Tag Archives: mystery

Author Showcase / Interview / Review – A. A. Medina (Siphon)


  1. Welcome, A. A. Medina! 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? 

(A. A. Medina) To start with the basics, my full name is Adrian Alexander Medina. I was born and raised and still reside in Phoenix, Arizona with my lovely wife, Samantha, our cats, Ishtar and Monkey, and our puppy, Sansa.

As far back as I could recall, I leaned toward the creative side. Whether it was drawing, music, or writing; however, I never really focused on one. To make a long story short, after my father (somewhat abruptly, i.e. long story) passed away in October of 2012, it was like getting hit by a train while skipping nonchalantly in an open field. Weak analogy, but I hope you get the drift.

After the shock and awe and soul-crushing nature of the loss, I reflected on my life and realized I was kind of just floating along. Sure, I played and wrote in bands, we played lots of shows and released albums, but my heart was never truly “in it”.

I don’t remember my thought process at the time, but I decided I wanted to focus the rest of my life on storytelling. I knew – being a person that easily jumps from one idea to the other without completion – that if I didn’t find a way to light the proverbial fire under my ass, I would let that decision fall through the cracks when the next shiny thing came along. So, I enrolled in school, figuring the hard deadlines and financial burden could be that fire.

Many things about the craft I could have learned on my own, but what the school did teach me was a deadline oriented work ethic and a sense of community and networking. That is where I met my business partner for Aphotic Realm Magazine, Dustin Yoak.

@DustinSchyler (Twitter)

@AphoticRealm (Twitter)


We graduated in March of 2017. Overall, I think my plan worked out.

(Until the debt cripples me)



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

(A. A. Medina) First, I just try to push through it with force.

If that doesn’t work, I go on a walk or bike ride and try to work it out in my head.

And if that doesn’t work, I’ll usually keep the document/notebook open next to me while I do something mind-numbing like chores around the house or videogames and if something comes – and idea, scene, piece of dialogue, or otherwise – I’ll jot it down.



  1. Will you please share with the visitors what genre(s) you write? Also, when you’re not writing, how to do you spend your time?

(A. A. Medina) I like to try my hand at everything, but much of my stuff falls into the “Transgressive” genre. Looking back, there are a lot of crime and/or thriller elements to my stories.

When not writing, I’m usually working on Aphotic Realm. When I’m not doing that, I’m reading or playing games with the wife and friends – both video and tabletop. And if I’m not doing that, I’m being an utterly useless sack of garbage on the couch.

(Kam) It sounds like you lead a busy, fun life. Congrats! 



  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?

(A. A. Medina) If they didn’t know before, they do now due to social media. Many say it is a fitting path for me, many say they’re proud, but most just reply, “That’s sweet, dude.”



  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.

(A. A. Medina) I, as well, have a long list. However, I’ll just keep it to my recent favorites. I tend to consume mostly science fiction, with that said, my two current favorites are John Scalzi and James S.A. Corey (technically three because James S. A. Corey is two people: Daniel Abraham & Ty Franck). I haven’t read anything I haven’t loved by them in the recent years.




  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?

 (A. A. Medina) I love this game!

I’ll choose Siphon since this is why I’m here to begin with.

First, I think Dr. Gary Phillips should be played by Gary Oldman (circa 1998). That man can transform into any character almost flawlessly. I would like to see Wendy Carter played by Sharon Stone (circa 1990). Francis could be played by Rip Torn. And Snowflake could be played by Kate Beckinsale (circa 2003).

Could you tell I’ve never thought about this?

If it were a current production let’s say, respectively, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Alison Brie, still Rip Torn, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead.

(Kam) Siphon definitely left a lasting impression on me. (Review posted below.) 




  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.

 (A. A. Medina) Besides a bunch of things over at AphoticRealm.com, I am outlining what you could call the spiritual successor of Siphon. I don’t want to release the actual title just yet.





Our Approach

First and foremost, we are here for the love of the craft. In addition, there are a lot of young, talented writers that struggle to find a home in a very competitive market. We wanted to provide such a home and from that desire, Aphotic Realm was born.

Our Story

Adrian and Dustin met during their studies at Full Sail University and quickly gravitated towards each other due to their similar tastes in dark fantasy, humor, sci-fi, and more. A short time later, they were critiquing each other’s work and collaborating on projects. After graduation, they decided to combine their talents to form Aphotic Realm.



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

(A. A. Medina) You can find Siphon on Amazon and all those other places people find books online. But, if you really want to be a winner, you’ll buy a physical copy from HinderedSoulsPress.com

I don’t have too many stories floating around, but that will change soon.



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

 (A. A. Medina) You can follow/contact me on Twitter: @UglyByProxy




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

(A. A. Medina) Check out AphoticRealm.com where we have some upcoming publications and online stories by a plethora of amazing authors! Go to HinderedSoulsPress.Com and pick up everything in stock and if it is not in stock, email them and complain.

I hope everyone who read, or plans to read, my work enjoys it.

Thank you for your time!


~~ Closing remarks ~~

And thank you for joining me here today.

Folks, now for the grand finale….

Let’s check out Siphon, the story that will creep you out (but in a good way). 



Dr. Gary Phillips, the resident hematopathologist at Claybrook Medical Center, is a lonely man struggling with the duress of an all work and no play lifestyle.

Burdened with an unhealthy infatuation with his co-worker, a burning disdain for his boss, and an abusive relationship with his grandfather, Gary just can’t catch a break.

That is, until a workplace accident ushers in a bizarre, but empowering experience that evokes a new sense of self, forcing repressed memories to surface while encouraging him to pursue his fantasies with unconventional methods.


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Excerpt from Chapter Three


I was exhausted. It was about the time I would usually lay my head in my arms and close my eyes to kill a few hours. The centrifuge hummed and I turned off half of the overhead lights. It gave the room a warm, soft, luminescent glow. Instead, I hustled.

When handling sensitive material—blood in glass tubes and crucial information about the livelihood of people I’d never meet—I knew I had to work slow, careful, with grace, without shaky hands, with a keen eye and a sharp mind. So, there I am, excessive fatigue and under the influence of downers. And jittery from the uppers.

Amid retrieving multiple vacutainers from the refrigerator, I dropped one. It shattered, and chilled blood oozed onto the dirty linoleum floor.

Cursing through my clinched jaw, I squeezed the bridge of my nose and accessed the damage. I slid the other two vacutainers I was holding into my lab coat pocket and reached for the paper towels. Quilted. I knelt to clean it up, but then something happened.

I leered at the human oil crawl toward me. In that moment, my mind was empty. Not a loss-for-words empty or nodding-off empty. But, empty. No worries, no feelings, no opinions, no identity. No longer was I tired, but I was not awake either.

A comfortable void.

Nothing mattered. Not I or anyone else. I wasn’t sure how long I must’ve been on my knees as I gazed at the pool of vital, room-temperature fluid. My mind was a dark abyss, my body was a barren cavity. I’ve heard of out-of-body experiences before, but I’d never experienced one myself. I, or – for lack of a better word – my soul, watched as my body was taken hostage by another being. A stronger being. A godly being. And then it pulled me back in with it.

The stillness was broken and the vacuum was filled as I jolted back into my body, yet I was still unable to move. My eyes forced to fixate on the blood that had started to congeal. At first, the voice was just a whisper. It was confident, omnipresent, and not after long did it feel like a loudspeaker was installed inside my skull. A mantra, it repeated:


                                        There is an urge inside you…

                                                   … which cannot be satisfied…

                                                                  … with conventional methods.


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


Whether you label Dr. Gary Phillips a psychopath or sociopath, everyone who reads Siphon will agree Gary is a total whack job. There were a few scenes, so vividly written, I actually felt the urge to vomit. Example: Consumption of blood is gross enough but swallowing vaginal blood and getting aroused by it simply made me want to hurl. Other sections involving blood, gore, and violence were also very descriptive and thus showed the true depth of Gary’s warped mind. 

Despite the grotesque content, I have to commend A. A. Medina on creating a story that came alive on the pages even as characters were falling prey to Gary’s delusional mind. 


Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest)

Score: ❤❤❤❤


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Author Showcase – CJ Matthew (Survival Reboot: The Paladin Group, Book 2)

Survival is still her #1 mission

Sara Gallagher escaped the memories of a painfully shy childhood and her hopeless crush on the boy next door by joining the USAF where Senior Airman Gallagher excelled as a SERE- Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape instructor. But when a training accident leaves Sara scarred and deaf in one ear, she returns home to join the Paladin Group.

Chris Braxton was Peachwood’s golden boy, a rookie major league pitcher, until a drunk driver shattered his shoulder and his dreams. Now entrepreneur Chris’ upscale sporting goods company is negotiating a nationwide expansion. Enroute to a crucial meeting, he overhears the details of a planned felony. When Chris and his family are threatened, he turns to the Paladin Group.


