Seamless watercolor pattern with tropical flowers, magnolia, orange flower, vanilla orchid, tropical leaves, banana leaves, snake

Of all the books in the series I had to map out every move for Children of the Serpent. All those loose ends I left dangling had to be tied up but didn’t know how! (post it notes are a writer’s best friend!) And others like this character I knew the outcome for all the way back in the first draft of the first book. 

Children of the Serpent: The Final Book of the Revel Night Saga

Twenty-three

Sarah smiled as the girls’ laughter drifted from upstairs. She often envied her granddaughters, having a sister seemed wonderful. One had a partner in crime, a confidant, and, when needed, someone to kick you in the ass.

Sarah had been lonely growing up, her father’s family never accepted her. It had been apparent from the beginning she wasn’t a normal child. Able to hear what the trees gossiped about and wishing the flowers good morning earned her the reputation as a kook. It set her apart from everyone else and she soon realized if she didn’t what to continue to be “Crazy Sarah,” she would have to blind her eyes to what she could see, deafen her ears to what spoke to her.

She got good at it, passing for normal, and her deception was complete when she began to date and eventually marry a human man named David Bright. They had been happy for a time, but Sarah’s true nature had been hard to suppress.

Then she had met Niall, a wild and beautiful Faerie, and she’d been tempted beyond all reason for a taste of the life denied her. She believed he was in love with her, believed he would leave his wife and she her husband and they would run away together. Her hopes and her heart were broken when Niall had grown bored with her revealing he was not the least bit interested in leaving his rich and titled wife, Elspeth Glenghlas.

David learned of her betrayal and left her. He had never contacted she or Stella again. It was just deserts; she’d been stupid and reckless. She had raised their daughter alone, lonely once more.

She’d been bitter toward the Fae; they had brought nothing but sorrow into her life. She let that feeling fester for a long time turning her against even her own daughter. The actions she had taken at the time had nearly doomed both she and Stella to lives of pain and resentment.

Her past seemed like the life of another woman now. She and Stella had been reunited with their Faerie kin, Stella was happy in her marriage and had her hands full with three beautiful children and a career as a Pathfinder. And herself? Sarah toyed with the chunky emerald and Drakon claw necklace draped around her neck. She’d finally achieved a happily ever after too. Almost.

As leader of the Wild Hunt, Hunter was bound to his vow. He had long ago sold himself to the hunt and once bound, it was forever. Why he had done so was a mystery, for once one surrendered themselves to it their memories, knowledge of who they were before, was stripped.

They were under the command of the Seelie Queen who used them sometimes as mercenaries but most often to fill her trophy room with exotic and rare species. They ranged the wilds of Faerie, the hunt a never-ending revelry of drinking, camaraderie, and sport. Sarah and Hunter could only be together twice a year, on the nights of the summer and winter solstice when they hunted in the Mortal realm.

For years, Sarah would hide in the tree line surrounding the meadow on the solstice and watch the Wild Hunt as they set forth on their bi-annual excursion into the Mortal realm, hoping to glimpse their leader.

She’d pictured herself riding beside him many times. It was a silly fantasy, her and the leader of the Wild Hunt.

However, he had been aware of her watching him and he had come looking for her. He offered her a place at his side, and she’d been tempted, but she couldn’t miss out on becoming a grandmother and enjoying the renewed relationship with Sibah, she hadn’t been ready for oblivion, even if it meant eternity with Hunter. Now, however. She thought about it more and more. She wasn’t getting any younger, she’d be sixty in April, though thanks to her Faerie bloodline she didn’t remotely look it.

If she joined him, she would forget her whole life up until she took the vow, for her there would only be the hunt and she would only be the hunter. But there was time yet for decisions of this magnitude after all this crap with the Phaji was over. She had faith her son-in-law and grandson would lead the Shadows to victory again. She had to believe it, the alternative was too grim to consider.

Picking up the television remote she turned on the idiot box hoping to turn her mood around. She’d pondered herself into a funk, what she needed was some mind candy. There was a lot of that on offer these days. Weird game shows, dubious survival programs, not to mention too many so-called reality shows to count, all courtesy of the Demonic realm. Most media, social and otherwise was produced by Demons.

Though apparently not today, the screen was full of nothing but static. Jiggling the connection at the cable box wasn’t a help either. She pressed a few random buttons on the remote and a picture sprung into view. The scene on the screen was of total mayhem.

Demons in fancy dresses and formal wear were running for cover and huddling in groups while a force of human men flung fireballs from their bare hands at the stage in a huge arena carved from stone. This was no action movie! Sarah saw Daniel Acer draw a trident and defend the people around him. This was Queen Morag’s coronation ceremony! Following the death of her brother, Alocer, she was supposed to be crowned Satan the Sixth. What in the Sam-hill was happening!

“Girls!” she hollered. “Girls!” She turned from the TV and ran up the stairs.

COTS Blurb + jacket promo

I hope you’ve enjoyed the excerpts! Happy 4 year anniversary to the Revel Night Saga!

You can buy the whole series by clicking this LINK!

Be well my friends! 

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When I got to The Fallen Shadow I was so excited to write the following scene! Liv’s slow transformation was carefully crafted so the final battle in which she… (hahaha! Your gonna have to read the book!)  Here’s a taste of what’s to come.

The Fallen Shadow: Book Three of the Revel Night Saga

Forty-one

Livia was happy with her choice of footwear for a change. Without wings she’d had to walk up the Stairway, and although it wasn’t miles and miles of stairs, by the time they had reached the top she was out of breath and her thighs were screaming at her to stop.

