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I’m BACK! #AtoZChallenge & more!



After a renewed cyber-bully attack based on a review I did in September I took a break which began on March 5th. I focused on healing and my graphics and went through blog tour withdrawals.

I am back with a bang & with the #AtoZChallenge (third year running). Click on the image to check out my theme! I also will be posting a few other things!

Most Recent Articles

New Covers to Reveal – Dream Stalkers by @TimWaggoner #AtoZChallenge

Posted by on Apr 16, 2014 in Blasts - Blitzs - Cover Reveals - Showcases, Books, Giveaways & Contests | 1 comment

NN is for New… in this case New Covers! Sorry this is late guys, I am suffering from a sudden health issue that has had me in bed since Monday. Doctors and Geoff, the husbands orders. But.. this is N and it is NEW and it accidentally never made it out of drafts! Oh Tim! You got another live one, thank you so much for being such an amazing author and Angry Robot Publishing, I am so honored to be part of your team! Thanks!

So excited to be able to bring you this cover reveal today! The first one, holy crap Night Terrors! OMG! Night Terrors is not even here yet and now we get to see the new cover? (I have the ARC as a I am part of the Robot Army!) This one is going to be just as exciting, though we have to wait till November for it to get here.

For those who do not know the magical and crazy awesomeness that is Tim Waggoner, ohhh you are missing something awesome! He wrote the Nekropolis series which involved an undead private eye. Kind of like pulp fiction hard boiled detective meets Buffy the snark vampire hunter and goes .. I… it is urban fantasy at its finest but yet so much more! You should check it out too, this one? Well LOOK AT THE COVER, HELLO! SO excited! I discovered Tim long before I was book blogging. When Angry Robots sent me the complete collection of the Nekropolis series… signed I think I possibly may have wet myself, a little (five kids… haha kidding but you get the drift). ANYWAY get ready for it!! Second one is coming…

Dream Stalkers (a Shadow Watch Novel)

Dream-Stalkers-T-Waggoner

A new drug – Shut-Eye – has been developed in the dreamland, and smuggled into our world. It’s addictive, and dangerous, and Shadow Watch agents Audra and Mr Jinx are on the case, preparing new recruits to deal with the problem.

Meanwhile, a wave of ancient, bodiless Incubi are entering the dreams of humans in an attempt to possess them and live new lives. Only the criminally insane would ever risk a confrontation with them.

Thank goodness, then, for Mr Jinx: clown, Shadow Watch agent, psychopath.

Cover art by amazing15

One international copy of Night Terrors  (paperback) is available to one lucky commenter on the post! Sweet! I love Angry Robot Books!!

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If you guys want to become part of this amazing team check out the websites below!

Websites - Angry Robot BooksStrange Chemistry (YA) – Exhibit A Books (crime/mystery)

Twitter feeds@angryrobotbooks | @strangechem | @exhibitAbooks

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M is for Moore.. new indie author @_CharlieMoore #AtoZChallenge

Posted by on Apr 15, 2014 in #AtoZChallenge, Authors, Books, Giveaways & Contests, Indie Projects & Promotions, Interviews & Interviews with Recipes | 1 comment

M is for Moore…

M is for More book sand Moore… Charlie Moore! A new Indie author from Australian author with a great new thriller called Against The Clock. Mr. Moore has graced us with taking the plunge and answering my interview questions. So sit back and enjoy! Oh and there is a great giveaway at the bottom!

Tweet it!

CG -Tweet the book: You are challenged to tweet a synopsis of the book to include your tweet handle, GO! 

Bring It On!

CG – Introduce yourself to the captive audience that you now have before you. (As in tell us something NOT in your bio, give us a dirty little secret not having or having to do with your writing – please take the chance to not take yourself too seriously and enjoy! Considering all the interesting places you have been researching your books I bet there is something there!)

This is a challenge… there are so many stories that come to mind, it’s hard to settle on one. But there is one which I constantly go back to. The best and the worst of one of my trips to Russia. I was travelling alone, didn’t know anyone. I’d just read a lot of books about the cold war, and also about WWII, and I was totally fascinated by Russia’s history. I knew already that I wanted to write a series of full-on action espionage novels, and thought what better way to research the experiences and feelings of being a spy than to explore the most famous place in the world for spycraft?!?

So one day I just bought a ticket, got an audio CD on learning Russian, and two weeks later I was touching down at Moscow international airport. As the plane was coming down closer to the ground, I remember seeing nothing but wilderness and cold, white snow. And started thinking/imagining I was lost down there trying to escape a military force or the like.. the vastness of it, the harshness of it, it was awe inspiring. So anyway, I got through customs, and before I could hit the taxi stands, there’s taxi drivers pulling at my luggage, and tugging at my arms trying to get me into their cabs, and these were big men! The biggest of the lot won, and I got into the taxi, spoke my two weeks old rough Russian, and thought to myself “that wasn’t so bad”

I was in the cab for about 30 minutes, when it occurred to me my hotel was supposed to be only 10 minutes away… Suddenly he pulls over in the middle of nowhere, turns around in his chair, and says “100! US!”

HOLY CRAP! If I were one of the characters I wanted to write about I would have kicked the shit out of him! At the time I was in great shape, had won more medals than I could remember in many different fighting disciplines, but OMG! This was the Russian mafia shaking me down! I had images of going back home to Australia, and the mob waiting there for me. I paid him the $100 US.

He smiled the warmest smile, drove me back to the hotel, and then demanded another 100. Yep! I’ll never forget it.

That was my introduction to Russia, and my first international flight.

CG –The setting is in Australia and it is said that the book is a big thriller, but it also eludes to a mysterious woman. Since this is my #AtoZChallenge post for M, what is the trick to writing mysterious people and to keep a mystery going in a story?

It’s interesting that you would ask that, because it’s not something I thought about overtly while developing the characters, but it is a theme it seems from the people I speak with that have read the book. I was very conscious from the beginning, that I wanted the readers to learn more about the characters the further they read into the book, and I was keenly aware of not ‘telling’ the reader about a character, but more of ‘showing’ them.

From my experience as a ghost writer, and now as a recognized author, keeping the mystery alive throughout a novel can be challenging in that you have to reach a balance, where you make the characters real, so a reader can relate to them, and even be on the brink of understanding them, but not tell the whole story. To let key motivators, or behaviors come out as the story progresses through the characters actions rather than the narrators voice. And one technique I used a few times for my lead character Shirin Reyes, was to let her react to a situation in a way that hinted toward an internal conflict, but not explore that conflict until later in the chapter or even several chapters later. I think it added a depth that made people think and question and explore – pulling the reader through until the smaller mysteries of the character are revealed (to varying depths).

CG – With your years as a ghost writer you got to dabble a bit, is there a genre, other than the one you currently write in with your name, that you wish you could break into?

Yes for sure! I loved writing real human stories. Stories of ordinary people caught up in situations many others face, but which have the potential to significantly impact their lives, and the lives of the people they love. One example of a story I loved, and wish I had wrote, was of a cancer sufferer, and the challenges he faced from being diagnosed, through to treatment and until he died. It was such a dramatic story or heroism, from him and from his family. A truly beautiful book. That is one genre I am passionate about exploring in between my kick-ass, fun, explosive action adventures.

And while we’re on the topic, I have the story, I know the characters, and I’m just now researching my first book of that genre now. I was scheduled to start on it in May, but with the release of Against The Clock, and pressure from fans to get the next installment out sooner, I’ve had to re-prioritize..

 

Let’s have a little fun! 

CG – If you could cast one of your works, who would you choose to play your main characters? (Some have a huge cast, so say no more than five, I am thinking many would be able to do at least one, you do have one character right? Include photos of choice or I can find them)

Awesome! Let’s dream..

[jcolumns valign="top"]

Dream Cast - CM

[jcol/]

Shirin Reyes – I started off thinking of Zoe Saldana, and that kind of morphed into Jaimie Alexander. Two incredibly beautiful ladies! Shirin has a mix of cultural backgrounds with a hint of Filipino heritage… I think these ladies could definitely pull it off!

Director Selig – I’m thinking Dustin Hoffman. He has the raw charisma and talent to pull off the badness of the character.

Barratt - definitely Gerard Butler. Strong, tough, rugged but still with a human, approachable and likeable aura.

Ben - Charlie Hunnam! Fun, serious, athletic, cool. A good balance to Shirin

[/jcolumns]

CG – Do you have any vices that you turn to while you are writing (as in what candy / snack food / drink / 80’s hair band you break out in song too when you just cannot figure out the next line to write and that bitch of a muse is off on her own hunt)?

For sure. Scotch! Love it! And when I can’t drink that, a strong black coffee will do. Plug the headphones in, play some My Chemical Romance real loud and just hammer away at the keyboard until what I’m writing starts to make sense. I’ll come back the next day and often be surprised at the turns the story has taken, or the developments the characters have headed toward.

CG – What do you do when you’re not writing? (ie: What festive things do you do for fun? What things do you do when you make yourself have fun, and what is on the top of your list to do when you actually take two days for you (and family)

When I’m not writing, I’m thinking about writing! It’s not a joke. But to unwind, and blow off some steam I love rock climbing. It’s just such a challenging sport. And it’s something my wife and I can do together. I also like to go skydiving, but that’s a little too expensive. I’ve taken up archery, enjoy tennis and golf, and love travelling. Lately with such a busy schedule, I often dream of packing up, heading to Fiji with ten good books, my wife, and hiding from the world on a deserted beach. If only…

CG – During the zombie apocalypse, what fictional character would you want watching your back? (I cannot help myself)

Jack Bauer, Mitch Rapp (of Vince Flynn) and of course Shirin Reyes. They are badass enough that zombies better be scared!

CG –If AGAINST THE CLOCK was a meal what would it be? Meat and potatoes? Vegetarian? A light nouveau cuisine?

I’m thinking a Thai Green Curry! – smooth with a hint of spice, the snap of fresh vegies, the occasional hot chilli, and meat that melts in your mouth. Now I’m hungry!!!

CG -FAST and FURIOUS – Don’t pause just answer what comes first to mind

  • Shangri-La, St. Petersburg or Antarctica?- Shangri-La
  • Coke or Pepsi?- Pepsi
  • Spy, Dead Desert Queens, or beautiful and elusive assassin?  – Spy
  • Spirits, Demons or Killer Clowns?(Hey, have to have a little fun.. you never know what’s behind some of those ancient doors) – Spirits
  • Ancient Enemy, Chaste Research Librarian or a Mad Russian?- Mad Russian!!
  • Bats or Wolves?- Wolves
  • Chainsaw arm or shotgun leg (gotta throw another zombie apocalypse related question in here! J)?- shotgun leg
  • Spy Who Loved Me or Live and let Die?- Spy Who Loved Me
  • Learn battle techniques from a Viking, a ninja or Shirin Reyes?- hahaha Shirin Reyes!

CG -Anything you would like to add or share about what is coming up in the adventures and mysteries in the next segment of the Clock series? Any secrets you can share?

Well.. yes. I have received so many emails from fans asking for more of Shirin, and more sooner, that I have rearranged my commitments to bring the next adventure sooner than anticipated. I’m hoping the next book will be released later in the year, several months sooner than planned. I’ll release more via my newsletter as I nail down the release date. I already have the next 3 books conceptualized, and just need to write them.

I would strongly encourage all my fans to continue writing to me, asking me questions and challenging me. It’s inspiring, and may even make me write faster ;)
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About Charlie Moore

Charlie Moore

When I’m not writing, I’m thinking about writing! It’s not a joke. But to unwind, and blow off some steam I love rock climbing. It’s just such a challenging sport. And it’s something my wife and I can do together. I also like to go skydiving, but that’s a little too expensive. I’ve taken up archery, enjoy tennis and golf, and love travelling. Lately with such a busy schedule, I often dream of packing up, heading to Fiji with ten good books, my wife, and hiding from the world on a deserted beach. If only...

CG - During the zombie apocalypse, what fictional character would you want watching your back? (I cannot help myself)

Jack Bauer, Mitch Rapp (of Vince Flynn) and of course Shirin Reyes. They are badass enough that zombies better be scared!

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M is for Moore.. new indie author @_CharlieMoore #AtoZChallengeAgainst the Clock: the clock is ticking
by Charlie Moore
on March 9, 2014
Pages: 372
AmazonGoodreads

Shirin Reyes has come out of the cold with a vengeance.

Determined to kill the men responsible for her husband’s death, she finds herself torn between her all-consuming vendetta and the consequences her actions have on those she cares about. 

Unrelenting.  Unrelenting. Unstoppable. Uncompromising.

Shirin ruthlessly hunts down each man, working her way to the top, never realizing she has penetrated the inner sanctum of a covert operation - entangled within an explosive web of scandal, treason, murder and government corruption.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Late Night Reading & Latkes – Shadows of Fate by @AngelaDennis #AtoZChallenge

Posted by on Apr 14, 2014 in #AtoZChallenge, Bewitching Tours, Books, Breakfast, Cabin Cooking, Mama's Kitchen Mondays, Review & a Recipe, Reviews | 0 comments

L-is-for-Late-Night-Reading-and-LatkeOne of my favorite things, other than bacon, are potatoes. I love potatoes, and corn ya I love corn too but this is about potatoes. I also adore pancakes so blending pancakes and potatoes? Latke! My grandmother use to make them out of Sweet Potatoes or Yams (yes there is a difference but that is for another time) I am sure you have figured out by now that the majority of my recipes are not ones for your diet journal. Not because I eat like this all the time but they just happen to be some of my favorite tried and true recipes. Today is Mama’s Kitchen Mondays so I paired with a book review and my #AtoZChallenge post.

L is for Late Night Latke’s, Late night reading and one of the heartiest and heart happy of these starchy roots, yams! 

Blog-Headlines-about-the-book Late Night Reading & Latkes – Shadows of Fate by @AngelaDennis #AtoZChallenge four-half-stars
Shadows of Fate
Series:
by Angela Dennis
on 2014-04-08
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Urban, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 305
AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads

After witnessing her husband’s brutal murder, Brenna Baudouin lost control of her Shadow Bearer powers and wreaked havoc on her home world. Her penance: one hundred years policing hordes of supernatural misfits that spilled onto the Earthly plane after a cataclysmic war.

She’s on a routine exorcism run when she learns she’s been assigned a new partner. But there’s something about this Shadow Bearer that sparks her suspicions. Particularly when people closest to her start turning up as piles of ash.

Gray Warlow holds tight to the glamour that allows him to get close to the woman on whom he plans to wreak vengeance for betraying his people. Yet as he skillfully manipulates his way past her distrust, he begins to see her not as the heartless monster he was led to believe, but a strong, vulnerable woman.

As they work to put together the pieces of a killer’s macabre puzzle, an attraction deeper than blood and bone flares between them. And they must reveal their deepest secrets to avoid becoming the final targets.

Warning: A thrill ride of supernatural proportions. Contains violent battle scenes, nail-biting suspense, crazy hot sexual tension, and enough twists and turns to make your head spin.

I signed up for this before I was going to start limiting all my tours and reviews. As it stands I will only be reviewing for four of the companies I used too and going to completely stop doing blasts unless it is a really important book for me. Bewitching is a company I still do a limited reviews for because they tend to be hardcore paranormal romance. I like my paranormal but not with a crap ton of romance in it.

Blog-Headlines-review

Shadows of Fate caught me off guard. I mean really caught me off guard. I can honestly say I was not expecting to enjoy it this much. I fell in love with the writing style within the first few pages and when I say late night reading? Well that is because I started this and did not stop till I was done.

To be able to actually cause me to blow off doing work, sleep or even eating it has to be pretty dang engaging, and believe me it is. I love good urban fantasy, and as I have mentioned before, it is hard to find unique stories in this genre. Angela Dennis has something special going on. She includes both the main protagonist, Brenna’s point of view and she introduces Gray, the antagonists point of view in later and it causes that feeling of “Oh oh oh I know what is going on and Brenna doesn’t… neener neener!” I like stories like this! When you have a love interest between the protagonist and antagonist it is always a journey too. I loved how this one went! Paranormal romance lovers will love this!

Sometimes with mysteries or other conflicts if we as the readers figure out what is going on to early it really does ruin the story. I suspected what was going on, I mean it was kind of obvious but the author kept dropping misleading story devices that made me go hmmmmm at the same time. I really appreciate this. It makes the story more alive!

Having it in a post-apocalyptic Colorado gives it the urban flavor and having tunnels underneath with that dark underworld again… maybe not the most original idea but Angela Dennis wove the world and action so well together with such diverse, unique and three-dimensional characters the whole story was special and really enjoyable. It really was perfect for the “curl up in the couch with a few snacks and read till you are done” reading moment!

I loved the book, loved the world-build. Really enjoyed the reading and I loved the conflict, action, the love story… even the baddies as common as they are, were written in such a way I really enjoyed the whole package!

Blog-Headlines-excerpt

Copyright © 2014 Angela Dennis

All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication

Read a bit of the book

Her gaze stretched to the bar. Beneath the glittering liquor bottles and burnt oak, a bottle of Jack in one hand and Grey Goose in the other, stood her target. Dirty blond hair brushed past his eyebrows, the rest tied back in a rubber band. He seemed innocent enough. As he flipped a glass bottle behind his back, muscles rippling on his shirtless body, magic seeped from his skin. It flowed around the women stretched across the bar, their assets on display as well as their lust.

Thankfully, he didn’t get much bang for his buck. This one was weak. Newly possessed, the demon hadn’t had time to gain a strong enough lock on the victim’s body. This shouldn’t take long. The piles of paperwork she had left on her desk might even get done tonight.

She pushed through the crowd, stripping her leather duster off her shoulders as she went. The black corset underneath, paired with tight leather pants, flattered her figure. She turned heads, especially the demon’s. She released the hair tie at the back of her neck. With a quick shake, her burnt copper curls slid down to her waist. She stopped at one of the tiny tables and threw her coat across the barstool.

Eyes closed, she pretended the music was something more aesthetically pleasing as she stepped onto the dance floor, keeping her mark at the forefront of her mind. She felt his eyes on her body as she swayed to the music. Hips gyrating to the heavy beat, she pulled on her glamour to blend in with the other dancers as she let her magic wrap his body. Losing herself in the music, she let him watch her move, feeling his desire amp. His energy vibrated as he made his way through the crowd, his power wild.

His hands draped her hips and he pulled her to him, his magic sliding over her body. Darkness tinged her aura, but she shrugged it off. Dealing with demon magic never got easier, but his wasn’t powerful. Grinning, she wrapped her hand around his neck, pulling him close until her lips brushed his ear. His burning skin jumped against her touch.

They stilled for a moment as the DJ switched tracks. “Think you could get me a drink?” she breathed, brushing a hand down his bare back. “I’m thirsty.” She grinned as he nodded, eager, the demon jumping beneath his skin.

“Anything for you, darlin’.” He wrapped a possessive arm around her waist, moving her toward the bar. “What’s your poison?”

“Whiskey. Straight.”

A grin played on his lips. “My kinda woman.”

Pushing past the other bartender, he grabbed a bottle of Jack and poured her shot. She caught it as it slid across the splintered wooden bar. Tossing it back, she reveled in the slow burn of the liquor. It was an old favorite. Just cause she was working didn’t mean she couldn’t treat herself.

She tossed back a second shot, thankful she didn’t have the ability to get drunk. Giving the demon her best longing look, she leaned forward. “Thanks. I needed that,” she murmured. “What’s your name?”

“Zed.”

Leaning forward, she traced a finger down her cleavage. “Do you think you could give me a ride home, Zed?” she asked. She bit one finger in a nervous gesture, knowing he was buying it. “My friend went home with some guy and left me here. I can wait.”

His eyes flashed, and she knew she had him.

“Sure.” He glanced at the other bartender. “Give me a second. I got off an hour ago.”

Sure you did, she thought.

A few seconds later he was back, pulling on a t-shirt as he walked. The gesture was surprisingly human. With the demon hiding inside, the brimstone dancing in his blood would keep his body uncomfortably hot, eventually burning him alive from the inside out. It may be the middle of winter, but he would never feel the cold.

He held up his keys as she rose to meet him. “My truck’s out back.”

She moved closer, letting him drape an arm over her shoulder. “Let me grab my coat.” The duster was where she had left it. She draped it over her arms as she turned on her psychic link with Xavier. The mage accepted, and Brenna turned to the demon, knowing Xavier was watching through her eyes. At this point, the mark’s lust was so inflamed he wouldn’t notice the slight change of color in her irises.

Wrapping her free arm around Zed’s waist, she led him through the mass of patrons to the exit. As they stepped into the wintry air, she noticed the bikers again. They stood beside their Harleys, watching her warily as she passed. She worried the tension might give her away, but Zed was oblivious.

She led him over the cobblestone to where Xavier waited. As they closed in on the shadows, she could feel Zed’s eagerness spike.

The darkness moved over them, hiding them from prying eyes. Xavier’s power sang in the night, a compass pointing her to the van. Leaving Zed to follow behind, she moved to the gray van and pressed her back against its side. Zed moved toward her, all pretense of humanity stripped away. The graceless stride betrayed his hunger as green scales peeled away his skin and his eyes turned to blood red slits.

Brenna waited until he was on her, scales chaffing the sensitive skin of her face, then she dropped her glamour. The demon jerked back as her magic wrapped around his body, but it was too late. In one swift movement, she pulled the blade strapped to her back free and ripped the already tattered t-shirt away from his chest. Shifting her body weight, she slammed him against the vehicle even as his body mass grew, the demon pushing its way to the surface. One hand held Zed steady, the other slipped beneath his jeans to feel the skin of his hip.

“A little to the left,” the demon growled, body shaking, titillated despite itself.

He shifted his weight and slammed her against the brick wall behind her. His body pressed hard against hers, he ran a scaly tongue across her cheek. “You don’t have to get hostile, darlin’. I don’t mind if you like it rough.”

She let her power surge and kneed him in the crotch. Sparks flew as her spell sent him flying against the van. Keeping him in place with a holding spell, her fingers found the rune carved on his hip. She ripped away the denim as she tried to control the squirming demon.

“A little help?” she called out. She had pulled back the spell. Her full body weight was pressed against the demon, but he was starting to get free. Her magic had to be focused on breaking the possession; she couldn’t waste it restraining Casanova.

She released the demon as Xavier stepped from the shadows and slammed it against the van again. Subdued, the creature glared at them, its red eyes filled with hatred. Another hard slam dazed the creature, but only for a moment.

A flick of her hand and the back of the van opened. Xavier shoved Zed inside. As soon as he was strapped into the harness, Brenna ripped off his jeans. His hips now bare, she was able to see the rune carving, fresh as she had hoped.

Her ceremonial blade pulsed in her hand as she charged it with her energy.

Zed spit at her. The saliva sizzled across the corset, burning a hole in the leather.

Damn. That had been one of her favorites.

“Stuff something in its mouth. I need to concentrate.”

“Deal with it. Even in the harness this thing is a bitch to restrain.” White lines creased Xavier’s eyes, and Brenna worried his injuries were more severe than he let on.

Zed’s fingers began to work the trappings of the harness, but Xavier pulled him back, one arm around his scaly neck. In an explosion of power, Zed pulled free, knocking Xavier into the side of the van. Saliva dripping from his fangs, Zed growled at Brenna, and snapped the other wrist free. Jumping across the van, he pinned Brenna beneath him. Spittle fell from his lips, scorching its way across her skin. She pressed her palm against his face and pushed with all her strength, ignoring her burning flesh. Then, suddenly, he was gone.

Getting to her feet, she saw Xavier had strapped the beast back into the restraints.

“You got it?” Once she started, she wouldn’t be able to help him anymore. All of her energy would go into the exorcism.

“Yeah. Hurry.”

A sharp giggle jarred Brenna’s attention. Looking up, she caught Hilda peering through the glass from the front seat. “If he passes out, I can help.”

“This isn’t a game.”

Zed slammed against his restraints. “I like ghosts. They burn like whiskey going down.”

“Shut up,” Xavier growled.

Tuning them out, Brenna let the words of the exorcism spell spill from her lips. Her hand pressed against the rune on the demon’s hip. The carving glowed and the green light grew until it filled the van.

Zed fought against the restraints. Obscenities, the kind only a demon would know or understand, ricocheted throughout the vehicle.

Xavier stuck a thick leather strap in the demon’s mouth, cutting off his tirade.

Brenna gathered her magic. It pooled through her and into the athame as she sliced the silver blade into the center of the rune. Blood seeped from the wound, spilling over the green light. It exploded with power, slamming Brenna against the van. Xavier fared better, still wrapped around the demon. He was surrounded by a musty green steam that reeked of brimstone.

Continuing the chant, Brenna pulled a pouch of blessed sand from the crevice between her breasts. Throwing a pinch onto the rune, she banished the demon back behind the Veil. Golden steam rose from the wound. It twined around Brenna thick and dense, but she continued to chant even as its foulness tried to seep inside her mouth.

Darkness teased the edges of her vision for a few moments, then the warmth of Xavier’s power wrapped around her body like a shield, pushing out the demonic essence. Time stood still as the final words filled the air. Then, in a flash, the beast was gone.

Shadows of Fate Banner 450 x 169

About Angela Dennis

Angela Dennis

Angela Dennis lives outside Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband, son and a sheltie with a hero complex.  When she is not at her computer crafting stories, she can be found feeding her coffee addiction, playing peek-a-boo, or teaching her son about the great adventures found only in books.

You can visit Angela at her blog or at her website.  She loves to hear from her readers, so find her on Twitter for a chat!

Interested in the book? GREAT! Don’t forget to sign-up for the giveaway too! Now… on with the food!

I picked today’s recipe because it seems like a simple and easy food that Brenna’s group would love to cook. So, today is all about the Yam. It probably would sound better if it read Sweet potato, but the fact is the yam is the prettier and starchier of the two. It also has a bit more robust flavor. Also Yams are such a pretty color and sweet potatoes are just a normal white. Each work but personally I love the wonderful warm orange! Enjoy my grams recipe and don’t forget the giveaway!

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:43] Blog-Headlines-giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

L-is-for

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K is for a Kriss Kitchen Classic – Southern Fried Chicken Pasties #AtoZChallenge

Posted by on Apr 12, 2014 in #AtoZChallenge, Bacon, Books, Cabin Cooking, Poultry | 2 comments

K-is-forOne of my projects is a couple of cook books. One of which I am calling “Duct Tape and a Ketchup Packet“. The basic premise was even if you think you have nothing, there are still things to create a gourmet meal out of even if it is just a couple of liberated condiments and dips. In this instance I found a lonely KFC BBQ sauce in the deli drawer which happened to be on top of a package of pie crust. This ended up be orgasmic, seriously I thought Geoff was going to.. umm well you get the picture!

Orgasms don’t just happen in the bedroom…

Being that I am such a lover of bacon and I live with a southerner I am not ashamed to say I have bacon grease on hand at all times so I can make country gravy any time we want. Honestly my meal planning is usually boring.  I plan ahead for baking and desserts, but meals? It is usually me flying by the seat of my pants. These were a complete win! In no way could I possibly know just how good these would taste.

Geoff finally stopped eating and looked over at me and exclaimed that these were the best thing I had ever made. Then proceeded to repeat about every 10 minutes “Oh My GOD” till he ended up falling asleep with a grin on his face. See? Orgasms.. naaaaa

Mouthgasms

About an hour later he woke up and said “I think I am going to die happy and full, is there more? No.. no more I am to full…” another fifteen minutes…”Oh my god Kristine I love you, please tell me there is gravy and potatoes left, I want to use that last one and just scoop it all up into my mouth!” which he did!

That lone packet of KFC dipping sauce not only inspired greatness, but it helped create a pocketful of southern sunshine on a very cold winter night. From there it was all cake, or should I say pie.

Some assembly required

chicken, potatoes and gravy

I save my butter wrappers just for this occasion!

Brush with melted butter

pocketful of southern love

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J is for – Just another Quiet Night… #FourthWallFriday #AtoZChallenge

Posted by on Apr 10, 2014 in #AtoZChallenge, Authors, Books, Fourth-Wall Friday | 0 comments

j-buttonWelcome to a slight interlude on the A to Z Challenge. J is for Just.. just another night, just another bike ride, just another intrusion of one authors world build into her life. Fourth-Wall Friday, for those who have never read one is one of my favorite things on my blog. Authors are challenged to write themselves into their world-build and characters and introduce you to their work from a unique direction.

Just another quiet night! You’d better get on your bike …

What is curiosity? Is it a beginning or is it an ending? Should you embrace it or do you shut your eyes and pray for the love of whatever god you hold close that it disappears? It is a thing without limitations and restraints, for it carries no conscience, other than what its bearer holds. So I ask, should it be valued or feared? For it begs to be heard and it never, ever, no matter how much you should wish it, offers even the smallest measure of mercies.

For me, it all began with a word, not much on its own I admit, but when you couple it to a tragically grieving young man it becomes the premise for a story. So, it fell to me to write this book and from there, other things followed, in particular chasing every spare minute in every day to fulfill my addiction. God help me! How I love writing.

Summer! This means riding my new bike, which by the way I am besotted with… how I love the pushy and its retro feel, it takes me back to a place where I was happy – childhood. The simple pleasure of peddling clears my head. Sometimes, it helps me to even see what might be on the next page. On with the helmet, I grab my keys shutting the door behind as I head out.

Left, then right and left again, my mind wanders and when I eventually look up I’m riding towards a wall. It has writing on it and as I get closer, the words spring up on the orange bricks and I am able to read what it says – Hmmm how ironic its Friday.

The Fourth Wall appears formidable, solid and I wonder how it got to be in the middle of my road. More importantly, I wonder what’s behind the bugger. It’s a weakness of mine this thing called curiosity, so I chain my bike to a pole, there’s no one around but me. I touch the red bricks and guess what? I felt the bricks shift, I heard the crack and that is how it began. I broke through the Fourth Wall into Tarkeenia.

It is as I thought it would be – bloody wonderful. There was a chill in the air and the night sky as I looked up was full of stars, but what delighted me the most was the moon. This broken rock is the key to high fantasy in Tarkeenia, the Pata Batu and it holds tight the wild magic.

“You’ve got a bloody cheek showing up here like this!” Hands on his hips, Brar bristled with anger.

Oh god! He was the last character I wanted to see and to make matter worse I owed this teddy bear looking fellow an apology. He was furious and I suppose since I murdered his friend he had every right to be. The Jaroona began to change and in that instant, it was as if he had disappeared from sight, in fact, Brar stood in his rooted spot, but had taken the appearance of the world around him. Such was his chameleon nature.

“That’s not fair! I loved him as much as you Brar, but Coal’s death was necessary, without it how else could I have introduced Roedanth to the Halls?”

I felt a little stupid talking to the wind, this was so surreal. He reappeared looking very much like an oversized child’s favourite bear but when he opened his mouth to growl a filthy curse at me, the sharp teeth I had painstakingly boasted of in the book suddenly looked very real.

Brar spat at me. “You could have found another way. It’s always the same with you writers isn’t it? Make us up and cut us down on a whim to put more words on a page. I think you need to move on.”

I was speechless: Brar was not like this in the book. When I looked up to see the Jaroona was gone and in his place, a wind whipped up, a deep cackling laugh brushed past me. Jesus! I knew who that was. I am safe, right? After all, I created Drakite to be a god. I feel as nervous as a virgin on her wedding night. Holy crap!

“You’re not what I expected.”

I knew that voice, I had heard it so many times inside my head, the lazy charm sent a shiver up my spine, I turned and Paganini leant against the bole of a tree looking at me speculatively.

I stared opening at the rugged figure: he was dressed in linen and leathers. Suitably as dangerous as the place I had created.

He laughed and I blushed, “You must have royally pissed him off. Passive, aggressive is usually their game. I thought for a moment you were going to make history you know. The first writer to be cordially ripped apart by her own character, that would be a turn for the books hey!” He laughed at his own joke.

This was starting to piss me off. “Well I’m not a girl to stay where she’s not wanted. I’d best be getting back, not that it hasn’t been nice.” I couldn’t help but show the disappointment on my face. “The wall may shut on me if I don’t hurry.”

“What wall?” He sounded amused.

I turned. What fecking wall – it was gone. How in the hell could I finish writing the series if I was stuck in the very thing I was writing about? Shit! So far, I had met two of my darlings and both were less than cordial.

“We need to move. He knows you’re here because Drakite has touched you, and don’t think for one minute your safe because this is only a story. You made the Dark One a God, not me! You see, oh author of mine, if the Dark Lord knows you’re here then you can bet your last nugget that the filthy traitor Roedanth will have an inkling of our whereabouts.” The man they called the Wolf pushed away from the bole, “Ellen, behind the Fourth Wall, Tarkeenia is real. We’re as real as you are. Trust in that if you can trust anything here.” He frowned: it was an expression that worried me. “We have to go there are Specks about and you know how they love to feed when the sun goes down. In fact, you must know how we can rid ourselves of them completely.” Paganini turned and stared into the dark, he sniffed the air.

“You’ve got to be shitting me? Specks here? Where in the hell are we?” Questions flew about and he laughed, just as I knew he would. “Doesn’t anything frighten you Paganini?” This was the first time I had seen the ice in his eyes. That was his Calling, manipulating water into ice and it reflected from inside those dark, beautiful eyes.

He looked away, into a spot that was lit by the moon. The forest Fey stepped out and a moonbeam bathed her in a rose light. She was very beautiful, just as I had imagined. She swayed as she walked, leather trousers and a cotton shirt clinging to her soft curves. Around her waist hung a belt of leather and chain, from which dangled a brace of beautifully crafted knives. Each bore the sigil of a weeping lily, each deathly sharp. Her blue boots matched the turquoise binding that held her dark hair in a twirling knot. She was strikingly magnificent for a wood elf, repelling but still undeniably alluring.

Paganini watched her hips: the ice in his eyes gave way to a smoldering glaze. So, that’s the way of things then! Note to self don’t forget what you’ve just seen. He’s in love with the Wood Elf. Who would have thought and shit why didn’t I see this coming? After all, I’m the creator and author of The Unseen Promise.

“Wolf! Stop chewing her ear and let’s be about it. You might find this experience an amusing dalliance, but I certainly don’t wish to be out in the woods any longer than I have to. Murrdocks on one side and those dwarves …” Litila rolled her eyes. “Greedy little capitalists! If it wasn’t for their talent in shaping glass I wouldn’t waste my time.”

She smiled and winked at me, cheekily lifting her chin in a I told you so gesture, and I understood why he felt the way he did. She might have been bluff and air but the Forest Fey delighted in teasing, she knew very well that the Machobe dwarves lived for the shaping of gold and metal, silver and gems. She touched the emerald resting on her throat.

Clack … Pop … Clack

Surely not! They were only nightmares born from my imaginings, meant only to add excitement to The Unseen Promise, but Paganini has assured me that this Tarkeenia was very real.

“Specks?” My whispering brought a hiss from Litila.

The Wolf nodded and the Fey produced a long blade and with it a grin that lit up her beautiful face. I was pushed rather than guided, tripping over my own feet.

“What the ….”

“Get down. Now!” Yelled Paganini and I was shoved aside.

I looked up and watched as Wolf crouched beside me. His mouth moved in silent speech, and one hand began to twitch in what I can only imagine as a – better get ready move.

From my left Specks bounded on all fours, dodging trees and salivating as they raced to be the first. Oh my god! Just look at them. Even in the dark, I could see their alabaster bodies, skeletal frames and bloated bellies. Will I die in this world, a place of my own imaginings? I thought about covering my eyes with a fistful of fingers Coward!

Litila jumped, right over the top on an incoming devil. Her feet danced briefly across its fleeting back and I heard her laugh, a light sounding of tinkling bells as she pushed her blade into the back of its neck. It dropped dead. Wolf threw out his twitching hand and ice covered the ground before us. Litila whooped as she dropped another and then another.

I was watching a performance, a murderous dance just as I had imagined it to be. I was glad that I hadn’t covered my eyes. I felt like clapping.

Paganini raised his hand and the rest of the specks – I could see their rusty stained teeth and blood soaked pink hair – froze in their tracks.

“This was too easy.” Litila wiped her blade on the grass, wrinkling that perfect nose as she did so. “We’ve got to go and now.”

I stood, a little more than shaken. This was my first close up with a Speck. I know I created them but to see them as solid creatures was exhilarating. Wolf dragged at my arm.

“Come on Ellen. If you think a Speck entertainment,” and he kicked it in the head. “Just wait till you meet a dwarf.” He laughed and the sound of it raised the hairs on the back of my neck. “Now move.”

I hate running! I mean I really hate it and this was no time for me to raise objections on any reasonable grounds. Get eaten by one of your nightmarish characters and having to run felt like the same thing. I tried to fake it, puffing out my chest and all that, but who was I kidding. The grumblings of my companions as I tried to keep up didn’t help and as I bent over heaving, cursing myself for writing this bloody story I heard a voice call out.

“Can I eat it.”

Jesus I’m fecked now. A young girl roughly my height stood in the dim shadows, sunrise was on its way. I suppose there are small blessings along the way if you really look. Specks don’t’ venture out in daylight. Then who was this?

A sneering second voice overlaid the first, “Of course you can’t Kitty. Where would we be if I allowed you to eat our author? No, there is someone else who would owe me a favour if I was to deliver her to him.” His dark hair and black eyes was how I imagined him, and the arrogance he wore like a badge of honour suited his role as a Dark God’s son.

A young man and woman stood in the morning light. Both were very much at ease. Paganini’s doubling back found me staring and he couldn’t help it but lift his voice into a howl. The young woman’s smile with her pointed teeth accepted his challenge.

“You go too far you traitorous piece of shit.” Growled Litila and she stepped into our little group.

“I haven’t gone far enough woodling. In fact, ask the writer she’ll tell you, I have a long way to go, so shut that rude mouth of yours or else you’ll force me to do it for you.” His eyes changed from black to red.

This was getting out of hand, not that it was surprising after all, I wrote these characters and they were only acting out with the personalities I had deemed fit for the roles they had to play. I didn’t know what I was going to do but being on the end of a magic mish-mash was not my idea of a quiet night out. Taking a deep breath, I thought I had better throw caution to the wind and lecture them all on the future of this book.

A child’s giggle turned every head, I sighed in relief. I didn’t care which character thought it wise to impose themselves upon this mess but I was glad for the reprieve.

“You know I could leave you to the blundering of those fools yonder.”

I looked from the golden haired child with a smearing of strawberry jam on her face to the spot where I had been but moments before. The stand off between my characters was a frozen scene, I giggled myself and the small child nodded. She pointed.

“The Wall! Did you do that?”

She giggled and nodded. You had best be gone for after I count to five I am going to let them go.”

I didn’t want to hear anymore. For the time being, I had seen enough and the Fourth Wall was looking pretty-good. I didn’t stop to probe a way through, I rushed at the orange bricks and miraculously they gave way. In Australia, we have a saying – On your bike. So I unchained my beloved and peddled home, back to my laptop and the fantasies I love to live.

About Ellen Mae Franklin

carol bond

Born in Adelaide, South Australia, this mother of three is following her passion for Fantasy writing. She published The Unseen Promise in 2013, after revitalizing the urge to complete the first book in the Tarkeenia Sagas. She is currently working on its sequel: It’s not the Bite, which kills you.

Working closely with UK author, Peter Emmerson they have published the first book in the Un-named Chronicles titled, Forthright and Clement. Together they are working on the sequel, Armitage and Envy.

She is involved in various writing and creative communities and writes stories for various online groups

  • Terra Australis is an Australian group of writers producing Australian themed anthologies.
  • An online Blog where twelve writers short stories of various genres called Out of Print.
  • Australian Short Stories is a group of energetic writers keen on exploring short stories based on the Australian timeline.

Ellen Mae Franklin writes for an Australian Magazine - TakeABreakReads.

Pen TO Paper is a Blog that not only dedicates creative writing to its host, Ellen Mae Franklin, but it supports the work of featured authors in interviews, articles, short stories and more - http://www.theunseenpromise.com
She writes under the pseudonym of her children’s middle names - Ellen Mae Franklin.

J-is-for

J is for – Just another Quiet Night… #FourthWallFriday #AtoZChallengeThe Unseen Promise
by Ellen Mae Franklin
on 2013-10-06
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 546
AmazonGoodreads

This story marks the struggle between God and Man, magic and indefinable evil. Monsters walk the shadows and the tip of balance between dark and light, good and evil. Even on a good day, living is tenuous.

Strangers become friends, out of necessity more than compatibility for survival takes on the order of the day. Uneasy alliances are tainted by betrayal and self gain, and unlikely heroes emerge to salvage what they can from a world on the brink of chaos.

Flesh eating specks turn the living to dust. Murrdocks and Dwarves, Benzines and Magi all strive to make do in a world bubbling with wild magic. Will Tarkeenia survive the tug and pull of the spoilt and very wicked? Will those lost to the dark find a way back to the light? Is it possible to forget or forgive and start again?

All these questions and more are answered in this first book as the reader walks Tarkeenia’s many paths.

Ever wonder what happens if you were to break into your world build and sit down and have a beer with your main characters? I think I would love to have tea with Jane Eyre, or discuss the best way to take care of vampires with Jane Yellowstone…maybe having Susie Shotgun take me out for some Angels Tears…

I hope everyone (authors and readers alike) takes time peruse the archives and find out just what other authors have done and enjoy a lot of amazing world builds! Or check out the PINTEREST board with every Fourth-Wall Friday pinned!
Follow Kriss Morton – Cabin Goddess’s board Fourth Wall Friday – Art in Words on Pinterest.

FWF-300-BUTTAllow yourself as an author to open up a new avenue of sharing your AUTHOR PERSONA & WORLD BUILD in a unique and creative fashion.. Just take a chance, write fluidly and from within that “place” you hangout at with your muse. Or perhaps walk in the door, tuck into a corner & watch your characters get into trouble before you take a chance and talk to them…

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I is for Irish Cake Bombs – #AtoZChallenge #Recipe

Posted by on Apr 10, 2014 in #AtoZChallenge, Cabin Cooking, Dessert | 8 comments

cakbomb-buttonIrish Cake Bombs! More commonly known as Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes because they are based on the fancy bar shots and considering that I have a bit of Irish blood in me, these are a favorite for a big treat in the house. They take a bit of work but are not difficult. I love ganache and Geoff is in love with the cake itself. I usually end up with only 16 or so to finish because the man insists on eating the hot Guinness chocolate cake. Stout is a lovely thing to cook with and like Bacon it can be used in sweet and savory dishes, dessert and meaty main dishes! I hope you enjoy my COOKING portion of my theme today. This particular recipe was shared to me from Amy Del Rosso of Lady Reader’s Book Stuff, because she loves me lots!

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H is for a Hot New Author! @KoryShrum Rocks it #AtoZChallenge #Review

Posted by on Apr 8, 2014 in #AtoZChallenge, Authors, Books, Reviews | 12 comments

H-is-for Hot New Author Kory Shrum #AtoZChallengeKory M. Shrum is about as Hot is it comes in the Indie Scene!

Kory emailed me back in mid January and asked if I would be interested in reviewing Dying for a Living. I was fresh off of reading Grasshopper Jungle and The Almost Girl and I told her I probably would not be able to get to it right away. Then I read the synopsis again and went ohhhh fresh new urban fantasy! I am so glad I did not turn her down to review. (pssssssst she also has a giveaway for everyone so scroll to the bottom and enter! Signed paperback and bookmarks!)

I ended up staying up all night long and reading it and posting to everyone I knew to go walk and not run to beg for a review copy since I did not want any of my awesome friends missing out on something so fresh, so well written and just so vibrant! Out of all the new authors I have found this year, Kory M. Shrum is my all time favorite.  So it was natural for me to choose her as one of my book themed posts for the #AtoZChallenge.

Do you have any authors you have discovered this year that you want to shout about? Let me know I am always looking for new reads!

Quote-banner

Somehow this lovely book fell from library heaven into my lap. I cannot even remember how, but I believe it was the author looking for people who read her genre. The quote above is the first sentence in the book, can you say wow? Suffice it to say I lost my mind into the happy zone of awesomeness which is the book.

I love Urban Fantasy reads and like other people have said the one thing which has happened, just like with zombie reads (yes this is an important thing to mention in conjunction with this book), the fact is the genre has reached the “been there done that.. oh no you didn’t use that cliché again” stage. Sure a lot of times this is fine and dandy. Well unless you name your leading man Zed and you’re a elf/gnome/brownie hybrid who has gone into the detective business for yourself, then you will get more eye rolls and expletives as I read it till the cat runs for cover and my husband has to remove it from my hand asking me to take a break. (Kidding.. sort of, the cat usually just stairs at me and my husband tells me there are no more good books written anymore so he does not count). At any rate, they always fall somewhere in there.

Let’s face it folks, fantasy has done it to us over and over. One of the reasons we love it. Faraway lands, elven princes and brownie housekeepers for your wee cabin in the woods where the hero grew up and dragons either fighting with or against you. It is all OK. Urban Fantasy takes us to a slightly narrower window where it is very difficult to find new things. The way to top an Urban Fantasy is to either a) make it original in the story telling ie: a lovable character, an incredibly awesome, enticing well written story etc.. and it means even if it is the same old conventions it still is a great read.

That leaves b) an original plot, a character cast whose interaction and personalities balance out to not fit the normal conventions and… the best thing?? Original fantasy creatures which fit into the urban world with the ease and distinction like they have been part of fairytales since Hans put pen to paper. You’re asking yourself how could this even happen, can’t add more to them, they are classics and you can throw a leather jacket on a troll but you cannot create a new class of creatures or fae, right? WRONG.

Ms. Shrum did it. Not only is there a new creature, with a politically correct name, but it is not a race or a creature it is just a gal who happens to have the genetic markings and “powers” of a hybrid human called a Necronite, or for you rude people, she is a zombie. But don’t say that because Jesse (our protagonist) will be extremely unhappy. And she’s pretty much a badass.

I love Urban Fantasy and I have read so much that I have come to expect thinking, “Yeah, seen this before, but I love it so that’s okay.” Most of the time it IS okay. There are enough differences from one book to the next to make it okay, but I can honestly say in this book I did not find myself doing this ONCE.

What makes her special in this book is her Ncronite status means she can die for you. Yep, she can die for you if the conditions of your death qualify you and you have at least $50,000 (or around there or more) She suffers the complete death, including Rigor Mortis etc..

Enter in the conflict, not everyone likes the idea of Necronites, you see the church does exist in this alternative reality too and the world will always have someone to complain about someone.

The story had a bit of world building and a slower pace at the beginning, but I found it worked on purpose. It was not to slow it was just like living in a day of Jesse’s life. Until the “conflict” and their player’s steps in and then life and the story picks up speed and does not stop.

The protagonist, Jesse, is pretty unique. Sure there are other characters who are snarky, but the way Ms. Shum was able to communicate the idea of “otherness” in the form of a girl who died for you a living for people was really great. I got her, got how different she was and how as special as she was supposed to be to everyone around her, she just found it… wait.. I just heard her sigh and mutter something about getting over my analytical self! *grin* She trusted very few people and those she did, she still never let all the way in.

Everything affects how a person grows up and deals with situations. Her first death to the last death. She is dealing with it with the tools she has collected in her emotional toolbox. I love how she is not perfect, how even the love scene was stilted and reflecting she was not OK in her own body. She made decisions that made me want to yell at her and tell her not to do it, but at the same time I love that about her more than wanting to her to do the right thing, because it wouldn’t be the right thing for her. /
Can you tell I became highly emotional and involved with the Jesse and the whole book? I cannot wait for book two because this book was so focused on Jesse. I fell in love with her best friend, I liked how all of them messed with each other and were all so believable.

So jump onto the Urban Fantasy which I truly believe will become the next BITTEN on TV in the future and be a series and an author whom we have special dedicated shelves too.

I said it on other social media and I will say it again here:

I take my urban fantasy very seriously, almost as seriously as zombies.. WAIT, did I say ZOMBIES? HAH! YES ZOMBIES but not the kind you are thinking of because zombies is JUST not politically correct! .. RUN I TELL YOU. RUN and trip your friends up to get your copy today!!!!!

About Kory M. Shrum

Kory-M-Shrum

Kory M. Shrum lives in Michigan with her partner and a ferocious guard pug. When not writing, she can be found teaching, traveling, and wearing a gi. Her poetry has appeared in North American Review, Bateau and elsewhere.

5 Things About Kory:

1) She once spent the night in the trunk of a car
2) She has a BB pellet lodged in her arm
3) She has a black belt in Uechi-Ryu
4) She rescued an epileptic pug
5) She can read fortunes

You can also check Kory out on Google+.

H is for a Hot New Author! @KoryShrum Rocks it #AtoZChallenge #Review five-stars
Dying for a Living
by Kory M. Shrum
on 2014-03-04
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Zombie
Pages: 400
AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads

On the morning before her 67th death, it is business as usual for Jesse Sullivan: meet with the mortician, counsel soon-to-be-dead clients, and have coffee while reading the latest regeneration theory. Jesse dies for a living, literally. As a Necronite, she is one of the population’s rare 2% who can serve as a death replacement agent, dying so others don’t have to. Although each death is different, the result is the same: a life is saved, and Jesse resurrects days later with sore muscles, new scars, and another hole in her memory.

But when Jesse is murdered and becomes the sole suspect in a federal investigation, more than her freedom and sanity are at stake. She must catch the killer herself—or die trying

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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G is for Growing Gardens in #Alaska – Container Gardening #AtoZChallenge

Posted by on Apr 8, 2014 in #AtoZChallenge, Alaska Living, Books, gardening, Green Living | 6 comments

G is for Gardens of Ginormous Delight in Alaska!

G-001Gardening in Alaska is magical, large and in charge veggies and fruits grow in our never ending sunlight here in the land of the Midnight Sun. We produce the most obnoxiously large zucchini and pumpkins… cabbage lettuce heads etc. It is really magical.

My mini corn stocks were as large as regular and the tomato plants were crazy my first year! My herb pot of basil I brought up from Arizona was a large bush about 2 feet across became dangerously close to a shrub of 6 feet! I was giving handfuls of basil away to my neighbors! But when we moved to the cabin I didn’t have my huge garden anymore and so I went back to gardening in containers, just like my mom raised me to do in the Pacific NW.

Container gardens are something I flourish in. I enjoy them as you can move them around your yard or if they need to be in sunlight or if they need special types of dirt, such as certain herbs, and tomatoes and lettuce.. They all need different blends of earth. Draping tarps over the top of delicate plants during the monsoon rains (yes the interior of Alaska is an Arctic desert). There are other reasons such as moose who cannot get certain buckets up on your porch.. that is unless he is a moose like mine (read about my basil eating, hostage taking moose over at Erica Lucke Dean’s site)! Container gardening is ideal anywhere. I did it when I live in Texas and it was lovely. You need to find out what the best mix for potting soil down there, but we will discuss soil later.

strawberriesAt first I used expensive containers I bought from the garden center, my garden was gorgeous. Then… winter happened and I did not have a garage to move them into or a basement and half of them were destroyed by the cold. Plus I wanted to expand it so I bought 5 gallon buckets, left over plastic gallon containers and larger Rubbermaid™ tubs. Everything grows amazing in Alaska, all you have to do is mix the dirt right. My secret ingredient always was adding ash to the mix especially since I wanted to make sure the roots would stay moist but not sodden and never dry out on top of that.

Whatever you use make sure to get containers that you can drill/poke holes into the bottom for drainage, if the containers don’t already have them.  Make the holes about 1/2″-1″ on the bottom of the container. I grab the cordless drill and a thick drill. On the side of the bucket no more than an inch from the bottom of the bucket drill anywhere from 10-20 holes. Good drainage is a must for any container gardens. Especially when you are doing potatoes because they can start rotting and I do those in 30 gallon garbage cans!

Back to the soil though. You CANNOT use regular garden soil in containers.  It is way too dense and prohibits proper drainage.  You need to splurge and get the potting soil mix, or make your own (which is what I do. The basic recipe is easy-peasy.  Mix one part each of the peat moss, vermiculite, and compost. I also add 4 cups of ash from a wood stove, this really tends to be a plus with everything I grow.  Unless you have chickens like I did the first year, you are going to want to choose some kind of fertilizer, either organic or store bought. If you do not have your own compost you can even check locally to see if you can find some. Many neighborhoods have gardening co-ops so check around!

GardeningIt’s easiest if you just grab a bucket and throw one bucket of each ingredient into your mixing container (I use a large Rubbermaid so I can close the lid but many use a wheelbarrow).  Add a little water and stir it around with gloved hands or a shovel. Start filling your containers, but pay attention if you are using a commercial fertilizer, fill your pots half way, add a scoop of fertilizer and mix it in.  Fill your container the rest of the way, repeat the fertilizer step, and and my secret ingredient. 4 cups of ash from a wood stove. I take my shovel or spade and mix all these ingredients in! BAM, you’re done! If the soil is for tomatoes or peppers, I make sure to add some egg shells, and some “moose nuggets” as it will help with the growth and drainage

Fill the containers till you have about 2 inches from the top. You want to make sure you have 2 inches as it will give you space if you need to add extra soil later in the summer as the plants will absorb quite a bit of the nutrients.  Leave the buckets alone for a couple days in the weather so everything can settle.

photo credit http://www.alaskamastergardeners.org/

photo credit alaskamastergardeners.org Anchorage, AK

Do this will all your buckets and however much soil you have. Leave out for two days in the weather so the lime in the soil can perforate the bucket and the plastic as well as whatever was in the buckets to begin with can transfer their properties and not kill the plant. After the two days, plant no more than two plants of your choice in each bucket. If you have a lot of seedlings…. You will need a lot of buckets!

Water normally, check the soil once a week (as it will settle) and add soil as needed or if needed and make sure to follow the directions via the seed packets. I use seedlings for some things but mostly I just start in the buckets as is. Mainly because I am lazy but also I learned that in Alaska? It grows FAST! But you may want to do a bit of research. My sweet peas and green beans grow like crazy all up the side of my cabin! Check out some of the famous grown stuff from all over Alaska. We do everything rather BIG here!

The best types of container plants are lettuce, spinach, kohlrabi, herbs of all kinds, broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and you can go on and see. If you are going to do carrots and potatoes you are going to want to do them the tub or garbage can. Check this video out to really get a good idea!

G-is-for-Gardening

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F is for Fish & Fries – Halibut Po’Boys & Sweet Potato Fries #AtoZChallenge

Posted by on Apr 7, 2014 in #AtoZChallenge, Alaska Living, Books, Cabin Cooking, Seafood, Vegetarian | 10 comments

FMake room for a Po’boy with Swanky, Sexy & Spicy Slaw & Sweet Potato Fries!

 

Mama’s Kitchen Mondays is going to be blended in obviously with this one, and I am glad I had the cooking post fall on a Monday because I can share one of my favorite recipes creations ever.

 

Now when I say creation, I literally mean it. For those who are new to Cabin Goddess one of the things I am known for are my recipes. Sure I take note from the good ones that are written by famous chefs, but because of my geeky background I take cooking to a whole new level. My recipes tend to be based on the science of cooking. Why you use vinegar or citrus juices, why olive oil instead of peanut oil, why halibut instead of cod.. There is always a reason and it usually can be factored into the science of it all. Well… that and some damn fine eating!!

 

F was an easy letter, Fish and Fries, two things that can be found coming off the grill or the skillet any time of the year, yes we grill even when it is -40F here! But it is funny because people think since we live in Alaska gas and seafood is cheap and that is wrong on both counts. Shipping it from Valdez to Fairbanks is like bringing it in from the Atlantic to Ohio, it is not a small trek. It is a 12 hour drive at the very least!

 

So, the funny thing is that unless I buy, trade or go fishing myself fish is not as easy to get up here in Fairbanks. Living in the interior we are a long way from Valdez where most of us interior Alaskan’s go to get our halibut. We only need to catch one, and we will be set for the winter. If we are lucky we will also be able to a few early running silvers.

 

English: Halibut caught off Raspberry Island, ...

English: Halibut caught off Raspberry Island, Alaska. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I love halibut it is good in anything. I have not been fishing or hunting in a few years but when I did we would trade some of our meat for fish or vice-versa. We also trade meat from the pig(s) we buy for fresh moose and halibut. Personally if I could eat halibut all the time I would be happy as a clam, oh…. clams! I love clams too but those are even harder to get up here!

 

But enough of that, let’s get to something that is a blend of all the places I have lived. By the way I was born in Seattle, raised on a beach, dug my own clams and caught my own salmon there and lived in Germany, Kansas, Massachusetts, Texas and Arizona plus did summers in California. I have a lot of different US cultural food to tie in and being married to a Sicilian and a former military wife I have learned to cook from all over the country and the world.

 

So after all that, with making shrimp, catfish and Cajun spiced po’boys I created this fillet based on my favorite halibut meals here plus the sour dough with everyone else? OMG!! Sweet potato fries? Well, they are not real fries… no don’t go their, they aren’t but man are they tasty and man do they go well with this dish! The coleslaw? Oh ya baby baby! You can bump up the sweet to what you want, you can make it spicy, but no matter what this one without mayo is swanky and sexy and spicy in more ways than just making your tongue tingle!

 

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E is for E-Books – How E-Books Saved My Ability to Read #AtoZChallenge

Posted by on Apr 5, 2014 in #AtoZChallenge, Books, Cabin Commentary | 14 comments

e-books saved meE-books or dead-tree books who is winning the race?

I am going to state that I knew this before the report from PEW came out earlier this year, but e-books are not replacing traditional print books so there is no race to win. They compliment each other in many ways and for me they allow me to read even more than I would. Plus living in a cabin, I am running out of space.

If I could I would only read print. I still order all my favorite series to keep them complete in print but I read on an e-book. I have had people be really rude to me telling me that I am a trader to the industry, that though they understand the convenience I should be a purest since I am an English Lit major and use to adjunct at the Uni. To those of you who are actually going to stand by this? Screw you! Seriously! You are not even bothering to do the research! Also you hear why I read e-books now and you still say I should just get large print.

Most adults read a book in the past year; print remains most popular, but e-reading is on the riseThe fact is people are still reading books so you purists can stick a sock bookmark in it. Why am I so touchy you ask? Well here is the deal, I am going blind. One of my most glorious and important activities in my life is going to be stripped from me within the decade unless they can cure this, which I doubt. My days as a graphic designer maybe over too. Thankfully right now I have eyeglasses and a large monitor to do graphics on, but books? Real books which smell like paper and a library? I can have them in my house to smell but reading them is near to impossible. Hence why e-books saved me in many ways. Not just my ability to read but what reading does for me. Allowing me to lose myself in an adventure.

Many of you have recently gotten their class action settlement and are quickly buying up even more books. For those that haven’t make sure you do a quick check in your inbox because there is no way to check your balance on Amazon without calling. I just had to check to find out how much I had left because I have been pre-ordering all of my favorite ones coming this summer!

Are you like I was with free-kindle books though? Grabbing all that remotely sound good, or have you gone through the detox program I did about six months ago. The problem is I switched to doing tours and even though I was picky I was still grabbing books I probably would never buy so now I stick to my guns, unless I would buy it I won’t tour it and I now, since taking my break in March, will only be touring four tour companies and only reviewing two books from tours a month.

Operation-More-Book-ReviewssOtherwise for us serious reviewers there is Netgalley, Edeilweiss or now there is another option, #OpsMoRe from Orangeberry Tours. Operation More Reviews has recently opened it’s doors and all they want are folks to request and post a review on Amazon or Goodreads. Posting it on your blog is another bonus (or anywhere else). You also do not have to be amazing in the eyes of Netgalley to get some books, this is perfect for those starting out and perfect for those of us who read like crazy people! *coughing.. Leanne*

I also would always ask the tour company if you can read and review the book they are touring. Even if your schedule on the blog is full I can guarantee they will offer up the book if asked if you promise to review it in a certain time. The Finishing Fairies (my company with Kai) has all our clients books available for review. That is part of what we do. Check out the hashtag #R4R too on Twitter and also look up Read for Review threads on Goodreads (for those who still stalk that hellgate of a book place). One of the boards I could find was Read 4 Review.

But what does this have to do with ebooks saving my life reading ability? The areas of reviewing have opened up and become less expensive for publishers and authors to offer up review copies for readers. It has opened up huge “libraries” available for new and blossoming book bloggers. Since 2010 people owning their own e-book devices has risen from almost nill to 50% of all ebook readers. I read on my computer and on my iPhone till I got my own in 2011 when I was diagnosed with my auto-immune disorder. And I read so much more than I used too. I read over 104 books last year, 240 in 2011 and this year I am already over 60 books. Would I have been able to do this without indie $2.99 books or Prime lending? Without Netgalley, Edelweiss or publishers who offer me books to read.

soul meaningSo if you ask me if I would rather read an e-book or a print I would tell you e-book because of the convenience but I still would not be able to say no to print. Plus it is a non-issue here at the Cabin unless of course one of your favorite authors sends you pretties, signed to go with and compliment that read! (Read my review here of Soul Meaning)

What is your preference? Do you own a device, read on a tablet, computer or are you strictly a print purest? 

 

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