Category Archives: Book Talk Tuesdays

Book Talk Tuesdays: Guest Interview with J.D. Brown

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Please welcome J.D. Brown, urban fantasy author of Dark Heirloom and Dark Liaision

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What are your book about?

Dark Heirloom follows the misadventure of a young woman named Ema Marx as she stumbles fangs-first into the world of vampyrism. She has no idea how she became a vampyre, but she’s convinced the guy who kidnapped her is to blame. Yet, he keeps asking her how it happened, as if she has any clue. Just yesterday she was happily living life not knowing they even existed. Dark Liaison (which comes out next week!!!) is the sequel where Ema has to fight a major baddy that she accidently unleashed in the first book.

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What inspired you to write this particular story?
I really love vampires, ever since I read The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice, but more recent works (well, they’re not so recent any more. Think pre-Twilight) always seemed to focus on the clumsy fragile human and I was tired of it. I wanted to read a book there the vampire was the main character, and all the other characters where vampires too. Really, I just wanted to give my readers an “up close and personal” look at what I thought the vampire world might be like.

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Describe your writing in three words.
Sarcastic, exaggerated, dramatic.

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Do you have specific techniques you use to develop the plot and stay on track?
Oh God. You know, I used to preach about outlines and organization, but at this point in my creative career, I just hand the pen over to my main character without even putting up a fight. I just sit back and watch the chaos happen and then try to clean up the mess later. Haha. I don’t recommend it.

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Are your characters in the book based on anyone you know?
No. There may be a few bits and pieces of people I know mashed in there, but individually my characters are 100% their own.

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Have you ever had difficulty “killing off” a character because she or he was so intriguing and full of possibility for you?
No, but I did feel horrible for killing them only because I feel so emotionally close to my characters. I’ve spent so much time with them, it’s hard not to cry when they die.

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If your book was made into a TV series or movie, which actors would you choose to play your main characters?
Mila Kunis would play Ema Marx. I adore Mila and she has the right looks and personality to pull off Ema. As for the guys, I really have no clue. My sister and I talk about it sometimes just for fun and neither of us can ever come up with an actor right for the part. Some of my fans have suggested Ian Somerhalder, but I think it’s only because he’s so hot right now.Some of my fans have suggested Ian Somerhalder, but I think it’s only because he’s so hot right now.

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Who gets to read your drafts before they’re published?
My critique group is made up of different people who get to read it at different stages. My alpha readers are my two best friends and authors, Charlene Wilson, and Anastasia Pergakis. They’re the ones that keep me on task through the first draft and revisions. Then I send it off to my beta readers – my fans! Some of them are authors and editors, like Kay Dee Royal, but a couple others are just normal reader folks who I met online and have grown to love because they’ve been so supportive! I really love my readers and I really value their feedback.

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What’s the weirdest thing you’ve Googled?
Umm…I really rather not say….

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What projects are you working on now?
I’m working on writing the third book the Ema Marx series titled Dark Becoming. I’m also working on a prequel novella titled Athena’s Oracle that stars two of the side characters from Dark Heirloom and takes place in ancient Athens. I’m hoping to make it a web series, but at this early point everything is still up in the air. I’m also working on YA Paranormal Romance tentatively called Crescent Hill High School.

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Is there anything else you would like to say to your readers?
Be kind, rewind. Follow your dreams, and all that good stuff.

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Where can readers find you and your books online?

Tag Line: She wasn’t bitten. She’s not undead. So how did Ema Marx become a vampire?

Blurb: “You’re a vampire” is so not what Ema Marx wants to hear when she wakes from a two-day coma in a cryptic yet exquisite castle in northern Finland. Unfortunately, it explains a lot. Like why she’s able to see in the dark and walk through solid objects. What she doesn’t understand is why the other vampires expect her to have all the answers. It’s their fault she turned into one of them…right?

Jalmari’s hatred for his old-man intensifies when he’s ordered to bring that troublesome girl to their castle. He has a clan to run, there’s no time for babysitting newborn vampires no matter how they were converted to their culture. But when a two-thousand-year-old premonition threatens to take the crown and his life, Jalmari sees no other choice than to take out the catalyst. Ema Marx. Fortunately for Ema, she could also be the clan’s only savior.

The race to figure out her vampiric origins is on. And maybe she’ll get the hang of the blood-drinking gig along the way…

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Chapter One

A scream tore from my throat. The rapid slap of my sneakers against asphalt echoed through the alley. Wind ripped my hair and coat back as if trying to halt my escape. A chain link fence rose in the distance as I neared the end of the alley. Shit. I could have sworn this one opened to Clark Street.

Thud.

I froze. My heart pounded in my ears. Tears fell as I closed my eyes. Please, please, God…

His heinous laugh drowned out my ragged breath. Caught at a dead end, I had no choice but to turn and face him. He stood in the shadows, the darkness of his attire blended in with the night. Only the glow of his emerald-colored eyes gave him away.

Think, I shouted to myself. What does he want? My purse? My money? With a shaky hand, I pulled my wallet from my bag and flung it at him. He shifted his weight, dodging the wallet in one simple move. I stared like an idiot as it landed in the gutter behind him. Why is he chasing me if he doesn’t want my money? What else could he want?

He grinned, bearing a set of abnormally sharp, fluorescent-white teeth. Who the hell is this freak? He stepped toward me. My fists clenched as I stepped back. He took another step forward. My back pressed against the cold metal of the fence. Tears blurred my vision and fell as ice melted through the back of my coat. Chills rolled down my spine, sending a quiver to my lip. I swallowed the lump of panic building in my throat. “Leave me alone!”

He kept advancing, his eyes locked on my face, his gait slow with one foot in front of the other, like a cat. I shoved a trembling hand in my purse in search of my pepper spray. He snatched my wrist and yanked me to my knees. The contents of my purse spilled and scattered.

“What makes you think I want anything from you?” he sneered.

My chest heaved as I pushed myself up. From the corner of my eye, I glanced at the mouth of the alley, now behind me.

He scoffed. “You think you can run? Go ahead, mouse. Run.”

I did.

I was almost to the street when a thick shadow dropped from the sky. Two rock-solid fists shoved my chest. I fell backward. My head hit the pavement. Stars danced in the periphery of my vision as I struggled to sit up, but my limbs moved in slow motion.

Two hands, each finger adorned by a silver ring, gripped my shoulders and lifted me. My back hit something solid and cold—a brick wall. My feet dangled above the ground. He held me at eye level; his sour breath churned my stomach as his face inched closer to mine.

