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Beginnings

Beginnings
don-donaldson

don-donaldsonBEGINNINGS

 

I love to watch movies about how famous people got their start, especially singers.  The other night I saw a TV rerun of WALK THE LINE, the biopic about Johnny Cash. There’s something fascinating about how he barged into Sam Philips’ recording studio in Memphis and talked the man into giving him an audition.  Cash and his two buddies do a gospel song for Philips and he’s obviously not very interested. When they finish, Philips says, “I can’t sell gospel music. Got anything else?” That’s the big turning point.  Philips didn’t say Cash couldn’t sing.  He wanted to hear something different. Now, I’m on the edge of my seat.  What did Johnny Cash do next? He sang a little song he wrote himself, FOLSOM PRISON BLUES.  And that sealed the deal.  By the way, Joaquin Phoenix played Johnny Cash and really sang the songs himself.  Amazing.

My interest in big breaks that launch careers isn’t limited to singers. It also extends to writers (big surprise).  The story about how Stephen King sold his first book sounds as though it was scripted for dramatic effect.  As many of you may know, his first novel was Carrie, a tale of a bullied young girl with telekinetic powers who takes revenge on her tormenters.  Initially, he wrote three pages of what was intended to be a short story, then believing it was no good, tossed the pages away. His wife later took them out of the trash, read them, and encouraged him to develop the story into a novel.  After thirty publishers rejected the book, Doubleday picked it up for a modest advance. The hardcover sold only 13,000 copies, but the paperback rights went for $400,000, half to King, half to Doubleday.  The sale of this book rescued King and his wife from a barely solvent existence.  For more details on all this, see http://mentalfloss.com/article/53235/how-stephen-kings-wife-saved-carrie-and-launched-his-career

I also like to hear stories about how people met their spouses. Here’s mine. I first saw my future wife when my family traveled from our home in Toledo, Ohio, to Jacksonville, Florida, for my uncle’s wedding.  At the home of the bride to be, I was introduced to her incredibly gorgeous younger sister, Lois.  This dazzling girl was dressed in a sparkling white blouse and white shorts.  On the floor was a toddler eating some kind of soft candy that he had smeared all over his fingers and face.  Suddenly noticing that his mother had left the room, the toddler began to cry.  Thinking only about the welfare of the little boy, Lois picked the child up in her arms to comfort him. This of course soon led to the toddler smearing candy all over Lois’s white blouse. And Lois didn’t mind at all! I knew then that this girl was also beautiful on the inside.

For several years we communicated with each other by letter and phone calls (this was long before the invention of texting and Skype).  Then, for a variety of reasons, (rigors of college mostly) I stopped writing. One day I received a card from Lois.  On the front it said, I’D LIKE TO GET ON YOUR GOOD SIDE.  Inside, it read, IF YOU HAVE ONE.

Over fifty years later, I still admire her for choosing that card.  She humbled herself by letting me know she was still interested, but also, at the same time, managed to stick it to me.

In thinking about how people meet, I’m reminded of Carl and Beth, the two lead characters in my medical thriller, THE BLOOD BETRAYAL. (Yes, we’ve now come to the commercial portion of our program) Anyway, I’m willing to bet that no two people ever met in a more unusual manner than those two.

I can imagine Carl relating the story to one of his grandkids.

“Tell me how you and Grandma met,” the boy says to Carl.  Carl smiles, thinks back, and shakes his head.  “Well, I was driving away from this little town where I’d just upset the local doctor so bad that I was sure he wanted to kill me. Then the craziest thing happened.”

“What?” the boy asks.

Carl reaches for a book and hands it to his grandson.  “It’s all in here, my boy.  And better understood if you read about it yourself.”

I’d tell you more, but I agree with Carl that you should read the book for yourself and not depend on someone like me to interpret it for you. (Although if you were going to rely on a guide through it, I’d probably be a good choice.)

 

-Don Donaldson

 

THE BLOOD BETRAYAL is on sale for just $1.99! Grab it today!

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All Aboard!

All Aboard!
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vedam-new-2016Regency Sea Travel 101

Shereen Vedam

Hang on, there’s stormy weather ahead! And a bit of a history lesson.

