Saturday, October 31, 2020

The Jungle and Other Tales: Tell-Tale Publishing's 5th Annual Horror Anthology by Elizabeth Alsobrooks


If haunted EVERYTHING and EVERYWHERE is your thing, you'll love the ghostly fun at Tell-Tale Publishing's 10th  Annual where you will travel to Haunted Virginia City.  The site is sponsoring my newest fright fest, Bride of Bazel, in its 5th Annual Horror Anthology!

It's being released TODAY!! in both ebook and paperback!!


"Now in its fifth incarnation, Tell-Tale's horror anthologies have become an annual benchmark of emerging talent and well-told stories. The select seven featured here will yank you backward and forward again in time, visiting the exotic and the seemingly mundane, at a pace and a pulse calibrated for Halloween chills. Beware of a cat named Sabrina and a Celtic goddess with a passport to Salem – yes, that Salem. An old farmhouse could hold more vivid memories than just its mortal foundations, and think twice about rescuing the sister of a young boy if you find yourself in a desert. Twins may not be what they seem, so hang onto your hat (and your head). For that matter, hang on to your whole body unless you want to risk permanent eviction. Also, you may never use steak knives again. Trick or treat! " –Thomas Sullivan--
USA Today best-selling novelist  (

Get your copy today! Click on the cover!

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Candlelit Magic by @WendiZwaduk ~ Hot Witches for Halloween #witches #pnr #romance #hotread #newboxsetrelease


Candlelit Magic by Wendi Zwaduk

Part of the Wanton Witches Collection

Totally Bound Publishing

Contemporary, Paranormal, M/F, Anal Sex



Even love witches get the blues.


Havan’s magical potions bring couples together and give them the happily ever after of their dreams. Too bad her spells don’t work for her. In Erie View, the townspeople see nothing more than a witch. All she wants is to find that special man to embrace her quirks and love her. Will she be able to accept the blessings of the Goddesses or lose faith in herself?


Neil doesn’t believe in magic. It’s trickery for television and movies. No one creates a spell for people to fall in love. Hell, he doesn’t even believe in love. After a string of crappy dates and dead-end romances, he’s through with relationships. But a chance meeting at the grocery store changes his mind. Havan’s nothing like he expects—but is the blue haired witch enough to make him give romance another shot?


Available here:


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“I wanted to thank you in person for the candle. It’s very pretty.” He snapped his lips shut. Damn it. He sounded stupid. “I don’t know what I’ll use it for, but they make the house smell nice.” Shit.

She stared at him, but didn’t say anything.

“I suck at small talk.” And apparently trying to sound smooth in front of beautiful women. “What”—Neil picked up a tiny bottle filled with amber liquid—“exactly do you do here? And what is this?”

“I’m a witch.”

Matter-of-fact, no inflection in her voice. Factual and blunt. What would it take to make her smile? Blush? Call out his name when he pumped into her pussy? Oh shit, he needed to get his thoughts away from sex.

He paused a moment to make sure that he’d heard her right. “A witch?”

“Yes, and I make the potions the people in town rave about. I’m not Madame Scarlett and neither is Cian. I thought everyone in town knew, but hey, you might not have. She’s just the name I picked out when my Aunt Siobhan turned the store over to me. Cian likes red, so her hair is red and she lets everyone think she’s Madame.” Havan folded her hands on the glass display case. “I heard you say you wanted something for your sister. I remember her, vaguely. Her then boyfriend came in looking for a love potion. I gave him one and it seems to have worked.”

“Kasen?” The guy had used a love potion? He knew the general story, but to hear Melissa talk, it was love at first sight. The spell or potion or whatever came a lot later.

“Sounds right.” Havan shrugged. “They got what they wanted.”

Well, what do you know? Neil pointed to the bottle with the amber stuff inside. “This? Is this what they used?” He needed to keep her talking.

“Yes.” She wore two rings per hand, each ring set with a huge stone—one in red and one in black. “This one will get you a date and this one will get you forever.” She tapped the top of a black bottle. “Cian claims we have potions for revenge and greed, but they don’t work.”

“Why not?” He picked up one of the black bottles. “If I cast a spell for a negative reason, then that negativity will come back to me threefold. It sucks.” She tucked a lock of darker blue hair behind her ear. A selection of hoop earrings dangled from her ear, starting at the top and following down to her earlobe. “I learnt my lesson a long time ago. Don’t cast what you can’t handle.” For the first time since he’d seen her, she smiled and laughed. “You will totally regret it.”

