Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Fairy tales for my children

Posted by: Shona Husk
In a couple of weeks Servant of the Forest comes out. I wrote this a couple of years ago because my kids were bugging me about wanting to read something I'd written (and most of what I write is MA15+). This is a YA fairy tale retelling because my kids were into fairy tales (mixed up, retellings whatever) at the time.

There's a terribly scarred prince locked in the castle because of a curse that threatens his life. A party that all women in the kingdom must attend. Familiar elements. There's also witches and a young woman discovering her power. I didn't want a damsel in distress, I wanted the damsel to be the saviour. But I also wanted to include the darkness that fairy tales have, the scheming of the powerful and those who want that power.

My kids loved the story.

When I decided to self publish it they helped pick the cover. 

I hope that other people enjoy it as much as they did (and I did while writing it).


Remember to be wild,” Orabella’s mother would say.

But her mother is dead and Orabella’s days are taken up with chores for the small estate that barely keeps her stepmother and stepsisters fed.

Then an invitation arrives. The King is throwing a three day party for the Prince, a last attempt to find a cure for the curse that will claim him on his twentieth birthday. The witch who saves Gauthier will get his hand in marriage and will eventually become queen.

Orabella is forbidden from going to the party even though everyone is invited. She wants to see the castle and the Cursed Prince. This time she refuses to obey her stepmother.

As Orabella discovers the secrets of her past and the truth about her mother and the prince’s curse, she learns that no one is to be trusted and not everyone wants the prince to survive.



I'm also giving away a print copy

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Servant of the Forest by Shona Husk

Servant of the Forest

by Shona Husk

Giveaway ends August 23, 2017.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Monday, August 21, 2017

Here Be News

Posted by: Veronica Scott
Other News:
Now Available an as Audio Book!

JONES & JONES

Sci-Fi/Urban Fantasy/Romantic Suspense
by Linda Mooney

Word Count: 37.2K
$2.99 e / $9.99 p / $14.95 a
Narrated by Charley Ongel
Length: 3 hrs, 43 min

Hear a Sample


Bounty hunters by day. Superheroes by night.



Slone and Embrie have known each other since birth, and after crash landing on Earth, they know they are the last of their kind. Intergalactic refugees, and extremely young, they are discovered and taken in by an older couple who teach them how to survive and fit in.

With powers no human possesses, the two decide they should share their strengths with the world, and Falcon and Hawk are born. Saving lives is their calling and the right thing to do, but unfortunately it doesn’t pay the bills, so bounty hunting by day it is. Unfortunately, living a double life takes a toll on a person, superhuman or not, both physically and emotionally. And with exhaustion comes mistakes.

So when Embrie is injured, leaving her weak and vulnerable, Slone must make the decision to expose who they are to save her life or lose his love forever.

Until a job from the past resurfaces, threatening to make that decision for him, as well as destroy everything they've sacrificed and worked for. 

Warning! Contains a dozen red roses, a desire for Italian food, emergency surgery, a hostage crisis, a debt paid, a Level Four contagion, burning a candle at both ends, sonic booms, and two childhood friends who survive to become eternal lovers.

Excerpt and buy links.

***********************
Part Two of Veronica Scott's conversation with scifi romance readers about favorite heroes and book recommendations appeared on AMAZING STORIES last week.

Bring It Back(list) Feature:
Something Wicked by Angela Campbell, including an excerpt:

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Bring It Back(list): SOMETHING WICKED by Angela Campbell

Posted by: Angela Campbell
I had initially planned to use this spot to highlight my book ON THE SCENT, but I did that a few weeks back instead — so here's some info about the second book in my psychic detectives series, SOMETHING WICKED. While you can certainly read this book as a standalone, why not grab my USA Today bestselling book ON THE SCENT too while it's on sale for only 99 cents?

Something wicked this way comes…


All homicide detective Dylan Collins wants is a few hours of pleasure to take his mind off of the case haunting him. A serial killer is stalking the streets of Charleston, SC – a killer who calls himself The Grim Reaper. When the woman he'd just spent the night with turns up and offers her services as a psychic consultant on the case, his ardor quickly cools. Last thing he needs is to get tangled up with a con artist.

It doesn't take long for Dylan to realize Alexandra King is the real deal – and the killer's next target. Dylan's protective instincts battle his reluctance to get too involved with a woman he isn't sure he can trust. As they get closer to finding the killer, they also grow closer to one another, but will Alexandra's secret agenda destroy their chance at happiness – if the killer doesn't strike first?

