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VBT – Wings of the Wicked Boxed Set

Colleen plays many roles. Not only is she a veteran, a mother, and a practicing physician, but she is a writer of science fiction and contemporary romances. Colleen’s dreams include surviving her son’s teenage years, exploring every continent on this planet, except Antarctica, cause that’s way too cold, and winning the Nobel peace prize. Dream BIG! Currently, she is working on Distant Memory, the third in her SciFi Romance series. In the meantime, look for her at https://www.colleensmyers.com

Social Media Links:

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https://www.bookbub.com/profile/colleen-s-myers

 

Seri Therotian lost everything to the E’mani. Her brother, her betrothed, her place among her people. But it turns out there is even more to lose including her life, her father, her people unless she is willing to lead the broken race that had forsaken her to victory.

Buy your copy at any one of these great retailers

Universal Link: books2read.com/47ZQDN

#iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1410452943

#Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/wings-of-the-wicked-1

#Nook: https://bit.ly/2NPOKEL

#Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/wingswicked

 

Seri’s grip on the sheer mountainside above the wind-swept canyon slipped. But her right claw managed to break the surface of the rock and halt her fall.

Thank goodness for sharp nails.

She scrambled for purchase until she got a more solid hold. Her fingers ached but she maintained her grasp. She had no choice. The pale E’mani clones in their dark gray jumpsuits were patrolling the path beneath her; at least four of them. She couldn’t take that many, even with her father’s help. They had weapons and shields. She had a wooden bow. Even with her magic, if it affected them, that was not much of a match.

She could fly away, but that did not seem like the smartest play either. They might notice a flying fluffy pink girl. She did kind of stand out, even among her own people. Most of whom were grey or brown like her father.

Speaking of her father, she turned to look at Jax hanging on a nearby rock face, his rust colored wings pulled close to his body. He blended with the surface of the mountain on the windswept peak. She on the other hand with her bright red feathers and orange underbelly was screwed. If the clones’ gazes rose, they’d spot her.

This sucked.

She shifted her grip to hang from one hand to the other and flexed her fingers, then repeated the gesture on the other side.

Jax whistled at her in warning and she glared in return.

Yes, she was moving, but that kept her from falling.

She wasn’t as used to hanging as enemies paced below her. She was only twenty after all, barely an adult by Avaresh standards and much less battle-forged than him. What did he expect?

Her mouth twisted. Wait, what was she thinking? Her father expected everything of her, she was after all a Therotian. How could she forget. She had a destiny. What a load of-.

Her clawed fingers dug into the rock causing dirt to rain down in a small waterfall onto the E’mani’s heads.

Shoot.

She didn’t mean to do that.

She shared a startled glance with Jax who swore under his breath.

He pushed off from the wall as the clones gazed straight up at them and fanned his wings to make himself a bigger target. But he was dark to her light. In the dusky sky, she stood out against the horizon.

They raised their weapons.

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Spotlight – Love Is Never Past Tense

Originally from the former Soviet Union, Janna Yeshanova escaped in 1989 when persecution became violent during the crumbling of the Soviet state. This required getting permission to emigrate and a long dangerous train trip across central Europe with her elderly mother, her young daughter, and the $126 she was permitted to take out of the country. She did this by overcoming gridlock in Russia, animosity and graft at the border, and neglect in the west. Safely out of Soviet control, Janna and her family spent months as refugees waiting for permission to come to the United States.

Arriving in the United States knowing not a soul, Janna settled in Ohio and began to rebuild her life. She earned a second masters Degree and was invited as a speaker at the Bosnia and Herzegovina International Peace Conference in 1996. While building her business as a Leadership Trainer and consultant, she has become a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) through the International Coach Federation. She offers life coaching services to individuals, conflict resolution to couples and groups, and soft skills training to organizations of all sizes.

Her book, Love Is Never Past Tense, offers a message of hope and inspiration, showing that nothing is impossible if you believe in yourself.

Her Blog     Facebook     Twitter

A couple’s quick romance and hasty marriage is torn apart by family and fate, leaving them to face the collapse of the Soviet Union separately. Years later, old memories are stirred to give their love a second chance.

Serge and Janna’s chance meeting at a Black Sea beach sparks a passionate romance and a quick marriage. Serge’s parents, suspicious of Janna’s motives and heritage, force him to break up with her. As the Soviet Union collapses, revealing ethnic and social pressures, each faces danger separately. Serge drowns in self-doubt, his life spiraling down and in. Janna plots a dangerous exodus to America with her mother and daughter. Years pass, stirring old emotions.Then, changing circumstances give their love a second chance. Janna Yeshanova tells a story, providing a very personal view of political and social change.

Love is Never Past Tense is part romantic drama and part a look at real people responding to life-changing events, but mostly a suspense adventure about living through one of the biggest changes in living memory.

Love Is Never Past Tense is available on Amazon in hardcover, paperback and Kindle eBook formats. The newly released audiobook is available on Audible, Amazon and iTunes. The audible and Kindle versions are enabled with WhisperSync.

The audio is narrated by Daniela Acitelli, a narrator with dozens of audiobooks to her credit. Even those familiar with the story found new meaning in her presentation. It took me two years to find her.

http://www.loveisneverpasttense.com

Audiobook sample https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nBbMxrEb1g

Book Trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quPSNk7EnoA

Buy Links:

Audio Book at audible.com https://adbl.co/2FrEWAs

Audio Book at Amazon https://amzn.to/2Bt9s8W

Audio Book at iTunes https://apple.co/2Kvh8KX

Amazon Author Page https://amzn.to/2AhhY9j

Amazon Kindle https://amzn.to/2Ku6h3S

Serge didn’t try to catch up to the shuffling, thin, leather skirt. He hadn’t a clue what he would do if he actually caught up with her. So he continued following her along the high embankment for a fairly long time, until they crossed the whole of Lanzheron Park. But, reaching the beach, the girl quickly descended to the sea. Serge even began to jog a bit to keep her in sight. His head was clear this morning, and soon he would try out his cunning for the first but not the last time this day. The spy set up camp at the upper solarium and watched over her. Maybe she was waiting for some company, or a young man, or a girlfriend (which would undoubtedly seem to be better), but to our spy, all were equally bad possibilities. This guessing game carried on in his head, but it seemed she wasn’t looking for anyone. She ducked into the changing room, and her leather skirt momentarily hung over the edge of the stall. After a minute, she exited, and Serge, pulling his long hair away from his head with both hands in anguish, groaned something unintelligible. Her breasts exited the little room first. The spot from where Serge looked down provided such visibility that his knees began to tremble. Her face was impossible to discern through her long hair and sunglasses, but something told him it would also be in order. She laid before her a light beach towel, and laying down she took a book from her bag and began to read. Burning her “landing site” into his mind, Serge took off like a shot to the nearest cabana rental. Fast as lightning, he exchanged his clothes for a key, crammed two metal rubles in the pocket of his swimming trunks, and became Don Juan. He feared, though, that there were already a bunch of admirers slinking ever closer to the sacred beach towel, and that he would simply be too late. He’d have to crawl to his place in line, and like the others, would have a poor chance of success.

He flew down the stairs and quickly found the beach towel, but … its owner was nowhere to be found. There was a book, a beach bag, and sunglasses, but their owner had disappeared. Oh, yes! This would be the second time that a smart thought visited Serge’s head today. People come to the sea to swim, after all! This interpretation of her disappearance comforted and delighted Serge. He became bolder and impudently tossed his glasses onto the same towel and cheerfully marched to the water. With his half-blind eyes, he surely could not see her. And where, among dozens of bathers? He dove into a wave, and swam away from the shore. First, he couldn’t stand to watch bathers jumping around like frogs in the shallow water. Secondly, at this moment, his exceptionally quick-witted head told him he couldn’t be the first to return to her beach towel. Then he’d have to take his glasses and fiddle around a bit in front of the beach towel to buy time as he came up with a new plan. Perhaps he’d cover himself with the towel, or maybe … no, he needed to work on his initial scenario.

He even came up with a sophisticated opening: “Excuse me, young lady, but I left my glasses here on your towel. I simply didn’t have anywhere to put them, or myself for that matter.” With this, his stockpile of ideas was depleted …

At last he climbed out of the water and headed along the well-trodden route to her beach towel. The towel was in place, and on this towel lay the magnificent body of its hostess, but Serge’s glasses were lying a little bit farther on the edge of the towel. Serge squatted down and mumbled his introduction. He was counting on her to respond with typical beach chit-chat: “Where are you from? How long ago did you arrive in Odessa?” or other such nonsense.

“Your glasses are fine,” she responded. “I figured someone just confused their beach towel with mine, but have a seat anyway.”

She scooted over, freeing up half the beach towel. He got scared. If he lay down, then he wouldn’t be able to resist the urge to nuzzle up to her. Then he’d certainly look like a pervert, a youth brought up with no manners, or a pest—in a word, he would give the exact opposite impression than he wanted. He mumbled something like a “thank you” and lay down beside her on the sand. She motioned towards him with a little bag of sunflower seeds, “Help yourself.”

” Oh God, what’s this?” resounded in Serge’s mind. “Are you kidding me … sunflower seeds?” And his hand with a subsequent “thank you” reached in the bag.

“Do you like Ilf and Petrov?”2

” Lord, who is she talking about? I’ve only heard of them in passing, but I don’t know the slightest thing about them …” Serge thought to himself.

“My name’s Janna,” she came to his rescue.

