Monday, February 29, 2016

Holly Barbo shares Tendrils: a collections of short stories & Sunstone a steampunk thriller

WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF
HOLLY BARBO


TENDRILS
Where ’What if’ becomes ‘What is’

AUTHOR: Holly Barbo
GENRE: Short story collection covering the following genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Sci-fi thriller, Sci-fantasy, Contemporary, Contemporary Thriller, Historical Fiction and Fantasy

Stories come from any number of places. One could start from a memory, a photo in a magazine or from pondering a news item and wondering, "What if?"

This collection arose from that sort of random stimuli. Some are pure imagination of science fiction or fantasy. Others developed from random historical facts or the disturbing news stories of war-torn regions.

This is a collection of stories for those who like to think.

Includes 4 award-winning short stories.

"I enjoyed every story in Tendrils! I am impressed with the versatility and well thought out environment in each setting. Obviously good research was put into writing these stories as well as a wonderful gift of empathy with a delightful touch of practical wisdom. In my opinion the last story would even make a good movie!" (Cynthia)

"An excellent compilation of short stories over different genres. I was highly impressed by the quality of the writing and her use of words, which dragged me in on every page." (Bookcollecter)

"I thoroughly enjoyed this read. I had a hard time putting the book down. Some stories are short, some long. All are suspenseful & of different genre. I am amazed at her extensive vocabulary and her overall knowledge on so many subjects. Her imagination takes you on a great trip every time with every story. None are ever boring. I highly recommend this latest book of hers. You will not be disappointed. Sit back & take yourself on an adventure. You will learn something too along the way." (Paul and Patti L. Jordan)


SAMPLE FROM THE SHORT STORY "A CRYSTAL SNOWFLAKE"

Orion gave a quick scan of the room. He needed to make sure he had everything important. His backpack was stuffed and the computer case held so much that there were edges of paper sticking out of it in a haphazard manner. The slender young man slung the strap of the computer bag over his shoulder, grabbed the backpack and headed for the front door. His hand paused as he reached for the knob and he looked out the window.

It was dark and he could see the snow falling through the street lights. There didn’t seem to be anyone about, so he slipped from the house and walked casually to his trusty old Chevy, his breath coming out in rapid visible puffs. The nonchalance was an act. He wanted anyone watching to assume he was going to M.I.T. to get in some late night work. He scanned the shadows, hoping that no one was there. He threw his backpack on the passenger seat then wedged the computer case between it and the seat back. He wanted both within easy reach. Once buckled in, he allowed his nervousness to slip out and thoroughly checked the view from his mirrors.

He eased onto the street and when there was no sign of his tires slipping, increased his speed. Orion reached into the pocket of the backpack for the pre-paid phone that he’d picked up when he determined his cell had been tapped. At the stop sign, he punched in a number. The snow flurries were increasing and he switched on the wipers. Orion waited for his friend to pick up.
He smiled when he heard her voice and responded by saying, “I’m on my way and no one is following me. Just in case, I sent instructions to our safe place. Don’t worry about retrieving the envelope unless I don’t get there by morning. Okay. Gotta go. I’ll be at your door for breakfast with your favorite croissants. Have the coffee brewed.”
Orion laughed at the response. “Okay. I need to concentrate on driving in this stuff. See you soon, Chayse. Bye.”

Beyond the stop sign, the road sloped to a picturesque country bridge, one of many that dotted the New England states. He had to admit it was beautiful in the snowfall but with the driving conditions worsening, he focused on how the car responded to his small adjustments in steering. In the weak light, he didn’t notice the watcher standing in the shelter of some trees on the far side of the road. The muffled figure took a box out of his pocket, pointed it at the car and pushed a button. The loud sibilant schwuff of the slush hitting the car’s undercarriage drowned out the pop.


Without any warning, Orion’s power steering quit. Working to compensate on the slick road, he fought to correct the fish-tailing motion of the car. “Shit!” He tapped the brakes and was horrified as his foot went all the way to the floor.

Fighting the wheel and the momentum of the old Chevy on the slippery surface became his entire focus…and he was losing. He tried gearing down and applying the emergency brake, but the car went into a spin and he caught a glimpse of the bridge railing coming up too fast. “Shit!” The car broke through the wooden barrier and sailed into the darkness over the side.




Friday, February 26, 2016

Liza reviews Honor Roll by Kelly Collins

HONOR ROLL

AUTHOR: Kelly Collins
GENRE: Contemporary Romance


When do you become the sum of your parts?

Drop dead gorgeous, kind to a fault and good in bed, twenty-six-year-old graduate student Luca Gregorio meets all the requirements for The Dean’s List, a university society that offers alumni anything they desire—for a price. Weeks from graduating, Luca loses his most valuable client. Determined to graduate debt free, he needs new patrons to cover his shortfall. His once easy job at Concierge Services becomes complicated once he meets Mim Knight, a woman he can’t ignore.

She was worth more.

Cultured and beautiful Mim Knight isn’t looking for anything but a quick end to a frustrating workday when Luca Gregorio shows up on the other side of her desk. Despite his too-good-to-be-true looks, he’s different from the trust fund boys she’s used to. He’s fearless, genuine, and sexy as hell.

They say money is the root of all evil, but they’re wrong.

Drowning in lies of omission, Luca knows one misplaced step will lose Mim forever, but like his dream of financial freedom, he can’t let her go. In the world of commodities, everyone has something to sell. What price do you demand for your honor? What price do you put on love?




“Who is she?” Jade asked.

“That's Mim.” When I closed my eyes, I could see her smile and hear her laughter. “She’s the assistant for my new professor. She’s different. Bad attitude. Cute smile. Sexy accent.”

River reached across and held my hand. “I’m so happy for you.”

“It’s not like that. I asked her to dinner and she told me I was taking her out on Thursday. So now I have to decide if I’m going to show.” Deep inside I knew I’d go because even though Mim was frustrating in the few encounters I had with her, she was the realest thing I had right now besides these two.

Jade sat up and leaned in. “I call bullshit. You get a soft, warm look on your face when you say her name.”

“She says she loves Italian.” I bit my lip in that sexy way women liked and winked at my friends.

“Yes, but you can love Italian, or you can looove Italian. Which is it going to be?” River asked.






Liza reviews Honor Roll by Kelly Collins
I don’t normally read erotica because they tend to go over on the “I really didn’t want to know the detail” descriptions of sex. So you can imagine my worry when I realize the main male character of this novel is a male escort.
Didn’t I bother to read the blurb before signing up to review this story?  No, I didn’t and this time it was a very good thing. Otherwise, I might have missed reading a very fine story that in no way offended me with details I didn’t wish to know.
I was absolutely mesmerized by this story about a young man, determined to go to college, get a degree, and do well. Only thing, after undergrad, he was over $100,000 in debt. He needed a part-time job that paid well. Being an escort paid $350/hour.
In this story, you follow him through his days, dealing with a great many powerful business women who are willing to pay to get precisely what they want. And each of them are different. He doesn’t ‘love’ any of his clients, but he likes most of them, and a few he considers friends.
Then he meets a fellow student named Mim. While their beginning is a bit rocky, they fall in love, only Luca’s job lingers like a raging fire on the horizon, capable of consuming everything important in his life.
She knows that he works for a Concierge service, but not the he’s an escort.
For years Luca’s focus has always been on his future, but now, he’s in great danger of losing the most important part of his future…Mim
Mesmerizing, intriguing, captivating, sweet, endearing are words I would use to describe this book. Yes, there are many sex scenes with his clients but they were tastefully done.
 I highly recommend reading this book.
5 stars and kudo’s to Kelly Collins for a job well done!






Amazon US ✯ Amazon UK ✯ Kobo ✯ Nook ✯ iTunes




Amazon US ✯ Amazon UK ✯ Kobo ✯ Nook ✯ iTunes



Kelly Collins writes with the intention of keeping the love alive.

Always a romantic, she is inspired by real time events mixed with a dose of fiction. She encourages her readers to reach the happily ever after but bask in the afterglow of the perfectly imperfect love.

Kelly lives in Colorado with her husband of twenty-five years. She loves hockey, shiny objects and has a new found appreciation for green smoothies.

Kelly has a landing page that hosts all her books.




AMAZON ✯ WEBSITE ✯ FACEBOOK ✯ GOODREADS ✯ TWITTER


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Georgia Lyn Hunter gets her characters dissected. Darkness Undone.



GL Hunter asked me to interview her. Someone should have warned her that was a terrible idea. Oh wait...I think I did warn her, but only after I wrote out the questions.  By then it was too late to back out.

Being an incredible trooper, and very brave, she gave it her welly. (Liza was reading up on British slang today.)


So here are my questions:
1)Describe your worst, most evil character:
I have many. But undoubtedly Kalinin from Darkness Undone is on top of that list. She’s a narcissist succubus, who delights in torturing her victim any way she can to make them submit to her.

2)She sounds delightful. Why did you make her like that?
I have a twisted mind. So there. And well, she is a demoness. More, my hero can’t always have everyone falling for his charm and pretty face. Some just want to own him.

3)Is there any chance of redemption in her?
Nope. Even if she lived, it’s unlikely. She was just too evil, and relished in being so black-hearted and she loved inflicting pain and torture. 

4)If I gave her a cute tea-cup puppy, would she like me?
You can't be serious! That demoness will suck out the blood from the poor puppy then come after you for probably offering the pup J.


