All That Glitters
Jane Ederlyn Karen Greco R.M. Gauthier Haven Cage Scott Carruba Lily Luchesi Mikea Howard
by Ryan Jo Summers
Author Giveaways! Jane Ederlyn
SWAG “Dracula” Bag!
Fang-Freakin-Tastic Featured Author Tamara Thorne
Everyone’s a winner!
eBook Set & SWAG Set!
Win a T-shirt of Choice!
Uncaged Fang-Freakin-Tastic Myra’s Horror Blog Amy’s Bookshelf
Interview • Stay Connected • Excerpt from Reborn • Review of Reborn • Author Giveaway
Interview • Stay Connected • Preview from Bound • Review of Control
Win this “Dracula” Clutch Bag from Jane Ederlyn! See page 14 for how to enter! Get Hell’s Belle FREE from Karen Greco! See page 31 for details! 2| uncagedbooks.com
Interview • Stay Connected • Excerpt from Steele City Blues • Reviews of Hell’s Belle, Tainted Blood and Steele City Blues • Author Giveaway
Interview • Stay Connected • Excerpts from Falter & Severance• Reviews of Falter & Severance • Author Giveaway
Win 2 eBooks and a SWAG set from Haven Cage! See page 45 for how to enter! Win a Dieselpunk T-Shirt from Mikea Howard! See page 60 for details!
Issue 8 | March 2017
Interview • Stay Connected • Excerpt from Right to Silence • Reviews of Stake Out & Miranda’s Rights
Interview • Stay Connected • Excerpt from The Seer’s Secret • Reviews of The Mechanic’s Mate & The Seer’s Secret • Author Giveaway
Interview • Stay Connected • Excerpt from Dance of the Butterfly
Interview • Excerpt from Darling Girls
Michael Skeen gives us a sneak peek of The Cost of Liberty.
Sin City Writers gives us a sneak peek of Decades of Love Anthology
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Editor’s Desk Bargain Bin Best Seller Lists New Releases Uncaged Reviews Myra’s Horror Blog Reviews Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews
Ryan Jo Summers Issue 8 | March 2017 |
Welcome to Issue 8, March 2017 - Uncaged Book Reviews! This month, dig in to our featured authors: Jane Ederyln, Karen Greo, Haven Cage, R.M. Gauthier, Scott Carruba, Lily Luchesi and Mikea Howard! I can’t thank them all enough, for sharing their talents with us. Fang-Freakin-Tastic also brings Uncaged a feature author with Tamara Thorne! We also have a wonderful short story for you this month from Ryan Jo Summers, called All That Glitters.
Celebrate our featured authors with giveaways from Jane Ederlyn, Karen Greco, Haven Cage & Mikea Howard! Enter to win some great prizes and you may just find a new favorite author! Author giveaways is only one new feature, we will also be adding another next month, so be sure to come back and see what’s in store for you. There are also reviews from Uncaged, Myra’s Horror Blog Reviews and Amy’s Bookshelf! Uncaged now has a Facebook Share page - you may share websites, books and promotions (keep it related to books please) once per day, per member. Conversations are encouraged! Our reviewer Jennifer is your wonderful moderator. Authors can now submit a Short Story, and in return, I’ll either give either a full page to promote up to 3-4 books, or a 1-page Sneak Peek of a book for an approved story. You can read more about that here. As you know, Uncaged is known for it’s Featured Authors. At this time, that is a limited number each issue, but with a new promotional advertisement option, you will be able to purchase a smaller version of the Featured Author - 3 full pages - to promote a book with an excerpt. With Uncaged’s views topping 30,000 views on the first month it’s released, and remaining uploaded and readable for up to two years, it’s a great value. Because of the amount of work on our small farm, from May-September, there will only be 6 Featured Author slots per month during this time. Get your requests in early. And that won’t be all! There are a lot more new features coming. I will soon be offering free web features for those that support Uncaged through advertising. The featured authors that are promoted in Uncaged, is a FREE service to authors. The only requirements being that Uncaged has read at least one of the author’s books, and that I ask that the authors share the magazine with their networks. Pretty simple, right? The response has been humbling. Uncaged is supported through advertising. Please see the Advertising in Uncaged tab on the site for more information on how you can advertise in the magazine.
All inquiries: UncagedBooks@gmail.com or firstname.lastname@example.org So thank you and enjoy the March issue of Uncaged Book Reviews!
Bargains, Free Reads & Giveaways On any day, you can go to Goodreads and find author giveaways. Great way to discover new authors and enter to win free books, both print and eBooks.
Blog Roll Call Contributors, Advertising Swaps
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This site will sniff out all the free eBooks being offered on Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Amazon. Choose the site you’re looking for in the drop down list. I’ve found many new authors in Amazon’s freebies, but sometimes searching can be daunting. This site helps narrow down the search. http://www.freebooksifter.com/ FreeBooksy.com
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If you’d like your banner here, please email me at UncagedBooks@gmail.com Issue 8 | March 2017 |
The Cost of Liberty The Cost of Liberty
Michael Skeen War When Washington falls, the President and Chief of Staff are separated while fleeing for their lives, but can the country survive? How much does liberty cost? This is the continuation of the story of President T J Samuels and his Chief of Staff Don Ladner as their administration struggles with perils that threaten the very existence of the United States. In ‘The Cost of Freedom’ the duo had to deal with epidemics, terrorism, military and economic aggression, and an assassination attempt while still attempting to establish their office. In the end of ‘The Cost of Freedom’ Iran detonates nuclear weapons over the eastern portion of the U. S. causing massive power failures. In ‘The Cost of Liberty’ TJ and Don are separated as Russia, China, Iran, and the Islamic Caliphate have now teamed up and have started an all-out attack on the United States and her allies. The story follows as President Samuels leads the military to defeat the invaders and to restore liberty to our country.
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Excerpt With the success of the first book in his series, author Michael Skeen offers readers another exciting and action-packed novel that’s sure to take everyone to the edge of their seat. In The Cost of Liberty, the second in a series of political thrillers that occur when a number of terrorist attacks and politically threatening events occur after the election of a new president, readers will witness the start of a war and the fall of a powerful nation. Told from the president’s and his chief of staff’s perspective, readers will experience the struggle and battle for peace, independence and democracy. World War III begins and the United States is invaded by the Islamic State, but after a series of terrorist attacks, it is suddenly apparent that the invasion force was already in the country just waiting for the trigger event. The big question is: who is calling the shots for the enemy, is it the Islamic radicals or one of the other participants in Russia or China? When Washington falls, the President and Chief of Staff are separated while fleeing for their lives, but can the country survive? Readers are about to find out as they immerse in this political thriller. Michael Skeen was a police officer for more than 30 years and is now retired. He is married and has five children and ten grandchildren. He earned a MBA from Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri. He now lives on the Gulf Coast with a lot of time on his hands. He began thinking about all of the terrible things that politicians and pundits warned could happen to the country in the future and decided to write a series of books looking at the possible outcome if such events actually did occur.
Interview Stay Connected Excerpt from Reborn Review Author Giveaway
| FEATURE AUTHOR | Jane Ederlyn is a fun writing team of two great friends. If you like the vampire genre, make sure to put this series on your list. Jane Ederlyn is the alter ego of a writing duo from South Florida. Jane, a registered nurse by day, by night lives to create havoc and conflict in their stories, relentlessly strategizing ways to kill off one more character. Ederlyn, a cruise-line professional by day, by night loves to plot meticulous happily-ever-afters for the hero and heroine, often battling Jane to save her favorites. They can usually be found at their favorite Barnes and Noble sipping lattes and pondering what ifs, at the mall shoe shopping, or driving around in deep conversation about their next story.
Make sure you check out page 14 for their wonderful SWAG giveaway! First off, thank you so much for taking the time for the interview! Our pleasure! We love your magazine! Uncaged: The tales of vampires have been told over and over, but you brought something new to the table with Marie. She’s proper royalty, and even centuries later, it’s still so ingrained in her complete character, in ways I haven’t read before. What inspired you to create this character? Ederlyn: Marie was Jane’s brain child, but she evolved from the question and answer sessions that we coin what ifs. Jane: From the beginning we knew we wanted to make her different, the matriarch for generations of humans. But who exactly is doing the protecting, the human or the vampire? Uncaged: Did you have to do a lot of time-period research for her background?
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Ederlyn: We did. We immersed ourselves in the time period to get a feel for what it would have been like for an innocent Marie to grow up at Versailles. We read and/or listened to non-fiction as well as historical fiction. Our favorites were Marie Antoinette: The Journey by Antonia Fraser and the series by Juliet Grey. We also devoured books on Versailles and 18th century fashion. And we love Sofia Coppola’s film of Fraser’s book. It gave us her perspective and was fun researching.
| JANE EDERLYN | Jane: We had to pinpoint a beginning. Once we found a candidate that could be her mom, we took creative license, manipulated history, and voila… Marie was born. Uncaged: Do you read your reviews on your books? Do they influence your story at all? Ederlyn: Absolutely. We read all of them. As far as influencing a story, most of the time not only is the plot already set, but we are too far ahead to make changes, but we are listening—just saying. Jane: Positive or negative, we appreciate the feedback. For so long our characters were just in our heads. Now that they are out in the world, when readers connect, it makes us gush. Uncaged: Some authors fashion their characters loosely around people they know in life. Are any of the characters or some of their nuances part of people you know? Ederlyn: We get inspiration from everywhere and never know what is going to spark an idea. As far as people…who watches Grey’s Anatomy? The cocky, bad boy, flirty, irresistible grin of Dr. McSteamy was an inspiration for our hero, Odin. <sigh> Jane: <sigh> Uncaged: What do you find the most challenging to write? The easiest? Ederlyn: The most challenging would be the black moment because you have to be in that frame of mind, vested and feeling the sadness, anger, or whatever emotion the character is experiencing. And yes we cry. The easiest for us is dialogue. Jane: Yes, the easiest is dialogue. Love the ban-
ter. Warning—have your hankies ready for book two. Uncaged: What are your favorite genres to read right now? Who are some of your favorite authors? Do you like to read books that are part of series? We read and listen to a lot of books. :) Jane: My favorite genres are paranormal and suspense. Love Jane Ederlyn (LOL). Seriously, I enjoy many authors, but some of my faves are Anne Rice, Laura Griffin, and who doesn’t love Jane Austen? Ederlyn: Mine are paranormal and historical fiction. Some of my favorite authors include Charlaine Harris, Anne Rice, Diana Gabaldon, and of course Jane Austen. We both love reading series. When you fall in love with characters, one book is never enough! Uncaged: Where is your favorite place to write? Do you prefer quiet, or do you like to listen to music while writing? Jane: Our most rewarding creativity occurs while driving. Yes, while driving! We don’t even fight it anymore. We don’t know what ignites the creativity, but when we get into a car our brains spark and go. Thank goodness for Siri voice recorded notes and laptops. And thank goodness we drive a lot. But no worries, safety first. Ederlyn: We do have a normal office, but it’s a work in progress. It’s currently full of boxes of books waiting for us to buy new bookshelves. When we’re not driving…we write on the sofa with a laptop mirrored on the television.
Issue 8 | March 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | Jane: We do listen to music when we write. It’s important to our process—sets the tone, feeds inspiration, knits everything together. We have book playlists with songs for scenes, characters, and overall. Ederlyn: Sometimes a track becomes so associated with the book that it becomes a trigger and just turning it on tells our brain it’s time to write. For Reborn that was: Vampire, Myon & Shane 54 featuring Carrie Skipper from A State of Trance 2008/Armin Van Buuren. Uncaged: What can readers be expecting from you in the near future? Jane: We’ve been contracted by Soul Mate Publishing for three Princess of the Blood books. Return, is slotted for fall of this year and Revenge for fall of 2018. Ederlyn: We’re also working on a contemporary retelling of one of Jane Austen’s novels. We’re totally in love with the sexy hero. Be on the lookout for this one too. Uncaged: What would you like to say to fans, and where can they follow you? Jane: Thanks for the support you’ve been showing us as debut authors, it’s really special when people fall in love with your characters and become vested in them and their story. And thanks to all the vampire fans for keeping the flame going! Ederlyn: Thanks for embarking on this journey with us!
Enjoy an excerpt from Reborn 14 | UncagedBooks.com
Reborn Jane Ederlyn Paranormal Romance Marie Josette d’Orgemont, cousin to Louis XVI, watched in horror as a rogue creature took her husband’s life before turning on her. A powerful vampire swept in and spared her life, but she never suspected surviving meant immortality or the price she’d have to pay to protect her surviving son. Centuries later, in Miami, with her family on the verge of extinction, Marie is preoccupied with the continuation of her human bloodline. When she meets sexy and persistent Odin Ulfsson, his icyblue gaze and burning touch are hard to resist. Will a forbidden romance with the Nordic werewolf be the key to her happiness, or will it set in motion a wrath that endangers not only her last human heir but her entire existence? Excerpt Marie Josette d’Orgemont maneuvered her black Bentley out of the South Beach traffic and onto the hedge-encased driveway of the Delano Hotel. Sliding in behind a glossy red Carrera, she killed the engine and turned in her seat to study her great-granddaughter, eight generations removed. “Are you ready?” Abby nodded, but didn’t move. “I have something to tell you.” Marie tensed. She knew of course. She’d known for days. But she clamped down on her emotions, so Abby didn’t read disappointment on her face. “What is it, ma chérie?” Abby took a deep breath and blurted, “I’m not pregnant.” “I know.” “Yes, of course you do.” With her confession in the open, Abby’s shoulders sagged.
| JANE EDERLYN | Marie leaned over the gearshift and cupped her chin. “You are tired. You should be home with your books and not out with me all evening.” “But you miss me when you go out alone.” Abby was so protective you’d think she was the vampire and not the other way around. Marie smiled and brushed a light kiss on her forehead. “True. I always miss you. Let’s go then.” They exited the Bentley and, after tipping the valet, ascended short steps past the porch with its beckoning white sofa. Indoors, the lobby stretched from end to end, dotted with massive white columns, flickering lights, and floor-to-ceiling curtains that reminded Marie of Versailles. The white gossamer wisps billowed like ghosts as she glided past. She closed her eyes, giving in to the pull of her childhood home, of being reprimanded for chasing her cousin Louis down empty hallways. Princesses needed to appear as if their feet never touched the ground, as if they floated rather than walked. And they never, ever, ran. That was a long time ago. Her hand went to the jeweled, cross pendant hanging between her breasts. It had been her mother’s and against her chest, it felt like the heartbeat she didn’t have.
Living in Florida is probably not the best place to live if you have sun issues, and one night Marie meets Odin. Odin is the son of the alpha, and also an alpha himself, although he’s never challenged his father for the role as head of the pack. His father has also “arranged” a marriage for Odin for strategic reasons for the pack, but Odin rebels and isn’t going for it. The chemistry between Marie and Odin leaps off the page, and the fun banter between Odin and Abby will keep you smiling. Toss in Egon, and a few pack members that are loyal to Odin and the humor between them all is fun. When Odin’s father decides it’s time to take action and bring Odin back to his “responsibilities,” the book really gets moving. Although there were a few very predictable scenerios running, the authors does have a few surprises up their sleeves. My only issue with the book, was the mild cliffhanger that it ended on. The book ended in a strange spot – obviously setting up for book two, which I will be putting on my TBR pile. Reviewed by Cyrene
Uncaged Review The authors bring us the now classic tale of the forbidden love between werewolves and vampires in Reborn. The cast of characters are likable, and despicable (where they should be) and even though the story arc of the pack being against Odin’s love for a vampire is not all that original, the way the author brings the entire story together is. Marie is a centuries old vampire, French and proper – and Abigail is her granddaughter, many generations removed and the last of her family line. Marie hopes that Abby will find love and happiness enough to continue the family line. Issue 8 | March 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR |
Win this beautiful “Dracula” Clutch Bag! How to Enter:
We’re giving away a Dracula clutch. To enter show us some love. Purchase Reborn, like us on Facebook or Twitter, and post a picture of the e-book. The winner will be announced March 31st. Good luck! Tell them you saw it in Uncaged Book Reviews!
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Interview Whatâ€™s next for R.M. Gauthier Stay Connected Stay up to date Excerpt from Bound Review
| FEATURE AUTHOR | R.M. Gauthier’s very intriguing Landon Miller series is worth a look. Uncaged is honored to have her in this issue. Uncaged: Control is a mesmerizing tale, and although it has a base in BDSM, the tasteful way it’s portrayed in the story does not throw this book headlong into the erotic genre at all, which most do. The main part of this story is a thriller, and it’s hard to put down. What inspired you to write this story? RM Gauthier lives in Ontario, Canada and has a diploma in Film & TV Production. She began her writing career late in life, which she has been quoted saying, “better late than never.” She has four novellas published, two in the Christmas Miracle series, Longing, Waiting, and her debut novel, Control in The Mystery of Landon Miller series was released in November 2017. It is an exciting time as she prepares to release her latest creation, Bound book 2 in The Mystery of Landon Miller series. She can usually be found on Facebook as she runs four groups the one most dedicated to helping indie authors is The Indie Writers’ Cooperative, which provides her plenty of joy.
Stay Connected rmgauthier.com 18 | UncagedBooks.com
The true meaning behind the story must remain under wraps at this time because it will spoil the plot for the rest of the books. I can say this story came to me serval years ago while watching a documentary. Uncaged: Do you read your reviews on your books? Do they influence your story at all? I do read all reviews for my books, it helps to hear what people think of my stories, but no, they do not influence my story in any way. Uncaged: How many books will be in this series? There will be 3-4 books for The Mystery of Landon Miller. Uncaged: What do you find the most challenging to write? The easiest? Description is the most challenging for me to write, in fact, one of my earlier drafts of Control I had no description of my main character Lexi. The novel had been read by at least 8 people before the ninth person told me there was no description and they had no idea what she looked like. The easiest is thing for me to write are my characters feelings, they seem to flow naturally. Also, dialogue. I love writing dialogue.
| R.M. GAUTHIER | Uncaged: What are your favorite genres to read right now? Who are some of your favorite authors? Do you like to read books that are part of series? My favorite this year is Jex Lane who has a series called Beautiful Monsters, the first book is Captive. I’ve read it twice so far and bought the paperback. I also have a great group of indie authors called The Indie Fabs and we offer each other support, help doing everything and just chatting, usually on a daily basis. They have been wonderful and I’m so glad to be part of that team. So here’s a shout out to my girls, Eva Pasco, Aliya DalRae, JB Richards, Lyra Shanti, and Joanne Van Leerdam. There all great writers too, I’ve read all their books and highly recommend them. Uncaged: Where is your favorite places to write? Do you prefer quiet, or do you like to listen to music while writing? I write in the living room of my house, which can at times be noisy but that suits me, I’m great at drowning out any disturbance. If it’s too quiet it’s hard to concentrate. I’m not one to write to music. Uncaged: What can readers be expecting from you in the near future? In the near future you can expect the release of Bound, book 2 of The Mystery of Landon Miller, if it is not released by the time of this publication. After that, Book 3, titled Landon Miller, has an anticipated release date of June 2017. I am also working on a YA series called The Twelve, book 1 titled, Andrew, which will be ready for release in May 2017. Uncaged: What would you like to say to fans, and where can they follow you? This journey of writing has been awesome, there’s
nothing I like more than writing a story and seeing it published. Every time I receive the proof copy of my book it’s extremely exciting even if it is for one of my novellas. Reviews are great and it really makes my day to see how readers are reacting to my work, good or bad, it’s still thrilling to know a stranger has found and read my novel.
Enjoy a preview and review of Control Control R.M. Gauthier Suspense/Thriller When Alexandria married David Shaw, she thought she had everything she always wanted. Five years later, as David climbed the corporate ladder, Alexandria felt left behind. Sitting on the board of several charities was no longer enough for her. Looking to her best friend Haley Rose for advice, she stumbles upon Haley’s secret lifestyle. When Alexandria goes to an exclusive club with Haley one night, meeting one man will turn her life on its axis. Landon Miller is the owner of the exclusive club. He is a self-made millionaire who has guided his company, Miller Holdings, to the top of the Fortune Five Hundred by the age of 30. At 35, he has made a lifestyle choice with no plans of changing his ways, but what is hidden beneath his expensive suit remains a mystery to everyone who knows him. When Alexandria and Landon’s eyes first meet the draw to one another is overwhelming, but with Landon’s mixed signals and Alexandria’s inexperience, getting to know one another becomes that much more difficult. Centered within Landon’s exclusive club, Alexandria is pulled into a world of danger and a web of Issue 8 | March 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | deceit. After one man turns up dead, and another man lurking around making his presence evident, Alexandria has no idea what to believe. When the FBI turns up on her doorstep to investigate all three men she is left being pulled into a world of crime and punishment. With a club full of domineering men, she wonders who the killer is and who is trustworthy. With a shocking twist the end that will reveal nothing is what it seems leaving Alexandria back at square one.
Enjoy a teaser from Bound Book Two in The Mystery of Landon Miller series. Bound R.M. Gauthier Thriller/Suspense Coming Soon
Uncaged Review This is marketed at a psychological thriller, BDSM, and erotic. It’s not really any of those things, and it is. It does have a great deal of mystery, and some BDSM, but the erotic is nothing more than any sex in a romance these days. And it’s infrequent. I’ll start by saying, that normally I am not a huge fan of BDSM, but the respectful way it’s portrayed here, is mesmerizing. Lexi, who is married to a lawyer who seems to be more married to his job than to her, decides on a night out with her best friend Haley. Haley talks her into going to an exclusive club, but Lexi must obey everything that Haley says and go by the rules. Lexi, trusting her BFF, goes along with it, and when they enter the club, she finds she’s in an exclusive BDSM club, with demonstrations and even playrooms. But for some reason, Lexi catches the eye of Landon, the elusive owner of the club. I’m not giving away anything more, but the author does a fantastic job with this story, and I had a hard time putting this one down, and this is not my go-to type of story – so that’s saying a lot. I stopped at 4 stars on this one, and I would have easily given it a full 5 star rating, except for the cliffhanger ending, which sucked the life right out of me. Will I read the next installment? You bet. I don’t mind a sedge way into the next installment, but I’m not a fan of books that demand you read the next one to complete the story arc. 20 | UncagedBooks.com
I scan the room for the hundredth time taking in the bunk-beds along two walls, footlockers at the end of each set, a doorway to the bathroom on the back wall. This place reminds me of the army barracks my cousin lived in when he went through basic training. I got the chance to visit him and was given a tour. The whole place has the same set up igniting my curiosity as I speculate why this place exists? At the end of my patience, I hop off the bed, rush over to the door intending to check on Dalton, but once I grip the handle giving it a twist, I discover to my horror it’s locked. I try again, confused by my discovery, truly believing I’m wrong only to realize it won’t turn. Frustrated, I begin pulling and pushing the door as my foot gets in on the action. I kick, scream and pound on the steel structure unable to budge it. What the hell? I’m trapped. When my knuckles are sore and my foot aching from kicking the hard steel, I make my way back to the bed plopping down expelling a huge sigh. I really am trapped.
| R.M. GAUTHIER |
Don’t miss these titles Longing R.M. Gauthier Thriller/Suspense ‘Longing’ is a prequel novella to the novel ‘Control’, which tells the story of two men coming together, one out for justice, the other re-
venge. Leroy, returns home after serving 8 years in the Special Forces to discover his nightmare has not ended, but is just beginning. After discovering that his sister has been missing for months, Leroy sets out on a mission to find and bring her home. Accepting a management position in an exclusive night club exposes Leroy to a world of crime and corruption he had no idea existed.
Do you like to read? Would you like to receive free books in exchange for an honest review?
Waiting R.M. Gauthier Gay/LGBT
If you answered yes, then Uncaged would like to talk to you!
At 17, Tristan met, Jeremy, the boy of his dreams. At 30, he realizes that Jeremy will never be his. After years of holding everyone up to the Jeremy scale, Tristan is finally, ready to move on and find someone who will love him back.
UncagedBooks@gmail.com No pressure, no limits.
Issue 8 | March 2017 |
Interview Stay Connected Excerpts from Steele City Blues Reviews Author Giveaway
| FEATURE AUTHOR |
Karen Greco is originally from Rhode Island and loves hot wieners from New York System, but can’t stand coffee milk. She studied playwriting in college (and won an award or two). After not writing plays for a long time, a life-long obsession with exorcists and Dracula drew her to urban fantasy, where she decapitates characters with impunity. Steele City Blues is the third book in the Hell’s Belle series, after Hell’s Belle (the first) and Tainted Blood (number two). She writes contemporary romance for a small press under the pen-name Jillian Sterling, and has a day job in entertainment publicity.
There are about a zillion reasons why I decided to write a novel at all (I started as a playwright), urban fantasy, etc. But, since you mention the pacing, I’ll spin off from there... I wanted to create a book that I would enjoy reading. One that kind of blended my experience in entertainment (movies, tv and theater) but in the novel form. I am a huge fan of action, and of women kicking ass (and falling in love too!) and I’ve always been drawn to the supernatural. So all these influences kind of turned into Hell’s Belle. Uncaged: Do you read your reviews on your books? Do they influence your story at all? I do read reviews when the books first come out, but then I taper off. And, yes they can influence the story to a degree. If I see that reviewers are criticizing the same thing in the book, I will take a hard look at the story, try to figure out what failed the reader, and try to fix it in the next. I really love writing, and I write the books that I want to write for sure. But ultimately, I write for my readers. If something’s not working for them, I want to try to fix it.
karengrecoauthor.com Karen Greco’s Hell’s Belle series is a consistently entertaining series and it’s an honor to have her here at Uncaged. Uncaged: The Hell’s Belle series is a fast paced, action packed urban fantasy that doesn’t slow its pace long. What inspired this series? Believe it or not, this is a hard question to answer! 24 | UncagedBooks.com
Uncaged: How many books are planned in this series? I have no idea! My initial plan was five. But now I am not so sure. I am starting Book Four now, and to say five… well, the end seems too close. Doesn’t it? Uncaged follow-up: Agrees enthusiastically!! Too good to stop at five!
| KAREN GRECO | Uncaged: The characters are very memorable, did you fashion any of them from people you know? Some of the characters are based somewhat on people I know, definitely. I also think about actors that I love. I wrote Babe with Rita Moreno in mind. Rita performed the whole thing in my head while I wrote the character. That was awesome. Uncaged: What are your favorite genres to read right now? Who are some of your favorite authors? Do you like to read books that are part of series? I read a lot of urban fantasy, horror and romance. I recently started to read more thrillers as well – I just started the Harry Bosch series and absolutely love it. Didn’t love Lee Child so much, but want to try the next book in the Jack Reacher series. As far as favorites go… Elmore Leonard is hands down one of my all time favorite writers. And I really enjoy Richard Kadrey. Ann Rice is often a go-to for me as well. As is Laurel K Hamilton. And I urge urban fantasy fans to check out Kalayna Price’s Alex Craft series. Super good. I love her world building. Uncaged follow-up: I am a fan of the Alex Craft series and I hope to see Kalayna Price back regularly releasing in the near future. :)
ters – generally it happens while I am on the treadmill with my ear buds in and thinking about the books! I put together a Steele City Blues playlist, if anyone wants to give it a listen! https://open.spotify.com/user/karengreco/playlist/4 SULWkQO7weVjxqptOwlCX Uncaged: What can readers be expecting from you in the near future? Book Four in the Hell’s Belle series for sure. And I am working on a new contemporary romance as well. I’ve been working on a new urban fantasy that I think is going to be a stand alone but I’m not sure. I’ve no idea when that will be done, though. Between my writing and my day job, I have too many irons in the fire at the moment! Uncaged: What would you like to say to fans, and where can they follow you? You can find me on Facebook, Twitter or via my website. And please join my email list! I try to email about once a month or so and love it when you guys hit reply! I really enjoy chatting with my readers. It makes my day to hear from you.
Enjoy an excerpt from Steele City Blues
Uncaged: Where is your favorite places to write? Do you prefer quiet, or do you like to listen to music while writing?
Steele City Blues Karen Greco Urban Fantasy
I generally write in my office, or on the train commuting. I used to love to write in coffee shops, but have been doing less of that since I started writing contemporary romance for a small publisher. The books are so intimate that it got really hard for me to write in public! If I listen to music, it has to be instrumental. I am too distracted by lyrics. That said, music can influence my plotlines and charac-
Blood Ops leader Dr. O is chained in the bowels of Steele City, the state’s maximum security prison, and the clock is ticking for Nina and Frankie to bust him out. Now that supernatural creatures are out of the Issue 8 | March 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | closet, Providence is descending into an apocalyptic wasteland. With the abrupt shut down Blood Ops, Nina and Frankie are forced to rely on questionable allies to battle Leila, a powerful witch/vampire hybrid hell bent on creating an indestructible supernatural army. She also happens to be Nina’s mom. Alliances are tested and relationships fractured as Nina and her band of supernatural crime fighting misfits are pushed to the breaking point. Excerpt My 1968 Triumph Bonneville screamed on the downshift, and I lurched forward. The force almost shot me over the handlebars. Frankie’s bike engine whirred as he raced to catch up with me. A bullet whizzed past my ear, the close call more a matter of luck than skill. It was the first nearmiss since these clowns started shooting at us three miles back. Now we were coming up on the Thurbers Avenue exit on Interstate 95, and the goal was to lose them on an upcoming curve of the highway. Mia’s long arms snaked around me, hanging on for dear life. She squeezed my midsection hard. For a 70-year-old lady, she had one hell of a grip. I hoped the nervous squeeze was from the sudden increased speed and not a bullet, since over a mile ago, I had sworn to her that the idiots chasing us were absolutely, positively, definitely out of bullets. My bike was a steady 130mph, not even close to top speed. The goons behind us were on those crotch rockets — fast but zero muscle to them. We could lose them once we got past Thurbers, the deadliest stretch of highway in Rhode Island. Not like it mattered much. Frankie, a vampire, was already dead, so a crash wouldn’t kill him. But if I died, I would go from half to full vampire, and honestly, I wasn’t up for eternal life right then. Ever since my own mother Leila unexpectedly rose from the dead, killed my aunt 26 | UncagedBooks.com
and unleashed hell on earth, I wasn’t too keen on sticking around forever. The only exception was if I could exterminate as many of these punk-ass vigilantes as possible. But first things first — getting Mia out of here. Frankie and I were tasked with getting Mia from the safe house to the airport. Bertrand, the demon mayor of Providence, had hooked us up with a supernatural sympathizer who worked for one of the few airlines still running out of TF Green. The plan was to smuggle Mia onto the last cargo plane flying out that night. It was departing at 11:40 p.m. sharp. Mia would fly to San Diego, where she’d be smuggled to a remote safe house just over the Mexican border. The operation was like an apocalyptic version of the Underground Railroad for witches, vampires and other supernaturals, or supernats, who wanted to live peacefully and discreetly among humans. As a coven elder whose magic was so strong that it rivaled pretty much all witches, Mia was an important figure among supernats, Leila included. Even when she wasn’t practicing, Mia oozed magic. That kind of power put her straight into Mommy Dearest’s crosshairs, a very dangerous place to be. Leila would be able to get a read on Mia easily. We needed to get to that plane. Nice and easy, I pressed on the brakes as the road began to bend. But instead of following my lead and slowing into the curve, Frankie flew past me. “What the hell are you doing?!” I screamed over the wind, knowing his sensitive vampire hearing would pick up my voice. Before he could respond, he lost control and his bike went into a skid. His body, still attached to the bike, slid across the asphalt roadway, spinning out of control for a solid 100 feet. The slam of bike and body against the cement barrier boomed through the quiet night. “Frankie!” I yelled into the wind. My instincts screamed at me to open the throttle, but I forced myself to slow down as I negotiated the dangerous roadway. When I got through the turn, I stopped the bike in
| KAREN GRECO | the middle of the freeway. I yanked Mia off the back and sprinted towards Frankie, dragging her after me. If those goons caught up with us, Mia sitting alone on my bike was an easy target. He was in rough shape, taking a direct hit to the head that left a crack in the huge cement barrier. Blood rushed out of his skull like a geyser. The bike could go up in flames at any second and I wanted to get all of us out of the way. But Frankie’s skull was split open, his grey matter oozing onto the ground. The bones were already fusing back together. His noggin knitting shut with his brain bits still on the pavement wouldn’t be a good thing. I had to get them back into his head. Gritting my teeth, I scooped up his brains and tried to push them back into his skull. His head was healing too fast. I couldn’t get his grey matter off the pavement fast enough. I reached into my pocket and pulled out an athame. I pulled his blood-soaked hair tight, losing my fingers in its thick darkness. Then, without hesitating, I hacked at the bone to reopen his skull. “Mia, help me!” I called to the witch. “There, pick that up.” I nodded at the brain tissue still on the ground. With one final slam, I re-cracked his cranium. Blood oozed out again. “Shove it in, fast!” I jammed my fingers into the crack and stretched it out. His skull popped and cracked under the pressure, but it gave way so that we could replace what was missing. Mia, without gagging (bless her witchy soul), picked up Frankie’s brain matter and shoved it back into his head. I released my fingers and, quick as can be, his bones knitted back together. “Well done, Mia!” I said, jumping up to give that heroic witch a hug. I turned just in time to see a gunman walk up behind her and shoot her point blank in the back of the head, execution style. She crumpled to the ground. This time it was chunks of her brain, dark red blood and bits of her broken skull that landed on my booted foot. Unlike Frankie, there was no fixing this one. Without hesitation, I leapt at the gunman, grabbed his head and gave it a sharp twist. His neck
snapped and his body crumpled. I tossed him into the middle of the highway like a rag doll. He landed right in front of two oncoming motorcycles, the remaining members of his posse. They both swerved to avoid his body and dumped their bikes in the choas, spinning out down the highway. I ran after them, my living-vampire swiftness getting me there before they could register what happened. I snatched one up by the back of his leather jacket, dragging him along the ground to his buddy. That one I lifted off the ground by his throat. “What the hell are you, lady?” That was the one I had by the back of the neck. The one I had by the throat could only wheeze. “I am no lady,” I growled. “I am your executioner.” I tossed them both on the ground and shook out my wrists. A pair of razor sharp blades extended over each hand, my own special weaponized claws. “You’re human, right?” I asked with a smile before plunging a blade into each of their throats simultaneously. I extracted the claws quickly and blood bubbled out of their necks. Between the blood and the expelling air, their throats made a gurgling noise. “Good god, woman,” Frankie said, sneaking up behind me. “Must you always kill in such a vile way? That sound is atrocious.” “How’s your head?” I asked, squinting at him. He wasn’t listing when he stood. That I could see, at least. “What are you talking about?” he puzzled. “Come on now, let’s clean up your mess.” I wiped the bloody blades against my jeans. “Leave it.” “Are you mad? If we leave this....” “What? Leila will send her goons out looking for me?” I said, toeing at one of the lifeless bodies. “These were her goons, and they were after Mia, not me.” “Mia?” Frankie looked confused for a minute. “Mia...I can’t quite...” His clouded expression Issue 8 | March 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | went bright with alarm. “Mia! Wait, where is Mia?” I gave my arms a quick shake. The blades retracted. “They got her, Frankie.” “What do you mean, they got her?” he asked. I pointed to where Mia lay in the middle of the highway. Her grey hair was black and sticky from the blood pooled around her. “Where was I when all this was happening?” “You took a nasty bump on the head. You were out for the whole thing.” “Out, like passed out? Vampires don’t pass out.” “The ones with traumatic brain injuries do.” Frankie’s eyes went wide. “Really? I had a traumatic brain injury? And I’m not a vegetable. Extraordinary.” I wiped my blood stained hands on my ass. “Frankie, we lost Mia. I just executed three of Leila’s human henchmen. My jeans are ruined. And I need a goddamn drink. What the hell is so extraordinary about your brain injury?” His laugh was small and rueful. “Your dad and I used to argue about what would happen to a vampire if the brain was injured. Would we survive? Be vegetative? I figured there had to be something that kept us alive, in a manner of speaking, and there had to be neurons firing in the brain. So I said we’d be veg.” “Well, you can give me the 50 bucks you bet then, since he’s not here.” “It wasn’t a money wager.” “Bullshit. There was no way you and my dad had this debate without some sort of monetary bet on the table.” Frankie raised an eyebrow. I was too tired to prod further. “Well, since you’re not a vegetable, you can help me roll these two assholes and see exactly who the hell they are.” “What’s the point?” Frankie asked. “They are human, so most likely they’re bounty hunters.” “Yeah and they executed Mia. She wasn’t just collateral damage. She was their target.” “Right, and they work for your mom,” he said, shrugging. 28 | UncagedBooks.com
“Leila,” I corrected him. That woman may have birthed me, but she was not my mother. “If they worked for Leila, I want to know who they are, where they live, where they work, who they hang out with. I am sure there are others in their posse tasked with assassinating other witches.” “Good point,” he conceded. “Should we call Max?” I shook my head. No reason to get the FBI involved. Or what was left of it. The Feds now worked for my mother—I mean, Leila. My team, Blood Ops, no longer had the backing of the U.S. government. We were the vigilantes. “Hey ho!” Frankie called out, digging through a wallet he liberated from one of our attackers. “Got a driver’s license on him, out of Connecticut of all places. I think this may be near our roving pack of wolves.” I sighed, remembering the werewolf pack we met just a few weeks ago. It felt like an eternity had passed since. “That’s just great. I have zero interest in talking to those pricks again. Werewolves are not exactly team players.” “Keep your friends close, Nina,” Frankie reminded me. I stared while he stuffed the dead guy’s money in his jacket pocket. “Frankie, what the hell are you doing? We’re searching them, not robbing them.” “Nina, the boys are dead. If they are dead, can I really rob them?” I opened my mouth to say something, but he cut me off before I took a breath. “Don’t give me crap about dishonoring the dead and all that. It’s end times, Nina. Grab the greenbacks while we can.” I didn’t argue, especially since I planned on making the same argument for taking their guns. Weapons were in even shorter supply than cash, which was becoming more and more useless anyway. “Find anything else?” I asked, pulling my hands clear of the pockets of the first guy I took down. “This guy was clearly the brains of the operation. He has no identification on him.” “Let’s get off the streets then,” Frankie said. “Back
| KAREN GRECO | to the bar?” “Let’s split up though. Something doesn’t feel right,” I said. “What do you mean, love?” “I mean, it feels like we’re being watched.” Frankie did a 360-degree turn in the middle of the dark highway. No one seemed to be around us for miles. “That’s paranoia, Nina, and they have pills for that.” I shook my head. “I trust my gut here, Frankie. Someone’s been on our tail since yesterday.” “Your mum—” he started and I shot him a look. “Sorry. Leila. She’s had trackers on us for days.” I shivered, feeling those invisible eyes on me again. “No, it’s not her. It’s something else. Not sure what.” “So it’s your witchy senses tingling?” I looked down the interstate. The streetlights were out, and most of the houses and high-rise buildings in the distance were dark. The blinds on every window within view were closed tightly. I nodded. “You stay on the highway. I’ll take the back roads and meet you at Babe’s.” “Right,” Frankie said. “And if one of us doesn’t get there in 30 minutes, the other sends out the cavalry.” “You mean Bertrand, don’t you?” I asked, growing cold at the mention of his name. “He’s all the cavalry we have at the moment,” Frankie said. That was true. Bertrand was our only lifeline right then, but a demon can’t be anything but a demon. That meant he was playing both sides – mine and Leila’s – so he’d end up on the winning one. But the winning side was, more often than not, the demon’s. Frankie picked his bike up off the ground and swore at the damage on the left side. “Bloody hell, I don’t remember dumping my bike,” he muttered before the roar of his engine cut his voice off. I straddled my bike and started her up, the rumble soothing. I glanced over at Mia, her slight body crumpled in a spreading pool of blood. One more innocent victim in a supernatural genocide. And I
failed to protect her. I kicked my motorcycle into gear and headed to the first exit to take the back roads to Babe’s, before the cops got wind of the mess littering the highway. Welcome to Providence.
Uncaged Review Hell’s Belle
(Book One, Hell’s Belle Series)
This is a fast paced urban fantasy that doesn’t let up off the gas for long. Nina is half-vampire, half-human, and part of a covert team known as the Blood Ops. Along with her, is her full vampire partner, Frankie – who keep the supernatural crimes under wraps so the human world stays in the dark. Pretty typical urban fantasy background, but the characters are believable and interesting. There are some interesting twists to the plot and the characters, and to the storyline. Nina is definitely not perfect, and you wouldn’t want her to be. She fights the vampire urges, and most of the time she’s successful. It’s going to be interesting to watch her grow. Going back to her hometown of Provence, R.I., to help her aunt run the bar they both own, soon the supernatural activity ramps up and the team is brought in. Along the way, she meets a cop, Max, who doesn’t seem to take no for an answer, and has no idea that the supernatural world exists. The writing is in the first narrator format, and normally I’m not a huge fan of it, as I feel I miss information about the other characters, but I didn’t feel that way here at all. The middle slowed a bit with what I call information dumps, but it held on and kicked into high gear for the second half. Normally with the first book in a series, you have a lot of background to read, but the author kept it interesting with Nina’s sharp wit and Frankie’s humor.
Issue 8 | March 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | Tainted Blood
(Book Two, Hell’s Belle Series)
I’m really enjoying this series. And the second book in the series ramps up the action and the pace. Our heroes are back from book one, and there are a few things going on all at once. We have the main arc running, and a couple minor arcs that are connected to the main storyline, so we have Nina and the gang putting out the smaller fires first. We start out with Beta Vamps getting sick. Beta Vamps are more or less minor vampires, they can’t bite and kill and don’t have many of the benefits of being vampires, but most of the downsides. They still need nourishment in the form of blood, but have to rely on blood bags. When Nina and Frankie run into a sick one, they need to track down who is giving them the tainted blood and killing them. Then enter Bertrand, the demon-turned-mayor that wants Nina’s assistance, and makes it hard for her to reject. Hits keep coming. This book never slowed down, and there are some good surprises along the way. There isn’t much in the line of romance in this series yet, a lot of hit and run, but there are possibilities looming. A fun and fast urban fantasy that’s a fun read.
Steele City Blues
(Book Three, Hell’s Belle Series)
This has turned into a very fun series for me, and this book pushes the gas pedal on the action, the danger and all the characters. A lot of surprises and twists, characters are well flushed out and likeable. We start out where we left off in the last book, but with Dr. O kidnapped, and witches and werewolves going missing. Nina, Frankie and the gang know where they are, but now they have to find a way to rescue and break in to Steele City. I’m not giving any more away, but this book 30 | UncagedBooks.com
wraps up the arcs satisfactory even though it leaves the series open for more – but it could even end here and it would be okay (and I hope not). There is a touch of romance in this, but it’s not overwhelming the story, it just enhances what’s already here. There isn’t much to dislike – it’s what urban fantasies should be.
Hell’s Belle Karen Greco Urban Fantasy Half vampire, half human, Nina Martinez spent most of her life underground as part of an elite secret team of government agents that quietly take down rogue monsters, the human world none the wiser. She moves back to her hometown of Providence, RI to keep an eye on the recent uptick in supernatural activity, and to help run the bar she co-owns with her aunt. Her attempt at a “regular” life, not to mention a budding relationship with smoking hot FBI agent Max, is cut short because of a string of ritual murders targeting the city’s community of witches. But Nina’s investigation unearths deadly secrets from her long buried parents. Now the target of supernatural assassins, could Nina be the most dangerous vampire hybrid to ever exist? No wonder she can’t get a date.
| KAREN GRECO | Tainted Blood Karen Greco Urban Fantasy After surviving a vampire assassin (not to mention an awkward affair with a hot FBI agent that ended worse than she could have imagined), witch/vampire hybrid Nina Martinez is reunited with the full Blood Ops team in Providence, Rhode Island. Her Aunt Babe is tutoring her in all things witchcraft, and her vampire partner Frankie is enjoying the benefits of daywalking, courtesy of a demon spell.
Sign up for Karen Greco’s newsletter, and get Hell’s Belle the first book in the series FREE.
When a segment of the Rhode Island vampire population is marked for death by a tainted blood supply, Nina and her team race to find Patient Zero before the local vampire population is wiped out. But when a demon infestation threatens to take control of the city, Nina must join forces with newly elected mayor—and closet demon— Ami Bertrand before the city falls into ruin. Filled with fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat action, Nina and her group of supernatural misfits battle a surprising new enemy that threatens their very existence. No wonder she still can’t get a date.
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Issue 8 | March 2017 |
Ryan Jo Summers
| SHORT STORY |
Uncaged is proud to welcome a wonderful short story from Ryan Jo Summers.
All That Glitters by Ryan Jo Summers
As she loaded the last of the horses into the trailer, Dani Harris let out a deep sigh of satisfaction. It had been a long week, they had worked well and everyone had enjoyed themselves. Now, she was eager to get her horses home for a rest. Her horses. Home. How long had she fought to make those words personal? Resting a hand on the cold steel of the trailer, feeling the shifting and stomping as the horses settled themselves inside, she paused to reflect on the long battle to arrive here today. It had all began with Alexander and a casual meeting over ten years ago. Derby Week in May in Louisville. She had gone back in the stables to check on a friend’s horse, to meet the vet in their absence. The colt was fine and leaving the stall, she bumped, literally, into Alexander Harris. Caught off balance, his strong arms caught her, and momentarily held her upright. His blue eyes sparkled in the afternoon sunlight, arresting her, making her forget to breathe, mesmerizing her into stunned silence. “Sorry, madam. I truly am sorry for nearly running you over,” he apologized, still holding her steady, his speech hinting at class, culture and refinement. He had to be an owner, her foggy brain had processed, slowly eliminating anyone else who would be in the stables. Too tall for a jockey, too well dressed to be a vet, he had the presence of a man accustomed to wealth and power. “Are you alright?” he asked, his eyes laughing at her despite the concern edging into his tone. “Yes, I’m fine. Just momentarily rattled,” she hastened to assure him, forcing herself to pull away even as his eyes continued to hold her in place. Within seconds, she felt a giggle bubbling up within her and soon he joined her in 34 | UncagedBooks.com
an impromptu laugh. That had been their initial introduction, followed by a whirlwind courtship. Alexander was not only an owner, but the owner of one of the most prestigious racing farms. She was at his side at nearly every race, usually in the Winners Circle when their current champion ran. In time, especially after they were married, she learned to appreciate the finer things in life; winning horses, private jet travel, yacht cruises, and never needing to muck a stall. Yet, despite all that she always carried an emptiness inside her soul during those first seven years of marriage. A hollowness she could not explain and one Alexander seemed unconcerned about finding a way to fill for her. One day she found what she needed to fill that dull space. While at lunch with a group of friends, one of them began talking about a special therapy program that used horses to help handicapped children. Bingo! Like a light suddenly turning on in her soul, Dani knew this was the something she needed to fill herself. Eagerly, she wrote down the contact information and called to go visit. Within half an hour at the farm, she was hooked. By the horses, by the volunteers and mostly by the kids themselves. Arriving by either the little yellow bus load or carpooled by parents, each unique child, and their infectious laughter and never ending smiles, lifted her heart to new heights. Finally, at last, she came alive. Really alive deep in her soul. Their stories touched her heart like nothing could before. These kids may be called handicapped by others, but they knew more about how to enjoy and love life than she had ever known in all her years. Feeling for the first time in memory that she had a purpose, she eagerly rushed back to Alexander, anxious to share her new-found world with him. Perhaps they could donate some older horses or track ponies to the cause? She already had promised to return the following Saturday to volunteer for the day. Parking her Porsche next to his Jag in the driveway, she quickly passed through the marble foyer, under the crystal chandelier in the piano room, beyond the teak walled library, and passing the marble statues, tapestries and huge oil portraits
| RYAN JO SUMMERS | of horses and stately men. To be honest with herself, sometimes those old portraits could give her the jitters. Not today though. Today she was too happy to notice them. She found Alexander sitting before the inlaid fireplace in his preferred gilded den, a cigar and crystal glass in each hand. This was his favorite room of the house. His domain. Dani never liked it much. Like much of the house, it seemed to have a sterile and museum vibration. Gold glistened throughout the entire room, sparkling and glittering from the late setting sun’s ray sneaking through the windows. Alexander hugged a glass in his hand, his face somber as he eyed her hasty entrance. Dropping her purse and jacket, she dove in with an excited fever. “Honey,” she exclaimed eagerly, “you will never guess what I have discovered today. It is the most amazing program.” In breathless excitement, she told him of the equine therapy program, the volunteers, the parents and the kids and most of all, how it made her feel so alive. “I want to be a part of it,” she finished with bated breath. “A regular part of it.” “Fine,” Alex agreed nonchalantly. “We’ll send them a check. We can do it quarterly if you wish.” Shocked, she thought he must have misunderstood. She straightened. “No, I want to be a real part of it. I want to hold the kids and walk the horses. I want to be there as much as I can. Maybe even donate a couple retiring track ponies.” Alex slammed his glass down, making her jump. “Dani, be reasonable,” he said. “You are married to me—the owner of all this.” His hand waved around the golden, glittering room. “You cannot be seen holding the hands of a bunch of kids....that are not normal.” He faltered for a moment before completing his message. Alexander always finished his message. Surprised, she sucked in a breath, her jaw going slack. Was this her beloved husband talking? She could not believe his clipped words. A light flickered in his eyes, cold and threatening, matching his uncompromising tone. “We will send them a check and that will be the end of it,” he announced, picking up his glass again. Swirling the cubes, he took a swallow, indicating the discussion was closed.
Aghast, speechless, she felt her hand go to her mouth, a chill crawling up her spine. Never in her wildest dreams would she have pictured Alex react this way. “Alex,” she said, her throat suddenly dry, “I liked being out there today. I will go back there again and volunteer.” Fingers curled around the glass, he emptied the contents, fixing her with the darkest look she had ever seen on anybody alive. It chilled her to the bone and stilled her heart. “And I said you will not. Am I not making myself clear to you, Danielle?” Stunned, she looked around the room, slowly taking in the golden glow. Gradually she brought her gaze back to Alexander, who clearly had dismissed the conversation, as well as her. In that moment, Dani knew everything that glitters was not gold. In that earth shattering moment, she realized the man before her was not the Alexander she had married. This went deeper than her interest in an equine therapy program. It went to the core of everything she had every believed herself, and her husband, to be. This was a part to him she had never witnessed before. A part that, admittedly, left her more than a little frightened. Casting her eyes around the gold gilded room once more, she sucked in a breath, studying Alexander. Oblivious to her, he seemed content to pour another drink and pretend interest in the glass, as if waiting for her to go away and leave him alone. Willing her to leave. Clearing her throat, she waited until he slowly lifted his expressionless eyes to meet hers, giving her time to pick her words well, time to remember to breathe. “Alexander, we have obviously become two different people. So different it seems our thoughts are no longer going in the same direction.” She waited, hoping he would prove her wrong somehow. Only when she tasted the warm blood did she realize she was chewing her lip. “So?” Alexander finally prompted, sounding if anything, bored. A surge of anger welling up within her took her by surprise. This was an unreal dream. If she pinched herself, would she wake up and find this just to be a horrible nightmare? The anger Issue 5 | December 2016 |
| SHORT STORY | made her move ahead. “So I am leaving. You,” she added for full clarification. Just as the darkness slid back on his face again, she jutted her chin out, sailing out of the room with a confidence that belied her quivering knees. What followed was the longest night of Dani’s life; spent in a local hotel room. Yes, her friends would have certainly given her a room, but she wanted—no, she needed to be alone to process the events. Next morning, filled with a new sense of resolve, she hired a lawyer. Not one from the company firm but a new one specialized in family issues. Then the battle was on, a golden bloody battle. Six months later she had her freedom. Expensive to both her and Alexander certainly, but worth it now. In those six long months she had seen sides to his character she would never dreamed existed. Now, regardless of the monetary cost, she was glad to be free of him. Some things were worth their weight in gold and in money. Her freedom was one of those things. She let him keep the massive house, she didn’t want it anymore. But she collected a tidy sum from her share of it, and a continued monetary interest in the racing and breeding business, plus she got full custody of five particular horses. Five horses that would be perfectly suited in an equine therapy career. In the six months since she left, she had secured a lovely little place for her and the horses and had become a solid fixture at the program stables. She sold the Porsche and bought a truck to ferry the horses from the program grounds to home again, spending the night on occasion. She even adopted a dog, a shepherd kind of shaggy stray that won her heart immediately. Lately, she was actually considering going out with a guy who was not involved in the horse world. Just a regular guy who worked at one of the factories in town. She was no longer Danielle Harris of the horse racing multiplex world. She was just Dani now. It was a good fit. Like the kids that enriched her life so much. The program director suggested she take some courses in special education, maybe earn a degree. They felt she had a strength in 36 | UncagedBooks.com
teaching and perhaps she could eventually hire in as a special education teacher. The thought pleased her and she had an appointment soon at the college. Inside the trailer now, Rocco, Daisy, Dodger, Nubie and Sundancer shifted and whinnied, reminding her it was time to go home. Dinner awaited them. Beside her, Glitter the dog stood up, stretching and yawning, ready for the ride home. Chuckling at the eagerness of her pets, she double checked the lock on the trailer, whistling to the black and white dog. Yes, she was ready to go home too. “Come on, Glitter, let’s go home.”
The End Ryan Jo Summers is a North Carolina author who specializes in writing romances with a twist. Love stories blended with inspirational, paranormal, suspense or time travel-or several at once. She also writes non-fiction for regional periodicals. Ryan’s dad is a songwriter and his aunt wrote poetry so she claims she came by her writing skill honestly. Apparently it’s in the genes. Her hobbies include bird-watching, houseplants (50 ish and growing), poetry and yard work. She loves to gather with friends, hike in the forest with her dog, paint ceramics and canvas and work on wiggly word find puzzles. She lives in a 1920 cottage with a menagerie of pets. Living in the mountains, she dreams of the shore and frequently uses the water as scenes for her stories. More about Ryan Jo can be discovered at her website, www.ryanjosummers.com or her blog http:// summersrye.wordpress.com
Interview Stay Connected Excerpts from Falter & Severance Reviews Author Giveaway
| FEATURE AUTHOR |
Haven Cage lives in the Carolinas with her husband and son. After many years of dabbling with drawing, painting, and working night shift in the medical field, she decided to try her hand at writing. Unfortunately, her love for books came later in life and proved to add a healthy challenge during her writing journey. Determined to hone her craft though, she soaks up as much information as she can, spends her free time tapping away in her favorite local coffee shop, and keeps a good book in hand whenever possible.
Haven Cage’s Faltering Souls series is well written urban fantasy, full of surprises and emotional turmoil. Worth the read!
What began as a hobby has grown into a way of escape and the yearning to take her journey
I had recently finished the Twilight Series and did some research on Stephanie Meyer. When I read that a dream sparked her story, I took her cue and pulled from one of my rather odd dreams. So, the scene in Falter where Nevaeh is flying with the angels into battle is loosely based on a Joan of Arc type dream I had about riding with an army into a warzone.
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Uncaged: The first two books in The Faltering Souls series has been a wild roller coaster for me. You managed to walk the fine line of bringing religion of a sort into a book, but not make it religious. What inspired this series? Honestly, I began my writing journey later in life than most. I was looking for something to do while my son was in preschool and my husband was at work. The need to find an activity that was just “me” as a woman, not a mom or a wife, fueled what started as a hobby and grew into much more.
My fascination with the “gray” areas in life, specifically good and evil, right and wrong, and my own dealings with faith, is the other inspiration to this story. I wanted to work out some of my own troubles of having faith while still having doubts that I’m a forgiven creature—that I believe one can be loved, guided, and looked over in life without having an ounce of faith. Writing about the darker side of a potentially “good person’s” soul, I think, is how I managed to keep Nevaeh’s tale about her
| HAVEN CAGE | journey with faith prominent, yet gritty and not about religion.
will make her appreciate her destination that much more, I hope.
Uncaged: Do you read your reviews on your books? Do they influence your story at all?
Uncaged: What are your favorite genres to read right now? Who are some of your favorite authors? Do you like to read books that are part of series?
Yes, I have read all my reviews. I know bad reviews can be discouraging and heart-breaking, but I need to know what people think so I can grow as a writer. Fortunately, I’ve had nothing but good reviews so far. Hopefully, that means I’m maturing well in my writing career. I welcome all reviews though, even those that don’t particularly like my books. We all need a little constructive criticism once in a while, even if we don’t like or agree with what is being said. As far as influencing my story…I use reviews to enhance my drive to continue and to let me know if readers like where I’m going with the story, so yes, they do influence the novels indirectly. Uncaged: How many books are planned in this series? When can readers expect to see book three? There will only be three full novels in this series, and I’m hoping to release book three next year some time. I have considered writing novellas on the secondary characters to add some dimension… Layla and Dominic’s story, perhaps. Maybe Malach and Gavyn’s. Uncaged: There is good and evil in Nevaeh, and she must ultimately choose light or dark, but it’s sure not an easy path for her. Will we find some downtime/happier moments for her in the near future? I feel book three will likely be just as torturous because of her current grim situation, however, in the end, I would like to give her some sense of peace with who she’s become and what she went through to get there. Putting her through such struggles
I’m a creature of habit when it comes to reading. I have to force myself out of my preferred genre, but I’m trying to do that more often lately. I cling to paranormal/supernatural fantasy and erotic romance though. They always call me back, soothing my reading needs and giving me the escape I yearn for. I tend to read series mostly, but not by choice. I think the books I’m drawn to just happen to always be in a series, not that I’m averted by stand-alones. My favorite authors include Karen Marie Moning, Renea Mason, Stephanie Meyer, Leigh Bardugo, and Jamie McGuire…all for very different reasons spanning from their style, their story lines, and their particular use of imagery. Uncaged: Where is your favorite places to write? Do you prefer quiet, or do you like to listen to music while writing? I usually need to get out of my house to write. It takes me out of my day to day element. I prefer privately owned coffee shops, but I’ve found they end up closing on me due to poor business. Those places seem to have just the right atmosphere though—not too busy, but steady enough to keep a comfortable background noise. I like to get my coffee, open my laptop, and get into my writing mind-space with some good music. I listen to a pretty eclectic mash of music, but, when I’m writing, I steer toward my Halestorm station on Amazon Music. They are my favorite band ever! Their song “I Am The Fire” reminds me of Nevaeh in so many ways. Uncaged: What can readers be expecting from Issue 8 | March 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | you in the near future? Well, the reason book three of the Faltering Souls Series won’t be out until later next year is because I decided to take a break from Nevaeh and spread my writing wings into a different genre. I have a stand-alone (as of right now) that I’m working on. It’s called Craving Love & Death. This novel is a dark erotic romance based in 1952 Charleston. It’ll have lots of dark and twisty turns like my usual writing style! I intend to release it by November 2017. Uncaged: What would you like to say to fans, and where can they follow you? I’m still building my fan-base, but to the readers who’ve taken a chance on me…it is truly an honor. To those who will look me up in the future, I hope I meet all your expectations as to what a good author should be. My wish is to take all my readers on a journey to somewhere that makes them question the unknown, question their normal reactions to a given situation, and to find an escape from the box of reality. For those of you who join me on that ride, thank you from the bottom of my heart…and hold on tight. Thanks for the opportunity to tell you a bit about myself and my books!
