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Special Guest Post by L.J.K. Oliva, Author of A WORLD APART

Author L.J.K. Oliva has a real treat in store for us today! Check out her guest post and be sure to read to the end for a code which enables a FREE download of Ptolemy’s Tablet!!! Then stay for the preview of A WORLD APART, Book 1, Shades Below series.

A World Apart Banner 851 x 315

GUEST BLOG by L.J.K. Oliva

You know how some characters just get in your head and set up camp?

While I was writing my new urban fantasy novel, A World Apart (Shades Below, #1), two characters I hadn’t paid much notice to suddenly starting demanding attention.  They wouldn’t leave me alone until I finally agreed to tell their story, too.

That’s how the idea for my Shades Below Shorts was born.  Meet Rev. Emil Stone and his Peer, Misha “Puzzle” Kaslov.  Emil and Puzzle are supporting characters in the Shades Below series, but there’s so much more to them than what you’ll read in the books.

The Shades Below Shorts are M/M companion novellas to the Shades Below novels.  Below is an excerpt from the first piece, Ptolemy’s Tablet.

Allow me to introduce the guys…

A companion story to Shades Below, Book One: A World Apart

EXCERPT:Ptolemy

“You’re leaving?  Already?”

Reverend Emil Stone clapped his fedora back onto his head and aimed a fond look down at the petite woman in front of him.  The sad tone in her voice tugged at him.  Lena Alan was high on the increasingly short list of people who genuinely enjoyed his company.  He’d let most of his earthly attachments fall away long ago; yet another cost of his chosen career.

He’d almost convinced himself he didn’t miss them.

There was a knot in his throat when he clasped her in a hug.  “I’m afraid so.  This is the first real lead we’ve had so far, and it gives me an idea.  It might be nothing, but Puzzle and I need to check it out.  You never know.”

Lena held him at arms’ length.  Her vivid blue eyes bored into his.  “You promise you’ll keep me posted.”

As if the tone of her voice left him another option.  Emil grinned and dusted a kiss over her cheek.  “You know I will.”

Beside him, his partner cleared his throat and stepped out onto the porch.  Emil pretended he hadn’t heard.  Down time always set Misha Kaslov on edge.  Jesus, the man could be exhausting.  But then, Peers weren’t exactly known for their patience.

Emil rolled his eyes and turned to the man hovering behind Lena in classic older-brother fashion.  “Cyrus.” He gripped the man’s hand.  “Look after things.”

The newest addition to their motley group stood behind them, one hand behind his back, the other wrapped around the curved head of his cane.  Detective MacMillian.  Emil studied him.  Even though they’d just met, the man struck him as above average for a human.

And he was a baro, whatever that meant.

The detective met his gaze, eyes sharp.  Emil resisted the urge to squirm.  Then he bit back a laugh.  When was the last time a mundane had set him on his toes?  Perhaps Jesper MacMillian wasn’t such an odd fit in their world, after all.

Maybe, just maybe, he would survive.

He stepped forward and extended his hand.  It was a calculated risk.  MacMillian’s eyebrows went up.  He hesitated, finally grasped it in a brief but firm shake.

Emil nodded and stepped back.  “Again, thank you.  Jimmy would have spoken to us eventually, but I don’t mind saying the idea of applying more pressure was… unattractive.”

MacMillian’s jaw ticked.  “To both of us, believe me.”

Emil inclined his chin.  Torture was a nasty, messy business, even if the unfortunate mark already happened to be dead.  He turned on his heel and strode to where Misha stood waiting.  He paused, and looked back over his shoulder.  “Watch after each other.  All of you.”

Misha shifted back and forth, itching to go.  Emil finally followed him down to the sidewalk, didn’t turn when the door of The Wayfare Hotel clicked shut.

He scarcely noticed their surroundings as they walked.  Over the last decade, the mundane realm had become incidental, almost inconvenient.  Had he really lived in it for so long?  Really expended energy learning to drive, tracking down the best restaurants, stressing over gas prices?  Looking back, it all seemed so pointless.

Now he had bigger things to worry about.

“So.  Any ideas?”

Emil jerked out of his thoughts to find Misha looking at him.  “Sorry.  What?”

Misha’s lips twitched.  “Ideas.  You know.  About what’s going on around here.”

“Right.  Of course.” Emil hesitated.  Something was nagging at him.  He couldn’t quite pinpoint what it was.  Hell, it was scarcely anything at all, just a small prickle at the outermost edges of his mind.

Misha was still looking at him.  The feel of the man’s eyes made something quicken in his belly.  Emil took a deep breath.  “What if it’s not just one thing?”

Misha’s eyebrows drew together.  “What do you mean?”

Emil blew the breath back out.  “I don’t… hell, I’m not sure.  Haven’t things felt off to you lately?  I mean, more than usual?”

The crease in Misha’s forehead deepened.  “Off…?”

“Yeah, you know.  Off.  Remember Basque, a few weeks ago?  And Marrakech, last August?  I’m telling you, something’s not right.”

“Marrakech is never right in August,” Misha muttered.  He fell silent.  Finally, he nodded slowly.  “Let’s say you’re right.  One problem at a time.  Your Wayfare Hotel.  What do you make of their newest guest?”

“I’m not sure.  That detective may have gotten him to talk, but that doesn’t mean he was telling us the truth.”  Emil stopped walking.

Misha stopped too.  “You told the Alans you had an idea.”

Emil hesitated.  “I do.  Well, sort of.”

“Sort of?”

Emil shifted.  “It’s thin, but I think it merits running down, just in case.  How’s your Masri?”

“Terrible.” Misha arched an eyebrow.  “But yours isn’t.”

Emil allowed himself a tiny smile, and started walking again.  “Ha’ee’i.”

♦♦◊◊♦♦◊◊♦♦◊◊♦♦◊◊♦♦

All the Shades Below Shorts will be offered free to my newsletter subscribers, but as a thank-you for stopping by (and in a shameless bid to get you as obsessed with my new series as I am), simply punch in this code and get your free copy of Ptolemy’s Tablet: EY88Z

Extras!

Emil/ Puzzle Pinterest Board

Emil/Puzzle Spotify Playlist

About the Author:

LJKL.J.K Oliva is the devil-may-care alter-ego of noir romance novelist Laura Oliva.  She likes her whiskey strong, her chocolate dark, and her steak bloody.  L.J.K. likes monsters… and knows the darkest ones don’t live in closets.

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A World Apart

Shades Below

Book One

L.J.K Oliva

WorldApartGenre: Urban fantasy

 Book Description: 

“There are things that go bump in the night, Mr. MacMillian.  It’s my job to bump back.”

