Monday, December 17, 2018

Holiday Recipe for Plum Tarts



PLUM TARTS aka…DAMSON TARTS***

2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cup finely chopped almonds

3/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed

12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), cut into small pieces

1 egg yolk

2 pounds firm, ripe plums, pitted and quartered lengthwise

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Combine the flour, almonds, and sugar in a large bowl. Add the butter and the egg yolk. Mix by hand or with an electric mixer, until crumbly.

Press 1 1/2 cups of the crumb mixture in an even layer into the bottom of a 9 1/2-inch springform or tart pan. Arrange the plums in the pan, skin side down to form a flower pattern; begin at the outside and work your way in.

Sprinkle the rest of the crumb mixture evenly over the plums. Bake the tart for 40 to 50 minutes, or until it’s lightly browned and the plum juices are bubbling. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and transfer tart to flat plate.

Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

***Damson: A small fruit with vibrant, dark blue skin and a strong sour flavor. Damsons are similar to plums. They have a large stone (pit) and are often juicy, but tend not to be eaten raw due to the tartness of their flesh.





Trial of a Warrior
Legends of the Fenian Warriors
Book Three
Mary Morgan

Genre: Time-Travel Fantasy Romance

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc.



Date of Publication: December 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5092-2359-6
ASIN: B07JGMH8XS

Number of pages: 386
Word Count: 92628

Cover Artist: Debbie Taylor

Tagline: Will the burning embers of their past love spark a reunion or destroy a future? 

Book Description:

"You met them in the Order of the Dragon Knights. Now, journey to the realm of the Fae and witness their legends!”

A warrior sentenced to die.

On trial for breaking a supreme Fae law, Fenian Warrior, Liam MacGregor has no regrets. He is prepared to accept his sentence—even if it means his death. However, freedom comes in an unexpected manner, and brings with it certain dangers as he travels through the Veil of Ages.

A princess honor-bound to remain hidden.

Princess Abela might be a priestess and the daughter of royalty, but that doesn’t prevent her from doing the unimaginable. She sacrifices duty and honor to set free the man who captured her heart so many years ago. No matter the severity of his crimes, she cannot let Liam die.

A rescue that will bring about a war and divide a kingdom!  

In their quest to secure a treaty to forestall Liam’s death sentence, they must fight their desires for one another, as well as the Fenian Warriors sent to capture them.

Amazon


A tremor of longing to be kissed filled Abela. She should flee this instant, but her feet refused to listen to her mind.
Liam reached out and tucked a stray curl behind her ear. His finger trailed down the side of her neck, and she shuddered. “You have not answered me.”
“Yes,” she replied rapidly.
The smile in his eyes contained a sensuous flame, and she was drawn to him. A soft breeze billowed around them. She ached to press her mouth against his. Just one kiss.
As if reading her thoughts, Liam cupped her chin and stroked his thumb over her bottom lip. “Your mouth begs to be kissed, princess.”
She swallowed and did the unthinkable. “Then kiss me, Liam MacGregor.”
His groan echoed around them as he took possession of her mouth. The kiss sent the pit of her stomach into a wild swirl of delicious sensations. Abela’s body yearned to touch him, so she wrapped her arms around his neck. The contact of his skin against her chest ignited a burning desire for more.
Liam grasped her firmly around the waist with one arm and deepened the kiss. When his silken tongue sought entry, she opened fully to the seduction, tasting wine, apples, and his own scent. His moan resonated deep within her, and she found her body responding to a rhythm as old as the land they lived upon.
Never did Abela imagine the power behind a kiss—seductive, enchanting, shattering, and she craved more.



About the Author:


Award-winning Celtic paranormal romance author, Mary Morgan, resides in Northern California, with her own knight in shining armor. However, during her travels to Scotland, England, and Ireland, she left a part of her soul in one of these countries and vows to return.

Mary's passion for books started at an early age along with an overactive imagination. She spent far too much time daydreaming and was told quite often to remove her head from the clouds. It wasn't until the closure of Borders Books where Mary worked that she found her true calling--writing romance. Now, the worlds she created in her mind are coming to life within her stories.

If you enjoy history, tortured heroes, and a wee bit of magic, then time-travel within the pages of her books.










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Hot Shot by S.A. Stolinsky - Deck the Halls with Books Holiday Extravaganza




James Ellroy once said to me, “Go to the museums, the out of the way art galleries, the people in the park, any park, and talk to everyone.  That’s where you’ll get your stories and that’s where you get ideas.” I have no quarrel with that. After I stopped shaking because I was meeting a literary “star” I realized he was interested in the common man, woman, the everyday person whose story was on its face boring, but whose psychological makeup was anything but.

In Hot Shot, my protagonist, Tyler West, is depressed.  He starts out depressed, lonely, unsure of himself, angry, a real Borderline Personality.  He’s tried the drugs, the alcohol, the sex addiction, and now he’s lodged into gambling which turns out to be his worst nightmare yet.

He lost everything.  His girlfriend, his money, his life savings, his friends and almost his family—because there is one woman who still wants to see him---his mother, Sue,  and then I wondered, “Where am I going with this?”  Honestly, the way I write---I start out never knowing where I’m going with a book. I start with an idea and I always know the ending, always the ending.  Like, this one is going to be about gambling.  Okay, okay, what do I know about gambling?  Well, I love Vegas.  I love to watch some cowboy with a gut hanging over his belt, come in wearing a white Stetson hat and sit down at a $10,000 buy in table and literally put down $10,000 dollars!!

I freak out.  I do.  Who lives like that?  My mind goes over all the things I could buy for that much money and why is it so important for this man to chance it all?  Then that leads from one place to another. And then I just tell myself the entire story.  After that, what most of our colleagues call “Panstering” I will do the outline.  Because by then I know the story.

Then chapter one leads to chapter two, and so on. But when I first met the real “Tyler West” the pseudonym for a guy I worked with, I had no idea he was going to end up winning the World Series of Poker.  I mean how many people do that?  Then that led me to researching the book.  Oh, poor me.  I had to go to Las Vegas for a weekend, stay at New York, New York, eat all that glorious food, and wind my way to the Rio where the poker series takes place. 

What an arena---the size of about five football fields with tables bunched up against each other and six chairs to a table and rows upon rows of lighting above.  It’s daunting.  I spoke to some players who had lost, some guards who explained how the series worked and even a winner of three million dollars. 

It's always good for me to go anywhere at Christmas time, too.  I love Christmas and as a child, my mother always had a very ornamental tree with gobs of presents under it.  And at an early age I realized, a good novel must have a Christmas or holiday scene, a rain, scene, a love scene and a death scene.  Pretty good for a 10-year-old, but those were the stories I liked to read.  Especially Dickens.

I discover along with him what’s going to happen next.  When the book is finished, it’s generally around 315 pages, I re-read it and go where the book takes me. So, let me end by saying, along with your central plot, the added texture of a time and place really enhances a story. 


Hot Shot
S.A. Stolinsky

Suspense

November 1, 2016

Book Description:

Payback is a powerful thing...

Actor and bartender, Tyler West experiences a sudden streak of luck -- winning poker games. Determined to change his life, he enters the World Series of Poker. His life is suddenly turned upside down when the Russian mafia fronts him 1.5 million dollars to play at the tables. And then...he loses…

Now on the ride of his life, deceit and deception are his key to uncovering the truth. He must recoup the money, but will it come at a price? Can he stay alive long enough or will his time run out?







EXCERPT HOT SHOT by S. A. STOLINSKY

Tyler pushed his long, blond hair back with one hand and slouched.  He knew she found him attractive.  “I’ll tell ya,” he began, hoping to make it last, keep her interested.  “I pretty much need the start up money right now.”
Ah, too fast.
“Start up money? Now? You think I got a stash under my bed upstairs?” Elsie pushed Tyler into an oversized easy chair covered with a brown mohair blanket. A black cat with white paws jumped off it as Tyler slammed down.
  “We should go up and find out.  My, my we’re in a hurry aren’t we? Easy kid. When you’re hustling, you don’t wanta look too desperate, know what I mean? Take it slow.  Move slow, kiss slow.”
She took a grape from a bowl of them on the center console.
“Well, you are good lookin’ I’ll give you that,” she said. “What’s that piece of paper you got there?  Your birth certificate or something?”
“No, ma’am,” Tyler gave her the certificate. “It tells everybody I’m HIV negative. Made this up on my computer.”
Elsie’s head flew back, her mouth opened and a yell of hysteria came out of her mouth.  She began drooling and wiping her chin with her arm.  She finally calmed down enough to say, “Bullwhippie!”
“Jeez,” Elsie said as she tore up the certificate and put it in a glass ashtray on the glass coffee table. “Nobody’s gonna think you got HIV, okay?”
She sat back on the couch, her old, wrinkled face frozen in amusement and held the torn pieces of paper in her lap.  “Let me explain something to you, kid.  The only thing that makes a lot of money fast is ass.”
“One point five million?” Tyler asked.
“You’re good looking, but park your ego at the door.  Nobody makes that kind of money first time out, even a guy as good lookin’ as you.”
Elsie put her feet up on the foot stool and sat back with her hands folded in her lap, the pieces of paper falling around her.
“Listen, baby. This is just between you and me, okay? I’ve been a madam longer than I can remember. I work on the sly now so when my parole officer comes around, but he don’t bother me anyway. You know why?”
              A still crestfallen Tyler looked at her.
              “Because I got the goods on all those assholes, that’s why. I got video. Don’t ever do porn without a video somewheres in the bedroom. Ya got me?”
              Tyler nodded.
              Elsie continued without noticing. “I’ll never tell where I hid the original but believe me I got plenty of copies. Got a friend does the best photography in the city. I had a couple of tapes made and almost sold ‘em to TV—the porn sites, of course. So, I been thinkin’ real hard about how I can re-establish my rep. And here you come.”
Tyler finally opened his mouth but it was only to use his tongue to wet his lips, they felt parched and he was sure they would crack it he kept his mouth closed any longer.
“Yes, Ma’am,” was all he could think to say.
“I’m gonna start up the biggest whore house in the state, sonny. This time? With men. You know how much a good male hooker can make? Two thousand a night. Now---depending on your stamina…”
“Yeah, I get the picture,” Tyler said.
He wasn’t in to older women, but he had to admit, Elsie was beginning to look visibly younger with the excitement she was projecting. Some people love their work. Her gray roots were beginning to look more like silver blonde streaks and her smile was widening. For a few seconds he didn’t see her wrinkles across both cheeks.  Her teeth, perfect in what were undoubtedly caps, glistened.
“A male whorehouse. I don’t think it’s been done before,” Elsie repeated.
Elsie was spry for a woman her age, but she had gotten fat over the years.  She no longer looked like a professional, but that was probably the point.  He picked up a small, silver framed picture which sat on an end table. It looked like an old studio shot of a glamorous woman, her head tilted back, full makeup and blond hair, her fingers just touching her chin and a large, pearl necklace around her neck and thick jeweled bracelets on her wrists. Tyler put it back.
“A lifetime ago, sweetie,” Elsie said to him. “Women in their eighties still masturbate, you know that? And I figure that is such a shame when guys like you are running around just waiting to service us.”
“Never really thought about it,” Tyler said.
“You sure do look like your pa. He was a crafty one, but always good to my girls. You work out, huh? I got a boob job in my seventies. Hell, nothing stays up forever. They’re just starting to sag again now. Thinking about getting ‘em done again, so this is a good time we connected.”
“Yes, Ma’am,” Tyler wasn’t sure where this was going, but he was pretty sure he didn’t want it to go much further.
“Thirty percent on my end,” she said.
“Huh?” Tyler realized his eyes had widened and tried to relax so he wouldn’t look so stupid.
“Thirty percent.”
“That’s a lot of money, Ma’am,” Tyler said, when the hole in his stomach shrunk slightly. “I mean I’m desperate, like you say, but that’s a big cut.”

“Listen, kid. A man looks like you, your age, your height, your…face, could make more than two thousand dollar

About the Author:

Stefanie Stolinsky, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist and forensic psychologist with a private practice in Beverly Hills, California. She  specializes  in trauma, adults sexually, physically and emotionally abused as children, and PTSD. She is an international speaker and has taught training seminars in overcoming the aftereffects of child abuse. She has also taught licensing examinations to candidates for both marriage, family and child counseling and for the psychology licenses. 

She began her career as an actress in motion pictures, television and stage and created a unique therapy combining acting exercises with psychodynamic psychotherapy to help survivors of all kinds of trauma overcome the aftereffects of abuse. The first edition of "ACT IT OUT" was a top seller for over nine years. A second edition of the popular book was launched in April of this year and is available on Praeclarus Press, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble. 

She is also the author of several award-winning short stories including her newest short story anthology, DATE NIGHT, and numerous comedy mystery. Dr. Stolinsky lives with her husband in Los Angeles.






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Friday, December 14, 2018

Guest Blog -His Dark Magic by Pat Esden - Deck the Halls with Books Holiday Extravaganza


Chloe’s Five Winter Solstice Wishes

Chloe Winslow is the main character in HIS DARK MAGIC, Northern Circle Coven book 1. Though she grew up in an influential family of witches, she has recently struck out on her own and joined the infamous Northern Circle coven. This is the first Winter Solstice that she’ll be spending with them instead of her family. The holiday season always been one of her favorite times of the year. She loves the smell of Yule trees and hot mulled cider, and the music from all the different celebrations. Most of all she loves lighting the solstice bonfire and calling the sun back from the land of shadows. However, since this is her first time celebrating away from her family and their traditions, she has five special wishes that she hopes comes true. 

5. Chloe’s looking forward to celebrating Solstice Night in the company of the entire Northern Circle, but she’s hoping at some point during December to spend a  quiet evening sipping some of the coven’s wine and watching Love Actually. She absolutely loves the movie and the holidays wouldn’t be the same without see it at least once. http://bit.ly/2pK9wL8

4. She’s also hoping that her new friends don’t mind if she plays Little Mix’s Love Me Like You (Christmas Mix) a bit obsessively. It’s not a traditional holiday song, but it makes her smile and feel like dancing. Besides, this year, she really feels like the luckiest girl as far as guys go. http://bit.ly/2QC6G63

3. Gift giving isn’t technically a part of the Winter Solstice tradition. However, her family always exchanged presents: homemade treats, cozy sweaters, special candles with herbs and flowers imbedded in the wax . . . She’s planning on getting Devlin a new shirt from L.L. Bean and a big snuggly toy for his Golden Retriever. She’s crossing her fingers that he’s been listening to her hints about how much she adores watermelon tourmaline and would love a new charm for her bracelet.  http://bit.ly/2CwPAn5

2. As far as holiday food goes, Chloe plans on making her family’s hot cider recipe and almond moon cookies. But there’s something else she’d like to enjoy on the morning after Solstice Night. The first night she spent with Devlin, she discovered that he makes an amazing cheesy bacon frittata. Not only did the frittata taste great, watching him cook it was pretty tasty as well. http://bit.ly/2ONQUrz 

1. Top on her list—and this is actually a wish she knows will come true—she’s dying to check out all the local holiday events and see how other people in her new community celebrate the Winter Solstice.  http://bit.ly/2C2yNrc

You can see all Chloe’s wishes here, as well as Winter Solstice crafts and celebration ideas. http://bit.ly/2OGYOmH

If you’d like to learn more about the Winter Solstice in general here’s an interesting VPR broadcast. http://bit.ly/2ylHPfq


His Dark Magic
Northern Circle Coven
Book One
Pat Esden

Genre: Contemporary fantasy 

Publisher: Lyrical Press

Date of Publication: December 11, 2018

ISBN: 9781516106301
ASIN:  B0796C83RM

Number of pages: 325
Word Count: 90k

Cover Artist: Kensington Books

Tagline: Its power is legendary. It can fulfill every impossible magical desire. But for one young witch seeking redemption, the Northern Circle coven will challenge her skills—and her heart—beyond measure.

Book Description:

Its power is legendary. It can fulfill every impossible magical desire. But for one young witch seeking redemption, the Northern Circle coven will challenge her skills—and her heart—beyond measure.

One tragic impulsive mistake made Chloe Winslow an outcast to her influential magic family. As a medical student, she wants to combine science with sorcery to heal those she hurt and right her wrongs. But brilliant, charismatic Devlin Marsh re-routes her plans with a once-in-eternity offer: membership in the exclusive Northern Circle, a mysterious Vermont coven known for pushing the limits.

Enthralled by Devlin and their mesmerizing mutual attraction, Chloe makes a dangerous sacrifice to help the Circle’s high priestess awaken Merlin himself—and learn his timeless cures. But a foreshadowing soon causes Chloe to doubt the Circle's real motives, as well as Devlin’s . . .

Now Merlin's demonic shade is loose in the human world, while Chloe and Devlin's uneasy alliance will pit them against ancient enemies, malevolent illusions, and shattering betrayal. And with the fate of two realms in the balance, Chloe must risk her untried power against a force she can't defeat—and a passion that could destroy her. 


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Chapter 1
Earth. Air. Fire. Water.
—Inscribed into a white candle

Chloe padded barefoot across her apartment to the altar on her windowsill. She struck a match and lit a candle. Its light shimmered over a row of crystals and washed into the darkness beyond the open window.
“Spirits of air,” she intoned, holding out her hands. “Guardians of thought and intent, grant me your presence today. Spirits of fire, guardians of will and passion...”
A gust of wind sent autumn leaves whirling through the darkness and rustling against the window’s screen. She stopped chanting and cupped her hands around the candle, shielding it from the breeze. She shivered. There was a sense of foreboding in the air, a whisper and a chill that a witch like her could not ignore. Someone else with powers was close by. And they were thinking about her—at least that’s what her intuition murmured.
She glanced out the window. There was no one in the tiny parking lot, one story below. The windows in the house next door stood dark and silent. She caught a whiff of bacon and hash browns, but the smell was faint and not unexpected. It was almost five-thirty, breakfast time for the couple upstairs.
Quiet as could be, she tiptoed past her bed and a stack of textbooks to the studio apartment’s front door. She opened it a crack and glanced out. The hall light was on, its brightness fanning across the hallway between her and the main staircase. But the doors to the other two apartments on her floor were shut, everything dead silent.
Remembering her candle, Chloe swiveled back. “Out,” she whispered, flicking her fingers to send a burst of energy at its flame.
The flame obeyed, only a thread of its rosemary-scented smoke trailing behind her as she opened the door all the way and crept down the hallway, the hairs on the back of her neck prickling.
When she reached the top of the staircase, everything was still quiet. But after a moment, a faint thump-thump echoed up from the foyer below.
 Thump-bang. Bang. Chloe froze, her breath knotting in the back of her throat. It was as if someone had leaned into the front door, hard shouldering it to see if it would give way.

She waited, listening for the noise to happen again. One long second passed, then another. She gritted her teeth and took a cautious step downward.
Her ear caught the swish and clink of something being slid through the mail slot, followed by a hum of magic.
Not daring to breathe, Chloe snuck down the stairs far enough that she could see the foyer and the front entrance. A narrow envelope lay just inside the door, as white as moonlight against the worn floorboards.
She glanced at the window set into the front door. No one was looking in or lurking in the shadows on the porch, so she sprinted down the rest of the stairs and snatched the envelope. Even before she read who it was for, her intuition screamed that it was addressed to her:
Chloe Winslow
The ink was black. The handwriting neat and controlled. Perfectly centered. But it wasn’t an envelope. It was handmade, paper folded and held shut by a disk of gold sealing wax stamped with an N surrounded by a circle.
She nudged the seal with her index finger. Energy crackled off of it, snaking up her arm. She gasped. Powerful magic. She was certain of it, though if any of the other tenants had found the letter and touched the seal, they wouldn’t have felt a thing.
Adrenaline pumped into her veins. A month ago, she’d moved out of her parents’ house in Connecticut to take prerequisite courses at the University of Vermont before applying for medical school. In all those weeks, she hadn’t encountered any other true witches or magic. No way in hell was she going to let someone drop off a thing like this and then escape before she could meet them.
She shoved the letter into the waistband of her yoga pants, unlocked the front door, and charged out onto the porch. Her gaze flashed to the left. Parked cars lined the dark street. But no one was getting into or out of any of them.
The swish of someone striding through fallen leaves came from the opposite direction. She wheeled and caught a glimpse of him. Definitely a guy, striding down the sidewalk through a glimmer of streetlight. Broad shoulders filled out his dark quilted jacket. Khaki chinos. Lean. Athletic. Confident.
Chloe’s long legs took the porch stairs in a single leap. She sprinted down the sidewalk after him, leaves scattering beneath her bare feet.
The guy jogged between two parked cars and crossed the street.
“Wait!” she shouted.
He slowed and glanced back. That was all the time Chloe needed. She willed her legs to go faster and in a dozen strides caught up to him and snagged his sleeve.
His eyes met hers. He looked to be maybe twenty-four or -five. His dark- brown hair curled at the nape of his neck. Deep, brown eyes. Muscular. Classy. Gorgeous. His magic purred in the air around him.
She gulped a breath and toughened her voice. “You owe me an explanation.”
His gaze traveled over her slowly, from her bobbed honey-blond hair, past her makeup-free face and stretched out T-shirt, down to her stormy- blue painted toenails, then back up to her eyes. Dimples formed as his lips twitched into a roguish smirk.
“Not afraid of confrontation, are you?” he said.
His voice was warm and deep, liquid danger spiked with an undercurrent of confident innuendo. It sent an excited shiver up her arms. Still she glared at him. “First of all, I suspect you dropped off that letter at this time of morning because you knew I’d be awake and sense you. That means you’ve been spying on me.”
“Is that so?” He shifted closer, his magic sweeping her skin.
Her legs weakened. Desire thrummed low in her belly. Dear Goddess, this hadn’t been one of her brighter moves. Maybe she could snuff out a candle with a flick of her fingers, but with seemingly no effort his magic had aroused every inch of her. Clearly, he was extraordinarily gifted—and not just with working spells.
She let go of his sleeve, retreated a step, and found herself trapped against a cedar hedge.
He cocked his head. “Why don’t you open the letter if you’re so curious?”
Her fingers obeyed, sliding it from her waistband—
She stopped. What the heck was she doing? She’d felt the magic crackle off the seal. If she broke it, there was no telling what kind of spell might be activated.
Chloe pulled herself up to her full height and looked him square in the eyes, which wasn’t that hard to do. He was probably five-foot-ten, but she was only a couple of inches shorter even in bare feet. “I’ve got a better idea. How about if you tell me what it says?”
He frowned as if the idea didn’t appeal to him, then surprisingly he stepped back and shrugged. “All right, if you insist. It’s an invitation from the Northern Circle coven. Have you heard of us?”
“Umm—no.” Her pulse quickened, renewed wariness pumping into her blood. Her parents had mentioned a few older hereditary witches who lived in this area, but never this group.
“It’s to a party. A meet and greet. A chance to see if you might be interested in joining us and if we think you’re a good fit.” He rubbed a hand down the sleeve of his jacket as if deciding whether he should say more. Finally, he went on, “We’re dedicated to finding ways to access ancient knowledge. Through out-of-body travel, retrocognition...” He studied her face carefully, as if watching for her reaction.
She pressed her lips together, refusing to give him one—though what he’d said totally enticed her.
Amusement twinkled in his eyes for a second, then he continued. “We believe there are cures to modern diseases and conditions that have been lost to time. The wisdom and magic of Imhotep, Hippocrates, even Merlin.” He smiled, slyly. “You are interested in medicine, right?”
Her wariness evaporated and that thrum jumped to life again deep inside her. But this time it had nothing to do with sex. Magic. Medicine. Secrets lost to time. None of the classes she was taking or anything she’d come across at the university were even remotely as exciting as this.
She folded her arms across her chest. “Of course you’d know I’m interested in that. You’ve been keeping tabs on me.”
“I—we haven’t been spying on you. You don’t always use protection spells. We picked up on your energy. That’s one of the ways we find new potential members.” He stopped, his jaw tensing as if he were holding something back.
She pinned him with a steady look. “And?”
He grimaced. “All right, we have contacts in administration. We may have checked your college records as well: graduated from a community college, taking additional prerequisites before applying for medical school. Top-ten test scores. Not a great apartment. But somehow you scored it last minute.”
Now he sounded like her father, using his connections to screen potential employees. She thrust the letter out. “If this is all so innocent, then why don’t you open it? Or does the seal bother you?”
He laughed, tugged the letter from her fingers, and broke the sealing wax. The welcoming scent of sage and lavender perfumed the air, and a trail of green firefly-like sparks twinkled upward, swirling around before vanishing off toward the brightening eastern horizon.
“Better now?” he said, handing the open letter back to her.
She skimmed it, nibbling her bottom lip. Even in the dim street-light, she could see he’d told the truth. It was an engraved invitation signed: Athena Marsh, high priestess, Northern Circle.
“You can take a city bus—or text Athena if you want a ride. She’ll probably ask me to pick you up, but she’s the one doing the organizing. This is her pet project,” he continued. “You won’t be the only newbie. No one will force you into anything.”
His voice settled sugar-sweet in her ear. Medicine. Magic. A chance to gain the knowledge from ancient physicians, scholars, and sorcerers. Perhaps even pick the wizard Merlin’s brain. How could she say no?



About the Author:

PAT ESDEN is an antique-dealing florist by trade. She’s also a member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, and the League of Vermont Writers. Her short stories have appeared in a number of publications, including Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, the Mythopoeic Society’s Mythic Circle literary magazine, and George H. Scither’s anthology Cat Tales.

Her new adult paranormal novel, A HOLD ON ME (book #1 in the Dark Heart series) is available from Kensington Books. BEYOND YOUR TOUCH (book #2 Dark Heart series) will be released August 30th.










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10 Holiday Gifts for Your Supernatural Friends



10 Holiday Gifts for Your Supernatural Friends

Christmas shopping can be challenging at the best of times, but the non-humans on the list can present special problems. Need ideas for what to get the vampire with centuries of clutter in his garage or the mermaid who needs everything waterproofed? Here are some suggestions from our retail experts:

1. Get that vampire a month’s rental on a storage locker big enough to house his spare coffin collection!

2. For the shifters we suggest many, many lint rollers or a rechargeable hand vacuum!

3. For the fussy feline shifters, how about modern art that doubles as a scratching post?

4. As a stocking stuffer, nothing beats fake human teeth for the vampires!

5. A definite must have: non-toxic chew toys for the werepuppies.

6. Environmentally friendly dry cleaning options for the mummies on your list.

7. Steaks

8. Stakes

9. A personal crossroad for that special demon. Top seller: something on Route 666.

10. High-strength spray adhesive is a thoughtful present for those zombies who just can’t keep it together.

Just remember, whatever you choose, it’s the thought that counts—or possibly the deliciously fresh brains that just manufactured that thought …



Gifted: The Dark Forgotten
Dark Forgotten Series
Book Five
Sharon Ashwood

Genre: Paranormal romance/urban fantasy



Publisher: Rowan and Ash Artistry

Date of Publication:  November 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-7750279-3-5
ASIN:  B07K5DYCBK

Number of pages: 124
Word Count: 35,000

Cover Artist: Wicked by Design

Tagline: Who says the holiday season is just for humans?

Book Description:

For all the holly-jolly times, family gatherings are complex no matter who—or what—you are. When you’re hunting for the latest “it” toy to stuff a stocking, it doesn’t matter if you’re alive or Undead, fanged or furry—you’re just as desperate to be the cool dad. And then there are the family grumps who never send cards, the ones who eat all the good candy, and those who drool and dig up the neighbor’s yard.

No, the Yuletide Season isn’t for the faint of heart—and sometimes it’s downright demonic—but holiday miracles make it all worthwhile. Chance encounters and unexpected forgiveness remind us that joy doesn’t come in a gift-wrapped box.

This novella from the Dark Forgotten world catches up with favorite characters for a fresh take on the holidays. Those visiting the world for the first time will understand why Chicago Tribune called it “simply superb.”

Grab this book and return to the world of the Dark Forgotten. Santa Claws is waiting!




“Don’t you want to go see Santa Claws?”  Errata Jones asked in her husky, teasing voice.
“Meh,” Perry Baker replied, still grumpy at the prospect of crowds and gift-giving decisions. Plus, it was cold, gray, and rainy—a typical December day in the Pacific Northwest.
“Where’s your boundless holiday spirit?” She turned into the parking lot outside the Fairview Sports and Recreation Center. It was the final day of the Yuletide Holiday Market, an arts and crafts event by and for the local supernatural community. “Counting today, there’s only three shopping days till Christmas.”
“I really hope you’re not going to make me sit on Santa’s knee.”
“I don’t think so, darling. That would be weird, even for us.”
Errata swung her Jaguar coupe into the last parking space, beating out a massive pickup by a whisker. The truck made a sound like a startled dinosaur as it lurched to a stop on the frosty pavement. Turning off the Jaguar’s ignition, Errata smoothed her chin-length, jet-black hair, then glanced in the rear-view mirror, looking pleased with herself. Perry twisted in his seat to see the pickup driver turn a Christmassy scarlet and lurch off. 
Perry willed his heart to resume its normal rhythm.  Errata was a werecougar, and there were reasons cats shouldn’t drive. Werewolves like him were another matter. Wolves appreciated order, including stop signs. Cats did things because they could—like pester him into going to this stupid craft fair. 
That’s what he got for befriending a feline. He cast her a sidelong look, taking in her high cheekbones and smooth, golden skin. It was all he could do not to reach over and stroke her hair, but that would be crossing a boundary. She’d made it clear from the start that cats walked alone.
Errata finished preening and gave him an arch look. “Shouldn’t you be shopping for your human, what’s-her-name?”
Perry released his seatbelt. “Her name is Tiffani. With an i.”
“Tiffani. Of course it is.” Errata patted his cheek with a pitying look. “Come on. First fifty guests get a goodie bag.”
“She’s fun,” Perry said, sounding defensive even to himself.
“Humans generally are,” she said agreeably. “You should buy her something really nice.”
“Men don’t shop before December 23rd,” he protested as he got out of the car.
“Friends don’t let friends give their sweethearts, even ones named Tiffani with an i, gift cards.”
“But gift cards make sense.”
Errata flung the end of her scarf over her shoulder with a flick of one gloved hand. “Be grateful you have me to watch over you.” She clicked the locks and swept toward the entrance of the building, leaving Perry to catch up.
“Cats,” he grumbled. “What do you want for Yule?”
“Not a gift card.”


About the Author:

USA Today bestselling author Sharon Ashwood is a novelist, desk jockey and enthusiast for the weird and spooky. She has an English literature degree but works as a finance geek. Interests include growing her to-be-read pile and playing with the toy graveyard on her desk. As a vegetarian, she freely admits the whole vampire/werewolf lifestyle would never work out, so she writes her adventures instead.

Sharon is a winner of the RITA® Award for Paranormal Romance. She lives in the Pacific Northwest and is owned by the Demon Lord of Kitty Badness.


Website        www.SharonAshwood.com

Twitter         https://twitter.com/RowanAshArt

Tumblr (The Prattler) http://rowanashart.tumblr.com/






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