Wednesday, September 26, 2018

DIY Halloween Luminaries with Laura Bickle

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, and I love making decorations for this time of year. I looked around at the materials I had rolling around my craft room and raided the displays at the dollar store to come up with some Halloween luminaries to perch in my windows.

For this project, I used:

·        Two wide-mouth jars
·        A plastic witch
·        A plastic ghost
·        Black sand
·        Glue gun and glue sticks
·        Plastic spider rings
·        Ribbon
·        Two LED light strings – I used pumpkins and bats

I already had the jars, glue, spiders, and ribbon, but found the LED lights, sand, witch, and ghost at my local dollar store. So I’ve invested about five bucks in this project. I won’t too feel bad if it doesn’t turn out!

First thing I did was stuff the witch in a jar and the ghost in jars. I had originally intended to use mason jars, but I didn’t have any with mouths wide enough to squeeze the plastic sculptures through. So I used some plastic jars I had handy. I settled the witch and ghost in their new homes, then poured some black sand around their feet to simulate ground. You could also use glitter or black salt or fine pebbles.

Then I put some batteries in my lights and tested them out. I think that I could use fairy lights for this step, too, but I liked the bats and pumpkins.

I arranged the light strings in the jars. I used a pencil to push them around so that they showed most clearly from the front. I made sure that the tail of the light string, with the battery pack, extended outside of the jars. I wanted to be able to turn my luminaries on and off and change batteries without digging the whole string out of the jar, though you could leave it in the jar, too. Here’s what they looked like:


Then, I screwed on the lids. Since my lids were plastic, they didn’t damage the thin wire. I made sure that the wire fed out the back side of the jar. If I needed more room, I would have cut out part of the lid or put the pack behind the figure inside the jar, but this seemed to work fine with these materials.

I cut two lengths of ribbon and fished out a couple of spider rings from the bag of spiders. I cut the ring part off the spiders so that they would lie flat.

I made a bow with each ribbon and glued one to the top of each jar. In the center of the bow, I glued a spider.

And I was done! Here’s what my finished luminaries look like:

I can’t wait to put these in my window on Halloween!

Laura Bickle 

Genre: YA Horror/Paranormal/Fantasy

Book Description:

The dead are easy to talk to. Live people, not so much.

Charlie Sulliven thinks she knows all the secrets of the dead. Raised in a funeral home, she’s the reluctant “Ghoul Girl,” her reputation tied to a disastrous Halloween party. But navigating her life as a high school sophomore is an anxiety-inducing puzzle to her. She haunts the funeral home with her parents, emo older brother, Garth, their pistol-packing Gramma, and the glass-eyeball-devouring dachshund, Lothar.

Chewed human bodies are appearing in her parents’ morgue…and disappearing in the middle of the night. The bodies seem tied to a local legend, Catfish Bob, who has resurfaced in the muddy Milburn river near Charlie’s small town. When one of Charlie’s classmates, Amanda, awakens in the cooler as a flesh-eating ghoul, Charlie must protect her newfound friend and step up to unravel the mystery…and try to avoid becoming lunch meat for the dead.

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About the Author:

Laura Bickle grew up in rural Ohio, reading entirely too many comic books out loud to her favorite Wonder Woman doll. After graduating with an MA in Sociology-Criminology from Ohio State University and an MLIS in Library Science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, she patrolled the stacks at the public library and worked with data systems in criminal justice. She now dreams up stories about the monsters under the stairs. Her work has been included in the ALA’s Amelia Bloomer Project 2013 reading list and the State Library of Ohio’s Choose to Read Ohio reading list for 2015-2016.

More information about Laura’s work can be found at 

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Haven by Celia Breslin - Haunted Halloween Spooktacular

Tranquilli Bloodline Series

Book One
Celia Breslin

Genre: Urban Fantasy Romance

Publisher: Champagne Books
Date of Publication: July 2, 2013

ISBN:  9781927454473

Number of pages: 372
Word Count: 124K

Cover Artist: Amanda Kelsey

Book Description:

San Francisco nightclub owner Carina Tranquilli works hard, plays hard, and never allows the death of her parents and her twelve-year memory gap to get her down. But her life takes a left turn when a witch attacks her on her twenty-fifth birthday.

