Today’s Featured Author – J. D. Horn

Today I welcome my first author of 2018 – J.D. Horn – to my blog. His latest book, The King of Bones and Ashes, will be released Tuesday, January 23. Be sure to check out the excerpt after his author interview.

Interview

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a Wall Street Journal bestselling author. My first published book, The Line, came out in February 2014, and earned me a spot as as an official nominee in the category of best debut author in the 2014 Goodreads Choice Awards. Three other titles (The Source, The Void, and Jilo) have been published as part of the Witching Savannah series. The Witching Savannah series has now been/is being translated into eight languages (Russian, Polish, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Turkish, Romanian). I have also had one standalone novel (Shivaree) published. Shivaree is kind of my ugly baby. Not nearly as popular as the other books, but in my opinion either ties with or comes in second to Jilo as my best published novel to date. Fingers crossed that The King of Bones and Ashes outdoes both.

I’m married, have two step-daughters who both graduate from law school in 2018, and I’m the proud pet father of the world’s most wonderful Chihuahua. He was a rescue boy who rescued me. (Adopt, don’t shop.)

How much of yourself, your personality or your experiences, is in your books?

I’m going to use a quote from the great television writer, Agnes Nixon, to answer this one. “The Great and the Least, The Rich and the Poor, The Weak and the Strong, In Joy and Sorrow, In Tragedy and Triumph, You are ALL MY CHILDREN.” (sic)

My characters are all on some level reflections of me, even if the relationship is limited to my aspiration to share a character’s better qualities, or my battle to keep from giving in to their worst.

Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your next book?

I’m currently working on the final round of edits on The Book of the Unwinding, second book of the Witches of New Orleans series, and writing the first draft of The Final Days of Magic, the third in the (so far) trilogy. Writing a trilogy is a bit like juggling. In the first you hope to catch attention by throwing the balls high into the air. The second, you’re keeping them in motion, and the third you have to catch them all without dropping any. The Book of the Unwinding feels like a good “bridge” book between the other two, progressing the story, but taking it in hopefully unexpected directions. Three minor characters from the first book become huge players in the second.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Dreams can come true, but it may not feel the way you expected it would when they do.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

No. At least hardly ever. I get critiques from a team of trusted professionals, and I do the best work I can. I know I am neither the best nor the worst writer ever, regardless of what a five or one-star review might say. That being said, my publisher forwarded me Publishers Weekly’s and Booklist’s reviews. You darn well know I read those.

Did you base any of your characters on real people?

Rarely. The character most solidly based on a real person appears in the new Witches of New Orleans series,  Nathalie Boudreau rises from a minor character in the first book to a lead in the second. I’ve borrowed several characteristics from a woman I used to know way back in the 1990s. Nathalie’s inspiration was, and hopefully continues to be, as tough as nails, but as sweet as sugar.

Oh, but that may not be quite true. It all depends on whether you count cats as people. If you do, then Sugar Caissy wins. I based the character on our beloved, departed Sugar. I know it may sound goofy, but trust me, Sugar Caissy is one of the major characters and helps drive the plot. It’s actually been wonderful writing her as a dramatic heroine, as it’s made me feel like I have her back on some level. Got to give her a tenth life, if you will.

Did the story turn out the way you planned from the beginning? If not, what change happened that you didn’t expect?

I’m going to borrow from the answer I gave when we were discussing Jilo. I start out with a broad summary—basically what I’ve promised my editor I’m going to write—and then sit at the keyboard until the characters tell me what’s really going to happen. As I tell my publisher whenever I present them with a proposal, my writing process resembles what happens when you store your carry-on luggage in a plane’s overhead bin. At the other end of the journey you find pretty much what you expect, but the contents may have shifted during flight.

One of the characters, actually the first POV character we encounter, came out nothing like I’d intended. Alice Marin had secrets, and she made me dig deep until I discovered them.

