Thursday, July 27, 2017

Author Carla Rehse

Moab, Utah is my favorite vacation place. I’ve only been there once, but the serenity of the desert has stayed with me over the years.

As an Army brat, I’ve traveled around the world, but no place has touched me as Moab. The scenery is breathtaking and the people are very laid back.

If you visit Moab, remember it is a desert and the heat can be a killer. Make sure you have a solid hiking plan. But every great reward has a little risk.


All my books are centered in Central Texas, but maybe I oughta have a character travel to Moab. Then I could go there for “research” purposes!



***

Pink Lock Picks and Sequined Witch Hats
Carla Rehse

Genre:  YA Urban Fantasy

Date of Publication: 7-24-17

ISBN: 978-1546514534

Number of pages:  286
Word Count:  78k

Fashion. Dead bodies. And magic.

In this fantastical and mysterious tale, seventeen-year-old lock pick Gracie Mason finds herself inadvertently caught up in a world involving witches, bizarre rituals, romance—and murder.


Book Description:

Witches must bond with humans in order to produce children—and once the bond is made, it cannot easily be unmade.

Imagine seventeen-year-old Gracie Mason’s surprise when she accidently bonds with a witch named Asher. Sure, he’s cute, but that’s beside the point. She’s not going to settle for a guy just because she’s magically bound to him.

To dissolve the bond, Gracie must seek out another witch to perform a magical rite. However, matters become considerably more complicated when witches begin turning up dead. Wanting nothing more than to get on with her life, Gracie must now team up with her enchanter and wade deeper into a complex world of enchantment and intrigue.

Pink Lock Picks and Sequined Witch Hats is an enthralling story of magic, mystery, and murder—and each new twist will draw you further under its spell.

Excerpt:
Daddy told me years ago that to succeed in life I need a strong plan, the right tools, and the gumption to follow through. His words of wisdom helped me get elected homecoming queen, become co-captain of the cheerleading squad, and voted on the student council. Now I plan to use them to help me pull off my first burglary.
My plan is solid. I’ve also never backed down from a challenge, not even last year when Brittany Thomas became overly friendly with the entire football team in a sad attempt to deprive me of my crown. People say I started the rumor about the rash of STD cases spreading through the boys’ locker room faster than a brush fire. I didn’t, of course. Why start gossip when the squad of doctors from the local Health Department did it for me?
I take a deep breath as I enter the Trinity Building. At almost four o’clock on a Friday before a three-day weekend, the place is deader than a PTA meeting. It helps that today is the hottest July first on record for Central Texas and the air conditioning in this building is dismally subpar. The Trinity Corporation may claim to have the most upscale rental space in town, but one look at the gold leopard granite floor paired with peach-painted walls shows that’s a downright fib.
The only guard on duty leans back in his chair and sucks down a Sonic Route 44 Coke like his life depends on it. I wave as I pass the security desk, wearing a megawatt smile and fully confident in the strength of my lavender-scented Lavanila deodorant—vegan, of course. Deputy Dawg gives me his usual perv stare before returning to the comic book balanced on his knee.
Centex Therapy, LPC occupies most of the first floor office space. A small bell tinkles when I open the frosted glass door. What decorum the overall building lacks, the waiting room has in spades. Brown leather chairs sit on a bamboo rug and pastel paintings from local artists brighten the walls. A tall grandfather clock in the corner softly chimes four times. This late on a Friday means the room is empty of other patients. Perfect.
Jane, the receptionist, fans herself with a copy of Country Living. “Cutting it awfully close, Gracie. Go on in.”
Dr. McDozzle gives me a pained smile as I enter the room.
“Good afternoon, Miss Mason. Have a seat.” For a head shrinker, he’s incredibly formal. And a non-Texan, who hates football and sweet tea. I haven’t learned much more about him in the last month, but that’s enough to get him tarred and feathered if word got out.
The leather recliner squeaks when I sit down. “Thanks for seeing me on a Friday, Doc.” I twirl a strand of newly highlighted platinum hair around my finger. It goes wonderful with my bubblegum pink manicure. “Mr. Anderson, Daddy’s new lawyer, is now insisting I have two sessions a month with you. Of course, Mama’s lawyer says once a month is just fine, seeing how I’m such a well-adjusted high school senior and all. Almost a senior, I guess, since school’s not started.”    
Dr. McDozzle straightens his glasses. “Yes, well, your parents do seem to have quite the barrage of attorneys involved in their divorce. Have you worked on the homework I gave you during our last session?”
This is such a waste of time. My parents have spent the last five years embroiled in a divorce dirtier than a greased pig-wrestling contest. Both sides of the family have more money than sense, much to the delight of every lawyer in the tri-county area. Not that I want my parents to get back together. Anytime they’re within spitting distance of each other, the tension between them gives me a migraine. Besides, if they hadn’t split up, I never would’ve met Ben.
Ben’s the son of Daddy’s ex-girlfriend. Until four months ago, they all lived together in Daddy’s condo. Ben is a sophomore at the local college and is truly hot, in a geeky, stud muffin, save-the-world, kinda way. Crushing on my almost stepbrother might seem a bit sketchy, but it’s legal—I Googled it twice.
Which means it’s time to start step one in my Get Ben Plan.
I toss my hair over my shoulder before pulling out a pink glitter notebook from my Eiffel Tower-shaped mini-purse.
“You wanted me to write down my feelings about my parents’ shared custody thing. Honestly, I don’t understand why the lawyers are so panty-twisted about me spending a week with Mama and the next with Daddy. It means I get double the wardrobe. Hello? What girl would say no to that? It’s way better than Heather’s situation. I told you about her last time, I think. The girl with the hideous frizzed-out curls but drives a cute BMW Z4 roadster? Anyway, her parents are insane.” I continue a steady stream of babble until Dr. McDozzle’s eyes glaze over.   
There’s no clocks in the room, but Dr. McDozzle keeps checking his watch. I’m sure the poor man created a nice therapy plan for me, but I’ve completely derailed it. Mama always says a girl has many tools to choose from in her arsenal—perfectly curled hair, well-placed boobs, and endless chatter are my faves. Besides, Daddy’s been paying therapists a fortune for years to show the divorce court how concerned he is about me. Dr. McDozzle’s earning his car payment today.



