Monday, February 28, 2022

Neely Powell's Top 10 Favorite Witches

Moira Franklin, Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs

The wonderful Alpha and Omega (Charles and Anna Cornick) series by Briggs has one of my favorite witches in this book. Moira is married to Tom, a werewolf and second in the Emerald City pack in Seattle. Tom and Moira help Anna battle vampires that attack while the three are shopping. Moira is wonderful because she is a true white witch. In order to defeat her evil father, she needed a blood sacrifice and used her own eye. Such a sacrifice! Briggs also wrote a short story about how Tom and Moira met. Moira now wears wrap-around sunglasses because her eyes are so badly scarred. Though this is all I’ve read of the witch, I find she stays with me as a compelling character.

The Witches of Eastwick 

Though the book by John Updike is much darker, this movie, featuring Jack Nicholson, Susan Sarandon, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Cher is dynamite. The three innocent young women don’t realize they have witch powers until Jack’s character helps them discover their hidden depths. Of course, you must have conflict, and the local devout Christian (Veronica Cartwright) wants their evilness revealed. It’s a fun movie with the dark side of magic. Like most movies, it drifts a long way from the book’s story, but I’d watch Jack Nicholson read a cereal box. Great movie for witch lovers everywhere.

Lily Ivory, The Witchcraft series by Juliet Blackwell

Lily Ivory is a powerful solitary witch. Abandoned by her father, given to her grandmother by her mother, and banished from her hometown in Texas, Lily spent most of her life traveling. Now she is settled in San Francisco, making friends, running her own shop, and solving murders. For a witch, Lily is wonderfully innocent and naive. She has an affinity for vintage clothing and has a lovely shop that attracts a variety of customers. She’s involved in so many murders that a local homicide detective, who believes in her powers, becomes a good friend. I like Lily because she always seeks the good in people but puts all her efforts into destroying the evil she finds.

Endora, Bewitched

The thorn in Darrin Stephens’ side is his mother-in-law, Endora. She’s the perfect nemesis because he has asked his beautiful witchy wife to live with him as a mortal. He wants her to leave her magic in the closet, as it were. Endora, clad in wonderful kaftans and scarves, Is the perfect witch, popping in and out of their lives at will. As Samantha’s mother, Endora resents her daughter’s desire not to be magical and spends much of her time casting spells on Darrin and generally bringing chaos to his workplace. What’s not to love? Add to that Samantha’s other relatives, you’ve got a great sitcom. I think of it often and always twitch my nose. Alas, nothing happens.

Brenna Connelly Burns, Awakening Magic by Neely Powell

Brenna is a young witch, full of rebellion and a desire to do more, with no definite goal in mind about what that is. She has returned to New Mourne after living in Atlanta. A gifted artist, she’s working on illustrations for a friend’s children’s book. She’s unaware her family has lived under the curse of the Woman in White for centuries. However, she and the four younger witches in the coven determine they will not just accept their fate as their ancestor witches have done. When she begins to feel the full impact of her power, she believes she can end this curse before another generation is damned.

Wicked Witch of the West, Wizard of Oz movie, 1939

Many people don’t know that L. Frank Baum’s fanciful 1900 book is quite different from the movie. In the novel, the Wicked Witch of the West had one eye, flew by umbrella instead of a broom, and wasn’t green at all. Thank goodness they changed her. She may be the stereotypical, hook-nosed witch as portrayed by Margaret Hamilton, but she is magnificent in her wickedness. The way she buzzes Munchkinville on that broom and orders her monkeys to fly—oh my, it’s divine! She’s the first film character that gave me nightmares. Maybe not good for my parents, but she lit my imagination on fire. 

Gillian Holroyd, Bell, Book and Candle movie, 1958

Portrayed by the gorgeous Kim Novak, Gillian lives in Greenwich Village, runs an art gallery and is really a witch. Her handsome neighbor, Shep, is portrayed by Jimmy Stewart at his charming best. Gillian is aided by her witch aunt and warlock brother in luring Shep away from his current fianceé It’s a lot of fun. For the conservative 1950s, the sexual chemistry between Stewart and Novak is off the charts. She’s like a cat on the prowl, and even when I was younger I liked how she owned her sensuous nature. Warning: this movie is well before Women’s Lib. However, it always gives me that happy “Awww” at the end. 

Nell Channing, Dance Upon the Air, Book #1 Three Sisters Island Trilogy by Nora Roberts

On the run from a dangerous past, Nell is unaware of her magical abilities. But she finds her true self and her sisters of the heart on this enchanted island. It’s the home she’s sought all of her life. Nell’s quiet power comes from the strength and confidence she builds day by day. She’s found the courage to face her darkest fear and realize she deserves the greatest of joys. In this trilogy are three complicated and intriguing witches, but it’s Nell who drew me in with her gentle ways and core of strength. 

