Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Karin Rita Gastreich Shares an #Excerpt from High Maga @EolynChronicles #Fantasy #TBR

Rishona unclasped her cloak and flung it to the floor at Mechnes’s feet. “You are not to question my wisdom or my will in public. Ever.”
Mechnes could not help but smile at the sight of his niece, now a grown woman pretending to give him orders. “With all due respect, San’iloman, I am your military advisor. It is my duty to speak my mind when the weight of my experience contradicts your rather naïve instincts.”
She moved to strike him, but he caught her wrist and forced her arm until she gasped. “It is a little early in the day to start with these games, my Queen. But if you desire a spark of conflict to brighten this weary morning, I am more than willing to please you.”
Rishona kept her eyes hard as stone and her voice taut with menace. “Speak your mind, Mechnes, but do so with discretion. I will not have our disagreements heard by those who would use them to spread malicious rumors against me. Nor will I have our men, who have struggled long and hard up this wretched pass, fall victim to any suspicion that our unity of purpose is wavering.”
He brought her body tight against his, let his breath fall upon her silky skin until he felt a shiver pass through her, followed by the softening of her shoulders and the almost imperceptible tilt of her face that always preceded that ardent kiss.
Before their lips met, he released her. “We must open up this road if we hope to bring a proper army through it.”
“We cannot bring down any more trees,” she insisted. “We are undermining the power of this forest. We need its magic for everything that is to come.”
“This is a very big forest.” He drew out one of their maps, passing his hand over the moss green crescent of impenetrable woodland that swept north toward East Selen and south along the foothills of the Paramen Mountains. “And a very small pass.”
Rishona stared at the map, lips protruding in that familiar charming frown. She rubbed her arms to ward off the damp chill. Noting her discomfort, Mechnes retrieved a dry cloak and placed it about her shoulders.
“I hope you are right,” she said. “It is just that every time we bring down one of those trees, I feel strength torn out of the earth. I fear I went too far by clearing the valley where my parents died.”
“You are Syrnte, Rishona. Your magic derives from the air.”
“Yes, but these creatures were not banished to the Underworld by Syrnte magic. They were imprisoned by the mages and magas of Moisehén, and they must be summoned by the same powers. I will need the air to anchor my spirit when I summon them, but without the earth I cannot control them.”
Mechnes narrowed his eyes. “If you have doubts regarding your ability to manage these beasts, you should have mentioned them before now.”
“I have no doubts.” She looked up at him, defiant. “I know how to gratify the Naether Demons and bring them into our service. But there are many elements involved, and they must be integrated carefully. No one has attempted this before, uncle. Or if they have, they failed miserably, and hence we know nothing of their fate.”
“Are you ready to summon these beasts or not?” He did not bother to hide the threat in his tone. Already he had poured tremendous resources into this conquest. He would show no mercy if she had deceived him.
Rishona straightened her shoulders, expression resolute. “Yes, I am ready. For tonight, I am most ready. And for what is to come, I have time to prepare.”

Lands Ravaged. Dreams destroyed. Demons set loose upon the earth.
War strikes at the heart of women’s magic in Moisehén. Eolyn’s fledgling community of magas is destroyed; its members killed, captured or scattered.
Devastated yet undaunted, Eolyn seeks to escape the occupied province and deliver to King Akmael a weapon that might secure their victory. But even a High Maga cannot survive this enemy alone. Aided by the enigmatic Mage Corey, Eolyn battles the darkest forces of the Underworld, only to discover she is a mere path to the magic that most ignites their hunger.
What can stop this tide of terror and vengeance? The answer lies in Eolyn’s forgotten love, and in its power to engender seeds of renewed hope.
HIGH MAGA is the companion novel to EOLYN, also available from Hadley Rille Books.
Buy Now @ Amazon & Kobo
Genre – Epic Fantasy
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Karin Rita Gastreich on Facebook & Twitter

Friday, April 25, 2014

@SandyoNathan's Thoughts on Should You Self-Publish or Use a Traditional Publisher? #PubTip

You hear a lot of conversation about whether an author should self-publish or go the traditional route. People get pretty steamed up about the topic. The discussions I’ve heard miss one important fact: traditional publishing is not an option for most would-be authors.
The path to traditional publication begins with the author signing with a literary agent. (This may require major voodoo.) The agent then sells the would-be author's manuscript to a publisher. (More voodoo) Once sold, the lonely manuscript must navigate the perils within the publisher’s walls. (Meaning that it doesn’t get suppressed because a famous author is coming out with a new book) And finally, pop! The new author’s new book comes out, and is given a few months to earn back its advance before its pulped. This process takes years.
Until a would-be author gets and agent and navigates the gauntlet, the options are: don't publish or self-publish.

