Happy Halloween and a Break for NaNoWriMo

Illuminated home garden path patio lights with halloween pumpkin lanterns

Happy Halloween! Wishing you plenty of treats and no tricks!

As I mentioned earlier this week, I’m going to take a break from blogging for the month of November. I’m focusing on NaNoWriMo and attempting to finish a WIP that has been languishing far too long (wish me luck!).

I’ll be popping in at Story Empire from time to time, and hopefully, can make a few rounds of the blogosphere as well–especially if I get stuck. Although I’m hoping that won’t happen…er, the getting stuck part. Please pardon my absence.

Here’s wishing everyone a Happy Halloween. Regardless if you’re participating in NaNoWriMo, or working at your own pace, I hope your muse is extra generous. See you in a month. 🙂

Returning Soon

Cute tabby cat peeking over a rim

Hi, friends. Just peeking in to drop a quick note asking that you pardon my absence these last few days. I had a chance to grab several unexpected vacation days and jumped on the opportunity. I’ve been off work for most of the past week. As I already had guests scheduled, I’ve made an effort to keep up with those posts but have been lax in my visits. I should be back to normal by Monday, but in the meantime am still enjoying lazy fall days and plenty of shopping (my favorite sport). Looking forward to catching up with all of you soon!

Guest Author Thursday: Marica Meara with The Emissary 3: Love Hurts #newrelease

red quill pen on a piece of old parchment paper, with an ink well with words Welcome Guest in script

My guest today has a lot of pluses in her corner—she’s a good friend, a Story Empire colleague, a gifted writer, and has been blessed with a wonderful sense of humor. She’s also a fabulous supporter of others. I have gobbled up everything she’s written, including her first two Emissary novels—and this one! You can find my 5 STAR REVIEW HERE. I thoroughly love these characters! You’ll find out why soon enough as you read the blurb and excerpt she’s sharing. Take it away, Marcia!

Banner ad for Emissary 3 by Marcia Meara shows Kindle with book cover displayed lying next to red rosesThanks so much for having me here today, Mae. It’s a great pleasure to be sharing the news of my latest release, The Emissary 3: Love Hurts, with you and your followers. I hope you’ll all enjoy this excerpt from Chapter 2. Dodger is battling a panic attack as he tries to get ready to visit the library where he’s just discovered the girl of his dreams works. I think it’s a pretty good example of the unofficial father/son relationship between Jake and Dodger, the bedrock of this series.

But first, let’s start with the blurb, so those unfamiliar with the novellas can get an idea of what’s going on overall.

Blurb

Header ad for The Emissary 3 by Maricia Meara

The archangel created his emissaries to help mortals avoid choices that would doom them for eternity. He hadn’t planned on the youngest member of his team falling in love with one.

~~~

Azrael’s emissarial program was growing daily, but it still met with stubborn opposition from many on the Council of Angels. Dodger’s request to be allowed to experience what falling in love was all about didn’t help matters, but Azrael thought the boy was onto something. He agreed emissaries who’d shared a loving relationship during their mortal lives would have a deeper understanding of human emotions and motivations, thus enhancing the skills they needed to do their jobs.

With that in mind, Azrael gave Dodger one chance to search for true love. He then laid down a daunting set of stringent rules and guidelines that could not be broken under any circumstances lest dire happenings occur. But while the angel sincerely hoped Dodger would find a way to make this endeavor work, he feared an avalanche of unintended consequences could be in store for his youngest emissary.

Sometimes even angels hate to be right.

~~~

Will Azrael ever tire of popping up behind Jake just to see his first emissary fall out of his chair in shock? Will sharp-eyed motel owners ever notice a big red and white semi mysteriously appearing and disappearing from their parking lots overnight? And will Dodger be able to track down the mystery girl who caught his eye two weeks earlier to see if she’s really The One?

To find the answers to these and other angelic or emissarial questions, come along on one last adventure with Jake, Dodger, and that ginormous, glowy-eyed archangel, Azrael. They’re waiting for you!

Excerpt

In the Somewhat Cool Trailer of Their Big Semi,
Gulping Down Coffee While Talking Over His Shoulder
And Hunting Everywhere for His Cleanest Pair of Jeans.

“WHERE THE HELL are the good ones? I only wore them to dinner the other night. They shouldn’t be in the laundry yet. And have you seen my belt? Or my other sneakers?”

Jake studied Dodger’s frustrated grumbling and frenzied search. “I don’t suppose it’s me you’re trying to impress, is it? Or maybe you think Azrael will be dropping in today?”

The boy didn’t answer, but an embarrassed flush spread across his cheeks.

“Okay, kid. If it isn’t either of those, I’m going to take a wild stab and say you’ve finally worked up the nerve to stop by the library.”

Shoulders slumped, Dodger glanced back at Jake, his eyes filled with panic. “That was my plan. Of course, it was my plan yesterday, too. And the day before.”

“So, what happened then?”

“Same thing that’s happening now. I start thinkin’ about all the ways I could screw this up, and I chicken out and put it off to go lookin’ for folks you and I can help, as usual.”

“But today, you’re not going to give in to the temptation to overthink this, right? You’re just going to jump in feet first like you always do with everything else and figure it out on the go.”

No answer.

“Dodge? Please tell me you’re going to quit driving yourself insane with needless worry and go talk to the girl. You don’t have to do more than that, you know. Just stop by to say hi and see how it goes.”

Still no answer.

“Look, kid. I understand how you feel. I do. Trying to have those first conversations with someone you really want to get to know is one of the hardest things in life, even without all the complications Azrael added into the mix. But I think you’ve put your own roadblocks in the way now, by inventing things to worry about that probably won’t happen at all. It’s time for you to trust your instincts and go for it.

book cover for The Emissary 3 by Marcia Meara shows silhouettes of couple gazing an ocean, angel wings over sky“You don’t have to settle every rule and regulation and goal for this relationship right off the bat. All you have to do is drop in for a quick visit. I have a feeling she’ll be happy to see you. Everybody likes to know others enjoy chatting with them, right?”

With a shaky sigh, Dodger plopped down on his bunk. “I know, I know. But I can’t help it. When I think about her, nothin’ works right. My heart beats too fast and my mouth gets dry and my knees shake. I can’t mess this up! I just can’t.”

“Oh, ye of little faith. In all the things Azrael said, did he once mention you’d screw up this possible relationship due to being too scared to carry on a normal conversation?”

“No, but—”

“No buts about it. It sounded to me like our angel wasn’t worried about how things would start out. His concern was directed at how it might end up, and the potential for future scenarios you wouldn’t like. I didn’t pick up on a single thing about you messing up right off the bat. Only that finding a way for it to turn into more would likely be pretty tricky.”

Jake rose, stepped to the little bookcase they used for storage, then grabbed a pair of jeans from the top shelf. “Here.” He tossed the jeans at the boy. “Are these the ones you were digging all over creation for?”

As Dodger caught the jeans, his embarrassed smile morphed into a sheepish grin. “Yeah. I guess I wasn’t lookin’ very hard.”