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Chapter 1


“Stay quiet,” Sara Gallagher whispered across the bedroom to her wide-eyed young client. “Slide under the bed.” In the dim light, she watched the teen roll silently off the far side of the mattress and disappear from sight. Good girl. There was another faint sound outside. Sara crept to the edge of the French door. Drawing her weapon, she pressed her back to the wall. And waited. By climbing onto the condo’s second-story balcony, the stalker was trespassing. Let’s go for B&E. Sara angled her head to the left, straining to hear. The wood casing of the lock creaked. Bingo. Gripping her weapon with both hands, Sara kept the barrel pointed to the ceiling. Heart thundering, she inhaled slow, controlled breaths as the frame cracked, glass shattered. What remained of the door slowly swung open. A booted foot crunched in the glass on the bedroom floor. There we have it—breaking and entering. Sara adjusted her stance. From neck to toes, the intruder was encased in black leather. A black knitted ski mask concealed his head. In one gloved hand, he gripped a metal rod.

Shit. The stalker came armed. Sara curled a finger over the trigger of her Browning. The rest of the intruder’s burly profile eased into the room. “Drop the weapon. Hands up,” Sara shouted. Pivoting, she aimed for his chest. “Drop it now. I will shoot.” The stalker spun around. And took a wild swing with the large crowbar. Sara leapt back. The instant the metal rod cleared her, she yelled, “Stop.” “Bitch…” He growled. “I’ll…” He loomed over her. Gripping the crowbar with both hands, he reared back for another swing. Sara aimed and fired. The 9mm slug tore through the black leather and into the stalker’s shoulder. He let out a wailing scream and dropped the crowbar. It clattered to the hardwood as he staggered back. Grabbing for his bleeding shoulder, the intruder tripped over his own feet. Landed hard on his butt. “Down flat,” Sara snarled. Her fear drained. She was damned angry. Much as the jerk deserved it, she hated shooting anyone. “On your back.” She kicked the crowbar across the floor. “Do it. Or the next bullet goes down your throat.” Eyeing his uninjured legs, she kept a safe distance from his boots. With a mighty groan, the stalker eased back until he was prone. “Police,” a deep voice shouted from the front area of the condo. “Back bedroom,” Sara answered. “I’m armed. Stalker is down and wounded. Needs an EMT.” She raised both her hands. As two uniformed police appeared, she remained frozen in place. Bad idea to be armed and in motion when law enforcement arrived on scene.  

“Stay put,” the taller policeman instructed. Then to his partner, “Secure her weapon. And that crowbar.” He radioed for medics. Then he turned to Sara. “What happened here?” “I’m Sara Gallagher, the PI who reported the break-in,” Sara explained, surrendering her Browning. “I’m working with Detective Morgan…” “The detective’s right behind us.” “Excellent. My client is not armed. Ms. Stewart is under the bed.” On cue, the teen peeked over the edge of the duvet. Scrambling to her feet, she took one look at the stalker, the blood, and burst into hysterical tears. “It’s okay,” Sara reassured the sobbing college student. “It’s all over.” The room filled with new arrivals. Another uniformed officer entered from the hall, followed by two EMTs. Her client cried harder. And louder. Sara stepped back to give the paramedics more space, then breathed a silent sigh when the Denver detective assigned to Ms. Stewart’s case appeared. After a quick scan of the room, he met her gaze. “Sergeant Gallagher. You okay?” Shit. The police officer sealing her weapon in an evidence bag and one of the medics looked up at the mention of her former military rank. “I’m fine, Detective. But Miss Stewart—” “This is the guy?” Morgan asked. “Your stalker?” “Yes, I’m certain,” she said with a curt nod. “He climbed to the balcony. Pried open the French door. When he stepped inside, I ordered him to stop. He took a swing at me with the crowbar. After another warning, he kept coming. I had to shoot him.” “Good work, Gallagher.” The detective moved closer to question one of the paramedics working on the stalker. “You’re transporting him?” “Yeah. He’s stable. Going to Denver Hospital Main Campus.” Glancing up, Morgan finally became aware of the distraught teen. “Want a paramedic to look at Miss Stewart?” “Good idea,” Sara said. “Thanks.” The handsome medic managed to quiet the hysterical young woman. But when he suggested Sara’s client go the ER, she intervened. Moving around the bed, she held Lori gently by the elbows and pierced the young woman with a steely look. “Tell the truth,” she whispered. “Are you physically hurt anywhere?” Lori Stewart hiccupped. “No.” “You’ve been very strong, did everything right tonight. Are you positive you need to go to the hospital?” “Maybe not.” Lori shook her head. “That’s a brave woman.” Sara handed her a tissue. “Now blow your nose.” Her spoiled young client had grown up quite a bit over the past week. “Can I talk to Daddy?” “Absolutely. We’ll call now. You can tell him it’s all over. And I’ll tell him what a fantastic job you did.” Sara retrieved her phone and handed it to Lori. “Remember— we still need to go to the station with Detective Morgan, give our statements. He’ll be the one to tell us when you’ll be allowed to go home.”

Lori spoke to her father as the room began to clear. Detective Morgan was on a call of his own when Lori looked up. “Ms. Gallagher? Daddy wants to thank you. And…can we drop you back in Atlanta? The Lear will be here in a couple hours.” Lori handed over the phone. “Well done, Sara,” Mr. Stewart said, his deep voice booming through the cell. Her client’s hard-boiled executive parent was obviously relieved and pleased with the outcome. “I’ll wait to read your version in the final report. Meanwhile, thank you. As if saving my daughter’s life wasn’t enough, it seems you’ve managed to crack that layer of selfish disdain she learned from her aunt.” Sara gave a silent nod. “Lori’s a smart, capable young woman.” The personal danger had helped bring out the young woman’s naturally cooperative nature. “Your example was the best thing for her. I’ll have my people handle the condo and your rental car. May I offer you a lift to Atlanta?” “I’d appreciate a ride home. Can I confirm after I check in with Paladin Group?” “Just call from the police station when you two are finished. I’ll arrange for a car to pick you up there. The corporate jet will be waiting at Denver airport.” “Thank you, sir.” As she disconnected the call, Sara glanced up. Lori had her duffel open on the bed and was tossing clothes into it. “Ms. Gallagher…Sara, could I have a minute?” Detective Morgan asked.

She gave him a nod, and he turned to Lori. “When you’re ready to go, we’ll be in the next room.” He led the way into the second bedroom. Now what? Crossing her arms, Sara faced the detective. He leaned his hip against the dresser. “You were right all along about the stalker.” “Am I going to have trouble with the shooting?” “I’ll have someone from the prosecutor’s office sit in on tonight’s interview. But from where I stand, it looks clear cut.” “Mr. Stewart offered me a lift home on his corporate jet. Will I be free to go?” “Umm, yes. What’s the rush?” He frowned. “I was hoping we could…have dinner tomorrow night?” Sara tried to ignore the familiar tension in her stomach. Why was this handsome man interested in her? Why did he want to take her out? She turned and pulled her suitcase from the closet. As she transferred carefully folded sweaters to her bag, he straightened and stepped closer. Couldn’t they keep things professional? “You’re an amazing woman. I want to get to know you better,” Morgan said.


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Still risking their lives…The Paladin Group.

Ginger Odom has sworn to become self-reliant…Until she is arrested in a small town and framed for the murder of a police officer. Seems everyone in the community wants her behind bars, regardless of the truth, so her aunt enlists the help of the Paladin Group. A team of wounded former military men and women, now civilian lawyers and investigators, they rescue people in serious trouble.

Hale Peters is determined to ignore his knee injury…The former Air Force Pararescueman, wounded during a rocket attack on Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, accepts his first reboot for Paladin. His mission—keep Ginger safe until he can prove her innocence—becomes a bigger challenge than expected when he and Ginger clash over who’s in charge.

The Devil Dogs just want to help…The group of older veterans steps up to assist, but when Ginger’s life is threatened by the real killer, Hale and Ginger need to work together if they hope to stay alive.


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CJ MATTHEW grew up in an Air Force family living all over the US and around the world. It proved to be the perfect experience for gathering ideas and material for future books. And for meeting real life heroes and heroines in uniforms and flight-suits. She spent her high school and university years in California, which inspired her love of marine life, and the Pacific Ocean.

As a young girl, she loved books and reading. Arriving at each new duty station, the Colonel’s eldest daughter’s first priority was to locate the base library and befriend the librarians.

As an adult, CJ divided her time between the joys of raising a son and a daughter and a career in medical sales, marketing, and medical practice management. Then in 2007, CJ began her romance novel writing career. Fascinated with vampires and shapeshifters, her first stories form a unique dolphin shapeshifter series based in Santa Barbara, California. According to CJ, a huge attraction to writing paranormal romance is the ability to do serious world-building and to set your own rules. CJ spent the next several years honing her craft, acquiring a literary agent, and continuing to write while the agent pitched the dolphins to NY publishers.

In spring of 2015, CJ gave up on New York. From August to October she self-published the first three of the Dolphin Shore Shifter series. In 2016 she released two additional dolphin books and debuted her romantic suspense series: Paladin Group. The Paladin books are set in a small southern town, and star wounded air force veterans, men and women warriors turned civilian lawyers and investigators determined to continue their rescue work.

In October of 2016, CJ is introducing A Major Seduction, book 1 of the Colonel’s Daughters contemporary romance quintet.

A member of Romance Writers of America (RWA), Georgia Romance Writers (GRW), and Kiss of Death, CJ lives and writes near a lake in the woods northeast of Atlanta. When she isn’t writing or reading romances, CJ spends time with her two grown children, their spouses, a brilliant grandson and a feisty cat named Max.