About the Author:

Although not a native Texan, Carla prides herself on having mastered the correct usage of  “y’all” and “bless your heart.”

Carla is owned by a persnickety kitty, who rules the computer keyboard and only allows Carla to write when demands for cat treats are met.






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Pink Lock Picks and Sequined Witch Hats by Carla Rehse

Pink Lock Picks and Sequined Witch Hats

by Carla Rehse

Giveaway ends August 16, 2017.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Author Kay Phoenix


Hi.

Guess what?  I'm actually taking my own Midweek Escape this week. It's my son's 9th birthday and we've got something super fun planned to surprise him with.

So, I wanted to shake things up a bit for you this week, as well.  I want to share some of my favorite websites for vacation deals, or just for daydreaming about vacations and getaways.

I hope you explore some of these and get some ideas for amazing places to discover.

***

Where will your next adventure take you?



Friday, July 14, 2017

Monday, July 10, 2017

Author Jenn Windrow

In place of the usual "Midweek Escapes" feature, we have a short story this week.  

***

Blood and Orgasms – An Alexis Black Short Story

I needed blood and an orgasm.  Not necessarily in that order.  At least that’s what Nathan’s been telling me for weeks.  I guess even best friends can’t stand a moody bitch.
Good thing I’m a girl who likes to multi-task.
I allowed Nathan to tart me up in a black dress so low-cut, one wrong move would expose my not-very-abundant assets. We headed to a local human hot spot, and walked past a line of scantily clad woman and wanna-be Rico SauvĂ©’s.
Once inside, he sat me down at the bar and pointed his finger in my face.  “Alexis Black, you’re not getting off that stool until some unlucky sod agrees to take you home and shag you senseless.”
Sheesh.  “It’s not going to take all night.  We’ll be out of here before you know it.”  I waved him off. 
“Well, aim high, don’t hop on the first one that comes your way.”   He rubbed my shoulders. “Relax.  You’ll scare away all the good ones.”  He gave me a peck on my cheek and wandered off in search of his own pulsing vein.
Ten minutes.  Thirty minutes.  Fifty minutes.  Not one man approached me.  I pulled a compact out of my purse and checked my reflection. No food in my teeth. No objects in my nose.  No fangs.
My stomach rumbled at the smell of the blood pumping through the humans on the dance floor. So enticing I had to grab the bottom of my stool to keep from snatching someone for a quick bite.  Next time I shouldn’t wait to long to feed, but I liked drinking blood as much as I liked sitting in this club.

