Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Author Tena Stetler

One of my favorite vacation spots is Monterey Bay, California. My husband and I travel in a 5th wheel trailer and love the Marina Dunes RV Park.  The RV Park is within walking distance to the ocean beach which allows dogs.  That’s a perk, as we travel with a dog who enjoys the coastline, a parrot who loves to watch people and a forty-five year old box turtle who enjoys the sand.

I love to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I can spend a whole day there, sometimes more if time allows. Inside there’s a cafĂ© and outside a deck for watching the marine creatures in the bay. Can’t be beat in my humble opinion.

A few miles down the road on Cannery Row is a fantastic mexican restaurant, El Torito.  It has inside seating along ocean front windows where you can view seals sunning themselves on the rocks, sea birds swooping and diving in the ocean, and kaykas negotiating the shore lines.
Another must see is Cannery Row, the quaint shops, variety of restaurants, and sourdough bread bowls are well worth the visit. Not to mention the clam chowder.

Monterery Bay’s misty atmosphere inspires my creative muse on each visit and we visit often. I’m working on a paranormal romance set in the area.


"A Warlock’s Secrets     
Demon’s Witch Series
Book Two"

byTena Stetler

Genre: Paranormal Romance           

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Date of Publication: 6-14-17

ISBN: 978-1-5092-1446-4  
ISBN: 978-1-5092-1447-1

Number of pages:  332
Word Count: 83,485

Cover Artist: Kristian Norris

Tagline: In his darkest hours she is dragged into his magical world. If they survive, is she strong enough to heal his heart and tame the warlock?

Book Description:

Years ago a sacred ceremony at the Dragon’s Moon Coven, turned deadly. Son of the high priestess, Tristian Shandie’s life changed forever. With a price on his head and revenge in his heart, he has no choice but to follow in his father’s footsteps to a profession shrouded in secrets. Now his skills as an enforcer for the Demon Overlord are second to none. But dangerous secrets he harbors are a liability he can no longer afford.

A chance meeting with a woman he finds irresistible flips Tristian’s world upside down. Hannah is a cyber security specialist with secrets of her own. Bad boys never appealed to her until Tristian, who changes everything. In his darkest hours she is dragged into his magical world. If they survive, is she strong enough to heal his heart and tame the warlock? Or will their secrets destroy them?

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He offered his hand to Hannah as she stood, wrapped an arm around her waist and guided her out of the diner. "How about a ride up the coast?"
"Sure as soon as you explain how you held those teens down without touching them." She smiled up at him knowingly.  "And don't give me that crap about telling me or killing me."
A slight grin curved the corners of his mouth. "How about on an as needed basis and you don't need to know?"
A soft laugh bubbled up from her throat. "If I had to guess, I'd say you're a warlock with well-honed powers." She tilted her head up towards his. "Would I be right?"
HIs grin faded replaced with a stormy expression. "Where would you get that absurd idea?  They merely tripped and had trouble getting up. I suggested they stay put until the police showed up.  Simple as that."
"Right.  Well on that note, I'll see myself home." She turned to her car and opened the door.
For a moment, he considered letting her go. Women are more trouble than they’re worth anyway. That's when the meddling voice of Birch wafted through Tristian's mind.  She's moved on, so should you.  Damn faeries anyway. I'm sure he's using some kind of magic to do this to me.
"Okay, you win. But only if you tell me why you are disguising your magic signature." He leaned against the car a smirk on his face.

About the Author:

Tena Stetler is a paranormal romance and cozy mystery author with an over-active imagination.  She wrote her first vampire romance as a tween, to the chagrin of her mother and the delight of her friends. With the Rocky Mountains outside her window, Tena sits at her computer surrounded by a wide array of paranormal creatures telling her their tales. Colorado is her home; shared with her husband of many moons, a brilliant Chow Chow, a spoiled parrot and a forty-year-old box turtle.  Any evening, you can find her curled up in front of a crackling fire with a good book, a mug of hot chocolate and a big bowl of popcorn. Her books tell tales of magical kick-ass women and mystical alpha males that dare to love them.

Twitter Page:       

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Author Mia Heintzelman

This week, I've hosting author Mia Heintzelman. Her stories are clever, character driven and have a lot of heart. She also has some children's stories.
Recently, I had a the amazing opportunity to visit Aulani.

What is an Aulani, you say? It’s Disney…in Hawaii. A bazillion star resort smack dab in the middle of Honolulu where the water is a misty shade of turquoise and the sand is soft and warm.

As soon as we entered the private gates—they might have been pearly—we were home. I could have left the resort to explore the island and the sites, but the moment I got leied, there was no other place I wanted to be. Aside from the beautiful accomodations and the infamous Disney touch, there’s a boatload of hidden Mickeys and water. My biggest decision each day was whether to float on the lazy river, cool in the pool, or soak up golden rays on the private cove beach.

On the Honolulu walk of fame, I met Mickey and Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Moana, and Stitch of the famous Experiment 626 Stitches. Within the resort there are luaus, gorgeous, but expensive restaurants, shopping, and live music lit by the stars and tikki lights. Did I mention that I had the daylights scared out of me by a real mongoose as I sat fireside? Only a slight heart attack.
Finally, and by no means the least, there is FREE childcare. Amen. Your welcome.

I’d recommend Aulani any day of the week. If you do decide to go, I have five tips to make your stay even better. 1) Make reservations for restaurants, activities, and excursions ahead of time. The concierge is the best 2) Visit the grocery store across the street on day one and stock the in-room fridge. Your wallet will thank you. 3) If the forecast says rain, don’t fret. There’s always a morning drizzle, then the rays come out. 4) Sunscreen like nobody’s business and 5) Don’t pack your schedule so tight that you miss the chance to soak it all in.



Title: It’s Got A Ring To It
Author: Mia Heintzelman

Genre:  Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Levi Lynn Books

Date of Publication:  10/17/15

ISBN:         978-0692504239

Number of pages: 266
Word Count:  91,677


Laila Smart was took a shot at the sweet life as a candy boutique owner, when the news of her ex's engagement sent her into a frenzied tailspin. Somewhere in between the dating and dashing, Laila must ultimately decide whether to keep looking back, or push on for love. 


As Lena and her entourage headed my way, I ducked under the fluffiest tulle contraption I could find, which looked more like a tissue and cotton ball storm than anything resembling a dress. As itchy as it was, I thanked my lucky stars for the cover.
Still in her comfort zone, she blabbed about her reception plans, “…and after the cake-cutting, it’s on to the candy station, followed by more photos, and a video montage before the dancing starts…” She trailed off again, but for some reason, the candy station stuck in my mind.
When she asked me to design the whole table for the station, I just figured I’d do it because she’s my sister. It hadn’t dawned on me that it could be another selling point.
I couldn’t believe it. To my annoying little sister’s credit—the one whose diet once consisted of paste and mud pies—I owed a debt of gratitude. The pieces to my presentation started coming together.
First, I would talk about my shop and all it has to offer then go into the whole candy station feature, and end it all with a bang when I pitched a color-coordinated candy line for brides.
Ooh, I wanted to do the happy dance right there in the middle of the bridal abyss, but the words that I had just heard the saleslady utter stopped the reel dead in its track. Rewind. What did she say?
“Myles Donovan called to say he’s on his way. He’s with the woman who’s in dressing room three,” she said to another consultant.
His name breezed nonchalantly from her as if it meant nothing. The man who has terrorized my life was going to be in the same place at any minute? My luck had never been that timely, or favorable.
I didn’t know whether to hide or stand at the storefront ready for combat. Settling for discretion, I pretended to be checking out shoe clips and tiaras, as if they interested me at all.
Their voices were low, but I heard them hemming and hawing about his rugged good looks. Not only was it completely tacky for them to be swooning over someone else’s fiancĂ©, but they were clueless to the nightmare of outlandish harassment he’s put me through. What type of sicko would want to marry him?
As if on cue, a woman floated out of dressing room three—to request a smaller size, no less. Not only was she mind-numbingly gorgeous, she was a skinny twig, too. For heaven’s sake, it was Barbie, anatomically correct in all her splendor. In pink and black lace trim La Perla, I was practically drooling.
At her beck and call, someone rushed in with clamps to cinch her dress. Once she was out of earshot, Wilma and Betty—the saleswomen—jabbered on about their hopes of seeing him again.
My mind was fixated on what I’d actually say to him. “Hi, I’m Laila, the woman, whose phone number you’ve given to every creditor in the world and personally asked to call me daily at the wee hours of the morning.” Something short and sweet perhaps, “Die.” Better yet, “I hate your guts, have a nice day.”
Right at a good part in the gossip, the chitchat stopped, and I knew he arrived. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Wilma losing all consciousness. Her arms fell to her sides. Her entire face turned red with embarrassment. By the time Betty clued in, they became drones. Slowly, I turned my head in the direction of their attention.
“Hi, I’m Myles Donovan,” the words sashayed from his mouth rhythmically, like a songbird. Could he be the same Myles Donovan? Betty and Wilma mentioned good looks, but I figured their taste in men would be directly related to their mediocre ratings in the looks department.

