Kayne Lawton (Rugby player)
Ana Ivanovic (Tennis player)
Kayne Lawton (Rugby player)
HOWDY, Tracy Ball!
1. 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?
Tracy: As with most writers, I am a life-long book lover, but, once figuring out the story became a habit, the next logical step was creating my own. I have a fairly colorful bio which has exposed me to some unique characters. Everyone thinks their life should be in a book. I try to accommodate.
2. All writers fear the dreaded “block”. Please tell us how you handle it.
Tracy: I stay too busy to notice. If I’m not writing, I’m editing, researching, rewriting, reading, marketing (I hate marketing), etc., or writing something else. I usually have at least three projects in need of attention at any given time.
3. 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?
Tracy: I read (of course). I paint. And, most importantly, I have an eighteen-month-old grandson.
4. 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?
Tracy: Everyone knows I write. My family is more supportive than I deserve. Sometimes more critical, too. But I love it. They keep me honest.
5. 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.
Tracy: I tend to bounce between romance, fantasy, and young adult. These are not in any particular order:
J. R.R. Tolkien
George R.R. Martin
Sharon Kay Penmen
Karen Marie Moning
Kam: You and I have multiple authors in common. Maybe we need to start a book club and dish about them and their wonderful creations. 😀
6. 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 to see casted in the parts?
Tracy: KAYOS, definitely.
Lareina- Ajiona Alexis/ Keke Palmer/ Zoë Kravitz – Lareina
Christian – Alexander Ludwig/ Theo James/ Tom Felton- Christian
Commander Joffener – Edward Noton
Lieutenant colonel Briggs – Robert De Niro
I’m open if anybody wants to produce it (lol).
AREINA ELLIOT, guidance counselor for Presque Isle Academy, discovered her idea for making students loyal to the government is being implemented in the Excellence Program to further the war. It has become her life’s work to undermine that effort. When she is arrested for being a Revolutionary sympathizer, her brothers, KAIDEN, FISHER, and SILAS rescue her with help from three of Lareina’s top students; ALEC, ORION, and YUKIYO. On the run but armed with intelligence and more, they seek to learn how she was exposed and by whom.
CHRISTIAN DEVERELL, the agent assigned to Lareina’s case is relentless. She can’t escape him. It doesn’t matter that he and Lareina are on opposite sides of the law, or that their history is dirty. It doesn’t matter that he commissioned her adopted brother, Silas, to assassinate her. The only thing of importance is his love for Lareina and his promise to protect her.
Silas MCKADE, soldier elite, Lareina’s secret weapon. The man who never misses is on the Government’s payroll to do whatever he likes to whomever he chooses. He has a death warrant for Lareina—the woman who means everything to him—and a heart full of hatred for Christian—the man he wants to be. He’s either going to break Lareina’s heart or stop it altogether.
7. 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.
Tracy: I just finished a short story for a charity anthology – It’s a sweet fairytale. I am working on a romance. The tag for that one is: Hope Floats meets Castaway. And, I am drafting another dystopian romantic suspense after the fashion of Get Out and The Stepford Wives.
(Tracy) Dragonfly Dreams is my short story contribution to the Anthology. The Anthology is due to release on Feb 15th.
8. Where can we find your stories and is there a particular reading order?
Tracy: All my work is on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, just about anywhere books are sold.
They are all stand alone with the exception of The Tiger & The Snake. That one is a tie-in to KAYOS. I offer it as a free download.
9. Would you please share how your present and future fans can contact you?
10. Before we conclude this enlightening interview, do you have anything else you’d like to share? The stage is all yours.
Tracy: Most of my stories tend to be genre-bending because I write about love. When, where, and how it happens. Sometimes that’s on a farm or boat, other times it’s during the last Civil War or next one coming. Some of it is fluffy-sweet and some of it is rolling in heat and muck. But all of it is tough love because none of my main characters belong together. Their stubborn hearts refuse to listen.
**I know Tracy A. Ball is one helluva author but check out what others are saying about her.**
Reviewer K. Coly(5⭐): “I’m a huge fan of Kayos, by Tracy Ball. I couldn’t pass up the chance to revisit the world of mind games, conspiracy, and romance. The only disappointment was that the story wasn’t longer!!!! The glimpse we get into the couple’s tumultuous past is riveting and nothing like what I was expecting. If you’re tired of the boring romance where everything works out just as predicted, The Tiger and The Snake is definitely worth the read. Without getting into spoilers, the witty banter and unabashed manipulations make this couple a welcome change. You don’t have to read Kayos to love this, but you’ll want to read (or re-read) Kayos when you’re done. Hopefully this just the beginning of what would be an amazing series.”
Reviewer Bruce Logan (5⭐): “Set several decades into the future, this book is reminiscent of, and every bit as avant garde as was George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four when released in 1949. For the fan of dystopian fiction, it’s a feast and for and for anyone interested in a good yarn with equal doses of love and warfare, it’s a page-turner. This work is exceptionally well written by an author with a lively imagination. A spirited read. Well done, Tracy.”
Reviewer J.L. Cook (5⭐): “Such a brilliant way to tell a futuristic love story. Even amid a dystopian society, love wins! This book captured my attention from the beginning, and left me wanting more (in a good way) in the end.”
This prequel to KAYOS: The Bad & The Worse is the need-to-know origin of Lareina and Christian’s impossible relationship and includes the how and why the members of KAYOS are who they’ve become.
Print Length: 40 pages
Love thy enemy. Thoroughly.
“Oh, Lord. He’s back.”
Lareina and Christian had the love of a lifetime, a lifetime ago. Now, they’re frienemies with not enough benefits for either of them.
Christian wants to get past their problem, but Lareina is not having it, or him. Until a desperate call and a fateful day changes him; changes her; changes everything. Love has forced them to play a dangerous game called KAYOS.
Lareina hated Christian. She hated loving him. She hated being her best, happiest self with him. She hated how he made her laugh…and cry. Damn the man. Why did he ever make her cry?
An amazing dinner. A perfect moonlight stroll. His touch was electric and his kisses held every promise she ever wanted. But…
He was working. The evening was a carefully crafted delusion meant to fool an observer into believing they were in love. She wasn’t his woman. She was bait. It didn’t matter what he made her feel. Tonight, she was bait.