5)No puppy for her! So describe your favorite male character? Hopefully, he'll want the puppy...
Reynner, my hero from Darkness Undone. He’s so broken and self-destructive. I just had to give him a beautiful love.


6)Great! I'll give him the puppy. What does he think of our most evil character?
Oh, he utterly despised Kalinin. If he could, he’d probably wring my neck for letting him be trapped with her for nearly a century.


7)What is the most important item on his ‘to do’ list?
To find the artifact they need to save their fading realm.


8)Does he have a plan for his future, or does he take matters day by day?

Being an immortal, he lives each day as it comes.


So let's check out Darkness Undone Promo


 Darkness Undone

Georgia Lyn Hunter

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: The Warlords of Empyrea

BLURB:
A fading realm, a warrior bound, and the woman who will save them both…

Bound to a vengeful goddess, immortal warrior, Reynner, has little time for the fairer sex. The last thing he wants is to be aligned with another female, even if she is the key to finding an artifact and saving his realm. But his stone-cold resistance is tested, his attraction undeniable for the feisty mortal, until she demands the one thing he cannot give her…his trust.

Eve Leighton avoids intimacy of any sort after an accident in her teens left her with a painful ability to see into another’s mind through physical contact. When an ice-cold warrior claims she is his world’s savior, she’s intrigued, until she dares a look into his soul and sees a man who’s been cruelly betrayed. She agrees to help him and loses her heart. But the man is an unassailable fortress. With quiet determination, she chips away his barriers and a passion darker than night pulls them under.

As his enemies close in on the hunt for the artifact, Reynner must overcome his own personal demons as battles are fought to claim the woman he loves or lose her forever. And Eve has to face her own mortality and fight for a love of a lifetime.
***



Excerpt (PG)
The sudden hush in the busy little café should have been his first clue shit was about to fly.
Wrapped in his thoughts, Reynner savored his dark roasted coffee hot enough to scrape a layer off his throat, when he became aware of the unnatural quiet. Looking up, he got an eyeful of a tall female sashaying toward him, not in the least surprised she’d found him. Again.
Lustrous black hair framed a face of sheer perfection, one that made gods and men whimper for her favor. A long, fitted white dress with a slit up to her thigh hugged her body and fell to her ankles.
Oh, he understood the awed silence all too well since he’d once succumbed to that same sensual spell. Easing his grip on the mug, he set it aside, wishing he’d taken his coffee to go. A chair scraped on the linoleum opposite him. A moment later, her stiletto heel rode up his leather-clad leg to caress his inner thigh beneath the tablecloth.
He shoved her foot off him. In a measured move, he picked up a coin from the change on the table and spun it so he wouldn’t be tempted to reach across and strangle her.
“Get lost, Inanna. I'm busy.”
“Reynner…” She held out a hand in appeal, her topaz eyes luminescent with tears. “Don’t do this...”
Ignoring the Sumerian Goddess of Love and War hadn’t worked in the past, and certainly not now.
He cut her an implacable stare. “Don’t do what? Ignore you? Or prefer other females?”
Her face darkened at his mention of the women. “Why would you want these weak, pathetic creatures?” Her tears vanished as fast as they appeared. “I'm powerful. I’ll make it wonderful between us again.”
Reynner leaned back in the wooden chair and ran a cool, dismissive gaze over her stunning face and lush body. More flighty promises, but no hint of an apology for what she’d done to him. The thought would never have entered her narcissistic mind.
“I enjoy other women.”
“You lie.”
Reynner shrugged. Picking up the fallen coin, he worked it between his fingers. He just wanted coffee and a few minutes of quiet before he went back on the streets. Instead, he got her.
It should have felt good torturing Inanna, but he got no enjoyment, just a prolonged headache that had started over two millennia ago.
How could he have known then that stopping at the Sumerian pantheon would so irrevocably change his life?
“You’ve become cold and unfeeling. One little mistake and you're still making me pay.” Her sulky voice drew him back.
“One little mistake?” His tone made glaciers seem warm.
“It was just a teeny-tiny year—”
“A year?” His hands crashed on the table. The coin flew and disappeared beneath a chair. “It was a fucking century in Hell!”
Inanna jerked back and blinked. Several humans turned their way in curiosity.
“Your deception caught me unaware, never forget what I am,” he said, his warning clear.
Her eyes flickered. Not from fear, Inanna didn’t believe there was anyone more powerful than her, but with a gleam of sexual promise. She knew all too well what he was, and why she hounded him.
Empyreans were a race of beings as old as the celestial angels and just as powerful, but far more carnal.
She leaned forward and rested her arms on the table, her low neckline displaying an eyeful of cleavage. “I’ll make it up to you…” Her voice lowered to a smoky promise. “I’ll make you my consort.”
He’d rather be imprisoned in Hell again.
“You have a mate.”
“I am a goddess. I can do whatever I want. Come on, lover,” she wheedled. “It will be good between us again…then I’ll help you find what you seek.”
Reynner stilled, his instincts on alert. Did she know where the missing Stone was? But meeting her watchful gaze, he dismissed the thought. No immortal would know for sure. The damn thing hid from them all. Even if she could aid him, he would never accept her help. It always came with a price.
Reining in his irritation, he ignored her baiting and turned to take in the busy café.
The brunette waitress at the table farther down watched him from beneath her lashes while she served a customer. She’d been sending him all sorts of signals from the moment she’d set his coffee down. Ones he didn’t encourage since he had no interest in females as a whole. Besides, he knew what a jealous bitch Inanna could be.
A virulent hiss erupted from opposite him when she spotted the waitress. As if to prove his point, with a flick of her hand, the waitress flew backward, crashing into a table. Chaos erupted, drowning the female’s frightened cry. Two human males rushed to help her.
A cat-like smile curved Inanna’s mouth. But her eyes flared with ire as she played with the deep blue lapis lazuli stone set in intricate silver filigree around her neck. “Look at another human tart again, and I will hurt her.”

