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JENNIFER LEE ROSSMAN GUEST POST @_BookMistress


Jack Jetstark travels the universe to seek out the descendants of superpowered freaks created long ago by VesCorp scientists. The vibrations encoded in a particular song transform the members of Jack’s crew into a firebreather and an angel, a wildman and telepathic conjoined triplets, so they hide the truth of who they really are with the theatrics of a carnival.

The song plays every night through the receptor Jack carries with them, but when one night it has a different ending and their temporary powers become permanent, Jack believes the change is a signal from the woman who sent him on this quest in the first place. He and his freaks must navigate a universe at war to protect the love of his life.

But does the ruler of VesCorp really need protecting?

Buy Links: Amazon Barnes and Noble iTunes Kobo

Author Jennifer Lee Rossman is a disabled and autistic freak, and proudly so. Her work has been featured in many anthologies and her debut novella, Anachronism, was published by Kristell Ink in 2018.

She blogs at http://jenniferleerossman.blogspot.com/ and tweets @JenLRossman.

You’re having a dinner party and you can invite any 5 people, living or dead. Who would crack the nod and why?

First person is Martha Stewart, because no way am I cooking anything for this dinner party. A domestic goddess, I am not. I’m more the goddess of knowing fun facts no one cares about. (So probably Seshat, Egyptian goddess of knowledge. Which is a fun fact no one cares about, thus proving my point.)

So who is Martha cooking for? You might expect a writer to invite, you know, writers, but for me, writing was the fallback position when I realized I wasn’t going to be a paleontologist/astrophysicist who moonlights as a Disney Princess. My first heros were scientists. And Princess Jasmine, but you didn’t say I could invite fictional people so we’ll go with scientists:

Nikola Tesla. My favorite asexual OCD pigeon fanboy. (Oh god, someone tell Martha not to make squab!) We’ll throw shade at that petty bitch Thomas Edison all night. In my mind, Tesla was super catty and I will thank everyone to not disillusion me.

Ada Lovelace. First computer programmer, daughter of Lord Byron, and basically a real life princess. I hear she liked gambling. That might make for some fun after dinner activities.

Mary Anning. My favorite paleontologist (full list available upon request — not even kidding), and the inspiration for the tongue twister about selling seashells. I’ll ask her what she thinks of Jurassic Park’s featherless raptors and ignore everyone else because I’m autistic and I reeeaally like talking about dinosaurs.

Neil deGrasse Tyson. The man who taught me it’s okay to be pedantic about scientific inaccuracies as long as you’ve got a cool vest on. Mostly I just want to fangirl at him and ask him to read my book. (I thanked him in the acknowledgements.)

And then after dinner and gambling, Martha can teach us all to make some fun harvest crafts and we can discuss our favorite count of Aida cloth. Yes, folks, I’m a triple threat: writer, nerd, and cross stitcher.

“First thing you’ve got to know,” I said, brushing my hair from my face as the wind began to pick up, “is that we’re all freaks. Everyone in the whole universe, for one reason or another. Most try to hide this fact. A few of us embrace it, not so much because we want to but because there’s nothing else for us. So we show people the terrifying and unseemly parts of us no one wants to see, and we charge ’em good money to see it.”

Lily stepped forward and knelt to display her shoulders and back, all bare, featherless skin down to the dangerously low neckline of her sequined dress. “See? No wings.”

“But you flew,” Cara insisted. “If it isn’t costumes and harnesses, then what?”

I held up the receiver, a small wooden box the size of my hand with a speaker on one side and images of galaxies and solar systems carved into the others. Not the most advanced technology, but I wouldn’t have anything else.

I checked the time. Soon.

I debated how much to tell her. No matter how many times I tried to explain it, it never sounded remotely plausible, but I had to warn her. Seeing the end result was one thing; seeing it happen before your eyes was another matter entirely, though the complete truth was an ancient burden none of them deserved to be saddled with.

“The music plays,” I said. “Same song, same time every night, and it triggers something inside us. That feeling you had, like you were made of magic? That’s what it feels like when your DNA recognizes a song, even if you’ve never heard it before.”

She stared at me in eager anticipation, nodding slowly. Whether she actually believed me or was just humoring me, I couldn’t say, but it was a nice change from the usual interruptions of “that’s impossible” and “science doesn’t work that way.”

I cast a sideways glance at Theon, who had given me more trouble than the others, and continued. “Makes you feel alive, like there’s a purpose to your existence and you can do the impossible, and that ain’t just in your mind. We’re all freaks, but we—” I motioned to my crew. “Well, we’re different. Our bodies hear that song, and it triggers our genes to change, to grow into… I don’t know, the true selves that live in our heart or some sentimental crap like that.”

“How poetic,” Lily said with a laugh. She looked up at Cara. “I know it’s hard to understand. It happens to me every night, and I still have no idea how it works, but I can fly, Merulo becomes the feral wildman, Parthen and the boys really can read each others’ minds and feel each others’ pain… Jack breathes fire and gains the ability to give impassioned speeches without sounding like an uninterested jerk.”

I checked the time again.

“So what changed in you?” Pneuman asked with earnest interest. “During the music, I mean?”

Cara hesitated, almost like she was afraid of hearing the absurdity out loud.

“I turn into a wild beast,” Merulo pointed out quietly. “And these three grow into one, psychic organism. Whatever you’re about to say will probably be the most normal thing we’ve heard in months.”

After another moment’s thought, Cara rolled up her sleeves. Her arms, though pale peach and freckled like her face, gleamed in the diminishing sun.

I reached out to touch her. Cold, almost metallic. That explained how she opened the lock.

“You’re a cyborg,” I said, tapping my nail on her forearm to hear the clinking sound. They just couldn’t get the texture right, no matter how hard they tried.

Her moon didn’t seem like the type of place to have a neurologist trained in bio implants, and I doubted anyone there could afford to travel to see one.

“Fancy. Who wired it into your brain?”

