Character Interview: Lyssa, Heroine of Land of the Shadows

Where are you from? Did you have a happy childhood?986593_10201575862825984_1123088241_n


I’m from a small town in southern Illinois. My childhood was filled with more shadows than light. It wasn’t until I lit a candle that I could see my way through the darkness of my past. Now that I have, I have more memories that do not remind me of my troubled past. Forgiveness, is certainly the key. Where do you live now and what do you do for a living? Is there something you’d rather be doing?

I live in a Victorian house somewhere in the middle of nowhere. If you look outside the window all you will see is a pitch black starry sky above and below you. This house is just a subset of a greater place called the Watch Tower. That’s where I work. The Watch Tower is a magical corporation set up to protect the world from evil entities like the Shadows which I fight. As for doing something else, I already tried that. You see I was going to be a teacher, until I realized I was settling for a dull life filled with angry administrators, indulgent parents, and self-involved children. I would much rather be fighting evil.

What’s going on in your life right now?

Right now, I am celebrating a shadowless life. I’m going to pause for a moment and reflect on the good in the world, before I take on another assignment at the Watch Tower. It’s true that there is darkness everywhere, but taking on the shadows took a lot out of me. I may have other journeys soon though. That has yet to be determined.

Is there someone special in your life?

Well, yeah. Hunter. He is the love of my life. It’s been a bumpy road that we’ve traveled, one that has spanned more than one lifetime, but the journey has been worth it in the end.  We continue to spend every moment we can with each other.

How did you meet? What’s his/her family like?

I met Hunter when I first came to the Watch Tower; however, he would tell you that we’ve met before. Which, I now know is true. We’ve met before and we will continue to meet again in each life. We’re soulmates. His family, is well, not in the picture. Neither is mine, but that suits me just fine. The Watch Tower has become our family.

What’s keeping you two apart?

Right now, only a layer of clothing separates us. We’re pretty much inseparable these days. You can’t go through what we have without a need to stay close. That’s not to say that I don’t take time away to go see Jackson, although Jackson has a new love himself, so that kind of keeps him busy too. My life is pretty complete, if you think about it.

What one thing could you do that would make you feel like the relationship will work out?

Live. Breathe. Continue to take each day one step at a time and find the beauty in the world around me. If I can do that, it crosses over into my everyday life, even my relationship with Hunter. With the shadows gone, the light has found its way back into my world.

Any last comments?

Well, I just wanted to say that it’s important to cherish the people you have in your life while you have them. You never know when the shadows will take them away. And even though we’ve defeated them in our world, they still exist in yours. Do whatever you can to find a balance of peace and happiness in your life. Don’t take a single person for granted, for while they may seem to be completely healthy, they may be hiding a darkness inside that eats at their very core. If you love someone, tell them. Don’t wait until it’s too late. They may need to know that someone else cares.


The Land of the Shadows is available for purchase at:



When Lyssa was at her lowest, she found herself surrounded by dark entities formed entirely from shadows. Their darkness had eaten at her very core until she had almost nothing left to give. Tired of their corruption, the young witch decides to fight back by trying to locate their power source unaware that her attempts would lead her down a path that would change her life forever.


Chapter 1

     Lyssa glanced around the clearing, not daring to move too quickly. She shouldn’t be out this late at night. The quad was barely lit up, and the shadows covered every inch around her, so she inched forward one step at a time. Lyssa needed to get back to the safety of her dorm room, and she needed to do it now.

A swish of air interrupted the silence behind her. It was not necessary to turn around, for she knew who it was…or rather, what. She grabbed her pentacle between her clasped fingers and took a deep breath. Even though she felt her courage falter, she knew the gods would protect her.

Lyssa walked a few more steps ever so slowly, so that every movement was almost undetectable. The hairs on the back of her neck rose as she closed her eyes and dropped the pentacle. It rested between the rising and falling of her chest as small angry breaths tried to break their way free from her lungs. If it wanted a fight, then so be it. She was fed up with the taunting shape, fed up with the web of darkness that tainted the world around her. When everything in her body told her to flee, she knew it was simply not an option.

Dropping her backpack, she whirled around to face her pursuer. A black shadow stood behind her, a strange black being somewhere between here and there, with no reason or rhyme, just a hollowness that ate up the air around her. It had no discernible facial features, its only human feature a pair of glowing yellow orbs where she assumed its eyes should be. As it moved closer to her, Lyssa knew it was daring her to run.

Gathering her courage, she found her voice. “I will not be threatened any longer.” The black being moved closer, floating as if there were no separation between the ground and the air. It reminded her of a ghostly grim from horror stories of long ago, and a shiver ran down her spine. She closed her eyes and concentrated on bringing her energy from within to protect her. Raising her hands, she rubbed them together slowly, picturing the energy that would soon swirl like fire between them. The newly learned skill started to generate heat as she breathed in the air around her and pushed out everything she could into the slowly growing orb of energy in her hands. An electric current started to pick up, and Lyssa took another deep breath to hold it there.

“You need to leave, right now! You’re not welcome here!” Part of her might regret banishing it, for she had learned to do no harm, but the desire to live through this moment pushed her forward. She believed in Karma, the magic of redemption and the power of returns, and it sat on her shoulders like some devil vs. angel debate. However, this thing was threatening her, and she had given it plenty of chances to leave while it still could. She had seen it before. It terrorized innocent children at night, and chased people away from places of gathering with feelings of discomfort, ill will, and a gut wrenching need to leave as quickly as possible. It hated happiness and thrived on breaking up the stillness and peace within others. It had visited her the year before, when the difference between life and death had been a mere slice away.

The dark shadow continued to float toward her, and she had no other recourse but to react. Raising her hands, she shouted “Away!” and her hands released the ball of energy. It shot through the air like a speeding bullet, and the bright light singed the darkness in the air around it and smashed into thousands of pieces as it slammed into the shadow. The dark being dissipated into a swirling mist before her, dancing like cigarette smoke in a clear open sky, before it was finally gone.