Here’s a true story: mine. After attempting to write the magic query letter­­––a query is a three paragraph, one page letter that can convince an agent that he should take your book over the 15,000 other queries he gets a year. After being rejected many times, I hired my editor to write the thing. She has thirty years in the business and was the editor-in-chief of a major writers' magazine for many years. Her version was rejected just as fast as mine. I watched a good friend, an attorney, send out query letters by the dozen. Hers came back just as fast as mine. Clearly, this process was impossible, or at least impossible for me.

I gave up trying to get an agent. I now have nine books published by an indie press––mine. My books have won twenty-four national awards in contests for independent presses. I can speak definitively about "self publishing."

For one thing, "self publishing" as an entity doesn't exist. An author can get her words in print a zillion ways, from doing all the design and composition herself to hiring top designers. “Self publishing” runs the gamut from a single stop at your local print shop to setting up your own LLC and sinking everything you've got into it.

Another bit of knowledge I’ve gained: writing and producing one's own books takes much more work than the discussions of the topic indicate. If you have any quality standards at all, "self publishing" is a license to work 24 hours a day.

Self-publishing means conferring with editors and designers and proofreaders and printers. It's selecting professionals, setting up distribution, warehousing, and shipping. It's writing and rewriting. A smart indie-publisher will find ways of doing these tasks effectively, but its still an orgy of work with absolutely no guarantee of getting any remuneration.

Sound appealing? Some people do very well financially as indie publishers/authors. They have a magic ability to charm via the Internet. Plus they work even harder than I do.

Would I start my own small press if I knew what I know now? Yeah, with knowledge born of experience and some new information.

For instance, I currently know a number of authors who have won the magical prize: a traditional publisher puts out their work. They are uniformly unhappy, working as hard as I do for a tiny fraction of the money. They never feel secure, as their last book may really be their last if it doesn’t sell. They never know what their earnings are because of the magic accounting of their agents and publishers.

Having an advanced degree in counseling, I’d say the personal system in which a new or midlist author finds him/herself is about as toxic as any on the planet.

Something else. I'm sixty-eight years old. I don't have thirty years to spend wooing an agent, only to be passed over by some twenty four-year-old whiz kid when I finally get a contract. The publishing industry is known for discrimination based on age. Why fight it? I'm doing what I want to do, and well.

Fortunately, I have the right qualifications: I’m a work-o-holic from Silicon Valley.



Will Duane owns the tech revolution. It's 1997; Will's been the richest man on the planet for twenty years. He can sway governments and ruin lives. Will's latest mission brings him into conflict with all that's holy.

He and his corporate hot shots reach their destination, a Native American spiritual retreat. Their luxurious motor homes enter the Mogollon Bowl, a geophysical anomaly where anything can happen. Now Will can spring his trap.

Grandfather, the powerful shaman leading the retreat, seeks a world where love is king, a world of peace and harmony. This vision has haunted him all his life. His corporate guest is the key to making his vision real. Grandfather knows exactly what Will Duane wants.

A malicious force steps into the action. Both men's hopes are dashed, as a sacred place becomes the playground of evil. A malevolent power tries to claim their lives and souls.
You won't forget this modern day fable, a high-speed, high stakes fantasy with visionary roots.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Visionary Fantasy
Rating – R
More details about the author
Connect with Sandy Nathan through Facebook & Twitter

Maria Elena Sandovici's #WriteTip to Avoid Rejection Blues @SandoviciME #BookMarketing #TBR

Rejection is hard for everyone. Yet, as writers, and especially as indie authors, we better develop thick skins. If you’re an indie author, in most cases, it means that you have already encountered massive rejection in trying to secure an agent, before deciding to take a plunge into the exciting but very uncertain world of self-publishing. Even if you are published through traditional channels, you’ve probably had your share of rejection, before securing a book deal.

But the rejection that stings most, comes after publishing. It’s negative reviews from readers and bloggers that truly hurt. Actually, even positive reviews can do some serious damage, as, invariably, between words of praise, there lurks some (minor) criticism, that many authors are a lot better at internalizing than all of the positive comments that go with it.
There are three things I’ve learned to do, when rejection or criticism gets me down:
  1. Try to take stock of the positive. When a negative review comes my way, or even a positive one that contains some unpleasant elements, re-reading good reviews, or remembering praise from others, can help you gain perspective. Nobody is perfect, and your work will not, and cannot, please everyone. However, remembering that your work is special to some, helps. And of course, in the end, what helps most of all is remembering that you like your own work. As long as you stay true to yourself, you have artistic integrity. Remember that such integrity is more important than pleasing others.
  2. The truth is that many of us are better at encouraging others, than we are at encouraging ourselves. If you can, find an author buddy. You might not have one in your immediate circle of friends, but today, with social media, some of your favorite authors are just a message or a tweet away. Try to connect with other indie authors, whose work you enjoy. If you’re lucky, some of these interactions can lead to a friendship in the industry. It helps to discuss your reviews with someone who can relate, and who can, at times, bring back your sense of perspective. Your work cannot please everyone. In the end, you write mostly for yourself, and for those readers who enjoy your books.
  3. Let’s analyze that last thought: In the end, you write mostly for yourself. If you’re anything like me, you write because you have to. You enjoy it, and there is a story brewing inside you, characters wanting to materialize, lines sizzling to be told, creative energy driving you crazy if you don’t do something about it. Writing is something you enjoy. I can spend countless hours entertaining myself with my own imagination, trying to convey the thoughts, feelings, and ideas in my mind in the most emotionally graspable way possible. What makes me a writer, is that I write. What makes me feel that I write well, is, at times, reading something I wrote over, and realizing it does exactly what I wanted it to do. So, in the end, the most powerful tool in reasserting your identity as a writer, and restoring your sense of worth, is the process of writing itself. Sometimes you’ll have a hard break in the publishing, or the publicizing process. Sitting down to write, can put that out of your mind, and restore your sense of balance. I get a lot of inner peace from actually typing a succession of words, and enjoying the way they sound together. It can be very healing, after a rebuff. Good or bad, reviews don’t make a writer. The act of writing does.


Liliana is the disappointing daughter of hardworking immigrant parents. She is a girl looking to be rescued from her own insecurities and bad decisions. Unable to afford rent in New York City proper, she is craving a life of luxury that isn’t hers, while subsisting on bagels and coffee. In desperate need of support - emotional and otherwise -, she clings to potential saviors, never bothering to question if the attachments she forms really fit her.

In a parallel storyline, her mother, Maria, is trying to reject all offers of help, especially those of her estranged husband, whose unexpected generosity forces her to revisit past mistakes she hasn't come to terms with. Enmeshed in her own drama, she doesn’t notice her daughter’s troubles until it’s too late. Desperate to keep Liliana from making a mistake that will alter the course of her life, Maria reveals her best-kept secret, a story so shocking it might have the power to jerk Liliana back to reality. It could, on the other hand, alienate her forever.

DOGS WITH BAGELS is a story about the American dream gone bad. It is also a story about mothers and daughters, about female friendships, the struggle to survive in one of the world’s most expensive cities, and women’s secret desire to have wild passionate sex with their exes. A cross between Bridgett Jones’ Diary and Sex and the City - with an accent! -, DOGS WITH BAGELS is as addictive as a trashy tabloid you can't seem to put down.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Contemporary Women's Fiction
Rating – R
More details about the author
Connect with Maria Elena Sandovici through Facebook & Twitter

