CO 4x6 coverFINAL

Hello All!

Spring seems to be well and truly here at last. I’ve been planting my herb garden and watching my black eyed Susan’s pop up from their winter rest, soon I’ll have lovely yellow flowers to keep me company while I edit Children of the Serpent. I’ve completed the first draft but now I need to coax it into something more book shaped. I’m excited to share Juno’s story with you on June 21st but until then I’ve whipped up this video trailer featuring Juno, Finlan and Michael.

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CO 4x6 coverFINAL

Three

         The Roxy Cinema was an art deco gem built in the 1930’s. The single screen movie house played golden age Hollywood movies on Sundays and at Christmas time played “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas” every year.

Tonight’s feature was the new Gory Dayz film. A ridiculous horror series that had been going since Juno’s parents were teenagers,the Gory Dayz films were a Tenebris family tradition. When your father was the Boogeyman, it was silly splatter flicks as a kid rather than sweet, animated studio movies. Juno was early for her meet up with her new friends and was primping in the bathroom of the cinema before heading down to the lobby.

         The temperature in the ladies’ room dipped suddenly and Juno experienced the familiar sensation of apprehensive goose flesh from head to toe. She looked up into the mirror and past her own shoulder as an apparition took form in the shadowed interior of the toilet stall.

            “Haunting toilets now, Finn?” she asked.

            “Could you do something about the light?”

            His form was indistinct, merely a grey mist that hung suspended in the stall. A Shadow’s major weakness…the Boogeyman couldn’t get you when the lights were on. She wet her fingers under the cold water of the tap then reached into the sconce beside the mirror and quickly turned the bulb dousing the light.

            “Ow!” she yelped. She hadn’t been quick enough, and the hot bulb had burned her fingers.

            “Here, let me see.”

            Finn walked out of the stall. The light was low enough now for him to manifest his full physical presence.

It was quite a presence to be sure. He was tall for his age and well-built. Thick dark red hair swept appealingly over amber colored eyes that shifted to orange depending on his emotional state. His sharply pointed ears sported rings pierced into both tip and lobe. His pale skin was sprinkled all over with freckles, but Finnlan Wickerman was Fae, so unlike his human ginger counterparts his freckles formed looping, swirling patterns along his shoulders, arms, back and chest. Juno believed humans would describe him as a “snacc”.

            Juno held out her stinging fingers. He bent and gently blew cold chills onto them. She clamped her lips together to keep from sighing out loud.

            He looked up at her through his dark lashes. “Better?”

            “Thanks.” Quickly turning she and made herself busy rummaging around in her make-up bag, she found a tube of mascara and proceeded to apply it.

            “Will your father like it if he knew you were wearing that stuff.”

            “My father doesn’t tell me what to do with my body,” She pinned him with a narrow-eyed look. “And you don’t get to either, by the way.”

            “I wouldn’t dream of it.”

            “A lot of Mortal girls my age wear it.”

            “But you’re not a Mortal.”

            Her expression was mockingly shocked. “I’m not?” Turning back to the mirror she brushed a pale pink color onto the apples of her cheeks. Finn just smiled seeming to enjoy himself.

            For as long as she’d know him, he’d always had a special talent for aggravating her. With just a look he could affect her mood, which right now was annoyed.

            He pointed to her hairline where usually a pair of pearlescent white horns sprouted. “I thought Faeries didn’t conceal themselves on Revel Night?”

            When visiting the Mortal realm, an oculus ori or concealment charm was a handy tool that the immortal races used to disguise their unusual or alarming appearance. Worn as a necklace or other piece of jewelry, the eye engraved on the triangular gemstone was closed while the person wore the charm, their true appearance concealed. However, once the charm was removed the eye opened and the truth was revealed.

She scooped up her oculus charm and dropped it down under her t-shirt then brought her long platinum curls forward in front of her shoulders to further hide it.

            “I’m not going to the Revel remember?” She frowned at herself in the mirror. “It’s not fair.”

            “Sorry. I wish you were coming too.”

            Irritation flared again as she was reminded that Finn, like herself, was sixteen years old. But unlike her he would at Revel. Working. But still.

            “Finn, are you bugging me for a reason or is haunting ladies’ rooms a newly discovered kink?”

            He simultaneously laughed and blushed. Then he sobered and studied his shoes. His eyes darted over at her then down again. “It’s the first chance I’ve had to talk to you since…you know.”

            A million butterflies seemed to swarm her belly at once.

            The Crystal Cave was a favorite spot in the Faerie realm, a cavern with a perfectly clear pool of deep water surrounded by glittering stalactites. She thought she’d had it all to herself a day almost two weeks ago. It’s the reason she knew all about his freckles.

