Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Is Vampires Chased by the Undead an Oxymoron?

I'm very sad to say this, but with only six days left in the month, much less the year, there's no way I'll have Blood Sacrifice out before the 31st.

I sincerely apologize to everyone who's been waiting patiently for it, but the last thing I want to give you is a substandard product.

Will it be out in 2013? Yes, definitely. Will it be out by the end of January? I'm doing my damnedest to make that happen. Luckily, GK is on Winter Break until January 21st. While that should give me plenty of time, I discover decades ago that any time I make plans, the universe likes to throw a new calamity into my face.

Keep your fingers crossed and rub your four-leaf clovers for luck!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Seasons of Magick: Winter Is Live!

Finally! The last book of the Seasons of Magick series, Winter, is available!

The worst thing Tom Laoch ever did in his previous life was to turn down the advances of a goddess. And not just any goddess, but Morrigan, the goddess of war, magick and death.

Now, the gods have sent Tom back to Earth to save a Greenwich Village shop owner from a sorcerer, who plans to use her powers to destroy the human race. But Rain Bean isn’t just any businesswoman, she’s the mortal incarnation of Morrigan. Once she finds out Tom’s true identity, unhappy will be an understatement because everyone knows Hell hath no fury like a goddess scorned…

Novella, approximately 22,000 words or 80 printed pages

Many thanks to my readers for their patience!!

Seasons of Magick: Winter is currently available at the following e-book retailers:

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Barnes & Noble

Monday, December 3, 2012

Monday, November 26, 2012

Blood Sacrifice Soundtrack - No. 11

Alex was one of the very first medical students at Johns Hopkins, but much to his father's concernation, he left school to join the Texas Rangers.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Blood Sacrifice Soundtrack - No. 9

Phillippa blames her father for the deaths of her mother and sisters, believing that as a god, he could have interevened and saved their lives.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Blood Sacrifice Soundtrack - No. 8

The infamous practical joke for which Phillippa has held a grudge for over a century? Alex jury-rigged a canister of molasses and a box of flour above the front door of the San Francisco vampire coven house (featured in Blood Magick). His intended target was Selene.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Paranormal Activity 101 - Robin Badillo

Then there are those folks who'll never admit they've had a paranormal experience like my next guest, paranormal author Robin Badillo.

One might assume that as a paranormal author I’ve probably been inspired by actual events, which in turn sparked my natural attraction to the genre. Alas, no vampires, werewolves or ghosts have tapped me on the shoulder and introduced themselves thus far. Or if they have, perhaps I just wasn’t “open minded” enough to receive the message.

That being said, I’ll admit there have been times when I felt as though someone was watching me, but that says more about my mental state or propensity toward irrational paranoia, than valid evidence of experiencing something supernatural or paranormal.

As an author, those rare events can easily be blamed on an overzealous imagination or muse, if you will. That’s my story anyway, and I’m sticking to it.

Admittedly, it would be awesome to come across any of the creatures I’ve written about. Would I run away in terror at the thought of being eaten alive or maimed? Are you kidding? If a vampire did attack, which is highly unlikely given their broody dispositions, I’d probably ask them to take their time so I could make notes along the way. After all, I wouldn’t want to miss not one snarl, rip or splattering of blood during the process. Research is key when it comes to writing.

If a ghost visited, I’d simply explain that I’ve seen every episode of “Ghost Whisperer” and ask if I could help them settle unfinished business so they could move on into the “light.”

If they were a nasty ghost, demon or other evil, paranormal creature, I’d then reeducate them on the way their kind are properly “ganked” by the Winchester brothers on the CW’s “Supernatural.” I’d then enjoy a messy hamburger and a slice of fresh apple pie after disposing of the “bad guys” properly, just as Dean Winchester would expect of someone in their line of work.

Suppose I were approached by a Blibbering Humdinger, Crumple-Horned Snorkack, Gulping Plimpy, Heliopath, Nargle or Heaven forbid, a Wrackspurt, then I’d grab my eldest daughter, Brittany, and her collection of Harry Potter books and request her assistance immediately. Luna Lovegood’s creative imagination would come in handy when dealing with some of her favorite imaginary creatures.

Then there are the werewolves and shifters. Although, I tend to lean more toward the wolf where shifters are concerned, it’s my belief that a scratch behind the ear and a vigorous belly rub would tame even the most savage of beasts.

I guess, in the end, there would be no need to experience any of these entities in the real world. Books, television programs and movies have brought them to life for me, without the hassle and messy cleanup.

Besides, I’m sure there are plenty of people who have experienced a ghost or unexplained entity in their lives, who may not have found it as exhilarating as I would. Some may even wish the event had never occurred at all. To those people, my hat is off to you, and I congratulate you on your tenacity and will to survive the unknown.

But for those people out there like me, who wouldn’t mind a little peek into the “other world”, I suppose we’ll have to rely on our colorful imaginations, the magic of television, the glamor of cinema, and the wonder of prolific words on a page to sate our curiosity…unless the aliens get us first, then all bets are off.

Robin's next book, Family Ties, comes out on November 14th. Here's a sneak peek:

Every pack needs an alpha and every alpha needs a pack.

Tucker Wilde, a lone wolf, returns to the town where his shifter lineage first began, only to discover his rightful place as alpha has been handed down through another blood-line. To make matters worse, old family secrets threaten the fate of the love he’s destined to find.

Shifter, Tegan Blaid is the key to saving her pack by joining with the son of a powerful pack member, but her heart belongs to Tucker, the one wolf she was never meant to know.

Can Tucker and Tegan fight the forces against them to secure their positions in the pack, or is history determined to repeat itself despite their family ties?

For more information about Robin and her books, click on the following links:

Robin's Website
Evernight Publishing
Robin's Evernight Author Page

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The End of Halloween...Again? - Teri Thackston

While I'm stocking up on decorations for next year in the post-Halloween sales, Teri Thackston talks about communities *GASP* banning the best holiday EVER!

In some parts of the country, Halloween is becoming an endangered holiday. Trinity Church in New York City is cancelling its popular Halloween Fest due to Occupy Wall Street campers near the church. The police department in Knoxville, TN cancelled its Halloween in the City event because they can’t find a venue big enough to hold all the kids who want to attend. Calabash, NC cancelled its children’s mystery dinner on Halloween due to lack of funds. Several elementary schools are eliminating costume parties that have been popular for many years. Various reasons threaten the holiday at many locations around the country.

This isn’t the first time. Back in the early seventies, rumors—and accurate reports—of poisoned candy circulated, causing parents to keep their little goblins indoors or allowing them only to trick-or-treat to the homes of family members. Most such stories turned out to be hoaxes or isolated incidents, but Halloween suffered for a while many years.

But is Halloween really on the way out? Plenty of communities still plan to go all out to celebrate Halloween this year. Costumes, candy, parties and trick-or-treating…how about your community or neighborhood? Has Halloween been cancelled or is it still going strong?

Now my books don’t have much to do with Halloween (yet). But I do think I spin a good ghost story that’s perfect for the season. For example my EPPIE award winning novel Final Words has plenty of spirits and spooky scenes to have you looking over your shoulder as you read it.

A near-fatal hit-and-run leaves Medical Examiner Emma St. Clair able to talk to the spirits of people she autopsies. With his sister’s hit-and-run death unsolved, Detective Jason MacKenzie vows to bring this lethal driver to justice. When a serial killer throws them together, will her ability to talk to ghosts prove deadly…in love and life?

Here’s an excerpt:

A chill breathed over Emma’s skin as Skitch left. Looking down at this body as she had stood looking at so many others, she experienced a sense of unreality. She wouldn’t have been surprised if the woman had opened the one eye left to her and spoken.

This is exactly what Edgar hinted might happen. She closed her eyes as another wave of dizziness swept over her. She reached out to steady herself against the table and her gloved fingers brushed the arm of the dead woman.