Other than to indicate the men following them, and when a team member happened to be near, Christian said very little about his game or her part in it. Being herself was all he required from her. She toyed and flirted and let him see the depth of her feelings. Promising him tomorrow would be an altogether different day.
“How will we know if this is working?” She asked on the way back to the hotel. She curled up under his shoulder as he drove.
“We won’t. You’ll have to spend the night with me to be sure they believe I’m fully distracted.”
“In your wildest wet dreams.” She used the opportunity to rub his crotch. “And, you are fully distracted.”
“Do it again. I dare you.”
“Nope. But only because you want me to.”
“Absolutely.” Over their quiet laughter, she said, “You have me for one more hour, Christian. Once we’re done here, you are going to stay away from me for the rest of the weekend. Understand?”
“You know better. One, I’ve put you out there, I have to protect you.”
“I can protect myself.”
“I have to protect you. Two, avoiding me would blow my cover. And three, you don’t want me away from you any more than I do.”
“You’ve got one hour. Make it special.” She squeezed his leg and slid out of his reach.
Welcome, Patricia Panahi!
(Patricia) Originally from Massachusetts, I moved to Iran at the age of nine. I later returned to the States and completed my graduate work at San Diego State University. I have taught English in Iran, California, and Hawaii, owned and operated The Light Spot Bookstore and Coffee House in San Diego, and directed English language programs for international students for the University of Hawaii. Due to the many misconceptions about Iran and Iranians, and considering my direct experience and knowledge of the people and their culture, I decided to begin my writing career with a novel that portrayed them in a more realistic light.
(Patricia) I began my writing career late in life and have not experienced writers block to date. If I don’t feel inspired, I just wait until inspiration comes.
(Patricia) I write literary fiction and non-fiction books. I am also retired and live in Hawaii, enjoying the beautiful nature, yoga classes, good friends and good books.
(Kam) I’ve been to Hawaii only once (so far). It’s absolutely gorgeous and the people are very friendly.
(Patricia) Everyone who knows me, also knows that I write and completely supports me. I have done local presentations and book signings that were well attended.
5. 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.
(Kam) Thank you for the list. You’ve gave me (us) some new authors to possibly fall in love with.
(Patricia) I would love Veil of Walls to go to the big screen. No preference on actors.
(Patricia) The Nature of Love, a novel tells the story of five Iranians whose lives intersect as they learn about love and life during the tumultuous 2009 Iranian election protests.
(Patricia) I have a novel and a nonfiction book on Amazon.
Veil of Walls, the struggles of an American girl who visits her father’s relatives in Iran and not permitted to return home.
God Outside the Box – a spiritual memoir.
Born to a New Jersey Catholic mother and an Iranian Muslim father, author Patricia Panahi was never quite sure exactly who she was from the very beginning. This early confusion would lead her on a rollercoaster ride of a spiritual journey for years to come – an amazing journey chronicled in her inspirational new book, God Outside the Box: A Story of Breaking Free (published by AuthorHouse).
After exploring a variety of religions and traditions, Panahi discovers that none of them truly “speak to her soul.” She begins to question if there really is a God at all and, finding no answers to satisfy her, becomes an agnostic. But at 28 years old, Panahi’s world is rocked by a surprising diagnosis: cancer. Feeling lost, alone and afraid, groping through the dark with a weak-willed Persian husband and without a religion or solid tradition to turn to, she begins the search for a spirituality that would fill the large and heartbreaking void.
At 32, Panahi’s painful childhood memories – her mother’s abandonment and her forced relocation to her father’s country – resurface. She is able to heal and find inner peace, but discovers that her “journey of transformation” has only begun when she makes contact with her inner voice and begins to experience extrasensory perceptions. It is after a particularly vivid dream that Panahi opens The Light Spot Bookstore and Coffeehouse, where her spiritual search continues with the help of the many fascinating people who come through its door.
As her spirituality grows, so does the gap between Panahi and her husband. Her inner voice and visions call her to move to Hawaii, where two years later she meets and marries her “true soul mate” and begins a new life. Her happiness is challenged quickly, however, when she is suddenly afflicted with Bell’s Palsy – a paralysis of one side of the face – in 2002. As traumatic as this experience is, it finally leads her to face her doubts and fears while fully committing herself to her spiritual path and purpose in life. Firmly rooted and happy, her life is shaken up once again when she receives the call to let go of her secure career as a university faculty member and become a writer.
Today, this move still terrifies Panahi, but she feels that she has made peace overall with her new calling. “A spiritual life is not about complacency and comfort and self-satisfaction,” she says, “but the ability to accept and flow with change.”
It is Panahi’s hope that her readers of God Outside the Box will “gain a new understanding of their own search for answers” as she unveils “universal truths and discovers a rich spiritual path that crosses the boundaries of culture, tradition and belief.”
(Patricia) I hope my first novel, Veil of Walls, can provide readers with a new perspective of a country and a people.
Anahita Sadeghi, a typical, happy-go-lucky American ten-year-old, was not too keen on traveling to the other side of the world to meet her father’s family. But her month-long vacation turns into a nightmare when her Persian relatives refuse to let her return to the States.
She is forced to deal with the dizzying maze of social customs, resist her grandmother’s efforts to mold her into the proper Persian girl, dodge her aunt’s schemes of marriage, and fight to make her own life choices until she can find a way to return home. Longing for her friends and her freedom, only the enigma of her missing aunt, Scheherezade, gives Ana a glimmer of hope of one day escaping Iran for good.
Will Ana’s family marry her off and forever bind her to this country, or will she break free of Iran’s walls and find her way back to America?
The blue Aerogram with its scribbles of Dad’s native language lay open on the breakfast table like an ancient spell. It was 1962, a nippy New England morning just like any other in the snow season; snug in our thick winter robes over a Sunday feast of johnnycakes, corned beef hash, fried eggs and the rich aromas of percolating coffee and hot cocoa, my parents dropped a bombshell – we were going to Iran. Just for a month, they said. In March – for the Persian holidays. A surgeon at St. John’s Hospital in Lowell, Dad rarely took more than a week off, but the Shah of Iran was abolishing the feudal landlord system – whatever that meant – and my father had been summoned home on family business.
I was ten and not too keen on traveling across the globe to meet a slew of strangers, so I whined and pouted and complained that I’d miss a whole month of school, that Grandma and Grandpa promised to take me to Beantown to watch the Saint Patrick’s Day parade, and we had to consider Angel, our cocker spaniel. Wouldn’t it be better if I stayed with Grandma Brigid? But Mom believed it was an opportunity for me to finally meet my Persian relatives and all my pleading landed on deaf ears. So they dragged me away from my shady New England neighborhood to the walled-in courtyards of Tehran.
