The Kasadya Hellhound Series

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Book Blast, Giveaway & Interview: Promise of Magic by @melindavan

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Book Blast


clip_image002_thumb[1]Promise of Magic

House of Xannon

Book 3

Melinda VanLone

Genre: urban fantasy

ISBN: 978-0-9887455-4-4


Word Count: 65k

Cover Artist:

Book Description:

On instinct, Tarian bowed her head in return, shocked. “Dulra. Welcome.” She breathed the words, awed by the presence of creatures she’d only known through legends. What is the Balance Court doing here?

“Tarian A’marie Maitea Xannon, of the House of Xannon, Keeper of the Water Artifact, you are summoned to the Balance Court.”

She’d been summoned, and every particle of her being cried out to answer it.

Despite the advanced stage of her pregnancy, Tarian has some explaining to do. Fulfilling her Agreement with the Carraig was an issue of honor—but it led to complications. The Keeper of the House of Xannon is called to account, and Tarian must embark on a dangerous mission which could cost her the life of her unborn daughter, end in disaster for all planes of existence—or save the world.

Some promises are deadly to keep. Will the promise of magic be one of them?


Tarian forced her eyes open to focus on the rock in front of her. Earth as dense as anything she’d ever seen, more power than she’d ever experienced. The feeling of old that surrounded it. The sense of longing as if the stone itself wanted freedom from the long and arduous task it had been set. She grabbed onto the longing and let the stream of energy pour into it, into the Stulos, then twisted it as she’d done once before. Another twist, and the flow of power into the Stulos reversed. Three streams of colored light became one solid column of white.

A thousand voices sounded in her head. High ones, low ones, her sister’s voice, dolphin cries and emotion, all around and through her. The energy bound them into something greater than mere humans and Ancients. They were timeless. Eternal. It was almost like she felt when she made love with Daric, but…different. At once more intense and at the same time more encompassing. Less personal. More global. As though the universe spoke through her, and she through it. The awe of it. Tears spilled onto her cheeks.

Another cramp gripped her body and she swayed on her knees, gripping the rock as it crumbled, trying to maintain her balance as the ground shifted and her body twisted. Not now. Too soon. Not now. Too soon. She couldn’t be…the baby couldn’t be…

The voices rose in her head. Everyone joined in as the power flowed around and through, around and through, until she, the Caraigg, her sister, the baby, and the dolphins were all one with it. The crack in the Stulos widened, a giant lesion extending from the floor all the way up until she couldn’t see the end. Cold retreated, heat entered. A loud snap. The Stulos shattered into a million pieces that hung suspended in air for a flash of eternity before rushing outward to the edges of the cavern.

A dolphin cry sounded, triumphant, exalted, as the world exploded in a rain of cold fire, magic power, ash and lava.

Character Interview

Character Name:

Tarian A’marie Maitea Xannon

Character Bio:

Tarian Xannon is the Keeper of the Dolphin Throne, though she was hoping to wait a lot longer to inherit the title. But due to the untimely death of her mother, she’s now the leader of the magical Society, and in the process of providing the next heir, along with picking up the pieces from the epic battle that stole her mother’s life. She’s 25 years old, and would much rather be either in the ocean swimming with the Water Ancients, sparring with her best friend in the Arena, or hanging out in Philadelphia at her favorite coffee shop.

This interview took place before Tarian launched into the chaos of Promise of Magic.


What is your worst and best quality?

I never really thought about it before. My mother would have told you I’m stubborn, quick to act, and too independent. Those seem like good qualities to me. But I doubt she’d agree.

What is the one thing you wish other people knew about you?

I’m okay with people not knowing much about me. Knowledge is power, I’ve been told.

What is your biggest secret?

*Rubs belly* The baby. I had to make deals to save my family that resulted in…well. Let’s just say that as much as I fought against it in the beginning, I’m glad I had to go through the Succession Ritual, because the world will never know exactly who her fathers are. I used to think it was a ridiculous way of providing an heir, but now…well. It’s better this way.

What are you most afraid of?

I’m not easily scared off. Though lately, being pregnant has made me a little more cautious. I’m not afraid of it. Not exactly. Just not sure I’m really great mother material.

What do you want more than anything?

I want to keep my family and friends safe. And I want to be a good leader. *Laughs* Not sure that’s possible. I’m not my mother. Calliope is really much better suited for the title of Keeper, but I’m stuck with it so I’ll muddle through. Somehow.

What is your relationship status?

You mean like marriage? *shakes head* As the Keeper and leader of the Society, I won’t ever be married. Our family is matriarchal, both the title and the responsibility are passed from mother to daughter. I do have Daric, though. He’s as close as I’ll ever get to a stable relationship. He’s my lover and my friend. And one of the men who helped produced this child.

How would you describe your sense of fashion?

Non existent? *laughs* Calliope is much more the fashionista. Give me jeans and a tank top any day.

How much of a rebel are you?

I’m sure my mother thought I was a rebel of the worst kind. But I wouldn’t call it that. I see the need for rules. I just don’t agree with all of them.

What do you considered to be your greatest achievement?

I’m not sure I have one. Yet. I know some would call motherhood their greatest achievement, but…I’m not so sure about that. Maybe you should ask the baby when she’s grown up.

What is your idea of happiness?

Happiness is being in the ocean, surrounded by my strongest element, riding the freedom of the waves. It’s the only place I can be alone, except for the Water Ancients of course. And I love visiting them.

What is your current state of mind?

Uh…I don’t know. Irritated? Pregnancy has slowed me down, and I don’t like that. I’m not used to my body being this shape. I can’t fight. I can’t run. And she kicks me all the time! It’s like a soccer match going on in my stomach. It’s just not natural.

What is your most treasured possession?

The Dolphin Throne. It links me to the Water Ancients, and protects the house and my family. It’s been passed from mother to daughter for thousands of years. It’s why I was born, to keep and protect it.

What is your most marked characteristic?

Probably my ability to harness Water, Air and Fire. Nobody’s been able to manipulate three elements in hundreds of years. Even my mother could only tap two. Though she was much stronger in those two elements than I am, with the third I could definitely come out ahead in a fair fight.

What is it that you most dislike?

Losing control. I’ve been under the effects of a dominion spell and it was the worst moment of my life. I don’t ever, ever want to feel that way again.

Which living person do you most despise?

The last person I despised is no longer among the living, so I don’t currently despise anyone. Though I’m sure that’ll change. There’s always someone trying to piss me off.

What is your greatest regret?

Regret. Funny word. I never really knew the meaning of it until a few months ago. But now…now I know. I guess the biggest one would be that my mother will never know my child. It’s my… I don’t want to talk about it. Can’t change the past. No point in digging it up.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

Nice change of topic. I like men who are confident and able to match me in the Arena when we practice fighting. I like a man who’s comfortable being around a woman in charge. A nice smile doesn’t hurt.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

As a lover, or as a friend? I don’t swing that way, so…yeah. As a friend. Huh. I don’t have many…any…women friends. At least…well there’s the potential for one, but I don’t really know Macari well enough to call her friend. I have my sister. She’s my rock.

Who is your favorite hero in fiction?

I don’t really do much reading. I leave that up to Calliope.

Which living person do you most admire?

Alex, for his loyalty. Daric, for his passion and friendship. My sister Calliope, for being so much like my mother it hurts sometimes. Daric’s mother…because she’s everything a mother should be.

If you’d asked me a few months ago, I’d have said…never mind.

If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?

Hah! I’d get this pregnancy over with. Seriously, she won’t stop kicking me.

What is your motto?

Protect my family, always.


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  About The Author


Melinda VanLone writes fantasy and science fiction, freelances as a graphic designer, and dabbles in photography. She currently lives in Rockville, Maryland, with her husband and furbabies. When she's not playing with her imaginary friends you can find her playing World of Warcraft, wandering aimlessly through the streets taking photos, or nursing coffee in Starbucks.

twitter: @melindavan

Series Blast, Giveaway & Interview: Lost Colony Series by @jografford

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Series Blast


clip_image002_thumb[1]Breaking Ties

Lost Colony Series

Book One

Jo Grafford

Genre: historical romance

Publisher: Astraea Press

Date of Publication: October 16, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-62135-219-8


Number of pages: 404

Word Count: 121,390

Cover Artist: Mande Matthews

Book Description:

Intelligent and well ahead of her times, ROSE PAYNE'S world is shattered after a secret betrothal to the duke’s son costs her job as a clerk in his father's household. Without a letter of recommendation, she becomes an easy target for recruiters to the Colonies. Desperate for work, she signs up for a risky overseas venture and sails for the New World, vowing never again fall for a wealthy gentleman.

Returning from a diplomatic tour in London, CHIEF MANTEO is bewitched by the elusive, fiery-haired ship clerk and determined to overcome her distrust. He contrives a daring plan to win her heart – a plan he prays will protect her from a chilling conspiracy involving murder, blood money, and a betrayal of their fledgling colony so terrifying it can only be revealed in BREAKING TIES.

Special Note: BREAKING TIES is the never-before-told rest of the story of the Lost Colony.

Book Trailer:

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"You want my help." 'Twas an accusation.


His eyes darkened. "I save your life. I give gifts. I offer marriage." He closed the remaining distance between us, his eyes burning into mine.

I stumbled back.

"You give nothing in return," he snarled. "You only ask for more."

"I would had I something to offer," I whispered. "But I have nothing. I am nothing."

"Then what use are you to me?" He wheeled away.

I sagged against the door, eyes stinging. I blinked rapidly and pressed a hand to my stomach. Nausea rolled at the thought of informing the others of my failure.

Manteo circled the cabin like a hawk stalking its prey. 'Twas a fine room with ornately carved shelves lining one wall. Bunks were built into the next wall. A generous desk jutted from the third, overflowing with maps and navigational devices. I recognized the compass and hourglass but could not identify the other instruments. I jerked in surprise when Manteo swooped down upon me.

"I know our location." His arms shot out and slapped the wall on either side of me, hemming me to the door. "I could swim ashore from here."

"Then why do ye stay if ye can leave and save yourself?"

"Governor White gave his word to deliver me home."

"We are going to starve, Manteo. 'Tis only a matter of days now."

"Nay. You alone starve. The others eat."

"I have no appetite."

"You act as one already dead."

I straightened my back. "I accept what I cannot change."

"And I change what I cannot accept." He shifted his weight to the wall, one arm propped over my head. He drew his fingertips down the side of my face in a feather-light caress.

I closed my eyes against the rush of unbearable sweetness. He made me long for things forbidden. "'Tis within your power to help us. I am begging you."

"Very well."

My eyes flew open. "Ye will do this for us."

"For you." His voice was silken, his features as hard as granite.

I smiled tremulously. "I thank thee, Manteo. Chief Manteo, that is." The new title felt strange on my lips. I beheld him with a mixture of awe and pride.

"I have yet to name my price."

I stared, confused.

He grunted in disgust. "You refuse me as both husband and lover, so you are left with the hiring of my services."

I worried my lower lip between my teeth. At least he was willing to negotiate. His eyes flashed with lust as he followed my movements.

"I will entreat the Dares for payment."

"Nay. You are the one in my debt."

I raised and dropped my hands helplessly.

"You serve this company, no? You can serve my people, too."

"Ye would hire me as clerk?" Hope leaped in my chest at the possibilities. I would not have to part from him so soon.

"My people have no clerks." His eyes narrowed. "We have slaves."

My breath hitched. "Ye wish to punish me, humiliate me?"

"Nay, I only wish to marry you."

I briefly closed my eyes against the pain. He already knew the reason for my refusal.


"Say no more. I will do it. 'Twill be punishment enough to see you so often and—“ I clamped my lips.

Exultation flickered briefly across his face. "You would give up your freedom to save your friends?"

"Without question."

"Swear it," he said grimly.

"I swear it."

His eyes flared with emotion. He bent slowly 'til his breath stirred my lips. My eyelids fluttered closed. Heaven help me, for I had no will left to resist him.

