Scarlet Reign: Malice of the Dark Witch by R.D. Crist Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A chilling and fantastic new look at the YA Fantasy genre, author R.D. Crist is set to release “Scarlet Reign: Malice of the Dark Witch”. The first in a series, this new YA adventure takes a classic supernatural group of individuals and gives them a brand new spin. Here is the synopsis:

Synopsis

After the unexplainable death of her mother on the eve of Natalie’s fourteenth birthday, she is suddenly forced to grow up. Compelled to leave her dismal and deceptive life behind by a mysterious woman who claims to be an old relative, Natalie carries with her the highly coveted, scarlet stoned ring she reluctantly retrieved from her mother upon her death. 

Following Natalie’s irreversible decision, she unexpectedly finds herself alone and thrust into a peculiar all female orphanage where her arrival was strangely anticipated by the inhabitants, and greeted by some with ire. Ultimately, young Natalie must quickly learn to fend for herself against bullies, unexplained forces, a male suitor, and something lurking for revenge. Does she have both the strength and resolve, and can she set the past aside, to uncover the secrets necessary in order to fulfill her destiny?

The Review

This novel was fantastic. With the YA genre stronger than ever before, the author has found a way to not only create compelling characters and a heart-wrenching story, but make the story have a fresh twist in the YA Fantasy world. The story follows a classic young woman thrust into a hidden world theme, but takes this theme and pairs it with the emotional realm of loss and what children experience after the loss of a parent.

What I really enjoyed was how the author managed to not pit two different groups of supernaturals against one another, but instead showed how a group of supernaturals can have division within itself, and how there are good and bad people in any group. The writing was evenly paced, descriptive and yet left readers with enough space to imagine the scenarios in the novel playing out. The action started from the first page and only escalated from there, leaving readers on the edge of their seat as they waited to learn the secrets of this orphanage and where Natalie truly belonged.

The Verdict

This is a must read for any YA Fantasy fan. With fall approaching and the Halloween season approaching, this is the perfect book for YA fans to jump into to begin their holiday adventures in literature. A powerful story that promises an engaging and shocking series, author R.D. Crist has done a fantastic job of creating a world worth diving head first into, and I for one cannot wait for the next book’s arrival. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copy of Scarlet Reign: Malice of the Dark Witch today!

Rating: 10/10

Here is the book website: www.scarletreignbooks.com

Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41555714-scarlet-reign

Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Scarlet-Reign-Malice-Dark-Witch-ebook/dp/B07GTPZ4KN/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1537547997&sr=8-1&keywords=scarlet+reign+malice+of+the+dark+witch

Author Bio

R.D. Crist is a psychotherapist who generates creativity via long walks and majestic views of nature. True inspiration to write, however, derives from personal hardships that have sparked a desire to help others manage life’s various struggles.

Although R.D. Crist has only released one book, three have been written and several more begun, which span a variety of genres.  The focus of these stories are intended to center on Crist’s favorite dynamics of a story – personal conflict, relationship development, inner growth, and social revelation.  Each story is created with a greater purpose to stimulate a person to reflect on common challenges, be they personal, interactive, or in principle.

Childhood influences include Ray Bradbury stories and character conflict movies like Twelve Angry Men.

Socializing, listening to people’s stories, spending time with family, and relentlessly exercising (as if those last ten pounds cared) are some of Crist’s favorite ways to pass the day.

Pre-Order Hottest Top Toys of the Season – order today at BN.com!

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Runnin Buddies: (A True Story, Vol II of V) by Josh Holliday | REVIEW

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Trigger Warning: This is an adult level book and has graphic content. Drug use, as well as some triggering sexual encounters and subject matter is involved in the book. The author has made clear he does not support drug use or the actions herein, but told the story as events occurred. If situations like this trigger you, be warned.

The continuing tales of the drug fueled, crime ridden 60’s and two men who dove head first into the era come to life in author Josh Holliday’s novel Runnin Buddies: (A True Story, Vol II of V). Here is the synopsis:

The gripping story of two young adventurers just out of high school in the late 1960’s. Drugs are rampant in society in California. Follow them as they barely escape drug deals, confrontations with the police, smuggling across the International Border with Mexico, a risky trip into Arizona, and the final “Bust” at the Mexican border. Your eyes will bulge at some of the true adventures they skated though. Several times they barely escaped death. Based on true lives lived in this book II of V Books, a Series.