“I hear you.” Neil gripped the bottle. The more she talked, the more he wanted to listen to her. His cock pushed against his pants and he mashed the bulge into the front of the display case to ease his ache. “My sister already fell in love, so she doesn’t need this. Think it’ll help me?”

Havan sighed. “It will, but you have to accept whoever is chosen. What you want might not be what you get, but she will be the one your heart truly desires.”

Her words stopped him cold. She wasn’t a thing like he expected and she sure as shit wasn’t his type and yet he couldn’t help but want to see her. “I’ll take it and whatever it was your friend went upstairs to find.”

“Oh. Okay.” Havan wrote up the bill on a receipt pad. “Give her a moment.”

“I will.” Neil clutched the bottle tighter. A witch. No wonder the people around town talked ill of Madame Scarlett’s. No one knew what the hell they were dealing with. But Havan didn’t strike him as a witch. No green skin or huge warts. Maybe he’d been watching too much television. The bracelets on her wrist jangled as she wrote.

“I know my sister was being forward, but I’ve got a question.” He wanted to see her again. Had to. “Would you accompany me to my sister’s wedding?”

“What?” Her eyes widened again, displaying the ring of dark blue surrounding her pupils. The lighter blue flecks sparkled. Would she look at him that way during sex? He hoped so. Hoped she’d give him a chance, too.

“Well, you brought them together.” Stupid, stupid. He took one of the business cards and flipped it over, then wrote his phone number and the date of the wedding. “My name is Neil and I know this is a shitty way to ask you out, but I really am drawn to you.” He slid the card to her. “No strings, but if you’d like to go with me, I’d love to see you.”

@Copyright Wendi Zwaduk 2013

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Where Wolf? There Wolf. The History of the Werewolf by L. A. Kelley

Where Wolf? There Wolf. The History of the Werewolf.

Everyone knows the origin story of the werewolf. Some poor schlub is bitten by what he or she thinks is a large dog but then during the next full moon voila, a monster is born. That’s the movie version. After the release of Universal’s The Wolfman in 1941 everyone assumed the story was based on an old legend, but it all spilled from the imagination of screenwriter, Curt Siodmak. The curse transferred by a bite? Transformation only under the light of a full moon? Death by a silver bullet? Not an ancient legend. It was all Curt and, in my opinion, he did a darn fine job.

Before 1941, the wolfman wasn’t part of popular culture. However, there are countless myths and fables about animal transformation, including wolves. Some are punishment, but some transform willingly. The ancient Babylonians sat around the campfire swapping tales from the Epic of Gilgamesh in about 2100 BC. The hero Gilgamesh, in a fit of pique jilted a potential lover because she had turned her previous mate into a wolf. There’s no evidence he didn’t enjoy it. The Greek historian, Herodotus wrote about the Neuri, a nomadic tribe of magical men who changed into wolf shapes for several days of the year, but not necessarily during the full moon. They weren’t savages, just different, and happy to be that way. The first description of a man into wolf was written by the scholar Ovid. A man, Lycaon, angered Zeus and was turned into a wolf as a punishment.

He tried to speak, but his voice broke into

an echoing howl. His ravening soul infected his jaws;

his murderous longings were turned on the cattle; he still was possessed

by bloodlust. His garments were changed to a shaggy coat and his arms

into legs. He was now transformed into a wolf. 

Wolf transformation stories appeared where wolves were plentiful such as the Norse lands and Baltic regions but it wasn’t all bad. In the Saga of the Volsungs, a father and son discovered wolf pelts that had the power to turn people into wolves for ten days. (No full moon required.) After transforming, they went on a killing rampage in the forest. The father attacked his son, causing a lethal wound, but the son survived because a kind raven gave the father a magic feather. All’s well. No silver bullet needed.

Since the werewolf’s condition is often associated with a curse, the poor werewolf was often thought to be as much a victim as a villain. Many of the legends of people turning savage were no doubt due to mental illness. Without the knowledge brought by modern medicine and psychiatry, a sudden onslaught of violence and  irrational behavior was often attributed to demons, a curse, or other forms of magic, but there are rational explanations. Hypertrichosis is a rare, genetic disorder that causes excessive hair growth. While diseases such as rabies or ingestion of certain plants can cause hallucinations and violent behavior. Doctors in the Middle Ages would offer cures to people who thought they were afflicted. Often the emetics, bloodletting, and vile concoctions patients ingested caused more problems rather than helping.

