Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Flick Virtual Book Tour

by Keira Des Anges



Leanna Matthews enjoys flying below the radar. She does well in school, has a few close friends and hides the fact she’s an astral-traveling telekinetic. But there’s no escaping her creepy dreams or Simora, the bizarre little spirit lady, that suddenly pops out of nowhere to warn her against keeping secrets and predicts an encounter with a sinister evil. For the first time in forever someone…or something…is on to her.

But life turns around when Leanna meets Piper one sunny afternoon. She’s inexplicably drawn to him, almost as if she’s been waiting for him to come. Forbidden to have a boyfriend Leanna throws caution to the wind, lying to her family and friends to be with him, while ignoring Simora’s ominous message.

Yet Piper has a secret of his own. He is on a mission and Leanna, unwittingly, is the key.


One of the fringe benefits of astral traveling is never using doors, and when Leanna walked straight through the wall into the brightly lit hallway, the hustle and bustle of the day seemed all but forgotten.  Various medical personnel marched determinedly to their destinations and Leanna quickly dodged a team of doctors rushing down the corridor and the hysterical woman behind them.  She moved out of habit really; even if they bumped her they’d simply melt right through.

She stopped by the nearest nursing station hoping to hear news on her aunt.  But to her disappointment, the staff proved useless.  They were more interested in Nurse Johnson’s fling with the new anesthesiologist than discussing their charges.  Her mother was a medical professional; Leanna knew nurses were an integral part of the medical team.  But these guys were worse than an episode of Grey’s Anatomy!  Eventually bored of their gossip, Leanna made her way to the opposite end of the floor.

“Hey, Leanna!”  Her name rang out clearly as she passed by the waiting room door.  “Over here!” said the voice.

Startled, Leanna turned around to peek inside.  Three people sat in the small, blue waiting area.  Two women whispered animatedly to one another and a stoic looking man held a magazine, although his eyes seldom moved across the page.  They didn't see her, so Leanna wondered who just called.
Then she saw her. 

A little Indian woman, no more than four feet in stature sat in a green and purple, wing-backed armchair in the middle of the room grinning and waving madly at her.  She looked no more than thirty years old and was dressed in shimmering gold from head-to-toe with a sheer, golden scarf draped over her bright, oval face and jet-black hair. 

Tiny glittery shoes peeked out from beneath the frock and sparkled as brightly as Dorothy’s red slippers in the Wizard of Oz.  Leanna thought she even resembled a munchkin, in a cute sort of way.  Like Auntie, she seemed more real than anyone else in the room and her smile grew larger as Leanna approached cautiously. 

“Don’t worry sweetheart, I don’t bite,” she said.  The little lady patted a second green chair embossed with bright purple and orange polka dots, which mysteriously sprang out of nowhere, and Leanna sat down.

“I’ve been waiting for you,” she beamed, greeting Leanna like a long-lost friend and clapping her hands excitedly.  “I’m so glad you finally came!”

“Waiting for me?  Why? Who are you?” Leanna asked, not quite sure she should be talking to her in the first place.

“Oh my!  You don’t know me do you?” she giggled childishly.  “I’ve been with you so long I sometimes forget you don’t remember.”

“Remember?” Leanna asked now thoroughly confused.  “I’m sorry, what are you talking about?  We’ve never met before,” she said apologetically.

“Oh Leanna, trust when I say I have been with you all of your earthly life, before and beyond,” the lady corrected.  “Until now you haven’t seen me because it wasn’t time.  But I have been with you as promised and kept watch over you.  Which, I might add, has been quite a task considering your little adventures,” she said smiling again, taking some of the sting from her words.

Leanna frowned, studying the peculiar, little lady in the shiny clothes.  She didn’t know why or how, but she did look vaguely familiar, like she might’ve seen her around; possibly in a dream.  Somehow, Leanna sensed there was more to the story than that.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

By day, Keira des Anges has the distinct pleasure of assisting teenagers with disabilities find employment, empowering one life at a time. By night, she is a chew toy for her dog and cat and avid reader of anything spooky, magical and totally out of this world.  She lives in sunny Florida with her husband and two kids.

Twitter:  @KeiradesAnges

Win a $50 gift card in the giveaway below! Follow the tour for more chances to win!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Covet Release Blast

Covets have all the sexiness, emotion, and happily ever after that readers have come to expect and love from Entangled. They are firmly grounded in the contemporary world, but each novel brings in supernatural twists, breaking the contemporary and paranormal rules, alike. To find out more about their titles, chat with authors, participate in special events, and to find out what books you’ll be coveting next, visit the Entangled website, follow them on Twitter, LIKE their Facebook page, and join the Book Club.