Sally Owens, Practical Magic movie, 1998

In every family, there’s a practical member, one who throws the lifeline, rights the ship, and keeps a steady hand on the wheel. That’s who Sandra Bullock plays in this wildly entertaining movie. It’s Sally’s loyalty to her sister I love the most. Even though the women in Sally’s small town have ostracized her for being a witch, she sets aside her feelings and calls on them to help save her sister. I like Sally for being sensible, but it’s when she lets her hair down a little, I wish she was my friend. I defy you to watch the margarita scene and not want a tangy frozen drink of your own.

Rhiannon, Fleetwood Mac song, 1975

Full disclosure: Rhiannon is not a witch, but a legendary Welsh goddess who chooses a mortal man instead of a god. She’s punished, of course. Songwriter Stevie Nicks didn’t know the full story when she introduced it as “a song about an old Welsh witch.” So Rhiannon lives in my mind as a witch. The image merges with Nicks’s own stage persona with her flowing black gowns and an air of danger and mystery. I really wanted to be Steve Nicks, wore feathered earrings and necklaces, and tried to convince myself I had the magical powers of Rhiannon. Sadly, I’m not a witch or as sexy as Stevie, but I can still dream when I hear this song. 

Awakening Magic   
The Witches of New Mourne
Book One
Neely Powell 

Genre: Paranormal Romance 
Publisher: Findaway Voices
Date of Publication: 2020 
ISBN: 978-166-4926707  
Number of pages: 332
Word Count: 65,001
Cover Artist: Debbie Taylor

Book Description: 

An enchanted town. A vengeful spirit. A powerful coven under siege. For generations the Connelly witches made a great sacrifice to protect their town. In exchange, New Mourne remained a refuge for humans and supernatural beings to live in peace. 

Now Brenna Burns, or another chosen female of this generation, is next in line to die—unless Brenna can find a way to end the curse of the malevolent Woman in White. With coven protections breached, Sheriff Jake Tyler joins the battle. The witch and the shapeshifter search for answers to break the curse, becoming closer every day. Passion overrules reluctance as their romance intensifies. But how can love grow when murder and violence threaten their world? The time for sacrifice draws near. 

The powers of the Connelly witches may not be enough to defeat the dark magic that holds New Mourne. As the demonic influence drains the small town of its peace, the coven struggles to break its deadly bargain with the Woman in White.

Excerpt Awakening Magic:

Connelly land had been stained by death But Brenna was determined to vanquish any trace of dark magic from this sacred clearing. “You’ll not take this from me.”

She wanted the Woman in White to appear and answer her. She wanted to challenge the spirit’s right to inflict misery on her family yet again. The only response was the sudden, sharp screech of an owl.

Brenna learned as a child that barn owls didn’t hoot. Their call was shrill, almost a scream.

“You feel it, don’t you?” she said to the bird. “This beautiful place is soiled.”

The owl fell silent as Brenna set up her candles at five points. With a flick of her wrist they flamed to life. Then she shed her clothes and shoes. Skyclad, she lifted her hands, palms up, and chanted, “Dirt from the earth, wind through the trees, water to cleanse, salt to set free. Banish the evil, honor my plea. As I will, so mote it be.”

She poured salt and water in a wide circle and repeated the cleansing spell. The calm and beauty of her family’s land pushed against the darkness. The owl called out another warning.

Brenna opened her eyes and locked gazes with a white tiger. Huge. Predatory. Standing like a statue just beyond her charmed circle. His tongue flicked around his mouth and displayed gleaming, sharp teeth.

Brenna expelled a deep breath. “God, shifter, you scared me.”

Haunting Magic 
The Witches of New Mourne 
Book Two
Neely Powell

Genre: Paranormal romance
Publisher: Findaway Voices 
Date of Publication: 2/15/2021
ISBN:  978-166-9617143
Number of pages: 286
Word Count: 55,000
Cover Artist: Debbie Taylor

Book Description:

Fiona Burns, a witch who sees dead people, meets Hollywood producer Bailey Powers, who sees her as the next cable star—and a fake. Even so, she’s tempted by the dynamic producer in more ways than one. But she has a big distraction—a vicious curse on her family coven. The ghosts of New Mourne warn of the return of the Woman in White, a vengeful spirit who claims the life of a Connelly witch from every generation. 

During the battle, Fiona unwittingly fuels the demonic forces, and black magic brings death and heartbreak to her family. Initially a skeptic, Bailey is soon caught up in her supernatural battle with forces of evil. He’s also beginning to think Fiona can help him escape his haunting past. 

