Friday, February 26, 2016

BOOK REVIEW ~~ Wrong Side of the Grave by Bryna Butler


Title: Wrong Side of the Grave
Author: Bryna Butler
Genre: YA Mystery
Hosted by: Lady Amber's PR
Blurb:

When Eric Jansen takes a seat behind his drums, every girl in the place takes notice. Not that he’s surprised. He’s had decades to practice. The guy is almost perfect. Still, there’s that one tiny thing…

Eric Jansen is an alien. Offworlder. Take me to your leader, fall from the sky, space invading, phoning home, UFO jockey. A swipe of the tattoo on Eric’s arm will reveal his true form which locals call Mothman, a winged creature formed of ashen gray skin and glowing red eyes. Eric is one of the last of his kind.

So when the recently deceased of Point Pleasant, West Virginia, start walking and talking, the Men in Black mark him as suspect number one. It will be up to Eric and his inner circle to solve the mystery before the black suits lock him up and throw away the key.

A fun read, Wrong Side of the Grave is a fast-action Teen Sci-Fi Mystery with a paranormal twist.
Parent Approved: Contains no profanity or sexual content.




My Review:
4 out of 5 stars

I have to admit, just the description of this book had me intrigued: ‘offworlders’, ‘mothmen’, ‘aliens’…this was definitely not going to be your typical YA book.  And I was not wrong.  And to take it a step further, many of these ‘offworlders’ are vampires.  But not your typical vampire you read about in most books.  They act the same as most, but it turns out their origin is from space – they’re actually aliens.  I guess it could definitely make sense, since they’re certainly not human.

I liked many of the things the author wrote about that were a different look at what we have read about in several other books – for instance, dead people are coming back to life, but Eric, the main character (who, by the way is also a Mothman from another world) refuses to accept that this is zombie lore finally coming true.  He’s from another planet – he knows there’s hundreds of other possibilities; he also knows that no matter what world you’re from, dead is dead.

I also enjoyed that the writing was very smooth, and the banter between all of the characters – many different types of characters – was light, and often very witty, but serious when necessary.

I would have liked to have seen the book be a little more in depth, possibly more about the history of the characters, how they came to be, and since many have been alive for centuries, maybe more than the brief flashbacks we were given.

Although the story wrapped up, it did certainly leave a good non-cliffhanger door open for future books, so I would certainly be interested to see what the future holds for many of our main characters now that big things have changed.


Bryna Butler is a journalism-trained writer having authored dozens of articles and financial publications before taking the leap into fiction in 2011. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications from the University of Rio Grande where she received the Outstanding Communications Student Award for her graduating class.

Her first book, Of Sun & Moon, skyrocketed to number one on Kindle top free charts in the categories of Teen/YA Supernatural Mystery, Teen/YA Romantic Mystery, and Teen/YA Time Travel in the U.S. and U.K. when the title went to free status in 2014.

Self-described as a teen who refused to read, Butler often speaks to students on how to read for recreation and finding the books that are right for them. She strives to create characters that are relatable and feel the full weight of their choices.

Butler’s work is free of profanity and sexual content making them safe reads for pre-teen as well as teen readers.


Author Links:

Buy Links:
Audiobook: Audible
            


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

RELEASE DAY BLITZ ~~ Dawn of Ash by Rebecca Ethington


Title: Dawn of Ash
Author: Rebecca Ethington
Genre: YA Paranormal
Hosted by: Lady Amber's Tours


Blurb:

Underneath the deep red barrier Edmund has placed over the city, Prague is in ruins…

Vilỳ hide in the darkened alleys, waiting to attack anyone who passes, while Edmund’s men roam the blood-soaked streets, scouring every crumbling building in a mad attempt to flush out Ilyan and his men.

Among the danger, Ilyan and Joclyn are trapped, unable to leave the city. trying to keep their people safe behind a powerful shield, unseen from Edmund and his scouts.

Wyn spends her days haunted by her daughter and watching Thom waste away from the mysterious curse slowly taking him.

Ryland has risen above his father’s control, ready to take his place as his brother’s second. However, Sain needs his help first for a simple assignment, or so he thinks

Their safety is about to be shattered.

A mole behind those safe, Cathedral walls has begun whispering through the survivors that Joclyn is unstable, that her magic is an uncontainable force that will destroy them all in the end. 

Determined not to let the rumors affect her, Joclyn battles ahead, only to have reality and sight intersect in an explosion that shatters the walls between future, past, and present, leaving her imprisoned in a seamless existence she must learn to control … before Edmund and Ovailia control her.

Before Sain unfurls the plan he has been orchestrating for centuries.



Rebecca Ethington is an internationally bestselling author with almost 700,000 books sold. Her breakout debut, The Imdalind Series, has been featured on bestseller lists since its debut in 2012, reaching thousands of adoring fans worldwide and cited as "Interesting and Intense" by USA Today's Happily Ever After Blog.

From writing horror to romance and creating every sort of magical creature in be-tween, Rebecca's imagination weaves vibrant worlds that transport readers into the pages of her books. Her writing has been described as fresh, original, and groundbreaking, with stories that bend genres and create fantastical worlds.

Born and raised under the lights of a stage, Rebecca has written stories by the ghost light, told them in whispers in dark corridors, and never stopped creating within the pages of a notebook.


Author Links:

Buy Links:




Thursday, February 18, 2016

2 REVIEWS and BLOG TOUR!! ~~ Spotlight of Static (Luminaries Book #2) by S.K. Anthony; Review and Links for Kinetic (Book #1)











Title: Static (The Luminaries, Book Two)
Author: S K Anthony
Genre: Urban Fantasy (with a hint of NA)
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR








Blurb: 

Kevin Pierce is a teleporter, a ladies’ man, and a loyal friend . . . or so he thought.



As a genetically altered Luminary, he helps the government bring down some of the most dangerous criminals. Not very challenging if you have his special abilities. But when a group of rebel Luminaries attacks his Organization the fight for survival 
begins.


One shattering event after another tests the depth of his relationships, his sanity, and his powers. Emotionally torn, Kevin must choose carefully where his loyalty lies. In the middle of all the unexpected chaos he gets the biggest shock of his life when he’s faced by a betrayal he never saw coming. Angry, injured, and ready to even the score, Kevin goes Static . . .

My Review:
5 out of 5 stars

First of all, I really love how this is part 2 of a series, but is looked at from a completely different angle.  Yes, it is a continuation in many ways (reading the first book is really a must, in order to understand what Luminaries are), but although both books are written from one person’s point of view, it is a different person in each book.  The previous book was from the point of view of someone that already been in the organization for a while, and was forced to take a different look; but this book is from Kevin’s point of view, who was introduced in the last book as a young kid, just learning everything – including who he was.  This book is a few years later, and it looks like he’s STILL learning who he is.

This time, Kevin has made new friends, has 2 partners he works with close together, and serious commitment issues, other than to those he considers family.  After he finds out early in the book that his ego can certainly be as dangerous as all of those around him had warned him, he’s forced to look as his job – and his life – completely differently.

Kevin’s side of the story is just the tip of the iceberg to this book.  Just like the first, this book did NOT disappoint in keeping you on your toes on every page.  Think you figured out who the bad guy is? Nope.  Think you really figured it out this time? Nope.  Think there’s more than one? Maybe…oh wait…there’s more.  Wait, wait…there’s one. Wait…I have no freakin’ clue.

Then there’s a LOT of new people that weren’t in the previous book, so you’re not given the comfort of “this person was a badass/important character in the last book, so I’m sure they’ll be fine, and they’ll be the good guy in this book too.  Nope.  You have to figure it ALL out all over again.  As someone that’s usually pretty good with my hunches being correct about who’s good and who’s bad, this book never made ‘good’ or ‘bad’ black and white. Ever.  And no one is safe.  It’s a massive scientific and mystery–filled, detailed plot.  It’s original, and it’s fantastic.  Very literally up to the last word of the book.


In the first book, there wasn’t really a cliffhanger, and although it left the door open for a book 2, it could’ve been fine as a stand-alone.  Not so for this one.  You know there’s going to be a book 3, since there’s much to be done, but just as you’re wondering who the main character will be, the final chapter changes point of view. It’s no longer from Kevin’s point of view.  And you don’t even know who’s point of view it is until the last sentence.  But with this author? I’m still not making the assumption that I know who’s point of view the next book will be from.  This author is one EXCEPTIONAL curveball thrower!  And I can’t wait to see what is thrown at us next!!