“Sergey,” he stammered in reply, “but at the institute everyone actually calls me Serge, or Seriy …”

She chuckled.

“Grey. You’re actually black as tar. Where did you get such a tan?” she asked, spitting out sunflower seed shells. Not even awaiting a response, she exclaimed: “Here is an interesting moment”—and she began to read her book aloud, something about Ptiburdukov and his Varvara, who was leaving her first husband for him but couldn’t make up her mind. Janna read for a while, probably about five pages, and then thrust the book towards Serge and said, “You read from here,” marking the place with her fingernail. Serge began to read, but he didn’t understand a word. He was too busy worrying about his diction, trying not to miss any letters or words. He fought through two pages, but his audience was clearly not impressed.

“Would you like a cigarette?”

“If he has a smoke, then he’ll stop reading.” Serge could almost hear her thinking. He pulled a cigarette from a mashed-up pack of Javas, the best tobacco the Soviet Union could offer at that time. She handed him the matches. He brought the flame close to her face. She took a drag and rolled over on her back. Serge absolutely didn’t know what to do: read, blow sand from her, ask her about something. But she was not waiting for any questions and didn’t ask any questions. It was as if he simply was present. And that was that. The only thing that remained was for Serge to stare dumbfounded into the sand and observe the ants. Having smoked half the cigarette, she jammed the other half into the sand and turned back over on her stomach, brushing her leg up against Serge’s. But she did not hasten to remove it. Silent Serge, who really didn’t look the part of a reasonable person, turned into an animal. His uncontrollable desire sprang to life, pulling his swimming trunks down into the sand with such force that it became painful. Serge secretly burrowed a hole in the sand, easing the pressure. He became obsessed with a craving to climb on top of her. But this was out of the question, which made his desire even stronger …

“It’s hot. Let’s go for a swim,” she said, lifting herself up on her elbows. For the first time he could see her breasts up close, causing his heart to leap through his ribs like a bird in a cage. He muttered he’d catch up to her, and when she left, his desire ever so slowly began to hide itself away, until he was finally able to get up and head towards the sea.

She splashed around in the waves, which towards midday became quite sizable. He flopped about next to her, often brushing up against her body. Then he suggested tossing her in the waves. He cradled her head and shoulders, gathered her hands into his, and finally lifted her up and tossed her into the waves. Janna liked it, and so did he, but for a different reason: every time she hit the waves, her bathing suit slid down slightly, and when her breasts finally became exposed, he was ready to splash to his very death. Suddenly, she ended up cradled in his arms. With one arm, she grasped his neck, and he now understood that everything will happen, he just needed to patiently wait.

Once something starts, eventually, it ends. The delightful swim as well: they returned from the water and again lay down on the beach towel.

“I want to get tanned like you.” (She had already switched to the informal you4 in the water. He liked this, as it made him feel less uneasy around her). She placed her arm next to his for comparison, and her brown skin seemed much paler than his almost blackened arm. Guiltily, he informed her that he just returned yesterday from his apprenticeship in Baku, and so it was not surprising that he was so dark.

“You have beautiful hands,” she pensively remarked. Then, determined, she added, “No, you just wait. I’ll catch up with you in two days. Just wait and see.” These words poured over his body like oil. For Serge, this meant that he would spend at least two more days with her.

“Get some ice cream. Do you need some money?”

“I have it,” answered Serge, but before he could get up and leave, he had to turn and crawl to hide his “desire” …

***

During their first three days together, Serge (as they called our hero at the time) was the quieter of the two, once in a while muttering some insignificant phrases. The first time he saw her, he silently followed her for a long time. She walked along easily, shifting her long, rather well-proportioned legs. Her thin leather skirt swung from side to side, barely hiding her shapely hips. A green blouse tightly covered her beautifully straight back. All the while, Serge followed her like she was a vision, lacking the courage to come closer or to back away. He knew that making her acquaintance was a long shot; she was simply out of his league. How could he possibly know that she, a complete stranger, would inexplicably impact his life and be with him forever, whether she was at his side or not?

Tell us about you

When I wrote Love Is Never Past Tense, I devoted a whole section of the book to my exodus, leaving the Soviet Union with my mother, my daughter, and the $126 they permitted me to take with me. When I say the book is based on a true story, this part is true (if largely understated).

I left the Soviet Union as the country was collapsing and became part of a wave of Soviet Jewish immigrants seeking safety and a new life in Israel, the United States and elsewhere. In the 30 years since, nothing has come close in terms of the effort it took or the impact it had on my life. It led me to America and to US citizenship—a difficult and dangerous path.

In the United States, I have earned a second Master’s Degree, taught at two different colleges and Antioch University, and presented at the Dayton Peace Accords on Bosnia and Herzegovina. I am an Internationally Certified Life Coach and I write when I am not with my clients.

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?

I’m a night owl, generally more inspired to stay out of bed than get out of bed. My morning usually starts in response to a Starbuck’s Venti Pike Place, meditation, contemplation, gym and a four – five-mile walk. I like it!

If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?

It would be my Mom. She was well known in the society and she was always famous in my eyes.

Why? Because she loved life. She was always overcoming difficulties thrown at her.My Mom was a remarkable woman. She was instilling in me that the dearest possession in life is life. I appreciate her for giving me this vision. I’d be happy to spend with her a precious day and ask her some questions, I did not ask before and share with her what is going on with me and the family.

If you’d like to know more about my Mom, I am offering a link to a blog article I devoted to her a while ago.

https://jannayeshanova.wordpress.com/2017/05/08/happy-second-birthday-mom/

What’s the story behind your latest book?

Love Is Never Past Tense is based on a true story – my true story. It is part a wholesome romance, part —a narrative of my immigration to America, and it’s hard to pin it down to a single genre. It pushes the boundaries of women’s fiction (some parts are based on actual events), literary fiction and contemporary romance. Some might even classify the novel as a historical romance — actual recent history fills the book. Love Is Never Past Tense is now seeking a new audience in the form of an audio book. I searched for years for the right narrator and finally found her. Daniela Acitelli captured the voice I was hearing in my head as I wrote the book.

And here is a sample: http://bit.ly/2Ah0ESX

Tell us your writing process

I really need my muse, so getting started is difficult. When it shows up, I still reach for a pen and a pad of paper, first. If I’m not inspired, my reader won’t be either!

What tips can you give other authors who are looking to get the word out about their book?

Lately I’ve been auditing “YouTube U” for book marketing around Amazon. If you haven’t started writing yet, check out Chris Fox on writing to market (chrisfoxwrites.com). For the back end, try Dave Chesson at kindlepreeur.com. Both focus on working with Amazon. My efforts at Facebook were killed when they rejected my attempts to boost posts. Apparently, my wholesome romance didn’t meet their G-rated advertising standards. Their loss!

Tell us about your main character

Truthfully, I am my main character. Big pieces are autobiographical. For the record, Janna is courageous, resilient and beautiful. She takes problems head on and doesn’t take “No” for an answer. Just what an indie author needs. 😊

I was looking for a different name for her.  I talked with my friends around the world, asking them to offer ideas.  Everybody advised against me using the name Janna, but no suggestion was accepted.  I thought about Edith, but the name seemed too soft for the character.  Another thing that made me keep the name Janna is that I did not want to give away my exodus experiences. This is how we stuck with Janna.

What are you working on next?

I’m looking to make Love Is Never Past Tense into a movie. A screenplay writer J. Walter Cohen read the book and fell in love with it.  He involved his friend and colleague Lewis Gordon, and they together created a great screenplay!

Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?

I’m very intuitive, perhaps even a bit psychic. For example, I’m guessing you’ll ask me about my favourite authors 😊

Umm… Who are your favourite authors?

In English, my list would start with Hemingway. From there, it’s a long list. If you follow me on Goodreads you can check out my shelves.See http://bit.ly/2R6V5zP

My first Master’s Degree is in Russian Language and Literature. I’ll leave that list of authors to your imagination.

What do you like to do with your free time?

Love to be with my friends and family, love travel, ocean.  I love to sit on the white sand embracing my knees and watching the waves of the ocean and seagulls above my head! I love to be on the boat with a music and a glass of wine… and the whole ocean in front of you.  It feels like freedom!I like to sit in an outside restaurant at a table covered with a white cloth having a cup of coffee and watching pigeons peck on the cobblestone…

I like to have in my hand the yoke of a Cessna aircraft with my trainer on the right warning me not to turn over the aircraft during my classes.  It’s so enjoyable to look down on the trees and buildings that suddenly become small.  Even all problems from the sky seem small!

Oh!  I totally forgot about reading! I listen to audiobooks when I am driving, cooking or walking. This is the reason that I created the audiobook.

Tell us about your plans for upcoming books.

I’m creating a collection of stories of my life lessons, describing my personal unique experiences. So far, I’ve posted a couple of pieces on my blog at jannayeshanova.wordpress.com.

Any final thoughts?

If you’re the sort who likes to hop back and forth, Audble.com and the Kindle ebook are WhisperSync enabled. I hope you enjoy either or both. If you do, please consider posting a review where ever you like and please write to me via Facebook.

