Friday, August 30, 2013

Red Dragon, Book Opening Lines, and Friday Celebrations

Today is the August meeting of The Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a book club hosted by The Armchair Squid, and this is my first time participating in the group. The rules of the club are simple - post about the best book you've finished during the past month and visit other bloggers who are doing the same.

My choice for this month was an easy one. The best book I read in August was Red Dragon by Thomas Harris.
Red Dragon on Amazon
I know this book is old but I had never read it before, and I haven't seen either of the movies made from it. But I became totally addicted to the tv show Hannibal this summer and I wanted to read the book that inspired it.

Once I started this book I couldn't stop and I was turning pages well into the night until I came to the end. That was both a good and a bad thing, because when I took my dog Clancy outside in the dark after finishing the book I was scared to death when I heard footsteps in my parking lot. I froze and nearly had a heart attack, certain Hannibal Lecter was coming up behind me. Fortunately, the footsteps only belonged to one of my neighbors. :D

According to one of the reviews on Amazon, "if you haven't read [Red Dragon] you haven't had the creeps."

I definitely second that and now wish I had read this book years ago. I not only loved the book, I also got more addicted to the series after reading it. A big thumbs up from me.

Thanks to Armchair for giving me the heads-up about this monthly meeting!

In keeping with the book theme, my Friday Faves list for this week is five of my favorite book opening lines. These are in no particular order, except for this first one, which is my all-time favorite.

"It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen." ~ 1984, George Orwell


"Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered that she had turned into the wrong person." ~ Back When We Were Grownups, Anne Tyler

"Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . ." ~ Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier


“Ships at a distance have every man’s wish aboard.” ~ Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston


"Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much." ~ Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone, J.K. Rowling

I have to say this was probably the hardest topic yet to narrow down to just five. I could easily have gone on all day.

Finally, Friday brings another round of the Celebrate the Small Things Bloghop, hosted by Vikki at Scribblings of an Aspiring Author.

I'm celebrating that I have a long weekend thanks to the Labor Day holiday. The beginning of the new school year is always a stressful time at the college where I work and I am really looking forward to the break.

And speaking of the weekend, I'm celebrating the return of college football. Go Buckeyes! :)

Finally, I'm celebrating that we are heading into September and my favorite time of the year. I love autumn!

What are you celebrating? Did you read a book you particularly loved this past month? And what are your favorite book opening lines?

Happy weekend, all! :)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Untethered Realms Spotlight: Cover Reveals for Angela Brown and Gwen Gardner!

I am turning the blog over to the awesome Partners in ParanormYA duo today as they have some extremely exciting news to share this week. Take it away, ladies!

It is with great pleasure and a thrill in our hearts that Gwen Gardner and I (Angela Brown *hugs*) reveal the covers for our follow up stories to our currently available novels: Givin' Up the Ghost (Gwen) and Neverlove (Angela)

*cue drumroll*

A GUILTY GHOST SURPRISED by Gwen Gardner (Add to Goodreads)
An Angel Among Us
Paranormal happenings at the Eady household are the norm. Recently, things have become downright peculiar. Childish giggles at odd hours of the night lead Indigo Eady to her little cousin, Bryan, a guileless cherub spirit, complete with Spider Man pajamas and a set of faux angel wings. The problem is that Bryan died nearly three years ago in a hit and run that killed him and his mum. The driver was never found.  Now the gang must solve the mystery of his death in order to send him back to heaven.  But where to start when the trail is three years cold?
Indigo Eady
Indigo Eady is not clumsy. At least, that’s what she keeps telling everyone. Can she help that the overactive spirit community of Sabrina Shores causes her psychic abilities to short-circuit? It’s unfortunate that her cute friend Badger is often on the receiving end of her mishaps. At times, she is positively hazardous to his health. Even so, sparks fly in more than one direction.


THEY ALL FALL DOWN by Angela Brown (Add to Goodreads)
Abby and Basil: New love reaches new heights as they finally give in to their lust and desire for each other.

Q: Consumed by the Devourer within and his base need to claim Abby as his own.

The crave: What it all boils down to. A crave for souls. A crave to keep love intact beyond betrayals. A crave for a second chance. A crave for power and The Fall of mankind.

“Love can conquer all” is put to the test and salvation may be impossible when it’s “ashes, ashes…they all fall down.”

About Gwen

Gwen Gardner is a native Californian living in sunny San Diego, where her love of reading and writing led to a BA in English literature. Life is now complete with her husband, two dogs and a daily call from her daughter.

Since ghosts feature prominently in her young adult Indigo Eady Paranormal “Cozy” Mystery series, she has a secret desire to meet one face to face - but will run screaming for the hills if she ever does. Gwen adores travel and experiencing the cultures and foods of different countries. She is always up for an adventure and anything involving chocolate - not necessarily in that order. Haunt at the following: Blog | Twitter | Facebook

About Angela
 Angela is a lover of Wild Cherry Pepsi and chocolate/chocolate covered delicious-ness. Steampunk, fantasy and paranormal to contemporary - mostly young adult - fill her growing library of books. Mother to a rambunctious darling girl aptly nicknamed Chipmunk, life stays busy. Her favorite quote keeps her moving: "You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result." ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Haunt at the following: Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Monday, August 26, 2013

National Dog Day and Wickedly They Come

August 26 is National Dog Day and Clancy is thrilled to have the chance to celebrate.

National Dog Day was founded in 2004 by pet lifestyle and author expert Colleen Paige. The day is an opportunity to raise awareness of and encourage dog rescue and adoption while also celebrating the joy of family dogs and the selflessness of service dogs, police dogs, search and rescue dogs and all of the working dogs who do so much to enrich our world.

My way of celebrating the day is to share a few more rescue dogs from my area who are waiting for their forever homes. Click on each dog's name for information on how to adopt them.

Buster from Three Sisters Pet Rescue

Nina from Fourgotten Paws Animal Rescue
Stella from the SPCA of Cincinnati
Nightingale from the Kenton County Animal Shelter
When I searched Petfinder for these dogs, I unfortunately found more than 5700 homeless dogs within 100 miles of Cincinnati! To find adoptable dogs in your area, simply go to, enter your city or zip code, and limit your search to dogs.

The Dog Day site has many suggestions for how to celebrate the day, including donating time, money or supplies to a local shelter, writing your congressperson and asking for their support in efforts to ban puppy mills, assisting an elderly neighbor with walking their dog, or simply showering your own dog with extra love and goodies. For the full list of suggestions, click here.

I'd hate to imagine a world without dogs in it so I think this is a day that is definitely worth celebrating. However, someone in my house disagrees and feels like the whole thing is a waste of time and energy.

I promised Nate that National Cat Day is coming up in October so he was at least somewhat appeased.

In other news, this past weekend was a big one for my friend Cathrina Constantine, as her debut novel Wickedly They Come was released out into the world! Yay!

Cathrina is hosting a big giveaway to celebrate her release and you can find all the details, as well as read an excerpt from the book, here.

I happen to know that Cathrina is a dog (and cat) lover so I didn't think she'd mind sharing a post with the dogs. :D Congratulations, Cathy!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday Faves: Song Lyrics

This week I'm listing five of my favorite song lyrics. These are just lyrics that struck a chord and stuck with me with various reasons. I guess it goes without saying these are also all songs I love.

Born To Run on Amazon

"Remember all the movies, Terry, we'd go see
Trying to learn how to walk like the heroes we thought we had to be"

Backstreets ~ Bruce Springsteen (Born to Run)

Yes I Am on Amazon

"There's something waiting out there
That says I've got to try
I've been talking to my angel
And he said that it's alright"

Talking To My Angel ~ Melissa Etheridge (Yes I Am)


The Joshua Tree on Amazon

"I'll show you a place
high on a desert plain
Where the streets have no name"

Where The Streets Have No Name ~ U2 (The Joshua Tree)

Where You Live on Amazon

"If everything you think you know
Makes your life unbearable
Would you change?"

Change ~ Tracy Chapman (Where You Live)

Planet Waves on Amazon

"May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young"

Forever Young ~ Bob Dylan (Planet Waves)

Are there any song lyrics that are particularly meaningful to you or that simply hold a special place in your heart? I have a life-long love affair with music so I could probably have gone on all day with this list. It was hard to stop at five. :)

It's been kind of a crazy week here getting ready for the start of the new school year where I work so that is it for me today. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Second Shadow Cover Reveal

I'm participating in the cover reveal for Elizabeth Arroyo's upcoming novel The Second Shadow, which will be released on September 5 by Sapphire Star Publishing. Congratulations to Elizabeth!

Here's the info on the book and that handsome guy on the cover. :D

(Book 2 of The Second Sign series)
Dark YA Paranormal Romance
Available September 5, 2013
Sapphire Star Publishing

Jake thought being demon meant a shredded humanity, stripped of all human emotion. Chaos and self-preservation dominates a demon’s instincts. But Jake feels every ounce of pain and despair around him. 

And it’s driving him deeper into Hell.

Gabby’s choice to save him last summer left a fissure in Hell’s gate that released a malevolent evil. When Jake’s given a mission by the demons to shadow a human girl who may know the whereabouts of an ethereal weapon, he doesn’t expect to see Gabby. But Fate has her own agenda.

When Jake and Gabby are thrown together on a camping trip with a group of delinquent teens, Jake begins to grapple with the haunting choices he made in the past.  When the evil finds them, the group begins to battle for their lives, alliances are made, and truths revealed.
As the evil begins to influence Jake, he questions his link to the demons, his purpose, and his love for Gabby. 

But the answers to those questions are only found in Hell. And it may cost him his soul.

About the author
Elizabeth has worked in the community for the bulk of her professional career. She enjoys quiet moments, action flicks, and dancing with her four-year-old.  

You can find more information about Elizabeth at

Monday, August 19, 2013

Homeless Animals Day and Writers4Writers

Saturday was International Homeless Animals Day, a day set aside each year to raise awareness of pet overpopulation and to promote spay/neuter practices that reduce the number of unwanted animals and cut down on the overpopulation epidemic.

In that spirit I wanted to share a few pictures of homeless dogs in Cincinnati who are available for adoption through one of my favorite rescues, Sheltered Paws.

Sheltered Paws works in collaboration with the Cincinnati SPCA to bring shelter dogs into foster homes until they can be adopted. They focus on dogs who, for various reasons, have difficulty adjusting to the shelter environment. The Sheltered Paws volunteers provide loving homes where the dogs can feel more secure, thereby increasing their chances at adoption.

These are just a few of the Sheltered Paws dogs currently waiting for their forever homes. Just click on each dog's name to learn more. (Photos courtesy of Sheltered Paws)


Aren't they sweet? To see all of the Sheltered Paws dogs currently available for adoption visit their website here.

Pet Adoption

If you're interested in adding a pet to your family, consider finding a rescue pet through Petfinder. You will have the satisfaction of saving a life while also finding a new best friend!

On a totally different note, today is the day for the August edition of Writers4Writers, the monthly event hosted by Christine Rains, M. Pax, Stephen Tremp, and C.M. Brown. The mission of the group is to raise awareness of spotlighted authors and their books, with the hope of bringing them new fans and increased sales.

This month's authors are Carrie Butler and C. Lee McKenzie. Visit their sites to find tweets and status updates that you can share on Twitter and Facebook. And if you'd like to join in the event each month, sign up here.

Congratulations to Carrie and C. Lee!

Last but not least, today is release day for Yolanda Renee. Murder, Madness, & Love is now available on Kindle. Huge congratulations to Yolanda! My Kindle will have a new book on it this evening. :)

Hope everyone had a great weekend and has a good week ahead.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday Faves: Vacation Spots

This week I'm listing my five favorite places I've visited on vacation.

First up, San Francisco.

If I had to pick the most beautiful city I've ever been to it would easily be San Francisco. I had wanted to visit there for years and when I finally made it in 2005 it didn't disappoint. I loved everything about it - the Bay, the Golden Gate, Muir Woods, the Pacific Coast Highway, Fisherman's Wharf - I could go on and on. I hope to make it back to San Fran someday.

While I'm out West, I can't forget to mention the Grand Canyon.

What can be said about the Grand Canyon except that it's without a doubt the most stunning thing I've ever seen. When I walked up to the edge I was literally left speechless. Simply spectacular.

Across the pond now to London.

When I visited London in 2002 I swore I was going to return again soon. I haven't made it yet, but I hope to someday. As a history buff, I was in awe of the history on display in London and in Bath, which I went to on the train. I loved my visit to this city and I'd love to return to England and see more of the country.

Ontario, Canada

Back in the 90s I went to Toronto with friends and then traveled north in Ontario to Rice Lake, Peterborough, and Coburt. This was the farthest north I've ever been and I loved the landscape. I think my favorite part of the trip was visiting the Petroglyphs Provincial Park and seeing rock carvings from the Pre-Columbian era. Fascinating!

Finally, Martha's Vineyard

I don't even know how many times I've gone to the Vineyard but it's safe to say it's been many, many times, going back to before I was even a year old. The Vineyard is a second home to me and there's really nowhere else I'd rather visit.

What are your favorite places you've visited?

It's also time for another round of the Celebrate the Small Things hop with Vikki at Scribblings of an Aspiring Author. 

I mentioned last week that I finally felt inspired to do some writing again after a summer long slump. And this week I'm celebrating that I actually did finally make some progress on my sequel to Polar Night. Things finally feel as if they are coming together and I'm excited to start connecting my ideas and make progress on the story.

I'm also celebrating that I was one of the winners of Nancy LaRonda Johnson's Salted With Fire blog tour! I won an ebook copy of Nancy's book and I can't wait to read it. It's always so fun to win something. Thanks, Nancy!

I hope you all have a great weekend!

*Top 4 photos courtesy of Wikimedia Commons*

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Tag Time

The wonderful and talented Christine Rains, author of the fantastic 13th Floor series, tagged me for one of the writing memes that has been making its way around the blogosphere. Thanks to Christine for the tag!

The rules of this tag are very simple. All I had to do was answer four of the following nine questions, link back to Christine, and then tag four writers myself.

The questions:  

1. What are you working on right now?
2. How does it differ from other works in its genre? 
3. What experiences have influenced you? 
4. Why do you write what you do?
5. How does your writing process work?
6. What is the hardest part about writing?
7. What would you like to try as a writer that you haven't yet?
8. Who are the authors you most admire?
9. What scares you? 

My answers:

1. I am working on revising and polishing my upcoming novel The Ghosts of Aquinnah. Every time I think I'm done I start playing with it again! The novel will be released in December of this year and I'm very excited about it.

7. I would like to try writing short stories. I have written some flash fiction but have never written a longer short story and that's something I'd really like to do. I have some ideas and hope to flesh them out and get some stories written - that's a goal for 2014.

8. There are so many authors I admire that it would be impossible to list all of them. But when I read this question I thought about two author friends I have come to really admire for more than just their writing as I've gotten to know them. One is M. Pax, who is the author of The Backworlds Series, among other works. I admire Mary because she created a business plan for her writing and she's stuck with it, and she is now seeing the fruits of her labor. I am very impressed with her determination and resolve. I also admire Lisa Regan, author of Finding Claire Fletcher and Aberration. If you know Lisa, you know how many times she was rejected by agents (238!) before she finally got a "yes" on Claire Fletcher. Her perseverance is an inspiration to everyone who has ever thought about giving up and throwing in the towel.

9. Public speaking! Just the thought of having to stand up in front of people and talk is enough to make me break out into a cold sweat. 

Thanks again to Christine for tagging me for this fun meme. I am tagging Yolanda Renee, Susan Oloier, S.K. Anthony, and Murees Dupé.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

An Alaskan Adventure with Yolanda Renee

Today I'm very excited to be hosting Yolanda Renee, author of Murder, Madness, & Love (available next week!) and Memories of Murder, which will be published in October. When I met Yolanda I was very interested to hear about her time in Alaska since that is the setting for my novel Polar Night. So when I signed up to be part of her blog tour it was a no-brainer for me to ask her to share some of her Alaskan experiences here on my site.

Before I turn things over to Yolanda, I just want to say that I am also excited to be featured on her site today. You can read Yolanda's interview with me on her blog Defending the Pen.

Now on to the Alaskan adventures!


         Julie has agreed to host me on her blog today, and has asked that I speak of my Alaskan Adventures, the inspiration for much of my writing. Thank you Julie, I love nothing more than talking about Alaska and my experiences, just don't tell my family or their eye rolls will make you all dizzy!

         I went to Alaska on vacation but fell in love, with the state, and stayed for 4 years. The boyfriend I went there to visit, well, we just didn't work as a couple. I knew the first few minutes after my arrival that I never wanted to leave this amazing place, and if I have one regret, it's that I did leave. Even though I moved to Washington State, a place that ran a close second to Alaska for an adventure seeker, I still hope to return, and make Alaska my writing home.

         That first year I lived near Ester, just outside of Fairbanks and close to the University of Alaska. I worked for a trucking company as a payroll clerk and wrote weekly checks to drivers that equaled ¼ of my paycheck for an entire year. I was mistaken for a prostitute on the plane ride to Fairbanks and refused to wear a dress for almost two years because of it. I worked as an Assistant Field Engineer on the pipeline corridor from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez and eventually settled in downtown Anchorage where I worked for the native Corporation that built the Sheraton Anchorage Hotel. 

         I hiked the Alaskan Range and the Brooks Range, and learned all about survival in the wilderness and the cold despite being a cheechako (a newcomer, unaware and totally unafraid). You learn fast when faced with a crisis. I still suffer in the cold from frostbite to my fingers. Damage that occurred when I had to splice the wires to my engine-heater at 50 below, but I will always prefer the cold to the heat. I spent more money on bug-off, and hiking boots, than perfume or high heels. That first summer I hitchhiked, safely with a friend, until I could convince a bank I would not disappear after the termination dust (snow) hit the foothills in September.

         I've been stranded on a mountaintop at 30 below, shivered through a night (alone) under a mountain of blankets after exposure to the cold – hyperthermia. I learned that the water in a gas tank can freeze and clog not only the gas line but also the carburetor, as well as how to repair it myself. I've stood on ice bubbles ten feet tall and I've eaten grayling direct from mountain stream to skillet and nothing since, has ever tasted that good. I've helicoptered into to a mining camp and listened to the miner's stories of survival while drinking coffee and eating sourdough bread. And in one evening I saw 9 grizzlies, after a spring of hiking the range and not seeing anything but tracks, thank god, I was in a pickup truck at the time of those sightings.

         I've been truly blessed to have had such awesome experiences and have drawn from that to create my suspenseful romance set in Alaska, and Washington states. Murder, Madness & Love to be re-released this month, and Memories of Murder to be released October 4, 2013. The first two books in the Detective Quaid trilogy with a third, Obsession to Murder due out in 2014.

Thank you Julie, for allowing me to visit your blog and talk of my Alaskan adventures and my books! 

Learn more about Renee and her books by following these links:

Murder, Madness & Love
August 19, 2013


After a gritty detective becomes involved with a beautiful widow suspected of murder, rumor and obsession obstruct his quest for justice.


Sunlight blazes on an empty canvas.

Arctic winds gather snowflakes on a frosty window ledge as a statuesque form appears. She moves past a table littered with papers. Headlines splash news of murder, but it's the photo of another young woman with features mirroring her own that draws her attention.

A different headline peeks from underneath the Anchorage Times.

Wealthy Businessman Dies in Car Crash ... BLACK WIDOW SUSPECTED!

Graphic images swirl through her head and a tear rolls down her cheek. She drifts toward an easel and a trembling hand dips a sable brush into a palette of paint.

The Westminster doorbell chimes. The brush slips and blood-red paint stains the floor. 

Detective Steven Quaid waits. His Tlingit, Indian features carved from granite, mask his Irish passion ...

Will he arrest her this time? 

All fingers point to her guilt. 

But, is she guilty of this cunning plot? Or, just a victim of circumstantial evidence?

The door opens ...

His eyes lock on hers ... 

His heart races ...

Hers skips a beat.

Memories of Murder
October 4, 2013


World damnation is a psychotic man’s goal, but two obstacles stand in his way, greed and a dedicated detective.


Decades ago, the seeds were planted …

Today, dark, fathomless eyes rake the image before him. One final task and the transformation is complete. Steady fingers screw intricately carved horns on each side of a stiff brow, and a gargoyle suitable for Notre Dame scowls from the smokey mirror in satisfaction.
A jagged smile rips through his smooth, hairless face, and inked, reptilian scales caress his naked body. 

A laugh of hideous resonance emanates from his gut as the demons of hell welcome Lucifer into their fold.

In a dungeon-like chamber, his Lilith awaits. The kidnapped daughter of a nun, groomed to fit the final piece in the complex puzzle for world domination. Will Lucifer marry his bride, on the summer solstice? 

Only two things stand in his way ...

His greed ...

And ...

Detective Steven Quaid.