Schedule permitting, CJ loves to travel, to discover new favorite places as well as meeting new reader/friends in both the US and around the world. Her books have sold in Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, Spain, and the UK.

Max flatly refuses to travel.

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Author Showcase / Interview / Review – Petie McCarty (Betting on Cinderella)

HOWDY and welcome, Petie McCarty! 



  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?


(Petie) I would love to and thank you for allowing me to spend time with your Kam’s Place readers today and to share my new release, Betting on Cinderella.

I have a Bachelor’s degree in Zoology, which was no help at all when I decided to write romance novels as a second career. However, several unique assignments during my early career as a state biologist—which included surveying many Florida lakes and streams by airboat—provided background for my very first release, Everglades.

Everything that happened to the heroine in Everglades during her safari through the River of Grass happened to me at some time during my career: the bug storm, swimming with gators, the leeches, the heart-stopping airboat maneuvers. Everything, that is, except getting stranded overnight with a hunky airboat guide. I never got one of those, so I wrote my own.


Photographer Kayli Heddon has been given the biggest assignment of her career — a photo essay on the Everglades Restoration the Florida governor intends to use in his re-election campaign. A special airboat safari is arranged, so Kayli can get her pictures. What she doesn’t count on is being stranded alone in the Everglades with her handsome and enigmatic airboat guide. Kayli is forced to learn some tough lessons. Trust means everything in the dangerous River of Grass, and a skilled partner can make all the difference in your survival. 

Skye Landers takes the airboat safari gig as a favor to his cousin who is called out of town. Skye doesn’t expect the governor’s photographer to catch his eye, but Kayli Heddon is unlike any woman he has ever met. He knows he should keep his distance, but common sense goes out the window whenever he gets near her. Trouble is, Kayli thinks honesty is the most important thing in a relationship — any relationship — and Skye Landers is a fraud. When secrets surface from Skye’s past, Kayli and Skye are soon on the run from more than just alligators.



I was lucky enough to spend most of my career working for the Walt Disney World Resort. What could be more magical than driving by Cinderella’s Castle on your way to work every day? I came late to the world of publishing and had never considered writing until about ten years ago. I think it was living in the heart of the theme park entertainment industry that constantly tweaked my imagination and made me want to write. I had the fun of working in the land of fairy tales by day and creating my own romantic fairy tales by night. I eventually said good-bye to my wonderful “day” job to write my stories full-time.

At present, I live—and write—on the beautiful Cumberland Plateau with my horticulturist husband, a spoiled-rotten English springer spaniel addicted to green olives stuffed with pimento, and a talkative Nanday conure named Sassy who made a cameo appearance in Angel to the Rescue.


…a cozy mystery with a touch of romantic suspense from the Mystery Angel Romance series — with an angel hidden in every book. It’s up to you to figure out the angel’s identity… 

Child psychologist Rachel Kelly isn’t quite sure how to handle the situation with her newest client — a six-year-old boy who says he can talk to angels and one is coming to help Rachel. She already has her hands full of trouble this Christmas season, and things quickly take a turn for the worse when a stalker crashes Rachel’s Christmas party and takes her young clients hostage.

Police negotiator, Lt. Jake Dillon, walked away from his fiancée Rachel when she suddenly balked at having kids. His kids. Yet as the hostage crisis erupts, Rachel calls Jake first. Now he has a choice to make — stand back and wait for the cavalry to save Rachel or step in and try to save her himself. Time is running out, and Jake may be their only chance for rescue.

Unless Rachel’s little angel-spying client is telling the truth…


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

(Petie) This may sound weird, but I see movies that run in my head. If the beginning, middle, and end of the story are all there, then that’s the next book I write. When the movie starts running, I speed-write scene bullets, so I can begin the sequel whenever I’m ready. The bullets become my outline.

Thus, I’ve never really suffered full-blown writer’s block, but I suffer from my own viral strain that I call “climax block.” Now doesn’t that sound scary? For me, it induces a very real panic that occurs with every novel I’ve written to date. I get to the big climactic scene at the end of the book, and I just can’t seem to get it on the page.

I know what must happen from the movie in my head and even which characters should participate, but I can’t seem to get the action sequences to formulate on the page. Therein lies the panic. My particular block strain lasts from one to three weeks, which is the amount of time to elapse before the initial action sequence in the movie finally starts to run in my head. Thankfully, the movie has always appeared, but the shreds of panic never completely dissipate. The ever present worry… what if the movie never shows?



  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?

(Petie) Marketing, marketing, and more marketing. Social media rules the world now and authors need to have a solid place in the various online venues if they expect to have successful book sales. A lot of a book’s advertising and promotion is trial and error. What works for one author or book may not work for another. Every book is different, but perseverance is the key. Marketing is like trying to get published, never ever give up.



  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?

(Petie) I write full-time from home now, but when I first started writing, I was a bit nervous about letting anyone in the workplace know I was writing novels on the side. Huge mistake. My co-workers got really excited about my first book and ended up being some of my biggest supporters and celebrated every release with me. It’s hard to know how co-workers will react, so it’s an individual decision for a writer whether to share your new venture or not.

(Kam) I’m so thrilled you have a supportive team at your back! 



  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.

(Petie) Easiest question of all since I’m a voracious reader, and I love a mix of fiction. So here is my mix of authors:

  1. Suzanne Brockmann – Her SEAL teams are incredible. I want to write like her when grow up.  =)
  2. Jennifer Crusie – She gives true meaning to romantic comedy. I have most of hers on audiobooks and have re-listened to all of them.
  3. Sarah MacLean ­­– I buy any historical romance she releases
  4. James Patterson – Synonymous with the word suspense
  5. Monica McCarty – Sorry, no relation though I wish there was. I LOVE her Spec Ops Highlanders in the Highland Guard historical series!
  6. Rachel Gibson – She is amazing, and I LOVE her humor
  7. Lisa Kleypas – Her contemporary romances are even better than her historicals.
  8. Lee Child – The Killing Floor scared me to death! All his books are riveting.
  9. Linda Howard – Awesome romantic suspense
  10. Michael Connelly – Always enjoy his twists-and-turns suspense

(Kam) Oooo, I just found me some new authors to check out. Thank you! 



  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 to see casted in the parts?

(Petie) Of course, I would want to choose Betting on Cinderella. *grin*

If my casting were fortuitous as well, then Chris Hemsworth—I can’t help it…I’m a huge Thor fan—would be Garrett Tucker. I mean, what landscaper wouldn’t have great biceps? And innocent-eyed Alexandra Daddario would make a lovely Andi Ryan.



  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.

(Petie) Right at this moment, I am finishing up Par for Cinderella, book three in the Cinderella Romances series. Billionaire Aidan Cross, who had a big part in the first two books of the series, insisted on having his own story. Aidan visits quaint Cypress Key, Florida—the future site for one of his world-famous golf resorts that no one in the small town wants. He promptly gets arrested for booting the mayor’s obnoxious son into the marina.

After that, I’ll start lining up my movie scene-bullets for Earl Away, the next book in my new Lords in Time series. The Earl of Dexter didn’t want to be left out and begged to be in the sequel to Duke du Jour, which released a few weeks ago. Like the Cinderella Romances, this series is comprised of standalone stories that have returning characters.


Jared Langley, present-day Duke of Reston, tumbles into an abandoned fountain on his ducal estate and travels back in time to the year 1816. There, Reston servants and local villagers think him a dead ringer for his namesake and rakehell ancestor—the seventh Duke of Reston, gone missing at the Battle of Waterloo. Unfortunately, Seven got mixed up with French spies out to assassinate the Duke of Wellington, and an unwary Jared ends up in their crosshairs.

Lady Ariana Hart has loved Jared Langley, the seventh Duke of Reston, since she was twelve years old, until the night the rogue broke her heart. Given up for dead, her rakish neighbor makes a miraculous return from Waterloo—only Jared shows up a changed man and reignites all the feelings Ariana had long ago buried.

Jared is in a race against time. He must waylay the suspicions of his quirky servants and neighbors, get to Wellington before the French spies do, fix his fountain—before Seven shows up—so Jared has a way home, and definitely not fall in love with the irresistible Lady Ariana.

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

(Petie) All of my books are available on Amazon, and all but the Cinderella Romances [because they are in Kindle Unlimited] are available at Barnes & Noble.

The Mystery Angel Romances each have an angel hidden in the plot whose identity is not revealed until the finale, unless the reader figures it out first. The stories can be read in any order since there are no returning characters, only an angel in each one.

The Cinderella Romances books have returning characters, so readers may want to start with Book 1 although all the stories read as standalones. Same for the Lords in Time series.



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

(Petie) I’d love to hear from readers at any of my social media links:






Amazon Author Page



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

(Petie) I just want to thank Kam’s Place and her loyal readers for allowing me to spend time with them today and share stories about my books. I hope you’ll give the Cinderella Romances series a try. Happy reading or writing to all — your pick!



~~ Closing remarks ~~

 I think after reading Petie’s interview, you’ll have no problem finding something to read  for a long while.

I’ve enjoyed my time with Petie and I also enjoyed Betting on Cinderella.

Please keep scrolling down to get a glimpse inside the book and to see my feelings on this romancic tale.



