Crazy Busy = Upcoming MIA Blog Posts

(in best speaksey voice, complete with wiggly eyebrows) Regarding those upcoming blog posts, yeah? Wells, here’s the scoop.

I have this great day job with a local provider of higher education and this is the time of year when multiple graduations devour students and their time. As one of those administrative persons who assist said students, it is also that time of the year when my time is gobbled up by panicked students facing various final projects. As I am there to help talk them off the ledge, my next couple of weeks will be dedicated to their graduation success, therefore blog posts and personal writing time will be set aside.

This is not all bad. In fact, next week will see Chapter 4 of Conjuring Misery, the joint endeavor of myself, Camille Douglass, and Dave Benneman. So be sure to tune in next Thursday for that delicious indulgence of magical fantasy.

And then there are the following exciting upcoming events

  • The highly anticipated release of TOUCHED BY FATE, the second PSY-IV Teams book on 5/24/16 (go forth, pre-order your copy!).
  • Hang on because I’ve finally gone for it— will be getting a make-over. Yes, indeedy, we are sprucing up the place and adding a little polish. I’ll try to give you a date when I get one. This time, it’s not me behind the changes, but the talented staff of Hot Damn Designs and their fearless leader, Kim Killion, who are coming to my rescue.
  • I’ve joined forces with Goodreads and set up a giveaway of 3 autographed print copies of HUNTED BY THE PAST, to celebrate TOUCHED’s release! Go forth and throw your name in the hat!

So while I may miss a post here and there to the everyday chaos, I do promise things are happening!


SJ Francis uncovers dangerous family secrets and old betrayals #suspense #giveaway #familysaga


*Warning: today’s excerpt steps into dangerous territory, so before you tread forward, you were warned.

Today we welcome SJ Francis and her debut novel, Shattered Lies, where digging into family secrets can be hazardous to your health and heart…Front cover

She wants to know the truth, but some secrets might be better left alone…

Kate Thayer has a good life as a veterinarian, running the family horse farm—until she uncovers an act of unimaginable treachery by those she trusted most and learns that everything she knew about herself was a lie. Her paternal grandmother, the woman who raised her, is behind a number of devastating secrets Kate is compelled to discover. But the deeper she digs, the more betrayal she finds, changing her life in ways she could have never foreseen.


She knew that bigotry existed, but she had never experienced it quite like this before…

Kate couldn’t say anything for a moment. She was just too astonished. “Wh—what? Excuse me? What you did you say?”

The other boy with brown hair spoke, “Sorry, miss.” He giggled too. “You have to excuse my friend. He’s a little drunk.”

“How old are you two?”

They didn’t look older than eighteen, and had acne breakouts on their cheeks, but she knew better than anyone that looks could be deceiving.

“We’re old enough,” the rude one said.

Sam returned just as the rude one spoke again and pointed, “Hey look, it’s the Jolly Giant Nigger.”

Kate shot to her feet so that she was between Sam and them.

A porter was with Sam. “Is there a problem, miss?”

“Yes,” she said without facing him. “We’d like to change our seat.”

“Of course, Sam asked too. We have another place for you over here, if you both come with me.”

Kate moved to leave. The two young men said nothing, which was a good thing. She swore she could feel her blood boiling in her veins. If they said one more thing…

Sam stood aside to let her exit and then she heard the young man. “Goodbye now, Uncle Tom.” Giggling. “Enjoy your meal, Uncle Tom, so nice to see you.” More giggling. “Dumb nigg—”

He didn’t have a chance to finish. Kate snatched the water glass from the table, threw the water at him, slammed the empty glass down hard on the table directly in front of him, and glared into his eyes. “You disgust me! It’s people like you who have turned this world into shit!”


As you can see, SJ fears not the tough topics, so of course, I had to grill poke and prod at what makes her tick. She bravely accepted my challenge (something about not being able to leave until I was satisfied might have had something to do with it). Without further ado, may I present, the magnificent SJ Francis…

If you were to hold a dinner party for six, who would you invite and share at least one question you would have for each? 

Hmmn….let’s think on this. Should I be politically correct or push the bar? (push, push) I’m a writer so let’s push the bar as far as I can. For a dinner party, I think I would have to invite Leonardo da Vinci, Genghis khan, Napoleon, Winston Churchill, Idie Amin, and Fidel Castro. I think that would be an interesting assortment of people. Now to the questions….

For the deep thinking, Da Vinci, I’d ask, what do you think man is capable of?

For Genghis Khan, how far do you think you can go?

For Napoleon, If you had conquered Russia, what then?

For Winston Churchill, what if Germany won, then what?

For Idi Amin, what did human flesh taste like? Or, if you want to protect sensitive tummies, Jami, how about, if you ruled today, would you do anything differently? (Never fear, SJ, my followers are a tough batch of cookies, I think they’d be more interested in the culinary aspects.)

For Castro, what do you see in the future for Cuba and the United States?

I’m sure the combined presence of these mixed personalities and responses would heat things up considerably. Don’t you think? (It’d be fun to be a fly with a notepad on the wall!)

As children we tend to have an idea of what we want to be by the time we’re ten. Before you decided to pursue the artistic dream of being a writer, what did you want to be and why?

I wanted to do everything. Of course, that wasn’t realistic. I wanted to become a veterinarian. I love animals and just wanted to help and protect them. Once, I discovered there was too much math and science involved to become one, I knew I had to choose something else, but my love for animals and advocating for them has never waned. (Funny enough, being a vet was one of my choices, until Career Day in eighth grade where a beautiful Shepherd’s hind leg had to be reset. I broke down and couldn’t stay in the room.)

Whether we’re plotters or pantsers (outlines not needed), creating our stories takes us on very memorable journeys. Sometimes we may be part way through before we realize some major aspect of our story is just not working (plot, character, setting). Have you ever hit this sharp, pointy snag and if so, how did you escape? We’re you battered and bruised or a bloody mess?

This happens a great deal to me, but after reviewing and editing and slicing off bits, and chunks, and ending up a bit bloodied and bruised in the process, the story survives stronger and better than it was before. But what a chore it was to get there. Not to mention the endless amount of gauze and tape. Oh my! *fist bump offered*

What is some of the best advice you were ever given?