A tap on my shoulder, and my night was looking up. I tuned around to meet my lucky admirer.  The man behind me made my lips droop. Now I was really depressed.
Mr. Mustard Stained Tie and receding hairline pointed a ring-clad finger at my half empty glass.  “Can I get you another?”
I was about to tell him no, but then I saw Nathan’s desperate nod from across the room.  Damn.  I’ve officially reached a new low.  I pasted an overly enthusiastic smile on my face.  “I’d love that.”
He pulled out a stool and almost toppled over trying to climb on. I grabbed his arm and helped him into his seat. This evening was turning into a disaster.  I still needed blood, but I think the orgasm might be out of the question.  I looked at my only option for the night, a dead ringer for Joe Pesci in the Goodfellas.  The orgasm was definitely out of question.
For ten minutes I forced myself to listen to the overeager human try to impress me with his less than stellar achievements in life.  Bored.  Hungry.  Uninterested.  I’d had enough. “Want to go somewhere private?”
He opened his mouth to say yes, but before the word fled his lips Mr. tall-dark-and-oh-my-god walked up. He grabbed my hand, pulled me from my seat, and rescued me from what was sure to be a walk of shame.   We passed by Nathan, whose cheeks were nice and rosy from his liquid dinner.  He gave me a thumbs up.
I followed my last chance for the night like horny teenager to a two-story red brick walk up. After he opened the door, he gestured for me to go ahead of him. The room I entered was solid white.  White walls, white floors, white couch, white leather armchair.  And that was all.
The door slammed.  The lock clicked.  I turned and my mouth fell open.  Mr. tall-dark-and-oh-my-god was now sporting a pair of solid black wings and a mischievous smile.
Things were not going as planned.  "Who are you?  What are you?"
"Caleb.  Angel."
He gestured to the couch.  “Sit. Please. Alexis.”
The words weren’t a request, and I don’t like to be told what to do.  “Not gonna happen.”
“Fine.”  He walked over to the chair, pulled his wings in tight and took a seat.  “You may remain standing.”
I walked over to the couch and sat down.
He let out a small laugh like I amused him.  “What a predictable creature you are.”
“Since eating you and fucking you seem to be out of the question, what do you want?”

He adjusted the crease of his tailored black pants and the cuffs of his starched dress shirt.  “I have a offer for you.  An offer that will change your undead life.” 
***

Evil's Unlikely Assassin
An Alexis Black Novel
Book One
Jenn Windrow

Release: June 6, 2017

Genre  : Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Muse It Up Publishing

ISBN: 1771279222
ASIN: B06XH9ZFD4

Number of pages: 290
Word Count: 80K

Cover Artist: Erica Petlit Designs

Tagline: Sometimes it takes evil to kill evil

Description:

Vampire Alexis Black is on a mission - to rejoin the human race.

Coerced into signing an ironclad contract by an Angel-with-attitude, Alexis must hunt down and assassinate at least one vampire, werewolf, or creepy crawly every night for fifty years to become human again. Too bad the contract didn’t mention the badass vampire who now rides shotgun in her brain, insatiable bloodlust, or her new I-hate-everything-with-fangs sidekick. If she can fulfill her end of the bargain, her humanity is restored, if not she will be destroyed.

But when a revenge-seeking bloodsucker threatens her city, Alexis must risk everything to ensure there’s a humanity to return to. Since her vampire nature is her greatest weapon to defeat the monsters that threaten her friends and future, Alexis must choose to accept her inner beast or watch those she loves die.

