Saturday, December 27, 2014


Have you been busy?

Yeah. Me, too.
Here's an actual photo of our home.

Clean-up in aisle 10!

We had a similar problem.
Or else it was the kitty...BUT Charlie's not talking...

Writing-wise, I've been busy with beta-reading other authors' works (some good stuff here, I tell ya) and I'm RELIEVED to say I've FINALLY started book 3 of the Under the Blood Moon series.

Yes, How to DESTROY Dead Guys is in progress!
Here's a glimpse into what's coming...

This is NOT my pet.

This is NOT a bowling ball.

In other writing, a poem I wrote when my mother (who has Alzheimer's) was being moved into Hospice care was published in the local paper:

The rest of the story is that Mom started improving, and is still (sort of) with us. But only physically. However, this is a long, sad story for another time. If you have a moment, if you could just pray or think positive thoughts (whatever your preference) for all those patients suffering from this and similar diseases that they will pass peacefully (because that's as good as it can get from some point on--that's the depressing reality of the situation, so might as well face it).

On a less somber note, I awoke today to find--

3+ inches of snow on the ground (I love snow)

along with 2 fun surprises in my electronic in-box--

1) an interview:


2) a very positive, 4-star review on a popular book blog:

So Happy Birthday/Merry Xmas/Happy Holidays to me! :)

P.S. (added a few hours later)

And, to add the cherry on top, I just received notice of earning a spot on Caffeinated's Top Ten list for 2014 New Adult:

This reminded me I'd been fortunate enough to make another blog's Top Five list overall for 2014:

I am so very lucky and happy right now!
To celebrate, it's time for some happy puppy pictures (yes, that's sweaty me after a race with Daphne last year--she loves to run as much as I do, thank goodness).

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


I obtained this book from Abbie Williams herself (she even signed it) at the library author function I attended last month. I don't read much romantic literature, but have been eager to break out of my same-old, same-old YA dystopian/urban fantasy/paranormal mold.

I needed something new and different.
I got it. :)

Here's the official Goodreads book blurb:

The Civil War has ended, leaving the country with a gaping wound. Lorie Blake, a southern orphan sold into prostitution at fifteen, has carefully guarded her aching soul from the disgrace forced upon her every evening. Two years have passed, leaving her with little hope of anything more. Meanwhile, three men – longtime friends – and a young boy with a heart of gold are traveling northward, planning to rebuild their lives in the north and leave behind the horrors of their time as soldiers in the Confederate Army.

Fate, however, has plans of its own, causing their lives to collide in a river town whorehouse. Forced to flee, Lorie escapes and joins them on the journey north. But danger stalks them all in the form of a vindictive whorehouse madam and an ex-Union soldier, insane and bent on exacting revenge. At last, Lorie must come to terms with her past and devastating secrets that she cannot yet bear to reveal.

Heart of a Dove is the first book in a gripping, sweeping romantic saga of pain, unbearable choices, loss and true love set against the backdrop of a scarred, post-Civil War America.

Here's my review:

Fabulous. Lovely.
5 stars. I'm very, very impressed.
Just finished the book, and looking forward to book two.

Just where is Abbie Williams going to take this?

Historical Aspects:

This was my favorite part. I loved the details about the era, about the Civil War, and especially (perhaps this is wrong of me) the brothel. I found this fascinating. Abbie Williams did a fabulous job "bringing history to life" regarding aspects I had never before even considered.

Romantic Aspects:

First off, let me inform you that I am in the top ten percentile of the LEAST ROMANTIC PEOPLE on the planet. I typically don't even read in the romance genre. Maybe there's something wrong with me. I don't even like getting flowers--reminds me of funerals. And some songs make me gag ("You Were Always On my Mind" being one of them).

While reading this, I felt a bit like the little boy in THE PRINCESS BRIDE (LOVE that movie), because I skimmed the kissing parts. But that didn't take away from my overall utter enjoyment of this book. If all historical romances were so adept at painlessly giving me a history lesson, I'd read them by the cartload.

This kid was so cute. Now I have to rewatch THE WONDER YEARS.

What I loved were the characters, the setting, the SUNSETS even.

Just the thought of being out on the prairie, never seeing a city.
The sky stretching out ahead of you.

 THAT'S what I think is romantic.

