5.23.2017

Cherie Reich's "The Folding Point" - An Excerpt from Spirits in the Water


Aimee gripped the gum filled strands and sliced through them. A hint of rosemary from her conditioner and watermelon from the gum tickled her nostrils. She dropped the clump of hair into the sink and continued chopping away. The thick tresses soon filled the basin. She felt lighter with each one off her head.

“Oh god.” The peanut butter jar slipped from Xavier’s fingers and clattered onto the bathroom tiles. It rolled over to the rug she stood on. “What are you doing?”

“What does it look like?” She straightened her shoulders and smoothed a hand through her short, jagged locks. Her reflection stared back. The girl in the mirror looked pale, her lips drawn into a determined line, yet her eyes—the intense ice blue—chilled her. She almost didn’t recognize herself. “I’m taking my life back.”

Her brother’s lips parted like a goldfish’s. Open and shut, open and shut. He eventually shook his head and retrieved the jar of peanut butter. “It’s your hair.”

She gave a firm nod. Her hair. Her life. She was in control.

As he left the bathroom, she continued to cut her hair until she was satisfied with the pixie style. She cleaned off the scissors, placed them back into the cabinet, and scooped up the dark remains where she discarded them in the wastebasket.

She was heading toward her bedroom when a fluttering sound drew her attention toward her brother’s room. His window was cracked open, and a paper bird launched from the sill and flew toward her. Did her brother create the bird? As far as she knew, her dad had gathered up the last of the paper in the house and burned it after Mom’s arrest. She held out her palm.

The bird landed and fluffed its delicately folded feathers. Its beak opened, and it spat a crumbled ball of paper into her hand. Then it flew off and perched upon Xavier’s desk lamp.

What the holy folds was this about? She unfurled the ball of paper and smoothed out the wrinkles. Midnight at Cityside Park. The scrawl sent her brow furrowing.

“What are you doing in my room?” Xavier snatched her wrist as she closed her fingers around the piece of paper.

“I saw a paper bird flying around.” She jutted her chin toward the creature.

“Open your hand.” His gaze drew to her fist, and his fingers dug into her flesh. “Come on, Aimee. It’s for me.”

“What is it about?” She opened her hand, the paper in the center of her palm.

“Nothing important.” He snatched the note and released her. “Go to your room and do your homework.”

“I don’t have any,” she lied.

“Well, go read or something.” He shooed her off and stepped farther into his room. His hand rested upon the door. “Go on.”

She huffed and backed up.

He slammed the door and locked it.

What had him so rattled? She shook her head. Whatever it was, she would find out.

Spirits in the Water is forthcoming October 2017.

5.16.2017

Caution - Romance Ahead!

I want to let you know about two new book releases by Cerise Laudine (River Fairchild's alter ego). The first is a tale of romance with an Otherworldly flavor, mythology, a gorgeous alpha male, and enough steam to fog up your mirrors. Seducer of Her Dreams.



Blurb:

Emily is beautiful, successful, and has a fantastic love life—only it isn’t with a real man. Embroiled in the hottest sexual relationship of her life with the ultimate man of her dreams—literally—she always wakes up alone. Resolved to start living in the real world again, she banishes dream lover Devan from her nights.

Devan is an immortal Seducer, created to fulfill sexual fantasies. He takes this rejection personally and visits Earth, determined to seduce Emily in person. With a full cycle of the moon allowed to get the job done, he figures there shouldn’t be a problem. The only catch… if he reveals his true nature, he’ll be banished to the void forever.

As Emily and Devan stumble toward each other, the clock is ticking, the moon won’t stand still, and the goddesses of Fate are about to intervene.

To buy it on Amazon or read it for free with KindleUnlimited,
click here. http://amzn.to/2oMaaWj

Next up is book 2 of the Well of Souls series, called Twisted Fates. It's a time-travel, Scottish Highlander series with an Otherworldly flavor and more alpha males, of course!



Blurb:


Zoey Tyler struggles to get through each day, convinced only a dark path awaits her. Disastrous choices ruined her life. Now all she has left is a black void ready to swallow her whole.

Gavin Mackay has given up trying to be the kind of man his father would have expected of him. When a force of great power rips him away from the year 1825, it drops him into the 21st century and into Zoey’s living room without any explanation. Drawn to the unusual woman, he’s sure she feels an attraction for him as well, though the stubborn lass won’t admit to it.

All too soon, the problems he left behind merge with her current troubles, creating a maelstrom of danger and putting both their lives at risk. Are their fates doomed to remain twisted in sorrow, or can they change destiny and find happiness with each other?

To buy it on Amazon or read it for free with KindleUnlimited,


And in celebration of the release, I've discounted book 1, Immortal Desires, for those who want to start at the beginning. It's only .99 or read for free with KindleUnlimited.


Blurb:

Dumped at the altar, Deanna Cameron seeks a fresh start in life. She gets more than she bargained for after accepting a new job, when an Immortal Guardian sends her five hundred years into the past. She can't return home and a magnificent highland warrior accuses her of being a spy.

Ian Mackay knows the beautiful woman who appears in his castle must be a spy. After all, she's a Cameron, a clan he despises. The powerful magic surrounding her obstructs his Druid senses, plus he finds he can't stay away from the temptress. But loving Deanna could come with a price too high to pay. Will she be the downfall of his clan—or its salvation?

To buy, click here. http://amzn.to/2qZjKq5  (this one was previously released under the author name Laura Eno)


About the Author:

Cerise Laudine loves sexy Highlanders, seductive alpha males from the Otherworld, and bold women who can bring them to their knees and rock their world. Time-travel, star-crossed, or interdimensional, my stories always have a happily ever after. Though the twisted path of laughter and tears is the real journey, isn’t it? Come walk the paths with me and share in the experience.

Cerise’s Amazon page: http://amzn.to/2pR4awe

5.09.2017

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY

I was curious to know how Mother's Day had originated, so I googled it. This piece is taken from Wiki:

The Establishment of Mother's Day in the United States:

The modern holiday of Mother's Day was first celebrated in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother at St Andrew's Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia. Her campaign to make "Mother's Day" a recognized holiday in the United States began in 1905, the year her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, died. Ann Jarvis had been a peace activist who cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the American Civil War,and created Mother's Day Work Clubs to address public health issues. Anna Jarvis wanted to honor her mother by continuing the work she started and to set aside a day to honor all mothers, because she believed that they were "the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world".
In 1908, the US Congress rejected a proposal to make Mother's Day an official holiday, joking that they would have to proclaim also a "Mother-in-law's Day". However, owing to the efforts of Anna Jarvis, by 1911 all US states observed the holiday, with some of them officially recognizing Mother's Day as a local holiday, the first being West Virginia, Jarvis' home state, in 1910. In 1914, Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating Mother's Day, held on the second Sunday in May, as a national holiday to honor mothers.
Although Jarvis was successful in founding Mother's Day, she became resentful of the commercialization of the holiday. By the early 1920s, Hallmark Cards and other companies had started selling Mother's Day cards. Jarvis believed that the companies had misinterpreted and exploited the idea of Mother's Day, and that the emphasis of the holiday was on sentiment, not profit. As a result, she organized boycotts of Mother's Day, and threatened to issue lawsuits against the companies involved. Jarvis argued that people should appreciate and honor their mothers through handwritten letters expressing their love and gratitude, instead of buying gifts and pre-made cards. Jarvis protested at a candy makers' convention in Philadelphia in 1923, and at a meeting of American War Mothers in 1925. By this time, carnations had become associated with Mother's Day, and the selling of carnations by the American War Mothers to raise money angered Jarvis, who was arrested for disturbing the peace.
In 1912 Anna Jarvis trademarked the phrases "Second Sunday in May" and "Mother's Day", and created the Mother's Day International Association. She specifically noted that "Mother's" should "be a singular possessive, for each family to honor its own mother, not a plural possessive commemorating all mothers in the world." This is also the spelling used by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson in his 1914 presidential proclamation, by the U.S. Congress in relevant bills, and by various U.S. presidents in their proclamations concerning Mother's Day.

I found this information to be interesting and thought Anna Jarvis was quite a radical activist for her time. I also tend to agree with Anna's disgust with the commercialism of Mother's Day. Although, I have to admit, a flower and/or candy is not truly disgustful in my eyes. As my kids were going up, I treasured and still treasure all of their homemade cards. 

I'd like to wish All Mother's, God Mother's, Mother's of doggies and kitties and any kind of animals, where any sort of mothering is involved, a Very Special Day! 

5.05.2017

Book Review: Coyote Cal: Tales from the Weird West by Milo James Fowler #amreading

Blurb:
There’s Trouble on the Range

In these thrilling tales from yesteryear, Coyote Cal and his trusty sidekick Big Yap encounter a wizard able to change his shape at will, a scheming witch, a confused zombie, la chupacabra grande, bloodthirsty vampyres, and other sordid fiends. Our heroes will have to rely on their wits, skills, and loads of hot lead to ensure justice prevails.

This volume collects all 9 weird western stories in the Coyote Cal Adventure Series, including:

“Fool’s Gold”—Coyote Cal and Big Yap encounter their most challenging adversary yet: a Portuguese wizard able to change his shape at will. Our heroes will have to rely on their wits, skills, and loads of hot lead if they hope to foil this shape-shifter’s evil schemes before he ends them, once and for all.

“Coyote Cal’s Guide to the Weird, Wild West”—Coyote Cal must match wits with Donna "the Witch" Jamison, a master of the dark arts intent on planting him in the ground. Cal has stood toe to toe with his fair share of villains in the past—but this time, he's up against something altogether different in the form of a metal-mouthed gunslinger named Sleepy Rider and his dead brother, Easy.

“El Diablo de Paseo Grande”—Something’s attacking the livestock outside the little town of Paseo Grande, and our heroes are hot on the monster's trail. But Coyote Cal, Big Yap, and Donna “the Witch” Jamison may have bitten off more than they can chew this time, and only one of them will be able to save the day—or die trying.

“Harbinger of Arroyo Seco”—Like many heroes, Coyote Cal was once a boy... There's a storm brewing over the town of Arroyo Seco, and a sheriff with his uncanny eye on the future sees nothing but trouble for our hero-in-the-making. In love with an older woman and hunted by a gang of outlaws seeking retribution, young Calvin must walk a fine line between protecting the one he loves and becoming a ruthless killer.

My Review:
Coyote Cal is a perfect blend of horror and humor. If you grew up watching reruns of The Lone Ranger and The Cisco Kid, Coyote Cal was written for you. Coyote Cal and his sidekick Big Yap battle one supernatural enemy after another, saving the hapless citizens from horrible fates at the hands of wizards, witches, werewolves, vampires, and other monsters. The series is laughably self-aware. Big Yap frequently reminds us and all the characters that Coyote Cal is the hero of these tales. Both Cal and Yap lament the passage of the Old West into the Weird West, but ride into the new landscape without fear. In true hero fashion, Cal accepts no monetary reward for his good deeds—a sore point with Yap—but does accept a kiss or two from grateful damsels. Coyote Cal is pulp fiction fun at its best.

And, if you want to add an extra kick to the Coyote Cal experience, try the audio version. The narration is spot on and replete with sound effects which give it the feel of an old radio show.

5.02.2017

Frozen - a teaser from Spirits in the Water


I woke in a tomb. No, a cell. Or rather, what was more like a storage closet. A single light shone over my head and seemed to illuminate the throbbing pain engulfing my face.

Raising a hand, I gingerly inspected my nose. It was swollen, but I could breathe. Someone had tended to it and set it with a squirt of bio-gel. It was not something I expected from scavengers. But if they weren’t scavengers, who were they?

I sat slowly, fighting past the dizziness and smacking my dry mouth as I tried to wet it. How long had I been out? Hours? A day? Even more so, how long would it take for anyone to realize I had gone missing? The Planetary Marshals were scarce this far out in the solar system. They might not concern themselves with a missing necromancer. Not many folks would.

My helmet and a small bucket sat by my feet. Someone had fitted me into my space suit. Had we left the colony? Carrying me across Enceladus’ slippery surface to wherever they were hiding would be a lot of work. It meant they might have a hover vessel which would get them around on the surface much easier.

The door opened with a squeak, and my attacker stood in its place. His black hair was shorn short accentuating the shadows around his eyes. His face was like a storm that wouldn’t end, battered with age and angry.

You better be worth the trouble, Silaluk. If you don’t cooperate, I have no qualms about tossing you off the ship.”

Ship? I gripped the material of suit as I reached out with my other senses. Nothing. Emptiness. People might claim to have haunted ships, but it was their space-addled minds making them see things. Spirits didn’t exist in vacuums. They needed earth to cling to and water to move through.

I squeezed my eyes shut. Not scavengers. Pirates.

I see you understand your situation now.” The bastard sounded pleased with himself. “I’m Captain Schrader. Call me whatever you want, but do as I say, and you’ll live through this. In fact, you could earn enough to buy yourself a something bigger than a box to live in.”

What do you want from me?” My voice wasn’t quite my own. Schrader’s friend had done quite the number on my nose. Or maybe it was my resignation.

I need you to do two things for me.” Schrader held up one finger. “Find a map.” He flipped up a second digit. “And help me get the goods.”

Simple words, but I highly doubted it would be as easy as it sounded. If it were, he wouldn’t need me. “So why do you need me?”

Schrader’s smirk tightened his whole face. “Because only a dead man knows the whereabouts of the map.”

4.25.2017

Disaster! What to do When it Strikes. Get Popcorn! #sciencefiction #fantasy



Disasters were always on the TV when I was young: Towering Inferno, Godzilla, The Poseidon Adventure, Jaws, the many TV airline crash movies. Maybe that's why I enjoy this type of story so much. Whether it's a budget-buster of high quality like Titanic, or a low budget hokey thing like Atomic Twister, I'm a fan.

It's not just the popcorn. It's man against nature, man against machine, man against bad guys, man against beasts/aliens/space. Oh my gosh! How can anyone survive against a mechanical shark? What if I was stranded in space? These movies bring up larger-than-life scenarios, and somehow our heroes survive. It's fantastic. Some of the stories are completely fantastic and out there. I love it!

I watch to have fun and be entertained. Maybe it's the grand-scale problem that appeals to me; a problem way bigger than myself. I mean, a tornado of sharks... yikes!

I've always wanted to write one and recently I was given the opportunity. Some folks stopped by my inbox in the fall and asked if I wanted to be part of Pew! Pew! – Sex, Guns, Spaceships… Oh My! The idea for "Spaceberg" popped into my head and I replied with an emphatic yes. Here was my chance to write something funny and disastrous, my favorite kind of story.It involves an iceberg in space, moss balls with teeth, organic plastic, and dancing plastic flowers. There are also a lot of references to TV shows and movies (some very obscure). It was a hoot to write.

Over 30,000 words, "Spaceberg" is close to a full-length novel. Pew! Pew! – Sex, Guns, Spaceships… Oh My! releases June 1, 2017 and is up for preorder on Amazon.






PREORDER









Here are a few other goodies for you:


A mega science fiction giveaway ENTER


Every entry gets a copy of At the Helm, which includes my story "Patchworker 2.0" Signed copies of the first 3 Backworlds are part of the Grand Prize. My boxed set is in the prizes for other winners.



Via my newsletter every month, I giveaway either a Backworlds tumbler or a Rifters journal. Just ENTER my dimension to be part of these drawings.


Do you have a favorite disaster story/movie? I enjoy sharks and dinos most, but am a succor for any of them really. I can't resist.

4.17.2017

Thinking Ahead to Summer - writing & bookish plans?

I teach college lit and creative writing part time in the fall and spring so I always look forward to summer in order to get lots of writing done. Also, I attend a weeklong writing retreat in Cape Cod then. We write all day (after an hour gabbing over coffee). Often I start a novel at the retreat.
One of my Cape retreat "writing stations"
I'm already mulling over what I should concentrate on. This spring I finally completed a draft of a romantic suspense novel and Maizy of Bellagio, a story for the forthcoming UR Spirits in the Air anthology. So it's not as if I slack off between the days of teaching. LOL.

I am trying to decide between starting a new witch book, which would be a companion novel to Witch of the Cards, or another one in the new suspense series. Which should I pick? How do you decide when you have more than one book in mind?  Do you choose the one you think will sell the best? Or the one you have plotted out most? Or the one that is closest to your heart? Help!

For my summer reading, I'll be delving into the Blue Fairy Book, Alice in Wonderland and Alice through the Looking Glass to name a few, because in the spring of 2018 I will be teaching a brand new college lit course simply called Fantasy. Woo hoo!

On another note, I finally redesigned my website, which has an entire shiny new page devoted to the UR Elements anthologies. Check out my main page, and then click into Anthologies Page to see what you think about the front page and the Elements page!

What are your summer writing and reading plans?