With magic and mayhem at war and survival on the line, the Witches of New Mourne face a new challenge from their ancient foe. They discover that not all dark deeds are borne of the Woman but a demon who is bent on gaining the Woman’s powers for his own. Will another generation fall? Or does the curse end here?

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Excerpt Haunting Magic:

Overgrown weeds covered the back of the cemetery. In the deepening gloom, Fiona stumbled over a stump. The baby’s screams filled her head. She had to help this child.

The grave markers in the back of the cemetery were the oldest ones. Some of them were so weathered it was impossible to read the names and dates on them.

When they reached the back corner, Fiona knelt. All she could hear was the baby’s cry. She dug through the weeds and scruff in front of her, ignoring the sting of thorns on her hands.

Bailey dug with her, and soon she touched the cool stone of a broken grave marker.

“Baby MacCuindliss” was carved in uneven letters deep in the stone.

“This is the Woman in White’s baby.” Fiona traced the name on the marker with tender fingers. “Please don’t cry,” she whispered. “I’ll try to find your mother, I promise.”

The baby’s cry faded to a whimper. The mist blew away, leaving Fiona and Bailey under a canopy of threatening clouds.

“MacCuindliss,” Fiona breathed. “The Woman’s name.”

Lightning streaked over the mountains, and the ominous stink of sulfur infused the air.

Audio Book Trailer

About the Authors:

Leigh Neely and Jan Hamilton Powell are the writing team of Neely Powell. They met working at a rock ‘n roll radio station, discovered they’d both rather be writing fiction, and have been close friends ever since. Their path to cowriting paranormal romance took some detours. Leigh’s resume chronicles a diverse career as a disk jockey, newspaper reporter, advertising copywriter, magazine writer and editor. 

Jan wrote 24 romance novels as Celeste Hamilton for Silhouette and Avon Books and then built a career in corporate communications and public relations. 

Neely Powell became a successful team when they turned their attention to shifters, werewolves, witches, ghosts, fae and all things supernatural. Their first novel was TRUE NATURE from The Wild Rose Press, followed by AWAKENING MAGIC, HAUNTING MAGIC, and HEALING MAGIC. 

Their rules for maintaining a partnership are simple:  be honest, be kind, and bring Diet Coke and chocolate.

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Monday, February 21, 2022

Guest Blog & GIveaway : Annihilation by Kaylin McFarren #UrbanFantasy #Giveaway

Character Confessions 

Damian Hunter was a handsome, half-human half-demon creature with an alluring quality about him. If Samara would have known how much thisCambion could make her give in with every word he uttered, she would have pelted him the secondshe laid eyes on him. It was no secret that Samara was the most guarded and isolated female demon anyone had ever met. Whenever she interacted withmembers of the opposite sex, she became tight-lipped in order to avoidrevealing too much about herself. But her determinationcrumbled the momentDamian’s fingertips brushed her shoulder; it was like tiny sparkstouchedher skin, keeping her from replaying her act as the brave, unaffected hunter. 

Whenevershe was around Damian, Samarawas no longer independent.She wanted, no needed, to have him nearher—to have him hold her and whisper endearing words in her ear. She died for his touch, for his fingers running through her hair and his soft lips pressing against hers.He would ask her a question, a simple question, but it consisted of a dark secret she hadn’t told anyone. She would move backa foot away from him, avoiding his piercing hazel eyes.Then he would stand up. Her heart would be hammering because she knew her willpower wouldvanish the second he touched her.But she couldn’t find the strengthto leave him and never come back.Instead, she merely turned away.

Damian stood behind her.His large, soft palms cuppedher shoulders as he ran them gently down her biceps. His chin rested against her neck and his blond hair brushed her cheek.His warm breath fanned down her collarbone, head dipping as his soft lips met her skin. Her head lulled back, his magic already working on her as he sucked deeply on her neck, creating a markto show she was his. Then his lips trailed alongher jawline in a series of warm, mind-bendingkisses. 

“Damian,” she gasped, trying to keepherself from collapsing into a heap. 

“It’s okay,” hemurmured, his hands sliding down her arms to lock with her fingers. “I’ve got you.”

Then Samara gave in. She turned around and wrapped her arms around the Cambion’s waist, burying her head in his chest as his hands stroked her back. She began tellinghim everything —like she didn’t have a stop button. It all came tumbling out, and Damian absorbed every word as he listened. 
Once Samara had finished, Damian gave her a sweet smile and kissed her passionately. When his lips left hers, Samara felt empty again. She realized too latethat the mere touch of his hands and lips had coaxed her into spilling her deepest, darkest secrets, and the shame of it all overwhelmed her.

Book 2
Kaylin McFarren 

Genre: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
ISBN: 9781685640569
Publisher‏: ‎ Creative Edge Publishing LLC 
Publication date: ‎ February 3, 2022
Number of pages: 493
Word Count: 143,000
Cover Artist: Amanda Tomo Yoshida

Tagline: You can’t escape from what you are

Book Description:

With the death of Lucifer, Queen Lucinda assumes control of Hell, ordering her soldiers to prepare for a doomsday war with Heaven. Craving eternal power, she devours the souls of gifted demonic beings, acquiring their abilities to destroy her perceived political enemies.

Meanwhile, the Black Crows meet with the Knights of Darkness in their hidden headquarters, plotting against Lucinda in their efforts to maintain peace and the balance of power. Consumed by hatred over Crighton Daemonium's unrequited love, Lucinda is unaware of the secret conspiracy brewing, or that Lucifer's spirit has returned to Hell inside the body of a soul–trapped demon.

Reclaiming his throne, Lucifer punishes his daughter for her act of treason. However, his obsession with Samara, Crighton's beautiful daughter, leaves him incapable of controlling his stolen body. After forcing her into submission, he names Samara the new Queen of Hell yet continues his authoritarian rule. When an insurgency breaks out on Earth, he becomes distracted long enough for her to be kidnapped by Nexus rebel forces, believing her to be the prophesied savior of their planet.

Is Samara the Phoenix, destined to destroy Lucifer? Or is she his soulmate and the true Queen of Hell?


"Annihilation, the sequel to Kaylin McFarren's award-winning Soul Seeker, is a decidedly Shakespearean thriller. Amidst the supernatural world, the novel is essentially a classic story about love, betrayal and power between and among royal families. McFarren's blatantly "human" portrayal of Samara Daemonium's youthful obsessions set her up to be both victim, royal and a star in a wholly compelling coming-of-age story. To get this most out of Annihilation, readers are highly encouraged to read Soul Seeker first." -- Bella G. Wright,
"Get ready for the steaming, twisted plot of Kaylin McFarren's Book 2 in the Gehenna series - Annihilation—where nothing is as it seems, and enemies are closer than anyone may think. Recommended!" - Chanticleer Reviews

"Simply couldn't put this book down, even when every hair on my neck was raised. It's that good!" -- Angela Fox, Publisher, Clackamas Review/Oregon City News

"This story is dark and decadent, and fans of such fare should find it largely entertaining." -- Blue Ink Reviews
"Hell has a new ruler, Queen Lucinda. A thrilling venture into the depths of Hell offers unrelenting intrigue and fearsome characters, including timeless stories of love, friendship, sacrifice, and identity... plot twisting toward an epic battle." - RECOMMENDED, The US Review of Books

"Annihilation is truly absorbing, shocking at times, and virtually impossible to put down!" - Theodocia McLean, Book Marketing Global Network

"Left on a cliffhanger and ready for the next book in this fiery series, Annihilation is an intense, dramatic power struggle and like a jigsaw puzzle, lots of different pieces hide the bigger picture until the end. We are happy to add this book to the Indie Books We Love section of the LoveReading website." - Charlotte Walker, Love Reading

Excerpt: Chapter One - Annihilation by Kaylin McFarren

Two regiments of ram-horned, cloven-hoofed demons marched through the blazing corridors of Hell in preparation for the Red War against Heaven. Their stomping feet and thumping spears shook dust loose in the solid rock tunnels leading to twenty massive cellblocks, each identified by their cardinal direction: north, south, east, and west. Confined in one of the cells on the lowest level was Hecate, the Woodland Goddess and Queen Lucinda's loyal friend. Within a month of assuming control of Hell, word had reached her that Lucinda's new regime was responsible for numerous beheadings, boiling demons to death, and implementing monstrous atrocities against woodland creatures and outspoken opponents within her own council.

Believing their friendship would make a difference, Hecate arranged a meeting with Lucinda two weeks earlier and pleaded with her to abstain from cruel acts against mankind. "Think of your legacy...the positive impact you could make." The briskness she put into her voice was belied by the unshed tears glistening in her eyes. She shifted her position in the high-back chair and drew a deep breath. "Lucifer was brutal throughout his rein...up until the day he died. You've always made brilliant choices, Samara. I know that better than anyone. Lucifer made the worst decision of his life by sending Crighton to England, and only the Sovereign Sector is responsible for the consequences that followed. I'm just grateful that Lucifer didn't survive after that nasty battle with his brother, Castiel. If he had, who knows what would have happened?"

The Queen rested her chin on her fisted hands. "Indeed. But you need to remember that my name is now Lucinda. I changed it after meeting with the Knights of Darkness and taking control of Hell."

"Yes, of course. I'll never forget the day before that happened. I was in the old arena when Crighton's mother stabbed your father repeatedly," Hecate said somberly. "I understand she was welcomed into Heaven along with her soulmate, though I don't understand why..." She let her voice trail off, shaking her head. "I guess we should thank them for your justly-deserved position."

"I already have...thanked Crighton, I mean. I offered him a more substantial token of my gratitude as well, but he turned it down."

"Politely, I hope?"

"I was afraid to sit on the throne," she admitted. "That's why I waited so long to make changes. Tyrus helped Crighton escape from Hell, and Lilith played a large part in saving Ariel. But I was responsible for saving them all by agreeing to take my father's place."

"True enough, Lucinda." Hecate felt her eyes burn once more. She drew another deep breath before adding, "I'm sure your generosity will never be forgotten and will be celebrated for years to come."

"Since I managed to keep them alive, I suppose it's time for the three of us to assume our rightful responsibilities."

"Three of us?"

"That's right. Crighton, Tyrus and myself. We have a lot of unfinished business to resolve."

"Of course, Your Majesty." Hecate smiled at her, believing she was making progress.

"But first," Lucinda said, "I'd like to discuss your view on the way Tyrus' allies are likely to respond to our meeting. Especially with them opposing me at every turn. Then I'd like your personal impression on how the loyalists in my council will interpret your views on diplomacy in the woodlands. After that, there are a couple of treasury issues I promised to investigate. It's past time that my advisors and I established a tax structure and common currency. And now that we have the Imperial chambers remodeled and relaxed rules in place regarding horns, tails, and bat wings, we can start thinking about other things like enforcing appropriate punishment where it's due."

"Since you brought it up, don't you think it's a bit extreme...the way punishment is being handled? I thought you wanted to be a just ruler...the exact opposite of your father. If that's true, then why are you taking extreme measures with outcasts, human souls, and defenseless creatures? They would sing your praises if you allowed them to– "

"–run rampant and refuse to obey my laws?" Lucinda growled. She stood up with her eyes blazing red hot and her thin lips frowning. "So, that's why you're here. Not to support me but to oppose me like the rest of the ingrates in my kingdom. Leave and never come back here again! Your deception will not be forgiven or forgotten. Is that understood? I want you out of here...NOW!!" she screamed.

About the Author:

Kaylin McFarren has received more than 60 national literary awards, in addition to a prestigious RWA Golden Heart Award nomination for FLAHERTY'S CROSSING - a book she and her oldest daughter, New York Times/USA Today best-selling author Kristina McMorris, co-wrote in 2008. Prior to embarking on her writing journey and developing the popular THREADS psychological thriller series, she poured her passion for creativity into her work as the director of a fine art gallery in the Pearl District in Portland, Oregon; she also served as a governor-appointed member of the Oregon Arts Commission.

Her award-winning time-travel adventure, HIGH FLYING, asks challenging questions that will linger long after the final twists are revealed. Jumping to the supernatural-horror genre, Kaylin's clever GEHENNA series leads readers into the pit of Hell, through the mechanisms of secret societies, and across the Earth’s crust, ever raising the stakes for her leading duo—a wicked demon and guardian angel presented with shocking revelations.

With each story she writes, this author delivers unexpected twists and turns and keeps her readers on the edge of their seats, leaving them guessing and thoroughly entertained. When she's not traveling or spoiling her two pups and three grandsons, Kaylin enjoys giving back to her community through participation and support of various charitable, medical and educational organizations in the Pacific Northwest, and divides her time between her homes in Portland, Oregon and San Diego, California.


Kaylin is proud of the fact that her great aunt Bessie B. Cordell, an evangelistic missionary during WWII, was instrumental in opening an orphanage in Tientsin, China and also wrote two published novels, Precious Pearl and Blossoms of the Flowery Kingdom, documenting her dangerous, harrowing experiences.

She keeps a glass of wine close by while writing love scenes, Kleenex on her desk while writing heart breakers, and has been known to empty a box of chocolates when she's completely stumped.

A consummate "pantser" and perfectionist, she writes and edits as she goes, and uses photographs of models and actors from tabloid magazines to visualize her characters.

She loves her husband of 48 years dearly. However, if Josh Holloway, Hugh Jackman or Ian Somerhalder came knockin', well... their marriage just might be put to the test.

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Bonus Giveaway

Enter to win this Phoenix necklace (which refers to the Phoenix in the story), here are the simple rules:

Order a copy of ANNIHILATION by Kaylin McFarren on (ebook or paperback) then add your name to this Facebook post: 

Kaylin will be drawing a winning name on March 3rd 

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Character Confessions from Pandemic: Chaos is Bleeding by Cynthia Fridsma #Horror #UrbanFantasy

Sybil Crewes, a curly red-haired vampire with a pale, freckled face, introduces herself as a part-time ATU (Anti-Terrorism Unit) agent. She fights evil to keep America safe. 

Is she a superhero? No. But she’s awesome in her own peculiar way, and yet, she’s not pleased with the way writer Cynthia Fridsma describes her. 

Sure, Cynthia writes about Sybil’s adventures being an ATU agent. But she’s so much more. Sybil is happy that she finally can have her saying as she takes a seat across from me in her office at hotel Nightbird. 

“I’m a part-time ATU agent. Cynthia always shows how I keep America safe from the danger lurking around the corner. But I’m so much more. I’m also a hotel manager.” She sighs. “But Cynthia never tells how good I’m in running Nightbird. My hotel, I mean.”

Sybil takes a sip from a cup on the table, filled with a red liquid with a coppery smell.

“I’m great in running my hotel. Many tourists book a room,” Sybil’s eyes twinkle. “And I tell you. There’s more than one way to pay the bill.”

I frown.

“But Cynthia doesn’t mention this,” she complains. “All she writes is when I’m off fighting evil, save the day. But my other life."

Sybil takes a new sip from her cup. “… and another thing that bothers me is that she doesn’t give me a decent cell phone. All I have is a Windows Phone! For once I’d like to have a modern phone. I don’t want to be a digital dinosaur.” 

She pulls up one eyebrow. “No, wait. Scrap that last part. I don’t mind being a digital dinosaur. And yes, she writes I love to ride my Ford Mustang and listen to Jimi Hendrix. But I like Mozart too,” Sybil says as she stares at the cup in her hand. 

“Can I have some blood?”

I don’t know how to respond to this.

Sybil stands up and steps closer to me. “I said, can I have some blood?”

“I-I don’t,” is all I can say. 

She shows her fangs. My heart pounds heavily in my chest.

“Cynthia writes I only drink pigs’ blood. But she’s wrong. Sometimes I want the real thing. I repeat my question. Do you have some blood for me?”

I don’t know what to say. This woman, standing in front of me. She’s a vampire and she wants blood. My God!

“It’s only fair,” Sybil says. “Because of this exclusive interview, you have with me. I tell you what I think of Cynthia, and you pay in blood. Just like some tourists do when they refuse to pay the bill. Cynthia doesn’t write about that. She doesn’t tell you I let people pay with blood if they want to spend the night in my hotel. No, she doesn’t.”

Sybil’s forehead almost touches my face and all I can see are her pointy fangs. She smiles and steps away from me. 

“I’m only kidding. I don’t drink human blood. I hate being a vampire and Cynthia knows. She does. But what she doesn’t mention is my sense of humor,” she smiles.

Then someone knocks on the door and enters the room. A blonde-haired woman, athletic built, and good-looking. I wonder if she has a boyfriend. If she doesn’t…

“Sybil. Someone is here for the interview.”

Sybil looks up. “Who’s this guy?” 

She points at me.

“That’s a visitor,” the blonde woman said.

“I see,” Sybil says. “So, you’re a tourist? Not a reporter. It’s a good thing Felicity knocked on the door.”

“What? Why?” 

Sybil only smiles…

Pandemic: Chaos is Bleeding
Cynthia Fridsma

Genre: horror/thriller/urban fantasy
Publisher: CynhiaFridsma.COM
Date of Publication: November 24, 2021
ISBN Paperback: 979-8773139225
ISBN Hardcover: 979-8779427166 
ISBN Audiobook: 978-1669614173
Number of pages: 280
Word Count: 67,415
Cover Artist: Cynthia Fridsma

Tagline: Since the pandemic, she stayed home. Then they kidnapped her friend.

Book Description:

Since the pandemic, Sybil Crewes hasn’t left home. She stopped her duties as an ATU agent (Anti-Terrorism Unit). But then, she got a disturbing phone call. Her friend, Harry Brown, has been kidnapped, and this forces Sybil out of her house.

While doing so, she uncovers an illegal lab where they created a deadly COVID-19 variant that turns its victims into skinned zombies. She contacts the ATU to resume her duties as an ATU agent to stop the new threat and save the world from its undoing.

Pandemic: Chaos is Bleeding is a fast-paced modern horror/thriller novel, and partly based on true events.

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The cold air was refreshing as she sprinted to her Ford Mustang in the parking lot. After she sat down in the driver’s seat, she opened Windows Maps on her cell phone to search for the address her evil handler had texted. Since Microsoft stopped supporting Windows Phone, she couldn’t use her voice to enter the address in the navigation app of her cell phone.
It felt weird to go unarmed, on a mission unknown, while the navigation calculated the best route from her current location. Whoever captured Harry held all the cards. At the moment, she had no other choice but to follow up on their instructions. She started the car and drove off. Luckily, there wasn’t much traffic on her way to the mansion.

Since the pandemic, life was slow. People had more time on their hands, working from home, distracted by their kids and spouse. Eating more comfort food—watching TV all day, or in Sybil’s case, spending time with her pet rabbit, Max, and trying to avoid the news. She didn’t have a TV. Well, she did, but she used her 70-inch display as a monitor. It was connected to a Windows 10 laptop with an external soundcard attached to a Dolby digital surround set. Felicity installed the equipment and showed Sybil how to use her dinosaur cell phone as a remote control for the laptop.

The laptop offered her a safe window to the world. She had online meetings once a week, on Sunday night at eight, and sometimes she watched the news on CNN. Most of the time, she used the laptop to binge-watch streaming media. Prime video, Netflix, Disney Plus, and reruns of her favorite TV shows: Body of Proof, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and she loved movies starring Denzel Washington. My life during the pandemic.

She wanted to floor the gas pedal, but then she noticed a police car and she slowed down considerably. The police vehicle turned left at the intersection. She glanced over her shoulder. A truck came into sight, and a few more cars appeared on the street ahead of her. Morning rush hour was about to begin, even though she hadn’t expected it.

Sybil reached her destination in twenty-six minutes after she floored the gas pedal when she reached the outskirts of Boston. She had some time to kill, but she didn’t want to waste it by sitting in her car. So, she explored the area. The mansion didn’t stand out by itself. It was a wooden, two-story building, Victorian architecture style, late 1800s, set in a rural landscape outside Boston, normally a thirty-five-minute drive if she hadn’t gone way above all posted speed limits. Its shingles used to be white at some point.

She exhaled and contacted Vanessa Dogscape—an ATU data analyst, and currently married to her friend and coworker Felicity Walker. Perhaps Vanessa could help her—off the record. She didn’t want to involve the ATU. It took a while before Vanessa answered the phone.

“Sybil. You know what time it is?”

“I’m aware of what time it is. Look, I need your help. Harry’s been kidnapped by—I don’t know who. Anyway, they want me to do some errands.”

“My God!” Vanessa replied in a worried voice.

“I need you on this. But please, keep it off the record. I don’t want to endanger Harry’s life.”

“Sure. How can I help?”

“Perhaps you can pinpoint them somehow and get their location so I can kick some ass?”

“I need more intel before I can do anything,” Vanessa said.

“They contacted me via my cell phone and sent me a text message. Oh, and a picture of Harry’s battered face.” She gritted her teeth at the thought.

“Send the text message and the picture to me. And please activate the ATU app Felicity programmed three years ago for your Windows Phone, so I can tap into each conversation and perhaps ping their location while you talk to them. Are you sure you want me to help you off the record? It’s better to make this an official ATU investigation. At least, let me inform Jack.”

Sybil closed her eyes for a moment. If the criminals found out she had informed the ATU, it’d complicate things. Perhaps endanger Harry’s life. But then again, she sure could use all the help she could get. Otherwise, she wouldn’t bother Vanessa with it. Taking that into consideration, and the knowledge that Jack was a professional, Sybil agreed to Vanessa’s suggestion.

Despite the sun in a clear, blue sky, her body responded with a shiver that ran down her spine. She did not know what to expect as she stood near the abandoned mansion with its weather-beaten, cracked walls covered in pointless graffiti. But she knew she had to go inside as she sat down on her haunches, studying the rusty sword lying in the mud. She took a deep breath before she carefully touched its sticky handle. Blood! Clotted blood.

Her stomach gnawed at the sight. She smelled. It wasn’t human. She stared at the mansion as she heard a strange sound she couldn’t identify. Immediately, her old instincts kicked in—weird sounds coming from an abandoned mansion equals danger. She grabbed the sword in both hands, jumped up, kicked the battered door wide open and ran inside. It was time to act; this was no time to be cautious. Lives were at stake.

The wooden planks creaked under her feet as she rushed into the dark hallway. The sound of rasping breathing reached her eardrums when she entered a dark room with just enough light to see the overturned furniture and the bloodstained, fractured walls …

About the Author:

As far back as she can remember, Cynthia Fridsma has been listening to exciting stories told by her mother. She grew up reading books by Edgar Allan Poe, H. P. Lovecraft, and Philip K. Dick, among others. It was Cynthia’s mother who inspired her to start telling—and writing—her own stories.
Ms. Fridsma’s writing career started after a handicap in 2014—she has a tremor in her right hand, numbness in the fingers, and pain in her wrist. She had to give up her other creative outlets, such as photography, computer programming, and gave up on juggling, so focused on what she could do rather than what she couldn’t do. Besides writing, she sometimes plays guitar—in Jimi Hendrix style.

