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Author Showcase / Interview – Jennifer Macaire (The Road to Alexander)

 

  1. Welcome, Jennifer! 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?

(JM) Hello Kam, and thank you for the warm welcome! I think I was born with a pen in my hand – I’ve written stories since I could put letters together to make words. My mother (who else?) still has a copy of my first book written when I was 6, called ‘Tafy the Wunder Hors’. I have made progress in spelling since then, but the joy and creative passion is still intact. I love to invent stories.

 

 

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

(JM) I sacrifice to Calliope, muse of epic poetry. A bar of chocolate and a cup of coffee usually do the trick. Otherwise, I’ll send a prayer to the Oneiri. In Greek mythology, the (Ὄνειροι, “Dreams”) were various gods and demigods that ruled over dreams and nightmares. My favorite would be Morpheus – god of dreams, but Phobetor, the god of nightmares, is handy too. Many of my books are born of dreams.

Source: wikipedia.org

 

  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?

(JM) I have a “real” job as an assistant to an orthodontist that keeps me grounded and gives me a different kind of job satisfaction. We say, here in the office, that we make smiles. I love my work, and we have a great team working together.

 

 

  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?

(JM) Since I live in France, and my books are all in English, it’s rather a let-down when people find out I write but that they can’t read my books. (Let down for me, that is – I can’t brag or show off, lol) So far, none have been translated into French. I have one translated into German and another in Thai – but no French. Otherwise, I don’t hesitate to tell people I’m a writer – it seems natural, since it’s so much a part of me.

 

 

  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.

(JM) Ray Bradbury, Dorothy Dunnett, Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Larry Mcmurtry, Diana Norman, Louise Penny, Ian Rankin, Philippa Gregory, Mary Renault…there are ten, but like you said, I could go on forever!

(KAM): It is truly difficult to stop at ten. Like you, I’m sure, my favorite’s list grows longer each day. 

 

 

  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?

(JM) Well, my wish came true when The Game of Thrones became a TV series – I devoured those books, and the mini-series did them justice. If I could see my Time for Alexander series be transformed into a show, like Game of Thrones, that would be so cool. I’d need a huge cast of characters, and for the main part, I’d love to see Paris Jackson play the part of Ashley – she’s a tough girl, with a strong character. She’d be perfect. As for Alexander, a certain Alexander Richard Pettyfer might be good, and Richard Madden as Plexis.                      

(KAM) Can you believe I’ve yet to watch it?! Maybe one day I shall see what all the fuss is about. I’ve heard rave reviews regarding the books and show. 

 

 

  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.

(JM) Not top secret, but taking a while because squeezed in with promoting and my day job – I’m writing a YA story about a daughter of a Muse, she’s mortal, lived in the present day, and wants to become a great hero so she can become immortal and join her mother’s family on Olympus. I can tell you right now, it’s an impossible dream. (But what are dreams for, right?)

(KAM) Sounds fantastic! 

 

 

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

(JM) The first one in the Time for Alexander series is ‘The Road to Alexander””, and there are 7 books in the series. They’ll be coming out every 3 months or so – all are written and I’m just in edits with the later books. Writing is easy – editing is tough.

 

 

Otherwise, there is a list on Goodreads, and also on Amazon are a few of my other books. I have a really cool space cowboy series about horses that travel through the galaxy at Evernight Teen (‘Riders of the Lightning Storm’ is the first book in that series)……..

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…..and also at Evernight are ‘Jack the Stripper’ and ‘Murder and Mayhem’ that feature zombies and vampires, oh my!

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

(JM) My Time for Alexander FB page is: https://www.facebook.com/TimeforAlexander/

My blog is: https://jennifermacaire.wordpress.com/

My author webpage is: https://authorjennifermacaire.wordpress.com/

Twitter: @jennifermacaire

 

 

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

(JM) Nothing really – except – I am eternally grateful to readers everywhere! I feel like we’re a dying breed sometimes. Buying books can be expensive and it’s hard to budget sometimes, so I am always thankful when someone takes the time to invest in one of my stories. I buy books too – my favorite pastime is reading (besides biking – I love my bicycle!) And if you, dear reader, could just put a small review or remark on your blog, tweet, Amazon review – anything – I promise that every little bit helps, and this author, at any rate, is truly thankful.

 

~~ Closing remarks ~~

Jennifer, thank you for divulging a bit of yourself with all of us here today. It has been a true pleasure getting to know you.

Now folks, before you go back to work/school/etc, please grace us with a few more minutes of your time and lets take a more in-depth look at  The Road to Alexander. 

THANKS!! 

 

After winning a prestigious award, Ashley is chosen to travel through time and interview a historical figure. Choosing her childhood hero Alexander the Great, she is sent back in time for less than a day. He mistakes her for Persephone, goddess of the dead, and kidnaps her, stranding her in his own time. What follows, after she awakes under the pomegranate tree, is a hilarious, mind-bending tale of a modern woman immersed in the ancient throes of sex, love, quite a bit of vino, war, death and ever so much more.

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EXCERPT

 

I wondered if I should speak or wait until he spoke to me. I was irritated to feel myself getting flustered. Then Alexander sat down next to me with a fluid movement and I stifled an exclamation.

‘What can I give you? Grapes? Some wine?’

‘That sounds fine,’ I said, my fingers itching for a pen so I could write down all my impressions. But I had to wait until I got back. Until then, I was supposed to make a mental note of every word and action.

He chose a grape for me and gently put it into my mouth. It was one of the most sensual gestures anyone had ever made to me. I felt faint, and, when he leaned over and kissed me, I toppled over onto the rug with hardly a whimper. Alexander obviously thought I’d come to see him for only one reason. I guess he was smothered with women throwing themselves on him, but vestal virgins? My body was saying, ‘Yes! Yes!’ My head said, ‘Ashley! Get a hold of yourself this instant!’ I sat up and pushed him away.

‘Sorry, I can’t do this,’ I said.

His expression of surprise was comical. ‘You mean, you really did come from the temple?’

‘Can we talk?’ I avoided the question and took a bunch of grapes.

‘Not those,’ he said, plucking them from my hand and putting them back into the bowl. ‘Those grapes are poisoned. I keep them in case an enemy comes. So, what do you want to talk about?’ His brow furrowed, then his face cleared. ‘Ah, yes, I recall. You’re the onirocrite. So, what dreams have you had?’

‘I dreamt that I came to your tent while you were sleeping. In your sleep you were calling out my name, the secret one that I can’t tell to anyone except the goddess. When you woke up you saw me. You said that I must come to you because you had a dream that you wanted me to interpret for you. You also said that it was a waking dream.’

He looked interested. ‘Really? And just what is a waking dream?

‘It’s like a wish,’ I said. ‘It’s what you want to do with your life. Can you tell me about it?’ I was hoping for grist for the prize-winning article that I was going to write when I got back. No one knew why Alexander had decided to conquer Persia and travel as far as the Indus River. It was a mystery, and I’d decided to solve it.

Instead of answering me, he lay back on his bed, put his arms above his head and stretched, showing off his lean body with its beautiful, flowing lines. ‘That’s too bad,’ he said. ‘I was hoping you were one of the virgins who didn’t want to be sacrificed. There are lots of them, you know,’ he added, looking at me sideways out of his magnificent eyes. ‘When they don’t want to be sacrificed they simply cease to be virgins, if you get my meaning.’

‘I do,’ I said, ‘and I’m flattered. But can we get back to the subject of my visit?’

‘A single-minded woman,’ he sighed. ‘You remind me of my mother. She’s terribly stubborn. She hated it when I sucked my thumb, so I did it for years just to spite her.’

‘Well, that explains your teeth,’ I said, vexed to be compared to his mother.

He looked at me, his expression unreadable. I started to think that maybe conversations about his mother weren’t the best idea, but all he said was, ‘You want to hear about my dreams, is that it?’

‘Please,’ I said, concentrating on his next words.

‘Very well.’ He stood up, poured two glasses of wine from an earthenware pitcher, and sat down next to me again, handing me one. The wine had a faint spicy note.