Excerpt (Static):

I followed her movements, which then forced me to take a good look at her. She had come in with a gray hoodie, the one she’d stolen from me the first time she beat the crap out of me in a fight. In my defense, I wasn’t able to really hit her because she was 
a girl. I learned soon after that how wrong I was; she was tougher than most guys I knew. She boggled my mind for so many reasons. Right now, though, she wore it over a black short skirt, tights, and boots with three-inch heels. A belt with a big, diamond square buckle hugged her waist. How she made it look stylish, I had no clue. 

“Does that really go together?” I asked, pointing at her outfit.

“Not really, but it’s cold.” She smiled, and proceeded to open the belt and take off the hoodie. Underneath it, I found out what an hourglass figure truly looked like. She wasn’t too skinny; she had meat on her, but it was in pretty good proportions. Her black, 
very tight, long-sleeved top was immediately adorned with the belt she’d taken off, accenting her tiny waist. And her hair? Well, she even had it loose. It was long and silky. 

I’d always thought of her as my sister, but this chick didn’t look like she should be anyone’s sister. She sat down next to me.

“What’d you do to your hair? And are you wearing makeup?”

Her brows creased. “Don’t make fun of me.”

“Well, it looks funny. You—” I stopped at the look of murder that crept in her eyes. 

“It looks nice, it’s just different. I didn’t think you liked being girly.”

“I’m a girl. How can I not be girly?”

“You know what I mean; you are more of a tomboy.”

“That was because I was still trying to learn how to be out in the field and use my powers. Now that I know how, I think it’s perfectly fine to dress up if I want to.”

“Right. Come on, you only dress up for missions if you have to. Like at the club,” I said, laughing. “Even in training you were always more boyish.”

“I was not.” She frowned.

“Yes, you were. How did you even learn to put on makeup? You probably practiced all weekend—” I saw her fist coming at my face and teleported right on time. 

Unfortunately, Ryan fell over. I went to pick her up but she stopped me. Shit. I’d pissed her off real bad. If I was not mistaken, her blue eyes were a bit teary.

“You are an ass.”

“Dude, I’m sorry. I was just kidding. I’m not used to seeing you as a girl,” I said, and dashed to the door. Man, that was perfect timing on Chris’s part to ring the bell.

“Well, get used to it. And stop making fun of me or I’ll give your face some scars to match your brother’s.” 

“That’s harsh. Jeez,” I said, rubbing my face. 

Chris walked in at the same time, and said, “Hey, you look pretty, Ry.”

“Don’t be a prick,” she said and got up. “We have to go.”

“I’m not,” he said frowning. “What’s up with her?” he asked me in a whisper as we followed her.

“It’s not you. I made fun of her before, so now she is all defensive, like it’s our fault she suddenly decided to be a girl.”

“She looks nice as a girl,” Chris said, checking her out walking down the hallway. 

I shrugged. “I guess. But she’s the one who always made fun of them and now she’s all dressed up. Look at her skirt, too tight for her own good—what are you doing? 

Stop staring at her. She’s going to melt your eyes if you don’t stop.”

“I’ll make her forget,” he said with a grin.

“You and your hypnosis. Do you ever confront anything head on, or do you always modify your way out?”

“Modify my way out. Why deal with crap if I don’t have to?” He shrugged.

“Good thing you’d never do that to me,” I said to Chris. “Wait, what was that look? 

Dude, that would be very un-bro-like!”

“It would be.” Chris smiled, and hurried out behind Ryan.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26118589-static

Buy Links:  Static (Book 2)
Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Createspace  ~ Amazon CA ~ Amazon UK


















Blurb (Kinetic ~~ Book 1): 

Being strong is one thing. Being an unlimited source of power is quite another.

Genetically altered by the Organization, Annie Fox takes down criminals CIA-style with her luminary strength. With nothing to mend but her broken heart, she is relentlessly pursued by her boss Derek Lake. Just when Annie is about to give him a chance, her 
ex-husband unexpectedly comes out of hiding.