Thursday, April 24, 2014

A Lady in France by Jennie Goutet @ALadyInFrance #BookClub #Memoir #MustRead

The new house felt like The Chronicles of Narnia, with its walk-in closets and hiding spaces. I even pretended that by pushing through the coats in the deep closet, I would be able to enter a new land of magic. But my fingers touched the wall every time.
There were three floors, plus a basement full of nooks and crannies. We had a backyard, and then what we called the “way back.” Even the “way back” had a “way back” because the fence was broken down, and we could run for a distance in a wooded area before seeing the backs of neighboring houses. There was the loft above the garage, with a ladder in the shed to climb up. And there were the cubby holes cut out of the flimsy plywood walls in the attic—the cut-out sections matching the wall perfectly, and held in place by a couple of nails. There were closets upon closets (oh, how one misses that living in France), and there were even large drawers in the hallway where we used to keep our dirty clothes to be washed, and sometimes stow away in when playing hide-and-seek.
Since the house was somewhat run-down, we renovated the rooms in a joint family effort, thoroughly gutting and re-doing one room each summer. My father and brother pounded the plaster until it fell off the lath board onto the floor. Then we all scooped it up with snow shovels, put it in boxes and carried it outside to be picked up by the garbage truck. My father redid the wiring behind the walls, and worked alongside my brother as they nailed up fresh sheetrock, applied joint compound, then sanded and painted the room.
My mother stood outside in the sun with the baseboard and window trim balanced on two sawhorses. She burned the paint with a small electric grill, and scraped it off the wood—the old, cracked paint now bubbling and pliable. Then she sanded and painted everything so that the trim was smooth and white. When everything was in place—the trim, the freshly painted walls, the new outlets—the room became a blank canvas, ready to tell the story of our family with all the things we put in it. In this way, we conquered the house, one room at a time, and put our stamp on it.
We went to “the Farm” each week, which was forty-five minutes away. There we borrowed land from a friend so we could grow vegetables and freeze them for the winter. Jeff threw green beans at Mark to tease him while we were picking and weeding until my father yelled, “Knock it off!” and we all suppressed our giggles. When the four of us were released from our duties, we ran through the tall grass, coming out of it with our pants wet from the spit bugs.
“He’s around the bend!” I yelled to Jeff as I dodged Mark’s grasping hands in our game of chase around the house—little kids against the big kids. “Stephanie’s around the corner!” my brother yelled back, laughing. These were the names we made up for specific areas of our house so that we could warn each other of where we might get caught.
Stephanie and I played dolls and pretended our bed was a boat, a safe haven from the waters surrounding it. Jeff and Mark experimented with the tape-recorder, recording funny voices and loud burps and their own laughter. The four of us played together, swinging around the six white columns on the front porch, and building lean-tos in the back with the extra planks of wood lying around. And in the winter, we all went outside after school to the “way back,” which was set on a hill. There we navigated our sleds around the trees, laughing gleefully as we zipped over the snowy moguls before skidding into a halt against the fence at the bottom.
We stayed there until it was dark, sometimes lying quietly on our sleds, looking upwards at the black branches set against the purple sky, feeling the snowflakes settle softly on our faces. Eventually it started to get too quiet, too cold and dark, and we deposited our sleds in the shed next to the garage and traipsed towards the house, my mother’s face framed by the light of the kitchen window as she prepared dinner.
At the symphony, the tuning ‘A’ caught my attention every time as the discordant sounds of all the instruments playing independently fell obediently in tune with the principal violinist. We were at the concert hall often, sometimes as much as once a week, and the space felt like a second home. When Jeff won a local competition at the age of sixteen, to appear as a guest pianist alongside my father’s symphony, I sat, breathless in excitement and anxiety, as he played Rachmaninoff’s “Third Piano Concerto.” He looked so small as he walked across the stage, but he confidently flipped the back of his suit jacket before sitting on the bench, after which he rattled the difficult piece off flawlessly.
I always felt privileged as we wound our way down the box seats after the symphony concert had concluded, taking the back stairwell with everyone else, but turning to the private door that accessed the backstage. There my father joked with the other brass players light-heartedly, showing us a side of him we rarely saw at home. Everyone called each other by their nicknames: Stevie, Brucie, Johnny, Dougie, Petey… Do you think classical musicians are serious? They are not—at least not the brass.

At seventeen, Jennie Goutet has a dream that she will one day marry a French man and sets off to Avignon in search of him. Though her dream eludes her, she lives boldly—teaching in Asia, studying in Paris, working and traveling for an advertising firm in New York.
When God calls her, she answers reluctantly, and must first come to grips with depression, crippling loss, and addiction before being restored. Serendipity takes her by the hand as she marries her French husband, works with him in a humanitarian effort in East Africa, before settling down in France and building a family.
Told with honesty and strength, A Lady in France is a brave, heart- stopping story of love, grief, faith, depression, sunshine piercing the gray clouds—and hope that stays in your heart long after it’s finished.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Memoir
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Jennie Goutet on Facebook & Twitter

