Welcome Carmen Stefanescu with Dracula’s Mistress #Historical #Gothic #Paranormal

Happy Saint Paddy’s Day! On this delightful wearin’ o’ the green day, I’m excited to welcome my dear friend, Carmen Stefanescu, with her brand new release, Dracula’s Mistress. Carmen is wonderful supporter of other authors. If you haven’t already connected, check out her blog, Shadows of the Past, or find her at any of the contact links below.

As a lifelong native of Romania, Carmen is ideally suited to write Dracula’s Mistress, a tale that combines history, horror and light romance in a look at the man who spawned the Dracula legend. Let’s make Carmen feel welcome on her book’s birthday!

Dracula’s Mistress

Book Cover for Dracula's Mistress by Carmen Stefanescu

Purchase Dracula’s Mistress from Amazon • Just .99 cents!!

Blurb:
From the day that the powerful, brave and merciless Vlad III Basarab, a descendant of the Draculesti family—better known to most people as the infamous vampire Dracula—ascends the throne, he knows only battles, betrayal and intrigue.

Evil grips the town of Targoviste, capital residence of Walachia. The secrets behind the stone walls of the palace are as dark and violent as a winter’s night, as terrifying as the prince’s deeds. Dead bodies, drained of blood and missing their little finger keep appearing in the streets at night.

Lovely, smart, determined, Angela Oltenescu ignores all the aggressive rumors and her mother’s warning regarding Vlad. Will she suffer the consequences of falling in love with a man nicknamed Dracula by his enemies—an infamous creature of the night?

Rich, sly, treacherous,  Marin Craioveanu, a powerful landlord, craves the same woman loved by Vlad. Marin’s hatred toward the prince will make him an ally to Handsome Radu, Vlad’s brother and Sultan’s friend, ready to sell the country to the Ottomans to get rid of his rival.

Dracula’s Mistress will awe legions of fans of Gothic literature, paranormal and historical fiction.

 

Purchase Dracula’s Mistress from Amazon • Just .99 cents!!

Excerpt:
Angela smiled with fond indulgence and looked at her father. “Prepare for mother’s. . .” She stopped as the words passed her lips, looked over her father’s shoulder, and started violently. The image behind her father made her words freeze on her lips. A sickening sense of horror overpowered her.

The pale light of the moon fell on a man’s face. A man dressed in torn clothes. Some ragged ends of silken thread were still attached to his arms, stretched towards them in begging.

His face, all covered in blood. His eyes were closed. His bluish lips mumbled something Angela couldn’t clearly understand. Slurred words reached her. She thought she heard, “Candle. . . candle. . . pleaaaase. . .” A sickening odor reached Angela’s nostrils. Slowly, the closed eyelids opened revealing two empty sockets instead of eyes.

A low moan of horror escaped her.

“What? What’s wrong?” Grigore asked.

But before he turned his head to see what triggered Angela’s reaction the apparition melted into the darkness.

Angela staggered a little, and then found her balance.

“Nothing,” she answered in a shaken voice. “I thought . . . Nothing, Father.” She pushed the horrible apparition from her mind. Perhaps all the stories about the souls of the young noblemen killed so cruelly here were not just stories.

Grigore shook his head and shrugged. Then reaching out his hand, he helped her climb into the carriage. She was barely able to move as she trembled from head to foot. She shrank back on the bear skin spread inside.

Grigore sat facing her, but looked absorbed by the things that had happened that night.

The neighing of the horses sounded strange to her ears. The sound of a tree branch scraping the roof of the carriage sent Angela’s heart into her mouth.

She leaned forward until her nose was touching the glass of the carriage window. Outside, on the side of the road, she glimpsed again the silhouette of the horrible man, dressed in tattered clothes. She peered into the darkness to see better. There was no doubt.

Author Bio:
Carmen Stefanescu resides in Romania, the native country of the infamous vampire Count Dracula  where, for about 50 years of communist dictatorship, just speaking about God, faith, reincarnation or paranormal phenomena could have led someone to great trouble – the psychiatric hospital if not to prison.

High-school teacher of English and German in her native country, and mother of two daughters, Carmen Stefanescu survived the grim years of oppression  by escaping in a parallel world, that of the books. Reading was, is and will always be her greatest hobby.

She has dreamed since childhood to become a writer, but many of the things she wrote remained just drawer projects. The fall of the Ceausescu’s regime in 1989, and the opening of the country to the world meant a new beginning for her. She started publishing. Poems first, and then prose. Both in English.

Several of her poems were successfully published in a collection of Contemporary English Poems, Muse Whispers vol.1 and Muse Whispers vol.2 by Midnight Edition Publication, in 2001 and 2002.

She likes to blend genres and thus she writes paranormal stories with a smidgen of mystery, history and romance. The reader will find suspense, dark themes, adventure, danger as well as sweet revenge. She calls her stories  “gothic” romance. Her writing focuses on rebirth, past life regression, karmic retribution.

Her first novel, Shadows of the Past, was released in 2012 by Wild Child Publishing, USA, folowed by Till Life Do Us Part released by Solstice Publishing, USA.

Carmen joined the volunteer staff at Marketing For Romance Writers Author blog and is the coordinator of #Thursday13 posts.

Connect with Carmen at the following haunts:
Blog | Website | Twitter | Pinterest | Facebook | Goodreads | Google+ | Amazon | 
Cold Coffee Cafe  

Welcome Tammy Tate with The Homecoming #ShifterRomance

Today, I’m welcoming back Tammy Tate with her latest release, a shifter story, and the first in a series. Take it away, Tammy . . .

The Homecoming (Book One of Bayou Shifters series)

 Mae, thanks so much for having me as your guest. I’m thrilled to be here and excited to share my new release, The Homecoming. It’s part of a series I’m working on called Bayou Shifters. For the most part, it takes place deep in a Louisiana alligator infested swamp and is only accessible by boat. The perfect place for a clan of shifters to thrive and go unnoticed.

