To get Spring started off right, I doing another pre-release giveaway of Once. Enter now to win a copy of the first book in my Gypsy Fairy Tale series as soon as it's released!
I am going crazy with cabin fever! I am ready for some warm weather and some sunshine! I don't know why, but to me there is nothing better than sitting on the porch or under a shade tree, reading a good book.
To get Spring started off right, I doing another pre-release giveaway of Once. Enter now to win a copy of the first book in my Gypsy Fairy Tale series as soon as it's released!
Today is sort of a special day for the main characters in my Spiritus series. On this day, 150 years ago, Becca wrote to Alastor while he was a soldier in the American Civil War. Alastor fought with the Indiana 13th Regiment, Company B for the union army.
The trauma that both Becca and Alastor experienced during the war would shape their lives and lead to Alastor haunting the reincarnated Becca in the present day.
February 22, 1863
My Darling Alastor,
I received your letter today and cried with relief that you were alive. I do not know how much longer I can bear being apart from you and not knowing if you are living from day to day. You are my first thought in the morning, my last thought at night, and my every thought in between.
I heard of the Stones River battle before your letter reached me and as the casualty reports came in, I feared that you would be listed. Papa ordered me not to return to the telegraph office and promised that he would bring me news. Even though he said you weren’t listed, I didn’t believe it until your letter came. There are so many coffins on the trains now and so many widows in town. There is talk that we may actually lose this war and it will all be for nothing. How can President Lincoln allow that to happen?
Many families are sending the women and children further north. Papa and Mother are leaving and want me to go with them, but I can’t bear to leave our home. I don’t want to be away from your memory.
I miss you my love and await your return. Be safe and come home to me as soon as possible.
So as usual, I'm adding to my TBR list and today I added Ashes and Ice by Rochelle Maya Callen. Since it's #WriterWednesday over on Twitter, I thought I'd take a moment to spotlight the author of my latest purchase.
Bio From Goodreads.com
So you want to know more about me, eh? Well, the short of it is: I grew up with a book under my arm. I frequently read until dawn by flashlight so that no one could see I was up by the light under my door. I scribbled stories in the corners of notebooks and was convinced I would be a novelist one day. And then *BAM* twelve years later it happened!
Hmmm, what happened in that twelve years? I entered high school at thirteen and promptly abandoned my stories and dreams of being a novelist for a path of study that I hoped would make me suitable for political office and would eventually land me in a big white house on Pennsylvania Avenue in D.C. My fervent passion for social & political justice fueled my studies and I did not read a single fiction book (unless my study required) until two years after I graduated college. I worked up to four jobs at a time. Only one stuck: behavioral therapy. I have been a behavioral therapist for the past 8 years and have focused on cases of severe mental illness and autism.
So, how did story telling creep back into my life? I owe it all to my daughter—then in my ever growing pregnant belly—and the fabulous nausea that she insisted on blessing me with. For a period of time, I was so sick that I could barely get out of bed. It was then that I decided to pick up a novel. I fell in love again. I tore through books and read them late into the night. I think my husband worried about me. He would wake up to see me sniffling or laughing or taut with anxiety all because of the book in my hand.
During this time, I found a chapter and character sketch about an extraordinary girl named Jade that I had written at 12 or 13. Those few pages were the catalyst to writing Ashes and Ice. It took years to write. I was so intimidated by the process! It wasn’t until my sister said she would not speak to me if the rough draft wasn’t finished by her birthday (earlier this year). That got me writing!
Now, I am writing every spare moment and have not only the rest of the Ashes and Ice trilogy mapped out, but also three other projects in the works.
I feel incredibly blessed to have found my love of books and writing again. It truly was and is my dream—I had just forgotten about it for a time. And finally, I am living it.
Book Description from GoodReads.com
Ashes and Ice
She is desperate to remember.
He is aching to forget.
Together, they are not broken.
But together, one may not survive.
Jade wakes up with no memory of her past and blood on her hands.
Plagued by wicked thoughts, she searches for answers. Instead, she finds a boy who doesn't offer her answers, but hope. But sometimes, when nightmares turn into reality and death follows you everywhere, hope is not enough.
LUST. LOVE. LOSS. Sometimes, all that is left are Ashes and Ice.
I'm so excited about my upcoming novel, Once, that I just have to spread it around! So, how would you like to have that e-book the minute that it's available? Well, enter to win a copy of Once as soon as it's released.
