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Author Showcase / Interview – Renee Miller (Eat The Rich)

 

  1. Welcome, Renee Miller. 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?

(Renee)  I’m a Canadian author who lives in a tiny rural town famous for harboring Elvis’s Ghost. I love Netflix and junk food and have too many animals living in my house.

I don’t know if there’s a point where I officially “started.” After years of just scribbling short stories and terrible poems, I decided (in 2008), that I’d write a novel. It was awful. I made a few big mistakes early, but once the rose-colored glasses were off, I focused on learning the craft and the industry. I self-published my first few titles in 2013, and then I signed a series with a publisher who closed its doors shortly after the first book’s release. There was more signing and closing over the past few years, but I kept plugging away, and here I am.

Basically, writing is hard. Publishing is harder. If you want to get anywhere in this business, you have to accept that it will never be easy, but you can’t let speed bumps slow you down.

(Kam) All the trials and bumps in the road of life make us great(er) in whatever career choice we choose. Keep up the good work! 

 

 

 

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

(Renee) If I don’t feel like writing, I edit until I’m so miserable I’ll write about anything just to escape the torture of editing.

I don’t believe in writer’s block. Stress, life, ego, laziness, and all kinds of crappy little every day real life things can affect productivity. That’s entirely different than being afflicted by a condition in which your brain is incapable of crafting a story. We’re always able to do that. We just need to figure out how to get out of our own way.

That sounds kind of arrogant, I suppose. Maybe I’m jinxing myself by saying that, and some day I’ll be sitting here staring at a blank page going, “Shit, it is real,” and everyone will have a good long laugh at my expense.

 

 

 

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

(Renee)  I prefer dark fiction, be it horror, crime, comedy or erotica, but I tend to lean toward horror. When I’m not writing, I’m Netflixing, reading, working the day job, or scrubbing toilets and cleaning up pet hair. Glamorous, eh?

(Kam) Hmm, maybe scrubbing toilets and cleaning up pet hair would be glamorous if you did it while wearing a ball gown, heels, and a tiara. I don’t see that happening though.  😆 

 

 

  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?

(Renee)  I tell anyone who will even pretend to care about my writing. I think some are all, “Oh, that’s nice,” while inside they’re thinking, “Wonderful. Another weirdo who thinks she’s fancy.” My close friends and family, though, are very supportive. Many don’t read my writing, but I think that’s only because they’re worried about what I’ve written about.

 

(Kam) Viewers, please check out these titles by Renee and let her know what you think! 

Publisher: Unnerving (April 10, 2018)

It’s okay to watch. Watching hurts no one, as long as you don’t touch.
Elwin likes to watch. His position as star employee at a real estate agency gives him plenty of access to the homes of his clients. A camera or two hidden where no one will find it, and he can watch as often as he pleases.
No one knows. No one gets hurt.
But it’s hard to look without touching. Touching leads to bad things. Elwin knows this, but allows himself a moment of weakness. 
And then another.
Soon, watching isn’t an option anymore. Not if Elwin wants his secrets to remain buried.

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Publisher: Deviant Dolls Publications (September 30, 2017)

La Femme Fatale is a secret travelling carnival full of weird wonders for men young and old. Clown burlesque, a bearded lady, and a snake charmer who is also skilled with a blade. 

You won’t want to come, but you will. 

The ladies are beautiful, their show is erotic, and your climax will be deadly.

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  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.

(Renee)  This is always my least favorite question, because I love so many amazing authors. Ugh. Okay, in no particular order:

Stephen King

VC Andrews (the original, real author, not the after death nonsense)

Dennis LeHane

C.S. Lewis (The Narnia Chronicles will forever be a favorite read for me)

Nora Roberts

Ronald Malfi

Thomas Harris

Anne Rice

Margaret Atwood

Charlaine Harris

 

I’m not even sure if these are “all time” favorites, but they’re the first that come to mind.

 

 

  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?

(Renee)  Another tough one. I just finished Ronald Malfi’s BONE WHITE, and I’d LOVE to see that as a film. He’s created such a vivid world with characters that stay with you, so I don’t think Hollywood could mess it up. As for who I’d like to see casted, I’m not sure. Clive Owen? I just like to see him cast in everything.

As for my books, if I could choose one to be on the big screen, it’d have to be… CHURCH. I think Mads Mikkelsen would make a good Darius, because he’s brilliant at playing villains. My first instinct was to say Tom Hardy, though, because I have a huge crush, but Christian Bale is probably the best option. Something about him is always creepy, so I think he’d take Darius to the next level. In Ray’s role, I’d cast Ed Norton, because he does tortured souls very well. Or maybe Chris Evans. He’s got that baby face and looks so sweet and innocent.

Ray is a Christian, but he loves a woman who follows a god called Zabir. Determined to save her from eternal damnation, he joins her church.

He doesn’t realize that indoctrination into the Zabian way is a process that not only breaks a man physically, it strips his identity and shatters his mind. He holds onto his faith at first, but as his prayers for mercy go unanswered, and the pain inflicted on him becomes too much to bear, the void of nothingness promises relief, and tempts Ray to do the unthinkable, even if leaves his soul as damned as the one he tried to save.

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

(Renee) I’m working on a book about a lethal brain parasite from another planet (or is it?) and I’ve got a few shorter pieces “in progress.” Oh, and I’ve got a weird fantasy/horror thing that I’m not sure is even worth pursuing, but it’s at 40K words, so I may as well finish it, right?

 

 

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

(Renee)  You can find most of my work on Amazon, but I try to keep my book list updated on Deviant Dolls. Reading order doesn’t matter, although the newer stuff is probably the weirdest.

Amazon Author Page Link

deviantdolls.org

 

 

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

(Renee) You can find me on Twitter (@ReneeMJ) or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/authorreneemiller/. I also work with a fantastic group of authors on www.deviantdolls.org. Or you can email me at reneemiller(at)bell(dot)net.

 

 

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

(Renee)  I’d just like to say thanks for having me and I’m sorry if I rambled. (No, I’m not. I always ramble.)

(Kam) Please feel free and come back anytime. I love ramblers!  😉 

 

 

 

~~ Closing remarks ~~

Ok, I know Renee and I have given you a few reading options above but how about just one more………

 

Release Date: July 13th, 2018

When Ed Anderson discards his life to become a homeless person, he has no idea of the shit storm about to happen. Almost overnight, the city’s homeless population spikes.

So does the murder rate.

Ed learns that aliens posing as homeless people are eating the city’s wealthiest residents. he tries to warn the police, but they think he’s crazy.

The situation is worse than Ed describes, though.

He’s right about the aliens. They’re here to free humans from wealth and poverty. The flesh of the rich is just a tasty reward for their hard work. And if humans refuse to embrace the utopia imagined for them, there is a Plan B:

KILL EVERYONE.

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Goodreads contributor, Michael Hicks rated it ⭐⭐⭐⭐.

Goodreads contributor, William Bitner Jr. rated it ⭐⭐⭐⭐ .

Goodreads contributor, Charlotte rated it ⭐⭐⭐⭐.

 

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Author Showcase – G. E. Stills (Unity of the Broken)

Volume 5 in the Demon Slayers series!

*For the 18+ reader: strong language, descriptive sex scenes and graphic violence*

Through the dreadful scorpion parasite that controls her, Jenna has been enslaved by her demon mistress, Tiona. She has been compelled to participate in many atrocious, inhuman deeds. A male demon commits a violent act against her, and she is freed of her parasite’s control. Jenna flees while wondering if her freedom from domination is only temporary. Her only thought is to get as far away from the demons as possible, but where will she run too? Jenna is a broken woman.

The three people that meant the world to Micca are gone. They were taken away by a cruel and vicious, demon. After aligning herself with the goddess, Nyx, she has been given fantastic abilities. Micca has become an awesome, and fierce, messenger of death with complete indifference for her own safety. Her only reason for living now is to kill demons and those associated with them. Micca is a broken woman.

These two terribly damaged souls are on a collision course.  

 

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For a moment, Jenna lay motionless, battered, bleeding and frightened, then she gazed in the direction of Arid’s disappearance. Maybe he would just hurt her more the next time. She knew Tiona could easily heal her, but maybe Arid would kill her. Her unquestioning devotion was to Tiona and her life was Tiona’s to take, but the emotions enclosed behind her mental wall included the will to survive. Arid didn’t own her and she only felt submissive to him because of his mother.

The walls surrounding her emotions crumbled and they surged forth. These powerful feelings overwhelmed her scorpion parasite’s control over her. Jenna surged to her feet and pulled her torn panties from her mouth. Her fist clamped tight around them and she cast one more look in the direction of the house, then bolted deeper into the forest. She ran as fast as her legs would take her heedless of the cuts and abrasions that assaulted her bare feet. Even when her side started to ache, she ran on. Fear and the desire to survive were great motivators.

Coherent thought returned during her sprint. Jenna was certain the demons would easily track her, so she needed to get as far away as possible and get off the ground. Like getting into a car. She altered her direction of flight angling back toward the main paved road.

Jenna burst through the trees into a clearing containing a small cabin that appeared to be unoccupied. She leaned forward panting harshly. Jenna paused long enough to tie the waist strap of her thong panties and tugged them on. The panties didn’t cover much, but in her mind at least, they were better than being completely naked. Her inner thighs were blackened from the demon seed leaking from within her.

During her rapid investigation or the cabin from the outside, Jenna found two ATVs in a shed beside it. She broke the glass out of one window and crawled into the cabin. In desperation, she searched for anything she thought would assist her. There was a long shirt in one closet and a pistol in its holster.

She threw on the shirt not taking the time to button it and tossed the holster over one shoulder. She knew the gun would not kill the demons, but it would hurt them. Hurting them before they killed her would have to suffice. In addition, being armed made her feel better. If nothing else, she intended to take her own life rather than be captured.

Jenna smiled briefly when she found two sets of keys hanging on a nail in the kitchen cupboard. They were keys for the ATVs. Dashing out to the shed she checked the fuel level in each and selected the one with the most. Jenna bit her lower lip and prayed when she turned the key to the start position.

To her relief the engine coughed to life. Jenna backed the vehicle out of the shed and raced along the driveway. She reached the pavement and turned left knowing that way led to the interstate and the city. She had no inkling why she was suddenly free of her scorpions control and had no idea how long the condition would last. A feeling gnawing at her mind, told her that while she had freedom of choice she needed to put as much distance between the demons and herself as possible.

After belting the pistol holster around her waist and buttoning her shirt to hide her breasts and the gun, Jenna raced beside the pavement on the ATV. She came to a halt at the on-ramp to the interstate highway that led to town. Riding an ATV on the freeway was illegal and certain to raise suspicion of driver’s who passed. But what choice do I have?

A pickup came to a halt beside her. There was a single male occupant driving. “You can’t take that on the freeway,” he hollered through the open passenger window.

“I know but I have to get to town. It’s an emergency,” she shouted at him.

“What’s wrong?”

Jenna debated what to say quickly. “I was kidnapped. I’m trying to get away,” she said.

“Holy shit. Stay right there.” The man pulled his pickup to the side of the road ahead of her. He jumped out of the cab and raced toward her. “Leave the ATV here and I’ll call it in then take you to the police.”

Thoughts raced through Jenna’s mind. She hadn’t planned out her escape. Her only thought had been to get away, self-preservation. She had seen Tiona fight before and now there were three demons. The police and their guns offered her zero protection from them. When demons found out the police were protecting her, they would come. They would tear into police as if they were nothing. The only chance she had was distance and hiding.

Jenna switched off the ATV ignition. When she dismounted she turned to the side and drew the gun. The man skidded to a halt and surprise washed across his face when she faced him with the leveled the gun.

“For reasons you wouldn’t believe, I can’t go to the police. I’m going to take your truck instead. I need you to put your hands on your head and step into the trees.”

“I stopped to help you and now you’re going to kill me?” he asked.

“I’m not going to kill you…unless you force me to. Now do as I said.”

The man placed his hands on his head and marched in front of her. She halted him when they were out of sight from the road. “Take off all your clothes except your shoes,” she ordered.

He frowned but complied removing all but his underwear.

“Your boxers too,” she said.

“You must be joking,” he said.

Jenna tightened her lips and shifted the gun pointed at him. “Do I act like I’m kidding? Are you willing to risk dying to find out?”

The man grumbled but removed his underwear.

“Now step back.” When he did she strode forward and picked up his clothes. She quickly searched his pants pockets. “Where are the keys to the truck?” she asked.

“In the ignition.”

“And your cell?”

“On the seat in the cab.”

“Stay here in the woods until I’m gone,” Jenna ordered. Carrying his clothes in one hand, she darted to the truck, tossed the clothes into the truck bed and slid behind the steering wheel. Just as he’d said, the keys were in the ignition and there was a smart phone on the seat. She started the truck but instead of driving up the ramp and heading west toward Albuquerque she drove under the overpass and went east.

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A Witch and Her Dragons: Volume 1 

Kiya, a witch, is devastated when her cousin is murdered. Shortly after that, she becomes acquainted with Raith who informs her this murder is a pattern of killings done by an evil demon. The only lead is all the murders are connected with a band called Lusty Desires. Kiya vows to avenge the murder of her cousin and seeks out the help of the goddess Nyx to increase her witch powers. Nyx provides those powers but drastically changes Kiya in the process. The team of Kiya and Raith begin following the band and because of her financial background, Kiya becomes the band’s manager. The position provides an excellent reason for being with the band while the team searches for the demon.

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The Spreading Evil: Volume 2

Things have calmed since Kiya and her team destroyed the demon Xaphon. The band Kiya manages, called Lusty Desires, has completed their tour and are now back in studio to make another album. Kiya is taking a welcome break from her tour duties and demon hunting. She misses her teammates and lovers, Raith and Kaley. They’re in Europe traveling with another touring band. Kiya is unaware that a new threat, far deadlier than Xaphon, is forming. Tiona, the daughter of the demon Xaphon, is merciless and brutal. She is creating followers and fellow demons. Their goal is to mingle among humans to kill and multiply. Tiona also seeks to annihilate Kiya for she is the witch who destroyed her father. The two forces, one good and one evil, are on a collision course. Who will live and who will die?

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Seattle Bloodbath: Volume 3 

The demon Tiona has escaped Kiya and her team in Oklahoma. She has gone to Seattle, Washington where the band Kiya manages is scheduled to perform. Tiona is determined to destroy Kiya, first because she hates witches, and second, for killing her demon son. The demon terror plots Kiya’s demise along with those associated with her and this time the band itself will not escape unscathed. Disappointed at not encountering Tiona in Oklahoma, Kiya and her team go to Seattle unaware that Tiona is already there and preparing to strike. The coming confrontation will be deadly and costly for both sides.

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Micca’s Wrath: Volume 4

When Kiya declines to let her join the demon slayer team, Micca is crushed. When an old high school friend walks back into her life, joy envelops her. She moves in with Kevin and Dale then enrolls in college. She meets and becomes great friends with, Trisha, the woman who lives in the apartment across the hall from her. Micca soon becomes the happiest she has ever been. Three people, Kevin, Dale and Trisha become the most important people in her life. She falls deeply in love with all three of them. 

But happiness seldom lasts forever. Micca is a witch and the mortal enemy of demons. One of them finds her and plans turn her world inside out before taking her life. 

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Author Showcase / Interview & BOOK GIVEAWAY – Jim Proctor (Freedom: A Futuristic Fantasy)

Howdy and welcome to Kam’s Place, Jim Proctor! 

 

  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?

(Jim)  I’ve been a laboratory scientist and engineer for the past 38 years. I’ve been married for almost 35 years, and my wife and I have four kids. The youngest is 22.

It’s hard to say when I got my start in the writing business. I think I started writing my first novel around 2007 or 2008. I spent more than four years writing it. I had this idea that I would send it off to a publisher and they would love it. They would send me a check for a bunch of money, and I’d be an author. Then I heard about this thing called self-publishing and I jumped into it. I cut a lot of corners, and the book sucked, though I didn’t realize it at the time. I wrote a short story and another novel, both of which also sucked.

It was then that I reached a low point in my life. My sister was dying of cancer. I was in poor health and dealing with constant pain. It was all too much for me. I unpublished all my books and vanished from indie book community for almost two years. Then I got the itch to write again. I decided, if I was going to do it, I needed to take it a lot more seriously. I wrote a new novel (which had grown out of the horrible short story I had unpublished). I hired a professional editor. I hired a professional cover artist. I began to think of myself as an author when I published Veronica Phoenix.

Somewhere in there, I started in the writing business.

(KAM) I’m truly sorry for all the pain and suffering you’ve experienced in your life. My thoughts are with you. 

 

 

Carl Wilkins, a successful man with a thriving business, loses everything and has to start over from scratch. His dogged determination quickly deteriorates when he finds that even his reputation is gone. With barely enough money to buy a cheap bottle of booze, and no prospects for employment, things look bleak until he receives an unusual job offer from a stranger who turns up just as Carl hits rock bottom. The perilous space salvage job is more than just a chance to rebuild his broken life. It is also a chance to strike back at SACOM, the people who ruined him. Carl, the best space salvage operator in the star system, bets his life that he can complete the job. Setting out in the Phoenix, a specially modified space freighter, Carl begins a dangerous mission to find and collect missing cargo pods from the dense asteroid belt. Struggling to remain alive in the belt while avoiding detection by SACOM ships, Carl learns that he may have as much to fear from the people who hired him as he does from SACOM. His chance to rebuild his life turns into a desperate race across the galaxy in hopes of finding a safe haven where no one will ever find him.

 

 

 

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

(Jim)  I don’t really dread writer’s block. I write when the story is ready for me to write it. Sometimes that means writing every day for months on end. Sometimes the story just doesn’t fall into place. When that happens, I spend more time reading. The story always comes back to me to be written. You can’t force it. I can’t, anyway.

 

 

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

(Jim) I mainly write Science Fiction and Fantasy. When I’m not writing, I work on old cars and I read.

 

 

  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?

(Jim) Most people who know me, know I write. When I first started, I wrote under a pen name and I didn’t tell many people. It was a bit surreal. I don’t know if I thought I was going to become famous and I didn’t want people to know who I really was, or if something else made me use a pen name. When I came back to writing, I used my real name. My friends and coworkers know I write.

(KAM) That’s great! 

 

 

  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.

(Jim) Not in any order… J.R.R. Tolkien, Peter F. Hamilton, Julie E. Czerneda, Isaac Asimov, Terry Pratchett, John Varley, Lia Fairchild, Jon Messenger, Bart Hopkins, D. Hart St. Martin. There are many 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?

(Jim) Oh, I love this question. I would love to see Veronica Phoenix and Search for the Phoenix go to the big screen. I know that’s two books, but they are really one story. Or, two stories running side-by-side.

Casting… hmmm… If I could choose, Megan Carson would be played by Gina Torres. General Lance Nelson would be played by LL Cool J. Carl Wilkins would be played by Bruce Willis. Nolan Peters would be played by Peter Scolari. Georgia Bennet would be played by Sigourney Weaver. Some of these actors are too old for the parts, but I find it hard to accept that. After all, I’m still a teenager.

 

Fighting to remain one step ahead of SACOM, Nolan Peters and Megan Carson investigate the mysterious disappearance of their friend, Carl Wilkins. During the investigation, Nolan struggles with his growing affection for Megan, while she tries to cope with the recent death of her husband. Will the strain bring them together, or drive them apart? 

When the pair uncovers evidence of a treasonous conspiracy that threatens the stability of all human worlds across the galaxy, they reluctantly put their trust in a SACOM investigator and a hard-nosed Army general to root out the conspirators. Will their trust prove to be their undoing… or prevent a galactic-scale military coup?

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

(Jim) I started writing a post-apocalyptic story with a science fiction premise. Unfortunately, it isn’t going very well. I’ve written the first three chapters, and it is too much scifi. The post-apocalyptic crowd doesn’t like a lot of scifi in their stories. I am taking a short break, and then I will turn three long chapters into a short opening chapter. That’s the part I am having a hard time with. Then chapter two will start right in with the post-apocalyptic stuff.

 

 

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

(Jim) All my books are available on Amazon for Kindle and in paperback. I would suggest reading Veronica Phoenix before reading Search for the Phoenix. You can read Freedom: A Futuristic Fantasy before or after the Phoenix series.

 

 

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

(Jim) I can be found on Facebook (facebook.com/IndieAuthorJimProctor) and on Twitter (@AuthorJProctor). I have a web site, as well: AuthorJimProctor.com, though I must admit I have fallen a bit behind on updating it. I need to remedy that.

 

 

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

(Jim) I’ve been involved with the indie book community for several years and I must say, I have met a lot of wonderful people. Most are friendly and helpful, as well as supportive. A few… not so much. I ignore them. Usually you can spot the ones to avoid. Their facebook page is all “Me-me-me, I’m so wonderful.” Anyway, I want to say to everyone who has helped me, been supportive, promoted me, “Thank you.”

 

 

~~ Closing remarks ~~

Thank you Jim for answering a few questions for us and also for allowing ONE LUCKY VISITOR a chance to WIN a signed book by you. 

Now, who’s ready to win a prize?! (keep scrolling for details) 

 

 

 

~~Time to check out the prize!!~~

Jazeen is a prisoner—not in a jail or a dungeon, but in her own home. Her parents, guilt-ridden since the death of their oldest daughter, have taken overprotective to the extreme, never allowing her out of the house except to attend school. 

Trapped and frustrated, Jazeen only wishes to be free. When a familiar bird taps on the metal of her balcony, compelling her outside to investigate, she’s hit by an almost jealous yearning when it spreads its wings and soars away. Despite knowing her mother would disapprove, she climbs onto the railing, staring out at the vastness of the stars. It’s then she hears it… the thrum of an airship. 

Mistakenly under the impression Jazeen is about to jump, the eccentric airship pilot throws her a rope. In an act of defiance… or perhaps desperation… she grabs it and climbs onto the ship’s deck, sending her life in an entirely new direction. The dangers of the world, once no more than vague concepts, suddenly become very real. 

Thrust into a reality where magic isn’t make believe and witches do exist, Jazeen isn’t sure if she has what it takes to protect her newfound freedom, but she isn’t about to give it up without a fight.

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Venandi reached the next pad where a large passenger airship was tied up. A ship like this would have a captain, a first mate, one or two pilots, as well as stewards and a cook. With a crew of that size, it was a pretty safe bet that the first mate would slack off as soon as the captain was out of sight. He would promise the captain that things would get done, and then he’d delegate everything to his underlings.

Venandi studied the people milling around the airship. One man was doing a lot of pointing and barking out orders—probably the ship’s captain. Beside him was another man who seemed to be trying to look important while staying out of the captain’s way—likely the first mate. He would be the man to talk to once the captain left the area. Captains weren’t generally forthcoming with information when questioned by strangers. First mates were more talkative when their captain went away. They tended to be self-important, considering themselves just one step away from being a captain without having much in the way of real authority aboard ship. They were the ones who would tell you where their wealthy, invalid grandmother lived in exchange for a modest bribe. If money didn’t work, offering to buy the mate a drink or four often did. They were especially loose with information after several drinks. Venandi waited, being careful to move about casually so as not to appear to be watching the crew. Soon, the captain finished giving orders and walked away toward the town. The first mate, looking both annoyed and relieved, began yelling at other crew members as well as port workers assigned to their pad. Then, having relieved his own stress, he sat on a crate and watched as everyone worked. Venandi walked along the pad and approached the man.

“Nice ship,” he said.

The first mate looked up, grunted something under his breath, and went back to watching the crew work.

“Do you frequent the ports here along the coast?” Venandi asked.

The man looked at him and said, “Can’t you see I’m busy? I have a lot to get done before the captain comes back. Get lost.”

“Please, accept my apology. I didn’t mean to interfere with your important work. Being first mate is a tremendous responsibility. You practically run the ship from bow to stern while keeping the crew in line and working hard,” Venandi said.

“That’s right. And what do I get to show for it? Crap wages and derision from the captain, that’s what.”

Venandi sat on a crate nearby. “Exactly! That’s why I just walked away from the ship I was serving on. The captain started bossing me around as soon as the ship touched down, telling me to do this and do that. And then what does he do? He turns to leave, no doubt planning to find a bar stool that needs warming. Well, I’ve had my fill of that. I told him off and walked away. You should have seen the look on his face.”

The man smiled and nodded. “Good for you. So, are you looking for a job on another airship?”

“As a matter of fact, I am. Not just any ship, though. I have an old friend by the name of Angus Beaph who runs his own airship. I worked for him years ago. Leaving his ship was the biggest mistake of my career. I’d like to find him and see if he’d be willing to give me another chance.”

“Where’s he fly out of? Can’t say I recognize the name. Is it a passenger ship? I know most of the passenger ships in these parts,” the man said.

“No, it’s a private ship. He mainly does charter operations for small groups. You know, fishing trips, sightseeing, that sort of stuff.”

“Well, the name still doesn’t ring any bells. What’s the ship look like?” the man asked.

Venandi leaned closer and said in a hushed voice, “It’s a nuclear-electric ship. It has big engine pods with the electric motors coupled directly to the props. It has a red balloon and a light blue composite hull.”

“I might have seen a ship like that a time or two. What’s it worth to you?” the man asked.

Venandi smiled. “My future livelihood might depend on me finding that ship and getting my old job back. I would be extremely grateful for any information that might help.”

“Well, I could probably spare you a few minutes of my time if you’re buying. My captain always goes to The Wheelhouse Tavern when we’re here. I know another bar where we could talk in peace.”

Venandi stood. “Lead the way.”

“Extremely grateful, you said?”

Venandi nodded. Digging in his pocket, he pulled out two gold coins, looked around to see if anyone was watching, and handed them to the first mate. “That’s just the down payment. When we get to the bar, I’m buying.”

The man smiled and stood, slipping the coins into a pocket. “Follow me.”

The man led the way through the port and along the edge of town. He entered The Flight Deck, a rundown dive across the street from the port’s maintenance hangars. This was a bar where men and women with greasy hands and stained overalls would hang out. No airship captain would set foot in here, except maybe to find a delinquent crew member and drag him back to the ship.

The bar was dimly lit, crowded, and loud. Six pool tables were in use to his right. To the left, a wall lined with dartboards had a large crowd of spectators. The rest of the room was filled with tables from the front wall to the bar at the back. The first mate made his way to an empty table in the far-right corner beyond the pool tables.

Venandi sat across from him. “You said you’ve seen my friend’s ship.”

“I might have,” the man said. Waving to a man wearing a stained apron, he offered no more information. The man in the apron approached.

“What can I get for you gentlemen?” he asked.

“I’ll have a beer and a shot of whiskey. The good stuff, understand?” the first mate asked.

“Yes, sir.” Turning to Venandi, the waiter asked, “And for you?”

“Same thing,” he said as he handed the man some money.

The man counted the bills and slipped them into a pocket of his apron. “I’ll get your drinks right away.”

“You were telling me where you saw my friend’s ship,” Venandi prompted.

“Let’s see if the beer and whiskey jog my memory,” the mate said.

Venandi smiled. “I’ve already paid for the first round in advance.”

The mate smiled and nodded. “Ain’t the first round I’m worried about.”

The waiter returned. He set two tall mugs and two shot glasses on the table.

Venandi pulled out a wad of bills and handed them to the waiter. “This is for the next three rounds.” Turning to the first mate, he asked, “Are you satisfied?”

The mate nodded. “Make sure you’re back with the next round before this one is done.”

The waiter nodded and walked away.

“Now, my friend’s ship?” Venandi asked.

“We sometimes take folks over to a resort on the South Sea. I’ve seen a ship like you described a couple of times. Odd thing is, it’s never running along the coast. Mostly it’s going out to sea or coming back in.”

“That’s interesting. What’s out there in the sea?”

The first mate shrugged. “Don’t know. On the chart, there’s some small islands off the coast, but none of them have cities. They’re all too small. Can’t imagine he’d be going to one of them.”

“And where is this, exactly?” Venandi asked.

“Head over to Rockport on the south coast. Buy yourself a chart of the area. You’ll see the islands. There’s seven or eight of them scattered around the sea.”

“Thank you. You’ve been most helpful,” Venandi said as he stood.

“Hey, we still have three more rounds coming,” the mate objected.

Venandi smiled. “I need to go, but I’ll tell you what. You can have six more rounds on me.”

The first mate smiled. “It’s been a pleasure doing business with you.”

Venandi nodded, then turned and hurried out of the bar. 

 

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Ladies and gents, in celebration of Jim Proctor’s latest release, Freedom: A Futuristic Fantasy, he is offering ONE LUCKY CONTESTANT a SIGNED PAPERBACK COPY

To enter, all you have to do is leave JIM a comment or question on his feature from NOW until Tuesday 11:59 p.m., central time. 

On Wednesday, (June 27th), I will randomly select a winner and he or she’s name will be announced on a comment. 

We ask that you PLEASE FOLLOW the blog posting so you will receive a notification when I make the happy announcement.

 

**Due to shipping costs, only residents of the continental United States will be eligible to enter.**

 

~~ Don’t Forget~~

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Author Showcase – Jana Richards (Love at Solace Lake series)

Buy all three stories today!! 

Love is worth the risk…

When their grandfather dies, the Lindquist sisters, Harper, Scarlet and Maggie, inherit the northern Minnesota fishing lodge that had been in their family for three generations. The inheritance is bittersweet. They were raised at the lodge by their grandparents. The natural beauty of the place hasn’t changed, but the building itself is crumbling and desperately in need of repair. The lodge also reminds them of what they lost. Twenty-two years previously, their parents died there in what was ruled a murder/suicide.

As the sisters struggle to breathe new life into the failing lodge, old fears and questions rise to the surface even as new love presents itself. Why did their father murder their mother? What truths did their grandparents keep from them? The sisters must fight to keep the wounds of the past from putting their futures, and their fledgling relationships, in jeopardy.

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~~ Book One ~~

She can’t live with one more lie. He can’t tell the truth. 

Harper Lindquist is convinced she’s found the answer to her financial prayers. Unless she pours cash into crumbling Solace Lake Lodge, she’ll lose her family’s legacy. Her would-be savior arrives in the middle of a Minnesota blizzard and she’s determined to prove to her reluctant, and trapped, financier the lodge is a sound investment. But Harper isn’t completely honest with him. And she has no idea the lake is hiding secrets of its own. 

Ethan James is a liar, but his money is very real. He isn’t convinced a broken-down inn is a smart investment opportunity. But the more he understands Harper’s dreams and desires, the more he wants to be the man to make them come true. The trauma in both their pasts means neither can fully trust the other. They must find the courage to love, to trust, and to accept, or yesterday’s sorrows will keep them apart.

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As she stared into his dark eyes she realized how much she trusted him, and relied on him. That was something rare for her. The only people she trusted as much were her sisters.

I’m in love with him.

The thought blasted through her brain with the force of a tsunami. The tension of the last few weeks, the insecurity, the mistrust, the fear, slipped easily from her shoulders. For the first time, her mind was clear. She was in love with Ethan and she didn’t want to wait anymore. She wanted him. She wanted him to be her first, her last.

Finding courage she didn’t know she possessed, Harper slid off the stool and walked around the island. She plucked the wine glass from his hand and set it on the counter, then placed his hand on her breast. “Make love with me, Ethan.”

A fire lit in his eyes, telling her he wanted her, too. But there was a question there, a hesitation. “Are you sure?”

She’d never been more sure of anything in her life. “Yes.”

“Harper—”

“Shhh. Let’s not talk anymore.” She placed one finger over his lips, then stood on her tiptoes and kissed him.

Ethan’s reaction was lightning swift. He wrapped his arms around her and brought her close, his mouth descending on hers in a wild, warm kiss. Their tongues tangled, slid over each other. She’d missed his touch, his taste. She moaned, and in the sound she heard thirty-two years of longing.

For this. For him.

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~~ Book Two ~~

No matter how deeply buried, secrets rise to the surface.

Scarlett Lindquist has agreed to help her sisters rebuild the dilapidated fishing lodge in Minnesota they inherited from their grandparents. Although the lengthy restoration is bringing the three sisters closer together, Scarlett’s support is temporary. Her leave of absence from her job in Chicago is temporary and she has no intention of staying at Solace Lake Lodge, where the lake holds dark secrets. When frightening childhood memories resurface, they are tempered by her fascination with an irritating contractor. If only she could trust her feelings for him. If only he could trust her.

Cameron Hainstock meets Scarlett at his brother’s wedding to her sister and their attraction is instantaneous. But Cam avoids the beautiful marketing executive. All his efforts are aimed at battling for custody of his only child. When the unimaginable happens and Cam faces the biggest challenge of his life, he’s reluctant to accept help to halt his downward spiral. Can they learn to trust each other and fight for a future together or will they go their separate ways?

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The shock on Scarlet’s face, the disbelief and grief, made him wish he’d kept his mouth shut. The last thing he wanted was to inflict her with the same hell he was going through. He turned away from her, pushing her hand from his arm. “Go home, Scarlet.”

“I’m not going anywhere.” She grabbed his arm again, preventing him from picking up the axe, the tool he’d used to keep himself from reaching for a bottle. “I won’t leave you alone.”

Ignoring the sweat and dirt, she wrapped her arms around his waist and held him tightly, resting her head against his chest. His body stirred to life at her touch, disgusting him. His world was crumbling around him and all he could think was that he wanted to bury himself inside her until she screamed his name.

“Go,” he said roughly. If she was smart, she’d run away and never look back. He was a bad-tempered, recovering alcoholic with nothing to offer her. He wasn’t worth the risk.

She looked up at him, her blue eyes clear and steady. “No. I won’t leave you.”

He pushed her up against the wall of the workshop, not sure if he was trying scare her away or make her stay. “I don’t want to hurt you.”

She shook her head. “You won’t.”

Cam closed his eyes and groaned. He wrapped his arms around her in a vice-like grip, unable to resist her any longer.

God, he needed her.

He lowered his head and kissed her. There was no subtlety in the kiss, no gentleness or finesse. Only passion and raw need. But she stayed with him, returning his passion, giving solace. He greedily lapped it up, taking everything she had to give.

But he wanted, needed more. He lifted her and she wrapped her long, slender legs around his waist. He buried his face against her soft, sweet-smelling neck, inhaling her clean, floral scent. At the same time, he snaked his hand up her thigh and began to pull down her panties.

“Tell me to stop,” he rasped. “Tell me now while I still can.”

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~~ Book Three ~~

The truth could destroy them. Or set them free.

Maggie Lindquist left Solace Lake determined never to return. Circumstances have pulled her back and she’s helping to restore her family’s dilapidated fishing lodge. When she agreed to the plan she didn’t expect to have to work side by side with the man who abandoned her ten years earlier. She didn’t expect to like him, or want him ever again. But can she trust him as she once did?

Luke Carlsson rushes home to tend to his ailing mother. Her lengthy illness means he needs to stay, at least temporarily. And to stay, he needs to work. Solace Lake Lodge offers him a job and an opportunity to work with the woman he’s never stopped loving. But the restoration is unleashing secrets hidden for decades and no one is left unscathed. Especially not Maggie and Luke, whose love needs to be resilient enough to forgive, and strong enough to build a future together.

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A memory flashed through her mind. Luke driving an ancient, mostly rusty Ford pickup to the lodge that summer. He’d worked odd jobs summers and after school for three years to buy it and keep it running. The old Ford had been his pride and joy.

Every chance they got, they’d sneak off in the Ford and park somewhere secluded. They’d been in that truck the first time Luke had kissed her. He’d pulled her toward him and covered her mouth with his, and she’d sworn she’d heard angels singing. And then, her body had gone up in flames in a very unangel-like way. As the summer went on, they’d grown bolder in their explorations. Harper had given her ‘the lecture’ on sex, but she hadn’t prepared her for the way her body would react to Luke’s kisses, or his touch. Like the way her nipples would harden as he caressed her breasts, and the way her panties would dampen. And when he’d reached inside her panties and inserted a finger inside her—

“Are you ready?”

Maggie stared at Luke in incomprehension. And then the present returned with forceful fury. Heat infused her cold cheeks. They were on their way to see his sick mother. Her thoughts shamed her.

She reminded herself that Luke had left her once and would do so again. The heat and her vivid memory dissipated.

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When Jana Richards read her first romance novel, she immediately knew two things: she had to commit the stories running through her head to paper, and they had to end with a happily ever after. She also knew she’d found what she was meant to do. Since then she’s never met a romance genre she didn’t like. She writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and historical romance set in World War Two, in lengths ranging from short story to full length novel. Just for fun, she throws in generous helpings of humor, and the occasional dash of the paranormal. Her paranormal romantic suspense “Seeing Things” was a 2008 EPPIE finalist.

In her life away from writing, Jana is an accountant/admin assistant, a mother to two grown daughters, and a wife to her husband Warren. She enjoys golf, yoga, movies, concerts, travel and reading, not necessarily in that order. She and her husband live in Winnipeg, Canada with their Pug/Terrier cross Lou and several unnamed goldfish. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at www.janarichards.com

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Author Showcase – Tracy A. Ball (Dragonfly Dreams)

Print Length: 107 pages

Everything changed with one jump.

Shattered, Leaf fled to the last place she wanted to be- Onyx Narpole’s world…Onyx Narpole’s arms.
Leaf Harper was Onyx’s enemy; he made sure of it. Onyx could forget everybody and everything, but he could not forget why.

***

In the Elven world of Cassenia, there are good guys and then there was Onyx. The war was over for everyone but him. He took it upon himself to establish his father as the leader of the Elven Alliance. But, he didn’t count on Leaf. Leaf allied to Roman, Onyx’s cousin, and rightful heir. Leaf, set to marry Bin, Onyx’s sworn enemy. Leaf, trembling in his arms, melting under his touch and setting him on fire…

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Snippet 1 

 

“I’m supposed to trust you?”

“You don’t trust me?”

“We’re talking about a war.” She sipped some more.

 Onyx leaned in again, took the cup out of her hand and kissed her while her lips were still coffee-warm. “Trust that.”

She wanted to. This was so…special. He was…wow. But… “How many girls trust your kisses?”

He didn’t hesitate. “Too many to count.”

That wasn’t good. “You want me to trust something that’s clearly not true?”

“There’s a difference.”

She waited.

“I didn’t ask them to.”

 

Snippet 2

“You didn’t see anything, except what I wanted. I’d been in her bed all night. Trust me, if I had intended to shag her, it would have been accomplished hours before you got there. Hell, her panties were still in place.”

Roman didn’t want to know. “Why are you sharing?”

“Because I now owe you allegiance. And, for some incomprehensible reason, you mean something to her. Your opinion matters…to her. I won’t have you or anybody thinking less of her because of me.”

In spite of himself, Roman felt both relieved and a nagging growing respect for Onyx’s feelings toward Leaf. “May I ask why the charade?” He pointed back down the hall.

“You know my father. Had I not completely compromised her, and took the entire situation out of his hands, would he consent to a Fada?”

“Don’t call her that again.”

“I’ll call her any damned thing I want.”

“I’d rather not see you with Leaf. What’s stopping me from going back and telling them you used me?”

“Leaf knows what did and did not happen between us. I don’t recall her making any denials. I don’t recall her saying anything. You can go back there if you want to stand in the way of her happiness and a truce between our fathers. Besides, when you get right down to it, who gives a shit about your jealousy? I know there’s a part of you that wishes for a different relationship with Leaf. But, you roped it in for West. Keep doing that.”

 

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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.

 

KAYOS: The Bad & The Worse

The Tiger & The Snake

The Right Way To Be Wrong

Dragonfly Dreams 

 

Coming soon:

Left on Marriottsville (Our Secret Nook Anthology)

The Villain (Siren’s Lullaby Anthology)

 

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