ISSUE 23 | June 2018
Interview • Stay Connected • Excerpts from Savannah • Review
Mia Mae Lynne
Interview • Stay Connected • Excerpt from In Ruthless Pursuit
Skye Andrews Interview • Stay Connected • Excerpt from I am Terry Walker
June Kramin Interview • Stay Connected • Excerpt from I Got Your Back, Hailey • Review
Maureen O. Betita Interview • Stay Connected • Excerpt from The Changed World • Review
Pamela Fagan Hutchins
Interview • Stay Connected • Excerpt from Bombshell • Review
P.J. MacLayne Interview • Stay Connected • Excerpt from Wolves’ Gambit • Review
Issue 23 | June 2018
Find a summer convention near you and meet your favorite authors.
featureauthor J.C. Michael
Excerpt from Double-Barrel Horror Anthology
Cheryl Yeko Catching up with Cheryl Yeko and her new book coming this summer.
Amy Shannon Back in Uncaged with her new book, The Relic: A Savvy Macavoy Story
promospecials 08 48 4 5 66 76 80 84 88
2018 Summer Spectacular Sale 2018 Promotional Sale
Editor’s Desk Blog Roll Call Uncaged Reviews Fang-Freakin-Tastic Reviews Myra’s Horror Blog Reviews Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews Jen’s Book Reviews
Issue 23 | June 2018 |
editor’s desk Welcome to Issue 23, June 2018 - Uncaged Book Reviews! Our Feature Authors this month we welcome Mia Mae Lynne, Pamela Fagan Hutchins, June Kramin, Paty Jager, Maureen O. Betita, Skye Andrews and P.J. MacLayne!
FangFreakinTastic is also bringing us a feature with author J.C. Michael. It’s been almost 2 years since Uncaged launched, and starting in July, voting for the semi-finals will begin for the Raven Awards. There are more categories and a lot more books to vote for this year, so get ready.
being that Uncaged has read at least one of the author’s books, (can be read right before the feature) and that I ask that the authors share the magazine with their networks. Read about that HERE. Uncaged is supported through advertising, both in the magazine, and on the site. Please see the Advertising tab on the site for more information on how you can advertise in the magazine and support the Uncaged mission to promote authors.
All inquiries: UncagedBooks@gmail.com or Cyrene@UncagedBooks.com So thank you and enjoy the June 2018 issue of Uncaged Book Reviews!
There are 2 special promotional ad sales going on until at least September 30, 2018. With the Raven Awards, the issues and the website will be trafficheavy, so take advantage of these great sales. We have plenty of reviews for you to look over from Uncaged, Fang-Freakin-Tastic, Myra’s Horror Blog, Amy’s Bookshelf and Jen’s Reviews. Thanks to all the affiliates for the wonderful devotion to reading. Authors can now submit a Short Story, and in return, I’ll give space for either a full page ad, or a 1-page Sneak Peek of a book for an approved story. You can read more about that here. Uncaged Feature Authors are now full through November 2018! Most of the authors in this issue are attending authors at the Wild Deadwood Reads convention - Uncaged has been honored to be a sponsor! The Featured Authors that are promoted in Uncaged, is a FREE service to authors. The only requirements
Blog Roll Call Contributors, Advertising Swaps
Follow Uncaged on Facebook
Paranormal loverâ€™s rejoice. Uncaged review contributors.
A blog for horror fans. Uncaged review contributors.
A little bit of everything. Uncaged review contributors.
Help for authors and businesses.
If youâ€™d like your banner here, please email me at UncagedBooks@gmail.com Issue 23 | June 2018 |
summerconventions BookCon June 2 & 3 - New York City, New York BookCon is the event where storytelling and pop culture collide. http://www.thebookcon.com/Home/
Historical Writers of American Conference June 7-10, Providence, Rhode Island HWA is a non-profit organization whose mission is to celebrate, support and connect ALL historical writers: fiction or non-fiction, whether they are writing books or writing for the screen (movies or tv), the stage, magazines, or online blogs. HWA’s focus is on the historical writer - in all genres. If your setting is at least 50 years in the past, it’s considered historical. HWA welcomes traditionally published or self-published authors as well as those aspiring to be published to join as general members. http://www. historicalwritersofamerica.org/
RAGT June 7-9 West Chester, Ohio Overall, the RAGT is a fan-friendly event meant for readers, and open to everyone, readers, authors, and industry alike, in different ratios! However, in the process, the event also raises funds for many local causes. The incredible raffles garner thousands, and each year Lori Foster puts out an anthology with proceeds earmarked for direct donation. Combined, the event and the anthology go to benefit very worthwhile local charities. http://readerauthorgettogether.com/ 6| uncagedbooks.com |
Wild Deadwood Reads June 7 - 9, Deadwood, South Dakota Our multi-author, multi-genre book signing is just one of the exciting events happening June 7-9, 2018. We’ve got a PBR Rodeo right in town, a basket raffle to support a local nonprofit organization, Breakfast With the Authors, a fun evening enjoying libations while listening to authors reading their favorite scenes from their books, and much more. Join us for the Legendary weekend! http://wilddeadwoodreads.com/
Romance Booklovers Convention June 14-16, Kansas City, Missouri Are you an avid lover of steamy romance stories, then the RSJ Book Lovers’ Convention is the place you want to be. We’ll gather at the captivating Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center to enjoy a fun filled 3-day event where authors and readers will share their love for romance and women’s fiction novels. RSJ is a book lovers’ event committed to the magnification of multicultural books and characters. https://rsjconvention. com/
SaSS July 6 & 7, Norfolk, Virgina For romance readers and authors with giveaways, sign- Indie Bookfest ings, activities and panels. https://sassigning.wordpress. August 9 - 12, Orlando, Florida Indie Bookfest celebrates Indie, Hybrid, and Tracom/ ditional Authors and Artists and their freedom of expression. Join some of your favorite Authors for a convention filled with workshops, panels, parties and more! You won’t want to miss the sessions throughout the day, where several panelists will be speaking on a variety of topics relevant to readers, book lovers, and writers. https://indiebookconvention.com/ Romance Writers of America July 18-21, Denver, Colorado The RWA Conference is the place where career-focused romance writers gather to make lasting connections and grow their careers—and so much more. When 2,000 romance writers and industry professionals assemble in All About the Indies one place, the sense of community is undeniable. August 18, Arlington, Virginia https://www.rwa.org/p/cm/ld/fid=2077 All About The Indies 2018 is a multi-author, multigenre event put together to connect readers and authors from all over the nation. http://allabouttheindies. wixsite.com/aai1
Romance Genre Con August 3 & 4, Kansas City, Missouri Whether you are a passionate romance reader or an aspiring writer, you will just swoon when you see our lineup of authors and activities. https://www.mymcpl.
Mississippi Book Festival August 18, State Capital, Mississippi The Mississippi Book Festival, a nonprofit founded by literacy advocates, launched in August 2015 on the State Capitol grounds and continues to draw thousands to its annual “literary lawn party” and book lovers’ celebration. 150+ authors and 40+ panels. http://msbookfestival.com/
Issue 23 | June 2018 |
Summer Spectacular Sale Purchase any Full-size ad two months in a row, get the third month FREE! Purchase any Half-page ad two months in a row, get the third month FREE!
Purchase any ad valued at $40 or more, get a FREE full-size standard ad the following month
Uncaged can design your ad at no extra cost! This sale will run in tandem with the website footer ad promotion. Every full-sized ad purchased, will also receive a rotating ad on the website footer! With the Raven Awards voting starting in July and August, the website is gearing up for very heavy traffic!
This sale will run through September 30, 2018
contemporary | suspense | historical
Mia Mae Lynne
Pamela Fagan June Hutchins Kramin
feature author I’m a writer who is passionate about writing romance. I started writing the Chronicles of Fate series in 2008. Life events happened and the books were put away until 2015 when the first release was published. The series was renamed to “Southern Men Don’t Fall In Love” and the first book was titled “Atlanta’s Most Eligible Bachelor”. I have six releases in English and three releases in Spanish. My son Carlos translated the first book into Spanish and called two of his college friends to edit the books. I wasn’t sure which version of Spanish to release the book in so I have it released in Spanish of the America’s and European Spanish. All three books were released November 4, 2015 which is Carlos’s birthday. Although I’ve never learned to speak Spanish fluently, both of my children do. I believe it is important to have a second language and stressed at an early age that they learn Spanish. I would love to promote my translated books in the Spanish romance genre. I am self-published through Book & Spirit, LLC and release twice a year. The second release date is April 26th which is my youngest son Marcus’ birthday. I may add additional release dates in the future. During the release of my first book, I met my current editor, Lex Hupertz. She designs my cover and edits my books. I could not stress enough the importance of an excellent editor and specifically one that understands your writing style as well as assists you with the development of your work. It makes a difference in a decent book to great reading. Her contact information is www.WNPublishing.org 10 | UncagedBooks.com
and email is Lex.WNPublishing@gmail.com I was delighted when I was contacted by Victoria Forte through Goodreads. She offered her services as an editor/translator for my series. Carlos was well on his way in his career and didn’t have the same time to translate and I really wanted my books available on both languages. She’s translated El Soltero más Codiciado de Atlanta II which is available on Amazon. She’s just finished translating El Soltero más Codiciado de Atlanta III and that is due to be released November 4, 2018. Her contact information is firstname.lastname@example.org My younger son Marcus has been tasked with translating “Fulfilling Katie’s Needs” into Spanish. It’s a shorter book and his career project. I’m anticipating that he will finish translating the book prior to entering law school this fall. The translated version of the book is expected to be released on his birthday April 26, 2019. I’ll also release the translated version of the sequel “The Man Who Needs You.” Victoria will be the editor and translator for that book. Along with writing, I have a major interest in the metaphysical arts so I take classes that interest me such as tarot, astrology, mediumship and any other related studies. I’m an Advance Reiki Trainer as well as psychic medium. I’m also a left-handed March 4th Pisces. All of that balances my analytical side of being a CPA for 20+ years with most of my daytime career in the commercial and defense aerospace industry. I also have a Master’s degree in Government Contract Administration. I live in a two bedroom apartment, write like crazy when the spirit moves me and I’m a plant parent.
Please welcome Mia Mae Lynne Uncaged: Can you tell readers more about the different series you have going? My series is titled “Southern Men Don’t Fall in Love” It is based in metro Atlanta, Georgia. It is about family connections, trials and tribulations, love and loss. It’s also about six degrees of separation. As the series progresses, my readers will see how the characters relate to their families beyond the romance. Immediate families have a major influence on our romantic relationships, which is the reason why I give them a present voice in the romance and don’t solely focus on the couple and their interactions with each other. Uncaged: Why a romance series? How would you rate your books on a romance scale? Clean or Erotica? I delved into a romance series because that was what the spirit brought to me. I’d been playing around with the idea ten years before putting it to life on electronic paper. After I quit my defense aerospace position in 2008, the ideas came back in full force. I took the time to write the stories and have really enjoyed all of the characters. My stories are purposely in the midpoint of the romance
range. I knew that the characters would be getting engaged and married. Sexual descriptions and acts are taboo for a clean romance. I had more to say in the development of the characters and wanted them to have a deeper connection with their audience. Erotica fell out of the range for me because I wasn’t comfortable going too deeply into the sex realm but I did want to show intimacy between the characters. My editor, Lex helps me balance the content and length of the sexual situations so I can stay in the midpoint range. My first book “Atlanta’s Most Eligible Bachelor” doesn’t have any sexual situations and has a few explicit words. The sexual situations progress in the second and third book as it relates to their engagement and marriage. Uncaged: How long is your series and where would you like to see your series in the future? With six books released and a trilogy on the way in the same series, I’d like to release at least fifteen books but who knows. When I move to other books, there will be new characters introduced. If my fan base has an interest in one of them or I get an idea for another story, I’ll add it into the series. Issue 23 | June 2018 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | I would love to see my books as a miniseries or a movie. “Atlanta’s Most Eligible Bachelor” has several scenes around Atlanta and that would be a really good one to see on the big screen. I could see Katie Pennington’s story “Fulfilling Katie’s Needs” and her sequel “The Man Who Needs You” on a Hallmark channel or something similar. Uncaged: What do you have coming up next that you can tell us about? The title of my newest project is named but may be retitled. It is the first book of a three book trilogy in the “Southern Men Don’t Fall in Love” series. Greg Speaks and Maya Dunbar are the leading characters who have been introduced in other books in the series. Greg is best friends with Doug Bader and Maya is Lisa Dunbar Bader’s first cousin. This romance will take a long time to develop and it’s been one of my favorite books in the series to write. Greg has characteristics that I would love to have personally as a leading man in my life and Maya’s strong personality resembles a lot of what I would do or say if I were in her situation. Uncaged: Do you have any advice for new authors? Yes. Write it and publish it. Don’t wait for others to dictate your dream. If traditional publishers aren’t looking at you then self-publish. If ISBN numbers are too expensive then Amazon will give you one. The point is publish it. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Find a really good editor, preferably one that edits in your genre and is up to date with the changes in the publishing world. There are several places that make covers and if you use Createspace, you can create your own cover through their cover creator. Uncaged: Do you read your reviews? What do you take away from them? 12 | UncagedBooks.com
I love reading my reviews. I learn so much from them. I had a few critical reviews in my first book so I made a few changes in latter books based on the constructive criticism. When you are a writer, you live in the world of the characters and give the view as you see or feel through them. The feedback expands my view and sometimes gives me new ideas for future releases. Uncaged: What is one of the nicest things someone has said to you about your books? It was from R. Riley on Amazon “Once I started reading this book, I couldn’t put it down! It had me laughing so much, but the story was beautiful! Can’t wait to read Book 2!” Enjoyment of both humor and romance is the reaction I want to draw from my readers. Uncaged: What is your favorite parts about being an author? I love being involved in the story. When I first started writing, spirit would wake me up between 4:00 and 5:00 a.m. I would not be able to go back to sleep until the conversation was written down. I love sharing the story with people who’ve read the book and getting their reactions to the characters. Uncaged: What do you like to do when you aren’t writing? Where is one of your favorite places on Earth? I like to sit on the sand at the beach. I don’t get to go very often but when I do, I love to hear the crashing waves, feel the wind and the warmth from the sun. Wiggling my toes in the sand, sipping lemonade and watching people play in the water. Savannah, GA and Jacksonville, FL are two of my favorite places to go for a beach vacation. Uncaged: What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting or publishing your books? The challenge in being an author is the marketing. I want to focus on writing but I also need an audience
| MIA MAE LYNNE |
and a following to ensure the success of my books. My books are on Amazon because it is easy for an independent author to enter the Kindle market. I also publish through Createspace to purchase paperback copies for book signings, contests and giveaways.
Enjoy an excerpt from In Ruthless Pursuit
In Ruthless Pursuit Mia Mae Lynne Contemporary Romance
I’m experimenting with book promotion sites. There are several sites that have inexpensive or free submissions. I’ve scheduled marketing around the free book days and have noticed an increase in readership on Kindle Unlimited after the promotions. Thankfully, my son Carlos has assisted with the marketing effort. He designed the website http://bookandspirit.com/ . He also researched marketing and keywords that will help interested readers to find my site. Uncaged: What would you like to say to fans, and where can they follow you? I’d love to hear from you! Please contact me with any questions related to the series. I also encourage you to join my email list and check the websites. I have several titles available on Kindle Unlimited and do offer download dates to receive titles for free on Kindle. I’m also available for book club appearances. Don’t be bashful! If you live far away, we could do video conferencing through the internet.
What’s a man to do when the woman he loves marries someone else?
Carter didn’t want to go to her wedding. He didn’t want to see her walking down the aisle to marry a man that
He wanted her for himself. But married life isn’t everything Terri thought it was going to be, and when her husband fails to keep his vows, Carter is determined to be the one who steps up to take his place. He’ll take a marriage on the rocks with a side of sweet jazz, and that’s only the beginning of what he’s willing to do to get back the woman he let get away in the first place. Can Carter convince Terri that he’s more than the strong shoulder he’s offered her? Will the chemistry between them finally click and lead to love? All’s fair... CHAPTER 11 Carter spent his Wednesday nights pouring out his sorrow for the love that he’d lost over the keyboard at Noel’s House of Jazz. Once a week was enough to release his tension and keep his fingers in shape for his musically talented hands. Issue 23 | June 2018 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | Sometimes his selections were somber and sometimes they were cheery and soulful. Occasionally he took requests. Tonight, he faced his past. There Terri sat, alone with her glass of white wine. He tried not to allow her presence to be a distraction. When it was time for break, he approached Terri. Sadness and distress were in her deep brown oval eyes. Her dark hair was pulled up and her face was puffy as if she’d been crying He took an empty chair next to her. “I didn’t know you were coming. Thanks for being here.” “I had to get away for a while. I didn’t know where else to go,” she said sadly. “Is everything okay?” “No, it’s not. Some white woman keeps calling me and hanging up the phone. I have her number. I asked Ricky about it and he got upset. I don’t know what to do.” As his mother always said, the chickens would come home to roost. He now understood what that expression meant. Ricky was still playing around. Carter didn’t want to be in the middle of their domestic dispute, but he couldn’t leave Terri. Because even though he hated seeing her hurting, the spark in him that held out hope was delighted that maybe, just maybe, this meant he might have a chance to win her after all. He scooted his chair closer to hers, placed his hand confidently, comfortingly on her knee. Held her gaze. Tried to play the part of good friend consoling someone in need, offering the faint hope they both knew wasn’t real but was expected between them. “I’m sure Ricky has an explanation. Probably some old girlfriend is trying to start trouble. Don’t worry about it. I’m here if you need me.” “There’s more. I’ve found lipstick on his clothes, some woman’s earring; he’s working weird hours and, sometimes, when I call him, he rushes me off the phone.” “What’s his explanation?” “The lipstick…he said that he went to see his mother and she kissed him. The earring belonged to some client that rode in his car. Sometimes I 14 | UncagedBooks.com
can’t reach him at all and his explanation is that his battery died on his phone and he forgot to charge it. This isn’t right. Something’s going on.” “My heart hurts for you. I don’t like to see you in despair.” He lightly stroked her back, grabbed a clean linen napkin from the table, and offered it to her. Finally! The heavens opened and answered his prayers. The heaviness in his heart was lifted. This was the beginning of the end of a marriage to a man who didn’t deserve her. His happiness with her was eminent. “I shouldn’t have told you this. You and Ricky are friends.” She sniffled and sipped her drink. She brushed the hair back from her face. He lifted her hand and caressed his thumb on the back of her palm. “You and I are friends too. My door is always open if you need me. I have to finish my set. Will you be here afterwards?” “No,” she squeezed his hand. “I have to go home and settle this. Thanks for listening and being a good friend. I’ll see you soon. I still owe you dinner.” He smirked. “I’ll hold you to that.” He stood up to leave and finished his set. As his music, wound down and he readied himself to leave, Noel motioned for him to sit with her. “Hello, Miss Noel.” “Hello, nephew. Was that her that was here tonight?” “Yes, ma’am.” “I hope you have that situation under control. I don’t want any jealous husbands shooting up my place.” Carter laughed. “No, ma’am. You witnessed it. I only spent five minutes with her.” “But if the opportunity arose, you would spend more time with her,” Noel stated. “Yes, ma’am.” “Creeping with a married woman in a troubled relationship can be dangerous.” “How did you know she was troubled?” Carter asked. “She came here twice without her man. There’s a reason for that. She needs you and she knows that she can’t have you.” He sat back for a moment and thought about Noel’s strong words. He hugged her and thanked her for her motherly advice. He stepped briskly to his car, drove off and wondered what he should do next.