Amazon       BN       iBooks       Kobo      MuseIt Up     Goodreads

"Evil's Unlikely Assassin is a promising urban fantasy debut that features all that's great about the genre--action, attitude, and ass-kicking." -Jaye Wells, USA Today bestselling author of The Sabina Kane and Prospero's War series
Excerpt:

Tonight’s job had me sitting in a shadowy corner of a dead-end dive watching the unfortunate, the hopeless, and the degenerate. Had I known this is how I’d be spending my one hundred and seventy-third birthday, I would have called in sick.
An aging cocktail waitress hustled to over-serve society’s misfits. An ex-con, a dealer, and an addict pissed their lives away at the far end of the bar. A trio of prostitutes circled the room, their knock-off stiletto’s clicking on the wooden floor. And a single cockroach scurried for cover before being squashed.
How would the humans feel about me, the vampire, hiding in their shadows?
One of the battered bar stools toppled, throwing its occupant to the filthy concrete. The man, in a faded red and black flannel shirt, picked himself up off the floor. Dingy jeans slid down his hips, revealing a pair of boxers far past the expiration date for a wash. He bumped and weaved his way through the crowd, ignoring the spilled drinks and curses he left in his wake, and cut a crooked but determined path right to my table.
He collapsed into the booth next to me, blocking my only chance at escape. “How’s ’bout a drink?”
I wrinkled my nose at what had to be three days’ worth of sweat and grime, raised my bottle and sloshed the liquid from side to side. “Still nursing this one.” I focused on a faded picture of the Blues Brothers nailed to the wall and hoped he’d take the hint. A sharp tap on my shoulder told me this guy was either clueless or didn’t give a shit. My money was on clueless.
“What’s your name, sexy?”
Oh how I wanted to ignore his question, but the last thing I needed was Mr. Drunk and Stupid to cause a scene and blow my cover. “Alexis.”
His grease-coated fingers played “Get the Buggy” up my arm. I slapped them away before they got past my elbow. “How’s ’bout we get to know each other better?” He gave me a lopsided wink and ogled my breasts.
When he looked at me, he saw what every other human did, a twenty-three year old, petite brunette with large, light blue eyes. But if he leaned in close, he would see what lurked below the exterior, something sinister and scary, with sharp fangs and a deadly personality.

About the Author:

Jenn Windrow loves characters that have a pinch of spunk, a dash of attitude, and a large dollop of sex appeal. Top it all off with a huge heaping helping of snark, and you've got the ingredients for the kind of fast paced stories she loves to read and write. Home is a suburb of it's-so-hot-my-shoes-have-melted-to-the-pavement Phoenix. Where she lives with her husband, two daughters, and a slew of animals that seem to keep following her home, at least that's what she claims.

Jenn's Urban Fantasy, EVIL’S UNLIKELY ASSASSIN won the RWA Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal (FF&P), “On The Far Side” writing contest in July 2014, top 5 in the RWA Desert Rose, “Realizing the Dream” writing contest, and finaled in the Houston Writers Guild annual writing contest in April 2014. It was also selected as first runner up in Writers Type’s First Chapter Contest in April 2013.

Her Paranormal Romance, STRUCK BY EROS placed first in the RWA’s Golden Pen Contest, third in the Ruby Slippered Sisterhoods Make it Golden contest, and fourth in the West Coast Romance Writers Beacon contest.










Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Author Letisha Stanton

One of our favorite places to visit in this world is Syracuse New York. The main reason we started going there is because we have family there, but also, we feel that Syracuse and other parts of New York are underappreciated for its natural beauty. We usually try to make this trip around Thanksgiving so we can catch some snow, but not too much snow. The last two times we arrived, it was just after a new snow. Seeing the red Sumac protruding from the white snow with that bare fields stretching for miles and miles behind is a thing I can not describe. Standing at the window of my family’s farmhouse, it is like peering out into heaven.

Our kids often enjoy sledding and four wheeling up and down the many hills. A little known fact about New York, as well is the abundance of farm fresh fruits and vegetables. Heading to any corner store I can but all the ingredients for a fresh, home made dinner. The tomatoes, the corn, birds. There is an abundance of hunting and fishing. Most of the residents make it their job to know where the best produce can be found and in our case where the best hunting is.