The “Regency” era covers the period 1811 to 1820, when Prince George IV became Regent of England because his father, King George III, due to a malady, was declared incapable of performing the necessary royal functions.

During most of the Regency period and before, passengers who wished to travel by sea had to make do with paying for the privilege of boarding a vessel that primarily carried cargo and mail. It was only in 1818 that the Black Ball Line was founded to provide a regular service for passengers aboard its packet ships from the United States to England.

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“I shall go the way our brave Sailors do, so take care of my petticoates, Captain and chair the Bishop!” Is not She a Spunky one…or the Princess and the Bishop

Before then, the best way to travel from England to Europe or elsewhere was on board a merchant vessel. As an island, England needed to conduct trade to and from India, China, West Indies, Canada and elsewhere, bringing in raw goods like rice, rum and precious spices, and carting away manufactured textiles, pottery and metallic goods. Therefore, lots of merchant vessels plied their trade between Britain and many of its colonies.

These sea voyages came to a crashing halt once the Peninsula War between England and France began. You see Napoléon Bonaparte had placed his brothers as kings of neighboring countries in order to create puppet states and dominate Europe. The moment he tried that ploy with Spain and Portugal, it instigated a widespread populace uprising against French occupation. And thus began the Peninsula War.

This war lasted from 1808 to 1814, and during that time, travel by the general public to Europe was hindered by Britain imposing a series of decrees (Orders in Council) in 1807. These decrees restricted the movement of merchant vessels seeking to trade with European countries.

Side note: these trade restrictions imposed by Britain was partly responsible for the American War of 1812.

Moving on. After Napoleon Bonaparte abdicated in April of 1814, the Peninsula War ended, and trading vessels once again sought ways to make money through sea travel to Europe. Despite the war ending, however, travel by sea remained perilous and uncomfortable. Cabins were cramped, food was terrible and the cost exorbitant.

Nowadays, we can simply board an engine powered cruise ship or ferry knowing that if trouble arose, there would be lifeboats and marine evacuation chutes to take us to safety. We can be fairly confident the crew will be well-trained to combat emergency situations because regulations require that vessel crew regularly practice evacuation drills. We also know that when we are served a meal, the quality is covered by food safety laws.

During Regency times, however, travel by sea wasn’t so safe, well catered or easy. For a woman, simply getting on board was an impediment. Take a quick read of the excerpt below and see how my heroine reacts to having to climb up a slippery ladder in order to board a tall ship.

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EXCERPT from A Perfect Curse

As their skiff neared the Magdalena, sailors greeted them with shouts and cheers. Nevara was dismayed to see that she would be required to climb aboard by way of a long slippery rope ladder.

 

a-perfect-curse-200x300x72Lord Terrance strapped his dog to his chest with a rope he had brought for that purpose and scaled upward as if he did this sort of thing every day. His lordship’s valet, Ellison, a meticulously groomed slender man, stood ready to assist the others. Lady Terrance confidently tied her skirts higher, exposing her ankles but allowing her to climb the ladder and follow her husband.

Once his employers were out of earshot, Ellison began to mutter about the dire consequences of this accursed voyage. He bent to offer Nevara a hand up. On closer inspection, the valet’s proud manner did not match his red-rimmed eyes or his unsteady footing. She wondered if his swaying movement had more to do with the smell of spirits on his breath than the rocking of the skiff. He was more likely to tip her overboard than help her ascend the ladder. Behind her, the other servant, Lady Terrance’s maid, Mendal, a gaunt woman in her late forties, crossed herself and murmured a psalm.

Nevara hitched up her skirts as she had seen Lady Terrance do and grabbed onto the rope ladder. She then made her careful way up. Her skirts still proved a nuisance as they caught beneath her feet at the back. Taking one hand off the rope ladder to free herself, she swayed dangerously to the side.

“Careful,” Lord Terrance called from the top. “Keep both hands on the ladder, Miss Wood.”

Easier said than done. Her tight grip kept slipping on the slimy rope ladder. She hiked her skirts again until both her feet could find purchase on the steps. Still on the skiff, Mendal was reciting a gloomy biblical verse in rhythm to Nevara’s every slippery step.

At the top, Lord Terrance pulled her over the railing with a strong heave and a stout, “Well done, Miss Wood.” His mischievous grin and a glance down to his servants suggested he understood her misgivings. His beautiful wife, too, seemed to be hiding a smile.

Nevara was not amused. She had to share a cabin with Mendal during the upcoming voyage. She hoped the lady’s maid would desist from this worrisome praying. She had enough concerns to accompany her all the way to Cadiz.

 

Pick up A PERFECT CURSE for just $0.99! Only through the end of September!

Meet My Hero

Meet My Hero
Donnell Bell

Donnell BellMeet My Hero

by Donnell Ann Bell

 

Since I write romantic suspense, one of the requirements is that I include a hero. He’s tall and buff and smart and the type that readers will either swoon or fan themselves. But today I’d like to tell you about a real life hero who does neither of that when you look at her.  You see, she’s well into her 80s, and I see her at times when I’m driving home or on my way to the store. She loves to walk, and while she’s out walking, she carries a bag and picks up the trash she passes along the way.

She’s not saving lives or putting out fires, but she is making our neighborhood better. What’s more she’s been a great influence on me.  What a great idea, I thought, so while I’m out walking Charley, and just happen to have a bag, I pick up trash.

Maybe I’ll run into this lady one day on one of my walks and thankBuried Agendas her for being an unsung hero and a positive influence.

In Buried Agendas, a book that is on $1.99 special through August 31 on all digital forums from Bell Bridge Books, my heroine is concerned about the environment as well and goes undercover. So, in effect, she’s a lot like my elderly neighbor.  I hope you’ll check it out!  http://donnellannbell.com/books/buried-agendas/

Summertime, and the reading is easy!

Summertime, and the reading is easy!
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Keiler Photo 1Summertime, and the reading is easy!

I vacation every summer in a beautiful beach town on the New Jersey shore, not too far from where my husband grew up. I start each day with a leisurely jog up and down the town’s boardwalk bordering the beach, which offers the best views of the sun rising up out of the Atlantic Ocean. The beach is always empty then—except for an occasional gathering of sea gulls—and the breezes lift off the water and keep me and the few other early joggers from getting too hot. It is the most peaceful time of day. While my sneakered feet stay on the boardwalk, my mind wanders in all directions. I get some of my best writing ideas during these tranquil morning jogs.

After I return to the inn where my husband and I stay, I wash up, Keiler Photo 2change into a swimsuit and coverup, and grab some breakfast, after which we head back down to the beach, armed with chairs, an umbrella, and books, books, books! My husband loves biographies, narrative history, and thrillers, many of which he buys in hardcover (which makes our beach tote bag weigh a ton.) I prefer women’s fiction, romances, and mysteries—the same genres I write—and I read them on my Kindle. Of course, this means I can bring hundreds of books down to the beach with me, all stored on my lightweight reading device.

 

Much as I love my morning jogs (and my evening ice-cream Keiler Photo 3pig-outs; our inn is a short walk from a fabulous ice-cream parlor), my favorite part of vacation is sitting on the beach and reading. I slide my chair into the umbrella’s shade, dig my toes into the sand, and gorge on books. My definition of bliss!

 

If you’re like me, and looking for some delicious new books to read while you’re on vacation, I hope you’ll give The April Tree a try, especially while it’s specially priced at only $1.99. Much as I love all the books I’ve written (one hundred so far!), The April Tree is the book closest to my heart. It contains drama, romance, sorrow, and laughter. It’s about life and loss, fate and faith. And it’s about the enduring bonds of friendship.

 

Some of you may be beach readers like me. Some may be hammock Keiler Photo 4readers. Some of you may be hopping on planes and traveling long distances this summer—but hey, you’ll need a good book or two to keep you company on the flight. So stock up on your summertime reading—and take advantage of any discounts you can find. I hope you’ll include The April Tree on your summer reading list.

 

Judith Arnold

 

 

THE APRIL TREE is on sale for just 1.99! Grab it today!

Power of Perseverance

Power of Perseverance
A Beastly Scandal
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Power of Perseverance

By Shereen Vedam

 

“Death is Peaceful, Life is Harder”

Stephenie Meyer, Twilight

 

Right after I read the above quote, a friend mentioned a line from anshereen-06 400 x 466 BW 2016 old TV show called St. Elsewhere: “Death ends a life, it doesn’t end a relationship.”

 

Both quotes are so very true. When someone dies, the love of those left behind does not die with their loved one, it lingers on. As for the one who died, he or she can be drawn to the vibrancy of life they were left behind, especially if the one who they once cared for, is still grieving their passing.

 

Deep love perseveres.

 

A Beastly Scandal - 600x900x300Breaking the lure of life isn’t easy. In my Regency romance, A Beastly Scandal, the heroine discovers this when a widow asks her to cleanse her home, Clearview Manor, of a persistent ghost. The first thing the ghost does when Belle arrives is try to kill her. She perseveres. Because the last time she tried to help this man, it was when he was still alive, and she failed. This time, she will not abandon him. Not if he refuses to accept her help, not even if his son throws her out of his home.

 

Perseverance has the power to overcome obstacles, shrug off discouragement and surmount fear. When life seems hard – and believe me, it will get hard because that is the nature of life – remember to believe in yourself, and to not give up. If you can do that, you will get through this day, the next, and the one after that. In the end, you will triumph, because the power of perseverance is magical. Like love. Dead or alive.

 

EXCERPT from A Beastly Scandal:

 “That is a desolate looking house, is it not?” Winfield said. “I would have it torn down and rebuilt in a more flattering style, but Terrance seems fond of this monstrosity. So what brings you so far north, my lady?”

She faced the gentleman. “I have come for a visit with Lady Terrance. She is my grandfather’s friend.”

“I had heard the countess still wore dark colors.”

Before she could respond, a loud crack sounded. She sensed danger stab from above. With a shouted warning, she pulled Mr. Winfield out of harm’s way just as an icicle crashed and shattered where they had stood. She protected her face as splinters flew in all directions.

Mendal screamed. The owl fluttered its one good wing and screeched. The dog barked ferociously.

Mr. MacBride spoke first, his voice quivering and eyes wide with terror. “It is an omen, ah tell ye.”

“He is right,” Mendal said, sounding unusually timorous as she crossed herself. “We should leave. Bad luck comes from going where we are not wanted.”

The front doors opened then, and a footman descended. Immediately, the dog raced up the stairs and inside.

“Dog!” Belle called out in alarm. The animal might wreck the place. This was not how she had hoped to introduce herself to the countess.

An older woman, dressed in black, moved to the open doorway. Belle recognized her from a drawing her grandfather had shown her. This was Lady Terrance. She gave off waves of fear as she looked toward the roofline.

Belle’s worries drowned beneath the lady’s emotional assault, leaving her head pounding with a headache. Through that onslaught, Belle’s purpose became crystal clear. This is why she had come here. Lady Terrance needed her.

 

A BEASTLY SCANDAL is only $1.99 through the 15th! Grab it today!

Look Away, Away

Look Away, Away
Kimberly Brock 2016
The River Witch

Kimberly Brock 2016Look Away, Away

by Kimberly Brock

 

I think writers of any ilk can benefit from a healthy appreciation of setting, but regional – particularly southern writers – are haunted by our connection to, love of, loss of, and clawing crawling, desperate journey back to – the land. Oh, I wish I was in Dixie…away, away. Every song is a lullaby of going home. We close our eyes and dream of the old house in the valley. We contemplate a city skyline, thinking only of the ancient ridges that surrounded freshly turned lowlands where we walked a row as a child. That old scene where Scarlet O’Hara’s father warns her that land is the only thing that matters? We took that old man seriously and so, when we write our stories, do our characters. Their whole world, how our characters view their circumstances, why they struggle, why they rejoice – it’s all reflected in the setting. Pick up any piece of southern fiction and you will understand what Lee Smith meant when she said of regional literature, “There is an intimate identification with landscape. Setting is so important that it often defines the lives and possibilities of its characters…Place is the central defining factor of southern writing. There’s just simply more there, there.”

 

In writing THE RIVER WITCH, I knew Roslyn’s story would end upThe River Witch - 200x300x72 on the island – I knew she would go into a kind of exile. I imagined Roslyn’s need for isolation, and her need for great beauty, which led me to the Georgia Coast. I wanted it to be a place that would keep her off balance so she’d have to struggle to understand it and meet its demands. I needed a place that Roslyn believed was a complete departure. My character’s story is also the story of this environment and if you look at one, you will inevitably discover something about the other.

 

I’d written a good part of the first draft before Roslyn’s past and her childhood memories of Glenmary, Tennessee, began to surface. There, I found a people rooted for centuries in hard ground. Ancient mountains that would not be moved. Do you see these places? Then you see the people who inhabit them. I came to understand these were the characteristics at the core of Roslyn, this place defined all the ways she was at odds with herself, and as with everything else in the novel, these seemingly contradictory environments and cultures of Appalachia and Coastal Georgia would serve as mirrors for one another – just as the characters tend to hold up mirrors to one another. Some of this was written intentionally, but a great deal of it evolved with the story.

 

I’d always been fascinated by the idea that the Sea Islands shift and change, the idea of the alligators roaring season, the romance of the great live oaks, and then there was the element of superstition that lent itself to Roslyn’s haunting. The island was like going back to the mire from which we all emerge. I chose the island setting so she could fight her way back from her loss, physically and psychologically. That’s what Roslyn’s character ultimately faced – what each of us, ANY character ANY place, faces – a transformation that leads to resolution. She had to learn to shift and change to survive, just like the land beneath her feet. Her connection to place informs the reader of Roslyn’s internal journey through metaphor, but it also grounds the reader firmly in a compelling reality, one that every reader will envision for themselves. We are called to whatever away, away means home. To me, the true power of setting is that it gets to the heart of our human search for belonging.

 

Barbara Kingsolver said it best when she spoke of setting. “I have places from which I tell my stories. So do you, I expect. We sign the song of our home because we are animals…Among the greatest of all gifts is to know our place.”

MAKE SURE YOU GRAB THE RIVER WITCH TODAY FOR JUST $1.99! ONLY FOR A LIMITED TIME!

From a Teenage Girl to a Teenage Boy

From a Teenage Girl to a Teenage Boy
Marilee Brothers
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Marilee BrothersFrom a Teenage Girl to a Teenage Boy

by Marilee Brothers

I spent five years of my writing life inside the head of Allie Emerson, the teenage girl featured in the Unbidden Magic series. It was surprisingly easy for me to channel Allie, even though it’s been—well—let’s just say I haven’t been a teenager for a good long time. Apparently teenage angst lives on forever. After I finished Midnight Moon, the last book in the series, I decided to write a YA book with a male protagonist. Enter Gabriel Delgado, hunky eighteen-year-old senior at Maple Grove high school.

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The creative part of my brain got a major wake-up call. I was no longer a seventeen-year-old girl. I had to begin channeling a teenage boy. OMG, guess what boys think about? You know the answer, of course. Sex. One statistic says every fifteen seconds. Another says, they never stop thinking about it. From its title, Baby Gone Bye, you can probably figure out that Gabe acted on his thoughts. Therefore, he should not have been surprised when the doorbell rings and he finds a little “surprise” waiting for him on the front porch. So, what’s a household comprised of four males supposed to do with a little baby girl? Guess you’ll have to read the book to find out. Baby Gone Bye is now on sale for $.99 here: https://amzn.com/B00H4DZ844

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Excerpt from Chapter One  – it’s Friday night and Gabe has a date. He believes, incorrectly, that his evening will go on as planned. At this point, the family thinks the child is a boy.

 

The hall clock bonged seven times. Startled, Gabe leaped from the couch and placed the kid in his car seat. “Man, is it seven already? I’ve got a date. Can we put this on hold until tomorrow?” Without waiting for an answer, Gabe headed for the stairs.

     “Gabriel.” The steel in Papi’s voice stopped Gabe in his track. “Look at me.”

     Slowly, Gabe turned to face his father. He heard Simon whisper, “Dumb shit.” Henry giggled nervously.

     “Gabriel,” Papi repeated. “Do you remember when Rosie was a puppy?”

     Gabe shifted his weight from one foot to the other, wondering if he was about to step into something stinky. “Yeah,” he said carefully.

     Papi’s dark eyes snapped with intensity. “And how did you take care of her?”

     Gabe rolled his eyes heavenward, trying to remember Papi’s three cardinal rules for puppy care. “After she eats, put her outside to poop. Play with her. Put her back in her crate.”

     Papi clapped. “Excellent.”

     Gabe grinned. This was going well. He’d soon be on his way.

     “Now, Gabriel, tell me this, how do you take care of a baby?”

     Uh, oh. Gabe felt beads of perspiration pop out on his forehead. “Well, um, I guess you’re saying it’s the same concept. Right?”

     Papi strolled up nice and close and gave Gabe his shark’s grin. “So, after you feed him, you will take him outside to poop, play with him, and then put him back in his car seat?”

     Right then, Gabe knew he was screwed. He glanced at his brothers. No help there. He’d already stepped in it. Might as well go all the way. He looked his father square in the eyes. “Naturally, I won’t take him outside to poop, but I’ll feed him and play with him.”

    “And you will start this … when?”

     “First thing tomorrow morning.”

     Papi said, “And tonight?”

     Gabe squirmed. “Remember what you said earlier? We’re Delgados. We stick together when there’s a problem.”

     “Ah, now I understand.” Papi stroked his chin. “You assumed one of your brothers or your father would take care of your child while you went on a date. Is that correct?”

     Gabe flushed. “I would appreciate it.”

     “Gabriel,” Papi said again. He pointed at the baby. “That is not a puppy. It is a tiny human being who needs round the clock care. Care that will be given to him by you, his father. Do you understand?”

     Before Gabe could formulate an answer, he heard the amazingly loud rumble of baby flatulence. All eyes turned to the child, whose face was bright red as he clenched his fists and strained.

     Simon snickered. Looks like you forgot to take him outside to poop.”

     Papi handed Gabe a container of baby wipes and a diaper. “Better get used to it. He’ll be doing that a lot.”

     That’s when the Delgado family found out he was a she.

Everything Old is New Again!

Everything Old is New Again!
Midnight Kiss
Cover
Nancy photo

Nancy photoEverything Old is New Again!

by Nancy Gideon

I’m a big fan of Reuse/Recycle/Repurpose for saving time, money and resources. I was beyond thrilled when BelleBooks applied this principal to my “Touched by Midnight” vampire romance series.  The original three titles came out in the early ’90s. Fans convinced me to continue with six more installments when ImaJinn started up. When I got the rights back to the first three long out-of-print books, ImaJinn (now part of BelleBooks) bought them with the plan of repackaging all nine under a new header (“Touched by Midnight”) with gorgeous new covers,  the chance to sneak in and tweak, and to reach a whole new audience! R/R/R at its finest!

Book 6, MIDNIGHT SHADOWS (my favorite!) comes out this month with a dynamite cover (I’ve been sworn to secrecy!). To celebrate, the first two books of the series are on SALE.  MIDNIGHT KISS is $0.99 and MIDNIGHT TEMPTATION  $1.99 through May 15 – an awesome intro that begins in the Regency era and moves, with characters weaving throughout, into modern times (MIDNIGHT SHADOWS takes place in the modern day jungles of Peru).

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Here’s a teaser from MIDNIGHT SHADOWS to whet the need to sink your teeth in for more . . .

“If I’m going to go out there to put it on the line for, as you so succinctly put it, the paycheck, I need to know if you can keep it together. If you have any doubts, you stay behind.”

“I’ll be fine, Cobb.”

“Will you? Are you? Then tell me what you saw earlier tonight in your room. Can you do that?”

“A mask on the wall.”

“Bull.”

“I didn’t see anything.” His steady stare wouldn’t let her leave it at that. “I didn’t see anything real, okay. Is that what you wanted to hear? That I’m nuts, bonkers and all the rest? That I see things that aren’t there? That I have a hole in my memories large enough to drive a Mack truck through? That I can’t trust myself to know what’s real?”

“Trust me.”

His sudden intensity dragged her back from the edge of hysteria.

“Why, Cobb? Why should I trust you?”

“Because I can protect you if you let me. Because I know you’re not crazy.”

“How do you know?” she whispered, fearing to believe it because she didn’t believe it herself.

“Because I know what’s out there, and it’s real.”

The Evil that is Apple, Massachusetts

The Evil that is Apple, Massachusetts

The Evil that is Apple, Massachusetts

by Howard Odentz

I’ve come up in the shadow of the orchards, the gnarled roots of fruit trees twisting and turning into the ground.

I’ve seen brick buildings grow where there were once fields, and I’ve gazed with a lizard brain as factories bloom by the reservoir, only to wither and die in great heaps of red-clay rubble.

I’ve witnessed Apple’s children, innocent and pure, turn from adolescence to adulthood, go off to war, and come home with missing parts—or never come home at all.

I’ve watched the very seeds of this town bear corrupted fruit along a backdrop that has morphed from soda fountains and penny candy stores to tattoo parlors and bars.

And amidst all the never ending change, as the darkness slowly engulfs everyone and everything in its cold embrace, I now stare with a psychotic detachment as the very flesh of Apple is drawn and quartered—literally.

Murder happens here, in lonely tobacco barns along the edge of town, or in the dense forests where the screams of the mutilated are muffled by a thick blanket of autumn rot.

Murder happens here every year.

I am not to blame.

Does one blame God for allowing a husband to strike his wife? Does one blame The Lord for allowing alcohol and drugs and the poor choices of pitiful minds to ruin lives?

Does one blame Him for murder?

I can assure you He took his leave of Apple, Massachusetts long before the first tree was ever planted and long before the first suspicious death ever occurred.

He doesn’t tarry here anymore.

All that remains is me and I’m just fine.

Right as rain.

Ducky, in fact.

For I am the Evil that is Apple, Massachusetts, and boy oh boy…

It is good.

Curious about the evil that’s taken root in Apple? Pick up BLOODY BLOODY APPLE for just $1.99 and find out who’s behind the body count…

Bloody Bloody Apple

INSPIRATION AND LEMONADE

INSPIRATION AND LEMONADE
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Beside a Dreamswept Sea
Upon a Mystic Tide
Beyond the Misty Shore

31LEQcm1WqL._SX150_INSPIRATION AND LEMONADE:

The story behind Beyond the Misty Shore

by Vicki Hinze

Into every life, lemon juice does pour.  If you’re lucky, you learn to love lemonade. I’m lucky. And it’s a good thing because…

I was having a pitcher-full and a truth about life and lemonade settled in:  Loving lemonade is a choice.  I mean, we can’t avoid lemon juice any more than we can avoid challenges. We can fight it, but we are going to lose. Lemon juice will be poured; it’s inevitable. But that doesn’t mean it has to be bitter. We can make a different choice. Sprinkle in a little sugar or Splenda, so to speak, a little water, and we’ve got lemonade, which tastes quite good and, on a hot day, it’s amazingly refreshing.

So I got juiced. I was at this crossroad in my life, debating which way to go, and this lemonade truth kept stealing my attention. I refilled my glass with half-a-pitcher to go, and another thought came to mind.  We have a choice. When life throws us lemons, we can choose to make lemonade, or not. Another thought chased that one:

What if we couldn’t?

What if we didn’t have a choice. Or the choice wasn’t ours to make. We’d be stuck. Literally swimming in lemon juice without lemonade or a solution or resolution in sight!

I didn’t care for the feeling, and it shot holes in my theory that I had at least a little control in my life. Don’t you hate it when that happens?  When your illusions are shattered and as leaky as a sieve?

I more than didn’t like it, I hated it…but I was intrigued. So I thought about it.  Okay, so you have not a pitcher full of lemon juice but a barrel full. You’re already banged up.  (Can anyone get to adulthood in life without getting banged up?  Unlikely.  Rare, even.) So you’re chugging lemon juice from the barrel, eager to drain it and get the nastiness behind you.  You’ve deciphered your problems and have progressed to looking for solutions, and you’re feeling good about that because, while the bad stuff isn’t behind you yet, you’ve made progress.  You’re on your way to getting rid of it.

Only you’re not. You’ve wracked your brain and there just are no solutions. Not even one. Worse, not only have you been robbed of a solution, your choice in what to do has been stolen, too.  Now what?  What do you do?

That was the situation I found myself in that led me to write the Seascape novels, and Beyond the Misty Shore specifically.

Being stuck doesn’t exactly inspire you to be in the most receptive frame of mind. Sunshine is arrogant when you’re grieving, right? But isn’t it true that the worst possible time is always when important things happen? When life-changing things happen?

That’s been true in my life, and so I made it true in TJ MacGregor’s life, too.  He is the hero stuck at Seascape Inn in Beyond the Misty Shore.  Add more lemon juice in the form of Maggie Wright, a woman who loves to hate him, and Miss Hattie, the wise Seascape innkeeper (who seems to know everything about everything but won’t just tell anyone anything because “some things are best learned firsthand”), a colorful cast of local characters, Maine cliffs, and a little otherworldly intervention, and, well, T.J. has his work cut out for him, doesn’t he?

He did, and so did I. But don’t feel too bad for him.  We’ve all tasted the tart of the juice and, you know, sometimes when we’re broken, we have to really hurt to ever get beyond the pain. We have to figure out that we can heal before we do heal.

Eventually, we get it. And when we do, magic happens. We no longer just survive. We truly live.

Like you and me, he’ll figure it out… eventually. So will Maggie.  And what fun to watch without personally sucking lemons!

I’m getting a little misty here. I think I’ll pack a bag and go visit Seascape Inn again . . . just as soon as I finish this glass of lemonade.  Care to join me?

 

Vicki Hinze’s Seascape Trilogy is on sale through March 1st! Pick up these paranormal romances today!

 

Beyond the Misty Shore - 200x300x72Beyond the Misty Shore – Free!

Whimsy. Serenity. And a Touch of Magic. The Seascape Inn.

Marketing executive Maggie Wright and artist T.J. MacGregor are linked by a mysterious car accident that killed Maggie’s cousin, Carolyn, T.J.’s fiancée. When Maggie arrives on the Maine coast determined to get answers from T.J., she discovers a tortured man who is bound to the Seascape Inn by supernatural forces.

Despite the tragedy that stands between them, Maggie and T.J. begin to fall in love, seeking answers and a healing spirit they may never achieve.

 

UUpon a Mystic Tide - 200 x 300 x 72pon a Mystic Tide – Only $1.99! 

With their painful divorce looming on the horizon, radio psychologist Bess Cameron and her soon-to-be-ex-husband, John Mystic, meet at Maine’s Seascape Inn to finalize the terms of a property settlement. Bess believes John is in love with someone else, and she’s determined to move on without him. Their marriage appears doomed until the Inn’s matchmaking ghost, Tony, and its irrepressible owner, Miss Hattie, take matters in hand.

 Sometimes you have to leap upon a mystic tide and have faith the sand will shift and an island will appear . . . The second book of bestselling author Vicki Hinze’s Seascape Trilogy brings readers back to the gentle magic of a place where love is always stronger than the fragile boundaries of life.

 

Beside a Dreamswept Sea - 200x300x72Beside a Dreamswept Sea – Just $5.99!

Welcome to the third book of The Seascape Trilogy, three mystical romance-mystery novels by bestselling author Vicki Hinze.

New love isn’t on the agenda for widower Bryce Richards, who comes to the peaceful Seascape Inn with his three children, hoping the ethereal setting will help them recover from the death of their mother. Likewise, fellow inn guest Callie isn’t looking for romance either; she’s recovering from an emotionally abusive marriage.

It will take all the matchmaking skills of innkeeper Hattie Stillman and her ghostly assistant to bring Bryce and Cally together.

 

 

About the Author:

31LEQcm1WqL._SX150_Raised in New Orleans, Vicki Hinze began writing before Kindergarten but her journey to writing books included a lot of corporate pitstops. Eventually, she settled in and her first novel landed an array of awards and on the bestseller list. With nearly 40 books published, she’s been back many times with awards in multiple genres and appearances on multiple bestseller lists, including USA TODAY. Vicki is recognized by Who’s Who in the World as an author and an educator and is best known for chilling suspense, trailblazing, and creating series that genre-blend. Her works include suspense, mystery and romance. Since 1994, this former VP of International Thriller Writers has written heavily about military and military families and in nearly all genres except horror. Hinze is a Floridian married to a former Hurricane Hunter/Special Operations Officer. She constantly pushes the boundaries on existing genres, opening the door for new novel blends.