That’s an easy one. The best advice I was ever given was by the late great Jackie Collins. She had a passion for writing that was contagious and helped me regain my passion for writing when I thought I had lost it. When I needed encouragement the most, she told me, “Keep your writing passion on fore.” Don’t let anything get in the way of your writing.

What is the best advice you can share with others?

I’d like to build on what Jackie Collins told me. Never stop learning. Never stop reading. Never stop writing. If you want to write, just write. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t. As long as you believe you can write, you can. Discouragement lurks behind every corner. You are going to want to quit. Don’t. Never give up. Never let fear win. Never. For the day you do, you will give up. Don’t let anything or anyone get in the way of your writing.

Our infamous bullet list is next, and SJ handled it beautifully…

Blades, guns, fists or feet?

For me, it’d be anything I can get my hands on. Pens, pencils, knives, even a fork can be used as a weapon by me.

Favorite Fairy Tale of all time?

The Ugly Duckling.

Three titles and their authors sitting on your nightstand/bookcase/table/floor waiting to be read? Which do you prefer? The ones on the nightstand, bookcase, table or floor?

Let’s go with nightstand. 1)Haunted Britain and Ireland, 2)Agatha Christie-Hercule Poirot Short Stories, again, and 3)Heather Neff’s Leila II: The Moods of the Sea.

Greatest one liner of all time?

“Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.” Because, sometimes, I just really don’t.

Sarcastic witticism, Southern sweetness or Geeky disdain?

I think I’m more Southern sweetness. (Bless your heart…)

Strangest item currently taking up space in your writing cave?

A ceramic egg. According to Fen Shui or something, having an egg in your work space is supposed to be good luck. We’ll see……

Favorite supernatural creature?

I have to say Werewolf. Therewolf? No. Werewolf. I’d like to ask a rotten human try and hurt a werewolf. It’d be interesting. (How about a Direwolf for even more fun IMO.)

To celebrate the launch of SHATTERED LIES, SJ is offering a free book giveaway. To all those who leave a comment during her blog tour at her website, you will automatically be entered into a drawing to win a personally autographed paperback copy of her debut novel, Shattered Lies. Two copies are available giving two of you a chance to win. To keep up with her stops on her blog tour please visit her website.

Just leave a comment at her website and drop her a line with “Giveaway” in subject line at:

Be sure to leave a valid, working email address in case you win. Good luck and thanks so much for stopping by. She loves to connect with other authors and readers.

FYI: The drawing will take place at the end of my blog tour on Saturday, December 12, 2015. I will contact the winner at their email address at that time to request your mailing address to send you the printed copy of Shattered Lies.

Author Badge (Small)S.J. Francis is a freelance writer with over three hundred publication credits, a University Lecturer with doctorates in English, Mass Communications, and Law, and most recently, a novelist. Francis writes for many publications, as well as regularly contributing to the local newspaper. Francis’ first novel, Shattered Lies is a women’s fiction/mainstream/family saga novel. In the end, it’s all about family.

You can hunt SJ down at any of the following virtual links:

Website    Black Opal Books      Amazon        Facebook       Twitter      Goodreads     Google+      Pinterest


Dive into a Romantic Adventure with Susan Royal #romadv #timetravel #museitup

Today we welcome Susan Royal, fellow authoress at MuseIt Up. She’s bringing along her fantastical romantic adventures, including her latest new release: Xander’s Tangled Web! To help celebrate she’s giving two lucky commenters a copy of their choice of NOT LONG AGO or IN MY SHADOWJust share your favorite genre to read with your email, and one of those winners could be you. We’ll announce our lucky comment winners on Wednesday, Oct. 28th, so check back!

While we wait for her latest release to hit shelves in Fall 2015, you can indulge in her books: In My Own Shadow and the first two installments in her time-traveling series, Not Long Ago and From Now On


Talk about the worst day ever! Lara lets her friend Carrie talk her into a blind date, only it turns out the handsome stranger waiting for Lara after work isn’t Carrie’s cousin after all. And, when they’re chased through a portal to another world, Lara realizes Rhys really is out of this world.

Lyra, her alternate in another dimension, has left clues to the whereabouts of the Book of Secrets that explains the mystery of time travel in Lara’s subconscious. Or so Rhys thinks. Power-hungry telepaths pursuing them will stop at nothing to get it, even if it means breaking Lara’s mind. To complicate matters, Lara gets tangled up in her feelings for Rhys while exploring her connection with Lyra.

With Rhys as her guardian, a bear of a man named Azle to guide her, and the spirit of Lyra haunting her dreams, Lara must find the Book of Secrets before it falls into the hands of those who want its power. Only then can she return to her world safely.

Not long ago FromNowOn_200x300

Erin has met the man of her dreams, but as usual there are complications. It’s one of those long distance relationships, and Griffin is a little behind the times– somewhere around 600 years.

Along with her employer, March, Erin is transported to a time where chivalry and religion exist alongside brutality and superstition. Something is not quite right at the castle, and they are certain mysterious Lady Isobeil is involved. But Erin must cope with crop circles, ghosts, a kidnapping and death before the truth of her journey is revealed.

Forced to pose as March’s nephew, she finds employment as handsome Sir Griffin’s squire. She’s immediately attracted to him and grows to admire his courage, quiet nobility and devotion to duty. Yet, she must deny her feelings. Her world is centuries away, and she wants to go home. But Erin can’t stop thinking about her knight in shining armor.  

From there, the story could have gone anywhere. Turns out it did. I never expected it to become a series, but my daughter insisted the story wasn’t finished, and she was right.    

From Now On takes up where the first book left off. Some of my favorite characters are back. Arvo: the tall gangly young man with a disreputable shock of red hair who becomes Erin’s good friend and confidant. Sir Edevane: Griffin’s fellow knight and friend. Kat: Griffin’s feisty little sister.

Griffin travels across centuries to find Erin, but before they can begin their new life together, he’s sent on a mission to a strange island. When he doesn’t return, Erin assembles a group of his friends to search for him. Followed by his strong-willed sister, Kateryn, they travel to Swansea and secure passage with the notorious Captain Akin.

