Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Book Blast & Giveaway: Colors of Us by @SandraBunino

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clip_image002_thumb[1]Colors of Us

McAvery Brothers

Book One

Sandra Bunino

Genre: Contemporary Romance/New Adult

Publisher: Evernight Publishing

Number of pages: 240

Word Count: 62,000

ISBN: 9781771309783


Cover Artist: Sour Cherry Designs

Book Description:

Everything she knew to be true fell apart. Then fell apart again…

Michelle Willis is running from her past. What better place to hide than in the anonymity of New York City. Finding refuge in a tiny SoHo art gallery, she rebuilds her life one painting at a time.

A wrong turn sends Hunter McAvery on a crash course with disaster. He fights his own demons by following his big brother’s lead - drinking and bed-hopping his way through Manhattan.

A glance at Michelle’s self-portrait triggers emotions Hunter can’t tamp down. Driven to meet the artist, he discovers a fiery chemistry as their lives collide. But when their past threatens to tear them apart, can their love survive?

Available at Amazon Amazon UK

Evernight Publishing ARe Smashwords

Music Playlist: https://play.spotify.com/user/12134886106/playlist/07orDaxcxJE4sfSZW59Loa


“I think pink is your color. It looks great against your dark hair.” Reaching past her shoulder, he curled a strand of her hair between his fingers and tugged gently before letting it fall onto her shoulder.

Meeting his gaze, she smiled. “Thanks.” Michelle wasn’t used to compliments. It’d been her goal to fade into the crowd and not to call attention to herself. But her self-imposed rules seemed to float away around Hunter McAvery.

Returning her smile, he continued the lesson. “After you slide your hands into the opening, you’ll wind the long strap around your fingers and wrist like this.” Holding her fingers in his hand, he wound the dangling strap around her palm and over her knuckles. “You want to protect the part of your hand that meets the bag.”

He stepped closer as he slipped the strap around the base of her thumb. When he brushed his fingertips against the sensitive area just below the fleshy part of her palm, a shiver shot up her arm and traveled to her belly. His warm breath ghosted her face as he circled the end of the strap around her wrist and secured the Velcro tab. Before she knew it, strong fingers captured her left hand and guided her arm to the warmth between their bodies. She itched to graze her fingers along his muscled chest, capturing his heat with her palm. Her gaze bounced to his neck and stubbled jaw, which clenched as he slid the other wrap over her hand. Slowly wrapping her other wrist, he secured the strap and held both of her gloved hands in his. “Make a fist,” he said huskily.

Tightening her hands into a ball, she tucked her thumb around the outside of her fingers like he showed her at the gym.

He squeezed her fists. “They look good. You’re a badass.”

Michelle snorted. “A badass in pink.”

“Let’s see what you got. Show me some upper cuts. Right here.” He tapped his abs.

“You want me to hit you?” She giggled.

“Sure. I can take it.”

Turning her palms up, she made a fist and alternated soft punches to his belly. His rock-hard belly. Each strike made her aware of how alive he made her feel. The force of impact sent ripples up his tight shirt, awakening the planes of his muscular form. She gulped back the desire to open her fists and run her fingertips along the line of each thick muscle.

His hands came to rest on her forearms, halting her movement. The pads of his thumbs stroked the sensitive skin near the inside of her elbow causing a delicious shiver up her arm. Michelle’s eyes met his. The fire brewing in his darkened gaze drew her in. Hunter stepped between her legs, nudging her back against the wall next to the mural. She closed her eyes and choked back a groan, wanting—no, needing—to grind her heat on his leg. Raising her arms above her, he pinned them against the wall on either side of her head. His scent flooded her senses as she lifted her chin to close the gap between them.

“I’m trying like hell not to kiss you.” Hunter straightened his back but didn’t loosen his grip on her arms.

Her skin prickled from the nearness of his body. She let her gaze drift to his lips. “Why?” she whispered.

He blew a slow breath between his teeth. “Nothing good would come of it. I’m not capable of giving or feeling… or offering anything much to you.” He shook his head but he didn’t move from her body.

“I don’t believe that.” Michelle wriggled her arms from his grasp. Her fingertips lingered on his corded forearms, which flexed under her touch. Easing a trail toward his shoulders, her fingers reminded her of a paintbrush’s first dab of color on a fresh canvas. She’d always believed each canvas had a personality of its own, and it was the symphony of the brush, artist, and canvas that created the work of art. She wanted to explore the blank canvas of Hunter McAvery.

She studied his arms, still caging her in. Protecting her. Wanting her. Her eyes met his gaze. He stared at her, unmoving, but a spark burned in his eyes. She held her breath, afraid to break his trance. Her palms smoothed over his shoulders and down his chest, stopping at the center of his ribs. Pushing into the muscles of his chest, she felt the strong beat of his heart on her fingers. “Kiss me, Hunter.” Raising her eyebrows, she dared to look him in the eyes, almost afraid of what she’d see.

“You don’t understand. You’re too… good.” He averted his gaze.

“Maybe you should let me decide what’s good for me.” She moved closer, his breath burned hot on her face, and he squeezed his eyes closed.


Her hands traveled up his chest and rested on the bulk of his strong shoulders. Pulling him in, her breasts molded into his chest and, finally, he crashed his lips down on hers. She met every stroke of his tongue as her fingers raked through the ends of his hair. Moaning into his mouth, she straddled his muscular thigh as warmth flooded her sex. She’d never felt more alive.

His hand grazed her cheek before taking her chin between his thumb and index finger and pulling away from their kiss. He tipped his forehead to hers, his raspy breath hot on her mouth. “Shit.”

Michelle widened her eyes. “What?” she whispered.

“You. Me. This just can’t happen. Not now. Not like this.”


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Sandra Bunino is a romance author of several novellas including The Satin Rose Experience series. Her first full-length novel, Colors of Us from the McAvery Brothers series, released in August. She makes her parents proud by putting her MBA degree to good use dreaming up heroes who resemble David Gandy whenever possible. When not staying up past her bedtime torturing her oh-so-sexy heroes, she can be found shopping for shoes or saving turtles.

As a social media junkie in need of a ten-step program, you can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and her new addiction, Pinterest. Sandra loves to read and chat with other readers, so she formed the Bunino’s Bookalicious Babes group on Facebook where they currently share their love of Jamie Fraser from Outlanders…and David Gandy, of course.

Website: http://sandrabunino.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5406952.Sandra_Bunino

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SandraBunino

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SandraBuninoAuthor

Bookalicious Babes Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/597429020306289/

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/sandrabunino/

Bookalicious Babes mailing list: http://eepurl.com/LuwPL

Friday, September 26, 2014

Book Blast, Giveaway & Interview: Blood Diva by @VM_Gauthier

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clip_image002_thumb[1]Blood Diva

VM Gautier

Genre: Urban Fantasy

ISBN: 9781620154663

Number of pages: approx 450.

Word Count: 120,000

Book Description:

The 19th century's most infamous party-girl is undead and on the loose in the Big Apple.

When 23 year-old Parisian courtesan, Marie Duplessis succumbed to consumption in 1847, Charles Dickens showed up for the funeral and reported the city mourned as though Joan of Arc had fallen. Marie was not only a celebrity in in her own right, but her list of lovers included Franz Liszt – the first international music superstar, and Alexandre Dumas fils, son of the creator of The Three Musketeers. Dumas fils wrote the novel The Lady of the Camellias based on their time together. The book became a play, and the play became the opera La Traviata. Later came the film versions, and the legend never died.

But what if when offered the chance for eternal life and youth, Marie grabbed it, even when the price was the regular death of mortals at her lovely hand?

In 2014, Marie wonders if perhaps nearly two centuries of murder, mayhem, and debauchery is enough, especially when she falls hard for a rising star she believes may be the reincarnation of the only man she ever truly loved. But is it too late for her to change? Can a soul be redeemed like a diamond necklace in hock? And even if it can, have men evolved since the 1800′s? Or does a girl’s past still mark her?

