Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Sixth Grave on the Edge

About the book:
Few things in life can come between a grim reaper and her coffee, but the sexy, sultry son of Satan is one of them. Now that Reyes Farrow has asked for her hand, Charley Davidson feels it's time to learn more about his past, but Reyes is reluctant to open up. When the official FBI file of his childhood abduction lands in her lap, Charley decides to go behind her mysterious beau’s back and conduct her own investigation. Because what could go wrong?

Unfortunately, another case has fallen into her lap—one with dangerous implications. Some very insistent men want Charley to hunt down a witness who is scheduled to testify against their boss, a major player in the local crime syndicate. If Charley doesn't come up with an address in 48 hours, the people closest to her will start to disappear.

Add to that a desperate man in search of the soul he lost in a card game, a dogged mother determined to find the ghost of her son, and a beautiful, young Deaf boy haunted by his new ability to see the departed as clearly as he sees the living, and Charley has her hands full. The fact that Reyes has caught on to her latest venture only adds fuel to the inferno that he is. Good thing for Charley she's used to multi-tasking and always up for a challenge…especially when that challenge comes in the form of Reyes Farrow.

Chapter Three
coffee doesn’t ask silly questions.
coffee understands.
bumper sticker

We weren’t back in the office ten minutes before the door to the front entrance opened. I’d expected Mr. Joyce, the agitated man with the issues. Instead I got Denise. My evil stepmother. Thankfully, Mr. Joyce was right behind her. He afforded me the perfect excuse not to talk to her.

Her pallor had a grayish tint to it, and her eyes were lined with the bright red only the shedding of tears could evoke. I honestly didn’t know she had the ability to cry.

“Can I talk to you?” she asked.

“I have a client.” I pointed to the man behind her to emphasize my point. Giving her chin a determined upward thrust, she said, “You’ve had clients for two weeks now. I just need a minute.” When I started to argue again, she pleaded with me. “Please, Charlotte.”

Mr. Joyce was holding a baseball cap, wringing it in his hands. He seemed to be growing more agitated by the second. “I really need to talk to you, Ms. Davidson.”

“See?” I pinned Denise with a chastising scowl. “Client.”

She turned on the man, her face as cold and hard as marble. It was an expression I knew all too well. “We just need a minute,” she said to him, her tone razor sharp. “Then she’s all yours.”

He backed off, raising a hand in surrender as he stepped to a chair and took a seat.

My temper flared to life, and I had to force myself to stay calm. I was twenty-seven. I no longer had to put up with my stepmother’s insults. Her revulsion. Her petty snubs. And I damned sure didn’t have to put up with her invading my business and bullying my clients. “That was not necessary,” I said to her when she turned back to me.

“I apologize,” she said, doing a one-eighty. She turned back to Mr. Joyce. “I’m sorry. I’m in a very desperate situation."

“Tell me about it,” he said, dismissing her with a wave. He clearly had problems of his own.

With all the enthusiasm of a prisoner walking up to the hangman’s noose, I led Denise into my office and closed the door. My temper flaring must have summoned Reyes. He was in my office, waiting, incorporeally.

Then I remembered. He didn’t like Denise any more than I did. Blamed her for most of my heartache as a child. Of course, she’d caused most of it, but Reyes could be . . . testy when it came to my happiness or lack thereof.

“Want me to sever her spine?” he asked as I sat behind my desk.

“Can I think about it and get back to you?” I asked, teasing. Kind of.

Denise looked toward the wall he was leaning against, the one I was looking at, and naturally saw nothing. But where her usual response would be to purse her lips in disapproval, she wiped at her lapel and sat down instead.

“What do you want?” I asked her, my tone as cold as her heart.

“I’m sure you know that your father has left me.”

"At last."

She flinched like I’d slapped her. “Why would you say such a thing?”

“Are you really asking me that?”

“I love your father.” She almost came up out of her chair. “I’ve always loved your father.”

She had me there. She’d always been an attentive wife to him. Of course, attentive included her agenda, which was manipulative, conniving, and venomous. I couldn’t believe that I could dislike someone so much, but Denise had always been that splinter in my relationship with my father. She did everything in her power to keep us apart. Her jealousy was bizarre and childish. Who on earth was afraid of a father’s love for his child? It just made no sense to me. It never had.

And yet she was never that way toward my sister, Gemma. In fact, she and Gemma were fairly close. I had a feeling Dad’s leaving Denise affected Gemma much more than she was willing to admit. She knew how I felt about our stepmonster, and the fact that she couldn’t go to me when she needed support made me a very bad sibling. But the truth was, she couldn’t. I had no warm and fuzzies where Denise was concerned. She’d made sure of that from day one.

“I—I need you to talk to him. He’s been sick and, and he’s not thinking straight.”

“And what do you want me to say?”

She leveled an exasperated glare on me. “I want you to convince him to come back home where he belongs. He’s still weak. He still needs medical attention.”

“I’m sorry,” I said with a soft, humorless chuckle, “you want me to convince my father to stay with you? The bane of my existence? The woman who made my childhood a living hell? After everything you’ve put me through, you want my help? Are you insane?”

Too bad Gemma, a licensed psychiatrist, was at a conference in D.C. I’d call her and schedule an appointment for Denise ay-sap.

“What have I ever put you through?”

My temper flared again, and I bit my tongue, literally, to keep my emotions under control. When I lost control, the earth shifted beneath me. An earthquake in the middle of Albuquerque would do no one any good.

Reyes straightened as though worried I’d lose control as well. I closed my eyes and took several gulps of air. This wasn’t me. I didn’t hate people. I didn’t make them pay for their misdeeds. Too many departed had crossed through me. Too many times I’d seen what people went through, what they’d endured that made them become the people they were when they died. Until I’d walked a mile in her shoes, I could not judge Denise so completely. That would make me no better than she was. I opened my eyes to her stone face, the face that brought nothing but hurt feelings and knotted stomachaches. Maybe two miles.

“I just have one question,” I said, trying to hold the resentment from my tone lest I sound like her. "Why?”


“Yes, why? Why did you hate me from day one? Why did you treat me like a thorn in your side? What on God’s green earth did I ever do to you?”

She sighed in frustration and let her true colors show through. Her impatience with me, with anything I had to say.

“I did no such thing, Charlotte. I don’t hate you. I never have.”

I leaned forward and gave her my best Sunday smile. “I’ll tell you what. When you can admit that you hate me with every fiber of your being, I’ll help you win back Dad. How does that sound?”

“I will never say such a horrible thing.”

I’d offended her. Sweet. “So you can feel it, you just can’t admit to it?”

She squeezed the pocketbook in her lap, her fingers flexing involuntarily. “Charlotte, can we talk sensibly?”

“Wait a minute,” I said as understanding dawned. “You’re here because Dad is fed up with the way you treat me, and you’re thinking that if we become besties, he’ll come back to you.”

“I’m here because I want us all to get into counseling together. Not just Leland and me, but all four of us, including your sister.” Reyes crossed his arms over his chest and went back to holding the wall up while I stood simmering in my astonishment.

She was a piece of work. “How about you go into counseling for you? Get over yourself. And when that happens, when you can be honest with me, we’ll talk again.” I was being so mean. I wanted to applaud myself. I wasn’t a mean person by nature, so it took a lot of energy to bring out the beast in me and stick with it for more than thirty seconds. Damned ADD. But I was so proud of myself. No more being a carpet for someone else to walk on. I was my own girl, and no one was walking on this carpet but me.

“Charley,” Cookie said through the intercom.

I poked the button. “Yes, Cookie?”

“Um, are you almost done? I need coffee.”

“Oh, sorry! I’ll get it made and bring you a cup.”

“Thanks. And can you bring me the box of Nilla Wafers while you’re at it?”

“Can do.” I jumped up and headed for the Bunn. “Priorities,” I said to Denise. “That’s what life is all about.”

About author Darynda Jones:

NYTimes and USA Today Bestselling Author Darynda Jones has won numerous awards for her work, including a prestigious Golden Heart®, a Rebecca, two Hold Medallions, a RITA ®, and a Daphne du Maurier, and she has received stellar reviews from dozens of publications including starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, and the Library Journal.

As a born storyteller, Darynda grew up spinning tales of dashing damsels and heroes in distress for any unfortunate soul who happened by, annoying man and beast alike, and she is ever so grateful for the opportunity to carry on that tradition. She currently has two series with St. Martin’s Press: The Charley Davidson Series and the Darklight Trilogy. She lives in the Land of Enchantment, also known as New Mexico, with her husband of almost 30 years and two beautiful sons, the Mighty, Mighty Jones Boys. She can be found at www.daryndajones.com.


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Sneak Peak at
Seventh Grave and No Body
About the book:

Twelve. Twelve of the deadliest beasts ever forged in the fires of hell have escaped onto our plane, and they want nothing more than to rip out the jugular of Charley Davidson and serve her lifeless, mangled body to Satan for dinner. So there’s that. But Charley has more on her plate than a mob of testy hellhounds. For one thing, her father has disappeared, and the more she retraces his last steps, the more she learns he was conducting an investigation of his own, one that has Charley questioning everything she’s ever known about him. Add to that an ex-BFF who is haunting her night and day, a rash of suicides that has authorities baffled, and a drop-dead sexy fiancé who has attracted the attentions of a local celebrity, and Charley is not having the best week of her life.

A tad north of hell, a hop, skip, and a jump past the realm of eternity, is a little place called Earth, and Charley Davidson, grim reaper extraordinaire, is determined to do everything in her power to protect it.

We’re doomed!
Coming October 2014

Friday, May 23, 2014

This Strange and Precious Thing

About the Book:
Annya, holidaying on the Island with her old friend Simon, a photojournalist, nurses dreams of becoming a world class reporter. Instead, she finds herself caught up in a nightmare when Simon is abruptly called away on a mysterious mission. He persuades her to stay on at their apartment, but limping home the next day, bleeding and shaken after her usual swim has gone disastrously wrong, she finds their place has been invaded. Yet there's no sign of a break-in. Who was the intruder? Was he waiting for her all along? Is he hiding? Bafflement turns to panic as a series of inexplicable events compel her to seek help from strangers. But who can she trust? And what manner of being is it that appears to be watching her from on high? Could he be real?

Her quest for answers leads to ever more disturbing questions, and when one of her new friends asks, "Do we exist elsewhere, in another time, another Universe? Or is time itself an illusion?" her grasp on reality begins to slip dangerously away. But this 'presence' is also on a mission - some impossible seeming task set him by Gaia, Mother Earth. The narrative deftly weaves the two destinies together into a richly sensual tapestry, while exploring, at the same time, the very nature of reality.

I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

The blurb about this book really piqued my interest. Time travel, mystery, and Gaia are interesting elements for a story. Author Esme Ellis uses these to create a unique story that will take readers through time and dimensions.

After finishing the book, I had to take some time to reflect on it and wrap my brain around it. Throughout the book, I kept trying to find the purpose. Is this a story about Annya or Finn? These two characters don't meet until readers are more than half way through the book. Then, when they do meet, their interactions are somewhat brief. It seems that they are drawn to each other, but they don't have a typical relationship. Annya loves her friend Simon who had to leave on a work assignment. Finn creepily appears into her life. I expected Annya to then build a relationship with Finn and forget about Simon, but that doesn't happen. So what's the purpose of the story? You have to wait until the final paragraph to discover it.

About that final paragraph, you will have to read it multiple times to work out all of the details. When I got to it, I read it a couple times, then had to read it out loud to my husband to understand it. It made me wonder, which came first, the chicken or the egg? Yes, this is cryptic if you haven't read the book, but when you do, this will make sense. I'll admit, it was a little weird.

Now, about the writing, Ellis creates a story with a classical feel. She gives attention to detail that is almost poetic at times. It was as if she were painting with some of her words. Readers are easily able to see Ellis' fictional landscape.

The storyline was very even paced. There wasn't a lot of dramatic action. It was focused more on Annya's interactions with the strangers on the island, and Finn's, what should we call it, "self discovery". The story also has some supernatural aspects throughout the story such as an astral being who interacts with mother earth.

On thing I found annoying is that Annya puts her trust into strange men's hands way too easily. She's very naïve and/or innocent. She goes with the flow and doesn't really have a backbone. She was like a damsel in distress who clung to any knight that came her way. But then, if I thought there was a phantom in my house and had an ominous premonition, I might do the same thing.

If you like the style of classical literature, then I would recommend this book to you. There's a touch of romance and sex, but the author isn't vulgar with it. This is good for some older teens and adults.
About author Esme Ellis:

Born in the steel town of Sheffield, at age 11, I was given a scholarship to the College of Art. Twelve years later I left London for Rome with an ARCA in my pocket eager, as I thought, to begin my brilliant career as a sculptor - but life was making other plans; hammers, chisels and oxy-acetylene welders were no longer featured: a miracle had changed my life.

This story is told in my first book; Pathway Into Sunrise. Clea and the Fifth Dimension followed. This Strange and Precious Thing in 2008 was my third book. Now, my latest, Dreaming Worlds Awake, a miscellany of New Consciousness Writings -'her best yet!' was published in April 2011. Read about it on my website www.esmeellis.co.uk

Monday, May 19, 2014

Goddess Born

goddess born coverAbout the book:
Pennsylvania, 1730

Selah Kilbrid keeps a dangerous secret: she has the power to heal.

A direct descendent of the Celtic goddess Brigid, it’s Selah’s sacred duty to help those in need. But as the last of the Goddess Born living in the New World, she learned from an early age to keep her supernatural abilities hidden. The Quaker community of Hopewell has always been welcoming, but there’s no doubt they would see her hanged if her gift was revealed.

When a prominent minister threatens to try her with witchcraft unless she becomes his wife, Selah has only one hope—that her betrothed, a distant cousin from Ireland, arrives as planned. Marrying Samuel would keep her secret safe, preserve her sacred bloodline, and protect her from being charged as a witch.

But when news of Samuel’s death reaches the Colonies, Selah is truly on her own. Terrified, she faces an impossible choice—forfeit her powers and marry the loathsome Nathan? Or find an imposter to pose as her husband and preserve her birthright?

Find the book:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble
2013 RWA Golden Heart© Finalist
2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist
  ABNA Publisher Weekly Reviewer Set in the colony of Pennsylvania in 1730, this riveting novel begins as 18-year-old Selah Kilbrid runs into Quaker minister Nathan Crowley, a man who “labor[ed] under the delusion that [Selah] would soon be his wife” despite the fact that she was betrothed to a man on his way to America from Ireland. Nathan tells Selah that if she refuses him, he will have her “charged as a witch” because of her ability to heal the sick. To avoid Nathan’s plan to marry her the following Sunday, she leaves for Philadelphia to wait for the arrival of her betrothed and marry him before returning home. In Philadelphia, she discovers that her betrothed has died at sea. She then purchases Henry, an indentured servant, and convinces him to pose as her husband and help protect her from Nathan. As the story continues, the reader learns of Selah’s family history and the powers she possesses; Selah is half human, half goddess. It's important that her secret stay safe, because if discovered, she could be killed. The characters are well developed and relatable; the reader empathizes with Selah and her plight. The fast-paced plot is exciting and keeps the reader guessing and in suspense. The end leaves room for a sequel, which, after such a tremendous beginning, would be anxiously awaited. A clear winner!  

Kari Edgren
About author Kari Edgren:
Kari Edgren did not dream of becoming a writer. Instead, she dreamed of everything else and was often made to stay inside during kindergarten recess to practice her letters. Despite doting parents and a decent school system, Ms. Edgren managed to make it through elementary school having completed only one book cover to cover – The Box Car Children, which she read approximately forty-seven times. Things improved during high school, but not until she read Gabrielle Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude in college, did she truly understand the power of a book. Ms. Edgren aspires to be a Vulcan, a world-acclaimed opera singer, and two inches taller. She resides in the Pacific NW where she spends a great deal of time torturing her husband and children with strange food and random historical facts. Ms. Edgren hasn’t stopped dreaming, but has finally mastered her letters enough to put the stories on paper.

Find Kari Edgren:   Website   Goodreads   Facebook
  Goddess Born Tour

Enter to win a $100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

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Ends 6/15/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A is for Apocalypse cover reveal!

 Welcome to the cover reveal for A is for Apocalypse, an anthology edited by Rhonda Parrish. To celebrate we have a Q&A for you with some of the contributors!

Often bleak, sometimes hopeful, always thoughtful, if A is for Apocalypse is as prescient as it is entertaining, we're in for quite a ride.” - Amanda C. Davis, author of The Lair of the Twelve Princesses
What do you get when you take twenty-six amazing writers, randomly assign them a letter of the alphabet and give them complete artistic freedom within a theme?
A is for Apocalypse
A is for Apocalypse contains twenty-six apocalyptic stories written by both well-known and up-and-coming writers. Monsters, meteors, floods, war–the causes of the apocalypses in these tales are as varied as the stories themselves.
This volume contains work by Ennis Drake, Beth Cato, Kenneth Schneyer, Damien Angelica Walters, K. L. Young, Marge Simon, Milo James Fowler, Simon Kewin, C.S. MacCath, Steve Bornstein and more!

A is for Apocalypse
Edited by Rhonda Parrish
Poise and Pen Publishing
ISBN-13: 978-0993699016
ISBN-10: 0993699014
Cover Designed by Jonathan Parrish

“Editor Rhonda Parrish gives us apocalyptic fiction at its finest. There's not a whimper to be heard amongst these twenty-six End of the World stories. A wonderful collection.” -Deborah Walker, Nature Futures author.
Editor Bio:
Rhonda Parrish is a shapeshifter with talents to match her every incarnation- magpie tenacity for picking the shiniest submissions, nightingale notes for crafting tales, and bright, feline eyes for seeking out her photographic subjects. She balances on the knife-edge of darkness and light, a sorceress of both realms.” - Sara Cleto
Q&A with some of the contributors:
As a contributor to this anthology you are privileged to have been able to read a proof copy of it already. Aside from your own story, which one is your favorite? No spoilers, please :)
Michael Kellar - "U is for REDACTED" got to me early on, and ended up being a perfect little glimpse of what would be important when facing the end of the world.

Marge Simon - That’s really, really a hard question to answer. But I’m picking Damian Angelica Walters’ moving “U is for REDACTED”. It reminded me much of one of my top favorite dark sf stories, “Testament”.

Sara Cleto - I'll admit that I haven't read through the entire anthology yet (it will be my reward when I finish this semester's grading!), but I adore Brittany Warman's story- as always, her images are haunting, powerful, and full of wonderful folkloric resonances.

Beth Cato - I loved R. It's one of the longer stories in the anthology, I think, and it's a unique take on events leading up to the apocalypse. The whole vibe is creepy and gritty.
Enter to win one of three ARC copies of  A is for ApocalypseThese are physical copies. Contest is open internationally. The Rafflecopter draw will run from May 12th to May 19th. On May 20th three winners will be chose and emailed in order to get their shipping address. Anyone who doesn’t respond by May 27th will forfeit their prize and a new winner will be chosen.
Fill out the rafflecopter to enter.
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This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Twisted cover reveal

Today I'm very excited to help reveal the cove to Elisabeth Naughton's book, Twisted. It's the seventh book in the Eternal Guardians series. Check out the cover below and don't forget about the excerpt!

About the book:
NICK – Leader of the half-breeds, the last true hero, and the son of one psychotic Titan. He’s spent his life fighting a dark pull toward the gods he doesn’t understand. But as his powers grow stronger and his destiny is revealed, no one knows whether he will choose to fight for the side of good or succumb to the sinister lure of evil…even him.

Release:  Coming Summer 2014

She pulled the cell door open. Metal groaned. And his chest pinched when he realized that was it. She
was leaving. After not punishing him like he’d expected, but pleasuring him.


It was the only word he could get out. His throat was thick, his brain still foggy, but none of this—none of what she’d done last night when she’d tended his wound or tonight when she’d brought him to a blistering climax—made sense.

She hesitated, one hand on the door handle, one step to freedom. Then she turned her head back into
the room, just enough so he could see the supple line of her jaw and the plump perfection of her lips,
but she didn't meet his eyes. And like it had before, that feeling she was as much a prisoner as was he,
slammed into him.

Which would be worse? To be tortured? Or to be forced to torture others and live with the knowledge
of what you've done day after day after miserable day?

“Because I’m not the monster Zagreus is,” she whispered. “Not yet, anyway.”

About author Elisabeth Naughton:
Before topping multiple bestseller lists—including those of the New York Times, USA Today, and the Wall Street Journal—Elisabeth Naughton taught middle school science. A rabid reader, she soon discovered she had a knack for creating stories with a chemistry of their own. The spark turned to a flame, and Naughton now writes full-time. Besides topping bestseller lists, her books have been nominated for some of the industry’s most prestigious awards, such as the RITA® and Golden Heart Awards from Romance Writers of America, the Australian Romance Reader Awards, and the Golden Leaf Award. When not dreaming up new stories, Naughton can be found spending time with her husband and three children in their western Oregon home. Learn more at www.ElisabethNaughton.com.    

You can find Elisabeth here: Website/Blog   FB Author Page   Twitter   Goodreads   Eternal Guardians FB Page