Garrett Tucker inherits his grandfather’s casino empire and steps into the reclusive billionaire’s shoes as the “Prince of Vegas.” His first act is to buy a bankrupt casino in Biloxi. When he discovers embezzling in his new operation, Garrett goes undercover. His prime suspect is the new finance supervisor—the spitfire brunette who stole his heart at first sight.

Andi Ryan moves to Biloxi to care for her godmother and takes a job as finance supervisor for the renovated Bayou Princess casino. She discovers someone is skimming from the till and starts her own investigation, worried she will be blamed for the theft when the new owner discovers her godmother has a gambling addiction.

A rival Vegas competitor has sent a spy in to ruin the Bayou Princess, and Garrett and Andi are forced to work together to prove her innocence and discover the identity of their casino spy.

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Andi Tells Garrett She’s a Virgin


“I want to make love to you.”

Andi stilled.

Garrett mentally kicked himself. He had gone and scared her.

Too much. Too soon.

But he couldn’t make himself move. He could lie here forever with Andi in his arms.

She wriggled from his grasp to sit up. “Um . . .”


She looked too uncertain.

Not good.

He was okay with, “Not now, but maybe later.”

“I can’t,” she whispered.

Good thing he was sitting down. The jangle of fear that hit him could have knocked his knees out from under him.

“Can’t or won’t?” he forced out. No maybes on this one.


What the hell? Can’t and won’t?

All his uncertainties flooded back. Flora had said Andi and Peters were just friends. Was that friends with benefits? And what about that damn Drakos pawing her last week? No, he wouldn’t let those doubts crowd them here on the couch.

“Too soon?” he tried.

“Partly.” She looked away, and his heart sank amongst the growing heap of doubts.

“There’s someone else,” he said flatly, working to keep his expression blank and the hurt at bay.

She met his gaze square on then, no doubt trying to muscle her courage. “There’s something I should tell you.”


“I’m—” She exhaled hard. “—no good at it.”

What? Is that all?

He fought back a grin of pure joy. “I’ll give you lessons.” He pulled her back for another kiss.

She shoved at his chest. “No. I don’t think I should.”

She flinched at his expression, and he worked to smooth his scowl.

“Go ahead. Spit it out.” Even he didn’t like his tone. “You’re sleeping with someone else, right?”

He should have done his homework before he went off half-cocked with all the flowers and balloons, trying to woo her.

“No, and I should slap you for that, suggesting I’m loose enough to go out with you while sleeping with someone else.”

“Then what the hell is it?” he shouted, forgetting all about Flora at the back of the house.

“I’ve never done it before!” she shouted back.

“What? Slapped someone?”

“No, you jerk. Slept with someone.” This, she didn’t shout.

He froze, right down to his heartbeat, and stared at her bright-pink cheeks. Could it be? Was she? A virgin?

“Holy smokes,” he wheezed.

She stared at her untouched glass of wine. “I’m not saying you and I will never,” she said softly.

Relief, warm and desperate, allowed his muscles to finally move. He gently traced the line of her cheek with his finger, a lump forming in his throat at the touch of something so rare and priceless.

“Glad to hear that.” He brushed his lips across hers, light as a whisper. Once. “My little sweetheart.” Twice. “My precious—” Three times. Always a charm.

“You’re not mad?”

Those big blue eyes stared up at him with an innocence that made his too-experienced heart ache with emotion.


Should he tell her he wanted to go outside and howl his joy at the moon? To yell to the world what a lucky son of a gun he was? His Andi would be his Andi—proprietary, like his stock portfolio. All his. No one else. A primal sense of possessiveness overwhelmed him.

“No, sweetheart, not mad. Glad,” he managed, then tugged her close and let his kiss show her exactly how he felt.

“When you’re ready,” he said against her lips. “Only when you’re ready.”

He had finally said and done the right thing, for she grabbed his shirt and laid an eye-crossing kiss on him.


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


Evil stepmother.

Two stepsisters. 

A Godmother who’s goal is it to try and make an orphaned girl’s life a bit brighter.

These are a few similarities to the famous Cinderella storyline. In both stories, there is a blue dress and a HEA with the damsel finding her one true love. 

However in Betting on Cinderella, the storyline contains things the original never touched upon: embezzlers, casinos, and mafia looking villains.

In each storyline, the good guys prevailed BUT in Betting on Cinderella readers will be surprised at how far Flora Merrywether will go to ensure Andi’s has her own fairy tale ending. 

BTW: Cute name selection when deciding upon Flora Merrywether. As an avid viewer of Disney movies, I recognize Sleeping Beauty’s magical guardians/protectors’ namesakes. You might’ve spelled ‘Merryweather’ slightly different but I see your inspiration for the name choice loud and clear. 





For the plot in Betting on Cinderella, there’s so much going on.  I knew we were in for a big surprise. Heck, I figured one out from the start. However, as the final chapters unfolded, I realized I only solved part of the puzzle. For that, my score, my feelings on the overall story increased by one point. 


Heart Rating System

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score:  ❤❤❤❤


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Review of “Sugar Skulls” – M.R. Tapia

“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.

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(Chapter 13)


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.

I panic.

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.

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My Review

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) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

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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.

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Review of “Seashells, Spells and Caramels” – Erin Johnson

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.

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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 nodded.

“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.”

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(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) 

 Score: ❤❤❤❤1/2


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Book 2

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?

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Book 3

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.

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A native of Tempe, Arizona, Erin spends her time crafting mysterious, magical, romance-filled stories that’ll hopefully make you laugh. In between, she’s traveling, napping with her dogs, eating with her friends and family, and teaching Pilates (to allow her to eat more).

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Author Showcase – Debbie Mason (Sugarplum Way)

Romance writer Julia Landon knows how to write a happily-ever-after. Creating one for herself is a whole different story. But after a surprising–and surprisingly passionate–kiss under the mistletoe at Harmony Harbor’s holiday party last year, Julia thought she might have finally found her very own chance at true love. Until she learns her Mr. Tall, Dark, and Broodingly Handsome has sworn off relationships. Well, if she can’t have him in real life, Julia knows just how to get the next best thing….
Aidan’s only priority is to be the best single dad ever. And this year, he plans to make the holidays magical for his little girl, Ella Rose. But visions of stolen kisses under the mistletoe keep dancing in his head, and when he finds out Julia has written him into her latest novel, he can’t help imagining the possibilities of a future together. Little does he know, though, Julia has been keeping a secret that threatens all their dreams. Luckily, ’tis the season for a little Christmas magic.


(courtesy of Debbie Mason’s Website


With each frantic beat of my heart, Adrian’s name echoes in my mind. I have to reach him before he discovers my secret. As I race across the ice-crusted meadow, my breath forms small, frosted clouds in the frigid, moonlit night. My throat, my chest, my legs, everything aches but I can’t stop until I reach the white castle by the turquoise sea. Adrian is there, waiting for me. He needs to hear this from me and no one else. If he. . .

A loud buzzing sound pulled Julia Landon out of the scene she was writing and onto the hard chair behind her desk in her cramped, one-bedroom apartment. She gave her head a slight shake to free herself from the grip of her heroine’s emotions and reached for the Santa timer that danced on top of her narrow desk.

Julia’s timers had saved her butt in the past, and this was no exception. Although it didn’t feel that way at the moment because her secret crush still filled the pages of her book for all the world to see.

She turned off Santa, set him on the crowded shelf above her desk, and replaced him with a turkey. Julia had forty-eight timers in her collection, and she had a sinking feeling she’d use each and every one of them before she sent off Warrior’s Touch to her editor. Her manuscript was due tomorrow at nine a.m. sharp. And unless things had changed while she was running through a meadow on a moonlit night in the Emerald Isle, there were still just twenty-four hours in a day.

Which was where the trouble all began. She’d mistakenly assumed she’d be granted a three-day reprieve due to the Thanksgiving holiday, only to discover that New York editors rarely took time off.

Asking for an extension was out of the question. She’d blown through one deadline already. If she blew through another one, she was afraid her editor would write her off as an unprofessional one-hit wonder and cancel the contract, ruining Julia’s chance of making her dream come true.

Back in June, she’d published the first book in the Warrior trilogy, Warrior’s Kiss, on her own. It had taken off almost immediately, exceeding her wildest expectations. Reader support had been phenomenal, and the extra money had come in the nick of time. Sales were down at her bookstore—Books and Beans—and fulfilling her vow to her late fiancé was costly.

But as much as the digital success of Warrior’s Kiss had been mind-boggling in the happiest of mind-boggling ways, Julia’s dream was to see her books sitting on the same shelves as the authors she adored.

The added benefit, which was almost as important, was the hope that the four alpha males in her life—her father and three older brothers—would believe that seeing her in bookstores across the land meant they no longer had to worry about her, that she had what it took to support herself.

Maybe then every phone call home wouldn’t begin and end with her father and brothers exhorting her to move back to Texas so they could look after her—folding her like a burrito in bubble wrap to ensure she wouldn’t get hurt or have her heart broken again.

Honestly, it felt like she’d been trying to prove herself to them her entire grown-up life. If opening Books and Beans hadn’t convinced them she could manage on her own, she didn’t know why she thought being published would. No doubt her brothers would tell her it was her magical thinking at work again. To her mind, there was nothing magical or wrong with being hopeful.

If she hadn’t held onto the hope that things would get better these past couple of years, she didn’t know where she’d be. Maybe cast adrift on a turquoise sea. She wished she didn’t care what everyone thought about her, but sometimes it felt like she’d been born with an extra people-pleasing gene.

Emmeline, Julia’s mother, would have been over the moon for her. The former actress would have held Texas-sized celebrations the day Julia had finished her first book at eighteen, the day she’d received her first non-form rejection letter at twenty-eight, and the day Warrior’s Kiss hit number sixteen on the USA Today bestseller list a week before Julia’s thirty-second birthday.

Every step of the way, every small victory and minor defeat, her mother would have been there cheering her on. Even though Emmeline had died when Julia was twelve, she believed her mother held parties for her in heaven.

Julia paid tribute to Emmeline in each and every book she wrote. In the Warrior’s trilogy, an Urban Fantasy set in Ireland, her mother was the inspiration for the White Witch. In a way, it was like bringing her back to life. The White Witch looked, acted, and dressed exactly like Emmeline once had.

Julia refocused on the computer screen. She’d been a finger press away from deleting the last three chapters when Santa shook his booty and brought her back to reality. Sometimes reality sucked. Because no matter how much she wanted to, there was no way she could kill off Adrian Greystone, the trilogy’s hero. He was the book boyfriend that readers lusted after and the reason they were clamoring for more.

Including Julia’s friend Olivia, who had finished Warrior’s Kiss a few weeks earlier. But unlike Adrian Greystone’s other fans, Olivia had told her that she was uncomfortable lusting after the fictional hero. And it had nothing to do with her friend being a married woman. Olivia said it was because Adrian reminded her of her brother-in-law Aidan Gallagher.

All too clearly, Julia recalled the knowing look Olivia had given her that morning in the bookstore. She’d brushed off Olivia’s silent insinuation with a laugh before making an excuse to run up to her apartment above the bookstore. She’d taken the back stairs two at a time to check for herself.

The evidence was overwhelming. From his physical description to his badass demeanor to his name. Adrian alone may not have raised eyebrows, but then Julia had made the fatal mistake of using Greystone as his surname. Greystone Manor, the fairy-tale castle standing sentry over the town of Harmony Harbor, was the Gallagher family’s home as well as a hotel.

Julia knew exactly where to lay the blame. It was because of that one kiss they shared under the mistletoe last Christmas at the manor. Given the length of time Aidan’s mouth had been on hers, it probably wouldn’t even qualify as a kiss—more like a peck. He hadn’t known her, and she hadn’t known him, and Kitty Gallagher had been standing right there with a twinkle in her eyes demanding they take advantage of the long-standing tradition or risk a lifetime of bad luck.

Since Julia had suffered enough bad luck at that point, she wasn’t willing to take a chance she’d have to live through decades more. Beside that, Aidan was big and beautiful, and at that moment, she’d needed something big and beautiful to distract her. But she should have risked a lifetime of bad luck.

Because while the kiss was merely a brief touch of his firm lips upon hers, it had an earth-shattering effect on Julia. She’d felt like she’d been transported to another place and time, as if she were dancing among the stars. And when she looked into Aidan’s extraordinary blue eyes, something inside her clicked into place. She’d known then that she’d found him. Her soulmate. Her one true love. In her head, she could almost hear her brothers groaning at the idea she’d discovered her true love after sharing only one kiss.

But they’d be happy to know that thoughts of tall, handsome princes and fairytale endings had vanished the second the Gallagher matriarch had introduced the two. Aidan Gallagher would never be the man of Julia’s dreams. He couldn’t be. Because if he ever found out why she’d taken on the job of the Gallaghers’ fairy godmother, he’d have her thrown in jail and would instruct them to lose the key.

Oddly enough though, she’d begun writing Warrior’s Kiss months before she’d met Aidan. But it wasn’t until he’d kissed her under the mistletoe that the story took on a life of its own and her hero, Adrian Greystone, came fully alive.

As much as Julia knew a relationship between her and Aidan could never be, it didn’t stop her from living vicariously through her heroine and embarking on a love affair to end all love affairs with Adrian Greystone.

Within hours of discovering that Olivia was right and that Julia had exposed her secret crush for all the world to see, she’d developed a debilitating case of writer’s block. Every time she sat at her desk, her brain would freeze and her fingers would seize and her first deadline flew by. And now here she was again, staring another deadline in the eyes.

As she saw it, she had three choices. One, get the manuscript to her editor on time and take the risk that someone other than Olivia—who’d been sworn to secrecy—discovered that Julia was author J.L. Winters. Two, kill off her hero and risk alienating both her readers and her new publisher. Three, ask for an extension and risk the possibility of being dropped by her editor.

Deciding the risk was worth it, she went with number three and brought up a new file on the screen. As she worked on a believable way to disguise Adrian’s resemblance to Aidan, she noticed wisps of smoke floating past her. It always amazed her how quickly the real world faded away and she stepped into her imaginary one, but this was downright freaky. Never before had she. . .

The sound of the smoke detector beeping and the voice inside it repeatedly saying fire cut off the thought.

Her head snapped up, and her gaze shot around her apartment, searching for the smoke’s source. She made out the Christmas tree in the corner of her living room, its colorful miniature lights twinkling through the fog. If it wasn’t the tree . . .The bookstore! She jumped from the chair.

And that’s when the smell of burning cookies invaded her nostrils.

Her Santa timer hadn’t gone off to remind her to get up and shake her booty; it was to remind her that her contribution to Thanksgiving dinner was ready to come out of the oven!

Frantically, she searched for her cell phone on her cluttered desk, around the boxes of Christmas decorations she’d yet to unpack on the floor, and the clothes on the couch that she’d forgotten to put away. Her cell phone was nowhere to be found.

And her overprotective father, who was more overprotective than most fathers of daughters because he was a sheriff, had ordered and installed a state-of-the-art alarm system the last time he’d visited. As soon as the smoke detector went off, Julia had four minutes to call the company and report a false alarm or the Harmony Harbor fire trucks would be on their way, sirens wailing.

Just like they had last month.

* * *

Julia walked down the narrow, smoke-filled stairway from her apartment to the bookstore with a fishbowl in her arms while apologizing for a second time to the fire chief. The sixty-something man with a full head of silver hair bore a striking resemblance to Paul Newman, right down to his blue eyes that appeared to be glinting with amusement as he held open the door leading into her store.

“I really am sorry, Mr. Gallagher. From now on, I’ll make sure I have my phone on me before I put anything in the oven.”

He scratched his chin, obviously fighting back a grin. “Colin, remember? And if I’m not mistaken, last time you were making spaghetti sauce and the time before that it was oatmeal. So let’s make a deal. You don’t use the stove or oven until you’re fully awake, okay?”

She typically started her day at five a.m. to get in her word count before opening the store. But it wasn’t like she could tell him she set things on fire because she disappeared into her make-believe world, so she’d told him she fell back to sleep. She’d used the excuse so often that he probably thought she had narcolepsy.

“I think I’ll give up cooking altogether,” she said as she placed the fishbowl on a low table in the children’s section. Her worry that Ariel and Erik had been affected by the smoke in her apartment was alleviated when they began swimming around. But while she could set aside her concern over her goldfish, she had another worry to contend with. . . “My dad didn’t happen to have the alarm system wired so that he gets notified too, did he? Like a three-strikes kind of thing?”

“Not that I know of,” Colin said, no longer holding back a grin. He was giving her a smile that she was unfortunately familiar with. It was the same smile people got on their faces just before they pinched her cheeks. She’d known a lot of cheek pinchers in her thirty-two years.

“He didn’t tell you to call him if my alarm went off, did he?” She made a mental note to ask Paul Benson, the chief of police, the same question. She’d forgotten her pass code and set off the intruder alarm last Sunday when she came back from a walk. In her defense, it was a new password. She’d had to change it when . . . she forgot it the last time. She needed to think about using one password for everything.

“No, he didn’t, but your oldest brother did.” At her groan, Colin added, “Don’t worry. I won’t call unless it’s for something other than a false alarm. You should be glad they worry about you like they do, honey. It shows how much they care.”

Of course he’d side with the men in her family. Just like her father and brothers were the to-serve-and-protect Landons, Colin and his sons were the to-serve-and-protect Gallaghers.

There was one big difference though. Her family got an extra Texas-size helping of alpha which made them way more annoying than the Gallaghers. Thinking back to her interactions with Aidan Gallagher this past summer, she revised that thought. He was the a in alpha and annoying.

“I know they do, and I love them too. I just wish they’d remember I’m thirty-two and not fifteen.”

Colin looked down at her feet, and his lips twitched. She followed his gaze. She had on a cozy red plaid onesie with fake fur lining the hood and reindeer slippers on her feet. She shrugged, smiling up at him. “What can I say? I love Christmas.”

“No one would argue with you there. That’s quite the plan you’ve come up with for decorating Main Street. I got a look at it yesterday.”

“Do you think it’s too much? I made sure there was enough room for the firetrucks to pass under the lights and garland.” It was her first year as head of Harmony Harbor’s Christmas committee, and she wanted to do a good job.

“It’s ambitious, that’s for sure.”

“If you think I’m being ambitious, you should see what they’re doing in Bridgeport. It’s important that we keep up, you know? For the manor’s sake.” Bridgeport was the town adjacent to Harmony Harbor and was the home to Greystone Manor’s biggest competitor.

Which was the reason Julia had volunteered to head up the committee despite having a bookstore and coffeeshop to run and a book to write. Now that she thought about it, it was no wonder she couldn’t keep the code for her alarm straight. But it’s not like she had a choice. Greystone played an important role in ensuring the Gallagher family’s happiness. A job Julia’s late fiancé, Josh Winters, had tasked her with, and one she feared that if she failed, he’d never rest in peace.

“So my mother and the Widows Club keep reminding me,” Colin responded to her keeping up with the Jones comment, or in this case the town of Bridgeport. “Don’t worry, I approved the plan. A few of the boys have volunteered to give you a hand on Sunday. I’ll e-mail you their contact information.”

She hoped his second oldest son wasn’t one of them. “That’s great, thank you. Now we just have to pray that Mrs. Bradford doesn’t try and file another injunction against us.”

The seventy-something woman’s husband owned the local bank and had chaired the Christmas committee for the past twenty years. She wasn’t happy that she’d been replaced by Julia, and she’d made her unhappiness known by taking the town to court for wrongful dismissal. The case had been thrown out of course, but Mrs. Bradford still managed to put them two weeks behind in their decorating schedule.

“She won’t try again. Not with the Widows Club threatening to close their accounts at the bank if she does.” His radio crackled. “I better get going. Give your apartment an hour to air out before you go back up.”

She followed him through the bookstore and the small coffee bar to the front door. “Thanks so much for coming so quickly. I’m just sorry it was for another false alarm.” She wrinkled her nose. “Umm, not that I wanted it to be a real fire, just that . . . well, you know what I mean.”

He laughed and patted her cheek. “You’re welcome. Happy Thanksgiving, honey.”

She held back a heartfelt sigh. Colin Gallagher was the nicest man, and so handsome too. After everything he’d lost, he deserved the happiest of happy ever afters. She was glad that she’d played a small role in helping him achieve it. “You have a happy Thanksgiving too. Say hi to Maggie for me and tell her two o’clock Sunday is fine.”

Julia smiled at the thought that all her scheming and plotting to get Maggie and Colin together had finally paid off. She’d spent most of the fall maneuvering the couple into chance meetings all around town.

Her smile fell at the look that came over Colin’s face. It was not the look of a man who’d just heard the name of the woman he loved. He looked like a man hearing the name of the woman he’d just dumped. Again.

He shifted on his booted feet. “The thing is, Maggie and I . . . Maybe you should just call and let her know the time yourself.”

The bell above the door tinkled as Colin said goodbye and closed it behind him. Through the frosted glass, she watched him get into the firetruck. She didn’t understand it. The man was brave, heroic even. Every day he put himself in danger on the job and had been doing so for more than thirty-five years. But when it came to opening his heart to love again, he got cold feet. This was the second time he’d bailed on poor Maggie. As far as Julia was concerned it would be the last, because one way or another she was getting the couple together for good.

The Gallaghers’ happiness had been her priority, her mission, for eighty-four plus weeks. And as much as she wanted Josh to rest in peace, she wanted to hang up her fairy godmother wings and move on with her life. Being responsible for someone else’s happiness—make that five someone’s—was a heavy burden to bear.

She’d hoped by helping the Gallaghers achieve theirs, she’d find her own. Weighed down as she was by guilt, true happiness had been an elusive thing these past few years. She was ready to change that. Her goal had been to hang up her wings on New Year’s Eve. She’d been thrilled when it looked like she’d achieved her objective months before her self-imposed deadline. Now here she was strapping her wings back on with only five weeks until the ball dropped.

Disappointment and a small dose of self pity caused her stomach to head for her toes as slowly as that big old ball in Time’s Square. But before she managed to sink even a foot into despair, Julia reminded herself of something her mother used to say Nothing is impossible; the word itself says “I’m possible.”

A few years ago, she’d discovered her mother had borrowed the line from Audrey Hepburn. Julia decided she’d borrow some of that positive thinking for herself today. The odds of accomplishing her goal by New Year’s Eve wasn’t impossible or insurmountable. After all, she had only Colin left. And whether he’d admit it or not, he was in love with Maggie. Everyone in town knew it . . . Obviously he didn’t, or at the very least, he was a pro at denying his feelings.

Another small flicker of doubt crept up on her at the thought that Colin’s fear of loving again might be stronger than Julia’s matchmaking skills. But like before, she brushed those pesky worries aside. This time with the reminder that she had four successes to her name—Colin’s sons. Finn, Griffin, and Liam were all happily married, and Julia credited herself with playing a small role in helping them achieve their dreams.

Their brother Aidan’s dream hadn’t included a wife, for which Julia would be eternally grateful. And it had nothing to do with her secret crush on the man. Tall, dark, and dangerous had destroyed any tender feelings Julia might have had for him last summer. Up until then, she thought he was a prince among men. But he’d turned out to be a beast. In good conscience, she couldn’t match him with any of her friends.

So yes, she’d been relieved to learn that what Aidan wanted most was a job. The former DEA agent had moved home to Harmony Harbor in order to prove to a judge that he could provide a stable environment for his six-year-old daughter. But he’d needed a job to do that.

So, in true fairy godmother fashion, she’d finally managed to convince Paul, the chief of police, to hire Aidan at HHPD three weeks ago. She’d even been able to conclude her assignment without any direct contact with Aidan. Not an easy feat in Harmony Harbor. In her book, that made it a win all around.

As long as she didn’t think about Paul who apparently thought they were an item. Because while she didn’t have to interact with Aidan to make his wishes come true, she’d had to interact with his boss-to-be to get him the job. Interact as in date him. Three dates to be exact.

She didn’t have time to worry about Paul now. If she planned to be fairy wing-free by New Year’s Eve, she had work to do and no time to lose. She turned to look over her bookstore, and a plan formulated in her mind. One that would require a pre-dawn visit to Maggie’s house on Breakwater Way.

There was just one teensy problem with her plan. Detective Aidan Gallagher was staying in his childhood home across from Maggie’s. But surely it was early enough that he was still in bed dreaming of sugarplums. She snorted at the thought of anything sweet entering Aidan Gallagher’s dreams. He’d probably shoot it if it did.




Other books in the Harmony Harbor series:
Sandpiper Shore – TBA

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Review of “Addict (The Cassie Tam Files Book 1)” – Matt Doyle

New Hopeland was built to be the centre of the technological age, but like everywhere else, it has its dark side. Assassins, drug dealers and crooked businessmen form a vital part of the city’s make-up, and sometimes, the police are in too deep themselves to be effective. But hey, there are always other options …

For P.I. Cassie Tam, business has been slow. So, when she’s hired to investigate the death of a local VR addict named Eddie Redwood, she thinks it’ll be easy money. All she has to do is prove to the deceased’s sister Lori that the local P.D. were right to call it an accidental overdose. The more she digs though, the more things don’t seem to sit right, and soon, Cassie finds herself knee deep in a murder investigation. But that’s just the start of her problems.

When the case forces Cassie to make contact with her drug dealing ex-girlfriend, Charlie Goldman, she’s left with a whole lot of long buried personal issues to deal with. Then there’s her client. Lori Redwood is a Tech Shifter, someone who uses a metal exoskeleton to roleplay as an animal. Cassie isn’t one to judge, but the Tech Shifting community has always left her a bit nervous. That wouldn’t be a problem if Lori wasn’t fast becoming the first person that she’s been genuinely attracted to since splitting with Charlie. Oh, and then there’s the small matter of the police wanting her to back off the case.

Easy money, huh? Yeah, right.

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I always did like Venetian blinds. There’s something quaint about them in a retro-tacky kinda way. Plus, they’re pretty useful for sneaking a peek out the front of the building if I feel the need. That’s something that you just can’t do with the solid, immovable metal slats that come as a standard in buildings these days. That said, a thick sheet of steel is gonna offer you a damn sight more security than thin, bendable vinyl, so I keep mine installed. Just in case.

Another round of knocking rattles the front door, louder this time than the one that woke me.

The clock says 23:47, and the unfamiliar low-end car out front screams “Don’t notice me, I’m not worth your time,” which makes for the perfect combo to stir up the paranoia that the evening’s beer and horror-film session left behind. This is my own fault. My adverts are pretty descriptive in terms of telling what I do: lost pets, cheating partners, theft, protection, retrieval of people and items, other odds and sods that the city’s finest won’t touch…I’ve got ways to deal with it all. That’s right, I’m a real odd-job gal. The one thing that I don’t put in there are business hours. The way I see it, even the missing pet cases usually leave me wandering the streets at half-past reasonable, so what’s the point in asking people to call between certain hours?

More knocking, followed this time by the squeak of my letter box and a voice. “Hello? Cassandra Tam?”

It’s funny, really. For all the tech advances that the world has made, no one has been able to improve upon the simple open-and-shut letter box. I stumble my way through the dark and wave dismissively at the frosted glass. The light switch and the keypad for the door lock are conveniently placed right next to each other on the wall to the right of the door, sowelcoming my apparent guest is a nice, easy affair. The lock clicks a moment after the lights flood the room, and I pull the door open.

“Cassie,” I say, turning and skulking my way back into the room. “Or Caz. Drop the Tam.”

I hear a sniff behind me, and the lady from the letter box asks, “Are you drunk?”