“I did it all myself.” She held up a hand and demonstrated the various functions and attachments installed in her fingers, glossing right over the fact that she had just admitted to performing brain surgery on herself. She yanked her sleeves down. “And I’m not a cyborg,” she clarified. “I’m just good with electronics and I like gadgets. My dad says it’s bad to be a cyborg.”

“Well, I tell you what, kid. You can’t make a person change by pointing out their flaws, but you can be the one person who doesn’t try to.”

“I’ve always had a connection to electronics,” she said, shyly extending a hexagonal wrench from her forefinger, “like I could talk to them. But when I heard the music… something happened.”

I checked my watch. Not long now. “Yeah, something always happens. What matters is what happened to you, kid.”

“They… talked back.” Her words came slow at first, her reluctance to being different still holding her back, but as she talked, she grew more excited, more animated. “I could hear the messages stored on the phones of everyone around me, could see the last videos that played on their contact lenses. I could see the blueprints of your ship in my head. She’s an Aldebaran cargo ship, Highwire model. Superluminal capability, more weapons than she came out of the factory with, and she has a capacitor that should be repaired soon. And I felt like, if I wanted to, I could touch any source of power on the ship and control everything remotely.”

“Ready to feel that way again?” I asked, holding out the transmitter as showtime approached.

And passed.

It was time, but the music didn’t play. The music didn’t play.

Why didn’t the music play?

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LOVE IS NEVER PAST TENSE @HerCountyGirl

 

Love is Never Past Tense
Janna Yeshanova
Published: April 23, 2013

 

Purchase here

 

 

A couple’s quick romance and hasty marriage is torn apart by family and fate, leaving them to face the collapse of the Soviet Union separately. Years later, old memories are stirred to give their love a second chance.


Serge and Janna’s chance meeting at a Black Sea beach sparks a passionate romance and a quick marriage. Serge’s parents, suspicious of Janna’s motives and heritage, force him to break up with her. As the Soviet Union collapses, revealing ethnic and social pressures, each faces danger separately. Serge drowns in self-doubt, his life spiraling down and in. Janna plots a dangerous exodus to America with her mother and daughter. Years pass, stirring old emotions. Then, changing circumstances give their love a second chance. Janna Yeshanova tells a story, providing a very personal view of political and social change.

 

Love is Never Past Tense is part romantic drama and part a look at real people responding to life-changing events, but mostly a suspense adventure about living through one of the biggest changes in living memory.

 

 

Read an Excerpt:

 

The old man sat on the stern of the boat, lowering his thin, wiry legs into the water. They were approaching the end of their days faster than their owner: the veins that had survived the surgeries had become a bluish, knotted spider web. The old man’s feet were always cold, even during warm weather. But now the seawater, warmed by the sun, stroked them, pleasing him.

 

He had already been sitting like this for fifteen minutes, slowly moving the soles of his feet, every now and then dangling them over the water and then lowering them into the waves nearly lapping over the edge of the boat. It was quiet. The sun was shining high above the old man’s head, casting its heat on his shoulders and the nape of his neck. It was time to turn the boat around, but he knew that soon enough the slow waves would eliminate the need, directing his vessel so that his back would face the sun. He could have sat at the bow of the boat, but then his feet wouldn’t have reached the water. Besides, sitting like that wouldn’t have been comfortable at all. What exactly is the point of these needless actions anyway, when time inexorably draws him to an event, the sole purpose of which he had sailed here? It was supposed to happen at sunset; when the sun dips down to meet the sea’s horizon. This is what he had decided.

 

But now the sun was reaching its zenith, leaving him with an overabundance of time. He sat calmly, relishing his solitude…

 

* * *
Long ago, there was a similar boat. A young and virile man rowed confidently, deliberately moving his female satellite away from the beach and the shrill sounds of a multitude of tourists. She reclined on the boat’s stern, her long legs stretched out and her hands clasped behind her head. In this position her breasts achieved monstrous proportions. Once in a while, she bent towards the stern of the boat and lowered her palm into the water, enjoying how it streamed through her fingers. Of course, sitting on the narrow bench was not very comfortable, and she was constantly shifting positions, as if to tease him. Her breasts seemed to squeeze out of her swimsuit, evidently lacking a proper-sized container. Now and then she would adjust her top, tugging it up a bit higher, but sometimes she would forget, and the tips of her brown nipples would peek out, sending him into a frenzy. He strained at the oars, trying to exhaust his sexual energy; but, alas, his efforts were futile. As soon as they had moved far enough away from the shore, of course, he intended to move closer to her, and just let whatever was to happen, happen…
Yet she sat calmly, completely oblivious to the rower—to her, it was a pleasant ride, nothing more. Sensing this, the oarsman wondered whether they would actually return to the shore in such an inglorious fashion. He had to surprise her, or at least interest her, for heaven’s sake. But not a single word came to mind. On a schoolboy’s impulse (that’s essentially what he was, anyway), he suddenly got up and dove overboard. He wasn’t a bad swimmer and was an even better diver, able to hold his breath for a long time underwater. Even now, he effortlessly reached the bottom. It was not deep—just five or six meters. Once at the bottom, he clung to a rock and waited as long as his lungs would allow. He and his buddies from diving class had always competed to see who could stay submerged the longest. He’d won every time, usually holding out for more than three minutes…
At last, he could feel his chest tightening—he knew this was the signal to return to the surface. If you wait too long, you might not resurface, since you can momentarily lose consciousness. That’s what their diving coach taught them. No one, of course, tried to prove him wrong. He released the rock and wound his way back to the boat, now a dark silhouette hanging picturesquely in the silver sky of the water—so seems the sea surface looking up from its depths. Purposely, he carefully emerged from the water at the nose of the boat, keeping himself hidden. Occasionally, he stole a glance at his companion, whose own gaze was fixed on the dark green waters. It was evident: worry was overtaking her. Having achieved his goal, he dove back down and immediately resurfaced right in front of her face, his wide smile expressing satisfaction. But instead of petting his long, disheveled hair, she again reclined, reminding him that it was time to return the boat to the shore; the time for their boat’s rental was coming to a close. He scurried back on board and slowly started moving the oars, but the water seemed to thicken as if feeling his desire not to return to the shore.
* * *
During their first three days together, Serge (as they called our hero at the time) was the quieter of the two, once in a while muttering some insignificant phrases. The first time he saw her, he silently followed her for a long time. She walked along easily, shifting her long, rather well-proportioned legs. Her thin leather skirt swung from side to side, barely hiding her shapely hips. A green blouse tightly covered her beautifully straight back. All the while, Serge followed her like she was a vision, lacking the courage to come closer or to back away. He knew that making her acquaintance was a long shot; she was simply out of his league. How could he possibly know that she, a complete stranger, would inexplicably impact his life and be with him forever, whether she was at his side or not?

