, where the October chill seeped through to her skin. “Allie didn’t want to come and hang out with my stuffy old coworkers at some lame team-building thing.”

“Stuffy? Well, she may have a point. We’re not exactly the most with-it crowd–evidenced by the fact that the only term I can come up with is ‘with-it’.”

Dulcie slid off her glasses and used the edge of her cardigan to wipe a fine coating of dust from the lenses. “She had plans to go out with some friends tonight. Lord knows where, or what shady business they’re up to.”

The lineup inched forward, and Dulcie glanced at her coworkers, a mixture of staff from several departments at the head office of River’s Edge Adventure Gear. Alan McCarthy, the company’s vice president who had arranged the outing, waited at the front of the line.

Directly behind Alan, she spotted Rowan, his hands resting casually in the pockets of his fleece jacket while he chatted with copywriter Andy Newman. Normally she tried not to let her gaze linger on Rowan for too long, but she couldn’t resist the occasional glimpse at the strong lines of his profile and soft sweep of his blond hair.

Glancing away, she gave herself a silent scolding. At twenty-six, she was far too old to be caught in the throes of a secret crush. Especially when she’d barely spoken to the man in question in the nine months they’d worked two floors apart in the same building.

“My kids wouldn’t come, either,” Nora commiserated. “It’s for the best that they aren’t here to witness my embarrassing cowardice. It might scar them for life.”

Dulcie glanced back at her. “At least they’re at home with your husband, not roving the streets with their hoodlum friends.”

One edge of Nora’s mouth lifted. “You sound like a mom.”

“I’m the closest thing to a mom that Allie has right now. Someone has to worry about her.”

Nora’s hands settled on Dulcie’s shoulders again, but with a reassuring squeeze this time. “She’s seventeen. Rebellion is natural at that age. And, as her guardian, you have the pleasure of reining in that rebellion. But don’t fret so much. This isn’t big bad Toronto, it’s Donnington, Ontario’s most innocuous city. There’s nothing scarier here than this ridiculous haunted barn.”

“The shambling, grungy-haired, tobacco-reeking boy she hangs out with scares me more than anything lurking about here.” Dulcie heaved a sigh. “At her age, I was home every evening, usually studying or curled up in front of the TV. No parties or boyfriends. I never gave our mother a moment’s anxiety.”

“You don’t say,” Nora replied dryly.

Dulcie shot her a withering glance.

“It’s just that you’re a cautious, by-the-book sort of person. In a good way. Everyone appreciates how reliable you are.”

Boring and predictable, you mean. Dulcie opened her mouth to offer a rebuttal, but couldn’t think of one before the line ahead began to move and Nora nudged her forward.

Within a couple of minutes, Frankenstein’s monster lifted his moldy hand to direct them through the doorway into the barn. Dulcie entered ahead of Nora, her stomach tightening a little as she passed the threshold and headed into a darkened corridor. She felt Nora close behind, breathing raggedly, the toes of her shoes bumping Dulcie’s heels.

“Stay close to me,” Nora whispered, dread lacing her voice.

Dulcie folded her arms tight over her chest to avoid Nora’s clutching hands. She shuffled toward a corner dimly illuminated by blinking lights. Eerie moans echoed through the walls.

A figure leaned out from an alcove–a vampire baring his fangs–and Dulcie jolted. Nora gasped, while the teenaged girl behind them let out a startled shriek.

“Oh, for heaven’s sake,” Dulcie muttered, walking onward while the vampire retreated behind a curtain.

Rounding the corner, with Nora still at her heels, she passed a series of mutilated corpses and skeletons suspended from hooks, and then entered a corridor lined with formal portraits of ghoulish half-decomposed subjects.

Nora bent close to a portrait of a woman wearing a black Victorian dress and hat. “Look at this one,” she said. “The eyes seem to follow you.”

Just then, the woman in the painting opened her mouth wide and screamed. Nora yelped and jumped back, splaying her hands over her face.

“Oh my God, Dulcie. This place is gonna give me a freakin’ heart attack.”

Dulcie gripped her elbow. “Come on. We’re halfway through.”

In the next room, in order to pass they had to push through a cluster of decapitated heads dangling from ropes, eerily aglow in sickly green light. Dulcie wrinkled her nose and shoved through the rubber props.

Emerging on the other side, she realized she’d lost track of her companion. She spun to look back, but a crush of teenagers in the narrow doorway blocked her view. “Nora?”

No response came, and to avoid being trampled she had to move forward into a pitch-black passage. Staring blindly, Dulcie pressed her hand to the rough planked wall. Whispers and nervous laughter echoed around her. It was all cheesy special effects and cheap scares, but she couldn’t help the frisson of nervous tension that ran down her spine as she stumbled through the dark, not knowing what might leap out at her at the next turn.

She took a step away from the wall and collided with a warm body. Hands closed around her upper arms and she jolted.

“Sorry. Are you all right?”

Dulcie froze, and then wavered on her feet. Rowan’s voice. Her pounding heart tripped over itself while his hands remained on her arms, steadying her. She could read in his tentative tone that he didn’t know who she was.

She couldn’t find her voice. Rowan Pearce stood inches from her, touching her. Heat flared from her skin under his fingers and rippled through her body. With her heart throbbing in her throat and her insides quaking, something came over her–an impulse too powerful to resist, a long-repressed compulsion unleashed in the cover of darkness.

Finding his elbow, in a single swift motion she slid her hand up the soft sleeve of his jacket and over the collar, touched his neck, and then traced the line of his jaw with her fingertips. Skimming her thumb across his lips to fix their location, she leaned in and pressed her mouth to his.

Excitement exploded inside her. His supple, warm lips tasted of the salty-sweet caramel popcorn she’d seen him eating during the wagon ride.

To her surprise and pleasure, Rowan didn’t pull away. His grip on her arms tightened a fraction as his mouth molded to hers and glided against her lips.

Though blind in the dark, Dulcie let her eyes flutter closed. The kiss lasted only a few seconds, but filled her senses with heat and longing.

Excited voices and giggles erupted from around the corner, just before a crush of bodies jostled Dulcie and Rowan apart. Shrieks filled the darkness. She stumbled sideways, dazed and disoriented, her hands flailing. The fingers of one hand scraped the wall while the other brushed against the people shuffling past. Rowan was gone.

She found her bearings when a sliver of light pierced the dark as a nearby door cracked open. The door opened further and she stumbled toward it, following a woman ahead of her onto the grass outside.

While the evening chill cooled her heated cheeks, Dulcie blinked and glanced around at the people scattered behind the barn. She didn’t see Rowan among them.

A hand closed over her shoulder and she whirled around.

Nora stared at her with reproach. “Where were you? I thought you were right in front of me.”

Dulcie cleared her dry, tight throat. “Lost my way for a bit.”

Shuddering, Nora hugged herself. “I didn’t like it in there. Too crowded. What did you think?”

“It was … fun. Kind of a rush,” Dulcie said. She still felt slightly dazed, as though she’d just woken from an intense and titillating dream.

“But would you do it again?”

She bit her lip to keep a grin from spreading over her face. Yeah, in a heartbeat.