EXCERPT:

“It must be your lucky night, hon.” A woman’s voice drew her attention.

Alexandra blinked up at her waitress as the young woman slid a mug of beer in front of her. Did the girl seriously just call her hon?

The redhead nodded over her shoulder. “The hunk at the pool tables bought you a drink.” She winked. “Enjoy.”

Oh, no. Not only were the dead people around here clamoring for her attention, so was some a-hole on the prowl. She bit back a groan and lifted her gaze to give the man a polite shake of her head, a silent thanks but no thanks and –

Hello, Mr. Delicious.

He was hands down the most criminally sexy man she’d ever laid eyes on, and for a woman who worked with some serious man candy these days, that was saying a lot. He studied her from the billiards area as he chalked up one of the cues. He was the only person over there, playing a solitary game while most people congregated at the bar. A slight smile teased his mouth as she managed to lift the mug and nod. So what if she hated beer? She’d gulp the whole thing in one go if that sex god wanted to watch. He nodded back, gestured to the pool table beside him, and—

Oh, yeah. She was tempted to saunter over there and see what happened. Beyond tempted. She’d never had a one-night stand in her life, but maybe this was as good a time as any.

“Well, I’ll be! He sure seems to have struck yer fancy.”

Oh, no. She scrunched her brows and shook her head. She had a bad feeling about this.

The ghost wooted. “Oh, but I think he has.” He glanced toward the billiards. “And I dare say he has taken quite a fancy to you, miss. Comes in here a lot, that one does. Never been able to spook ‘em though.” Derby Hat Guy abruptly stood and started walking toward the other man, saying, “Let’s give ‘em a game. Have a bit of fun with the rascal.” He rubbed his hands together.

“Wait! Uh,” Alexandra jumped to her feet and realized a few seconds later she was practically on top of the pool table when Mr. Delicious said, amused, “Whoa now. I’m guessing you like a good game of pool?”

Among other things.

She bit her lip and tried to ignore the ghost bent over the other end of the table, reaching for two of the balls that had been scattered near a corner pocket. She’d made this poor, delicious man a target of the ghost’s tomfoolery. Oh dear. She needed to fix this.

“Pool?” Her eyes widened when Derby Hat Guy picked up the white ball behind Mr. Delicious and moved it clearway across the table. There was no orange glow to it, which meant the ball had actually moved. Had anyone else seen that? This ghost was an old and smart one. Not many could move objects like that. “Yeah. Yeah, I love pool. Game on.” Leaning over, she slapped the green felt and flicked her fingers a few times toward the wall, trying to convey the message to Derby Hat Guy to get lost.

Mr. Delicious held out a cue stick to her in offering, distracting her from the ghost past his shoulder. “Great. We’ll start a new game. I was getting tired of losing to myself.” He looked her up and down where she still leaned against the table and seemed to like what he saw. His smoldering blue eyes burned with heat so intense, she felt her insides ignite. He wriggled the cue in his hand. “You know how to use this thing?” His smile was kicked up to full charge on the suggestive meter.

Oh, my, he was flirting, and that was a game best played by two. Accepting the wooden pole from him, Alexandra arched a brow and slowly ran a finger along its length. “I can handle a stick pretty good.” She pursed her lips, blew at the chalk on the end, and slowly batted her lashes when she looked at him again. “Besides, what woman doesn’t love to bust some balls every now and then?”

He gave an appreciative chuckle. “All right.” He began setting up a new game and she sighed, watching his taut backside move deliciously against his faded jeans as he bent over. Damn. Levis should pay him a royalty. Who looked that good in jeans, besides Calvin Klein models? No one, except this guy. Maybe he was a Calvin Klein model. He definitely had the face and body for it.

And maybe she should offer to buy him a drink or something—you know, to apologize for making him a target of the resident ghost.

“Can I get you a beer?”

“Nah. I’m good.” His back muscles stretched against his black t-shirt when he rested his elbows on the table, highlighting some serious muscle definition beneath.

“Something else? Whiskey?” She tilted her head at him. Me?

WHERE TO BUY:
Amazon | Barnes and Noble (U.S.) | iBooks | Google Play | Kobo

***
Angela Campbell is the author of the psychic detectives series from Harper Impulse. Learn more about her and her books at www.AngelaCampbellOnline.com

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

GHOST PETS and PHANTOM ANIMALS

Posted by: Dani Harper, AUTHOR
Graphic © Dani Harper
Every dog owner knows the sound – the tick, tick, tick of toenails on the floor as Rover ambles onto the scene to see what you’re up to.

But what if you hear the sounds and there’s no Rover?

A few years ago, a combination of old age and chronic bronchitis caused our dear old pug, Scooby, to pass on. A couple nights later, I found myself awakened by the sound of canine claws on the linoleum. The sound proceeded up the hallway at a slow, waddling pace, accompanied by the jingle of tags. Thinking that my remaining pug, Fiona, needed to go out, I sat up – but discovered she was snoring beside me! All was quiet once more and I thought I’d dreamed the incident.

Graphic © Dani Harper
However, the distinctive doggy sounds continued to occur. By the third incident, I realized that Scooby was still checking in on us. This was confirmed when one of my daughters flew to visit us soon after, and was awakened in the night by the same phenomena – and I hadn’t yet told her of my own experiences. Scooby had been especially close to her and I wondered if perhaps he had lingered in order to connect with her. After she went home, the pugly visitations gradually ceased.

Stories abound of departed pets visiting the people they were close to in life. Ghostly experiences include the physical sensation of an unseen cat or dog jumping onto the bed in the night and settling into their habitual spot. Sounds associated with the animal are one of the most reported phenomenon. Jingling tags and footfalls are common (as with our Scooby) but there are also flapping ears, water guzzling, purring, the solid thud after leaping down off the couch, and much more. Even the scent of the animal has been reported.

Sightings occur as well. People tell of a familiar canine padding through the house as it did in life, or a favorite feline appearing to be curled up for a nap in its favorite chair.

Graphic © Dani Harper
Researchers suggest that some ghosts are not actual entities but a snippet of time being replayed over and over, like a loop of film. This might explain the phenomena at the ancient Coliseum in Rome, where thousands of animals – lions, wolves, bears, elephants and more – were once used to perform or pitted against gladiators. For centuries, there have been reports of people hearing the roaring of big cats and the trumpeting of elephants.

Likewise, the Tower of London once boasted a menagerie of exotic animals, including large carnivores. Years after the creatures were gone, a sentry tried to attack a phantom bear that appeared to be running towards him. Here in America, the sounds of rapidly approaching hoofbeats are still reported at Hollenberg Station in Kansas, once a stop for the Pony Express. And there are many accounts of a ghost cat appearing at the United States Capital building.

Graphic © Dani Harper
Former Civil War battlefields and camps are the source of countless apparitions, both human and animal. A battle re-enactor was surprised to discover a riderless horse standing a few feet behind him – but his company had no horses. The sound of many horses snorting and pawing the ground has often been reported around Cashtown Inn in Pennsylvania, where Confederate soldiers once stayed.

Some phantom animals have a job or duty that they continue to attend to. For example, a church in Picton, Australia has an enormous phantom dog. It's said that a priest owned a St. Bernard, and when his beloved pet died, he buried it in the church graveyard. The ghost dog patrols the cemetery and sometimes chases people away. At the Martha Washington Inn in Abingdon, Virginia, a ghost horse roams the grounds and startles guests on occasion. Legend has it that the animal is still waiting for its rider, a Union soldier who was shot in front of the building in 1864.

Graphic © Dani Harper
As with the ghosts of humans, not all animal spirits are friendly. One of the most haunted places in Maryland is a house in Fells Point with five ghosts – and one of them is an angry cat. The story goes that a large cat belonged to a woman who was abused by her drunken husband. The man resented the cat and eventually killed it. Many years later, the house was remodeled, and a feline skeleton discovered in a cellar wall. This likely explains the mysterious gray cat that has appeared in many rooms of the house ever since – and also explains its bad temper. Guests have attempted to pet the creature, thinking it to be a live cat, but it hisses and runs away. It has also been reported to run between the legs of some people, knocking them off balance.

What if the pet owner is a ghost too? The Hotel Vendome in Prescott, Arizona has long been considered haunted by Abby Byr, a woman who once owned the hotel before falling on hard times. Keeping her company is her cat, Noble. The friendly pair have been spotted in and around Room 16 for decades. And apparently Noble has snuggled into bed with some of the guests! 

Do YOU believe in ghost animals? Ever have an experience with one?