Of that, he had little doubt.


Buy links: AMAZON | iBOOKS KOBO SMASH | NOOK



Author: Georgia Lyn Hunter

The pink on Georgia's wrist is from an earlier time in which I kidnapped her. Evidently, I never gave her the key to get her fuzzy handcuff off.

About the Author:
I’ve been creating stories from the moment I could string two words together. No matter the tale, it always has romance woven through them. Yes, I'm a hopeless romantic.

When I’m not writing or plotting new books, I like to read, travel, painting, or troll flea markets where I usually buy things I might never actually use because they're so pretty.

After working in a few jobs all art related, a chosen career as a fashion designer, then an art teacher, I finally found my passion four years ago: writing. There really is no other job I’d rather do.

Oh, and I live in the beautiful country of South Africa.

Author’s follow links:


Saturday, February 20, 2016

Meet the wimps of the Bear Kingdom: NJ Bears



Don't shoot me, I'm a friendly NJ Bear!


I’m a firm believer that New Jersey bears are the wimps of Beardom.


Here’s how that happened:

NJ is a skinny little state. Yet, we are stuffed full of people. That was true even 100 years ago. Back then, I suspect our bears were as mean as any other state’s bears. But our desire to remove iron ore from our ground meant we went into the same area as our bears. And those miners had families that required protection. Which meant even women knew how to shoot a bear. 

The transformation of bears into timid bears didn’t happen overnight, but since we live in such close proximity to them, aggressive bears would be shot at once. 

And once we got a police force, they took bear shooting very seriously. If a bear caused any trouble, boom! He’s dead. And that’s true to this day. Bears are shot for misdemeanor offenses like crashing into a screen porch and killing a rabbit. 

Why is that a death offense? Because it could have been a baby sleeping in a crib. 

We have plenty of bears--no point in letting the troublemakers live.

Overtime, this kill any bear that causes trouble attitude resulted in the aggressive gene being removed from the NJ Bear gene pool. Once in a while a bear will behave aggressively, and if you call the local police that will come out and shoot it…and not with tranq gun. 

Aggressive bears cannot be tolerated in a crowded place like NJ. And without intentionally changing our bears, we did so by simply eliminating the aggressive bears from the gene pool.

Which leaves us with the wimpiest bears in the country.

Think I’m kidding. Check out these NJ videos. 


NJ BEAR WALKING LIKE A MAN  https://youtu.be/kcIkQaLJ9r8


NJ BEAR TAKES A DIP IN A POOL https://youtu.be/9EOCbd3INug
NJ BABY COMES A CALLING Https://youtu.be/6skx_NgDth0


And my own video of my thirty pound fifteen-inch-tall dog taking on a bear that per animal control says is probably 600 pounds. 

We’ve run into him three times. A friendlier fellow you’ll never meet.

Still, I wasn’t sure what would happen when Jess tries to attack the fellow. 


IN NJ we acknowledge our bears exist. And they are truly the pansies of bear kingdom.  And we like it that way.

There is another animal which both Iowa and NJ wish to disclaim. That’s the mountain lion.

NJ is working very hard to get their numbers down so they can declare them non-existent, which means they fall off the protected list, and very real hunters can then kill them. And thanks to our bear-shaped governor we once again have a bear hunting season. I believe over 800 friendly gentle bears were slaughtered this last year. I am strongly against the bear hunt. Culling the troublemakers is a far better method. And it gives our cops something to shoot at. (They need to practice.)

I do run into a lot bears, wandering the various woods Jess & I hike. And still I live. So here's my advice: If your dog has treed a baby cub, try to drag idiot dog away. If she has wrapped herself around a small tree to prevent you from doing so, keep an eye out for the mom while you threaten your dog she's never hiking again.

If a baby bear runs straight to you for no reason at all as mother bear watches. Try your hardest to shoo it away. You do not want to have a meet and greet with the tiny cub as mom looks on. 

If you are a bunch of drunk college students surrounding a young bear, be aware if it believes you intend to kill it, it will fight back.

If you are a curious scout leader who crawls into the cave of a hibernating bear, don't expect a loving hug when she wakens. 

And if you a macho hunter, don't hunt NJ bears.

NJ bears are wimps. Shooting them is a sissy sport. You wanna be a real man? Go to Montana and try to hunt theirs. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Carnal, The Beast Who Loved Me by Victoria Danann

CARNAL, The Beast Who Loved Me
Exiled #1

AUTHOR: Victoria Danann
Official genre of book Paranormal Romance
Content warning 18+
Name of cover designer: Victoria Danann
Photographer: Invita




The angel, Kellareal, stopped the genocide of generations of hybrids, who had been bred for research and spent their entire lives imprisoned. Against orders, he spirited them away to a dimension where they would have freedom and purpose.

In a vindictive fit, Rosie Storm asked Kellareal for a place to hide out. He knew just the place for her to grow up, learn emotional control, and other necessary things necessary for the proper education of a young woman wielding god-like power.


The angel motioned her over.

“Rosie, this is Free. He’s the leader of the Exiled here at Newland.” Kellareal turned to Free. “This is my adopted niece, Rosie.”

Rosie jerked her attention to the angel. She’d never heard him suggest a title for their relationship before, adopted or otherwise.

“With your permission, I need a couple of minutes with Rosie to say goodbye. I’ll be back in a couple of weeks to check on things.”

“Always good to see you,” Free said to Kellareal, in a voice so gravelly it almost startled Rosie.

The angel took her by the elbow and walked her toward the edge of the settlement, near the wall.

“So here are the rules.”

“Rules?” She almost sounded alarmed.

“Yes. Rules,” he clipped, sounding serious enough to get her full attention. “Extraordinary measures have made these people stronger and smarter than humans. Given the right circumstances, they’re also more dangerous. As far as they know, you’re a human girl, who needs a place to hide out for a bit. I don’t want them to suspect differently. Do you get me?”

She pulled back, looking affronted. “Yes! I get you! You don’t want me to do anything a…” She made quotation marks with her fingers. “…’human girl’ wouldn’t do.”

“Exactly. And lose the adolescent attitude.” She rolled her eyes. “Rosie, please don’t make me look bad.”

She sighed. “Okay. I appreciate this.”

“Well, I hope you still feel that way in a couple of weeks of working here.”

“Working?” She seemed surprised.

“Yes. Working. It’s not all kittens and rainbows here. Pull your socks up.”

Rosie was narrowing her eyes and gearing up for a reply when Kellareal vanished leaving her wondering what ‘pull your socks up’ means. She turned toward the Exiled leader, whom Kellareal had called the Extant, and began walking in his direction. When a gust of wind ruffled her hair, she looked toward the east, where the human city could be seen below and in the distance.

Free looked down at her and smiled when she reached him. “Let’s get you situated. I see you didn’t bring belongings?”

She looked around like she’d misplaced them. “No. I guess I didn’t think about it.”

“No matter. We’ll sort it out. You can stay at my house with my family. We can always use help at the Commons. The unmated males spend a lot of time there. Drinking. Eating. Since they’re not mated.” He added, smiling as if that explained the whole of the universe. “If anybody gives you any trouble or unwanted attention, just come to me. I’ll take care of it.”

For a scant instant she wondered what it might be like to be a young woman who had to worry about men trying to press their physical advantage and thanked the gods she’d never have to find out how vulnerable that would make someone feel.

“Thank you,” she smiled in return. “I don’t have any experience working at… um, working.”

Free looked at her sideways. “You seem capable. You’ll learn.”

By the time they reached Free’s house, it was almost dark and evident that Newland had no power for lighting. The house, like the other buildings, was made of roughhewn logs, with a small but cheerful light coming from the front windows. It appeared to be three stories and larger than most of the other buildings.

Free opened the door and entered before Rosie. The room wasn’t plush or luxurious, but was definitely inviting. The upholstered furniture was worn, but friendly-looking. The fire was small, but welcoming. 

“Serene!” His growly voice rumbled. Rosie couldn’t tell if he was displeased or if his voice always sounded like that.

A woman, roughly the same age as Free, appeared from the back of the house wiping her hands. She cocked her head at Rosie. “Hello,” she said. Her voice was also raspy, but not as deep as Free’s.

“Hello,” Rosie replied. “I’m…”

“She’s Kellareal’s ward,” Free interrupted. “She needs a place to stay for a while.”

