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Leigh Anderson Romance
- My Tweets
Mark McMillin is a general counsel for a company in the aviation industry. His home is in the Atlanta, GA area.
Angela McPherson & Lynn Vroman
Publication date: June 28th 2016
Genres: Adult, Paranormal Romance
Two centuries ago, Adrian vowed to seek revenge against the Gypsy woman who bound his spirit for eternity. Despite how far under the dirt Miryah Kotorara’s bones lay, he won’t stop tormenting the Kotorara bloodline. The person doesn’t matter, only the name.
Dr. Mia Kotorara has spent the last ten years trying to forget her Gypsy heritage. Ostracized by her family and emotionally damaged, Mia throws herself into her work to fill the void. She forgets everything from her past—except for the man who solely exists in her dreams.
When reality and dreams collide, Adrian and Mia find something they never expected. Love.
Magic will bring them together, but it may not be enough to mend Mia’s broken heart and Adrian’s lust for revenge.
The Kotorara curse is never satisfied.
As the curse threatens everything they have overcome, Adrian and Mia must fight to save what matters most—each other.
Their routine never changed. Smack the alarm clock for fifteen more minutes of grunting, snoring sleep. Grumble when the contraption bleeped its nauseating music again. Shower, wake the children in the next room, eat some sugary swill, and leave for a day of school or work. Day, after day, after day.
If I hadn’t already hated these rotting people, their boring lives would’ve put me over the edge.
Unfortunately, my life, or lack thereof, mirrored theirs. An apparition only had so much to do to fill the time. My routine never changed, either, not for over two hundred years. Yes, the families would turn into other families as generations progressed—I lost count of how many had passed—but they were all from the same insane bitch of an ancestor. I wasn’t too particular. All they required was the right name.
The little things kept my sanity. Push the clock out of reach. Adjust the water until it grew frigid or scalding, depending on my mood. If I were really on point, I dumped that slop they shoveled into their mouths every morning onto the floor for the mangy dog. So what if these specific Gypsies hadn’t cursed me. A curse, I might add, undeserved. Two hundred years built enough anger to spread vengeance without prejudice.
Pathetic, but those little things were all I had. Not much else to occupy my time, and as any good haunt would do, I followed the man, Luca, to the city after he dropped his children off at school–every day.
I wouldn’t have been a decent ghost if I hadn’t at least tried to heave him into oncoming traffic as he scurried to his custodian job. I’d been practicing that trick for years, coming so close a few times. Once I perfected it, the push would probably be at the back of the wanker’s grandson. Hell, great-grandson. Unlike them, I had eternity on my side. But one day, a few of the sodding Gypsies would decorate the windshield of a city bus.
Not today, though. Luca weaved around the crowd while I slinked through it, body after body. The beastly man tended to hurry, always late due to his nightly drinking binges, and I enjoyed tripping him up in his rush, a skill I had mastered. A millisecond of physical contact might not get anyone smacked with a speeding car, but stumbling in a hurry irritated even the most patient person, which Luca wasn’t.
“Christ!” He grabbed a lamppost in time to save his face from the pavement. “Knock your shit off. I ain’t got time for it today.”
To an outsider, the bloated man appeared as if he spoke to himself. But I knew better.
“Well, good thing for you I’ve plenty of time for us both,” I answered him. Even though he couldn’t hear me, we’d had plenty of conversations over the years, as I had with his father, and his father before him. I used to rage, scream until my voice grew hoarse. Not a blooming soul ever gave any indication they knew I existed. To answer now became habit, needing to speak to him as if I had a voice left in the world.
Unfortunately, I’d become as much a part of this heathen family as every other bastard whelped by the likes of a Gypsy bitch. My story became an heirloom, passed from generation to generation. The angry ghost of Miryah Kotorara’s curse. No one had the ability to see me, much less hear a damn word I had to say. Bad luck, a faulty alarm clock, a stumble on nothing, all of it blamed on something none of them really believed in. Me.