For this #WriterWednesday post, I selected the very talented Jessica Sorensen. She is the author of The Fallen Star Series, The Fallen Souls Series, Darkness Falls Series, Death Collectors, and The Secret of Ella and Micha.
About Jessica Sorensen (Taken From Author's Blog)
I’m the author of the Fallen Star Series, the Darkness Falls Series, the Death Collectors Series, and the New York Times and USA Today Best Seller, The Secret of Ella and Micha, a New Adult Contemporary novel.
I love writing and reading almost anything that is YA. Some of my favorite authors are Cassandra Clare, Sarah Dessen, Becca Fitzpatrick, Abbi Glines, Tammara Webber, Jamie McGuire and Jennifer L. Armentrout. I’m also an avid watcher of TV series The Vampire Diaries and of Modern Family.
I absolutely love music. When I’m writing, 9 out of 10 times I have music blaring in the background. My list of favorite songs could go on and on, since I have a very broad taste in music. But a few of my favorite bands are Chevelle, Rise Against, Alkaline Trio, Brand New, Death Cab for Cutie, Flight 409, Nirvana, and I’m going to stop there or else I’ll keep going on forever.
I don’t really have any favorite movies, but a few that I could watch over and over again are Anywhere but Here, Juno, Pride and Prejudice, The Hangover, and Bad Teacher.
If you’re interested in contacting me, here are a few options:
So what is your favorite Jessica Sorensen book?
Well, just when I think that I have seen it all on reality television, along came the Gypsy Sisters!
The TLC show premiered last night and of course I watched. It was the predictable drama of Gypsy vs. non-Gypsy, the bling, the parties, the trailers, the tanning, the black sheep of the family, and then came the unexpected: Lottie Mae Stanley.
Wow! Suddenly I was watching a recap of America's most wanted.
That's right, it turns out that Nettie and Mellie are not the most controversial females in the Stanley clan. Their mother, Lottie Mae Stanley, just completed a nine year sentence for bank fraud.
Lottie Mae Stanley was even featured on America's Most Wanted during her eleven state crime spree where she smooth talked bank employees into giving her customer account information. She was eventually captured and sentenced to more than ten years.
Suddenly, Nettie's need to control everything and Mellie's behavior problems make more sense. It's hard to even imagine what it must of been like for thirteen year old Mellie before and after her mother was sent to prison.
So tell me, what did you think of the premiere and will you be watching next week?
I am super excited to reveal another teaser for my upcoming gypsy fairy tale: Once. As always this is a first draft, so readers can expect that things may change by the time of the actual release.
I stood outside my grandmother’s feed store, fumbling with the heavy key in the old door lock. My fingers were too numb and thick to work correctly.
I was tired way down into my bones in my mind was foggy with exhaustion; sleep was a luxury that evaded me. All night I lay in bed worrying about the house and the store and how I was ever going to manage all of this on my own. If I was lucky enough to fall asleep, it was only a matter of minutes before I would wake up thinking that I heard Grandma calling for her medicine.
How long would it last, I wondered as the key turned in the door opened.
Knowing my luck it will never stop...
The store was dark and quiet, like it developed an echo overnight. Every part of my being hated being there and I wanted nothing more than to turn around and lock the doors forever, but this feed store was all that I knew.
I forced myself to step inside and go about the usual routine even though I was just going through the motions.
I emptied the used grounds from the coffee pot on the counter into the trash and put a fresh pot on to breathe. Methodically, I set out the canisters of sugar and creamer. I set a stack of Styrofoam cups upside down next to the pot. I could almost hear my Grandma coaxing me along.
“Get a move on little one, set them cups out and then sweep the floor,” she used to command as if I hadn't done the same thing six days a week for as long as I could remember. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught sight of my hand written sign.
CLOSED DUE TO DEATH.
I walked over to the door and tore that sign down, peeling away the tape that remained. I knew it was silly, but I hated that sign and what it meant. I wadded it up and tossed it into the nearly empty trashcan, tying up the bag for good measure.
Our one and only employee, Alec O’Connor, shuffled in as I began sweeping the floor. I didn’t have to turn around; I recognized his limping gait immediately.
“Good morning,” he whispered awkwardly as he went over to the other broom in the corner.
“Good morning,” I said without looking up from the broom or the floor.
“It was a nice service yesterday,” he said as he began to sweep along beside me. “Your grandmother would’ve liked it.”
I didn’t say anything. I tried to just focus on the dusty old floor and the musty grassy smell of the store in general. Anything, so that I didn’t have to think about what he was saying.
Alec limped closer, "I just wanted you to know that everyone, including my own family, thought a lot of your grandma and I didn't get to tell you at the funeral, but I just wanted to say how very sorry I am."
I nodded, not sure what he expected me to say and hating his sympathy. The more he talked the more real it all seemed to become.
“I know what it's like when someone you depend on dies,” he said with that same annoying expression of compassion. “So, if you ever need to talk to anyone, I'm here.”
I was ashamed of myself then, so much so that I had to look away. So much it happened in my own life that I didn't even stop to think about the people around me.
Alec O’Connor had been the most popular boy in our graduating class and well on his way with a scholarship to IU. With his light brown hair and bright blue eyes, more than one girl lost her heart to him whether he knew it or not. Everyone expected him to go far until the car accident that summer killed his father and Alec’s dreams of college.
I looked up at this hometown hero with his bum leg, who was reduced to working in the feed store, and realized that I wasn’t the only one beaten up by life.
“Thank you,” I said. “But I'm fine. Why don't you go out to the barn and bring in some more rapid feed?”
“Sure,” he said with another understanding smile. He set the broom back in the corner and hobbled out through the backroom.
I clutched my own broom and squeezed my eyes shut, commanding myself not to cry.
Don't cry... Not here... Not now... You can cry tonight when you're alone...
I didn't really have time to cry. The belll over the door rattled as the first customer of the day entered. I took a deep breath and forced some version of a smile on my face.
“Good morning,” I said as I turned to greet my patron.
I could’ve saved my energy and my enthusiasm since it was just Mrs. Allen, the middle-aged lady that owned the scrapbook store next door. She walked directly over to the fresh coffee.
“It's good to see you back my dear,” she said as if I’d been on a vacation instead of in mourning.
For some reason, I found her attitude even more annoying than the sympathy of everyone else. If it wasn’t for Alec coming out of the back and drawing her attention, I might’ve physically thrown her out. Since Grandma was gone, I didn’t see the point in pretending to like her more.
Alec, on the other hand, seemed to enjoy the way she fawned over him while he went over the different bird seeds for her backyard feeders.
One by one more customers came in with their orders for livestock feed. A few mentioned the service or gave me their awkward condolences, but they mostly talked about the circus.
“Did you see the likes of that parade?” One farmer asked another while they waited for their orders to be filled, obviously not in too much of a hurry by the way he leaned against the counter.
The other laughed a good ol’ boy type of chuckle, “I did. What did you think about that little firecracker?”
“As an old man, I wouldn’t even know what to do with that.”
I pretended not to hear them. If I was lucky, they would forget that I was right there. If not, it would just be embarrassing for all of us.
Thankfully, they didn't notice me and the men went on with their conversation.
“They may all be useless tinkers,” one of them surmised. “But they sure have some beautiful women.”
Alec stepped up to the counter with Mrs. Allen’s seed under one arm, she followed behind him like a middle-aged love-struck puppy.
“Tinkers?” He asked as he began writing out her receipt.
The farmer nodded, “You know Gypsies and travellers.”
“Well I know one thing,” Mrs. Allen said as she handed me her money. “You best lock things that tight as a drum.”
“Why is that?” I asked.
“Well because everyone knows that they steal everything that isn’t chained down,” she said in a huff of arrogant righteousness. “You just mark my words and do as I say.”
Alec gave me a conspiratorial wink before he gave her one of his all American smiles, “Now you don't really believe that, do you?”
“I most certainly do,” she said as she followed him out the door. “You know they’re all thieves and beggars.”
As soon as the door closed behind her, the other customers began laughing and the entire mood of the shop shifted. Obviously I was not the only one that pretended to like her.
By afternoon, fewer and fewer people were offering condolences and it was easier to slip into my old routine. The conversation instead turned again to the circus setting up camp across the street at the fairgrounds.
It would seem that one of them, I picture the man that led the parade, was spotted downtown at the courthouse trying to get a permit of some sort.
When the door opened again and another customer walked in, the feed store fell silent. I stood on my tiptoes to see who was causing such a reaction.
In walked a group of skimpily clad girls speaking words I didn't understand. I came around from behind the counter, feeling like I had to get to them first for some reason.
“Can I help you?” I asked.
A thin, black haired girl with brilliant green eyes stepped forward. She looked around the room slowly before settling those eyes on me.
“Sorry to be bothering you Miss,” she said with the beautiful lilt in her voice. “May I please place one of these in your window?”
I looked down at the sheet of paper that she handed me. It was a vaudeville type poster advertising their "Carnival of Wonders" that would be performing in just over a week.