“Here now.”

Emma’s eyes popped open. Feminine and faint, the voice shimmied up her spine.

“I wanted to watch that hospital show,” the voice went on. “I always watch that hospital show on Monday night.”

Looking up, Emma saw a woman standing in the shadows near the cooler room door. Her features were difficult to make out in the dimness, so Emma lifted her face shield. It didn’t help.

“Jaime wanted to watch that silly game. ‘Here now,’ I said to him, ‘I watch my hospital show on Monday night’.” The woman’s voice quivered with age. She sounded Hispanic.

Emma narrowed her eyes, taking in the woman’s white cotton housedress and slippers. This isn’t one of the new technicians, she realized.

The woman gestured toward the body. “Jaime did this.”

Shaking off her surprise, Emma moved forward. “Ma’am, you can’t be in here.”

“I had to tell you about Jaime. My brother. He shot me and ran out the back.”

Tiny hairs on Emma’s arms prickled beneath the sleeves of her lab coat. She stopped near the middle autopsy station and studied the other woman’s form again. Small and slight, the figure seemed almost a part of the shadows and, somehow, not quite right. Emma wished that Skitch would return.

“Ma’am, you really have to leave,” she said.

“Here now, young lady.” The woman’s voice shook again, as if she couldn’t quite catch her breath. “I had to tell you what my brother did.”

Emma’s gaze ran over the shadowed form. “You said your brother shot you. Are you hurt? Shall I have someone take you to a hospital?”
“I’m getting tired but I do not hurt, Dr. St. Clair.”

Emma caught her breath. “You know my name?”

The woman stepped forward at last, into the pale light.

Bile welled in the back of Emma’s throat. That face. The woman’s face, lined with age and as dry and pale as paper, stared at her with dark eyes.

Emma jerked around and looked at the body on the table.

“You’re…” Words wedged their way past the bile in Emma’s throat. “You’re her."

When Emma turned back, the space in front of the cooler room door was empty. The woman had vanished.

You can order Final Words by Teri Thackston for only $1.49 at the following:Ellora’s Cave
Barnes & Noble

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Pillar of Light - Suzan Harden

"I see dead people" is a great punchline.

Except when you can.

The "gift" as DH calls it (I call it something else, and it involves a lot of four-letter words) runs in my mother's side of the family. A few of us admit it we have it. Most of us don't.

You see, we learn at an early age if the ghosts are still semi-coherent and they know you can see them, they will not leave you alone. As my cousin Marie* puts it, "It's like strangers on the subway. Don't make eye contact, and don't engage."

Marie is also the cousin who makes a point of buying brand-new, never-lived-in homes. "So I don't have to deal with someone else's baggage," she says.

I always followed Marie's advice. Then I made my big mistake.

When my paternal grandmother showed up in the townhouse I shared with Marie, my automatic response had been to say, "Hey, Grandma." The teensy little problem was that she'd died three weeks before.

She talked about making pizza the next time I came over. It broke my heart a little, but I knew I needed to be firm. "Grandma, you do realize you're dead, don't you?"

Her expression saddened. "Yes. I'm sorry. Sometimes I forget."

"Why are you still here?" Frankly, her presence didn't make sense to me because she was a very devote Christian.

"I'm waiting for Dad." 'Dad' was her nickname for Grandpa.

So we made a deal. I'd talk to her as long as she visited when no one was around. Marie would have exorcised Grandma if she saw her.

For the most part, Grandma kept her word. Occasionally, I'd catch a glimpse of her out of the corner of my eye while in class or, years later, in court. I had to confess my secret to DH after he caught me apparently talking to myself. I'm lucky he takes the weird stuff in stride.

Grandma waited fifteen years.

I flew home for Grandpa's funeral. Since my father's sisters and their husbands were staying with my parents, I got a hotel room. The morning of the funeral, I awoke to someone stroking my hair.

"Ed, I told you not to touch her!"

It was a rare thing to hear Grandma call Grandpa by his given name. I rolled over. "Hey, Grandma."

Grandpa looked at Grandma. It was the first I ever saw a shocked expression on him. "She can see us?"

Grandma: "And feel us too! I told you not to touch her and wake her up."

Me: "It's okay. I'm glad you did."

Grandma: "We can't stay long. We need to be in Columbus in five minutes. We just came to say our good-byes."

Grandpa (his attention switching between us, a bewildered expression on his face): "She can see us?"

Me: "Have a safe trip. I love you."

Grandma: "We love you, too."

Grandpa (looking over his shoulder at me as Grandma dragged him toward the western wall of the hotel room): "I can't believe she can see us."

That's when I saw the third, well, 'entity' is the best word I can use to describe it. It appeared to be a pillar of yellowish-white light, roughly six feet in height, hovering next to the dresser. A sound came from it, not quite music, but not quite singing either. It felt sentient.

When it realized I was staring at it, not at my grandparents' ghosts passing through the wall, I felt a surge of emotion from it. Shock, distress, surprise. I got the distinct sense that I wasn't supposed to see it any more than I should have been able to see my grandparents.

It drifted about a foot toward the bed. Curiosity replaced its surprise. Again, I felt its emotion. It was torn between figuring me out and staying with my grandparents. After a moment, it drifted through the same spot on the wall of my hotel room.

I glanced at the digital clock beside the bed. 7:29 a.m. I could catch another hour of sleep before I had to be at my parents' house.

Why did Grandma and Grandpa had to rush to Columbus, Ohio, of all places? The last of the family, three of my cousins, flew in the morning of the funeral. Jaye's flight, the last one, arrived at Columbus International Airport at 7:34 a.m.

*Even though my family will recognize the people I mention, I changed the names so they don't get harassed. Or summoned.

Confession time: I used my strange encounter as the inspiration for the ending of Zombie Confidential. The short story will be free until the end of November. It's available through the following retailers:

Barnes & Noble

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Apartment Downstairs - William Simon

Today's guest is William Simon, who also writes as Will Graham. The first work of his I read was Mixed Marriages, which is delightfully creep and hysterically funny at the same time.

When I lived in Miami, I was in an older apartment building, probably built in the early 1930′s or so. I had the upstairs one bedroom 'suite': two apartments that had been re-modeled and connected.

Late night, got home around 2am. I hit the bed, was *just* dozing off, when I heard two explosions from the apartment underneath. To this day, I firmly believe the foot of the bed jumped, that's how powerful the noise was. Flew out of bed, called 911. The officers who came and I were friends, so I joined them to get the manager. She let them in, explaining the downstairs apartment was vacant at the moment. The police went through the whole place, and there was nothing. No squatters, no evidence of a break-in, no signs of anyone having been there for a while.

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

I *know* what I heard. I KNOW what I heard. The officers said, "Well, okay, but there's no evidence, no sign of anything. If it happens again, let us know." Manager locked up, I went back upstairs with no hope of getting back to sleep.

Flash-forward a couple of years. I had moved into another building with my girlfriend at the time. An older couple who had lived in Miami since 1935 semi-adopted us and we were frequent dinner guests, and vice-versa. One night, I mentioned casually I had lived at Such and Such on This Avenue. The husband paused, looked at his wife, and said, "Isn't that where the S------ thing happened?" She thought a moment, and nodded.

Then he told us the story.

Back in the 40′s, a young couple lived in the downstairs apartment. He went off to WWII, she stayed behind. Like something out of a bad movie, she had an affair with another man. When her husband got home one afternoon, he walked in on his wife and her lover.... and killed them both with a shotgun.

I didn't say a word about my experience..... but in the interests of full disclosure, I did hit the wine a little harder than usual at dinner that night.

William Simon also writes under the name Will Graham. His short story, "Mixed Marriages Can Be Murder" was originally published in the anthology Murder By Magic. It's now available as an e-book short story at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other fine retailers

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Little Girl No One Cried For - C.C. Hunter

Last year's All Hallows Read guest posts were so popular, I decided to make it an annual event. So I asked some of my favorite people, who happen to write some of my favorite books, to tell their own personal scary stories.

As an added bonus, the always frightening Neil Gaiman is giving away a free story at Audible, but hurry! The offer only good until October 31st!

Back here at WW&W, first up is Creepy C.C. Hunter (aka my buddy Christie Craig)!

I was thirteen and I woke up that morning with sunshine spilling through my window. I stretched my hands over my head and it hit me—the memory of a dream I’d just had came rushing back. There had been no sunshine in the dream.

It was spooky, but more strange and sad. Like an old movie, I could still see it playing in my mind. But unlike a movie, my memory came with all five senses. The smell of wet earth and the scent of a storm brewing somewhere close by. I could feel the wind hit my face, blowing my blonde hair across my eyes. Tombstones, aged and cracked, littered the ground around me. All was silent—deadly silent.

A small group of people stood quietly by a gravesite. All wearing black. Even the sky held a dismal shade of sadness. There seemed to be no color in the image—no joy, all drab and gray. I stared at the faces of those grieving people. Did I know them? Yes, but . . . vaguely. And from where?

Immediately, my gaze shifted to the casket. The tiny polished box carried the only color in the scene. A bright pink ribbon rested on top. My gaze shot back to the people again. They weren’t crying. For some reason that seemed odd. They needed to cry. Cry for the child who obviously lay tucked inside that casket. The child who would never run and play and who would never know life.

I studied the faces of the people again, trying to remember where I’d seen them. How could I know them when they looked so out of place? Like people from old pictures. People from another time, another life.

And then came the realization. The woman dressed in a thick black wool coat, hugging herself against the cold and staring at the casket with empty emotion, was my grandmother, but younger. A lot younger. The woman today was old, in her late sixties. But yes, I remembered seeing her younger face in family photo albums.

Then, I recognized the other people. My mom and dad when they were young. My grandfather and one of my uncles. My gaze shifted from one person to the next.

Then it went to the casket.

Who had died? Part of the answer came with the next cold whisk of wind: A baby. A baby girl.

I wanted to tell someone how sorry I was. Emotion built in my chest. A crazy thought hit. Someone needed to cry for the child. I stood back from the crowd, not really present, but somehow still there. I felt the odd sadness. But why weren’t they crying?

Then my grandmother, my mom, dad and uncle were gone. As if they’d vanished into the air. I saw the casket being lowered into the gaping chasm. Abruptly the dream changed and I saw the gravestone. It simply read, Our baby girl: Christie.

Christie? CHRISTIE? That was my name. How could the baby have my name? That’s when I’d woken up. My heart still thumped against my breastbone at the memory, and I had tears in my eyes. Not wanting to be alone, I went and found my mom cooking breakfast.

I told her about the dream, about the casket with the pink ribbon and seeing my name on the gravestone.

I saw shock hit my mom’s face. “What is it?” I asked, but was almost scared for her to answer.

“This is weird.”


“Your grandmother got pregnant a few months after your dad and I were married. It was a girl. She only lived a few weeks. You were named after her.”

The spookiness tiptoed up my spine as chills skittered up my neck. I looked at my mom and asked, “Why didn’t anyone cry?” Suddenly, I burst into tears.

My mom’s faced paled even more. “Your grandma told everyone no tears. She said she couldn’t handle the tears. We weren’t allowed to cry.”

I dropped down into a kitchen chair and asked the question burning inside me. “How could I have dreamed this?”

“I’m sure you heard the story,” Mom said.

“When? When could I have heard the story? I swear I never knew about her before now.”

“I don’t know, but you had to have heard it. How else would you have known this?”

How else?

To this day I think about that dream. I think about the little girl, my namesake. Did I really hear someone tell that story and my mind simply played it back as a dream? Or did the spirit of Christie somehow visit me? Did she need me to know about her? Did she need someone to cry for her?

I guess you see why my Shadow Falls series involves ghosts. There’s a part of me that believes in them. What about you? Do you believe in ghosts?

C.C.'s latest book, Whispers at Moonrise, is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other fine retailers.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

ACK! No More BAMF Girls?

"Soft like the fur of a newborn fawn, your golden tresses tickle my arm." - Lisbeth

"Wait. Where did you hear that?" - Buffy

"Spike messaged it to you on Myspace. Why do you still have a Myspace?" - Lisbeth

"I grew up in the '90's!" - Buffy

Want to see more than four episodes? It's the LAST DAY make a Kickstarter pledge. Otherwise, the is the last episode of the BAMF Girls Club you will ever see!  CLICK HERE to make a pledge.

Monday, October 22, 2012

BAMF Girls Club - Ep. 3

"For the last time, I'm not Rue and I'm not dead!" - Michonne

Want to see more than four episodes? There's less than THREE days left for Comediva to meet their Kickstarter goal. CLICK HERE to make a pledge.

Friday, October 19, 2012

BAMF Girls Club - Episode 2

"You don't do house points here? You should do house points." - Hermione

Want to see more episodes? There's only six days left for Comediva to meet their Kickstarter goal. CLICK HERE to make a pledge

Friday, October 12, 2012

Gamer Girl, Country Boy

I love Felicia Day! (No, not that way! My sister's the one that's into girls.) This video was too cute not to post.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Friday, October 5, 2012

BAMF Girls!

I stumbled across this show on YouTube. It's so warped and hysterical. Not only did I blow tea out my nose, I nearly peed myself laughing.

What if you produced a reality show that stuck the toughest chicks of fiction in one house? Women like Buffy Summers, Lisbeth Salander, Katniss Everdeen, Hermione Granger, Michonne, and...Bella Swan?

(I'm still waiting for one of the others to kill Bella.)

Highlight of Episode 1?  Buffy trying to fix Hermione up with Willow.

Check it out for yourself!

And if you love it as much as I do, please consider donating at Kickstater so the ladies can make more!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Blood Sacrifice Sundtrack No. 6

Phillippa doesn't want to acknowledge her loneliness. So she treats Alex's feelings for her as a child's crush.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Serious *Facepalm* Here! (And a Special Deal)

I'm totally embarrassed. I'm not sure how this happened, but the file for Amish, Vamps & Thieves replaced the file for Zombie Confidential.

So basically, for the last how-knows-how-long, folks downloading ZC from Smashwords, Sony, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo and Diesel were getting a free copy of AVT instead.

Here's the problem: I've uploaded the correct copy of ZC to Smashwords (and definitely double-checked EVERYTHING this time!). Smashwords will be distributing the corrected book file over the next couple of weeks.

If you download ZC again, it'll replace the copy that's really AVT. I don't want to punish my readers for something that was my screw-up.

On top of everything, I FINALLY received the Amish bonnet I ordered nearly a year ago. So I'll be uploading AVT with the new cover within the next couple of weeks.

So here's the special deal!
If you downloaded Zombie Confidential between June 19th and September 30th, 2012, forward me a copy of your receipt from one of the following retailers:

Barnes & Noble

 I'll e-mail you FREE copies of Zombie Confidential and Amish, Vamps & Thieves with the new cover in EPUB format with unique file names so they won't conflict with your other downloads.

Forward your receipt to suzan at suzanharden dot com.