The Homecoming is packed with romance, revenge, and a strong will to live. All the ingredients necessary to keep the pages turning. WARNING: Depending what time of day you start it, it may keep you up at night or ignore household duties during the day! You’ve been forewarned…

And, if The Homecoming leaves you wanting more…then you’ll be happy to know, I have started book two! Book cover for The Homecoming by Tammy Tate shows young dark-haired couple embracing facing camera, dark night sky behind, wolf at bottom

Blurb
Sydney is half human, half wolf, and has fallen in love with Kyle, a full-fledged shifter who for the last six months has been appearing in her dreams.

The next full moon, Sydney makes her first shift from human to wolf. The transformation won’t be easy. Thanks to her human genes, it could leave her disfigured. Or, worse. Dead.

Edward knows he can’t rush Sydney to the hospital if something goes terribly wrong, so he sends his only daughter to live with his late wife’s wolf clan deep in Louisiana’s alligator infested bayou. Despite holding Edward responsible for her sister’s death, Susan agrees to help.

Sydney learns Kyle is in Bayou Fontaine. But, for the sake of the pack, the council has already chosen Emily, as his mate. The relentless she-wolf will stop at nothing to claim what is rightfully hers and teams up with Kyle’s twin brother, Justin, who’s hell bent on revenge.

The clock is ticking…

Excerpt
Sydney frowned at her internal beast. “Look. I know you mean well, but the evil ‘Ms. Thing’ might just show herself if I call her name.”

“It’s easier to go against something we can see, rather than something we can’t,” her wolf protested.

Her canine had a good point.

Her wolf spoke again. “She’s out there. Don’t believe me? Call her.”

“Do you have a death wish? Because if you do, I must inform, I don’t.”

“Lisa’s life may depend on us.”

“What if Emily shifts into her wolf? Should I remind you, I can’t do that at will, yet?”

“You could try—”

“I could get us killed, too!”

“I’ll help…”

Sydney clenched her fists. “I thought you understood. I’m the boss. Obviously, you don’t get it, so let me refresh your memory—”

“Shhh…” her wolf said in a low growl. “Wolf. One o’clock…”

Sydney rolled her eyes a tick to the right, and whispered, “I swear if Emily doesn’t hurt you, I might.”

AVAILABLE AT AMAZON 

BOOK TRAILER:

Author Tammy TateAUTHOR BIO:
Tammy Tate was born and raised in Hollywood, Florida but has lived most of her adult life in Texas. Her passion to write began in high school. It follows her everywhere she goes…creating a world where anything is possible. She’s been married to the same wonderful man for over thirty years. Her secret to a long marriage? It’s easy when you marry your best friend. In her world, Friday night is still date night.

Before she became a full-time author, she was an Executive Secretary, a Computer Consultant/Technician, and a Communications Officer (Police Dispatcher). She doesn’t mind a challenge which has allowed her to race a late-model in a women’s powder puff race, run barrels and poles in a play-day rodeo and drive an 18-wheeler. Somewhere in between, she and her husband raised three wonderful children. When she’s not breathing life into her characters or jotting down ideas for a new book, she and her husband are exploring country roads on their Honda Gold Wing.

Since she believes reading is the next best thing to writing, she enjoys romance, fantasy, science fiction and thrillers. In December of 2013, she signed her first book contract with a traditional publisher. Her books have made Amazon’s Best Seller list.

Connect with Tammy at the following haunts:
Facebook Fan Page   

Goodreads   
Blogspot    

Guest Author Carmen Stefanescu with Till Life Do Us Part #NewRelease #Paranormal

I’m doing the hippity-hop-happy-Snoopy dance for my dear friend, Carmen Stefanescu, who is celebrating a book birthday with her new release, Till Life Do Us Part.  She’s brought along a thought-pondering post with a topic that plays into her novel. Garb a cup of coffee or tea and mull it over. And while you’re pondering, be sure to check out Carmen’s release through the links below!

~ooOOoo~

Mae, thank you so much for having me as your guest today.  I’m thrilled to be here, and excited to share my latest release.

Book cover for Till Life Do Us Part by Carmen Stefanescu shows a trees at night framing a full moon

Till Life Do Us Part

Publisher: Solstice Publishing

Genre:  Paranormal Romance

Mystery, Suspense, Reincarnation,

Release date: 9th June 2016

It’s not my intention to lecture on a complicated topic but I’m sure there is no one who, having a sense of personal or collective responsibility, won’t wonder, at a certain moment in their life, what will happen to them after their physical death— why they were born and why must they die. Why life is so unfair for some and easy for others.

Is there or is there not a spirit? What is it? Is it mortal as our physical body or immortal?  At one time or another we will be touched by the passing of of our mother, father or some other beloved person. We want to know if we will meet them again and, if we do, when and how—their physical body was left in a flower-covered grave in a cemetery, or was burned to ashes.

Since ancient times people have wondered if something remains of a human being after physical death. Philosophers divide into two categories according to their beliefs. One is that of materialists, who believe all we have is our life here on Earth. Nothing follows after we pass. Our name lives on in the memories of others.

The second category includes idealists. They believe there’s more than the physical body—an immortal component that doesn’t disappear when we die. They call this component the spirit or soul and have tried, unsuccessfully, to find the place it resides in the human body.

I, too, have pondered these questions regarding the mystery of our lives. The immortality of the soul is the topic of my writing. Shadows of the Past, Till Life Do Us Part, as well as the upcoming Dracula’s Mistress, all tackle this idea.

Is it my fear of death, the fear of  “nothingness?”  Perhaps. But I am sure Antoine Lavoisier’s statement that “nothing is lost, nothing is gained, all is changed and transformed continually,” can apply to immortality of our soul, too.