Enjoy an excerpt from Falter Falter Haven Cage Urban Fantasy
Nevaeh Richards thinks she has found a chance to leave her homeless life behind. When the spirit of the only father she knows is wrongfully taken to Hell, Nevaeh is hurled into a world haunted by monstrous demons, rogue Guardian 40 | UncagedBooks.com
angels, love that is beyond her control, and a soul-threatening choice between the inherent evil inside her and the faltering faith she is struggling to grasp. Nevaeh and George have lived on the streets as father and daughter since he found her, alone and unconscious, many years ago. When they start a new life employed at Joe’s cafe, Nevaeh experiences debilitating visions and frightening apparitions. Adding to the troubling path her life has taken, George suddenly becomes ill and an Animus demon takes his soul hostage in Hell. Unfortunately, the ransom may be more than Nevaeh can afford. As Nevaeh spirals into this supernatural world, Gavyn—the handsome café-owner—tries to convince her that she belongs to a hidden race of people with God-given gifts known as Celatum, and she may be a key player in the Celestial war. However, even after all the otherworldly events she experiences, Nevaeh continues to deny her part in it all. Meanwhile, Archard—a stranger she feels undeniably bonded to—mysteriously wanders in and out of her life, offering none of the answers she suspects he holds. Will Nevaeh attain the faith it requires to fulfill her fate as a Celata and take part in the Celestial fight? Or will she give into the darkness that calls to her for the sake of George’s soul and damn herself to Hell? Excerpt “Guess I should be going, then.” The angel reached for a box of Twinkies in the cabinet. He popped open the end of the cardboard, pulled out the yellow treat inside, ripped off the wrapper, and then stuffed the cake into his mouth. He sucked
| HAVEN CAGE | in his well-defined gut and shoved the Twinkie box behind his leather belt as he chewed. “Mm, you guys really know how to indulge in good food down here.” He held up one last bite of creamfilled cake in a toasting motion, then crammed it in his mouth. “Thanks, Gav.” Gavyn rolled his eyes and drank his last sip of beer. “You’re gonna make me fill her in by myself, then,” he dead-panned. “I have every bit of faith in you. Have fun.” He patted Gavyn’s back then strolled toward George’s body. Malach bent down and gently picked up the corpse that lay on the floor. The being cradled the body in one arm like it was weightless and lovingly caressed its cheek with his other hand. The angel’s eyes searched the hollow face for a moment and mumbled some words in a low foreign language. Then, as quickly as his tender demeanor came, it left—reverting to the somewhat comical version of a heavenly soldier. “What do you think you’re doing with George’s body?” I demanded, stomping across the room to stop the angel. He winked arrogantly, unfazed by the clear anger in my eyes. “I’m taking it with me.” “You can’t do that!” I protested, stopping just a short distance from the angel. I became very aware that the fewer steps between me and the winged man, the more my body wanted to bow down and praise him. George deserved a proper burial. That was for me to do. I needed to take care of him—or, at least, his body. “Relax, Nevaeh. I will take it to the Heavens with me for safekeeping,” he responded, I think a little intrigued by my brashness toward him. In spite of my protective reaction, I was sure he sensed that I desperately wanted him. I could feel my body involuntarily leaning in to get closer to the angel. My breath was deep and heady, and there was a lack of conviction behind my words. It was incredibly hard to deny the fact that I wanted
nothing more than his arms to embrace me and to feel his massive hands sweep across my cheek. “Why does it matter now? I thought the demon took his soul.” Gavyn approached me from behind, softly grabbed my forearm, and slid his hand down to mine. “Let him go. I will explain. George’s body is safer with them.” The sincerity in his tone begged me to trust him. Staring into his kind eyes, I remembered my developing feelings for him. My real emotions bubbled to the surface and erased the lust and need pulling my soul toward Malach. It wasn’t the pining for the angel I felt anymore, but a growing infatuation for the man in front of me. I made a quick mental note not to trust myself, or what I felt, around the heavenly being. I smiled sadly at Gavyn and nodded with assurance that I would let whatever happened happen and trust his judgment. Just then, a warm breeze floated through the room, twirling my hair around my neck as tiny raindrops began to fall around us. I looked to the ceiling and found a growing puddle softening the surface above me once again. The sides stretched farther and farther with each swirl of circulating water. It was tamer this time. “Guess I’ll see you guys later.” Malach widened his stance and stiffened his back, pulling George’s shell closer against his body. His massive shimmering wings unfolded behind him and took my breath away. He was beautiful. It almost hurt to see him leave. I wanted to kneel and weep at his pureness. As if by cue, tears flooded my eyes when he flexed the masses of white feathers up. The angel was leaving me here with my misery. “Wait,” I demanded. I ran to George and gently took his left hand in mine. The thin, gold band slipped off his finger with ease. I pushed the dulled circle of metal onto my thumb, spinning it around a few times as I thought about the hope that George had to see Issue 8 | March 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | his family again and how he’d been denied that chance. I squeezed George’s hand one last time and lowered it, planting a kiss on his cold, gaunt cheek. Stepping backward, I stared down at the bare strip of skin on his ring finger. The flesh where his ring used to be was paler than the rest of his hand. I continued spinning the band on my thumb as the weight of grief constricted my chest. This hunk of dented gold would be all I have left of him now. I tore my eyes from George’s shell and looked up at Malach. I nodded. Malach silently returned the nod and bowed his head, acknowledging my unspoken permission to take George. In one vigorous motion downward, the angel’s powerful wings rocketed him and the corpse up through the watery vortex. The ceiling smoothed and hardened, assuming its true form. I stopped sobbing for the angel’s departure the moment the portal closed, yet, a single tear trickled down my cheek after they departed. It carried only a drop of the sorrow shredding my heart to pieces, but that one fell solely for George.
Uncaged Review I read so much that sometimes I get into a funk. But this book brought me right back out of it. A story with Angels and Demons, Heaven and Hell, and even the voice of God, but still isn’t an inyour-face religious, preachy book. What it does do, is show the characters epic battle within themselves of the good vs. evil with the ultimate good and the ultimate evil. We start out at the bottom of the pile, with Nevaeh and an older man who has taken care of her – George, living on the streets. Things begin to look up for them when they get a job at a local diner, and Gavyn, the owner gives them a chance. Nevaeh has no memories of what her childhood was like before her life on the streets, and when she begins to have visions and seeing people who 42 | UncagedBooks.com
aren’t there, she begins to question her sanity. But when Nevaeh’s Guardian Angel, Archard appears, things start to really start clicking into place and the book takes on epic proportions. And soon, Nevaeh must choose where she stands.. I won’t give any spoilers, this is a highly charged, emotional roller coaster for both the reader and Neveah. I wasn’t sure where this was going in the first few pages, but it really out performed any expectations I had. It does leave on a cliffhanger setting up for book two. Reviewed by Cyrene
Enjoy an excerpt from Severance Severance Haven Cage Urban Fantasy Nevaeh has to face the overpowering gravity of her choice to save those she loves while striving for strength to fight her greatest threat—herself. Nevaeh Richards makes her declaration. Living a life in which she has few possessions, she sacrifices the only thing of worth she has to offer—what the Dark One wants the most—all for the slim chance of redeeming the souls of George, the man who raised her, and Gavyn, the Light Celata who holds a piece of her heart. Her gifts are unfurling now, but so is a fierce, unpredictable beast inside her. While she struggles to keep herself—and the beast—in check, she has to play the part of a Dark Celata and fulfill every wickedly tempting task the evil beings command of her. Each mission she goes on, each time she uses her gifts, the line she toes between the woman she
| HAVEN CAGE | used to be and the monster she reluctantly yearns to become grows thinner. As Nevaeh deals with her own turmoil, Archard watches the world he’s accepted as his own begin to suffer for the mistakes he’s made. The sacred laws which segregate the realms and hinder demons from freely moving among humans are less and less effective with each passing day. He’s failed to keep Nevaeh out of Evil’s clutches, and so the shadows of Hell are creeping through. In an attempt to right his wrongs—and heal the hole in his heart—Archard chases his elusive woman, but every lead that should bring him closer to Nevaeh only ends with more questions about who she is, where she comes from, and how to save her—if he can save her at all. Will Nevaeh survive the soul-severing decision she’s made? Will those who love Nevaeh survive her? Excerpt “Bron,” Nevaeh breathed, staring up at the dark angel with heady eyes. His head turned as if to look down at her. She fell to her knees, bowed her head, and locked her hands behind her back in submission at his feet. Swirls of her arousal mixed with the smoky tendrils drifting from their ring of fire, heightening my anger. The disruption between realms and the invasion of this atmosphere allowed me to break free from the invisible tether shackling me to the ground. I ran toward them. “Get away from her, abomination!” I yelled. Bron snaked one hand around Nevaeh’s chin from behind, ready to snap her neck at any moment, and wagged an arrogant finger with the other. I skidded to a stop just outside the flames and eyed my love, hoping that she would snap out of her trance and bolt into my arms. “Nevaeh,” I barked,
intending to pull her focus to me, but she continued to stare up at the disgrace towering over her with a confident grasp on her will. “Let her go!” I snarled at the Fallen being. My fists clenched, and I widened my shoulders in a silent challenge to the dark angel. He turned his attention toward Nevaeh again. Suddenly, the flames receded between us. As I was about to take a step closer, Bron’s hand released her, and she shifted her gaze, hazy eyes fixing on me. She slowly stood and sauntered through the ring of flames like they were nothing more flowers bending to the breeze. Her hips swaying in a dangerous rhythm like a lioness on the prowl. “Nevaeh,” I exhaled as she approached me then leaned into my body. Her hands slid up my chest, neck, and face and stopped at my temples. I closed my eyes, seduced by the intoxication of her intimacy. Breath after breath, I took her in until my lungs and nose were as full as possible with my love’s fiery, sweet essence. Her soft lips pressed into mine, and I melted into her. I opened my eyes while we kissed and peered into hers, hoping to see the soul I knew. She swallowed my gasp when I tried to pull away to break our kiss. She held me captive under her delicious mouth. Her eyes were clouded with rage and judgment. I gazed into her depths, witnessing countless sins played out by all manner of people. Some criminals, some seeking revenge, others in the wrong place at the wrong time. Still, she carried each one within her. She had punished each soul, enjoying it in her own way, as they fell to the hands of The Devil himself. The evil she unleashed with these people was a cancer consuming her spirit. I gasped again, struggling to breathe under her hypnotizing power. My eyes stung, fighting back tears of despair and sadness. She rested her forehead against mine, keeping our connection, but allowed our lips to rest. Issue 8 | March 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | The warmth of her fast breaths rushed at me like lashings of lust and danger. “I told you to leave me alone. There is nothing you can do to save me,” she whispered. She opened her mouth inches from mine and sucked in a slow, deep breath. With her inhale, I was forced to exhale. My lungs resisted the pull, but lost. She breathed in again, and I helplessly surrendered all the oxygen I held. When she opened her lips the next time, she demanded something deeper. My body shuddered, unwilling to release what she wanted. “Stop,” I choked out. I grabbed her hands and tore them from my head. Gasping for air, I stumbled away and fell to my knees. “Oh no! I’m so sorry.” Nevaeh dropped to her knees beside me, her eyes wide with shock, and rocked back and forth with her fingers digging into her thighs. “I’m so sorry,” she repeated. When I glance back at her, almost too afraid to look her in the eye, I caught a glimpse of the girl I used to know. A wrinkle formed in her forehead, laden with regret. She waited for me to respond. Teardrops trickled down her cheeks. “There you are,” I sighed in relief, reaching out to touch her face. She leaned away. “Don’t,” she whispered. “I’m not the same, Archard. There is a malevolence inside me that I won’t be able to keep caged much longer. The power is growing quicker than I can keep up with.” “Come with me,” I begged, fisting my hands in the dirt at my knees as I tried to control the urge to touch her.
Uncaged Review The second book in the series takes off right where the first one left off. This time out, the point of views jump between Nevaeh and Archard with each chapter, so you are able to get the info on both sides of the realms. The writing is just as spectacular as the first book, and you are pushed and pulled through the emotional roller coaster 44 | UncagedBooks.com
even more with this one. The reader and Nevaeh get answers to the questions brought up in the first book and we learn more about the characters – we even get to see some back story. Be warned, this book is so emotionally charged that it will leave you mentally and physically exhausted at times and the main character gets very little down time, or happiness in this book. Personally, I’d like more of a balance and I still wonder how much more that Nevaeh can take before she just completely loses or gives up the fight. The only light at the end of the tunnel is if Archard can bring her back or not. Again, this book ends on a cliffhanger so be prepared. You can bet that I’m going to be onboard for the finale on this one. Reviewed by Cyrene
Uncaged Ratings (both books): Adult
Dark Urban Fantasy Sexual situations/Graphic violence/Language Author: Warning: This novel contains sexual content and adult language. Readers 18 years and older only. It also contains material that may be a trigger for those affected by physical, sexual, or mental abuse, or the tragic loss of a loved one. Though most readers will not likely be affected, if you suffer from PTSD or are highly sensitive in regards to these types of situations, please do not read.
| HAVEN CAGE |
Exclusive Uncaged Author Giveaway A Falter and Severance eBook bundle with a swag pack will be awarded to a winner who follows Haven Cage on Facebook or Twitter. Mention that you found her through Uncaged! Winners will be announced on March 30th, 2017.
Enter today! Giveaway includes:
Both eBooks & SWAG Set
Issue 8 | March 2017 |
Decades of Love Decades of Love
Anthology Historical Romance Go all in with romance with Decades of Love. Love hits the jackpot in these six seductive tales, each set in a different decade in the hottest, wildest, most sinful of cities - Las Vegas. Mobsters and G-men, cowboys and showgirls, singers and dancers, and even a knight in shining armor find that Sin City is more than just America’s playground. Vegas is the place to bet on love.
Excerpt Sarah desperately wanted to know his answer. But, she didn’t want him to know that she was desperate to hear it. He reached for the check. “How much do I owe?” She asked. “I’ve got this.” Kyle stated, pulling out his wallet. “Do you park in the southwest lot? The one near the arena entrance?” “Thanks. And yes. Why?” And why haven’t you answered my question? “I’ll walk you to your car. You ready?” She looked at her nearly empty coffee cup. They hadn’t talked as long as she wanted to, and now he seemed to want to end their visit. Obviously something was bugging him. Perhaps she shouldn’t have asked him what he said in the letter. He’d probably told her he didn’t like her, and now was embar46 | UncagedBooks.com
sneakpeek rassed to admit it. But, she remembered it was his first day in the show the next day, so perhaps he just wanted to get a good night’s sleep. Or, perhaps he did feel too uncomfortable to answer her question. That was probably it. She shouldn’t have asked. “I’m ready. Thanks for the coffee.” She smiled, though it wasn’t genuine. She slid out of the booth and he followed. “I’ll let you lead the way. You know where we’re going,” he said. They passed the lobby check-in area, which was the most elegantly decorated area of the resort. It was decorated to look like a medieval castle, but, overall, it looked more like a cartoon because of the bright colors the architects chose for the exterior. The check-in area had some stone walls with crests hanging on them. There was even an oversized stone fireplace, the kind you’d find in a real castle of old. It was the only part of the interior of the hotel that actually looked like a medieval castle. They opened the door and stepped into the brisk September night. It was still about 65°, even though it was almost midnight. Las Vegas was funny that way. Sometimes, there seemed to be no transitional seasons, only winter or summer. Hot or cold. “I’m over there.” She indicated, pointing to the third row. When they got to her little, blue Ford Escort, she turned to Kyle. “Thanks again. I guess I’ll be seeing you tomorrow. Get some rest. The Black Night has important work to do tomorrow.” She smiled. “By the way, congratulations. That’s a great role to land.” She reached in her bag for her keys when he caught her in a hug and pulled her to him. He squeezed her tight against him and for longer than was necessary for a friendly hug, rocking her back and forth.
Interview Stay Connected Excerpt from Right to Silence Reviews
| FEATURE AUTHOR |
Lily Luchesi is the author of the bestselling and awardwinning Paranormal Detectives Series, published by Vamptasy Publishing, as well as various short stories in the horror, paranormal, and erotica genres. She’s an active and out member of the LGBT+ community, a self-professed nerd, music-lover, and just a little obsessed with vampires. When not writing or reading, she can be found drinking copious amounts of coffee, getting tattooed, going to concerts, or watching too much of the CW. She was born and raised in Chicago, but now resides in Los Angeles. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, and Pinterest.
Stay Connected lilyluchesibooks.wix.com/ lilyluchesi 48 | UncagedBooks.com
Lily Luchesi is the author of the Paranormal Detective series, set in Chicago. A very addicting series with engaging characters and a new twist on the paranormal genre. Uncaged: The Paranormal Detective series are shorter reads, and jam packed. What inspired this series for you? I have always loved vampires, ever since I was a toddler and I saw Dracula on an old episode of Scooby-Doo. So of course I wanted to write vampires as much as I could. When I came up with this book I was watching a TV show called Motive (I love crime dramas), and I thought, “What would happen if a cop’s perp turned out to be a vampire?” From there the basic plot of Stake-Out happened fully-formed inside my mind. I’m a panster, and a few things that happened during that book were shocking even to me, especially the epilogue. It was originally intended to be a standalone with a very bloody ending, but the idea for book two, Miranda’s Rights, just came to me, and everything else kind of fell into place right after it. The lengths were never set for me. Books one and two are 40k words, book three (Life Sentence) is 60k, and my latest, Right To Silence, is my longest yet at 85k. I just write as much as the story commands, and it ends where it ends. I love lots of ac-
| LILY LUCHESI | tion, always have, but as the series goes on it balances out action with emotion. (And I’m not just talking about love, I’m talking about nearly every emotion in existence, from happiness to suicidal thoughts to loss and on to even racism.) Uncaged: Do you read your reviews on your books? Do they influence your story at all? I do read them, and while some bring tears to my eyes, others make me sit up and take notice of what others are noticing. I never let the bad ones bother me, because I know my books aren’t for everyone. I think I only ever let one review influence my work, and that was someone saying that they’d do better with more romance, so I gave it a shot and it worked out great. I love reading reviews about my lead, Angelica Cross, especially. In this genre female vampires who kick ass are a dime a dozen, and knowing that I managed to create a character who appeals to so many women as a standout fills me with joy. Uncaged: Besides paranormal, what other genres do you write in? I run the gamut of paranormal’s subgenres, mostly horror and paranormal romance. I have also written short M/M erotic fiction for the Naughty Bedtime Stories series of anthologies, and F/F horror erotica. I will have my first horror erotica releasing on April 27th, called A Bloody Legacy. It is part of Hot Ink Press’ Femdom Series, and features an LGBT couple and bondage scenes. It is also reminiscent of Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula. I will see what the reaction is to that novelette and will probably stick to both paranormal and BDSM for the foreseeable future. I love horror and monsters, so no matter what, those things will always be a part of my work. Uncaged: How many books are you planning for this series?
Well, initially there were supposed to be five, with the fifth releasing on June 14th, but I recently got ideas for a sixth and seventh book. So right now there will be seven books and one spin-off (Never Again, which is releasing December 5th). I will also have a short prequel in the Beautiful Nightmares anthology, releasing March 15th. Uncaged: What are your favorite genres to read right now? Who are some of your favorite authors? Do you like to read books that are part of series? I read everything and always have, but I mostly stick to paranormal and horror for pleasure. I’m a huge fan of Stephen Kozeniewski, Rue Volley, TL Travis, and Piper Kay, amongst others. Of course I love Stephen King, Thomas Harris, and JK Rowling as well, but aside from them I read mostly indie or authors from smaller Big Five imprints, like Ellen Schreiber, Darren Shan, Zac Brewer, and Terri Garey. I LOVE series, and most of the authors I mentioned write series. Uncaged: Where is your favorite places to write? Do you prefer quiet, or do you like to listen to music while writing? I write in bed, actually! Bad for posture, great for creativity and comfort. I usually listen to music as it helps me concentrate and sets the mood for my stories. I include playlists in most of my books, so readers can get a great feel of the emotions behind the books. Uncaged: What can readers be expecting from you in the near future? This year is a busy one for me! Below is my release schedule for 2017. March 15th: A Paranormal Detectives prequel story in the Beautiful Nightmares anthology. April 4th: “North Side Asylum”, a psychological horror short in the Lurking In The Mind anthology. Issue 8 | March 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | May 1st: “Rejuvenate”, a short horror story in the 35th issue of Weirdbook Magazine June 14th: Last Rites, the fifth Paranormal Detectives novel December 5th: Never Again, a standalone Paranormal Detectives novel) Uncaged: What would you like to say to fans, and where can they follow you? I’d like to say a huge thank you. This has been my dream since I was eight years old, and to know that I have readers who wait for my books, who write me messages about my work, who follow and like and comment and share, it’s mind-blowing.
Enjoy an excerpt from Right to Silence Right to Silence Lily Luchesi Paranormal/Horror The truth can be deadly. In the first of this two-part novel, we learn the history of hunters Brighton Sands and Mark Evans in their two lifetimes, culminating in their final battle with the insane vampire they have been hunting for centuries. In the second part, with Angelica Cross still on the run, multiple vampiric murders lead to the kidnapping of a famous vamp. Detective Danny Mancini must drag a mortal into the bowels of Hell in order to rescue her. But why does Leander Price want her so badly, and what does she have to do with an ancient vampire prophecy?
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Excerpt Angelica left his church feeling lighter and happier. She was not Catholic, and her father had been a very lapsed Christian, but she understood the peace one got from being around true servants of God, like this priest was. However, she was of the mind that God helped those who helped themselves, and she did not think prayers would help if she did not step up to her challenges as well. She got into her car and the second she went to turn on the radio she jumped, immediately wanting to run right back out: Leander was in the passenger seat. She tried her door and it would not open. The car would not drive. “Get the Hell out of here,” she hissed. “You’re fucking lucky I can’t kill you right now.” Leander just smiled. “Hex bags. You got Harriet, AKA the Savior of the Covens, to come and help you, I see. I could never recruit her either, no wonder you’re associated with her.” “So that’s what you meant by you wouldn’t hurt anyone and I’d come to you myself? You killed my friend!” she cried. He held up a hand. “I said ‘threaten’, not ‘kill’ or ‘hurt’. Semantics, Your Highness.” He winked. “Before you go on berating me, I did not do it to persuade you. I did it to prove a point...which did not get proven.” “A point? You killed a man to prove a point? What could you possibly want to prove that badly that it took murder?” she asked, her hands gripping the steering wheel so hard it was cracking. That will need replacing if I survive. He nodded. “You look so surprised. As if you haven’t killed people yourself.” “Not innocent people! ...Okay, fine, I’ll bite: what point were you trying to prove?” “That you wouldn’t care if someone close to you died. I was wrong, and I freely admit that.” Angelica could not remember the last time she had been so angry. Not even Fiona had brought out the rage that was building in her chest at that moment. “You killed Bart and expected me to
| LILY LUCHESI | not give a damn?” How had this monster once been human? She wanted to shoot him, dispel his demonic essence forever, but she knew he’d just disappear and she’d wind up putting a hole in her car. “You’re not going cold quickly, and it made no sense. Finally, when I saw you just now, I realized why. You’re dying.” He said it conversationally, as if he meant, “your hair looks nice today” or “is that a new shirt?” “Like I’m falling for that,” Angelica scoffed, hoping he couldn’t feel the cold hand of fear creeping around her throat. “You’re drinking blood like crazy, but you’re still cold and weak. You didn’t drive this thing today for the fun of it, you did it because you don’t think you’re strong enough to run like you usually do,” he observed, sounding eerily like Brighton used to. “I can tell you how to stop it, but you probably won’t like to hear it.” No, she knew she would not want to hear this. Not only did she hate that someone knew more about her than she did herself, but she hated having to take advice from a demon, the only creatures with no redeeming quality. Souls of pure black malice. And yet she had to trust this one, because she knew he was right. She knew it was not depression or stress. There was something very wrong with her, and she had not drank from Danny that day because she was afraid that she would not have been able to stop. “Go on,” she said, struggling to keep her voice neutral. “Vampires don’t need to kill to live, that is something you unfortunately proved. You are not a regular vampire by any means. Being from a line directly descended from humans, but born with vampiric blood, your body has been slowly breaking down ever since the moment you were fully turned. Particularly after you used much of your power against Fiona last year. Your body now can’t get enough blood to sustain it, because you’re not drinking it properly fitting to your unique condition,” Leander explained.
Angelica laughed, she couldn’t help it. “Not drinking it properly? Are you out of your fucking mind? I’ve been drinking blood since I was born. I think I know how.” “Yes, but just as there is a difference in nutrition value between drinking from a pre-made cut or biting the victim, there is a big difference between drinking enough to survive, and enough to thrive. You need to drink a person dry, just once, so your body can get what it needs to thrive. Otherwise, I give you three months before you wither away to centuries old dust.” Angelica’s mouth dropped as she received yet another bombshell blow of information. “How can I trust you?” “You can’t...except that I need you alive, so therefore it stands to reason I wouldn’t lie about something that could keep you that way. Oh, and one more thing. I know how your mind works: you want to kill someone terminally ill, or perhaps in an institution or coma. That won’t work. You need a human in the prime of their life, under forty and over eighteen. Perfectly healthy.” He smirked. “Bon appetit, Your Highness.”
Uncaged Review At the time of this publication, I‘ve only have read the first 2 books in this series. The others will remain on my list for a future review.
(Book One, Paranormal Detective Series)
This is a shorter, novella length story, so it was a breeze to read. Set in Chicago, this series has Danny, a detective forced to retire by the department after he sees a monster killing a victim, and sets his life into a drunken state. Enter Angelica, who invites Danny to help them bring down the killer, a vampire. Finding out he wasn’t going insane, and wanting to get back to Issue 8 | March 2017 |
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work, he joins her as a temporary agent with the Paranormal Detective Agency, an unknown part of the FBI to find and take down the killer that he saw. Now this may sound run-of-the-mill, and yes, part of this has been told over many times, but the author has a few nice twists that give it the originality and surprise. I did guess early on some of it, but when Danny finds out his dreams and nightmares are actually visions, the story takes on a whole new feeling. A nice start to a paranormal series, and a great start for a debut from the author. Reviewed by Cyrene
(Book Two, Paranormal Detective Series) The second book in this series sees Danny returning to the PID for a case of half-turned werewolves that seem out to kill him. And returning into his life is an ex-fiance, Miranda, who was turned into a vampire over twenty years ago and had been living in Europe, working for PID without his knowledge. When Miranda sees him again, she thinks that they will take up where they left off, and it turns into an obsession, especially when Danny rejects her. But they have a much bigger problem, the witch Fiona is wielding dark magic and it will Angelica and Danny all they have to take her down. This book is a fast paced, shorter length but jammed pack. And the ending is a surprise, and although not a true cliffhanger, it does set up well for the next one. The romance between Danny and Angelica is back on, but the story is clean and the sex is behind closed doors.
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Stake Out Lily Luchesi Paranormal/Horror In a city overrun with the undead, an ex-cop is given a chance to get revenge... Danny Mancini is on a case, following a murder suspect. When he catches him, he finds out that the perp isn’t even human: he’s a 200 year old rogue vampire! The department doesn’t believe him, and puts him on early retirement, despite his many years of service to the Chicago Police Department, which sends him into a downward spiral. Two years later, Danny gets an invitation from the beautiful, young and very attractive Detective Angelica Cross to join a secret branch of the FBI to help her track down Vincent, the wayward vamp. But renegade werewolves, meddling immortal witches and Danny’s strange visions of a life lived a century ago with Angelica make things more difficult than it should be. Miranda’s Rights Lily Luchesi Paranormal/Horror The dead don’t always rest easy... Retired detective, Danny Mancini, is haunted by nightmares after he found out that paranormal creatures exist. All he wants is to forget them…especially a certain half-vampire. When cursed werewolves show up trying to kill him, he is forced to go back to the Paranormal Investigative Division for help against a powerful old enemy. What he was not expecting was a dead ex showing back up after twenty-six years.
| LILY LUCHESI | Life Sentence Lily Luchesi Paranormal/Horror She can fight evil, but can she fight the darkness in her own blood? After the disastrous events with Miranda have subsided, Danny and Angelica have to adjust to a new kind of life at the Paranormal Investigative Division. Fiona is still on the loose, and she has all of Hell on her side. Danny begins to enhance his psychic abilities with the help of a soul just like his. Angelica is caught between a rock and a very dark place. Can their love survive these new trials, or will the past tear them apart?
Issue 8 | March 2017 |
Best Seller Lists Week ending February 26, 2017
IndieReaders.com Best Selling Hard Cover
New York Times Best Selling Fiction Hard Cover 1. Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman 2. Echoes in Death by J. D. Robb 3. Never, Never by James Patterson and Candice Fox 4. The Whistlerby John Grisham 5. Right Behind You by Lisa Gardner 6. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead 7. Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks 8. The Girl Before by J. P. Delaney 9. My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella 10. Universal Harvester by John Darnielle
1. Every Little Thing by Marie Force 2. Mack Daddy by Penelope Ward 3. Like A Memory by Abbi Glines 4. Park Avenue Prince by Louise Bay 5. Once Upon A Valentine by Various 6. Snapshot by Brandon Sanderson 7. Yours by Jasinda Wilder 8. Tempt Me by J. Kenner 9. Crown Of Lies by Pepper Winters 10. The Dragonlings’ Very Special Valentine by S.E. Smith
Barnes & Noble Best Selling Fiction
Amazon Best Selling Fiction Kindle eBooks 1. The Practice House by Laura McNeal 2. The Halo Effect by Anne D. LeClaire 3. The Breaking Light by Heather Hansen 4. The Last Paradise by Antonio Garrido 5. In Farleigh Field by Rhys Bowen 6. 1984 by George Orwell 7. Everything We Keep by Kerry Lonsdale 8. Extracted by RR Haywood 9. The Shack by William P. Young 10. Every Fifteen Minutes by Lisa Scottoline
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1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.
Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman Empire’s End by Chuck Wendig Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders Heartbreak Hotel by Jonathan Kellerman Humans, Bow Down by James Patterson The Girl Before by JP Delaney Echoes in Death by J. D. Robb Never, Never by James Patterson and Candice Fox 10. Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks
Interview Stay Connected Excerpt from The Seerâ€™s Secret Reviews Author Giveaway
| FEATURE AUTHOR |
Mikea Howard is the pen name for Mindy Howard and Kelly Smith, sistersin-law who share a love for romance, usually paranormal. Mindy is an IT professional at a telecom company. She is married to a musician and teacher, who also happens to be Kelly’s brother. She has one adult son and is living out west. Kelly is a Registered Nurse working in maternalfetal medicine. She has a great husband, who happens to be Mindy’s husband’s best friend. She has one son getting ready to enter high school, one daughter about to start middle school, and is living on the east coast. Both are geeks who love sci-fi, fantasy, and cosplay. They seize every opportunity to design and wear a costume, letting their inner child run amok.
Stay Connected mikeahoward.com
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Mikea Howard is our second writing team in Uncaged this month. Their dieselpunk series is original, engaging and a whole lot of fun. Uncaged: This diesel punk world you’ve created along with shifters, is pretty original for me. Who came up with this concept? Kelly: The series started with a dream I had, which was actually the opening scene from The Mechanic’s Mate. I rarely have lucid dreams, or really recall very much from them, but the imagery, the sounds and the scents were so vivid, I immediately wrote it down and sent it to Mindy. Mindy: something like…read it, already knew paranormal/weres but when we discussed the pollution and costuming we knew this was a dieselpunk world? Uncaged: Do you read your reviews on your books? Do they influence your story at all? Mindy: I don’t read a lot of them. Usually Kelly will give me the highlights and I’ll read the ones that she sends to me. Kelly: I read them all. If there is constructive criticism, we always discuss it and try to figure out where we could improve our craft and world. Generally though our characters drive the story, so we have to stay true to them. Uncaged: Since you are a writing team, how do you switch off the writing, or is it completely together? Who is the mastermind behind the diesel-
| MIKEA HOWARD | speak? Mindy: I think I was the first to put diesel slang in the dialogue. When you research the era, the language is a big piece of it. We actually created a diesel-speak dictionary. Kelly: We write in a shared doc simultaneously for the most part. We both tend to skip around writing the scenes that come to us and build on each other. Since we are writing from different character’s POVs we often surprise each other too, which is always fun;) Uncaged: How many books are you planning for this series? M & K: As many as we can! We have The Mechanic’s Mate and The Seer’s Secret out now and The Ambassador’s Anchor is about halfway done. Soul Song is part of the Soul Mate Tree Series and will be the October release. We also have basic outlines for another 4 right now, but since new characters keep popping in, who knows. Uncaged: What are your favorite genres to read right now? Who are some of your favorite authors? Do you like to read books that are part of series?
difficulty writing a scene I’ll put on music or old movies from the diesel era. Uncaged: What can readers be expecting from you in the near future? M & K: We are currently in an awesome project with Soul Mate Publishing called The Soul Mate Tree Series which just started in January. A new book is released every month with the underlying theme of a tree that brings soul mates together. Our contribution, Soul Song is the October release. The Ambassador’s Anchor will be (hopefully) releasing later this year as well. Our favorite thing, aside from writing, is conventions. We love meeting other readers and authors. Mindy will be in Scotland doing signings this summer and we will both be at PennedCon in St Louis in September. For 2018 we’ll be at Literary Love in Savannah and Show Me Your Books in Kansas City.
M & K: We both love paranormal romance and sci-fi, but read all subgenres of romance as well as UF and YA. Favorite authors are Joey W Hill, Gena Showalter, Kresley Cole, JR Ward, (insert more). We are huge fans of series’. We both always want more. Uncaged: Where is your favorite places to write? Do you prefer quiet, or do you like to listen to music while writing? Kelly: I actually write in the living room with mindless TV in the background. I have always needed background noise. When I’m having Issue 8 | March 2017 |
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Enjoy an excerpt from The Seer’s Secret The Seer’s Secret Mikea Howard Dieselpunk/Paranormal Born with a special gift, Molly could help others but existed between two worlds--undetectable by one and not fully part of the other. Usually choosing not to interfere in other folks lives, she never employed her abilities to their greatest potential. When the leader of the Animal Gang learns the truth of her skills, Molly’s simple life as a baker in her family’s shop is threatened. Could the Blue Wolf enforcer she’d been pining over help her escape and embrace her gifts . . . or is she just putting his life in danger? Edo’s entire life had been one exception after another, never the norm on any path his life leads him. Using an ability he sees as mundane, he meets the beautiful baker while on a mission for his alpha. As she is hunted by the rogue gang she entrusts her secrets and her heart to him. But can he protect her in the diesel city and still serve his alpha and pack? Excerpt With a calm he clung to by a thread, Edo spoke from the shadows, “I have only three things to say, Molly, so listen closely as I plan to say them only once.” He emerged from the dark corner closing the distance between them in two strides. Edo took her chin in his hand, tilting her head back so she peered directly into his eyes. “First, what secrets are you keeping?” Her eyes widened. “You snooped on my private conversation?” 58 | UncagedBooks.com
He disregarded her question. “Second, what did the goon say to you at the dance that bothered you?” Molly squinted at him as she focused all the energy of her green eyes on his. “Stalking me, Edo, really?” “Lastly, I didn’t like the image of you dancing with another guy.” Molly’s emerald glare sliced through him, all his well-laid plans skedaddled, so he let the goddess guide him. Holding her still he lowered his head and kissed her. Light at first, however as she wrapped her arms around him to kiss back, he couldn’t help but press into her harder. He’d played this moment over and over, imagining how it’d go. Letting his tongue force her lips apart, he tasted wine. He hadn’t been a fan of the drink, but now, mixed with the flavor of her, it overwhelmed his senses. Losing himself in their contact, he released her chin, shifting both hands to the sides of her face. Sliding his fingers deep into her hair, he gripped and brought her lips harder against his own. Molly rewarded him with a moan, pressing her body tight into him. As abruptly as the kiss began, it ended, when Molly brought her hands between them, shoving him back away from her. Panting, eyes wide, she drug the back of her hand across her mouth. The lipstick he’d already smeared spread even further across her cheek. Flushed and ruffled from his kiss, she drove Edo’s desire higher. Taking another step back from him, Molly threw her hands out in front of her, sweeping them wide to her sides. “Whoa! Spread out!” She stumbled behind the front counter, creating an effective barrier between them. “Listen, I know ya caught a glimpse of me out with a guy but this bank’s closed!” Molly peered down, took a deep breath, and did a slow burn up pointing a finger at him. “I’m no prude, but I’m not an easy biscuit either.” Edo rooted in place, not wanting to alarm her more
| MIKEA HOWARD | than he already had. Edo never believed her an easy girl, but he had an overwhelming urge to kiss her. And when he gazed into her eyes . . . Mashing his lids closed, he inhaled slowly, letting the scents of the bakery wash away her tantalizing perfume before opening them again. No longer able to trust his self-control around this woman, Edo forced himself to focus on the countertop. Although he had no desire to leave, his Diesel-born mother taught him better than to give into his wolf’s urges in situations like this.
Uncaged Review The Mechanic’s Mate
(Book One, The Diesel War Series)
A very clever world, mixing steampunk and shifters. After the Diesel Wars, a treaty is agreed upon, and the shifters and humans are for the most part separated by boundaries, the humans in the cities with their mechanical creations and the shifters living outside in their own communities where the noise of the cities won’t bother them, as it can turn them mad. This story is about Sadie, who is wooed by a shifter that does live in the city. Sadie finds out after their mating, that Eridon is a cruel master, and continually beats and rapes her – and on top of it, he bites her to turn her into a wolf. Sadie escapes, and runs into the woods, having no idea where to go. Domek, the alpha wolf of the Blue Wolf pack finds Sadie, and takes her back to his pack, taking her into the pack and helping her through her first change. But one day soon, they are going to have to deal with Eridon, her brutal mate, even though the link is weak, but to kill Eridon means that Sadie could die… This is a good story, Sadie is a submissive wolf, but I felt Domek was loving at times, and at other times he took advantage of her. For her to accept him so quickly, alpha or not, after the brutal life she came from, was a little unrealistic. And for Domek to call to her as his mate really shouldn’t
have happened unless the bond was completely broken with Eridon. But I did enjoy the originality of this world and the likable characters. Reviewed by Cyrene
The Seer’s Secret
(Book Two, The Diesel War Series)
In the second installment in the series, brings you Molly – an owl shifter that doesn’t shift, also a baker in Eureka, and Edo, a wolf shifter from the Blue Wolf pack that acts as a patrol. Since the city noise and fumes don’t bother Edo like many of the shifters, he gets to patrol closer to the city. Having met Molly at Sadie and Domek’s wedding, he is drawn to her and has a hard time staying away from her. For me, this book was much faster paced than the first, and it brings back all the characters you met in book one. It took me a bit to get in the swing of things with the diesel speak, but after a few chapters, it was actually kind of fun. Molly is a fun and feisty character and holds her own with Edo, and truly is the bee’s knees.
The Mechanic’s Mate Mikea Howard Dieselpunk/Paranormal Abused and on the run, Sadie flees through the woods. For the first time in her life, she craves the blissful silence of nature. Her sire and mate is a monster who hid his inner evil all too well. Her skills as a mechanic now useless, intolerant to the noise and pollution of the city’s Issue 8 | March 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | diesel engines thanks to her new werewolf status, Sadie’s only hope is the ex-pack of the monster she escaped. But will they accept the dieselhead mate of a rogue? Domek, the Blue Wolf alpha, has caught the scent of the rogue he’s sworn to hunt down. But he’s shocked to find it attached to a frail, damaged city girl, the most beautiful creature he has ever seen. The desire to take care of her is fierce . . . unexplainable. How can he protect a woman who has tied the fate of her mortality to the life of a rogue he must destroy?
side. No one had ever made him want anything for himself until he discovered this city girl. Forces plot against them and time is short. Soon, their chance for a happily ever after will be too late.
Win a Dieselpunk T-Shirt of your choice from Mikea Howard’s store! Examples:
The Ambassador’s Anchor Mikea Howard Dieselpunk/Paranormal Cover preview! More information coming soon!
Soul Song Mikea Howard Fantasy Coming October 2017 Dottie thought she had it all: a successful singing career, a handsome fiancé, and a starlet’s wardrobe. Sudden betrayal brought it all crashing down around her. Those she trusted most played her as nothing more than a pawn. One misstep while fleeing the scene trapped her in another world alone, save a mysterious visitor. Guatimozin, an eagle shifter, has spent ages assisting people through the realm between life and death, leading them to join loved ones on either 60 | UncagedBooks.com
See more examples HERE. Go to Mikea Howard’s Facebook page and comment on the post to enter! No purchase required to enter!
Interview Stay Connected Excerpts from Dance of the Butterfly Review
| FEATURE AUTHOR |
Born in Houston, Texas into the temporary care of a bevy of nuns before being delivered to his adopted parents, Scott discovered creative writing at a very young age when asked to write a newspaper from another planet. This exercise awakened a seemingly endless drive, and now, many short stories, poems, plays, and novels (both finished and unfinished) later, his first book, â€œDance of the Butterflyâ€?, has been published. The seeds for this tale began with dreams, as many often do, before being fine-tuned with a whimsical notion and the very serious input of a dear friend. Before long, the story took on a life of its own and has now become the first book in a planned series. Having lived his whole life in the same state, Scott attended the University of Texas at Austin, achieving a degree in philosophy before returning to the Houston area to be closer to family and friends. During this time, he wrote more and even branched out into directing and performance art, though creative writing remains his love.
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scottcarruba.com Scott Carrubaâ€™s dark fantasy series is a creatively written dark thriller that will keep you turning the pages. We welcome him to Uncaged. Uncaged: What inspired you to start writing? What inspired Dance of the Butterfly? I began writing creatively in elementary school. I was given an extra credit assignment by a teacher to write a fictitious newspaper from another planet. I loved the exercise, finding that delving into my imagination was fun and fulfilling. As with many other writing projects, Dance of the Butterfly began with a few dreams I had. I took some time pulling them together and working them into a cohesive concept. The idea went through a time of my trying to write it as a script for a graphic novel, but I abandoned that and went to novel form. It remained inactive for some time, until I met someone who helped to reinvigorate and
| SCOTT CARRUBA | solidify the idea, then I wrote the first two books in one year. Uncaged: Do you read your reviews on your books? Do they influence your story at all? Yes, I read them, but they do not necessarily influence my story. Editor and beta feedback are more an influence than reviews. Uncaged: Dance of the Butterfly is a dark fantasy woven in mystery. What other genres do you see yourself writing? I have three other works in progress, and all are in the fantasy genre. I have also worked in contemporary, science fiction, and weird fiction, but for now, fantasy seems to be the main focus. Uncaged: I know book two, Sword of the Butterfly will release by the time this issue is released, will there be more to this series? Yes. I am currently working on the third, and likely final, book in this series. I have explored the idea of perhaps writing some short stories that take place in this world, but as yet, those ideas are very abstract. Uncaged: What are your favorite genres to read right now? Who are some of your favorite authors? Do you like to read books that are part of series? I tend to read many genres, but I would guess from my book collection that science fiction is my favorite. Some of my favorite authors are Frank Herbert, H.P. Lovecraft, Catherine Asaro, and China MiĂŠville.
I write at my desk in my house, almost exclusively, using a desktop computer. The only time I might write elsewhere is if an idea occurs to me and I want to jot something down, which usually ends up in the notes section of my phone. I prefer quiet, but I have found some music that works with my writing. It has to feel as though it is pertinent to the tone, so I generally use dark, moody soundtracks if I listen to anything at all. The music cannot have lyrics, or it is too distracting to me. Uncaged: What can readers be expecting from you in the near future? The release of Sword of the Butterfly, the second book in the series. I will also have two short stories released in two different collections. I keep readers informed through my various web presences, and I love hearing from them and interacting with them. Uncaged: What would you like to say to fans, and where can they follow you? I wish to say thank you, of course. Without readers and fans, this would be more of a work in a vacuum. It is fulfilling to just write, but it is more gratifying to know others out there are reading my stories and enjoying them. The two best places to follow me would be my personal page (https:// scottcarruba.com/) and my Facebook page (https:// www.facebook.com/AuthorScottCarruba/)
Uncaged: Where is your favorite places to write? Do you prefer quiet, or do you like to listen to music while writing?
Issue 8 | March 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR |
Enjoy excerpts from Dance of the Butterfly Dance of the Butterfly Scott Carruba Dark Urban Fantasy A dark urban fantasy, telling of two powerful families who uphold a secret duty to protect humanity from a threat it doesn’t know exists. Though sharing a common enemy, the two families form a long-standing rivalry due to their methods and ultimate goals. Forces are coalescing in a prominent Central European citycriminal sex-trafficking, a serial murderer with a savage bent, and other, less tangible influences. Within a prestigious, private university, Lilja, a young librarian charged with protecting a very special book, finds herself suddenly ensconced in this dark, strange world. Originally from Finland, she has her own reason for why she left her home, but she finds the city to be anything but a haven from dangers and secrets. Book One in a planned series. Excerpt 1 Back outside and easily atop the roof of this place, crouching, hidden in darkness and shadow, thinking, waiting, watching. Some digging has also been done as regards the serial killer haunting the city, especially as a few of the more sensationalistic news outlets associate that murderer with the vigilante. It’s ludicrous, of course, but the implication is more of a concern. The serial killer seems interested in the same girls, but as prey, not victims needing help. A passing moment is spent pondering this, but there is as yet too little information. Unfortunately, young ladies in just these sorts of situations often 64 | UncagedBooks.com
end up as victims of violent crime. It could just be a coincidence. Still, if anything may be done to stop it, it will be done. The war is intensifying. The crime ring is trying many avenues to thwart this work. It would be amusing, if it were not pathetic, that the criminals are manipulating the police and the media to help them instead of those two same institutions working more fervently to stop the expanding activities of the criminal organization, that influence spreading like a dark mist throughout the city. What is becoming? Excerpt 2 “You know the police are helping us,” he says, giving a brief moment to his smile, almost sincerely apologetic. “We found a very good picture of you from a subway camera. It did not take much more work, then, to find your file. You used to be a ward of the state, and even though Mr. Violin’s work is not entirely legitimate, it is official enough that we learned of your … employment there.” He then gives a subtle shrug after this, as though asking for pardon of his own involvement, then he brings his cigarette back to his mouth, inhaling, the tip flaring with brightness. “Stop turning me into the fucking damsel in distress,” she grates out. He leans in closer, though staying out of range of her feet, turning his head to expel a stream of smoke away from her face, then speaking to her, “Why, Miss Stendahl, that is exactly what you are – the bait. We did not know it the first time, but this time, well … we do.” Excerpt 3 She sees the janitors getting out of their white van, preparing to go in and begin cleaning in advance of the closing hour. They trade a friendly wave and greeting, and she begins the short walk home,
| SCOTT CARRUBA | one that generally takes her less than a half hour. This one will take much longer. Lilja would not recognize him even if he were not hiding in the narrow alleyway here on the campus grounds. He is a student of the prestigious university, but even with their exclusivity, they do not psychologically evaluate when deciding to admit students. He has been spending a lot of time of late in the library, watching her, germinating fantasies in his mind, developing an emotional attachment that he feels should be reciprocated. He has even watched her go home a few times, not following her, just observing, and he has noticed she does not usually drive a car, and when on foot, this is her normal route. He has waited long enough, simmering in his need and desire for her. She will walk by here soon. He hears the telltale click of her steady approach. He waits just inside the shadows, the darkness helping to hide his bulk. Tonight is the night. As she moves by the mouth of the passageway, he lunges, ambushing her in an instant, his thick arms spread out, his coat giving him the semblance of a bird of prey. It may be quite alarming how fast a human being may move, and before Lilja has time to register it, he has her in a strong bear hug, pulling her petite frame back into the alleyway, away from prying eyes.
Uncaged Review Unfortunately, my daughter who is reviewing this book, became ill and could not finish in the time this magazine was published. Scott Carruba will be getting a free 2-page Showcase in April with the comprehensive review. Our apologies.
Issue 8 | March 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | Sword of the Butterfly Scott Carruba Dark Fantasy The tale continues in Sword of the Butterfly, book two of the series, as Lilja and Skothiam continue to fight demons within and without. The infernal forces make a grand play, hoping to stab the world in its very heart. Casualties mount as further tensions rise in the City, threatening the vigilante with a loss of freedom and life. Children become victims of a madmanâ€™s design while the hunt is on for a powerful creature wreaking havoc across parts of the U.S. Lilja begins to question herself and her place in Skothiamâ€™s life even as the very treasure they must protect comes under danger.
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featureauthor Tamara Thorne
Interview Stay Connected Excerpt from: Darling Girls
Coming in 2017
| FANG-FREAKIN-TASTIC FEATURE AUTHOR |
Tamara Thorne’s first novel was published in 1991. Since then she has written many more, including international bestsellers Haunted, Bad Things, Moonfall, and The Sorority. Tamara’s interest in writing is lifelong, as is her fascination with the paranormal, occult, mythology and folklore. She’s been an avid ghost story collector and writer all her life. Tamara’s novels range from straight-out ghost stories to tales of witchcraft, conspiracies, UFOs, elemental forces, and vampires. No matter what topic she chooses, chances are you’ll find a ghost or two lurking in the background. Today, she and her frequent collaborator, Alistair Cross, share their worlds and continue to write about ghosts and other mysterious forces. Whether collaborating or writing solo, there is no shortage of humor, sex, blood, and spookiness. Tamara also conducts real-life investigations of anomalous phenomena and has seen a number of odd things over the last twenty years. As an openminded skeptic, she’s spoken to many paranormal groups and has appeared on the television show, Ghost Adventures. Most recently, she and Alistair Cross went on a five-day investigation to an allegedly haunted cabin in California’s Gold Country - an adventure that inspired The Cliffhouse 68 | UncagedBooks.com
Haunting. She has also been featured on many radio programs and in various newspapers on the topics of haunted places and local lore. A journalist by training, she occasionally writes about ghosts and hauntings for a syndicate of southern California newspapers, but her first love is, and has always been, telling ghost stories to make people scream. . . and laugh. Tamara and Alistair co-host Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! every Thursday night on Blog Talk Radio. You can also visit Tamara on Twitter, Facebook, or at her blog.
tamarathorne.com Interview with Tamara Thorne. Tell us a little about yourself. I was born loving ghost stories, folklore, and anything else with a whiff of mystery to it. As a child, I was equal parts tomboy and bookworm and I spent a lot of my time scaring other kids by telling tall tales about the occupants of various houses in the neighborhood. When I was home, I was either reading or writing horror or science fiction. I loved wandering cemeteries and making up stories about the people under the gravestones. I still love it. I spent a lot of time hiking in the mountains and
| TAMARA THORNE | swimming in the sea on weekends - and writing horror stories about both and anything else that struck me. I especially loved exploring ghost towns. I tried to have an invisible friend when my real friends were doing it, but just couldn’t buy into it. I loved rigging séances at Halloween parties and kept myself awake in school by rerunning MAD Magazine cartoons in my head or writing dirty limericks. And my anthem was The Beatles’ Paperback Writer. I played it endlessly on the piano. That’s all I ever wanted to be. I felt that writing books was what I was born to do. Some things never change. Who are your biggest influences? Ray Bradbury is number one by far. His prose was poetry and I read and reread everything he wrote, learning about atmosphere and the elegance of words. Every summer from third grade through high school (and beyond), I reread Dandelion Wine. To this day, thanks to Bradbury, I feel nostalgia for a boyhood I never had in 1930s Greentown, Illinois. Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House set me on my life’s course. In sixth grade, I found the book at the library and set my hand to writing ghost stories instead of science fiction. Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and H. Rider Haggard’s Alan Quatermain were my favorite heroes, and soon Tolkien’s Aragorn joined the ranks. I wasn’t much for books aimed at girls/ women, though I read Little Women a number of times because of Jo March, who wanted to be a writer - and didn’t hold with girly stuff. I liked her a lot. What’s the hardest thing you’ve written? I love getting into characters’ heads more than anything, but one character who was extremely diffi-
cult for me was Eve, one of the protagonists of The Sorority. She was a cheerleader with real school spirit. She baffled me, but I eventually caught onto understanding her by considering that many people wouldn’t understand my love of ghost stories. At that point, I just accepted that her interests, though I couldn’t understand them, were as important as my own. The other book that was difficult, at least in the beginning, was Candle Bay. My editor really wanted a vampire novel and I wrote the story without a clear view of where it was going. It turned into something of a French farce, but eventually I could see the end, and to my eternal shock, I knew I had to leave it open for sequels. The big question was if vampire Stephen Darling would turn his lady love, Amanda Pearce, into a vampire. That was something I didn’t reveal in Candle Bay - I had a feeling about it and wanted to save it for later. And at last, it’s time to tell the world what happened ... You’re writing a sequel to Candle Bay now? Alistair Cross and I are writing the sequel together. I’ve known for years now what happened with Amanda and Stephen and when I told Alistair, he was tickled. Soon, he wrote some of my characters into a scene in his vampire novel, The Crimson Corset. Then we brainstormed Candle Bay’s sequel and had so much fun that we decided to write it together - and to make it a sequel to both Candle Bay and The Crimson Corset. Some of Alistair’s vamps join with the Darling clan to head up to Eternity and Icehouse Mountain for a very special celebration called Biting Man that’s sort of a vampiric Christmas or Easter. There’s forbidden romance and passion between alpha vamps Natasha Darling and Alistair’s Michael Ward. There’s Amanda Pearce, Stephen Darling and the trouble-making teen twins, Juicy Lucy and Poison Ivy. This time you’ll meet their cousin, Crazy Daisy, too. And from Crimson Cove come Chynna, Winter and his pal Arnie. Even DJ Coastal Eddie Fortune has Issue 8 | March 2017 |
| FANG-FREAKIN-TASTIC FEATURE AUTHOR | come to Eternity for the Biting Man Festival. And last but definitely not least, Julian Valentyn shows up. Since the festival is all about him, it gets pretty crazy. Julian’s a businessman now, running a chic vineyard and winery. But there’s more to Chantrieri Vineyards than wine ... it’s also a veinery. The novel is called Darling Girls and it will come out this summer. Why did you and Alistair Cross decide to write Darling Girls together? First and foremost, because writing together is a lot more fun than going solo, especially in a vampire novel. Once we thought of combining our vamps, there was no stopping us. Will you be publishing a solo novel? If so, what can you tell us about it?
the third Ravencrest Saga book - takes us back to Snapdragon, California, where our novel, Mother, took place. The second book in our trilogy of terror (Mother being #1) will revolve around a very twisted little boy. It’s not a sequel to Mother, but you’ll run into a few folks you’ve already met. In particular, you can expect to see more of Father Andy Pike, who played a pivotal role in bringing justice to the quiet little cul-de-sac where Mother takes place. What advice do you have for writers? Read every day, write every day, and write what you love. Writing to the market - unless it happens to be what you love - is never a good idea. It saps your energy and will lessen your love of the craft. Are you a plotter or a pantster?
Yes. Brimstone is a coming of age novel set in 1968. Holly Tremayne is just eleven years old when she comes to live at The Brimstone Grand in Arizona. Her grandmother, a reclusive former movie star, owns the hotel in Brimstone, a semighost town that was once a copper mining community. The hotel, formerly a hospital, is full of mysteries, murders, and has hot and cold running ghosts. It should be out in late summer or early fall.
I like to know the beginning, middle, and a possible ending before I begin writing. It’s basically a road map so that I can safely take all the detours the characters suggest. Rarely do my books match the endings I originally imagined. The only exception is Eternity, which was written specifically to the ending payoff.
I love coming of age horror like Dan Simmons’ Summer of Night and Stephen King’s IT. That love was my inspiration.
Depending on my mood, it’s either Scott Joplin’s moody rag, Solace, Mozart’s Requiem, the Eagles’ Hotel California, or Poisoning Pigeons in the Park by Tom Lehrer.
What’s next for Thorne & Cross? In addition to Darling Girls, the second book in The Ravencrest Saga, The Witches of Ravencrest, is nearly complete. There are just two more serial episodes to publish before the book is ready to compile as a full-fledged novel. Our next new collaboration - besides beginning 70 | UncagedBooks.com
Finally, if you had a theme song, what would it be?
| TAMARA THORNE |
Enjoy an excerpt from Darling Girls Darling Girls Tamara Thorne & Alistair Cross Paranormal Fantasy Coming in 2017 Neil Trinsky rubbed Axe Body Wash - Dark Temptation - over his perfect torso and six-pack abs. He’d gotten pretty sick of smelling himself and had almost been ready to give it up when Mom finally offered to clean his room if he’d bathe. He knew he could hold out longer than she could. Hot water spat in his face as he scrubbed down. Mom had toughened up about cleaning his room since he’d turned thirty - he’d promised to move out of his basement apartment - which was really just his old room - by then, but, well… “She needs me,” he sang to the tune of Olivia Neutron-Bomb’s I Honestly Love You “She honestly ne-eeeds me. She can’t do anything without me …” And it was true. “Who takes the trash out?” he asked the shower. “I do! Who mows the lawn? I do!” He cleaned his pits and shaved them. He didn’t need body hair - it only trapped the funk and made him smell worse. And it stopped the dog from trying to yank out the sweaty hair. Renfield always went nuts for Neil’s pits. “God, dogs are gross. Renfield, you out there?” The chunky Jack Russell terrier whimpered from his station on Neil’s discarded clothing behind the bathroom door. Neil peeked out of the shower - as expected, Renfield was nose-deep in his shirt’s well-perfumed pits. “Don’t chew, Renfield, or Mom’ll get mad at you!” Neil poured shampoo into his wavy black hair. It was pretty long now but the girls he’d met on Skype liked it that way. He kept it in a ponytail
when it was dirty or when he wasn’t on Skype, but when he wanted to impress the ladies, he let it flow over his shoulders so he looked like a guy from a romance novel. He’d even considered ordering a kilt and having some pictures taken so he could really wow the women of the internet. “I’ve got the legs for it,” he sang to the shower head. “Oh, baby, have I got the legs for it. And the cutest tush in town!” He wiggled it and grabbed the hand-held shower head and pulled it down like a microphone, letting out a shriek worthy of Alice Cooper in his prime. “Yeah, baby I have GOT THE GOODS!” Another shriek. Renfield whimpered. Mom knocked on the door. “Is everything all right, Neil?” He doo-bee-dooed into the water then shrieked again, “Oh, baby! Everything’s all right! It’s outta-sight!” Mom left, but Renfield started howling. “Shut up, dog!” he ordered. Renfield howled louder. Mom was back. Of course. “Neil, what are you doing to that dog in there?” I’m fucking him up the ass! “Nothing, Mom. He just doesn’t appreciate good music when he hears it.” Neil shut off the faucet and carefully left the shower head hanging in the water over the drain that was clogged with all the body hair he’d shaved off. He smiled. What would she do without me to give purpose to her life? Stepping out, he opened the bathroom door for Renfield then wrapped one towel around his luxurious locks and another around his chiseled body. He used a third towel to wipe condensation off the mirrors then dropped all three on the floor and started posing, admiring the tight, lean definition of his core, the chiseled look of his biceps and triceps. The strong cleft chin and arched eyebrows that all the girls commented on. A couple of them said he looked like Ian Somerhalder. He hated the actor because he prostituted himself by playing a disgusting bloodsucker on The Vampire Diaries, but he had to admit that Somerhalder was almost Issue 8 | March 2017 |
| FANG-FREAKIN-TASTIC FEATURE AUTHOR | as good-looking as him. Almost. Neil flexed his pecs. The light was perfect. He looked around for his phone to snap a selfie, but he’d left it in his room. He considered calling Mom to bring it to him, but he’d seen enough of her for one day. With all the things he did to keep her life full and save her from Empty Nest Syndrome - a term he’d picked up from one of the many family therapists he’d totally mindfucked - Neil would have thought the woman would appreciate him more. But she didn’t. “Nag, nag, nag, nag, nag!” For now, all he wanted to do was twenty minutes of cardio, a half-hour of triceps, and maybe some preacher curls - his biceps looked like they could use a little pump. And then, after dinner Mom loved making him dinner - he’d return to his room, turn off the lamps and watch a Buffy the Vampire Slayer or two, until it was time to meet up with a chickie who called herself BellaVampira6969 on Skype. After that, he’d return to his true task: researching the vampires of Candle Bay, Crimson Cove, and beyond. Something was up in the vampire world. He could feel it, even if Coastal Eddie wouldn’t tell him anything. Leaving the towels and his clothes on the floor for Mom, he padded downstairs and, as the dog watched, dressed in his blood-red Speedo, put on some music, and climbed on the treadmill, singing along with Alice’s anthem about school being out forever. “Yeah!” he punctuated the song with his best Van Halen screech every now and then. Renfield hated that. But that was Renfield’s problem, not his.
Don’t miss these titles Candle Bay Tamara Thorne Horror/Thriller Shrouded in fog on a hillside high above an isolated California coastal town, The Candle Bay Hotel and Spa has been restored to its former glory after decades of neglect. Thanks to its new owners, the Darlings, the opulent inn is once again filled with prosperous guests. But its seemingly all-American hosts hide a chilling, age-old family secret. Lured to the picturesque spot, assistant concierge Amanda Pearce is mesmerized by her surroundings--and her seductive new boss, Stephen Darling. But her employers’ eccentric ways and suspicious blood splatters in the hotel fill her with trepidation. Little does Amanda know that not only are the Darlings vampires, but that a murderous vampire vendetta is about to begin-and she will be caught in the middle. For as the feud unfolds and her feelings for Stephen deepen, Amanda must face the greatest decision of her life: to die, or join the forever undead.
Eternity Tamara Thorne Thriller/Crime Is Jack the Ripper alive and well in Eternity, California? WELCOME TO ETERNITY A LITTLE BIT OF HELL ON EARTH
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| TAMARA THORNE | When Zach Tully leaves Los Angeles to take over as sheriff of Eternity, a tiny mountain town in northern California, he’s expecting to find peace and quiet in his own private Mayberry. But he’s in for a surprise. Curmudgeonly Mayor Abbott is a ringer for long-missing writer Ambrose Bierce. There are two Elvises in town, a shirtless Jim Morrison, and a woman who has more than a passing resemblance to Amelia Earhardt. And that’s only the beginning.
and murder is just the inspiration he needs to write his ultimate masterpiece of horror. But what waits for David and his sixteen-year-old daughter, Amber, at Baudey House, is more terrifying than any legend. First comes the sultry hint of jasmine... followed by the foul stench of decay. It is the dead seducing the living in an age-old ritual of perverted desire and unholy blood lust. For David and Amber, an unspeakable possession has begun.
Eternity is the sort of charming spot tourists flock to every summer and leave every fall when the heavy snows render it an isolated ghost town. Tourists and New Agers all talk about the strange energy coming from Eternity’s greatest attraction: a mountain called Icehouse, replete with legends of Bigfoot, UFOs, Ascended Masters, and more. But the locals talk about something else. The seemingly quiet town is plagued by strange deaths, grisly murders, and unspeakable mutilations, all the work of a serial killer the locals insist is Jack the Ripper. And they want Zach Tully to stop him. Now, as the tourists leave and the first snow starts to fall, terror grips Eternity as an undying evil begins its hunt once again... Haunted Tamara Thorne Horror AMERICAN HORROR STORY Its violent, sordid past is what draws bestselling author David Masters to the infamous Victorian mansion called Baudey House. Its shrouded history of madness Issue 8 | March 2017 |
New Releases March Release Dates - A Selection
The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel Brighter than the Sun by Maya Banks Seven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse Firebrand by Kristen Britain How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days by Kerrelyn Sparks The Billionaire Takes All by J.S. Scott Firestorm by Donna Grant Dangerous Games by Danielle Steele The Deep End by Kristen Ashley Souljacker by Yasmine Galenorn Hisses and Honey by Shannon Mayer
Wake A Sleeping Tiger by Lora Leigh If Not for You by Debbie Macomber The Secrets You Keep by Kate White Girl in Disguise by Greer Macallister The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See Bound Together by Christine Feehan Finding Our Forever by Brenda Novak
March 14 Hunted by Meagan Spooner Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens The End of Oz by Danielle Paige 16th Seduction by James Patterson The Cutthroat by Clive Cussler The Devil’s Triangle by Catherine Coulter and J.T. Ellison Midnight Unbound by Lara Adrian
March 28 Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck Saga, Vol. 7 by Brian K. Vaughan Say I’m Yours by Corinne Michaels Dirty Filthy Rich Men by Laurelin Paige A Perfect Obsession by Heather Graham The Awakening by Amanda Stevens Immortal Unchained by Lynsay Sands Wind River Cowboy by Lindsay McKenna Red Clover Inn by Carla Neggers
Publishers and authors: If you would like a new release in these lists, please email me at UncagedBooks@gmail.com
Issue 8 | March 2017 |
Uncaged Reviews Ink Stains, Vol. 3 Various Horror Shorts
The past has a horrible habit of haunting us all.
Sometimes it surfaces in regret and a lifetime of what ifs. Sometimes, it is horrors made real in other-worldly beings hell-bent on revenge for wrong-
Join authors Diane Arrelle, Marc E. Fitch, Andrea Hansell, Ann Liska, Derek Muk, Olga Munroe, Clint Orr, Terry Sanville, Kristi Petersen Schoonover, and K.W. Taylor as they explore the darkest deeds that keep us up at night, the past that cannot be undone, and the heavy chains these ghosts trap us in. This collection of literary tales gives life to ghosts, both real and imaginary, and all the sins of the past that haunt us in the present. From grieving, betrayed lovers to guilt-born demons, those that haunt the characters in these stories crafted by our authors bring pain, heartache, stunning revelations, and a stark reminder that the past will never die.
Uncaged Review: This is a collection of different stories by authors. Some of you may know others may not. One of these stories stayed with me a long time. It is one I’d like to share with you it’s called Misplaced by Diane Arrelle. Annemarie spent half of her life living in a institution after she hears of her mother death. She begins to move on with her life and is trying to live a quiet life. Until she gets a phone call out of the blue from a young girl claiming to be her daughter. She goes to stay in a hotel all arranged by her daughter who’s desperate to meet her. But Annemarie doesn’t have her mother around anymore to try and help her claim her missing memories anymore. When Annemarie checks into the hotel room. She realizes it isn’t as peaceful and quiet as she hopes. It’s filled with disturbing visions of blood a baby who won’t stop crying. Annemarie believes she’s slowly losing her mind once again.
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This one story has loads of twists and turns and is worth buying. To read this one story itself. The others have a few moments you won’t see coming. Read with your night light on sweet dreams everyone. A perfect read for horror or dark humor fans. Reviewed by Jennifer
Uncaged Ratings: Adult Horror Violence, sex, language
For Her Sister Laura Sleath Young Adult/Thriller Eighteen-year-old Bresha blames herself for her younger sister’s death. She knew that Arlene was gullible and fragile. Yet she still let her tonedeaf sister meet with Saul Sanderstorm, a record company mogul whose charisma is as big as his temper. When Arlene is found floating in Camden Lock canal, the police call it suicide. But Bresha knows different. She knows that sleazy Saul is somehow to blame. And so does Arlene’s ghost. Why else would she fog up mirrors and trace the letter S for Saul through the condensation on the glass? Now, Bresha has to find a way to prove that Saul’s guilty. When Bresha discovers that Saul is getting a kick out of mentally breaking singers, she wonders if this happened to Arlene. The truth has to be ugly and shocking. Because why else would Saul be prepared to do anything to conceal it? Bresha faces a choice. Risk her life to unearth the facts. Or drop the case and be forever tormented by her sister’s ghost.
Uncaged Review: Bresha always look after her sister Arlene as their parents are always traveling for work. Nannies are always getting fired. So it comes as no surprise that Arlene would look to Bresha her big sister. As her go to person one little lie that Bresha tells Arlene to save her from a lot of
hurt and looking foolish. Leads to deadly problems and tragedy and finds Bresha hatching a plan of vengeance. I found this well written and the story quite interesting and Lara Sleath describes London life as a gritty place to live. A storyline set in a modern world still relevant in today’s lifestyle. The book leaves us with a clear message that people are never as nice as they seem. A young adult psychological thriller with a creepy horror twist. I can see good things for this writer. Reviewed by Jennifer
Uncaged Ratings: Young Adult
cits. Heidi fits the bill nicely and we get the feeling in the story that things aren’t as they seem and that the doctors are using Nikki as some sort of experiment that will lead to a major breakthrough in the social living of today’s children. Some parts of the story are odd as you learn of Nikki’s sexual encounter with one of the other girls living at the hotel. If you dismiss this from the actual story, it turns out to be a rather interesting read. There’s also a good background story of some of the characters and the story fits nicely, like a jigsaw - maybe a pack of dogs, no pun intended. Some major plot secrets are revealed halfway through the book and its quite fun to see the write use the actual title of the book in the book. I would highly recommend this book as even the storyline leaves you saying wow.
Psychological Thriller Violence, threats of suicide
Savage to Savvy Kate Rigby Psychological Thriller Psychology graduate, Heidi Harper is appointed to work with Professor Mala, pioneer of a new project to rehabilitate dog-reared feral child, Nicki. Heidi is soon asking questions and her mission takes on sinister overtones. As the truth outs, the lives of all concerned begin to unravel. Savage To Savvy is a psychological novel.
Uncaged Review: They call her the devil’s corpse child, Nikki for short. She had been found living in the wild near a derelict barn with a pack of dogs. Heidi Harper who mainly just scraped by with her psychology degree has been asked by the professor to help out on a new project, involving the rehabilitation of children with multiple defi-
Uncaged Ratings: Adult
Psychological Thriller Violence, sex, language, use of children in experiments
Jockeying for You Stacy Hoff Contemporary Romance Jake Carter is on a mission—to prove his family wrong. He may have bought a troubled horse, but he’s hired Ryder Hannon, a “horse whisperer,” to get his horse back on track. She’s more than just a trainer to him, she’s the woman he’s been looking for. Ryder Hannon, a thoroughbred horse trainer, has a big problem—fighting her fear of racing again. Her emotional scars run deeper than her physical ones. But her romantic feelings toward handsome, uber-rich, stable owner Jake Carter is a bigger problem. Is Jake
Issue 8 | March 2017 |
Uncaged Reviews truly in love with her or is he using her to get back at his smug family? When Jake’s jockey gets injured, he wants Ryder to race. He knows deep down she wants to live up to her family’s legacy. So why does she keep fighting him— and her destiny?
Uncaged Review: Being a horse owner all my life, this book was a nice read for me. Set in the Thoroughbred racing world, Ryder is a trainer that uses unconventional methods that work wonders for horses. Jake is an owner looking for help with his “untrainable” horse, Handsome Dancer. But Ryder’s true passion is being a jockey. Her first and only time out, she was thrown and injured badly, but after Handsome’s jockey was injured, will it be up to Ryder to ride him to victory? The plotline is a bit predictable, and the instant love between Ryder and Jake was a bit unrealistic for my tastes, with the only real obstacles in their relationship swept over pretty quickly. The author does a nice job with the horse racing background, well enough that even people without a horse background should have no difficulty understanding and enjoying. Reviewed by Cyrene
Uncaged Ratings: Adult Contemporary Romance Sex Scenes
Duet Brian O’Gorman 2 Horror Stories in One Its in the Water. Barrington Reservoir sits on the edge of the tiny village of Hurndell. The local police officers Greg Farnham and Louis Nelson have never seen much 78 | UncagedBooks.com
in the way of trouble. But one day they are called up to the reservoir to investigate the mysterious killing of the waters duck population. As the days go by the killings get bigger and more gruesome and the officers begin to fear that whatever is killing the animals may start on humans. They learn that there is a witness, someone who saw it arrive, a psychic by the name of June Dobson who has been languishing in the local residents home suffering with dementia. But for June, the clouds in her mind are clearing and something in the water is reaching out to her. June may be the last thing to stand between the residents of the village and the insatiable hunger of the thing in the water. Pharmacon. Patrick Hurst is a normal man with a normal, happy life until a visit from the police changes things forever. His estranged father has been found dead in his home in the remote location of Layton Valley. Patrick inherits his fortune and the house where his father was found. He finds his father’s video diary which tells the story of his new invention, the Pharmacon, a healing machine that can cure any and all illnesses. But the machine, like any medicine, has a terrible side effect, one that is now butchering the residents of Newtown. The killer is working his way to Patrick and the machine which will bring him his redemption. For Patrick, time is running out. He vows to expose the secret of his father’s death and unmask the killer. All he has to do is wait. Evil is coming home.... Uncaged Review: It’s In the Water : You need water to survive right? What happens if there was something in the water that could harm you. Permanently damage you or worse kill you. You couldn’t survive without water. In a small town were nothing much happens some evil is lurking down below. A batty old women and two local cops are trying to piece together what’s happing to the town. There’s a shed load of gruesome moments and you find yourself going eww gross a lot.
I would say this short story would make a good TV show or movie plus it’s got bucket loads of dark humor. I look forward to being able to drink water safely without panic. Reviewed by Jennifer
Uncaged Review: Pharmacon: Richard Hurst was a scientist who was employed by the government. To work on a project called project pharmacon. A project that would save lives and change the life of modern medicine for the better. Richard is brutality murdered and he left all his life’s work and money to his son Patrick, to do with as he wishes. Patrick thinks he’s found his happy place until a crazed killer called the mask is looking for him. He wants from Patrick what he thinks is rightfully his. Patrick goes on the run with his new girlfriend while this killer called the mask, is running around killing people as the voices talk in his head. The storyline is very good and the book has a few twists I didn’t see coming myself as I was reading it. Of course there’s a lot of gruesome deaths in the book as while. One heck of a book! Reviewed by Jennifer
Uncaged Ratings: Adult Horror
Sex, graphic violence, language
Murder in Lava Cove Alene Anderson Romantic Mystery Maggie Garrett graduated from medical school and is doing her residency in Lava Cove, Utah. The first day in the new town she is out running with a Golden Retriever and she discovers a dead body. Zach Landel is the owner of the Desert Winds Casino in Las Vegas. He was a helicopter rescue pilot in the Marines and when he stepped on a land mind, it exploded and he lost one eye. Now he wears a patch, one that bothers him but doesn’t seem to faze the intriguing Maggie Garrett. Despite their differences, can he and Maggie work together to solve the murder of his employee? Uncaged Review: A nice mystery for a lazy afternoon. After graduating from UCLA, Maggie gets a residency at a plastic surgeon’s clinic in Lava Cove, Utah. Ending up leasing a home from a casino owner, Zach Landel, with the condition that she take care of his golden retriever, Charlie. While out jogging with Charlie, she finds a dead body and the mystery begins. The dead woman used to work at Zach’s casino. Zach is in the process of selling his casino, and carries his own baggage. Wounded in Afghanistan from a land mine, he has been through painful surgeries after losing an eye, and then a fiancé because of his looks, now afraid of getting involved with another woman. But Maggie is different, and he can’t take his mind off her. Will she shun him for his looks? Together they try to unravel the mystery, but it becomes dangerous when someone tries to run Maggie off the road, is she getting too close? This is a cozy mystery, and had a few good twists Issue 8 | March 2017 |
Uncaged Reviews that weren’t predictable right away. The characters were likable and it was easy to picture the setting from the author’s descriptions. Reviewed by Cyrene
for a short book a lot happens. There are people getting beat up and thrown in a cell left right and center. I really like how the author of the book choose a young girl as a medium, or is turning out to become one. A very interesting story twist. This is a work of crime fiction you won’t want to miss out on reading Reviewed by Jennifer
Uncaged Ratings: Adult - New Adult Romantic Suspense No major warnings
Cat Got Your Tongue Paul Moore Young Adult/Crime
When Estate agent Lucy Edwards doesn’t turn up for work on Monday it’s very out of character; shes a workaholic but her colleagues assume she is ill as she lives alone. When she doesn’t answer her phone red flags soon go up and the Police get involved. It’s soon a murder investigation; but just who would want to kill a hard working beautiful woman with a heart of gold? Can a six year old girls ‘dreams’ help solve the case? Some of the Police team that investigate her disappearance wanted to play professional football and all had trials with Queens Park Rangers, but for some reason it just didn’t happen. Can the likes of DCI Sinton, DC Bardsley and PC Alan McDonald solve the baffling case or is someone going to get away with murder.........
Uncaged Review: An estate agent named Lucy Edwards is missing from work for a few days. So a work friend, Mark Cooper reports her missing to the police. Just being a friend right nothing more to it? Then we meet Phoebe a little girl who is having strange visions that scare her. Will she be able to help out the police with their case? This story had a lot of interesting characters and 80 | UncagedBooks.com
Uncaged Ratings: New Adult/Adult Crime/Suspense Sexual situations, language
Dawn of the Spiders Brian O’Gorman Horror/Post-Apocalyptic Brian O’Gorman’s international best seller returns uncut and extended. A virus designed to control the burgeoning spider population causes them to mutate into overgrown, venomous killers. A large hoard of the spiders take over the small village of Newtown, killing all but two of its residents. Laurence Johnson and Chloe Jones have only been together one night after Laurence parted ways with his wife. They find themselves trapped in the house with no way of escaping. Their only hope is to try and stay alive long enough for the army to intervene. Lorna Johnson is on the outskirts of town with nowhere to go and the spider invasion taking control. Her only hope of survival lies with a team headed up by Doctor Michael Briggs. He has a plan to stop the invasion before it gets out of hand. But he is running out of time and he is running out of allies. If he doesn’t move quickly then mankind will face the darkest day it has ever known.
Uncaged Review: Big freaky spiders have taken over what is soon to be the end of the world. The spiders were injected with a virus by the government that was meant to make them less hungry to eat the common bee. Now it’s just made them want to eat everything in their path including humans. We meet Lorna, who’s recently split up with her husband, finds herself running for her life from the spiders. She is lucky to be picked up by a group of strangers one of them who is a doctor of science; Mr. Brigg’s. He’s trying to get a plan together that will stop the spiders from taking over the planet. Another great read by Brian O’Gorman with spiders as the storyline this time. The storyline worked and I can’t wait for the sequel of this book, which Brian O’Gorman is working on at the moment. Keep your eyes peeled here for more details as we get them. Reviewed by Jennifer
Uncaged Ratings: Adult Horror
Violence, gruesome deaths, language, sex
I Don’t Want to be Married
Sonja Gunter Contemporary Western Romance
Can a modern-day marriage of convenience find love and happiness to last a lifetime? Twenty-five-year-old barrel racer Rosalind Dunne’s number-one passion is to fulfill her deceased mother’s dream of opening a horse sanctuary. To do it, she needs her inheritance to purchase the necessary land. But there’s one problem: she has to marry, or wait until her thirtieth birthday, per her grandfather’s will. The
horses can’t wait; they need her now. Allan Smith, owner of a New York brokerage firm, is in the midst of attending a friend’s wedding in Las Vegas when he wakes one morning with a wedding band on his finger. Convinced it’s all a prank, he ignores the obvious until he realizes his carefree bachelor days are over. He’s married to one Rosalind Dunne, Rodeo Queen. Rosalind’s plan to marry, get her inheritance, then divorce, comes full circle and she sends the necessary papers to Allan. They’ll both be free from an unwanted marriage. But the old saying ‘payback is worse than hell’ comes into play with Allan’s refusal to sign the papers. Rosalind and Allan never wanted to fall in love for different reasons, but will this Rodeo Queen turn this City Boy into a cowboy and find love? Uncaged Review: To receive her full inheritance, Rosalind must marry, or wait until she’s 30 years old. And her reasons for wanting the inheritance are unselfish, to be able to buy the land next to her own property, to be able to have a horse sanctuary for unwanted or sick horses. While she’s in Vegas at a rodeo, she runs into Allan, and while he’s seemingly drunk, marries him out of convienence. But when Allan comes knocking on her door, she’ll find he’s not so easy to be rid of. This is a fun story, a bit predictable, but an easy read and enjoyable. The romance and chemistry between Rosalind and Allan is fun to watch.Don’t be put off by the title, this is a nice read. Reviewed by Cyrene
Uncaged Ratings: Adult Sex Scenes
Issue 8 | March 2017 |
Uncaged Reviews Killing Time
Paul Moore Young Adult Mystery At first it looked like a tragic accident but soon turned to murder. Who would want to kill a sixty eight year old grandmother? Her family are disjointed and arguments are as regular as meal times. A brother and sister that rarely see eye to eye and a father and son barely on speaking terms. The Police have a secret weapon with an amateur psychic; but she isn’t always right. Will the Hunter family fall apart or will it pull them together or are they just Killing Time ......
Uncaged Review: What turns out to be a normal trip to grandmother’s house in London, turns out to have deadly findings for the visitors. As the grandchild Clare finds her grandmother in an awkward position at the bottom of the stairs. Shelia and her brother Michael think their mother’s death was just a tragic accident, until their told by the police it’s murder. Paul Moore has a talent in his storytelling as he brings out the characters in a way that shows you the good and bad side to them. So you think one thing is happening in the book then it turns out to be completely different. I really liked this book as even the poor murder victim had her own secrets hidden to the unexpected family. As did everyone so it wasn’t just a black and white picture it had a lot of hidden grey in between. A killer of a read.Reviewed by Jennifer
Uncaged Ratings: Young Adult Mystery
82 | UncagedBooks.com
Eye of the Pharaoh
Nancy Fraser Contemporary/Time Travel Publicist Teri Hunter has her hands full promoting Professor Joshua Cain and his new non-fiction book, The Pharaoh’s Mummy. She’s not even sure it’s possible to turn this absent-minded, modern-day, Indiana Jones into a best-selling author. Dr. Cain’s PhDs in archaeology and art history have prepared him for almost anything on the lecture circuit and among ancient ruins. He’s just not sure about a book tour...or the sexy publicist sent to monitor his every professional move. When an odd request falls into their laps while in New Orleans, Josh and Teri find themselves transported to 1920’s Egypt where they must resolve an ancient curse in order to be sent home. Will the dangers facing them hinder their success and threaten their very lives? Or will help from an ancient guardian keep them on-track and safe?
Uncaged Review: The story starts you out in modern day, where publicist Teri Hunter is working with Joshua Cain, an archaeologist and professor with his new book tour. When they hit New Orleans on the tour, an old friend and colleague’s wife has a request about the history of a stone. After a storm hits in New Orleans, a violent lightning bolt shakes the home they are staying in, and Joshua and Teri are transported to Egypt, circa 1920’s. This book will teach you a bit about Egyptian history which is intriguing in itself and then add a suspenseful storyline laden heavily with romance and humor and you have nicely written, original story that holds your interest. Whether Josh and Teri can break the curse and get back home safely holds your interest and has you cheering them on. There isn’t a slow or boring paragraph in the book. Personally, I was wondering why the two weren’t more freaked out when they landed in Egypt, they
may been committing me to a mental ward. Well worth the fun. Reviewed by Cyrene
Uncaged Ratings: Adult Sex Scenes
Don’t Clown Around on Halloween Paul Moore Young Adult/Ghosts
Grant Taylor is at his wits end, he’s convinced he seeing a clown in his house but his girlfriend isn’t, she thinks he’s losing the plot! When their son draws a picture of the clown she starts to change her mind and a story from an elderly neighbour leaves everyone in danger.
Uncaged Review: Grant thinks his house might be haunted. He has been seeing a weird ghostly shape in the shape of a clown. Is he having a breakdown? Possibly imagining all this. Until one day he bumps into a neighbor Mr. Abbott and he tells Grant and company all about the strange happenings of the house they live in. Grant does some digging on the ‘net himself to find more about where the house was built. For such a short story this is a very creepy tale. Differently one to be read with the lights on. There’s also a good twist at the end of the story. Suitable for any age young or old. Reviewed by Jennifer
Uncaged Ratings: Young Adult
Wren Michaels Romantic Fantasy/Adult Vodou stole her life. A gay ghost stole her boots. And the man who stole her heart stole her memories. Kena plans to get it all back. Ex-cop Kena’s life is filled with regret, beer, and Cheetos. That is, until her ghostly roomie sends her dumpster diving, leading her to a sexy stranger named Luc and a fate she’d rather not remember. As Kena’s memories resurface, so do her feelings for Luc, the man she’s secretly been in love with for the last thousand years. And he needs her for more than a stroll down memory lane.
Uncaged Review: This was totally not what I was expecting when I started reading – it surprised me, and by the half-way point, I could not put this book down. It took a while for me to wrap my head around this, but when it all started clicking into place, it is an amazing story. This story’s base is in the Voodoo spirits of Loa, and once you can let that all click into place, the story will surprise you. Kena is the Loa spirit of love, trapped in a human body, with lost memories of her past, and her roommate is AJ, a gay ghost who was married to her human brother who died. When a stranger enters the scene, Luc, Kena is drawn to him, but really doesn’t know why. But Luc is a healer Loa, and he needs to bring Kena back her memories, to save his brother, Feray, from an evil possession. Dark vs. Light. And the gray in between it all. And still this book is so much more. Humor, an actionpacked storyline, a forbidden love and mystery and intrigue, with a kick-ass heroine and heroes. The world building is amazing, the sights and smells of New Orleans just leap off the pages and the characters are hard to forget. This is a book I’ll remember for a long time, and it’s going on my “to be read again” pile. Reviewed by Cyrene
Issue 8 | March 2017 |
Myra’s Horror Blog Reviews
Cry for the Strangers John Saul Thriller/Horror Clark’s Harbor was the perfect coastal haven, jealously guarded against outsiders. But now strangers have come to settle there. And a small boy is suddenly free of a frenzy that had gripped him since birth... His sister is haunted by fearful visions... And one by one, in violent, mysterious ways the strangers are dying. Never the townspeople. Only the strangers. Has a dark bargain been struck between the people of Clark’s Harbor and some supernatural force? Or is it the sea itself calling out for a human sacrifice? A howling, deadly... Myra’s Review: Clark’s Harbor is a lovely coastal town. Brad & his wife Elaine came for a vacation, deciding to stay for a year while Brad works on a book. As a psychiatrist, he is puzzled and intrigued by the townspeople’s unfriendly behavior. They also seem to not care when tragedy strikes; for example, when a local fisherman drowns. Meeting Glen & Rebecca was a nice surprise. Their son, Robby, had been a patient of Brad’s for years. The boy exhibited frenetic behavior that nothing helped, until the couple brought him to the 84 | UncagedBooks.com
town. Specifically, to a place called Sod Beach. It was a gorgeous beach, but old stories of Indian’s sacrificing people to the sea in that area, put a pall over the parents enjoyment of the nearby beach. In fact, as the story flows along, we the reader, do see there are spirits dancing on the beach and seeking to influence weak minds. Increasingly, people are killed in different ways and the locals blame it on the sea. The saying in town is that strangers bring trouble and it ends up bad for them. Clearly, there is a crazed killer on the loose. Brad begins to suspect the strange electrical currents running through the area, created by frequent storms, are affecting someone mentally. Whereas the area has a calming effect on Robby, someone with an unstable mind is being influenced in a darkly, negative manner. At the end, the killer is caught, but runs into the sea; hopefully to drown, but it is left as a mysterious unknown. Unfortunately, a new recruit with a mind open to the Indian spirits, takes up their cause to seek revenge on those who stole their land long ago. This was a sad part to me, and a twist I didn’t see coming, but being this is a dark read, an appropriate ending. If you love dark, mysterious horror or John Saul, this is a good book to add to your reading list.
Plague of the Dead Joe McKinney Horror/Post-Apocalyptic For thirty years, they have avoided the outbreak of walking death that has consumed America’s heartland. They have secured a small compound near the ruins of Little Rock, Arkansas. Isolated from the world. Immune to the horror. Blissfully unaware of what lies outside in the region known as the Dead Lands. Until now… Myra’s Review: Jacob and a group from his community decide to explore the world outside theirs. They’ve survived the zombie hordes through hard work and working together. They’ve been isolated 30 years. Now, they want to see if there might be new territory they can expand into, and what has happened to the zombie infested world outside their community. The main characters quickly run into a caravan of harsh people who use slave labor. This caravan of survivors were disgusting. The explorers are taken prisoners, manage to escape and the story goes back and forth with them running and fighting the caravan members. It got boring. The scenes with zombies were a let down compared to McKinney’s other novels. The character development was lackluster so I didn’t get attached to anyone. The high technology group of humans was rather unbelievable. It was cool but seemed strange thrown into this story. It made no sense why the scientists did not make contact with the rag tag communities of people trying to survive. The reason given sounded like Star Trek, no reaching out unless the community reached out to them first. Really? They had technology that could help the people survive zombies better, but they chose not to offer be-
cause the communities did not reach out to them? McKinney is one of my favorite authors of zombie stories. His books are usually filled with so much action fighting zombies, that I feel exhausted after reading. This novel did not do that. This was my least favorite book I’ve read to date of his. I thought the characters going outside to check out the zombie filled environment would be interesting, but it was more about other people they met then the undead.
Ashton Memorial, Book Two Robert R. Best Horror It is the day after the end of the world. Angie Land and her two children are homeless, desperate and on the run from the hordes of corpses that have risen to consume the living. Parker Welch, a local hunter who also survived the end, is on a mission to find his estranged daughters. All are headed to the city of Ashton, which has also fallen to the undead. And conditions at Ashton Memorial Zoo are going downhill from there... Myra’s Review: It is the day after the end of the world. Angie Land and her two children are homeless, desperate and on the run from the hordes of corpses that have risen to consume the living. Parker Welch, a local hunter who also survived the end, is on a mission to find his estranged daughters. All are headed to the city of Ashton, which has also fallen to the undead. And conditions at Ashton Memorial Zoo are going downhill from there... Review: Issue 8 | March 2017 |
Myra’s Horror Blog Reviews This book had great potential. People taking shelter in a zoo during a zombie apocalypse was a great idea. Walls to protect those inside, lots of land where crops can be grown, and animals for food. Yeah, it sounds lousy to animal lovers, which I am too. But, when humans are starving animals will be eaten. The zookeepers quickly, I mean in one day, devolve into idiots. One man, Lee, takes over as the leader, directing the others to start treating the people trapped inside just like the animals. They have to be taken care of and they are now Keepers of humans as well. He is one guy with a tranquilizer gun, but no one tries to stand up to him, even when he starts killing people. He is clearly nuts, but the other keepers go along with him. Good little lemmings! As well the civilians inside act like one mass mind of hysteria. Everyone demands to be let out, no one has any idea what has happened. Not one of them had a cell phone? Wouldn’t their families be calling in panic? And there are metal gates where you can see out. No one went to look and see what was going on outside? All they could do is fight with the keepers and curse. Every character in this book cursed PROFUSELY except the young kid. The “F” word was the favored term. It became very boring reading. If you can’t find something to say besides all cursing, you are being lazy as a writer to me. In real life, I’ve not run into people who curse all the time or every person I run into. I have no problem with an occasional curse word from characters; that is expected with the situation. But use it as an emphasis on their feelings, not as a part of all their sentences throughout the story. Speaking of words…the constant use of “got hold of” made me want to stop reading. I recommend a Thesaurus next time. How about “grabbed, seize, clutched, etc?” The fight scenes were repetitive 86 | UncagedBooks.com
and got boring. The character Parker had some interest, being a fighter, but quickly waned when we hear his really pathetic excuse for leaving his family. Oh, sorry, “they left him”. Angie, the mom, was a pretty cool character; she kicked butt big time. Kind of unreal, like an unstoppable terminator, but I can suspend my belief for the enjoyment of characters killing zombies. Angie telling her daughter, Maylee, to “not do that again” (kill zombies), sounded very much like a mom. But after Maylee proved to be a very efficient killer, mom’s constant complaint got annoying, not only to Maylee but to the reader. By the end, zombies are stumbling around everywhere. No one thought to perhaps return to the gate they left open, so they could stem the hordes from getting in. The animals have all been infected apparently by whatever turned people and are running amok. Clearly, the zoo has been lost as a sanctuary and that is a shame. If this book were rewritten it could be a good read. As it is, I don’t recommend it.
Reunion Dan Foley Horror/Native American Something lurks beneath the surface of Cooper Lake. Something hungry. Something intelligent. Something that preys on those who venture too close to its domain. The native Indians had a name for it.
ONIARE In 1939, its victim was a young drifter. Dave Longo fought and killed it then, but it won’t stay dead. It returned in 1956 to claim the lives of two young men. For Dave, its return was a reunion in Hell. It’s now 2014 and the creature has returned again, but Dave Longo is not around to face it a third time. The task becomes the responsibility of Ryan Lowell, a child the oniare had terrorized back in ’56, but can he overcome his childhood fears to vanquish the oniare once and for all. Myra’s Review: The main storyline is two young boys, Ryan & Bran, taking on the lake monster. Lots of reminiscing and well-written descriptions of the different periods. Things that have been lost, like games kids used to play outside.
Bran dies from a reaction to the Tetanus shot he received after being clawed. In 2014 Ryan returns to kill the creature that has reappeared, and to seek revenge for his friend. I LOVED the ending and won’t give it away here. But Ryan slays the Oniare with the aid of someone else. Couldn’t have been a cooler ending for this character. The story was set in 1939, 1956 & 2014. Some of the main characters appeared in all these decades. Even though the author noted the time period you were reading, it was confusing to keep up with. Would have been better written in chronological order. Also, every time a new character was told about the monster, it was the same story all over again. Very repetitive. A brief description/wrap up would have been good. Overall, a good read.
There’s a large, snake-like creature in the local lake, Cooper Lake. Local talk is that it has been around for decades, and the Indians called it the Oniare. We, the reader, are taken on a journey through decades, to see the beast reappear after many years. Some of the characters seem to think it is the same Oniare, even though the one in 1939 & in 1956 was killed. The Oniare is on a mission to reproduce, and the way it accomplishes this is nasty and a horrible death for the unlucky victims. The author also takes us into the creature’s mind, which was kinda cool. Descriptions were good of the Onaire and how it seeks to produce a young one by planting a fetus inside a human host. But, I never got the chill up my back like I enjoy when reading horror. Spoiler: Ryan & Bran, best friends in 1956, decide to kill the beast. They do manage to accomplish this after a big fight with the Oniare. But Issue 8 | March 2017 |
Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews Stanley McCloud Must Die! Adrian Baldwin Dark Humor Death can be a real downer. Just ask Stanley McCloud. The ancient and inveterate gambler has just found out he hasn’t long to live. Unfortunately for Stan the independent bookie he uses grows nervous as the big day approaches and decides to bump him off with one of her many fun, but ever-so-slightly fatal, high-odds proposition bets - aka Maggy’s Specials. Oh, and there’s a whole secondary storyline about The Head Honcho, a serial killer who leaves his victims’ torsos in one place, and their heads in another. Yikes! It is coming. Amy’s Review: For one, this book is highly recommended to anyone who loves a good dark comedy. This is one of those books that will make you laugh out loud in places that may seem inappropriate. I loved Baldwin’s Barnacle Brat, and I will probably love anything else he comes up with. Betting on whether you will or won’t die by your next birthday, this is a great story. Full of twists and turns, Stanley McCloud is one of those stories and one of those great characters that you never forget. I won’t give away the ending, but I will definitely keep this book on my re-read list. The plot and sub plots are one that kept this reader hooked. This one is a keeper for the great place on the bookshelf.
88 | UncagedBooks.com
Food for Thought Second Course Nancy DeRosa Romantic Comedy Emma Craven’s excitement over marrying a chef is dimmed when her fiancé, Gary Parker, decides to open up a new restaurant. Against her better judgement, Emma soon finds herself the manager of The Green Spruce Grill. Her dreams are slowly fading away, and she feels powerless to stop it. Desperate to halt the avalanche her life has become, she struggles to stand up for what she really wants. But her journey of self-discovery is more like an obstacle course— and if she can’t find the courage to stay true to herself, Emma risks losing not only the man she loves, but her self-respect and everything important to her as well… Amy’s Review: I absolutely loved Food For Thought: First Course, so I was excited and anxious to read this second book. I was definitely not wrong about loving this story. First, Derosa writes a great story, and the concept of blending in food with the romance and trials/tribulations/ fun-with-friends is wonderful. Emma is one of my new favorite characters, and she has a great deal of spunk. I like that about her. I also love her relationships with the other characters, and her thoughts about them. She also has this great fear and jealousy over Gary’s ex, Chloe. It’s understandable and at sometimes, an over the top fear, which is great. Love this story! Highly recommend both books!
Clay-Stained Memories Summer Theron Psychological Thriller Eva Parsons, a thirty-year-old single mother, is overtaken by her past on a lonely night. Captivated by memories, she begins by recalling her first sexual encounter. Despite Eva’s youth during the violation, a cruel lesson is imparted—some people just want to use you. Her mother turns out to be one of those people. She expects her daughter to keep a dark secret inside the family. To inspire silence, she provides Eva with an endless supply of liquor.
Amy’s Review: This book was definitely raw and filled with darkness. It was a real as it gets. The writing was tremendous and showed the emotions of the author. Eva is a strong character, but more than that, she’s a person. Living with the darkness of a painful past. This books deals with violence, sexual assault, and addiction. It’s not a book that everyone can read, especially those with similar experiences, but if you can open to the first page, you can finish it and you’ll want to. Hell, you may want to read it again and again. I know I will. A very intense read.
The Renegade Writer W.G. Griffiths Writing Skills What makes the difference between a good book and a sensational one? Award-winning author W. G. Griffiths has uncovered the key to writing books that people want to read again and again. Throughout his career, he has collected anecdotes that exemplify his methods, and now he has compiled these defining moments into The Renegade Writer, a guide for those who want to take their books to the next level or who don’t know where to begin. Amy’s Review: Griffiths shares first hand experience and his knowledge of writing, and of course, his novels show that his experience is worth a lot. It’s a great journey of him sharing his experiences, and how he has mastered the fine art of being a storyteller. It’s a gift that all of us writers strive to do. I like how he breaks down the components of writing and shares information that can lend to someone who already has a gift. Let’s face it, anyone can write, but to be a writer and storyteller, there needs to be gift and natural talent, or it’s just words.
Issue 8 | March 2017 |
Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews The Bimbo Has Brains Cathy Burnham Martin Non-fiction/Relationships
Curse of Stars Donna Compositor Young Adult/Dark Fantasy
A long-time journalist and corporate communications geek, Martin skillfully unravels stereotypes, while relating her own experience and vulnerabilities along the personal growth trail. To help you succeed in your loving relationship, intimate, and often painful, relationship realities are shared, complete with foibles told from both parties’ perspectives. Many names, places, and dates have been changed to protect the guilty… and the innocent.
for an answer.
Amy’s Review: This book was wonderfully written. The minute I read the Prologue, I immediately connected with the author. I, too, could relate to her experience, and this made me want to keep reading. I am so glad I did. Martin brings a lot of humor and experience to this book, and the experiences are real. I can’t say this is a self-help book, it is filled with experiences that can help during even the most darkest of times in ones life. This book is about real relationships and the concepts of the relationship. Anyone will enjoy this book if they have been or are in a relationship, and seems like it is out of the norm. Besides, what’s normal anyway? I highly recommend reading this book from beginning to end, and then revisiting the chapters that you most relate to.
Amy’s Review: A crier. No, a crier whose tears are diamonds. This is a very interesting fantasy that is suited to the YA audience, but I thoroughly enjoyed it as well. Sabi is a powerful heroine in the story, and her journey just begins as she is a prisoner. This is an exciting story that will keep the reader engrossed in its powerful words. A unique plot and no hokey storylines. Great read.
90 | UncagedBooks.com
Sabi Perez is the last Diamond Crier, only she doesn’t know it. Not until a crazed ruler from another world comes to collect her priceless tears and won’t take no
Living in New York, Sabi’s seen some nasty things, but the lengths to which her captor will go to keep his crown are things found only in the darkest nightmares. Afraid and alone, Sabi finds solace in her cellmate, Anya, and Cabal, a fellow Crier who also has powers, a rare combination that buys his favor from the ruler. Only it’s a favor he doesn’t want.
The Fire John A. Heldt Time Travel/Historical Romance When Kevin Johnson, 22, goes to Wallace, Idaho, days after his college graduation, he expects to find rest and relaxation as his family prepares his deceased grandfather’s house for sale. Then he discovers a hidden diary and a time portal that can take him to 1910, the year of Halley’s comet and the largest wildfire in U.S. history. Within hours, Kevin finds himself in the era of horse-drawn wagons, straw hats, and ankle-length dresses. Amy’s Review: I’ve been making my way through this series, as I did with Heldt’s other series, and I like each story. They are individual stories and the characters travel through time, whether it is for a better place or new life, or both. This time, Kevin is making his way through time, traveling between eras when he finds the hidden portal. It’s filled with intrigue, humor and romance, as he takes on the journey of a lifetime.
The Eye of Nefertiti Maria Luisa Lang Historical Fantasy The Eye of Nefertiti is both a stand-alone novel and a sequel to The Pharaoh’s Cat. The timetraveling ancient Egyptian feline with human powers returns together with his beloved Pharaoh and his close friends, the High Priest of Amun-Ra and Elena, an Egyptologist’s daughter. The cat is quickwitted, wise-cracking narrator as well as freespirited, ever-curious protagonist, and the story he tells is an exotic, imaginative, spell-binding tragicomedy
Amy’s Review: I read the first book, The Pharaoh’s Cat, and I enjoyed it. This is supposed to be the prequel to that story, and I love prequels that come after the fact. This book has great twists and surprises, and it’s more just the Cat. This cat has many human attributes and that lends to the lightheartedness of this story. This story is creative and the backdrop of Egypt, where cats are truly king, brings this whole story together. You don’t have to read the other one to read this, as it’s a stand alone, but once you’ve read this, you’ll want to read the first one.
Issue 8 | March 2017 |
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