Today’s Featured Author – Inge Saunders

Please welcome author Inge Saunders to my blog. Her book, The Wolf’s Choice, came out in March. You can purchase it on Amazon, the Kobo store or Smashwords.

Excerpt

“I’ll pledge my loyalty to you through a blood oath, if you’ll support my choice of mate.”

Drew’s eyebrows went up. Ryker, true to form, didn’t blink an eye.

“Why would you need my support?”

“It’s Rebecca Ferguson.”

Ryker straightened, taking on a solid stance next to Drew. The discussion wasn’t a threat to the alpha in any way.

“Her father won’t allow it.”

“I know.”

“He’s alpha of his household.”

“I know.”

“Are you going to challenge him?”

“If I have to.”

“And you want me to sanction it.”

“Yes.”

Drew sank into his chair. “What does Rebecca have to say? The last time I spoke to her, she didn’t mention you.”

Blaine smiled. He hadn’t earned himself any favors. “She doesn’t know yet.”

“You expect me to support your claim without her being aware of it?”

“You expect me to swear a blood oath to you without assurance whether or not you’ll turn into your father.”

The menacing growl from Ryker vibrated through the room.

“You’re playing a dangerous game, Blaine.”

“All of us have done it for our mates.” He stared from one to the other.

News traveled through the wolf-grapevine. Drew’d had to gain his mate, Betty’s, trust when he returned to Los Lobos after she believed the lies his father told about him. Ryker had overstepped their laws by mating a human, something the old alpha would’ve killed him for. But Drew didn’t seem to have a problem with humans becoming part of the Tao pack.

“Elijah isn’t going to hand over Rebecca to you. He went to extreme measures to keep her safe.” Drew sat forward again. “Even with the new order, he’s still protective of her.”

Blaine didn’t budge. He knew what he wanted. And he rarely lost.

Book Blurb

“I’ll pledge my loyalty to you through a blood oath, if you’ll support my choice of mate.”

Drew sank into his chair. “What does Rebecca have to say? The last time I spoke to her, she didn’t mention you.”

Blaine smiled. He hadn’t earned himself any favors. “She doesn’t know yet.” 

Thirteen years ago Rebecca Ferguson died, at least to everyone in the Black Hills territory. With a human mother and unable to shift into a wolf, Magnum Tao, the deranged alpha of the Tao Pack would’ve had both her and her father killed for deceiving him. Magnum didn’t allow humans to mate with members of his pack.

Now Magnum is the one who’s dead and Rebecca can return.

But coming back from the dead, building a new life after her divorce and opening a library in town isn’t the only obstacles Rebecca faces. Elijah, her father, doesn’t approve of her being in Los Lobos to the point where he forbids her to get involved with the pack, especially the males.

Their relationship has suffered because of her absence and she hopes to bridge the divide; confident that she doesn’t want a romantic entanglement with anyone human or wolf, anyway.

In walks sexy private detective Blaine Walker.

Thirteen years ago Blaine stumbled on his mate at the local Swimming Hole. The next day, she was dead. Once he learns Rebecca is alive and living in Los Lobos, he decides it’s time to give up his career in Brooklyn and return to Black Hills. But he knows it won’t be easy to claim her since Elijah’s unnaturally overprotective. The only way Elijah will back off is to challenge him.

A challenge that will end in one of their deaths.

Rebecca can’t deny the old attraction she felt for Blaine is still there and even stronger now that they are grownup. She’s caught between the man fate has brought back to her and her father, whose affection she craved her whole life.

But there’s a life altering secret governing Elijah’s erratic behavior that can cost Rebecca everything she’s worked hard to build and everything she thought she could never have with a man or wolf.

Will Rebecca and Blaine beat the odds stacked against them?

Or will the choices they make ultimately lead them down a path both of them don’t want?

About the Author

Inge Saunders lives in the biggest small town in South Africa‒ Worcester. She fell in love with books when she started reading romance novels with her grandmother. Intrigued by the worlds books unlocked, it was inevitable she would take pen to paper. She holds an Honors degree in Community Development and Learning Support and loves to sink her teeth into the research part of a story.

When she’s not writing about that ‘inexplicable attraction’ she’s reading almost every sub-genre in romance out there, spending time with friends and family and taking hikes in her hometown’s National Karoo Park.

Inge’s been a member of ROSA (Romance writers’ Organization of South Africa) since 2012 and has two contemporary titles, Falling for Mr. Unexpected (2014) and Dance of Love (2015) published with Decadent Publishing, as well as her first Black Hills Wolves novella, The Wolf’s Choice (2017).

You can find out more about Inge on her blog or follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

You can purchase The Wolf’s Choice on Amazon, the Kobo store or Smashwords.

Today’s Featured Author – Melissa A. Woods

Please welcome Melissa A. Woods to my blog. She released her novel, Getting Past Anxiety, last year.

Excerpt – Getting Past Anxiety Chapter 3 

For those who suffer from mental disorders, such as anxiety or depression, often one of the hardest steps in healing is admitting to yourself that you need help, and then actually seeking out that help. Seeing a therapist or trying different methods of treatment, such as Chakra therapy, can create anxiety in itself. In my novel Getting Past Anxiety, the main character Stella experiences this for herself.

After finally deciding to see an energy healer, she sets off to her first session and discovers all of the nervousness, peace and healing that comes with it. This chapter in the novel gives a detailed account of Stella’s first brush with striving towards help.

A short, fifty-ish woman with shoulder-length gray hair entered the room. She smiled at Stella; her smile was wide and genuine, as if Stella were the person she most wanted to see right then. She took her hand. “ I’m Rachel,” she said. “ I am so happy to meet you.” Her voice was soft, yet clear and penetrating. Letting go of Stella’s hand, she plumped down in the bag chair. Thank God I didn’t sit init, Stella thought. Stella had looked up the name
Rachel. She was very interested in the meaning of names. The definition was from the Bible, meaning, “ ewe” or “ little lamb.” In the Bible, Rachel had been a beautiful and cherished wife of Jacob, and the mother of Joseph and Benjamin.