March 1962 – Tehran, Iran
I stood before the dancing flames, unable to move. A row of bonfires crackled and popped. The earthy scent of burning brush teased my nostrils; the smoke burned my eyes. Branches of persimmon and pomegranate cast eerie shadows on the courtyard walls. I bit my lower lip so hard it bled.
My cousin nudged me forward. “Jump, Ana. It’s Chaharshambeh Suri – Red Wednesday. You have to purify yourself in the fire to let go of the old year and welcome the new one.”
I fixed my gaze on the flames, my heart skipping a beat.
Parvaneh pushed strands of dark hair away from her face and tilted her head. “It’s safe, Ana. Iranians all over the country are jumping over fire tonight.”
But I’m not Iranian. I grimaced at my cousin, trying to wrap my head around these weird Persian rituals. Her name means ‘butterfly’ in Farsi, but with her rose-bud lips and dark liquid eyes, she looked more like a princess out of One Thousand and One Nights. I thought her name suited the way she flitted about without a care in the world.
Roxanna and Kianoosh, my other cousins, their faces luminous in the firelight, called out and waved from the far end of the line. I liked Roxanna. The girl had spunk. Kianoosh, on the other hand, thought he was God’s gift to the world.
“Go on, Ana. You’ll be fine, sweetheart,” Mom called from the veranda, her ginger curls dancing in the breeze. A nurse of Irish descent, Mom loved Iran – the food, the hospitality, the multicolored Persian carpets. She waved in a big arc, her face lit up with a smile. A smile that always calmed and anchored me. She looked happy this evening, glowing even.
But tonight her smile didn’t work its magic on me. My leg muscles tightened further. The family didn’t understand just how much a burn hurt. How it ripped your skin. I pictured the flames licking at my feet, my dress catching fire and going up in flames. Why did Dad have to bring us here?
Parvaneh poked my arm. “Trust me, Anahita. You’ll be all right.”
I felt trapped, still not sure why my cousin insisted I jump into the flames. Trying to buy time to calm my jitters, I cleared my throat and spread my hands. “Why do they call it Red Wednesday when it’s Tuesday night?”
Parvaneh rolled her eyes. “The night before Wednesday is Wednesday night. Everybody knows that.”
Like many other things that everybody knew in Iran, this made no sense. After two weeks, I still found myself scrambling to digest this exotic land of my father’s.
With a sigh of exasperation, Parvaneh shook her head and nudged ahead of me. Bunching her skirt, she leapt over the bonfires, chanting the ritual words.
I sucked in air and faced the fire. Sparks escaped, floated for a time like fireflies then winked out. My cousins hollered and whistled. They had jumped across all seven bonfires. No one had burned. No one’s clothes had burst into flames.
A stream of relatives flowed down the steps and lined up behind me. I recalled the ritual words Dad had taught me. The words all Iranians chanted while jumping over fire. Not wanting to look like a sissy in front of my Persian relatives, I pushed back the fear, gathered my skirt, and jumped.
“Zardi-eh man as toe – I give my yellow, my sickness and pallor, to you,” I chanted, the Farsi words feeling strange in my mouth. The flames licked my feet, teasing me, daring me. I sailed over the first fire and landed safely on the other side. Elated, I braved the next one.
“Sorkhi-eh toe as man – I take from you your red, your ruddiness and vitality,” I sang to the flames, imagining the energy of the fire soaking into my skin, my bones, filling me with strength and courage. Then I skipped over the remaining bonfires, chanting the words again and again. I turned to my cousins, arms raised in triumph.
Parvaneh and Roxanna hooked their arms in mine and pulled me to the back of the line “Again,” they said in unison.
I imagined telling my friends all about the fire festival when I got back home to Lexington. Becky, her pudgy cheeks dotted with freckles, would stand there with arms folded and refuse to believe I jumped through flames. But Julie, my other best friend, would probably stare at me with those big brown eyes and say ‘Wow!’
**For a longer FREE PREVIEW of Veil of Walls, please visit Patricia Panahi’s WEBSITE.**
(Kam) Thank you Patricia Panahi for allowing me the chance to interview you. I wish you much success in life and look forward to what you create next.
Diana Rennie, daughter of a wealthy rancher, attempts to persuade mystery man Del Russell to leave his grievances behind and forgive her father for past mistakes. Her careful plan goes awry and results in a shotgun wedding and a prison sentence for Del.
Four years later, Del is back in her life with a vengeance—back for his rightful share of Diana’s ranch, back to prove he isn’t the criminal she thought he was, back to finish what the two of them started years ago in a passionate daze. And he isn’t going anywhere, no matter what beautiful, treacherous Diana does or says to try to get rid of him.
Teresa entered the room, her eyes troubled. “Signore, what–?”
“I locked her into the room and don’t want anyone to let her out.”
“Si. She is angry now, but that is good. Anger can be overcome. I do not like the way she has been these past weeks, a statue without a heart. She will learn you mean her no harm.”
It was the longest meal Del had ever sat through. The key to the bedroom door lay on the table in front of him. He vacillated between rushing up and releasing Diana from the prison of the room, and dropping the key into his pocket and leaving the house. At last he finished the cognac, stubbed out his cigar, and trudged up the stairs. Light showed beneath the door.
He entered the room prepared to be assaulted or to find it in shambles. But she surprised him yet again. She reclined on the bed, her skirt tucked around her legs, and looked at him with eyes as cool and glittering as ice water. He pushed the door shut behind him. Her expression did not change, but her chin rose.
The length of the room was between them, yet challenge ignited the air: mentally, like telegraphed messages crackling toward each other along the same wire; physically, like speeding locomotives on a collision course.
Someone tapped on the door. As if a switch had been pulled, a collision was thwarted.
“Signore–” It was Alfredo, apologetic. “Clem is downstairs. He needs the Signora’s help with the cows.”
She slid from the bed and smoothed her skirt. “Where did you put my shoes?”
Del rubbed his chin. He had veered onto a detour while she continued on at full speed.
(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)
Money and the thirst for power cause many people to go off the rails, no matter the time period. In The Queen of Paradise Valley, readers will go on a journey featuring murder, mayhem, and misunderstandings.
From the very start, Diana and Del’s lives are turned upside down by treachery. Things only become more stressful when multiple people conspire to take everything away from them. Of course, you know things will work out for them. However, their happily ever after was not an easy road to travel down.
Kidnappings, attempted murder, murder, fires, and even a run in with Baldface (bear) kept The Queen of Paradise Valley moving along in a steady pace. Whether Diana and Del were facing obstacles from dastardly outsiders or battling each other at home, quiet moments were few and far between.
Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest)
Cat Dubie believes she was destined to write. Her love of words began early – she was making rhymes soon after learning to talk. With a crayon in hand she first drew stories, with a pencil she wrote them. As for reading, she was the girl who always had her nose in a book, the one who read with a flashlight under the covers or, when the moon was full, sat by a window for hours laughing, crying, loving characters whose adventurous lives wouldn’t let her sleep.
She has traveled the world in books. She has traveled back in time and into the future in books. Her keen interest in history determined the nature of her books, and the first Historical romance novel she read, settled the genre.
After working for various levels of government, she retired and now lives in the beautiful province of British Columbia, where she indulges in her need for creating stories about romance, adventure, passion, mystery, love …
Howdy, David M. Kelly!
(David) Anyone who knows me will tell you I’m a very natural “story-teller” (to put it politely!) and so it was always there inside me. The push to actually start writing came when I was faced with an extremely long train commute. I wanted something to fill the time and thought I’d give my long-held dream a go. To my surprise I ended up writing a novel. It wasn’t a very good one and it’s never been published, but nevertheless I was hooked and have been writing ever since.
(David) My slumps tend to be more emotional than creative, so when they arrive I try to do things to break me out of that mind-set, such as go for walks, get a change of scenery etc. I don’t think I’ve ever really faced writer’s block as such. Usually my head is so full of ideas it’s difficult to get them down. Also if a piece of writing starts to not flow, I don’t worry about it too much and will carry on, knowing I can always revise it later. Or sometimes I’ll switch to a different project for a while.
(David) I really have no idea what a romance writer’s life is like 🙂 For me, when I’m not writing I like to catch up with science news, hike and swim and drive around in my own personal starship–a vintage Corvette ZR-1.
(David) Family and friends have been incredibly supportive of my writing, although I think my Mum is still waiting for me to get a “proper job” again 🙂 As I write mostly science fiction, I’m also not sure quite what she thinks of some of the more bizarre aspects of my writing!
(David) I started reading very early and very heavily – it was almost an addiction. As a result I’ve read so much that it’s hard to pin down individuals. That said, I loved the works of Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov and read as much of theirs as I could get my hands on and although their styles are very different, I still appreciate them to this day. I’ve also read a lot of Rudyard Kipling and was hooked on Conan Doyle’s Holmes stories very early on. For present day authors, I’d recommend Christina McMullen who writes classy SF with a touch of humor, some of it slanted more towards a YA audience. Other new authors that are turning out good stories are Jay Norry, who has written a large collection of zombie books, and also fantasy authors Richard H, Stephens and C.L Schneider. Beyond that I like to read histories, especially about scientific figures and also the work of science popularizers such as Brian Greene.
(David) I could perhaps see a mid-career Bruce Willis as Joe Ballen in , with Lauren Bacall as Dollie because of that voice and the brash confidence. There would have to be some major digital re-creation going on there though 🙂
Meet former space engineer, Joe Ballen. These days, he’s scraping a living flying cabs in flooded-out Baltimore, trying to avoid the clutches of his boss and the well-meaning advice of an old friend. When one of his passengers suffers a grisly death, Joe is dragged into a dangerous web of ruthless academic rivalry centered on a prototype spaceship.
As the bodies pile up, Joe becomes suspect number one, and his enemies will stop at nothing to hide the truth. With the help of an enigmatic scientist, a senile survivalist, and the glamorous Ms Buntin, can Joe untangle the conspiracy and prove his innocence before it’s too late?
Mathematics Of Eternity: the first in an explosive SF thriller series by a fantastic new Canadian author.
The future’s about to get a lot more action-packed!
(David) Right now, I’m working on edits for Perimeter, book 2 of the Mathematics Of Eternity series. This one is largely set in space and has more of a darker, mystery feel than book 1, but it’s still a fast-paced thriller with great characters and plenty of acerbic humor. I’m also writing the first draft of book 3 and working on a number of side projects as time allows.
(David) The best place to find my books is via my Amazon Author Page Link. You can read my short stories in any order. My upcoming book, Perimeter, which is the second in the Mathematics Of Eternity series, could be read as a standalone, but obviously I hope you’ll read book one first 🙂
I’m also on social media. Here are all the links!
(David) People often think of science fiction as being something only accessible to “geeks.” I try to make my writing so it can be read by anyone and have had several people who’ve said things along the lines of “I don’t usually enjoy science fiction, but I really enjoyed this book.” This is very encouraging to me and I hope to carry on making my books good reads for a wider audience.
~~ Closing remarks ~~
If you love the science fiction genre, then stick around because I’m going to show you a few more books from the creative mind of David M. Kelly!
Looking for SF that’s intelligent, action-packed, and humorous? This collection of ten short stories features a cast of characters all in need of some serious therapy.
Hector discovers life after death ain’t easy when your shorts itch and your ass belongs to a whip-wielding giant.
And Murphy’s fighting to keep the peace as his team of geeky scientists and a gung-ho lieutenant investigate a mysterious alien ship—all while dealing with his own case of Murphy’s Law.
First Contact is always complicated, especially when you have to call in cranky old relic, Casteneda, to bail you out.
Fresh off the battlefield, Matt Holbrook is also grappling with a perplexing new species, but all he wants is to make it home.
And Earl Duarte is in for some interesting pet therapy in How Much Is That Doggy? Discover Dead Reckoning And Other Stories. SF with attitude!
How Much Is That Doggy?
Dust To Dust
A Slight Imperfection
He Who Controls
One For The Money.
How far would you go to protect your career? Your friends? Your family? Your way of life?
The Atolls–a group of elite off-world colonists—dominate from their position orbiting the Earth, restricting access to scroffers—their name for the people still living on the planet. Shuttle pilot Guy Addison is one of the few allowed to make regular trips to the Atolls and feels little sympathy for his Earth-bound contemporaries.
But after the Atolls announce a draconian clampdown on immigration, Addison faces the very real possibility that flights will be stopped and he will never be allowed into space again. And when terrorists take over his shuttle, he must confront not only secrets from his past but also the deadly consequences of a new future. Can he successfully outwit both the terrorists, and the Atolls, to bring his ship home?
Atoll: An edge-of-the-seat suspense-filled thriller with action on every page!
Commissioner Bellarbi’s administration of the Information Systems Investigation Authority isn’t going well. Communications networks are crumbling and a series of high-profile industrial and food production failures have threatened safety and cost jobs. He believes the global technology infrastructure is under attack from cyber-terrorists. With public protests rising and his job under threat, he needs answers fast. Leaving him only one choice: to seek help from her…
Mayrum Casteneda, the legendary founder of the Authority, is a relic from a bygone age who definitely doesn’t suffer fools. She might just be the only person who can help, but are the answers buried too deep?
(Prequel to the fantasy trilogy The Runes of Issalia)
A powerful organization, a dangerous magic, a dark plot…and the girl who stood in the way.
When tragedy strikes, Lyra runs for her life…directly into the hands of fate. Destiny places her at the heart of a plot to overthrow the rulers of Issalia, a plot she must help thwart. Led by a man armed with powerful magic, and joined by a single soldier who wields an enchanted weapon, the three must face the most fearsome army the world has ever known. Even if they survive this epic confrontation, the future is not secure…for the threats surrounding Lyra do not end there.
History often forgets the details, and sometimes, history forgets the truth. Meet Lyra: an orphan, a thief, a liar, a bard, a warrior, a princess…a rogue. Her story reveals what truly happened hundreds of years before The Runes of Issalia series takes place. Within these pages, resides her legacy.
(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)
You ever have a day that starts out great but quickly turns to hell? Lyra had such a day. It all started when she went out to play Knucklebones (Tali) for a bit of excitement and to gain some coin in her purse.
For those who are unfamiliar with the game, you might know it now as Jacks.
Anyways, after Lyra left the tense game with Sully, this is where everything takes a dark turn. In a span of two chapters, Lyra saw more death than any one person should. It was in those moments I saw her for whom she really was… a survivor. She evaded death on numerous occasions. She didn’t break when death seemed to follow her. No, she trained hard. Fought hard. She prevailed.
And, she did live happily ever after.
Though Cal was the character with magical abilities, Lyra was the one who seemed to possess extraordinary abilities.
One last thing: I agree with Grandma Jane… “History can be interesting.”
Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest)
Discover a lost magic, long buried and forgotten…
Without a rune marking his role in society, Brock is doomed to a life below the lowest rung of the social ladder. Unwilling to accept his fate, the teen risks his life to obtain a fake rune that marks him as a member of the Empire’s ruling class. He then embarks on a quest to join an institution where the Empire’s future leaders are trained.
As a student of the Academy, he soon uncovers a chain of secrets kept hidden for centuries, secrets that expose cracks in the foundation of Empire society. Among his discoveries is a powerful magic, long buried and forgotten.
Brock’s compassion and sense of justice are seeds that sprout tight friendships and a blossoming romance. An unwillingness to be bullied earns him a dangerous enemy, growing into a feud that escalates to a climactic showdown.
As they strive to become Masters within the Ministry, Brock and his friends resume their training at the Academy, an institution founded on magic, science, knowledge, law, and combat. They soon discover an expansive web of conspiracies and deceit within the Ministry, hidden behind a veil of benevolence and piety. The exposure of one of those secrets forces Brock and his friends to flee the institution with their lives in the balance.
Joined by a fierce Tantarri warrior, the group embarks on a quest to locate a mysterious throne that has been lost for centuries. Guided by the cryptic words of an ancient prophecy, and backed by a forbidden magic that they are still learning to wield, they journey across the continent to save humanity from extinction.
A Long Forgotten Magic That Might Save the World …Or Destroy It
Led by a boy named Brock, a small team of teens urgently assembles a force to confront an army of monsters, one that ravages and destroys anyone or anything in its path.
In a race against time, Brock attempts to train a group of recruits to wield the powerful magic known as Chaos, a magic that he himself is still learning to master. All the while, they must remain vigilant against a secret organization within the Ministry that will do anything to prevent the return of Chaos.
As foretold by an ancient prophecy, the human army must face and defeat their ancient enemy on the Tantarri Plains. For if they fail, all will be lost.
Jeffrey L. Kohanek grew up in rural Minnesota where comic books sparked his young imagination, inspiring fantasies of heroes with super-powers saving the day. His tastes later evolved to fantasy epics featuring unlikely heroes overcoming impossible odds to save worlds born from the writer’s imagination.
Now residing in southern California, Jeff uses that imagination to weave tales of engaging characters caught in fantastic plots to inspire young adults and the child within us all.
“Life is a matter of death. Death is a matter of fact.”
Micah DeAtta learns this as he awakens with Death seated across from him, whetting his sickle. Micah has no choice but to converse with Death in order to figure out his own demise. As their conversations become a battle of wits, Micah is forced to relive prominent deaths of family and friends before learning of his own. Each death happens in real time, each correlating with the nine levels of the Aztec underworld. Before it is said and done, Micah will have been forced to face his fears, his losses, and the fact that although life may be too short, death is forever.
When Mama died, I died. Mama died of cancer. I can’t exactly remember how I died.
Now I’m sitting here with Death as he takes me back to these deaths. This whole experience is infuriating. He talks to me as if he cares while making it clear that he doesn’t.
I murmur, “You’re Death,” saying it more to myself than to him.
“I’m sorry?” he asks with confusion.
I quietly shout, “You’re Death. You—are—Death.”
I look up at him in anger.
He stares at me, blankly. Dead.
“What the fuck do you pity the lives you end for?” I point my finger and tap the air as if it were his chest. “You don’t know, do you? You don’t realize what you do to the family and friends of the person. You don’t know what sorrow feels like. Grief. What pain and heartache feel like.”
There’s no stopping me now. Not even his calm and bone-collected self. Sitting there nice and composed. Asshole.
“You don’t know what it feels like to have someone ripped away from you. You never held your sister in your arms while they cry violently, asking why God took her baby. But it was you. You took her baby. You haven’t watched a teenage family member on a hospital bed being kept alive with beeping machines and wheezing pumps. Being held away from you. Feeling helpless as you watch the Nurse’s assistant gently wipe away dried sweat and drool and blood from their inflamed face.” Sweat and drool and blood also smear my face.
I cut him off, “You’ve never sat and watched as your mother was lowered beneath the ground. No. You just do the dirty deeds, don’t you? You’ve never had to repeat ‘I’m okay. Hanging in there,’ to everyone asking how you’re doing.”
I grunt, “You’ve never listened to the broken record of ‘they’re in a better place now; they’re resting in peace now; there’s no more suffering where they are now’. You’ve never had to turn your back on those attending a loved one’s funeral to keep from blowing up on them because they’re there to be nosy.”
Death sits there as tears stream from my bloodshot eyes. “Do you know how many funerals I’ve been too? What about you? You may be the reason behind the grieving families at funerals, but how many have you actually been too?”
He stands, tall and erect. “You fool!” The boner’s voice enters my soul with loud impatience. He slams the butt of the scythe’s handle to the ground and I feel my world tremble like a tremor. “Do you know how many I’ve caused? How many funerals are of my doing? The funerals you’ve been to, they’re because of me.”
My eyes are forced shut, the force of his shouting reaching my core like an explosion.
As I hold them shut I sense a breeze brush along the beads of sweat on my forehead and forearms. I’m frightened to open them. I struck a nerve now.
I remember wanting life the day after pleading for my death, but right now I want nothing more than life and Mama’s warm, reassuring embrace. Besides an ominous breeze, I feel and hear nothing. I concentrate on my panicked breathing. My heart rate high, pounding behind my eyes. That’s when I hear the voice.
“We commend unto thy hands of mercy, most merciful Father, the soul of this thy child; and we commit her body to the ground, earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.—”
My body is still as a gambling addict whose life’s savings are wagered in the hopes of early retirement, awaiting the judge’s results for the boxing match.
What am I awaiting? Sitting here, eyes clinched. Body, clinched. Am I waiting for Death? Confirmation of Death? Something’s out of place.
“—judgement shall come which thou hast committed to thy well-beloved Son, both this child and we may be found acceptable in thy sight. Grant this, O merciful Father, for the sake of Jesus Christ, our only Savior, Mediator, and Advocate. Amen.”
I slowly open my eyes and realize that I am no longer in front of Death. Another memory. Now, I am tight within a crowd of people. People who are dressed mostly in black, or in dark shades. I nudge forward through the darkly dressed crowd.
My feet are inches deep in sod. As I stretch my calves, peering over shoulders, a priest comes into sight. He is closing a bible, placing a holy kiss on the cover, and hugs it tightly against his chest.
A man and woman make their way forward, leaning over in front of him. But they aren’t taking communion or asking for a blessing. They’re giving a kiss to a glossy, pink box. The box is about the size of a large sack of potatoes. I’m about as clear minded as those same potatoes.
This is all familiar. Even the man kissing the box. He is dressed in a charcoal grey suit. I recognize him as my brother.
Cheecho straightens and turns away from the box. It’s not just any box. It’s a casket. A casket holding my stillborn niece.
The box jerks immediately as it descends into the earth. Feet away from her angel-daughter—my angel-niece—my sister jerks in unison.
Behind her, my family, and others, lies a field of tombstones. Precious Moments sculptures decorating a few of them, crucifixes and Jesuses and saints and Virgin Marys adorn the majority of the rest.
A shadow meanders through them. It holds what appears at a glance to be a Johnny Appleseed knapsack.
I know what it really is, though. A sickle.
And I know who he really is.
He stops behind a tombstone and his head turns in my direction as if mourning alongside my family and I.
Some Taiwanese funerals have professional mourners. People hired to speak, and mourn for the deceased. Women with makeup streaking down their faces with tears.
The clinks of the gears lowering my niece are loud as an interstate highway accident.
My sister, she wails. Her makeup streaks down her face with tears. She attempts to tear her heart out through her black dress, mascara-tears clogging random pinholes in her black veil.
Then I look at the graceful pace of Death.
It was hard enough the first time. This time only reiterates the fact that I can’t help her. I know this isn’t real. Just another Death joke. I do an about face, allowing my feet guide me away. But they guide me into the backside of a woman.
“—earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.—”
The words enslave me. Over the shoulder of a woman before me I again see a priest with his hand sprinkling Holy water over a casket. This black casket is tailored for an adult.
“—Grant this, O merciful Father, for the sake of Jesus Christ, our only Savior, Mediator, and Advocate. Amen.”
I push forward again and see Ronnie’s mother wiping tears away from her cheeks. That’s Ronnie’s casket. This is Ronnie’s funeral.
My attention is returned to Ronnie’s mother and others from their family as they all wail a song of heartache as Ronnie descends into the earth. The melody is in Spanish. The singer is wailing, singing Entierranme Cantando. Sing while you bury me.
As turn away in anguish, and I see AJ texting away on her phone, her hands resting upon her fat belly that my child temporarily calls home.
I glance at the priest and his bible. Death peeks over his shoulder, looking at Ronnie? At me? It’s hard to tell with his empty eye sockets. Patches of skin flail with the misty breeze.
Panic turns to anger. Anger toward AJ’s ignorance. Anger toward Death. Anger due to me being forced to relive these moments, as if the pure memory and loss isn’t enough.
I do a half turn to escape Death’s sadistic joke. Maybe even Death himself. I stop before running into the back of another priest. Or is it the same one? I don’t know. But the casket before him is different.
The picture on the stand is one of Gabe. He’s dressed in a black cap and gown with crimson stitching and a sash and cord to match. It’s Gabe’s funeral.
I panic is turning into a frantic movements like a slow internet connection. I juke to my left and see another framed picture. This one of Artie standing next to his first car. I refrain a shout, turning once again to get out of here. Out of this moment- these moments. My past. My future. My Death. But I am stopped short by the sight before me.
A glossy, deep forest green casket sways upon thick green straps, hovering above a rectangular pit. Pictures of Saints adorn the sides of it. The centerpiece is a beacon of Mexican culture. It is a picture of the Virgen de Guadalupe. A beacon of Mama’s faith. It’s my mother’s casket.
A shadow crosses on the other side of Mama’s casket. My head jerks upward and instead of Death’s black shadow, I see a white owl with golden eyes perched atop a tombstone.
Gears crank and I look at Mama’s casket. Tears cascade from my eyes as my mother is lowered.
This is pure agony, although I know this has happened before. I know this is a part of Death’s torture. I also know that the pain I feel is real. Maybe even more painful because I am forced to relive it. Relive the fresh pain, peeling back the scab far enough that skin also rips away bringing forth more anguish.
This time, I involuntarily change a detail. While kneeling by the platform’s metal bars that support Mama’s body, my muscles contract, readying themselves. The green, thick, wide straps give way to Mama’s physical existence, lowering her to her final destination, I rise to my feet.
My core burns with the intensity of a forest fire. My weight leans forward. My feet part ways with the earth, where Mama’s body shall rest.
Earth to earth.
I chase my freefalling tears down into Mama’s resting site.
Ashes to ashes.
The damp air graces my skin, and I fall, closing my eyes, peacefully.
Dust to dust.
Death is inevitable. Some depart this world peacefully in their sleep and some pass on painfully. We’ve all heard stories depicting angels, bright light, but no one really speaks of “Death” himself. In Sugar Skulls, Micah has quite the lengthy conversation with Death. I agree with Micah, Death behaving more like Sigmund Freud than the thing of nightmares was quite unnerving. I can see why Micah mouthed off to him. Death was basically acting like a shrink and not everyone is comfortable with a head doctor, let alone one looking like DEATH. DEATH made Micah relive the best and, more importantly, the worst moments of his existence.
In doing so. certain points in Sugar Skulls proved quite informative and/or fascinating.
1.) Mictlan (underworld of Aztec mythology) and its 9 levels.
(Each level was described and integrated into the storyline very smoothly.)
2.) Death’s reaction to taking some lives but not others.
(Many have pondered the question if DEATH views all his “victims” the same. Does he regret any lives taken? No regrets whatsoever? His response might amaze you. Tapia clearly didn’t want DEATH to be a silent player in this story. DEATH certainly had depth to him.)
3.) The ending.
(The closer the end came, the less surprised I was by the turn of events. However, I must say, the end was pretty damn good.)
Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest)
M.R. Tapia has had his short stories appear in various publications including Schlock Webzine, Deadman’s Tome, Empty Sink Publishing, and Hindered Souls: Dark Tales for Dark Nights. His short story, ‘Stella Reign’ is a 2016 Pushcart Prize nominee.
Volume 3: (Kingdom Journals)
Jude only knows one thing: he must rescue Camille. It doesn’t matter what must be done to save her from the evil coven, he will do it. But once she’s recovered, what will his role be? How does he fit into the trinity’s prophecy? Find out in this urban fantasy adventure novel that finds the Kingdom Journals characters traversing the globe in search of Camille, and the key to breaking an age-old curse.
(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)
Kingdom of Honor, third book in the Kingdom Journals series, picks up precisely where Kingdom of Darkness ends: a rescue mission going awry. This lose-lose situation enabled readers to witness Jude’s powers in action. Cloaking, melting metal, invisibility, and telepathy are just a few skills Jude possesses. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, he knows martial arts too. For sure, Tricia created one badass character. The only thing I wish she would’ve created was a spell for easier traveling. That special talent would’ve saved Jude, Camille, Grady, Tyler, Janine, and others much time/aggravation/heartache/etc. However, that probably would’ve shortened the book by 100 pages so…. maybe it’s a good thing it took them a long while to find Camille.
Speaking of Camille, her character didn’t capture my interest as much as Jude’s role. I can’t exactly tell you why. On the other hand, I was hoping Helene would’ve stuck around. I liked her and saw great potential with her character and contribution to the storyline.
Now, a Kingdom book wouldn’t be a Kingdom book without a few twists. In the past, we learned who witches were descendants from and NOW….. Tricia discloses some interesting, unique facts about vampires.
Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest)
READ THE ENTIRE SERIES FROM THE START!
Volume 1 (Kingdom Journals)
He wouldn’t understand. He didn’t live in a pretend world. In truth, he did. Most beings, pure humans, walked around thinking they were the only type of people that existed.” –Alena
As a creature forbidden by both vampire and witch cultures, Alena is forced hide her identity. Her mother moves them from city to city searching for answers. When Alena finds Hunter everything changes. She believes their bond may be the. But her mother finds Theron, an equally handsome and mysterious suitor. Will the truth of his intentions be uncovered before it is too late? Or will her Mother’s kingdom be reduced to embers?
Volume 2 (Kingdom Journals)
“… the previous night’s vision, or whatever it was, ended with a name I heard clear as day, as if the people were in my room. Ivy, the girl and boy recited together.” – Camille Could her dreams be real? Is she the key to freeing witches from their curse? Of course not, right? Thinking that her only chance at a normal life lay in a new treatment, Camille joins Dr. Antos and a group of teens for a month long camping trip in Iceland. There she meets Jude, a fellow schizophrenic. Dr. Antos invites Camille and Jude to extend their work with him on the island of Sardinia. Camille is suspicious of Dr. Antos’s intentions but her dad goes missing, leaving her no choice but to travel to Italy. Is she walking into a lion’s den or has her illness invaded her reality?
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 on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and on her website.
Murder at a magical baking contest off the coast of France.
Imogen’s spent her twenties in Seattle, saving every penny and missing every party, to follow her dream of opening her own bakery.
When that dream goes up in flames, she accepts a spot in a mysterious baking contest—one she doesn’t remember entering. She travels to a bustling, medieval village off the coast of France and discovers an enchanting world of magic and mystery, and learns that she, too, possesses powers.
Unable to so much as cast a spell, Imogen struggles to keep up with the other witches and wizards who have come from all over the magical world to the Water Kingdom’s big competition. She juggles relationships with a sweet new friend, a snarky baking fire, and a brooding, handsome baker. As Imogen falls for this bewitching world, she fears she won’t master her magic in time to win the job of Royal Head Baker, and will be forced to return to the shambles of her non magical life.
It only gets worse, when a competitor drops dead in the middle of the big white baking tent, and Imogen’s the prime suspect. Now, she’ll not only have to survive the vampire and psychic judges, but also clear her name by finding the real murderer, before they strike again.
With a killer on the loose, a missing prince, and the Summer Solstice Festival fast approaching, Imogen will have to bake like her life depends on it- because it just might.
The string quartet, persuaded into playing the conga, churned out the familiar song as a middle-aged man sat next to them, an upended ice bucket between his knees, playing the “drum.” The line of rehearsal dinner guests snaked between tables. I peeled my eyes away from the conga line as a beautiful guest sauntered toward me.
She smiled, her teeth bright against her dark skin. Her hair, tightly curled and piled atop her head in an enormous bun, bounced as she swayed her hips to the music, her snow-white gown catching the candlelight from the tables.
“Cake or a cupcake?” I asked for the umpteenth time. I smiled and held up one of each.
She tapped a slender finger against her lips as her dark eyes darted from one to the other. The diamond bracelets she wore slid up toward her elbows as she threw her hands in the air. “Oh, ow about zem both, eh?”
I grinned and handed over the plates. I loved French accents. Not that I’d ever been to France, or anywhere really. Before I’d moved from St. Louis, I’d never even been out of state.
“Are you ze baker?”
“I’ve been earing all night about ze desserts.” She stepped closer and lowered her voice. She smelled like jasmine. “I eear they’re just bearsting weeth mageeck.” She winked, then held the cupcake up to her mouth, gingerly taking a bite around the wrapper. She moaned and bent her knees, sinking halfway to the ground. “Incredible. Just incredible. You should enter ze contest, you reeally should. And I don’t do false flattery, believe me.”
I raised a brow. “The contest?”
She looked me up and down. “You reeally don’t know? Ze Water Kingdom’s holding a contest for ze new royal baker. Last one died recently.” She looked around and leaned closer, her voice hushed. “Ze official word is she died of a ‘art attack, but if you ask me, eet was dark mageeck. Somezing underhanded, you know? Murder.” She leaned back and straightened. How much had this woman had to drink? “Zat shouldn’t scare you zough. I reeally zink you should enteer, zhere’s steel time. I probably ’ave a flyer somewhere.” She set the plates down and fished around in her sparkly white clutch.
“Zey’ve been distributing zem all over ze kingdoms. Anyone can apply, anyone at all… well almost, no shifters, ze usual, but ze’ll take emigrants like you.” She poked around some more in the tiny clutch.
Pretty sure if you haven’t found it by now, it’s not going to suddenly appear. The bag looked like it could barely hold a credit card… maybe.
She looked at me and shrugged her slender shoulders. “Can’t find one.” She glanced around and then winked. “Don’t usually break ze rules when traveling on visa, you know.
But I am here as ze date of ze retired ambassador, so if I geet in a beet of trouble, he’ll just geet me out.”
I scanned the conga line. Did she mean Ben’s grandpa?
A small sound, a zap, like snuffing a candle out with wet fingers, made me turn toward her again. In her hand she held a large, brown sheet of paper. “We’ll just keep zat between us, eh?”
Goose bumps prickled up the back of my neck and arms. I looked between the paper and her face. Where had it come from? It was too large to fit in her bag without folding, yet it was completely smooth and crisp. She handed it to me. The oddly thick paper seemed to be coated in wax. I sniffed it and smelled honey.
“Well, I’m off.” She lifted the plates. “Thank you for ze delicious treats. So good to have met you.”
I nodded, not sure how I felt about this strange and beautiful woman. “You too.”
“Think about eet.” She lifted her chin toward the flyer in my hand and danced her way back to the party.
I held the waxy paper up to my face and read, “The Magnificent Contest for the Water Kingdom’s Next Royal Baker.”
(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)
I absolutely adore watching cooking competition shows so reading a story where competitors are magical, paranormal beings sounded too good to pass up. Much like Master Chef and Top Chef, in Seashells, Spells and Caramels, readers will be treated to theme challenges where contestants will be voted off until a winner is crowned. As with the other popular shows, there are baking mishaps, rivalries and tears.
However, Seashells, Spells and Caramels had a few things you’d NEVER see on any primetime competition show.
1.) You’ll never see a REAL vampire judging the sugary concoctions.
2.) You’ll never witness a flame speaking to you.
3.) A murder mystery probably won’t pop up when watching Hell’s Kitchen.
Seashells, Spells and Caramels had humor, mystery, and a hint of romance. A truly magical, delicious read…..one I’m sure will be a bestseller for the talented Erin Johnson.
Heart Rating System
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest)
A dark carnival and a dire prophecy lead to murder and mayhem.
With the Summer Sea Carnival visiting the enchanted island of Bijou Mer, Imogen jumps at the chance to help run the royal bakery booth. It’ll get her out of the palace and allow her to continue avoiding her feelings for a certain engaged prince.
Imogen’s plans to lay low are shattered when the world-famous necromancer, Madame Zerna, is found dead, sawed in half on the dark magician’s table and Imogen’s friend Rhonda is caught red-handed. With incriminating evidence piling up against Rhonda, Zerna’s rival, Imogen promises to help clear her name by finding the real murderer.
But between running the booth, encouraging Maple as she struggles to lead as head baker, and taking spell lessons from the friendly strong man, Imogen’s got her hands full. And it’s no easier getting information from the evasive dark magician or Madame Zerna’s secretive assistant. Even Rhonda’s hiding something.
With the Night of the Dead fast approaching, and Rhonda headed for a maximum security witch prison, Imogen races to unearth the real killer in time to save her friend. But in a mysterious carnival where nothing’s as it seems, will Imogen have the magical powers to keep from being on the chopping block herself?
Murder at a Mermaid Nightclub
The enchanted village of Bijou Mer’s on high alert, with the villainous Horace on the loose. Imogen’s excited to escape the tension with a trip to the underwater Mermaid Kingdom to bake for the young mermaid queen’s engagement to the pirate king.
But when the mermaids turn out to be less French Riviera and more Jersey shore, the bakers are wrapped up in their world of clubbing in sea caves and fighting off seals for the best tanning spots, and are embroiled in a pirate smuggling scandal. It gets worse when a member of the mermaid court is found dead in a fishing net, and one of Imogen and Maple’s baked goods seems to be the murder weapon.
Imogen tries to fish out the real murderer to clear their names, while struggling with her romantic feelings for Hank. At the same time, she’s working with him to learn to control her magic and investigate Horace’s riddle and her own mysterious past.
As the mermaid court’s freewheeling lifestyle rubs off on the bakers, the gang lets loose and passions rise to the surface. But with a giant octopus crawling the ocean floor, the mermaid court filled with simmering secrets and scandals, and the ever present threat of the Badlands Army, Imogen must solve the murder before she ends up fish food herself.