"Now you will eat," Manteo commanded hoarsely. He stepped back, surveying me from head to feet.


"I have no slaves so thin and weak. Go. Collect your rations." He turned from me and bent to pore over a map on the table.

I reached for the door handle, disbelieving at the curt dismissal.

"And send for Anthony. I have need of him."

I glared at his back. Faith, should I press my face to the floor as well? "Aye, master." I bit the words out and fled.



clip_image004_thumb[1]Trail of Crosses

Lost Colony Series

Book Two

Jo Grafford

Genre: historical romance

Publisher: Astraea Press

Word Count: 112,300

Cover Artist: Mande Matthews

Book Description:

Jane Mannering can shoot a rifle and handle a knife as well as any Englishman. However, she is no match for the red-painted warriors who ambush her section of a Colonial caravan the moment she and her comrades reach the shores of Virginia.

Jane plots their escape during a forced march inland, leaving a trail of maltese crosses carved on the trees – their pre-agreed upon signal of distress. All the while, she fumes over what interest their captors could possibly have in a twenty-three-year-old spinster and a rugged band of brick masons, sawyers, and farmers.

When the ruthless Chief Wanchese intercepts them at the crossroads of the Great Trading Path, Jane is shaken to discover their greatest enemy plans to keep her for himself. It’s a pity he’s the only man on two continents who’s ever stirred her heart. Alas, she has an entire colony to save, and capturing his attentions is not part of their escape plan.

Special Note: The Lost Colony Seires is the never-before-told rest of the story of the Lost Colony on Roanoke Island.




July 26, 1587 - Roanoke Island

If it had not been for the barking of the dogs and chattering of the lads who scampered at my side, I might have heard the shot - the low vibration of the string as the thin, wooden shaft released, the faint whistle of the arrow as it sliced an invisible yet deadly path through the air, the scattering of wildlife as the forest itself braced before the world's most fearsome predator. Instead, I merely felt the gentle lifting of my late father's top hat as the arrowhead sank into the aged leather and pinned it to the heart of the oak behind me.

The men assigned to guard me fired their muskets wildly into the perimeter of trees. My ears rang with their gunfire and frenzied oaths. Then the slow burn of anger took over.

I pivoted to yank the arrow, top hat and all, from the trunk. Separating the two, I jammed the damaged hat back on my head and tapped the lone arrow against my gloved hand. The miss was deliberate, meant as a taunt. Had the shadowy creature intended to kill me, I would already be dead.

I glared over my shoulder as the gunfire ceased. He remained out there, I was certain. Watching. This was a reminder that he is the hunter. I am the hunted.

Character Interview

Character Name: Jane Mannering

Character Bio: Tall, tan, brunette, twenty-three-year-old huntress and trapper who loves to wear men’s hats, trousers, and boots. Labeled a spinster back in London, she thumbs her nose at high society, signs up for a risky investment venture in the New World, and sails the Atlantic to become one of the first Englishwomen colonists.



Describe yourself. What is your worst and best quality?

 I can shoot, hunt, and trap as well as any man. Alas, I am too tall, tanned, and outspoken for the dragons of high society. They labeled me a spinster at age twenty-three and forgot about me the second I landed on the shelf. As if I give a fig about what the London dandies think of me – prancing about in their striped short pants and blasted codpieces. I vow any man who wears a codpiece must be compensating for something!

What is the one thing you wish other people knew about you?

Nothing. I like my privacy, keep to myself, and care little for what others think about me.

What is your biggest secret, something no one knows about?

 I do want to fall in love someday when I’m good and ready, but he won’t fit the London mold. Nay, he’ll be a man of my own choosing. Taller than me, stronger than me, someone who can hold his own in a fight.

What are you most afraid of?


What do you want more than anything?

To rescue the ambushed and enslaved members of my colony

What is your relationship status?

 I don’t care much for the term “spinster.” I prefer to think of myself as unattached and free to say and do as I please.

How would you describe your sense of fashion?

 I despise the dictates of London fashion. ‘Tis painfully difficult to walk and even harder to breath in a ball gown. I’ll take a pair of men’s trousers and good sturdy boots any day over a bloody gown.

How much of a rebel are you?

Enough to board a ship and never look back. I hope to build a new life for myself on the other side of the world, my kind of life.

What do you considered to be your greatest achievement?

After years of practice, I can throw a knife further and straighter than most men.

What is your idea of happiness?

To live in a cabin on a few acres of land I own free and clear of any man

What is your current state of mind?

Worried sick over our missing colonists – especially for the women and children

What is your most treasured possession?

A set of knives and a worn, leather top hat from my late father

What is your most marked characteristic?

I am taller than all the women in our colony and half the men as well

What is it that you most dislike?


Which living person do you most despise?

Roger Bailie. He’s a pompous oaf who cares more about stealing the title of governor than gathering food and preparing our colonists for the upcoming winter.

What is your greatest regret?

 Forever crossing verbal swords with Chief Wanchese. He’s the first man who’s ever looked at me with desire, as a real flesh and blood woman. Alas, most of our conversations end with a disagreement.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

 Honesty and hard work

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

 Honesty and hard work

Who is your favorite hero in fiction?

 Dante in The Divine Comedy. I’m not exactly the religious sort, but I admire his sense of justice – the idea that every man will get what he deserves in the end.

Which living person do you most admire?

My dearest and most loyal friends, Rose Payne and Agnes Wood.  They are the first and only women in my life willing to accept me just as I am – scuffed boots, knives, and all – and I love them for it.

If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?

 I wish I wasn’t so short of temper. “Tis something I am working on. Then again, the good Lord simply didn’t give me the angelic demeanor he handed Rose and Agnes.

What is your motto?

 Right now, my life motto is simple: Adapt and survive. My fellow colonists and I didn’t ask to be marooned on an island crawling with hostiles. Nor did we ask to be ambushed on our first attempt to escape. I’m one of the lucky ones who lived to see another day. That has to count for something, right? One thing’s for sure. I’m not going down without a fight.



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About The Author


Jo is a mega reader of all genres and loves to indulge in marathon showings of Big Bang Theory, NCIS, and Castle. Her favorite books are rich in Colonial and Elizabethan history, romance, strong women, alpha males, Native Americans, and creatures from the paranormal - an occasional dragon, vampire, or time traveler.

From St. Louis, Missouri, Jo moves a lot with her soldier husband. She has lived in the Midwest, the deep South, and now resides in Bavaria. Jo holds an M.B.A. and has served as a banker, college finance instructor, and high school business teacher. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, From the Heart Romance Writers RWA Chapter, and the Writers Group of Ansbach/Katterbach/Illesheim.



Twitter: @jografford



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Book Blast, Giveaway & Interview: Blood Diva by @VM_Gauthier

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Book Blast


clip_image002Blood Diva

VM Gautier

Genre: Urban Fantasy

ISBN: 9781620154663

Number of pages: approx 450.

Word Count: 120,000

Book Description:

The 19th century's most infamous party-girl is undead and on the loose in the Big Apple.

When 23 year-old Parisian courtesan, Marie Duplessis succumbed to consumption in 1847, Charles Dickens showed up for the funeral and reported the city mourned as though Joan of Arc had fallen. Marie was not only a celebrity in in her own right, but her list of lovers included Franz Liszt – the first international music superstar, and Alexandre Dumas fils, son of the creator of The Three Musketeers. Dumas fils wrote the novel The Lady of the Camellias based on their time together. The book became a play, and the play became the opera La Traviata. Later came the film versions, and the legend never died.

But what if when offered the chance for eternal life and youth, Marie grabbed it, even when the price was the regular death of mortals at her lovely hand?

In 2014, Marie wonders if perhaps nearly two centuries of murder, mayhem, and debauchery is enough, especially when she falls hard for a rising star she believes may be the reincarnation of the only man she ever truly loved. But is it too late for her to change? Can a soul be redeemed like a diamond necklace in hock? And even if it can, have men evolved since the 1800′s? Or does a girl’s past still mark her?

Blood Diva is a sometimes humorous, often dark and erotic look at sex, celebrity, love, death, destiny, and the arts of both self-invention and seduction. It’s a story that asks a simple question – Can a one hundred ninety year-old demimondaine find happiness in 21st century Brooklyn without regular infusions of fresh blood?


Her bathroom was en-suite, but could be accessed through a second door from the living room. Rosa, who came in the mornings to clean, routinely filled the bath. There was a timed heater that kept the water warm. Alphonsine slipped into the oversized tub.

She dove under the bubbles. While her kind needed to breathe, they could control respiration and stay under for hours. She enjoyed soaking this way in very hot water, allowing herself to think and dream. Her morning kill had been so unusual, so exciting, she wanted to relive every detail.

She hadn’t been planning to feed that night, though it had been almost four weeks. She could go five, even six in a pinch, but after that long she felt so fatigued it was hard to distinguish day from night. Pierre and she were planning to get out of town to feast together. He often chided her for her recklessness, pointing out it was not like the old days. Trains, planes, and automobiles made it easy to place distance between oneself and one’s prey. No reason to kill where one lived, but sometimes, one couldn’t help oneself.

She had left the party feeling a particular restlessness. At first believing sex alone might be enough to stave off the hunger, her plan had been to head downtown or back to Brooklyn to find some pretty thing to hook up with. Then she caught a scent, felt something unique was waiting. Violent images flooded her mind as she entered the bar. It was coming into focus – a mortal who killed, not in war, but for fun. While her telepathic powers were weak – she was after all still quite young, she could sense emotions, especially strong ones, and he had been a seething caldron of barely suppressed rage.

Under the warm water, she could still taste it on her tongue, his blood, his essence – all of that delicious hate, and yet in the intimacy of the death-grip, she felt more, his humanity, as though they both were spiraling backwards in time to a moment when even he was innocent.

She’d given him peace. It had been a good death for him. True, she had frightened him when she jumped out. They said in the best hunts the prey never suspected, never felt a moment of unease, but allowances had to be made. After all, he believed he had killed her. She couldn’t let him go to his grave thinking that.

Blood was more than nourishment. It was a sacrament. Some said the blood itself contained the very soul. She doubted such a thing existed. She only knew it had something – a power, a magic like nothing else. Strange how easily satisfied beings like her were, hardly the monsters depicted in myth. As pleasurable as it might be to hunt and feast every night, like the noble lion, they only did so when hungry.

No two people tasted the same – not father and son, nor brother and sister, not even twins. This she knew from her own experience. Children’s blood had a sweetness like the candied grapes young men once brought her as tokens between acts at the opera. There was a freshness to young blood, like apples picked in the summer at a perfect moment of ripeness. Teenaged girls tasted of secrets, and boys of lust. Women, pretty ones, whose hearts had been broken had a certain tenderness and resignation, especially if you came to them when their looks were fading, and there wasn’t much hope. There were men who had an edge like a wine with a bitter after taste, while others were warm and smooth. The old, whom she wasn’t fond of, tasted of sadness, disappointment, and defeat, though they would certainly do when convenient. Human blood, like the human voice, had different timbres. Some had the richness and depth of a bass-baritone while others were light but agile like a coloratura soprano.

A killer, however, especially one who dispatched his own so remorselessly, this was a rare treat indeed. The essence would hold within it all whom he had taken. For her to act so boldly, to take so many chances to have him, was a risk, but what would be the point of immortality without gambles? And she had always loved games of chance.

When she walked in and saw him, saw those thick arms, the sandy hair, could already feel what it would be like to fuck him, to take him perhaps when he was inside her, she knew she had to go through with it. The combination of lust and hunger made her almost giddy, barely able to contain herself.

Still immersed, Alphonsine began to touch her thighs, working up to her pussy, replaying the night.

As soon as she sat down at the bar it became clear he had picked her, imagined her as his next victim. It was too delicious! A chance for play-acting. Something different and rough.

Alphonsine lifted her head above the water, feeling the urge to breathe. Her breaths became quick as she felt her release, the first taste of his blood a vivid memory. Her kind not only felt everything more strongly than mortals, but could recall in full sensory detail.

It had been everything she hoped. Feeling him draining, feeling his life force leaving his body, merging into hers. That final beat of his cruel heart. A rush of something – all his anger, perhaps? It overwhelmed her for a second and then was gone. And he had looked so tranquil – transformed by death – beyond the desire to hurt and kill, beyond it all, finally at rest – a gift she had bestowed on him.

She had closed his eyes, and kissed him once softly on the lips before beginning the task of clean up.

The act of remembering left her not hungry for more blood, but still unsatisfied.

  Author Interview

Did you always wanted to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?

I wanted to be EVERYTHING. But I always made up stories and writing came naturally.

When did you first consider yourself a “writer”?

Probably when I was eight and my second grade teacher accused me of plagiarizing a poem because she thought it was too good. My dad basically told her I was born writer and she needed to deal with it.

Do you do another job except for writing and can you tell us more about it?

I've had more distinct careers than anyone I know. Honestly, my resume is human resources disaster. Most jobs have involved writing in some way. Certainly, being able to tell a story has made it easier for me to get hired, again and again and again. I'm serious about this. Parents worry about their kids majoring in or getting graduate degrees in creative writing, and it's true that most people who do that won't make a living as a fiction writer, but knowing how to create a narrative and string words together is important in so many fields, and it's often essential in getting through the door.

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?

 Title: Blood Diva. Pitch:  19th century Paris' hottest party-girl is undead and living it up in the Big Apple.

Who is your publisher? Or do you self-publish?

 Blood Diva is self-published. For anyone interested in that process, I've created a blog ( detailing my publishing journey.


How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?

 Blood Diva is over 120,000 words and took around a year and half from concept to publication. If I had attempted to go the traditional route, I'm sure I'd still be looking for an agent.

What can we expect from you in the future?  ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?

 More books for sure, but I don't know about the genre. This was my first novel dealing with the undead.  The book was written to be enjoyed as a stand-alone, but if it catches on, I have some ideas. A couple of people have already written begging for a sequel.

What genre would you place your books into?

 I'd describe Blood Diva as genre-fluid.  By definition it's  "urban fantasy" -- that is, it takes place mostly in a city and their are vampires. Obviously, there's a strong paranormal element. There's some erotica. There is a romance that acts as a catalyst for the heroine, but genre-wise it's not really a romance either. It's like a sexed-up Anne Rice on drugs.

What made you decide to write that genre of book?

 My other work is more literary, but I read almost everything. I wanted to let loose and have fun, maybe even reach a wider audience. I've long been fascinated with Marie Duplessis -- who was the real person on whom I modeled my heroine. She has lived on long after her death as a legend, so turning her into a vampire seemed like a natural step. I loved the idea of allowing her as an immortal to ponder her own myth.

Do you have a favorite character from your books? And why are they your favorite?

 At the moment, the protagonist of Blood Diva, Marie Duplessis, aka Alphonsine, aka Camille St. Valois, is my favorite. I still haven't disengaged from her.  She's a cold-blooded predator, but there's vulnerability as well. Once you get her whole story, you have to sympathize. Besides, vampires are total psychopaths and that can be very appealing. Who wouldn't want to live without a conscience at least for a little while?

How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?

 I've always loved reading and really getting lost in stories. I think books just hit your brain in a way that's different from movies, television, or even music. The characters move into your head. Reading is a great way to travel through time and space. Creating stories is my drug. I used to get anxious about writing, but now it's the best cure for my nerves.  I think self-publishing helps -- knowing I will be able to find an audience, that no official-type is going to stop me.

Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair? 

 I really need a keyboard. I hate writing in long-hand. If I can, I prefer an airy-room, by a window, and I like having my feet up. The music may vary depending on what I'm writing, and sometimes any music is too distracting. While writing Blood Diva, I listened to the opera La Traviata A LOT. The story is based on Marie Duplessis' life, and the music captured her spirit.

Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?

 It's very hard NOT to read reviews. It's heartening when someone really "gets" it.  It feels awful when they don't.  I don't engage with negative reviewers. That doesn't mean I agree with them.

Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?

 In the case of Blood Diva, the title came to me pretty early on. The word "diva" is often used in connection with opera, and the main character is connected with opera (having inspired one). Adding the word "blood" in front of "diva" was a natural. The character is a vampire, and sucking the life out of mortals isn't just something she does, it's her art.

What I didn't realize was that there was a Japanese vampire anime series called Blood+ with a character named Diva, and also a product made for holding menstrual blood named a "diva cup." I found all that out when I first started to google my title! By then it was too late.

How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?

 Some of the characters were based on historical figures, so that was easy. Others just came to me.  I don't think I have a particular talent for naming characters. I can't think of many contemporary authors who do. Dickens was great at it. I'm no Dickens.

Are character names and place names decided after their creation? Or do you pick a character/place name and then invent them?

You have to call your characters something when you start writing them, but I have sometimes changed character names for various reasons. Initially, my heroine's love interest was named Damon. Honestly, I'd never watched The Vampire Diaries. Then I realized it would be impossible for readers to see the name Damon and NOT immediately picture Ian Sommerhalder as Damon Salvatore. I changed it to Dashiell. The character's father is a writer, and probably the type who would have named his son after the writer Dashiell Hammett, so it made sense.

Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?

 I had a sense of the main character's traits, as she was not only based on a real person, but on a person who has been portrayed fictitiously in movies and on stage. I knew she'd have a great sense of humor and irony. She'd be impetuous, but sometimes guarded, especially about her true feelings. There had to be vulnerability as well. Without that, readers would just be turned off.  Other characters developed more as I went along.

Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback?

As a writer, I'm thrilled to have readers discover my work in any format.

As a reader, I will always love print. Print books use a lot of different fonts and formats. They feel very individualized. I love that they are solid three dimensional objects that can be borrowed or given away, that they can be personalized with notes and messages. (I know you can "highlight" or write a note in an ebook, but it's not the same.) I love actually being inside a brick and mortar bookstore and discovering bargains (including used books), finding authors I've never heard of before, asking clerks for recommendations, talking to strangers about great reads. I find paperbacks even more attractive than hardcovers. Usually, hardcovers have a paper cover that slips off or can easily get torn. Beneath that, the covers are pretty generic. With a paperback, the unique cover is part of the book itself.

On the other hand, ebooks are easier for traveling. You can take a whole library with you wherever you go. You can download all kinds of public domain classics for free. If you decide you MUST read something that instant, you can download it anytime, anywhere. That's pretty amazing! 

I don't think this is like digital music. I truly believe we will always have print, but we may think of print differently -- maybe save it for the books we love most. We might do most of our reading digitally, but still give print books as gifts, or display our favorites on real shelves in our homes.

What is your favorite book and Why?  Have you read it more than once?

 I like complex big books. I'd rather not pick just one. I enjoy all sorts of genres and go through a lot of reading phases.

Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favorite/worst book to movie transfer?

 You have to accept that film is more visual and movies need to be different than the books on which they are based. You have to accept that the actors playing the parts might not be the ones playing the part in your mind. Some books seem to be written for the screen and transfer really well. I thought they did a very good job with both the Swedish version and the American remake of The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo. I'm still waiting for the sequels! Classic worst -- Queen of the Damned.

Your favorite food is?

Dark chocolate.

Your favorite singer/group is?

 Gotta go with opera here, not pop. Natalie Dessay is spectacular.

Your favorite color is?

 Red, like blood.



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About The Author

VM Gautier is a pseudonym. This is not the author's first book, but it is his or her first book in this genre. You haven't heard of him or her.





Book Blast & Giveaway: Tim on Broadway: Season One by @rbettenc

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Book Blast

clip_image002Tim on Broadway: Season One

The Complete First Season

Books 1-5

Rick Bettencourt

Genres: New adult, gay fiction, LGBT,

humor, paranormal,

show business,

personal growth,

M/M Romance

Publisher: Bettencourt Concepts

and Beaten Track Publishing

ISBN: 978 1 909192 86 7


Number of pages: 268

Word Count: 75,000

Book Description:

Carolyn Sohier, the Greta Garbo of divas, is giving a once in a lifetime concert that Tim can’t afford to attend. Tim—an overweight, twenty-something virgin—regrets lending the hunky bag boy at the grocery store money that could have bought him a ticket. Tim needs to call in his debts, but money isn’t the only thing holding him back.

The first time Tim met Javier, he was blown away by the attention. He didn't often—actually ever—get a guy, let alone a hot one, pay attention to him. The problem, Javier is straight; yet he gives Tim mixed messages. Tim can’t get Javier off his mind, unless he is pursuing his love for theater—or talking with his best friend, Julia, about the “unattainable” crushes they share on some of the guys back home.

With the Carolyn Sohier concert fasting approaching, Tim struggles to get tickets. If he hadn't lent Javier the money to, well, have his way with him in the beer cooler at the store they worked at together, maybe Tim wouldn't have lost his job, and would be able to see Carolyn perform. But Tim’s learned his lesson from all this…or so he thinks.

Available at Amazon Smashwords iTunes Kobo Scribd BN Inktera

The entire first episode (over 70 pages) is available for free at Amazon


Chapter 1: America’s Got Divas

I put down my doughnut, picked up my iced coffee and took a sip. The extra-extra cream and extra-extra sugar gave me a nice little rush. It wasn’t quite as good as Starbucks’ but being unemployed I had to make the best of my homebrewed pot.

I had my cell phone cradled in the crook of my shoulder, talking to my best friend Julia. “With my Kindle,” I said, “I can read them without people staring at me on the subway.”

“I still can’t believe you like girly romance books,” Julia said. I could hear her slurping her own coffee, probably an iced Double Mocha Grande, being that she was at our old Starbucks in Salem. “You’re the only guy I know who has every Chippendale Publishing book ever released.”

I didn’t really but I didn’t want to quibble over details. “Oh my God,” I said, as a bit of powdered sugar sprayed from my mouth and landed on the blanket I had covered over me. I was getting ready to watch TV. “I almost forgot to tell you.”

She slurped some more of her coffee. “What?”

“Guess who’s doing a comeback concert?” I brushed the sugar dust off the blanket.

“Who, Cher?”

“No,” I said, raising my voice.

“I don’t know. You got me,” she said, and from her muffled speech, I could tell she was eating, probably a slice of carrot cake or a blueberry scone. I know what Julia likes. When she eats desserts, she usually goes for something that has a vegetable in it or some antioxidant fruit, because, of course, they’re healthier than my powdered doughnuts.

I pulled the blanket closer to me. “Carolyn Sohier,” I said. “She’s finally coming out of seclusion and doing a concert.”

“Carolyn, who?” I heard the clinking of the fork against the plate. Carrot cake, I bet.

“Carolyn Sohier― you know, the singer who was in Witches of Salem, that movie we saw the night I slipped on the ice in Danvers? And she was also on Broadway in―”

“Oh, her. That movie was terrible.” I could practically hear her nose wrinkle in disgust. Julia was brutally honest.Well, I liked it,” I said. “She’s an amazing singer.”

“She didn’t even sing in that movie,” she said, with her voice trailing off at the end.

“Well, it wasn’t a musical. But she did sing the theme song. Remember, we saw her on last year’s America’s Got Divas. She was the guest judge.”

“I suppose you’ll want me to go with you,” she said.

I clicked the remote control. “We’ll see. Tickets are expensive. She’s decided to come out of seclusion, out from her Greta Garbo cocoon. It’s a one-night only performance up in Bar Harbor.”

“Maine? Who the fuck gives a comeback performance in Maine? Bar Harbor, nonetheless. What, is she going to come out on stage riding a moose?” She laughed.

My neck was beginning to ache. I rubbed it. “I guess that’s where she lives. It’s a benefit of sorts.”

“So are you going to take the train or bus your ass up here to see her?”

By here Julia was referring to New England, where we had both grown up.

“You wanna go?” I asked.

“You mean will I go?” Julia wasn’t a huge fan of divas like I was, but she knew I had no one else to go with and wouldn’t travel alone.

“C’mon, you like her,” I said. “You even said her rendition of that Barry Manilow song was better than his.”

“Is that the song she sang when she shit herself on stage?”

“Whatever,” I said and tossed the remote onto the seat cushion next to me. Julia was referring, of course, to Carolyn’s fairly well-publicized stage fright. Carolyn had suffered a particularly bad spell several years back and, well, embarrassed herself on live television. It was pretty sad. Julia thought it was funny.

I turned as an ambulance’s siren rang out from the street below, followed by a blare from its horn. I hated the sound of ambulances. I got up to shut the window as it took a turn down Charleston Place.

“Five floors up and it sounds like the cops are right next door,” she said. “I don’t know how you can stand living in New York City.”

“It was an ambulance and I’m in Brooklyn.”


I looked at the wall clock, a gift I bought myself. It had logos from nearly all the big Broadway shows over the past two years. “Shit. It’s almost time for America’s Got Divas and I haven’t even set the DVR.”

“Alright, I’ll let you go. Besides, I should check the dryer.” She was at our old Starbucks across from the Laundromat. “Oh and how are you going to come up with the money to buy tickets for this reclusive diva? Didn’t you just get done telling me you’ve already spent this week’s and next week’s unemployment check?”

I didn’t want to get into it. “Javier,” I said. “This week, he’s finally going to pay me the money he owes me.”

“Oh, God. Not Javier.” I knew her well enough to know that she was probably rolling her eyes as she said it.

“Shut up,” I said, with no real force behind it. Julia could be such a bitch. She was always reminding me of the things I did wrong, which were plenty, and the things I should be doing to better myself, which, quite honestly, were spilling out of my inbox.

I didn’t want to be reminded of the humiliating experience I had had with Javier, the bagger at the Good Barn, my former place of employment. In short, he got me fired. “He’s getting money from his student loan,” I said. “He is going to pay me back on Wednesday.”

“We’ll see about that. Didn’t I tell you not to give him that money? Didn’t I tell you you’d probably never see it again? But no,” she said, holding onto the vowel a bit longer than necessary. “You still went off and gave it to him after giving him a BJ in the beer cooler behind Produce. He’s going to ruin your wholesome, good-natured reputation.”


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  About The Author


Rick Bettencourt is the author of Tim on Broadway, Painting with Wine and Not Sure Boys. He lives with his husband and their little dog, Bandit, in the Sarasota area of Florida. Rick originally hails from Boston’s North Shore where he learned to speak without pronouncing the letter “r”— and say things like “tonic” when he wanted a Coke, or “bubbler” when getting a drink from the park’s water fountain.

A few years ago, Rick was adopted by a Cairn Terrier named Bandit. Recently, Bandit moved Rick, and his husband of several years, to Florida to escape the New England winters and avoid being engulfed by snow drifts when going about their business.

When Rick is not being walked around the block by Bandit, he might be found working on a story about an underdog character triumphing over adversity. Or you might catch Rick watching The Walking Dead or Once Upon a Time, reading something like Running with Scissors or some personal development book, or writing to a group of folks on his mailing list.

In addition, Rick enjoys theater, art, old postcards, and amusement parks. He also loves to hear from his readers.

You can follow Rick on Twitter @rbettenc or subscribe to his mailing list at

Media kit:

Mailing List:

Twitter: @rbettenc



Monday, September 22, 2014

Book Blast, Giveaway & Interview: Isis, Vampires and Ghosts – Oh My! by @Janis_Hill

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Book Blast


clip_image002_thumb[1]Isis, Vampires and Ghosts – Oh My!

Other World Series

Book One

Janis Hill

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Hague Publishing

ISBN: 978-0-9872652-7-2

Word Count: 90,000

Cover Artist: Jade Zivanovic

Book Description:

Too late to save her sister’s life, Stephanie Anders must now try to save her soul from the vampire who has possessed her, Branwyre, eighteenth vampire Lord of the Aegean.

With only the aid of the ghost of a pissed-off Buddhist monk with a potty mouth and the modern day Priestess of Isis, Stephanie must take on demons and other denizens of a world she knows nothing about if she is to succeed in banishing Branwyre.

But even more difficult than that, she must learn how to forgive her sister Estella for what she did to her if she is to have even half a chance of saving her soul. Welcome to a world within our own – the Other World.

Book Trailer:

Available at Hague Publishing


Chapter 5

Estella had the grace and timing to wake up just after I’d hauled her dead weight, literally, into the chair and balanced it there long enough the grab the rope.

“By the Light of Isis, what do you think you’re doing?” Her tone was nearly petulant enough to be the old Estella asking me, not the new peace-and-love one.

“Following your High Priestess’ instructions.” I grunted while tying her hands behind her back as best I could, before continuing to wrap the rope around her and the chair.

“But why are you tying me to a chair now?” she asked, aghast to realise just how tight I had done it. “Branwyre can’t take over until night time. We’ve got at least another hour.”

Ignoring her question for a moment, I snatched her right foot and tied it to the corresponding chair leg. Then, ignoring the attempted kick, did the same to her left one.

“Roxanna clearly states in her instructions here to gather the required items, purify them and set it all up, you included.” I waved the note at her before continuing to wrap her legs, backside and chair in the rope. Yeah, I’d gotten a decent amount. Who says two for one sales are a waste of time? “Nowhere in her instructions does it say we should stop for coffee and a chat. When I’ve got as much of it ready as I can before moonrise, I can actually have a rest. You know, something even we non-undead need to do from time to time.”

She went to protest, I even paused to watch the show I felt she was about to perform, but other than gaping a few times like a stunned fish, she stayed quiet. Wow, this Light of Isis was amazing if it could prevent the Queen of Whinge from speaking.

“Fine then,” she finally managed, a slight sulky tone to her voice. “But how am I meant to eat dinner?”

I sighed; I hadn’t honestly thought of that, going along the lines that she was dead. Yes she was an animated corpse right now, but dead was dead. You shouldn’t have to provide meals for them.

“Nowhere in my instructions does it say I have to feed you.” I muttered. Then feeling I should relent a little as she’d found it within herself to be nicer. “But how about I order pizza, and you eat it cold later. Surely even the Light of Isis can’t have cured you of your cold pizza habits.”

She sighed, but said no more for a moment. Didn’t even pout, which surprised me even more than the silence.

“I do wish you’d be more respectful of Isis and her purifying Light,” is all she eventually said as I was adding a few more knots to the back of the chair.

“Uh-huh.” I was more interested in making sure I’d done a good job, than listen to a lecture on appropriate religious respect. Especially from someone who in the past hadn’t held any respect for anyone or anything.

“And no dinner is fine; I don’t seem to have the need to eat that often anymore.” She continued, trying to watch me over her shoulder. “I won’t have you dissing cold pizza though.”

“Sure!” I said, standing back and wiping sweat from my brow and then my hands on my dress. I remembered I was still in one of my best ‘sombre but not kinky’ little black dresses, not having had a chance to change. So Roxanna’s wodge of cash was buying me a few clothes tomorrow, too. Why not! If I wasn’t allowed to go home until this was all over, she owed me at least a pair of jeans and clean underwear. I checked the instructions again. Okay, so all items purified, sister roped tightly into chair. Salt time! Boy I hoped the motel’s maid service wouldn’t be too pissed at me, or at least wouldn’t notice until after we’d left.

Character Interview

Character Name: Stephanie Anders

Character Bio: Early thirties, divorced former accountant who’s about to take on a new career path not even she saw coming.


Describe yourself what is your worst and best quality?

 I don’t suffer fools lightly, but I am dedicated to my family. Some days, however, it’s hard to tell which one of those is my best quality and which is my worst.

What is the one thing you wish other people knew about you?

 I am not am morning person. Too many people are just so bright and perky in the morning. I don’t need that, just give me time to wake up and interact nicely if you want me to be polite.

What is your biggest secret something no one knows about?

 I want to believe… but being the big sister, it’s my job to stay firmly in reality.

What are you most afraid of?

 Forgetting and being forgotten. We have been put on this earth to make a difference and be remembered for it. And we also must remember those who have made us what we are.

What do you want more than anything?

 Right now? A bear claw and a huuuuuge mug of coffee. Not a morning person.

What is your relationship status?

 Well and truly single. I don’t have time for romance right now as there is a whole new world and life opening up before me. I need some ‘me time’ to take it all in. A boyfriend would just get in the road and mess things up more than they need to be.

How would you describe your sense of fashion?

 I feel fashion sense is an oxymoron. You’re either fashionable or your sensible in what you wear. Me, I like a good pair of pants you can run in without chaffing, a blouse you can get the stains out of easily, some sturdy shoes that are not just good for running, but have good traction for those slippery situations… and gloves. Elbow length leather gloves have become essential in my new life.

But if I could get away with it more – tracky dacks and an oversized t-shirt. Enough said.

How much of a rebel are you?

 I really don’t know if I am a rebel. I just do what is right and try and do so in such a way that those who walk in the Light aren’t angry at me, and those who dwell in the Darkness don’t think I’m their new BFF. Yes I sometimes walk close to the line that separates the two, but I’ve not crossed it yet. And look, if they started it, it’s not my fault if things get a little fractured.

What do you considered to be your greatest achievement?

That I am what I am and have survived many nasty hurdles to get there.  Just being myself and getting through life in one piece, what more could you ask for?

What is your idea of happiness?

 Tracky dacks, oversized t-shirts, double stuffed tim tams and a huge mug of coffee to use for tim tam slams. I’m a simple soul.

What is your current state of mind?

 Is a constant state of flux a state of mind? There is just so much happening in my life right now that I need to take in that it’s like a whirlpool in there.

What is your most treasured possession?

 I have a memory box that contains items from my past that help me remember good times and the way life should have been before it was bitch slapped into what it actually is.

What is your most marked characteristic?

 Someone told you I was sarcastic didn’t they? And this is just your subtle way of asking me about it. Come on, give a girl a break. So what if I am just a touch sarcastic. I’m harming no one that much. Except those who don’t get sarcasm… they’re basically screwed.

What is it that you, most dislike?

 Vampires. I’ve not known about them very long but it doesn’t take a lot to dislike the nasty little sods. Especially when they’re possessing you’re dead sister.

Which living person do you, most despise?

Living? That’s a tough one as most of the people who really annoy me are undead or otherwise.  If I had to narrow it down to someone still alive, then Simon Welsh. The sc… delightful soul who helped destroy my marriage.

What is your greatest regret?

 I’m going to have to skip this one as I don’t want to go down that Dark path. It’s not pretty… all that weeping and tears and stuff.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

That he is alive, not a demon and walks in the Light.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

 She doesn’t out sarcastic me in a conversation.

Who is your favorite hero in fiction?

Who has time for fiction? Have you seen the Other World I’ve found myself in? It brings fiction a little too close to fact.

Which living person do you most admire?

 Roxanna, the High Priestess of Isis. I love the way she can be catty while still appearing to be an all-round good sort.

If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?

 My hair. I hate my hair. No matter what I do I do to it, it’s just a mess. One day I am going to give up on it all and just shave if off I think.

What is your motto?

 Don’t poke the bear. I used to have this on a nightie… seriously not a morning person.


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  About The Author


Janis grew up in and around Darwin, Australia, and its rural surrounds. As a child, she spent a lot of time around 'science geeks' at the Darwin University, where her father was a lecturer for many years. It took her a long time to realise that not everyone got to grow up like that or could relate to all the Science Labs scenes in the old Dr Who.

Janis now lives in the Adelaide Hills with her husband and 3 children, lovingly referred to as the ‘Demonic Hordes’. She is a semi-retired ICT Support Officer who, when not writing, takes pride in her work as a Haus Frau while dabbling in the art of translating century old cookery books into modern recipes to experiment on her family with.