Expect a werewolf problem in your neighborhood on Halloween? Try the following. The Greeks and Romans believed in the power of exhaustion. The victim would be subjected to long periods of physical activity, while the ancient Danes believed merely scolding a werewolf, cured the affliction. So run that puppy around the block a few times and give it a “Bad dog” or two. 

L. A. Kelley writes science fiction and fantasy novels with humor, romance and a touch of sass. With no need for a silver bullet, she made it into a tasteful necklace.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Count Down to Halloween . . . by Nancy Gideon

This has been a bummer of a year for my favorite holiday. By now, I’d normally have the house orange and black and Halloween all over. But . . . not this year. This year, I just haven’t been feeling the spirit. Isolation, not being able to see family and friends, sitting in the basement watching all fourteen seasons of SUPERNATURAL back to back in anticipation of its return (okay, that high point finished just before sitting down to write this post), me and my son working our way through our movies of the month, and the probability of no Trick ‘r Treaters . . . Boo humbug.

Come right down to it, I don’t have it bad. No one I know personally has contracted COVID. I’ve been Zooming with critique partners, writers’ groups and even a potential agent. I’ve been enjoying the last of summer sun on the patio with my cats (leashed for safety - the cats, not me) and I’ve tiptoed out into the real world, masked, and distanced, for groceries but it’s not the same. My gym finally opened but I’m afraid to go. An anticipated in-person book signing with all possible precautions in place was just cancelled at the last minute due to a huge rise in cases. Sigh . . .

I, like everyone else I know, am doing everything I can to stay safe and protect those around me. I’ve been celebrating my latest release, RISE BY MOONLIGHT on line with a month-long blog tour event that’s taken me and my book to some Spooktacular places, including a Facebook event where I “met” enthusiastic new readers. My treats were all virtual including this fun jigsaw puzzle (my renewed quarantine guilty pleasure).

Haunted Halloween Spooktacular 2020
All the Halloweenie joy of that event has got me dragging out (some) orange and black crates from the basement for better late than never decorating that may include this guy. 

And while I’m decking out those gruesome halls, I’ll be listening to this appropriately dark and stormy playlist.

I guess I’m being dragged, moaning and groaning into the holiday spirit. So, how’s it haunting at your house? Pumpkin Spice, any one?

Nancy Gideon on the Web

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

A Halloween & Christmas Mashup New Release!

When I started writing my Brimstone Inc. series, I had one plan in mind. I wanted each book to feature a different paranormal creature and to pair that paranormal awesomeness with a fun contemporary romance trope. So far I've had:

  • demigods & nymphs in a billionaire boss romance
  • wolf shifters in an arranged marriage romance
  • witches in a nanny & hidden identity romance
  • ghosts in a brother's best friend romance

Fun right?!? At least I think so. LOL. But I had to find a way to tie all these different folks together, which is how I came up with the series idea. Brimstone Inc. is a firm that deals with supernatural problems. At the heart of the firm is an enigmatic woman named Delilah. Until now, we have no idea what she is or what powers she actually has, because she has many contractors working for her. 

When it comes to solving difficult situations for her supernatural clients, no one does it better than Delilah. Staffing, medical needs, mediation, law, interventions, arranged marriages, new identities… You name it. Delilah  likes a challenge.

Well...Delilah finally gets her own story! Releasing in less than a week, TRY AS I SMITE is a standalone novella (though probably a smidge better if read within the series). And romance readers, boy did I have fun with this one. Halloween meets Christmas in this paranormal romance retelling of A Christmas Carol.

Here's a quick look at the book and an excerpt...

Friday, October 16, 2020

Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli Review

I've recently swapped day jobs. For the last five years, I've been an ESL teacher, but recently I decided to take on the world of teaching English Language Arts to 6th and 7th graders. That means that instead of spending my days going over pronunciation and loads of phonic rules with students, I teach native English speakers how to break down tricky grammar rules and build ideas upon textual evidence. It also means that I get to read a lot and call it lesson planning :)

My state's suggested curriculum said that we read Jerry Spinelli's "Maniac Magee." Myself, along with about 60 6th graders, found that this book has so much to love about it, and I thought that you, dear readers, might just love it too. 

The book starts out with a spunky tween named Jeffrey Lionel Magee, who is at his wits end living with an aunt and uncle who can't stand each other and refuse to talk. After being orphaned at only three-years-old, he's sent to live with a couple who should have divorced but instead chose to have two of everything (even down to the toaster). Eight years later, Jeffrey can't stand the tension they've put him in and decides to run away from home. Soon he finds himself in a city 200 miles away called Two Mills.