I was feeling smug. The article was going to net me a huge prize. I could just imagine the accolades. I was going to be famous; I couldn’t wait to see the faces of those who’d been waiting to see me fail. ‘Cheers,’ I said, and sipped. The drink wasn’t bad. It was young grape wine with spices and a trace of honey. It had been watered down so it was refreshing.

He raised his eyebrows. ‘Cheers?’

‘Here’s to your health,’ I amended.

We sipped our wine in silence for a few minutes while he studied me. Finally he put down his glass and shook his head. ‘There’s something strange about you,’ he said, ‘though I cannot say exactly what it is. You are impressed, I sense this, and you are interested. But, you are not afraid. Perhaps it is your lack of fear I detect the most. I am extremely attuned to fear; my father beat it into me. But it goes deeper than that.’ As he spoke, he wound his body around me, pausing now and then to touch my cheeks, my neck, or my breast. ‘I get a very peculiar feeling from you. There is a coldness, a frost that emanates from your very bones.’ He paused and ran his hands lightly down my sides.

‘I don’t know what you mean,’ I stammered. ‘I’ve wanted to meet you since I first heard about you. It was a dream, and now it’s come true.’ The passion in my voice startled me. I frowned, struggling to keep my emotions in check. This was not the cool, calm, collected Ashley I knew.

Alexander took my hand, stroking the inside of my wrist before pressing it to his mouth. ‘I want to bite you,’ he said. ‘I want to shake you out of your indifference. I want to hear you scream.’ He stared at me, a fierce expression in his uncanny eyes. ‘My mother is cold like you. She’s as cold as the ice on the mountaintops.’

I shivered. ‘I’m sorry if I appear cold. It was my parents’ fault. I had to stay quiet, otherwise I was punished.’

‘Perhaps that’s it.’ He tilted his head and looked at me. I felt the blood rush to my cheeks. There was such intensity in his gaze that I had to struggle not to drop my eyes. ‘Did you know that of all the living things on this earth, only man can look another man in the eye? My teacher, an old Greek, taught me that. He is a very intelligent man. He said that the world was round like an orange, and that the stars we see at night are in reality other earths, like this one, or suns. Is that heresy, do you think, or is it truth? I would like to know the answer to those questions and to so many more. I want to see the ends of the earth where the water drops off into a great chasm. Of course, if my teacher is right, I shall never find that. Instead, I will end up where I started out.’ He sighed, then leaned over and lifted a corner of the tent to peer outside. ‘It’s getting near midday, I have to go see my troops. Will you stay, or will you go back to your temple?’

‘If you please,’ I said humbly, ‘I’d like to stay.’

‘I please.’ He smiled then, and I realized that his face had more expressions than anyone’s I’d ever seen, including the great actors and mimes. His smile seemed to bloom from within, to reach out and caress me, and to bind me to him.

Anyone on the receiving end of that smile, I thought, would walk straight off the edge of the world if Alexander asked him to.

 

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Author Showcase – Hywela Lyn (The Destiny Trilogy)

Note from Hywela Lyn regarding the ‘The Destiny’ trilogy:

💕 “Although some characters appear in each of the three books, each story is a ‘stand alone’ with no cliffhangers until the next book in the series. The series is Science Fiction/Adventure romance with a fantasy feel (or ‘space opera’, not heavy S.F.)” 💕

 

 Book 1 in the Destiny Trilogy



When Jestine Darnell is rescued from her sabotaged starship by the crew of the Destiny her only objective is to complete her mission and keep her promise to save a world from slavery. Love is the last thing on her mind. However, she has not counted on losing her heart to Kerry Marchant the ship’s second in command, who makes his distrust of her painfully obvious, despite the chemistry between them. The completion of her mission has consequences that neither of them could have foreseen. Enter Dahll Tarron, who becomes involved in a long and dangerous quest to find the Destiny. Fates become intertwined, perils shared, culminating in the realization that sometimes love may be so close that there is a danger it will not be recognized until it is too late…
 
 
 
 
CHILDREN OF THE MIST – Book 2 in the Destiny Trilogy
 
 
Two minds united against a common foe. Two hearts afraid to show their love:

Long ago Tamarith fell in love with a man she can never have, and is convinced she will never love another. However, she cannot help but be intrigued by a handsome stranger whose psychic powers exceed even her own.

Vidarh seeks only to find his true purpose in life and to win the regard of his father, who eschews his son’s psychic abilities. Thrown together by a comon threat to their planet, then torn apart by an evil greater than any they could have imagined, can Vidarh save the lovely Nifl woman who has captivated him, before it is too late?

Will Tamarith and Vidarh overcome the deadly enemy who threatens to destroy all they know and love? Will they find the happiness they both seek? Or are they fated to live their lives alone?
 
 
 
 
 
 BELOVED ENEMY – Book 3 in the Destiny Trilogy
 
 
Cat Kincaid is obsessed with killing the man she believes is responsible for the torture and death of her sister, but when she eventually catches up with him, survival becomes a greater priority than revenge.

Kerry Marchant, haunted by memories, regret, and self-blame, shields himself from the pain of the past by committing himself totally to the starship, Destiny, of which he is part owner. However, the beautiful, red-haired woman who reminds him of his lost love, and who he suspects is working for a corrupt regime, represents a possible threat not only to the ship, but to his heart.

Marooned on an inhospitable planet, they need to work together to stay alive, fighting not only unknown assailants, but their growing attraction. But how can they learn to trust each other when he has vowed never to get close to a woman again, and she made a solemn pledge to destroy him?
 
 
 
 (review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 
 

The best science fiction tv shows are the ones that have you eagerly anticipating the following week’s episode or have you zooming through the commercials because wading through 2.5 minutes of ads feels like eternity… pure torture. When a show is that good, you wish for a few more minutes. When a scifi/fantasy book is equally grand, you crave a several more pages.

When I was nearing the end of Beloved Enemy, I kept hoping 20-30 pages would magically appear —  much like things in the book. No such luck though. However, despite my wish not being granted, I was thoroughly satisfied with everything I did read.

Each chapter in Beloved Enemy contained enough scifi, mystery elements/creatures that maintained my attention from the beginning to end.

 

Most memorable (for me):  

  1. The huge ass water and sand creature. They are the things of nightmares and deserve a spot on any otherworldly show! PS. I am rethinking ever washing off in a lake again. 
  2. bio-regenerator: This device enhances the body’s natural healing process. Imagine how many lives would be saved, children or an adult’s pain eased in minutes instead of days, and the profound effort it would have in combat missions. Medical marvel! 

 

After dealing with inhospitable creatures, more than one crash, physical altercations with humans, and other WTF moments, I am not surprised Cat and Kerry relationship went from allies for a common cause, to becoming friends, and then progressed to full on love. When you been to hell and back, your troublesome times either break you or make you stronger. Their bond definitely became stronger. It’s what actually saved them. And that’s all you’ll get from me. To find out more…. read the damn book. No seriously, read it. It’s a page-turner, for sure!

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score:❤❤❤❤1/2

 

 
 
 
 
REMINDER:  “Although some characters appear in each of the three books, each story is a ‘stand alone’ with no cliffhangers until the next book in the series.” 💕 
 
 
 
Hywela Lyn lives in a small village in England, with her long suffering husband Dave,  although her heart remains in her native rural Wales, which inspired so much of her writing.
 
Although most her writing tends to be futuristic, the worlds she creates are usually untainted by crowded cities and technology, embracing the beauty and wildness of nature.  Her characters often have to fight the elements and the terrain itself.  Her heroes are strong and courageous, but chivalrous and honourable – and of course, handsome and hunky. Her heroines are also strong and courageous, but still retain their femininity! However difficult the journey, love will always win in the end. She is a member of The Romantic Novelists’ Association (UK)  and Chiltern Writers, her local writing group.
 
A keen animal lover, she has two horses,a ‘feral’ stable cat, and a rescued terrier, who manages to twist her round his little paw.  When she is not writing, she can usually be found enjoying the outdoors with the horses and dog – or just  eating chocolate!
 