Facebook party:  https://www.facebook.com/events/655747377781974/

Today I'm happy to be featuring Covet's December releases:

Beg Me to Slay by Lisa Kessler

He’ll slay her demons, but it may cost her heart…

Four years ago Tegan Ashton was attacked. Determined never to be a victim again, she devotes her life to martial arts and self-defense. When her assailant returns to finish what he started, only one person can help her.

Gabe is a private investigator by day and demon slayer by night. After losing loved ones, he vows to defend people from a threat they don’t realize exists.

The relationship is supposed to be strictly business, but fighting demons together stirs up emotions they never expected. Turns out demon slaying is a breeze compared to facing their scarred pasts and even worse - hearts.

Ashes by Sarah Gilman

Journalist Ambrosia Pellerin accepts an assignment involving the legendary phoenix, expecting, if nothing else, a little entertainment. Instead, she winds up pregnant—by a surprisingly human-looking firebird, Reece Bennu.

As the Phoenix prince, Reece is next in line to the throne and expected to marry a purebred royal. A common human such as Ambrosia is not in the cards. He swears, though, he’ll never be an absentee father.

As Ambrosia’s due date grows closer, so do the soon-to-be parents. But will their tentative love survive the prejudice of Reece’s grandmother, who will stop at nothing to tear the two apart?

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Monday, December 23, 2013

Initiation Book Tour

Pagan Eyes
Book 1
Rayna Noire

Genre: Paranormal Time Travel YA/NA

Publisher: Sleeping Dragon

ISBN: 978-0615915807
ISBN: 0615915809
Number of pages: 208
Word Count: 68,528

Cover Artist: Dawne Dominique

Book Description:

Leah Carpenter thought being the only witch in her local high school was hard. That was until she inexplicably found herself in the past running from an angry mob, which turned out to be much harder. Lionel, the man in charge of the mob, holds a grudge against a girl he calls Arabella. He thinks she’s Arabella.

Luckily, just about the time it looks as if she’s done for she pops back into her century. This causes trouble at school, but at least she has an understanding family. What happens in the past can hurt her. The whiplashes covering her body are proof enough. Her Nana believes she has to right a wrong in the past to stay in the present and go out with her crush, Dylan. What she discovers in the past is an evil so pure that it makes her blood run cold. She might not ever make it back for geometry class or more importantly a possible date with Dylan.

December 16 Interview
Mom With A Kindle

December 16 Spotlight
Fang-tastic Books

December 17 Spotlight
The Writerly Exploits of Mara Valderran

December 18 Interview
Books in the Hall – 

December 19 Spotlight
3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too!  http://3partnersinshopping.blogspot.com

December 20 Interview
Pembroke Sinclair.  

December 23 Guest blog 
On the Broomstick
guest post of author's choice about witchcraft and persecution in history.

December 23 Spotlight
The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom

 The smell struck her first. The acrid, smelly odor reminded her of her fourth-grade field trip to a pioneer village. The candle maker had intrigued her by dipping wicks in what she had assumed was wax until the woman explained it was made of animal fat from butchered animals. That’s what it smelled like, along with the campfire aroma of burning wood.
In the misty night sky, a clouded crescent moon shed meager light on the surroundings. Turning slowly she examined the primitive thatched hut behind her. In the small front garden, a split log supported by two stumps served as a bench. An oaken bucket sat by a door that flew open. An elderly woman hobbled out, dressed in a black cloak. The woman reminded Leah of her grandmother, but instead of a look of fierce determination, terror pulled her face into an anxious mask. Reaching Leah, she tugged on her clothes, pushing her toward the woods. “Flee, flee, they come. Smell the torches.” The woman pointed to a path winding toward the east.
A dim glow was coming from that direction, along with the sounds of voices and snapping branches as dozens of feet marched in their direction. An overwhelming desire to run after the unknown woman came over her. Another part of her wanted to see who was coming down the path. It was only a dream, right?
 People couldn’t be hurt in a dream, or could they? She struggled to remember what her psychology teacher, Mr. Schaeffer, had said. He’d said either people couldn’t be hurt by their fears or your fears could kill you by bringing on cardiac arrest.
A few men came into view, burly men garbed in shapeless garments, with wild hair and ragged beards. Held high the flickering torches illuminated a small circle around them. One held a curved knife, reminiscent of the scythe the Grim Reaper carried. It didn’t bode well. One of the men spotted her, yelled, “Witch!”   and charged her way. It was a definite bad sign, causing her to sprint toward the woods in the same direction as the old woman. Sticks, rocks, and briars pierced her feet, reminding her of her shoeless state. At home, she excelled in cross-country, but she had shoes, sunlight, and a feel for the course with no angry villagers behind her. The running men drew closer. Leah stumbled over a tree root, wasting precious time.
“Here, over here.” The voice came from overhead. Staring up into the canopy of leaves, she saw a small hand motioning to her. Of course, hide in the trees. Why didn’t she think of that? Grabbing the lowest limb, she pulled herself into the leafy covering. In the dark, she felt for the branches, climbing higher. Eventually she grabbed an ankle or calf, and received a hand up for her trouble, helping her climb higher.
Good Goddess, how many people were in this tree? She held her breath as the light and noise came closer. The few men below argued about which way to go, while a woman waded in with her opinion. “Samuel, let the witch get away. Mayhap he uses the witch for his own purposes.”
One of the front-runners denied the accusations. “Martha seeks to harm my name, because I did not plight my troth with her.”
The argument moved on a little farther away from the tree. Leah exhaled in a whoosh, thanking the stars for the scorned woman and lack of dogs. As if hearing her silent prayer, a long canine bay rent the air.