Lichgates: Grimoire Saga, Book 1 by SM Boyce @TheSMBoyce #Fantasy #MustRead

Kara Magari squinted back up the path she’d just climbed. The gazebo’s roof peeked through the trees, evidence of where she’d been only ten minutes before. Not bad. With her finger in the air, she traced the way she’d taken, starting at the lichgate and going down over each step in her head. Her finger hovered and came to a stop, though, when she examined the base of the hill.
Built into the rock was a marble door, shrouded with overhanging roots and dangling moss that clung to its frame like bangs. She rubbed her eyes, but the closed entryway was still there when she opened them again.
She brushed her hand along the door’s smooth stone. It was simple, with only a round stone knob and a small emblem carved into the rock at eye level. The symbol looked something like a four-leaf clover made out of crescent moons.
Kara’s fingers itched on the handle, but she hesitated.
The ground trembled with a sudden force that knocked her against the cliff. The breeze stopped, dissolving with a hiss into the hot summer sky. She scanned the valley. Several somethings cracked in the ground under her feet.
Thunder rumbled overhead. A dark cloud churned in the sky, and her heart fell into her stomach; there hadn’t even been a single fluffy cloud up there ten minutes ago.
A blinding bolt of moss-colored lightning flashed, striking the ground nearby. The hairs on her arms stood on end. Heat coursed through her calves, and she caught her breath. Her ears rang.
Wait. Was that lightning green?
The cliff trembled as a boom shattered the air. It began to rain. The heavy drops pelted her skin and clung to her hair as another rumble coursed along the far edge of the valley. She needed shelter, and the last place she would go in a lightning storm was up a hill.
She turned back and twisted the door’s handle, sighing with relief as it openedunlocked. Still, as wet as it was outside and as much as she wanted a safe place to wait out the rain, she lingered on the threshold to examine the room.
Mud covered everything from the floor to the ceiling. Since there weren’t any supports to hold the roof, she couldn’t figure out how the ten-by-ten dirt shelter hadn’t caved in yet. The air within was heavy, moist with the rot of dead leaves, and her only guiding light streamed in from behind her. Roots dangled from the ceiling like stalactites reaching for the floor. The wind picked up, howling as it pelted rain against her back.
Kara tested the ground with her sneaker. The dirt floor supported her weight, so she tip-toed into the room and left the door open. Rain fell in lingering drops on the threshold before it disappeared into the growing pools of mud. She stuck her hands in her pockets and watched the raging storm outside.
A flash of dark brown blurred past her.
She jumped. A tan flicker snaked along the roof, and clumps of soil fell in sheets. She glared at the ceiling, holding her breath as the settling dust rained onto her shoes.
It had almost looked like a root moving, but that—that was crazy.
Another streak of motion raced down the opposite wall. It passed through a shaft of light, and Kara saw its pointed, wooden tip. Tiny veins sprouted from it like hairs, digging into the dirt so that it could travel.
It was a root moving.
A second spiny vine shot up from the floor and wrapped itself around her leg. It pulled. She tripped, falling into the first root as it snaked along the far wall. Dirt poured over her head, blinding her. The scent of decaying bark made her cough. The root tugged again, and she was yanked onto her hands and knees. It dragged her towards the center of the room. She reached for the knife strapped to her free ankle, the one Mom had—no! She couldn’t think of Mom. Not now.
A third root wrapped around her waist, and another grabbed her hand as she reached for the blade. The roots flipped her onto her back. With a bang, the door snapped shut. Her stomach churned. The floor disappeared. She fell, and the roots let go.

“The writing is flawless. The kingdoms and surrounding landscapes breathtaking. The Grimoire is a piece of imaginative genius that bedazzles from the moment Kara falls into the land of Ourea. – Nikki Jefford, author of the Spellbound Trilogy
Spring 2013 Rankings
#6 Kindle Store | #1 Science Fiction & Fantasy | #1 Epic Fantasy | #1 Sword & Sorcery | #1 Teens
Now an international Amazon bestseller. Fans of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and Eragon will enjoy this contemporary remix of the classic epic fantasy genre.
Kara Magari is about to discover a beautiful world full of terrifying things: Ourea.
Kara, a college student still reeling from her mother’s recent death, has no idea the hidden world of Ourea even exists until a freak storm traps her in a sunken library. With nothing to do, she opens an ancient book of magic called the Grimoire and unwittingly becomes its master, which means Kara now wields the cursed book’s untamed power. Discovered by Ourea’s royalty, she becomes an unwilling pawn in a generations-old conflict – a war intensified by her arrival. In this world of chilling creatures and betrayal, Kara shouldn’t trust anyone… but she’s being hunted and can’t survive on her own. She drops her guard when Braeden, a native soldier with a dark secret, vows to keep her safe. And though she doesn’t know it, her growing attraction to him may just be her undoing.
For twelve years, Braeden Drakonin has lived a lie. The Grimoire is his one chance at redemption, and it lands in his lap when Kara Magari comes into his life. Though he begins to care for this human girl, there is something he wants more. He wants the Grimoire.
Welcome to Ourea, where only the cunning survive.
Novels in the Grimoire Saga:
Lichgates (#1)
Treason (#2)
Heritage (#3) – Available Fall 2013
Illusion (#4) – Available Fall 2014
Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Fantasy
Rating – PG13
More details about the author
 Connect with SM Boyce on Facebook & Twitter & Pinterest