Blood Diva is a sometimes humorous, often dark and erotic look at sex, celebrity, love, death, destiny, and the arts of both self-invention and seduction. It’s a story that asks a simple question – Can a one hundred ninety year-old demimondaine find happiness in 21st century Brooklyn without regular infusions of fresh blood?


Her bathroom was en-suite, but could be accessed through a second door from the living room. Rosa, who came in the mornings to clean, routinely filled the bath. There was a timed heater that kept the water warm. Alphonsine slipped into the oversized tub.

She dove under the bubbles. While her kind needed to breathe, they could control respiration and stay under for hours. She enjoyed soaking this way in very hot water, allowing herself to think and dream. Her morning kill had been so unusual, so exciting, she wanted to relive every detail.

She hadn’t been planning to feed that night, though it had been almost four weeks. She could go five, even six in a pinch, but after that long she felt so fatigued it was hard to distinguish day from night. Pierre and she were planning to get out of town to feast together. He often chided her for her recklessness, pointing out it was not like the old days. Trains, planes, and automobiles made it easy to place distance between oneself and one’s prey. No reason to kill where one lived, but sometimes, one couldn’t help oneself.

She had left the party feeling a particular restlessness. At first believing sex alone might be enough to stave off the hunger, her plan had been to head downtown or back to Brooklyn to find some pretty thing to hook up with. Then she caught a scent, felt something unique was waiting. Violent images flooded her mind as she entered the bar. It was coming into focus – a mortal who killed, not in war, but for fun. While her telepathic powers were weak – she was after all still quite young, she could sense emotions, especially strong ones, and he had been a seething caldron of barely suppressed rage.

Under the warm water, she could still taste it on her tongue, his blood, his essence – all of that delicious hate, and yet in the intimacy of the death-grip, she felt more, his humanity, as though they both were spiraling backwards in time to a moment when even he was innocent.

She’d given him peace. It had been a good death for him. True, she had frightened him when she jumped out. They said in the best hunts the prey never suspected, never felt a moment of unease, but allowances had to be made. After all, he believed he had killed her. She couldn’t let him go to his grave thinking that.

Blood was more than nourishment. It was a sacrament. Some said the blood itself contained the very soul. She doubted such a thing existed. She only knew it had something – a power, a magic like nothing else. Strange how easily satisfied beings like her were, hardly the monsters depicted in myth. As pleasurable as it might be to hunt and feast every night, like the noble lion, they only did so when hungry.

No two people tasted the same – not father and son, nor brother and sister, not even twins. This she knew from her own experience. Children’s blood had a sweetness like the candied grapes young men once brought her as tokens between acts at the opera. There was a freshness to young blood, like apples picked in the summer at a perfect moment of ripeness. Teenaged girls tasted of secrets, and boys of lust. Women, pretty ones, whose hearts had been broken had a certain tenderness and resignation, especially if you came to them when their looks were fading, and there wasn’t much hope. There were men who had an edge like a wine with a bitter after taste, while others were warm and smooth. The old, whom she wasn’t fond of, tasted of sadness, disappointment, and defeat, though they would certainly do when convenient. Human blood, like the human voice, had different timbres. Some had the richness and depth of a bass-baritone while others were light but agile like a coloratura soprano.

A killer, however, especially one who dispatched his own so remorselessly, this was a rare treat indeed. The essence would hold within it all whom he had taken. For her to act so boldly, to take so many chances to have him, was a risk, but what would be the point of immortality without gambles? And she had always loved games of chance.

When she walked in and saw him, saw those thick arms, the sandy hair, could already feel what it would be like to fuck him, to take him perhaps when he was inside her, she knew she had to go through with it. The combination of lust and hunger made her almost giddy, barely able to contain herself.

Still immersed, Alphonsine began to touch her thighs, working up to her pussy, replaying the night.

As soon as she sat down at the bar it became clear he had picked her, imagined her as his next victim. It was too delicious! A chance for play-acting. Something different and rough.

Alphonsine lifted her head above the water, feeling the urge to breathe. Her breaths became quick as she felt her release, the first taste of his blood a vivid memory. Her kind not only felt everything more strongly than mortals, but could recall in full sensory detail.

It had been everything she hoped. Feeling him draining, feeling his life force leaving his body, merging into hers. That final beat of his cruel heart. A rush of something – all his anger, perhaps? It overwhelmed her for a second and then was gone. And he had looked so tranquil – transformed by death – beyond the desire to hurt and kill, beyond it all, finally at rest – a gift she had bestowed on him.

She had closed his eyes, and kissed him once softly on the lips before beginning the task of clean up.

The act of remembering left her not hungry for more blood, but still unsatisfied.


Character Name: Camille St Valois (born Alphonsine Plessis, known as Marie Duplessis during her Paris "career.")

Character Bio: French courtesan born 1824, her alleged "death" at age 23 inspired a novel, a play, an opera and a ballet. Blood Diva is the story of her "afterlife" as a blood-sucking immortal.



Describe yourself what is your worst and best quality?

People may see me as selfish and manipulative, but they don't really know what I've had to go through. My best quality? Resilience.

What is the one thing you wish other people knew about you?

That I'm capable of love.

What is your biggest secret something no one knows about?

No one knows what is in my heart. That's my true tragedy.

What are you most afraid of?

That I will let someone in, really feel something and then be rejected.

What do you want more than anything?

Acceptance, that someone would know me, the real me, and still love me truly and deeply -- as a woman, not as a possession.

What is your relationship status?

Complicated. In the novel Blood Diva, I fall totally and completely for a mortal, but my loyalty must always be to my immortal community.

How would you describe your sense of fashion?

I move with the times, but like to set my own pace. If I'm wearing it, it's in style.

How much of a rebel are you?

I've always lived as I wanted to, but I've never felt completely free.

What do you considered to be your greatest achievement?

My survival.

What is your idea of happiness?

Hmmm, that's tough. As a diva, nothing gives me more pleasure than a sweet kill and the taste of human blood, but thinking with my human brain, I'm just an old-fashioned girl looking for a rich, handsome, young man who "gets" me.

What is your current state of mind?

At the onset of Blood Diva, I'm living as I've lived for over a century and a half. It's pretty much non-stop murder, mayhem, and debauchery. But once Dashiell comes into my life, I feel things I haven't felt for a very long time. It's terribly confusing.

What is your most treasured possession?

I try not to hold on too much to the past. There are few things, a book someone gave me once...

What is your most marked characteristic?

I suppose it would be my "innocence." Of course, I've never been innocent. I had no childhood. Did I mention my father actually sold me to the gypsies? But I've always looked innocent -- childlike. You'd think it might hold a girl back in my profession -- the lack of some obvious assets. But it became my claim to fame -- my "delicate" beauty and good manners.

What is it that you, most dislike?

Cruelty. I tease sometimes, but I'm never really mean. I don't understand why anyone is. Even when I have to take human life to feed, I try to do it humanely.

Which living person do you, most despise?

It depends on how you define "living." I still feel Anton tricked me into accepting his offer of immortality. I may have been a whore, but I was never a murderer.

What is your greatest regret?

I was on my own when I was so young. I did the best I could. I regret nothing.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

Passion. I'm drawn to men who feel strongly and act on those feelings -- especially talented ones who can turn their pleasure and pain into music or drama or art.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?


Who is your favorite hero in fiction?

There is a French novel, Manon Lescaut, about a man who loves what they call a fallen woman. She doesn't deserve him, but he is completely loyal to her nevertheless. He sees the good in her.

Which living person do you most admire?

Dashiell Alexander, my lover in Blood Diva. He's everything I ever wanted. He makes me want to be better.

If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?

I'd be good. I wouldn't need to kill to survive.

What is your motto?

I'm quoted as having said, "It's not me who is dancing too fast. It's the violins who are playing too slowly." But I'm not sure whether or not it was just something the press made up. It sounds like something I might have said.



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VM Gautier is a pseudonym. This is not the author's first book, but it is his or her first book in this genre. You haven't heard of him or her.

