Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Feature: BY FIRE AND STARS, Chorillan Cycle, Commonwealth Universe

SF from Writers Exchange:


Vidan was again reaching out to the stars: sadder and wiser... and cautious, unwilling to repeat the mistakes of the ancestors. The Commonwealth was born, reaching out to lost colonies and establishing new ones, rediscovering lost technology and how to navigate the star-ways. Many of the lost colonies not only survived but thrived--and they remembered their abandonment and the harsh centuries of the Downfall...

Lucas Aidan, Kay'li Fieran's childhood friend, faces the greatest fear of children born on Chorillan: Phase. His family tries to hide his condition and ease his torment during the worst part of the illness, but when tragedy strikes he flees into the wilderness. He learns to survive, guarded by Azuli and learning the secrets of the Wildlings who never returned from Phase.

When he is captured and brought back to civilization years later, he is a figure of legend, a leader for all Wildlings, and someone the corrupt government of Chorillan would do well to fear.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Feature: SCOUTS; PRIDE, Chorillan Cycle, Commonwealth Universe

SF from Writers Exchange:


Vidan was again reaching out to the stars: sadder and wiser...and cautious, unwilling to repeat the mistakes of the ancestors. The Commonwealth was born, reaching out to lost colonies and establishing new ones, rediscovering lost technology and how to navigate the star-ways. Many of the lost colonies not only survived but thrived--and they remembered their abandonment and the harsh centuries of the Downfall...

When Miranda dies of the same degenerative disease that killed her father, Ian and their daughter, Kay'li, flee Chorillan to keep Miranda's powerful family from taking the child away from him. Ian returns to the Scout Corps, and Kay'li grows up on board the Leaper ship, Estal'es'cai, seeing first-hand the requirements and the price of true heroism.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Feature: AZULI EYES, Chorillan Cycle, Commonwealth Universe

SF from Writers Exchange:


Vidan was again reaching out to the stars: sadder and wiser... and cautious, unwilling to repeat the mistakes of the ancestors. The Commonwealth was born, reaching out to lost colonies and establishing new ones, rediscovering lost technology and how to navigate the star-ways. Many of the lost colonies not only survived but thrived--and they remembered their abandonment and the harsh centuries of the Downfall...

Scout Captain Ian Fieran cleans up operations after battling a Gen'gineer team that attacked and decimated a small colony. The crime of the colonists? Their genetics didn't suit the exacting standards of the Gen'gineers, who continue the dogma and goal of the Set'ri from centuries ago in their attempt to create the "perfect" Human genome. Captured data leads Ian and his team of Scouts across the galaxy to the Rim colony world of Chorillan, where they hope to track down a Gen'gineer nest.

At the same time, Miranda Riallon, a schoolteacher and daughter of very important members of the Colony Council, worries about one of her students. The boy is an orphan, and she wants to adopt him. However, Ranny shows all the signs of going into Phase--the sensory overload that hits some children near adolescence. No one knows what causes Phase, and there's no known cure. Some fear that the Azuli--sentient canines native to Chorillan--are stealing the children when they escape into the wilderness to ease their discomfort. When Ranny vanishes, Miranda heads into the forests of Chorillan to find him.

She meets Ian and his Scouts. They help her look for Ranny while she helps them hunt down the Gen'gineers. As each side educates the other, they come to a partnership, then friendship. The choices Ian and Miranda make during their hunt will change Chorillan for generations to come.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Off the Bookshelf: COILED, by H.L. Burke

There's been some excitement in the fantasy community over this book -- and well deserved!!

I heard the story talked about on various podcasts and on different Facebook groups, so I was pretty confident buying it.

COILED is lovely.

The simplest description is a re-telling of the Psyche and Cupid legend, and yet .... can I say WOW?

Laidra and her sister, and Calen and his brother are twins -- and more than that, both sets of twins are cursed at birth with what is called a mirror curse. And yet it's not the same curse in that the effects are not the same between both sets of twins. Laidra and Calen, our heroes, are considered the monsters .... and yet that is only physical. The personalities of their twins are truly the "monsters" in the story, and what their parents do to each other, to their children, and the lengths they go to try to break the curse and cure their children ... heartbreaking. And infuriating. I just wanted to reach through the screen and slap some of them. Don't get me started on the creep who put the curse on the innocent babies.

How enthralling is this story? I picked it up late at night, planning to read a couple chapters ... and finally stopped about 2am with dry eyes and about 20 percent of the book left to go. I would have finished it that night/morning, but I needed to get some sleep!

Take my advice and put aside a big chunk of time so you can read from cover to cover. You'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Feature: TAKSEARHE, Wildvine Book 6

Fantasy from Writers Exchange:


In multiple worlds, universes and dimensions of reality, there are tales of Hub Worlds where many different realms can meet and intersect. Some travel between worlds through the power of the mind and with Talents born into the blood, while others are chosen through vision and prophecy and step between worlds with the power of talismans. None can go to the others' worlds, except when they meet in a Hub World.

Wildvine County, somewhere in the United States, is that pivotal point where the travelers from multiple worlds and universes meet.

Bree has lived with the burden of knowing she's born to be a Taksearhe, the highest level of strength among all the Talents, with the ability to travel between worlds. Yet childhood trauma has blocked her gifts. She knows she travels to other worlds in her dreams yet can't remember where she went or how when she wakes up. The exiles from Rehdonna are depending on her, and she's willing to do whatever it takes to learn what's going on in her brain and dreams to awaken her gifts.

When she joins a dream and sleep study program at Lyndvale University, she's relieved when Dr. Harland, the man her mother is dating, takes her under his wing to protect and guide her. With the help of her roommates and then contacts in other worlds, she learns to awaken and control her gift, but not before she attracts the attention of evil forces that want to use her to open the doorway to Earth.

Bree's wishes come true, but the cost if she takes just one wrong step could deprive her of friends, her heritage, and the soulmate who's reached out to her from another world.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Off the Bookshelf: The JOY SPARTAN Series, by Ruth I Johnson

I remember reading and enjoying these books in the church library when I was in junior high. Funny, but they're almost as old as me ....

Joy Spartan is a PK -- preacher's kid -- in the 60s. A simpler age (allegedly), but still just as uncomfortable and demanding and frustrating and embarrassing for a pre-teen even without the demands of social media. Yeah, everyone still managed to watch every move a PK made, even without the help of the Internet.

Joy and her twin brother Roy got in trouble  with the stuffed shirts at church, as well as with peer pressure and normal problems that still plague kids today. Along the way, they solved a few mysteries and helped straighten out a few troublemakers, and even faced an escaped convict. Being a PK, she got more than her fair share of Bible verses flung at her, but I think she still turned out okay. Read these books for a bit of nostalgia, and share them with your kids, who might just find a trip to the deep dark distant pre-Internet past fascinating.

Joy Spartan of Parsonage Hill
Joy Spartan and Her Problem Twin
Joy Spartan and the Vacation Mix-Up
Joy Spartan and the Money Mix-Up
Joy Spartan and the Mystery in Room 7

Friday, August 31, 2018

Feature: APPRENTICE SOLAR, Wildvine Book 5

Fantasy from Writers Exchange:


In multiple worlds, universes and dimensions of reality, there are tales of Hub Worlds where many different realms can meet and intersect. Some travel between worlds through the power of the mind and with Talents born into the blood, while others are chosen through vision and prophecy and step between worlds with the power of talismans. None can go to the others' worlds, except when they meet in a Hub World.

Wildvine County, somewhere in the United States, is that pivotal point where the travelers from multiple worlds and universes meet.

A secret life is just as much a burden as a secret identity...
Jori's still recovering from her injuries earned on her first adventure in Unipuri when her college life turns upside down. While losing her pain-in-the-neck roommate is good news, she also loses the good one. Two friends in her dormitory rescue her from the dilemma of taking new roommates, and share their dorm room with her. Nothing in the world can compel Jori to mess up her new dorm situation.

However, she's now living in two worlds, and, as a result, some complications just can't be avoided. Jori enjoys learning to be a Solar, charged with protecting the doorway between worlds. The time differential between the Midworld and Earth is a big help in getting her homework done. She can't always hide her dual lives, when she puts her life on the line in the centuries-long war raging in Unipuri. Especially when she realizes her new roommates have secrets of their own. Even her dreams aren't private anymore.

Enemies of the Solars target Jori and manage to follow her from Unipuri to Earth with their magic, threatening her life and the ones she loves most. She was warned and trained, but at the end of the day, she's still just a college freshman.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Feature: OLD SOLAR'S SHOPPE, Wildvine Book 4

Fantasy from Writers Exchange:


In multiple worlds, universes and dimensions of reality, there are tales of Hub Worlds where many different realms can meet and intersect. Some travel between worlds through the power of the mind and with Talents born into the blood, while others are chosen through vision and prophecy and step between worlds with the power of talismans. None can go to the others' worlds, except when they meet in a Hub World.

Wildvine County, somewhere in the United States, is that pivotal point where the travelers from multiple worlds and universes meet.

Jori goes to Willowood College because of a promise her father made years ago when he was a student there. She only has to put in one year and then she can go to whatever college she prefers. When she walks into Old Solar's Shoppe her first day in town, prophecies spoken in another world awaken and claim her.

Lew has already lost one apprentice, and he isn't happy when the dreamstone marks Jori as his new apprentice, but he knows better than to disobey the will of Waetru. Lew and Jori become friends and he teaches her about the world called Unipuri. She believes Lew's stories are just a wonderful, complicated game.
Then an ancient evil attempts to reach across multiple universes and force protective barriers wide open. Jori's game becomes more real than anything she has ever known, changing her life forever...if she and Lew survive their first test as master and apprentice.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Feature: FELIN-RU, Wildvine Book 3

Fantasy from Writers Exchange:


In multiple worlds, universes and dimensions of reality, there are tales of Hub Worlds where many different realms can meet and intersect. Some travel between worlds through the power of the mind and with Talents born into the blood, while others are chosen through vision and prophecy and step between worlds with the power of talismans. None can go to the others' worlds, except when they meet in a Hub World.

Wildvine County, somewhere in the United States, is that pivotal point where the travelers from multiple worlds and universes meet.

Daniel is a mystery, found injured, lost, and unconscious on a mountainside after a freak storm. His miracle recovery and then his brilliant mind make medical history. After witnessing the murders of her parents, Wren loses her memory. The trauma in their childhoods unlocks Talents that will take years for them to explore and understand.

Grown, Daniel escapes his university existence and sets out to explore and search for answers to the mysteries in his life. Taking refuge with a school friend's family, he meets Wren, and the two discover an instant bond of mind and soul and heart. Guarded by the mysterious, interdimensional shadow creatures Daniel knows only as the felin-ru, they dare to try to make a life together.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Feature: ISTORICA, Wildvine Book 2

Fantasy from Writers Exchange:


In multiple worlds, universes and dimensions of reality, there are tales of Hub Worlds where many different realms can meet and intersect. Some travel between worlds through the power of the mind and with Talents born into the blood, while others are chosen through vision and prophecy and step between worlds with the power of talismans. None can go to the others' worlds, except when they meet in a Hub World.

Wildvine County, somewhere in the United States, is that pivotal point where the travelers from multiple worlds and universes meet.

Khyber is Istorica for the exiles, the one entrusted with remembering all their history, everything they've learned. Despite the support of her grandmother, Dayree, Khyber feels she's let down her family by not being able to step between worlds and take the exiles home. She has many gifts, but her talent for telling stories becomes the most important, when it offers the exiles a chance to reach out and find other exiles from Rehdonna. However, enemies have followed the exiles to Earth, and the only way to protect her family and village is to live separated from them under a false name. For the sake of the exiles, Khyber will do whatever it takes...and in the process find her way home.


Sunday, August 19, 2018

Off the Bookshelf: THE DANIEL PLAN, by Rev. Rick Warren

Pastor Rick Warren (The Purpose-Driven Life, remember him?) looked in the mirror one day and realized he needed some help on the outside, to be blunt. And so did a LOT of people in his congregation. So he issued a challenge and invitation from the pulpit and a lot of people in the congregation of Saddleback Church got involved.

He also got experts in nutrition and fitness involved. You can read their references and experience in the book.

Yeah, another diet plan.
But this one is DO-ABLE.

A total makeover for your mind and body, with multiple aspects to incorporate. Faith, food, fellowship, fitness. Meeting the needs of the WHOLE person.

Okay, it's going to take me a while to incorporate ALL the steps, all the recommendations, make all the changes, but I started making changes in my eating and activity and lifestyle while I was reading the book. Simple things like being more active, trying to avoid drinking my calories (that one hurt, I love milk, for one thing), and drinking more water. I've lost weight already. I'm down lower than I've been in years.

There are lots of options available and lots of support on the Daniel Plan website. You can do this, and they're there to help you. I kid you not. Can't wait to see where I am a year from now, if just a few changes have made a difference already ....

Friday, August 17, 2018

Feature: JA'HANNA, Wildvine Book 1

Fantasy from Writers Exchange:


In multiple worlds, universes and dimensions of reality, there are tales of Hub Worlds, where many different realms can meet and intersect. Some travel between worlds through the power of the mind and Talents born into the blood, while others are chosen through vision and prophecy and step between worlds with the power of talismans. None can go to the others' worlds, except when they meet in a Hub World.

Wildvine County, somewhere in the United States, is that pivotal point where the travelers from multiple worlds and universes meet...

Dayree was born to a powerful family in the Taksearhe Clan. She was expected to have strong Talents, yet her gifts never emerged. Mocked by some, ignored by others, she took the opportunities offered to her and explored other gifts, becoming a craftsman and then a teacher. In the process, she found her soulmate, Jayx.

Years later, when their village was threatened by rebels who wanted to control their world, Dayree's gift awakened, enabling her talented cousin to evacuate the entire village to safety--stepping through the vortex between worlds, to a planet called Earth.


Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Feature: LIVING PROOF, Neighborlee, Ohio Book 8

COMING!
This October!!
From Uncial Press

When we last saw Lanie Zephyr at the end of DORM RATS, she was getting used to life in a wheelchair, after having broken her back while saving the life of one of her high school students.

LIVING PROOF starts six years later, when Lanie's semi-orderly life starts falling apart in a big way.

The newspaper where she works is taken over by a conglomerate and she gets switched from the high school sports beat to the ... gag ... lovelorn column.

Her parents are out of town researching another book, and her brothers have moved in with her for the duration.

That's not so bad, but their parents have missed two check-in calls already. Then a friend from the military shows up to let Lanie and her brothers know that their parents have vanished ... near the Bermuda Triangle.

A bunch of strange incidents and close calls add up to only one conclusion: someone is out to get Lanie.

Worst of all ... it's less than two weeks until Christmas, and she hasn't even started shopping.

It's enough to make a semi-pseudo-superhero hang up her cape. If she had one, Which she doesn't!

Friday, August 10, 2018

Feature: DORM RATS, Neighborlee, Ohio Book 7

From Uncial Press:

Lanie and her Lost Kids friends continue growing into their semi-pseudo-superhero powers and responsibilities, and learn more about what it means to be a guardian of the odd little town of Neighborlee.  Sometimes that meant protecting the rest of the world from the everyday weirdness and magic around them.
The transition from high school to college is marked with challenges and mystical, magical attacks from outside Neighborlee's borders. When the academic game-playing and politics of the local college are used to run a questionable experiment on the entire freshman class, Lanie is there in the middle of it. Sometimes those who realize there's something strange going on aren't as enchanted as Lanie and her geek friends, and it takes a lot of fast talking and faster maneuvering to keep the lid from blowing off the entire town.
The threats grow bigger and the enemies grow meaner, but it's all in a day's work for the guardians of Neighborlee. This is home, and they're willing to pay the price. Sometimes, they do. With their lives.
The really big questions remain: Why are they the way they are and how can they do the things they do?  At least when they mess up and use their talents in public, most people don't even notice. It's just part of the background weirdness of Neighborlee, Ohio.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Feature: GROWING UP NEIGHBORLEE, Neighborlee, Ohio Book 6

From Uncial Press:

Lanie was a Lost Kid -- a toddler found by the side of the road, with no one to claim her. She ended up in the Neighborlee Children's Home, where her long journey to become a semi-pseudo-superhero began. She and her friend Kurt, and later Felicity, made up the "rules" for what they were and what they could do as they went along. Most of the time, they borrowed them from comic books.

Lanie could kinda-sorta fly and move things with telekinesis. Kurt could invent and make broken machines work when all mechanical laws said they shouldn't. Felicity gave off uncontrollable EM bursts and controlled dogs. Where the trio came from and how they got to Neighborlee faded into the background when faced with the really big questions: Why were they the way they were and how could they do the things they did? Were they aliens? Genetic experiments? Mutations? Should they look for a spaceship? Should they fear the Men in Black or the CIA?

Adventures and misadventures tested their imagination, their loyalty, and their courage as they explored their abilities and their world. And one thing became perfectly clear: the Lost Kids were as necessary to guard Neighborlee from the rest of the world, as they were vital to protect the rest of the world from the everyday weirdness and magic of Neighborlee.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Off the Bookshelf: THE TEMPTATION, by Alisa Valdes

Subtitle: A Kindred Novel
Which leads to the natural question: What are the Kindred?
Easy answer: soul mates

Shane is a talented musician, going to an exclusive school, dating a boy from a powerful family, popular. The night of her car wreck on a desert highway, all that becomes meaningless. Travis saves her life and changes it forever.

Because Travis is dead. His arch-enemy is out to get Travis to break the rules of those who wander this world, paying for their sins, and condemn him forever. That enemy is out to get Shane now, because danger and harm to those we love is a far worse pain than anything we feel ourselves, and saving them by breaking the rules is an easy temptation to fall victim to.

Shane and Travis are soul mates, with the rules of the Afterworld standing between them, and one false step could destroy him for eternity. But in the end, Shane is the only chance Travis has to save his soul. How? I'm going to have to read the next two books to find out.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Feature: HERO BLUES, Neighborlee, Ohio Book 5

From UNCIAL PRESS:

Superheroes have it rough -- especially when the towns they protect expect them to fix everything, from forgetting to fill their gas tanks to children running wild to the consequences of a lack of common sense. Jane is finally fed up with being the Ghost, notifies the citizens in her town of mental midgets that she’s quitting, and sets off to make a new life and solve some mysteries of her own.
First item on the list: return to Neighborlee, the town where she was found as an abandoned child. Jane knows there are others like her: abandoned children with unusual powers. Where did they come from, how did they get to Neighborlee and other towns like it, and why are the Gifted -- as they call themselves -- the way they are?
As Jane retraces her childhood, she is pleased to discover that some people remember her. She settles in, makes a new place for herself, and is welcomed by the people and the town itself. That’s important, because Neighborlee protects its own -- and those who don’t fit in are soon driven away. She makes contact with others like her and slowly earns their trust and confidence.
However, it’s a bumpy process. Living in the “weirdness capital of the United States, possibly the world,” means being extra cautious. Even when it comes to someone with superhero powers. Or maybe especiallysomeone with superhero powers.
Then someone -- or something -- from outside her understanding makes contact. It or he or they promise Jane not only answers to the questions she’s had all her life, but a way to go home, wherever her real home might be. It’s everything she’s ever wanted … or is it?

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Feature: LONDON HOLIDAY, Neighborlee, Ohio Book 4

From UNCIAL PRESS:


It started with an overnight stay at Divine’s Emporium and a high school computer programming assignment. Athena found an unusual video camera, hooked it up to her computer, and videotaped her cousin, London, whom everyone called Doni. She thought nothing of it, after all the other odd events of that night.
After all, Neighborlee, Ohio was the weirdness capital of the United States, and Divine’s Emporium was the caretaker, the way to control all that weirdness and keep the magic tamed. At least, that was what everyone who saw the strange things and people and events chose to believe.
Three years later, in an experimental computer class in college, Athena and her teammates chose to create a social media site as their project. The site, called FlopDrop, needed a hostess. Doni agreed to be the foundation for all the images of the hostess, whom they named London Holiday.
To the surprise of the team and the class--and the disgust of their rivals and enemies--FlopDrop took off. London Holiday and her CGI friends became overnight Internet sensations. London seemed to take on a life of her own.
By the time Athena and Doni realized that their artificial person had become a self-aware Artificial Intelligence, they weren’t quite sure what that harmless experimentation three years ago had created. Were they midwives at the birth of a new lifeform…or repeating Dr. Frankenstein’s mistakes on an even bigger scale?

Friday, July 27, 2018

Feature: DIVINE KNIGHT, Neighborlee, Ohio Book 3

From UNCIAL PRESS:

Equinox: Maurice has a day of full-size freedom to spend with his true love, Holly. Their day of fun ends in panic, when Angela is attacked and the defenses of Divine's Emporium are breached. In the search to find out who hired thieves to steal books full of inimical magic from the shop and provided them with magic charms to do it, Angela's memories are stirred. Strange dreams disturb her sleep and she asks questions she hasn't thought of in decades. 

Ethan Jarrod, a particularly gifted P.I. with some mysteries of his own, joins forces with local P.I. John Stanzer to identify Angela's enemies. Is Jarrod the knight from her dreams, or the final weapon of her enemies, to destroy all the magic of Divine's Emporium and Angela herself?

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Feature: HAVE YOURSELF A FAERIE LITTLE CHRISTMAS, Neighborlee, Ohio Book 2

From UNCIAL PRESS:

Maurice- the exiled, shrunken Fae with wings even Tinkerbell would scorn--has one wish: to be real for Holly, the librarian. In her dreams, they are in love, but she doesn't remember or see or hear him when she's awake. He is only allowed is one day, four times a year, to be full-sized, able to talk with her and try to win her heart. Christmas is coming, and his next day as an ordinary man. As he waits impatiently for his rendezvous with Holly, life goes on in Neighborlee, Ohio. Albeit, life in Neighborlee isn't what most people would call normal. Especially when three couples come to town with various magical dilemmas to resolve.

Bethany is a local girl who became a Hollywood starlet. All she wants is an ordinary Christmas, sans paparazzi. With the help of Harry and his malfunctioning invisibility spell, she just might get it. And a lot more.

Wilfred and Philomena are best buddies, and their Fae relatives want them separated so each one can find their true love. But what happens when your true love is under your nose, and you can't convince him – or her – of that important little fact?

Lori is allergic to mistletoe, and on the run from her aristocratic relatives who want to pair her with an "appropriate" Fae man. She hides out in Neighborlee and meets Brick, who has some romantic interference problems of his own. He believes in magic – but can he believe in Fae or think she's insane when she tells him the truth?

Christmas is the most magical time of the year – especially for Fae in search of love in Neighborlee, Ohio.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Feature: DIVINE'S EMPORIUM, Neighborlee, Ohio Book 1

From UNCIAL PRESS:

Maurice used his Fae magic to help the downtrodden and abused. But when he went too far, the Power-that-be decided he needed to learn humility, self-restraint, and mercy. They took away most of his magic, shrunk him down to 5 inches, and slapped wings on his back that no self-respecting Fae would be caught dead in. Then they exiled him to the Human realms, to work out his sentence helping Humans. 

His destination: Divine's Emporium, a curiosity shop touched with magic, on the edge of the odd town of Neighborlee, Ohio. 

His parole officer: Angela, the proprietress of Divine's Emporium, touched with magic and a shadowy past of her own. 

His sentence: Help the Humans who come into Divine's to find answers, freedom, their own magic, and true love. Not necessarily in that order. 

His problem: How does a five-inch-tall Fae, invisible to most Humans, win the heart of the ugly duckling who has caught his interest, his sympathy, and then his heart--when she can't see or hear him?

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Feature: GATHERING, The Hunt #5

Writers Exchange:


The Hunt are children sent from an endangered world in another universe/dimension of reality, to protect them from a despot who wants to command their Talents. Given into the keeping of the Hounds of Hamin, the members of the Hunt have been separated by time as well as distance. They know each other by the scars--rows of teeth marks--on their wrists. Some have been in our world for decades, others only for a few years. Before more enemies show up to destroy them, they must locate each other, soon, to find a way back home to save their world.

The storms are increasing. The Hounds are on the move. Gahlmorag approaches Earth. The time has come for the Hunt to reunite and return home. Somehow.

There will always be unanswered questions, but, after years of searching and investigating, all the members of the Hunt have been accounted for: dead or alive; faithful or traitor. Energy builds up in Neighborlee and something is about to happen, whether for good or ill...

Friday, July 13, 2018

Feature: FINDERS KEEPERS, The Hunt #4

From Writers Exchange:


The Hunt are children sent from an endangered world in another universe/dimension of reality, to protect them from a despot who wants to command their Talents. Given into the keeping of the Hounds of Hamin, the members of the Hunt have been separated by time as well as distance. They know each other by the scars--rows of teeth marks--on their wrists. Some have been in our world for decades, others only for a few years. Before more enemies show up to destroy them, they must locate each other, soon, to find a way back home to save their world.

Iris Davenport hates the memories that come with world-shaking thunderstorms. She doesn't want to remember she's a member of the Hunt. She's perfectly happy with her adopted parents, helping run the lodge on Smokeytop Mountain, exploring the mountainside and working search-and-rescue. The last thing she wants is to face one of the Hunt and be reminded of the vows her parents made when they gave her to the guardianship of the Hounds of Hamin.

Then a plane taking a sick boy to a life-saving operation crash-lands on Smokeytop in a thunderstorm. One of the searchers who come to the lodge is a member of the Hunt, and he reminds her of everything she hoped to forget. She has her own life now--a home, friends, parents, and a boyfriend. She's not willing to give anything up for a world she barely remembers.

The past catches up with them in the form of a traitor to the Hunt. Pieces of an old puzzle threaten to get her and her boyfriend killed if they don't find all the clues in time.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Feature: BUTTERFLY, The Hunt #3

From Writers Exchange:


The Hunt are children sent from an endangered world in another universe/dimension of reality, to protect them from a despot who wants to command their Talents. Given into the keeping of the Hounds of Hamin, the members of the Hunt have been separated by time as well as distance. They know each other by the scars--rows of teeth marks--on their wrists. Some have been in our world for decades, others only for a few years. Before more enemies show up to destroy them, they must locate each other, soon, to find a way back home to save their world.

Beth considers herself a geek, one of the invisible and awkward in her school, too smart for her own good as part of the Gifted and Talented program. During a summer internship at a government weather station, she notices strange weather patterns. The storms remind her of the ones when she was brought to Earth by the Hounds of Hamin. Remembering she's a member of the Hunt, Beth sets out to remake herself, to be ready when the gathering of the Hunt occurs.

After she returns to school in the fall, she's a new person, physically and mentally, and she attracts the attention of another member of the Gifted and Talented program. Tommy DiCorsi is supposedly one of the "bad boys" in town. As their friendship grows, Tommy protects her from trouble and learns about the Hounds and the Hunt. Beth learns he isn't at all what he appears either. Another member of the Hunt shows up, changing both their lives forever.


Friday, July 6, 2018

Feature: QUARTET, The Hunt #2

From Writers Exchange:

The Hunt are children sent from an endangered world in another universe/dimension of reality, to protect them from a despot who wants to command their Talents. Given into the keeping of the Hounds of Hamin, the members of the Hunt have been separated by time as well as distance. They know each other by the scars--rows of teeth marks--on their wrists. Some have been in our world for decades, others only for a few years. Before more enemies show up to destroy them, they must locate each other, soon, to find a way back home to save their world.


Cinden Lai is a firstborn, a member of the Hunt. She finds sanctuary with a reclusive old woman when the Hounds of Hamin bring her to Earth, but now her dreams and the increasing storms mean it's time to leave her safe haven and seek out members of the Hunt.

When a rich old man claims she's his missing granddaughter, Cinden knows he is lying but she can't prove it--not without endangering the Hunt. He knows too much about her and claims he has her brothers and sister. That's reason enough for her to investigate. Are the other three part of a trap or in need of rescue?

When four members of the Hunt come together, amazing things can happen...but they also uncover treachery, and learn a countdown has started: Time is running out for the Hunt and life on Earth can be fatal for them in more ways than one.


Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Feature: DAWN MEMORIES, the Hunt #1

From Writers Exchange:

The Hunt are children sent from an endangered world in another universe/dimension of reality, to protect them from a despot who wants to command their Talents. Given into the keeping of the Hounds of Hamin, the members of the Hunt have been separated by time as well as distance. They know each other by the scars--rows of teeth marks--on their wrists. Some have been in our world for decades, others only for a few years. Before more enemies show up to destroy them, they must locate each other, soon, to find a way back home to save their world.

The explosion nearly killed her, but it also brought her back to life...

The explosion that should have killed Dawn ignites a fiery trail of buried memories, all leading to the point where it all began. She remembers...

She's not from Earth at all. She's the daughter of one of the ruling families of another world in another dimension, sent to Earth by her parents to protect her from a galactic despot who wants all the rulers' children as hostages.

She's from the Hunt, branded as such by two thin white lines on her wrist, caused by the Hounds of Hamin--interdimensional guardian beasts that hold the children's wrists in their mouths as they pull them through the vortex from their world to Earth.

But Dawn remembers something else. Someone else. Stayn, her best friend and her betrothed.

Where is he? Can he rescue her from the 'safe' house where she's currently guarded by federal agents? And can they rekindle what time and distance has torn apart?

Friday, June 29, 2018

Feature: SWORD OF FAXINOR, Faxinor Chronicles #4

From Writers Exchange:

Legend says long ago Yomnian gave to each country its own Spirit Sword, entrusted to a Sword Bearer to lead in the defense of each country, and also to provide spiritual guidance. If necessary, the Sword Bearer could overrule the word and authority of the king, but those to whom the most power and authority have been entrusted have the highest standards and the most expected of them. As the centuries passed, Sword Bearers fell and the Spirit Sword for each country was lost. Now only the country of Reshor possesses a Spirit Sword. Its bearer, Rakleer, has vanished into mist and memory, waiting until need and danger awaken the sword to choose a new Bearer and lead in the defense of Reshor.

The Faxinor family prepares to travel to Eretia for the birth of Lorien and Arand's first child. Their sea voyage is an adventure as they learn about sailing and legends of the seafarers. More than just pirates and enemy nations hide over the horizon and beyond the next wave.
A legend rises from the deep waters. Before he knows it, Derek, third-born and the oldest son, falls overboard. He's stranded on another ship, separated from his family. 
Captain Silas of the Sea Storm is willing to reunite Derek with his family. However, legends, visions and the laws of the seafarers interfere.
Prophecy and visions guide the crew of the Sea Storm, and what starts out as an accident might just be the hand of Yomnian. Derek has the opportunity to recover the ancestral Faxinor sword as well as help his new friends and allies. He's reminded of the visions of his grandfather who saw all the Faxinor children spreading light throughout the world.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Feature: TRAITORS, Faxinor Chronicles #3

From Writers Exchange:

Legend says long ago Yomnian gave to each country its own Spirit Sword, entrusted to a Sword Bearer to lead in the defense of each country, and also to provide spiritual guidance. If necessary, the Sword Bearer could overrule the word and authority of the king, but those to whom the most power and authority have been entrusted have the highest standards and the most expected of them. As the centuries passed, Sword Bearers fell and the Spirit Sword for each country was lost. Now only the country of Reshor possesses a Spirit Sword. Its bearer, Rakleer, has vanished into mist and memory, waiting until need and danger awaken the sword to choose a new Bearer and lead in the defense of Reshor.
Lord Edrix Faxinor regrets his brilliant diplomatic insight it lands him in the role of ambassador to Sendorland, the hereditary enemy of his country, Reshor. Still aching from the death of his betrothed, he sets sail in hopes of bringing peace between the two warring nations.
Arriena of Traxslan is the lowest of the low--a poor relation, living on the charity of her domineering, cruel cousin, Lord Mordon Traxslan. She has dreams of being a scholar despite the "sin" of being born a woman, with supposedly limited intelligence. 
Her cousin offers Arriena choices in her own future. Both could cost her life. Because she resembles Edrix's dead betrothed, she's ordered to enchant and ensnare him, to give Sendorland power over him and force him to betray Reshor.
Arriena has grown up unable to trust anyone. Could she trust Edrix with the truth...and possibly her heart? To save Arriena, can Edrix risk becoming a traitor?

Friday, June 22, 2018

Feature: LORIEN, Faxinor Chronicles #2

From Writers Exchange:



Legend says long ago Yomnian gave to each country its own Spirit Sword, entrusted to a Sword Bearer to lead in the defense of each country, and also to provide spiritual guidance. If necessary, the Sword Bearer could overrule the word and authority of the king, but those to whom the most power and authority have been entrusted have the highest standards and the most expected of them. As the centuries passed, Sword Bearers fell and the Spirit Sword for each country was lost. Now only the country of Reshor possesses a Spirit Sword. Its bearer, Rakleer, has vanished into mist and memory, waiting until need and danger awaken the sword to choose a new Bearer and lead in the defense of Reshor.

Lorien vows to do whatever it takes to serve Reshor and protect her pregnant sister, Andrixine, the Sword Bearer...even if it means making a loveless political marriage. The game of politics and courtly manners turns out to be a far harsher duty than swordplay and battle. Ambassador Lord Arand of Eretia comes to Reshor to make politically astute marriages to protect his kingdom against Sendorland. He's been ordered to win Lorien for his queen's grandson.

Arand and Lorien discover they have much in common and their resolve to put duty ahead of their own dreams soon becomes a torment. Arand has a gift for healing and music but has denied both for the sake of following family tradition and serving the throne as an ambassador.

When enemies inside Reshor conspire with Sendorland to steal first Lorien's brothers and then Andrixine's newborn sons, Lorien and Arand find themselves in the middle of danger but in exactly the right place to avert total disaster. Their own misery makes them wonder if all their sacrifices mean anything. Doesn't Yomnian want his servants to be happy?

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Feature: HEIR OF FAXINOR, The Faxinor Chronicles #1

From Writers Exchange:

Legend says long ago Yomnian gave to each country its own Spirit Sword, entrusted to a Sword Bearer to lead in the defense of each country, and also to provide spiritual guidance. If necessary, the Sword Bearer could overrule the word and authority of the king, but those to whom the most power and authority have been entrusted have the highest standards and the most expected of them. As the centuries passed, Sword Bearers fell and the Spirit Sword for each country was lost. Now only the country of Reshor possesses a Spirit Sword. Its bearer, Rakleer, has vanished into mist and memory, waiting until need and danger awaken the sword to choose a new Bearer and lead in the defense of Reshor.
When Andrixine falls ill and spends the winter recovering at Snowy Mount--a community of holy folk, scholars and healers--she never dreams it will be the first step of an adventure destined to change her life...
When she seeks a weapon to rescue her kidnapped mother, she's chosen by the mystical Spirit Sword to lead in the defense of Reshor against its ancient enemy. First, she must rescue her mother and uproot treachery from within her own castle and family. The friends she gathers along the way become her closest allies and supporters. When friendship with a young warrior turns into something more, she's the most surprised.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Off the Bookshelf: THE RANCHER'S MISTLETOE BRIDE, by Jill Kemerer

Love Inspired Romance -- so easy to read, and as I've learned from trying, so hard to write. So I admire anyone who is able to write Category.

My chapter of ACFW was lucky enough to have Jill Kemerer speak to us a while ago about writing for LI, the requirements, the process of proposing, and all that goes into being one of their authors. Very grateful for the chance to learn about this specialized market.

And grateful for free books!

MISTLETOE is about two hurting people who come together to take care of duties and obligations and help each other, and who get a chance to heal in the process.

Lexi is a wedding planner with a successful business out of state, who comes home to take care of the family ranch after her father dies. Along with guilt for what she perceives as putting her career ahead of family, she has apparent rebellion among the ranks back at the business. She's alone, she's questioning her goals, and when a chance comes to change and fix things, she's ready to grab it. Maybe.

Clint is a foster kid who has basically been taught by everyone except a few close friends, fellow survivors of the foster system, that he's worthless, that nobody wants him, that he'll always mess up. He was cheated and robbed, and the wound is still hanging over him when he gets a chance to do what he loves -- run a ranch. Lexi's ranch. He knows better than to let anyone get close, especially a beautiful woman who is going back to her own life soon. But Lexi is irresistible.

We all know what the outcome is going to be -- it's a romance, after all -- but the JOURNEY is the fascinating part, and where Jill shines. I'm pretty sure there will be more stories set in the town of Sweet Dreams, featuring Clint's friends -- and tempted to look for them.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Feature: SEASONS, Tabor Hts. Novel

From Desert Breeze Publishing


Cops and Bobbers: Officer Mike will do whatever it takes to get closer to Rec Director Trina, even put on swim trunks and help beginning swimmers at the city pool.

Troubleshooting: Jake follows Bailey to church, his first Sunday in Tabor. Hired to find an embezzler, he is dismayed to realize she is the prime suspect, and fights to prove her innocence.

In the Air, On the Air: Riley knows how Clark Kent felt about Superman, when Gina seems to like his radio alter-ego, Whit, more than him. What's a mild-manner DJ to do to win the girl of his dreams?

From Turkey to Mistletoe: A nasty office trick sends Mitch to Jenna's door while she still aches over Thanksgiving dinner no-shows. Their instant friendship grows despite office politics until Christmas, the season of miracles.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Feature: THE MISSION, Tabor Hts. Novel

From Desert Breeze Publishing


Claire came to Tabor five years ago to make a new start. Her life is wrapped up in the Mission, which now has funds for renovations and expansion.

Paul comes to be head custodian, threatening her equilibrium. First, his daughter, Sammy, asks if Claire will be her new mommy, then Claire begins to fear Paul will take over, changing the vision and goals of the Mission.

Paul only wants a fresh start and a safe home for Sammy. The Mission’s vision has caught his imagination, and Claire has caught his heart. Teamwork for the sake of the Mission promises to become so much more, and personal, if they only have the courage to take a chance

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Feature: ACCIDENTAL HEARTS, Tabor Hts. Novel

From Desert Breeze Publishing


What do Abby Morgan, pilot, and Tyler Sloane, theater director, have in common? Siblings raising children on their own, a tendency for embarrassing accidents, and a voice deep inside asking, When will it be MY turn?

In a summer insane with activities and crises and demanding jobs, Abby and Tyler see an oasis of hope and love in each other … but crossing that desert of responsibilities and commitments might be more than they can manage. Is it a dream, or just a mirage?

Their every attempt to get to know each other fails, until in frustration Tyler decides he must stage the perfect romantic encounter if he and Abby are to ever fly off into the sunset together.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Feature: WHITE ROSES, Tabor Hts. Novel

From Desert Breeze Publishing


Toni returns to Tabor Heights to help identify the White Rose Killer. He stalks young women who look like her sister, murdered twenty years ago. Is he the same boy, grown up, who left white roses on Angel's grave?

Curt found Angel's body, and he doesn't want Toni to be the White Rose's next victim. He reluctantly partners with her at the newspaper, to find the killer before he strikes again. To protect her, they pretend to have a relationship that slowly becomes real.

Their hunt becomes a race against time: find love and the White Rose before the killer targets them.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Off the Bookshelf: THE SPIRITGLASS CHARADE, by Colleen Gleason

Not sure what to file this under -- steampunk, alternate history, massive literary license, or just plain FUN ROMP.

Brilliant.

THE SPIRITGLASS CHARADE is the 2nd Stoker and Homes novel -- as in, the sister of Bram Stoker (Dracula) and the niece of Sherlock Holmes. No-nonsense, brilliant young women who manage to solve bizarre crimes and mysteries despite the hampering of society's expectations and limitations, and their bulky skirts.

Even better -- they don't really like each other. Or at least, they are both so brilliant and talented and determined in their own right, they keep colliding against each other. Yet they are there for each other when the going gets downright deadly and tense.

The spiritglass in the title is a device created by the granddaughter of Charles Babbage ... not sure if she is real or not ... which aids in contacting the spirits of the deceased. A young woman believes she is being contacted by her deceased mother, who is urging her to find her missing younger brother. Throw in all sorts of clever steampunk devices and a London infiltrated by anachronistic technology, a clever young unwilling time traveler, and what appears to be an invasion of vampires playing Fagan, and you're guaranteed a romp that will have you grumbling every time chores and boring things like working for a living force you to put the book down. Throw in Irene Adler (yes, her) acting as mentor to the two brilliant tough chicks, with lots of references to Uncle Sherlock's cases and vampire hunting duties ... wow.

Gonna have to buy the first book. This one came out in 2014 (don't you love used bookstores?) so hopefully there are one or two more new ones to dive into.

Like I said before. Brilliant. Great fun.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Feature: FORGIVEN, Tabor Hts. Novel

From Desert Breeze Publishing


The hardest thing Nikki has ever done is go home to Tabor Heights, to the people who know how far she fell, and the hearts she broke. Working for the Arc Foundation, she is to assess the Mission for funding. She refuses to fail the God who has forgiven her, and let down her home church.

Released from prison, Brock follows Nikki home. Now that he is right with God, he wants more than anything to win her back, and make sure their love is the right kind. Nikki knows she won't find full healing until she forgives Brock, but she discovers she has to forgive herself, first.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Feature: FIRESONG, Tabor Hts. Novel

From Desert Breeze Publishing

Dani has known all her life that God called her to ministry and music. Her life revolves around her brother and their band, Firesong.

Kurt returns to Tabor to prepare for a crusade and reunite with old friends. He never expects Dani to capture his imagination, and then his heart. How can he convince the girl who once disdained him as an arrogant jerk to open her heart to him -- especially when she believes ministry leaves no room for romance?

Between the crusade, concerts, a new CD, and her brother's wedding, Dani doesn’t have time for Kurt's nonsense … but sometimes he gives her those looks that make her doubt everything she knows and believes.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Off the Bookshelf: OTHERKIN, Nina Berry

Dez already feels like a freak in school. Scoliosis requires she wear a back brace, so she's pretty sure any guy who ever tries to get close will be immediately repelled.

If only that were her biggest problem.

Frustration and fury and teen angst finally combine to trigger what the Tribunal (a brutal, arrogant, secretive organization) has been waiting for: Dez's first shift to her Otherkin form, and proof that she is indeed a dangerous, demonic creature. "Fortunately" (read sarcasm here) they're ready and waiting with a big old tranquilizer dart before she even knows what's happened to her.

As Dez learns from Caleb, the boy trapped in the cage next to hers, the other side of the story is very different from the self-righteous lies the Tribunal  operates under. (Why do the nasty jerks always try to blame God for their cruelty and stupidity?) There are many tribes of Otherkin out there in the world. Or at least there were. They don't work together, because the beastly forms the Otherkin take pretty much influence their personalities and their interactions. Wolves don't get along with rats don't get along with bears don't get along with tigers ... etc.

Except for the school Dez and Caleb flee to when they escape the Tribunal. There, an irritating, mysterious, secretive, frustrating old man trains Otherkin teens to survive, and understand their dangerous heritage. When Dez and Caleb arrive, the tension and danger go through the roof, but the tides might just be turning for the Otherkin in their slow side to extinction.

Fascinating angle on the teens-discovering-secret-magical-heritage trope. A keeper.