Once again this series continues to highlight the shocking, often deplorable actions of those fueled by sex and drugs in the 60’s. Using graphic and detailed images to highlight the stories told within, the author goes to great lengths to showcase the power of drugs and highlight the toxic, misogynistic and often heinous acts used against women in that era. In today’s day and age that sadly still occurs, but more often than not public support and the use of the internet has allowed victims to come forward, share their story and rally support to highlight these crimes. Yet in that era, when drugs and sexism ran rampant, not only were women more susceptible to these crimes, but convinced themselves it either didn’t happen or just went along with it out of fear. The author highlights these acts to show just how toxic this mentality is to have and to show how we can do better to teach future generations to respect one another and to view these acts for the crimes that they are.

The author did a great job of highlighting the way people living a life like this often miss the signs to change their ways. The book begins where the first left off, with one of the buddies in jail and the other lost without him. Yet rather than learn from his friend’s mistakes and making a change, he finds himself where many drug addicted people find themselves, and that’s back in the thick of it, tumbling further down the rabbit hole into disparity and illegal acts that they don’t even see themselves. While the book is graphic, (and on a technical note to the author, I would recommend going through the book and looking for grammatical and spelling mistakes more thoroughly. They didn’t hamper the story whatsoever but using quotations in dialogue will help separate the thoughts and make it easier to see who is speaking), the book’s importance of showing the rampant drug use and unspoken crimes committed in that era can help us to learn from the past and grow as a society, especially in this era of so much political turmoil, sexual harassment and abuse scandals, and global uncertainty.

Overall this was a fascinating, sometimes uncomfortable but wholly necessary read. The author did a wonderful job of highlighting these events and showing the way those involved in these crimes rationalize their actions so much that they believe their own lies. As the series looks to continue in book three, one can only hope the people involved in the true story this book is based upon will see “the light” and find a way to end these actions. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up Runnin Buddies: (A True Story, Vol I and II of V) by Josh Holliday today!

Rating: 8/10

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GN4FHNC/ref=cm_cr_ryp_prd_ttl_sol_0

Heartsong by Annie Douglass Lima Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

What would you do if you found yourself on a new world filled with intelligent alien life, but you were now the alien? In a world of half truths and no answers, Liz must discover who she can trust and who she is when faced with the life or death circumstances that come with space travel in author Annie Douglass Lima’s YA novel, Heartsong. Here is the synopsis:

Synopsis

Two alien worlds.

One teen emissary.

No reality she can trust.

Thirteen-year-old Liz Smith has been ripped away from one foster family after another for years, so the idea of a permanent home is tantalizing. Who cares if that home is a colony sixty-five thousand light-years from Earth? The friends in her trusty e-reader will keep her company just fine on her interstellar relocation. 

But when the adventure of a lifetime turns into the disaster of the cosmos, Liz can only retreat so far into the books that have always sheltered her from loneliness and loss. Trapped in half-truths and secrets that leave her questioning reality, can one orphaned bookworm find a way to stop two races from destroying each other … and somehow write a happy ending to her own story?

If you like books about space travel, aliens, or cross-cultural transitions, you’ll love this poignant science fiction adventure. Get your copy of Heartsong now to start the journey today! 

This novel was really unique, as it explored what would happen if the human was the alien from another world, and the “aliens” had to decide whether or not the human was hostile or a friend. The author did an amazing job exploring a universal truth, which is the distrust and fear that comes from the unknown, and how sometimes opening ourselves up to new possibilities and finding common ground is the only way to avoid unnecessary violence and come together as one people. The unique differences highlighted between Liz and the alien people she comes into contact with made this an engaging, thought provoking YA adventure like no other.

The exploration of these new worlds highlights the different environments that would allow life to thrive and grow on other worlds, and puts our own history on Earth of conquering and taking what’s not ours, as well as the distrust we have for anyone or anything different than us, into a whole new light. The imagery used was breathtaking to imagine, and the emotional struggle of Liz and the people she meets is something a lot of people will be able to relate to.

Overall this was a fantastic story. Filled with heart, emotion and amazing sci-fi goodness that was kind of reminiscent of Lost in Space, this was a one of a kind novel that deserves to be read. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copy of Annie Douglass Lima’s novel Heartsong today!