 

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I’m a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary and historical romance. Nothing gets my heart pumping like a good love story with absorbing emotion, plenty of passion, and an old-fashioned happy ending. That’s why I write romance, and I’m thrilled to share these stories with you. I live in Ottawa, Ontario, with my husband and three children.

To  find out about my sales and new releases, sign up for my newsletter. You can also like my Facebook page and follow me on Twitter.

I contribute regularly to the Authors of Main Street blog. Sign up for the AoMS newsletter for articles, free short stories, and news about me and the other talented authors in our group.

 

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Review of “The Damsel and the Dragon: Seven of Stars” – Mae McKinnon

As a child, Linandra spent many hours slaying monsters and having adventures. 

So, when faced with a future containing little in the way of excitement (but plenty of cereals) she gathered up her courage and set out into the world. 

It soon turned out that becoming a dashing hero – or any hero at all – wasn’t as easy as the stories made it out to be; if someone’s garden was, say, infested with weedrats, they sought to hire a mercenary, not a waif off the streets. 

Now on a journey going nowhere, when Lin comes upon an old barn, all she’s really looking for is respite from the cold. But this is a place which holds more secrets than it does hay and Linandra soon finds herself dragged into the lives of wizards, cleaning-ladies and other, even stranger, folk. Much to her chagrin, this also includes Setharrion, who is trying very hard not to let his own past catch up with him.

She’d spent years looking for a second chance. Now it had found her. Only, it wasn’t like anything she’d ever imagined… 

She was, however, very grateful that it didn’t eat her.

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Excerpt

 

What she really wanted was to be back in her bed at her last attempt at holding down a job. Even more, she wanted to be back in her own bed. The one she’d always had, growing up.

It had been hard and narrow and there hadn’t been much in terms of bedclothes, but they had been there. Right now, even that sounded appealing. Being back home, going about what you did every day. Was that really so bad?

Lin’s thoughts strayed, as if trying to find anything else to think about but the current situation, while edging another step closer to the ground. Her knuckles turned white where she gripped the bars.

A shivering foot swung down, searching for the next rung in the dark.

What had she been thinking, switching that dead certainty of her future for this? That every day would be the same? That she’d know what she’d be doing ten, even twenty, years from now?

And what had she exchanged it for? All this? She hadn’t even found a place for herself yet. Not after her last position went down the drain, quite literally.

A tumbled drop down to the ground and a loud ‘ouff’ when she misjudged the last bar on the ladder and she couldn’t fall any further. Once there, Lin knew that the path between her and the barn doors was devoid of obstacles and those had, inside of them, a much smaller normal door that she could go through without all the hassle of towing open the big ones.

That’s what she normally used when sneaking out.

Tonight, she never got the chance.

Accompanied by a whole series of rumbles and forks of blazing light zigzagging through the air those large barn doors flew open. As if forced aside by the sheer power of the wind, they greeted the storm beyond in its unbridled fury.

Linandra became transfixed to the ground. Her vividly green eyes, thrown open as wide as the doors, stared almost without seeing. Her mouth fell open, gaping like a fish out of water. The gale tore at her long hair, whipping it all around her, but she didn’t notice.

The next bolt of lightning caught her off-guard and as she peered out into what was left of the night, the night looked right back.

‘Oh, mother of all that is,’ Lin whimpered, while the rest of her mind went blank.

The lightningstrike had just lit up what was in front of her. She’d been happier if it hadn’t.

It was big. No, big didn’t even come close. It was huge. Humongous. A veritable mountain of flesh and armoured plating. The rainwater wasn’t just trickling off its skin, it was cascading down from its body in torrents and lightning reflected off the powerful flanks every time the sky sizzled and frayed.

If it hadn’t been for the illumination of the thunderbolts, she never would have seen it. From tip to tail it gleamed with a deep, inky, black. It was as if the night had coalesced from smooth velvet into rocky crags. If crags could move with a purpose.

Had it been moving away, Lin would have followed its progress, even been impressed by the sheer, raw, power it exuded. But it was getting closer and every part of her mind that hadn’t already shut down, was screaming with primal urges to run away—if only she hadn’t been frozen in intimidation.

While the storm continued to rage around them it was being pushed into the background for Lin. The rain kept streaming in through the opening in the barn, hitting her in the face, but she no longer saw that either.

The body before her gleamed, slick with rainwater. The muscles bulged even as it stood still, as if had been caught in motion, readying a leap into the sky.

Immense wings, still partly extended, blackened out parts of the heavens, drowning her world in shadow, like an eclipse to the suns.

The head, this close up, seemed elongated with noble, if craggy, features as they reached the crest, and it was crowned with a whole array of short horns and spikes carrying on down the neck.

But that wasn’t where her attention was. It was the eyes. Luminous orbs in the dark. Yellow and red with fire, they filled her world. Looking into them you could, almost, believe you could see beyond them, into a world twirling and spinning and, without any doubt whatsoever, looking right back at her.

For a brief moment, the two of them stood there, motionless, in the rain and the wind. Then, lowering its head, the dragon approached the gaping hole in the barn.

Held by the same almost hypnotic gaze as the mouse caught out by a viper and, foraging for food, becoming food itself, Lin couldn’t move. Her breath came in short, jagged bursts.

The jaws, slightly parted, were only meters away when Lin finally managed to break away. She scuttled backwards.

To her horror the dragon pursued even if it had to crouch down to fit through the doors. But it didn’t pounce. Surely it saw her? It couldn’t be ignoring her, could it?

Its steps light, each one still made the nearby ground shiver every time one of those clawed feet hit the ground. And what claws they were … more like an armful of talons. Or should that be a foot-full of talons? Four whole sets of them.

Creeping forwards, moving with a grace and dignity that belied the cramped location, the midnight dragon entered the barn. And as it wrapped its tail around its feet, the doors slammed shut behind it.

She was trapped. Trapped, with a huge, toothy beast only meters away. Why, oh why weren’t any alarms sounding? They must have them in this place, surely? No one wanted a rampaging dragon dropping in unannounced. Dragons raided places like this, didn’t they?

A calmer mind might have asked itself, that if a dragon raiding party had arrived, then why was it curling up like a cat that had just returned home from a three-day excursion, in a wooden, very flammable structure, rather than roaring and gnashing its teeth at everything in sight.

By now, body parts should have been raining from the sky, screaming and wailing coming from the people still alive.

That’s what dragons did. Everyone she knew said so. That was why all those knights in all those stories had always needed to go off protecting the kingdoms from them.

Dragons were beasts: huge, hulking brutes that breathed fire and trampled everything in their wake.

This one, however, was making itself comfortable in the middle of the open planned structure. The tail was, slowly, draping itself around the series of support pillars that held up the loft. Its tip scraped against the bottom wood, creating furrows where the soft material was no match for the hard scales.

Guess that explained those marks she’d seen earlier, Lin figured, in between the madness. What an odd thought to have pop into your mind at a time like this, Lin chided herself. 

By now, the dragon had nestled its head on top of its front paws. It didn’t seem like it was planning on going anywhere, anytime soon.

The problem—and since she was still alive it was a somewhat smaller problem than, say, five minutes ago—was that the dragon was looking right at her. It was a calm gaze, filled more with amusement than cunning. But it was looking right at her.