In truth, no one believed in me except for maybe Luca, probably the reason I chose him to annoy instead of his brother this generation. What good were all my efforts if the person I haunted thought me a fantasy? I was a curse to a god who didn’t exist for the rest of the family. My attempt to scare, kill, or maim them in some way ended up being part irritation, part fun story to repeat at dinner parties.
Even vapor had pride, and the Kotorara clan stomped on it any chance they had.
Luca straightened his jacket and mumbled curses as the crosswalk light blinked to proceed. Oh, to have the power to push his fat, greasy body into a lorry. I swiped at his back, my hand disappearing through his skin and blubber.
One day, you tosser.
As soon as we hit the curb, Luca stopped. If I were matter, I’d have rammed into his back. Instead, I whooshed through his body. Times like these, I was grateful for the lack of senses, not particularly fond of body odor, sweat, and soft man flesh.
“Well, come on, then. Move your bloody arse.”
Even if he could hear, I doubt he would have listened. Luca directed his attention to a sleek building in front of us, a scowl twisting his lips.
I followed his gaze, frustrated as if I were the one late for work. “What has your attention, fat man?” My eyes landed on a woman who focused on the building, her hair so dark it almost shined blue. Her slim shoulders stiffened before she turned—and saw me.
Born and currently residing in Texas, Angela shuffles three active children (not including her husband) all over the place. She works in a busy pediatric doctor’s office as a nurse during the day and writes at night. She is addicted to coffee and chocolate, laughs a lot, often at herself and is willing to try anything once. When Angela isn’t rushing kids around, working or writing, she’s reading. Other than life experience, Angela turns to a wide variety of music to help spark her creative juices. She loves to dance and sing though her kids often beg her not to.
Born in Pennsylvania, Lynn spent most of her childhood, especially during math class, daydreaming. Today, she spends an obscene amount of time in her head, only now she writes down all the cool stuff.
With a degree in English Literature, Lynn used college as an excuse to read for four years straight. She lives in the Pocono Mountains with her husband, raising the four most incredible human beings on the planet. She writes young adult novels, both fantasy and contemporary.
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..”.a story of strength and determination, actions and consequences, deep love and dark desires.”- Greg Wilkey, Author of Growing Up Dead
K.L. Bone is the author of the Black Rose Guard dark fantasy series. The Rise of the Temple Gods fantasy series. And a stand-alone science fiction novel, The Indoctrination.
Bone has a master’s degree in modern literary cultures and is working toward her PhD in literature. She wrote her first short story at the age of fifteen and grew up with an equally great love of both classical literature and speculative fiction. Bone has spent the last few years as a bit of a world traveler, living in California, London, and most recently, Dublin. When not immersed in words, of her own creation or studies, you’ll find her traveling to mythical sites and Game of Thrones filming locations.
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/klboneauthor
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7793751.K_L_Bone
Twitter – @kl_bone
Website – http://klbone.com
Author: Michelle Garren Flye
Genre: Romantic Fantasy
Tucked away in the mountains of North Carolina, the people of the strange little town of Sanctuary have enjoyed their status as a tourist attraction and Renaissance faire destination for decades. But on her twenty-sixth birthday, Kaelyn Anderson discovers a dark secret about her hometown.
The only reality she’s ever known has proven false. Now, her last hope lies in an unusual alliance with the son of the enemy she didn’t even know she had. Under the protection of Jack, an Elf prince, Kaelyn plunges into Cherokee lore to find the answer that will protect her people from invaders from another world.
Can Kaelyn and Jack form an alliance between three factions to fight their common enemy, or are they out of time?
Michelle Garren Flye is an award-winning author of romance and women’s fiction. Reviewers have described her work as: “an engaging novel with charming and likable characters”, a story that “will make you believe in love and second chances”, and a “well-written and thought-provoking novel.”
Michelle placed third in the Hyperink Romance Writing Contest for her short story “Life After”. Her short stories have been published by the romance anthology Foreign Affairs, Opium.com, SmokelongQuarterly.com and Flashquake.com. She has served on the editorial staffs of Horror Library, Butcher Shop Quartet and Tattered Souls.
