Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Glitter by Mona Darling

by Mona Darling

About The Author:

Mona Darling aka Dead Cow Girl, spent close to twenty years as an A-list professional dominatrix before becoming a D-list mommy blogger. After spending many years traveling the world being told that she is fabulous, she now spends her days being told she doesn’t drive fast enough by her three-year-old son.
Dead Cow Girl was a nickname she received in grade school after a humiliating morning involving a mobile butcher and a school bus. She chose to use that name to reclaim the part of her that spent much of her childhood red-faced with shame, embarrassed for her unique childhood. She also likes it because it is readily available on nearly every social media platform.

She writes, sporadically, about food, sex and toddler-related mayhem at

Genre: Women's Studies

Publisher: Darling Propaganda LLC
Release Date: Feb 2013

Book Description:

Glitter is about the female sexual experience, which contrary to what the media would have you believe, is not all bubble baths and chick flicks.

Women are constantly judged as slutty, or uptight, but the reality is somewhere in between those two, and sometimes, nowhere near either. We have secret shames and private desires and we all feel we are the only one.

We are good church-going girls with a fondness for the paddle, PTA moms who hire escorts, feminists who like to bottom in the bedroom, slutty virgins, bi-curious married laddies and women with a past. We are gay, straight, and undecided.

We are all over the map, and we are amazing.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Buzz Kill by Teresa Trent

Kindle Free Days

July 25 - 28

Buzz Kill
by Teresa Trent

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Release Date: July 2013

Book Description:

Betsy Livingston is planning a wedding so what could go wrong? After publishing a recipe for homemade calamine lotion in the newspaper, the ladies in the community church make a large batch. Everyone loves the stuff until someone in Pecan Bayou is found dead after using it. The town points to Betsy and she starts rethinking her whole career as a helpful hints columnist. Now she must clear her own name in between dress-fitting, cake-tasting, and all those things that turn a bride into a bridezilla. Is Betsy at fault or could there be something else that leads her down the aisle to murder?


“Okay now, let’s see.” Mr. Andre lowered his head, revealing the roots of his mousse-spiked, bleached hair. He wore a dark maroon suit with a matching jewel-toned silk shirt unbuttoned midway, showing sparse hair on his skinny chest. “Do you have a photographer?”
“Yes,” I ventured.
“No,” Aunt Maggie cut in. “She has some guy who shoots kiddie team pictures.”
“Oh my.” Andre circled something on his clipboard. “No photographer.”
“And you’ve gone for a wedding cake tasting?”
“A tasting? I think I already know what vanilla and chocolate tastes like by now.”
Andre shook his head as if I were a child. “No, my dear. You will be pleased to find out there are other flavors like white amaretto, champagne – girl, you can even get peanut butter if that’s what floats your boat. So I take it you haven’t had a cake-tasting session?”
“You would be correct,” I replied.
“I see.” He circled another line. “And your flowers?”
“She’s using Lenny Stokes, and she’s already put a deposit down,” Aunt Maggie said.
Andre grimaced.
“I see. I’ll need his number and address so I can get in contact with him to put him on my approved vendors list.” He circled another line. “And what is the venue?”
“We are going to have the ceremony at the community church.”
Andre’s eyebrows raised as he nodded and smiled. I had finally done something right.
“Do you have any kind of documentation on this?” he asked.
“Not officially, no,” I said. “I have talked to the pastor about it, though and he says it’s open. We live in a small town, Andre. Documentation isn’t always required.”
“Mr. Andre,” he corrected.
“We just don’t have the same kinds of waiting lists like there are in the big city.”
He clutched his hand to his chest. “Well, that’s a relief.”
“And your invitations?”
“We weren’t going to send those out until mid-January. We were afraid people would lose them. I have them ordered.” Mr. Andre’s eyes slanted toward me. “Well, they’re not exactly ordered, but I do have them picked out.”
A pause hung in the air as Mr. Andre summoned up the strength to go on. “Are you sure we’re planning a wedding and not some kind of country barbecue where they cook a pig over a spit?” He clasped his hands together in front of him to emphasize his point. “You are in crisis mode, Madame Happy Hinter.”
I gulped. So maybe, just maybe, I hadn’t nailed down enough of the details. I felt a tear escape onto my cheek. Andre, used to overwhelmed brides, reached over to a satin-covered tissue box and slapped it down on the table in front of me.
“Dry your eyes, sweetie. We’ve got work to do,” he said. “You should know what a lucky girl you are. I just removed myself from a wedding on the same day. No one – I repeat, no one – does a wedding like Mr. Andre, but even I have my limits on troublesome brides and monster mothers. As fate would have it, I’m yours.”
He walked over to a filing cabinet and pulled out a large white leather binder. Mr. Andre’s picture was on the front, and underneath that, “Weddings Exclusively by Mr. Andre” was embossed in gold lettering.
“I don’t care what religion you are,” he said. “This, lovey, is your new bible. Carry this with you everywhere and fill it with notes, questions, business cards, quotes and everything – I mean everything – that has to do with your wedding. Is that clear?”
“Yes, sir,” I said and saluted before I could stop myself. Aunt Maggie broke out into a laugh, but Mr. Andre turned quickly, fixing his eyes on her. She quickly stifled her reaction and stood up a little straighter, becoming just another draftee in the world of white satin.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