Tynan had suggested they rest a few times but her pride had kept her from stopping, annoyed that he hadn’t even broken a sweat on the way up. They hadn’t otherwise spoken on their journey; she’d been simmering at both him and herself.

She was mad at him for being mad at her, and yes, she was well aware of how stupid that sounded. Did he not see she was trying to do the right thing by him? That she was trying to protect him? This stubbornness was a new trait from him. Well, she could be stubborn too!

“Where are we?” he asked from very close behind her. She turned to find herself eye to eye with him as he was standing on the step just below hers. He was nearly solid again. He’d been shifting into his corporeal body little by little as they had ascended the Stairway. She couldn’t meet his eyes; she could tell he was still angry with her as well.

“We’re almost there.” She pointed to the clouds above her. “The entrance to my Stairway is just here… What?”

Tynan was glaring at the clouds. He was armed but had changed out of his ceremonial armor. He wore a simple belted tunic and trousers with a pair of comfortable walking boots. He gripped the hilts of the daggers at his waist.

“I just wish I could go first,” he said. She frowned wanting to argue but she stood aside, he was the warrior after all. He shook his head. “That’s not how it works, the Pathfinder must lead the way.”

Livia suppressed a smile. This Pathfinder thing was turning out to be pretty cool!

“Well then…” She made to move the cloud aside but he stopped her grasping her hand. His touch felt barely there but his hand was warm again.

“Here, I want you to wear this,” he said, unclasping the Dark Star from around his neck.

“But it’s your birthday present.”

“Wear it for luck.”

“I’ll need more than luck, if something is waiting for us up there, Tynan.”

“Just…please?” He couldn’t quite meet her eyes. “It would mean a lot to me.”

Livia’s brow wrinkled, she pursed her lips but nodded. She wasn’t sure what good it would do, but she’d wear it because he’d asked her to.

The moment the pendant touched her skin she felt its warmth and a little zing. It flashed; happily it seemed, in the hollow of her throat. Tynan stroked a finger over the star; he looked up through his black lashes at her his expression guarded. Her gaze fell to his mouth, remembering how soft his lips were.

He stepped back clearing his throat. “Be careful,” he said.

“Right, yeah,” she said in a clipped tone.

She shoved the clouds aside, probably with more force than necessary. Pausing, she strained to hear any sounds from above, then carefully she peeked out from under the rug on the floor of the alcove.

“Dear Heavens!”

“What?” Tynan had drawn his blades and pushed up beside her.

“Oh,” he said sadly. “Liv, I’m sorry.”

The Libridomus was in ruins. The grand rotunda was shattered, its columns toppled. The precious contents of the library had been set alight, small fires still smoldered amongst the rubble.

Livia carefully climbed out and into her little alcove, Tynan immediately after. In a daze she looked around, utterly heartbroken.

“What kind of people would do this?” she wondered aloud.

“Monsters, not people.” Tynan said. She saw he was angry, Livia remembered his love for the library in the Faerie realm. His anger stoked her own and hardened her resolve.

“This way.” She set off in the direction of the staircase, but Tynan held her back. His presence was corporeal again, his hand on her arm strong.

“I’ll take point.” He stepped in front of her and carefully led them through the shattered remains of the library. The path was blocked by debris and they picked the way over and around it as quietly as they could.

Finally they came to the staircase that led to the ground floor. They stood at the top and looked down into a gaping hole. It must have been ground zero for a huge explosion.

“Is there another way down?” he asked.

She shook her head. “There were three stair cases from this level to the first floor but nothing’s left.” Looking around she pointed to the blown out glass doors across from them. “Let’s see if the terrace is still intact,” she said, taking a step back.

Suddenly someone grabbed her, she issued a startled yell and twisted away. Tynan jumped in front of her and drew his daggers.

“Oh sorry, so sorry, my friends!” said the cowering figure. “I didn’t mean to surprise you.”

The person was wearing a stained and torn yellow robe their pale arms held up defensively. Tynan made an aggressive step forward but Livia held him back.

“Raziel?”

The Archivist looked up. “Mistress Livia! Heavens be praised! Come closer, child. Help me,” he said.

He smiled though her friend’s face moved strangely only pulling to one side. His wings had been hacked off, what was left of them they lay in tatters against his back. Stepping around Tynan she made to help the librarian but Tynan brandished his blades.

“Liv, stay back,” he said.

“What? No, Tynan, this is Raziel. He’s the Archivist,” she said to him.

“Not anymore!”

Tynan morphed into the Wraith, his spectral alter ego baring the gleaming silver shards of his jagged teeth. Raziel cried out and backpedaled away from them. Livia was aghast.

“Tynan! You’re scaring him!” she yelled.

But Tynan was not listening; he followed Raziel as he tried to flee. The Wraith threw one of his daggers pinning Raziel to the wall through the flesh of his shoulder.

“Foul creature! Come forth and face your death!”

“Tynan! Stop it!”

“Can you not feel it?” the Wraith asked her. “His true life-force is gone!”

“His what? I…”

“Look at his eyes!”

Livia turned her attention to Raziel and gasped. His eyes were rimmed with a sickly purple grey color just like her father had described, but there was something else too. A feeling of wrongness, a crawling tingling feeling made her shudder in revulsion. Raziel was gone she could feel it.

“What did you do to him!” she asked the creature before her. “You let him go!” The air grew frozen, her breath steamed from her mouth. “Let him go NOW!” she commanded.

Raziel screamed, his mouth splitting wide. There was something coming out, Livia recognized it immediately. Shiny black with iridescent wings and a sharp beak, it was a Phaji! Horrified she stepped back as Raziel’s body fell and began to liquefy.

The Phaji made to fly away but the Wraith blocked its path sending his other dagger flying after it. It arced around and flew in circles still screeching in pain. It was dying; she felt the fear like she had at the Queen’s tribunal.

Good! For what it had done to Raziel, Livia hoped it was in agony! She wished all of the Phaji’s most horrible fears were coming true in its final moments! She let her mind fill with every awful thing she could think of.

The fear took over its mind until it fell at her feet bleating and scurrying around on the floor. An icy rime moved toward it. In moments it was over. Covered in ice crystals, it turned onto it’s back convulsing and then was still.

She was standing over the Phaji breathing hard and shivering. Tynan pulled her into his embrace and rubbed some warmth back into her arms. No longer the Wraith, he was whispering soothing words in her ear as she came back to her senses.

She stared at the dead Phaji. “Your power, is that how you do it? Scare it to death? Is that what you did?”

“What I…?” Tynan began but then stopped. “Uh, yes. That’s the power a Shadow wields when necessary.”

She slumped in his arms, feeling drained. “Thank you,” she told him. “Raziel was my friend ever since I can remember. His spirit can rest now that you’ve avenged him.”

Raziel’s remains began to glow and Tynan was about to go back on the offensive but Livia waylaid him with a gentle hand against his chest.

“It’s alright. He’s traveling Beyond. He’s free now to join those who have gone before.”

Raziel’s glow shimmered and lifted from the floor before it flashed brilliantly and then faded away.

“Good journey, friend.” Livia said softly.

Tynan collected his daggers and re-sheathed them at his waist. “We should keep moving. Someone might have heard all that screeching and come to investigate.”

She nodded her agreement and they made their way around the blast crater. Livia was once more thankful for her shoes as they crunched across the broken glass of the blown out doors.

The terrace at the front of the Libridomus and the stairs that flowed to the street were mostly intact. Livia paused to look at the sky, the Milky Way blazed above her, a meteorite sped briefly across the sky and she remembered the wish she had made the night she and Tynan had met.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

She smiled sadly. “I doubt it.”

Tomorrow a final excerpt from the last book in the series

Click below to buy The Fallen Shadow:

TFS cover blurb promo

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I do love my protagonists that was a given when I wrote this series, but what surprised me was I loved my antagonists just as much. It’s very cathartic to write them, they get to say and do all the BAD things! Although they get their comeuppance (sort of)I enjoyed Orias and Lassal very much while they were around to stir the pot.

The Dark Star: Book Two of the Revel Night Saga

Chapter Forty

“Never!”

He threw the heavy cut crystal glass, shattering the mirror over the bureau and then kicked over the coffee table sending the decanter of Hellsbane smashing to the floor. “Bitch!” he screamed.

His wide-eyed servant poked his head up over the couch. The idiot had taken the exact wrong moment to announce that Orias’ expected visitor had arrived. The moment being just as he had finished reading the missive sent to him by his mother.

“How could she?” He found something else to throw and a satisfying crashing occurred, of what he didn’t care his rage was all consuming at that instant. “How dare she!”

“Your Majesty the Lord Lassal!” the servant called over his shoulder, scurrying out of the room.

“Never!” he screamed again kicking the footstool across the room.

“Hells Bells, man!” Lassal’s head swiveled as he took in Orias’ trashed apartment. “This a bad time?”

Orias swore and collapsed onto the sofa, he’d worked up an actual sweat. Lassal walked into the room; stopping by the upended table he nudged the smashed decanter with the tip of his loafer. “No way to treat a two-thousand year old Hellsbane, whatever the matter.”

Orias snorted and grinned, scrubbing his hands over his face. Good old Lassal. His friend and minion could make light in any situation. He finger combed his hair back between his horns and smoothed the sides, then straightened his shirt and righted the French cuffs, noticing he’d lost a cufflink.

“There’s more in the bar,” he told Lassal.

As Lassal helped himself to the liquor Orias re-read the missive. Pursing his lips he shook his head. “Never in a million years, mother,” he murmured. A very large pour of amber liquor was shoved in front of his face. He accepted the glass and drank deeply.

“Looks like you need it worse than me,” Lassal said. He tipped an armchair back to stand and took a seat across from him.

“Is that the reason for the shades?” Orias asked him.

“What?”

“Hangover?” Orias said tapping his temple.

“Ah, oh…yes,” Lassal adjusted the glasses to sit more firmly on his face. “A real brain crusher.”

“Here’s to the hair of the dog,” Orias raised his glass.

“Woof!” Lassal took a big swallow of his Hellsbane and let out a satisfied sigh.

“Explains the smell too.”

“Beg pardon?”

“You smell like a rotting gym sock stuffed with cheese.” Orias said. “How many beds did you visit last night?”

Lassal shrugged. “My Master bade me to attend him and I flew immediately to his side.”

“Well, next time take a shower.”

“Yes my prince,” he said bowing his head. “Am I correct in assuming the reason for the redecoration is that letter you hold?”

Orias got up and handed it to him. “Read for yourself.”

He continued past Lassal and on to the bar draining his glass as he walked. Pouring himself more, he leaned against the bar as Lassal read. He marked the moment when Lassal came to the important part—the part that had set him off—he gasped his mouth falling open.

“Impossible!” Lassal said.

“Apparently not,” he said dryly.

“But, there are laws in place dictating the right of succession!”

“Of which she has rewritten with the blessing of the Counsel of Representatives,” Orias explained. “It’s all a very happy coincidence that the majority of counsel members are either her minions or sires to her children.”

Lassal swore. “But that half-breed kid over you as her heir? Is she insane? Surely the people of the Demonic realm will be up in arms!”

“Will they?” Orias sneered. “Baby brother put on quite a show at the sacrifice ceremony. It was his blow that killed Alocer. He’s being touted as a savior, he and his little girlfriend,” he growled and threw his glass at the media screen, which shattered.

Lassal straightened from ducking to avoid getting creamed by Orias’ glass. “So you’re out, Daniel’s in—for now,” Lassal rushed to add. “What’s the plan?”

Orias smiled. Good old Lassal, always the pragmatic one. He walked back over to the couch, plucking the letter out of Lassal’s hand. “Well I’d rather gut myself than become that little pukes minion, as the Queen implores me to do.”

“So not much has changed then, you’ll still have the fight for the crown.”

Orias nodded. “I’m still prepared to do so. More resolved, in fact.”

“Which begs my question again, my Lord. What is the plan?”

“I need reinforcements naturally, it’s the only way I can tip the balance in my favor.”

“Sure. Who do you have in mind?”

“An old friend.” Orias smiled. “Someone who wields extraordinary power and has bodies to spare. Someone who, most importantly, is in my debt.”

“Anyone I know?”

“I wouldn’t think so, his name is Patrik Belizaire.”

“You’re right, I’ve never heard of him.”

“Nor would you have, he’s a Mortal.”

“And you say he owes you? Sounds like an entertaining story.”

“One for another time though, Lassal.”

Orias stood and went into his office; he punched the combination into his safe and retrieved a small box wrapped in muslin. Written upon the muslin were magical spells in cuneiform, one of the most ancient of all the Mortal languages.

“And this brings me to the reason why I’ve summoned you in the first place. You need to send a message to him for me.”

“What of the embargo?”

He handed the wrapped box to Lassal who flinched as something inside it hissed when came into contact with his hands. Orias chuckled. “No media blackout can stop this form of communication, my friend.”

Lassal stared at the box. “What would you have me do?”

“You take the box and set it ablaze.”

“Sounds simple enough.”

“You’ll tell Belizaire that it’s time to repay his debt. The embargo will be lifted the day of the Queen’s coronation so that those living outside the Demonic realm can make the pilgrimage home to celebrate. Tell him I’ll meet him then.” Orias stood and his minion knew he was dismissed. Lassal got up and went to the door. “And Lassal?”

“Yes, Master?”

“For Satan’s sake take a shower! Preferably in bleach.”

Lassal smiled, or maybe it was a smirk, only one side of his face moved. He bowed deeply. “At once, my King.”

“I like the sound of that,” Orias smiled wide. “I like the sound of that very much.”

Another excerpt tomorrow! Stay tuned!

Click below to buy The Dark Star: 

TDS Blurb + Jacket

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Hello there! It’s almost Revel Night! In celebration of the fourth anniversary of the release of TBS I thought an excerpt would be appropriate!

Here is the when Stella met Missy Caldwell moment in which Stella learns that life sometimes hands you people who will make your life more interesting.

The Brightest Star: Book One of the Revel Night Saga

Chapter Four

There was one little drawback from having a best friend that no one else could see, a tiny inconvenience that Stella had to live with. Everyone thought she was bonkers.

She had hoped that by this, her junior year of high school things would be different than the lower grades, but mostly the insults just became more creative. “Seven-Thirty” was the newest one. It was a reference to the code used by the police to describe mental patients. It went like this: “Hey Stella? What time is it? It’s seven-thirty!” She wondered how they knew that in the first place.

A blob of wet paper landed on her arm, she didn’t need to look to know who threw it. Gross! She wiped the offending spitball off her sleeve with the paper napkin from her lunch tray. Ben Abrams and Richard Cutter high fived each other while Mary Raubenau, and the rest of her rich girl groupies tittered near-by.

“Hey Stella?” Richard called. “What time is it?”

“Time for you to get a better joke, Dickie Cutter,” Stella called back. He hated to be called Dickie, and in combination with his surname it sounded really nasty. She scooped up her leftover lunch and went to throw it away. On her way past, Mary gave her a nasty sneer. Ever her nemesis, Mary’s personality had sadly not improved since their fight on the library steps.

She stomped off to the bathroom to wash her sleeve. It wasn’t always like that though most kids just ignored her. With one exception, and that exception was grimacing into the mirror when Stella walked into the bathroom.

“Ugh! Stell, can you see this hickey?” Missy Caldwell held up her hair light brown hair and pointed to her neck. It looked like she had tried to cover it up with make-up.

Stella peered at it and made a face. “It looks like you’ve been strangled.”

“Oh great!” She rolled her eyes and turned back to the mirror. She took a compact out of her purse and caked more make-up on her neck.

In the beginning theirs had been a relationship based on a mutual need to sneak out and do things their mothers’ would never approve of.

Stella had been sitting on the stairs in front of the library engrossed with the newest Night Frights novel. It was a series of books that followed the adventures of two brothers who hunted demons. She had been reading them to Nox since the series began; he thought they were great. Stella was almost to the climactic end of a chapter when her book was snatched out of her hand.

“Why have you been lying about me?” It was Missy, and she looked pissed.

“I haven’t. Give me that back!” Stella said.

Missy held the book behind her back “Not till you tell me why you told your mom that you were over at my house Saturday night.”

Stella froze. “Uh…what?”

“My mom said that your mom thanked her for letting you stay the night on Saturday,” she said.

Stella’s clever plan had a single but fatal flaw, the assumption that Missy’s mother and her own were the least likely people to cross paths. She would be grounded until she was eighty.

“Apparently you come over all the time and keep me company when my mom is at work,” she raised her eyebrows and waited for Stella’s explanation.

“Uh…well,” Stella began sheepishly, “I just…well I told her that so she wouldn’t uh… know…um.”

Know what? That her best friend a boy who visited her from the Faery realm; that they hung out in condemned houses and lonely alleyways scaring the tar out of unwary victims? Yeah, She would avoid that conversion at all costs, thank you very much!

“Oh jeez, straitlaced Stella is sneaking out!” Missy laughed. “What’s his name?” It must have been written all over Stella’s face, because Missy laughed even harder. “No, better not tell me,” she said.

“What did you say to your mom?” Stella asked, steeling herself for the answer.

“I covered for you.”

“You…why?” Stella gaped at her.

Missy sat beside Stella on the step and leaned back on her elbows. “I figure it’s like this Stell, I covered for you, so now you owe me one.”

“What do you want me to do?” Stella asked warily.

“You cover for me, naturally,” she smiled. “Tit for tat.”

“Okay,” Stella said slowly.

“Great!” She handed over the book. “You keep telling your mom you’re at my house, and I’ll keep telling my mom you’re over teaching me knitting or whatever and we’ll both have a cover story for our illicit rendezvous,” she said, wriggling her brows suggestively.

Stella was dumbfounded. “Really? You won’t tell?”

“I won’t tell if you don’t tell,” she said. “It’ll be sort of a mutually beneficial blackmail arrangement. If I get caught then you do too.”

Missy was in the same grade as Stella but a year older because her mom had held her back a year before kindergarten. The practice was called “redshirting.” Missy was always the oldest in every grade all through school, she was the first to get her boobs and her period and attracted the attention of the older boys. She had unfairly gotten the reputation for being a wild girl but had embraced the title with gusto, dating a boy who was older and going to college parties in Springfield and Bend.

“Agreed,” Stella said.

“Shake on it.” Missy held out her hand.

They shook and then she got up and dusted off the seat of her shorts.

“Just tell me one thing,” Missy asked as she walked away, “is he hot?”

Stella smiled, a huge grin. “Very, very hot!”

Stay tuned for more excerpts from the series all this week! Click below to buy your copy! 

TBS Blurb + promo

It’s still contemporary genres for me until I finish my historical fiction novel, but I’ve had a lot of fun trying new to me authors and re-reading some old favorites!

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I had the enormous pleasure to see Neil Gaiman in person in May and it got me wanting to re-read Neverwhere. It’s lost none of it’s charm and still has a lot to say about the urban experience.

Published in 1997, Neil Gaiman’s darkly hypnotic first novel, Neverwhere, heralded the arrival of a major talent and became a touchstone of urban fantasy.

It is the story of Richard Mayhew, a young London businessman with a good heart and an ordinary life, which is changed forever when he discovers a girl bleeding on the sidewalk. He stops to help her—an act of kindness that plunges him into a world he never dreamed existed. Slipping through the cracks of reality, Richard lands in Neverwhere—a London of shadows and darkness, monsters and saints, murderers and angels that exists entirely in a subterranean labyrinth. Neverwhere is home to Door, the mysterious girl Richard helped in the London Above. Here in Neverwhere, Door is a powerful noblewoman who has vowed to find the evil agent of her family’s slaughter and thwart the destruction of this strange underworld kingdom. If Richard is ever to return to his former life and home, he must join Lady Door’s quest to save her world—and may well die trying.

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I really enjoyed St. John’s debut The Lion’s Den so when I saw this one I snapped it up! I was not disappointed, the twists and turns of the plot kept me up way way past my bedtime!

In the midst of a sizzling hot summer, some of Hollywood’s most notorious faces are assembled on the idyllic Caribbean island of St. Genesius to film The Siren, starring dangerously handsome megastar Cole Power playing opposite his ex-wife, Stella Rivers. The surefire blockbuster promises to entice audiences with its sultry storyline and intimately connected cast.

Three very different women arrive on set, each with her own motive. Stella, an infamously unstable actress, is struggling to reclaim the career she lost in the wake of multiple, very public breakdowns. Taylor, a fledgling producer, is anxious to work on a film she hopes will turn her career around after her last job ended in scandal. And Felicity, Stella’s mysterious new assistant, harbors designs of her own that threaten to upend everyone’s plans.

With a hurricane brewing offshore, each woman finds herself trapped on the island, united against a common enemy. But as deceptions come to light, misplaced trust may prove more perilous than the storm itself.

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About halfway through I thought to myself…this feels like it might be a series. I’ve read Holly Black for years and she’s by and large a series writer. Sure enough when the book ended on a cliffhanger my guess was proved right. I’ll admit I was annoyed at first, but after that wore off I still loved the book and would recommend it.

Charlie Hall has never found a lock she couldn’t pick, a book she couldn’t steal, or a bad decision she wouldn’t make.

She’s spent half her life working for gloamists, magicians who manipulate shadows to peer into locked rooms, strangle people in their beds, or worse. Gloamists guard their secrets greedily, creating an underground economy of grimoires. And to rob their fellow magicians, they need Charlie Hall.

Now, she’s trying to distance herself from past mistakes, but getting out isn’t easy. Bartending at a dive, she’s still entirely too close to the corrupt underbelly of the Berkshires. Not to mention that her sister Posey is desperate for magic, and that Charlie’s shadowless, and possibly soulless, boyfriend has been hiding things from her. When a terrible figure from her past returns, Charlie descends into a maelstrom of murder and lies.

Determined to survive, she’s up against a cast of doppelgangers, mercurial billionaires, gloamists, and the people she loves best in the world—all trying to steal a secret that will give them vast and terrible power.

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l loved this!  A modern “Romancing the Stone” adventure takes you on really fun ride! The ex lovers reunite trope was done very well and the hero is adorable!

Growing up the daughter of notorious treasure hunter and absentee father Duke Wilder left Lily without much patience for the profession…or much money in the bank. But Lily is nothing if not resourceful, and now uses Duke’s coveted hand-drawn maps to guide tourists on fake treasure hunts through the red rock canyons of Utah. It pays the bills but doesn’t leave enough to fulfill her dream of buying back the beloved ranch her father sold years ago, and definitely not enough to deal with the sight of the man she once loved walking back into her life with a motley crew of friends ready to hit the trails. Frankly, Lily would like to take him out into the wilderness—and leave him there.

Leo Grady knew mirages were a thing in the desert, but they’d barely left civilization when the silhouette of his greatest regret comes into focus in the flickering light of the campfire. Ready to leave the past behind him, Leo wants nothing more than to reconnect with his first and only love. Unfortunately, Lily Wilder is all business, drawing a clear line in the sand: it’s never going to happen.

But when the trip goes horribly and hilariously wrong, the group wonders if maybe the legend of the hidden treasure wasn’t a gimmick after all. There’s a chance to right the wrongs—of Duke’s past and their own—but only if Leo and Lily can confront their history and work together. Alone under the stars in the isolated and dangerous mazes of the Canyonlands, Leo and Lily must decide whether they’ll risk their lives and hearts on the adventure of a lifetime.

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I am late to this party as usual, my horror/urban fantasy, loving friends were wondering what took me so long! But I”m here now and staying! 🙂 Kris may be my all time favorite heroines in this genre!

Only a girl with a guitar can save us all.

Every morning, Kris Pulaski wakes up in hell. In the 1990s she was lead guitarist of Dürt Würk, a heavy-metal band on the brink of breakout success until lead singer Terry Hunt embarked on a solo career and rocketed to stardom, leaving his bandmates to rot in obscurity.

Now Kris works as night manager of a Best Western; she’s tired, broke, and unhappy. Then one day everything changes—a shocking act of violence turns her life upside down, and she begins to suspect that Terry sabotaged more than just the band. Kris hits the road, hoping to reunite Dürt Würk and confront the man who ruined her life. Her journey will take her from the Pennsylvania rust belt to a celebrity rehab center to a satanic music festival.

A spine-tingling horror novel, We Sold Our Souls is an epic journey into the heart of a conspiracy-crazed, pill-popping, paranoid country that seems to have lost its very soul.

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May I also humbly recommend:

TDS Blurb + Jacket

Here it is my friends! I’ve been waiting impatiently to show you what I’ve been up to. The title for my new book to be released in late Fall this year (hopefully).

Until then watch this space for updates and sneaks peeks. (Click below for video).

 

Here’s what the story is about…..

Liberty Jones comes from a family of historians. Raised by her eccentric aunt she had an unconventional childhood filled with historically accurate dress-up and lessons ranging from how to decipher hieroglyphics to how to load and fire a flintlock pistol.

Having recently completed her masters degree, Libby receives the gift of her aunt’s heirloom scarab brooch and a ticket for the Coast-to-Coast Cosplay Connection, a cross country train trip for historians and cosplay enthusiasts. Libby packs her bustles and corsets and eagerly hops aboard looking forward to spending five days in the 19th century.

On the train she meets the handsome and charming Edward. Flattered by his attention Libby strikes up a traveler’s friendship.

Once in New York Edward disembarks without so much as a goodbye, but more urgently her brooch is gone! Catching up to Edward on the train platform she finds him red handed with her brooch! In the ensuing scuffle to get it back it begins to glow, and the scarab seems to come to life! The world around them warps and shifts and she and Edward are transported backward in time to the year 1887.

Though she might be a fish out of water Libby is prepared, in fact she’s been preparing her whole life for this precise situation. She finally understands the secret of the Jones family line. She was not born into a family of historians but rather a family of time travelers

Now Libby must navigate the rules and rituals of New York’s Gilded Age to find Edward if she ever hopes to get back home.

 

Hello there!  I’ve been on a bit of a series binge lately, all contemporary urban fantasy and romance. You see, while writing in one genre I avoid reading in that same genre. I’ve found it helps me stay focused on the work I’m doing. Therefore no plots set in the Gilded Age or Victorian Era. (Sigh) I’ll just have to catch up on all of it when I finish my book.  Until then I have found some really great stories and thought I’d share.

First off is the Well Met series by Jen Deluca.  If you like the Grumpy/Sunshine trope this is for you! It’s sweet and low on angst; you won’t be turning to the last chapter trying to decide if you’ll be able to endure the anxiety required to see the characters get to the happily ever after. Also, for everyone who is/was into RenFaire or FarieWorlds (Me!) this will take you back 🙂 

 

I haven’t read much of Nora’s fantasy work, i’m a longtime reader of her “In Death” series so I thought I’d give this urban fantasy set in 2013 Ireland a go. In short, if you love witches, and Ireland, and a strong family dynamic this is for you! I loved it! Each book is about one O’Dwyer cousin and is a full arc for that character (no cliffhangers!) though the conflict of the plot gets pulled through the series. 

 

This is a rare bird in the series world. It’s complete! At thirteen novels they are all available, blew my mind! I usually join a series at the beginning then have to wait impatiently for the continuation. I’m at the fifth book now and enjoying it, though I will say that Charley, the main character, her arc is dragging a bit. I suppose it’s to be expected. Great B-characters too! If you liked the TV series Supernatural you’ll dig this! 

 

 

May I also humbly recommend :

RNS series advert

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Hello there!

It’s been a few weeks hasn’t it? I’d like to say i’ve been working hard on the new book but distractions have abounded and I’m sad to report I’ve only managed a handful of chapters since December. I’m hoping to be back on track now and the book is still set to be out October…ish. I hope 🙂 

While I’m getting on with things I thought you might like to check out these links, some were found during a few research rabbit holes, in case you need a distraction. 

Trailblazing Female Painters You Really Should Know About

The Beginning of the Mystery Genre

The History of Kitchen Gadgets

One Man’s HUnt for the Original McDonald’s French Fry Recipe 

A Winter Survival Guide 

Did you know that The Sandman is coming to NETFLIX? (Squeee!) 

Stray Souls on WEBTOON is my favorite!  

 

 

 

 

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year end pic

2021 was a year of trying new things and learning new skills.

I learned canning via Paige at Farmhouse Vernacular I took her online course How to Can Food for Beginners. It was fun and now I have a new skill. So far I’ve put up the stock I made from our Thanksgiving turkey and I made some apple jelly to give as gifts this Christmas.

I baked this cheese bread from Martha Stewart to go with the apple jelly!

With the pandemic scuttling our traveling plans my husband and I got back into camping. It wasn’t long before we decided an upgrade from tent camping was necessary. (last time we went we were a lot younger 😊)  A little teardrop trailer soon joined us on our adventures. We learned a lot from the vast community of teardrop campers, here is a list of some of our favorites:  Mandy Lee, Playing with Sticks, Amanda Outside, Geek Family Adventures

LIke many, I turned to the internet for shopping during the pandemic. I quickly discovered online thrift shops. My favorite is Thread Up I can find anything i’m looking for. The big bonus is that I’m not contributing to fast fashion waste by buying used (sometimes I can get an item that still has the tags on it).

And finally, last year I finished my fantasy series The Revel Night Saga. It was the end of an almost seven year journey and it meant a lot bringing you along for the wild ride.

Looking to the new year, I have a TBR queue on my e-reader that I’m really excited to start, so look for another Bookworm recommendations blog post soon!

A few new recipes are in the works. A fan of The Revel Night Saga asked if i’d publish the recipe for Grandma Sarah’s Chicken Dumplings, (the recipe for Bev’s Triple Chocolate Milkshake is up) so that’s something I’d like to post on the blog this winter.

In writing news, I am working on a new book! The subject of which I’ve teased on my Instagram account and on the Blog. More info will be coming so stay tuned!

So Happy 2022!

Wishing you all the best! Until next time, be well my friends!

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RNS series advert

I do love a Christmas Romance, you’ll find me seeking them out and compiling a TBR queue round about Halloween. Here are this year’s recommendations! And for those of whom the X-mas theme is not their jam I’ve included a few of my favorite books set during winter.  

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This one was cute I do love a Grumpy/Sunshine trope! And the cast of townsfolk characters were very entertaining. I’m fixing to add Bay’s” Mister” series in my New Year’s TBR.

I hate Christmas.
As CEO of my company, I’ve banned decorations from the office, festive music from the lobby and any kind of secret Santa gifts between employees are strictly forbidden.
I’m heading to the airport, away from the Christmas lights and the mulled wine, heading for sunshine and margaritas when I get a call from Granny. She’s sprained her ankle and needs my help filling in for her as head of the village Christmas Committee. Snowsly is the Christmas Capital of England and the last place I want to be in the lead up to Christmas.
But there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for Granny.
When I arrive in Snowsly, I’m introduced to Celia Sommers who is Christmas’ biggest fan and therefore my own personal nightmare before Christmas. Worse than that, I have to work with her to make Snowsly’s Christmas market a success.
Celia is determined to get me in the festive spirit. It’s not going to work.
It doesn’t matter if she’s smart and funny and easy to flirt with—if she doesn’t stop looking at me with her sparkling eyes and pouting her completely kissable lips, Celia is going straight to the top of my naughty list.

 

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Jill Shalvis is a favorite of mine and when I saw her new Christmas themed anthology I snapped it up. I was not disappointed. She has several series going and I enjoyed the story set in her Heartbreaker Bay series the best.  

 

One Snowy Night

It’s Christmas Eve and Rory Andrews is desperate to get home to her family. Problem is, her only ride to Lake Tahoe comes in the form of the annoyingly handsome Max Stranton, her long-time crush, and his big, goofy, lovable dog. A long road trip in a massive blizzard might be just what they need to face their past…and one steamy, snowy night is all it takes to bring Max and Rory together at last.

Holiday Wishes

When Sean O’Riley shows up for his older brother’s bachelor weekend, the last person he expects to see is Lotti Hartford, the woman he lost his virginity to a decade ago. As the weekend continues, Sean realizes he wants to leave his hook-up life behind, but can he convince Lotti to open her heart to him again?

Mistletoe in Paradise

Years after their secret fling ended, Hannah isn’t eager to see James during their families’ annual joint holiday-themed yacht adventure. But when they’re the only people who show up, James and Hannah are stuck together on the high seas for days. As the former lovers try to make the best of the Christmas snafu, they soon realize the best things in life can’t be planned, and sometimes love is sweeter the second time around. 

 

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All of the tasks the matchmaker sets for the heroine are amusing as well as the people living in her building. I saw the conclusion of the story and figured out the big surprise quickly but still stuck around because the heroine was a hoot. 

 

For Cassie Beaumont, it’s meeting her perfect match. Cassie, at thirty-three, wants a husband and kids, and so far nothing’s worked. Not blind dates, not the internet and certainly not leaving love to chance.
What other options are there? Well…she could hire a professional matchmaker. Simon Dodson has quite a reputation, but he’s very choosy about the clients he takes on—and very expensive. Cassie considers him a difficult, acerbic know-it-all, and she’s astonished when he accepts her as a client.
Claiming he has her perfect mate in mind, Simon assigns her three tasks to complete before she meets this paragon. Three tasks that are all about Christmas: being a charity bell-ringer, dressing up as Santa’s elf at a mall and preparing a traditional turkey dinner for her neighbors (most of whom she happens to dislike). Despite a number of comical mishaps, Cassie does it all—and then she’s finally ready to meet her match.
But just like the perfect Christmas gift, he turns out to be a wonderful surprise! 

 

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This is my favorite this year. I’m a sucker for a quaint English village setting! This is one that I bought way back in September in anticipation for Christmas reading. 

When it comes to relationships, thirty-four-year-old Kate Turner is ready to say “Bah, humbug.” The sleepy town of Blexford, England, isn’t exactly brimming with prospects, and anyway, Kate’s found fulfillment in her career as a designer, and in her delicious side job baking for her old friend Matt’s neighborhood café. But then her best friend signs her up for a dating agency that promises to help singles find love before the holidays. Twenty-three days until Christmas. Twelve dates with twelve different men. The odds must finally be in her favor . . . right?

Yet with each new date more disastrous than the one before–and the whole town keeping tabs on her misadventures–Kate must remind herself that sometimes love, like mistletoe, shows up where it’s least expected. And maybe, just maybe, it’s been right under her nose all along. . . .

 

Also, for those who don’t want a Christmas theme here are some of my favorite books set during winter….

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A rethink of Rumpelstiltskin, I really liked the adventurous Miryem. 

With the Nebula Award–winning Uprooted, Naomi Novik opened a brilliant new chapter in an already acclaimed career, delving into the magic of fairy tales to craft a love story that was both timeless and utterly of the now. Spinning Silver draws readers deeper into this glittering realm of fantasy, where the boundary between wonder and terror is thinner than a breath, and safety can be stolen as quickly as a kiss.

Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father’s inability to collect his debts has left his family on the edge of poverty—until Miryem takes matters into her own hands. Hardening her heart, the young woman sets out to claim what is owed and soon gains a reputation for being able to turn silver into gold. When an ill-advised boast draws the attention of the king of the Staryk—grim fey creatures who seem more ice than flesh—Miryem’s fate, and that of two kingdoms, will be forever altered. She will face an impossible challenge and, along with two unlikely allies, uncover a secret that threatens to consume the lands of humans and Staryk alike.

 

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A very well done Beauty and the Beast reboot. I recommended it last year too. And, it’s on sale for Kindle right now!

Amarrah Brewer is desperate and grief-stricken.
For ages, the town of Bitterburn has sent tribute to the Keep at the End of the World, but a harsh winter leaves them unable to pay the toll that keeps the Beast at bay. Amarrah volunteers to brave what no one has before–to end the threat or die trying.

The Beast of Bitterburn has lost all hope.
One way or another, Njål has been a prisoner for his entire life. Monstrous evil has left him trapped and lonely, and he believes that will never change. There is only darkness in his endless exile, never light. Never warmth. Until she arrives.

It’s a tale as old as time… where Beauty goes to confront the Beast and falls in love instead.

 

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Definitely a winter story. My favorite scene is the literary themed party Zachary attends at the Algonquin Hotel in NYC. No one writes party scenes like Erin Morgenstern! 

 

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a mysterious book hidden in the stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood. Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues—a bee, a key, and a sword—that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to an ancient library hidden far below the surface of the earth.

What Zachary finds in this curious place is more than just a buried home for books and their guardians—it is a place of lost cities and seas, lovers who pass notes under doors and across time, and of stories whispered by the dead. Zachary learns of those who have sacrificed much to protect this realm, relinquishing their sight and their tongues to preserve this archive, and also of those who are intent on its destruction.

Together with Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired protector of the place, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances, Zachary travels the twisting tunnels, darkened stairwells, crowded ballrooms, and sweetly soaked shores of this magical world, discovering his purpose—in both the mysterious book and in his own life.

 

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Also, may I humbly recommend: 

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