Author bio:

Mia Heintzelman (Neat), a Chicago native, has penned four books: The Black Words of Green Eyes (2000), Banana Split (2006), It's Got A Ring To It (2015), and most recently, The Boogie Bear (2016). Heintzelman has written editorially for local Las Vegas magazines, including The Las Vegas Weekly and Pulse Magazine. Currently, she is working on a romantic suspense novel to be release in later 2017.

Author website and social media links:

Monday, June 12, 2017

Author David H. Minton

 Bermuda:  I like the laid back posture of the people and the variety of museums and restaurants.  Anytime you can travel by water is nice, so the ferry from Hamilton to Waterford or Cavelto Bay is splendid.  If you take the ferry across to Waterford, the Frog and Onion Pub on Kings Wharf is a very traditional English Pub.  Many travelers wonder how English Pubs get such strange names, like the “King and Cock” or the “Three Barrels.”  The answer is that most of the patrons of the pubs, back in the day, were illiterate and hence the names were provided through pictures.  Eventually it became an important advertising method for the individual bars, all because text was useless.  For this particular pub, however, apparently the name came from the owners when they opened, a Frenchman (The Frog) and a Bemudian (the Onion)—named after Bermuda Onions, at least so their story goes.  It has a very traditional English fare, and I liked the Shepards Pie.  Don’t ask for details about what is in it, however.  The pub also serves interesting sea food and of course the island drink, a “dark and stormy,” which is essentially rum and ginger beer.  Bermuda rum is quite famous, thanks in large part to British sailors.  

In Hamilton, the Jamian Grill and Ruby Murry’s were interesting places to eat for ethnic Jamacian and Indian foods.  I’ve been to Bermuda six or seven times and always enjoyed myself.  I recommend any of the variety of nautical museums, and The Bermuda Botanical Gardens.  I’ve usually stayed at the Princess Hamilton and a time or two at the Royal Palms.  Bermuda maintains vestiges of its colonial heritage and that is apparent everywhere, from the architecture and decor to the costumes of the staff at some of the hotels.  Note that many things are closed on Sundays and you can’t buy alcohol on Sunday in Bermuda, at least not any of the times I’ve been there.  You can get alcohol by the glass with a meal on Sunday at restaurant that serves it normally. 

Alaska:  I like the grandeur, beauty and what I’ll call the rawness of the people and places in Alaska.  I’ve been there maybe fifteen or sixteen times.  It inspired my first novel.  The main hotel I’ve stayed at in Anchorage is The Captain Cook, which is very nice, especially in the winter (just make sure you aren’t trying to get a room during the Iditarod, unless you are there for it specifically, in which case plan well in advance).  Both the bar and the restaurant there are fine, especially if you like halibut and king crab.  The hotel also has several little boutique shops for interesting and expensive shopping.

