Friday, April 28, 2017

LA Times Festival of Books

Every year a Festival of Books is held in Los Angeles...most of the time, at the University of Southern California. There are lovely panels with authors from all genres and types of written works, tons of booths, and entertainment...most of it for free. It's a fantastic opportunity to interact with others who enjoy the written word, and there were booths hosted by the various elements of the USC School of Medicine branches where one could have eye exams, dental evaluations, blood pressure and blood glucose checks. The only drawback was it was HOT! Sadly, I do not tolerate the heat well, and I am suffering from some weird rash that is exacerbated by prolonged exposure, so I am paying the piper for my enjoyment this week.

I had the opportunity to attend the panel on "Science Fiction & Fantasy From All Angles" hosted by the delightful MaryelizabethYturralde from the fabulous Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore (which, alas, only has the San Diego branch nowadays). The panelists were: Becky Chambers, Ellen Klages, Sarah Kuhn, and Seanan McGuire. The pre-panel discussion was hilarious, especially once Seanan started with her observation of how useful the straw purse of one of the audience members would be for carrying snakes, segued into a description of inadvertently smuggling umpteen toads who hitchhiked a ride in her underwear. The moderator asked such insightful questions while giving a brief glimpse of each author's current work, and it was fascinating to learn the thought and creativity that each person instills in her stories.

There were signings at multiple locations, including the RWA booth as well as The Ripped Bodice and Mysterious Galaxy, and I was delighted to realize that Dreamspinner had a booth...and I had the wonderful opportunity to meet both Andrew Grey and the fascinating Tara Lain! What fun!

The pictures aren't great, since I wasn't using the flash...





Thursday, April 27, 2017

Cold Reign by Faith Hunter (spotlight, character profile, review, and GIVEAWAY) LTP

by  Faith Hunter
Jane Yellowrock is a shape-shifting skinwalker…and the woman rogue vampires fear most.
Jane walks softly and carries a big stake to keep the peace in New Orleans, all part of her job as official Enforcer to Leo Pellissier, Master of the City. But Leo’s reign is being threatened by a visit from a delegation of ancient European vampires seeking to expand their dominions.
And there’s another danger to the city. When she hears reports of revenant vampires, loose in NOLA and out for blood, Jane goes to put them down—and discovers there’s something unusual about these revenants. They never should have risen.
Jane must test her strength against a deadly, unnatural magic beyond human understanding, and a ruthless cadre of near-immortals whose thirst for power knows no bounds…

Publisher: Roc
Price: $7.99
Release date: May 2, 2017
ISBN: 978-1101991404

Character Profile: Aggie One Feather

AKA Egini Agayvlge i in the speech of The People. Elder and Shaman of the People. Has grown children who don’t live with her. Has dogs, and later a cat.

Aggie is slender, a black-haired woman who dresses casually in jeans. She is spare and muscular with little gray in hair, though she is mid-fifties or older. She is lithe and fluid in movement with black eyes that are full of compassion, life and laughter. Her voice is soft and melodious, the gentle voice of dreams and nightmares, both.

She is a Spirit Walker who drives a little four-wheel-drive Toyota. She takes Jane to sweat and later to water. These are Cherokee ceremonies that help Jane to learn who she is.

Her mother is Eva Chicalelee, Ewi Tsagalili, (U ni lisi—mother of many grandchildren.)

**Compiled by Melissa M. Gilbert of Clicking Keys, for the Character History of the Jane Yellowrock world**

Purchase links:

About Faith Hunter:

 New York Times Bestselling author Faith Hunter writes three series: the Jane Yellowrock series, dark urban fantasy novels featuring Jane, a Cherokee Skinwalker; the Rogue Mage novels, a dark, urban fantasy / post apocalyptic series and role playing game featuring Thorn St. Croix; and the Soulwood Series featuring Nell Nicholson Ingram.

Visit Faith online at, or follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.



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Open to US residents only.

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My review:

4.5 stars

Cold Reign by Faith Hunter is an urban fantasy that is part of the ‘Jane Yellowrock’ series. Jane’s role as Enforcer for the vampire Leo Pellisier, Master of New Orleans, is particularly challenged by the upheavals accompanying the machinations of European vampires who are reviving ancient alliances and threatening to repossess the American lands. A horrendous lightning storm is wreaking havoc with Jane’s system and the arcane powers sparking may be part of an insidious plan that will destroy the fragile alliances that hold New Orleans together.

The stories in this series are both mind-boggling and a thrill to read, with their fascinating blend of paranormal, fantasy, and mythic elements, not to mention the sexy and capable characters that abound. I love the appropriateness of the title, with its dual meanings that reflect the weather and the intense vampire struggle for power and control. Now, I admit, there are so many connections and significant events that have occurred in the past books that sometimes I am a bit lost while I comb through my memory (and realize that I have missed a book or two!) and try to figure out what ties and artifacts are significant, but that doesn’t prevent me from having fun with the story.

There are intense emotions and creepy developments that permeate this particular adventure, and just when one is trying to catch one’s breath after an intense fight and enjoy a brief respite…something else goes wrong! I kept losing track of who was allied to who and why it was important, so I suspect a new edition of the “Jane Yellowrock World Companion” would come in handy. Nonetheless, the dual point of view between Jane and Beast, the snarky repartee with those she depends on and who depend on her, the underhanded maneuverings of Leo and his allies and enemies, plus the arcane intervention of beings who seem to have a vested interest in some of the conflicts make this a breathtaking addition to the series.

I particularly love the arcenciels, and any book with an appearance by them, however brief, is delicious…and even more so when the pragmatic runs into the fantasy (who worries about a bathroom break when getting the chance of a lifetime? Jane, of course). Those who are squeamish should definitely not be reading these stories, as bloodshed and decapitation abound, but those who love a kickass female who speaks her mind and refuses to be manipulated…enjoy!

A copy of this title was provided to me for review

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Smoke by Emily Mims (VBT, guest post, excerpt, and GIVEAWAY)

I have the pleasure of sharing a guest post by author Emily Mims, who shares with us her answer to the question...

ELF:  What is one of your hobbies and how has it enriched your writing?
EM:  My second passion in life, after telling my stories, is music. I was blessed with parents who bought a piano when I was nine and treated me to nine years of piano and organ lessons. I played both for fun and semi-professionally during my teen years and served as church organist during high school and college. That extensive background on keyboard and theory enabled me as a teenager to pick up a guitar and teach myself to play it. As an adult, I continued to play on and off, but teaching school, writing and rearing a family got in the way, and I was lucky to sit down at the piano three or four times a year.

I found myself returning to my interest in music in the summer of 2012. I was in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and happened upon a luthier demonstrating a mountain dulcimer. I sat down and in just a few minutes was making music on it. Needless to say, that dulcimer came home with me and I found a tiny but enthusiastic group of dulcimer players, the San Antonio Riverpickers, who taught me the old mountain tunes that they play. I fell in love with a second instrument, the ukulele, on my first trip to Hawaii in the winter of 2013. I brought home a ukulele, got chord charts and within just a short period of time was playing that little instrument also. Since then, I have picked up a bowed psaltery, an autoharp, a hammered dulcimer, a banjo dulcimer and a mandolin dulcimer. I don’t play all of them yet, but give me a little time!

Through the Riverpickers, I discovered and began attending the various dulcimer festivals held in Texas and the ukulele workshop held at the Kerrville Folk Music Festival every year. These festivals are wonderful. As well as offering performances by true masters of the craft, there are plentiful workshops offered to interested participants. Almost everybody there has a gig bag with them! My husband and I also play with Ukulele Ladies and Gents, an all uke group that performs frequently for everything from parades to murder mystery dinners.

So when I was thinking about a second series to write, having mined the lake community in the Texas Hill Country series to its limit, I wanted to do something with this renewed love of mine. So I combined my musical knowledge and background with the place where it all began-Appalachia. I’ve spent literally months in the region since my son and his family moved there in 2009 and love it there. My characters in some ways are based on the musicians I’ve met and studied with at the festivals, many of whom have sat down and shared with me what it’s like being a professional musician. My heroes and heroines all play mountain and bluegrass music (these are two separate but related genre) in a fictional bluegrass club in Bristol, Tennessee. My characters play the same songs on the same instruments that I do. Francesca learns the same songs on her fiddle that I learned on my dulcimer. Cooper’s bowed psaltery looks and sounds a whole lot like mine does, although he plays it a lot better than I do. The festivals portrayed in ‘Smoke’ and the other books in the series, aptly dubbed the ‘Smoky Blue’ series, are like the ones we’ve attended. Research for this series has been minimal. Or does going to a music festival count as research?

More importantly, my heroes and heroines share my love for music. Music is a passion with them, just as it is with me. It’s what draws them together in the first place and what holds them together against all odds. It holds Francesca and Cooper together when it would seem they have nothing else in common and draws them back to one another in the end. I sincerely hope that my readers can feel this passion that my characters feel for their music. If they can, then I have done my job.


by Emily Mims


GENRE: Romance/Romantic suspense



A concert violinist and musical prodigy, Francesca Giordano is internationally acclaimed and always in the spotlight—right where she doesn’t want to be. Not after she’s witnessed a murder. Suddenly on the run, she finds her way to Bristol, Tennessee, and to the music club Acoustics. There, as “ Chessie Hope,” she can hide out in the open. But with this newest gig comes a different kind of danger. Older and impossibly sexy, bluegrass singer Cooper Barstow is everything she’s ever wanted in a man, and his daughters are just as easy to love. Yet Francesca cannot enjoy the luxury of such a relationship, not even if he could protect her from the men on her trail or if she could be honest with him about who she is. Cooper is as wounded as he is strong, and he needs someone who will stay by his side for the rest of his life. Just as Francesca does. And the smoke on the mountains and the haze of desire almost make her believe that could happen.



“No, it was more than that.  You’re wise for your tender years, Chessie.  How did you get to be so smart?”

“I’m not all that smart.  You’d eventually have figured it all out.”

They stared into one another’s eyes for a moment.  “I was jealous.”  Cooper was abrupt.  “Of Jeremy.  When he came on to you.”

Chessie cupped his face between her hands.  “Cooper, why?”

Cooper put his good hand on Chessie’s shoulder.  “He’s young and he’s cute and he has both his arms.”

“If I were into boys, I might have been impressed.  But I’m not into boys, Cooper.  I’m into men.  One man, in particular.  And you know what?  I’m going to kiss that man, right now.”

Cooper stood, not moving, as Chessie went up on her tiptoes and placed her lips against his.  She held his face in her hands and nibbled, touching and seeking in the gentlest of caresses before deepening their embrace.  At first Cooper let her take the lead, but as hiss torment became unbearable he crushed her to him, her soft curves fitting just right into his hard, muscled body like a cool drink of water in the parched Arizona desert.  She wrapped her arms around his body and held him even closer.  Her nipples stiffened with desire and poked into his chest.  Cooper was overcome with longing.  He wanted this woman so badly he could taste it.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

 Author of thirty romance novels, Emily Mims combined her writing career with a career in public education until leaving the classroom to write full time.  The mother of two sons and grandmother of six, she and her husband Charles live in central Texas but frequently visit grandchildren in eastern Tennessee and Georgia.  She plays the piano, organ, dulcimer, and ukulele and belongs to two performing bands.  She says, “I love to write romances because I believe in them.  Romance happened to me and it can happen to any woman-if she’ll just let it.”

Twitter: @EmilyMimsAuthor



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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Flip by Michael Phillip Cash (VBT, guest post, excerpt, and GIVEAWAY) GFT

I have the pleasure of sharing a guest post by author Michael Philip Cash, who explains...

-->ELF:  What is your writing process?

MPC:  My day begins at 530am. I’m up early because I like to throw in a quick lifting workout before I begin my day. I kiss my wife and kids goodbye and make the long trek to my den to begin my work.  When I’m writing about a certain subject i.e. werewolves, ghosts, zombies, etc…I must know everything there is about the subject.  My entire day is filled with research and development.  I comb google and take notes and develop ideas for my book. Then by the time the wife and kids get home, I have a general idea on where my story needs to go.  We eat dinner together, I play with them, and then tuck them in for bed.  Then, it’s off to the races and I write every single night. Whether it’s a paragraph or chapter I try to put down as much as I learned about that day, into my book.  Food Network or Travel Channel will always be on mute in the background. I do this 7 days a week. I have managed to pump out 14 plus books in over 5 years, and I’m just getting started.  I just signed a two book deal with WordFire Press for Monsterland 1 & 2 that will be due out end of 2017.   



The Flip

by Michael Phillip Cash


GENRE: Ghost/Haunted House/Horror



Julie and Brad Evans are house flippers. They buy low, clean out the old occupants junk, and try to make a profit. Enter Hemmings House on Bedlam Street in scenic Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island. Too good a deal to pass up, but with an ominous secret. The old Victorian Mansion has dwellers that do not want to be dispossessed. As the house reveals its past, will the couple's marriage survive The Flip?



“I hate this place,” Brad grumbled, as he shoved another piece of crap into the super thick black garbage bag. The basement smelled like shit, and here he was, alone on his birthday and shoveling hundred-year old junk from a dank cellar. This had to be the worst flip they’d ever attempted. He gave the creaky stairs a gimlet-eyed glance and for a nanosecond hated Julie. Really hated her and her cockamamie ideas. Where did that idea of hate come from? he wondered. He loved his wife, didn’t he?

“It has so much charm,” she’d cooed every time they discussed the place. And then, last night, she’d sprung it on him. “Let’s keep it.”

“Over my dead body,” he told the decaying piles of newspaper. Once they finished this job and paid their bills, he had some thinking to do. She picked the homes, went back to her tidy little job in the city, and left him to muck around in the garbage. He couldn’t see himself doing this for the next twenty years, not anymore. Not after this dump. It wasn’t that he was afraid of work, or even plain old elbow grease. There was something about this project that turned him off. From the moment he entered the house, his skin crawled, and he found himself unaccountably angered by Julie and her insistence that they buy this place. It was as though his opinions didn’t count, and she made him feel like a hired hand instead of her partner.



AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Michael Phillip Cash is an award winning and best-selling author of horror, paranormal, and science fiction novels. 

He's written ten books including the best-selling Brood X, Stillwell, The Flip, The After House, The Hanging Tree, Witches Protection Program, Pokergeist, The History Major and Battle for Darracia series.  Michael’s books are on the Amazon best-seller list and have also won numerous awards. Additionally, he is a screenwriter with 14 specs under his belt. Michael resides on the North Shore of Long Island with his wife and children.

“Stillwell: A Haunting on Long Island”, “The Hanging Tree”, and “Schism: The Battle for Darracia” have all been named to Foreward Reviews Book of the Year Awards.  His newest book, “The History Major”, has been taking readers and reviewers by storm.

If you’d like more information on Michael Phillip Cash, check out his websites:



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Monday, April 24, 2017

Symphony of Hearts by T.E. Hodden (Release Blitz) Roane


A Symphony of Heart Strings
Paranormal Romance
By T.E. Hodden
Release Date: April 24, 2017
Publisher: Roane Publishing

Keywords: Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy, Contemporary, London, Novella Niblets

Meet Bob. Bob is the guy between the lines of every love story you ever met. The lucky chance, the twist of fate, the astounding coincidence that sets sparks flying. Never seen, but always there.

Today Bob is assigned to help Jenny find love. But there is something more than bad luck working against the quirky librarian. Bob might have to save her life, before he can help her find love.

And he can't do that from the shadows....



Time for a practical demonstration…

I step into a sandwich shop. It is busy with the lunch hour rush. Jimmy sits at one of the tables, staring into his book, and trying not to think. He is a heavy guy, big and round with jowls and a frown. His connection to the Loom is worn thin, and a lot of his strings play sour, dull, notes. He is nearly forty, but has never been kissed and never known that warm fuzzy glow in his chest.

What he has known is shame, self-doubt, and fear. Whenever he has felt his heart crack open, he has been trained to think it is unnatural and shameful. People like him were the butts of jokes, when he was a kid. Most the people he hang around still use “queer” and “gay” as a shorthand for worthless and disgusting. He has spent too long burying his feelings, and now believes that they make him less of a man, and less of a human..

There is a girl at his office who likes him. She is friendly and flirty. He responds politely, but is so convinced of his self-image that he thinks she is quietly mocking him. He sees no malice in her, but he thinks there is gentle teasing at his expense.

Kelly is in the queue. He is waiting on a chicken and avocado baguette to go with his bottle of soda. He is thirty-nine, tall, burly, and jolly. He has a kind laugh and gets on with everybody in the office. He recognises Jimmy. They bump into each other in the office kitchen, making coffees. They talk about cricket and football while waiting on the kettle.

Jimmy nods for Kelly to join him. They joke about the latest email from head office. The "Fair culture flowchart" is a policy that spends three thousand words telling them, in essence, not to be dicks.

Neither men see me standing by their table. I pluck the string that binds them. It plays a sweet note, made heavy by Jimmy's doubts. I knock his drink into his lap. Jimmy squawks in surprise and Kelly drops to his knees, mopping at Jimmy's lap with napkins. Jimmy panics at the touch.

"Hey. Let me." Jimmy laughs a little. "If you don't mind where you put your hands, you will do something you will regret."

I stoop down to Kelly's ear and whisper, "Will you?"

Kelly gives a dirty laugh. "I wouldn't regret it. Would you?"

For a moment they hold each other's gazes.



T. E. Hodden trained in engineering, and works in the rail industry. He writes as a hobby, when he is not walking the Kent coast, looking for forgotten nooks and crannies of history and folklore.


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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Resurrection of Artemis by Izzy Szyn (Spotlight, excerpt, and GIVEAWAY) ADULT title RBC

 by Izzy Szyn 

Once known as the infamous hacker Artemis, Amy Wilson now works in a coffee shop. With only months until the end of her probation from working in the technological industry that she loves, Amy is determined to keep Artemis dead and buried. 
When incidents similar to the ones Amy did start occurring all fingers start pointing in Artemis’ direction, and three people that want Artemis to come out of retirement. 
Quail City’s super heroes Dark Master and Calypso aka as multi-billionaire Noah Adams and his assistant Vanessa London know Amy’s secret, and also know that she is being set up. Having spent months in a flirtmance with Amy, they are tired of waiting and want both her and Artemis in their bed. 
Hinderer wants to hold technology hostage, but in order to do that he needs Artemis’ assistance, and he will use any methods necessary to gain her cooperation. 

“People have been mentioning Artemis,” Calypso said. “You wouldn’t have heard anything?”

They knew, Amy thought. Somehow they knew. “No, Artemis isn’t here anymore. At least from what I heard.”

“Damn shame, too,” complained one of the customers in the shop. “Not the Artemis that is playing with the lights and stuff. But the Artemis who liked to help people with their problems.”

“Yeah, I think if someone is behind it, it’s someone pretending to be Artemis, or trying to shift the blame on her,” said another customer. “She may have done some things, but she’d never deliberately set out to get people hurt.”

Amy smiled at the person that made the comment. “I’ve been here all day. But it’s more than the traffic lights. Didn’t I hear that the other day the Financial District was shut down because the money showed at zero?”

“That is something that Artemis had fun with,” Dark Master commented. “Or had in the past.”

“I’m sure that whatever has been happening in Quail City has nothing to do with Artemis,” Amy replied.

“Hope for Artemis’ sake it’s true,” Calypso said. “Williams is ranting and raving in Commissioner James’ office asking for her to be arrested.”

Just bet he is, thought Amy. “Is there anything else I can get you?” Amy asked them. She saw that it was almost six and the last bus going towards her apartment would be there any minute.

“You in our bed,” Calypso said in her ear. “Your blue hair will look glorious on our pillows.” Then out loud stated, “That’s all for now.” 

Amazon Buy Link  Available on Kindle Unlimited

Author Info: 

New York Times Bestselling Author Izzy Szyn was born in May of 2014 when a friend dared her to write. Born and raised in Detroit, Mi. Izzy now lives in Oklahoma City with her furchild Misty, the friendliest Chihuahua/Terrier you will ever meet. Currently works in a call center, where she writes in between phone calls. Izzy loves to keep in touch with her readers. Email her at  

Find her on:
Facebook :) 


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