 

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

 

When we visualize a dragon, we form an image of a humungous, snarling beast determined to bring havoc, death and destruction. However, in The Damsel and the Dragon we learn dragons can be gentle, compassionate, loving, and protectors of all — humans or otherwise. Kaherion possessed all the above qualities and so did Setharrion (Seth). Being a beast doesn’t always equate a monster. Lin, a humanoid, was a witness to their softer side. They were patient with her when she gave them attitude. Seth, in fact, rescued her on more than one occasion. He charmed her. He was playful. He was a dragon worth knowing – worth caring about. Joran, on the other hand, was the complete opposite. He was a true beast and did have carnage in his sights. When the dragons battled, the book really heated up. 

 

Now, even though, I thought the fist 2/3 of the story was dragging a bit there were some memorable scenes. 

1.) Seth (in human form) groaning about nails and their lack of importance. Also, him clothes shopping was quite a funny experience (for me, not so much him). Let’s not forget his sweet tooth. Cute.  

2.) Lin’s pet dragonling was just adorable, in a highly mischievous way. It behaved like an ordinary unruly pet. It chewed on inappropriate things, needed obedient school, and liked to do its own thing. Sounds like new puppy behavior to me. 

 

Once again, I must state that once Lin and Seth came face to face the book picked up much needed steam. My interest, which seemed to be diminishing, was captured. Seth was just so likable, a sweetie. When Lin confronted him in dragon form, I almost snickered at his reaction. He whined, folks. That moment made the whole chapter for me! 

 

**This book did end with a HEA but also left it wide open for more adventurous tales.**

 

Heart Rating System 

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

 Score: ❤❤❤

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Mae is a creature of contradiction: The type of person who loves to discover new things, and faraway places, but worries about sticking her nose into the shop she’s walked past every day for years and years and who can be as much a starry eyed idealist as the most bitter of cynics, about the same thing, at the same time. If you think this is exhausting – you’re right.

There’s absolutely nothing contradictory about her love of reading or writing though – and she happily does both as much as she can (it’s true what they say, there never IS enough bookshelf space). Somewhere along the line, this will, probably, involve dragons 🙂

Incidentally, she also wishes she could type as fast as her imagination runs and that someone really should come up with a reliable way to train muses and characters to stick with the story and don’t go chrono-hopping, explore strange new alternate realities or, even worse, insist on bringing home plot-bunnies.   

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Interview with Daniel Curzon

 

  1. Welcome, Daniel Curzon (pronounced Kerr-Zin). For those who might not be familiar with you, would you be a dear and tell the readers a little about yourself? How did you get your start in the writing business?

(Daniel) I started as a writer by putting on plays as a child in Detroit despite the neighborhood bullies. They all died young. 

 

  1. All writers fear the dreaded “block”. Please tell us how you handle it.

(Daniel) If people have a “block” I think they are not writing out their resentments enough. Write them out but not in the first person. Also let “them” have some of the best lines. You have to find something essential to your personality to use as motivation. Everything irritates me, so I never have writer’s block.

 

 

 

  1. Contrary to what some people envision about a romance writer’s life, it’s not all glitz and glam. Well not for the majority of us. With that bubble sadly busted, when you’re not writing, how to do you spend your time?

(Daniel) I am about as far from a romance writer as you can get. I write to reveal what I think other people don’t get right — the irregularities of the truth, not what orthodoxy says is the truth, neither all left or all right. There is obviously porn. There is also Emotional Porn.

When not writing, I watch men beating each other up in MMA. 

 

 

  1. I know many writers, such as myself, keep their pastime/career a secret. Do those close to you know you write? If so, what are their thoughts?

(Daniel) I think it best not to show your writing to those who know you, especially if it is about them. You won’t be telling the truth if you show them what you have written. Lie and hide it asked what it’s in it.

 

  1. Will you share with us your all time favorite authors? If you’re like me, it’s a long list so give us your top ten.

(Daniel) My favorite authors are Nathanael West and John Steinbeck. West was the first writer I sensed was not so much an influence as a similar sensibility — that life is a bitter, dark comedy. I liked Steinbeck in my innocent, liberal past.

 

  1. If you could choose one book to go to the big screen, yours or otherwise, which book would you choose and whom would you love see casted in the parts?

(Daniel) My movie would be The Big Book of In-Your-Face Gay Etiquette, starring Brad Pitt, and then me winning the first of my ten Oscars for Best Screenplay. 

 

In some places it is the best of times to be gay. In other places it is the worst. If you have chosen to be gay – and why wouldn’t you? – remember to 1) be proud, but watch your back at all times, and 2) to be good, except when you shouldn’t. This is the 3rd and completely updated 21st Century Edition of the classic, bestselling reference for Gay Proper Etiquette. Revised and expanded for any sophisticated audience some ‘interesting’ millennial changes have occurred over the years from 1982 to the present. “Daniel Curzon is a comic genius.” (Amos Lassen Reviews) “The absolute must-read at US-military . . . worldwide, now that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is officially cancelled.” (Executive Editor Wisehouse Publishing) Daniel Curzon has never been afraid of controversy and has been on the cutting edge of several major social and political issues. He is the author of many books of fiction and plays, including the landmark gay protest novel “Something You Do in the Dark” (G.P. Putnam, 1971). (“I greatly admire Daniel Curzon for writing this novel.” – Christopher Isherwood) (“Engrossing, powerful, and disturbing.” – Joyce Carol Oates).

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  1. Would you care to tell us what you’re working on now? That is if it’s not top-secret information. If so, just whisper it in my ear. I swear it’ll go no further.

(Daniel) I’m thinking of next writing a musical about Guerneville Sal, who was a saloon entertainer from 1849-1851. She sang saucy, dirty versions of Xmas carols for the Forty-Niners. Sal was rumored to be a man. 

 

  1. Where can we find your stories and is there a particular reading order?

(Daniel) My books are on Amazon.com and on the Wisehouse website. Buy a book of plays, for god’s sake!

 

~~ Sample of what’s offered on the sites ~~

COLLECTED PLAYS of DANIEL CURZON (VOLUME I, 1977-1982) 

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The Delicious Memoirs of Daniel Curzon, chronicles the author’s encounters with dozens and dozens of gay and/or gay-hating figures in American literature and theatre from the early nineteen sixties very nearly to the present. The bulk of the many short pieces was written in 1986, and is followed by copious updates on most of the people named.

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  1. Would you please share how your present and future fans can contact you?

(Daniel) Contact me via danielcurzon.com    

I think people might be surprised how much is there.

My email is curzon@pacbell.net

 

  1. Before we conclude this enlightening interview, do you have anything else you’d like to share? The stage is all yours.

(Daniel) The Oracle at Delphi once predicted that I would be world famous.  Under her breath she said, “But not until you are one hundred and one.” 

I’m working on it. 

 

~~ Closing remarks ~~

Thank you Daniel for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer a few questions for me. Based off a scan of your website, I see you are truly a busy fella. It sure does have a lot of content! 

Visitors, I want to also thank you for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed your time here and I’m sure Daniel appreciates your visit as well. Oh, I am sure he would love to hear from you (here, his site or through email). Before you go, may I ask you to stick around and check out just one more book. It’s Daniel’s latest and just arrived on the scene last month. 

 

 

Paperback: 250 pages

Publisher: l’Aleph (September 1, 2017)

 

Sweet, Sweet Stories, Some Sweeter Than Others by Daniel Curzon is a product of a lifetime of living with a super-thin skin and a lot of scar tissue from the vicissitudes of the world. Whether it is possessed of a “monumental originality,” as expressed by Phi Beta Kappa Reviews, it is at the very least a readable, unpretentious collection of short stories that explore the  purpose of fiction, of story telling: is it just to pass the time, to divert and amuse, or is it to tell the truth so people will know they are not alone  in this world with its bafflements, oddities, sadnesses, and strange turns of mirth?

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Author Showcase – Tricia Copeland (Drops of Sunshine) (Spellbound)

With a job as a camp counselor, sixteen-year-old Nina heads to the wilderness for summer break. With her year all she wants is an escape. But some special kids can hear her thoughts and she can’t hide her head in the sand like she planned. Can Nina come to terms with all her swirling emotions? Sometimes all it takes is a drop of sunshine!

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I texted Aiden but it’d been over a week since he’d seen her. He had a knack for reading people and I asked him to check in on her. Eleven days without seeing my big brother started to feel like a long time. I felt a nudge on my mattress and turned my head so see Lily looking up at me.

I pushed up on one elbow. “Hi, Water Flower, what’s up?”

“You miss your brother.” I fought the urge to react. She couldn’t know I’d been thinking about Aiden. Again, she’d made a statement, and I wondered if that was just how she talked.

“Sometimes. Do you have a brother?”

“No.”

“A sister?”

“No, I used to have an imaginary friend.”

“Me, too. What was your friend’s name?”

“Lisa.”

I swung my legs over the end, climbed down, and sat on her bunk. “Want to talk about Lisa.”

“No, I was just thinking you were sad because you miss your mom and brother.”

“Well, don’t worry about me. Being a little sad sometimes is fine. Missing people you love is normal.”

 

 

 

 

REVIEW

There are a couple things that set apart Drops of Sunshine from other teen/young adult books. It’s not the location — summer camp. It’s not the teenage love triangles. It’s not the teenage drama in general. This book differs from other teen stories in the following ways…..

  1. The campers attending Camp Green Lake live life being blind, visually impaired, deaf, near deaf, have down syndrome, etc. Tricia shows the readers that these campers might be “impaired” but they are capable of doing amazing things. Horseback riding, archery, canoeing, nothing stops them from enjoying life and that’s the way it should be. 
  2. The campers have exceptional talents and I’m not referring to their arts and crafts skills. They could read minds and, in doing so, they helped Nina feel less alone — which is usually a role of the counselor. In her sadness and her determination to focus on the camper’s needs above her own, she formed a bound with each extraordinary child. 

 

Now as for Nina, honestly, she wasn’t my favorite character in the world. Really, no particular counselor held my interest more than another. With that said, I am strictly basing my score on the two points above and the uniqueness of the campers and the plot. 

If you are looking for a book for your teenager, pre-teen, then I do suggest adding this one to their reading list. I think they’ll enjoy it. I did and I’m well past my teens. 🙂

 

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Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest)

Score: ❤❤❤❤

 

 

 

“Drops of Sunshine” can also be found in Spellbound: a young adult paranormal novella collection featuring 5 new YA stories/authors!

 

Part of Your World by L.A. Starkey – When two worlds collide at the edge of the sea in a measure of desperation, a prince will bow before a commoner and a lost soul will finally be found. Part of Your World – Where love is waiting just beyond the edge of what you can see.

Glistens by Chess Desalls – Marian Spritz won’t gain guardian fairy status if she fails her summer school project. But when she hears a call for help—a song felt only by Glistens—she must choose between not letting her schoolwork and teammates suffer and protecting a ward who faces grave danger.

Tethered by Kelly Hall – Life had been simple for vampire Jayden Blackwell until he met the runaway Emmaline Grey. One taste of her blood revealed that not only is she a fledgling vampire on the cusp of her transition, but she’s also his bondmate and the granddaughter of his family’s biggest enemy. Will family feuding keep them apart or is it Jayden who compromised Emma’s survival? 

Drops of Sunshine by Tricia Copeland – Working as lifeguard at a camp for the blind seems like the perfect escape for Nina. But a few perceptive kids can hear her thoughts. Can embracing her truth help her heal and reveal possibilities she never imagined? 

Feathers and Fireflies by Melanie Rodriguez – Seventeen year old Rory of Vanora Village dreams of capturing the sacred summer solstice ritual of the animal shapeshifters with her trusty charcoal and parchment. But with only legends and tales to guide her, she cannot even convince her childhood friend, Lucas, that the ritual is real. On the night Rory follows the fireflies, she gets far more than she bargained for.

 

 

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Tricia Copeland grew up in Georgia but now lives outside the mile-high city of Denver, Colorado with her husband, three kids, and multiple four legged and finned friends. An avid runner and paranormal fan, she also enjoys hiking, trivia, and Scrabble. You can connect with Tricia and other readers at any of these fine locations: 

 

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Author Showcase – Joynell Schultz (The Secret Lives of Superhero Wives)

Nobody said being married was easy, but try being married to a superhero. Not only is there laundry, cooking, and a career to balance, but throw in a few supervillains and your day’s booked.

Ariana, Victoria, and Emma’s men spend more time saving the world than doing dishes. These wives want some semblance of a normal married life, but would settle for an uninterrupted meal together. Besides, how can they compete with saving the world?

When a catastrophic earthquake devastates Shadow Town and crime spirals out of control, it appears the city needs all the help they can get to clean it up. Everyone expected the resident superheroes to save the day, but nobody expected the wives’ help too…

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Excerpt courtesy of Joynell Schultz’s website

 

Saturday, April 3rd

 

ARIANA 

‘Psst, Ariana. I’m gonna be late.’ Adam’s hushed voice whispered in Ariana’s mind, jolting her out of the present.

“Hold still,” her mother said.

Ariana stiffened and ignored her mom, focusing on her future husband instead. She wondered how long it’d take to get used to his telepathic superpower. She opened her mind to him and sent a reply, ‘Why?’

‘I’ve been…detained.’ Adam forced an image to flood her mind: his naked body with his manliness poorly covered by his hand. Her cheeks tingled and warmed as she looked at her mother’s smile. She focused on the image in her head instead, noticing the scorch marks on Adam’s skin. Black ash against his thighs and across the ripples of his abdomen. What had happened? She assessed his skin, unharmed as usual.

Her fiancé’s voice continued. ‘I may not make it in time.’

‘Like hell you won’t.’ She shifted her weight on the chair she stood on. Her hand jolted to her rump, swatting her aunt’s hand away. “Ouch!”

“Hey, you need to keep still.” Her aunt gripped her hips to keep her in place.

Ariana sprang off the chair, the bustle of her white gown half pinned, and half flowing behind her. “Um, I gotta go.”

Her mom’s jaw fell open. “You need to go? Now’s not the time for cold feet.”

Ariana found her mom’s purse, pulled out the minivan keys, and gave her mom a kiss on the cheek. “Trust me, if I don’t go now, there won’t be a wedding.”

Her mom’s jaw opened, and she appeared to search for words, but Ariana ignored her, focusing on Adam instead. ‘Where are you?’ She sent to Adam.

‘The alley behind Top Perks Coffee Shop.’

‘Do you know what time it is?’

Adam sent an image of his bare wrist. ‘I was going to look for my missing my watch, but I couldn’t find the time.’He transmitted a chuckle.

‘Of course, you have a joke. You always have jokes. Come on! Our wedding starts in less than an hour.’

‘I know.’ Adam’s words enunciated in her mind. ‘That’s why I’m telling you I’ll be late.’

‘Stay there.’

Ariana flew out the door, her mother hot on her tail. “Where are you going?”

“No time to explain. Meet me at the church,” she panted.

Ariana stopped in the study of her parent’s house and snatched Adam’s Tux, flinging it over her shoulder. She wrapped yards of her gown’s white fabric around her arm and ran to her parent’s minivan.

“Ariana, you can’t do—” Her mother’s voice drowned by the purring V-6 of the sensible gold party machine.

The tires squealed as she flew down the driveway, leaving her mother yelling at her in the front yard. “Sorry, Ma, but there’s no way I’m being stood up on my wedding day.”

More than one neighbors’ necks turned to rubber as they watched the scene of the runaway bride. Ariana waved and blew them a kiss before she further pressed the accelerator and clenched the steering wheel.

The van lurched one way and then the other as she rounded the corners through the back streets of the city, running a few red lights and ignoring the speed limits. Who had time for that crap, anyway?

Leaving a track of rubber on the pavement, she screeched to a halt in front of a rusted dumpster at the end of the alley, perfectly matching the image Adam had sent. She clicked the button to open the side door, yelling into the empty ally, “This better be good.”

With caution, Adam emerged from behind the dumpster with one hand covering his frontside and another covering his backside. The hair was singed off his chest. Hmm…was all his hair below his neck burned off? She looked down at his legs. Yup, that’ll be interesting.

He crawled into the van.

Not waiting for the door to close, Ariana threw the vehicle in reverse and spun the tires out of the alley, heading for the church.

“Here,” she huffed, handing her naked fiancé a small foil-wrapped package.

In the rearview mirror, Adam twirled the package in his hand. “Fingernail polish removing wipes?”

“If I were you, I wouldn’t be complaining right now. Get the soot off and throw your tux on. Honestly, today, I don’t care what you look like. I wouldn’t even care if the hair on the top of your head would have been burned off. You have a wedding to be at in thirty minutes.”

Adam ran a hand through his short, light brown locks, appearing to ensure it was still there. “Don’t you want to know what happened?”

“That’s not important right now. Focus.” Ariana pointed at the tux then to Adam.

Adam laughed. “Well, he got away.”

“I said, get ready.” She hid any amusement from her voice.

“Isn’t it bad luck to see the bride in her wedding dress before the ceremony?”

Ariana looked up at the ceiling and held up a finger. “One day. All I ask is that you show up ON TIME this one day.” Ariana’s arm was shaking. She returned her hand to the wheel and tightened her grip. Note to self: don’t let Adam out of your sight on days with important events.

Adam was laughing now. “Don’t you ever worry about me?”

Ariana’s her heart raced and her palms were wet from sweat. “You’re invincible. You’ll always be fine. Now put that tux on!”

Pulling the van up to the church steps, she turned to her future husband. His lip curled up, and all her anger melted away. She took a deep breath as he leaned forward and placed a kiss on her forehead, giving one of her blond ringlets a little tug. He whispered, “I love you, but, I think, you’ll be late.” In a flash, Adam was out of the van and disappeared into the church.

Out came Ariana’s mother, her wavy gray hair wild in the wind. Ari stepped out of the van, took a deep breath, and smiled, letting it all sink in. She was going to marry the man of her dreams today. This was truly the beginning of the rest of her life. A fabulous life with an amazing partner at her side.

Her mom took her hand and helped her out. “We have ten minutes to finish getting you ready.”

Her dad stepped beside them. “You look beautiful, Dear.”

Ariana smiled. This was everything she ever wanted. Loving parents and marrying a man, everyone drooled about—even if they only drooled when he was in costume, saving the world.

 

 

 VICTORIA

Victoria swirled her straw in her Diet Coke. She hated Diet Coke, but being in a newer relationship, she needed to keep her figure in better shape than a marshmallow Peep. The duck kind, not the bunny ones. The thought was making her hungry. She enjoyed being “full bodied” and wanted to keep her curves. It was a fine line to not be too skinny, nor too heavy. The Diet Coke was her balance, but it reminded her how much it sucked to be thirty and no longer married.

Today, her mind was on everything except the man in front of her. Work, the book she was reading, and her grocery list.

“Vicky?”

Victoria shook her head and looked up at Mike. “Sorry, I was distracted. I have a lot going on. What did you say?”

“I had asked if you wanted to get away this week. You said you took a few days off of work. We could go to my cousin’s lake cottage. It would be romantic.” He winked at her.

Should she tell him she hated winking? It was creepy and something a sleaze-bag would do. She bit her tongue and focused on his question. “This week? Um… I’ll have Chew-Barka. Can I bring him?”

The smile on Mike’s face dissolved as he rubbed his temple. “I can ask, but can’t your ex take him?”

She sat back in her chair. “Ask him to do me a favor? I’d rather give up chocolate.”

Mike tilted his chin. “You know Thursday’s our anniversary.”

“Anniversary?”

“We’ve been dating for three months.”

Had it been that long already? “You’re counting months? I thought only teenagers did that.”

Mike’s lips tightened. “Are you not into this relationship?”

She swirled her straw, splashing soda over the edge of the glass. “Yeah, it’s fine… I mean good. It’s just—”

Mike looked up. “Speaking of the devil. How is it he always seems to interrupt us?”

She ground her teeth, not needing to spin around to know her ex-husband stood behind her. “Yes, Vance, how is it you always seem to know where I am?”

Her ex made his way to the side of their table. His voice was smooth, deep, and familiar. Victoria tried to forget how much it appealed to her. “Coincidence, I guess. I was on my way to the mayor’s campaign headquarters, but saw you here.”

“Come on. Campaign headquarters is across the city.” Victoria played with her straw.

“You’re a supporter?” Mike asked. “I thought nobody liked the Mayor. How he won, I’ll never know.”

“Obviously, more than half the city likes him, otherwise he wouldn’t have won. Besides, I always root for the underdog.”

Mike leaned forward. “I read that they are trying to have a recall election. Nobody believes he won.”

Victoria turned to Vance and didn’t hide the annoyance in her voice. “So, why are you here?”

Vance’s smile said I’m-hiding-something-I’m-not-going-to-tell-you. “I was simply getting extra steps in.” He turned to Mike. “So, how have ya been?” He gave Mike a small punch on his shoulder.

“Ow—” Mike jerked away, shielding his bicep with his hand. He straightened and recovered his manliness.

Vance didn’t seem phased. “Were you done here?”

Victoria ground her teeth together. “No. We hadn’t ordered yet.”

“Great!” Vance smiled. “I’m starving.” He grabbed a chair from the neighboring table, turned it backwards and straddled it.

