November 2012 Bewitching Magazine

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Bewitching Book Tours Magazine Issue 5 November 2012 Bewitching Book Tours Magazine is a publication of Bewitching Book Tours and Bewitching Books. Editor: Roxanne Rhoads Design Editor and Layout: Lisa McGeen Contributors include Bewitching Book Tours Authors and Tour Hosts learn more at Submission details- for every issue we are accept: Articles- topics include writing, research, paranormal, vampires, advice for authors, publishing advice, and more Flash Fiction- paranormal and urban fantasy (for other genres please query) True tales of paranormal encounters Recipes Poetry Book reviews Please send submissions to place “Bewitching Magazine Submission” in subject line Ad space rates are: $40 full page ad $20 half page ad $10 quarter page ad

You can subscribe to this magazine at bewitchingbooktours © Copyright 2012

Contents Auntie Ann’s Homespun Advice Bounty Hunter Book Feature Sanctuary Book Feature No Bake Pumpkin Pie No Reservations Book Feature Hex and The Single Witch Reviews Edge of Oblivion Book Feature Paranormal Encounter with Piper Book of the Month—River Road Author Interview—J.A. Huss Author Interview—Jonathan Lister Author Interview—Karin Rita Gastrach Author Interview– Darlene Waste Free Christmas Merry Green Christmas Regift with Class Looking for Mid-Michigan Santa? Peppermint Bark Monkey Bread

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Auntie Ann’s Homespun Advice Keep those emails coming! If I didn’t respond to yours, it’s because I only have space for two letters each month. Dear Auntie Ann, The holidays are nearly here and I’ve already broken out in hives. Because we have the biggest house, we always host Thanksgiving and Christmas. My husband’s family are all hard core drinkers. Some of them even bring their “medical” marijuana with them, claiming they have a right to light up whenever they want because they have a doctor’s prescription. I have three young children. They’re three, five and eight. The two older ones are beginning to ask about their stoned out relatives. I’m worried they’ll think it’s okay to drink and use because their family does it. Don’t tell me to talk with my husband. He tells me I’m too uptight. That it’s only a couple of days out of the year and to chill out. Is there anything I can do? K.J. Dear K.J. That’s a hard one. You say you’ve talked with your husband, but I wonder how hard you’ve tried. It sounds like he shuts you down the minute the word “holiday” crosses your lips. It would be good if there were a way he could hear you out. You also don’t mention if the family substance abuse problem extends to your husband. That’s a pretty important item. If he has his own issues with alcohol and/or drugs, it will be harder to get him to see your point of view. The easiest solution is to move Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners to a local restaurant. That’s often not that much more expensive than eating at home since many places offer specials over the holidays. It will also cut down on drinking too much and smoking pot. The next best solution would be to alternate homes. There’s really no reason why you should be stuck with all the food preparation and cleanup every year even if the other homes are smaller. And if you’re at someone else’s home, you can decide when you want to leave. If necessary, you and your husband could take separate cars. (I’m assuming the whole clan lives fairly close to one another.)

In terms of your children, the best thing you can do is talk openly with them about alcohol and drugs. It won’t be long before your oldest runs into classmates who are tippling from Mom and Dad’s liquor cabinet. If your kids feel they can discuss anything with you without fear of reprisals, that’s one of the best hedges against them making poor choices. Dear Auntie Ann, I feel incredibly awkward even writing this down, but I’m too embarrassed to ask anyone else. I tried to find some answers on the internet, but didn’t have a whole lot of luck. I think my live-in boyfriend (we’ve been together for about five years) is a cross-dresser. I found out accidentally when I was cleaning out his side of the closet and found a bunch of bras, corsets and skirts. I thought we had a good sex life. Anyway, I asked him about the stuff I found, but he wouldn’t talk about it. And he hasn’t had sex with me since. (It’s been a month.) I’m about ready to pack up my stuff and move out, except I love him. This is tearing me up inside.

Please don’t even print my initials Okay, I won’t. Cross-dressing is harmless. There are a surprising number of men who like to dress up in women’s clothing and masturbate. The women’s clothing doesn’t necessarily mean he’s gay or a budding transgender case, particularly in light of what you said about having a satisfactory sexual interaction before you confronted him. My guess is he’s embarrassed. The best thing you can do is reassure him you love him and that this doesn’t change anything. If you’re feeling open to it, maybe he could don his girly duds and include that as a part of your lovemaking. I think that would be the best starting place. Although they’ve often made the news, the true numbers of transgender men (i.e. those who feel they should have been born female) are extremely small. So while it’s possible your partner is in this group, it’s not likely. If you’re able to approach him with warmth and acceptance, I’ll bet he’ll start talking with you again. Best of luck. Be sure and write back to let me know what happened.

Bounty Hunter By Kate Lynd Book Feature He exhaled and closed the file. “Elizabeth.” She set the bottle down on the desk. “Keep in mind that the Lonegal General indicated will be here in about an hour to talk about it.” He unscrewed the top of the bottle and poured a generous amount into his now tepid coffee, and took a swallow. “Elizabeth, how long have we known each other?” “Oh I don’t know. Since you started this thing when you were a boy.” “I was nineteen. So, what, twenty-one years?” “You needed a secretary, and I needed a job.” “Did you trust me?” “Honestly, I was a little scared of you at first. My experience with Lonegals was all negative and I wasn’t exactly predisposed to like half-breeds. But you weren’t exactly predisposed to trust anyone, either. I’d say we’ve come a long way.” “Have I told you about how my mother would leave a candle in the window as a signal to my father that she was still waiting for him?” “Yes.” “Then why is it, you think, that those who want this girl sent her case to me?” “The same reason you think they did, Logan.” “I haven’t allowed myself to think anything other than my father was dead for the last ten years. I’m glad mom is dead. This would destroy her.” “Your father and mother were young when they were separated. She loved him, Logan. It was a different

time. War is hell, and if he escaped he may not have wanted to endanger you or your mother.” “Is that why he took up with a woman half his age?” He asked, hurling his coffee mug across the room, narrowly missing Elizabeth’s head, shards of ceramic and whiskey-laced coffee making a mess against the wall and on the floor. Elizabeth pushed back her hair with both hands. “Crazy situations create strange bedfellows.” “What’s that supposed to mean?” “You’re older than this half-breed girl right?” “By at least ten years.” “You do realize what her pregnancy means.” “That I have a half-sibling on the way. Yeah I’ve thought about that. And no matter what I think of the girl, that child will die if I hand her over to the Lonegal forces.” “You don’t feel the least bit sorry for her? She loved your father. His death must be just as hard for her as it is for you.” “What does she know of hard? You grow up looking into the eyes of a woman slowly dying everyday because the man she believed to be her soulmate was gone. Yeah, she has it real hard.” “That girl is pregnant, scared, and all alone. She’s a political refugee, and a half-breed. She knows all about hard. You’re jaded, but you’re not that cynical. If she falls into the hands of the Lonegals you know she’ll die a horrible death.” “How and why is that my problem?” “Because the Lonegals, especially their military members and scientists, would like nothing better than to have an excuse to claim that you and every other half-breed are enemies of their state, and demand your return. And you know what it means, my jaded friend, for you to be included in that club.” He was about to explode, when the door opened and a Lonegal in military uniform walked in. He was tall, thin, and deceptively weak-looking; his bars and ribbons and medals attested to his bloodthirsty and murderous nature. His badge read Runyon. His eyes were a glassy black, with no whites or irises, and his skin was white and

pasty. He gave Elizabeth a look of disgust and Elizabeth looked at Logan. “I’ve got this,” he said in a low tone. “You need anything, Logan, you just call me in.” She lightly touched the gun on her hip, and Runyon turned his attention to Logan. As she went to the reception area the Lonegal said, “You need a human woman defend you?” Logan stood up and closed the door behind the general. “You will keep snide comments about my friends to yourself. But you should know, if she had wanted to kill you, you wouldn’t have stood a chance.” “You smell of alcohol, cigarettes, and cheap women. You’ve been with a human. You sully your heritage by doing that.” Logan popped out a cigarette and lit up. “And you’re a prick, so I guess we’re even. Now, what do you want with me?” “Half-breeds,” Runyon said shaking his head. His temper snapped and he snatched Runyon’s throat and hissed, “You should watch your fucking mouth when you’re asking for something so outrageous.” He flung the general down into a chair and exhaled a stream of smoke into his face. “What if I say no? Have you thought about that? Don’t you know you disgust me as much as I disgust you? No, you couldn’t possibly know.” Logan walked around behind his desk and sat down. “Don’t you want to know? Aren’t you curious about whom your father chose over you and your mother?” “You think this is my first trip to the show? You want to manipulate me, make me do your dirty work. You’re going to have to do much better than that. Now take your money, and your bond, and your heavy-handed attempt to make me bring in your political prisoner.And get the fuck out of my office.” Runyon stood up, clearly shaken and said, “You don’t understand the ramifications of your inaction.” “I understand you want a lab rat, and that a half-breed Lonegal pregnant with a human baby is the perfect subject for your experiments.” “So you’re a sympathizer. Half-breeds…” Runyon sneered.

Logan leapt across the desk and punched the general in the mouth. “I said get the fuck out.” Runyon’s eyes narrowed with fury. “You’re making a dangerous enemy.” Logan drew his fist back, preparing to strike again. The general stumbled out the door. Elizabeth came back in and looked at him. “You really going to throw her to the wolves like that?” “Alabama Newsome has far bigger problems than General Runyon and the Lonegals. She has me on her horizon. Get my bag put together, I think a trip is in order.” He picked up the bottle and took a huge swig. Logan wished his father was there. If only so he could hit him the way he’d just hit General Runyon.

Bounty Hunter Kate Lynd Genre: Sci-fi erotic romance Publisher: Hydra Publications ASIN: B009KUI5KS Number of pages: 142 Word Count: 41,559 Cover Artist: Frank Hall Amazon Book Description: Dare to fall in love. Dare to change the world. Logan Mitchell doesn’t like to mess around when it comes to business. He is a rarity, a half-breed human/alien who has survived the purge. The product of an illicit affair between a charismatic human rebel and a sympathetic female alien from the planet Lonegal he is an outsider. He is a bounty hunter, and he is the best at what he does. Enslaved from the age of fifteen, Alabama Newsome is a half-breed who’s managed to escape once and exact her revenge on the killer of her human mother and Lonegal father. Labeled a terrorist she was recaptured, tortured, and made to suffer for her actions. With the help of Logan’s imprisoned father she escapes once again and General Runyon wants her back. She’s pregnant with his child and he’s sure she’ll abort it. When her case file comes across Logan’s desk he’s forced to deal with the truth mixed in with the

lies. And he must decide, bring her in, or risk everything just to save her life. Author Bio: Kate Lynd is an award winning blogger and 2nd place finisher in the 2011 Preditors & Editors Reader’s Choice Award for Best Romance Short Story for No Ordinary Love. She also writes as Amy McCorkle. Her books include 2012 Moondance International Film Festival Semi-Finalist Another Way to Die, and Set Fire to the Rain. GLADIATOR is her most recent release with Bounty Hunter, her first print book due out in October. Her official website is, reviews, guest posts, and her random thoughts are posted at her blog,, and she is peppered all over Facebook and Twitter under Amy Leigh McCorkle and @Kate_Lynd.

Sanctuary Excerpt By Samaire Provost We were about 50 feet from the barn when suddenly the lights inside went out. “Oh, that is so not good,” I said under my breath. Risa stopped completely and stared, trying to see any danger before she got to it. I stopped, too, and we just stood there for the space of a few heartbeats. This night was getting creepier by the hour. After a minute, Risa shrugged and said, “Well, whatever. I can’t just sit here waiting. Let’s go see what scary horrors lie in wait for us in there.” At this I burst out laughing, and hung my arm over her shoulders. She had broken the tension, and I felt immensely better. Laughing together we walked toward the now dark barn. We got to the barn door and peered in. It was pitch dark, so we switched our flashlights on and tried to illuminate the massive interior. “Hmmmm,” I said, trying to see in the darkness beyond the twin beams of light. The barn was too big to see; there was nothing for it, we would have to search the dark expanse cubic yard by cubic yard. We split up and began searching and calling every few minutes. I heard a snuffling in the dark reaches, but it was Risa who said, “Awww, hi there little guy.” And then, “Alyssa, come look at this.” I trotted over to where Risa was standing at a stall door, shining her flashlight on the interior. Peering over the tall wooden door, I looked inside the stall and saw a mare with what appeared to be her newborn foal. The baby teetered over to its mother on long legs and then ducked its head under and began to nurse. “Awww,” I said softly, smiling. We watched the two for a while, marveling at the wonderful sight. It was so adorable. A reminded that life goes on, that the plague hadn’t affected this little family one bit. We didn’t hear what had just entered the barn until it was almost upon us. As we watched the mother and baby, the mare’s head shot up and she snorted nervously. At the same time, we heard the low growls, several of them, coming from the direction of the door we’d just come in not five minutes ago. “Oh, crud,” Risa said as she turned. The hairs on the back of my neck rose as they did every time I heard those growls when I wasn’t expecting them. “Quick, switch off your flashlight,” I whispered. “Maybe it’ll help.” I switched mine off as I said it, and then ducked and ran softly on the hay-covered floor to the far end of the huge barn. Risa followed me, making hardly any sound. We tiptoed along the side of the stalls and tried to make ourselves as small as possible. After