 

 

Purchase here

 

What Others Are Saying:

 

“The portrayal of Communist and post-1991 Russia is brilliantly done and made the story so much more than ‘just’ a romance.” – Amazon top 500 reviewer, Christoph Fischer

 

Beneath the adventure and romance is a deeper story of achieving dreams regardless of obstacles. Janna Yeshanova brings forth her personal account of courage in the face of impossible odds, her indomitable spirit, and a heart of gold that held onto a lost love for decades.

 

“This very modern love story, lets you feel the sorrow, fear and joy of a couple coping with events that reshaped the world. A great, dramatic romance in classic Russian style.” – Amazon reviewer

 

About the Author:

 

Originally from the former Soviet Union, Janna Yeshanova escaped in 1989 when persecution became violent during the crumbling of the Soviet state. This required getting permission to emigrate and a long dangerous train trip across central Europe with her elderly mother, her young daughter, and the $126 she was permitted to take out of the country. She did this by overcoming gridlock in Russia, animosity and graft at the border, and neglect in the west. Safely out of Soviet control, Janna and her family spent months as refugees waiting for permission to come to the United States.

 

Arriving in the United States knowing not a soul, Janna arrived in Ohio and began to rebuild her life. She earned a second masters Degree and was invited as a speaker at the Bosnia and Herzegovina International Peace Conference in 1996. While building her business as a Leadership Trainer and consultant, she has become a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) through the International Coach Federation. She offers life coaching services to individuals, conflict resolution to couples and groups, and soft skills training to organizations of all sizes.

 

Her book, Love Is Never Past Tense, offers a message of hope and inspiration, showing that nothing is impossible if you believe in yourself.

 

Connect with Janna:

 

 

THE CORW AND THE BUTTERFLY @HerCountryGirl

 

The Crow and The Butterfly
Starlight Falls, book 3
By Morgan Campbell
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: November 16, 2018


 

 

Hannah Freeman loved her best friend’s brother for as long as she could remember. On her eighteenth birthday, her only wish came true when Landon Walker swept her off her feet. With him flying off for a two-month tour the next day, Hannah willingly gave herself to him.

 

Landon Walker thought one taste of Hannah Freeman was all he needed. One small bite of the redheaded, innocent vixen and he was unknowingly hooked. When he came home, he wasn’t prepared for the tragedy that would hit them.

 

Ten years later, Hannah and Landon are never far from each other’s minds. They suffer in silence in a room full of people who don’t know their secret. When a bad date and a stressful workday bring them together at Club Three, Landon and Hannah begin a secretive affair that has the sheets burning up. He wants a submissive, and she wants a man who can help drive her passionate side wild.

 

When Landon’s job catches up with him, it’s up to him to keep Hannah safe until he’s put in harm’s way and Hannah begins to relive the nightmare she thought she’d moved on from.

 

A price must be paid but the question is, who will be the first to sacrifice for the other?

 

 

 

 

 
 
Morgan lives in the south of Texas with her family. She loves all things books, especially any kind of romance, thrillers, and mysteries. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found with her nose stuck in a book, cooking, baking, crocheting, and causing a general ruckus with her friends and family!

 

Filled with an overactive imagination at a young age, she began writing her thoughts down in a journal, and the rest, as they say, is history.
 
Connect with Morgan


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ANNIE ANDERSON SPOTLIGHT @HerCountryGirl

 


DAUGHTER OF SOULS & SILENCE by Annie AndersonRogue Ethereal – Book 2Release Date: NOVEMBER 13, 2018Genre: Urban Fantasy


Plus, a $50 Amazon Gift Card GIVEAWAY!


 

SYNOPSIS:

 

A Council full of Ethereal Elders wants me dead. Yep, it’s a regular Tuesday.

 

When you kill a demon there are consequences. 
Centuries-old witch, tattoo artist, half-demon… none of those titles are going to save me this time. The only way I’m going to get out of my death sentence is to take down the biggest, baddest demon there is… My father.
And I thought being burned at the stake was bad…

 

GRAB IT NOW!




EXCERPT:

 

 

 

“Do you know why you’re here?” the blonde dragon asks. Her accent is thick, maybe Russian or Ukrainian perhaps. 

 

“I have an idea,” I drawl, my left eyebrow hitching up without permission.
Oh, I had more than an idea. I knew exactly why I was here. It probably had something to do with the demon I’d killed. 
“Good, then we’ll dispense with the pleasantries. Maxima Alcado, born Maxima Christina Arcadios, Rogue Witch, denounced member of the former Arcadios coven, shunned daughter of the Demon Andras and Pacific Northwest coven leader, Teresa Alcado, sole heir to the royal seat, you are hereby accused of murdering your Master, Micah Goode, with a forbidden instrument.”
A high-pitched buzzing takes over my hearing as a biting cold seems to seep into my limbs. I hate that name. Hate the way my body betrays me every single time I hear it. Both his name and the one I was given when I came into this world. Arcadios. I’d thought I’d buried that part of me just like my mother had. I guess not. And Micah’s. I hate the way just the specter of him makes it so I can’t go home, can’t even look at my house without my breath coming in these same short pants of an impending panic attack. 
It isn’t fair. I didn’t ask to be branded. I didn’t ask to be born in the family I was. And that’s why Micah wanted me. Because of who my family was. Because of the blood running in my veins.
I guess the self-defense excuse was probably moot here.
I open my mouth to say just that when I hear my Gramma’s voice in my head, her crisp English accent echoing through the edges of my brain.
Don’t say a word, Maxima dear. I’ll fix this. I swear to you. I’ll fix this.
I meet her warm brown eyes, knowing she means it, but also knowing that if it came to it, I might be beyond saving. 
“Have you nothing to say?” the Witch asks, his tone snide as he sneers at me. 
I shift my gaze from Bernadette to him, keeping my face impassive, looking him over. Yes, he’s attractive, but his sneer sours his looks. My assessment must unnerve him because he shifts in his seat. 
Probably used to a bit more groveling, I’d bet.
“So be it,” he pauses – probably for effect – taking over the speaking for the dragon, a little upward crook of his mouth. “The sentence for your crimes is death. Do you have anything to say now?”
It turns out I didn’t.

 


ENTER THE DAUGHTER OF SOULS & SILENCE GIVEAWAY


 

Snag the first book in the series for just 99 cents!


 

 
 
 
About the Author:
Annie Anderson is a military wife and United States Air Force veteran. Originally from Dallas, Texas, she is a southern girl at heart, but has lived all over the US and abroad. As soon as the military stops moving her family around, she’ll settle on a state, but for now she enjoys being a nomad with her husband, two daughters, an old man of a dog, and a young pup that makes life… interesting.

 

In her past lives, Annie has been a lifeguard, retail manager, dental lab technician, accountant, and now she writes fast-paced thrillers with some serious heat.

 

Connect with Annie:


 

MORGAN CAMPBELL SPOTLIGHT @HerCountryGirl

 

 

The Crow and The Butterfly
Starlight Falls, book 3
By Morgan Campbell
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: November 16, 2018

 

Hannah Freeman loved her best friend’s brother for as long as she could remember. On her eighteenth birthday, her only wish came true when Landon Walker swept her off her feet. With him flying off for a two-month tour the next day, Hannah willingly gave herself to him.

 

Landon Walker thought one taste of Hannah Freeman was all he needed. One small bite of the redheaded, innocent vixen and he was unknowingly hooked. When he came home, he wasn’t prepared for the tragedy that would hit them.

 

Ten years later, Hannah and Landon are never far from each other’s minds. They suffer in silence in a room full of people who don’t know their secret. When a bad date and a stressful workday bring them together at Club Three, Landon and Hannah begin a secretive affair that has the sheets burning up. He wants a submissive, and she wants a man who can help drive her passionate side wild.

 

When Landon’s job catches up with him, it’s up to him to keep Hannah safe until he’s put in harm’s way and Hannah begins to relive the nightmare she thought she’d moved on from.

 

A price must be paid but the question is, who will be the first to sacrifice for the other?

 

 

Morgan lives in the south of Texas with her family. She loves all things books, especially any kind of romance, thrillers, and mysteries. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found with her nose stuck in a book, cooking, baking, crocheting, and causing a general ruckus with her friends and family!
 
Filled with an overactive imagination at a young age, she began writing her thoughts down in a journal, and the rest, as they say, is history.
 

 

Connect with Morgan
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CAMOUFLAGE @_BookMistress

A missing man, a new police chief and an unexpected New England town mystery.

When Sean Dermott, the newly appointed police chief, sees the report that a popular local high school coach is missing, his growing fascination with the alluring Vanessa Strauss, who reported the disappearance, makes him determined to solve the case.

The investigation leads him and his team deep into Quarry Head Park, a local scenic preserve with nature trails and expansive views. There is no sign of the missing man, but what he does find terrifies him to the core.

From the depths of the park, a deadly prehistoric looking creature emerges, attacks swiftly and silently, leaving devastation in its wake. In the chaos which follows, it is up to Chief Dermott and a team of scientists to fight for balance by ensuring the safety of his town and preserving this remarkable discovery.

He will risk his career, his reputation and even his own life to stand by what he believes to be right. The question is, will he succeed, or will all be lost?

Grab your copy now!! Amazon Champagne Books Goodreads

Watch the trailer here

Tips and Tricks – How to Finish the Book You Started

Last year I signed a contract to publish my science fiction novel, Camouflage. When I was writing my story, several people told me about books they were working on but never finished. I think there are many reasons potentially good stories are abandoned. I’d like to share some tips for completing the book you started.

One trick is to forget you’re a writer. Think about the story you want to tell. I’ve been asked the question, “When did you first consider yourself a writer?” My answer was—not until I was working with an editor from a publishing house. I originally considered myself a storyteller. I focused on what I wanted to say and not how to say it. The quality of the writing and the need to learn the rules for creating a well written book came with the rewrites.

I believe sometimes it’s hard to finish writing a book because the plot may not be developed enough, or maybe the writer lost confidence in the piece. I think having some doubt about what you’re creating is good. Work should be questioned. If you’re developing something you don’t like, then there’s no reason to complete it. However, if it’s fear, or feeling overwhelmed, that’s standing in the way I would suggest trying to concentrate on just the next step. Don’t think about the finished piece, or how it sounds, or what else needs to be done. Focus on the very next paragraph.

One more tip to get though the first draft is listening to your characters. If you’ve reached a point where they have depth, ask them what they would do next. The protagonist in Camouflage is a police chief. After spending months creating him, I could imagine how Chief Dermott would handle a situation.This helped me understand where the story needed to go.

These are the tricks I used to complete Camouflage. Now the measure of its success will depend on the readers!

About Ivy Keating…

Motivated by nature’s mysteries and the complexity of human behaviour, Ivy Keating writes science fiction and fantasy novels exploring the relationship between mankind and the natural world.

A master’s degree in social work helps her explore the nature of her characters and give them added depth as they grapple with the repercussions of their actions. This novel was inspired by the landscape and natural beauty of New England.

An area that inspired the question… what if?

Social Media Links:

www.ivykeating.com Instagram Twitter

The following week on Monday, when Sean returned to work, he found new information on the homicide in Lakeside Park in his inbox.

