Widowed attorney, Liz Grant, buries her grief in a deluge of paperwork. On whim she takes a free dance lesson at the club Eclipse where the mojitos are cold and the Salsa is hot. She falls for Salsa’s spicy rhythms and Patrick Cavanaugh’s sexy grin. But can Liz handle the dramatic change of tempo in her well-ordered life?
Patrick has all the right moves, but struggles to keep his balance as his adult daughter spins out of control. Will their love survive off the dance floor?
Patrick tucked the white bag at Liz’s feet, then drove up into the hills and parked overlooking an unfinished development. The whole city sparkled beneath them.
“How did you find this place?” Liz leaned against his arm outstretched against the seat.“Just driving around,” he replied. Actually he discovered the overlook during a drive to lull a cranky Bobby to sleep.
“It’s beautiful.” Her green eyes sparkled as if he had personally wrapped the city in lights for her enjoyment. Patrick leaned over and kissed her. For a few brief moments, the night became still. He was aware only of her soft mouth against his, her body crushed against his, until the sharp tapping on the window.
They blinked against the sudden glare of a flashlight and the stern gaze of a Reno police officer.
(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)
Life doesn’t end with divorce or a spouse’s death. You must find a way to carry on or you’ll lose out on so much more that life has to offer. In Package Deal, readers will be reminded that you must get out there in the world and experience new things. Liz did so when she grudgingly accepted an offer to attend a dance class at the Eclipse.
Through diaper changes, upset stomachs, outings, and family drama, she realized there’s more to life than eat, sleep, and work. She became more than a businesswoman. She found love (again).
As you read the final moments of Package Deal, I think you’ll agree with me that Mariposa Cruz did not write a solitary love story. Mariposa wrote a charming story about a closed off woman who opened up her heart again and fell in love with a wonderful man and his two adorable grandkids.
Mariposa Cruz balances writing with working as a fulltime corporate paralegal. For her Mariposa Musings blog she has interviewed a variety of real life characters from romance authors to psychics. She works, writes and dances Salsa in Reno, Nevada.
Annalise is as brave as they come. That is until she gets stranded on a back road in an area that is ripe with culture-clash. Dennis is there to offer assistance if she can get a grip on her assumptions. Robbie’s arrival makes the challenge harder. Opposite of Dennis in every way, he calls to mind, a different set of judgments.
Accepting help from either man is a risk that will undoubtably offend the other— the only possible witness if things go wrong.
~~ Excerpt ~~
Headlights. A car came towards her. Help…or…uhh…not help… The vehicle rounded the curve, slowed as it passed her and kept going.
“Wow.” She added ‘rude’ to her previous list of snobbish things to think about people who lived on Marriottsville Road.
Now, she really had to pee. “Oh god. This is terrible.” She rocked back and forth. Remembering her bladder put it into overdrive. Her options: none.
She opened the door an inch and listened. Nothing scurried, nothing charged. She opened it all the way and waited, just to be sure. Then, still clutching her phone she sprinted to the passenger side. When nothing jumped out at her, she held the phone in her teeth, yanked down her jeans and panties and tried to make the pee happen as fast as possible.
Relieving herself helped. She was outside the car and nothing happened. Now, she could put her overactive imagination to bed and think. She checked her cell. Still dead.
The rustle of leaves and the snap of a twig made her hop on the hood, then the roof, petrified. A fox, a possum, a rabbit…something she wanted no part of crossed the road.
That’s where she was when the second set of headlights landed on her. The car came from behind, slowing to a crawl when her hazards came into view. She hovered on her hood like a wide-eyed animal as the driver stopped alongside her, studied her a moment and drifted ahead. It was a man. Of course, it was. Smart people a.k.a. women, don’t drive on Marriottsville Road after dark. He pulled his car off the road and parked.
Novelist, Reviewer, Content Editor, Blogger, T-shirt Wearer, and Professional Snacker; Tracy A. Ball is a native Baltimorean and a veteran West Virginian whose family is blended from three cultures. She has opened her home to foster children, drug addicts, AIDS victims and anyone who needed an assist. She knows people who have committed murder and people who have dined with the Pope.
Which is why she writes sweet stories about tough love…and takes naps.
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?
(LMB)I’m Laura M. Baird; wife, mother, former U. S. Army, Dental hygienist, and now, happy to say, published writer. I started writing just before putting myself through hygiene school, twenty years ago. I dabbled over the years, but only within the last 4-5 did I tell myself this is what I want to do! After attending a writer’s conference and being totally energized, I got serious with submissions, and only since August 2017 have I had the fortune of being published. I’ve worked with 4 publishers and as of June 2018, I have eight titles out.
(KAM) You really are a jack of all trades!
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, please share how you handle it.
(LMB)I typically have a few stories going at once, so what doesn’t flow for one, I’ll try to pour into another. When I’m stuck all together, I take a break and try not to force it. ‘They’ say to write every day, but sometimes that just doesn’t work. I’ll lose myself in a read or focus on promotion, even jot down ideas that spawn for an entirely new story. Once I get back to it, hopefully I have a fresh perspective.
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?
(LMB)I write romance, with sub-genres of contemporary, erotic, comedy, and suspense. When not working my day job 3 days a week or writing, or focusing on anything to do with writing (such as promotion or motivational books) I’m reading romance, usually while walking on my treadmill if I can’t get outside. Hubby and I also love walks when it’s not raining (I live in the PNW); watching hockey and college football.
After losing her husband of thirty years, Grace, at the age of fifty, thought all she’d ever feel was grief and loneliness. She certainly never thought to feel love again. After being convinced to take the trip of a lifetime, a surprise encounter with Cole has her rethinking her feelings—especially when he ignites a passion unlike anything she’s ever experienced. Will Grace allow herself another chance with this second time love?
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?
(LMB)Yes, my family and co-workers know I write, and what I write. My sister is my biggest supporter! Many think it’s really great, but few have yet to read my work. (Not that I don’t want them to – I’m proud of what I write.) Even patients are excited for me; several are surprised (and blush) at what I write.
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.
(LMB) Ho, boy… only 10… Nora Roberts started it off for me. Donna Grant, Darynda Jones, Laura Kaye, Rebecca Zanetti, Rachel Grant, Toni Anderson, Kerrigan Byrne, Tiffinie Helmer, and Robyn Peterman.
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?
(LMB)I would LOVE to see Rebecca Zanetti’s Scorpius Syndrome series go to big screen. The world-building, plot, and characters are just amazing. As for the cast, I’m afraid I could spend hours researching stars and probably not do justice. (Sorry.)
(KAM) I haven’t read the series…. yet. 🙂
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.
(LMB) I’m polishing stories I started a few years ago for NaNoWriMo, about cover models, after seeing Wander Aguiar in action at a writer’s conference. I have two written and a loose outline for at least two more.
(KAM) Best of luck on all your projects!
Where can we find your stories and is there a particular reading order?
(LMB) Many of my stories are digital only, with two in print (so far). They can be found at my publisher’s sites under my author name, Laura M. Baird: Evernight Publishing, Black Rose Writing, and The Wild Rose Press, as well as digital retailers: Amazon, B&N, Kobo, and Smashwords. At this time, they can be read in any order. I’m starting a series (several are in the works) but so far only the first book in my New Adventures series has released.
When Special Forces Soldier, Bob meets Becca at his cousin’s weekend party, they share one night of explosive passion. But when Bob’s called away on mission after mission, he wants Becca to have a life instead of waiting on him, and tells her to move on. Shocked and hurt, she does, moving to San Diego to eventually marry and have a son, only to divorce shortly after.
Before we conclude this enlightening interview, do you have anything else you’d like to share? The stage is all yours.
(LMB) I’d just like to thank you for this opportunity to showcase my work and hopefully gain new readers. I look forward to many more years of writing sexy, fun, and thoughtful stories.
Laura, it has been a great pleasure getting to know you. I look forward to reading all your creations. Ladies and gents, keep scrolling below to get a glimpse of Unexpected Adventures, book one in Laura’s New Adventures Series.
Order and routine is introverted Abby’s motto, so when she’s being pushed to step out of her comfort zone, meeting hunky Shaun may be just the catalyst she needs.
Their swift attraction to one another leads to new adventures that include paragliding, tattooing, and, yeah—Abby relinquishing her virginity.
Laugh along with Abby as she discovers how fun it can be to step off her straight line.
After making a sharp turn up a hill, Denise suddenly slams on the brakes, sending me forward into the dash. “What the eff!? You don’t stop on a blind corner!” she yells, glaring at the car in front of us.
I wince at her shrill voice, my arms already aching from bracing myself. “Pretty sure he heard that. How could he not? I, on the other hand, am now deaf in my left ear.”
“Sorry,” Denise said, still looking out the windshield. She lays on the horn. “What a doofus! We’re not that far from Sherri’s.”
“Jeez, calm down. Maybe he’s having a problem. Let me go see what’s up.” I start to open my door when she grabs my arm, startling me.
“No! He could be some deranged person, luring unsuspecting women into a trap!”
“Uh, huh. Watch Dangerous Minds much?” How she could stand to watch shows like that is beyond me. “It’s no wonder you’re paranoid.” I grab my phone out of my bag, reaching for the door handle again. “I’ll be fine. It’s broad daylight. I’ll approach the passenger side and see what’s up. Maybe he needs directions. Or his car is having problems.”
“Well, let him call for help himself. I’m sure he has a phone. Everyone has a phone!”
“Denise, relax. If you hear gunfire, put it in reverse and get the flock outta here.”
“Very funny, Abby. Not! Let me just drive around him. We can call for someone when we get to Sherri’s. Her house is the next one up at the end of the cul-de-sac.”
“Well then, maybe he’s a guest. Call Sherri and see if she’s expecting anyone driving a maroon Honda Civic. I’ll wait, if it makes you feel better.”
“Fine,” she huffs. She puts the car in park then fishes her phone out of her bag.
As Denise is waiting for Sherri to answer, I see the driver open his door and reveal himself. Now I’m starting to get all paranoid thanks to my sis. “What are you doing?” I whisper, knowing full-well he’s going to make his way over to us.
“Uh, Abby, he’s coming for us! What do we do? Sherri?!” She realizes she’s connected. “There’s a guy coming at us! Oh my God!”
“Calm down,” I say without any effect. Denise is getting hysterical, blabbering on the phone while the guy’s walking to my side of the car. “Why my side?” I mumble. “Don’t you always go to the side opposite of traffic?”
“You were going to go to the passenger side!”
“Yeah, well you can’t be too careful,” I say to her. “He doesn’t look menacing,” I now say to myself. No, he doesn’t look menacing at all. In fact, he looks down-right relaxed as I track his casual movement. He’s wearing flip-flops, board shorts, a tank top, and mirrored glasses. Sandy hair blows across his forehead and pearly whites shine from between his luscious lips as they part in a smile.
Why am I thinking his lips are luscious? What is wrong with me? He could very well be a deranged lunatic in disguise.
Somehow, I doubt it with a look like that. A player? Possibly. A lunatic? Nah. One look at those tan, muscular arms and those perfect legs, and I’m convinced. What does he do to stay in shape, I wonder?
I’m barely able to make out what Denise is saying to Sherri when the stranger leans over and raps on my window. I open it just a crack and stupidly reply, “Can I help you?”
The baritone chuckle he emits makes all my short hairs spring to attention and the butterflies in my stomach take flight.
We’re locked in a gaze. At least I think we are, even though I can’t see his eyes but I’m trying like heck to stare right through those dang mirrored sun glasses and all I see is my own reflection…
“Okay, thanks Sherri,” I hear Denise say in the calmest of voices. “He’s okay. It’s just her brother.”
I break the stare to look at Denise, then back at the stranger at my window who is apparently ‘just’ Sherri’s brother. I watch as he removes the glasses from his face, still smiling with his perfect lips. My eyes zero in on the iciest of blue eyes I’ve ever seen. And not icy as in cold and calculating, but crystal clear, sharp and focused. Yet somehow warm and soulful. At least … they’re warming me.
I feel my face blush. You’d think I was looking at a movie star.
Bones brings together four chilling stories by the award-winning writer-director Andrew Cull.
“He had written to me a month or so before he died. I’d ignored the letter the same way I’d ignored all the others.”
When Cam Miller returns to the town he grew up in he’s heading to clear his estranged Father’s farmhouse. He’s also returning to the house he fled 23 years before. There, among the nicotine stained keepsakes and remnants of a broken life, he’ll come face to face with a horror that has waited all those years for his return.
“It’s you he wants.”
“We were both 10. But he was dead. And I sat drawing him.”
Em Walker is just like any other 10-year-old girl growing up in the small, outback town of Hope. That is, except for the fact that her Dad runs one of the town’s two funeral parlours, and the dead have just started speaking to her…
When Hope is rocked by a terrible crime, Em, stubborn, scared of spiders, and with a temper that’s likely to get her into trouble, will find herself thrust into the middle of a dangerous hunt for the truth.
“Being scared’s good,” Grandpa Walker had told me once. “Stops us from doing stupid things.”
It hadn’t stopped me.
That summer should have been filled with laughter, with slip n’ slides in the yard, lazy afternoons lying watching ice cream clouds swirling through the blue sky, melting in slow motion. I watched a plane rising high above our house. From the ground it looked completely still, as if it hung suspended in the air, a model on a string. I wished I was on it, I wished I could escape. I was seven and that was the summer death stalked our home.
It began with the offerings…
“We buried Dad in the winter. It wasn’t until the spring that we heard from him again.”
Knock and You Will See Me is a new ghost story by award winning writer-director Andrew Cull.
When grieving Ellie Ray finds a crumpled, handwritten note from her recently deceased father, hidden behind the couch, she assumes that her middle boy, Max, left it there. It has a single word written on it: WHY. But, as more and more letters begin to appear throughout the house, Ellie and her three boys will find themselves dragged into a deeply sinister mystery surrounding her father’s death.
“Dad? I looked down at the scribbled note in my hand, at the words torn into the paper. What had started as a whisper had grown louder, more desperate. The words had been screamed onto the page. Dad? Please. What’s going on?”
Andrew’s first screenplay attracted the attention of BAFTA award-winner, Philip Saville. He went on to develop film projects with Hammer Films, Paul W.S Anderson’s Impact Pictures and wrote for cult TV hit, ‘Urban Gothic’. Alongside this, Andy ran a video rental store in London with the largest horror collection in the UK.
In 2007 he created the YouTube sensation, ‘In the Dark’. Regarded as the first YouTube horror series it is considered to have been the inspiration for such renowned projects as Marble Hornets. This was followed by his first feature, ‘The Possession Of David O’Reilly’. It quickly garnered much praise and enjoyed a UK theatrical and DVD release with Momentum Pictures. In the US, it was picked up by IFC Films for VOD and DVD release.
Andy recently completed his first novel, ‘Remains’ and is in pre-production for his next horror feature.
Andy loves Horror and Hitchcock and, like you, he’s not easily scared.
The world’s fate lies with a comatose young girl; an android wants to remember a human she once knew under Martian skies; men at sea learn that the ocean is a realm far different from land, where an unforgiving god rules; a school security guard discovers extreme English class; and a man understands what the behemoth beneath the sea commands of him.
The Sea Was a Fair Master is a collection of 23 stories, riding the currents of fantasy, science fiction, crime, and horror. There are tales of murder, death, loss, revenge, greed, and hate. There are also tales of hope, survival, and love.
For the sea was a fair master.
“Sea Ate Nine” Excerpt
(From The Sea Was a Fair Master collection)
By Calvin Demmer
For months, the nightmares of battling the sea would find him in the small hours. Fighting wave after wave, he struggled to keep afloat as the undertow pulled him away from land. In the deep ocean, he’d surrender and beneath the water, he went.
His lungs would flood.
He wouldn’t die.
Instead, he’d drift in currents as tranquil as clouds. A large shape would move in the distance. He could never see it clearly, but on occasion he heard the voice.
It didn’t really speak. It was more of a call and was unlike anything Grover Jenkins had heard. It boomed, and not even the ocean currents could stifle its magnificent force, which would send Grover reeling backward. It was so powerful that his vision distorted and his brain rattled so hard within his skull that he feared internal hemorrhaging. He was thankful that this behemoth only bellowed three words every time, for another word more and Grover feared either his head would explode or the bones in his body would shatter.
Grover didn’t understand what it wanted from him from by way of the three random words, until one night at work they revealed themselves…
(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)
When I was reading the various stories in this collection, two words kept popping into my head regarding many characters — CREEPY and PSYCHO!
Calvin Demmer let the craziness and horrific tales unfold in various places by a few unlikely whackjobs. Man, woman, child….. Calvin didn’t limit one specific gender or age bracket to the title of crazed. Calvin’s evildoers were also not always of this world.
He tapped into our fears. He tapped into the unknown. He showed us evil lurks all around us and sometimes right before our very eyes.
A few of my top scoring short tales:
1.) “The Revenge of the Myth”: You’ll never look at Santa’s little helpers the same way again.
2.) “Voodoo Child”: Many people believe in the power of voodoo dolls, so I think this short tale will be a favorite of many readers.
3.) “Letting the Dead Grow”: Move over Jason and Mike Myers, Rowan has hit the Halloween spook scene and he creeped me out more than you two.. combined.
4.) “Hangman”: I’m a parent and fear of violence at school is always on my mind. However, with Calvin centering the disturbing tale around a childhood game, I found myself drawn in. When your life is on the line, you’ll play harder. Then again, when you are dealing with people with mental issues, sometimes playing your best isn’t good enough.
Calvin’s imagination took me to places where I didn’t want to go, kind of wished I didn’t go, but also impressed me on how well he constructed these dark and horrific tales. Good job on freaking me the hell out and for ruining Christmas for me.
Calvin Demmer is a dark fiction author. His debut collection, The Sea Was a Fair Master, was released in June 2018. When not writing, he is intrigued by that which goes bump in the night and the sciences of our universe. You can find him online at www.calvindemmer.com or follow him on Twitter @CalvinDemmer.
South African Horrorfest Bloody Parchment short story competition 2017: Finalist
Bards and Sages Reader’s Choice Awards: Author of the Year 2017
DarkFuse Tiny Terrors (November 2016 winner) “Ana Loves Red”