Guest Author: Robin Mahle

Welcome to today’s guest author, Robin Mahle, here to discuss why we want our books in series! Be sure to enter the giveaway below and check out Robin’s books!

WHAT IS IT ABOUT A BOOK SERIES THAT KEEPS US WANTING MORE?
by Robin Mahle

We love them, or we love to hate them; the familiar characters that keep us coming back for more. This is what a good book series is all about.

What’s better than following the characters you have grown to love from the very first scene through to the final chapter of the final book? Why is the desire so strong to want to watch them face their biggest fears and celebrate with them on their greatest triumphs? We become so attached to these very well written, three-dimensional characters that it is hard to say goodbye. They are our best friends or our worst enemies.

Not to mention that once we’re introduced to them, the subsequent books jump right into the action. No need for introductions. It’s like we never really left, even if it had been a year or more since we last followed them on their adventures.

There’s no question as to the popularity of book series. It seems many authors have taken to creating stories that continue to pull the reader along willingly. I am no exception, both as a reader and as an author.

I nearly cried at the end of the Harry Potter series. They all were my most beloved friends whom I had to be content with letting go. Rowling did however; give her readers an appropriate goodbye when she allowed us to see the characters as adults. It was the closure I needed and I was grateful.

Other book series pulled me in so much that I simply could not move on to any other task until I finished with the last line in the series. Hunger Games was like that for me. Fortunately, I picked it up after all three had already been released and so I wasn’t forced to wait for each one.

I wonder if the reason for the popularity of ongoing stories is that, in an age where we are becoming increasingly disconnected in our real lives; where the preferred choice of communication is email and text rather than verbal conversation; we long for the connection that we feel when we delve into the lives of our heroes and heroines. And, we don’t want to give them up.

I guess you could say that I didn’t want to give up on the hero and heroine in my Redwood Violet series and I’m not entirely sure that I have. Maybe I was only able to close the door on a particular chapter in their lives. Maybe I haven’t given up on them just yet. Time will tell.

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Robin Mahle’s Books

Redwood Violet – Book One
Released: March 20th 2013
Average Rating: 3.91
Purchase: Amazon

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Redwood Violet on Goodreads

REDWOOD VIOLET #1
Katie Reid is living the quintessential Southern California life. A dream job and her college sweetheart, Spencer top it all off. However, she can’t seem to shake the terrible dreams that have been tormenting her nights these past few months. After seeking help to find relief from the exhausting effects of these dreams, it becomes apparent that Katie is dealing with something much deeper and much more sinister. Her only solution is to delve into a past that no one wants her to remember. With the horrific discovery of a dark secret kept hidden for years, Katie is drawn into a world mired in evil and lost innocence. And only with the help of Detective Marshall Avery will she be able to channel her pain and anger. But, will he be able to contain Katie’s desire for vengeance that has begun to unravel her perfect life? The first in a two-part series, REDWOOD VIOLET, a fast-paced, mystery/suspense novel, will keep you up long past your bedtime!

All The Shiny Things – Book Two
Release date: September 27th 2013

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All the Shiny Things on Goodreads

ALL THE SHINY THINGS #2
The endless nightmare has been brought to life and it’s too late to turn back, but Katie and Marshall are no longer fighting the battle alone. In this second installment of the Redwood Violet series, the last piece in this horrifying puzzle has been revealed and the case grows beyond what they could have imagined. Now the FBI wants in.
Katie enters into a dangerous game of cat and mouse with the man who taunts the authorities at every turn.
Soon, an unexpected alliance forms as she takes matters into her own hands.
But Marshall knows she’s risking too much and sides with the FBI. Now the authorities have precious little time to find the killer before he takes another life. Who will it be this time?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

robinmahle

Bestselling Author, Robin Mahle, lives with her husband and two children in Arizona. Robin found her passion for writing, which later became her second career, after spending nearly 20 years in the construction industry.

Having always been a lover of books, Robin attributes her creativity to the wonderful overseas adventures she has shared with her husband of 14 years. Backpacking (or certainly close to it), throughout Europe and having lived in England, opened her mind and with that came a steady stream of story ideas inspired by her author- idols in the thriller/suspense genre.

