Monday, December 8, 2014

Claudia Must Die and Happy Holidays

Today I'm excited to share the new release by TB Markinson, Claudia Must Die. Congratulations, TB! If you don't already know TB you should really check out her work. She is a prolific and talented writer and a super nice person to boot. 

One quick note before I get to the book. I don't think I'll be blogging the rest of the month so I want to say Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy New Year now! I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season. I am getting back on track with writing and blogging and life in general and I'm looking forward to starting fresh on the blog in January.  

And now to the book!


Claudia doesn’t feel like herself anymore—she feels like prey. Her husband’s hired goons have stalked her all the way to Boston and will only stop their pursuit once she is dead.

Divorce is not an option. Instead, she has stolen a bunch of her man’s money to disappear into another life.

In order for Claudia to live, someone else must die. A lookalike college student becomes the target capable of freeing her from an awful marriage. 

The plan goes horribly awry. Instead of murdering Claudia’s double, the assassins shoot the woman’s lover who is the cousin of a powerful Irish mobster. Claudia becomes hunted by all involved. Can she survive? Should she? 


At first, everything had been roses and wine. When others warned her about Dennis, Claudia laughed it off.
“Use your head,” Claudia’s mother had said. “How could a man in his early thirties make so much money owning a handful of run-down bars in two small towns in the West?”“What, you think he’s a drug dealer or something?” Claudia had broken into hysterics. “He hardly looks like a gangster, Mother. Dennis doesn’t wear any jewelry. Not even a wedding ring.”
In Claudia’s mind, a gangster would at least wear a gold necklace. And, he had excellent table manners. There was no way Dennis could be a thug. How many scrawny five-foot-six guys were?
         They had married after seven months. Neither had intended to marry so quickly, but they had visited Vegas for a long weekend, got drunk, and got hitched. It wasn’t until Claudia moved into Dennis’s house that she started to notice things. He wouldn’t come home for days, and when he did, he refused to tell her where he had been. He racked up a lot of mileage on her car, not his. When Claudia asked about it, his reply was a cold stare that made her legs feel like jelly. Granted, one of his bars was in Greeley, but that was only a twenty-minute drive from their home in Loveland. How did the miles add up so quickly?         After a year, they started to fight constantly. Verbal arguments. After another year, the fights turned violent. Claudia ended up in the hospital—still nothing serious enough for her to walk out. Not yet. Instead, she started hoarding cash. In the beginning, it was a little bit here and there. It was simple. Claudia would request cash back when she used her debit card at the grocery store. Dennis liked her cooking; he never questioned how much his wife spent on food. When she realized her embezzlement plan would take years, not months, The Hunted chose a more drastic solution. The next time her husband crossed the line … 
Purchase links:

About the author: 

T. B. Markinson is an American writer, living in England. When she isn’t writing, she’s traveling around the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in England, or taking the dog for a walk. Not necessarily in that order. T. B. has published A Woman Lost, Marionette, and Confessions From A Coffee Shop.   

Mailing List:
Sign up to TB’s New Release Mailing List here. Your email will never be shared and you will only be contacted when a new book is out.

Twitter        Facebook        Blog        Goodreads     Amazon Author Page

Best of luck to TB and Happy Holidays to all! See you in January. :)

Monday, December 1, 2014

Beacon by Angela Brown

My Untethered Realms buddy Angela Brown has an exciting new release with Evernight Teen called Beacon and I'm happy to host her today as she kicks off her blog tour. Please join me in saying congratulations and best wishes to Angela! Now I'm turning things over to her for an intriguing (and creepy!) look at Beacon. 

You are Colony Material

You should be glad you wake up to a world where murders, burglaries and sexual assaults are a thing of the past, only items you read about in your most recent digital historical texts, vagrancies of The Fold and the failed America of before. There are no physical books to weigh you down, no book bindings to stretch on your fourth read through of your favorite Colony-approved novel, no new book smell to bother your senses. All your basic needs and some of your wants are taken care of, all for one small price: a fresh bag of your blood, once every quarter, for the rest of your life. The rules in The Colony may seem a bit much, but they’re for your own good.

C: Execute command: Cancel Communication

Hi! You don’t know me, and as long as I do my job right, you never will. I’m just a Net pirate hacking The Colony’s comms server. They send little broadcasts like that crap above on the regular to the registered citizens. I can’t help wondering how many of the poor schmucks know they’re being brainwashed…or if any of them know, do they even care? I try to NOT let questions like that bring me down. I know some out there realize all this “Colony perfect” is too good to be true. Just as everything walking on two feet ain’t human or vampire (Frag calling them “vampeer”. I never liked their re-imaging campaign.)

There’s more you can learn about The Colony in this book, Beacon. It’s got one thing going for it from the jump: It’s NOT Colony-approved, so you know it’s good.

You can find out more about Beacon below. I better get back to deleting a few more of these brainwashing gimmicks from the communications queue before The Colony realizes I’m here.
Your friendly Net pirate.

Beacon - For seventeen-year-old Macie Breen, life in The Colony is a daily norm of being the odd girl out, that is, until everyday predictable slams to a screeching halt. Forced to the capital city of Bliss, Macie's life becomes a horrific unraveling as she confronts daunting truths about The Colony as well as who, or what, she really is.

Buy links: Evernight | Amazon


            The corner of Thane’s lips curved in his infamous smirk. “I’m here to protect you from you, silly.” The elevator dinged our arrival to our floor. Thankfully, floors for the Attendees were guarded by other Surreption agents, to prevent citizens from accessing them by surprise––and to keep out the expected rebel against Bliss.
            I fell silent, thinking about Thane’s answer. Any other day, it would have been a joke. We’d ha, ha, ha, laugh it off as Thane being the smartass he was. I’d punch him in the shoulder. He’d feign pain and we’d move on. But now, what if he was right? Not just keeping me from taking my anger out on some pink-haired guy making fun of me. But from whomever—or whatever—I really am. What if it was the world that needed protection from me?

Author bio:

Born and raised in Little Rock, AR, Angela now calls Central Texas home. She's 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

Contact links:

Monday, November 24, 2014

Coming out of a funk & celebrating Thanksgiving

I've been in a funk for the past few months and have spent most of my time sitting around making sad faces just like the little pug above.

But if you're going to get out of a funk, I'd say Thanksgiving is a great time to do it. And thanks to a great experience I had over the weekend I'm officially feeling over my funk.

I haven't written much of anything in months and had gotten to a point where I had gone from being excited about writing to deciding I couldn't stand anything I'd ever written and I'd never write again and what was I thinking starting all this anyway? I whined that I hated marketing, I hated social media, I hated my blog, and I basically hated everything. In all honesty I needed someone to do this to me:

Fortunately though I was able to snap out of my funk without having someone slap me in the face.

On Saturday I spoke to a class taught by a friend at the university where I work. The class is designed to support local authors and one of their assignments had been to read my book The Ghosts of Aquinnah. I had been excited about the class when I agreed to participate back in May but as the day drew closer I dreaded it and wished I could simply back out.

I couldn't back out though and that turned out to be a great thing as I had a wonderful time with the class. They were enthusiastic about the book and it was such a treat to hear them talk about my story and my characters and which ones they liked or disliked, etc. Some had brought their books with them for me to sign and a few told me that my book was their favorite of all they had read for the class.

I walked out of the class on cloud nine and I haven't slipped back into my funk since. When talking with the class about my books, it was easy to remember exactly why I had "started all this."

No work I've ever done has given me the sense of personal fulfillment and pure joy that writing and blogging has. I'm so fortunate to have found this outlet, however late in life I did, and I'd have to be a complete idiot to ever give it up.

I can definitely be an idiot but I don't think I'm a complete one. :D

Source: publicdomainpictures
So again, I can't think of a better time to come out of a funk than at Thanksgiving. My family and I have a lot to celebrate this year, as my mom is doing well in her cancer fight and we are cautiously optimistic. But I also want to remember how thankful I am that I started writing and blogging and became a part of such an extraordinary community.

To my American friends, I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving. And to everyone else, a wonderful week ahead. :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

IWSG & Wickedly They Dream Release Day!

It's hard to believe it's already November and time for another meeting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh. To see the list of group members as well as this month's co-hosts, visit Alex's site here

I really don't have much to write about this month as I am still simply feeling insecure about blogging and writing and life in general. In addition to my mom's cancer, I've had some other personal stressors pop up and I'm having a terrible time focusing on anything writing related. It's safe to say 2014 has not been my year! But I have to force myself to focus this month as I'm working with my editor to get my Polar Night sequel Polar Day ready for a February, 2015 release date. Even though it's a lot of work, it's actually great for me to have this editing as a distraction, especially as I'm super excited for the release. 

For today though I'm turning the blog over to my friend Cathrina Constantine and her book Wickedly They Dream, which is officially released today!! Yay, Cathrina!!

To add to the fun, Wickedly They Dream is on sale for 99 cents. That's a steal for one of Cathy's books so I would encourage everyone to get a copy ASAP. Here is all the info on the book and the giveaway Cathrina is holding to celebrate the release. 

**Happy Release Day** **GIVEAWAY**
Wickedly They Dream
Genre: Paranormal Thriller/Fantasy
Publisher: Black Opal Books How Far Will Jordan go to rescue her mother. It will cost her everything--even her angel, Markus!
Buy Links: Amazon

Author Cathrina Constantine resides in Western New York. When not with her family, you'll find her in the forest behind her house walking the dogs and conjuring a new tale.
You can find Cathy Here:

Monday, November 3, 2014

National Animal Shelter & Rescue Appreciation Week

Today marks the start of National Animal Shelter & Rescue Appreciation Week, which was founded by the Humane Society of the United States in 1996 and is celebrated each year during the first week of November.

I adopted my Nate, shown above doing his best impersonation of a jaguar perched in the trees, from the Kenton County Animal Shelter in Northern Kentucky when he was just four months old. All of my pets have come from shelters or rescues and they are/were all the greatest pets in the world, so I have a great deal of respect and affection for these organizations and the people who keep them running. There are between six and eight million homeless animals in the United States each year and only about 3,500 shelters to help them, so it's clear that all rescues have their work cut out for them.

In honor of the week, The Humane Society offers ten tips for helping your local shelter or rescue, some as easy as "liking" and sharing about rescues on Facebook and other social media. Other ideas include donating supplies such as towels or cleansers or even making your own toys for the shelter animals in your area. To read the article and see the whole list of ideas, click here.

Nate didn't want me to include a dog in this post but I saw this video last week and I think it captures the value of animal shelters and rescues more than any words ever could. It's such a feel-good story that even Nate had to relent and he agreed that it fits perfectly with Shelter & Rescue Appreciation Week.

Kudos to this shelter and all the others across the country!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Halloween Treat: The Turnagain Arm Free on Kindle

I love vintage postcards! :D

I'm hosting my own little Halloween party and offering The Turnagain Arm for free on Amazon today and tomorrow. Get your free copy here!

If you have time to share about the promotion on Twitter or elsewhere I'd really appreciate it!

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Meet The Character Blog Hop

I was tagged in the Meet Your Character Blog Hop by my good friend Cathrina Constantine, who is an absolutely fantastic writer. If you haven't read her books yet I highly recommend checking them out!

Cathrina is the author of Wickedly They Come (and the upcoming sequel Wickedly They Dream) and Tallas. Find Cathrina at her blog, Twitter, and on Amazon.

Thank you for tagging me, Cathy!

What is the name of your character? Is s/he fictional/historical?

My character is Vasyl Dzubenko. He is totally fictional.

When and where is the story set?

The story is set in 1917 in a railroad camp in Alaska. Vasyl and his wife Lara run a saloon called The Turnagain Arm in the camp. The saloon is named for a nearby waterway, which is a real part of Alaska.

What should we know about your character?

Vasyl is a middle-aged man who moved to Alaska after moving across Russia while working on the building of the Trans-Siberian Railway. He is originally from Ukraine which was part of the Russian Empire at that time. Vasyl is devoted to his wife but he has a very big secret that even she doesn’t know. Vasyl is a witch, but he hasn’t practiced his craft since leaving Ukraine. The last time he practiced things went very bad very quickly.

What is your character's goal?

He simply wants to run his saloon in peace with his wife at his side. He is happy in his adopted home of Alaska and is thrilled that Lara is pregnant. He can't wait for his child to be born.

What is screwing up  your character's life (main conflict in writerly speak?)

Unfortunately for Vasyl, a Russian vampire named Aleksei Nechayev turned up at his saloon. The peaceful camp has never been the same since Aleksei arrived.

What is the title?

The book is called The Turnagain Arm and it is available on Amazon Kindle. It is a novella and a prequel to my novel Polar Night.

I am really bad about tagging for a hop because I can never decide who to tag. So anyone reading this who would like to participate, consider yourself tagged!

I hope everyone had a great weekend. :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Riding the Rails at Untethered Realms & Wickedly They Dream by Cathrina Constantine

I'm posting over at the Untethered Realms blog today about the inspiration for my novella The Turnagain Arm. What was the inspiration? Train whistles!

Visit me over at UnRealms here and check out all the other writers and books in our group if you have the chance while you are there. I'm really lucky to be part of such an awesome group!

And speaking of awesome books and people, Cathrina Constantine has a cover for her upcoming release Wickedly They Dream. Both Cathrina and her cover are all kinds of awesome!

Here is the blurb for the book, which will be released on November 5:

After Seeley is possessed by an evil wraith, Jordan must dig deeper into the Satanic realm. Against Markus’s direct orders, she offers herself, body and soul in a blood covenant to rescue Seeley from the clutches of hell. Jordan assumes her guardian angel will not leave her to fight alone. But there’s trouble in paradise, and Markus has been reassigned. Can Jordan defeat both her internal and external demons to win him back? Or is he gone for good this time?

I read Wickedly They Come last year and it was a fantastic read. I have no doubt this one will be just as good. Jordan is a great character and I am looking forward to catching up with her again. :)

Congratulations, Cathrina!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Blog the Change for Animals & Cruelty Free International

Blog the Change

Blog the Change for Animals is a blog hop held four times a year to help spread awareness about animal related causes and charities. I haven't participated in a long time, but when I saw that the hop was coming up again this month I thought it was a perfect chance for me to get back to one of my original goals for this blog, which was to write about animal welfare.

The timing was actually perfect too as I've just recently become aware of an organization called Cruelty Free International, which works to end animal testing on cosmetics and household cleaning supplies and to support businesses which have already stopped (or never started) testing on animals for these products.

A bunny like the one pictured above seemed like the perfect photo to complement this post as from what I have read rabbits are among the animals most frequently used for cosmetic testing. In fact, the leaping bunny logo is considered the international standard for recognizing cruelty free products and companies.

Honestly, I hadn't ever thought much about animal testing before as I kind of thought it was just something that was done in the past. But once I learned more it felt very hypocritical for me to be supportive of animal rescues for dogs and cats while turning a blind eye to rabbits being blinded so companies can make mascara or other cosmetics.

Since humane and safe alternatives exist I decided it was important for me to support companies which are using these alternatives and putting out safe products for people to use without harming animals to do it.

So I started on a journey of replacing the cosmetics and cleaning supplies I was using with those made by cruelty free companies. This is an ongoing process but so far I have had very positive results. I have super sensitive skin and can break out in a rash just by looking at some products, so I was a little concerned about trying new ones. But so far the new products I'm using have actually been better for my skin, and my hair has never felt healthier. The laundry detergent I bought also works great and seems perfect for my sensitive skin.

From what I have found, the companies using cruelty free methods also use primarily natural ingredients, so I feel like I am getting healthier products as an unexpected bonus. I figure if I can cut back on the amount of chemicals I am using that has to be a good thing, both for me and for the environment in general.

This has been a rewarding process for me so far but as I said it is an ongoing one. Some of the products are significantly more expensive so I'm working on finding affordable alternatives. Still, it feels good to know I am at least making an effort, however small, to be the change I want to see.

If you'd like to learn more about Blog the Change and see other participants, visit the Be the Change for Animals site here.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Turnagain Arm Giveaway Winners & Excerpt

Hello and Happy Monday to all! I hope everyone had a good weekend. I'm still recovering from the premiere of The Walking Dead last night! So happy the show is back. I needed something fun to watch after the Bengals proved yet again that they are the Bengals by missing what would have been a game winning field goal at the end of overtime. Years go by and players come and go but the one sure thing is that the Bengals will always be the Bungles.

Thanks to everyone who participated in my giveaway last week to celebrate the release of my novella The Turnagain Arm. The two winners are Michael Di Gesu and Annalisa Crawford! Congratulations to Michael and Annalisa and thanks again to everyone who joined in and helped me spread the word.

Gwen Gardner, the author of the fantastic Indigo Eady series, is sharing an excerpt from the novella on her blog today. Visit her here to read it!

Since I sent Gwen an excerpt to post I thought I would share an excerpt here as well. This excerpt features Aleksei Nechayev, who is not only one of the main characters in The Turnagain Arm but also the antagonist in Polar Night

Aleksei watched from the trees as the two security guards patrolled the area outside of the Turnagain Arm saloon. He had bid them a friendly goodnight just a few minutes earlier when he’d closed down for the night, but there was nothing friendly about his plans now. Aleksei was hungry and wanted nothing more than to drain both of the guards and satiate his hunger while also letting them know how useless their pretend soldiering was. His eyes nearly rolled back into his head as he watched them strutting about like peacocks. But while that course of action would feed him for the night, it would ultimately be short-sighted. And much less fun than what he had planned.

He had barely kept his composure while listening to Dzubenko blame the recent disappearances on bear attacks. It had been so difficult not to burst out laughing in his employer’s face. But he knew that the grizzly bear explanation had brought some semblance of comfort to the workers. It was much easier for them to come to terms with an angry wild bear than a murderer on the loose.

Imagining how they could come to terms with the murder of their guards by someone who was clearly not a bear made Aleksei smile from ear to ear. As much as he wanted to bite the guards and drain them, bite marks of any kind would spoil his fun. They would also spoil his plans for Vasyl Dzubenko. Aleksei knew he had made a rare mistake when speaking with Dzubenko earlier, and it had not gone unnoticed by his employer. The man was one of the few intelligent people in this camp, he’d give him that much. And he also felt sure that Dzubenko was different in ways beyond just his intellect. Aleksei could sense it. So if he had to deal with Dzubenko, he might as well lay the groundwork for that now. Truth be told, the idea of that merely added to his amusement.

Aleksei fingered the butcher knife he had stolen from the Turnagain Arm kitchen and stepped out of the trees.

One of the guards immediately snapped to attention and pointed his rifle at the sound of footsteps coming towards him.

“Who’s there? State your business.”

Aleksei walked into the light of the lanterns the guards held in front of them with his hands palms out in front of him.

“Don’t shoot,” he said. “It’s just me.”

The guards both relaxed and let their weapons hang loose at their sides.

“Aleksei? What are you doing back? Did you forget something in the saloon?”

“No, no, I just wanted to show you men something. I’m afraid it looks suspicious.” He gestured towards the woods next to the camp. “Over here in the trees.”

The men walked towards him, reminding Aleksei of the livestock that walked calmly to their deaths on his grandparents’ farm back home. 

Lambs to the slaughter…

Want to read more? 

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Turnagain Arm Launch & Giveaway!

I'm really excited to announce the release of my first self-published work, The Turnagain Arm. It's a novella that is a prequel to Polar Night and to its sequel Polar Day, which will be published by my publisher Ink Smith in January, 2015.

To celebrate the release I'm hosting a giveaway all this week. Two winners will receive a $15 gift card and an ebook copy of The Turnagain Arm. If you'd like to enter just leave a comment on the blog or tweet about the book/giveaway. I wanted to make the Rafflecopter very simple! :)

I didn't set up a blog tour or launch party for this release but I want to say a huge thank you to a few friends who are helping me spread the word this week and next. And also to the wonderful Michael Di Gesu who designed the cover for me and is posting about the book today as well.

Now on to the book! :)

Polar Night's Aleksei Nechayev leaves war-torn Russia in 1917 and makes his way to Alaska. Settling in at a railroad camp, Aleksei comes up against an adversary who seems to know the truth about the newly-turned vampire's identity. An adversary who soon gives Aleksei much more than he bargained for at The Turnagain Arm.

Cover design by Michael Di Gesu
Only 99 cents on Amazon Kindle

Book Blurb: 

Locomotive wheels screech to a halt. Potters Creek, Alaska is nothing more than a small camp set up alongside the tracks. A weathered sign dominates the scene.

The Turnagain Arm Saloon 


Only one passenger remains and exits.

The early afternoon full moon peaks through a shimmering snow fall as a shadow casts over each split rail. The wind howls, sweeping the cloak of a hooded figure. He follows   the tracks toward the distant saloon. A hulking man crunches through the snow, attracting his attention.

Calling out to him in a foreign accent, the townsman stops in mid step. The stranger catches up and engages him.


The man disappears under the stranger’s cloak.

Blood drips from his lips, and he wipes the remaining trickles from his mouth. After disposing of the body, the mysterious figure continues on his journey. He glides through the snow as if on a sleigh, leaving no footprints behind.

*          *          *          *          *

Within a short period, he convinces Vasyl, the owner of the saloon, to hire him. Aleksei charms everyone he meets. But soon mistrust enters every tense line on Vasyl’s face as others disappear, and his wife falls under Aleksei’s spell.

The classic game of cat and mouse continues, but who will win?

Is a mere mortal any match for Aleksei?

A spark ignites within Alexei after yet another of Vasyl’s attempts to disgrace him.

This man knows of me. He must be a witch. Aleksei laughs. You are no match for me or my plan.

Buy The Turnagain Arm for 99 cents on Amazon Kindle

Enter to win one of two prize bundles featuring a $15 gift card and an ebook copy of The Turnagain Arm. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

IWSG & How To Climb The Eiffel Tower by Elizabeth Hein

Today is the October meeting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, hosted as always by our favorite Ninja Alex J. Cavanaugh. It's also the day that many writers are posting contributions to the IWSG Anthology! I'm not contributing to the book but I will definitely look forward to reading all the entries.

My IWSG post is going to be very short as my insecurity this month is the same as it was last month - blogging. I had hoped to get back into a rhythm of some kind last month but ever since my mom was diagnosed with cancer my heart is simply not in it. We've had a lousy few weeks and my energy has gone out the window. I've been very lax about other social media as well but lately I find when I am not helping my mom I just want to spend time reading or engaging in other quiet activities that don't require much effort on my part.

I do have my novella The Turnagain Arm coming out next Monday, October 6, so I am happy about that and hope it will help me get some of my energy back. I'm excited to share the story and a related giveaway next week!

For now though I'm happy to be hosting Elizabeth Hein, who is here today talking about her new book How To Climb The Eiffel Tower. If you're not familiar with Elizabeth's blog Scribbling in the Storage Room I highly recommend checking it out.

Take it away, Elizabeth! :)

It’s a pleasure to be here on Julie Flanders’ blog today. When I sat down to write something for Julie’s blog, it seemed natural to talk about the sense of place within a novel. Julie’s books take you places like Martha’s Vineyard and Alaska and make you feel like you are there right alongside the characters. 
My novels are set in the fictitious town of Magnuson, North Carolina. Magnuson is nowhere in particular, yet shares the features of several cities in North Carolina. For those of you who have not had the pleasure of visiting my adopted home state, North Carolina is unique. Just a few miles outside the cities that dot the interstates, life is still rural and rooted in tradition. In the cities, you’d find high-tech biomedical parks, cutting edge research hospitals, and banking hubs. It is a place where you can get a plate of barbecue cooked in a century old pit one day, then eat the trendiest of prix fixe meals the next.
Magnuson was the perfect place to set How To Climb The Eiffel Tower because I wanted Lara Blaine, the narrator of the story, to live in a place without a tremendous amount of history. Lara works in one of the many financial services companies and lives in one of the thousands of town houses that popped up in old tobacco fields during the last few decades. The city didn’t exist before the nearby river was dammed to provide electricity or the advent of highways. The handful of farming families were pushed out by the onslaught of newcomers that came to work in the new industries that grew in the state during the 60’s. Lara could disappear in the sea of people from somewhere else, yet still feel a sense of connection to the North Carolina that she remembered from her early childhood. 
Magnuson is also the home of the Ellery Cancer Center which was based on Duke Cancer Center, where I was treated for cancer in 2002, with touches of the Carolina Medical Center and the Baptist Hospital. Ellery plays a large part in How To Climb The Eiffel Tower. The entire facility is color-coded with each department having its own color. The waiting rooms are all decorated in that color and the department staff all wear that color. The system is there to help patients find their way around the maze of hallways, yet it also makes Ellery feel impersonal and somewhat surreal. For instance, at one point Lara gets confused as to which way to go until she figures out that she needed to follow the colored tiles in the floor to get from department to department. I wanted the setting to reflect Lara’s sense of being detached from her illness yet completely surrounded by it. 
Readers, how much do you notice a sense of place when you are reading? What are your favorite settings to read about? Fellow writers, do you think about setting before plot, or do you come up with your plots and then figure out where they will happen?

Book blurb:

Lara Blaine believes that she can hide from her past by clinging to a rigid routine of work and exercise. She endures her self-imposed isolation until a cancer diagnosis cracks her hard exterior. Lara’s journey through cancer treatment should be the worst year of her life. Instead, it is the year that she learns how to live. She befriends Jane, another cancer patient who teaches her how to be powerful even in the face of death. Accepting help from the people around her allows Lara to confront the past and discover that she is not alone in the world. With the support of her new friends, Lara gains the courage to love and embrace life. Like climbing the Eiffel Tower, the year Lara meets Jane is tough, painful, and totally worth it.


Elizabeth Hein grew up in Massachusetts within an extended family of storytellers. In 2002, Elizabeth was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a cancer of the blood. During her extensive treatment, she met dozens of other cancer patients and developed close relationships with several of them. These friendships were the inspiration for How To Climb The Eiffel Tower. She learned that a cancer diagnosis is a life changing experience, yet it does not necessarily change a life for the worse. Prior to the new book’s publication, Elizabeth was invited to attend the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) conference and has received excellent advanced reviews on her break-out new book.
 Elizabeth Hein writes women’s fiction with a bit of an edge. Her novels explore the role of friendship in the lives of adult women and themes of identity. Her first novel, Overlook, spotlighted a housewife dealing with a cheating husband and the pressures of keeping up appearances. Elizabeth has published several short stories and is currently writing a novella and beginning to write a historical family saga about how love and identity effect four generations of women. She and her husband now live in Durham, North Carolina.

Buy links:
Amazon UK 

Twitter: @_ElizabethHein

Monday, September 22, 2014

Second Death Release Day!

Gwen Gardner, a fellow member of Untethered Realms and the author of the fantastic Indigo Eady series, is here today to talk about her new novella Second Death. Welcome, Gwen!!

Here Comes Da Judge!

Thanks so much for hosting me today, Julie!

Today is release day for Second Death, book I in my Afterlife novella series. Since Julie loves her ghosties as much as I do, I thought she and her readers and followers would enjoy hearing about a certain ghost who makes quite an impression.

Lord Greyheart is a secondary character who only shows up at the beginning and end of the series. Though we don’t see much of Greyheart, he’s really the catalyst that starts the investigation into missing paranormals, the overall theme of the series.

The truth is, we don’t even know what Greyheart looks like! We don’t need to. I’d even go so far to say that the lack of facial features just reaffirms his other impressive attributes. Because Lord Greyheart is an impressive character who rules the proceedings with a disembodied iron gavel.  

First, who is he? He’s the 16th century high court ghost-judge who presides over court proceedings for the spirit community of Sabrina Shores. He’s also the one who drafted Indigo Eady, our living teen psychic-ghost-whispering investigator onto the Missing Paranormal Committee. And when Lord Greyheart says you’ll do something? You do it.

Here’s what happened when Indigo and friends sneak into the old courthouse to attend the spirit community meeting. Indigo’s name had just been put forth for the committee, which caused quite a stir…

A voice exploded and demanded order. “QUIET! There will be quiet or I will clear the courtroom.” Lord Greyheart’s wig bobbed and slipped as he wielded his gavel like a whip, the backlash snapping throughout the room. The room trembled under the BANG, BANG, BANG of a million supernatural hammers reverberating off the walls. I fell back into my seat, covering my ears.
Badger and Simon, and even the paranormals, wrapped hands around or shoved fingers into their ears. We were all dumbstruck into silence.
“Thank you,” said Greyheart, so quietly the maelstrom from a moment before may never have happened. “Miss Eady, will you please approach the bench?”
I gulped. Then reminded myself I sat in the audience, not in the dock. This wasn’t a trial. And so I got to my feet. Trembling, it’s true. But for all intents and purposes, I stood on two legs.
I edged by Simon’s legs, meeting the question in his wide eyes. I shook my head to let him know I was okay. I led with my chin, followed by wobbly legs, down the long crumbling steps. The council members parted like the Red Sea. I trailed through the dusty floor and stood peering up at the faceless Lord Greyheart.
“Now. Miss Eady. You must know that the living and dead working together is highly unusual.”
I snort-coughed into my reply before Lord G could suspect me of my usual sarcasm. “Yes, your honor, to say the least. But—”
“Now who put this young woman’s name forth?” Lord Greyheart scanned the room, but there were no takers. “Come now. Someone submitted Miss Eady’s name for the council, and someone else seconded the nomination.”
If Greyheart had a face, it would be frowning. I felt the frown vibrations from where I stood and feared another outburst. The newly elected council exchanged glances and shook their heads, as did everyone else.
Harrumph. Well, this bears looking into further. As for now, Miss Eady, you will serve on the council.”
“But I—”
BANG!  “This meeting is dismissed.”

Now I ask you, would you have said ‘no’ to Lord Greyheart?

Second Death Blurb:

The Sabrina Shores spirit community is in crisis.
Ghosties are mysteriously disappearing at an alarming rate.
They’re simply…gone. A second death.

The clues are limited, but it’s clear that the one common factor is Gertrude’s Garden, the nightclub social center of the spirit community which just happens to adjoin the Sabrina Shores cemetery: the one place Indigo makes a point of not going. Ever. She has her reasons.

Indigo Eady:

Much to her chagrin, Indigo Eady is a celebrity among spirits. She’s the girl who can see and speak with them. She has a proven track record in helping spirits find their murderers, so it’s no surprise when she’s drafted onto the Missing Paranormal Committee. Who better to help them than the experienced teenage ghost whisperer- investigator and her friends?

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Order Second Death on iTunes:

About the Author:

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.

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

30 Seconds by Chrys Fey

I'm excited to welcome Chrys Fey to the blog today and to shine the spotlight on 30 Seconds, her latest romantic suspense story. Congratulations to Chrys! 

Title: 30 Seconds
Authur: Chrys Fey
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Length: Novella (105 pages)
Format: eBook
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Published: September 10th, 2014

When a woman finds herself in the middle of a war between a police force and the Mob, 30 SECONDS is a long time.

When Officer Blake Herro agreed to go undercover in the Mob, he thought he understood the risks. But he's made mistakes and now an innocent woman has become their target. He's determined to protect her at all costs.

The Mob's death threat turns Dr. Dani Hart's life upside down, but there is one danger she doesn’t anticipate. As she's dodging bullets, she's falling in love with Blake. With danger all around them, will she and Blake survive and have a happy ending, or will the Mob make good on their threat?

Book Links:
Amazon US: 
The Wild Rose Press: 

She panted with fear. What if they see the chest? What if we get caught? What if my breath stinks and I’m breathing right into Officer Hottie’s face? She shut her mouth and let oxygen flow through her nose.
Her eyesight slowly adjusted to the darkness and she could see Officer Herro’s silhouette. His head was turned and he was listening to the thuds of heavy boots getting louder; the intruders were coming their way.
Then the thunder of footsteps sounded right next to them. “There’s no one here, Red,” someone announced.
“Look for documents,” a man ordered, who Dani could only assume was Red. “I want the name of the person I’m going to kill.”
A moment later, there was a reply. “All the mail is addressed to a Dr. Hart.”
Hearing her name said aloud by one of the men who had ransacked her place made her want to gasp. Her mouth fell open and her breath was reversing into her lungs, but before she could make a sound, Officer Herro lowered his lips to hers, silencing her. Stunned, she could only lie beneath him with her eyes wide and her body tense. She couldn’t believe he was kissing her. She wanted to push him back, but knew if she did he might hit the inside of the chest, giving away their hiding place. That was when she realized he was kissing her so she wouldn’t gasp.
She let her body relax. After her initial shock faded, she was able to feel his lips. They were comforting and caused a reaction deep inside her. She couldn’t stop her lips from reacting to his. It was an innocent connection, a soft touch of lips. Until his hand slid from her shoulder to her neck and the kiss deepened into something else.


Chrys Fey is a lover of rock music just like Dani Hart in 30 Seconds. Whenever she's writing at her desk, headphones are always emitting the sounds of her musical muses -especially that of her favorite band, 30 Seconds to Mars, the inspiration behind the title.
30 Seconds is her second eBook with The Wild Rose Press. Her debut, Hurricane Crimes, is also available on Amazon.

Discover her writing tips on her blog, and connect with her on Facebook. She loves to get to know her readers!

Author Links:

Bonus – Dani’s 7 Favorites:
1.     Ice Cream Flavor: Coffee
2.     Rock Band: Led Zeppelin
3.     Horror Movie: The Shining
4.     Form of Exercise:  Running
5.     Car: 1954 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible Coupe
6.     Television Show: Grey’s Anatomy
7.     Prized Possession: Her Photo Album