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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

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It’s hard when you have to cut out scenes that you like. It’s necessary sometimes in the service of the story as a whole. The following was one such cut that did not make it into the published work. Happily I can share it here! 

 

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She wasn’t in Heaven, Vashti’s mountain fortress was gone, she was in a garden where three trees stood. The first was full of pink blossoms the second bore ripe juicy looking fruit and the third tree was bare but stood tall and imposing. A man and a woman knelt in front of the fruit laden tree. Livia gasped recognizing herself and Tynan.

She edged closer; her eyes wide. They were older than they were at present, but not by much. They both were dressed in white garments of the style one wore in Faerie. She in a gauzy dress and he in trousers, tunic and belt.

“…and to the Mother we give this token in hope she will bless us.” Tynan said.

Livia’s future-self took a black feather threaded onto a golden chain from around her neck and placed it on the ground in front of the tree. Then Tynan reached up and plucked one of the fruits from a branch. He held it to Livia’s lips, and she took a big bite, laughing as pink juice ran down her chin. Tynan licked and kissed the juice from her face before taking a bite as well.

Present day Livia felt the familiar disorienting pull of Vashti’s magic; she was being drawn away.

“No!” she cried. “No, Vashti! I want to see more!” The garden faded and she was back at Vashti’s hearth. She looked to the Glass but this time she only saw her own reflection. “Damn!”

“You saw what you were meant to see, they will let you have no more.” Livia glowered at the old woman who puffed serenely on her pipe, but Vashti just cackled her witchy laugh. 

“I’d like to have a rather violent word with “they” sometime,” Livia huffed.

“Oh, aye. Vashti would as well!”

Livia sat hard in the chair her mind spinning with what had been revealed to her. She felt sorry she had been so hard on her mother at the Seelie queen’s palace, she hadn’t known how her mother had suffered with her decision to become a Seraphim. It hadn’t occurred to her that Catherine would have said no, ascension was the greatest honor in the Angelic realm, but she would have stayed if not for Livia.

 She wondered what her mother had done to protect her already, maybe her powers as a Pathfinder weren’t natural after all. She wondered how much of what she had taken as accidents of fate had been by her mother’s guidance.

As for the other thing she’ been shown, she fed the tiny spark of joy the vision had created. Were they mated? What was the significance of the fruit from the tree? Whose feather was it that she had given the tree? She had more questions than that small glimpse could possibly answer. She also felt very foolish now about how she had handled her feelings. It was obvious to her now that she and Tynan were stronger together, the Glass had shown her proof of that. Was Tynan having second thoughts about her? Had that been why he’d been reluctant to sleep in the bed last night?

Vashti’s cackle drew her out of her reverie. “You should go show him how you feel in truth,” she told her.

Livia decided against asking Vashti if she was a mind reader. Instead she went back upstairs and followed the woman’s advice.

THE FALLEN SHADOW is available for Kindle and in Hardback 

TFS cover blurb promo

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This year I learned a new way to make pumpkin pie! Combined with my original recipe this new trick proved to be the best pie yet!

Pumpkin Pie 2.0

Pre heat oven to 425F

One 15oz can Unsweetened Pumpkin Puree

1/2 cup Granulated Sugar

1/4 Brown Sugar

2 tablespoons Maple Syrup

2 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice

2 large eggs

1 12oz can Evaporated Milk

Pinch of Salt

1 Unbaked 9 inch Pie Shell or 1/2 portion Homemade Pie Crust recipe

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Prepare your crust: Thaw if using frozen or if using fresh lay your crust into your pie plate and keep in the fridge to stay cold while you mix the pie filling.

Here’s the new trick! Heat pumpkin puree over medium high heat stirring frequently for about 5 minutes or until you see that the moisture content of the puree is reduced. Set aside and cool for about 20 minutes or until room temperature. Cooking the pumpkin gets rid of the extra water in the puree and concentrates the flavor it also makes the pie cook faster!

Once cool add, sugars, maple syrup, salt, pie spices to the puree and mix well.

Beat eggs until combined then add to the pumpkin mixture.

Slowly whisk in the evaporated milk.

Pour the pie filling into the pie crust and bake for 15 minutes at 425F. Reduce the temp to 350F and continue baking for 30-40 minutes or until the filling is softly set. It will have a small amount of wibble wobble in the very center, that’s okay as it will continue to cook for a few minutes after you take it out of the oven and will set up as it cools.

If the crust begins to get too brown wrap the edges of the crust in tin foil to stop the browning.

Cool compleately then store in refridgerator until cool.

Serve with whipped cream

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This year Thanksgiving comes with a lot of extra things. Concerns, worries, and rules.  I am endeavoring to focus for the coming week on gratitude. In that spirit here are some links for Thanksgiving. 

My yearly reminder that this is THE Thanksgiving manual if you need one. (I love the stories about Thanksgiving during his college days)

The complete Turkey Day Tutorial archive from WFH  

Table settings via The Pioneer Woman 

YES! The Macy’s Day Parade will be televised!

Here’s a very mellow jazzy playlist for Thanksgiving day

If you can’t be there, send your best wishes with one of these modern Thanksgiving cards.

What is your favorite Thanksgiving movie? 

Until next time, friends! Wishing you a happy Thanksgiving.

 

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I haven’t read a good murder mystery in a while but The Guest List by Lucy Foley definitely was just the thing for a dark and stormy mood. It’s atmospheric to be sure! I would recommend reading on a bleak day wrapped in a cozy sweater 🙂 

The bride – The plus one – The best man – The wedding planner  – The bridesmaid – The body

On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed.

But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. The groomsmen begin the drinking game from their school days. The bridesmaid not-so-accidentally ruins her dress. The bride’s oldest (male) friend gives an uncomfortably caring toast.

And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?

 

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May I also humbly recommend: 

TDS Blurb + Jacket

 

 

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In which Livia Windancer, newly fallen angel, discovers the downside of living with monster boys….

 

 

 

Whatever he was about to say was interrupted by a loud crash followed by raised voices in the front hall. Kai appeared in the doorway to the library looking distraught.

“It’s Orin and Finn again, Commander,” he said.

Tynan’s jaw clenched and he exhaled a breath, his nostrils flaring in annoyance.

“Perfect,” he muttered, walking toward the commotion.

Livia followed accompanied by Kai. “They fight all the time,” Kai supplied.

Turning the corner, sure enough, the two boys were squared off each glaring daggers at the other one. Orin’s lip was bleeding. The other boy, Finn she assumed, was a tall, brawny redhead. He swung a fist that Orin barely dodged.

“Take it back!” he growled at Orin.

“I call it like I see it, Wickerman,” Orin countered.

Tynan watched the goings on from the corner of the room, his arms folded over his broad chest, a look of silent annoyance on his face. He made no move to break up the fight and seemed resigned to let his captains hash things out themselves.

“You don’t know what you’re talking about!”

“She’s making you the fool!”

The temperature of the front hall plummeted and black mist swirled around Orin and Finn’s feet as they circled each other.

“She’s none of your business!” Finn yelled.

So that was what this was about, a girl. She got the feeling Orin disapproved of Finn’s sweetheart. Livia felt for him. It was hard to watch a friend be hurt by another and complicated for… her thoughts came to a halt. Complicated! Oh dear. Livia figured she knew who Juno’s Mr. Complicated was.

The Shadows who had gathered along the staircase and in the doorway of the dining hall didn’t seem terribly upset by the fight. Most held a look of amusement, but Sorah stood out among the onlookers. His expression was of stern disapproval. Surprisingly, his look of disgust was leveled at Orin, cold radiated off him in waves.

“I can’t watch this,” he snapped, leaving by way of the stairs. Livia watched him go, as he turned to take one last look over his shoulder before disappearing down the hallway she could have sworn she saw tears in his eyes.

Livia’s attention was drawn back just as Finn launched himself at Orin. The other pivoted away but Finn countered grabbing Orin in a headlock, for all his brawn Finn was very agile and fast.

“Take back what you said!” Finn demanded.

“No!”

Her strategic mind kicked in and plotted Orin’s next move, there were several ways of getting out of a head lock but that’s not what happened.

Orin burst into flames. Finn let go dancing away from the other Shadow’s burning flesh. The rest of the bystanders, Livia included, followed suit. The heat from Orin’s flames was intense; it made her think of the fireball that had nearly killed she and her father as they were making their escape.

“Two can play at that, Ignus!” Finn sneered.

Spreading his fingers wide, his hands then arms deformed reaching out, his fingers growing long. They writhed toward Orin, slithering around his legs and waist. Orin sent flames up Finn’s appendages but the he refused to let go. Orin’s whole body was engulfed the blaze swirling up his torso, his delicate gossamer wings crackled as they caught fire.

The fire stoked hotter and Livia pressed herself into the wall, her heart hammering. The screams of the falling angels as they burnt…wings on fire…the stench of flesh on fire…blood…and snakes…snakes…writhing toward her…snakes coming to get her…

“Snakes!”

It was Kai’s voice she heard beside her; with effort she pulled herself out of her horrific memories and looked down to the boy who was smiling up at her.

“I can see it!” he said excitedly. “I know! I know what I want to be!”

“What you…?” she began, but then gasped, her terror made real as dozens of snakes began to squirm out from under Kai’s clothes.

She backed away but Kai followed her smiling as the snakes continued to climb into his mop of hair and slide around his arms. The snakes turned their attention suddenly to her, their cold eyes zeroing in, quickly perusing her as she backed away toward the stairs.

She dimly heard Tynan’s voice. “Kai, stop that.”

“She showed me, Commander. I can see it!”

The snakes were growing bigger, rising with dripping fangs snapping at her bare feet. Unable to contain her composure a moment longer she screamed. Flailing, she tripped on the stairs and still they came at her. She turned and ran for her life.

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THE FALLEN SHADOW is available now on Kindle and in hardcover

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Hey there!

It’s spooky season! My favorite time of the year! Here are some Sunday links to put you in the Halloween mood!

Last minute Halloween costumes (you know who you are!)

Ominous Tracks for Party Ghouls (Spotify Playlist)

Autumn and Halloween embroidery projects

How would you like to take a tour of Stephen Kings house?

“Knitted” glass sculptures are so cool!

October 13th 1886, “The circus arrives without warning…” My favorite Autumn book

Beauty advice from your friendly neighborhood witch

To Autumn by John Keats

Adorable Halloween cards from the 1920’s

From the Mind of Christine McConnell (Queen of creepy crafts!)

This is the recipe I use (Libby’s famous pumpkin pie)

I hope you have a wonderful Halloween season, until next time friends, be well!

EDIT: Well, I guess this post is better late than never! Enjoy your Sunday Surfing post on this Monday morning. :/ 

 

 

 

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My novel, Dragon’s Pawn, is one year old today! To celebrate here’s a special excerpt from the book, plus a DIY on how to make your own set of Secret Letter tiles like they used in the chapter.

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“I uh…” She really didn’t have time for gaming…then it struck her that Céline and Dara had seemed obsessed by the playing. “It seemed very complex.”

“Not at all. Once you know the rules it’s very diverting,” she tipped her head toward Mia’s guards, a very slight movement, “and enlightening.”

Lonnie came over and took a seat. “It’s really cool, they played a version in the book Anna Karenina.” He looked at her meaningfully.

Mia sat straighter, suddenly alert as to what was being asked of her. She knew the chapter from the book; it was where Kitty and Levin communicate through anagrams during a game of Secrétarie. “Our version is easier,” Lonnie said. “Want to learn how to play?”

*

   “First, you put out a word that will be the topic,” Lonnie explained, “then the other players build upon that word. Mother, you start with a word for Mia.”

Céline nodded and pushed four tiles into place. Dara.

Mia took this as a question, Where is Dara?

“Now Mia you can build upon Mother’s word or dismiss the word by playing your red tile,” Lonnie said.

It was excruciating not to be able to just talk to them, this might take more patience than she had. She didn’t want to upset Céline any more than she was but she knew she should be honest. Pushing the tiles under Céline’s word she answered the woman’s question. Dead.

Céline blinked tears from her eyes and pushed forward her green tile. Lonnie pushed forward his also, and then Mia did the same. End of conversation. Lonnie swept away the tiles. “Your turn now, Mia. You start the next phrase.”

And so it went, for hours they spoke using the tiles. Mia became very adept at choosing the right word to communicate her question or answer.

The Triad had been using Littri Sicreti or “the game of secret letters”, as a way of negotiation and secret communication amongst their family for generations. It was how the treaty discussions had been conducted. Between Céline and Dara, and General Bailey, not Caleb, Jonathan and Michael. Céline’s brothers had been keeping Caleb busy while the real work of establishing a new relationship occurred. Dara had been acting as Red City’s negotiator Céline told her. Dara had been the representive of the city’s true leadership.

Mia’s mouth fell open, hastily she assembled her word: Havenites. Céline pushed out her green tile. Yes.

Mia sat back in her chair trying to come up with a word that would convey the hundreds of questions ricocheting inside her head but before she could the lock on the doors to the suite popped open, the doors swung wide and Caleb swanned into the room. Hastily, Lonnie mixed up the tiles on the table and scrambled any words there.

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When I wrote the above scene I imagined Céline’s Littri Sicretti tiles to be very old, made by hand, perhaps of bone, and passed down by one of the Golden family’s ancestors. It was a bit of trial and error to come up with the right look. But I’m ever so pleased with the results!

I used DAS modeling clay and weighed out 7gr. chunks before rolling them into balls and then rolling them flat. Then using a template I cut them into 2cm x 3cm squares. After drying for about 24 hours I sanded the tiles to create a bevel on all the edges (back and front)

As the tiles are double sided I stamped the letters on (a capital on one side, lowercase on the other) Then I weathered them by tumbling them with used (wet) coffee grounds to simulate generations of use. A clear coat of spray poly on both sides of the tiles and I declared myself done!

 

DRAGON’S PAWN is available for Kindle and Kindle Unlimited and in Hardback 

 

A NEW STORY FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE REVEL NIGHT SAGA

Adam wants nothing more than to live a life of quiet solitude, something that’s easy to do in the Trashtown District of Red City. An ex-MECH soldier, he keeps his head down and his mouth shut. Slowly, he’s starting to put the horrors of the battlefield behind him. And then he meets Mia.

The spirited messenger who runs for Lóng Sang more than intrigues him. As they grow closer he feels, with her, he’s found a place to trust his weary heart.

Mia’s time as a humble messenger for Lóng Sang is running out. Like her mother before her, soon she will take her place as a courtesan along side the Glitter Girls and Party Boys of the Tower. Her training has already begun and Caleb Masters, the devious oligarch who is Dragon of Lóng Sang, has taken a keen interest in her.

Mia knows too well what will happen if she and Adam are caught together so she cherishes their stolen moments while hiding her true identity from him.

She’s playing a dangerous game, one she has no hope of winning especially when she finds herself drawn into a conspiracy that threatens to tear Red City apart.