Author links, webpages, fan pages, and book trailers:


Twitter: @daenira



Trailer for The Land of the Shadows:

Author Bio: IMG_5052Ever since childhood, Elissa Daye has enjoyed reading stories as an escape from life. When she was a teenager she started to write her own stories that kept her entertained when she ran out of books to read. When she was accepted into Illinois Summer School for the Arts in her Junior year of High School, she knew she wanted to become a writer. Elissa graduated from Illinois State University in December 1999 with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and began her teaching career, hoping to find moments to write in her free time. After seven years of teaching, Elissa decided to focus on her writing and made the decision to put her teaching years behind her so that she could create the stories she had always dreamed of. She is now happily married and a stay at home mom, who writes in every spare moment she can find, doing her best to master the art of multitasking to get everything accomplished.

Character Interview: Lin Kwan, Heroine of Windmills by Lyndi Alexander

Windmills1Where are you from? Did you have a happy childhood?

I was born in mainland China, but I moved to Hong Kong with my aunt Ehuang when my father defected to America. He was recruited because he is a scientist, and the surviving Americans wanted him to design a cure for the virus that terrorists used to kill most of the white population.  He took my mother with him, so I had to grow up without either of them. At least I had my sensei for a father figure—studying martial arts gave me focus and something to love.


Where do you live now and what do you do for a living? Is there something you’d rather be doing?

When my father’s letter came, asking me to bring fresh Chinese herbs to him in America, I traveled on a freighter with my sensei Li Zhong. We almost didn’t survive. But when I arrived in San Francisco, where the letter came from, my father was gone. The Americans took him away. So now I’m here, waiting to decide what to do next.  Zhong asks me to study nursing, since my computer training is useless in a place where electricity only works part of the time. Would I rather be back in Hong Kong with my friends? Of course.

What’s going on in your life right now?

Zhong and I protect the old couple we’re staying with, and scrounge for food and supplies. I feel horrible, stealing from the dead in their abandoned homes, but how else can we live? The old man has asthma, and medicine is only available on the black market. I met a nice girl, Valery, who’s selling medicine from the hospital to those who can’t travel. The streets here are frightening, patrolled by gangs who assault and kill people who can’t take care of themselves.

Is there someone special in your life? How did you meet? What’s his/her family like?

One night I had to go for the old man’s medicine and the Seajay gang cornered me in an alley. My skills weren’t good enough to keep them off me, too many at once. When I thought I was finished, I was rescued by a stranger, the one they call The Enforcer. He is known for his protection of the Pacific Heights neighborhood where we stay. People say he’s a loner, that his parents were taken by the virus, and he has nothing else to live for. He cares nothing for death, only that he can save others till the gangs finally take him. We had a brief meeting, but I feel like we really connected. I owe him my life, and I will never forget him.

What’s keeping you two apart?

Life. I mean, I’ve got to find my father if he’s going to save the world with his medicine. The Enforcer is tied to the neighborhood. Even if I believed he was the one for me—and he might be—I couldn’t stay here with him.

What one thing could you do that would make you feel like the relationship will work out?

He’s well-trained, like I am, and so brave. If I found my father to be in some other part of the country, perhaps we could travel together. We would make a wonderful team. I believe we could take on anyone, any enemy, together.

Any last comments?

I’m only 17, but I know that every small thing I do could change the future, not just for me, but for everyone. So much evil has been done in the world. This Second Holocaust brought by the terrorists killed millions, and for what? Some group’s politics.  They meant the virus to target only the whites, but now it’s changing, and the rest of us may die as well. Why can’t people work for the cause of good instead?

Author Bio: mom2

Lyndi Alexander has been a published writer for over 35 years, including seven years as a reporter and editor at the South Dade News Leader in Homestead, Florida. Her list of publications includes stories in A Cup of Comfort for Divorced Women, in December 2008, and A Cup of Comfort for Adoptive Parents, in June 2009. She writes science fiction and urban fantasy, including the Montana-set Clan Elves of the Bitterroot series, and the space opera Horizon Crossover series.

She’s a single mother of seven with two children on the autism spectrum, a quilter, a gardener, and woman of all trades. When she has time, she volunteers with her local domestic violence prevention center, makes blankets for Project Linus and blogs on a variety of subjects, including autism, science fiction and life at

Coming Soon from the PUBLISHER AND BUY LINK 

Now available from Zumaya Publications, Amazon:

Barnes and Noble:

Book two in the Color of Fear series, DESTINATIONS, coming in July!

Book blurb:

Bio-terrorists release a plague in the United States that spreads to kill most of the world’s Caucasian population. As the deadly virus mutates, Tzu Shin, a renowned medical doctor and biologist, defects from China to help develop a cure. His only daughter, Lin Kwan, is left behind in Hong Kong with her aunt.

Then Kwan’s father summons her from across the sea to bring him Chinese medicinal herbs he needs to develop a cure. Lonely and missing her parents, she accepts the challenge, traveling with her sensei Li Zhong to the New World.

But a Chinese assassin is on her trail, determined to kill her and Li Zhong, and when Kwan discovers her father has disappeared, she sets out on a journey to find him and deliver her precious cargo, a quest that she may not survive.


Her sensei said, “If we can find a freighter going east, we should be able to secure passage. But it will not be inexpensive.”

Kwan took a swift mental inventory of what she owned. Other than the standard electronics of a young person her age, game unit, cellular phone (now useless), and a couple of computers she could use when the power and her aunt allowed, she didn’t have much. A small amount of savings, perhaps a couple thousand silver yuan, less than $300 in American dollars.

She held a few family heirlooms, things her parents hadn’t felt safe carrying with them on their earlier trip across the ocean: an abalone and pearl hair comb from her mother, and her father’s treasures, a handful of Japanese Military Yen, and three gold yuan that predated Communist rule of the People’s Republic, that he kept in anticipation of the day their people would be free again. Even to a collector, these personal possessions would hardly bring much in the way of cash. She could think of no way to raise the money they’d need to make the trip.

Doomed from the start.

Shuai peered shyly around the corner from the bedroom. Even though she wasn’t included in this conversation, she could scarcely avoid overhearing them in this small apartment with its flimsy wall constructions.  “I can sell my hair,” she whispered.

The thought struck horror into Kwan’s heart. Women of her family had always been encouraged to grow long hair, feeling that even if they didn’t have a lot of money, at least they would have beautiful personal assets. “No, Shuai,” she said quickly.

The little girl stared at her. “We both could. They could make several wigs for the fancy women. They can afford to pay.”

