Monday, 13 August 2018

The Witching Well: #ChildrensFiction by S.D. Hintz

S.D. Hintz’s novel The Witching Well will be published by Grinning Skull Press in Summer 2018., as well as his novella Bauble by World Castle Publishing in October 2018. In 2017 he had 5 short stories, 1 poem, and a novel published. Vigilance & Vengeance (novel) by Solstice Publishing, Bellows by Dark Alley Press in Ink Stains, Volume 4, Housecall by MacKenzie Publishing in the Two Eyes Open anthology, Temporary in The Misbehaving Dead collection by A Murder of Storytellers, The Devil’s Embrace in the Beautiful Lies, Painful Truths anthology by Left Hand Publishers, Collingwood in the Scarlet Leaf Review, and Aspects of a Rose (poem) in the Cold Creek Review. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of KHP Publishers and extremely active on social media. He currently lives in Minnesota with his wife and two children.

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About the Book

It's the end of the world…

…as Murray Macabe knows it. The security of his home life has been ripped out from under him when his mother was brutally murdered. Rejected by his aunt, Murray only has one place left to go, and that's to live the rest of his life with a woman he barely knows.

To Grandmother's House He Goes

At first, life with his grandmother doesn't seem like it's going to be that bad, but Murray soon learns his grandmother harbors dark secrets.

Double, Double Toil and Trouble; Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble

As bad as Grandma's secrets might be, they are nothing compared to the secrets held by the neighbors, three elderly women who have set their sights on Murray for their own dastardly purposes. Soon Murray finds himself fighting for his very life, and there's no one to turn to for help because everyone knows there's no such thing as witches.

Get it today on Amazon!

Keep reading for an excerpt:

Grandma stood with a slight groan. “Murray? Would you be a dear and go turn on the hose for me? The spigot’s on the side of the house, just off the path.”


“Thank you, sweetie.”

Murray turned and headed toward the path winding to the front yard. The roses flanked him momentarily, swaying, leaning after him. He stepped up his pace. He sighed as the garden receded like waves on a shore, the haunts failing to snag him in their undertow. He set foot on the sun-bleached bricks and hurried to the corner of the house.

The neighboring dreary dwelling came into view. A mighty oak cast the fenceless backyard in shadows. Dandelions and creeping Charlie dotted the ankle-high lawn. A rusted, chain link dog kennel begged for use beside an overgrown mulberry. The house itself — two stories tall, split-level, and stucco with shuttered windows. The slate half hip roof added to the overall resemblance of a giant tombstone. Murray figured it was either haunted or once served as a mortuary.

He spotted the white spigot protruding from the side of the house, fastened to the green hose. A trickle of water seeped from the connection and dripped below. Murray approached it and reached for the red handle.

A shadow flitted out of the corner of his eye. A guttural growl stopped him in his tracks, his hand frozen on the handle.

He turned his head and looked over his shoulder. A jet-black Rottweiler crept from the shadows of the yard. Murray’s first thought was Cujo, even though the breed differed. A brown streak curved from its hooked nose to the tip of its tail. It bared its fangs, snarling as it slunk between the oaks, pursuing its prey like a starved lion.

Murray’s heart somersaulted and his body broke into a sweat. He looked to his right. Grandma Anna remained in the backyard, out of sight.

He let go of the handle and backpedaled. He grunted as the spigot jabbed him in the calf. Cornered! His mind hurtled through corridors of past advice. He knew it wise to stand tall and allow a dog to sniff the hand. Yet with a hostile animal, did the same rules apply? He knew he could make a run for it, but doubted he would win the race.

The Rottweiler continued to approach, slowly, stalking through the shadows. It crossed the property line, which was divided by a sunray. Its gaze narrowed, full of rage, as if the mere sight of a child ruined its day.

Murray glanced about, eyes wide, praying Grandma Anna would show up, perhaps wondering what prolonged his departure. No such luck.

The Rottweiler sprinted toward him, barking breathlessly. It stopped a yard away and snapped its jaws. Murray cringed against the house.

Friday, 10 August 2018

The Lost Tayamu: A #Fantasy #Novel by Ben Cass

From a young age, Ben Cass was in love with the premises of fantasy novels and comic books: amazing creatures, fantastic heroes, and magical powers that existed right beneath our noses. He created detailed storylines to act out with his toys, often updating the stories until he was satisfied with the plots.

A native Floridian, Ben attended Florida Southern College, where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, double-majoring in Secondary Education. Ben graduated in 1998, and has been working in the field of education ever since.

Ben lives in beautiful Broward County, Florida, with his wife and son, where he continues his career as an educator and is currently working on the second book in the Legends of Kiamada series, "The Uncrowned Queen".

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About the Book

At 16 years old, Jen stumbled out of the forest and into the woods that fringe the small midwestern town of Groverton, remembering nothing about her life except her first name and age. She was soon adopted by the Aston family, whose young daughter Ellie was thrilled to get a sibling.

Now, twelve years later, Jen is living a good life as a news anchor, raising Ellie after their parents were killed in a house fire. Jen still can’t remember her past, but that doesn’t really bother her, since she and Ellie are in a good place now.

Things suddenly change when Jen barely escapes three attempts on her life, leaving the sisters shaken and afraid. Jen owes her life to the secretive new PE teacher, Coach Doyle, who has miraculously appeared to save her every time. Doyle has fighting skills fit for a martial arts movie and reflexes just this side of impossible, but how long can he keep them safe? And why does Jen feel like she should know him?

While Jen starts to fall in love with the charming Doyle, Ellie is shocked when she discovers something otherworldly in the coach’s barn, convincing her that Doyle is definitely not a PE teacher. Ellie does not like secrets being kept from her, and is determined to unravel the enigma that is Coach Doyle. The truths that will be revealed, however, will change all their lives forever…and just might help save the magical land of Kiamada.

Get it today on Amazon!

Keep reading for an interview with the author:

Did you have a hard time sharing your work with the public?

Very hard. I spent 13 years honing this book. There were stretches where I didn't write for several years, literally. I built up the courage in January after my grandmother passed away. The day after she died, I felt a push to post on the NaNoWriMo forums, in the critique partner area. I finally did, and within a day, had a response from somebody (the amazing Ava Larksen) who said she felt a push to reply to me. We quickly became friends, and her critique suggestions helped me nearly double the size of the book and expand on things that I'd just glossed over. I added other critique partners when I joined Twitter, and they were just as sweet and helpful. Ava and I have never met or spoken, aside from chatting online, but she is the first person I go to for this series because she's as invested in the characters as I am. Her reaction helped me get over the fear of sharing.

Where are you from?

I'm a native Floridian. I grew up in Central Florida, then moved to South Florida a few years ago. I have no idea about the writing community because I'm an introvert and don't really seek people out. My friends live several states away now, and I have a very difficult time putting myself out there, so I haven't sought out any other writers in the area.

Do you have a "day job"?

Of course, I do! I spent almost 20 years teaching middle/high school math, and then in year 20, left the classroom to become an instructional technologist. So, I now train teachers to use technology, run the LMS for the school, learn to use all the programs the director purchases, troubleshoot things for the IT director when he's handling bigger things...all that fun stuff. I love it, and have no intention of leaving my career. Besides....where else can you get such amazing research? I write a lot of teenage characters, and I'm around teens all day, every day!

What genres do you write?

Fantasy. I don't do high fantasy, though. No dragons, elves, orcs, dwarves, etc. I really do prefer contemporary fantasy, where the magic is in our world but nobody really knows about it. It's just more fun.

What is the oddest thing you've ever researched for one of your books?

Missed flirting clues. I'm probably the most oblivious person to flirting. My wife had to literally tell me she was flirting with me because I didn't understand that "Sure is cold tonight!" was code for "put your arm around me." (I was 20, almost 21, at the time, so there you go.) I have a male character with that same trait, so trying to write scenes where the girl is flirting and he's not getting it requires me to figure out potential flirting scenarios. Since I'm clueless...well, there you go.

When did you first consider yourself an author?

When I had multiple critique partners tell me the book was amazing and needed to be published. I referred to myself as an "aspiring author", as many others do on Twitter, but I saw a post that basically said "you're not aspiring, you're an author. You're just not published yet." I liked that, so I changed my profile to say "author" instead of "aspiring author".

What are your goals as an author?

I approach my writing the same way I approach teaching: if I only have a positive impact on one person, that's a victory and validates what I've done. In teaching, you have to realize that not every student is going to like you or be inspired by you or even going to do well in your class. It's the same with writing. Sure, some people may hate my books. Maybe most people will. But as long as I have that one person who says, "Ben, your stories make me happy and I love reading them!"....well, then as far as I'm concerned, I've made it.

What made you decide to self-publish?

I just wanted my story out there. I didn't care to wait for, possibly, years for a publisher to pick it up.

Do you write in first or third person, past or present tense, and why?

For this series, I write in third-person, past tense. I've tried first-person, but it just never works out well for me, in large part because I have multiple POV's. "The Lost Tayamu" is primarily told from Ellie's POV and Jen's POV, but we get some scenes from the others as well. Being in first-person would make it harder, in my opinion, to develop a distinct voice for each character.

Are you a pantser or outliner?

Pantser. I mean, I know WHERE the story is going, yes. I know the major plot points--well, most of them, at least--but I simply can't sit down and figure out everything that happens. Sometimes, the characters force me to go a different path, as Jerry did with his story arc in "The Lost Tayamu". So, so bossy!

How do you come up with the titles for your books?

For the longest time, this book was called "Saving Kiamada", but when I split that into multiple stories, it became "The Lost Tayamu". The title came easily to me; this book is about the lost Tayamu and his relationships with the two main characters. The sequel is called "The Uncrowned Queen", because it focuses--surprise, surprise!--on the uncrowned queen, who was talked about in the first book. I didn't even have to think about that one.

Do you write about real life experiences, or does everything come from your imagination?

Real-life experiences definitely play a part. In "The Lost Tayamu", the relationship between Doyle and Ellie is completely based on the relationship between myself and my wife's younger sister. She and I are closer in age (8 years apart) then Doyle and Ellie are (12 years apart), but most of their interactions are either things that happened between us (younger girl crushing on older sister's boyfriend, for example) or simply inspired by the way we act around each other.

Do you ever base your characters on people you know?

I don't base my characters on people, no, but I do take things (expressions, body language, ways of speaking, etc) from people I know and mash them all together to make my characters. So, you might see a bit of yourself in one character, but see a bit of my aunt in there, too. I've found that my characters are a lot stronger when I go hunting through my brain for character traits of friends and family.

What are you working on now?

I'm working on the sequel to "The Lost Tayamu", which is titled "The Uncrowned Queen". Hopefully, this won't take me 13 years to finish! I'm aiming to have it done by December, but we'll see how that goes.

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Submission, Secrets, and the Soldier: A #Romance #Novel by Kryssie Fortune

Kryssie Fortune writes the sort of hot sexy books she loves to read. If she can sneak a dragon into her paranormal books she will. Her paranormal heroes are muscular werewolves, arrogant Fae, or BDSM loving dragons.

Kryssie likes her contemporary heroes ex-military and dominant. Her heroines are kick-ass females who can hold their own against whatever life - or Kryssie - throws at them.

Kryssie's pet hates are unhappy endings and a series that end on a cliffhanger.

Her books are all stand alone even when part of series. Plot always comes before sex, but when her heroines and heroes get together, the sex is explosive and explicit. One review called it downright sensual.

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About the Book

Luke Roberts, a former army mechanic, has a new sub. She's shy and inexperienced, but willing. As he teaches her about sensation play, she fears he'll really hurt her and screams her safewords at him. Her reaction causes Luke to have a flashback. Although he's clawing his way back to normal, he suffers from PTSD. Determined to get well, he contacts a PTSD specialist in Westhorpe Ridge.

Kathryn Johnson has visited a BDSM club three times. When she hooks up with Luke Roberts, he unintentionally terrifies her. She swears off spankings and goes home to Westhorpe Ridge. The last person she expects to see there is Luke Roberts.

Circumstances force them to share an apartment. Can Luke protect her when danger threatens? Or is she just a temporary sub in residence?

Get it today on Amazon!

Keep reading for an interview with the author:

Why did you decide to be a writer?

In 2001 my heart valve collapsed. Prognosis - shocking. Surgeon - amazing. Recovery - miraculous. That's when I decided to chase my dreams. Writing topped my bucket list. It was a long learning curve, with more magazine articles than books, but I stuck with it. Loose id gave me a break, and fourteen books later, I'm still writing. Sadly, Loose id is defunct and my books are now self-published. They had the benefit of great editing, though.

Did you have a hard time sharing your work with the public?

Submitting work is scary, but it's impersonal. I can cope with that, but rejections hurt. I found it far harder to give a public reading. I needed a new outfit and every bit of courage I possessed. Knowing some of my good friends were in the audience helped.

Do you have a "day job"?

I'm retired. When I worked, I was lucky enough to work for Emmerdale, one of Britain's biggest and best soaps. They won a BAFTA last year, and I'm so proud of my friends that still work there.

What genres do you write?

Romance. The hotter the better. I started with paranormal, and it's still my first love. I've also written contemporary and historical.

Do you have a daily word or page count goal?

That's too regimented for me. Some days, I'm inspired. Some days, I'm not. I have a friend who writes eight or nine bestsellers a year. I'm doing well if I do three.

How long does it take you to write a novel?

The first draft can take anything from six weeks to six months. Then I spend at least two months tidying it up. I'm dyslexic, so my husband checks everything, as does a good friend of mine. I'm lucky to have a great support network.

If you could be one of your characters for a day, who would it be and why?

I'd be Harriet from One Knight Stand. She's a spirited, modern woman who takes things in her stride. Also, like me, she speaks without thinking and she's on a permanent diet.

What is the oddest thing you've ever researched for one of your books?

How to get away with murder.

What authors have most influenced you?

I fell in love with paranormal romance when I stumbled on Sherrilyn Kenyon Dark Hunter books. I had to read the entire series. The same happened when I read Kresley Cole. The other author I love is from back in the 1960s. My grandmother and mother read Mary Stewart. I did too. I love the romantic suspense in her stories. I like to write hot sex, but if the story doesn't measure up, it's meaningless.

If you could choose an author to be your mentor, who would it be?

Stephen King. His book, On Writing, is the best thing I ever read. The way he uses words is fascinating.

What are your goals as an author?

To have fun. I try to keep abreast of the market, but I don't see much changing. I love to write.

Does your family support you in your writing, or are you on your own?

My husband's a star. My daughter is incredibly supportive in private. Publicly, she's the head of a primary school. Admitting her mum writes erotic romance might upset some parents. My son and his wife are horrified that I write explicit sex.

Do you feel the support of family and friends is helpful to you as an author?

I attended a writers' conference and met the wonderful Ashe Barker and Jennifer Denys. We've been best friends ever since. We share knowledge of the writing world and support each other. Knowing these ladies is a delight.

What made you decide to self-publish?

My main publisher, Loose id, closed down and my book rights reverted to me. I'm proud of my books and wanted to keep them out there.

Have you ever gotten an idea for a story from something really bizarre?

My Heroes of Westhorpe Bridge was meant to be a three book series. Then I heard Hypnotist and behavior psychologist talking about PTSD. He's worked with university professors to refine the Havening Technique to control PTSD. I knew had to use it in a story. That's how I came up with Luke Roberts. The poor guy's military service has left him scarred inside and out.

The other "Heroes" book revolve around holidays, so it made sense to write one around Labor Day and a parade. That's how Submission, Secrets, and the Soldier was born. I think it's my best Heroes book.

Monday, 6 August 2018

The Scarlet Wedding: A #Christian #Fiction #Novel by Lorana Hoopes

Lorana Hoopes is a teacher originally from Texas who now lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family. When not writing, she can be seen kickboxing at her gym, acting on stage, or singing at her church.

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About the Book

Will there be a happily ever after?

William wanted nothing more than to marry Emma, but shortly after his proposal, his past comes back to haunt him. Unable to leave men in danger, William mounts up and rides again. Will he be able to fulfill his duty and get back to Emma?

Emma had no doubts when she said yes to William's proposal, but then things began happening to delay the wedding. When her sister gets sick, she wonders if these signs are God's way of telling her she shouldn't marry William.

Will the two find their happily ever after or will events out of their control tear them apart?

Get it today on Amazon!

Keep reading for an excerpt:

“You’re so lucky” Carrie sighed as the girls got ready for bed that night. “That proposal was so romantic.”

“I’m sure yours will come soon,” Emma said with a smile. “I saw you dancing with Phillip Alder, and he had stars in his eyes.”

“What about me?” Jennie asked.

Emma laughed. “You have a few years yet, Jennie Bean, but there’s a man out there for you as well. You just have to be patient.”

Jennie’s lower lip fell out in an adorable pout. “I want to be older now. I want to be kissed like you were, Emma. It looked so romantic.” She put her little hand on her forehead and fell onto the bed.

“Oh, dear,” Emma said. “We have our work cut out for us with this one.” She slipped her dress off and her nightgown on and climbed into bed beside Jennie. Carrie followed suit and climbed in on the other side of Jennie.

“Have you thought about the wedding yet?” Carrie asked.

“He just proposed tonight,” Emma said as if dismissing the motion. The truth was she had already been thinking about the wedding. She wanted it in the church of course. Carrie would be a bridesmaid and Jennie the flower girl. Emma wondered if William would ask Samuel to be his best man. The two had been spending a lot of time together building William’s homestead, but there was also Jesse Jennings, who William had become close with.

Of course, Emma had also become good friends Kate Jennings. The two were fairly close in age and had begun spending more time together a few months earlier when William had made it clear he was staying and courting Emma. Once or twice a week, they would get together and trade secrets and recipes. They also spoke often of children.

Kate was going to reach that milestone first. She was already with child and nearing her fifth month. Though Emma enjoyed seeing her friend grow, she couldn’t help feeling jealous, and so she hoped William would be okay with a fairly short engagement. She wanted to start a family with him.

“I know he just proposed tonight,” Carrie continued, “but I bet you’ve been thinking about the wedding since the first day he kissed you.”

Emma was glad the light from the lantern was low so her sisters wouldn’t see her blush. She had been thinking about the wedding since that day. Well, not the wedding itself, but the marriage. She had already had one wedding, so even though they were enjoyable and beautiful, that wasn’t her main focus. Her focus was on being a wife and mother. Something she had hoped for with her first marriage, but it had ended so shortly it was almost nonexistent.

As much as Emma loved her family, she wanted to be a wife again, to run her own homestead, cook for her husband, and enjoy quiet times in front of the fire. And, eventually she hoped to fill the house with children, but that was at least a year away.

“Get some sleep,” Emma said in answer. “We can talk more about the wedding tomorrow.”

“Do I get to throw the flowers again?” Jennie asked, her voice heavy with sleep.

“Yes, Jennie Bean, you can throw the flowers. Now, get some sleep.”

Carrie and Jennie obliged and soon were breathing softly beside her, but it was Emma’s own mind that refused to shut down. When it wasn’t reliving the wonderful night and the proposal, it was thinking forward to what had to be done for a wedding. She would need to make the cake, get flowers, and see if she could alter her old wedding dress a little. Emma couldn’t afford a new one, and it would have been a frivolous waste of money anyway.

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