The fingerprints lifted from the evidence belong to Marcus Branca. He is now the number one suspect. He’s also the prime suspect in a robbery caught on tape in Litchfield. The security video from the drugstore robbery and a mug shot are attached.

The next paragraph got him thinking.

A current address for the suspect is not confirmed. His mother, Evelyn Branca lives at 201 Daleview Circle in Norwalk, Connecticut. A transcript of her statement is attached. She stated the last time she saw her son was two years ago in October when he asked her for money.

He’s robbing close to home. He has no confirmed address, and he last called his mother two years ago.

Sean’s gut told him—she’s lying.

He closed the email to focus on the open cases within his department.

The results of the forensic tests from the soil samples should be in.

He placed the call to the lab. The receptionist told him the tests were completed and transferred him to a technician who gave him the results. “The soil samples you sent over came up negative for synthetic and natural rubber. No trace metals either. We found nothing man-made in it.”

Sean thanked the woman. Nothing then.

He glanced at the time on his computer screen. In one hour, he needed to attend a seminar on emergency protocols as outlined by the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, given at the University of Connecticut. He turned off his computer, preparing to leave when he saw Ryan standing in the doorway.

Sean waved him in. “What’s up?”

“I have the report I promised on Jason Kenner last week.”

“Including what happened to the car and the credit card statements?”

“Yes. And some information from recent bank records,” Ryan said, handing Sean a hard copy.

“Have a seat.”

“Remember the name on the account, Marsha Philips?”

Sean nodded.

“She’s an old girlfriend who lives in Albany, New York, about two hours away. I was able to speak with her.”

“What did she say?”

“They lived together, and she was crushed he’s missing. It sounded like Marsha cared very deeply about him, so I asked what the nature of their relationship was today. She said they’re just friends. They broke up because he has a gambling problem.”

“Is that why he has so many credit cards?”

“Yeah. He uses cash advances to get money. Marsha said he’s been doing that for years. He wanted her to open a card in her name and take out an advance for him. She refused and gave him an ultimatum. Get help for his addiction, or it’s over. He never got help.”

“Does she know there’s a credit card statement in her name going to his house?”

“She does. She knows he opened a card in her name illegally, but she doesn’t want to press charges. Two months ago, Jason told her that he owed someone money and they’re after him. He asked Marsha if she could loan him two thousand dollars, but she refused. He opened the card without her permission but then called her to confess what he’d done and closed the account. She feels terrible for him. She said he’s a good man; he just has a problem.”

“That’s very forgiving considering what he did,” Sean said.

“Yup, but the story checks out. I followed up with the credit card carrier, and they did receive a request to close the account. And there’s more. Marsha said when they first started dating Jason owed someone $11,000 for betting on football games. He was so scared they would come after him, he told her if he didn’t get the money he’d have to leave town. She gave him a small loan, and he took a second job to cover the rest. Marsha said he would tell her he stopped gambling, but she knows he never did. He was always short of money the entire time they were together.”

“I’m a little surprised none of his friends said anything. There’s nothing in the file about it,” Sean said, wondering if Vanessa knew about Jason’s addiction.

“From the way Marsha spoke—he was good at hiding it. He held a steady job, and for the most part they had a good relationship.”

“I can see that. Jason’s very popular around here. He was working with kids coaching the winning basketball team. Looks like a model citizen. Any idea who he owes money to?”

“Not yet, but his landlady said he hasn’t paid his rent in two months. I did some checking, and he’s behind on all his other bills. There are some illegal gambling operations in neighboring towns that local law enforcement is building cases against. I could contact them.”

“Yes. Do that.”

He nodded. “Right away.”

“Oh, did you find out what happened to his car?” Sean asked, standing and gathering his things.

“As a matter of fact, yes.” Ryan followed Sean to the door. “The car was repossessed for non-payment. He hadn’t paid in almost six months. It was pure coincidence it was taken away now.”

“See what else you can find and keep me updated.”

Ryan returned to his office, and Sean left the station. On the way to his police car, he detoured into the building next door which housed the Animal Control Department.

After exchanging greetings with Officer Benjamin Gibson, the head of Animal Control, Sean asked if anyone claimed the dog he found.

“No such luck. No one’s called, and the poor creature’s been staying at the animal hospital since you had him brought in,” Ben said.

“How come?”

“He tested positive for Lyme disease. He’ll be okay, but they wanted to start him on antibiotics so they kept him there.”

Sean rubbed his chin. The dog’s been through enough. “If no one calls you today, I’m going to pick him up and take him home.”

“Good for you,” Ben said with a smile. “Hey. Since you’re here, a video just came in of a mutilated animal in Quarry Head Park. Want to take a look?”

“Someone filmed it?”

“Yeah.”

“I don’t have much time. Is it long?”

“Not at all. Just shy of two minutes.”

“Sure. Let me see.”

“I just want you to be prepared. It’s pretty gross.”

“I appreciate the warning,” Sean said, even more interested.

Ben pulled the file up on the computer and turned the screen toward Sean.

The camera caught every angle of the gruesome sight. Sean flinched. What the hell?

The body in the footage looked like a deer. The features on its face were squashed; the eyes no longer clearly defined. The neck of the animal was bent in the middle—the head lay flat on the ground twisted to one side. Two stumps, which were once the deer’s front legs, jutted out just past its ears. Its back legs were crushed and wedged into position under its belly. Even more bizarre, the lifeless mass had a gelatinous looking coating over its entire body.

“Do we know what happened to it?”

“No. The footage was taken by a fifteen-year-old boy on his cellphone. He was riding his bike with a friend in Quarry Head Park. They went off the path, and his friend fell from the bike when he hit this dead animal.”

“Who gave you the video?”

“His mother sent it in by email. She wanted to make sure someone cleaned it up before anyone else got hurt. She said her son’s friend developed an itchy rash from the slime covering the animal’s body.”

Sean pointed to a marker on a tree in the video. “This is next to the yellow path,” he said. “Hold off on removing the animal for just a few hours. I have to go to a seminar at the University of Connecticut, but when I come back I want to take a look at it myself.”

“Sure. Hey, when you get to the school you should talk to Dr. Greg Mitchell. You can show him the video.”

“Why? Who is he?”

“Greg’s a professor at the University and the head of the Biology Department. He knows a lot about animals and specializes in herpetology.”

“Herpetology? The study of reptiles?” Sean asked.

“That’s right. Actually it’s reptiles and amphibians, so he covers both land and water. Greg lives right here in town. Last year he helped us relocate a Bog Turtle found in someone’s yard. They’re endangered, you know.”

“But even I can see this looks like a deer.”

“I know, but he’s very knowledgeable. He might be able to help. Anyway, it’s just a suggestion, and you’ll be there anyway.”

“Okay, can you send me the video?”

“Not a problem. I’ll email it to you now.”

Sean thanked Ben and left for the University. Once in his cruiser he scrunched his nose, mulling over the grisly video. Natural causes or foul play?

 

 

 

THE OBLIVION SERIES @HerCountryGirl

 Shifted

The Oblivion Series; Book 1
Publish Date: September 11, 2018

Cover Design by:
MadHat Books

 Add to your Goodreads TBR

 Amazon US : AU : CA : UK

**On Kindle Unlimited
My life has never been my own.
I lost my mother at birth. Then, I was sent to live with my father’s best friend and his pack when I was only six. My father abandoned me.
I was the lone vampire surrounded by furry protectors. My pack. My heart learned to heal with the help of my mate. I grew, I loved and I started to thrive.
Then.. it all started to change – I changed.
I came to life as a black-as-night panther. Fur, claws, and teeth ready to kill. Now, I have two sides that are fighting for control of one body. Now, people are after me because of my abilities.
We have to make a stand.
Either I fight or we all die.

 

 

Ravaged
The Oblivion Series; Book 2
Publish Date: September 18, 2018
Cover Design by: MadHat Books

 Add to your Goodreads TBR

 Amazon US : AU : CA : UK

**On Kindle Unlimited 
My life has been chosen for me. 
Hunger eats away at me with every breath I take – I have to fight to keep it inside. I have to stay hidden in a world that isn’t mine. My father is a vampire. 
I, however, am much more. 
There are secrets my father won’t tell me. Each day that passes, I can feel something inside me fighting to get free. The only time it’s quiet is when the stranger is around. My soul calls to his. 
As the world around us starts to change, my true self starts to emerge.
But the power inside, once set free, can’t be taken back.

 

 

Consumed
The Oblivion Series; Book 3
Publish Date: September 25, 2018
Cover Design by: MadHat Books

 Add to your Goodreads TBR

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**On Kindle Unlimited
I’m a the catalyst to the power that has turned our world to chaos. 
My father had to leave to keep me safe. I have been hidden with my mother’s clan since I was a young child. We were told my mother was killed by hunters while she was hunting. 
That’s a lie. I felt her heartache and pain. I felt her loss of power as it was pulled from her. She died to keep me safe. 
The hunters want me. They want the other two as well. I have to do all in my power to save us all. We have to find them while keeping what I am a secret. 
Secrets, Lies and Deception. 
We are all secrets, that once together will bring the world around and into balance once again. 
We are the temperament, balance and serenity of our people.

 

 

You would think that having the ability to shift into a creature of the night would garner some respect, right? Wrong! At least not for these Guardians.
Tiberius and Horacio are Guardians. Shifters that live within the human world, but go unseen by the humans. They stalk the streets, slipping silently through the shadows, watching and waiting to intercede at the first sign of trouble. Humans have no knowledge of their existence as contact between Guardians and Humans is forbidden. 
It is their most sacred law, established long ago when shifters first came to this world. 
But even laws that are set in place to save your life can be bent, and when necessary, broken. 
When Tiberius and Horacio save a human woman, Jasmine, from being attacked by rogue shifters, things change for both worlds. Their actions set in motion a series of events that were foretold many eons ago.   
Ancient prophecies speak of a union, a life, that will revive the past – a past that many in the supernatural community want to keep buried. But, buried secrets always find a way of coming back to bite us in the ass when we least expect it. 
When these revelations come to light, Jasmine won’t be the only one in danger anymore. 
Will they be able to survive the evil heading their way or will the dark forces opposing them destroy all they hold dear?

 

 

Amazon US : AU : CA : UK
**On Kindle Unlimited

 

 

:: About the Author ::

 

I’m a Carolina Girl by right and a Texan by birth… so I have a Texas-sized temper. Living and working in both states I’ve learned a lot about hard work, adapting to your surroundings and making the best of the path that you have been led down. My grandma Dollie once told me I would know what I was meant to do when it happened. She was right, as always.
As with most book lovers, I am an avid reader. Reading has always been a hobby – a passion, really. Reading helps to expand the perimeters of one’s mind. That is what got me to start writing as a kid. If I had paper…or a wall… I was writing. Words are a part of us all. Why not use them, right?
During the day I work as a ‘desk jockey’ and help the residents of my county navigate themselves around our little, but not too little country town. By night I am either blogging, doing PA work for some of my favorite authors or I am fighting with the voices in my head. (They can be stubborn at times.) It’s a way to cope and make the troubles of the day disappear, if only for a few hours. It’s a blessing and I am cherishing every moment. For that which is my creation, may become someone else’s treasure.
Tomorrow is never guaranteed so I want to make sure I live the day as fully as possible.

 

:: Connect with Barb here ::

 

A DAY TO REMEMBER @_BookMistress

Months after ending a long-term relationship, Bryony Murphy still lets it control her. She’s scared to let anyone else in, just in case her ex, Tara, comes back to torment her again.

It isn’t easy to keep her heart to herself around beautiful journalist Georgia Bing, who works with Bryony on the TV show Crooked Cowboys. Georgia makes Bryony want to forget everything else and enjoy simply her.

After a one-night stand with Bryony, Georgia wants more with the lovely researcher. She knows Bryony’s hurting, but she also knows of Bryony’s past. Georgia is willing to go slow at first, but soon the sexual tension becomes too much to bear and she just has to make Bryony her own.

Buy yours now! Amazon B&N JMS Books

Katharine has wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember. She wrote her first novel when she was 15. In her A-levels, she spent lessons preparing dialogue for scenes. Then she studied Creative Writing and Film and TV Studies at Derby University, graduating in 2010.

For a few years, Katharine worked in the community as a care support worker before becoming a stay-at-home parent. In 2015, she made the leap into becoming a freelance ghost writer of romantic fiction. Since then, Katharine has written over 300 short stories, novellas and novels for various clients.

In June 2018, her first novella, A Day to Remember, was published. Katharine lives in Derby with her fiance, a mental health nurse, and their two children.

Find Katharine online

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My Typical Writing Day

In my house, I have to work everything around my family. I have a fiancé and two children, so I organize my schedule to what is going on with them. Working when the kids are at home is difficult as they want my attention all the time, so my writing schedule during the day is reduced. I have a more fixed routine when they’re at school and the childminders.

I will be up when the kids get up, which is anywhere between 5.30am and 7am. I check my messages to wake myself up, then I get the children their breakfast and ready to go to school. We’re just around the corner from the school, so my daughter gets dropped off first, and then my son at the childminders a few streets away.

That’s when I get home and start on getting my writing started. My parents bought me a fold-out desk for my birthday, which I use in the living room. I also have a gamer’s chair, which is a lot more comfortable for me to sit at. Then I will write anywhere between 9.30am to about midday, alternating between my ghost-writing work (I often have six projects on the go) and my own writing to keep it fresh. At midday, I’ll take an hour off for lunch, do some chores around the house or pick up my son if it’s a half-day for him. Then I’ll do about an hour more before I wrap up. The laptop does not get touched between the time my daughter gets home and the children go to bed, just so my attention is on them. As soon as they’re in bed, I get back to work. It can range until 9.30pm or even up to midnight, depending on how much work I’ve given myself.

Note: may contain sexually explicit scenes of a homoerotic nature.

“Oh, hello, Georgia. Fancy meeting you here.”

“How much have you had to drink?”

“I don’t know. I’ve lost count.” Bryony downed the rest of her glass, slamming the glass down on the countertop. “But I’m going to keep drinking until I don’t remember my own name.”

Georgia was not having that. She caught the barman’s eye and signalled him over.

“Get me a strong coffee. And don’t serve anymore alcohol for this one.” She indicated Bryony. “She’s had enough.”

The barman nodded and moved away. Bryony scowled.

“Why are you spoiling my fun?” She grumbled.

“This is hardly fun.” Grabbing the woman’s arm, Georgia helped her off the stool and led her towards the booth. “You and I are going to sit down and talk.”

Bryony tried to pull away but Georgia wouldn’t let go. She wasn’t about to let Bryony bolt. Nudging Bryony into the booth, Georgia sat beside her, effectively crowding Bryony against the wall. Bryony grumbled and glared at her but Georgia didn’t react. They sat in silence until the barman brought the coffee, giving them both curious looks before leaving. Georgia nudged the coffee cup towards Bryony.

“I thought you could handle this assignment, Bryony.”

“I can.” Bryony protested. “This has nothing to do with it.”

“I think it does. We had cameras watching you, remember? Joyce also told me about your reaction. Now tell me drinking yourself into a stupor when you’re supposed to be in the office is nothing to do with your breakdown earlier.”

Bryony glared at her. Her pupils were wide, almost swallowing the color of her eyes.

“Save your journalism for your job, Georgia, not for analysing me.”

Georgia pushed the coffee towards her and leant forward, placing her hand on the back of Bryony’s neck. Bryony didn’t shake her off. If anything, her breathing seemed to get faster.

“Bryony, we’re all worried about you. I’m worried about you.” That much was true. “Please, just talk to me.”

It was all she could do not to pull Bryony into her arms. Georgia wasn’t one to do public displays of affection but she was tempted with this woman.

Bryony looked like she wanted to run. But she slumped, leaning into Georgia until her head rested on Georgia’s shoulder. Georgia didn’t say anything, simply leaning back to settle against the booth, her arm going around Bryony’s shoulders. Bryony let out a shuddering sigh.

“Tara and I were together since I was eighteen and she was twenty. We would’ve been together fifteen years this week. And for the first twelve years, it was amazing. Tara was amazing. But then she changed. She got into a car accident and was diagnosed with bipolar. Tara had to go on pain medication and meds to control her bipolar. Her mother, Krista, found out and accused me of making Tara into an addict.” Bryony sniffed and reached for her coffee. She lifted her head enough to take a sip and placed the cup back down, snuggling against Georgia again. “She’s always hate me, Krista has. She decided to mess about with the meds and eventually stole them, telling Tara she didn’t need to take them. Tara didn’t do anything; she had started developing psychotic delusions and believe Krista that I was the one at fault. So she started lashing out at me.”

Georgia had suspected something like that. She had been there at Tara’s trial and sentencing while Bryony had been in hospital but because Tara had pleaded guilty early on, she hadn’t heard everything. Just hearing all this made the anger bubble up.

“Did you call the police?”

“You know I did.” Bryony sniffed. “And you know what happened at Thanksgiving.”

Georgia did know. She had come into the office early and had found Bryony unconscious. She looked as though she had been hit by a car and was bleeding from the neck. Georgia had called for an ambulance and got the whole story. Tara had tried to come to the hospital but Georgia and a few of their co-workers had blocked her way. Tara had screamed at them and tried to attack Georgia but security had dragged her out.

Georgia wasn’t about to forget that day in a hurry.

CONSUMED @HerCountryGirl


Consumed
The Oblivion Series; Book 3
Publish Date: September 25, 2018
Cover Design by: MadHat Books



Amazon US : AU : CA : UK
**On Kindle Unlimited




I’m a the catalyst to the power that has turned our world to chaos.


My father had to leave to keep me safe. I have been hidden with my mother’s clan since I was a young child. We were told my mother was killed by hunters while she was hunting.


That’s a lie. I felt her heartache and pain. I felt her loss of power as it was pulled from her. She died to keep me safe.


The hunters want me. They want the other two as well. I have to do all in my power to save us all. We have to find them while keeping what I am a secret.


Secrets, Lies and Deception.


We are all secrets, that once together will bring the world around and into balance once again.


We are the temperament, balance and serenity of our people.



:: Other Books in this Series, Available Now ::


Publish Date: September 11, 2018



Amazon US : AU : CA : UK
**On Kindle Unlimited


Publish Date: September 18, 2018



Amazon US : AU : CA : UK
**On Kindle Unlimited



You would think that having the ability to shift into a creature of the night would garner some respect, right? Wrong! At least not for these Guardians.


Tiberius and Horacio are Guardians. Shifters that live within the human world, but go unseen by the humans. They stalk the streets, slipping silently through the shadows, watching and waiting to intercede at the first sign of trouble. Humans have no knowledge of their existence as contact between Guardians and Humans is forbidden.


It is their most sacred law, established long ago when shifters first came to this world.


But even laws that are set in place to save your life can be bent, and when necessary, broken.


When Tiberius and Horacio save a human woman, Jasmine, from being attacked by rogue shifters, things change for both worlds. Their actions set in motion a series of events that were foretold many eons ago.  


Ancient prophecies speak of a union, a life, that will revive the past – a past that many in the supernatural community want to keep buried. But, buried secrets always find a way of coming back to bite us in the ass when we least expect it.


When these revelations come to light, Jasmine won’t be the only one in danger anymore.


Will they be able to survive the evil heading their way or will the dark forces opposing them destroy all they hold dear?



Amazon US : AU : CA : UK
**On Kindle Unlimited



:: About the Author ::


I’m a Carolina Girl by right and a Texan by birth… so I have a Texas-sized temper. Living and working in both states I’ve learned a lot about hard work, adapting to your surroundings and making the best of the path that you have been led down. My grandma Dollie once told me I would know what I was meant to do when it happened. She was right, as always.
As with most book lovers, I am an avid reader. Reading has always been a hobby – a passion, really. Reading helps to expand the perimeters of one’s mind. That is what got me to start writing as a kid. If I had paper…or a wall… I was writing. Words are a part of us all. Why not use them, right?
During the day I work as a ‘desk jockey’ and help the residents of my county navigate themselves around our little, but not too little country town. By night I am either blogging, doing PA work for some of my favorite authors or I am fighting with the voices in my head. (They can be stubborn at times.) It’s a way to cope and make the troubles of the day disappear, if only for a few hours. It’s a blessing and I am cherishing every moment. For that which is my creation, may become someone else’s treasure.
Tomorrow is never guaranteed so I want to make sure I live the day as fully as possible.


:: Connect with Barb here ::


RAVAGED @HerCountryGirl

 

 

Ravaged

 

The Oblivion Series; Book 2
Publish Date: September 18, 2018
Cover Design by: MadHat Books

 

 

Pre-Order Now On Amazon
US : AU : CA : UK

 

 

My life has been chosen for me.

 

Hunger eats away at me with every breath I take – I have to fight to keep it inside. I have to stay hidden in a world that isn’t mine. My father is a vampire.

 

I, however, am much more.

 

There are secrets my father won’t tell me. Each day that passes, I can feel something inside me fighting to get free. The only time it’s quiet is when the stranger is around. My soul calls to his.

 

As the world around us starts to change, my true self starts to emerge. But the power inside, once set free, can’t be taken back.

 

:: Other Books in this Series, Coming Soon ::

 

Publish Date: September 25, 2018

 

:: Other Books in this Series, Available Now ::

 

Publish Date: September 11, 2018
Cover Design by: MadHat Books

 

 

Amazon US : AU : CA : UK
**On Kindle Unlimited
:: Other Books in the same world ::

 

 

You would think that having the ability to shift into a creature of the night would garner some respect, right? Wrong! At least not for these Guardians.

 

Tiberius and Horacio are Guardians. Shifters that live within the human world, but go unseen by the humans. They stalk the streets, slipping silently through the shadows, watching and waiting to intercede at the first sign of trouble. Humans have no knowledge of their existence as contact between Guardians and Humans is forbidden.

 

It is their most sacred law, established long ago when shifters first came to this world.

 

But even laws that are set in place to save your life can be bent, and when necessary, broken.

 

When Tiberius and Horacio save a human woman, Jasmine, from being attacked by rogue shifters, things change for both worlds. Their actions set in motion a series of events that were foretold many eons ago.  

 

Ancient prophecies speak of a union, a life, that will revive the past – a past that many in the supernatural community want to keep buried. But, buried secrets always find a way of coming back to bite us in the ass when we least expect it.

 

When these revelations come to light, Jasmine won’t be the only one in danger anymore.

 

Will they be able to survive the evil heading their way or will the dark forces opposing them destroy all they hold dear?

 

Amazon US : AU : CA : UK
**On Kindle Unlimited

 

 

:: About the Author ::

 

I’m a Carolina Girl by right and a Texan by birth… so I have a Texas-sized temper. Living and working in both states I’ve learned a lot about hard work, adapting to your surroundings and making the best of the path that you have been led down. My grandma Dollie once told me I would know what I was meant to do when it happened. She was right, as always.
As with most book lovers, I am an avid reader. Reading has always been a hobby – a passion, really. Reading helps to expand the perimeters of one’s mind. That is what got me to start writing as a kid. If I had paper…or a wall… I was writing. Words are a part of us all. Why not use them, right?
During the day I work as a ‘desk jockey’ and help the residents of my county navigate themselves around our little, but not too little country town. By night I am either blogging, doing PA work for some of my favorite authors or I am fighting with the voices in my head. (They can be stubborn at times.) It’s a way to cope and make the troubles of the day disappear, if only for a few hours. It’s a blessing and I am cherishing every moment. For that which is my creation, may become someone else’s treasure.
Tomorrow is never guaranteed so I want to make sure I live the day as fully as possible.

 

:: Connect with Barb here ::

 

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