“Fear makes us blind, Dodge, and not always just about the big things. Get dressed so we can grab a quick breakfast. You’ve got a library to check out.”

~~~


Buy The Emissary 3: Love Hurts HERE


Bio

Author, Marcia MearaMarcia Meara lives in central Florida, just north of Orlando, with her husband of over thirty years and four big, spoiled cats.

When not writing or blogging, she spends her time gardening, and enjoying the surprising amount of wildlife that manages to make a home in her suburban yard. She enjoys nature. Really, really enjoys it. All of it! Well, almost all of it, anyway. From birds, to furry critters, to her very favorites, snakes. The exception would be spiders, which she truly loathes, convinced that anything with eight hairy legs is surely up to no good. She does not, however, kill spiders anymore, since she knows they have their place in the world. Besides, her husband now handles her Arachnid Catch and Release Program, and she’s good with that.

Spiders aside, the one thing Marcia would like to tell each of her readers is that it’s never too late to make your dreams come true. If, at the age of 69, she could write and publish her first book (and thus fulfill 64 years of longing to do that very thing), you can make your own dreams a reality, too. Go for it! What have you got to lose?

CONTACT MARCIA HERE:
marciameara16@gmail.com |
The Write StuffPinterest | Twitter: @marciameara

Find Marcia’s Books Here: MARCIA’S AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

Book Review Tuesday: The Body From the Past #JazziZanders #Cozy Mystery @judypost

Warm and cozy window seat with cushions and a opened book, light through vintage shutters, rustic style home decor. Small cat on window seat, along with coffee cup by pillow, Words Book Review Tuesday superimposed over image

Happy Tuesday! I only have one book review to share this week, but it’s a charmer, and part of a cozy mystery series I love. It was so good to catch up with some of my favorite characters in The Body From the Past.


Book cover for The Body From the Past by Judi Lynn shows cute pug dog in devil costume with jack-o-lanternsThe Body From the Past
by Judi Lynn

The latest Jazzi Zanders mystery delivers in a big way. I have enjoyed all of the books in this series to date, but this is my favorite. Jazzi, her hunky husband Ansel, and her cousin Jerrod are in the process of flipping a new house when they discover a young woman who lived there in the past was murdered.

Jessica Hodgekill had everything going for her when someone pushed her from a second-floor balcony the night of her high school graduation party. The suspects are plenty and range from rivals to a busybody neighbor, and even family members. As Jazzi digs for an answer, rattling skeletons that shouldn’t be rattled, new murders occur in the present and the roster of suspects mounts.

I really enjoyed the multiple angles in this story that included glimpses into Jessica’s past and even journal entries she’d left behind. The mystery builds slowly with each suspect rising to the surface as individual motives are revealed. The author does an excellent job in painting several characters as having plenty of reasons to plot murder. Set against the backdrop of October, the story also offers a nice balance with Jazzi’s homelife as she and Ansel prepare for a Halloween bash. There is plenty of warmth with familiar secondary characters who have become like friends and neighbors throughout the series. Even Jazzi and Ansel’s pets—pug George and cats, Inky and Marmalade—get moments to shine in multiple scenes.

The plot threads are tightly woven for a satisfying ending when all the pieces fall into place. Judi Lynn knows how to deftly juggle numerous characters within an engaging story, while continuing her characters across a series that leaves the reader eagerly looking forward to the next mystery. 5 Stars!

AMAZON LINK
Genre: Cozy Mystery > Amateur Sleuth Mysteries


And there you have my latest read. As we head into October, The Body From the Past with its Halloween theme and long unsolved murder mystery makes for perfect reading during jack-o-lantern season. I give it 5 Plump Pumpkins! 🙂

Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #19 NEW Image Prompt! Join in the fun! @pursoot #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #WritingPrompt

I had some free writing time this weekend, and although I tinkered with my WIP,  I also found time to participate in Suzanne Burke’s latest flash fiction challenge. If you’d like to play, you can find all the details HERE.

This week’s photo prompt:

A shot of the iconic Hollywood Sign on hillside

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Shattered Dreams

“It’s iconic, you know that, right?” Terrence pointed to the photo behind his desk.

“You have to ask?” Marco smirked, rolling a toothpick in his mouth. “Who doesn’t know the Hollywood sign?”

The town inspired dreams, fantasies and stardom. Sometimes, it inspired hate.

Terrence studied his fingernails. “How much?”

“Depends.” The toothpick tasted woody. Marco flicked it aside. “Do you want it flattened or—”

“Obliterated.” Terrence circled his desk. Stood gazing at the framed photo on the wall, hands clasped behind his back. “I was thirteen when this was taken. Family vacation. That’s me and Russ in front of the sign. He was ten… grew stars in his head that same night. Said he was going to be a big name when he was older.”

“Sorry it didn’t work out.” An outright lie. Marco didn’t give a rat’s ass, but he’d learned it helped to project a measure of sympathy until the payout was in hand.

“I’ve dumped every dollar I have into supporting my brother. I’m out of cash, and patience. The idiot thinks he has a shot at the lead in the Merchant Mercury franchise.”

Marco snorted. This was too rich to pass up. “Your brother’s claim to fame is a shaving cream commercial. Merchant Mercury is supposed to be the next Star Wars.”

“You see what I’m up against.” Terrance grimaced. “I want you to take down that damn sign, so he realizes the whole thing is a pipe dream. He needs to man up, start earning a living. Forget this ‘acting is my destiny’ crap. The guy’s a loser. It’s time he faced the facts.”

“Consider it done.” Marco had already stockpiled the explosives. “You know where to send the money.”

++++

Terrence scrubbed his face, suppressing a yawn. He folded into the couch, coffee in hand, then snatched the TV remote. Every channel had the same news—someone had blown up the Hollywood sign sometime after 3:00 AM. Videos and images showed police swarming the scene. What remained of the iconic sign was strewn in chunks and splinters over the hillside. Helicopters pinwheeled overhead and reporters angled for face time. Talking heads popped up in a mosaic of windows on his screen, one after another.

“Hell, yes!” He pumped a fist in the air. Marco had blasted that wretched sign into fragments and—if Terrance had calculated properly—Russ’s dreams right along with it. When his phone rang, he juddered to his feet, snatching it from the end table. “Yeah?”

“Hey, Terrance, how are you, big brother?” Strange that Russ sounded energized. He should be crestfallen after seeing his altar blown to smithereens.

“I, um…” Terrence knew he should feign horror or sorrow. Maybe outrage. Outrage was always good.

“I’m so freaking stoked I don’t even know what day it is.” Russ didn’t give him the time to decide.

“Where are you?”

“My pathetic shoebox of an apartment, but not for long.”

“What are you talking about?”

“I hit the big time.”

Terrence muted the TV remote. “You’re not making sense.”

“Probably because I kicked a bottle of champagne in under fifteen minutes.”

A queer sense of foreboding spread in Terence’s gut. “You’re celebrating?”

“Sure am. I landed the lead in Merchant Mercury.” Russ’s voice climbed an octave. “Just got the call. Can you shittin’ believe it? The studio head is already saying I’m going to be the next Harrison Ford. First thing tomorrow, I’m hiking to the Hollywood sign to have my picture taken.”

Terrence’s knees buckled. He sank onto the couch, eyes glued to the emergency personnel on the screen. What the hell had he done?

“I’d love it if you could be with me big brother. You always believed in me. Never gave up on my dreams.”

Terrance dropped the phone, cradled his face in his hands. He’d spent every dime he had paying Marco’s price, figuring Russ would crawl home when broken. They’d start over, go into business together. But all of that had changed. His bank account read zero and his younger brother was destined for stardom. Who was the loser now?

He clawed the phone to his ear. “Russ…” His voice broke. “I, uh… I hate to ask, but I’m out of cash.”

“Seriously? How?”

“I did something stupid.” He swallowed bitter tears. “I shattered my dream.”


Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed my take on the photo prompt, and—as always—I wish you happy writing wherever your muse may take you!

Book Review Wednesday: Eternal Road, The Emissary 3: Love Hurts, The Choice: Unexpected Heroes. @HowellWave, @MarciaMeara, @gmplano

A woman sitting on the beach reading a book. Her back is to the camera, with ocean in front. Done in a wash of faded colors

If today’s post seems a little out of place, that’s because I’m a day late with my book reviews. I already had a post in place yesterday, so I moved my reviews to Hump Day this week. Every now and then you just have to go with the flow.

I have three titles to share, all from authors I admire. I’m pleased to say I’ve read and enjoyed every book each of these fabulous authors has released to date, so it’s no surprise I found their latest offerings equally up to snuff. All three are also Story Empire colleagues. That’s right–if you haven’t already heard the news, Gwen Plano has joined SE, and we couldn’t be happier! So today, it’s a blog 3-FER for SE reads, all recommended with plenty of fanfare and applause! 🙂


book cover for Etneral Road by John W. Howell shows blue and white 1965 Oldsmobile on road heading into cloudsEternal Road
John W. Howell

A combination of paranormal suspense, fantasy, and time travel, Eternal Road delivers on multiple levels. James dies in a car accident and finds himself on the “eternal road” where his soul offers ripe pickings for Lucifer. James hooks up with Samatha (Sam) a soul he knew in grade school, now a woman, who partners with him through numerous learning experiences that take them through various moments in history–the OK Corral, the Alamo, WWII–and even decades into the future, where the human race is at stake.

What stood out for me in this story was the spiritual aspect of good vs. evil, the love and protection of God, and the choices the characters have to make. The love between James and Sam transcends that of mortal scope, and many of the scenes related to their family (when they’re able to reach those moments) are beautifully written and heart warming. Eternal Road delivers adventure, history, fantasy, and spiritual warmth in equal measures. Although the ending delivers a solid wrap to the events, I could easily see this becoming a series, and would eagerly sign on for future stories! 5 Stars.

AMAZON LINK
Genre: Historical Thriller > Supernatural Thriller


book cover for The Emissary 3 by Marcia Meara shows silhouettes of couple gazing an ocean, angel wings over skyThe Emissary 3: Love Hurts
by Marcia Meara

In The Emissary 3: Love Hurts, author Marcia Meara returns to the world of Jake, Dodger, and Azrael—two emissaries and an angel whose job is to keep humans from making poor life choices. Azrael is in charge (or “Boss” as Jake calls him, to the non-amusement of Azrael) with Jake and Dodger working as his emissaries. Jake and Dodger have physical bodies, but they have previously passed from this life—which becomes a problem when Dodger falls for Juliet, a girl he sees at the library.

Azrael is willing to give Dodger a chance to explore his feelings and develop a relationship with Juliet, but the complications far surpass those of a normal couple, especially given Dodger is unable to share with Juliet who he really is or what he does.

As in past Emissary novellas, the story abounds with warmth and humor. I never tire of Azrael suddenly appearing and giving Jake a jolt. There is plenty of banter between angel and emissaries, but also plenty of near-parental type guidance and sternness from Azrael. That big angel has a huge soft spot for his recruits!

The story is polished with spot-on dialogue and emotions that tug on heart strings but ultimately leave the reader with a feel-good finish. This is a beautiful story, and a beautiful wrap to an enchanting series! 5 Stars.

AMAZON LINK
Genre: Paranormal and Urban Fantasy


Book cover for The Choice by Gwen Plano shows silhouettes of man and woman from back holding hands on rocky beach, helicopter with search beam in starry night skyThe Choice: the unexpected heroes
by Gwen Plano

If you enjoy military fiction and political intrigue, you’ll enjoy this well-polished and plotted novel. The sequel to The Contract: Between Heaven and Earth, the story delves into the murder of Brad and Sarah (from book one) and who ordered their deaths. The author does provide a forward which helps cover what occurred in the first novel if you are new to the series.

In The Choice, new characters are introduced, including two who set up a romantic theme. I liked how the relationship grew and flourished between Jim and Donna. The bulk of the story, however, focuses on the investigation and political twists and turns as our “unexpected heroes” work to stop a power-hungry man known as “the Lion” from creating a one-world government. The pace moves steadily throughout with a few unexpected and well delivered twists at the end. 4 Stars.

Amazon Link
Genre: Military Policy > Mystery Action Fiction > Action and Adventure Romance


Thank you for checking out my latest round of reviews. As always, I hope you have your nose buried in a good book and I wish you happy reading!

Book Review Tuesday: HMS Lanternfish by C. S. Boyack, The Twins by D.L. Cross @Virgilante @stacitroilo

Warm and cozy window seat with cushions and a opened book, light through vintage shutters, rustic style home decor. Small cat on window seat, along with coffee cup by pillow, Words Book Review Tuesday superimposed over imageWelcome to another Book Review Tuesday. I have two five-star reviews to share today. Both of these books are wildly imaginative and engrossing from start to finish. If you enjoy ingenious fiction, you’re sure to love both of these!


book cover HMS Lanternfish by C. S. Boyack shows clipper ship on stormy seasH.M.S. Lanternfish
Lanternfish Series Book 2
By C. S. Boyack

C. S. Boyack delivers another colorful adventure with HMS Lanterfish. I loved the first novel, Voyage of the Lanternfish, which introduced us to James—pirate captain Bloodwater—and his crew. The gang is back again (including the scene stealing root monsters), along with new characters, imaginative creatures, and plenty of action. James is drawn from a peaceful retirement to act as privateer for the war effort.

As always, Boyack delivers a story that brims over with adventure and explosive action. There are exploding monks (and that’s only part of the “explosive” action, LOL), a possessed weapon, a shogun, con artists, terrifying creatures, a beautiful princess, and a crew of thoroughly unique characters. Some standouts for me are the relationship between James and his adopted son, Mule, and Serang, a fiercely loyal female warrior who can kick butt like no other and who gets her own ship this time around. It’s hard to catch your breath when Lanternfish sets sail.

If you enjoy fast-paced fiction, a good sea yarn and a fun time, you’ll love this book and this series. And if you have no clue what a root monster is, grab your copy of HMS Lanterfish and prepare to be enchanted, as these guys have plenty of tales to tell, and they are not shy about it as the crew can attest. When a root monster earns a name, it is really something special, just one more highlight in this wildly entertaining book!

5 STARS

AMAZON LINK
Genre: Sea Stories > Pirate Adventure > Epic Fantasy


Book cover for The Twins by D. L. Cross shows black sun with fiery corona above ruins of city, UFOs and Ying and Yang symbols The Twins
Astral Conspiracy Series Book 4

by D. L. Cross

I’ve been following this series since book one. The Stones has been my favorite to date, but The Twins comes in a close second. Once again, the action is nonstop, following different POV characters through separate pulse-pounding situations, all coming to a head in the closing quarter of the book. For fans who have followed the series, there are several surprises in store, including one jaw-dropping revelation that sets up book five, the closing novel in the series. That revelation is sheer brilliance on the part of the author, and I can’t wait to see how it plays out. I also really loved Cross’s slant on Roswell with what took place there and why. Yet another perfectly lobbed plot grenade.

There is strong cast of characters in this series, and by now I’ve spent a good deal of time with all of them. As their loyalties change, and circumstance reveals news sides to their personalities and underlying motivations, I found my own loyalties changing—including grudgingly admiring more than one character I once detested. Although each chapter is a constant adrenalin rush, it’s almost impossible to catch your breath in the closing quarter of the book. I fully expect The Lab, book five, to deliver a nail-biting and riveting finish to this stellar series. If you enjoy alien invasion stories with exceptional character development, polished writing, and an engrossing storyline, The Twins, and the Astral Conspiracy series are not to be missed! I would love to see Netflix turn this into a series.

5 STARS

AMAZON LINK
Genre: Alien Invasion > Colonization Science Fiction


Book cover shows two figures in black silhouette in an empty room with large windows and curtains behind, gunman shooting victim in backI also read Murder They Wrote last week, a murder mystery anthology in which I have a short story. It was great to sit back and enjoy tales my co-authors created. C. S. Boyack, and Judi Lynn set up murder mysteries that allowed me to revisit with characters I love.

Boyack used Jason Fogg to tell his story, and Judi Lynn brought back Jazzi and Ansel from her popular series. Both were stellar mysteries.

I enjoyed every offering in this collection, but must give a special shout out to Julia Donner for  Murder at a Garden Party or The Unpleasantness in the Study, a Regency tale full of dry wit and humor. I enjoyed it so much, I want to track down more stories with these characters.

AMAZON LINK
Genre: Anthology > Murder Mystery


As always, I wish you happy reading and hope that a title I’ve shared will spark your interest. I am also still reading the Harry Dresden series, and recently finished book 14 of the 16 that are currently in release. Book 17 releases in October, so I’ve got to read fast to catch up. Most of the Dresden books run 500-600+ pages, so it’s taking me a while, LOL!

And if you’d like to learn about Murder They Wrote, and the story I wrote for the anthology, I invite you to visit Marcia Meara’s blog today, where I’ve got the spotlight for Guest Author Tuesday. Marcia is a good friend, a Story Empire colleague, and a fantastic author. If you’re not already following her blog, you’re missing out on something special. You can find today’s post, HERE.

New Release: Liars and Thieves by D. Wallace Peach #fantasy #swordandsorcery

red quill pen on a piece of old parchment paper, with an ink well with words Welcome Guest in script
It’s my pleasure to have D. Wallace Peach on my blog today with her newest fantasy release, Liars and Thieves which is book one in a brand new epic fantasy series. Diana’s books are always rich in world building with intriguing, fully-fleshed out characters and plot lines that leave me in awe of their complexity and dexterity. I love that I can step into a vividly imagined world and lose myself in the beauty of her writing. She has a remarkable gift with words, and I’m honored to be taking part in her blog tour.

Banner ad for Liars and Thieves by D. Wallace Peach shows book, plus Kindle and e-reader versionsAt one point, the story suggests that all people are changelings. Diana explains what that means:

I’m intrigued by the idea that our choices define who we are, and that we have the ability to remake ourselves every moment of every day. We have the power to “change.” This applies to our appearance but, more importantly, to our thoughts and beliefs, how we speak and behave, whether we approach others with defensive hostility or kindness and compassion. We have the choice to seek a better world, a healthier planet, or to contribute to chaos. And simply by changing out choices we can become whole new people. That’s powerful!

I know the book will be powerful, too. Check out this trailer!


BLURB:

Behind the Veil, the hordes gather, eager to savage the world. But Kalann il Drakk, First of Chaos, is untroubled by the shimmering wall that holds his beasts at bay. For if he cannot cleanse the land of life, the races will do it for him. All he needs is a spark to light the fire.

Three unlikely allies stand in his way.

A misfit elf plagued by failure—

When Elanalue Windthorn abandons her soldiers to hunt a goblin, she strays into forbidden territory.

A changeling who betrays his home—

Talin Raska is a talented liar, thief, and spy. He makes a fatal mistake—he falls for his mark.

A halfbreed goblin with deadly secrets—

Naj’ar is a loner with a talent he doesn’t understand and cannot control, one that threatens all he holds dear.

When the spark of Chaos ignites, miners go missing. But they won’t be the last to vanish. As the cycles of blame whirl through the Borderland, old animosities flare, accusations break bonds, and war looms.

Three outcasts, thrust into an alliance by fate, by oaths, and the churning gears of calamity, must learn the truth. For they hold the future of their world in their hands.


Liars and Thieves Global Purchase Link


Author Bio:Author, D. Wallace Peach
D. Wallace Peach started writing later in life after the kids were grown and a move left her with hours to fill. Years of working in business surrendered to a full-time indulgence in the imaginative world of books, and when she started writing, she was instantly hooked. Diana lives in a log cabin amongst the tall evergreens and emerald moss of Oregon’s rainforest with her husband, two dogs, bats, owls, and the occasional family of coyotes.

Connect with the author at the following haunts:
Website/Blog | Website/Books | Amazon Author’s Page | Facebook | Twitter


Are you ready to get lost in this richly-layered fantasy world? Then I highly suggest you go forth and ONE-CLICK Liars and Thieves. Thanks for visiting today and joining in the launch excitement of Diana’s release. Please don’t forget to use the sharing buttons and help spread the news!

‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #15 NEW Image Prompt. Join in the fun! #IARTG #ASMSG @pursoot #WritingCommunity

Suzanne Burke came up with another wonderful image for a flash fiction prompt, one that thoroughly enchanted my muse. If you’d like to participate, check out the rules and deadline HERE. In a nutshell—-750 words or less in the genre or format (fiction, non-fiction, poetry, etc.) of your choice. I always seem to come in right at the 750 word mark, or just under. Today’s count is 746.

old door with shattered glass stands open to weathered stairway, discarded junk and trash on floor

FREE Image by  Peter H  from Pixabay

Atonement

Julian St. Croix. stood on the first step, testing the weight of the rotted tread. Behind him, Rexmont kicked through detritus littering the floor­—slivers of wood, dried leaves, tattered scraps of paper. Small puffs of dust wafted from his shoes, tickling the sensitive tissue of Julian’s nose.

He sniffed and dragged a sleeve across his face. “Second floor’s off limits.”

Rexmont stopped long enough to raise his head. “How come?”

“This step feels like rice paper and the others look as flimsy. Too much dry rot to risk it.”

“That sucks.” Rexmont wandered closer. He craned his neck to gaze toward the landing where shadows nested in a pocket of charcoals and grays. “Up there’s where he hung himself.”

“You’re sure?” They’d only been in the abandoned house forty minutes, and already Julian felt the drain on his energy.

“I did the research.” Rexmont swiped a paw over the back of his neck. He was a big man, twice Julian’s size, with massive hands, a chest like a double-wide freezer, and close-set eyes the color of motor oil. Most people labeled him a gorilla, but he was every bit as gifted in intellect as brawn, which was why Julian valued him so highly. If there was friendship between them, it straddled the line between employer/employee, still too new to venture deeper.

“No choice then.” Julian gripped his cane, the anchor that kept him from crumpling when spirit energy deserted him and all that was left was mortal stamina. “You stay here.”

“You’re the boss, but…is that wise?”

“The steps would never hold you.” Julian tested the first one. He was a trim man, not quite six feet, all lean muscle and bone, but still the wood groaned its fragility. Using his cane, he prodded each tread before adding his weight. When he reached the second-floor landing, he paused to glance down at Rexmont. “It’s an old house, but the structure is sound.”

His hired muscle snorted. “You’re two centuries older, at minimum. What’s that say about you?”

Julian’s lips curled. On his worse day, he could still pass for late thirties. “Let’s pray my fortitude is every bit as resilient as this structure.”

Without waiting for an acknowledgement, he ambled down the hallway. Over moldy carpet, once a rich burgundy, now frayed and discolored by grime. Fat cobwebs clung to the ceiling and sprouted in the corners. He followed a pulse of dark energy to a room on the right. The furniture had been cleared out years ago, but Sight allowed him to see the area as it had once been—a king-sized bed, ebony bureau, standing wardrobe, and roll-top desk.

His stamina wavered and he closed his eyes. When he looked again, the desk lay face down, papers and books scattered over the floor. A toppled ink well left a stain like blood on the paisley carpet. Above, suspended from the rafters, hung the body of a thirtyish man with white-gold hair. He had not died easily, his face bloated and purple.

Julian drew a breath to center himself. He bowed his head then murmured a prayer in middle English. When his voice faded, the specter’s form shimmered, outlined by tiny points of light. Within seconds, it vanished.

“Boss?” Rexmont appeared on the threshold. He glanced around the room. “That was quick work.”

Julian nodded, unwilling to say more. The ritual of releasing a spirit in bondage resurrected ugly memories. “How did you manage the steps?”

“I didn’t. I found a second stairway off the kitchen. Are we done?”

“For now.”

Rexmont frowned. “I still don’t understand why it’s your job to hunt down these ghosts and release them.”

“Because they deserve the peace that eluded them in life.” Something he’d yet to achieve.

Thoughts of his young wife and her lover filled his head. Visions of the blood he’d left them lying in before he’d flung a rope over a crossbeam and hung himself. Julian walked toward the door, his cane thumping hollowly against the floor. There was no erasing the sins of his past. Penitence would have to suffice, along with the hope that someday his spirit—like those he freed—might move on.

He paused and faced Rexmont. “I do it for atonement.”

“For you?”

“And them.” For the wife who’d broken their marriage vows, the brother who’d betrayed him by sharing her bed. He did it to erase the violent killer he’d once been. “I do it for my soul.”


This prompt really resonated with me. BIG TIME! I could easily see myself expanding on the characters and the plot line, spinning them into a novella or something longer. Now, if I could only find the time 😉

Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed my latest flash fiction! 

New Release: Murder They Wrote #whodunit #mystery #anthology

Book banner ad for Murder They Wrote shows ebook lying on sweater, old watch nearbyHappy hump day! I’m super excited to announce a new anthology in which I have a short story. Murder They Wrote is about….well, murder. Makes sense, right?  Seven authors (including moi) have come together to deliver whodunits with plenty of mystery and dead bodies. Here’s the best thing—you get a mash up of different settings and sub-genres.

Check out the blurb:Book cover shows two figures in black silhouette in an empty room with large windows and curtains behind, gunman shooting victim in back

Murder comes in 7 different genres. By 7 different authors.

Are you a fan of courtroom drama? In the anthology’s first story, Abraham Lincoln defends a friend’s son against a charge of murder.

For lovers of speculative fiction, Jason Fogg dissolves into mist to sneak through open windows and snoop for clues.

How about a cozy? Jazzi, Jerod, and Ansel discover a dead body while renovating a kitchen, dining room, and half bath.

Have a craving for a Regency? Lord Peregrine and his wife, Elizabeth, use their sharp minds and quick wit to solve a murder at a garden party.

Need a bit of literary fiction? A young, lonely widow must deal with the theft of a valuable butterfly collection.

And what about a little psychological horror? Twin sisters discover that their attic is haunted by not one, but two ghosts.

Last, but never least, the anthology concludes with a historical mystery. A young, newly married knight is accused of murdering his obnoxious host at a holiday gathering in his castle.


I am so excited to be part of this collection. Most readers know me as a writer of supernatural suspense and mystery but in my short story, A Winter Reckoning, I’ve foregone the supernatural element. One of my favorite mystery tropes (thanks to Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None), is to take a group of characters/suspects, plop them in an isolated location—in this case, a snowbound medieval castle—stage a murder, then let the suspicions, tension, and finger-pointing begin.

My protagonist is a mercurial knight with a short temper and a highly refined sense of honor and loyalty. Sir Richard Essex is recently married to the daughter of his father’s rival. He has little patience for the catty aristocrats he’s forced to rub elbows with at a holiday gathering, and even less for the father-in-law who despises him. When the host of the gala is murdered, and most everyone has a motive, Richard realizes no one is really who they seem. If he doesn’t discover the killer in time, his own life may be forfeit. All the while the line between friend and foe grows increasingly blurred.

A Winter Reckoning is just one story in this suspenseful anthology. All of the authors deliver tales that will keep you flipping pages while transporting you through various time periods and sub-genres. So set aside your game of Clue, grab your magnifying glass and detective’s notebook, then ONE-CLICK this engaging anthology that will have you chasing red herrings, confronting suspects, and examining evidence.

In the end, all of the authors hope you will agree on the same verdict—Murder They Wrote is a collection of mysteries you need to read and solve! 🙂


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Thanks for visiting and checking out the post!  I wish you happy reading 🙂