 
 
1. Hywela Lyn are her real first two names. She has always been called ‘Lyn’ and decided it was time her Welsh/Celtic name ‘Hywela’ got an airing!
2. She completed the arduous Red Dragon Endurance ride in Wales.
3. She used to enjoy oil painting but gave it up to write.
4. The planet Niflheim, featured in the first two books of the Destiny Trilogy, was inspired by seeing the snow sweeping in like a pink mist across the Welsh mountains just before sunset.
5. The name ‘Hywela’ means ‘Eminent’
 
 
 
 
 

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Author Showcase / Interview with Philip Kleaver & Erin Lee (Deadman’s Tome Trumpocalypse)

Welcome, Philip W. Kleaver

AND 

 

 

  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?

(PWK) Thanks for the interview! I’m never sure how to describe myself. Uh, I’m a typical twentysomething in that I’m constantly questioning what the hell I’m doing with my life, even when things are going well. I graduated from a liberal arts college, so I believe (naively, I suppose) in the value of human equality and open-mindedness. I try to use that underlying belief to guide my decisions and interactions with people. I like punk shows, so-bad-they’re-good movies, breakfast foods, bourbon, and wandering around in nature every once in awhile. Shit, this is starting to read like an OkCupid profile…

I’ve been writing all my life. When I was a kid, I used to collaborate on illustrated short stories with a good friend of mine. Part of my pen name is a tribute to him. As a college student, I made Xeroxed zines chock full of angsty poetry. I first started writing horror and thinking I could get published after reading a lackluster entry in an anthology called Dark Masques. The story was about a guy who started running and couldn’t stop. I rolled my eyes and said, “Man, I could write a better story than this…” The voice in the back of my head replied, “Then DO IT already.” I churned out a few pieces before getting my fourth effort (“Working Stiff”) published in the Shotgun! Strange Stories e-zine.

(EL) I started writing when I was in the first grade. My first book was called Nire, the Purple Aardvark. Nire is my first name spelt backwards and purple is my favorite color. From that story, on, I was hooked.

 

 

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

(PWK) Poorly. Haha. I know there are a lot of dedicated writers out there who will power through a couple hundred words every day, no matter what. I’m not the type. If I start drawing a blank, I’ll take a week off. Sometimes I’ll work on another idea, but mostly I’ll mull over story beats in my head until something clicks. I can usually get over the hump when I realize a new truth about one of my characters… that can steer the plot in a needed direction.

(EL) I don’t experience writer’s block. There are times when I am not in the mood to write, so I don’t. During those times, I read or enjoy other hobbies. But I never have trouble coming up with stories. In fact, I have too many of them in my head to ever be able to get them all down on paper.

 

 

  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?

(PWK) Like a lot of writers, I pay the bills doing something else. My “9 to 5” (or more accurately, my “7:30 to 3:30”) is teaching social studies and language arts to middle schoolers. I like to travel, too. I live in Baltimore, so it’s easy to take a day trip to New York, Philly, D.C., etc. I probably spend too much time on the internet… recently I’ve been reading political news and frothing at the mouth.

Kam: Yeah, I’ve been hooked on every news program. I can relate to time flying by once you start reading articles. Plus, I tend to interact on the articles or social media posts and that’s always interesting. 

(EL) I work as a home-based therapist. This means that I go into people’s homes and do therapy there. This is how I get characters, settings, and plot lines. Of course, my primary mission is to help families in crisis, but it’s also why I don’t get writer’s block. Every day, in my work, I’m faced with real stories and real conflicts that generally make their way into my books eventually.

Kam: Oh, I bet you have a notebook (or file folder) full of wonderful experiences/mini stories. Lucky duck! 

 

 

  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?

(PWK) Family and friends, yes. Everyone has been supportive, even though many of them can’t stand horror fiction. I tend to take their comments with a grain of salt. I’d rather have some random dude online tell me he likes my work than my girlfriend, because she’s too sweet to tell me if I’m writing garbage.

(EL) My clients don’t know I write. My friends and family do. Lee is a middle name. I do this intentionally to keep my work away from my clients. I’m not sure too many clients would want to know their therapist writes about serial killers in her spare time.

 

 

  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.

(PWK) Whew, that’s difficult. It’s a mix of genre and literary authors (and subject to change at any time). In an intentionally-mixed-up order, here are the authors who most I enjoy reading: Harlan Ellison, William Faulkner, Joyce Carol Oates, James Baldwin, Thomas Ligotti, Ursula K. LeGuin, Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, Raymond Chandler, and Haruki Murakami. I think these ten have also had the greatest impact on my own authorial voice.

(EL) My favorites really depend on my moods. Like with my own writing, my taste in genre for reading is all over the place. My all-time favorite writer is Sylvia Plath.

 

 

  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?

(PWK) I think I’d have to go with the most recent novel I’ve read: F by Daniel Kehlmann.

It’s incredible. I know there are a lot of novels about dysfunctional families out there, but Kehlmann strikes the perfect balance between pathos and comedy. He’s got some pretty interesting ideas about art that resonated with me, as well. I’d cast Jonah Hill as Martin, the eldest brother. He’s a priest who doesn’t believe in God and has a penchant for snacking or playing with a Rubik’s cube in the confession booth. Adam Driver could play the younger twins, Eric and Ivan. Eric’s a banker, and his section of the book (my favorite) is a madcap sequence in which he tries to manage his family, business concerns, and an affair while tripping out on a cocktail of prescription meds. I’m dying to see that on screen. Get Paul Thomas Anderson to direct.

(EL) Frankly, I never like seeing books go to the big screen. I’m a person who never thinks the movie matches up to the book. I wish books would stay in print and screen plays would stay in the theaters and on stages.

 

 

  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.

(PWK) It should be published by the time this interview runs, but I’m currently working on a collection of short stories about sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll with my friend (and fellow Baltimorean) Wallace Boothill. It’s called Psychodelic. We were inspired by and hardcore/punk bands who put out a split EPs. Why can’t writers do the same? The collection has a handful of stories from each of us, and one co-written piece. So far, my half is leaning a bit more towards the humorous side while Boothill’s is just plain freaky. Our shared aim is to gross you out!

(EL) I just finished a novel about a serial killer, Jimmie Putnam. The novel is called “Just Things” and will release sometime this year. I intend to follow it up with a sequel called “Jimmie’s Ice Cream.”

 

 

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

(PWK) I’ve had a number of tales published in Shotgun! Strange Stories, which can be found at…

 

deadlightsmagazine.com

 

A print anthology of the first six issues is forthcoming. I’ve also got a satirical story called “The Appointment” in Deadman’s Tome Trumpocalypse, available on Amazon. (Fuck that self-centered orange clown, by the way. Get active–I’ve donated money to the ACLU and NRDC.) You can read some short works on my website,

(Contributing authors: Mr. Deadman, Michael Epstein, Kelly Evans, Patrick Winters, Eric Nirschel, Erin Lee, Mark Slade, Joey Whiston, and Philip Kleaver.)

 

“People love me. And you know what, I have been very successful. Everybody loves me.” – Donald Trump

People love you, alright. But not in the way you think, Mr. Get-Rich-Off-Of-Daddy’s-Tit. People love to mock you. People love to shower you with disrespect. If it was an option, people would drop a steaming pile of sloppy feces on your name. When you pass away, people would line up just to piss on your grave. But that wouldn’t matter to you, would it? The golden showers would come at a price, and boy would people fork over the cash. Regardless, you are the president of the United States of America, and I will raise a glass to you and give you that much. I’’ call you President, but with it comes a whole nasty serving of unadulterated ridicule. This issue of Deadman’s Tome is all about you, Mr. Trump. Dark, twisted, satirical tales at your expense, plus with a interview you had with me that you may not recall. I hope you enjoy.

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(EL) All of my books, twelve novels, a handful of novellas, and too many anthologies to count, are on my website: www.authorerinlee.com

My facebook page is www.facebook.com/gonecrazytalksoon

On Twitter I’m at @Crazylikeme2015

To stay up to date on my works, join my author street team-The Outsiders Street Team-at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/596733930532264/

 

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

(PWK) Follow me on Twitter @pwkleaver or email me at pwkleaver@outlook.com.