BLURB:
Barbara Heyer can hear the voices of dead people. They whisper of their deaths, seek comfort for those left behind, and occasionally even warn her about future events. But when Barbara’s brother, Colin, is accused of murder, it will take more than her gift to prove his innocence.

Becoming smitten with the handsome investigator, Detective Patrick Fischer, is a serious complication given his assignment to her brother’s case. Barbara senses there is something far deeper—and perhaps much older—than the surface attraction between them. Could that be why she’s visited by a mysterious woman named Emma in her dreams? Could past life regression tie all the seemingly unconnected events together?

Barbara and Patrick must overcome heartache to find the truth to save Colin, and perhaps themselves.

Excerpt:
Barbara drove home in a state of utter mental and physical exhaustion. So many things had piled up on her in only one day. Her head throbbed and her soul was heavy. What had the spirit, Kathleen, wanted to tell her? Why did she mention Colin’s name?

Coincidence nagged at the back of her mind. The time when the girl had regained consciousness, according to the doctor, seemed to fit the moment when the spirit stopped talking to her in the car.

The joy of having brought peace into the hearts and minds of Alfie’s family was shadowed by what the spirit implied. Colin has some explaining to do. I can’t believe he would kill someone, she thought. It’s impossible. He’s a good, quiet kid. It must have been a malicious spirit, pulling my leg. And, what about her own attacker? That despicable man. Could there be a connection? He mentioned the name Kathleen and made threats. She must keep her windows shut and locked from now on.

/././././././././

“Detective, please, don’t  think I’m raving, but I have to ask. Do you know someone called Mabel?”

The man riveted Barbara with his dark blue eyes for a moment.

Barbara cringed inside. He’ll rebuke me.

The man passed a hand over his face and nodding, he answered, “Yes, I know a Mabel. My… my wife.”

“How long ago did she pass away?”

In a voice that was more than a little surprised he asked, “How on earth did you know she’s dead?”

“She’s here,” Barbara replied in a small voice.

His eyebrows shot up in disbelief. The steel in his voice was hard to miss. “What? What are you talking about?” He spun round and looked at the apparently empty space behind him.

Tell him I no longer suffer, Barbara heard Mabel’s voice.

Detective Fisher was still staring blankly around him.

“She wants me to tell you she no longer suffers. She hopes you’ve found in your heart the power to forgive her for committing suicide… for jumping off the bridge.”

The detective looked straight into Barbara’s eyes. The grief she saw in them was almost palpable.

 

Purchase Till Life Do Us Part from:
Solstice Publishing
Amazon 

Author Bio:
Author, Carmen Stefanescu smiling for camera
Carmen Stefanescu resides in Romania, the native country of the infamous vampire Count Dracula, where, for about 50 years of communist dictatorship, just speaking about God, faith, reincarnation or paranormal phenomena could have led someone to great trouble – the psychiatric hospital if not to prison.

Teacher of English and German in her native country, and mother of two daughters, Carmen Stefanescu survived the grim years of oppression by escaping in a parallel world, that of books.

Several of her poems were successfully published in a collection of Contemporary English Poems, Muse Whispers vol.1 and Muse Whispers vol.2 by Midnight Edition Publication, in 2001 and 2002. Her first novel, Shadows of the Past, was released in 2012 by Wild Child Publishing, USA.

Carmen joined the volunteer staff at Marketing For Romance Writers Author blog and is the coordinator of #Thursday13 posts.

You can stalk the author at the following haunts:
Blog 

Twitter 
Pinterest 
Facebook 
Goodreads 
Google+ 
Amazon Author Page 

Purchase Till Life Do Us Part from:
Solstice Publishing 

Amazon 

The Griffin’s Secret by Cate Masters .99 Sale

Sale ad for The Griffin's Secret by author Cate Masters shows book cover with guitarist with his back turnedIt’s time to stock up for summer reading! Friend, sister author, and awesome CP, Cate Masters, currently has her book The Griffin’s Secret on sale for $.99. I loved the combination of myth and modern day in this one. It looks like Night Owl Reviews thought it was very special, too!

~ooOOoo~

In this contemporary re-telling of Grimm’s classic fairy tale The Griffin, two people must risk everything to free themselves from the invisible prisons that keep them from love…

Jackson Grant had it all—the girl he loved, his Harley, and his guitar. Until a tragic accident stole it all away. Now, more than scars and a tattoo remain. Jackson has a secret. Cursed by his dead girlfriend’s mother, he can never fall in love again or his beloved will die. With his heart on lockdown, he keeps to himself—until a roadie gig with Malcontent, the world’s most popular band, entwines his fate with sweet, wounded Layla’s…

Music is what Layla lives for. She has no choice. She’s bound by magic to serve Malcontent, cursed to propel them to stardom with her musical powers. Then Jackson appears and gives her hope that he’s the hero who will save her. A reluctant hero, yet one she can’t resist. But freedom will come at price—and who will pay…?

What reviewers are saying:

I loved this one! The author did an excellent job of fitting this Grimm’s Tale into a rock music world. Readers will be intrigued and pulled into the story quickly. – Night Owl Reviews – TOP PICK https://romance.nightowlreviews.com/v5/reviews/arlenadean-reviews-the-griffins-secret-by-cate-masters

I loved this one! You will be hooked into this read from the very start. Be prepared for a lots of twist and turns, suspense as well as to be intrigued from this well told story – KK’s Reviews https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1283727028?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

A good blend of paranormal and contemporary romanceKiltsandSwords https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1273705790?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

The premise was interesting and unique. – Angela Street’s Review https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1249483226?book_show_action=true&page=1

Purchase From:
Kensington  

Amazon 
Barnes and Noble 

About the Author
Award-winning author Cate Masters loves stories of any genre. Multi-published in contemporary to historical, fantasy/dark fantasy to paranormal, she sometimes mashes genres. Look for her at http://catemasters.blogspot.com and in strange nooks and far-flung corners of the web.

Connect with Cate at the following haunts:
Website 

Email 
Facebook 
Twitter @CateMasters 

Guest Author Michele Jones with Romance Under Wraps #PNR #Egyptology

Looking for something different? Look no further! Michele Jones, my guest today, combines curses, Egyptology, romance and a museum in her debut release, ROMANCE UNDER WRAPS. I read this shortly after it came out, sucked in by the intriguing blend of elements. You can find my review on Amazon. In the meantime, please welcome Michele with her first full-length novel. As we all know, the first is always special 🙂

~ooOOoo~

Thanks Mae for having me. For those of you who don’t know me, I have been writing for years; short stories, memoirs, poems, and cookbooks. Suspense, mystery, thriller, and paranormal have always been the theme. The next logical step for me, a full length novel.

When my sister, Staci, told me about an a PNR anthology that was looking for authors, well, I just had to do it. Vampires, werewolves, zombies, ghosts, gargoyles―all part of the set. I wanted to be different―that’s what sparked me to choose a mummy. And the rest shall we say is history. I know, boo hiss groan, terrible pun, but I couldn’t resist. I love a pun, no matter how good or bad.Image of hieroglyphics

Romance Under Wraps, my first novel, was released earlier this month. It was a bittersweet moment for me. The excitement of the release energized me, but after the final edits were complete, I felt as though I lost a friend.

We’ve all heard about the mummy’s curse. Death, destruction, bad luck, sickness. But what if the tables were turned? What if the mummy were cursed, and not those involved with the tomb and its contents? A plot was born.

As a western Pennsylvania resident, Pittsburgh is close to my heart. Naturally, my novel takes place there, and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History sets the stage for the plot. A big shout out to the museum for helping me with my research, and permitting me to use the museum in the book.

Book cover for Romance Under Wraps by Michele Jones shows stone figures of Egyptian Pharaoh on thorne with servant beside him and the silhouette of modern day couple behind themWhen myth meets reality, worlds collide. Suspense, peril, and a love story that transcends time.

The Carnegie Museum of Natural History gets an Egyptian installation, and it seems to come with the ubiquitous mummy’s curse. Death and destruction abound. But the real curse is on the mummy’s advisor—he must teach the mummy how to pass forty-three judgments or find the reincarnated queen and win her love—or they are doomed to continue reawakening every century to try all over again.

A Peek Inside

The gods had truly blessed him. Dene closed his eyes and relived the moment. He pictured her black hair fanned out beneath her, her green eyes darkening then closing, her olive skin luminescent in the moonlight. One after another, the erotic images swam through his mind.

He bolted up, breathless. He wasn’t thinking about his queen.

He was thinking about Tayla.

~ooOOoo~

Romance Under Wraps is available now from  Amazon

Author Michele Jones in a candid shotAuthor Bio:

Michele Jones lives in Western Pennsylvania with her husband and two spoiled dogs. Along with her writing; family, cooking, and sports are her passions. She is a diehard Penguin, Steeler, and Pirate fan―really, a diehard anything-Pittsburgh fan.

Michele writes memoirs, short stories, romance, and poetry, but her passion lies in writing paranormal, suspense, and thrillers. All of her work features strong, capable heroines; dashing, honorable heroes; and dark, dangerous villains embroiled in mysterious, perilous situations to keep readers fascinated from her first word to her last. You can follow her online at www.michele-jones.com.

Connect with Michele at the following haunts: 

Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Google + | LinkedIn | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page | Instagram

Purchase ROMANCE UNDER WRAPS from Amazon

Staci Troilo on Story Inspiration and Gargoyles

Hi, friends. Today, I’m delighted to welcome Staci Troilo back to my blog with her latest release, LOVE SET IN STONE. I read this novel shortly after release and was immediately taken by the blend of paranormal elements in an urban setting. The character development is wonderful with one character in particular quickly stealing my heart. You can find my five star review on Amazon. In the meantime, please welcome Staci back with a great post on story inspiration and a special favorite of mine—gargoyles!

~ooOOoo~

Hi, Mae. Thanks for inviting me back to your site. And hello again, Mae’s friends. I appreciate you giving me a few minutes of your time today.

People often ask me where I get my ideas for my stories, probably because I write in several different genres. Truth is, my ideas come from all over the place. Weird dreams, conversations I overhear, stories my kids tell me, song lyrics, family history… the list goes on and on, and could probably become a blog post—or several blog posts—itself.

Today, I want to talk about the inspiration for my newest novel, Love Set in Stone. There are a few supernatural elements in that story (an angel, a fallen angel, and a gargoyle), but the inspiration for the novel came from a poem I read by Dav Pilkey called “God Bless the Gargoyles”.

In that particular work, there are no fallen angels. In fact, there are no romances, no criminals, no police detectives, no curses, no trips to hell. Yes, my novel has all these elements, and a lot more woven into the plot to turn this glimmer of an idea into a full-length novel.

What “God Bless the Gargoyles” does have is something that inspires me. After I read the poem, I was haunted by the image of these poor gargoyles who wanted to do nothing more than help the humans they watched over, and how sad they were when the humans turned on them. How the only friends they were left with were the angels in the clouds with them.

Believe me, my adult PNR novel is nothing like the children’s poem. But that one concept in the poem—the guardian angel and the gargoyle—stuck with me. And I think it’s proof that you can find inspiration for any kind of novel in the most unlikely places. Even for a paranormal romance in a children’s poem.

Book cover for Love Set in Stone by Staci Troilo shows a young woman with the image of a man and gargoyle behind herExcerpt:

“Damien?”

Damien jumped at the sound of Anael’s voice. He spun around to find the angel standing there. He didn’t float, he didn’t glow. Didn’t even smile like he usually did.

But he was there.

“Are you all right?” Damien asked. “I’ve been worried.”

