Thursday, October 19, 2017

Book of the Week: JOAN, Quarry Hall #1


What kind of villain used twine to tie up his victims?
Joan's wrists itched from the fibers as she hobbled down the aisle between tall metal shelves full of grimy crates and packing boxes, and gave another experimental tug with her wrists bound behind her back. A sharp sensation flashed up her arm, followed by warm wet. Either sweat, or she had cut herself with the effort. She was betting on blood, because she had sat for four hours in a dark, grimy storage shed, sweating. The only thing that kept it from being a sweatbox straight out of a prison break movie was that it was made of plastic, not metal. All the time she sat there, no one had asked her any questions. She could have been another crate stored in the shed, for all the attention her captors paid her.
That was about to end, obviously. She would have preferred that they had put a hood over her head, but maybe that was a waste of time, since she had seen three of them. They didn't care what she saw, meaning they could keep her quiet and unable to use what she knew against them.

Wednesday, October 18, 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, 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.