Michelle has a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is the mother of three and lives in North Carolina with her husband and their rapidly growing collection of pets.
Amazon Author Central: amazon.com/author/michellegflye
About the Book
Title: Spell Breaker
Author: Joni Parker
After Lady Alexin (Alex) breaks the spell around Seaward Isle, the inhabitants can leave the island for the first time in a thousand years. At long last, the Elves and Dwarves can return home to Eledon, while the mortals are given the opportunity to stay or leave through a portal to the mortal world. Alex chooses to stay with her Elf family only to be involved in a mission to rid the Elf World of its most notorious criminal, Sawgrass. Alex must eliminate him before he implements his plan to kill her Water Elf family and take over Eledon.
The next morning, Alex retrieved her sword from the armory and hiked to the top of the fortress. The sun peeked over the horizon—its golden hue brightened the dark sky still filled with millions of stars. She took several deep breaths and drew her sword Challenger to admire its shiny blade with stars dancing across it.
After saluting an invisible opponent, Alex began her favorite sword routine called Path-in-the-Forest against imaginary enemies, standing behind unseen trees. Her sword whipped and whooshed through the air as her opponents fell. She paused, panting, taking a reprieve from a particularly good swordsman and leaned against an imaginary tree, holding her sword ready for the next opponent. Silently, she slid her Elfin Blade from its holster on her right thigh and moved it to her left hand. She turned and leapt out from behind the tree with a loud cry, raising her sword above her head, her Elfin Blade poised to block a predicted counterattack.
The Elf servant Eskin shrieked and squeezed her eyes shut. Her hands were clenched in tight fists beside her head, and her body shook.
Alex backed off and inhaled sharply. “Eskin, don’t sneak up on me like that.”
Eskin opened her eyes and placed her hand on her chest, drawing several deep breaths. “I’m sorry, Lady Alexin, but Prince Darin asks that you greet the visitor in the parlor. He’ll be there shortly.”
“What about Lord Odin?”
“He’s gone to see King Pallis.”
“She hasn’t finished dressing.”
“Olivia Richards, the reporter from the King’s Weekly Journal.”
Alex leaned her head back and dropped her arms, groaning. “Not her.”
“Prince Darin said to be very polite and watch what you say.” Eskin clasped her hands in front of her.
“Yeah, right.” Alex slid her sword into its scabbard and flipped the Elfin Blade around, returning it to its holster on her right thigh. Without another word, she strode past Eskin and ran down the five flights of stairs.
Born in Chicago, Illinois, Joni left with her family when she was eight and lived for four years in Japan. Upon return to the States, she and her family moved to Phoenix, Arizona. She graduated from Camelback High School and attended Arizona State University until she dropped out and joined the Navy. After three years as a Photographer’s Mate, she got out of the Navy, married a career sailor, and returned to college completing a bachelor’s and master’s degree at the University of West Florida in Pensacola, Florida. She returned to the Navy as a commissioned officer and retired with over twenty-two years of service. While active duty, she was selected to attend the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and attained a Master of Military Arts and Sciences degree. After her retirement, she traveled the country with her husband in a motorhome until he passed away. Joni returned to the workforce for another seven years and retired again to devote time to her writing. She currently resides in Tucson, Arizona.
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+JoniParker/posts
Trailer for the Seaward Isle Saga: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teYsqOs0yjI&feature=autoplay&list=HL1343068571&playnext=3
Today’s guest post comes from Audrey Greathouse, the author of The Neverland Wars!
The Neverland Wars
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: May 9th 2016
Genres: Fairy Tales, Retelling, Young Adult
Magic can do a lot—give you flight, show you mermaids, help you taste the stars, and… solve the budget crisis? That’s what the grown-ups will do with it if they ever make it to Neverland to steal its magic and bring their children home.
However, Gwen doesn’t know this. She’s just a sixteen-year-old girl with a place on the debate team and a powerful crush on Jay, the soon-to-be homecoming king. She doesn’t know her little sister could actually run away with Peter Pan, or that she might have to chase after her to bring her home safe. Gwen will find out though—and when she does, she’ll discover she’s in the middle of a looming war between Neverland and reality.
