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Thursday, January 19th, 2017
Receipe: Mango, Feta and Avocado Salad

This year I’ve decided to try more new-to-me recipes instead of cooking the same old thing every week. To this end, I grabbed two recipe books from the library and started looking for enticing recipes.

The first book was Lorraine Pascale’s Fast, Fresh and Easy Food, which I chose because I’ve seen her on the Food channel and enjoyed her recipes. It’s summer here in New Zealand, and with the abundance of avocadoes and other salad ingredients, I thought I’d start with a salad.

Mango Salad

Ingredients:

Mango

Feta cheese

4 radishes

1 ripe avocado

Fresh basil

1 bag of salad greens or rocket

1 lime

Olive oil

Salt and Pepper

To Make the Salad:

1. Place salad greens on platter.

2. Slice radishes. Cube mango, avocado and feta cheese and arrange all on top of the salad greens. Tear the basil leaves and add to the salad.

3. Dress with lime juice and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Shelley’s Notes:

1. I didn’t have any radishes and improvised with some kobari (spelling?) It’s a large radish-like vegetable, which I grated. I think radishes would have been better for the crunch factor and the dash of color would have looked good.

2. Other than that, I enjoyed the salad very much and would make it again.

Sunday, January 15th, 2017
Interview with author JA Armitage #DarkLegends

 

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Two of Clubs by J.A. Armitage

@armitageauthor

Award-Winning and Int’l Bestselling Author

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Fifty-two weeks, four royal families, one war.

Week one – January 1st – January 7th

Rose (The Two of Clubs) is the youngest of all the Royals of Vanatus, and she has a lot to prove. Born a princess, but with the heart of a warrior, she struggles to keep her two lives separate. By day, a perfect princess, but in the dark of night, she slips out to practice being all she ever wanted to be, a warrior like her brothers. When a dragon kidnaps some children from the royal castle, she must act quickly, but the snap decision sets off a chain of events that lead to the first war in the history of Vanatus, spelling disaster for both her and her family.

Follow the lives and loves of the fifty-two members of The Houses of Club, Heart, Diamond and Spade in real time as they struggle to maintain peace in the world of Vanatus.

This is a New Adult fantasy series set over the course of one whole year. This particular book is the first in the series and is set over the first week from New Year’s Day to 7th January from the eyes of Rose Club. Each book in the series will be shown through the eyes of a different character, all within the world of Vanatus. Each book can be read as a standalone book (no cliffhangers), but the overall arc of the war will play in the background throughout.

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J.A. Armitage

Featured Book: Two of Clubs

Hi, I’m so excited to be amongst some amazing authors in this box set. It’s like finding myself at a party with Tori Amos providing the music, Jamie Oliver cooking the food, Stephen Fry sat at one side and Jack Black on the other.

How long have you been a writer and how did you come to writing? I first hit the publish button in January 2014 but I’d spent a whole year writing my first book before that. Nowadays I write much more quickly but back then it was a slow process. It probably didn’t help that I was single parenting two very young children and being a surrogate for a friend. It was a lonely time so I wrote when the kids went to bed. My life is pretty great now and I’ve brought my writing with me into the good times.

How did you come up with this storyline? I’ve always loved fantasy so it was a no brainer that I’d write fantasy sooner or later. This particular story came to me as more of a concept than a story later. It occurred to me that there are 52 weeks in a year and 52 cards in a pack. One card for each week. I then thought that it would be pretty cool to write a story about the cards. In my book the cards are Royals. This book follows the Two of Clubs as she accidentally starts a war between the four ruling families, The Clubs, The Hearts, The Diamonds and The Spades. Each book is written as a different member of each family. Each book is a stand alone but they follow the arc of the war as it unfolds. Each book has seven chapters – one for each day of the week. Eventually, I hope to have 365 chapters over 52 books!

What are the best and the worst aspects of writing? I love writing. I wasn’t much of a writer as a child but I was a voracious reader. I read to escape reality. I write for the same reason but I get to chose what direction the characters go in. The worst part for me is the lack of time. I want to write more and more and more!

What inspires you to write? Nothing inspires me to write as such. I just have stories rattling around in my head all the time, fighting to get out!

How did you conduct your research for The Two of Clubs (War and Suits book1)? 30 years of reading other author’s work. As it’s a fantasy, I’ve made up a lot of stuff. You’ll meet new creatures and new food and new customs amongst other things.

What are 3 of your favorite quotes from The Two of Club? Thinking about it…

This is my favourite bit: ~ “She’s a Heart!” I stated the obvious, knowing that Tarragon was fully aware that she was a Heart, and that was more than likely the reason he’d bedded her in the first place. ~ “Isn’t this whole party thing to get the clans together so we can cooperate and live in a peaceful land? This is why we all come together at this time of year.” He gave that leisurely grin that women of all races seemed to fall for. It wasn’t going to work on me, though. I was mad! ~ “Yes, but I don’t think that you are supposed to come together quite so literally!” “Or quite so many times,” grinned Tarragon.

More Favorites from Two of Clubs: The Heart District is awesome in a steampunky kind of way – I’m not saying any more – You’ll just have to read it.

What would your friends say is your best quality? I don’t give up. Actually, that’s what I say my best quality is. My friends would probably say my best quality is bringing them cake and wine! (If you can call that a quality!)

Are reader reviews important to you? My reviews keep me going. It’s amazing just how much some nice words from a complete stranger can pick me up for the rest of the day. They inspire me to keep going.

What do you do when you don’t write? I’m a graphic designer and wedding photographer as well as a mother. I also renovate houses. My favourite hobby is sleep lol!

Tell us about your other books? I have a Paranormal Romance series called Guardians of The Light which begins with a girl in a locked room. Her biggest problem isn’t the door, it’s what lies beyond. Talking of locked doors, my next series (The Labyrinthians) features plenty of them in the form of an underground maze with danger lurking around every corner. Finally, I’ve started a Cozy Mystery series (Murder at The Bite Cafe) which I hope to write book 2 in next year once I’ve written the first twelve of The Clubs stories.

If you could share one thing about yourself that you would like readers to know what would it be? I love getting emails oh and I’ve crush on Jack Black…shhh, don’t tell everyone! Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy the book. If you sign up to my mailing list, I’ll let you know about an exclusive competition I’ll be running throughout the whole series of War and Suits books. author-bio1 j-armitage1

Born in a small town, J. Armitage longed for adventure and travel. Age 20 she moved to Dublin, then to San Diego, then Sydney and back to California where she did a brief stint working at Universal Studios being a minder to Sponge Bob.

Once back in Britain she got married, had babies and decided to write about the adventure she was now missing out on. She works full time, is a mum to three kids and has had a surrogate baby. She has skydived twice (and survived), climbed Kilimanjaro and hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. She has also worked as a professional clown and banana picker amongst other jobs. Somehow she finds time to write. J. Amitage’s second book, Infinite Spring, was nominated for a iFestival of Reading Award. Socail Links.jpg

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Wednesday, January 11th, 2017
Interview with author Kevin McLaughlin #DarkLegends

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By Darkness Revealed by Kevin McLaughlin

@KOMcLaughlin

Award-Winning and Int’l Bestselling Author

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Ryan Blackwell thought to escape his magic by burying himself in the military college at Northshield, Vermont.

But Northshield University has a secret: a nexus of magical power that people will kill to possess.

Hiding his power becomes impossible. Instead, he finds himself in the midst of a deeper and more dangerous sorcery than he has ever encountered before.

Things spiral out of control, and soon only Ryan’s wit, will, and the talent he once hoped to leave behind stand between a nightmarish creature and everything he cares for.

There is more to Ryan than meets the eye. But even with the powers he controls, can he stand against this darkness, or will it swallow him whole?

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Kevin McLaughlin

Featured Book: By Darkness Revealed

Hi and hello! Very excited to be here with you today. For those who don’t know me yet, I’m a Boston writer of science fiction and fantasy. I’m an amateur astrophysicist and play with swords in my spare time as well, so my hobbies line up really well with my line of work. When I’m not hitting friends with sticks, I might also be sailing. Or writing. More often the latter than the former, but I enjoy both.

How long have you been a writer and how did you come to writing?

I came by writing naturally: my mother made me do it. No, not quite! As a kid I used to fall asleep listening to my mom writing fiction at her typewriter, tack-tack-tacking away while listening to some movie soundtrack or another. Taking up the craft was so natural that I wrote my first short story at age 7. It took second place in a local writing competition. I’ve pretty much been involved in telling stories in one format or another ever since.

How did you come up with this storyline?

By Darkness Revealed is close to my heart, because it’s personal. I went to Norwich University as a cadet – that’s the well I drew from to paint a good picture of cadet life for the protagonist. Obviously the ‘Northshield University’ in the story is a fictional place, but much of the feel I captured in the story was drawn from the real college.

As for the storyline itself?

Again, a lot of it is drawn from reality. No, people were not actually slinging bolts of magical energy around campus (not that I was aware of, anyway!), but the real world Norwich is an unusual place with all sorts of magical legends and tales.

What are the best and the worst aspects of writing?

For me the best part is telling the story, hands down. When I get into a really good flow state, I might be typing as much as three thousand words an hour. Just letting the story spill forth onto the screen. Those moments are a bit like singing, or dancing, or sailing, or martial arts forms… It’s like meditation where the mind is active and burning at full speed. Where you have complete focus on the task and everything is moving in synchronicity.

The worst part?

Edits. We hates them, my precious. When I’m done telling the story, I am *done* telling the story. I don’t really want to read it over for errors and nit-picking bits. I do, of course. And I have a great editor who finds what I miss. But this is my least favorite part.

What inspires you to write?

I like telling stories. I really like telling stories for a living. I really, REALLY like running my own business telling stories for a living. There’s no other career out there which I get as much satisfaction from, where I feel so complete working. If I wasn’t writing fiction, perhaps I’d be making up stories for film or for video games or something else entirely… For me the telling of exciting stories is more central than the medium I use.

How did you conduct your research for By Darkness Revealed?

I cheated. I do this often. Writers have two choices when it comes to research. They can set a story someplace they have never been, in a land or culture they don’t know at all – and then have to research the heck out of it. Or we can write a story set someplace we either know really well, or which we are making up entirely. Or both. For this book I did both. I set the book at a fictional university in a fictional town, and then painted the fictional place with real-world experiences from a similar place. So, I cheated. No research. Zip. This is how I write most of my books, actually.

What is your favorite quotes from By Darkness Revealed?

One of my favorite elements created just for By Darkness Revealed is Kittybreeze. She’s a little air spirit with very feline traits. When I was young, someone wrote a wonderful short story for Dragon Magazine that I adored about an old wind mage who was looking for an apprentice. The girl – who ended up getting the job – was overjoyed by the cute “puppy breeze” that the air mage had as a pet/servant. The boy scoffed, saying that must be the least of the spirits the master controlled. The master replied that sometimes you need to measure worth not in terms of power, but instead with regard to faithfulness, trust, and long years of loyal service. I loved that story. Still do. Kittybreeze is something of an homage to that author. (I just looked up the piece. It was “Master of the Winds” by Sharon Lee, back in Dragon Magazine #84.)

What would your friends say is your best quality?

I would not presume to ask. I’m rather blessed with a few very good friends. I like to think that I add as much value to their lives as they do to mine. Being a friend is a give and take sort of thing.

Are reader reviews important to you?

Is this a trick question? *chuckle* If I say no, then I encourage no one to ever review me. If I say yes, then I am paying too much attention to them… I read every review of every book I have out. I listen for comments about what people liked, and what they did not. I strive to use my reviews as a tool to grow and learn from. I do not generally respond to reviews directly, but rest assured I read them all. Even the harsh ones! Because there is certainly something to learn there as well, even if the lesson was simply that *that* book did not reach *that* reader in a pleasing manner. As writers, when we stop learning and growing and improving, it’s time to hang up the keyboard. Reviews are one such tool for growth.

What do you do when you don’t write?

What is this “don’t write” thing of which you speak? *laugh* I write almost every day. I’ll cross half a million words of new fiction this year. A little secret? (Whispers:) I’m shooting for a million next year! I love taking long walks through Boston with my fiancee as well. It’s not unusual for us to walk five miles on a nice day, sometimes as much as ten. Just exploring, seeing the city, the people, the places. Boston is always in a constant process of endless change. It’s fascinating. I fight with swords – steel and rattan alike. In armor, thanks. It’s my current martial art; I’ve done a few other martial arts in the past, but lately I am finding it harder to keep even this one up. I spend time with my children, who are growing bigger and older each year. I want to make as many memories with them as I can, so I will have things to cherish as they outgrow their youth, although hopefully not their childhood.

Tell us about your other books?

The Blackwell Magic books are six titles so far. There may be more books about Ryan Blackwell coming in the future, but for now I think the series may rest a bit. I’ve also written three novellas called in a mini-series called “Raven’s Heart” set in the same universe. I have the rough outline of an epic fantasy series as well. If it comes to be, then it will very much interest Blackwell fans.

I’ve also written a few science fiction books – four so far in the “Adventures of the Starship Satori” series, and two in the “Accord” series – "Accord of Honor" and "Accord of Mars”. I tend to write science fiction set in the near future, using technology and society just beyond where we are today. “Over the Moon” is a science fiction romance which could take place just five years or so from now. Perhaps ten.

If you could share one thing about yourself that you would like readers to know what would it be?

C.S. Lewis once said “Since it is so likely that (children) will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage. Otherwise you are making their destiny not brighter but darker.” I believe that same sentiment applies equally to grownups. We hear so much about the darkness of the world, these days. We read about the cruel. We see videos of the unjust. We are deluged with stories of the most horrific elements of human nature. But that is *not* all that humanity is and can be. I write stories about people who have failings, and make mistakes. Yet at the end of the day they strive to overcome those things and act in a heroic manner. To show the best part of what it is to be human. My heroes are there to shine light on our better natures, and to give us all hope that we can be better than we are.

Thanks for having me! This has been fun. I hope readers enjoy the boxed set enormously. If anyone has questions about my work, please do drop me a message via email. I don’t always answer right away, but I *do* answer every fan email that I get personally. (Kevins.studio@gmail.com) Thank you for believing in us enough to stick with this whole interview! Above all else, thank you for reading. At the end of the day, readers are why we write. *fini* author-bio1 kevin-mclaughlin1

When not practicing hobbies which include sailing, constructing medieval armor, and swinging swords at his friends, Kevin McLaughlin can usually be found in his Boston home. Kevin’s award-winning short fiction is now available in digital form at all major ebook retailers. His urban fantasies “By Darkness Revealed” and “Ashes Ascendant” are available in ebook and print. His latest stories, the “Adventures of the Starship Satori" and "Accord" science fiction novels are ongoing.

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Thursday, January 5th, 2017
Interview with Author Monica Corwin #DarkLegends

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Soulless by Monica Corwin

@Monica_Corwin

Award-Winning and Int’l Bestselling Author

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In the late 21st century, scientists created a serum that gave every person nine lives, also known as souls. Flush with expendable life, Earth collapsed into war and anarchy, leaving the Catholic Church to step in and take control. In a world where the stealing of souls is big business, it takes people like Constance Grace, detective in the Soul Theft Division, to hunt the criminals down and strip them of their remaining souls.

When social-climbing con man, Noah Hannock, plunks himself on the church’s radar, he becomes Constance’s problem. With a brand new partner, Mikon Cross and seven of her nine given souls remaining, Connie has to enter high society under a too-familiar alias to tempt Noah into her web.

While the chemistry between Connie and Mikon is scorching hot, the reality is they don’t trust each other. Each with their own secrets to protect, the hunt for Noah Hannock threatens them both. The only way they can survive is if they learn to lay themselves, heart and souls, on the line for each other.

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Monica Corwin

Featured Book: Soulless

Hello everyone, I’m so thrilled to be here. I can’t wait to tell you about Soulless, which was previously published as Soulless. If I get too excited and ramble please feel free to direct me back to the questions.

Hey, Monica! How long have you been a writer and how did you come to writing? I started writing when I was a little girl but didn’t start actively writing looking to publish until my early 20’s. Almost six years now.

How did you come up with this storyline? Well, like a lot of my stories I get the main idea from a dream. But, it was after I watched a movie about time…and how people’s timers were on their arms. That gave me the idea for the souls to add into the world I had already built around the dream.

What are the best and the worst aspects of writing? The best is interacting with readers. I love hearing about books and how much they loved my work. Most of the time I assume I write books and no one ever reads them. It’s nice when someone proves me wrong. The worst aspect is marketing. It’s not something I have gotten figured out. It doesn’t help that I’m awkward as hell though.

What inspires you to write? Lots of things can inspire me to write. Most of the time is a book, or movie, or watching a show about a character who has reaching their goals…it makes me want to push toward my own.

How did you conduct your research for Soulless? I mostly had to do a lot of research on the Catholic Church which was both frightening and fascinating.

What are 3 of your favorite quotes from Soulless? ~ “He watched as she pulled her unruly mane up into a messy bun on top of her head. Every time he saw her do it, he couldn’t help but think it was a move specifically designed by women to turn men on.” ~ “I’m going to pout now because I wasted a perfectly beautiful dress on such a craptastic night…” ~ “If heaven and hell could merge it would live in such a moment."

What would your friends say is your best quality? Oh man…probably my loyalty. I am devoted to those I care about and would give them anything in my power, including a kidney, to help them.

Are reader reviews important to you? Um…I will say they aren’t important to ME but they are important. I think when a book is done it is no longer the writer’s…it belongs to the reader, as do reviews. Those reviews aren’t for me, or about me, they are for the reader.

What do you do when you don’t write? Uh read, a lot. I also fix typewriters. I know, I’m a dork.

Tell us about your other books? I write mainly paranormal romance with strong heroines and unique worlds. My other series, Revelations, centers around female four horseman of the apocalypse.

If you could share one thing about yourself that you would like readers to know what would it be? I adore you. Even if you hate my work I thank you for giving that time to read it. Thank you for giving it, and me, a chance.

Thank you so much for having me and listening to me ramble. XOXO Monica

author-bio1 blue_logotrans1 Monica Corwin is a writer attempting to make romance accessible to everyone, no matter their preferences. As a Northern Ohioan, Monica enjoys snow drifts, three seasons of weather, and a dislike of Michigan, despite her complete disinterest in football. When not writing Monica spends time with her daughter and ever growing collection of tomes about King Arthur.

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Saturday, December 31st, 2016
An Interview with Emma Nichols #DarkLegends

320b1-14424914_1738835249713749_1093634480769649466_o1by Rebecca Hamilton, T.F. Walsh, Monica Corwin, J.L. Weil, Laxmi Hariharan, JA Culican, Muffy Wilson, GK DeRosa, Marilyn Peake, Kevin McLaughlin, Carissa Ann Lynch, Vivienne Savage, Anna Hub, HJ Lawson, Emma Nichols, Shelley Munro, J.A.Armitage, Leilani Love, Demelza Carlton, Xyla Turner, D.S. Murphy, J.T. Williams

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This Collection is packed with more than 20 full-length Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance reads from New York Times, USA Today, and International Bestselling Authors!

Don’t miss this collection of more than twenty unique twists in paranormal romance and urban fantasy, providing over one million words of supernatural suspense that will transport you to new worlds with smoking hot action and heart-throttling adventure!

The DARK LEGENDS boxed set includes: Mermaids, Sirens, Shifters, Vampires, Dragons, Sorcerers, Warriors, Angels, Faeries, Demons, Witches, Psychics, Ghosts, Mythology, Folk Tales, Legends, Dark Magic, Time Travel, and More!

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Rebecca Hamilton T.F. Walsh with Demon’s Mark Monica Corwin with Soulless J.L. Weil with White Raven Laxmi Hariharan with Redemption JA Culican with The Keeper of Dragons, The Prince Returns Muffy Wilson and The Para-Portage of Emily GK DeRosa with Wilder: The Guardian Series Marilyn Peake with Shade Kevin McLaughlin with By Darkness Revealed Carissa Ann Lynch with Midnight Moss Vivienne Savage with Making Waves Anna Hub with Beyond the Shadows HJ Lawson with New Order Emma Nichols with Blood Moon Shelley Munro with Claimed & Seduced J.A.Armitage with Two of Clubs Leilani Love with Violca’s Dragon Demelza Carlton with Ocean’s Gift Xyla Turner with Broken Treaty D.S. Murphy with Scarlet Thread J.T. Williams with Winemaker of the North

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Blood Moon by Emma Nichols

@EmmasErotica

Award-Winning and Int’l Bestselling Author

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Autumn and her boyfriend were on the outs. After six months together, he’d decided they weren’t compatible. Determined to prove him wrong, she agrees to go hiking one October weekend. While she pictured a romantic stroll around the lake, he booked them a grueling weekend in Yellowstone, where he promptly humiliated her, dumped her, and left her all alone in the wilderness. Yet again, she’d fallen for a guy who treated her like a project. All she wanted was love and acceptance. By the time Autumn dried her tears, snowflakes covered the trail, darkness had fallen, and her demise appeared imminent.

Ronan Cormac had some decisions to make. Though he’d become one of the most sought after agents in Hollywood, years of superficial relationships had worn him down, making him long for a meaningful connection. In other words, the wolf shifter was ready for a mate and LA made it impossible for him to find one. When his sister called him home for a family emergency, Ronan rushed back to Yellowstone. In order to save the Druids, his pack, he’d have to find a mate and become the Alpha before the Blood Moon.

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Emma Nichols

Featured Book: Blood Moon

Hullo! Care for a spot of tea? Sorry, I’ve been watching a lot of Penny Dreadful on Netflix in preparation for my next series. Okay. Never mind. I watch it because it’s dark and different and every once in awhile I need some downtime.

How long have you been a writer and how did you come to writing?

Well, I first published in June of 2013. Inspired by the success of Fifty Shades of Grey, I wrote the naughtiest story I could think up. Sin at Sea spawned The Sinful Series, and I was hooked on the whole process. How did you come up with this storyline? While scrolling through Facebook one day, there was a video about wolves returning to Yellowstone. The wheels started turning. What if they weren’t really wolves, but wolf shifters who saved the park? The Druids were born. What are the best and the worst aspects of writing? I love coming up with the story ideas. The hardest part is working through all the plot holes to make the story work.

What inspires you to write?

I have to. Seriously. If I take too much time off from writing, I feel it. Writing keeps me balanced. It has become part of my identity. Some people exercise, I write. If I didn’t write, I’d eat more. No one wants that.

How did you conduct your research for Blood Moon?

I watched videos, I surfed the net. Good times. What would your friends say is your best quality? My sense of adventure. Okay…I love to travel. Is that the same thing?

Are reader reviews important to you?

Reviews are everything. I’m lucky to have built a really wonderful tribe named Emma’s Elite. I share a FREE book every week. They read and review. I recently published a book they helped create through a series of polls.

What do you do when you don’t write?

I’m all about some travel. I prefer cruises, which is why my first book was set on a cruise ship and the rest of the series were all destination romances. In fact, I’m eyeing a 10-day cruise in May.

Tell us about your other books.

As of today, I have four series and five standalones. They’re a variety of genres, like romantic comedy, romantic suspense, paranormal, and contemporary romance. The settings vary, although most of my recent stuff is set in Charlotte, North Carolina, where I live, and the surrounding areas. I write about whatever interests me at the time and try to create characters readers can relate to.

If you could share one thing about yourself that you would like readers to know, what would it be?

Chocolate should be a food group. White chocolate is blasphemy. My life should have more wine in it. Thank you for hanging out with me today. I usually have these conversations over sushi, so I’m going to go get some now. No reason for both of us to miss out. Have a wonderful day! author-bio1 emma1

What made her decide to be an romance author?

Simple. How else was she going to parlay her two favorite past times into a career? Emma is single and loving it. Like her first character, Alysin, Sin for short, she doesn’t believe in settling or in settling down. She loves to indulge in her passions whenever the mood strikes and enjoys keeping all of life’s cliche moments spicy.

Known for her sense of humor, Emma surrounds herself with friends whose antics often become the source of book fodder. Her ideal situation would be to explore the Caribbean while writing. She pursues that dream daily.

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Monday, December 26th, 2016
How About a Box Set to Celebrate Boxing Day? #books #DarkLegends #sale

Boxing day – it’s the perfect time to buy a box set to load on your new kindle or gadget.

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Author Joan Reeves has a selection of box sets on her blog today. Check them out before the prices change…

Go here to see the box set market and Celebrate Boxing Day

Friday, December 23rd, 2016
Need a Last Minute Gift?

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If you’re like me, you’re probably scrambling to finish your Christmas shopping. Author Joan Reeves has some last minute suggestions for you to make things simple. Go forth and shop…

Easy to Buy, Easy to Give

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016
Huge Book Sale – Dec 18 to Jan 2 #99c #sale #books

Holiday Sale

Want to grab a bargain or two for holiday reading. Some books are free, others are 99c and some are $1.99.

Find the Book Sale

Monday, December 19th, 2016
Interview with Demelza Carlton #DarkLegends

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Ocean’s Gift by Demelza Carlton

@DemelzaCarlton

Award-Winning and Int’l Bestselling Author

 

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You’ll never look at mermaids the same way again.

Mermaids don’t fall in love with humans. For centuries it has been so…

But Sirena is different. She lost her first love to sharks and a storm, cursing the islands that stole him from her.

Times have changed and she must swim ashore once more, to the islands she once cursed. Gone are the boats powered by sail and steam – jet boats with GPS are now the order of the day.

Enter Joe, the deckhand on the Dolphin. A handy man to have around when the lights go out. He’ll fix your generator and have the lights back on in no time, no worries. But can he seduce a siren?

Or will she swim away before he can uncover her secret?

A book about lobsters, beer and boobs, on some cursed islands off the coast of Western Australia. At least, that’s how Joe tells it.

For Sirena, it’s a very different story.

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Demelza Carlton

Featured Book: Ocean’s Gift

Hiya, and thanks for having me. I’m a little nervous, but I shall do my best not to stammer too much.

Welcome, Demelza! It always amazes me when writers say that; they have such a command of the English language and are such magic wordsmiths! How long have you been a writer and how did you come to writing? I’ve been writing for over 20 years, but I’ve only been published for four of them. Ah…come to writing or come to writing something I intended to publish? Because the first book I wrote was actually the third book I published, and there’s a reason for that. Nightmares of Caitlin Lockyer…no, the whole Nightmares Trilogy, is very dark. Psychological thriller type dark. It was based on a series of recurring nightmares I had during the trial of two notorious serial killers in my home town. While I won’t go into the gory details, they kidnapped and tortured women before they killed them and disposed of the bodies. The only reason they were caught is because when they were about to kill one of the girls, she managed to escape and get help. That’s where the similarity ends, though, because my serial killers are subject to a much darker kind of justice than the Australian legal system. I thought the whole thing – which was just the one book then, not a trilogy at all – was too dark to publish or even show anyone, but I was talking to some other authors on the site Wattpad, who expressed a desire to read some of it. They’d tell me if it was too dark, they said. So…I posted the first few chapters. And within a matter of days, those chapters had over ten thousand reads. So I posted a few more…and a few more…until in the end I posted the whole book on Wattpad, and the website staff offered to feature it to their (then) ten million readers. I think it had more than two and a half million reads or something – a very popular book. So, I went from believing it was too dark to release, to publishing the first book…and two more in the trilogy as it stands now. But if you’re asking about why I published my first book…that’s Ocean’s Gift, a light comedy urban fantasy.

How did you come up with this storyline? Ah….that’s kind of a funny story, really. I did my Masters research on shipwrecks at several remote islands off the West Australian coast, and as I was writing up my dissertation, I came across one shipwreck that just didn’t make sense. During a cyclone in the 1920s, a fishing boat broke free of its moorings with the two-man crew still aboard. One man managed to swim ashore, but the other couldn’t swim, so he disappeared in the waves when the boat sank. Everyone thought he drowned, but his body wasn’t found…until more than three weeks later, when it washed up miles from where the boat went down, in the complete opposite direction to the ocean currents. Stranger still, the man was recognizable – which meant his corpse hadn’t been floating at sea for all those weeks – and he’d done some first aid to his broken leg. There was nowhere the man could have been all that time except in the ocean, because if he’d washed up on the island, someone would have seen him and helped him. So how could a man survive for three weeks at sea, do first aid on himself, and yet drown within sight of land? No matter how much research I did, I couldn’t solve the mystery, so I wrote "mermaids did it" in my report and left it at that. When I did the final proofread of my report, I burst out laughing when I saw that bit, because it was still there. I quickly deleted it, submitted my dissertation, and decided to celebrate with a glass of wine. Wine in hand, I decided to search mermaid myths on the internet. Was it actually possible? I was amazed to find heaps of mermaid stories from all over the Indian Ocean, and of course I also dug out my copy of Hans Christian Anderson’s tales to read the fairytale I remembered. Put the two together with my miracle man, and I had a story. What if the reason mermaids went ashore was a biological imperative – they needed human men in order to breed – but instead of saving the man like the prince in Anderson’s tale, what if my Indian Ocean mermaid accidentally lost him to the waves? She’d be heartbroken, not wanting to return to the place she lost the man for a very long time. And a very long time later, she did come ashore again, at the same islands, investigating an environmental issue. Right at the same time as a brand new deckhand starts work on a lobster fishing vessel at the islands – a deckhand who’s very interested in the woman who lives in the fishing shack next door to his. And he just happens to have the same first name as the man she lost to the waves…

What are the best and the worst aspects of writing? The best part is getting lost in the story. I love the research and working with new characters in amazing places and seeing just what they can come up with to make their story special. The worst bit…is when the characters are so real to me that they hijack my head, the story and anything else they can get their imaginary hands on. So when I was writing Joe Fisher, the deckhand who’s in love with the woman he doesn’t know is a mermaid, and I walked past a reflective window while I was wearing a low-cut top, the thought that popped into my head was a very clear, "Ooh, boobs!" I’ll never forget that moment, because it was like Joe Fisher was alive in my head…and perving on me.

What inspires you to write? Anything and everything, especially when my characters won’t shut up. I swear they’re either having a party in my head or starting World War III. At least, I think it’s war. It might be a particularly violent orgy, which is entirely possible, as Lucifer features in several of my books and he gets quite vocal. I honestly don’t know.

How did you conduct your research for Ocean’s Gift? Ah…well, I used my Masters research, but part of that included site visits to the islands where the book is set. I’ve stayed in those shacks, walked the jetty, been out on the fishing boats…and visited Giuseppe’s grave, and the site where his boat sank.

What are 3 of your favorite quotes from Ocean’s Gift? Oh hell…that’s a hard one. ~ When Joe Fisher has a few too many drinks and then tries to drive his dinghy back to the island in the dark: "I checked out of Hotel Consciousness. At least I got to dream of Vanessa naked."

~ Ah…this is an introduction to what Joe did for a living before he signed on as a deckhand, constructing remote mining camps with his offsider, Dean: "While we worked, we lived rough. We were the last people who actually camped there. We slept in swags and cooked outside, in the beam of the spotlights on the top of the car, which was a ute. There was one ute to two men, and I shared mine with Dean the plumber. Dean was full of shit, so it seemed natural that he was a plumber. Still, he was a better cook than me and a good mate, too."

~ Dean calls Joe while they’re both between assignments, asking for his help on his uncle’s fishing boat: “Look, he needs someone as soon as possible. How soon can you get up here?” Dean’s in Geraldton, then. “I could finish up at the end of the week and fly up on Sunday,” I told him reluctantly. “Cool, I’ll get my cousin to sort out your flights and he’ll meet you out on the islands. You can see how it goes the first week and if it works out you get paid to go fishing for the rest of your holidays. Seeya.” He hung up. Shit. What’ve I got myself into? Knowing Dean, this was going to be a disaster. Oh well, next trip I can always get back at him by putting huge spiders in his swag. He’s terrified of them, but he always forgets to zip his swag up properly. And he screams like a girl when he finds them, too. What’s the worst that can happen? A week on a free fishing charter and possibly getting paid to fish for weeks after it. And if it didn’t work out, the next three months of seeing Dean do a high-pitched jig every night when he found spiders in his swag. Hell, there wasn’t a downside that I could see. I started writing down a list of things to pack.

Are reader reviews important to you? Of course! Without reader reviews, nobody would ever know how good a book is. If you enjoyed it, leave a review!

What do you do when you don’t write? Honestly? Probably researching my next book. It might not have been my intention when I stepped onto the whale watching boat/jetty over a volcanic lake/the walkway into a million-year-old cave or waded into the water with my dive gear, always with my camera in hand, but by the time I get home, I usually have a new story idea in my head – or something I’d like to include in an existing book. I should tell you about the snorkelling trip where I spent around an hour chasing this shark around so I could get a picture of it. I never did get a good one. I’ll have to try again sometime.

Tell us about your other books? Are you sure? I have almost thirty of them now.

Ocean’s Gift has two other books in the series – Ocean’s Infiltrator, and a prequel about Belinda called Water and Fire. I realised after I wrote these that there’s ninety years missing in Vanessa’s tale, so I started writing what I thought was a single book called Turbulence and Triumph. Ha. Now, that’s the name of a series of seven books to date, all of which take place in the 1920s and 1930s, starting with Ocean’s Justice. My Mel Goes to Hell series is about an angel sent in as a temp to the office from Hell. Quite literally, as the CEO is the devil himself and Mel’s supposed to find out his plans while she’s working there. But the devil falls for the angel – and falls hard – which makes her job a lot more challenging. My Nightmares Trilogy I’ve already mentioned, but an odd spinoff from that is my Romance Island Resort series. You see, the girl was in a band, and because of what happened to her, she managed to garner some media attention, and once the lead singer’s interview went viral, the band just sort of took off. Five years later, that lead singer, Jay Felix, is one of the hottest rock stars in the world, with more money than he knows what to do with, and the band breaks up. He buys Romance Island Resort, a luxury celebrity resort off the West Australian coast, and proceeds to look for love…inspired by the resort’s library of romance books. But what works for most romance heroes always seems to go wrong for him, even if he does get the girl in the end. Just not the way he intended. Yes, I have other projects in the works…but that’s all I can talk about for now.

Thank you so much for joining us and sharing a little of yourself with our readers and fans. We’ll be looking for you on the ‘Bestseller Lists’! Thank you so much for having me – and letting me chew your ear off about my books.

author-bio1

demelza-carlton1Demelza Carlton has always loved the ocean, but on her first snorkelling trip she found she was afraid of fish. She has since swum with sea lions, sharks and sea cucumbers and stood on spray-drenched cliffs over a seething sea as a seven-metre cyclonic swell surged in, shattering a shipwreck below. Sensationalist spin? No – Demelza tends to take a camera with her so she can capture and share the moment later; shipwrecks, sharks and all. Demelza now lives in Perth, Western Australia, the shark attack capital of the world. The Ocean’s Gift series was her first foray into fiction, followed by the Nightmares trilogy. She swears the Mel Goes to Hell series ambushed her on a crowded train and wouldn’t leave her alone.

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Sunday, December 18th, 2016
Author Interview with Carissa Ann Lynch #DarkLegends

 

author-interview1

Carissa Ann Lynch

Featured Book: Midnight Moss

Hi, guys! I’m Carissa Ann Lynch, author of the Flocksdale Files trilogy, Horror High series, 13: An Anthology of Horror and Dark Fiction, Grayson’s Ridge, and This Is Not About Love. I like to write what I like to read—which is a little bit of everything!

How long have you been a writer and how did you come to writing? I’ve always been obsessed with books, but I didn’t write my first complete novel until about five years ago. I couldn’t find a book to read, so I got this crazy idea—why not try to write my own story? It was harder than I thought, but I fell in love with the idea of being able to control the outcome of a story. It felt like reading, only I got to decide what happened next. I never expected to get a publishing contract, but once I did, there was no going back. I was hooked!

How did you come up with this storyline for Midnight Moss? This story combines several ideas that have been rolling around in my head for a while. As a child, there was this section of our neighborhood that was mysteriously fenced off, so that’s where the “mysterious fence” comes into play. I also love the idea of old houses and magic keys, so I was able to use that in the story as well. I usually write horror and dark fiction, but I have a serious love for fantasy and paranormal stories, so this book was so much fun to write.

What are the best and the worst aspects of writing? The best thing about writing is it’s like a drug for me. When I do it, I feel better. And as soon as I’m finished with one book, I’m ready to go looking for my next story idea, or “fix”. I can see that as being a good and bad thing. I get obsessed with a story while I’m writing, and I work on it compulsively. So, it can be a pretty exhausting process for me.

What inspires you to write? Everything! Most writers will tell you that everything we see/hear/feel gets stored away in our memory banks to use later for our books. I like to write about serious social issues, but I also enjoy the escape of a magical story and light fun.

What would your friends say is your best quality? I commit to things and do them all the way. I’m also loyal and I have a good memory, so I usually remember birthdays and old stories LOL.

Are reader reviews important to you? I love when someone tells me that one of my books affected them, or made their day a little brighter. But I try not to get upset over bad reviews, and I don’t change my stories based on what readers want. I just write what I want to write, and hope that people will like it. But if not, that’s their choice. As a book lover myself, I know that some books everyone claims to love aren’t my favorite. I know I can’t be everyone’s favorite all of the time, and I’m okay with that.

What do you do when you don’t write? I read A LOT. I prefer paperbacks and I always—ALWAYS—have a book with me everywhere I go. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t fall asleep with a book on my chest.

Tell us about your other books? The Flocksdale Files is a dark trilogy about a twisted town filled with the worst kind of monsters—the humankind. The Horror High series is a three-book series about a creepy school nicknamed “Horror High” where the cheerleaders are constantly being taunted by an unknown “sociopath.” My other books are women’s fiction, mystery, and paranormal.

If you could share one thing about yourself that you would like readers to know what would it be? I would just tell them thank you. The fact that they took the time to read my book makes my heart soar, and means more to me than I could put into words.

That’s it for me, guys! I sincerely hope that you enjoy Midnight Moss as much as I enjoyed writing it!

author-bio1 carissa-lynch1

Carissa Ann Lynch is the bestselling and award winning author of the Flocksdale Files trilogy, Horror High series, 13: An Anthology of Horror and Dark Fiction, Grayson’s Ridge, and This Is Not About Love. She writes horror, thriller, mystery, paranormal and dark women’s fiction. She lives in Floyds Knobs, Indiana.

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