About the Author:

Rayna Noire is an author and a historian. The desire to uncover the truth behind the original fear of witches led her to the surprising discovery that people believed in magick in some form up to 150 years ago. A world that believed the impossible could happen and often did must have been amazing. With this in mind, Ms. Noire taps into this dimension, shapes it into stories about Pagan families who really aren’t that different from most people. They do go on the occasional time travel adventures and magick happens.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Bittersweet Magic Release Day

Edge, a digital-first single-title romance line from Entangled Publishing, takes its lead from our popular Select imprint but gives its novels an edge in the marketplace by bringing great stories to readers at reasonable prices in a quick-and-easy way. Whether sexy or sweet, traditional romance or love and lust with a women’s fiction bent, at the center of every Edge book is heart. From Urban Fantasy to Contemporary Romance to Science Fiction Romance, Edge has a book for all romance readers—and right at their fingertips! As they say, all’s fair in love and war. To find out more about our titles, chat with authors, participate in special events, and to find out what books are coming next, visit the Entangled website, follow us on Twitter, and like our Facebook page.

Today I'm happy to be featuring Bittersweet Magic by Nina Croft! This followup to Bittersweet Blood is sure to please, but don't worry, it can easily be read as stand alone. Nina Croft's stories are Out of This World, so you won't want to miss this one!

Roz has been indebted to the demon Asmodai for five hundred years, and her freedom is just around the corner. All she has to do is complete one last task for him—obtain a key that had been hidden in a church centuries ago.

Piers, the Head of the Order and an ancient vampire, is intrigued by the woman who comes to him for help. She’s beautiful and seemingly kind, but she’s hiding something. And he’ll find out who she is and what she really wants once he uses his power to get inside her head. But Piers has no idea that Roz is immune to his mind-control...or that he is simply a pawn in her dangerous mission for freedom. 

Amazon     Barnes & Noble

Author info:

Nina Croft grew up in the north of England. After training as an accountant, she spent four years working as a volunteer in Zambia, which left her with a love of the sun and a dislike of nine-to-five work. She then spent a number of years mixing travel (whenever possible) with work (whenever necessary) but has now settled down to a life of writing and picking almonds on a remote farm in the mountains of southern Spain.

Nina's writing mixes romance with elements of paranormal and science fiction.

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Monday, September 30, 2013

Witches, Stitches & Bitches: A Three Little Words Anthology and A Visit from Amazing Editor Shannon Page


Exquisite revenge and knitted doppelgängers; heartbreak and happy endings; unicorns, doomed dogs, and penitent frogs; steampunk fairies, conflicted stepmothers, and baseball—you’ll find it all here. Our literary alchemists weave a spell of fascination, drawing you deeper and deeper, tale by tale, until escape is impossible. But you’ll enjoy every minute of the plunge.

These sixteen deft and delightful stories involving witches, stitches, and bitches run the gamut from darkly disturbing to just plain fun. They will each take you out of the ordinary and into the world of magic, where older, weirder, or merely other rules apply. And just when you think things are all sewn up... some bitch may have a surprise for you.


1. How did you get started writing?

I can’t remember not writing...I grew up on a commune without TV, among very few other kids, so reading was my chief source of entertainment. Consuming stories quickly led to the desire to create stories. My earliest efforts were crayon-on-construction-paper illustrated tales (and yes, my mom still has them). I kept a journal from the age of eleven, and wrote pretty much obsessively through high school.

But my first serious attempt at writing publishable work came after I read a witch novel where the ending utterly, thoroughly, completely disappointed me. (And no, I won’t tell you what it is! It was a perfectly fine book, it just... didn’t work for me.) I thought, Oh no, that’s not how it’s done. And I set out to do better. And now, almost ten years later, I’ve got a couple dozen published short stories, a forthcoming collection, and five and a half novels on their way, from two different presses.

 2. What were you looking for in the WSB anthology?

I know this is not helpful, but I have to say it first: good stories.

So let me elaborate. I didn’t have any preconceived notion of what kinds of stories I was looking for. I knew we wanted to keep to the “a witch, a stitch, and a bitch” theme, but that can be interpreted in so many ways, so I left myself open to whatever struck me. I chose light, silly stories, and dark, disturbing ones. Stories for adults and YA stories. Long ones and short ones. But what they all had in common was this: they held my attention all the way through.
They entertained me. I wanted to see what happened next. They let me stop being “editor” and slip into being “reader”.

I read every single story submitted, all the way through. When I mentioned this online, several more seasoned editors gently (and kindly) laughed, saying, Oh, don’t do that, it will make you crazy; you can tell a bad story right away. And, while that was largely true, I wanted to see what people were writing. I wanted to know why stories don’t work, and understand that in detail. Which leads into the next question:

 3. As an editor, can you give some helpful hints about what not to do that will give prospective writers a better edge on getting published?

I’m going to give a couple of “don’ts” and a “do” here, because they’re equally important.

Especially for newer writers: don’t overwrite. What most of the stories that didn’t make it into the anthology had in common was way too much explaining, especially of character motivation. If your characters are fully alive and realized, their reasons for doing things will be obvious; they will arise organically from your story, in the action and the characters’ interactions. So much can be revealed in dialogue and in small, telling details. Trust your reader: we get a lot more than you might think.

Another “don’t”: some of the stories didn’t grab me because they didn’t seem to be about anything. Sure, plenty of things happened, but there was no progression—nothing the main character learned or grew from. No way in which the world changed (and I don’t necessarily mean the whole wide world). Sometimes this is called theme, but I don’t want to get all high school English on you here. But a story, even a light and silly one, has to feel important. There have to be stakes for the characters, and it all has to mean something. Otherwise, it’s just not a satisfying read.

And here’s my biggest “do”: Read. Read, read, read! Now, this might be my no-TV bias here (I still don’t have one), but I don’t see how anyone can write well if they don’t read. Read widely and broadly, and pay attention to what other authors are doing—both the ones you like and the ones you don’t. Absorb how sentences go together; see what is revealed and what is only hinted at. Listen to how language works—read aloud. (Read your own work aloud too: this is astonishingly useful.) If you can pick up how punctuation and grammar work, this is a bonus, and your editors will thank you. J But I think the only way to learn how to write an effective story is to steep yourself in many, many other stories.

 4. What are your favorite witchy books or movies?

Well, not being much of a “watcher,” I can tell you about favorite books.  

I am currently reading Mindy Klasky’s Jane Madison books, and they are an absolute kick. I really enjoyed M. K. Hobson’s Native Star and its sequels. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is lovely. Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy is astonishing—I’ve read those several times. Galen Beckett’s trilogy which starts with The Magicians and Mrs. Quent is really, really good. I love Cherie Priest’s southern gothic books, starting with Four and Twenty Blackbirds. There are so many more, but those leap to mind right away!

 5. If you could have one witchy talent what would it be?

I am tempted to say “add more hours to the day”! But, if I let go of being a grownup for a minute, I remember how much I always wanted to fly. To just lift up my arms and soar. Being the grownup I am, though, I approximate that feeling by swimming.

 6. What is next on your writing and editing horizon?

I’ve got a dark fantasy/horror novel, Eel River, coming out from Morrigan Books some time in the next few months.  And then the first book in my Nightcraft Quartet, The Queen and The Tower, comes out next spring—the story of a young witch in San Francisco who just wants a little more adventure in her life... but, of course, be careful what you ask for!

On the editing front, I’ll be doing another “three little words” anthology for Evil Girlfriend next spring (though we haven’t picked the words yet!). I also edit for Per Aspera Press; on my plate there I’ve currently got a YA werewolf series with an interesting twist, plus a single-title novella about a young man’s interesting relationship with his dead twin brother.

 7. Heels or flats?

Ha! I have a great collection of gorgeous heels, but, alas, I almost always wear my Keen sandals. You can tell I live in Oregon.

 8. Car or broomstick? (trick question...for me it's both!)


 9. Pizza or sushi?

Sushi, most definitely! Amusingly, I just had sushi for lunch today. And sashimi: even more wonderful.

 10. What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

Mint chip, usually, though sometimes I’m a sucker for pistachio. Then, just to be peculiar: here in Portland we’ve got an artisanal ice cream company called Salt and Straw. They have a strawberry, balsamic vinegar and black pepper flavor that OH MY GOD you just have to try it to believe it.   

Thank you Shannon for visiting with us on the blog today! I am reading the anthology now and loving every page of it! I appreciate the writerly advice and am looking forward to submitting another story to the new lineup of anthologies for 2014. I can't wait to read your upcoming works!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Medium Rare Blog Tour and Giveaway

Medium Rare
by Meg Benjamin



There are no skeletons in her closet…only ghosts

Rose Ramos was a reference librarian, until she inherited her grandmother’s house—and the family talent for connecting with the other side…

Moving into the lovely Victorian in San Antonio’s King William District is a dream come true for Rose—and also a nightmare. That’s the only explanation she has for the man hovering above her bed. But Skag is a ghost who’s been part of Rose’s family for generations. And now he’s all hers.

When Evan Delwin, a reporter out to debunk the city’s newest celebrity, posts an ad looking for a research assistant to investigate a famous medium making his home in San Antonio, Skag suggests that Rose apply for the job. Delving into the dark side has its own dangers for Rose—including trying to resist Delwin’s manly charms. But as the investigation draws them closer together, the deadly currents surrounding the medium threaten to destroy them all…

Excerpt Three:

Suddenly, she heard the sound of paws galloping along the driveway, monstrous claws clicking on the asphalt. She fumbled for the key she kept in the old mailbox at the door, jamming it into the lock and twisting for all she was worth.

Close behind her, something yipped as she shoved the front door open, half falling through, trying to shove it closed with her shoulder. A large heavy projectile struck her chest with the force of a missile, blowing the door wide and throwing her down full-length just inside. She looked up into an immense mouth full of yellowing fangs. Threads of drool hung a few inches from her face.

She tried to twist away, pulling as far back as she could beneath the dog’s weight. Dread clenched her stomach as she closed her eyes. “Ohgodohgodohgod.”

“Rose!” Skag’s voice echoed through the hall. “That’s a hellhound. Stay absolutely still! Do not move!”

She couldn’t have moved if her life depended on it, which, of course, it probably did. The dog’s huge paws still held her shoulders flat against the floor. Its breath blew hot against her cheeks, smelling of old meat and open graves. She struggled to breathe under its weight, tensing for the moment it would clamp its teeth on her throat. She heard the faint creak of its jaws as they opened wider.

And then something large, damp, and utterly disgusting swiped across her cheeks.

She peeked through her lashes up into the dog’s face. Glowing orange eyes stared back as the animal prepared to lick her again.


Review: This story was a delight to read. A librarian moving into a haunted house and finding out she has a ghost with an odd sense of familiarity that is completely funny and horrible at the same time. When Skag (the ghost) decides to pick a modern television personality who also happens to be a serial killer to manifest into, Rose is left wondering if she just inherited her dream house or her worst nightmare. Enter Evan, a sexy reporter and you have a powder keg just waiting to burst wide open as the forces around Rose converge and the gates of the paranormal world stake their claim. The Hellhounds and ravens were a lovely touch and I loved the voice of the writing. I hope this isn't the last book we see in this series.

4/5 Great read!

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Meg Benjamin is writes contemporary romance for Samhain Publishing and paranormal romance for Berkley InterMix. Her books have won an EPIC Award for Contemporary Romance, the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, the New England Romance Writers Beanpot Award, and the Holt Medallion among other honors. Meg lives in Colorado. Her Web site is http://www.MegBenjamin.com and her blog is http://megbenj1.wordpress.com/. You can follow her on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/meg.benjamin1), Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/megbenjamin/), and Twitter (http://twitter.com/megbenj1). Meg loves to hear from readers—contact her at meg@megbenjamin.com.

Meg will be awarding a $15 Amazon gift certificate to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour, and E-copies ofMedium Well (the preceding book in the series) to two randomly drawn commenters during the tour. So make sure you leave a comment and your email address for your chance to win.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Fairies In My Fireplace Release Day Blitz

Fairies in My Fireplace
Monster Haven Book Three
R.L. Naquin

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Carina Press

Date of Publication: Sept. 3, 2013

ISBN: 9781426896279

Number of pages: 226
Word Count: 86,000

Cover Artist: Kix by Design

Amazon      BN     Carina Press

Book Description:

Sometimes it’s the monsters who need to be saved…

A migration of mythical creatures has begun, and more and more of them are landing on Zoey Donovan's doorstep. As the only Aegis left in the country, it falls to her to protect the Hidden and keep them safe—and her house has become a sanctuary for water sprites, goblins, harpies, djinn and more.

Keeping track of her boarders is a full-time job, and Zoey's already got her hands full trying to run her wedding planning business. Good thing she has a resident closet monster to keep her organized, and a hot Reaper boyfriend to help her relax every once in a while.

But she can't keep up monster-triage indefinitely, and as more Hidden arrive, it becomes clear that someone—or something—is hunting them. In the midst of planning an event for a notoriously difficult client, Zoey's got to figure out who's behind the hunt…and she's got to stop them before there are no Hidden left.

Chapter One

As I inched across the roof of my house, the harpy nestled against my chimney regarded me with suspicion. I’d have let her stay there, but the mailman could be coming up the street soon. With all the weird things he’d already caught glimpses of on my property, I didn’t think he’d go for some half-assed explanation that she was a Halloween decoration. Especially since it was April.

I drew closer to her, and she pressed herself against the bricks. By human standards, she couldn’t have been more than eighteen or nineteen, though maybe harpies had a different rate of aging. She was all boobs and hair and feathers. And she stank. She also clutched my car keys in her sharp, grimy claws.

I stretched my legs out on either side of the roof peak and sat back, straddling it. The harpy relaxed. I laid my hands on my thighs in as nonthreatening a manner as I could muster. I kept my voice low and casual—as casual as I could while squatting, two stories up, with cedar splinters poking me in the ass.

“There’s nothing to be afraid of here,” I said. “Are you okay?”

She frowned. I truly hoped harpies understood English, since my regular translator, an eight-month-pregnant brownie, was unavailable. The height wasn’t a problem—brownies don’t fall, they float. The climb was the issue. Molly didn’t need the strain. Her tiny body was already burdened enough with the thimble- sized life inside her.

The harpy stretched one filthy wing and shook my car keys. Her perky breasts jiggled. I kept eye contact, afraid to get caught staring. Seriously, though, they were impressive. I never felt I lacked in boobage until that moment, but if I had what she had, I’d head straight to Mardi Gras. They’d run out of beads and beer by the time I left.

An arm I didn’t know she possessed snaked out from under her greasy feathers and scratched a nipple before folding away.

She shrugged. “I’ve been better.” Her voice had a husky sound to it, like she’d been gargling with a handful of sand.

At least we could communicate. That was a good start.

“Anything you want to talk about?” I reached out to her with my empathic gift, opening myself to whatever emotions she might be leaking. Nervous energy pat- tered against my skin, tinged with the dark taste of fear.

She shook her head, and a hank of stringy blond hair dropped across her face. She peered at me, waiting.

I thought I heard a car and glanced out across the yard. No mailman yet. The driveway was clear. “Listen, we need to get you somewhere you can’t be seen, okay? You’re welcome here. Just not, you know, right here.”

She chewed on her bottom lip, thinking, measuring me up through her mat of hair. When she finally spoke, it was a whisper. “I don’t have anyplace else to go.”

I let out a breath. “Oh, honey, as long as I’m here, you have a safe place to be. You just can’t camp out on the roof. We’re protected here, but we still have to stay out of sight, okay? We’ve got trees in the back, if you want to stay in the open. There’s room in the attic if you want to come inside. No one will bother you there.”

The bird-woman shook her hair from her face and looked at me with surprise. “I can come inside?”

“Of course you can.” I smiled to reassure her. “And when you’re ready, maybe you can tell me what’s wrong?”

She nodded. “Maybe.”

I stuck my hand out, palm up. “Unless you were planning on a road trip, I could really use my keys back.”

She shifted from one foot to the other and eased toward me. A shingle knocked loose and slid down the sloping roof, crashing to the porch below.

A voice rose up the side of the house where I’d left the ladder. “Zoey! Is everything okay up there?”

The harpy froze, her face draining of color.

“It’s okay,” I said. “That’s Maurice. He’s a closet monster. You’ll like him. Everybody does.”

She looked doubtful. “You have a closet monster here?” She shuddered.

I suppressed a giggle. Like Maurice was a threat to anybody. “We have all sorts here. Maurice helps take care of everybody. I’m Zoey. What should we call you?”

“Viola. Vi, if you want.”

I grinned. “It’s nice to meet you, Vi. If you’ll hand me the keys, we can get down from here and get you settled.”

Vi scooted closer and dropped the keys in my outstretched hand. “Sorry about that,” she said. “They were so bright and shiny. Sometimes I act without thinking.”

I managed to climb down the ladder without hurting myself, and Maurice was at the bottom waiting.

“Why didn’t you answer me?” He frowned. “I was worried. And how much damage did you do up there? Are we going to have leaks when it rains? I’ve got a lot to do already.”

My lips curled in a tired smile. “Just a couple of shingles. It should be fine.” A shadow flitted above us and another chunk of wood dropped to the ground. “I need to run to the attic and open a window for our latest guest.”

Maurice sighed, his large yellow eyes weary, and his face even more gaunt and pale than usual. “I’ll take care of it. I need you to call Andrew. We’ve got a hellhound with some sort of mange or something. I put it in the garage. You’ve also got a pair of water sprites in your bathroom sink, and a family of gnomes is hiding under the back porch.”

I ran my hand through my hair and groaned. “All that showed up while I was on the roof?”

He nodded. “We’re running out of places to put people, Zoey. This is ridiculous.”

About the Author:

Rachel’s head is packed with an outrageous amount of useless Disney trivia. She is terrified of thunder, but not of lightning, and tends to recite the Disneyland dedication speech during storms to keep herself calm. She finds it appalling that nobody from Disney has called yet with her castle move-in date.

Originally from Northern California, she has a tendency to move every few years, resulting in a total of seven different states and a six-year stint in England. Currently, she’s planning her next grand adventure. Rachel has one heroic husband, two genius kids, a crazy-cat-lady starter kit, and an imaginary dog named Waffles.

She doesn’t have time for a real dog.

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Cadence of Gypsies Super Book Blast

Barbara Casey


Three high-spirited 17 year olds, with intelligent quotients in the genius range, accompany their teacher and mentor, Carolina Lovel, to Frascati, Italy, a few weeks before they are to graduate from Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women. Carolina's purpose in planning the trip is to remove her gifted, creative students from the Wood Rose campus located in Raleigh, North Carolina, so they can't cause any more problems ("expressions of creativity") for the headmaster, faculty, and other students – which they do with regularity. Carolina also wants to visit the Villa Mondragone where the Voynich Manuscript, the most mysterious document in the world, was first discovered and search how it is related to a paper written in the same script she received on her 18th birthday when she was told that she was adopted – a search that will take them into the mystical world of gypsy tradition and magic, more exciting and dangerous than any of them could have imagined.


The slight voice tremor was all that was needed, but the deep, audible sigh confirmed what Carolina suspected:  that she was in for another real ass-chewing.  This would be the eighth time getting called into the headmaster's office in the same number of months she had been teaching at Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women.  Each time it had been because her girls had committed a serious infraction of rules or behaved in some inappropriate way that was unacceptable within the stone walls of Wood Rose.

Her girls, the ones she had been given total responsibility for, called themselves Females of Intellectual Genius, or FIGs.   Everyone else, however, called them strange.  Never before in the history of Wood Rose had a student even come close to approaching genius status.  Certainly not in the time that Dr. Harcourt had been headmaster.  Then, within the short span of one week, two seven-year-old children--Dara Roux and Mackenzie Yarborough--were admitted, each from a different family, a different background, and a different part of the country, but each with an intelligence quotient well within the range of genius.  Amazingly, several years later, a third student--Jennifer Torres--was enrolled, whose age and scores were comparable to those of the original FIGs.  What Wood Rose could do for these gifted girls was now coming to a close, much to the relief of the administration, faculty, and staff alike.  This would be their final year at Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women, for in June--less than six weeks away--they would graduate.

Carolina was still in bed, deep in thought as she usually was whenever she had a quiet moment to herself, when the telephone rang.  For several days she had been struggling with how best to approach the headmaster.  Ever since being put in charge of the FIGs shortly after getting hired at Wood Rose, she had been trying to come up with innovative ways in which she could somehow excite her girls, challenge their intellect, and, most of all, keep them out of trouble.  The inherent problems of being different extended beyond their prickly relationship with Wood Rose staff members.   The multi-faceted difficulties in teaching the FIGs frequently left the faculty with feelings of inferiority and impotency at the very least.  None of the other residents wanted to be around them either, with the exception of the youngest residents who didn't yet comprehend the difference between being brilliant and normal, which brought about additional struggles of an inner psychological nature.  Carolina had tried a variety of things, but, obviously, what she had been doing wasn't working.  What had stimulated her when she was their age?  What mysteries of the universe had intrigued her?

Then she had remembered.


I enjoyed the book. Mysteries about old boxes and sketchy familial histories are a plot line ripe with all kinds of fruit. In this case, we have a young woman who has been given a box by her adoptive parents. Inside holds much more than Carolina ever expected to find. A job at an academy for orphans leads her to take a trip with some unruly students to Italy. There, she begins the search for her birth family. There are many more twists and turns to the story that I won't give away. It was an enjoyable read and a nice book to turn in with at the end of a busy day.



Originally from Carrollton, Illinois, Barbara Casey attended the University of North Carolina, North Carolina State University, and North Carolina Wesleyan College where she received a BA degree, summa cum laude, with a double major in English and history. In 1978 she left her position as Director of Public Relations and Vice President of Development at North Carolina Wesleyan College to write full time and develop her own manuscript evaluation and editorial service. Since that time her award-winning articles, short stories, and poetry for adults have appeared in several publications including the AMERICAN POETRY ANTHOLOGY, the SPARROWGRASS POETRY FORUM, THE NATIONAL LIBRARY OF POETRY (Editor’s Choice Award), the NORTH CAROLINA CHRISTIAN ADVOCATE MAGAZINE, THE NEW EAST MAGAZINE, the RALEIGH (NC) NEWS AND OBSERVER, the ROCKY MOUNT (NC) SUNDAY TELEGRAM, DOG FANCY, BYLINE, TRUE STORY and THE CHRISTIAN RECORD. A thirty-minute television special which Ms. Casey wrote and coordinated was broadcast on WRAL, Channel 5, in Raleigh, North Carolina. Ms. Casey's award-winning science fiction short stories for adults are featured in THE COSMIC UNICORN and CROSS TIME short story anthologies. Her essays, also written for adults, appear in THE CHRYSALIS READER, the international literary journal of the Swedenborg Foundation, and A CUP OF COMFORT ANTHOLOGY by the Adams Media Corporation.

Her two middle-grade/young adult novels, LEILANI ZAN and GRANDMA JOCK AND CHRISTABELLE (James C. Winston Publishing Co.) were nominated for awards of excellence by the SCBWI Golden Kite Award, the National Association of University Women Literary Award and the Sir Walter Raleigh Literary AwardSHYLA'S INITIATIVE (Crossquarter Publishing Group, 2002), a contemporary adult novel of fiction, received the 2003 Independent Publisher Book Award and received special recognition for literary merit by the Palm Beach County Cultural Council. Ms. Casey’s novel THE COACH’S WIFE (ArcheBooks Publishing), a contemporary mystery, was listed as a Publisher’s Best Seller and was semifinalist of the Dana Award for Outstanding Novel. In 2007 her novel, THE HOUSE OF KANE (ArcheBooks Publishing), also a contemporary mystery, was considered for a Pulitzer nomination, and in December 2009 her novel, JUST LIKE FAMILY (Wandering Sage Publications), was launched by the
7-Eleven stores in St. Louis, Missouri. Her young adult novel, THE CADENCE OF GYPSIES (Gauthier Publications), was released in March 2011 and considered for the Smithsonian’s Most Notable 2011 Books.  It has also been selected by Amazon for its 2013 List of Best Books.  THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO PRISSY (Strategic Media Books), a novel for adults, was released in March 2013 and received an IPPY Award for Best Regional Fiction.  It has also been listed as a “2013 Best Summer Read” by Conversations Live Radio and has been placed in nomination for a Pulitzer Award.

Ms. Casey is a frequent guest speaker at writers’ conferences and universities throughout the United States. She is former director, guest author, and panelist of BookFest of the Palm Beaches, Florida; and for thirteen years she served as judge for the Pathfinder Literary Awards in Florida.  She held the position of Florida Regional Advisor for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators from 1991 to 2003.

Ms. Casey is president of the Barbara Casey Agency. She represents clients nationally and internationally in fiction and nonfiction for adults. Her past and present professional associations are numerous and include being editorial consultant for The Jamaican Writers Circle in affiliation with the University of West Indies and Mico Teachers College in Kingston. She also received special recognition for her editorial work on the English translations of Albanian children’s stories.


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