Kwan’s breath caught in her throat, or was that rising nausea? Her long, thick hair had defined her for years, and hadn’t been significantly cut since she was five years old. Boys had complimented her on it. Other girls had coveted it. She had no parents, no money, old hand-me down clothing, nothing worthwhile. But others had envied this. It was her one vanity.

Ehaung stood in the door, plate trembling in her hands. “Your hair…”

Tears came to Kwan’s eyes. She studied Shuai’s hair, now lying free and loose on her back. Maybe twenty-four inches. She knew hers was the same. Their hair was tended and well-cared for, each girl taking turns brushing the other’s every day. “We could make a thousand yuan, maybe more. But no, Shuai. I couldn’t ask you to do that.”

“I want to,” the little girl stubbornly insisted. Her bottom lip stuck out, her eyes glittering with determination. “It will grow back. If my hair can see you safely to the care of my uncle, then why should I not give it?”
Kwan’s throat was full and she could not speak. Her cousin’s generosity, the support of the entire remainder of her family amazed and gratified her.

“Mine, too,” Ehuang said, her voice a soft murmur. She set the almond cookies on the table and returned to the kitchen for the teapot. The scent of the baking cookies had filled the air all afternoon. Kwan’s mouth had watered, waiting for them to be served. But somehow their festive promise had changed to the taste of dust in her mouth.

Zhong sat nodding with approval. “All great causes require sacrifice, Kwan.”

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Book Spotlight: When One Door Closes by Sandy Wolters

Full Size Book CoverWhen One Door Closes by Sandy Wolters

Her marriage a disaster, Lilly closes the door to her personal life.  Can meeting Bruce open a door to a new life or will her fear shut her off from love?

All Lilly has ever wanted to do is sing, but being an internationally famous superstar has turned her life into a living nightmare. Closing the door on her destructive marriage, she runs to her best friend’s rural home in northern Arizona, hoping to stay out of the public’s eye and sort out her life.

Bruce Silk, a Flagstaff police officer, doesn’t approve of his brother’s rakish rock star lifestyle but still keeps an eye on his remote home when he’s out on tour. More than once he’s had to arrest groupies who invaded the property to steal some small memento from the famous Clay Silk. So why does he feel sucker-punched when he slaps the cuffs on this latest trespasser?

When One Door Closes
is the first book in the “Rock Star Series.”  Another Door Opens, the second book, will be released in mid-2014.  Both books are stand-alone novels.

Sandy Wolters is a prolific writer with four other novels to date. Her last novel, Soul Mates, won first place in the Paranormal Romance Guild’s Reviewer Choice Awards for Paranormal Romance-Novella.


Chapter One

Out of habit, Bruce glanced through the glass next to his brother’s front entryway to check the alarm status. Seeing the green light signaling that the alarm had been disconnected, his body drew taut with tension. He pulled his Glock out and quietly checked the door. Locked. Slipping the key into the lock, he gently turned it and opened the door to an unknown danger. He moved silently through the house, clearing each room as he calmly and methodically moved forward, looking for the intruder he knew was there.

He had never cared for the opulence Clayton’s home displayed, nor the way his brother lived, but he’d be damned if he’d allow anyone to take anything that belonged to his brother while he was out playing the rock star celebrity role.

Bruce crept into the living room where a fire was crackling in the fireplace. Obviously someone felt at home in his brother’s house. Bruce’s training as a police officer had taught him to slow down, to take everything in, to feel his surroundings. Something was different, he thought to himself. His eyebrows knitted together, he tilted his head to the side, trying to decipher what he was feeling. The air was thick with something he couldn’t identify in words. The surroundings were familiar, but everything felt different. Wrong. Turning slowly in a circle, he scrutinized everything in the room, searching for an answer to what was so off about the feel of this home that he had been inside hundreds of times, but nothing tangible had been disturbed in the house.

As his gaze slowed, his gut clenched as he recognized the feeling that flowed over him. It was an overwhelming sense of sadness. It was the imperceptible, the thick veil of anguish, that was gnawing at him.

His breaths came quickly. Trying to wash this paralyzing sensation from himself with his free hand, he clutched his chest. His heart rate had sped up. Waves of sorrow were washing over him. His eyes closed, and he shivered involuntarily. Something was undeniably awry in this house. He just hoped it didn’t get him killed.

While trying to steady his nerves, he heard it. Going completely still, he listened. Somewhere in the distance, a cell phone rang. He crept forward, trying to follow the incessant ringing, before finally realizing it was coming from outside on the back deck.

“Gotcha,” he whispered as he moved toward the oversized double doors leading to the back deck. The cell phone started ringing again. What an idiot! He smirked at the stupidity of a burglar who couldn’t turn his damn cell phone off for the amount of time it took to pull off a B&E. Then again, the idiot must be planning for a prolonged stay since he took the time to light a fire in the fireplace. Bruce was looking forward to educating this bastard.

As the back deck came into view through the large double doors, his suspicions were confirmed when he saw a roaring fire in the pit. To the right of the pit, a young woman sat at the table, staring out into space, her hand clutching a bottle of whiskey and tears rolling down her cheeks as if she’d lost everyone and everything important to her. The cell phone sat in front of her, its ringing falling on deaf ears.

Her beauty was staggering—long, luxurious, blonde hair, the allure of her face so moving that poets had been writing about such a face for centuries. Her eyes were hidden by the shadows of the night, but he could see the tension in her face, which was covered with tears. Even camouflaged from head to toe with the afghan his mother had made and given to Clay all those years ago, he could see an air of elegance surrounding her as if she were some kind of royalty. He watched her for quite some time, trying to decipher exactly what kind of a threat she might be.

Finally, with no answer to his question, he slipped out between the doors and moved stealthily toward her. The air around her was thick with pain, and it washed over him afresh. The man in him, the protector, his heart and body, wanted to run to her and wrap her in a warm, loving embrace all the while the cop in him, his mind, was yelling at him to put her in handcuffs and whisk her away to jail.

Silence. The damned phone finally stopped ringing. He snapped out of his reverie long enough to mentally kick himself. His anger rose, and a frown crossed his face. “A damn groupie,” he whispered. That thought dispelled his fantasy and woke him up to the reality, stirring his anger even more.

Pointing his gun at her, he ordered, “Let me see your hands.”

Nothing. She didn’t even flinch. Her mind was somewhere far off, too great a distance to hear him.

