Saturday, November 22, 2014
Friday, November 21, 2014
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Strong Hold Publishing
Date of Publication: July 9, 2014
Number of pages: 344
Word Count: 72,000
Cover Artist: Donna Augustine
People say karma's a...well, you know. Personally, I don't think I'm that bad. It's not like I wanted this job. I wasn't even in my right mind when I accepted it. Now, I'm surrounded by crazy coworkers like Lady Luck, who's a bit of a tramp, and Murphy's Law, who's a bumbling oaf.
But the worst is Fate. He's got a problem with transfers like myself and I have to see him constantly. It's unavoidable, since we're hunting the same man, my murderer.
Available at Amazon
I was immediately drawn into the story and once I started I couldn't put it down. I can't wait for the next book in the series. ~ Review by BookGirl
“No. Just you. Everyone has their own department. You are Karma.” He pointed toward me dramatically, the way someone would try and accent a meaning to a person who didn't know the language.
“I'm not sure I'm adequately suited for this position. Even for a month. I'm more of a “bygones be bygones” kind of person. Don't you need someone a bit more vengeful?”
He looked down at the file spread on his desk. “I would disagree. Your file said you would be an excellent candidate.”
“May I see that?” I asked, eying up said file on his desk. How much did Harold know about me? Everything? That was an uneasy feeling. Even the best of us had our secrets and even though I considered myself a decent human being, I didn't think I fell into the saintly category.
The file didn't look big enough for my entire life to be in it. It didn't even look thick enough for a short story. Maybe just a highly edited Wiki version?
“No, absolutely not.” He shut the Manila folder quickly, as if I were going to jump up and try to peek. The guy took neurotic to a whole other level.
Okay, the file wasn't that important. I needed to keep the peace and simply explain in better detail how I'd made an error in judgment. Be nice. My southern mother had always said you caught more bees with honey than vinegar. She had tried to drill it into my head since I was a small child. It wasn't something I'd come naturally to, that was for sure, but it was a valid tactic, even if that wasn't the lesson my mother had meant to instill.
“Harold, when I agreed to work for you, I was under the duress of seeing my dead body. You can understand how jarring that can be, right? I wasn't thinking clearly at all.” It sounded logical enough to me, but I wasn't sure if he'd ever had the pleasure of dying and his manner didn't scream naturally empathetic.
He cleared his throat and I could tell by the set of his mouth that I wouldn't like the next words. “I'm sorry, but that's not how things work here. Like I told you, there’s a mandatory one-month trial period. An active one-month.”
He leaned back in his chair and pushed his glasses up closer to his face. His almost black eyes, artificially enlarged from the lens, stared at me in a bit of an awkward way. I wasn't sure if there was a bite to follow up his bark but his magnified beady gaze sure made the situation less than desirable.
Still, beady gaze and all, I had to try one last time. Perhaps a different angle. Regardless of my record, he clearly thought I was an idiot; maybe that was the way to go. I had no problem playing a stooge if it got me out of here quickly.
“As you stated, I'm a transfer. You really don't want me. I'm a horribly slow learner. The mistakes I've made in my life, geesh, you'd squirm if you knew.” I twirled a finger in my hair for effect and wished I had some chewing gum to smack.
“Yes, I'm well aware.”
He was? Hey, wait a minute; I didn't think I'd done too badly for myself. What were these jerks writing about me in that file?
“Fate will help you with that.”
And just like that, I had bigger problems. I wasn't just stuck here; I was stuck with him. “The guy who helped me so far?”
“It has to be him.” Harold threw his hands in the air, as if why am I bothering him? Not his orders.
“Then I'll work alone.”
I'd be clueless but peaceful. There was something wrong about that guy. There was something too bossy or too intense. I couldn't even describe exactly what it was about him that was too much, but it was.
Even the brief moment I'd actually been in my right mind around him, it was as if his presence exerted some sort of gravitational pull, stronger than a normal person’s. As if his intensity could throw me out of orbit. And I didn't want to go out of orbit. I had enough things to handle besides ping ponging around.
“Non-negotiable. I've got orders.” Harold folded his hands and rested them atop his desk, littered with paper.
“From who exactly?”
“The universe.” His chin notched up a hair.
“Would it be possible to speak to this universe person? I'm sure they'll understand that there is a personality conflict.” It was time to bump my complaint to upper management.
“No one speaks to the universe.”
“Then how do you know what to do?” I leaned in a little.
“Simple. Through my orders.” His eyes started to twitch.
“Which you get how?”
“Then you can send a memo to the universe. I won't work with him.”
“I'll file your complaint but it won't matter. And don't forget, as I've already explained, it has to be an active month.”
Twenty-five days. I've dealt with worse for longer. One case in particular came to mind. The guy actually tried to bite me when we lost. Harold didn't seem inclined to bite and he didn't get into my personal space. I could deal with him.
On the other hand, Fate looked like he might be the biting sort.
“Do the last five days count toward the thirty? Time served and all?”
“These first days were highly unpleasant. Do you think I could get extra credit for those? Maybe, I don't know, you could knock off a day or two? Like they do in jail for good behavior?”He squinted his eyes and tilted his head. I was going to take that for a no.
Donna Augustine’s lifelong ambition was to become the crazy cat lady. Unfortunately, when family allergies cut short her dream of living in a house full of furries, she turned her ambitions toward writing. Combining her love of fantasy, scifi, horror and romance, she tries to string together interesting twists on urban fantasy.
A native of New Jersey, when she isn’t writing, or overdosing on caffeine, she can occasionally be spotted in disguise at the local dog park.
Friday, November 14, 2014
The Gramarye Series
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Highland Press
Date of Publication: September 24, 2014
Number of pages: 292
Word Count: 92,000
Cover Artist: Iris Hunter
What happens when a dysfunctional witch and a tough PI work together to save an aging apartment house filled with ghosts, dragons and one oversexed house plant?
Spirits, spells and mayhem…Magic rises in the Gramarye
Melian Devlin is a witch who often resorts to exotic and slightly illegal methods of acquiring money to maintain the 300-year-old Gramarye, the stone apartment house that’s her heart and home. Her life is a series of skirmishes that occasionally end with her behind bars.
Titus Moran is a no-nonsense PI who makes big bucks busting insurance fraud schemes. So how did he wind up in a tortuous battle to keep Melian out of jail? Did the delightful young witch with her gray eyes and magic at her fingertips enchant him—or does the Gramarye hold greater mysteries.
Titus will enter a new exciting world when he joins Melian in her quest to save the Gramarye. Melian will fumble along in her usual impulsive way, leaving a trail of disasters behind her. If they’re lucky, they might survive.
Melian Devlin considered her arrest late Friday evening an ill omen, a portent of dire thingsto come. At the very least, it would ruin her weekend. Her bad luck had continued after her arrest when she’d found herself standing before Judge Franklin P.O. Merkle. Merkle’s exact words were, “You again?”
He’d set her bail at an obscene five thousand dollars.
Psychic readings weren’t illegal in the City of Ashburn, Florida, but selling magic potions skirted the legal line of medicine, hence her arrest. And then there was the sticky issue of not having a business license—again. Minor infractions. So why did Merkle have such a burr up his ass? Maybe because he was working late on Friday? The malicious cop with an aversion to psychics hadn’t helped either.
Standing behind bars at ten o’clock that night, listening to her Great Uncle Will royally chew her butt, confirmed Mel’s dismal assessment of the situation.
“Psychic?” Will’s deep voice rumbled the word. His tired eyes watched her from a weather worn face. “Mel, honey, you ain’t no psychic. You’re a witch. You’re supposed to use magic.”
He shook his head. “I understand why you can’t get a regular job, but can’t you find something irregular you’re good at? Or at least something legal?” He glanced over his shoulder and pitched his voice lower. “You should’ve marked a cop soon as he walked in the door, then spelled him out of making an arrest. You’re allowed basic self-defense. I taught you that.”
Mel winced at Uncle Will’s words. He had taught her. She was simply incredibly incompetent at casting spells and making potions, and utterly terrified of making a mistake. What if she hurt someone? Pretending to be a psychic and selling a few harmless herbal elixirs was easier—and safer.
They’d put her in a simple holding cell inside the precinct station after she’d seen the judge. The arrangement gave detainees a chance to post bail before they moved them to the main jail downtown, something Mel had hoped to avoid. Prospects didn’t look good.
The sparse cell had a single bench bolted to the floor and air filled with the odor of acrid, nose-searing bleach. Her cellmates, two tough prostitutes, sat on the bench staring straight at the wall. Imperfect witch she might be, but she could still deal with the bullying they tried when she first came in.
“Will, please,” Mel begged. “Go talk to Milo for me. Give him an IOU. I’ll get the money some way.” Milo the Bail Bondsman, her father’s second cousin, usually handled her bail. Milo hadn’t returned any of her numerous calls.
“Yeah. Sure.” Will laughed, but it didn’t sound funny. “Gettin’ money some way is what landed you here. I can hear Milo now. Cousin Melian? She told my Granny Panopoulos to put all her money on a horse named Show-Too in the third race and—”
“I told her thirty dollars to show on the number three horse, not… Oh, hell.” She wrapped her hands around the bars to steady herself.
Granny Panopoulos had cried to Mel about not being able to pay her mortgage and buy food in the same month. She figured Granny could lose thirty dollars and learn an excellent lesson about the futility of gambling. How was Mel to know the woman had fifty thousand dollars tucked in her mattress and a persistent bookie looking over her shoulder? Oh, right, she was supposed to be a psychic.
“Okay, girl, here’s the deal.” Will shoved his hands in his pockets like he always did when he had to deliver bad news. “I’ll get you out on Monday—” “Monday?”
“Yep. I’m not going to call Milo on a Friday evening or ruin his weekend. And I don’t trust anyone else.” Will’s head bobbed. His sorrowful expression tore at her. His eyes remained bright and his mind-dagger sharp, but time had worn his aging body. He loved her, and she shouldn’t have troubled him.
“Ya’ know Mel...” He sighed. “Honey, you’re twenty-seven years old. Couple of days and nights in jail won’t hurt. ‘Bout time you learned a lesson. Past time, in fact. While you’re there, think about having to stay longer, what might happen then.” He turned and shuffled out of the room.
Mel leaned her forehead against the cold hard bars. What a stinking mess. She wasn’t a true psychic, but the power, the magic she lived by, occasionally gave her glimpses into the situations surrounding people. A haphazard thing she couldn’t control, but between it and the potions, she made a little money—as long as some cop with an attitude didn’t arrest her.
Mel had paid little attention when the nervous young man with dark, curly hair entered her low-rent storefront room four hours ago. He had a sweet, shy smile and almost pretty face. Not a hint of a cop in him. He paid her forty dollars for a reading and asked her if he would ever find true love. His precise words. “True love.” That alone should have tipped her off. She felt sorry for him and tried to sell him a magic potion. Only a twenty-dollar mixture of Vitamin B and Ginseng, but with the power of suggestion, it might be enough to adjust his outlook on life. He was far too good-natured and attractive to be alone. Then his partner had charged in and gleefully busted her. It didn’t take much to make some cops happy.
Top Ten Witches in movies, TV and books.
1. Shakespeare’s witches represent the original witches for me. Dark and treacherous, no nose twitching, no special effects, they are pure evil. Casting a spell—Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble—to recognizing latent evil in others—By the pricking of my thumbs, Something wicked this way comes.
2. Veronica Lake’s witch in the 1942 black and white film, I Married a Witch, is perfect. Beautiful, seductive, vengeful, but saved by true love, it is the classic romance story for fantasy lovers.
3. Erica Jong’s Witches—all of them. (2004) Jong’s fantastical world of witchcraft book is filled with poetry, prose, and historical reality. Though published 20 years ago it is delightful and on my keeper shelf. Recommended for all who love to read or write about witches.
4. The Witches of Eastwick. (1987 film from a book by John Updike.) Preferred the film to the book because the book was a heavy read. The film was fun to watch.
5. The Blair Witch. 1999 super scary film. I just love evil witches.
6. The enduring witches from L. Frank Baum’s the Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The famous 1939 Wizard of Oz film starring Judy Garland is the one that immediately comes to mind, but the 1910 American silent fantasy film is the earliest surviving film version of the story. Glinda the Good Witch and the Wicked Witch of the West seem cartoonish today, but given the countless movies, radio, stage adaptations of the book over the years they are enduring models.
7. Bell, Book and Candle. (Film 1958) Gillan the witch is played beautifully by Kim Novak as she seduces Jimmy Stuart. We have an unfortunate tendency to identify beauty with goodness and Kim Novak, unlike Veronica Lake in the 1942 black and white film, is so lovely she defies the idea that she might be evil. Of course, she is saved from immorality by falling in love with Jimmy.
8. The Craft (1996 film). Neve Campbell (of the Scream movies) is perfect as Bonnie who is wonderfully wicked. Okay, so she winds up strapped to a bed in an asylum, but when she was bad she was outrageous.
9. Charmed. (Television series) I don’t care for most of the TV witches, but the witches of Charmed had style and a bit of class.
10. This comes under the heading of I hope it happens. The Last Witch Hunter is an upcoming supernatural action film that will be directed by Breck Eisner. The movie will star Vin Diesel as an immortal witch hunter that must stop a plague from ravaging New York City.The film is scheduled to be released on October 23, 2015.
Lee Roland is a full time writer who lives in North Central Florida. She loves the peaceful rural area where she shares a home with three small dogs who think they are pit bulls and an evil cat with sharp claws.
Lee writes stories of urban fantasy and paranormal romance where strong men and women battle the wickedness hiding under the surface of the modern world. Her characters are passionate in life and love and are formidable enemies to the malevolent criminals in their worlds.
Her first series, the Earth Witches, was published beginning in 2011 by NAL. Her website, www.leeroland.com offers samples of the Earth Witches books and information on their world. There are short stories and news of any upcoming books and events.
Subscribe to mailing list: http://www.leeroland.com/about/
Thursday, November 13, 2014
Lana Harvey, Reapers Inc.
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Date of Publication: October 14, 2014
Number of pages: 300
Word Count: 63,000
Cover Artist: Angela Roquet
In war, everyone loses...
Reaper Lana Harvey is finding out the hard way. When Grim's new second in command, Jenni Fang, recruits her for a special mission, the biggest victory over the rebels is tainted by a crushing and immediate reprisal. The rebels have a new general working in the shadows of Limbo City, luring gods, reapers, demons, and souls to the dark side.
The Afterlife Council’s orders to locate the new rebel base are overshadowed by a desperate and mysterious plea from Grim to find the abducted Greek god of sleep, Hypnos. Where Lana and Jenni find one, they hope to find the other. But some discoveries have a way of bringing one to their knees.
Caim’s ship hadn’t changed much, except for the addition of a few dozen hell spawn scaling the masts and railings of the black boat. The main deck was an overflowing mass of leathery flesh and barbed tails. A herd of satyrs paraded around the quarterdeck, puffing into wooden panpipes, while sirens and succubi danced to the haunting tune, spinning frenzied circles around splintered mast poles. The wind ripped at their hair and grazed their naked bodies, leaving chapped patches along their thighs and breasts.
Caim lounged along the edge of the stern deck. His pale skin looked sickly and transparent. Despite the heat and the abundant nudity, he wore a thick, dark robe. His black wings were oily, almost sparkling in the broad daylight. Where his chin and jawline ended, the flesh peeled away, leaving the length of his neck raw and tarry. The sight of him made me cringe. I couldn’t imagine what it did to Jenni.
Caim reached out to fondle a siren as she spun by, clawing at her flesh with his blackened fingertips and leaving deep cuts that quickly welled with purple blood. He cackled, flashing sharp teeth and black gums. The siren hardly spared him a gasp before falling under the spell of satyr pipes once again. She swayed and rubbed against a succubus, smearing the forgotten blood until they were both coated. A leathery winged demon dipped down to steal a taste with his forked tongue.
Gabriel’s grip under my arms tightened. “This is a terrible idea.” He grunted under the weight of me and my axe. The paint on his wings probably wasn’t helping either. One slid up my arm and I hissed from the roughness of it.
“I agree, but it’s a little late to turn back now.” My heart accelerated in my chest as I scanned the ship, desperately searching for an opening. It was looking more and more like a crash landing would be our only option.
A few seconds later, Maalik rounded the stern with Jenni in tow. It had been a smart move putting me with Gabriel. Maalik would have never dropped me on Caim’s ship, and the plan would have been shot all to hell. He glanced across the chaos to find Gabriel and me, and I could tell that I was still getting top billing on his worry list. I could live with that today I decided, taking in the scene unfolding beneath us.
Gabriel sucked in a tight breath. “Show time.” Then he dropped me on a pile of napping hellcats on the forecastle deck.
Urban fantasy author Angela Roquet is a great big weirdo. She collects Danger Girl comic books, owls, skulls, and random craft supplies. Her obsessions include the Wizard of Oz, over-sweetened coffee, and all things Joss Whedon. She's a fan of renewable energy, marriage equality, and religious tolerance. As long as whatever you're doing isn't hurting anyone, she's a fan of you, too.
Angela lives in Sedalia, Missouri with her husband and son. When she's not swearing at the keyboard, she enjoys painting, goofing off with her family and friends, and reading books that raise eyebrows. GRAVEYARD SHIFT, the first novel in Angela's Lana Harvey, Reapers Inc. series, is now available for FREE on Kindle, Nook, & Smashwords.
You can find Angela online at www.angelaroquet.com
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Genre: Paranormal Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Books We Love, Ltd.
Date of Publication: September 21, 2014
Number of pages:192
Word Count: 63,858
Cover Artist: Michelle Lee
Ariel Anson thinks she has her life in order. She’s young, smart, and beautiful, even if she doesn’t believe the beautiful part. She’s a paralegal with a great career and a fiancé who’s a CPA. You just can’t get any steadier than that. Then she meets private investigator, bounty hunter, process server Chad Garrett.
What does War-N-Wit, Inc. stand for anyway?
Warlock and Witch? For real? Oh, yes! For real.
Her life as she knows it is over! Instead of organizing corporate documents and pleadings, she’s chasing bail jumpers and taking down serial killers. And investigating secret societies. Like Resurrection.
Not everyone can join, just the elite few who remember their past lives. Only the Seer knows if those memories are truth or fabrication. There’s just one problem. The new Seer is missing in action. War-N-Wit’s new assignment is a blast from the past! But whose past?
Available at Amazon
Genre: Paranormal Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Books We Love, Ltd.
Date of Publication: October 17, 2014
Number of pages:194
Word Count: 58,274
Cover Artist: Michelle Lee
Daytona Bike Week. Biker’s paradise. The perfect place for Chad and Ariel Garrett to take a few days off and relax with Chad’s buddy Spike and Ariel’s little sister Stacy.
But nothing ever goes as planned with that magical duo. Trouble just stalks them like a black cat. A missing agent riding with an outlaw biker gang, a call from Chad’s past, and War-N-Wit, Inc.’s riding again, with romance blooming in the midst of danger. From Daytona, the crew heads back to Vegas and another family wedding. Spike and Stacy are ready to say “I do!” In the Tunnel of Love Drive-Thru at the Little White Wedding Chapel in Vegas, of course. It’s become a family tradition.
But what’s supposed to happen in Vegas just refuses to stay in Vegas. And you’re not going to believe this side-trip!
Available at Amazon
Many great witches have graced both the Big Screen and the Small Screen over the years. My personal picks for the top ten witches of TV and/or Movies? Well, I like my witches with a little attitude.
My numero uno, hands down, is Phoebe Halliwell from Charmed. To me, Phoebe is just the total package witch. Beautiful, smart, and kick-ass. Not to mention she started out with a rather “passive” power before acquiring her “active” powers. But she never let that slow her down!
My Numbers 2, 3, and 4 have to be Winnie, Mary and Sarah Sanderson from Hocus Pocus. For us, as I’m sure they did and still do every year for many, many families, the Sanderson Sisters brought so much laughter into my living room when my kids were growing up and kept doing so long after childhood. They’re doing it now for my grandchildren, and my grandson actually pulled a “Mary Sanderson” on me this past Halloween season. It was just the way he worked his face and enunciated his words. I said, “You’re doing a Mary Sanderson on me, aren’t you?” And he exclaimed, with exactly Mary Sanderson’s expression, “What is this Hocus Pocus of which you speak? I know not of any Hocus Pocus!” (The kid’s eight, by the way. Proof that sarcasm is an inherited trait and what goes around comes around, ‘cause I told my daughter when she was expecting, “I hope you have a kid just like you.” To which she replied, “Mama, that’s just mean.”)
The Number 5 spot goes to Wendy Beauchamp from Witches of East End. Like I said, I like my witches with a little attitude. And a bit of intelligence, as well. Sure Joanna Beauchamp’s brilliant and massively powerful, but she just can’t compare with her sister’s zest for life. And Ingrid and Freya—well, I know Joanna didn’t train them as witches this lifetime and all that magical power was a shock to their system, but c’mon, girls! Use your brains occasionally! You’re not teenagers, listen to the grown-ups when they tell you things!
Number 6 falls to Piper Halliwell from Charmed. It’s not easy being the middle witch. And I know it has to get old, always having to be the responsible one.
Number 7 goes to Willow Rosenberg from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Those black orbs of eyes when she really gets going – oh, man!
Numbers 8, 9 and 10 all go to the witches of Practical Magic, Sally Owens and her Aunt Frances (Fran), and Aunt Bridget (Jet). Sally’s just such a love, trying her best to avoid the Owens curse and give her daughters a “normal” childhood. Whatever that is, right? And Aunt Fran and Aunt Jet? “You put de lime in de coconut and drink it all up….you put de lime in de coconut…call de doctor, woke ‘em up….” I could watch that movie once a week just for that scene.
And there you have Gail Roughton’s Top Ten Countdown of Witches!
Gail Roughton is a native of small town Georgia whose Deep South heritage features prominently in much of her work. She’s worked in a law office for close to forty years, during which time she’s raised three children and quite a few attorneys. She’s kept herself more or less sane by writing novels and tossing the completed manuscripts into her closet.
A cross-genre writer, she’s produced books ranging from humor to romance to thriller to horror and is never quite sure herself what to expect when she sits down at the keyboard. Now multi-published by Books We Love, Ltd., her credits include the War-N-Wit, Inc. series, The Color of Seven, Vanished, and Country Justice. Currently, she’s working on Black Turkey Walk, the second in the Country Justice series, as well as the Sisters of Prophecy series, co-written with Jude Pittman.
Another War-N-Wit plot always seems to be brewing on the back burner, too, whether she’s actually trying to brew one or not, and usually boils quicker when she’s trying not to brew one at all.
Amazon Page: http://amzn.com/e/B007JVZCKQ
Books We Love, Ltd. http://bookswelove.net/roughton.php