Once, while on a business trip, I arrived in Anchorage from Tokyo, having been diverted by my boss.   It was early March, a bitter winter and much to my surprise, after I arrived, I was unable to get a reservation, even though it was the dead of winter.  It turned out the Iditarod started the next day, which is how I learned about it.  The Iditarod starts the first Saturday in March and is one of Anchorage’s premier events.  For the most part it is recalled as commemorating the diphtheria serum run in winter conditions from Anchorage to Nome, in 1925 during the epidemic in Nome.  But in the larger sense, it is a celebration of dog sled mushing, which until the early 1960s, when they were replaced by the “iron dog,” was about the only way to get around Alaska in the winter.  All shipping, cargo, doctors and priests, engineers and Indian chiefs moved by mushing.  In the early 1960s, the iron dogs, namely snowmobiles and snow tractors, began replacing the dog teams.  Many Alaskan natives thought this was terrible, particularly because when an iron dog breaks down in the wilderness, it won’t keep you warm. As the band “Three Dog Night” made people aware, dogs will keep you warm at night.  A “three dog night” is one so cold you needed three dogs in your sleeping bag to stay warm.  Nights as cold as that are common in the Alaskan winter.  The Iditarod was in large part a way to commemorate and maintain the heritage of dog sledding, or mushing.   “Iditarod” is a native Athabascan word which means something along the lines of the far or distant river.  It is the name of the river near Iditarod, a town along the route from Anchorage to Nome.  

Anchorage is not a huge town and many, if not most, of the good restaurants and hotels are within walking distance of each other around third and fifth streets.  I’m not a big shopper when I travel, but there are several shops downtown with scrimmage and other native artifacts available.  There are a couple of relatively big shopping centers I’ve never been to.  Museums, on the other hand, are my thing and I especially enjoyed the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum, as well as the Heritage and Native Heritage Museums.  I also like to visit local cemeteries when I travel and the Fort Richardson National Museum has a very interesting one.  Helicopter tours, including a glacier landing are easy to enjoy and although I’ve never been in a hot air balloon in Alaska, I have in other places (Africa, Lower 48) and would recommend trying one.  Most any excursion in and around Anchorage, or anywhere else, can lead to a moose or bear sighting, or both. 
Seward is a relatively short drive from Anchorage and well worth the trip.  A variety of boat tours are available taking you through the Kenai Fjords where you can see and hear glaciers calving and buy a drink on your boat made with million year old, or older, ice.  Whales are frequently seen on these tours, lots of sea lions and even the occasional dolphin.  You will also get to see a variety of interesting birds, including, of course, both horned and tufted puffins with their stark black and white plumage and their orange and yellow beaks.  

Cape Town:  Table Mountain is spectacular, especially when the clouds fall off the cliff down toward the town, but dissipate before they reach the warmer ground.  The variety of boutique wineries with B&Bs all around, the grand diversity the people and the variety and taste of the food and wine are amazing.  I was startled to learn that the largest winery in the world is in Cape Town.  We spent three weeks during one trip, driving from winery to winery and staying at co-located B&Bs.  Note, they drive on the left side of the roadway.  The B&Bs and wineries we stayed at were all splendid and we did not use any particular formula to determine where to stay, just picked places from a Michelin tour book.  We did get to drive down to L’Hagulhas (Lands End) and see the confluence of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.  The name for the southernmost town at the tip of Africa is from the Porteguse for”needles.”  Lore has it they named it thus because the compass needle pointed due north, or straight at the town, when passing the cape.  From what we could see, as described  in most stories, the ocean in this region is quite active.  Surprisingly, there are short little penguins, about a foot high,  near the southern tip.  In large groups they stink as badly as the sea lions on the beach in La Jolla, California.  

On first arriving, we stayes at the Best Western Cape Suites—I arranged through Best Western to be guaranteed a room when we arrived—it is a long, long flight.  After a couple of days recovering, we moved to a B&B on Banty Bay, called Enchanted.  I can’t say it was particularly Enchanted, but it was very nice. The main thing I’d caution regarding this plan is, assuming you have a car, be sure the B&B provides parking.  There is a shopping center near the Victoria and Albert Waterfront.  We visited it because it was said to be the largest one in the southern hemisphere.  It is certainly quite large, with several interesting restaurants and hundreds of shops.   

London:  Everything is easy to access, all the way to Thurso, near Inverness, Scotland, if you want.  In and around town, the tube is quick, available and easy.  The closness and variety of the shops, shows, and museums are astounding.  There is a well traveled joke about English food:  Traveler asks more seasoned friend; “Where do you find a good restaurant in London?”  Friend answers, “Paris.”  I would agree with that for English food, I mean potatos and bangers and Aberdeen steak can only go so far, but ethnic food in London, from German to Afghan to Chinese, I have found quite excellent.  The variety of ethnic food menus seems never ending, from picnics to very formal dining.  I think the ethnic food in London which is the most delightful and offers the biggest variety is Indian food.

There are a wide variety of Indian resturants, but I have found the ones in Mayfair and Kenisington, as well as those near Marble Arch, to be great and mostly affordable.  For hotels I usually stay at The Churchill (near Marble Arch on the red line) or The Gore Hotel (the one in the Ludlum novels; I’ve had more than one nightcap in that same bar) (near Glouster Road on the blue, yellow and green lines). I’ve tried a hotel in Soho a time or two, but it is a lot noisier there, especially at night.

Shopping opportunities, from Harrods to lots of fashion shops on Bond Street, are almost never ending.  I took my wife Christmas shopping there once and we had a grand time.  Hamley’s on Regent Street is a seven story toy shop and if you can’t find a present there, you shouldn’t be shopping.  A visit to Notting Hill on street market day, tube stop Notting Hill Gate (on the  red line) will be very interesting as well.  The other opportunity for shopping I’ve especially enjoyed in London are books, with Foyles Bookshop being a frequent favorite.  There are several theaters and any of the shows I’ve seen there have been fun and enjoyable. The museums seem to never end.  A visit to the wax museum is sure to reward as well.  I’ve been to London maybe twenty-five or six times.  

Sydney:  I always tell people Sydney is like San Francisco would be if San Francisco had excellent weather and the people didn’t try so hard.  The availability and variety of sea food is astounding, the accessibility of the city, shops, museums is convenient.  I’ve always rented a car, but rarely have had to use it in town.  The opera house is stunning.  I’ve been there on two separate trips.  I always stay at the Hyatt on Circular Quay and any of the restaurants within walking distance, both on the Quay, for the views, and on George Street and Lower Fort Street, for the variety, I have found to be excellent.

As a bonus, there are also interesting night clubs in the same area.  I’ve also enjoyed food and drink at both the restaurant and the bar at the Hyatt, which is above average.  Famous beaches are nearby, including Bondi Beach, and inside Sydney harbor Balmoral Beach.  For readers, there are a variety of book stores and not infrequently you may find an Australian or Euporean edition of your favorite author released before any US edition is available. 

Where On Earth? An Alaska Adventure
By David H. Minton

Fiery Seas Publishing
May 30, 2017   
Romantic Adventure
 available here

Book Description:
Dan Richards, an Iraq war vet, is a surveyor for the mining company, looking to open a new silver mine. Scrambling to establish his helicopter charter business in the wilds of Alaska, while trying to stay connected to his teenage daughter, his world soon turns upside down when he rescues a woman and her dog sledding team after an avalanche.
Samantha Bettencourt, an environmental engineer, is eager to begin her first project with the university. A spokesperson for an environmentalist group intent on preserving the wilderness, she is on the path to saving the wild, but when Dan walks into her life things start to change.
Sparks fly between Dan and Samantha as they find themselves running for their lives—from the good guys as well as the bad guys out to ruin the things they long to protect. Will they be able to escape before it’s too late? Will they get a chance at love or will they lose everything. . . including their lives?

About the Author:
After graduating college, David spent two tours in United States Military Assistance Command Republic of Viet-Nam, before beginning his career as a nuclear engineer, then electronics engineer, tele-communications engineer, and software security engineer. He has previously published three non-fiction books, several poems, and many non-fiction technical and historical articles.  

Tour Giveaway - 5 e-copies

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Author Jessica Arden

Jessica is a member of my writing group, and I'm so happy to feature her this week.  She is very tenacious when it comes to writing and reading, and it shows in the quality of her work.  If you want a well thought out story, check out her book.

Exploring new places is one of my favorite things to do. I first visited New Orleans in college with a group of girlfriends, and on that trip, I held a baby alligator in the bayou, collected a lot of beads (no flashing involved), and indulged myself on cocktails, fresh crawfish, and beignets. Despite never having been there before, New Orleans felt familiar somehow, like it was a place I could make a home. The city nestled along the Mississippi River shares the laid back “you do you” ethos of my hometown of Las Vegas. Walking around the French Quarter, just like on the Strip, you’re likely to find a similar mix of business, casual, clubwear and someone dressed as a sequined-up Sailor Moon, regardless of whether it’s 2pm or 2am. But unlike Las Vegas where everything is shiny and constantly being updated, you can feel the storied history in the bones of New Orleans. It’s there in the centuries old magnolias and live oaks, in the sprawling plantation houses, and the Spanish-style buildings in the Quarter with the ironwork galleries and hanging plants that shroud its shops, bars, restaurants and courtyards in mysteries.

When I first started working on a Halloween-themed novella for the Under Your Spell boxed set, my mind immediately went to New Orleans as a setting for what eventually became The Skeptics’ Guide to the Mysteries of the Universe. I love stories with settings that pulse with life and become a character in their own right. And this city with its rich history and fair share of ghostly legends seemed like a perfect place to begin. I also happened to have a NOLA trip planned the following month for my husband’s college reunion. He went to Tulane and lived in New Orleans along with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law for several years. That gave me the perfect opportunity to take in the sights and sounds for some story research.

I wanted my heroine Julie to be a ghost tour operator and my hero Griffin to be skeptical of all things supernatural. So in addition to catching up with old friends and having beignets (fried donut-like confections dusted with powdered sugar--you must try these if you’re in town) and chicory coffee at Cafe Du Monde and having some killer chocolate pralines, I scheduled us on a ghost tour. Along the way we stopped at historical sights from the days of French and Spanish occupation of New Orleans and places of purported ghost sightings. Some were fun and spooky like the alley near the Saint Louis Cathedral where people report hearing echos of a priest singing when it rains. And some were downright horrifying, like the gruesome goings on in the LaLaurie mansion. There socialite Delphine LaLaurie and her husband did some unspeakable things to their slaves. Following a kitchen fire in the house, fire fighters discovered a torture chamber behind a hidden attic wall with dozens of slaves chained to tables and in cages. The LaLauries fled the scene never to be seen again, but there have been reports of strange sounds and furniture inexplicably covered in foul smelling liquids ever since. If you want to read more, check out this article, but fair warning, it’s not for the faint of heart (or stomach). The rest of the tour was far less gruesome, and we also visited Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, owned by famed privateer Jean Lafitte, and the oldest surviving structure to be used as a bar. If you’re in New Orleans, even if you’re more on the skeptical side, I still recommend checking out a ghost tour. The walking tour helps you get your bearings in the French Quarter, and it was much more about history and scandals than actual supernatural beings.

Our ghost tour guide also inspired Julie’s course of study for her graduate project when she shared that she was studying Folklore and Pop Culture at City College. How cool is that?  Several of the tour stops made it into the novella and helped contribute to my very own imagined ghostly scandal in The Skeptics’ Guide to the Mysteries of the Universe and book 2 in the series, Ghosts of Midnights Past, coming later this year.

Thanks for following along on a New Orleans journey with me. Happy travels and happy reading.



Title: The Skeptics’ Guide to the Mysteries of the Universe
Series and Book #): Skeptics’ Guide Book 1
Author: Jessica Arden

Genre:  New Adult romance

Publisher: Wayfarer

Date of Publication:  January 1, 2017


Number of pages: 137
Word Count:  30,000


Haunted pasts. History Nerds. Hot New Orleans Nights.

Grad student and New Orleans ghost tour operator Julie Deveaux is used to believing in things she cannot see. Although with her family history, spirits lurking beyond French Quarter galleries seem more plausible than true love or soul mates. 

With romantic entanglements the last thing on her mind, Julie would do anything to complete her thesis research and exonerate infamous murderess Sophia Durocher in the process. Anything, that is, except further harass Sophia’s already spotlight-weary family. 

However, when a collision in Jackson Square puts her in the path of infuriatingly handsome fellow history-buff Griffin, Julie is unable to ignore her attraction. When they accidentally exchange copies of a rare book, Julie gets insights into Griffin, revealing someone who grapples with the same big questions as she does. As the two grow closer, this man (whose weird internet search history might just rival her own) begins breaking down her walls one by one. 

But when Griffin turns out to be the grandson of her thesis subject, Julie walks a dangerous line. He could be the key to all of the answers she seeks. But solving Sophie Durocher's mystery could mean losing the one man who makes her rethink her belief in soul mates.