“Join us,” Mike said to the already sitting down Vance. “I think Victoria has a question for you, anyway.”

Vance picked up the menu that laid in front of Mike. “Were you done with this?” He tipped down his sunglasses and stared at Mike’s hot coffee for a moment.

He better not use his power.

He tipped his sunglasses back in place and smiled again. A smile that made Victoria sweat. “A question for me? You were thinking about me?”

Victoria shook her head and sputtered out the lies. “I don’t have a question, and I never think about you.”

Mike interjected. “What she means is would you keep Chew-Barka until the weekend?”

“This weekend?”

“Yeah, I’d like to take Victoria away for our anniversary.” Mike picked up his coffee.

“Anniversary? What’s it been? A few months? I thought only kids counted months.” Vance shook his head and focused on the menu. “Nah. That won’t work. I’m busy.”

Victoria set her menu down and glared at her ex. “You’re busy? How is it that you always seem to find enough time to find me and torment me?”

“Well, I have plans now.” Vance turned away from Mike, towards Victoria, and curled the corner of his lip up into a sly smile. Of course he had plans. They involved keeping her and Mike apart. Now throw in a little irritating her and Vance’s week was full. Did he really hate her that much? She had broken his heart.

Victoria chocked down a sip of her Diet Coke. “That’s okay. I think it’s time I found a kennel for Chew-Barka.” She turned to Mike who lifted his coffee mug to his lips.

“No—” Victoria tried to stop him, but it was too late. He had tipped the coffee cup back and taken a sip. The icy cold liquid sprayed out of his mouth, all over the table.

Mike set the cup down. “What the hell! It’s freezing.”

Victoria wiped her face and glared at Vance.

Vance’s sly smile appeared again, then a little chuckle. “I don’t know why you’re looking at me.”

Victoria shook her head at him, trying to tell him, she was on to him. On to the fact he used his freeze vision.

Vance set the menu down and changed the subject. “No kennel for Chew-Barka. That’s like doggie jail. Let me see what I can do. I’ll get back to you.”

Mike frantically wiped the coffee off the table. “That would be great if you took him for the whole week.” He reached over to reciprocate the punch Vance gave him.

“No!” Victoria tried to warn him again, but it was too late. Mike shook out his fist after slugging Vance’s shoulder. Vance hadn’t budged. Like a rock as always.

Mike opened and closed his hand. “Wow, man, you must spend a lot of time at the gym.”

Victoria stood up. “I’ve lost my appetite. You two enjoy each other. Vance, I’ll see you tomorrow when you pick up Chewy.” Victoria left the men alone for their romantic lunch.

 

EMMA   

When Becky opened the door to Emma, the first thing she saw was her bright white smile. “Hey, Sis! I’m so glad you could come over at the last minute. I hope I’m not pulling quality time away from you and your hubby.”

Emma bit her lip, holding back a smile of her own. Quality time? Ha. She purposefully didn’t leave out his costume when she left. Would Estavon be able to find his black leather super suit without her? “It’s really no problem. Besides, I want to hear your news.”

A little curly-haired, pig-tailed girl, wearing a black sweat suit and black mask, pranced across the room like a gazelle, finally stopping in front of Emma. Swooping her niece up in her arms, Emma kissed her chubby cheek. “How’s the little princess today?”

Samantha lisped out. “I’m not a princess. I’m a superhero.”

“Oh, well I’m mistaken. What are your secret powers?”

“I’m just like Capitán Rápido. I can move super-duper fast and can see into the future… a whole day into the future.”

“Instead of only ten seconds? You’ll be unstoppable!”

Samantha slid from Emma’s arms and ran as fast as she could around the living room.

Emma laughed, “She’s so cute!”

Becky took her purse from the shelf beside the door. “I’ll be home in about two hours. Do you want to hear the news now, or later?”

“Well… Now, of course.”

A big smile grew across Becky’s face, swallowing all her other features. “I’m pregnant!”

“Really?” Emma heaved her sister into her arms. “That’s fantastic!”

“Hopefully, you’ll have success soon, too.”

Emma shook her head, pushing the thought away. “This isn’t about me right now. I can’t wait for another niece…or maybe a nephew this time.”

Becky looked down at her watch. “I gotta go. Josh is meeting me at the doctor’s office. I have my first ultrasound today, three months along already.” Becky gave Emma another hug before heading out the door.

“Watch this, Auntie Ems!” Samantha crawled up on the couch and jumped off the back with her arms outstretched. “Did you see that? I can fly!”

“Wow, you’re even better than Capitán Rápido. He can’t fly. Not like The Kite.”

“Mommy says I’m going to have a brother or a sister, but I need to be patient.”

“Your mommy’s wise. You’ll need to be very patient.”

Samantha ran around the sofa again, crawled back up and jumped off, one more time. Emma smiled. Oh, how did she want a child of her own.

Was that even possible in her life?

Someday, I hope.

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Joynell Schultz was raised at a zoo (yeah, bring on the jokes) which gave her a love of animals. She spends her days working as a veterinary pharmacist and spends her nights (cough, cough—very early mornings) creating imaginary worlds writing speculative fiction. When she’s not trying to put food on the table (take-out, of course) for her husband and two children (and keeping it away from her sneaky Great Dane), she spends her time reading, writing, enjoying the outdoors, and planning her next vacation.

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Authors: Get Inspired with September’s Sensational Selections!

 

 

 

 

 

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Review of “Travel Glasses” by Chess Desalls 🕶️

2016 IAN OUTSTANDING YOUNG ADULT WINNER
2016 NEW YORK BOOK FESTIVAL YOUNG ADULT RUNNER-UP
2016 READERS’ FAVORITE HONORABLE MENTION IN YA MYSTERY

 

Calla Winston’s mobile devices sit in a corner of her room, covered in dust. Weeks ago, she shared photos and laughs with her best online friend. Now, after having felt the sting of betrayal, she prefers being hidden and friendless. She equates privacy with security and technology with pain.

Then she meets Valcas, an otherworldly time traveler who traverses time and space with a pair of altered sunglasses. When an ethereal being knocks Calla to the ground near her family’s lakeside cottage, Valcas uses the Travel Glasses to help her escape. He offers his further protection in exchange for a promise. Intrigued by Valcas and the possibility of time travel, Calla accepts. That is until she learns that his search for her was no mere coincidence.

Calla sets off on her own, taking the Travel Glasses with her. Torn between searching for her estranged father and reuniting with the rest of her family, she tracks down the inventor of the Travel Glasses in hopes of discovering more about Valcas’ past and motivations. The Travel Glasses take Calla’s mistrust of technology to all new levels. But without them, she’ll never make it back home. With Valcas hot on her trail, Calla hopes to find what she’s looking for before he catches up.

The Call to Search Everywhen is a serial series of novel-length installments. Travel Glasses is YA fantasy filled with metafiction and other literary twistiness. It’s a thought-provoking narrative about trust, relationships, reality and illusion.

 

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)

 

Whether you’re young, old, or somewhere in between, you’ll find yourself captivated by this time travel novel. Unlike cult favorites such as Doctor Who, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, and the Back the Future franchise, migrating through the eras has been simplified. Forget the phone booths, the DeLorean, and say hello to teleporting glasses.