“Are you sure about the dates?” I asked, not wanting to admit that all of us knew that they had just applied for their permits.
The other girls in the group snickered and talked again with words I didn’t understand, but the black haired girl just looked at me and smiled as if she didn't hear them.
“I am very sure of the date,” she explained in that beautiful accent. “I am never wrong about these things.”
I didn't ask any more questions. I was too self-conscious with the flashy girls and my regular customers all watching me.
“Sure, that would be fine,” I said.
She took the poster back from me and gave me one more infectious smile before turning so that she could take the poster to my door.
Everyone in the store turned to watch her and the other girls. I was embarrassed for them in the way that the men stared at their tanned legs and bare midriffs. Those girls could've been twelve or twenty, but it just didn’t seem right to stare at them like that.
I was thankful when the black haired girl was finished with the poster.
“Thank you,” she said as she spun around. “I hope all of you will come to the show.”
She met my eyes one last time before she opened the door and let her group back outside.
The feed store burst back in the conversation as soon as the door closed behind them. I stepped over to the door and watched them move down the sidewalk in a loud, colorful, boisterous group, and I envied their freedom.
The afternoon was taken on that hazy almost evening glow when I stepped out of the store under the weight of a fifty pound bag of chicken feed. I really hated my life at that moment and regretted sending Alec home at four. I should’ve known old Mrs. Kennedy would be calling with her usual order and requested delivery.
If she wasn’t one of my grandmother’s oldest friends, and half senile on top of that, I would've told her to come get it herself, instead, there I was, dirty and exhausted, driving to the other end of the county to deliver chicken feed.
Damn that old woman and her stupid chickens...
I dropped the feed into the bed of the truck and when I looked up; my eyes immediately fell on the fairgrounds across the street. The gypsies had brought in trailers and campers of every sort, children were playing everywhere and laundry hung on makeshift clothesline. It was like overnight this odd little neighborhood popped up out of the dirt.
Across the dusty clearing came the man that walked with the horses in the parade. He was carrying a heavy rope of some sort and he was shirtless. The sun glistened on his broad chest and shone through his damp, dark hair.
He walked over to a group of men and dropped the rope from his shoulder as if it weighed nothing. Moments later he was hammering a stake into the ground. Even from where I stood, I could see each and every ripple of each and every muscle.
I couldn’t help but, I licked my lips, imagining the salty sweet taste of his skin.
Now that’s the sort of man you don't see every day...
A tingling on the right side of my face told me that I was being watched. I glanced to my right, and sure enough, the tall man that led the parade was staring me.
Even all the way across the street, he met my eyes. I shrank back, embarrassed as if he could read the lusty thoughts on my mind.
It was neither looked away first. I lowered my eyes and went around to the other side of the truck and got it. I drove off without even looking back in the mirror once.
I don't care what people say, I still think that the ultimate vampire love story is Bram Stoker's Dracula and despite it's age, the movie starring Gary Oldman is still one of my favorites.
What do you look for in a vampire romance and what's your current favorite?
It's Thursday and that means the week is almost over and tonight one of my favorite television shows comes on!
I am in love with the CW's Beauty and the Beast! As a reader and a writer of paranormal romance, this show has the base element of a lot of paranormal romance plots: A monster with a softer side. If you haven't watched it yet, I highly recommend it.
From the CW Beauty and the Beast Page:
Catherine “Cat” Chandler (Kristin Kreuk, "Smallville,” “Chuck”) is a smart, no-nonsense homicide detective, who is haunted by her own tragic past. When she was a teenager, Cat witnessed the murder of her mother at the hands of two gunmen. Cat would have been killed too, but someone – or something – saved her. No one has ever believed her, but she knows it wasn’t an animal that attacked the assassins…though it was strange and terrifying, it was human.
Years have passed, and although she thinks about her mother every day, Cat is now strong and confident, a capable police detective working with her equally talented partner, Tess Vargas (Nina Lisandrello, “Nurse Jackie”). The two women make a good team, and have become close friends while working on countless homicide cases under the supervision of their tough-but-fair boss, Joe Bishop (Brian White, “The Shield,” “The Cabin in the Woods”). Cat has also become close to another co-worker, the medical examiner Evan Marks (Max Brown, “The Tudors,” “MI-5”), and they’ve developed a fun, flirtatious relationship that could easily turn into something deeper – if Cat would let that happen. However, much to the concern of her younger sister, Heather (Nicole Gale Anderson, "Make It or Break It"), Cat’s romantic inclinations tend toward bad boys.