“If I pass out in the next five minutes, then yes,” I reply, turning the kettle on. I’d left it full, ready for the morning, but I guess this is close enough. “Take a seat at the table. Would you prefer tea or coffee? I’d offer beer, but since I reek of it, I guess I must’ve finished it.”

Footsteps creep unapologetically across the room, and a chair squeaks on the floor. Good. If you can’t deal with a snarky response to something, don’t say it all, and if you can deal with it, then as far as I’m concerned you don’t need to apologise.

“Coffee,” the lady says. “So, do you always see potential clients in your underwear, or is it just my lucky day?” Her voice has a slightly playful edge to it, but with a sarcastic kick to round it off.

The business portion of my apartment comprises entirely of a small open-plan room separating my kitchen from my living room. And by open plan, I mean an allotted space that encroaches on both territories but is conveniently large enough to house what I need. Or, in other words, a table, four chairs, and nothing else. Since filing went near entirely digital, filing cabinets have pretty much become obsolete, so the two that I found dumped outside the building when I bought the place currently live in my bedroom, and contain a mix of quick access work stuff and personal files I’d rather not have floating on the net. Most things, though, I store electronically, the same as everything else.

I rarely use the business table to eat, read, or any of that junk, so until this evening it’s been entirely empty for a good few weeks. The lady sitting there now is studying me, I can see, and probably wondering if this was a mistake. Whatever she may have expected, a Chinese-Canadian gal of average height in a cami top and a loose pair of sleep shorts most likely wasn’t it. For what it’s worth, though, I’m studying her just the same. She’s a lithe-looking thing, dressed in a casual pair of jeans and a plain black fitted top under a leather jacket. If the metal plugs running down her shaven head like a shiny, rubber-tipped Mohawk weren’t a giveaway for what she is, the light scarring punctuating the outer edges of her pale blue eyes certainly would be. She’s a Tech Shifter, and like most of her ilk, she looks like a punk rocker gone cyborg.


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


The world is constantly evolving. Everyday a new gadget is being introduced to the market. At the same time, news sources can’t go a day without mentioning a story dealing with drugs. Matt Doyle took both topics and ran with it. VR (Virtual Reality) is NOT a thing of the past. You can buy the gadgets at your local department store. In Addict, Matt incorporated Flash7, a VR stimulant, which made today’s virtual reality experience the equivalent of using an Atari when you can use a Nintendo Switch.

This story, centering on a murdered VR user, had so much potential for greatness. I wanted Cassie (Caz) to embark in the VR world. I wanted more time spent there instead of the real world. Addict did have a decent plot and a nice twist towards the end of the story; however, the moments leading up to it where nothing extraordinary. I think Caz’s past with Charlie didn’t add much to the storyline. Also, Matt has this book labeled LGBT but really it didn’t have much in the way of same sex interactions. Glances. Quick peck. Honestly, those could’ve been left out and the story wouldn’t have suffered one iota. 

One character whom I thought needed more time on the scene was Bert. He was her AI Familiar that resembles a gargoyle and behaves like a good protective pet. Now I love my new kitty, but a pet gargoyle….. That would be a wonderfully crazy addition to my already crazy house. 

For utilizing today’s tech in an interesting manner and for my love of Bert, I will rate Addict a solid three.


Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤


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Matt Doyle
Matt Doyle lives in the South East of England and shares his home with a wide variety of people and animals, as well as a fine selection of teas. He has spent his life chasing dreams, a habit which has seen him gain success in a great number of fields. To date, this has included spending ten years as a professional wrestler, completing a range of cosplay projects, and publishing multiple works of fiction.
These days, Matt can be found working on far too many novels at once, blogging about anime, comics, and games, and plotting and planning what other things he’ll be doing to take up what little free time he has.

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Review of “Beyond the Mist (Lake Lanier Mysteries)” – Casi McLean

Piper Taylor concedes she’ll never fall in love, until a treacherous storm spirals her into the arms of the handsome Nick Cramer. Unrelenting remorse over a past relationship haunts Nick, but he can’t deny the mysterious connection and hot desire Piper evokes. 

The allure of a secret portal hidden beneath Atlanta’s Lake Lanier tempts him into seizing the opportunity to change his mistakes. But his time slip triggers consequences beyond his wildest dreams. 

Can Piper avoid the international espionage and terrorism of 2001 New York, find Nick, and bring him home before he alters the fabric of time, or will the lovers drift forever Beyond The Mist?

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A soft mist hovered over the moonlit lake, beckoning, luring him forward with the seductive enticement of a mermaid’s song. Rhythmic clatter of a distant train moaned in harmony with a symphony of cricket chirps and croaking frogs. Spellbound, Nick Cramer took a long breath and waded deeper into the murky cove. Dank air, laden with a scent of soggy earth and pine, crawled across his bare arms. The hairs on the back of his neck bristled, shooting a prickle down his spine that slithered into an icy pool coiled in the pit of his stomach. He clenched his fingers into a tight fist, determined to fight through the emotion consuming him. Fear sliced through his belly like icy shards until he finally heaved, forcing rancid bile to choke into his throat.

I have to do this––he inched forward––only a few more steps and––

A sudden surge swirled around him, yanking him into a whirling vortex, where a violent blue streak dragged him deeper, deeper beneath the lake into the shadowy depths. Heart pounding, he battled against the force, twisting, thrusting toward the surface with all of his strength but, despite his muscular build, he spun like a feather in wind into oblivion. When the mist dissolved, Nick Cramer had vanished.


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

Casi McLean touched on many emotions in Beyond the Mist: guilt, love, regret, anger, remorse, and fear. She had us step into the past, relive the horrific moments of 9/11, and feel the desperation to alter a moment in time. If given the opportunity, I can’t imagine many who would not want to tweak those course of events.. despite the unknown changes that might occur in the future. To save a love one. To save everyone. It is so tempting. Nick faced such a temptation and we discovered, with him, how one small change ripples.. tears….. causes more harm than good. 

After the horrific carnage unfolded around them, Nick and Piper had no option but to head back to their time. The past had to stay the past. Instead of an easy journey back to their timeline, these two destined loves got thrust (painfully) into the future.  Again, Casi tapped into two prominent emotions felt throughout this suspenseful tale: fear and love. Nick and Piper feared never going home. Never being together again. But, as you had guessed, love finds a way. They found each other. They found home. But the surprises and twists don’t end then and there. They are not the only two who found a HEA. Plus, she ended the story with one heckuva setup for the next Lake Lanier Mysteries.


Heart Rating System 

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

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Don’t miss out on this great mystery! 

A ghost town submerged beneath Atlanta’s famous man-made Lake Lanier reportedly lures victims to a watery grave. But when Lacey Montgomery’s car spins out of control and hurtles into the depths of the icy, black water, she awakens in the arms of a handsome stranger, in a place she’s never heard of — 34 years before she was born.
When the 2012 lawyer tangles with the 1949 hunk, fire and ice swirl into a stream of sweltering desire. BobbyReynolds is smitten the moment the storm-ravaged woman opens her eyes. Learning the truth about her origins does nothing to stop the passion from taking root in his heart, and leaves him torn between finding a way to help Lacey return to 2012 or convincing her stay with him.
The desperation to find her way home dissolves as Lacey falls in love with a town destined to be erased from the face of the Earth, and the man who vows to protect it. Will the couple discover the key to the mysterious portal before time rips them apart? Or will their star-crossed spirits wander forever through a ghost town buried beneath the lake?



Award winning author, Casi McLean, pens novels to stir the soul with romance, suspense, and a sprinkle of magic. Her writing crosses genres from ethereal, captivating shorts with eerie twist endings to believable time slips, mystical plots, and sensual romantic suspense, like Beneath The Lake, WINNER: 2016 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence for BEST Romantic Suspense.

Casi’s powerful memoir, Wingless Butterfly: Healing The Broken Child Within, shares an inspirational message of courage, tenacity, and hope, and displays her unique ability to excel in nonfiction and self-help as well as fiction. Known for enchanting stories with magical description, McLean entices readers in nonfiction as well with fascinating hooks to hold them captive in storylines they can’t put down.

Her romance entwines strong, believable heroines with delicious hot heroes to tempt the deepest desires then fans the flames, sweeping readers into their innermost romantic fantasies. Ms. McLean weaves exceptional romantic mystery with suspenseful settings and lovable characters you’ll devour. You’ll see, hear, and feel the magical eeriness of one fateful night. You’ll swear her time travel could happen, be mystified by her other worldly images, and feel heat of romantic suspense, but most of all you’ll want more.

Award Winning Author

2016 Best Romantic Suspense

Winner Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence 

Winner 2016 Best Heroine Still Moments Magazine

2016 Aspen Gold Finalist for Best Romantic Suspense

2015 Top Pick by Night Owl Reviews

2015 Chicago Fire and Ice Finalist

2014 Winner 2014 AWC Short Story Award




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Review of “Gull Harbor” – Kathryn Knight

A #1 Kindle Bestseller
A Top Ten Read of 2014 – My Shelf Reviews
19+ consecutive weeks on the top 100 Amazon Bestseller List
A Reader’s Crown Finalist in Paranormal Romance – RomCon 2014
Best Kindle Books 2014 Semi-Finalist in Romance – The Kindle Book Review

When Claire Linden’s job sends her to the sleepy town of Gull Harbor, she never expects to encounter her ex-boyfriend. As a medium, the prospect of tackling a haunted house is less daunting than seeing Max Baron again. Throughout their passionate college relationship, he promised to love her forever. Then, without explanation, he abandoned her on graduation day. 

Max never intended to break Claire’s heart–a cruel ultimatum forced him to disappear from her life. While he’s shocked to find her in Gull Harbor, he isn’t surprised by the bitter resentment she feels for him…or the fiery attraction that remains between them. 


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She shook her head vigorously. “I can’t spend your money to do my job. That makes no sense.”

“It’s not about that, Claire. It’s about keeping you safe.” He closed the distance between them, setting off alarm bells in the back of her mind.

Squaring her shoulders, she took a deep breath. “I realize you’re trying to help me, and I appreciate that. But what gives you the right to worry about my safety?”

“I don’t need the right.” He stood over her, and she took a step backwards, bumping up against his desk. His words shouldn’t have sounded menacing, but for some reason, they did. She nodded weakly.

“I am going to keep you safe, Claire,” he said, his eyes flashing. He reached out and stroked her arm.

A shiver ran through her, and she gripped the edge of the desk for support. “Okay,” she breathed. Every nerve in her body was calling for him. She closed her eyes as his hands moved up to cradle her head.

His mouth seized hers, and her lips responded urgently. She lost herself in the kiss, her fingers weaving themselves around his neck and tangling in his hair. His hands moved to her waist, and she gasped as he hoisted her up on the desk.



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


I’ve never encountered a ghost, never entered a haunted establishment, so I can’t fully grasp the prospect ghosts are real. However, Kathryn really did have me wondering what if.

Stories of the unexplained are popular because we want to believe death isn’t always the end. After reading Gull Harbor, do I have any desire to venture to the nearest spooky destination and see if there’s any truth behind any of those local whispers about ghosts, apparitions, poltergeist, etc? Sure, a part of me is curious if things of the paranormal nature exist. Then again, another part of me is a chickenshit and wants to live in the world where paranormal beings are just myth.

I have to give props to Claire, the medium/psychic. She handled the situation with Maria (restless soul) better than I would’ve dealt with it. The first time anything flew at my head I would’ve been gone quicker than you can say…..What the bloody hell was that! Frankly, seeing any dead being or hearing their voice would’ve caused me to turn tail and run quick like a bunny. Like I stated above…..mega chickenshit! 

To Kathryn, I might not 100% believe in psychics or paranormal beings but I did enjoy reading about Claire and her desire to help those in need…. living or otherwise. As a reader, I could certainly feel Claire’s determination, frustration, and her unwillingness to give up. I could also feel the passion she had for Max and the love you have for the psychic/medium/paranormal world. Only complaint, I wish there was more time spent on Claire and her dad’s relationship. I feel like you, Kathryn, barely spent any time on their characters and a bit more attention to their backstory, info, would’ve allowed me to care more about their relationship (or lack thereof).

Despite that one gray area, I do feel readers will enjoy this ghostly tale which has suspense, love, and……multiple HEA’s. 


Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤


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Kathryn Knight spends a great deal of time in her fictional world, where mundane chores don’t exist and daily life involves steamy romance, dangerous secrets, and spooky suspense. Kathryn writes contemporary romance spiked with mysterious hauntings as well as YA paranormal romance filled with forbidden love. Her novels are award-winning #1 Kindle bestsellers and RomCon Reader Rated picks. When she’s not reading or writing, Kathryn spends her time catching up on those mundane chores, driving kids around, and teaching fitness classes. She lives on beautiful Cape Cod with her husband, their two sons, and a number of rescued pets.


Please visit her at any of these locations……

Kathryn Knight (Amazon Author Page) / Twitter / Facebook / Blog


~ Passionate Romance with a Paranormal Twist ~


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Review of “Haunted Souls” – Kathryn Knight

~One of the Top 3 Best Books of 2016 at Read Freely~

Four years ago, Emily Shea and Staff Sergeant Brett Leeds agreed to part with no strings attached. Sparks flew during their brief affair, but fate intervened, sending Brett overseas. When an unexpected pregnancy derailed Emily’s own plans, her attempts to locate Brett were soon overwhelmed by the challenges of single motherhood. Now, Brett has returned home, and Emily is forced to share her secret.

Despite feeling betrayed, Brett is determined to forge a relationship with their son, Tyler. As the former lovers battle both their inner demons and their mutual desire, another presence enters their lives—Tyler’s imaginary friend. Soon, however, the chilling evidence points to a different conclusion: a ghost has formed a dangerous connection with their son. Emily’s attempts to help both a lost soul and a friend in need spiral toward a deadly confrontation, and Brett must race to save Emily before he loses her again—forever.

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 ~~ Old Jail, Cape Cod ~~




“Ma’am, he’s not allowed to be in the cells.”

Emily spun around, scanning the room for Tyler. The guide pointed around the corner and she rushed past him, mumbling apologies.

Sure enough, there was a rope hanging across the open entrances to each of the three tiny cells. It hadn’t been enough to deter Tyler, apparently. He was turned away from her, standing near the shadowy back corner. His head was tilted at an angle, as though he was listening to something intently.

An icy shiver traveled up her spine. “Tyler, you can’t be in there. Come on out, honey.”

“Coming, Mommy,” he called without turning around. He nodded toward the wall, speaking in a low voice.

What on earth was he doing? Sweat pooled under the heavy ponytail at the base of her neck even as another chill washed over her. She called him again, glancing nervously at the guide. She didn’t want to break the rules further by following her son into the restricted area.

“Now,” she commanded, leaning over the rope. “One. Two…”

Tyler backed toward her, and she caught the words “I’m sure” before he turned around and ran across the long, narrow floor of the cell. Emily bent, thrusting her hands under his arms and yanking him over the rope. She held him tight, cradling him against her heaving chest. It was too hot in here, too claustrophobic. And yet, a ribbon of cold air curled around her ankles as she carried him back toward the front entrance.



“No, Emily. I don’t want anything to happen to you.” The words slipped out, but they were true. Not much scared him, but a thread of fear trickled through his veins at the thought of her dangerous plans. Brett suddenly realized he’d do anything to protect her, at all costs.

She cocked her head, lifting her eyebrows. “Really? I find that hard to believe.”

“Stop.” Damn it. She was like some kind of gravitational force, pulling him toward her. He closed the distance between them in three long strides. “You know I care about you.”

She stood, looking up at him, her eyes flashing with challenge. “As Tyler’s mom, you mean.” The old clock on her desk ticked off the seconds as they faced off, the heat growing between them.

He pushed at the chair with a savage thrust, and it rolled away quietly on its wheels. Backing her toward the desk, he grabbed her shoulders. “As Emily,” he growled, now angry with himself. But there was no resisting it. He crushed his lips over hers, allowing his desire to take control. His body needed her—it was as simple as that.


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Cobb’s Hill Cemetery, Barnstable, Massachusetts.

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


I’m not sure if I truly believe in ghosts, the paranormal world; however, I admit stories concerning experiences with the other side fascinate me. Maybe I am like so many others in the world; I get a slight thrill out of being frightened regarding the possibility death isn’t the end for us all. In any rate, ghosts were real for Tyler, Emily and Brett. One lonely ghost, Josiah, made contact with Tyler during a trip to the Old Jailhouse in Cape Cod. Through Josiah’s journey to be reunited with his “lost” mother, we get firsthand knowledge of the hardships faced in the 1700’s. Poor Josiah, his story was just as touching as Brett’s backstory and his was extremely moving.

Many soldiers battle PTSD every day and live in fear of hurting the ones around them. Their battle aboard might be over but the internal war rages on. For Brett, he was not only facing life out of the combat zone but he was acclimating to the fact he had a son. I’m impressed how well Kathryn depicted the struggle for a soldier to keep the wartime demons at bay while rejoining life on US soil.  

Now, though PTSD and ghosts are sensitive subjects, Kathryn didn’t falter on the sensual moments. As Brett integrated himself into his son’s life, and as Josiah moved closer to his reunion with his mom, Brett and Emily couldn’t deny the fire between them never burnt out. As a parent, I can remember those days when the kid is finally asleep and mom/dad hustle to spend some alone time together. *wink wink*  

As you can see, I thoroughly loved Haunted Souls. It touched on a multitude of emotions: fear (as a parent), fear (as a soldier), love, sorrow, and joy. It was a beautiful story about being reunited with a loved one and achieving internal peace. HEA! 


Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest)

Score: ❤❤❤❤1/2


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~ Passionate Romance with a Paranormal Twist ~



Kathryn Knight spends a great deal of time in her fictional world, where mundane chores don’t exist and daily life involves steamy romance, dangerous secrets, and spooky suspense. Kathryn writes contemporary romance spiked with mysterious hauntings as well as YA paranormal romance filled with forbidden love. Her novels are award-winning #1 Kindle bestsellers and RomCon Reader Rated picks. When she’s not reading or writing, Kathryn spends her time catching up on those mundane chores, driving kids around, and teaching fitness classes. She lives on beautiful Cape Cod with her husband, their two sons, and a number of rescued pets. 


Kathryn Knight (Amazon Author Page) / Twitter / Facebook / Blog



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