She’ll be out of place as a teenager in Neverland, but she won’t be the only one. Peter Pan’s constant treks back to the mainland have slowly aged him into adolescence as well. Soon, Gwen will have to decide whether she’s going to join impish, playful Peter in his fight for eternal youth… or if she’s going to scramble back to reality in time for the homecoming dance.
The Blue Dress Theory: Blue Dresses Have More Adventures
I can’t be the only one who has noticed this. Have you ever been reading a book or watching a movie, and when you see a girl in a blue dress, you know that fantastic things are about to happen?
I feel like the girl-in-a-blue-dress is an archetype, cemented in our cultural canon by a few great works of children’s literature. Still, no one ever seems to talk about how anytime a young girl puts on a blue dress she becomes destined for a wonderful journey to a strange and magical new world.
I think Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland started it. The idea of children’s literature as we know it was pretty much invented by the Victorians, and Lewis Carroll wrote the defining children’s book of the nineteenth century. Alice might just be sitting around in a field listening to her sister read, but she’s sitting in a blue dress, so it’s no surprise that moments later she’s tumbling into Wonderland, using that dress as a parachute.
More than half a century later, J.M. Barrie wrote about Wendy Darling’s trip to Neverland, and her blue nightgown became an iconic image through centuries of adaptations. From Mabel Lucie Attwell’s original illustrations to the animated Disney movie, the one thing everyone seems to know for sure is that Wendy would be in a blue dress.
And let’s not forget L. Frank Baum’s contribution to this ppattern Whether she’s in ruby slippers or silver slippers, on page or on screen, Dorthy Gale is always depicted in a blue dress when she makes her way to Oz.
I’ve always thought of Alice, Wendy, and Dorthy as a holy trinity of brave girls, capable of navigating impossible worlds beyond their own. Each is a blue-dress adventuress, who can take the strangeness of magic in stride until she makes her way home once again. I think the world could use more stories about bright girls who can handle themselves in dangerous other-worlds, and when I put Gwen in a blue dress, it was a homage to more than just the traditional depictions of Wendy Darling. I want to bring this trend of competent, feminine smarts and beautiful blue dresses back. I know it’s not dead, because one of the best children’s books that was published while I was growing up did it, too.
You’d better believe Coraline was in a blue dress when she stumbled into her alternate reality and found the enchanting, bewitching Other Mother. Neil Gaiman knows whats up, and so do I. Girls in blue dresses have more adventures, and I’m excited that with The Neverland Wars I can add to the collection of excited, delightful girls who put on a blue dress and go off confidently adventuring, into enchanted new worlds. When Gwen leaves her modern home in suburbia in a blue dress, it is to fly beyond the stars, guile information out of mermaids, outwit other lost children, face-off with a crocodile, and more… because the world needs more girls in blue dresses.
Audrey Greathouse is a lost child in a perpetual and footloose quest for her own post-adolescent Neverland. Originally from Seattle, she earned her English B.A. from Southern New Hampshire University’s online program while backpacking around the west coast and pretending to be a student at Stanford. A pianist, circus artist, fire-eater, street mime, swing dancer, and novelist, Audrey wears many hats wherever she is. She has grand hopes for the future which include publishing more books and owning a crockpot. You can find her at audreygreathouse.com
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How did your personal background and coming to live in the U.S. from India as a teen shape this book?
Capability “Kitty” Weeks, the protagonist of A Front Page Affair, arrives in New York in the spring of 1914 when she’s just 19 years old. She has spent the past decade of her life in boarding school in Switzerland, and before that, traipsing behind her American businessman father as he travels through Asia and the Middle East for work. Kitty is American by birth but she’s never lived in the United States before, so she comes to New York with fresh eyes. It’s her outsider’s perspective that enables her to see what others miss, and to sympathize with the plight of foreigners in the city–and at the time nearly a third New York’s population was foreign-born. Kitty is also well-off, well-educated, young and pretty, so she blends in. She can enter the best drawing rooms in town and that’s what makes her an attractive assistant to her boss, Helena Busby, editor of the Ladies’ Page of The New York Sentinel.
When I was creating the series I knew that my lead had to be someone who could move around New York easily, but who also had a slightly different perspective from others—which would allow her ask different questions. I grew up in Mumbai, India and came to the US on my own when I was 16 to attend boarding school in Connecticut. I understand what it’s like both to fit and not to fit in, to come to a new country and to have to adapt to new ways. It’s easier to adapt when you’re young, but you also retain the perspective of someone who grew up elsewhere, and so you don’t take the status quo for granted.
Funnily enough, my life in India also seemed to have many aspects in common with life in New York City in the 1910s. Back then, Mumbai (Bombay) was a buzzing metropolis with a small town feel, just like New York City. My grandmother ran a house with a full staff, as many wealthier families in 1910 New York did; and we were never alone. There was always some kind of activity, some kind tradesman, whether a tailor, carpenter, upholsterer or jeweler going in and out. Those kind of one-on-one relationships where you know the people who make the clothes you wear or furniture you sit on, is more similar to life in New York in 1915 than my life in New York now. When my husband is at work, and my kids are at school, and I’m writing, I’m all alone. I don’t speak to anyone. That wouldn’t have been the case for Kitty—she would always have had someone around her—and it wasn’t the case for me growing up.
These aren’t elements that are essential to the story but I think my upbringing gave me a feel for Kitty’s world and makes me enjoy writing about it. I can imagine the people in it and the dilemmas they face because they remind me of people and situations from my childhood. If you would like to know more about life in the 1910s—everything from cars, to customs, books, movies, Europe’s royalty and more—please check out the World of Kitty Weeks Tumblr.
Radha Vatsal is a writer based in New York City. She was born in Mumbai, India and has a Ph.D. from the English Department at Duke University. Her debut novel, A Front Page Affair, comes out this May from Sourcebooks Landmark. You can write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org or friend her on Facebook.
Today’s guest post comes from Kat Ross, the author of The Midnight Sea!
The Midnight Sea
(Fourth Element #1)
Publication date: May 10th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
They are the light against the darkness.
The steel against the necromancy of the Druj.
And they use demons to hunt demons….
Nazafareen lives for revenge. A girl of the isolated Four-Legs Clan, all she knows about the King’s elite Water Dogs is that they bind wicked creatures called daevas to protect the empire from the Undead. But when scouts arrive to recruit young people with the gift, she leaps at the chance to join their ranks. To hunt the monsters that killed her sister.
Scarred by grief, she’s willing to pay any price, even if it requires linking with a daeva named Darius. Human in body, he’s possessed of a terrifying power, one that Nazafareen controls. But the golden cuffs that join them have an unwanted side effect. Each experiences the other’s emotions, and human and daeva start to grow dangerously close.
As they pursue a deadly foe across the arid waste of the Great Salt Plain to the glittering capital of Persepolae, unearthing the secrets of Darius’s past along the way, Nazafareen is forced to question his slavery—and her own loyalty to the empire. But with an ancient evil stirring in the north, and a young conqueror sweeping in from the west, the fate of an entire civilization may be at stake…
Despicable You: Writing Great Villains
I have a confession to make—one that some of you might share. My favorite characters are usually the awful ones. The ones who do terrible things without a shred of remorse. The ones that I’m dying to see get their comeuppance, but not before they push our beloved protagonist to the very edge and nearly destroy everything in the story we care about. Yes, I’m talking about the villains.
Think the viscerally creepy Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar from Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. The icily elegant Mrs. Coulter from Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. Elizabeth Wein’s SS-Hauptsturmführer von Linden in Code Name Verity, who we only meet second-hand but is terrifying nonetheless.
Villains can make or break a book. When they’re boring or one-dimensional or clichéd, there’s no tension and the plot deflates with that sad wheezing noise balloons make when you stick with them with a hatpin. But when they’re done right, meaning that they are an actual character and not simply a clunky device to test the hero, they help keep the stakes of the story high and the reader turning pages late into the night.