Now, most people will tell you that the best way to get into New York is via airplane, especially if you live as far away as we do. We are from Charleston S.C., but I will always tell you the better way to travel is via vehicle. Traveling by car we are able to stop and see all the sites along the way. We will often stop at Farmer’s markets, to see hiking trails, to see the caves and to buy all the goofy tourist items from the areas we visit. Our favorite thing to buy roadside is honey. There is always a different flavor in all the different areas we visit.


In my novels, The Destiny series, you will often see the characters travel long distances across many scenes. I find I enjoy getting to know the areas my characters travel, not only via the web, but by traveling there myself. There are so many sites to see in the United States, so much rich history that has happened within the last two hundred years. I love finding hidden histories in small towns.





***

Title: Destiny’s Purpose
Series and Book #: The Destiny Series Book1
Author/pen name: Letisha Stanton

Genre:  Historical Fiction

Publisher: Desert Breeze Publishing

Date of Publication:  March 11, 2015

ASIN: 
ISBN: 1612525865

Number of pages: 290
Word Count: 136,000 

Blurb:  

Chasing a freedom as big as the Mexican sky, Destiny Grey finds himself on the run from a cruel and unjust system. There is a life to be had in Mexico, if he is able to withstand the brutal climates, the Renegade Natives, the unforgiving land, and his own heart. Trinity Jones doesn’t help his plight when she shows up wild and half beaten to death. Unable to ignore her suffering, he decides to rescue her from her captors, and from the prison of her own mind. Soon he discovers, however, that she is the one who will rescue him.


Buy links:




Excerpt:

Trinity tossed the saddle aside and stormed over to him, this time standing on eye level with him since he was still sitting down. She put one hand up on her hip and one finger in his face.
"I know this man you have become is not the man I know you want to be. You are not even the same man who rescued me. What happened to you? How did you become such a coward?" she asked again.
He was tired of hearing that too. "You want to know what happened to me," he yelled. "You want to know what happened to me! You happened to me! I was dead when I met you! I was gonna deliver Jolene here, see her settled into a more secure life with a new husband, and then I was gonna fade away! Then you come along and I see you fightin' for yo life when you should be dead and it tore me apart! I saw another dead soul like mine only I knew you could fight for yo life. You survived when you shouldn't have ... I shouldn't survive," he finally stopped and shook his head.
"You've done somethin' to me and I can't undo it," he continued. "I want to push you away. I want Jolene to find a proper husband. I want things to fall into their rightful place so I can turn to dust and join Judith..."
He stopped talking as Trinity lowered her finger from his face and looked at him. She looked so vulnerable. "I don't deserve you in my life," he said honestly.
Trinity looked at him in a way she had never done before. The tender regard in her eyes nearly broke him. It was as if she really understood what he was trying to say, for the first time. She brought her hand up toward his hair and he flinched.
"Don't," he warned as he looked away from her. "I need to keep my distance."
She shook her head. "No. You don't," she responded. She was about to touch him again when he rose from his chair and nearly tipped it over as he backed away. She did not follow him.
"I never asked for you, Trinity," he said, looking at her small trembling frame.
"Do you know what I have thought all these months?" she asked him as she let her arm drop to her side.
He closed his eyes and shook his head. He tried to conjure an image of Judith but she was not there. Not even the ugly yellow nightgown would come to mind. All he could see was a scarred body he had kissed everywhere.
"I have been thinking all these months you saw my scars and then didn't want me anymore," she confessed. His eyes flew open at that statement and he saw a tear make its way down her face. He tried to keep the same refrain he had before, tried not to feel her, see her, but he couldn't do it.
He closed the distance between them in a few strides and picked her up into his arms. "How could you be so beautiful and ever think a man wouldn't want you," he asked smoothly.


Author bio:

I sometimes feel that as people experience a little bit of success, they tend to pull away from their readers. Sometimes it is out of necessity. There is so much going on with promoting, blogging, tweeting, and website building, it is dizzying. But I am also a person that does the laundry and makes fabulous dinners and takes my kid to gymnastics.  I have been writing for over seventeen years and my desire is as much the same today as it was way back then. I write for the readers. I will never get so busy that I forget that. I write these for you so that hopefully it will give you some encouragement or laughter or joy. Life is hard, and for me, reading is like my chocolate break from reality. I pray that is what you experience as you read these novels. 


Author website and social media links: