JUST RELEASED! Vision of the Griffin’s Heart, Andy Smithson, Book 5

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I’m delighted to participate in this blog tour for L.R.W. Lee’s latest episode in the Andy Smithson fantasy series for Middle Grade readers!  I had the pleasure of sharing a booth with her at the Austin Book Festival last October and thoroughly enjoyed getting to know this intelligent and fascinating person. Learn more about the fifth book in the series, get to know more about the author and then be sure to grab a copy from the buy links at the end.

Four years ago, Andy Smithson discovered he is the Chosen one to break a 500-yr-old curse plaguing the land of Oomaldee when he unexpectedly and mysteriously found himself there. To do so, he must collect ingredients for a magical potion. Thus far he has gathered the scale of a red dragon, venom from a giant serpent, a unicorn’s horn, and the tail feather of a phoenix. Now he must ask a griffin for one of its talons. There’s just one problem…humans have poached griffin treasure, causing these mythical creatures to attack on sight.

Complicating matters, the evil Abaddon, sovereign of Oomaldee’s northern neighbor, is turning more and more citizens into zolt in his ongoing campaign of terror as he sets in motion the final steps of his plan to conquer the land. Things really start to heat up in book five!

If you loved Harry Potter, you’ll love the Andy Smithson series chalk full of mythical creatures, newly invented animals like zolt, herewolves, and therewolves, a complex plot with evolving characters, and positive themes including responsibility, diligence, dignity, friendship and more.

Purchase Kindle and Paperback

 THE BUZZ

5 Stars! – “A marvelous book in a great series!” – Erik Weibel (Age 14) This Kid Reviews Books Blog

“Readers of this series have come to anticipate a host of challenges, intense battles, and on an epic scale. In Vision of the Griffin’s Heart, you won’t be disappointed. For lovers of fantasy, I consider it a must read.” – Richard Weatherly, Author

“One of the admirable qualities I like about the entire series is seeing Andy’s growth from a self-absorbed kid to a more thoughtful teen as he learns how to deal with the various crises which face him, all the while knowing that the future may hold unpleasant consequences.  The watchword for Vision of the Griffin’s Heart is “courage.” – Wayne Walker, Home School Book Review

THE DEPTH OF THE ANDY SMITHSON SERIES

If you’re an adult looking for a clean series you can sink your teeth into, Andy Smithson is definitely it! In it I develop four layers simultaneously: 1) Andy Smithson in Lakehills, TX 2) Andy in Oomaldee 3) the Afterlife 4) a meaning layer. A few examples to demonstrate the depth…

Symbolism is used extensively (a couple examples):

  • The fog of the curse symbolizes blindness and oppression.
  • The magic key unlocks doors, brings stone statues to life, as well as revives. Put another way, it symbolizes bringing forth, opening up, and revealing (aka taking responsibility).
  • Methuselah is not only a weapon and helper, but also represents justice as it divides good and evil. Consistent with life, justice requires diligence to uphold.

Names are also important in this series (a few examples):

  • Andy means brave or courageous.
  • Alden means helper.
  • Hannah means favor or grace.
  • Imogenia means blameless.

Alchemy used throughout the series (a few examples):

  • Alchemy played a significant role in the development of modern science. Alchemists sought to transformbase metals into the gold or silver and/or develop an elixir of life which would confer youth and longevity and even immortality.
  • In the series, the first instance of alchemy begins with the gold weavers, Max, Oscar, and Henry, spinning straw into gold to manufacture the wealth of the kingdom.
  • The four elementals: air, earth, fire, and water are then seen on Methuselah’s hilt.

 The titles of the books manifest yet another layer of meaning and reveal Imogenia’s evolution.

  • Beginning with Blast of the Dragon’s Fury, Imogenia is furious at what has happened to her and she fuels her emotional hurt.
  • In Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning, Imogenia turns venomous (or spiteful) and cunning in seeking ways to continually punish her brother.
  • Disgrace of the Unicorn’s Honor has Imogenia act in a manner disgraceful to the honor of royalty.
  • In Resurrection of the Phoenix’s Grace we see Imogenia’s grace reborn as she begins to reflect.

In Vision of the Griffin’s Heart, Imogenia realizes she is gripped by hatred and distrust she has harbored for so long. Unlike griffins who choose to trust others, Imogenia cannot yet make that leap when it comes to her brother.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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R. W. Lee credits her love of fantasy with her introduction to C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. Later on, she enjoyed the complex world of Middle Earth brought to life by J. R. R. Tolkien in Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. The multiple dimensions of the worlds mixed with a layer of meaning, captivated her and made her desire to invent Young Adult Fantasy and Epic Fantasy worlds others could get lost in, but also take meaning away from. More recently, L. R. W. Lee has found inspiration from J. K. Rowling and her Harry Potter series as well as Brandon Mull and his best selling Fablehaven, Beyonders and Five Kingdoms series.
R. W. Lee writes to teach her readers principles that can transform their lives – overcoming frustration, impatience, fear and more. She also shows why responsibility, diligence and dignity are the keys to true success in life. She lives in scenic Austin, TX with her husband. Their daughter is a Computer Engineer for Microsoft and their son serves in the Air Force.

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L.R.W. LEE INTERVIEW

  1. How did you come up with your main character, Andy Smithson? Did he just pop into your imagination or did you specifically develop him?

Andy is patterned after my son. After our first child who was what I would call compliant and seemed to need little to no correction, our son arrived on the scene. As with most 2nd children, he was polar opposite and provided much fodder for an engaging main character.

  1. How did your experience with building a business help with your writing?

It has been invaluable for I understand that writing is only 50% of the writer’s success equation. Unlike Field of Dreams, with so many good books available today, just launching it, even on a well trafficked platform like Amazon, does not get recognition. Because of my corporate background, from day one I began working to build a platform – Twitter and Facebook primarily and now also Book Nerd Paradise. As well, I understand the importance of the author community, for no author can succeed these days without the support of fellow authors. My background has also helped in understanding the need to optimize my books to rank well on the variety of sites they are listed on. There’s much more, but those are the biggest helps I would say.

  1. Was there any particular book or author whom you feel had the most influence on your work?

I have to say JK Rowling. The imagination she revealed, the strength of her characters, the world building, the depth of plot over multiple books…she definitely shaped how I think about writing.

  1. What do you love the most about writing for young people?

Young people are moldable. My passion for writing is to share with readers principles that from my experience can help them live more peaceful lives. A few of these principles include overcoming fear, frustration and impatience as well as understanding that true success in life is not from riches, fame or power, but rather responsibility, diligence and dignity. If they can finish any of my books closer to understanding these principles, I feel very fulfilled.

  1. Which part of the creative process is your favorite? Least favorite?

Designing the story arc is my favorite part of the creative process for you can take a story anywhere your imagination can go. My least favorite part is editing/revising. Even though I know the narrative gets much stronger as a result, it’s still my least favorite part.

  1. How long does it usually take you to write one of your stories from when you get the idea to when it’s finished?

Usually about 6 months.

  1. I know that most authors love all their characters but which of your many “children” is your favorite (besides Andy) and why?

I have to say Mermin, the kindly old wizard who speaks with a lisp. I love him most after Andy because he’s so warm, humble and approachable. He’s fallible and he knows it, which is why he doesn’t apologize for his mistakes, rather he is comfortable in his own skin.

  1. Do you ever plan to branch out into other genres besides middle grade/young adult fantasy?

Funny you should ask. Yes, I’m actually noodling with a story arc of a YA Sci Fi story.

  1. How do you feel your writing has evolved since your first novel?

I can see how much I’ve changed and improved in showing rather than telling my readers what’s happening. I want them to engage and to show – providing sight, sounds, touch, smell, and taste cues is a big part of that. I was particularly thrilled when my editor came back a full week sooner than expected with this current book because I had improved so much between book three and four. My pocketbook also appreciated that J

OTHER BOOKS IN THE ANDY SMITHSON SERIES:

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Blast of the Dragon’s Fury (Andy Smithson, Book One) ebook is FREE. Download a copy at Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, Google, B&N.

Listen to the FREE podcast of Book 1 by L. R. W. Lee on Podiobooks.

Book one is also available in paperback.

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Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning (Andy Smithson, Book Two) is available in Kindle and Paperback.

Download the professionally recorded audiobook at Amazon

It’s only $1.99 if you download the eBook first…Savings of $16!

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Disgrace of the Unicorn’s Honor (Andy Smithson, Book Three) is available in Kindle and Paperback.

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Resurrection of the Phoenix’s Grace (Andy Smithson, Book Four) is available in Kindle and Paperback.

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Power of the Heir’s Passion (Andy Smithson, Prequel Novella) ebook is FREE. Pick up a copy at Amazon, Google, B&N, Smashwords. It’s also available in paperback.

Download the professionally recorded audiobook at Amazon

It’s only $1.99 if you download the eBook for $.99 first…Savings of $1!

Baby Girl Series Box Set Now Available!

Babygirl bannerI’m excited to be one of the stops on the blog tour for the release of Elle Klass’ Baby Girl Series Box Set! I loved the stories the first time I read them as separate books, which tended to be several months apart, which meant that I often forgot who some of the characters were during the time gaps. Thus, I truly enjoyed being able to reread the entire story, start to finish, as one contiguous story. Some scenes were expanded or even added which further enhanced this amazing tale of an abandoned girl’s quest to not only find out who she really is but to survive.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Elle was born in Redwood City, California and spent her childhood growing up in the fabulous San Francisco Bay Area. She is an avid San Francisco Forty Niners fan. She has raised two beautiful daughters, and currently resides in Florida. For fun she reads, spends time at the beach, travels, and enjoys time with her favorite friends, and family. She is a night-owl known as most her creative energy and ideas strike after 9 p.m. I interviewed Elle here on my blog site a few months ago which you can find here.

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The box set includes the entire saga as told in the original four books entitled In the Beginning, Moonlighting is Paris, City by the Bay, and Bite the Big Apple. The story begins when abandoned at 12, Baby Girl is forced to face the harsh realities of life and struggles to find her path. She forages for sustenance, steals from the wealthy, and sleeps in any dark hole she can find. A ‘family’ of sorts forms between her and a band of other youngsters. Together they fight for survival, friendship, and love in the midst, but that is only the beginning. Life throws her one curve ball after another until secrets are revealed and the search for her true origins begins and ends with the powerful truth.

Here are excerpts from each of the individual stories that comprise the Baby Girl Box Set.

Book 1: In the Beginning

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Approaching Winter

We burned stray wood and paper in the trashcan for warmth, and stock-piled blankets, coats and extra clothes during the frigid winter months. Star and Peewee huddled together for warmth and Einstein held me close. The city was marvelous and bustling with life making it easy now to fit into a crowd and earn extra money. We tricked people out of hundreds of dollars in cash taking advantage of their generosity.

Einstein found an old small plastic Christmas tree in a dumpster and brought it to the warehouse. He insisted it wasn’t Christmas without presents so we found gifts for each other and placed them under the tree. It was the first Christmas in my life I celebrated. My mother never celebrated any holiday, nor did I ever receive gifts on special occasions such as my birthday. My mom’s gift every year was an expressionless ‘Happy birthday’. I found a working gold watch with engraving on the underside of the face plate, but that didn’t matter. I gave it to Einstein because of his preoccupation with keeping track of time. Star found and gave Peewee a new pair of shoes as his were falling apart at the seams and unsuitable for trudging through piles of snow. Star gave me a fiction book as I loved to read, and Einstein gave Star a tiara because she adored anything with sparkles and glitter. Instead of eating leftovers or cooking canned meats or hotdogs, we took our money and ate inside a nice restaurant. We splurged and partied creating an unforgettable Christmas.

Einstein survived on his own longer than the rest of us and wanted more than dumpster leftovers and abandoned warehouses. He grew eager to leave and developed a plan to heist jewelry and small valuable items from people’s homes while they were away on vacation. Later we’d sell everything for cash.

We became obsessed with staking out neighborhoods and houses. The four of us wanted the same thing, a “normal” life. We found homes spaced apart geographically, hoping to draw less attention than if we hit homes in the same areas. Einstein and I hit the first home and everything went smooth as melted caramel. We chose the house after observing the owner’s leaving the spare key hidden under a stone behind the house. The ordinary neighborhood and tract homes meant no alarms. For our first heist we made a wise choice.

Once inside the house we used our flashlights to find our way around, careful not to shine them towards the windows and take the chance of alerting the neighbors. In the master bedroom we found a solid gold chain, two gold rings with precious stones that Einstein said were amethyst, emeralds, and onyx but mostly costume stuff. How Einstein knew each stone stumped me. In the dining hutch we found crystal goblets. Einstein claimed they were real crystal because he wet his finger, swirled it around the top of one glass and made it sing. A cool trick I wouldn’t have known on my own. I took his knowledge of precious stones and crystal as clues to his upbringing and guessed he’d lived a more privileged life than myself.

“How did you know to do that?”

The corners of his lips turned upward in a smile. “I can’t tell you all my secrets.”

We wrapped the goblets in dish towels using great care and placed them into our backpacks.

After Einstein and I successfully hit a few homes, Star decided she wanted in on the scam. Einstein thought it was a bad idea because of Peewee, but Star insisted. She wanted a piece of the action. She and Einstein butted heads over it causing friction amongst us.

One night Star and Peewee followed us out and caught up to us as we finished hijacking items from the house. The second we stepped outside the house a familiar whisper, “Cleo” alerted me Star followed us. My body halted mid-stride as I caught sight of her and Peewee’s shadows standing against the wall of the house. Einstein motioned for them to edge their way to the back of the house where there were no light sensors. Star shuffled towards us, but Peewee stepped out too far and the lights went on brightening the entire side of the house. Oh crap! We fled in varying directions. I held the bag of loot in my hand and once I ran I didn’t turn my head to look behind me. I hastened my pace at the sounds of people. Several blocks away I cowered in an alley to catch my breath. Einstein was right behind me and ducked into the alley with me.

“Star and Peewee, are they with you?”

He shook his head as if to say ‘no’ and turned his eyes downward. “It’s time to leave” he said after a moment of silence.

“OK, yeah, we need to get back.”

He grasped my shoulders. “Leave – as in this city. There were too many lights, commotion, and sirens at the scene for Star and Peewee to slip away. They aren’t as savvy as we are. The police are gonna be looking for us next.”

My mind absorbed with escaping I missed the wailing sirens. He was right and my head reeled at the implications his words threw at me.

“You think they’ll tell on us?”

The nod of his head told me ‘yes’.

I couldn’t leave yet I needed my bag from its secret place.

“We gotta go back to the warehouse. I have something hidden there that I need.” His eyes grew soft, and he agreed.

Back at the warehouse, I went straight to my secret place. Within minutes the sound of voices tickled our eardrums and lights flashing beneath us.

“Squish in beside me.”

Without a moment to spare Einstein squeezed in the cubby hole. Radios blared on the other side of the cubby and police scoured the building but came up empty. I whispered in Einstein’s ear, “Star and Peewee squealed quick.”

“They did – or the police are here for something else.” ‘Something else’ was possible. Either way, neither of us wanted to get caught. Hours passed with Einstein and I scrunched on top of each other. Teenage hormones, close quarters, and our semi attraction to each other brought our relationship to a new level. Our hearts raced together from the excitement. Einstein held me flush against him.

“I love you Cleo.”

The sound of his words caused a wave of want to wash came over me and I kissed him. My first kiss ever. I drove my tongue deep inside his mouth. Einstein’s words and kiss melted my heart. My own mother never showed me any affection. As I kissed him, he kissed me back. We explored under each other’s clothes. Our fingers and hands discovering the joys of the opposite sex. I yearned for his love and firm embrace. The moment thrilled me, I didn’t want it to end.

The next day we waited for Star and Peewee, but we both knew the police found them. Under the cover of dusk we snuck out, taking great pains to not get caught.

Book 2:  Moonlighting in Paris

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Here and Gone

Our engagement party stood out as the soirée of all soirées: co-workers, friends, and I invited Kamisha. I unexpectedly grew used to the flamboyant lifestyle, but on the inside – it wasn’t me. The focus of the night centered on Didier and I and it overwhelmed me. People I barely knew, or never met congratulated me, and young ladies eyed me with envy. Whispers circulated the room: Who is she? Where did she come from? Then You don’t belong… You don’t belong in smudged lipstick echoed inside me. I snuck away finding a deserted room I closed the door behind me and took a deep breath then composed myself. The echoes in my head faded, and I emerged into the hallway.

The door closed behind me and a warm, sweaty hand slipped across my mouth. Heavy breathing followed by a crackling voice said, “You need to go back to wherever you came from, Justine.” Her voice reverberated inside me and Sam’s self-defense skills blossomed into action as I grabbed hold of the mystery woman’s arm and slung her over my shoulder. A puff of dark hair and a small frame came thundering forward, landing on the floor with a loud thud. I drove my shoe into her side for good measure and ran down the hall, rounding the corner I ran into Sam.

The expression on my face gave away my fear. “Wow! Where have you been? What happened?”

“I threw her in the hall, on the floor.” I squeaked. He burst down the hall.

Didier’s forehead creased with lines and his eyes grew dark as he walked towards me. He scrutinized our actions. “Where is Sam?”

“I used the skills he taught me. A woman caught me from behind, I flipped her, and left her in the hall crumpled on the floor.”

A look I didn’t expect came over his face as his lips curled into a smile of satisfaction. “I will remember not to get on your bad side. Was she the same woman from Aruba?”

“I don’t think so. Her hair was dark and short, although her size and frame are correct. With her hair covering her face, I can’t be sure.”

The woman disappeared by the time Sam arrived. He and security scoured every inch of the hotel, and scanned the video footage, though apparently she busted the camera in that hallway. My immediate thought was, how convenient you little bitch. They didn’t find her, although we didn’t come up empty handed. I threw her so hard she left a small blood stain behind, it got collected and sent in for analysis. In the cover of night she fled, but I would soon know who she was and I’d be ready. My devious mind schemed for her return.

Over the next few weeks, I assisted in planning my wedding and succumbed to being a public societal figure. In the past I worried about my transgressions slamming me in the face, but now I looked my fear in the eye and assisted in the hosting and planning of various charity events. I wanted this would-be assailant woman to find me. With my ears open and eyes peeled, I watched and waited.

Book 3:  City by the Bay

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The Tomato Shack

I worked up the courage over a weekend to visit the places my mom frequented, according to the letters, every three years with Slug. The Tomato Shack was a divey little sub sandwich shop outside Sacramento. The blue paint on the outside peeled and cracked from sun and lack of upkeep. Each window displayed the ad, Lunch Sandwich Special 12 inch Sub Plus Large Drink and Bag of Chips $5.00, along with multiple sets of fingerprints. Inside, dirt built up in the corners of the tile floor, and dark mucky splotches muddled the walls. The whole place reminded of an unclean public restroom. The counter and tables looked clean, although I doubted bleach had touched them for years.

A young girl, no more than sixteen, stood behind the counter. She twisted at her blond ringlets while smacking on what sounded like an entire package of bubble gum, her hands gliding over the screen of her phone. I grasped she wouldn’t be able to provide me any info, although I figured it wouldn’t hurt to ask. She glanced my way with steely, battleship-gray eyes as I approached the counter, “Ready to order?” she asked, placing her phone on the counter with a sigh like I was intruding on her.

I flipped my P.I. card at her. “I’m looking for information. Is there a manager or owner whom I could speak with?”

“My dad owns the place. He’ll be in tomorrow.” Her words came out in spurts between chomps, followed up with a mega-sized bubble I expected to pop all over her face. She sucked it back in without a single strand sticking to her face. Her blank stare told me her synapses halted firing and her brain was a few walnuts shy of the tree.

“Thanks, about what time?”

Chomp, chomp, smack. Her eyes jolted to life alerting me that her synapses were back online. “‘Bout one in the afternoon.”

“I’ll be back then.”

My next stop was 1523 Tanwood Dr. Rows of duplexes lined the street on both sides circling around a cul-de-sac. The construction was ‘80s style with lackluster brown paint on each and every cloned home. 1523 sat on the outer edge of the cul-de-sac. I walked up the street, contemplating what to say. I considered this place had been something to Slug, not my mother, and many years passed since he’d sent the letter. Neighborhoods like these were transient, revolving doors for people trying to make a start or dealing drugs. Thoughts flopped around in my head something like a lizard’s tail missing its body. The front door coming ever closer with each step.

The door now stared me in the face, the doorbell a hands length away. Without warning heavy metal music blasted like an automatic rifle against my eardrums, and the sound of a sputtering engine halted me in my tracks. I turned to see a late model Camaro pulling into the driveway. A fortyish man stepped out of the vehicle, a mane of thick brown hair flowed in a bad mullet from his head, a denim jacket minus sleeves covered his torso. The sleeves handmade judging by the frazzled ends of the fabric around his arms, with a black rock T underneath, and jeans that boasted more holes than my worst pair during my homeless days, covered his legs. “I’m not buying, so go away,” sputtered off his lips with a vengeance.

Did I look like a saleswoman in my jeans and T-shirt? His obvious negativity towards me resonated inside my head, forcing me to make up a story and quick. “No, no, I’m not here selling anything. In fact, I’m hoping you can help me?”

“You’re a little young for me, but maybe we can work something out.” He murmured edging ever closer attempting to invade my space. I felt uncomfortable, and thoughts of planting my foot straight into his most prized bodily possession lingered at the edge of reality. Carefully, I chose my words, “Are you Frank Tomey?”

I knew Slug, Frank, or whoever, was sitting inside a jail cell; however, I meant business. He stopped a few feet from me; narrowed his eyes into tiny slits while rolling his fat sickly yellowish tongue across his lips. “Frank. What do you want with him?” Satisfaction overwhelmed me. He knew him. My fabrication formulated with every word that sprung from my mouth.

“I believe I’m his daughter. Many years ago he dated my mom.” At this point I pulled out the picture of Perdy I lifted from her mother’s and poised it in front of his face.

“I never seen her and haven’t talked to Frank in a decade.” His eyes prickled at me to go away, and with each ensuing second that passed the air thickened with tension. I stood my ground, an out of shape, ‘80s castaway was no match for me.

I drilled him with my cold hard stare until he relented. “Alright, Frank is my kid brother but we don’t talk. He got messed up in some bad shit I didn’t need rolling back on me.”

I continued my glare, attempting to boil information from his innards. “I didn’t know he had a kid, doubt he knew he had a kid. You gonna keep staring me down?” Since studying La Tige’s tactics this had been my first opportunity to use them and they worked far better than I expected. Sweat drops bubbled on his forehead. “He’s in jail, killed some kid a few years ago. He’s not a good guy. Not even when he was a young pup. Always played dirty.”

Now that he was talking I dared to reenter the conversation using the sympathy card. “I’m not looking for him to be a father figure. I just want to know about him.”

“It’s been a long night. Can this wait?”

“No, it took me days, and switching several busses to get here after finding a love letter he wrote to my mother asking her to meet him here, and to bring me.” I fudged the love letter thing, thinking that my continued appeal to his compassionate side would at least get me in the door.

He rolled his eyes. “A love letter? He’s a psychopath, an extreme narcissist.” He flopped his hands to his sides in surrender. “Come in. I’ll tell you what I got.” And whatever I asked he answered.

The tales he told were too far-fetched not to be true. “Frank left home at 17, went to Georgia, or Alabama. I forget. He hooked up with some chick, I’m guessing your mom. Then he got a big job in New York working as an enforcer for a rich, powerful family named Britt or Bridge, Bridd? I figured they were mafia, but the name sounded English. I’d figured it would be Scarletti or something Italian. After that he’d come visit every few years. Driving a truck, I’m on the road a lot, so I’d let him crash here. He talked big about his job, being the muscle for that family puffed up his self-centered ego. After a while I didn’t hear from him no more. He’s my brother, but he’s a bad egg, so I didn’t miss him. Then several years ago, he calls me from jail. Hadn’t heard from him in years and suddenly he wants money for a lawyer.” He clicked his tongue. “He’s not head smart, but I can’t remember him ever mentioning a kid.”

I pondered his words, swishing them around mentally. “I don’t think he wanted much to do with me. She raised me alone, never said a word about who my father was. When I grew old enough to ask she blew it off, changing the subject. I found the letters while snooping around her room.” It wasn’t a total embellishment; at least the snooping and single mom things were true. He gave me Slug’s (Frank’s) address in prison. One day I’d pay old Slug a visit, but not until I fit the puzzle pieces together.

The following day arrived with a chill in the air and fog so dense I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. By noon a carpet of blue sprawled across the sky, and the fog dissipated without leaving a trace. The sandwich shop looked just as dismal and murky as the previous day. A pimply faced young man replaced gum-smacking blondie at the counter. I went through the same routine without squandering a single second. “I was here yesterday and a young blond girl told me the owner would be in today?”

“Dad, a lady’s here to see you!” He hollered. His buzz cut moved as his mouth opened.

A family-run business, perhaps he didn’t sell enough sandwiches to hire real help. Within a few minutes a staunch, grossly overweight man shuffled towards me. His eyes were tiny beads set inside rolls of dough, and large wet stains filled the cloth beneath his armpits, I noticed as he offered me his hand, mumbling something that sounded like, “What can I help you with?”

I shook his pudgy, cold, clammy hand. “I work for a P.I. We’re looking for a woman. She used to frequent here about fifteen years ago.” I pulled out Perdy’s picture, which he took and examined, holding it an arm’s length from his face.

He rubbed his available hand across his mouth and nose as if deep in thought, his chest heaved in and out. “I remember her. She met a man in the parking lot once, called the police on him. He hit her right outside the door, and knocked her on the ground; her nose was flowing like a sieve. Scared my customers.”

I looked around at the vacant shop attempting to envision people eating here. He must have read my body language. “This place used to get business, high school kids, day time regulars, until crime moved in and everyone else moved out. Police cleaned it up, but it’s too late, everyone’s gone.” His voice laced with melancholy for the booming place his restaurant had been.

He talked in short sentences, followed by heavy breathing as if each word formed was a struggle. I felt no need to keep this man talking or reflecting on a time past. I had enough. I’d call the sheriff’s office tomorrow and get the police report faxed.

Book 4: Bite the Big Apple

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Catch Me if You Can

I searched the surrounding woods looking in all the nooks and crannies I would have hid inside of. My advantage, I played in the woods as a child and knew the best hiding places. I found them in a hollowed out tree trunk, one of my favorite childhood spots. I walked up to the tree keeping my voice calm. “Come on out. I’m not going to turn you in.”

One at a time they crawled out of the tree trunk. Both stood before me staring at the ground. “We’re sorry. We didn’t know you lived there.” Said the girl.

“I don’t anymore. What are your names?” Their eyes met then both sets locked onto my eyes.

“I’m Rosey and he’s Thorn.” Obviously made up names, same M.O. as Einstein and I.

“Rosey and Thorn, nice to meet you. Are you hungry?”

Thorn grabbed Rosey’s hand. “Yes, thank you. What’s your name?” I envisioned the many times Einstein held my hand in a similar way.

“Shanna, I don’t drive but town is a short walk.”

“Why don’t you own a car?”

Rosey poked Thorn in the side and whispered, “She invites us to eat and you complain she doesn’t have a car?”

I chuckled. “I don’t like to drive.”

We strolled into town and chatted most the way. Once we sat down for dinner they ate like little pigs, another sign confirming they ran away. When they filled their bellies I asked them questions.

“I won’t waste my time or yours. Rosey and Thorn are not your real names. I want to help you but you have to trust me.”

“We can leave, thanks for dinner,” said Thorn.

I put my palm out instructing them to stop then waved my hand towards the seat for them to sit. They were compliant and planted their butts back into the booth.

“Spill.”

Rosey opened her mouth first. “My mother is ill. She can’t work and my father is dead.”

I raised my eyebrow then turned to Thorn. “And you?”

He sat silent for a moment his head angled towards the table. He rose his head without looking at me. “OK, Rosey is a better liar than me. Her mother isn’t ill and her father isn’t dead. We go into your cabin sometimes and smoke pot.”

I nodded. “The made up names?”

“We didn’t want to get caught. It’s still illegal for us.”

“Unless you have a medicinal card which two minors wouldn’t have. Where do you get the pot?”

Thorn shrugged. “My dad’s stash.”

“Do you live close?”

“I do, Thorn is my cousin. He’s staying with me this weekend.” Rosey slid out of the booth.

“I’ll walk you both home.”

Relief washed over my body until I saw Rosey’s house. The siding missing in spots, junk cars littered the driveway, and the front window had a long crack in it. Poor didn’t mean her parents weren’t loving people. I sucked in my judgements until I met her parent’s.

“Thanks, you don’t need to follow us inside.”

“I’d like to say hi to your parents.”

An outside light lit up as we walked towards the house. And the front door opened. A bulky man stood in the doorway, blocking the inside light. “That you Jen?”

“Yes dad.”

“Who’s that with you?”

“Shanna, we met her in town today.”

Her father carried his large bulk towards me. “Shanna, nice to meet you and thank you for seeing they got home safe. Would you like to step inside for a minute?” I accepted his offer as I worried for the teens. After thirty minutes of discussion he passed my test, and I left. The shack stood on the other side of the patch of woods from their house.

Crickets chirped their night time song, and the gibbous moon lighted my way. I stayed one last night. The next morning I bought $346 worth of groceries and had them delivered to Rosey’s (Jen’s) house.

* * *

Cleo is the main character in the Baby Girl series so let’s learn a little bit more about this feisty and resourceful girl.

MF: What is your name?

Cleo

MF: Do you have a nickname?

I’ve had more names than blades of grass on a lush lawn Justine and Shanna to name a couple.

MF: What is your hair color?

My natural color is dark brown but it’s been various shades depending on my persona.

MF: What is your eye color?

Green

MF: How old are you?

21

MF: Where were you born?

Brennan California. Not really, I grew up there but was born in a hospital in New York.

MF: Where have you lived since then?

Most everywhere in the U.S. – Alabama, California, New York, Seattle. I also lived in Paris for a couple years.

MF: Where do you currently call home?

Where ever my heart takes me.

MF: What is in your refrigerator right now?

I love to cook so a little of this a little of that. You won’t find any hot dogs or junk food.

MF: What is on your bedroom floor?

The carpet. OK, seriously my favorite pair of flip-flops. They’re black with beads adorning the toe piece.

MF: What is on your nightstand?

A picture of my fun in Santa Cruz. Fetch, Kacy, myself, and Javier took a group photo in the hot tub. The picture brings back fun memories I like to think about when I’m falling asleep. I have an alarm clock shaped like a shell that plays Wipeout.

MF: What is in your garbage can?

Trash, an empty bottle of Sauvignon blanc,

MF: Who are the people you are closest to?

La Tige, Kacy, James and Will. We talk and visit every chance we get. La Tige isn’t a big talker so I dominate our conversations but he’s like a father to me. Kacy is the best friend a girl could ever have.

MF: Who is your funniest friend?

Kacy! She is crazy and makes silly facial expressions while doing impressions.

MF: What is your most treasured possession?

My back pack memories – pictures of Einstein, memorabilia of our times together.

MF: What or who is the greatest love of your life?

Einstein was my first love. A huge part of my heart will always belong to him.

MF: What do you most value in your friends?

Their big hearts. I grew up without a “real” family. My best friends are my family. La Tige has done more to help me than any single person without prodding. Kacy and I have an inseparable bond and Will is Will. James was always there for me when I needed shady business done. It felt really great to do something for him.

MF: What is your motto?

Don’t give up!

Cleo’s Pinterest Pagehttps://www.pinterest.com/elleklass/cleos-favorites/

* * *

BUY LINKS:

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00YDJX24K/

Amazon.co.uk – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Baby-Girl-Box-Books-I-IV-ebook/dp/B00YDJX24K/

Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/545931

Barnes and Noble – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/baby-girl-box-set-books-i-iv-elle-klass/1122002631

Kobo – https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/baby-girl-box-set-books-i-iv

iBooks – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/baby-girl-box-set-books-i-iv/id999488342

Google Play – https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Elle_Klass_Baby_Girl_Box_Set_Books_I_IV?id=3HXKCQAAQBAJ&hl=en

Youtube Trailer- https://youtu.be/pVBnqyMGAY4

ELLE’S SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

Bloghttp://thetroubledoyster.blogspot.com/
Websitehttp://elleklass.weebly.com/
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/ElleKlass
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7216745.Elle_Klass

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/ElleKlass

.

Rhoda D’Ettore Blog Tour

BOXSETPROMO

Buy Rhoda D’Ettore’s books on Amazon

Coming this Summer…..


ZODIACJUNE

No One Is Safe While…

ZODIAC LIVES

A Novel by Rhoda D’Ettore

After surviving a car accident that killed her father, three-year-old Jennifer begins having nightmares. It’s soon obvious she suffers from something more dreadful than the accident when she provides clues to a murder committed 3,000 miles away—and two decades before she was born.

Jennifer’s nightmares set off a chain reaction that prompts the infamous Zodiac Killer to emerge from dormancy and terrorize San Francisco for a second time.

Visit Rhoda D’Ettore’s Website


BOOKSQUAD

Goin’ Postal & The Creek

Rhoda D’Ettore began her writing career by publishing humorous tales about working at the United States Postal Service. Fifteen years of dealing with bombs, anthrax, and human body parts in the mail made for an interesting read. Her co-workers laughed so hard at the nostalgia, they encouraged her to publish the writings. Since then, D’Ettore has fascinated readers with plot twists mixed with sarcastic humor.

D’Ettore knew postal workers would buy her story, yet she also wanted to show them she could write interesting, serious work with shocking twists. In Goin’ Postal & The Creek, the reader gets two very different stories in one book. The first containing the hysterical tales of postal worker life. The second story is a historical fiction that spans 200 years with a slightly supernatural twist. Topics include war, love, romance, death, Prohibition, the Great Depression, and how families survive such events.


Newborn Nazi

Newborn Nazi tackles the issues of right and wrong as well as self sacrifice when fourteen-year-old Edmund is forced into the Hitler Youth in 1935. His older siblings vow to destroy Nazi Germany, and the family gets swept up in espionage and the Underground Movement. When Edmund becomes an adult and joins the feared SS, his sister’s secret endeavors to save Jews in her home endangers lives—including her own. This suspense thriller is sure to keep you guessing.

Newborn Nazi is based on Rhoda D’Ettore true family history. There was an Edmund who was forced into the Hitler Youth, and his sister did help Jews escape. D’Ettore found the story so riveting, she took the plot of the story and added murder and espionage to create this intense thriller.


Tower of Tears: The McClusky Series 1

In Tower of Tears: The McClusky Series, we find Jane traveling to America from Ireland with her three-year-old son. Expecting to find a better way of life, Jane finds nothing but intimidation, betrayal, violence, and heartache. This family saga includes blackmail, murder, mystery, and a touch of romance.

While writing Tower of Tears, D’Ettore gave her mother one chapter at a time for feedback. D’Ettore was undecided who the murderer in the book would eventually be, so she wrote the story with five characters hating and threatening the murder victim. Halfway through the book, D’Ettore’s mother shouted, “I know who killed him…. it was ####”. D’Ettore then finished the book with a different character as the murderer. When her mother read the final draft of the book, she replied, “That’s not who the murder is. I told you who is was.” D’Ettore then said, “I wrote the book, so I know who the murderer should be. Thanks.”


10 Shades of Blush: The Softer Side of Kink

10 Shades of Blush: The Softer Side of Kink is a collection of naughty fantasies of ordinary women. Teachers, mothers, and professionals submitted their wants and desires for kinky fun. All the tales are told as if the women are speaking directly to their partners. The audiobook of this has been called “Two hours of phone sex for $7”.

Rhoda D’Ettore works are available as ebook, paperback, and audiobooks

Follow Rhoda D’Ettore on Facebook

Follow Rhoda D’Ettore on Twitter

Encore with Annie Douglass Lima

The Collar and the Cavvarach

Last week I participated in Annie Douglass Lima’s Blog Tour for her newest book, “The Collar and the Cavvarch.” Here’s your chance to learn a little more about the story.

Click here to read a description of the setting and what life is like for slaves and others in that world.

 Click here to read chapter 1 for free!

* * *

For those of you who may have missed it last week, here’s a little bit about the Story:

Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is desperate to see his little sister freed. But only victory in the Krillonian Empire’s most prestigious tournament will allow him to secretly arrange for Ellie’s escape. Dangerous people are closing in on her, however, and Bensin is running out of time.  With his one hope fading quickly away, how can Bensin save Ellie from a life of slavery and abuse?

What is the Collar for, and What is a Cavvarach?

The story is set in a world very much like our own, with just a few major differences.  One is that slavery is legal there.  Slaves must wear metal collars that lock around their neck, making their enslaved status obvious to everyone.  Any slave attempting to escape faces the dilemma of how and where to illegally get their collar removed (a crime punishable by enslavement for the remover).

Another difference is the popularity of a martial art called cavvara shil.  It is fought with a cavvarach (rhymes with “have a rack”), an unsharpened weapon similar to a sword but with a steel hook protruding from partway down its top edge.  Competitors can strike at each other with their feet as well as with the blades.  You win in one of two ways: disarming your opponent (hooking or knocking their cavvarach out of their hands) or pinning their shoulders to the mat for five seconds.

 Click here to download The Collar and the Cavvarach from Amazon.

 Click here to download The Collar and the Cavvarach from Smashwords (for Nook or in other digital formats).

Annie Douglass Lima

About the Author:

Annie Douglass Lima spent most of her childhood in Kenya and later graduated from Biola University in Southern California. She and her husband Floyd currently live in Taiwan, where she teaches fifth grade at Morrison Academy. She has been writing poetry, short stories, and novels since her childhood, and to date has published ten books (one YA action and adventure novel, four fantasies, a puppet script, and four anthologies of her students’ poetry). Besides writing, her hobbies include reading (especially fantasy and science fiction), scrapbooking, and international travel.

Connect with the Author Online:

Email: AnnieDouglassLima@gmail.com

Blog: http://anniedouglasslima.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnnieDouglassLimaAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/princeofalasia

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnGoodreads

Amazon Author Page: http://bit.ly/AnnieDouglassLimaOnAmazon

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/AnnieDouglassLima

LinkedIn: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnLinkedIn

Google Plus: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnGooglePlus

Interview with Fantasy Author, Annie Douglass Lima

Annie Douglass LimaAs promised last week with the Cover Reveal for Annie Douglass Lima’s latest novel, “The Collar and the Cavvarach,” now you get to learn a little bit about this fascinating and prolific author. I first “met” Annie in connection with her “Realm Explorers” website where she was kind enough to feature my science fiction world which you can see here.  This is something she graciously does for other authors who have created their own world. This spirit of sharing alone gave me a glimpse into her kind and generous nature. They say to “write what you know” and if there’s one thing Annie is certainly familiar with it’s the concept of other cultures, having lived in diverse locations around the globe. So without further ado, HERE’S Annie!

MF: Your Amazon Author Page states you spent most of your childhood in Kenya, attended college in California and now you live in Taiwan.  How did your time in each of these locations, which represent entirely different cultures, affect your outlook on life?

ADL: I know I am much more globally minded than I would be if I had spent my whole life in one country. I’m thankful for the opportunities I’ve had to travel to so many wonderful places (in addition to what you mentioned, I lived for a year in Indonesia and have been to a total of 19 countries). As a result, I see the world in terms of the whole planet with its thousands of unique cultures, not in terms of my country and everywhere else, as I think many who haven’t had the chance to travel much see it. My childhood in Kenya enriched my life and gave me a deep appreciation for the blessings I have and the fact that the best ones have nothing to do with money or possessions. My life in Taiwan (I’m going on eight years here now) has provided a wonderful balance to that, plunging me into a completely different but equally beautiful culture. It’s given me a fresh appreciation for what it’s like to be a foreigner in a foreign land (I never felt like one in Kenya), along with thankfulness for the grace and generosity of those who make foreigners welcome even when they can’t speak the language well.

MF: How does your experience with other cultures help your writing?

ADL: It came into play quite a bit when I was writing my recent fantasy novel Prince of Malorn. I love getting to know different cultures and the differences between them, and my character Prince Korram had to deal with when he traveled into Malorn’s Impassable Mountains to seek the help of the Mountain Folk. In Malorn, Mountain Folk and Lowlanders tend to distrust each other and avoid contact whenever possible, and both sides claim that the other mistreats them. I wanted to show that often, it just takes better understanding to lead to acceptance and appreciation of another culture. That, and the willingness to learn new ways of doing things and respect others’ customs even when they’re different.

I’ve brought several elements of Taiwan’s culture into The Collar and the Cavvarach. For example, some characters chew betel nut, a mild narcotic sold legally in shops decorated with flashing colored lights. When money is awarded as a prize, it’s given in a red envelope. New Year is the most important holiday of the year in both places.

MF: Was there any particular book or author whom you feel had the most influence on your work?

ADL: C.S. Lewis provided my very first literary inspiration. More recently, I’ve enjoyed the works of Anne Elisabeth Stengl. Her Tales of Goldstone Wood series is amazingly crafted. I love the way the time periods in some of the books overlap, focusing on different characters and sometimes different views of the same events. That storytelling style influenced my fantasy series, the Annals of Alasia, though not this book as much.

MF: What do you love the most about writing for Young Adults?

ADL: I’ve never specifically chosen to write for young adults. I just write the stories that come to me, and that’s been the audience that works best for them so far. Young adult novels are my favorite kind to read, so I suppose it makes sense.

MF: Which part of the creative process is your favorite?  Least favorite?

I enjoy writing new scenes when inspiration is white-hot, and it’s fun to reread them for the first time and do the first round of editing. I take no pleasure in marketing or writing my back-cover blurbs.

MF: How long does it usually take you to write one of your stories from when you get the idea to when it’s finished?

ADL: I don’t have a “usually”. Each book so far has been totally different. The longest has been eleven and a half years, the shortest nine months. The Collar and the Cavvarach took me almost exactly a year and a half.

MF: I know that most authors love all their characters, but which of your many “children” is your favorite and why?

ADL: In this book, at least, my favorite is definitely Bensin. The struggles he is forced to go through make him stronger, and I admire him for his perseverance and determination to meet his goals no matter what. He is willing to sacrifice himself for those he cares about, and while his choices aren’t always the wisest, he is committed to doing what he feels is right. Society is against him, since he’s a slave and has few rights, but that doesn’t stop him.

MF: Do you ever plan to branch out into other genres besides young adult fantasy?

ADL: It’s possible, but at this point I can’t see myself writing totally realistic fiction. Reality just doesn’t offer me enough freedom! I like to be able to make the rules. Having said that, however, The Collar and the Cavvarach isn’t really fantasy, at least not in the typical sense. It’s more of an alternate reality. If you were to step into that world, you would probably assume you were still in our own world – except for a few key details, like the prevalence of slavery.

MF: How do you feel your writing has evolved since your first novel?

ADL: I’m a much better writer now than I was then! I’ve gotten a lot better with experience, and having online critique partners has definitely helped, too. Almost every time a new beta reader goes over one of my manuscripts, I learn something new from their feedback. My writing is less wordy now, and I’ve gotten better at showing instead of telling. My characters are better developed and their dialog is more realistic. Really, I think I’ve improved in almost every area of writing.

MF: Is there a particular message inherent in your latest work?

ADL: I hope this story will make readers think about the value of human life and perhaps take a second look at some of the practices we accept or choose to turn a blind eye to in our own culture. Legalized slavery sounds so impossibly wrong that it’s easy to think we could never let it happen in this day and age, but how many other wrongs do we overlook just because it isn’t convenient to do anything about them?

CONNECT WITH ANNIE:

Email: AnnieDouglassLima@gmail.com

Blog: http://anniedouglasslima.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnnieDouglassLimaAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/princeofalasia

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnGoodreads

Amazon Author Page: http://bit.ly/AnnieDouglassLimaOnAmazon

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/AnnieDouglassLima

LinkedIn: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnLinkedIn

Google Plus: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnGooglePlus

The Collar and the Cavvarach

Click here to preorder The Collar and the Cavvarach from Amazon.

Click here to preorder The Collar and the Cavvarach from Smashwords (for Nook or in other digital formats)

Prince of Malorn

Annals of Alasia

“The Collar and the Cavvarach” Cover Reveal!

The Collar and the Cavvarach

I’m excited to be a part of Annie Douglass Lima’s Blog Tour for her new release, “The Collar and the Cavvarach” which you can preorder now at Amazon and Smashwords. Here’s a little about the story and the mysterious title. Next week be sure to stop by for my interview with this absolutely fascinating author whose amazing background includes world travel you’re sure to envy!

About the Story:

Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is desperate to see his little sister freed. But only victory in the Krillonian Empire’s most prestigious tournament will allow him to secretly arrange for Ellie’s escape. Dangerous people are closing in on her, however, and Bensin is running out of time.  With his one hope fading quickly away, how can Bensin save Ellie from a life of slavery and abuse?

What is the Collar for, and What is a Cavvarach?

The story is set in a world very much like our own, with just a few major differences.  One is that slavery is legal there.  Slaves must wear metal collars that lock around their neck, making their enslaved status obvious to everyone.  Any slave attempting to escape faces the dilemma of how and where to illegally get their collar removed (a crime punishable by enslavement for the remover).

Another difference is the popularity of a martial art called cavvara shil.  It is fought with a cavvarach, an unsharpened weapon similar to a sword but with a steel hook protruding from partway down its top edge.  Competitors can strike at each other with their feet as well as with the blades.  You win in one of two ways: disarming your opponent (hooking or knocking their cavvarach out of their hands) or pinning their shoulders to the mat for five seconds.

Click here to preorder The Collar and the Cavvarach from Amazon.

Click here to preorder The Collar and the Cavvarach from Smashwords (for Nook or in other digital formats).

Annie Douglass Lima

Connect with the Author Online:

Email: AnnieDouglassLima@gmail.com

Blog: http://anniedouglasslima.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnnieDouglassLimaAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/princeofalasia

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnGoodreads

Amazon Author Page: http://bit.ly/AnnieDouglassLimaOnAmazon

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/AnnieDouglassLima

LinkedIn: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnLinkedIn

Google Plus: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnGooglePlus

Blog Tour: Susanne Leist’s “THE DEAD GAME”

I read “The Dead Game” several months ago with my review and interview with its author, Susanne Leist, elsewhere on this blog site. I’m not usually a horror or vampire fan but I thoroughly enjoyed Susanne’s story with its vivid imagery and convincing characters to say nothing of its well-sustained suspense. I am thus more than happy to participate in this blog tour where you will find an excerpt from the book, a fictitious interview with one of the characters whom I found particularly interesting due to our shared interest in astrology, and a short biographical sketch of Susanne. Those of you who are into astrology yourself will undoubtedly enjoy Shana’s “natal chart” and the “transit chart” for the party at End House. 🙂

EXCERPT FROM “THE DEAD GAME”

pic for excerptCHAPTER 22

Their car neared the house. A stunning sight unfolded before their eyes. Encased in a tight circle of trees, shimmering from the lights strung through their heavy branches, the glass house sparkled against the dark night sky: a huge glass ball shooting green sparks of light from within its rounded walls. Its great dome twinkled as radiantly as the multitude of stars shining down from above.

Todd left the car with the valet and led the way up the marble stairs to the rounded front door. Two armed men, dressed in tuxedos, guarded the door, their holstered guns only slightly marring the fantasy image running through Linda’s vivid imagination: for as soon as she turned away to admire the scenery, she was once again in fantasyland.

The panorama facing her was doused in white. Gleaming white snow caps covered the tops of the tall trees and the great dome of the house. Snow was falling on them from somewhere. She could feel snowflakes melting on her lips. They felt wet, like real snowflakes. She touched her face and hair. Her hand came away wet. She had snow on her fingertips. She searched the grounds for a snow machine, but couldn’t locate anything—not on the glass domed roof or in any of the trees. She couldn’t believe that genuine snow was falling on them from the dark sky. The landscape resembled a winter wonderland despite it being fall in Florida.

Todd placed his hand against her back to escort her into the house. The others followed them into the glowing green ball that was alive with dazzling lights, music, and laughter.

Once inside, Linda was mesmerized by the glittering glass walls that mirrored the dancing images of the guests twirling around the marble dance floor. These images were cast in bright halos of light reflected from the myriad of crystal chandeliers hanging throughout the room.

Soft candlelight from mounted crystal sconces flickered across the intricate patterns carved into the green walls. It was the most beautiful and fascinating house that she had ever seen. She glanced back and watched Shana’s mouth drop open. She was certain that Shana would agree that the house appeared simply magical.

Couples were swirling around the immense dance floor. They were dancing in a large studio between Diane’s life-sized statues. Each sculpture was carved from clear glass: each one revealing a full-sized person. Linda found them to be too lifelike. She stood next to one and stared into it frozen face. She was startled by a fleeting expression of horror that seemed to cross over its features; as if a real person was trapped inside, staring out at her from within his glass tomb. Then the look was gone and the statue appeared lifeless once again.

BUY LINKS

AMAZON: http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Game-Susanne-Leist-ebook/dp/B00F3IWF70/

BARNES & NOBLE: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-dead-game-susanne-leist/1116825442

Shana Logan is a close friend of “The Dead Game’s” main character, Linda.  She is a Tarot reader and astrologer so of course she’s my favorite since I’m also an astrologer.  I had fun with Shana talking about astrology, her Aries Sun Sign and the astrology in effect for the infamous party at End House.

INTERVIEW WITH “Dead Game” character, Shana Logan

MF: As an astrologer I get the impression that you have strong Aries influences based on your red hair, natural curiosity, competitive spirit and sometimes impulsive behavior. Have I guessed correctly?

SL: Yes, I have an Aries Sun plus a Leo ascendant and Sagittarius Moon so my “big three” form a Grand Fire Trine. Needless to say I have a rather generous helping of Fire in my chart which gives me a lot of spunk and energy. I love nice things and always dress in pretty, bright colors, which is obviously my Leo ascendant. My curiosity is greatly enhanced as well as my interest in so many different things derives from my Sag Moon.

MF: Aries typically love sports. Besides volleyball, which are your favorites?

SL: I have my sign ruler, Mars, in the 11th house of groups so I love team sports of all kinds. One of my favorites in high school was track, as you would expect with these long legs of mine. I could compete with the others in my team while helping the team as a whole by doing well. As you know, Aries don’t like to lose. I love tennis, too, both singles and doubles. I’ve played in a couple tournaments and had a blast.

MF: What sets off your temper the fastest? In other words, what’s your pet peeve?

SL: Hahaha! I hate being told what to do. Like that time when Sam called me “sweetheart” and accused me of being too independent. Of course I am, and proud of it, and that’s the very reason I like to make my own decisions. I admit sometimes I react too quickly and get into trouble but then I have no one to blame but myself.

MF: What is the most interesting thing you’ve discovered while doing an astrological reading?

SL: When there’s an accident, destructive storm or major event I always like to check the chart and see what was going on in the heavens. I found it fascinating that for the Boston Marathon bombing a few years ago that the asteroid named Marathon was in a key place of the chart, right on the Midheaven, which suggested it would be in the news. There was also a massive tornado, the one that killed some professional storm chasers, which occurred when an asteroid did a fly-by of Earth.

I don’t believe in coincidences and find these show that something is definitely going on astrologically. Also, with all that fuss about December 21, 2012, I could tell by the chart that the world wasn’t going to end. It implied a shift in consciousness, which seems to apply since things have been a bit different since then. Probably because everyone thought they were going to die. An 8th house experience for the world, where the 8th house includes transformations, death, intense experiences and so forth.

MF: You did a Tarot reading for the party at End House. Did you run an astrological chart as well? If so, how did that correlate with the cards?

SL: They complemented each other in a very scary way. For one thing, it had a Cardinal Grand Cross which usually is a bad sign, anyway. Deception was clearly part of the event as well as potentially lethal aggression with Mars ruling the chart and the 8th house of death. Pluto was on the Midheaven opposing Jupiter in the 4th showing a public display of power and control taking place in someone’s home. The only favorable aspect in the entire chart was a trine between Saturn and Neptune which of course wasn’t fortunate but indicated further the dissolving of boundaries with Neptune conjunct the 12th house cusp, more indication of hidden enemies.

MF: How much does your ability to read people relate to reading their horoscope?

SL: Of course I gather people’s birth data whenever I can get it out of them but needless to say the people in Oasis, at least the old-timers, weren’t very willing to share theirs since the date alone would have been very telling. It’s no wonder they were trying to drive me out of town. Astrology can reveal all sorts of things besides a person’s natural inclinations, however. Going into property records and obtaining the date when people closed on their store or property revealed a lot as well. At least when I could get it. Sometimes it went back so far I couldn’t ever track it down.

My friends are usually more than willing to provide their information to me in return for a free reading. I don’t mind because it’s fun to get to know them at that level and help them understand themselves a little better. I did a compatibility analysis for Mike and David which was hilarious. It totally showed why those two are always butting heads as well as why they are partners in an antique store.

MF: Are you psychic in addition to doing astrology and card readings?

SL: A little bit. I get strong impressions which I’ve learned the hard way that I should pay attention to. My independent and sometimes stubborn nature can bite me sometimes when I have a bad feeling but then someone tells me to be careful, which of course I can’t listen to! LOL! Usually when I get a bad feeling I turn to the cards or a horoscope and take it from there. I probably should have done a horary reading on the party and whether or not we should go. I’m less inclined to cut off my nose to spite my face when the advice comes from a chart!

MF: When your shop was ransacked did you check your transits to see what was going on?

SL: Of course! And there was all sorts of 12th house stuff which indicated an attack by a hidden enemy. Lots of this is apparent until after-the-fact because any astrological aspect has numerous interpretations and I try not to be totally paranoid about this place. Nonetheless, I’m paying more attention to my own transits than I did before after what has been going on here lately.

MF: Do you plan to stay in Oasis for the long haul? Or will you be leaving as a result of some of the unpleasant situations and strange characters you have for neighbors?

SL: My sense of adventure will probably keep me here unless things get a lot worse. I’ll keep an eye on that, needless to say, and pay close attention to what my transits and solar return has to say. I haven’t looked at it yet because I don’t mind a few surprises and don’t want to let my curiosity ruin my fun. I love to live each day as it comes and in most cases the more excitement the better. But even I have my limits and in spite of my Aries nature know when it gets to the point it’s time to turn tail and run. But not yet. There are too many unanswered questions I’m dying to find the answer to. Hopefully not literally. LOL.

SHANA’S NATAL CHART (Just for fun for the benefit of any other astrologers out there)

shanaloganchart

TRANSIT CHART FOR THE PARTY AT END HOUSE

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SUSANNE LEIST

Profile

Susanne Leist graduated with an M.B.A. in Finance. Wherever life has led her, through the hectic commodities’ markets or the number-crunching field of budgeting, she’s continued to read and daydream. Unbeknownst to her, she had been pursuing her dream all along, her dream of putting her words down on paper for everyone to enjoy. She currently resides on Long Island with her husband, two daughters, and Maltese.

Her first book, The Dead Game, is a paranormal thriller with humans, vampires, and vampire derivatives. Her goal has been to write a book different than the usual vampire story or murder mystery. She wanted a murder mystery with victims, clues, and suspects. She created that and much more. The book has revolving rooms, traps, falling cages, and anything her active imagination could create. The Dead Game is a fun ride into the realms of the supernatural.

Ultimate Book Tag Blog Tour

Thank you, Elle Klass from http://thetroubledoyster.blogspot.com for tagging me.

I tag Rhoda D’Ettore who can be found at www.rhodadettore.com

1.  Do you get sick while reading in the car?

Nope. I’ve always loved to read in the car since I was a kid. As an adult on long trips with the family I’d often read aloud to keep everyone entertained.

2. Which author’s writing style is completely unique to you and why?

I love Martha Fawcett’s books. She has a unique blend of science fiction, fantasy and New Age and a beautifully descriptive writing style which blends them all together in a symphony of prose.

3. Harry Potter or Twilight Series? Give 3 points to support your answer.

I have to say Harry Potter.

  1. Rowling created a world within a world which was rich with detail and made it credible.
  2. Imagery was outstanding.
  3. Characters were well developed from the git-go.

4.  Do you carry a book bag? If so what’s in it besides books…

Not usually unless I’m at an astrology conference where I always spend way too much in the bookstore.

5. Do you smell your books?

Yes, new and old alike. I love Richard Feynman’s story in “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman” of playing a parlor game where guests would go into his library and remove a book from the shelf, handle it a few moments, then put it back after which he would go in and determine which one it was by the smell.

6. Books with or without illustrations?

As a visual person I love illustrations.  I’m one who thinks the cover is important to clue in potential readers what they can expect inside.

7. What book did you love reading and later realized it wasn’t quality writing?

“Feelings Buried Alive Never Die” by Karol Kuhn Truman. The information it contained was life-changing but it definitely could have used a good editor.

8.  Do you have any funny stories involving books from your childhood? Please share.

Only that my mother read to me a lot and I learned to read before I went to kindergarten. When I was in 1st grade I couldn’t understand why the other kids were having so much trouble.

9.  What is the thinnest book on your shelf?

“Gift from the Sea” by Anne Morrow Lindburgh

10.  What is the thickest book on your shelf?

CRC’s “Handbook of Chemistry and Physics” of course.

11. Do you write as well as read? Do you see yourself in the future as being an author?

Definitely. Been writing stories since I could hold a pencil. I have always wanted to be an author and nothing pleases me more than holding a book I wrote in my hands except maybe a good review from a fan.

12. When did you get into reading?

Preschool. As an only child books were an important part of my life. The broadened my world and gave me vicarious experiences I’d never have otherwise.

13.  What is your favorite classic book?

The Narnia series by C. S. Lewis

14.  In school was your favorite subject language arts/ English?

No, not at all. I never liked such things as diagraming sentences. However, I remember my Senior Lit class in high school as being very enlightening when I was introduced to reading at a deeper more symbolic level as opposed to simply following the story and characters on a superficial level.

15.  If you were given a book as a present that you had read before and hated… what would you do?

Thank the person and then quietly give it to the local thrift shop.

16.  What is a lesser known series that you know is similar to Harry Potter and Hunger Games?

 “Apocalypsis” by Elle Casey.  This is a fascinating dystopia series with vivid, savvy characters surviving in a hostile post-apocalyptic world.

17. What is a bad habit you always do besides rambling while blogging?

Thinking everyone is interested in science or as much of a grammar Nazi as I am.

18.  What is your favorite word?

Ephemerides, plural of ephemeris. I love words that break the rules.

19.  Are you a nerd, dork, or dweeb or all of the above?

Being a physics major, undoubtedly a nerd. I’m also so much of a nerd I’m not even sure what those other two are by definition.

20.  Vampire or Fairies, why?

Fairies because I get sick of all the bloodsuckers out in the world which is probably why vampires are so popular.

21.  Shapeshifters or angels, why?

Angels, at least the good ones, because they’re benevolent and can be trusted.

22.  Spirits or werewolves, why?

Spirits because they’re more intelligent (usually) and can travel wherever they want in space and probably time as well.

23.  Zombies or vampires, why?

Neither.

24.  Love triangle or forbidden love?

Forbidden love.

25.  And finally: Romance books or action packed with a few love scenes mixed in?

Definitely action packed with a few love scenes mixed in. Either one alone can be boring but the two together result in synergy by combining two of the best parts of life.