we got to the last of the doors, we crouched there in the darkness. I was unwilling to go inside a stall to hide; I didn’t want to be caught in one, with no way out. The growling became intermittent, and I thought I could make out at least three different voices. So, at least three zombies now shared this barn with Risa and me, and the mare and her foal. Somehow, I didn’t think the horses had much to worry about. In the five-plus years since the epidemic began, scientists had been studying the problem and testing different theories. In the process, they had discovered a few interesting facts about the people infected by the plague. The zombies. First of all, they didn’t seem to be attracted to animals. Lucky for us people, they seemed to only want to taste us. Great, huh? Second. They seemed to have very poor vision. Guess that might have had something to do with the way their eyes quickly went milky, as if they had cataracts. Gross. Anyway, they seemed to hunt by smell mostly, and also used their sense of hearing to find their prey. Speaking of prey, we were it. That’s right, our own people, who had been ravished and zombie-fied by this terrible plague, turned back on us and hunted the humans who had yet to be infected. Smell. Sounds. These things were on our minds as we huddled there in the dark in the corner of that strange barn. We knew the zombies acted mostly on instinct; they weren’t too smart. But then again, they weren’t too dumb, either. We’d seem zombies duck shots fired at them, and think things through in their seemingly insatiable quest for human flesh. They would attack strategically, looking for any weakness. If we were barricaded in the van, locking the doors on one side, they’d come around to the other side of a car to try the windows there. Luckily, the barn we were in was full of smells other than ourselves. The big pile of horse manure in the corner, for instance. We had no choice but to try to find a way out of our predicament, while making as little noise as possible. The three zombies we knew of were growling and shuffling around toward the front of the barn again, while we crouched in the back. I began searching for any back door or window we could use as an escape route, and Risa, seeing what I was doing, began looking with me. We must have been about 8 feet apart, at the back wall of the barn, when the zombie we didn’t know was there jumped down from the loft and onto … me. “AHHHHH!!!!!!” I yelled, startled, as I tumbled to the ground. Luckily, the zombie had fallen more than ten feet, so when it landed on me, it rolled off to the side and was momentarily stunned. I quickly scrambled to my feet and unholstered my shotgun, bringing it forward and leveling it at the figure on the ground. Risa reacted quickly as well, bringing her the .33 up and training it on the creature. One thing we had learned fast in the last five years was not to hesitate. So I walked up to the figure that was starting to rise, and I fired at its head, the muzzle of my sawed off not a foot away. It quickly dropped to the ground and was still, but the shot, that had been deafening in the closed area, had alerted the other zombies to our presence. We both looked up toward the barn door and heard the low growling become even more menacing, if that were at all possible. “Oh, to heck with this,” I mumbled, and turning behind me, I shot out the nearest wooden board in the wall of the barn. With Risa covering me, I kicked out a hole large enough so we could get through. I scrambled through the 2-by-3-foot hole I’d made, and Risa emerged after me, with a zombie hot on her heels. The thing actually stuck its head through the hole, and stretched an arm out too, reaching. Big mistake. Huge. Quickly holstering my shotgun, I brought my bowie knife up and then down, slashing the thing trying to eat us. The sharp blade sliced cleanly through its neck, and its head rolled free at Risa’s feet, dripping black blood. Hey, what can I say? I liked to keep my blades razor sharp.

“Oh, gross,” Risa said softly. Laughing, I quickly switched back to my shotgun, reloading it in less than 30 seconds. “We need the men here,” I said, pointing my shotgun to the sky. I let off three rounds, at five second intervals. POP!! POP!! POP!! The shots echoed across the farmyard. We heard the growls stop on the other side of the barn wall, and then resume, sounding angrier than ever. Looking around, I saw a small water tower on stilts, about three stories tall. We could climb the ladder and, if the zombies came, we’d be able to pick them off one by one. We’d be safe up there. Indicating it with a tilt of my head, I holstered my shotgun and we both trotted over to the ladder. “Up you go,” I said, boosting her up. The water tower ladder started about 5 feet off the ground so we had to scramble a bit. The growls had faded away, but I was worried the zombies were going to come around the corner any minute. Boosting the skinny teenager up, I prepared to hoist myself up after her. Then I heard the zombies growls, much closer than before. Without stopping to look around at the direction they were coming from, I jumped and grabbed the third rung and hoisted myself up, my foot catching the bottom rung on the first try. There was nothing like being hunted by zombies to hasten your climb up a ladder, I tell ya. Risa and I clambered up to the ledge on the bottom of the large, barreled, wooden structure; it was 10-12 feet up. We stood on it, we didn’t want to sit and then have our legs dangling off the end out into possible grab territory. We waited. We didn’t have long to wait. It was less than a minute after I started up the ladder that the first zombie shambled into view. It was a female, in an old housecoat that had seen better, non-zombie, days. It walked out into the open, not sure where we were, but definitely smelling us. It was followed by two more zombies, both male, one looked to be an old man and the other a middle aged man. It was almost funny to watch, because the old man zombie appeared to have been a bit crippled by old age before being infected, turned and subsequently infused with zombie strength. So what we were watching was a crooked old zombie that look arthritic, but moving pretty fast and not appearing in pain at all. These three zombies began a zigzag pattern, using their noses to find us. They were about twenty feet away when things got really nasty. And by really nasty I mean that a dozen or more young zombies, of varying ages, came to join the adult zombies in their hunt for us humans. Apparently, this had been a pretty large family. It looked like a grandfather, a great grandfather, a mother, and at least a dozen youths ranging in age from around ten all the way up to early twenties. I suspected the father might have been one of the two I’d killed by the barn, but I wasn’t sure. Trying to count these things was useless, plus in the end, we couldn’t know how big the family had been, how many members there were. Heck, we could try to mentally calculate the whole family only to miss the Uncle Bob zombie or the Auntie Tweedie zombie or something. In this situation you just had to assess the threat as best you could and meet the danger head on as it came to you. Deal with the zombies you knew about, and never let down your guard. “Shoot, where’s my extra ammo?” Risa said, fumbling in her side bag. “I put it in the back pocket, there,” I pointed. I fumbled for my own ammo - we were going to need it. I located the box of cartridges in my side pouch and checked my shotgun. I was ready. “Okay, hold my belt,” I said, and after Risa hooked her arm around the wooden structure and grabbed hold of the back of my belt, I leaned over and shot out the ladder. Good. Now they had no way of climbing up to us, I hoped.

We watched them come, both of us calm, holding our firearms at the ready. We’d been through over five years of this so we were somewhat used to it. This wasn’t even Risa’s first situation of this type. Three other times, we’d been trapped and either holed up or treed like cats and had to pick off zombies one by one to free ourselves. But this was the first time Risa and I had done it alone. I was really counting on her. Glancing sideways I asked, “You okay?” Risa looked at me and nodded her head, a look of calm determination on her face. “Absolutely,” she said, then looked down on the advancing horde. ___ We later learned that Jacob had heard my three shots and had begun jogging through the trees toward our location. He was almost a mile and a half away, and there was underbrush to deal with, but he made pretty good time. He had slung his shotgun over his shoulder and was trotting steadily, zigzagging through the trees, following the sound of the shots. DeAndre had heard the shots, too, but was a bit farther away - over the low hills and south of the water tower. The shots I’d fired sounded faint, but it was closing in on midnight and the night was very quiet and peaceful. The stars were brilliant, and together with the quarter moon, they stood watch as D hiked up through the foothills toward our location. ___ Risa and I stood there, waiting for the zombies to wander closer. My shotgun needed to be fired at close range to knock one out for good. I’d shot from several dozen feet away, and you just got a wide spread. The result was a zombie with a pitted, icky, gross, dripping-with-goo face. No, I would need to wait until they had closed within about 6 feet or less. But that was okay, we were up high. I figured we could pick them off one at a time. Unless by some miracle they decided to work together. I’d heard of this happening sometimes. I hoped it didn’t happen tonight. “Here comes the first one,” Risa said, taking aim. The zombie shambled up to the water tower and looked up, its eyes all milky and its scalp shredded where it had apparently been bitten when it was a human. It looked like it had once been a teenage girl, maybe 16 or 17. It still wore pedal pushers and a flowery sweater. Growling at us, it stretched its arms upward and jumped, trying to catch the ledge we were on. Risa steadied her .33 and shot off a round: *POP* The bullet caught the zombie right in the temple; it dropped heavily to the ground and was still. “Good shot!” I said. And then, “uh, oh,” as three more zombies began jumping for the ledge. POP! I knocked another zombie down. It was taller than the first and had actually been able to slap its fingers to the edge of the wood when it jumped. Now it was slumped against one of the wooden stilts that supported the water tower. It would never jump again. Risa tried to shoot a third zombie, but it was moving around more erratically and it was harder for her to get a bead on it. It took her four shots, but she finally nailed it in the head, and it fell to the ground. The third of the closest zombies just growled and moaned as it looked up at us. I had no pity for the thing. If we were within reach it would not hesitate to attack us. And I did not hesitate. Lowering my shotgun muzzle and sighting down at it, I pulled the trigger and blasted the thing’s face off. It fell backward onto the ground and lay still. I looked up to get an idea of what to expect next, and my eyes found the old man zombie approaching. It moved pretty fast - it probably hadn’t moved that fast when it was alive, for several decades. But now, in its crooked, arthritic, sideways shamble-hop, it was fast. And shrewd as well. Looking up at us and staying back a

ways, it seemed to study us. Its eyes had not gone completely milky yet, and apparently it could see us. It was kind of creepy in a way, almost as if it was actually sentient. “Will you look at that,” I said softly. At the sound of my voice, its gaze focused on me, and it cocked its head. “Whoa!” I said, nearly losing my footing in surprise. The old man zombie seemed to notice this, and then it dropped its eyes down to study the area under our feet. “I really don’t like the looks of that one,” Risa said. “It’s giving me the creeps.” I nodded. I didn’t like the looks of it either. But my attention was drawn to another wave of zombies trying to get at us. I blew three of them away in quick succession and then leaned back to reload. Risa was getting better with her .33, which was good. That gun was not terribly accurate at greater distances, so you had to wait until you had a clear shot at a zombie no more than ten feet away to have a really good chance of hitting it in the head and stopping it. I finished reloading and covered Risa as she also reloaded. Sighting down the muzzle of my shotgun, I picked off two more zombies, then stopped to look up. The grandfather zombie had moved back a bit and was now about a dozen feet away from the base of the water tower. As I watched him, he all of a sudden let out a huge roar that made all the zombies stop all of a sudden. Then it grunted and growled and gestured and OH MY GOD IT WAS COMMUNICATING WITH THE OTHER ZOMBIES. “Oh, this is not good,” I said. “Oh my God. Oh my ever-loving God, what is happening?” Risa said. There were maybe six zombies left, including the old man zombie and, believe it or not, they were in an informal huddle, looking like an amateur football team. Those zombies were concentrating their attention on the old man zombie, and he seemed to somehow be GIVING THEM INSTRUCTIONS. “I don’t believe this,” I said. Looking around us, I saw that we were trapped like treed cats. “Listen, Risa. If this situation starts to go south, I want you to make a break for it, okay?” “I won’t leave you, Alyssa,” Risa said. “I’m not planning on becoming a martyr or anything, but I have a bad feeling about this and I ...,” I said. “Alyssa, don’t even think that way. We will come out of this alive and we will find Luke,” Risa said. Looking around again, I once again pointed my shotgun at the sky and let off three rounds about five seconds apart. I nodded to Risa and reloaded again. Risa nudged my arm, and when I looked up she gestured to the zombies. They were breaking apart slowly and something was happening. They seemed to be a bit confused I thought, but then the old man zombie let out another loud roar and then hobble-charged right at us! The other zombies followed him, and all of a sudden we had a small mob of half a dozen zombies rushing at our water tower. Risa and I could only watch as they came. Our guns pointed down, we wondered what was going on. This was not a good scenario at all. When dealing with zombies, I had always preferred to be on the side making the active decisions and controlling the game. Now they were calling the shots, executing some bizarre strategy from their zombie playbook. We fired as they ran toward us. POP! POP!! POPPOPPOP!! Two of the zombies fell to the ground, but four others just kept charging, in fact, they ran right under our

ledge. A split-second later we felt the water tower shudder and lean slightly before righting itself again. The zombies had hit the stilts holding us up. I couldn’t believe it. They had launched a coordinated attack and were trying to knock the water tower over to get at us. “How on earth…?” I said. I didn’t have time to finish my sentence. They were still directly under us, pushing at the stilts in an effort to finish the job. We teetered as the zombies below us pushed at the stilts. The water tower swung back and forth several times as we hung on to the wooden planks. Then for a few seconds, it stopped moving to the side and I thought perhaps the zombies had given up. But apparently they had just stepped back to gather their strength for another push, because all of a sudden the movement started again and it was worse than before. We hung on tightly to anything we could grab, but it was no use. “Oh! OH!!” Risa said, as the water tower leaned alarmingly to the side. “We’re going to have to jump! Come on!” I said, as the thing began to topple over Book Description: The year is 2017, and the Black Plague infection has swept across most of the United States, leaving death and chaos in its wake. Martial law is the rule rather than the exception, with outbreaks cropping up when they're least expected. Alyssa and her friends must not only battle outbreaks of the disease, but also find themselves pursued by government agents – men and women determined to track them down at any cost. Fleeing north to the fabled Sanctuary, Alyssa, Jacob, DeAndre, Caitlyn, Risa and Luke face disturbing ordeals and terrible tragedy as they encounter unbelievable situations in their struggle to reach safety. Using their skills and wits in their fight to survive against ever worsening odds, they weather hardship, betrayal, and the everpresent specter of death as they flee north, all the while vowing to protect one another – and most of all their precious 5-year-old Luke, from a world gone mad. Sanctuary, the second installment in the Mad World series, is a heart-rending adventure of astonishing revelations, tragic discoveries, agonizing separations and devastating losses that test these friends to their limits. With heart-pounding, edge-of-your-seat suspense at every turn, this is a story you will not be able to put down. Find out what happens next. About the Author: Samaire Provost lives in California with her husband and son. Her love of paranormal stories, odd plots, and unique tales as well as the works of Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Susan Cooper, Madeleine L'Engle and Stephen King has deeply influenced her writing. Facebook: Blog: Twitter:

No Bake Pumpkin Pie Roxanne Rhoads For Thanksgiving I make a turkey dinner from scratch including homemade stuffing every year. But when it comes to desserts I usually throw a frozen pie in the over. I’m not much a sweets baker. I’ve also never been a fan of pumpkin pie. Then one year my son’s girlfriend made a no bake pumpkin pie with pudding. Everyone loved it (including me) and it became an instant must have for Thanksgiving and Christmas. This year my son and she are no longer together. Which means no pie! The horror. So I caved and texted her to find out how she made it. Thank goodness it’s super easy. All you need is vanilla instant pudding, canned pumpkin and a premade graham cracker crust. Serves: 6 or more Ingredients 1 6 oz. package instant vanilla pudding mix 1 cup milk 1 16 ounce can pumpkin 1 tsp. ground cinnamon 1 tsp. vanilla extract 1 pre-made graham cracker crust Cool Whip or other whipped topping

Preparation Mix pudding, milk, pumpkin, cinnamon and vanilla together in a large mixing bowl. Blend well then pour into graham cracker crust. Chill for at least an hour or two. Top with Cool Whip and serve.

No Reservations Feature Relax—everything went exactly as you planned, didn’t it?” Alicia’s best friend, Selene, spoke around pouted lips as she painted her mouth a violent shade of red in the gallery’s powder room. “Yeah.” Alicia stared into the mirror. There should have been a big grin on her face. Hell, she should feel happy, confident. Smug, even. She’d gotten what she wanted: a night with Travis to settle all the old regrets from years ago. And she’d enjoyed it, enjoyed him, and gotten the tickets to the exhibit. She’d triumphed and even rubbed it in a little—he’d missed his flight and was stuck with the hotel bill. It should feel good, finally getting back at him for embarrassing her in college. She should be laughing. Instead, she felt like she’d swallowed something hard and cold. “Well, buck up, chickie. We’re here, rubbing shoulders and making contacts. Travis never knew what hit him, and he’s probably still trying to decide if he’ll ever recover.” Selene glanced over at her and grinned. “Right.” Alicia flicked her hair over her shoulder and bared her teeth at the mirror. The problem was she wasn’t sure she’d recover. The sex had been incredible. She licked her lips, her mouth suddenly dry as she thought yet again about Travis’s hard body and the way he’d taken control in bed. That hadn’t been part of the plan, but it had been her favorite part of the night. She shivered. It was a damn good thing she’d woken first, taken the Wyeth tickets and run. Otherwise she might have stayed, and that was not something she was about to consider. Travis was in sales, for God’s sake. She’d already gotten rid of one cutthroat asshole. She didn’t need to get involved with another. What she’d found attractive in Travis at State was the same thing that had drawn her to her ex-husband Richard: an aggressive competitiveness that at first seemed so sexy. It had been a disaster in a marriage. Sleeping and screwing with Travis’s plans was a sort of payback to all the guy players out there, every one of them just like her sleazy ex. She’d gone for it, and she’d won. “C’mon. You look awesome, and I—” Selene blew a kiss at the mirror, “—am ravishing, of course. Let’s go.” She led the way out of the powder room and Alicia followed. The hallway quickly branched into the first gallery room, where people mingled and took in the beauty of a varied collection Andrew Wyeth’s best, and last, works. Alicia wandered toward the watercolor collection along the back wall. Despite weeks of coveting the contacts the exhibit, and events like it, might bring her private charter business, the idea of making polite conversation left her repressing a sigh. Selene walked with her for a moment but then peeled off to chat with a small group of men hovering near an appetizer station. She had a wicked look in her eye. Alicia shook her head and grinned as she silently wished the single men in the group luck. Against the brick red of the backdrop wall, the first watercolor landscape’s pale colors caught Alicia’s attention but didn’t hold her interest for long. She walked on to study the next and then the next until she found the first portrait on display. Wyeth, the “Painter of the People,” had always been one of her favorite artists and the reason the exhibit had snagged her interest. Planning a way to turn her love of art into a way to bolster her business was a bonus. She would have come to the exhibit anyway if the place hadn’t been sold out. How had Travis managed to get her a set of tickets? She shook her head. Why are you thinking of him again? Alicia studied the clean lines of the painting before her. The face of the woman stared back at her. Barely smiling, she still had a lush sensuality that seemed to express contentment, satisfaction, and perhaps sexual completion. “Like I haven’t thought about sex enough,” she muttered to herself.

“And here I’d begun to believe you didn’t think about it enough.” Alicia froze at the deep tones of the voice coming from behind her. Oh, no. It couldn’t be. She glanced over her shoulder and then back at the painting, grimacing at the realization that Travis had followed her to the exhibit. Of course he’d known she’d be here—he’d given her the damn tickets. “Travis. Come to see the exhibit for yourself?” “Not exactly.” He laid a hand on her shoulder, gently, possessively. Her heart pounded in at his touch. “I came to see you. The way I see it is, you still owe me a flight. You skipped out on me last night and now here I am, stuck in Chicago and no trip to Boston on the roster.” She glanced up at him, checked to see if there was any anger in his eyes. His voice sounded like deep velvet plush, and beyond being wickedly sexy, it held the slightest hint of danger. Her nipples peaked inside her silk dress. “Hardly my fault you slept through the flight.” “No? I think it might be. Keeping you under control wore me out.” He glanced at the painting. “And it gave you the same look she has, right there.”

No Reservations Bad Girls Know Book 1 Lilly Cain Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance Publisher: Carina Press ASIN: B008O53RD0 Number of pages: 44 Word Count: 15,000 Amazon Carina Press Book Description: Travis Morgan is thrilled to encounter the one woman who's never failed to get his blood pumping. Seeing Alicia Davis again brings it all back: their fierce academic rivalry, and the fact that he never followed through on his erotic fantasies about her. Alicia can't resist Travis's smoldering sensuality--or the opportunity to finally bed the man who starred in so many of her lustful daydreams in college. Unable to avoid the temptation to best Travis one more time, Alicia plans to submit to one night of pure pleasure and then leave Travis empty-handed and craving more. When Travis wakes up and realizes Alicia's played him, the gloves are off, and the game heats up as they each try to emerge on top--by whatever means necessary...

Taylor Street Books

Hex and the Single Witch Reviews Review—Nomi’s Paranormal Palace If you enjoy ALL things paranormal with an erotic twist, then this is definitely the read for you! It has a darker side to the Paranormal world, but still has plenty of humour and mystery thrown in to keep you wanting more. Roxanne Rhoads has written an amazing book where we have witches, vampires, werewolves and humans trying to work and live together in the one city which is under a Hex. Anwyn is a witch who works as a Liaison with the P.I.T. (Preternatural Investigation Team) and uses her limited powers to read into crimes and people to determine what happens at crime scenes. She has come from a family of witches and her father was an investigator himself, so it was going to be a natural step for her to follow in his footsteps. I connected with Anwyn right from the first page as she seems to be a normal person, who does silly things like we all do! If you woke up from a dream would you be coherent straight away?? I don’t think so! But to have someone constantly changing your ringtone and you hear Right Said Fred’s song “I’m Too Sexy,” you may be a little confused too!! Haha! Anwyn is a witty character, always trying to look at the brighter side of things, but is very professional when it comes to her work. Detective Mike Malone….. mmm… definitely my type of man!! The first time Anwyn described him had me laughing so hard!! Big, sexy as hell, with All American Guy Next Door appeal but he sometimes had the rough personality of a stray dog in heat. All cocky swagger, absolutely no tact. His idea of romance probably consisted of lighting a candle and saying, “Hey baby, wanna get busy?” But Mike Malone is so much more than that! He is often teasing “Annie” (as he calls her) and says very inappropriate things to her, but it is all a front to hide his true feelings. He is so much fun! Galen is a Vampire and Anwyn has been attracted to him from the first time she set eyes on him. I didn’t connect to him as much as I did with Malone because I was expecting a callous, emotionless vampire and he may appear to be that, but he has a softer side to him. He had a traumatic past and it has come back to haunt him, but he is crying too much! I don’t mind a guy who sheds a tear occasionally, but Galen is doing it way too much!

Anwyn hasn’t had a man in her life in a long while, but she appears to have two after her now and can’t help what her feelings do. As we dive into the Investigation, Anwyn dives into some very erotic situations herself. The Sex scenes are sweltering, the plot is fantastic and as the blurb promised - Roxanne has left me wanting more! There is so much unfinished business at the end and I can’t wait to see where Anwyn will go now!

Published at Review—Grave Tells The last in a long line of very powerful witches, Anwyn, unbelievably, can barely cast spells. She does the best she can by serving as the resident Other Liaison in the Preternatural Investigation Team, or PIT as it’s known to everyone. Now, with her limited powers failing her, she must hunt down an Other killer before any more women die. If you like your suspense mixed with liberal humor and plenty of sexual tension I would definitely recommend Hex and the Single Witch. *** This review is SPOILER-FREE! Read on with confidence! *** One look at the book cover and I fully expected this book to be hot. Starting with the very first line… “Vampires strutted their stuff on a runway to Right Said Fred’s “Too Sexy.” I was hooked and could not put this down. Equal parts suspense and sexual tension Hex and the Single Witch will keep you at the edge of your seat. As the female at the center of a preternatural love triangle, Anwyn is torn between dark and beautiful Galen and her human partner, Mike. One is no good for her health, the other no good for her career. That being said, Anwyn can’t seem to fight her attraction to either one of them. She fights her baser instincts while trying to solve a murder. Throughout the story I found myself torn over which one of the men Anwyn should choose. There was a definite chemistry between Anwyn and Mike Malone, but there was an almost obsessive attraction between her and Galen. At any given moment I could be found rooting for one or the other to finally win her heart… or at least make it past second base! I’ve never seen someone with so many options get so little action. The Sex in the City like quality of the romance however had to share the spotlight with the real story, which was the mystery Mike and Anwyn were trying to solve. With twist, turns and the occasional magical wrench thrown in, Rhoads keeps you guessing. Did he really do it? Is he being framed? These are questions that will plague you and keep you turning pages. A great beginning to what promises to be a must follow series. I can’t wait to read book two! Never bother a woman before her first cup of coffee

I managed to hit the green accept button as I further extricated myself from sleep’s firm grasp. Apparently not far enough because instead of saying hello I mumbled something along the lines of “I’m too sexy.” A whole new meaning to the saying “don’t have a cow” Hmm… it would probably be for the better if he wasn’t interested. My grandmother would totally have a goat if she found out I dated a vampire. No really, when Grams got super upset goats appeared. Wouldn’t we all want to have this problem I smiled, grateful someone would check on the fairy, even if the drunken little bitch had been glamouring my man… one of my men. Wow, I sounded more like a slut every time I thought about it. Men. Plural. More than one. If you enjoyed Hex and the Single Witch and enjoy your suspense with a bit of built-in comic relief then don’t miss Spying in High Heels, book one on the High Heels Mystery series by Gemma Halliday is sure to keep you chuckling while trying to figure out who the real culprit is. Mystery, suspense and a blonde somehow bungling her way through a police investigation to get at the truth. A definite can’t miss! Suspense liberally laced with sexual tension, this story will keep you guessing at everything from the true identity of the murderer to what man our sex-deprived witch will choose in the end. Hex and the Single Witch is a recommended read! Review— Deb Sanders No one told me to have a glass of ice water at my side while reading Hex and the Single Witch. By the time I realized how much heat this book generates, I was too engrossed to put it down and too busy turning pages to go to the kitchen. Passion, desire and hot, steamy sex are a big part of this book but there’s so much more. The sign of good Erotica is removing the sex and seeing if you still have a story, otherwise it’s just

porn. Hex and the Single Witch delivers a great story. This paranormal thriller will keep you guessing on a couple of levels and leave you anxiously awaiting the next release. Book One of the Vehicle City Vampires series introduces us to Anwyn Rose, a young witch whose only real power is the ability to read minds with a touch. She’s a detective on the Flint, Michigan’s P.I.T. crew (Preternatural Investigation Team) who uses her special gifts to see the last thoughts of murder victims and thus, identify their killer. She’s also liaison to the “Others”, supernaturals who run the town. When a Vampire serial killer hits Flint and starts draining the blood from young women, Anwyn is called upon to use her gift. The crafty villain blocks her power of “knowing” and she is unable to see his face. It doesn’t stop her from experiencing the women’s deaths, however . . . an intensely orgasmic experience that leaves her horny as hell. Her sexy partner, Mike Malone, would love to take care of her needs and he’s definitely built for the job but she lusts after Galen, a vampire with old world values who doesn’t trust himself not to drain Anwyn during sex. Abstinence is not what she wants. Driven by urgings too strong to ignore, Anwyn discovers someone has put her under a spell. And that’s only the beginning. Navigating a love triangle that grows more complicated by the minute is the least of her worries as she struggles to find the murderous vampire and save Galen from execution. Hex and the Single Witch is an interesting contemporary thriller filled with magick, mystery and mayhem. Ms. Rhoads has done an excellent job of merging sex, romance and suspense in a new world setting while keeping the characters believable. You’re gonna like this book! #comment-545 Book Description Anwyn Rose is descended from a long line of powerful witches yet she can barely cast spells young witchlings have mastered. She has one functioning witch gift, the power of knowing, which she puts to good use as a Detective on Flint’s Preternatural Investigation Team. It’s a new era in Vehicle City, supernaturals are running the town. The P.I.T has their hands full with paranormal crimes. Top priority is a serial killer, who appears to be a vampire, draining young women in the city. Anwyn is on the case with her sexy partner Detective Mike Malone. Complicating things is her relationship Galen, a vampire who looks more guilty than innocent, although Anwyn trusts her instincts even if her power is on the fritz. Mysterious spells, compromising situations, and a possible demon on the loose make it hard to focus on the case, but Anwyn has to make things right before the human police execute the wrong vampire. Hex and the Single Witch contains magick, a little bit of mystery, a lot of supernatural mayhem, and a sexy love triangle that will leave you wanting more. Amazon Kindle Smashwords Barnes and Noble Print

Edge of Oblivion Character Interview and Excerpt CHARACTER INTERVIEW – MORGAN MONTGOMERY An Ikati shape-shifter able to turn to vapor or panther and also having the very powerful gift of suggestion, Morgan’s rebellious nature has gotten her into trouble on more than one occasion. Today we chat about food, vacations and shoes.= Q: What would most embarrass you? A: (Laughing) I’m way more easily pissed off than embarrassed, so I don’t know. Maybe if I had to sing in public. The thought of doing Karaoke makes me queasy. Q: What five words best describe you? A: Passionate. Tough. Hot-tempered. Complicated. Flawed. Q: What do you loathe? A: (Her face darkens at this question.) Rules. All kinds of rules. For me, a rule is always made to be broken. Q: What do you love? A: (Smiling now.) Well…I’m fond of a certain assassin named Alexander. Apart from him, I love moonlight and summer storms and shoes. God, I love shoes. Shoes are my kryptonite; I will literally become weak-kneed at the sight of a pair of Louboutin’s. Q: What’s your favorite food? A: Since moving to Kadavu…abalone. Xander and I devour them raw right after harvesting them from the volcanic rocks in the shallow water of the bay. Sweeter and more tender than oysters, they’re divine. My second favorite food is caviar, but I haven’t had that in a while! There’s only one main grocery store on this island! Q: If you could vacation anywhere in the world, where would it be? A: Here! Kadavu is the fourth-largest island in the Fiji island chain, and it’s got to be the single most beautiful place on earth. Crystal waters, pristine rainforest, untouched beaches…I hope I’ll never have to leave this place. Q: Driving or flying? A: I’m a creature of the earth, darling. Driving, for sure. (Smirks.) Running is even better, especially in panther form.