Through many late nights and weekends locked away in a room, Robin published her debut psychological suspense novel, Redwood Violet in the Spring of 2013. Intended as a two-part series, Robin is hard at work again writing the sequel, All the Shiny Things and is on schedule for a September 2013 release!

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Contact Robin

Website | Twitter

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Guest Author: Renee Novelle

Welcome to today’s guest author, Renee Novelle! She’s here with a Top Ten list of the things she wishes she had known before she became an author.

10 Things I wish I’d know about being an author…

By Renee’ Novelle

When I was preparing to release my first novel, I practically absorbed every piece of information I could possibly find about the process. I read the good, the bad and the ugly of the publishing industry stories. I was inspired by tales of riches, but grounded by fables of failure. And by the time I got that very first email, the one that told me my book had gone live on Amazon, I thought I knew almost everything there was to know. I’d prepared myself as best as I possibly could.

Then reality hit. And I realized that everything I’d learned up until that point was actually just the beginning. The tip of the iceberg. Not that my decision to self-published would’ve been deterred in any way. But I feel like I didn’t get the whole story.

So, in an effort to save you from the same awkward fate, here are a few points I’ve recently learned that took me by surprise as a new author.

The world does not stop turning just because I finally finished my project. In fact, often times it seems like it’s sped up.

Writing a book is not an instant gratification process. It can take months – maybe years even! – to successfully complete a perfectly polished book. You agonize for countless hours over the simplest sentence structures. You second-guess every word choice you’ve made in every description. You compare yourself to every major bestseller out there, ask for opinions, take advice, then give the WIP one more polish.

And then finally, it’s done. And it’s live! Your precious darling is available for the general public to buy and fall in love with. You pop a bottle of champagne, celebrate with your friends, then sleep for 24 hours straight. And you expect everyone in the world to stop what they’re doing, take notice, and celebrate right along with you.

Only this doesn’t happen. Sure a few close friends and relatives might. But people will continue on with their daily lives, will have babies, get sick and even ignore you. And after those first thrilling 48 hours are over, during which you’ve been sailing on cloud 9, your life is thrown into a ridiculous cycle of promoting your book while working on the next one. All as you attempt to hold down a day job, a social life and your sanity.

The word “busy” takes on an entirely different meaning.

You think you know what busy felt like before? So did I. But trust me when I tell you that you have no idea what busy means until after your book has gone live and the promotion process begins. There’s no way to describe it, just… brace yourself.

Clones would be useful.

Because of this never-ending cycle of “busy”, I decided I would need the formula to clone myself – several times over. I would need one Renee to hold down the day job (I still have bills to pay, and success doesn’t come overnight – despite what you’ve heard). One to promote my current project (yes, book promotion is a full time job), one to write the next project (you can’t live off the success of one book your whole life, after all), one to cook, one to clean (because who has time for either of those chores), one to keep up with my social life and relationship (because no one has time for that anymore either), and one to enjoy all the freedom that being a writer is supposed to supply. That’s seven Renees! SEVEN!

Coffee is a necessity, not an option.

Because I’m still working on that clone making formula, I’m forced to try to tackle all the work of seven people on my own. That requires a lot less sleep and a lot more hours put into working. I’ve gone from drinking several cups of coffee a day to several pots, and now I’m trying to figure out how to get a truck to just deposit a never-ending supply every morning. Or how to get a doctor to supply it in IV form. When I get that figured out, I’ll send you the memo.

Excitement and support can be found everywhere.

All the hard work is beginning to pay off though. People I don’t even know, and certainly didn’t realize cared, have come from everywhere to offer their congratulations and support. I’m getting great reviews from people I’ve never met, and those I do know are spreading the word about my book on my behalf. It’s a really humbling, inspiring feeling to be amidst this much support.

Dismissive people can be found everywhere too.

Still, the world is full of “haters” who constantly berate, ignore, or try to dismiss what I’ve done. But I just ignore those people. They don’t matter anyway…

The sheer ecstasy of getting a (good) review.

Knowing that there are haters out there sweetens the pleasant remarks that much more. So when I get a five star review, I’m beyond ecstatic! It’s the best high there possibly could be, and there’s absolutely nothing in this world that compares.

Everyone is of the belief that I suddenly have more.

However, with this new role, and all these pleasant remarks, people around me automatically assume I have abundantly more in life. More free time to help them with their own projects, to have lunch, to make phone calls, to take care of tasks. More money to spend on fancy things, nice vacations or contribute to various charities. More freedom of schedule to socialize, to stop whatever I’m doing and attend to something else.

But the fact is, I’m now juggling the responsibilities of seven people (still no clones!), and that takes even more time than I had before. And no, not every author is rich beyond imagination at first. It’s all a process. When I get the riches, I’ll hire the clones. But until then, the only thing I have more of is work.

Publishing is addictive.

That rush, that high I spoke of before? It’s the best kind of addicting. I’m no longer satisfied with just having one book out. I want more. I want dozens. And I want them now. This, however, will take some time to accomplish. Doesn’t mean I haven’t put the pressure on myself to attain those goals. Is this good or bad? Time will tell I suppose.

At the end of the day, I’m satisfied in a way I had never imagined.

Had I known that, maybe I wouldn’t have put off releasing that first book for so long…

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Calculated

An investigative journalist gets an unlikely tip from a mysterious informant. Dismissing it as impossible, she disregards the information and drops the story. Until the informant turns up dead, as predicted.

Plunged into the murky waters of a seedy underground prostitution ring, this psychological thriller provides twist upon dark twist in a story that would ultimately pin the church and several government officials in the largest murder cover-up the city has ever witnessed.

But is it true, or has the journalist merely been used as a pawn in a greater scheme? And how many people is she willing to sacrifice trying to figure it out?

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About the Author

Renee N

Renee’ Novelle is preceded by a long line of published family members, including Pulitzer Prize nominated author and Poet Laureate of Kentucky Jesse Stuart.

As a child, Novelle was already gaining recognition for several of her works, and in her formative years, she continued this trend by earning local awards for her short stories and poems.

Inspired to cultivate her talent, Novelle pursued freelance journalism and has found placement of 75 of her pieces in both online and print publications since 2008. Additionally, she has written multiple screenplays, and contributed her savvy, effective writing style to many non-profit and for profit organizations. She launched several blogs over the years, which garnered international attention.

In 2013, Novelle returned to her first love – fiction. Writing under the names Renee Novelle and R.S. Novelle, she has a publication schedule that includes psychological thrillers, suspense, paranormal fiction, contemporary women’s fiction, chick lit, and new adult.

Though she received her Bachelor’s of Science in Communication, Summa Cum Laude, she considers herself a constant student of the written word. She’s an avid reader, an enthusiastic quote poster, and rarely takes “no” as a final answer. She has an unhealthy obsession for theater, dance, music and art, and strongly believes that wine is simultaneously the beginning of, and resolution to, all of life’s problems. She believes in following dreams, and that in the end, you always end up where you meant to be.

For more information, to view pictures, read blog posts and see the upcoming release schedule, please visit the website at http://www.RSNovelle.com

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Connect with Renee

Website
Amazon Author Page
Goodreads

Spotlight On: The Second Shadow, by Elizabeth Arroyo

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Young Adult Paranormal Romance
Date Published: 9/5/2013

Jake thought being demon meant a shredded humanity, stripped of all human emotion. Chaos and self-preservation dominates a demon’s instincts. But Jake feels every ounce of pain and despair around him.

And it’s driving him deeper into Hell.

Gabby’s choice to save him last summer left a fissure in Hell’s gate that released a malevolent evil. When Jake’s given a mission by the demons to shadow a human girl who may know the whereabouts of an ethereal weapon, he doesn’t expect to see Gabby. But Fate has her own agenda.

When Jake and Gabby are thrown together on a camping trip with a group of delinquent teens, Jake begins to grapple with the haunting choices he made in the past. When the evil finds them, the group begins to battle for their lives, alliances are made, and truths revealed.

As the evil begins to influence Jake, he questions his link to the demons, his purpose, and his love for Gabby.

But the answers to those questions are only found in Hell. And it may cost him his soul.

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Prologue
Old, dead things

Gabriela Vega was going to pay. It was all Tasha could think about after the little freak soaked her in mop water—as if. No one in the cafeteria had lifted a finger as Tasha pounded on the new girl. They wouldn’t dare. Suspended after she tackled the little swine, Tasha knew she’d be in deep shit when she got home. Grams was going to have a fit.