In Times of Trouble by Yolonda Tonette Sanders

In Times of Trouble
by Yolonda Tonette Sanders

Monday – Friday: A Typical Day in My Life

“I envy you,” a friend once said to me. “You have the freedom to do what you want during the day. I have to go to work and stare at four walls.”

My friend severely disliked her job and I kept this in mind while I thought about her comment. I certainly would not want to trade places with her. I also wondered if she had the misconception that just because I do not “go to work” it meant that I do not work. “One advantage you have over me,” I replied, “is that you know your work day is over when you leave the office. Mine can be never-ending.”

I find this is true any time I am working on a manuscript. Why? Because my characters don’t know how to shut up until I’m finished with their story! Here’s the run-down of a typical day in my life.

5:30am – the alarm sounds and my husband begins to get ready for work. Sometimes I get up as well; most times I go back to sleep until six when he becomes my human alarm. Like you, the first thing I do when I rise is go to the bathroom. (If the bathroom is not your first stop, then your bladder is much stronger than mine! J)  After making the bed, I head downstairs to fix my husband’s coffee and lunch.   

6:30am – 7:00am – I read my Bible and/or do a morning devotional.

7:00am – I exercise, generally to one of the many Beach Body DVD programs I have acquired. (I need to buy stock in that company!) Ninety percent of the time, I exercise alone. Other times I am joined by my neighbor who fusses about me having her up too early and the DVD being too hard.   

By nine, I am usually at my desk after I have eaten breakfast and showered.  

9:00am – 3:00pm – These hours involve a combination of doing research for my current story, writing, running errands, checking on my mom (who lives with us because of health reasons), taking my mom to any scheduled appointments, answering emails, making phone calls, creating a “To Do” list, revising my “To Do” list, and finding time in between for snacks and lunch.

3:00pm – 6:00pm – I cook (or buy) dinner, ask my family about their day, share funny or frustrating stories about mine, jot down notes about anything a character is “telling” me, or do whatever else is needed of me during this time.

6:00pm – 10:00pm (or midnight, depending on my energy level) – I combine all activities from 9:00am – 6:00pm, particularly doing research for my story, writing, talking to my family, answering emails, making phone calls, jotting down notes from my characters, and revising the ever-changing “To Do” list.

Some days are more stressful than others, but each day is a blessing. If I happen to have a “bad” one, I know that when I wake the next morning, the process will start all over again.   

About The Author:

Yolonda Tonette Sanders took a leap of faith in 2004 when she resigned from her job with the State of Ohio after only three and a half years to focus more on writing. It was a leap that she has never regretted. In 2005, her debut novel, Soul Matters, was published by Walk Worthy Press and Time Warner (now Hachette Book Group). In 2008, her second book, Secrets of a Sinner, was published by Harlequin/Kimani Press. That same year Yolonda started Yo Productions, LLC, a Christian based literary services and theatrical entertainment company, which she used to launch and create her first stage production. The theatrical version of Soul Matters debuted successfully in September 2009 at the Capitol Theatre in downtown Columbus, Ohio. Since then, Strebor Books, an imprint of Simon and Schuster, is planning to release four of Yolonda’s titles by April 2015. Currently, Yolonda resides in Columbus, Ohio and is the loving wife of David, proud mother of Tre and Tia, and joyful caregiver of her mother, Wilene.

Genre: Christian | Contemporary | Inspirational
Publisher: Simon and Schuster/Strebor Books
Release Date: April 23, 2013

Book Description:

Divorced, single mother Lisa Hampton is grateful for a fresh start after a humiliating scandal forced her to relocate from Maryland to Ohio. Her biggest issue nowadays is dealing with her rebellious teenage daughter, Chanelle, who is one smart comment away from being toothless!

Other than the stress of dealing with Chanelle, life is perfect. Lisa has a new beau and a steady job that allows her the opportunity to rub shoulders with very wealthy and influential people. She is best friends with Isaac and Olivia Scott, an extremely rich and powerful couple.

