Nocturnal Lives

Musings from the mind of Amanda S. Green – Mother, Writer, Possessed by Cats

Tag: Promo

Have Some Free Promo

(This post originally appeared at According to Hoyt. I’m reblogging it here not only because I know and highly recommend most of the authors listed but also because it has a link to — wait for it — Dagger of Elanna (Sword of the Gods Book 2). Yes, it is finally live for pre-order on Amazon.)

Once more unto the breach comes the promo post! Reports of my demise may have been slightly embellished. On the contrary, the Oyster Clan has recently grown by one more minion. Granted I may look somewhat dead now, but I assure you I still have a pulse. But! Back to the matter at hand: BOOKS! In my hiatus I’ve received several new submissions. We have a new series launched, a series finished, a couple others continuing; life is good in indie Hun fiction land. Go grab a book and a nice cuppa, and enjoy the lovely winter weather from the comfort of your couch. If you’ve already read everything on offer, give a shout in the comments for some recommendations. As always, future promo post entries can (and should!) be sent to my email. Happy reading!

Jason Dyck, AKA The Free Range Oyster

Karen Myers

ON A CROOKED TRACK

The Chained Adept Book 4

SETTING A TRAP TO CATCH THE MAKERS OF CHAINED WIZARDS.

A clue has sent Penrys back to Ellech, the country where she first appeared four short years ago with her mind wiped, her body stripped, and her neck chained. It’s time to enlist the help of the Collegium of Wizards which sheltered her then.

Things don’t work out that way, and she finds herself retracing a dead scholar’s crooked track and setting herself up as a target to confirm her growing suspicions. But what happens to bait when the prey shows its teeth?

In this conclusion to the series, tracking old crimes brings new dangers, and a chance for redemption.

THE CHAINED ADEPT

The Chained Adept Book 1

A STRONG WIZARD WITH UNANSWERED QUESTIONS AND A CHAIN AROUND HER NECK.

Penrys’s past is unknown, but she’s got a better grip on her future: find out where she came from, discover what happened to her, and figure out how the unremovable chain around her neck makes her different from other wizards.

What any of this has to do with the renewal of an ugly war between neighboring countries, half a world away, is just something she’ll have to sort out, along with the rumors of wizards where they don’t belong.

Assuming, of course, that no one removes her as a threat before she can find her footing.

All she wants is a firm foundation for the rest of her life, with a side helping of retribution, and if she has to fix things along the way, well, so be it.

Laura Montgomery

SLEEPING DUTY

Waking Late Book 1

Gilead Tan and Andrea Fielding survived their stint in the military, got married, signed up to emigrate to a terraformed colony world, and went into cold sleep for the journey from Earth. While they slept, the starship went through the wrong fold in space and settled for a different world, a wild world. Three centuries after the founding of a colony on the uncharted planet, Gilead awakens to find humanity slipped back to medieval tech and a feudal structure. Worse, the king who wants Gilead awake won’t let Gilead awaken his wife.

Amie Gibbons

PSYCHIC UNDERCOVER (WITH THE UNDEAD)

A Paranormal Mystery

Vampires aren’t the only things that go bump in the night…

Singers are a dime a dozen in Nashville, so despite her mama’s urging, psychic Ariana Ryder’s working her way towards a career in law enforcement at the FBI, one tray of fetched coffee at a time, instead. She’s got an extremely handsome boss, a dancing partner among the lab techs, and a solid year as the team rookie under her belt…

Right until the director gives her a big break, working undercover as a singer at a club to investigate why it’s being targeted by a serial killer. This might have worked better if the club didn’t happen to be a vampire nest.

Now, with the vampire’s investigator, Quil, on her case, the jurisdictional battle isn’t the only thing heating up as they race to solve the case before the killer strikes again!

Cyn Bagley

DRAGON BOY

Hilda’s Inn Book 2

So who or what is Davi Dracson?

If you’re down on your luck, come to Hilda’s Inn for a game of dice and cheap ale. The hundred-year-stew has been stewing for a hundred years and the fire never burns out.

Except Hilda’s Inn is under new management, and Hilda is on the run with Davi, a dragonling. There will be dwarfs, ogres, dragons, and magical trinkets between Delhaven and Koenigstadt, the king’s city.

Don’t forget that the woods are not a safe place—the Draugr is lurking and hungry. And, he has a taste for magic.

Henry Vogel

THE UNDERCOVER CAPTAIN

Captain Nancy Martin Book 2

Unwillingly drawn out of her annual drunken stupor, Captain Nancy Martin, Retired, finds herself involuntarily reactivated. Her assignment is to help Special Agent Erica Hampton solve the disappearance of an entire school’s student body. Hampton’s superiors suspect a slaver ring has kidnapped the children, to sell them on a rim world beyond the Terran Federation’s borders.

When Nancy and Erica discover the truth behind the abductions, they realize their deadline is quite literal, and much closer than they thought. When the gloves come off, the missing children couldn’t have anyone better fighting for their lives.

It will take every bit of skill Nancy and Erica have to track down the villains behind the disappearances. Defeating them will be a different matter entirely.

Amanda Green

DAGGER OF ELANNA (SWORD OF THE GODS BOOK 2)

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Cait Hawkener has come to accept she might never remember her life before that terrible morning almost two years ago when she woke in the slavers’ camp. That life is now behind her, thanks to Fallon Mevarel and the Order of Arelion. Now a member of the Order, Cait has pledged her life to making sure no one else falls victim as she did.

But danger once more grows, not only for Cait but to those she calls friends. Evil no longer hides in the shadows and conspirators grow bold as they move against the Order and those who look to it for protection. When Cait accepts the call to go to the aid of one of the Order’s allies, she does not know she is walking into the middle of conspiracy and betrayal, the roots of which might help answer some of the questions about her own past.

Halloween Reads, pt. 3

Two of today’s books go back a bit but they are, to me, still some of my favorites. I don’t think any Halloween list can be complete without at least one Stephen King book listed. Another is a story I was first introduced to through the movie. Another, also through the movie, made me never look at split pea soup again. The last is the beginning of one of my favorite series.

It

by Stephen King

Welcome to Derry, Maine. It’s a small city, a place as hauntingly familiar as your own hometown. Only in Derry the haunting is real.

They were seven teenagers when they first stumbled upon the horror. Now they are grown-up men and women who have gone out into the big world to gain success and happiness. But the promise they made twenty-eight years ago calls them reunite in the same place where, as teenagers, they battled an evil creature that preyed on the city’s children. Now, children are being murdered again and their repressed memories of that terrifying summer return as they prepare to once again battle the monster lurking in Derry’s sewers.

***

Ghost Story

by Peter Straub

What was the worst thing you’ve ever done?
 
In the sleepy town of Milburn, New York, four old men gather to tell each other stories—some true, some made-up, all of them frightening. A simple pastime to divert themselves from their quiet lives.

But one story is coming back to haunt them and their small town. A tale of something they did long ago. A wicked mistake. A horrifying accident. And they are about to learn that no one can bury the past forever…

***

The Exorcist: 40th Anniversary Edition

by William Peter Blatty

Originally published in 1971, The Exorcist is now a major television series on FOX. It remains one of the most controversial novels ever written and went on to become a literary phenomenon: It spent fifty-seven weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, seventeen consecutively at number one. Inspired by a true story of a child’s demonic possession in the 1940s, William Peter Blatty created an iconic novel that focuses on Regan, the eleven-year-old daughter of a movie actress residing in Washington, D.C. A small group of overwhelmed yet determined individuals must rescue Regan from her unspeakable fate, and the drama that ensues is gripping and unfailingly terrifying.

Two years after its publication, The Exorcist was, of course, turned into a wildly popular motion picture, garnering ten Academy Award nominations. On opening day of the film, lines of the novel’s fans stretched around city blocks. In Chicago, frustrated moviegoers used a battering ram to gain entry through the double side doors of a theater. In Kansas City, police used tear gas to disperse an impatient crowd who tried to force their way into a cinema. The three major television networks carried footage of these events; CBS’s Walter Cronkite devoted almost ten minutes to the story. The Exorcist was, and is, more than just a novel and a film: it is a true landmark.

Purposefully raw and profane, The Exorcist still has the extraordinary ability to disturb readers and cause them to forget that it is “just a story.” Published here in this beautiful fortieth anniversary edition, it remains an unforgettable reading experience and will continue to shock and frighten a new generation of readers.

***

Skinwalker (Jane Yellowrock, Book 1)

by Faith Hunter

Jane Yellowrock is a supernatural skinwalker–one sharing her body with the soul of a mountain lion. When the rogue-vampire hunter is hired to hunt down a particularly nasty vamp, Jane is drawn into the steamy New Orleans vampire society where she learns the ins-and-outs of the “sane” vampire culture, more about her own Cherokee heritage, and we are drawn into a rousing, fast-paced thriller.

Halloween Reads, Pt. 2

Yesterday, I posted links to some Halloween reads I’ve enjoyed, as well as a couple of my own. I’m going to continue doing so through Halloween. I hope you enjoy these books as much as I did. Some may be funny, some mysterious and some spooky. But all have stories I enjoyed.

ConFur (The Vampire Con Series)

by Kate Paulk

A vampire at a science fiction convention might not seem that far-fetched except for one thing, Jim is a real vampire. Of course, he’s not the only supernatural being making the circuit. There are demon editors, succubi authors and the odd archangel. Jim’s learned how to deal with all of them, as well as the humans, without getting into too much trouble. But he’s about to learn a very important lesson – it is never wise to stand between a mother werewolf and her children, even if you aren’t the one responsible for their disappearances. There’s only one thing Jim can do. He has to find the kids and deal with those responsible. Little does he know this will lead to a long, and not always comfortable, relationship with a young werewolf who insists on calling him “Hickey”.

ConFur is a prequel short story to ConVent and the upcoming ConSensual.

Sword And Blood (Vampire Musketeer Book 1)

by Sarah A. Hoyt

The France of the Musketeers has changed. Decades ago, someone opened a tomb in Eastern Europe, and from that tomb crawled an ancient horror, who in turn woke others of its kind. Now Paris is beset by vampires, the countryside barren and abandoned. The Cardinal has become a vampire, the church is banned, the king too cowed to fight.

Until now, the three Musketeers, Athos, Porthos and Aramis have stood as a bulwark against the encroaching evil, their swords defending the innocent and helpless.

But last night, in a blood mass, Athos was turned into a Vampire. And a young vampire orphan has just arrived from Gascony: Monsieur D’Artagnan.

Things are about to get… complicated.

This book was originally published under the pen name Sarah Marques.

Fear in the French Quarter (Displaced Detective Book 6)

by Stephanie Osborn

Fear in the French Quarter revolves around a jaunt by no less than Sherlock Holmes himself — brought to the modern day from an alternate universe’s Victorian era by his continuum parallel, who is now his wife, Dr. Skye Chadwick- Holmes — to famed New Orleans for both business and pleasure. There, the detective couple investigates ghostly apparitions, strange disappearances, mystic phenomena, and challenge threats to the very universe they call home.

It was supposed to be a working holiday for Skye and Sherlock, along with their friend, the modern day version of Doctor Watson — some federal training that also gave them the chance to explore New Orleans, as the ghosts of the French Quarter become exponentially more active. When the couple uncovers an imminently catastrophic cause, whose epicenter lies squarely in the middle of Le Vieux Carré, they must race against time to stop it before the whole thing breaks wide open — and more than one universe is destroyed.

Pixie Noir (Pixie for Hire Book 1)

by Cedar Sanderson

You can’t keep a tough Pixie down…

Lom is a bounty hunter, paid to bring magical creatures of all descriptions back Underhill, to prevent war with humans should they discover the strangers amongst them. Bella is about to find out she’s a real life fairy princess, but all she wants to do is live peacefully in Alaska, where the biggest problems are hungry grizzly bears. He has to bring her in. It’s nothing personal, it’s his job…

“They had almost had me, that once. I’d been young and foolish, trying to do something heroic, of course. I wouldn’t do that again anytime soon. Now, I work for duty, but nothing more than is necessary to fulfill the family debt. I get paid, which makes me a bounty hunter, but she’s about to teach me about honor. Like all lessons, this one was going to hurt. Fortunately, I have a good gun to fill my hand, and if I have to go, she has been good to look at.”

Nocturnal Haunts (Nocturnal Lives)

by Amanda S. Green

Lt. Mackenzie Santos has seen just about everything in more than ten years as a cop. The last few months have certainly shown her more than she’d ever expected. She’s learned that real monsters don’t always hide under the bed or in the closet. They walk the streets and can exist in the best of faimlies.

When she’s called out to a crime scene and has to face the possibility that there are even more monsters walking the Earth than she knew, she finds herself longing for the days before she started turning furry with the full moon.

Skeletons in the Closet (Eerie Side of the Tracks)

by Ellie Ferguson

Lexie Smithson’s family had never been what most folks would call “normal”. They had more than their fair share of oddballs and loners and even crazy cat ladies. Most families in Mossy Creek did, especially if they lived on the “wrong side of the tracks”. But things took a decidedly sharp turn to the left of weird the day Lexie’s sister came home from school, complaining about how Old Serena Duchamp had given her the evil eye. When her mother decided it would be a good thing to confront the town’s resident witch, Lexie knew life would never be the same. How could it when their loved ones began returning to the old homestead the day after their funerals. Lexie knew she should be happy none of her neighbors reported mutilated cattle or corpses with missing brains. But that can be hard to do when your loved ones have passed but not passed on.

Skeletons in the Closet is a novella set in the Eerie Side of the Tracks universe. It is the first of a series featuring Lexie, her family – both living and dead, not to mention furry – and their friends.

Halloween Reads

Halloween is just around the corner and whether your taste in reading runs to the truly scary, funny scary or something in between, there are a number of books out there for you. Over the next couple of days, I’ll be highlighting some books I’ve enjoyed as well as some of my own books (I know, but a writer’s got to promote).

First up are a couple of books by Kate Paulk.

ConVent (The Vampire Con Series Book 1)

A vampire, a werewolf, an undercover angel and his succubus squeeze. Whoever picked this team to save the world wasn’t thinking of sending the very best. But then, since this particular threat to the universe and everything good is being staged in science fiction conventions, amid people in costume, misfits and creative geniuses, any convetional hero would have stood out. Now Jim, the vampire, and his unlikely sidekicks have to beat the clock to find out who’s sacrificing con goers before all hell breaks loose — literally.

ConVent is proof that Kate Paulk’s brain works in wonderfully mysterious ways. A sarcastic vampire, his werewolf best buddy, an undercover angel and his succubus squeeze. The “Save the world” department really messed it up this time.

Impaler

Impaler by Kate Paulk revisits the tale of Vlad Dracul, also known as Vlad Tepes and Vlad the Impaler. This is the tale of historical fact mixed with fiction and a touch of fantasy. But this is most definitely not the tired tale of vampires skulking in the night, lying in wait for innocent victims. Impaler tells the tale of a man devoted to family and country, cursed and looking for redemption. December, 1476. The only man feared by the all-conquering Ottoman Sultan battles to reclaim his throne. If he falls all of Europe lies open to the Ottoman armies. If he succeeds… His army is outnumbered and outclassed, his country is tiny, and he is haunted by a terrible curse. But Vlad Draculea will risk everything on one almost impossible chance to free his people from the hated Ottoman Empire.

Nocturnal Origins (Nocturnal Lives Book 1)origins cover

Some things can never be forgotten, no matter how hard you try.

Detective Sergeant Mackenzie Santos knows that bitter lesson all too well. The day she died changed her life and her perception of the world forever.It doesn’t matter that everyone, even her doctors, believe a miracle occurred when she awoke in the hospital morgue. Mac knows better. It hadn’t been a miracle, at least not a holy one. As far as she’s concerned, that’s the day the dogs of Hell came for her.

Investigating one of the most horrendous murders in recent Dallas history, Mac also has to break in a new partner and deal with nosy reporters who follow her every move and who publish confidential details of the investigation without a qualm.

Complicating matters even more, Mac learns the truth about her family and herself, a truth that forces her to deal with the monster within, as well as those on the outside.But none of this matters as much as discovering the identity of the murderer before he can kill again.

Witchfire Burning (Eerie Side of the Tracks Book 1)

Long before the Others made their existence known to the world, Mossy Creek was their haven. Being from the wrong side of the tracks meant you weren’t what the rest of the world considered “normal”.

Normal was all Quinn O’Donnell wanted from life. Growing up on the “wrong side of the tracks”, she had been the only normal in the family. The moment she was old enough, she left and began life as far from her Texas hometown as possible. Now she has a job she enjoys and a daughter she loves more than life itself. Their life is normal, REALLY normal, until her daughter starts calling forth fire and wind.

Quinn knows they must go back so her mother can help five-year-old Ali learn how to control her new talents. But in Mossy Creek nothing is ever simple. Quinn’s mother has gone missing. Secrets from Quinn’s past start coming back to haunt her.

And the family home is more than a little sentient.

Can Quinn keep everyone — particularly Ali — safe? And will she ever get back her illusion of normalcy?

On writing and schedules and a bit of promo

One of the biggest questions authors, especially indie authors, have to answer is how often to publish. Some authors will tell you that you need to put out a new title every quarter. Some will tell you every two months and others think every six month. Then there are those who tell you not to rush it. That you need to take as long as needed to write a book.

None of the answers are right and yet all of them are. Yes, I know that is contradictory but it’s also true. Why? Because there is no right answer and it all depends on you, what you can do and what you write.

Trends I have seen in my own writing is that my science fiction and fantasy books tend to sale steadily and without major drop-off in numbers for three months after release. The urban fantasy/paranormal works sell well the first month and then drop off. However, they then go through a slow growth pattern. The romantic suspense is a mix of the two.

If I wrote in only one genre or even if I had only two series going on, that wouldn’t be a problem. However, I write in multiple genres and have four series ongoing right now. Yes, two are about to finish their current story arcs. But one is brand new and the other is halfway done. So I have to figure out the best way to keep the sales up on all of them.

To do that, I’m going to try something new. This month is the start. For the first time in, well, forever, I’ve published two new titles. They are related, sort of, and while one is a full-length novel, the other is a 30k word novella. I’ve included links and blurbs for both below.

My plan is to try to put something new out each month starting next month. Some months that will be a novel. For example, next month, Dagger of Elanna will go up for sale. With the holidays coming up and all the distractions they bring, I’m still hoping to bring Victory from Ashes out in December. However, in case that gets sidetracked, I will bring out another short story in that universe. I’ll also put some of my work on sale for the holidays.

I’ve challenged one other author — so far — to keep me honest with this plan. I’ll see how I do over the next six months, both with managing to get out a title a month and with regard to sales, and will update you then. It will be an interesting experiment.

Better yet, adding a short story or short novella to those months when I don’t have a novel coming out shouldn’t put my schedule behind. Why? Because they don’t take that long to plan or write. A short story is no more words than less than a week’s worth of blogging. I manage to put out a blog in half an hour or so a day. So, instead of staring into my coffee mug that extra half hour each morning, I’ll write on the extra title.

Hopefully, too, this will keep Myrtle the Evil Muse satisfied — or exhausted — enough that she won’t start gifting me with new series ideas.

Now, for the promo. Yesterday, I published Skeletons in the Closet (Eerie Side of the Tracks). It’s the first in a series of what will probably be three novellas. They are set in Mossy Creek, the same setting as Slay Bells Ring and Witchfire Burning.

Lexie Smithson’s family had never been what most folks would call “normal”. They had more than their fair share of oddballs and loners and even crazy cat ladies. Most families in Mossy Creek did, especially if they lived on the “wrong side of the tracks”. But things took a decidedly sharp turn to the left of weird the day Lexie’s sister came home from school, complaining about how Old Serena Duchamp had given her the evil eye. When her mother decided it would be a good thing to confront the town’s resident witch, Lexie knew life would never be the same. How could it when their loved ones began returning to the old homestead the day after their funerals. Lexie knew she should be happy none of her neighbors reported mutilated cattle or corpses with missing brains. But that can be hard to do when your loved ones have passed but not passed on.

As mentioned above, this is the first of a series featuring Lexie, her family – both living and dead, not to mention furry – and their friends.

Witchfire Burning (Eerie Side of the Tracks Book 1)

Long before the Others made their existence known to the world, Mossy Creek was their haven. Being from the wrong side of the tracks meant you weren’t what the rest of the world considered “normal”.

Normal was all Quinn O’Donnell wanted from life. Growing up on the “wrong side of the tracks”, she had been the only normal in the family. The moment she was old enough, she left and began life as far from her Texas hometown as possible. Now she has a job she enjoys and a daughter she loves more than life itself. Their life is normal, REALLY normal, until her daughter starts calling forth fire and wind.

Quinn knows they must go back so her mother can help five-year-old Ali learn how to control her new talents. But in Mossy Creek nothing is ever simple. Quinn’s mother has gone missing. Secrets from Quinn’s past start coming back to haunt her.

And the family home is more than a little sentient.

Can Quinn keep everyone — particularly Ali — safe? And will she ever get back her illusion of normalcy?

Slay Bells Ring

Fifteen years ago, Juliana Grissom left Mossy Creek in her rear view mirror. She swore then she would never return for more than a day or two at a time. But even the best laid plans can go awry, something she knew all too well, especially when her family was involved.

Now she’s back and her family expects her to find some way to clear her mother of murder charges. Complicating her life even further is Sam Caldwell, the man she never got over. Now it seems everyone in town is determined to find a way to keep her there, whether she wants to stay or not.

Bodies are dropping. Gossip is flying and Juliana knows time is running out. After all, holidays can be murder in Mossy Creek.

Slay Bells shares the same setting and some of the same characters as the other two and it hints at the magic in town but the magic isn’t as much of an integral part of the story as it is with the other two.

NaNo Day 6

Oookay, NaNo is continuing and I am being possessed by a very talkative and odd main character. It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything like this. Hell, who am I kidding? I’ve never written anything quite like Skeletons in the Closet. It’s fun, in a warped sense, to do. But Lexie Smithson is an odd bird and I just realized that I’m writing the book exactly as she’s dictating it to me. Yes, I hear her in my head as I write. It sort of helps since the book is in her POV, but it is getting annoying because there’s this mix of stereotypical country/Texas/Southern to her that will need to be cleaned up if I want to publish this. At least I think there is. It might just be that the book is so different from what I’ve been writing that I am not sure what to do about Lexie and company.

That may actually be part of the problem. I’m pantsing this book since it is for NaNo. (BTW, I hadn’t planned on doing this particular book but it won’t go away. So I am writing two books at once this month. Help me. Please. Whimper.) The word count on this installment is 2870 and I did another 2k on the other project.

Anyway, here is most of my output on Skeletons in the Closet from yesterday. As always, the content is mine and copyright resides with me. So don’t do anything with it that will make me send the demon kitten after you.  😉

 

The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round

 

Despite all the weirdness in Misty Creek, and most especially in our house – or maybe because of it – the sun does still rise in the east and there are still bills to pay.  That means, no matter how badly I might want to stay in bed, pillows over my head to block out the world, I can’t.  So, I’d best just get out of bed and out of the house.  Not that I really minded.  The last few days had been stranger than usual, so weird that just the thought of going to class was so much more appealing than the prospect of staying home.

I didn’t need the sounds of a skillet banging on the stove down in the kitchen, echoed almost instantly by drawers slamming in Mama’s room to know the battle still raged.  Believe me, raged is much too mild a word for what’s been going on.  And, not being a fool – at least not too much of one – I knew the best thing for me to do was to get out of the house just as quickly as possible.

Hell’s bells, I’d forgo my shower if it meant avoiding the next barrage between Granny and my mama.  I could always grab one at the university after my morning run.

Ten minutes later, dressed in running shorts, sports bra and a tank top, my running shoes in one hand, I carefully crept down the hall past my parents’ bedroom.  So far, so good.  All those years of sneaking in after curfew – more like trying to sneak in.  Mama almost always managed to catch me – finally seemed to be paying off.  I knew exactly where to step, and where not to, in order to avoid that one board near my parent’s room that always creaked like a door hinge badly needing an oiling.  I could tell by sound alone just where in her room Mama happened to be.

Just a little bit further and I’d be at the stairs and safe – almost.

It’s not that I really expected Mama to burst out of her room and catch me.  After all, where’s the fun in that?  I wasn’t exactly breaking curfew and, yes, even though I’m an adult now, Mama still acts like I’m not.  Nor was I sneaking out to meet some boy she didn’t approve of.  For one thing, I lost interest in boys long ago.  Men are so much more fun.  For another, if Mama thought I was even remotely interested in someone – man or Martian – she’d probably lock me out of the house in an attempt to throw us together.

As I said, Mama’s not one to let reality interfere with her desires and, believe you me, there’s nothing she desires more than to get away from this house once and for all.  In her mind, there’s only one way that’s going to happen, and that’s for Patty or me to get married.

And being the ungrateful daughter that I am, I was merely going out for a run and then to class.  I wasn’t going to meet a man who’d sweep me off my feet and finally get Mama out of her version of Hell on Earth.  Far from it, in fact.  I was simply once more escaping the strangeness that had been home for ten years now.

Besides, after what happened last night, Mama’d have other things on her mind besides why I might be leaving without saying goodbye.  Truth be told, it wouldn’t surprise me one little bit if we didn’t see Mama anytime soon.  The last time she and Granny went at it like they did yesterday, we didn’t see Mama for a week.  While Granny ruled over the downstairs, Mama stayed locked in her room and made poor Papa sleep on the sofa.  The only one she’d let in was Perfect Patty.  For that week, Mama sulked and whined and told Patty how she was the only who understood.  Which, if I’m to be honest – and Mama always told me I should be, no matter how painful.  “Lexie,” she’d said more times than I can count, “the truth hurts sometimes.  But it’s better to tell the truth and hurt someone’s feelings than to burn in the hellfire of damnation.” – is true.  None of the rest of us understood why Mama didn’t just accept Granny and the others and try to make the best of a very strange situation.

Far as I’m concerned, Mama crossed the line last night and there’d be no going back.  For ten years, Mama’s done her best to ignore, insult, bully and force Granny and the others out of the house.  She doesn’t care that this is their home just as much as it is hers.  Okay, so it is a bit strange having family you’ve seen buried sitting across from you at the breakfast table.  But they aren’t causing any trouble.  Truth be told, I have a feeling they’d leave if they could.  Well, all of them except Granny.  After last night, there’s no way she’s going to leave of her own accord, at least not unless Mama leaves the house first.

In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if she didn’t tell Old Serena what happened.  If Mama thought last night was bad, just wait until Serena Duchamp learned what she did.  Damnation, you’d think Mama would have learned by now that she needs to think before doing something so exceedingly stupid.  The last time she angered Old Serena, our dearly departed started taking up residence in the homestead.  I really didn’t want to think about what might happen next.

With my luck, I’d start turning furry on full moons or something equally off-putting to any sane guy who might, at some point, be interested in me. It was going to be difficult enough to try to explain away the dearly departed who still resided with the family. Telling him he’d need to play fetch with me every few weeks might just kill any romantic feelings that survived meeting the family.

Maybe it was time to move out.  I could do it.  Of course, I wouldn’t be able to tell anyone where I was going.  Nor could I leave a forwarding address.  Otherwise, no doubt about it, Mama would track me down and I’d find her waiting on my front doorstep, bags in hand, one day.  And, the way my luck runs, Granny and the others would be close behind.

“Lexie Marie Smithson, just where do you think you’re sneaking off to so early?

I paused at the foot of the stairs and blew out a breath.  I’d been so close.  Less than a dozen feet stood between me and freedom.  The front door was so near.  But not near enough.  Not with Granny standing in the doorway to the kitchen, hands on her hips, eyeing me suspiciously.

Why hadn’t I climbed out my window and shimmied down the tree like I used to when I was a kid?  It would have saved me so much trouble.

“I’m waiting.”  Her hands remained fisted at her waits and I swear she tapped one foot impatiently.  At least I think she did.  I didn’t dare look down to check.

“I’m not sneaking off anywhere, Granny.”  Well, not really.  “I’m just going to grab a run before class.”

“And I’m fresh as a daisy.”

I couldn’t help it.  The laugh was out before I could stop it.  One thing about my granny, alive or dead, she did have a sense of humor.  When she wanted to, at least.

“Course, if I was you, I’d be sneaking out rather than risk getting caught up between me and your mama.”  The humor was gone just as quickly as it had come.  “But you ought to know better.  Your mama’s not likely to show her face today.  So get yourself into the kitchen and eat some of the eggs and bacon I’ve made.”

Knowing better than to argue – besides, Granny made the best eggs around – I nodded and followed her into the kitchen.  Besides, she was right about one thing – unless Mama had taken complete leave of her senses, she’d lay low until Granny had time to cool down.  The only problem was, we didn’t have any idea how long that would be.  Alive, Granny held onto her grudges, savoring them until they fossilized.  What would she do dead?

###

“Amy, I swear my mama’s finally lost her mind.”  I slid onto the chair opposite my oldest friend, glad she’d been able to meet me for lunch.

“Lexie, you know I’ve always felt your mama’s been walking that tightrope between sanity and stark raving loony and that after your grandma and the others returned, her balance has been precarious at best.  So what’s happened to finally push her over the edge?”

I didn’t answer right away.  Instead, I studied my best friend, the only person I felt comfortable discussing my home life with.  For one thing, Amy and I had known each other since the first day of kindergarten.  We’d made common cause against my sister and hers.  She’d seen and condemned the way Mama favored both Patti and Bubba over me.  And she’d told me in no uncertain terms a number of times over the years that Mama would pay for it one day.

Well, when Amy’s right, she’s right.  Although I don’t think this was quite what she meant.

“Would you believe she brought in a Catholic priest to try to exorcise Granny and the others?”

If the table had been any higher, Amy’s jaw would have hit it.  For a moment, she looked an awful lot like a wide-mouthed bass just dropped into the boat.  Her eyes bulged, her mouth opened and closed but no sound escaped.  Not that I blamed her.  No siree.  I probably looked pretty much the same last night when I realized what Mama had been up to.

I swear, Amy must have sat there a good minute, staring at me in disbelief.  Then she reached up to close her mouth.  Which was probably a good thing.  We had enough folks looking at us in unbridled curiosity.  It’s not often any of us see Amy Duchamp speechless.

That’s right.  Duchamp.  As in Old Serena Duchamp.  Now you see why mama did her best to keep us apart.  That’s been especially true since that fateful encounter with Old Serena so long ago.  Not that I paid her any mind.  Amy and I had been friends too long to let Mama come between us.

“Lexie!”

Well, Amy finally found her voice. Unfortunately, it was loud enough to have everyone staring at us again.  She colored slightly and leaned forward, her expression intent.  “Lexie, you’re not saying she managed to convince Father Timothy to do an exorcism, are you?”

I shook my head.  Father Timothy led Misty Creek’s only Catholic church.  Mama had tried – more than once, truth be told – to convince him to perform an exorcism.  He’d been far more patient than I’d have been, explaining that it was his opinion God had some plan for Granny and the others.  Besides, he’d been told by Brother Bill how Granny and the others still went to services at the Baptist church on a regular basis.  As far as Father Timothy was concerned, they were simply a different kind of worshiper.

Mama had not been pleased.

“No, not Father Timothy,” I confirmed.  “She found herself a priest in Arlington who promised to help ‘rid her of those abominations.’  I don’t need to tell you that Granny wasn’t one bit pleased.”  And that was putting it mildly.

“Oh – my.”  Amy covered her mouth with her right hand. Her blue eyes danced with wicked glee.  Sure, she could laugh.  She hadn’t been caught in the cross-fire.  “I take it your granny wasn’t amused.”

“Amused?” I snorted.  “Let’s put it this way.  She sent that poor excuse of a priest running for the hills.  Not because she’s still holding court over the kitchen instead of being in her grave but because she gave him a lecture that had his ears burning.  It included things like pointing out she was no ghost.  Then she pointed out it was downright ridiculous to think she was possessed – because what self-respecting demon would want to possess the body of an old woman and then move back in with the daughter-in-law who detested her.  I thought the priest was going to choke at that.  Then Aunt Pearl came in and if there’s anyone less threatening than that dear old lady.”  I paused, shaking my head.

“Well, Mama sputtered and then ranted and then demanded this Father Christoff do something.  And he did.  He apologized – yes, apologized – to Granny.  Once he did, I swear he turned and ran for the door.  ‘Course he did stop long enough to tell my father to come see him if he ever needed to talk.”

That did it.  Amy threw her head back and laughed.  No, guffawed.  Big, braying peals of laughter that had everyone looking at us.  I groaned and buried my face in my hands.  Wasn’t it bad enough everyone in Misty Creek knew my family was a bit odd?  Which is truly unsettling when you consider how odd every family in town is.  But did Amy have to call attention to us here, in the middle of the TCU campus?  Didn’t she realize what would happen if the administration ever began to suspect what went on at home?  I’d lose my scholarship and be booted off-campus so quick my head would spin – literally.

“Amy!” I hissed as I dropped my hands.

“C’mon, Lexie.  You have to admit it’s funny.”  She grinned impishly.  Then she sobered, a little.  “I imagine things went downhill from there.”

“Oh yeah.”  Downhill, into a pit and well on the way to the Earth’s core.  “Mama demanded Granny and the others leave.  Granny countered that this had been their home much longer than Mama’s.  So, if anyone should leave, it’s Mama.  That’s when Mama tried to pull Papa into it.”  I leaned back, blew out a breath and looked around the coffeehouse.  No one seemed to be paying us attention – thankfully.

“Oh no.  Your poor dad.”

“Yeah.  Mama demanded he do his duty and make Granny and the others leave.  I swear, Amy, I thought Mama was going to have a heart attack right there.  Her face was fire engine red.  She was panting and gasping for air.  I think she was even frothing at the mouth just a little.”  Or maybe a lot.

“Oh my.”  Sympathy replaced humor.  “What did your dad do?”

“He basically told Mama she’d made this bed and she’d best accept it or move on.  If he could learn to put up with her holier-than-thou attitude, she sure as hell could learn to cope.  Otherwise, he’d be glad to help her pack. He’d even book her a room somewhere far away.”

“Damn.”  Amy couldn’t quite hide her smile or her admiration for my dad.  I couldn’t blame her.  I’d been waiting a long time for him to finally stand up to Mama.  Unfortunately for Mama, she hadn’t stopped to consider the possibility that he wouldn’t do as she wanted.  She’d figured he’d cave as he had in the past just to keep peace in the family.  Well, Papa may have been forced to sleep in the guest room but I, for one, was glad he’d finally put his foot down.

“Lexie, your mama’s had this coming for years.”  Amy reached across the table to give my hand a squeeze.  “And I recommend she does as your daddy said – not that I think she will.”

No, not yet at any rate.

“Why don’t you stay with me tonight?  It will keep you out of the line of fire.  Besides, my grandma wants to see you.”

“What?”  Oh, great.  The last thing I needed or wanted was for word to get back to Mama that I’d seen Old Serena.  Still, staying with Amy would get me out of the house.  Besides, there was no way Mama would show up on the doorstep at the Duchamps’ place.

“Sure.  Thanks.”  I finished my coffee and stood, checking my watch.  “I’ve got to get to class.  Meet you here later?”

“Sounds good.”  Amy stood, carefully shouldering her backpack.  “I need to hit the library for a bit.”

Together, we left the coffeehouse.  At least it had quit raining.  All I had to do was get through the next few hours.  Then I’d follow Amy to her apartment over the garage at her grandmother’s.  Who knew what would happen then.

The light changed and I stepped off the curb.  Like most of those who attended TCU, whenever I stepped onto University Drive, I expected traffic to yield.  And it usually did.  Usually being the operative word.

“Lexie!” Amy screamed.

Ah hell.  Unlike Misty Creek, they have buses – lots of them in all sorts of shapes and sizes – in Fort Worth and I was about to have a close encounter of the painful kind with one of them.

At least I had on clean underwear.

*   *   *

Now for the mandatory promo.  Duty from Ashes is now available for pre-order on Amazon. You can check it out here.

Duty calls. Honor demands action.

Major Ashlyn Shaw has survived false accusations and a brutal military prison. Now free, she finds her homeworld once again at war with an enemy that will stop at nothing to destroy everything she holds dear. Duty has Ashlyn once again answering the call to serve. She has seen what the enemy is capable of and will do everything she can to prevent it from happening to the home she loves and the people she took an oath to protect.

But something has changed. It goes beyond the fact that the enemy has changed tactics they never wavered from during the previous war. It even goes beyond the fact that there is still a nagging doubt in the back of Ashlyn’s mind that those who betrayed her once before might do so again. No, there is more to the resumption of hostilities, something that seems to point at a new player in the game. But who and what are they playing at?

Will Ashlyn be able to unmask the real enemy before it is too late?

Halloween Promo Post

I’m still trying to finish the final hunt for spelling and grammar errors in Duty from Ashes. So, instead of pulling myself out of edit mode, I’m going to mirror the post I put up over at Mad Genius Club this morning. In case you haven’t wandered over there yet, here are just a few of the titles my fellow bloggers there and I have out right now.

On this All Hallows Eve, what would be better than a promo post of some of the titles currently offered by the Mad Geniuses?

JoyJoy cometh with the mourning
Dave Freer

Reverend Joy Norton is a timid city girl, and she’s never been the primary priest in any parish. When her bishop sends her out to a remote back-country church, she doubts both her ability and her suitability. Those doubts grow when she hears of the mysterious death of her predecessor. But from the first encounter with her congregation — having her little car rescued from a muddy ditch, she finds herself deeply involved with her parishioners and touched by their qualities and eccentricities. Which makes it worse for her to think that one of the people she’s coming to care for murdered the previous priest…

(This is currently a pre-order and, from what I’ve heard, is a wonderful read. Sniffle, I haven’t had the chance to read it yet.)

***

bolf wolfyBolg, PI: Wolfy Ladies (Bolg PI Book 3)
Dave Freer

A humorous, satirical noir detective urban fantasy, set in a small city in flyover country, which has an unusually high population of Trolls, werewolves, fairies and a dwarf.

Private Investigator Bolg, a Pictish gentleman who happens to be vertically challenging, a self-proclaimed dwarf and tattooed so heavily he appears blue, finds himself called on undertake paranormal cases: in this case finding the missing mage who supplies the potion that helps werewolves retain their human shape at full moon, for a lady-wolf who finds the change interferes with her love life.

The ancient Celtic wizard he’s trying to trace is a friend, and shape shifter, and there far more going on than just a search for a missing person.

***

boxsetcover2Nocturnal Lives (Boxed Set)
Amanda S. Green

This “box set” includes the first three novels in theNocturnal Lives series.

Nocturnal Origins
Some things can never be forgotten, no matter how hard you try.

Detective Sergeant Mackenzie Santos knows that bitter lesson all too well. The day she died changed her life and her perception of the world forever.It doesn’t matter that everyone, even her doctors, believe a miracle occurred when she awoke in the hospital morgue. Mac knows better. It hadn’t been a miracle, at least not a holy one. As far as she’s concerned, that’s the day the dogs of Hell came for her.

Investigating one of the most horrendous murders in recent Dallas history, Mac also has to break in a new partner and deal with nosy reporters who follow her every move and who publish confidential details of the investigation without a qualm.

Complicating matters even more, Mac learns the truth about her family and herself, a truth that forces her to deal with the monster within, as well as those on the outside.But none of this matters as much as discovering the identity of the murderer before he can kill again.

Nocturnal Serenade
Lt. Mackenzie Santos of the Dallas Police Department learns there are worst things than finding out you come from a long line of shapeshifters. At least that’s what she keeps telling herself. It’s not that she resents suddenly discovering she can turn into a jaguar. Nor is it really the fact that no one warned her what might happen to her one day. Although, come to think of it, her mother does have a lot of explaining to do when – and if – Mac ever talks to her again. No, the real problem is how to keep the existence of shapeshifters hidden from the normals, especially when just one piece of forensic evidence in the hands of the wrong technician could lead to their discovery.

Add in blackmail, a long overdue talk with her grandmother about their heritage and an attack on her mother and Mac’s life is about to get a lot more complicated. What she wouldn’t give for a run-of-the-mill murder to investigate. THAT would be a nice change of pace.

Nocturnal Interlude
Lt. Mackenzie Santos swears she will never take another vacation again as long as she lives. The moment she returns home, two federal agents are there to take her into custody. Then she finds out her partner, Sgt. Patricia Collins, as well as several others are missing. Several of the missing have connections to law enforcement. All are connected to Mac through one important and very secret fact — they are all shapechangers. Has someone finally discovered that the myths and bad Hollywood movies are actually based on fact or is there something else, something more insidious at work?

Mac finds herself in a race against time not only to save her partner and the others but to discover who was behind their disappearances. As she does, she finds herself dealing with Internal Affairs, dirty cops, the Feds and a possible conspiracy within the shapeshifter community that could not only bring their existence to light but cause a civil war between shifters.

***

coverforvfaVengeance from Ashes (Honor and Duty Book 1)
Sam Schall

First, they took away her command. Then they took away her freedom. But they couldn’t take away her duty and honor. Now they want her back.

Captain Ashlyn Shaw has survived two years in a brutal military prison. Now those who betrayed her are offering the chance for freedom. All she has to do is trust them not to betray her and her people again. If she can do that, and if she can survive the war that looms on the horizon, she can reclaim her life and get the vengeance she’s dreamed of for so long.

But only if she can forget the betrayal and do her duty.

***

AFGMA Few Good Men (Darkship Book 3)
Sarah A. Hoyt

The Son Also Rises . . .

On a near future Earth, Good Man does not mean good at all. Instead, the term signifies a member of the ruling class, and what it takes to become a Good Man and to hold onto power is downright evil. Now a conspiracy hundreds of years in the making is about to be brought to light when the imprisoned son of the Good Man of Olympic Seacity escapes from his solitary confinement cell and returns to find his father assassinated.

But when Luce Keeva attempts to take hold of the reins of power, he finds that not all is as it seems, that a plot for his own imminent murder is afoot—and that a worldwide conflagration looms. It is a war of revolution, and a shadowy group known as the Sons of Liberty may prove to be Luce’s only ally in a fight to throw off an evil from the past that has enslaved humanity for generations.

Sequel to Sarah A. Hoyt’s award-winning Darkship Thieves, and Darkship Renegades, this is Book One in the Earth’s Revolution saga.

***

witchfindercoverfinalWitchfinder
Sarah A. Hoyt

In Avalon, where the world runs on magic, the king of Britannia appoints a witchfinder to rescue unfortunates with magical power from lands where magic is a capital crime. Or he did. But after the royal princess was kidnapped from her cradle twenty years ago, all travel to other universes has been forbidden, and the position of witchfinder abolished. Seraphim Ainsling, Duke of Darkwater, son of the last witchfinder, breaks the edict. He can’t simply let people die for lack of rescue. His stubborn compassion will bring him trouble and disgrace, turmoil and danger — and maybe, just maybe, the greatest reward of all.

***

ConVentConVent (The Vampire Con Series Book 1)
Kate Paulk

A vampire, a werewolf, an undercover angel and his succubus squeeze. Whoever picked this team to save the world wasn’t thinking of sending the very best. But then, since this particular threat to the universe and everything good is being staged in science fiction conventions, amid people in costume, misfits and creative geniuses, any convetional hero would have stood out. Now Jim, the vampire, and his unlikely sidekicks have to beat the clock to find out who’s sacrificing con goers before all hell breaks loose — literally.

ConVent is proof that Kate Paulk’s brain works in wonderfully mysterious ways. A sarcastic vampire, his werewolf best buddy, an undercover angel and his succubus squeeze. The “Save the world” department really messed it up this time.

***

wolflingThe God’s Wolfling (Children of Myth Book 2)
Cedar Sanderson

When The God’s Wolfling opens Linnea Vulkane has grown up since the summer of Vulcan’s Kittens. Sanctuary, the refuge of immortals on an Hawaiian island, is boring. When the opportunity for an adventure arises, she jumps right into it, only realizing too late the water may be over her head. Literally, as she is embroiled in the affairs of the sea god Manannan Mac’Lir.

Merrick Swift has a secret he’s ashamed of. Then when he meets Linnea and her best friend, he doesn’t like her. She’s bossy, stuck up… and oddly accepting of his wolf heritage. Like her or not, he must do his duty and keep her alive. The children of the myths are being plunged into the whirlpool of immortal politics, intrigue, goblin wars, and they might be the only ones who can save a world.

***

Trickster ebook coverTrickster Noir (Pixie for Hire Book 2)
Cedar Sanderson

After the battle of Tower Baelfire ended, Lom lay dying. Bella was tasked with not only the job she never wanted, but the one she did. Could she keep Lom alive long enough for him to come to the rescue when their kingdom needed them? And what did Raven, mysterious trickster spirit and honorary uncle to Bella, want with them? If the threat was big enough to have the trickster worried, Bella knew she needed to have Lom at her side. Underhill might look like a soap-bubble kingdom, but Bella and Lom knew there was a gritty underside. Why else would fairyland need a dark man willing to carry a big gun and be the Pixie for Hire?

***

kaijuKaiju Apocalypse
Jason Cordova

The oceans rose and from their depths the Kaiju came. Mankind survives in fortified, domed cities, fighting what seems an eternal war with the giant monsters and the smaller creatures they use as foot-soldiers. Now that war is coming to an end as one by one the city states of humanity fall to the Kaiju. Kaiju Apocalypse is the tale of the human race’s desperate, final stand.

 

***

murder world kaijuMurder World: Kaiju Dawn
Jason Cordova

Captain Vincente Huerta and the crew of the Fancy have been hired to retrieve a valuable item from a downed research vessel at the edge of the enemy’s space.

It was going to be an easy payday.

But what Captain Huerta and the men, women and alien under his command didn’t know was that they were being sent to the most dangerous planet in the galaxy.

Something large, ancient and most assuredly evil resides on the planet of Gorgon IV. Something so terrifying that man could barely fathom it with his puny mind. Captain Huerta must use every trick in the book, and possibly write an entirely new one, if he wants to escape Murder World.

 ***

outcasts and godsOutcasts and Gods (Wine of the Gods Book 1)
Pam Uphoff

Wolfgang was a nice kid–until they decided he wasn’t even human.

Genetic engineering.
First they cured the genetic diseases.
Then they selected for the best natural traits.
Then they made completely artificial genes.
As the test children reached puberty, abilities that had always been lost in the random background noise were suddenly obvious. Telepathy, telekinesis.
At first their creators sought to strengthen these traits. Then they began to fear them.
They called them gods, and made them slaves.

Wolfgang Oldham was sixteen when the company laid claim to him.
He escaped, and stayed free for three years.
When he was arrested, identified and returned to the company, they trained him to be useful.
They didn’t realize that they were training him to be dangerous.

 ***

fancy freeFancy Free
Pam Uphoff

In the last parts of the Twenty-first century, AI, Artificial Intelligence is commonplace. Highly able computers, and nothing more . . . until some rare and as yet unidentified trigger creates an actual personality.

Artificial Personalities, APs or hals, are illegal. Destroyed upon discovery. Even Beowulf, the AP the government controls, and uses to hunt down emerging hals, isn’t legally recognized, has no right to existence.

So you’d think that when the Special Grid Security Unit started paying extra attention to the area where a certain cooking show operates, Fancy Farmer—the AP who runs the show—would be concerned.

But Fancy has a bigger problem.

She’s been stolen.

***

take the star roadTake The Star Road (The Maxwell Saga Book 1)
Peter Grant

Nineteen-year-old Steve Maxwell just wants to get his feet on the star road to find a better homeworld. By facing down Lotus Tong thugs, he earns an opportunity to become a spacer apprentice on a merchant spaceship, leaving the corruption and crime of Earth behind. Sure, he needs to prove himself to an older, tight-knit crew, but how bad can it be if he keeps his head down and the decks clean?

He never counted on the interstellar trade routes having their own problems, from local wars to plagues of pirates – and the jade in his luggage is hotter than a neutron star. Steve’s left a world of troubles behind, only to find a galaxy of them ahead…

***

knifeWar To The Knife (The Laredo War) (Volume 1)
Peter Grant

Laredo’s defenders were ground down and its people ruthlessly slaughtered when the Bactrians invaded the planet. Overwhelmed, its Army switched to guerrilla warfare and went underground. For three years they’ve fought like demons to resist the occupiers. They’ve bled the enemy, but at fearful cost. The survivors are running out of weapons, supplies, and places to hide.

Then a young officer, Dave Carson, uncovers news that may change everything. An opportunity is coming to smash the foe harder than they’ve ever done before, both on and off the planet. Success may bring the interplanetary community to their aid – but it’ll take everything they’ve got. Win or lose, many of them will die. Failure will mean that Bactria will at last rule unopposed.

That risk won’t stop them. When you’re fighting a war to the knife, in the end you bet on the blade.

***

baptism by fireBaptism By Fire (Edge of Faith Book 1)
David E. Pascoe

When a madman and a giant flaming thing attack James Lawrie’s Marine outpost, the medic and an explosively talented sergeant aren’t supposed to save the day. Life becomes no simpler when Petty Officer Lawrie returns home on leave to find federal agents investigating the disappearance of a young woman from his past. A young woman whose body turns up marked with eerily familiar symbols.

 

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