Cheryl Yeko writes as herself, and with her writing partner Char Chaffin as CiCi Cordelia. Uncaged: You were a Feature Author in Uncaged as both yourself, and as your pen name with co-writer Char Chaffin as CiCi Cordelia. How was your experience with Uncaged? As always, Uncaged is a gem to work with. Talented and professional in every regard. Uncaged: You’ve just released two recent books, Loving a Hero and The Substitute Wife, what do you have for us in the near future? CiCi (Char and me) just finished final edits for The Dance Hall Wife, and we couldn’t be happier with the outcome of Frank and Cat’s story. So much fun. Look for it in mid-summer. THE DANCE HALL WIFE: CAT . . . Cat Purdue has come a long way from the days when her father used her as partial payment for a gambling debt to a ruthless man. Reacquiring the saloon Father had lost, and turning it into a successful restaurant, is only the beginning of her drive for success. FRANK . . . Unable to reconcile the new, sophisticated Catherine Purdue from the saloon girl he once dallied with and foolishly spurned, Frank Carter finds himself blocking his growing attraction with sharp words and sarcasm. But when the Carters’ old nemesis escapes prison and comes back to Little Creede for vengeance, Frank’s only thought is to protect Cat, as well as his family. 16 | UncagedBooks.com
A PAIR OF HEARTS . . . Determined to lead separate lives yet bound together by danger and their growing desire, Frank and Cat will leave their mark in the new state of Colorado. Uncaged: Are you planning on attending any conventions or in-person signings this year? In July, I’ll be attending RWA Nationals in Denver, as an Editor for Soul Mate, where I’ll be taking pitch appointments and conducting a Marketplace event, along with my BFF and fellow Soul Mate Editor, Char Chaffin, who just happens to be the other half of CiCi Cordelia. It’s going to be a blast. In August, I’ll be once again attending The Writers Police Academy in Green Bay, Wisconsin. I’m a volunteer for this amazing event and track and assemble donated items into pretty baskets for auction night. It’s a lot of work, but so worth it. Uncaged: Tell us something unique about you. I was born at midnight, in the cusp, and they set me back three minutes, so my birthday falls on the May 19th, instead of the May 20th.
Cheryl Yeko is a multi-published award-winning author and Acquiring Editor with Soul Mate Publishing. She writes Romantic Suspense and Sexy Contemporary. Website: http://www.cherylyeko. com/ Where Love Always Wins She also co-writes Paranormal and Historical Western with fellow Soul Mate Publishing Editor and BFF, Char Chaffin, under the pen-name CiCi Cordelia. Website: https://ccromance.com/ Writing From The Heart
| CHERYL YEKO | The Substitute Wife CiCi Cordelia Historical Western HARRISON . . . Once his fortune in silver mining is secured, Harrison Carter finally sends back home for his fiancée. It’s been four years since he’s seen Jenny. But it’s Retta Pierce, Jenny’s sister, who arrives by stagecoach with young daughter Adeline in tow. When this lovely, soiled dove brings devastating news and a written plea from Jenny to marry and care for Retta and little Addie, what’s a good man to do?
kind of a man would he be if he threw them onto the streets? A real bastard, that’s what. Rounding the bend, Reverend Matias’s church came into view, ending Harrison’s internal conversation. “Let’s just get it done,” he muttered under his breath, tugging on Copper’s reins. Hopping to the ground, he finally met Retta’s blueeyed gaze, reminding him so much of Jenny’s. Which angered him all over again, and for a moment he couldn’t speak as he fought to reel his temper back in. But he was angry with everyone right now. Jenny.
RETTA . . .
This girl and her child.
Fulfilling her dying sister’s request, Retta travels across dangerous territory to marry a man she barely remembers. But the hard miner who meets her at the stagecoach surely isn’t the same one her sister claimed was kind and honorable, a gentleman who’ll embrace her and her daughter as if they were his own. Has she made a mistake she’ll pay for, the rest of her life?
TWO PEOPLE . . . Thrown together in shared sorrow, Harrison and Retta struggle to forge a life in the brand-new state of late-nineteenth-century Colorado. Excerpt Am I really going to marry her? Did he even have a choice? In her letter, Jenny had pleaded with him to wed Retta. She’d called him a good man. An honorable man. A man she could trust to provide for her sister and niece so she could die peacefully, knowing they’d be well cared for. What
Even the damned Reverend for what he was about to do, tying him to a woman not of his choosing. Squaring his shoulders, Harrison walked to her side of the wagon and lifted his arms. “Give me the girl.” The words came out gruffer than he’d intended. Retta lifted her chin in a defiant manner. Her clear blue eyes clouded with suspicion. “Why?” He blinked. Her sharp response wasn’t what he’d expected. Retta’s timidity so far hadn’t been very inspiring, but now it was as if he saw her for the first time. The woman staring down at him appeared ready to do battle. Pink stained her pretty cheeks and her lush full lips pursed in annoyance. Long, pale curls escaped from her bonnet, framing a very appealing, sweet face. His blood heated. And that, too, angered him. Issue 23 | June 2018 |
“We’re getting married.” Harrison didn’t even try to hide his annoyance when he spoke to her. “Now, give me the girl.” For a moment, he thought she might refuse, and almost hoped she would, even if that meant letting Jenny down. But then Retta’s shoulders drooped, transforming her into the meek woman he’d met at the coach station. She nodded and handed down her daughter. A sliver of guilt tamped his anger to a slow boil as he took the sleeping child and tucked her in the crook of one arm, holding his free hand up to help Retta from the wagon. Twenty minutes later, he exited the church a married man. The Reverend hadn’t blinked an eye when Harrison showed up with a stranger to marry, though he must have wondered. But he didn’t so much as ask whose child Harrison held throughout the ceremony, while a tearful bride spoke her vows.
18 | UncagedBooks.com
Don’t miss these titles:
feature author Pamela writes overly long e-mails and the What Doesn’t Kill You romantic mysteries from deep in the heart of Nowheresville, TX and way up in the frozen north of Snowheresville, WY. Pamela is passionate about hiking with her hunky husband and pack of rescue dogs (and an occasional goat and donkey), riding her gigantic horses, experimenting with her Keurig, and traveling in the Bookmobile. Get free exclusives from Pamela at https://www. subscribepage.com/PFHSuperstars, when you sign up for her newsletter. Pamela’s mysteries have won a lot of awards, from the 2017 Silver Falchion for Best Adult Mystery WINNER (Fighting for Anna) to the 2016 and 2015 WINNERS for USA Best Books Fiction: Cross Genre (Hell to Pay, Heaven to Betsy). With downloads of nearly 2,000,000 for the What Doesn’t Kill You series, readers seem to enjoy her smart, sassy female sleuths.
Stay Connected pamelafaganhutchins.com skipjackpublishing.com
20 | UncagedBooks.com
Uncaged welcomes Pamela Fagan Hutchins Uncaged: Can you tell readers more about your What Doesn’t Kill You world of mysteries? Sure! I write series mysteries with kick-ass female amateur sleuths. The novels are romantic, funny, and full of everyday magic. I write in trilogies for each protagonist, then I spin off a character—a friend or family member—and start a new trilogy in the same What Doesn’t Kill You world. All readers’ favorite characters continue, but in supporting roles. Uncaged: Do you write full-time or part-time? Full-time! Uncaged: What do you have coming up next that you can tell us about? With the publication of Knockout (Ava 3) on June 12th, I will have completed my Ava trilogy in the What Doesn’t Kill You World. The book birthday for Searching for Dime Box is August 7th, and it will complete the Michele trilogy, also n the What Doesn’t Kill You world. Right now I am writing a novella, a short story, and three Maggie trilogy novels that will be released in the summer of 2019. Uncaged: You are an attending author at Wild Deadwood Reads this year. What are you looking forward to the most from this convention? Meeting readers who love romantic mysteries and talking books. But there’s so much to look forward to. Meeting authors. Enjoying a getaway in a beautiful,
historic area. It’s going to be a blast!
Uncaged: Do you read your reviews? What do you take away from them?
Uncaged: What do you like to do when you aren’t writing? Where is one of your favorite places on Earth?
I don’t read them, unless my husband tells me I need to. HE reads all of them! I learned early on that the great ones gave me false confidence and the less than great ones gave me false insecurity. My job is to write from my heart. Now, I do read anything readers send to me directly, and I’ve made friends with some of those nice folks, and put them on my “PFH Rock Stars” advance reader teams. Uncaged: What is one of the nicest things someone has said to you about your books? I heard from two sisters who bonded and healed old wounds together reading and talking about my Katie trilogy. They both sent emotional emails telling me how much the books meant to them, and how much they loved them. Uncaged: What is your favorite parts about being an author? What have you found to be the least favorite? I love speaking to book clubs! Skype, Google Hangouts on the Air, or even in person. I also love that because of my books I was invited to host a radio show called Wine, Women & Writing, a part of the Authors on the Air Global Radio Network. I get to fangirl to my favorite authors. It’s a blast, and you can catch my shows here: https://www.authorsontheair.com/radio-shows My least favorite thing is all the things I delegate to my assistant Bobbye (everything but writing and inter-
I love to trail ride my BIG draft cross horse Katniss in the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming with my husband Eric on his even bigger draft cross, Feathers. Usually we have two or three dogs tagging along, too. While we love it in our big old cabin, “Snowheresville,” on the east face of the mountains, we only live there in the summer. We have a lovely place in Texas for the winters, which we call Nowheresville. I hold retreats in both places, and I make them available for readers and writers to hold their own retreats by renting them out on Air BnB, here: https://www.airbnb.com/users/ show/127571827 Uncaged: What is the hardest part of a book to write? What is the easiest? From start to finish, how long does it take to finish a complete book? First draft, hands down, is hardest for me. Second draft is easier, and after that I’m sick of the book and ready to hand it off to my copyeditor. It takes me two days to outline a book, a month to write the first draft, and a month to write the second draft. Then add in a month for beta readers and their feedback, a month for the copyeditor to correct the errors, and a month for proofreaders to find the last few boo boos and my assistant to format and upload it, and I have books on the shelves within six months of writing “Once Upon a Time.” But in the meantime, after I finish the second draft, I’ve Issue 23 | June 2018 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | started another, which I why I can publish three novels and a few shorter works each year. Uncaged: What would you like to say to fans, and where can they follow you? Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you for buying and reading my books. I can’t believe I’m lucky enough to live this life, doing what I do as a profession. It’s a privilege and honor each time you select one of my books and invest your time reading it. You can learn more about the books and me on my website and blog at http://pamelafaganhutchins.com. If you’d like to subscribe to my newsletter, I have lots of fun exclusives, discounts, and freebies, like the What Doesn’t Kill You novella I send as soon as you sign up here: https://www. subscribepage.com/PFHSuperstars
Enjoy an excerpt from Bombshell Bombshell Pamela Fagan Hutchins Romantic Suspense A musical career in the making. A murdered childhood friend. One chance to catch the killer. Ava dreams of building a better life for her daughter through her island pop songs. Her new temp job leads to a once-in-a-lifetime shot at a record deal, but before she can pack her bags for New York, she discovers a dead body outside her office building. Horrified, Ava recognizes the murdered sex worker as her childhood friend. The single mother finds herself torn between pursuing her life’s passion or justice for her 22 | UncagedBooks.com
murdered friend. When another friend is killed, she worries the deaths are connected to a shared trauma that she’s been running from her whole life. After dumping her cop boyfriend, she realizes the pain she keeps locked inside could be sabotaging her shot at lasting love. Before Ava can move on to a bright future in music, she must confront the truth behind her dark past to catch the murderer or she’ll be next on his kill list. Chapter One I’m getting too old for this shit. The Outlook Calendar warns me it’s Monday, June 22, exactly one month away from my thirty-second birthday. I can’t make ends meet as a singer without this crap temp-agency job, still only getting by with my parents’ help and an occasional boost from public assistance. My nearly-toddler’s sperm-donor father is long gone, along with any hope he’ll ever help out financially. For once I agree with my mom: I need a real job, a grown-up job, and those are few and far between on the island of St. Marcos. I open a browser and pull up the St. Marcos Source news site, thinking I’ll scan the classifieds for something better. The lead story stops me: LAND PIRATES WAYLAY TOURISTS IN WEST END RAINFOREST. Not again. How many times do these low-life road thieves have to hijack a carful of day trippers before the Department of Tourism passes out flyers at airport baggage claim? Rule One: no bathing suits except where there’s water. Rule Two: keep your fancy-ass cars on the east end of the island. I click on my horoscope instead of the classifieds, my talon-like nails forcing my fingers flat against the mouse. Before I can process today’s guidance, I hear the unmistakable sound of support-hose-clad thighs rubbing together, feet padding along toward me in closed-toe ballet flats. That’s McKenna. She runs ABC Temps for her parents, even though she’s way overqualified. I want to tell her she’s better without the hose and little-girl shoes, but I don’t. I close my browser. My phone vibrates and I glance
| PAMELA FAGA HUTCHINS | down, quick. It’s a text from Collin, the Santa Fe cop, muscle-bound and too Top Gun cute for his own good: Why aren’t you answering me? Collin is my best friend Katie’s brother. A notorious player whose clothes I seem to rip off every time we’re in the same zip code. He can’t take the hint to let me go. Maybe because we burned up the sheets every weekend for two months, pretending the thing between us was going somewhere. I’d told him then I couldn’t make any promises. He told me he didn’t need any. He should have believed me. I shouldn’t have believed him. Now he thinks he knows me, but he doesn’t. And that’s for the best. Keeping our relationship a secret from Katie is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and if I break up with him now, she’ll never know. A shudder runs through me, a terrifying flashback to three officers killed in the line of duty in the last few weeks. Collin’s safe, but I can’t stand worrying some fool is going to shoot him down. I’m black, and I hate cops killing so many black people for no good reason or not enough of one—but Collin’s life matters, too. Yeah, he’s got serious potential to break my heart in more ways than one. I think what I don’t type: It was a fling. I’m not who you think I am. Get over me. Instead, I run a finger over my ring, a gift from my parents when I turned sixteen, gold inset with chips of ruby. It’s supposed to give me courage. My mom hoped that would be the courage to remain chaste and pure (she’d already missed that boat) and possibly, someday, fulfill her dream that I become a true “bride of Christ” (she was sorely disappointed on that one, too). I don’t know why I still wear it, but I do. I give it a few seconds, but no burst of courage overtakes me, so I ignore Collin’s text, again. Like I have the other four. Honestly, I’ve never understood why people treat receiving messages like they’re obligated to respond immediately. Free will, baby. Or, as I like to call it, RNO: response not obligated. Who am I kidding? Ignoring him is harder than I make it sound. I turn my phone facedown to help me stay strong. I wipe sweat from my brow. It’s stuffy and musty and just plain summer hot. ABC can’t afford
AC. McKenna brushes past me, escorting a woman to the front door. “We don’t keep plants here. Sorry.” The woman is small and Asian and smells fresh, like lemongrass and lavender. She’s wearing a white T-shirt that says GREEN THUMB across the front. “I understand.” She hands McKenna a card. “In case you change your mind.” The door opens and closes. McKenna slips the card into her skirt pocket. She comes back my way, plants herself in front of my desk, her arms crossed over her ample bosom. “Ava girl.” Her calypso accent is thick, and she’s smiling at me like she’s reggae Santa Claus or something. “I sending you to the West End today. Pack up.” St. Marcos is only twenty-six miles long and seven miles across at its widest point. You can drive from the eastern tip all the way to the west coast in less than an hour, and most of us locals live midisland. I’ve lived in the States. I’ve commuted half an hour, even an hour to jobs. But it’s different here. Here, we moan and groan if we have to drive ten minutes. On-island—that’s how we describe the state of being present on St. Marcos, with offisland meaning we’re anywhere but here—the West End is half an hour and a different time zone from here. I chuptz, long and loud, sucking a generous amount of spit through my teeth. I make a show of loading my purse with office supplies. The thought of the drive almost makes me long to return to the cheesy “bar tour” that my fly-bynight manager booked for me last spring—which is how I came to be gigging in New Mexico and reacquainting myself with Collin, after meeting him at Katie’s wedding a few years back. The tour turned out to be an endless series of swingers’ parties. I got a lot of propositions for threesomes, but no recording-studio producer appeared out of the woodwork offering me a deal. I canned the manager and came home. Because, yes, this slice of heaven in the Caribbean is my home and the place of my birth. This haven for the brilliant-green iguana, the churring monIssue 23 | June 2018 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | goose, the bright-winged macaw, and flowers of every color and description. Of rum, endless coconuts, fragrant mangos, and passion fruit. It’s also an inbred cesspool of politricks as usual, dog fighting, domestic abuse, and desperation. A refuge for drunkards, layabouts, and fugitives. I feel a sudden temptation to call the manager and beg him to rebook me, even as a glorified lounge lizard. I won’t, though. The saving grace of being home is that I’m not spending time away from my too-rapidly aging parents and my one-year-old daughter. I have a few on-island gigs lined up this summer, but they’re just the same ole, same ole. Tourists drinking themselves blind on cheap rum while no-count men with more baby mamas than sense make plays for me. McKenna cuts her eyes at me slow, getting the meaning of my chuptz. “Girl, I mean it. And you’re welcome. I hook you up with one of them EDC companies.” I brighten. If she just tells me it’s a job as an assistant to a music producer or even a fashion designer, my day is made, even though I know it won’t be. My phone vibrates with another text. Collin again. I feel a tug at my heart. I could be in love with him if I let myself, but I’m not the love type. I’d thrown my I Ching coins that morning and asked only one question: “Will this man lead to pain?” Well, they gave me my answer, and the coins don’t lie. I’m going to have to talk to him sooner or later, though, since his hint-taking skills are less than optimal. I opt for later. “Thank you.” I blow McKenna a kiss. “What they do, and what I doing for them?” I sling my bag over my shoulder, already moving, my pulse thrumming with renewed hope. The office phone rings. I ignore it, but when no one else picks it up after four rings, McKenna’s stare finally breaks me. I pick it up. “ABC Temps.” A nasally female voice assaults my eardrum. “We’re down from the City for the summer. I must have an assistant. Transfer me to someone who can make this happen ASAP.” Well, la-di-da. “No problem. Right away, ma’am.” 24 | UncagedBooks.com
I switch over to my yank speech style without even thinking about it, dropping my island accent and talking with a stuffed-up nose like a continental, which is one of the nicer things we call people from the fifty United States. It’s like breathing to talk local with locals and to yank with yanks. Like how my friend Katie picks up a slow drawl when her Texas friend Emily comes around. Whatever my outer speak, it’s always just me inside my head, a black woman with a white father who’s spent most of her life repressing her island roots like the good little chameleon she is. I transfer the call to McKenna’s voicemail. McKenna is doing me a solid with this EDC assignment. EDC stands for Economic Development Commission, a business-incentivizing program offered by our local government in cooperation with the Feds. Translation: the US Virgin Islands are allowed to lure in people who have enough money to start a business here. It’s attractive, with generous tax incentives. It comes with a price, though, more than just the assumption propagated from popular media that rich people only move to the islands to engage in criminal activities and scurrilous tax schemes. To gain the benefits, the off-islander must establish full residency (difficult), be subject to our Water and Power Authority (notoriously unreliable and gallingly expensive), and hire local (slim pickings). McKenna, knowing this well, is offering me up to them, because I’m local and NYU educated. Even if it is just a theater degree with a minor in classical studies. Lead roles in community theater productions are good for the ego but don’t fatten the purse, and I haven’t discovered how to make money yet from Greek and Roman mythology. “General office work for a company with it own virtual currency. One that own a lot of other companies.” McKenna says this in a tone of awe. To me that sounds like Greek. “Virtual current, what?” I say it like “wah.” We have a tendency to drop our ending consonants when we talk in local island accents. “Virtual currency. It digital money, using blockchain technology. Fast, anonymous, and no regulations. People say it the future.” “Oh yeah, sure. Blockparty. Technology of the future.
| PAMELA FAGAN HUTCHINS | And how you know all this, Miss Virgin Island Bill Gates?” She sniffs. “Stanford MBA. I intern for a company into cryptocurrency.” And I just thought she was overqualified before. “You got no idea what blockchain is, do you?” “None.” She pushes gold wire-rimmed spectacles up her nose. “Blockchain a digital ledger of linked virtual currency transactions, like in a chain. It protect against fraud and the like, because it all encrypted and one link build on another.” “That clear it right up for me.” “You a smart girl. You figure it out.” “Yah mon.” “Show up on time and you be fine. And pull you top up,” she adds. She’s the one who booked me last time for a seven a.m. job after the night I’d gigged until three in the morning. What does she expect? I glance down at more brown cleavage than I expected to see. I roll my eyes and hoist the girls. Lime green fabric slips up and over them. Next time I date a rich man, I’m getting a lift. “Jealous much?” McKenna, wearing a charcoal circle skirt and roundneck white top that covers all her business, hands me a slip of paper with a name, address, and phone number on it. “You gonna find yourself on the wrong end of attention you don’t want, girl, and I’ma remind you ’bout this conversation.” “You blaming women dem for bad behavior of men?” I play it cool, like I’m joking. But I learned about sexual attention as a plaid-clad innocent in grade school. Just because a Catholic school hires a man doesn’t make him holy, and the same goes for women. Since then, I’ve seen no evidence to change my mind. And I may not be loaded with money, but I have a whole lot of something with very real value. Yeah, it’s currency, and there’s nothing virtual about it. A chill comes over me, and I freeze for a moment. A memory of Father Jerome and the unspeakable things he did to me during my school days bubbles to the surface, but I bury it deep again, fast, with all the other bad things in my life, like too many pills and too much booze, like finding my lover Guy with his throat
slit and a bad man trying to frame me as a Jezebel who murdered Guy for not leaving his wife. Guy—Guy Edwards—was a Virgin Islands senator, and if it weren’t for my friend Katie, I might have spent the rest of my life in jail for a murder I didn’t commit, with too much time to fight off ugly recollections of Father Jerome and his ilk. As it was, my already-not-sterling reputation took a permanent hit. Repression is my friend. And, no, I don’t let anyone blame women for the bad things men do. McKenna, not one for lingering, rolls her eyes at me and walks off. Support hose grind together again. I shiver. Save the planet—say no to synthetic undergarments, I think. But I don’t say it. I’m in a hurry. I have to drive all the way to the West End to meet some blockchain heads. *** I veer left, driving my dad’s gas-guzzling beater truck—sorry, Mother Earth, it’s my only option— faster than I should. There’s a maze of potholes (more like field of landmines) on Centerline Road. It’s hard to see them through the lightning storm of windshield cracks that appeared magically a few days after a shoddy island replacement Dad had done recently. Mom’s rosary beads are swinging from the rearview mirror, and I’m feeling more hopeful than I have in donkey years. The reason the EDCs are so attractive here to locals is that they’re the only decent jobs outside of working in tourism, for the government, or at the oil refinery. No, thank you, no, thank you, no, thank you. The refinery has all but closed up now, too, making everything on-island direr, and it was close to desperate before. Temping at a new EDC is usually temp-to-hire, and they always have air conditioning. I have to land this assignment. I’ll treat it like an audition, which means I should run through my lines. I’ve already found plenty of motivation for my character. “I Ava, from ABC Temps. Anything you need, we here to help.” Or I could yank. I try it, watching myself in the Issue 23 | June 2018 |
rearview mirror. “I’m Ava, from ABC Temps. Anything you need, we’re here to help.” BAM! My forehead slams into the steering wheel, and all the air is knocked out of me in a whoosh. Sometime later—seconds? minutes?—I realize the truck isn’t moving. What the hell? I put a hand to my face. Warm. Sticky. I look at my fingers. There are more of them than I remember. My hand is like an octopus. A red octopus. I waggle my fingers, and they’re red octopus arms, undulating underwater. I say it aloud. “Undulating underwater.” I like how that sounds and try a few more, making up my own alliteration exercises and mouthing them with exaggerated motions like we had in my theater classes. Sipping cider by the seashore. Taking tea in Tipperary. Gah, I’m tired. I close my eyes and drop my head back. “You dead?” a dry, quivery voice says from just outside the driver’s-side window. I glance at it. It’s coming from a man with a white afro—now that’s a look, meh son—over wizened skin, his sharp, black eyes fixed on me. “You bleeding.” Something’s wrong. There’s no window between us. Aha, it’s broken. I peek around the interior. It’s covered in shards of glass. The front windshield is gone, too. And I’d hit the steering wheel—air bags weren’t standard when this truck was built. “I know you?” the old man says, drawing my attention to his face, which reminds me there’s an electrified cotton ball atop his head. I squint at him. “Yah,” I say, but then pain clouds my thoughts. “My head hurt, I sorry.” He nods. “You Gill Butler’s girl. I work with he, years ago. Chappy Nelson.” “Mr. Nelson. Of course.” Roger “Chappy” Nelson. A down-islander. Barbados? He’d been old even then when Dad brought him on his regular construction crew. Most island men have nicknames, and my mind floats, trying to place the reason for his. Chapped lips. Getting chapped over things. Being chaps with everyone. I’m feeling woozy, a little baziddy. “This he truck you mash up?” “Uh-huh.” I mashed up my dad’s truck, and I have no idea how or why. This isn’t good. “What 26 | UncagedBooks.com
happen?” “You crash in a pothole.” Only on St. Marcos. Our potholes are epic. Like vehicle-swallowing sinkholes in the States, except here they’re the result of greed and graft instead of natural disasters. Money changing hands for inferior materials and shoddy workmanship. I should have been watching better where I was going. I move my head and glass falls in my lap. I know I’m supposed to be somewhere. Directive thinking is painful, but I give it a try, and it works. West End. ABC Temps. A job I can’t bomb. I rest my forehead on the steering wheel, ignoring the immediate sharp pain. “Ava?” A familiar voice. Also male, but younger, with a Texas accent. “Huh?” I groan without looking up. The door opens beside me. Nelson says, “I call the police?” “No.” My voice cracks. Police mean a job-costing delay, a hassle, an insurance claim, rates going up. Hands grasp me, and I look up. Katie’s husband, Nick, scoops me off the seat and out of the truck. Nick says, “Thank you, sir. I’ll get her taken care of.” “You know he?” Nelson asks me. “Yes. It all good.” He leaves without further comment, disappearing into a dilapidated building on the side of the road. Trumpet vines grow out of a cracked HEINEKEN sign over its doorway. Nick sets me down in his own old truck, newer by at least a decade than the one I’d planted nose-first in the pothole. “You okay for a minute?” “Yes. Thank you, Nick.” He returns to my dad’s truck. Nick is all long legs with a lanky but muscular frame, and he’s a fast mover. Cars pass, heads rubbernecking at my misery, and I pretend I don’t see them. He comes back with my canvas shoulder bag and phone. He places them on the floorboard and begins picking glass off of me. I hold very still and let him, even when he pulls a chunk out of my forehead. After a few minutes working on me, he says, “Want me to take you to the hospital?”
I shake my head, regretting the motion instantly. “No, no. I have to get to my new assignment.” “What?” “For my job. I’m supposed to be on the West End. Now.” Nick cocks his head, pondering me. I’m sure I look dreadful scary. He, on the other hand, is sexy as ever, something I’m not supposed to notice. Olive skin, wild dark hair, intense eyes, sharp cheekbones, and a distinctive nose. A strong face. Hard not to notice. Hard not to show you appreciate. But Katie’s already forgiven me once for flirting with her man, so I follow the rules. He grunts, a noncommittal sound. “I’ll take you up to Annalise. If Katie releases you, you can borrow one of our cars to get to work.” Estate Annalise is the name of the big-ass property he and Katie live on with three kids, six dogs, and his parents. It’s also the name of the teenage slave girl who’s been stuck there in limbo as a jumbie spirit for most of two hundred years. Don’t judge—we buy into voodoo here in the islands. You would, too, if you lived here. It’s as plainly true and hard not to notice as Nick’s sexiness. He steps away from me, brow furrowed, and pushes his hair back. It stands up a little. Katie says he’s a gypsy by his Hungarian heritage, but his wiry hair isn’t so different from mine. “I’ll call Rashidi. We’ll see what we can do about your truck. Sound okay to you?” Our mutual friend Rashidi and I are in a good place, so I say, “Irie.” Six months ago, I’d have said no— our breakup was too fresh. Rashidi’s forgiven me for not loving him, but no man takes that easy. My phone rings. Before I can stop him, Nick picks it up from the floorboard and hands it to me. I all but hold my breath, but he doesn’t look at caller ID. I do. It’s Collin, his brother-in-law, my secret. I take the phone, thinking as hard as I can in my condition. Nick climbs into the driver’s seat. I put the phone to my ear at the same time as I press the button to decline the call and send it straight to voicemail. “Hello? Hello?” I pause for a few seconds for effect, then put the phone down. “No one’s there.” But Nick doesn’t hear me. He’s already talking to
Uncaged Review This is the first book in the Ava series, but it’s not the first book in the full set – this one is the beginning that focuses on Ava, who was in the previous books. It held up very well considering I had not read the others in the series first. It was easy to get fully immersed in this story, and the author does a great job keeping the reader on their toes, trying to figure out the murderer – and it took me until the end of the book to find out for sure. Ava is a character I enjoyed getting to know although the one thing that threw me a bit is how she slips from island dialect and slang back to “Yank” speech. Personally, I wasn’t a fan of the island slang. The story moves at a good pace, and when Ava’s friend is one of the victims, she vows she’s going to get answers. This book was a nice introduction to this author for me, and she’s definitely on my radar now.
Issue 23 | June 2018 |
feature author Wife, Mother, Writer, Lunatic. Not necessarily in that order. “There is a fine line between genius and crazy... I like to use that line as a jump rope!” June, who prefers to go by Bug, was born in Philadelphia but moved to Maui, Hawaii when she was four. She met her “Prince Charming” on Kauai and is currently living “Happily Ever After” in a small town in Minnesota. Her son and daughter are her greatest accomplishments. She takes pride in embarrassing them every chance she gets. Being hopelessly addicted to 80’s music is her super power.
Uncaged welcomes June Kramin Uncaged: Can you tell readers more about your different series you have going? I Got Your Back, Hailey is a fun series for me to write. When I first started, I wasn’t even sure where I was going. I love a fast-paced suspense with romantic element. Hailey and Parker sure made that happen for me. E-mails came in with readers wanting to know more on all the other characters as well. I’m happy to let them all share the spotlight, but Hailey is still in charge! As soon as #4 was done, I dove into #5. This series was a great way to bring back my characters from my Hunter’s Find books. Those are strong suspense, MOB, FBI with the added element of Hunt and Mandy falling for each other throughout the chaos. I didn’t know what to do with them when that publisher closed. They blend so nicely with this crew, they are here to stay! Other than this series, I have a 3 book time travel romance with a twist of sci-fi in book 3, a 2-part romance with a young, rich gal falling for an older, more down to earth plumber, and a few single titles with sassy, potty mouth gals, and the guys who love them. My newest is a college age/new adult romance. Uncaged: Do you write full-time or part-time? I have a full time home business so I write part-time, but I can usually get something in every day. I don’t usually have to set a goal. I write when they yell at me and quit when they’re done. ;)
28 | UncagedBooks.com
Uncaged: What do you have coming up next that you can tell us about? I’ve been pretty good about cleaning up “the trunk” over the years. I’ve really been wanting to put all my energy into adding to this series. Other than the next in this series on the fire, I do have a series of two books I wrote around 8 years ago. I love the stories with my entire being, they just keep getting tossed on the back burner. Quentin is my adorable Texas cowboy/trucker who picks up Jessica in a storm in MN. She’s a handful, like all my gals. As usual, I didn’t know there would be a sequel. I love the additions to their family and what their friends brought to the books. Add a bad guy and a hint of secrets to keep you turning the pages! I hope to get book one out in a few months. Uncaged: You are an attending author at Wild Deadwood Reads this year. What are you looking forward to the most from this convention? I wish I could spend more time there for all the great events they have planned. I only get an extra night in so I have to do all the mingling I can with who sticks around town. I love talking with other authors. This is my 2nd year there. Deadwood really is a fun place with such great history. It’s no surprise I based Hailey #5 there. Whoops…the secret is out and you heard it 1st. Uncaged: Do you read your reviews? What do you take away from them? I don’t usually go down that rabbit hole. Of course it’s great to hear when someone loves your work, but there is always going to be someone who says “it just wasn’t my thing” and that’s completely understandable. I ap-
preciate everyone who takes the time out of their day to leave reviews. (And that’s not just a line! LOL!) It’s so hard to get people to do it. ESPECIALLY friends. And then there’s the chance they get pulled if Amazon thinks you know them… Which is funny because I had around 30 5-stars for Hailey and a friend left me a 3. I’ll take honesty any day, though. I had one 3 star that raved and read like a 5 so…to each his own. :) If we all liked the same thing, books would be boring! I get most of my real feedback from my amazing street team. I’m an odd duck that says “beat me up!” I’d rather hear it before it’s out “in the wild.” Uncaged: What is one of the nicest things someone has said to you about your books? The e-mails thanking me for the cry are the ones that blow me away the most. Only a writer, right? I get a lot of those for Come and Talk to Me. One gal even sent me a poster she made of her 12 favorite books with that one on it. I’m gushing at my company there. Uncaged: What is your favorite parts about being an author? What have you found to be the least favorite? I’d have to say, getting to live every day in someone else’s world is pretty amazing. I build them, but as I write, it’s like I’m watching a movie. Sometimes you feel bad for torturing your poor character, but it all works out. I do a lot of signings. I love talking with readers. I honestly don’t think there’s a bad side to this gig. Issue 23 | June 2018 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | Uncaged: What do you like to do when you aren’t writing? Where is one of your favorite places on Earth? Wednesday is my non-writing day. That’s grandbaby day and my favorite day of the week. It’s everything they say it is! I’m one of those hopeless “kid at heart” people. I’d hate to say Disney is a favorite place, but it’s true. If you saw my bedroom, you’d think it belonged to an 8 year old girl. I love my princess stuff. Of course going home to Maui is up there, too. It’s not the place, it’s the people. My family is still on the island. I love setting books there and letting people get a taste of what I had growing up. Uncaged: What is the hardest part of a book to write? What is the easiest? From start to finish, how long does it take to finish a complete book? I’m what you call a “pantser” when it comes to writing. I never outline or storyboard – the story unfolds as my characters see fit. I’ve never had “Writer’s block.” I guess because I’ve never had expectations of what needed to happen & had an issue getting from A-Z. My 1st published novel was Dustin Time. Surpise! It’s a time travel. I didn’t even know that when I started….or that there would be 3 in the series. That book took 3 weeks to write. I couldn’t slow it down if I wanted to. Nothing has been as fast, though. I’m usually a couple months on a first draft and let things stew for a bit before I hit it again…and again. Then again. Shampoo, rinse repeat before I send it off to my street team. I send it one at a time so I can get feedback and make changes if need be, then it has a couple editors. I only get two books out a year. I want lots of eyes and time for it to “think about what it’s done” before I deem it publishable. Uncaged: What would you like to say to fans, and where can they follow you? 30 | UncagedBooks.com
Can I just give them all hugs? Seriously, there is nothing better than strangers giving you their valuable time and taking a chance on reading your work. I really appreciate sites like this to bring readers and writers together.
Enjoy an excerpt from I Got Your Back, Hailey I Got Your Back, Hailey June Kramin Romantic Suspense FREE for a Limited Time When Hailey stumbles upon a backpack full of money on her nightly jog, she is forced to flee the security of her secret identity. Although the sudden appearance of a man that had been flirting with her earlier seems odd, Hailey accepts Parker’s help in getting the heavy bag home. Within moments of arriving, they escape under gunfire. The men it was intended for want it back, and Hailey has now made herself a target. Safe in a motel room, the two of them discover the truth: although their meeting was an accident, Parker had been involved in the bag’s drop and she had been his assignment all along. Now, getting Hailey away safely is Parker’s new mission. Together they struggle to put together the pieces of Hailey’s past and discover that they have more in common than they thought. Being on the run, keeping Hailey’s family safe, and searching for clues to put away the man that wants her dead are hard enough. Falling in love in the middle of it all was the last thing either one of them expected.
| JUNE KRAMIN | Excerpt “Exactly what is the plan here?” I asked after another long sip of beer. “I’m not exactly sure now. The money is definitely not going to do what it was supposed to, and you have no business being involved in all of this.” “Pardon me, but that’s your fault.” “Let’s not do this again, okay? Are you forgetting I chose you over the money?” My eyes lowered. “No. I’m really not sure of the etiquette on how many times I’m supposed to thank you for that.” “Let’s drop it. What’s done is done. I need to figure out what to do from here. How to get back on track and get you somewhere safe.” I walked over to the small refrigerator for another beer. “Parker? Is there a chance I can make a phone call?” “That depends. You going to try to signal for help?” “No. I…I think I need to let my mom know I’m okay. She normally calls me on Saturdays for an update. I’m worried she’ll think something is wrong if I don’t call soon.” “We’ll go get you your makeup or whatever you want, and I’ll get a new throwaway phone. You can call her from that. No giving away anything about our location.” I was getting tired of all this cloak-and-dagger shit. It was wearing on my last nerve. “Who exactly is following you? What was the money for, Parker? Or Gavin. Whatever your name is! This is no longer funny! You think they’d tap my mother’s phone?” I rushed his chair and landed both hands hard on his chest. He grasped my wrists and held them tight as he stood. “Whoa! Why would you think someone would want you back so bad as to post someone on your mother?” I shook my arms, trying to get free. “Let me go.” “You going to be civil?” “Yes. Please let me go.” Too nervous now to return to the chair, I stood and peered out of the crack in the curtain. “I need to know something and I need the truth.” I faced him, needing to look into his eyes. The eyes always give it away.
“Fire away.” He motioned that I should carry on with a wave of his hand. “I think I tripped on this money by accident, but I need to know if I was set up.” “You? Set up? Why do you think you were set up? How could I have possibly pulled that off?” “Things just don’t add up. We flee under gunfire… you save me but don’t take the money…” “Back up. What do you know that you think someone would pay a million bucks for?” “More like kill me for it.”
Uncaged Review I’m not a huge mystery/suspense reader for the most part, but I can honestly say, that if they were all as good as this book, this genre would become a new favorite. The author twists and turns a very intricate and twisted plot so well, that I would be thinking one way, only to have that idea shot down, and then think the same thing again a bit later. I’m not real sure how the author kept it all straight, and I can’t say enough about this cast of characters – even all the secondary. The banter between Parker and Donny was enough to win me over and have me laughing out loud, add in Hailey and her twin brother and even with the seriousness of the situations that they are in, the banter just gets better and better. Mostly a dialog driven book, I never felt I was missing anything, like I do in a lot of these type of narratives. The romance is spot on and who wouldn’t want a best friend like Donny? Five stars doesn’t seem adequate. Reviewed by Cyrene
Issue 23 | June 2018 |
feature author Paty Jager is an awardwinning author of 32 novels, 6 novellas, and numerous anthologies of murder mystery and western romance. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Paty and her husband raise alfalfa hay in rural eastern Oregon. Riding horses and battling rattlesnakes, she not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it. This is what readers have to say about the Silver Dollar Saloon series: â€œPaty Jager brings her characters to life, right off the pages of her book. You will laugh, cry, be sad and get angry right along with the characters.â€?
patyjager.net Newsletter - Mystery Newsletter - Western 32 | UncagedBooks.com
Uncaged welcomes Paty Jager Uncaged: You live and breathe the western lifestyle, is this one of the inspirations for your writing? You also write mysteries, how is it different to write in that genre? Yes, I believe because I have lived rural and a western lifestyle my whole life that it helps me understand how people lived when writing historical westerns and gives me a sense of their struggles. When I started writing they always said write what you know. Historical westerns were the closest to what I knew that I could get. I actually read mysteries before romance and wrote mystery before romance. I love coming up with why someone is killed and who could have done it. In one respect mysteries are easier because they are contemporary, and I donâ€™t have to research history, but on the other hand, I need to know law enforcement etiquette and put my story together like a puzzle of sorts. Uncaged: Can you tell readers more about the series you have going now? My Silver Dollar Saloon series is set in a fictional town along the Northern Pacific in the Dakota Territory. Shady Gulch is one of the watering stations and depots for the train to Bismarck. Because of the train the town grew up and with it will come growing pains.
Beau Gentry and his lifelong friend, Jules Matthieu, moved to Shady Gulch from New Orleans. They set up the Silver Dollar Saloon. It’s a high-class establishment where Beau gives women who would be dead or have to resort to prostitution a chance to work and get back their self-esteem. He also owns the boarding house behind the saloon. It’s where the women live along with Mrs. Dearling, yet another, woman Beau befriended in her time of crisis. In the saloon the women deliver drinks, sing, and dance. But they aren’t dressed as skimpy as other saloons and the men aren’t allowed to touch them or made crude remarks. If they do, they are kicked out by Beau or Jules. Each book in the series shows how a woman comes to the Saloon and how one leaves to get married. Beau and Jules will eventually have their own love stories as well. I hope as a reader picks up one of the books they discover a community they would like to revisit and fall in love with each character who works in the saloon and townsfolk.
around to thinking she’d like to apply to be a teacher again when one of the young men, now a man, has showed up in town right after a young woman was accosted on the train and tossed off.
Uncaged: What do you have coming up next that you can tell us about?
Uncaged: Do you read your reviews? What do you take away from them?
Lottie Mae, Book two of the Silver Dollar Saloon series will be out in July. Lottie Mae was a teacher until she was accosted by three of her older male students and lost her job, her family, and her respect. Beau stumbled across her when she was thinking of taking her life. He brought her to Shady Gulch and she’s just getting
I don’t go actively read reviews, but some of my fans will send me links to their reviews of my books. A review that says they enjoyed the book and the characters makes me happy. It means I did my job. If a review isn’t favorable, and it is one of a few, I figure the story, characters, or whatever
You can also find a short story, Saving Dallie, in the Wild Deadwood Tales Anthology, where Beau, once again, steps in to help a young woman in trouble. Uncaged: You are an attending author at Wild Deadwood Reads this year. What are you looking forward to the most from this convention? I enjoy the Wild Deadwood Reads for two reasons, one it gives me a chance to visit places on my way there and back that I’ve always wanted to see, and I like visiting with readers in a unique old west type of setting.
Issue 23 | June 2018 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | wasn’t for them and rather than read more of my books I would like them to move on and read something else they do enjoy. I know every reader has their own taste in what they like to read. I’m the same way. It is rare that I love a book as much as someone else and yet I may love a book that few others do. If I make a few people escape and enjoy my stories as much as I do then I’ve accomplished what I set out to do. Uncaged: What is one of the nicest things someone has said to you about your books? When I first became published my dad bought several of my books and gave them to people. One was a receptionist at his dentist office. She is now one of my avid fans. She said, “I didn’t like to read until I read your book. Now I read all the time.” Being a voracious reader from the age of 5 I find bringing the joy of books to someone who hadn’t had that before to be the best complement. Uncaged: What is your favorite parts about being an author? What have you found to be the least favorite? My favorite part of being an author is coming up with a story and piecing together the main characters and setting which requires research. I LOVE research. My least favorite part is the business side- promoting, marketing, discovering my audience. Uncaged: What do you like to do when you aren’t writing? Where is one of your favorite places on Earth? When I’m not writing I like to go for walks on our property, ride my horse, or sew. One of my favorite places is the Oregon 34 | UncagedBooks.com
Coast. I love the writing retreats I go on there and spending time there with my hubby and our dogs. We don’t get there as often now that we live on the opposite side of the state. Uncaged: What is the hardest part of a book to write? What is the easiest? From start to finish, how long does it take to finish a complete book? For me the hardest part of a book, specifically if it is the first book of a series, is the first 20,000 words. It takes me a bit to get into the main character’s point of view and to establish the settings in my mind. I draw maps and use visuals as well as written out descriptions. The easiest is the last fourth of the book. When the story is heading to and going through the climax or black moment. I’ve spent the other ¾ of the book building up to this moment and I know what has to happen. Hoe long it takes depends on the book and what is going on in my life. I can write a mystery book in a month, IF, I’m at home those 4 weeks and stay focused on the book. I’ve written a 40,000 novella in a week while at the coast when there are no distractions and all I do is write and walk on the beach. The western historicals take about 6 weeks without interruptions. Uncaged: What would you like to say to fans, and where can they follow you? If you like murder mysteries a bit darker than a cozy but have the feel of a cozy you might like my Shandra Higheagle Mystery series. If you like raw and real stories of love and redemption, you’ll like my Silver Dollar Saloon Series. And if you like fun, steamy contemporary western romance, you might want to take a look at my Tumbling Creek Ranch series. I enjoy hearing from fans, giving away fun stuff, and writing boks. If you’d like to check out my 30+ published books, you can find them at my website: http://www.patyjager.net. Here is a list of where else you can contact me and learn more about me, my books, and my lifestyle.
Enjoy an excerpt from Savannah Savannah Paty Jager Historical Western Escaping a past full of deceit and larceny, Savannah Gentry goes in search of her only kin, a half-brother she discovered after her father’s death. She hopes Shady Gulch in the Dakota Territory can give her a future. However, she stumbles into the arms of Reverend Larkin Webster, finds herself working in the Silver Dollar Saloon, and soon fears she’s gone from the frying pan into the fire. After dodging death and incarceration, the Topeka Kid decides to turn his life around and takes on a new identity. Reverend Larkin Webster. It works, until he finds a temptation he can’t resist and steals the heart of Savannah Gentry. When her past collides with his, he wonders if this theft could end up with him losing everything, including his life. Excerpt The train stopped. She waited for the others to leave the car before she stood and moved on wobbly legs down the aisle. The man she’d noticed hopping on the train as it rolled out of Bismarck, stood by the door as if waiting for her to leave. He had on a blue chambray shirt and a white bandana around his neck. He shifted. The glint of sunlight off a shiny gun in a holster hanging on his right hip made her wonder if he was a lawman or an outlaw. He tipped his hat as she approached. “Ma’am.” His deep voice had a soothing quality. She nodded and held her satchel in front of her as she passed. That was when she noticed he had a valise in his left hand. Her mind wandered to thoughts of what he could be
| PATY JAGER | carrying. She stepped off the platform and onto the step. The pointed heel of her boot caught in the metal grid. The weight of the satchel pulled her forward. The moment she realized she was about to take a tumble, an arm snaked around her middle, holding her suspended in air. Her satchel hit the ground and popped open. A boy ran toward her bag. “Lord a mercy! No! Stop! Get away!” she shouted, struggling against the arm that held her on the stairs. “Joshua, close the lady’s bag and guard it,” the deep voice behind her said. The boy did as asked, snapping the bag shut and standing with a leg on each side of it. “Can you get your heel unstuck?” the man asked, his arm still circling her. “I could if your arm wasn’t wrapped around my body like a Georgia crossvine.” She hadn’t meant for the words to come out as haughty as they had. “Sorry. I didn’t want you to fall.” He released her and remained on the platform above her. The conductor appeared. “May I help you?” She raised her skirt enough to show her foot. “My heel is holed up in this grate.” The man started to reach out then pulled his hand back. “Lark, you better do this.” The man behind her chuckled. “You afraid Lee will find out you touched another woman?” The man called Lark eased by her, his tall body brushing her arm. He set the valise between his legs like the boy stood over her satchel. “May I touch your foot?” His gaze met hers and she couldn’t breathe. Brown eyes, rimmed with copper, peered at her. One dark eyebrow rose as if waiting for her to answer. “Y-yes,” came out much to breathy. The handsome man smiled, a dimple appeared on his left cheek. She stilled her racing heart as he gently, but efficiently, dislodged her boot heel. “There you go. Miss—” “Gentry.” He rocked back and stared at her. “Gentry?” Issue 23 | June 2018 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | Why was he repeating her name? “I declare, do you need your ears cleaned? Even with my southern drawl you couldn’t have misheard me.” “I did hear you.” He walked over and patted the boy on the shoulder. “That was a good deed you did, son.” The boy grinned up at him and took off at a run toward what appeared to be stockyards. Lark Webster smiled. He’d known the boy had been about to pilfer the woman’s satchel. Putting him in charge of guarding it with others around to see would give the boy more confidence, something his father didn’t seem fit to do. He shifted his attention to the beautiful woman. “Are you here to see Beau?” Lark picked up the satchel. The woman made a grab for it, but he held it away from her. “I’ll carry it. Where do you want to go?” “I can tote my own bag.” She glared at him with eyes as blue as a Dakota summer sky. Her hair was the color of wheat, ready to harvest. Judging from the fancy coat, bustle, and high heeled boots, she was a woman of means. Funny, Beau never mentioned any relatives. “While you may prefer, I’m not about to let a lady carry her own bag when I have a free hand.” He nodded toward town. “Where are you going?” “To the Silver Dollar Saloon.” The words came out of her bow-shaped mouth as if they soured her tongue. “Then you are related to Beau.” She nodded, bouncing the feather on her fancy hat. “This way.” He led her down the street. As they passed the Allman Hotel, he tipped his head toward the two-story building. “You want to get a room and freshen up?” The pair of deep blue eyes narrowed. “No.” She was a woman of few words. He liked that. And made him more certain she was a relation of Beau. He was a man of few words. “Mind if I drop my valise off at the bank?” he asked, stopping at the door of the bank. “Just hand over my bag and I’ll not be fret’n you 36 | UncagedBooks.com
anymore.” She held out her hand. “You’re not fretting me. I just need to finish my job.” He put both bag handles in one hand and entered the bank. From how she’d yelled at Joshua when he started for her satchel, he had no doubt she would follow him. The hollow thud of her heels on the wood floor let him know she was right behind him. “Larkin, I see you made the trip successfully,” his brother, Owen, said, walking out of his office as bank manager. “Here’s your dispatch.” Lark handed off the valise and spun on his heel, nearly bumping into Miss Gentry. “Who is this?” Owen asked. His brother was married, but he had an eye for money, and it was clear he’d pegged this woman as a potential patron of the bank. “Miss Gentry, my brother, Owen Webster, the bank manager.” Lark stepped back and watched the woman’s interaction with his brother. “Mr. Webster, it is my honor to meet you,” She held out her hand, limply. Owen shook hands with her, which put a blush on the woman’s creamy skin. “If you need to open an account, come see me,” Owen said. “Bless your heart. I’ll give it a thought.” She glanced at Lark. “Shall we wander?” He grinned and winked at his brother, who grinned back and shook his head. Lark held out his arm, hoping the woman would slip her hand through the crook at his elbow, but she walked to the door and waited for him to open it. Back out on the boardwalk, he started across the street. While he’d wanted to escort her properly, it was apparent she had other ideas. He stepped into the street, causing dust to puff up around his legs. The June sun and unending wind had dried what was mud not a month ago, to four inches of dry powder. He glanced back. Miss Gentry stood on the edge of the wood boardwalk, looking like a person afraid to jump into a river. “Ye have to pick up yer skirt and not be too proud ta walk these streets,” Mrs. Cleary said, hefting her wool skirt up and stepping into the dust. She glanced over her shoulder at Miss Gentry.
| PATY JAGER | The younger woman heaved a heavy sigh and raised the front of her skirts. The only problem—the back was longer and she wasn’t raising it up at all. Lark doubled back and picked up the tail of her skirt, following along behind the woman. At that moment, Sheriff Tyson Blake stepped out of his office. He whistled and hollered, “I knew you were good for something other than a preacher!” Miss Gentry stopped, and he ran into the back of her. Ty roared with laughter. Lark’s face and ears heated up hotter than Manfred’s forge. “Y-you’re a preacher man?” Her gaze traveled from his dusty boots up to his wide-brimmed hat. “Yes, ma’am. Every day of the week but Wednesday. That day I’m the bank courier.” She spun around and hurried to the boardwalk in front of the mercantile. Once she set foot on the planks, she said, “Land a mercy, take your hands off my dress.”
Romance and rodeos, Old West adventure, even a few ghostly tales. Deadwood’s wild past and exciting present come alive in Wild Deadwood Tales, a limited edition collection of 17 original short stories written by USA Today and Amazon bestselling authors: E.E. Burke, A.C. Wilson, Amanda McIntyre, Angi Morgan, Ginger Ring, Jacqui Nelson, Lizbeth Selvig, Maggie Ryan, Megan Kelly, Nancy Naigle, Paty Jager, Peggy McKenzie, Sylvia McDaniel, Teresa Keefer, Terri Osburn, Tina Susedik, Zoe Blake. Proceeds from Wild Deadwood Tales go to benefit the Western Sports Foundation, an organization providing critical assistance to athletes competing in Western lifestyle sports. Whether they need help recuperating from an injury or planning for the future, WSF is there for them.
Uncaged Review What a gem of a book this turned out to be. Savannah goes to Shady Gulch looking for her halfbrother after her father dies, trying to get away from a smarmy bank collector trying to take everything away, citing her father’s debts, and next he plans to marry Savannah. What she finds in Shady Gulch is true friendships, family and love from a preacher. I didn’t take to Savannah in the beginning with her snobby upbringing, but when you see her growth, and all that outside façade fade away and she becomes someone to root for. A few laugh out loud moments, a bit of suspense and danger – with a good sprinkling of romance, and readers will enjoy this story. I can’t wait to read more about Shady Gulch. Reviewed by Cyrene
Issue 23 | June 2018 |
scifi/dystopian | paranormal | crime
Maureen O. Betita
feature author Maureen lives along the lovely Monterey Bay and finds great inspiration in being so near the Pacific Ocean. She shares her home with Stephen, her high school sweetheart, married for over 30 years and a cat named Isabeau. She travels miles and miles to attend pirate festivals, renaissance fairs, scifi/fantasy conventions, steampunk cons and writing conferences.
Uncaged welcomes Maureen O. Betita Uncaged: Can you tell readers more about the different series you have going? At present I’m writing mostly stand-alone novels. But I have two series available. Involving pirates, magic, romance, alternate history, action, adventure...the kitchen sink... ;-) Uncaged: Do you write full-time or part-time? Whatever I choose! I can write full-time or part-time. I am a lady of leisure. Uncaged: What do you have coming up next that you can tell us about? I have two novels I’ve been working on. One involves a middle-aged woman who finds herself in a deserted San Francisco, ten years from now... It’s truly a single woman, on her own for 98% of the novel. Another story is a young woman breaking free from her kidnapper, moving toward revenge and redemption... Hoping to have both out before the end of the year. Uncaged: You are an attending author at Wild Deadwood Reads this year. What are you looking forward to the most from this convention?
40 | UncagedBooks.com
*Snicker... I would like to say drinking with friends... But there is more than that. I’m looking forward to the Saturday night reading, the Friday night meet and greet, and my husband and I have tickets for the haunted walking tour on Friday night. So much to look forward to. And I do love meeting readers!
Uncaged: Do you read your reviews? What do you take away from them?
What is the easiest? From start to finish, how long does it take to finish a complete book?
I scan my reviews. I try not to dive too deeply into them, most can be so demoralizing. And I hate that one poor review will stick with me, while a dozen good ones disappear from my memory instantly. I do pay attention to specific critics and adjust what I can.
Hardest is knowing when to stop. This is an issue with me, and why my pirate series, Forever a Pirate, is 30 books long. The easiest? Well...world building. I love letting my imagination steer the ship. If I’m on a streak, I can finish a book in 3 weeks. If I’m plodding along, fighting with bad habits, etc... 6 months. Or more.
Uncaged: What is one of the nicest things someone has said to you about your books? I actually received a hand written fan letter, saying my books brightened her day. Another woman, I met and the NOLA RT, came running up to me, gave me hug, saying I’d written her favorite book and she read it several times a year. The Kraken’s Mirror. Uncaged: What is your favorite parts about being an author? What have you found to be the least favorite? I love writing. The story telling aspect entrances me. And making up stuff. ;-) Least favorite? Marketing attempts that fail dismally. Uncaged: What do you like to do when you aren’t writing? Where is one of your favorite places on Earth? When I’m not writing I’m making hats. Or sewing. I love making hats. My favorite places on Earth...Took a Caribbean cruise last year, fell in love with St Kitts. Actually, most of the wondrous places I’ve visited in the last decade were from cruises. So...perhaps one of my favorite places is aboard a cruise ship!
Uncaged: What would you like to say to fans, and where can they follow you? I LOVE to hear from fans. Praise, questions, nitpicks...any and all. Share pirate pictures with me on Facebook, or Kraken memes. Love me octopus/kraken memes! If you see me at a conference, please introduce yourself. I am very social and not frightened of readers. I have two pages on Facebook, Maureen O. Betita Author and Maureen O. Betita. The author page isn’t terribly active, simply because of FB policies. I have a newish Instagram account – under my name. Same with Pinterest. Always include the O. when searching, or you might end up following my niece from the Phillipines. A very nice young lady, but not me. My website has a link to sign up for my newsletter. It’s a great way to be notified when a new book is out.
Uncaged: What is the hardest part of a book to write? Issue 23 | June 2018 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR |
Enjoy an excerpt from The Changed World The Changed World Maureen O. Betita SciFi/Dystopian
In the Changed World, life is cheap, fertile women are valuable, and children are priceless. A cosmic disruption in time tore the bonds of history apart, leaving a world of hardship, ruled by the survival of the fittest. After the near genocide of her people, Ivy is captured and brutally assaulted. Her daughter is stolen, and she despairs. Duran, a fellow mercenary, shows Ivy there is hope beyond rage, love beyond hatred.... But will Ivy’s thirst for vengeance destroy everything they have together? Can she save her daughter without losing herself...or the man she has come to love? EXCERPT INTRODUCTION From The Book Of Cruz In the days before time shattered, the earth rolled with billions of people. Many colors, many countries. Much conflict. Cities rose to the sky, holding every luxury imaginable. Humankind knew their place, which was standing upon everything else. Even their kin. As was written by a great author of the before, “It was the best of times, is was the worst of times.” We, the Cruz, were tolerated. Called aliens, we knew the truth and kept to ourselves, in small communities, and did what we did. We were humans, science supported that fact. Our people came from the same roots, but the Cruz evolved... twisted. Or blessed. It all depended on perspective. 42 | UncagedBooks.com
The oldest of us remember how full of noise and distraction the old world was, before it changed. But even their memories grow faint, with the years. The change swept through the galaxy, a great tide that fed on time. It struck with no warning. One moment, the earth was as it had always been, revolving with simple elegance through the ancient sky. Then the wave intersected that path. Instantly, the planet felt the weight of time. Billions of people aged instantly, then in another second, they were dust. Cities crumbled; the monuments of men were swallowed by nature, speeding by to sweep them away. Coastlines changed, mountains rose, islands sank and in the span of minutes, the survivors stood, alone. The wave swept past, no doubt moving on to wreck havoc through the cosmos, done with us. Most of our people were spared. We’d always been few, but our instinct to cluster boded well. In the aftermath, we stood together. The rest of the survivors had to find each other and begin again, in small villages and communities. With perseverance, they learned all over again how to grow crops, hunt animals, take care of themselves. We did what we could to assist. It didn’t take long for the worst of human nature to rise. A decade? Less? Within a century, misery ruled the land. The visitor had done more than steal history, it left behind altered biology. People aged, but they didn’t die. Not naturally. Swords still worked, and axes, and clubs. And one more thing. Births slowed. And then, they all but stopped. The survivors needed someone to blame, someone to point a finger at. We were handy. We were different. In the Changed World, standing out could get you killed. Or worse. PROLOGUE If only this were a nightmare Ivy could wake from. The ground offered no comfort, unyielding and rough, her skin shrank from the ice particles coating the earth. Voices discussed her capture, and how much he would pay them. Distracted by the throbbing in her head she barely heard them, unable to reply,
| MAUREEN O. BETITA | object or counteroffer. “Pity, she’s one of the last. Not many of them left,” a gruff male voice spoke. “But her price will see us through the winter.” “Longer, she’s with child. He’ll pay twice for two,” a hard female added, without mercy. “Pity she hasn’t had it, we could keep it and just sell her.” “World’s gonna be a plain place when they are all gone.” Regret painted that voice. Ivy felt a wrinkled hand brush the hair from her mouth. “I remember…” “Stuff it, old woman! Memories won’t keep us fed,” the hard voice cut off the memory. “Bind her arms and legs. Denny, you carry her. This is good luck for us, we have to use it!” The orders were obeyed without further discussion. Rough rope bound her wrists, safely enclosed in a bag. They knew Cruz and their tricks. Helpless, totally helpless. Weak from five months of running, trying to find enough to eat, avoiding the constant patrols as her belly grew and she cursed the unwanted burden. Shelter after shelter came up deserted, nothing but ashes remaining. He’d been merciless. Her captors bargained well. Ivy recovered enough to attempt talk, but all that accomplished a gag. Fiona, the older woman, tried to offer comfort. The old woman remembered life before the world had changed. They haggled well and received a high price, she actually didn’t blame them. Life was hard. But now she sat, back to the familiar cell. At least he’d been absent. She had two nights of peace. Many of his clan came to stare at her, but no one spoke. She was fed, but sparingly. And her hands were kept loosely bound at her back. She could have freed them, but why? They’d only redo the rope, tighter. Instead, she welcomed the small mercy. He’d finally arrived and stood, staring at her through the bars. A tall man, broad shouldered, sun bleached hair falling down his back, tightly braided. He bore scars on his face, one she could be credited for. She nearly smiled at the tear at his cheek, her knife would have taken an eye if he’d been a second slower. He signaled archers to stand ready before ordering the jailor to enter and undo her hands. The jailor hesi-
tated and Ursus struck him. She tried to smile, even comfort the man, whispering, “Won’t hurt you…” Her arms fell useless to her sides as the binding fell away. She swung them, trying to restore feeling in the long denied muscles. Ursus glared at her, then brusquely spit his demand, “Strip.” Ursus, the leader of the bear clan. The brute. The rapist. The murderer. She wasn’t wearing much to begin with. Rags and strips of cloth stolen here and there fell at her feet. Survival was at stake, she didn’t challenge him. Sensations slowly returned to her hands, enough to do the job. When she finally stood, naked and defenseless, he gazed at her swollen belly, bearing mute testimony to her state. He’d turned to three of his men. “Call the midwife.” She’d known humiliation, but this as new. Surrounded by men, they gaped and giggled. The midwife trembled, attempting to be gentle, but too aware of what was at stake. Ursus had looked for an heir many, many years, only to be fruitless, as most were in the Changed World. The midwife leaned back and turned to him. “Due in two months.” Ursus stared at the midwife. “She was in my bed a solid month. This baby is mine?” “It seems likely, sir,” the midwife declared gazing at Ivy with pity. Those gray eyes pierced her soul and sent her to the depths of grief. With a soulwrenching cry, she rolled to one side and surged to her feet, threw herself at the bars, attempting to see one of the poised arrows take her belly. Two months, Ursus kept her in that cell. Assigned a young boy to watch her, keep her from harming herself. Young Emmett, a Cruz from the greater jails. One of the few left alive. For months, the big blond man had been systematically disposing of the small group he’d captured, all of them known to Ivy. They were the last of the farmers who resisted his authority. Who took up arms to fight him. The last of her blood family. Emmett had been frightened, but did his best to help her. If she harmed the baby, Ursus would kill Issue 23 | June 2018 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | him. In front of her. She did nothing to put the young boy in danger. When the little girl slipped free, she’d refused to look at the infant. “Not mine, his! His!” Ursus was pleased, and made the mistake of ignoring his two captives, emerged in the care of his daughter. Fiona drugged the guards, took Ivy’s hand and led her from the cell. She’d sheltered Ivy and Emmett for a week, seeing strength returned, and told them of the shift in their fortunes. “Rumor comes of a group of Cruz that sail the seas. They seldom touch on shore, knowing they are a hunted people. Each carries a curse, as you do.” She’d transferred her gaze from Ivy to Emmett, “Yours will come, boy.” Ivy closed her eyes, the night of her twentieth birthday, her genetic curse had settled on her. And for too long she didn’t see it as a curse. Twenty years later, she knew it as such. Eternal youth. What a f**king joke.