He moved closer. “Hey,” he yelled, “let me see your hands, or I’m going to have to take you down and cuff you on the ground.”

Her body jerked when he yelled, and the bottle of Southern Comfort she’d been holding fell off the table. Wincing, she stayed perfectly still, except for holding her hands in the air, too afraid to look at the man yelling at her.

“Keep your hands in the air. Stand up and move away from the table,” he ordered.

She stood quickly, her hair bouncing around her shoulders, catching the light of the fire. Bruce fought to ignore the impact that such a simple act was having on him. Finding comfort in protocol, he holstered his gun and moved toward her with his cuffs. He pulled her right arm behind her and then her left as he restrained her.

Still feeling a little jittery from what felt like an emotional assault on him by this woman, he did what he did best. He struck out with his caustic words, fully intending to make her feel the fool instead of himself. “Don’t you groupies have a network or something? Can’t you just spread the word that Silk’s house is out of bounds? I just don’t understand you women.”

He swung her around. “I mean, look at you! You’re beautiful. Why are you wasting your time with a man who doesn’t give a shit about women? Don’t you know his reputation?” He angrily swiped his hand through his hair. “Good Lord! He’d swallow you up and spit you out without so much as a blink. You should have a little more respect for yourself than that.”

Watching this man who had just handcuffed her giving her a motivational speech made her smile before sending her into hysterical laughter. Being a cop, Bruce knew that people reacted differently to stressful situations, but her laughter startled him nonetheless. Was she one of those certifiably crazy groupies? Instinctively, his hand moved to his holstered gun. The movement set her to cackling so hard, she couldn’t stand up straight and was having a difficult time catching her breath. When she did, it degenerated into snorting.

He took a step back, his anger growing steadily. “What the hell is so funny?” Still bent over, she held her hands up behind her back so he could see them and then held up one finger to indicate she’d need a minute as she convulsed with laughter yet again.

Putting his hands on his waist, he grew more and more agitated as he stood there, placing his weight on his left foot while angrily tapping his right. Who the hell does this woman think she is? His irritation escalated.

She stood up with a broad smile on her face, and it was obvious she genuinely felt better. The sorrow he had seen on her face earlier was still there, but a sparkle of playfulness had emerged.

Lilly watched the cop’s face for the familiar reaction. She couldn’t believe it. This cop didn’t recognize her. For the first time in a very long time, she was just another woman. Incredible! Her smile grew brighter, the warmth of her very being radiating out from her, as she immersed in this newfound freedom. Before Bruce knew what he was doing, he smiled back. Dammit, he thought as he transformed his smile into a scowl again.

“I’m sorry. There’s been some sort of a mistake, officer. Ding … I mean Silk invited me to stay here.”

Bruce waved his hand at her, clearly dismissing her as a liar. “He would have told me. I watch after the place for him when he’s gone.”

Her smile never faded, completely unnerving him. “Well, he actually gave me the key two years ago along with an open invitation to visit whenever I wanted.” She turned her back to him and awkwardly held her cuffed hand out to him in greeting. She cocked her head and declared, “Hi, I’m Lilly. It’s nice to meet you.”

Knowing that Clay, or Silk as his hundreds of thousands of fans knew him, had never invited even one of his numerous lovers to what he referred to as “his real home,” Bruce returned her gesture with a skeptical stare.

When it was clear this angry police officer was not going to shake her cuffed hand, she turned and nodded to her phone on the table. “There’s my phone. Call him. He’ll vouch for me.”

He reached into his pocket and pulled his own phone out.

“Excuse me, officer, but you should probably use my phone. He’s not going to recognize your number and probably won’t answer it. He’ll answer if you use my phone, no matter what he’s doing. We’re close friends.”

His face lit up with a mischievous smile like he was getting ready to tell her a funny story. I should probably tell her my brother always answers my calls, but I’ll just keep that to myself for now. He chuckled.

Lilly couldn’t have looked away from him if she had wanted to. There was something so masculine about him. The man exuded an inner strength and–what is it? she thought to herself, and then it hit her—a cockiness about him, that drew her to him like a moth to flame. As much as she wanted to examine what was so attractive about his personality, she was having difficulty looking past the uniform. There is just nothing sexier than a great big man in uniform. She grinned.

Wishing she would stop smiling at him, he held her gaze as he picked her phone up. Going through the contact list, he looked back at her, smirking from ear to ear. “Hmm. I’m not seeing him listed in your contacts.”

She gave him a questioning look and then giggled knowingly. “Oh, I’m sorry. He’s listed as Dingo.”

His eyebrows shot up in surprise. Dingo? He turned his attention back to the phone, looked at the number listed under the name Dingo and realized that it, in fact, was his brother’s private cell phone number. He pressed the send button and stood there, staring at this handcuffed, regal vision in front of him.

He heard Clay answer the phone and say in the background, “Don’t worry. I’m going to get to that spot, sweetheart. This is an important call, and I have to take it. I’ll be right back.”

He closed his eyes and shook his head at the thought of his brother answering a call from this woman while having sex with another. The thought that she must be pretty important to Clay irritated the hell out of him. The next words Bruce heard lifted his anger level to an all new high. “How is my luscious baby girl doing?” Then in a voice so sincere that Bruce couldn’t believe it was actually coming from his brother, Clay declared, “Damn, I’ve missed you so much, Lilly. Please tell me you’re calling to say you’ll join me for the rest of the band’s tour.”

It took a moment before Bruce could string a sentence of words together that didn’t solely contain swear words unbefitting a cop in charge of the situation. Dammit, she must be really important to him, he thought. Why did that make him feel so bad, he wondered as he finally found his tongue.

“Just hold on a damn minute, Clay.” Putting the cell phone down on the table, he pulled his key out of his pocket and walked over to Lilly. She twirled around so he could reach the handcuffs. He quickly uncuffed her.

She turned back to him while rubbing her wrists. “I’ll go in and make some hot chocolate for us while you finish your call.” Reaching the double doors into the house, she turned back. “Please tell Ding … Clayton that I’m fine and not to worry about me.” With that, she went inside the house.

Bruce stood there and watched her go, his hands clenching into fists, not understanding why the thought of this woman as his brother’s girlfriend was so upsetting. He turned his attention back to the phone in time to hear Clay screaming profanities directed at him. He picked the phone up and yelled back. “You should probably tell me when you invite guests to your home so I don’t end up taking them to jail.”