Short Excerpt “Come,” barked Leander from behind the closed door. Matthew pushed it open. Not satisfied to merely enter the room with her trailing behind, he turned, grasped her by the arm, dragged her over the threshold, then released her abruptly, as if he’d been burned by touching her. So of course she fell. Of course she did. Caught on one of the heels of her shoes, the hem of her dress tangled beneath her feet. The delicate fabric gave way with a soft ripping noise and she pitched forward, unable to throw her arms out for balance because they were cuffed tight behind her back. She fell to her knees on the cold marble floor with a bone-crunching jolt that startled a pained gasp from her lips, but just before she fell flat on her face, something stopped her. A pair of hands. Strong and warm at her shoulders. She was caught and steadied, pushed gently back to her knees where she rocked, finding her balance. Then she lifted her head and looked up— —into a pair of eyes, brilliant amber rimmed in kohl, that stared out from a sun-darkened face of such cold, savage beauty it sent a thrill of pure fear humming along every nerve. Adrenaline lashed through her body, primitive and chemical, and abruptly awoke the animal inside that bristled and hissed and screamed danger! at the top of its lungs. He was huge—tall and thickly muscled, far larger than any of her lithe, sinewy kin—and had shoulders so wide she crouched in a pool of thrown shadows at his feet. His black hair, tipped on his wide forehead to a widow’s peak, was cropped close to his head. His clothes were black as well, simple and form-fitting, made for ease of movement. On his back was a pair of crossed swords, sheathed in leather scabbards. On his belt and boots were more weapons, gleaming wicked in the light. But all this paled in comparison to the more imminent threat of his eerie, amber eyes. They fixed on hers, unblinking, unfeeling, and she realized with another jolt that this man staring back at her in absolute stillness with that beautiful face and those scorching, fire-lit eyes wasn’t anything she’d ever seen before. He was alive, his body was alive, but behind that mask of perfection, there wasn’t a shred of humanity or mercy or kindness or feeling. There was nothing. He was dead.

Soul dead. He was the most terrifying thing she’d ever seen. “Xander,” said a voice from her right. Leander’s, she supposed, aware on a molecular level of her thundering heart, her frozen muscles, the stranger’s gaze that had dropped to the pulse beating wildly in the hollow of her neck. His nostrils flared with an inhalation, and for one wild, horrified moment, she thought he might lean down and tear out her throat with his teeth.

Visit Ann Gimpel But he didn’t. He only lifted that piercing gaze back to hers and, in a motion of fluid, predatory grace,

drew her to her feet. He released her and stepped back, never blinking, his attention never wavering, those pierchttp:// /

ing dead eyes never leaving her face.

“Xander,” Leander said again. “This is Morgan. Your flight for Rome leaves at one o’clock.” Edge of Oblivion Night Prowler Novels, Book Two J.T. Geissinger Genre: Paranormal Romance Publisher: Montlake Romance ISBN: 1612184197 ASIN: B007SX0246 Number of pages: 384 Word Count: 98,000

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Amazon Book Description: Morgan Montgomery is waiting to die. Branded a traitor by her tribe, the Ikati shape-shifter has no hope for mercy—until Jenna, the Ikati’s newly crowned queen and Morgan’s former ally, offers one last chance for redemption. Morgan must infiltrate the Rome headquarters of the Expurgari, the Ikati’s ancient enemy, to destroy them once and for all. The beautiful renegade has just a fortnight to complete her mission or forfeit her life. Because she does not travel alone… Xander Luna is a trained assassin and the Ikati’s most feared enforcer, famed for his swift brutality and stony Transforheart. Fiercely loyal, he is prepared to hate the traitor under his watch—until they come face to face. For Morgan Montgomery arouses something unexpected inside of him, something that threatens everything hemation believes in and the fate of the tribe itself: a love as powerful and passionate as it is forbidden. Sensual, thrilling, and action-packed, Edge of Oblivion will enthrall readers with nailbiting suspense and heart-pounding passion. Series

Paranormal Encounter With Piper An angel in my bedroom. No shit. Really, I think everyone should have a guardian angel. I have mine. And I’ll never forget the day when he came to say Hi. It’s November, fall in full bloom. The colored months always make me a little sentimental. Thinking about the year, my goals, my achievements, my failings… 2012 was extraordinary. I knew it would be, even before it started. Felt it in the upper left corner of my gut – the part responsible for my intuition. ;-) So I’m happy to say, there weren’t many failings, or none that I’d remember. But I had some very great moments. First off, I finished my debut novel Her Game, His Rules. On February 14th, I got a wonderful Valentine’s present: An offer of a contract. Black Opal Books loved my story and wanted to publish it. Between that and the release date in September, something else happened, which I’d dreamed of for over 25 years and never thought I’d ever be able to do it. I touched a dolphin. On a vacation with my family in Tenerife, I got the chance to step into a pool with two of those fascinating animals. And best of all, I got to kiss them, cuddle and make a little contact. That moment almost topped everything else in my life. Almost… But there was one more thing. And now we’re going to cross the borders between reality and something that feels like reality, but many call it fiction. I wouldn’t. Because I knew it was real when it happened to me. Several years ago, I had a cat. His name was James. One early morning, after my boyfriend had left for work and I turned over in bed to get another couple hours of sleep before I had to get up too, I felt Jamie jump up on my bed and settle next to my legs. Nothing unusual, so I didn’t bother, even when he crawled up along my leg to lie right beside me on the pillow. I fell asleep again, then woke next with the alarm going off. I rolled over, climbed out, dressed, and looked for the cat. He wasn’t in my bed any longer, or in the room for that matter. Okay, he probably already trotted to the kitchen, waiting for his breakfast. I went to the door…and stopped dead. The door was closed. Of course it would be. My boyfriend always closed it when he left. But damn, how did the cat get in and out? It was weird, but didn’t really trouble me. Maybe I dreamed it all? Yeah, it is possible. Except it happened several mornings in a row after that. Always right after my boyfriend left and I was about to fall asleep again. Do you know that kind of half-sleep-half-wake moment when you become aware of everything around you, but seem to be held by an invisible force, unable to react? It’s the time where you drift over, but aren’t fully there yet. And when the cat kept coming in the morning even though the door was closed, I started to dread that moment. Because I knew something was off. Very off. Especially, when the cat’s visits started with the sounds of footsteps now. Very human footsteps, when no one was home. I told my boyfriend about it, but he shrugged it off. “You’ve been dreaming,” was all he’d said. I told my friend. She was intrigued. “Really? How cool is that?” Yeah, right. It was cool, if it hadn’t happened to me. In fact, it scared the shit out of me. Finally, I called my mom and told her on the phone. She is—like me—a little perceptive of other things. Know what she said? “Don’t be afraid, honey. Maybe there’s just someone wanting to get your attention.” Fantastic! My attention? He had all of it now.

She also gave me the advice not to dread the moment when he would come back, but just be alert and observant. Seriously? Be observant when I heard footsteps, noticed how the door opened and closed silently, felt the mattress sink under someone’s weight, but couldn’t open my eyes at this moment because sleep was tugging at me? Those few weeks were the scariest in my life. But…they were also the most enthralling. Born with a natural curiosity, I wanted to know what was behind those creepy visits. I started researching the history of the house, but couldn’t find anything that led to a paranormal experience like this. I mean there were no murders, no unresolved deaths, no nothing. I faced a dead end. And a disembodied person that apparently took a shine to me. But I was never one to give up. With a stubbornness that surprised even me, I trained myself to stay conscious in those unreal moments just a few seconds longer each time. I prepared one question which I repeated over and over in my mind every morning as soon as my boyfriend left the house. Who are you? Do you think I ever got the chance to really ask? Well…I did. I was lying with my back to the door - something that was rare for me because I was the most chicken-hearted girl in the world. And seriously, who could blame me with such spooky things happening? However, the footsteps returned, the door opened, and I managed to tilt my head—a little. I forced my eyes open with an incredible amount of willpower. (Really, try it when you’re falling asleep.) I didn’t see much then. Just glimpses of a figure in the breaking morning light. “Who are you?” I don’t know if I said it out loud or just thought I did so. Neither do I know if he answered or if I heard his words only in my mind when he said, “Doesn’t matter.” What I do know is that all my fear disappeared while he walked around the bed to my side. He lowered beside me, I felt him very near. My eyes wouldn’t open again at that point, but it was no longer necessary. He asked in the softest whisper, “What do you want to do?” “I want to fly.” I don’t know where that thought came from. I’m scared of great heights and suffer from vertigo. But in that surreal moment, I just wanted to do that with him. And then the strangest thing happened. I was absolutely aware that I was still lying in my bed, on my back, with the duvet draped over my body. But at the same time, I felt him shove his arms underneath me, lift me off and take to the sky. Two remarkable sensations at the same time. Weird, you think? Tell me about it. But even with my head definitely resting on the pillow, I felt the cool wind brushing against my cheek as he flew with me somewhere…high… And this guy had wings. Huge. White. Soft. There were so many questions in my heart then, but none that I would get out. Except one. “Why are you coming to me?” I know he’s by my side ever since. I greet him every morning, talk to him when I’m alone and feel his presence. And all this just because of his most simple answer. “Because I like being with you.” His visits stopped when my boyfriend changed his job and didn’t have to leave the house so early in the morning. I missed my winged friend, but it was okay. I knew he was around, and in some moments, when I was alone, he would make himself noticeable with little things. In another very special experience, he even told me his name, but to tell you that story would crack the frame of this article. However, if you’re curious now about my friend like I was then, you may want to settle in with HER GAME, HIS RULES. He was the true inspiration for Julian,

the angel in that book. And now…sleep tight ;-) Piper HER GAME, HIS RULES Piper Shelly Genre: paranormal romance, upper YA Publisher: Black Opal Books ISBN: 978-1937329631 ASIN: B0096SDPD6 Number of pages: 306 Word Count: 103,000 Cover Artist: Jay Sabo with Piper Shelly Book Trailer: Black Opal Books Kindle Amazon Print

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Book Description: She’s seventeen. She’s snarky. She’s trouble… It wasn’t nicking an expressive watch or diamond bracelet that landed Jona Montiniere in the clutches of the police. It was just a darn sweater. After a spectacular, failed escapade, she is forced to return to a mother who spurned her. Jona is furious about the judge’s decision—until she meets her mother’s companion. Gorgeous, provocative, and mysterious, Julian is everything her lonely heart desires. But then he awakens her mother from the dead with a simple touch. Hunting for the truth in a strange new home, Jona unearths broken promises and bitter secrets. Soon she realizes she’ll once again lose someone she loves…unless she gives him a reason to stay. But how the hell do you keep an angel earthbound? About the Author: Did you know that this word scares me more than anything? About… Wherever you go, people want you to tell what a cool life you lead just because you’re an author. But really, there’s nothing special to say about me, except maybe that I write a little more than others normally do. I married my teenage-love, we do our best to raise our ten-year-old to a kind and caring young man, and my cat loves to sleep in my bed, forcing me to bend to the strangest positions at night, just so she can sprawl comfortably on the blanket. I like pizza. And occasionally I talk to angels, but seriously, in these times, who doesn’t…? So all in all, I dare say I’m leading a pretty normal life. Of course it will all change the day my book follows the act of Harry Potter, and I’ll become richer than the Queen. I swear I’ll never again clean my windows myself then. Yeah, one day, ha ha…

Book of the Month—River Road Excerpt River Road The minute hand of the ornate grandfather clock crept like a gator stuck in swamp mud. I’d been watching it for half an hour, nursing a fizzy cocktail from my perch inside the Hotel Monteleone. The plaque on the enormous clock claimed it had been hand- carved of mahogany in 1909, about 130 years after the birth of the undead pirate waiting for me upstairs. They were both quite handsome, but the clock was a lot safer. The infamous Jean Lafitte had expected me at seven. He’d summoned me to his French Quarter hotel suite by courier like I was one of his early nineteenth-century wenches, and I hated to destroy his pirate-king delusions, but the historical undead don’t summon wizards. We summon them. I’d have blown him off if my boss on the Congress of Elders hadn’t ordered me to comply and my cosentinel, Alex, hadn’t claimed a prior engagement. At seven thirty, I abandoned my drink, took a deep breath, and marched through the lobby toward the bank of elevators. On the long dead-man-walking stroll down the carpeted hallway, I imagined all the horrible requests Jean might make. He’d saved my life a few years ago, after Hurricane Katrina sent the city into freefall, and I hadn’t seen him since. I’d been desperate at the time. I might have promised him unfettered access to modern New Orleans in exchange for his assistance. I might have promised him a place to live. I might have promised him things I don’t even remember. In other words, I might be totally screwed. I reached the door of the Eudora Welty Suite and knocked, reflecting that Jean Lafitte probably had no idea who Eudora Welty was, and wouldn’t like her if he did. Ms. Welty had been a modern sort of woman who wouldn’t hop to attention when summoned by a scoundrel. He didn’t answer immediately. I’d made him wait, after all, and Jean lived in a tit- for- tat world. I paused a few breaths and knocked harder. Finally, he flung open the door, waving me inside to a suite plush with tapestries of peach and royal blue, thick carpet that swallowed the narrow heels of my pumps, and a plasma TV he couldn’t possibly know how to operate. What a waste. “You have many assets, Drusilla, but apparently a respect for time is not among them.” Deep, disapproving voice, French accent, broad shoulders encased in a red linen shirt, long dark hair pulled back into a tail, eyes such a cobalt blue they bordered on navy. And technically speaking, dead. He was as sexy as ever.

