January 20, 2017
Hello dutiful Dreamspinner blog readers! I’m Hunter Frost and on January 18th, Cemeteries by Moonlight, my first novella with Dreamspinner Press was released out into the world. This book is part of the States of Love series and I was thrilled to be able to claim Louisiana as my state of choice. The story is set in New Orleans and revolves around a cast of quirky characters, anchored by the budding romance between a crime fiction writer and a cemetery tour guide. It’s noir-ish mystery at heart, with a dash of supernatural, steamy romance, and loads of New Orleans cuisine!
I’ve visited New Orleans at least five times in the past fifteen years and no one has to ask me twice if I’m up for another trip to the Big Easy. I’m ready now. Let’s go!
Besides the delicious varieties of food, the eccentric yet amazing people, and the nightlife filled with music and laughter, just the “feel” of the place is inspiring. It’s a difficult thing to describe, but something about being in such a history rich city, built on conflict as well as a melding of cultures, calls out to me. Maybe it’s because I consider myself part of the gothic subculture – though I don’t think dressing in black, wearing pale make-up, or dyeing your hair black is necessary to be goth (though I’m sure it doesn’t hurt ☺). I believe goth is a state of mind – the habit of attuning yourself to the romantic nature of humanity, celebrating the macabre of life and death, and loving all aspects of history and literature. But I’m getting too deep here, even for myself. I’m only trying to analyze why I, and many others, feel an instant connection to the Crescent City.
New Orleans and its often violent history make it easy to see why the place draws those hoping to catch a glimpse of the paranormal. Death and suffering is said to bring out the spirits! On one of my visits, a friend and I took a ghost tour, led by a wonderful woman with long graying hair and mischievous eyes, who took us all around the French Quarter. We stopped at numerous landmarks where horrible things had taken place listening to her recount the grisly details and describe the paranormal activity said to go on there. From vampire dens to psychotic lunatics torturing slaves, the stories were bone-chilling. Even though we got a bit of rain during the tour, it only added to the spooky ambience, and to this day my friend still claims a glowing dot we caught in one of our shadowy photos of the Jesus statue behind the St. Louis Cathedral is a ghostly orb and not a water spot. I guess we’ll never know.
That tour inspired the Ghostly Legends & Lore, Inc., tour company in my book. My characters give a variety of tours throughout New Orleans: Cemetery, Ghost, Voodoo, Vampire, and Garden District tours. Finn runs the Cemetery tour though he is well acquainted with the ghost stories of the region, and you get to hear some of those morbid tales if you read the book. It was a blast being able to translate those tour memories into my novel and I hope you get that same creepy feeling when reading it.
I know some ghost tours can be campy, silly, or overly dramatic, but I think it all depends on the guide. Have you ever been on a ghost tour? In what city? How did you like it? I’d love to hear about your experiences.
Check out Cemeteries by Moonlight today!
When a serious bout of writer’s block threatens to delay mystery author Drew Daniels’s newest book, his aunt offers her New Orleans apartment in the heart of the French Quarter as a writing retreat. She neglects to mention that it’s occupied by the enigmatic and sexy Finn Murphy, a cemetery tour guide with a penchant for Victorian attire and a Cajun accent.
A body discovered in an open crypt forces reclusive Drew to deal with Finn’s eccentric group of friends and his underlying attraction to the hot Cajun—despite warnings about Finn’s violent past. Drew might write this stuff, but he’s never had to solve a real-life murder. With a deadline looming and a killer on the loose, this retreat is proving to be anything but helpful for Drew’s novel. Drew can only hope he won’t end up a tragic tale for the Ghostly Legends & Lore, Inc. haunted tour.
States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.
Hunter’s early addiction to the smell of printed books led her to spend most of her childhood in libraries and bookstores. There she fell in love with stories featuring medieval castles, ghosts, and handsome heroes. Though writing has always been a part of her life, after college she went on to explore careers in graphic design, the culinary arts, and dog grooming before returning to graduate school to get her MA in British history. To pay the bills she spends her days working for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, but to appease her overactive muse, she writes the kind of fiction that keeps her sane. She adores romance in all forms, but prefers her stories with two heroes that find their happily-ever-after with each other.
Hunter would rather watch Spaceballs (or any Mel Brooks movies really), despite being born in the same year as Star Wars. She loves Monty Python, MST3K, and cheesy rom-coms from the ’80s and ’90s. Her wacky sense of humor is only paralleled by her hopeless romanticism. She’s a goth at heart and a sucker for men with long hair. She adores everything British, but insists tea be drunk without milk. She’s a pescetarian with vegan tendencies and has two fat little cats named after her favorite beverage – Latte and Java. She dreams of coastal living, marshmallows, and Matt Bomer.
Feel free to connect with her through any of her social media accounts, or send her an email. She welcomes messages from readers and/or Brits looking to adopt.
January 10, 2017
Will he kill the one who can save him… again?
Some books are out because the author wants to write them. Other books are out because the author’s muse insists. And yet, others are out because the character wants their story told. Thus was the case of Vespar, my wonderful anti-hero.
Do you like anti-heroes? I have to admit I love them. Ever since I saw the first Indiana Jones movie and watched as Indie was fighting the bad guys and a huge bad guy stepped up with a huge sword. Instead of continuing to fight with his whip, Indie groaned, pulled out his gun, and shot the guy. I’ve had a love affair with the anti-hero ever since.
So what is an anti-hero? A character that isn’t all shiny and bright – not your typical hero at all – who is thrust into being the hero. Such as Vespar is a killer. He was born to be a killer and had spent years honing his skills. And as he turns from Special Ops to Professional Killer, his intent is to do his job and then disappear until he has to do it again. Only his first professional kill is a man who throws his entire world off kilter and just might make him a hero, whether he wants to be or not.
It was kind of fun. Even though Vespar was very clear about telling his story, I sometimes felt as though I was dragging him kicking and screaming into being the good guy. He glared at me quite often.
I don’t know how other authors feel, but my characters become very close to me and when you have a character who you know is a killer who glares at you, it can put you off your supper… And he found ways to get back at me for it. He woke me up at 1 or 2 every morning to tell me his tale. He would be quiet all day long and then as soon as I got to sleep? He’d want to talk.
I loved writing this story and hope you enjoy reading it as well. This book is dedicated to all the anti-heroes I’ve ever loved
Vespar McKauley slid the blade along the stone and stared blankly at the room around him. While he noticed the utilitarian off-white walls and tan furniture of the hotel room, they were so bland that he paid them no attention. He had swept the room when he came in. There were no weapons that could harm him hidden there. And yet there was no way he would let his guard down entirely.
He lifted the long knife and observed the edge. Still a little rough. Not sharp enough. He flipped the blade over in his hand, stroked it along the stone, and gave it far more attention than he would any of his other weapons. For while guns had saved his life most often over the last fourteen years, Vespar still clung to his knife. There was something far more personal about a blade than a gun—the way it felt as it slid into skin and that moment of resistance as it finally punctured and slid home.
While he had only used the knife as a defense in the past, he hoped to use it more often. When he needed to.
A deep frown pulled the corners of his mouth downward. “Need to,” he grunted. A small amount of the fury he usually felt leaked through with that one reminder. He needed to kill. Not all the time, but as long as he could remember, that singular yearning had run his life. From his first deer at age ten to the last bastard he killed as a member of a covert-ops team in the Army, the desire was insurmountable. As if to agree, a small birthmark throbbed on his left shoulder, just underneath the clavicle.
His birthmark was in the shape of a sword with half of the blade missing. Maybe that was why he was so attached to his knife.
He thought—or perhaps wished—that his time in the military had fulfilled the compulsion to kill. There he was allowed to hunt and kill a mark every few weeks. Sometimes even more often. When he left the team, it was by mutual agreement. He wanted out because his time was up and he had mistakenly assumed his sheer number of kills had muted the killer inside. The CIA tried to recruit him, but he ran away from that option. There was no way he wanted to be a permanent killer. At least not then.
But six months later, Vespar had to admit he’d been wrong. The peace afforded by his time in covert ops lasted barely a couple of months before the need came back. Deep in his muscles, a tension began that could only be assuaged one way. The intense burn and throb around his birthmark intensified every day. And yet he fought it.
For some reason he could not understand, his body needed to kill, even though he didn’t want to. Vespar longed for nothing more than to find a hut in the middle of nowhere and live there for the rest of his life. But that was impossible. In just three months, the need kicked back in and he finally gave in to his anxiety and put his skills up for sale.
Now he waited for information on his target.
Who would you rather be on the run with? A perfect hero or the anti-hero? And is there a specific one that comes to mind?
Check out Vespar today!
About The Order of the Black Knights:
Every century has seen its knights. But there are those who are never seen. They do what must be done—what has to be done—when nobody wants to get their hands dirty. They are called the Black Knights. First created in the 1100s by the wizard Moriel, these men seem cold and hard, and it is said that some have no soul. But for each knight, there is one who can bring out the man who waits inside. The question is whether or not he will kill the individual before he figures it out.
Through the ages, they’ve conquered and ruled and taken what they wanted. And they have adapted to modern times. Instead of being bullies for hire, they have taken their skills further—the Internet, the CIA, government infiltration, hacking, special ops, assassination, but each one of them has a need they don’t understand—to squash, kill, or destroy.
If the Knight pardons his enemy, he will no longer be cursed. If not, he will continue to live the same life again and again, and each life will make him harder and more unyielding. And each life will make it less likely that he can be saved.
Blurb for Vespar:
Special ops turned professional killer, Vespar McKauley is hired to take out Marcolm Rogers, son of his employer’s worst enemy. But Marc isn’t like any hit he’s ever done. He’s just twenty-one, he goes to a private university studying English Lit, and for fun he plays computer games with his friends. No drugs, no partying, no crime. The day he bumps into Marc and looks into his azure eyes, the world drops out from under him.
With his father in the Chicago Crime Syndicate, Marc and his mom have stayed out of the limelight, hiding from those that might harm them. He figures he’s safe at a small liberal arts university all the way across the country. Only midway through his senior year, he feels eyes on him and the shadows encroaching. Just as he’s about to run, he meets Vespar and experiences an instant attraction. When Vespar tells him he’s in danger and offers to protect him, Marc wants to believe him. But he’s been hunted before, and this time he isn’t sure he’ll get away. Especially when he finds out he is Vespar’s target.
About the Author:
Thianna Durston is a writer by day and supernova by night. Or at least that’s what the faeries tell her. And who is she to deny those pesky *cough* lovely little creatures?
She lives in the Pacific Northwest, though her heart belongs elsewhere. In the meantime, until she can return to the place she calls home, she happily lives in a city that still thinks it’s a small town. Thankfully, it has given her muse lots of amusing places to start a story.
Find her Online:
Website – http://mm.thiannad.com/
Blog – http://blog.thiannad.com/
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January 9, 2017
My name is F.E. Feeley Jr and I am the author of several books with DSP including Objects in the Rearview Mirror, Still Waters, Contact (with various other authors) and the book we are talking about today, The Haunting of Timber Manor.
But I already read that one.
I know. And I thank you. I thank you for reading it, possibly reviewing it, and I also want to apologize.
Okay, here’s the thing. I didn’t like it. I mean, I liked it well enough but I wasn’t wild about it. And that was my fault. Once the book released I began, as every author does even though they say they don’t, I started reading the reviews. And while most of them were great, some of them – a lot of them – brought up some seriously important issues over dialogue and pacing. So, after I wrote Objects the following year and Still Waters the year after that, as my craft began to mature – uh, how do I say this –
Once I stopped sounding like a dumb ass who didn’t know what he was doing and was in way over his head with this whole writer/ editor stuff we have to do…. once it sunk in that I had to like – help edit the work – then I begged DSP to let me go back and tighten it up.
And they – graciously – agreed.
I remember writing this big long email about how much I had grown as an author, how much my voice had matured, how much I would really love to go back and fix this and described – in detail – how much this would benefit the company -Elizabeth, much like Beatrice in Dante’s Inferno – looked upon my poor humble *snicker* self and gave me her blessing.
And here we are.
And boy, it wasn’t easy either. First off, I had someone help me outside of the DSP editorial staff. And then I was like – aww, yeah, see don’t sweat this, this is going to be easy. You all probably only need to go through this once more and we’ll be good to go.
Psssh – my ass. Three (much needed) edits later and someone who saw a huge time gap in the plot – and we arrived to the finish product.
I could beg off and feign ignorance – which I have in the past – over this book but it’s a pilot book in a series and that would should be the best or at least, on par, with the other two. I didn’t plan on it being a series. I had no idea that Memoirs of the Human Wraiths would take me down this lone path with two other standalone books – I didn’t know jack shit about what I was doing.
But that’s life, right?
I just felt like the readers deserved better. I feel like the company deserved better. And I deserved better.
You can expect some storyline alteration. A little bit of clarification. A little bit more maturity wise when it comes to the characters. Cleaner and more realistic dialogue and a tighter story.
To those of you who loved the story – who five stared it etc. thank you and thank you for sticking with me over the years even though I’m probably not the easiest person to live with, so to speak. Thank you for the positive feedback and the encouragement.
And to those of you who didn’t like it – this is really for you. I listened. I wasn’t able to address it directly with this novel in the beginning – but I did in the later works, so I appreciate what you said and hope that you’ll maybe give it another shot. If not – I totally understand.
Why do you write scary stories?
I’m seriously sitting here having a self-motivated interview. LOL *My other half looks like Katie Couric* I do this bullshit all the time. I have these whole scenes just go on in my head where there is this dialogue exchange sometimes with fictional characters – duh – or real life people while I’m going on about my day.
I believe in ghosts. I do. I believe in life after death, I’m not sure if the religious have it done 100 percent on what happens but I do believe in an afterlife so to speak. And as a kid – my head was always wandering around those places to the point where my mother worried about me being so macabre. I wasn’t a goth kid or really into the occult, I just felt like there was something there. Like I could almost sense it. In this new Gilded Age where we find ourselves there’s been this huge uptick in paranormal interest. Each channel on t.v. I swear – has some kind of ghost hunting related show.
Well, which one do you watch?
Me? I used to watch Ghost Hunters but quit after that handsome dark haired guy – Grant, I think his name was – left. I was totally crushing on him. I tried Ghost Adventures but Zach is so alpha persona that it turns me off. Like all those dudes grunt and yell so much I half expect a porno to break out at any moment. Plus, the first ever show – he got the shit scared out of him so bad he ran screaming out of the building. Like, now I feel like it’s all compensating for that. I know I probably pissed someone off saying that but I have this dialogue from that show going on in my head. Here’s an example:
“Dude, something just grabbed me.”
“Right here. Right here on my big muscle trainer ass. Point that camera right there,” he says as he leans over and he palms his right butt cheek. “Riiiiiight there. I hope it was a lady ghost.”
And I imagine some real ghost leaning against the wall talking to his buddy, “Dude, did you touch his ass?”
“Nope. But I think a porno is about to break out.”
Like, for real. That show is like what happens when Ghost Hunters met Abercrombie and Fitch.
But like the freakiest one I found lately – is Dead Files with Amy Allen and Steve could-you-be any-fucking-cuter-if-you-tried Di Schiavi. And it’s sort of funny – and freaky at the same time – but there was one episode of The Dead Files that may have come right out of this book. Not the wolves, or the romance, but the haunting and what the haunting was doing to a woman living in that particular house AND what the ‘entity’ looked like.
It startled me. I looked over to my husband and he looked at me, “Is that one of your books?”
So, from that point forward my obsessive nature allowed me to buy all 9 seasons and binge watch them. It’s really freaky and makes me wonder if I don’t know more than I know. If that makes sense.
Okay, then. Would you like to do a giveaway?
Yes. I would. And to do that, I would like people to answer a question.
What’s the scariest/ spookiest thing that ever happened to you? It could be a dream, it could be thought, it could be something you saw or a story someone told you. Or, do you believe in ghosts? Answer that question and you’ll get a book of your choice, from my backlist.
Where can readers find you?
Hahahaha. Do you really want to? Is this such a good idea? Okay. I do have a blog that I write stuff on. And before I give it to you, I am going to be honest with you. I am honest with you. I write a lot of poetry. Some of it bad, some of it good, I write about things that cross my mind. Things I feel deeply about. Sometimes it can be nice, sometimes I can be abrasive, but I struggle always to be honest. So – you know – just going in I am not trying to blow smoke up your ass hoping you buy all my books. That’s just not me. My blog is my place to vent, to scream into the void. So – you’re more than welcome to come and scream with me. The more the merrier.
I should probably create a facebook page with my name huh? I’ll get on that. Look for it. It’ll be there.
We can scream there, too.
Or whisper, if whispering is your thing.
Or if you want me to scream something for you because you’ve never done it before…or, if you need a place to scream and want to try it out before you go scream in other places just to be sure…I’m totally here to support you.
Okay, I’m done. Thanks inner Katie Couric and DSP for having me today. I’m going to go back to being just one person again. Have a good day!
Check out The Haunting of Timber Manor today!
While recovering from the recent loss of his parents, Daniel Donnelly receives a phone call from his estranged aunt, who turns over control of the family fortune and estate, Timber Manor. Though his father had seemed guarded about the past, Daniel’s curiosity and need for family compel him to visit.
Located in a secluded area of the Northwest, Timber Manor has grown silent over the years. Her halls sit empty and a thin layer of dust adorns the sheet-covered furniture. When Daniel arrives to begin repairs, strange things happen. Nightmares haunt his dreams. Memories not his own disturb his waking hours. Alive with the tragedies of the past, Timber Manor threatens to tear Daniel apart.
Sheriff Hale Davis grew up working on the manor grounds. Seeing Daniel struggle, he vows to protect the young man who has captured his heart, and help him solve the mystery behind the haunting and confront the past—not only to save Daniel’s life, but to save his family, whose very souls hang in the balance.
About F.E. Feeley Jr:
F.E. Feeley Jr was born and raised in Detroit. In the midst of chaos, he sought refuge in the written word. Through books, he was transported to far of places and while his body was trapped in a concrete world, his mind soared. He loved young adult novels such as R.L. Stein and Christopher Pike, but soon found his appetite whetted by the likes of Stephen King and Dean R. Koontz.
As an adult, F.E. lives in the Deep South, married to his wonderful husband, John. Together they are accompanied by their five-year-old German Shepherd, Kaiser. They spend time cooking, talking, and reading, drinking wine, and watching the sun set together from their patio. John is supportive and is always encouraging F.E. to keep on writing. So, as long as there is love, and as long as there is wine, hopefully there will be words.
October 12, 2016
Gideon went on general release on 5 October and marks the start of The Order of the Black Knights series from Dreamspinner Press. Readers can expect to see a new full length story every month, each featuring a different Knight as he grapples his demons, past and present.
Gideon is a hardened killer, ruthless, efficient, merciless in the execution of his chosen career. He might be gorgeous, sexy, sensual, but he is also without conscience and lets nothing or no one get in his way.
Gideon can’t control his response to the handsome driver who picks him up at the airport, but as an English duke he makes a point of not screwing around with the hired help.
What is it about the man? Why should Gideon allow him to live? A driver is expendable, Michael should be dead already, as soon as Gideon discovers he’s not what he seems. But lust – or love – has an inconvenient way of derailing his plans, with consequences he could never had foreseen.
Here are the details from the back cover:
Gideon Maybury enjoys a life of wealth and privilege, not to mention the advantages his position offers him in his career as a merchant banker and in his less public life as a high-class, skilled, and very well-paid assassin for Her Majesty’s government. When his brother dies unexpectedly, he becomes the Duke of Westmoreland.
Michael Mathison has hated Gideon since they were at university together. He’s convinced Gideon had a hand in the death of Michael’s college lover, Christopher, and that he had something to do with the death of his own brother. So he gets a job as Gideon’s driver, enabling him to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of the elder Maybury sibling. At first his suspicions seem to be confirmed, but clues come to light that suggest all is not as it appears at Maybury Hall.
As the mystery deepens, so does the attraction between the two implacable enemies. Each has reasons not to trust the other, but neither is averse to a bit of kinky play. Gideon and Michael end up owing each other their lives, and it results in consequences neither could have imagined.
And a bit more about The Order of the Black Knights series:
Every century has seen its knights, but they are not always seen. Some of them do what must be done—getting their hands dirty when no one else is willing. Assassins and antiheroes who work from the shadows, they are called the Black Knights. From the time of the society’s creation in the 1100s, these men are cursed to repeat their lives of bloodshed. But for each knight, there is one who can bring out the man that waits inside and break the cycle. The question is whether or not the knight will kill his true love before he figures it out.
Check out Gideon today!
A bit more about Ashe Barker:
Ashe whiles away her time in the wilds of West Yorkshire, in the north of England, writing smutty books and drinking Earl Grey tea. At the last count she had over thirty titles on general release, many featuring BDSM, always hot, with complex characters and compelling plots. Ashe writes MM and Mf, contemporary and historical, with the occasional threesome thrown in.
When not writing Ashe enjoys messing around with digital photography, reading erotic stories, pole dancing (though not especially well), walking her dogs, and listening to Bon Jovi. Loud.
I love to hear from readers. Here’s where to find me:
Here’s an excerpt from the book:
Too soon the waves of lust receded. Michael’s breathing steadied, or perhaps restarted. He wasn’t entirely sure. Gideon raised his head to release Michael’s erection. His face bore an expression of smug satisfaction, which Michael might have taken offence at, had he been even slightly less satiated. His arrogant bastard of a lover delivered a superb blowjob, and Michael already knew he fucked like the demon that Michael suspected he was.
“Knees up, now.” Gideon issued orders again, and Michael was content to comply. He bent his legs and lifted them so his knees were on either side of his chest.
Gideon knelt in front of Michael’s hips and critically appraised his exposed asshole. Michael didn’t mind him looking his fill, but he really just wanted Gideon to get on with the main event. Foreplay and a head-spinning blowjob were all very well, but he was there to be fucked, and the sooner the better. Dumping his load in Gideon’s throat had done little to appease his appetite.
“You can get on with it any time you’re ready.” He paused. Then he said, “Jesus. I’m fucking dying here.”
Gideon chuckled. It was a sound laced with both threat and promise. He said nothing, but he did ram one finger deep inside Michael’s ass. With no fanfare or preamble, the oiled digit slid in easily, so he thrust a couple of times and then added a second, beside it. With his other hand, he stroked Michael’s balls and palpated them back into interested readiness.
Michael was astonished to find his arousal was just as keen and every bit as edgy as before he came in Gideon’s mouth. How many more climaxes was Gideon going to tease or batter out of him before they were done?
“Three. Then you get my cock.”
“What?” Michael was bewildered momentarily. Did Gideon read minds too?
“Three fingers. Then I get to fuck you.”
“Oh. Right.” He closed his eyes and then bit off a groan as Gideon speared that third digit into his ass. At the same time, he used his other hand to run the pad of his thumb along the sensitive underside of Michael’s cock and followed the path his tongue had taken just minutes earlier. His dick twitched and lurched as shivers ran up Michael’s spine. He could not recall being that hard and aroused—ever. If Gideon didn’t drive that massive cock of his into his asshole soon, he was going to self-combust.
Mercifully Gideon seemed to arrive at the same conclusion and moved into position. He pulled out his fingers and then manipulated the blunt head of his cock against Michael’s rear hole. Michael rolled his hips and pressed his opening against Gideon’s cock, as though to impale himself. Gideon grinned at him and lunged forward.
His entry wasn’t gentle. There was nothing slow and easy in Gideon’s approach to fucking. He was hard, decisive, brutal, and, to Michael’s way of thinking, utterly sublime. His lubricated cock slammed deep into Michael’s ass and speared him against the bed. Michael grunted in pain and then gasped his pleasure. He loved it, hated it, and loved it more as he began to writhe and gyrate, and ground himself against Gideon.
“Fuck me. Do it hard.”
September 24, 2016
Hello! My name is Stephen Osborne, and I’m here to tell you about my new release, Raven’s Rest. It’s about ghosts, disembodied voices, seances, and, of course, love.
I blame Dark Shadows.
For those who don’t know, Dark Shadows was an late afternoon soap opera which ran from 1966 to 1971. Unlike other TV soaps, however, Dark Shadows dealt with vampires, witches, werewolves, and ghosts. Lots of ghosts. Kids used to race home from school to catch up with vampire Barnabas Collins and the other members of the cursed Collins family. Ah, those were the days.
Ever since Dark Shadows, I’ve loved a good spooky story. Stephen King quickly became a favorite writer, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read Hell House by Richard Matheson. TV shows? Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Supernatural, American Horror Story, and Stranger Things are on my watch list. I can’t seem to get away from the ghostly tales.
As if that isn’t bad enough, I sometimes spend the night in haunted locations. I’ve visited (and written about) the Coronado Performing Arts Center in Rockford, where shadowy figures are seen and spectral perfume can be smelled. Many a night I’ve spent at Willow Creek Farm, a private residence that’s listed as one of the most haunted houses in Illinois. At Willow Creek, I witnessed a chair falling over for apparently no reason, heard footsteps above me when no one was upstairs, and had a flashlight turn on and off by command. This flashlight, I must add, was old and dented, and it took one heck of a twist to turn it on!
Ghosts pop up in my own writing all the time. There’s Robbie, the late lover of Duncan Andrews in the Pale As a Ghost series, who died ten years ago but still hangs around. In Rat Bastard, Weasel masquerades as the Phantom Lady of Kennedy Hill Road—a real local legend in these parts! And, of course, there’s the Raven’s Rest Inn, which boasts several spirits. One of them, that of Coleman Hollis, becomes very familiar to Michael Cook.
And it continues. Currently, I’m working on another Duncan Andrews story, as well as bouncing around ideas for a possible sequel to Raven’s Rest. The ghosts just keep coming, keeping me company.
So let’s have a contest! To win a copy of one of my backlist titles (Duncan Andrews, one of the Weasel books, or anything you like!) tell me your favorite ghost story. It can be a personal experience, or a scary novel or story you’ve read! Let me know what’s kept you up at night!
Check out Raven’s Rest today!
Michael Cook has left his abusive lover and settled in the small town of Banning, Illinois. Having nowhere else to go, he checks into the Raven’s Rest Inn and soon learns that the haunted reputation of the hotel is well deserved. Michael gets a job at a local café, where he meets Trey Ramsey. Though Michael has misgivings about starting up a new relationship, Trey seems to be the complete opposite of Michael’s controlling ex, so he decides to give Trey a chance.
Life at the Raven’s Rest becomes increasingly frightening when the ghost of Coleman Hollis appears in Michael’s room. Coleman seems to want something from Michael, and the mystery deepens when Michael discovers he’s the spitting image of Coleman’s lover from years ago. Together, Michael and Trey must discover why Coleman’s spirit is drawn to the Raven’s Rest—and to Michael.
Stephen Osborne lives in Northern Illinois with Christine, the diva border terrier mix, where he works at a food packaging plant, testing food. So basically he makes brownies for a living. His loves include Doctor Who, Dark Shadows, and Broadway musicals. A mystery fanatic, his favorite authors are Rex Stout, Ellery Queen, and the wonderful Agatha Christie. His goal: to be the Phantom of the Opera. Not play the part…he wants to find an opera house to haunt!
September 14, 2016
Beau Bissonet and Tollison Cruz are back, along with Bruce, Auggie, and now Bastien, Tollison’s ex-partner. From the initial spark between them in Zurich, Bruce and Bastien’s attraction has flared, and Bastien has come to the Big Easy to explore what lies ahead for them.
It’s Mardi Gras, and New Orleans is alive and festive, teeming with excited tourists and locals alike. The first few parades go off without a hitch. And then a man is targeted, shot, and killed right in the middle of a crowded street. Auggie and Bruce are called in to investigate, but before they even get started, more deaths occur, one at each of the next two parades. Auggie realizes he’s dealing with a serial killer and jumps into action.
The next shot the killer fires affects the tightly knit group of friends in a way none of them could have ever imagined. Beau and Tollison join the investigation and stumble upon some similarities that are too strong to ignore. They begin to unravel the perpetrator’s motives and get ahead of him. Together they come up with a plan to stop the killing and serve justice in the process.
Scotty Cade here. First off I’d like to thank my publisher, Dreamspinner Press for handing their blog over to me for a little while to toot my own horn (LOL! No horn jokes please) and tell you about my latest novel, “A Lethal Mistake,” which is the third book in the “Bissonet & Crus Investigations” series. Today I’m gonna give you a nice excerpt, but before I do that I’d like you to meet one of the main characters, Bruce Jenkins.
To date, the Bissonet & Cruz Investigations series has had four main characters. Beau Bissonet, Tollison Cruz, Bruce Jenkins and August Hebert. In book two, Veiled Loyalties, you briefly meet a fifth character, Sebastien “Bastien” Andros but in “A Lethal Mistake” you get to know Bastien a lot better.
Additionally, while promoting this release I’ll be doing five or so blog spots so you’ll get to meet each of the main characters, which in turn will help you understand them better for past and future novels.
Next up is Bruce Jenkins. I’ll let Bruce take it from here.
Look! It’s me on the cover up there. Man! They polished the shit out of me. I guess the fact that they made me shave for the photo shoot worked in my favor. Hell, I almost look pretty. And trust me, I am not pretty. Beau was always the pretty one. I’m just average, slight of build, a little on the rough side, but I think I’m just average at best.
Wow! I still can’t believe I finally got my own book and now I have a chance to explain some things from my point of view.
For those of you who don’t know me, I’m just a simple guy who fell in love with a complicated asshole named Beau Bissonet way back when. While we were together I thought it was the kind of love that only came along once in a lifetime, which made it almost unbearable when it all came crashing down around me. But…recently I have changed my stance. I’ve decided that things work out the way they are supposed to and maybe…just maybe you do get a second chances at happiness.
Anyway, Beau and me. In the beginning we fit like a hand and a glove. Beau’s a great guy, but he comes with a lot of baggage. Not all his fault of course, but baggage just the same. His insecurities may be the reason he rubs people the wrong way, but I can tell you first hand when he loves, he loves hard. We met and fell in love when we were both rookies on the New Orleans Police Department. Man, life was good back then. No! Not just good, it was great.
We were both working very hard trying to get ahead on the force, but Beau’s “in your face” style, coupled with his intimidating personality did the trick and before long he was promoted to “Lead Detective.” And that’s where all our troubles began.
I was very happy for him, but as you can imagine, I felt more then a little left behind. And to make matters worse, Beau’s new job took him away from me a lot. I had shift work, we both did, but now Beau was “on duty” 24/7. The job took him away at all hours of the day and night and some nights he didn’t even get to come home. I sucked it up, did what I could to support him but little by little we started to drift apart. While Beau saw his hard work as an investment in our future, he never realized what it was doing to us in the here and now. So he kept at it and I started resenting him for it.
When Beau finally got the slightest inclination about what was happening between us, unbeknownst to me, he arranged for a promotion to fall into my lap. Detective Bruce Jenkins at your service. In Beau’s mind, the promotion would allow us to spend more time together and therefore fix everything in our relationship. But by that time it was too little too late. I was so lonely I committed what Beau called the “cardinal sin” and I cheated on him. It was one time. Down and dirty. I didn’t plan it. I didn’t want it, but somehow it happened.
Looking back, I don’t think it was the act of cheating that hurt him as much as the fact that the trust was now gone. Forever. Beau always said he couldn’t love a man he didn’t trust and he certainly lived up to that admission. And since in his mind, he could no longer trust me, he threw me out. Well technically he asked me to leave, but it sure as hell felt like I was being thrown out.
So there we were. No longer a couple. Beau hating me and us having to work together, very closely, day after day because of the promotion he’d arranged. Talk about karma being a bitch. And not only was karma a bitch, Beau was a royal asshole. Man, he was rough on me. But not near as rough as I was on myself. It was bad. I mean…I deserved everything I got and more. In the time it took me to shove my dick up some stranger’s ass and get off, I was able to fuck up both of our lives forever. It was the most painful time in my life. I thought about ending it all, but that would have been the easy way out and I didn’t think I deserved that luxury. So I took the abuse from Beau day in and day out as my punishment.
But then Tollison came into our lives. Man was it hard watching he and Beau get closer. It was like stabbing me repeatedly and then twisting the knife. I wanted Beau to be happy, but I wanted him to be happy with me. Looking back, I secretly thought if I hung in there and took the crap he handed me everyday, he might just forgive me. But I finally realized that was never going to happen so I had to accept Tollison as his new guy. And once I did that, everything turned started to get better. Tollison was instrumental in helping Beau deal with me and my actions. He became my advocate, my friend and then eventually like family.
When Tollison needed help rescuing Bastien, I was immediately onboard. And am I ever glad I did. When I saw Bastien for the first time in Zurich, he was restrained and had such a look of fear on his face, all I wanted to do was hold him. And thank God. He let me. That was three months ago and now Bastien is coming to New Orleans to see me. To see what there is between us. This is the first time since Beau’s and my demise that I am truly hopeful for my future.
So there you have it. The whole shit storm from my point of view. But I don’t want to dwell on that time. I wanna focus on the future. And in doing so, I think Scotty has an excerpt for you. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it enough to pick up our little story. And please…cut Beau some slack. He really is one of the good guys.
Thanks Bruce. I do indeed have an excerpt, a little about me and some buy links if case you’re interested.
Bruce pulled up in front of the Lafayette Hotel on St. Charles Avenue in the heart of the arts and warehouse district and put his SUV in park. The trip downtown felt like it was over before it even started. There hadn’t been any awkward moments of silence, and the conversation flowed freely between them during the entire trip.
Over the last few months, he’d learned a lot about this mysterious man, but he still had so many questions. Over the course of their long-distance conversations, Bastien had modestly told Bruce he owned a small company called Andros International, which produced drilling equipment for mining operations. But when Bruce had later googled Andros International, he found a different story. Bastien’s company was the world’s leading provider of drilling services, drilling equipment, and performance tooling for the mining industry. The company operated in over thirty countries for a diverse mining customer base spanning a wide range of commodities, including copper, gold, nickel, zinc, uranium, and other metals and minerals.
Bruce, to say the least, was intrigued. Bastien seemed so refined and worldly, and Bruce was in awe of him. There was still much he wanted to know.
As soon as Bruce popped the locks, the doorman opened his door and leaned in. “Bonjour, gentlemen. Welcome to the Lafayette Hotel.”
The doorman took a step back and snapped his fingers. Bruce slid out of the SUV, but before he could make it to the back, a bellhop was already unloading the luggage.
Wow! This is some service.
Bastien came around from the passenger side, and the doorman stepped up again and nodded in Bastien’s direction. “Mr. Andros, I presume.”
“Oui. Bonjour,” Bastien said.
The doorman held the door open as Bastien and Bruce entered the lobby of the hotel. It was a small and very charming historic New Orleans hotel, and the staff seemed eager to assist. A young woman greeted them immediately.
“Monsieur Andros. Please allow me to introduce myself. I’m Julia Draper, your private concierge, and I will be personally taking care of your needs during your stay at our hotel.”
Bastien shook the young woman’s hand. “Tout le plaisir est pour moi.”
Julia flashed a faint smile.
“You must forgive me,” Bastien said. “I meant to say the pleasure is all mine. I’ve been in Geneva too long and forget my manners sometimes. Yes. And this is my companion, Bruce Jenkins, and during my time here, he will be allowed entry to my penthouse at his request.”
Julia turned to Bruce and nodded. “At your service, sir.”
“My car?” Bruce asked.
“Of course. I’ll have the valet park it for you.”
Julia turned back to Bastien. “Your penthouse is ready, and I received word just before you arrived that your rental car will be delivered within the hour.”
“Splendid,” Bastien said. “Now if you’ll excuse us, I’ve been traveling for seventeen hours and would like to get a little rest before the festivities of the evening.”
“Of course, sir,” Julia said. “Would you like me to show you to the penthouse?”
“That won’t be necessary.” Bastien winked at Bruce.
Julia handed Bastien and Bruce separate keycards. “The elevator is right around the corner. Simply slide the card into the slot labeled Penthouse, and you’re all set. Your luggage will be up momentarily if it’s not already there. Can I get you anything else?”
Bastien retrieved a bill from his wallet and slipped it into Julia’s hand as he shook it once again. “That will be all. Merci, Julia.” He turned to Bruce and took him by the hand. “Lets go, ma puce.” The elevator doors closed, and Bastien slid the key card into the slot as instructed. The Penthouse button on the panel illuminated and the car went up smoothly.
“Oh, that reminds me.” Bruce squeezed Bastien’s hand. “Beau and Tollison invited us to their house this evening for drinks, the parade, and then a late dinner.”
“Really? I was certain Mr. Bissonet wasn’t that taken with me.”
Bruce laughed. “Yeah. That’s most people’s reaction, but that’s just Beau. He takes a little while to warm up, but you’d be hard pressed to find a better man.”
“Sounds grand, then.”
The elevator dinged, and the doors opened into the foyer of a grand parlor with two free-standing stairways leading to a second floor. Bastien’s luggage was neatly stacked at the base of one set of stairs.
“Wow!” Bruce stepped off the elevator and looked around. The floors were white Carrera marble, with colorful rugs defining separate sitting areas flanking two large fireplaces. The furnishings were formal and a bit over-the-top, but lovely just the same. The room was voluminous, with floor to ceiling windows at least twelve feet high. When his eyes followed the heavy brocaded draperies from the floor up, he was surprised to see a mural painted on the ceiling. It depicted several ladies in flowing gowns of pale blues, pinks, and yellows with cherubs at their feet smiling up at the ladies adoringly. The mural was framed by gilded crown molding at least a foot thick. “This is quite a place.”
“Unfortunately it is.” Bastien looked around with his hands on his hips. “Personally I prefer a more understated, less formal décor, but there are some, of course, who would find this rococo mess attractive.”
“I’m relieved to hear that,” Bruce said. “My place is probably way more understated than you would prefer. Rococo?”
“Oh, it’s a style of architecture and décor originating in France in the early 18th century. I was never one to care for it, but it’s characterized by elaborate, but graceful, light ornamentation, often containing asymmetrical motifs. Much like you see here.”
Bruce laughed. “I must be the straightest homosexual in the world. Why didn’t I know that?”
Bastien took Bruce into his arms and rested his forehead against Bruce’s. “Because you are way more practical, ma puce. So am I.”
“Who wants to live like this” was the last thing Bruce heard Bastien say before he brought their lips together. Bruce wrapped his arms around Bastien’s waist and brought his hands to rest on the globes of Bastien’s firm ass. Bastien’s kiss was gentle at first and then became heated and needy, his tongue seeking entry and Bruce willingly opening to him. When they finally came up for air, they were both breathless.
Bastien cupped Bruce’s face in his hands. “I’ve wanted to do that since the moment I saw you at the airport.”
“Me too.” Bruce said.
“Can you stay awhile?” Bastien asked.
Damn! I hate my job right now! “I would love to, Bastien, but I’ve got to get back to the station. We had a shooting last night at one of the parades, and someone was killed. Things are a bit crazy right now. Besides, you need to get some rest.”
“I’m sorry about the shooting. Such a barbaric and heinous world we have become. But I must admit, I am a little tired. Not too tired to….”
Bruce pressed his lips against Bastien’s in a soft, gentle kiss. “I know. God, I know. But I’ll be back to pick you up around four thirty. Is that okay?”
“Perfect, ma puce. Oh. What does one wear to a parade?”
Bruce chuckled. “Very casual. Jeans and a sweater. Oh, and bring a jacket. It may get a little chilly after dark.”
“Consider it done.”
“Okay. The sooner I get back to work; the sooner I get to leave.”
“Be off, then.” Bastien stole one last kiss, then shoved Bruce toward the door. “Until four thirty.”
“Until four thirty, then,” Bruce repeated, stepping into the elevator.
When he turned around, Bastien was leaning against the banister at the base of the stairs eyeing him seductively, his arms folded across his chest and one foot crossed over the other at the ankle. He was looking every bit like a New York runway model. Then the doors closed and Bastien disappeared.
On the ride down, Bruce toyed at least three times with the idea of blowing off his job and going right back up to take the handsome Bastien Andros right there in the foyer. But in the end he was too responsible. He knew he couldn’t do that to Auggie. And besides, it was way too soon for that type of intimacy. Kissing? Hell yeah! Sex? Soon, but not yet.
En route to the station, Bruce called Beau.
“How did it go?” Beau asked without saying hello.
“It went well.” Bruce blushed and cleared his throat, remembering the kiss.
“So are we on for tonight?” Beau asked.
“Yep. We’ll be there around five. And, Beau?”
“Please behave yourself,” Bruce begged. “Just… this one time?”
“Oh Christ, Beau. Don’t give me that,” Bruce interrupted. “No dredging up the past. No jokes at my expense. You know what I’m talking about. Just give me this one night, and I’ll never ask for another free pass.”
“Fine! But I still—”
“Bye, Beau.” Bruce ended the call.
Scotty Cade left Corporate America and twenty-five years of Marketing and Public Relations behind to buy an Inn & Restaurant on the island of Martha’s Vineyard with his partner of over twenty years. He started writing stories as soon as he could read, but just five years ago for publication. When not at the Inn, you can find him on the bow of his boat writing gay romance novels with his Shetland sheepdog Mavis at his side. Being from the south and a lover of commitment and fidelity, all of his characters find their way to long healthy relationships, however long it takes them to get there. He believes that in the end, the boy should always get the boy.
Here’s where you can find me:
September 7, 2016
Thank for joining me on the Wild Retaliation blog tour. Today I’m going to share a little background on how the story came about.
Wild Retaliation is the first book in a series I’ve titled Seaside Shifters and features the town sheriff John Dakota who is a bear shifter. The town also has a number of different other species of shifters.
The story was originally going to be co-written with another author and good friend of mine—Lynley Wayne. While the co-writing didn’t work out because of our different schedules I held onto a few of the characters I’d created as well as a few of the ideas we’d come up with.
I’d wanted to write a character whose basic description would fit for both his human and animal form. In John’s case it was ginger bear. In his shifted form he’s a cinnamon bear while in his human form he’s a bear (in the gay male term) with red hair. Lynley’s character was going to be a silver fox in both forms. Our plot revolved around a rogue shifter and I’d come up with a past for John that had to do with a series of murders.
The setting of Seaside, Oregon, a real town, came about because I wanted to set the story somewhere small. With a population of around six thousand people Seaside is relatively small but is a large tourist community. The tourism is what led me to think of the town as a place not just for regular people to visit but also for shifters. In my series Seaside is a haven for shifters to either live or visit in piece.
After Lynley and I chose not to work together the ideas we’d worked on stuck around in my head. Basically, Sheriff Dakota would not leave me alone. I knew I had to write his story or I’d never have peace. And as time went on the plot began to form in my head. The rogue shifter was still a part of the plot but not in the way she and I had intended.
What are your favorite kind of shifter stories? Is there a type of animal that you think would make a good shifter story?
Check out Wild Retaliation today!
Chief of Police John Dakota is in a world of trouble. His peaceful town of Seaside, Oregon, has been rocked by a wave of unsolved murders. The bloody deaths are eerily reminiscent of ones that occurred in Seaside years ago. Back then John worked hard to make sure the truth about the killer was never revealed. Now he’s afraid the past is coming back to haunt him.
Trevor English, the nosy reporter who occasionally shares John’s bed, is demanding information about the crimes. He also wants more of John’s affections. But John can’t afford to give in to either demand without risking the revelation of Seaside’s biggest secret: the town is a haven for shifters, and John is one of them.
To solve the crime—and prevent more victims—John must delve into the past. Many members of Seaside’s shifter community are involved, but it’s becoming harder and harder to tell which residents can be trusted. Even John’s family isn’t above suspicion. The body count is rising, and it looks like John is the killer’s next target.
About Ethan Stone:
Ethan Stone is an out-and-proud gay man. Which is fairly new in his life—the out part, not the gay part. He’s been queer his whole life, though he tried to deny it for years with a wonderful woman. The years in denial weren’t all bad as he has two amazing kids out of it. His son is a teenager and his daughter has made him a grandfather three times over. A way-too-young grandfather.
Ethan recently returned to Oregon after almost a decade in Nevada. He no longer has a day job and is doing his best to make a living at this writing thing. If he can’t make a living, he at least wants to support his Mountain Dew and beef jerky addictions.
August 8, 2016
Hi! I’m Lane Swift and I’m here to tell you about my new release, The Losing Game. It’s a story about two men, Lucas Green and Dante Okoro, who experience tragedies in their lives which they struggle to move past. Still, through pain and heartache, they find each other, and eventually find the love and the strength to move on. It’s a dark and weighty tale, with a hopeful and happy ending.
The story is set on the fictional Roseport Island, but is loosely based on Portsea Island in the south of England. It’s home to the city of Portsmouth which has a long naval and maritime history, as well as a lot of modern redevelopment. The whole island has a wealth of character and atmosphere.
The street below provided the inspiration for Mill Street where Dante has his shop:
The story is also set twenty years in the future. The main reason I chose to do that was because I wanted to explore how future technology, especially surveillance, might affect our everyday lives, behavior and freedom. How pervasive will social media be? Will CCTV really protect us from crime? Or will criminals find ways to get around it? These were important things to consider for this story, because Lucas wants to get away with a crime without getting caught.
A lot of authors will say that writing can be a cathartic experience; that their craft can help them to work through things that have caused them difficulty in their lives. This turned out to be the case for me with The Losing Game, though I didn’t realize it until the first draft was almost finished! In 2015, I lost two family members, one of whom was especially dear to me. Another was diagnosed with a terminal illness, and another had a tragic accident which has left her permanently disabled. For almost a year, I was mired in so much grief and helplessness, it’s little wonder those feelings found their way onto the page
The Losing Game is a testament to the strength of the human spirit, and Lucas’s and Dante’s indomitable capacity to give each other and themselves a chance at love, in spite of how broken they are when they meet. But their future continues to get brighter, including after the end of this story. I’ve just finished the first draft of a sequel with a working title of The Gamble in which the two men work together to help a friend in need. I hope to have it ready for submission in a couple of months.
One of the things that keeps Lucas going through the tough times is his dream to travel. He wants to visit East Asia—a place he’s never been to before. I’ve travelled to a few countries in Asia, yet there are places much closer to home that I’d like to visit but haven’t. For example, Edinburgh in Scotland. How about you? Is there a place you dream of travelling to? And is it on the other side of the world, or somewhere much closer to home?
Leave a comment by 12th August 2016 and two lucky winners will each receive a copy of my first solo release with Dreamspinner Press, Dormant Heart, plus a voucher for $15 to spend in the Dreamspinner store.
You can find out more about me, Lane Swift, at:
Check out The Losing Game today!
Winchester Crown Court, October 2035: Richard Shaw leaves, a free man.
Grief-stricken and angry, Lucas Green is hell-bent on revenge against Richard Shaw, who killed his sister. Lucas has heard of a man who can help—the handsome and urbane owner of a boutique sex shop with a head for planning crimes. But Dante Okoro has a past he’s desperate to keep buried. Though Lucas piques his interest in more ways than one, Dante turns him away. Still, he wonders if he made the right decision….
An unexpected death brings Dante and Lucas together once more. This time they can’t ignore the chemistry between them. But courting a lover with lies is a dangerous game. Dante has been spying on Lucas, convinced he has plans to kill Shaw. Lucas has been spying on Shaw, waiting for the right moment to strike. If Dante admits his suspicions to Lucas, he’ll surely lose him. If he doesn’t, Lucas might do something reckless—and end up losing everything.
July 29, 2016
C.B. Lewis joins us today to talk about new book Time Lost and writing time travel.
Don’t write time-travel. Just don’t. Consider this a little bit of sage advice from someone who has fallen headlong down the rabbit hole of paradoxes and the butterfly effect and can’t get back out.
I’m C.B. Lewis and apparently, I am a complete masochist, because I’m delighted to announce the release of Time Lost, the second book of my time-travel series, Out of Time.
Time Lost begins with DI Jacob Ofori dealing with what appears to be a missing person case. Of course, things are never that simple, especially when he has to investigate the Temporal Research Institute, the place where his missing person worked. Kit Rafferty is the unfortunate technician who gets a bit too caught up in the investigation and his attraction to Jacob. Despite their best intentions, Jacob and Kit are drawn to one another, risking their careers and reputations, in the middle of an investigation that could change history.
Both Time Lost and Time Waits (Book #1) messed with my poor wee writer brain. I started the first story for the Out of Time series years ago (let’s call it the Mark 1), but then realised I wanted to know more about certain characters who would appear in it. So I started sketching out characters. Next thing I know, I’ve written a 300+ page novel which was only meant to be backstory to Mark 1: Time Waits. (For those who haven’t read it, time-travel conspiracy theory turned adventure turned romance with a dash of spy-lite thrown in)
With that out of the way, I was sure I could go back to Mark 1, because I had the characters and I had some of the layers of history all sorted. Right?
HA! Dead wrong!
Trouble is when you go back 20 years in a story to Point A, you can’t just jump to Point X with no explanation. Time is linear, after all, and one event will lead to cascading ripples, and everything changes. So I figure, hey, I know the history of everything that happens between Time Waits and Mark 1 and why certain changes have happened. Can’t hurt to put some of it down in writing.
And so, Time Lost was born.
So, logically, you’d think I would be back to Mark 1 now, wouldn’t you? Turns out that the writer part of my brain is much more interested in time-hopping than I am, because it has just handed me another story, set between Time Waits and Mark 1, and honestly, I think my head is going to essplode with too many ideas.
Time-travel bad, tree pretty.
Just to wind things up here, you can go straight into Time Lost without reading Time Waits, but if you haven’t and you want a chance to dip a toe into the world of the TRI, I’m giving away a digital copy of Time Waits. To win it, I’d love to hear about your favourite point in history and whether or not you would actually want to go back to it if you had the chance. Comment for a chance to win
Check out Time Lost today!
What began with a dead intruder and a missing scientist quickly becomes the most perplexing case of Detective Inspector Jacob Ofori’s career. Nothing about it makes sense, from the incredibly advanced technology found on the intruder to the scientist’s mysterious workplace, the Temporal Research Institute. Jacob’s gut tells him the TRI is hiding something, and the questions keep piling up: Who would abduct Sanders? What is the strange gate in his basement laboratory? How does it connect to similar gates in the TRI?
TRI engineer Kit Rafferty only wanted one night with the sexy older policeman, but Kit’s mouth tends to run away with him when he gets excited, and nothing gets him more excited than cutting-edge tech—like the intruder’s cybernetic eye. Suddenly Kit is pulled into the investigation—and into a relationship that could jeopardize both of their lives. Kit hates lying to Jacob, but he cannot reveal what really goes on at the TRI—time travel. Faced with time-jumping criminals but unable to share that knowledge with Jacob, Kit turns to a man who knows time travel firsthand: Janos Nagy.
C.B. Lewis is small and Scottish and can often be spotted perched around historical monuments with her notepad and pen. She loves to travel and just has one continent left to complete her travel bingo card. There are no cats, no puppies, no significant others, only a lot of ideas and an awful lot of typing. And occasionally, cake. Never forget the cake.
July 22, 2016
Sandra Bard joins us today to chat about new book Finding His Feet, out this week!
Hi, I’m Sandra Bard and I’m here to talk about my second release from Dreamspinner, Finding His Feet.
First of all, Hayley, thank you for inviting me and for putting up with all the absurd questions I’ve thrown your way. I should also thank the wonderful team of editor and cover designers I worked with when this book was going through the different stages. Couldn’t have done it without you.
When I first started the book, my real life was suffering; a difficult job, with an impossible task of pleasing more bosses than I had students to teach. Each day was a dreadful experience, of getting up and going to work wondering what impossible request needed to be fulfilled. So many responsibilities, to my staff, to my students, to myself.
The book as written while I was fighting a silent war with a lot of people. Kaden, my main character, battled hardened and scarred, put on his high tech armor and went out to pretend he was alright, trying to keep himself useful in a world where he was afraid he would be discarded.
I would take the office laptop, a large piece of hardware that was probably new a good fifteen years ago and would type up at least a couple of paragraphs in-between lectures, paper marking and impossible administrative documentations. I even took my tablet with me to meetings and would type out a couple of lines between nodding my head at things like, ‘if you shift your work hours from seven to six, maybe you can complete all the necessary teaching hours’ to stop myself from screaming at idiots who did not know that each day only had 24 hours.
They became characters in my book, nothing major but they helped me shape my alternate world where war was a norm, where people accepted it.
Then of course, I had to travel for workshops and to teach in different locations. My laptop, a seventeen inch monstrosity which sounded like a hair dryer stayed home. Instead, I had to do my writing on a tablet, which was six years old and weighed too much to be held in one hand. I spent so much time in trains, my main characters met on a train. (This might have been where my idea of two distinct types of armor came from.)
Shun is the opposite of Kaden in many ways, he is light and laughter, cheerful and friendly and open… or so it would seem. But deep inside, Shun is as much a survivor as Kaden, having lived through his own war, with his own set of beliefs about how to live. He has his own secrets and his own agenda but not willing to compromise being human for the sake of that.
Kaden and Shun go through a lot of rough spots and their life is made even more interesting by the two cadets Kaden is in charge of, Wayland and Bradley. Kaden, not the greatest person in charge of his life, now has to be responsible for more people.
Some of my fights with my brother and sister played a hand in shaping this sibling rivalry. As the eldest in the family I was expected to be sane, in control, lead by example and pick up the slack for everyone else. On top of my dead end job, the pressure was enormous.
Wayland is loosely based off a student of mine, a large eyed, earnest, small made thing who stood in front of the class once and preached to me about the evils of war while wiping away tears. (It was an oral exam not anything else.) Wayland has strong opinions about life even if they aren’t the ones needed to survive a war. Bradley was inspired by one of my close staff members, who is unsure about life but has a practical eye and the knowledge that life is not always nice.
As events build up, Kaden finds himself making more and more decisions, some of which might not be right. Through the course of Finding His Feet, Kaden slowly changes, to learn that there is more to life than fighting and being useful. Shun also changes in his own way, learning to look at the world from another person’s perspective and gaining something in the process, people to care about and love.
In the end, this is about two people saving each other and finding happiness in a bleak situation.
I made some changes to my life in the end, I changed my job (actually, I quit and stayed home for a month and actually finished writing this) and found the strength to tell several people to leave me alone. I learned to ask for help and to tell when I’d had enough. And my characters grew with me. So this is also the book that helped me preserve my sanity while I was struggling to find my feet and stand on my own against a hostile world.
“I don’t see myself going over there to talk I,” Finzer spat, stressing peace as if it made his body cringe. “Not even if they ordered me.”
“But I hear you moved your wife and kid to a farm on the outskirts,” Alden said mildly, and Finzer flushed and looked away.
“I’m just protecting the next generation of fighters.” Finzer sounded impassioned, though he didn’t look all too happy quoting government propaganda.
“I for one would be happy if my kid didn’t grow up to be the next weapon,” Alden said firmly.
They all knew the government’s interest in armored warriors reproducing was to have more fighters for the future and not a sudden concern over the fall in the birthrate, as publicly claimed. The war between Joscal and the newly independent state of Haria had been going on for 130 years, and both sides expected it to last a hundred more. The Joscalian Army fought with all they had, sacrificing countless soldiers, not just armored units, for the sake of maintaining their border, while the Harians hid behind their remote drones. It was common knowledge that over a hundred million Joscalians had died in the first ten years of the war alone, and nowhere in the country was safe to bring up children.
Kaden snorted and looked away. He didn’t have kids… so not his concern.
“They’re even talking about sending a joint team to salvage what they can from Ground Zero,” Elisha added, sounding amused. Ground Zero was the starting point of the second phase of the war, when Haria had bombed the peaceful Joscalian island of Compen. Situated on the border between Joscal and Haria, it was coveted, and now officially out of bounds to both countries since the incident. “From what I hear, there’s not much to salvage, anyway. They’re even talking about letting some refugees settle near Compen Beach Town, but the island is still off-limits.”
“Makes sense.” Kaden nodded. “No one’s going to hand over that island unless they’re sure there’s nothing worth taking.”
“So everything’s in the planning stage, which is why there’s this long calm,” Claina concluded.
“It’s called a cease-fire,” Elisha told her sharply.
Kaden wasn’t sure he believed it. “Or they’re planning the biggest counterattack ever, and we need to be ready.”
“There is that.”
“From what I hear, our side is the one resisting the change in borders,” Alden added thoughtfully.
“Well, it is our country,” Finzer said firmly. “All of it.”
There was the sound of quick steps and everyone turned to the entrance to see a junior office helper walk in.
“Instructor Kaden Pace,” the helper said.
“Instructor… when did you become an instructor?” Finzer asked the same question Kaden was about to ask.
“I’m not.” Kaden got up and moved to the messenger. He took the message pad from the cadet and frowned. It read To: Instructor Kaden Pace. “Huh.”
“What does it say?” Elisha called, and Kaden realized everyone in the room had ceased whatever they were doing, which wasn’t much, to see what was about to happen.
“That….” Kaden frowned as he read the rest of the message. “I’ve got a mission.”
“That’s great,” Finzer said, and the others added their voices.
Though Kaden wasn’t exactly best friends with the rest, he spoke to them and hung around with them on a regular basis. Recruited at roughly the same time, they had been in a few skirmishes together.
“But it’s an observation mission. Two cadets, Bradley and Wayland Olgesh, who are in training. I’m supposed to watch over them until they achieve their Second Level Competency Grading.” Kaden frowned.
What the fuck was that? Then he remembered that was the same exam he’d taken in his third year of training, then called the Level Clearance 2. He’d been so young then; it had been close to twenty-three years ago, and he’d struggled over the obstacles and the stupid mission he’d been assigned. In a way, he’d expected battlefield missions to be as easy as his very first training operation, so simple to complete under the guidance of his now long-dead mentor.
“Hey, I remember those missions,” Elisha chipped in enthusiastically. “Mine was to guard a supply train from Morgan to Jalen.” Kaden remembered that she had not been a part of their camp during training but had transferred from Morgan after her marriage. “Nothing happened the entire way, not even raiders, but my mentor, Lavinia, was there. Felt better knowing she was watching my back.” She sighed. “She’s retired now, and I think one of last year’s cadets matched up to her armor.”
“Mine was to take a bunch of senior citizens from one of those old hospitals being evacuated to another,” Finzer said quickly, probably to break the depressing memories. No one wanted to talk about a time when their armor was going to be taken away. “I was glad Alden was there, because there was this particularly feisty old gal who kept pinching my bottom.”
“Your armor doesn’t expose your bottom,” Kaden blurted out, caught up in the moment despite himself.
“Well, it did, for that mission.”
The messenger cleared his throat pointedly, and Kaden looked at the pad in his hand. “This isn’t a real mission. I’m playing babysitter for two kids who’re going to go get their nature badge or something.” The administration never paired kids together unless there was a good reason. The kids were most likely too young to be married, so siblings, probably twins. Wonderful. He was stuck with a pair of boys—double the trouble.
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Cover artist: Stef Masciandaro.
Release date : July 18th
Kaden Pace, a soldier injured while on a mission, hides the extent of his damage by wearing his high-tech armor, desperate to prove his worth to his administrators and make himself useful in order to hold on to his independence. But during a simple assignment to escort two cadets across the country to retrieve the armor of a dead warrior, things start to fall apart.
They meet Shun, a young man with a secret, who steals the armor they were supposed to recover. Chasing Shun brings them to an abandoned beach town, where they encounter even more trouble. Stranded in the deserted city, Kaden finds himself relying more and more on Shun, the person he’d come to capture, while fighting off an invasion from the neighboring country.
But even when he returns to his camp, Kaden’s problems are not over. Now he has to find a way to save Shun, whom he’s growing to care for, and keep his team alive as they make one last-ditch attempt to get back the armor Shun stole. Armor that is now in enemy hands, on an island in the middle of the sea, at ground zero where it all began.
Sandra Bard started writing when she was quite young because there was always a story inside her head, but never thought of writing for an audience until recently. She only decided to try her hand at writing for the sake of being published after a series of events left her with some free time and in between jobs. Now she has three jobs but writing is still her most favorite thing to do. Sandra grew up travelling the world from Africa to Asia and, though she now lectures full time at a university, dreams of having a job that wouldn’t tie her down to one place. She enjoys reading books, watching anime and, occasionally, visiting a fan-fiction site. She also dabbles in tai chi and yoga in the hope they would keep her flexible and help lose weight. She lives with her pets (fish, cats, and dogs) and has been a volunteer for an organization that takes care of stray dogs (there are many, where she lives) for over ten years.