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.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Feature: DETOURS, Tabor Hts. Novel

From Desert Breeze Publishing

A year in the life…

Roommates Bekka, Kat, and Amy had a lot in common: Theater students, pursuing writing careers, supporting each other in crises and heartaches. Amy kept breaking up with her boyfriend. Kat never dated a boy more than twice. Bekka was too busy with part-time jobs and writing to even want a relationship. Especially seeing how miserable her roommates were

So she thought, until Shane showed up, but Kat saw him first, and once she dumped a boyfriend, he never came back. Bekka couldn't help hoping, though.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

ALL THAT WE SEE OR SEEM, by Kristina Mahr

As promised, more information on this fascinating, dark fantasy published by Uncommon Universes Press:


Every night, seventeen-year-old Reeve Lennox finds herself under a noose.

By day she is a lady of Acarsaid’s royal house, daydreaming of adventure and love. But every night in sleep she wanders through a nightmarish city, an invisible witness to the screeches of monsters and the screams of their victims. Her only consolation is Bran, a battle-torn young man with a selfless heart and eyes that reflect the stars. 

Yet while Reeve falls deeper into her dreams, in truth she is engaged to Arden, a mercurial nobleman who has long been cured of his belief in love and breathes fire and flattery like other people breathe air.

Torn between two lives, Reeve struggles to remember what’s real. Until night and day collide, with a revelation that threatens all of Acarsaid.




Kristina Mahr devotes her days to numbers and her nights to words. She works full-time as an
accountant in the suburbs of Chicago, where she lives with her two dogs and two cats, but her true passion is writing. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, and waking up at the crack of dawn every weekend to watch the Premier League.


I'm serious, folks. READ this book!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Feature: BEHIND THE SCENES, Tabor Hts. Novel

From Desert Breeze Publishing

Absence makes the heart... see clearer.

Tony and Max were best friends, writing partners. People swore he didn't know she was a girl and she didn't know he was a boy. When Tony went away for a few months, he realized that empty place inside was Max-shaped. Every idea to tell her how he felt sounded like the plot for a book they would never write.

Then Max's parents were seriously injured.

Tony dropped everything to come home and be there for her and her brothers. He would just have to wait until things calmed down before he confessed his love, and pray Max felt the same way. Before the new guy in the tech crew made his move.

Max tried not to dream that she and Tony could be more to each other. As she held together her parents' theater and dealt with the invasion of paparazzi when Hollywood discovered where her mother had hidden years ago, she couldn't help wishing...

In one crisis after another, dealing with spoiled actors, gossips, and secret nightmares, Tony was her rock. After all the answered prayers, would God answer this one, too?

Monday, May 14, 2018

Off the Bookshelf: ALL THAT WE SEE OR SEEM, by Kristina Mahr

You know what's the mark of a really well-written story? When the main character makes a choice and you cringe, because you've come to be so invested in her story, you know she's going to get hurt, it's the wrong choice, and you just want to reach through the pages and grab her shoulders and shake her until her eyes rattle and she changes her mind.

Yeah, Reeve, the main character in this book got that reaction from me.

And did you hear me last night when I got to the last page and I didn't want it to end? (Attention, Kristina Mahr, there better be another book following up on this one, and right quick! You cannot leave Reeve and Bran where you left them -- at least, not permanently. Please?) Okay, I didn't shout, I didn't scream, because it was after 11 at night and the rest of the household was sleeping, but there was some mental agony involved. Close to the destruction of Alderaan.

There were a number of cringe-worthy moments in the story. No, Reeve, don't!
And when I ached for her.
And I held my breath, hoping the short moment of sweetness and hope would last.

Okay, what's so special about this book? I really don't want to give it all away. But here are the basics:
Reeve is the niece of the king, lives in the palace, and very realistically, the luxuries she enjoys don't make up for her restricted, somewhat lonely life. And yeah, she's expected to make a marriage to benefit the throne. Her choices all have drawbacks. Some bigger than others. Some, she doesn't discover until it's too late, and turn near-deadly. The only real friends she has are her bodyguards and her ladies maid, and even they aren't close enough for her to tell her biggest, strangest, scariest secret.