Stella’s anxiety increased and her mouth became dry. Her heart started palpitating. She had been in therapy before, but it felt different now. This wasn’t an office; there weren’t any desks orchairs to sit in while Stella discussed her problems. Maybe this form of therapy isn’t for me, she thought; then she answered herself immediately. The other forms didn’t work either, did they? And she knew her anxiety was getting more and more out of control, to the point where her normal life had vanished. She’d had to leave her sales job; she was always anxious when she left the house by herself and it was hard for her tobe alone at any time. She had tobe willing to try anything. Had to. While Stella had this internal dialogue sitting on
the futon, Rachel spoke softly.

“Stella why are you here?” “ Well, I am afraid and anxious all the time,” Stella said while Rachel busily gathered objects from the room, placing them on the floor next to her. “ I have always felt this way since I can remember, but it seems like the apprehension is getting worse.” She watched Rachel spread a white blanket on the floor, big enough for a person to lie down upon. On top of this, Rachel arranged a shawl that had a deep eggplant-color background with a delicate design in lighter purple woven through it. It had long slender fringes, making her arrangement look like waving fronds of purple seaweed in a white ocean. “ Oh, that looks good,” Rachel said. As Rachel wandered around the room, she explained how she was building a space for Stella, and she continued to gather up items like a doll and a pink flower; then she went outside and took a piece of bark off her cedar tree. Back inside she picked up a purple cord, like something used to tie back curtains. She placed the objects around the perimeter of the eggplant shawl.

“Okay; that’s good,” she said. Stella sat on the futon and stared at the space Rachel had created. She didn’t get it. This is weird, she thought. What does she want from me? Rachel was silent, gazing at her creation on the floor. Was she meditating? After what seemed like a long time, but was probably just a minute or two, Rachel smiled and Stella heard her warm soft voice say, “ This is your space. I’ve created it just for you, a womb if you like. When you are ready, you can enter it.” Stella immediately froze. Her arms and legs felt like they belonged to a robot. Not knowing what else to do, she got up and placed herself inside the circular space on the floor. She lay down on the purple shawl. Her head and her toes lay on the white blanket.

It was quiet, but Stella did not feel peaceful. She felt uncomfortable; she was probably doing this—whatever this was—wrong. Rachel wasn’t saying anything, so Stella just lay there. She closed her eyes. After a while, she had a vision—she guessed it was a vision; she didn’t know what else to call it. Stella was a bird, a big bird like an eagle with a huge wingspan. She was flying, soaring over the mountains. She felt the lift of the wind. She could see rivers below; she even saw ripples on the rivers and fish in the depths—her eyesight was that keen. Stella perched on top of a mountain just to look around, and then she heard a voice. “ Where are you?” “ Huh?” Stella asked. She was herself again. The eagle was gone. “ Where did you go?” It was Rachel’s voice. Stella didn’t answer because she didn’t know what to say.

“Are you comfortable in this womb?” “ Not really.” “You can get out if you want to.” Rachel’s voice was calm, peaceful, like an angel’s voice. Stella got up and went back to the futon. They sat in silence for a few minutes, and then Rachel asked Stella to describe her experience. “ Well, I felt like a bird flying around,” Stella said. “ Was this a new experience for you?” “No, when I was younger, I would dream about being a bird, but I haven’t had those
dreams in a long time.” “ That was your way of detaching from your environment,” Rachel said matter-of-factly. “ Oh, okay,” Stella said, not really understanding what it meant. Still, she felt tears start to build in her eyes. But Stella couldn’t allow herself to cry because she
was afraid she wouldn’t stop. She had just met Rachel, and she couldn’t cry in front of someone she had just met. She shifted around on the futon. She didn’t want to talk about flying anymore. Rachel said nothing for a while. They just sat there in silence. Stella heard the birds chirping outside and the wind blowing through the trees. It was springtime and the buds on the grapevines were starting to unfurl into leaves; she gazed at them through the glass door. They were that pure spring green, so fresh, so new.

“We’re almost done for today,” Rachel said. “ Here is what I picked up. I think your mom probably drank alcohol when she was pregnant with you. She didn’t want to be pregnant. She didn’t want another baby at that time. That’s why she drank. “ You know, Stella, not being wanted is one of the deepest wounds a person can have. This wound is responsible for your loneliness in this world, and it’s also responsible for your toughness, your ability to survive. You had to be tough to survive in your mom’s womb.” As Rachel talked, a picture rose in Stella’s mind. She saw her mother, Shirley, sitting at the kitchen table, wearing a camel-colored dress and smoking a cigarette. A brownish drink in what Stella thought was called a “lowball” cocktail glass was in front of her. Her rounded belly pushed against the table. Stella wanted to cry; she could feel the tears pushing their way forward, but she clamped down hard inside so she wouldn’t. It was hard for Stella to cry in front of people she didn’t know. “ It’s okay,” said Rachel. “ You’ll cry when you cry. You will learn to let goof all this grief. This is the start of your healing work. You will replace all your old beliefs with new ones.” Somehow, Stella had held the grief in, but she knew she was on her way. And underneath the grief was an odd sense of relief—she wasn’t crazy, she wasn’t wrong; everything she had felt her whole life was true: the feeling of being a burden, abandoned, not important, not loved. It was all true because her parents had not wanted her. They still didn’t.Stella got up to go. Rachel picked up the eggplant-colored shawl from the floor and handed it to her. “ This represents a womb,” she said. “It is yours now.” Then she gave Stella the purple cord.

“This is our connection to each other,” she said. “Wear it whenever you feel anxious, and bring it to our next session.” “ Thank you,” said Stella as Rachel hugged her goodbye. Stella walked out the gate onto the street and back to her car. Her tears finally began to fall as she sat in her car. She thought how unusual this form of therapy was. Stella had never experienced anything like it before. She felt comfortable with Rachel and was optimistic. On her drive home, Stella passed by her old high school and saw that it was being torn down. She smiled and thought, The death of an old script!

Book Blurb

Getting Past Anxiety is an inspirational novel designed to help you reclaim your life. Follow the story of Stella Maris, a thirty-seven-year-old professional woman in the Pacific Northwest who is fighting to escape the shackles of anxiety. Stella’s inner prison is built on childhood trauma, and anxiety is its gatekeeper. In desperation, she reaches out to Rachel, a transformative healer, to help her find the key to reclaim her life. Stella’s story is ultimately about how we choose the quality of our life. This book will inspire you to start your own healing process so you can break the shackles of your anxiety and reclaim your life.

About the Author

Melissa A. Woods is an author, professional keynote speaker, life coach, and expert on anxiety disorders. She is also a licensed massage practitioner for over twenty years and successfully worked on clients with anxiety issues. Melissa spent years studying anxiety and learning how to heal from it. Her formal credentials and expertise include life coaching, therapeutic massage, creative writing, and sales and marketing. She received a Certificate of Memoir from the University of Washington and published works in Memoir Anthology of Writing from the University of Washington. What makes her expertise stand out is that Melissa had her own up-close-and-personal experience with anxiety disorder—she couldn’t get on a plane for twenty years, so she feels the pain of others when it comes to dealing with anxiety.

You can learn more about Melissa on her website.

You can purchase Getting Past Anxiety on Amazon.

Today’s Featured Author – Y.M. Sheree

Today I welcome author Y.M. Sheree to my blog. Her fourth book, Fantasy Island, came out in January.

Interview

Where were you born and where do you call home?

I was born in Lewes, Delaware and I reside in Portsmouth, Virginia.

What inspired you to write this book?

I wanted to do my twist on the old television show Fantasy Island.

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

The story actually turned out better than I could have imagined. I planned for it to be a standalone but my readers have asked for another book.

What was the most difficult thing/scene to write in this story?

The entire book was difficult for me to write. It was fifteen thousand more than what I am used to writing. I also had more characters to write than my normal four or five. I wanted this book to be better than my previous three.

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

I haven’t put too much of myself into my stories that much as of yet. The feistiness in a few is part of me.

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

Yes I have begun my latest project which is titled One Night to Forever.  Here is the synopsis for it: You can’t change everything in one night, but one night can change everything. – Unknown In the blink of an eye or one night your whole life could change. Two individuals on two separate paths in life all leading to the same goal of forever, or does it? Blake Reynolds has dedicated her career to being an OB/GYN with little focus on becoming a parent in the traditional way. With pressure to have a family, Blake considers alternative methods to not disrupt her goals. Could all of this change after a tipsy encounter a charity event? Trust issues have plagued Xavier Alexander’s life. Love is not on the table nor up for negotiations with his heart. One night with no names exchanged is all he could handle, or is it? Could this one night prove to be the biggest case and fight of his life? One night leads to discovering if there really is One Night to Forever!

How do you conceive your plot ideas?

My plot ideas usually come from watching television shows, songs, movies, or from my dreams. I have the craziest dreams possible I think.

Do you have an all time favorite book?

One of my all time favorite books would be The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner. I can’t remember how many times I read that book. I also loved Charlotte’s Web.

What book are you reading right now?

I don’t try to read any books while I am working on a new project. I have a ton of eBooks and paperback books I need to read though.

Book Blurb

“Forgive my fingers for when they find your body they will lose themselves.”
– Tyler Knott Gregson

If you were given the opportunity to fulfill all of your fantasies, would you take a chance of a lifetime? Are you in need of a spark of excitement in your life again? With the possibility of winning a trip to Fantasy Island you realize that there is more to this island than just its name. Four unsuspecting winners of the contest are about to embark on an adventurous journey that will forever change their lives.
Meet the Contest Winners: Melody Edwards, Johanna Michaels, Makayla Washington, and Jacob Winters. Melody is a wife of three years who has found herself having self-image issues. Johanna, is cursed with not being able to sustain relationships. Makayla is the soon to be wife, yet she never seems to be satisfied with her life. Jacob, is the widower who longs for love again but unsure if anyone would be able to fill that void. Although, their reasons may vary they all have one goal in common: escaping reality. Can this luxurious island fulfill all of their desires or will it leave them craving for more? Fantasy Island is full of twists, turns, and sensual moments to keep you on edge….

About the Author

Y. M. Sheree is an Army veteran who currently resides in Portsmouth, Virginia. She is a proud mother of two daughters, one a CNA and currently in College and the other is serving in the U.S. Army. A graduate of Colorado Technical University she has received two MBAs, one in Business Administration and the other in Project Management. While in High School a short story written about, King Author gained attention of the librarians. She switched her knight to a female and the damsel had been a male. Her best friend co-authored a book when they attended High School together.

While stationed in Germany, she tried her hand at poetry that she sent to a publishing company that turned her down stating her writing was journal entries and not poetry in 2009.  Her spirit crushed she put her pen down and stopped writing until 2015. Mary B. Morrison challenged aspiring writers to write a book in ninety days on Facebook. Y.M. Sheree took the challenge as a hobby to pass her time not knowing that later on that year her first published work Purple Haze would release in October 2015. She now has four published books on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com, Purple Haze, Purple Haze 2, The Switch Up, and her new release Fantasy Island.

In her spare time, she enjoys listening to music, playing video games on her Xbox one, and she is a diehard Baltimore Ravens fan and Golden State Warriors. Known for writing Erotica she plans on being versatile and write in different genres.

You can find out more about Y.M. Sheree on her website or follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

You can purchase Fantasy Island on Amazon.

Today’s Featured Author – Tracee Lydia Garner

Today I welcome author Tracee Lydia Garner to my blog. Her latest book, Deadly Affections, came out in March. You can purchase Deadly Affections on Amazon.

Interview

Where were you born and where do you call home?

I was born in Virginia just outside of our Nations Capital. I love Virginia even though I love warmer temps than we get in the winter but I  love living in a place where we get a glimpse of all four seasons. Right now, I live just 40 minutes from where I was born in a growing suburb, Sterling, VA. Sterling is a mix of people and transient groups from all over and I’m just ten minutes from Dulles Airport.

What or who inspired you to start writing?

I started writing out of depression and the rejection from the opposite sex that EVERYONE who is anyone goes through. I used my writing to deal with my many emotions having a disability and being in college – at that time. It was poetry at first and later longer stories where I would paint the picture of the perfect hero.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

That’s a great question. I really only considered myself a “writer” in the last few years. I wonder if all authors experience this but when you release those first few books, I want to that for many, not all, but many budding artists, and for me, for sure, just more so dabbling in the art, finding your way, finding what you like, don’t like. Only in the last few years have I taken time to really map, write down and plan where I’m going with my career and to do that at some point you have to declare you are Writer – Hear Me Roar, like Katy Perry. LOL 🙂 I just think that unless when you were young you said I’m going to be a writer, which I didn’t, you kind of work your way to that.  I will also say that creative types really struggle with sticking with things for the long term. We have tendencies to dabble here and there so staying long haul is hard.

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

I think the emotion of my books is all me. I feel things deeply – so I’m told- I think if nothing else, I know I’m good at description which I get complimented on but I think there is a certain emotion to my writing of the relationships. I think because I’ve had a disability, the longing seems to come through. Not to get deeply personal or emotional but for me, as a child and later as an adult and still to this day, not being able to participate in some things can cause me such emotional grief. Most people don’t know this and at the end of the day everyone has something that they must bear,  but it’s that left out or left behind feeling – that happens to me weekly and I think that I channel this longing to participate in love or family, imprinting if you will onto my characters. Too many vampire movies. LOL

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

I have several projects started at any given time. I do work on just one thing at a time but that doesn’t mean years ago, I wasn’t all over the place, starting parts here and there, I have about 5 projects in various stages but my next project is wrapping up the Parker family series. Book two is currently out now with Deadly Affections and the third installment will be finished in just another month (I’m almost done) or so as I hope to release it in October. Next year, I hope to re-release two stories for rights that have reverted back to me after updating covers and editing of course, and I had never finished the conclusion so I’ll release that third installment with the set this time around.

Do you write full-time? If so, what is your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?

I do not write full time I have a full-time job in health and human services. My days are mostly working, I may take some time away, about 30 minutes to an hour a day to just write out some notes I’m thinking about or dictate using my phone. If I can dictate about 800 words in an hour, I’m happy. I then write mostly on nights and weekends. When I get home from work, I’m ready to go and I’m a night person so I try to write 2-4 hours a night. While most of my stories are pieces ripped from the headline, I joke that if nothing else, the stories from the people I see daily that don’t listen to  my instructions for their lives and then end up in crisis are enough fodder for my books. I think that my last two books – Anchored Hearts and it’s sequel Deadly Affections should be marketed to social workers as a way from the to release, there is definitely a social worker feel to the professions my heroines experience in these last few books.

Those new ideas fuel writers to write. There is something magical that happens when you get those infant ideas. They are so awesome and the discovery of the characters, writing them, digging into them, writing them, it’s just something you want to do over and over again.

How do you conceive your plot ideas?

Most of my ideas are ripped from the headlines. There are some news stories that I have been so obsessed with like missing person cases – Natalie Holloway, Elizabeth Smart and locally here in the DC area and more recent – Relisha Rudd. When I obsess about these things, I try to create the story around whatever snippet I’m given in the news – building the beginning and the ending of the news pieces that come on. They are in the news for a short time and then we as the viewer are left to wonder whatever happened to them (usually never receiving an update which annoys me to no end). The plot usually comes to fit that news piece and being a pantser I’m just along for the ride and while it’s a mess in the beginning, I keep working at it until it makes perfect sense.

Do you outline your books or just start writing?

I’m a pantser, so nope.

Please tell us about your current release.

Deadly Affections explores what happens to two foster children who part ways, grow up and the turns and twists their lives take after a devastating tragedy – the twenty-year-old mystery of her sister’s death in the foster family, brings Leedra Henderson back to Virginia to find out what happened to her sister. Dexter is all grown up, a doctor now, desiring to help Leedra find the answers she seeks but when someone doesn’t want past deeds brought to light, it gets harder and harder, not to mention more dangerous to uncover the truth.

What kind of research did you do for this book?

I looked up a lot of unsolved cases and murders of children -which was quite sad- that had not been solved, even some blogs of foster kids, which is all a theme in Deadly Affections and then I also researched the process you go through when you report that your child is missing – as my character, Dexter Parker has to do when his daughter is snatched on her way to school. The heroine in Deadly Affections used to work on a Mercy Ship and I found a blog of a nurse on a Mercy Ship where she documents her experience abroad and that was so interesting. More often than not, I think I’m a lazy writer – Not really- but I try to write as far as setting goes, what I know. Building a world seems daunting to me thus I’d likely never do it. So I use real locations, real street names all of which are usually in and around my Virginia/DC/Maryland area here. I do use real estate/house hunting websites and I use mapquest to find the distance and if I need I’ll look online to see if I can read the local paper for a state I want to use but haven’t actually been there or know anything about.

Which of your characters is your favorite? Do you dislike any of them?

I only have had twice when I disliked my character and it wasn’t really that I disliked them, I disliked their name. I had a character I didn’t intend to revisit, he was a secondary character in another book and I named him Vondell. That annoyed me to revisit with him. I hated that name. LOL Then there is a character I’m exploring now with the same name as one of my horrible bosses. I gave him a nickname real quick. My favorite characters, of course, are the heroines but also surprisingly, the children. The children are an integral part of my stories and it wasn’t even something I had intentionally thought about or knew that I was doing but thinking back, there is a child in all 7 of my stories. They just came and I get to do little funny, quirky things with them that I can’t do with the adults. One of  my first jobs was at a daycare and I loved that time there with the children.

If you could be one of the characters from any of your books, who would it be and why?

I think I’d want to be one of the children in my book – probably Anchored Hearts, I’d love to have a chef for a big brother which is what little Hannah has. Her brother owns a restaurant and sadly thinking about her 1. I want to eat and 2. I don’t want to have to do anything except let the adults do all the stuff and I just get to come in every now and then with comedic lines or need of comforting. Hannah has some very big themes in her young little world, she is left at a shelter for abused women by drug-addict mother and she is the product of an illicit affair with a married well-to-do Senator, so her plight isn’t easy throughout the book but of course it’s romance so all will turn out happily. Hannah will get to enjoy the cooking of her brother by the end from then on to years to come.

Is there a specific place in the house (or out of the house) that you like to write?

I write and do just about everything on my Mac desktop. I love that computer, it’s like my boyfriend. LOL I got it only about 3 years ago, and it was my VERY first Mac. I think Macs are for creative types. I don’t know why I didn’t have one before then. I will say the learning curve was not easy, however, and I learned it in the middle of writing a book and I was SO frustrated (and do not recommend that ever) but I got through and now I feel I am more design conscious because of using a mac as oppose to a PC. I’m sure the Apple people are happy about that even if its’ all in our Mac-user head.

What book are you reading right now?

Right now, I’m reading some of the Love Inspired: Suspense by Harlequin and also some of the Desire imprints which are really quite short which I get done in about two days. When I’m writing, I don’t want to read something too lengthy but I’ve learned I MUST still read, it’s so important. I also just finished Warning Signs by Katy Lee, it’s about a Deaf principal that’s being targeted by some kids into drugs. It was good and very interesting. I will be on a panel this year that discussed disability in the romance genre so I’ve been reading more novels that feature a character with a disability in preparation for my panel this July in Orlando.

Book Blurb

Displaying TraceeLydiaGarner_DeadlyAffections_HR copy .jpegHow far would you go to uncover the truth?

Psychologist Leedra Henderson has a hidden motive in abandoning everything to accept a new job at the Anchored Empowerment Center. She secretly hopes that the new position will help her to investigate her own past – and to finally uncover the real story behind a string of mysterious deaths at her childhood foster home.

Now a strong, independent woman, Leedra doesn’t need help: she wants to seek justice, and she will. Alone.

Can you really limit your involvement when love is on the ticket?

Dexter Parker needs his own answers about that time in the foster home so long ago. A grown man reeling from the fallout of a broken marriage, Dexter’s rational mind tells him never to try the risks of love again – but he knows he could fill in the blanks for Leedra, if only it doesn’t end up costing him his heart.

More urgently, Dexter needs to save the determined Leedra from the results of her detective work, before it all blows up in her face and costs both of them their lives.

Can the pair set aside their painful histories, avenge the lives that have been lost and – who knows – discover new love?

About the Author

Tracee Lydia Garner is a bestselling, award-winning author who writes stories full of complex heroes and heroines, relationships and families that experience tough but realistic life challenges in their quest for love. She also has penned her sixth book but first nonfiction project about life’s universal challenges and the take-aways we should learn from each one. A Virginia native, Tracee works in health and human service at a Virginia-based nonprofit organization by day.

You can find out more about Tracee by visiting her website, or connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

You can purchase Deadly Affections on Amazon.

Today’s Featured Author – Marie Lavender

Please welcome Marie Lavender to my blog. She released her book, Upon Your Love, the third book in her Heiresses in Love series, in February. Please enjoy this excerpt.  

Excerpt

The neigh of a horse brought her out of her reverie and she looked over, but her mare stood quietly beside the stream. Adrienne’s instincts nagged at her and she stood up, her ears on alert. The clomp of hoof beats came to her on the swift afternoon breeze. Was the rider coming from the estate or perhaps it was simply a stranger? In any case, a sense of unease grew in the pit of her stomach and she reached down to unearth a small dagger Gabriel had gifted to her two summers ago. She kept it in a sheath around her thigh. Gabe had always said that if she didn’t have a sword on hand, it was best to have something. And she couldn’t agree more.

She clucked her tongue to alert Persephone and led her quickly by the reins under the cover of the trees. The rider was closer now and her mare shifted uneasily, blowing a breath out of her nose. She must have heard the approaching horse as well. “Shh. It’s all right,” Adrienne whispered, stroking her neck. She tied the reins to a tree and waited.

When the rider appeared from the forest, she couldn’t see him clearly. It was a man—that much she was certain—but the lapels of his dark coat and the thicket of limbs brushing her face kept her from placing his identity. He had dark hair and was tall, his body lean and muscled. She watched as he got down from a fine, black stallion and led it to the stream for a rest. The man took a drink from his cupped hands. He wiped the remnants of the water from his chin, and then seemed to search the area nearby. She shivered. Was it possible the man had been tracking her? If that was the case, her dagger would certainly come in handy. Adrienne crouched on alert, spying through her vantage point in the trees. From behind, she observed as the tension eased from his shoulders and he sighed.

A frisson of unease ran through her again. Taking it as a sign, she confirmed he was still faced away before she quietly eased out of her haven. Stepping up behind him, she lifted her dagger to his throat. A smile of grim determination danced over her lips as he stiffened.

“Who are you? Why are you here? Are you following me?”

“What if I was?”

Fine shivers moved along the surface of her skin, caused by the deep timbre of his voice.

“I would have to ask for your reasons, Monsieur.”

“I haven’t come to kidnap you, if that’s what you’re worried about,” he sighed. “I didn’t expect you’d be prepared. I commend the effort, of course.”

She frowned. The compliment threw her for a moment, but she then brushed it off. Surely, he ridiculed her, and thought he could overtake her somehow. She shook her head. He would be gravely disappointed.

“You will state your reasons for your presence and your identity, sir.”

“And if I don’t?”

“You will regret it, of course.”

“Indeed? Do you intend to harm an unarmed man?”

She scoffed. “Unarmed? No, I doubt that. With the way you appeared to be tracking me, I am sure you’re quite armed.”

“Right again. What will you do about it?”

She shrugged. “This is Bellamont land. You’ve clearly trespassed. If I must, I will drag you straight back to the house. You know, I believe the foreman has a Winchester sporting rifle. He can be quite formidable when he puts his mind to the task.”

“I’m sure,” he murmured.

“What say you then?”

“I say, Mademoiselle, that you have no idea who you’re dealing with.”

Before she could open her mouth to take him to task, she felt a blow to her arm and the numbing pain caused her to drop the knife. Everything else happened in a blur. As he turned, he caught her leg, which caused her to collapse. But, before she landed, he grasped her up in his arms. He was too close, she thought. Panic threatened inside of her, but she fought it by degrees. She was a fighter, not some idiot who would succumb to a man’s power. Gabriel had taught her many tricks, as had her father. She forced herself to go limp so that he’d pull her closer. She let her eyes drift closed and pretended to have swooned.

Mon Dieu,” he whispered.

Then she unmanned him with a swift rise of her knee. He coughed out a grunted response, releasing her.

She retreated from him, intent on finding her dagger, but did not see it. The leaves in the grass crunched beneath her hands and knees as she struggled to her feet. She would have to rely on the resources of the forest to save her if he pursued further. Somehow, she doubted he’d be able to. She turned and her mouth dropped open as she looked at her attacker.

His dark hair had fallen over one eye and he was hardly doubled over in pain. No, he scowled at her now and he seemed quite well. She’d missed her target, she realized. His identity shocked her further. She felt quite stupid for not recognizing him, even from behind. But, why had Christian tried to attack her?

 “How…,” she whispered.

“You are not as fast as I, Mademoiselle.” Then he laughed, but there was no mirth in his expression. His eyes seemed darker suddenly. “You little brat,” he bit out. “You almost had me.”

She sucked in a breath and, when she saw him advance, she backed away. But, it effectively put her back right up against a nearby tree. She cursed. Christian closed in, blocking her in with his arms as he braced his hands on the tree trunk. Her breaths came out in harsh pants and her stomach had fallen somewhere at her feet. Dear God, what would he do? She jerked her arms out to break his hold, but his muscles were like the ratlines between the shrouds of a mast in a ship’s rigging. Solid. Struggling with his obvious intimidation of her, she managed, “Why are you trying to kidnap me?”

Some of the arrogance left his face. “I’m not. I thought we already established that.”

“Then why… this?” she asked, weakly. And why couldn’t she breathe? His clean, male scent caused her to feel lightheaded. No, she thought. That just had to be terror.

“I wanted to get you alone so that we could continue our plans. I didn’t mean for you to see me as a threat. I certainly didn’t expect a dagger at my throat.” He reached out and cupped her face, stroking the line of her jaw gently with his thumb.

Adrienne gazed into his nearly black eyes. She thought she saw a hint of admiration and something more, perhaps desire, in his gaze.

“P… plans?” she stammered, annoyed with the hypnotic effect he had on her. And what was that strange, but wonderful scent coming off him? She detected cologne which contained a hint of fresh pine. But then, she’d smelled it before, both in her room and at the Broussard’s engagement party. Even though the fragrance was pleasant, she tried to ignore it.

“Our matchmaking endeavor, chére.”

“Oh. That.”

“Yes, that. Did you forget?”

She cleared her throat. “No, of course not.” Her resolve returned in full force then. She slapped his hand aside and sidestepped him. Stalking away to locate Persephone, she unearthed her mare from the brush in no time. When she returned, he still stood there, watching her. She shivered again.

Mon Dieu, she thought. Why was this happening to her? Why did the man tie her in knots?

Book Blurb

The Hill family saga concludes as loyalties are questioned, faiths will be tested and undying love may come at a terrible cost…

Fara Hill, mother and faithful wife, is torn between her family at home and her urge to be at sea. Soon, she learns some disturbing truths. Was the past a fairy tale instead of reality?

Chloe Hill, loving wife and young mother, questions her faith when her husband sets an ultimatum she cannot meet. Will she be able to keep her marriage from falling apart?

Adrienne Bellamont Hill, born of a valiant captain and a fiery redhead, is untamed to her core and will bow to no man. Then Christian du Plessis enters her life with an offer she can’t refuse. Discovering the man behind the polished gentleman, she is drawn to him in many ways. Holding out for love is a family tradition, but can she resist the temptation of passion?

Christian finds this young woman to be a fascinating challenge, and is torn between keeping his distance from her and succumbing to her charms. A fierce battle of wills ensues as he sees she is much more than he ever imagined.

But danger lurks, threatening to destroy everything…

Can these two strong-willed individuals unite in the cause before time runs out?

About the Author

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for a little over twenty-five years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Since 2010, Marie has published 22 books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller, dramatic fiction, literary fiction and poetry. She has also contributed to several multi-author anthologies. Her current series are The Heiresses in Love Series, The Magick Series, The Blood at First Sight Series and The Code of Endhivar Series.

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

You can purchase Upon Your Love on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Today’s Featured Author – John Ukah

Please welcome author John Ukah to my blog. His book, Murder at Midnight, was released in November.

Interview

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is John Ukah. I am a graduate of Business Administration from the University of Benin, Benin City. I am a banker and an Associate of the Institute of Capital Market Registrars (ACMR).

Where were you born and where do you call home?

I was born in Delta State of Nigeria. But I have always considered Benin City in Edo State home because that’s where I grew up. That’s where my parents live.

What or who inspired you to start writing?

I have always kept a personal journal. Writing is exhilarating and therapeutic. The books I grew up reading, influenced my writing.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When people asked me to write stories or essays for them and were willing to pay for it.

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

My writing is usually inspired by conversations with others and personal experiences. I am also blessed with a fertile imagination, which gives wings to such experiences or conversations.

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

It is a detective thriller that affirms the point of duty on young men and women to make the right choices with their eyes open. It contains love, pitiful criminalities, investigations, assumptions and deceits.

Do you write full-time? If so, what is your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?

I work in a bank. It is challenging finding time to write with a banking job. However, we do find a way though to do the things we love.

What is the best and worst advice you ever received? (regarding writing or publishing)

Best advice is that writing is an evolving process. We get better at what we do constantly. Worst advice is that a writer has to sit and wait for inspiration. Writing is work and a commitment to get the task done.

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

The best thing is the fun in doing what you love. Living the life you dream about. The worst or hardest thing is that you don’t get to spend as much time with friends and family as desired. You have to make time for your writing.

What fuels you as an author to continue to write?

Writing is cathartic and some stories demand to be told.

 

Do you outline your books or just start writing?

An outline helps in developing the plot. I prepare broad outlines and chapter plans. I write a few chapters at a time and not necessarily in a sequential order.

Book Blurb

murder-at-midnightAlex Simpson, an ex-police officer, decides after a bout of typhoid fever to take a break in a serene and therapeutic environment. The last thing he expects is to be called upon to solve a murder at the Kinging Guest Lodge. But that is what happens, when the delectable and vivacious Maria Marshall is found dead in her bedroom at midnight.

The gallery of characters living at the guest-house and thrown into the mix, does not make his task of solving this chilling and brutal murder any easier …

 

About the Author

john-ukalaJohn Ukah is a seasoned banker and Associate of the Institute of Capital Market Registrars (ACMR). He is a graduate of Business Administration from the University of Benin, where he was listed as University Scholar. He also holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration (MBA).

You can purchase Murder at Midnight from Amazon, Amazon UK (and the other Amazon affiliates by searching his name), Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, the Kobo Store, Apple, and Okadabooks.

 

Today’s Featured Author – Jessica Rowan

Please welcome author Jessica Rowan to my blog. Be sure to check out an excerpt of her book, The Circle of Candles, after this short interview. (Can’t wait to get her book? It is available on Amazon.)

Interview

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m British, originally from the south-east of England. I’m currently in central Europe teaching English as a foreign language and carving out time to write and play music (I like to sing and play a little guitar). My writing often revolves around my love of nature and animals – I had a dog for eleven years who sadly died and I now have three adopted stray cats and am trying to resist the temptation to adopt a new dog. I’m not sure how long I can last out…

What inspired you to write this book?

I woke in the middle of the night with the opening scene of the book in my mind’s eye. I saw a dog watching a silver flame descending from the ceiling onto a sleeping girl’s hand, giving her the ability to speak with him. I didn’t know who they were or what was happening – I had to write the book to find out!

Did you base any of your characters on real people?

No, absolutely not. I think the only person they resemble are perhaps parts of myself – Amy’s love of animals and nature, Robin’s myopia and annoying quality of being so precise about everything, Alex’s sadness at his parents’ separation – it’s all tiny bits of my own life that I unconsciously used as inspiration. It’s only afterwards that I realised. I don’t think I could ever write about other people I know – I would feel like it was a betrayal of trust somehow.

Is there a specific place in the house (or out of the house) that you like to write?

We have a tiny house so most rooms have more than one purpose. I often sit at the kitchen table – it’s quiet and warm in the winter, plus I can see down the garden and look at the trees to give my eyes a rest from the computer screen. I sometimes go into town to the library, especially for reading through some chapters and getting a fresher insight for edits and rewrites.

What book are you reading right now?

I’m currently reading The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger.

Do you have an all-time favorite book?

One book? Can I have three? Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights – I read and studied it at school  and it’s still a firm favourite. A more modern novel I really enjoyed is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon and I also love Bill Bryson’s Notes from a Small Island.

Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE – The Flame

Grey wasn’t a young dog. That’s not to say that he was old, certainly not, but he frequently nodded off in front of the television, his joints ached a little more than he would have liked and he definitely preferred to sleep uninterrupted through the night. None of this would stop him from protecting Amy, of course. Nothing would ever stop him from protecting Amy.

So when this not-young but certainly-not-old dog was roused in the middle of the night, he felt just a little bit grumpy. He pulled himself up out of his basket to pace the attic room, tail moving low and slow. He pressed his nose to the wooden floor and sniffed back and forth, casting a furtive glance at the bed. Amy was fast asleep as usual, her tousled hair escaping in blond curls from the top of the duvet, her breathing deep and regular.

The dog cocked his head and scanned the darkened room, holding his breath and listening intently. Nothing. But he knew something had woken him, a smell or a difference in the air.

All at once he heard a faint noise, a small sound like the burst of a tiny flame springing to life above him. Grey looked up just in time to see a pin-prick of light appear in the dark-beamed ceiling. He growled softly as it descended, a silvery glow gliding downwards. It had sounded like a flame because that’s exactly what it was; a silver, flickering flame falling gently. Down and down it came, a huge journey for such a tiny thing, until it landed on the back of Amy’s hand and instantly disappeared without a sound.

Grey sniffed Amy’s skin where the flame had been, a soft growl subsiding in his throat. He gently licked her hand and stood for some time with his head cocked to one side. His hackles gradually smoothed and, as there seemed nothing else to do, he got back into his basket and sighed.

‘Did I hear a noise, Grey? What was that?’

‘Nothing, Amy, go back to sleep.’

‘But I thought I heard someone strike a match and something touched my hand…’

‘Don’t worry, I’m looking after you. Go back to sleep.’

Amy sighed and rolled over. She peeped over the edge of the bed at Grey curled in a tight circle, his nose tucked under his tail.

‘I was dreaming you were talking to me again, Grey. I do love you so, you soft old dog.’

‘I love you too, Amy.’

The girl looked down at Grey, her eyes big and round in the darkness of the night.

‘What?’

‘I said I love you too, Amy.’

‘You said… you what?’

The girl jumped out of bed, lay down on the rug in her nightdress and wrapped her arms around the dog’s shaggy shoulders.

‘You can understand me? You can speak to me?’ She pulled away and looked at him for several moments. ‘I don’t believe it! I just don’t…’

She hugged him, burying her face into his fur before pulling away to stare at him again.

‘Nip me, Grey,’ she said, shaking her head in disbelief. ‘I must be dreaming. I’ve dreamt for so many years that you could talk. Nip me!’ She burst into a fit of giggles as the dog softly nibbled her hand with his front teeth.

‘Okay, that’s enough. So I’m not dreaming. Ow, stop! That hurts!’ The girl looked down at her hand and squinted in the low light. ‘What’s that?’ she said, jumping up and running to the window. She wrenched back the curtain to allow the moonlight to stream in and held her hand up to the light. There, glistening on the back of her hand, was a small, silvery mark in the shape of a flame. She stared over at Grey once more, her eyes shining, and spoke in a very small voice.

‘What is it, Grey?’

The dog just looked at her and shrugged his shaggy shoulders.

***

The wind had picked up so suddenly in the street that morning, no one was prepared for it. Women tried in vain to button up their children’s coats, men’s ties and jackets were whipped into the air and some people swore that whichever way you walked, it always seemed that you were fighting against the wind. A white-haired woman came out from a side alley, pursed her lips and peered at the wind-swept pedestrians and the litter swirling like confetti in the air.

Just an old lady, doddering along in a flimsy beige raincoat with a wicker basket on the crook of her arm. But if anyone had bothered to look they would have seen that not a single hair on her head moved and her coat hung straight down, completely undisturbed by the wind.

‘It must have begun,’ she muttered to herself as she shuffled up the road, joining the people battling their way to work and school.

***

‘You’re looking pleased with yourself. What have you been up to?’ Amy’s dad came into the kitchen and ruffled her blonde curls. For once, Amy didn’t pull away or complain. She just smiled up at her father, her eyes sparkling.

‘Nothing, Dad, just feel happy today. Do I have to have a reason?’

Her dad chuckled and began putting out cups and cereal bowls on the kitchen table. ‘It’s just good to see you smiling, that’s all, love.’

His eyes shone as he looked back at his daughter, then glanced quickly towards a small photo in a silver frame leaning against the white china plates on the sideboard. It was a picture taken on a family holiday, a slender blonde woman squinted into the sun on a beach, smiling and cuddling a young Amy in one arm. Her other hand grasped the lead of a scruffy young grey dog who was trying desperately to wriggle out of his collar.

‘It’s been a while since any of us have had much to smile about…’ Dad’s voice trailed off and he changed the subject. ‘Got anything planned today? I thought we could go out, make the most of the weekend. The weather’s turned a bit stormy but we could go  somewhere in the car if you like?’

‘I don’t know, I’ll have to talk to Grey first,’ Amy said, then put her hand over her mouth. ‘I mean, I’ll have to walk Grey first and well, you know…’ With that, Amy jumped off her stool and hurried out of the kitchen, Grey close at her heels.

Her dad watched her and shook his head, smiling to himself as he put her unused bowl and cup back on the sideboard. He picked up a remote control and switched on the television in the corner of the kitchen. A middle-aged man frowned and stared into the camera.

‘…we’re currently suffering the worst autumn weather since records began, with severe gales turning to rain, plummeting temperatures and even some early falls of snow in certain areas.’ The man frowned even more deeply and turned his back to the camera, circling his finger vaguely over a map behind him. ‘The Met Office has issued a warning for our region, severe storms are forecast causing gale-force winds during the night and…’

Amy’s father sighed and hit the off-button on the remote and the weatherman and his map shrunk instantly to a tiny dot and disappeared.

***

‘What’re you staring at, old woman?’ spat the tall, pale stranger, his silver-blue eyes glittering as he strode past the bus stop.

‘I’m looking at someone else who isn’t moved by the Wild Wind,’ the woman answered, her voice high and clear above the gale. She studied the man’s motionless black leather coat and his long, fair hair that lay lank and still across his shoulders.

‘So? This is nothing. You want to see a real storm, one that will even blow your blue rinse around? Wait until tomorrow, old woman.’ He stood for a second longer before striding off, leaving the woman staring at his back.

‘Ah, we’ll see about that. We’ll see which way the Wild Wind blows in the end,’ muttered the woman to herself as she hoisted her basket up onto the bus.

***

Three days had passed since Grey had spoken his first words to Amy. To put it more correctly, three days had passed since Amy had started to hear Grey speaking. He swore that he’d been talking to her for years, ever since he was a puppy and had first arrived at her home.

‘You just didn’t seem to understand me,’ he said in his soft, gravelly voice, ‘Well, some things you got, like when I wanted my dinner, that you seemed to understand. But anything more complicated seemed to go over your head. I wondered if you weren’t just a little bit simple…’

Amy giggled and wrapped her arms around his shaggy neck. She loved Grey’s sense of humour and they spent hours talking and laughing. They had to be careful though that no one else heard. Amy had become convinced that other people could only hear her speaking and she didn’t want a reputation as a crackpot, so most of their conversations took place at night in hushed whispers. This was one of those nights, but it was getting late and Amy was tired.

‘Let’s go to sleep now, Grey. We can talk more tomorrow. Dad’ll be out all afternoon.’ She patted the dog’s shoulder and was just reaching out to turn the bedside lamp off when a dark shape scuttled across the rug and disappeared under the bed. Amy let out an involuntary squeal and tucked her legs up under the covers, shuddering all over.

‘What are you squealing at? You scared me half to death!’ A small, slightly irritated voice came from under the bed and Amy’s eyes widened in astonishment. Grey moved closer to the bed and sniffed gently at the rug.

‘Who’s that? Who’s there?’ asked Amy gently.

‘Me, of course!’ The small voice sounded totally exasperated now. ‘What is it with humans, huh? You’re so huge, scare the bejeebers out of me, and yet you squeal whenever you see one of us. Just your foot is a whole lot bigger than me, possibly even your toe. And don’t even show me your slipper! More of my close family and friends than I care to count have come to a bad end under a well-aimed slipper. Poor old ma and pa – both victims of slipper-death. And all us children to feed…’

There were sounds of sniffing and a stifled sob as Amy shuffled across the bed to dangle her head upside down and peak over the edge. She saw a large spider, his dark shape cowering in the corner and she watched it raise a spindly leg to wipe away a tear from one of its many eyes.

‘Oh don’t cry! I’m so sorry…’

‘Well, I’m not blaming you personally for anything, Amy Fey, that’s for sure,’ the spider looked straight at her and held her gaze with several beady eyes. ‘You’re well-known as being thoughtful and gentle with my kind. You may not remember, but you scooped me out of the bath with a glass several times this year. Most people would have just washed me down the drain…’ Tears were welling from the spider’s eyes once more. ‘You’re well-known and well-loved, Amy Fey… just stop it with the shuddering.’

‘I’m sorry, it’s just a natural reaction. But you’re right, it’s silly.’ Amy looked again at the spider and this time she didn’t shudder, not even a tiny bit. He was actually quite cute, with his furry legs and sad expression in his numerous eyes. ‘But what I don’t understand is how we can talk to each other.’ She turned from the spider to Grey. ‘Does this mean I can talk to all animals?’

The dog and the spider both looked at her and shrugged their shoulders.

Book Blurb

circle-of-candlesWhen Amy Fey awakes in the night with a silver flame burned on the back of her hand and the ability to converse with Grey, her pet dog, she can’t imagine that this will be the beginning of a perilous adventure that will test her strength of mind, body and character. She soon finds out that Grey isn’t the only animal that has a word or two to say to her – from Marmaduke, the overly-emotional spider under her bed, to Seff the giggling centipede, all the creatures are there to tell her a tiny piece of the puzzle that she, a newly-appointed Flame Bearer, has to solve. Her grandmother, always enigmatic, often absent when most needed, knows more than she is telling, and her dead mother seems to have taken a secret or two with her to the grave.

Amy’s quest to find out her family secrets and to fulfill her role as a Flame Bearer takes her to the Circle of Candles, a dazzling ring of towering silver-flamed candles, taller than the forests that surround it. An irritable guardian, a talking statue named Pierre, must be appeased and later saved from destruction, puzzles must be solved, and the purpose of the Circle must be revealed. The journey takes Amy into a magical world, desperately seeking her beloved runaway dog, where she meets with other Flame Bearers and animals.

The Flame Bearers must work together to save the Circle from destruction by their nemesis Yotin the Pale One. They discover that the Circle is the fountain of happiness for the world, the source that people tap into when they love and laugh, and without it the human race would live out its days in abject misery. Pale Ones thrive on these negative emotions and desire only one thing – to destroy this source of joy and feed on human despair until the end of time.

About the Author

Jessica Rowan is a Brit, currently lost in central Europe. She shares her tiny house and wild garden with her husband, a glaring of cats and numerous interlopers including stray dogs, hedgehogs, rabbits and a passel of pigeons.

Jessica was reluctant at school but found a love of education later in life, now spending her time writing, playing music and teaching English. She likes the colour blue, reading late at night, buttered toast with marmite, strong PG Tips tea and the smell of a freshly-walked wet dog.

You can purchase The Circle of Candles on Amazon.