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

To Love A Cat by Billi Tiner @TinerBooks #AmReading #Romance #Contemporary

Mitch bolted upright. Roscoe leaped off the bed and ran to the closed bedroom door. He stood with his head cocked to the side, listening. Grabbing his service revolver off the nightstand, Mitch swung his legs over the side of the bed and joined Roscoe at the door.
Thud! Boom!
Roscoe placed his paws on the door and began barking hysterically. The hair on the back of his neck stood on end.
Adrenaline coursed through Mitch as he slowly cracked open the door and glanced down the darkened hallway. Roscoe shoved past him and bolted for the kitchen. Moving quickly and cautiously, Mitch followed him.
Weapon up, he stepped into the kitchen and threw the light switch. Shards of glass from a shattered plate littered the floor. An overturned box of cereal rested in the center of the room. Roscoe stood in front of the refrigerator barking loudly.
Knowing that whatever Roscoe had cornered wasn’t human, Mitch lowered his weapon. “All right, easy, big guy,” Mitch said, stepping up to peek behind the refrigerator. Roscoe stopped barking, but continued to growl low in his throat.
A large orange cat with round, golden eyes stared up at him. It twitched its tail, but otherwise didn’t move.
“What are you doing here?” Mitch asked. He glanced around the room, looking for the cat’s entry point. The screen covering the window above the sink was torn.
He turned back to the cat and glared down at him. “You tore my screen,” he stated gruffly. The cat continued to stare up at him, seemingly unconcerned.
Mitch shook his head in consternation. He’d never been much of a cat person. He found their aloof and superior attitudes annoying. He much preferred the loving loyalty of a good dog.
Grabbing Roscoe by the collar, he half dragged him back to the bedroom. “Stay in here and keep quiet,” he commanded gruffly. He wasn’t usually so irritable, but he hadn’t gotten much sleep lately, and he was extremely aggravated at having it interrupted by a cat.
Mitch Holt was a detective in the Spring Valley police department. He’d been working long hours trying to solve a homicide. He was usually pretty easy going, but the investigation wasn’t going well, and it was starting to affect him. A cat breaking into his apartment wasn’t doing anything to improve his mood. He shuffled back down the hallway, not looking forward to trying to wrestle the cat out from behind the refrigerator.
When he reached the kitchen, the cat was sitting on the counter, licking one of its paws. “How’d you get up here, anyway?” he grumbled, moving over to look through the window. He lived in a one-bedroom apartment on the third floor of an older apartment building. Mitch liked to keep his windows cracked during the early autumn. The air always seemed to be freshest at that time of the year.
His building butted up to a city park. A large oak tree grew close to the park’s fence, one branch curving out over the fence to within a few feet of his kitchen window.
“Ah,” he said, turning back to the orange tabby. “You used the tree.”
Picking up the cat, he said, “Sorry, buddy, you can’t stay here.” Mitch glanced down and saw a few drops of fresh blood on the counter. “Damn,” he muttered. “You’re hurt.”
He glanced at the clock on the microwave. It was only 5:30 a.m. It would be a few more hours before Rebecca opened her veterinary clinic. Not only was Rebecca Miller the best veterinarian in town, she was also a good friend and engaged to his best friend, Derrick Peterson.
He held the cat away from his body and looked for the source of the bleeding. A small droplet of blood fell from the cat’s right rear paw. He shifted the tabby into his left arm and lifted the injured paw for a better look. There was a small laceration across the foot’s large pad. Mitch glanced at the floor and saw tiny, bloody footprints leading away from the broken glass to the refrigerator.
He shook his head and sighed heavily. Although he was irritated at being awoken out of the longest sleep he’d had in days, he was a good guy. He wasn’t about to throw the cat out of his apartment, if it was injured. As he stood there debating what to do with it, the cat began to purr.
“What are you so happy about?” he asked, feeling some of his good humor return.
The big tabby pressed his head against Mitch’s chest and purred even louder. He chuckled and scratched the cat under his chin. Using a couple of paper towels and some tape, he wrapped a make-shift bandage around the cat’s paw.
“All right, you can hang out in here until Rebecca opens her clinic. I’m guessing you broke in because you’re hungry. Let me see what I’ve got.”
He set the cat down on the floor away from the broken glass and turned to open a cabinet. He pulled out a can of chicken. Before he had the lid off, the cat jumped onto the counter and stood waiting expectantly.
“There you go,” Mitch said, placing the can on the counter. The cat gave the chicken a few tentative licks, then opened his mouth and pulled out a large chunk. Mitch watched in fascination as he devoured the food. When the cat finished, he sat back on his haunches and licked his lips in satisfaction.
Mitch chuckled. “You’re welcome. I guess I’d better clean up this mess you made.”
A few hours later, he drove up to the Animal Friends Veterinary Clinic. He was impatient to get the cat off his hands. He really needed to get back to work on the case.