Private investigator Jesper MacMillian was sure he’d seen it all.  After all, in a city like San Francisco, strange is what’s for breakfast.  Following a long  recovery after a horrific accident, his life is finally the way he wants it- or at least, close enough.  The only monsters on his radar are the ones that keep him awake at night.

All that changes the day he meets Lena Alan.

Before MacMillian has a chance to brace for impact, Lena drags him into a world where monsters aren’t just real, they’re hiding in plain sight.  Suddenly, everything he knows is suspect, starting with his current case.  For Lena, a medium since childhood, it’s just another day at the office.

For MacMillian, it’s the beginning of the end of everything he thinks he knows.

Available at Amazon

 Excerpt:

The elevator came to a stop.  The doors started to open.  MacMillian backed away and shook his head.  “Do me a favor.  Leave now.  Don’t come here again.”

He stepped into the hallway, then froze.  Clustered outside the door to the office was a horde of people, the widest slice of humanity he’d ever seen crammed into one place.  There were cowboys, businessmen, soldiers.  Native Americans, what looked to be early Chinese, and more than a few women resembling the one from the side street.

The woman stepped out of the elevator behind him.  She hissed.  “Jesus.  Is it always like this here?”

MacMillian stared down at her.  “What are you- you can see them?”

She rolled her eyes.  “Well, obviously.  I’m a medium, remember?” She started down the hallway, paused, and glanced over her shoulder.  “Are you coming?”

MacMillian hung back.  She shrugged.  “Suit yourself.”

She walked up to the edge of the crowd and cleared her throat.  “Okay, someone want to tell me what you’re all doing here?”

Multiple heads swung towards her.  An elderly man in a suit that would have been the height of fashion in the late eighteen-hundreds stepped forward.  MacMillian strained his ears, but he couldn’t hear what the man said.  The woman listened closely, made a curious sound in the back of her throat and turned back to him.  “He says there’s a medium here.  Are you sure you’re not sensitive?”

He was feeling rather sensitive, but he shook his head.  “I don’t even know what that means.”

The woman humphed.  “That’s what I thought.”  She turned back to the man.  “So you’re all here to be moved on?”

The man nodded.

Her shoulders relaxed.  She reached out and took the man’s hand in hers.  His eyes widened, then a peaceful look came over his face.  His lips turned up.  White light appeared in the center of his chest, expanded outward until his entire body glowed.  With what looked like a sigh of relief, he evaporated.

MacMillian’s jaw dropped.

The woman moved slowly through the crowd.  Hand after hand reached out for her.  She took each one, held on until its owner flashed white and disappeared.  By the time she reached the office door, the hallway was empty.  She leaned back hard against the wall and closed her eyes.

MacMillian didn’t remember moving, but somehow he was standing in front of her.  He closed his free hand around her arm and towed her inside, not stopping until they reached his office.

He slammed the door.  “What the… what was…” He dragged a sleeve across his brow.  It was drenched in sweat, but his skin felt freezing.

The woman watched him, her eyes sympathetic.  “Rough day, Magnum?”

He glared.

She sighed and rubbed her forehead.  “That, my dear detective, was the other San Francisco.  You’ve probably seen it before, just out of the corner of your eye.  You’ve probably dismissed it all your life.  Maybe you always told yourself you’d just had too much to drink.”  She paused, her gaze heavy on his face.  MacMillian squirmed.  “But I’m guessing you always knew better.”

His head was throbbing.  He shook it once, twice, but it didn’t clear.  “I don’t get it, Miss…”

“Alan,” she supplied.

He nodded.  “Ms. Alan.  Why are you here?”

Her eyes darkened.  “Because there are things that go bump in the night, Mr. MacMillian.  It’s my job to bump back.”

 

 

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COVER REVEAL – From USA Today Bestselling Author, Victoria Danann

If you loved Victoria Danann’s Award Winning series, Knights of the Black Swan, you’re sure to love her new contemporary series, Sons of Sanctuary. I’ve included the cover and teaser to whet your appetite until Two Princes release date, June 16th.

Two Princes: The Biker and The Billionaire

Sons of Sanctuary

Book 1

Victoria Danann

TwoPrincesCoverGenre: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: 7th House Publishing,

Imprint of Andromeda LLC

Date of Publication: June 16, 2015

Number of pages: 300

Word Count: 90,000

Cover Artist: Victoria Danann

PRE-ORDER LINKS:

Amazon    B&N   iTunes   Kobo

Book Description:

Brigid Roan is a graduate student at the University of Texas. She had no trouble getting her thesis approved, but finding a Hill Country motorcycle club willing to give her access to their lifestyle had started to seem impossible. Then she got a lead. A friend of a friend had a cousin with ties to The Sons of Sanctuary.

What she wanted was information to prove a proposition. What she didn’t want was to fall for one of the members of the club. Especially since she had set out to prove that motorcycle clubs are organized according to the same structure as primitive tribal society.

Brash Fornight was standing in line at the H.E.B. Market when his world tipped on its axis. While waiting his turn to check out, his gaze had wandered to the magazine display and settled on the new issue of “NOW”. The image on the cover, although GQ’d up in an insanely urbane way, was… him.

After reading the article, Brash threw some stuff in a duffle and left his club, The Sons of Sanctuary, with a vague explanation about needing a couple of days away. He left his Jeep at the Austin airport and caught a plane for New York, on a mission to find the guy who was walking around with his face.

Two brothers, one a player, one a playboy, are on a collision course with destiny and a woman who thought she won a prize when she was allowed a look inside the Sons of Sanctuary MC.

Excerpt:

“Sir?” Brash Fornight gradually became aware that someone behind him in the grocery checkout line was trying to get his attention. “Sir?” He refocused and glanced behind him. The woman leaning on a cart overflowing with chip bags and cookie boxes nodded toward the cashier indicating that it was his turn to move forward. Brash looked her in the eye and had to give her props. Most people wouldn’t have the balls to try to herd a guy wearing Sons of Sanctuary MC leather.

The club employed a woman who cooked and did grocery shopping several times a week as part of her job description, but Brash didn’t like to explain his relentless craving for peanuts and he liked being teased about it even less. He didn’t know whether it was the Vitamin B or the fat or just because he liked the taste, but he couldn’t imagine going a day without them.

That’s how he came to be standing statue still In the grocery checkout line, being prompted by some woman with more nerve than sense. While he was waiting, his eyes drifted over the magazine display and settled on the cover of “NOW”, on the Most Eligible Bachelor edition no less. The debonair figure staring back was wearing Brash’s own face and body. He looked different with short hair and a four thousand dollar suit with the shirt fashionably open at the neckline, but the similarity was inescapable.