Buy links: Amazon:
Barnes & Noble:


Chapter 1

Nothing calmed Julie Deveaux's nerves like showing chaos it was not the boss of her.
With that in mind, Julie grabbed her research notes and set out early for the big meeting with her graduate advisor. There was too much riding on this and Julie hadn't been able to hit a breakthrough on her thesis research as she'd hoped. That could very well spell the end of her project unless she could convince Miranda to give her more time.
She strode with purpose along her well-worn path through the French Market and down into the heart of New Orleans's French Quarter. Leading hundreds of ghost tours had armed her with an intimate knowledge of every street and haunt of the historic neighborhood, and impressive calf muscles to boot. She navigated past over-crowded streets and a seedy alley until she found what she was looking for.
Julie breathed in the scents of boiled crawfish, red beans and rice, and a hint of magnolia. They almost masked the funk of the standing water and the gutter punks feeding their dog on the curb. Locals and tourists alike bustled through, bobbing their heads to the notes from energetic trumpets wafting over from nearby. A feeling of homecoming stirred in her chest. Beneath the greenery that dripped from ironwork balconies lurked nearly three hundred years of history. Three hundred years of stories and scandals and lives. Testaments to a city—and its people—who'd survived fires and floods, hurricanes and yellow fever, and remade itself every time.
Some of the tension leaked from Julie's shoulders as she emerged into the heart of Jackson Square. Still fifteen minutes to kill before the meeting.
"Reading?" one of the street psychics called out to her. They were lined up two-deep with their camping chairs and velvet-covered milk crate reading tables between the St. Louis Cathedral and the park. Julie swerved to give them all a wide berth.
It wasn't that she didn't believe in psychics, just that when it came to the future, she had it under control. First, she'd write the most glorious and provocative thesis on the Madame Sophia murders and graduate with honors. Then she'd get a history professorship and continue to help run the family ghost tour business. Well, provided that her thesis wasn't red-lighted at the meeting this afternoon with the recent impasse.
Her stomach turned over at the thought, but she had a mind like a stubborn puppy that wouldn't let go of a toy until it broke open, all secrets revealed. She'd sort it out. Somehow. There was enough tumult in life without a cryptic message from the "other side" throwing things off. Besides, the future was something you created and busted your ass for, not something you sat around waiting for after an enigmatic message about the river and the number three.
"You look like a girl who wants to hear about her true love," a psychic draped in ethereal yellow robes called out to Julie. "Only sixty bucks."
With an eye roll, Julie picked up her pace. That was problem number two with psychics. Even if she weren't on a student budget, she wouldn't buy what they were selling: namely true love and destiny and soulmates.
Before she'd made it out of the psychic gauntlet, a third medium called out to her. "You're right, you know." The woman's voice rang through the air, low and rich and filled with long southern vowels. "About Sophia. She didn't do it."
The hair on the back of Julie's neck prickled. "I beg your pardon?"
"That's what you're studying, isn't it?"
Julie eyed the older woman warily. The hand-painted sandwich board in front of her setup advertised: Readings from the Beyond by Francine. The name didn't ring a bell, and Julie would definitely remember this woman if she'd seen her before. In her elegant suit and mink stole, which she wore despite the sweltering heat, she didn't look like the other street psychics in gauzy costumes.
"Sorry, do I know you?"
"No, but I believe I know a thing or two that might be of interest to you."

Author bio:

Jessica Arden writes sweet, quirky New Adult romance. She's stomped grapes in her native California, hiked 350 miles on an ancient pilgrimage route in Spain, had breakfast with a coatimundi in Costa Rica, and spent the night in a monastery. But no matter where life takes her, her true north will always be with her husband and two energetic boys in Las Vegas.

When she's not writing, you can find Jessica teaching college English classes, haunting coffee shops, knitting, collecting jewelry supplies (which she may or may not ever use), planning her next trip, or obsessing over The Walking Dead or Gilmore Girls.

Check out The Skeptics’ Guide to the Mysteries of the Universe, available now and look for Ghosts of Midnights Past, book two in the Skeptics’ Guide Series coming later this year.

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