Three hauntingly familiar vampires emerge to reveal she possesses a latent power. To protect her from their enemies, they admit to wiping her memories clean and abandoning her as a child, but now they need her help. As she struggles to evade her new protectors and even newer enemies, she meets Alexander, an enigmatic, undead musician. Insta-lust flares, leaving her wanting more.

With evil’s minions hounding her every move, and everything she thought she knew turned on its head, Carina must harness her burgeoning power, unravel her vampire family’s web of deceit, and fight to have a love life...without getting killed in the process.

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Excerpt Carina and Alexander’s First Date

… My hands roamed from his chest to his biceps. Smooth and solid, no hint of flab. Want you to wrap them around my body while you take me from behind. My little fantasy expelled the air from my lungs in a loud rush. Energy pulsed from my hands, hot and bubbly. His muscles twitched in response.
“Adrian was amused I’d followed a girl into the club.” His hands curved around my waist. “Until he realized it was you. He told me who you were, but he wasn’t happy about it.”
“What did you do then?” My voice wavered, his touch devastating, distracting.
His grip tightened. “I left.”
“The law according to Thomas. Your club is off-limits to all non-humans, except on Sundays. You yourself are off-limits to all vampires every day. Or you were then, anyway.”
I frowned. “You’re saying my uncle forbade you to see me?” This was so Romeo and Juliet. I didn’t like it. That story never ended well.
A hand slid to my back, pressing possessively. “Yes.”
I rolled my eyes. Thomas, interfering in my life. Again. “How long did you obey?”
His eyes narrowed. “Too long. But I sensed your presence after that whenever you were nearby. You spend a lot of time in my neighborhood after dark.”
“Adrian said the exact thing to me.” I bit my lip. Oops, now he knew I was talking about him. I felt myself blush like a crushing teenager.
He grinned at my discomfort. “You were hard to avoid. So I stopped trying. I showed up at the museum though I knew Thomas would intercept me. But it was worth it, to have you finally see me. I had to know.”
Talk time was over. We stared. And stared. And stared some more.
His smoky blue eyes bled to black and his power pushed at me, hot and hard, causing a response inside me, like a rumbling volcano deep in my core. My eyes widened. Was this the power my family had mentioned? No longer dormant and infinitely more intense than a little static electricity in my palms.
Alexander crushed his lips to mine. Need roared through me leaving me breathless with edgy hunger.
My hands burrowed into his thick, silky hair, holding his head as if he might try to escape. He growled his approval against my lips, his kiss growing more insistent. His tongue explored my mouth. He tasted metallic, like the blood he’d consumed. Again, I found I liked the taste. My tongue danced with his and delved into his mouth, searching for more penny metal flavor. He groaned and tightened his embrace.
I thought we’d devour each other forever, but Alexander stiffened and his head snapped up. His eyes glinted black as night, wild with lust and...aggression? He bared his teeth in a snarl, canines morphing into fangs. Long, sharp, lethal.
On instinct, I pushed against his chest to get some distance between those teeth and my neck. He ignored me, head whipping around to survey the room. A feral growl erupted from his throat and he shoved me under the table.
My cries of protest were drowned out by animalistic roars and breaking furniture. From my spot under the table, I felt around on the bench for my coat, all the while keeping an eye on the room. Dark blurs flitted back and forth, pieces of table and chair flew by...Bingo. My coat. I searched the pocket for my phone. Once in hand, I hit the button for my boys.
The fighting around me stopped. The familiar techno ring tone of Mark’s phone broke the sudden silence. He’s here?
The table above me was tossed away. Steel hands grabbed my legs and dragged me, face down. I dropped the phone and flattened my palms on the floor, trying to resist. One hand bumped into a steak knife and I grabbed it. My assailant flipped me over and lunged. I aimed for his heart but the knife plunged into his throat. …

About the Author:

Celia lives in California with her husband, daughter, and two feisty cats. She writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance, and has a particular fondness for vampires, werewolves, and the Fae. When not writing, you’ll find Celia editing for others, exercising, reading a good book, hanging with her family, or indulging her addiction to Joss Whedon’s TV shows and movies.