Rating: 10/10

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07DB6DKRY/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B07DB6DKRY&linkCode=as2&tag=jabla-20&linkId=f371eb4fbb911be6ad7fcf5b2f236cf5

Author Bio:

cape cropped

I was born in the United States of America but raised mostly in Kenya, which was my home for 14 years.  Upon returning to the US, I attended Biola University in Southern California, where I majored in elementary education with an emphasis on Intercultural Studies.  Shortly after graduating, I accepted a position as a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse in Papua, Indonesia (a country where I had long dreamed of living).  The job lasted for a year, and not long after my return, I married my wonderful husband Floyd, who I’d met at college.  The two of us lived and worked in California for nearly five years, but when we felt the time was right, it was a joy to move overseas and start a new life in Taiwan.  We return to America every summer, but otherwise, we’ve lived in Taiwan for six wonderful years (and counting).  I love my job teaching fifth grade at Morrison Academy in the city of Taichung.

A few of my blog posts about interesting aspects of life in Taiwan:

Touchdown in Taiwan

Linguistic Misadventures at the Prawn Palace Restaurant 

Typhooning with Krosa

Christmas Dinner… Sort Of

Swine Flu!

Shui Nan Market (a Poem)

What About my Writing?

I’ve always loved writing.  Reading and writing were my favorite subjects in school, and I was seven years old when I decided I was going to be an author.  My first novel (an untitled piece of Christian science fiction) was as ridiculous as you’d expect from a seven-year-old, and it’s probably a good thing I never finished it.  But it got me excited about the idea of writing a book, and I can’t remember a time after that when I wasn’t working on some novel or other.

I was a college student when I woke up one morning after having an interesting dream and thought, That would make a great story.  I should write it down!  I did, and it turned into the first draft of what is now Prince of Alasia.  I set the manuscript aside and forgot about it for a few years, but later I brought it out again, revised it, added details, and turned the short story into a novel.  It was a dream come true when it was finally (after eleven and a half years and a lot of hard work) published as an eBook and later a paperback.

The more I worked on improving the story, the more I pictured other adventures the characters could have and other events that could happen in that setting.  In the Enemy’s Service grew out of those ideas and was published nine months after I started it.  Next came Prince of Malorn, which tells about the same events (and others) from the perspective of the neighboring kingdom. I have lots more ideas, and am currently working on two more books in the same series.  Stay tuned for excited announcements as soon as they’re done!

Besides writing, my favorite hobby is traveling.  Click here to see pictures and a brief description of my adventures in the nineteen countries I’ve had the joy of visiting so far.

Click here to read 25 random facts that most people don’t know about me.

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Facebook page (remember to “like” it to get updates about my writing, new publications, and when my books are on sale or occasionally available for free).

Goodreads 

Runnin Buddies: (Based on a True Story, Vol I of V) by Josh Holliday | REVIEW

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Trigger Warning: This is an adult level book. Drug use, as well as some triggering sexual encounters and subject matter is involved in the book. The author has made clear he does not support drug use or the actions herein, but told the story as events occurred. If situations like this trigger you, be warned.

A tale of two young friends lost in a world of petty crimes, drugs and dangerous adventures take center stage in author Josh Holliday’s Runnin Buddies: (Based on a True Story, Vol I of V). Here’s a quick synopsis:

The gripping story of two young adventurers just out of high school in the 1960’s. Drugs are rampant in society in California. Follow them as they barely escape drug deals, confrontations with the police, smuggling across the International Border with Mexico, a risky trip into Arizona, and the final “Bust” at the Mexican border. Your eyes will bulge at some of the true adventures they skated though. Several times they barely escaped death. Based on true lives lived in this book I of V Books, a Series.

The author completely enraptured me with the tales of friends Roby and Roger. As a Southern California resident myself, I could perfectly imagine the chaos and drug fueled life these two led while living and traveling in the area. This book does an excellent job of exploring not only the affects drugs had on the two men, but the various ways this era of history produced some of the issues we still face in this world. From misogony and rampant drug use and addiction to spiking drinks, smuggling and drug deals gone wrong, this book has it all.

The one thing I would recommend for the author would be to be careful of formatting issues. At certain points the story would suddenly shift into dialogue or continue onto a new part of the story without any punctuation to indicate the shift. It’s a minor thing but some readers who focus on technical aspects may notice this throughout the story. However it wasn’t enough to take me completely out of the story. The author was spectacular at showing the lines these two crossed, and the adventures they went on in their drug fueled lives. The author also explores very dark topics that rose as a result of this era of drugs, such as sexual situations that would be appalling in our day and age, but sadly were an everyday part of life in the 60’s and beyond. The author gets inside the mind of someone so lost into this drug fueled state that they rationalize their actions at every turn, leading to some tough and very adult subject matter. It’s written with honesty and gut wrenching detail, bringing to light the mindset and era that defined the lives of so many, and the causes we as a society are now taking up to stop those same practices from repeating themselves today and in the future.

Overall this was an informative, mind blowing look into the 60’s era California drug scene and those caught in it’s addictive embrace. While the subject matter can be tough and difficult to read at times, the importance of learning from the past and exploring the roads that led to these events is important as we move forward as a society, so that we may learn to identify the problems of the past and create a brighter future. It was an engaging tale that has me interested to learn more about the adventures of these two men and how they came out the other side, and whether or not they were able to leave behind that life once and for all. As the first in a series, this book did a great job hooking the reader, and explored this era with detail and attention that it so rightfully needed. If you enjoy adult looks at historical eras and how the drug epidemic impacted the lives of so many in the past, then be sure to grab your copy of author Josh Holliday’s Runnin Buddies: (Based on a True Story, Vol I of V) today!

Rating: 8/10

https://www.amazon.com/Runnin-Buddies-Based-True-Story-ebook/dp/B07GJWZRMF/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1536932978&sr=8-2&keywords=%22The+Runnin+Buddies%22

What do you do when you finish your novel? (Guest Blog Post From Author Stefan Vucak)

Here is a guest blog post from author Stefan Vucak from his website. Check this post and more on his official website here!

Lifeliners - Page 2 - V2

The last scene is written, the last piece of dialogue done … and it is finished! After slaving over the damned thing for seven months, I can sit back, heave a huge sigh of relief, and toast myself with a nice tumbler of bourbon. Another novel done and dusted.

Well, not quite.

The cursor is blinking, daring me to change a word, sentence, or paragraph. Glass in hand, I stare at the last page, replaying the book in my mind, savouring the good parts, mulling over the bits that could stand some polishing. Not just yet, my dear characters! I have to finish my bourbon first, and then do some basic maintenance.

First, I make a copy of the manuscript on my internal and external backup drive. If my primary drive packs it in, I haven’t lost anything. I wince at the number of times I read tales of woe on LinkedIn and Facebook where authors have not done ongoing backups as they write. The computer fails and … well, you know what happens: tears, gnashing of teeth, tearing of hair. Not nice. Lesson? Always do backups as you write!

With the book done, it is not ready for publishing, not by a long shot! As I write a section, I always do an edit before moving on to the next bit. After some twenty or thirty pages, I print them out and proofread the stuff. I am always amazed at things I missed editing online. The human mind is tricky, and it will sometimes fool you, automatically correcting errors your eyes pick up. Reading a printed page tends to give a more accurate world view to the brain, enabling me to correct the little bloopers that managed to avoid online obliteration.

Learning to be a stern, objective self-editor takes time and perseverance. Writers can become possessive about their creations, unwilling to admit that the product of their genius could possibly have punctuation, grammar, or word usage errors. Cut out that word or sentence? Cut off my hand instead! But cutting out that word or sentences is exactly what every writer must be prepared to do. Not only cut out that sentence, but a paragraph or page. Every piece of freshly finished writing must be viewed critically and any rough elements polished off. How much polishing is required depends on how good a writer is at writing.

It takes time to go over several hundred pages of manuscript, pen savagely attacking everything out of place, then updating the computer version. Done, ready to be released on unsuspecting readers! Again, not quite. Even though I don’t do a bad job editing my stuff, I am sure there is a little blooper or two grinning with glee that has managed to escape my eyes. To make sure the manuscript is as clean as possible, I send it off to a proofreader to kill off those wayward bloopers. When I get the thing back, sure enough, dead bloopers. After applying the corrections, I print out the whole thing again and, you guessed it, I do a final proofread. As you might expect, by the time it is all finished, I am heartily sick and tired of the book!

Anyway, I can now confidently publish the masterpiece! Confidently? There is never a perfectly finished book. After rereading some of my old novels, I invariably spot a word or phrase that should be cut or changed. I could keep polishing a novel forever, which would mean I would never get around to writing a new one. At some point, I have to let go and let the novel face critical readers and their reviews. Writing a novel is like rearing a child. From initial toddler paragraphs, to developing middle teens, and finally a finished manuscript. Once done, you have to let it make its own way in the world, maybe with a sniff or two.

The final step? Publish, of course!

Well, that is not really the final step. There is the ongoing marketing, but I have suffered enough pain for the moment. Let me recover a bit, okay?

All right, I have finished the novel, the damned thing is published, I push it along with some marketing, and then what? I don’t know about you, but I usually take some time off to clear my head and perhaps start tossing ideas for the next novel. I have several ideas on tap, and it takes a bit of time to sift through them, and nurture an idea that can be developed into a novel, or perhaps a short story. With a short story, I can get stuck into it fairly quickly. For a novel, that takes considerably more effort…and several glasses of bourbon.

You may want to check out the following article on planning a novel.

 

Author bio and links:

Stefan Vucak

Stefan Vučak has written eight Shadow Gods Saga sci-fi novels and six contemporary political drama books. He started writing science fiction while still in college, but did not get published until 2001. His Cry of Eagles won the Readers’ Favorite silver medal award, and his All the Evils was the prestigious Eric Hoffer contest finalist and Readers’ Favorite silver medal winner. Strike for Honor won the gold medal.

Stefan leveraged a successful career in the Information Technology industry, which took him to the Middle East working on cellphone systems. He applied his IT discipline to create realistic storylines for his books. Writing has been a road of discovery, helping him broaden his horizons. He also spends time as an editor and book reviewer. Stefan lives in Melbourne, Australia.

To learn more about Stefan, visit his:

Website: www.stefanvucak.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/StefanVucakAuthor

Twitter: @stefanvucak

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stefan-vucak-65572360

Read more about ‘Lifeliners’ here: https://www.stefanvucak.com/books/lifeliners/

Blog Tour: Cleaning House (Appalachian Elementals One) by Jeanne G’Fellers

COVER - Cleaning HouseJeanne G’Fellers has a new trans-non binary fantasy book out:

Centenary Rhodes is an old soul with a well-traveled name, but she doesn’t know this yet.

Growing up in southern Appalachia wasn’t easy, so Cent left home as soon as she could, but the post-collegiate happiness she’d expected has never occurred. She can’t find a decent date, much less find that special someone and, after losing her job in a corporate downsize, she’s struggling to meet her most basic needs. Her car has been repossessed, her bills are piling up, and her questionable North Chicago neighborhood is dangerous to navigate.

Returning home to Hare Creek, Tennessee, never crosses Cent’s mind until her Great Aunt Tess contacts her with an offer she can’t refuse. The family’s southern Appalachian homestead must be sold, and Aunt Tess needs someone to clean it up. Cent will have access to Aunt Tess’ garden and truck and can live on the homestead rent-free for as long as it takes. A part-time job is waiting for her as well.

It’s a chance to solve some of Cent’s financial woes, but will her return be enough when evil sets its sights on Embreeville Mountain and the homestead?

Cleaning House is a carefully woven Appalachian tapestry of granny magic, haints, elementals, and the fantastic diversity of the human condition – served with a delicious side of fries and a generous quart of peach moonshine.

Mountain Gap Books | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | QueeRomance Ink | Smashwords | Goodreads 


Giveaway

Jeanne is giving away a $10 Amazon gift card with this tour. For a chance to win, enter using Rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d4716/?


Excerpt

BANNER-Facebook - Cleaning HouseFall, 1952

“Put it out and give me the rest of the pack.”

“Of all the— here!” Cent dropped her pack of Lucky Strikes onto the floor and kicked them under the outhouse door to Pyre. They’re almost gone anyway.It was the middle of the night, and she’d gone to the outhouse to sneak a smoke. One, that was all, and the rush felt so good. It was the best she’d felt in days, and—

“Drop that lit cigarette down the hole. Stowne’s on their way.”

“Dangit.” Cent took a long drag, exhaling as she rose. She couldn’t hide that she’d been smoking again, and—

“Centenary, please come out.” Stowne knocked on the outhouse door.

“I’m busy.”

“We must discuss this.”

“I was just going,” Pyre’s light drifted away.

Coward. Cent tied her robe and stepped out the door. Fall had rolled in early and wet, setting her up for a rough bout of bronchitis that wouldn’t go away. “Fancy meeting you here at two in the morning.” She cleared her throat to stifle its perpetual tickle.

“Centenary.” Stowne folded their arms across their chest. “You should not be out here this time of night, especially in these cooler temperatures.” Stowne held out the quilt from their bed. “You should be inside where it is warm and dry.”

“I had to pee. It’s something Humans need to do regular.”

“There is a night bucket beneath our bed for you to use when the weather is bad.” Stowne caught her before she moved away, wrapping her in the blanket. “You gave Pyre the cigarettes, but where are the matches?”

“You already took my lighter.”

“And I am removing every pack of matches from the homestead.”

“But what if we need to light a new fire?”

“Centenary!” Stowne pointed to where Pyre hovered on the porch. “That is not a legitimate argument.” They lifted her into their arms.

“Put me down.”

“Please see reason.” They turned toward the house.

“Put. Me. Down!” Cent all but fell from Stowne’s arms before they turned her straight. “You and me, we gotta talk about this.”

“About what?” Stowne towered over her. “Your refusal to care for yourself?”

“About the elephant in the dang room!”

“El-e-phant?” Water ran off Stowne’s head as they stared at her. “Those large gray mammals you told me about? There is one in the house? Brownie or Birdie surely would have sounded the alarm if—”

“No, honey. I…” Cent shivered as the rain began falling harder. “Let’s go inside and talk.”

“That is what I wanted when we began this elephant-filled argument.” Stowne walked beside her up the hill, helping her at the slick spots until she was inside the door. “There. Safe and warm.” Stowne unwrapped her blanket and pulled off her rain boots. “Sit. I will stoke the fire and heat water for your tea.”

“Chamomile, please.” Nothing else agreed with her stomach anymore. “And do it over the fire so I can watch. Pretty please?”

“Such simple things bring you pleasure.” Stowne set her favorite earthenware mug on the table beside her chair and another blanket across her lap.

“Tell me a story from our pastlives together.” She watched as Stowne talked and worked, admiring the ever-changing lines of their body. Larger or smaller depending on what was needed, delicate as they poured water over the tea strainer but strong in the way they held the steaming cast-iron kettle without using a potholder.

“Cream and sugar?” Stowne peered up at her.

“Sugar, yes. But cream?” Cent blanched. “But I used to like it, didn’t I?”

“Until this life, yes. And you like it in your coffee now, along with lots of sugar.” Stowne slipped into the kitchen to get the sugar bowl and a spoon from the table, dropping three heaping teaspoons into Cent’s mug and stirring. “There. Now we discuss this elephant.”

“Sit down first, honey. You’re pacing.”

“I cannot help it. I worry.” Stowne turned their rocker to face her. “Tell me why you do not care for yourself like you should.”

“It’s hit the point of why bother.” Cent pointed to the medication bottles beside her. “I take something to sleep. Something for pain. Something for my stomach. Something for— Smoking calms me, all right? It helps with the— I’m afraid.”

“What are you afraid of?” Stowne seemed genuinely puzzled.

“This ain’t about dyingif that’s what you’re thinking.” She pulled the blanket higher on her chest and reached for her tea, cursing softly when her hands shook too hard to lift it without spilling it. “I’m afraid of hurting more, of leaving you with horrid memories before I go. Lung cancer is an ugly death.”

“What about the radiation your doctor spoke about?”

“It’ll only delay the inevitable and make me nasty-sick until then.” Cent smiled when Stowne lifted the mug to her mouth. “Thank you.”

“That is why I am here. Never forget that.” Stowne knelt before her. “I will be here the entire time.”

“You’ve never seen me like this.”

“I have watched you die from battle wounds, from Small Pox, and countless other ways. None were attractive, but I have been there every time to walk you across the veil. This will be no different.”

“But I don’t want to leave you alone.” She reached out to stroke Stowne’s face.

“I will wait for your return, same as always.”

“But this land…”

“Yes, there is that.” Stowne kissed her palm. “It must be handed down correctly.”

“I know.” Cent took Stowne’s face into her hands, pulling them up to kiss them firmly on the mouth. “All right. I’ll think on it.”

“Thank you. Does this mean the elephant is gone?”

“Not gone, but it certainly shrank. Take me to bed, baby.”

_____________________________________________________________________________________

And now i’m proud to share an exclusive excerpt only available on this website…

MEME - Cleaning House - Mountain Witch Cleaning House

    “Hey, Cent! Get up!” Aubrey opened the cellar door and bounded down the stairs before she could wake up enough to cover herself, so Stowne did, draping one arm and leg over her body. “Tess said you had work this morning, so I…” Aubrey skidded to a stop at the bottom of the stairs. “I got mushmelon, eggs, bacon, coffee and— whoa, Nelly!” He gaped at Stowne when they wrapped further around Cent. “I’ll let you get dressed.” He turned to gaze up the stairs.

    “Yeah, thanks.” She reached for the clothing Stowne had once again folded while she slept.

    “Do you mind introducing me to your, um, friend?” Aubrey chuckled under his breath.

    “Aubrey, meet Stowne.” I smell coffee. “Stowne, this is Aubrey Rhodes, my cousin who doesn’t know to knock first. All right, I’m dressed.”

    “Centenary speaks highly of you.” Stowne watched Aubrey turn back around and pass Cent a plate and a cup of coffee.

    “Extra cream.” He stepped back to scrutinize Stowne. “Earth elemental?”

    “I am, as well as Centenary’s companion for most of her lives.” They wrapped their arm around Cent’s waist as she ate. “I see bacon is still a favored food.”

    “Love it.” Cent lifted a piece to her mouth. “But Tess always overcooks it.” She sighed when the piece shattered across the plate, leaving her holding a fragment that she put in her mouth.

    “I like it just fine.” Aubrey sat on the bottom stair. “Tess and I talked for a bit last night then I went to the back porch to think after she went to bed. Rayne came to sit with me, and I talked to her, I mean them, most of the night.” He yawned and stretched his arms above his head.

    “Did they answer more of those questions you had?” Cent sipped her coffee. What Tess lacked in bacon-cooking skills she made up for in coffee-making. It was a good cup, and she’d used real cream too, not the powdered stuff.

    “Yeah, they did. They said you have to find your memories and that as you find them, your power will grow.” He peered up at Stowne. “You’re gearing up to fight for the homestead, ain’t you?”

    “Yeah, this has been my land for centuries, and Stowne’s for much, much longer, so I’ll be damned if Mama is going to yank it out from under us.” She swallowed a mouthful of eggs before she spoke again, pulling out a piece of shell when it caught between her teeth. “That’s why I’m here, I think, why I came back.”

END EXCERPT


Author Bio

AUTHOR PIC - Jeanne G'Fellers

Born and raised in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Science Fiction and Fantasy author Jeanne G’Fellers’ early memories include watching the original Star Trek series with her father and reading the books her librarian mother brought home. Jeanne’s writing influences include Anne McCaffrey, Ursula K. LeGuin, Octavia Butler, Isaac Asimov, and Frank Herbert.

Jeanne lives in Northeast Tennesee with her spouse, Anna, and their five crazy felines. Their home is tucked against a small woodland where they regularly see deer, turkeys, raccoons, and experience the magic of the natural world.

Author Website: http://jeannegfellersauthor.com/

Author Facebook (Author Page): http://www.facebook.com/Jeannegfellersauthor/

Author Twitter: http://twitter.com/jlgfellers

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Finding a Co-Author is Finding a Soul Friend (Guest Blog Post by Professor Gore)

I was born into a family of literati.

No one recognized that I had a talent with language because everyone did.  The best evidence of this? At nine months old, I hollered out in the night.  Mother rushed to my bedroom and flipped on the light. I said clearly, “Mommy, let’s visit.”  Instead of realizing how remarkable this utterance was coming from a nine-month-old, she closed her eyes and said, “Dear God, why, oh why did you give me such an annoying child?” She flipped off the light and went back to bed.

The first person to acknowledge and encourage my skill as a wordsmith was my private music teacher and junior high band director, Maestro Wilson.

He would catch the subtlest of quips I would tender during our lessons and laugh out loud.  He would twist them and flip them back at me. I would toss him a pun and he would toss one back.  By ninth grade, band kids would fill his office on Friday afternoons to watch our official pun wars.  We were fierce and worthy opponents.

I adored him and began to think of him as a second father, one who made time for me, while he began to think of me as his daughter.  We became anam cara: soul friends.

Almost as exciting as word playing with Maestro Wilson was that when I was excited about a book, I would give it to him, and he would read it. I gave him O Ye Jigs and Juleps and he laughed and talked about it with me for days.  

He stayed up all night reading the terrifying Rosemary’s Baby after I gave it to him.  We talked about it for weeks like a father and daughter would. I began to see myself through his eyes, and that made me feel like I could be a writer.

I declared English as my major in college.  But my mom’s friend, a first-grade teacher who was like a second mother to me, said, “Millie, only six people in America can make a living as a writer at any one time, and honey, you ain’t one of ‘em.  I’m not going to look across the street when you’re thirty and see you living at home with your parents supporting you because you got a degree in something that you can’t make a living at. You have to change your major to Elementary Education.”

We argued, and argued, and argued, but she refused to go home until I promised I’d change my major to elementary education.  

That ended my dream of becoming a writer.  I became a teacher, and although that wasn’t what I’d wanted to do with my life, I was a great teacher, won awards, was highly valued by my administration, and was adored by most of my students.

Over the years, I sold a few small articles and stories, but teaching is so demanding that I had little energy to devote to writing.  

However, after I finished a doctorate degree at age 40, an academic publisher offered me a contract based on my dissertation.  That first book was followed over the next twenty years by four others for parents and teachers.

But I was yet to write what I was aching to: a picture book for the children of LGBT parents.  I wanted it to be lyrical with a beguiling cadence, filled with metaphor and subtlety, and based on the Hero’s Journey.  A book as much for parents as for children. And I wanted a co-author to share the journey with me.

Only one name came to mind: the teacher who had made words such fun for me. My second father. Maestro Wilson.

Recently widowed, he agreed that we would talk one hour every night, seven nights a week, until the book was complete.  

Over the next months, I taught him about the Hero’s Journey and about same-sex families.  I taught him about character development and how plot grows out of characters rather than characters being forced to fit a plot. I taught him about dialogue and beats, eliminating adverbs and using strong verbs.  

Then we began creating our characters, King Phillip and Don Carlos. We developed the men’s back stories, knew their strengths and vulnerabilities, their triumphs and defeats, how they met and fell in love.  

Maestro Wilson is Hispanic at heart, having grown up in downtown Santa Fe where his brothers of affinity had names like José or Carlos.  He was called Felipe (the Spanish form of Phillip) even by his father, and when he’s tired, lapses into a gentle Spanish accent. So Don Carlos grew from Maestro Wilson’s soul.  

We began creating the Blue Star and baby Milliflora, and although that process was different from creating the men, their essence emerged from my soul.

Every day I’d write based upon what we’d talked about the night before.  Then I would email the maestro what I’d written, and that night, he’d read the draft to me and we’d re-work it. Because he was a musician, his ear for the rhythm of language was magical.  

The next day I would write a new draft based upon our discussion. We continued writing every night for five months until we had created our perfect 1000-word story, All is Assuredly Well.

We have six more books to go in this series.  We’ll have the second book, Most Assuredly Well, ready for our illustrator on January 1.  

The first person ever to recognize my literary skill was my teacher, my soul friend, my second father: Maestro Wilson. I was eleven, and he a grown man with three children and four more to come.  Now, more than a half century later, we’re having the time of our lives writing together. Each book will be one of our legacies to children and families. Our message? The only ingredient necessary to be a family is love.  Shared DNA not required.

 

professorgore

Professor M. C. Gore holds the doctorate in education from the University of Arkansas.  She taught first grade through graduate school for 36 years in New Mexico, Missouri, and Texas.    She was a professional horse wrangler and wilderness guide and continues to play clarinet in two community bands.  She is Professor Emeritus from Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas where she held two distinguished professorships. Her books for teachers and parents are shelved in over a thousand libraries throughout the world.  She is retired and lives in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas.