9.27.2016

Huzzizzle of the Realms - September 2016 UR News #amreading


Catherine Stine

My futuristic thrillers in the Fireseed series have all new covers, updated interiors and a brand new sequel novella called Blue House Magic. To celebrate, I've put Fireseed One (book 1) on sale for 99 cents (free on KU), and made the sequel novella absolutely FREE! If you haven't read the series, it's a great time to nab book 1.

Here's a link to the landing page, with all the info and links. And here are the pretty new covers!

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Buy links:
Amazon * B&N * Kobo * Smashwords

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Cathrina Constantine

"Don't Forget to Breathe encompasses so much: heartbreak, mean girls, the bad boy, the good boy, murder, mystery, and ghosts. Seriously what more could you ask for???" ~ MYBLISSFULBOOKS review

A Great Read for this time of year!!! A Psychological Thriller!!
AMAZON: One Click: smarturl.it/dontbreathe
Available in AUDIO: smarturl.it/dontforgetbreathe-au







Which seeds will aid Bex in saving her world?

In a world ruined by long-forgotten ancestors, Bex sets off to establish a new homestead with her ideal man. The fact he’s a robot and has to do everything she says is wonderful. For a day. When she arrives at the plot of earth, from which she will nurture the precious seeds she’s been entrusted with, it’s already occupied. By a man. And he’s no robot. He has radical ideas as corrosive as the air.

Also included is the Deadly Sins Collection:

The Fall: A battle with aliens for the last habitable planet will determine humanity’s fate. Are we the supreme life form in the galaxy?

Poetic Greed: The wrongs keep piling up as a heroic doctor attempts to right her life. Two greeds don’t make a right.

Blood is Thicker than Time: An anger so violent, so virile, it transcends time.

99c ebook at: 
Amazon / UK / AU / CA / DE / FR / ES / IT / NL / IN / JP / MX / BR / Googleplay /iBook / B&N / Kobo / Inktera / Smashwords
Corrosive story only (no sins) at Bookcessories for 75c




The Journeys story bundle. Three women face the start of their life. 

Plantgirl   /  A journey from hopeless to hope. Ba Rainey can barely make the effort to get through each day. In hopes of bettering her life, she puts Miracle Gro in her shoes.

Translations  /  A journey brushed by magic. Nora Elliot travels to the Mid East with Mr. Allen to translate ancient inscriptions. He barely notices her until the tomb seals him inside and she’s the only one who can save him.

Omens and Lifesavers  /  This new New Yorker’s journey begins with a naked man on the No. 7 train. This story was a contest winner and based on true events.

75c Available for all ereaders HERE

9.20.2016

Ghosts of Fire Sneak Peek! On Day 168 by Cherie Reich #fantasy

"On Day 168 by Cherie Reich - For 168 days, a dragon imprisoned Astryd in his cave, but the chieftain’s daughter has escaped to discover the dragon may not be her only enemy. This story takes place several hundred years before Reich’s series The Fate Challenges.

Reborn, the first novel in The Fate Challenges, was published back in 2014, and Cherie hopes to publish the rest of the series sometime next year.
Astryd etched another line into the cave wall. Despite making 167 previous marks into the stone, the diamond’s edge hadn’t lost its sharp point. She blew the rock dust away and ran her finger along the groove. One hundred and sixty-eight days since the dragon stole her from home. The same number of days as number of children her father had sired during his three hundred plus years of life. Her vision wavered and throat tightened. She refused to die in this cave.

She gripped the diamond until her hand ached. Sunlight peeked from a crevasse in the cavern’s ceiling. The beams struck the gold and multicolored gemstones in an array of rainbow colors. When she’d first arrived at her prison, she thought the jewels were pretty and marveled at the dragon’s wealth. Yet she soon discovered they had nothing on the evergreen trees emerging near the pike fence surrounding her village or the stars sparkling in the nighttime sky.

She threw the diamond. It bounced against a stalactite and disappeared among a pile of jewels. A scream of frustration built inside her.

The spirit—a male elf a few years older than she—appeared before her.

She swallowed the yell before she could voice it. Bitterness coated her tongue. When Llewyn was alive, he’d arrived at her village to marry her, an agreement made between his father, an elvish prince, and hers, a human-elf mixed village chieftain. But Llewyn had vanished before the ceremony, and the dragon kidnapped her the next morning. He’d haunted her since mark thirty-three.

“What do you want?”

He pointed toward the dragon’s area.

She peered into the darkened maul that led to the main cavern. The dragon hadn’t harmed her, but he had blocked her escape at every turn. He left her food and water. She had shelter from Norvadia’s prolonged winter. Despite his attentiveness in keeping her alive, she would never view this place as home.

Llewyn drew closer and jabbed his finger toward the darkness again.

“Oh, very well.” She braided her white-blond hair and tied the end off. Her gaze darted to the spirit as she grabbed a fur-lined cloak. She missed the bright rich blue of his skin, a darker shade than hers or even her father’s, who was closer to the elvish line than she. She wrapped the cloak over her shoulders and marched past him.

Her shoulders almost touched the sides of the tunnel. At one point, she had to turn sideways and suck in a breath to squeeze through. The dragon couldn’t navigate this part of the cave, which was why she typically stayed there, but she had to find out what Llewyn was so insistent she see. With an exhale, she entered the main cavern.

Hills of gold gave the area a reddish-yellow luminescence. Astryd stumbled up one mound, her feet sliding every fourth step. At the top, she gasped and dropped to her knees.

The dragon wasn’t there.

9.13.2016

Ghosts of Fire Sneak Peak! The Flaming Emerald by Jeff Chapman #SpecFic

“The Flaming Emerald” by Jeff Chapman. When Orville finds an emerald in a pawnshop, Jimmy suspects there’s trouble ahead, which is precisely what they encounter, trouble of a very weird and supernatural kind. Will they rid themselves of the cursed jewel before the flames scorch them? Don your hat, saddle your horse and ride into another weird western in Chapman’s Huckster Tales series.


“I don’t know, Orville. Maybe we oughta just drop it back in that bin where you found it and skedaddle.” “And you oughta watch the master and learn, apprentice.”

I frowned at Orville’s broad back wrapped in his yellow tweed jacket and followed him inside. He always claimed we were staying on the right side of the law. I knew Orville would never stoop to simple thievery, but sometimes stealing and cheating seemed damn near the same thing as outsmarting, even if it was legal. Sometimes I longed for the simple days of the ranch hand life, grub and coin for a day’s labor, honest work that got your hands dirty but didn’t leave your soul feeling slimy.

We found the old woman behind the counter, playing with the beads on her bracelet.

“Who’s there?” She stared in our direction through those spectacles, her eyes magnified to the size of teacups. Her lower lip bulged with snuff, and I wondered with eyes so foggy how she ever hit her spittoon.

“Humble bearers of a fine jewel to augment your collection, ma’am.” Orville leaned forward with the hint of a bow as he doffed his black derby.

The old woman tittered with a glimmer of girlish delight peeking through her hardened countenance. Was Orville trying to flatter her or look stupid? Either way, I think the old woman let her guard fall just a bit.

“We’ve fallen on hard times, you see, and must part with something most dear to right our leaky boat. This belonged to my great aunt, God rest her soul. I loathe to part with it, but she left it to me for just such a fit of troubles.”

What my grandma would call a witch’s grin—cruel, mocking, and hungry—curled across the old woman’s wizened face. “Well you’ve come to the right place for help, you have,” she muttered. “Honest Abigail will do you right every time.”

“A paragon of integrity I’ve no doubt,” said Orville.

“So what’s you got for me?”

“A mere trinket,” Orville assured her, “but perhaps your generous heart will take pity upon us?” Laying it on awfully thick, Orville was. Did that woman even know I was there? Her gaze hadn’t flicked once in my direction.

Orville pulled the emerald out of his jacket pocket and laid it in Honest Abigail’s outstretched hands. A grin warmed her features as she fingered it, and then she brought it up level with her nose, within range of her spectacles I suspect.

The scream she let loose sent Orville and me flailing backwards. I’d seen twisters blow with less violence. Who’d have thought her old lungs had it in them? The emerald bounced once on the counter and then lay still.

“Where? Where’d you get that? You… you thievin’ buzzard!”

“Now you listen here, you dried-up crone,” yelled Orville, dropping all pretense of simpering civility. “I ain’t no thief. I bought that there jewel from you fair just the other day.”

Whatever color hid in the valleys of those wrinkles drained away. “I sold it to you?” She flicked her fingers at it, pushing it back to Orville. “No, no. ’Tain’t true. Can’t be true. You thieved it. Tryin’ to trick me you are, you lyin’ scallywag. I’m callin’ the sheriff. Thief! Thief!”

I stepped to the door, ready to make a retreat, but the one thing Orville couldn’t tolerate was being called a thief. His face flushed red and his bluster rose like a locomotive building a head of steam fit to burst. I don’t think any of us saw exactly what happened just before all flaming hell broke loose. Was there a warning? A spark? A wisp of smoke? A red glow before the tinder caught?

We missed the warning, but we didn’t ignore the storm.

A tower of flames shot skyward from the emerald, green just like in the hotel room, and licked the ceiling. Branches of flame roared from the trunk. Looked more like a spruce tree aflame than any normal fire. A crackling roar deafened me, and a wind hotter than a desert at high sun blasted my face. I recalled the cruelty of that fiery face from the night before, but this inferno was different, hotter and hungry. It wasn’t no messenger. Red flames spread where the ceiling had caught fire. The whole counter danced with red and orange, and at the center was the green tower spouting from the emerald, lashing out to set every corner of the shop afire. Black smoke churned overhead like an angry spring tornado. Only a fool could miss it. Martha Grimsey’s ghost intended to burn the place down, along with anyone in it.
Intrigued? You can get “The Wand,” another short story in the Huckster Tales series for free at www.jeffchapmanbooks.com.

9.09.2016

Manifesting Destiny by M. Pepper Langlinais #BookReview / Speculative Fiction Worth Reading


Blurb:
Sixteen-year-old Cee has a hopeless crush on her best friend Marcus. Unfortunately for her, he’s gay. In the wake of Marcus’s older brother leaving home to join the Aerie, Marcus has become increasingly distant. When Cee discovers she has a troublesome dragon named Livian living inside her things grow even more complicated.

Marcus urges Cee to go to the Magi to have Livian removed, but the more Cee becomes attached to Livian, the more she questions the decision. Should she change her natural self for the crush who will never love her anyway?
 
Christine's review:
Everything is about to change in Cee's life, but not in the way she expects. She knows the day will come when she will have to say goodbye to her best friend, Marcus, a guy she's hopelessly in love with, and they'll go live with their own clans. The thing is, Cee has a dragon inside of her which are supposed to be extinct. She has no clan. Marcus suggests having the dragon removed, but Cee doesn't know if she can. Will she give up her dragon for a man who will never love her back?

A wonderfully written YA paranormal fantasy with shapeshifters, psychics, and dragons, oh my! Well, one dragon named Livian. I best give him the spotlight lest he eat me! He's a bit troublesome, but he and Cee are learning to live together in the same body. It's fun and fascinating to read about how Cee deals with the changes within her, and how her friends are dealing with theirs. Each of them are going through a different journey as their powers come to bear as they approach adulthood. The majority of the population shapeshifts into animals, and then they go live with their particular clans. Each with their own strengths and weaknesses.

I also loved everything going on underneath the trouble Cee and her friends are having. The Magi, the various clans, the Brigade, and all the conflicts and politics that go with them. Who to trust? And where will each path lead? There's a great mystery in the east as well. Lots going on and everything is woven together beautifully.

M. Pepper Langlinais has created an incredible world with great characters for young and old readers alike. I can't wait to read more in the Changers series!
 
 

9.06.2016

Ghosts of Fire Sneak Peak! The Vagaries of Eloise Stanton by M. Pax #SpecFic


The Vagaries of Eloise Stanton” by M. Pax. Lucy’s family disappeared when she was a child, lost in a world of mirror. No one believed her, yet the reflections of her family’s faces haunt her, plead with her for rescue. On the verge of at last being reunited, Lucy must battle the cruel woman, who isn’t quite human, standing as a barrier between the two realms.






If this experiment didn’t succeed, I would lose all trace of my sister. I’d never find my family again.

Electric purple flames, which didn’t burn when touched, framed the mirror in front of me and from it, a hand that shouldn’t be reached out and grabbed my wrist, squeezing it bloodless, pulling me to the glass. Missing for fifteen years, my little sister was finally in my grasp. My heart drummed, and my pulse sizzled.

“Jenny, come home.” My tears splashed onto fingers unchanged from the last time I had seen them—the nails decorated with little daisies and the knuckles pudgy with eternal youth. Caressing her palm with my cheek, I inhaled the familiar scents of sunshine, grass, and bubble gum.

“Is it really you?” I asked.

Her reflection mixed with mine. My image remained mum, and although she appeared exactly like me with the same mahogany waves, round cheeks, and gray eyes, she wasn’t me. The me in the mirror glanced behind her, licking her lips, movements I hadn’t made. Whispers tickled my ears and verged on clarity before ebbing away into a muddied hum—the same noise as when my family had vanished.

Fighting with Jenny’s unrelenting grip, I tugged at her over and over. She wouldn’t budge from the glass.

“Help me.” I bit my lower lip and knotted my brow. “Jenny, please.”

The murmurs spiked then stopped, replaced by a pocket of silence so hushed the universe certainly held its breath. The mirror me dissolved into a young girl with long, light hair and laughing eyes. Jenny.

I hadn’t laughed since the day I lost my family. Fifteen years of rain had fallen on Seattle since, yet my sister hadn’t aged. Her lips pouted so earnestly.


Ghosts of Fire is coming in October!

8.30.2016

Huzzizzle of the Realms - August 2016 UR News #amreading


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Renovating houses for the paranormal community is easy. Saving their world? Not so much.

Christine Rains unveiled the first three covers in her upcoming urban fantasy series, Totem.


The first book releases on October 17th, and all three are available for pre-order.

Dark Dawning (Totem #1)
Add on Goodreads.

Silent Whispers (Totem #2)
Add on Goodreads.

Cloak of Snow (Totem #3)
Add on Goodreads.

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8.23.2016

The Value of the Writing Retreat

Writing outside? Citronella is needed!

Every year I go to a summer writing retreat in the Cape, and these days, we also organize a winter one at my place in the Catskills. I have come to depend on these, to both unwind, and get cracking on my WIP.

Because writing is a rather solitary type of work, being connected to various writing communities is a must, or at least a lifeline. I belong to this amazing group, Untethered Realms, where we bat around story synopses, business stuff and other issues. I also belong to SCBWI, WNBA and RWA. But the extended writing retreat can deliver a more comprehensive array of writerly needs.

Ahoy, the writing gang's here



awkward jimmy-rigging of the AC. Hey, writers aren't electricians!

Catherine with Margarita

Catherine with Maggie

Margarita & Shawn on the sailboat

Matey, are we on a pirate ship, or what?!
coffee with Helen on the porch in PJs

We gab over morning coffee, write all morning, have lunch together and then return to our various writing stations until late afternoon when the ocean calls for swimming. In the evening we take turns cooking dinner, and play writing games after the meal. And we save one night for reading excerpts from our WIPs. Occasionally, we even watch some TV but we watch it as writers, analyzing plot issues, characters, and the like. This time the shows in question were The Night Of and The Night Manager. Oh, and China vs Brazil in women's volleyball.

Of course, we have fun, too! This year we took time to go on a sunset sailboat cruise.

Have you done a writing retreat? What was your experience?