“I know what you’re thinking.” His voice was deep, smooth, as he rolled his R’s. “You’ve done nothing wrong. Nevertheless, once you kill one rat, you have to kill them all. Even a little mouse like yourself.”

My blood drained at the utterance of the word kill. I squirmed in his grasp. “Please, don’t hurt me.”

He clenched my jaw with one hand as his fingernails dug into my skin. I cried not from the pain, but from fear.

“Would you like to know a secret?” His hot breath caused bile to rise in my throat. “Only you disgusting rats can see our eyes glow. I’m sure you knew that already. I’m sure your mother told you the stories. I’ll bet you didn’t listen to her. I bet you thought they were just fairy tales and bad dreams, hmm?”

I had no idea what he was talking about. I concentrated on finding a way out of his grip, hoping his guard would slip while he continued his monologue.

“You know, when you find one rat, there are a dozen more in the nest.” He tightened his grasp. “Where’s your rathole, eh little mouse?”

“Let me go!” Pain manifested in every inch of my face. My jaw throbbed and my head spun. A stiff ache cut through my spine. Fear and cold shook my core. Exhaustion weighed down my struggling limbs. I just wanted it to end.

He studied my face for a moment, a frown tugged at his lips. “Very well.”

He released my jaw then reached back under his jacket. The sound of sharp metal being unsheathed pierced the night as he drew out a long silver dagger. My eyes widened at the emblems engraved on every inch of the blade and handle. I recognized them as Norse in origin. I also recognized the precise way in which he held the dagger level with my left rib cage. He’s going to stab me in the heart.

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J.D. Brown writes Urban Fantasy for MuseItUp Publishing, as well as a monthly “how-to” newsletter column for PDMI Freelance Publishing. She graduated from The International Academy of Design and Technology with a Bachelor Degree in Fine Arts and currently lives in Wisconsin with her two Pomeranians. J.D. loves paranormal characters; from vampires and werewolves, demons and angels, to witches and ghost. She is a self-proclaimed expert in vampire and Greek mythology. Her writings are often a combination of suspense and romance. J.D. enjoys helping her fellow writers and interacting with her fans and leads an active life on the web.

Author’s Social Network Links:

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Book Talk Tuesdays: Guest Interview with David Swykert

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Please welcome David Swyket author of The Death of Anyone!

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What is your book about?

The underlying theme in my latest book, The Death of Anyone, poses the Machiavellian question: Does the end justify the means? I developed this story around an impulsive homicide detective, Bonnie Benham, who wants to use Familial DNA, a search technique not in common use in the United States. Only two states even have a written policy regarding its use, Colorado and California.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

I first heard about the use of Familial DNA working as a 911 operator in 2006. It came up in a conversation with officers working a case. I thought at the time it would make an interesting premise for a book. I began writing the mystery some three years later after leaving the department. I had just finished editing a first draft of The Death of Anyone in the summer 2010 when news of The Grim Sleeper’s capture in Los Angeles was released. I read with interest all the information pouring out of L.A. regarding the investigation and the problems confronting prosecutors. All of which are explored in The Death of Anyone.

Describe your writing in three words.

Very straight forward.

Do you have specific techniques you use to develop the plot and stay on track?

I begin a story idea by first developing characters in my head. Then I put them into a situation which creates the conflict. I write a story like you’d watch a movie, all the chapters are scenes that point towards the resolution of the conflict I’ve created.

Are your characters in the book based on anyone you know?

Often my characters are based on people I’ve met or seen. Bonnie Benham in this book is modeled after a female officer I worked with. I remember watching a very large man resist being arrested by her and taking off. She chased him down the street and tackled him like a linebacker. That impressed me. Bonnie describes herself as a blond with a badge and a gun. She could tackle someone.

Have you ever had difficulty “killing off” a character because she or he was so intriguing and full of possibility for you?

This will sound very strange, but the most difficult characters I have ever killed off in a story were the wolves in Maggie Elizabeth Harrington and The Place Between. I got teary just writing the scene where they are shot by bounty hunters. Usually, as I know it is just fiction, I am not so quite affected by own writing.

If your book was made into a TV series or movie, which actors would you choose to play your main characters?

This is easy, Scarlett Johansson would be Bonnie Benham and Dermot Mulroney as Neil Jensen.

Who gets to read your drafts before they’re published?

My girlfriend, Donna, besides being girlfriend, lover, confidant, and friend, is also my editor. She’s edited every book (5) that I have in print.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve Googled?

Antimatter. I’ve long had a fascination with physics. Mathematically, I can’t balance my check book, but I’ve long had a fascination with our origins, and those of the infinite.

What projects are you working on now?

I have a book in the final editing stages that will be published this spring that is somewhat about the infinite. It’s a story about the broken relationships and addiction of a dropout physicist who has been reduced to cleaning swimming pools, or “infinite ponds” as he refers to them titled: The Pool Boy’s Beatitude. The book should be released by a small Indie press out of Detroit, Rebel e Publishing in another month. I’ve also begun a story about a retired soldier-cop whose wife has died and he’s retreated to a family cabin on a mountaintop to try and recover his zest for living. The book has a working title: Counting Wolves. I have no idea when it will be finished, or published.

Is there anything else you would like to say to your readers?

Stay in touch with what’s going on in our world, but then turn the TV off and read a good book. Reality TV, or “unreality” TV as I prefer to call it, isn’t worth the electrical energy to keep the flat screen on not to mention flat lining a brain cell with.

Where can readers find you and your books online?

http://www.melange-books.com/authors/djswykert/deathofanyone.html

http://www.writewordsinc.com/chofen.html

https://www.nobleromance.com/Books?author=223

www.magicmasterminds.com

Detroit homicide Detective Bonnie Benham has been transferred from narcotics for using more than arresting and is working the case of a killer of adolescent girls. CSI collects DNA evidence from the scene of the latest victim, which had not been detected on the other victims. But no suspect turns up in the FBI database. Due to the notoriety of the crimes a task force is put together with Bonnie as the lead detective, and she implores the D.A. to use an as yet unapproved type of a DNA Search in an effort to identify the killer. Homicide Detective Neil Jensen, with his own history of drug and alcohol problems, understands Bonnie’s frailty and the two detectives become inseparable as they track this killer of children.

Benham arrived first, no sign of Russo or Jensen. She got a table and told the maitre de to send them over when they arrived, and that there would be a third party, a Detective Lagrow. As he seated Benham, the maitre de informed her, “The show starts at about 12:30 pm. We have a couple of new dancers.