Every night, for her entire life, Reeve goes to another land in her sleep. A horrible place, full of darkness and fear and pain and blood. She wakes under a gallows, and often there is a body hanging there. Sometimes she's lucky and it's a fresh body, other times she's not lucky, and these horrible, warped falcons have started to feed. The falcons are also the nighttime security forces in this awful land, where only those with a death wish go outside. Fortunately, Reeve seems to be entirely invisible in this land, so she's safe. But lonely. And unable to stop visiting this awful place in her dreams. Every night.

A few months before the story starts, she discovers a young man whose presence turns the nightmare into a dream, and gives her a sense of company, even though he can't see or hear her.

The story, of course, is what happens when Reeve becomes visible. To the young man and to the falcons and to the evil in that dream land.

READ this one.

Want to learn more about the author and the book and the publisher? Come back on Thursday. Or just go to Uncommon Universes Press, the publisher. There's a big promotional blast going on right now, a blog tour, to celebrate the release of the book.

Note: the publisher provided this book in exchange for a review.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Feature: A QUIET PLACE, Tabor Hts. Novel

From Desert Breeze Publishing

Jeannette Marshall married Brody Evans despite the in-laws. Their love was deeper, stronger than what she felt for Nathan Lewis, her orphanage "big brother". They planned on seminary and a big family -- but a year later, Jeanette returned to Tabor Heights widowed and pregnant, and driven away by her hateful in-laws.

But Tabor Heights was home, her quiet shelter. With the love and support of her friends, she prepared for the birth of her son. With Nathan to be uncle to BJ, she had all she needed. Even if she sometimes wondered if she should have let Nathan persuade her to marry him instead of Brody.

Nathan realized too late he loved Jeannette as more than a little sister. When she returned, he put aside his hopes for a second chance, positive she would never heal enough to love him that way.

All that mattered was that she and BJ were safe and happy.

Then the Evans clan comes to town, scheming and telling lies to get custody of BJ. Nathan would do anything to protect Jeannette -- but everything he tries seems to drive them further apart. Can he convince Jeannette what she means to him before it's too late?

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Feature: THE FAMILY WAY, Tabor Hts. Novel

From Desert Breeze Publishing

Everything is going right for Lisa. Her comic strip is becoming a book, and she is pregnant -- finally, her critical father-in-law will admit she is a good wife.

Todd comes home in a foul mood and destroys her happy announcement with: "Is it mine?"

He tries to make things right, but everything he does only worsens Lisa's pain because he has never learned to apologize. Their marriage disintegrates, until his own sisters urge Lisa to leave him. Todd slowly, painfully learns to face family secrets, and break free of his father's poisonous influence.

Lisa knows she must forgive and learn to love Todd again, even as she wonders why. Todd never loved her, so why try to make their marriage work?

Monday, May 7, 2018

Off the Bookshelf: THE WITCH'S VACUUM CLEANER AND OTHER STORIES, by Terry Pratchett

If you haven't guessed by now, I love Terry Pratchett's stories.

This is a collection of his early works, short stories, bits of testing out the waters, learning his voice and style. Fascinating from just a fan perspective, but also as a writer, seeing the roots of the amazing creations of people and places and the magic system that became  Disc World. Plus a story that was probably the basis for the Bromeliad trilogy. Fun!

This could be a good introduction just to the magic and humor of Terry Pratchett, especially if you're leery of investing in a world that spans dozens of books, and marvelous inspired silliness and slaps at popular culture and politics.

I wished that he had written more about the Welsh town with the unpronounceable name that was set up like a Wild West town in the U.S. I have another book like this waiting to be read, with more shorts and unpublished or early works, and I really hope some more of those stories are in there. I don't know if anyone would even dare try to imitate Sir Terry's voice and style and wild imagination, but maybe a tribute book, following the crazy adventures of the sheep farmers and coal miners in this mythical Old West/Wales? Please?

Read it. You'll have a lot, lot, lot of fun.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Feature: COMMON GROUNDS, Tabor Hts. Novel

From Desert Breeze Publishing

Hannah Blake had given up on being anything more to Xander Finley than his Gal Friday and partner in running Common Grounds legal clinic. Other than attending the same church, what else did they have in common?

Then the process of opening up a branch office in Tabor Heights became ... complicated. First they faced resistance from a local judge and another lawyer who was a member of their church, and should have been supporting them. Then they found the body of the 3rd victim of the White Rose Killer in their new office.

When the White Rose Killer seemed to have chosen Hannah as his next 'true love', Xander's attentions became warmer and more personal. Hannah knew better than to hope it would last beyond the crisis. Foxhole love wasn't any more real than foxhole religion, was it? Xander, on the other hand, was glad his eyes had finally been opened. The problem was convincing Hannah that he was for real. It was time to pray for more than her safety. After all, in the final analysis, what good was his life without Hannah in every part of it?

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Feature: THE SECOND TIME AROUND, Tabor Hts. novel

From Desert Breeze Publishing:


Daniel Morgan's past returned to haunt him when a freshman girl showed up wearing his college sweetheart's face.

Lynette Tyler was determined not to face her past, when she learned her daughter's favorite new teacher was the man she had forced out of her life when she got pregnant.

When Daniel learns that Kat is his daughter, he dares to ask God for the dream he had let go years before... to finally be a family. He pursues Lynnete's love through tragedy and shame, learning to forgive each other and themselves. The biggest hurdle isn't whether Kat would forgive them when she finally finds out the truth, but whether Lynette can let go of the past long enough to let them have a future together.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Off the Bookshelf: FAIRIES: MYTHS, LEGENDS AND LORE, by Skye Alexander

Sometimes research can be fun. And frustrating. Especially when you're looking for books in the library, and the search function of the computer index doesn't want to cooperate. Most of the books I found on fairies, faeries, the fair folk, and such *sigh* were fiction, mostly romance, some kids' stories. That's not what I was looking for.

So when I found this one, as I prepare to start a new series of books, it was a major relief. And a treasure trove.

Dealing with fairy lore from around the world, it discusses different classes of fairies, legends, their functions within the magical realms as well as dealings with lowly mortals, and what was really fascinating, a discussion of how the legends have changed through the years, as society changed. This is one I really think I need to find in print, rather than ebook, so I can flag pages for future reference, because I can see going back to this again and again, for inspiration.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Excerpt: THE RIFT WAR


From Uncial Press
Book 5 of the Zygradon Chronicles

Excerpt:

Grego was somewhat relieved that the white-haired man didn't levitate a bottle of juice over to him. Now wasn't the time for amusing tricks. He gathered his thoughts as the three served themselves.

"It's happened," he said, after considering and tossing aside a dozen different ways of breaking the news. "The next phase in my project. They'll load the ships with the power siphon equipment in the next few days, to sail to the Death Zone."

"But how?" Emrillian said, slowly shaking her head. She put down the bottle of juice and leaned forward, elbows on her knees, hands clasped together, as if that would help her concentrate and understand. "The next step is to get the sensors working."

"They are working." Grego swallowed hard. "Working too well. I'm thinking someone else has been working on the programming and adding it to mine. The first test went spectacularly well. Today. Kayn was in my office, watching practically over my shoulder, when an enormous deposit of star-metal was found right here on the coast."

"The tunnel," Mrillis said. He stroked his beard, lips pursed in thought.

"They'll come right here, before they go out to the Death Zone," Emrillian said. "How could they resist all that star-metal, here for the taking? Grandfather, we're not ready."

"Since when does prophecy require that we be ready?" he responded, shaking his head. "And you are partially wrong, my dear. The star-metal is not here for the taking. They must penetrate quite a few defensive spells to find the tunnel."

"And if they think to bring Grego's power siphon? If they decide to activate it, to help them find the star-metal when your spells block the way? How long will the defensive spells stand against them when the Threads are attacked and drained?"

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Excerpt: THE RIFT WAR


From Uncial Press
Book 5 of the Zygradon Chronicles

Excerpt:


With star-metal, the streamers of light and the slight movements of her fingers were Emrillian's tools, rather than the forge, the anvil, the tongs, and hammer.

"Grego!" She lowered her hands. The cuff floated gently down to the granite surface of her worktable and the sphere of light surrounding her faded to nothing. She wiped sweat off her face and then wiped her hands on the seat of her loose trousers. "What a nice surprise. It's more than a moon since you visited."

"Is the armor finished?" He nodded to Mrillis as the man stepped out of the shadows at the other side of the workshop to join them at the table.

"Why?" She laughed and raked her hands through her sweat-damped hair, white and gold touched with red highlights. It had come loose of her braids in the strenuous work and the gusts of air and thrashing of the Threads, as always, and hung past her waist. Her silver-blue eyes sparkled with the euphoria of the energy she always gained while working star-metal.

"You're going to need it. I assume since you're working on bow guards, the armor is done?"

"Done, and ready for a celebration party," Mrillis said. He nodded at the cuff. "That is a gift for Shalara. I anticipate great things from her, when her imbrose is awakened."

"What's happened?" Emrillian gestured across the workshop, to the corner where a coldbox and padded benches formed a resting place amid the multiple work stations and projects in various stages of completion throughout the large, one-room building. The three settled down in their usual places for one of their long, intense, rambling talks.

"Something dire, I fear," Mrillis said. He gestured at the coldbox. The door swung open.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Excerpt: THE RIFT WAR


From Uncial Press
Book 5 of the Zygradon Chronicles

Excerpt:


The construction of a suit of armor entirely made of star-metal, for Emrillian to wear in hand-to-hand combat with Edrout. She had sworn at the age of twelve to destroy the enemy enchanter so her father would not have to face the man again.

Grego stepped out of the forest and into the intricate gardens surrounding the main house of the Rakkell estate. The lights swirled and spun in a dome around the large workshop that sat a good hundred meters away from the manor house. Mrillis' voice came from the workshop, answered a moment later by Emrillian's rich alto. Relieved to be able to share this perilous news as soon as possible, Grego pushed through the barrier of light and came out the other side, feeling as if he had taken several whiffs of pure oxygen. His skin tingled all over as if scrubbed clean. He pushed the door open, and knowing how Emrillian worked, he moved quietly and slowly. It was not wise to distract or startle her while she worked star-metal.

Emrillian stood in the center of a globe of silvery-blue light, eyes closed, hands spread midway between shoulder and waist. A glowing, molten mass of silver-blue metal, almost the same color as her eyes, churned in mid-air, suspended by green and white streaks of light coming from her fingers. She moved her left hand out, and the metal streamed out and flattened into a sheet. She raised her right hand, just a little, and pointed with her index finger, twirling it, and the sheet of glowing metal folded in on itself, again and again, as if it were a paper being compacted into a packet. Then she flattened it into another sheet, and again folded it. Flattened and folded.

Grego remembered to breathe. He had watched her do the exact same thing not two moons ago to a piece of fine steel, working it and tempering it and folding it, then shaping the hot metal with a stone hammer until she formed it into a thick cuff to protect an archer against the snap of the bow string. Emrillian had quite a reputation as a metalworker among their Archaics friends, and the bow guard, engraved with the image of a drakag, had been a gift for a friend of theirs when she graduated to Valor rank.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Excerpt: THE RIFT WAR


From Uncial Press
Book 5 of the Zygradon Chronicles

Excerpt:


"It's happening too soon," Grego muttered, as the upper towers of the Rakkell estate became visible through the thick forest. He had no idea how he would slow the progress on the star-metal reclamation project, now that the sensors he had developed were operational.

Dangerously operational. He hadn't expected them to work so well, or so soon.

The irony was that Emrillian and Mrillis had encouraged him to stay involved in the project. They felt it would be better for him to be at the center of this threat to the integrity of the dome of Threads that protected Lygroes and kept it safe in far distant history. If he had resigned his position, he could have come under suspicion of treachery by the Science Directorate and Kayn's paranoid compatriots, and he wouldn't be in a position now to warn Emrillian and Mrillis when their worst fears came true.

Which he was about to do.

He was so busy with his thoughts, trying to frame the right words to share the news, that he didn't notice the streamers of gold, silver, and blue light swirling around Emrillian's workshop until he ran into them. They were as tangible as streamers of spun sugar, brushing against his skin and startling him out of his thoughts.

Grego 's bare skin prickled a little where the light had touched it. Amazed as he always was, even after all these years, he reached out one hand, brushing his fingers against a particularly vivid streak of royal blue. Sparks fizzed and spun around his fingers where they penetrated the light. Still moving forward, he pressed his hand deeper into the light, enjoying the somewhat pleasant, faintly ticklish sensation. Such a strong reaction among the Threads protecting the Rakkell estate meant only one thing: Emrillian was at work at the forge in her workshop, taking another step in the project she and Grego and Mrillis had shared for three years now.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Excerpt: THE RIFT WAR


From Uncial Press
Book 5 of the Zygradon Chronicles

Excerpt:

Grego staggered to his feet and took a deep breath. He stretched out his right arm, snapped his fingers, and held his hand out, palm up. Blue sparks danced across his fingertips, and answering sparks opened a panel in the stone pillar of the arched opening in the raw stone wall that surrounded the Rakkell estate. A thumb ring of woven threads of star-metal, glowing softly blue and silver, flew through the air to land on his palm. He inhaled deeply, feeling another missing piece of himself had come home, as he slipped the ring onto his thumb. His inborn imbrose flared to life.

"By the grace and mercy of the Estall," he whispered, renewing his vows as he turned to continue down the path. "By the imbrose in my blood. I do swear my life, my strength, my honor to the Warhawk, and to his daughter, my queen."

Grego's euphoria vanished with the force of a house collapsing. He usually didn't mind the physical reaction when Mrillis' mind-shield spell went dormant, every time he crossed onto the property. The wonder and awe of sharing such a world-shattering secret made up for the price he had to pay. After all, he had requested the mind-shield when he earned his position at the Science Directorate.

Illis Rakkell and Emmi were in actuality Mrillis the enchanter and Emrillian Warhawk, daughter of Athrar. Sixteen years ago, the spell that protected Emrillian and let her sleep through the ages had been attacked and destroyed by Edrout, son of Megassa and the Nameless One. Mrillis had brought Emrillian to Moerta, to raise her in the modern world and prepare her for the day she would return to Lygroes, to lead the Valors of Quenlaque in defending their land against Edrout and his Encindi barbarians, and prepare for the return of Athrar.

Grego had met them only a few days after coming to live with his grandparents, just an old man and a little girl, five years old, having a picnic in the forest. He might have continued exploring the forest, lost in the haze of pain from the death of his parents, but Mrillis had been drawing pictures with light, making Emrillian laugh and the Threads dance. Grego had seen the light and the Threads and felt the humming of power in the air that enclosed the clearing, and he stayed, fascinated, pulled out of his misery.

By seeing the lights that day, he had proven he had imbrose, and that had been enough for Mrillis to listen to his heart, to his sense of destiny, and take the lonely, hurting boy under his wing. Grego had been included in Emrillian's lessons about the history of Quenlaque, the Rey'kil, magic, and warfare. He had investigated the Archaics, devoted to scholarship, delving through the many false legends Mrillis and Meghianna, Queen of Snows had sown through the centuries, to protect the truth. It had been the natural thing to join the Archaics and search for others who had imbrose, and when he was sure they were trustworthy, to introduce Mrillis and Emrillian to them. The plan was to recruit from those trusted friends among the Archaics who had proven themselves honorable, skilled, and devoted to Quenlaque, and take them down the tunnel beneath the sea someday, to help in the defense of Lygroes.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Excerpt: THE RIFT WAR


From Uncial Press
Book 5 of the Zygradon Chronicles

Excerpt:

An hour later, as the sunset painted the tall trees with gold and crimson, Grego finally escaped out the back door, with a detour to the kitchen. His stomach had settled enough to remind him he hadn't eaten since breakfast, caught up in his work to the point of ignoring the rumbles and pinching. Probably part of his headache and nausea could be blamed on low blood sugar. He snatched up a couple meatrolls to eat cold, with a large dollop of fire paste, as he followed the path through the forest. He had changed his clothes to dark, worn-comfortable, casual tunic, trousers, and heavy boots, suitable for long walks through the woods at night or riding bareback, if Emmi was in the mood for a moonlight ride. He never knew what sort of adventure would occur while he visited Master Illis and his granddaughter. Whatever had been tormenting him, it was almost gone by the time he reached the boundary between his estate and the Rakkells'.

The fiery taste in his mouth turned to real heat, shooting through his entire body, freezing him as he put one foot over the imaginary line. Grego choked, spat out the last of his meatroll, and dropped the half-roll still in his hand. He went to his knees, crossing completely into Rakkell property. Dangerous memories shot up from the dark, locked regions in the back of his mind, colliding with a sense of urgency that explained the faded headache and nausea.

The half of his life that he left behind when he went to the Science Directorate to work had awakened, rising to reclaim his mind and heart.

"I hate this," he growled. Then he grinned at the incredible feeling of freedom and exhilaration that shot through him, the same every time the locked doors in his mind slammed open and the secrets he carried returned to his consciousness.

All the wonders of being a person of power and influence at the Science Directorate and the knowledge he was a certified genius were nothing, compared to the knowledge that magic was real, and the Estall had granted a small portion to him to use.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Excerpt: THE RIFT WAR

From Uncial Press
Book 5 of the Zygradon Chronicles


Excerpt:


Before the ending of all things worthwhile and strong, there will be three drops of blood born to the bloody sword.
The daughters shall walk in light and be strong, but the son shall overstep them.
One shall serve and one abominate and one will triumph.
One will sleep and one shall wait and one shall suffer.
They shall do so forever, and yet even to forever there is an ending.
The blood drawn from the third shall open the doors and smooth the road and waken the sleeper.
Protect the strong and vigilant, so that the three drops of blood may come.
Though you look for the abomination, you will not find her until she has destroyed innocence. Keep her from the blood drawn from the blood, or all is lost.


Monday, April 16, 2018

Book of the Week: THE RIFT WAR


Today we move on to the last book in my Arthurian fantasy series, The Zygradon Chronicles. All published by Uncial Press.

There are 5 books in the series:
ZYGRADON
BRAENLICACH
THREE DROPS OF BLOOD
LADY WARHAWK
THE RIFT WAR


THE RIFT WAR

Awakened from magical sleep, Emrillian Warhawk grew up in the modern, technological world of Moerta, 2000 years away from Quenlaque and Lygroes. There, the legends of Athrar Warhawk and Quenlaque, Braenlicach and the Zygradon were nothing but fanciful tales warped beyond all recognition. Raised by Mrillis the enchanter, she knew the truth, and sought out friends among the Archaics, who believed in the promise and prophecy of Quenlaque and the return of Athrar. Only they had access to star-metal, the Threads, and the magic of the Rey'kil. 

Then the authorities threatened their sanctuary to confiscate star-metal to use in weapons of war. Emrillian and Mrillis fled back to Lygroes through the tunnel under the sea, accompanied by Grego, a friend with inborn magic who had sworn loyalty to Athrar and Quenlaque. In Lygroes, where only 200 years had passed, they joined forces with Baedrix, descendant of Lycen, and prepared for the awakening of Athrar, the dismantling of the dome of Threads that kept Lygroes hidden from the modern world, and the final battle with Edrout, son of the Nameless One. 


With the help of Archaics who crossed to Lygroes and awakened their own inborn magic, Emrillian, Baedrix, and Grego set out to retrieve Braenlicach from hiding and find the lost Zygradon to heal and awaken Athrar. Time was their enemy as Edrout gathered his forces and armies from the modern world surrounded them -- and failure could mean the destruction of the entire world.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Excerpt: LADY WARHAWK



Excerpt:

Yes, there is treachery in the Court, and you are part of it. Did you believe you could lie to the Queen of Snows, and not be punished? You were judged false from the moment you walked through the stone gates. Your own lies have wrapped death's cords around your throat.

If the man had fled the moment she accused him of lying, he would already be in the maze of caverns that surrounded and guarded the Stronghold, and he would live to tell about his adventure. But like every self-righteous, lying traitor, he stayed to argue and lie more.

Meghianna felt a little pity when he shook and his face grew a little paler as he spoke, shaking his head and holding out his hands in a gesture of pleading. She didn't listen to his words, as she gathered up her will.

Just a few nights ago, Kaldar had brought the boys a deliciously horrifying tale of a ship that had sailed too far north at the worst of the winter storms. All its crew had been found encased in ice, standing at their posts on the deck of the ship. Meghianna had found the story just as horribly fascinating as her boys.

It would certainly be a new and novel punishment, and would preserve the body for other liars and traitors to see. It might warn away those who still had a conscience.

You ignored the warnings and you came to lie, she said, breaking into the man's denials. You refused to leave when you could. Very well, then. Stay here forever.

Gathering up the frigid air and water from below the ice, she wrapped them around the man, encasing him in a pillar of glistening ice, as solid as crystal, without even an air bubble to escape his nostrils or lips.

Meghianna shivered a little in sympathy, even knowing the man had died instantly. She was glad she felt some horror at his death--it meant she hadn't become completely hardened to such drastic measures.

Rubbing her hands against the chill that came through the enchantment, she hurried down the stairs to Ector and her boys, praying she was in time to prevent a wedding she was far too busy to escape with any courtesy.