New Releases

Author Spotlight: Jake Bible

Author Spotlight: Jake Bible

I write fast.

My career is built on being able to crank out a novel a month. Yes, you read that correctly, a novel a month.

Is this a good thing? Well, it sure helps pay the bills.

Are the novels any good? My fans and readers seem to like them and the reviews tend to back that enthusiasm up.

Can they be better? Ah. There’s the rub. Can they be better…

The quick answer: yes.

The long answer: of course, but it has absolutely nothing to do with the timeframe in which I write those novels.

You see, even if I was given a year to complete a novel, I’d probably still write it in four weeks. That’s my style, that’s my groove.

That’s where the editor comes in.

When I finished Stone Cold Bastards and turned it in, I thought I was done. The other publisher I work with would have put the manuscript through some rigorous proofreading for typos and grammar and all that jazz, but they would have trusted that the story itself was solid and off it would go to the printer and to the ebook formatting elves. Nothing wrong with that. I write tight, so I’m comfortable with a quick turnaround.

Except every manuscript can be improved upon and SCB was certainly one of those manuscripts. I know, I know, how can you improve on a novel about a ragtag team of misfit gargoyles tasked with protecting the last of humanity from the demon-possessed hordes that have taken over the world? I know, right? That’s perfection in a nutshell.

But SCB needed tweaks. The characters needed better motivation. They needed to care. They needed to want to survive and/or help others survive. They had distinct personalities, yes, but so what? That’s where the editor steps in and helps turn a good novel into a great novel.

I fixed those characters. I made them care about others and about themselves. And in doing so, I made the reader care about them too. I wouldn’t have seen that flaw if it wasn’t for that extra editing. I would have moved on to the next novel and forgotten all about SCB. But the skill and experience of Bell Bridge Books, forced me to take another look at the manuscript. And another. And another. Until it was just right. Until it was the novel it was supposed to be, not just the novel I turned in.

In these days of self-publishing and the race to get novels to market, I think many writers forget the value of a good editor. For me, I never knew the value until I experienced it. Now I’m spoiled.

Yes, I’ll still write fast. I won’t deviate from my novel a month pace because that’s the writer I am. But it makes things easier, it takes a little bit of the load off my shoulders, knowing that the novel I produce at the end of that month can still be made better and I don’t have to go about that task alone.

All thanks to the editor.

 

About the Author:

Jake Bible, Bram Stoker Award nominated-novelist and author of the bestselling Z-Burbia series, short story writer, independent screenwriter, podcaster, and inventor of the Drabble Novel, has entertained thousands with his horror and sci/fi tales. He reaches audiences of all ages with his uncanny ability to write a wide range of characters and genres. Other series by Jake Bible: the bestselling Salvage Merc One, the Apex Trilogy, the Mega series, and the Reign of Four series. Jake lives in the wonderfully weird Asheville, North Carolina.  Connect with Jake on Facebook, Twitter, and his website: jakebible.com

 

Author Spotlight: Anthony Francis

Author Spotlight: Anthony Francis
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Author pic for web

When Inspiration Finds You, Pounce on it!

Alright, I’ll admit it: I didn’t start out liking steampunk. When The Difference Engine came out, I just didn’t get it. I mean, Charles Babbage’s Difference Engines actually working, much less changing Victorian society? I didn’t buy it. Looking back, I think I just didn’t like alternate history, as I found other, similar novels off-putting.

But as I grew, I watched the steampunk movement grow too, hand in hand with the burgeoning maker community. At the same time I started attending the Maker Faire and admiring all the amazing contraptions our modern independent inventors were coming up with, I started noticing more and more steampunk costumes expressing the same kind of gutsy do-it-yourself, throw-it-all-together flair.

It all came together for me at Dragon Con 2009, where from the very first day I encountered a cavalcade of steampunks in amazing costumes – men with coffee blasters, women with clockwork wings, a young female soldier with a gearwork gatling gun incongruously grabbing a burrito at Willy’s in the food court.

And every costume was covered with brass, gears, and goggles! Now, I started out writing Larry Niven-style hard science fiction, so I asked myself the question: what would make the technology used by steampunks so different from our own? And as soon as I asked that question, I was hooked.

The brass? Clearly they’d invented some lightweight supermaterial with a brass finish. The gears? Clearly they used clockwork computation (damn it, you win, William Gibson!) And the goggles? Why, of course, to protect their eyes from the ultraviolet rays—nay, the period-appropriate actinic rays—of their rayguns!

And the female soldier? Well, that was a harder nut to crack, given the attitudes of the Victorians, but soon I found the answer. Women’s liberation actually started in the early eighteen hundreds, promoted by Mary Wollstonecraft, the mother of Mary Shelley—but when Wollstonecraft died in childbirth, her movement died with her.

But what if antibiotics had been discovered in the seventeen hundreds?

Then it all fell into place. In my steampunk world, Mary Wollstonecraft survived. Women’s liberation flourished in the early eighteen hundreds, and women flooded the sciences. Many other scientists who died young in our world also survived because of antibiotics. With more than twice as many brains working on hard problems, their world became more advanced in 1908 than our world is today.

And that’s the world Jeremiah Willstone was born into … and the world of the Clockwork Time Machine.

I hope you have fun there!

Pick up Anthony Francis’s newest title – JEREMIAH WILLSTONE AND THE CLOCKWORK TIME MACHINE today! Available at these retailers:

 

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2lhOxeD

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2ld3m1T

Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/2lLRS9m

Google: http://bit.ly/2mhT3uK

About the Author:

By day Anthony Francis studies human and other minds to design intelligent machines and emotional robots; by night he writes fiction and draws comic books at the collision point of hard science and pure fantasy. He was inspired to study artificial intelligence by Douglas Hofstadter, to become a writer by Isaac Asimov, and to write urban fantasy by Laurell K. Hamilton and Richard P. Feynman. He got his Ph.D in AI and his brown belt in Taido from Georgia Tech; he currently supports his out-of-control reading and writing habits by working at the Search Engine That Starts With a G. Anthony lives in San Jose with his wife and cats but his heart will always belong in Atlanta.

Stone Cold Bastards Giveaway

Stone Cold Bastards Giveaway
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The big day is only two weeks away!
Celebrate with a giveaway!
Jake Bible’s newest title, Stone Cold Bastards, will be officially released on 2/24!
That gives you two weeks to win an exclusive Stone Cold Bastards T-Shirt!
In order to enter, pre-order Stone Cold Bastards here, then send proof of your purchase to nikiflowers@bellebooks.com.
The contest is open to anyone who has already pre-ordered and anyone else who pre-orders by 11:59 PM on 2/23 (Print or ebook versions).
Two winners will be chosen and notified of their status on Monday, 2/27. Contest is only open to US residents.
Good luck!

“Misfit stone warriors against the demon apocalypse—a bloody good story!”
—Gail Z. Martin, author of Shadow and Flame
Only a rag-tag team of gargoyles stands between humanity and extinction.
Hell has released its ravening horde of demons, leaving most of humanity a puke-spewing, head-spinning mess of possession.
Humanity’s last hope? A team of misfit gargoyles—including a cigar chomping, hard-ass grotesque—come alive and ready for battle during the End of Days. They guard the last cathedral-turned-sanctuary atop a bald knoll in the North Carolina mountains.
Gargoyle protection grudgingly extends to any human who can make it inside the sanctuary, but the power of the stonecutter blood magic, which protects the sanctuary, may not be enough when a rogue grotesque and his badly-wounded ward arrive.
All the hounds of hell are on their heels. The last sanctuary is about to fall.


Jake Bible, Bram Stoker Award nominated-novelist and author of the bestselling Z-Burbia series, short story writer, independent screenwriter, podcaster, and inventor of the Drabble Novel, has entertained thousands with his horror and sci/fi tales. He reaches audiences of all ages with his uncanny ability to write a wide range of characters and genres. Other series by Jake Bible: the bestselling Salvage Merc One, the Apex Trilogy, the Mega series, and the Reign of Four series. Jake lives in the wonderfully weird Asheville, North Carolina.  Connect with Jake on Facebook, Twitter, and his website: jakebible.com



The Dead (A Lot) Diaries: Roger Ludlow

The Dead (A Lot) Diaries: Roger Ludlow
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***LITTLE KILLERS is on sale for just $0.99!***

Each day, diary entries will be released from the viewpoint of secondary characters of the Dead (A Lot) Trilogy Universe, people we may not have met (yet!) but who still had Poxer issues of their own. . .

 

Roger Ludlow—Locked in Jolly’s Pharmacy—Guilford, Massachusetts

Diary Entry #1

My Millie got the cancer a long time before she told me.

I don’t rightly know why she didn’t say anything. Maybe she was afraid for me. Sometimes Millie was protective in a way that wives shouldn’t be protective over their husbands.

She stopped letting me mow the lawn when I was fifty-five because she was worried for my ticker.

She refused to let me shovel the sidewalk or the path leading up to the duplex, too. Instead, she scrimped and saved so she could pay that fat, lazy, turd, P.J. Marshall, to do it. Sure as shooting he used that money for reefer. He’s just that way.

Yes, Millie was afraid for me, but when she got the cancer she wasn’t scared that I might blow an artery or have a stroke doing things reserved for younger men.

She was afraid for my mind.

Lordy, she knew me so well.

After all, Millie and I went way back a long way, almost to the beginning. I was sweet on her from the moment I first set eyes on her back in Elvira Morely’s second grade classroom at Guilford Elementary School. There weren’t many other colored families in town back then, so it was a big deal that Millie’s family moved to Guilford.

Lord have mercy, but they were a big bunch, too.

Millie had seven sisters and four brothers, and there she was, smack dab in the middle of them all.

She liked me, too, even though I couldn’t string five words together to make a conversation. I was shy back then, but my Mille wasn’t. She did enough talking for the both of us. When we got hitched, and I worked on cars in Hap’s garage while she did the register and kept the books, she talked for me, too.

You see, she knew I wasn’t a strong man. I’m a good man, but I was never a strong man. As the years went on, I suppose shy gave way to reserved. As the decades layered one on the other like drifts of snow in the winter, reserved gave way to thoughtful, or just, ‘that sweet old, Mr. Ludlow’.

So now what’s ‘that sweet old Mr. Ludlow’ s’posed to do?

My Millie’s got the cancer, and now she’s got this other nonsense, too. I don’t know what it is, but Millie and the rest of the folks here in Jolly’s pharmacy, are sick.

Real sick.

I know one thing for sure. I can’t do this life thing without my Millie. She can’t leave me. She just can’t.

I won’t let her.

 

Roger Ludlow—Locked in Jolly’s Pharmacy—Guilford, Massachusetts

Diary Entry #2

My Millie and I had stopped by Jolly’s Pharmacy to pick up one of her prescriptions.

Millie didn’t like to talk about what Dr. McKee had her taking. She called that junk her special candy. I knew they were pain pills, but she didn’t want me to think she was in pain. Millie never wanted me to worry about her like that.

She’s the one who wanted to worry about me.

There were only a few other locals in the pharmacy when everything happened.

Nola Norris was working the front checkout. She’s been riding that register at Jolly’s for over ten years. Nola always told Millie that someday she’d settle down and find a husband, but I had my doubts. After all, she wasn’t much of a looker. Besides, lately she had been covered with angry, red, poison-ivy welts. My Millie asked her what happened. Nola just shrugged and told her there’re some things that you just shouldn’t do in the woods.

Then there was the druggist—John something-or-other. He’s been at Jolly’s since before I worked at Hap’s. As a matter of fact, he’s been there long enough for me to see his hair go from blonde to white, and the crow’s feet around his eyes to become permanently etched on his face like battle wounds.

That trouble-maker girl who went and got herself tattooed all over the place, was there, too. I don’t know her name, but I do know her parents. She ought to be ashamed of herself for the things she’s put them through. When we first came into the pharmacy, I noticed her reading a magazine in aisle six. She was probably getting ready to steal it.

That girl was always bad news.

Millie and I were slowly walking up the cosmetics’ aisle, arm in arm, heading to the front register. She couldn’t walk that fast, anymore, but she sure as shooting could hold her head up high. I don’t mind telling you, my Millie always walked with her head held high, like one of those beautiful carvings on the front of an old-time whaling ship.

I let her guide me as we walked, because I knew that’s what my Millie wanted and I would do anything for her.

I remember trying to decide if, when we got up front, I was going to buy one of those new-fangled Snicker’s bars with the yellow wrapper—the kind with peanut butter layered inside. Lordy knows they’re bad for me. Still, they taste so damn good.

As we walked, Millie started squeezing my arm. I didn’t quite notice at first, but her grip got harder and harder.

“What’re you doing, woman?” I asked her. That’s when I saw her eyes. They weren’t Millie’s eyes, anymore. They were someone else’s eyes—cold and gray.

I didn’t mean to pull away from her. I would never pull away from my Millie, but I was startled. Her beautiful skin—that soft, brown, cocoa skin that I had the privilege of touching for the majority of our lives—was gray.

I took a step back—then another. That’s when I noticed the others.

I keep playing it all back in my mind in slow motion. I don’t know why, because everything happened so quickly. Still, in my head, it takes a million years.

Nola Norris’s poison-ivy welts weren’t red anymore. They were white against gray skin, and her eyes were gray like Millie’s peepers. Pharmacist John was making a bee-line for me—not Millie—just me. He was walking down the cosmetics aisle like someone with cerebral palsy. I couldn’t understand why, because John was a healthy guy—and that trouble-maker girl—she was staggering toward me, too.

“What’s happening, Millie? Honey, are you okay?” I kept saying, “Honey—honey—honey,” like a broken record, the whole time, her grip squeezing my arm tighter and tighter, like a vice.

Finally, my Millie snarled at me. It was an awful sound, like the growl of a rabid dog in a dark alley, hovering over the bloody remains of a dead rat.

That’s when I knew there was something wrong with them all—not just my Millie, but everyone in the pharmacy.

Something was dead wrong.

 

Roger Ludlow—Locked in Jolly’s Pharmacy—Guilford, Massachusetts

Diary Entry #3

I needed to get help, but by the time I got my head screwed on straight, it was too late. There was no help to get.

The few people out in the parking lot had changed, too. Everyone was sick with whatever my Millie had—all with those gray eyes—staggering around like they were drunk, and all them looking like they wanted to eat me whole.

I ran to the back of the pharmacy, into the storage area behind ‘The Great Wall’.

‘The Great Wall’ was where all the condoms were displayed.

That wall has always been a joke in town. When I was younger—a lifetime ago, the other fellas would always head off to the pharmacy right after they cut out of work on Friday afternoons.

They used to say they were prepping to get their jollies at Jolly’s.

I bought my first box there when I was just shy of nineteen. My Millie made me do it. Don’t get me wrong, she was a good girl and made me wait until our wedding night. She said she wasn’t interested in having no babies until we weren’t babies ourselves, anymore.

Behind The Great Wall and in the back of the storage area, I found the basement door opened a crack. Maybe Nola Norris or Pharmacist John had been down there getting some more gummy worms or wax lips to fill the shelves. Candy always flies out of Jolly’s this time of year. Kids are back at school so they often come into the pharmacy to get their lined paper or pencils. The leaf peepers also start coming this way, hoping they’ll catch a glimpse of whatever colors New England is supposed to be famous for. I’ve been here all my life, so I don’t give no never mind about the colors. Still, the Quabbin Reservoir is beautiful this time of year.

There, or Hollowton, or even Apple.

I don’t mind telling you that anyone who’s anyone should know to stay away from Apple, Massachusetts in autumn. People get themselves killed there. Every year when the trees begin to die there are murders. I guess it’s the price people pay for living there.

Hap lives in Apple, so I asked him about the murders once. He just shrugged and said, “Yeah. Apple chews up and spits out a few seeds every year.” I wouldn’t want to live there, that’s for sure. Who would want to approach the fall every year, dreading that you might end up a seed?

Anyway, I got my Millie and the rest of them to follow me down into the basement. Nola Norris kept gnashing her teeth together as she staggered along. It didn’t take but a minute or two before I realized what Nola Norris wanted was to take a bite out of me. I didn’t know what would happen if she did, but I had a sinking suspicion that a bite from Nola, or any of them, would make me just like them.

My heart ached for my Millie. Maybe if I was bitten I would be just like them—just like her.

One bite—that’s all it would take—but I couldn’t do it. Someone had to take care of my Mille.

Once they were all down in the cellar, it was easy enough to lose them in the stacks of shelves with inventory on them like deodorant and tacky little stuffed animals that kids wail for their mammies to buy them, just to make them shut-up.

I took the stairs, catching one last glimpse of my Millie as I did, then closed the door behind them.

Then, without even thinking, I pulled some beef jerky off a spinning rack, cracked open the door and threw several bags down the stairs. After all, I couldn’t let my Millie go hungry, now could I?

And right then was just about the time the lights went out and I was smothered in darkness so black and deep that it stole the breath clean out of my mouth.

 

Roger Ludlow—Locked in Jolly’s Pharmacy—Guilford, Massachusetts

Diary Entry #4

I’m scared.

I’m tired.

I’m ready to start eating pills behind the pharmacy counter.

I’ve lost track of time, but I think it’s been almost a week now that my Millie and the others have been down in that basement. Sometimes, they can go for hours without making any noise, then all of a sudden I hear them moving, like rats beneath  my feet.

I’ve run out of food to feed them. Lordy knows there ain’t no more beef jerky. Soon I’ll run out of food to feed myself.

Now, there’s some fool outside in an ambulance flashing high-beams at me with Morse Code.

I’m not stupid. I know what Morse Code is.

Sure, I’ll play along.

If whoever is out there wants to come in, I’ll let them.

After all, My Millie and the others have got to be starving down there in that basement, with nothing to chaw on but beef jerky.

I’ll let them in, alright.

And if I have my way, My Millie is sure-as-shooting going to be eating well tonight, I’ll tell you that right now.

She is sure-as-shooting going to be eating well.

 

Novels by Howard Odentz:

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Dead (A Lot) (The Dead a Lot Trilogy, Book 1)

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2fwFMOt

BN: http://bit.ly/20IBtBn

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1Og6vIC

Apple: http://apple.co/1JS1H6v

Google: http://bit.ly/1DvyBrm

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Wicked Dead (The Dead A Lot Trilogy, Book 2)

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2f9zHDu

BN: http://bit.ly/2dprZXT

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2d4rbK3

Apple: http://apple.co/2e4P3cP

Google: http://bit.ly/2cRscl0

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Bloody Bloody Apple

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2erp8f2

BN: http://bit.ly/20IBq8D

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1EZhJ2i

Apple: http://apple.co/1D9txyj

Google: http://bit.ly/1gOKRhF

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Little Killers (Only $0.99 til 11/3)

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2f9xurS

BN: http://tinyurl.com/hhyrtm2

Kobo: http://tinyurl.com/hjjx462

Apple: http://tinyurl.com/zo3n8rc

Google: http://tinyurl.com/hawdd59

About the Author:

howard_odentz-jpgAuthor and playwright Howard Odentz is a lifelong resident of the gray area between Western Massachusetts and North Central Connecticut. His love of the region is evident in his writing as he often incorporates the foothills of the Berkshires and the small towns of the Bay and Nutmeg states into his work.

In addition to The Dead (A Lot) Series, he has written the horror novel Bloody Bloody Apple, the short story collection Little Killers A to Z, and a couple of horror-themed, musical comedies produced for the stage.

The Anti-Hero

The Anti-Hero
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Since Suicide Squad is coming out today, we thought it would be fun to post about our favorite anti-heroes!

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http://bit.ly/2aOKVxx

For those of you who don’t know, an anti-hero is “a main character in a book, play, movie, etc., who does not have the usual good qualities that are expected in a hero.” Instead, they have what are considered “undesirable” qualities such as: dishonesty, aggressiveness, moodiness, and a belief that “the end justifies the means.”

We found a comprehensive list on Wikipedia that includes various types of media portrayals, including literature, movies, and television. We have narrowed down the list to some of the staff favorites; however, this link will take you to the complete list: https://en.wikipediaorg/wiki/List_of_fictional_antiheroes

Some literary examples include:
Holden Caulfield, The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger
Stephen Dedalus, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce
Roland Deschain, The Dark Tower, Stephen King
Amy Elliott Dunne, Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn
Tyler Durden and the Narrator, Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk
Huckleberry Finn, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain
Artemis Fowl III, Artemis Fowl series, Eoin Colfer
Jay Gatsby, The Great Gatsby, F. Scott FitzgeraldGaston_Leroux_-_Le_Fantôme_de_l'Opéra
Prince Hamlet, Hamlet, William Shakespeare
Lucifer/Satan, Paradise Lost, John Milton
Macbeth, Macbeth, William Shakespeare
Scarlett O’Hara, Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
Othello, Othello, William Shakespeare
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Tom Stoppard
Severus Snape, Harry Potter, J. K. Rowling
Alex, A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess
Erik, the Phantom, The Phantom of the Opera, Gaston Leroux

Movie examples:
Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Michael Keaton
Rick Blaine, Casablanca, Humphrey Bogarthan-solo-return-of-the-jedi_612x380
Rooster Cogburn, True Grit, Jeff Bridges
Michael Corleone, The Godfather, Al Pacino
Django, Django Unchained, Jamie Foxx Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes, Robert Downey Jr.
John McClane, Die Hard, Bruce Willis
Randle McMurphy, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Jack Nicholson
Tony Montana, Scarface, Al Pacino
Snake Plissken, Escape from New York, Kurt Russell
Riddick, The Chronicles of Riddick, Vin Diesel
Max Rockatansky, Mad Max, Tom Hardy
Shrek, Shrek, Mike Myers
Han Solo, Star Wars, Harrison Ford
Captain Jack Sparrow, Pirates of the Caribbean, Johnny Depp

Television examples:
Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, David Boreanaz
Chuck Bass, Gossip Girl, Ed Westwick
Michael Scott , The Office, Steve Carell
Arthur Dent, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Simon Jones
Daryl Dixon, The Walking Dead, Norman Reedus
Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock, Benedict Cumberbatch
Gregory House, House, Hugh LauriebVUET-GG
Annalise Keating, How to Get Away with Murder, Viola Davis
Tyrion Lannister, Game of Thrones, Peter Dinklage
Ragnar Lodbrok, Vikings, Ernest Borgnine
Dexter Morgan, Dexter, Michael C. Hall
Jesse Pinkman, Breaking Bad, Aaron Paul
Olivia Pope, Scandal, Kerry Washington
Malcolm Reynolds, Firefly, Nathan Fillion
Tony Soprano, The Sopranos, James Gandolfini
Jax Teller, Sons of Anarchy, Charlie Hunnam
Dean Winchester & Sam Winchester, Supernatural, Jensen Ackles & Jared Padalecki

Our staff wanted to join in on the fun so here is some of the staff’s favorite anti-heroes:

 

From Jeanna,monters of men
The anti-hero I picked is called The Return – a member of the enslaved race (the race is called The Spackle). He’s an anti-hero because he’s fighting the main characters out of revenge for his partner who was killed by humans. His motives make complete sense and you can sympathize with him entirely, but he’s often fighting the characters who are trying to take down a would-be dictator which isn’t particularly helpful for the main characters, Todd and Viola.

Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness
http://tinyurl.com/je89x6r

 

From Kendal, 

(Jericho Barrons in the graphic novel, Fever Moon)

(Jericho Barrons in the graphic novel, Fever Moon)

One of my favorite anti-heroes is Jericho Barrons from The Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning. Although we still don’t know exactly what he is, we do know he and others are called The Nine and they are part human, part beast, part who knows. He has goals and he doesn’t care who gets in his way. He will destroy anything that threatens his mission or his people. He’s very secretive and unethical, but if he cares for someone or something, nothing is going to harm them. He will go to Hell and back to protect those he loves, who can be counted with both hands. Sometimes he uses the beast to get what he wants, but most of the time he is intimidating enough as a human. Even though he seems like a monster, he has very good reasons for doing what he does, and readers sympathize with him. We all understand what it’s like to feel powerless in certain situations. If you learned you can change something or fix a mistake that haunts you, wouldn’t you do whatever it takes to do it?

Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning
http://amzn.to/2aUFf6l

 

From Niki,edmond
Edmond Dantes from The Count of Monte Cristo is my favorite anti-hero. I first read this novel in high school and I’ve basically read it every other year since. Sometimes I feel a strong empathy with characters and Edmond Dantes is one of those characters. He is your typical anti-hero, doing whatever it takes to get what he wants. Which, in this case, his goal is to enact revenge over those who betrayed him. If you haven’t read it (which you absolutely should), the premise is that Edmond Dantes – a recently promoted sailor – has been falsely accused and imprisoned on counts of being a Napoleonic conspirator. He spends thirteen years in the island prison of Chateau d’If (Don’t let the word “island” fool you, this prison is no joke). Edmond does manage to escape with the help of an elderly, Italian priest who leaves Edmond a fortune – a fortune which Edmond uses to become The Count of Monte Cristo in order to reward the people who were loyal to him when he was imprisoned and to punish those who put him there in the first place. Although Edmond starts off as a traditional type of hero, after he breaks out of prison, he is a changed man. Innocent people end up dying/suffering in order for him to succeed with his plans. It is up to the reader to decide if the end is worth the means. And as if all of that isn’t enough to get you to cozy up to this character, the majority of the book takes place in 19th Century Paris, France. (Along with other marvelous cities such as Marseilles, Rome, and – of course – Monte Cristo).

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
http://amzn.to/2asn9EP

We want to know what you’re favorite anti-heroes are! Post your choices on our Facebook page!

Everything Old is New Again!

Everything Old is New Again!
Midnight Kiss
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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.”

Inspiration

Inspiration
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Raiders of the Lost Bark (1)
Bees Snakes and Mountain Lions!
Raiders of the Lost Bark
Raiders of the Lost Bark

SparkleAbbey-AuthorPhoto-2Inspiration

by Sparkle Abbey

Inspiration is everywhere. As writers, we are always looking for ways to be stirred to greatness. Inspiration drives action…or in some cases, words on the blank page.

When we’re on deadline, we don’t get to wait for inspiration to hit, Raiders of the Lost Bark - Inspire blogwe have to sit down and do the work. But that doesn’t mean we stop looking for ways to add joy or meaning to our lives and our stories.

We’re moved by great books and entertaining movies. An oceanside photo and a road trip with our closest girl friends. A great conversation and other people’s success stories. The way we live our lives often provides our greatest inspiration: a positive attitude and a large dose of laughter.

The setting for our latest release, Raiders of the Lost Bark, was inspired by an Orange County camping trip that Anita and her Bees Snakes and Mountain Lions!family took a number of years ago. For three hot summer days, at the beginning of what was to become a five year drought for California, Anita’s family pitched their well-used six-person tent at the desolate Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park campground. Bees, rattlesnakes, and mountain lions. What were they thinking? After two restless nights of sleeping on the hard, dusty ground, and watching over their shoulders for mountain lions, they broke camp and headed east—to the even hotter Las Vegas desert, a cold hotel room and running water.

Years later, we tossed around the idea of a story set outside of Raiders of the Lost Bark - glamping (2)Laguna Beach. What if our pampered characters were stuck between the sandstone canyons and parched wilderness campsites? How would they cope? What luxuries would they take with them? Would they still be able to catch a killer under the stars?

As you can see, sometimes inspiration is so close we just have to take a moment and stop; be mindful in that instant by listening to the silence, and taking a few deep cleansing breaths. We’re not all inspired by the same things or in the same ways. So what inspires you?

We hope ya’ll enjoy our latest Pampered Pets Mystery adventure, Raiders of the Lost Bark, out March 25th!Raiders of the Lost Bark (1)

Melinda Langston, amateur sleuth and Bow Wow Boutique owner, finds herself “Glamping Under the Stars” with a blackmailer, Orange County’s hottest new gourmet pet chef, Addison Rae. But before Mel can put an end to Addison’s strong-arming, the chef is found dead. Mel is just one of many suspects who had motive to snuff out the demanding chef.

Was it Redmond, the angry sous chef who detested working for Addison? What about rival chef, Pepper Maddox? The glamping chef gig was hers until Addison blackmailed her way into the job. And then there’s Asher, a charming fellow camper whose past relationship with Addison isn’t the only secret he’s guarding. Mel’s not one to tuck tail and run, even when it looks like she may be the next victim.

Sparkle Abbey is the pseudonym of two mystery authors (Mary Lee Woods and Anita Carter). They are friends and neighbors as well as co-writers of the Pampered Pets Mystery Series. The pen name was created by combining the names of their rescue pets–Sparkle (Mary Lee’s cat) and Abbey (Anita’s dog). They reside in central Iowa, but if they could write anywhere, you would find them on the beach with their laptops and, depending on the time of day, with either an iced tea or a margarita. If you’re missing any of their  backlist this is a great time to grab them. Details here. And if you want to make sure you’re up on all the Sparkle Abbey news, stop by their website and sign up for updates at sparkleabbey.com.

Story Behind the Story

Story Behind the Story
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Web of Shadows

susanofficialnew-199x300Story Behind the Story

by Susan Sleeman

I love computers and electronics—like stand in line for the next iPhone love them. And since they are becoming more and more a part of our lives I wanted to use my knowledge to share stories of how cyber crimes can impact our everyday lives. That’s how the Agents Under Fire series was born. This series features three female FBI agents who work on an elite FBI Cyber Action Team, so of course, the stories in the series need to revolve around cyber crimes.

As I was thinking of plot ideas for Web of Shadows, book two in the series, I was preparing for an upcoming trip where I would be flying. As a writer my mind works in odd ways so as I was thinking about the trip, I asked myself what would happen if someone hacked into the TSA’s No Fly List and was able to add and delete people who could fly freely in our country.

After I got over the fact that I was indeed flying soon and I hoped this really didn’t actually happen J, I came up with the idea of a teen hacking into the list and making it vulnerable to unscrupulous people. I loved the idea, but then decided that the stakes weren’t quite high enough for my characters.

So I decided to have the computer that was used for the hack placed into a geo cache where anyone could find it and thus have access to the No Fly List. High enough stakes, you say? No, I wanted to make the crime personal to Nina Brandt, the FBI agent featured in this book so I decided the hacker would be the younger brother of Quinn Stone, the man she was in love with but estranged from.

Enough you say? No I wanted Nina to struggle even more, so I made the man who finds the computer be a former criminal who she arrested and is now free and has a giant grudge against her. Naturally, he wants to frame her for the hack, which he tries to do using everyday technology like cell phones and laptop computers.

From early reviews, I can see that readers think Web of Shadows is a thrill ride that provides a satisfying romance, and at the same time, the readers see the dangers in technology and also see how hard it is to protect our national security in the cyber world. I hope that you’ll check out the book and find the same thing true after reading it.

Web of Shadows has officially been released! Pick it up today!

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Christian by D.B. Reynolds – Exclusive Excerpt

Christian by D.B. Reynolds – Exclusive Excerpt
Christian

Exclusive excerpt from Book 10 of The Vampires in America Series! Read it below and click the cover to preview! 

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It’s too dangerous for you to stay here…”

Natalie’s unease at what he was saying overrode her irritation at his tendency to give orders. “Dangerous? Do you really think—?”

“That Anthony would hurt you?” Christian studied her for a moment, as if trying to decide if he should tell her the truth, as if wondering whether she could handle it.

“Tell me the truth,” she demanded.

His lips tightened briefly, and he said, “Yes.”

“But he’s never done anything like that before.”

“And he’d probably regret it. But in the final analysis, only one person matters to Anthony, and that’s Anthony. I don’t believe for a minute that he plans to retire quietly to New Orleans. He has a game in play that will maximize his own power and wealth after the succession. We just don’t know what it is yet. But whatever it is, I’ve spoiled it for him, and he’ll do what it takes to get rid of me. He wants you for

himself—”

She opened her mouth to protest, but he continued.

“—I can see it in the way he looks at you. He covets you, as if you’re already his. He may even have convinced himself he loves you, or that you love him. But if he gets angry enough, he’ll hurt you. Either to claim you for himself, or to get to me.” He stepped closer in the confined space, cupping her cheek in his big hand. “You matter to me. Anthony knows that.”

Natalie looked up at him, unable to stop herself from leaning in until her breasts nearly touched him. Her chest felt constricted, her heart too big for the space, pounding in her ears until it was all she could hear. Christian tightened the fingers of his other hand around her hip, pulling her in until there was no space between them, and the tips of her breasts scraped the thick muscles of his chest. His gaze traveled over her face, lingering on her lips, and she knew he was going to kiss her.

When his mouth met hers, her lips were already open in welcome. She expected to be ravished, but was enticed instead, his lips caressing hers with delicate, sliding kisses, his tongue quick and teasing, until she went up on her toes, and pressed her mouth to his to demand more. She felt his smile against her lips, felt him shift the angle of her head as he sank deeper into her, as his tongue swept forcefully into her mouth, stroking, tasting. Natalie wrapped her arms around his neck with a pleasured sigh. She couldn’t remember wanting anyone the way she did Christian. She was hungry for him. Every inch of her longed for him, from the ache between her thighs to the swell of her breasts, and everything above and below.

But he was being so careful with her. As if she were something fragile, as if he had to hold himself back. She wasn’t terribly experienced. Hell, she’d never experienced a man like Christian. But she wasn’t going to break, either. And she didn’t want him to hold back.

She boldly closed her teeth over his lower lip, stopping just short of drawing blood, shivering as his growled response rolled down her throat, trembling deep between her thighs, and knotting her nipples into hard peaks. His arm tightened around her back as he jerked her even closer.

“Careful, ma chére, or you’ll get what you ask for.”

“Good,” she whispered fiercely.


 

Author PicAbout the author: 

D.B. Reynolds is the RT Award-winning author of the Vampires in America series of paranormal romance, and an Emmy-nominated television sound editor. She lives with her husband of many years in a flammable canyon near Los Angeles, and when she’s not writing her own books, she can usually be found reading someone else’s. Visit her blog at www.dbreynolds.com for details on all of her books, for free stories and more.

Persephone Tells All—Fear, Power, and Life With Hades

Persephone Tells All—Fear, Power, and Life With Hades
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Persephone
Daughter of Earth and Sky
The Iron Queen

FullSizeRenderPersephone Tells All—Fear, Power, and Life With Hades

by Kaitlin Bevis

If you want to know a culture’s fears, study their stories. Fears resonate. They keep us talking, keep us telling the story, because as long as it’s a story, it’s happening to someone else. There’s a reason the Persephone myth is one of the five major myths taught to school children everywhere. There’s a reason echoes of this myth keep popping up in modern culture, sometimes as overtly as my retellings, and other times as subtle as Beauty and the Beast. We tell the same story over and over and over again because it scares us. Something about that myth leaves people feeling unsettled. There’s a wrongness to it that demands to be fixed. So throughout time, we’ve told it again and again, hoping that maybe this time, we’d get it right.

 

What is it about the Persephone myth that resonates so much with us? On its surface, the answer is simple. Persephone is, at its heart, the story of a mother searching for her daughter. As a mother, I can literally not even imagine the depths of the fear of not knowing where my daughter is, or worse, knowing exactly what horrible place she’s been taken to, but not being able to save her. There is nothing I wouldn’t do to keep her save, and goddess help anyone who gets in my way.

 

But there’s more than that. There has to be, because as a mom, I get the universal fear behind the myth, but I was fascinated with it long before I became a mother. The most common audience for the Persephone myth aren’t parents, but children. Specifically children on the cusp of adulthood. Teenagers. And I know why.

 

The myth is incomplete. In the original telling, we know all about Demeter’s fears and motives. We trace her steps through history as she scours the globe looking for her daughter. We glimpse the politics of Olympus enough to understand Zeus’ motives for allowing Hades to take Persephone and the drastic events that had to take place before he relented and returned the missing girl. We’re there for Hades catching a glimpse of Persephone for the first time, and we get his rationale and his motives for why he took her. We even get motives from nymphs and primordial deities with such minor roles that they get written out of most versions of the myth. Literally the only voice missing from the Persephone myth is Persephone’s.

 

Persephone was silenced, but the impact of her abduction is apparent. Her mythology begins with her as an innocent, carefree, happy girl picking flowers and ends with her role as the Iron Queen, a major force to be reckoned with mythologically speaking. Her name even changes. She has the ultimate coming of age story and she doesn’t even get to tell it.

 

We’re not just afraid of losing our children, we’re afraid of losing ourselves and our voices. And that fear repeats itself over and over and over again in Greek mythology. Ovid wrote an entire book about transformation in Greek mythology. Cassandra gained an awesome power, only to lose her voice and go insane. We pay the ferryman two coins to take us across the river because the potential of being thrown in Tartarus is less frightening than the thought of being stuck on the wrong side of the river, alone and ignored. Orpheus was featured just as prominently in Greek mythology as Hercules and literally the only superpower he had was the ability to make people listen.

 

I wanted to tell Persephone’s story. I wanted to get into her head and understand her transformation into the Iron Queen. I changed details here and there and I modernized the story, but I did my best to stay true to the spirit of the myth. One of the ways I did that was through the book titles. In the myth, Persephone was defined by her titles.

Book one, Persephone, is about her transformation from an ordinary girl named Kora, to Persephone, the Queen of the Underworld. It’s the story of her abduction. Her time in the Underworld changes her, but her story doesn’t end there.

 

I called the second one Daughter of the Earth and Sky because in the myth, Persephone’s value was placed in her role to other people. She was Demeter’s daughter, Zeus’ daughter and pawn, and Hades’ wife. The second book in the trilogy is all about Persephone trying, and failing, to balance all of her roles and the expectations that come with them without losing herself in the process. She starts the book clinging to the remnants of her old life and trying to make them fit into what she thinks her new life should be. She’s so afraid of who she might be becoming that she loses sight of who she is.

 

In the myths, it wasn’t until she came into her own as The Iron Queen that Persephone was referred to as a person in her own right instead of an object. Book three Persephone is a force to be reckoned with. Writing that, reaching that point with her character, was an incredible awarding experience that settled the sense of wrongness hearing the myth had left me with. I can only hope reading it does the same thing.

Pick up the first two books of The Daughters of Zeus series today!

          Persephone Daughter of Earth and Sky

And make sure you grab THE IRON QUEEN

available for pre order!

The Iron Queen