When Chanelle accuses the Scotts’ son of rape, Lisa learns how quickly her friends become enemies as Olivia and Isaac use their wealth and power to manipulate justice. The Scotts prove that they are willing to go to extreme lengths to protect their son, even if it means destroying both Lisa and Chanelle in the process.


Hearing the sound of her mother's footsteps descending the hardwood stairs, Lisa leaned back on the sofa so as not to appear overly anxious.
"Chanelle still hasn’t made it home?” Her mother’s wire-framed glasses rested at the tip of her nose while a large green robe concealed her body.
  "Nope. . ."
  "Did you call Jareeka’s?”
Yes; her father said that she and her mother are away for the weekend.” She felt herself tensing with every word.
What about RJ? Have you called him?”
He hasn’t seen her either.”
Well, don’t come down too hard on her. Maybe she didn't know Jareeka was out of town and when she found out, she decided to hang with one of her other friends instead. Now she should’ve at least called and told you, but she was probably so happy to get out the house that she forgot. Poor thing; it seems like she’s always on punishment. Sometimes I think you’re too hard on that girl. I don't want to meddle—"
  "Then please don't," the thirty-eight-year-old interjected in the most respectful tone that she could conjure up with a clenched jaw.
"All right. I'll keep my opinion to myself, but I was merely going to say that you may want to consider extending Chanelle's curfew. She’s practically an adult and it’s time you start treating her like one. Maybe then you’d be less likely to run into this problem."
 An electrifying jolt shot through Lisa’s body. The way she disciplined Chanelle had become a constant point of contention between her and her mother. Thank goodness Hattie would soon be moving into her own apartment! Lisa could not wait!
That makes absolutely no sense!” she fired back. “What she is, is irresponsible. Why should I reward her for not being able to honor her curfew? And anyhow, she wouldn’t have been on punishment recently had she not been so smart at the mouth.”
I wonder where she got it from . . .” her mother replied cynically, quickly disappearing into the kitchen and returning moments later. “Good night."
  "The same to you,” Lisa replied, continuing to stew as the clock read 1:21 a.m. The only other noise she heard was the emptying of the automatic ice machine until ten minutes or so later when a car pulled into the driveway. Lisa’s heart began racing when she saw flashing blue and red lights from the window. It wasn’t her car as she had thought, but a police cruiser. A gut-wrenching fear fell over her. Had something horrible happened to Chanelle? She felt guilty about being so angry and the missed curfew was now a minor issue compared to the concern that her baby might be lying in the hospital somewhere. Lisa was horrified by the unlimited possibilities of things that could’ve happened to her daughter. The pit of her stomach knotted as she sprang from the couch and raced to the front door.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Untimed by Andy Gavin

by Andy Gavin

Genre YA Time Travel Adventure/Romance

Publisher Mascherato Publishing
Release Date December 18, 2012

Book Description:

Untimed is an action-packed time travel novel by Andy Gavin, author of The Darkening Dream and creator of Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter.

Charlie's the kind of boy that no one notices. Hell, his own mother can't remember his name. So when a mysterious clockwork man tries to kill him in modern day Philadelphia, and they tumble through a hole into 1725 London, Charlie realizes even the laws of time don't take him seriously. Still, this isn't all bad. Who needs school when you can learn about history first hand, like from Ben Franklin himself. And there's this girl... Yvaine... another time traveler. All good. Except for the rules: boys only travel into the past and girls only into the future. And the baggage: Yvaine's got a baby boy and more than her share of ex-boyfriends. Still, even if they screw up history -- like accidentally let the founding father be killed -- they can just time travel and fix it, right? But the future they return to is nothing like Charlie remembers. To set things right, he and his scrappy new girlfriend will have to race across the centuries, battling murderous machines from the future, jealous lovers, reluctant parents, and time itself.

Excerpt: Chapter One "Untamed"