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Blood Ritual Halloween Flash Fiction

A requiem for the fallen gently lulled through the quaint cottage. Vornalla sang a spell to the backdrop of the setting sun, watching it cast her workspace in shades of orange and red. 
Lilies white and lilies red
Scattered with the bones
Dyed in the blood of guilty men
To reunite our souls.
And so fell the crushed petals in respective hues, casting an elegant aura upon the macabre pile of bones within the cauldron. The scent of floral death wafted, the ruined lilies pungent in their sweetness.
But with the sight and smell came memories of joyous times – of a wedding beneath a moonlit night, her own bouquet one of red and white roses, her lover’s lips and skin the same. Roses were for love; now, lilies were for death.
Tonight, they would be for a beginning. The veil between the worlds was thin, on this night of All Hallow’s Eve. Restless ghosts would sing and wail, the undead would dance, and Vornalla would harness her chance for happiness anew.
To the village, then, to find the blood she sought.
Vornalla lived in a picturesque forest, protected by wards of her own magical making. An enchanting sight by day, visited by mischievous sprites and fairies who would bind your soul to their bidding or cut out your tongue for perceived slights. At night, mist settled and swirled, caressing Vornalla’s figure as she stepped fearlessly into the darkness. The last vestiges of sunlight flickered and died, but in the far distance, well past the line of trees, evidence of celebration spoke of her quarry.
Leave crumpled beneath her boots. Animal interlopers fled from her presence. Memories welled in her head, those of happier times before her life turned to ash. Vornalla had never been gentle or kind, but her love, her Nira, had taught her to see beauty in all things.
She broke through the line of trees, and with a wave of her hand a mask of silk and feathers covered her features. She’d look like the rest of them – those who foolishly thought something as trivial as a mask would protect them from the spirits and demons beyond.
Revelry grew by cacophonous degrees. Vornalla found a road, passed by scattered houses that increased in number as she walked. The few villagers she saw paid her no mind – Vornalla, in her dusty gown and booted feet, would be a sight on most other nights, but here was nothing and no one.
However, to one unfortunate soul, she would be vengeance itself.
As she neared the village center, a bonfire blazed, casting warmth into the chill night. Music played and people danced, some in sync and others too drunk to know the difference. Children ran about, oblivious to the interloper in their presence as they laughed and played. Most wore masks, some carved from wood and others of embossed leather, some with the visages of animals and insects, of demons and ghosts.
Delicious smells met Vornalla’s senses – roasted, savory meats, pastries, and more.
She could spare a moment for comfort. Vornalla said nothing to the baker with his display of cakes, but offered a coin and took her quarry – pumpkin cake with sprinkled sugar as a glaze.
Vornalla had met Nira here, not three years prior, having dared descend from her home in the woods on All Hallow’s Eve. A spell gone wrong had pushed her to find fresh sage—
Instead, as she had inspected the partiers and their wares, she had been offered cake by a girl in white with a mask of red and gold.
Vornalla found an empty bench before the bonfire, her flickering silhouette cast into the dark beyond as she sampled her chosen pastry. It tasted of her Nira’s lips, of the kisses they’d stolen throughout the night, hidden in shadow – safer among demons than Nira’s own kin.
When she’d finished her cake, she wiped her sticky hands upon her dress. The fire raged and burned – a comfort to some. Not to she and her ilk, however; witches were so often burned alive.
That had not been Nira’s fate, for she was no witch. She had been branded as something far worse.
Though she could willingly entertain fantasies for hours, Vornalla’s quest awaited. She picked herself up and continued weaving through the revelers. Dancers twirled their ribbons, children squealed with delight at the joyous music, and Vornalla sought her prey.
A familiar face appeared among the villagers, though not the one she searched for. He wore no mask – merely clapped along with the music as he watched his young children skip along. She knew his features, his jawline strong beneath his beard, but his eyes held the softness of the stars above, glimmering in the moonlight – much like his sister before him.
Nira had two brothers – and here stood one half of the pair. Concealing her face with her tussled hair and mask, a simple spell disguised Vornalla’s voice. “Pardon, sir,” she said, and when he looked at her, she knew he saw only a blotted-out face, a mask with no features beneath it. “I seek Erin Liteforge. You bear his countenance.”
Something sweet lay coaxed into the phrase, at Vornalla’s behest. To twist enticing words was simple witchcraft, and the man’s befuddled expression meant success. “He works the forge tonight.”
“But he will emerge soon-”
“Thank you,” she cooed. A graceful finger landed on his lip; he made no move to stop it. “And forget.”
He stared dumbstruck, visibly growing sallow as Vornalla stepped away. The man would be fine. Vornalla had no quarrel with him.
Nira Liteforge had come from a family of blacksmiths, the only in town. Proficient in their trade, they sold their wares in the village, yes, but also in the cities beyond, promising a comfortable life for their family. Nira’s father had promised a substantial dowry to any suitor he deemed worthy of his only daughter.
But Vornalla had held neither desire nor incentive to ask for the hand of the woman she loved. Instead, she had romanced Nira in secret, meeting in the woods at night, the only evidence of their clandestine trysts sleepless nights and bruised lips, and later at Vornalla’s cottage to express what innocent kisses could not, to be one and to proclaim it, breathless and free. They had pledged their love on a moonlit night with naught but wedding gowns and flowers in the shades of innocence and love.
Their love had been sacred, the only bit of purity in Vornalla’s twisted life. Nira had loved her nonetheless.
The bonfire’s light was naught but a memory when Vornalla found the cursed building, the home in which Nira had been born and raised. Here Nira had come alone, that final night, to collect what was hers before they ran away.
Vornalla ignored the house itself, instead drawn by the sound of ringing metal from beyond. She stepped off the worn dirt road and into the grass, making no attempt to hide her steps.
Smoke filled her nostrils; she saw the fire of the forge and the silhouette it cast. Erin Liteforged worked his trade, unable to join the festivities until it was complete.
A pity, for it never would be.
Vornalla came as close as she dared, fire rising in her blood. The last time she had seen that face, illuminated by flame, blackened by his labor, it had been splattered with precious blood. His hands, covered in soot and years of burns, cracked and hardened by metal, had caved in the skull of his sister, had broken her body beyond repair. A crime of passion, for the dishonor she had wrought, sanctified by the so-called gods they worshipped – Vornalla had found them too late.
“Spirits, I beckon you.” She recited the words inside her head, and shadows began to rise. Erin looked up, meeting her gaze with fear and then fury. “Lend me your aid.”
Erin’s cry echoed through the quiet night. “You!” he screamed and threw the hammer he wielded. It would have slain her—
Except she held out her hand, and the spirits responded. It hung, suspended in the air, then whisked away at her decree. With nothing to hide, she spoke. “Let my revenge be manifest.”
The shadows darkened and then grew light. Ghastly figures burst from the earth, their ghostly wails filling the air. “Let his death be testament of my wrath. His body is yours.”
Erin ran for Vornalla and his exit, but the ghosts rose between them, scratching furiously with corporeal claws, gnashing their terrible teeth. On no night but tonight was their power so strong – idle specters, now a tool for her to wield.
They fell upon him, his screams matching their howling. Though translucent, their mass was so great that he all but disappeared.
Vornalla realized her error. “But his blood is mine!”
The spirits continued their feast. Vornalla withdrew a knife from her boot and ran to them. With haste, she sliced the blade across her palm, rivulets of red welling from the split skin, and held it above the mass of ghosts.
At the first drop of blood, they vanished. Nothing stirred. In the silence of night, Vornalla heard distant villagers and music oblivious to the carnage before her. Lying here was the remains of a man, bitten and torn, shredded and burned by ghostly claws. As she wrapped her hand with a torn strip of her dress, she realized how quickly he was bleeding out – Vornalla knew time was short.
She prepared a plea to the demons below, willing to offer her soul if they sought it, but then spotted a much more practical application of transport.
Within minutes, Vornalla left the cursed house, her quarry crumpled in a wheelbarrow, one that conveniently preserved his blood in a sickly pool. Back through the revelry, the festivities grew more raucous as villagers drowned themselves in ale, and all they could see was a wheelbarrow full of sunflowers and the masked woman who peddled them.
Soon, the dark forest enveloped her. The mist had settled in its entirety. Vornalla saw, out of the corner of her eye, flickers of light, movements from beyond the veil. Spirits roamed freely on this night, and Vornalla wondered if one was Nira herself, lost and lonely.
Vornalla’s heart palpitated, her pace ever increasing. All she had worked for rested in this final hope. Once, her existence had been an idle routine. Nira had burst into her life like the sun over a shadowed valley, radiating joy in a rainbow of colors – and when her light had extinguished, Vornalla was left blinded.
She reached her cottage. Comfortable and small, she had dreamt of it filled with laughter and love, of waking in the arms of her beloved each morning. Now it was as cold as the bones in her cauldron.
With the moon high in the sky, Vornalla stopped the wheelbarrow in the aside room she reserved for spells and gripped the man by his hair. She was not strong, but she held spite, and so she thrusted him over the edge of the cauldron. Not all the way – but when she slit his throat, the blood ran in gushing droves over the dried bones.
She hummed anew, the spell, filled with the vigor of victory and the blood of guilty men.
A flash of light, and then a scream. Vornalla was knocked back, fallen to the ground as the wailing increased. She scrambled to her feet and watched as a figure rose from the cauldron, coated in layers of thick, viscous blood. The bones of the fallen assembled within. Vornalla saw it bend and swell, watched as layers of muscle and viscera formed on top of the raw manifestations of gore.
Vornalla dared to approach, to steal the figure’s head and hold it to her breast as it thrashed and screamed. Blood stained her gown, but this was her great work, years of sorrow and research manifest, and so she held on, nearly sobbing when gory hands gripped her arms.
The screaming stopped. The thrashing figure eased. Vornalla’s breathing was joined by another. She met the gaze of the woman she held. Gore stained and weak, soaked in blood, those eyes were the same, gentler than the singing birds at dawn.
The woman coughed, splattering blood across the floor. She began sobbing, clutching Vornalla in her weak grip. “Vornalla,” she cried between gasps, and Vornalla held her, her own tears welling.
“Nira, my Nira,” she whispered, caressing her lover’s blood-soaked hair, and their sobs became one, soft among the quiet night.
Vornalla helped Nira from the cauldron and held her naked form on the floor, patches of smooth skin steadily showing as she brushed aside the gore. A faint heartbeat fluttered against Vornalla’s hand as it brushed between Nira’s breasts. Cradled in her arms, Nira trembled, daring to press their lips together.
She tasted of blood and victory, of tears and triumph and joy. Nira lived again.