A wanted man, Nick Logan is a cold-hearted murderer who is considered enemy number one, and orders are clear: kill on contact. He is more powerful than ever and threatens the lives of those she holds most dear. His plan? Get his hands on Annie and use her Kinetic energy to destroy them all. When Annie finds herself with an opportunity to end him, she pauses, horrified by the scars covering the face she once loved. A split second that will cost her everything… 

My Review:
5 out of 5 stars

First off, the one thing that stood out the most from the beginning of this book is the writing, and how the book started – how you are brought into the story.  I noticed there were some reviews that complained it was confusing, like there should’ve been a previous book explaining things first, but for me, that was what made this book interesting.  The author didn’t hold your hand step by step, going into detailed explanations of what turns out to be VERY complicated people in a very complicated situation. Had it been written that way, I think it would have been very dry and boring, with too many ‘facts’ thrown at you.  This is not what happens in this book.

In this story, you are dropped into the lives of the luminaries from the point of view of Annie Fox.  Throughout the story, you slowly find out about bits and pieces of her past, the past of the organization she works for, what luminaries are, and the personalities and stories of each of them.  And of course, they are faced with a serious adversary, finding MORE about their pasts and where they came from that is quite shocking to them, and trying to find out one by one who they can and can’t trust – especially Annie, when her ex-husband returns with a big story that she doesn’t know if she can believe.

This is NOT a story you can every get comfortable in.  There are constant changing events and people, and right when you’re sure you can or can’t trust someone, you’re not sure again.  You feel this constant rollercoaster through the entire story, and I could not have enjoyed it more.


I would imagine it would have to be difficult for an author to have such a large amount of events and characters constantly evolving, but as a reader, you couldn’t tell.  The story was constantly intriguing and interesting, and I loved that I never got bored.  I couldn’t pick up the second book fast enough to find out what was to come next for those characters that were left standing after such a crazy ride.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18072566-kinetic

Buy Links:  Kinetic (Book 1)
Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Createspace  ~ Amazon CA ~ Amazon UK



Author Bio: 
K. Anthony is a writer, a reader and a make-stuff-up-er who lives in New York with her husband and toddler twins. She is a wine connoisseur, which just really means she knows she loves it, and a caffeine addict. When she isn’t busy with her family, she finds herself being transported into the world of imagination. Well, either that or running away from spiders . . . she is convinced they are out to get her!






Author Links: 

Website: www.skanthony.com

Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Goodreads Google + ~ Amazon





Sunday, February 14, 2016

BLOG TOUR with GIVEAWAY, EXCERPT, AND TRAILER! ~~ Devious Minds (Shelby Nichols Adventure Series #8) By Colleen Helme






Devious Minds 
(A Shelby Nichols Adventure Series #8)
by Colleen Helme

Blurb: 
It’s been almost a year since a near-fatal gunshot wound left Shelby Nichols with the ability to read minds. In that time she’s faced one problem after another. She’s been shot at, framed for murder, and targeted by a serial killer, just to name a few. Now she’s trying to help her lawyer husband win a murder trial that will enable him to become a partner in his law firm. Sounds easy, right? But nothing ever goes as planned when it comes to Shelby Nichols.

When special agent, Blake Beauchaine, shows up to collect a debt from Shelby, things get even more complicated, and Shelby is soon on her way to Paris. A routine meeting with a rogue agent reveals a sinister plot, putting Shelby into the cross-hairs of a known terrorist. Even worse, she doesn’t speak French, so it seems her mind-reading abilities won’t help her this time.

Things go from bad to downright dangerous for Shelby, especially since her usual guardians, Uncle Joey, and his hit-man, Ramos, are back in the states. Lost and on her own in the streets of Paris, can Shelby escape the cold-blooded killer in time to stop his devious plans, or will this be the end of the line for Shelby Nichols?


Available for purchase at 



Excerpt


My mouth watered at the thought of chocolate, and I eagerly followed him into another maze of buildings and cobbled streets. We passed a few outdoor cafés before Blake stopped at the one he wanted. We sat outside, even though it wasn’t real warm, and ordered lunch. My order of a buckwheat galette filled with ham, cheese, tomatoes and mushrooms seemed to melt in my mouth.

After finishing up and, after a quick restroom break, we left for the chocolate store. On the way, we passed the real, honest-to-goodness, Louis Vuitton shop. I swallowed and glanced inside at all those expensive and non-knock-off handbags. Blake slowed down and studied me. He was thinking I had that glazed look of a woman just about to spend more money on a purse than it was worth.

That settled me down some, and I snapped my mouth shut. Letting out a breath, I caught up with him. He shook his head at me, and I only looked back once before we continued on. Several twists and turns later, we came upon another shop with a sign above it that read “Henri Le Roux Chocolatier et Caramélier.”

I understood the chocolatier part pretty fast and eagerly stepped inside. All the chocolates were displayed behind the glass case just like jewelry in a jewelry store, and I took my time looking at them all. A young woman came out to help us, and Blake spoke to her in French, so I didn’t know what they said. She got out a box and wrapped it up, then handed it to him.

“For you madam?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” I admitted.

“What do you like?”

“Chocolate covered marshmallows,” I replied.

“Ah... I have just the thing.” She left and came back with a circular shaped plastic container with lots of square chocolates inside. “These are chocolate outside, and inside is a tender cocoa marshmallow heart. You will love it.”

“Oh, thank you... uh... merci beaucoup... très bien!”

“De rien,” she said with a smile.

While Blake paid for the chocolates, I couldn’t wait to try a piece and opened the container. I pulled out a square and carefully placed it on my tongue, then closed my mouth around it. As the chocolate flavor burst along my taste buds, I tried not to moan, but I did anyway. Next came the sweet marshmallow center, which sort of melted in my mouth. It was the most perfect chocolate-covered marshmallow I’d ever tasted in my life.

“Come on, Shelby.” Blake steered me out of the shop and checked his watch. “We have just enough time to see the Eiffel Tower, but we’ll have to take the metro. There’s a station this way.”

I followed him in a daze. I didn’t know if it was the jet lag finally catching up, or the excitement of being in Paris, or all of that chocolatey goodness. I only knew that if magic existed, this was how it felt. We came to a stairway with a railing around it and a metro sign posted above. Several kiosks lined the wall at the bottom of the stairs. Blake inserted his credit card into a kiosk and tapped on the screen until several tickets came out. He handed me half of them.

“Keep these for later.”


The Shelby Nichols Adventure Series




Series Trailer





About The Author

As the author of the Shelby Nichols Adventure Series, Colleen is often asked if Shelby Nichols is her alter-ego. “Definitely,” she says. “Shelby is the epitome of everything I wish I dared to be.” Known for her laugh since she was a kid, Colleen has always tried to find the humor in every situation and continues to enjoy writing about Shelby’s adventures. “I love getting Shelby into trouble… I just don’t always know how to get her out of it!” Colleen lives in the Rocky Mountains with her family. Besides writing, she loves a good book, biking, hiking, and playing board and card games with family and friends. She loves to connect with readers and admits that fans of the series keep her writing.


You can find Colleen at 

               


 Giveaway






Presented By

Friday, February 12, 2016

~~UNDER CONSTRUCTION~~ Just for a bit!!



Please Excuse My Mess!!

Over the rest of February, I'm working on doing some clean up on this here blog, so I can better advertise for all those wonderful authors I want to make sure you know about!!

You will notice changes to the blog itself, and in the background, I will be working on a few extra reviews requested and a beta read that was also requested. SO...it will appear I've become suddenly disorganized, and slightly absent.  But have no fear! It's all for the better!! 

And as always, my Facebook page will have frequent posts, which also focuses more on the "Other Loves" portion of my blog ~~ all of my geeky nerdy loves are shared there.  Please give it a follow at https://www.facebook.com/bookstrucklove.  

For those that really like reviews only, I also created an album on my Facebook page just for reviews. Just go to the album, "Reviews", click on the picture of the cover, and you will find my review!  I'm also slowly adding to that album as well, and catching up on my Goodreads reviews that need updating (and some that appear to have disappeared...boo!).

If you like what I've been doing here, please give this page a follow as well, so I know there's people out there that like what I'm doing! :-)  Also, spreading the word to any of your friends that would like the page is greatly appreciated too!

Do you want more or less of something on either this page or my Facebook page?  I would LOVE recommendations! You can message me either through this page, or the facebook page.  Honestly, peeps...I REALLY do like constructive criticism.  Just like authors appreciate from us bloggers and reviewers, we like it in return.  It only makes the page better!

Thank you all for coming along on this ride with me -- it's been truly gratifying helping so many indie authors, and finding great new authors for myself through doing this!

Also, when you see my posts, please pay close attention to where I get much of my tour information from.  I work mostly with two blog tour hosts: Enchantress Design and Promo and Lady Amber's Reviews and Blog Tours.  These women work HARD puting together all of these materials for us, and they do a great job with it!

And special thanks to Wayne "winkstr" Watkins for designing my logo -- each pixel single-handedly, and with very little experience in design.  I can't wait to see what incredible future his design work will bring!

~~Erin ~~ Bookstruck Books and Other Loves ~~

BOOK BLITZ ~~ Dark Boundaries by Michelle Horst


Title: Dark Boundaries
Author: Michelle Horst
Genre: Dark Romance
Hosted by: Lady Amber's PR

Blurb: 
He stole me. 
He broke me. 
I'm being auctioned for Fifty thousand dollars. 
Now, I don't belong to anyone but strangely enough I wanted to belong to him. 
It's his eyes ... I lost myself in them 
Authors Note and WARNING: Dark Boundaries is a work of fiction intended for adult readers above 18. It contains dark and sensitive subject matter that may make readers uncomfortable. 
Contains explicit language and descriptions of sexual situations. 

*** Standalone *** 
*** No Cliffhanger *** 
*** HEA *** 

This book is not for everyone. Please only read it if you can handle the subject matter and are able to keep an open mind whilst reading. If you want a perfect love story, this is not it.




Michelle Horst is from a small town in South Africa.
She's been in love with reading from an early age. She has a passion for books, quotes and animals.

She first tried her hand at writing in early 2009 and as the first words started to form into a book, she knew she was hooked. Dreams spilled onto pages, and that was the beginning of a wonderful journey. A journey filled with joy, passion and heart stopping moments. Most of all, it's filled with such pride and peace as a story comes to life, and characters fill your life, living in the very walls of your mind, living in the minds of your readers. 

Author Links:

Buy Links:
              


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

NEW RELEASE and GIVEAWAY!! ~ Halfway Bitten (Halfway Witchy #2) by Terry Maggert


Halfway Bitten 
(Halfway Witchy Series #2)
by Terry Maggert

Blurb:

The circus came to Halfway, and they brought the weird. 

When clowns, vampires, and corpses start piling up in town, Carlie has to break away from her boyfriend, Wulfric, to bring her witchy skills to the table- or grill, as the case may be. 
When the body of a young woman washes up in the lake, it unleashes a spiral of mystery that will bring Carlie, Gran, and Wulfric into a storm of magical warfare. Spells will fly. Curses will rain. Amidst it all, Carlie will make waffles, protect her town, and find out if a man from the distant past can join her in happy ever after. 

With love and honor at stake, Carlie has no peer. 



Available for purchase at 





Excerpt

Chapter One: Mail Call

            The moon hung full, meaning I would sleep on the couch to listen for the squeak of my mail slot announcing the plaintive request for a secret spell.  That was where people who I rarely knew would push a handmade envelope through the slim space to fall into my home; the letter would slide across the floor with a swishing rasp before coming to a stop. I would then open each letter in the moonlight of my kitchen, where I got down to the business of being a good witch.

            In a sense, I grant wishes.

            I have growing power. I’m a work in progress, I guess, and I feel it in my bones that every little bit of effort must be made to keep the most subtle kinds of evil at bay. Things like loneliness. Fear. A loss of caring. These are the things that all of my spell requests are built around; the words change but the pleas are always the same. I think that because of this ability to use my magic, I understand that there must be goodness in the world in order to foster even greater kindness. I’m okay with that. It’s my calling.

            My Gran taught me that goodwill should be freely given. The ability to be kind without strings is the mark of pure magic; its sole purpose can only be fulfilled when there is no expectation of reward. In a sense, the envelopes that fall to the wood floor of my foyer are the closest thing to a physical prayer that I will ever see. I treat each request with the care it deserves, and I am utterly committed to lessening the suffering of the people around me. Gran always told me that someday, I’d think of myself as a priestess who cared for the world around me, and I think I’m starting to understand.

            The moon slides across my kitchen in a soft pane of light for three nights out of each month, unless it’s cloudy, or snowing, or rainy. It’s during this transit of light that I wait in a state somewhere between dreams and reality. If I doze too soundly, Gus will wake me when an envelope arrives, but for the most part, there’s a part of my mind that anticipates each quiet plea. To fill the hours between now and then, I went to the kitchen to graze. It’s a scientific fact that if you eat while standing over the sink, it is neither a meal nor does it count against your alleged workout plan. Fortunately for me, the diner keeps me in shape, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling a twinge of guilt when I eat something that has no nutritional value whatsoever.

            Like right now. I selected a spoon that is just small enough to fit in my mouth, opened the fridge, and pulled out a tub of homemade peach ice cream.

            “Hello, beautiful,” I murmured. “We’re about to get uncomfortably close for the next half hour.” I spooned the first frigid bite of heaven into my mouth and let my eyes close with the kind of pleasure that only ice cream or a lingering kiss can bring. The spoon rested on my tongue, cold and brittle, and I was moving to dredge another bite when the mail flap opened and an envelope slid onto the floor. Gus eyed the ice cream with a feral speculation; he wasn’t above pilfering licks if I left the tub unattended, so the ice cream went with me to the foyer.

            I bent to pick it up and my hand stopped in mid-air. The paper was marred by three dark smears, but I knew it wasn’t ash or ink.

            It was blood.

            Moonlight has a curious effect on many things. It can spawn romance, or poems. It can light the water at night and the snow, too, spangling the frozen crystals with the second-hand sun from the other side of the world. In the fall, it can turn an innocent night into something sinister, looming over the harvest like a fat reminder that the veil between worlds is thin indeed. But for blood, it takes that which is crimson and makes it black, and I knew this because it’s something I’ve seen before.

            I reached for my power and let my senses drift across the innocuous paper, and I was sorry that I did. Fear, like blood, can stain things, and this message was fairly soaked with the kind of terror that can kill. Gus padded over and uttered a low growl from the depths of his throat; he knew that something bad had made the aura surrounding this plea for. . . .something.

            “I guess I have to open it.” Gus hunkered down next to me, an expectant look on his broad feline face. I stood and turned on the hallways light, then plucked the envelope from the floor and opened it in one smooth motion.
          
 It was a torn piece of paper, yellowed from sun or weather. The smell hit me first; a mélange of age and the coppery bite of blood that was still too fresh to be oxidized. The words were clearly written with a fingertip, and in a hand that shook so badly I wondered if the author had survived to the end of the message. I read, turned my eyes for a moment to steady myself, and then read the note once again.
            When they find her, you will know. Please do not forget the rest of us.

            My mind screamed at the opaque meaning, knowing that somewhere in the depths of those few words was a message that could save lives. I knew intuitively that what I held in my hand had been written at great cost, and curling fingers of dread hooked around my spine and began to squeeze, just to let me know that I was powerless in that moment. I sat down on the floor of my foyer and felt the first hot tears of rage spill down my cheeks, hating that all I could do was wait.

            If you know me at all, there are certain things I’m not very good at. Reaching things on the third shelf? Not my thing. Eating butter beans? No way. But the thing that actually galls me is to wait, yet that’s exactly what I did, resting on my couch with Gus until my gray eyes were dark hollows in my face. The sun rose as my stomach roiled with frustration and guilt, but as the light became impossible to ignore, I rose and went to make coffee.

            I stood sipping the first cup, my eyes gritty and red. I could feel the low simmer of anger percolating within me even as I stepped into the shower. This was going to be a bad day. I considered and discarded dozens of possible meanings for the note before walking to work with my head down and eyes locked firmly on the sidewalk. It was too early to bother Gran, but I resolved to call her when I could steal a moment away from the grill at the diner. I knew we’d be slammed, but there was something about the note that froze the marrow in my bones.

            I didn’t know what was coming, but I could tell it was going to be bad.








Halfway Witchy Series


Halfway Dead (Halfway Witchy Series #1)

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About The Author


Born in 1968, I discovered fishing shortly after walking, a boon, considering I lived in South Florida. After a brief move to Kentucky, my family trekked back to the Sunshine State. I had the good fortune to attend high school in idyllic upstate New York, where I learned about a mythical substance known as "Seasons". After two or three failed attempts at college, I bought a bar. That was fun because I love beer, but, then, I eventually met someone smarter than me (a common event), and, in this case, she married me and convinced me to go back to school--which I did, with enthusiasm. I earned a Master's Degree in History and rediscovered my love for writing. My novels explore dark fantasy, immortality, and the nature of love as we know it. I live near Nashville, Tennessee, with the aforementioned wife, son, and herd, and, when I'm not writing, I teach history, grow wildly enthusiastic tomato plants, and restore my 1967 Mustang.




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