While Two Mills is fictional, the imagery will land you squarely in a picturesque Pennsylvania town that feels very real. One of the things that my students and I loved was Spinelli's keen talent for imagery. Couple that with his charismatic prose, and you're in for a real treat (along with a hankering for krimpets-Jeffrey's favorite food).

Once in Two Mills, Jeffrey makes his first friend --a girl named Amanda Beale. He sees her walking down the street carrying a suitcase and asks her if she's running away from home like him. Unexpectedly, it turns out that Amanda's younger siblings have the very bad habit of coloring on any paper they can find, leaving her to carry her most prized possessions, her books, with her everywhere she goes. Jeffrey begs to borrow a book, and for some reason, unknown to Amanda, she agrees to lend him one. Soon Jeffrey finds the very thing he's wanted all along, a family.

But, no story is complete without a problem for the main character to solve. When Jeffrey made his way into Two Mills, he missed the most important, but unspoken, rule to all of the town's inhabitants. The whites lived on the west side of Two Mills, and the blacks lived on the east side. So when the new white kid moves in with a black family, tension runs high on both sides of Two Mills, leaving our 12-year-old protagonist in the sticky mess of navigating a life going against social expectations.

I'll admit my apprehension in tackling such an emotional topic with newly minted middle schoolers. Still, this book not only lends itself well for discussing big ideas but also does so in a refreshing way. And if my praise isn't enough, all 60 of my 6th graders will happily recommend it to you as well. So if you've got some kiddos in your life, or you just want a delightful read, I would highly recommend picking up a copy of "Maniac Magee." 

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

A New Halloween


Halloween is not canceled. Yes, Covid-19 has canceled the annual Halloween parties. Watching scary movies with your friends has turned into a live-tweet event and most areas have banned trick-or-treat. However, Halloween has been celebrated longer than plastic-wrapped fun-sized confections have been in existence. In my house, we celebrate Samhain. (pronounced Sow-hain).  While Samhain activities are more fun with friends, they can add novelty to the Halloween that almost wasn’t. Here’s a list of stay at home spooky alternatives to gatherings:

  1.    Apple Dolls – Before pumpkin carving, turnips and apples were carved for the spirits visiting our realms to use as corporal bodies. Apples were carved into faces and dried before stringing into wreaths or given doll bodies. Apple flesh is must easier to carve than pumpkins so little hands get the thrill of using a “real knife”. They can do so safely with a small pairing or pocket-knife without the fear of slipping on a tough skin. Once the faces are carved, they are dropped into a food dehydrator overnight. The faces shrink and crinkle as they dry which “age them” overnight. Kids love the excitement of a big morning reveal. Photo by 

Saturday, October 10, 2020

And Now... Our Featured Presentation...

My First Experience with a BookBub Featured Deal

By Keri Kruspe

Author of Otherworldly Romantic Adventures

As a struggling new author, (for me, the definition of struggle is replacing my secular job with a writing full time gig) it’s really hard to gain the needed attention for readers to find my fabulous books.

I strive to do all the right things… had a professional killer cover done; a catchy, eye-grabbing blurb (the first book was done professionally); and to add credence to my writing ability, I have some great reviews on my first four books.

For marketing efforts, I’ve thrown those puppies up on social media on a rotating basis. I’ve religiously studied the various ad platforms to utilize so I can launch myself into author stardom.

All I can say is I’ve been plugging along like a racing snail. Everything I’ve done helps, but nothing has given me the needed boost to really launch my career.

One of the things I’ve come across over and over as an aspiring author is the advice to get a Featured Deal with BookBub. I can’t tell you how many podcasts, training sessions, as well as articles have all said one thing: “If you can get a BookBud Featured Deal – grab it!”

So, like any good student, I’ve submitted my books over the last year and a half to BookBub trying to grab my part of that elusive unicorn of a deal, only to suffer disappointment.

Then it happened. After reading yet another article on the merits of having BookBub deal, I thought to myself… why not go all out? I put my trilogy in a box set last year, how about submitting that? It contained three full-length novels and also included a thirty page “writers bible” - chocked full of extra tidbits of the worlds and characters I created.

I thought, “What the heck” and sweetened the submission by slashing the price to 0.99¢ from $8.99. I promptly forgot about it until I got THE email. To my complete dumbfounded/shocked/flabbergasted surprise, I was accepted and they scheduled my sale for 06/12/2020.

To give you complete disclosure, running this ad on BookBub is expensive, but I knew that going in. The category my books belong in is “Paranormal Romance”, which has over 1,040,000 subscribers. At the listing price of 0.99¢ it would cost me $532 (the cost increases based on the price of your Deal). The average sales for this particular category is around 1,510. So, by my calculations, if I sold that many I would pretty much break-even dollar wise (0.35¢ is the usual royalty earned when you sell a book at 0.99¢).

Okay, now I had a goal: sell the average and recoup my expense.   

Before I share my experience about my (hopefully the first of many) BookBub Featured Deals, let’s go over what it is and why it’s so important to authors.

What is BookBub and What Can They do for Me?

According to Wikipedia: “BookBub is a discovery service created to help readers find new books and authors. The company features free and discounted ebooks selected by its editorial team, as well as book recommendations, updates from authors, and articles about books.”

Since its inception in 2012, BookBub has spent thousands of hours testing and retesting books on their platform. As a result, BookBub only accepts the “cream of the crop” - books they deem worthy to be a part of their high-level marketing strategy. On average, BookBub editors get 300 Featured Deal submissions per day. The company has strict criteria for submitting a deal, and even stricter criteria for getting selected. As a result, they only accept 10-20% of those submitted. They know what sells (ack!), why it sells, and how to curate books to match the needs of their readers.

The Bene’s for an Aspiring Author (such as myself)

Getting accepted sounds like a daunting task. So why go through the pain and probable rejection?

  • Ø  It can add new subscribers to my email list and/or increase BookBub followers.
  • Ø  Increase book discoverability and exposure (1,040,000 is nothing to sneeze at)
  • Ø  Immediate sales boost across back list sales.
  • Ø  Lots of books have reached several bestseller lists after a Deal.

So… How Did I Do?

My BookBub Featured Deal campaign ran from 06/12/2020 to 06/17/2020 – with the 12th as my one day to sign in the sun.

While I didn’t obtain that lofty position of being a Best Seller (i.e. NY Times, USA, or Amazon) in that time, I did get THIS CLOSE  

to achieving #1 on the category of “Science Fiction Romance” on Amazon. For a brief second on 06/13/2020 around 5:00am, I was #2

Even better – At the same time, I reached #3 in a bigger category of “Paranormal Romance” that SciFi Romance is a small part of.

I was so excited I ran to my husband blubbering like a crazy person and yanking him to my computer. Since words were beyond me, I had to show him what I was crying about. Not being a writer (or an avid reader for that matter), he scratched a cocked head, shrugged, and asked, “Is that good?”

I assure you, he’s now well versed in what the rankings on Amazon mean.

And Now… the Pièce de Résistance! 

Remember, my goal was 1,510 sales, and recoup my initial expense. Here are the stats for the end of 06/17/20:

Amazon = 2,015

Draft2Digital (includes vendors like Kobo, Apple, B & N as well as worldwide) = 877

A total of (Holy Cow!) 2,892! That’s 1.91% of goal! What’s even better is I more than made up my expense.

Now What? 

Now I will continue to analyze the benefit of doing a BookBub Featured Deal for the rest of the year. Other than achieving my initial goals, I had a slight increase in BookBub followers as well as new sign-ups for my newsletter that might continue for months.

But what’s more important is I got something priceless back. I got confirmation that I was on the right track with my writers’ career. I passed their strict criteria and was accepted in their hard, competitive arena. To me, it meant I was doing it right. It meant I can hold my head up high and jump in with the big boys.

So, move over, gang. There’s a new girl in town. 

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Veronica Scott Talks PETS IN SPACE 5 #SciFi Romance Charity Anthology with Excerpt


Always fun to return to Paranormal Romantics as a guest! Thanks for having me today, to talk about the fifth annual Pets In Space® scifi romance anthology and my novel in the collection! When Pauline B. Jones and I came up with the idea in 2016, we thought it would be fun to have a group of authors take the story prompt along the lines of “Lassie in space” and add a romance for the main characters. This fifth year we have ten other authors besides ourselves in the mix and the range of pets is so wide it’s amazing.

When I was trying to come up with my alien pet for PISA5, I just happened to catch a bit of the national dog show (cat person here) on TV and was fascinated by the Afghan hound. The elegant animal made a good jumping off point for a PISA pet. As I looked over my inspiration photos and thought about how to make the dog more alien, I decided Verlaine the Tajikka Hound would have some vaguely equine characteristics as well, like black hooves and a somewhat horselike face. Our artist Adrian did his usual fabulous job in creating Verlaine for me. I have no idea why my Muse decided the pet’s name was Verlaine but right from the beginning that was what came to me. Kind of debonair!

I like to make my PISA story into my annual entry in my STAR CRUISE series as well, located on the interstellar luxury liner Nebula Zephyr. I enjoy revisiting some of my characters from previous STAR CRUISE stories and I feel the concept of a huge cruise ship gives me plenty of latitude for telling a variety of stories. My next challenge for 2020 was what would bring such a sizable animal onto the ship as a pet? This past year there had been so many true stories about people bringing odd animals onto airplanes as service animals and I read about someone who had a miniature horse they wanted to travel with! Since I visualize Verlaine as being about the size of a very small horse that seemed perfect to me. So he became a genuine service animal of the far future.

But who would need such an animal to support them on a trip on a big luxury liner?

Enter Gianna Nadenoft, who survived the wreck of the interstellar cruise liner Nebula Dream in my very first published scifi romance novel. She was a (precocious) child of three at the time of the events in Wreck of the Nebula Dream so I felt it was a safe assumption she’d have had post-traumatic stress symptoms of various kinds and might have needed a service animal to help her cope with life after the wreck. Now she’s determined to travel the stars to her brother’s wedding and reunite with old friends but hasn’t left her own planet in the twenty or so years since the wreck. So of course she travels with Verlaine on my new cruise ship, Nebula Zephyr. (I had to be so super careful not to mix up the names of the two ships when I was writing. Dream =destroyed, Zephyr=still sailing the stars.)

I’ve already written one sequel to the first book a few years ago, Star Survivor, about two secondary characters which my readers demanded to know more about, after the original story. It’s always wonderful when readers become invested in the characters. So now I had to think hard about how to revisit the disaster one more time through the eyes of a survivor without becoming repetitious. Viewing it all through the eyes of a woman who’d been a young child at the time was a terrific perspective. Note: I don’t retell the original story, never fear. And this book and Star Survivor can be read as standalones.

I’ve done so much research on the sinking of the Titanic, which the first novel Wreck of the Nebula Dream is based on, which included many survivor accounts and articles and biographies of survivors and how the rest of their lives proceeded to unfold, that I had a good solid basis for this take of my futuristic catastrophe and its aftermath.

Here’s an excerpt where the hero, Trevor, has been sent by his captain to meet Gianna at her home and escort her to the ship.

“I never discuss the events of my childhood,” she said suddenly, not in a challenging way but more as a flat statement of fact.

“All right.”

There was silence for a few more moments. He knew she was staring at him but he was watching a pair of incredibly fluffy ground rodents chasing each other in a highly amusing fashion, quarreling over a nut. “I don’t discuss my past either,” he said finally, meeting her gaze, “So I’d say we’re even. Now we’ve covered that, what shall we talk about? Your home here is quite lovely.”

“Yes, we’re even as far as what events we keep off limits. I like the concept. Of course now I’m curious to know what it is you don’t discuss. My history is unfortunately searchable and legendary, whether it should be or not.” She compressed her lips tightly as if cutting herself off from more comments relating to traumatic events of the past. In a more superficial, social voice, she said, “Thank you for the compliment on the house—this estate has been in my mother’s family since early times on this planet. She was extremely wealthy and my father was a precious gems merchant. He made jewelry on occasion too, which must be where I got my artistic bent.”

He visualized the paintings in the library. “Do you sell your works? You mentioned a commission—”

“I’m quite famous,” she said with a demure smile. “For more than having been in the wrong place at the wrong time as a child. My paintings are in high demand. Would you like to see the one I’m working on?”

The sheer range of styles and subject matter he’d seen in the library had been intriguing and although he was no art connoisseur he found he was curious to see more. His hostess had a unique way of viewing the world and interpreting it for others. “Very much.”

With no further discussion she rose and set off along one of the garden paths, the Tajikka keeping close to her side. Trevor took a hasty swallow of the remnants of his coffee, reflecting he was going to get spoiled having so much of the real stuff in such a short time, between Gianna’s hospitality and the captain’s generosity. He hastened to catch up to her, his longer stride covering the distance easily.

“I have my own studio,” she said, pointing at a small, trim blue-and-white building they were approaching. “I also paint in a large room in the house. It depends on my mood and the light.”

“You carry the work in progress back and forth?” he asked in surprise.

Laughing, she opened the richly grained wooden door and stepped inside. “No, I have more than one painting going at any given time. My muse likes variety. She changes her mind by the hour as to what we’re going to paint. I have to build a lot of time in when I accept a commission, in case I get distracted.” Going to a large easel standing alone under the skylight, she yanked the cover off and pivoted. “What do you think?”