Oh, the very notion of donning a pair is enough to ignite a reader’s imagination. Where would you go? What year? Whom would you like to spend a brief moment of time with? If no location were off limits, would you embark on a voyage?

For me, I’m not sure if I would. Not because I wouldn’t want to visit a certain person or location. No, I’d be afraid of changing one small event in history and the ripple event becoming disastrous. In Travel Glasses, there was an organization that policed time and space travel. TSTA was needed to keep the present visitors from disrupting the past.  Violators are held accountable for their blunders. It’s the only way to ensure history is not altered in the slightest bit. Of course, accidents still happen and the toll of traversing through time alters a traveler. Chess Desalls shows the reader the effects the voyages take on a person, mentally and physically.

Science fiction lovers, I do suggest you give Chess Desalls a chance. It’s a book the whole family will love and will be eager to discuss at the dinner table. 

 

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest)

Score: ❤❤❤❤

 

 

GET ALL 3 FULL LENGTH NOVELS in the The Call to Search Everywhen series.

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 BONUS NOVELLA 

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Chess Desalls is the author of award-winning young adult fiction. Her nonfiction writing has been included in academic and industry publications, with a focus on law and technology. She’s also a contributing editor for WritersTalk, South Bay Writers’ monthly newsletter. When she’s not reading or writing, she enjoys traveling and trying to stay in tune on her flute.

 


Books by Chess Desalls are available at AmazonAudibleBarnes & NobleiTunesKobo, and more!

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Author Showcase / Interview / Review – M.R. Tapia (The Die-Fi Experiment)

Welcome, M.R. Tapia!

 

 

For those who might not be familiar with you, would you be a dear and tell the readers a little about yourself? How did you get your start in the writing business?

Hello! My name is M.R. Tapia. I am a dark fiction writer, as well as the owner/operator of Hindered Souls Press. Ever since I was in elementary school, I have always been a big reader since I was young and tended to enjoy my fiction on the dark/horror edge. Even in school, I had always excelled in English/Language Arts. Math, not so much, FYI I don’t math very well, ;). Once I “grew up” and started working full time, the construction field took over my life. In the late 2000s, I was a victim of the collapsing economy and lost my job. I couldn’t find a job in my trade even at gunpoint (I didn’t try this, but felt like that was a nearing option.) Finally, I applied for grants and entered into college. Like most places, I was given a placement exam. I tested low for math, but fell into the highest English courses they offered. Luckily, my instructor was awesome and throughout the course he really helped expose me to my own love for writing. Within a few months of completing the course, I attempted my hand at fiction and submitted a short story to a local arts/entertainment magazine and was happy to hear they had accepted it for publication. I’ve been in love ever since.

(Kam): Like you, math wasn’t my strong suit but English proved a better fit. You should be proud of how far you’ve come in life and all the trials and obstacles you faced and overcome. Congrats! 

 

 

All writers fear the dreaded “block”. Please tell us how you handle it.

(M.R. Tapia) Ah, dreaded, indeed. For the most part, I attack this fiend known simply as, Writer’s Block, one of two ways: I open a separate page and write ceaselessly about the scene which has me in creative silence, explaining to myself all of the possible routes and outcomes which are possible, usually I can get some creative juices flowing. Another way to combat it is to simply step away and take a break by watching a movie, going for a walk, READING, or anything to take the stress of Block away. I find that lots of my creative ideas/thoughts come when I’m nowhere near my laptop. So, no matter where you go, you should always have a place to jot notes down, even in the shower :). Of course, there are endless ways to combat it, these are some methods which work for myself.

 

 

Contrary to what some people envision about a romance writer’s life, it’s not all glitz and glam. Well not for the majority of us. With that bubble sadly busted, when you’re not writing, how to do you spend your time?

(M.R. Tapia) First comes the ghastly Day Job. Aside from that, I love spending time with my two spawns, one of 12 and the other of 3. I spend as much time allotted reading, whether it be paperback, kindle, or audiobook, one must always read, then read some more. I’ve always been a movie buff, favorite genre is, of course, dark/horror. I also try and stay as active as possible, aside from what I tell everyone, I’m not getting any younger. I’m actually going to be in a volleyball tournament with my girlfriend in August, and yes, she’s an actual human being. Most importantly, I live as spontaneous as possible, getting as much enjoyment out of life as possible, it truly is a short ride.

 

 

I know many writers, such as myself, keep their pastime/career a secret. Do those close to you know you write? If so, what are their thoughts?

(M.R. Tapia) All of my family and close friends have known about my writing since my first short story was published. Since day one, I have received nothing but support from them. I spent a little more time in my acknowledgements section of my recent novella to thank all of the families, (I hope I didn’t miss anyone. If I did, I’m sorry, I’ll catch you in the next project.) In construction, I believed I’d come off as bourgeois’ or something of the sort by saying I’m a writer, so I didn’t really hide it, I just never talked about it, that is, until lately. It leaked out and surprisingly, I have received much support from my coworkers, as well. The majority have told me they’re not readers but would still purchase copies and read my work. I appreciate all of the support I receive and couldn’t thank everyone enough.

 

 

Will you share with us your all time favorite authors? If you’re like me, it’s a long list so give us your top ten.

(M.R. Tapia)  In no particular order: Hunter S. Thompson, Chuck Palahniuk, J.D. Salinger, Kurt Vonnegut, Richard Matheson, Chuck Hogan, Charles Bukowski, everyone in my writer’s group (you know who you are), newly added CV Hunt and Joe Hill, and what’s a list without the honorable mention of Stephen King.

 

 

If you could choose one book to go to the big screen, yours or otherwise, which book would you choose and whom would you love see casted in the parts?

(M.R. Tapia)  I have to be arrogant and say my novella, The Die-Fi Experiment, but, please, let me explain why. I would love to have Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston play the lead couple, give her a reason to inflict some suffering and pain upon him, ha! Seriously, imagine how awkward being on that set would be…

(Kam) You have one wicked sense of humor. 🙂

 

 

Would you care to tell us what you’re working on now? That is if it’s not top-secret information. If so, just whisper it in my ear. I swear it’ll go no further.

(M.R. Tapia)  *whispering* I am preparing my novel, Sugar Skulls, for a November release. Can you guess what day? That’s right, El Dia de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead.)

 

 

 

Where can we find your stories and is there a particular reading order?

(M.R. Tapia)  Hinderedsoulspress.com has a page to preorder/order signed copies of Dark Tales for Dark Nights, as well as my solo projects, as well. My latest short story ‘Bloodstream Revolution’ can be found in the recently publication from Deadman’s Tome: Monsters Exist. You can also find other short stories in Schlock!, Hindered Souls: Dark Tales for Dark Nights, and Empty Sink Publishing to name a few.

 

Hindered Souls is a collection of twenty-five stories from twenty-one of the brightest emerging authors from all around the world. The stories within are surreal, mind bending and soul wrenching.

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Would you please share how your present and future fans can contact you?

(M.R. Tapia)  I can be found within the realms of Twitter: @m_r_tapia, and Instagram: @mrtapia. I can also be contacted at hinderedsoulspress@gmail.com

 

 

Before we conclude this enlightening interview, do you have anything else you’d like to share? The stage is all yours.