On impulse he grabbed the magazine and tossed it onto the conveyor belt with his week’s stash of peanuts.

He stuffed the bags into the saddlebags of his bike and roared toward home, nervously tapping his fingers on handlebars at red lights, riding on shoulders to keep from slowing down. He was anxious to get to the privacy of his own room and read about Branach St. Germaine.

Two beers, one jar of peanuts, and one “NOW” article later, Brash was sitting on the edge of his bed looking at the wall, seeing nothing but his own heavy thoughts. He pulled out his phone, looked up a website, and waited on hold for ten minutes to hear the time of the next flight from Austin to New York.

There was a flight to Newark in a little over three hours. He looked at his watch and calculated the time it would take to drive from Dripping Springs at that time of day. As he booked the flight, he stood up, walked to the small closet, grabbed a duffel bag, and began shoving stuff into it. Ten minutes later, he closed his door and locked it, threw the duffel over his shoulder, and headed straight for the office downstairs. He dropped the duffel on the hallway floor beside the closed door and knocked.

“Yeah?” Brash looked inside, glad that his dad was by himself, and stepped in. “What’s up?”

“I’m takin’ personal time, Pop. Gonna be gone for a couple of days.”

“What the hell is ‘personal time’?”

The gruffness made Brash smile. “It means I’m not gonna be here if you call and I’m not tellin’ you why.”

The Sons of Sanctuary President looked up at Brash, over the top of his readers, and narrowed his eyes. “You got a secret?”

“Everybody’s got secrets.”

Brandon Fornight studied his son for a minute. “True enough. Is it the kind of secret that could affect this club?”

Brash shook his head. “Don’t see how.”

“Well, then. See you… When did you say you’d be back?”

“I didn’t.”

“Bein’ purposefully vague, are you?”

Brash grinned. “That’s why they call it personal time. But I expect to be back Friday.”

“You gonna have your phone with you?” When Brash nodded, Bran looked back down at his ledger in a deliberately dismissive gesture. “Well, get outta here then.”

Brash parked his bike in the airplane hangar. The structure had already been on the property when the club had bought it and turned it into a compound twenty years earlier. They used part of it for vehicle maintenance and repair and part for parking.

Some of the guys who were working looked over and shot curious glances his way when Brash threw his duffel into his pickup and started it up, but it wasn’t their way to ask questions. The Sons figured that if somebody wanted you to know something, they’d tell you.

Brash took a cab to a midtown hotel, wondering all the way why human beings would choose to live in such a place. As he slid his credit card across the hotel counter to the agent on duty, he glanced at the name, Brandon Fornight. It seemed unlikely that it was a coincidence that that the mysterious look-alike’s first name began with the same four letters. He ordered room service and pulled out his laptop.

Getting intel on the guy didn’t take advanced ops. Within an hour Brash knew where Brannach St. Germaine worked, what kind of car he drove, what kind of women he dated, who his tailor was, and where he liked to dine. There was no shortage of photos online, but the one that grabbed his attention wasn’t one of the many with starlets or debutantes on his arm. It was the one taken with his arm around his mother as they were arriving together for some red carpet fundraiser. Brash had an almost irresistible compulsion to reach up and touch her face on the screen in front of him.

The knock on the door signaled that room service had arrived. It cost a fortune, but looked and tasted like shit. So he closed the computer and went out for a walk to clear his head and find something edible.

About the Author:

USA Today Bestselling Author, Victoria Danann, is making her debut into Contemporary Romance with releases in May and June 2015, after taking the world of PNR by storm.

Her Knights of Black Swan series won Best Paranormal Romance Two years in a Row (2013, 2014). ~Reviewers Choice Awards, The Paranormal Romance Guild.

Victoria’s paranormal romances come with uniquely fresh perspectives on “imaginary” creatures, characters, and themes. She adds a dash of scifi, a flourish of fantasy, enough humor to make you laugh out loud, and enough steam to make you squirm in your chair. Her heroines are independent femmes with flaws and minds of their own whether they are aliens, witches, demonologists, psychics, past life therapists, or financial analysts from Dallas. Her heroes are hot and hunky, but they also have brains, character, and good manners – usually – whether they be elves, demons, berserkers, werewolves, or vampires.

The first book of the Knights of Black Swan Paranormal Romance Series, My Familiar Stranger, was nominated for Best Paranormal Romance of 2012 by both Reviewers’ Choice and Readers’ Choice Awards. All of her books have opened on the Amazon Best Sellers list and earned Night Owl Reviews Top Pick awards.

Many have appeared on Listopia Book of the Month as #1 across all genres.Danann

For books published in 2013, Black Swan won three awards.

  1. Best Paranormal Romance Series
  2. Best Paranormal Romance Novel – A SUMMONER’S TALE
  3. Best Vampire~Shifter Novel – MOONLIGHT.

In 2014, Solomon’s Sieve won Best Vampire Novel.

Photo- If you’re interested in me personally, I am also a classically trained musician who defected to Classic Rock and that’s my first love. Yeah. Even more than writing.

This is Roadhouse, the very best in Classic Rock, taken near The Last Concert Cafe, Houston Texas, 2011. I was the utility player which means I played rhythm guitar, keyboards, sang backups and a few leads.

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Author Debra Dunbar on Chicago – & Preview of THREE WISHES

Three Wishes Button 300 x 225GUEST POST FROM AUTHOR DEBRA DUNBAR

I’ve got a confession to make.  I miss Chicago.  It’s one of the reasons I set my latest paranormal romance, Three Wishes, in the city.  I. Love. Chicago.

We moved around as I was growing up, all over Ohio and Indiana.  The one constant was our summers and holidays in Maryland with my Mother’s family (where I eventually put down roots), but I miss those years I spent just over the Illinois line in Northern Indiana.

Trips to “the city” were among some of my best childhood memories.  I’d stand under the skeleton of Tyrannosaurus Rex in the Field Museum of Natural History, awed by its size.  Chinatown. Lake Shore Drive. Tour boats down the Chicago River. Miró and Chagall sculptures accessible to any passerby. I remember the first time I saw The Blues Brothers and could easily identify every street, every landmark in the movie.

I don’t miss the weather – those brutal winters with icy winds tunneling through the streets, the humid summers.  Spring and Fall were given a brief nod as the city rocketed from one extreme to the other.

Every few years I go back.  My day job has a division north of O’Hare.  Sometimes I’ll take a few days off and take the train into the city.  It’s those trips – those and the conventions downtown – that helped me set the scene for Three Wishes.

Alliance Bakery.  Tiny Polish bars. Expensive boutique stores and trendy latest-thing restaurants. Navy pier and Millennium Park.  There is so much color and spice to Chicago – too much to put in one novel.

My angel, Asta, loves the city as much as I do.  She’d give her life to protect it, to protect the humans who live there.  But she doesn’t really know them.  She’s been a voyeur, watching from the sidelines but never experiencing firsthand the richness that is Chicago.  It takes a demon to wake her up to the joys of the city, as well as the joys of love.

Want to see Chicago through an angel’s eyes? Three Wishes will take you there!

About the Author:dunbar

After majoring in English with a concentration in Medieval Literature and Folklore studies, Debra promptly sold out to the corporate world, occasionally writing marketing copy and op/ed articles for a local city paper. By day, she designs compensation programs, after dark she stuffs her nose into obscure mythology, and feverishly writes her novels. A DEMON BOUND is her debut novel.

Debra lives on a farm in Maryland with Sweetie, three sons, and a Noah’s ark of four legged family members. She drives an old PT Cruiser, couldn’t carry a tune if you duct taped it to her back, and enjoys an occasional cosmopolitan (heavy on the vodka). On a good day, she jogs and horseback rides, hopefully managing to keep the horse between herself and the ground. Her only known super power is ‘Identify Roadkill’.

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Three Wishes

Debra Dunbar

3wishesGenre: Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Anessa Books

Date of Publication: March 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-1505671193

ASIN: B00RKE5608

Number of pages: 229

Word Count: 79,000

Cover Artist: Phatpuppy Art

Book Description:

Dar helped his foster sister become the ruler of Hel, and helped her free the enslaved humans from the elves. It’s about time he helped himself – to a fun week of mayhem in the Windy City. Collapsing a few buildings and corrupting politicians is an ideal vacation for a demon in Chicago, but Dar didn’t count on a beautiful angel sabotaging his fun and putting him to work.

Asta is an angelic enforcer, scanning for demons in her assigned territory and sending them to an early grave. Unfortunately, the latest trespasser from Hel has diplomatic immunity – but immunity doesn’t mean she can’t coerce him into helping her track and dispatch the powerful demon that’s been cycling in and out of her radar for the last few days.

Demons are the sworn enemies of every angel, but Asta must learn to trust Dar or the dark presence that is growing in Chicago will spread – and this particular enemy has the skills and knowledge to send human civilization back to the dark ages.

She has one week left as an enforcer before she returns to her heavenly home – one week to catch an elusive monster, and one week to safeguard her heart from the demon who is determined to seduce her to sin.

Available at Amazon     iTunes    BN

Three Wishes Banner 851 x 200

Excerpt:

Stupid revolving doors.  What idiot thought these things were a good method of entering a building? She stood watching as the door made its circuitous route. Could she time it so she actually managed to get in between the sections?  The last time, she’d been knocked backwards onto the pavement.  That wouldn’t be a graceful entrance given her current dress and sky-high stilettos.

“Need help?”

She recognized his voice even before the faint energy trickled across her skin with its siren song.  How did he do that?  Thank Aaru all demons weren’t as stealthy as Dar, or her job would be nearly impossible. As she turned, she realized that with her heels, she towered over him.  In flats, she was the same height as the demon, but the shoes she loved so much put Dar’s chin right at her bosom — a fact he’d quickly realized and had taken advantage of.

“Want me to get the door for you?” he asked her breasts.

“Did you make reservations?  Otherwise we can skip the revolving door and just head over to Taco Bell.”

The demon chuckled and brushed a curl from her bare shoulder, his fingers lingering against her neck while his eyes explored the skin north of her cleavage.  “Of course I made reservations.  I didn’t want you to give me any excuse to not eat tonight.”

“I swore I’d play your game tonight as long as you help me catch the other demon. I’ll eat anything you put in front of me.”

Why did that cause the demon to nearly fall over laughing?  Did he have something in particular he wanted her to eat, the thought of which was giving him such amusement?

Oh.  Yeah, that probably wasn’t the best thing for her to say given his proclivity toward the sin of lust.

Wiping his eyes, still chuckling, Dar strode forward, stopping the revolving door to the angry protests of those trapped inside.  “Then let us dine, my angel.”

Asta took a deep breath and walked past him, putting her palms on the front of the glass as she’d seen the humans do.  Hopefully he wouldn’t bump her out as he had the other evening.  With these shoes on, she’d probably land face-first on the plush carpet.

“Ready?”

She should have known he’d squeeze into the tiny space behind her, pressing the full length of his form against her back and rear.  Asta tried to scoot forward, only to find herself sandwiched between the demon and the glass.  The humans yelled at them to move, but Dar held still, his body warm and powerful.

“Maybe we should just stay here a while.” His hips shifted and Asta felt something stir to life, hard and firm against her buttocks.

She’d told him no sex, but rubbing against her in the doorway wasn’t off limits.  And it was most definitely brought with it welcome sensations.  “We need to move,” Asta said with regret.  She tried to push the door forward, but Dar had it wedged in place.  The trapped humans began to pound on the glass.

“I love pissing them off,” he whispered against her hair.  “So much anger over such a minor inconvenience.  The gifts of Aaru seem to have turned them into a bunch of minor demons, don’t you agree?”

It did seem a fair comparison at the moment, but Asta hadn’t squandered her century here.  She’d seen sparks of divinity in the human race, and no demon was going to convince her otherwise.

She shifted to look at him over her shoulder, rubbing herself along his body in the process.  Oh stars, this felt good.  If only those darned humans weren’t causing such a racket. “You’re being inconsiderate.” Her voice was breathless. “They have a right to be angry. And they’re still very early in their evolution.  Give them another ten-thousand years or so, and I think you’ll find they’re more angelic.”

Ruth Fox’s Bridges Trilogy: Across The Bridge Of Ice, Book 2

Across The Bridge of Ice Banner 851 x 315

Tour Giveaway 

5 copies of the eBook, The City of Silver Light, Book 1 in The Bridges Trilogy

ENTER HERE

EXCERPT:

The Worst Thing in the Word

There’s a doctor in Outpatients who looks like Count Dracula. Pale skin and black hair pulled back into a bun so tight she can’t even blink. I swear all she needs is a black cloak and a pair of bloodstained fangs.

‘You need to take things more slowly, Keira,’ she says to me every time I go in to see her. I think it’s a threat.

See, I’m not a good patient. I’m impatient. I find it hard to sit still, which is not good when you’ve got a broken ankle. Most of the time I’m doing stuff I’m not supposed to, like, you know, walking. And … well, falling down the front steps.

‘I am taking things slowly,’ I tell her.

I resist the urge to pick at the neatly folded sheet covering the bed underneath me. Being in this room, with all the neatly arranged equipment and dark furniture, always makes me feel antsy. It probably doesn’t help that I haven’t slept properly in ages. I keep having dreams about ice. It crackles all over the house, and into the trees, and across the grass and the streets before everything turns white. But as much as I hate seeing doctors, I definitely don’t want to be sent to a psychologist, so I’ll keep those dreams to myself.

Icecover‘I didn’t fall on purpose.’

Mum speaks up. ‘I keep telling her she needs to take it easy. But every time I turn my back, she’s out of bed making cereal or playing with the dog. And now this …’

I feel sorry for my mum. She works long hours running the Cassidy Heights Bakery, and has to be up at four o’clock most mornings. Not to mention the accounts, bills, sales targets, and production quotas she has to meet. Having me home from school has only given her more to worry about.

When a blizzard hit our little suburb of Cassidy Heights two weeks ago, I kind of got lost walking back from my friend Jake’s place. I tripped on a kerb and went for a slide on my butt. Yeah, it wasn’t exactly my shining moment. Volunteer rescue workers from the State Emergency Service found me eventually, but by the time they called my mum, she was already beyond panic.

The weather system that caused the freak snowstorm has broken up now – according to Chanel Seven News and Weather, that is. Of course, there still haven’t been any satisfactory explanations about what exactly caused it. I can just picture the meteorologists at the Weather Bureau scratching their heads. And me, I was kind of planning to get an A+ on my science project about predicting the effects of an arctic winter in a desert country, but I’ve kind of left my partner, Jake, in the lurch while I’m spending all this time recovering.

‘Well, we’ll see what these new x-rays show us.’ Doctor Dracula waves a sealed yellow envelope. ‘Then we’ll know whether you’ll be able to head back to school. Bet you’ll be excited to see your friends again.’ She rips open the envelope, tipping a couple of plastic sheets into her hands.

I give her a withering stare. Why do adults assume that school is some fun place where you get to hang out with your friends? It’s totally not like that. Teachers spend all their time getting you not to talk, not to sit next to your friends, and not to waste time socialising. I hate school. I hate the rules and regulations.

‘All I really want to do is get back to soccer practice.’

‘Hm,’ says Doctor Dracula. She sticks the x-ray pictures on a lighted board. It’s an ominous ‘hm’, a sound that means there’s something bad here.

I look at my bones. The inside of people’s bodies is pretty interesting. I mean, all those little bits and pieces that join together to make us work. It’s kind of fascinating what living beings are made up of.

‘What’s “hm”?’ I ask.

Mum leans forwards, her brow crinkling.

‘What we have here is a non-union,’ says Doctor Dracula. ‘The gap between the broken edges of the bone was a large one, and that fall you took probably pulled it further out of alignment. The bone isn’t healing the way it should.’

‘What does that mean?’ Mum sounds worried.

‘Well, we might be looking at an operation. We’d need to insert a bolt to keep the bone in place while it heals.’

‘That sounds drastic.’ Mum’s voice is shaking a little.

‘It’s a relatively simple procedure, and certainly not uncommon. But I won’t lie to you. There can be complications.’

‘Complications – like what?’ I ask.

‘Well, Keira, you may have some pain in that foot for the rest of your life. Also a certain weakness. The bones will never heal as strongly as they were before they were broken.’

‘But that won’t matter, right? I mean, it’s not like I won’t be able to walk or anything.’ My own voice is shaking a bit now.

‘Of course you’ll be able to walk. But you may find it difficult or painful to run. You might be restricted in more strenuous activities.’

Slowly, very slowly, it’s dawning on me. ‘What about soccer?’

She purses her lips. ‘We won’t rule anything out at this stage, of course. But I’d like to schedule the operation as soon as possible. Mrs Leichman, we’ll need you to fill out some forms …’

I don’t hear anything else. My mind is ringing with thoughts. What if, what if … what if I can never play soccer again?

‘I’ll see you on Thursday, Keira,’ says Doctor Dracula.

I nod, resigned, and grab my crutches to follow Mum out of the office.

Across the Bridge of Ice

The Bridges Trilogy

Book Two

Ruth Fox

Genre: Fantasy,  YA

Publisher: Hague Publishing

Date of Publication: 31 January 2015

ISBN: 9780987265296

ASIN: B00Q20I4YQ

Number of pages: 175 pages

Word Count: 55,00

Cover Artist: Ruth Fox

Book Description:

In ‘The City of Silver Light’, Keira Leichman spent the night lost in a wild snowstorm that struck Cassidy Heights. But what really happened that night? Not even Keira can be sure. What she does know is that she’s been having strange dreams since the accident, and now she’s stuck with a broken ankle and the possibility of never playing soccer again. That is, until she finds Jake’s telescope, and is drawn across the Bridge of Ice to Shar.

Now Keira is marooned in the City of Silver Light with Daniel, Jake’s younger brother, with no way to get home. But that is the least of their worries, for the secrets they discover in Shar are more dangerous than Kiera could ever have imagined. And the fate of both their worlds are in their hands.

Amazon      iTunes     Kobo

Nook    Google Play     HaguePublishing

About the Author:ruth

Ruth completed a Bachelor of Arts/Diploma of Arts in Professional Writing and Editing in 2006. Her other published works include “Monster-boy: The Lair of the Grelgoroth”, Book 1 of the Monster-boy Series, and “Sand Dog”, an illustrated picture book for younger readers. Both are available from Amazon.com.

Ruth has been an avid reader her entire life and, inspired by the books that engrossed her as she was growing up, she aims to create stories that can draw readers in and enthral them for days or weeks. She writes every day and lives in Ballarat, Victoria, with her partner, her cat, and an ever-expanding library of books.

Twitter: @_ruthfox_

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RuthFoxAuthorandArtist

Website: http://thewordsandpictures.com/

 

POURAKA – An Underwater Romance by Dianne Lynn Gardner

Pouraka Banner 851 x 315

Fantastic Giveaway! Scroll to the end for details!!!

Pouraka

Book One

Dianne Lynn Gardner

Genre: Fantasy romance

Publisher: Dianne Lynn Gardner

ASIN: B00T0PED40

Number of pages: 242

Word Count: 75369

Cover Artist: Dianne Lynn Gardner

Pourakasea

Book Description:

Pouraka is a magical sea cavern tucked under the rocky cliffs near Barnacle Bay. Cora, a Pouraka mer, is torn between her friends in the seaside town, and her true love Tas, a foreign mer whose people fled when men invaded their waters.

Life becomes difficult for all mers when an arrogant oil rigger’s son, Tom, finds the bay and the rich aquatic life it harbors. When Tas attempts to rescue a pod of dolphins from Tom’s gill net, he is captured and taken away as a prize to be sold to a theme park. When Cora hears of his capture she changes into human form and travels south to find him, risking her life to free him.

Time away from Pouraka leaves the cavern vulnerable, and a new threat arises when tourists discover its magic.

Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/EkSwqips0D0

Available at Amazon

pcoverExcerpt:

The sand was cool, the shells sharp and prickly, making her toes itch. She strolled to the wet sand where the foam still bubbled into clam holes and the remnants of waves frothed over her feet. Seagulls clustered, pecking at shellfish and welcoming the end of day. Farther out the ocean throbbed, constant and carefree. Ever faithful, the sea rocked back and forth over the earth as it harbored its creatures, protecting them from the sun’s vicious heat, feeding them, nourishing them and cradling them. Cora should be in its belly, accepting its nurturing. She was the oceans’ charge and yet here she was, walking the land as though she were human. She’d been denying her heritage all this time.

A surge of shame swept over her. Why did she even want to be human? Merpeople were so much kinder to each other, and to the animals they lived among. Why did she ever doubt that she should live as a mermaid?

Cora took the basket off of her back and unfastened the lid. The water inside was so clear she could see the interior weave of kelp even in the fading sunlight. Scooting closer to the surf so that the waves rolled over her, she held the basket above her head.

Pouraka’s water dripped over her hair, onto her shoulders and her face. She lifted her chin and let it run down her neck, her chest, her belly. Cora poured the water over her hips, her legs, and her toes as the sea rumbled and came to her, a white roll of salt water rushing to immerse her. Cora leaned back and let the ocean swallow her human body. The sea wanted her home, grabbing her form and pulling her far away from shore. She tumbled in the breakers until she was saturated and far from land. Cora came to the surface and viewed the vanishing shoreline one last time. Sunset shined its face on her scales as golden fragments of evening glitter. She hadn’t felt so alive in a long time. She felt good, and somehow she would bring this freedom to Tas. She had to.

About the Author:pouraka

Dianne is an author and illustrator of YA adventure fantasy with a dab of historical content thrown in. Building worlds that might resemble the forests of her home in the Pacific Northwest, or the shimmering deserts of Arizona, add to that a pinch of magic dust and a few million stars and you just might find the portal to another Realm.

Happily married to a man that puts up with her celestial wanderings and wonderings, she is the mother of seven lovely adult children and grandmother to sixteen gorgeous boys and girls.

Dianne loves writing, painting in oils and living in other dimensions. She finds life much more colorful that way! Her books are middle grade to young adult adventure fantasies with dragons and wizards and sorcery and battles on the high seas. Her grandchildren are a big inspiration for her stories. There’s a shared camaraderie, something akin to what C.S. Lewis said about someday being old enough to enjoy fairy tales again.

Dianne’s newest series Pouraka dives into the depths to explore life as a mer. She also has a series that is being re released by PDMI publishing called the Ian’s Realm Saga.

Stretching her tent stakes, she is working on an Indie Film production of her V book Cassandra’s Castle.

Website http://gardnersart.com

Blog https://diendrial.wordpress.com/

Twitter @DianneGardner

Rebel Mouse https://www.rebelmouse.com/DianneGardner/

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Pouraka

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DianneLynnGardner

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6473931.Dianne_Lynn_Gardner

Amazing Stories Magazine

http://amazingstoriesmag.com/authors/dianne-lynn-gardner/

Tour Giveaway

ENTER HERE

 20150308_160615   1 ebook copy of Sasha which introduces the story.

     5 8 X 10 prints of Pouraka’s cover without the text, authographed by the author

     1 digital copy of dystopia novel Altered

     1 pair of earrings open to US Shipping

Author Interview with Tamara Linse (Earth’s Imagined Corners)

It’s my extreme pleasure to chat with author Tamara Linse today. She’s penned a historical novel based on the life of her great-grandparents, which is fascinating in itself, but the woman behind the keyboard is just as interesting. I can’t wait for you to meet her.  Start with the interview but please stay for the excerpt from “Earth’s Imagined Corners”. It’s the most delicious treat you’ll have all day!

And don’t forget to enter the TOUR WIDE GIVEAWAY 

 $ $100 GC  $

ENTER HERE

EIC Tour 450 x 169

TL: I am so honored to hang out with you today! And I can’t wait to check out what you write.

Earth’s Imagined Corners was a loving project to which you devoted your time, talent and perseverance for years. Now that it is a realized dream, was it worth the effort? Anything you would change about the process?

TL: Great question!  Yes, it took me 15 years from initial conception to publication, and I can say without hesitation that it was definitely worth it.  I don’t even know if “worth it” is the right term.  Writing, especially fiction, is just something I feel compelled to do ~ I don’t know if you feel the same.  There’s nothing scarier than a writer who isn’t writing, and it makes me feel calmer and saner when I’m creating.  Sometimes I love it and sometimes I hate it. Sometimes it comes easy and sometimes hard. The hardest part is getting started after being away from it for a while, but once I’ve started it’s usually a glorious slide down a snowy hill ~ exhilarating, challenging, lovely. If there’s anything I would change, it would be how long it takes me. Seven years per novel seems a little long. I’d love to do a novel year, and I know I could do it. I’ve written a full draft in five months. But the world not only doesn’t care if you’re writing ~ it actively works against you writing, especially if you’re a woman.  It would rather you be doing what it wants you to do. Working, cleaning, cooking, taking care of others, and so on. And it doesn’t just sit back and sigh. It enters the writing room and cracks jokes and suggests you do something else. So that would be the other thing I would change: my ability to block out the world and carve out time to write. I know it’s my own fault too. I’m a good girl and a people pleaser, and it’s much easier to do what the world wants me to do than face my own demons to write.

Even though Earth’s Imagined Corners is based on the lives of your great grandparents, you still brought the era to life with details you couldn’t possibly have known. How much time did you spend researching the late 1800’s to provide authenticity to the period and dialogue which was beautifully portrayed in your story?

How much of the story is fictional and how much fact? Was it challenging to apply creative license knowing you were altering the details of your family history? How did you decide which parts needed embellishment?

all interviews and guest blogs - Frank and Ellen Strong xTL: I’ll tackle both of these questions at once.

Oh, gosh. Lots of research.  And thank you so much for your kind words! You made my month! Some of the best fiction involves research, I think.  And besides, I love research, and it’s much easier to wander down the alleys of history than to face the blank page. The wonderful Nebraska writer Ron Hansen said that the history is another country, and you have to treat it like that. Figure out its customs and language.  I thought a lot about the story’s dialog. Who knows how people talked in 1885? Just like today, what was written was probably different than what was said. But I also wanted it to sound to the reader like real people talking. To compromise, I wrote the dialog as I would any other, and then I tweaked it and took out the words that either weren’t contemporary or don’t “feel” historical and then put in words that do feel historical. For me, communication and clarity rank above “truth” (as if there is only one truth). I read historical newspapers, and The 18th Annual Report of the U.S. Commissioner of Labor in 1900 reported prices in Chicago and I extrapolated backwards. Men worked an average of 290 days a year and made $553.52, while women worked an average of 295 days a year and made $313.42. Inventions such as electricity were making their way across the continent. Electrical infrastructure began reaching Iowa, Missouri, and Kansas in 1882. Kansas City had mule-drawn cable cars in 1881, but by 1885, they were powered by electricity. Work began on the “Additional Penitentiary” in Anamosa, Iowa, in 1873. In 1885, it held 281 inmates. Electric lights were actually at the prison when James would have been there—they were first used in December of 1882. Fictional purposes—sorry. The inmates built their own prison, first in wood and then in stone. The cookbook The Compleat Housewife by Eliza Smith is fact. First published in 1727 in London, the cookbook was republished almost verbatim in 1742 by the Virginia printer William Parks, the first cookbook published in the Colonies.

The American Memory Site of the National Archives is an amazing resource for researchers, and much of their material is online, and so I didn’t have to travel to Washington D.C. to access it. Fortunately, there are birds-eye views of downtown Kansas City from 1879 and 1895, perfectly framing my time period. I also had the tremendous good fortune—for me, not for the residents of KC West Bottoms—of having a vast photographic evidence to draw from. That’s because the Bottoms flood regularly, and people take lots of photos during these natural disasters.  “The Patch” was a 4.5-acre area in the West Bottoms west of the Armour Packing Factory. If anything, I built it up a bit. Citizens of the Patch were evicted in April of 1910. I moved the flood from 1881 to 1885. There was a great flood in 1844 that came through the West Bottoms with a deafening roar and filled it bluff to bluff. It was reported that, during the night of the flood, cries were heard but the flood was too overwhelming to attempt rescue. The next day, rescuers found Louis Tromley perched in a tree, his wife in a tree a hundred yards farther on, and his son sitting on the peak of the swaying house. Later that day, onlookers saw Tromley’s house floating with the current, with Tromley’s favorite dog perched on its top. Tromley yelled out the dog’s name, and the dog let out a mournful wail. Tromley almost plunged into the water to save it. In 1881, an African American man named Levi Harrington, 23, was lynched—hung and shot—from the Bluff Bridge for killing a policeman named Jones, a crime Harrington did not commit. It got little coverage in the papers because it happened the same day that Jesse James was shot in Saint Joseph.

Little things. President Cleveland did have a mistress. Sara’s paste opal jewel exists, and in 2003, it was for sale by The Three Graces, Houston, Texas, for $1,380. The description of passengers getting cozy during a train wreck that is told by Moses is from Bill Nye’s 1882 Forty Lies and Other Liars. I based the rats at the river on an account given by a man who grew up in Kansas City in the twentieth century—the 1960s, I think. Thomas’s Tsististas are the Cheyenne, and the words from the Cheyenne language is from the Dull Knife College web site, but their spelling is my own. And so much more.  I love history. My master’s thesis was on 1850 Overland Trail pioneer diaries.

As far as it being based on family history, I was lucky in that I had some bare facts but not so much information as to overwhelm me. He was in prison, and they moved to KC and had a store. That was almost all I knew.  And when you write fiction, you can’t be constrained by what happened. You have to get the details right, but if you’re worried about offending someone or being “right” whatever that means it’ll strangle you. Yes, you want to be accurate, but you have to have more loyalty to the logic of the story and to good storytelling. So I would say my process was to have a rough plot and characters based on my grandparents, and then to forget they were my grandparents and go where the story took me.

You have two more books scheduled in the series. Will you write them separately or concurrently? Is it difficult to stay focused on this project or are you itching to write something different?

TL: Ha!  No, I’ll write them chronologically. But as you hint, it’s hard to stay focused on one project. There are just so many great ideas, and I want to do them all and not let them get away!  For example, right now before I go further on the second in the series, Numberless Infinities, I want to finish a young adult called Pride, which is Pride and Prejudice set in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. It’s part of a YA series where I take British classics and set them in contemporary Wyoming. It’s so much fun! The hardest part is getting started, and once I start, it’s best if I don’t stop. Though it often happens.

Tamara on ErnieAfter reading your “long” bio, I was completely charmed by this multi-faceted person called Tamara Linse. (Readers, you can learn more HERE) I also was raised with a taste of the “old” world and new, living part time on a farm without modern amenities. I know that experience enhanced my ability to maneuver life. How did it affect you and what do you think is the most valuable lesson you learned from those days? On the flip side, what did you hate about it?

*blush* Thank you!  I hate those short dry bios, don’t you?  I want them to read like a Dickens novel! Your life sounds fascinating.  I hope you’re writing about it!  There’s a lot of my upbringing in my short story collection How to Be a Man. It was and is hard to be female on a ranch. Men have the respect, and if you’re how_to_be_a_man_tamara_linse_coveran intelligent little girl, you look around yourself and think, how do I have respect, since I’m not a guy? Many western girls come to the conclusion that they need to be men as much as they can. It’s very self-destructive when you deny something you essentially are. It’s like being black and passing as white or being homosexual and passing as heterosexual.  Plus you really hate yourself.  The poverty of it wasn’t very nice either. The most valuable lesson I learned was pigheadedness. I attribute pretty much any success I’ve had in life to sticking to things, even after a lot of reasonable people would have given up.  Another thing I learned, which I’m sure you did too, was self-reliance.  When something happens, you just need to bow your head and get after it. No use belly-aching.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose and why?

TL: You know, I really haven’t thought much about this. That’s another of  the legacies of my upbringing ~ I had to teach myself to dream big. If you grow up thinking you can’t have anything, you don’t let yourself want things.  But I did always want to travel to England and Ireland, and I was able to do that in 2002 after I graduated with my master’s.  But if I were allowed to dream, it would go something like this. A sprawling house in the south of France or a bungalow on a carribean island, like Hemingway’s Finca Vigia. Write all morning, drink and laze about and socialize in the afternoon and evening. All this would involve someone else cooking and cleaning, of course! So, you know, I’d like to live in writers’ paradise!

TL: It’s been such a pleasure, Deb! Thank you! Stay in touch!

♦♦♦♦♦

Earth’s Imagined Corners

The Round Earth Series

Book 1

Tamara Linse

Genre: Historical Fictiocover

Publisher: Willow Words

Date of Publication: January 31, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-9909533-1-9            

ASIN: B00T18RRNK

Number of pages: 472

Word Count: 130,000

Book Description:

In 1885 Iowa, Sara Moore is a dutiful daughter, but when her father tries to force her to marry his younger partner, she must choose between the partner—a man who treats her like property—and James Youngblood—a kind man she hardly knows who has a troubled past.

When she confronts her father, he beats her and turns her out of the house, breaking all ties, so she decides to elope with James to Kansas City with hardly a penny to their names.

In the tradition of Willa Cather’s O Pioneers! and Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, Earth’s Imagined Corners is a novel that comprehends the great kindnesses and violences we do to each other.

Available at Amazon

Excerpt:

Anamosa, Iowa, 1885

Sara Moore should have nothing to fear this week. She had been meticulous in her entering into the ledger the amounts that Minnie the cook requested she spend on groceries. She had remembered, just, to include her brother Ed’s purchase of materials to mend sister Maisie’s doll house and to subtract the pickling salt that she had purchased for sister Esther but for which Esther’s husband Gerald had reimbursed her. She stood at her father’s shoulder as he went over the weekly household accounts, and even though her father owned Moore Grocer & Sundries from which she ordered the family’s groceries, he still insisted she account for the full price in the ledger. “No daughter of mine,” he often said, though sometimes he would finish the thought and sometimes his neatly trimmed eyebrows would merely bristle.

Despite the buttressing of her corset, Sara hunched forward, somewhat reducing her tall frame. She intertwined her fingers so that she would not fiddle with the gathers of soft navy wool in her overskirt, and she tried not to breathe too loudly, so as not to bother him, nor to breathe too deeply, in order to take in little of the cigar smoke curling up from his elephant-ivory ashtray on the hulking plantation desk.

As always, the heavy brocade curtains armored Colonel Moore’s study against the Iowa day, so the coal oil lamps flickered in their brackets. Per instructions, Sipsy the maid lit them early every morning, snuffed them when he left for the grocery, lit them again in anticipation of his return at seven, and then snuffed them again after he retired. It was an expense, surely, but one that Sara knew better than to question. The walls of the study were lined with volumes of military history and maps of Virginia and Georgia covered in lines, symbols, and labels carefully inked in Colonel Moore’s hand. In its glass case on the bureau rested Colonel Moore’s 1851, an intricately engraved pistol awarded to him during the War of Northern Aggression. Sipsy dusted daily, under stern directive that not a speck should gather upon any surface in the room.

Sara’s father let out a sound between an outlet of breath and a groan. This was not good. He was not pleased. Sara straightened her shoulders and took a breath and held it but let her shoulders slump forward once more.

“My dear,” he said, his drawl at a minimum, “your figures, once again, are disproportionate top to bottom. And there is too much slant, as always, in their curvatures. I urge you to practice your penmanship.” His tone was one of indulgence.

Inaudibly, Sara let out her breath. If he was criticizing her chirography, then he had found nothing amiss in the numbers. The accounts were sound for another week. Later, when he checked the numbers against the accounts at the grocery, there was less of a chance that she had missed something.

He closed the ledger, turned his chair, and with both hands held the ledger out to her. She received it palms up and said, “I will do better, Father.”

“You would not want to disappoint to your mother.” His drawl was more pronounced.

So he had regretted his indulgence and was not satisfied to let her go unchecked. His wife, Sara’s mother, had been dead these five years, and since then Sara had grown to take her place, running the household, directing the servants, and caring for six year-old Maisie. Ed needed little looking after, as he was older than Sara, though unmarried, and Esther, the oldest, was married with two daughters and farm of her own.

Sara straightened her shoulders again and hugged the ledger to her chest. “Yes, Father,” she said and turned and left the room, trying to keep her pace tranquil and unhurried. She went to the kitchen, where Minnie had a cup of coffee doused with cream and sugar awaiting her. Minnie gave her an encouraging smile, and though Sara did not acknowledge what went unsaid between them—one must shun familiarity with the servants—she lifted her shoulders slightly and said, “Thank you, Minnie.” Minnie, with the round figure and dark eyes of a Bohemian, understood English well, though she still talked with a pronounced accent, and Sara had only heard her speak the round vowels and chipped consonants of her native tongue once, when a delivery man indigenous to her country of origin walked into the kitchen with mud on his boots. Sara tucked the ledger in its place on a high shelf and then allowed herself five minutes of sipping coffee amid the wonderful smells of Minnie’s pompion tart. Then she rose, rinsed her cup, and applied herself to her day.

The driver had Father’s horse and gig waiting, as always, at twenty minutes to nine. As Father stretched his fingers into his gloves, pulling them tight by the wrist leather, he told Sara, “When you come at noon, I have something unusual to show you.”

“Yes, Father,” she said.

It seemed odd that he would concern her with anything to do with business. He left her to the household. He had long tried to coerce Ed into the business, but Ed’s abilities trended more toward the physical. He was a skilled carpenter, though Father kept a close rein on where he took jobs and whom he worked for. All talk of renaming the business Moore & Son had been dropped when Father had recently promoted the young man who was his assistant, Chester O’Hanlin, to partner. Mr. O’Hanlin had droopy red muttonchops and a body so long and thin he looked a hand-span taller than he really was, which was actually a bit shorter than Sara. Mr. O’Hanlin didn’t talk much, either, and he seemed always to be listening. He held himself oddly, cocking his head to one side, first one way and then the other, his small dark eyes focusing off to the left or right of the speaker. His nose, long and wedge-shaped, seemed to take up half his face. “Chester, the Chinaman,” Maisie called him outside of his presence because of the way he stooped and bobbed whenever their father entered the room.

tamaraAbout the Author:

Tamara Linse jokes that she was raised in the 1880s, and so it was natural for her to set a book there. She is the author of the short story collection How to Be a Man and the novel Deep Down Things and earned her master’s in English from the University of Wyoming, where she taught writing. Her work appears in the Georgetown Review, South Dakota Review, and Talking River, among others, and she was a finalist for an Arts & Letters and Glimmer Train contests, as well as the Black Lawrence Press Hudson Prize for a book of short stories. She works as an editor for a foundation and a freelancer.

Find her online at www.tamaralinse.com and her blog Writer, Cogitator, Recovering Ranch Girl at www.tamara-linse.blogspot.com

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/tlinse

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