She discovers firsthand how the island has earned its dark reputation when she battles freakish weather, encounters a race of little people known as “Prowlies” and experiences ghosts of the long departed. Even worse, she discovers there are “ley lines” crossing the island’s mountain peak, creating all sorts of strange phenomena. Yet these obstacles pale in comparison to the secrets she uncovers while trying to rescue the man she loves.

If you love a time travel adventure with a twist (and a love story) and haven’t read Not Long Ago, please do. You can continue Erin and Griffin’s story with From Now On. As for what’s going to happen to them in Book 3? It’s too soon to tell, but here’s a hint. As the relationship between the two love birds grows, they’ll have more obstacles to overcome. In addition, you’ll likely see something about the caves in Wales, blood moons and ghost stories.

Now that we’ve added some great titles to our TBR piles, time to grill Susan…

As children we tend to have an idea of what we want to be by the time we’re ten. Before you decided to pursue the artistic dream of being a writer, what did you want to be and why?

My list was lengthy: a singer (love making music) a comedian (love to make people laugh) a teacher (not too sure about that one)and an artist (I love drawing and painting)

If your character(s) came with a warning label, what would it say?

Sarcastic, Impatient, persistent, stubborn, independent, quirky

If you turned your laptop/computer/pen/typewriter (yes, some of still use these!) over to your character(s), how would they describe you?

Sarcastic, impatient, persistent, stubborn, independent, quirky.

We all have favorite characters, either main or secondary, and there are always bits and pieces of them we don’t share with our readers, but keep close to our hearts. Choose your favorite from your cast of characters and tell us a couple of things that you haven’t shared in your books/writing.

It’s no secret the tailor’s son, Arvo, has a thing for Erin, even though he knows how she feels about Griffin. He’s come to terms with the situation, but he’s searching for the same kind of relationship they have, and he’ll do just about anything to get it.

Personally, I tend to be a bit on the introverted side so the thought of being in the actual presence of one of my favorite writers makes my heart race, my knees shake and tangles my tongue (yes classic fan girl behavior). Who could reduce you to such a level and how do you imagine your initial meeting?

I would love to have sit down and have a conversation with Ray Bradbury. I’ve long admired the way he painted pictures with his words. He made me want to live in Greentown, Illinois and be friends with everyone who lived there.

Growing up, what was your favorite book, comic, game or movie and did you create a character/player that might resemble you?

I was Jane in all the Tarzan movies, Peter Pan’s Wendy, Jo in Little Women and Dr. Watson to Sherlock Holmes.

Many writers have that first novel which will never see the light of day. Out of curiosity, do you have one stashed somewhere?

I had the idea for a novel in high school. After many false starts and revisions, I finally finished it a few years ago and I’m happy to say In My Own Shadow ended up being a lovely adventure. Inquiring minds want to know: what was your first attempt at writing and how old were you? When I was 6 or 7, I wrote a book about our vacation, complete with illustrations, bound with a red ribbon. In fact, I still have it.

Whether we’re plotters or pantsers (outlines not needed), creating our stories takes us on very memorable journeys. Sometimes we may be part way through before we realize some major aspect of our story is just not working (plot, character, setting). Have you ever hit this sharp, pointy snag and if so, how did you escape? We’re you battered and bruised or a bloody mess?

I’m a pantser who does a little plotting, so it happens at least once with every story I write. I get about 60,000 words into it and wonder what in h-e-double-toothpicks I’m doing. What was I thinking? Where do I go from here? How do I finish this thing? I’m completely overwhelmed. I have to go back to the beginning and read it like a reader and not an editor. Eventually things click, and I realize how the story plays out. The rest is history.

What’s the one genre you won’t ever try and why?

I’m not much for writing contemporary pieces, unless it’s something like urban fantasy. My time travel starts out in the present, but not for long. I’d much rather write about some other time, some other place in the universe.

What is some of the best advice you were ever given?

Once I was crying on a fellow writer’s shoulder, whining about a plot hole in my WIP big enough to drive a truck through and he said, You’re the author. It’s your story. So fix it. You can change it and make it whatever it needs to be. And he was right.

What is the best advice you can share with others?

Keep writing, keep learning, keep submitting and never ever give up

Hang tight as we have Susan step up and face our bullet list. Ready? Aim…fire!

Blades, guns, fists or feet?

All of the above, along with explosive devices

Favorite Fairy Tale of all time?

Peter Pan

Three titles and their authors sitting on your nightstand/bookcase/table/floor waiting to be read?

Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews, Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stievater, The Shadow’s Edge by Jami Gray (These are only a few on my TBR list)

Greatest one liner of all time?

Don’t quit your day dream.

Sarcastic witticism, Southern sweetness or Geeky disdain?

Sarcastic Witticism

Strangest item currently taking up space in your writing cave?

A gnome from the Isle of Man

Favorite supernatural creature?


Big thank you to Susan for taking time to come visit.

Bio photo

     Born in west Texas and raised in south Texas, Susan makes her home in a 100-year-old farmhouse in a small east Texas town. She shares it with a ghost who likes to harmonize with her son when he plays guitar.

She is married and the mother of six (she counts her children’s spouses as her own) and five grandchildren who are all unique and very special. Her family is rich with characters, both past and present. Her grandmother shared stories of living on a farm in Oklahoma Territory with three sisters and three brothers and working as a telephone operator in the early 20th century. Her father told her about growing up in San Antonio in the depression, and she experienced being a teenager during WWII through her mother’s eyes.

When she isn’t writing, she works as a secretary in education and does her best to keep up with her grandchildren. Music and painting are two of her passions. She is a firm believer in getting what you want without breaking the bank. She loves to bargain shop anywhere there’s a sale and began repurposing long before it was popular. She paints, crafts and sews. Her office/craft/sewing room is littered with her latest projects.

Susan loves to take her readers through all kinds of adventures with liberal doses of romance. So far, she’s written two books in her It’s About Time series, Not Long Ago and From Now On. They are time travel adventures with romance about two people who fall in love despite the fact they come from very different worlds. In My Own Shadow is a Fantasy adventure/romance. Out this fall is her YA fantasy, Xander’s Tangled Web. Look for her books at MuseItUp/Amazon/B&N. You can also find Odin’s Spear, one of her short stories featured in a Quests, Curses, and Vengeance anthology, Martinus Publishing, available on Amazon.