Spotlight – Jack Jetstark’s Intergalactic Freakshow


Jack Jetstark travels the universe to seek out the descendants of superpowered freaks created long ago by VesCorp scientists. The vibrations encoded in a particular song transform the members of Jack’s crew into a firebreather and an angel, a wildman and telepathic conjoined triplets, so they hide the truth of who they really are with the theatrics of a carnival.
The song plays every night through the receptor Jack carries with them, but when one night it has a different ending and their temporary powers become permanent, Jack believes the change is a signal from the woman who sent him on this quest in the first place. He and his freaks must navigate a universe at war to protect the love of his life.
But does the ruler of VesCorp really need protecting?

Buy Links:     Amazon     Barnes and Noble     iTunes     Kobo


Author Jennifer Lee Rossman is a disabled and autistic freak, and proudly so. Her work has been featured in many anthologies and her debut novella, Anachronism, was published by Kristell Ink in 2018.

She blogs at http://jenniferleerossman.blogspot.com/ and tweets @JenLRossman.

“First thing you’ve got to know,” I said, brushing my hair from my face as the wind began to pick up, “is that we’re all freaks. Everyone in the whole universe, for one reason or another. Most try to hide this fact. A few of us embrace it, not so much because we want to but because there’s nothing else for us. So we show people the terrifying and unseemly parts of us no one wants to see, and we charge ’em good money to see it.”
Lily stepped forward and knelt to display her shoulders and back, all bare, featherless skin down to the dangerously low neckline of her sequined dress. “See? No wings.”
“But you flew,” Cara insisted. “If it isn’t costumes and harnesses, then what?”
I held up the receiver, a small wooden box the size of my hand with a speaker on one side and images of galaxies and solar systems carved into the others. Not the most advanced technology, but I wouldn’t have anything else.

I checked the time. Soon.

I debated how much to tell her. No matter how many times I tried to explain it, it never sounded remotely plausible, but I had to warn her. Seeing the end result was one thing; seeing it happen before your eyes was another matter entirely, though the complete truth was an ancient burden none of them deserved to be saddled with.

“The music plays,” I said. “Same song, same time every night, and it triggers something inside us. That feeling you had, like you were made of magic? That’s what it feels like when your DNA recognizes a song, even if you’ve never heard it before.”

She stared at me in eager anticipation, nodding slowly. Whether she actually believed me or was just humoring me, I couldn’t say, but it was a nice change from the usual interruptions of “that’s impossible” and “science doesn’t work that way.”

I cast a sideways glance at Theon, who had given me more trouble than the others, and continued. “Makes you feel alive, like there’s a purpose to your existence and you can do the impossible, and that ain’t just in your mind. We’re all freaks, but we—” I motioned to my crew. “Well, we’re different. Our bodies hear that song, and it triggers our genes to change, to grow into… I don’t know, the true selves that live in our heart or some sentimental crap like that.”

“How poetic,” Lily said with a laugh. She looked up at Cara. “I know it’s hard to understand. It happens to me every night, and I still have no idea how it works, but I can fly, Merulo becomes the feral wildman, Parthen and the boys really can read each others’ minds and feel each others’ pain… Jack breathes fire and gains the ability to give impassioned speeches without sounding like an uninterested jerk.”

I checked the time again.

“So what changed in you?” Pneuman asked with earnest interest. “During the music, I mean?”

Cara hesitated, almost like she was afraid of hearing the absurdity out loud.

“I turn into a wild beast,” Merulo pointed out quietly. “And these three grow into one, psychic organism. Whatever you’re about to say will probably be the most normal thing we’ve heard in months.”

After another moment’s thought, Cara rolled up her sleeves. Her arms, though pale peach and freckled like her face, gleamed in the diminishing sun.

I reached out to touch her. Cold, almost metallic. That explained how she opened the lock.

“You’re a cyborg,” I said, tapping my nail on her forearm to hear the clinking sound. They just couldn’t get the texture right, no matter how hard they tried.
Her moon didn’t seem like the type of place to have a neurologist trained in bio implants, and I doubted anyone there could afford to travel to see one.

“Fancy. Who wired it into your brain?”

“I did it all myself.” She held up a hand and demonstrated the various functions and attachments installed in her fingers, glossing right over the fact that she had just admitted to performing brain surgery on herself. She yanked her sleeves down. “And I’m not a cyborg,” she clarified. “I’m just good with electronics and I like gadgets. My dad says it’s bad to be a cyborg.”

“Well, I tell you what, kid. You can’t make a person change by pointing out their flaws, but you can be the one person who doesn’t try to.”

“I’ve always had a connection to electronics,” she said, shyly extending a hexagonal wrench from her forefinger, “like I could talk to them. But when I heard the music… something happened.”

I checked my watch. Not long now. “Yeah, something always happens. What matters is what happened to you, kid.”

“They… talked back.” Her words came slow at first, her reluctance to being different still holding her back, but as she talked, she grew more excited, more animated. “I could hear the messages stored on the phones of everyone around me, could see the last videos that played on their contact lenses. I could see the blueprints of your ship in my head. She’s an Aldebaran cargo ship, Highwire model. Superluminal capability, more weapons than she came out of the factory with, and she has a capacitor that should be repaired soon. And I felt like, if I wanted to, I could touch any source of power on the ship and control everything remotely.”

“Ready to feel that way again?” I asked, holding out the transmitter as showtime approached.

And passed.

It was time, but the music didn’t play. The music didn’t play.

Why didn’t the music play?

 

Tell us about you

I’m a disabled and autistic geek from upstate New York, and I’m basically like if Dr. Temperance Brennan from Bones was a Disney Princess.

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?

All of the fun things I have to write.

If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?

I feel like I would get along with Neil deGrasse Tyson, because I too annoy people by pointing out scientific errors in movies.

What’s the story behind your latest book?

I was inspired by two of my favorite shows, Firefly and Heroes, to put people with superpowers in space. They work in a traveling carnival ship, and they might be the only ones who can save the universe from war.

Tell us your writing process

The first draft, I don’t edit at all. It’s full of plot holes and notes that say [research this]. Then I read through the whole thing, making notes about what needs to be changed. Repeat about ten times.

What tips can you give other authors who are looking to get the word out about their book?

Make friends with other writers. I think my friends promote each others’ books more than their own.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

When I realized my disabilities were going to make it hard for me to pursue a career in paleontology. So… around the age of ten or so?

Tell us about your main character:

Jack Jetstark. Firebreather, Han Solo wannabe, hopeless romantic.

What are you working on next?

A time travel novel about a girl who can’t remember when she’s from, teaming up with people who can’t get home to make sure time travel is invented.

Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?

I can say the alphabet backwards and am really good at memorizing long lists.

Who are your favorite authors?

Seanan McGuire, Sarah Gailey, and  Douglas Adams.

What do you like to do with your free time?

I cross stitch and crochet.

Tell us about your plans for upcoming books.

I have stories coming up in a few anthologies, but I’m not sure I can talk about them yet.

Where can people find you on the web?

My blog: https://jenniferleerossman.blogspot.com/

My Twitter: https://twitter.com/JenLRossman

Any final thoughts?

I hope people enjoy my book. I’ve tried to make it as inclusive and welcoming as possible for people of all races, genders, orientation (or lack thereof) and abilities.

 

Interview With … Ivy Keating

A missing man, a new police chief and an unexpected New England town mystery.

When Sean Dermott, the newly appointed police chief, sees the report that a popular local high school coach is missing, his growing fascination with the alluring Vanessa Strauss, who reported the disappearance, makes him determined to solve the case.

The investigation leads him and his team deep into Quarry Head Park, a local scenic preserve with nature trails and expansive views. There is no sign of the missing man, but what he does find terrifies him to the core.

From the depths of the park, a deadly prehistoric looking creature emerges, attacks swiftly and silently, leaving devastation in its wake. In the chaos which follows, it is up to Chief Dermott and a team of scientists to fight for balance by ensuring the safety of his town and preserving this remarkable discovery.

He will risk his career, his reputation and even his own life to stand by what he believes to be right. The question is, will he succeed, or will all be lost?

Grab your copy now!!       Amazon     Champagne Books     Goodreads

Tell us about you. 

I’m an optimistic person; I’m happiest with my family, writing, and finding time to sit through an entire movie.

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?

Having goals. I’m not comfortable letting things happen. I like having a plan. Everyday I look forward to working on my next book. I’ve written the first draft and am going through a rewrite now. In the morning, I set a goal of ten pages–I tell myself that’s the work that needs to be done. I usually fall short but I love the plan.

If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?

Any one of the Avengers, or the Russo brothers because my daughter’s a huge fan, (and a film major), and I know it would impress her.

What’s the story behind your latest book?

A missing person investigation leads a new police chief to the discovery of a deadly prehistoric creature. To save his town, he must decide if he will follow the orders of his superior and destroy it, or side with a group a scientists in direct opposition. He puts his career on the line to do what he thinks is right, but his decision may have dire consequences.

Tell us your writing process.

I start with a story–an entire story that I want to tell. After the first few chapters, I listen to the characters and see how the plot develops and then write accordingly.

What tips can you give other authors who are looking to get the word out about their book.

The effort you put into writing your book must be the same as the effort you put into marketing your book. There are no short cuts. I would suggest having a strategy that includes how you will reach readers and who can help you within a budget you are comfortable with. Don’t take a bumpy road. What I mean by this is everyone that looks for good books to read may not read the type of book you’ve created. Find the audience that  loves your genre. Search for help on the internet. Work with the people who’ve helped you along the way. I was very fortunate to have an amazing editor. When the book was finished, I asked her if she could help with marketing. I learned her company, ‘Book Mistress’ offered this service-I was lucky!

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer.

I started as a storyteller. While working on my first draft, I quickly realized that if anyone was going to enjoy my story I had to create a well written piece. The process of finding a publisher, and editing,helped me understand I needed to sharpen my skills as an author. So on my way to publishing Camouflage, I embraced being a writer.

Tell us about your main character.

Officer Sean Dermott is a newly appointed police chief, arguably young for the position at thirty-six years old. His desire to be an officer stems from a childhood incident where a close family member was brutally beaten while being mugged. It affected his childhood, and when he became an adult he sought to protect people from that type of trauma. He’s rugged, smart, and successful at his job. However, his superior, Colonel Frank Gunner, does not respect him. The colonel put forth his own candidate for the senior position. Now Frank uses every opportunity to question Sean’s  leadership. Faced with constant scrutiny, Sean must figure out how to save the citizens he’s sworn to protect.

What are you working on next.

My next novel is a fantasy set in the middle ages. Magical creatures called Valomeres elevate the power of monarchs and sorcerers. King Edmund, the evil king of Bounten, controls a Valomere that can cause instant death. He plans to invade the other kingdoms for their resources. Only one thing can stop his reign of terror–a commoner with a secret past, and a powerful Valomere of her own.

Do you have any special/extraordinary talents.

I wouldn’t call this extraordinary, but I have a masters degree in social work, and I’ve studied human behavior. My education helps me analyze what my characters do and why.

Who are your favorite authors.

I’m in love with science fiction classics: Mary Shelley’s, Frankenstien, Bram Stoker’s, Dracula.

What do you like to do with your free time.

I love taking photos for my Instagram page. It’s dedicated to the New England landscape, and taking these pictures has helped me appreciate the beauty of the area. I also enjoy watching movies when I can find the time.

Tell us about your plans for upcoming books.

I’m working on my fantasy novel, Sarana and the Dark King. I’m hoping to have a draft to show my publisher before the end of the year.

Where can people find you on the web?

My website is, ivykeating.com   https://www.ivykeating.com/

Instagram, @ivykeating

Facebook, @ivykeating

Twitter, @ivy_keating

I have 3 short nature videos on youtube. I posted them for fun; they mention Camouflage, but they are not trailers; Dragonfly: https://youtu.be/JWweZ69T6_Y   Butterfly: https://youtu.be/wSWA3FvHuHo  Slug: https://youtu.be/U_5qo1_osZg. A trailer for Camouflage will be available soon.

Any final thoughts?

Thank you for the opportunity to introduce myself and my work. I would love to hear from readers directly, and I encourage anyone to contact me with questions about my book and/or the writing process.

About Ivy Keating…

Motivated by nature’s mysteries and the complexity of human behaviour, Ivy Keating writes science fiction and fantasy novels exploring the relationship between mankind and the natural world.

A master’s degree in social work helps her explore the nature of her characters and give them added depth as they grapple with the repercussions of their actions. This novel was inspired by the landscape and natural beauty of New England.

An area that inspired the question… what if?

Social Media Links:

www.ivykeating.com     Instagram     Twitter

The following week on Monday, when Sean returned to work, he found new information on the homicide in Lakeside Park in his inbox.

The fingerprints lifted from the evidence belong to Marcus Branca. He is now the number one suspect. He’s also the prime suspect in a robbery caught on tape in Litchfield. The security video from the drugstore robbery and a mug shot are attached.

The next paragraph got him thinking.

A current address for the suspect is not confirmed. His mother, Evelyn Branca lives at 201 Daleview Circle in Norwalk, Connecticut. A transcript of her statement is attached. She stated the last time she saw her son was two years ago in October when he asked her for money.

He’s robbing close to home. He has no confirmed address, and he last called his mother two years ago.

Sean’s gut told him—she’s lying.

He closed the email to focus on the open cases within his department.

The results of the forensic tests from the soil samples should be in.

He placed the call to the lab. The receptionist told him the tests were completed and transferred him to a technician who gave him the results. “The soil samples you sent over came up negative for synthetic and natural rubber. No trace metals either. We found nothing man-made in it.”

Sean thanked the woman. Nothing then.

He glanced at the time on his computer screen. In one hour, he needed to attend a seminar on emergency protocols as outlined by the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, given at the University of Connecticut. He turned off his computer, preparing to leave when he saw Ryan standing in the doorway.

Sean waved him in. “What’s up?”

“I have the report I promised on Jason Kenner last week.”

“Including what happened to the car and the credit card statements?”

“Yes. And some information from recent bank records,” Ryan said, handing Sean a hard copy.

“Have a seat.”

“Remember the name on the account, Marsha Philips?”

Sean nodded.

“She’s an old girlfriend who lives in Albany, New York, about two hours away. I was able to speak with her.”

“What did she say?”

“They lived together, and she was crushed he’s missing. It sounded like Marsha cared very deeply about him, so I asked what the nature of their relationship was today. She said they’re just friends. They broke up because he has a gambling problem.”

“Is that why he has so many credit cards?”

“Yeah. He uses cash advances to get money. Marsha said he’s been doing that for years. He wanted her to open a card in her name and take out an advance for him. She refused and gave him an ultimatum. Get help for his addiction, or it’s over. He never got help.”

“Does she know there’s a credit card statement in her name going to his house?”

“She does. She knows he opened a card in her name illegally, but she doesn’t want to press charges. Two months ago, Jason told her that he owed someone money and they’re after him. He asked Marsha if she could loan him two thousand dollars, but she refused. He opened the card without her permission but then called her to confess what he’d done and closed the account. She feels terrible for him. She said he’s a good man; he just has a problem.”

“That’s very forgiving considering what he did,” Sean said.

“Yup, but the story checks out. I followed up with the credit card carrier, and they did receive a request to close the account. And there’s more. Marsha said when they first started dating Jason owed someone $11,000 for betting on football games. He was so scared they would come after him, he told her if he didn’t get the money he’d have to leave town. She gave him a small loan, and he took a second job to cover the rest. Marsha said he would tell her he stopped gambling, but she knows he never did. He was always short of money the entire time they were together.”

“I’m a little surprised none of his friends said anything. There’s nothing in the file about it,” Sean said, wondering if Vanessa knew about Jason’s addiction.

“From the way Marsha spoke—he was good at hiding it. He held a steady job, and for the most part they had a good relationship.”

“I can see that. Jason’s very popular around here. He was working with kids coaching the winning basketball team. Looks like a model citizen. Any idea who he owes money to?”

“Not yet, but his landlady said he hasn’t paid his rent in two months. I did some checking, and he’s behind on all his other bills. There are some illegal gambling operations in neighboring towns that local law enforcement is building cases against. I could contact them.”

“Yes. Do that.”

He nodded. “Right away.”

“Oh, did you find out what happened to his car?” Sean asked, standing and gathering his things.

“As a matter of fact, yes.” Ryan followed Sean to the door. “The car was repossessed for non-payment. He hadn’t paid in almost six months. It was pure coincidence it was taken away now.”

“See what else you can find and keep me updated.”

Ryan returned to his office, and Sean left the station. On the way to his police car, he detoured into the building next door which housed the Animal Control Department.

After exchanging greetings with Officer Benjamin Gibson, the head of Animal Control, Sean asked if anyone claimed the dog he found.

“No such luck. No one’s called, and the poor creature’s been staying at the animal hospital since you had him brought in,” Ben said.

“How come?”

“He tested positive for Lyme disease. He’ll be okay, but they wanted to start him on antibiotics so they kept him there.”

Sean rubbed his chin. The dog’s been through enough. “If no one calls you today, I’m going to pick him up and take him home.”

“Good for you,” Ben said with a smile. “Hey. Since you’re here, a video just came in of a mutilated animal in Quarry Head Park. Want to take a look?”

“Someone filmed it?”

“Yeah.”

“I don’t have much time. Is it long?”

“Not at all. Just shy of two minutes.”

“Sure. Let me see.”

“I just want you to be prepared. It’s pretty gross.”

“I appreciate the warning,” Sean said, even more interested.

Ben pulled the file up on the computer and turned the screen toward Sean.

The camera caught every angle of the gruesome sight. Sean flinched. What the hell?

The body in the footage looked like a deer. The features on its face were squashed; the eyes no longer clearly defined. The neck of the animal was bent in the middle—the head lay flat on the ground twisted to one side. Two stumps, which were once the deer’s front legs, jutted out just past its ears. Its back legs were crushed and wedged into position under its belly. Even more bizarre, the lifeless mass had a gelatinous looking coating over its entire body.

“Do we know what happened to it?”

“No. The footage was taken by a fifteen-year-old boy on his cellphone. He was riding his bike with a friend in Quarry Head Park. They went off the path, and his friend fell from the bike when he hit this dead animal.”

“Who gave you the video?”

“His mother sent it in by email. She wanted to make sure someone cleaned it up before anyone else got hurt. She said her son’s friend developed an itchy rash from the slime covering the animal’s body.”

Sean pointed to a marker on a tree in the video. “This is next to the yellow path,” he said. “Hold off on removing the animal for just a few hours. I have to go to a seminar at the University of Connecticut, but when I come back I want to take a look at it myself.”

“Sure. Hey, when you get to the school you should talk to Dr. Greg Mitchell. You can show him the video.”

“Why? Who is he?”

“Greg’s a professor at the University and the head of the Biology Department. He knows a lot about animals and specializes in herpetology.”

“Herpetology? The study of reptiles?” Sean asked.

“That’s right. Actually it’s reptiles and amphibians, so he covers both land and water. Greg lives right here in town. Last year he helped us relocate a Bog Turtle found in someone’s yard. They’re endangered, you know.”

“But even I can see this looks like a deer.”

“I know, but he’s very knowledgeable. He might be able to help. Anyway, it’s just a suggestion, and you’ll be there anyway.”

“Okay, can you send me the video?”

“Not a problem. I’ll email it to you now.”

Sean thanked Ben and left for the University. Once in his cruiser he scrunched his nose, mulling over the grisly video. Natural causes or foul play?

 

 

 

Spotlight – Camouflage

TBM

Camouflage

By

Ivy Keating and Scott Spotson

Blurb

A missing man, a new police chief and an unexpected New England town mystery.

When Sean Dermott, the newly appointed police chief, sees the report that a popular local high school coach is missing, his growing fascination with the alluring Vanessa Strauss, who reported the disappearance, makes him determined to solve the case.

The investigation leads him and his team deep into Quarry Head Park, a local scenic preserve with nature trails and expansive views. There is no sign of the missing man, but what he does find terrifies him to the core.

From the depths of the park, a deadly prehistoric looking creature emerges, attacks swiftly and silently, leaving devastation in its wake. In the chaos which follows, it is up to Chief Dermott and a team of scientists to fight for balance by ensuring the safety of his town and preserving this remarkable discovery.

He will risk his career, his reputation and even his own life to stand by what he believes to be right. The question is, will he succeed, or will all be lost?

Buy Links:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07HM7WV76/

http://champagnebooks.com/store/index.php

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42076080-camouflage

Author Bio

Author Pic Ivy Keating

Motivated by nature’s mysteries and the complexity of human behaviour, Ivy Keating writes science fiction and fantasy novels exploring the relationship between mankind and the natural world. A master’s degree in social work helps her explore the nature of her characters and give them added depth as they grapple with the repercussions of their actions. This novel was inspired by the landscape and natural beauty of New England. An area that inspired the question… what if?

Social Media Links:

http://www.ivykeating.com

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/ivykeating/?hl=en

Twitter @ivy_keating

facebook @ivykeating

Excerpt

Cover - Camouflage

The following week on Monday, when Sean returned to work, he found new information on the homicide in Lakeside Park in his inbox.

“The fingerprints lifted from the evidence belong to Marcus Branca. He is now the number one suspect. He’s also the prime suspect in a robbery caught on tape in Litchfield. The security video from the drugstore robbery and a mug shot are attached.”
The next paragraph got him thinking.

“A current address for the suspect is not confirmed. His mother, Evelyn Branca lives at 201 Daleview Circle in Norwalk, Connecticut. A transcript of her statement is attached. She stated the last time she saw her son was two years ago in October when he asked her for money.”

He’s robbing close to home. He has no confirmed address, and he last called his mother two years ago.

Sean’s gut told him—she’s lying.
He closed the email to focus on the open cases within his department.
The results of the forensic tests from the soil samples should be in.

He placed the call to the lab. The receptionist told him the tests were completed and transferred him to a technician who gave him the results. “The soil samples you sent over came up negative for synthetic and natural rubber. No trace metals either. We found nothing man-made in it.”
Sean thanked the woman. Nothing then.

He glanced at the time on his computer screen. In one hour, he needed to attend a seminar on emergency protocols as outlined by the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, given at the University of Connecticut. He turned off his computer, preparing to leave when he saw Ryan standing in the doorway.

Sean waved him in. “What’s up?”

“I have the report I promised on Jason Kenner last week.”

“Including what happened to the car and the credit card statements?”

“Yes. And some information from recent bank records,” Ryan said, handing Sean a hard copy.

“Have a seat.”

“Remember the name on the account, Marsha Philips?”

Sean nodded.

“She’s an old girlfriend who lives in Albany, New York, about two hours away. I was able to speak with her.”

“What did she say?”

“They lived together, and she was crushed he’s missing. It sounded like Marsha cared very deeply about him, so I asked what the nature of their relationship was today. She said they’re just friends. They broke up because he has a gambling problem.”

“Is that why he has so many credit cards?”

“Yeah. He uses cash advances to get money. Marsha said he’s been doing that for years. He wanted her to open a card in her name and take out an advance for him. She refused and gave him an ultimatum. Get help for his addiction, or it’s over. He never got help.”

“Does she know there’s a credit card statement in her name going to his house?”

“She does. She knows he opened a card in her name illegally, but she doesn’t want to press charges. Two months ago, Jason told her that he owed someone money and they’re after him. He asked Marsha if she could loan him two thousand dollars, but she refused. He opened the card without her permission but then called her to confess what he’d done and closed the account. She feels terrible for him. She said he’s a good man; he just has a problem.”

“That’s very forgiving considering what he did,” Sean said.

“Yup, but the story checks out. I followed up with the credit card carrier, and they did receive a request to close the account. And there’s more. Marsha said when they first started dating Jason owed someone $11,000 for betting on football games. He was so scared they would come after him, he told her if he didn’t get the money he’d have to leave town. She gave him a small loan, and he took a second job to cover the rest. Marsha said he would tell her he stopped gambling, but she knows he never did. He was always short of money the entire time they were together.”

“I’m a little surprised none of his friends said anything. There’s nothing in the file about it,” Sean said, wondering if Vanessa knew about Jason’s addiction.

“From the way Marsha spoke—he was good at hiding it. He held a steady job, and for the most part they had a good relationship.”

“I can see that. Jason’s very popular around here. He was working with kids coaching the winning basketball team. Looks like a model citizen. Any idea who he owes money to?”

“Not yet, but his landlady said he hasn’t paid his rent in two months. I did some checking, and he’s behind on all his other bills. There are some illegal gambling operations in neighboring towns that local law enforcement is building cases against. I could contact them.”

“Yes. Do that.”

He nodded. “Right away.”

“Oh, did you find out what happened to his car?” Sean asked, standing and gathering his things.

“As a matter of fact, yes.” Ryan followed Sean to the door. “The car was repossessed for non-payment. He hadn’t paid in almost six months. It was pure coincidence it was taken away now.”

“See what else you can find and keep me updated.”

Ryan returned to his office, and Sean left the station. On the way to his police car, he detoured into the building next door which housed the Animal Control Department.
After exchanging greetings with Officer Benjamin Gibson, the head of Animal Control, Sean asked if anyone claimed the dog he found.

“No such luck. No one’s called, and the poor creature’s been staying at the animal hospital since you had him brought in,” Ben said.

“How come?”

“He tested positive for Lyme disease. He’ll be okay, but they wanted to start him on antibiotics so they kept him there.”

Sean rubbed his chin. The dog’s been through enough. “If no one calls you today, I’m going to pick him up and take him home.”

“Good for you,” Ben said with a smile. “Hey. Since you’re here, a video just came in of a mutilated animal in Quarry Head Park. Want to take a look?”

“Someone filmed it?”

“Yeah.”

“I don’t have much time. Is it long?”

“Not at all. Just shy of two minutes.”

“Sure. Let me see.”

“I just want you to be prepared. It’s pretty gross.”

“I appreciate the warning,” Sean said, even more interested.

Ben pulled the file up on the computer and turned the screen toward Sean.

The camera caught every angle of the gruesome sight. Sean flinched. What the hell?

The body in the footage looked like a deer. The features on its face were squashed; the eyes no longer clearly defined. The neck of the animal was bent in the middle—the head lay flat on the ground twisted to one side. Two stumps, which were once the deer’s front legs, jutted out just past its ears. Its back legs were crushed and wedged into position under its belly. Even more bizarre, the lifeless mass had a gelatinous looking coating over its entire body.

“Do we know what happened to it?”

“No. The footage was taken by a fifteen-year-old boy on his cellphone. He was riding his bike with a friend in Quarry Head Park. They went off the path, and his friend fell from the bike when he hit this dead animal.”

“Who gave you the video?”

“His mother sent it in by email. She wanted to make sure someone cleaned it up before anyone else got hurt. She said her son’s friend developed an itchy rash from the slime covering the animal’s body.”

Sean pointed to a marker on a tree in the video. “This is next to the yellow path,” he said. “Hold off on removing the animal for just a few hours. I have to go to a seminar at the University of Connecticut, but when I come back I want to take a look at it myself.”

“Sure. Hey, when you get to the school you should talk to Dr. Greg Mitchell. You can show him the video.”

“Why? Who is he?”

“Greg’s a professor at the University and the head of the Biology Department. He knows a lot about animals and specializes in herpetology.”

“Herpetology? The study of reptiles?” Sean asked.

“That’s right. Actually it’s reptiles and amphibians, so he covers both land and water. Greg lives right here in town. Last year he helped us relocate a Bog Turtle found in someone’s yard. They’re endangered, you know.”

“But even I can see this looks like a deer.”

“I know, but he’s very knowledgeable. He might be able to help. Anyway, it’s just a suggestion, and you’ll be there anyway.”

“Okay, can you send me the video?”

“Not a problem. I’ll email it to you now.”

Sean thanked Ben and left for the University. Once in his cruiser he scrunched his nose, mulling over the grisly video. Natural causes or foul play?

Spotlight – Into the Moonless Night

A. E. Decker hails from Pennsylvania. A former doll-maker and ESL tutor, she earned a master’s degree in history, where she developed a love of turning old stories upside-down to see what fell out of them.

This led in turn to the writing of her YA novel, The Falling of the Moon. A graduate of Odyssey 2011, her short fiction has appeared in such venues as Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Fireside Magazine, and elsewhere.

Like all writers, she is owned by three cats.

Come visit her, her cats, and her fur Daleks at www.wordsmeetworld.com or catch up with her on Twitter @moonfallmayhem

Catch Starthorne has spent a lifetime running from the prophecy that names him as the one who will save the shifter race, but now that he has returned to his home in Clawcrags, he may have to face his destiny. Determined to slip through fate’s fingers, Catch sows confusion, making friends from foes, mixing up the occasional sleeping death potion, and matching wits with an overbearing lion-shifter, who appears to have plans of his own.

While Catch schemes, Ascot works to retrieve him with the help of a witch and a pair of madcap shifter rebels. But every attempt to reach him earns her fresh enemies and embroils her ever deeper in the conspiracies surrounding the prophecy. After five hundred years of repressed tension and social strife, the Clawcrags are ready to explode—and it sometimes seems someone’s working hard to see that they do!

Grab your copy here! Goodreads Amazon World Weaver Press Kobo iBookstore

“What’s the Moonless Night?” asked Dmitri. Beside him, Moony had worked up to a rude place in his washing, tail slapping the ground hard enough to raise dust.

“Supposedly, it’s when Magden Le Fou’s prophecy will be fulfilled,” Jolt replied. “It’s a lunar eclipse occurring three nights after the vernal equinox.”

The prophecy, thought Ascot. The frabjacketing prophecy. Something about a golden star and—well, Catch hadn’t elected to tell her much else, save that the shifters of the Clawcrawgs thought he was the golden star. Which was ridiculous. Had any of them ever looked at scruffy, roguish Catch? Heard him lie with a straight face, or seen him guzzle more coffee than anyone’s kidneys could stand?

Frabjacket, how she missed him.

Dipping his head, Dmitri scratched the ground. Abruptly, his nostrils flared. “That’s only nine days from now.”

Ascot’s throat turned into a stretch of dust. “Nine days?” It came out as a dry squeak. She worked some saliva into her mouth and swallowed. “What will become of Catch if nothing happens on the Moonless Night?”

She didn’t want to hear it: the confirmation of her worst fears. Had to hear it, just so she’d know. Jolt lifted a brow, seeming surprised that she’d even ask. “If he’s not the golden star, then he’s just another slipskin. There’s only one penalty for slipping your skin in the Clawcrags.” Jolt gave his earlobe a final tug. “Execution.”

Ascot fell away inside herself. The world, shadowed and dark, floated at a distance, as if she stared at it through the cavern of her own skull. Every sound droned and echoed. Only the bloc, bloc of yet another cicada came to her, crisp as the ticking of some mocking clock.

She almost didn’t hear Jolt speak again. “Want us to help rescue him?”

Some praise for the series…

 

Falling of the Moon is a fantasy fairytale like nothing I have read before. Mystery and secrets take you to a fantastic mystical world sure to have a book two. It is Pirates of the Caribbean meets Cinderella. Looking forward to Ascot’s next adventure. Strong and determined with her loyal friends she will certainly make the Moonfall Mayhem a great series of books. I am ecstatic that this is just the start to what will be a truly great trilogy.”

— Girl + Book

I’d say it’s like Shrek meets The Wizard of Oz if Dorothy were Wednesday Addams and Toto a talking cat with bat wings. Fun and funny with many laugh-out- loud moments. Can’t wait for the next book in the series!

​— Susan Abel Sullivan, author of the Cleo Tidwell Paranormal Mystery series

A unique and clever fantasy, The Falling of the Moon is a thoroughly entertaining read from first page to last. Very highly recommended and certain to be an enduring favorite.”

—Midwest Book Review

If you’re looking for a great Autumn and Halloween read then look no further, this series has everything you need for a cozy fall evening spent reading. This one is 5/5 stars for me, it’s absolutely perfect and a must read!

—Hollie Ohs Book Reviews

Interview With …

Thanks for being here today. Tell our readers about you

In no particular order, I’m a history buff, an amateur cook, a cephalopod enthusiast, a gamer, a cat-lover, a knitter, a dreamer, a reader, and, of course, a writer.

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?

Optimism. Every day, there’s a chance for something wonderful to happen. This could be the day you get the story idea that will become a bestseller. You could win an award, get on the bestseller list. Even barring such extreme examples, there’s always chocolate to eat and cats to pet. They keep discovering new facts about octopuses! The world’s full of treasures, if you just put your mind to looking for them.

If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?

Neil Gaiman. I think I’d feel intimidated hanging out with most famous people, but at least with Neil, I could at talk writing. Also, I could ask him a lot of questions about Terry Pratchett.

What’s the story behind your latest book?

My latest novel is Into the Moonless Night, and it’s the third book of the YA fantasy Moonfall Mayhem series. Each book in the series inverts tropes from a different variety of fantasy literature. The first book tackled fairy tales, the second one, Gothic literature. Into the Moonless Night is a twist on Tolkien tropes, which means there’s a grand quest, a significant ring, lots of songs, and a reluctant hero.

Tell us your writing process

I stick to a schedule of writing every single morning from about eight or nine o’ clock to twelve-thirty or one o’ clock. So, I get three to four solid hours of writing in every day. I believe keeping a routine helps establish good writing habits; a day doesn’t seem entirely complete unless I’ve written something.

As for “how I write,” I’m a bit of a terrible re-writer. I can put down a lot of words in a single session—I’ve written as many as two thousand words in an hour—but the next time I sit down to write, I’ll often find myself editing and re-writing what I have rather than forging ahead. This is my bad habit, which I’m trying to break. It’s best to finish the story and revise afterwards.

What tips can you give other authors who are looking to get the word out about their book?

Actually, I wouldn’t mind some tips myself! No, seriously, there’s no formula that I’ve discovered that produces guaranteed results. Definitely contact blogs, like this one, and ask if they’ll do an interview. Do Goodreads and Amazon giveaways, tweet, put out the word on Facebook. Contact friends. If you’re willing to put money into advertising, try Bookbub. If you’re good with videos, put something together on Youtube.

But the most important thing is to keep writing. Sometimes, it’s just a game of numbers, and the more books you have, the more likely it is that people will pick one up and read it. And, if they read and like one, they’ll go back and read your others as well as tell their friends about your work. I suppose my best advice would be: don’t get so caught up in social media you neglect your stories.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

I first attempted to write a novel when I was five years old. I didn’t have the attention span to stick it out, but I figured I would, one day. Turned out I was right. How about that?

Tell us about your main character:

The Moonfall Mayhem series’ main protagonist is Ascot Abberdorf, a young woman from the dark country of Shadowvale, but each individual book’s perspective is split between her and one of the other characters. Into the Moonless Night features Catch Starthorne, rogue and Smilodon-shifter. All his life, he’s been running from a prophecy that names him the saviour of the shifter race. In this book, the hour of the prophecy is coming due, and he’s finally been dragged back to his home country to either face his destiny, or prove that such a thing doesn’t exist.

What are you working on next?

I just completed a draft of book four, A Trick of the Moonlight, and handed it in to my editor, Laura Harvey. After she finishes looking at it, it will require rewriting. In the meantime, I’m working on the third book in my yet-unpublished urban fantasy series featuring a tomato-obsessed hitman of the supernatural. I also have a few short stories in the works.

Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?

I can recite the entirety of The Pirates of Penzance. Also Les Miserables. Probably The Mikado as well, and definitely several Shakespeare monologues.

Don’t ask me to get started. It’s very tiresome.

Who are your favorite authors?

Terry Pratchett is my favorite author. I love his thoughtful brand of humor. I also enjoy V. E. Schwab’s writing, Neil Gaiman, of course, Susannah Clarke, Kim Newman, Hilary Mantel, and Brian Kesinger’s delightful Otto and Victoria picture books.

There’s also quite a few classic writers I go back to, such as Austen, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, and the Bronte sisters.

What do you like to do with your free time?

I enjoy cooking and reading, but perhaps my favorite way to waste time is playing video games. The ones I like best are Bloodborne, the Dragon Age series, the Dark Souls series, and Don’t Starve.

Tell us about your plans for upcoming books.

Mostly, finish the Moonfall Mayhem series for World Weaver Press. That’s still one and a half books away. I’ve also started/outlined another stand-alone YA novel as well as a more adult steampunk book, and wrote a few stories in a dark fantasy Weird Western world that might develop into a novel.

Where can people find you on the web? 

Website: http://www.wordsmeetworld.com/  

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MoonfallMayhem

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6461875.A_E_Decker

Any final thoughts?

Thank you for having me on your blog. To all my readers, thank you. And, to all the writers out there, keep working and persevere. Someone wants to read your stories.

VBT – The Continuum

Cover Image - Continuum

The Continuum

By

Wendy Nikel

170 pages   *   Science Fiction and Time Travel

Author Bio:

Wendy Nikel is a speculative fiction author with a degree in elementary education, a fondness for road trips, and a terrible habit of forgetting where she’s left her cup of tea. Her short fiction has been published by Fantastic Stories of the ImaginationDaily Science FictionNature: Futures, and various other anthologies and e-zines.

For more info, visit wendynikel.com or subscribe to her newsletter here!

Social Media Links:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/wendynikel/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/WendyNikel

Blurb

Elise Morley is an expert on the past who’s about to get a crash course in the future.

For years, Elise has been donning corsets, sneaking into castles, and lying through her teeth to enforce the Place in Time Travel Agency’s ten essential rules of time travel. Someone has to ensure that travel to the past isn’t abused, and most days she welcomes the challenge of tracking down and retrieving clients who have run into trouble on their historical vacations.

But when a dangerous secret organization kidnaps her and coerces her into jumping to the future on a high-stakes assignment, she’s got more to worry about than just the timespace

continuum. For the first time ever, she’s the one out-of-date, out of place, and quickly running out of time.

“Nikel is a solid writer with vivid description, an imaginative future, and a command of accurate historical speech.”

Unreliable Narrators

 

Buy Links:

Official page:

http://www.worldweaverpress.com/store/p139/The_Continuum.html

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35224471-the-continuum

Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/Continuum-Wendy-Nikel-ebook/dp/B076R9Z6DS/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&qid=1509402840&sr=8-1&keywords=wendy+nikel+continuum&linkCode=sl1&tag=worweapre-20&linkId=8fbea5376b3e9fcfdea0b0fc4dc65b3e

Barnes & Noble

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-continuum-wendy-nikel/1127278953

iTunes

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1299843408

 

Excerpt:

“The spinning slows. Suddenly, everything stops.

My legs flail, searching for solid ground, until I plunge abruptly into dank, smelly water. I gasp, and my mouth fills with brine. I’m being dragged in one direction, but instinct pulls me the opposite way. I kick against my heavy skirts and break the surface. For one dizzying moment I’m utterly confused. The concrete slabs of the nearby docks sharpen my fuzzy memory.

1912.

Southampton.

The Titanic.

I Extracted while on the gangplank—a gangplank that doesn’t exist in 2012. This is exactly why our travelers are encouraged to use pre-approved Extraction locations. The Wormhole dumps travelers at the same place they’ve left from, which can make for some awkward (or dangerous) entrances.

Across the way, Marie does a frantic doggie-paddle towards the steel rungs leading up to the dock. With labored strokes, I swim after her, clutching the sphere in one hand. When I reach her, she’s still clinging to the bottom rung, too exhausted to climb to safety.

“Hang on.” I slip my Wormhole Device into my handbag and pull my dripping body up to the dock. Water streams out around me, forming a dark puddle on the concrete. The evening sun, balancing on the very edge of the horizon, casts an eerie glow on the water.

“Okay. Come on up—”

My encouragement is drowned out by the sound of retching. Lovely.

I clench my jaw to stop my teeth from rattling and focus on retaining my professionalism—not easy, considering the mucked-up circumstances.

Finally, Marie starts up the ladder, ascending tentatively, with gasping breaths. When she’s close enough to grab my forearms, I pull her up with much grunting and tugging. Her eyes widen as she takes in the industrial warehouses, giant cranes, and sprawling parking lots that seem to have appeared instantaneously.

“What have you done?” Her voice rises in pitch with each word.”

* * * * * * * *

Interview With …

Wendy, thanks for being here today.. Tell us about you

I’m a former teacher-turned-homeschool mom from the Midwest who currently lives in Utah. I love drinking tea, playing board games, and — of course — reading.

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?

Usually, my six-year-old comes in and starts telling me all about what he’s been reading or writing or imagining. Sometimes, there’s music involved. All in all, it’s not the worst way to start the day, though I usually do need a cup of coffee before I can really get down to work.

If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?

I’d love to sit down for a conversation with David Tennant to hear about his time on Doctor Who. His seasons were some of my favorites of the whole series, and I’d love to hear his take on the character he played and how that role has changed since he left the show. Plus, he has a great accent.

What’s the story behind your latest book?

THE CONTINUUM began as my very first attempt at National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo, as it’s sometimes called, is an online writing challenge for writers to complete a 50,000-word novel in the 30 days of November. I’d never written a novel before, and I wanted to write a fun time-travel adventure, since that was always one of my favorite genres.

NaNoWriMo_logo_w_words

Tell us your writing process

NaNoWriMo has worked well for me for completing first drafts. Over the past five years, I’ve written nine novel-length manuscripts with this fast-first-draft method. The revision process obviously takes a lot longer, though I’ve developed a system that works for me that involves multiple read-throughs, each time working on digging deeper into the novel’s different layers until I have a finished product I’m happy with.

What tips can you give other authors who are looking to get the word out about their book?

Writing a book is a long game. Getting one published is even longer.

There’s a lot of places where you’ll be tempted to rush through the process — whether it’s in revisions or edits or in getting it out into the world. But there really are no shortcuts, and the time you spend in each phase can be a great opportunity for growth and learning.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always enjoyed writing and making up stories and pondering “what if” scenarios. In college, I studied to be a teacher, but after my kids were born, I quit teaching to raise them and found that I really missed the mental challenge that teaching brought with it. I’d also done photography in the past, but that wasn’t a very conducive creative outlet with two very small children, so I turned to writing and found there a great way to challenge myself that was flexible enough to do while also raising a family.

Tell us about your main character:

Elise Morley takes her job very seriously. As a professional time traveller, her job is to keep the Place in Time Travel Agency’s clients out of trouble in the past, which isn’t always easy to do. She has to be resourceful and smart, as well as know a lot about past historical eras.

What are you working on next?

I usually have multiple projects in the works, and right now is no different. In addition to the work I’m doing on this series, I’m also revising a historical fantasy novel that takes place on the Pony Express and working on a handful of short stories.

Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?

I am quite skilled at building with LEGOs, if I do say so myself. I enjoy finding ways to work LEGO-building into our homeschool lessons, so my kiddos and I have built pyramids, pirate ships, rainforests, and even a model of the Titanic.

LEGO Titanic

Who are your favorite authors?

I’m a fan of the classics: Jane Austen, Daphne du Maurier, Alexandre Dumas, Jack Finney, H.G. Wells, and others. As far as contemporary authors go, my tastes are somewhat eclectic, though I’m always excited to read something new from Jodi Taylor, Mary Robinette Kowal, Kate Morton, Kenneth Oppel, and Neal Shusterman.

What do you like to do with your free time?

One of my favorite things to do in my free time is to go on road trips with my family. I love traveling around the country, seeing new things, checking out random roadside attractions, and exploring places I haven’t been before.

Tell us about your plans for upcoming books.

The Place in Time series which begins with THE CONTINUUM will have at least two, possibly more follow-up novellas all revolving around the time travel agency and the people who work there. Book two, THE GRANDMOTHER PARADOX, takes place about a year after the events of the first book and features one of the side characters from THE CONTINUUM as Dr. Wells sends him on a secret mission to the year 1893.

 

Getting to know – Carolyn LaRoche

Carolyn LaRoche grew up in snow country but fled the cold and ice several years ago. She now lives near the beach with her husband and their two sons.
She’s been known to lug her laptop to the baseball fields and keeps a notebook by her bed to jot down the next big story idea in the wee hours of the night.
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Daisies in the Outfield
After his professional baseball career crashed and burned, Jamie escaped to the scenic coastal town of Falmouth for a fresh start. With a new career that fit his personality, Jamie lived life on his terms. His terms were simple—fight fires for the adrenaline rush, coaching MLB hopefuls for the love of the game, and spending his nights with one of the many pretty faces that crossed his path. Plenty of women passed through his life but none had tempted him to settle down.
Until a feisty brunette changed all that. Too bad the sexy paramedic had no interest in Jamie or spending the night with him. She carried an attitude as thick as her New York accent and he wanted to coax a smile on her face.Mandy was running from something and Jamie couldn’t help but be intrigued
Can a sexy little wager convince a confirmed bachelor and a woman running from her past to take a chance on love?
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Dandelion Wishes
When a terrible injury ended his pro career, Grant knew nothing would ever take the place of his one and only love—baseball. Fighting fires didn’t hold the same kind of excitement as catching a ninety mile an hour fast ball at Fenway Park but he loved every minute of it. Especially when he met the sassy, sexy as hell paramedic that’s as complicated as a three-alarm fire.
Callie had already lived through her fair share of serious. At twenty-eight, her current plans for the future included having a good time and enjoying the MLB hopefuls that showed up on the Cape every May to play in the summer baseball league. College boys were fun but didn’t hold half the appeal as the sexy firefighter that kept showing up when she least expected it.
He wanted her and she wanted absolutely none of it. Or, so she thought. Grant could not only set her body on fire with just a look but with only a few kisses she started to forget that serious was off the table for her life. After hiding so much for so long, can she open her heart up and trust that Grant’s in it for more than just the chase?
Goodreads Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon CA Amazon AU Barnes & Noble iTunes

Tell us about you
I’m a proud wife to the bravest man I know and mother to two amazing boys. I love cheering on my kiddos at baseball games, teaching high school science and trying new recipes I find on Facebook.

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My alarm clock? Okay so maybe that’s not exactly what you meant… We only have one life to live and I am not going to spend mine sleeping it away. There’s so much to see and do in this world.

If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?
I’d love to step back in time and spend a day with Robin Williams. He was such a gifted man. His ability to tap into the exact emotion of any given situation went beyond pure talent.

What’s the story behind your latest book?
I love baseball, I love Cape Cod and hot firefighters make for good heroes. Combining the three seemed like a really good idea for a sexy, funny romance.

Tell us your writing process
I am a total seat of my pants writer. My process is nearly non-existent. Once I start work on a story, I write it until its done, do a couple read-throughs and send it off to my beta readers. From there, edits and prep for publication. I don’t have a specific snack or music I like to listen to or anything like that.

What tips can you give other authors who are looking to get the word out about their book?
Network and get comfortable with social media. The internet can be an author’s best friend if it’s used properly. Also, something my husband says to me frequently—make sure you are writing because you love writing. Let the rest fall into place.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
I’m not really sure. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. The idea to publish my work just sort of evolved over time and a series of unexpected decisions.

Tell us about your main character:
Jamie is a former MLB player with a slightly messy past. After his baseball career comes to an end, he discovers a new love in firefighting. He’s a ladies man with no interest in ever settling down until he meets Mandy.

What are you working on next?
I’m about halfway through the third book in this Cape Cod series. I’ve also begun work on a humorous cop drama.

Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?
Does raising two teen boys count?

Who are your favorite authors?
I love Janet Evanovich. Her characters are so imperfectly real. I am also a big fan of Jill Shalvis. Her romances have a lot of humor and relatable characters.

What do you like to do with your free time?
I’m a beach girl. I love the ocean, the sand, the smell of the air. I dabble a little in crochet but I am not very good at it and I love to try new recipes.

Tell us about your plans for upcoming books.
I have always wanted to write a story based on the many letters my father wrote to my mother while he was fighting in the Vietnam War. I think that might be next big project.

Where can people find you on the web? 
Twitter: @CarolynLaRoche
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCarolynLaRoche

Any final thoughts?
Don’t be afraid to try out new authors. In the last three years my indie horizons have been broadened tremendously. I’ve discovered amazing writers I’d have never known existed if I’d stuck with only the shelves of Barnes and Noble.

An Excerpt from Daisies in the Outfield
“Come on, Sally, when’s dinner gonna be served?” All the guys had a girl name for their night on kitchen duty. Jamie’s was Sally. Grant had been harassing him big time and it was getting way beyond annoying. Every time the door to the house opened, he held his breath hoping Mandy would walk in.
“You’ll get your food when it’s ready,” he snapped, not bothering to hide his annoyance.
“Touchy today, aren’t we. Is it your time of the month, Sally?”
“Go to hell.” Jamie stirred the sauce then poured the five pounds of pasta into the oversized colander to drain it.
“Damn, man. You need to get laid something serious.”
“You might not understand this, but there is more to life than getting laid and getting drunk.”
“Tell that to my liver and my dick. They are pretty feisty little guys and they want what they want when they want it.”
“You really need a life, Grant.”
“I have a great life. A job I like, a twenty four hour grocery store across the street and
plenty of pretty ladies around town with a thing for firefighters.”
“Why don’t you and your dick go tell the guys grub’s on. I need to step outside for some air.”
“Thinking about my parts got you all hot and bothered, does it?” Grant left the kitchen laughing and Jamie stepped out the back door to the little grassy area behind the fire station. Stretching, he let the cool ocean breeze that always accompanied nightfall, wash over him. The smell of sand and salt assaulted his senses. It was a heady combination on a warm summer night. Even better if he had a certain woman in his arms watching the waves crash in over their toes.
“Hey,” a voice called out quietly from the dimness of dusk. A very familiar voice. A voice that made his heart jump around wildly in his chest. Mandy.
He turned around and saw her standing at the corner of the building, peering at him with an amused look on her face. Suddenly feeling a little shy, he replied, “Hey, yourself,” instead of striding over and taking her in his arms like he had ached to do all day long. Mandy giggled and twisted her hands in front of her.
“What’s so funny?”
“Well, I came here to meet a guy named Jamie but it looks like I’ve found Betty Crocker instead.”
Oh, shit. The apron!
“You got a problem with a man in an apron?” He grinned and she laughed again, shaking her head.
“No. I don’t suppose I do.”
“Good.” This time he did close the distance between them but he didn’t touch her. She shivered a little and he hoped it was because of his proximity and not the evening breeze. “It’s a house joke. The guy on kitchen duty has to wear one—the frillier, the better—and he gets a girl name. Hazing at its best, I suppose.”
“What’s yours?”
“My what?” It was getting hard to think when all he could focus on was her lips and how badly he wanted to taste them.
Mandy ran a finger lightly up his arm until she reached the place where the full length apron started up around his neck and hooked her finger there. “Your girl name. What is it?”
“Sally.”
“Hmmm…I’ve always had this secret fantasy of kissing a girl named Sally. Ever since I heard the song Mustang Sally.”
“You have? Maybe we should do something about that.”
“Maybe we should.” Mandy was more
relaxed than he had seen her over the last few days, flirting with her words and ravaging him with her eyes. He sure liked this side of her.
Jamie bent down and scooped her up in his arms. Mandy wrapped her legs around his waist and her arms around his neck. She leaned back slightly and murmured, “Oh, Sally. You have the most amazing—eyes.” She ran her tongue over her lips, never once looking him the eyes.
“So do you,” he replied focused only on those now slightly dampened lips. The space between them disappeared as she took his mouth with a passion he wouldn’t have thought her capable of. Worried one of the guys might walk outside and see them, he carried her into a stand of pine trees on the side of the building, never once breaking their contact. She let a tiny little moan escape as she ended the kiss.
“I’m sorry. I couldn’t help myself.” She sounded embarrassed.
“I never want you to not do that if you have the urge. Did that even make sense?” He chuckled huskily against her throat as he placed tiny little kisses across the neck line of her top. The thin, silky material was erotic, caressing his chin and cheek as he explored the bare skin of her shoulder with his tongue.
“Yes. It made sense.” She pulled his mouth back up to hers. “I feel like doing it again.”
Jamie dropped to his knees, setting Mandy gently onto the ground. He sat in the cushion of the pine needles and pulled her onto his lap. “Then by all means—”
The second kiss was better than the first as his tongue sought hers. She was as fervent as he was in her desire to get as close as possible. If he weren’t in uniform, twenty feet from ten other guys, he would have given into her every demand. As it was, they were about to go to a place he wouldn’t return from without an ice cold shower so he pulled back reluctantly.
“Did I miss something?” he whispered against her ear.
“No. Why?”
“This morning I wasn’t sure I would ever see you again. I mean, there was something—”
“I know. I’m sorry. I was having some doubts but then I talked to Callie and worked a few things out.”
“I like when you talk to Callie.” He grinned and pressed a kiss to the side of her neck, behind her ear. “Can you talk to her more often? Preferably on a day when I am not on duty?”
Mandy laughed. “I think that can be arranged.”
“Are you hungry?”
She shook her head. “Not anymore.”
There was no mistaking the meaning in her words. “Yeah, me either. Unfortunately, I have to get back inside. The captain can be a bit of a ball-buster.”
Mandy moved to stand but Jamie pulled her back in, crushing his lips to hers in one last hard kiss. He wanted to remember the feel of her lips all night long. She snaked her arms around his neck and murmured, “I know exactly what you mean.”
His hands slid up her back slowly, slipping under the hem of her top and finding the soft skin of her lower back. A groan rumbled through his chest. Frustration mounted and that ice cold shower was definitely about to become reality.
“I should go,” she whispered. “I don’t want you to get in trouble on my account. I’m thinking you are going to need those balls your captain will want to bust in the near future.”
He groaned again, this time in sweet agony over the image her words had conjured in his mind. They walked out of the stand of trees hand in hand, Jamie cursing his need to be employed.
“Are you sure you don’t want to come in for a bit?”
She shook her head. “No. I don’t want to get in the way.”
“You are never in my way.”
He loved the way all her skin, not just her face, changed colors when she was embarrassed. Half the time he said stuff like that just to make her blush.
“See you for the game tomorrow night?” he asked, wrapping his arm around her waist and pulling her in for one last kiss.
“Wouldn’t miss it for the world, Coach.” She batted her eyelashes exaggeratedly and gave him a sugary sweet smile.
“Good. I’ll make sure one of my uniforms is clean just for you.”
“You can but you’ll be wasting your time.” Mandy stepped away and gave a little wave. “I never lose a bet. Enjoy the rest of your shift.”
He watched as she walked away, stopping just before she turned the corner and blew him a little kiss.
What the hell was all that?
That was a side to Mandy, he hadn’t expected. All her temperature changes over the past few days hadn’t prepared him for what had just gone down.
The door opened behind him. “Where the hell’d you get off to, man? I was about to call in search and rescue.”
“Nowhere. I’ve been out here the whole time.”
“You’ve got dirt on your knees.”
“I dropped something.”
“And found it by rolling around under the trees?” Grant reached up and pulled a pine needle out of Jamie’s hair.
“I guess so.”
“You look like a freak in that apron.”
“Mandy likes it.”
Grant’s eyes widened as he scanned the area. “She’s here?”
“Was. I invited her for dinner.”
“Well, why didn’t you all come inside then?”
Jamie turned and grinned at his friend. “Because she skipped the meal and filled up on desert.”
“You dog! You didn’t—?”
“No! Not that. I would have but you know, work and all.”
“Always getting in the way of the good stuff,” Grant grumbled as they returned to the kitchen. “If I could get paid for having sex, I would.”
“You can. But, you can also get arrested for it.”
“I meant legally, you ass hat! Maybe I’ll become a porn star.” He gyrated his hips exaggeratedly, making Jamie laugh.
Jamie pulled off his apron and tossed it to Grant. “Sorry, dude. You better stick with fighting fires. You’re on cleanup. I need a shower.”
A very, very cold shower.

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