Again, I'm terriby sorry for the mix-up, and many, MANY thanks to Mel for letting me know about the problem!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Blood Sacrifice Soundtrack No. 5

Phillippa discovered Alex was alive and now a vampire when she visited Caesar in his new capital of Los Angeles in 1910.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Blood Sacrifice Soundtrack No. 4

When Alex was turned, he told Duncan he had a girl back in San Antonio. Duncan said Alex couldn't go back now that he was a vampire, that his lover wouldn't understand. Alex carried a torch for his lost one-night stand until he met Phillippa again in San Francisco twenty-five years later.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Blood Sacrifice Soundtrack No. 3

Phillippa tries to convince herself that she has nothing in common with Alex because of their 5,100-year age difference.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Blood Sacrifice Soundtrack No. 2

Phillippa Mann worked as a bouncer for the brothel's madame Betsy Porter, who was based on Fanny Parker, an actual San Antonio madame noted for her incredible discretion and for entertaining both lawmen and criminals with equal aplomb.

Alex caught Phil's attention when he defended one of the girls from a drunk john.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Blood Sacrifice Soundtrack No. 1

Something a little new for y'all. A tidbit of story and a song from the playlist I created for Blood Sacrifice.

Alex Stanton and  Phillippa Mann first met in 1889 in a brothel in San Antonio, Texas.

Monday, August 6, 2012

When Your Character Screams 'Fuck!'

I'm 26,059 words into Blood Sacrifice, but I swear to Anubis every time a character uses a swear word, some little kid is literally climbing over furniture to see what I'm doing.

I usually write for a couple of hours in the morning at the local B&N cafe. It's the quietest public place I can find with a corner table I can wedge myself into where three sides are covered. (I really don't like people reading my stuff until after the second editing pass.)

Invariably, some little kid wanders over to see what the lady with the weird t-shirts is doing. (Example: Yesterday, I wore one of my 'T-Rex trying' tees from the Houston Museum of Natural Science. In it, T-rex is trying to catch a butterfly that's landed on his nose, but he can't because of his pitifully short arms.)

Unfortunately, I didn't make it to B&N until after one p.m. I start typing and I'm in the middle of an action scene. The local Peruvian vamps are taking Alex and Phil to the city of Cuzco in pursuit of the bad guys. Tiny twin-engine plane. Flying through the Andes. At night. And a giant mummified pterosaur-like creature is doing damnedest to bring their plane down.

The situation call for a four-letter word because not even a vampire or a demi-goddess is going to survive impalement by a granite spire or a 10,000-foot fall, right?

So, of course, some six-year-old boy comes to the table, climbs on the chair opposite of me and literally contorts himself so he's hanging upside down over the top of my screen. Then he looks me square in the eye and says, "You know you can play Angry Birds on your computer."

Me: "Thank you for letting me know, but I don't want to play Angry Birds right now."

Boy: "Why not?"

Me: "Because I'm working on something else."

Boy: "But you should really play Angry Birds."

Me: "No, thank you."

Soon-to-be-dead Boy: "But you'll like it. I want to teach you how to play Angry Birds."

Me: "Isn't that your mom over there? I think she has a chocolate cupcake for you."

And to think, I go to B&N to avoid the "Mom, we're out of milk" and "Honey, where's the car keys" interruptions.

Sometimes, I wish I had Phil's ability to throw lightning bolts.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Is a Kiss Just a Kiss?

What clinches the romance in a story? That first real, emotional kiss between the heroine and her significant other. An excerpt of Zombie Love is featured at the blog Gimme a Little Kiss. Check it out!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Why I Have the Best Husband

A few nights ago, my husband ran a few errands for me as I feverishly cranked out some verbage for Blood Sacrifice.

DH is a smart guy. He knows I'm a little stressed, trying to get the first draft of a novel cranked out before school starts. He's also smart enough to know that the usual girlie crap--flowers, perfume, jewelry--is wasted on me.

So what did he buy me as a just-because-I-love-you gift?

A Monster High Ghoulia Yelps doll, complete with a neon pink brains-shaped helmet for roller-blading. (For those not initiated on Monster High lore, Ghoulia's parents are, of course, zombies.)

I have the best husband ever!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Isolation Can Be A Beautiful Thing

Please welcome back today's guest blogger, paranormal romance author Teri Thackston!

Some of the most suspenseful stories involve isolating the primary characters in some way. Shipwreck your hero and heroine on a desert island and they must interact, often in interesting—and sensual—ways. If that island is not so deserted (i.e., there are other folks with less-than benevolent intentions around), and they must also put aside their differences to work together for survival. Seclude them in an out-of-the-way airport during an ice storm, throw in an escaped murderer among the other passengers, and you’ll create a scenario that is ripe with suspense. Send a crew of miners to a newly discovered planet, sabotage their ride back to earth, then toss a man-eating alien into the mix. For writers, isolation is a very helpful plot device.

In my paranormal romance Wait Until Moonrise, I use magic to isolate my hero. The curse of a spurned sorceress traps Welshman Nicholas Pierce, Earl of Beaumarith, in his family castle in 1774. No one can see, hear or touch him, but he is far from dead. Trying everything he can think of to attract attention, he succeeds in only one thing: convincing subsequent inhabitants of the castle that it is haunted.

Fast-forward to today when American Bria Leighton visits the castle in search of her family roots. One night in the moonlit ballroom, she hears Nicholas’s voice then she sees him watching her. Stunned to be noticed, Nicholas quickly discovers that they can also touch each other. He remembers that the curse gave him one possible out: his true love can free him in the moonlight. Bria must be his true love and the key to his freedom.

But he must convince her that he’s more than a ghost. And when the sorceress returns, determined to have Nicholas for herself at last, he must protect Bria from becoming another victim of the witch’s magic.

Do any of you have a favorite situation in which to isolate characters? To what remote locations does your imagination take you? While you ponder that, here’s a short excerpt from Wait Until Moonrise:

“I must admit you dance almost as well as your mother.”
Startled, Bria whirled around. A man stood in the doorway leading onto the patio, arms folded over his chest, one shoulder resting against the door’s frame. Moonlight surrounded him like an aura, forming a halo about his black hair and shadowing his eyes. Then, he tilted his head, and silver light poured over his features like clear, sweet water.
Bria stared. Only in dreams had she seen such a beautiful masculine face. Dreams and one disturbing portrait…
“You look prettier, though, when your mouth isn’t hanging open,” he went on in a bored tone.
“Who…who are you?”
As her voice whispered across that hushed, moonlit room, the stranger fell still. Then, slowly, eyes black and wide, he lowered his arms. “You can see me?”
The query came to Bria as a hoarse, disbelieving whisper, words of doubt trembling on a precipice of mad hope. Frightened by the emotion in his voice—by the sudden, stark sensation burning in his black eyes—she backed away. He, in turn, moved toward her, away from the open patio door, into a patch of shadow…and promptly vanished.

Wait Until Moonrise, a winner of the Emily Award for Best Paranormal Romance, is available exclusively at for the next few weeks. Coming soon to

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Zombie Confidential on Amazon

It FINALLY happened! Sometime in the last two hours, Amazon price-matched Zombie Confidential, which means it's FREE! So if you're a Kindle fiend and haven't tried Samantha Ridgeway and her crew yet, now's the time to download it. Click here!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Buy One, Get One Free Contest at Killer Fiction

Christie Craig is holding a BOGO Contest over at Killer Fiction. The rules are simple. Go to Amazon. Buy one of the books she's listed (including Zombie Confidential) and she'll pick fifteen people at random to send a book that you DID NOT BUY to you.

Hey, it's a holiday, so the odds are pretty good!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Smashwords July Sale Starts Today!

Starting now, the annual Smashwords July Summer/Winter Sale begins! (Just because it's hotter than hell in Texas doesn't mean my buds in Australia and Chili aren't freezing their butts off.)

Three of my books will be featured in the special Summer/Winter Sale catalog. You will need the following coupon codes in order to get the special price!

First of all, Creating a Business Plan for the Indie Writer, Ver. 2.0 is 75% off, i.e. $1.25 instead of the usual $4.99. The coupon code is SSW75.

Zombie Love is 50% off, i.e, $1.50 instead of the retail price of $2.99. The coupon code is SSW50. (That's the number zero, not the letter 'O'.)