Web: http://www.blooddiva.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22731729-blood-diva

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Blood-Diva/1478472872374508

Twitter: https://twitter.com/VM_Gauthier

Cover Reveal: The Green Dagger by Kelly Hess


The Green Dagger (BlackMyst Trilogy) by Kelly Hess

Publisher: Booktrope

Expected Publication: December 2, 2014

Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy


Tensions rise between Delvengard and Sorak as the Sorak queen demands the return of the Blade of Torrill. As Delvengard scrambles to locate the mythical weapon, many fear war is inevitable. Fritz, who secretly possesses the dagger, is tormented by its evil. Eager to take control of its power, he journeys in search of a mysterious being who may be able to help. The Green Dagger, Book Two of the BlackMyst Trilogy, continues the adventure, five years after the events of Book One, Eyes of the Enemy.

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About the Author


Kelly Hess grew up with a love of reading science fiction and fantasy that inspired him to write his own fantasy trilogy. He lives in Vacaville, California with his wife and son, and is putting the final details on the last two books of his BlackMyst Trilogy: The Green Dagger and The Third Power.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Book Blast: Chandrea: The Return of the Avatar Queen by Marlene Wynn

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The Return of the Avatar Queen

Marlene Wynn

Book Description:

Chandrea Averill thinks she’s just like any other normal young woman. But, on the day of her 23rd birthday, her life changes forever. Surrounded by magical creatures, dangerous sorcery, and insidious political intrigue,

Chandrea desperately wants to return to Earth and the only life she’s ever known. But, the longer she stays, the more she realizes that she may be the only one with the power – both magical and political – to save the people of Lyrunia.

Will she find the courage to remain and fight for her home world?

Book trailer http://youtu.be/lzJpY3nai34

Available at BN Smashwords Amazon Kobo iTunes

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The morning sky was overcast and cloudy and a stiff southwesterly wind blew the grasses erratically. A bank of heavy, dark grey clouds were visible over the horizon to the south, and it was moving quickly towards her. The constant flashes and murmur of thunder confirmed that she was in for a bad storm, and had nowhere to take shelter. She didn’t know how long it would take for it to reach her, but she wanted to be closer to civilization when it did. And she did not want to get caught in an electrical storm out in the open.

Chandrea started to walk, and after a few minutes began to jog, though it was not easy to do on the uneven ground. Her pulse quickened as her body warmed up to the accustomed exercise, and she made quick work of the first couple of miles. But, you can only push an already weakened body so hard before it starts to reach its limits, and, as she anticipated, she began to labor, her breaths coming in short ragged pants, her throat hot and dry. She slowed to a walk until she got her breath back.

Looking anxiously to her right, she saw that, despite her brief run, the clouds had come much closer, and that the clashing lightning and thunder were almost on top of her. Flutters of fear crawled down her spine and made a home in her belly. This was not good. Chandrea looked around for some place to find protection. Though the grasses seemed to be thinning out and she was seeing small scrubby bushes here and there, there still weren’t any signs of civilization, so she continued to walk tiredly east.

The brisk wind turned into powerful gusts, and she had to lean to avoid being thrown off her feet. Dust and debris were torn from the ground and swirled all around her, and she was forced to raise her hands to shield her eyes. Lightning struck nearby, followed by a powerful blast of thunder that shook the ground. Chandrea cringed and screamed in raw fear.

She felt the first few warm splashes of water on her skin, and looking up, saw that the bulk of the sky had turned a deep heavy looking grey. She began to run again, the flight instinct now in full control of her.

The heavens opened up and rain came sheeting down. The drops were huge at first, but quickly became small and piercing as they pelted her skin. Her clothing soon became saturated, weighing her down.

Lightning flashed all around her, dazzling bursts of light followed closely by violent claps of thunder. The strikes blew chunks of dirt and debris into the wind. The world was shaken by the repeated crack of thunder and her eardrums throbbed in painful harmony from the overwhelming sounds.

Animal instinct took over. Throwing herself to her knees, she clawed at the dirt. Her breath came in terrified, ragged gasps, but she was all but oblivious to it as she dug and tore at the stubborn soil. Every time lightning struck near her, she screamed and ducked, covering her head with her arms in an unconscious effort to protect herself, and then continued digging.

She tore at the web of roots, desperate to dig a hole she could take shelter in, but to no avail. The old grasses had been in the dry plains for a long time, and had grown their roots long and wide to find any available ground water. Without a shovel or a pick, she could make no headway, and only managed to tear her hands to the point of bleeding in the effort.

Gasping, she stopped and looked around with wild, frightened eyes. The world around her had gone mad. Lightning struck rapidly now, all around her, for miles in all directions, and the sharp booming thunder was close on its heels.

A small, sane portion of her mind recognized that she should hunker down and try to make the smallest target of herself possible, but that was akin to taking your eyes off the hungry lion crouched nearby and hoping it wouldn’t notice you. Instead, she knelt and watched with horrified fascination as the prairie took a beating from mother nature. Her entire body shook from the fear that washed through her, and she knew that at any moment lightning would strike and kill her.

Without conscious thought or effort, her magic bloomed to life. She gasped at the suddenness of it, yet welcomed it with a desperate hope. She felt it growing and expanding inside her, filling her completely with an eerie, tingling sensation. What was happening? What would her magic do this time?

Her skin began to glow a soft ethereal white. She held her hands out in front of her, and, despite the dangers surrounding her, wonder filled her at the sight. She’d seen her skin glow before, but never so clearly. The glow rapidly enveloped her until she was encased by a soft white ball of energy that extended a few feet out from her on all sides. The wind and rain no longer affected her, apparently unable to penetrate her protective sphere.

Curious, she poked a finger at the ball. It rippled like water when she touched it. She became bolder and stuck her whole arm out. Once again, the wind, rain, and nearby grass stalks pelted her tender skin. She pulled her arm and hand back inside and the sensations ceased.

She looked around with a newfound sense of security. The storm raged on around her, but in her sheltering bubble, it seemed that none of the elements could touch her. She gasped as a bolt of lightning struck nearby. She could only hope that the bubble would protect her against the lightning strikes as well.

With a frightening intensity, suddenly a new roaring sound filled her senses, causing her to gasp and duck involuntarily. It was followed immediately by anther, and another, each successfully competing in volume and depth with the crashing thunder. But, these new sounds weren’t caused by mother nature.

It was almost as if a whole pride of hungry lions were surrounding her, and roaring in excitement of the hunt and the kill to come.

But, it couldn’t be lions, for, like the thunder, these sounds came from the sky itself.

Some had a deep, throbbing quality to them. Others were shrill and almost metallic. All of them were terrifying.

Chandrea tried to determine what was up there in the deep dark grey of the clouds. It was difficult to see through the soft glow of her bubble. When several lightning bolts struck, causing a strobe effect, she sucked in her breath in disbelieving terror at what she saw.

Silhouetted in brief, white-clad glory, were dozens upon dozens of dragons of various shapes and sizes. Each time the lightning flashed, it would cause a still-life effect of the great beasts circling in the sky with an almost playful air about them. With huge, earth- shaking roars, some shot massive flames from their mouths, causing the heavens and the ground far below to be lit by the intense yellow-red flare.

But what was the most astonishing to Chandrea was when one of the monsters would get hit by a bolt of lightning. It would open its immense, toothy maw in what appeared to be almost a silent scream, then arch its back and long serpentine neck as though in ecstasy.

She watched in awed amazement as one of the airborne dragons was struck by a large bolt of energy. The massive creature’s blue scales briefly burst into glittering brilliance. Small electrical charges snaked and popped across their surface. A large, bright turquoise nimbus shimmered around the rapturous dragon. It temporarily highlighted the dragons surrounding it until the dazzling luminescence died down to a soft glow. Once the strike was finished, the dragon would start to swoop and circle faster, almost daring the lightning to come again.

Chandrea felt her heart would beat its way right out of her chest. She could actually feel her chest vibrating from the intensity of her heartbeat. She panted, feeling cornered and very small. Her protective shield may keep the lightning and elements at bay. But its glow might be noticed by the serpents in the sky. Would a human make a tasty treat during a dragon sky party?

God, she wanted to go home.

The storm went on for what seemed like an eternity. Chandrea felt rather like the little field mouse trapped in the corner of a covey of cats, hoping upon hope that it wouldn’t be noticed, but knowing in its heart that eventually it would be. A part of her couldn’t help but be fascinated by the colorful display of serpentine bodies soaring high above her, at times almost floating in their deadly dances. Death, it seemed, had a very mesmerizing effect on her.

Eventually, the storm started to weaken, the lightning and thunder to come less and less, and the bulk of the dragons began to disperse. Though it was still quite dark around her, she started to breathe a little easier, thinking she might just come out of this alive. Her magical ball, reacting instinctively to the lessening threat, dissipated then vanished completely.

Then one of the dragons swooped down out of the sky and landed right in front of her, folding its wings flat against its back.

It was difficult for Chandrea to see the beast clearly in the gloom of the storm clouds, with only the occasional lightning flash. But, boy, could she smell it. Its body reeked of moldy ash, its hot breath of rotten flesh. Its eyes, as large as her body was tall, glowed a sullen dirty yellow in the grey light of the day. It was immense. Its head and shoulders were about thirty feet over Chandrea’s head, and looked like it was no less than 140 feet from the tip of its nose to the tip of its tail. Its legs were as thick as tree trunks, and long, wickedly sharp claws adorned its massive feet. Its scales dully reflected the dim afternoon light in shades of rusty red, while the underside of it was a soft tan color. Copper colored spikes of different sizes ran from its snout, along its spine and down the length of its long tail. At the end of its tail were numerous long, sharp spikes. Nestled atop its massive head was a pair of lengthy horns that pointed straight back.

Lowering its head, it sniffed at the air above her, apparently trying to determine what she was, and if she was edible. Its long, forked tongue licked the air. Chandrea tried not to gag as its foul breath washed over her in hot waves.

Rearing back, the beast then cocked its head to the side, and eyeing Chandrea, it said in a soft, deep voice filled with menace, yet somehow female-sounding, “Ah…what do we have here? A lone, unprotected human out in the grasslands.”

Narrowing her sulfur-colored eyes, the dragon moved a bit closer to her and murmured in satisfaction, “Yes… you’ll make a nice meal for my hatchling.”

Chandrea blinked up at it in stunned surprise. The creature could speak!

Belatedly, the dragon’s words finally registered in her mind. Terror lanced through Chandrea. She was trapped! She could never even hope to out-run this creature even at her top physical best. In her weakened condition, it was a laughable concept at best. She had nowhere to hide, and nowhere to take shelter, surrounded as she was by miles of grass.

Unbidden, her magic rushed to the surface, once again responding to her fight or flight instinct. This time, though, it came much faster, absent one moment, there the next. She could feel it rushing through her, instantly filling her every fiber and pore. Energy snapped around her, and her eyes and skin glowed with a pearlescent sheen. Her breathing deepened as she stood up from the ground and faced the beast before her.

The dragon growled in anticipation. Flame and smoke started to lick out of its snout, and in a rush, it lowered its head, roared, and shot out a huge column of white-hot flame, aimed right at Chandrea!

Feeling as though she were a distant observer of her own body, she watched as she raised her hands in a defensive position and her magic called up a shield.

She had a mental flash of the dream the Dark Fairy had cast on her, where she drew the energy from all the objects around her to fuel her magic, and attempted it again. She siphoned the energy from the dragon’s flames into her body, using the very thing that was threatening her to protect her. She could feel the intense heat pouring into her body, almost burning her from the inside out, and, before they could even reach her, the flames from the dragon sputtered harmlessly out.

Upon seeing this, the dragon narrowed its eyes, lowered its head, and growled menacingly. Her body throbbed in harmony with the deep resonation and the very ground seemed to vibrate beneath her.

Chandrea frantically tried to figure out what she could do to scare this creature away. She was supposed to be the most powerful sorceress in this world, but her magic was untested and very unreliable. However, she didn’t see as she had much choice in the matter. She couldn’t very well use her Taekwondo on this monster! And running was definitely not an option. So, even as the dragon’s growl was echoing off in the distance, she decided to stand and fight as best she could with what she had, and hope that the dragon didn’t eat her before she could conjure anything up. Were dragons like birds? Did they eat their prey and then regurgitate it for their young? She quickly banished that horrifying image from her mind and focused on the task at hand. She would try to use fire again. She would just have to do it better than last time. And quicker.

Chandrea concentrated. She could feel the dragon’s hot energy swirling around inside her, growing ever stronger, mixing with her own fear and panic to create a maelstrom of intense power.

She stopped focusing on the shield in front of her and it simply disappeared, the energy rushing back into her. Her skin suddenly glowed a fiery red. She raised her hands, and, as Adelaide had taught her, with a mighty mental and physical shove, she flung the energy from her own body out at the beast. Chandrea watched as a great ball of flame materialized and was cast out at the dragon. Like before, when she’d tried to create fire, this ball was intensely white hot on the inside and deep yellow and red on the outside. However, this ball didn’t have as far to go as the first time, and instead of plowing through huge swaths of trees, it plowed into the dragon directly in front of her…

…and blew out as it struck, as though nothing had happened at all.

Unable to fathom what had just happened, Chandrea just stood there in stupefaction. Her magic had just dissipated on the scales of the dragon and done nothing at all.

The dragon looked somehow amused by this turn of events. Chandrea would’ve sworn the beast even smiled. Lifting her mighty head, the serpent then carried the motion even further and stood on her hind legs. Clawing at the air in front of her and spreading her massive wings wide, she bellowed out a trumpeting call that echoed up and down the grasslands and throbbed painfully in the tiny earthling’s ears.

Chandrea threw her hands over her ears in a feeble attempt to lessen the sound, but to no avail. Then, the massive reptile lowered its body, jaws open, clearly intending to finish this one-sided battle by devouring her whole.

An answering bellow washed over her from above as a second dragon plummeted from the sky to crash into the first one, knocking it from its feet with a powerful blow. Chandrea screamed and jumped to the side, narrowly missing the powerful swipe of a tail studded with spikes. Chunks of dirt and grass were gouged out of the ground where she’d previously stood, showering her with grit and hard rocks.

This new dragon was unlike any she’d ever imagined or seen in fairy tales. It had scales on its belly, but its back and wings were covered with feathers. Its head and legs were a bright, scarlet red. The feathers on its legs were short and spiky, while the ones surrounding its head were long and stiff, and puffed out, making it look both fierce and dangerous. The beast’s back, body and tail were covered with short, dense feathers in a striking deep indigo color. Its deep and muscular chest narrowed down into a snakelike torso and a tail that was covered in spikes. It had what appeared to be two sets of wings. One was a feathered set, shaped rather like immense eagle wings and were the same indigo color as its body. The second set were over the first, and were covered with ocher-colored scales, the same color of its belly. This second set of wings were much larger than the first, and tipped with razor sharp claws. Where the first dragon was large and muscular, the second one was long and slender. The first dragon was the stronger of the two by far, but what the second one lacked in strength, it made up for in speed and its sinuous body. Its movements were a blur to watch, as it snaked its way around its bigger foe, striking with lightning quick attacks and then slithering out of reach of the larger dragon.

With ear-splitting snarls and growls, the two beasts flipped and rolled across the prairie, savagely tearing at each other.

Chandrea, panting from the fear of the sudden attack, scuttled backwards in the grass, trying to get as far away from the two battling titans as possible.

When no headway could seem to be gained by either one, the two monsters backed warily away from each other. Growling fiercely, they flapped their wings, extended their necks, and slammed their tails on the ground, all in an attempt to show strength, power and dominance over the other.

The larger dragon rushed the smaller one, but in a sudden blur of motion, the blue one slithered its body around its larger opponent. Using its own momentum against it and reminding Chandrea of a javelin toss, the blue one spun the rusty red beast back around and threw it across the field. The dragon landed with an earth-shaking thud that threatened to throw Chandrea from her feet.

Spinning around, the blue dragon jerked its head back and forth until it found Chandrea. It hunched down, then gave a mighty leap, and flapping its massive wings, swooped up then back down, heading directly for Chandrea.

With a scream, Chandrea spun on her heels and tried to run away, but what little speed she could muster was nothing in comparison to the flying monster. To her horror, its sharp claws grabbed her up and before she knew it, they were airborne.

Chandrea clutched at the long talons that held her in their grasp. The grasslands dropped away below and her stomach dropped. The huge wings of the dragon flapped quickly in an effort to get the beast and its prize higher in the air. She could feel the rhythmic motion of its muscles working, and the roaring sound of the wind assaulted her ears.

Craning her head down and around, Chandrea frantically checked on the whereabouts of the red dragon. Her eyes widened as she saw it taking to the air in pursuit of her stolen meal.

Dear God…how did she get into these things?

And how was she going to get out? The claws, even though none of them had actually pierced her skin, were holding her as securely as any jail cell. And, as far up in the air as they were now, even if she could get out, she would fall to her death.

Watching behind her in horrified fascination, she saw the larger dragon was having difficulty keeping up with its prey. But it clearly was not giving up. With a roar, it doubled its efforts, cutting through the misty clouds.

Up the trio soared, higher and higher, until they were engulfed in clouds and Chandrea couldn’t see the ground anymore. Nor could she see the rusty red beast that had been chasing them, which was particularly worrisome to her.

Cool, misty air rushed over her as the blue dragon climbed with powerful thrusts of its wings. Her wet clothes and hair whipped around in the wind, and she found herself wishing for a ponytail holder. A hysterical giggle threatened to burble out of her throat at the thought, but at the last minute she was able to halt it. She knew that if she let it out, she might never stop.

Without warning, they reached the top of the storm clouds, and with a final flap, burst out into bright sunshine. Once above the clouds, the blue dragon settled in and took to soaring, only flapping its wings occasionally to maintain its altitude.

Squinting against the glare, Chandrea couldn’t help but look about her in wonder. Spread out for miles below them was the massive storm, its dark clouds large and menacing. Even heading away from the storm as they were, she could still hear the occasional rumble of thunder and see the clouds light up with the strobes of lightning encased within. Above them, the sky was pristinely blue, the sun a huge golden ball of light. Warm air now gently passed over her as the dragon glided in the stillness of the heavens.

But as beautiful and peaceful as it was, Chandrea could not fully relax and enjoy it. She knew her life would soon be cut short in a horribly violent fashion. Against her better judgment, she pictured the dragon landing amongst its young then standing back in peaceful satisfaction as the babies tore her to bloody pieces with their sharp teeth and claws. She began to tremble violently, her breath coming in short, sharp pants.

However, eventually the gentle peace of the heavens did help to make the mortal fear coursing through her veins a little more bearable. Trying to make herself as comfortable as possible in the hard claws of her cell, she did the only thing she could at that point: she settled back for the ride.

They flew for hours. It was rather like flying in a passenger airplane, but with a much better view. She saw farms, cities, forests, and hills all passing beneath them. People and animals looked like tiny ants scurrying around on the ground. Were they even aware of what was flying up here?

The one thing that she didn’t see, thankfully, was the red dragon. The speed of her captor must have finally worn the bigger dragon down.

As the day wore into evening, the dragon finally started to descend toward a large grassy meadow filled with wildflowers. Large leafy trees surrounded it in an uneven circle, and the sounds of night insects were humming in the air. Off to the side was a small crystalline lake, the sun glistening off its gentle waves.

Fear started to flutter again in her chest, and her breathing hitched. If she’d had anything in her stomach, it would’ve come back up. So this lovely, serene place was where she would die.

She wondered where the beast’s nest was.

She wondered if it would hurt terribly when the hatchling tore her apart.

She wondered how long it would take her to die.





Marlene Wynn is a Utah native - fondly referred to as "Utonian" by a friend. She transplanted herself in 1992 from the majestic Rocky Mountains to the beachy shores of sunny Virginia Beach, Virginia and has been there ever since. Though she has worked in the benefits field for several years, she finally worked up the courage to chase her dream as an author.

Website: https://www.marlenewynn.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MarleneWynn.Author



Monday, September 22, 2014

Book Blast, Giveaway & Interview: Bespoken by @M_M_Coleman

Bespoken Banner 851 x 315_thumb[1]






A Nightangel and Daydreamer Novel

Book One

Marie Michelle Coleman

Genre: paranormal romance//urban fantasy

Publisher: Suburban Island Publishing

ISBN: 978-0991146628


395 pages on Kindle

368 pages in paperback

Word Count: 92,000

Cover Artist: Doug Pecht

Book Description:

Nobody ever told Casey how dangerous a little daydreaming could be.

Casey Sloane appreciates the power of a good daydream. It’s the perfect antidote to the pressures of her hectic life as an associate attorney at a high-powered Washington, D.C. law firm. When the nightangel Gabriel takes up residence in those dreams, Casey is more delighted than surprised. Gabriel is the perfect mixture of danger, otherworldly beauty, and out-and-out temptation required to throw her daydreams into a state of perpetual overdrive.

But when the nightangel sheds his wings and arrives in the real world for a real-time relationship with Casey, she gets a quick education on the unforeseen consequences of secret daydreams.

Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/4YeTJQqJy_g

Available at Amazon BN Smashwords ARe Txtr iTunes Kobo


The Gabriel of a thousand shaded daydreams drew her back toward him in one firm, proprietary movement. Hard against soft. Dream against dreamer. He fit himself against her so her breath was his and the pounding of her heart must have echoed in both of their ears. His eyes drank her in as she stood wide-eyed in her wet, black dress, trying to relegate his appearance to nothing more than the hallucinatory aftereffects of too much rolling around on petal-strewn beds with make-believe nightangels when you had sworn off them. She felt like she’d gone on a bender after being in a sort of daydream rehab outpatient program that required total abstinence in order to stay free of nightangel-induced complications.

Where was Dr. Drew when you needed him?

The angel tore his gaze away from her image in the mirror and sought out the smooth cream of her shoulders and neck. He marked the place where they curved together with a single shattering kiss. The power of that kiss rendered her motionless within his hands. He’s not real anyway, she told herself. She was not going to squander what was a pretty fantastic not-real moment by over-examining it.

She dropped her head back against the nightangel’s shoulder instead; her face lifted up and away from him, her neck turned and bared. His cool breath fanned the anticipation that heated her skin. She closed her eyes. She waited. Casey knew the spot where his mouth would touch next. She knew it without looking. He pressed his lips against the sweet spot where her pulse beat so Casey almost cried out and then he rained a brutal storm of soft kisses down upon her. They poured along the places where the damp wisps of hair clung to the nape of her neck, across the heat of her flushed cheeks, against the corners of her open breathless lips—rushing, pausing, traveling forward again. He smoothed her brow with these kisses before releasing another hungry deluge of them along the other side of her neck.

She was soothed and panicked by the frosted, urgent pressure of those lips. She could either scream “stop” and see what happened next, or stay still and silent while he kept making her weak in the knees with this onslaught of kisses. She went with not moving or speaking. She had released herself to the moment. She had given herself over to something that could not be happening anyway.

Soft-eyed vampires, sharp-mouthed angels—these were the things of dreams, not reality.

“It’s only a dream.” She murmured the sentence out loud, some of her fear melting under the icy sweetness of his kisses on her skin and her own reassuring words.

Her imagining lifted his head. He smiled at her in the mirror with a certain new understanding. Casey produced a small, nervous smile in answer without meaning to smile at all. The exquisite illusion—even more dazzling than in any of her daydreams—buried his face in her sable hair. His mouth was parted and sighing as it brushed against the silk of it. She thought he might speak. She did not want him to speak. Because if he spoke, he would be real. And if he was real, she was so screwed.

“Casey,” the vision breathed her name.

She was so totally screwed.


Character Name: Casey Sloane

Character Bio:

Casey Sloane, is an associate attorney at Phillips & Row, one of those big Washington, D.C. law firms with reputations for ruthless (oops – make that diligent) representation. She plans on a partnership and that means her work is her life. The one respite Casey allows herself from the relentless demands of her career is a little daydreaming. Yeah, yeah, you and I know a little daydreaming can be dangerous. It’s a tagline for the book, but Casey doesn’t care. Casey could teach classes in daydreaming for the overstressed – if she had time, which she doesn’t. She’s got a lot on her plate right now: a nightangel problem (don’t tell anyone), a best friend that thinks she knows best (when Casey can tell you her best friend, Ricki Lee Harrington, doesn’t know the half of it), and a brother who has dropped off the grid (but Casey doesn’t want to talk about that so don’t bring it up).

Headshot - Cover Bespoken - Casey Sloane

Describe yourself what is your worst and best quality?

Worst quality: I’m stubborn. Best quality: I’m determined. They’re kind of the same thing but not exactly. The “not exactly” part gets me into trouble sometimes.

What is the one thing you wish other people knew about you?

I’ve actually got a bit of an adventurous streak. I’m not sure that’s always a good thing but there it is. It’s definitely caused major problems for me lately.

What is your biggest secret something no one knows about?

If you must know, I daydream.

What are you most afraid of?

Right now, anything with wings.

What do you want more than anything?

I want my life back to normal. Someone’s playing havoc with it right now and I don’t care how absolutely gorgeous and irresistible that someone is, he’s not going to win the day if I have anything to say about it.

What is your relationship status?

It’s complicated.

How would you describe your sense of fashion?

If you can wear it in a courtroom or law office, then you’ll find it in my closet. I do have a terrible weakness for beautiful shoes.

How much of a rebel are you?

More than anyone around me would ever believe. You should ask Gabriel Rule what he thinks about my rebellious streak. You’d probably get an earful.

What do you considered to be your greatest achievement?

Surviving the last few weeks.

What is your idea of happiness?

 Give me a garden.

What is your current state of mind?

I’m a bit distressed but you’d be too if you were in my situation.

What is your most treasured possession?

My imagination.

What is your most marked characteristic?


What is it that you, most dislike?

My cautious nature. Sometimes, I’d like to toss all my well-considered concerns aside and just take a chance on something that could wind up being everything I ever wanted. But, under the current set of circumstances, I’d be crazy to do that. I don’t think I’ll change my mind about it either but as my frenemy, Rane, would likely say, “time will tell.”

Which living person do you, most despise?

Derek Rider. He’s the coworker from hell. Being an associate attorney in a top D.C. law firm means dealing with a lot of competitive people but Derek – he’s the worst.

What is your greatest regret?

Not recognizing that a little daydreaming can be a dangerous thing.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

Wings. Scratch that…. I like a smart, strong, purposeful man who really gets me – maybe even more than I’ll ever get myself. He has to be a little outside the box. He needs a sense of humor. And if he’s waiting on me to do something I’m not inclined to do, he’d better have the patience of a saint.

What is the quality you most like in a friend?

Loyalty. And the ability to deal with unusual situations without wanting to laugh their ass off or scratch you from their BFF list.

Who is your favorite hero in fiction?

Mr. Darcy. Isn’t he everybody’s favorite hero in fiction?

Which living person do you most admire?

My best friend, Ricki Lee Harrington. She’s the attorney I’d hire if I ever needed any legal representation. She’s scary good in the courtroom.

If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?

My inability to listen to good advice. My friend, Ricki Lee, gave me some very sensible advice lately but I ignored it and my life has been in a state of utter chaos ever since. Don’t tell Ricki though, she doesn’t know. Gabriel Rule might be able to tell you a thing or two about it though.

What is your motto?

Look before you leap.



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Marie Michelle Coleman is a paranormal romance and urban fantasy author whose book, Bespoken, is the first in the Nightangel and Daydreamer series. She's been in love with the written word since she was old enough to turn the pages of her first book. She's always had a fascination with vampires and angels. Sitting down at the keyboard and turning on the paranormal blender was a natural next step.

Marie lives in the Washington D.C. area. She believes in the power of a compelling dream, the therapeutic merits of loud music, and the benefits of always being in the middle of reading a great book. Marie has a soft spot for a good romance and likes to laugh. Jane Austen is her favorite author. She'll probably always be a little in love with Mr. Darcy.

She grows roses in her garden but no matter how hard she tries, they don't look anything like the ones in Casey Sloane's daydreams.

Website: http://www.mariemichellecoleman.com/

Blog: http://www.makemineparanormal.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Marie-Michelle-Coleman/440406802760179

Twitter: https://twitter.com/M_M_Coleman

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/MarieMColeman/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/mmichellecoleman

Saturday, September 20, 2014

5 Star Review: Return of the Highland Laird by Amy Jarecki




Return of the Highland Laird

A Highland Force Novella

by Amy Jarecki

Blurb -

A short historical novella from Amy Jarecki ~
An untimely tempest transports two miserable and lost souls to England’s Abbey Wood where they stumble across each other’s paths. Lady Jane, a battered woman and accused murderess—Laird Alexander, fleeing his keep after blaming himself for the accidental death of his wife.
Both souls must heal their wounds. Both souls have reason to keep their identities hidden. This misshapen pair discovers each needs the other—though neither is willing to admit dependence.
Alexander must return to his kin and resume his laird’s mantle. Lady Jane must clear her name and find forgiveness. But before healing can begin, it is essential they learn to trust…and love.




Return of the Highland Laird (Highland Force, #4)Return of the Highland Laird by Amy Jarecki
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

And the amazing series continues with Laird Alexander Macleod. In a desperate attempt to escape the death of his wife, Alexander embarks on a one man journey to nowhere. He ends up in deep trouble when his ship anchored in an English town. Mugged and beaten to near death, his attackers dumbs what they fought was just a body in the doomed woods nearby. It is here where Alexander stumbles into the cottage of Jane. Alone and in hiding, she fears that Alexander will bring death with him. She tries to send him on his way, but with his injuries, Alexander is unable to go far. In good faith he offers Jane his labor in return for a place to heal. But the feelings that is stirred up, Alexander finds himself in an even greater peril. Can he return home and leave this enchanting beauty behind? Or will she be the death of him?

It takes an amazing writer to grab you by page three and just keeps you up until you devoured the last page. Each and every book in this series had that very effect on me, which is why Amy is one of my favorite authors, and this series is on my top list of Historical Romances. As each page unfolds the characters quickly earn their place in your heart. Alexander reminded me so much of his father, and yet he had his mother’s charm to capture a lady’s heart. Jane was the silly noblewoman trying to make it out in the woods all alone, and had me laughing a few times. Amy’s talent to enthrall have once again proven to be very powerful, a great novel with an amazing plot and perfect execution. The only sad part was that it was over far too quickly for me. I can’t wait for her next releases, and just loosing myself in them again. Well done Amy.

View all my reviews

Friday, September 19, 2014

Book Blast, Giveaway & Interview: Isis, Vampires and Ghosts – Oh My! by @Janis_Hill

Isis-Vampires and Ghost-Oh My Banner 851 x 315_thumb[1]




clip_image002_thumb[1]Isis, Vampires and Ghosts – Oh My!

Other World Series

Book One

Janis Hill

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Hague Publishing

ISBN: 978-0-9872652-7-2

Word Count: 90,000

Cover Artist: Jade Zivanovic

Book Description:

Too late to save her sister’s life, Stephanie Anders must now try to save her soul from the vampire who has possessed her, Branwyre, eighteenth vampire Lord of the Aegean.

With only the aid of the ghost of a pissed-off Buddhist monk with a potty mouth and the modern day Priestess of Isis, Stephanie must take on demons and other denizens of a world she knows nothing about if she is to succeed in banishing Branwyre.

But even more difficult than that, she must learn how to forgive her sister Estella for what she did to her if she is to have even half a chance of saving her soul. Welcome to a world within our own – the Other World.

Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wl_GYTFkU1c

Available at Hague Publishing


Chapter 5

Estella had the grace and timing to wake up just after I’d hauled her dead weight, literally, into the chair and balanced it there long enough the grab the rope.

“By the Light of Isis, what do you think you’re doing?” Her tone was nearly petulant enough to be the old Estella asking me, not the new peace-and-love one.

“Following your High Priestess’ instructions.” I grunted while tying her hands behind her back as best I could, before continuing to wrap the rope around her and the chair.

“But why are you tying me to a chair now?” she asked, aghast to realise just how tight I had done it. “Branwyre can’t take over until night time. We’ve got at least another hour.”

Ignoring her question for a moment, I snatched her right foot and tied it to the corresponding chair leg. Then, ignoring the attempted kick, did the same to her left one.

“Roxanna clearly states in her instructions here to gather the required items, purify them and set it all up, you included.” I waved the note at her before continuing to wrap her legs, backside and chair in the rope. Yeah, I’d gotten a decent amount. Who says two for one sales are a waste of time? “Nowhere in her instructions does it say we should stop for coffee and a chat. When I’ve got as much of it ready as I can before moonrise, I can actually have a rest. You know, something even we non-undead need to do from time to time.”

She went to protest, I even paused to watch the show I felt she was about to perform, but other than gaping a few times like a stunned fish, she stayed quiet. Wow, this Light of Isis was amazing if it could prevent the Queen of Whinge from speaking.

“Fine then,” she finally managed, a slight sulky tone to her voice. “But how am I meant to eat dinner?”

I sighed; I hadn’t honestly thought of that, going along the lines that she was dead. Yes she was an animated corpse right now, but dead was dead. You shouldn’t have to provide meals for them.

“Nowhere in my instructions does it say I have to feed you.” I muttered. Then feeling I should relent a little as she’d found it within herself to be nicer. “But how about I order pizza, and you eat it cold later. Surely even the Light of Isis can’t have cured you of your cold pizza habits.”

She sighed, but said no more for a moment. Didn’t even pout, which surprised me even more than the silence.

“I do wish you’d be more respectful of Isis and her purifying Light,” is all she eventually said as I was adding a few more knots to the back of the chair.

“Uh-huh.” I was more interested in making sure I’d done a good job, than listen to a lecture on appropriate religious respect. Especially from someone who in the past hadn’t held any respect for anyone or anything.

“And no dinner is fine; I don’t seem to have the need to eat that often anymore.” She continued, trying to watch me over her shoulder. “I won’t have you dissing cold pizza though.”

“Sure!” I said, standing back and wiping sweat from my brow and then my hands on my dress. I remembered I was still in one of my best ‘sombre but not kinky’ little black dresses, not having had a chance to change. So Roxanna’s wodge of cash was buying me a few clothes tomorrow, too. Why not! If I wasn’t allowed to go home until this was all over, she owed me at least a pair of jeans and clean underwear. I checked the instructions again. Okay, so all items purified, sister roped tightly into chair. Salt time! Boy I hoped the motel’s maid service wouldn’t be too pissed at me, or at least wouldn’t notice until after we’d left.


Did you always wanted to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?

For a time in my teens I wanted to be a movie director as well as a writer. I wanted to run away from home and go work with Jim Henson as an apprentice. So when he died when I was 14, it was quite a blow. The dream of turning stories into movies lived on a little longer but in the end I realized the writing was just good enough for me as the people reading it should be able to create the worlds and images on their own without needing a movie.

I also wanted to run a bird sanctuary and a tea room and gift shop. Maybe when I retire now? ;-)

When did you first consider yourself a “writer”?

Probably since my early to mid-20’s. I wasn’t a published or even a widely known writer, but I did write as part of an online role playing game and so therefore felt I was a writer. I don’t like it when people – who write copiously and have created many great worlds and stories – say they want to be a writer. Just because this work is not published, that doesn’t mean you’re not a writer. Being published simply makes you an author. If you write and create stories, you are a writer. Don’t think any less of yourself.

How long did it take to get your first book published?

Actually, I think it only took me 4 months to be offered my first publishing contract. Took me longer to write it. I like to show off by saying it only took 4 days to be offered a contract on my second book, and that’s not even the contract I accepted. It doesn’t necessarily mean my work is over the top brilliant (it’s good, average good)… just that I’ve been very lucky.

Do you do another job except for writing and can you tell us more about it?

I went to university and got qualified in Information Technology and have spent almost 20 years in IT support and procurement. Yes, I was the person you rang up and yelled at after you broke your computer. Is it any wonder I’ve placed a portal to hell in an IT call centre? ;-) Although I do still occasionally accept contracts in IT, my current job is being a mum and Haus Frau. Call it a stay at home mum, call it the unpaid and unappreciated help… it’s me. I have 3 kids aged 9 and younger, a house and garden (with many pets) in continuous need of my attention and I just found I couldn’t do this full time job and go out and do another full time job I was actually paid to do. So I stuck to Haus Frauing. I plan to retire from it in the next 15 years and a lady of leisure. Ha ha.

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?

My latest book is titled Isis, Vampires and Ghosts – Oh My! and the short teaser (23 words, sorry) is: “Too late to save her sister’s life, Stephanie Anders must now try to save her soul from the vampire who has possessed her.”

Who is your publisher? Or do you self-publish?

Both my books are with Hague Publishing, a small independent publisher based in Western Australia. They’re fairly new kids on the block too. My first book Bonnie’s Story – A Blonde’s Guide to Mathematics was their 4th book ever published and Isis, Vampires and Ghosts – Oh My! is their 7th.

How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?

This is hard for me to answer as a lot of my stories have been tiny snippets floating around in my head for years and it wasn’t until these snippets started to congeal together – and a beginning sprung into life – that I was able to write them down. Then, children and real life permitting, it generally takes me 8 months to a year to actually write it. If I got more time to write, I may be able to narrow that down to 6 to 8 months though.

What can we expect from you in the future?  ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?

As Isis, Vampires and Ghosts – Oh My! is the first book in a series, you can expect at least another 4 books about Stephanie to appear. I’m currently working on the next book, titled There’s no place like Hell.

I’m also trying my hand at a cosy crime series set in an imaginary town here in the Adelaide Hills. This series’ title will be Mount Loxley Murder Mysteries and I then hope to do one story for each letter in the alphabet. Currently working on the first one – The Autumnal Artist. Yes, I’m a crime fiction fan as well as a lover of the paranormal.

What genre would you place your books into?

My latest book Isis, Vampires and Ghosts – Oh My! is definitely Urban Fantasy but is also described as Paranormal Adventure. My first book Bonnie’s Story – A Blonde’s Guide to Mathematics is also Urban Fantasy, but more in the Romance/ Chick lit sub-genre.

What made you decide to write that genre of book?

Urban Fantasy and the paranormal/ supernatural have been genres I’ve loved to read for many years. So, as a writer, it was a natural progression to want to write in a genre I enjoy so much. I also feel that’s a good tip for all writers – write in a genre you know and enjoy to read.

Do you have a favorite character from your books? And why are they your favorite?

I have to say Bonnie from my first book is my stand out favourite as she is a younger, sassier version of myself. Parts of her are based heavily on my own background and upbringing and she is almost the me I wish I could have been if such things as Maths that Stays were possible.

In my Other World series, I’d have to say the demon known as Mr Vontant is my favourite. He will feature in all five books in the Other World series and I would like to think people will grow to like him too. Yes he is an evil, nasty demon who enjoys inflicting pain and making deals… but when you get to know his origins and path in life, he may just grow on you.

How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?

I’ve honestly been writing stories for as long as I’ve been able to write and construct sentences. I think it’s almost been like a form of playing to me. Creating worlds and stories and adventures in my mind and letting them flow on to paper. When I was about 9 years old I used to get the old style printer paper that’s joined by perforations and draw these pictures of worlds and creatures several feet long… and then take pen to paper and translate the pictures into stories. Up to 20 A4 pages of stories! I was impressed with myself.

So I can’t honestly say what inspired me to write, it is just part of who I am. I often tell people “I breathe, therefore I write” as it really is just second nature to me.

Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?

I like to sit cross legged with the laptop in my lap and my music on. This is either done on the couch (if home alone and no kids) or in my bed. Simply as I have no writing space/ desk/ office to call my own right now. Plus I find it far more comfortable to sit cross legged somewhere than in a chair at a desk.

Most of my bed writing happens from 10pm till about 2am as it’s the only time I get to write with kids and house to keep me busy. And that is usually only during the school holidays where I have the ability to sleep in the next day while the kids make their own breakfast. I loved it when they got old enough to do that!

I do try and spend one week writing and one week as a Haus Frau… but with school runs, essential washing, appointments, etc… there really aren’t enough hours in the day to fit it all in. So night writing it is!

Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?

I do actually, but not to be a narcissist I hope! I like reading them to see how well I did at getting the story across and I’ve always been someone open to constructive criticism as I feel it helps to improve my skills.

It also helps me discover marketing mistakes as Isis, Vampires and Ghosts – Oh My! was accidentally listed as a Young Adult book on Netgalley when we were seeking reviewers. It was never intended to be YA and so far all the bad reviews for it seem to be coming from readers of YA. It has received far more positive reviews… but that is from the audience it was actually aimed at. If it wasn’t for all the bad reviews coming from YA fans I would never have spotted it was mis-classified. Yes, don’t read it if you’re solely into YA Urban Fantasy, you won’t like it. ;-)

Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?

My stories always get given a title before I start writing them. Simply so I can tell which one is which (as there are just so many trying to get out of my head). However, the title they are given at the start isn’t always the one they end up with.

With my latest book, the story’s original title was actually The Darkness within but I kept calling is Isis, Vampires and Ghosts – Oh My! as a joke because of all the characters in it and as a play on words to the Wizard of Oz quote ‘Lions and tigers and bears – Oh My!’

Everyone seemed to like the new title better and it just seemed to stick. And has now spawned a whole series with titles that are also joke versions of the Wizard of Oz such as There’s no place like Hell which is the second book in the series.

How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?

The character’s names tend to just come to me, seem to be the right name for the book. Though sometimes I do actually research names to ensure I am using a name that is acceptable to a specific time or culture. And I often choose names that have certain meanings. Trishna is a perfect example of this. I not only looked up Buddhist names and their meanings from 100 years ago, I also spoke to friends who are practicing Buddhists who know something about the names and their meanings. I like to research to get those small touches right, even if no one else notices them!

Most place names are made up too, randomly pulled out of the air as I need them. They are often based on real life places, but I will change the names unless I want people to be able to relate to that place by recognizing the name. See the trip to London in Bonnie’s Story – A Blonde’s Guide to Mathematics. I did the whole place name thing via Google maps and then had a friend who works and lives in that area of London read over it. She said I got it spot on and recognized it all from the names and descriptions. Gave me the thumbs up.

I do sometimes add people’s names into my stories as street names or similar as a thank you. Bonnie lives on a made up street called Cleeves Street, named after author and friend Ann Cleeves who had been helping me learn how to pitch to publishers at the time.

Are character names and place names decided after their creation? Or do you pick a character/place name and then invent them?

Mostly they just happen as the story writes itself. I mean, Priestess and Temple of Isis are real people and places, just not the ones in my book. But as said in my last answer, some is researched; some is as a homage but most is really just me making it up as I go.

Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?

As I go along. My books are very organic and just seem to grow. Yes there are occasional parts in the story that have been brewing inside my head for years, but the majority of the story – the bits that join these little parts together – just happens. I often look back and think “wow, I never knew they were like that!” I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but it’s how I write. I’m telling myself a story and once it’s written down I may as well try and share it to see if other people like it too.

Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")

Well, there are the meanings of some of the characters names, as mentioned. I’ve given them specific first and last names that, when combined, really do explain who they are. But not every character… just the odd one or two.

I would like to think that Isis, Vampires and Ghosts – Oh My! touches on the ties that binds you to your family. As in, you can choose who you want to be with, but you don’t get to choose who your family is. So try and make the best of a bad situation. That and that the inner Darkness in all of us needs to have some Light shed on it to try and help us have a better life.

Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback?

If you’d asked me this a year ago I would have said paperback. Now, however, 80% of what I read I actually do so on my phone. Especially as my local library has an extensive eBook section I can access any time of the night and day. I tend to read up to 3 books a week (depending on their length and how busy I am) and so having the freedom to borrow and return them via the phone at any time is fantastic.

I do, however, still love my paperbacks and do still buy them. I also have one that is in my bag for the afternoon school run. It takes 2 hours to get all 3 kids from 2 different schools and some of that time is spent just sitting and waiting with my youngest… who then gets bored and demands to play on my phone. So I have a paperback as back up. That way he can Angry Bird his little heart out and I can still read.

What is your favorite book and Why?  Have you read it more than once?

This is a tough question to answer as I’m not the sort of person who has one specific favourite of something. I have a few favourites and they all depend on my moods as to which one I feel the most connected to and want to read again.

Some of my favourites would have to be – Empire of the Sun by J.G Ballard, The Hollows series by Kim Harrison, most things by Katie MacAlister and MaryJanice Davidson and so on.

Asking to choose a favourite book is like asking me to choose which one of my children is my favourite…I just can’t decide!

Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favorite/worst book to movie transfer?

No, never… well, almost never. There is a picture I like that is of an iceberg seen from side on both above and below the water. The tiny little bit above the water says “Film version” while the tonnes and tonnes of ice hidden below the surface say “original book” and that is honestly my opinion on book to film conversions. And film to book conversions are even worse as you’ve taken that flat 2D world off the film and slapped it between some pages with no depth.

I will, however, say that the film version of Empire of the Sun was acceptable. But I am a very picky critic on book to film or TV when it comes to my favourite authors. Don’t get me started on my opinion of any film or TV version of Sherlock Holmes when compared to the actual written stories. I feel the closest conversion there was DangerMouse.

Your favorite food is?

Chinese food, especially Cantonese. I grew up in Darwin and the Chinese have a very strong history there and so a lot of my comfort foods and childhood treats are actually Chinese. From haw fruit, salty plums, black plums and desiccated papaya through to lemon chicken and a decent chop suey. Oh yeah!

Saddest thing is decent Chinese food is so very hard to find in other parts of Australia unless you go to the local China Town. Darwin is a China town and it’s one of the things I miss so much about it… and doubt it’s still the same all these years later.

Your favorite singer/group is?

Again, I have no one favourite… gosh I’m difficult! It all comes down to mood. I have a compilation on my MP3 player called ‘Easy Listening’ that I made and it’s what I listen to most. It’s made up of Enya, Enigma, Jonsi, Deep Forest, Clannad, Secret Garden and similar styles… though also has a bit of Bowie, Coldplay, Kate Bush and U2 in it. I’m either weird in my tastes of eclectic. Call me which ever sounds nicer.

Your favorite color is?

Ooh ohh, one I can answer with a vaguely definite answer! I like pale shades of blue through into greys and the like. If you look at the horizon on a sunny clear day, where it is that pale blue to almost white and yellow – that’s my favourite colour. Mind you, if you’ve ever flown during the winter and can look up from inside the plane on a clear day… that deep blue moving into indigo is a fathomlessly beautiful colour too. I stare at the sky a lot, can you tell?

Your favorite Author is?

And we were doing so well… not a single answer can be given but I will narrow it down to a top 10 in no particular order:

Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Kim Harrison, Elizabeth Peters (Barbara Michaels), Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, Katie MacAlister, MaryJanice Davidson, Robert Westall and MC Beaton (Marion Chesney).



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Janis grew up in and around Darwin, Australia, and its rural surrounds. As a child, she spent a lot of time around 'science geeks' at the Darwin University, where her father was a lecturer for many years. It took her a long time to realise that not everyone got to grow up like that or could relate to all the Science Labs scenes in the old Dr Who.

Janis now lives in the Adelaide Hills with her husband and 3 children, lovingly referred to as the ‘Demonic Hordes’. She is a semi-retired ICT Support Officer who, when not writing, takes pride in her work as a Haus Frau while dabbling in the art of translating century old cookery books into modern recipes to experiment on her family with.