#ExcerptWeek – D. G. Kaye @pokecubster

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Today, I’m very happy to welcome D. G. Kaye to #ExcerptWeek here on The Write Stuff. Deb has been having all kinds of frustrating issues this last week, with both her ability to comment on this and other blogs, and issues getting her latest book formatted and published. I’m happy to say that things are starting to look up, and proud to present this excerpt for your reading pleasure. As always, please remember to share far and wide. And now, the floor is yours, Deb. Take it away!

P.S. I Forgive You

P.S. I Forgive You is a sequel to Conflicted Hearts, a memoir about my narcissistic mother, and the psychological hold she had on me by instilling guilt and fear when her demands weren’t complied with, and the heartache she bestowed on her loved ones.

This sequel is a stand alone in its own right. It’s a new journey about discovering and overcoming the narcissists inflictions, and ultimately, learning forgiveness, both for myself and my mother. The story is a completion of a life cycle, the cutting of the cord with all its frayed ends.

BLURB

I hurt for her. She wasn’t much of a mother, but she was still my mother.

Confronted with resurfacing feelings of guilt, D.G. Kaye is tormented by her decision to remain estranged from her dying emotionally abusive mother after resolving to banish her years ago, an event she has shared in her book Conflicted Hearts. In P.S. I Forgive You, Kaye takes us on a compelling heartfelt journey as she seeks to understand the roots of her mother’s narcissism, let go of past hurts, and find forgiveness for both her mother and herself.

After struggling for decades to break free, Kaye has severed the unhealthy ties that bound her to her dominating mother—but now Kaye battles new confliction, as the guilt she harbors over her decision only increases as the end of her mother’s life draws near. Kaye once again struggles with her conscience and her feelings of being obligated to return to a painful past she thought she left behind.

EXCERPT

The End Is Near

My mother had been dying for years, and through those years she refused to surrender her bitterness and remained in denial of her flaws. The many times I heard she was dying reminded me of the boy who cried wolf. I almost believed she was invincible, and even though I never wanted her to suffer, she did.

I thought it was just a horrible and sad way to die—holding hatred for those she had chased out of her life, living in bitter seclusion, knowing her days were numbered. Her once vibrant life had diminished into a mere existence of watching TV and complaining. She’d also given all her caregivers a difficult time, bitching at them all and letting them know how useless they were to her because of what her life had become. Nobody was exempt.

I asked my brother Robby why God didn’t just take her out of her misery and pain during one of the many times she was on the brink of death. Why would he not spare her from suffering? He replied, “God has his own plans.” I couldn’t help but wonder if he was letting her suffer because she had hurt so many people in her lifetime, but in my next thought I couldn’t believe God would play those cruel games, tit for tat.

I wondered what thoughts had to have been going through my mother’s head. How awful it must have been to know her time left on earth was limited. I thought about how frightened she must have felt in her lonely world, although she’d never admit it. I was sad for her, knowing that the anger and bitterness she displayed was a front for the depressed state of her pathetic life. I couldn’t fathom why she remained so obstinate in her resolve to spend what little time she had left wallowing in misery instead of embracing the end and making amends with her children. I wanted to fix her, but I didn’t know h

~~~

D.G. Kaye Author
D. G. Kaye

D.G. Kaye was born and resides in Toronto, Canada. She is the author of Conflicted Hearts – A Daughter’s Quest for Solace From Emotional Guilt, Meno-What? – A Memoir, and Words We Carry. D.G. is a nonfiction/memoir writer. Kaye writes about her life experiences, matters of the heart and women’s issues.

D.G. writes to inspire others. Her writing encompasses stories taken from events she encountered in her own life, and the lessons that were taken from them. Her sunny outlook on life developed from learning to overcomes some of the many obstacles that challenged her. From an emotionally neglected childhood, to growing up with a narcissistic mother, leaving her with a severely deflated self-esteem, D.G. began seeking a path to rise above her issues. When she isn’t writing intimate memoirs, Kaye brings her natural sense of humor into her other works.

Find D. G. Kaye Here:

Connect with D.G. on her blog DGKayewriter.com
www.twitter.com/@pokercubster

www.facebook.com/dgkaye
www.linkedin.com/in/dgkaye7
www.google.com/+DebbyDGKayeGies
www.pinterest.com/dgkaye7
www.instagram.com/dgkaye

Find D. G. Kaye’s Books Here:

D.G.’s book, P.S. I Forgive You was just published this week. Check it out on Amazon Here! And Visit her Amazon Author page to view and purchase her other books.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#ExcerptWeek – M. E. Hembroff @margiesart1

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Today, I’d like to welcome children’s author M. E. Hembroff. Hope you’ll enjoy this excerpt from her book, and please don’t forget to share, thanks!

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Bess’s Magical Garden

Chapter 1

The sun streamed in the window and illuminated the ivy wallpaper. Bess looked around and felt bewildered until she remembered that she was in their new home in Pineview. After she was fully awake, she realized that the room looked different in the daylight. The streetlights were on when they arrived the night before. She looked out the bay window and noticed the snow-white apple blossoms. So that was the fragrance she had smelt.

          Bess’s thoughts drifted back to the day she had collapsed in ballet class. An ambulance had rushed her to the hospital, where her parents met her. After several tests the doctors told them that she had a mild case of polio. She ended up spending many months in the hospital undergoing treatment and physical therapy before she was ready to go home. She had worked hard, but she still had to wear a brace and use a crutch.

          Her thoughts were interrupted when Mother breezed into the room. “Rise and shine.”

          “Don’t want to,” Bess grumbled, as she brushed some tousled hair out of her eyes.

          Mother smiled. “It’s a warm sunny day. Let’s have breakfast in the garden.” The air was filled with the scent of jasmine as she walked past. Mother took the clean clothes out of the open suitcase on the window seat.

          Bess rubbed the sleep out of her eyes. “Would rather eat here,” she said. Didn’t Mother know how difficult it was to walk that far? Megan, her cousin and best friend, had always dropped in before school, so they could have breakfast together. Megan had lived in the apartment across the hall. Bess had stayed at Megan’s last weekend, while Mother and Uncle Joe moved the furniture. Megan beat her at snakes and ladders and checkers several times. The fun-filled weekend ended too soon, and her new life suddenly began. She and her mother had left the city early Monday morning and arrived at their Pineview home late last night.

          It wasn’t fair that Mother had wanted to move. The doctors had told Mother that Bess needed fresh air and light exercise and not to lie around the apartment all day.

          “Get up and get dressed,” Mother said firmly. “There will be all kinds of fun things to do this summer. Would you like to decorate your room?”

          “What’s the point? There isn’t anything to do without Megan,” Bess grumbled, rubbing the sleep from her eyes.

          “There is a path near the patio door that leads into a sheltered garden. See you there shortly,” Mother answered.

Chapter 2

          Bess reluctantly got out of bed. After tucking her crutch under her arm, she hobbled across the room to look at the clothes that Mother had laid out. Why did Mother want her to dress up? Weren’t her everyday clothes good enough? As Bess tried to decide whether to wear the skirt or a pair of slacks, her thoughts drifted to that day six months ago when they’d received the news about the car crash that took Father away forever. Bess had waited at the hospital with Mother, because she had been released the same afternoon to continue therapy as an out-patient. She and her mother had received the news that someone had sped through a green light and rammed into the driver’s side of the car, killing Father instantly.

          Bess proceeded down the hallway to the patio door and hobbled down the path. She stopped and looked around in amazement. For a brief second, she thought that she saw an archway covered with orange flowers that lead into a colourful garden…. but it was gone in an instant. Instead, an arch covered in tangled vines with a broken gate swung on its hinges. The space was overgrown with weeds and surrounded by a crumbling stone wall. A tangle of weeds almost hid the stepping stones.

          She proceeded to the stone bench in the middle of the yard. Not until Mother arranged a tray with an assortment of muffins and fruit did Bess realise how hungry she was.

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M. E. Hembroff

I was creative and shy as a child. I spent a lot of time outside either playing by myself or with my younger sister. There was an embankment on the south side of the house with a path that led down into my mother’s sunken flower bed that was sheltered on three sides by caragana and lilac bushes. It was fun skipping around among the flowers and it was a great place to let the imagination run wild. The clay was great for making small dishes and utensils. I made a lot of them and dried them in the sun. There was a couple of places among the trees where tables and chairs and swings were set up. We would often play house or pretend it was a store. Our snacks came fresh out of the large vegetable garden on the other side of the caragana hedge. The leaves off the lilac bushes became money. I was impulsive and some of my ideas got me in trouble. A few years later I drew a picture of the Flying Purple People Eater from the hit song.  I was always making up stories in my head but never wrote any of them down. It was easy to become someone totally different whenever I wanted.

I grew up on a farm in southwestern Manitoba, Canada before there was TV and our entertainment was usually listening to the radio, reading, listening to Father play the fiddle and doing crafts. I was the fourth in a family of five and imaginative and impulsive. We went to a red-brick one room schoolhouse three miles from home. Most of the grades consisted of three or four students taught by one teacher.

Many years later when I had young children I started to take courses and put my ideas onto paper. While the children grew up I took art and writing courses. My stories disappointed me so I concentrated on my art for a long time. When I turned sixty five I started to write in earnest and developed stories that I was starting to feel proud of. That was when the idea for Bess’s Magical Garden came and Bess was born. At that time I took an online course to get me started and after four years finally had a completed manuscript. It is my belief that one is never too old to learn a new skill.

Social Media Links:
https://facebook.com/mehembroff
https://twitter.com/margiesart1

My book can be purchased at the following:
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https://www.amazon.com/author/mehembroff
https://www.friesenpress/bookstore

End of the Line by @barbtaub #ExcerptWeek #wwwblogs #SciFi #UrbanFantasy

Note from Barb:

Thank you so much Marcia for all you do to promote other writers, and for allowing me to participate in Excerpt Week.  The following excerpt is from End of the Line, the final book in my Null City series. 


You have to understand that everyone in Null City is a normal human. Most of them just didn't start out that way. Imagine you're some superhero with special gifts or abilities that are, frankly, damn awkward. Let's say, for example, that you are the Man of Steel, but you don't dare have sex with the Plucky Girl Reporter because your LittleMan of Steel would probably split her in two. (And we're not even going to discuss the havoc your Swimmers of Steel could wreck on Woman of Pasta…) The point is that when you think about it, most people with special powers would be lining up to get rid of them and get their normal lives back. That's where Null City comes in. After one day there, those with extra gifts turn into their closest human counterparts. Dragons, for example, might become realtors. Or imps become baristas. (Of course, those imps are now ex-PhD candidates in literature or classics who claim to be experts on third-world coffee blends and obscure world music groups. But hey — there is only so close to human that hellspawn can get…)

End of the Line

by Barb Taub

You have to understand that everyone in Null City is a normal human. Most of them just didn’t start out that way. Imagine you’re some superhero with special gifts or abilities that are, frankly, damn awkward. Let’s say, for example, that you are the Man of Steel, but you don’t dare have sex with the Plucky Girl Reporter because your LittleMan of Steel would probably split her in two. (And we’re not even going to discuss the havoc your Swimmers of Steel could wreck on Woman of Pasta…)

The point is that when you think about it, most people with special powers would be lining up to get rid of them and get their normal lives back. That’s where Null City comes in. After one day there, those with extra gifts turn into their closest human counterparts. Dragons, for example, might become realtors. Or imps become baristas. (Of course, those imps are now ex-PhD candidates in literature or classics who claim to be experts on third-world coffee blends and obscure world music groups. But hey — there is only so close to human that hellspawn can get…)

POPPY: Null City, 2016

I paused on the landing of the grand stairway leading down to the main waiting room and on to the platform of the Metro Station. Above me the pearly light of a typical Null City afternoon streamed through the green and gold stained glass arched ceiling and huge matching rose windows at either end.

Just below the window, a tiled mosaic spelled out Ø CITY above a painted banner bearing a quote from Sir Isaac Newton: If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”.  Visitors are usually impressed, at least until someone shares the Null City version that it was painted by an artistic imp standing on an actual giant who was waiting for his one-day window to pass until he became a normal human.

Dark old polished wood benches from the waiting room—the round ones whose central lamp posts now bloomed with tissue flowers and white ribbons, and the long benches with elegantly curved backs—were filled with guests, both from Null City and those who had poured in on the special Metro run.

Null City residents know that the needles on any compass here point to the Metro Station as our own version of true north. But as far as I know, only the Anchor feels that pull. I closed my eyes, and opened my connection to the City. It wasn’t words, not exactly. But…images of feelings, like holding the most effervescent of champagne to my nose…dry and tingling and full of delicious, intoxicating promise.

I smiled at the tickle as the fizz of the connection spread over my skin and I passed my own feelings back along the connection. I know you’re pleased. This wedding is just the right thing, in the right place, with the right people.

Opening my eyes, I started down to the landing halfway up the stairs, where my brother Zach and Claire’s husband Peter flanked a visibly nervous Iax Zahavi. Until this moment, I’d have said that nothing would ever frighten Iax. Except for my cousin Carey, he was quite possibly the scariest person I’d ever met in my life. And that was the problem. Carey had been stalling on this wedding thing for the past three years. Claire told me that just this morning Carey had still been threatening to show up in her bike leathers in case she decided to make a quick getaway.

It probably wouldn’t be nice (and maybe not particularly safe) to laugh at Iax, or listen to Peter wind him up with remarks speculating on whether Carey would actually show up or not. I tried to catch Zach’s eye to share a snigger, but he was staring warily at the assembled guests.

Following the line of his gaze, I saw Leigh Ann giving him a dazzling smile. She’d changed from her Executive Barbie suit into something that involved a floaty hem (pink of course) and a huge hat that must have been the last word in designer wedding guest attire back in her fancy Seattle suburb.

Since most of the other guests came from Null City and Seattle, their usual fashion choices tended to run more to Birkenstocks and denim, with a sprinkling of Accords Wardens looking uncomfortable in their dress uniforms. If a Null City occasion demanded more formal attire from residents, it was likely to be tie-dyed, right down to the socks (still worn with the Birkies, of course).

Despite the fact that wedding guests included imps who looked like teddy bears (if teddies came four-feet tall with red scaly skin and attitudes), fallen angels, Null City natives whose Amnesty Day would see them turn back into everything from witches to dragons, and one long bench full of what I knew were were-badgers, I was pretty sure that Leigh Ann stood out like a lone zebra in a herd of deer.

The doors of Lattes Inferno coffeeshop opened, and two women stepped out. Claire’s knee-length rose dress looked suspiciously like one of the bridesmaid dresses from her own wedding a few years earlier. Beside her was a teenager in an equally familiar rose-colored dress whose sleeveless halter and low cut back revealed the swirling tattoos covering her shoulders and arms.  Nervously pushing at her rainbow-colored dreds with the hand not holding her bouquet, Feyala looked above my head where massive antique brass hands turned the stained glass window into a gigantic clock.

I couldn’t blame her. Despite her delicate appearance, Fey was a troll, her immense strength and her very existence tied to her Seattle bridge. If she overstayed her twenty-four hours in Null City and became human, her bridge would die, triggering her own death. But she and Carey had been friends for years, and I knew she’d never miss this wedding. Claire patted her shoulder encouragingly, and Feyala started walking up the aisle marked by tissue flowers and ribbons on the ends of the benches.

Claire turned around and frowned into the doorway. Carey stumbled out as if shoved, followed by her brother Connor, hands extended. He put one arm around his twin and I saw her visibly relax. His gift would normally allow him to share feelings of joy and calm, but that wouldn’t work in Null City, of course. So as their erstwhile guardian Harry Daniels—former rock star and even more former angel—launched into to Jason Mraz’s I Won’t Give Up On Us, Carey’s grin was all for Iax’s face when he saw her.

With a little shrug, she peeled off the leather jacket—one so large it could only belong to Iax—to reveal the short beaded ivory sheath dress that had shown up a few weeks ago with a note.

“I might be a fallen angel, but you’ll look like the real thing in this. All my love, Harry”

A pair of lace-covered white boots completed the retro mod bride look. Nobody who knew Carey doubted for a second that each boot also contained a knife. Nor would too many people have trouble figuring out the words she was currently and obviously hissing to Claire. “Let’s get this over with already.”

Ignoring both Feyala—who was almost at the steps already—and the seething bride at her heels, Claire fell deliberately into step with the music and slowly moved up the white aisle runner leading between the benches to the stairway where I was waiting with Iax.

And that’s when I felt it. It was no more than the faintest whisper, a tiny ripple in the City’s satisfaction. I tried to probe it, but there was nothing else. I shrugged it off, reminding myself that the City wasn’t alive in an organic sense, and that its alien awareness didn’t always see things the way I did.

I pushed back the sleeves of the long-sleeved black sheath dress that I wore for official occasions—Zach called it my anchoroos—and looked out at the crowd. “Welcome family and friends to the wedding of Carey Parker and Iax Zahavi. Traditionally, I would start with a blessing that recounts the history of our City followed by prayers, some poetry, and advice for the bridal couple.” I lifted the thick sheaf of papers I held and watched Carey’s jaw drop in horror. Iax firmed his grasp on her arm but shook his head at me.

I wasn’t sure how long I could hold onto my officiously pious expression. “But that would be pointless in this crowd. So I’ll just say what an honor and a privilege it is to welcome two people who were born in Null City. You’ve both lost family and friends to its defense, dedicated your lives to its preservation, and earned our gratitude.”

I leaned in to kiss Carey’s cheek and breathed, “Gotcha.” Still grinning, I set the papers onto the step beside me. Finally! Revenge for all those Beer Tuesday morning-afters. Straightening, I stumbled as another, stronger, ripple of wrongness from the City hit me. Something’s coming. Finish this now.

Carey’s eyes narrowed as she grabbed my arm, but her words were barely audible. “What is it? Are you okay?”

I nodded and whispered back. “The City says something’s wrong. We need to hurry.”

I let my voice ring out. “Do you, Iax Zahavi, take Carey Parker to be your wife, to love and honor her all of your days?”

For the first time since I’d met him, the big man looked shaken, his answer low and raw. “I do.”

“Do you, Carey Parker…”

“I do,” she interrupted, “Move it.”

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Claire’s eyes narrow.

“Rings,” I ordered. As the couple exchanged rings, the strongest wave yet hit me and I nearly went to my knees. Somehow, my voice stayed strong and calm. “Right now, I want everyone out of the station. This is an emergency. Don’t run, but make sure you leave by the nearest exit. Oh, and by the authority vested in me as Null City Anchor, I pronounce you man and wife. Kiss later.”

If you’re ever facing an emergency threatening almost everyone you care about, I recommend you have an audience that includes Claire Danielson and her Accords team. I want to tell you they had the place organized and people pouring toward the doors almost immediately. I just wish it had been fast enough.

The window above me exploded outward in a spray of green and gold shards, the two huge clock hands plunging down like spears hurled by an enraged titan.


While I’m finishing up End of the Line, why not check out the special pricing on Null City series?

ROUND TRIP FARE by Barb Taub

Warden Carey Parker’s to-do list is already long enough: find her brother and sister, rescue her roommate, save Null City, and castrate her ex-boyfriend. Preferably with a dull-edged garden tool. A rusty one.

Carey knows superpowers suck, her own included. From childhood she’s only had two options. She can take the Metro train to Null City and a normal life. After one day there, imps become baristas, and hellhounds become poodles. Demons settle down, join the PTA, and worry about their taxes. Or she can master the powers of her warrior gift and fight a war she can’t win, in a world where she never learned how to lose.

And then there is… him. For the past two months, a dark stranger has persistently edged his way onto the mental game board behind her eyelids. Well, whatever trouble he’s selling, Carey Parker is not buying.

She just has a few details to work out first. Her parents have been killed, her brother and sister targeted, and the newest leader of the angels trying to destroy Null City might be the one person she loves most in the world. And her sexy new partner’s gift lets him predict deaths. Hers.

It just would have been nice if someone told her the angels were all on the other side.

Genre:

Urban Fantasy (with romance, humor, a sentient train, and a great dog)

Contact/Buy Links:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo

Facebook | Blog | Twitter: @barbtaub

#ExcerptWeek ~ANXIETY ATTACK, A Kate Huntington Mystery (#9) by Kassandra Lamb

Hi, Everyone!

Here’s a sneak peek at the first chapter of my next Kate Huntington adventure…

The police radio chattered with unintelligible codes. Kate shoved a dark curl out of her eyes and stifled a yawn.

The uniformed officer in the driver’s seat glanced her way. A corner of his mouth quirked up. “Don’t know who said it first, but it’s true. Police work is mostly boredom, punctuated by moments of sheer terror.”

She flashed him a smile. “Sorry. It’s been a long day.”

What have I gotten myself into?

“All available units,” the radio squawked. “Shots fired. Armstrong building.”

The officer sat up straighter.

Kate couldn’t make out the address the dispatcher rattled off. All she caught was “…third floor.”

Armstrong building. Why does that sound familiar?

“Unit 12 responding.” Officer Peters hit the siren and lights. The cruiser surged forward.

Kate’s heart went into overdrive.

At nine o’clock on a rainy Sunday evening, the business district of Towson was relatively quiet. The few cars on the roads quickly got out of the way. Kate suspected it wasn’t nearly as easy to get to a crime scene during a weekday, when these streets would be teeming with cars and pedestrians and delivery trucks.

Her heart rate kicked up another notch as they careened around a corner onto York Road. “Remember to call me once you have the scene secured,” she yelled over the wail of the siren.

Officer Peters nodded slightly without taking his eyes off the slick road in front of him.
He pulled into the parking lot of a high-rise office building. Braking to an abrupt stop, he killed the siren and unhooked his seatbelt. The actions seemed to happen all at once.

Kate was impressed.

“Stay in the car until I call,” he said.

The order was unnecessary. She had no desire to end up in the middle of a gunfight.

He was out of the car and running toward the building, one hand on his holster, the other keying the radio on his shoulder. No, doubt checking on backup, Kate thought.

She transferred her phone to her left hand and made a note on the pad in her lap. Going into an on-going crime scene by oneself would definitely heighten the stress level of the officer.

She’d no sooner finished the note than two other cruisers screamed into the lot. Their sirens ceased with a dying screech, and two officers–one female, one male–bolted from their cars.

Peters had reached the front of the building. He grabbed the handle of one of the big glass doors and pulled it open.

Kate thought that odd. Wouldn’t an office building be locked up tight at night?

The other officers were hard on young Peters’s heels as he bolted into the building.

Kate scratched out the note she’d just made.

Temporarily, her moments of sheer terror were over. She sat in the cruiser, its motor humming, blue lights reflecting off the wet pavement in front of it.

Minutes ticked by.

Mist swirled around the car, adding to the eeriness of the night. The yellowish glow of the streetlights surrounding the parking lot created mini rainbows.

Butterflies danced in Kate’s stomach. What was going on in there? Her phone chirped in her hand. She jumped.

“Hello?”

“We have a gunshot victim up here. Ambulance is on the way. Come inside and hold the elevator on the ground floor for the EMTs.”

“Sure, okay.” She fumbled with her seatbelt release, got out of the car. More sirens in the distance, a different pattern to the sound. The ambulance.

She jogged to the building and entered the lobby. Stopping for a few seconds for her eyes to adjust to the dim light, she willed her heart to slow its pounding. It didn’t listen.

She located the elevator in the shadows of the lobby and punched the up button. The up-and-down wail of the ambulance’s siren was growing louder.

A ding and the doors opened, the light inside the elevator blinding. She stepped in and squinted to find the open-door button.

Her finger was numb from keeping it on the button by the time the EMTs were maneuvering their gurney and equipment into the cramped space.

“Okay,” one of them said.

A frisson of panic ran through her. What floor?

The older of the EMTs reached past her and punched the button for three.

“Sorry,” she mumbled. “I couldn’t remember.”

“Ride along?” the EMT asked.

“Yeah.” She considered explaining further but suddenly felt exhausted.

The elevator dinged and the doors slid open. The EMTs hustled across a carpeted space to double glass doors.

A security guard held one of the doors open for them. Kate grabbed the other one and shoved.

The EMTs hurried past her. The guard gestured toward a lighted hallway off of the oversized reception area.

Kate started to follow them, her heart in her throat. She’d seen more than her share of the aftermath of crime, but she wasn’t sure she was up for this tonight.

The guard held up a hand to stop her.

“I’m with Officer Peters,” she said. “Doing a ride-along for the governor’s task force on PTSD in police officers. I need to observe the officers in action.”

“Sorry, ma’am. This is a restricted area.”

“But I need to observe the officers in action. I won’t do anything to contaminate the crime scene.”

“That’s not my worry, ma’am. We have top secret projects here.”

Movement in the corner of her eye. She turned her head.

A stocky man of medium height was pushing through the glass doors. He wore a business suit but carried himself like a police officer. Pulling back his suit jacket to expose a gold badge attached to his belt, he said, “Detective Russell.”

The detective looked from the guard to Kate and back again. “What’s going on?” He glanced past her to the lit hallway. It was one of many, like spokes in a semi-circle off the reception area, but it was the only one that was well lit.

Kate spoke up before the guard could answer. “I’m with Officer Peters. I need to be at the crime scene.”

Detective Russell raised an eyebrow. “You a witness?”

“Yes.” It wasn’t a total lie. She’d witnessed the call.

He grabbed her elbow. “Come with me.”

The guard seemed to hesitate, then stepped aside.

They walked briskly down the hallway. Rounding a corner, they entered a long room, the source of the light. Its walls were flanked by metal workbenches, with computer monitors scattered along them, all dark.

Officer Peters stood at parade rest about halfway down the room. He held a small book in his hands.

The detective let go of her arm and again flipped his jacket aside to show his badge. “Russell.”

Peters wrote in the book, checked his watch. Wrote the time.

“What’s the deal?” Russell said.

The officer started filling him in.

Kate stepped to one side to see past him, then froze. Her heart skittered around in her chest. She blinked and looked again at the man lying on the floor, the EMTs working with quick, efficient movements to stop the blood spurting from his chest.

A scream erupted unbidden from her throat.

Officer Peters pivoted toward her. “Mrs. Huntington, please. Go out in the hall.”

His words barely registered in her brain, which was still trying to compute what her eyes were seeing. “My God, Manny!” Her hands flew to her mouth to stifle another scream.

“You know him?” Detective Russell said.

She nodded, willing herself not to faint. “Y-yes,” she stuttered. “He’s M-manny. Manuel Ortiz. He works for my husband.”

~~~~~~~~

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Multiple Motives, Book #1 in the series, FREE on Amazon, Apple, Kobo and Nook.

Kassandra Lamb is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She is the author of the Kate Huntington psychological suspense series, set in her native Maryland, and a new series, the Marcia Banks and Buddy cozy mysteries, set in Central Florida.

Working your Blog Tour

Once again, another very helpful and informative post from Story Empire. Ever wanted to schedule a blog tour, but had no clue where to begin or what to expect? Coldhandboyack’s post will help!

Story Empire

Craig here again. Today I want to talk about taking your book out on a blog tour. This is a great way to expose your product to new readers.

Blog tours come in many formats, and I’ve done several kinds. These include a cover and excerpt, cover and blurb, and we might as well include email blasts in this list too. Today, I’m going to focus on the “friends and family” plan. I promoted a book priced at 99¢. With a 35¢ royalty, how many copies would I have to move to pay for a $75 blog tour? Friends welcome you to their blog without having to pay. Be willing to host them when the time comes.

I recently finished a tour involving my friends hosting me at their blogs. It was simple enough to set up. I posted a request for hosts to help me out. I wound up…

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#ExcerptWeek – THE PRINCE’S SON by Deborah Jay #EpicFantasy

For excerpt week, I’ve decided to share a final sneak peek at book #2 in The Five Kingdoms series before I release it early November – yay!

And here, for the first time anywhere, is the beautiful cover…

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Here’s the blurb:

Nessa Haddo has been raised to seek what every well-bred young lady desires: a suitable husband. Unfortunately, as a younger twin in a land where superstition deems her cursed, that dream seems unattainable. When she sets her sights on the handsome foreign envoy sent to escort her sister to an arranged marriage, Nessa’s romantic fantasies entangle her in events beyond her darkest nightmares.

Compared to his last escapade, ex-spy Rustam Chalice’s commission sounds simple: wrangle an unwieldy bridal caravan across a mountain range populated by bandits, trolls, werecats and worse, try to cajole a traumatized princess out of her self-imposed isolation, and arrive on time for the politically sensitive wedding.

Meanwhile, Rustam’s former covert partner, Lady Risada, finally has what she needs, though not what – or who – she wants. Struggling to adjust to life outside the game, all her carefully honed assassin’s instincts are screaming warnings of foul play, yet she can find nothing obviously amiss.

And deep in the halls of a mountain clan, an old enemy plucks his victim’s strings with expert malice.

Now for the excerpt:

(To put this into context, Risada is heavily pregnant at the time of this incident. Oh, and it’s UK spelling.)

Small tapping sounds drew Risada’s attention back to the stairwell. About two thirds of the way up, the crouched figure was driving something into the wall. Without fully straightening, he moved across to the spindle opposite and wrapped something around it before tugging it taught.

“You promised no one would get hurt!” Bel protested. “If they trip over that they might break their necks!”

“That, my sweet Bel, is the idea.”

Risada’s maid took a step back, and although she faced away from the corner where her employer hid, her horrified comprehension radiated from her stiffened back all the way down to her shaking knees.

“And now, dear Bel, it’s time for your reward.”

Bel turned and fled, straight towards the entrance beside Risada’s hiding place. Risada caught the glint of steel in the assassin’s hand and barely stopping to think, thrust out a foot and tripped the running girl. A hefty dagger whistled through the space where Bel’s torso had been a moment before. Bel squealed and scrabbled along the ground, stumbling to her feet as she vanished around the corner.

Risada peeked around the shoulder of the statue shielding her, and her eyes met those of the man on the stair. He shrugged. “Oh well, this wasn’t how it was supposed to happen, but I suppose it will do as well.”

Lowering her estimation of her opponent’s professionalism for wasting time on speech, Risada slipped her small dagger from its concealed sheath beneath her breast, and assessed the situation. Screaming for help would do nothing. As Bel had stated earlier, the guards were all outside at this time of night, and the bedrooms were towards the back of the house, so too far away for anyone to hear. Bel had vanished, but whether she would raise the alarm was doubtful; she would probably think only of herself. Risada’s sole weapon was her small dagger, and she was hardly in peak physical shape for this sort of work.

On the other hand, as she watched the cocky son-of-a-whore swaggering down the staircase towards her, she realised she still possessed an element of surprise. He clearly had no idea she, like him, was a trained assassin.

“Please,” she added a small quaver to her entreaty. “You don’t have to do this.”

“Oh, but I do. My employer would be so put out with me if I didn’t tidy up after myself, and although it would have been neater if you’d just tripped the way you were meant to, at least now I don’t have to leave the outcome to chance. And with any fortune your husband will find my wire instead; that way I get both of you at once.”

The over-long speech was clearly designed to intimidate Risada into staying put while his long strides ate up the tiled floor space between them, and Risada obliged. She had the best cover she could, given the circumstances, and was also between the villain and the large dagger he’d thrown at Bel. Risada was under no illusion that would be his only weapon, but it was probably his favourite.

Keeping the hand clutching her own dagger hidden behind the stone figure, she allowed her eyes to widen, imitating fear. “We can pay you. Twice what your employer offered. Three times!”

The spy shook his head. “This isn’t about money; it’s about honour and revenge. You—”

Mid-sentence, he lunged. Anticipating the tactic, Risada’s reactions carried her around the statue and out of range of the stiletto that spiked the air where she’d stood.

Still not realising his mistake, her adversary wagged his head and tutted. “If you hold still, I’ll make it quick.” He slithered a foot smoothly in her direction, shifting his weight with such subtlety his movements were almost imperceptible. “I—”

Making the fatal error of repeating his pattern, Risada sidestepped his lunge with ease, despite her compromised balance. In fact, in the thrill of the moment, she barely noticed her cumbersome bulk, her muscles reacting with the smooth skill of years of training, adjusting her posture as though she simply stood on uneven ground.

Her erstwhile foe crashed to one knee before keeling over to slide down the front of the stone statue, leaving a gory trail in his wake. His fingers fumbled with the tiny jewelled hilt sticking out of his ribcage, the blade sheathed with precision between the fourth and fifth rib with its tip penetrating his heart. He had the good grace to laugh, tiny red flecks bubbling at the corners of his mouth. “Always knew over-confidence would get me in the end. Who would have thought you, of all people, would be a player? He coughed, scarlet spittle staining his skin. “Goddess, you’re fast enough to be Dart. But you can’t…”

A dawning look of comprehension crossed his face even as his eyes began to glaze.

Risada said nothing to confirm his guess; she didn’t need to.

Author Bio

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Deborah Jay writes fast-paced fantasy adventures featuring quirky characters and multi-layered plots – just what she likes to read.

Living mostly on the UK South coast, she has already invested in her ultimate retirement plan – a farmhouse in the majestic, mystery-filled Scottish Highlands where she retreats to write when she can find time. Her taste for the good things in life is kept in check by the expense of keeping too many dressage horses, and her complete inability to cook.

Her debut novel, epic fantasy THE PRINCE’S MAN, first in a trilogy and winner of a UK Arts Board award, has featured consistently in the Amazon UK Top 100 Epic Fantasy books since publication.

She has also published the urban fantasy novel DESPRITE MEASURES and the short story SPRITE NIGHT, both in the CALEDONIAN SPRITE series, and a multi-author SFF anthology which features her SF story, PERFECT FIT.

She has non-fiction equestrian titles published under her professional name of Debby Lush.

Author links:

Blog          Twitter         Facebook           Pinterest           Goodreads           Amazon author page

Find the books here:

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THE PRINCE’S MAN (Five Kingdoms book #1)

Amazon       B&N         iTunes      Kobo       Scribd

 

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DESPRITE MEASURES (Caledonian Sprite #1)

Amazon

 

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SPRITE NIGHT (Caledonian Sprite #1.5)

Amazon

 

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THE WORLD AND THE STARS (SFF multi author anthology)

Amazon US      Amazon UK      B&N       iTunes        Kobo        Scribd

 

#ExcerptWeek – Austin Crawley @AustinOCrawley

 

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Today’s excerpt is from horror writer,  Austin Crawley. Austin, welcome to The Write Stuff. We’re ready to be scared, so take it away!

~~~

Snippets from Letters To The Damned  

From Chapter One:

Cris drifted between waking and sleeping, his dream images of his wife, Shannon, already lost in half remembered impressions and the haze of another dream world involving a strange, English village, like the ones on Shannon’s favorite calendar. The foreign imagery faded and Cris felt consciousness begin to win the struggle. He rolled over to the edge of his comfortable double bed to reach towards the floor where he had heard scuffling noises. He expected to feel his fingers stroking the soft fur of his little tortoiseshell cat, Mocha, but instead a strange hand clasped his own in an iron grip.

He instinctively pulled back, but the hand wouldn’t let go. Cris tried to force open his eyes, to reach full consciousness, but his eyelids would not respond. He heard his own sharp, gasping breaths in the darkness. His mind tried to make sense of the thought that a hand had come from the floor, perhaps someone under the bed? Cris struggled with rising terror and a feeling of vulnerability when his body failed to respond to his conscious commands to open his eyes. He wanted to scream, but his voice would not respond.

Chapter Three:

“A freshly disturbed soul might not be amenable to performing supernatural tasks.” The dowdy teashop owner with a lazy, northern English accent looked at Cris as if he had used the wrong spoon to stir his Earl Grey tea.

Suddenly he regretted having told her about his wife’s accident. Cris hadn’t come to England to try to raise the dead, after all. He had only wanted to get away for a while, to forget the bustle of Los Angeles and spend a few days somewhere quiet where he might collect his thoughts. He watched the unpretentious swishing of the teashop owner’s faded flowered dress as she walked back behind the counter to make his sandwich and reflected on how the conversation had turned suddenly to the thoughts he had refused to voice to himself.

Later:

He glanced up at the picture over the desk, the ship out in a stormy sea, and he wondered why someone would paint a ship in such difficult circumstances when they might have shown it at full sail on a pleasant day. If they had wanted to capture the wildness of the sea during a storm, they could have painted a stormy seascape with waves crashing onto a rocky coast.

Cris’ gaze wandered over the picture and he began to feel a sense of swaying, which he dismissed as an effect of the movement of his eyes from an odd angle to the painting. He began to appreciate the realism of the artist and could almost feel the salt spray as waves crashed over the side of the ship. He could hear men shouting orders and feel the burn of a rope held tightly by a man balanced precariously on the main mast yardarm.

The swell of the next wave tipped the boat to a forty-five degree angle and he felt his feet slipping from the yardarm, the rope tearing skin in bloody patches on the palms of his hands, then falling, falling…

~~~

aocrawley
Austin Crawley . . . I Think?

Austin Crawley is a civil engineer who has written stories for more than ten years, usually involving ghosts, demons or spirits in some form. He has a Christmas book in publication called A Christmas Tale, based on the ghosts from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and currently has a Horror story on special price pre-order for October 1st release, Letters To The Damned.

He lives with his wife and three children, as well as a menagerie of outlandish creatures generally referred to as ‘pets’.

Buy Austin’s Book Here:  Letters to the Damned

Find Austin on Social Media Here:
Blog: https://austincrawleyblog.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Austin-Crawley-687952104674224
Twitter: https://twitter.com/austinocrawley
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14211612.Austin_Crawley

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