The Sting of Victory
Fallen Gods
Book One
S D Simper

Genre: Adult Dark Romantic Fantasy (LGBT)

Publisher: Endless Night Publications

Date of Publication:  September 14th 2018

ISBN: 978-1-7324611-1-6

Number of pages: 400
Word Count:  102K

Cover Artist: Jade Mere

Tagline: The cost of love is always high.

Book Description:

“When faced with monstrosity, become the greater monster. The sting of victory will fade with time.”

When Flowridia, a witch granted power by an unknown demon, deceives an alluring foreign diplomat, she is promoted to a position of power to conceal her falsehood. Thrust into a world of politics and murderous ambition, she has her gentle heart and her Familiar to guide her – as well as a drunk Celestial with a penchant for illusion.

Meanwhile, Lady Ayla Darkleaf, Grand Diplomat of Nox’Kartha, smiles with predatory charm and wields her blades with a dancer’s grace. Flowridia falls into a toxic love affair, one she knows will end in heartbreak. But as Ayla’s legacy as a vampiric creature unfolds, Flowridia begins to see the broken woman behind the monster.

When a foreign emperor dies at the hands of a mysterious interloper, one who seeks to collect the greatest sources of power in the realms, Flowridia’s kingdom is charged to stop him. But Flowridia’s devotion becomes torn between duty to her own and the woman whose claws grip her heart.

In the ensuing clash of Gods, Flowridia must choose her loyalties with care – the fate of kingdoms rest in her hands.

About the Author:

S D Simper has lived in both the hottest place on earth and the coldest, spans the employment spectrum from theater teacher to professional editor, and plays more instruments than can be counted on one hand. She and her wife share a home with their two cats and innumerable bookshelves.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The Love Detective by Angela Dyson

National Brave Day – sometimes we need to acknowledge how brave we are on a daily basis doing everyday things!

My debut novel, The Love Detective, comes out on the 28th September, National Brave Day. Being brave means different things to different people. I’m lost in awe and have nothing but respect for those who display extraordinary courage in the face of devastating loss, abuse or injury. However, I also admire the everyday resolution of those who quietly get on with their lives whilst feeling exhausted, overwhelmed and weighed down by the sense that whatever they do…... it is never enough. The following scenario is one that some of you may recognise:

Having to leave the office bang on time every day. Feeling guilty that you are always the first to leave. Because you have to. There’s the kids to pick up.

A mad dash around the supermarket. Grabbing food that’s quick and convenient. Feeling guilty that instead of trying to make kale and beetroot something fun to eat, you reach for the frozen peas. Who has time to be imaginative? But you worry whether the kids are getting enough nutrition.  Hell, are you getting enough nutrition? Maybe that’s why you feel tired all the time? 

Home. The place looks like a bomb’s hit it. You pick things up and then put them down again. Feeling guilty that the kids are spending too much time on their devices/watching TV, but you’ve stuff to prepare for tomorrow. Work stuff. And a football kit for Will and…..oh crap…’ve forgotten to get the felt and sequins for Katie’s art project. 

A bath then bed. You read a few pages of your book and then flake out, but you feel guilty because when did you and Mike last make love? A few weeks ago? A month? Oh God, it’s been longer than that. Too tired now. Tomorrow night for sure. Or maybe the weekend.

The Love Detective
A Clarry Pennhaligan Mystery

Angela Dyson

Genre: Chick-Lit, Thriller, Women’s,
Contemporary Fiction

Publisher: Matador Books

Publication Date: 28  September 2018

ISBN: 9781789010282

"Pacy, funny and exciting. Cynical yet romantic at heart, Clarry is a girl that you can't help but like - and root for...." – Independent Reviewer

“He’d thought himself the hunter, that I was easy prey but what he hadn’t bargained for, was contending with a woman who hadn’t eaten a square meal in twenty-four hours. I get mean when I’m hungry.”

Clarry Pennhaligan, low on ambition but high on energy, can’t seem to come up with a proper grown-up plan to kick-start her life. Planning really isn’t her thing. But then she happens upon her true vocation: Snooping.  Discovering other people’s secrets and getting paid for it. What could possibly go wrong? Well……as it turns out, just about everything and soon Clarry finds herself in real danger.

The Love Detective is the first in a series due for release in September 2018. The second book will follow in late spring 2019.

Author Angela Dyson Reads from The Love Detective

Read an Excerpt Here:

Read a Steamy Excerpt Here:

About the Author:

Angela Dyson ditched her London life and downsized her home to move to the sticks in Surrey, to follow her dream to become a professional author. She loves to write but to pay the bills (Angela soon discovered that utility companies, bank managers and landlords aren’t known for their generosity and understanding natures,) she had to squeeze the writing in with working for a living. Some of the jobs to which she only gave half her attention have included working for a recording studio and a record label, running a building maintenance company where pretty much the only upside was getting to boss a lot of men about all day, doing a bit of plus size modelling (strictly clothes on) and, for one memorable summer, making a living reading palms on a Greek Island.