And of course, Zombie Confidential is free! No coupon code needed for Zombie Confidential, but don't forget the other two codes if you want Zombie Love or Creating a Business Plan for the Indie Writer, Ver. 2.0 at their sale price!

Friday, June 29, 2012

More Zombies

Zombie Confidential is now available for FREE at Barnes & Noble!

Blood Lines Will Experience a Partial Eclipse

As I said in the previous post Super July, I've set aside the entire month to crank out the first draft of Blood Sacrifice. Therefore, it will be a little quieter at Blood Lines than my usual wont.

That isn't to say I won't be posting at all.

Check back here on Sunday, July 1st. Smashwords is holding its annual July Summer/Winter sale, and three of my books will be featured!

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Zombies Are Spreading!

Zombie Confidential is now available for free at the following e-book retailers:


Thanks to all the readers for picking up my short story!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Super July

Why is July so super?

I've set it aside to complete the first draft of Blood Sacrifice.

My original outline for this book got thrown out the window after seeing Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull back in 2008. If you really want to read about the whole fiasco, go to my writing blog. I still think Steven Spielberg owes me one. *grin*

So last summer, my friend, the lovely Jody Payne, helped me hammer out a new plot. Instead of Mexico, we went further south. Jody and her family spent a great deal of time in Peru, so she had some excellent ideas involving local concepts and Incan deities.

Unfortunately, I didn't get much new writing done last summer since I took on a project for hire. By the time that project finished, homeschooling and crazy Christmas retail season was upon me, both of which ate my brain.

But it's summer, I'm back in the writing saddle, and my Starbucks card is loaded and ready to roll!

Want some hints about the story?

Blood Sacrifice is Alex and Phillippa's book. It will fill in the blanks about what split them up and how they get back together. It won't be an easy path for Alex. Especially when Phil's dad takes a shine to Alex and "helps" him woo her. And nothing spells disaster like a war god trying to fix your love life! Add in a pissed off Incan god of death and an apocalyptic cult, and our poor Texas vampire has his hands full.

See y'all on the other side of July!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Kind Words Go a Long Way

Smashwords threw a fit since I put an approximate page count in my description for ZOMBIE CONFIDENTIAL. I added the page count because I wanted to make it absolutely clear to my readers that this was a short story.

Anyway, when I went to the Dashboard to change ZC's description, I was delighted to find a a 5-star rating from Francine Forte:

Wow! I loved it. A paranormal mystery that was fun, sad, heartwarming, and just a great read. Who knew I'd love a zombie heroine? Suzan Harden wrote it right. I highly recommend this story.

Folks, if you love a writer's story, let them know. Or better yet, let everyone else know. And thanks, Francine, for your kind words!

Just a reminder: ZOMBIE CONFIDENTIAL is still available for free from Smashwords. Or you can click here to read it online.

Once Smashwords actually starts distributing ZC to other retailers I'll post the info!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Zombie Confidential Is Now Available!

Zombie Confidential, the Bloodlines short story, is now available at Smashwords to download to your e-reader or app. I'll let you know as soon as it's available at other e-book retailers.

Or if you want to read it on Blood Lines, click here.

This FREE short story is my THANK YOU to all you readers who've supported me over the last year.

For undead tabloid reporter Samantha Ridgeway, photographing movie star Josh Williams with his latest paramour should have been an easy assignment. But instead of finding him smooching a girl in the hot tub, she discovers his corpse, with a tourniquet around its bicep and a needle in its arm. To make matters worse, his ghost swears to haunt her for eternity if she doesn’t help him prove he didn’t OD.

The more she digs, the more Sam believes there’s more to Josh’s story than even he realizes. Now, she just has to catch the killer before he targets his next victim—Josh’s three-year-old son.

Short story, approximately 13,000 words or 45 printed pages

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Sam Short Story

As of this writing, I'm six thousand words into the Bloodlines short story I'm writing, Zombie Confidential. This is a Sam Ridgeway solo adventure that takes place four weeks after the events of Zombie Love.

The plot was an seedling of an idea for the third book in the series, but I realized early on it didn't lend enough to the overall structure of the Bloodlines saga. However, it was an idea that just wouldn't let go.

In fact, DH pointed out that Sam was too comfortable dealing with a ghost in Amish, Vamps & Thieves when her only previous experience was the seance in Zombie Love. I knew then that this pivotal story involving a dead movie star needed to be told.

As soon as the story is completed and edited, I plan on posting it for free through the usual e-book channels as well as on this blog, hopefully by the end of May. I have to tell you that after two and a half years, it's a lot of fun slipping back into Sam's head.

Friday, April 20, 2012


Amish, Vamps & Thieves, the fourth book in the Bloodlines series, is now available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords. I had a lot of fun with this story since it's set practically in my back yard.


Anne Levy was forced to leave her tight-knit community many years ago, when she was attacked by rogue vampires and turned. When her brother calls her home to investigate the bizarre mutilations taking place in the area, she is confronted with the difference between her pacifist Amish upbringing and her current life as an enforcer for the Augustine Vampire Coven.

She’s also confronted with Colin Fitzgerald—a hot local lawyer trying to find the killer despite her objections—who makes her desire a life she couldn’t possibly have. Not with him. Not without robbing him of the normal life she still yearns for.

But as the killer moves from animal mutilations to human, it becomes clear this is an entity unknown to humans or the paranormal community at large, and even Anne isn’t sure how to find or destroy it. She and Colin must catch the killer before it takes any more victims while keeping their feelings for each other at bay. But is the monster really after the local farmers or someone else entirely? And even if they can save the day and each other, how is Anne supposed to save Colin from herself?

Novel, approximately 76,000 words or 253 printed pages

Friday, April 6, 2012

Honestly, I'm Not Just Twiddling My Thumbs

To my readers: Thank you, thank you for your patience!

After twelve weeks, I've given up on receiving the prop I ordered back in JANUARY for the cover of Amish, Vamps & Thieves. DH and I have come up with an alternate plan. He's taking tomorrow off (because I asked him nicely to help re-sod the drought-dead front yard this weekend), and we're shooting the cover after lunch.

I'm a little disappointed because I LOVED the original cover concept. But que sera sera, right?

So what does this mean? Depending on my cover artist's schedule (she now does ALL the title graphics on the Bloodlines books to keep them consistent), Amish, Vamps & Thieves should be available by April 20th.

Around the same time, the second edition of my non-fiction Creating a Business Plan for the Indie Writer will also go live.

In the meantime, I'm already working on the cover of Zombie Confidential so it's ready when the story is. I don't want to get caught with my pants down again. It was pretty embarrassing this last time.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Seasons of Magick: Autumn Is Now Available

I swear the lag time between 'upload' and 'live' gets longer and longer, but I can say that Seasons of Magick: Autumn has been officially released before the end of March!

It's available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords. [NOTE: If there's no link to the retailer, then the 'buy' link isn't live yet.}

I had a lot of fun writing this one. Hope y'all enjoy it!

Welcome to Morrigan’s Cauldron! But be careful what you ask for because this little Greenwich Village shop can deliver your heart’s desire. Or your greatest nightmare.

Phylicia Johnson knew going to a Halloween party with a bunch of college kids was a bad idea. But her son’s R.A. has her feeling things she hadn’t felt in eighteen years.

Dante Jones survived the worst that Afghanistan could throw at him. He wants to earn his degree and settle down. And damn, if the universe didn’t dump the most perfect woman in front of him. But evil has other plans for the party guests, and a demon-induced orgy is one threat the Marines never trained him to deal with.

Can he believe Phylicia when she says she can stop the hellion and save the guests? Or are they all doomed to become sex batteries for the demon’s plans?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Unlikely Praise by Carla Rossi

Regular blog readers know I'm not Christian. So needless to say, I don't read many inspirational books. Carla Rossi is the exception.

Years ago, Carla and I belonged to the same critique group. Unfortunately, the group fell apart due to job changes and health issues. But even then, I knew she was one special writer. Someone who could draft intense sexual tension and hilarious scenarios without betraying her beliefs or smacking you over the head with them.

Carla's latest Unlikely Praise is now available in both print and ebook at the following retailers:

Barnes & Noble


Candi Canaberry has been the worship leader at Cornerstone Fellowship since the doors opened more than two years ago. A lifetime church musician and instructor of music at the local community college, Candi has dedicated her life to praise and worship. When Cornerstone explodes into mega-church territory, Candi is sure she’ll be the one to take her team to the next level…isn’t she the obvious choice? Apparently not. Church leadership has other ideas when they instruct her to take on a partner and share her duties. But a one-time rocker with a metallic guitar and zero worship experience? God must be kidding.

Recently saved Samuel “Shade” Blackledge is new to Cornerstone Fellowship. He’s convinced a strong church family is what will help keep his head above water as he turns from things of the past and builds a new life. An ex-rock guitarist, Shade is shocked when the pastor suggests he might be just what the worship team needs. But could God really want a tattooed veteran of the club scene? And what about his other secrets - not the least of which is a baby girl he’s never seen?

Worship practice has never been this eventful as Candi and Shade work their way toward each other… and Unlikely Praise.

Monday, March 26, 2012


Edit to add: The contest is closed! The winner was Tessy! Thanks to everyone for checking out the contest.

It's Monday morning, and I don't have any cute puppy videos, so let's have a contest instead!

Leave a comment before 11:59PM CDT on Thursday, March 29, 2012. A winner will be randomly drawn from the infamous Easter Basket shaped like Capt. Rex 's helmet. The prize is e-book copies of the Seasons of Magick series: Spring, Summer and the soon-to-be-released Autumn. (Yes, you'll get it before it goes on sale!)

Contest is open to everyone!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Progress - Finally!

On the plus side, I finished the first draft of Seasons of Magick: Autumn last night. I've sent the master JPG to my delightful cover artist for her wizardry. I'll let the draft sit a few days, then do my editing passes this weekend before sending it to my editor and a critique partner for a review.

I'm finding the more I write and plot, the better the first drafts are getting. This means less work for both me and my editor on the backside.

On the minus side, I still don't have the final prop I ordered for the cover shoot of Amish, Vamps & Thieves. Therein lies the joy of running your own company when something like this happens. I can't get mad because I knew an Amish-made item was going to take some time when I ordered it back in January. But Spring is upon us, and it's been in the high seventies/low eighties up north, which means these folks are out in their gardens planting peas and potatoes. If my prop doesn't come soon, it won't make it here until next fall. (I grew up on a farm. I know how much work happens between spring and winter WITH the convenience of modern equipment.)

In the meantime, DH and I brainstormed some new ideas for the cover, none of which matches the original vision. So I'll focus on writing and keep my fingers crossed that the prop shows up in the next couple of weeks before I resort to Plan B.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Monday, March 12, 2012

Productive Thumb Twiddles

I'm still waiting for a prop to arrive so DH can shoot the cover for Amish, Vamps & Thieves.

In the meantime, I've been writing my butt off. Season of Magick: Autumn is close to being finished. I hope to have it to my editor by the end of the week. Also, a good chunk of the first draft of Zombie Confidential, the solo Sam Ridgeway story, has been written.

Thank goodness this is Spring Break week. I can usually make some writing headway when I'm not lecturing on stuff like Olmec culture and exponents.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sneak Peek - Amish, Vamps & Thieves

I don't have the cover yet, but I can give you a peek at the first chapter of Anne and Sam's adventure in Amish, Vamps & Thieves, the fourth book in the Bloodlines Series. Enjoy!

Chapter 1

Nerves tingled along the back of Anne Levy’s neck as she strode across her brother’s hay field under the ripe moon. A deep breath tested the scent in the humid Ohio night air. The spicy apple of a Normal human mixed with the sweet clover and summer maple, confirming the watcher’s presence. She glanced to her right. A shadow shifted within the woods bordering the east side of the field.

Her watcher was unimaginative at best, using the same cover as last night. Enforcer training jumped into play despite Anne being home for the first time in decades. A telepathic check found her partner. Sam? My friend’s back.

The black diamond tickle of Samantha Ridgeway’s humor rippled through Anne’s mind. You’re sure he’s not one of us?

Yes. Anne let the crimson wash of her irritation filter through the link. Like she couldn’t tell the difference between a supernatural and a Normal after sixty years.

Amish or English?

The tips of Anne’s fangs pricked her bottom lip as she smiled at Sam’s use of the Amish term for an outsider, but her humor was short-lived. She’d already lost everything she cared about in her life. Her home. Her chance for children. Jacob. And Thomas had given up everything he desired to keep the old ways for the sake of their parents. She wouldn’t, she couldn’t let his sacrifice be in vain.

But if the church elders learned Thomas had contacted her for help, her brother would be shunned. He was in enough trouble for pushing the leadership of the Amish community into hiring an attorney to fight the developers and the state. If the elders found out exactly what she and Sam were…

Yo, Anne? You still there?

She shoved away the disconcerting thoughts and drew another deep breath. The various scents were too mixed in the still, thick air to tell if the whiff of plastic came from something the man carried or trash floating down the Killbuck River. I can’t tell from this distance, but he’s definitely the same man who observed me from the woods last night while I patrolled.

The other woman’s annoyance swept back in a salmon orange wave. Then maybe you should have questioned him last night.

Based on what? Anne flung the thought back. He’s made no action against me or the livestock. And there hadn’t been an animal attack since she and Sam had arrived in Millersburg. That fact lent credence to Thomas’s theory that the culprit behind the livestock mutilations was indeed a supernatural. It also bolstered Sam’s opinion they were dealing with a rogue. Anne had learned decades ago not to make assumptions despite the evidence. She needed proof the killings weren’t linked to Birkenwald’s attempts to force her brother and the other farmers out of their homes.

Sam’s mental sigh whispered through her mind. Doesn’t mean he’s not a look-out. I’d feel better if you had taken a gun with you. Or at least, your sai.

It was bad enough Anne’s supervisor had insisted she bring the armaments with her, even if they were locked in the SUV. The sheer thought of carrying a weapon on her family’s land was more than sufficient to make Anne break out in hives. If vampires could, that is. You’re not armed either.

I’m not an enforcer, and we both know I couldn’t hit the broad side of Thomas’s barn. Are you sure your stalker is a Normal?

Irritation threatened to become downright anger. Sam…

Then it’s time we had a talk with your ‘friend.’ I’m at the north fence line of Jacob Miller’s property. I’ll swing around.

Anne’s annoyance turned to discomfort at the mention of Jacob. No sense giving Sam’s tongue any more ammunition. Are you sure trapping him is a wise course of action? He may be a distraction from the real culprits.

Oh puh-leease! If a vamp and a zombie can’t handle one measly human… Sam’s mental voice dissolved into peals of laughter. Besides, the boys would never forgive me if I let you get slimed because the asshole’s carrying one of those reaper thingies.

It’s called a scythe. Anne didn’t bother to correct her on the other point. Technically, Sam wasn’t a zombie, but no one knew what else to call a walking, talking dead woman. At least, she hadn’t stooped to eating human brains.


Anne shoved a lock of hair behind her ear. The short strands irritated her as well, but not nearly as much as Sam’s laughter, her poor estimate of Anne’s abilities, or the offer of hair accessories earlier. Not that she didn’t appreciate Sam’s kindness, but the clips weren’t--they just weren’t…


The prohibition against adornment stuck to her soul even after all these decades away from Holmes County. Assuming vampires still had souls. She hoped the fact that she still cared about her brother meant she did.

Anne shook her head as she walked, dislodging her hair again. She shouldn’t have come home. Crickets chirped in counterpoint to the frogs along the banks, their summer song a reminder she’d never belong here again. Maybe the “boys,” as Sam referred to the older vampires of the Augustine coven, were right. Maybe she should join the twenty-first century. But in the sixty-plus years since rogue vampires had forced her into this existence, her faith had brought her comfort—still brought her comfort, even in her darkest times. Wearing her hair and clothes in the old style was part of that comfort as well.

And Jacob had always told her how much he loved her hair. But he wouldn’t have loved it quite so much if he knew the monster she’d become.

She suppressed a shudder at the mix of old and new anxieties, and she continued stalking through the clover. She couldn’t blame Sam for cutting off her waist-length locks. The zombie had done what was necessary to the ruined tresses. Her hair had become tangled beyond any hope of redemption during her month of captivity at the hands of Sam’s creators.

No, she was angry with Master Augustine. She couldn’t fault his generosity in giving Sam a place in the coven, considering some of the other supernaturals’ attitude toward the zombie. But when he charged Sam with the responsibility of being Anne’s daytime guard for this trip, neither woman had been fooled about who was supposed to watch whom. Maybe the confrontation with the Normal would cleanse Anne of the aggravation of having to babysit.

Anne let the mix of irritation and humor slide from her consciousness. From the corner of her eye, she gauged the man’s progress as he drifted from tree to tree, matching her pace. He had to be one of the local English boys, his shirt too bright of a blue to be Amish. Maybe a youth hoping to claim glory or notoriety by discovering what the Millersburg Monster really was. It wouldn’t go well if a Normal discovered the perpetrator first and Thomas’s suspicion of a supernatural culprit was correct.

No, it would not go well at all.

She sampled the night air again. Her watcher’s scent was too rich, too spicy, too heady, for a child. A trickle of warmth seeped through her belly. He was definitely an adult male. Vampire instincts rose, only to be quelled by her will. Her blood need had been well satiated before she and Sam set out tonight, but the desire to hunt her hunter filled her. Angling her course toward the trees, she closed the distance between them.


Colin Fitzgerald let the night goggles he’d bought at the army surplus store drop from his eyes. The silhouette of the girl headed for the edge of the woods lining the river. For a split second, he would have sworn her eyes glowed, but it had to be a trick of light from the goggles. He shook his head and rolled his shoulders to ease the chafing of the backpack straps. Keeping to the shelter of the trees, he paralleled her course. A stroll through the woods in the middle of the night was never a bright idea under the best of circumstances. He crossed his fingers he wouldn’t break an ankle in a groundhog hole. The damn pests were more of a threat than the wisp of a girl traipsing through Thomas’s hay field.

This whole situation was growing weirder by the minute. She couldn’t possibly be the person killing and mutilating his clients’ livestock. He didn’t believe someone that slight could have the strength to drag a full-grown bull around a pasture.

Not by herself anyway. Even after removing the internal organs.

But she’d been by herself the last couple of nights, just as she was tonight.

Hitching his thumbs under the backpack straps, he dodged around a tree dressed in ivy. Under the full moon, the shadow in the hay field continued toward the fence line separating Thomas Levy’s property from the Millers’. Dark clothes cloaked her. A long sleeve oversized shirt and a calf-length skirt. He didn’t have a good look at her lower legs in the foot high clover, but he’d lay odds she wore plain black stockings and shoes. If it weren’t for her uncovered, chin-length locks, she could be any other Amish or Mennonite girl in the area. But something wasn’t quite right in her posture as she stalked through the clover. Definitely not one of the demure, humble women he’d come to know since leaving the Philadelphia D.A.’s office and moving to remote, out-of-the-way Millersburg, Ohio.

A quick peek through the goggles showed her continuing on the same course. She might know who was behind the livestock loss. Why else would she be sneaking around his clients’ farms this time of night?

Except he couldn’t quite call her confident stride sneaking.

He almost wished the girl was a party to one of Matt Jessup’s practical jokes. No, not even Matt would sink to that level. He may have a quirky sense of humor—Colin had been the butt of several of the other attorney’s stunts—but Matt wasn’t vicious. Not like the bastard who was destroying people’s livelihoods.

His fingers tightened around the goggles. He knew what it’d cost the Amish farmers to come to him for help. To them, approaching an outsider for aid was unheard of. And an attorney?

The church elders had pitched a fit when they found out Thomas Levy and Jacob Miller visited Colin’s office. An ironic smile twisted his mouth. Well, as much of a fit as an Amish would allow himself. Simon Yoder’s face had been beet red, though he never raised his voice, when Colin met with the men of the Millersburg Amish community at Thomas’s house. In the end, Simon had been outvoted, the majority agreeing Colin was best suited to fight Birkenwald Group’s attempt to buy out their farms.

At least until Birkenwald decided to play dirty.

Their attempts to pressure state officials into seizing the land through eminent domain was bad enough. The memory of Thomas’s prize bull flashed through his head. Or what had been left of the poor animal. Colin swallowed the bile at the back of his throat. Torturing the farmers’ livestock to death to drive the Amish out constituted raw evil in his book.

He swung the backpack off one shoulder to trade the goggles for a bottle of water.

“What are you doing here?”

He jerked to a halt. A darker shadow separated itself from a maple trunk and glided into a patch of silvery moonlight in front of him. The girl from the hayfield. A sharp gasp escaped his throat. Even though she wore the dark, simple clothing of an Amish, plain was hardly the word he’d use to describe her. Silvery light worshipped her pale face. Dark eyes peered at him through equally dark locks. Elfin features twisted into a frown as she regarded him.

And how had she managed to overtake him? Two seconds ago, she’d been a hundred yards away in the middle of the freakin’ clover.

“You’re on private property.” A challenging step forward, such an assertive move for the slight wisp of a girl. “Who are you and what are you doing here?”

His dry tongue rasped the roof of his mouth. A fairy queen. That’s what she reminded him of, the poster of an Unseelie temptress tacked on his nephew Evan’s bedroom wall. And that brief memory cracked the wall he’d carefully built over the last year. Maybe he was going insane from guilt if he was imagining fairy queens.

An amused snort silenced the soft rustling of birds and other animals settling in the trees for the night. “If you think I’m a fairy, you really need to get out more.”

Oh, shit. I said that aloud? Colin winced. He hadn’t made such a fool of himself with a girl since Missy Johnson in sixth grade. Old habits reasserted themselves, and he matched her aggressive body language. “I could ask you the same thing. This is my client’s land, and I know for a fact you’re not one of his granddaughters.”
She blinked, eyes luminous in the moonlight. “You’re Thomas’s attorney?”

“Yeah. And you haven’t answered my question.”

Her confused expression melted into one of acid fury. “What are you doing out here? Are you trying to get yourself killed?”

It was his turn to snort in humor. “Last time I checked I don’t moo and I don’t chew cud.”

“That’s no guarantee…” Her head tilted, and she—

He shook his own in disbelief. No, she really was sniffing the air like one of Matt’s coonhounds.

Her pale face turned back to him. “You need to leave. Now.”

He took a step back, not that he took her warning seriously, but something sent a cold shiver across his skin and raised gooseflesh. It was more than her voice. Her eyes glowed, a warm gold that had nothing to do with moonlight or fairy queens. Human eyes didn’t reflect light like that, and there was little light besides the moon. No, not a reflection. Her eyes emitted the glow, a glow growing stronger and brighter.

Colin took another cautious step back. “What are you?”

Hot breath on his neck was the only warning he had before something shoved him face first into dirt and dead leaves. Something heavy landed hard on his back, slamming his temple back into the musty soil. Something that stank the putrid, coppery stink of old blood as well as its own godawful body odor.

Then the smothering weight was gone. High-pitched yips and a higher-pitched battle cry brought his head out of the loam. And into a nightmare.

Air petrified in Colin’s lungs. His mind refused to wrap itself around the furry thing that clawed and bit at the girl. The beast hunched on its rear limbs, neither totally upright nor on all fours. Colin’s eyes refused to focus, as if the shape of the thing declined to stabilize into one form or another.

And the girl wasn’t a girl. She was the angel of death. Or a demon. This was the dark queen incarnate, dancing and dodging the monster’s blows. Her eyes glowed neon yellow under the shade of a massive maple. Fangs extended past lips twisted in a feral snarl. This time Beauty was a beast too, and she charged the furry version.

The two figures tumbled across the branches and decay littering the floor of the woods. Their thrashing threw detritus in the air as each struggled to subdue the other. The thing tossed the girl away. She rolled, coming up in a crouch. When she leapt, the thing landed a solid kick in her gut. The girl slammed headfirst into a trunk, the crack still echoing through the trees when she crumpled into a heap at the roots.

The furry thing limped into the small pool of moonlight. Dark liquid oozed from its left shoulder. It gave Colin a dismissive glance and turned its attention back to the girl, a jagged piece of deadwood clutched in its upraised right claw. There was no mistaking its intention in its awkward steps as it staggered toward the unconscious girl.

Colin fumbled with the backpack lying next to him before he yanked out the flare gun. With a quick prayer, he aimed at the thing and pulled the trigger. A nova burst to life in the clearing, followed by a scream of pain. The nasty odor of burnt fur confirmed he hit his target. From the scuffling against the brush, the thing beat a fast retreat toward the river.

Blinking white spots out of his vision, Colin crawled in the direction of the fallen girl. Guilt dug its way out of the hole where he’d buried it. Once again, his decision made him responsible. Please let her be okay. Please. He dropped the flare gun and reached for the dark form. Fingers automatically went to her neck. No pulse. New fear joined old guilt in his intestines. Dammit! Calm down so you can help her. This is not like Patrick and Evan.

There! He breathed a sigh at the faint thrum under his touch. The beat was way too slow but steady. He checked for other injuries, trying not to jostle her too much. And trying not to think about the fact they were in the middle of the woods and over two miles from the nearest telephone. He pulled out his cell phone from his jeans pocket, but as expected, the words “No Service” flashed on the screen. Heat surged through his face and hands. He shoved the useless piece of crap back in his pocket.

With tender strokes, he brushed her hair out of the way. Shaking fingers probed her skull, and his heart convulsed at the mushy feeling in the base. Sticky wetness coated his hands. The guilt and fear curdled into a fetid mass.

Something grabbed his shirt collar and yanked him backward, adrenaline overloading his nerves. He twisted to punch at the monster when a feminine voice said, “Just what the fuck are you doing to her?”

Monday, February 13, 2012

What I'm Currently Reading

Don't worry folks! This doesn't mean I'm not writing!

But I don't like bring my laptop or my Kindle to the Day Job since we've caught a couple of people in the employee area. (Yeah, right, sure you were looking for the bathroom.) So I only bring paperbacks for my breaks since people are less likely to steal them.

I finished L.A. Banks' Conquer the Dark over New Year's. You can tell Ms. Banks rushed to finish this before she became too sick to write. Still, the story has the depth, humor, and passion that all her books have. It saddens me that this is the last new books of hers that I'll ever read.

I also finally had time to read Stephanie Bond's last book in her Southern Roads series, Baby, Don't Go. The beginning of the book with its militant feminism was a little too '70's for me, but once you're past the first five chapters, the story rolls with Ms. Bond's usual humor and charm.

I'm still working my way through Jim Butcher's Side Jobs, an anthology of his Harry Dresden short stories, most of which I've read before. The story The Warrior has my all-time favorite quote: "Harry Dresden. Saving the world through one random act of destruction at a time."

I finally pulled Urban Legend by Erica Orloff from the TBR pile. This one was published in 2004 as part of Silhouette's Bombshell line, and yes, I'd bought it new. Shows you the size of my TBR pile. LOL I'll report on this one once I get into it.

Have a great Valentine's Day, my readers! I wish you lots of chocolate and love!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Don't You Just Hate It When...

When they say the road to hell is paved with good intentions, they weren't joking.

The plan was to release Amish, Vamps & Thieves this week.

But as I was doing the final read-thru, I realized something. There was a plot hole. A big plot hole. One that escaped the four crit partners, two beta readers, my editor, my proofreader and me through the zillion rounds of drafts.


So, my sincere apologies to all my readers for the delay, but I'm not about to put out a substandard product. I owe you more than that. I promise I WILL make this delay up to you!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Why Reading Is Like Vegetables

Like a lot of parents, I had trouble getting my son to read. Things were clicking along until he hit five and started to school. Then we had the Kindergarten Teacher from Hell. The one who told my kid when he stumbled over one word that if he couldn't read he was stupid. What didn't help was the shift (at the same time) in our neighborhood from parents who encouraged education to parents who viewed the public school system as free babysitting.

Around the same time, GK decided he hated vegetables because all the other kids at school hated vegetables.


Threats do not work with GK. They never have. I've had to use a lot of stealth techniques in the areas of both vegetables and reading to maintain his appropriate growth rate.

The Bait and Switch

I pretend I can't find X vegetable or book. "Why don't you do Y instead to fulfill your requirements?"

The Bargain

If you eat X number of vegetable pieces (read X number of pages), you can play X minutes on the Xbox.

Reverse Psychology

We take GK to see X movie ("Hey, there's a book about X movie, but don't read it"). Or we order X vegetable at a restaurant and say he can't have any. GK will partake because thinks he's getting away with something.


Since GK loves the Halo video game and Strawberry Pop-Tarts, I'll say, "Why don't you read a Halo novel while snacking on fresh strawberries."

So, what do y'all do to interest your kid in things they need but hate?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Location, Location, Location

How important is location to you, the reader? How authentic do you want the experience to be?

I'm working on the edits for Amish, Vamps & Thieves, the fourth book in the Bloodlines series. The story takes Anne, Augustine coven's Amish enforcer, back home to Ohio for the first time in sixty years.  My proofreader flagged a few things that confused her. In almost every case, the question revolves around an Ohio-ism.

Or more accurately, a Northwest Territory-ism.

Wait! you say. Ohio is smack dab in the middle of the U.S.

Now it is. Back in the 1700's, it was called the Northwest Territory (NWT) because it was, well, northwest of the original thirteen colonies. A huge swath of land between the western Great Lakes, the Ohio River Valley and the Missouri River that eventually became the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin.

If I mention euchre, folks in Texas look at me funny. Unless they're a transplant. Then they'll ask, "Got a deck?" A carbonated beverage is 'pop'. Athletic footware is pronounced 'ten-ah-shoes'.

So what do y'all (or you guys) think?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Soundtrack for Blood Magick

I'm one of those people who listens to music while writing. Sometimes, I simply need sound to create a particular mood. Mozart for emotion and introspection. Madonna or Prince for a really hot sex scene. G'n'R or Aerosmith for action.

Over the last eight years, I've put together a specific playlist for each novel I've written. Here's the soundtrack I put together for Blood Magick (Bloodlines #1):

Man, I Feel Like a Woman by Shania Twain
Who Do You Think You Are by Spice Girls
Angel by Sarah McLachlan
How Soon Is Now? by Love Spit Love
Defying Gravity by Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenowyth
Transylvanian Concubine by Rasputina
Sooner or Later by Madonna
The Continental by Prince & the New Power Generation
Sympathy for the Devil by the Rolling Stones
Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Queen
Breathe (2 AM) by Anna Nalick
7 by Prince & the New Power Generation
Love Song for a Vampire by Annie Lennox
Say You'll Be There by Spice Girls