“Good morning, Mitch,” June, Rebecca’s receptionist greeted. She was a plump, middle-aged woman with short gray hair.
“Mornin’, June. How’s life treating you?” Mitch asked, giving her a charming grin, his blue eyes sparkling.
June smiled back. “Can’t complain,” she replied. “What can we do for you today?”
“I’ve got a cat with an injured paw out in the car. The darn thing broke into my apartment early this morning.”
The door to the first exam room opened. Rebecca followed a tiny, elderly woman out of the room. A bright smile lit her face when she saw Mitch standing at the receptionist’s counter.
“Remember to bring Josie back for her next set of shots in three weeks,” Rebecca told the woman.
She stepped over to Mitch and gave him a quick hug. She pulled back and grinned up at him. “It’s so good to see you. You’ve been such a stranger, lately. Is everything okay?” Although Mitch wasn’t that tall himself at only 5 feet 10, she had to tilt her head back to look up at him.
Mitch ran his eyes over Rebecca’s upturned face. She’d recovered amazingly well from the injuries she suffered when an intruder had broken into her clinic and brutally attacked her a few months previously. The only remaining sign of the attack was a small scar above her right eye that disappeared into her hairline. Mitch reached out and playfully tweaked her nose. He and Rebecca had been as close as siblings since almost immediately after they’d met each other. Before she’d gotten engaged to his best friend, he’d asked her out. They’d both recognized that they were only meant to be friends. He was thrilled when Derrick had fallen hopelessly in love with her.
“Everything’s fine. I had an intruder of the four-legged variety last night. Damned cat ripped through my window screen and knocked a plate off the kitchen counter. Then he proceeded to cut his paw on the glass. He’s out in the car. Do you have time to take a look at him?”
“Sure, do you need help bringing him in? Is he wild?”
“No, he’s probably the most laid-back cat I’ve ever met. He purrs like a freight train every time I touch him.”
A minute later, Mitch joined Rebecca in the exam room. “The right back paw’s the one he cut,” he said, placing the cat on the stainless steel table. “I put a bandage on it, but he managed to pull it off almost immediately.”
Rebecca chuckled. “Cat’s hate things on their feet. How did he get into your apartment?”
Mitch shrugged. “There’s a big oak tree in the park behind my building. He must have climbed it and jumped onto the windowsill. That’s the only thing I can figure.”
“What did Roscoe think of him?” Rebecca asked.
“When I opened the bedroom door to investigate the noises we heard coming from the kitchen, he bolted out and had the cat cornered behind the fridge by the time I got there. I locked him in the bedroom for the rest of the morning. I think he might’ve tried to eat the cat if he’d caught him.”
Rebecca chuckled. “I doubt it. Usually, all it takes is a good swipe of a claw across the nose for most dogs to learn to leave a cat alone. By the way, how’s your case going? Any closer to finding the Colsons’ killer?”
Mitch shook his head. “No. So far, we’ve got nothing.”
“I’m sorry, Mitch. Something will break soon.”
“Yeah, I have no doubt that we’ll catch him. I only hope it’s before he hurts someone else. That’s the part keeping me up at night. So, how’re the wedding plans coming?”
Rebecca smiled. “Everything’s all set. I can’t believe the wedding’s only two weeks away. Do you have a date, yet?”
Mitch gave her a roguish grin and winked. “You know me, a different woman every week. I’m not sure who the lucky lady will be.”
Rebecca rolled her eyes. “You just wait, Mitch. Someone’s going to come along and knock you off your feet.”
Mitch shook his head. “Not likely, besides, Derrick’s marrying the only woman in town who could have tempted me to give up the single life.”
Rebecca shook her head in exasperation and brought the subject back to the reason for his visit. “The cat’s healthy other than the cut on his paw. He needs to be kept inside until it heals. No climbing trees for a while.”
Mitch recognized the look in Rebecca’s eyes. “No way,” he said, shaking his head. “He can’t come home with me. I’ve already told you that Roscoe tried to eat him. Last week, I had to hire a kid down the hall to walk Roscoe for me every day, due to the crazy hours I’m working. I don’t need another animal. Besides, I don’t like cats.”
Just then, the cat stood and started rubbing his head across Mitch’s arm, purring loudly. Rebecca laughed. “Sorry, bud, it looks like you’ve been chosen. Cats are easier to take care of than dogs, anyway. You don’t need to worry about taking him for a walk. Just get him a litter box, put out some food and water, and he’ll be happy. I predict he and Roscoe will be pals before you know it.”
Mitch sighed. He knew arguing with Rebecca was useless. She was as stubborn as they come, especially when it concerned the well-being of an animal. “Okay,” he relented. “But only until his paw heals. Then he’s out the door. Besides, he probably belongs to someone.”
Rebecca grinned with satisfaction. “I’ll let you know if anyone comes in looking for a cat that matches his description. In the meantime, you can borrow a litter box, bowls, and cat food from me.”
As Mitch was driving home, he threw his head back and laughed as he thought about how effortlessly Rebecca had convinced him to take the cat home. If she maneuvered him that smoothly, then Derrick was definitely in trouble. Somehow, he didn’t think his friend minded. He was crazy about her.

