Two pointed ears and a small head covered in short silky fur peeped from underthe sofa’s valance. A black cat emerged, stretched, and leaped onto the arm of the sofawith incredible grace and an inquisitive yowl.“This Tomas.” Mrs. Lee waved an introductory hand. “My machka.”The cat poised itself on the armrest, leaning toward Lisa, gold-green eyesregarding her gravely. His right paw came up.“Oh, he’s beautiful!” Lisa placed her hand under the cat’s paw. It was soft,smooth and as warm as David’s hand had been. It pressed briefly against her fingers,claws grazing gently before it withdrew. With a second, softer yowl, Tomas leaped fromthe arm and settled himself in her lap. He blinked and regarded Lisa solemnly.“You like cats?” Mrs. Lee asked.“I love them,” Lisa assured her. “And this one is so…so…”“Ain’t he, though?” David muttered. Lisa wondered if he ever spoke in anything other than a low growl.“He likes to think he’s really macho,” Isaac laughed. “A real ladies’ man…uh, cat.” He flicked a finger at the cat’s ears. Tomas dodged, cocking his head to look at Isaac. “Right, Tomasso?”“I’d have to agree,” Lisa answered, reaching out and stroking the furry head.Tomas pushed against her hand. “He’s a very handsome dude.”David smiled and the two brothers looked at each other. They seemed to besharing a private joke, which Tomas didn’t appear to appreciate. Growling softly, he bestowed a surprising glare upon the two.Suddenly, they all seemed to be staring at her. Even the cat. Four pairs of eyes riveted on Lisa. Waiting for her to drink her tea.Lisa began to feel uneasy. A startling panic twisted in her stomach as she realized she was alone in a van with three strangers, two of whom were very large and muscular and standing between her and the door. And Mrs. Lee— She might be old but that walking stick of hers could be a very deadly weapon.Was this a mistake? Undoubtedly. People were always saying she was toofriendly for her own good.All together, they smiled. Tomas purred loudly, claws kneading at her thighs.“Well! Since you’re safe and sound now—” Putting down the cup, Lisa set the cat aside and stood up. For a moment, his claws clung to her skirt. Hoping she didn’t sound frightened and certain she failed, she extricated Tomas, grimacing slightly at the single snag his claws made in her new skirt, then shot a pretend glance at her watch as she went on, “Guess I’d better be on my way. I’ve people waiting for me and they’ll beworrying.”Liar. Her housemate wouldn’t be home for another two hours.She aimed herself for the door behind the two young men. Neither moved. The twisting inside grew tighter. Lisa stopped.“Isaac,” Mrs. Lee called softly, and gestured.He took a step forward, raising one arm.Lisa stumbled backward, her own raised, preparing to ward off a blow, thenrealized he was holding out his left arm to his grandmother. Around his wrist was a small gold chain with tiny disks dangling from it.
“Here.” With a twist of her fingers, Mrs. Lee pulled one disk free. She held it out to Lisa. “You take. For helping me.”“I couldn’t—”“You take. Otherwise I owe you.” Taking Lisa’s hand, she placed the object on her palm, closing her fingers around it. “Is wish-charm.”“Wish-charm? What’s that?” It looked like a small gold coin but theinscription… She’d never seen symbols like those before. Are they Romanes?“Good for one special wish. Baksheesh. You keep safe. Use carefully. Don’twaste on pepperoni pizza!” Mrs. Lee shook her finger and laughed.“I won’t.” Lisa laughed, too, her fear disappearing. “I promise.” She studied the charm, feeling a strange gratitude. “It’s beautiful. Thank you, Mrs. Lee.”This time when she turned toward the door, Isaac and David moved aside. In a moment, she was outside, down the makeshift steps and at her car. When Lisa climbed into the Civic, and waved, they raised their hands and waved back.As the car drove away, however, Mrs. Lee said, “A good girl, but too trusting. She needs protector.”“She’s pretty. I like her.” David straightened, adding “For a gaje, I mean.” He and Isaac glanced at each other and then at their Grandmother. “So, Gram, which one of us will it be?”She looked at Tomas.“Oh, Gram, no.” The protest was half-hearted, as if he knew it was no use to argue.The cat was crouching on the sofa. He looked at Mrs. Lee and then at the door through which Lisa had gone, tail twitching angrily. He shook his head as if seconding David’s protest.“You heard me,” Mrs. Lee said. Tomas transferred his gaze back to her. Hedidn’t move. “Go!”“You heard Gram,” Isaac prompted.Tomas stayed there a moment longer, giving a single grrrwl of protest before leaping to the floor. David pushed the door open and Tomas leaped out. Isaac came to stand beside his brother. “Good luck, Bro. I mean it.”The cat looked in the direction the car had vanished. After a moment’s hesitation, he threw a strident yowl back at the two men standing in the door before starting down the street with a graceful, long-legged lope.They waited until his small figure disappeared around the bend in the road before going back inside.“Still don’t see why Tomas gets to have all the fun,” David grumbled.“You call that fun?” Issac elbowed his brother in the ribs. “Would you like to change places with him?”“What do you think?”“I think you’d better shut up.” Isaac pulled the camper door shut and locked it.
Buy Links:Paperback exclusively from the publisher’s website: http://www.classactbooks.com/cat–romance/cat–fantasy/gypsy-charm–21-detailAmazon: https://www.amazon.com/Gypsy-Charm–Icy-Snow-Blackstone–ebook/dp/B01JNV7X92/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1524754110&sr=8-1&keywords=GypsAbout the Author:Icy Snow Blackstone was born in 1802, in northern Georgia where her father, the Reverend John Blackstone, was prominent in local politics. She married a minister, raised seven children, and lived there all her life.Two hundred and five years later, her great-great-great-great-granddaughter began using her name as a pseudonym for her romance novels. The present Icy Snow Blackstone (aka author Toni V. Sweeney) lives far from her Southern roots in Lancaster County,Nebraska, where she continues to write romances.As of 2017, Icy Snow has eleven novels published by Class Act Books. Hercontemporary romance, Tuesday’s Child, was given the Paranormal Romance Guild’s Reviewers Choice award for Best Contemporary Novel of 2014. A SciFi romance,Earthman’s Bride and Vietnam-era romance Jericho Road, have also received awards.She is also the author of Jericho Road, Bargain with Lucifer, Brother Devil, and GypsyCharm, romances all set in the South, as well as the paranormal romance The IrishLady’s Spanish Lover.Learn More about Icy Snow at: http://www.classactbooks.com/our-authors/manufacturers/icy-snow-blackstone
Welcome to the Blog for Barbara EdwardsToni V. Sweeney will explain her series.One thing about writing about a dynasty—it covers a lot of territory and a whole lot of people.When I decided to write a family saga, I took the easy way out. Writing about the rule of the kan Ingans of the Emeraunt Galaxy, I decided to tell only the stories about the beginning and end of that particular reign. Part 1, The Narrative of Riven the Heretic (7 novels) recorded their origins. Part 2, The kan Ingan Archives (8 novels), told of their scandal-laden and inglorious end thirty-one hundred years later.Suffice it to say writing a family saga isn’t easy. Whatever is said in the original book has to be maintained in all the others. It can’t be changed unless there’s a very good reason. If a character is taken on an ocean journey by his father and he’s five-years-old at that time, you can’t have another character state dogmatically in another book that he wastwelve when it happened. Don’t think some eagle-eyed little nit-picker of a reader won’t catch it and promptly fire off an e-mail to your website, pointing this out. Same with spellings. A character’s name has to be spelled the same way throughout; if it’s italicized in one book, keep it consistently italicized in all of them. A person’s character may change, his faith, his philosphy may be converted—indeed, that’s the stuff stories aremade of because they involve conflict—but unless you state specifically there’s hair dye involved or colored contacts, make certain his blond hair stays blond and his brown eyes brown. (Of course if it’s fantasy, you can totally change his appearance and have a plausible reason.) I always think of Stephen King’s example when he was writing Christine: A specific make of car drove into an alley, a different make of car came out. I did that once myself. Not with cars, but I had a character who was blond, only tosuddenly become a brunet without explanation (or the use of Clairol for Men.) Thank Goodness for the delete/replace button!Family sagas are a lot of work because you have to keep track not only of the characters’ names and physical appearances, but also of their ages, especially if each novel encompasses a number of years. Sometimes it’s easier to make a tangible chart, a familytree or spreadsheet with all the relationships, ages, etc., so it can be referred to from timeto time. Age plays a very important part in these stories so I had to keep close tabs on how old everyone was and when.About the Author:Toni V. Sweeney has lived 30 years in the South, a score in the Middle West, and adecade on the Pacific Coast and now she’s trying for her second 30 on the Great Plains.Since the publication of her first novel in 1989, Toni divides her time between writing SF/Fantasy under her own name and romances under her pseudonym Icy Snow Blackstone. In March, 2013, she became publicity manager for Class Act Books (US). She is also on the review staff of the New York Journal of Books and the Paranormal Romance Guild. In 2016, she was named a Professional Reader by netgalley.com. She is an Amazon reviewer, is in the 1% of reviewers for Goodreads, and in 2015 and 2016 was voted one of the Top 10 authors of those years by Preditors & Editors ReaderPoll. In 2013, the Paranormal Romance Guild’s Reviewer’s Choice voted The kan Ingan Archives (Part Two of the Arcanian Chronicles) a Special Mention, and the following year, named the individual novels The Man from Cymene, and Space Studs, from the same series two of the Top 8 SF/fantasy novels of 2014.As of 2018, Toni currently has 55 novels in print, including 3 series, and 3 trilogies.Find out more about Toni:Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tvsweeneyAmazon Author’s Page: https://www.amazon.com/–/e/B002BLQBB8Twitter: @ToniVSweeneyBlurb:Aric kan Ingan had it all.Pampered and spoiled, he was groomed since the age of twelve to be heir to the throne of Arcanis…until his uncle surprised everyone by falling in love with an Earthwoman.Elizabeth Sheffield wanted it all.Headstrong and beautiful, she’d never met a man she couldn’t wrap around her little finger…until she met Aric.The vengeful former heir and the margrave’s bride are instant enemies, trading insults and threats, until the unexpected happens: They fall in love.While Aric and Elizabeth engage in their illicit affair, other forces in the kingdom gather for the more sinister purpose of rebellion and murder……with Aric as the not-so-innocent pawn.EXCERPT:
On the fourth floor, outside the hallway leading to the royal apartments, Kozlu waitedfor him. The old man looked him up and down disapprovingly, staring at his travel-dustyclothes.“You couldn’t take time to change?”“Why should I? I’m only going to see my uncle.” His tone bordered on disrespect forthe man who’d been his tutor as he’d been the margrave’s.“Aric, it’s more than that and you know it.” Kozlu’s reply held the knowledge he was speaking to someone who had no intention of listening. He started up the stairs, notlooking to see if Aric followed.So it’s like that, is it? Already dispensing with respect since I’m no longer the heir.“I suppose you want me to return to my rooms and dress in my most formal uniform,complete with metals and insigne, before I meet the creature?” He saw Kozlu’s facedarken. “Why don’t I go back to the barracks and rout all the Black Shields, and havethem mount a dress parade in the courtyard?”“Lower your voice.” Kozlu nodded toward the guards on the landing below.Realizing how close he was to letting his anger take over, Aric took a deep breath.“You’ve been drinking, haven’t you?” Kozlu frowned.“As much as possible,” he admitted. “It seemed the most appropriate thing to do.”“You’d best calm yourself a little,” the elder suggestion. “You look as if you couldkill.”“If I thought I could get away with it, I might,” he muttered. As Kozlu looked aroundat him sharply, he said hastily, “Don’t worry. I’ll behave myself.”They started climbing again.“You may as well accept what’s happened,” Kozlu went on. “The council has.”“The council isn’t losing anything.” Aric’s answer was sullen. “I was taken from mymother to be my uncle’s heir. For eight years, it’s been drilled into me how Arcanis willsomeday be mine, and now…to lose it to some mongrel Milky?” He shook his head. “Ithought my uncle had more pride in our family. Even someone from one of the otherplanets—Gataeus, Scylla, even Nereis—would be better than a near-barbarian.”“I think it’s you who’ve too much pride, Aric,” the old man answered quietly.“Someday, you’ll find yourself in the dust because of it.”Aric looked rebellious and didn’t answer.They reached the fifth landing, coming around a dark corner into the archway opening onto one of the stone-balustraded terraces.Two people sat on a stone bench set in an arrangement of flower-filled urnssurrounding a javancia tree, its thick branches offering protection from the ocean’s wind and the morning sun. One was obviously his uncle, and the other was…She.“Lord Aric, sire.” Kozlu bowed and backed out of his uncle’s presence, leaving him alone in the entranceway. For the barest moment, Aric was tempted to run after the old man, away from the unpleasantness awaiting him. Briefly, he regretted that third glass of brandy.
Hello Paul McDermott,
Tell our readers why you wrote “Spear of Destiny.”
My current book. The Spear of Destiny, was inspired by a combination of circumstances which were not ‘typical’ of my “general” creative processes. I lived in Denmark for a number of years and had the privilege of meeting people who had been active members of the Danish Resistance Movement (mødstandsbevægelsen). during WW2. I have attempted to redress the balance a little by raising awareness and offering sincere thanks. I’ve kept close to the recorded facts as we know them, but I’ve altered the names: these patriots have earned the right to have their anonymity preserved.
When the Danish billionaire Carsten Ree had the wreck of U-534 refloated and it was installed as a permanent exhibit in Liverpool’s Maritime Museum, the story almost wrote itself. The basis of the story appeared as my NaNo entry in November 2010, the end result of 30 days of madness and strong coffee!
The Spear of Destiny was a new departure for me. Although it’s based on real events in the closing days of WW2, and I had to make sure I had facts (names, dates etc.) accurate. I’ve kept very close to the recorded facts of the sinking of U-534 but I decided to add the Spear. I did this because of Hitler’s known weakness, superstition. He believes he has found a powerful secret weapon which he can use to turn the War in Germany’s favour. This light drizzle of fantasy in what is essentially an account of historical events is my way of adding an original slant to the yarn
One of the most satisfying things I took from writing The Spear of Destiny was having the opportunity to honour the memory of a number of real people alongside my fictional characters. One such hero is Captain Johnny Walker. Although he only plays a small role in my story, he was almost entirely responsible for the success of the Allies in the Battle of the Atlantic. General consensus is, he literally worked himself to death in the process.
The research was more extensive than I’d needed for my previous fiction work but it was satisfying.
About the Author:
Born in the Year of the Tiger, Paul’s natural curiosity combined with the deep-seated feline need to roam has meant that over the years he’s never been able to call any one place home. His wanderlust has led him from one town to another, and even from one country to another.
“I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write – my father claims to possess a story I wrote when I was six, which filled 4 standard school exercise books! What I do remember from that time was being told off for doing the Liverpool Echo crossword before he got home from work!”
While Paul was living in Denmark, he allowed himself to be persuaded to write for a purpose instead of purely for his own amusement. Perhaps it was the catalyst of breathing the same air as Hans Christian Andersen.
More about Paul at:
In 1945, U-boat Kapitän Herbert Nollau must deliver a weapon which will turn the war in Germany’s favour. His orders are delivered verbally. There will be no written records… and no witnesses.
Alone, far from home, hunted by the Danish Resistance and the might of the Allied Forces, he must obey either his final Orders…or the inner voice of his conscience.
Überlojtnant Herbert Nollau stood with his Zeiss nightglasses glued to his eyes, impervious to the rain whipped across his cheeks by half a gale. This howled almost exactly at ninety degrees to the tide, which had just reached the full but had not yet begun its retreat. His command craft, U-534, sat uneasily at anchor, dipping at bow and stern in the current, yawing appreciably as frequent Force Ten gusts buffeted her broad flanks. Low, heavy rainclouds hunkered closer, seeming to settle on the upper branches of the natural pine forest which spread untamed, unculled, across the low hills of Schleswig-Holstein.
An identical pair of black Opel staff cars bracketed a canvas bodied Mercedes half-track transport wagon, all three vehicles picking their way carefully along an unmarked country road. The headlights were taped down to the size and shape of a feral cat’s vertical slits, acknowledging the strict rules governing all traffic during the hours of darkness. The road to the harbour just outside Lübeck was neither tarmac’ed nor enhanced with any form of lighting. The drivers were obliged to steer cautiously around every twist, using the gears and brakes more frequently than the accelerator.
“Amateurs!” he thought to himself, as the three sets of headlights crawled slowly closer.
He blanked the thought as soon as it intruded on his consciousness, forcing himself back into State-approved Wehrmacht thinking, based on purely practical matters directly related to carrying out current instructions, with maximum efficiency, without question. He pulled the collar of his oilskins closer around his throat in a futile attempt to prevent the rain from seeping through, soaking his uniform. Raising his night glasses once more, he cursed the weather, the Wehrmacht and the world in general, feeling more exposed and vulnerable with every minute that passed as he waited for the convoy of lights to crawl closer, carrying the equipment which he had been ordered to collect. It bothered him that he was expected to set sail immediately, and await orders concerning his destination by radio once he had cleared the bay and entered Store Bælt: technically, that section of the North Sea was neutral Danish waters, and if he were to remain on the surface for any length of time in order to receive orders …
As the lights snaked around another pair of curves and began their final descent to the shoreline and the jetty where U534 was waiting, Herbert Nollau realized that he had on board a much more powerful sender/receiver than any other U-boat: in fact, not just one but two radios equipped with the Enigma cryptographic programme had been installed, ostensibly for testing. With a sudden jolt, the deceptively young-looking Überlojtnant realized that this technology was far more sophisticated than that which had previously been regarded as the best in the world: apart from being guaranteed unbreakable as a code, it could also send and receive radio signals without his craft needing to surface.
He shook his head to clear the worst of the pools which had formed in the upturned brim of his sou’wester and made his way down the ladder bolted to the side of the conning tower, aiming to be waiting on the quay before the three vehicles wheezed to a halt. His mechanic’s ear analysed and diagnosed a list of faults he could clearly identify from the laboured chugging of each engine. Furious at this indication of inefficiency, a corner of his mind decided that he would have had the senior officer responsible for each vehicle court-martialled, if the decision had been up to him. In spite of the horrors he had witnessed in three years of naval warfare, he shuddered. His orders, distasteful though they might be, were crystal clear …
Two gaunt, silent shadows slid with simultaneous choreography from the rear seat of each of the Opels: their sleek black trenchcoats almost touched the planks of the jetty, glistening in the starlight as if the officers wearing them had been marching for hours in the rain rather than just stepping out of a warm, dry car. Nollau fired off his most formal salute: the four SS-officers responded with a world-weary, bent-elbow half-salute and pointedly refrained from returning Nollau’s “Heil, Hitler!” One detached himself for a moment and gave a hand-signal to the driver of the canvas-sided truck. The driver immediately hammered his fist twice on the bulkhead behind his seat. Four soldiers appeared over the tailgate of the wagon and began to manoeuvre something long and heavy out of the cargo space.
Turning to face his command meant that Herbert Nollau had to turn his back on the four staff officers. Somehow he managed to do this with an insolence which stated quite clearly that, as far as he was concerned, they were barely worthy of his contempt.
He placed a small, shrill whistle to his lips and blew, one long (but not overloud) blast. Within ten seconds, the deck was populated by about twenty matelots, standing at ease, who somehow contrived to arrive from nowhere and in total silence. Close to the bows, and just for’ard of ’midships , cables were deployed from two small jib cranes. Within seconds, the submariner crew were on the jetty, taking the unidentified cargo from the shoulders of the four soldiers and hoisting it with ease onto the foredeck, thence by some lightningfast legerdemain out of sight below decks. The crew had followed, leaving Überlojtnant Nollau as the only member of the Senior Service still on the jetty. At a silent gesture from one of the anonymous black trenchcoats the four soldiers climbed back over the tailgate, into the truck. After about four attempts, the driver managed to coax the engine into life and began to back and fill, facing back the way he had come.
As he completed the manoeuvre and gunned the engine to set off up the hill, the four SS officers opened their trenchcoats to reveal the muzzles of rapid fire MP40 machine pistols. With one accord they raised their weapons and sent round after deadly round of ammunition into both the cab and the rear of the vehicle, holding the triggers steady. Before the hail of bullets ceased, the fuel tanks of the wagon exploded, sending flames soaring high into the night sky, setting small fires in the tree tops as they lost their intensity and curled back towards the ground.
Suddenly, Herbert Nollau’s orders seemed fractionally less dishonourable.
Having emptied their weapons, the four executioners appeared to have rediscovered some of their habitual swagger and pride. Crashing the butts of the now-empty weapons against the rough wooden planking of the jetty they raised their right arms to the fullest, and screamed: “Heil, Hitler!” as their heels crashed together in perfect unison.
Sick to his stomach at the pleasure his countrymen took from the callous murder of fellow Germans, it was all Herbert Nollau could do to raise his arm, bent-elbowed, in the less formal salute he would never under normal circumstances have accepted from others nor used himself.
About the author:
My Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/paul.mcdermott.7737
The Spear of Destiny is available at:
Paperback exclusively at the Publisher’s website: http://www.classactbooks.com/component/virtuemart/historical-fiction/the-spear-of-destiny-detail?Itemid=0
Please welcome my guest Veronica Lynch, author of Caper Magic, a novella from the Wild Rose Press
As a Halloween change, Tell us about the villain in Caper Magic.
A bit about Robert Gallow, Esq., Nick Forrester’s employer.
A graduate of Syracuse University’s School of Law, Robert Gallow joined his father in law’s law firm, Yankowicz and Perot, LLC, right out of school. Within five years, the name Gallow was added to the firm’s masthead and, as happens among the ranks lawyers and paralegals, the change earned the firm the accurately descriptive acronym: GYPsters.
On a regular basis, Bob the Boob puts in as few hours as possible each day. Passive-aggressive in personality, he takes great delight in with-holding crucial information from the firm’s support staff until the last minute–then watches as they scramble to respond to the demands of the situation.
When it comes to his clients, Robert Gallow is a life-long practitioner of the “hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest” school of legal advocacy. At the end of Caper Magic, he informs hero Nick Forrester the client has offered a bonus of high five figures, under the table, if his children, “abducted” by a bitter ex-wife, are returned “with as little drama as possible”. Nick comes to believe Gallow has been in possession of expert reports which have diagnosed the children with signs of chronic sexual abuse committed by the client. Further, Gallow has knowingly disregarded these reports in order to heighten publicity for himself and the firm, all the while earning an obscenely high fee for his services.
A Contemporary novella length romance by Veronica Lynch
P.I. Nick Forrester comes to Cape Brendan ostensibly to assist with Caper Madness, a month long celebration of everything Halloween. In reality he is tracking a woman on the run. Within hours, he comes face to face with Annunciata Doyle, a vivid reminder of a pain-filled past.
After retreating to Cape Brendan in defeat and humiliation, Nunie Doyle’s only hope was to make the best of forced retirement. There, in this quaint tourist town on the shores of Lake Ontario, she has earned the love and respect of her friends and neighbors—and is able to her talent for helping women and children to good use.
With the goal of making Caper Madness the best ever, Nick and Nunie fight tooth and nail on the personal level, while each discovers a new side to the other. Sides that force them to consider making drastic changes for the rest of their lives.
This attraction: complete madness—or sheer magic?
Hank let out a holler just before a toothy grin split the borders of his gaunt cheeks. “Top o’ the marnin’ to ye, Missus!” he cackled to someone exiting the front door of the stone cottage next door.
Taking the concrete steps to the sidewalk in two lithe moves, a woman in a slinky dress the color of ripe tomatoes glanced their way. “And the ass end of the day to ye, Mistur Pierpont.”
Intrigued by the richness of her brogue, Nick craned his neck to find one of the witches from yesterday’s parade—minus the droopy velvet hat—passing in front of Hank’s porch. With a bulging garment bag hung over one arm, she headed down Vincentian Lane in the direction of Dingle Pier. Damned if right then a wind didn’t jump up off the river to mold the filmy scarlet fabric against each curve of her body. Long black hair—and there seemed to be a good ten pounds of it—flowed over her shoulders, caressing her body like a lover as she marched toward the water. When his heart bumped into a trip hammer beat, Nick reminded himself to breathe.
“Ferget yer broom, Missus?” Hank called out to her retreating back.
“In the repair shop,” she replied over one shoulder, winging that glorious onyx hair away from her lips that were painted in the same color as her dress. “Gettin’ fitted with a couple of those fancy turbo boosters, it is.”
“Turbo boosters,” Hank chuckled before returning to his coffee. “That Nunie Doyle; sure is a pistol.”
An invisible fist reached down to grab Nick’s gut in a vise. Recognition flared while a long buried rage took a slow crawling path up his spine.
Legal nurse consultant, victim advocate, sexual assault nurse examiner Veronica Lynch–and her alter ego–Kat Henry Doran, has been there and done that–many times over. She often travels from the shores of Lake Ontario and the Saint Lawrence River to the historic Adirondack and Catskill Mountains for settings in her books which feature strong characters who stand for the less thans in this world. Over the years, Veronica has been called many things, not all of them flattering. The name she treasures most is Nana from the four brightest lights in her life: Meredith and Ashlin, Owen and Kieran.
For more information on Kat and Veronica, go to:
Welcome to my blog, Leanna. Tell us why you wrote “Half-Moon Lake.”
My husband and I were winding through the Nantahala Valley on our way to deliver a customer’s furniture. The mountain rose straight up on one side of the road and dropped straight down on the other. Kudzu draped everything…trees, power lines, barns. To my right was a long rounded hump, but the lush vine made it impossible to tell what it was hiding. Wait! Was that a patch of yellow? Yes…barely visible amid the fluttering leaves, but yes. It was a school bus, almost completely encased in a green cocoon. This was the story seed for Half-Moon Lake, the newest novel in my GRITS (Girls-Raised-In-The-South) romantic suspense series.
I used this story seed and combined it with my fascination of identical twins and the unusual “connection” they have with each other. I asked myself, “What if one twin was killed in a horrible accident? What results might that cause in the remaining twin?” Half-Moon Lake is my answer. Kathryn Dorne (aka Katelyn Eubank) is the remaining twin. The problem is, she doesn’t even know it. Her mind completely blocked all memories before the age of nine, when her sister drowned in Half-Moon Lake. It’s only when she’s summoned for the reading of her father’s will that she discovers her whole life is a lie. It’s up to her to find out the truth, but the more she digs, the more memories start surfacing and the more frightening her search becomes.
I love that I was able to tie this story back to my “Gate” trilogy via Half-Moon, the Cherokee Indian medicine woman who gives this novel its name. My hope is that it will pique readers’ interest, making them frantic to get their hands on those other books. I was able to do a similar tie-back with my first GRITS book, Red Curtains. Maybe I’ll make it my trademark… a treat for those who have read the other books, and a lure for those who haven’t.
Blurb: When Kathryn Dorne is summoned to Half-Moon Lake for the reading of her father’s will, she discovers a shocking truth: everything in her life—including her name—is a lie.
Learning that her name is Katelyn Eubanks is only the first surprise. Second, she had an identical twin sister who drowned at the age of nine. Since Katelyn can’t remember anything prior to that age, it seems more than mere coincidence. The biggest surprise is that her father, a man she never knew existed, left his entire estate to her, enraging other would-be heirs.
With her unremembered, but closest childhood friend, Levi, as well as help from the estate’s deaf-mute gardener, and the outspoken cook, Katelyn searches for answers to questions that have plagued her all her life, but doing so, opens the proverbial Pandora’s box. As her memories return, so does the terrible danger she escaped fifteen years earlier.
I awakened to the sound of my own scream. Breathless, heart pounding, pajamas drenched in sweat, I was desperate, clawing at the tangle of sheets wrapped around me.
“Nooo,” I whimpered. “No, please…no!”
I stared, with wide eyes, at the ceiling, concentrating on the shimmery patterns cast by the outside lights around the pool, and gulped deep breaths in an effort to calm down, all while my heart and mind raced.
The nightmare was back. It had plagued me almost every night since I was nine, but about two years ago it stopped, and I thought I’d finally outgrown it. Looked like I was wrong, and begging wouldn’t change anything. Disappointment left a bitter taste in my mouth Why now? What made it return? What could’ve triggered it?
The letter. That had to be it. Everything had been going fine…well, as fine as I could expect things to go in my dysfunctional life, and then I’d gotten yesterday’s mail. There had to be a connection. Maybe—
No! If I allowed my mind to start thinking about it, picking apart every sentence, mulling over what every little thing could mean, I’d never get back to sleep. Tomorrow would be—I glanced at the clock—correction…today was going to be a big day. I needed all the rest I could get if I expected to be able to face it. “Go back to sleep, Kate.”
I flipped my pillow over to the “good dream” side, and twisting my long hair up away from her neck, I sank back into the pillow’s cool softness. It might be silly to still practice such a childish ritual, but it reminded me of my mom and right now, I needed that. The familiarity brought a measure of comfort, which in turn, calmed me. If clinging to the fairytale helped me go back to sleep, then so be it.
I’d face the rest later.
North Carolina native, Leanna Sain, earned her BA from the University of South Carolina, then moved back to her beloved mountains of western NC with her husband. Her “Gate” books have stacked up numerous awards, from Foreword Magazine’s Book-of-the-Year to the Clark Cox Historical Fiction Award from the North Carolina Society of Historians. Sain’s fourth novel, WISH, is a stand-alone, YA crossover.
Her Southern romantic suspense or “GRIT-lit,” showcases her plot-driven method of writing that successfully rolls the styles of best-selling authors Mary Kay Andrews, Nicholas Sparks, and Jan Karon into a delightfully hybrid style that is all her own. Regional fiction lovers and readers who enjoy suspense with a magical twist will want her books.
She loves leading discussion groups and book clubs. For more information or to contact her, visit: www.LeannaSain.com
Twitter: Leanna Sain@Leannasbooks
Website and blog: http://leannasain.com
Please welcome my guest Linda Nightingale presenting Four by MoonLight
Linda, why did you write this anthology?
Since this is an anthology, I’d have to explain why I wrote each of the four stories in Four by Moonlight. It’s going to be tight but here goes!
Gypsy Ribbons – a ghost story. I got the idea for this story from a poem I dearly love: The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes. Of course, there’s no ghost in The Highwayman, and that’s where my imagination came in, providing a family ghost who warns of death by a heartbreaking sigh at the door.
Star Angel – I wrote this story for everyone who feels like Lucy, the heroine, bored, feeling trapped and like love has passed her by. She falls in love with a vision she glimpses in the corner of her eye, and one day that vision is standing before her. She’s forced with a life-altering choice that would give pause to most of us.
The Night Before Doomsday – Azazel was a leader of the angels sent to Earth to teach Man, but they revealed the secrets of Heaven to their pupils and took wives among their women. Was it lust or love that lost the Grigori Heaven? I read the Book of Enoch and was inspired to write the real (imagined) reason the Watchers fell.
The Gatekeeper’s Cottage – The only erotic romance among the anthology is a study in how far obsession will make people go for something they must have. I wanted to explore the darker implications and psychological undertones of this near malady. The hero and heroine very narrowly miss committing a sin—in the eyes of the modern world.
Four by Moonlight
An anthology of love in the moonlight…in the paranormal realms…
Gypsy Ribbons – A moonlight ride on the moors and meeting a notorious highwayman will forever change Lady Virginia Darby’s life.
Star Angel – Lucy was stuck in a rut and in an Idaho potato patch. She’d seen him in the corner of her eye—a fleeting glimpse of beauty—now he stood before her in the flesh.
The Night Before Doomsday – All his brothers had succumbed to lust, but Azazel resisted temptation until the wrong woman came along.
The Gate Keeper’s Cottage – Newlywed Meggie Richelieu’s mysterious, phantom lover may be more than anyone, except the plantation housekeeper, suspects.
Red eyes watched from the grate as she slipped into the cold, empty bed. Simon should have been there to warm her rather than the dying fire. Not pursuing a dangerous dream. Too angry, too miserable to weep, she tossed and turned. The relief of sleep eluded her.
An icy breath whispered through the room. Tory snuggled deeper beneath the goose down covers. Had the weather made up its mind? Was Simon riding in ice and snow? She imagined white flakes in Goliath’s long black mane and on the highwayman’s plush velvet cloak. Poor darling, he would be cold. Tory slowly drifted to sleep unrelated thoughts scrolling in her mind. A soft sound snapped her wide awake. She sat bolt upright, tugging the covers over the breasts. The room was iceberg cold. The ghost.
“Not Simon.” She held her breath, ears stained for the horrifying, otherworldly whisper, a warning of imminent death. The sound came again, closer. A slow footstep creeping over the old oaken floor. Tonight, the ghost of Darby Manor wandered its dim corridors.
“No. No.” Tory squeezed her eyes closed and prayed, forgetting she didn’t believe in ghosts.
The footsteps halted. Tory’s heart stopped. She started to cover her ears, refusing to hear. The ghost breathed that heartbreaking sigh at her door.
Shuddering, she slid back under the layers of down. The warmth had no effect on her shivers. She folded into a fetal position. I’m no longer alone. Fear chilled her anew. Though she couldn’t see clearly in the dim light, she knew her breath puffed white clouds in the frigid air. Dread sank its wicked claws into her racing heart.
About the Author:
Born in South Carolina, Linda has lived in England, Canada, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Atlanta and Houston. She’s seen a lot of this country from the windshield of a truck pulling a horse trailer, having bred, trained and showed Andalusian horses for many years.
Linda has won several writing awards, including the Georgia Romance Writers Magnolia Award and the SARA Merritt. She is the mother of two wonderful sons, a retired legal assistant, member of the Houston Miata Club, and enjoys events with that car club. Among her favorite things are her snazzy black convertible and her parlor grand piano. She loves to dress up and host formal dinner parties.
Web Site: http://www.lindanightingale.com – Visit and look around. There’s a free continuing vampire story.
Blog: https://lindanightingale.wordpress.com/ – Lots of interesting guests & prizes
Thanks again for visiting with my guest. Please follow, friend or like me. I love to hear from my readers.
Amazon Author’s Page http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003F6ZK1A
Please welcome my guest Toni V. Sweeney, author of Sinbad’s Pride.
Why did you write Sinbad’s Pride?
They say Imitation is the best form of flattery.
Many years ago, I was intrigued by a TV show called Beauty and the Beast. Not the latest one where the Beast is the result of a secret US experiment to create super soldiers and the Beauty is the police detective who loves him, but the original series in 1987. In homage, I wrote my own spin on that story: The Adventures of Sinbad. My Beast isn’t simply a man who by some quirk of birth looks like a lion. He is a lion, a native of Felida where the inhabitants evolved from a feline species instead of simians, where their culture follows a feline pattern.
My Beast is Sinbad sh’en Singh, a smuggler wanted on seven worlds of the United Terran Federation, with more than a hundred thousand credits bounty on his capture. That was all right with Sin, because he intended to thumb his nose at the TUF for as long as he could—and then he met a little Terran named Andrea Talltrees and got shot right out of orbit…in flames.
His Beauty is Andrea Talltrees, a feisty little woman raised by the Navajos after her father is killed in the Terro-Felidan War and her mother dies of a broken heart. When her husband is accused of being a spy in yet another war and is arrested, she doesn’t just sit around. She goes to the one person her godfather suggests might help…a certain Felidan smuggler who hates Terran women almost as much as he hates the Federation…
…And that’s the way they meet. It’s a culture clash of epic proportions with a disturbing explosion of instant attraction as Andi and Sin try desperately not to fall in love with each other.
The first novel in the series, The Story of a Peace-Loving Man, was published in 2016. Sinbad’s Last Voyage followed, with Sinbad’s Wife, the story of his courtship and winning of his Beauty, published in January of this year. The one I’m offereikng today is Book 4, Sinbad’s Pride.
Sinbad’s Pride Blurb:
When Andrea Talltrees married Sinbad sh’en Singh, she knew they would have problems. All newly-weds do, but married life with a part-Felidan ex-smuggler seems to be nothing but one crisis after another.
Being law-abiding simply isn’t part of Sin’s lifestyle and he’s already found a way to legally restore Felida’s pre-war glory by making it a prime smuggling planet—and he’s also found a way to prevent the Federation from doing anything about it. In order to do that, however, he needs the cooperation of the second and third most powerful prides on Felida, and they in turn want to cement the deal through a family relationship.
That’s why Sin finds himself with a very angry Prime Wife, as he tries to explain to Andi why he’s taking not one but two concubines though he swears he loves her and wouldn’t be unfaithful in a million years. If he doesn’t handle this right, Sin is facing a future which may involve sleeping on a sofa until he’s an ocotogenerian.
Felida is a male-oriented planet, chauvinistic to the nth degree and the fact that Sinbad sometimes consults his wife and concedes to her wishes doesn’t sit well with his grandfather or any of the older males in the Pride. Andi being a hated Terran doesn’t help, either, and the feisty little Navajo finds herself forcefully striving to act more like a Felidan female and less like her usual independent self. In other words, the newly-reinstated heir and his spouse have a lot going against them and only their determination to be accepted going for them.
In the meantime, sons Cash and Adam are growing up and becoming men—in every sense of the word—though Sin sometimes thinks sense doesn’t enter into their actions. When a former smuggling associate declares war on Sin’s new criminal efforts, the two youngsters are brought into the fight and the decisions they make soon lead to a tragedy threatening to tear Sin’s newly-made family apart.
Sinbad’s Pride is about family and responsibility and doing things a person nay not necessarily wish to do in order to keep that family together. Sin and Andi face many decisions in their new life on Felida, decision which not only test their marriage but in some ways strengthen it.
“I’ve received a message from Salu-Khan,” Murad announced, glancing at the scroll he held. “He’s eager to become a part of your operation, Andrew–so eager in fact that he’s requesting permission to join!”
“Grandsire, that’s great! With Salu-Khan’s participation, we’ll have two-thirds of the Prides behind us.”
“Salu-Khan wants more than a business association, I’m afraid,” Murad went on. He tossed the scroll onto the desk and looked down at his grandson.
“What do you mean, Grandsire?”
“He has a daughter of breeding age. He’s requesting a union with our Den through marriage.”
“Doesn’t he know Amir-Kasdan’s bonded?”
“He wants you for his daughter, Andrew.”
It wasn’t respectful to laugh at his grandfather but Sin couldn’t help it. “Guess he’s out of luck then since I’m already married–”
“–and I’ve sent him my reply, agreeing to the affiliation,” Murad went on, as if he hadn’t spoken.
“B-but I can’t– Grandsire, I already have a mate!”
“Salu-Khan’s aware of that and accepts the fact that his daughter will be merely a concubine,” Murad went on imperturbably.
“Concu– I don’t want a concubine!” Sin exclaimed. “Besides, Andi wou–”
He broke off quickly. He’d almost said Andi would never allow it, and that was definitely the wrong thing to say to the Head of the Clan.
“Andrea went through a Felidan marriage ceremony with you, Andrew,” his grandfather reminded him. “She agreed to follow our customs and laws and Felidan law allows a kh’ta concubines. Your mate has no say-so in the matter.”
Murad’s tone made it final, the matter settled, but Sin wasn’t about to accept his grandfather’s command so easily.
“What about my say-so? I say I don’t want another female, either as a wife or a concubine! I–”
“As you just pointed out, Andrew, we need Salu-Khan’s backing. In something this important, there can’t be any dissention among the participants.” Murad was forcing himself to remain calm, since he understood how his grandson felt about his wife, having himself been so in love with his own mate that he’d never thought to take another after she died. “As Pride Heir, you must obey. You have to do this. For the Pride.”
“Forget it!” Sin retorted, turning away and stalking to the window. From Grandsire’s side of the house, he could see the high cliffs rising above them and the trees trembling in the winter wind. He looked back at Murad. “No.”
Just that one word. No arguments.
Murad sighed again. “I’m afraid you have to, Andrew. We can’t afford to insult Salu-Khan’s Clan a second time.”
“Second time?” Sin frowned. “Other than his obvious important, Grandsire, why does Salu-Khan’s name sound so familiar?”
“His brother was the Pride Chief your mother was bonded to, the one your father killed in order to make her his mate and save the unborn whelp that became you, my beloved grandson!”
“Oh.” Sin was suitably silenced for a moment. He stood there without speaking, for once not really knowing what to say, and Murad seized his moment of uncertainty to plunge on.
“The female will arrive here in four days. On that afternoon, the Ceremony will take place. You will receive her and make her your concubine.”
Silently, Sin glared at his grandfather, wanting to argue but knowing there was nothing he could say. Murad sh’en Singh had spoken. The Pride Heir had to obey.
Ducking his head in a quick bow, he answered, “I’ll obey, Grandfather, but I wish to go on record as protesting this union, and state that I’m definitely entering into it unwillingly!”
Before Murad could reply, he whirled and stalked out.
Oh God! How am I going to tell Andi?
Sinbad’s Pride is being released by Class Act Books.
Publisher’s website: http://www.classactbooks.com/cat-romance/sinbad-s-pride-detail
This past December, Toni V. Sweeney celebrated her 74th birthday. This month, she’s celebrating the release of her 74rd novel.
Since the publication of her first novel in 1989, Toni divides her time between writing SF/Fantasy under her own name and romances under her pseudonym Icy Snow Blackstone. In March, 2013, she became publicity manager for Class Act Books (US) . She is also on the review staff of the New York Journal of Books and the paranormal Romance Guild, and in 2016 was certified a professional reader by netgalley.com..
Find out more about Toni:
Please leave a comment for Toni today, Barbara.
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Amazon Author’s Page http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003F6ZK1A