Want to know more? Visit or for a peek inside this writer’s mind and see what she’s up to. You never know what new world she’s going to visit next.

Divas of Romance Join Labors of Love Hop #LOLHop #giveaway #romance

From sweet to dark, divas of romance work their fingers to the bone for your reading pleasure in the Labor of Love Bloghop from 9/4-9/6. Come join me and enter to win a Kindle with new, heart-pounding titles just for you!
2015_8 Labor of Love hop_D2 copy

Happily ever afters only come after heart-breaking work, and this Labor Day weekend, we are celebrating our written labors of love by giving our readers a chance to win a brand-spankin’ new Kindle with our personal bests. That’s right, you could win all of our books! Aren’t you excited? We are! So here’s your chance, just click the link below to enter our giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

While each story I create is close to my heart, I’ve decided to share the first book from my Paranormal Romantic Suspense series, PSY-IV Teams, HUNTED BY THE PAST. The PSY-IV Teams (think ‘cypher’ teams) evolved from love of suspense with military leanings, but I couldn’t escape my need for the unusual abilities, so my heroes and heroines face external and internal danger on multiple levels. As if I’d make it easy on any of my characters to find their happily ever after…


Sometimes death is the only way to out run the past…

Changing the past is impossible, a fact ex-marine, Cynthia Arden, understands all too well. Struggling with the aftermath of a botched mission, a panicked phone call brings her home to face a killer’s game. Unfortunately, the distracting Kayden Shaw returns as well, the one man she thought would stand by her, until he chose his job over her.

To survive, will Cyn risk her heart or lose the man she loves and her life?

My head pressed against my knees, while my arms wrapped around my shins, holding myself together so I wouldn’t shatter into unrecognizable pieces. I squeezed my eyes shut, gasping against the heavy, hot air. God, it hurt. So much so, I wanted to scream. But I couldn’t. Screaming would solve nothing. It wouldn’t bring Kelsey back. Wouldn’t chase Ellery back into hell where he belonged. Wouldn’t make anything right. Instead I had to suck it up and play Ellery’s sick game. And now he had Kayden in his sights.

I have no idea how long I sat there lost in the unlit spaces of my soul. There were lines I’d told myself I’d never cross, but at this particular moment, when grief and rage combined into an unforgiving storm, I would have crossed every single one in exchange for Ellery’s destruction. Options I would have never considered played through my mind, tempting me to step a little deeper into the shadows. It wouldn’t be hard. I’d learned quite a few things in the military.


The sound of my name snagged me from tumbling over into the moral abyss. A touch stroked over my spine, stopping the unconscious rocking motion I’d adopted. I blinked my eyes open, only then noticing the tears weighing down my lashes. Kneeling next to me, Kayden, face etched with concern, eyes watchful, waited until I focused on him. “Don’t.”

“Don’t what?” My question came out hoarse.

“Don’t go down that road, you’ll get lost.”

I held his gaze, unable to answer, not caring how eerily well he read me. Part of me didn’t give a damn anymore, too much rage, too much guilt, too much pain; all of it coalescing together until it swallowed me whole.

He reached out and brushed away the lingering tears. “You take that road and you’ll lose Kelsey forever.” He curved his palm against my cheek. “You’ll lose yourself, and then he’ll have won. The price is too steep.” There was no judgment in his voice or his expression. Instead a hint of some hard-won knowledge resonated through his words like a bell, spreading until they chased the whispers of vengeance leading me toward the edge.

“I’m not sure I care anymore,” I whispered, meeting his gaze without flinching.

“You care or you wouldn’t still be here.” He watched me. Under any other circumstances I’d be dodging the intense eye contact we shared, but at this moment, I feared the loss of it would send me tumbling into the yawning pit before me.

Have I got your attention? Good, because the second PSY-IV Team book, TOUCHED BY FATE is coming early 2016 from MuseIt Up Publishing, so go get HUNTED BY THE PAST while you can!

And because I don’t want your To Be Read pile to wither away over the holiday weekend, one lucky commenter will win an e-copy of SHADOW’S EDGE, the first in my Urban Fantasy series, The Kyn Kronicles. Whatever shall you comment on, you ask? Well, let’s celebrate your greatest accomplishment! Just post your favorite accomplishment in the comments below and I’ll announce our winner on 9/7.

2015_8 Labor of Love hop_D2 copy

Thank you for join joining our Labors of Love Blog Hop. To see who’s participating, click the link below and work your way through our participating authors: 

*Thank you for joining us and we apologize that we seem to be having tech issues with the Linky Link. If it doesn’t work, please see complete participating authors list below.

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Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

Time for a Mind Trip w/@ronnieAnovelist and GEMINI #newrelease #thriller #suspense

Gather round, all. Today we have a visitor, so everyone be on you best behavior. I don’t want to have to call in the Werewolf monks to do security. They’re a bit testy as they’re latest batch of wine didn’t go as planned. 

Want to play mind games? Then you’re going to love Ronnie Allen’s recent release, GEMINI.



His life is exactly the way he wants it to be—until he meets her…

Both psychic and clairvoyant, Dr. John Trenton is a forensic psychiatrist who has a wife he worships and a position as a department head at a hospital for the criminally insane in Manhattan. His patients—young adult men, who are some of the most psychotic and psychopathic criminals in NYC—enable him to live his life on the edge, just the way he likes it. Then he meets a woman who changes everything.

She is two days from accomplishing the revenge she lives for—until she meets him…

Stripper by night, school psychologist by day, Gemini obsessed Barbara Montgomery, makes a critical mistake and is committed for seventy-two hours of observation, where she risks it all in an unnerving escape. Furious with Dr. Trenton for interfering in her life, she is now determined to kill his wife and unborn child, along with everyone else who has ever caused her pain—real or imagined.

As the killing spree continues, John is forced to use all his ESP, as well as his knowledge and expertise, to interpret this psychopath’s Gemini obsession and unravel her dark and murderous past. But can he track her down and bring her to justice—before she destroys his world completely?

Check out Ronnie’s Video:


Okay, girlfriend. Let’s get serious here. Tonight’s gotta be the night. Time’s runnin’ away from me.

She jammed her eyes shut, swallowed hard, and blew out a prolonged breath. Tonight could be rough. Or impossible. Her heart thumped in expectation of finding the right person to accompany her in the train wreck of her life.

She had no choice, but to make it work.

Her life depended upon it.

Before she could overthink it, she grabbed the pink paisley duffle bag, which held her outfit for the job, off the Queen Victoria chair that graced the corner of the hallway. The entire getup could fit in her jeans pocket but she had to go fancy. She zipped up the black patent leather stiletto heeled boots, hesitating for a moment, contemplating if she was getting too old to wear them. After a last minute once-over in the full length mirror on the adjacent wall, she reconsidered. Nah, not with her knockout bod. Women half her age didn’t look so good. Not even any laugh lines around her eyes to give it away. She winked in the mirror and her emerald contact lenses twinkled back.

She eased the door closed to her ritzy Manhattan apartment at one a.m. with her right hand on the knob and her left palm on the door, guiding it to the latch so that her ears alone heard the soft clicks of the bolt.

Can’t wake those old geezers next door. Otherwise, I’ll just have to do what I do best.

Chills of anticipation snaked through her as she traversed the darkened hallway to the elevator all the while listening for footsteps in her neighbor’s apartment. The elevator door opened. She slipped in.

All was good.

They got to live another night.

Leave a comment with your birth day and month (no year), and Ronnie will giveaway one free, two-line tarot reading to our first ten visitors.

Welcome to my corner of the swamp, Ronnie, shall we begin our interrogation interview?

Thank you so much, Jami, for hosting me. My debut novel, Gemini, a psychological thriller, was recently released, last Saturday, by Black Opal Books. I love your questions, so here we go.

As children we tend to have an idea of what we want to be by the time we’re ten. Before you decided to pursue the artistic dream of being a writer, what did you want to be and why?

I love animals but only wound up having a dog for five days. I was about ten. The doctors told my parents I couldn’t have any pets because I had severely debilitating asthma growing up and it’s still an issue, but well controlled. Since I was an only child, my parents thought it would be a good idea to try it, anyway. We got a lab shepherd mix from Bideaway home for dogs on Long Island and named him Friday. He was precious. We lived in a three story walk up and my dad with a heart condition couldn’t do the walking up and down three times or more a day to walk him. We brought him back with me hysterical after five days, my parents blaming the asthma for his return. In reality it was not the asthma. I wasn’t allergic to him at all. It was that walking him was too much strain for my dad. Asthma did initiate many of the traumas in my childhood, which I deal with in Aries, the second in the Sign Behind The Crime series that will be out in the fall. The antagonist, the killer, is an asthmatic. She goes through many of the experiences I had. So to answer your question: what did I want to be? A Veterinarian. I even applied to a university in the state of Washington that had a fabulous pre-vet program. My parents forbade it. My doctors forbade it. Me, being the good little girl at the time, listened and went to a university on Long Island instead. I majored in psychology and education, got my MS degree in School Psychology. At first I wanted to psychoanalyze myself, get rid of the asthma and then go to Vet school. Didn’t exactly happen that way. But today I have two cats, our two dogs passed over the Rainbow Bridge with another cat, and I’m not allergic to any of them.

If your characters came with a warning label what would it say?

“Hot to the touch.” and “Beware of the killer within.” Um, that last one would be a great title. I’ll keep it on the back burner.

Growing up, what was your favorite character, and did you create a character that might resemble you?

This is a fun question. Tarzan was my favorite TV show. It started when I was three-year old. Even then, I loved the muscular men with strong physicality. Mainly because I was so overprotective from the asthma. I never roller-skated or rode a bike. I wasn’t allowed to be in a pool, either. As I’m writing this, I’m poolside and will go in for my workout soon. I still love the body-builder type jock men. They made up for the physical strength I didn’t have. As an aside, I never dated a man who wasn’t Mr. Muscles. My husband’s a jock and we raised one. Does any of my characters resemble me? Hell yes! In Gemini, stripper by night, school psychologist by day, Barbara Montgomery has the job I had in the NYC Dept. of Education for a time when I was a crisis intervention specialist. There’s a chapter with her in a situation I was in, many times. But no person in the novel is anyone I personally know. Forensic psychiatrist, Dr. John Trenton is both psychic and clairvoyant and practices the alternative therapies and metaphysics as I do, as a board certified holistic health practitioner. I work with people making the mind/body connection. He uses a therapy that I was in for two years that helped me resolve the childhood traumas. It was so many years ago that they pop back up now and then but I use my strategies now for controlling them. In Aries, as I mentioned above, my character, AriellaRose Larcon goes through the traumas I did as a child and young adult. My male characters are martial arts fighters because I like men who are protective. Dr. John Trenton is a third degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do and forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Frank Khaos in Aries is a third degree Black Belt in BJJ and has his own training gym in Harlem, NY where he rehabs NYC gang members.

Share one uniquely strange experience you’ve had that remains crystal clear to this day.

More traumatic than strange. I’ve had a few. Think I’ll talk about two. One was when I was three and vacationing with my parents in a motel in New Hampshire. I was playing with the hot, yes, muscular, life guard who was teaching me how to swim. He went underwater and I went under, after him. My mom panicked, jumped into the pool grabbed me out yelling that I could drown. She never let me go into a pool again. The second was when I was in a coma for twelve days in 2000. The docs told my husband and son I had less than a 2 % chance of survival. Well surprise, surprise. Here I am. I won’t go into the story here, but if readers would like to read “My Journey Back,” the full story is on my alternative healing web site.

What is the one genre you won’t try and why?

Writing historicals. Maybe because I had a painful and traumatic childhood so I only want to live in the present and not dwell on the past. How’s that for a mind/body connection? Just thought of that now, BTW. Also, history was my least favorite subject in school. I liked American history better, but never could get into world history.

What is the best advice you can share with others?

From Anthony Robbins, “The future does not have to equal your past.” He’s one of the coaches that had helped me get over ‘my past.’ And, “Never give up.”

Time for our fast and furious answers…

Blades, guns, fists or feet?   Blades, in Aries. Guns in Gemini.

Favorite Fairy Tale? Cinderella

Titles waiting to be read? Catherine Coulter, The Lost Key; J.A. Jance, Remains of Innocence; Lisa Gardner, Crash and Burn; Karin Slaughter, Cop Town; Julie Garwood, Fast Track

Greatest one liner? Never give up.

Strangest items in my writing cave? Not really strange, they’re necessities. Statues of my Goddesses and Lord Ganesh.

Favorite supernatural creature? dragon

Ronnie is nice enough to give gifts, so take advantage!




And for the first ten of your readers who leave a comment along with their birth date, day and month (no year), I’ll do a two sentence Tarot year reading for them, and write the reading in reply to their comment. The Tarot year is from Jan. 1-Dec. 31. I’m a certified Tarot Master Instructor and have been teaching Tarot and doing readings since the mid-90’s. I’m no longer taking clients, since writing has taken my time 24/7. So this is a fun opportunity.

Want to track down, Ronnie? You can find her and GEMINI at any of the following:


#Freeread for Summer and upcoming visitors! #UF #PNR #newauthors

Summer’s here, it’s that fire breathing dragon making you sweat. Want to escape? Then pick up your free copy of SHADOW’S EDGE, the first in Jami Gray’s award-winning Kyn Kronicles and go hunt in the shadows.

BannerYep, for a limited time, SHADOW’S EDGE will be free wherever ebooks are sold, so nab your copy while you can.  And to celebrate I have an awesome list of guest authors swinging by for the next couple of months while I’m out touring the cybersphere. You don’t want to miss out!

Our visitors include: MS Spencer, Ronnie Allen, Tina Gayle, Eric Price, Lisa Claro, Margay Leah Justice, Alan Behr, Barbara Ehrentreu and SB Redstone. Check out our Where Am I? Who’s Here? tab for dates and mark your calendars!

For our print book aficionados, don’t fret! We’re giving away three autographed, print copies of SHADOW’S EDGE in June with Goodreads.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Shadow's Edge by Jami Gray

Shadow’s Edge

by Jami Gray

Giveaway ends June 30, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to Win

Let’s get ready to rock the summer, peeps! Spread the word and let’s get SHADOW’S EDGE into hands everywhere!

Nab Jami Gray’s SHADOW’S EDGE Free for a Limited Time! #freeread #uf #pnr

This fantastic paranormal action novel is quite possibly the best book I’ve read this year. I could not put it down, and had to exercise serious self-control to keep from staying up all night to finish it. – The Romance Reviews, 5/5 stars

“This book has everything in it, you have your Fey, Demons, Witches/Wizards, and Shifters. What more could you ask for?! Plus you have a great story to follow. The story and characters flowed so well together, it was like watching a movie in my head! Book 2 here I come!!” – Paranormal Romance & Authors That Rock, 5/5 Fangs



Everyone fears what hunts in the shadows—especially the monsters…

When the supernatural lurks in the shadows of the mundane, hunting monsters requires unique skills, like those of Raine McCord. A series of deaths threatens to reveal the Kyn community and forces her to partner with the sexy Gavin Durand.

As the trail leads to the foundation haunting Raine’s childhood, she and Gavin must unravel lies and betrayals to discover not only each other, but the emerging threat to them and the entire magical community.



Walking into the dim house, Raine braced for the usual smell accompanying a violent death. She knew that smell. It was distinctive. It reminded a person of raw meat and coppery blood. A scent warning you whatever you found, it wouldn’t be recognizable.

Coming down the short entryway, a few steps behind the two men, she realized there was no odor. No blood, no raw meat. She let out the breath she was holding. Only then picking up on the spine tingling traces of magic. It raised bumps along her skin as she drew closer to the front room.

Two agents passed her, heading out of the house, small evidence bags in their gloved hands. Osborn stopped just to the left of the front room’s entryway. Gavin came to a halt in the middle of the opening, blocking her view. Stepping around to his right she came to an abrupt stop, puzzled.

Bane Mayson was sprawled on the faded green couch under the picture window. At first glance the scene didn’t make sense. There were no visible wounds, no horrific mutilations, nothing to show how he died. Just the skitter of magic down her spine, making the deceptively calm scene in front of her much more ominous.

“Can you give a positive ID?” Osborn’s rough voice pulled her gaze back to him. He looked at Gavin who wasn’t answering. She tilted her head to find out why, and then realized Gavin was looking at her.

“What?” she asked.

“I’ve never met him,” he said blandly. “Just spoke to him on the phone.”

“Oh.” A little disconcerted, she turned back to the waiting agent. “Yes, that’s Bane Mayson.”


If you want to play in the shadows, continue the adventure with Jami Gray’s Kyn Kronicles:



Jami Gray Small

Jami Gray is the award winning, multi-published author of the Urban Fantasy series, The Kyn Kronicles, and the Paranormal Romantic Suspense series, PSY-IV Teams. She can be soothed with coffee and chocolate. Surrounded by Star Wars obsessed males and two female labs moonlighting as the Fur Minxes, she escapes by playing with the voices in her head.

Come stalk Jami at any of these fine locations:

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Google+ / Amazon


SONS OF THE SPHINX: Love or Destiny? Meet Cheryl Carpinello to find out #YA #Paranormal #awardwinning #newreads

It’s been a while since we’ve had a guest, but today we have the lovely Cheryl Carpinello, the creative mind behind SONS OF THE SPHINX, 2014 Literary Classics Silver Medal winner Preteen/YA. Plus, she’s offer to give two random commenters an e-copy of her TUTANKHAMEN SPEAKS. So don’t be shy, share your favorite read as a kid, the one that still makes you smile, and your email, and you could be one of our winners! 

For me? Ohhh…Anne McCafferty’s Dragonriders of Pern (White Dragon) or even before that, Trixie Belden…

Without further ado, I give you Cheryl Carpinello…

If you were to hold a dinner party for six, who would you invite and share at least one question you would have for each.

My first guest would be Walt Disney. I would like to ask him how he ever came up with the idea of Disneyland and all of the rides. I would also ask him if he aware that he was creating such a magical world for kids and adults!