UNTIMED by Andy Gavin Illustrations by Dave Phillips Advance Review First Chapter Cover Art Not Final Formatting Not Final Illustration Formatting Not Final © 2011-2012, Andy Gavin. All rights reserved. This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. MASCHERATO PUBLISHING PO Box 1550 Pacific Palisades, Ca, 90272 Copyright © Andy Gavin 2012 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. MS version: 3.20a 75,300 words, November 19, 2012, 1:19:29 PM PST Cover Photo-Illustration copyright © Cliff Nielsen 2012 Interior Illustrations copyright © Dave Phillips 2012 E-book ISBN 978-1-937945-05-3 Hardcover ISBN 978-1-937945-03-9 Trade Paperback ISBN 978-1-937945-04-6 Chapter One: Ignored Philadelphia, Autumn, 2010 and Winter, 2011 My mother loves me and all, it’s just that she can’t remember my name. “Call him Charlie,” is written on yellow Post-its all over our house. “Just a family joke,” Mom tells the rare friend who drops by and bothers to inquire. But it isn’t funny. And those house guests are more likely to notice the neon paper squares than they are me. “He’s getting so tall. What was his name again?” I always remind them. Not that it helps. Only Dad remembers, and Aunt Sophie, but they’re gone more often than not — months at a stretch. This time, when my dad returns he brings a ginormous stack of history books. “Read these.” The muted bulbs in the living room sharpen the shadows on his pale face, making him stand out like a cartoon in a live-action film. “You have to keep your facts straight.” I peruse the titles: Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Asprey’s The Rise of Napoleon Bonaparte, Ben Franklin’s Autobiography. Just three among many. “Listen to him, Charlie,” Aunt Sophie says. “You’ll be glad you did.” She brushes out her shining tresses. Dad’s sister always has a glow about her. “Where’d you go this time?” I say. Dad’s supposed to be this hotshot political historian. He reads and writes a lot, but I’ve never seen his name in print. “The Middle East.” Aunt Sophie’s more specific than usual. Dad frowns. “We dropped in on someone important.” When he says dropped in, I imagine Sophie dressed like Lara Croft, parachuting into Baghdad. “Is that where you got the new scar?” A pink welt snakes from the bridge of her nose to the corner of her mouth. She looks older than I remember — they both do. “An argument with a rival… researcher.” My aunt winds the old mantel clock, the one that belonged to her mom, my grandmother. Then tosses the key to my dad, who fumbles and drops it. “You need to tell him soon,” she says. Tell me what? I hate this. Dad looks away. “We’ll come back for his birthday.” * * * While Dad and Sophie unpack, Mom helps me carry the dusty books to my room. “Time isn’t right for either of you yet,” she says. Whatever that means. I snag the thinnest volume and hop onto my bed to read. Not much else to do since I don’t have friends and school makes me feel even more the ghost. * * * Mrs. Pinkle, my ninth-grade homeroom teacher, pauses on my name during roll call. Like she does every morning. “Charlie Horologe,” she says, squinting at the laminated chart, then at me, as if seeing both for the first time. “Here.” On the bright side, I always get B’s no matter what I write on the paper. In Earth Science, the teacher describes a primitive battery built from a glass of salt water covered in tin foil. She calls it a Leyden jar. I already know about them from Ben Franklin’s autobiography — he used one to kill and cook a turkey, which I doubt would fly with the school board. The teacher beats the topic to death, so I practice note-taking in the cipher Dad taught me over the weekend. He shows me all sorts of cool things — when he’s around. The system’s simple, just twenty-six made-up letters to replace the regular ones. Nobody else knows them. I write in highlighter and outline in red, which makes the page look like some punk wizard’s spell book. My science notes devolve into a story about how the blonde in the front row invites me to help her with her homework. At her house. In her bedroom. With her parents out of town. Good thing it’s in cipher. After school is practice, and that’s better. With my slight build and long legs, I’m good at track and field — not that the rest of the team notices. A more observant coach might call me a well-rounded athlete. The pole vault is my favorite, and only one other kid can even do it right. Last month at the Pennsylvania state regionals, I cleared 16’ 4”, which for my age is like world class. Davy — that’s the other guy — managed just 14’ 8”. And won. As if I never ran that track, planted the pole in the box, and threw myself over the bar. The judges were looking somewhere else? Or maybe their score sheets blew away in the wind. I’m used to it. * * * Dad is nothing if not scheduled. He and Sophie visit twice a year, two weeks in October, and two weeks in January for my birthday. But after my aunt’s little aside, I don’t know if I can wait three months for the big reveal, whatever it is. So I catch them in his study. “Dad, why