7.18.2017

Are you ready to challenge Fate? #ya #fantasy


I published my first novel Reborn (The Fate Challenges #1) back in May 2014. After three years, I now have a second edition of Reborn available as well as two novellas! Unfortunately, you'll have to wait until 2018 for Forged (The Fate Challenges #2) and Destined (The Fate Challenges #3) are ready for me to publish.

I'm also running a sale on Reborn, which is 99c for a limited time. Determined (A bonus novella set between Chapters 24 and 25 in Reborn) is free on my website, and Marked (The Fate Challenges #1.5) will always be 99c. (Prices are subject to change by country.)

To save her kingdom, a prophetess must challenge Fate.
On her seventeenth birthday, Phoenix Prophetess Yssa must leave her home to serve the God of Prophecy. Sea serpents and other gods endanger her travels and sour the omens. Her duties at the Temple of Apenth prove Yssa is cursed instead of blessed. Not yet permitted to give prophecies to temple goers, Yssa spends her days reading dusty scrolls, which does nothing to help her forget Tym, the boy back home. Then, there is Liam, the annoying yet gorgeous ferryman’s son. He proves to be a distraction not even a psychic can predict.
Her boring temple life screeches to a halt when premonitions of her parents’ murders consume her. Yssa races to her home an ocean away to stop their deaths. After all, Apenth’s rare Phoenix Prophetesses are gifted with the ability to alter the future. Fate, however, won’t be changed as easily as Yssa assumes. Worse, it has plans for her and the kingdom.
Yssa must either accept her destiny or fight Fate.


A prophetess must prepare for war.

The city of Amora will burn, if the Phoenix Prophetess doesn’t uncover a way to alter Fate. But Yssa is a world away from warning the kingdom of its impending demise.

While Yssa learns fighting techniques from the ferryman’s son Liam and how to follow the threads of Fate from the woodwose seer Zoon, she sets out to restore her friendship with the woodwoses. She is determined to put things right before Liam and she leave at the month of beginnings.

Because when they exit Waldbaum Forest, their real challenges will begin.

Available only through Cherie Reich’s website, Determined is set between chapters 24 and 25 in Reborn and meant to be read in conjunction with the first book of The Fate Challenges.

Saving the Phoenix Guard has changed him forever.

A blade to the gut gave Liam a one-way ticket to the Underworld, but Phoenix Prophetess Yssa brought him back to life. As the second mortal man to survive a sojourn to Hupogaia’s realm, Liam strives to understand how the one he was tasked to protect saved him, why he lived when so many others died during the battle against the Great Beyonders, and, most of all, why he now sees and hears things that aren’t there.

Liam researches the God of Prophecy’s mortal son, the one who also came back, but Moran died over twenty-four hundred years ago. To say that information is scarce is an understatement, but Liam won’t give up.

After all, rumors are flying around the Kingdom of Amora about Yssa’s newfound powers. Threats loom ever closer. Liam must protect the Phoenix Prophetess at any cost. Uncovering Moran’s destiny may be the one thing that helps Liam save the one he loves, if he can find the right scroll in time.


So are you ready to challenge Fate and read The Fate Challenges?

7.11.2017

A Writing Retreat - Report from this time around

I head to Cape Cod every summer for a long-standing writing retreat. I always look forward to it long before summer, and I depend on it to power my writing long after it's over. I just returned from this year's, and I'm withdrawal, though I'm also quite inspired. How do we organize it? We share the cost of VRBO or Airbnb. Then the person who communicates with the rental folks gets taken out for dinner one night. This time it was me and I chose a restaurant in Woods Hole, where all the scientists and oceanographers hang out.
The usual suspects
The perks:
Uninterrupted writing time and meditation/flow to craft story-plot-character.
Hearing my fellow authors typing away with occasional snorts of hilarity, followed by equally hilarious explanations. Laughter is always welcome.
Brainstorm sessions with the authors during morning coffee, at dinner and at beach.
After-dinner readings and helpful critiques.
Tarot Card readings and parlor games involving writing skills.
Shared "war stories", biz tips and giggles.
We take turns making dinner so we get lots of variety, and only have to cook one night.
My morning station

My afternoon station



The downsides:
A week is too short! I've just fully hit my stride when it's already time to pack it in. Having essentially five full days makes me reluctant to take any downtime to visit the local museums or glassblowing studio. I do allow swims at the beach, but little else. As a result, there's a danger of burnout, and a sore back and neck.
A hot room with inadequate or no AC.
Bug bites when eating picnic dinners.
Going around July 4th - too many scary fireworks way too close! Too much traffic.
View from the restaurant in Woods Hole, Ma.
The solutions:
Next year, rent a place for at least two weeks!
Bring along a screened tent or rent a place with a screened in porch.
Take a strong fan.
Go later in July to avoid July 4th issues, but not so late in summer that we can't take advantage of power-boost to summer writing.

What about you? Do you ever do writing retreats? If not, how do you manage to get extended blocks of writing time?
What we needed!
 
What we had

7.07.2017

Book Review: The Undead Road (My Zombie Summer #1) #amreading


Blurb:
Nothing brings the family together like a zombie apocalypse …

Fifteen-year-old Jeremy Barnes would rather watch a zombie movie than shoot a real one, but he has no choice if his family wants to survive the end of the world. Their plan? Drive across the infected United States to a cabin in the Colorado Rockies without a scratch, but their trip takes a complicated detour in the middle of Nebraska when they find Kaylynn, a girl who can handle a baseball bat better than Jeremy can hold a .45 Beretta. And when they stumble into a sanctuary, Jeremy soon learns that Kaylynn is stronger than she looks—a deadly secret lies inside her.

After the radio picks up a distress call from Kansas City about a possible cure, Jeremy’s parents go with a team to investigate. They never return. The only way to find their parents is for Jeremy and his sister Jewel to rely on a dangerous girl who might just turn on them at any moment.
 
Review:
Jeremy Barnes and his family are driving across country to their cabin in Colorado, a place they believe will be safe now that the zombie apocalypse has happened. Along the way, they meet a teenage girl named Kaylynn who can expertly wield a baseball bat and wins over Jeremy's heart quick. Kaylynn has a secret, though. One that might be the death of them all.

A fun and fast-paced YA zombie apocalypse read. Jeremy's fifteen year old voice is captured exceptionally well. He's a smart kid who gets way too distracted by a cute girl. And who can blame him? Kaylynn kicks butt. She tries to keep herself isolated so no one learns her secret, but Jeremy eventually figures it out. He sticks by her still. Hot girl, after all, and yeah, he's loyal with a good heart. Jeremy's family was awesome too. His mom's a nurse and his dad's a gun dealer and his little sister kicks butt too. The family unit is tightly knit and drawn genuinely throughout the story.

It reminded me of The Walking Dead at the beginning, but the zombies, or Vectors as they call them, are something very different here. An interesting twist to the typical zombie story. A solid 4.5 rating, and one highly recommended to zombie fans.
 
 

7.04.2017

Jeff Chapman's "The Water Wight" - An Excerpt from Spirits in the Water


A dark gray cat, a shade shy of black, padded through a stand of hawthorn perched near the rim of a hollow. The cat moved with her tail low, the tip nearly touching the ground. To hold it above her back invited snagging her fur in the bush-like trees, whose branches bent low in permanent submission to the whistling moor wind. After slinking from under the trees, the cat stopped and pricked her ears toward the stream below.

A poorly sung tavern tune floated upward before the moor wind snatched it. A very, very old part of her wanted to join in the singing. She had so loved to sing when she was young. Sometimes, even after centuries of seasons, she forgot she was a cat.

She knifed between the thorny stems of a blackberry bramble, lithe as water slipping between rocks. Her paws whispered through the leaf clutter.

The hollow widened to a gentler slope. The cat crouched beneath an alder barren of leaves. The autumn foliage did not hang about long in the relentless wind. At the riverbank, a tall, thin young man baited his eel traps. To see but not be seen pleased her, as was a cat's nature.

"He'll leave no scraps for us, the greedy bastard."

The cat jerked her gaze skyward to find a raven perched on a stout branch. Three of the bird's tail feathers were longer and stuck out at odd angles like a boy with a cowlick. She did not like any animal, especially a bird to surprise her, but for this raven, she would curb her anger.

"Nor would you, Crowlluk." The cat licked a forepaw. "He may come from a nest full of hungry mouths."  

"More like his own mouth is extra big," said the raven.

The cat folded her forepaws beneath her chest. "You are far from home."

"There's a fine yew tree farther down stream. Mistress wants some particular seeds."

"I know the tree. What is Mistress brewing with yew berries?"

"How should I know? I fetch what I'm told. And what brings a cat forth on such a cold morn, Merliss? Since we're inquiring into each other's business."

"It pleases me to prowl. Might find a fat grouse not paying attention." Merliss craned her neck to see the raven swivel his head to look away. Teasing Crowlluk was such fun.

Merliss sniffed and then sniffed again deeper. A wet smell was stealing up the slope, like froth pushed before a wave. The hairs along her spine stood stiff. "Crowlluk? Do you smell it?"

"What is it?"

Merliss tasted the scent growing stronger. Her whiskers tingled with approaching vibrations. The supernatural possessed an unmistakable scent, as clear as a print in soft mud. She searched her memory for a matching scent.

"What is it?" repeated the raven, all the bluster gone from his voice.

"I don't know. It's coming from the river. And it's coming faster." Her claws flexed; her ears flattened; her tail stiffened to a fury wand. At times like this, the primitive cat sprang to the fore, ready to scratch and bite, and Merliss almost forgot she had once been a girl.

The man at the river's edge fiddled with his trap, positioning the bait, ignorant of any danger.

Warn him, cried a human voice in Merliss's subconscious. Tell the crow to sound an alarm, the voice counseled, but the raven was all raven and cared nothing for humans beyond his mistress.

The vibrations roared, approaching the crashing crescendo of a breaking wave. To Merliss, attuned to catch the twitch of the smallest enchanted cricket, the grass seemed to quiver, the bushes to shudder, and the trees to shake. Blades of pain ripped along the ley lines of her senses.

The water at the riverbank swelled into a mound. The eel fisher stood of a sudden, rocking back on his heels. At last he too recognized the danger, which shook Merliss from the points of her claws to the tip of her tail.

A human form erupted from the river with the force of a geyser. Arms clothed in froth wrapped the eel fisher before his wits recovered enough to raise his own arms. At the center of his back, the creature's limbs crossed and flowed together into a single watery rope. A blue-green wave molded itself to the fisher's chest and neck. He overbalanced, falling toward the river under the water creature's clinging weight. Merliss questioned why the man did not scream for help, and then she understood. A liquid head had fastened over the eel fisher's mouth. Fluid tendrils stuck out across the crown of the creature's head, and a white orb glowed through a slit where Merliss expected an eye. Her cattish aversion to water swelled her horror. A wave crashing against a rock spread more than enough of its dirty wetness, but a sentient wave that wrapped its wetness round its victim seeded nightmares.

The man splashed the surface, spraying water onto the bank and halfway across the stream. As swiftly as a rock sinks, his body disappeared. Waves rushed in to fill the void and collided where the eel fisher sank. Merliss inched backward, curiosity fighting with the instinct for flight. She had seen many creatures during her time, but never one so much akin to water itself.

Wings thrashed overhead. The raven left his branch, cawing a warning to all who could hear, near and far. Merliss's heart pounded at her throat. Crowlluk smelled it too, she thought. Death exuded a scent as peculiar as magic.

The current swept the eddies downstream. If not for the discarded eel traps and the lingering scents, which had settled over the stream, escaping the moor wind whistling over the hollow, Merliss might have doubted the attack had taken place. The old man must know of this, she thought, and quickly, before someone else dies.

Spirits in the Water is forthcoming October 2017.

6.27.2017

Huzzizzle of the Realms: #ScienceFiction and #Fantasy News from Top-Selling Authors

Put on Your Shades and Ice up your Tea!



The temperatures are heating up in the Northern Hemisphere, and it's time to kick back a little with some great reads.

Here's what's up with the Untethered Realms authors:


M. Pax: The Officer launches June 28th!


The Officer is an anthology of eleven science fiction short stories by writers from across the globe. Being an officer means balancing many conflicting demands. Making the wrong decision can have serious consequences. It takes a special kind of person to cope with the responsibility. It includes my story, "Patchworker 2.0."


Patchworker Evalyn Shore leads the investigation of a homicidal Artificial Intelligence. The AI is taking over minds, leaving Patchworkers and AI managers as sacks of bio matter ready for the recycling bin. Can she create the patch to repair the AI? Or will it kill her first?


*****


Cerise Laudine: Fire and Mist is out!


Fire and Mist, Book 3 of the Wells of Souls series is out now, and Immortal Desires, Book 1, is only .99! All three in the series are free to read in KU. Romance, Time-travel, and Highland alpha males await you. Get swept away this summer!


Derek Mackay, 16th century laird and Druid extraordinaire, is doubly cursed—with knowledge he isn’t supposed to have, and by a goddess whose wrath he didn’t mean to incur. The curse promises sure death to any betrothed of his, including the beautiful woman surrounded by Immortal magic who suddenly appears in his life and arouses in him a wellspring of bittersweet desire. The only way to save her is to stay away from her.


Erin Kelley is restless, craving the missing piece in an otherwise contented life. Romance. A man to take her breath away. A man to keep for life. A family to cherish with him. Swept back in time on a dare, she’s confronted by an angry Highland laird—an alpha male both irresistible and determined to keep her at arm’s length. His words push her away, but his emotions pull her in. Ordinary contentment will never again be enough—not when the world contains the extraordinary Laird Mackay.

*****
Jeff Chapman: The Black Blade paperback giveaway!

Paperbacks for The Black Blade are here and there's still time to enter the giveaway on Goodreads. Three signed copies are up for grabs (for residents of the U.S. and Canada). The giveaway ends on June 30. Follow the link below to enter.

Enter the Giveaway on Goodreads


An enchanted blade. An evil old man. An ancient spirit behind a mask. The Weird West just gets weirder.

The Black Blade is a weird western novel in Jeff Chapman's Huckster Tales series, mixing horror, fantasy, and comedy in an Old West setting. Climb up in the wagon and follow Orville and Jimmy as they once again plunge over their heads into supernatural trouble.

*****


6.20.2017

What makes a child a reader?


The kids are out of school. You're tearing your hair out, wondering how to steer them away from the video games and internet. They don't want to read a book. That's something you have to do in school, right?

I grew up in a non-book household. No. Books. Anywhere. Strange to think of it now. I was led to a lifelong love of reading by... a movie. Them. Radioactive giant ants! Scared the pants off me when I was little, but it opened my world to science fiction. (The movie also gave me a lifelong loathing of ants, by the way.)

When I started school, I discovered you could borrow books and take them home! Yay! I found stories every bit as good, and better, than that dratted movie.

Maybe your children could find a companion book for their favorite video game and discover a world beyond the screen?

What memories do you have of discovering the world of books?

*********************

And in other exciting news... Fire and Mist, book 3 of the Well of Souls series is out!



Blurb:

Derek Mackay, 16th century laird and Druid extraordinaire, is doubly cursed—with knowledge he isn’t supposed to have, and by a goddess whose wrath he didn’t mean to incur. The curse promises sure death to any betrothed of his, including the beautiful woman surrounded by Immortal magic who suddenly appears in his life and arouses in him a wellspring of bittersweet desire. The only way to save her is to stay away from her.

Erin Kelley is restless, craving the missing piece in an otherwise contented life. Romance. A man to take her breath away. A man to keep for life. A family to cherish with him. Swept back in time on a dare, she’s confronted by an angry Highland laird—an alpha male both irresistible and determined to keep her at arm’s length. His words push her away, but his emotions pull her in. Ordinary contentment will never again be enough—not when the world contains the extraordinary Laird Mackay.


***

Yes, it’s a romance, but it’s also about adapting to the curveballs life throws at us. Struggling to persevere against the odds. Becoming victorious in the end, despite the sorrows we’ve endured in getting there. Okay… and being able to shake our fists at the universe and yell, “You can’t break me,” because that’s a fun thing to do. I hope you enjoy the journey.

And if you haven’t read any of them yet, Immortal Desires, book 1 in the series, is on sale for .99 right now. Go grab your copy!


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, her 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 her and share in the experience.
She also writes darker tales, using the twisted side of her brain, as River Fairchild.
Cerise’s Amazon page: http://amzn.to/2pR4awe



6.13.2017

Down the rabbit hole to research historical fantasy

Lithograph by J. Childs depicts two of Philadelphia's notorious
Moyamensing gang killers of the mid-1800s
One of the strange and wonderful perks of writing historical fantasy is doing research. Right now, I am developing characters to populate my next witch novel, set in the mid-1800s in Philadelphia. I need con men and women, murderers, petty thieves and prostitutes. Can you tell I like the dark side? And so far, I’m finding excellent, twisty rabbit holes containing lots of skeevy mischief.

Take the typical misbehaviors for women at this time, where the punishment seems out of whack with the crime: a thief getting five years imprisonment for stealing a dress from a tailor, or a large plate of oysters from a tavern.

There were children in prison as well. One of the youngest girls in the records, 11-year-old Ann McQuillan, was convicted and sentenced to four years in prison for 'theft by housebreaking'.

Con men advertised in newspapers to sell “oxygenizing machines” that actually contained laughing gas to supposedly cure folks with lung disease! They hawked counterfeit currency to gullible businessmen, who received a package of green cut paper (thus, the “green goods swindle”). Big Bertha Heyman was so good at conning money from men, she could even pull it off in prison.
Big Bertha, an ingenious swindler of the 1800s
conned a man out of $900 (now about $20,000) while behind bars!

Even in the supposedly civil city of Philadelphia, Irish gangs like the Schuylkill Rangers, began by resisting anti-Catholic attackers, then evolved into organized delinquency.  They became river pirates, demanding a tax from barges heading to the city, and robbing the trade carried across the river at nearby Gray’s Ferry.

One of my characters is a “retired” prostitute, and I hit the mother lode yesterday, when I discovered there were Gentlemen’s Guides to Dens of Iniquity, a kind of wink-wink description of the “worst” establishments in the city. These guides were printed for most big cities. One of the funniest revelations was that a religious seminary on the west side of NYC was once an infamous brothel.
Built in 1819 for a seamstress, this brick house in what is now the New York University area, became a brothel in the mid–1800s—about the time the city’s wealthier citizens relocated uptown.

When I have enough interesting factoids the challenge will be to cull the best of my research and piece together the criminals and cons to form the core band of my players. Each will have their own backstories, flaws and quests.

Do you write historical fiction? If so, do you like doing research? What is the strangest tidbit you’ve unearthed so far along the way?

6.09.2017

Book Review: GUARDIAN OF THE GRAIL #paranormal #specfiction

GUARDIAN OF THE GRAIL (Immortal Blood-Book One) 
by Elena Bryce


Before vampires, they were Guardians, drinking the sacred blood of the Holy Grail, and sworn to protect it through the ages. 

When Lachlan Thorn is entrusted with the task of relocating the Grail to a castle in the Scottish Highlands, he requires the help of a witch to conceal it on the perilous journey. Unfortunately for him, the only one available is Ivy, who is untrained and a descendant of the woman who broke his heart. 

For Ivy, helping to protect the Grail gives her a chance to do something good with her magic and learn more about it. But once the Grail is out in the open it draws the attention of both vampires and vampire hunters alike, and before long Ivy is facing an ancient and powerful foe that she has no chance of escaping. 

Forced to tap into the deeper magic, Ivy must travel through time, linking with her ancestors and experiencing witch trials to take on the power that is her heritage. She might also learn the startling truth about her connection to Lachlan. 

A Grail Quest, a deadly enemy, and a love that transcends time. 
Action packed Urban Fantasy. Grab your copy now! 


Cathrina's Review:

Over the years I've watched dozens of vampire movies. Some good,  some great, and some not so great. Even as far back as the old black and white versions with the famous Bela Lugosi. However, I've only read a handful of vampire books, including the Twilight Series and Christine Rains book, OF BLOOD AND SORROW. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the Christian twist that the author, Elena Bryce incorporated into her book. It was totally unique and refreshing to read. The pace is fast and action packed and a romance which helped to keep my interest. 

We have a young pretty witch, and a handsome man who looks like he's in his twenties, but in actuality he's ancient, and another immortal that's willing to kill everything in sight in order to acquire the holy grail.

The story goes all the way back to Joseph of Aramethea, a disciple of Jesus, and his quest to keep the holy grail safe from evil hands. Guardians drink blood from the grail which make them immortal. Their main purpose is to protect the grail. They become known as vampires, but not all vampires are good. The sections of the book where it explains the different kind of vamps was intriguing and like I said before~unique, which is why this story stands apart from the rest.

6.06.2017

LavaRex, Frogzilla, Ice Bats, and Spacebergs! What fantastic disaster can you come up with? #ScienceFiction #giveaway

Sharknado, Atomic Twister, Mega Piranha, Sharktopus...

The latest in sci fi movies that mimic their 1950's drive-in counterparts are just as cheesy and fun. Sometimes the effects are better..



sometimes they're not.


They're some of my favorite movies to watch, especially in the summer. I think the link to the drive-in is why I like them best in summer.

Try your hand at some titles. Best 5 get a copy of Pew! Pew! You can enter as many times as you like. Contest ends 6/13/2017.

 Here are some creatures to inspire you.








Here are some disasters:

Earthquake

Nuclear Disaster

Alien Invasion

Volcanic Eruption

Rapid Glacier Melt




Big Bat Meltdown? Volcanic Frog? Mega Frog vs. Mutant Yeti? Have fun...


Pew! Pew! Sex, Guns, Spaceships... Oh My! 99c Countdown Deal!


Now a Best Seller!

Pew! Pew! Sex, Guns, Spaceships... Oh My! is on sale for 99c until June 10th. Snap it up! It contains my new story, "Spaceberg." Spaceberg involves a huge chunk of ice in space, moss balls with teeth, and dancing plastic flowers. What's better than plastic? Organic plastic!

  AMAZON

Get a sample of Spaceberg FREE! (first 5 chapters)
BOOK FUNNEL / INSTAFREEBIE

*

5.30.2017

Group Post - Talking about sea creatures real and imaginary



The oceans are as mysterious as worlds beyond our own. It's a world as foreign to us as Jupiter, yet we don't need a spaceship to visit it. Much of it remains inaccessible, however. The deepest depths are difficult to reach and it's unknown what all lurks down there. Much of the oceans remain unexplored. Would you want to explore those areas or hang out among the reefs? If you were a sea creature, real or imaginary, what would you be?


M. Pax

I want to explore those deep, unknowns of the oceans. So I decided I'd like to be a vampire squid. They have characteristics of both the octopus and the squid, They live at very deep depths, have large eyes, are agile, and eat shrimp. I like shrimp. They're elusive and mysterious and live in a mysterious place. All of that suits me very well. Here's a video to learn more about the vampire squid.


***

River Fairchild

I want to be Poseidon, because, well... you know... a god with unlimited powers? Owning a trident to stab things with? Wearing spiky metal thingies on your armor? And it doesn't hurt to look hunky, either. 



***
Angela Brown

There are so many wonderful, terrifying, beautiful, and well...the list of descriptions can go on and on about the creatures under the sea. But...here is where things get a little different for me. The sea creature I wish to be doesn't stay beneath the water. It takes flight to get away from underwater predators and looks darned cool when it spreads its wings. So flying fish...I'm looking at you!




***

Christine Rains

I thought maybe I'd want to be one of the legendary monsters of the sea. Every sailor quakes in terror when they sail my waters. But really, I wouldn't want a bad reputation. Nor would I want any young hunters to come looking for me. I like my quiet and peaceful life. I want silent depths and sometimes come up to the surface for a lovely view. I keep to myself just like Nessy in Loch Ness. Am I real or a hoax? I'm content to let the mystery continue.

***


Misha Gerrick

Hmmmmmm.... I'd go for....



An orca. Badass, incredibly intelligent and loyal to their families, they're by far my favorite ocean creature, so if I had to turn into one, that's the one I'd want to be. 

***
Cherie Reich

I would want to be a manatee. They are just the cutest and kindest of sea creatures.


***

Catherine Stine

I'm obsessed with the ocean and its creatures. I'm also obsessed with witches. I wrote Witch of the Cards to explore how it would feel to be a sea witch (who also does amazing things with Tarot cards. LOL). It was a rollicking ride. Here's a quote from the book.



Meradeth Houston

There are so many awesome sea creatures that picking just one is difficult! That, and I love the sea so very much (I'm even named after a Welsh sea god, haha!). If I have to select one though, I think I'd have to go with dolphin. My mom tells this story about when I was a baby and she was holding me at the railing of a small sailboat, and a momma dolphin brought her baby up right next to us to say "hi!" Kinda silly, but kinda fun :)


Cathrina Constantine

River grabbed my first choice of underwater rulers. Hahaa... But I did happen upon this fantastical being. I love horses. And whats better than a gorgeous horse that can swim underwater...





Gwen Gardner
I'm a simple girl and like to keep things simple. Mermaids are easily the most classic and modern sea creature to withstand the test of time.

Who wouldn't want to be a Mermaid?



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.