In The Midnight Sea, King Artaxeros II is the obvious villain, but he’s also a bit abstract—you don’t meet him until more than halfway through, and then only briefly. So I needed another antagonist. One who you really get to know. One who has some admirable traits but, as the pressures of the plot slowly pile up, becomes something much darker. Without giving away too many spoilers, I’ll just say that I spent as much or more time thinking about him as about my main characters, Nazafareen and Darius. If you’re going to have a colossal betrayal, the reader had better care about everyone involved or it just won’t have much emotional impact.
So here are a few tips on writing unforgettable villains.
First off, all this is very subjective. What gives me cold sweats might make you laugh yourself silly. So you might start by think about which villains in film, TV, books, wherever, have resonated the most and why. Is it the prosthetic hook? The creepy Malkovich-esque voice? The mask of sanity they wear with their family when they’re not committing grisly deeds? Once you know what disturbs you in the deepest, most primal part of your monkey brain, channel that quality in your own bad guy.
Okay, this one I cannot emphasize enough: give the villain motivation that readers can relate to, even if it’s totally twisted. So they’re power-hungry. Why? Is it because they have a secret crush on someone they want to impress? Or maybe they’re compensating for a horrible childhood, or their dog needs an expensive operation, or their ideas of right and wrong are simply skewed beyond repair? I like to think that even the worst villain has something they care about. Balthazar, a necromancer who gets a starring turn in the second book of my series, is madly in love with his wicked queen. Yes, he does terrible things. But everything he does, he does for her.
Rachel Aaron has an awesome blog post on character development where she breaks it down into the deceptively simple formula below. The key is to understand that what a character wants and why they want it are two separate things and as a writer, you need to be very clear on both.
What do you want? (Goal)
Why do you want it? (Motivation)
What’s stopping you? (Conflict)
If you have trouble, you can also try flipping the story and imagining it from the villain’s point of view. You might be surprised at what you discover. Setting aside hockey-masked killers and comic book arch-bad guys, a good villain could potentially be the protagonist if he or she weren’t quite so extreme.
In my first book, the sci-fi thriller Some Fine Day, one of the most despicable characters is a military doctor who’s deliberately infected innocent people with a super-nasty Level Four virus. But as she calmly explains to the main character, the project is simply a response to their enemies engineering a similar plague. From her point of view, it’s a matter of self-defense.
Effective villains often embody an exaggerated version of the same things your hero is conflicted about. That’s very much the case in The Midnight Sea, where both Nazafareen and her antagonist face a similar choice but react in opposite ways. This is where we dig down deep and see what our characters are made of. Often, it is the villain’s inability to change and grow and face the truth (external or internal) that proves to be their undoing.
So now that you’ve got a fantastic, fully fleshed out villain that rivals Moriarty or Lecter, what’s the best way to get them across to the reader? Well, if the story is third person, you can give your villain their own POV. Jack Torrance in The Shining is one of my all-time favorites because we get to watch him slide slowly into madness over the course of several hundred pages. But the scariest part comes just before he’s lost it completely. We know he’s probably going to do some very bad things, but there’s still an unpredictable quality to him. In our hearts, we still vainly hope that his love for his wife and kid will somehow triumph over the evil ghosts running the Overlook Hotel, which makes it SO much worse when Jack finally, irretrievably snaps.
As King says, “This inhuman place makes human monsters.” And those are always the scariest kind.
Anyway, thanks for reading! For tons more on villains, I highly recommend Bullies, Bastards And Bitches: How To Write The Bad Guys Of Fiction by Jessica Morrell.
Kat Ross worked as a journalist at the United Nations for ten years before happily falling back into what she likes best: making stuff up. She lives in Westchester with her kid and a few sleepy cats. Kat is also the author of the dystopian thriller Some Fine Day (Skyscape, 2014), about a world where the sea levels have risen sixty meters. She loves magic, monsters and doomsday scenarios. Preferably with mutants.
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