“Sorry.” I slipped my hand in my skirt pocket, fingering the small pouch of magic-infused herbs I carried at all times. My mojo bag wouldn’t help with my own perverse attraction to the man, but it would keep my empathic abilities in check. If he still had a perverse attraction to me, I didn’t want to feel it. He eased his six-foot-two frame into a sturdy blue chair and slung one long leg over the arm as he gave me a thorough eyeraking, a ghost of a smile on his face. I perched on the edge of the adjacent sofa, easing back against a pair of plump throw pillows, and looked at him expectantly. I hoped what ever he wanted wouldn’t jeopardize my life, my job, or my meager bank account. “You are as lovely as ever, Jolie,” Jean said, trotting out his pet name for me that sounded deceptively intimate and brought back a lot of memories, most of them bad. “I will forgive your tardiness— perhaps you were late because you were selecting clothing that I would like.” His gaze lingered on my legs. “You chose beautifully.” I’d picked a conservative black skirt and simple white blouse with the aim of looking professional for a business meeting, part of my ongoing attempt to prove to the Elders I was a mature wizard worthy of a pay raise. But this was Jean Lafitte, so I should have worn coveralls. I’d forgotten what a letch he could be. “I have a date after our meeting,” I lied. He didn’t need to know said date involved a round carton with the words Blue Bell Ice Cream printed on front. “Why did you want to see me?” There, that hadn’t been so difficult—just a simple request. No drama. No threats. No double- entendre. Straight to business. “Does a man need a reason to see a beautiful woman? Especially one who is indebted to him, and who has made him many promises?” A slow smile spread across his face, drawing my eyes to his full lips and the ragged scar that trailed his jawline. I might be the empath in the room, but he knew very well that, in some undead kind of way, I thought he was hot. I felt my face warming to the shade of a trailer- trash bridesmaid’s dress, one whose color had a name like raging rouge. I’d had a similar reaction when I first met Jean in 2005, two days before a mean hurricane with a sissy name turned her malevolent eye toward the Gulf Coast. I blamed my whole predicament on Katrina, the bitch. Her winds had driven the waters of Lake Pontchartrain into the canals that crisscrossed the city, collapsing levees and filling the low, concave metro area like a gigantic soup bowl. But NBC Nightly News and Anderson Cooper had missed the biggest story of all: how, after the storm, a mob of old gods, historical undead, and other preternatural victims of the scientific age flooded New Orleans. As a wizard, I’d had a ringside seat. Now, three years later, the wizards had finally reached accords with the major preternatural ruling bodies, and the borders were down, as of two days ago. Jean hadn’t wasted any time.

River Road Sentinels of New Orleans, Book 2 Suzanne Johnson Genre: Urban Fantasy Publisher: Tor Books ISBN: 978-0765327802 ASIN: B00842H5VI Number of pages: 336 Word Count: approx. 92,000 Cover Artist: Cliff Nielsen Amazon Barnes & Noble Book Depository Indiebound Book Description: Hurricane Katrina is long gone, but the preternatural storm rages on in New Orleans. New species from the Beyond moved into Louisiana after the hurricane destroyed the borders between worlds, and it falls to wizard sentinel Drusilla Jaco and her partner, Alex Warin, to keep the preternaturals peaceful and the humans unaware. But a war is brewing between two clans of Cajun merpeople in Plaquemines Parish, and down in the swamp, DJ learns, there’s more stirring than angry mermen and the threat of a were-gator. Wizards are dying, and something—or someone—from the Beyond is poisoning the waters of the mighty Mississippi, threatening the humans who live and work along the river. DJ and Alex must figure out what unearthly source is contaminating the water and who—or what—is killing the wizards. Is it a malcontented merman, the naughty nymph, or some other critter altogether? After all, DJ’s undead suitor, the pirate Jean Lafitte, knows his way around a body or two. It’s anything but smooth sailing on the bayou as the Sentinels of New Orleans series continues. About the Author: Suzanne Johnson writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance from Auburn, Alabama, after a career in educational publishing that has spanned five states and six universities. She grew up halfway between the Bear Bryant Museum and Elvis' birthplace and lived in New Orleans for fifteen years, so she has a highly refined sense of the absurd and an ingrained love of SEC football and fried gator on a stick.

Website: Blog: Twitter: FB: Goodreads: show/5046525.Suzanne_Johnson Publisher Page: suzannejohnson

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Author Interview with J.A. Huss Questions from J. A. Huss – I Am Just Junco series How did you come up with the title for your latest book? The avians (aliens) in the series are winged humanoids, so the titles reflect a connection to birds in some way in that the entire story arc is about Junco’s journey into adulthood. All the titles in the I Am Just Junco series come from descriptions of a bird’s life cycle and can be viewed in more than one way. For example, Clutch can mean to hold on to something tightly or it can refer to baby birds in a nest. Both of these apply as Junco is clutching onto her past, yet at the same time she’s about to be changed from a human into an avian being. Fledge can refer to a young bird acquiring the feathers necessary to fly or the act of leaving the nest. Flight, obviously means the bird is able to fly, but it can also mean to run away from something. The fourth book will be titled Range, referring to Junco being out on her own, doing new things and moving forward. Range can also mean the extent of one’s influence, which also applies to this book. The final book will be titled Return. Something is coming home, built that’s still a secret! Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? The message in the Junco series is that no one is perfect, even those who have a destiny as important as Junco’s. She’s so flawed but she knows this, she tries to do her best, but she fails a lot. The take home message might be that it’s OK to fail today because tomorrow you have another chance to do better. You might get knocked down but you can always choose to get back up and try again. Is the book, characters, or any scenes based on a true life experience, someone you know, or events in your own life? Book one, Clutch, has several scenes in a huge series of expansive underground tunnels under the Eastern Plains of Colorado. For the last ten years they’ve been decommissioning military bases all over Colorado and a friend of mine said he was contracted to do some work on one of these bases. This is where I got the tunnels under Colorado idea. He described them to me one night in very vivid detail, of course he was a little inebriated, :) but I was fascinated by his stories and

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knew they’d be part of the series in some way. I’ve always wondered if what he said was true. It’s not that hard to believe when you consider Cheyenne Mountain is not that far away. Is there a genre(s) that you’d like to write that you haven’t tackled yet? My next series will absolutely be paranormal romance. It might have more SF elements to it than most PNR’s, but it will definitely be a romance. If this book is part of a series…what is the next book? Any details you can share? The fourth book is called Range. The third book, Flight, was very sad and Range started to be that way too. In fact, there was too much sadness going on so I decided to change things recently and give Junco a break. I think readers will love this little change because it’s a romantic one. One they’ve probably been waiting for since the first book. :) What book are you reading now? Right now I’m reading a new-adult book Fall From Grace (Mad World #1) by Christine Zolendz. I’m loving it so far. And The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain M. Banks. This is a total space opera, he’s got an almost cult-like following and I started drinking the Kool-aid years ago! Can you share a little of your current work with us? Sure, this is a flashback scene from the fourth Junco book, Range. In real time Junco is literally losing her mind, hallucinating and generally just going insane from all the lies and secrets. Her teammates have just drugged her to calm her down, so she drifts off into a memory… John Hando. They call him Hand for short. God, he’s really beautiful. I say his name over and over in my head as his father Jacob introduces me to the other associates. I try and pay attention, I really do. But that John Hando is so fucking gorgeous I can’t take my eyes off him. He’s staring back at me too and this makes my whole body tingle. I drag my attention away from him and listen to the mission. This is child’s play. “Just tell me who and where. I’ve got it covered.” I take my attention back to Hand as the room erupts into chaos. They are not sure of me, and that’s OK. I’m not quite sure of them either. But this John has me a little closer to the edge of being convinced. His brown eyes alone are deep enough to swim in and they are beckoning to me, they want me to come take a dip. “I’ll take him for backup.” I point over to Hand and everyone stops. “You guys want a fucking

resume? Or what? A demonstration? You just let me know. I got piano lessons tomorrow at 1300 so let’s get this fucking show on the road. The last train leaves at 0115 and I’d like to get some sleep tonight, so I gotta get a move on.” It’s almost impossible for me to stop looking at his face, but I force myself to find Jacob Hando and take a deep breath. “Piano lessons?” Jacob asks. “Yeah, you know, the instrument? I play four days a week and tomorrow I’ve got a lesson at 1300 and I’m not about to miss it over a stupid assassination job. So give me the deets and let’s do this.” They are stunned silent now. “Who are you?” An older man across the room is the one speaking. His hair is pure white but since this whole family is Texican, I suppose it used to be jet black like everyone else’s. “Semaj Prodigy, I fucking told you. Why’d you let me in if you’re not sure of who I am? Am I wasting my time here? Because I could be riding right now. Michael is already pissed off I missed yesterday’s lesson and James is the only reason I got out of it today. So let’s go. Make up your mind or I’m leaving.” “Riding lessons?” Jacob again. “What is it with you and my personal life? Do you have a job for me or not?” In the end they most certainly did have a job for me. I killed seven people that night, with Hand’s help of course, then got lost in his eyes as he took me over to the train station. We never did have any time for sleep but that was OK with me. Him too, I think. I dreamed about him all the way home. It was the best fucking dream I ever had. Who designed the cover of your latest book? James Ledger of out of the UK did all the original digital illustration for Fledge and Flight. He’s a fantastic science fiction illustrator and is working on the fourth cover now. This next one will be a noir cyberpunk throwback with a sexy new Junco on the cover. Do you have any advice for other writers? Write scenes that make you feel something. Chances are if you feel it, the reader will too.

Clutch Book One I Am Just Junco By J.A. Huss BLURB In 2152 the avian race is on Earth looking for something stolen from them decades ago – their genetics. At the center of the search lies the Rural Republic; a small backwards farming country with high hopes of military domination and a penchant for illegal bioengineering. 19 year old Junco Coot is the daughter of the Rural Republic’s ranking commander. She’s the most foul-mouthed, wildly unpredictable and ruthless sniper the Rural Republic has ever trained. But when her father’s death sparks a trip into forbidden places, she triggers events that will change everything she knows to be true. As an elite avian military officer, Tier’s mission is to destroy the bioengineering projects, kill Commander Coot’s daughter, and return home immediately. There’s just one problem. Junco isn’t who she claims to be. With no one to trust, not even herself, Junco must confront the secrets of her past and accept her place in the future, or risk losing herself completely. Book Trailer: Fledge Book Two Junco Coot can’t even remember her trip off Earth; she was too busy being morphed into her new avian body. But reality hits her hard when she wakes up to find her new life is not what she expected. Not even close. Tier is on trial for disobeying his commander’s kill order and only Junco seems to care. In most places the avian coming-of-age Fledge ritual would be nothing more than mass murder, but here in the capital city of Amelia, it’s called growing up. Junco has no choice; either fight to the death to prove her worth or get sent back to Earth in the hands of her enemies. Her new military team is hostile, her body is being taken over by an illicit artificial intelligence, the avian president wants her dead, and her only friend is a ten-year old throwaway boy. On a foreign habitat, in a foreign culture, and surrounded by people she can’t trust or count on, Junco must find a way to save herself and Tier without losing her immortal soul in the process. Book Trailer:

Flight Book 3 Escape from Earth. Check. Morph into an avian body. Check. Survive Fledge and Deliverance, soul intact. Check. Bring her Siblings back to Amelia and restore the avian race? Not so fast, darlin’. There’s a new twist on an old prophecy and this one brings the End of Days. Junco must make a choice, but the choices all confirm her only worth is tied up in killing. Lucan has secrets. Secrets that will make the Stag Camp look like playschool. And the lies are flowing like a mountain river during spring thaw. But he needs Junco to cooperate just a little bit longer or it all falls apart. The Siblings on Earth are waiting for the Seventh to return and pull their clutch together. But Earth has secrets too -- secrets that change everything. Junco has survived against impossible odds, but the cost of survival is higher than she ever imagined. Luck is about to catch up with Junco Coot and her debt must be paid. About the Author: J. A. Huss never took a creative writing class in her life. Some would say it shows. Others might cut her some slack. She did however, get educated and graduated from Colorado State University with a B.S. in Equine Science. She had grand dreams of getting a Ph.D. but while she loves science, she hated academia and settled for a M.S. in Forensic Toxicology from the University of Florida. She went on to write science curriculum for homeschoolers and now runs a successful home business that creates and offers online science unit studies. When she’s not writing science curriculum or fiction, she works as a farm inspector, traveling the Eastern Plains of Colorado in variety of environmentally friendly vehicles that never have four-wheel drive, so when she gets stuck in the mud in said vehicles, she has to beg for assistance from anyone who will help her. She is not bitter about that at all. She’s always packing heat and she is owned by two donkeys, five dogs, more chickens and ducks than she can count, and of course, the real filthy animals, her kids. The I Am Just Junco series was born after falling in love with the ugliest part of Colorado and the Rural Republic is based on the area of the state she currently resides in, minus the mutants, of course.

Interview With Jonathan Lister What inspired you to become an author? I needed a job and figured I have as good a chance at succeeding at writing as anything else – totally kidding. Success as a writer is by no means an easy feat. I think I’ve always been a writer, if that makes sense. Even as a kid I can remember thinking up stories in my head, characters I thought would be cool to see on paper. Writing was also how I passed English class all the way through high school even though I was terrible at grammar. Somehow, when I put words on the page it all seemed to work out. I’m very fortunate to have turned what was once a hobby and passion of mine into a career. Do you have a specific writing style? I think my style has grit to it punctuated by stark strokes of color. Is ‘light noir’ a writing style? That might be mine. I think I might trademark that term, make it a whole big thing. Do you write in different genres? I’ve tackled a few in the past, including journalistic writing and nonfiction, for other publishers and magazines. My master’s degree is in poetics, so I’ve also published through literary journals. If yes which is your favorite genre to write? I love fantasy – urban fantasy specifically – because it’s like open source code for programmers. You have this loosely defined set of rules or myths where you can create your own world and unique twist on the mechanics of that existence. That freedom allows me to create what I hope is some compelling storylines and interesting characters. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? That’s a tough one, because I think each reader could take their own unique message from the book, y’know? Family is very central to the story and the lengths a parent will go to protect their child as well as the rocky process that is growing up. Granted, we’re dealing with werewolves here so the stakes are a bit higher, but the themes are the same.