Excerpt

Lisette Perrault

Just over the blonde’s shoulder, through the window, Lisette caught sight of a familiar head of closely cropped gray hair. Her father, Alcide Simeon, came weaving down the sidewalk, threading his way through the throng of tourists, stopping and bowing theatrically before a young girl, stepping into the street and ceding the sidewalk to her and her parents. The girl’s father reached down and swooped the girl up into his arms as a car horn blared a warning at Alcide. The driver swerved around him, and he stepped backward onto the uneven sidewalk, stum­bling but righting himself. The glint of something silver in his hands caught Lisette’s eye.

Lisette’s father did not take drugs. He did not touch drink. Always said he’d watched too many of his buddies lose it all down those roads. But here he was, stumbling toward the shop. Still, seeing her teetotalling father drunk was a lesser shock than the sight of the strange instrument he carried. Bessie was his “brass belle,” the horn such a familiar sight that it seemed an extension of her father’s hand. Seeing him with this new horn cradled in his hands made her feel like she’d caught him car­rying on with a strange woman.

“You’ll excuse me for a moment,” she said without looking at the women. “You all just keep on looking around as much as you would like.” She stepped around the counter and brushed past the blonde. She grasped the door handle, and, walking through the bell’s protest, slipped out to the street.

She strode up to her father, whose lips tipped into a smile as he threw his arms wide to welcome her.

“There’s my baby girl,” he said. “I was just coming by to see you.”

She stopped just beyond his reach, and his stupid, drunk glee faded—but only a touch. For the first time in her life, she felt ashamed of him. “Why are you all lit up?” she said, her hands on her hips, unin­tentionally mimicking her mother. “And what are you doing with that horn? That isn’t yours.”

“Oh, it’s mine all right. I bought it special this morning.” He raised it to his lips and ran up a quick scale, ending with a flourish.

She held her stance and narrowed her eyes. “Special for what?”

His head jerked and his eyes widened in genuine surprise. “You haven’t heard?” He turned to a passing stranger. “She hasn’t heard!”

She stepped forward and grabbed his forearm. “No, she has not heard,” Lisette said, her words breathless, angry, “but she is standing right here in front of you, so maybe you should get busy with the telling.”

He looked at her, his lips drawing into a thin line. Then his face loosened, and he began to laugh. “Celestin Marin,” he said, his eyes twinkling, “is finally dead. Funeral’s day after tomorrow.” He winked at her. “Gonna be a band and all. This tin horn and I are gonna join in right before they cut the bastard’s body loose,” he said and laughed. “May end up a devil of a second line.”

“Celestin wasn’t a musician. Why would anyone throw him a jazz funeral?”

Her father didn’t respond with words, but a wide smile crept across his lips.

“You did not . . .”

“I sure did. I arranged the whole thing. How the hell else do you think it could happen?” He wagged the offending horn at her. “Just rang up a few friends. Charles Delinois made up a little white lie for me about how Marin was a secret donor for years to a charity to keep music in schools, and how it’s the least we can . . .”

“You lied to Vincent,” Lisette cut him off, regretting it before she could draw her next breath. It was ridiculous. Even after twenty-five years, the mere thought of Vincent darn near took her breath away . . . like someone had kicked her hard in the gut. She loved her husband. She loved the family they’d made together. Still, it hurt to speak Vincent’s name. It hurt like hell.

“Yeah. I reckon I did a bit,” her father said, sobering, Lisette could only surmise, from having witnessed the expression on her face. “The boy ate the story right up. Seemed kind of hungry for any kind words about his defan papa.”

“Vincent’s a good man. You’ve got no reason . . .”

“Vincent’s a Marin.” Her father’s jaw stiffened, the mirth in his eyes turning to hatred. “Reason enough.”

“You were friends once, all of you. Mama and you and the Marins.” She hoped her words would summon a happy memory for him, but he remained stock-still and silent. “All right,” Lisette said. “So how about you tell me why. What do you get out of this parade?”

The smile returned to his face, but it had come back cold and cruel, making him look less like the father she knew and loved. He held the horn to his lips and blew a few bars of the “Cross Road Blues” before lowering the horn. “I’m gonna play that son of a bitch’s soul right into hell.”

Lisette felt her jaw drop. It took her a moment to find words. “What kind of fool nonsense are you talking?”

“It isn’t nonsense,” he said, clutching the trumpet to his chest. “You aren’t the only one who learned a thing or two from your mother. Gonna use this horn to blow his soul straight to the lowest pit of hell, then I’m gonna toss it in the river. Make sure it never gets played again. Would be too dangerous to let it fall into innocent hands afterward.”

Lisette raised her hands to her temples. She shook her head. This could not be happening. Her father really couldn’t think himself capable of speeding another man’s descent into the fiery pit. She’d come so close, so many times, to telling her father that she no longer believed. That she knew none of this, not the vèvès, not the candles, not the gris-gris bags—especially not the table of premade ones at the shop now marked down to $19.99 each—was real. She’d only held her tongue out of respect for him and her mother’s memory.

Dropping her hands, Lisette glanced back over her shoulder at the shop. She almost gasped, sure she caught the image of her mother mov­ing behind the vèvès painted on the windows. No, that could not be. It was just a creation of her mind—more fodder for her next therapy appointment. Blinking the apparition away, she turned back to her father. “Listen, Daddy, even if you could . . .” She stopped herself, choosing her words more carefully. “Even if you do know how to do what you’re planning, what good would it do? What happened with Mama and Mrs. Marin was so long ago.”

“Maybe to you, but not to me. To me, it still seems like yesterday.”

“But, Daddy, Celestin didn’t have anything more to do with it than you or I . . .”

“Oh, he had something to do with it all right. I know it.” Tears brimmed in his eyes, and he pounded on his chest with his free hand. “I know it in here.”

What harm can it do? Lisette thought. Might even do him some good. Do all of us some good. Bury this damned animosity between the families once and for all. Lisette looked up at him. Patted his chest. “All right, Daddy. You do what you need to do.” She leaned in and kissed his cheek.

As she pulled back, she noticed his eyes were reddening. His bot­tom lip began to quiver. For a moment, she wondered if the storm had passed, but then he raised his chin, his expression hardening, defiance growing in his eyes. “You could help, you know.”

She traced her hand down his arm. “No, Daddy,” she said, turning, heading back toward the shop. “I really couldn’t.”

Book Blurb

Magic is seeping out of the world, leaving the witches who’ve relied on it for countless centuries increasingly hopeless. While some see an inevitable end of their era, others are courting madness—willing to sacrifice former allies, friends, and family to retain the power they covet. While the other witches watch their reality unravel, young Alice Marin is using magic’s waning days to delve into the mystery of numerous disappearances in the occult circles of New Orleans. Alice disappeared once, too—caged in an asylum by blood relatives. Recently freed, she fears her family may be more involved with the growing crisis than she ever dared imagine.

Yet the more she seeks the truth about her family’s troubled history, the more she realizes her already-fragile psyche may be at risk. Discovering the cause of the vanishings, though, could be the only way to escape her mother’s reach while determining the future of all witches.

Author Bio

J.D. Horn, the highly praised and bestselling author of the Witching Savannah series, now debuts a new contemporary fantasy series, Witches of New Orleans. A world traveler and student of French and Russian literature, Horn also has an MBA in international business and formerly held a career as a financial analyst before turning his talent to crafting chilling stories and unforgettable characters. His novels have received global attention and have been translated in more than half a dozen languages. Originally from Tennessee, he currently splits his time between Central Oregon, San Francisco and Palm Springs with his spouse, Rich.

You can find out more about J.D. on his website or Facebook.

You can check out a trailer for The King of Bones and Ashes here and pre-order it on Amazon. (The book comes out Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018.)

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Need Authors for Featured Author Spot (FREE)

wantedAre you an author looking for some additional publicity for your latest book?

I host guest authors every Friday – any genre, both traditionally and self-published. I have openings in February and beyond!

The post can take one of three formats: author interview, book excerpt or a guest post on any aspect of writing, publishing, or book marketing.

Sign up is on a first-come-first-served basis, though I do have a few Tuesday openings to accommodate special requests for dates related book tours, book releases or cover reveals. (Click the Featured Authors link on the left to check out past authors.)

If you are interested, send me a message along with any date requests, and we’ll take it from there.

Featured Author recap of Romance Authors

Here is is December, and I don’t have an author scheduled for today so I am highlighting three past authors featured on my website that write romance novels.

(If you are an author and would like too be featured, I have openings in December, January and beyond. Click here for more information.)

 

Jo Carey

Her book, Winter, the first in her Seasons de Santa Fe series, came out in July. You can check out her interview here.

Tracee Lydia Garner

Her latest book, Deadly Affections, came out in March. You can check out her interview here.

 

 

Marie Lavender

She released her book, Upon Your Love, the third book in her Heiresses in Love series, in February. Please enjoy an excerpt by clicking here.

 

I hope you check out these authors. And if you are an author who wants to be featured, contact me!

Sneak Peek at BLOOD BOND by Susan Leigh Noble

My latest book, Blood Bond, is nearing completion. Here is an excerpt to whet your appetite.

Note: Rakkah, Warnox, Dex and Barth are all dragons. Soren is a human and can communicate with the dragons telepathically.

Excerpt 

Soren scrambled to his feet as the golden dragon, Rakkah, landed near him. For a moment, they stared at each other.

“You shouldn’t be bonded to Dex,” she said, her voice reverberating in his head as she flicked her tail.

“It wasn’t by choice,” he said speaking to her within her mind.

He didn’t like the feeling of being trapped with the tree behind his back and stepped away from it. He carefully kept Rakkah in front of him as he moved.

“That matters not.” She walked around him, her eyes traveling over his body. “Definitely not worthy to be a dragon rider.”

Pride had him lifting his chin. “Maybe not but Dex said I was the one to help bridge man and dragon.”

“Is that what he told you? Did he tell you about the others?” She studied him, before chuckling. “I can tell by the look on your face he didn’t. You weren’t the first one he approached you know. There were others. He settled for you.”

Soren shook his head. “No that isn’t true. He said he had a feeling I was the one.”

“A smooth line if I ever heard one,” she said. “I’ll let you in on something. If he said that, it was him manipulating you. There were others who turned him down. He was under time pressure, so he settled for you. And it is only by accident he is now linked to you. I am sure he would rather not be. I know I would.” She flicked her tail. “Take Warnox up on his offer. It will be better for everyone.”

He shook his head. “I don’t…”

Before he could continue, Rakkah’s words sunk in and his bewilderment turned to anger. His heart pounded, and his shoulders shook. And then Dex was there. The red dragon faced Rakkah, slashing his own tail as he shield Soren from the golden dragon. Soren couldn’t hear anything but was sure words were exchanged between the two as they circled each other, their eyes locked. Suddenly, Rakkah leapt into the air. Dex turned to Soren.

“I don’t know what Rakkah said to you, but I could feel your confusion…and your anger.”

“Tell me the truth,” Soren said, his fists clinched. “Was I your first choice?”

“My first choice? Choice for what?”

“To help you approach the King.”

Dex stared at him for a moment before looking down. “You weren’t the first I approached, but Soren…”

He didn’t wait to hear any more. He walked toward Warnox and the other dragons. With each step, his anger grew. He could still hear Rakkah’s taunting voice. She had been right. He wasn’t Dex’s first choice. He had lied to him about being the one the dragons needed. He shook his head as if to clear the thoughts away. But they persisted, and he quickly covered the distance to the other dragons and to his freedom.

“Take me back to Ballinger,” he said to Warnox.

The brown dragon regarded him for a moment. “You can ride on Barth. Mount up. It is time to go.”

Soren briefly recoiled at the thought of riding without a harness but reassured himself it would only be a short distance. Barth bent down, and he scrambled onto his back.

“Soren?” Dex asked, his voice cautious.

He didn’t respond or even look at Dex as Barth took off, following the other dragons into the air. He grabbed for the harness before realizing it wasn’t there. His hands searched for something to hold on to but found nothing. As Barth leveled out, Soren resisted the urge to look at the ground far below.

“Are you sure this is what you want?” Barth asked.

Soren hesitated. “Yes. It is for the best. I am not meant to be a dragon rider.”

For a moment, Barth said nothing, and Soren wondered why they hadn’t left already.

“Can you sense Dex from here?”

Soren could feel an unsettled feeling and couldn’t determine if it was his own feeling or if it came from Dex too. As he concentrated, he could feel Dex’s anxiety.

“He is worried,” he admitted reluctantly.

You shouldn’t be able to feel him at this distance,” Barth said. “He told me how far apart you two have been when you have communicated. It is farther than any other linked pair.”

Soren watched Warnox and the other dragons disappear before his eyes. He knew Barth would follow suit in a moment and felt a twinge of regret.

“You shouldn’t be doing this,” Barth said.

Suddenly, the brown dragon dove toward the ground, flipping over in the air. Soren’s fingers tried to grasp onto Barth’s back but there was nothing to hold. He fell through the air toward the ground. He saw Barth above him and then nothing but the blue sky as Barth Blinked.

Book Blurb

Man severed the alliance with the dragons fifty years ago. But now an invading army marches north destroying everything in its path. The dragons believe only together can the invaders be defeated. They need an emissary.

Womanizer. Drunk. Failure. Soren is many things. A leader isn’t one of them. But, Dex, the dragon who saves him from a cliff, believes different. Thrust into an adventure he never wanted, Soren’s life changes forever when during a battle Dex’s dragon blood mixes with his blood creating a mythical blood bond – forever linking them.

As the bond strengthens, Soren must decide whether to return to his old life or accept the bond and embrace his role in the battle against the invading army.

Blood Bond will be released in February 2018.

 

Today’s Featured Author – Melissa-Sue John

Today, I welcome author/publisher Dr. Melissa-Sue John to my blog. Her children’s book, A Guide to Things We Wear, came out in September of this year.

Interview

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Dr. Melissa-Sue John. I am a professor of Psychology with expertise in Social Psychology. I conduct research on academic achievement and intergroup behavior. One of my projects is about the development and testing of an engineering curriculum for diverse, often economically disadvantaged, pre-k school students. The curriculum uses literature to teach problem solving. My research team noticed that children’s books are not very diverse in that there are few representations of girls, persons of color, and disabled or gifted children. Rather than complain, my daughters and I decided to become a part of the solution. My daughters, Alyssa Simone and Olivia Lauren, and I established a publishing company called Lauren Simone Publishing House to recruit diverse writers and illustrators to tell their stories and help close the diversity disparity, especially in STEAM (Science, technology, engineering, art and math).

Where were you born and where do you call home?

I was born in a beautiful island called Jamaica. I moved to the U.S. when I was 18 years old. I lived in NY and then moved to Connecticut, where I have made a home with my husband, Matthew and our two beautiful children. Alyssa Simone was born in NY and Olivia was born in CT.

What or who inspired you to start writing?

In addition to the lack of diversity in children’s literature, my daughters inspire me to write. My first book Occupations A to Z was inspired by my daughter, Olivia Lauren, who is a working child actor and model. During her auditions she met people of many different occupations. The occupations were uncommon to us since I led a very academic life and my daughter attends a STEM academy. It was lovely to learn about all the different professions in the entertainment industry. Olivia Lauren inspired me to write a reference guide for children to explore both traditional and contemporary professions and jobs.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Although I write empirical articles, I did not consider myself a writer until I saw my first published book on Amazon and held a printed copy in my hands. This was February of 2017.

How much of yourself, your personality, or your experiences, is in your books?

A lot of our personality is in the books. The main character is based on my younger daughter, Olivia Lauren. But the style of writing is that of a teacher. Although they are stories, they are educational and cultural.

Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your next book?

This year we published 5 books in the Olivia Lauren series. I have other books written, but I am not ready to illustrate or publish them as yet. Right now, we are focused on publishing the works of other kid authors: Imani Ariana Grant, Brazil Dowe and Princeton Dowe (twins) and Madison Bishop and Elijah Bishop (siblings). I enjoy helping others realize their potential and making dreams come true.

What is the best and worst advice you ever received?

Many people have stories to tell. Many people may have drafted several novels but perfectionism, fear, lack of confidence, laziness, or busyness may prevent them from finishing their manuscript. The best advice I ever received came from John Maxwell (I think!) and I am paraphrasing, “Your last book will be better than your first.” You will never have a last book until you write the first. Writing is a talent that gets better with practice. So, we shouldn’t wait on the perfect book to publish, but do our best and put it out there.

What is the best thing about being a writer? The worst?

I enjoy writing the story, researching the characters and the accuracy of the content. I even like formatting the books. Basically, I love putting the book together from start to finish. What I dislike is marketing and promotion. I do not have a business degree and am not much of a sales person. I believe our work is high quality, but I struggle knowing how to get others to see that too. This is why some people seek an agent or publicist to do the harder or “worst” part.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

Yes, I read all my book reviews and share them on our website. Not everyone will like your product or services. That is part of life. Most of my reviews are positive, mostly 5 stars and a few 4 stars. Once I got a 3 star and it actually motivated me to reflect on what I could do different to make my books better. Constructive criticism helps us to grow and make progress. It may hurt your feelings for a bit. It hurts more if the review is from a family or friend. But eventually the hurt dissipates.

Please tell us about your current release.

The last book is entitled Things We Wear. It was published September 13, 2017. It was written because I love culture and different cultures don’t always wear the same things. One day Olivia Lauren, Alyssa Simone, and I were coming from a park in Brooklyn, NY. We had passed Muslim women wearing hi-jabs and Orthodox Jews. I overheard a child ask their parent, “What is that the women have covering their hair?” The mom was either embarrassed or ignorant to answer. I thought since we live in a multicultural and diverse world these are things kids ought to learn in school or early learning at home. So Olivia and I wrote it, and kid illustrators Simonne-Anais Clarke and Zachary-Michael Clarke illustrated it.

Did you base any of your characters on real people?

The main characters of Olivia Travels is based on our family of 4- Mom, dad, Olivia Lauren and sister, Alyssa Simone. As the book teachers different modes of transportation using rhyme and rhythm most of the illustrations are based on our actual holiday vacations.

Do you have an all time favorite book?

My favorite book is The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I read it in the third grade. This past summer, Olivia Lauren who was entering 5th grade and I read it together. It took us 3 days. After reading it, we watched the part 2 edition on Hallmark.

Book Blurb

Olivia Lauren’s Things We Wear is a story about a child model and her friends exploring the different things people wear. Olivia Lauren and her friends tell us about the when, where, and why regarding the things we wear. Children will increase their vocabulary and curiosity about fashion, tradition, and the significance of clothing.

About the Authors

Melissa-Sue John, Ph.D. is a wife, the mother of Alyssa Simone and Olivia Lauren, and psychologist. She is a Jamaican born and proud Alma Mata of Harrison’s Preparatory School and Holy Childhood High School. After high school, she moved to the U.S. where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Hunter College, CUNY. She then later pursued her Master’s and Ph.D.  from the University of Connecticut. Currently, she teaches at Eastern Connecticut State University and works as a Research Associate at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. These professional roles led her to write children’s literature with her two daughters and she now serves as the Chief Executive Operator of Lauren Simone Publishing House.

Olivia Lauren, born November 5, 2007 in Farmington, CT, is the co-owner of Lauren Simone Publishing House. She enjoys acting, modeling, reading, and writing. She is an intelligent and hardworking student who loves science, technology, engineering, and math. Her most recent achievement is the establishing of Lauren Simone Publishing House with her sister, Alyssa Simone.

Alyssa Simone, born October 31, 2001 in New York, NY, is the co-owner of Lauren Simone Publishing House. She is a teen actor, model, violinist, athlete, author, and kid publisher. She was also a Girl Scout, a member of her school’s Drill Team and Stage Crew, working behind the scenes for camera, lights, and background. She has been playing violin since the third grade, and participated in over dozen orchestra recitals. She enjoys running indoor and outdoor track and field. Most recently, she co-authored a book with her mother called Olivia Connects. Olivia Connects is the 3rd book of the Olivia Lauren series. She also works as editor and literary critic, helping Olivia and her mom review manuscripts submitted to their publishing company.

You can find out more about Melissa-Sue, Olivia and Alyssa on their website. You can also purchase their books there as well as on Amazon.

​​

 

Today’s Featured Author Natalya LaBauve

Today author Natalya LaBauve stops by my blog as part of her spotlight book tour. She is promoting her book, What It Do!, and her upcoming book, Bow Down! 

Excerpt – What It Do!

When we finally arrived at the concert, I walked in with Ronald and his friends, Pete and Vic.  Rhonda was behind us with Wayne and since I heard music coming from inside the coliseum’s arena, I figured we must have been missing one of the acts.  People were walking around the outer part of the coliseum’s corridor, talking about the act that was on before.  I punched Ronald in the shoulder and said, “see, we missed one of the acts because of you.”

Ronald jumped back.  “Be cool girl.  Don’t be hitting on me!  It ain’t my fault.”

Then from the back of us, Rhonda and Wayne yelled, “yes it is!”

“Just keep walking.”  Ronald directed.  “Let’s find our seats.”

As we continued walking, suddenly, a crowd started stampeding straight toward us.  Quickly!  I didn’t know what to do.  My heart began pounding.  My neck went stiff.  My body tightened up.  I guess I just panicked.  I didn’t know what was going on.  For some reason I couldn’t move.  I just froze in place.  I heard someone yell, “they fighting!”

My mind quickly saw Faye’s face.  I thought about what Faye said, then I thought, oh no, I’m supposed to be running!

Still unable to move an inch, I looked all around for Ronald or Rhonda.  I must have gone into shock.  Oh my God, where are they?  I didn’t even see Vic or Pete.  Not even Wayne.  But one thing I did see and it was coming right for me, the guys that were fighting.

I closed my eyes, clinched my fist tightly together and held them as close to my cheeks as I could.  Right when I knew I was about to be run over by the fight, I was grabbed by the arm and firmly placed up against the wall.  Because of the strong snatch, I assumed it was Ronald.  Oh thank God, Ronald.

I grabbed hold of his arm as tight as I could and with my eyes still closed I started saying my prayers.  “Our father, which art in heaven…”

The heavy voiced asked, “you alright?”

I quickly cut off my prayer.  That didn’t sound like Ronald’s voice.  I slowly opened my eyes to see who it was that I had grabbed on to so tightly.  When I did, I couldn’t believe my eyes.  It was that guy.  That, that, that guy!  For a moment I forgot what was going on around me.  I quickly thought back to the first time I had seen him before.  It was the afternoon after I had first arrived in Oakville.

I never brought the subject up to Rhonda or Ronald, but every time he would pass by the house, I wished I could have gotten up enough courage to speak to him.  He would stare, even speak, and I’d just freak out.  I’d go run into the house or something, play like I didn’t see him. Rhonda would come chasing behind me, “why you running girl?  He likes you.  You better get with that!”

Just then I heard the smooth midnight voice again, “Hellooooo.  You alright?”

His name was Terrance, I did know that much.  His voice snapped me back into the reality that I was still at the concert.  I hadn’t realized that I had lost all consciousness, I turned and looked at him.  We were standing way too close together.

He searched my eyes.  “Are you okay?”

“I…I…I lost my sister and brother.”  My stomach was nervous.

Still holding my arm, but a lot gentler now, Terrance began looking around the crowd as if he were trying to find them with me.

He asked, “Ronnie’s your brother right?”

I took a deep breath, exhaled, and then smiled, “yes.”

Then he appeared to give me a mischievous smile, “I don’t see him.”  He let my arm go.  “But if you want me to, I’ll walk you to your seat.”

An instant hot flash rushed through my body.  What should I say?  But before I could really think it out, my mouth opened.  “That’ll be nice, thanks.”  My sandy brown cheeks turned beet red.

I just wanted to die.  I could not believe I was walking with, as well as talking to, that guy Terrance.  As we continued walking, security passed by with about five young guys that they were escorting out of the concert.

Terrance pulled me close, “be careful.”

The guys were putting up a fight with the security guards now.

“What happened,” I asked, thinking Terrance might know.

“Just some knuckle heads.”

“You know them?” I asked, looking into his strong black eyes.

He laughed.  “Yeah…I know em.”

As we proceeded inside the concert arena toward the seats the tickets had designated on them, I couldn’t help but wonder what had happened to Ronald and the others.  I was getting a little nervous.  Terrance kept touching me and, don’t get me wrong, they weren’t bad touches, they were good touches, very good touches, it was just, the touches were freaking me out!  Every time we needed to turn, Terrance would grab my hand and pull me or guide me.  Grab my waist or place his hands on my shoulder.  Then the final thing that got me was when he whispered gently in my ear, “you alright?”  I felt the heat of his breath on the back of my neck.  I know that he knew that he was just too darn close!  I was feeling things that I had never felt before.  I didn’t know any way not to let it show.  I tried my best to stay calm…

Book Blurb – What It Do! 

For most seventeen year olds, graduating from high school is something to look forward to. But not for Victoria Johnson, who has just learned, two days before graduation, that she has been living a privileged and sheltered life in the gated community of Laketon, with ‘adopted’ parents. “What It Do”, is the story about what life does to a young girl of class and prestige, when her biological mother arrives and wants to spend time with her. The weekend after graduation, Victoria finds herself being driven from the happy world of two story homes with Mercedes Benzes parked out front; to the mean streets of Oakland, where being naive and simple-minded, are just not allowed. With the help of a street wise younger brother; a strong willed little sister, and the admiration of a handsome young street thug, Victoria learns very quickly – What it do!

Book Blurb – Bow Down!   

Victoria thought her wedding day would be the happiest moment in her life, but strange coincidences and enigmatic guests hint at a mystery that will reveal distressing secrets about her new marriage and the man she’s given her heart to.

It took some smooth talking, but Victoria’s parents have finally accepted Terrance Seals as their son-in-law. Their summer wedding is beautiful, but Victoria begins to believe that something isn’t quite right. It would be one thing if the only problem were Edward Bordeaux, Victoria’s old beau. Edward’s mere presence might cause Victoria’s whole body to heat up, but she knows she can handle him—even after he coughs loudly when the minister asks if anyone objects to the marriage. The real problem is a strange woman with some connection to Terrance.

When Victoria can’t get answers from her new husband, she turns to her girlfriends—her best friend, Jana; new girl Meagan; and self-professed psychic Jennifer. With their support and encouragement, Victoria starts trying to get to the bottom of Terrance’s strange behavior. With the help of prayers, miraculous coincidences, and even psychic visions, Victoria discovers something unexpected about her husband and their shared future that will change everything.

About the Author

Natalya LaBauve was born in Los Angeles, California, and raised in Oakland. She studied at Ohio State University, UC Berkeley Extension, and Laney Community College’s theater program.

LaBauve spent twenty-eight years working for the US Attorney’s office. She has resigned from her work in the federal government to pursue her dream of becoming an author. LaBauve has written five novels about good girls, bad boys, and the love they share.

LaBauve lives in the Bay Area with her two children. She’s hard at work on her next book!

You can find more about Natalya on her website or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

You can purchase What It Do! on Amazon. Her book Bow Down! will also soon be found on Amazon.

Featured Author Recap of Fantasy Authors

Here is is November, and I don’t have an author scheduled for today so I am highlighting three past authors featured on my website that write fantasy novels.

(If you are an author and would like too be featured, I have openings in November, December and beyond. Click here for more information.)

 

Diana Rubino

Her time-traveling romance novel, Dark Brew, was released in July 2016. You can check out her interview here.

Amy Elizabeth Davis

Her humorous book, Darcy Bites: Pride and Prejudice with Fangs, came out in 2015. To read an excerpt and check out her book trailer, click here.

 

H M Sealey

She is currently working on the twelfth book in her Kingdom Rising series. Book 11, Deception Rising, was released last year. To find out more about this series, check out her interview here.

 

I hope you check out these authors. And if your an author who wants to be featured, contact me!