My second guest would be Plato. My question to him: Did you really visit Atlantis, and if so, would you tell me where it’s location was?

My third guest would be Bond, James Bond! I would like to ask him what has happened to all the Bond Girls he discarded. I would also ask him how one goes about getting to be a Bond Girl.

My fourth guest would be Elvis Presley. I would ask him to sing one song to me—“I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You.”

My fifth guest would be JRR Tolkien. My questions would be how did he come up with the different characters in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. I would also like to know how much his homeland of England contributed to his setting.

My sixth guest would be a double with Christopher Robin and Pooh. My question: Just how much fun was the 100-Acre Wood?

As children we tend to have an idea of what we want to be by the time we’re ten. What did you want to be? 

I always wanted to be a teacher. I remember playing school in my bedroom. I would line up all my stuffed animals and dolls on the bed. Then I would pass out papers and books. It was later in life that I found the stories in my head that I write about now.

Many writers have that first novel which will never see the light of day. Out of curiosity, do you have one stashed somewhere?

Yes, I do. I was probably about 30, and I had been reading Harlequin Romances. I decided that I would try and write one. The title is Castles in the Sky. It is about a female war correspondent who sees her husband die in Beruit. She retreats to the Colorado Rockies and there, true to Harlequin themes, finds her next love.

What’s the one genre you won’t ever try and why?

That would be erotica. I can’t read it and really don’t want to. I know I can’t write it.


Now because Cheryl agreed to come visit, even she can’t escape our Bullet List. Ready? 1…2…3…go!

Blades, guns, fists, or feet?

Guns. I watched a lot of Westerns growing up at home.

Favorite Fairy Tale of all time?

Sleeping Beauty. It sounded so romantic.

Three titles/authors sitting on your nightstand waiting to be read.

Twenty Years After by Alexandre Dumas

The Nile by Toby Wilkinson

The Shadow of Camelot by Wendy Leighton-Porter

Greatest one-liner of all time?

Sept. 19, 2014. After driving around the UK for 3 weeks on the wrong (sorry those of you who live there) side of the road and wondering why my husband and I were still alive every night, the day we drive back to London I say to him, “I think I could even drive in London!”

Sarcastic witticism, Southern sweetness, or Geeky disdain?

Sarcastic witticism

Strangest item currently taking up space in your writing cave?

Toys, toys, and more toys belonging to our two grandsons, 6 and 1 1/2.

Favorite supernatural creature?

A dragon like Pete’s Dragon.

Now that we have you glued to your seat, ready to see why Cheryl’s story won the 2014 Literary Classics Silver Award?

Sons of the Sphinx, a time travel adventure 


Armed with what she considers her grandmother’s curse, 15-year-old Rosa agrees to help the ghost of King Tut find his lost queen Hesena. Though Hesena’s ba inhabits part of Rosa, finding the whole spirit of Hesena so that she and Tut can be together for the first time in over 3300 years proves to be a harder task than Rosa first thinks. Thrust back into Ancient Egypt with Tut, Rosa discovers that finding Hesena is not all she must do. She must keep out of the reach of the living Horemheb—who crosses mortal boundaries using Seth’s evil magic—if she is to stay alive to make it back home.

Sons of the Sphinx Buy Links:

Amazon                Smashwords              Nook               iBookstore

Author Links





Amazon Author Page

Author Sites

         Beyond Today Educator

         The Quest Books




Other Books by Cheryl Carpinello

Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend – Amazon

Young Knights of the Round Table: The King’s Ransom – MuseItUp Publishing book page: 

Tutankhamen Speaks – Amazon

 Author Picture 300dpi copy

Author Bio

I love the Ancient and Medieval Worlds! As a retired English teacher, I hope to inspire young readers to read more through my Quest Books. Please follow me on this adventure. Hook up with me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, and Google.

Also please visit my other sites: Carpinello’s Writing Pages where I interview childrens/MG/Tween/YA authors; my home website Beyond Today Educator, and The Quest Books where I’ve teamed up with Fiona Ingram from South Africa and Wendy Leighton-Porter of England/France/Abu Dhabi to enable readers to find all of our Ancient and Medieval quest books in one place.

 Don’t forget to leave your name, email, and which book was your favorite as a kid in our comments, because you know you want a copy of Cheryl’s Tutankhamen Speaks!

HUNTED BY THE PAST joins Fall Into Fantasy Blog Hop #FIFG14 #giveaway #PNR

FIFG large

Ahhh…fall is in full swing which means it’s once again time for the Fall Into Fantasy Blog Hop (#FIFG14) from Oct. 17th-31st.

Join me and tons of great authors as we swing through the virtual world armed with great reads we’re giving away to lucky commenters. And I’m not limiting my giveaways to just one book. Oh no, first up, I’ll pick three individuals who leave us a book recommendation they found this year in the comments below (complete w/your email) a digital copy of HUNTED BY THE PAST, the first in my new paranormal romantic suspense series, PSY-IV Teams.

In case you missed our book tour last month, I give  you a small teaser, just to snag your curosity of what happens when a reluctant ex-military psychic is forced into a lethal game with the nightmare from her past and the man she just can’t forget.
Gunshot-HuntedAnd if that wasn’t enough to tempt you into this exciting hop, then maybe you’ll want to be the proud new owner of all three Kyn Kronicles (SHADOW’S EDGE, SHADOW’S SOUL, and SHADOW’S MOON) plus a plethora of fantastic swag going to one of our grand prize winners…

swag 1 funJust click here and enter the Rafflecopter giveaways and leave your book recommendation below (w/your email).


I’ll announce the three winners of HUNTED BY THE PAST on NOVEMBER 3rd on this post, so check back!

@AshleyLadd is bringing her sexy trio of HER MEN to visit…#giveaway #erotic #romance

Today we are being visited by the lovely Ashley Ladd, mistress of steamy romance, where her heroine doesn’t have to settle for just one hunky hero. Not only is sharing a peek of HER MEN, her latest title from Totally Bound, but she’ll give one lucky commenter a pdf or epub copy! (Remember, we can’t reach you, if you don’t leave your email!)

Her Men–a contemporary erotic novella by Ashley Ladd

Forty-four year old Julie Weston has loved Timmy and James since her college days twenty something years ago. She’s fantasized about both all these long years, never able to choose between them.

Hoping Tim and James will attend, she attends their college marching band reunion. When both men show up her dreams are answered. They’re sexier than she imagined and she hopes they won’t be disappointed by her older self.

It turns out both men came just to see her again and neither is happy about the other’s presence. They fight over her, confusing her more than ever. It takes a hot ménage…or two…for her heart to decide which one she’s in love with.hermen_800

Fair warning…things might get a bit hot if you dare to read on…

“I’m so hungry—for you.” Tim twisted her hair in his fingers and pressed his lips to her forehead. “And I’m so hot, if you know what I mean.”
“Me too.” She was glad for her buzz, for the courage it provided. She longed to kiss him, wondered why he hadn’t kissed her yet.
“Let’s ditch dinner and…”
A shadow fell between them and James grabbed her away from Tim. “I’m breaking in. You’ve monopolized her all night.”
“But you don’t dance. You don’t like disco,” she blurted, surprised but thrilled.
“I do now. If it’s the only way I get my turn to see you, I’ll dance all night. I’m tired of waiting for you at the table.” James tugged her into his arms, ignoring Tim’s deathly glare.
“One dance, then I’m coming back.” Tim stalked away and grabbed a drink, which he downed in one gulp.
James’ warmth replaced Tim’s.
“Thank you.” She wiggled beside James hoping she could make him as hot as she’d made Tim.
“For rescuing you from Tim? You didn’t look as though you wanted rescuing.” James held her close but his nostrils flared and his eyes narrowed to mere slits.
“Not for tonight. For all those years ago you told him off for abandoning me. I wish I’d known. I also wish I’d done this.” Before she could lose her nerve, she pressed her lips to his.
He pulled back and gazed into her eyes, suspicion in his. “Are you drunk?”
Hurt and embarrassed she held up one finger. “I only had one drink. And I kissed you because I’ve wanted to do so for many years and I don’t want to let you go again without you knowing that, without knowing what it feels like.”
A low growl rumbled from James. Desire lit his eyes. Purpose firmed his lips. Without another word, he lowered his head and kissed her deeply, thoroughly.
He tasted so good, like steak and Cabernet and she couldn’t get enough. Her legs rubbery, about to give out on her, she clung to him. Her heart seemed to swell to triple its normal size. James’ was robust and passionate and full of pent-up longing.
“You wanted to kiss me too, all those years ago,” she muttered, touching his lips. It wasn’t a question. He tasted too good, was too mesmerizing to move away from.
“Yes.” The answer was long, drawn out and breathy. Full of emotion.
“Why didn’t we?”

Shall I bring you a cold cup of water? No? You sure? Then if you’re ready, come meet the mind behind the heat–Ashley Ladd…

If you were to hold a dinner party for six, who would you invite and share at least one question you would have for each? 

John Lennon—What was it like in the early days to be a Beatle, when you were just becoming famous? What attracted you to Yoko?

Elizabeth Bennett—What was your life like after the honeymoon was over with Mr. Darcy? Or did the honeymoon ever end?

Mulan—Did you marry Shang Li? Did you go back to war?

Spock—Did you ever marry or have children?

Captain Kirk—How many women did you date? Do you like older women?

–((giggle)) I don’t think he’d turn you down…

Luke Skywalker—Did you find and train more Jedi Knights after you saved your father? Or did the Jedi die out after you?

–from what I’ve heard, Luke did more than train more Knights, but that’s another universe, far, far, away…

As children we tend to have an idea of what we want to be by the time we’re ten. Before you decided to pursue the artistic dream of being a writer, what did you want to be and why?

I wanted to be an astronaut and travel the galaxy with Spock and Captain Kirk. I wanted to discover new worlds and new civilizations – to go where no man has gone before.

If you turned your laptop/computer/pen/typewriter (yes, some of still use these!) over to your character(s), how would they describe you?

A frustrated, disabled vet who was turned down by the FBI to be an agent because of her hearing loss. Instead she lives vicariously through her stories with kick ass heroes and heroines, some who are military, some who aren’t, and all who make her happy in one way or another.

She adores her kids and grandkids, human and furry. She wants to be a crazy cat lady and would be more of one if only her family would permit it. They say four cats are two two many.

She loves the Beatles, moldy oldies, American Idol finalists, Star Trek, and watching movies on the big screen.

Ashley wanted to share Bobby with us, just to point out that crazy cat lady status is not something to be feared…Ashley Ladd with Bobby for Hat Interview

Personally, I tend to be a bit on the introverted side so the thought of being in the actual presence of one of my favorite writers makes my heart race, my knees shake and tangles my tongue (yes classic fan girl behavior). Who could reduce you to such a level and how do you imagine your initial meeting?

I’m like you, shy and introverted.

I admire Stephen King, Sherryl Woods, Tina Wainscott, Holly Jacobs.

–I know this short, little guy who travels with a Raven who’d love to be with you when you hook up with Mr. King..

I would get a frog in my throat and would have trouble spitting out mywords if I could even think of anything intelligent to say. My knees would shake and my stomach would be tied up in knots.

Actually, I know Holly from online when she still went by Holly Fuhrman and I’ve met her in person. She’s extremely nice.

And now that we’ve finished our tough questions, time for Ashley to dodge a few bullets…

  • Blades, guns, fists or feet?    Guns (I used to shoot trap with my dad – but I also like feet as I was a brown belt in Taekwondo too)
  • Favorite Fairy Tale of all time?      Mulan!
  • Sarcastic witticism, Southern sweetness or Geeky disdain?    Geeky disdain (I’m a HUGE Big Bang Theory fan)
  • Strangest item currently taking up space in your writing cave?    My husband’s mini fridge is sitting on the side of my computer desk!
  • Favorite supernatural creature?    Pegasus


Ashley Ladd lives in South Florida with her husband, five children, and beloved pets. She loves the water, animals (especially cats), and playing on the computer.She’s been told she has a wicked sense of humor and often incorporates humor and adventure into her books. She also adores very spicy romance, which she weaves into her stories.Ashley Ladd bio

How you can contact Ashley: