Tuesday, December 7, 2021

As Above, So Below Box Set by Loren Rhoads - Deck the Halls with Books Holiday Extravaganza



The Holiday's Best Ginger Cookies

Since our friends observe so many different holidays, my family celebrates each New Year with a cookie party. Every year, we make these spicy ginger cookies and there are never any leftover.

2 cups of all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup molasses

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 egg

2 tablespoons minced ginger

3/4 cup candied ginger, minced

1/3 cup turbinado sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Line the cookie sheets with parchment paper. Scatter the turbinado sugar on a plate and set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, dry spices, and salt.

In a large bowl, mix the melted butter, molasses, white & brown sugars, and egg. Stir in the two kinds of minced ginger and incorporate the flour mixture.

Make 1-inch balls of dough and roll them in the turbinado sugar. Place them 2 inches apart on the cookie sheets.

Bake 10-12 minutes, until the cookies crack on their surfaces. For chewier cookies, remove them from the oven when half or more have deflated.

Transfer to racks to cool. Try to save some for the guests!


As Above, So Below Box Set
Loren Rhoads

Genre:  paranormal romance
Publisher: Automatism Press
Date of Publication: November 30, 2021
ASIN:  B09KW5HWCC
Number of pages:  477
Word Count: 190646
Cover Artist: Carmen Masloski

Tagline:  If Romeo had wings and Juliet a barbed tail, could they find love in the City of Angels?

Book Description: 

If Romeo had wings and Juliet a barbed tail, could they find happiness together in the City of Angels?

Combining the books Lost Angels and its sequel Angelus Rose, As Above, So Below tells the whole story, from the moment Lorelei met Azaziel in her master's dance club to the conflagration in the cemetery following the discovery of Azaziel's hoard of unsaved souls.

"Any angel can be tempted, any devil as well." -- Succubus.net



Excerpt

Lorelei licked the last traces of soul from her lips, then smoothed the knee-length hobble dress over her thighs. The black Lycra snuggled around her like a living creature. The barbed tip of her tail twitched as she scanned the dance club, seeking more prey.

Her violet eyes locked on the creature seated at the end of the zinc bar, dressed in a rumpled khaki trench coat. Through the smoke and flashing lights of the dance club, she saw him for what he was: an angel of melancholy. Hers. His wings weren’t manifest, but the unmistakable glow of his halo enforced a margin of emptiness around him. Shoulders hunched over his glass, he was doing his best to ignore what was going on around the club. Clearly not having fun, which was a damned shame, considering that fun was what Lost Angels was all about. Lorelei wondered what it would take to put a smile on his face.

She patted hair over the nubs of her horns and adjusted the dress’s zipper to be demure as could be, only the pale white column of her throat revealed. Once she’d made certain that the seams on her stockings were straight and her mortal glamour was flawless, she stepped out of the shadows. Let’s see if this one could be won without a fight.

The angel ignored her when she leaned across the bar at his elbow, straining the lycra dress just so. Lorelei waved the bartender over. “My usual,” she shouted above the music, “and whatever he’s drinking. On my tab.”

When another Crown Royal appeared in front of him, the angel made no move toward it. Lorelei breathed into his ear, “Say thank you.”

Vaguely in the bartender’s direction, the angel repeated, “Thank you.”

Lorelei touched her glass against the angel’s, then downed a good mouthful of her drink. More Absolut than cranberry, just the way she liked it. However, the angel continued to ignore her, tense and miserable, wanting his whiskey but apparently afraid to touch it.

“Thank you, Lorelei,” she prompted. She leaned against the angel, nestling his shoulder between her breasts. She reached around his waist to hold him close. He could escape her, certainly, if he wanted to cause a scene. She licked her lips, so close to his ear that he quivered at the sound. “What’s your name, Angel?”

He sipped his drink before answering, “Aza.”

There should be an ‘el’ on there somewhere. Amused by the dropped honorific, she echoed, “Just Aza?”

“Aza will do.”

The nickname made him sound accessible. Not fallen yet, but unimaginably lonely. Lorelei asked, “Looking for company, Aza?”

The angel put his glass down very precisely on the bar. She was unprepared when his stormy green eyes turned to her. “Maybe I came looking for you, Lorelei.”

The timbre of his voice shivered through her like lightning.

When she was sure of her composure, she purred, “Here I am, Angel.”




About the Author:

Loren Rhoads is the co-author of Lost Angels and Angelus Rose -- the As Above, So Below duology -- with Brian Thomas. Loren's stories about the succubus Lorelei have appeared in the books Sins of the Sirens, Demon Lovers, and Unsafe Words, and most recently online at The Fabulist. 

Check out more of her work at: 














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Monday, December 6, 2021

Supernatural Dating Tips with Angie Day #YAUF #YoungAdult #UrbanFantasy



Most of the characters in the Legends & Shadows Saga, including Rogue Unbroken, are what are referred to as Legends. They are basically enhanced humans that were created in a lab and now possess extra abilities but need to steal human energy to survive. This comes with its own set of challenges for anyone wanting to date one of these characters.

Not only that, each character is so unique that approaching a relationship with any of them would likely be different for each one. I’m going to list some of my main characters and my top three tips for a person dating them.

 

Mara/Kate: She is the main character and is a Legend. She used to be a member of the Shadows, which means that murdering humans was a source of entertainment and pleasure for her and the other Shadows. She has since turned a new leaf and is navigating being good while not denying her basic desires. While she goes back and forth between her two names and personas as Mara and Kate, both are strong, clever, witty, and very connected to the people they love.

Tip #1 She wants to be right most, if not all, of the time. That’s not always possible, but the more you can support her, the more she will love and support you.

Tip #2 Don’t lie to her. She can get on board with a lot of shenanigans, but she will not take it well if you choose to lie.

Tip #3 Get ready to ride the roller coaster. Challenges and peril seem to follow her wherever she goes but she’s worth the danger if you can hold on.

 

Alec: He is the main antagonist of the story. He is and always has been a Shadow. His sense of right and wrong is largely based on what his personal goals are and not what society believes is correct. He has a very singular focus and an astounding determination despite what most people would consider are fatal setbacks. Due to his stubbornness, he is loyal to himself and the people he cares about. There just aren’t many people on that list. 

               Tip #1 Quite honestly, I would not recommend dating him. Don’t know what else to tell you.

Tip #2 If you have somehow ended up in his sights as a potential romantic partner, seriously evaluate what life choices have led you to this point. Perhaps you’ve made a wrong turn, and then several other wrong turns after that.

Tip #3 If your name isn’t Mara, then you’re a means to an end to get to her. Consider changing your name if you want up your chances of being seen. It probably won’t work, but it couldn’t hurt.

 

Kylan: He is the main love interest of the books. He starts off as mysterious and charming but turns to be…still quite mysterious and charming. He keeps a lot of personal information to himself. He has very high standards for his behavior and hopes (maybe expects) others to follow the same moral path, which means he very strongly opposes all Shadow behavior. His family are the most important people in his life and he will protect them at any cost.

Tip #1 He is attracted to kindness in other people, especially those that are most in need of it. If you are a genuinely good person toward other people, then you’re off to a good start.

Tip #2 You’d have to get along with his family. They are a bit much to handle at times, but they are his whole world. I suggest making friends with Derek first, since he’s pretty easy to impress. Cassie is the hardest, so put in some real effort there.

Tip #3He may take a while to open up to you. Don’t be alarmed, there are things his own brother doesn’t even know about him. But if you stick around long enough, you’ll get to see all the sides of him and he’s a pretty remarkable person to have in your life.

 

Nikki: She is one of the main Shadows in the story. She used to be friends with Mara but feels betrayed by her new life choices. Nikki is extremely powerful, vindictive, lethal, and obsessive. Her tattoos are impressive and her long hair is unbelievably gorgeous. She will follow Alec no matter what since she believes he and the Shadows are the closest thing she has to a family.

Tip #1 I don’t recommend dating her either. Seriously, there are plenty of kind people in the world to date. If you can’t find one of those, then there are lots of average people to date. If you’re still striking out, then there is a handful or two of serial killers that offer more warmth and love.

Tip #2 Should you decide to be in a relationship with her, be prepared for pain. She likes seeing it, causing it, or even being around it. It’s kinda her thing.

Tip #3 She’s always wanted to learn to French braid her own hair to really up her style game. Watch a tutorial or two and blow her mind with your skills. She might shred your cells apart where you stand, but she might hear you out first. Either way, it’s your funeral.

 

Thayer: He is another one of the main Shadows in the story. He is known for being incredibly strong and also good at manipulating emotions. His good looks get him most of the way with people and his powers make up any difference. If you meet him and he wants you to like him, you will. He is learning about personal boundaries but all bets are off if you threaten one of the people he cares about. Since he’s a big teddy bear, that’s a long list of people.

Tip #1 He is kind and loveable and funny and attractive, really the whole package. He does enjoy murdering humans for their energy. He always has. It’s just one of his personality quirks. So if you can get on board with a bit of a gray area when it comes to morals, then he is the guy for you.

Tip #2 Set your boundaries and stick to them. He will definitely try to push you out of them, but will respect you for it all the more when you are firm.

Tip #3 He’s a big flirt. It’s part of his power, but also just part of his personality. If he has chosen you to love, he will be fiercely loyal, it’s true. But you’ll need to turn down your jealousy and just know that your arms are the ones he wants to be in at the end of the day.


Rogue Unbroken
Legends and Shadows Saga 
Book Three
Angie Day

Genre: Young adult, urban fantasy, YAUF
Publisher: Rahne Press
Date of Publication: Dec 10, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-7338144-6-1 (hardcover) 
ISBN: 978-1-7338144-7-8 (paper back)
Number of pages: 412
Word Count: 104,000
Cover Artist: Sarah Hansen from Okay Creations

Tagline: Energy blazed in my body, begging me to move, to use it. If you see her, kill her on sight.

Logline: Kate can’t touch anyone without causing pain. To save herself and her family, she must challenge Alec, who is ready to tear her life apart.

Book Description: 

Kate had survived. She had lived through pain and torment and now she was on the other side, where all the happiness was supposed to be. But with Alec’s vengeful punishment for escaping him, she can’t touch anyone without hurting them.

Alec still wants to create a Level Five and he’s dangerously close. That power under his control would mean unraveling the world as it stands. The world Kate has not yet started to enjoy. She won’t be able to rest until her body, her mind is fixed, and Alec won’t get his beloved power without her help.

The two warring sides of Rogues and Shadows will have to meet. Kate will have to confront Alec and his cruel ambition once again. But every moment with the Shadows is detrimental to those she loves, especially Kylan. So she must find a way to outsmart the person who taught her everything she knows, the most feared Shadow in the world.

Kate is strong. She survived once. But even the strongest people can break with the right pressure, and Alec is ready to tear her life apart.



Excerpt 1:

Alec lifted a hand to my face but lowered it again. “But then you came back to me. You fell for me again. I saw it. If you say you’re done with me, then why can’t you just do the honorable thing and stop loving me?”

Alec looked down at the floor and he never looked so sheepish and small.

A trick. It had to be a trick.

But he was so small and broken and careening in his own mind. I knew what that felt like, all too well.

“I want to.” I leaned back on the shelves again. “You’re despicable and psychotic. You hurt the people I care about. You tortured me, manipulated me—”

“And yet that’s not good enough for you to kill me. All you can do is leave, and I’m sitting here hoping I can somehow get you back.” Alec raised his arms like he didn’t know where to put them anymore. “Why?”

“I don’t know.”

“That’s not an answer. Why?” Alec moved closer to my face.

“Because you won’t let me.”

“Ha.” Alec grinned before his eyes turned dark again. “I wish I had that much control over your decisions. Try again.”

I shoved him away. “I don’t know, Alec.”

“Yes, you do,” he came right back. “Think, Mara.”

“Because you’re home to me!”

His mouth fell open and the pain created lines around his eyes. I just stared at him for a moment. I saw all the same years of complications that I felt in mine. We weren’t just similar. He and I were mirror images of each other.

“No matter what you do, no matter where I go. When I think back on my life, you are all I can see for centuries,” I said.

“I get it.” Alec backed off. I caught his arm.

“You don’t. You’re a terrible person. You’re the nightmare that just won’t go away.” I looked at the floor. “But you’re also a huge part of my life, whether I hate you or not.”




About the Author: 

Angie Day found her love of writing while in college where she studied psychology and eventually went on to a master’s degree. She noticed the need for romantic and fantastic adult stories that were still wholesome and clean. So, she took matters into her own hands. 

The Legends and Shadows Saga is her debut series. When she’s not devouring the next book, she is spending time outdoors with her husband.











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Beyond Atlantis: An Epic of The Ancient Americas by Lucius Beauchamp #Atlantis #BeyondAtlantis


Hello, I’m Lucius Beauchamp and I’ve written a fast-paced fantasy novel, called ‘Beyond Atlantis: An Epic Of The Ancient Americas’. Today, I’m talking about near-death experiences.

Excerpt:
“Irritated by a soft crooning, Eten peered to see who was there. An old woman, Koss, she’d known years before, with hands clasped. ‘You’re here then.’ 
     Eten jeered. ‘Obviously, you crone.’ 
     Her pebble eyes looked into Eten’s. ‘I see your disposition hasn’t improved since I died.’                      Koss grimaced at the grass, her voice nasal. ‘I don’t know why I had to collect her.’ 
     Eten screwed up her eyes, recognising the poisoner, who walked through the high priestess. ‘Don’t do that.’ But Koss leaned over a body, more a figurine than flesh. 
     The physician withdrew from bending over the body. Then Eten saw her own face, and stumbled away. Recovering, the high priestess was aware of a small drip, drip, drip and looked closer. ‘I still bleed the living blood.’ 
     Kos stooped for a better inspection. ‘Don’t worry.’ She patted Eten’s phantom arm comfortingly. ‘That won’t last long.’”



Many people have had near-death experiences and are prepared to testify about them. Ifind the existence of near-death experiences comforting. Myself, if my heart stopped then I was revived and I hadn’t had a tunnel-of-light experience I’d feel severely ripped off. All that trouble and nothing to show for it.

Excerpt:
In the Xalisco temple hospital.
“Still invisible, Eten turned to face the gaunt man. 
     He yelled, ‘Go away!’ 
     Eten stepped back, unsure; it wasn’t possible. But he wasn’t looking at her. Turning her head well to the right, she saw a gold-lit spirit standing there, saying, ‘It’s time.’ 
     ‘No.’ bawled the patient. 
     ‘I’m afraid it is.’ 
     ‘Come back tomorrow.’ He flung a cup at the spirit. 
     Almost simultaneously, Eten thought: “It’s really getting far too like visiting hour.” She dropped back, silently. 
     The spirit, ‘Same time tomorrow then.’ And evaporated.”


Even near-death experiences have variations. The most common one reported is the tunnel-of-light appearing and being aware of warm, loving people sending caring thoughts from the end of that tunnel. Often, those who’ve had a near-death experience state that they no longer have any fear of death. How would you feel about death, if you’d had such an experience?     



Beyond Atlantis: An Epic of The Ancient Americas
Lucius Beauchamp

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Adventure
ISBN: Paperback 978-0-6488929-0-8  
ISBN: E-book 978-0-6488929-1-5
ASIN: 0648892905 
ASIN: B01I4OMBVY
Number of pages: 448
Word Count: 158,240 
Cover Artist: Flametree Creative

Tagline: Greater Atlantis, where The Guardian Tribe roam

Book Description: 

10,000 years ago, ancient Atlantian Tribes of magicians flourished in the lower Americas and along the Mississippi. 

Galen, an Atlantian magician priest is locked in a relentless power struggle with an envious sorceress who blackmails, lies, and manipulates. A prince of the blood, Galen is determined that nothing will stop his becoming an Archpriest.

Eten, blackest witch and high priestess sees angels and seeks a forbidden treasure. She finds Galen’s curse of having a soulmate particularly helpful. 

Twelve thousand years ago the Island of Atlantis sank off the Biminis, the 13th Tribe was held responsible for the demise of Atlantis. The surviving Atlantians stripped the 13th of all technology and exiled them. 

Vengeful, the 13th Tribe wishes to return but the 13th’s warlocks fear crossing into Greater Older Atlantis. They do not dare set foot on the Guardian-protected land. The great Guardian Tribe possess a formidable circle of psychics who roam North America keeping constant vigil to keep Greater Older Atlantis safe for all Atlantians. 


Excerpt:

    With lightning rushing to greet the barbarians, not only sulphur made their guts wrench. That most feared God, the God of lightning, was among them. Sheets of power forked across the ground, felling dozens of the pure race. Repeatedly, the riverbed exploded and sprayed molten sand. Dripping glass sculptures remained and pressure waves threw barbarians into the glowing glass pools. Where some lay stuck, in death or dying.
     The false day reached the refugees, the sky pulsing green. From the Safety of the hillside they saw it all, with deafening thunder rocking them. Dodging lightning bolts, the barbarians ran when they could to slid into super-hot streams of glass where their flesh seared so completely that bare-bones were exposed among living tissue. There was screaming at newly blackened limbs and sizzling holes within a shoulder or thigh, created by actual lightning strikes. And then more astral screams as the black shadows of the underworld chased and fell upon the freshly dead. Only a handful survived. It was another mist-night.

                                                               *

Tancah. Ten ships comprising another fleet had landed. Gold. Mounds of gold was being turned into ingots for shipment to the Far World.
     The gangplanks were sunk into the pink sand by the tread of disembarking
warriors.
     The scarred pyramids were towers with large stone tablets standing
on top. Not very wide, with ladder-like stairs, each had an almost sheer
drop at the back. Saplings burst forth in unexpected places among the ruins.
     The seventh ship to dock was grander than the others. Its occupants always liked to be seventh, from superstition. Rhaim, the commander-in-chief hurried to meet these new arrivals. They were the main reason he’d come back to Tancah. After all, he didn’t want their leader to take offense. In black clothing with wide purple edging, the thirteen glided down the gangplank. Weary soldiers made hasty signs in the group’s direction while dropping their eyes. Even with a close trimmed mustache, the outlines of the first face were a death mask. Udo, the leader. Tall, white-haired and eyes robin’s-egg blue. The whole group was from similar molds.
     Not on land yet, Udo glanced at Tancah. A connoisseur, he breathed
deeply of the destruction. Then he put a foot hard on the sand and dogs began to howl. A flock of monarch butterflies, resting on their way to their wintering ground, filled the air. Raising his hand to the sky, Udo cut a swath through the gossamer wings. The lovelies rained down among the pyramids, while the coven roared with laughter.
     Invisible to everyone, a watcher hovered over the beach within sight of the ships. As one, the black-garbed group turned to look at him, eyes burning. Languidly, Udo said, ‘Kill.’
     Two men vacated their flesh so utterly that their bodies fell to the ground. Their spirits were shadow hounds. Instantly the temple flyer telepathed the sight to his temple, then spirit claws were on him. Dying, screams filled the heads of other flyers.
     The murdered watcher’s body, seated in the temple chamber, spasmed and went limp. A high priest wiped the corpse’s brow, ‘Where is the other?’
     Simultaneously, Udo’s face was in the room, hanging in mid-space.
Gloating, he disappeared. Then he was back at the beachfront. ‘Find the other watched.’
     The two dark hounds pounced forward, but Udo’s snarl sent them scurrying into their bodies. He believed in sharing and signaled a fresh pair.  

 

About the Author:

The author was inspired to write this book because, like Plato, the author believes Atlantis existed. Interpreting Plato's description of the location of Atlantis, backed up by Edgar Cayce's readings, Lucius feels that the Island of Atlantis was off the Biminis. Therefore, for the author, the Continent of Atlantis (Greater Older Atlantis) was North America, USA. Writing this epic has been Lucius Beauchamp’s means of creating a world in which people can escape from the travails and the, at times, seeming randomness of living for a while. A place where readers can take their ease and be refreshed by imbibing this layered adventure as they would a well-deserved drink at the end of the day.

Lucius writing and research skills were enhanced while obtaining a 4-year Degree in Psychology at the prestigious University of Western Australia. This degree included intensive English studies. Lucius attributes much of his understanding of writing to his time at the University of Western Australia. 

In life the author has followed the maxim that what goes around, comes around. Therefore, he does regular simple volunteering that assists inner-city people who are in crisis and/or temporarily homeless. Earlier in life Lucius did Hospice volunteering, which he feels gave a solid grounding, a balance to his life.

To this same desire for balance, especially in Covid times, the author has turned his backyard into a veritable bird sanctuary. Currently, three birdbaths, tall native shrubs and native trees bring in all the local small birds. Lucius has watched fledglings wander the garden in the first weeks out of the nest and an occasional wind-battered adult shelter daily among the honey-blossoms until well. The author set each of the two shallow and one medium-deep birdbaths at a slope, as he’s observed that smaller birds love to strut around a shallow end before diving into the deep end of their swimming pools. Kookaburras are discouraged from hunting geckos in the backyard, it upsets the little birds, though they’re welcome to bathe and drink. The birds, the Spring bobtail lizards and a type of small marsupial that arrives at tree-berry harvest time aren’t bothered by the Beauchamp family dog or cat, as they have a twilight curfew and or bells.

Other than birdwatching, a main interest of Lucius is building a collection of retro, vintage and, infrequently, antique Matchbox Cars. Crossword puzzles, Lucius saves for lazy Sunday afternoons. Some Lucius’ viewing preferences are the Star Trek movies and series, plus Le Carre’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy series and the Smiley’s People series.    
   
Lucius’ wish list is as follows: To tread the USA Appalachian Trail for as long as his legs hold out. To spend two months in Maine one Fall, hiking and just watching the festival of color until the leaves turn then drop. To walk the week-long trek to Machu Pichu. To fish one of the great North American rivers. To take a long sojourn on a paddle steamer down the Mississippi River.     

The author has included many descriptions of mushrooms in his book, several of them poisonous and many varieties that are difficult to differentiate from look-a-like poisonous fungi. Knowing how many people on seeing a mushroom in the wild will be tempted to pick it, Lucius has included a Warning Note at the bottom of the Acknowledgements Page, in the E-book and in the print version.

The author and partner are equal joint-owners and equal co-publishers of Beyond Atlantis: An Epic Of The Ancient Americas.

Lucius’ heartfelt thanks go to author Dave Luckett who originally critiqued Beyond Atlantis: An Epic Of The Ancient Americas and then tutored Lucius, on a weekly basis, for several months.

Further the author’s profound thanks go to Professor Van Iken, who Lucius was fortunate enough to have critique Beyond Atlantis: An Epic of The Ancient Americas, after it had been redrafted following intensive workshops with Dave. Professor Iken then very generously critiqued the book a second time, once Lucius finished an almost-final draft.
Lastly, the author’s greatest thanks go to his partner for all the patience, advice, editing, critiquing, for improving the story’s momentum and for story/scene/dialogue assistance. Together Lucius and his partner created the book’s first short name and then together added the longer version of the name. It was Lucius’ partner who discovered the book’s hook, that is, who found the book’s current first two paragraphs which Lucius had buried further within the chapter.





Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Interview - For Her Bones by Alec Reid #Horror



- What is your “day” job if you are not a full-time author?

My day job used to be that of a BBC Radio drama and documentary director, and occasional scriptwriter.  I was also responsible for ‘Time for Verse’ and ‘With Great Pleasure’ for Radio 4.  Along the way I produced music programmes of all kinds.  Since leaving the BBC I have been entirely freelance, producing hundreds of audiobooks alongside various writing commissions.

- If you wrote a book about your life what would the title be?

‘Audio Dreaming, Video Nightmares’.

- What is the hardest thing about being an author?

It has parallels with trying to get fit.  At the beginning it seems unbearably hard.  And, of course, while remaining glued to the chair in front of the keyboard eventually tunes up the brain, it does nothing for one’s physical fitness!

- What is the best thing about being an author?

The trick of the brain that releases a three-ring circus from the subconscious.  Having written something is often more pleasurable than the writing process itself.

- Have you ever been star struck by meeting one of your favorite authors? If so who was it?

I think I would be thunderstruck were I to meet Dickens and Shakespeare!  Seriously, I would not have been much use in my profession if I had a tendency to be star struck.

- What book changed your life?

Life changes, whatever.  Reading Dickens in primary school opened up all sorts of possibilities, although I can’t remember which was the first.  I don’t read Dickens now.  I think my mind has become too attuned to more modern cadences.  That said, maybe I will add one to my ‘to be read’ pile.

- What were some of your favorite books growing up?

See above.  Throw in ‘Treasure Island’. ‘The Wind in the Willows’, ‘Just William’.  I would have read the corn flakes packet if there were nothing else in the house. 

- What books are currently in your to be read pile?

Back to Dickens: ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ perhaps.  Dutifully, I will throw in ‘War and Peace’ and ‘Ulysses’.  For the rest, I’m drawn to sharp storytelling, which will probably include the new John Grisham.

- Which do you prefer ebooks, print, or audio books?

I prepare and produce two or three audiobooks a month so would not download one unless it were an audio drama.  Aside from that, I don’t get hung up on the format.  It’s the picture, not the frame.

- If you could live inside the world of a book or series which world would it be and why?

I tend not to think that way.  I confess to a few blind spots and would run a mile from the world of Harry Potter was unable to finish ‘Lord of the Rings’, although my two children did before they were ten. 

For Her Bones
Alec Reid

Genre: Ghost/Comic Horror
Publisher: Lilymoore Publishing
Date of Publication: 31 October 2021
ISBN: 978 – 163972999 -9 
Number of pages: 340
Word Count: 86,975
Cover Artist: Jacqueline Abromeit

Book Description:

Alec Reid’s ghosts of the twenty-first century seldom lurk in old houses or waft across chilly moors.  His dark tales may breathe alongside the supernatural, but they take place in broad daylight, in our daily lives.  

Their themes include dead warriors resurrected via Bluetooth, Rumpelstiltskin in the suburbs, an algorithmic fear of ghosts and the shattered dreams of immortality. 

The world they describe is the same one you inhabit, but you would live in terror were you to recognise it for what it is.  Life would, literally, never be the same again.




Excerpt

“The thing is, Tom, I did call him a few months after I left.  It was a bit of a surprise.  I was supposedly embarking on some great adventure, and there I was struck down with what felt like terminal homesickness.  I needed a friend.”

“You could have called me.”

“I know, but it wasn’t you I wanted.  Sorry.  What I never expected was that I would be longing for Frank.  How strange was that?  Anyway, it was late and the foul weather made me feel even more lonely.  I virtually forced him to come to me that night.”

“Do I really need to hear this?”

“He never made it.  Ice on the motorway.  His mother called me a few days later.”

“Jesus, Sally.  No wonder you’re imagining things.  It’s guilt, that’s all.”

“So that’s it, Mr Freud?  I really am just imagining it?  Going mad”

“I wouldn’t say going mad exactly.  I mean it’s understandable.  You had a terrible shock.  You were missing Frank - can’t understand that bit, but there you are – and you called him to you.  And because of that he died.  It doesn’t make it your fault.  Not really.  I can’t imagine he was the greatest driver in the world.”

“He’s here, Tom.  In this restaurant.  I can feel it.  I can almost see him.”

“The flickering?”

“Yes!  Please tell me you’ve seen it too.”

Poor Tom.  I think he’s about to deny it.  A straight ahead, get the job done sort of guy can’t acknowledge the terrors that shimmer on the edge of his vision.  It has to be Sally who is mad, not he.  The truth is, neither of them is mad.  I would show myself if I could, join them at their table, discuss important matters of life and death.  But it doesn’t work that way.  That would be like believing in ghosts.  Foolish.  But the three of us will soon be able to have that discussion face to face.  I’m looking forward to it.  Come along now, Tom, the second bottle has arrived.  Pour her a drink.

“Jesus Christ!”

General consternation sounds like an incompetent military leader, but it is probably the best description for what was happening around Tom and Sally’s table.  Tom had lifted the bottle and begun to pour.  But he didn’t know his own strength.  Or rather he didn’t know mine.  His grip on the bottle tightened like a noose until the bottle shattered, showering the unhappy couple with Pinot Grigio and sending splinters of glass everywhere.  I’m not exactly a poltergeist, they don’t exist by the way, but I made sure some of the glass went where it needed to.  A freak accident is how it was later described by those who were there and therefore must know.  The first shard sliced through Tom’s shirt and severed the carotid artery.  There was more blood than Pinot.  In less than a minute he was what people call dead, although we know better, don’t we?

Sally’s demise was even swifter.  A shiver of glass pierced her eye and came to rest deep in her brain.


About the Author:

Alec has had a number of careers, some of them still ongoing. After a brief spell with the BBC 2 arts programme, "Late Night Line-Up", he moved on to Radios 1 and 2 where he produced "Night Ride", giving Genesis their first national broadcast.

Alec went on to become an award-winning radio drama director and creator of radio documentaries and features, one of which required him to spend a week with the French Foreign Legion!

During that time, he also wrote and directed two musicals for radio, "Misrule", starring Max Wall, and "Gilgamesh", with Ian Holm; the latter was the BBC's entry for the Prix Futura award in Berlin.

After leaving the BBC,Alec was commissioned to write and produce a double CD tribute to Princess Diana. Within days of its release in America it had sold over 100,000 copies. As a result, he won the prestigious international Audi award for best creative work.

Since then, Alec has produced hundreds of audiobooks, adapted TV and movie soundtracks for audio release, and was even commissioned to write two new 'Thomas the Tank Engine' stories! He also wrote book and lyrics for 'Muscles the Musical', which was premiered at The Landor theatre in London where the 'House Full' sign was up most nights. There are hopes for a revival in a larger theatre.

Alec's publications have included two anthologies based on Radio 4’s ‘With Great Pleasure’, poems in ‘The Sunday Times’ newspaper and numerous magazine articles, and poems. 'For Her Bones' is his first fiction book. He is thinking about his next one.

https://alecreidwriter.com/

https://www.facebook.com/alec.reid.73/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20849030.Alec_Reid




Author Interview - Conspiracy of Cats by B C Harris


- What is your “day” job if you are not a full time author?

My husband has a small business. We used to work together but, over the last few years my involvement has decreased significantly. I’m now mostly retired and able to write as and when the mood takes me, however I do take care of the home and the dogs, simply because my husband is the one earning the money we need to live and pay our bills.

- If you wrote a book about your life what would the title be?

‘Finally’.

Finally meeting the love of my life. Finally getting to do something I’ve always wanted to do. Finally getting to travel.

It’s taken me a long time to reach this point… this place where I can sit in front of my laptop for hours and hours every single day if I choose to, because I don’t have to be anywhere else. I’m taking hold of this with both hands, and won’t ever be letting go.

- What is the hardest thing about being an author?

I’m learning that being an author isn’t about writing, it’s about promoting my writing. Now Conspiracy of Cats is published I have different responsibilities and new challenges to meet. What’s the point in writing anything, if no one out there gets to read it? But there are millions upon millions of works of fiction, and mine is one single book. As the author of that book I need to stand up and shout about it. I need to make it visible, desirable. I must attract readers, because without readers there is no point in writing. This is a steep learning curve for me as a first timer. I am learning though, because I believe in my story, and I want people to share that with me.

- What is the best thing about being an author?

Writing is the most fun job I’ve ever had. Within the confines of each story I write, I get to do what I like, when I like. I get to travel, I get to shop, Ieven get to kill people! What’s not to love?

- Have you ever been star struck by meeting one of your favorite authors? If so who was it? 

Stars were kind of my job for a long time. I met a great number of celebrities through music and theatre, because I worked back stage and on tour for fifteen years. I’ve met more famous people than I can name. I’m sure a lot of those people produced books about their lives, but I’m a lot less sure that most of them actually did any writing.

There’s just one time when I’ve been completely star struck.

I was fifty-five and giggling like a school girl. I even had the blushes. I was at Disneyland Paris with my husband. We were on honeymoon. It was the end of the day and getting quiet. I noticed there wasn’t a queue, and dragged my husband into the venue so I could meet one of my idols. We were the last people admitted that day and I think this guy spent a little bit more time with me because of that. He poked fun at me… making me giggle even more. I literally couldn’t speak most of the time, I was so busy grinning, butwe did pose for loads of photos. I was so very excited to meet Darth Vader! Seriously… this is a highlight in my life.

- What book changed your life?

I read fiction. I love murder and police procedurals. Every book I choose to read changes my life a tiny little bit, in the sense I perhaps learn something new, or see something differently. The only book to change my life is my own, because when Conspiracy of Cats was published I realised a dream.

- What were some of your favorite books growing up?

The Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, everything by Enid Blyton. Then, when I was thirteen, I read The Bad Seed by William March. This book has a special place in my memory, because this was the story that turned me on to murder. From there I moved on to Agatha Christie, and I’m still a big murder fan now.

- What books are currently in your to be read pile?

A Darker Domain by Val McDermid, The Skeleton Road by Val McDermid, The Last Witness by Denzil Meyrick, Dark Suits and Sad Songs by Denzil Meyrick, Written In Blood by Chris Carter, The Whistling by Rebecca Netley.

- Which do you prefer ebooks, print, or audio books?

I put the Kindle app onto my tablet, so I could take advantage of the many fabulous offers, but I prefer actual books. Books smell good, they feel good, and they look good lined up on my shelves.

- If you could live inside the world of a book or series which world would it be and why?

I would want to live in Lyra’s Oxford as created by Philip Pullman. I’d love to discover what form my very own daemon would take, and also how a relationship like that would change my relationship with the world in general.

Conspiracy of Cats
B C Harris

Genre: Contemporary fiction, paranormal, murder mystery
Publisher: Olympia Publishers, London
Date of Publication: 26th August 2021
ISBN: 978-1-80074-032-7
ASIN: B09CGHZ7K7
Number of pages: 325
Word Count: 123,121
Cover Artist: Olympia Publishers, London

Tagline: A Beautiful House, A Horrible Death, A Brilliant Revenge

Book Description: 

CONSPIRACY OF CATS… a supernatural murder mystery.

An apprehensive Jos Ferguson travels from Edinburgh to Northern Tanzania to visit the house her Uncle Peter built before he died. But Peter isn’t as dead as he should be… he was murdered, and he wants his niece to help him exact revenge upon his killer. With a little Maasai magic and a conspiracy of cats, Jos sets out to do exactly that.

A beautiful house. A horrible death. A brilliant revenge.

Who knew death could be so lively?


Excerpt

Looking back, it was as if Peter had known that he was going to die.  

It was as if all of them had known, because the Maasai came prepared for their ritual even though their little brother died only a few hours before they arrived. It was the largest group of Maasai Beola had ever encountered at the white house. At least fifty men, most of them warriors, all carrying their weapons and their shields. Their chests and faces and arms painted as if they were going into battle. She watched them from the master bedroom window, just as she’d watched the police arrive, having gone back up to finish changing the bed so it would be clean and ready when Jude returned. They arrived on foot just before sunset, and it would have taken all day to walk from their village on the western side of Mount Kilimanjaro all the way to the white house.  

Some of the warriors carried armfuls of wood, and immediately began building a large fire in the middle of the lawn. The elders, including their bearded laibon, sat down on the porch steps to rest and, when Beola went out to meet them, they asked only for water. When she offered food they politely refused. When Beola moved to go back inside to fetch the water, a young warrior stopped her. ‘We must leave the white house in peace, little sister,’ he told her, and then he and several of his fellow warriors guided her towards the lodge where they fetched enough water for all. When that was done, the young warrior told her, ‘Word has been sent into the park so your husband and your son will come home soon. When they do, you must be ready to leave.’

‘But why?’  

‘The laibon wishes to cleanse the white house of sorrow.’

Beola knew better than to argue with the wishes of a laibon, and so she nodded, resigned.

‘How long must we stay away?’

‘Moon die and come back again, man die and stay away. Come back with the new moon, sister.’  

Back inside the lodge Beola began to pack, without any clear idea of where her family would go or who they would stay with. By then it was full dark, and the fire was burning so brightly she could see its orange glow above the garage blocking her direct view. Kissi and Ben arrived while she was still packing, in shock at both the death of their friend and the large gathering on the white house lawn. The evening breeze was becoming a wind by then, and the stars were obscured by gathering clouds. The warriors had begun to sing a sorrowful sounding song, their beautiful voices competing with the mounting voice of the wind.  

By the time the Nyerere’s were readying to leave, a storm was in full flow.  

The perimeter of trees bent and swayed in the wind that had initially made their leaves whisper. That wind was howling and shrilling by then, a tempest that thrashed and whipped the leaves and branches. Storm clouds had gathered so close, they were piled on top of one another, grumbling, rumbling, crashing with thunder directly overhead. Lightening split the night over and over. Up on the roof garden, a solitary figure braved the onslaught. The old laibon was yelling into the night, his spells snatched away by the wind that seemed, in turns, to want to blow him away and push him down. Rain pelted down upon him, it blinded his eyes, dripped from his beard, soaked his shuka and chilled his bones. He fought against it, at the same time as he embraced it, arms stretched wide and high. Calling out, over and over, to the spirit of his friend.

As the Nyerere’s were loading up their jeep, another vehicle arrived, lights sweeping across the scene as it circled the lawn. Beola thought that it must be Jude, but it was Henk de Vries, pulling up in his flatbed truck. She assumed he’d heard the news and had come to pay his respects. She ran towards him, but half a dozen warriors barred Beola’s way. They told her to go, to never speak of this night to anyone. Beola struggled against them, and called out to Henk in some distress, but either the wind stole her voice, or the Dutchman chose to ignore her. Kissi was next to her by then and had to impel his wife bodily into the back of his Land Rover as Ben sat quietly weeping in the front. He then got in himself and set off for his father’s home in Arusha, having called ahead to stay there were sanitation issues at their home, so they needed a place to say for a while. As they were moving around the lawn towards the drive, Beola watched Henk lower the tail gate of his truck and saw two warriors lift and carry something towards the fire. Meat for the funeral feast, he told her much later.  

When Kissi’s Land Rover reached the foot of the hill, he turned north towards the main road that would take them to Arusha. They left the storm behind almost immediately. When they reached the top of the escarpment, he stopped and got out. Ben and Beola joined him. Together they stood atop the ridge, watching a small storm rage over the white house.  



About the Author: 

B C Harris is a Scot who, at the time of writing, had just finished renovating a farmhouse in France. A labour of love that began from first sight back in 2016. No sooner had the final length of flooring been laid and the last paintbrush dried, than disaster struck in the form of pandemic. France went into a strict lockdown and, with time to do more than simply daydream about writing books, a new project began to take shape.

Writing began as an escape from the fear and isolation that was soon affecting us all, and quickly flourished to become ‘Conspiracy of Cats'. The global pandemic seems to be receding now, but the passion for writing has taken root. Find out more about B C Harris online.








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