don’t you just tell me?” He looks up from his cheesesteak and the book he’s reading — small, with only a few shiny metallic pages. I haven’t seen it before, which is strange, since I comb through all his worldly possessions whenever he’s away. “I’m old enough to handle it.” I sound brave, but even Mom never looks him in the eye. And he’s never home — it’s not like I have practice at this. My stomach twists. I might not like what he has to say. “Man is not God.” One of his favorite expressions, but what the hell is it supposed to mean? “Fink.” For some reason Aunt Sophie always calls him that. “Show him the pages.” He sighs and gathers up the weird metallic book. “This is between the three of us. No need to stress your mother.” What about stressing me? He stares at some imaginary point on the ceiling, like he always does when he lectures. “Our family has—” The front doorbell rings. His gaze snaps down, his mouth snaps shut. Out in the hall, I hear my mom answer, then men’s voices. “Charlie,” Dad says, “go see who it is.” “But—” “Close the door behind you.” * * * I stomp down the hall. Mom is talking to the police. Two cops and a guy in a suit. “Ma’am,” Uniform with Mustache says, “is your husband home?” “May I help you?” she asks. “We have a warrant.” He fumbles in his jacket and hands her an official-looking paper. “This is for John Doe,” she tells him. The cop turns to the man in the suit, deep blue, with a matching bowler hat like some guy on PBS. The dude even carries a cane — not the old-lady-with-a-limp type, more stroll-in-the-park. Blue Suit — a detective? — tilts forward to whisper in the cop’s ear. I can’t hear anything but I notice his outfit is crisp. Every seam stands out bright and clear. Everything else about him too. “We need to speak to your husband,” the uniformed cop says. I mentally kick myself for not ambushing Dad an hour earlier. Eventually, the police tire of the runaround and shove past me as if I don’t exist. I tag along to watch them search the house. When they reach the study, Dad and Sophie are gone. The window’s closed and bolted from the inside. All the other rooms are empty too, but this doesn’t stop them from slitting every sofa cushion and uncovering my box of secret DVDs. * * * Mom and I don’t talk about Dad’s hasty departure, but I do hear her call the police and ask about the warrant. They have no idea who she’s talking about. Yesterday, I thought Dad was about to deliver the Your mother and I have grown apart speech. Now I’m thinking more along the lines of secret agent or international kingpin. But the months crawl by, business as usual, until my birthday comes and goes without any answers — or the promised visit from Dad. I try not to let on that it bothers me. He’s never missed my birthday, but then, the cops never came before, either. Mom and I celebrate with cupcakes. Mine is jammed with sixteen candles, one extra for good luck. I pry up the wrapping paper from the corner of her present. “It’s customary to blow out the candles first,” Mom says. “More a guideline than a rule,” I say. “Call it advanced reconnaissance.” That’s a phrase I picked up from Sophie. Mom does a dorky eye roll, but I get the present open and find she did well by me, the latest iPhone — even if she skimped on the gigabytes. I use it to take two photos of her and then, holding it out, one of us together. She smiles and pats my hand. “This way, when you’re out on a date you can check in.” I’m thinking more about surfing the web during class. “Mom, girls never notice me.” “How about Michelle next door? She’s cute.” Mom’s right about the cute. We live in a duplex, an old house her family bought like a hundred years ago. Our tenants, the Montags, rent the other half, and we’ve celebrated every Fourth of July together as long as I can remember. “Girls don’t pay attention to me.” Sometimes paraphrasing helps Mom understand. “All teenage boys say that — your father certainly did.” My throat tightens. “There’s a father-son track event this week.” A month ago, I went into orbit when I discovered it fell during Dad’s visit, but now it’s just a major bummer — and a pending embarrassment. She kisses me on the forehead. “He’ll be here if he can, honey. And if not, I’ll race. You don’t get your speed from his side of the family.” True enough. She was a college tennis champ and he’s a flat-foot who likes foie gras. But still. * * * Our history class takes a field trip to Independence Park, where the teacher prattles on in front of the Liberty Bell. I’ve probably read more about it than she has. Michelle is standing nearby with a girlfriend. The other day I tapped out a script on my phone — using our family cipher — complete with her possible responses to my asking her out. Maybe Mom’s right. I slide over. “Hey, Michelle, I’m really looking forward to next Fourth of July.” “It’s January.” She has a lot of eyeliner on, which would look pretty sexy if she wasn’t glaring at me. “Do I know you from somewhere?” That wasn’t in my script. I drift away. Being forgettable has advantages. I tighten the laces on my trainers then flop a leg up on the fence to stretch. Soon as I’m loose enough, I sprint up the park toward the red brick hulk of Independence Hall. The teachers will notice the headcount is one short but of course they’ll have trouble figuring out who’s missing. And while a bunch of cops are lounging about — national historic landmark and all — even if one stops me, he won’t remember my name long enough to write up a ticket. The sky gleams with that cloudless blue that sometimes graces Philly. The air is crisp and smells of wood smoke. I consider lapping the building. Then I notice the man exiting the hall. He glides out the white-painted door behind someone else and seesaws down the steps to the slate courtyard. He wears a deep blue suit and a matching bowler hat. His stride is rapid and he taps his walking stick against the pavement like clockwork. The police detective. I shift into a jog and follow him down the block toward the river. I don’t think he sees me, but he has this peculiar way of looking around, pivoting his head side to side as he goes. It’s hard to explain what makes him different. His motions are stiff but he cuts through space without apparent effort. Despite the dull navy outfit, he looks sharper than the rest of the world, more in focus. Like Dad and Sophie. The man turns left at Chestnut and Third, and I follow him into Franklin Court. He stops inside the skeleton of Ben Franklin’s missing house. Some idiots tore it down two hundred years ago, but for the bicentennial the city erected a steel ‘ghost house’ to replace it. I tuck myself behind one of the big white girders and watch. The man unbuttons his suit and winds himself. Yes, that’s right. He winds himself. Like a clock. There’s no shirt under his jacket — just clockwork guts, spinning gears, and whirling cogs. There’s even a rocking pendulum. He takes a T-shaped key from his pocket, sticks it in his torso, and cranks. Hardly police standard procedure. Clueless tourists pass him without so much as a sideways glance. And I always assumed the going unnoticed thing was just me. He stops winding and scans the courtyard, calibrating his head on first one point then another while his finger spins brass dials on his chest. I watch, almost afraid to breathe. CHIME. The man rings, a deep brassy sound — not unlike Grandmom’s old mantel clock. I must have gasped, because he looks at me, his head ratcheting around 270 degrees until our eyes lock. Glass eyes. Glass eyes set in a face of carved ivory. His mouth opens and the ivory mask that is his face parts along his jaw line to reveal more cogs. CHIME. The sound reverberates through the empty bones of Franklin Court. He takes his cane from under his arm and draws a blade from it as a stage-magician might a handkerchief. CHIME. He raises the thin line of steel and glides in my direction. CHIME. Heart beating like a rabbit’s, I scuttle across the cobblestones and fling myself over a low brick wall. CHIME. His walking-stick-cum-sword strikes against the brick and throws sparks. He’s so close I hear his clockwork innards ticking, a tiny metallic tinkle. CHIME. I roll away from the wall and spring to my feet. He bounds over in pursuit. CHIME. I backpedal. I could run faster if I turned around, but a stab in the back isn’t high on my wishlist. CHIME. He strides toward me, one hand on his hip, the other slices the air with his rapier. An older couple shuffles by and glances his way, but apparently they don’t see what I see. CHIME. I stumble over a rock, snatch it up, and hurl it at him. Thanks to shot put practice, it strikes him full in the face, stopping him cold. CHIME. He tilts his head from side to side. I see a thin crack in his ivory mask, but otherwise he seems unharmed. CHIME. I dance to the side, eying the pavement, find another rock and grab it. CHIME. We stand our ground, he with his sword and me with my stone. “Your move, Timex!” I hope I sound braver than I feel. CHIME. Beneath the clockwork man, a hole opens. The manhole-sized circle in the cobblestones seethes and boils, spilling pale light up into the world. He stands above it, legs spread, toes on the pavement, heels dipping into nothingness. The sun dims in the sky. Like an eclipse — still visible, just not as bright. My heart threatens to break through my ribs, but I inch closer. The mechanical man brings his legs together and drops into the hole. The seething boiling hole. I step forward and look down…. Into a whirlpool that could eat the Titanic for breakfast. But there’s no water, only a swirling tube made of a million pulverized galaxies. Not that my eyes can really latch onto anything inside, except for the man. His crisp dark form shrinks into faraway brightness. Is this where Dad goes when he drops in on someone? Is the clockwork dude his rival researcher? The sun brightens, and as it does, the hole starts to contract. Sharp edges of pavement eat into it, closing fast. I can’t let him get away. Somehow we’re all connected. Me, the mechanical man, Sophie, and Dad. I take a step forward and let myself fall.