From the author of “Dogs Aren’t Men” comes “To Love a Cat”, a contemporary romance novel.
Catherine “Cat” James’ life is simple and orderly, and she likes it that way. She loves her job as an accountant. Working with numbers is safe and routine, no surprises. Her childhood had been very abusive and unstable. She vowed not to live that way as an adult. She also made a promise to herself to become a foster parent. She wished someone had been there for her as a teenager, to let her know she wasn’t alone.
Cat agrees to foster Ethan Summers, a troubled teenage boy whose childhood closely resembles her own. Suddenly, her nice and orderly life is filled with chaos and uncertainty. Things really start to spin out of control when circumstances bring police detective Mitch Holt into the picture. He’s handsome, charming, and definitely not what Cat needs right now, or so she thinks.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Contemporary Romance
Rating – PG
More details about the author
Connect with Billi Tiner on Facebook & Twitter

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Lights Over Emerald Creek Excerpt by @ShelleyDavidow #YA #SciFi #AmReading

The Lights

At first it was almost imperceptible. She could have been listening to the throbbing frogs and crickets. Beyond that, though, there was a different sound. It was as deep as thunder, but consistent. It grew louder, the pitch became elevated, until it was a clear tone, a hum that drowned everything, even the rapidly increasing heart rate that she felt pounding beneath her ribs.
Lucy tipped her head to the left, and the sound decreased. She tipped her head to the right and heard it more clearly this time. Softly, hesitantly, she hummed the note. It sounded like an ‘A’, she thought. At nine years old, she’d discovered she had almost perfect pitch. She could sing a note and say what it was, and be at most a semitone off. As she hummed, she was astonished to hear the sound grow more intense, and go up two tones. She momentarily stopped humming, but the sound continued. She began again, and held her tone. It harmonized with the sound around her. Lucy scanned the sky from end to end, her eyes enormous in the dark, her senses keen. She stopped humming and the sound diminished. She had never been so awake in all her life. Her skin began to tingle. She had pins and needles all the way up her arms and her neck. Her face tingled. She even imagined, for one insane moment, that she could feel her thighs tingling. But that was impossible.
Suddenly, just in front of her, a blue-green light appeared. It was so bright it dazzled her completely. It was as large as an open beach umbrella, and it moved until it was right over her head, no more than an arm’s length away. Around it, the night sky seemed consumed by the light. It looks like a miniature sun, she thought. The humming began again. It seemed to come from the light, but it was all around her at the same time. Surround-sound, the thought. In C major. This time, she felt the tingling right the way from the top of her head down to her waist. Prickles of feeling seemed to shoot in small slivers down to her hips, though she knew she had no sensation there. Lucy closed her eyes for a moment. The light was too bright. As her heart raced, another sound joined the first. And then another. And when she opened her eyes and looked up, a white light hovered above the blue-green light, and beyond that, slightly to the left of both lights, was a small orange light, similar to one she’d seen before.
The blue-green light pulsed brightly, and emitted C. The white light followed, pulsing twice, emitting an A. Then softly, the orange light flared, and the tone she heard was B. She threw her head back, aghast. Was this something intelligent? When the sequence of pulses and tones repeated itself twice, Lucy thought that there was no doubt. It was music. It followed a pattern. What she was hearing, was a musical sequence! Her hands, which gripped the chair tightly, were vibrating as though she were on a bridge above a massive freight train. The vibrations were intoxicating. ‘Oh. My. God. It’s real,’ she said hoarsely to the night, to the lights.

Lights Over Emerald Creek by Shelley Davidow 

Lucy Wright, sixteen and a paraplegic after a recent car accident that took her mother’s life, lives in Queensland on a 10,000 acre farm with her father. When Lucy investigates strange lights over the creek at the bottom of the property, she discovers a mystery that links the lights to the science of cymatics and Scotland’s ancient Rosslyn Chapel.
But beyond the chapel is an even larger mystery. One that links the music the chapel contains to Norway’s mysterious Hessdalen lights, and beyond that to Saturn and to the stars. Lucy’s discoveries catapult her into a parallel universe connected to our own by means of resonance and sound, where a newly emerging world trembles on the edge of disaster. As realities divide, her mission in this new world is revealed and she finds herself part of a love story that will span the galaxy.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Young Adult SF
Rating - PG
More details about the author
Connect with Shelley Davidow on Facebook & Twitter