He thought he was mesmerized. Scarcely knowing what he was doing, he walked forward until he could have touched the nearly completed canvas, although of course he didn’t. It was an amazing abstract view, a nebula in deepest space, done in dark colors with pops of bright hues here and there. The scene transported him out of himself and he felt as if he was floating peacefully.

Eventually he realized he’d been silent for a long time and turned his head, looking for his companion. Her Tajikka was standing at his side, pressing against his leg, which was oddly comforting.  Trevor found himself stroking one ear, allowing the long silky fur to run through his fingers. “I’m sorry—I got lost in the painting. This is astonishing.”

“You’re good for my ego,” she said. She was curled up in a huge chair, ensconced among pink-and-green floral pillows and resembling the young girl in the old records. “I’d never painted but one day after we got home, I picked up a brush and drew all over the walls in my bedroom. Rather than being punished for it, I was given my first set of real brushes and canvasses and I’ve painted every single day since. My father used a couple of my paintings in his marketing materials and those generated inquiries. He had high end clients, Inner Sectors generational billionaires, planetary royalty and the like, so I launched right into a pool of people with tons of credits to burn. And of course, the fact of who I am, helps a little, even I must admit. ”

He shook his head. “The art is phenomenal. It has nothing to do with—with—”

“The wreck,” she said helpfully. “Although since technically we didn’t crash on a planet, it shouldn’t be classified as a wreck precisely but that’s what the media called it and the term stuck.”

The Tajikka left his side and went to her, pushing its nose against her hand until she started petting the silky ears. Concerned, remembering this was a service animal, Trevor wondered if he’d upset her after all.

“My father never left this planet again after we got home. I don’t leave this compound myself, with rare exceptions. My brother Paolo is the brave one, going off to the Star Guard Academy and then going into combat and having all kinds of adventures, as he’d always said he would. I admire him. My father cut him off because he wouldn’t stay here and learn the gem and jewelry business but Paolo wanted to be just like Nick Jameson in all respects and drove himself to succeed. I’m glad he did.”

“Do you run the business then?” Trevor asked.

“Oh no, when my father died, the business was liquidated. He couldn’t imagine me taking it over and I had utterly no desire to do so either. I sent my brother his half of the proceeds. My mother’s fortune came straight to me but was in trust until I attained my majority.” She raised her chin defiantly. “I don’t care what my father’s will specified. He forfeited the right to tell us what to do when he abandoned us as kids on that damn ship. He sure didn’t get to tell me what to do after he was dead.”

Pet sketch by ADRIAN


It’s time for an escape! Pets in Space® 5 is back for the fifth amazing year! Escape to new worlds with twelve of today’s top Science Fiction Romance authors. They have written 12 original, never-before-released stories filled with action, adventure, suspense, humor, and romance that will take you out of this world. The giving doesn’t stop there. For the fifth year, Pets in Space® will be donating a portion of the first month proceeds to, a non-profit charity that supports our veterans and First Responders. If you are ready to forget the world around you and make a difference while you are having fun, grab your copy before it’s gone!

STAR CRUISE RETURN VOYAGE blurb: Gianna Nadenoft is a reclusive survivor of one of the worst interstellar cruise ship disasters in the history of the Sectors. Now a renowned artist, she hasn’t left her home planet in decades, not since returning there after the wreck as a traumatized three-year-old. With her service animal at her side, she’s going to attempt to travel across the star systems to attend her brother’s wedding and reunite with her fellow survivors.

Trevor Hanson is a security officer aboard the cruise liner Nebula Zephyr with his own traumatic past as a former Special Forces soldier and prisoner of war. He’s assigned to provide personal protection to Gianna during her time aboard the ship but soon finds his interest turning from professional to romantic.

Onboard the Nebula Zephyr, powerful enemies are watching Gianna and making plans to seize this rare opportunity to gain access to her and the secrets they believe she’s still keeping about the wreck. Can Trevor overcome his personal demons and rise to the occasion to save Gianna from the danger waiting on his ship, or will she slip through his fingers and suffer a terrible fate deferred from her last disastrous voyage?

Amazon      Apple Books      Nook      Kobo      Google Play 

Pets in Space® 5 authors are:

1.            S.E. Smith

2.            Michelle Diener

3.            Veronica Scott

4.            Pauline Baird Jones

5.            Laurie A. Green

6.            Carol Van Natta

7.            Regine Abel

8.            Alexis Glynn Latner

9.            JC Hay

10.          Kyndra Hatch

11.          Cassandra Chandler

12.          Leslie Chase 

Author Bio and Links:

USA Today Best Selling Author

 Veronica Scott grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything. When she ran out of books to read, she started writing her own stories.

Seven time winner of the SFR Galaxy Award, as well as a National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, Veronica is also the proud recipient of a NASA Exceptional Service Medal relating to her former day job, not her romances!

 She read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the official audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “The City On the Edge of Forever.”

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WRECK: Amazon  Barnes & Noble  Apple Books    Google Play   Kobo

STAR SURVIVOR:  Apple Books      Amazon    Kobo       Barnes & Noble       Google Play

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Who Tells Ghost Stories?


We believe that our first house was haunted. 

Not in the drag you down the stairs terror like the Paranormal Activity movies that terrify me, but more like a Casper the friendly ghost version. Thankfully, because that's all I could ever handle. I might like to write and read about paranormal and the supernatural but I'm a big wimp when it comes to facing it in real life. 

We tell stories.

 Of how the stove burners would turn on themselves and the television channel would change and other things that maybe, just maybe, had a logical explanation. Although the number of times these unusual things happened made it difficult to always rationalize. We thought it might've been the previous owner showing her displeasure that we couldn't maintain her once beautiful flower gardens since they'd been long overgrown by the time we arrived, and I have what I call a black thumb. Which basically means that I unintentionally kill any plant that I try to nurture. 

Eventually the occurrences stopped. 

I assume that she felt she'd made her point, or realized it was fruitless to try to convince me to revive her gardens. I couldn't do that any more effectively than I could revive her.  

Now my story, Evil Speaks Softly, 

is about some not-so-friendly ghosts who want more than a gardener. Since this is the perfect time of month for ghost stories, it's on sale for a very limited time for $0.99. Grab your copy if you—like me—prefer your ghosts to remain between the pages of a story.

Get Your Copy Here

A little about Evil Speaks Softly...

They were never supposed to meet. 
Fame came easy for Liv by following in the footsteps of the female writers in her family. The cycle repeated for decades...until Liv changed the story. Her villain doesn't like the revision—and he isn't a fictional character. In his story, the bad guy always wins. 

They were never supposed to find love. 
Liv never questions her demanding nocturnal muse, or the strange incidents in her old, family home until she met Gage. His job was to watch her from afar, not reveal the truth about the curse and the stories of the dead.

They've broken all the rules. 
Together they unravel secrets as they strive to stop the cycle. Liv's ability to find love, and protect her loved ones, hands on the fickle whims of the dead—and they've got nothing to lose.

Do You Tell Ghost Stories?

Author Bio: 
Maureen Bonatch grew up in small town Pennsylvania and her love of the four seasons—hockey, biking, sweat pants and hibernation—keeps her there. While immersed in writing or reading paranormal romance and fantasy, she survives on caffeine, wine, music, and laughter. A feisty Shih Tzu keeps her in line. Find Maureen on her websiteFacebook & Twitter


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Thursday, October 1, 2020

Inspiration by Diane Burton


"You can't wait for inspiration. Sometimes you have to go after it with a club." ~ Jack London

That, in essence, is my problem. I wait for inspiration. I’ve worked on a science fiction romance for well over two years . . . maybe three. I’ve lost count. Something is wrong with the story. Hang on. It’s not the story. It’s the author. She’s waiting for inspiration.

A new story is like a birthday present. I can’t wait to tear off the paper and see what’s inside. A new story comes to me in the oddest ways. Sometimes, it’s in a dream . . . or in that twilight just before sleep when my mind drifts. Most nights, my mind races from one thing to another. What I need to do the next day, what I forgot to do, what I need to add to the grocery list.

But when my mind settles down and clears, ideas float through. If I were organized, I’d write down the idea, using the lighted pen my friend gave me. Big problem. I have no idea where that pen is. Besides, if I did find pen and paper, I’d wake up, and my mind would start racing again. Who wants that? Besides, if the idea is strong enough, I’ll remember it in the morning. Usually.

The idea is the best part of the new story. It’s shiny, new—squirrel. Like the lovable dog in the movie Up, I’ll chase that new idea, leaving the old one behind.

If I were disciplined, I would jot down the new idea then return to the old story. The story I need to finish first. Wonderful advice. If I followed it, my story would be done.

Why am I not writing?

Am I waiting for my Muse to use her cattle prod? Is she whispering “Open the file” but Netflix is so loud I can’t hear her? Or is it easier to let life’s stresses grab a hold of my mind?

All of the above?

I’m open to any suggestions on getting inspiration back into my mind. Anyone have a club?