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?
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.
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!
you! Let's take a look at it now.
of the Blue
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: One Odd Bird Press
Date of Publication: March 22,
Word Count: 58,500 words
Formats available: E-Book and
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.
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
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 fromthe 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.
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.
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
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
blinks several times, adjusting her eyes back to this world, so lost is she in
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.”
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.
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.
magickal oil known to open-the-way, the sisters set out.
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
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 . . .
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.’”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
addresses Tina’s wound, Mavis goes straight over to Bobby’s bedside. She waves
her hands over his eyes, which are still open.
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,
“The devil is
busy,” said Mavis. “Sho’ nuff,” her sister replied.
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.
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
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.
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
father and daughter are captives or not, well now that’s still to be decided.
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.
Tagline: A Thief turned Spy, turned Bounty Hunter, turned Hero!
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.
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.
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
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
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.
look who has stopped in for a little chat today! None other than author James Garcia Jr. Have a seat.
Tell me a little bit about your main character of this book.
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 fiancé 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.
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?
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.
Good answer, lol. What titles are you working on now that you can tell us
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.
Thanks so much for stopping by today. Let's take a look at your book now.
Photographs James Garcia Jr Genre: Women’s Fiction Publisher: James Garcia Jr
Date of Publication: March 3, 2020
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.
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.
“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.
Thrall Supernaturals of Las Vegas Book One Carrie Harris Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Inked Entertainment Date of Publication: 3/7/2020 ASIN: B084RGTXNF
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.
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.
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
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.