            “I get the feeling you’re avoiding me.” He looked at her directly then, waiting for her answer.

            Pure blood Faeries like Finn couldn’t lie. They were the most powerful magical beings in the universe, but they could not lie. It was nature’s balance. She on the other hand was part human from her mother’s bloodline and could lie her little derrière off to the handsome boy standing beside her. But she didn’t.

            “I didn’t want it to be weird between us.” She kept her eyes fixed on the sink faucet. “Awkward.”

            “If you thought it would be awkward why did you kiss me?”

            She could not help but play it over in her head again. Laughing, teasing, splashing in the cool water.

            “I didn’t kiss you, we kissed each other. It was mutual.”

            His mouth soft, so soft, and warm on hers…

            “Yes, very mutual, or so I thought,” he said.

            “It was. It was…” Perfect. The kiss had been her first, and it had been perfect. “It was nice but…”

            “But?” His tone seemed to issue a challenge. He folded his arms over his chest, cocked an auburn brow at her and waited.

            A long moment of silence stretched out as she chose her words carefully.

            “You’re my father’s student Finn,” she said finally, “and my brother’s captain. This is where I want to be. I start high school in the fall. I want a life away from the Faerie realm.” She turned and faced him. “You’re a Shadow.” She passed a hand slowly through his torso, his form rippling like water. “You can’t be real here.”

            It was only in the immortal realms, the Faerie, Demonic and Angelic realms that the Shadows could manifest a corporeal body. In the Mortal realm they could only exist as a phantom-like apparition.

Her eyes locked onto his mouth then skittered away. Those butterflies in her belly mocked the words she said next. “So no; no more kisses Finn.”

            A slow smile eased its way onto those lips and mischief sparked to life in his eyes, their color darkening from amber to orange. “We shall see about that,” he said, fading away into a grey mist.

            “That was not a challenge, Finnlan!” she called after him.

            She huffed an aggravated breath; he’d done it again; he had gotten to her. Mortal boys had their vexing traits, but Fae boys were the worst! And Finn was the worst of the worst! She caught herself grinning and purposely scowled into the mirror.

            “Have fun with Splatter Joe!” The sinister whisper was right on her ear.

            Juno startled, yelping loudly. Cold tingles traced down her neck and arm. Spinning around she was just in time to see him dissolve into thin air again, a triumphant smile on his pretty face.

            Growling she twisted the light bulb in the sconce back on flooding the bathroom with light then scooped her things back into her purse and fled the ladies’ room.            

“The absolute worst!” she said through gritted teeth.

CHILDREN OF THE SERPENT will be available June 21st 2021 for Kindle and Kindle unlimited. 

COTS Blurb + jacket promo

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I’ve been a fan of chillhop and in particular the productions at Chillhop Music for the last few years. It’s the music I’ve been living and writing to. When I heard of Guillaume and Psalm Trees’ collaboration I was excited to hear their work but was really blown away by the fact that they had never met!

Here’s the story:

As you might already know, the two have never met, and it was through their online connection that they were album to create this album (as well as a previous EP and a new single on Essentials Spring 2021).

The original concept for this documentary was to have Psalm Trees (based in Rotterdam) visit Guillaume in Paris and film the entire thing. Due to the pandemic lockdown and Covid-19 restrictions (and not wanting to risk anything by traveling) we decided to instead further focus on the authenticity of this collaboration from home: how they connected, how they work together, what the process looks like from their own locations.

Two different cities, two different cameras, two different perspectives.

It’s an amazing album! I urge you to check it out:

🎧 Download / Stream / Order Vinyl – “We Must Believe in Spring” by Psalm Trees & Guillaume Muschalle ・ https://chillhop.ffm.to/wmbis.mor​ 🎶

Listen to Chillhop on Spotify https://chillhop.ffm.to/chillhopradio…

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Can we, just for a moment, admire how gorgeous this cover is?!

The story is just as amazing! Inspired by the Persian epic Shahnameh from the early eleventh century, the setting is lush and vivid. It’s an empowering story about learning to love the things about oneself that are different. While reading the story I kept thinking about the quote “Princesses, most often save themselves.” I can’t remember who coined that phrase but it very much applies to this story.

Melissa Bashardoust’s Girl, Serpent, Thorn is “an alluring feminist fairy tale” (Kirkus) about a girl cursed to be poisonous to the touch and who discovers what power might lie in such a curse.

There was and there was not, as all stories begin, a princess cursed to be poisonous to the touch. But for Soraya, who has lived her life hidden away, apart from her family, safe only in her gardens, it’s not just a story.

As the day of her twin brother’s wedding approaches, Soraya must decide if she’s willing to step outside of the shadows for the first time. Below in the dungeon is a demon who holds knowledge that she craves, the answer to her freedom. And above is a young man who isn’t afraid of her, whose eyes linger not with fear, but with an understanding of who she is beneath the poison.

Soraya thought she knew her place in the world, but when her choices lead to consequences she never imagined, she begins to question who she is and who she is becoming…human or demon. Princess or monster.

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May I also humbly recommend …

DP Blurb + jacket promo

Hoisin meatballs

Yes another recipe with meatballs! It’s been the mood around here lately. This was inspired by a recipe I saw in NYT but they were rather bland so I kick them up with the addition of some of my favorite Asian flavors!

Hoisin Meatballs

1 lb Ground Turkey

2 tablespoons Hoisin Sauce (whatever is your favorite)

2 cloves of grated Garlic

1 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice

2 teaspoons dried Basil (If you have fresh then add 4 leaves finely chopped)

1 tablespoon Ponzu (if you can’t find it then substitute plain Soy Sauce)

1 teaspoon Sesame Oil

1 cup Panko Crumbs

1 finely chopped Green Onion

Salt & Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Mix all of the above together and let sit covered for 15 minutes. If the Mixture still seems too wet then add more Panko 1 tablespoon at a time until you’re happy with the consistency. I find that a somewhat wetter meatball comes out more tender after cooking.

Roll the meat mixture into rough 2 inch balls and place on a foil or silpat lined baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. (If you roll with damp hands the mixture won’t stick to your fingers!)

Remove from oven and place the meatballs into a shallow fry pan with the sauce to finish cooking through, about 7-10 more minutes or until meatballs are cooked through.

Serve with jasmine rice or noodles with the pan sauce divided and poured over each portion.

For the Sauce:

Hoisin Simmer Sauce

2 tablespoons Hoisin Sauce

1 teaspoon Sesame Oil

1 teaspoon Sesame Seeds

1 tablespoon Ponzu or Soy Sauce

1/2 cup water

In a fry pan with a lid combine all the above ingredients and bring to a simmer. Add the meatballs and cover simmering for 7-10 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through. When finished plate up the meatballs and then turn the heat up and reduce the sauce for about 3 minutes or until It forms a glaze. Pour over meatballs to serve.

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I cobbled this soup together out of freezer and pantry staples. It turned out rather well!

Meatball Minestrone Soup

1 lb Sweet Italian sausage

a drizzle of Olive Oil

1 15oz. can White Beans

1 15oz can Diced Tomatoes

2 cups Mixed Frozen Veggies

1 cup Dried Shaped Pasta (I used Gemelini)

1.5 tablespoons Better Than Bouillon Beef stock concentrate

1 tablespoon dried Italian Herb Mix

1 teaspoon dried Thyme

2 teaspoons grated Fresh Garlic

4 cups Water

Salt & Pepper

If you are working with sausage links take the casing off then roll the sausage meat into roughly 1 inch balls. In a nonstick sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat and add the meatballs. Cook for about 5 minutes or until brown and no longer pink in the middle. Set aside.

In a large pot with lid combine the tomatoes (and juice), white beans (plus the canning liquid), frozen veggies, garlic, stock concentrate, herbs and water. Stir to mix then turn the heat to medium and bring to a low boil. Cook until the frozen veggies are tender but still retain their bright color, about 7-10 minutes.

Add in the meatballs and any juice accumulated in the pan.

Add the dried pasta. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes or until the pasta is done.

Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with a sprinkle of cheese and garlic bread.

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About the third chapter in I remember stating aloud “This is a very weird story!” That’s saying a lot from someone who writes the type of stuff that I do, but it’s true. At first, you don’t know what going on, but it’s fascinating! And when you do figure out what’s going on you’re hooked!

From the New York Times bestselling author of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, an intoxicating, hypnotic new novel set in a dreamlike alternative reality.

Piranesi’s house is no ordinary building: its rooms are infinite, its corridors endless, its walls are lined with thousands upon thousands of statues, each one different from all the others. Within the labyrinth of halls an ocean is imprisoned; waves thunder up staircases, rooms are flooded in an instant. But Piranesi is not afraid; he understands the tides as he understands the pattern of the labyrinth itself. He lives to explore the house.

There is one other person in the house-a man called The Other, who visits Piranesi twice a week and asks for help with research into A Great and Secret Knowledge. But as Piranesi explores, evidence emerges of another person, and a terrible truth begins to unravel, revealing a world beyond the one Piranesi has always known.

For readers of Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane and fans of Madeline Miller’s CircePiranesi introduces an astonishing new world, an infinite labyrinth, full of startling images and surreal beauty, haunted by the tides and the clouds.

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May I also humbly recommend….

TDS Blurb + Jacket

CO 4x6 coverFINAL

Happy New Year!

I have been wanting to share the cover of CHILDREN OF THE SERPENT and today the wait is over! It will available on June 21st for Kindle and Kindle Unlimited. Preorders are open now!

Here’s what the story is about:

The sensational conclusion of The Revel Night Saga!

Juno Tenebris has a secret…

The visions come to her in her dreams. A gifted artist, she wakes to find she has drawn an image of something that will come to pass. It is a secret she must keep at all costs. Juno’s great grandmother has suffered hundreds of years of captivity. Her gifts of prophecy too valuable to risk her; she can never leave the Citadel. Ever. It’s the fate that awaits Juno if anyone finds out she too is an Oracle.

But someone has found out…

Finnlan Wickerman, captain of the Shadows of Faerie, is arrogant, obnoxious, and enraging. And now she must trust him as her secret keeper, an unbreakable vow that if betrayed will cost him his life.

The Day of Devouring has come…

The Phaji Swarm, the enemy of the Four Realms, has regrouped and has a new leader, Hivemother Six. She is in league with a former ally, The Sons of the Serpent, a cult of powerful human Mages, and they have their sights set on Juno and her extraordinary power of prophecy.

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Hello from the last week of 2020! Well guys, looks like we did it! We made it through this year. I think we should all give ourselves a pat of the back for that!

Next year marks the release of the last book of THE REVEL NIGHT SAGA. I look forward to showing you the cover for CHILDREN OF THE SERPENT in January plus excerpts in the months leading up to the June publishing date! 

 

Hopeful wishes to you for a brighter New Year

Cheers!

Kathleen

Come December I’m in the mood for a Christmas story, something fun and lighthearted. This year in my search for Christmas themed books I struck gold!

 

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Christina Lauren as you may or may not know is the pen name of the duo Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings, I’ve enjoyed their books for many years and when I learned they wrote and Christmas book I punched that pre-order button with giddy joy. I was not disappointed at all! IN A HOLIDAZE was fun and sweet and frothy; just the thing I need at this time of year! 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for Maelyn Jones. She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions.
But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the world—the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born, along with two other beloved families. Mentally melting down as she drives away from the cabin for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy.
The next thing she knows, tires screech and metal collides, everything goes black. But when Mae gasps awake…she’s on an airplane bound for Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again. With one hilarious disaster after another sending her back to the plane, Mae must figure out how to break free of the strange time loop—and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.

 

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“Yeah, yeah a modern twist on A CHRISTMAS CAROL…. It’s been done to death!” I hear you saying. But you guys! This really is an unusual twist. I loved every minute of it! I was blinking back tears at the end of Holly’s story,  I’m going to buy a hardback copy to re-read every Christmas–It was that good! 

On Christmas Eve five years ago, seventeen-year-old Holly Chase was visited by three Ghosts who showed her how selfish and spoiled she’d become. They tried to convince her to mend her ways. She didn’t. And then she died.

Now she’s stuck working for the top-secret company Project Scrooge—as their latest Ghost of Christmas Past. So far, Holly’s afterlife has been miserable. But this year’s Scrooge is different. This year’s Scrooge might change everything…

 

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This came recommended to me and I have only just started it.  I”ll come back and update you when I finish it!

Edit: I finished it! Wow! First off it’s a great story! I loved the characters, they seemed real in a way that only great writers can manage. Although most of the important scenes set during Christmas and New Years I wouldn’t call it a Christmas book, more a Winter book. All the same I would recommend it.  

Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn’t exist anywhere but the movies. But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man who she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there’s a moment of pure magic…and then her bus drives away.

Certain they’re fated to find each other again, Laurie spends a year scanning every bus stop and cafe in London for him. But she doesn’t find him, not when it matters anyway. Instead they “reunite” at a Christmas party, when her best friend Sarah giddily introduces her new boyfriend to Laurie. It’s Jack, the man from the bus. It would be.

What follows for Laurie, Sarah and Jack is ten years of friendship, heartbreak, missed opportunities, roads not taken, and destinies reconsidered. One Day in December is a joyous, heartwarming and immensely moving love story to escape into and a reminder that fate takes inexplicable turns along the route to happiness.

 

Until then my friends, Sending you hopeful wishes for a brighter new year! 

 

May I also humbly recommend: 

DP Blurb + jacket promo