Benham screwed up her nose, gave him a curious eye. “Dancers?”

The maitre de nodded. “Yes, belly dancers. We have a new one I’m sure your friends will appreciate. She’s very good-young, friendly.”

Benham just shook her head. ”I’m sure they will,” she said as she sat.

“Can I get you something to drink?”

Whoa, the brake in her head told her. You know you, you know your history. You know what a slip can do to you. Doctors, psychologists, treatment, rehab, counselors, AA, each and every one of them flashed across her head as her mind absorbed the offer. “Just a coke, or, actually, would you just bring me a black coffee.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Benham sipped her coffee and looked through her brief notes of the case. They were very brief, there was little to put in them. A young girl, perhaps ten, dead, strangled, almost for certain assaulted, lying in an alley for a few hours. And it had only been a few hours—Pierangeli seemed pretty sure she hadn’t been there long. She was found at around nine-thirty am, so she died maybe around eight am.

She lay there, choked, defiled, beautiful, and dead, and nobody was looking for her. She had to have been taken pretty early this morning, so it’s been about five hours she’s been gone, and nobody loves her enough to miss her. Benham could feel the anger rising from within, from the source where feelings come from, from deeper but inclusive of the stomach, from the birthplace of emotion.

A hand touched her shoulder and startled her. “Me and Jensen are here, bring on the dancing girls,” Dean Russo bellowed, joyous almost, and that irritated Bonnie a little. There was nothing to be happy about this day.

“You’ll get your wish. The belly dancers will be here in a few,” Benham said, with a bit of obvious disdain that Russo picked up on.

“You picked the place.”

“Yeah, I know,” Bonnie answered, feeling a little sorry now she sounded so disapproving. “Yeah, I picked it. Didn’t think about belly dancers, but, hey, we’re here, and I love pastitio, and they have the best. Sorry if I sound pissy, it’s only because I am. Once you see the girl you won’t be dancing in the street either.”

Russo quit laughing. “How long you been in homicide, Benham?”

Bonnie could see she rubbed something, “A couple of months.”

“You were in narcotics?”

“Yeah, I was in narcotics. I was in it and it—I was narcotic.”

There was a pause. Jensen looked across at Russo, glared a little, trying to shut him up with a look. And out of the corner of his eye let Bonnie know he saw her, too. He wanted her to keep this cool.

But it was a little late, and Bonnie was a bit volatile. “You know fucking well I was in narcotics. And you fucking know why I’m in homicide. I got myself transferred out for becoming more narcotic than narc. Quit beating around the bush. What’s your point?”

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DJ Swykert is a former 911 operator. His work has appeared in The Tampa Review, Detroit News, Monarch Review, Zodiac Review, Scissors& Spackle, Spittoon, Barbaric Yawp and Bull. His books include Children of the Enemy, a novel from Cambridge

Books; Alpha Wolves, a novel from Noble Publishing, and The Death of Anyone is his third novel, just released by Melange Books. You can find more about him and how to buy his books on the blogspot: http://www.magicmasterminds.com, they are also available on Amazon and at select mystery bookstores. He is a wolf expert.

Book Talk Tuesdays: Guest Interview with Philip Coleman & Giveaway!

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Please welcome Philip Coleman author of the young adult thriller, The Masters Book!


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What is your book about?

The Master’s Book” concerns Sean, an Irish teenager just arrived in Brussels with his family, only to discover that the previous owner of their house was murdered. He befriends a pretty classmate called Stephanie. Together they discover a very rare illuminated manuscript in Sean’s basement, which is then stolen, leading to a paper chase and several murders.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

I lived in Brussels for several years when my own children were growing up and it was a particularly happy time. Despite its reputation as a boring city, parts are very lively and there is much history associated with it and the surrounding region. I want to recapture these elements.

Describe your writing in three words.

Two words – character-driven!

Do you have specific techniques you use to develop the plot and stay on track?

No, I’m afraid. I try to sketch out a scenario but I rarely stick to it, letting the characters find their own way. So a good deal of rewriting is needed.

Are your characters in the book based on anyone you know?

Not the main ones, except that Stephanie’s physical appearance is based on some of the very pretty mixed race girls that were classmates of my children. And the crabby neighbour is completely real.

Have you ever had difficulty “killing off” a character because she or he was so intriguing and full of possibility for you?

Not in this story but yes in others.

If your book was made into a TV series or movie, which actors would you choose to play your main characters?

I really can’t think of anyone for Sean. Quvenzhané Wallis could play Stephanie when she is a little older!

Who gets to read your drafts before they’re published?

Mainly my partner, Magdalena, and writer friends whom I trust.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve Googled?

Myself! Not my pen-name but my real one – and there are quite a number of hits for it!

What projects are you working on now?

I’m working on a sequel to “The Master’s Book”, concerning a disappearance that is traced back to the Rwandan genocide.

Is there anything else you would like to say to your readers?

I’d love feedback on this interview. I will offer a free copy of the book to the person who comments first on this interview.

Where can readers find you and your books online?

MuseItUp Publishing

Amazon

Sean moves to Brussels to a house that is a crime scene…

In 1482 Mary, the last Duchess of Burgundy, lies on her deathbed in a castle in Flanders. She is only 24. In her final moments she makes a wish that, 500 years later, will threaten the lives of a boy and a girl living in Brussels.

The Master’s Book is the story of Sean, an Irish teenager, just arrived in Brussels to a house that is also a crime scene. Together with Stephanie, his classmate, he finds an illuminated manuscript, only for it to be stolen almost at once.

Where did this manuscript come from? Who was it originally made for? Is there a connection with the beautiful tomb Sean has seen in Bruges? Above all, why does someone want this book so badly that they are prepared to kill for it?

Part thriller and part paper-chase, this book is aimed at boys and girls of twelve and over.

So tell me more about this murder.”

What am I to say? I’d love to tell her what I found this morning, but can I trust her?

“There’s not really much more to tell,” I said. “The house was ransacked, but we don’t know what they were looking for.”

“Hmm. So you don’t think there’s still something hidden somewhere in the house?”

She’s near the mark.

“No, I’m sure there isn’t,” I said, trying to hide my surprise.

“Oh, come on.” She poked my shoulder. “You realise you’ve missed a chance to make up a really good story.”

The laugh I gave mustn’t have been very convincing, maybe because I’d fixed my gaze on the floor. She stared hard at me and suddenly gave me a nudge.

“You’re not telling me everything, you sly thing,” she cried. “You did find something. You were trying to keep it a secret, weren’t you?”

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Philip Coleman has worked as a biologist for most of his lifein Ireland, Belgium and now in Switzerland. Having been an avid reader all his life, he took up writing only in 2006. This is his first published novel. He drew his inspiration for the story from the period he spent working for the EU in Brussels. He has a grown-up son and daughter (who were roughly the same ages as Sean and Maeve during the time in Brussels but otherwise aren’t a bit like them at all!). He now lives in France.

Book Talk Tuesdays: Guest Interview with Tammy Lowe

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Please give a very warm welcome to Tammy Lowe, author of The Acadian Secret, a tween paranormal action adventure novel!

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What is your book about?

Thank you so much for having me on your blog today, Kim. I am really excited to be here.

The Acadian Secret is about a time travelling young girl who finds adventure in the 17th century Scottish Highlands.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

As a kid, I loved to read books (and watch shows) like Little House on the Prairie and Anne of Green Gables. Those types of novels inspired me in every way possible.

I loved anything set in the “olden days”. When I was about ten years old, I began to wonder about time travel. My biggest wish was that I’d end up back in the pioneer era. I wanted to go and hang out with spoiled Nellie Olsen. I don’t remember why I wished for Nellie over Laura Ingalls, but I think it had something to do with the fact that her parents owned the candy shop.

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I had it all figured out. I didn’t want to live in the 18th or 19th century; I’d miss my family too much. And I can’t live without modern comforts. I wanted the freedom to travel back and forth through time.

My wish to time travel was so strong; I even dressed the part, as much as I could, without raising anyone’s suspicions. I wore dresses to school every day, when all my friends wore jeans and t-shirts. I had to be prepared just in case it worked and I was whisked through time. That summer, I even begged my mom to buy me a bonnet. She did. I wore that white bonnet everywhere. If I ended up in Walnut Grove or Avonlea, I was prepared.

By the sixth grade I was old enough to realize that time travel probably wasn’t going to be a reality for me, so I decided when I grew up, I’d write a story about a girl who could travel back and forth through time.

Describe your writing in three words.

-Sparse

-Witty. I mean…I hope!

-Suitable for all ages.

Do you have specific techniques you use to develop the plot and stay on track?

I am very detailed with my drafts and spend quite a while plotting the timelines. I keep notebooks and spreadsheets and have post it notes scattered everywhere.

Are your characters in the book based on anyone you know?

My characters are not based on anyone I know personally, but many of the characters are based on real people in history. The Oak Island Money Pit is a huge part of my novel and I wanted it to be as historically accurate as possible. I am fascinated with the way James Cameron did Titanic. Jack and Rose were fictional characters bouncing off of real-life people and events. That was in the back of my mind as I wrote The Acadian Secret.

I laughed when my son told me I should come up with a more exciting name for John Smith. John and his friends were real people. They discovered the pit and sparked one of the greatest treasure hunts in history.

If your book was made into a TV series or movie, which actors would you choose to play your main characters?

Did you ever watch Ugly Betty?

Ashley Jensen played Christine, Betty’s Scottish co-worker and friend.

She would make the perfect Bessie Ferguson.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve Googled?

Oh gosh, I don’t even know where to begin.

I’m heard there are medic alert bracelets that say, “If I die, delete my browsing history”.

I need one.

What projects are you working on now?

I am writing Elisabeth London’s next adventure.

Where can readers find you and your books online?

You can find me at www.tammylowe.com.

Buy Links

Amazon

MuseItUp Publishing

Elisabeth London is keeping her new friends a secret from her parents. Not only do they live on the other side of the world in the Scottish Highlands, they lived more than three hundred and fifty years ago. Her mom and dad would never allow her to go gallivanting about seventeenth century Scotland. They won’t even let her go to the mall by herself yet.

Twelve-year-old Elisabeth is old enough to know there is no such thing as magic, but when her quartz crystal necklace has the power to transport her back and forth in time, she no longer knows what to think. The only thing she is certain of is that she loves spending carefree days with Quinton, the mischievous nephew of a highland warrior, and sassy little Fiona, a farmer’s daughter.

However, Elisabeth’s adventures take a deadly turn when she is charged with witchcraft. At a time and place in history when witch-hunts were common, those found guilty were executed, children included. Elisabeth must race to find her way back home, while trying to stay one step ahead of the witch-hunter determined to see her burned at the stake.

As the afternoon sun began to travel behind the mountains, it cast an emerald glow across the glen. The valley was littered with boulders, while a small river twisted its way toward a distant forest.

Malcolm Craig was stalking his prey. He was a tall, strong man with piercing blue-green eyes, a short beard, and wild black hair that gave him a crazed look. He smelled the boar before he saw it. Talbot, his hunting dog, lunged into the brambles after the wild pig which began to grunt in anger. That was when something to the right caught his eye. A young girl lay motionless in the heather.

“What the devil?” Malcolm said as he jumped down from his horse. While still keeping his hearing attuned to Talbot and the boar, he walked over and bent to peer at her. He breathed a sigh of relief to find she was fast asleep. Malcolm scooped the sleeping girl into his arms. “You’re lucky I found you, lassie, before that beast did.”

With a sigh, she rested her head against his chest and put her arms around his neck. “Daddy…” she said in her sleep.

Malcolm laughed. “Daddy? I’m nae your daddy. No daughter of mine would be dressed like this, wandering around barefoot in the middle of…”

Elisabeth’s eyes popped open and she let out an ear-piercing scream. She bit Malcolm’s shoulder and he dropped her.

“Och, child! You bit me!”

The silence in the valley broke as Talbot howled, the boar squealed and Elisabeth jumped to her feet and wailed in horror.

“Dinnae move, lass!” Malcolm yelled to be heard over the pandemonium. He reached for his dagger. It was almost time for the kill.

The enraged boar deserted his hiding spot in the brambles and charged toward the dog, its lethal tusks ready to kill. Talbot was well-trained so, instead of turning tail and running, he danced backward, facing the pig, luring it away from his master. With the boar now in pursuit of the dog, Malcolm did what was natural to any man born and bred in the Highlands: he ran at the beast as if he were a wild animal himself. Jumping on the boar from behind, he grabbed its ear, yanked its head up and slashed its throat.

Elisabeth continued to scream. Malcolm jumped off the boar as it fell limp at his feet and cleaned the blade on the carcass before putting it away. He walked toward Elisabeth, his bloody hands held in front of him.

“Enough, lass. It’s all right now.”

Her wide eyes fixed on the enormous man dressed in a skirt. “You’ve got a knife!”

“Aye. And a sword.” He smirked as he pointed to it.

“You’re armed!”

“I’m nae going to harm you, though. I was hunting.”

“Hunting what? Little girls? Where am I?”

Not waiting for an answer, she ran from Malcolm and toward the forest, her bare feet slowing her great escape.

“That lass is completely mad,” Malcolm grumbled while rubbing the shoulder she had bitten.

Malcolm mounted his horse; he couldn’t leave the terrified girl alone out here. It wasn’t safe and would soon be dark. She would be easy enough for a blind man to find again because she hadn’t stopped screaming. For some reason, he hadn’t stopped smiling.

His black warhorse was as large and intimidating as Malcolm was, and the animal’s powerful legs kicked up tall grass and thistles as it barreled along. The sound of its hooves seemed amplified as it raced toward Elisabeth. Malcolm caught up to her. Without needing to slow his horse, he reached down, scooped her up into his arms, and placed her in the saddle in front of him.

“There. Now be a good lass. I promise, I’m nae going to hurt you.”

And with that, Elisabeth fainted.

“Well now, that certainly makes things easier,” Malcolm muttered under his breath as he wrapped her in his plaid and nudged his horse on.

tammylowe

When she isn’t writing, you will either find Tammy Lowe surrounded by little children and covered in glitter and glue, or on some grand adventure: inside an Egyptian pyramid, twirling on an Alp or climbing the Great Wall of China. She’s part Mary Poppins, part Indiana Jones.

Tammy lives in Cambridge, Ontario with her husband and their teenage son.

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Thanks for stopping by, Tammy. I wish you great success with the release of The Arcadian Secret!

BOOK TALK TUESDAY: Guest Interview with Charlotte Henley Babb

It’s my pleasure to welcome Charlotte Henley Babb, author of  Maven’s Fractured Fairy Tales!

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What is your book about?

Maven’s new dream job–fairy godmother–presents more problems than she expects when she learns that Faery is on the verge of collapse, and the person who is training her isn’t giving her the facts–and may be out to kill her. Will she be able to make all the fractured fairy tales fit together into a happy ending, or will she be eaten by a troll?

What inspired you to write this particular story?

Where are the stories for women of a certain age, the ones Clarissa Pinkola Estès calls The Dangerous Old Woman?  The Boomers are the first women to live to a ripe old age, many of us still with our mothers alive. Our only role models in fairy tales are bumbling grandmothers and evil witches.  I wanted to write about negotiating the second half of life. One of my great-unts is 97 years old. If I live that long, I have 25 years of adult life left. If I’m to spend it in a rocking chair, the porch will have wi-fi and I’ll be burning up the data with my tablet.

Describe your writing in three words.

Fractured fairy tales

Do you have specific techniques you use to develop the plot and stay on track?

I’m still learning outlining, so my main technique is character based—what would Maven do and why would she do that? Have I told enough backstory to make that plausible? When I know the motivations of all the characters, major and minor, the story is done, and just needs polish. This may take several drafts

Are your characters in the book based on anyone you know?

Yes and No – there are certainly traits that are from people I know, but for the most part they are just my imaginary friends.

Have you ever had difficulty “killing off” a character because she or he was so intriguing and full of possibility for you?

Ironically, I’m looking at two villains in my second novel, both of whom I’d like to redeem but one of which, and maybe both will have to die. They have chosen their path, they refuse to change, and there’s only one way out for them—at least that I’ve been able to see so far.

If your book was made into a TV series or movie, which actors would you choose to play your main characters?

If I could do a movie today, I’d have Kathy Bates play Maven, Judi Dench would play Fiona the Fairy Godmother Superior, and Queen Latifa would play Belle. Harrison Ford might be a good choice for Jones.

Who gets to read your drafts before they’re published?

Anyone among my friends who will listen!!! Actually, I’m a member of the South Carolina Writers’ Workshop and critters.org, and I get very good critique from them.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve Googled?

Today?  “the cult of the Grandmother” and “the two million year old woman”  Last month I did a fair amount of research about women named Charlotte to celebrate my birthday month. I’m particularly fond of my blog post about Princess Charlotte of Monaco…trailer trash got nothing on the crowned heads of Europe.   http://charlottehenleybabb.com/princess-charlottefairy-tale/

What projects are you working on now?

Current WIP is That Darn Maven, in which Maven is punished for her antics in the first book by being transformed into a cat, who must grant three wishes to get her human form back, but none of the characters she meets are making any wishes.

 I’ve completed a couple of short stories to be released on Kindle when I get time to format and upload them. I’ve been working on the print version of Through the Veil, volume one of Maven Fairy Godmother, since my ebook publisher allowed the print rights to revert to me.

Is there anything else you would like to say to your readers?

I appreciate the kind words from readers on Amazon and Goodreads. It’s extremely gratifying  to know that some people get what I am doing and think it’s funny.  I’d love to know what stories they’d like to see fractured and whose point of view they would find interesting. I have a short story based on Sleeping Beauty that involves Maven and the Palace of the princess, rather than the princess herself.

Where can readers find you and your books online?

§  @charlottebabb  on twitter

§  http://www.linkedin.com/in/charlottebabb/

Short fiction can be found here:

Bubba and the Beast http://amzn.to/17lL7vq

Can a wish be granted across the veil? Trolls need love too, but can Maven find Grizelda’s true love without her wand and wings?

 MavenStiltskin         http://amzn.to/14Q9fa7

Maven takes a hike across the gender fence to see if the grass is greener, or the straw more golden, but there are some cats who just want to tangle his/her threads.

 Fairy Frogmother    http://amzn.to/10Jlv87

Maven’s favorite spell backfires and turns her into a frog. How can she grant the wishes of the prince, his rogue fairy godmother mom, and frog princess Medori, if she can’t even hold her wand?

Broke, busted and despairing over the mess her life has turned out to be, middle-aged Maven Morrigan is offered a job as a fairy godmother, a one-time-only last chance to make something of herself and to make the world a better place.

Not knowing whom to trust: her boss, her slithery familiar or her own Bump of Direction, she has to find her personal power by relying on herself, her real-world failures, and her sense of the absurd, to survive in this imaginary garden with real trolls in it, so her clients get their happily ever after.

(a scene from Maven Fairy Godmother: Through the veil)

A scratching noise caught Maven’s attention when it began to rattle the door. The latch moved, but not quite far enough to allow the door to open. Maven set her teacup down and pushed herself up out of her chair. She was stiff from sitting still for so long.

All right, all right, don’t have a hissy fit,” she muttered. “Are you going to let me open the door?” she said to the house.

The latch flew up, the door crashed back against the wall, and a wolf leapt into the room. Covered with twigs and leaves, as though he had penetrated the underbrush with his long nose, he panted heavily, his sides heaving. His paws left mud and smears of blood on the floor.

“Oh, NO!” he gasped. “A Grandmother!” He looked back out the door, where someone was coming after him. They could hear the shouts and stamping of someone coming through the woods.

“Calm down,” Maven said. “I’m not going to eat you. What’s wrong?”

The wolf turned to go back out.

“No, wait. Climb into bed.” Maven looked at the nightgown and the bonnet on the peg. Fairy tale people were pretty easily fooled, but surely not that easily. She threw the nightgown over his head and tied the bonnet over his ears. “Don’t wag your tail.” She threw the cloak over him too. Not too bad if they didn’t actually see him. “Roll over.”

“I’m not a dog.” The wolf growled.

“You’ll be dog food if they catch you. Shut up. Look sick.” Maven turned to face the fireplace. “All right, Hut. Make it dark and musty in here, and make a kettle of whatever kind of bad smelling stuff they use for medicine around here. I don’t want anyone chopped up on my watch.”

“I prefer to be called Cottage.” The walls sounded peevish.

“All right, Cottage, you can be the freaking Taj Mahal as long as you do what needs to be done. Fiona would not have gone to this much trouble just to aggravate me.”

“Don’t count on that.” A brownish smell began to bubble from the kettle, an herb that seemed vaguely familiar, but Maven couldn’t place it.

Before she could ask the cottage, the door, having latched itself again, shook with the blows of pounding fists.

Maven leaned heavily on her cane and made her voice croak like a frog. “Who’s there? I’m just an old crone here, go away.”

The door rattled with the heavy blows, shaking the latch loose again. Three hulking woodcutters came in, axe handles in hand.

“Where are you, Wolf?” He saw Maven leaning on her cane. “There he is now.” He grabbed her by her shawl, which came off, exposing her iron gray hair and her face.

“My, what small ears you have.” he exclaimed, pulling on one of them.

“Must be why you are shouting,” Maven said. She pushed against him to no avail. She stomped on the instep of his hobnailed boot, but it only hurt her foot.

“And what small eyes you have.” he said, turning her face between his thumb and forefinger.

“Big enough to see your face and remember it,” Maven said, her look being dark enough to kill if he had been bright enough to see it.

“And your nose isn’t long at all.” He began to look truly perplexed.

“It’s long enough to smell herbs cooking in a sick house.” Maven shook herself loose. “Now if you don’t want to be in the bed at your house, you’d better get on out of here.” Then kicking her self mentally for having a big mouth, she saw that they hadn’t seen the wolf in the bed at all.

“Can’t have a wolf running around, eating helpless grandmothers.” He stepped to the bed, his axe ready to fall and his cronies right behind him. “It’s for your own protection.”

“No!” Maven stretched herself up to her full height, drew in a deep breath, and pointed her cane at the woodcutters. Tulip had said she could turn anyone into a frog for self-protection, so she could do it to protect someone else.

She gathered her anger and forced it through the cane so that green sparkles flew out the end.

By the time the sparkles settled, three bewildered frogs sat on the floor beside their axes, one of which fell, narrowly missing the bed. The bed had seen it coming though, and dodged.

Maven shooed the frogs out, keeping their axes for future reference. She stacked them into a corner where they became a mop, a broom, and a pitchfork.

Thanks” she said to the Cottage.

Certainly,” it replied, less coldly than before.

“All right, you, get up.” Maven shook the wolf’s shoulder, only to feel it quivering. “You’re safe now, from the frogs.” She untied the bonnet and helped the wolf out of the nightgown. “How did they get on your trail? You must have done something to get their attention.”

“Humans. It’s always the wolf at the door; never mind what they do to us.” The wolf growled, slinking away from her towards the door. Yet he was afraid to go out.

Maven thought he looked pitiful, wavering. She dipped water out of the bucket into a bowl and set it on the floor. “Here, at least drink something and rest.”

“You aren’t afraid that I will eat you?” The wolf said. His legs shook, on the verge of collapse.

“You weren’t planning to, were you?” Maven said.

He slunk over to the bowl and lapped noisily until the bowl was dry.

Maven sat back in the rocker. She swirled the tea leaves again to listen to the wolf’s story. It was a different perspective, film noir, and at a 24-inch eye level, but it was clear he was a sheep in a wolf’s body.

“You are obviously a witch. Are you going to turn me into a frog too?” the wolf asked finally. “I’d probably be better at being a frog.” He laid his chin on his paws. “At least people wouldn’t be afraid of me.”

“Actually, I’m a fairy godmother. On vacation.”

What would a wolf wish for?

“That explains the brambles around the cottage.” He began to chew at the brambles in his paws. “I thought I would never get through. I don’t remember this cottage being here before.”

“That’s magic for you.” Maven shrugged. “Now, you rest here tonight. I’d be glad of the company.” She spoke to the kettle, and the medicine smell disappeared. She made more tea, and when a plate of meat appeared on the table, she laid it on the floor by the wolf. After he had eaten, he curled up by the hearth and went to sleep.

Maven moved closer to the fire as well, her legs cold and shakier than the persona warranted. She was so tired.

She picked up the bit of gossamer that had been her shawl before the woodcutter grabbed it and stretched it around her bare arms. No wonder she was cold. Her hemline had crept up at least a foot and her sleeves had disappeared. She tugged the rags down, making them slightly less ragged, and much warmer.

What had happened to her gossamers?

She had used her energy, her anger, to transform the frogs. Now she could see why she had to be careful. It hadn’t seemed like all that much energy, but the adrenaline pumping through her was hers, not the energy available in the cottage. She turned the rocker towards the fire.

She was very tired now, and finally feeling warm again, she drifted off into a nap.

jaguar-hat

Charlotte Henley Babb, presently living in Spartanburg, SC, is originally from the Charlotte, NC, area. When she told her mother she wanted to be a teacher, her mom said, “You’d better find a job.” She thought her mother just meant that she had to pay her college tuition!

She is the first college graduate in the history of her family, and the second high school grad, after her mother. While she has done many other things, as her mom suggested, teaching has always supported her true vocation: writing.

Babb earned a Bachelor of Science in English/Education from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, a Masters of Secondary Education from Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC, and  a Master of Arts in Humanities from Pacifica Graduate Institute. Her studies have focused on writing, special needs learners, personal growth, and computer applications.

Charlotte’s new MA in the Humanities—Myth and Education, gave her a California perspective on her Southern heritage. She studies mythology to deepen her work with themes from ancient sources. Sharing perspectives with people from across the country lets her delve into the cultural notions that are as invisible as water is to fish, fertilizer for the soul!

For the first eighteen years of her work life, she taught remedial English at three rural high schools, mostly to students in technical programs or in the bottom quartile. She taught at Spartanburg Community College and Spartanburg Methodist College, as well as University of Phoenix since 2002. She is currently the web designer and social networks manager for Sherman College of Chiropractic. As her mom, suggested, she did finally get a ‘real’ job. She was the webmaster and newsletter editor for the Southeastern Writers Association from 2005 to 2011.  To supplement her income, she has worked various jobs:

§  computer support technician

§  cloth store associate

§  waitress

§  office temp

§  art, craft, and frame store

§  washing machine gasket inspector

§  newspaper ads designer

§  craft fair creative

§  technical writer of ISO 9000 procedures

§  telephone tech support

§  telephone tarot reader

Each job has given her more insight to the challenges involved being human and living in the human condition. She is a mistress of juggling time and energy. She still reads the Tarot, but not for money. She has one daughter, a freelance illustrator of fantasy and science fiction.

Fantastic interview! Thanks for stopping by today, Charlotte.

Book Talk Tuesdays: Guest Interview with Kristy Brown

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Please welcome Kristy Brown, tween fantasy author of Sacrifices, book two of the Kiera’s Quest series!

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What is your book about?

It’s based on a young teen Kiera, who gets thrown into another reality, to save a prince.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

I was sat staring at my niece’s dolls house. Suddenly, I had the inspiration for Zakk’s character.

Describe your writing in three words.

Fantasy, magic, fun!

Do you have specific techniques you use to develop the plot and stay on track?

I like to map what I want to happen to each character at the end, so then I have to get them there!

Are your characters in the book based on anyone you know?

I think there are small parts of lots of my friends and family in all the characters, maybe not the Witch Queen though!

Have you ever had difficulty “killing off” a character because she or he was so intriguing and full of possibility for you?

I think you get very attached to all the characters you create. As “Kiera’s Quest” is aimed at the teen MG/teen market, I try not to be to mean. There are a few deaths through the four books, but I think they are there for necessary reasons.

If your book was made into a TV series or movie, which actors would you choose to play your main characters?

I always find this a difficult question, as in my mind they are all pretty unique. I like to let the reader decide how they see a character. But, if a movie deal ever came up, I would love to help cast it!

Who gets to read your drafts before they’re published?

My lovely husband reads it first and then my parents. These people always tell me the truth. Then of course, my editors.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve Googled?

Just googling my book and seeing all the reviews was a tad freaky.

What projects are you working on now?

Well I’m awaiting edits for book three, which comes out this May. Now I’m writing book four, probably the last book in the series

Is there anything else you would like to say to your readers?

Thank you so much for your support and going on Kiera’s journey with me. If you liked it, please tell your friends!

Where can readers find you and your books online?

At my publisher’s MuseItUp. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, itunes, Goodreads….

Meet Kiera, a pretty, intelligent, and talented girl, brought up by her uncle, and abandoned by her parents. Life is as normal as she believes it to be, apart from the deep ache inside her, telling her she’s different. For years, Kiera has had dreams where she ventures into a different reality. She’s not alone; a presence is always there, keeping her safe, yet she feels vulnerable, and hunted.

Zakk, Prince of Zantar, is under the Witch Queen’s spell as she tries to take over his world. He crosses

paths with Kiera, and their fates are entwined.

As their journey unravels, she learns that she is not the only one affected by this prince. Who is on her side? Will she find out why she has been chosen? How can someone so young, defeat such evil? Will she find the strength to save the ones closest to her? Will this be Kiera’s only quest?

Chapter One

Zakk felt his throat grow tighter, barely able to breathe. Sweat dripped from his brow.

“What ― what did I do wrong?” Zakk gasped helplessly. He could see nothing, but felt the invisible hands clamped around his neck. “Please stop, please.” Zakk was on the verge of falling down a bottomless black hole. He felt heavy like lead, dragging him deeper and further down.  Knowing this to be his ending he managed to push out with a thin, shallow breath, “I’m sorry.”

Suddenly, the vice gripping his throat loosened and discarded him to the ground like a crumpled tissue. Maybe an apology was all that ‘it’ needed. Minutes passed, feeling like an eternity. All seemed quiet in the icy air. He dared not move. Zakk tried to collect his thoughts and regulate his breathing. In and out… in and out slowly, he told himself. He tried to catch a glimpse of his jailer, but couldn’t see past his own shadow. There was a definite presence watching him, enjoying the show. A wave of emotions passed through him; pain, loneliness, emptiness, dread, but most of all fear. They seeped into him, like black ink coursing through his veins, devouring his consciousness. For the first time in his life, he felt totally alone. He knew if he could scream, no one would come. If he tried to run, his legs would not aid him.

“Who are you?” Zakk whimpered.

“Who am I― who am I?”

This voice somehow seemed strangely, and uncomfortably, familiar to him. The voice broke into a spine-chilling laugh.

“Don’t you know?” it mocked. “Look hard, deep into yourself. You know who I am. I am your darkest fear when you close your eyes. I lie in wait at your very core. Who am I?” The voice seemed outraged not to seem significant in Zakk’s life.

Zakk nervously fiddled with the dull glass ring on his middle finger. It had belonged to his mother, and just touching it reminded him of her warm smile, her golden silky hair and the lullaby she sang to him to tuck him up each night.

“You’re the Witch Queen!” He realised instantly, like a storm cloud had passed letting the sun reign through. He’d waited so long for answers, but still was not face-to-face
with this cold blooded murderer. “You killed my mother.”

“Clever, clever Zakky. Clever child,” she hissed. “Your mother would be so proud of you.”

Silence fell upon him again. He felt deeply saddened, but immensely angry. If he was going to die here in this cave, he needed to know. Zakk spoke calmly and evenly, trying not to annoy his captor.

“Why did you take her from us?”

“I should have ruled this world. I should have been Queen. She was useless. I will do better. I should have been at your father’s side. She never loved him.” She spat out her words as if they were poison.

“But you did?” Zakk asked, even more confused. “You loved my father?” Surely she was not capable of such an act.

“Silly boy, silly little Zakky. I do not love. It is a weakness. It eats you alive, swallows you whole then moves on to dessert.” She spoke as if she’d tasted this bitter pain, but no one this void of life could have. “I got my sweet revenge on Helen when I threw her body into a D’rog pit. They tore into her like she was a yummy treat.”

Tears pushed under his eyelids. He couldn’t swallow, for the boulder-like lump blocked his windpipe.

“She was tossed from one to the other, like a little raggedy doll,” she sang, with great malice and delight.

Zakk, now broken, wept. He could no longer hold the tears at bay and gave in to his despair. He pictured his mother’s gruesome death, and melted into a pool of sorrow.

The Witch Queen poked her spindly leather finger into Zakk’s cheek, but she was still covered by the veil of darkness. Watching his tears run down her long, ugly finger, he noticed a very familiar glass ring at the end of it. Shaking his head in disbelief, Zakk looked again recognising his father’s ring. Time slowed down in his mind.

Sweat gushed down him like rain.

“Father!” he cried. “Father?” Zakk knew his only response would be that of his own echoes chasing each other round the stone cave walls.

“He’s gone,” she said, stepping a little closer so he could just make out her eyes. He searched them wildly for a hint of compassion, but there was none to be found. Like hard coal they were dead inside.

“No, no,” pleaded Zakk, kneeling on the floor with his arms clasping his chest. He held on to all he had left. Himself.

“I will rule Zantar, it is meant to be. All will live in despair and fear of my gaze upon them. I thought you might have been my biggest barrier. But as I look upon you, crying like an infant, I find you weak, boy. It will be easy to send you to join your parents. It’s only fair after all.”

Immediately, as if from nowhere, flames bolted toward him. Bright reds and dancing oranges licked at his heels, engulfing him. Zakk raised his hand to shield his eyes. This is it. I am finished. I couldn’t save my family, or my people. I am nothing, he thought.

At that moment, something happened. The air directly around him cooled. He opened an eye, feeling safe from the heat. Zakk looked up. A force of light surrounded him, bringing the fire to a halt. Bizarrely, the force poured from his mother’s ring, which now shone all the colours of the rainbow. In her own way, she still watched over him, and protected him. He felt the wrath of the Witch Queen lift from him. Love glided back through his veins once more. Zakk slowly rose to his feet, feeling strangely confident. His new resolve seemed to anger the Witch Queen further. She tried once again to execute her enemy, throwing arrow upon arrow of flesh stripping fire, but to no avail. Her efforts bounced off him, like raindrops on a pond.

“Damn your wretched mother, and your proud father. If I cannot kill you, I’ll make you wish that I had.”

A high-pitched squeal and a flash of white light and Zakk began to fall. He couldn’t feel his body or open his eyes. There were no sounds. The heartbeat pounding in his chest moments ago, fell deathly silent, and all went black.

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I live in the North-East of England, UK. From an early age I had a love of writing, mostly poetry and short stories. I trained and graduated in Performing Arts. After time went by, I wanted to re-visit my real passion. So after my first son was born, I began writing Kiera’s Quest.

I live happily with my very supportive husband and my two beautiful boys. I have many ideas for stories! I just wish there were more hours in the day.

BOOK TALK TUESDAYS: Guest Post by Carlene Rae Dater

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Please give a warm welcome to Carlene Rae Dater, author of eleven novels, including her most recent mystery releases, Not for Sale and Deadly Deception!

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Middle Aged Packing Blues

I’m getting ready to go on a vacation, and I dread it. It’s not the trip I mind, it’s the packing.

Things were so much simpler when I was twenty. I opened my duffle bag, threw in a couple changes of underwear, a few clean T-shirts, my toothbrush, comb, lipstick, acne cover-up and I was on my way. If I happened to stay longer than a few days, I’d just wash out what I needed in the bathroom sink and hoped it would dry overnight. Wearing slightly damp panties didn’t bother me a bit.

Oh, how things have changed! Now that I’m in my middle years, I have to take at least one coordinated outfit for each day of my vacation, with shoes and purse to match. I wouldn’t dream of traveling without a nightie, robe and slippers. Who knows what could happen in the middle of the night? An earthquake? Tsumini? Native uprising? I shudder to even think about being caught oust side my room in the nude. Then there’s my makeup: foundation, powder, moisturizer, several colors of eye shadow, eyeliner, eyebrow pencil, false eyelashes for evening, blusher – the list goes on and on. Of course I wouldn’t dream of traveling without my makeup remover, moisturizer, dental floss, mouthwash and toothbrush.

Always the well-groomed traveler, I must bring my curling iron, hot rollers, brushes, combs, mousses and gels. And jewelry. Do I pack it in my suitcase and hope the airlines don’t lose my luggage? Do I trust the baggage handlers to keep their hands off? Or do I take everything in my handbag and pray I don’t run into a mugger on some strange foreign street corner. I didn’t have to worry about things like that when all I owed was a Mickey Mouse watch and a pair of imitation gold hoop earrings.

Of course, I’d never leave home without my sinus pills, anti-acid tablets, aspirins, vitamins, eye drops, migraine medication, sewing kit, bandages, ear plug, sleeping mask or extra pair of eye glasses. I’ll probably never need any of these things, but I have to take them along, just in case.

Packing was much faster back in the good old days too. When I was 23 I went to Europe for two weeks. It took me fifteen minutes to pack. Now when I contemplate travel, I start at least two weeks in advance, making lists so I don’t forget anything crucial. The sad fact is I need almost as much junk for a week-end trip as I do for a two week cruise.

My husband thinks he’s come upon the secret of packing for a middle aged travel. (He’s the smart one – I’m the pretty one.) He says the thing to do is take twice the money and half the stuff you think you’ll need, and everything thing should come out even. Maybe I’ll try his method this time.

carlene.2c

So far in her career, Carlene has published eleven novels in the romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romantic suspense humorous romance, mystery, and humorous mystery. Check her website for titles and buy links. Questions? Comments? Email Carlene at: carlenedater@sbcglobal.net.

Carlene Rae Dater

www.carlenedatercom

www.themysterystartshere.com

www.Facebook.com/CarleneraeDater

www.ManicReaders.com/CarleneRaeDater

www.amazon.com