While investigating a new case Cat and Tess discover fingerprints that lead to a handsome doctor named Vincent Keller (Jay Ryan, “Terra Nova”), who was reportedly killed by enemy fire while serving in Afghanistan in 2002. Digging deeper, Cat learns that Vincent is actually still alive. For mysterious reasons that have forced him to live outside of traditional society, Vincent has been in hiding for the past 10 years. With the help of his childhood friend J.T. Forbes (Austin Basis, “Life Unexpected”), Vincent has been able to guard his terrible secret – when he is enraged, he becomes a terrifying beast, unable to control his super-strength and heightened senses. Cat is stunned when Vincent admits he was the “animal” who saved her the night of her mother’s murder. Vincent doesn’t admit the whole truth – he is emotionally tied to Cat and has been watching over her for years.
Cat agrees to protect Vincent’s identity in return for any insight he may have into her mother’s murder. Thus begins a complex relationship between Cat and Vincent, who understand that their connection is extremely dangerous for both of them. Cat’s secret obsession with Vincent puts a strain on her relationship with everyone around her, and Tess is especially troubled by the feeling that Cat is keeping something from her.
Perhaps the most surprising element of their relationship is that Vincent soon becomes a secret but important part of Cat’s detective work. During the years he spent hiding in the shadows, watching over Cat and other innocents, Vincent learned a lot about the darkest parts of the city and the people who live there. His sharpened instincts, incredible strength and human compassion become invaluable to Cat as she works to bring criminals to justice.
As she slowly comes to terms with Vincent’s monstrous alter-ego, Cat senses she can trust him in ways she hasn’t been able to trust any man before and, despite the obstacles between them, she realizes that she’s safer with him than anywhere else.
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST is produced by CBS Television Studios in association with Take 5 Productions/Whizbang Films with executive producers Sherri Cooper (“Brothers and Sisters”) & Jennifer Levin (“Without A Trace,” “Felicity”), Brian Peterson (“Smallville”) & Kelly Souders (“Smallville”), Gary Fleder (“Life Unexpected,” “October Road”), Bill Haber (“Rizzoli & Isles,” “Thurgood”), Paul J. Witt (“A Better Life”) & Tony Thomas (“A Better Life”), Ron Koslow (“Moonlight”), Frank Siracusa (“The Yard”) and John Weber ("Borgias").
So, it's #WriterWednesday again and I've picked another author from my TBR list to spotlight. Today, it is the talented Erica Stevens.
Amazon Author Page Bio:
Though Erica Stevens is a pen name I created in memory of two friends, I actually do live in Mass with my amazing husband and our fish Sam, Woody, Hawkeye, Radar, and Klinger. I have a large and somewhat crazy family that I fit right in with, and thank everyday for all of the love and laughter they give me. I am an avid reader and have loved writing since I was a child.
I can be found on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/ericastevens679
Amazon at amazon.com/author/ericastevens
Goodreads at goodreads.com/erica_stevens
also at http://ericasteven.blogspot.com
and on Twitter at @EricaStevensCGP
Here is some info about the book that brought her to my attention!
Kindred Amazon Description:
What do you do when the one you love is also you worst enemy? Trapped in a destiny she does not want, Cassie finds herself lost and adrift, until he walks into her life, turning it upside down and awakening her in ways that she never dreamed possible.
Cassie is stunned and devastated to learn that she belongs to a long line of vampire slayers known as The Hunters. A murderous rampage by a group of elder vampires has left the Hunter line decimated and the remaining Hunters scattered around the world. With her friends Chris and Melissa’s aid, Cassie struggles to rid the world of the monsters that murdered her parents. Though Cassie knows it is her fate, she chafes against her heritage, and is resentful of the shortened lifespan that has been placed upon her by the circumstances of birth. Struggling to get through every day, Cassie finds herself simply going through the motions of living. That is, until Devon arrives. Tall, dark, and mysterious his arrival turns the school, and Cassie’s life, upside down. Fighting against her fierce attraction to him, and the chaos he represents in her carefully ordered days, she is irresistibly drawn to him. Though worried that what she truly is will place Devon in danger, she is unable to fight her feelings for him. He is the one light, and the only source of hope she has in a world that revolves around death and fear. What she does not know is that Devon has some dark secrets of his own, secrets even more frightening and dangerous than hers. Secrets that threaten to tear them apart forever.
Romance too Epic for Just One Lifetime...
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