“You didn’t make me break the rules, Damien. I chose to.”

“Because I was being stubborn.”

“It doesn’t matter. It was my choice.”

“I didn’t think angels had freewill.”

“How do you think we got the fallen? Sometimes we’re left to our own devices. And sometimes, we choose wrong.”

Damien tried and failed to shrug off the chills creeping up his spine. When he spoke, his voice croaked, barely above a whisper. “Did I make you… fall?”

“Stop worrying about me.”

“I’m sorry.” He was. Profoundly so.

Anael turned away from Damien and walked to the edge of the roof. He looked out over the lights of the city, didn’t turn around when he spoke.

“Damien. You need to forget about new terms to your contract. Operate as though nothing has changed.”

“If I’m not getting to renegotiate, then nothing has changed.”

Anael didn’t turn around.

“Anael? Has something changed?”

“Claim your destiny, Damien. And let me worry about mine.”

With that, the angel disappeared.

Damien called out to him, but he never returned.

A quick roll of his head released the tension in his neck. For about two seconds. Then the stress settled back on him, heavier than the stone of his alter ego.

Anael was in trouble. Because of him.

And the terms of his deal were absolute. Claim his destined future or forfeit his eternity.

Without the angel, without new terms, he had no choice.

So there’s a brief glimpse at Damien and Anael, the gargoyle and angel in Love Set in Stone, a PNR inspired by a children’s poem of all things. My advice to writers? Keep your eyes and ears peeled… you never know where inspiration will come from. And my advice to people who know writers? Be careful… you never know what about you might become fodder for your writer friend’s next work. 😉

Love Set in Stone Purchase Information:

Available now: Amazon | B&N |Kobo | Inktera | Scribd | 24 Symbols
Coming soon: iBooks | Paperback

Author Bio
Author Staci Troilo in a candid pose
Staci Troilo has always loved fiction, ever since her parents read her fairy tales when she was little. Today, her interests are much more eclectic. She loves getting lost in sci-fi battles, fantasy realms, horror worlds, suspenseful intrigues, and romantic entanglements.

As goes her reading, so goes her writing. She can’t pick a single genre to focus on, so she doesn’t even try. She’s proud to say she’s a multi-genre author.

When she’s not reading or writing, she’s spending time with family and friends, possibly cooking for them, or maybe enjoying an afternoon in the pool. To learn more about her, visit http://stacitroilo.com or connect with her on social media.

Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Google + | LinkedIn | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page

 

Guest Blogger Staci Troilo on Alchemy, Michelangelo, and the Protectorate

I’ve got a super fun treat for you today with guest blogger Staci Troilo. We originally connected through Twitter and realized we had a lot in common: We’re both Pennsylvania girls and we both come from a strong Italian background. And, of course, we both love to write–and read. Staci’s latest release, BLEEDING HEART, is a fabulous 5-Star mix of supernatural and contemporary, political intrigue, history, familial bonds, mystery and more. She’s written a really cool post about the basis behind it, which I think you’ll enjoy. She’s also got a fun question for you at the end.

Please welcome Staci Troilo!

~ooOOoo~

Thank you, Mae, for inviting me to talk to your readers today. I’m excited to be here.

Hi, everyone. I was so excited when Mae told me you guys are fans of the paranormal. I write many genres, but paranormal is one of my favorites.

The paranormal genre covers a wide range of topics—everything from witches to werewolves, vampires to Valkyries. I seem to like it all. But for one of my current series, I decided to combine my love of the supernatural with my heritage. I’m Italian, and probably obnoxiously proud of it. So when I think “Italy” and “supernatural,” I naturally came to one conclusion.

open book with candle and alchemy pestleAlchemy.

The Renaissance always fascinated me. The art, the architecture, the culture… absolutely captivating. So after a little bit of research and a lot of imagination (or maybe the other way around), the mythology of the Medici Protectorate series took shape.

I never really wanted to write historical novels, so I’ve based this story in the present, but with a heavy focus on the past. Without giving too many spoilers away, I’ll say that in this world, the Medici didn’t die out, despite what people believe. Generation after generation, they are watched over by a secret society. Until the day when Michelangelo’s prophecy comes to fruition and they are poised to rise again to rule Italy.

Sounds pretty realistic—prophecy aside, anyway. So where does the alchemy come into play?

The Protectorate who protects this line? They’ve been given marble daggers that Michelangelo created from his personal quarry, daggers that have been sculpted by the artist himself and forged in alchemical rituals to provide their wielders with specific powers.

Yep, that’s right. In this world, Michelangelo was an alchemist. Quite a successful one, at that. He achieved an alchemist’s ultimate goals—mutating metals and conquering aging. Can you imagine what that means in this world?

It means the man is still alive. Centuries later. And he has untold wealth, experience, and knowledge. Seems that would make him a formidable opponent. Unbeatable, even.

Wait until you see who rises to oppose him, though. It’s not going to be easy for the Protectorate.

The first book of the series, Bleeding Heart, just scratches the surface of the prophecy and the history. Here’s a description of the novel:

Cover of Bleeding Heart, a novel by Staci TroiloIn the heart of Pittsburgh awaits a secret half a millennium in the making.

After her father’s brutal murder, Franki discovers she and her three sisters are the only surviving, secret legacy of the Medici. The same people who brutally murdered her father now target her and her family for assassination. Unprepared to battle an unknown enemy, she finds her safety depends on the Medici Protectorate, the warriors who guarded her bloodline for centuries, but who failed to protect her father.

Gianni, Franki’s protector, blows his first meeting with her, but knows he must garner the trust of not only Franki, but also her sisters. Without that, he fails too, and that is unacceptable—not only to him, but also to the Medici Protectorate. His troubles grow larger, for as he assumes his new role, he also undergoes inexplicable, explosive physical changes… transformations he can’t control. One of those is his uncontainable desire for Franki.

Their worlds collide in passion and violence, and Franki struggles to trust Gianni. When her life is on the line, Gianni will have to conquer both her fears and his own personal demons to rescue her in time.

Shot of Pittsburgh with riverThe story takes place in Western Pennsylvania, where I was born and raised. It’s chock full of Italian traditions and familial relationships based on the culture I grew up in. Honestly, there’s something for almost everyone in there—good food, family bonds, steamy romance, political intrigue, secret societies, alchemical rituals, historical research, supernatural powers. Here’s an excerpt for you to check it out:

“Outside,” Coz was saying to Gianni, tentatively taking his arm. “I think we should get you outside.”

“No,” Vinnie said. He crossed the room quickly and everyone turned to look at him. He grabbed Franki’s hand and dragged her over to Gianni, throwing her into his arms. “Kiss her.”

“What?” Gianni shook violently, tried to back away, but couldn’t. He seemed somehow rooted to the spot. “Are you crazy, V? I’m losing it, here. I can’t be near anyone, let alone…” He looked at Franki and pain seized him.

“Trust me. It will settle you.”

“We need some help in here,” Toni called from the kitchen.

“Please! The bleeding won’t stop!” Donni cried.

“Go ahead, Francesca. He will not harm you, and he needs your help.”

“Who the hell said that?” Jo shrieked.

Gianni knew where that voice came from, and who it belonged to, but he was far from willing to trust it. Franki seemed hell-bent on listening, however. He shook his head, but she took his face in her hands and pulled his mouth to hers. Then something inside Gianni exploded. 

Yeah. As the description said, Gianni is struggling to get a grip on his new powers. And as you might have guessed, when the sisters and the Protectorate get together, there’s often a little tension and a lot of action. The word “chaotic” comes to mind. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The second book, Mind Control, is in final revision now, and picks up where Bleeding Heart ends—with the sisters’ being hunted and the Protectorate still coming into their powers. It will be available in the spring.

I hope you enjoyed this brief look at the Medici Protectorate world. Clearly, the Italian culture and potential of alchemical rituals fascinate me. But now I’m curious. What are your favorite supernatural creatures or powers to read about? Leave a comment; I’d love to talk about it.

Thanks again for letting me visit today. It’s been a blast!

Author Staci TroiloAbout Staci:
Staci Troilo has always loved fiction, ever since her parents read her fairy tales when she was little. Today, her interests are much more eclectic. She loves getting lost in sci-fi battles, fantasy realms, horror worlds, suspenseful intrigues, and romantic entanglements.

As goes her reading, so goes her writing. She can’t pick a single genre to focus on, so she doesn’t even try. She’s proud to say she’s a multi-genre author.

When she’s not reading or writing, she’s spending time with family and friends, possibly cooking for them, or maybe enjoying an afternoon in the pool. To learn more about her, visit http://stacitroilo.com, join her private Facebook group (Staci Troilo’s Novel Idea), subscribe to her newsletter, or connect with her on social media.

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Mythical Monday: Ghost Ship, the HMS Eurydice by Mae Clair

October is a time when our thoughts easily turn to restless ghosts and apparitions. But phantoms aren’t restricted to dwellings only on land. Case in point—the tragedy of the HMS Eurydice.

Illustration of the HMS Eurydice caught in the squall that caused the ship to sink

By Illustrated London News [Public domain] courtesy Wikimedia Commons

 A wooden frigate in a time when steam-propelled and iron clad vessels gradually commandeered the waterways, the Eurydice was converted to a training ship in 1876. The British Navy felt there was still benefit for their ratings to learn the old ways of sail.

On March 22, 1878, the Eurydice was returning from the West Indies. She passed the southeastern side of the Isle of Wight in the British Channel and was spied under full sail by coastguards. Forty minutes later, off Sandown Bay, two smaller vessels sighted her as she continued her journey toward Portsmouth harbor.

Within moments an icy squall arose, bringing a frigid blizzard of snow. One of the smaller ships took shelter in a lee, while the other “reefed” his sails, prepared to ride out the storm. The Eurydice, however, continued under full sail, her gunports wide open. It’s believed she intended to fire a salute when she reached Portsmouth, just eight miles away.

Sadly, for the 366 men on the ship, she never arrived at her destination. Survivors say the captain ordered the sails lowered, but the squall engulfed the vessel so quickly, there wasn’t time. Spun about in the storm, the Eurydice tipped onto her port side and the sea rushed through the open gunports. She sank rapidly, most of the crew trapped below deck. Those who were tossed into the ocean froze to death in the icy waters as they struggled to swim to shore. Of the entire crew, only two survived, rescued by the vessel who had reefed her sails.

Since that fateful day in 1878, the Eurydice has been seen multiple times. Several people also reported experiencing premonitions of the ship’s demise at the exact moment the vessel was engulfed. Later, in 1880, local fishermen reported spying a fully-rigged sailing ship off Sandown Bay. The vessel mysteriously vanished when they drew closer. But not everyone believed the tales. Some whispered that the reports of a phantom vessel were nothing more than the result of lingering mist and imaginative thinking.

Then in 1934, the commander of the submarine HMS Proteus reported nearly colliding with a sailing man-of-war in the same area. Captain Lipscombe was on the conning tower of his boat, the sub returning from an exercise in the English Channel, when a phantom ship abruptly appeared from nowhere. He was forced to take evasive action, narrowly avoiding ramming her. Just that quickly, the phantom vessel disappeared. Lipscombe was reported to be a highly reputable witness who had no previous knowledge of the Eurydice’s sinking.

Finally, in 1998, while filming a TV documentary, Prince Edward spotted a three-masted ship off the Isle of Wight. It’s rumored the crew caught the spectral ship on film, and although their tape jammed during playback, they were able to show a portion of the footage on the program “Crown and Country.”

The tragedy of the Eurydice is considered one of Britain’s worse peace-time naval disasters. Perhaps that is why the phantom ship still haunts Sandown Bay, her gunports fully open as she slides in and out of the mist—one moment there, the next gone. Much like her own fate on March 22, 1878.

Do you think the stories could be true?

Mythical Monday: Visiting a Haunted Hotel by Mae Clair

One of the ponds in the TNT Area of West Virginia

One of the ponds in the TNT Area of West Virginia

Those of you who follow my blog regularly know that I recently took a trip to Point Pleasant, West Virginia in order to continue researching my Mothman series of novels. This time, I was able to garner a much better understanding of how the “TNT AREA” is laid out, and visited a few specific locations I wanted to see. Originally used to store munitions in World War II, the TNT is now a wildlife management area that encompasses over 3600 acres. Riddled among dense woodlands, overgrown trails and algae-covered ponds is a network of concrete “igloos” where ammunition was once stored. These are built into hillsides, and covered by trees and grass, making them invisible when viewed from the air.

There are several roads connected to the TNT that I really didn’t have a feel for, including one where cars have been known to shut down or stall for no reason. After visiting, I now understand how they intersect, and was even able to snap a photo of a map for the TNT at the Mothman Museum (yes, there is one). The museum has recently moved to a new building, and it’s far nicer than before. Hubby and I chatted with the guy who runs it for a while, and I was able to pick up some good info and another map.

Metal fencing in front of the site of the old North Power Plant in the TNT area, West Virginia

Site of the old north power plant in the TNT

I also wanted to see the ruins of the North Power Plant along Fairgrounds Road. This is the location where the Mothman was first sighted in 1966. The power plant is gone but I was able to snap of photo of the ruins and location where it stood.

So what does any of this have to do with staying at a haunted hotel?

During my last trip to Point Pleasant, my husband and I stayed across the river in Gallipolis, Ohio. This time we stayed in downtown Point Pleasant in the Historic Lowe Hotel. This is a very old four-story behemoth built in 1904. As I have an old hotel in my novels, I wanted to get a feel for this one.

The owners were super friendly and the location put almost everything I wanted to do within walking distance (except the TNT). I can’t begin to relay the scope of this place—it was mammoth. With its long halls, old stairways, elaborate moldings and woodwork, there were times I felt like I stepped into the Overlook hotel in The Shining. Everything was furnished with antiques, and I do mean antiques—as if nothing had ever been changed. I opened the top drawer on the dresser and discovered an old songbook from the 1940s, the pages yellowed and tattered, inside. The sink in the bathroom had separate faucets for hot and cold water. I can’t even remember the last time I saw a sink like that. The second floor landing had a huge parlor with a piano, parlor benches and chairs, this even before we ventured down the hallway to our room.

So where does the ghost fit in? When I inquired why the hotel was billed as haunted (something I didn’t realize until our last night there), our host told us that a phantom had been seen occasionally on the third floor. Nothing much appeared to be known about this ghost but there was a picture someone had snapped hanging in the second floor hallway. Our host told us the spirit was visible in the photo so my husband and I checked it out. I wasn’t expecting a lot, but have to admit, the image of someone is definitely visible in the bottom right hand corner. I tried to grab a shot of it with my phone. Are you able to see the ghost?

Framed photo of ghost rumored to haunt the Lowe Hotel in West Virginia, apparition visible on right

Framed photo of ghost rumored to haunt the Lowe Hotel in West Virginia, apparition visible on right

We left the next morning without having encountered any spirits or experiencing anything that went bump-in-the-night (er, not that I would want to). No Mothman, no UFOs, no men-in-black. But I did meet some great people and came away with additional research notes on an interesting, historic town.

Mae Clair Presents: Wytchfae World-Building with Flossie Benton Rogers

I’m delighted to welcome Flossie Benton Rogers, author of the Wytchfae series back to my blog today. One of the things I love best about Flossie’s books is the amount of world-building she does. Characters, creatures, and mythical elements are so vivid and engagingly crafted, they leap off the pages. Today, she’s going to share some of the inhabitants of her fantastic world, including those who populate her new release, DEMONESS DREAMS. Please welcome Flossie Benton Rogers!

~ooOOoo~

Hi, Mae! Thank you for featuring Demoness Dreams today. Since you and I are both interested in mythology and folklore, I thought we’d start by talking about the fae dimensions in my books and a few of the beings that inhabit them.  

The Wytchfae World: The realms encountered in the Wytchfae series of paranormal romance / urban fantasy novels are closer to us than a hair’s breadth. These mysterious places are populated with faeries, witches, demons, angels, goddesses, dark guardians, ghosts and other magical beings. The beings dwell in multiple dimensions parallel to our own earth dimension. Some of the worlds are welcoming, others dangerous and forbidding. Through the darkest night and the fright of unchained chaos, love will always shine.  

Wytchfae: Trained witches who possess a smattering of fae blood. Although they live on our regular earth plane, some of them visit other worlds as well as other times. Different Wytchfae have different abilities.  

Warriors: Some warriors live on the human earth plane and some in the fae dimensions. In the latter, warriors are charged with carrying out plans for powerful magical beings such as goddesses and dark guardians. They sometimes gain prestige for their bravery, such as Bane Heughar’s acclaim as Odin’s Warrior, and obtain a domain of their own.  

Salamander Fae: Fire elementals that assist Helle, the Goddess of the Underworld, in spells and ritual work deep in the recesses of her dark abode.  

Ice Trolls: Huge bluish beasts that look like a cross between a lumbering lowland ogre and a gigantic highland snow beast. They live in the mountains and attack travelers in the snowy dark.  

Grims: Creatures contained in a certain area of the Underworld.  Unfortunately for humans, their nourishment comes from sucking out a person’s life energy via memories. Grims also relish the taste of human blood.  

Remnants: Grims who have degenerated into mindless, zombie-like slugs due to not having access to enough “food.”  

Dark Guardians: Powerful male demigods who are in charge of various domains, such as the undersea realm and the empty void between dimensions.  

Book cover for Demoness Dreams by Flossie Benton Rogers showing a young blond woman and wing only of a large black bird

Demoness Dreams – Wytchfae 6
Desperate to escape her hellish nightmares, Neva Jaxony falls into the arms of rugged Bane Heughar. Is the mesmerizing man more dangerous than darkness itself?  

Blurb: Heaven or hell? Dream or nightmare? Where passion is concerned, the veils are thin.

As her Wytchfae powers intensify and nightmares invade her waking reality, Neva Jaxony seeks answers in the shadowy past. Then a mysterious stranger enters the picture, and she falls hard. Is he the man of her dreams or part of the darkness that threatens to consume her?

Acclaimed warrior Bane Heughar has orders to prove Neva is not dangerous– or kill her before she can turn demon.  He never expected to find her so bewitching, or so damn desirable. He has until the Solstice Moon to carry out his mission. All he really wants to do is take Neva in his arms, kiss her senseless, and for the two of them to disappear off the radar. But when the Underworld is involved, no one can hide.  

Desperate to escape her hellish nightmares, Neva Jaxony falls into the arms of rugged Bane Heughar. Is the mesmerizing man more dangerous than darkness itself?  

First Line Teaser: Hell was the last place Bane Heughar wanted to visit.  

Teaser: He was hard pressed to remember his mission, when all he wanted to do was stash her in his bed and make love to her all night long.  

Book Video 

Excerpt:
Underworld, Modern Day

Hell was the last place Bane Heughar wanted to visit. When the Goddess of the Underworld summoned, you never knew whether it was for tea and scones or to scourge you bloody. Maybe you’d get out in one piece, or maybe twelve. The pulse in his throat thudded at the sight of Helle’s grim expression.

The tautness of her face indicated disturbing emotions rippling beneath the surface. Her flaxen hair framed strong cheekbones, and her wintry grey eyes glittered. She reminded him of one of her showcase fountains—an icy lake with fiery jets that spurted upward and then crashed in startling and unpredictable abandon.

Stern looking soldiers flanked her.

She extended the tips of her fingers. “Warrior.” The scent of jasmine wafted into his nostrils.

He bowed his head to bestow a respectful kiss. “Goddess Helle. How may I be of service?”

“Come with me.” She swiveled, and a bodyguard advanced beside her. She thrust out a palm. “Halt! You shall remain here.”

The uniformed man appeared bewildered. “But Goddess, your safety is my utmost responsibility. I beg you—”

Her visage turned thunderous. “Stay, I say. I will speak to the warrior in private.”

Beckoning for Bane to follow, she led him beyond the entryway of her palace, past her abode and deep into the tunnels of her cavernous domain. The pathways wound around until he doubted even his well-honed sense of direction could extricate him if she left him to find his own way.

What did she have to discuss with him that her own trusted guard could not hear?

A surge of adrenalin sizzled throughout his body. He had never ventured this far inside Helle’s mysterious netherworld. She appeared to be leading him deep into one of her innermost sanctums.

At last they came to a rounded crystal enclave where gleaming spears of quartz grew in wild abandon from the rocky walls and ceiling. The crystal luminescence created a dazzling bombardment amid the strategically situated torchlights. The power generated in the room heated his blood until his ears pounded. He cleared his throat to alleviate the pressure.

Helle made her way to a great tripodal cauldron perched on an array of low rocks. “Salamander fae, forged of earth’s blood, ye living fire, be at peace.” She fluttered her fingers, leaving a shimmering ripple in the air.

The flames beneath the tripod curled blue tendrils around the edges. Bane stepped closer. The tiny salamander fae, tenders of the sacred element, faded into the shadows, giving way to the Goddess. Their movement resounded in the enclave like the faint whispers of hissing steam.

The Goddess Helle swirled her hands back and forth over the cauldron and recited a strange incantation.

Even with his magical fae ability to understand foreign tongues, Bane couldn’t make out all the words. The language probably died out before humanoids rose on two limbs.

The water in the ancient cauldron churned and spewed in the presence of the Goddess of the Underworld. A shape formed in the vessel. The image blurred with the movement of the liquid and then stilled to reveal a stunning face. The woman’s hair glimmered like a halo of spun gold. A light kindled her exquisite features as if she looked upon a dazzling sight. A pleasurable thrill thrummed in the middle of Bane’s chest. When he spoke, his voice came out a whisper. “Who is she?”  

Demoness Dreams Buy Links:
Amazon
Secret Cravings Publishing 
Barnes & Noble 
All Romance eBooks 
Bookstrand 

Author , Flossie Benton Rogers, holding several of her Wytchfae Series novelsAuthor Bio:
Flossie Benton Rogers shares her passion for mythical realms by giving you sizzling dark fantasy romances with fairies, witches, goddesses, angels, and demons. Her writing buddy is the zany calico, Mistress Marigold. Reiki, tarot, runes, and gemstones are sometimes part of the magical mix. Flossie’s birth chart features sun in Sagittarius with a Taurus moon and Libra ascendant, as befits a 5th generation Floridian and freedom loving mystic.

Connect with Flossie at the following haunts:
Website 

Facebook 
Twitter 
Pinterest 
LinkedIn 
Goodreads author page 
Amazon author page 
Tumblr 
Tsu  

Other Books by Flossie Benton Rogers: 
Wytchfae Runes 
Guardian of the Deep – Wytchfae 2 
Mind Your Goddess – Wytchfae 3 
Time Singer – Wytchfae 4 
Dark Guardians – Wytchfae Anthology 1 (Print Only) 
Lord of Fire – Wytchfae 5 

Coming Soon: Soul Weaver – Wytchfae 7