......................................................

Love Faeries? These ones aren't cute...
Love dogs? These ones aren't cuddly...

 Check out The Grim Series by Dani Harper

STORM WARRIOR, STORM BOUND, and STORM WARNED
Upcoming release, STORM CROSSED now available for pre-order !

Note: Every book in this series is designed to stand alone. It's more fun to read them in order, but not necessary.
Legend, love, lore, and magic...
See ALL my novels on my Amazon Author Page
or go to my website at http://www.daniharper.com

Monday, August 14, 2017

Here Be News

Posted by: Veronica Scott
New Releases:

Desert Devil - World-travelling paranormal romance - 99c for a short time!

Legendary magic. A desert hideout. Secrets & sorcery. A former Army Ranger with a unique gift. Enter a world where loyalty has a price. DESERT DEVIL Compelling & original. Read it today FREE in Kindle Unlimited.

Buy link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073T8KJ3Q



 

Other News:
Veronica Scott stopped by Pauline Baird Jones's blog last week to discuss "Why I Wrote Two Against the Stars" and shared a bit of her personal backstory that influenced some of the novel's scenes.
Interview with Anthony Lemke, 'Three' of "Dark Matter" - Veronica Scott interviewed the actor from the SyFy Channel's science fiction TV show last week for AMAZING STORIES MAGAZINE blog.




Bring It Back(list):

Bring It Back(list): Learn about THE BATTLE LORD'S LADY, The Battle Lord Saga, Book 1 by @LindaMooney @HereBeMagic http://bit.ly/2uAWPD9 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Bring It Back(list) - THE BATTLE LORD'S LADY, The Battle Lord Saga, Book 1

Posted by: Linda Mooney
THE BATTLE LORD'S LADY
Book 1 of The Battle Lord Saga
Sci-Fi/Futuristic/Post-Apocalyptic Romance
by Linda Mooney
Word Count:  112K
$.99 e / $15.99 p / $21.95 a


Three hundred years in the future, mankind still is trying to survive the Great Collision that changed the earth forever. People live in pockets of civilization called compounds, battling the elements and the mutations which have developed over the centuries, trying to live and survive day by day.

Yulen D'Jacques is the Battle Lord of Alta Novis. His duty is to keep his compound and his people safe, which means yearly sweeps of the area to remove any mutated men and animals from encroaching. 


Atrilan Ferran is Mutah, a mutant warrior and huntress trained to protect and defend her home from Cleaners, the “normals” who invade the forests to slaughter everything and everyone who gets in their way.

They never anticipated the day when their hearts would collide, challenging and changing everything they thought was the truth. Leading them to the day they would have to prove their love for each other to man and mutant alike.


Warning:  Contains intense cruelty, an avaricious mother-in-law, unbelievable hunting abilities, mutant animals, silken tents, dungeons, denial, and a love that would spawn a dynasty.

Note: There are currently seven books in this series. And coming soon, The D'Jacques Dynasty, Book 1: Lucien.

Excerpt and buy links.

Friday, August 11, 2017

ARCHIVE: THE GUARDIAN'S WITCH An Interview with Lord Alex and Lady Lisbeth

Posted by: Ruth A Casie
Veronica: Ruth is traveling and unable to post today so she asked me to please share this fun character interview she did back in 2014.

Ah, there you are and just in time. Thank you for coming I knew you wouldn't want to miss this. We've pulled a real coup. Let me give you a little background before they begin. Our investigative reporter is about to hold an interview the hero, Lord Alex, and heroine, Lady Lisbeth, of Ruth A. Casie's book, The Guardian's Witch. I see they are about to begin. I'll fill you in on their story when the interview is over.


Reporter: (Facing the audience) Welcome and good afternoon. Today’s quests are Lord Alex Stelton, the exceptional knight who put his life on the line for the woman he loves. Also here is his extraordinary wife, Lady Lisbeth. She too was willing to risk it all--to save the man she loves.

Alex Stelton is the seventh son of Lord and Lady Stelton. Alex’s father is also a seventh son, an oddity that arises in the Stelton family from time to time. Lady Lisbeth and her younger sister, Laura survive their parents Lord and Lady Reynolds who were lost to us in a terrible carriage accident and their brother, Richard. Richard died valiantly on the Welsh battlefield.

(Turning to his guests) Thank you both for taking time to talk to us today. The first question I have is for Lord Alex.

Alex: Please, call me Alex.

Reporter: Certainly. Alex, what was your first impression of Lisbeth?

Alex: I’m embarrassed to tell you.

Lisbeth: He avoided me for weeks.

Alex: (Taking Lisbeth’s hand.) That’s not quite correct. You made it perfectly clear that you wanted no part of me. As a matter of fact I got a very clear impression that you would’ve been quite happy if I had disappeared like the others the king sent to protect you.

Lisbeth: Well, what did you expect? You came marching into Glen Kirk all proud and self-important just like all the others.

Alex: (Raising an eyebrow to his wife.) Did I now?

Lisbeth: (A bit contrite.) Well, maybe not exactly like them. (She pulls her hand away from his and faces him.) How was I to know?

Reporter: (Cough.) How did this disagreement start?

Lisbeth: He didn’t tell me for weeks.

Reporter: I beg your pardon. What didn’t Alex tell you for weeks? (Looking at Alex the reporter noticed him squirm, just a bit.)

Lisbeth: He didn’t tell me we were married.

Reporter: Married? I don’t understand?

Alex: Wait a minute, Love. You didn’t exactly make it easy.

Lisbeth: Love— (She shot Alex a glance that could turn him into a pillar of salt.)

Alex: (Alex faced the reporter) I won a bet with King James. If I held Lisbeth’s Glen Kirk Castle safe for one year it would be mine. Having an estate of my own has been a goal of mine for some time.

Lisbeth: (Foot tapping.)

Alex: (Rakes his hand through his hair.) After meeting my part of the bargain, I went to London to collect my winnings and ended proxy wed to Lady Lisbeth by order of the king.

Reporter: He what? And you didn’t tell her for weeks?

Lisbeth: (Folding her arms in front of her glaring at Alex.) Exactly.

Reporter: Perhaps we should move on. Lisbeth, I understand you come from a long line of healers and that you are quite gifted. My sources tell me you’ve used that gift to save Alex more than once.

Lisbeth: (A humbled look crosses her face.) Yes, I work hard to keep the people I love safe.

Reporter: (Shows Lisbeth a charm.) I understand you place these charms in the trees around Glen Kirk.

Alex: (Takes the charms from the interviewer.) My wife has a notion that the pretty bits shine and distract. (He gave the reporter a cold stare.)

Reporter: I understand there are rumors that your wife… uses incantations—

Alex: (Stands dragging Lisbeth with him.) This interview is over.

Reporter: (Obviously upset.) I’m sorry m’lord. I meant no disrespect to your wife or you. But sir, your wife’s special talents are common knowledge far and wide. It is to be honored sir, not reviled as some may think.

Alex: I clearly told your man that those questions were not to be asked.

Reporter: M'lord, Alex, this woman was ready to risk everything for you. She was in the midst of conjuring up the true criminal responsible for the treason for which you were accused. She was using her magic in front of the king and his court, all to protect you. Surely you know what a grave risk she was taking.

Alex: Don’t you think I know that. (Alex took his wife in his arms.) I cringe each time I think of how close she came to being judged a witch and the consequences that would have been metered out.

Lisbeth: Alex, (she pulls gently away from his embrace) come sit down. No harm was meant, surely you know that. (She pats his arm.)

Alex: (Regaining his composure.) I will not dwell on it, Lisbeth. I will protect you always.

Lisbeth: Yes, Alex. I wouldn’t have it any other way. But all here know who and what I am. There is no longer a need to hide that I am a witch.

Reporter: We have a little more time. Alex, I understand that your wife is very talented. Her dreams of the future appear to come true.

Alex: (He looks at his wife and does all he can to contain his smile.) My wife has many talents. Her dreams are--exceptional.

Lisbeth: Shhh Alex.(She leans close to him.) No one else will understand.

Alex: (Totally forgetting the reporter for the moment.) You call me into your dreams and we… Faith, (A smoldering look passes between them and he rakes his hand through his hair.) I want to spend the rest of my life in your dreams…

Reporter: Well, thank you both very much. (Pulling on his shirt collar.) Is it warm in here? (The reporter turns to the audience) You can find out more about Lord Alex and Lady Lisbeth in The Guardian’s Witch by Ruth A. Casie now available for their Nook or Kobo or Kindle

I hope you enjoyed the interview. Here's a brief overview and trailer for The Guardian's Witch.

England, 1290
Lord Alex Stelton can't resist a challenge, especially one with a prize like this: protect a castle on the Scottish border for a year, and it's his. Desperate for land of his own, he'll do anything to win the estate—even enter a proxy marriage to Lady Lisbeth Reynolds, the rumored witch who lives there.
Feared and scorned for her second sight, Lisbeth swore she'd never marry, but she is drawn to the handsome, confident Alex. She sees great love with him but fears what he would think of her gift and her visions of a traitor in their midst.

Despite his own vow never to fall in love, Alex can't get the alluring Lisbeth out of his mind and is driven to protect her when attacks begin on the border. But as her visions of danger intensify, Lisbeth knows it is she who must protect him. Realizing they'll secure their future only by facing the threat together, she must choose between keeping her magic a secret and losing the man she loves.





Do you have any questions for Lord Alex or Lady Lisbeth?

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

TWO AGAINST THE STARS Exclusive Excerpt from New #SciFi Release

Posted by: Veronica Scott
I thought I'd share another excerpt from my latest scifi romance release, Two Against the Stars.

Here's the story:
Empathic priestess Carialle has escaped the evil Amarotu Combine, but she’s hardly out of danger. Not when she risks everything to rescue a drugged man from a crooked veterans’ clinic. By lulling the clinic staff to sleep, she reveals her powers. And once again, criminals are after her and her rescuer.

Marcus Valerian, a wounded Special Forces veteran, never expected to have his life threatened by the clinic that’s supposed to help ex-soldiers like him. But when he wakes from a drugged state to find a lovely woman urging him to run–he does. In his family’s remote fishing cabin, he suffers the agony of withdrawal, soothed only by her powers.

In their idyllic hideaway, the two also discover a nova-hot attraction flaring. But can they stay alive long enough for it to become more? Not if the Combine has anything to say–they are not giving up until Marcus is dead and Carialle is their weapon.

The excerpt – empath Carialle uses her power to ingratiate herself to the landlady:
As her landlady gently quizzed her about what she needed and made suggestions, Carialle used her power to peer more deeply into the woman’s aura. The colors indicated Mrs. Galaganos liked to keep her fingers on everything going on in the neighborhood. She had a deep thirst for knowledge as a means of control of her environment. Living in a place like this, Carialle could see why the woman wanted to keep up with the business of everyone in her orbit. Knowledge was power in certain situations. She wondered if Mrs. Galaganos planned to pump her for gossip from the clinic. If she gets too nosy about me, I’ll have to be on the move.

“You certainly maintain the garden in great shape,” she said, trying to change the subject.

Pride evident on her face, Mrs. Galaganos surveyed her small domain. “Yes, all but the biggest tree. I’ll be devastated if anything happens to it but the leaves have been dropping for ten days now and this isn’t the leaf-casting season. I gave it extra water.”

Impatient as she was to be off about her own errands, Carialle felt a compulsion to react to the concern about the possibly ailing tree.  Tulavarrans and nature worked hand in hand on her planet and a priestess was never to ignore the needs of the differently-sentient. “Additional irrigation isn’t always the best tactic,” she said, walking toward the tree in question. “Let me take a look.”

Mrs Galaganos trailed behind her.  The pet yawned, rolled over in its patch of sun, and ignored them.
The tree had a beautiful shape, with a swirling trunk rising twenty feet in the air, and graceful branches currently sporting rather patchy clumps of leaves.  The older leaves were a glossy deep green but the newer ones were shriveled, mottled with red and brown. Carialle stepped across the ornamental barrier of white shells and rested her hand on the tree, reaching for the sentient with her power. A carving to the left caught her eye. “What’s this?”

“My late husband planted this tree when we moved in here, all those years ago.” Mrs. Galaganos sighed. “He was such a romantic—he carved our names into the trunk, with a heart, in honor of our love. Said it represented our promise to each other. This tree is my last link to him—he died a year ago. I’ll be devastated if it dies too. I feel close to him when I’m out here gardening in the shade of the tree.” Her voice quavered and Carialle feared the elderly lady was on the verge of tears.

She peered more closely at the inscription and could barely make out two names and several slashes resembling a date. The heart shape was distorted by the tree’s growth pattern.  “It’s lovely,” she said, repressing a shudder at the idea of defacing the living wood in this fashion. The carving was old and clearly not the cause of the tree’s current health problem.  “Bugs. Living deep within the trunk, feasting on the rising sap.”

“How—how can you tell?”

“I know a lot about plants. I’ve studied them.” Carialle improvised. The tree was attempting to tell her what course of action might help it fight off the infestation. She sent the entity a comforting thought and then used her power to push the insects.

Mrs. Galaganos screeched and retreated as a flood of tiny black and white insects came pouring from the ground between the tree’s gnarled roots, and out of every knothole. “I’ll get the watering robo and drown them!” She hobbled to take action, as the pet arrived to growl and make threatening noises at the invaders. His elderly mistress washed the horde off the sidewalk and into a drain, muttering imprecations against them and obviously taking great joy in defeating the hitherto unseen enemy. Carialle bit her lip hard to repress her urge to grin at the landlady’s enthusiasm.

She stepped away from the tree, hopping across the puddles and rivulets left behind on the sidewalk by Mrs. Galaganos’s flood.  “I believe if you sprinkle a spice which possesses a heavy concentration of capsaicin or a similar substance, around the roots once a week, work it into the ground with a trowel and then water, the tree will remain insect-free and should recover. Follow the procedure for four weeks.”

“It looks better already.”

Carialle pivoted on her heel to survey the tree. The leaves did seem healthier and the branches were less droopy.

“How—how did you do that?” Mrs. Galaganos was staring at her.

Hastily Carialle sent a thread of her power to calm the old woman, and to help her believe the lie she was about to utter. “I heard them moving and chirping under the bark and so I thumped hard on the tree. I guess I startled a bunch of them and the others followed, like larger creatures stampeding. You took care of the problem then.”

Mrs. Galaganos took a deep breath and patted the robo by her side. “I certainly did.”

With reluctance Carialle left an outsized feeling of gratitude for her efforts in her landlady’s mind. The woman made it her business to know everyone and everything in the district apparently and Carialle might need a favor or significant help at some point. Always good to have a kernel of obligation already planted. “I’ve got to be going now. I’m running out of time before I have to be at work so I must get my errands done.”

“See you later, dearie.”

She waved and left the courtyard, heading for the marketplace. She’d probably gone overboard with her assistance to the tree, but it was hard to tamp down her power once she was engaged in a task actually proper and in line with her beliefs. At the same time, leaving Mrs. Galaganos feeling so indebted to her made her feel queasy. Uncomfortably close to the type of coercion the Combine had forced her to do.

Buy Links:

And don't miss the other two books in this series!


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

When is a Pet Not a Pet?

Posted by: PG Forte
As anyone who knows me will tell you, I love animals. And over the course of my life I’ve had a fair number of pets—cats, dogs, mice, various types of birds (from chickens to canaries), frogs, lizards, turtles, fish, tarantulas. At one point, in fact, I had almost all of those at once. And when I started writing, my characters all had pets as well.

And then vampires happened.

I don’t know why it is, and it certainly wasn’t intentional on my part, but—for the most part—my vampires have never felt the need for pets. Cookies—yes. Pets—no. Go figure.

But for every rule, there’s an exception. Which is how Liz, one of the vampires in last year’s Going Back to Find You, ends up adopting a pet when she’s befriended by a cat. A very unusual cat.

Because, really, when you think about it, why shouldn’t a paranormal creature have a paranormal pet? 

*****

As they turned away and headed off in their different directions, Jason became aware that Liz was looking unusually pensive. “Everything all right?” he asked.

Liz nodded. “I guess so. This is going to sound silly, but I was hoping I’d see that cat again before we left. I wanted to say good-bye.”

“Cat?” Jason all but stumbled in surprise. “What cat?

“The big tomcat that was hanging around in the park. You probably saw him at some point.”

“That’s entirely possible. What’d he look like?”

Liz shot him a curious glance. “Nothing special. He’s just an ordinary cat. A dark orange tabby with white paws and a big plumed tail and a—”

“A scar behind one ear?”

“That’s the one. I caught him watching us through the skylight Saturday morning. I told him to go away, and now I haven’t seen him since.”

“He did what?” Jason felt himself frowning.

Liz shot him a curious look. “You know you’re being really weird about this, right? He’s just a cat.”

Jason snorted in disbelief. “’Course he is.”

“Anyway, I hope he’s all right.”

“I’m sure he’s fine,” Jason assured her. “Really. I’m sure there’s nothing to worry about.”

“Well, I don’t know how you’d know something like that. Have you seen him recently?”

“I…You know, it’s just a feeling I have. Trust me.”

“Still, it got me thinking. It might be nice for us to get one.”

“Get one what?”

“A cat. To take with us on our travels.”

“Oh, hell, no.” Jason stared at her in horror. “Are you serious?”

“What’s the matter with you? Don’t you like cats?”

“Sure I do.” It wasn’t cats that bothered him, it was knowing there were things out there that looked like cats—but weren’t. “Can we talk about this later?” Like much, much later.

*****

But, if the cat's not really a cat...is it still a pet? I guess that's something we each have to decide for ourselves. 

Going Back To Find You was part of a group release. Most of my characters also appear in Going For Brook, by Kinsey Holley.  And I borrowed several characters (including the cat) from her. Both books can be read alone, of course, but if you want the full story on the cat, you’d probably want to read them both.

Because even a vampire deserves a second chance.

When Jason Cook boarded the train to San Francisco, he didn’t plan on coming back. He never really thought he’d see Nebraska or Lizbeth Petersen ever again. But when an unexpected turn of events threatens the woman he’d loved and lost, he has no choice but to go back and try to make things right.

Lizbeth never thought she’d see Jason again, either—and she’s not so sure she wants to see him now. Her life’s a mess, but at least it’s her mess. And after a lifetime of other people making decisions for her, she’s looking forward to finally figuring out some things on her own. Besides, Jason already left her once when she needed him. Why should she trust him not to do the same again now?

Warning: This is not a drill. Vampires are invading your favorite, small Nebraska town this Halloween. Does this mean Type-O flavored booze will soon be the new rage in Sapphire Falls? Hopefully, it won’t come to that. But you never can tell…

 Available at Amazon


He can’t live with her, he can’t leave without her...

Brook Lyall's parents passed away four years ago. They were happy in Sapphire Falls, but because they, and Brook, were…different, they didn’t let her spend much time with kids her age. Grown-up Brook is enjoying the friendships she’s formed with Hope Bennett, Peyton Wells, Delaney Bennett, and others. She loves Sapphire Falls and doesn’t want to leave.

Aiken Kavanagh came to Sapphire Falls from Silicon Valley right before the car wreck that claimed Brook’s parents’ lives. Charlie Lyall was one of Aiken’s closest friends. They went back a long way—a very, very long way. Aiken promised Charlie he’d stick around Sapphire Falls until Brook was ready to leave.

Because she has to leave. She’s only got a few more years before people start asking questions she can’t answer.


Available at Amazon

Monday, August 7, 2017

Here Be News

Posted by: Veronica Scott
New Releases:
EVERY MEMORY OF YOU
Sweet Paranormal/Fantasy Romanceby Linda Mooney
Word Count: 34.7K
$2.99 e (Coming Soon to Print!)

Traveling with the circus since he was twelve, the carny life was all Toby Pach knew, the only place he fit in. From strong man to clean-up crew, he had many jobs, but he spent most of his time working with the elephants, who he had more in common with than most people knew.

When Toby sees the newest act and member of the family, a dark-haired beauty named Kai, he's enamored. Could she be the one who will accept him, both sides of him?
Kai Omanpang, one half of a knife-throwing act, is tired of traveling from one Big Top to another. She's ready to settle down, ready to put down some roots, but she can't convince her father of that. Maybe this circus will be different, and they will be part of the main event after all. When she meets Tobias the Mighty, she's intrigued by the gentle giant, but he has secrets.

With an unexpected onslaught of protestors, shootings, and a string of bad luck, something's got to give. Is it the newcomers' fault? Or is it time to hang up the ringmaster hat once and for all? Circuses are a dying pastime, but the memories they incur will last a lifetime.

Warning! Contains shattered glass, vengeful head-butting, shared secrets, carving watermelons from fifteen feet away, chili and beans (and meatloaf on Tuesdays!), physical and emotional loss, and one man fighting himself to let the woman he's come to love learn his darkest secrets.


Other News:
Veronica Scott's latest new release Two Against the Stars, got a new 5 Star Review on Amazon: "Another freaking fantastic read..."









Amazing Stories Magazine Blog featured Part One of Veronica's chat with scifi romance readers and authors on favorite heroes and book recommendations - space marines/military and cyborgs.


  Bring It Back(list) Feature:
Dani Harper talks about Changeling Dream:

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