“My God! Lilly’s at my house? Is she all right? Is she hurt?” Clay cried out into the phone.

Once again, Clay surprised him with the depth of concern in his voice. “Clay, she’s fine.” Hesitating, he added, “Something’s happened because when I found her, she was crying and …” Without thinking, he put his hand on his chest and rubbed it, trying to scrub away the pain he had not only seen, but felt emanating from her.

“And?” Clay screamed, impatient for a response.

Bruce shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know. She’s sad. Really sad,” he whispered.

After a slight hesitation, Clay said, “I’m coming. I’m going to cancel a few stops on my tour, and I’ll take a flight out as soon as possible.”

Shocked by his brother’s uncharacteristic solicitude, Bruce interrupted him. “What? You’re going to cancel your tour? For a woman? What the hell is going on? Who is she, and what is she to you?”

Bruce could hear the surprise in Clay’s voice. “Umm, dude, you’re kidding, right?”

Sighing in frustration, Bruce said, “I’m feeling a little out of the loop, Clay. Will you please tell me what is going on?”

“Jeez, Bruce, do you ever pick up a newspaper, a magazine, turn the TV on, listen to the radio? The person you met tonight is Lilly. Lilly Cabrera.” Pausing, Clay shrugged as he spoke. “You probably won’t know her last name. No one does, but Lilly is famous, dude. She’s an international superstar. Where the hell have you been living the last three or four years?

“She’s also very special to me. She’s gotten me through some pretty rough times in my life, and I’m going to be there for her when she needs someone.” Pausing, he added, “That time is now, Bruce. You can’t let anyone know she’s there. She’ll never get any peace.”

Over the phone, Bruce could hear Clay slamming doors and unzipping what sounded like a suitcase. “I’m on my way there. Don’t leave her alone. If she’s there, it’s bad. She’s going to need someone with her. I’m worried about her. Take care of her, Bruce, until I get there.” Without any further conversation, the phone went dead.

Bruce looked at the now dead phone he held in his hand with absolute astonishment. “Stay with her?” he asked out loud. “You’ve got to be kidding!”




BIO: I’ve been an avid reader for years. To my husband’s dismay, I have bookshelves full of books, rooms full of books, boxes full of books. My cars have books in them. I just can’t seem to get rid of them after I read them. You just never know when you will want to read it again, right? When my husband bought me a Kindle, it cut down on our need for storage, but it opened me up to books that I might never have experienced otherwise.

The biggest transition in my relationship with books occurred, however, when I, much to my surprise, became an author. I had started having dreams about people I didn’t know. I started looking forward to my dreams every night. Then I realized that I was daydreaming about these people as well. I’d just be sitting there, and these people and their antics would pop into my mind. Finally, I gave in and began writing their story down, something I had never dreamed of doing.

After I wrote my first book Maggie Mae, I had do idea what to do with it. After trying the traditional route for a little while, my husband pushed me in the direction of ebooks, and I’ve never looked back.

My books invariably feature strong women. My husband, Michael, and I have raised two strong daughters, Pilar and Shandelle, and they inspire the characters in my stories. As a matter of fact, Pilar was the main character in my book A Brother’s Love, and Shandelle is the main character in my new release Soul Mates. Justice for Emily was the most difficult book I’ve written, and that was because Emily was the victim of a sadistic, cruel, and abusive husband, who just happened to be the Chief of Police. One of my readers described this books as a “good mystery laced with sex, violence, ghosts and spirits.” The only thing her summary left out was the strength of the two women in this story: Emily and Rachael.

I’ve had fun with all the books I’ve written. I think the fact that I insert real events into my books, things that have actually happened in my family’s lives, is like having a private joke. Knowing that Michael Rogers in Maggie Mae is based on my husband tickles my fancy. I am a very lucky woman!

Although I write romance novels, they always contain a paranormal twist. I imagine my future writings will always contain romance with strong women and men of character, influenced by events that reach beyond what we consider normal, and perhaps seasoned with a little touch of whimsy.


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Cover Reveal: Some Other Child by Sharon Buchbinder

SomeOtherChild_w7615_medSome Other Child

Available soon from the Wild Rose Press

A stolen baby, a missing aunt, decades of secrets to unravel, and love lost and found.

Between taking on the responsibility for the care of her critically injured mother as well as straightening out her muddled finances, public health researcher Sarah Wright hasn’t a minute to herself, much less time to repair a fractured romance. After a much loved aunt goes missing, Sarah is convinced it’s a kidnapping but the police refuse to investigate. Former fiance Dan flies to Sarah’s side to help—and it looks like things might come back together for the two of them—until Sarah is arrested for her aunt’s murder. As evidence stacks up against her, Sarah must find the real culprits as well as unravel decades old family secrets along the way.

Interview with Marcy Waldenville, Author of The Tears of the Damned

Marcy HeadshotI am delighted to have my friend, Marcy Waldenville, with me today to chat with us about… Tears of the Damned

Marcy Waldenville knew she wanted to write at an early age. A firm believer in anything-is-possible, she is happy to be following that dream. Born and raised in a small town in Western Pennsylvania. She lives in Southern Butler County, PA with her husband, Ken.

Marcy, what made you decide to be an author?

I started to write what they now call fan-fiction when I was 10. I wrote little stories about Star Trek, in long hand, in a notebook that I carried with me everywhere. I got a typewriter for my 16th birthday and I just started to teach myself to tell stories. It snowballed from there.

What do you like best about being a writer? What do you like the least?

The best part is the people I’ve met. Most of my friends are people I’ve met through writing. It has opened up a world of generous, thoughtful people to me. 

How do you think your life experiences have prepared you for writing your special blend of sci-fi, romance, and supernatural stories?

Well, my life is pretty paranormal. I’m a psychic and a medium. It has had an influence on how I do everything. Writing is no exception. I think most of my ideas are certainly touched by that. I tend to see the paranormal as normal, and so do my character, I once had a reviewer say that my character, who was a psychic was “grounded in reality”. She was… mine. In Tears of the Damned. I see all the character as workers for world karma.   

Have you ever felt as if you were being dictated to while you wrote a book–as if the words came of their own accord? If yes, which book did that happen with?

Constantly! I have always maintained all stories exist already in some plane… it’s the writer’s job to bring it to this plane. I also believe that the characters choose the story teller. If you’ve been chosen it is your divine responsibility to tell that story.