Each main character in Demos City Blues has a family that’s broken in some fashion. The characters’ struggle to form new bonds, new families, while dealing with a malevolent force corrupting the institutions designed to work for them (police, government, etc) is the axle that turns the wheel. Can you share a little of your current work with us? Here’s an excerpt from chapter six of DEMOS CITY BLUES: Hastings knew he needed to reach down and pry that key from Baird’s dead fingers. He also knew there was no time for fooling around. If Jenny did as told, the cops and an armada of medical personnel would be here in minutes. David’s heart hammered wildly as he knelt down. He picked up the key; Baird’s other hand fell free from the closet doorknob. The body flopped forward with a wet thud. Hastings, sure this would send him mad, tiptoed around the body and blood and looked into the closet. At first, the contents were unremarkable: the doctor’s heavy coat on a hook on the other side of the closet door. Inside held a collection of neatly hung suit jackets and shirts. Pushing aside the clothing led to the real prize – a safe mounted in the wall. There was no dial for a combination, just a key hole. David didn’t have time to ponder its importance. He jammed the key home and turned the lock. It clicked open. David couldn’t tell that there was anything inside the safe until he reached his hands in. His fingers touched something solid in the cavernous dark; almost like a box. Hastings grabbed the object, pulled backward. He wasn’t ready for how heavy the item was – he nearly added to list of Dr. Baird’s injuries by dropping it on the body. It was a rotary telephone: beige, a solid metal bottom, probably from the 1930s. David remembered a phone of this style being in his grandmother’s house on his summers in Maine. He liked to listen to the whirring sound the dial made. This one was in pristine condition. Perhaps the doctor was protecting it as an antique or gift to a colleague. David pried himself free from his nostalgia long enough to sit the phone down on the office desk. He started to leave the office, stopped in the doorway. Maybe it was a ghost of boyhood crawling up from the dormant soil of his past. Maybe Hastings simply wanted a happy memory amidst all this death. He turned back into the office, placed his index finger through a hole in the rotary phone’s dial, and spun. Hastings chose the zero, labeled ‘operator’. He always spun the same one as a boy because it took the longest path coming back around. The mechanical spinning noise was a rush of comfort, a thin, warm ray of a time when childhood trauma couldn’t rise past a scraped knee, a bedtime. David knew four seconds of clear comfort, until the phone began ringing. The bells pealed loudly, clanging against the walls of his chest, the roof of his skull. The sound was an unrelenting yammer. It wouldn’t stop. David was a lump sinking fast. He couldn’t answer, couldn’t move. There wasn’t a phone line connected, no logical reason for

this to be happening. The ringing persisted as if the phone were a dragon and the bells its fire. David wished consumption, to melt in this place like the rest. Then, in the distance, he heard the sirens. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? Well I’m not James Joyce, but I do point-of-view shifts between Leon (the main character) and a third person POV when he’s not in the particular scene. Other than that I think it’s fairly easy reading from a ‘using words I understand’ standpoint. I never understood being overly complicated in writing just for the sake of it. That seems like intellectual rod measuring – no one likes a showoff. If the point is for the reader to understand the story and get something out of it, why not help that process along? Who designed the cover of your latest book? Nicholas Kay, a great artist who’s worked with a ton of industry heavyweights from Pixar to Bioware and Wizards of the Coast. I’m super lucky he even answered my email let alone decided to work with me. The finished product, the cover, is something I’m proud to have as the first thing readers see. He was unbelievable to work with and such a nice guy. I cannot say enough good things about the man, though I may embarrass myself trying.

Short Excerpt Demos City Blues My cab ride home ended with the sight of Brad Morrow tearing ass out of Water Terrace Apartments. He tumbled onto the sidewalk in front of me. If I hadn’t stepped onto the street when I did, the kid would’ve kept on skidding into traffic. The cab driver took the opportunity to speed away without an offer to make change for the fare. I glared after the cab’s bumper, knelt down to check on the curtain rod of a teen. Shauna’s best friend was red in the cheeks and puffy, but otherwise unharmed. “Hi Mr. Gray,” Brad said lifting his auburn head up. “Shauna’s having one of her episodes again. It really wasn’t my fault this time, I swear.” “You’re forgetting something,” I said hoisting him up by a freckled arm. “Shauna’s on her way to being a woman now. The days of you being right are long gone.” “Better hurry in there,” Brad said as he straightened his hooded sweatshirt. “She was barely keeping it together when I had to run. She might tear the whole apartment down this

time.” “Great,” I broke into a run without another word. The two flights of stairs leading up to my apartment blinked past in the longest seconds ever recorded. Prickly bubbles of nervousness careened through my chest as I reached my apartment door. No sound came from within. That isn’t necessarily a bad sign. Shauna could have herself under control and simply be trying to take a nap or braid her hair or kill a rabbit with her bare hands. Stay calm, Leon. She may need you to help her mind come back. Across the open-air hallway, Cyrus Landry poked his head out from his own apartment. He’s holding a phone in one hand and the doorknob in the other. At least the retired detective didn’t think to grab a pistol. “Leon, thank God you’re here,” Cyrus said in a harsh whisper. “The way that boy flew out of your apartment I knew something was wrong. Your girl’s really having a tough time growing into her new self.” “I’ve got this under control,” I said. “Don’t bother calling an ambulance. If shit really does hit the fan, a hospital won’t do her any good.” It’s damn near impossible to get a werewolf in full bestial form to fit into the back of an emergency vehicle. That’s not factoring in all the violence that would most likely ensue leading up to that. Cyrus disappeared back into his apartment, left his door open as I turned to open mine. The tangy flavors of sweat and an angry kind of hunger raked an elbow across my nose as I entered. I prepared myself for anything: to see my daughter unable to bring her human mind back from her bestial self or enraged into a stalking lust where anything that moved was prey. What caught me by surprise was how normal the apartment looked. All the furniture was in one piece, no claw marks were in the walls and Shauna was sitting as calm as a monk in my recliner. She was even reading some gossip magazine. Yet, the telling scents remained in the air. “Where’s Hastings?” Shauna asked looking up from her reading. “Aren’t you supposed to babysit him or something?” “That’s Mister Hastings, babydoll,” I responded with squinted eyes. “Saw Brad downstairs. You want to tell me why he ran out of here like the building was on fire?” “Who? Brad? He probably had to meet his Dad for something. You know Brad, always running away from things.” Shauna gave a nervous laugh, turned a page in her magazine. Outwardly she appeared very much her teenage self, dressed in jeans and a long sleeve t-shirt. Her shirt was hanging a bit loose, and she wasn’t wearing her usual Chuck Taylors. She was going through this size phase – every article of clothing had to be some measure of form fitting. I supposed it was part of a continuing teenaged plan to leave me bald before I turned forty. That gave me an idea. “Stand up,” I said in my deepest, most commanding voice. “Dad, stop being weird,” Shauna said. “I’m comfortable right where I am.”

“Shauna…” “God!” she exclaimed throwing down her magazine. “Fine, I’m getting up okay?” She stood, keeping her arms close to her sides. Shauna didn’t fold her arms in disgust as she usually does when she disagreed with me. “What’s wrong with your shirt?” I asked. “What? It’s my softball t-shirt,” she responded. “The school gave them all to us when we won remember?” That’s right. Shauna’s softball team won a state championship. I was a solid ray of giddy stupid sunshine watching her on the mound, having idle conversations with college scouts pretending not to be college scouts. I actually had to shake my head to jostle my thoughts back into the present. Shauna thought that little comment would be sufficient to allow her escape. Oh, not this time. Dad has gotten wise to his daughter’s ninja tactics. Pride cometh before the werewolf teenager freaks out and eats some human’s baby. Demos City Blues Book Two Demos City Series Jonathan Lister Genre: Urban Fantasy ASIN: B008J7EYDK Number of pages: 232 (approx) Word Count: 83,735 Cover Artist: Nicholas Kay Purchase Links: Amazon Book Description: War is coming to Demos City -- in more ways than one. Leon Gray struggles to balance a new job with helping his daughter Shauna navigate the landmine life of a full werewolf. Further complicating matters, a new Alpha has arrived in Demos, laying claim to the territory as her own -- including Leon. Meanwhile, the political information David Hastings unearthed may reveal a much darker truth than anyone expected. Demos City's corruption has deep roots, older than the bones of the town itself. Can Gray and Hastings keep the city from tearing itself apart long enough to discover the source? Can it wait until Leon sees Shauna's high school play? As the first snow falls, the flakes

may only have bloody footprints to greet them on the earth below. About the Author Jonathan Lister lives in the Philadelphia area and is a full-time writer. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Shippensburg University and a Master of Fine Arts in Writing & Poetics from Naropa University. His work has appeared in outlets of USA Today, The Houston Chronicle, Matter, Square One and Image Magazine among others. He wrote his first two books in 2009 from midnight til 4 a.m. while waiting tables during the daylight hours. DEMOS CITY BLUES is his second urban fantasy novel. Jonathan drinks too much coffee and appreciates your time. Book facebook: Welcome to Demos Good reads: Author Page Author Blog: Demos City

Author Interview Karin Rita Gastreich What inspired you to become an author? I’ve been making up stories ever since I can remember. There was a period in high school when I wanted to become an author, but I decided instead to pursue a career in science. I never regretted that decision – field ecology is a great career! At the same time, I never stopped writing creatively as a way to escape routine and pass the time. It was the novel Eolyn that eventually took me down the path to publishing. I very much wanted to share her story, and as I did, I discovered people really enjoyed the book. So I joined some writers groups, started refining the manuscript, and began knocking on the doors of editors and agents. How did you come up with the title for your latest book? The name Eolyn is derived from Eowyn, a shieldmaiden of Rohan in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series. In my first novel, Eolyn is quite a different character from Eowyn – for one thing, Eolyn abhors warfare and is not particularly good with the sword. She also has no royal blood. But I have always liked the name Eowyn, as well as the character created by Tolkien. In a small way, the choice of the name Eolyn is an effort to pay tribute to both.

Of all the characters you’ve ever written, who is your favorite and why? My favorite character would have to be Mage Corey. As a small boy, Corey survived the massacre of the Clan of East Selen during the War of the Magas. He is cousin to Akmael through the prince’s mother, Briana, and grew up in the royal household, where he studied magic with the wizard Tzeremond. As an adult, Corey abandons Tzeremond’s order and strikes out on his own, putting together a group of traveling performers called the Circle. It is during this period that Eolyn meets him and comes under his wing. Corey is charismatic and clever. If there is some nefarious political plot in the works, you can be almost certain Mage Corey knows all the secrets, holds the strings, and controls the game pieces. He was the one character in Eolyn who never really behaved the way I expected him to. I had originally intended for Mage Corey to be of minor importance to the plot, a portly old fellow, and something of father figure to Eolyn. But as you will see when you read the novel, Mage Corey had other plans… If this book is part of a series…what is the next book? Any details you can share? I am putting the finishing touches a companion novel to Eolyn, called High Maga. This is a darker tale, more entrenched in the terrible realities of war and the malevolent use of magic. The story picks up a few years after the end of the first book. Eolyn, the last of the High Magas, founds a new coven in the isolated province of Moehn. The young girls she trains will, she hopes, revive a millennial tradition of women's magic. Akmael, the new Mage King of Moisehén and Eolyn's erstwhile love, must defend his land against invasion by the Syrnte, whose witch-queen has summoned long-banished creatures of the netherworld to aid her conquest. When the Syrnte army descends upon Moehn, Eolyn's school is burned and her students killed, captured or scattered. Aided by Borten, a loyal knight of the king to whom she is increasingly drawn, and the devious and untrustworthy Mage Corey, Eolyn must escape the occupied province and deliver to Akmael the weapon that might secure his victory. Their collective journey will test the limits of love and endurance, until Eolyn comes to understand -- perhaps too late -- that she also carries the shadow that could unleash Akmael’s doom. High Maga is scheduled for release in early 2014. What book are you reading now? Right now I am reading Mort by Terry Pratchett. I am also beta reading the manuscript for Terri-Lynne DeFino’s new novel Beyond the Gate.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? Everything is challenging about writing. But challenge is fun, and so I enjoy it. In Eolyn, the most challenging part of the novel was the final battle sequence. Fight scenes and battle sequences were still a challenge for High Maga, but I’m not quite as intimidated by them as I used to be. The most difficult part of writing High Maga was sinking into the point of view of its worst villain, Lord Mechnes. Mechnes is a ruthless and violent man, with an insatiable appetite for conquest and self-gratification. It was not fun to be inside his head. Who designed the cover of your latest book? I was very fortunate to work with an excellent small press, Hadley Rille Books. My editor, Eric T. Reynolds, allowed me to participate in all the aspects of cover design, so I was able to have a lot of input in terms of the concept. But the real artwork was done by Jessie Smolover, who also did the cover art for Finder and A Time Never Lived by Terri-Lynne DeFino. Melissa J. Lytton, who has worked with Hadley Rille Books on several titles, including Transcendence by Christopher McKitterick, designed the cover itself. Do you have any advice for other writers? Enjoy the journey of writing. That’s what it’s all about. When you’re not writing what do you do? Do you have any hobbies or guilty pleasures? What counts as “guilty”? There are a lot of things I like to do in my free time. I’m especially fond of being outdoors, and like to hike, bicycle, and camp. I love to travel. I have always enjoyed dancing and in recent years have taken up flamenco dance. On weekends, I like to go to bars with good beer, great company, and fun music.

Excerpt Eolyn Akmael set the jewel on a polished oak table, next to the ceremonial mask he had confiscated from Eolyn when they had brought her to him as a prisoner. The silver web sparkled under the flickering light of the torches, and the folds of her mask seemed to waver with the shadows. After a careful search, Akmael found what he sought: a coppery strand of her hair, glowing with her magic and still bearing traces of her exquisite aroma. With a quiet invocation to Dragon, he wove the hair into the heirloom of his mother, snaking it tightly through the intricate mesh. When he finished a sudden white glow flashed through the medallion, fusing the strand of hair to the web and rendering it indistinguishable from the other threads. Satisfied, Akmael stood and lifted the circle by its silver chain. He drew a breath and began a new incantation, one he

had worked meticulously by integrating the lullaby of his mother with a spell designed to separate the seam of a Maga’s ward. Ehekahtu Elaeom enem, eleaom enem Sepoenem fae Elaeom enem, elaeom enem Renoenem mae Ehukae As he repeated the verse, the stone walls melted around him and soft loam rose to his feet. The web had taken him to a forest, ancient in aspect though illuminated by energies very different from the South Woods. The pale light of the new moon filtered through the canopy. A breeze shifted restless against the trees. He thought he could feel Eolyn’s essence on the wind, but she was nowhere to be seen. Disappointed though not deterred, Akmael lifted the medallion to try again. Just as he spun the web to begin his invocation, a soft rustle in the underbrush detained him. Eolyn appeared a few paces away in the shape of Wolf, her true identity betrayed by the full spectrum of her magnificent aura. Akmael caught his breath and held very still. The Gods must have favored him, for she did not at first detect his scent. Stepping into the clearing, she searched the leaf litter with her snout, her awareness focused on some favored smell emanating from the damp earth. Her coarse gray fur blended into the shadows. The faint moonlight glinted against her black eyes. She continued oblivious to him, until in a sudden shift of attention she paused and looked up. She sniffed at the air, her muscles tensed. Her ears turned in Akmael’s direction. She growled then bolted into the forest. Calling upon the shape of Wolf, Akmael charged after her. As a girl, Eolyn had been a swift runner. As a wolf, she seemed impossible to catch. She hurtled through the bushes, managing with nimble turns a rough terrain unknown to Akmael. Branches caught at his fur and scratched his snout. Tangled roots threatened to trip his paws. More than once she gained enough distance to lose sight of her, yet Akmael kept tight upon her scent and did not give up. His muscles began to burn. His tongue hung limp from his jowls. He panted hot clouds into the air as he pushed his limbs to move faster and faster. Without warning the undergrowth disappeared. Akmael skidded into a small clearing. The she-wolf paced a confused circle in front of him, her whimpers soft and high pitched. A steep wall of rock had cut her flight short. Upon sensing Akmael, she swung around to confront him

and bared her fangs in a vicious snarl. They stalked each other, heads low and tails ominously still, quiet growls and sharp barks building in a tense duet. Eolyn sprang first, striking his shoulders and digging her claws deep into his fur as her teeth sought his neck. Akmael twisted his throat out of her reach, forcing his snout underneath her muzzle, leaving her snapping at his ears instead. Again he ducked his head, barely avoiding the tearing hold of her canines. He had never seen Eolyn so intent on drawing blood. Wedging his paws up through her hold, he pushed against her muzzle and spread his claws over her face. With a sharp yelp, Eolyn stumbled back, breaking their grapple. Recovering her balance, she lunged low, fangs flashing in the moonlight. Just as her jaws snapped shut, Akmael reared up on his hind legs, leaving nothing for her to take hold of. Coming down upon her back, he caught the nape of her neck with his razor sharp teeth and forced her decisively to the ground. Eolyn went very still, though her muscles remained tense. After several moments she tried to shift her position, scooting a few inches along the ground. He tightened his grip with a low growl, sending a clear signal that the strength of his muzzle could break her neck. Again she paused. He felt her pulse against his jowls, rapid and strong. The intensity of their conflict had left her fur warm and damp at the roots. Her rich musk rose about him in waves, saturating his senses to the point of dizziness. His loins tightened with need. Every instinct of Wolf was urging him to claim her right then and there. Was such a thing possible, he wondered. Did the Mages and Magas of old partake in the pleasure of the Gods even when they shape shifted? Eolyn’s muzzle sank between her paws. Her ears twitched and she whimpered quietly. Her pulse slowed. The tension drained out of her haunches and into the midnight earth. Interpreting this as a sign of submission, Akmael loosened his hold and stepped away. In an instant, Eolyn rose to her feet, resumed her human form and kicked him full in the stomach. The force of her strike surprised Akmael. He hit the ground with a yelp, and the shape of Wolf deserted him. His hand went instinctively to where the blow burned against his side. “You have lost nothing of your strength and skill,” he said, “but don’t you think that move was a little unfair?” Eolyn Karin Rita Gastreich Genre: Fantasy Publisher: Hadley Rille Books ISBN: 978-0-9829467-4-9

Number of pages: 325 Word Count: approximately 118,000 Amazon Barnes and Noble Book Description: In a land ravaged by civil war, the Mage King Kedehen initiates a brutal purge of the Magas. Fleeing his wrath, Eolyn, daughter of the last of the Magas and sole heiress to their forbidden tradition, seeks refuge in the South Woods. There she meets the mysterious boy Akmael, and forms a friendship that thrives on shared magic. Destiny leads them down a tortuous path of love, betrayal and war, until one day the Maga Eolyn takes up arms against the new Mage King. Must Eolyn slay the man she loves in order to free herself and her people? The answer lies in the extraordinary magic she commands, and in the hidden power of a Maga’s heart. “Vigorously told deceptions and battle scenes. . . with a romantic thread." – Publishers Weekly About the Author KARIN RITA GASTREICH was born near Kansas City, Missouri. After living and working for ten years as a tropical ecologist in Costa Rica, she recently returned to her home town and is now a Professor of Biology at Avila University. Her past times include camping, hiking, music and flamenco dance. Karin's fantasy novel EOLYN was released by Hadley Rille Books in May, 2011. The companion novel, HIGH MAGA, is scheduled for release in 2013. Karin’s short stories have appeared in Zahir, Adventures for the Average Woman, 69 Flavors of Paranoia, and A Visitor to Sandahl. She is a recipient of the Spring 2011 Andrews Forest Writer’s Residency. Visit her at the blog for Eolyn, http:// and at Heroines of Fantasy, co-authored with Terri-Lynne DeFino and Kim Vandervort

Blog for Eolyn: Blog Heroines of Fantasy: http:// Facebook:!/pages/Eolyn/110814625640244

Darlene's Interview Q: What made you decide to now write a book detailing your experiences working in what many may see as two radically different professions? A: Soon after my career as Darlene began, I discovered I needed to keep notes about the various sessions so that I'd have the details handy in case the clients returned. As time passed, it occurred to me that it might be fun to turn my chronicles into a book. It wasn't until recently that I came to understand the two professions had profound similarities. That's when I felt compelled to actually put pen to paper. Q: In what ways do you think your job as a public school teacher and professional BDSM worker were similar? A: I'm sure it doesn't seem that way initially, but the two jobs are extremely nurturing. Whether I'm helping a student learn to speak English or playing a part in someone's fantasy, I'm the facilitator who is making it possible for a fellow human being to reach his/her goal. Q: Why do you think the first announcement of your book received so much interest? A: My book appeals to people for several reasons. First, readers are intrigued by the two career choices, which seem to come from opposite ends of the spectrum. Second, most people are unfamiliar with and curious about what really goes on inside the "forbidden" world of sex, bondage, and domination. Next, it gives women a way to vicariously live the life they didn't choose. Finally, the book is ultimately about my own empowering journey. Women love comparing notes so to speak. Q: After writing about your life, did you gain any new insight into yourself? A: There was nothing planned about the past twenty years. It was more of a day-to-day existence with no end in sight. Writing about it in hindsight was a clarifying process for me. I realized that the choices I made were out of (psychological) necessity than reckless abandon. I was really just trying to save my own sanity. Q: How did you come up with the title for the book?

A: The verb "playing" has two interpretations. BDSM is really a game that its participants "play." When a client and I decide to do a session, we have to let the desk person know the amount of time and which room we'd like to use. I'll say, "It'll be an hour and we're going to 'play' in the Citadel." The other meaning relates to my name, which isn't really Darlene. She's the character I created when I started working in the dungeons. Once I'm there and dressed, I'm no longer Ms. _____. I'm "playing" the part of Darlene. Q: What advice would you give to people who have been curious about exploring a new sexual side of themselves but haven't done it yet? A: The short answer is, "Go for it!" Okay, not in all cases, but look, if people have even a fleeting thought about trying a new sexual practice, they owe it to themselves to take a minute, look at it, and truly consider the possibilities. I'm not advising folks to rush into anything, but on the other hand, years from now, do you really want to look back and regret the chances you didn't have the nerve to take? Q: Why do you think some people still think of exploring these fantasies as taboo? A: What's considered taboo varies from culture to culture. Let's face it, this country is not the most open-minded when it comes to sexuality, but we're evolving. Adults of all ages and backgrounds visit dungeons -- from doctors to auto mechanics. Q: The book describes how you came to feel empowered by exploring and working in the world of BDSM. What do you think your book has to say in general about woman taking control of their own sexuality? A: Too many women feel (or are made to feel) that their own sexual desires are relatively unimportant. I hope my book will encourage ladies to be more assertive in that respect. Q: What do you think were some of the pros and cons of working as a professional in this industry? A: One of the obvious pros is that my brain now houses a sizeable inventory of fantasies. (Something for every occasion, if you will). The downside is the possibility of becoming jaded. At one point I did feel cynicism creeping in, and thank goodness, was able to turn it around. Q: How do you think you would have reacted if one of your students, school co-workers, or even the PRINCIPAL had shown up for a session at the club where you worked on the weekends? A: If someone who knew Ms. _____ the teacher had come in, I probably would have laughed. Both of us may have been embarrassed at first, but actually, we're in the same boat. Hopefully, we'd agree that the "encounter" never happened.

Q: Is there a message in the book that you want readers to grasp? A: Don't be too quick to judge others. Many people have preconceived ideas about BDSM and/or those who participate in it. Until you know what is really going on and why, you can't begin to understand. Another idea I wanted to get across has to do with childhood abuse. We have to be willing to examine it and do whatever is necessary to deal with the emotional damage in order to be able to recover and lead healthy, meaningful lives. In therapy sessions, psychologists use role-playing to help patients process traumatic experiences. In my case, playing a part in someone else's fantasy turned out to be therapeutic for me. My job provided me with a way to "do" my own therapy. Q: When you're not writing, what do you do? Do you have any hobbies or guilty pleasures? A: I enjoy ballroom and country-western dancing, and I'm thoroughly addicted to crossword puzzles. Q: What's next for Darlene? A: At the present time, I'm writing a second book. I plan to include the more outrageous sessions (over an 18-year period, I did over 5,000), in addition to answering some of the most common questions I've received on my Dear Darlene advice column. Some readers have even suggested adding a few topless photos to show that women over forty can still look fantastic. (Joan Collins looked drop-dead gorgeous in her Playboy spread, remember?) After that, who knows? I'm open to suggestions. Playing Darlene: The True Double Life of a Public School Teacher & Professional Dominatrix By Darlene Genre: Autobiography/Memoir/ Erotica Publisher: Chances Press, LLC ISBN: 978-0988230200 ASIN: B0094JN1R2 Number of pages: 114 Word Count: 23,000 Cover Artist: Geronimo Quitoriano Amazon Book Description:

In this eye-opening true story, one woman recounts the double life she led working in two very different professions…one revered and the other reviled. Darlene spent over twenty years being thought of as a well-mannered teacher in a Southern California public school district, but her colleagues and students would have never imagined that for eighteen of those years she also worked as a professional dominatrix in a dungeon. “ Playing Darlene” lets the reader take a peek into the mysterious lives of professionals in the sex industry and some of the jaw-dropping encounters she had with the thousands of clients whose fantasies she helped come true. With everything from roleplaying a shopaholic wife being spanked by her husband to wrapping up a muscular cross-dressing client in plastic and watching him wiggle, Darlene helped men realize their most secret desires…while she wasn’t grading school papers on her breaks. Darlene's true stories of balancing her two different personas are frequently shocking, at times hilarious, and occasionally touching, but at the heart of the story is a woman on a personal journey not only to reconcile with her past, but also to discover the full potential of her own sexuality. About the Author: Darlene was born in Hollywood, California, and grew up in Pasadena, a quiet suburb near Los Angeles. She received a BA in German from California State University, Los Angeles. For several years she worked in television and film. Credits include General Hospital, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and the female lead in the film Monstrosity in which she played a spacedout punk rocker. She even photo-doubled for Christian Bale in Empire of the Sun and Corey Feldman in Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (when they were 14 and 12 respec- tively). For the past 20 years, she has been a public school teacher in Los Angeles County. She currently lives in the San Fernando Valley, where she can be found indulging in her favorite hobby, ballroom and country-western dancing. Her next book is scheduled to be released in early 2013.

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Create a Waste Free Christmas By Wenona Napolitano Facts About Holiday Waste Between Thanksgiving and New Years Day American household waste increases by more than 25%.-when you add food waste, shopping bags, packaging, wrapping paper, bows and ribbons it all adds up to an additional 1 million tons of waste per week sent to our landfills. (Source EPA and Use Less Stuff) Every year in the U.S. alone the annual trash from gift-wrap and shopping bags totals over 4 million tons. (Use Less Stuff) Are those statistics enough to make you consider a green waste free Christmas? Decorate Green The first thing you’ll want to do to create a waste free Christmas is decorate green with recyclable, reusable items. Skip the stuff that’s just going to be tossed in the trash and use heirloom ornaments and decorations that can be used year after year. If you do invest in new items make sure you buy quality products that will last for years to come. There’s an ongoing debate about Christmas trees. An artificial tree can keep real trees from being cut down but artificial trees are not usually made of earth-friendly materials, but once you buy one it lasts for years- a good one that is taken care of can last decades. I know, I use my mom’s artificial tree that she purchased thirty years ago. Experts are even sometimes divided on whether it is better to buy a fake tree or purchase a real one. My opinion is this- if you already have a fake tree stick with it but if you need a tree opt for a live one. The best choices for live trees are ones that are purchased from local tree farms (organic if possible). These trees are grown to be cut down and sold. The farm will replant trees almost every year to replace the ones cut down the year before. Purchasing from a local tree farm will also support your local community. After Christmas is over have your tree mulched. Many

communities are now providing tree-recycling services during the holidays. This saves all those trees from ended up in a landfill. About 30 million Christmas trees go to the landfill every year according to the Environmental News Network. Wrap It Up When shopping for gifts look for items with little to no packaging. This means less waste for the landfill even less waste to recycle. Once you have purchased your green gifts you are going to need to wrap them up in eco-style. According to The Recycler's Handbook half of all the paper America consumes in a year is used to wrap and decorate gifts. Imagine if every family could just cut their paper consumption in half for the holidays- so much paper and trees could be saved. You can easily cut down on waste by making your own holiday cards, tags, ribbons bows, and gift wrap out of scrap materials, used items or recycled materials. Get the kids involved. Children love craft projects.. Let kids stamp, paint, and decorate plain boxes, bags and paper and transform it into fun holiday wrappings. You can also make use of unique items you have around your home and transform them into fun holiday wrapping paper, such as the comic section of newspapers, colorful pages from magazines, old maps or paper you make yourself. Another great way to cut down on gift wrap waste is by making the present part of the package by wrapping one gift with another gift. Are you giving a blanket as a gift? Put a present inside the blanket- use the blanket as the wrapping. Tie it with a used ribbon, piece of twine or string and you are all set. You can roll up sweaters or other clothing items and stick smaller gifts like socks and underwear inside. Tie gifts up in waste free style using curtain tiebacks, shoelaces or hair ribbons. That way everything is part of the gift. Nothing gets thrown away. If you are handy with a needle and thread you could even make your own waste free, reusable cloth gift bags. Use any fabric you have on hand to create gift bags. Fun holiday prints, old tablecloths, mismatched fabric napkins even old t-shirts or blue jeans would make fabulous reusable fabric gift bags

Recycle and Reuse This holiday season skip all the disposable stuff that could end up in landfill. After all the presents are unwrapped save your ribbons, bows, bags and boxes to use for other special occasions or for next year’s Christmas. I have a huge box I put gift bags, boxes, cards, tags and scraps of wrapping paper in to be used year after year. It goes in the cupboard will all of my other seasonal holiday decorations. The scraps are often used the following year to make homemade Christmas cards (a yearly family tradition). If an item isn’t salvageable- recycle it. Make sure cardboard, paperboard and wrapping paper are all separated into their own piles because they often are sent to different locations for recycling. Be sure to recycle batteries, plastic container, wraps and bottles. Aluminum and glass can also be recycled. To find local recycling locations near you visit

Easy Ideas for a Merry Green Christmas By Wenona Napolitano Are you tired dealing with a Christmas season that is stressful, commercialized and consumeroriented? Have you been trying to live a simpler, greener lifestyle, but you are not sure of how to go about greening the holiday season? This year you can make your Christmas more eco-friendly and meaningful for you and your family. Make Your Own Holiday Magic One way to add more meaning into the holiday season is to slow down and make time for the ones you love. Shop less. Spend more time not money on your loved ones. A great way to make memories that last is to create holiday traditions that you look forward to doing as a family: like making and decorating Christmas cookies, decorating the tree together or wrapping gifts together. Other traditions could be reading Christmas poems and stories, such as

"The Night Before Christmas", as a family. Another way to make holiday magic is to celebrate the true meaning of the holidays by doing something meaningful for someone else: Donate to charity or volunteer at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter for a day. Go through your closets and donate unused, unneeded items to charity. Get the kids involved too, have them find things they no longer need, and donate the items to charitable organizations or local churches that distribute items to the needy. Decorate Green A fake tree can keep real trees from being cut down but artificial trees are not usually made of earth-friendly materials, yet once you buy one it lasts for years. Even experts are divided on whether it is better to buy a fake tree or purchase a real one. My pick is if you already have a fake one stick with it but if you need a tree then opt for a live one. Preferably a real tree that is purchased from a local tree farm (organic if possible) and have your tree mulched afterward. Many communities are now providing tree-recycling services during the holidays. Once you have a tree, light it up with LEDs. They use 90% less energy than regular lights, which means you’ll be green, and you’ll save some green at the same time. They also don't emit as much heat, therefore helping to reduce the risk of fire. LEDs have other benefits as well: one LED light can outlast 60,000 regular incandescent bulbs and last up to twenty years longer than a regular bulb. Another way to decorate green is to purchase decorations of good quality that will be used over and over again for years to come. You can also decorate with vintage ornaments or ones made from recycled and natural objects. How about an old fashioned popcorn string that can be fed to the birds or composted after the holidays? Just make sure to skip the disposable stuff that will only be thrown away. Save your ribbons, bows, bags and boxes and use them again next year. If it can't be saved, recycle it. Greener Gifts You can green up your Christmas shopping habits, too. One way is by purchasing eco-friendly gifts. These could include organic, sustainable, reused,

recycled or fair trade items. Examples include organic bath and body products, natural beeswax or soy candles, or clothing and household linens made from organic cotton, hemp or bamboo. Another way to shop green is to purchase items from nonprofits. Many of them sell great Christmas gifts and donate the proceeds to charity. Like the NWF (National Wildlife Federation) and WWF (World Wildlife Federation) both offer wild animal “adoptions” where you donate money to help an endangered animal and in return you get items like a certificate and stuffed animal-which would be the perfect gift for a child on your list. Give green by giving gifts that are sure to be used. No one ever lets gift cards or gift certificates to someone's favorite store, tickets to a concert, movie passes or cold hard cash go to waste. Shop for unique gifts for the collector on your list. Treasure hunt at local thrift stores, consignment shops or antique stores for one-of-a-kind fabulous finds. Edible gifts are another eco-treat (except the fruitcake). A box of cookies, a cake, crackers and gourmet cheeses or fine chocolates are sure to be enjoyed. A wine lover would enjoy a good bottle of wine. Other options could be jars of do-it-yourself mixes for cookies, cakes, brownies and even soups. Homemade jams, jellies and canned vegetables or fruits are also a good choice and a way to extend your bountiful harvest. A very green gift is one that you know someone really wants or needs. That way, you know it won't sit around unused, be returned or end up in a landfill anytime soon. Other ideas for eco-friendly gifts include multipurpose, practical gifts that are likely to be used over and over again. If you can’t come up with a great green gift idea you can always give the gift of yourself. Make up handmade certificates or coupons for your time or talent that may be needed. Could your best friend use some time by herself? Give her a coupon for a night of babysitting. Does your mom need some help with housecleaning? Would grandpa like a home-cooked meal? Is there a special event your daughter would love to go to with you? How about a night on the town with that special someone? Wrap It Up Once you have the gifts you are going to need to wrap them up green. You can make your own holiday cards, presents and gift wrap out of scrap materials, used items or recycled materials.

Get the kids involved. Children love craft projects, and they’ll feel like they have more input in the holidays beyond asking for what they want from Santa. Let them paint, stamp, and decorate plain boxes, bags and paper and transform it into fun holiday wrappings. Here are some tips for wrapping gifts the green way: Use unique reusable items for wrapping paper, such as the comic section of newspapers, pages from magazines, colorful maps or paper you make yourself. Plain brown or white package paper can be completely transformed with stamps, paint, markers, stickers or anything else you may have laying around the house. Have the kids use finger paint and stamp their little handprints on the paper, which grandparents will love. Make the present part of the package by wrapping a gift with another gift. Are you giving a blanket as a gift? Put another present inside the blanket, and use the blanket as the wrapping. Tie it with a ribbon, and you are all set. Roll up sweaters, and stick items like socks and underwear inside. Tie gifts up with curtain tiebacks, shoelaces or hair ribbons. That way everything gets used, and nothing gets thrown away. If you are handy with a needle and thread you could make reusable cloth gift bags to wrap up your green gifts. If you like the idea of cloth gift bags but can’t stitch to save your life, check out for a nice selection of hand crafted, reusable cloth gift bags. No time to make creative eco-wrappings? Then make sure you at least purchase wrapping paper that is made from recycled paper or tree free materials. offers a cute selection of wrapping paper made from 100% recycled paper and printed with soy based inks. has some snazzy wrapping paper also made from 100% recycled paper and is printed with vegetable based ink. Interested in learning more about greening the holidays? Check out I’m Dreaming of a Green Christmas: Gifts, Decorations, and Recipes that Use Less and Mean More by Anna Getty. It is full of crafts, recipes, gift ideas and so much more to help you have the best, and greenest, Christmas ever. ~Written by Wenona Napolitano, author of The Everything Green Wedding Book. Visit her at or contact her at

ReGift with Class By Wenona Napolitano It happens, we all end up receiving a few less than desirable gifts throughout our lives. Maybe it’s that third crock-pot you received as a wedding gift or the fourth toaster for your house warming or maybe it’s the ten millionth holiday coffee mug that found its way to your stocking but most of us all have a few things tucked away in cupboards or closets that we have never used. With the economy in such a slump and eco-thoughts fully conscious in your mind it is time to rethink the regift. The key to regifting is to do it with style and class. First of all don’t regift to the person who originally gave you the gift or at a social function where that original gift giver may be. If the gift is something unique also don’t regift to someone who is in contact with the original gift giver (you wouldn’t want the gifter to see the gift at the new giftee’s home unless you plan on offering full disclosure). Second, make sure the gift was never used and that it is still in pristine, brand new condition (exceptions are allowed for books, CDs and DVDs that you know someone would really love but they still have to be in good shape). For any appliances or items with multiple parts make sure that all the pieces are there and that the item is still in working condition. You don’t want to give a gift that’s all banged up and missing pieces after being shoved around in your closet, tossed around in the garage or moved from place to place. If it needs batteries put a brand new set in with the gift. Third, rewrap the gift. Do not ever leave the gift in the same torn wrapping paper that you retaped or in the same (now) rumpled gift bag it came in . And make sure you put a new tag on it addressing it specifically to the person the gift is for. This cleans it up and makes you put a little thought into it. A gift should always have a bit of a personal touch to it. Fourth and most importantly, don’t regift just to get rid of something taking up space in your home or so can have a gift to give someone without spending any money. Give the gift to someone who will actually use and/or enjoy the gift. If you know someone needs a toaster or coffee pot then by all means give them the extra appliance that you have in your closet but don’t just give it to someone to get rid of it. There’s a way to really regift with class- personalize the gift. Make the receiver feel special by letting them know the gift is just for them, that you really thought about it. This could be done by adding little custom things. If it’s a scarf or linens add a bit of custom monogramming. Is it

a book? Add a special note in the book for the person who is receiving it. Find some way to add a special touch to the gift so the receiver will feel special. If you really want to unload some of those unused gifts taking up space, participate in a regifting party, also known as a white elephant exchange. You could even hold it on National Regifting Day which is December 20, 2012 this year. Always the third Thursday in December. There are many ways to have a regifting party. One is to have everyone bring one or two unwrapped gifts and place them on a table. Everyone takes a number and the first number called gets to pick the first gift and it goes on from there until everyone gets a chance to choose a gift Here are two other ways to have a Regifting Party : Leftover gifts and anything that’s really unwanted by anyone at the party can always be donated to Goodwill, The Salvation Army, or a local shelter. Someone could love it. To learn more about regifting visit and make sure to check out ReGifting 101 for a crash course in regiving.

Santa for the Holidays- Hire Santa for your Mid-Michigan Christmas Events Santa sightings Want your kids to catch a glimpse of Santa with a sack full of gifts? Basic sightings start at $25 Christmas Eve sightings start at $50 Gift Deliveries Want Santa to deliver a special gift to someone or place presents under your tree? Basic delivery charges start at $50, extra charges apply for travel over 25 miles and for Christmas Eve deliveries Adult Events, Office Parties, Fundraisers Would like to have Santa as a special guest at your holiday office party, fundraiser, or other adult event? Santa can mix and mingle with your guests, pose for photos and add a little holiday spirit to your gathering Prices start at $50 for Santa's jovial presence at your adult event Children's Parties, Boy/Girl Scout Events, Breakfast with Santa, and all other children's holiday events Would you like Santa to visit the kids? Pass out gifts that you provide? Pose for photos? Talk to the children and find out what they'd like for Christmas? Prices start at $50 These prices do not include travel expenses outside a 25 mile radius, gifts, or photography- you provide all gifts that Santa is to deliver or pass out at parties and you provide photography services or ask attendees to bring cameras and Santa will pose with anyone who wishes to have their photo taken with Santa For other pricing and services email

Peppermint Bark By Lisa McGeen 1 lb. dark chocolate (I used 1/2 semisweet and 1/2 bittersweet) 1 lb. white chocolate 6 oz. (1 regular package) candy canes, crushed 1. Melt the dark chocolate over a double boiler until smooth. Spread (with an offset spatula) in an even layer on a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Place in freezer to harden, approximately 30 minutes. 2. Melt the white chocolate over a double boiler until smooth. Spread (with an offset spatula) on top of the dark chocolate layer. Working quickly before the white chocolate sets, sprinkle the crushed candy canes on top and gently press into the chocolate. Refrigerate until complete hard and set, at least 2 hours. 3. Break into pieces and enjoy!

Monkey Bread By Lisa McGeen A few years ago, I decided that my family needed a quick and simple tradition for Christmas Morning Breakfast. We open gifts at our house and then get on the road to celebrate with my in-laws. And let’s be honest kids done want to sit down to a full meal when there are toys to be played with so when I saw how easy this was it quickly became our tradition. Hope you enjoy! 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1 teaspoon cinnamon 2 cans (16.3 oz each) Pillsbury® Grands!® Homestyle refrigerated buttermilk biscuits 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, if desired 1/2 cup raisins, if desired 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar 3/4 cup butter or margarine, melted Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 12-cup fluted tube pan with shortening or cooking spray. In large -storage plastic food bag, mix granulated sugar and cinnamon.  Separate dough into 16 biscuits; cut each into quarters. Shake in bag to coat. Arrange in pan, adding walnuts and raisins among the biscuit pieces.  In small bowl, mix brown sugar and butter; pour over biscuit pieces.  Bake 28 to 32 minutes or until golden brown and no longer doughy in center. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Turn upside down onto serving plate; pull apart to serve. Serve warm. 

We are now accepting submissions for the December issue of Bewitching Book Tours Magazine We would love to see some paranormal/holiday themed short stories and poetry along with the normal articles, interviews and book reviews. December will be the holiday issue and we would love to feature articles and stories featuring any of the winter holidays: Yule (or the solstice), Kwanza, Hanukah and Christmas. If you have holiday or paranormal artwork you would like to display we are open to featuring that as well. For every issue we are acceptTrue tales of paranormal encounters Articles (around 500-1200 words on writing, books, reading, and/or paranormal themes) Book reviews Poetry Artwork Recipes and Crafts Ad space rates are: $40 full page ad $20 half page ad $10 quarter page ad