Friday, December 30, 2016

Book Review: In Another Life by Julie Christine Johnson

In Another Life tells the story of Lia Carrer, a young widow who lost her husband in a biking accident two years earlier. She returns to the country she loves best, Languedoc in the south of France to work on her dissertation about the Cathars. From her first day, she encounters strange happenings and meets people who seem familiar in ways that they should not. There's Lucas, the enigmatic photographer, with whom Lia is collaborating on a book. There's Raoul, the quiet vintner who lost his own wife and children. And there's devious Father Jordi Bonafe who leaves clues for Lia regarding the Cathars and the murder of Archdeacon Pierre de Castelnau, the event which precipitated the massacre of the Cathar people in 1208.
The Cathars believed in reincarnation for souls that were killed without a chance at redemption. Lia is forced to confront this belief as events unfold and she becomes the instrument for atonement of these lost souls. This is a finely written book, truly descriptive of the beauty of the Languedoc region. I've been to some of the locations in the book and the author absolutely nails the mystical allure of the ruins, countryside, and towns. The story moves along at a good pace, and the two timelines are skillfully woven in to make a cohesive and interesting story. This is a lovely story with themes I will ponder in days to come. I want to thank Netgalley for letting me read this wonderful book.

Link to Amazon

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Blog Tour, Excerpt, and Giveaway: Silk by Chris Karlsen

Historical / Victorian Suspense

Silk on the skin—luxurious, luscious..lethal.

London-Fall, 1888
The city is in a panic as Jack the Ripper continues his murderous spree. While the Whitechapel police struggle to find him, Detective Inspector Rudyard Bloodstone and his partner are working feverishly to find their own serial killer. The British Museum's beautiful gardens have become a killing ground for young women strangled as they stroll through.
Their investigation has them brushing up against Viscount Everhard, a powerful member of the House of Lords, and a friend to Queen Victoria. When the circumstantial evidence  points to him as a suspect, Rudyard must deal with the political blowback, and knows if they are going to go after the viscount, they'd better be right and have proof.
As the body count grows and the public clamor for the detectives to do more, inter-department rivalries complicate the already difficult case.


Events of the day and the potential satisfaction of giving Napier a bloody nose dwindled. Questions about the murder crept back into Ruddy's thoughts. Morris joined him at his table in the rear of the pub with a Guinness, the popular beer of choice in hand. “You’ve got the look of a man whose thoughts are a long distance from London.”
“No, sadly my thoughts are fixed here in the city. I’m trying to figure out a clue. Ellis’s roommate said she’d sometimes meet with a well-dressed man, a man of means the victim indicated. They’d meet up at the fountain by the British Museum.”
“Don’t know the spot but then the museum isn’t my cup of tea.”
“Not the point. I’m saying it’s odd. What member of the upper class chooses to stroll through a public garden other than Hyde or Regents, where they can see and be seen by one of their own?”
“I agree the wealthy prefer the parks filled with others of their kind but it doesn’t mean a man can’t enjoy someplace different.”
“We interviewed the guard again. The one that discovered the body walks that half of the building. He told us the majority of their male patrons are natty dressers, but he never saw a man like that loitering by the fountain.”
“My guess is: the man is married and can’t afford to run the risk of being seen by a friend of his wife’s. Or, he might live or work in the area and the spot is convenient.”
“Or, he’s a murderer who’s noticed the victim walking through the park on a regular basis, saw it as an opportunity and cozied up to her.”
Ruddy took another swallow of his ale, mentally debating the merit of each theory. “I don’t think he lives in the area. If so, he’d have cut through the park more and been seen by the guards. Not sure about the married man having a tryst idea."
To Ruddy's way of thinking, if the man was married and looking for a tumble, he’d have met her someplace other than the gardens and at a better hour.
Instinct drew him back to his original sense of the culprit and crime. “I feel like this was a crime of opportunity. I’ve thought it all along and can’t shake the sense.”
“If he was just seeking a victim, then why haven’t you had more murders like this?” Morris asked.
Ruddy downed the rest of his beer and put his tankard on the edge of the table where June would refill it. “Everyone has to start somewhere. She might be number one.”

YouTube Video

I was born and raised in Chicago. My father was a history professor and my mother was, and is, a voracious reader. I grew up with a love of history and books.
My parents also love traveling, a passion they passed onto me. I wanted to see the places I read about, see the land and monuments from the time periods that fascinated me. I’ve had the good fortune to travel extensively throughout Europe, the Near East, and North Africa.  
I am a retired police detective. I spent twenty-five years in law enforcement with two different agencies. My desire to write came in my early teens. After I retired, I decided to pursue that dream. I write three different series. My paranormal romance series is called, Knights in Time. My romantic thriller series is Dangerous Waters. The newest is The Bloodstone Series. Each series has a different setting and some cross time periods, which I find fun to write.
I currently live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband and four wild and crazy rescue dogs.  

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Giveaway: $20 Amazon Gift Card

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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Promo Blitz and Excerpt: The Dragon in the Garden by Erika Gardner

Contemporary Fantasy
Date Published:  Eformats- 2/19/16, Print 10/21/16
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing

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There is magic beneath the mundane and in The Dragon in the Garden, Siobhan Orsini witnesses it all. No lie can fool her, no glamour or illusion can cloud her Sight. She sees through them all and wishes she could close her eyes. Returning to face her past, Siobhan inherits her grandparents’ house in California’s wine country. She encounters a talking dragon, a hot fallen angel, a demon lord, a Valkyrie, and, oh yes, her ex-boyfriend. And that is just in the first twenty-four hours. 

It’s time to find out why she has this power. 

Siobhan seeks out the Oracle and learns that only her Sight can help mankind navigate the travails of an ancient war. Our world is the prize in a battle between the dragons, who would defend us, and Lucifer’s fallen angels, who seek to take the Earth for themselves. Using her gift, she will have to make a choice that will decide humanity’s future.


The memory has haunted me for years.

In the middle of a bright California summer, dark days came. My mother and grandparents spoke in hushed, serious voice, arguing about my absent father. Was it my fault he left? A soft whimper escaped my throat and my eyes burned. I needed a hug, but no one paid any attention to me that day.  So I ran away to the refuge of my grandparents’ garden where I could hide among its statues and flowers.

My eyes lingered over the familiar garden ornaments. I passed the old birdbath, the statues of gnomes, and a cheerful squirrel. I ran one hand over the stone deer. Its brown paint had faded from years under the sun. Walking with quick steps down the gravel path, I made my way to the center of the garden, my special spot where my favorite statue waited.

       A gnarled apricot tree grew there.  Right now it was covered with tiny green apricots. Later in the summer the sweet fruit I loved would ripen. I would get to pick them with my parents, no, just with my mother. My lip trembled. My father wouldn’t be here.

The bright-green dragon lay curled at the foot of the apricot tree, partially covered by vines. My mother called the color jade green—the same shade as my eyes. As a child she talked to all the statues, but I only spoke to the dragon. I named her Daisy. Sitting down next to her now, the tears welled up at last, spilling over my cheeks. I wrapped my arms around my legs, making myself into a little ball of five year old misery.

“Child, why are you sad?” said a woman’s voice.

“Who said that?” I asked, wiping my cheek.

 “I did.”

“Where are you?” I stood and peered at the plants and statues around me.

“Right here.”

“Are not,” I retorted.

A soft laugh filled the air and the woman spoke again. “Perhaps you are right. Easy enough to fix, I suppose.”

The breeze picked up. The space beneath the apricot tree shimmered. Ripples warped the air like the heat over the barbecue when my father cooked. The sweet notes of wind chimes filled the yard. Grandma and Grandpa didn’t have any wind chimes. I whirled around to find the noise.

Under the branches appeared an enormous green dragon’s head.

About the Author

Erika is a sixth generation San Franciscan of Irish descent. She attended the University of California at Davis and completed degrees in Medieval History and Biological Sciences. A lifelong lover of books and a scribbler of many tales from a young age (her first story was completed at age five) she turned to writing full-time in 2011.
Erika resides in Northern California with her incredibly hot husband, their three amazing kids, and their chocolate Labrador named Selkie. To reach Erika regarding her books, wine recommendations, or to debate which Iron Maiden album is the best (clearly, it’s Brave New World), you can find her online at

Contact Links

Twitter: @Erika_Gardner

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Thursday, December 15, 2016

Book Review: A Shining Star by R. Castro

A Shining Star is a nice read for the Christmas season. Cali works at a foundation that helps children who have been abused or abandoned. She's in the Development office, garnering contributions for the foundation and is very good at her job. She was helped by the foundation in her own youth.
Just before the holidays, Reginal Bosc starts working at the office with the purpose of coordinating a huge donation and expanding the foundation's reach. As Cali and Reginal work together professionally, they find some romance too.
This is a fairly quick read. There are a few disturbing issues that come up as part of Cali's and Reginal's past lives: rape, suicide, and illness, but there is also very heartwarming aspects that will charm the reader. I especially enjoyed Cali's travel to Baden-Baden for a fundraising event. Cali is sweet though she has endured much in her short life, and it was nice to see Reginal come out of his shell. I could easily see this story made into a Hallmark Christmas movie.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Blog Tour: The Star-Crossed Saga by Braxton A. Cosby

Braxton A. Cosby - The Star-Crossed Saga Series - Virtual Book Tour

YA Science Fiction/Romance
Publisher:  Cosby Media Productions 

The award-winning StarCrossed Saga series, where teen romance 
blends with science fiction to open a whole new world of action, 
adventure and discovery

What Would You Choose: Love or Duty?
As the Torrian Alliance continues its age-old mission of 
hunting down Star-children, King Gregorio Derry
reluctantly agrees to send his only son, William, 
to planet Earth on a mission to bring honor back to the
Royal Family name. The target: Sydney, a young teenage
girl, unaware of her alien heritage. When an unforeseen 
accident delays the assassination, William begins to realize
a connection forming with Sydney and struggles to follow
through with his orders. With the fear of Civil War imminent 
back home, William must make the ultimate choice 
between his irrevocable duty and love, sacrificing
everything he believes. But as a hidden menace emerges
to secure a vested interest, and impossible odds begin to mount
against them, William and Sydney wonder if a connection between
two Star-Crossed lovers is enough to save them from destruction.

Book 1 of the award-winning StarCrossed Saga series, where teen 
romance blends with science fiction to open a whole new world of action,
adventure and discovery!

What You Choose, Becomes You…
Against everything he had known as truth, William has
made the choice to protect Sydney from the forces seeking
to destroy her. But just as these two Starcrossed lovers are
beginning to explore their relationship and search for
answers to the mysteries of Sydney’s existence, she 
advances to the next stage of her Star-child evolution—
Supernova—and struggles not only to control her new 
powers, but also the emotions for her new love. William
seeks to find the truth behind Sydney's erratic behavior, 
while overcoming the new threat headed to Earth to
destroy them. With new villains and old allies on the
horizon, and chaos brewing on William’s home world, 
will self-sacrifice prove to be the only way for him to 
achieve victory and defend his love, or is there another
The follow-up to the debut Award-winning novel

The explosive finale to Braxton Cosby’s Star-Crossed Saga trilogy—perfect for fans of TWILIGHT and LEGEND!

What You Believe, Can Destroy You!
William and Sydney have sacrificed everything to fortify 
their love, so much so that William dares to brave the 
depths of space to find a cure for their deadly Supernova 
bond, leaving both her and Earth vulnerable to Torrian
Alliance attack. But with a full scale rebellion in play on
Fabricius, the reality of Sydney’s execution from Torrian 
hands is diminished, only eclipsed by the certainty of a 
more threats – The Third Faction and The Dagmas Clan
– lead by Dominic and his insurgent recruits. With 
overwhelming odds mounting against them, William makes
a desperate attempt to find the last of the endangered
Star-children only to be captured by a new menace, where
he is forced to compete in the dreaded Gauntlet of sport. 
Allies surge to free Fabricius, seeking alliances across the
galaxy while Sydney tries to keep her identity hidden and 
trains to master the third phase of her Star-child evolution: Solstice. With Sarah’s 
mysterious return home with clues to unlock the future, Noella’s training and Bill’s 
symbiotic development hope is restored, but will it be enough to unite the galaxy and 
destroy evil for once and for all?

Multi-Award Winning and #1 Amazon Bestselling author Braxton A.
Cosby is a dreamer who transitioned his ideas on pen and paper
to pixels and keyboards. He tells stories that evoke emotions and 
stimulate thought. PROTOSTAR: BOOK 1 OF THE
currently Young Adult/New Adult series he created. He has written 
over 10 novels, including his new Superhero adventure book, 
THE CAPE is book three of the Dark Spores Series. He lives in
Georgia with his amazing wife and a highly energetic Morkie 
named StarKozy.

Contact Information
Twitter: @BraxtonACosby

Purchase Links

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Book Review: Good Time Coming by C.S. Harris

Good Time Coming by C.S. Harris is the story of Anne Marie, or Amrie, who lives in St. Francisville, Louisiana on the Mississippi. She is ten years old when the Civil War starts and by the second year of the war, she and her family and friends are directly impacted when the Federals take New Orleans and start moving up the river to Vicksburg. Her parents are mistrusted by their neighbors because they freed all their slaves before the war even started. Her father is a surgeon stationed in Virginia with the Confederate Army and her mother has taken over his work in treating his patients left in their small community.
Things get progressively worse for the town as the Federals periodically shell the town or raid it, burning and looting homes, raping women, and impressing both free men and slaves. Amrie observes this with growing anger and fear. Meanwhile, people are killed, disappear, and are forever changed by the depredations of this war.
I've read all Ms. Harris' St Cyr Regency mysteries and enjoyed them very much. This book is much different in tone, but the author has successfully presented some issues in the Civil War that is often glossed over in our history books. Aside from Sherman's march to the sea and Gone with the Wind, there have not been many stories told of the women and children left behind and what they really went through. The author researched this story for several years, reading journals, diaries, letters, and other original documents to tell this story. While historical fiction, much of the book is based on real events.
This is an important read for history buffs and indeed, for any who want some background on tensions that still exist to this day between sections of our country.  I heartily recommend this book.
I received this book from the publisher as an ARC and I choose to give an honest review.

Link to Amazon

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Happy Holidays Giveaway - win $2200 in Amazon Gift Cards!

Christmas tree light; Winter Background With Frost Fir BranchIt’s the holiday season!

We’d like to bring some joy and share the love.

Enter to win $2200 in Amazon Gift Cards!
One simple entry will subscribe you to 109 Romance Author Newsletters.
Unsubscribe any time, but please don't label us as spam. Better still, stick around and get to know us.

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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Book Review: The Greater of Two Evils by Jane Thornley

Well, the first book in this wonderful series is still on my TBR pile. Somehow I read the next two and when this latest one came out, I was too excited to go back as I wanted to see what happens next to Phoebe McCabe, antiquity expert and knitter extraordinaire.  (I promise to go back to Rogue Wave soon and see how Phoebe's capers all began).
In this adventure Phoebe is involved with the Russian mafia. Yagar, or Yaggie as Phoebe calls him, is ruthless and bears a grudge against Phoebe's old friend, Foxy. Phoebe and her 'crew' must disrupt his plans and save the day in typical Phoebe fashion.
Phoebe, as always, is wonderful. She seems a little more resigned to the criminal aspect of her antiquities career and as a result feels freer to assert herself. She's grown over the series and I like that very much. Her cohorts are all involved in the story though I confess I was waiting and waiting for Noel to appear. There's lots of knitting too! Another great book in this series.

Link to Amazon

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Book Review: Campbell's Redemption by Sharon Cullen

Campbell's Redemption is the third book in the Highland Pride series. Each book is a stand-alone, but I need to go back and read the first two as this was a terrific story.
Cait Campbell is a widow and a healer. She lives in a small cottage on the lands of Iain Campbell, laird of the Campbell lands. He was once her husband's best friend, but she blames him for John's death. Meanwhile, Iain feels guilty about Cait and how she is now living.
When Iain's second-in-command is injured, Iain brings him to Cait to fix up. This incident starts to repair their relationship and perhaps lead to something more. All of this takes place in the turmoil after Culloden when English soldiers are killing Scots without mercy. Iain is caught in the middle, playing a dangerous game to protect his people.
This is a lovely romance about finding love again. Cait has committment issues, understandable as you read along. Iain is a great hero, determined to do anything for the woman he loves. If I'm really picky, I was taken out of the story each time the author uses 'okay' (not a word a Scot would use at that time), but generally, the history was good and the setting of the Highlands accurate. All-in-all, the writing is good and the story engrossing.
I received this as a NetGalley ARC and choose to give an honest review. 

Link to Amazon

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Book Review: Mommy, What is the Moon? by Crystal MM Burton

Mommy, What is the Moon? is a lovely children's book in the style of Goodnight Moon. It is a story of a young boy asking his mother a series of questions about the moon.
The illustrations by Michael Finch fit the theme perfectly. 10% of the proceeds go to to help find a cure for type 1 diabetes.

You can get either the ebook or the paper book which makes a great gift for someone on your upcoming holiday gift list

Link to Amazon

Promo Blitz: Ave, Caesarion by Deborah L. Davitt

The Rise of Caesarion's Rome, Book One
 Fantasy, Alternative History
 Date Published:  October 21, 2016

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A single event can reshape a world—or shatter it forever.

Fifteen years ago, Caesar escaped assassination, and went on to be crowned Emperor of Rome. His son by Cleopatra, Caesarion, carries the blood of Mars, Venus, Isis, and Osiris in his veins—but will the power that the gods have granted him, be enough to secure his hold on Rome after his father’s death?

What of the powers his sister, Eurydice Julia, has begun to manifest, and her puzzling visions that hint at the sacrifices that the gods of both Rome and Egypt will demand of them?

Will they, together, be strong enough to forge a better world than the one their ancestors built?

Return to the world of Edda-Earth, where magic and science coexist and all the gods are real.

And always remember this truth: The end of all things . . . was just the beginning.

Recent Praise for Ave, Caesarion:

“. . . irresistible wit and superior characterization . . . . A scorching alternate-history adventure packed with romance and fantasy action.” -- Kirkus

“. . . a fantastically complex, evocative and involving story that moves through . . . every nuance of the social, spiritual and political world of their times. [A]s gripping, involving, and as real as today's modern world.” -- D. Donovan, Midwest Book Review


On this warm summer evening, fifteen years after Julius Caesar had been crowned in the Forum of Rome, the Empire held its breath. Rumor—fleeter of foot than Mercury—swept through the city, from patrician homes to plebeian ones, whispering that Gaius Julius Caesar had suffered some manner of fit. It had long been murmured that he was subject to the falling-sickness, perhaps contracted in tropical climes, or meted out as punishment by the gods for having dared to ascend so far. More troubling, however, were Rumor’s sly additions to her tale: that the seventy-year-old emperor could not rise, and that his foreign-born wife, Cleopatra, would not leave his side, whispering spells and incantations to keep him alive.

The freeborn muttered in the marketplaces; the Empress might be a curse on Rome. Their beloved Emperor had divorced his third wife, Calpurnia, after his coronation, and had extended to Cleopatra and the Hellene-Egyptian House of Ptolemy Roman citizenship for “services to the Empire.” Italians who had only recently been granted citizenship spat at those words; her services, in their opinion, were those of a harlot, and the rights that their grandfathers had died for in the Social War had been granted to her for what lay between her thighs.

Few in Rome understood that the bread distributed by the government—the Annona—came at such a low cost to the state solely because Egypt’s fertile fields provided their plenty at the whim of their queen.  

In the last light of sunset, five cohorts of legionnaires marched along the Via Flaminia towards the gates of Rome, accompanying two young men on horseback. The dirt and dust on their uniforms suggested a long journey, conducted rapidly. The senior centurion and all the men on foot were hardened soldiers in their thirties, members of the Legio X Equestris—the first legion levied by Julius Caesar. The Equestris formed the backbone of Caesar’s Praetorian Guard, the personal protectors accorded to many a general over the centuries. Hence the distinctive white crests on the helmets of their officers. 

Of the pair on horseback, the elder, who wore the long white crest of a tribune of the Tenth Legion, didn’t look to have escaped his adolescent years; the younger, who wore no uniform, but rather just a tunic and cloak suitable for riding, looked barely old enough to have received his toga virilis. “Malleolus! Fall the men out,” the older of the pair called to the centurion, reining in. “Let them eat and bathe and see their families. But be at my father’s villa outside of Rome first thing in the morning.”

The centurion thumped his breastplate in acknowledgement, and the weary legionnaires gave a desultory cheer. But the centurion let the rest of his men file past, and then caught the young officer’s reins before he could thump a heel into his horse’s flanks. “I’ll be going with you, dominus?” Malleolus asked. It wasn’t quite a question. 

The corners of the young man’s mouth kinked upwards slightly. “This is Rome.”

“Yes, my lord.” Solemn acknowledgement. “And fifteen years ago, seven men tried to murder your father. On the sacred soil of Rome.”

The young man put a hand on his shoulder, imperceptible through the armor. “I’m harder to kill than my father, Malleolus. Though I thank you for your care.” In the last rays of sunset, his eyes gleamed an unnatural shade under the shadows cast by his helm—the color of spilled blood. For Ptolemy XV Julius Caesarion Philopator Philomator—generally called Caesarion—was god-born. 

His mother, Cleopatra, who had made her son co-ruler of Egypt with herself when he was no more than three, claimed that the blood of Isis and Osiris ran in her veins. His father had once minted coins that reminded the people of Rome that his house claimed descent from Venus. And none could deny that Mars had favored Caesar on the battlefield as well. Yet neither of his parents had shown the signs of divine favor as clearly as Caesarion did.

Malleolus released the reins, saying mildly, “I would sleep better tonight, my lord, if you’d allow me to follow you to the villa’s gates.”

A quick smile. “You’re going to insist?”

“I would never so presume. But I do ask, dominus.”

“For the sake of your good rest, then, yes.” A nod, and then the young patrician clucked at his horse, preparing to enter the city. But now his brother, young Alexander, caught the reins. “Caesarion,” Alexander said, his voice tight, “You’re not carrying a sword. You can enter the city legally. But . . . if you enter now, you’re giving up your right to a triumph.”

 “I don’t care,” Caesarion replied impatiently. “Father had a choice once, between being accorded a triumph for his victories, and standing for election as consul. He chose the consulship. You pick the thing that’s more important. And seeing him before he dies . . . that’s more important.” He grimaced. “And ensuring that we’re here to deal with issues of succession, too. Gods. I hate thinking like this.”

Alexander shook his head sharply. Five years younger than his brother, he still seemed to have more political acumen. “A triumph will ensure the love of the plebeians. And you must have the mob behind you before dealing with the Senate.”

Caesarion’s expression tautened. “It’s strange, Alexander. I see your face, but I hear our mother’s voice when you speak.” An impatient shake of his head. “Every man who stood with me in Germania deserves that triumph. They all deserve that recognition, because without the men who followed me, the seventh Legion would have been cut off, surrounded, and destroyed in that damned forest.” His face settled into stubborn lines. “But holding a triumph instead of making my way to Father’s deathbed?” He regarded Alexander steadily. “Bad taste. It would look as if I valued his position more than his life.” He stared at the Porta Flaminia, and then turned his head and spat into the dust at the side of the road. “To Dis with the damned triumph. Let’s go home, brother.”

Centurion Ramirus Modius Malleolus trotted silently alongside the pair as they entered the city. They looked far too young to bear the weight of the Empire on their shoulders. But Caesarion will have to carry it. And in spite of the young man’s high rank and youth, he liked Caesarion. Uncannily, almost everyone did. The love of his father’s legions was mostly assured, but Malleolus had seen freedmen and slaves who served the legionnaires in their camps—men who hated anyone with a patrician name—smile when Caesarion addressed them. 

He sighed, and kept his eyes on the people crowding the streets. No one had yet given them more than a glance, but someone had to keep these two youngsters alive. 

About the Author

Deborah L. Davitt was born in Washington State, but grew up in Reno, Nevada, where she earned her BA in English Literature. She received her MA in English at Penn State, where she taught college rhetoric and composition, and has since worked as a technical writer in industries including nuclear submarines, NASA, and computer manufacturing.

Her poetry has appeared in Star*Line, Blue Monday Review's Storytime Challenge, Grievous Angel, Silver Blade, Dreams and Nightmares, Poetry Quarterly, and other venues. A short-story of hers has appeared in Intergalactic Medicine Show, and she has four novels published to Kindle--The Valkyrie, The Goddess Denied, The Goddess Embraced, and Ave, Caesarion.

Contact Links

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Friday, November 18, 2016

New Release: Collide by L.R. Johnson

Paranormal Romance
Date Published:  September 2016

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Be careful what you wish for, it just might come true...Lauren's life has been turned upside down by some simple choices that have gone awry.

Since her father’s mysterious death, Lauren Cowley has been stuck in a pitiful rut until she begins having ominous encounters, haunting her every move. While attempting to break free from her wretched life she meets Donovan. He is tall, dark, good-looking, strangely familiar – and yet terrifying. His unexplained ability to stare deep into her soul with emotionless eyes frightens her, yet she has no desire to break free from the gravitating pull he has on her. He unlocks her passion…and suppressed memories forcing her to fight for everything she loves. Lauren now has to face the reality of demons and the tragic consequences they have had on her life.


The room was filled with several insidious beings, a scene Donovan was all too familiar with. This was a part of the work he detested the most. He didn’t want to be here, but this man’s corrupt desires forced his hand. Donovan’s height reached a good foot above the man’s stout body, making Donovan appear even more menacing. A heavy debate had transpired between the man and a friend who had tried to stop the transaction, causing heavy amounts of sweat beads to form around the stout man’s receding hairline – despite the cool air.
Turning towards Donovan the man begged, “Please, you don’t have to do this. I have a family and…”

“You should have thought about them before you decided to ruin their lives.” Donovan’s voice was dark, yet a tinge of regret coated his tongue.

The man’s eyes pierced into a part of Donovan he hadn’t felt for years. How could he justify what he was about to do? Just because he was trapped in this situation didn’t mean he should damn someone else to this life – if it even is a life. What is wrong with wanting something so bad you are willing to sacrifice everything for it?

The man slowly turned towards his dark-haired friend who had tried to stop the exchange, gazing into his eyes sorrowfully. The two men were a yin and yang of each other. Where one was stout and fair with the beginnings of a receding hairline, the other was tall and thin with dark, thick hair and olive complexion. Though the two were opposite in appearance their friendship was intertwined like a thick rope.

The dark-haired man’s eyes narrowed as he pleaded to his friend in a weak whisper, “If this needs to happen, let it happen to me. I have no family, nothing that will be destroyed by the outcome.”
The dank air within the room hung thick and dark like a heavy blanket suffocating the room and making it hard to breathe. Donovan was familiar with what was transpiring. Gripping his fingers into a tight fist he fought back the urge to give in to his now natural instinct. Locking his sights onto the two men in front of him he silently watched their useless debate. There was only one way out of this situation and that was if Donovan would let him go, and that could never happen.

The stout man grabs hold of his friend’s shoulders, uttering firmly, “No, this is my fault and I take responsibility for it, but I need you to do me a favor. I need you to…”

Instantly the door opened, causing the two men to turn towards the intruder. “Father, what are you doing?”

A blithe voice rang in Donovan’s ears as he turned abruptly towards the intruder. The girl’s eyes locked onto his and for a brief moment he was reminded of who and what he used to be – a good man. Though his past was now just a grain of virgin sand in a murky moat, for a brief moment
Donovan was able to see the grain and grab onto it.

Donovan watched her eyes transform from a bright joyful appearance to one of fear and disgust. Her smile dropped, ripping out her heart on its way down. Donovan’s eyes remained locked onto hers like two magnets colliding, mentally grabbing hold of her with fervor and strength – refusing to let go. Her eyes too were locked onto Donovan’s, though hers told a very different story. One of betrayal, rage and despair, something he couldn’t look upon anymore.

“Please leave, sweetheart. I need you to go – now,” the stout man uttered to his daughter. His voice echoed loudly with guilty pain.

“No,” she snapped back.    

A growling voice instantly cut into the small yet crowded room, making everyone freeze with fear. A man stepped out of a dark corner from the far side of the room. He seemed to materialize from the bleak shadows draped mysteriously from the corners of the room, like tattered curtains ready to reveal the main event. “You are pathetic, Donovan. Do I have to do everything myself?”

“Darius, please don’t,” Donovan uttered, trying to stop Darius, but it was too late.

Darius’s black eyes deepened as he tore across the room. A swirling wind ripped through everyone as Donovan rushed over to the girl. His eyes locked onto her now silver-dollar-size blue eyes for the last time. He quickly lifted his hand, wrapped it firmly around her throat and gently squeezed. He watched as the light within her eyes slowly diminished, leaving the room a black plague where there once was light.

About the Author

L. R. JOHNSON is the founder and President of The Inspired Writers League - an active community writers group. When L. R. Johnson was a child she would live in a world of her imagination. Her teachers would have to put her in the front row of the class or she would drift off into a story she was creating. Though she studied Psychology in college she never lost her imagination, constantly creating stories in her mind. Bringing to life her characters and writing great love stories filled with adventure, dynamic characters, and brilliant surroundings is something that L.R. Johnson has a natural gift for. She lives in California with her husband and two wonderful children.

Contact Links

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Other books by L. R. Johnson:

YA/NA Romance
Published: November 2015

Needing a fresh start, eighteen year old widow Breanna Hayes flees from America to England to fulfill her husband’s last request and her dream of going to Cambridge University. There she meets Callum. He’s arrogant, brash, affluent, rippling with charisma – and certain to run away when he learns about her tainted past. But as an unexpected bond is formed between them she discovers he has secrets of his own. She must overcome her stubbornness, fears, and open her heart again or risk losing a chance at love and the stable family she has always wanted.

“Stop,” I interrupt, not wanting to hear a frivolous apology, “What I do is no longer your concern.” A heavy sigh rolls off of me, “I come from trash. I have always known it, and now I know you believe it, too.”

Turning my back on him I begin hastily walking away when suddenly I hear him softly utter my name. It rolls along the surface of the mist, slamming against my back, piercing into my core, revealing his internal pain. Ignoring his pleading call I continue to walk away from him, leaving all my hopes and dreams behind. My decision is made. I am leaving as soon as my classes are done.

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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Book Review: Fantastic Creatures by A Fellowship of Fantasy authors

This is a 'Fantastic' anthology packed with stories for all ages about mythical and fantasy beasts and their friends. Many of the creatures are the usual dragons, mermaids, and griffins. Others were not as familiar to me, the hum-fairies,  werejaguars, or tree octapuses, but the stories are uniformly interesting and well-written.
I especially enjoyed 'Three Steaks and a Box of Chocolates', 'The Very Last Dragon', 'An Adventurer's Heart', and 'Absolutely True Facts about the Pacific Tree Octapus', but there is something to like for everyone in this fantastical collection of stories.
 A few stories have some violence and are marked as such for younger readers. I received this as an ARC and choose to give an honest review.

The ebook is FREE- Get it here !

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Icarus Ascending by Dan Fogelburg

The theme of Icarus appears in a lot of art and music. Here is one of my favorites, Icarus Ascending by Dan Fogelburg.

Soaring alone upon a threatening wind
Just fix your eyes on the horizon
Cut off from everything
You've known or have been
I shouldn't think it's so surprisin'
Spiralling upward on a freshening lift
Reaching the realms of fleet Apollo
You have been given the most sacred of gifts
You must be fearless now and follow
Don't look down
Though your heart may be weary
Don't look down
Though your wings are on fire
Don't look down
Though the night may seem endless
There's a reason you're flying
This fast and this far
Let your faith be your strength
And your love be your guiding star
Venturing further than
The length of your sight
Out past the reach of your beginnings
There is a gamble in each
Proud act of flight
But the losses pale before the winnings
Circling and diving with this
Freedom you've found
Illusion blows apart and scatters
There is no darkness in this place
That we're bound
Love is the only thing that matters

Bruce's Cave on Rathlin Island

One of the locations I used in The Black Swans is Bruce's Cave on Rathlin Island off the coast of Ireland. The cave is famous because of local lore that this is where Robert the Bruce of Scotland and his men hid when pursued by the armies of England.
While hiding there and in despair over his defeat, he noticed a spider trying to climb up the wall. The spider kept falling back, but continued to try which encouraged him to go back to Scotland and eventually defeat the English at Bannockburn.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Write A Paragraph/Poem About This news!

Check out Angelique's Blog for WAPAT news!

Character Interview with Veronique of Centaurs & Magic by Linda M. Crate

Evan Arwen Rabastan Louis Artinfallinger the III, son of Yvonigsar  Artinfallinger, has a secret. One he wouldn't want anyone in Atriel to know. One that he's killed over and for because if anyone should find out the truth, he knows they'd only use it against him.

In this prequel to Blood & Magic and Dragons & Magic one learns the bloody, secretive past of one of Atriel's worst counsel leaders and his fearless and shameless pursuit to become king. Yet there is a prophecy made of a child who will foil his plans. Will he be able to rid Atriel of said child before the curse made in the prophecy comes true or is he doomed to fail one day in the future?

Character interview:

ME: Hello, Veronique. How are you?

VERONIQUE: Well, all things considering, I suppose.

ME: So how do you feel about your brother Evan?

VERONIQUE: Going in for the hard questions from the get-go, eh? Evan is Evan. We get along some days and other days I’d like to have his head on a silver platter. That’s the way it goes for most siblings, no?

ME: Most siblings don’t threaten to kill their siblings to become king, though.

VERONIQUE: Is there a question there, somewhere?

ME: All right, very well, back to the questions and less commentary. How do you feel about Atriel?

VERONIQUE: It’s a beautiful place or likely would be if not for men and  women like my brother.

ME: Who else makes Atriel a terrible place?

VERONIQUE: Don’t act like you don’t know. Petro and Petula are hardly angels. They’re incestuous little brats who act as if they’re gods thinking they’re invincible simply because they’re vampires. If a day ever came where Evan asked me to kill them, I would in a heartbeat. I’m not afraid to sully my hands or stakes with the blood of vampires. They’re all vile and wicked creatures from my experience.

ME: What other experience with vampires have you had?

VERONIQUE: Many including that idiot Rugged.

ME: Ah, I see. Is Rugged his actual name?

VERONIQUE: You know full well that it isn’t, but he made me promise not to divulge his name and I don’t break promises. Not even to monsters like him.

ME: That’s admirable of you. Did your mother or father instill morals in you?

VERONIQUE: My father was a good man. My mother was not. She left my father and me shortly after my birth declaring me an abomination because of my mismatched eyes. I grew up with Evan and my father. Evan never had many morals and he’s detested all person’s that he considers half-breeds and magic. In hating magic users he also hates himself. I think he hates himself most of all. It’s probably why he’s so harsh and abrasive because he’s lost all his morality and humanity.

ME: You said he’s a magic user?

VERONIQUE: It may be a well-kept secret from most, but I know Evan better than most. He’s a witch. His magic usually manifests in the form of lightening, but I didn’t tell you that. I, however, do not have the entire day to waste in conversation. I have things I must attend to, if you’ll excuse me.

ME: Of course, thank you for agreeing to this interview.

VERONIQUE: You’re very welcome. I fare thee well.

AUTHOR BIO: Linda M. Crate is a Pennsylvanian native born in Pittsburgh yet raised in the rural town of Conneautville. Her poetry, short stories, articles, and reviews have been published in a myriad of magazines both online and in print. Recently her two chapbooks A Mermaid Crashing Into Dawn (Fowlpox Press - June 2013) and Less Than A Man (The Camel Saloon - January 2014) were published. Her fantasy novel Blood & Magic was published in March 2015. The second novel of this series Dragons & Magic was published in October 2015. Her third poetry collection If Tomorrow Never Comes (Scars Publication - August 2016) was recently published. Her poetry collection Sing Your Own Song is forthcoming through Barometric Pressures Series.