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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Scotch Broom Goes to Print

This happened quicker than I thought. I was shooting for a New Year's release on Amazon, but time, tide, and CreateSpace wait for no man. Scotch Broom is the third book in the Witches of Galdorheim series. I've put the whole series in paperback on sale for $5.99 each. That's an ebook price for a paperback. Soon, I'll have to raise the price, so take advantage before each book costs a couple of bucks more.

Find all three books on Amazon by clicking this line.




Thursday, December 27, 2012

I've Got a Shot at #1

MIDNIGHT OIL could actually get 1st place in the Preditors/Editors Poll  if a few more folks voted for it. Polls open until mid-January. Yes, it's a hassle because the site is slower than mud. On the positive side, the anti-SPAM entry is easier since it uses a book cover and you only have to find the author's name. I know how you all hate those random letters and numbers. You also need to confirm your vote when you receive an email from critters.org. Here's the link to the Childrens Novel category:

http://critters.org/predpoll/novelchildrens.shtml

Here's a little information about MIDNIGHT OIL.

Book 2 of the Witches of Galdorheim series, MIDNIGHT OIL is available in ebook and print. Both editions are bargain priced right now: $1.99 for the ebook, $5.99 for print.

Logline:

Shipwrecked on a legendary island, how can a witch rescue her boyfriend if she can’t even phone home?

Blurb:

Kat is a nervous wreck waiting for her boyfriend's first visit to her Arctic island home. He doesn't show up, so she's sure he’s given her the brushoff.

When she learns he’s disappeared, she sets out on a mission to find him. Things go wrong from the start. Kat is thrown overboard during a violent storm, while her brother and his girlfriend are captured by a mutant island tribe. The mutants hold the girlfriend hostage, demanding the teens recover the only thing that can make the mutants human again–the magical Midnight Oil.

Mustering every bit of her Wiccan magic, Kat rises to the challenge. She invokes her magical skills, learns to fly an ultralight, meets a legendary sea serpent, rescues her boyfriend, and helps a friendly air spirit win the battle against her spiteful sibling. On top of it all, she’s able to recover the Midnight Oil and help the hapless mutants in the nick of time.




Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Review - Persephone Cole Mystery

Persephone Cole and the Christmas Killings ConundrumPersephone Cole and the Christmas Killings Conundrum by Heather Haven
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've read all of Heather Haven's Alvarez Family mysteries and really enjoyed the series. When I saw she's come up with another woman sleuth, I had to have it.

Set in the 40s, it's everything the hard-boiled PI books delivered, plus a lot more humor from the savvy Percy Cole.

An elf buys a one-way ticket to the Santa's Workshop in the sky. The frivolous rich girl's fancy handbag is a dead giveaway of who did in the elf.

Okay, the elf is really a dwarf who happens to be working the Santa's Workshop store for kids down the street. But what was he doing in the window of the jewelry store with a bullet in him? What's more every finger points to the jewelry store owner's step-daughter. He hire Percy to prove his daughter's innocence (he loves her like she was his own). Percy takes the case and discovers the dark family secrets that led up to the death of the elf...and then an angel.

Who has it out for Santa's helpers? Percy is on the job.

Really, folks. You'll love this book.

I reserve 5 stars so I have some wiggle room in reviews. If not for that hard and fast (sort of) rule, I'd definitely give Persephone Cole the full five stars.


View all my reviews

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Excerpt - Ultimate Duty (SFR)

Today's excerpt is from a science fiction novel published by Eternal Press. It's Space Opera, so don't be looking for big thinking. Like Star Trek, it does deal with future social issues based on today's growing power of mega-corporations. It's easy to follow a line into the future where all of us governed by an interplanetary corporation. It's also easy to believe the corp's in charge of everything wouldn't be particular beneficent. This is an old-time SF plot with good company in many very well-known dystopian genres of the 20th Century: 1984, Brave New World, a lot of Phillip K. Dick's books (Blade Runner, Total Recall, the entire Alien series, and, of course, Firefly.

ULTIMATE DUTY
Kindle Ebook ($6.69) and Print on Amazon ($13.46)

Facing a life of drudgery on a repressive factory planet, Remy Belieux longs to escape. Her only option for release is to enlist in the Space Service, becoming a soldier for her own world’s oppressors.

She receives her first assignment:  guarding a charismatic rebel leader being transported to a prison planet.  When rebel troops surprise them, Remy fails to thwart the ambush. Despite a commendation from her Captain, she feels she must redeem herself by recapturing the handsome fugitive.

Shocked by what she learns during the pursuit–her own family’s past involvement in the rebellion–Remy faces a dilemma: remain loyal to the oath she swore as a soldier or join the rebel cause and condemn herself to a death sentence for treason. What is her ULTIMATE DUTY?

Excerpt

Remy and Garrett arrived at the outer wall path that led to the dock ports. Remy hoped at least one shuttle was still attached to the station. She dropped to the floor and peered down the slope of the passageway. Two guards stood at the entrance to bay 5. Luckily, they faced the opposite direction. Remy slid back and pointed silently, then held up two fingers. Garrett nodded and pointed left and then at himself. Remy nodded.

With no way to get any closer unseen, they must use speed instead. Both stepped back a couple of paces, so they’d hit the corner at full tilt. A nod from Garrett, and they sprinted through the twenty meters separating them from the guards. One guard turned to look only when Remy and Garrett were close enough to attack. The guard yelled, "Halt!" as he raised the barrel of his blaster. The second guard turned with a confused expression and didn’t manage to raise his own weapon before Remy reached him.


Remy felt her mind and body slip into fighting mode. Time slowed for her and she noted every detail of the guard’s stance. She leaped high in the air, her legs coiled like springs. The second guard finally lifted his rifle but never had the chance to fire. Remy drove both feet into his abdomen, slamming him against the wall with the force of her strike. In the low gravity she landed easily on her feet crouched and ready. She crossed her arms against her torso, grabbing the guard’s belt with her left hand and prepared to strike with her right. The man’s eyes widened when Remy’s backhand arced toward him. The force of the blow across his jaw sent him tumbling to the floor.

She glanced over at Garrett and saw he had already disabled the other guard, now curled on the floor moaning. Garrett kicked him in the head with an almost gentle tap. The connection of his shod foot on the guard’s temple did the job, knocking the man unconscious.

Garrett walked over to Remy’s guard and bent down. He pressed two fingers against the side of the man’s neck. "Good. He’ll live."

"If I wanted him dead, he’d be dead," Remy snarled.

* * *

Friday, December 21, 2012

Excerpt - Mixed Bag: Supersized (Adult Material)

A few months back, I put all my published (and a couple of unpublished) stories into a collection I titled "Mixed Bag II: Supersized." Note that "Mixed Bag" contains about half the stories and is available free on Smashwords in ebook format.

Both books are available in ebook and print editions.
Mixed Bag (print $5.39) and Smashwords FREE ebook
Mixed Bag II: Supersized (print $5.99) and Smashwords 99 cent ebook

I decided to excerpt one of the stories and wanted to showcase something outside my usual genres of fantasy and science fiction. I have not had a horror novel published, so that's the genre I chose. I hope you'll enjoy this little bit of nastiness.

**** WARNING: MATURE SUBJECT MATTER ****


The Hunter
Horror
Originally published in “Weirdly, Volume 1” from WildChild Publishing

He glanced up and down the dark street and saw no one. Shrugging the overcoat’s collar higher up his neck, he slipped into the shadowed alleyway. Once hidden from prying eyes, he took the mask from his pocket and put it on, adjusting it to ensure that he could see. The cool, but clear night improved his chances of finding prey.

He leaned back against the rough brick wall. And waited.

His thoughts wandered to the delights he would soon partake. The wide-eyed fear, the mouth gaping open to scream just as he crushed the lips against the teeth. Blood flowing between his fingers would be a pleasing touch. He mused about some kind of wrapping with sharp edges for his hands, perhaps gloves with barbed wire. Embedded glass would be too difficult to attach.

The sharp rap of high heels broke his reverie, and he pressed closer to the shadowed wall.

Yes, tight skirt practically exposing her buttocks, low-cut blouse plunging down to her artificially enhanced cleavage. Open-toed shoes. Just what I wanted. And, so soon. A bonus.

He stepped forward and with practiced ease wrapped his arm around her neck and pushed his palm against the bright red lips. The struggle was good. She writhed, and he heard her rasping in an attempt to breathe around his hand. Three fingers across the mouth with thumb and forefinger pinching her nostrils shut. He’d worked long and hard to make this move work every time. The effort paid off; her heaving body slumped against his.

Closed his eyes and shuddered. Too soon, too soon. 

Gritting his teeth to slow his pounding pulse and quiet his lust, he dragged the near limp body deeper into the dark alley. Holding still, he waited for the chest to quit heaving, seeking air. He laid the body down almost tenderly and drew the scalpel from its hiding place. Slipping its edge under the top button of her blouse, with a twitch of his wrist, the button flew away into the darkness.

Work slowly. No need to rush. Savor every moment. He sighed. It took so little time these days; he’d become too practiced at his art.

Maybe something different? Should I start at the bottom, just for variety’s sake?

Kneeling beside her, his gaze roamed down her legs to her feet. Smooth. White. Red toenails. Perfect. He lifted the edge of the short skirt, exposing lacy red panties.

Crotchless. How crude.

Using the scalpel with finesse, he sliced open the skirt and the panties. His eyes caressed her shaved pubes, and he imagined her dressed in a schoolgirl’s outfit.

Plaid skirt and a white blouse. 

He sighed again and pressed the scalpel down just above her slit. He started to cut upwards on her soft belly.

An arm wrapped around his neck and snapped his head backwards. Twisting to look down at the whore’s face, he couldn’t quite make it out. She was no longer lying flat on the ground, but sitting up with a strong forearm around his throat.

He dropped the scalpel and tried to raise his hands, hoping that would be enough for her to let him go, to run away. Instead, she pulled him up and his feet no longer touched the filthy cement of the alley. Held up by his neck, he gasped, trying to draw air into his lungs. The grip on his neck was too tight–lack of air turned his vision red and he felt his eyes bulge. The last thing he heard was a howl close by his ear. A howl that would turn blood cold. A howl calling a pack to fresh meat.

HAPPY END OF THE WORLD!






Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Happy Chrihanakudwanzathesaturnash

Tis the season, as they say. Say what? Yeah, I made up that combo-holiday greeting. Covers just about everything celebratory throughout the winter doldrums. So, no matter what persuasion you follow, there's got to be something to brighten the soggy/cold season.

Christmas: A usurpation of the mid-winter Saturnalia Festival. St. Patrick was big on keeping the frolicking holidays, but bending them to his own purpose. Historical records seem to place the actual birth of Jesus in March or April. Facts don't get in the way of the commercial spending binge that starts on Thanksgiving (in the USA). All hail the Almighty (dollar/euro/pound/yen).

Saturnalia: The Romans liked mid-winter to celebrate something, so Saturn got the festival. This one was usurped for the Christmas myth. Don't get all twisted. Christmas is not a celebration for Jesus. It's a way to get the Pagans to sign up.

Besides Saturn, other pagan dieties are celebrated for much the same reason. Mithra, Horus, Zeus, even Hercules. Christians didn't steal the celebration until 400 AD. Historical accounts have Christ born in the spring, but that would have interfered with the theft of Oestra, the spring festival of fertility.

Hanakkuh: Festival of Lights for those of the Judaic persuasion. Probably irritated by the Christians trying to usurp this general time period. The Jews should really try to keep their holiday separate from Christmas, so as to not besmirch their own observance. Anyone want a hanakkuh bush?

Kwanzaa: Created in 1966, Kwanzaa was made up by a California guy to highlight African-American culture. Cool thought, but I'd just as soon we'd say: "What? Obama is black? Wow, I didn't know that." Keeping separate ensures separateness. Hey! Doesn't that look like a Menorah?

Ashura is an Islamic holy day observed on the 10th of the Islamic month of Muharram. That's November 24th this year so I hope you got your Ashura shopping done in time!. Shi'ite Muslims regard it as a major festival marking the martydom of the Prophet's grandson, Hussein. It's a more solemn holiday involving fasting and re-enactments of the martyrdom. This doesn't sound like a lot of fun, so I imagine November 15th, Al-Hijira, the Islamic New Year, is more festive. Marks the migration of the Prophet Mohammad and his followers from Mecca to Medina. Uh, yeah. Don't Muslims have any fun at all?



Atheist/Agnostic/Pastafarian: The godless like holidays as much as the next person. They just don't have an official date for the FSM's birth celebration. FSM, you ask? Flying Spaghetti Monster has become the avatar for folks that think the FSM is just as realistic as any other god.


So, whatever you celebrate around this time of year, enjoy, be happy, and don't drink too much (not a problem with the Muslims).

Saturday, December 15, 2012

On Flowers and Thorns Blog Today

I'm visiting on Lorrie Struiff's Flowers and Thorns blog today. I hope you'll stop by to leave a comment. Lorrie is new at this blogging business, so she's really pleased when folks visit her blog.

I'm feature...what else...Witches of Galdorheim series. The first two books are now in print. They're available on Amazon at the introductory absolutely rock-bottom price of only $5.99 for a paperback. They're great gifts for your tween to 14 year old fantasy reader. When they get just a bit too old for toys, then books are the best gift to give them.

About Lorrie

Lorrie lives in West Mifflin, PA, thirty minutes from downtown Pittsburgh. She lives at home with her favorite toy—a computer.

Once a gold medalist teacher/manager for a big-name ballroom dance studio she has retired and now enjoys the quiet life of writing and watching TV. But she loves to have lunches with local authors to keep abreast of the challenging world of publishing.

Lorrie writes in many genres so you never know what she will come out with next. She never wants to bore her readers and enjoys the thrill of entertaining them by writing a good story.

Lorrie's books include:
Call on the Dead Club (hilarious!)
A Heap of Trouble (western humorous romance)
Gypsy Blood (paranormal detective)
Wild Blackberries (paranormal)
and a bunch of short stories

Find out more on her blog.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Excerpt - Scotch Broom

Continuing my excerpt series in the hopes of tempting some buys. Great deal on Amazon at $1.99 for the Kindle edition.

SCOTCH BROOM (Book 3: Witches of Galdorheim)
A magical trip to Stonehenge lands a witch in the Otherworld where an ancient goddess is up to no good.

Kat expects to have a great time on her graduation trip to Stonehenge. However, from the moment she leaves the witches’ arctic island, Galdorheim, she gets in nothing but trouble.  Her younger half-brother tries to horn in on her trip, she gets lost in the magical Otherworld realm, is led astray by a supposed friend, then she has to confront a Scottish goddess who’s fallen on hard times.

While dodging the goddess’ minions and trying to find her way out of the Otherworld, Kat soon learns she shouldn’t underestimate the old has-been for one second; the crone still has a few tricks that can drain a witch’s magic in a flash. To make matters worse, Kat's brother secretly followed her into the Otherworld. Now he’s in danger too.  Kat has to go one on one with the goddess to save herself and her brother.

MuseItUp Publishing (all formats ebook) $5.50
CoffeeTime Romance (all formats ebook) on sale for only $3.30
Amazon Kindle (best deal for Kindle format) $1.99

Excerpt

Kat spotted Cait Sidhe angling backward to the same spot where Sianach and Cusith were converging. Frustrated by the soggy muck, Kat could only slog slowly across the swamplands. As she neared her three companions, she spotted a pond. About twenty feet across, it was bigger than most of the scattered pools sprinkling the bogs. Tall grassy bunches topped with white, feathery tufts hid much of the pond from view. When Kat finally came near enough to see the surface, she stopped to stare.

Two horses sloshed in the pool. Sunk up to their hocks in the water, they struck at each other with raised forelegs. Strangely, neither horse whinnied or screamed, but the sounds of their huffing breath made it clear they were both near exhaustion. One horse was sky blue, the other snow white. Kat looked harder and thought she saw...yes! A horn grew from the white horse’s forehead. A unicorn! A smile spread across her face before a scowl of concern quickly replaced it. Blood ran down the unicorn’s neck, splashing into the scummy, green pond water turning it a noxious brown.

The two creatures, their muscles rippling, hooves slinging the muck into the air, appeared to be matched in strength. Steamy breaths came out in blasts from the blue horse’s dilated nostrils. Kat lifted first one leg then the other out of the mire, only to have them sucked down again. Now up to her knees, she could hardly move at all. She’d lost one shoe somewhere along the way and would have to spell another up as soon as she figured out what to do about the battling beasts.