You’ve written four novels, four novelettes and are working on the second installment of my Mystic Lake Series, The Walk-In. What’s your favorite time management tip?

I try to make progress on some part of writing every day. I write, edit, format, publish, plot… something every day. Even if I can do only an hour it’s something. You can accomplish a lot in a little time if you’re really motivated.

Are you a plotter or a pantser, i.e., do you outline your books ahead of time or are you an “organic” writer?

I think I’m a plantser. I start out with a pretty general outline, mostly a paragraph or two about each chapter. I shift that around so that the structure of the story is what I want and then I pants it from there. It a sort of structured organic. 

If you had one take away piece of advice for authors, what would it be?

Work! I have seen people with great ideas and no drive to see it told. What makes a writer a writer… is doing the work of writing.

What is the theme song for this book? What music did you go back to over and over as you wrote it?

I always do a playlist. And they are always pretty eclectic everything from Patsy Cline to Imagine Dragons. With Tears of the Damned I used a lot on of Nickleback and some classic Bob Seger.

Tell me more about Tears of the Damned. Tears cover 8-5-13

Alexia Thorn is an accomplished treasure hunter. Her work for The Center for Restoration of Stolen Antiquities has recovered everything from rare paintings to centuries old relics.

But now, Lexy is out to find her father, Robert Thorn, missing for more than ten years and accused of stealing a fortune in emeralds called the Tears of the Damned. She is convinced that Finnegan MacGregor Sr. is the one behind Robert’s disappearance and the missing jewels. So she drops in on him, literally through a second floor window of his isolated cabin in Alaska. She is going to get the truth, one way or another.

But what she find when the lights come on is a smoking hot naked man with a charming smile and an answer for everything. Finn McGregor Jr. is not at all what she expects to find but neither is the squad of hired killers bent on stopping Lexy.

When the smoke clears the cabin is reduced to rubble but one of the dying killers whispers one word that sends Lexy and Finn off on the adventure of a lifetime.


Leaving Finn to explain the dead man in his yard, Lexy sets out to find the Tears of the Damned and what happened to her father.

In Africa, Lexy discovers a whole side of her father’s life she knew nothing about and that the men trying to stop her search are willing to go to any length, even cold blooded murder.

As the body count mounts, Lexy finds the strength to fight on and that help can come from the last place she expects.

From the Land of the Midnight Sun to the heart of the Dark Continent, Lexy and Finn track a mysterious Commander, fighting rebels, government soldiers and their overwhelming attraction to each other to find their fathers and… The Tears of the Damned.

How about an excerpt from Tears of the Damned?

She looked away, toward the compound somewhere beyond the trail and the ocean of green. It really was crazy. Her father, Finn’s father, Samir, those misguided young men who worked for Birch, and the children . . . there were so many bodies piling up on this mission. How many more was it going to take? Hers? Finn’s?

God, why did that thought make her chest tighten?

Finn crushed out the cigarette on the tree truck and tapped her shoulder. She looked up to see him looking down the trail to the south. She heard it then, the welcome rumble of a truck.

She jumped to her feet, grabbing Finn and shoving him into the middle of the road.

“Lay down!” She ran back and got the AK-47, and darted to the opposite side of the road.


“Lay down. We need them to stop.” She strapped the gun to her chest, pushed the banana clip into place and slipped the firing position pin to the middle, making it fully automatic.

“And if they don’t?”

“People always stop when they see someone lying in the middle of the road. It’s human nature.”

“That the stupidest–”

The truck turned the corner and Finn dropped to the dirt. Lexy hid in the underbrush and aimed the gun a few feet ahead of Finn. If they didn’t stop, she could stop them on the spot.

The truck slowed and the driver blew the horn. It rolled closer, blasting the horn again. She could see Finn flinch. She took a deep breath and prepared to pull the trigger. The driver slammed the brake and the truck skidded to stop, the dust rolling over Finn’s face.

The truck had a canvas covered cab, common enough for equipment from desert nations. The driver stood up and shouted. Finn’s head appeared over the hood and he pointed the 9mm. The driver and the young man in the passenger seat saw the gun and laughed. Lexy sprayed the back of the truck with the bullets and the two in the cab stopped laughing.

“Get out of the truck!” Lexy shouted, but they obviously didn’t speak English.

Finn opened the driver’s door and gestured with the gun for them to get out. That they understood.

Lexy covered them with the automatic. “Go see if there’s any rope in the back. We’ll leave them here.”

Finn hurried to the back.

The driver and his friend were dressed in khaki fatigues. Lexy took their side arms and gestured for them to move to the tree line at the side of the road.

“American?” the driver asked his accent heavy.


They looked impressed and the passenger nodded to her and rattled something off. Lexy understood only one word. “Birch.”

“No rope, but they had these.” Finn held out a handful of plastic zip cords. “They make a great set of makeshift handcuffs.”

He pulled the driver’s hands backward around one of the smaller trees and looped the cords around his wrist and zipped the straps tight. He repeated it with the passenger.

“That’ll hold them,” Lexy said, swinging the gun over her shoulder.

Finn was grinning. “Good. You need to check out the supplies in that truck.”

She walked to the back of the truck and the driver and his buddy began to chatter as fast as they could talk. Somehow she suspected they were trying to talk her out of taking the truck. She flipped the canvas cover back and looked in.

There was no food or water in the back, just a gun . . . 50 caliber vehicle-mounted, fully automatic gun, and dozens of boxes of ammo.


“No wonder they laughed at my little BB gun.”

“Thank you, Inanna.” Lexy said, fingering the necklace hanging around her neck. She jumped into the back of the truck, and pulled the last of the canvas cover off the bed. She opened one of the ammo boxes and loaded the gun, then took a seat and wrapped her hands around the wheel.

It was a hell of a gun, operating like a big, deadly, first generation video game. The wheel controlled positioning like a steering wheel, and the trigger, mounted like a joy stick was right under her right hand.

It was perfect.

“You get us to the door, Finn, and this will get it open. Let’s go.”

“Who’s this In-Anna?” Finn asked, crawling into the front of the truck.

“The Goddess of War.”

Finn turned the key and the truck rumbled to life. “Hmm, I would have bet her name was Lexy.”


Where can readers find more about your stories, books and you on the Internet?



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Marcy, thank you so much for being with us here today. I know my readers will enjoy your work and your interview.


Cover Reveal: Love’s Sorrow by Terri Rochenski

Love’s Sorrow
Means of Mercy #1

by Terri Rochenski
Publisher: Roane Publishing
Release Date: April 21, 2014


Hired as a nanny for her cousin’s children, Anne Tearle finds security and a loving family. The children are a dream, but London society is a world of its own, one where a displaced farm girl has no business being. But, wealthy rake, Gavin MacKay, helps her to see associating with the upper class might not be as horrid as she first assumed.

Like all things worthwhile, love comes at a price, and the cost soon bestows more anguish than joy. Lost, but not undone, Anne must find the courage to begin life anew, or succumb to sorrow’s unrelenting waves of grief.

About Terri Rochenski:
Terri started writing stories in the 8th grade, when a little gnome whispered in her brain. Gundi’s Great Adventure never hit the best seller list, but it started a long love affair with storytelling.

Today she enjoys an escape to Middle Earth during the rare ‘me’ moments her three young children allow. When not playing toys, picking them back up, or kissing boo-boos, she can be found sprawled on the couch with a book or pencil in hand, and toothpicks propping her eyelids open.


Cover Reveal: Temporarily Employed by Vicki Batman

A long journey for my baby is paying off

and I’m delighted to share with you!

 TemporarilyEmployed_300 x 200Here’s a little blurb to whet your appetite:
Hattie Cook’s dream job is down the toilet and her new SUV violated. Desperate for cash to cover the basic necessities of rent and food, she takes a temporary job at Buy Rite insurance company where she uncovers an embezzling scam tied to the death of a former employee–the very one she replaced. The last thing she wants is to clash with By-the-Book Detective Wellborn, no matter how much he makes her heart pound.Allan Charles Wellborn has secretly adored Hattie all his life.  He evolved from a pocket protector-wearing geek to a handsome police detective.  When the police determine there’s more to the death of a former Buy Rite employee, he steps in to lead the investigation.  Overly dedicated, always perfect, he puts his job first, even if doing so ultimately hurts the one he loves.Can the killer be found before Hattie’s time is up?Can you tell I’m happy? and to celebrate, I’m giving away an adorable flowery tote!
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Vicki Batman ~ sassy writer of sexy and funny fiction 06 2012 VBauthor photo300x 400
Available now!   

Interview with Cerece Rennie Murphy, Author of Order of the Seers

Small File HeadshotI am delighted to have my new friend, Cerece Rennie Murphy, with me today to chat with us about Order of the Seers.

Cerece Rennie Murphy first fell in love with science fiction as a 7-year-old girl, sitting in the grand Uptown Theater in Washington, DC watching Empire Strikes Back with her sister and mother for the first time.  It’s a love affair that has grown ever since.

In addition to completing the Order of the Seers trilogy, Ms. Murphy is also developing a children’s book series titled Enchanted: 5 Tales of Magic in the Everyday, and a 2-part science fiction thriller novel set in outer space.  Ms. Murphy lives just outside of her hometown of Washington, DC. with her husband, two children and their dog, named Yoda. 

Cerece, what made you decide to be an author?

You know, I actually didn’t decide.  I’ve written poetry all my life, but I never thought I would become  an author.   But when I got the story idea for Order of the Seers, I knew I had to at least TRY to write it.  When I finished the first draft, I decided to share it as a fan fiction piece.  The feedback was really positive.  I began to think maybe I could be an author, but I was scared to death.  Writing something and then sharing it are two completely different things.  The decision to publish my work came as a mix of timing and priorities.

What do you like best about being a writer? What do you like the least?

My favorite part of being a writer is just the chance to tell a story.  I get so excited when I hear the characters telling me what they are going to do and why.  At that moment, I’m a part of the audience just trying to keep up and write it all down.  My least favorite part is the worrying.  I wish I could just knock it off, but publishing a book has brought out all my demons.

How do you think your life experiences have prepared you for writing your special blend of sci-fi, romance, and supernatural stories?

I think my life experience has impacted my writing in a couple of ways.  First, I have always been curious about the links between spirituality and science.  I think its part of why I love science fiction as a genre so much.  Working on Order of the Seers has given me an opportunity to explore and share many of the questions that I’ve had since I was a child.

Second, as an entrepreneur in other fields and someone who doesn’t like to be told what I can and can not do in general, being a self-published author suits me pretty well.  It’s scary and lonely at times, but I’m used to those feelings, so I know how to manage them or who to call to talk me off the ledge. 

Have you ever felt as if you were being dictated to while you wrote a book–as if the words came of their own accord? If yes, which book did that happen with?

Yes, I would say that is true of the entire Order of the Seers Trilogy.  I discover the story by listening to the characters.  They tell me what happens in the story,  then I try to write down what I see and hear as best I can.

You’ve written two novels and are working on your third. What’s your favorite time management tip?

Write as often as you can wherever you can, whenever you have time.  My husband and I have 2 small children, so life is very unpredictable for me right now.  As I write this, both of our kids are sick and home from school with me, so all the work I’d planned to do today is out the window.  I have to be flexible.  Whenever I get a moment and my brain is coherent, I write.  I think part of why I have the time is that I don’t watch TV.  We don’t have cable and I don’t follow ANY shows during the week.  It helps to give me a fair amount of quiet time. 

Are you a plotter or a pantser, i.e., do you outline your books ahead of time or are you an “organic” writer?

I outline every single chapter before I start writing the book.  I need a road map to focus me and keep the story in line.  It’s also a great tool for helping me maintain suspense throughout the book.  The outline challenges me to make sure I have a reason for the reader to turn from one chapter to the next. 

If you had one take away piece of advice for authors, what would it be?

Write your story.  Don’t worry about anything else, just start, then keep going until you hate it or it’s done. 

What is the theme song for this book? What music did you go back to over and over as you wrote it? 

Hhmm, that’s a difficult one for me.  I usually write my books in complete silence.  I don’t know if Order of the Seers (Book I) has a theme song, but I do think there’s a theme song for each character.  Bob Marley’s Redemption Song reminds me a lot of Marcus Akida.  Sia’s Breathe Me or Linkin Parks’ Crawling reminds me of Alessandra Pino’s journey a great deal, especially when you first meet her.  For Liam Knight, maybe Linkin Parks’ “What I’ve done”.  Lilli Knight is more complicated because she changes the most throughout the series.  She starts out as this scared young girl and ends up more like a pint-size Wonder Woman.  :-)

With The Red Order (Book II), I listened to Closer by Kings of Leon.  That song has an ominous urgency that really put me in the right frame of mind for the book.  For the final book, I am listening to Wave Mantra by Sean Washburn.  It’s meditation music, but I find it has been wonderful for helping me focus.

Tell me more about Order of the Seers. CereceSEERSCover6-12-12

Sure.  Order of the Seers begins with the journey of Liam and Lilith Knight, a brother and sister who are hunted by The Guild, a ruthless world organization that seeks to capture and exploit Lilith’s unique ability as a Seer to envision the future.  Soon after they are forced to leave their home, Lilith and Liam discover that she is not alone.  Other Seers like Lilith are routinely kidnapped and enslaved by the Guild for the purpose of consolidating wealth and power around the world.

But from within the organization, Marcus Akida, a captured Seer with powerful visioning capabilities, quietly plots his daring escape with the help of a beautiful and tortured Seer named Alessandra.  When the escaped Seers are drawn to the same remote commune in Iowa as Liam and Lilith, they each find a place where they can rebuild their lives and rediscover their passion for life and love.  As the Guild’s efforts to find them intensifies, the Seers ban together with outlaws from the commune to fight back against the organization that threatens their lives – setting off a chain of events that will unleash the full power of the Seers and change everything we know about the true potential that lies dormant in each of us. 

How about an excerpt from Order of the Seers?

My pleasure.  This is from the 1st chapter of Order of the Seers (Book I)  when Liam and Lilli come home to find something is very wrong within their house.

“No, you go. I can’t see it again.”

Liam didn’t stop to ask what she meant. Whatever she meant, he was sure it was worse than he thought. He tried to hold back the swell of fear in his chest as he ran to the front door, but his emotions spun out of control the moment he tested the front door knob and found it opened—easily. They never left the front door unlocked.

When he stepped into the house, he actually felt the life, the person he had been, rush past him and out the door as his eyes took in the overturned, splintered remains of their living room. It was a feeling he’d felt only once before, when his father died. But what made it worse, what made it permanent, was lying in the middle of the floor, with its contents thrown everywhere. It was his mother’s purse, which had not been there when he left that morning.

“Mom!” he shouted as he raced up the stairs to her room. “Mom. Please!” he shouted again, but no one answered. In every room he looked, it was the same – scattered clothes, broken mirrors, and silence—a deafening silence that rang louder than the sound of his own shallow breathing.

If he took the stairs at lightning speed to make it to the second floor, an age could have passed during his descent. The entire house consisted of three bedrooms, one and a half bathrooms, a kitchen, a living room, and a small open dining area that you could see clearly from the front door. As he walked down the steps, he knew there was only one room left to check. His mind was frozen on what to hope for as his hand reached the end of the banister. If she wasn’t in the kitchen, she might have been taken, but at least there was a chance she was still alive. If she was in the kitchen, it was unthinkable.

Lilli’s words came to him just as he rounded the doorway to the kitchen. “No, you go. I can’t see it again.”
He found his mother sitting with her feet planted on the floor, shoulder width apart, bright eyes open and cast to the ceiling, with a hole blown through the middle of her chest.

Liam braced himself against the door frame as he began to sob, the sounds seemingly emanating from a place far away from where he stood. He could not look away from the horrific image before him, the last image of his mother. He stood there with wide-eyed and tear-stained pain as the last measure of his youth drained from him like blood rushing from an open vein. When it was done, his body slid to the ground.

We are alone, he thought. There’s no one left.

Ever since his father had died, Liam lived in fear that one day he would lose her. Unable to tear his eyes away from her body, he could hear her vehemently denying that there would ever be a time when she wasn’t with them. “Never,” she would say.

Never, he thought, has finally come.

Though Liam had been staring at her body since he entered the kitchen, he had not seen the gun in her hand until he noticed a fly land on it. Years of training to keep the gun out of Lilli’s sight made him jump to his feet until he remembered that Lilli was still outside. He knew the gun well; it was his mother’s. She had taught him how to use it and to keep it out of Lilli’s reach when she was small.

At first his mind could not decipher the meaning of the scene before him. Was he meant to believe that she did this to herself? Why would the people who broke into their house ransack the place and then try to make it look like a suicide? But he couldn’t think straight, couldn’t figure out the logic or the answer to any of the crazy questions running through his mind. Why would she kill herself? He was sure the answers were obvious; he just wasn’t making sense. None of this was making any sense.

His confusion caused him to draw closer to her body. Kneeling down beside his mother, Liam took the lifeless hand that dangled at her side, the one that was not holding the gun. Though his eyes were still filled with tears, they were no longer breaking through the barriers of his lower lids. This momentary fortitude allowed him to have the courage to look directly into her face and see her open smile. The sight of it knocked him down and back into the base cabinets. She was smiling. She was smiling, he thought. She had known what was coming, and she was smiling.

 Where can readers find more about your stories, books and you on the Internet?









My website is It’s a good place to start and I update it weekly.



Twitter: @cerecermurphy

Buy Links:


Cerece, thank you so much for being with us here today. I know my readers will enjoy your work and your interview.

Thanks, Sharon.  It’s been a pleasure.

Meet Me at EPICon 2014!

Obsession is a Finalist in the Romantic Suspense Category for EPICon. Stop by the EFiesta and get a signed copy!

epicon2014placeholdereFiesta! goes Virtual

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Join EPICon’s attendees in the ballroom at the Menger Hotel on Saturday, March 15, 2014, for lunch and a fabulous afternoon of fun, information, and mingling with authors and publishers at eFiesta!

Meet authors, booksignings, a bookstore, and great giveaways. By registering for eFiesta! you will be entered in a drawing for neato prizes. The list of sponsors and prizes will be updated as we get more. 

Can’t come to San Antonio? Join the live chat.

Your favorite authors will answer your questions. Connect with other readers from all over the globe.

Don’t want to come to lunch? Drop in for the booksigning, eBook reader demonstration, and the other fun. There is no charge for walk-ins after 1:30.


All kinds of swag

Meet the Authors

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Register Now!

(Click on the link above.)