Uncaged Review In this dystopian book is an original concept with an original take on the apolcalypse. The world after The Change, has been taken over by warlords and different clans. Ivy was captured, tortured and raped by Ursus - one of the worst of the warlords, and becomes pregnant. After giving birth to a daughter, she manages to escape her prison and works as a mercenary, leaving her daughter to be raised by Ursus. When her daughter is old enough, she seeks Ivy out, as Ivy is a Cruz, and with the Cruz bloodline – there is a curse within the bloodline that will manifest when the person turns 20 years old. There were some good action sequences and a lot of suspense that keeps the reader on their toes. As good of a concept as this book is, there are some missing parts to it, that kept me wondering most of the way through, and some questions that never seemed to be answered. I wanted more. I wanted more information, how did The 44 | UncagedBooks.com
Change happen? When did it happen? I wasn’t quite sure where we were in the world in this book, was it part of the U.S. at one time? I kept picturing the west coast, don’t know if I’m right. I also got some bit and pieces of when it all occurred, 1957 maybe? I had no idea how much time had passed since it all happened either. I also didn’t get a clear understanding of all the different clans. Even with that said, I was drawn to the book once I put it down, and wanted to go back – and the more I read and the deeper I got into the book, the more I liked the characters. I will say the book could use a good editor, there were many typos, and even though they were a bit distracting, I think it’s an easy fix. This book could easily have rated higher, and as a series, this has a ton of potential. Reviewed by Cyrene
Amy Shannon was a Feature Author in December 2016. Today she is back to tell us about her sequel to Smashed: A Savvy Macavoy Story. Uncaged: You were a Feature Author in Uncaged in December 2016. How was your experience with Uncaged? I enjoy my experience with Uncaged, as I am a Book Reviewer contributor. I believe that Uncaged is great exposure not just for authors and their work, but also the book reviewers. As both an author and book reviewer, I know the importance of reviews, and sharing our work with others, putting it out there to be critiqued, criticized, and even praised can be daunting. Uncaged: What have you been up to since you were a Feature Author? You are soon releasing the sequel to Smashed: A Savvy Macavoy Story. Can you tell readers more about this series? Since I was a featured authored, I have released my books “Fettering Shadows” (June 2017) and I rereleased my book “Contrary Measures” (October 2017). I continue to market the work I have already published, and future work. I am in the process of rebranding my entire Sars Springs Saga (now called the MOD Life Epic Saga, which has more than 65 volumes). I am proud to announce that the sequel to “Smashed: A Savvy Macavoy Story” will be released on June 9 (My birthday). It’s called “The Relic: A Savvy Macavoy Story.” The series (and I hope to bring more stories to it) is about Savvy Macavoy, a hippie-ish female private detective. She has a unique style, red hair with purple streaks with pigtail braids, colorful corduroys and linen shirts, and her brown sandals. In the first book, 46 | UncagedBooks.com
she meets Strick, a homeless veteran, who she takes in, feeds, and gives a job and home. They become fast friends and later, a couple. Leonard is Savvy’s best friend and office manager. He could be a lawyer, if he took the bar. The first case was “The case of the Missing Harold” where they were hired to find a wealthy woman’s dead (but preserved) husband. In the next story, they are hired by Mr. Stein to find his prized collectible, a skull, which he has to show that evil can truly be killed. It’s the case of “The Missing Dictator”, but there’s more to Mr. Stein than just being a client, and more to Savvy’s relationship with her brothers. Uncaged: You are also a heavy book reader and reviewer, how did you get started reviewing, and does it inspire your own writing? I started doing book reviews in 2014, when I met another author online, and she wanted to share her work with me. I shared mine with her and she enjoyed what she read, so she wrote a review. The two of us were planning on creating a blog to do our reviews, and expanding what we read. Unfortunately, she passed away and to honor her and the love we both had for reading and writing, I created a simple blog posting my reviews. Eventually I moved the blog, along with all the reviews I wrote, and created “Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews.” It was at first just reading work that I loved, and then as I got involved in writing the reviews, I realized I could expand by accepting requests. So, I continued on, posting my reviews on book buying sites, and my blog and Facebook. I have rules and requirements, but I review books of ANY genre, and from ANY author, though I specialize in Indie Authors, and support them whenever and however I can. The only way I can maintain and keep track of what I do, is to have my policies and rules followed. I also do not give any book under 3 stars, so if a book may not be a 3 star or above, I send it back to the author with an explanation. Uncaged: Tell us something unique about you. Besides being a writer and reviewer, I am also a single mother of (now) four adult boys (they probably want
me to call them men, but they’ll always be my boys). I am pursuing my MBA, but have a BA in English and MA in Adult Education. I homeschooled my youngest (twins) since 2015 and they will be graduating in June. When I write, I like to listen to vinyl records, and depending on what I’m writing depends on who I listen to, as I like Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Neil Diamond, James Taylor, Led Zeppelin, and sometimes, when I need to be reminded of my childhood, The Beatles, Patsy Cline or Knuckles O’Toole (He’s a Honky Tonk piano player). I like music as it inspires me, whether I’m reading or writing, the music is always in the background.
Amy Shannon is a storyteller, writer, poet, and blogger. Amy Shannon runs the book review blog “Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews,” which has become extremely popular for Indie authors and their books. She runs her own “author blog.” Amy Shannon is the author of over 100 stories, with more than half as part of different series or sagas. Once she falls in love with her characters, it’s hard to let go of them. http://writeramyshannon.wixsite.com/stories The Relic: A Savvy Macavoy Story Amy Shannon Mystery/Suspense Savvy Macavoy isn’t a typical private investigator, but she’s one of the best. Known for solving unique cases, she works alongside her partner and lover, Deklin Strickland “Strick” and her best friend, Leonard. Savvy is well-known, maybe too well-known to the NYPD, especially since she has what they refer to as an attitude, where she thinks it’s protecting her client’s privacy.
| AMY SHANNON | With her red hair with purple streaks and pig-tail braids, she tries to stay true to her hippie roots, and herself. Savvy and Strick get closer as they try to help Leonard, all while dealing with Savvy’s large band of brothers. And that’s just the beginning, especially when Mr. Stein hires Savvy to find something of great value to him, and so begins The Case of the Missing Dictator. Excerpt [Mr. Stein] waited for Savvy to sit and then he sat down. “I thought your name was Sunshine. That’s what Friend referred to you as.” “My full given name is Sunshine Rainbow Savvy Macavoy. I go by Savvy, but all my brothers still call me Sunshine. Do you know any of my other brothers?” “I do have a few paintings from your late brother, Cloud Dancer.” “I have one and it’s my prized possession,” she pointed to the painting on the far wall of the Agency. He turned his head slightly and nodded. “It’s very beautiful. I don’t know what Friend told you about me.” “Just that you two were close friends and that you were a collector. That’s all. The rest should come from you. He mentioned you needed my services. Let’s start from there. What do you need me to do for you?” He cleared his throat and focused on Savvy. “Ms. Macavoy, Friend was right. I am a collector. Sometimes I lend my collection to be on display at National Museum of Health and Medicine in Washington D.C.” “I never heard of it,” she flicked her eyes over to Strick. Strick instantly stood up and walked over to Savvy’s desk. He pulled up a chair to the side of her desk, where he could face both Mr. Stein and Savvy. “I’ve heard of it, but I’ve never been,” he sighed and looked at Savvy. “Sorry, but this sounds interesting. May I sit in? I guess I should have asked before.” Issue 23 | June 2018 |
2018 Promotion Special Purchase any ad valued at $20 and up in 2018 (starting with the February Issue of Uncaged Book Reviews) and receive a FREE rotating footer ad on the website the following month! The rotating ad will be seen on all pages of the website, and not be subject to adblockers and remain
“No, that’s fine. Mr. Stein, this is my partner, Mr. Strickland.” “Oh, yes, Friend has mentioned you as well. An Army vet, correct?” “Yessir. I was a sergeant in the Army, more like a company clerk slash MP, I’m sorry. It’s nice to meet you,” Strick shook his hand. “Strick, what do you know about this museum?” Savvy asked. “That it was created as a civil war Army Medical Museum and that there are interesting and unique collections, such as President Garfield’s vertebrae where the assassin’s bullet passed through. I really like American Presidential history. I didn’t mean to interrupt, but I know that some of the displays can be listed as morbid. I think it’s interesting and intriguing.” “Mr. Stein, why do you need me?” Savvy asked. “I, like the museum, have a unique collection. A few of my pieces are missing, but, one of my most treasured pieces has been stolen.” Savvy wrote down some notes, including Mr. Stein’s name on the top of the yellow legal pad. “What piece is it?” “The skull of Adolph Hitler,” he looked around the room to see if there was any type of reaction, but Savvy just nodded as she wrote it down.
onsite for 1 month!
Uncaged can design! Ad is 300px tall x 250px wide and linked to your choosing! Uncaged website has an average of 10-30,000 visitors per month!
48 | UncagedBooks.com
Don’t miss the first book in the series: Smashed - free on KindleUnlimited
Skye Andrews lives in Christchurch, New Zealand. She has written three books as part of an ongoing series
I am Terry Walker, Living with the torture killer & A disturbed mind Skyeâ€™s next project is a story based on true events called Dear Dad which is due to be released on Fathers Day 2018 .
Uncaged welcomes Skye Andrews Uncaged: What inspired you to write about a serial killer? What kind of research do you have to do for these types of stories? I initially wrote an article for the Serial Killer Magazine on different torture methods. I did the research for the article and once it was published I thought it would make a great book. Uncaged: What do you have coming up next that you can tell us about? I am working on something different at the moment. The story is based on true life and it is called Dear Dad. I am hoping to release it on Fathers Day this year. Uncaged: So far, your books are mostly shorter stories, are there plans to write a full length novel?
I would love to write a novel. I seem to have this weird writers block where I canâ€™t seem to turn short stories into novels. Uncaged: Do you read your reviews? What do you take away from them? I am always nervous before a review comes out. But I read every one of them and take into consideration what the reviewer has said about my work. I try to
50 | UncagedBooks.com
improve where I can based on the reviews. Uncaged: What is one of the nicest things someone has said to you about your books? I have had many great reviews and I love hearing nice things about my work. But I think the nicest was from Pacific Book Reviews: “What will be too much for some to handle also becomes what should be required reading by law enforcement and psychologists in order to know of the existance of people such as Walker exist and to learn some key elements in their behaviour patterns”. Uncaged: What is your favorite parts about being an author? What have you found to be the least favorite? My favorite part has got to be the day the book arrives on my doorstep finally finished and I can see my hard work in print. It is also a nice surprise when I see people reading one of my books. My least favorite part has to be marketing. Still working on how to do this.
Uncaged: What is the hardest part of a book to write? What is the easiest? From start to finish, how long does it take to finish a complete book? The hardest part has to be trying to make my short stories/novellas into novels. I haven’t figured out how to do this yet. The easiest is writing the story once I have the idea it just seems to flow onto the page. It can take several weeks to a month to complete a book as I go back and add to the story and edit it multiple times. Uncaged: What would you like to say to fans, and where can they follow you? I would like to say to my fans THANK YOU. It is hard to be an author and I appretiate every one of you who has taken time to give me feedback, reviews and ideas for upcoming stories.
Uncaged: What do you like to do when you aren’t writing? Where is one of your favorite places on Earth? I love to read. My favorite place on earth has got to be my bed, curled up with a good book and some snacks while I read.
Issue 23 | June 2018 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR |
Enjoy an excerpt from I am Terry Walker Please be aware, that this excerpt is shorter than what was sent in because it’s been edited for this magazine and it’s PG-13 rating. I am Terry Walker Skye Andrews Crime/Horror/Serial Killer For two decades Terry Walker killed his victims using various torture methods. How will they catch this sadistic killer? And what price will he pay for his crimes? This debut novella will have you on the edge of your seat as Terry Walker relives his 20 year crime spree. Excerpts Once she was concious I explained to her that she had to pay for her crimes, that being a whore was unacceptable in the eyes of the Lord and she had to atone to him. She screamed but I put a ball gag in her mouth to shut her up. Once she had quietened I told her I would remove it if she would stay quiet. She nodded her assent and while she was quiet I explained what I was gonna do. I held up a Heretic’s fork, it consisted of a length of metal with two opposed bi-pronged forks attached to a belt that went around the neck. This device is placed in between the breast bone and throat just under the chin I told her, when you finally succumb to sleep the prongs will piece your throat and chest. Stay quiet and still the more you fight the quicker fatigue will come on the faster you will die. ~~~~~ Each time she cried out with pain I felt a surge of 52 | UncagedBooks.com
energy in my loins, was I getting excited by this? I am going mad I thought, I’m not right in the head, this is turning me on. I remembered when I bought this property that behind the woods of the house about 2km away there was a river that ran behind this cabin. That would be perfect the water will wash away the sins. I couldn’t drive my car down there I would have to carry her, but she was so small and fragile it wouldn’t take much energy to carry her there. I had been so lost in my own thoughts that I didn’t realise I was hungry until my stomach started to complain, next time I should bring down a picnic hamper I thought to myself, so I don’t miss anything. I leaned over and told her not to go to sleep while I was gone, I wanted to see her die. I raced up the stairs to make myself a sandwich as quick as I could so I could come back down and continue my vigil. She begged for food when she saw me eating but I refused that would give you energy to stay awake I said we can’t have that. Sobbing again and pleading for food and her loved ones my mind once again turned back to how to dispose of the body when this was finally over. I was looking forward to the end, I wanted to know what would happen when the time came and she was finally dead. The suspense was so intense I thought a couple of times I should just slam her head down and get it over and done with, but I had to be patient, I could wait this out. As long as I had food and something to drink I could hold out as long as it takes. ~~~~~ Exhausted I dragged myself upstairs and dropped onto the couch, within seconds I was asleep. I woke up and it was dark, night time again. Had this all been a dream, a wonderful realistic dream? One way to find out was to head down to the basement and see. I slowly walked down the stairs, and getting halfway down I could smell copper. It was real. I slowly approached the chair where she was, the blood under it congealing and wondered what I was going to do next, I enjoyed this and I wanted to continue, I didn’t want to get caught now. Running upstairs I pawed through the cupboards looking for
| SKYE ANDREWS | something to put her in, there was nothing big enough, how could I have overlooked this I thought to myself. It suddenly came to me, the shower curtain. Next time I will need a tarp I thought to myself. I wrapped up the chair and girl, leaving the fork were it was and tied it up with rope. Under the cover of darkness I dragged and carried my macabre bundle down to the river and dropped it in. It didnâ€™t sink or move like I thought it might and fear washed over me as I had to come up with another way. I opened up the bundle and untied the girl from the chair and threw her into the river, she was soon moving downstream which came as a massive relief. Walking back to the cabin with shower curtain and chair in tow it was time to clean up.
Uncaged reviewed I am Terry Walker in the November 2017 issue and the second book in the series, Living With a Torture Killer in March, 2018. The latest book, A Disturbed Mind is reviewed in this issue in the review section.
Issue 23 | June 2018 |
Born and raised among the rolling hills of western Pennsylvania, P.J. MacLayne still finds inspiration for her books in that landscape. She is a computer geek by day and a writer by night who currently lives in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. When she’s not in front of a computer screen, she might be found exploring the back roads of the nearby national forests and parks. In addition to the Free Wolves’ stories, she is also the author of the Oak Grove series.
Uncaged welcomes P.J. MacLayne Uncaged: Can you tell readers more about The Free Wolves series? How many books are you planning for this series, or is it open-ended? The first book in the series, Wolves’ Pawn, was originally written as a stand-alone story. I had no plans to make it a series. In fact, I was deep into writing the second book of my mystery series, The Oak Grove Mysteries, when a minor character from Wolves’ Pawn started nagging me to tell her story. And that’s where Wolves’ Knight came from. But I couldn’t leave drop it after two books. And Wolves’ Gambit happened. And I see the potential for more. How many, I’m not sure. Especially as each story is a stand-alone with only a vague underlining story arch. But at some time I’m going to run out of chess terms to use in the titles and I’m not sure what will happen then!
56 | UncagedBooks.com
the others can help me make my writing stronger. Uncaged: What is one of the nicest things someone has said to you about your books? It’s hard to pick out just one. Reviewers who say things like “best in the genre” and “couldn’t put it down” or “I loved this book!” make my day and put a smile on my face. But I think the best compliments come from other authors who like my writing. Uncaged: What is your favorite parts about being an author? What have you found to be the least favorite? I love writing “the end” when I finish the first draft of a story. The feeling of accomplishment helps prepare me for the next step which is my least favoriteediting. But I want my books to be the best I can make them for my readers, so editing is important. Uncaged: What do you like to do when you aren’t writing? Where is one of your favorite places on Earth? Uncaged: What do you have coming up next that you can tell us about? My next book is another one in my mystery series, tentatively titled “The Contessa’s Brooch.” It’s in its beginning stages, but I’m already finding twists and turns in the plot that will keep the reader guessing until the end. Uncaged: You are an attending author at Wild Deadwood Reads this year. What are you looking forward to the most from this convention? This will be my first convention with other authors, and I’m looking forward to making new friends and talking to other people who share my passion for writing. Uncaged: Do you read your reviews? What do you take away from them? Absolutely! Both the good ones and the not-so-good ones. The good ones encourage me to keep writing and
I like exploring the back roads of the Rocky Mountains, going places few people ever get to see. I keep finding new favorite places! But my most favorite place is the Beartooth Pass/Chief Joseph Highway in the Beartooth Mountains. Uncaged: What is the hardest part of a book to write? What is the easiest? From start to finish, how long does it take to finish a complete book? For me, the hardest part of the book to write is the first chapter. Finding the “right” place to start, introducing or re-introducing characters without boring the reader, and setting the stage for the rest of the story is a challenge. The easiest part is the middle, when I’ve hit my stride and the pieces of the story are starting to fall into place. That’s normally about the spot where I ask myself “Is there enough story to make this a book?” But there is, and I can breathe a sigh of Issue 23 | June 2018 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | relief as I get closer to the end and tie up any loose sub-plots. Total time for writing a book, including editing, can be anywhere from six months to a year. Uncaged: What would you like to say to fans, and where can they follow you? I’d like to say a simple but heartfelt “thank you” to any fans that might be reading this.
Enjoy an excerpt from Wolves’ Gambit Wolves’ Gambit P.J. MacLayne Paranormal/Shifters Wolf-shifter Lori Grenville was rescued from near-slavery and a brutal pack leader by the Free Wolves. To pay back the favor, she’s dedicated her life to helping others in the same situation, leading shifters to safety and a new start, risking her life in the process. She’s faced down alphas and has no qualms in undermining pack structure. Now she’s challenged with the task of restoring an alpha to his rightful place. If she gets it right, she can stop a war from ripping apart two packs and spreading across an entire state. If she fails, she’ll be among the first to die. There’s still the option of walking away and letting the Jaeger and Destin packs destroy each other. That means she’ll fail in her original mission of rescuing the daughter of the Jaeger alpha before the girl is forced into marriage for political gain. Lori hasn’t failed in a mission yet. This one may be the exception. 58 | UncagedBooks.com
Wolves’ Gambit is the third book in the Free Wolves series, but each book can be read as a stand-alone. Excerpt She had the bar locked up for the night when she detected voices outside. She’d even sent Steve home, although he’d offered to stay. A foolish move on her part, but she didn’t want to turn the attack into a civil war within the pack. Besides, it was only speculation that the attack would be that night. The voices could easily be some kids out for a midnight stroll. Still, she dropped to the floor and crawled over to the light switches. With the room darkened, she gained an advantage. She could use her other’s heightened sense of sight without actually shifting. Unfortunately, that meant anyone keeping an eye on the bar knew her location. Not for long. Bending low, she scurried over to the window and peeked outside. The lights in the parking lot revealed the shapes of six men. Two or three of them she recognized. They’d been the worst troublemakers in the bar when she first took it over. They’d stopped showing up after Hyrum objected to their bullying tactics. “Come out, come out, wherever you are,” one taunted. “Hand over the Destin and we won’t hurt you,” another called, slurring his words. “Much!” yelled a third. He was met with scattered laughter from the rest of the group. Lori didn’t find him funny. If they were drunk, their behavior would be more unpredictable. Bad for her. She wondered if they knew about the gun behind the bar, her ace-in-the-hole. She’d never resorted to using the short-stock sawed-off double shotgun before, but there was a first for everything. The real benefit of the weapon came in the special ammo she’d bought. To the casual observer, it appeared to be regular birdshot, but each bead contained pure silver. Not enough to kill a shifter, but a well-placed shot could put one down until each pellet was removed. She double-checked the lock on the front door and wrestled the nearest table in front of it. Its legs
screeched against the floor, protesting. There wasn’t much she could do about the back door other than lock it. On her way to the back, she made a detour to grab the gun. As she turned the lock, the front door rattled. “Let us in, little human, or we’ll huff and we’ll puff and we’ll blow your house down.” A roar of laughter followed. Hilarious. Lori wondered how drunk the men were. But she had others to worry about. Steve hadn’t been sure he’d reached Eugene. He hadn’t received an acknowledgment. She wasn’t sure if that was good or bad. If Eugene and his guards showed up, they’d help even the odds. If they chose to fight at all. On the other hand, she didn’t want Eugene injured or killed in a battle not of his making. Did she dare to drop her cover and try to reach him? One other person might be willing to help. Hyrum was closer; but riskier. She had no way to disguise her mind-voice, but would he identify it as hers? She didn’t even consciously make the decision before she opened her mind. A torrent of voices overwhelmed her. She’d expected the pack members to be asleep, but instead everyone seemed to be shouting at the top of their ‘voices.’ Lori caught excitement and fear and puzzlement and rage in the brief moment before she quieted the hubbub. What was going on? Telepathy worked so much better if the initial connection was established face to face, but Lori didn’t have that luxury. She opened her mind again, filtering out the voices of women and children. Still, how would she find Hyrum among all the men? Did she dare send out a blanket call for help? And would it even be heard among the confusion? Pounding on the back door broke her trance. “Lori! Let me in!” Instinct dictated her response. “Get out of here, Eugene, before they hear you.” “Open the door, Grenville.” A surge of power swept over her. She reached for the lock to follow its orders. At the last second, she shook herself free from the compulsion. “I’ll deal with this. Go away, Eugene.” He threw himself against the door. It creaked
| P.J. MACLAYNE | and the window shook but held. “Let me in!” he demanded. A second blow might tear the door apart, leaving her more vulnerable. She unlocked and opened it. Eugene rushed in, knocking her down in the process. He slammed the door shut and locked it before helping her to her feet. “Where are your guards?” she asked. “Trying to find help.” “What’s going on in the village?” “No idea. We’ve got bigger problems here.” A rock crashed through the front window. The shattered glass tinkled as it hit the floor. “This is your last chance, human,” called one of the men. “We can’t wait for help,” she said to Eugene. “You need to fight as your wolf. Slip outside and circle around so you can attack them from their rear. I’ll hold them off in here.” She lifted the gun in a salute. “First blood wins.” A slow grin spread across his face. “I like this version of you.” His bones popped and crackled, the air shimmered and he was other. She opened the door for him and he slipped into the night. “Good hunting,” she whispered and she turned the lock. “Good hunting,” echoed back to her. She’d forgotten to close her mind to mental speech. Had Eugene known or was his response a force of habit? She closed the connection as a wolf crashed through the broken window. With a smooth motion, she swung the shotgun to her shoulder. Without taking time to aim, she squeezed the trigger. The recoil pushed her against the wall, which held her up. The wolf, still advancing, snarled and tightened the muscles in his hindquarters. Lori didn’t have time to figure out his plan of attack. She fired the second barrel. He dropped to the floor, whined, and crawled under a table. She retrieved two more shells from her pocket and reloaded. Outside, a lone wolf howled. It echoed in the night but received no answer. Surely Eugene hadn’t taken down an enemy already? Or had he abandoned her? Issue 23 | June 2018 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | With her back against the wall, she took a deep breath and braced herself for another attack. An oppressive silence, broken only by her breathing and the soft whimpering of the wolf she’d shot, blanketed the bar. Lori jerked her head, trying to shake a few stray hairs away from her eyes. She didn’t dare loosen her grip on the gun. Then two wolves, side by side, emerged from the darkness outside and hurtled through the window frame. A third followed. The first two paced towards her shoulder to shoulder. When she pulled the trigger, the scatter of one shot hit both of them. One stumbled for a fraction of a second, but didn’t stop. In two steps, they’d be on her. She fired again, the recoil pushing her hard against the wall. The double damage at close range forced them back. One limped to the window and crawled out. The other sought refuge behind the bar. She still had the third wolf to deal with and empty chambers. She broke open the gun and dumped the spent casings. They clattered to the floor, rolling towards the center of the room. The last wolf gathered himself for his onrush. Her hands shaking, Lori pulled more ammo from her pocket. One slipped from her fingers and rattled to the floor. There was no time to get another. She dropped the lone round in the chamber. A surge of power hit them, demanding compliance. To what? It staggered her and the wolf paused and shook his head, swatting his ear like he’d been bitten by a horsefly. She regained her balance first. The power didn’t feel like Eugene’s, but the distraction gave her the time needed to finish loading. She’d figure out who released it later. The wolf shuddered, snarled, and backed up a few steps. Lori slid the bolt closed and raised the shotgun to her shoulder. What was he waiting for? A chorus of howls shattered the silence. They sang of safety and peace. The last wolf dropped to the floor, rolled over and exposed his belly. Lori fought the urge to lower the gun but lost. 60 | UncagedBooks.com
Uncaged Review Although this book is the third book in a series, it held up on it’s own well, and can definitely be read as a standalone. Lori has made it her life’s work to rescue shifters that are in abusive situations within their packs. Being able to hide her scent from other shifters, most believe she’s human and not a threat. When she takes on running a shifter bar as her cover so she can rescue the daughter of a corrupt alpha and bring the rightful alpha back to lead a pack, all hell will break lose before the end. There is plenty of action for the action lovers, and this is definitely not one of the typical shifter books that have flooded the market. The author brings in a refreshing concept and a fiesty and strong heroine. I personally prefer more romance and a bit more heat in my reads, but the right two people were put together. I look forward to more from this author, and when I get some extra time, the other books in this series are now on my TBR list. Reviewed by Cyrene
| FANG-FREAKIN-TASTIC FEATURE AUTHOR |
J.c. Michael J. C. Michael is an English writer of Horror and Dark Fiction. His novel, “Discoredia”, was released by Books of the Dead Press in 2013, and he has since seen a number of short stories published in various anthologies. These have included the best selling Collected Christmas Horror Shorts, and Collected Easter Horror Shorts, compiled and published by Kevin Kennedy. Michael and Kennedy also co-authored the novella, “You Only Get One Shot”, recently reviewed by Fang-Freakin-Tastic for Uncaged Book Reviews https:// issuu.com/cyreneolson/ docs/uncaged_book_reviews_issue22
Field Of Battle” featuring in their music themed anthology “Savage Beasts”, and it’s particularly exciting for him to be working with them again. Taking his inspiration from Stephen King and James Herbert his writing frequently explores the dark side of human nature where moral boundaries are questioned, and the difference between good and evil is far from clear. These themes are explored in the two stories Michael has had published with Pint Bottle Press in their Double Barrel Horror series, a sample of which can be read below: Double Barrel Horror Anthology Horrory
and Matthew Weber!
The entire series is now available in a single collection, featuring twelve terrifying tales from six twisted authors! Get a double dose of nightmares from Amanda Hard, K. Trap Jones, Vic Kerry, J.C. Michael, The Sisters of Slaughter
Excerpt 2018 will soon see the release of Michael’s latest short story, “The Immortal Dead”, in Simon Dewar’s anthology “Suspended In Dusk II” from Grey Matter Press, scheduled for release on the 10th of July. Grey Matter are a press he has worked with before, his story “When Death Walks The 62 | UncagedBooks.com
That was the first time I met Satan in person, and I have seen him since, always hiding behind other faces, but visible to me. He appears so as to taunt me, yet I would not pretend to understand why I was chosen in that way. The second time was a couple of years after the war. I was drinking a lot at the time, a direct result of my experience in the camp, and had been in the local boozer since opening time. A thickset man at the other end of
| J.C. MICHAEL | the bar had been there as long as I. He must have had twice the drink as me, and I’d had far too much. As I sat and watched I caught sight of the face behind the mask. I saw the jet black eyes, and the scarred face that now bore the burn marks of our previous meeting. Drunk as I was, I followed him when he left the pub, not that he noticed. When he reached what I assumed to be his home he tried the door and found it locked. As he began to hammer on the door, I swear I could see the moonlight cast the shadow of wings upon the ground. “Let me in, you bitch!” he shouted. “Get your arse down here and open up this door afore I kick the bastard in!” I moved closer as curtains twitched along the street. A woman appeared in the window above the door. “Sleep it off in the shed, Jack.” He stood back. “You bitch,” and kicked the door in. For more information on his writing please find him on Facebook, or take a look at his author profile on Amazon which links to all of his published work. https://www.amazon.com/J-C-Michael/e/B00AX8BFIK https://www.facebook.com/james.c.michael1
Don’t miss these titles:
Issue 23 | June 2018 |
Uncaged Reviews The Forever Girl
Rebecca Hamilton New Adult/Paranormal A cult. A murder. A curse. At twenty-two, practicing Wiccan Sophia Parsons is scratching out a living waiting tables in her Rocky Mountain hometown, a pariah after a string of unsolved murders with only one thing in common: her.
Uncaged Review: I’ve read several books by this author, and I really enjoy her style of writing. A very unique look at the world of vampires and weres, in this story they are known as the Cruor and the Strigoi and there are other “elementals” in the magic mix. Sophia begins her journey learning on who she is, and why some very powerful people are after her. In the beginning, I had mixed feelings on Sophia, I felt she was selfish, stubborn and immature. But what I did see, was a lot of growing up that she did within the story. She got to where she needed to be and I was rooting her on eventually. The romance was a bit on the strange side for me. I knew it was coming, but it went from zero to a well-established relationship without seeing it evolve, maybe because the book is told from Sophia’s point-of-view. The action sequences were great and Sophia comes into her own and becomes a valued member instead of a handicap and it was fun watching her get there. This book does not leave on a typical tense cliff-hanger, but it sets up well for book two. Reviewed by Cyrene This book is a free read on her website: https://www.rebeccahamilton.com/free-books
66 | UncagedBooks.com
The Man Who Needs You Mia Mae Lynne Contemporary Romance It’s all fun and games until the man you’re after marries another woman. And the man who needs you shows up at that wedding. For Katie Pennington Leigh, love and family seemed to be out of her cards until a crazy woman teases her with a future she never thought she’d want. Uncaged Review: This is the fifth book in a series, so I was actually coming into this series a bit blind. It does hold up well as a standalone, and I wasn’t lost, but I didn’t know the characters as well as I could have, had I read the first books. With that said, I didn’t like Katie in the first few chapters, but she did grow on me as I read along. I wasn’t very attached to Jack either, as times he seemed understanding, and then be quite demanding – but I loved Jack’s two daughter’s right away. This is a nice love story of two people on different ends of the social spectrum and both needing each other more than they know. I felt a little detached, I was never fully immersed in the story, maybe because it was a dialog-driven story, but I did enjoy my time in their lives. Nicely done, and when I have a bit more time, I’m planning on revisiting some of the earlier books in the series. Reviewed by Cyrene
Chaos Among the Vines Gemma Brocato Contemporary Romance Through a fortunate series of events, Will Bradford’s winery hits the map in a huge way, with demand far outpacing production. After months of chaos and unmanageable growth he decides to bring in a specialist to help him get organized.
Uncaged Review: This steamy romance was a fun read. It would be a good beach read for the summer. I’ll start off with my only complaint, and it is a personal one. The people in the seem to like the smug, conceited, silly smile or leer called a smirk. It seems to be a very popular word but is one which grates on my nerves. Once, maybe twice in a book is more than enough for me. Needless to say it was more than that in the book. With that said, the smirks didn’t take away from the story. You have Avalon, a tightly wound efficiency expert. She is so connected that she has a smart watch, her iphone, ipad and lsptop. The first two are attached to her almost all the time. Then there is Will, the owner of a vineyard called Rolling in the Clover. He is the exact opposite of Avalon (Ava). The other characters are Guin-Ava’s mother, DrakeWill’s Accountant and friend, Penny-Drake’s sister and pursuer of Will, Jared-Will’s father whose vineyard failed, Meg- Jared’s old secretary and Will’s until he discovers she is embezzling from him, BethAva’s best friend and masseuse. The story opens with Guin showing up at Ava’s apartment. Ava know something is amiss and soon discovers her mother stole (Guin calls it borrowed) from her last employer when a man she calls Bad-Ass shows up demanding money, a lot of money to the tune of $240,000. Ava has just been assigned to work with Will to become better organized and more efficient. Ava sells a lot of her things and gives a down payment on her mother’s debt before applying for a loan to pay the rest. She ends up taking her mother with her for the job at Rolling in the Clover to protect her from being found by Bad-Ass, the man sent to collect the money from Guin.
Ava thought Will was attractive in his picture on his website, but in person he is so much more. She also discovers his business is a total mess even though he is successful. He has a large order to be filled but can’t seem to stay on task. It is while she is attempting to streamline the office that they discovers Meg’s perfidy. At that point, Will is trying to get Ava to let her hair down, literally and figuratively. Meg did more than embezzle. She set him up so he wouldn’t be able to fulfill a big order, leading to failure. Guin discovers the depth of Meg’s sabotage of the business when she takes over the office when Will has Meg arrested. The rift between Will and his father, Jared widens when Jared wants Will to drop the charges against Meg until Will suggests he have Drake go through his past finances because Meg hinted at stealing from Jared, her former employer until Jared’s vineyard failed. Meanwhile, Penny is attempting to claim Will as hers, Beth is telling Ava to loosen up, and Ava and Will are finding an attraction between them they can’t deny. The characters are dynamic and the storyline keeps you reading to discover what goes wrong next. The sizzling attraction between Ava and Will grows and Guin decides to go the straight and narrow while becoming friends with Will’s mother and other female friends. It does have a happy ending, but getting there was a lot of fun. If you like your romance with hot sex and characters you won’t forget, you have it here Reviewed by Barbara.
Issue 23 | June 2018 |
Uncaged Reviews Dressage Dreaming Kimberly Beckett Contemporary Romance Michael Stafford was on top of the world. A proud member of the British Olympic Dressage Team and Olympic gold medalist, his life was perfect. Then, he lost his mount, his fiancée left him for another man, and now his brother has been arrested for manslaughter. He believes his luck has turned when he learns that a beautiful and talented stallion is available in Germany, just in time to compete in the next World Cup competition. The horse’s name is Tempest. Uncaged Review: I’m always happy to read a book when it centers around horses and this one did not disappoint. The characters are well developed and the romance develops nicely between our two main characters. For different reasons, both Michael and Jessica need a horse named Tempest, a talented stallion that could bring their careers back to the International level, and the seller agrees to send the stallion to Michael’s farm for both him and Jessica to work with before he makes the decision who to sell to. But neither counted on falling in love... As a debut novel, the author has given nice depth to the characters and it’s easy to believe you are a spectator in the book instead of reading it. Reviewed by Cyrene
68 | UncagedBooks.com
Lost Protector Maggie Mundy SciFi/Paranormal Angels and demons are not what you think. They are aliens, and the Midworlders are their representatives on Earth. Soren is a Midworlder who has no memory of his past. His present life is one of torture where the alien Liliath experiments on him. Anne is a young woman who has never fitted in. All her life she has had dreams of angels. When she is kidnapped, she is offered an escape by Soren. Can she trust him when he has visions of death and murder? On the run from her kidnappers, the two of them will have to overcome their differences or the future of the whole world will be at stake. Uncaged Review: In a battle of humans and angels. If you throw in some demonic angels things will get messy. Soren a half breed is about to battle for his life when he goes on a mission to find out who he really is. This is book three in this series but is a standalone story focusing on Soren and his life. I came into this series without reading the other book’s before. It is a easy read and you can pick up on the story and characters very easy. I really enjoyed this book and may go back to the other two books in the series.. Reviewed by Jennifer
Off the Grid for Love Rena Koontz Romantic Suspense
Jake Manettia, an undercover FBI agent working a public corruption case, stumbles into an opportunity to infiltrate the city’s largest mob organization. That’s not the only fall he takes after witnessing a bank robbery and meeting the beautiful and spirited teller behind the counter.
Uncaged Review: When you first meet Jake, you think, okay, this is going to end up being a motorcycle gang book. Wrong. It is a wonderful, thrilling suspencful romance with a goodly number of action scenes and characters you boo or root for during the book. McKenna McElroy is the lead character. She goes by Kenna and has secrets she attempts to hide. The main one being how her exboyfriend Arthur cleaned her out by taking everything but her clothes and makeup from the apartment they shared. Along with that, he also locked all her accounts so she couldn’t discover he had taken all her money and credit cards, leaving her destitute. The book opens with a bank robbery and Kenna is the teller. The only thing she is sure of is the gun the man was holding and his green eyes. Everything else if fuzzy. When the police and FBI are finished with her, she goes to the mall to to kill some time until Aurther is gone. Once there, she goes to a coffee shop, hoping the coffee will help her nerves. She had no idea Arthur was a cheater along with being vindictive. She noticed Jake or Motorcycle Man as they both left the bank. When he shows up at the coffee shop, she believes he is following her. By the time they finish talking, he is now Jake the Jerk. Afraid he is like Athur, she is willing to deal with her professional and personal life falling apart by herself. That was soldified when Courtney, Jake’s partner shows up. Even
so, Kenna is attracted to him. As the book moves on, you discover Jake is an FBI agent who is helping with a corruption case along with infiltrating the Cabacolli syndicate after rescuing, Vinnie, the heir apparent to the syndicate, when he runs his car off into a lake. Jake runs across Kenna at the grocery store, but Vinnie shows up and cuts into his converstation with Kenna. Jake warns her stay away from Vinnie while attempting to make her aware that she can trust him. As you can tell, things go from bad to worse. Kenna is robbed two more times, her boss tries to rape her and she ends up kidnapped by Vinnie. Jake does what he can to keep Kenna safe after he realizes he loves the woman who he believes might be part of the robberies. Meanwhile, Kenna is unsure of which side of the law Jake is on, but she keeps believing he is one of the good guys from what he doesn’t say. This book was a lot of fun as there were so many twists and turns you kept turning the pages to find out what was going to happen next. Even in the darkest hours for Kenna, you hope Agent Crews and Jake find the information which proves she wasn’t helping the band robbers. Even though I knew there was going to be a happy ending, I had to get through all the trials and tribulations to get there. It was a fun read which showed how not all bikers belong to gangs and can be the good guy without being nasty or condesceding, which was refreshing. This book was a definite 5 stars. I spent almost a whole day reading, wanting to find out more about Jake and Kenna. My only complaint was the need for another run through to catch the last of the errors. A missing word or messed up sentence does pull me from the story, but with this book it was easy to fill in the missing word and move on without being totally pulled into reality. Reviewed by Barbara
Issue 23 | June 2018 |
Uncaged Reviews Upon Borken Wings
E.L. Reedy & A.M. Wade Fantasy/Gay/YA Bound by a dark act of hate and despair, high school freshmen, Andrew and Kiernan, learn that their untimely deaths did not bring an end to their pain, but only began the suffering of those left behind. While his lost memories return, Andrew must master seemingly impossible feats, both spiritual and physical. Uncaged Review: Love, hate, bullying, anger, sadness, hope, loss and everlasting happiness. This book is marketed as a LGBTQ Young Adult, and it is that, but it’s so much more. This is not a light read, it’s a book that will have you feeling the full gambit of emotions as you get through it. Don’t be frightened off the gay label on this, this isn’t about sex, it’s about love and acceptance. The beginning trudges a bit slowly, and the losses that one boy must face seem insurmountable - and the deaths of both Andrew and Kiernan is not the end of their story - but just a step on a different path. The book jumps a bit, so it loses it’s rhythm in places, but the emotions that the authors take you on are real, and a powerful message of acceptance and hope. After the roller coaster ride of emotions that I went through throughout the book, I felt a sense of peace at the end. Well done. Reviewed by Cyrene
Bloodline Origins Iuliana Foos Paranormal
Determined to turn her fantasy into reality, Ana starts her journey to become a vampire. Along the way, she learns the truth about their secret society, discovers her prestigious bloodline, and falls in love. Not all vampires are accepting of humans and war looms in the shadows. An ancient tome reveals the vampires’ alien descent and sparks war. Uncaged Review: This is a very nicely done vampire book that breaks out with a very original take on the lore - even though I have read books that have touched on the “alien lore” of the vampire race, this one has also pulled in some traditional folklore that adds so much more dimension to the story. As an author’s debut novel, this is quite impressive. One of our main characters, Ana has never felt like she fit in anywhere, and coming out of an abusive relationship, she’s very untrusting. When her dreams finally have a chance to become reality, Ana finally feels something is right - until she meets Prince Andre. Ana will find her true self in this book and the author keeps it interesting. This book does not leave you on a major cliffhanger, but sets up beautifully for the next book in the series and I’m looking forward to it. Reviewed by Cyrene
70 | UncagedBooks.com
Cindy Tomamichel Historical Fantasy/Time Travel A portal closed for 2,000 years. An ancient religion twisted by modern greed. A love that crosses the centuries. An ancient druid pendant shows archaeologist Janet visions of Roman soldier Trajan. The visions are of danger, death, and love—but are they a promise or a curse?
Uncaged Review: The book opens with a man in robes entering the museum as Hugh, the local constable and Janet, an archeologist and museum curator watch. They follow him and watch as he opens a casket from a case and takes what it contains as a dark cloud with sparkles begins to envelop him while beasts are snapping with slavering jaws behind him. Janet grabs the chain the man is holding only to have it break off at the darkness as the man disappears. Neither Janet nor Hugh understand what happened. All Janet knew was the man was taking more things from the museum, putting it closer to being shuttered. The man had the key to the museum, so it had to be someone they knew. Janet examines the gold pendant she rescued from the robed man. It had a stylized tree on it with dots and symbols indicating it was in the old language of Ogham of the druids. She begins to have weird visions as she holds the pendant where she is at Hadrian’s wall, only it is fresh and new looking instead of in pieces. She feels danger, hatred, death, and love as she is pulled to a battlefield where she see only shadows before returning to the museum. She tells Hugh she is fine, not wanting to tell him about what she saw. She hides the episodes as they continue, each one more explicit than the last as she watches the battle unfold until only one person is left standing. She learns the man she saw fighting was commander Tajan Aurelius, the cousin of Marcus Aurelius. Janet wants to help him, but stays in her time to learn as much as she could about the time period in the area while trying to find the man in the robe. She wishes her ex-boyfriend, Daman was there to translate the Ogham which seems to connect the pendant to Roman times and the Druids. It was his area of exper-
tise. When she does go to the time period where the Romans and Celts are warring, she ends up landing atop of Tajan on a sacrificial slab. She plays like she is a Goddess and is upset with the Celts who end up running away. She rescues Tajan and they run back to the Wall and safety even though Tajan has multiple wounds from the battle he had fought. Janet finds a job at the bathhouse and meets Tajan again. She offers to work with him to find a Druid the locals are calling ‘the stealer of souls’. As I’m sure you have guessed by now, Daman is the man in the robes and is the chief Druid and the stealer of souls. He is using modern technology to make the Celts afraid of him and to keep his supporter with him. I’ll not give a spoiler here, other than to say the real Druids end up helping Janet and Tajan and give her the secret to the pendant. When I started to read this book, my first thought was it was another time shifter novel to slog through. Only I didn’t slog through it. The book had several twists and turns even though it was somewhat predictable. The author kept you wondering what was going to happen next and how they were going to catch Daman who believed Tajan was going to die and he would be able to sacrifice Janet to Bridgette, the God he believes will save him and become all powerful and control the known world. I loved the use of the wall and the Romans since that is a historical period in Scotland I enjoyed studying. The descriptions of the Roman fort were within the time period along with the dress of the Celts and Romans. I could almost feel like I was there with the realistic visuals the author wrote. I highly recommend this if you like any form of time travel books. It is different enough to keep you turning the pages to see what is going to happen. This book gets five stars from me for the enjoyment I had while reading and not wanting it to end as I followed Janet and Tajan, hoping Daman got his just dues. Reviewed by Barbara
Issue 23 | June 2018 |
Uncaged Reviews Passions Out of Time
A Disturbed Mind
Chris Lange SciFi/Time Travel
Now that Lord Garrett Burnes has proposed, Tracy can finally be happy. But some people have decided otherwise. They’re all against her, even an old enemy she believed out of her world. He’s back, and he wants something from her. Thrown back into a different universe, hunted by an immortal, betrayed by her father and by the man she loves, she’ll need all her courage to confront them all. Uncaged Review: Garrett is from the 19th century Tracy from the modern world. They love each other with a hot passion if their sexual activity is to be believed in this book. But things arise that cost them problems. I haven’t read any of these books before so I was coming into this series a new reader. This is book three in the series it was a okay read. I kind of want to read the others to see if there’s as much sexual activity in these as there was in this one. One thing I do wish is there was a little more action in them. So this is why I’m only giving this book three stars in my review.. Reviewed by Jennifer
Skye Andrews Crime/Horror Short
Follow Terry Jnr on his journey. His father Terry Walker was the infamous torture killer while his mother Phillpa McDonald was a captive of Terry Walker who eventually made a name
How can this young man with parents such as this grow up and interact with those around him. Find out in Book 3 of this series. Uncaged Review: This book is the third book in the Terry Walker series, and you really need to read the first two, before settling down with this one. In this book, the son of the serial killer is finding his way in this world, but he slowly begins down a very dark path, working for a man he only knows as K to be a hired killer. But Terry Jr. seems to enjoy the killing a bit too much.... I did not see the substance in this short as I did with the first two books. I felt like there could have been a lot more meat added to this one, to give the reader more of a connection with Terry and to feel what he felt - which was more prominent in the first two books. Still, this is a hard subject to write and read, and the author does a nice job with it, I just wanted more. Reviewed by Cyrene
72 | UncagedBooks.com
Between Venus & Mars S.C. Mitchell SciFi
Once Upon a Galaxy . . . Zana Starchild is on a mission to restore her tribe’s livestock and save herself from one more meal of kelp. Sure, it’s technically illegal to visit Old Earth, but to a rim rat like Zana, galactic laws are really just guidelines. Her wrecked starship just means she’ll need to use her backup plan to get off the abandoned world, an old Earth legend her uncle passed down to her.
Uncaged Review: This is the second of the Soul Mate Tree books I’ve had the pleasure to review and the third in the series. You will need to obtain a book to read the poem about the tree, but the premise is the tree will gift you with your soul mate if you believe. (Too bad one doesn’t really exist.) Chapter one opens with Zana Starchild from Konga 10, a rim world, piloting a TRS-90 starship. Her uncle had salvaged the ship after it crashed on their planet and the pilot died. Zana is using the ship to get to old Earth. She is accosted by pirates at the last jump point. They let her go when they scan the ship only to discover she is telling them the truth when she said the ship wasn’t worth the time to steal. Zana crash lands on Earth. Her uncle Onwin sent her there to get cells from animals so they could restart the herds which had been stolen by another group leaving their clan to starve on a planet which was mostly ice and snow. Her uncle had also told her about the Soul Mate Tree which had sent him to their planet where he stayed after falling in love with his wife. One major problem her uncle warned her about was the roo gangs, who were dangerous fast breeding creatures. But she needs to find livestock and obtains cells to save her planet with or without roo. After touchdown, which was more of a crash, Zana gets to work finding animals, hoping the repair droid could
make the ship fly again to get her back to her planet. She keeps thinking about the tree her uncle had told her about, thinking she could use a nice stud to help her. Meanwhile, Kyle Kepler, a Galactic Marshal, is due for a long vacation. He thinks about calling a girl he had met, but realizes it would only be a short relationship as most women wouldn’t put up with his schedule. He goes home and decides to take an old fashioned shower before going to bed. Back with Zana, she is having success with finding pigs, chickens and cattle, a wild turkey and elk. She is looking for sheep when she is startled by a voice saying, “Hello hummie.” It is a roo gang and they want her for dinner. These are kangaroos who have mutated to be able to speak and reason after residual radiation sped up their evolution. She has reason to be afraid of the slow witted creatures as they were very strong but they musculature changed to where they were slow, so Zana hopes to be able to outrun the group. Zana races away from the roos who follow her up a hill to a tree. She believes it’s the Soul Mate tree her uncle Onwin told her about and believes she is about to meet the man of her dreams. She puts her hands on the tree, but instead of being transported elsewhere, a man who is naked with white stuff in his hair shows up. He is large and well-muscled, not that Zana is interested. Kyle snaps at her, telling her how teleporting sentient beings is against galatic law before the roos notice there are two of them. When Kyle asks where they are, she tells him old Earth. Okay, you now have the set up for a fun book where Kyle and Zana go back and forth with the should I or shouldn’t I while attempting to stay safe from the roos and getting her ship to running so they can get off Old Earth and back to civilization. Of course, things don’t go smoothly. Kyle at first believes she is a criminal until he discovers she is here to save her clan on a rim planet. Kyle curses out the government who hadn’t come through to help the people on Konga 10, vowing
Issue 23 | June 2018 |
Uncaged Reviews have the rim planets visited more frequently. Even though Kyle classifies Zana as a rim rat, he comes to respect her and her unorthodox beliefs and ways. The longer they are together, the closer the couple become. This is a book filled with scenes where you laugh and root for Zana and Kyle. It becomes the haves and have nots and Kyle ends up wanting to help her and her people if they are able to leave Earth in her old dilapidated starship. I found the book a fun read. It was as good, if not better than the first one I read which was set in the sixties and seventies. I loved the sci-fi future with the emphasis on finding a soul mate. You can’t help but root for Zana who is desperate to save her people, doesn’t want a soul mate so much as someone to help her get home. There is some foul language and a few love scenes which fit the book and didn’t detract from the story. I give the book five stars since I had to keep reading to discover what happened next even though I knew they would end up together and it was a matter of where. Give it a try and discover a wonderful author who tells a fun story. Reviewed by Barbara
Caroline George YA/Dystopian
Choose to see the unseen... Julie Stryker has spent her life in the scenic streets of Charleston, South Carolina, bicycling to the local college, working at a coffeehouse, watching her family fall apart and back together. She has plans, dreams—all of which seem out of reach. Then she meets a handsome stranger at work, and she believes her life is on the brink of a much needed change. But after a tragic accident, Julie is whisked away from the only home she’s ever known and confronted with a life-altering secret: The end of the world has already occurred and a portion of humankind has been kept oblivious. Uncaged Review: This book starts out and runs like a normal YA with a girl with a crush on a guy that comes into the coffee shop, and missing her brother who is in the military. Imagine finding out it’s all a lie, and the world outside is not what you’ve believed your whole life. Tossed headlong into a world she and the other humans in her town have not the slightest clue about after an accident destroys her world, Julie becomes part of The Vestige, a group of rebels that are working to destroy the virus the aliens have released upon the world, and to stop the apocalypse. That’s when this book really takes off. Well thought out world and plenty of action to go around and you believe the story. The only thing that was a little hard to believe is how advanced Julie got in a short amount of time. Also, there were a lot of characters to keep track of, but like some TV shows, this author is not afraid to bump them off. Don’t plan on sleeping much if you read at night past the half way point. Reviewed by Cyrene
74 | UncagedBooks.com
Bitter Sweet Anthology
Dan Hilliard Horror/Paranormal Shorts Explore the intersection of love, loss and horror in these 14 bittersweet tales from author Dan Hilliard. In “My Dark Box,” a girl waits in a haunted house prop for her yearly vampiric visitor. A father prepares his daughter for life alone in the wasteland in “Make the First Swing Count.” A boy and his dog find happiness – if not cleanliness – forever in “Rex.”
Uncaged Review: A short creepy book that will have you begging for more. I really enjoyed reading this. Each story has it’s own unique twist. It’s impossible to pick a favourite as there just so damn good. I really hope this author has or will write more books. I can’t see any fan or reader of horror not liking this book. I hope to read more by this author. Reviewed by Jennifer
Witch Flame Tara West Fantasy/YA
Feira, a fledgling witch just discovering her own powers, must battle warriors and monsters before she and her true love can find a safe haven away from the vengeful eye of a jealous goddess. Bonus origin myth included: The Beginning of Time
Uncaged Review: This novella really sets the stage for this series, and it did it’s job in gaining my interest in this series and new-to-me author. In a short amount of time, the author builds a world with a strong character in Fiera and a backstory not always found in the novella length books. Even though I connected with Fiera well, I wanted to have more of a connection with Tumi. It does a good job setting up the series and I’m planning on revisiting soon. Reviewed by Cyrene
Issue 23 | June 2018 |
Fang-Freakin-Tastic Reviews Monsterland Reanimated Michael Okon YA/Horror/Fantasy After Monsterland has imploded, the entire world is thrown into chaos. World leadership is gone, economies have collapsed, and communications are non-existent. Wyatt must go beyond the boundaries of his small town to reestablish contact with the outside world, and alert the government about a traitor-in-chief.
Fang-Freakin-Tastic Review: Monsterland Reanimated is an amazing follow up to the first Monsterland book. When I finished the first book, I just could NOT wait to find out what was going to happen next or if there would even be a sequel, so I was elated to find out the author was planning to continue the story. It picks up shortly after the first book ends. There hasn’t been much time that has passed, so the wounds the characters suffered are still fresh in their minds. The loss and wounds they experienced at the end of the first book are still open and bleeding, forcing them to pick up the pieces left shattered at the destruction of Monsterland. The world is left tattered and torn and it’s up to Wyatt and his friends and acquaintances to find out just what is going on and why and visit vengeance upon those who have caused such devastation in their young lives. Wyatt is truly a great character. He’s young so one might would expect him to be something of a hothead or irresponsible, but he’s anything but. He’s logical but pliable, so he has room to learn
76 | UncagedBooks.com
along the way. The relationship he is developing with his stepfather is sad, yet hopeful. Some of what happens is vaguely predictable, though not in a way you would expect. There are plenty of surprises, both good and bad. There are characters we thought were finished who find a way back into the story, and I’ll admit, I was happy to see them. I feel sooo bad for Igor. He seems like someone who wants to do the right thing, but life and people have crapped on him so badly over the years that he’s not quite right in the head. He doesn’t seem to know how to exist anymore. Overall, I loved this book as much as I loved the first and once again can’t wait until the next book. I read it far to fast because I was dying to see where the story was going.
Sink or Swim Emily Cyr New Adult/Paranormal After having her hard-won sobriety ripped away from her, Addison Fitzpatrick is fighting to get clean. She has another favor to repay to the powerful vampire, Cannon Blackwood. It seems simple enough. Act as his date as he hands his power over to Merriam-- a vindictive, insane old vampire who controls Cannon’s brother Lachlan. And then she would be one step closer to freedom.
Fang-Freakin-Tastic Review: Sink or Swim is the fourth book in the Vampire Favors series. This is a series that gets you hooked in the very first book and continues to surprise and excite through each and every book. Much like Addison and her donut dependency, every time a new book comes out, I devour it.
of the things that come out of her mouth are pretty similar to things I have either said or wanted to say. Don’t get me wrong, I still want to smack the crap out of her sometimes, but she’s likeable. She has been through so much and it’s not too much of a surprise she ended up the way she did, but she’s a strong character. I was starting to doubt her strength in some of the other books but Sink or Swim reminded me just how strong she is. Overall, this is a really strong book and made me laugh quite a few times. There were a few times where I made the “oh noooo” face, but I survived. If you haven’t already checked this series out, you should definitely get on it because it’s only getting better.
There were a few things I didn’t love that were going on in past books, but many of those problems are being resolved, or are, at the very least, progressing in Sink or Swim. Its good to see a character I fell in love with all those books ago finally becoming the person I know she can be. There is so much potential within Addison, it would be a shame for her to flounder more than is reasonable. I still am not a huge fan of Cannon, but we are starting to see more of who he is and has the potential to be. I love to see characters grow and to see their underlying characteristics that make them who they are, even if I’m not their biggest fan. I love Addison’s personality and sense of humor. It makes her very real to me as well as relatable. Some
Issue 23 | June 2018 |
Fang-Freakin-Tastic Reviews Blood Claim Claire C. Riley Horror/Occult What rests beneath the ground is not always asleep… Mike Cooper has spent his life fruitlessly searching for gold in the great American West. Looking to finally make his fortune, he decides to risk everything and pack up his crew of fellow miners to head for the heart of gold-rich Ghana West Africa, where an opportunity arises that’s too good to ignore.
Fang-Freakin-Tastic Review: Blood Claim is def-
initely a different kind of horror from what I’m used to seeing from this author. I loved that there was no romance because, as you know, that is most definitely not my kind of thing. It’s very well written and exciting as we have come to expect from this author, which is one of the reasons I have come to rely on her as an author that doesn’t disappoint, even after she wrote some romances I didn’t read. I’ll admit it took me a minute to get into the story because I’m impatient like that, but once they got moving I couldn’t wait to see how things would turn out with Mike and the guys in Ghana and I am still somewhat creeped out. I highly recommend Blood Claim to anyone looking for something different from your run of the mill type of horror story.
Her Name is Mercie Chris Roy Shorts Mercie Hillbrook lives a simple, quiet life working as a gas station attendant. Then her parents are killed. Her home is taken. The people responsible are excused for just doing their job. When an attempt to get justice her way lands her in trouble with the law, Mercie realizes she still has something to lose: her own life. Then she finds reason to believe her parents were murdered… and she doesn’t care anymore Fang-Freakin-Tastic Review: Her Name is Mercie is the kind of story that makes you mad for the main character. She’s put into a situation she just can’t win and expected to come out on top.
From the first page of this story to the last I was hooked. I just couldn’t believe that Mercie kept being given such a shitty hand in life. From the way she finds out about the death of her parents, to her new companion, to everything that follows. One of the things I love about Mercie is her sense of humor. Despite all the pitfalls in her life, she still had a snarky and hilarious (to me anyway) sense of humor. She’s definitely someone I could relate to. This book is fast paced and just launches you through the story. Before you know it, you are on the last page. I was a bit frustrated by that, but that’s no one’s fault but my own for reading it that quickly. I adored the ending of Mercie. I guess it was more of a “hope” type thing for me. I was hoping it would
78 | UncagedBooks.com
end a certain way, but since I know how many authors love to torture their readers, I didnâ€™t get my hopes up. It didnâ€™t end in the way I had hoped, but it was still a deeply gratifying type of ending for me. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a crazy fast paced story full of excitement and humor.
Issue 23 | June 2018 |
Myra’s Horror Blog Reviews
City of Night Dean Koontz Horror From the celebrated imagination of Dean Koontz comes a powerful reworking of one of the classic stories of all time. If you think you know the legend, you know only half the truth. The mystery, the myth, the terror, and the magic continue. . . . They are stronger, heal better, and think faster than any humans ever created–and they must be destroyed. Not even Victor Helios–once Frankenstein–can stop the engineered killers he’s set loose on a reign of terror through modern-day New Orleans. Only the one-time “monster” Deucalion and his all-too-human partners, Detectives Carson O’Connor and Michael Maddison, stand in their way. But as the three race to uncover the true dimensions of an age-old conspiracy, they will discover that Victor’s new, improved models have infiltrated every level of the city’s society . . . and far beyond.
80 | UncagedBooks.com
Myra’s Review: Detectives Carson and Michael are trying to find Victor in order to kill him. They don’t know if this will stop Frankenstein’s mad plans to slay all humans and replace them with his creations, but it’s worth a try. Meanwhile, Deucallion is aiding them by questioning members of the New Race, in order to discover the whereabouts of Victor. Victor’s creations are spiraling out of control. His butler chews off his fingers, and two of his planted priests are depressed as they contemplate the soul or their lack of one. Also, a security guard at his labs starts changing right in front of his maker - evolving into a creature Victor had not put into his DNA cloned body. Meanwhile, the autistic Randal Six creation finds his way to Arnie’s house and is determined to discover his secret to happiness. The two heroic cops kill Randal just as he goes for Carson’s brother Arnie. Randal Six’s story was the most pitiful of all those described. He found at the end that family, love and home were the secrets of happiness; things he could have never hoped to attain. Ericka 6, Victor’s newest wife, strives to be the perfect mate for her husband/creator. She roams the mansion, seeking clues to understanding him. She accidentally opens a door to a secret room where a big mystery waits inside. I’m very interested to see what being is encased in the box. While tracking down their leads, Carson and Michael are unaware they are being followed by two New Race assassins. Strewn in among all the separate stories, we get a fascinating glimpse into the world of the New Race manning the landfills owned by Vic-
tor . This is the place where he disposes of slain Old Race humans and experiments gone awry. Not all his creations turn out perfect. Things are escalating out of control by the end with each depicted individual of the New Race. While it is their directive to kill humans, you can’t help but feel sorry for them. Each feels empty and they realize something is missing in their existence. Highly recommended for Dean Koontz and Frankenstein fans, as well as readers who love a mixture of thriller, horror and S/F. As always, the author brings angst and pleasure into the story, mixing them in ways that make you think about what is moral or evil.
Slow Burn Bobby Adair Horror Destroyer finds Zed saying goodbye to one friend and pressing forward with two new ones to whom we are introduced in Book 2 – Infected. Mandi, whom Zed and Murphy rescued from the bunker, is immune to the virus. Russell, whose home the others plundered in search of food and other supplies, is also a slow burn, but lower-functioning, childlike and docile. After seeing the carnage at the dormitory, a raging, vengeful Zed wants only to kaill Mark, his nemesis and the former leader of the ROTC squad. Since Mark has disappeared, Zed unleashes his fury on untold numbers of infected in his path as he makes his way back to the hospital, in an attempt to rescue Steph, a nurse whom he befriended while seeking help for the feverish Murphy shortly after the prison riot. But the brave medical staff, holed up on the tenth floor of the hospital, and running out of provisions, has decided to take matters in hand by exposing themselves to the virus, and shooting those who “turn.”
Myra’s Review: Zed decides to see if Steph, the nurse who was nice to him, is still alive in the hospital. He’s been chatting with her via text messages and the situation is dire. When he arrives, the problem is the place is surrounded by thousands of Whites. Our hero performs some really dangerous actions in order to kill many zombies and draw others away so he can enter the hospital. When he makes it to where the survivors are, Zed convinces them that escape is the only option. The Whites have been taking over floor by floor, led by smart zombies. These leaders are a new breed of intelligent undead, which may threaten the survival of humanity. Zed is thrilled to find Steph alive and that she is immune. He meets Dalhover, a grumpy soldier who will become an important member of their group. The survivors of the hospital split up once they escape. Zed goes to get Russell, Mandi and Murphy, while the others will meet them at a family farm of one of the doctors. When they arrive on the outskirts of the farm, they are horrified by a new threat that wipes out the people inside the farmhouse. Thousands of Whites follow each other in a column, looking like a long snake. They are all naked and hairless; perhaps an evolutionary group think. Zed leads his friends to a mansion he’d seen as a teen. True to what he remembered, it was a great sanctuary; with a tall wall encircling the property and no easy entry point to the house. It also offers off the grid luxuries such as hot water courtesy of solar power. Plus it has a fantastic monitoring security system, where they can see every corner of the grounds and house. On one of their scavenging hunts, Zed and Murphy run across a large tourist boat anchored in the middle of the river and they make contact with three women residing onboard. At the end of the story, the group decide to allow 3 soldiers into the Issue 23 | June 2018 |
Myra’s Horror Blog Reviews compound, but disaster strikes one of the friends. I hope he will be ok in book four. You can see that things are beginning to steamroll with more trouble ahead for the brave group. Highly recommended for zombie fans and those following the Slow Burn series.
Extinction Edge Nicholas Sansbury Smith Post-apocalyptic The dust from Dr. Kate Lovato’s bioweapon has settled. Projections put death counts in the billions. Her weapon was supposed to be the endgame, but it turned a small percentage of those infected with the Hemorrhage Virus into something even worse. Survivors call them Variants. Irreversible epigenetic changes have transformed them into predators unlike any the human race has ever seen. And they are evolving. The fractured military plans Operation Liberty--a desperate mission designed to take back the cities and destroy the Variant threat. Master Sergeant Reed Beckham agrees to lead a strike team into New York City, but first he must return to Fort Bragg to search for the only family he has left. As Operation Liberty draws closer, Kate warns Beckham that Team Ghost won’t just face their deadliest adversary yet, they may be heading into a trap...
82 | UncagedBooks.com
Myra’s Review: We pick up with the characters after Variant X9H9 has been deployed across the U.S. It kills the majority of infected people, but unfortunately the approximately 10% it doesn’t, have changed. Mutated. No longer stupid, stumbling zombies, the variants are fast, show some intelligence, and are rapidly evolving into apex predators. They are fearful in appearance; with reptilian eyes, claws, fangs, and with the ability to climb across even ceilings. Beckham has made it to safety with Kate to an island off of New York shores. General Kennor is anxious to get Operation Liberty underway. What remains of scattered troops will be united and kill variants, starting with the big cities. Only a few thousand variants are spotted by satellite in NY, but Kate tries to convince the general the numbers should statistically be more like 2 million. Beckham and a new team are assigned as one of the small units for NY. It soon becomes clear the variants have laid a trap, swarming by the hundreds of thousands from the sewers and subways, where they have been hiding. When there is no more room in the military vehicles nearby for an escape, Beckham leads the remaining soldiers into the sewers. Jets are bombing the variants above ground and the team hopes to survive under the city. That is, if they can keep from being eaten by the variants. A thoroughly enjoyable read. Highly recommended for zombie fans and those following the Extinction series. I can’t wait to read book 3 and see how Beckham does in his new adventure underground.
Lycan Fallout Mark Tufo Horror The world of man was brought to its knees with the zombie apocalypse. A hundred and fifty years have passed since man has clawed and climbed his way from the brink of extinction. Civilization has rebooted, man has begun to rebuild, to create communities and society. It is on this fragile new shaky ground that a threat worse than the scourge of the dead has sprung. One man finds himself once again thrust into the forefront of a war he wants nothing to do with and seemingly cannot win. Follow along as Michael Talbot attempts to thwart the rise of the werewolf.
as slave soldiers for the fight to wipe out humanity. The thropes are easier to slay than Lycans, but still terrifying adversaries. A whole village is wiped out in gruesome savagery and it hits everyone hard. The group make a stand at Bailey’s town and barely manage to survive. I have to admit, the opening scene with Mike brought tears to my eyes. I grew very fond of Mike and all his cohorts. Not to give a big spoiler, but I also became teary at the end with an emotional scene between Thomas and Talbot. A no brainer recommendation for fans of Mark Tufo stories and those who love werewolf tales. I look forward to reading more books in this series.
Myra’s Review: The story opens with Mike sitting in the ruins of his brother’s house (It has been 150 years since the zombies were eradicated). Our hero is surrounded by the cremated remains of his family and friends. Thomas brings Mike bad news; a new threat has arrived for humans. Lycan. Though Mike is not game for becoming entangled in a new rescue mission for humanity, Thomas convinces him. Clearly Thomas is trying to give Talbot something to live for again. Thomas takes Mike to meet Azile, (who we met in the Zombie Fallout series) a powerful witch on the forefront of the fight. Because Talbot is not enthusiastic about helping, Azile throws him into an encounter with a Lycan. Mike is almost killed, even though the beast was old. But now he is pissed at the witch and sets off after her. When he finally catches up to Azile, she springs a huge surprise on him by introducing Bailey. She is a beautiful Amazonian woman and a descendant of his best friend BT. Mike can’t turn his back on helping Bailey and her town. Things don’t go smoothly; the Lyans are almost impossible to kill. The creatures also create werewolves Issue 23 | June 2018 |
Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews A Frequent Peal of Bells Ted Tayler Crime/Suspense The Islamist terror attacks resume, and the Grid wields its power with sustained bursts of criminal activity. Government resources are stretched to breaking point as cuts to security services and the police hamper
their response. Olympus agents, with the help of the Irregulars, try to help without revealing their involvement. They are unaware of the Grid’s plan to use a Trojan Horse to breach their security. What will become of the Project if that happened?
Amy’s Review: Action-packed! Yes, I am a huge fan of Tayler’s and his work of the Phoenix Series. Each story has an amazing group of characters, and they are no strangers to dangerous missions. He continues to write an action-packed story, that not only displays the current case and the never-ending battles with terrorist, but also the personal lives of those within The Olympus Project. This is book eleven, filled with grand adventures that comes from the highly imaginative creativity of Tayler and his “magic” pen.
84 | UncagedBooks.com
Darling Girls Tamara Thorne & Alistair Cross Paranormal/Horror The vampires of Candle Bay and Crimson Cove come together for the Biting Man Festival in Eternity, California, to celebrate a centuries-old tradition that quickly turns murderous as they’re faced with old enemies, uncontrolled bloodlust, and the unpredictable antics of a self-proclaimed vampire slayer who is hellbent on destroying them all.
Amy’s Review: Brilliant carnage at its best Thorne and Cross have come together again to create this magnificent and brilliant horrifying tales of vampires. It seems the two have united their vampires from previous stories to make this one intense and murderous story. Filled with vampires and bloodlust, this story unites the two authors, and is written wonderfully. The best part of a duo of authors is when you can’t distinguish that there were two authors. Each author has a unique style, but these authors mesh their stories so well. It is more than just two writers, they are bringing their characters to meet in a unique way. The depth of the darkness and brutality, along with the interaction of the “vampire slayer”, the story is well balanced, and not just all dark.
If We Had No Winter D.L. Pitchford Contemporary Women’s Fiction Does a father who abandoned his family deserve a second chance? Can an unwanted daughter restore her faith in men? Or has Billie already sabotaged her chance at first love? After her parents’ divorce, introverted Billie Dixon buries herself in her studies. Her plan? To stay out of sight, out of mind, and out of trouble. But that plan fails when she starts at Bradford College. Amy’s Review: Compelling This book definitely brings to late a time of selfexploration, and where better to do it than in college, when someone is just starting their adult life. Billie is the main character that breathes life into this story, while trying to figure out her own. Ups and downs, and a lot of emotional twists, but it’s a very strong, and exceptional story.
The Footsteps of Cain Derek Kohlhagen SciFi He made a mistake. His punishment? Kill the world. A nameless immortal wanders a desert of his own making, on a planet mostly devoid of life. He is imprisoned to the will of a malevolent spirit...limping toward atonement through a chain of uncountable bloody deeds, and across many millennia. The only thing that keeps him going is the promise of freedom...not for himself, but for a love that he has destroyed.
Amy’s Review: Wildly entertaining I enjoyed this book, and recommend it to anyone who loves adventure on a wild and holy ride. With light and darkness inside the story, it takes the reader on an adventure, to say the least. The characters were intriguing and likable, (and some, you love to hate), but that’s the beauty of this work. With surprising twists and turns, Kohlhagen brings the reader into the story until the very end. I look forward to more of this author’s work.
Issue 23 | June 2018 |
Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews South of Main Street Robert Gately Contemporary Henry Wolff regularly climbs out of his upstairs bedroom window. The neighbors think it strange that a grown man enjoys a Tarzan like swing from the roof, but then again, they all think Henry is a little strange. Recently widowed, Henry is an emotionally challenged father being sued by his daughter for financial control of the estate. Henry must prove he is normal – not an easy thing to do when you are not. Henry is different, not quite normal, not quite special. Rumors explaining his behavior run from PTSD in Vietnam to losing his son to SIDS. Amy’s Review: Touching Gately writes a great book, that really brings the reader in, not just as a reader, but someone who can feel for the main character. Henry is not the typical main character, but he is filled with many different layers and depths. People have been judging Henry, but no one seems to really know who he is or why he is the way that he is. It’s a well written page turner, that is very touching and will bring a light in your heart for reading it.
86 | UncagedBooks.com
Finding Mr. Wrong George Kaplan Humor Mothering her brothers wasn’t enough, Tookie wants a child of her own. After “auditioning” numerous men—one date at a time—all of them fail the test. Frantic, with her biological clock ticking down, she accepts a blind date with momma’s-boy engineer, Ollie, who works with her secretary’s husband. Ollie’s oldcountry mother, Rose, yearns for grandchildren, but will she squash Tookie when her PI uncovers Tookie’s past indiscretions? Amy’s Review: Absolutely a lot of fun. Tookie is one of those characters you don’t soon forget. She has Asperger’s but that does not stop her from wanting what she wants, loving life, and doing whatever she wants to do. This time, she wants a child. It’s more than just desiring to have a child, the husband comes first ... and a great story, and I am a fan of Kaplan, and of Tookie’s. I read “Only Tim Sent Flowers” which was a wonderful read, and though it’s not required of this story, that should be read first, if only to set the tone for Tookie, and her interesting life and perception of life. Great story.
Speaking in Tungs Karla M. Jay Contemporary In this entertaining first novel, set in rural Pennsylvania, a young San Francisco woman searches for her birthparents and from the moment she arrives in the backwoods town of Tungston, she falls under the spell of unforgettable characters, the unexpected-but-real threat of a violent fugitive, and the unexpected-but-real charm of a local fireman—all leading her to discover the true meaning of family.
Amy’s Review: Interestingly intriguing This is the first book I’ve read from this author, but it was quite suspenseful and engaging. The characters were real and had a depth to them. The story follows a speech therapist and her journey about her life, bringing her into a mystery. The story wasn’t predictable and it was a great story. I do have to say that the cover doesn’t quite fit the story but I never judge a book by its cover.
Spinning Silk T. Cook SciFi/Folklore A weaver’s genius ignites the jealousy of her peers, the possessiveness of her mill’s proprietress and the hopes of an unborn nation. Furi knows she was born to create, but the fabric of her life otherwise weaves mysteries. Amy’s Review: Remarkable story This is a well-written story that has great depths of imagery and connection to Japanese folklore. The story is about a weaver, but I believe the author is also a great weaver of sorts, as the story weaves a mysterious and imaginative story. I enjoyed this story, as the details and characters bring it to life. The author shows a grand story and adds that sense of mystery and suspense that a story needs to be successful in its showing.
Issue 23 | June 2018 |
Jen’s Book Reviews Claiming His Virgin Chance Carter Contemporary
Abel’s Revenge Ross Greenwood Crime/Suspense
I’m a rock hard, massively hung, billionaire stallion. I’ve got women screaming my name every single night.
This is a story about a city. As with all others, it’s a place of violence. There are murderers, and they live among us.
But I wasn’t born this way. I was a virgin once. Jen’s Review: A super sexy novel featuring Brad the Millionaire and a small town girl. Both looking for love. I think the storyline has been told a thousand times. But it’s still a hot Read. Anyone new to the author is in for a treat. I recommend you check this out.
This is also a tale about a couple — sometimes friends, occasionally lovers, but always partners. Dan and Olivia are fighting modern battles; the ones parents have over a lack of money, time or peace. An escalating serial killer terrifies the streets and homes. The body count rises as their relationship crumbles. Society reveals its dark side, and no one is safe. Dan and Olivia experience this first-hand as danger closes in. Will Abel’s reign of terror ever end? Jen’s Review: A fast moving thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat. There’s a man lurking in the city terrorising people. You best beware it could be your next door neighbor, or the odd person across the road. I really enjoyed this book and found the relationships and characters very real and believable. I highly recommend this book if you like good thrillers with a twist.
Visit Jen on Goodreads 88 | UncagedBooks.com
Tainted Soul E.J. Bennett Horror Short
Dear Aylissa E.J. Bennett Horror Short Hazel dedicates her life to helping children. A social worker who see’s difficult children everyday. When she unexpectedly ends up with a young girl in her care, Hazel deep down thinks something is wrong. It isn’t long before she learns the truth. Hazel sets out on a mission. But can she complete her goal or will unforeseen circumstances stand in her way? Jen’s Review: A short creepy story about a social worker. who meets a special little girl this book isn’t very long. But it will have the hair’s on the back of you’re neck standing up. I only hope I don’t bump into this little girl. I really enjoyed this book and I’m hoping there’s a follow up in the works.
Love can be powerful.
her adult life.
Riley is a teenager that as just began to rebel. Only her actions lead to devastating consequences. Those consequences comeback to haunt
Jen’s Review: A dark tale filled with loss and betrayal. Riley will never have her life back the way it once was. After a night out goes so wrong. I couldn’t help feel a little sorry for Riley in this book. I found her character very believable and her problem’s very realistic. I really enjoyed this book and couldn’t put it down until I had finished it. Highly recommend reading it.
Visit Jen on Goodreads Issue 23 | June 2018 |
Jen’s Book Reviews Dead for Christmas E.J. Bennett SciFi/Holidays Kara is looking forward to the return of her brother Kai. Christmas traditions and family time is what she needs. However Kai is different. More different than she could ever imagine. His pranks have gone way beyond funny. Her perfect Christmas turns into a nightmare. Kai’ s Christmas guest as a dark secret. One that threaten to tear her family apart. Kara finds herself in a battle to save her family. An ultimatum and a love that threatens to destroy her. Jen’s Review: Kara can’t wait to see her brother return for Christmas. To finish enjoying all the traditions that the holiday brings. For them all to be a family even with her best friend Molly joining in on the fun. Until things take a turn of the worst. Kara and her family will have a very different Christmas this year. I didn’t expect this book to turn out anything like this. I really enjoyed reading it and found myself hoping the author has set up the beginning of a cool new series. With some killer characters. Looking forward to reading more of this.
Christmas Miracle on Easter R.M. Gauthier Crime/Suspense The Christmas Miracle Series is a continuing story highly recommended to be read in order Jack’s back… Jack, Charlotte and the rest of the gang are back for another holiday miracle in Christmas town. This story has Jack doing something he never thought he’d do—once again. Jen’s Review: Book three in this fun little Christmas town. Sees all the gang enjoying easter especially Jack. who has such a special job this year for such a short book. It doesn’t hold back on the humour or the drastic life changing twists. I always enjoy learning what’s next in store for Jack and the gang. I would suggest you read the other’s in the series just to get a feeling of the characters. After all they are only short reads. Can’t wait for book four. We have a major plot twist in this book.
Visit Jen on Goodreads 90 | UncagedBooks.com
Rise of the Forgotten Jason J. Nugent YA/SciFi After brothers Timo and Eron are separated by the ritual of the Selection, they’re forced into vastly different lives. Accepting their fate, they make the best of their situation. But when Timo’s home among the Forgotten is invaded everything changes. Eron must decide if he will join the invaders or risk the life he’s earned and fight alongside the Forgotten. Though hidden for centuries, the time has come… the Forgotten must rise. Jen’s Review: Book two starts where book one left us. Eron struggles to accept the Outcome of the selection. Losing the love of his life when she picks someone else. Eron must accept his new role in life or it cost him dearly. I really enjoyed reading this book and learning more about the forgotten. I’m happy to say book three of this series is already in the process of being released
The Case of the Missing Bubble Gum Card R. Weir Mystery/Suspense Jarvis Mann was a Private Detective, whose business thrived on the mundane, paying the bills following cheating spouses, getting in the middle of messy divorces and working for the Fat Cat Insurance companies running down false insurance claims. But one day on his office steps a young man coaxing with the simple word “Please” convinces him to help on a Winter’s Sunday afternoon to find a missing valuable Ernie Banks Rookie Bubble Gum Card. With a dry sense of humor he drives the Denver streets from door to door, friend to friend, until a clue leads to a surprising discovery, a young man’s personal pain and his friends selfish act, teach Jarvis a life lesson that will shape him with new hope and resolve. Jen’s Review: Javis Mann a private detective has been hired by a young boy. Over a missing baseball card this is a short story. But is quite a good read Javis Mann seems a interesting character. Can’t wait to continue my adventures with him.
Visit Jen on Goodreads Issue 23 | June 2018 |
Do you have a short story that you’d like published in Uncaged? Uncaged is now accepting short stories - in return, Uncaged will provide ONE FULL PAGE to promote up to 3 books from the author, OR a free Sneak Peek promotion!
Submit your story today!
Issue 23, June 2018 Featured authors: Mia Mae Lynne, Maureen O. Betita, Pamela Fagan Hutching, June Kramin, Paty Jager, P.J. MacLayne, Skye...
Published on Jun 3, 2018
Issue 23, June 2018 Featured authors: Mia Mae Lynne, Maureen O. Betita, Pamela Fagan Hutching, June Kramin, Paty Jager, P.J. MacLayne, Skye...