Serene smiled. “Of course. You’re welcome.”

The door crashed open behind Rosie. “Hey, I…”

Rosie turned to see an extremely good-looking boy staring at her.

“Rosie. This is our youngest son, Charming.”

She looked from Free to Serene for a hint that he was joking, but saw none. Turning back to the new arrival she said, “Nice to meet you, Charming.”

She fully expected him to break into a fit of laughter and tell her that wasn’t really his name. Instead, he said, “Hi. Rosie.”

“She’s going to be staying with us for a while. Show her to Carnal’s room.”

“But…” Charming started.

“Show her to Carnal’s room.” Free repeated with a bit more insistence in his tone. “Then come back down for dinner.”

“Okaaaay.”

Rosie estimated Charming’s age at eighteen or so. He had honey colored hair, streaked with blonde, just like his mother. And yellow-green eyes. Also just like his mother. He was as tall as Free with a powerful, athletic build that suggested it would become even more impressive in a couple of years.

He gave Rosie a smile that was, well, charming and motioned for her to follow up the stairs. “This way.” He stopped at the second story landing and said, “Carnal’s room is there.” He pointed down the hall to the right. “My room is up there.” He pointed to a narrower staircase that led upward. “The attic room. It has a great view. I can see just about everything that happens in Newland,” he said proudly.

Rosie smiled and turned toward the room Charming had pointed out, noting that there was another room down the hall. 

“Am I, um, displacing someone?”

“Displacing?” He opened the door to a decidedly masculine space. It was minimalist to the extreme. A wood platform bed with four thick square legs, but no headboard. A double shelf unit with a few books, rocks, and feathers on one side and folded clothes on the other side. There was a paraffin lamp on a small square stand by the bed and another on the shelf unit. There wasn’t much there, but what was there was neat as a military barracks. Bed perfectly made. Nothing out of place. “No. Not at all. This is my oldest brother’s room, but he doesn’t come home often.”

“Oh.”

“Do you need help with your stuff?”

“No. I, ah, didn’t bring anything. I’ll get my, ah, stuff in the next couple of days.”

Charming nodded. “Well, then, let’s have supper.”

When Rosie told Kellareal she needed a hideout, the last thing she had in mind was becoming an exchange student. She didn’t want to get to know and be part of a family, but not eating would raise suspicion. After all her cover was human and humans must eat. So she said, “Okay,” and followed Charming back downstairs.

“Is Carnal away at school?”

Charming paused mid step to laugh. “Nothing like that. No. He’s on patrol right now.” He resumed descent, but stopped at the bottom of the stairs. “Smell that? We’re having elk stew with parsnips and onions. You’ll love it.”

Rosie had to admit that it did smell good. The kitchen was square with a table and chairs in the middle of the room, but the first thing that attracted her eye was the wood stove and the precision cut stack of firewood next to it. The front panel had been left standing open to heat the room with coals left smoldering from cooking. She’d seen such stoves in books, but never in person.

Charming’s parents had already filled their bowls and were waiting patiently.

She sat down across from Charming and pulled in her chair just as he reached out and tore off a large chunk of brown bread from the dome-shaped loaf in the middle of the table. Next to it sat a pot of stew.

“Go on. Help yourself,” said Charming with his mouth full.

So she stood and ladled a generous portion into her bowl, while Free carried on quiet conversation about livestock.

After a few minutes, Charming said, “Why aren’t you eating?”

Everyone stopped and looked at Rosie.

“Well, it looks so good and smells even better,” she said, looking from one to the other. Serene smiled in response. “But to be honest, I’m worried about the sauce.” It was tomato-based. “These are the only clothes I have at the moment.”

They all looked at her thin white boyfriend shirt, which caused a blush.

Serene rose from the table and retrieved an apron. She flicked it in front of Rosie and tied the top close to her neck.

“There,” she said. “Tomorrow we’ll see about scrounging up some other clothes.” She looked at Free. “What was Kellareal thinking?”

Rosie was grateful enough to warm to the idea of getting to know the family.

Free shrugged. “Got a lot on his mind. Always.”

“Thank you,” Rosie told Serene as she dug into the stew. “Oh my gods. This is incredible!” she said before quite finishing the first bite.

Serene beamed and Free did not miss the signs of her pleasure, which in turn pleased him. He turned to Rosie.

“The large building next door is the Commons. Tomorrowmorning, Charming will take you over there and introduce you to the woman in charge. She’ll lay it out for you and get you started right.”

“Okay. And thank you for having me.”

Serene interjected. “We’re very sincere when we say you’re welcome here for as long as you’d like to stay. Kellareal must think very highly of you. If you’re special to him, you’re special to us.”

Rosie nodded and returned her smile, not wanting to spout off about what a pain he could be. She thought better of being the one to tarnish the rosy esteem in which he was held.

“No reason to wait till tomorrow morning. I’m headed over there right now.” Charming was talking to Rosie. “Come and go with me. I’ll be the envy of Newland, arriving with a beautiful woman.”

Free glanced at me. “Do you want to go, Rosie?”

She hesitated. Charming pled with his eyes in such a cute way she had a hard time saying no. “Maybe for just a little while.”

Free then turned to Charming. “Make it clear that she’s a special guest of mine,” he warned.

“Sure, Pop.”

“Charming, this is not a joke. Can you be trusted to take care of Rosie?”

Charming grew instantly serious, transforming his looks so that he appeared older. “Yes.”

Free nodded.


USA TODAY Bestselling Author, Victoria Danann, is making her debut into Contemporary Romance with releases in May and June 2015, after taking the world of PNR by storm.

Her Knights of Black Swan series won BEST PARANORMAL ROMANCE SERIES TWO YEARS IN A ROW (2013, 2014). Reviewers Choice Awards, The Paranormal Romance Guild.

Victoria's paranormal romances come with uniquely fresh perspectives on "imaginary" creatures, characters, and themes. She adds a dash of scifi, a flourish of fantasy, enough humor to make you laugh out loud, and enough steam to make you squirm in your chair. Her heroines are independent femmes with flaws and minds of their own whether they are aliens, witches, demonologists, psychics, past life therapists, or financial analysts from Dallas. Her heroes are hot and hunky, but they also have brains, character, and good manners - usually - whether they be elves, demons, berserkers, werewolves, or vampires.

The first book of the Knights of Black Swan Paranormal Romance Series, My Familiar Stranger, was nominated for Best Paranormal Romance of 2012 by both Reviewers' Choice and Readers' Choice Awards. All of her books have opened on the Amazon Best Sellers list and earned Night Owl Reviews TOP PICK awards. Many have appeared on Listopia BOOK OF THE MONTH as #1 across all genres.

For books published in 2013, Black Swan won three awards. 1. Best Paranormal Romance Series 2. Best Paranormal Romance Novel - A SUMMONER'S TALE 3. Best Vampire~Shifter Novel - MOONLIGHT. In 2014, Solomon's Sieve won Best Vampire Novel.

If you're interested in Victoria personally, she is also a classically trained musician who defected to Classic Rock music. Until 2013 she was the utility player for Houston's Roadhouse band, which means she played rhythm guitar, keyboards, sang back ups and female leads. Her band covered everything (note for note) from Styx to Led Zepellin to Rush.

She lives in The Woodlands, Texas with her husband and a very smart, mostly black German Shepherd dog.


Sunday, February 14, 2016

A Fortune to Die For

Thanks to Tami Adams at Magic of Books Promotions  for creating such a fabulous blog tour on my recently released 
I highly recommend her if you need any type of promotional or blog tour.


Beginning 2/15/16
I have five more blogs sharing my research and past misbehaviors that helped inspire this book.



2/15/16 

RESEARCH BLOG 1

2/18/16
RESEARCH BLOG 2

2/20/16
RESEARCH BLOG 3

2/23/16
RESEARCH BLOG 4

2/25/16
RESEARCH BLOG 5


So pay attention for the fun to follow.




A FORTUNE TO DIE FOR
Book 1 of The White Oak-Mafia Series
by
Liza O’Connor

GENRE:  
Contemporary Mafia Suspense Thiller 
(with touches of humor)



Megan Clarke had a good life until she wins the Mega Times Lottery and discovers the prize comes with a curse. Worse than the many money-hungry suitors, a serial killer has her in his sight. She changes her name and moves to Iowa with plans to buy their last major forest of white oaks and turn it into a State Park. Unfortunately, the Lottery Curse doesn't stop at state lines and someone there wants her dead, as well. Good thing a disturbingly handsome law officer is just as determined to keep her alive.




Megan Clarke set the package on her kitchen counter with great care. “It’s probably nothing,” she chided herself. Opening a letter that came in the same mail delivery, she changed her mind as she read another threat to kill her. She hurried to the phone and hit her speed dial for the local cops. Her hands shook despite her mental self-assurances that everything was okay.

A female voice answered the phone. “Danville Police.”

Recognizing Margaret’s voice, she replied, “Hi, this is Megan. Is Sergeant Adams around?”

“No, he’s on vacation. You get another death threat?”

“Yeah, but there’s also a package. I know it’s stupid, but I’m afraid to open it.”

A heavy sigh sounded over the phone. “I swear, all your troubles since you won the lottery has made me afraid to even play scratch-offs. Hold on.” 

Megan pushed her blond hair behind her ears. The craziest part about her winning the Mega Times Lottery was she never played games of chance—thought it a great waste of money. She had already become a millionaire by her own efforts. Why did she want to be richer? She had more than enough. 