The escape. The adventure. The hardship on the trail.
Perhaps this is what I'm missing in my somewhat sheltered life.
Not that I'm complaining.
It's awfully nice to have a functional INDOOR bathroom at my disposal. :)

You won't even guess what I'm reading next--unless you befriend me on Goodreads.

Monday, December 15, 2014


Welcome to the Fall Into Fantasy Tour, where we are keeping your mind off any end-of-summer blues and welcoming the cooler weather by introducing you to some incredible fantasy reads to curl up with and giving you plenty of chances to win awesome prizes!

Week 17: Meratis Trilogy
Book One: Evensong
By Krista Walsh

Author Jeff Powell wakes up to find the impossible has happened. He is within his own novel—summoned into the fictional world of Feldall’s Keep by a spell he didn’t write. One the House enchantress hasn’t figured out how to reverse.

When the villain he’s been struggling to write reveals himself, unleashing waves of terror and chaos, Jeff must use more than his imagination to save the characters he created—and the woman he loves.

Trapped within a world of his own creation, he must step outside the bounds of his narrative to help his characters defeat an evil no one anticipated, even if he must sacrifice his greatest gift. In the end, he has to ask: are novels really fiction, or windows into other worlds?

Buy it from: Amazon, Kobo, Nook, iTunes
Or add it to Goodreads


Known for witty, vivid characters, Krista Walsh never has more fun than getting them into trouble and taking her time getting them out. After publishing a few short stories and novellas in various anthologies, she has now released her own anthology, the serial collection Greylands. When not writing, or working at her day job, she can be found reading, gaming, or watching a film – anything to get lost in a good story. She currently lives in Ottawa, Ontario.

Find Krista online: Website  Facebook  Twitter

Sunday, December 14, 2014


Synopsis: When you have a connection to the Darkworld, nowhere is truly safe.

Ashlyn has found a new home in Blackstone, but when a spate of grave robberies across the country spark fears that someone is practicing illegal sorcery, she comes under the radar of the Venantium, the protectors of the Barrier between her world and the Darkworld, who are suspicious of any sorcerer unaware of their origins.

The trouble is, what Ash does know might just get her killed.

Sufferers of the dangerous condition known as the vampire’s curse are being brutally killed, and the latest victim is Leo’s guardian, the ex-head of the Venantium. Ash determines to help Leo find out what’s really going on, but it isn’t long before events are spiralling out of control. The dead are rising from their graves, and the barriers around Blackstone are threatened by a demon which looks exactly like Ash herself…

Add on Goodreads!

And here's more information on the first in the series, Darkness Watching  (Darkworld #1)

Eighteen-year-old Ashlyn is one interview away from her future when she first sees the demons. She thinks she's losing her mind, but the truth is far more frightening: she can see into the Darkworld, the home of spirits– and the darkness is staring back.

Desperate to escape the demons, Ash accepts a place at a university in the small town of Blackstone  - little knowing that it isn't coincidence that led her there but the pull of the Venantium, the sorcerers who maintain the barrier keeping demons from crossing from the Darkworld into our own world.

All-night parties, new friendships and a life without rules or limits are all part of the package of student life - but demons never give up, and their focus on Ash has attracted the attention of every sorcerer in the area. Ash is soon caught between her new life and a group of other students with a connection to the Darkworld, who could offer the answers she's looking for. The demons want something from her, and someone is determined to kill her before she can find out what it is.

In a world where darkness lurks beneath the surface, not everyone is what they appear to be...


“In the vein of Buffy and Supernatural, DARKNESS WATCHING found that perfect balance between the freaky and the fun.” - YA author Jen Estes

"Demons, Sorcerers, evil, and secrets. Could you ask for a better supernatural suspense set-up?...It's full of suspense, danger, evil and dark humor. The plot is original, and completely gripping. From the first page, this book had me hooked." - Rose at Desert Rose Reviews

"A suspenseful first part to an intriguing new fantasy series." - Sharon Stevenson, supernatural author

“The story is extremely well-written with effortless, flowing prose, and the original magic-user mythology and Darkworld creatures are very entertaining. The author took what might have been over-done premise and twisted it into something very fresh and exciting.” - Lexa Cain, author of Soul Cutter

"This is a wildly different story than any I have read about demons...I loved it!" - Kathy at Bookmarks, Spoilers, and Happily-Ever-Afters's Touch: A Darkworld Novella is also available now! 

This is a standalone novella, intended as a prequel to the Darkworld series. As it takes place one year before the events of Darkness Watching, it doesn’t contain any spoilers (although it does hint at things which will come into play later in the series).

Freakish powers and staring demon eyes aren’t part of Claudia’s plans for the future – and neither is ending up stuck at the gloomy, isolated University of Blackstone. But bad life decisions are the least of her problems, when a split-second decision to help out another magic-user puts her in the crossfire of both the shadow-beasts and the creepy organisation which hunt them down.

Claudia’s never had to worry about making the right choice before, but every decision matters when you have a Darkworld connection. Soon, she’s going to have to make a choice: turn her back on the crazy and try to live a normal life, or take the monsters down.

But in a world where everyone seems to have secrets, can she really trust her fellow magic-users – or even herself?

Emma spent her childhood creating imaginary worlds to compensate for a disappointingly average reality, so it was probably inevitable that she ended up writing bizarre, fantastical stories. She was born in Birmingham, UK, which she fled at the first opportunity to study English Literature at Lancaster University. In her three years at Lancaster, she hiked up mountains, skydived in Australia, and endured a traumatic episode involving a swarm of bees in the Costa Rican jungle. She also entertained her creative writing group and baffled her tutors by submitting strange fantasy tales featuring dragons and supernatural monsters to workshops. These included her first publication, a rather bleak dystopian piece, and a disturbing story about a homicidal duck (which she hopes will never see the light of day).

Now a reluctant graduate, Emma refuses to settle down and be normal. When not embarking on wild excursions, she edits and proofreads novels for various publishing houses and reads an insane number of books. At the age of 21, she signed a publishing contract with Curiosity Quills Press for the first book in her creepy urban fantasy Darkworld series. DARKNESS WATCHING was published in October 2013, the first in a five-book series. Emma’s books tend to contain monsters, magic, and wildly inappropriate humour.


The world flipped over. I was suddenly overwhelmed by the stench of earth and leather. There was something else lurking beneath, a more subtle scent, metallic and salty. Blood. My arm throbbed.
I rolled out of the way of my attackera big man, broad and wild-looking. He wore the tattered remains of what must once have been a pristine suit, which was now torn and stained with mud. His steel-grey hair was matted and his teeth were bared in an inhuman snarl. 
“I found you,” he hissed. 
I couldn’t move. Even though he wasn’t touching me, I felt as though I was frozen to the spot. It was like one of my nightmares which ended in sleep paralysis, with me unable to even move a limb, or scream for help. He must be a magic-user, a powerful one.
But before anything else could happen, there was an explosion of fiery light and the man leapt aside, roaring in pain. Claudia faced him, and she looked incredibly pissed off.
“What,” she said, “is your problem?”
“This is none of your concern,” he growled. 
“I’d say it is,” said Leo, and threw himself at the man. 
This was an incredibly foolish thing to do, given that his opponent was twice his size, but the guy clearly hadn’t expected such a direct assault. They both fell away down the hill, and judging by the flashes and yells of pain, both were using magic. I hesitated to follow, not wanting to get in the way. I’d never seen Leo display the slightest bit of aggression before, but now he looked livid. I was ashamed at myself for holding back, but it didn’t seem a bright idea to get in the way of the flames. Being half-demon meant I’d never be able to summon fire myself, although I could still overwhelm a demon using ice that burned like flames. But I couldn’t make myself immune to burning, like Leo and Claudia could. In a fight like that I’d burn alive.
“Get away from her!” yelled a voice.
I’d forgotten about Conrad. He ran toward us, but his feet slipped on the wet grass and he went head over heels. I would have laughed at him if I didn’t have more pressing matters to deal with.
Ignoring my throbbing arm, I contacted the Darkworld and felt the familiar surge of coldness, of pure energy, rush through me. Without thinking, I threw myself after the other two. Claudia hung back, perhaps hesitant to shoot a fireball in case she hit Leo by accident. But I didn’t really have a plan. I just wanted to get him away from Leo.
Ice spread out from my palms rapidly as I latched onto the man from behind. 
“Leo, let go of him!” I shouted, not wanting him to get caught in the spell, too. He backed away, gaping as the man before him rapidly turned into a statue of ice.
Drained, I dropped to my knees.
“How in hell did you do that?” said Leo. “I’ve never seen magic like it.”
“I have no idea.” Light-headedness swept over me. I pressed my forehead to the cold ground, my body trembling. This big guy just attacked me for no reason. “Tell me I didn’t just imagine that. Who was he? A werewolf?”
 “No, he’s another vampire,” said Leo, and he wasn’t laughing. “His name’s Bill Melmoth, and he’s my guardian.”

Monday, December 8, 2014


Welcome to the Fall Into Fantasy Tour, where we are keeping your mind off any end-of-summer blues and welcoming the cooler weather by introducing you to some incredible fantasy reads to curl up with and giving you plenty of chances to win awesome prizes!

Week 16: The Disciple Series by L. Blankenship

War is coming. Kate Carpenter is only a peasant girl, but she’s determined to help defend the kingdom and its bound saints against the invading empire. Her healing magic earned her a coveted apprenticeship with the master healer; now she must prove herself ready to stand in the front lines and save lives.

She’s not ready for the attentions of a ne’er-do-well knight and the kingdom’s only prince, though. This is no time to be distracted by romance — the empire’s monstrous army will tear through anyone standing between them and the kingdom’s magical founts. All disciples must put aside their tangled feelings and stand in the homeland’s defense.

Disciple is a six-part gritty fantasy romance by L. Blankenship. Part I through Part IV are on sale now at all major retailers

Download PART I for free! 
FREE at AmazonSmashwordsB&N AllRomance

Disciple, Part V on sale now

Look for the final volume, Part VI, in 2015!


“You couldn’t sleep either?”

At the whisper, I looked up from struggling to lace my boots with trembling hands. My master stepped into my dormitory room, adding his lamp’s light to my candle.

“Why must I dress as a boy?” I whispered back. Perhaps I was not so buxom, but I doubted I’d fool anyone. “This makes little sense.”

“Patience.” Master Parselev placed his lamp on my writing-table and checked my packed bags. “They’re gathering at the chapel already. None of us got much sleep, it seems.”

The straw mattress creaked when I stood, boots laced and the woolen hose sagging between my thighs. I ran my fingers around my waist, under my layered cotes, to check the drawstring. “Are these right, Master?” I’d strung the hose and braies together as best I could guess and as memory was my Blessing I had no excuse for failing. Men’s underthings weren’t much concern to me — if I saw such, or more, it was while the man lay bleeding on the surgery table.

“If they stay up, it’s right. Good. This too.” He slung a heavy felt cloak across my shoulders and pinned it on. The hood buried my face in shadows; my blonde braid, even wrapped around my head, would give me away.

I asked, “Master, this journey will be long, won’t it?” Parselev had given me more clothes than I’d ever owned to pack in those bags. All heavy winter woolens, too. “Shouldn’t you go, then?”

He looked down at me, mouth quirking to one side. Master was a greybeard, said to be over a hundred years old, but his kir kept his eyes bright and his face lightly creased. I had only been his apprentice two years. Surely I could not be ready for this.

“It must be you, Kate,” was all he said. He carried one of my bags, and I took the other.

Wreathed in breath-clouds, we crossed the Order’s campus. Low on the horizon, the slim, waxing crescent of the Shepherd hung golden, all seven of his Flock scattered in the sky behind him. He gave the only hint that dawn was coming. The cloak kept me marvelously warm, even in the chilly breeze. No frost this morning, not yet, but it was only a few weeks off.

Master un-bolted the side gate and led me to the door of the Grand Chapel. Horses waited on the grass, many horses chewing at their bits and shaking their heads, most of them with knights in the saddles. The knights’ black tabards, worn over suits of mail, had a white horse embroidered on the right shoulder and two gold stars on the left, marking them knights and Prince’s Guard as well. Kite shields and bucket helms hung on their saddles, in easy reach.

Several of the horses stood with empty saddles, collectively held by a couple of pageboys, and that gave me pause. I’d never been on a horse; I was only a peasant girl. But it could not be so awful, I told myself, so I gripped my cloak a little tighter and followed Master Parselev inside.

My new boots rang too loudly in the empty chapel, and when I slowed to lighten my step I fell behind. Only one lamp burned on the high table before the icons, and its light was mostly blocked by those gathered below the two steps. Faces were cast in shadow as they turned toward us — all looming in the dim light, some cloaked like me, others not — and I knew none of them. I kept my head down as I joined my master before them, glad the hood hid my face.

“Not ready, Elect?” one asked, his voice low but strong. “Who’s this?”

“My apprentice will safeguard the travelers,” my master answered. “She has —”

“What?” The man stepped closer, his shoulders blocking out the light.

“Majesty, she’s my finest student.” Parselev put up a hand when the stranger reached for my hood.

My knees trembled as the word echoed in my head. Majesty. I stood before the king of Wodenberg. Wobbling a bit, I dropped to one knee in obeisance, fist pressed to my heart. The king yanked off my hood while I stared at the flagstone floor, pulse pounding.

“This girl?” the king demanded. “You trust a mere disciple with this mission?”

L. Blankenship started writing animal stories as a kid and it's just gotten completely out of hand since then. Now she's out publishing her gritty fantasy and hard science fiction adventures. L grew up in New Hampshire but currently lives near Washington, DC.

Want to get involved with the Fall Into Fantasy promotional tour?

  • Don't forget to join us at the Facebook party here
  • If you are interested in joining up as a blogger, you can always sign up here. We are happy to welcome more bloggers into the fold as the promotion continues. 
  • If you are an author or blogger and want to sign up to help with the party, please fill out this form.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, December 1, 2014


Welcome to the Fall Into Fantasy Tour, where we are keeping your mind off any end-of-summer blues and welcoming the cooler weather by introducing you to some incredible fantasy reads to curl up with and giving you plenty of chances to win awesome prizes!

Week 15: The December People series
Book 1: Destruction
Book 2: Watch Me Burn
By Sharon Bayliss

Introducing a new dark wizard family drama, Destruction by Sharon Bayliss, Book One in The December People Series.

An independent family-owned bookstore. The ONLY place to buy signed copies!

A locally owned book store in Austin, Texas.



David Vandergraff wants to be a good man. He goes to church every Sunday, keeps his lawn trim and green, and loves his wife and kids more than anything. Unfortunately, being a dark wizard isn't a choice.

Eleven years ago, David's secret second family went missing. When his two lost children are finally found, he learns they suffered years of unthinkable abuse. Ready to make things right, David brings the kids home even though it could mean losing the wife he can’t imagine living without.

Keeping his life together becomes harder when the new children claim to be dark wizards. David believes they use this fantasy to cope with their trauma. Until, David's wife admits a secret of her own—she is a dark wizard too, as is David, and all of their children.

Now, David must parent two hurting children from a dark world he doesn’t understand and keep his family from falling apart. All while dealing with the realization that everyone he loves, including himself, may be evil.

Add it to Goodreads
Watch the trailer

Cover Reveal!!
Watch Me Burn
The December People Series
Book Two

David Vandergraff lost his home, his job, and contact with his oldest son, but remains determined to be a good husband and father despite being a dark winter wizard.

His resolve is tested when a flyer for a missing girl--who happens to be a summer witch--begins to haunt him. David believes a spell needs to use him to save her, so he follows the magic's command and looks into her disappearance. His teenage daughter Emmy resents him for caring so much about a random stranger. But when she uncovers some disturbing evidence close to home, she begins an investigation of her own.

David and Emmy quickly learn that the mystery is not only about a missing girl they barely know, but a deeply personal story that impacts everyone they care about. As their world crumbles, they fear the warning may be true—never mess with summer wizards, because the good guys always win.

Coming January 2015 from Curiosity Quills Press!





Sharon Bayliss is the author of The December People Series and The Charge. When she’s not writing, she enjoys living happily-ever-after with her husband and two young sons. She can be found eating Tex-Mex on patios, wearing flip-flops, and playing in the mud (which she calls gardening). She only practices magic in emergencies. - @SharonBayliss -

Want to get involved with the Fall Into Fantasy promotional tour?
• Don't forget to join us at the Facebook party here!
• If you are interested in joining up as a blogger, you can always sign up here. We are happy to welcome more bloggers into the fold as the promotion continues.
• If you are an author or blogger and want to sign up to help with the party, please fill out this form.
a Rafflecopter giveaway