(M.R. Tapia)  I’d like to thank everyone for reading through my ramblings! Please don’t forget that my novella, The Die-Fi Experiment, is available in ebook/paperback pre-order at Amazon; signed paperback copies can be purchased at Hinderedsoulspress.com. Look for my novel, Sugar Skulls, in November. And please continue supporting independent authors! There are many great ones out there! More importantly, pass the joy of reading on to the next generation! Thank you again for your time.

 

 

~~ Closing remarks ~~

First, I would like to thank M.R. Tapia for partaking in this interview and for inviting me to read The Die-Fi Experiment. If you haven’t read it yet, I encourage you to give this horrific, shocking, spine-tingling novella a shot. You’ll be on the edge of the seat the entire 65 pages. Oh and stick around after the shocking ender because you’ll be treated to a sneak peak to an upcoming release. 

 

 

Now, lets check out the frightfully good read….

Print Length: 65 pages

Publisher: Hindered Souls Press (July 21, 2017)

 

“I would like to welcome the world to The Die-Fi Experiment. Please join us in the fun that is the deterioration of the world by means of social media.”

Marie and her husband are spending their honeymoon in Tokyo, Japan. While strolling the downtown streets, they are hoaxed into a chance at winning the latest cell phone: First to get through a maze of doors wins! Only they both awaken amidst a sadistic live-stream gameshow. Marie competes against a man while both of their partners are strapped down to chairs. The winner of the deranged challenges imposes extreme pain for their own partner while the loser receives their own form of demented punishment. As it goes on, more and more people around the World Wide Web tune in. The winner of the entire competition gets the chance to fight one last time for their ultimate chance of survival against their own partner…to the death! Will Marie and her husband get the chance to have their first fight as a married couple, and if they do, who will be the last one standing?

(CONTAINS EXCERPT FROM M.R. TAPIA’S FORTHCOMING NOVEL ‘SUGAR SKULLS’)

 

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)

M.R. Tapia sure did not pull any punches in the making of The Die-Fi Experiment. From #chapterone to #chapterten, he delivered nonstop torture scenes using everyday devices such as shears, surgical spoon, sledgehammer and so on to elicit fear in the hearts of the recipients. This novella exuded real terror. A story not so far-fetched when you consider all the inhumane and shameful videos shared on social media these days.

People will post anything for likes, shares, retweets. The uploads are becoming more vicious, more violent, more out of control and it seems to have no end in sight. However, the couples on the Japanese game show did see the endgame barreling towards them and the path to it wasn’t easy. It wasn’t pain free. It’s not anything I would like to see firsthand, unlike all the live streaming viewers from the story. 

This story is gruesomely plausible and that’s what makes it even more frightening. 

Well done, M.R. Tapia. You’ve shown us the lengths people will go to entertain the world and how they will keep upping the ante to stay one step ahead of their “competitors”. 

 

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest)

Score: ❤❤❤❤1/2

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Review of “Fired Up” – Anna Durand

Humiliated by her cheating ex, control freak Mel Thompson has resolved to avoid sex and romance. But her plans skid off the rails on her birthday, when she overindulges in champagne and tries to seduce her best friend, Adam Caras, exposing her long-repressed attraction to him. She’s determined to remain just friends, but her erotic fantasies have other ideas…

Firefighter Adam Caras has seduced more women than he’d ever admit to, earning the nickname the Arsonist, thanks to his explosive sensuality. Unfortunately, he realized he’s in love with his best friend Mel five minutes after she hooked up with her sleazebag ex. For two years, he’s kept his true feelings a secret. His libido, on the other hand…not so easy to rein in. Now that she’s free, he has a plan of his own. He’ll win her heart the only way he knows how–in bed–by employing every weapon in his lady-killer arsenal.

As their firecracker chemistry transforms into much more, past mistakes and a new crisis converge to test their loyalty to each other. But will it forge their bond into an unbreakable love or tear them apart?

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His hand on her hip glided down, cupping her ass. “I’m going to kiss you. Now. If you don’t want it, walk away.”

Moving his head, he forced her to tip her head back to see him as he ran his tongue across his front teeth, back and forth, back and forth, and for a heart-stopping second she wondered if he was imagining exploring her with that tongue.

“Adam—”

“Leave, or I’m kissing you.”

She ought to leave. Part of her wanted to. But a far more powerful part craved his mouth like she’d never craved anything in her life. Since she must’ve already wrecked their friendship with her antics last night, what harm could it do to enjoy a taste? Screwy logic again and you know it.

To hell with logic. She could indulge in one kiss before she enacted her new life plan. They could still be friends afterward. One kiss, nothing more.

Adam brushed his lips across hers, the barest contact, but it robbed her of breath. Her eyes fluttered shut and her body came alive, every nerve excited, every hair taut. He traced the seam of her lips with his tongue, so delicately, and she couldn’t stop her lips from parting for him, pleading for him to take her mouth. And oh, she burned for him to do exactly that.

His tongue stole inside her mouth, stroking over hers, lingering with each silken caress, teasing her into responding. Still, he kept the pace languid, tormenting her with every lap, exploring her mouth as if he planned on spending days just kissing her. His hand massaged her ass, and as his fingers kneaded harder and faster, his tongue thrust hotter and stronger, propelling her need to dizzying heights.

She flattened her palms on his six-pack abs, dragging them down to the towel. Slipping her fingertips between the terrycloth and his skin, she tugged on the towel to urge him closer—or maybe to dislodge the towel. His tongue was driving her mad, driving out reason, until she had no clue what she was doing.

 

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

 

Firefighters are a hot commodity in both the real and fictional world because they are, for lack of a better word, HOT. People are drawn to them because of the uniform and the danger they face. They are the white knights rescuing us from the evil clutches of death and destruction. They are our heroes. 

Oh, lets not forget, they look pretty damn good with those powerful arms and there’s nothing sexier than a person who is able to carry us around with ease. That display of strength alone would ignite about a dozen or more fantasies.

Adam, however, was more than just a hot bod — a fireman. He was a sweetie, a charmer, a man you can count on, and a GENEROUS LOVER. He made sure Mel’s needs were taken care of first — inside and outside of the bedroom. In a nutshell, he was pretty damn perfect. Sure, he had his faults; like all humans.

Yes, he kept secrets. One, in particular, added a bit more depth to this romantic tale. It made me connect more to the story since Anna didn’t direct all her attention to the couple and how they can and did transition from friends to lovers. Would I have liked more attention spent on Adam’s “secret mission with his dad”? Sure. However, books can’t go on forever and Anna did make sure the couple had a HEA before the end credits and all us romantics sure do love a happily ever after.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

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adAnna Durand is an award-winning writer, a freelance librarian, and an audiobook addict. She specializes in steamy romances featuring spunky heroines and hunky heroes, in settings as diverse as modern Chicago and the fairy realm. Her romances have to date won eight awards and her novel Intuition was a 2016 RONE Award nominee, while her short story Tempted by a Kiss was a finalist in The Romance Reviews 2016 Readers’ Choice Awards. In her previous life as a librarian, she haunted the stacks of public libraries but never met any hot vampires hunting for magical books.

Check out the Upcoming Books page for details on what she’s working on now.

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