(EL) The best way to reach me is through my facebook page at www.facebook.com/gonecrazytalksoon

 

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

(PWK) Sure! If you’re an aspiring writer (or musician, or artist, or whatever), put your nose to the grindstone and start producing! The internet has made DIY much easier. I doubted myself for the longest time and was afraid that if I wrote short stories, they’d suck. Some of them do… but when I became serious about honing my craft, I started seeing improvement in what I was doing. If someone tries to discourage you, fuck ‘em. Everyone knows almost all of the good artists weren’t appreciated in their time.

 

Closing remarks and a bit of a rant…. 

I want to thank Philip Kleaver & Erin Lee for allowing me the opportunity to interview you. It was a true pleasure “meeting” you and I’m sure your responses have sparked the interest of many followers/readers.  🙂 

 

And now for my rant…….

Every voice matters. We have the right, the duty, to stand up for our rights and the rights of those around us. No race, no religion, no gender, NO ONE is better than the other. NO ONE should be persecuted, targeted by the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, their faith, or where they were born. To single out a group of individuals based off the actions of the few is thoughtless, inhumane, barbaric, and morally wrong. People should treat others with respect. Our leaders should LEAD BY EXAMPLE. That means, those who hold political power shouldn’t be bigoted or racist. In every race, religion, gender, nationality, and so forth, you will find bad apples. However, you will also find good, hard working, loving people with kindness in their hearts and only good intentions. Don’t persecute the whole for the actions of the few. It goes against everything this country stands for. Everything I stand for. I’ve said this once and I’ll probably say it several more times in the near future. Our leaders should DO BETTER, BE BETTER! And Trump, I do believe you above all else should think before you speak (and tweet). You have the tendency to run off at the mouth, consequences be damned. Remember as the leader of the USA, your actions have consequences that affect not just your inner circle but the whole damn world! 

 

 

 

RANT OVER…….. (for now) 

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Author Showcase / Interview / Review – Theresa Braun (Dead over Heels)

Welcome, Theresa Braun!

 

  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?

 

(Theresa) I’m a writer of horror, and sometimes romance. I joke that there is a common thread between the two, since they both deal with high levels of extreme emotion—fear and love. And, with rejection and betrayal being linked to romance, it can easily become horrific. How did I start writing? I’ve always enjoyed being creative. When I was younger, I was more of an artist, painting and drawing (which I still do on occasion). Then at some point I shifted into creating stories. It became a great way to escape. And, there’s a thrill in creating an entire world with words.

 

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

 

(Theresa) I’ve been a victim of writer’s block. One year it was so bad that a friend of mine got me a book on how to overcome it. She meant well, but it kind of made me feel worse. I say this jokingly, of course. But I’ve learned to cope with it much better. I’ve come to understand that sometimes a particular story is not working or coming along at the moment and it needs to sit. That’s when starting a different story comes in. By doing that, you aren’t beating your head against the wall and forcing something that isn’t coming along. If that doesn’t work, I use the time to network or market some of my published books. However, one of the biggest things that I would encourage writers to do is to connect with other writers. Having someone to talk to about “author problems” is really helpful. I’ve gotten out of several ruts that way, and I’d like to think I’ve pulled a few friends out of theirs, too.

 

  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?

 

(Theresa) I lead a fairly ordinary life. By day, I teach high school English. By night and weekend, I’m either writing or spending time with family and friends. I really enjoy going to the movies, concerts, comedy shows, or festivals. Another thing that I make sure to do is read as much as I can. I think it was Stephen King who said if you don’t have time to read, you can’t be a writer, since they go hand and hand.

 

  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?

 

(Theresa) Everyone in my life knows I write. There are times I wonder if I should have come up with a pen name so I can hide a bit when I want, especially if I’m tackling a tough subject. But, in the end, I’m glad I’m out of the closet, so to speak. My mom has read all my stories so far, which is so nice. And, my dad, who hates to read fiction (he only reads non-fiction) has attempted to read a few of my stories. They’re both somewhat conservative, so it makes me feel good that they support me. A couple of my friends have read my work, but some don’t like horror. I get that and am totally okay with it. As much as I am grateful to have the support, I’d still be writing if I didn’t. I suppose it would be tougher, though.  

 

  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.

 

(Theresa) That’s a difficult task but here goes (and this is not in order of importance): Bram Stoker, Mary Shelly, Stephen King, Kurt Vonnegut, George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, Margaret Atwood, Robert Louis Stevenson, Edgar Allan Poe, and Shakespeare. (F. Scott Fitzgerald and Franz Kafka, if I could squeeze in 2 more).

 

  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?

 

(Theresa) I’d like to see more of Edgar Allan Poe’s stories turned into modern movies. Some of the older ones really stray from the plot and add random characters. “The Fall of the House of Usher” would be a great movie if it were done right.

 

 

I would cast Michael Fassbender as the narrator. Roderick Usher would be played by Tom Hiddleston.

Madeline Usher is a difficult one to cast, but I think I would go with…..

Mena Suvari

or Chloe Grace Moretz.

 

There would be Oscar buzz for this flick, I can just see it.

 

  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.

 

(Theresa) I have a few irons in the fire. One is a tale about a group of satanic teenagers. I joke that I have drawn on my experience as a high school teacher for it. Another is about a therapist who travels through a mirror. What happens on the other side and what she has to do to deal with it are the crux of the story. And, I have my eye on an anthology that is looking for tragic or dark love gone wrong. That’s right up my alley, so I’m cooking up a plot and some characters as we speak.

Kam: Your story ideas sound like they will be interesting reads. Can’t wait to see the complete works!! 

 

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

 

(Theresa) You can find me on almost all sites where ebooks are sold. I usually direct people to Amazon, but that’s just my preference. My website is also a good place to find me. It’s currently getting a makeover and there will be more and more things on there as it evolves. There’s no reading order, since all of my stories are stand alones, at least for the time being.

 

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

(Theresa)

Twitter: @tbraun_author

Facebook: www.facebook.com/groomanddoom

Website: www.theresabraun.com

 

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

 

(Theresa) I’d just like to thank you for this opportunity to share my thoughts on writing. And, I’d like to thank anyone who has or will take the time to read my work. There are so many amazing writers and stories out there, so it makes me happy when people stumble upon mine and enjoy them.

 

~~ Closing remarks ~~

 Ladies and gents, I want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to visit us. I had a great time learning more about Theresa Braun and I’m sure you did as well. Before you run back off to the real world, please take a moment to step into the supernatural world created by Theresa. Below, I’ve shared a spooktacular tale, Dead over Heels, and my thoughts on it.

Enjoy and thanks!

 

Short story: 38 pages

 

Veronica’s first date with Sebastian not only stirs up a powerful attraction, but also a series of supernatural events that will tear them apart.

After countless hours of dead end online dating, Veronica meets up with Sebastian at a reportedly haunted restaurant, since he knows she has a fascination with the paranormal. While enjoying their meals and each other’s company, they share a shocking supernatural experience. Their romantic connection is overshadowed by the ghosts of their own pasts that threaten to destroy their budding relationship. Veronica decides she must return to the restaurant to face her past and dig up more answers. Unfortunately, she realizes she must go back, this time with a reluctant Sebastian. In the end, they join forces against the evil that stands between them, but will they make it out alive?

 

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

Whether I am reading a mystery, science fiction, supernatural, or romance novel/novella, I look for several items to gauge my score on. Does it have a nice opening segment? Does it have a interesting plot? Does it have engaging characters and do I feel chemistry between said characters? Does it have an ended which leaves me eager for a sequel or to read the story over again and again and again……

I can safely say I answered yes to all the questions above. 

As a fan of science fiction/paranormal shows such as Twilight Zone, Supernatural, I love storylines that tap into the unknown. In Dead over Heels, we watch as the past meets present in forms of spirits reliving a a traumatic moments in time, aka their deaths by the same murderer. 

As you can imagine, the living playing unwilling bystanders to this horrific scene is one thing — the victims being someone near and dear to your heart is another matter entirely. It amplifies the experience 1000%. 

Now I mentioned the importance of a solid ending. For fans of the ghosts/spirits, I assure you this ending was perfection. It wasn’t your normal ending to a ghostly tale and I do like my plot twists. 

Well done, Theresa. You wrote a spooktacular short story! 

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤1/2

 

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Author Showcase – G.E. Stills (Fatal Kiss)

Small town raised with conservative values, Janelle has recently graduated from college. Her job search has been fruitless so far and she is facing mounting debt along with pending eviction from her apartment. When she finally receives a job offer, it is both unbelievable and disturbing. The offer requires her to cruise the world on a fabulous yacht for a year with all expenses paid. It also requires her to sell herself for that year in a Master, slave, relationship. The wages she will receive are beyond her wildest dreams, over a million K for the year. Will Janelle accept the offer or turn it down because of her conservative values?  

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EXCERPT

She slipped into the seat and dug into her briefcase, taking out one of her resume folders, which she placed on the desk and slid across to him. For a moment, Mr. Davis left the folder containing her resume untouched, and instead, openly studied her. Janelle shifted uncomfortably as his gaze traveled from her face and down. His brazen stare caused her to picture him inspecting a piece of meat at the grocery. One that he was contemplating purchasing. Instinctively, she clamped her legs closed.

“This interview is going to be unorthodox, Miss. Lawson, but your answers will carry more weight than your credentials. If I like them, I will offer you a job, if not…” he shrugged his shoulders.

Great, no pressure here. She squeezed her hands forming fists and resisted the urge to dry the sweat that developed on her palms on her skirt.

Mr. Davis opened the folder containing her resume and scanned it quickly, then slowed as he read the second page containing her personal information. “I see you’re from Oklahoma, and I presume a small town since it is unfamiliar to me.”

“Yes, it’s in the panhandle of northwestern Oklahoma.”

“Are your parents there?”

“My parents are dead.”

“I see. I’m sorry for your loss, Miss Lawson. What about a boyfriend…or girlfriend.”

She jolted at his question and wondered what it had to do with anything in an interview. “No boyfriend. I do have friends who are female, but that isn’t what you’re asking, is it? I don’t have any close ties if that is what you’re asking.”

“Good. I say good because the job will require extensive travel. Having close ties would complicate things. And yes, I was implying a female sexual partner.” What is your opinion of sex?”

His question sent shock waves racing through her. What type of interview is this? “Excuse me, sir?”

“You heard me.”

“Um, if you’re asking if I’m a virgin the answer is no. I’ve had boyfriends but don’t currently have one. I feel there should be a strong emotional attachment between a man and woman before sex enters the picture.”

He pressed his lips tight. “Okay, please stand, Miss Lawson.”

Shit! Wrong answer, I’m being dismissed.

“May I call you Janelle?”

“Yes.”

“Janelle, please unbutton your suit jacket and turn slowly.”

What the hell? She did a slow pirouette as asked.

When she faced him again, approval shown in his eyes. “You are a very attractive woman, Janelle.” He examined the sheet of paper on his desk. “You’re height and measurements?”

You’ve got to be kidding! The thought of her mounting bills and desperation over possibly obtaining the job loosened her tongue and she divulged the information he asked for.

“Thank you.” He picked up his desk phone. “Kevin, would you please come over here to my office?” He nodded over his steepled his fingers.

Another man joined them while she still stood next her chair. He took station beside Mr. Davis. Kevin, she assumed, was just as handsome, with short, blond hair, blue eyes, and broad shoulders. Just like Mr. Davis, he wore an obviously expensive three-piece suit. He examined her openly, then said to Mr. Davis, “She’ll do just fine if she desires us to employ her.” With no further words, Kevin left the room.

Mr. Davis dug in one of the desk’s drawers and placed a sheaf of papers on top. “Please sit, Janelle,” he said, gesturing to the chair. He slid the papers toward her. “I know you’re confused right now and wondering what this is about. I will tell you a little about the job requirements, but this contract will explain them in greater detail.”

“Okay,” was all she could manage. This interview was far different than she had ever imagined.

“The job will require you to travel and live abroad for a year. Most of the time you’ll be living on a yacht that belongs to Mr. Parker and me.”

“And what will my work entail?”

He ignored her question. “I’m certain you’re curious about many things, including your salary. Your salary will be 85K—”

Her jaw dropped open.

“Per month,” he continued.

It opened wider. 

“The job will begin in six months—”

Her heart fell to her feet. “Um, sir, I don’t know if—”

“You can survive financially for that long,” he finished for her. He scanned the paper. “I’m well aware of that. I know a lot about you, Janelle. After you called yesterday, I did extensive research on you. I know you’re behind on your rent and your other bills. If you decide to accept the offer, those will be taken care of for the six months before the job actually begins, including having your student debts paid in full. Trust me, you will be busy preparing for the six months and you won’t have the time to worry about finances. You’ll continue living in your apartment because moving would be pointless since you will be leaving when your job starts. The rent will be paid ahead for the entire six months. You’ll receive eight hundred dollars per week to live on.” He peered into her eyes. “I’ll be frank with you, Janelle. Your attitude towards sex will need to change. During your employment, I will be fucking you. You’ll sort of be my girlfriend.”

Holy shit. Did he say what I think he just said? She studied Mr. Davis closer. Janelle estimated him to be in his early thirties. Okay probably ten to fifteen years older than me, but for that kind of money, I’ll be your paid girlfriend.

She grinned. “Despite my statement, I’m not a prude concerning sex, Mr. Davis, and having sex with you will not be a problem. You’re a handsome man. Besides, the generous salary you’re offering buys a lot of attitude change. What else will I be doing?” 

He glanced at his watch. “I’m sorry to cut this meeting short, but I have another appointment. Read the contract; it contains more details about your employment. If you agree to the terms, sign it. I will need your decision one way or another by this time tomorrow. Thank you, Miss Lawson. I’ll see you at two.”

 

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~~ MEET THE AUTHOR~~

Normally zany and often naughty talking, G. E. has a serious and compassionate side if you can find it. He cares deeply for his friends and hasn’t met an animal yet he didn’t like. He is terrified of heights so hasn’t braved the tramway ride in his home town. He lives in the southwest while longing to live by the sea. He often says, “We have the sandy beaches but where is the water?”

He heeds the call of the many characters that pop into his mind and demand to have their stories put in print. Their tales are both serious and humorous. A multi-published author his stories cover many genres including contemporary romance, paranormal romance and science fiction. His stories are both erotic and non-erotic in nature. G.E. is the leader of a local writers group and in addition hosts a meeting of his own locally on fiction writing bi-monthly.

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

Website / Blog
Personal Facebook Page / Facebook Author Page
Twitter / Amazon Author Page  

Goodreads / Google+

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DC Comics Showcase

Suicide Squad (2016-) Vol. 1: The Black Vault Kindle & comiXology

Rob Williams (Author), Jim Lee (Illustrator), Gary Frank (Illustrator), Ivan Reis (Illustrator), Jason Fabok (Illustrator), Philip Tan (Illustrator), Carlos D’Anda (Illustrator), Scott Williams (Illustrator)

Publication Date: March 7, 2017

 

Harley Quinn. Deadshot. Killer Croc. Enchantress. Captain Boomerang. Katana. They’re dangerous. They’re deadly. They’re deeply unstable. And they’re our only hope. They’re the characters from the smash-hit film and they’re here in this great new starting-point graphic novel, SUICIDE SQUAD VOL. 1: THE BLACK VAULT, as part of DC Rebirth!
 
Assembled by the tough-as-nails intelligence expert Amanda Waller and overseen by disgraced military genius Captain Rick Flag, the men, women and monsters of the Suicide Squad—a.k.a. Task Force X—do the jobs that are too dirty for any superheroes to soil their capes with.
 
Their latest mission should be easy enough: recover a powerful cosmic weapon called the Black Vault from enemy hands. The Suicide Squad always gets the job done (mostly) but this time, when the weapon’s dark influence spreads and the team is driven to madness and mayhem (more than usual), there’s only one person sane enough to save the Squad from destruction…the Clown Princess of Crazy herself, Harley Quinn!
 
Legendary artist Jim Lee teams up with writer Rob Williams and artists Philip Tan, Jason Fabok, Ivan Reis and Gary Frank for a new deadly Task Force X mission in SUICIDE SQUAD VOL. 1: THE BLACK VAULT! Exploding from the pages of DC’s blockbuster Rebirth event and starring the characters you love and hate from the smash-hit movie, this graphic novel is a great jumping-on point for new readers! Collects issues #1-4 and the SUICIDE SQUAD: REBIRTH one-shot.

 

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Batgirl And The Birds Of Prey Vol. 1: Who Is Oracle? (Rebirth) Paperback – April 11, 2017

Shawna Benson (Author), Julie Benson (Author), Claire Roe (Illustrator)

 

Batgirl and Black Canary are together again, working a case that strikes right at the heart of their partnership! Someone’s uncovered the greatest secret Barbara Gordon ever kept: her time as Oracle, the most powerful hacker on the planet. And not only do they know her secret, they’re using her name to sell dangerous information to criminals! Now one of those deals has brought some major heat to Gotham City…Helena Bertinelli is out of Spyral, wearing the hood of the Huntress, and making mafia blood run in the streets! Everything you thought was hidden will be revealed if the Oracle has their way…

 

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Author Showcase – Connie Chappell (Wild Raspberries) 📕

When Callie MacCallum sews her first quilt after the death of her lover Jack Sebring, she doesn’t realize she’ll be drawn into a Sebring family battle between wife and daughter-in-law. She simply wants to fulfill her promise to Jack to visit their cabin in the West Virginia mountains, where their long love affair was safely hidden. Instead, her emotionally reminiscent trip becomes crowded with the two Sebring women, a grief counselor, and the massive role Callie assumes. She must speak for Jack in order to protect his four-year old grandson Chad from his stubbornly manipulative and blame-passing grandmother and his recently widowed and power-usurping mother. Callie understands both women grieve the loss of Chad’s father. He died when a raging storm split the tree that crushed him. Grief isn’t the only common thread running between the four women. One by one, their secrets are revealed on the West Virginia mountaintop.

 

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~~ A scene from Wild Raspberries ~~

 

Out in the street, ten-year old Carson Tillman from next door rode his bike in circles, watching the proceedings.

            After loading Arnett’s things, Lizbeth slammed the cargo door. She turned to Beebe. “We’re ready,” she said.

            Beebe made an arm gesture that gathered Arnett, Lizbeth, and Callie into a line at the foot of the drive. Carson’s bike jumped the curb. He ground it to a stop nearby. The nosy boy might have thought the ladies were posing for a send-off photograph.

            A breeze kicked up Beebe’s crop of straw-colored hair so that it stood out from her head like a crayon drawing of the sun. She raised her right hand into oath-taking position, then used several upward gestures with her left to prompt the others to hoist their hands as well. Beebe recited a pledge, breaking it into five chunks, which the others repeated in unison.

            “I hereby swear an oath to honesty. From this point forward, I promise to provide fully factual information and will express my feelings earnestly and without reservation.”

            As all the hands dropped, Carson, a respectfully polite tattletale, his broad mouth gleaming with dental hardware, announced, “Miss Arnett had her fingers crossed.”

            Lizbeth’s mouth flew open. Her gaze jumped off the boy and landed on Arnett. “How could you?”

            In a teacher-to-student tone, Beebe said, “Show me your hands.” Arnett complied. “Do you swear to this honesty pledge?”

            “Yes, I swear.” Arnett glared at Carson. “Are you satisfied?”

            He shrugged and pedaled away.

  

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Chappell does a wondrous job allowing her words to speak for her characters, immersing the reader in scenes where dialogue would have typically done the trick.” ~~Maxy Awards

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Author Showcase – Jan Romes (Wine and Sweat Pants Series)

~~ BOOK ONE ~~

Suddenly single, in her forties, and eager to do what it takes to start over, Elaina Samuels meets three women with similar circumstances at a cash-for-gold event. They quickly become friends and form the No Sweat Pants Allowed – Wine Club. This newly found alliance brings about some humorous escapades, a few tears, and a bond so strong no man can break as they try to cling to the past and finally step out of their comfort zones to find a happiness they thought they’d never feel again. Discover Elaina Samuels, Tawny Westerfield, Stephanie Mathews, and Grace Cordray.

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~~ BOOK TWO~~

Recently single, Elaina Samuels could’ve never imagined such an amazing six months. She’d met Tawny Westerfield, Stephanie Mathews, and Grace Cordray, at a cash-for-gold event. Individually they were there to trade in their wedding rings to get a fresh start. Little did they know that fate would step in and put them together – first in the jewelry store and then to share their stories over wine in the bar across the street. They clicked from the get-go and a few weeks later, Elaina made an offer for them to move in to share expenses. Best. Decision. Ever. Join Elaina, Tawny, Steph, and Grace as they continue their journeys to get life right-side-up and embrace the next six months with energy, mischief, chaos, fun, and a few tears.

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~~ OUT NOW –> BOOK THREE ~~

Sometimes the only way to truly start over is to move. That’s exactly what Elaina Samuels and her unruly band of cohorts decided to do. Elaina, Tawny, Grace, and Steph bought a bed and breakfast in Maine. The trip from Cherry Ridge, Ohio to Portland is a wild and crazy ride, filled with things they never could have foreseen. In this adventure there’s laughter, tears, doubt, and a little danger thrown in to keep them on their toes. Will this relocation to the northeast be the key to real happiness? Or will it test their friendship to the breaking point?  

 

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Could the day get any stranger? First, the guy in the Mercedes; now Frank and Bax.

The unspoken question answered itself.

An old gal with powder-white hair and glasses came up to Elaina. “Four Sassy Chicks. That describes us to a tee. Isn’t that right, Flora, Hazel, and Josie?”

Accompanying the short, tiny-framed woman were three carbon copies. The four women were dressed in the same fake fur coats and floral bandanas.

The carbon copies nodded.

“We’re in our eighties but we can be a bit cheeky.” The leader of the pack smiled so big her eyes went closed. “I’m Adelaide. We’ve come from Tennessee to stay at your bed and breakfast. Sorry it took so long for us to get to baggage claim. We’re not as spry as we used to be. The airline offered to cart us with one of those fancy four-wheelers.”

One of the carbon copies spoke up. “They’re not four-wheelers, Addie. I believe they call them shuttles.”

Another of the four women winced. “A lot you know. They’re called courtesy transports.”

“That’s our know-it-all sister, Hazel. What she doesn’t know isn’t worth knowing.” Adelaide broke into a cackle that turned into a loose cough.

“I never claimed to know everything; although I do have more upstairs than the other three put together.”

“You wish. I’m Flora, dear.”

Elaina nodded. “Nice to meet you, Flora.”

“I’m, Josephine, the prettiest of the Turlington sisters.” She put her dentures together in a silly grin. “Boom.”

Did she really say boom? Elaina kept her expression even. Inside she was jiggling with a laugh. She had a feeling it would be a fun few days. “I’m Elaina. Welcome to Maine.”

Adelaide leaned into Elaina. “Several years ago we decided to vacation in every state before we kick the bucket. We’re proud to say this is the fiftieth. Right, girls?”

Their heads wobbled when they nodded.  

“How exciting! I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of great things in your travels.”

Flora shook her head. “Not really. We don’t get around so good, so we usually don’t venture out.”

“You don’t leave the hotel or bed and breakfast?”  

Hazel didn’t hedge on the truth. “Nope. We play cards and drink wine.” She made a weird noise that could’ve been a laugh. It was hard to tell. “When we get home we brag to our card club that we visited another state.”

“That’s remarkable.”

“Oh it is.” Flora winked. “I want you to know ahead of time that we collect those little bars of soap and bottles of shampoo. Some people collect trinkets. We collect toiletries.”

“Collect?” Josephine scoffed. “We steal them.”

Hazel set the record straight. “They think they’re getting away with something.”

Adelaide rebuffed her sister. “It’s thievery all right. If you don’t use it, you’re not supposed to take it.”

Elaina looked from woman to woman. “Are you ready to discover the Four Sassy Chicks Bed and Breakfast?”

“Can we make a stop?” Flora inquired.

“I’ll bet she forgot to bring her Depends,” Hazel said under her breath.

Flora leveled a scowl at her sister. She couldn’t maintain it. An evil grin splashed across her weathered face. “You’re just jealous that you have to use the bathroom when you have to pee. I never have to leave the card game.”

Adelaide rushed to deny Flora’s boasting. “She’s teasing. Flora, tell this sweet lady you’re teasing.”

“Nope. I pee wherever and whenever I want. I’m peeing right now.”

Hazel lifted her eyes in embarrassment. “Sorry about that, miss. I could blame it on her age, but age doesn’t excuse everything.”

“Booyah.” Flora blew on her fingernails like she’d one-upped her sisters.

Elaina smiled at each Turlington sibling. “You remind me of my friends. Wait until you meet them. You’ll see what I mean.” Her cell phone chimed with an incoming text message. She ignored it to remain professional.

Her cell phone rang shortly after the text. Again, she ignored it.

Elaina addressed Flora. “Where would you like me to make a stop?”

“Wherever they sell wine.”

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Jan Romes is a hopeless romantic who grew up in northwest Ohio with eight zany siblings. Married to her high school sweetheart for more years than seems possible, she is also a proud mom, mother-in-law, and grandmother. She likes to read all genres, writes witty contemporary romance and women’s fiction, enjoys finding new ways to stay fit and gardens even though she doesn’t claim to have a green thumb.

 

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Author Showcase – Susanne Leist (The Dead Game)

 

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~~ EXCERPT ~~

 

Linda was passing the empty tables by the tall windows when she felt her arm being tugged—very hard. Before she could react, she found herself being forcibly dragged through the open patio doors and onto the isolated garden path. She came face to face with the mighty Wolf and his trusted companion, Hayden. The grounds were deserted. Everyone had left the gardens and she was all alone with the two wicked vampires.

Wolf glared at Hayden. “Please let go of her arm; we are not animals. We never force ourselves on women.”

“Chivalry among demons—I’m very impressed. Too bad your table manners and choice of dishes leave a lot to be desired,” Linda said. Her hatred of Wolf had just caused her to forget her low position in the food chain; she closed her mouth to stop herself from talking. In the future, she must remember that he was a vampire—the strongest one in the world—and that he could easily destroy her at any time.

Wolf didn’t seem the least bit focused on her. “I didn’t come here to play parlor games with you. I need you to convince Todd to join with us. He can never be human or will ever be accepted by them. He belongs with us. He must stick with his own kind.”

“He’s not like you in any way at all: he cares too deeply for people and is loyal to his friends. On the other hand, you and your kind enjoy killing too much and have no feelings whatsoever.”

“Todd will never be accepted by humans or by his own kind. He will be an outcast with nowhere to go. He must join with us.”

“Todd is human and will always be accepted by humans.”

“Let’s kill her now, boss. She’s going to be trouble. I could take her away and no one will ever see her again,” Hayden said, grabbing hold of her arm again.

Oops, she did it again. Her big mouth had now sealed her fate. She had to learn how to be more assertive without getting herself into trouble.

Wolf strolled over to her with a wicked gleam surfacing in his eyes.

“I have a much better use for her in the future. When she finally comes to her senses, she’ll realize that she will be better off with a real vampire with limitless powers than with a pathetic human. She’ll learn about intoxicating love and passion—not the games that humans play that pale in comparison.

Here comes the human. Let her go for now.”

Linda was horrified to find herself wrapped in Wolf’s strong, muscular arms. She became hypnotized by his black eyes and tempted by his deep voice. He seemed perfect in every way. She only wanted to be with him.

“I’ll be back for you.” Wolf held her tight against his body and whispered in her ear. “I love the way you stand up to me with your flashing blue eyes. Soon you’ll be mine, my beautiful ice queen.”

Linda couldn’t move her body. She was stuck in some kind of trance…she couldn’t leave; didn’t want to leave if given the choice. His voice soothed her and made her think of love, passion, and great need: a need that could be satisfied only by him with his expert hands and mouth. She knew that one day she was going to be with him, to be joined with him.

He lowered his mouth onto hers and drew her into a swirling haze of unexpected feelings and desires. His mouth fully covering hers introduced her to a new realm of pure pleasure. His powerful form enveloped her, making her feel feelings that were foreign and untried for her. She couldn’t get enough of him. She tentatively began touching his face and then his body with an eager and unrelenting hunger. She didn’t know what she needed, but she knew that she wanted and desired this beautiful man standing right before her. Her past life was washed out of her mind, never to be considered again. She begged him to take her with him tonight. In response, Wolf lifted her in his arms, as if she weighed nothing, and turned to leave the party. His beautiful face looked victorious and happy. His black eyes filled with passion. She hoped that it was because of her. He looked down into her small face and gave a hearty roar.

While Wolf carried her in his powerful arms, a dark shadow swooped out of the house and flew directly at them. Linda was knocked out of his arms, and Wolf was thrown across the patio.

She looked up to see who had attacked them. It was Todd, his eyes a deadly shade of green, standing there panting.

Linda backed away in horror. Todd’s eyes cleared and returned to their original dark color. Then he looked at her. “Don’t ever be afraid of me. I’m here to protect you.”

Then he was struck down by Wolf.

They began circling each other like two wild animals. Todd thrust his body at Wolf, causing Wolf to lose his balance, and they crashed together to the ground. Wolf pushed Todd aside and stood back up. He lunged at Todd, who sidestepped his maneuver. Todd retaliated by lifting him high up in the air and flinging him through one of the glass doors to the house. Wolf rose up and dusted glass off his clothing.

He said to Todd, who stood before him, “We are not anywhere near finished, my dear friend. The next battle between us will be more private—without so many witnesses. If I were you, I would watch your back…and your pretty little girlfriend.” Wolf stalked away with Hayden following close behind. Todd quickly followed.

Linda was left standing alone outside. She felt bereft without the touch of Wolf’s lips on hers and the solid strength of his arms holding her. She had felt the unmistakable pull by him on all her senses. In his arms, she’d felt weak and needy—as if she needed him to live. Todd and Wolf were extremely powerful and both had taken hold of her senses.

 

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If I had known it was going to be so hard,

 involving computer skills to the extreme,

 I might have thought twice about it,

 thought twice about writing my book.

 Writers must write each and every day.

 We must promote our books daily.

 We must post on our blogs each day.

 But there’s not enough hours in a day.

 How do other writers accomplish all this?

 How do they leave free time for their families?

 They must be expert jugglers.

 Experts at writing, blogging, and juggling.

 I must learn this dance,

 this high-wire walk,

 this never-ending battle.

 I must learn to juggle.

 I will do it.

 I will do it all.

 Just give me the chance.

 Book two is being written.

 I feel free.

 I feel empowered.

 I will survive.

 James Patterson, eat my dust.

 

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Author Showcase – Kat Martin (Into the Firestorm: BOSS, Inc.)

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At Brodie Operations Security Service, Inc., following your instincts is company policy . . .

M. Cassidy—Luke Brodie had heard the name before, some novice bounty hunter working Seattle, catching tricky skips with more success than a newcomer should expect. But the dark curls, sparkly top, and impressive cleavage were not what Brodie had pictured.

Emma Cassidy is tough and smart and sexy as hell. She’s also popping up a step ahead of him every time he’s close to the capture he wants most . . . and there’s no room for learning on the trail of this monster.

Emma has idolized Luke Brodie, the bounty hunter who can bring anyone in. The big man in the soft shoes, with a face like a fallen angel and a reputation for breaking hearts. Watching him in action is intoxicating. But her fight with Rudy Vance is fiercely personal. If he gets too close, Brodie will find out just how ferocious she can be . . .

 

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~~ Excerpt From Into The Firestorm ~~

 

Sitting at the long, neon-lit bar in Rocker’s Karaoke Lounge, Luke Brodie sipped a cold Corona and eyed his quarry.  A bail skip named Skinner Digby leaned back in a chair at a round Formica-topped table a few feet away.

“You here for Skinner?”  Eddie Mullens, the bartender, a string bean of a guy with gold wire-rimmed glasses, followed Luke’s gaze to where Digby sat nursing a Jack and Coke.  Eddie knew everything that went on in this part of Seattle.  For a little cash once in a while, he kept Luke informed if anything interesting went down.

Luke took a sip of his beer.  “Digby skipped on a DUI.”

“Seems like small potatoes for you.”

Luke was a bounty hunter.  He went after FTAs, failures to appear, guys released on bail that didn’t show up in court.  He got twenty percent of whatever the bondsman had posted for their release and would have to forfeit if the fugitive wasn’t rearrested.  Luke specialized in the toughest and most profitable cases, bail skips whose bond sometimes ran into the millions.

“I need to ask Skinner some questions.”  That was the way it worked.  You went after the small fish to get your hands on the big ones.  “Figure I might as well make a few bucks while I’m at it.”

Luke took a swallow of beer and returned his attention to his quarry.  Digby had been flirting with a petite little brunette no more than five-foot-three in a tight black skirt and low-cut silver top who laughed at his dirty jokes.

Luke was getting irritated.  Skinner, with his bulldog face and beer belly, was no ladies’ man.  Luke wished the woman would just take the free drink he offered and move on.

Instead, she sidled a little closer and leaned down to whisper in his ear, giving him a bird’s eye view down the front of her sparkly top at some very impressive cleavage.  Skinner pulled out a chair, inviting her to join him.

Luke softly cursed.  If the woman was going to hang around, he was going to have to make his move.  He didn’t like putting a woman in the middle of a situation that might go bad, but he needed to talk to Digby.  The lady was giving him no choice.

He set the beer bottle down on the bar and came off the stool.  Luke couldn’t hear what the little brunette said, but Skinner snarled a curse and started up from his chair.

Luke couldn’t believe his eyes when the lady grabbed Digby by the nape of the neck and shoved his head down, slamming him hard onto top of the table.

Skinner groaned and his muscles went limp.  The brunette twisted one of Skinner’s arms up behind back, pulled a pair of handcuffs from the handbag on her shoulder, and shackled his wrist, did the same to the other one.  Looking even more stunned than Luke, Digby swayed, his legs wobbly, as the brunette hauled him to his feet.

Sonofabitch.  Luke turned to Eddie, who stood chuckling behind the bar.  “What the hell just happened?”

“She’s something, ain’t she?  Looks like the lady got to your bail skip first.”

“Who is she?”

“Name’s Cassidy.  She’s a bounty hunter.  Pretty amazing, huh?”

Luke was torn between annoyance and curiosity.  “That’s M. Cassidy?”

“Short for Emma.  The guys call her Em.”

Em Cassidy.  He knew the name, thought it was a man.  He watched the petite brunette–nine inches shorter than Digby’s six foot frame and no more than a hundred ten pounds–haul Skinner out the side door into the parking lot.  Luke reached for his beer, took a last swallow, tossed a little extra cash on the bar, and followed the lady outside.

It took him a minute to spot her beneath a lamp post at the edge of the parking lot.  He sauntered into the shadow of a car in a nearby space, got a real good look at her this time.

Late twenties, petite, but curvy in all the right places, thick dark hair that hung in heavy curls around her shoulders.

A bounty hunter.  That was a laugh.

The smile on his face slipped a little as he watched her handle Skinner.  She had the guy sitting cross-legged on the grass, hands cuffed behind him.  She was pressing him to answer her questions–exactly the same questions Luke wanted to ask.

“There’s a guy you know,” she said.  “His name is Felix Riggs.  He’s your supplier.  I want to know where to find him.”

Felix Riggs.  Same guy Luke was hunting.

Skinner just grunted.  “Yeah, right.  Like I’m gonna tell you anything.  You damned near knocked me out, you bitch.”

Emma lightly cuffed the back of Digby’s head, and Luke bit back a grin.

“You skipped on a drunk-driving charge,” the lady said, “third offense, Skinner.  They’re going to stick your butt in jail for at least a year.  Tell me what I want to know and I’ll let you go.”

She’d let him go?  Luke hadn’t expected that.  Now he was even more intrigued.

Digby sat quietly, considering his options.  “Take off the cuffs, then I’ll tell you what you want to know.”

“Not a chance.”

Digby shook his head.  “If Riggs finds out I told you, he’ll kill me.  He don’t like snitches.”

Frustrated, Emma nibbled her bottom lip.  It was plump and damp, and Luke felt a curl of heat he hadn’t expected.

“You want to walk or go to jail?” she asked, pushing, but not quite hard enough, only willing to go so far.

Luke glanced around.  If Digby didn’t spill in the next few minutes, there was a chance the cops would arrive.  Always somebody there to dial 911.

He stepped out of the shadows and Emma spun toward him, went into a wide-legged, self-defense stance.  He pointed to the bail enforcement badge clipped to his belt and she relaxed.

“I didn’t hear you walk up,” she said.

Luke ignored her, zeroed in on Skinner Digby, crouched down in front of him.  “The lady asked you nice and polite where to find Felix Riggs.  You know who I am?”

Skinner grunted.  “I know who you are.  You’re Brodie.”

“That’s right.  I’m going to ask you the same question just one time.  You don’t answer, you won’t have to worry about dealing with Riggs.  You’ll have to deal with me.”

Skinner swallowed.

“Now…where is Felix Riggs?”

Skinner ran his tongue over his lips.  There was a lump turning purple in the middle of his forehead.  “Riggs is…he’s out of town.  Won’t be back till Monday.”

“Where can I find him?”

Skinner gave a sigh.  “Hangs around The Polo Club.  There’s a bitch he’s got the hots for.”

“What’s her name?”

“Lila Purdue…like the college, you know?”

“Yeah, I do.”  Luke rose to his feet, turned to the lady standing a few feet away.  The moon was out.  She was prettier than he had first thought, with big doe eyes, fine features, and a firm little chin.  He was a boob man and from what he could tell, hers were prime grade A.

“Emma Cassidy,” she said by way of introduction.

“Luke Brodie.”  He glanced down at Skinner, who was grumbling beneath his breath, then looked back at Emma.  “Nice work,” he said.

“Thank you.”

Luke glanced across the parking lot.  “Here comes Skinner’s ride.  I’ll see you around.”  He started walking as a black and white patrol car rolled into the lot.  Interesting lady, he thought, ambling over to his battered old Bronco.  Pretty and feminine with a hot little body.

The very last person who should be running around trying to hunt down criminals.

Luke just shook his head.

He wondered why she was interested in Felix Riggs.  Riggs wasn’t wanted, though he should be since he was a low-life scum.  Maybe he knew something about another bail skip she was hunting.  Luke hoped like hell Emma Cassidy wasn’t going to confront the guy.  He didn’t think she’d come out as unscathed as she had tonight.

None of your business, he told himself as he crossed the lot, slid in behind the wheel of his beat-up old Ford, and fired up the powerful V-8 engine.

The Bronco, the perfect, non-descript surveillance vehicle, had been completely rebuilt.  A powerful Ford Racing Aluminator XS 5.0 liter Coyote Engine–500 plus horses–idled like a predator under the hood.  The Bronco had a Cobra jet intake manifold and fully CNC ported aluminum heads.

Welded restraints had been fitted into the back to hold any prisoners he had to transport to jail.  Luke loved the Bronco.  Like driving a rocket disguised as a paper airplane.

He checked the rearview mirror, saw little Emma Cassidy hauling butt-ugly Skinner Digby over to the patrol car.  Why she would want to be a bounty hunter he couldn’t begin to guess.

He’d never understood women.

Clearly that hadn’t changed.

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