Sunday, March 22, 2020


Apologies, all. I am a little late getting this one out today. Over the past few weeks I managed to need six stitches to my left pointer finger, threw my back out twice, and had my usual Spring allergies. And then there's that whole other world mess going on. I work in the supply chain, so I really needed some down time this weekend.
So, with belated apologies, let's sit down and chat with Stephanie about her new book, shall we? 
SC: Tell me a little bit about your main character of this book.
SRB: The main character of “Out of the Blue” is Earnestine Daniels, but she prefers to be called Tina. Tina is a self-possessed 15 year-old that is in possession of a lot of grit. She has many adventures and challenges throughout the story that she navigates with aplomb. Tina is a teenager that guides us through difficult topics and unusual territories in a commendable and inspirational manner that speaks to Black Girl Magic and demonstrates the Black Girls Rock!
SC: Do you believe in the paranormal and if so, do you have an experience you can share?
SRB: I absolutely believe in the paranormal. Once I was washing dishes with my boyfriend (now husband) and it was in the home of a woman that was recently deceased. I was a college student, renting a room in the home from her husband. While my husband and I were in the kitchen of the home, things kept moving on their own, falling and breaking, around the sink area, where we were washing the dishes. It wasn’t as though things were flying or anything but they were definitely moving. They were subtle movements to the left, right or downward and because there was a lot of china and dishes in the kitchen, the noise these moves made was startling. We both saw the moving objects. We felt a chill in our bones. It was unmistakable and undeniable. Finally, we had to leave the house altogether because the presence of what we believe to have been the woman’s spirit and her energy to ‘get-out- was just too strong. Ever since then, I have been absolutely sure that the spiritual exists and is real.
SC: Thanks for sharing that story. It must have been unsettling at the time. What titles are you working on now that you can tell us about?
SRB: I am working on a book about ancestry and spiritual practice. It is a work of nonfiction built around magick and building a deep relationship with one’s ancestors. In the world of fiction, I am working on a novel that also explores ancestry and identity. It is my third novel and it is called “Sophia’s Tale.” “Sophia’s Tale” is a Young Adult Novel. It is centered on a bi-racial and bi-cultural teenager’s search for her aunt so she can connect to her African culture, since she lives with her British father, who is white, in a community with very little diversity. Her aunt is a complex character. She is an older mother figure but she is also a sorceress who seems to have something to do with the troubling dragon apocalypse that is destroying in Sophia’s town. The book is set back in time, in mythical Britain. Sophia is inspired by and connected to Lalla Aisha, a legendary, mysterious and powerful Djinn. The young lady is always accompanied by her stalwart pet, a ornery goat. Like most of my books, this novel features magic and sorcery, adventure and is a coming-of-age tale with elements of dark fairy tale as well as a female heroic protagonist.
Thank you for inviting me to share on the release day of my new novel “Out of the Blue.” I really welcome the opportunity to share about my work, with your audience!
SC: Thank you! Let's take a look at it now.

Out of the Blue
Black and Blues
Book One
Stephanie Rose Bird

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Publisher: One Odd Bird Press
Date of Publication: March 22, 2020
Word Count: 58,500 words
Formats available: E-Book and Paperback

Cover Artist: Najla Qamber Designs and Qamber Kids

Tagline: Out of the Blue is a young-adult, coming-of-age novel that seamlessly bridges elements of African American folklore and spirituality with Greek mythology.

Book Description:

When two worlds collide, only one girl can unravel the mythical threads and save her father’s life. . .

Mobile, Alabama, 1947

Bobby “The Shrimp Man” Daniels, a blues singer and shrimper from Mobile, lies unconscious in a hospital bed, suffering from a mysterious illness. His daughter Tina, a sheltered sixteen year old, torn between her love for her father, and her disappointment in his relationship with Kyane, his much younger mistress, is determined to heal her father, no matter the cost.

Kyane isn’t just a mistress, she’s a Siren, obsessed with her overwhelming desire to become human and merge her otherworldly singing voice with Bobby’s incredible music. She’ll do anything to get what she wants, annihilating anything, and anyone who stands in her way.

In order to save her father, Tina will have to travel to the Kyane’s world, a world of strange and magical creatures, and figure out how to wrestle his soul from  the Siren’s control. As Tina’s magical journey twists and turns, she’ll learn what it means to be a woman and what it means to save not only her father, but herself.

Out of the Blue is a young-adult, coming-of-age novel that seamlessly bridges elements of African American folklore and spirituality and Greek mythology.

Amazon     One Odd Bird Press

Chapter 2 The Denby Twins

Mavis, pauses and waits for her sister’s response, but none comes.
 “Maaaa-bel?” Mavis, projects her voice louder and annunciates each syllable of her sister’s name, but still nothing by way of a reply comes.
Three minutes older than Mabel, Mavis still takes her elder-sister-status seriously. She’s always watchful, attentive and curious about what her twin sister might get up to next.
Rather than wasting any more breath, she walks into the parlor, the swooshing of her heavy floral skirts grows louder with each agitated step. The sound, as much a part of her, as the swirl of her fingerprint, announces her presence to Mabel.
“I might have known.” Mavis’ disapproval is obvious.
“What you tink you goin’ find in the bottom of tat teacup tis time?
Lost in thought or perhaps a vision, Mabel continues to peer intently at the pictures forming in the tea leaves at the bottom of the china cup.
With a jarring clang, she sets it down heavily on the saucer, upside down, so the true reading can commence.
“Mavis?” She blinks several times, adjusting her eyes back to this world, so lost is she in her visions.
“I’m just wondering if you are ready. We need to head back over to the infirmary.”
“Does I look ready?” Mavis casts a dark look. Leaning back, her yard-long natty-dreads nearly touch the floor, as she props up her pink slipper-covered feet.
“Well, we ain’t got tat much time. Gots to see folk coming over later tis afternoon too, you know. Best we do what we gots to do in town, and then come back and prepare for our clients, don’t you tink?”
By the way her sister shuffled into the tiny, but tidy, bathroom, Mabel could tell Mavis hardly heard her.
Thrusting a soft white wash cloth into Mabel’s hand, she said, “Take yourself a duck bath and throw some’ting decent on.”
“For what?” Mabel asked.
Her twin is feeling fuzzy. She’s still not fully adjusted to the here and now. Mabel has seen it so many times over the years. She knows all about her sister, her moods, expressions, movements, so well that sometimes she’s sure she knows Mavis better than she knows herself.
“Silly old bird. We got to head on over to Mobile, to check in on Bobby,” said Mavis, slow and low, not even trying to veil her growing annoyance.
Never much on words, Mabel gets up and heads to the bathroom. First the water runs into the enameled basin, and then splashing ensues. Mavis is in the kitchen gathering the rest of her things. She perches on her foot stool. Mavis takes her time sorting through her collection of drying and steeping herbs. A foul-smelling asafetida brew, was an essential for her longstanding client, who’d fallen spiritually ill. That herb cleansed, strengthened and protected, all at once. It’s a formidable root with a pungent smell that’s unmistakable.
As a still-moist Mabel appears from around the corner in her lavender housecoat, Mavis finishes up the rest of her preparations. After a fresh sprinkling of hot foot powder on the insoles of her boots, she grabs her well-loved nation sack, a type of feminine mojo bag, and stuffs it into
the left side of her bra. She likes her nation sack to ride with her, directly over her heart. It is essential to what she does. The chamois cloth with which she’s wrapped the red flannel bag, feels soft and comforting against her breast.
“Yous so busy fussin’ at me all the time. You need to just shut your crooked-toothed- mouth and get your own self ready. Now, look at us. Who’s holding up who?” Mabel loved bickering with her sister.
But, then Mabel leaves the conversation altogether. She busies herself up, looking out the window, past the wildflowers and into the wood.
“At least I takes time with my visions. I prepare. It takes time,” Mabel said. The two constantly squabbled but are inseparable.
“Yous forgetting some’ting, ain’t you?” Mabel hands Mavis her Van Van oil, causing the fool’s gold chunks and lemongrass leaves to move about in the bottom of the tiny vial, which could double as a terrarium, were it not so tiny.
Mavis dabbs at her temples, wrists and the creases in her arms, as well as the back of her knees. Lemon and musk spread quickly throughout the room with all its tropical plants and velvet-covered chairs. With its scent, her mind begins to expand.
“Gimme some of tat,” Mabel orders more than asks, her hand is outstretched. Quickly, she mimics the ritualistic application of the Van Van, done by her sister.
Prepared with magickal oil known to open-the-way, the sisters set out.
Sugar-foot, how could I forget?
“Hold on a minute!” said Mavis.
She flies back inside to get her Lodestone Big Outfit.
“Dat your new stuff you ordered from . . . where was it now?” Mabel asked.
“Came in the post a couple of weeks ago, from King Novelty Catalog, from the south side of Chicago.” Mavis told her.
“I ain’t never really knowing what I be needing, so I gets me these big outfits prepared for instances like this. She’d wrapped it in a cloth smelling of lovely violet flowers, ranging from lilac to lavender, with its heady blend of oils and petals.
“What’s in dere?” Mabel pointed at the wrapped box.
“Well, you know I gots me some High John the Conqueror Root – just ‘bout the strongest, of all the magickal roots— and then, male and female White Lodestones to draw goodness, in whatever so form it chooses.
“Dat ain’t all dat’s in tat box, now is it?”
“Nah, not by a long shot. I got me some Devil’s Shoe Strings to trip up the devil if need be. Southern John the Conqueror Root, like High John but a tad bit stronger, and High John regular, that’s going to strengthen every’ting in this here box, and every’ting I needs to do. Oh, and dere’s a rabbit’s foot talisman for luck and agility,” said Mavis.
With her ear pressed to the box, Mavis shook the box back and forth gently. Hearing the sounds, something like rocks and pebbles, a smile brightens her face as she goes on with her inventory list . . .
“Gots the holiest of all incenses – frankincense and myrrh. You know in the Bible, around Exodus XXX it said some’ting like, ‘Thou shall set yourself up an altar to burn frankincense and myrrh.’”
“Hmm.” Mabel’s sigh was almost a growl.

“Oh, and dere’s Five-Fingered Grass, you know, dat one looks like fingers made from grass? Tat to pull good fortune.”
Then she shakes her outfit, ever so gently up and down. She needn’t worry about disturbing the contents of her box, as each element was cradled in its own individual section.
“Oh, and a dream book . . . I needs it, in case I hears my client has a special kind of dream that stick with him. Helps me interpret tings. Well, at least when theys talking, it help me a lot.”
After a painful silence, her sister responded.
“Yous pretty well-stocked for conjuration and rootwork, but you bes’ ta leave that dream work to me. I don’t need no books for dat. And you know I don’t go in for all that Bible crap. What you telling dem quotes for? Save tat kind of talk for someone tat believes,” Mavis said.


They didn’t see the need for a car, yet getting to town was becoming increasingly difficult for the two sisters, what with their flat feet and ever-growing bunions. They walked to their apprentice’s house instead, and hitched a ride on her Appaloosa mare, Finnegan. The girl, a twelve year-old named Sage, was grateful for how the two opened up new worlds for her, and she gladly loans them Finnegan whenever they need her.
While Mavis and Mabel have a modest vegetable and herb farm, on which the cottage is situated, that meets their basic needs, now and then, they need to go into Mobile. They go to visit folks in the infirmary, people who call on them for their ancient, mostly African, knowledge.
Finnegan, a steady bay roan, took the twins on rides into town for baking fixins like flour, baking soda and cornmeal, magickal and spiritual supplies, and fabric from which their clothes and aprons were made. In addition to providing transportation, Sage shares the metal filings from Finnegan’s shoeing, and this powerful substance strengthens their diverse, and thus formidable powers. They place the filings in their mojo bags and nation sacks and this feeds the ingredients, helping them stay alive and come together to grow stronger.
Sage, watches the two, marveling at how quickly their bodies conform with the horse’s, and how easily they adapt to her rhythm. If you figure Sage isn’t her real name, you’d be correct. It’s a name they’d given her when they’d first met her, and since then, it is the only way Miz Mabel and Miz Mavis, as she calls them, address her. They believe her to be a Sage, in the making, and they’ve grown quite fond of the girl.
Finnegan kicks up dust from the red-dirt road, and the two women, whom many mistakenly called witches, though actually one is a root doctor and the other an intuitive, go.


Watching her sister tether Finnegan to the post, a coldness creeps up Mavis’ spine, just as though someone has thrown a bucket of ice water inside the back of her white blouse.
Mabel has always been the dreamy sister, and Mavis sees that she’s lost in thought. She doesn’t even take notice at first. Soon enough, as is the way with the pair, Mabel feels her sister’s shock from the inexplicable chill, in her bones, in much the same way. With an otherworldly shudder, she nearly jumps out of her skin.
Even though they’re elders, the sisters have plenty of vim and vigor, and that spunk is accentuated by the Van Van oil. The magickal oil has seeped into their bodies through their pulse points during the half-hour ride. As usual, they ignore curious stares, because they know they cut quite the picture, what with the fact that they carry a black umbrella that matches their equally dark complexions. When anyone asked, they say it’s shielding them from getting darker, while this may be true, considering they carry it no matter what the sky condition it seems as though they just carry it because they feel like it. Then there is the floppy straw hats, complete with wide, colorful ribbons and pinned-on fresh flowers, the big, busy-patterned, aproned-skirts with old-fashioned petticoats underneath, finished off with laced-up mahogany-colored granny boots. They were an odd-ball pair who had mix-matched the most colorful parts of their homeland, Jamaica, with the staid manners of the Southern Negro.
They were two women who were used to walking between worlds.
A strange feeling overtook Mavis’ chill, as she clicks her stacked wood heels down the hardwood floors of the infirmary’s hallway. Instinctively, as she walks past the closed doors of all the patients, she reaches for her nation sack, the way a man or woman of the law, or not, might reach for a gun. Looking around to make sure no one was looking, she takes the bag of magickal herbs and special curios out from her bra, and squeezes it a few times, releasing a complex aroma in the otherwise sterile-smelling hall. Moving like electricity, the energy from her nation sack travels from her hands, up her arm and settles in her chest. Bolstered by its power, she quickens her step, after putting her powerful nation sack back in her bosom.


“What the hell?” Mabel said to no one in particular.
Mabel looked to the infirmary floor, where Tina laid. Dressed in her Sunday finest, with a dainty straw cloche to top it off, the reddish brown-skinned girl people call a Red Bone, was tiny and small, stuck somewhere between girl and woman. She likely doesn’t weigh much more than a couple of feed bags. She sure is a sad sight with a steady trickle of blood coming from her head. The poor girl is crumpled in a pool of water tinged pink with the blood flowing into it.
Tina was also surrounded by jagged shards from the shattered cobalt-blue glass.
As Mabel addresses Tina’s wound, Mavis goes straight over to Bobby’s bedside. She waves her hands over his eyes, which are still open.
Although her brass and copper bracelets clang loudly, Bobby doesn’t wince or blink. He takes no notice. His pupils seem to have rolled far back into his head.
Gently, she runs her fingers over his eyelids, closing them, and lays him back down, taking him out of the strange upright position he’s been stuck in. It’s difficult because he’s rigid, but she manages to do it, so at least if he awakens he won’t be greeted by the alarming sight of his daughter sprawled out on the wet floor, before him. Everyone knows how much he loves his sweet, oldest daughter, Earnestine.
“The devil is busy,” said Mavis. “Sho’ nuff,” her sister replied.
Even though, she’s perfectly capable of handling just about any situation, Mavis knows she needs to reserve her energy for doctoring, so she calls out for help.
“Nurse! Doctor! Orderly!” She uses the pointed end of her witching boot to hold open the heavy door and continues shouting, not caring a lick whether or not she upsets the other patients.
But before she has the time to go into a full rant, waking up sleeping patients, Bessie comes to see what all the commotion is about.
“What in the world?” Bessie calls back to Mavis.
Mabel should have known better. She’s usually so carefully in situations like this but seeing Tina on the floor stirs her sympathies something fierce. Mabel just jumps right in and acts before thinking things through. She’s about to give Tina mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Before Mabel can place her mouth over the girl’s, Tina reaches out and grabs the collar of Mabel’s blouse with all the strength she has in her ninety-five pound body. One hand latches on to the seer’s left hand. Quick as a wink, they’re connected. The girl’s touch acts like a lightning rod, pulling Mabel along an electrical current. Through this conduit, Mabel travels to a distant land– the land where Tina and Bobby are currently living.
Whether the father and daughter are captives or not, well now that’s still to be decided.

About the Author:

Stephanie Rose Bird is the author of the critically acclaimed and award-winning, “Sticks, Stones, Roots and Bones: Hoodoo Mojo and Conjuring with Herbs.” Her other books include: “365 Days of Hoodoo,” and “Four Seasons of Mojo,” all three were published by Llewellyn Worldwide. Bird also contributes to Llewellyn Spell-a-Day,” “Llewellyn Herbal Almanac” and “Llewellyn Magical Almanac.” She is the author of: “Earth Mama Spiritual Guide to Weight-loss” (Green Magic Publishing), “A Healing Grove” (Lawrence Hill Books), “The Big Book of Soul,” (Red Wheel Weiser/Hampton Roads Publishers) and “Light, Bright and Damned Near White: Biracial and Triracial Culture in America and Beyond.” (ABC-Clio).

She is a novelist, published by One Odd Bird Press, in the Young Adult Fantasy and Magical Realism genres. “Out of the Blue” is her debut novel in the Black and Blues Series. One Odd Bird Press will also publish “Pine Barren Blues.” She writes and paints where she lives (Chicagoland) with her husband, near her children, and along with some very busy animal friends.


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Friday, March 20, 2020


Steel Reign: Flight of The Starship Concord
The Red Gemini Chronicles
Braxton A. Cosby

Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Cosby Media Productions
Date of Publication: 02/02/2020
ISBN: 979-8603527376
Number of pages: 401
Word Count: 80k

Cover Artist: CMP

Tagline: A Thief turned Spy, turned Bounty Hunter, turned Hero!

Book Description:

After surviving an all-out implosion of catastrophic proportions following the failed fusion of twin stars Mira A and B in a class B Supernova, the people of galaxy Proxima Centauri have pressed forward with dreams and hopes of finally living in peace. But for Bounty Hunter Steel Reign, the clock of destiny is speeding ahead at a steadfast pace as he desires to hunt down a group of rogue super-soldiers before they can plot against King William Derry and his kingdom on planet Fabricius.

Consistent work as a Hunter in Proxima Centauri has always been a feast or famine occupation, and when the flow of credits slow to a snail's pace, Reign must find a secondary means of funding to finance his seek and destroy assignment by way of scalping a precious artifact on the open Black Market. That is, until his supplier comes up short, forcing him to pump the brakes and fall back to Plan B: finding his long lost sister Olia who was captured by the space pirate Forge, and forced to compete in a deadly game of chance aboard the Eclipse. And if that wasn't bad enough, the stakes have just been raised when he discovers that she is the only source of an antibody that can offer a cure for the deadly, venomous DX virus lurking in his blood, just waiting to consume him.

To survive, Reign will have to test not only his skills as a legendary assassin, but also his patience, as he takes on a rogue band of misfits to steal and crew the prototype starship Concord to thwart Forge's plans once and for all.


Escaping that day was the easiest part of the gig, as I accessed the ventilation shaft and weaved my way to the docking bay before anyone could lock down the vessel. I buried the memory deep within my psyche and promised to never unearth it again.
That is until I met Serias. I don’t remember how long it took for her to work it outta me, but somehow, she did. It was the last time I can recall shedding tears for anyone, and Serias told me that I never would again. That she would carry the pain in her heart for me. She vowed that no soul would ever be able to hurt me like that and if they did, she’d send them to the gods faster than light speed.
It’s those memories that burn more now than ever before. The betrayal she must feel for me when I left her all alone back on Delvis Chong, never to return. But I did it all for her…at least that’s what I told myself. What I convinced myself of. ‘The worst lie you could ever believe is the 1 you tell yourself,’ I recall Tannan telling me on the first day of Spy Guild training. And it rings true to this day.
Seeing Serias here, now, makes everything more complicated than ever before. I could give it all up, possibly tell her the truth and pray she’d take me back. But what would I ransom in return? Olia’s life for my happiness? As I mull this decision over while I stand in line for interview registration, I catch a glimpse of Serias strolling by in my periphery. She’s still as stunning as the day I laid eyes on her. I watch and wait, hopeful that she’ll turn and give me a look. Some flicker that I still haunt her memories as much as she does mine.
“You, step up,” a voice grumbles before me. I shake from my daydream and approach the table, holding out my ID card. A man reaches forward and takes the card from me, scans it 1 time and then hands it back. He points to a row of chairs to my right and flicks his wrist, ushering me over. Only 1 other person is seated. “Have a seat over there and wait quietly. You’re next. The proctor will call you when ready.”

I nod and take the ID card back. And as I step out of line, I look back, hopeful of finding Serias, but she is nowhere to be found.

About the Author:

Multi-Award Winning and #1 Amazon Bestselling author Braxton A. Cosby is a dreamer who transitioned his ideas on pen and paper to pixels and keyboards. He has penned over 16 novels and written several screenplays; many based on his own works. He tells stories that evoke emotions and stimulate thought. THE STARCROSSED SAGA and THE CAPE are currently Young Adult and Superhero series he created, with spins offs for INFINITY 7: GODS AMONG MEN and his latest Bounty Hunter, scifi release, STEEL REIGN: FLIGHT OF THE STARSHIP CONCORD. THE STARCROSSED SAGA has won multiple science fiction and young adult awards, while THE CAPE has also earned recognition for its prowess as a literary fiction series. Braxton is the CEO of Cosby Media Productions and lives in Georgia with his amazing wife and a highly energetic Morkie named StarKozy.

Connect with Braxton:

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Monday, March 16, 2020


Hey, look who has stopped in for a little chat today! None other than author James Garcia Jr. Have a seat.
SC: Tell me a little bit about your main character of this book.

JG: Joanna Johnson is a middle-aged, African-American woman. Successful Real Estate Agent, single mother of a grown daughter in college – she thought she had it all until her fiancĂ© suddenly broke off their engagement. Heartbroken, the last thing she wants to do is stay home and dwell on it. She just needs to work. Her best friend is her boss. She disagrees that she should be working but gives her a project: A very large house in a special neighborhood in Fresno, California. Her job is to prepare it for renters. What she finds in that house will test just how strong she really is.
SC: So, this being a supernatural blog, we're compelled to ask you… do you believe in the paranormal and if so, do you have an experience you can share?

JG: Yes, I do believe in paranormal. Sometimes I think we kid ourselves into thinking we know more than we really do. Too many things have happened to people, whether we’re talking UFO’s, ghostly occurrences or the spiritual. I love my paranormal, but I also have a healthy respect. You won’t find me playing board games that could be dangerous, taking pictures of lit candles or spending any nights in haunted houses. No, I go to church nearly every Sunday in part to make sure that sort of thing doesn’t happen to me. *laughs* For me, dark fiction is like a roller coaster that you enjoy and then get off and go home. Please don’t tell my oldest son I said anything about roller coasters. He’s been trying to get me back onto them for years.
SC: Good answer, lol. What titles are you working on now that you can tell us about?

JG: The trend to write about women continues. I have a first draft that is waiting its turn. I have a troubled young woman in high school who accidentally loses the scales from her eyes, allowing her to see angels and demons. I intend it to be an argument that troubled people who hear voices are not ill but are being terrorized by what we cannot see. This girl will discover this and either use it to her advantage or buckle under its weight. I want to be very careful with this one because too many have lost loved ones and I don’t want to make light of it. I want to be respectful and hopeful.
SC: Thanks so much for stopping by today. Let's take a look at your book now.

James Garcia Jr

Genre: Women’s Fiction
Publisher: James Garcia Jr

Date of Publication: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 9781655811678

ASIN: B083H87YJ6
Number of pages: 390

Word Count: 84,798
Cover Artist: Maria Zannini

Tagline: One night, two exceptional women meet; one black, one white. Both carry broken hearts and one has been dead sixty years.

Book Description:

One night, two exceptional women meet; one black, one white. Both carry broken hearts and one has been dead for sixty years.

In 1956, film actress Allison Belle abandoned the glamour of Hollywood for Fresno, California, and an idyllic new life.

In 1959, she disappeared altogether.

Sixty years later, real estate agent Joanna Johnson steps unsuspectingly into the old Belle house and a story long forgotten.

A devastating personal event opens a hidden door into the actress’s world. The mystery behind what broke Allison’s heart and what ultimately happened to her is revealed slowly by a series of long lost photographs the agent uncovers; the relationship she builds with the actress’s ninety year old husband; and through a series of “dreams” she has where she relives the moments captured by each photograph - herself a participant in them.

The closer Joanna gets to the truth, the closer she gets to suffering the same fate.

Amazon     Smashwords


“In these daydreams and dreams that I have glimpsed, I have seen the best of a woman who was so pleased to have left her past life.” She held out her hands and motioned around her. “She loved this place and everything about it. I have seen her happier doing yardwork than she appears in any red-carpet premiere photo on the Internet, and I’ve seen many of those. I have heard her laugh and shared sweet moments with her.”
“So, what happened to her?” John asked.
Joanna grew silent. “I wish I knew.” She sighed and thought it over. “I believe her last moments were spent in isolation. Richard appears in fewer and fewer of the memories toward the end. I’m not sure why. He’s in Hollywood now, so perhaps the pull of that life tugged him back. One of the last moments I spent with her, for lack of a better explanation, she was sitting by this window.” Joanna turned and pointed behind her.
“What was she doing?” John asked.
Joanna stared at the spot. “Nothing. Well, drinking. Drinking pretty heavily, actually. In the end, I think it was all she had.” She turned back around, and her gaze settled on the pool. She lifted a hand to her face.
“What is it?” Shelly asked.
“The first night I stayed here, I found an old bottle of Scotch in a cabinet that would not open to me. When it finally did, that’s when I found the first photo. It was her booze. I had entirely too much of it and ended up in the pool.”
“Why?” Shelly asked.
“I think I was trying to kill myself.”
“Oh, my God,” Shelly said. “Because of your engagement?”
Joanna shook her head. “No. I think it was Ally. I saw an outline of somebody standing on the ledge of the pool. When I came up for air, she was gone. But she had been there. I really don’t understand it myself.” Both faces were glued to hers. “I found the previous renter.”
“The zoo guy?” John asked.
“Director Eggars,” Shelly added.
Joanna nodded. She looked into Shelly’s eyes. “He really didn’t want to talk to me once I told him about the house. Know what he said to me?”
Shelly shook her head.
“He said, ‘Please don’t tell me you ended up in that pool.’” Joanna looked from one to the other and back at the pool. “His wife ended up in the pool, too. I get the feeling it had happened more than once. That last time, he got her and their kids out of here and never came back.”
“Is the pool haunted?” John asked, turning around to face it.
“I don’t think it’s the pool,” Joanna answered. “But I wonder if Ally tried to kill herself and every woman who stays here feels the same compulsion. Perhaps that’s what she was staring at when I sat with her. Maybe she was preparing herself…” She grew silent while she contemplated this.
“Maybe she didn’t try,” John said. “I know it sounds creepy, but maybe she succeeded.”
“John!” Shelly recoiled.
“I told you it was creepy,” he defended himself.
“It would explain much,” Joanna said. “Except what happened to the body.”

About the Author:

James Garcia Jr. was born in Hanford, California. He moved up the road to Kingsburg with his family as a child. After graduating KHS, he attended Reedley College where he met his wife. The family still makes its home in Kingsburg which is typically the setting of his fiction.

He was the 1994 winner of the Writers International Network/Writers Inter-Age Network writing contest in the horror category. He is the author of the Dance on Fire edgy vampire series and the stand-alone paranormal, Seeing Ghosts.

During the day, he is a manager at Sun-Maid Growers of California.

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Friday, March 13, 2020


Supernaturals of Las Vegas
Book One
Carrie Harris

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Inked Entertainment
Date of Publication: 3/7/2020

Number of pages: 234

Word Count: 52,000

Cover Artist: Inked Entertainment

Tagline: Undeniable attraction. Blood magic. Vampire politics. Murder...Just another day in Las Vegas.

Book Description:

Liss Lorensson is a thrall–born to be a servant of the vampire crown prince.

Gregor Valdemar is a vampire prince who chafes under the strict rule of his sire and longs for a different life.

When the two finally meet on Liss’s 21st birthday, sparks fly. But blood magic, murder, and political intrigue stand in the way of their growing romance. Vampire seduction meets the power of the blood in this first volume of the Supernaturals of Las Vegas series.

Liss Lorensson fastened a length of pearls around her neck and tried not to think about biting. It would happen right there, at the sensitive juncture where the shoulder met the neck, just under the slightly uneven orbs that distinguished real pearls from fake baubles made in factories. She was resigned to getting bitten—it was part of her new job, after all—but after all of the time she’d spent preparing for this night, it had gotten built up in her mind. Anyone who knew her would say that Liss Lorensson was never nervous or underprepared for anything. She’d practically sprung from the womb with a to-do list, according to her mother. But now, she felt both of those things, and she didn’t quite know how to deal with it.
She settled the pearls into place, eyeing her reflection, ignoring the minute tremor of her hand. No one who saw her would guess at her agitation. Her face was a perfect, pale oval with the kind of complexion that usually only comes with Photoshop. Makeup accentuated the cold intensity of her icy blue eyes. Her long blonde hair was twisted back into a chignon, not a strand out of place. A shimmery silk dress gave her an air of understated yet virginal elegance, topped off with a pair of silver, strappy heels. She usually skipped heels, since at 5’10” they often made her taller than her dates, and most men didn’t like that sort of thing. But Gregor was tall, so she’d been practicing with these particular shoes for weeks now. She could do anything in them now without stumbling—walk, dance, sneak into locked rooms, or engage in hand to hand combat.
Even so, all the preparation felt insufficient. Only a few days earlier, she’d graduated from her small private college with a dual degree in finance and political science, summa cum laude. She’d moved out of her dormitory the next day, ignoring the protests of casual friends who didn’t know anything about the world she came from. Today was her 21st birthday, and they’d begged her to stay so they could take her out on the town. A small part of her was curious to know what that would be like, to drink until her head swam, to pick up some boy she didn’t care about and do as she liked with him. She’d never done anything like that. There had never been time. She’d been taking a huge load of classes in order to graduate early and return home for her presentation tonight.
Her eyes fell on the stack of textbooks on the divan. She’d moved back to her family’s penthouse in a hurry, and her normally immaculate bedroom was still in disarray. The marble floor was dotted with half unpacked suitcases and boxes of dorm essentials she’d need to donate or move to storage. Normally, she was on top of that kind of thing, but there hadn’t been time for that either. She hadn’t even had time to process the fact that she was no longer a college student. As of tonight, she’d take her place with her family, thralls to Gregor Valdemar, prince of the vampire kingdom of Las Vegas. Each vampire was allowed four thralls, who protected their masters during the day and served them at night. She’d help her father run the Renaissance Casino and Hotel, one of the biggest resorts on the Strip. No one knew it was owned by the undead. One vampire in particular—Gregor. Her new master, as of tonight.
She’d seen him a few times from a distance, but vampires weren’t allowed to associate with thrall minors, so they’d never spoken in person. But she had pictures, of course, and plenty of stories about him from her parents and her older brother Tait. He seemed to be a good boss and patron from what she could gather. At least she wasn’t stuck with one of those anachronistic morons who couldn’t or wouldn’t change with the times, the kind that made their thralls dress up in white powdered wigs and corsets just because it reminded them of the good old days. In order to be successful, one needed to stay current, and Gregor seemed like he managed that. He’d financed her college education, for starters, and had sent her a note of admiration when she’d won a particularly exclusive finance and economics prize. She’d kept the note, reading it over and over again in the hopes of getting a glimpse at the mind behind it. But it simply said, “Congratulations on winning the Stepford Prize. I hear it is particularly competitive. Gregor.” It was handwritten in neat, small print. There was nothing to be gleaned from that except for the notability of him sending it at all. For him to take a few moments to celebrate her accomplishments before she’d even reached the age of maturity seemed to bode well for their working relationship.

Who was she kidding? She grimaced at herself in the mirror. She wanted him to like her. She wanted to like him.

About the Author:

Carrie Harris is a geek-of-all-trades who writes genre fiction for all ages. If it has monsters, mayhem, or murder in it, she’s all in. Because all authors are required to have a history of weird jobs, she worked as an autopsy coordinator and in a lab full of brains in jars. Now she’s a full time writer in Utah, where she lives with her ninja-doctor husband and three teenage children. Carrie has done a variety of cool things like organizing WriteOnCon (an online writers conference) and serving as the president of the Class of 2k11 (an author marketing group), and her book BAD TASTE IN BOYS was named a Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers. If you bring any of this up to her, she will blush a ridiculous amount. As you read this, she is probably drinking something caffeinated and talking to people that only exist in her head.


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