Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy Almost New Year! What are your goals?

A New Year is almost upon us, a good time, it seems to see where you've been and look ahead to the new.

I asked on Facebook what any of my writer friends had in the works and this seems a good time to share a few of the answers.  

What are your goals for 2015?  Be sure to share yours in the comments.

 
* Writer pal Margot Justes, author of the art-centered mystery, A Hotel In Bath, and a vampire novel, Blood Art, plans on finishing up her next in the series, A Hotel in Venice by Feb. she says - and plans a Halloween novella. (ooh!)

* Author Belinda Frisch says she is working on the sequel to her book, Fatal Reaction -  (Paramedic Anneliese Ashmore Mysteries Book 1), due to her publisher by March. 



  * Actor/writer/director Jim Adams, who is producing a sci-fi TV series, Akkadia *see Facebook page, *  is also working on the inspiring story of his miracle cat, Scooter, who survived six months in the wild after Adams' home was destroyed by a tornado. 





  Me: Well I have been working on, and am nearly done with a short story prequel to  my book, Girl Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie. It tells the story of what happened before Becca's cousin, Spence, comes home and infects her with the zombie virus via an accidental scratch.  It's a different take on my YA novel.

 ** What are you working on? Do share!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Top Ten Goals - Resolutions for 2015



It's TOP TEN TUESDAY over at brokeandbookish.com and today's topic is 

Top Ten Goals/Resolutions -- bookish, blogging or otherwise! 

* Be sure to Add Yours in the Comments!


In no particular order:

1. It wouldn't be a new year without that perennial non-favorite - losing weight. Again. It's become a tradition that I really should break. Meaning keep the weight off. For good.

2.  Write more. Well, not more. I write all the time. Finish more. Several projects are thisclose to being done.

3. Start and work on another book of a new historical - zombie series that is being circulated to publishers. I have the beginning figured out. It's a start. 

4. Finish nonfiction articles and find more markets on a steady basis.

5.  Learn how to promote better, smarter.

6.  Read authors I should read but haven't yet. 

7.  Do more theme-topic blogs, along with promotional and fiction writing for different magazines.

8. Clean my closet. That's connected to #1.

9. Sort and sell crafts, minis, etc. I will not be using. I have a lot put away.

10. The general theme seems to be more organized. I am getting there. Slowly.

 *** What are your 2015 resolutions and goals? 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Happy Holidays!

I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday and are looking forward to a fantastic New Year.  May time spent with family and friends be magical and merry.

Looking forward to an awesome, undead 2015!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

A Merry Christmas to all!

Hope your holiday is blessed, filled with hope,
joy, peace and love.



(Photo: Madonna of the Magnificat, Botticelli, 1480-82, Uffizi Gallery, Italy) 

* See the 10 best Classic Christmas Paintings 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

#Christmas Reads: #Zombie YA - Merry Christmas Eve!

A Merry Christmas Eve to everyone! There's still a chance to get  a last minute gift or a quick impulse read!






 So, may I suggest my book, GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie

What happens when you're 16 and turn part-zombie?

Some teen angst, adjusting, a gross new diet (ewww! and no, not "that!") ... all new things Becca has to cope with when her cousin comes home and shares his deadly secret - he's becoming a zombie. She's been infected via an accidental scratch and has to cope with all kinds of weird things.

She'll do everything she can to fight off the full Zs and keep her family safe. 

Amazon - Print and Kindle  - Amazon UK  - Barnes & Noble 

Inspiration: 

I've long loved the old monster movies. so when I got a zombie book idea, I wanted to try something with a different twist. I wanted to write something with more than the usual theme of "just fighting zombies." I wanted to share it from one person, namely a teen girl's point-of-view.  Yes there are zombies, but not everywhere, and sometimes she tries to act like life is normal, though it never will be for her. I had fun adding in weird humor and unusual touches. 

Various Excerpts from GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie:

Chapter 3: (Where Becca wakes up in the hospital, unsure why or what happened.)

I turned and caught a glimpse of myself in the metal container on the table next to me. Familiar chocolate brown eyes stared back from under ebony bangs. Dark brows.

Spots.

My hands flew to my cheeks. Oh, my face! At first, I almost thought I had some kind of mask on, or someone had brushed on a layer of fireplace ash for makeup. The blotches stood out in contrast to the pink, peeling spots.

I banged the bed rail and screamed. This was much more than a made-up crisis like a bad hair day, or some quickly forgotten drama.

I was ugly.

---------------------------

I gulped down the slimy chunks, fighting the gag reflex as I continued to slurp and chew, the globs of fat encircling my mouth. I chewed, burped and licked my lips, not caring about anything, or anyone, except the here and now.

I had only one thing on my mind—stopping the raging, blinding hunger.

-----------------------------

Sure I had the wandering eye problem and tripped over my own feet, but so far, most of my problems were somewhat tolerable, considering everything. Not so for most male Zs, I saw. Carm and I exchanged horrified glances as we watched the rude, obnoxious way several of them acted, hoping it was a rare occurrence. Hardly.

The main thing on most teenage Z's brains (the little they had left, of course) these days was food, followed by sex, a horrific combination.

The virus amplified the endless eating cycle teenage boys usually had. Even with all the protein drinks, I watched several stagger down the hall slobbering over packages of raw meat when they weren't slobbering over girls. Ugh. I wanted to laugh, and would've, if it wasn't so revolting.

--------------------------------

I gunned the car and twisted the steering wheel, the thing trying to hang on before it fell in a heap as we revved off. In the rearview mirror, I watched it stumble and stagger around in a circle, acting like it could catch us.


My calm broke in a torrent of curses when two more of them lurched from the trees at the side of the road and waved at us like long-lost demented friends.

-------------------------------------------

After our laughter, the room quieted as we got acquainted, or in Carm’s case, reacquainted.    She soon was whispering with Jesse, leaving me to cope with Gabe.
   He gave me a conspiratorial glance. “Want to hear one of my jokes?”
   My disinterest didn’t stop him.
   “Okay, here’s one for you—what do you call a girl on a date who doesn’t want to eat?” he asked, a smirk on his face.
    I shrugged.
   “A zombie.” He laughed. “C’mon, don’t tell me you don’t think that’s funny? Hey, I’m just trying to lighten things up. I’ve got plenty more, want to hear?”
   “Cute, but I don’t think being like this,” I pointed to myself, “is funny. Not at all.”
   He motioned at me and leaned in to whisper. His minty breath hit the side of my face. “It is what it is, you know? We have to make the best of it. I wouldn’t worry about it, there’s nothing that’ll make you look bad. Nothin’ at all.” He winked. “Hey, anything you need, I’ll be glad to help. Any way I can.”


Read more in GIRL Z: My Life as  Teenage Zombie. (Print, Kindle and ebook)


* Bio: I've been writing for what seems like forever, but only delved into zombies recently and into horror progressively over the past few years. Award-winning journalist, author, dog lover and miniaturist. I collect and create, too. Learn more at my website.


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Reads: Coyote Steampunk Fantasy Series from Chantal Noordeloos

Today's featured Christmas Read, Coyote: The Clockwork Dragonfly, is the latest book in the Coyote fantasy-steampunk-western series from Dutch writer Chantal Noordeloos. (The first book, Coyote, The Outlander, also has a new cover!  See info at end.) 



About the Book:


A mysterious circus comes to town, dazzling the crowd with astonishing feats of magic and mechanics. However, when Coyote, Caesar and their new companion take a closer look, they find things are not as innocent as the posters suggest. A dark secret hides behind the brightly colored tents, one that may force good friends to grow apart. 

Caesar stands at a crossroad, where he has to make a difficult choice, and, for the first time, Coyote finds herself wondering who her allies really are, as she takes on the most dangerous foes she has ever faced.
Inspiration:

I decided that this was a good excerpt to add, since it really gives the reader a sneak peek at who Coyote is. The scene portrays her personality nicely, and it does so without giving spoilers. I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite excerpt of the book, but I don’t want to give away too much.

Coyote: The Clockwork Dragonfly is the second book in the series. Though all the books will be linked, I try to create individual stories within the books themselves, so that the reader does get a sense of an ‘end’ to the stories, without it actually being the end. The series is  based on a role play character of mine, Coyote, who I played for a game called Deadlands. She’s the one that started it all, and I love writing about her. 

The Clockwork Dragonfly has been inspired by several things. Whilst doing research about Steampunk, I came across a lot of clockwork insects. They tickled my creativity and the idea of a clockwork dragonfly was born. I knew I wanted to incorporate a circus or a carnival in this book, since I’ve been walking around with the image of Madam Libelle, the ring mistress of the Clockwork Dragonfly, since I heard the song “Golden Age of Grotesque” by Marilyn Manson. The two combined rather well in my head, and thus the idea for this book was born.

Excerpt: 

Nothing beats a good showdown.
   “You won’t be the first bounty hunter I’ve killed, little girl.” The Outlander guffawed, spittle flying from his lips. “And you won’t be the last.” He puffed up his impressive chest, and Coyote could not hide her smile. She liked to see overconfidence in an opponent.
   “Are you sure about that, fat man?” She ran the palm of her hand across the butt of her gun, the way an owner would stroke a cat. There is something alluring and powerful about having a shooting iron on my hip. “Because you won’t be the first Outlander I kill.”
   “You need to be a good shot to kill me with that.” The Outlander’s froggy eyes gleamed with pleasure, and his large lips rubbed against each other. With two hands, he lifted his stomach a few inches and let it drop again. “And trust me, no matter how good you are, you won’t be good enough. I never stay down long.” The creature leered at her as if he had a secret, and Coyote nodded – her smile never faded.
   “They told me that about you.” She pulled her derby away from her eyes. “That’s a neat trick, being able to come back from the dead. Oh, I’m aware of that particular talent of yours.”
   The Outlander blinked at her, his face betraying his surprise.
   “I can see how you killed a lot of bounty hunters with that particular skill. They probably never saw it coming.” She winked at him. “It’s a little inconvenient, to say the least, to shoot an Outlander and have him get back up.” Coyote squinted her eyes and then shrugged. “It’s nothing I can’t work around.”
   The Outlander let out a boisterous laugh – more spittle flew from his liver lips – and he revealed a set of grey broken teeth.
   “You can work around my immortality?” He laughed again, and his whole body shook.
   “You’re not immortal, fat man,” Coyote retorted with a warm smile. “People who can’t die are immortal. You can die; you’re just hard to kill.”
   The Outlander slapped the thick flesh of his belly and rubbed it slowly, the smile still prominent on his pudgy face. “You think you can shoot me with that pea shooter of yours?” His voice took on a metallic quality, like nails dragged across iron.
   “I know I can shoot you with my pea shooter. I am one heck of a shot.”
   “And you think you can kill me with your iron bullets?”
   “Iron bullets alone won’t do the trick, but I hear that Huzela juice in your blood will help those bullets kill you just fine.”
    The rubbing motion stopped and the Outlander gawked at Coyote.
   “Caesar?” Coyote’s tone was soft and smug, and the Outlander jumped a little when Caesar touched him. The big creature turned just in time to see the little man with coal black skin run from harm’s way. Caesar held a large, intricate copper syringe with a curved needle in his hand, and Coyote chuckled at the sight. The fat creature roared in outrage.
   “What have you done to me, you bitch?” He charged toward Coyote, and she could see the color in his eyes turn from yellow to red.
   This Huzela juice must be powerful stuff, she thought. Before the creature could take more than four steps, Coyote pulled the trigger and put a bullet in his eye. The Outlander stood still in his tracks. He looked stunned, a small hole gaping where his right eye used to be.          Then he dropped to his knees and fell forward with a heavy, meaty thud. Normally a bullet does a lot more damage to a living thing, Coyote marveled. Not that she minded. She never liked cleaning up the mess some Outlanders left behind, but it was an unfortunate part of the job.
   “Told you I was a good shot.” She stood over the fallen form of her bounty, her lips formed the shape of an “O,” and as she blew the smoke from her gun, the heat of the barrel glowed near her skin. The bounty hunter holstered her gun with a swift movement and placed her hand on her hip. Caesar watched from a distance, and Coyote shot him a triumphant smile.
   “I like nice and clean jobs like this one.” She tugged on the rim of her derby, and was about to ask Caesar to help her with the body when the Outlander exploded.

  About Coyote, The Outlander: (Book 1)


Amazon.com - Coyote: The Outlander (with FREE second screen experience)


  (New cover!) No one knows where or when the mysterious rips will appear, but from them, Outlanders walk the earth, leaving chaos in their wake.

Coyote, a charismatic bounty hunter, travels the land with her enigmatic partner, Caesar. Together –with the help of magic and technology—the unlikely duo tracks down these dangerous criminals from different worlds. Along the way, Coyote discovers a secret that threatens to shatter everything she believes about herself, her father, and her sworn enemy, James Westwood.

Whether Outlander or inner demons, some things can't be solved with a six shooter.



Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Reads: Fun kid's mystery coming from Jeffrey Westhoff

Today's featured Christmas read is an upcoming kid's mystery, THE BOY WHO KNEW TOO MUCH by Jeffrey Westhoff .

It won't be published until next June, but it is worth a sneak peek. Be sure to make a note of it!  (This reminds me of the old Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew mysteries which I loved!)

Stay tuned for the cover reveal but here's an idea of what's coming:




About the Book:


While on a school trip to Europe, Milwaukee teenager Brian Parker hopes for just a taste of the glamour and excitement of his favorite spy novels. Brian gets way more than a taste, though, when he stumbles across a wounded spy in a Lucerne alley.


The man’s dying words catapult Brian into a desperate chase across the continent. America’s latest super weapon is at stake, and everyone from a rogue CIA officer to a sadistic criminal mastermind is after it – and Brian. New enemies emerge at every turn, but Brian soon finds a welcome ally in Larissa, a beautiful French girl who loves the Ramones and is handy with a blast of pepper spray. Brian faces a deadly path, but reading all those spy novels has taught him a few tricks of the trade. They just might save his life.

Inspiration:


I think the reason I picked this excerpt is the final, chapter-ending paragraph. It's a fairly blatant emulation of Ian Fleming, but I think I pulled it off.


Excerpt:

Exhausted from two getaways in one morning, Brian fell asleep as soon as the train left the station. He awoke six hours later in time to watch the sun sink into the Mediterranean, a circle of orange melting into wine-red ripples. He went into the bathroom and changed into a pair of olive drab cargo shorts and a black polo shirt. His left shoulder was still a deep purple, but with fewer black highlights. Brian returned to his seat and spent the remaining two hours of the trip reading about Toulouse and studying the maps.
By the time he arrived in Toulouse, Brian had learned that its train station was separated from the central city by the Canal du Midi, the man-made waterway that connected the Mediterranean to the Atlantic Ocean. Stepping outside the station, Brian saw the downtown lights half a mile away. He took the nearest bridge over the canal and then spent the next fifteen minutes crisscrossing streets and doubling back on himself to make sure he hadn’t picked up another tail. Satisfied no one was following, Brian hailed a taxi in front of a hotel and showed DeJonge’s address to the driver.
The cab headed south, which didn’t surprise Brian. Universit√© Paul Sabatier was south of the city. As the cab entered residential neighborhoods, Brian hoped his ordeal would be ending soon, that he would reach Eduoard DeJonge in time and that the professor would arrange for his protection. The driver told him they had reached DeJonge’s street. Several vehicles were parked along the curb, including a dark red van. Brian imagined he saw the orange pinprick of a lit cigarette glow briefly behind the van’s windshield. The cab pulled up outside a small two-story house on a street crowded with similar homes. Brian looked at his Batman watch as the cab pulled away. It was 9:27. “Gotham Standard Time,” he murmured to himself.
Brian doubted the professor typically received foreign visitors this late, but what could he do about it now? He rang the bell, hoping the door led to his safety.

The door opened, and there, wearing blue jeans and a Ramones T-shirt, was the most beautiful girl Brian had ever seen.

Facebook
Twitter: @jeffreywesthoff
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About the author:



 Jeffrey Westhoff grew up in Erie, Pa., and became a James Bond fan at age 13 when I saw "The Spy Who Loved Me." I studied journalism at Marquette University in Milwaukee and worked various positions at newspapers, including a 25-year run as a film critic. I have been a freelance writer the last few years and live in Chicago's northwest suburbs with my wife, Jeanette.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Awesome Gift Ideas

I stumbled across this website earlier in the week.  It may have existed for a while, but I had no idea.  It's freaking AWESOME!  It's called ThinkGeek, and it has an array of awesome and amazing things.  If you're still looking for some last-minute gifts, I would check it out.

OR, if you want something else unique, what about signed copies of books from an indie author?  I have several copies available, and I can take payments through Paypal.  Contact me if you are interested in any of my books or contact your favorite author to see what they can do for you.


I hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas Reads: Werewolf Puppy Sci Fi Book by Juli Monroe

Today's featured Christmas Read is a sci fi-fantasy, The Case of the Werewolf Puppy (The Warlock Case Files Book 2) by Juli Monroe.





About the Book:


I've said it before. It's tough being a gay warlock in Washington D.C. And hanging out with my vampire buddy hasn't made it any easier. A tentacled demon killing people near the Washington Monument followed by a naked werewolf puppy on my doorstep? Really? This isn't something the local pound can take care of, so once again it was on me to figure it out.

Sure, the vampire helped me out a bit, but hey, you all know who the real hero of this story is, right?

Links:

Amazon.com -
Barnes & Noble - Blog - Facebook

Inspiration:


    When I write, I usually start with a “what if”? My “what if” for this book was “What if my main character came home at dawn, saw a puppy in front of his apartment, and that puppy turned into a little boy.”

I love this particular excerpt because it’s the beginning of a scene that wasn’t supposed to happen until the next book in the series. Paul, my vampire character, had different ideas, and he said something unexpected, which led to here. It’s still one of my favorite scenes in the series.

The set-up is that Paul needs Dafydd's help reading the aura of some of the vampires. This scene actually has little to do with the book it’s in, but it’s foreshadowing for the next book in the series.

Excerpt:



Paul and I entered the lounge, and a burly gentleman at the door checked our IDs. I glanced around, trying to keep the two parts of my sight (aura and human) separate for a moment. I wanted to get a feel for it as a physical place before I "looked" at it with my other senses.

It was a nice enough place. The bar was circular and large, with three bartenders busy serving the crowded front area. Small tables and round chairs dotted the room. Three big screen TVs dominated the far wall, tuned to sports channels and news. Loud music hammered through speakers. Mostly 90s rock. Not quite my taste. I was more into dance and electric.

The color theme was red, which I thought explained the attraction to the vampire crowd. Lighting was dim enough to be comfortable while still allowing you to see. And, trust me, there was plenty to see.

I immediately recognized I was in the presence of a group of predators. Mostly they seemed to be restraining themselves, but I saw the occasional flash of overly long fangs. Women prowled by in flowing dresses, except for the ones in skin–tight clingy black things. The men ranged from formal wear to jeans and t–shirts. Not surprisingly, black and red were the dominant colors, though a few were daring in blue or deep purple.

That was just the colors of the clothes. When I looked at their auras, I saw even more. A dark, vibrant green flashed from the aura of a male vampire, arguing with another. A female vampire, her expression smug, looked on, her aura shifting between an unwholesome red and a sickly green–yellow. Near the bar, another vampire’s aura caught my eye. It was shot through with purple and blue, and I guessed he was young and not yet completely lost to evil. Or he was like Paul and didn’t completely embrace everything about the vampire lifestyle.

Paul nudged me down the short flight of stairs to the front room. "What do you think?" he asked, his voice pitched low.

"How can the humans here fool themselves into thinking this is normal? Can’t they feel the atmosphere here? I mean, even without aura sight, I’d know this place was a hunting ground."

He sighed. "And we’re actually on our best behavior here. You should come by a private meeting some time."


I shuddered. "No offense, but I’d rather not."



Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas Reads: Jean Rabe's Sci Fi book, The Cauldron

Today's featured Christmas Read, The Cauldron, is from author Jean Rabe, co-written with Gene DeWeese.




About the Book:
The sight of the woman’s angry, tear-streaked face emerging from the mist wrenched a painful gasp from him… If he could remember her name, then surely everything else would fall into place. 

Shelly? Ellen? Sarah? 

But those names, appearing soundlessly in Carl Johnson’s cowering mind meant nothing to him except that they triggered waves of panic and sadness. 


----- 

The line between life and death, the present and the past, becomes so transparent to Carl that his world is a miasma of memories bordering on madness. But he must make sense of it all if he is to save the world. 

The Cauldron is a near-past science fiction novel, the collaboration of New York Times Bestselling Star Trek author Gene DeWeese and USA Today Bestselling author Jean Rabe. 



Links: 

(The print version is coming out soon for supporters of the first version Kickstarter. A new version will be coming out in print and ebook. Details to come.) 


Inspiration:

The book once called Mnemorphosis
by Jean Rabe 

There’s a spaceship inside, aliens, an elephant, and the Civil War . . . oh, and a love story, too. How wonderful is that?
Not in a million light years would I have thought to combine those elements into a science fiction novel.
In fact, I wouldn’t have thought to attempt this book. Well . . . I did write it, you can see my name on the cover illustration. I mostly write fantasy, and I dabble in urban fantasy and modern-day adventure yarns. I love to read science fiction, but I haven’t written a lot of it.
So how did I end up writing what I consider an amazing book?
Gene DeWeese called me one day some years back.
Gene was one of my writer-buddies and at the time (‘cause I used to live in Kenosha, WI) a fellow Cheesehead. I’d met him many years ago when we both wrote books for TSR (he, Ravenloft, me, Dragonlance). I had read his books even years before that, and I’d invited him to a lot of the anthologies I edited. Gene wrote just about anything . . . contemporary, fantasy, horror, and science fiction. And he wrote all of it well. He was a New York Times Bestselling author, and he was known for his Star Trek novels.
Gene had a novel fragment in his computer that had been vexing him. Its working title was called Mnemorphosis, but it didn’t sit well with him, as he thought readers wouldn’t pick it up. He wanted to turn that fragment into a full novel, but he didn’t seem up to finishing it on his own. He asked if I’d like to tackle the project.
Dear God yes!
Although I usually work alone, I’d collaborated with Andre Norton and John Helfers, and had great fun doing so.
Working with Gene DeWeese was a dream. He had such an incredible imagination . . . hence the elephant and the Civil War. And he had such an elegant, beautiful, gentle soul. I cherished every day I spent working on The Cauldron, and every phone conversation and e-mail I shared with him. I wanted to get the book “just right,” just the way he’d envisioned it. And I managed to weave my own elements and side-trips in it too. Part of it is set in Wisconsin (familiar to both of us) and Indiana (where I’d lived for a time when I was a news reporter and he’d lived many years ago). So it was a perfect coauthor pairing.
The endeavor wasn’t without its difficulties. Gene was suffering with a form of dementia (and was well aware of it; he’d lament to me about things he couldn’t recall and memories that had been scattered to the winds). The disease claimed him before he could see The Cauldron in print. I’d like to think that his scattered thoughts helped make The Cauldron so wonderful. When you read it, you’ll see how so many disparate elements combine to tell one story.

Reviews:

“THE CAULDRON is a stunning effort, aglow with interesting venues and incidents, and three characters I wish I knew personally. A fine job by Ms. Rabe and the late Mr. DeWeese.”
– Mike Resnick, five-time Hugo Award winner

“THE CAULDRON is a gripping, fascinating journey through what seems at first like one man’s nightmare—impossibly far-fetched yet eerily plausible. I couldn’t stop reading until it was done. Wow, what a book!”
– Ed Greenwood, creator of The Forgotten Realms

Excerpt:


The sight of the woman’s angry, tear-streaked face emerging from the mist wrenched a painful gasp from him.
“I’m sorry,” he managed, not knowing why or how he spoke, or who this guilt-inspiring stranger was. Her name, he thought abruptly. If he could remember her name, then surely everything else would fall into place.
Shelly?
Ellen?
Sarah?
But those names, appearing soundlessly in his cowering mind meant nothing to him except that they triggered waves of panic and sadness.
“At least stop lying to me,” the woman said abruptly. “You could at least do that much.”
Unfamiliar faces and shapes and colors crowded around her then retreated.
“I would if I could,” he heard himself say, the words emerging haltingly in an accent and a voice that were surely not his own.
“Will you ever come back?” she shouted through motionless lips. “Will you—”
The rest of her words were driven from his mind as her features changed. Not just her expression, but the features themselves. Her lips became fuller; her cheekbones rose. Tiny crows’ feet appeared around oval eyes that had already shifted color, from pale brown to sparkling green, as if they could be any shade she—or he?—desired. Tendrils of gray escaped a tightly wound bun of once-black hair that had, moments before, been shoulder-length and reddish brown.
“I don’t want to go!” This time the words came in his strangled voice. His throat was tight, as if the mist had become suffocating, congealed and invaded his lungs with a cargo of death. “You have to realize that. I want—”
“Then don’t go,” she said, reaching out to him. “Stay here with me, forever. You can!” Her anger was now as strong in her voice as it had been in her eyes.
But as her fingers—short and work-worn, where moments before they had been long and slender—touched his arm, he knew with utter certainty that the choice was not his to make.
Not yet.
But if the two of them could work together . . .
Hope surged. He knew he possessed great mental strength. And somehow he knew she did too. If only they could pool their knowledge and abilities . . . .
But he didn’t even know her name, nor if she really existed anywhere but in the shards of his own shattered memories and in this mist. This dream or nightmare.
Once again he fought to grasp the recollections as they spun around him like leaves in a rising storm.
Shelly? Ellen? Sarah?
Only the pressure of her touch remained, and even that was just for a jagged moment longer. The sensation faded as his own body seemed to literally dissolve until he was little more solid than the fog itself.
A shadow in an ocean of mist.
What is happening? Where am I?



About the author:



Jean Rabe is the author of 30 fantasy, adventure, and mystery novels, a heap of short stories, and has edited a few dozen anthologies. She shares her office with three dogs and a cantankerous parrot. Visit her at www.jeanrabe.com.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas Reads; Austin Camacho's Police Thriller Beyond Blue

Today's featured Christmas Read is the police thriller, Beyond Blue, by Austin Camacho.

www.ascamacho.com


About the Book:



Beyond Blue is a detective novel about a privately funded detective agency whose only purpose is to help police officers who are in trouble.  The novel follows four of the agency’s cases, which overlap and intersect: An undercover officer is in danger of really being drawn into a life of crime, a crooked lawyer is destroying police careers by making arresting officers appear to have violated criminals’ rights, a cop’s wife accuses him of abusing their daughter, and a retired police detective who is now in charge of airport security could lose his job because of drugs being smuggled in through JFK International.  Pursuing these cases is a team of unique and intriguing detectives.


The agency’s director, the enigmatic Paul Gorman, sits at the center of the action, pulling the strings to direct all of his detectives to solve their cases and cover each other.


The concept is held together by Paul Gorman’s mission statement: “Those sworn to protect us sometimes need protection themselves.  To defend the boys in blue when they are in danger, sometimes you have to go beyond blue.”

Links:

Amazon.com - Barnes & Noble

Excerpt: 


Don't you think this is a little  extreme, sugar?" she asked him.  "I mean, I been stuck in this house for two days.  But then, so have you.  Ain't you feeling a little cabin fever?"

To her surprise, this solicited a small smile from the Peruvian terrorist.  Perhaps he was reachable.  He didn't move when Ruby walked toward him.  He was her height, mildly handsome, and quietly muscular the way the best fighters are. 

"Look, how about you open the door while I stand way back here?" Ruby asked, adding a little silk to her normally squeaky tones.  "That way I could at least see the outside."

"Look out a window," he said.

"My Lordy Lord, he can talk!"  Ruby flashed him her most brilliant, heart-stopping smile.  "Come on now.  We can work something out here, can't we?"

The guard shook his head, but he looked a little uncomfortable, like he didn't know what to do with his hands.  Ruby raised her own left hand toward him causing him to flinch.

"Oh, now, I won't hurt you, honey," Ruby said.  "You're too cute."  His smile grew by a couple of degrees, and she took that as permission to continue.  Very gently, Ruby drew her hand down the man's cheek, inhaling as if it were a special thrill for her. 

The guard was a little off balance, but he didn't react as if he were threatened in any way.  In fact, he winked at her.  No, his right eye was blinking.  He reached up to rub it. 

"What's the matter, sugar?"  Ruby asked.  "Something in your eye?"  Maintaining a non-threatening tone she reached up again, cradling his cheek in her right hand while rubbing her thumb across his left eye as if to clear it. 

"Ahhh!" It was a low howl of pain.  The guard bent almost double, covering his face with his hands.  He didn't know why, but of course, Ruby did.  Capsicum, it's called.  The active ingredient in pepper spray is the same chemical that makes your eyes water and your nose run when you bite into a real hot pepper.  Good cooks learn very quickly not to touch their faces after dicing those peppers.  To do so can subject a person to a paralyzing burst of intense pain.  By not washing her hands after preparing dinner, Ruby had armed herself with a homemade chemical weapon.  It was not a weapon of mass destruction, but it was powerful enough to buy her the three seconds she needed.

About the author: 

 Austin S. Camacho is the author of five novels in the Hannibal Jones Mystery Series (including The Troubleshooter, Blood and Bone, Collateral Damage, Damaged Goods and Russian Roulette) and four in the Stark and O’Brien adventure series (The Payback Assignment, The Orion Assignment, The Piranha Assignment, and The Ice Woman Assignment) and the detective novel Beyond Blue.

After leaving the Army he continued to write military news for the Defense Department as a civilian. Today he handles media relations for DoD and writes articles for military newspapers and magazines. He is also deeply involved with the writing community. He is a past president of the Maryland Writers Association, past Vice President of the Virginia Writers Club, and is an active member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers and Sisters in Crime. The Camacho family has settled in Upper Marlboro, MD with Princess the Wonder Cat and their dog, The Mighty Mocha.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Reads: Cozy Mystery Roses Daisies Death, Penny Petersen

Today's featured Christmas Read is a cozy mystery appropriately set near Christmas - Roses and Daisies and Death, Oh My! by Penny Clover Petersen. (What's better than a book with a dog on the cover?)




About the Book: 



It's almost Christmas. Shop owners Daisy Forrest Greene and her sister Rose Forrest are gearing up for the holiday season, but someone is making mischief in Old Towne. Break-ins, vandalism, poison pen letters, a hormonally-exuberant watchdog, what could be next? Murder, of course. Could life get more merry?

Links:



Inspiration:


My mother got my sisters and me hooked on cozy mysteries when when we were pretty young. We all loved them. So when I started writing I wanted to write a cozy that included a lot of family interactions. I also had a strange menagerie of pets growing up and loved their crazy antics. So I created a small town where two sisters, their nutty mother, and goofy dog could have fun and uncover mysteries. This excerpt is just a little taste of the sort of things that these ladies get up to.


Excerpt:


Just as they were looking through the piles of books, there was a commotion on the porch. Malcolm was barking like a dog possessed and a young policeman from the Bostwick force was standing at the bottom of the steps.
Daisy ran out and said, “Malcolm, quiet!” and Malcolm immediately shut up and sat down. Daisy ruffled his head and undid the leash. She looked at the man and said, “Sorry. He’s excitable. Thank God you're here.”
“I’m Officer Willis and I’m checking out a 911 call from this address. Are you the person who called?”
“No, I'm Daisy Greene. My sister and I own a shop around the corner.  Hazel Monroe called. She's the owner here and her shop's been broken into. Someone ransacked the place and killed her cat! Please come in.”
Officer Willis and Daisy walked in and found Rose and Hazel sorting books. Rose said, “Hazel’s trying to see if anything is missing.”
Hazel looked at the young man and said, “Hold! I was put on hold! What if someone had still been in here? What then? It could be me, not my little Roscoe, lying in that coat.”
They all turned toward the coat to see Malcolm humping poor little Roscoe. Hazel let out an anguished howl, Rose uttered a stream of words referring to Malcolm's parentage in an unfavorable light, and Daisy was about to grab Malcolm's leash when a flash of orange fur leaped out of the coat and onto the highest shelf in the room. Hazel gasped, then drooped ever so gracefully onto a chair.
“You said he was dead,” hissed Rose to Daisy as she helped Hazel up.
“He looked dead. He was all floppy. What? I'm a vet? Besides I think Malcolm brought him back. He must have the gift,” said Daisy.
“The gift? What gift would that be? Sex maniac gift? Necrophiliac gift? Malcolm's a humper. That is exactly what he is. No wonder they told Mother that he didn't get along with the other animals!”

“Ladies, could someone just tell me what's going on here?” asked Officer Willis.

About the author:
  
 Penny Clover Petersen started writing at age 59 on a dare from her husband. She lives in Bowie, Maryland with her husband, Tom, and three feral cats. Her favorite thing in life is spending time with her family. Her next mysteries, Roses Are Dead, My Love, will be released April 1, 2015.