Then one day, while in a New York shop buying lunch, her friend, Terry, a bona fide lottery junkie, had insisted she buy a ticket. “It only cost a dollar. Stop being a miser!” Not wishing to argue, she passed the clerk a dollar. “Just give me a random number,” she instructed the fellow, then frowned as her friend filled out ten cards. “You do realize if I win, you have to take the money,” Megan warned.

Terry stared at her with rounded eyes. “No way! You can’t give away your good luck. If you win it, you have to keep it. Otherwise, you and the recipient will have bad luck the rest of your lives.”

So when the stupid ticket turned out to be the only winning number for a $987-million-dollar pot, all the bad luck stayed with her alone. Honestly, she wouldn’t wish her “new” life on a dog, nevertheless her best friend.

Since she was a financial expert, she took the $463 million upfront and invested half of it, planning to donate the other half to charities. Only problem was, whenever she delved into various charities, she didn’t like the way they used their money, so thus far, she’d only managed to give away a few million.

“Miss Clarke, I’m Detective Steve Williams,” a pleasant voice came over the phone. “How may I help you?”

“I received a package today. It has a name and address I don’t recognize.”

Complete silence answered her.

“Are you still there?”

“Yes, ma’am. I’m just a little confused. Marge said you had a letter threatening your life.”

“Yes. I have one of those, too. It doesn’t have a return address. Nor is it signed. But the letter and the package came in the same post.”

“So you think the package may be from the sender of the death threat?”

“This one or one of the hundred other angry letters I’ve received.”

“Mind if I stop by and take a look?”

Mind? Why did he think she was calling? If only Sergeant Adams were there. “I’d greatly appreciate it.”






Liza O’Connor was raised badly by feral cats, left the South/Midwest and wandered off to find nicer people on the east coast. There she worked for the meanest man on Wall Street while her psychotic husband tried to kill her three times. (So much for finding nicer people.) Then one day she declared enough, got a better job, divorced her husband, and fell in love with her new life where people behaved nicely. But all those bad behaviors has given her lots of fodder for her humorous books. Please buy these books, because otherwise, she’ll become grumpy and write troubled novels instead. They will likely traumatize you.

You have been warned.

AMAZON ✯ WEBSITE ✯ FACEBOOK ✯ GOODREADS ✯ TWITTER

Mostly humorous books by Liza:

Ghost Lover—Two British brothers fall in love with the same young woman. Ancestral ghost is called in to fix the situation. And there’s a ghost cat that roams about the book as well. (Humorous Contemporary Romance)

Saving Casey— Cass wakes up in the body of a troubled teen who has burned every bridge imaginable. Her only choice is to turn this life around, but that’s much harder than she ever imagined.

Untamed & Unabashed—The youngest of the Bennet sisters, Lydia, tells her story. A faithful spinoff from Pride & Prejudice. Warning: Lydia does not behave.

A Long Road to Love Series: (Humorous Contemporary odd Romance)

Worst Week Ever — Laugh out loud week of disasters of Epic proportions.

Oh Stupid Heart — The heart wants what it wants, even if it’s impossible.

Coming to Reason — There is a breaking point when even a saint comes to reason.

Climbing out of Hell — The reconstruction of a terrible man into a great one.

The Hardest Love — Is to love oneself. Sam’s story.

The Adventures of Xavier & Vic Sleuth series: (Late Victorian/Mystery/Romance)

The Troublesome Apprentice — The greatest sleuth in Victorian England hires a young man who turns out to be a young woman.

The Missing Partner — Opps! The greatest sleuth in Victorian England goes missing, leaving Vic to rescue him, a suffragette, and about 100 servants. Not to mention an eviscerating cat. Yes, let’s not mention the cat.

A Right to Love — A romantic detour for Jacko. Want to see how amply rewarded Jacko was when he & Vic save an old woman from Bedlam? 

The Mesmerist — The Mesmerist can control people from afar and make them murder for her. Worse yet, Xavier Thorn has fallen under her spell.

Well Kept Secrets — The problems with secrets is that they always come to light, no matter how you wish to silence them.

Pack of Trouble — Changes are a part of life, but these changes almost kill Vic.

The Darkest Days — Muddled cases make Vic very grumpy.



Thanks to all the bloggers who spread the word for my new series during my blog blast Feb 6-13.
What a fabulous job they did.
But there's still more....

As many of you know, I like to share bits of research I've gathered while writing my stories.  Which I'll be doing over the next few weeks.


2/15/16 

RESEARCH BLOG 1




2/18/16

RESEARCH BLOG 2

2/20/16
RESEARCH BLOG 3

2/23/16
RESEARCH BLOG 4

2/25/16
RESEARCH BLOG 5


So pay attention for the fun to follow.