About The Author:

Andy Gavin is an unstoppable storyteller who studied for his Ph.D. at M.I.T. and founded video game developer Naughty Dog, Inc. at the age of fifteen, serving as co-president for two decades. There he created, produced, and directed over a dozen video games, including the award winning and best selling Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter franchises, selling over 40 million units worldwide. He sleeps little, reads novels and histories, watches media obsessively, travels, and of course, writes.

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Friday, July 12, 2013

Character Interview & Book Blast: Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective (Book 1) by Christine Amsden

Cassie Scot:
ParaNormal Detective (Book 1)

Evan Blackwood Character Interview

My name is Christine Amsden, author of the new urban fantasy novel Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective. This first volume in a (completed) four-part series introduces us to Cassie, the ungifted daughter of powerful sorcerers. Amidst mystery, romance, and family feuds, this "new adult" series shows us that there are many types of strength, and many ways to be a hero.

With me today is a more traditional hero from the novel. It is my great pleasure to welcome Evan Blackwood, a young sorcerer with a great deal of talent and potential. Plus, he's really good looking, even if I did create him myself! :)

The 21-year-old Evan hails from Eagle Rock, MO, where the existence of magic is accepted, if not exactly understood. Evan, like most sorcerers in the area, is tight-lipped when it comes to what he can do and how powerful he is, but he graciously agreed to talk to me as long as I don't try to pry into his family secrets.

Christine: Evan, thank you for being here. I understand you've known our heroine, Cassie, for a long time. How did you two meet?

Evan: Cassie and I met in the first grade. I had never been to school or spent much time around other kids, and I made a fool of myself. She helped me out. Took me on as a project, you could say. That's sort of her style.

Christine: Did you know at the time that your fathers were enemies?

Evan: No. I was six, and I don't think I was that aware of what my father did unless it had something to do with me. He told me later in the year, but by then it was way too late.

Christine: So you and Cassie have remained friends this whole time?

Evan: Sort of. Things got a little awkward after I accidentally sent Paul Ellerson to the hospital. She never said so, but I think she was a little afraid of me after that. She was hardly alone. She got over it, but between that and some rumors that started flying around about me, we weren't quite as close in high school as we were before.

Christine: Are you talking about the rumors that you cast love spells?

Evan: (Glares) Yes. Those rumors.

Christine: Sorry. Sore spot. I assume they weren't true?

Evan: Do you have any other question?

Christine: Where have you been for the past three years? After high school, you kind of fell off the map.

Evan: Magical apprenticeship. Henry Wolf took me on.

Christine: Henry Wolf? Isn't he a little crazy? Lives in a cabin in the woods with no running water or electricity?

Evan: He's brilliant. He just thinks modern gizmos interfere with magic.

Christine: Is that true?

Evan: The first thing I'm going to do when I finish my apprenticeship is buy a cell phone. Then watch movies, starting with the Star Wars trilogy. The original trilogy, not the prequels.

Christine: Why do you like Star Wars so much?

Evan: It's a great fantasy. Good on one side. Evil on the other. I wish the real world was so easy to figure out.

Christine: Is there anything in particular you're trying to figure out?

Evan: Lost of things. But mostly, I worry because of the way my father and Cassie's father hate one another. They both think they're right and the other is wrong. I suppose I should side with my family and I do, but I wish I didn't have to pick a side at all.

Christine: Because you're in love with Cassie?

Evan: I didn't say that.

Christine: No, of course not. So, what are your future plans? After you watch Star Wars, that is?

Evan: I want to do some good in the world. I've got a few ideas, but nothing concrete yet. There are a few things I need to work out first.

Christine: And those few things are...?

Evan: Private.

Christine: I see. And I will leave you to that privacy, but first I have one last question. Is there any advice you would be willing to give us about how to deal with sorcerers?

Evan: Don't.

Christine: What if we can't avoid it?

Evan: (Pauses) Ivy. Plant some ivy to protect your home. And don't leave any blood lying around.

Christine: Those sound like good tips. Thank you for sharing your secrets.

Evan: They aren't secrets. You can learn some basic magical self-protection on the Internet. Although there's a lot of crazy stuff, too.

Christine: Any way to know the difference?

Evan: For the average person? Not really. But the average person probably isn't going to be in danger. It's far worse if you have a tiny bit of talent you don't know what to do with.

Christine: That sounds like something we should talk about when the next book comes out. I hope we'll see you back then.

Evan: Wait. What happens in the next book?

Christine: Don't worry about it. You've got to survive the first book first.

Evan: My grandmother is a seer, you know.

Christine: I know. I created her, too. But there are so many possible futures, I don't know how much she'll be able to help you. I did rewrite the series several times, after all.

Evan: (Glares again) I got to go. Master Wolf is calling me.

Christine: Well then, you'd better go. Thank you so much for being here with me today.

Evan: You aren't going to hurt Cassie, are you?

Christine: Henry Wolf is calling you.

Evan: All right, but for the record, we're not done.

Christine: Absolutely not. 

About The Author:

Christine Amsden has been writing science fiction and fantasy for as long as she can remember. She loves to write and it is her dream that others will be inspired by this love and by her stories. Speculative fiction is fun, magical, and imaginative but great speculative fiction is about real people defining themselves through extraordinary situations. Christine writes primarily about people and it is in this way that she strives to make science fiction and fantasy meaningful for everyone.

At the age of 16, Christine was diagnosed with Stargardt’s Disease, a condition that effects the retina and causes a loss of central vision. She is now legally blind, but has not let this slow her down or get in the way of her dreams. (You can learn more here.)

In addition to writing, Christine teaches workshops on writing at Savvy Authors. She also does some freelance editing work.

Christine currently lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, Austin, who has been her biggest fan and the key to her success. They have two beautiful children, Drake and Celeste.

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Twilight Times Books
Release Date: May 15, 2013

Book Description:

Cassie Scot is the ungifted daughter of powerful sorcerers, born between worlds but belonging to neither. At 21, all she wants is to find a place for herself, but earning a living as a private investigator in the shadow of her family’s reputation isn’t easy. When she is pulled into a paranormal investigation, and tempted by a powerful and handsome sorcerer, she will have to decide where she truly belongs.

Praise for the Cassie Scot Series:

From Publisher’s Weekly:

In this entertaining series opener, Amsden (The Immortality Virus) introduces readers to the eponymous Cassie, a decidedly mundane member of a magical family. …Readers will enjoy Cassie’s fish-out-of-water struggles as she fights magical threats with little more than experience and bravado.”

Kim Falconer, bestselling author of The Spell of Rosette, Quantum Enchantment Series, had this to say:

When sorcerers call the shots, what’s a girl without powers to do? Get ready for a ripper of a murder mystery full of romance and intrigue, where magic potions bubble, passions spark and vampires are definitely not your friend. Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective grabs you by the heart and won’t let go until the very last page. Well written, immersive and unputdownable. This is urban fantasy at its best. More please!”

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Glitter by Mona Darling

by Mona Darling
Every time someone finds out that I'm a professional dominatrix, they automatically have assumptions. Most of them are wrong. 

The top 5 things that generally surprise people the most are;

  1. I'm a goof ball and a klutz. I'm a complete 180 from the calm, cool, collected person they picture towering over a bound slave in the dungeon.  After 20 years though, I've become very good at hiding the fact that I've lost the key… until I'm able to find it again. 
  2. I'm a bit of a nerd. A big bit. I could sit home All Damn Day in my pajamas on my computer watching Ted talks.
  3. I'm a Disney fanatic. All vintage disney. All the time. I'm not a huge fan of modern Disney, but love all the bondage, kidnapping and hallucinogenic filled stuff from the golden age of the pie eyed Mickey. Even though I'm a feminist, I love disappearing into a time and place where all a woman had to do was look pretty and all a man had to do was be a rich prince. And mocking it lovingly.
  4. I don't mean to toot my own horn, but I'm a pretty amazing cook. I celebrate every major, and several minor, holidays by cooking mass amounts of food for as many people as I can get in my house. I love the ritual of the long lead time for certain things, like a Thanksgiving turkey, or a good smoked pork shoulder. 
  5. I am probably lacto-fermenting at least one thing at any given time. 

I think the most interesting people, as well as the most interesting fictional characters, are always a fun combination of Clark Kent and Superman type contradictions.  Of course, taken too far, it's just cliche. Think hot librarian or mad scientist. 

My favorite examples are from the TV series Firefly. Every character on the show was a contradiction, a cliche or stereo type turned on it's ear. Kaylee, the ships female mechanic, Inara, the highly respected and educated prostitute, Zoe, the beautiful war goddess,  Wash, the wonderfully lovable girlie man, The Preacher with a mysterious past… I could go on, but I think you get the point.

Who are your favorite contradictions? Who are your least favorite cliches? At what point does it cross the line?   As a writer, how do you walk that line?

About The Author:

Mona Darling aka Dead Cow Girl, spent close to twenty years as an A-list professional dominatrix before becoming a D-list mommy blogger. After spending many years traveling the world being told that she is fabulous, she now spends her days being told she doesn’t drive fast enough by her three-year-old son.
Dead Cow Girl was a nickname she received in grade school after a humiliating morning involving a mobile butcher and a school bus. She chose to use that name to reclaim the part of her that spent much of her childhood red-faced with shame, embarrassed for her unique childhood. She also likes it because it is readily available on nearly every social media platform.

She writes, sporadically, about food, sex and toddler-related mayhem at

Genre: Women's Studies

Publisher: Darling Propaganda LLC
Release Date: Feb 2013

Book Description:

Glitter is about the female sexual experience, which contrary to what the media would have you believe, is not all bubble baths and chick flicks.

Women are constantly judged as slutty, or uptight, but the reality is somewhere in between those two, and sometimes, nowhere near either. We have secret shames and private desires and we all feel we are the only one.

We are good church-going girls with a fondness for the paddle, PTA moms who hire escorts, feminists who like to bottom in the bedroom, slutty virgins, bi-curious married laddies and women with a past. We are gay, straight, and undecided.

We are all over the map, and we are amazing.