Kat reached out with her thoughts, trying to break into the mind of either the unicorn or the blue horse, but hit the same frustrating wall blocking her ability to read animal thoughts. Then, she heard something in her head.

Help me!” It was the unicorn pleading for aid. For a moment, Kat was puzzled. She had not been able to hear the thoughts of the other creatures in the Otherworld. She felt the sincerity in the plea and had to help the unicorn.

The edge of the pond had a raised bank, which kept the water from streaming across the bogs. Kat glanced around but couldn’t see anything to use as a weapon. Pulling her legs out of the muck, she climbed atop the small berm. When the battle moved her direction, she bent her knees and jumped as far as she could. Grabbing the long mane of the blue horse, she pulled herself forward and slung both arms around its powerful neck. At first, she thought she had him when his head ducked toward the water. Her grip didn’t last long.

The blue horse reared back on its hind legs, but Kat held on, her body whipping back and forth under the horse’s neck. When its forelegs came down hard, her hold slipped. Plunging toward the water, her stomach knotted, and she held her breath. But when her feet hit the bottom the water was not quite waist deep. She fell backward onto her rear end with her head just above the surface. Kat let out her breath in relief...until she looked up into a wide-opened mouth full of black teeth surrounded by a flash of blue. It lunged at her head. She tensed her shoulders and brought her arms to cover her face in a feeble attempt to protect herself.

The unicorn had jumped backward when Kat launched herself at the blue horse. Now it lunged forward with its head down, its spiral horn pointed at the breast of the blue horse. The blue reared, barely avoiding the unicorn’s attack.

Kat risked a glance while she struggled to stand. She saw Sianach, Cusith, and Cait Sidhe were all standing around the pond, looking on with interest, but doing nothing.

“Why don’t you help?” she screamed at them.

“Who would you have us help?” asked Sianach with a mild tone.

“Me,” Kat yelled.

Cusith jumped into the pond and slogged his way through the shallow water to her side. “Grab hold, and I’ll get you out.” Kat clutched his neck and pulled herself to her feet. Looking around, she saw that the two horses stood still at opposite sides of the pool, their heads down, sides heaving.

“What is this? I cannot believe you, you people! All I wanted was to take my Winter Abroad. But could it be that simple? No! Instead, I get a bunch of gladiator animals all intent on proving whose attitude is bigger! What is wrong with you...you...see! I don’t even know what to call you!” She waded ashore holding Cusith’s fur to keep herself upright.

Sianach laughed his bugling, grunting laugh. “Not an attitude comparison at all. These two are quite intent on killing each other.”

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Notice of Price Hike Coming

Okay, this is really pissy sounding, but I am getting weary of trying to find people to read my books, much less buy them. They're good little books at an affordable price. My writing ability far exceeds my marketing skill. Seeing what sells, it's quite clear that the former is far more important than the latter.

Since nobody is taking advantage of my 99 centers on Amazon, I'm resetting the prices on my Kindle books back to $2.99.

However, I'm leaving the Smashwords price at 99 cents for anybody who's interested in a bargain ebook. Eventually, Amazon will complain that I'm undercutting their price elsewhere, and I'll have to match the $2.99 on Smashwords. Take advantage while you can. Here are a bunch of stocking stuffers for only 99 cents each. One is even free. All ebook formats are available.

Marva Dasef Ebooks on Smashwords

Some of my ebooks aren't available on Smashwords since they're published by MuseItUp, and they set the (quite reasonable) price. They've been running some bargain sales, so it's worth your while to check them out at Amazon and Romance Times (40% off right now).

Since it's nice to have a graphic on a blog post, here are the cover shots of my ebooks from all sources.



Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Excerpt - Midnight Oil

Midnight Oil is available now in ebook format and print is coming IMMEDIATELY. Now available on CreateSpace.

CoffeeTime Romance has the ebook (most formats) at 40% off ($3.30), but if you're a Kindle owner, Amazon has the best deal for $1.99.

Blurb:

Shipwrecked on a legendary island, how can a witch rescue her boyfriend if she can’t even phone home?

Kat is a nervous wreck waiting for her boyfriend's first visit to her Arctic island home. He doesn't show up, so she's sure he’s given her the brushoff.

When she learns he’s disappeared, she sets out on a mission to find him. Things go wrong from the start. Kat is thrown overboard during a violent storm, while her brother and his girlfriend are captured by a mutant island tribe. The mutants hold the girlfriend hostage, demanding the teens recover the only thing that can make the mutants human again–the magical Midnight Oil.

Mustering every bit of her Wiccan magic, Kat rises to the challenge. She invokes her magical skills, learns to fly an ultralight, meets a legendary sea serpent, rescues her boyfriend, and helps a friendly air spirit win the battle against her spiteful sibling. On top of it all, she’s able to recover the Midnight Oil and help the hapless mutants in the nick of time.

Excerpt: 

Ilmatar spun, danced, and dived. It was too many years since she had taken her true form. She was the wind, the hurricane, the tornado. Air she was, air she would be. She sighed, and a tree bent with her breath.

She rose with the heat, dropped low and sped across open fields when clouds blocked the sun’s rays. Yet, neither heat nor cold drove her. She flowed over or around as she pleased. When she was in the mood, she flattened everything in her path.

She laughed, and earth-bound creatures cringed at the booming thunder. She smiled, and a gentle breeze danced over hills and valleys. She reveled in her freedom and then grew angry when she thought how Ajatar stole this from her. She’d almost forgotten the power and glory that was Ilmatar. Now, she’d get payback. Ajatar, she vowed, would regret this day for the rest of her days if Ilmatar the air spirit had any say.

But enough reveling for now. She had a job to do. Gathering free air to her as she flew, she coalesced into a cutting shaft, sharp and deadly as any arrow, and one thousand times as large. She swooped up, down, and sideways, leaving a vortex of spinning air in her wake.

Increasing her speed and the velocity of spin, she smashed through the tops of trees and touched down, a whirling cyclone in the center of Ajatar’s glade. Moss and branches whirled through the forest clearing and trees bent away from her, howling, cracking and snapping, with the thunder of rustling leaves.

Ajatar had heard her coming; she could hardly miss Ilmatar’s roar. Ajatar grew taller, rising above the treetops, spreading her vast scaled wings. Her mouth gaped and fire roared out. With a single downward thrust of her wings, she soared upward. Ilmatar’s tornado followed close behind.



Sunday, December 09, 2012

Excerpt - Missing, Assumed Dead

Over these days leading up to Christmas (and all the other holidays around this time of year), I'll be posting some excerpts from my books. Of course, I'm hoping to pique interest in a book, which you, dear reader, will want to buy for yourself or someone you love (or hate, depending). I'll give you a brief intro to each book (the mighty blurb) and links to where you can buy the book in ebook or print format.

MISSING, ASSUMED DEAD
Prejudice, murder, insanity, suicide: Every small town has its secrets.

When Kameron McBride receives notice she’s the last living relative of a missing man she’s never even heard of, the last thing she wants to do is head to some half-baked Oregon town to settle his affairs. But since she’s the only one available, she grudgingly agrees.


En route, she runs afoul of a couple of hillbillies and their pickup in an accident that doesn’t seem...accidental. Especially when they keep showing up wherever she goes. Lucky for her, gorgeous Deputy Mitch Caldwell lends her a hand, among other things. Her suspicions increase when the probate Judge tries a little too hard to buy the dead man’s worthless property.

Working on a hunch and trying to avoid the Judge’s henchmen, Kam probes deeper into the town’s secrets and finds almost no one she can trust. With Mitch’s help, she peels away the layers of prejudice, suicide, murder, and insanity. But someone in town doesn’t like her poking around, and when they show their intentions by shooting her through the police chief’s office window, the stakes are raised. Kam must find out what really happened to her dead relative before someone in this backward little town sends her to join him.

And she thought Oregon was going to be boring.


On sale at CoffeeTime Romance (all ebook formats) $3.30
MuseItUp Publishing (all ebook formats) $5.50
Amazon Kindle $5.22
Amazon Print $5.50

EXCERPT

Ignoring the sharp bits of rock that gouged her bare skin, she scuttled on hands and knees using a couple of dried up shrubs for cover. It took her a few seconds to reach the Expedition. She sat up and leaned against the flat tire for a moment breathing in gasps. Her legs stuck out in front of her quivering. She slapped her knees. “Stop it, you chickenshits!” She closed her eyes and relaxed her muscles as best she could, forcing herself to crawl to the back end. Mitch had stopped the rig with its tail angled away from the main road. Kam examined the key fob and pushed the hatch lock button. There was a mechanical clunk, and the back cracked open an inch.

Kam stuck her head around the side to check on the pickup. She couldn’t spot the men and wondered what they had in mind. Shrugging, she ducked back behind the SUV, stuck her fingers in the opening and pushed upward. The back door was heavy, and she had to force her whole hand into the crack until the hydraulic lifts took over. The door swung up, barely missing her head.


Leaning over the bumper, she pulled out Bubba’s rifle. She eyed the shotgun hooked on a rack. Mitch hadn’t said to bring it. For all she knew, it wasn’t even loaded. At least, she had used a shotgun before on one disastrous bird-hunting trip with her father. She cried all the way home after she killed a quail.

She jerked at the shotgun, but it stayed firmly in its holder. “Forget it,” she muttered. She pulled down on the hatch until it clicked closed. Just as she turned to leave, a movement drew her attention. The Native American woman stood a few feet away. Again, the woman’s lips moved but Kam couldn’t hear her voice. “I don’t know what you’re saying.” The woman pointed at the road. Kam peered in the same direction but saw nothing except Hanson’s white pickup. When she looked back, the woman was gone. “For cripe’s sakes, use sign language next time,” Kam muttered.

Dropping back to the dirt, she crawled commando style from the back of the SUV to the rocks with the rifle cradled in the crooks of her elbows.

“I’m impressed,” Mitch said, taking the rifle from Kam. “Here’s the nine mil. Just point in the general direction of those guys if they come for us and pull the trigger until it doesn’t go bang anymore.”

“I can figure out that much myself.” Kam took the gun reluctantly. Mitch adjusted her grip and placed her finger on the trigger. “Don’t worry. It’s easy.”

She nodded, but didn’t feel convinced. “What are they doing?”

“They’re on the move.”

Kam craned her neck to peer over the rock. The white pickup was slowly driving past the dirt trail. “Why don’t they just split?”

Mitch shook his head. “They know I’ll have every cop in this state and Idaho searching for them. They’ve dug themselves a hole. The only way they think they can get away is to not leave any witnesses.”

She nodded shortly and swallowed a lump in her throat as big as the rock they hid behind. “What will they do?”

He stretched to take a quick glance over the rock. “They’re trying to flank us, looking for a way to reach us without bogging down in the dirt.”

Kam glanced behind them. The outcropping of rock ran to the west and rose higher until it blended into Duck Pond Ridge, where she had first met Mitch.

“You’re right. They stopped a couple hundred yards up the road. Can you hit them with the rifle?” Kam noticed Mitch’s worried face.

“Maybe, but I’ve got to get higher. I can’t see them from here without going out in the open.” Mitch gestured at the highest point of rock. “If I can climb up there, I might have a clear shot at them.”

“All right, but if…if it doesn’t go well, what do you want me to do?”

“Don’t wait. Jump in the SUV and scram as soon as you hear shooting. I’ll keep their attention while you escape.”

“With a flat tire?”

“Just drive as fast as you can on the rim. The rubber will shed off fast.” Mitch leaned toward her and kissed her forehead. “Drive on the side, not on the road. The rim will last longer. There’s a ranch a couple miles past the turnoff to Salvadore’s.”

“I can’t leave you here by yourself!” Kam threw her arms around his shoulders. He hugged her tightly, before gently extricating himself from her grip.

“Careful with that gun. When you reach the ranch, call 911. That goes to the Sheriff’s Dispatch Center in Vale.” Mitch checked the rifle. “Not many rounds left. I guess I’d better take the nine mil as well.”

Kam handed over the pistol, relieved to be rid of it. “Keep your head down. I’ll come back with the cavalry as soon as I can.” She kissed him. “Don’t get yourself killed.”


Saturday, December 08, 2012

Updated Book Trailer and Excerpt - Bad Spelling

Added the print book cover and made a few tweaks. Nice and short.


CoffeeTime Romance Ebooks on sale 40% off $3.30
MuseItUp (all ebook formats): $5.50
Kindle: $5.50
Print: $5.95

EXCERPT


The path was clearly magical. The foliage, although wild and unkempt, glowed with greenery and flowers. Giant mushrooms, some the size of dinner plates, sprouted under the bushes. Birds twittered in the trees. Kat ducked as a bumblebee as big as her fist droned past her head on its way to another blossom. Here it was spring, just like on Galdorheim under the shield.

Kat pulled off her parka and draped it over her knapsack. Rune soon did the same, even though his tolerance for extreme temperatures was usually much higher than Kat’s. They were strolling along, enjoying the warmth, the flowers, and the buzz of the bees, when Kat looked up to see an eagle riding an updraft in a lazy circle above them. “Look!” Kat pointed. Rune glanced up at the bird.

“Interesting…not! C’mon, Kat, it’s just an eagle,” he replied.

Kat looked down at her feet and mumbled, “I thought it was interesting.”

A few moments later, Rune stopped abruptly, holding up his hand.

“Shhh! Do you hear something?”

Kat listened but heard only chirps and buzzing. “No, but your hearing is better than mine.”

Rune turned slowly in place, trying to home in on the sound. Kat watched, puzzled.

The hillside by the path trembled then heaved upward. Dirt and rocks flew through the air. The shaking earth knocked Kat backward. She plopped onto her behind with a yelp, ducked her head, and covered it with her arms to fend off flying gravel. Peeking out from beneath her upraised arms, Kat's eyes widened, and her mouth dropped open. In front of her, the shaking earth rose and unfolded. Then a monstrous glob of rocks and dirt rose higher and higher into the air. Two huge boulders blinked at her. Kat screamed. A gaping mouth appeared beneath the eyes, and a monstrous nose jerked and wriggled its way to a place between the eyes and mouth.

Rune grabbed her arm, jerking her to her feet. “It’s a giant! Run! Run!”

Kat sprinted after Rune, who quickly outpaced her, as the giant continued to grow and take shape from the rocks and earth. Kat risked a quick glance over her shoulder. A horrendous, rocky fist swung in a downward arc, its target appallingly clear. She tried to force her flying feet to move even faster, hoping to outrace that ponderous, clenched hand. She looked up to see the eagle plummeting downward, its wings folded against its sides. Kat aimed a thought at the eagle. “Help me!” The eagle flared its wings and stopped abruptly in midair. It then turned and flew away. She was disappointed but not surprised when the eagle left. No use. She picked up her feet and raced after Rune.

A wild, high-pitched screech split the air. Kat looked back again. She gasped in surprise, stumbled, and almost fell. Flailing her arms and digging in her heels, she managed to stop upright. She stared with unbelieving eyes as a flock of eagles, dozens of them, circled the monstrous form. The birds dived at the thing’s head, distracting it from its intended victims—her and Rune.

The giant swung its huge hand, batting at the eagles, trying to drive them away. The big raptors easily evaded the lumbering blows. Kat watched as the eagles dove again and again, buffeting the creature’s head with their wings, pecking at its eyes and threatening with their outstretched talons. She wondered how they could possibly hurt stone eyes, but the giant seemed to think they could. It shriveled downward, shedding rocks and dirt as it collapsed. Down and down it went, melding back into the earthen hillside that spawned it.

The eagles flew in a wide gyre around the hillside, preventing the giant from reforming. One of the birds veered away from the flock and flew down to Kat. It landed gracefully on a boulder beside the path. Folding wings and settling feathers, it cocked its head and regarded her with a fierce, yellow gaze.

“Thank you,” Kat gasped, fighting to catch her breath. “Thank you so much!” The great bird dipped its head in what could only be an acknowledgment. Then it spread its wings, uttered a soft “Kkkreeeee,” and launched itself into the air, climbing away with long, powerful beats of its wings.

Rune shut his open mouth and then gasped, “You did it again! Do you believe me now?”

Friday, December 07, 2012

What else?

I must have something more to say about my books to encourage sales, but, you know what? You'll either buy them or not. If you follow this blog, I'm pretty sure you already know what I have. Take a look at my blog's header for almost all my book covers. I've left a few out because no more will fit.

Over to the right, I have a carousel of my print books available on Amazon. I've also pitched all my ebooks (many of which are on sale for 99 cents at Amazon and Smashwords for holiday buying).

Here, briefly, is what you can expect from my books:

  • A dystopian future complete with rebels, space battles, a heroine who has to make some tough choices. Meanwhile, she's kicking butts in grand fashion.
  • A teen witch whose spellcasting leaves a lot to be desired. Turn a cute bunny into a slimy green mess? That's about the best she can do. How is she to know she's afflicted by a shaman's curse?
  • A rich, but bored, girl seeks adventure and finds it in spades when she acquires a not-so-cooperative genie. On the bright side, she makes friends with a highly unusual bunch of magical creatures. Wouldn't you love to have a blue cave demon as your BFF?
  • A young woman finds she's the last relative of a missing man. He's been declared dead, but his body never found. Wanting to find out what happened to him, she steps on too many toes and discovers murder, insanity, suicide, and prejudice seething beneath the surface in a small town.
  • A boy living on a farm in West Texas shouldn't get into much trouble. Eddie finds something interesting to do wherever he is: a cattle drive, a county fair, a set of twin brothers who hate each other, a man with a hog, a raging flooded creek, a man who makes an important discovery, and lets Eddie in on it from the beginning. 
  • A farmer's daughter thwarts the god of war and his plans to destroy the world. She doesn't know whether she can count on her friends or if they'll stab her in the back.
  • Four teens explore a wildlife preserve so a young Native American boy can find his roots through a Vision Quest. They find out if they've got the nerve to confront a mean pair of eagle poachers.

If that's not enough variety to hit at least one genre you enjoy, then I'm not sure what it is you like. Okay, no erotica, but I do have some spicy scenes in the SF novel.


 

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Sinking of the Titanic

I found an interesting book browsing around. The ideas intrigued me, so I asked Wendy Cockroft for more details on her two books about the Titanic. See my review on Smashwords.


Wendy Cockroft on Her Titanic Books

The result of a Titanic-themed writing contest from a few years ago, the two tales Wendy Cockcroft has written takes two different views of the great ship and its sinking in April 1912.

Wendy says,

"The first of them, The Marconi Men, is about the wireless radio operators Jack Phillips and Harold Bride, and the role they played in the day-to-day running of the ship and the eventual rescue of the survivors by Carpathia. I've gone into detail about life aboard the ship, the officers and crew, and the luxuries enjoyed by the passengers compared and contrasted with the way they were treated when the ship struck the iceberg. While every effort has been made to fully research the real historical events, which included the insertion of details from survivor memoirs and interviews recorded in historical archives, some fictionalization has been employed to provide a sense of immediacy and to draw the reader into the action as it unfolds. Sources include "Titanic and Other Ships," the memoir by Charles Lightoller, the most senior surviving officer (whose colourful life makes him worthy of a Hollywood biopic), and Harold Bride's interview with the New York Times.

"I thought, if I'm going to write about it from the wireless operators' point of view, I need to go into explicit detail of what their lives were like, what shipboard conditions were like, and to get transcripts of their actual conversations to give readers a fly-on-the-wall view of what happened. So yeah, I fictionalised the conversations a little but based on the transcripts and social norms of the time.

"I took the biggest liberties with Lightoller. He's a bit of an action man figure and in his memoirs he's playful, generous, and hard-working but he's also professional and knows both his job and his place. Titanic was one of many ships he's sailed on. He really is a fascinating figure. He was born in Lancashire and I gave him a thick accent, which is more pronounced when he's stressed. It's too easy to bash a character to create sympathy. Giving him flaws, an accent, and the moral authority to make decisions he knew he'd have to answer for gave him layers that merely painting him as a tragic figure wouldn't.

"It's hard not to write from a tech-savvy 21st Century point of view. I'm a geek and I wanted to capture the geekiness of the "sparks" and their world. If you read through transcripts of old wireless messages you'll find that they conversed in a manner that is not unlike modern texting. Remember, this was done in dots and dashes; long and short taps on the sending button while listening through headphones for the pips from the other person. Meanwhile, other messages were coming through. It was like the internet today. I wanted to get that sensation across as I wrote about their friend Harold Cottam  and the other operators on the other ships. Attitudes to tech ranged from savvy to fascination to aversion, pretty much as it does today."

The story begins at the ending of the sea trials and Titanic's trips around the British coast to pick up passengers and crew and ends at the arrival in New York of the survivors aboard the Carpathia.

Wendy's other ebook, Canterville's Quest, takes a sharp dig at the world of television mediums and the pursuit of the paranormal for entertainment.

Wendy says,

"Television medium Edward de Montfort Canterville plans to go to the site of the Titanic's sinking to conduct a live séance on the hundredth anniversary of the sinking. Edward de Montfort Canterville is based on a popular UK television medium Derek Acorah and Canterville's Quest is based on his ridiculous Michael Jackson live séance stunt. Since this story is completely fictional I went a bit mad with the story and let the characters take me where they would. I just needed them to reenact the Titanic's last journey and add a few local details in. I've actually been to Titanic's dock at Harland and Woolf's old shipyard in Belfast. The news anchor Nancy Boyd is based on television presenters I saw on UTV when I was growing up. Declan Keogh (pronounced "Kyo") is based on a range of Irish television presenters. I thought I'd have a bit of fun with him by making him a bit of a baddie. The real ones are perfectly decent, I'm sure. I've never actually met any.

"I've had conversations with people online about meeting your heroes and what it's like. One in particular that stood out for me was when an internet friend met an established actor but found him to be offhand and unwelcoming. When she met other favourites in Glasgow, they were happy to go for a drink with her. I wanted to recreate her experience in a fictional setting, but add the dimension of professionals interacting to add a layer of nuance to it.

"Patricia Shepherd is a sort of Bridget Jones type but I didn't want to make her a tragicomic figure. She is a professional, lives alone, and wants to make something of herself. She's also got to make it in a man's world where she lacks the advantage of good looks and charm so the casting couch route was never open to her. Now that she's a manager, she's got to make things work but finds she lacks the personal authority to make her crew completely respect her. She's never really found the key to success in that area; she's just got a bigger paycheck for being a dogsbody with more responsibility. Building her character meant putting layers on that made her human. She's flawed but has a good side, too. The decision to add a romantic dimension came later on; Engelhardt presents the opportunity to flirt because he's good looking and to Patricia's mind, exotic. Besides, she's a woman. Why not?

"I don't really believe in the paranormal but I keep hearing stories that make me think more about the possibility of it being real. When you know what goes on behind the scenes of ghost hunter programmes it's hard to take it too seriously but I thought I'd add a layer of mystery by opening up the possibility that Edward's gift is real and Patricia doesn't take it too seriously because she's afraid she'd lose her mind if she did.

"I've written other stuff which I intend to publish on Smashwords and no, it's not all about Titanic!"

Wendy Cockcroft lives in Manchester, UK, with her husband Richard. When she's not writing she's a web designer, blogger, and political activist for internet freedom.

Web: http://www.wendycockcroftwebdesign.com/
Blog: http://www.wendycockcroftwebdesign.com/blog/blogs/blog1.php 

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Wendy Cockroft's Web Design

I met Wendy recently through G+. We exchanged pleasantries and I got a chance to read one of her books (more to follow in a few hours about the books right here). She invited me to post on her blog. That post is up now.

Wendy Cockroft Web Design Blog.


Monday, December 03, 2012

Murder Served Hot for the Holidays

MISSING, ASSUMED DEAD
Prejudice, murder, insanity, suicide: Every small town has its secrets.


MuseItUp Buy Link $5.50
Amazon Kindle $5.22
Amazon Print $5.50


When Kameron McBride receives notice she’s the last living relative of a missing man she’s never even heard of, the last thing she wants to do is head to some half-baked Oregon town to settle his affairs. But since she’s the only one available, she grudgingly agrees.

En route, she runs afoul of a couple of hillbillies and their pickup in an accident that doesn’t seem...accidental. Especially when they keep showing up wherever she goes. Lucky for her, gorgeous Deputy Mitch Caldwell lends her a hand, among other things. Her suspicions increase when the probate Judge tries a little too hard to buy the dead man’s worthless property.

Working on a hunch and trying to avoid the Judge’s henchmen, Kam probes deeper into the town’s secrets and finds almost no one she can trust. With Mitch’s help, she peels away the layers of prejudice, suicide, murder, and insanity. But someone in town doesn’t like her poking around, and when they show their intentions by shooting her through the police chief’s office window, the stakes are raised. Kam must find out what really happened to her dead relative before someone in this backward little town sends her to join him.

And she thought Oregon was going to be boring.

EXCERPT

Kam gasped and jumped down the embankment toward the creek, stumbling through the underbrush. She heard the pickup tires screech and glanced back. Scruffy had gotten out and headed down the slope behind her. She moved faster, gripping her hair spray. A strap broke on her sandal, and she kicked it off. Ignoring the brambles poking into her legs through her jeans, she moved as fast as she could, the terrain preventing her from flat out running.

She heard the crashing of bushes behind her and put on more steam. She knew the pickup would have reached her car by now, but she’d be coming up on the passenger door, slightly downhill from the driver’s side. She switched the hair spray to her left hand and pawed into her purse for the keys. Finding them, she dropped the bag on the ground to free her hands and kept moving.

When she reached the Chrysler, the driver had already skidded down the embankment and was standing on the driver’s side. Thin compared to the other man, but his arms were solid muscle under the tats. She rushed to the passenger side, jerked open the heavy door, dived in, slammed the door and hit the lock button on the key fob.

The driver pounded the window with his fist. The scruffy one had caught up and pulled on the passenger side door handle. Kam hit the panic button on the fob. The deep and seriously loud Chrysler horn went off with honking bursts. Both men jumped back from the car.

The driver yelled, “I’ll fetch the rifle.” He scrambled to climb up the embankment.

Kam’s heart almost stopped. Even the shatterproof windows wouldn’t stand up against a hunting rifle. She looked around the car wildly, her breath coming in sharp rasps, and then launched herself over the console and into the rear. Sweat ran from her armpits, soaking her blouse. She ran her shaking hands across the top of the seat back hunting for the latch. She hoped the Chrysler had fold down back seats. If she could just reach the tire iron, she’d have a weapon. If this stupid car even had one that is.

She felt the latch pin, grasped it and pulled it up. It clicked. She grasped the seat back in both hands and pulled it down. On her belly, she crawled halfway into the trunk searching for the spare tire well.




Sunday, December 02, 2012

Ebooks on the Cheap

I've been talking a lot about my books in print. However, I know lots of you are getting or giving ereaders for Christmas. Here are a bunch of stocking stuffers for only 99 cents each. All ebook formats are available.

Marva Dasef Ebooks on Smashwords

All of these books are also available through Amazon, plus a few priced a little higher because they're published by my lovely Canadian publisher, MuseItUp.

Marva Dasef Ebooks on Amazon

99 centers (both Amazon and Smashwords)
First Duty
Tales of a Texas Boy
Eagle Quest
Mixed Bag
Mixed Bag II: Supersized

$1.99 (on Amazon)
Midnight Oil
Scotch Broom

$5+ Range (on most on-line ebook stores)
Setara's Genie
Bad Spelling
Missing Assumed Dead
Ultimate Duty