Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Book of the Week: JOAN, Quarry Hall #1

The next five weeks will feature Quarry Hall books, because in November, JENNIFER, Quarry Hall #11, will be released from Desert Breeze Publishing.

Book #1: JOAN

Under a false identity, Joan finally has the life she has always wanted. With pressure to deepen a relationship on one side, and the threat of an old nemesis finding her on the other, she refuses to run, no matter what it costs her.
Into this chaos comes a letter from a man claiming to be her unknown father, and an invitation to visit him at Quarry Hall. He has a proposition for her.
Joan can make a big difference for good in the world, using her father's money. She hungers for the family and sense of belonging that Quarry Hall offers. To rescue her closest friend, she would sell the soul she doesn't believe she possesses.
In the end, Joan will have to give up the lies that have kept her alive all these years.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Off the Bookshelf: FAIREST, by Marissa Meyer

FAIREST is a play on, "Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the fairest of them all," and gives it a really wrenching twist.

Well, to start with, the "fairest" of them all doesn't look in mirrors. In fact, by the end of the book, all mirrors are outlawed.
The face she shows the world isn't hers -- stolen, in fact.
"Fair" has so many different connotations.

Meyer shows just what a talented writer she is by making us LIKE the evil stepmother/wicked witch/cruel enchantress character, Queen Levana, of the Lunar Chronicles. How? By showing how she became what she was, the reasons for the things she did. Seen through Levana's eyes, feeling her pain, you almost want to root for her. It's hard to hate someone who seems to have the whole world and all the cards stacked against her.

In many ways, yes, she is the best ruler Luna ever had ... but considering the self-centered, egotistical cretins who came before her, that's really not saying much. Maybe the worst kind of criminal is the one who honestly has good intentions. Or at least has convinced herself her intentions are good. But you know what they say about a road paved with good intentions.

If you love the Lunar Chronicles, you don't want to miss this part of the story, no matter how much it makes you squirm.

Saturday, October 14, 2017


From Desert Breeze Publishing

Madame Collete informed Carmen that her pay was being applied to the dresses Frierri wanted her to wear when she entertained. She smiled warmly enough, but the warmth never reached her eyes. She added that if Carmen did well, she would be offered a room at the hotel, so she wouldn't have any expenses to worry about besides "making pretty." Carmen complied with the fittings for the dresses and tried to calculate how much money she had saved. If only she hadn't bought new boots last week, and a cloak to replace her threadbare shawl. Precious little remained of her pitiful savings, compared to the distance she had to travel to evade Gio Frierri's reach.

"Cleveland certainly isn't far enough," Carmen whispered now, staring at the condensation on the window.

She stood up straight, frowning. When had the idea of Cleveland come into her head? If anything, she should head west, maybe try to reach her father's friends in Denver.

Carmen shivered, hearing Essie, her make believe friend, insisting she had to go to Cleveland. Perhaps the strain of her circumstances had become too much for her and she had broken, at long last? She was losing her mind, imagining a friend who came to her in the darkness and shadows and promised help and whispered advice. Yet what if she weren't losing her mind?

Her mother had always told her to pay attention to her dreams, and to never dismiss the impossible when it happened in front of her. Anna had taught her to search for details and patterns and think about the why and how of things. Otherwise, how would she have realized that wonderful, small, helpful things happened when she sang?

Friday, October 13, 2017


From Desert Breeze Publishing

When he asked her to sing again, she hesitated. He rapped out the titles of songs she had never heard of, but didn't look upset when each time she shook her head and told him she didn't know them.

"That's all right. You'll learn them, and right quick," he said, looking her over again. "Get rid of those widow's weeds and put on some decent clothes."

"These are all I have, and I'm still in mourning," Carmen had said. "Why should it matter what I wear in the kitchen, or what I sing, for that matter? My friends haven't complained about the songs I sing."

"Yeah, but my friends will." He grinned at her, and she shuddered with the momentary illusion that his teeth were pointed. "You're gonna be the new, private entertainment for special guests."

"Thank you, but no." She wished she had held onto the paring knife, even knowing it wouldn't have done her any good. "I'll stay here in the kitchen, if it's all the same with you."

"It's not." He snatched hold of her by her elbow and yanked her up off the stool, kicking aside the bucket with the potato peelings. "You work in the special parlor, or you don't work at all. Understand?"

"Yes, I understand."

He left with a chuckle. Carmen waited until the break after the lunchtime rush, then went to the manager to ask for her pay up through that morning. Frierri must have anticipated she would try to run. The manager, who had always been kind to her, looked afraid when he told her to report to Madame Collette. He whispered that if she was smart, she would leave town tonight.

Thursday, October 12, 2017


From Desert Breeze Publishing

She had grown comfortable enough with her surroundings and her fellow laborers in the enormous hotel kitchen that she had ventured to sing over her work, peeling and cutting and kneading. She had been happier than she had felt since before her father died. Since before Richard Boniface whispered his sweet, false promises of love. Her co-workers liked her voice and requested songs from her. The last few days, other workers came in during breaks, hoping to hear her sing. They didn't even mind that all the songs she knew were hymns and spirituals and camp meeting songs. Carmen had thought perhaps she had a chance to plant some spiritual seed, and she had felt that sweet contentment she thought she would never feel again.

A man in a slick black suit, with a red silk vest and a pointed black beard came into the kitchen yesterday, while she sang in rhythm with the potato peelings falling from her knife. He didn't make his presence known until she finished, though she thought she had sensed something, some change in the comfortably steamy atmosphere thick with the smells of good cooking.

"Very nice," he said, his smile cold when his voice startled a squeak out of her. He came around to stand on the other side of the table from her. "You should be singing upstairs."

"I'm a cook."

"Yes, with those clothes, what else would you be?" His upper lip curled as he looked her over. "I'm Gio Frierri. You know who I am?"

"You're the owner." Carmen set the knife down on the table and wiped her hands on her apron, then kept her hands on her lap, hidden under the table, so he wouldn't see them shaking.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017


From Desert Breeze Publishing

Theo came around the corner of an intersecting passageway a dozen paces past the doorway of the lounge. He skidded to a stop, rocking back on his heels, then his usually somber, dark face brightened and he held up a piece of paper. It was stiff and square and the dirty snow yellow of telegram sheets.

"Who?" Ess cast her weariness aside and ran down the passageway to meet him.

"Phoebe." He chuckled and pretended to flinch as he held out the paper for her to take.

She nearly flung her arms around him. Theo wouldn't be smiling now if there was bad news in the telegram. Phoebe was working with Allistair to find her sisters, as well as control the damage from whatever Originator or even Revisionist information the search might uncover.

"What is this?" Ess asked, after reading through the sparse message three times, trying to force it to tell her something. She ran her forefinger under a series of numbers. "They look like coordinates."

"They are." Theo's expression darkened again. "Mixed with code for the designation of that particular location. Basically, Phoebe is telling us that she recognized someone going into a station house that had been declared destroyed four years ago." He tapped the paper above a series of three numbers and two letters. "It doesn't actually say four years ago, but I remember when the report came in because it was so unusual. The location was supposedly surrounded by Revisionists, and declared too hot to investigate for the immediate future. Everyone assigned to that station was declared dead."

"And?" She studied the shifting of muscles in his face as he controlled his expression. Theo wasn't the most readable of people, and that was good, considering the kind of work he did for the security of the Originators. However, she thought she had learned a few things after all this time working with him.

Monday, October 9, 2017


From Desert Breeze Publishing

Ess certainly didn't look forward to spring. She and Uly would stay in the United States, but separated as they went out on Originator business. While it was a relief to learn that the blood link in the communication plates created from crystal dust allowed their grandparents to use them, in a way she was disappointed. She wanted an excuse to send either her or Uly on the Golden Nile to keep an eye on their grandparents. She still had occasional bad dreams where she went to Matilda's workroom or Ernest's office, and found the rooms empty, no sign that anyone had ever used them.

However, she had made a promise to her friend, Phoebe Stryker, to find Phoebe's three sisters, whom their treacherous uncle had hidden away. He used the safety of her sisters to keep control over Phoebe and use her to spy in Sanctuary, while he went about the country, disguised as Mr. Judson of the Pinkertons, to further his plans. The details of those plans were still being uncovered. The last Ess had heard from Allistair Fitch, who had the unpleasant task of uncovering Stryker/Judson's activities, he had found two more false identities. The ire of the Pinkerton Agency and their determination to make all things right gave Ess only minimal comfort. She feared that somehow, Allistair might yet uncover the truth of the Originators, and then what would they do if the Pinkertons decided they were a threat to national security?

"She's nattering again," Matilda said, as their delegation entered the lounge and finally began to divest themselves of their winter cloaks and coats and hats and gloves.

"No, Ess is pondering some devious trick or dire punishment for whatever blockade currently resists her," Ford announced, with a grand bow to Ess that earned a chuckle from his wife Athena.

"It's a good thing that rotter, Stryker, is..." Dr. Lockhart chuckled and sank down into the wingback chair that had become his province on board the airship. He settled his mechanical leg and looked around the room. "Well, to be delicate, rotting."

Saturday, October 7, 2017


From Desert Breeze Publishing

"I declare, if one more person insists that they never believed the official statements that we were presumed dead," Matilda Fremont announced, stepping out of the loading bay of the Golden Nile. She paused for a long sigh as the door closed behind her, cutting off the noise of the wind at nearly two hundred feet above the city of Chicago. "Thank you, Uly. I thought for a moment I was going deaf."

Ulysses bowed to his grandmother, then cocked an eyebrow at Odessa, who had led the way across the gangway from the air dock tower.

"Where was I?" Matilda said as their group moved down the passageway to the main lounge area of the airship. They had just returned from a meeting with the local leadership of the Originators.

"More astounded, relieved people declaring they never once gave up on us," Ernest offered, linking his arm with his wife's, and effectively slowing down her pace.

Matilda sighed, narrowing her eyes at him. A moment later, she tipped her head back and laughed. Stepping around their grandparents, Uly bowed to Ess and offered her his arm. The rest of their party joined in the weary laughter and they resumed their walk down the passageway.

Friday, October 6, 2017


From Desert Breeze Publishing

When her father fell from grace and his colleagues and superiors chose to believe the vicious rumors that shredded his reputation, peace of mind, and his health, Carmen had thought at first Boniface had been behind those false stories; especially when some of the ugly, unbelievable stories and accusations focused on her. Then he had showed up like an avenging angel, fighting to defend her father, mocking those who chose to believe the lies. Even with the taint of disgrace clinging to Carmen and Reverend Mackenzie, he had still wanted to marry her and take both of them away to a quiet life at a small congregation that was waiting for him. His anger had been tempered with sorrow when Carmen refused him again.


Carmen found she could breathe again when Boniface's blue-gray gaze slid off of hers and he turned to study the other side of the street.

"Nothing," he said, his voice colder than the rain.

"Are you sure you heard it?" the driver asked. In a moment, the steam-cart carried them both out of sight.

"You don't hear it, idiot. You feel it. In your bones."

"My bones are frozen."

Whatever Boniface said in response was hidden in the drumming rain, the splashing of the cart's wheels and the rumble-hiss of its engine as they continued down the street.

Carmen brought her knees up to her chest and wrapped her arms around her legs, hiding her face in her knees as she shuddered. For just a moment, even as memories and hurt tumbled through her mind, she had been about to open her mouth and shout for him. What made her think that he could possibly be willing to rescue her? 

Thursday, October 5, 2017


From Desert Breeze Publishing.

A steam-cart trundled down the street from behind her, just as she stepped into the doorway. A whimper of gratitude escaped her clenched teeth as she saw it was deep and wide enough she could have laid down in it, and kept her feet dry. She gratefully sank down into the corner on the right, well out of traffic, if anyone needed to come out of the door. Tugging her skirts down around her ankles, she raised her hand to press against the cross.

The steam-cart came into view, framed in the doorway. It was an open steam-cart, a newer model but without any kind of roof or covering on it. Carmen snorted her disdain for anyone who thought an open vehicle made any sense in Chicago, with its wind and seemingly constant rain. The man who drove it hunched his shoulders, and his eyes were lost in goggles gone white with steam or condensation. The other man in the cart stood up in the passenger section behind him, one hand braced on the seat back, the other on the man's shoulder, and turned his head quickly, surveying the street in front of them.

Carmen paused with her hand just above the cross. She couldn't breathe, as just for a heartbeat, the standing man's gaze seemed to lock with hers. Despite the rain streaming from the flat planes of his chiseled features and darkening his golden hair, slicking it to his head, she recognized him. That flat, hard line of his mouth, she knew very well. It was the last expression she saw on his face before he walked out of her life. Those lips had been as hard as his voice when he castigated her for the choices she had made. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017


For luck, Carmen had worn her mother's cross. She hadn't worn it since the dream that helped her make up her mind and flee before she lost everything. Seeing and speaking to Essie in her dream had been the first good thing that had happened to her since her father died. She needed that bit of luck or blessing or whatever one wished to call it.

Clutching the cross through the protective layers of inadequate shawl and jacket and shirtwaist, Carmen stepped under the overhang of a doorway on a side street. She tipped her head back and she closed her eyes and prayed. For good measure, she focused on Essie's face as she had last seen her imaginary friend, and called silently with all her force of will. Perhaps she wasn't being so fanciful, wishing that Essie would turn out to be an angel sent to guard and guide and advise her?

The crystal rose warmed and vibrated through the wet layers of cloth. Carmen gasped and stepped back, slamming her shoulders against the wall. She uncurled her fingers from the cross and tried to catch her breath. No, she was not imagining -- the tiny spot where the back of the crystal rose touched her bare skin, under her shirt, was warm. The contrast with the icy rain soaking her clothes was far too clear to be her imagination. She hadn't warmed the cross and rose with her equally cold hand. Then, before she could brace herself to clutch the cross and rose again, the vibrations stopped and the warmth faded. She felt as if the wooden sidewalk rippled like waves under her feet. A more deeply recessed doorway, offering better shelter, was only a dozen steps further down the side street. She needed to sit down, out of the rain, just for a few moments. Hunching her shoulders, Carmen staggered down the sidewalk, aiming for the darkness of the recessed doorway, praying it was dry and deep enough that she could hide from sight while she regained her balance.

From Desert Breeze Publishing.

Monday, October 2, 2017


MUSIC IN THE NIGHT is the last book in the Guardians of the Time Stream series, Steampunk, from Desert Breeze Publishing.


Like, NOW.

Here's the deal: Usually with "Book of the Week" you get the blurb on Tuesday, and then on Thursday and Friday you get excerpts.
HOWEVER, with a NEW BOOK, you get 2 weeks of excerpts. So keep coming back to check through next week. You're gonna love it!

Ess and Carmen are childhood friends who only met in dreams. Orphaned and destitute, Carmen flees enemies she doesn't understand. Ess desperately seeks for her friend, knowing their enemies all too well.

Brogan is a creature of the darkness, his music stolen and his face scarred by tragedy. He leads an underground community of people left destitute by injustice and tragedy. Crystal in his flesh and bone allows him to hear Carmen sing in the night. When she takes refuge in his world of tunnels and shadows, she brings him hope that he isn't going mad after all.
Ess and Carmen finally meet, resolving puzzles more than twenty years old. A future of possibilities open before them, but only if they can defeat the Revisionists who will destroy them all to control crystal's power, the future, and rewrite the past.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

ANALOGS: Phoenix Fan Fiction

Read the whole story on Wattpad: CLICK HERE

A burst of light flashed through the trees up ahead, too low to the ground to be sunlight. A tingling of power in the air told Preminger a move had been made. He rounded the curve and found the car ahead of him stopped by a huge tree fallen across the road. A blur of movement caught his eye to the right and he saw Bennu emerge from the bushes. He could have sworn Bennu winked at him as he ran in front of his car and past the deputy up front before diving into the woods again. The officer stood and stared after Bennu for a fraction of a second.

"He's escaped!" Preminger found himself out of the car and yelling before he had a chance to think. "After him, quick!" And then he dashed into the woods, angling off from the direction Bennu was headed.

Looking back, he saw Reydell run into the woods on the other side. The other deputies saw him and gave chase. What happened next amazed Preminger and let him laugh as he had not in months.

Every few seconds, the escaped prisoner would appear on one side of the road or the other and dash back into the trees just after the officers saw him. No one but Preminger noticed that the clothes changed constantly, and he appeared on the left without crossing the road, when they had seen him on the right two minutes before. In a moment, the pursuers were off down the road, shouting, pointing in all the directions they had just seen Bennu or Reydell. The road curved away so Preminger couldn't see what was happening, but he knew the outcome. The analogs would soon have the hunters so confused they would keep running without seeing anyone. Then Bennu and Reydell would double back. It was too perfect.

When he had his chuckles under control, Preminger headed back to the cars. He took the handcuffs out of the back seat where Reydell left them, and threw them far into the bushes. That was one uncomfortable question eliminated. Something bounced off his shoulder, hitting the road with a dry "pop." He looked down -- it was an early acorn. Another hit him, and he turned to see Aria beckoning from the bushes. Without a word, he followed her. The shadowy forest swallowed them both in a moment, and he began to wonder at the back of his mind if he had been wise to come after her.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Book of the Week: SANCTUARY

Book Two of the Guardians of the Time Stream series, from Desert Breeze Publishing.

Her heart raced from more than the pace, and she wished Athena hadn’t insisted on such a wide brim for her hat. Held this close to him, she couldn’t see his face, couldn’t even guess what was going through his mind right that moment.

He slowed at a door with a large brass "E" in place of a nameplate, thumped four times in an odd rhythm, and hurried into the next office down the hallway. Ess stumbled when he gave her a little shove into the room, and a moment later the door slammed behind them.

"You rascal. You scoundrel," he said, the rasp deepening, threatening to crack his voice. He caught hold of her again, shook her once, then held her out to arm’s length, his fingers digging into her shoulders deep enough to bruise. His eyes flicked back and forth, studying her features.

"Stanton?" Mr. Randall Endicott said, opening the door and stepping in after only the shortest rap.

"Look what the tide dropped on our doorstep." Lewis turned Ess around so quickly she nearly lost her balance. It was a good thing he kept his tight grip on her shoulders.

"Odessa," the elder partner whispered. He took two jerky steps forward. For a few seconds, she thought he might collapse -- or lunge forward and shake her until her neck snapped.

Then Endicott tipped his head back and laughed, until he staggered back a step and had to catch his breath. Lewis let go of her and hurried to fetch a chair for the older man to sit down.

She complied when Endicott held out his hand, and gave hers into his grasp.

"Shades of Matilda and Ernest," Lewis said, bringing over another chair for Ess. He settled on the edge of the massive desk, shaking his head and grinning. "You wouldn’t believe the story this scapegrace told, coming in here. A false name, a Pinkerton agent, and working for one of the premier historical consortiums in the world. Girl -- no, young lady -- what have you been up to?"

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Book of the Week: SANCTUARY

Look for the final book in the Guardians of the Time Stream series, MUSIC IN THE NIGHT, coming in October (that's next week!) from Desert Breeze Publishing.

"We don’t want you to try anything specific," Athena said, pulling one of the helix-shaped crystal rods from her ever-present belt pouch. "For now, for today, we want you to just... play. Listen to the crystal, sing to it, if you want. Let it speak to you. It might take days of listening and perhaps even dreaming -- Vivian often made her greatest healing advances after she had studied and experimented and worked herself into headaches, and then everything came together in her sleep. In her dreams. She often said she had a friend who visited in her dreams, and then you had an imaginary friend very young--"

"Carmen." Ess surprised herself as the image of a little girl her own age at the time seemed to pop into her mind, like stepping from behind a thick screen. She had a momentary sensation of having been spun around, or the room had suddenly expanded in size.

More proof, perhaps, that memories had been blocked just like Uly's had been? She made a note to confer with her brother, to find out how he felt when memories and bits of his life returned to him.

"Yes." Athena blinked away a sheen that hinted at tears. "Vivian wrote to me of your friend, how glad she was that you... well, that is neither here nor there. Yet it does rather reinforce my theory. Your mind works enough like your mother’s, I’m hopeful you inherited that gift as well."

Ess took the rod and pressed it between her hands, to keep it from picking up the deliciously fearful shivers vibrating in her breastbone. Ford stood and opened the door, then waited until Athena and Dr. Sylvia stepped outside.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Book of the Week: SANCTUARY

Book Two in the Guardians of the Time Stream series, from Desert Breeze Publishing.

Ess Fremont and the Blue Lotus Society know the Originators have been infiltrated by Revisionists. The treachery has reached even to their headquarters, Sanctuary, an underground complex near San Francisco.
Problem: The Society can't contact Sanctuary, or risk putting power into the enemy's hands. Yet Ess must go there to claim her heritage and learn how and why her grandparents vanished seven years ago. 
Solution: Ask her family lawyers to "turn her in," and on the train ride cross-country, begin her education.
The journey launches revelations that threaten everything Ess knows as truth. As she uncovers schemes within lies within treachery, the fulfillment of her family's destiny rests heavy on her shoulders.
Who can she trust when her own grandparents blocked her memories, and the means of saving -- or destroying -- them all are hidden in the vaults of her mind?

Monday, September 25, 2017

Off the Bookshelf: IRON DAUGHTER, by Julie Kagawa

Okay, call this the Overdrive Effect.

Take a print book off the to-be-read pile. Read it. Really like it. Want MORE. Go to Overdrive and find e-book versions of the next couple books in the series. Borrow the next 3 books from the library, in e-book format. Instant gratification.

And then you have a deadline to read those 3 books in the next 3 weeks. And you DO it. Because the stories are good. And it also helps if 2 of the 3 books are novellas ...

This is the 2nd novel, and the third story in the Iron Fey series.

IRON DAUGHTER takes up after the novella, Winter's Passage, in which Meghan fulfills her promise to go to the Unseelie Court/Winter Court in payment for Prince Ash helping to rescue her brother from the Iron King's realm.

When the story starts, she is still a miserable guest in the Winter Court. Ash is either not there, or he's pretty nasty to her. Not a good time for a girl who beat the Iron King and finds out she's a half-breed faerie princess, but basically nobody likes her. You'd think the girl would be finally coming into her own. Learning magic, finding out she's a princess, and all that. Except that her magic doesn't seem to work. Bummer.

Things get worse when she's accused of murder and theft and blamed for starting a war. Fortunately, some old friends and allies show up, and former nemeses turn into allies, as they set off on a quest -- and run from people who want to kill them all, starting with Meghan -- to return a magic scepter and stop the war. Major heartbreak. Major danger. Meghan proves she's a pretty tough kid, doing what's right no matter how much it hurts. And yeah, messing up when it comes to her love life because after all, she is still a kid in high school.

Loved it when she got to attend the prom -- purely for magical energy-gathering purposes, of course -- and the jerks who snubbed and mocked her end up hitting on her, and she's the envy of every single girl in the school because of the two guys who are her escorts. Yes, two escorts.

Can I say I'm totally tempted to download the next 3 or 4 books in the series and binge-read them, too? Alas, I must desist, because I have some deadlines to make, writing-wise. Best to save more Iron Fey books as rewards for getting work done. Reward yourself and read as many of these as you can!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

ANALOGS: Phoenix Fan Fiction

Read the whole story on Wattpad: CLICK HERE

"He's awake now." Bennu had a bemused look on his face. "I can't contact him outright, but I'm getting fragments of what is going on. Someone is helping him escape."

"So strange," she muttered.

"What is?"

"You two are so...very alike. Your duties parallel. Yet you are a fugitive from those who should assist you, while Reydell is held in high honor." Aria shook her head. "It is not sensible."          

"Don't worry, I'm not that badly off. I have some friends in high places too." He stood up, now that all activity in front of the hospital had ceased for a while. "Let's go."      

Together they entered the building and found their first stroke of luck -- no one at the front desk. Bennu's link and a sign on the wall directed them down the east wing. They turned a corner, Aria in the lead, and found five men in sheriff's uniforms, standing in the hall. Bennu did a quick side-backstep and retreated around the corner again, tugging Aria back with him.

"Uniformed men -- those are police?" she whispered. Bennu nodded. "What are the guns you warned me of?"

"The black, hand-sized objects hanging from their belts. I have an idea to get you in to Reydell. How well do you lie?" Mischief glinted in his eyes, to be answered by a smile and nod from the girl.

Friday, September 22, 2017


The Guardians of the Time Stream series, from Desert Breeze Publishing.

A soft, three-note whistle warbled through the warehouse, coming from the far door. She choked on a totally irrational giggle. The distinct hiss-clop of very large feet trying to walk noiselessly in heavy boots came through the waiting quiet.

Charles was late, but fortunately not that more negative definition of late.

However, he was walking right into trouble.

"What in the Sam -- Odessa?" Charles hissed, appearing in the doorway. He was a distinct man-shape on the far side of the spill of dimmed moonlight. "Where are you, girl? Are you hurt?" The snick-click of his Colt cocking rang loud through the warehouse.

"Run!" she shouted. "I'm trapped -- get the others." She stared down the leg suddenly pointed at her face and swallowed hard, braced for another cloud of sleeping gas or maybe the acid this time. The automatons didn't have visible ears, either, but they seemed to understand exactly what she was doing when she shouted.

"What are those things?" Charles stepped out into the moonlight, staring up at her.

She was touched that he was worried about her -- glad that he assumed she was hurt and she hadn't fallen asleep on the job -- but the man was an idiot. What part of "run" didn't he understand?

"Get out, now! Look behind you!" She dared to point -- no reaction from the automatons.

The automatons on the floor moved at triple the speed she had seen before. Their tap-tapping sound turned into a rattle as they seemed to skim across the floor, heading right for Charles. He let out a shout and backed up, pulling his other pistol and letting go with both barrels.

He missed.

Charles was a crack shot.

Thursday, September 21, 2017


Look for the final book in the Guardians of the Time Stream series from Desert Breeze Publishing, coming in October!

The two automatons sat perpendicular to her, all six legs on each firmly planted on the vertical sides of the rafter beam. Perfectly still. No ticking or whirring sounds came from them, no indication of clockworks. Their eyeless pillboxes were partially retracted into their bodies. Moving slowly, ready for another spray of the chalky substance, she looked down the beam in the other direction. The two automatons there copied the same pose.

So we just sit and wait until someone falls off?

Ess hoped she would find this situation amusing in the future. Preferably, the very near future.

Another crystalline chime sang through the air. Two automatons, one from each pair, popped their pillbox heads out, making Ess flinch and gasp. They climbed up the vertical beams of the rafters and tap-tapped along the roof, hanging upside down, heading for the skylight. She kept watch, as much as she was able while keeping the other two, quiescent automatons in sight. Ess shivered as she realized the moonlight had faded by at least three-quarters of its intensity. How long had those things been chasing her around the warehouse rafters? Or had the clouds moved in far quicker that she thought, when she predicted a rainstorm coming up late tonight?

The two automatons prodded at the skylight latch. Ess flinched and rose up from her perch in the "V" when they grabbed onto the control cables for the lock and rode them down to the ground, pulling the skylight open.

The two automatons still with her raised one leg each, pointing them at her. A definite threat if she had ever seen one. So, she reasoned, she could watch all she wanted, turn her head to look around, but she couldn't move any other part of her body?

Fine. She had a very good, unimpeded view from her perch here. So what was going to happen next?

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The War Room

Please mark the date for the Faith and Fellowship Book Festival, and plan on attending!

Where is Etna? Look for Columbus, OH and then look to the right. Better yet, just plug the address into your map app. Check out this link and see all the authors, all the different kinds of books, the panel discussions available. Oh, yeah, and BOOKS to buy.

I mean, come on, it's almost time to start CHRISTMAS SHOPPING!!

I'm gonna be there -- I hope to see YOU!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


Book One of the Guardians of the Time Stream series from Desert Breeze Publishing.


A traveling exhibit of Egyptian artifacts is threatened by thieves. Pinkerton agents, including Ess Fremont, are providing protection. A midnight vigil brings Ess face-to-face with the reason behind the thefts -- and the two groups seeking what is hidden within the artifacts.

Encountering her missing grandparents' allies, Ess can reclaim her heritage, but hesitates. They aren't being honest with her. How can she join a battle affecting the entire world when she doesn't understand the reasons for the war? There is more to the Blue Lotus Society than protecting Egyptian history and culture.
As the exhibition crosses the country, Ess approaches the tipping point, when her decision could be made for her. Who can she trust? Who is lying to her and using her? When the enemy strikes, she discovers that making the right choice can't always wait for answers.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Off the Bookshelf: SUMMER'S CROSSING, by Julie Kagawa

Another novella in the Iron Fey series.

This one is told through the eyes of Puck, Robin Goodfellow, and a dozen other names among the Fey. Puck is the ultimate mischief-maker and rabble-rouser. A good ally to have on your side, if you can trust him to stay on your side.

Puck was once good friends with Ash, prince of the Winter Fey, otherwise known as the Unseelie Court. Ash has vowed to kill Puck, blaming him for the death of the girl he loved. Now things are complicated because Ash and Puck are both in love with Meghan Chase, heroine of the Iron Fey books.

Ash has a vow to fulfill to Meghan, and a promise to fulfill to a rebel Fey queen that he can't get out of. Before Ash can find their ally, Grimalkin, he has to steal something from the Seelie Court. Much against his will, he accepts Puck's help.

Things get a lot more complicated when Oberon shows up and points out to Puck that if he betrays Ash while he's in the Summer Court, then his rival will be destroyed ... and Puck can finally win Meghan's heart.

Will Puck double and triple-cross and pay his debts or just add to them?
Read and find out!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

ANALOGS: Phoenix Fan Fiction

Read the whole story on Wattpad: CLICK HERE

Aria's face went white and she stared at him for a long time. Once her lips moved, but she didn't speak. Lightly, she touched the burned or torn placed places on her clothes and the long slit high on her shoulder, stained with the blood of the wound Bennu had healed. Her clothes were simple, all of the same dark blue -- a loose, sleeveless tunic, falling halfway to her knees, and wide, baggy pants stuck into knee-hi leather boots. Headband, wristbands, belt and buckles of mother-of-pearl completed her most definitely un-Elrad look. Bennu wondered how he could have been mistaken -- yet she was Khahli, in size, coloring, voice and manner.

"Analogs," Aria said suddenly, relief in her tone. "That narrows the possible realms I could be in." She seemed to have forgotten about Bennu, and spoke her thoughts out loud. "By the Lion! What can I do without Reydell? And what about the doors?"

With very little questioning, they both knew for sure what had occurred. Aria and Khahli, and Bennu and Reydell, were doubles, analogs, each other's counterparts in a different plane of existence. Reydell and Aria were doormasters, guarding the entrances of other planes against mis-use and accident. The Gryf, her plane's analog of the Yago, had tried to get through to Bennu's plane. In the battle, the door had opened enough for Aria and Reydell to fall through before closing. Bennu's dream had been caused by a spontaneous link with his analog. It had been real. Dreaming he helped Khahli, he had pulled Aria to safety and separated the doormasters.     

They could only go back to their own realm working together -- and there was a limit on how long analogs could share a plane in safety.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Book of the Week: ODESSA FREMONT

From the Guardians of the Time Stream series, by Desert Breeze Publishing.

Look for MUSIC IN THE NIGHT, the final book in the series, coming at the start of October!

"Which brings us here to this moment." Mr. Lincoln sat back, clasping his hands in his lap. His mouth quirked up and his eyes narrowed just a little, so Ess felt as if he could somehow see through her. It made her want to fidget. "What was your name again?"

"Joshua, sir." A sudden dropping sensation took her breath away. Why would he ask her that? Wouldn't her name have been at the top of the report Sutter gave him?

"You're sure?"


He raised a hand and a door on the far side of the meeting room opened. Ess flinched, realizing the door hadn't been entirely closed. Sutter walked in, and that dropping sensation increased, making her slightly dizzy. Why had he been listening at the door? Tears prickled at the corners of her eyes. The new clothes that felt so fine now felt like a trap. How could she flee, vanish into the streets, wearing such clothes? They would make her stand out like a beacon on a hill.

"I'm curious. What do you plan to do when you can no longer disguise yourself as a boy?"

"Sir?" Agent Sutter said, stopping so abruptly he seemed to lean forward for a second. His eyes widened and he stared at Ess.

"I'll ask you again, young lady, what is your name? Your real name," Mr. Lincoln emphasized.

He laughed softly, shoulders shaking, as Sutter stared, looking back and forth between Ess and the president.

"Odessa Vivian Fremont, sir," she admitted, bracing herself for a torrent of questions.

Ess saw the moment Agent Sutter made the connection, the moment his frown relaxed into understanding and his eyes widened. Then he grinned and she couldn't decide if she should be relieved or perturbed by him.