Cynthia lives with her husband and pet bunny, Max, in Amsterdam.

Friday, February 11, 2022

Author Interview - Dawned by Michelle Areaux #YAPNR #ParanormalRomance

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

I am a full-time middle school english teacher and mother of two wild boys!

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

The title of my life story would be The Hunger Games. As a teacher, I am constantly fighting for survival (ok, maybe that is a bit extreme, but it’s still wild) and I am always trying to win!

- What is the hardest thing about being an author? 

Being an author, it is hard to not let harsh reviews or criticism get in the way of your writing. Sometimes, you have to tune things out and that can be hard when we as writers put so much of ourselves and lives in our writing. 

- What is the best thing about being an author? 

The best thing about being an author is being able to meet your readers. Especially, talking with young aspiring writers. I love being able to just chat and offer advice. 

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

 YES! I recently met Elicia Hyder, author of the Soul Summoner Series. We were both signing books at the Forever Twilight in Forks Event in Forks, Washington. I have read all of her books and besides being an amazing author, she was a kind and incredible human, too. I fangirled way too hard!

- What book changed your life? 

Twilight changed my life because it gave me the hope that I could publish my novels and have people feel such strong emotions about my stories, too. 

- What were some of your favorite books growing up? 

I used to be obsessed with the Babysitters Club Series and Goosebumps. I read and re-read every book!

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

I have a wide range of genres I love to read. Right now, I am reading the Untouchables: Empire High Series, but the Fallen Academy by Leia Stone is downloaded on my Kindle to be read next. 

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

As an avid reader, I adore print books, but ebooks are just more convenient. I typically buy the paperback to keep on my shelf and then download the ebook. However, if I’m traveling or on vacation, I always read a paperback copy. 

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

I would love to live in the world of Twilight. Having Vampires and Werewolves running around, who are insanely hott, would be amazing!

Michelle Areaux

Genre: Young Adult- Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Book Bliss Publishing
Date of Publication: 2/14/22
Number of pages: 190
Word Count: 48,000

Tagline: Eternity is a powerful tool

Book Description: 

Twilight meets Lucifer in this exciting new paranormal romance.

Everything changed the moment sixteen-year-old Harlow Parker met the mysterious and captivating, Declan Quinn.

Always feeling as though she were destined to live a life of solitude, she never expected to meet someone so--magical. After the tragic death of her parents, she moved in with her godmother, Lorie, in the small, southern Kentucky town of Willow Falls. Nothing exciting ever happened here-- until Declan arrived.

And, once she meets the mysterious and swoon-worthy Declan, everything begins to spiral out of control. The magnetic pull she feels toward him is undeniable, and a gorgeous boy who would ultimately break her heart, was the last thing Harlow needed.

Declan Quinn has spent centuries looking for the one who can unlock his mortality. Despite his attempts to remain hidden in the shadows of the small town, he finds himself drawn to the quiet new girl. Curiosity gets the best of Declan and he soon realizes she may just be the one he has been looking for all along. As sparks begin to flare between the pair, Harlow quickly discovers there is something dangerous and supernatural about the boy she has fallen for. Declan is withholding a dark secret that could destroy Harlow and their relationship.

Desire inevitably overpowers both Harlow and Declan as they find themselves in the middle of a suspenseful supernatural war between good and evil. When both of their pasts come back to haunt them, they must find a way to fight together before they are destroyed forever.


I stop on the corner, ready to step onto crosswalk when I hear the rumble of a car heading my way. It is then that I decide to look up and away from the scattering of yellow and reds broken at my feet.  

A pearl white sedan whips past me, stirring the leaves and air so that I feel as though I’m suddenly lost inside a tornado of fall.  

The passengers turn to look out their window, probably confused by the strange girl who almost walked out in front of them. Their faces strike me and I forget how to breathe. It’s not because they are unfamiliar—Willow Falls is a small town. When you live here, you know everyone. No, their faces strike me as odd because they are the most beautiful and God-like creatures I have ever seen in my life.  

A pair of ocean blue eyes locks on me and I still, my heart racing like a wild race horse.  They belong to a guy around my age, but his striking features render me helpless. Raven black hair highlights his features as he stares me down. A blonde-haired guy, who is just as handsome, turns from the driver's seat and smiles a wicked smile that causes goose bumps to appear on my arms.

About the Author:

Michelle Areaux resides in a small Kentucky town and enjoys writing tales of romance that includes the bitter and sometimes ugly truth of love, angst, heartache, and desire that all come with falling in love.