Wiping her dripping nose as she stepped onto the bus, she took a seat near the window in the rear. Tasha hated riding on the bus, but Robin refused to take her wet ass home. He didn’t want to ruin the polyester upholstery in his car. Asshole.

But Tasha hadn’t left the fight empty-handed.

She lifted the chain in front of her eyes and scrutinized the small silver angel pendant. The pendant made the fight worthwhile, even the suspension. Wait until Gabby saw Tasha wearing it. Let the little shit try to take it back. Rubbing the warm pendant with her thumb, she felt tiny vibrations under her skin. It felt good.

A strong odor caught in her throat from the guy sitting next to her. The smell of old, dead things. Scooting away from him without jumping out the window didn’t help. His shoulder nudged hers, forcing her to turn and face the dark, hollow pit that replaced his face. She tried to move, to pull back, to scream, but her body and her voice wouldn’t comply. The fabric of his dark trench coat fluttered, as if caught by an unfelt wind.

And then he began to lean toward her. The air grew thick, pressing against her as if she’d fallen into a deep ocean trench and the pressure threatened to crush her. Implode.

She couldn’t breathe.

No one noticed her dying on the bus. No one noticed the thing beside her, with its hollow face inches from hers, and stench of death. It whispered words in her ear and a cold wetness draped her in fear. Tears leaked from her eyes and pain exploded inside her skull. Then she did move. She pulled away from him, closed her eyes to keep them in her head, and rubbed her forehead with her palm.

“Are you okay?”

Tasha looked at the woman sitting beside her.

“Huh?” Tasha rubbed her head again. A splitting headache tightened its nasty clamp around her head. “No, I feel like crap.” Tasha stood up as the bus reached her stop, and she got off.

She arrived home with no memory of the bus ride or the walk. She needed to crash. Cold sweat forced shivers throughout her body. The buzzing in her head wouldn’t stop. Sick. She was getting sick. The flu maybe. She rubbed her ear and felt a wet sticky substance. Black goop on her fingertips made her stomach roll. She stepped inside the apartment she shared with her grandma and sister and a foul smell forced her eyes to water. Her stomach lurched, and she ran to the bathroom.

“Are you sick?” Grandma’s voice tore into her brain as she stumbled back to the couch. Moaning, Tasha threw herself on it, her limbs heavy, her breathing hard. She needed sleep. Rest. Peace.

“I asked you a question!” Grandma hollered.

There is no peace for the wicked.

Tasha sat up, eyes closed. Grandma’s in one of her moods again. “Please, Grams, can I sleep for a little bit?” Pain exploded on her left cheek, then, in quick succession, her right. She’d been slapped. Twice. Opening her eyes to her grandmother, Tasha restrained the urge to crawl away and die.

“You demon spawn, what did you do?” Spittle fell from Grams thin lips, the only feature on her face that looked…human. “The school called! What did you do this time?”

Tasha stood up on shaky legs. Grandma’s face, a writhing mass of bugs, stood a foot away from her own. Her heart did a double-take, and she felt the blood drain from her body. Tasha felt the scream at her throat and opened her mouth to release it into the space between her and the monster. But nothing came out. As if she’d been dropped into cold water, her limbs felt heavy, slow, uncoordinated. Sidestepping the sofa in an attempt to get as far away from the bugs on her grandma’s face, Tasha’s feet got tangled on the rug, and she crashed to the floor. Pain brought her flittering to the surface of reality and the instinct to survive grew into panic. Crawling on all fours, she reached her bedroom door, but strong arms lifted her by the hair, pulling, tearing her scalp. A scream escaped her, cut short by more pain.

Grandma had never beaten her. Grandma wasn’t strong enough to do much but holler at her and her sister. But it dawned on Tasha that the thing in front of her wasn’t her grandma anymore. “Grandma, please.”

“You did this to her. And now you will pay,” an inhuman voice said between the colonies of bugs slithering along Grandma’s flesh.

Tasha stumbled into the kitchen. Fear drove her to reach for the block of knives, pulling one out. The buzzing in her head grew louder. She turned to her grandma with the knife in her hand. “Please, don’t do this.”

But Tasha couldn’t see anymore. Her vision darkened.

The Pain. The buzzing in her head. It wouldn’t stop.

Her muscles liquid fire, her body not her own.

Someone let out a painful scream. And Tasha felt warm liquid seep between her fingers curled around the knife. Then silence.

And she was floating. Sleep. She needed sleep.

Not sure how long she’d been in darkness, she found herself sitting on the sofa, staring at the front door. She reached for the angel medallion around her neck. She didn’t remember putting it on. But it wasn’t hers. She had to give it back.

A shadow moved in front of her, its hand extended. She pulled off the chain and dropped it inside its palm.

Make the buzzing stop. Please.

One more.

Tasha had one more job to do.

She sauntered back to the kitchen, stepped over the body on the floor, and pulled out the stove as if it weighed nothing. The connector snapped and gas hissed into the room. Good.

Slowly, she went back to the living room, pulled out her lighter, and waited.

Burn.

Her sister would be home soon.

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About the Author

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Elizabeth Arroyo

Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, Elizabeth spent most of her younger years as an avid reader with a wild imagination which led her to write her first manuscript at the age of fourteen.

But, life got in the way. Elizabeth completed a Bachelors degree in Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice at Northeastern Illinois University and works in the community strengthening families.

But her love of stories held, and in 2008 she found herself back into her storytelling roots and began writing again. In 2012, Elizabeth signed with Sapphire Star Publishing to release her debut novel, THE SECOND SIGN.

Elizabeth still resides in Chicago’s south west side with her family, a household of kids, and the bliss of chaos. The good kind. She continues to work in the community.

Website
Facebook
Twitter

S.D. Grimm, Author of Breathless

First of all, I want to thank Margo for being gracious enough to let me post on her blog today. I am so excited about the release of my novella, BREATHLESS.

Breathless final

What if one touch could unlock a thousand memories?

Eighteen year old Claire Summers has a rare gift she must keep secret, she’s a Breather—someone who can see other people’s memories by touching an object they’ve touched. When she stumbles across a memory of her friend in danger, she’ll do anything to help rescue him. The problem is, her secret will be revealed. If the wrong people find out about her ability, they’ll hunt her because Breathers are powerful weapons.

Grimm head shot

I started writing when I was … well I actually can’t remember not writing. It’s kinda my thing. I love fantasy—epic, urban, sword and sorcery, all of it—so that’s what I write. You can learn more about me and what I’m writing on my website.

Breathless is an urban fantasy. For those of you unfamiliar with whatever that is, it’s fantasy set in a city, sometimes it’s in the future, sometimes present.

The story takes place in a few cities—Podunk towns actually. Yup, there’s a road trip involved, and it’s in this awesome, awesome ride.

AMC Eagle (2)

Yeah, I know.

And for your reading pleasure, here’s an excerpt:

My shoes crushed the thick grass. Thunder rumbled in the distance. Damp, summer air swirled around me unable to cut through the heavy fog. Headstones, cracked and crooked, spread across the grassy hill. I’d been here before. My dreams often brought me to this cemetery. The full moon lit my way down a familiar path. Even though I was dreaming, I was chilly in my tank top and shorts.

I headed toward the tallest headstone on the hill’s crest. No flowers or American flags decorated this soul’s final resting place. I reached out, like I had the other times I’d dreamed this, and I knew what to expect. Before I could touch the stone, my subconscious would pull me back and I’d wake on my bouncing bed feeling like I’d fallen from somewhere high.

The rough stone was cool beneath my fingers.

Three translucent figures walked away from me, passing through the untouched fog. Two men, one held a young boy’s hand, the other followed them. The boy looked so familiar. They walked through the headstones littering the hillside as if they were insubstantial, and then flickered out.

My hand jerked back. A chill skittered across my chest and spread over my whole body leaving me with goose bumps. Heart racing, I willed myself to wake.

I didn’t.

My chest tightened. Was I dreaming or not? Thunder rolled closer. I backed away from the creepy headstone and stepped on something slippery. Arms flailing, I lost my balance. I landed in the moist grass. Pain shot up my elbow as it connected with rock.

“Back here. Quick.” The whisper turned my blood to ice.

“I’m dreaming,” I said aloud since this was too freaky to be real.

“Dream? No, sweetheart, you’re in a trance. Snap out of it or whatever it is you Breathers do.” The stranger’s voice rasped.

I froze, watching him inch closer. Breather? What was he talking about? My head cleared like a fan turned on and blew the fog from my brain, and I realized my situation. I so wasn’t dreaming. This was real. This was real?

I faced the stranger hiding behind a headstone and caught a glimpse of his rifle. Oh holy night.

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For more information, check out http://www.sdgrimm.com

Guest: Josie Montano, Author of My Family Sized Pizza

My Family Sized Pizza

MFSP

Purchase the eBook at Amazon or Solstice Publishing
(print copies available later this year)
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Excerpt

I got home from school one afternoon and there were heaps of cars parked outside Nonno and Nonna’s place. Something was wrong. Nonno hadn’t been feeling so good that morning.

I could hear moaning. Did I really want to go inside? I walked down the side to the backyard and found Nonno asleep on the garden chair. He was under his olive tree with a big bottle of vino on his lap. Phew! He was OK.

The moaning from inside sounded like chanting. Had Nonna joined a cult or something? I went in and found the house full of Italian women. They were on their knees praying to a huge statue of Mary! Mumbling and fiddling with their rosary beads, but at the same time checking me out. Multi-talented women!

Oh no! It was Nonna’s monthly rosary meeting. But this time it was at our place. If I’d known I’d have gone to the library with Sarina.

“Angelina! Mamma Mia how you have grown!” Signora Romanelli was looking straight at my boobs.

“Oh, you look just like Elena, you mudder,” Signora Vesta did the sign of the cross and looked at me sadly. It’s not me that’s dead, you idiot.

“Madonna, is dis little Angelina? She’s a big gal!” Signora Della Something was looking at my bum. I needed a quick escape, but the statue blocked the way to my bedroom. There it was – halfway up the stairs.

“Angelina, vieni qua,” Nonna called. “Come on”. She had her arm around one of her friends.

“Dis is Signora Bertolini.” This lady I’d never met before grabs me by the cheeks with her fingers and thumbs.

Quanda si bella!” She was shaking my face but half of my face was still in her hands. Yes. I’m beautiful, but I’m going to need plastic surgery if you don’t cut it out!

“You know who dis is?” Nonna asked. “Signora Bertolini. The Nonna of dat boy I tell you about.” She winked.

Ohhhh! Dat boy! The one you want me to marry.

Nonna and Mrs. Bertolini knelt at the bottom of the stairs and looked up at the statue. I looked at the statue of Mary, I looked down at Nonna and Signora Bertolini – two interfering grandmothers. What if the statue lost balance? The very heavy statue would topple down and … that would be the end of the matchmaking!

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Why I Wrote My Family Sized Pizza

The original version of My Family Sized Pizza was titled Wogaluccis and published 2002 in Australia only. This version has been rewritten to today’s audience and has been made more international. My parents migrated from Italy in the early 60’s therefore I grew up with not only coal dust and drizzly days but with a strong Italian community who had settled together in Australia.

Although famous for my salami, melenzane and stinky cheese sandwiches at primary school, they didn’t particularly make me a social hit! This upbringing brought fodder to the story of Angela and her family.

My Family Sized Pizza is semi-autobiographical–a lot of the school, wedding and restaurant scenes actually happened. The characters are a mix of my mother, sister, neice, and myself as a teen and are sprinkled with elements of my Italian former mother-in-law. The angst and dramas suffered by main character, Angela, were real and there was many a day when writing the book that Angela and I commiserated together!

I like to tell a story but with humour, thus the true, gritty, racial, and emotional moments told through comedic moments.

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About the Author

Josie

Josie is an award-winning author of over 40 books. She has been internationally published and writes fiction under the name of Josie Montano and non-fiction resources on Asperger Syndrome under the pseudonym of Josie Santomauro.

From age nine Josie annoyed her librarian by shelving her self-published books for borrowing and being the most diligent library monitor there was! She then went on to receive her first rejection letter from Golden Books at age thirteen. But that didn’t stop her, and decades later finally she has ‘real’ published books on those shelves!

Josie draws on her varied life experiences to help her with her writing, interesting experiences such as being involved in a bank robbery, working within the primary school environment, surviving cancer, growing up within an Italian community, winning the major prize on ‘Wheel of Fortune’ and as a volunteer member of the State Emergency Services.

She loves coffee, chocolate, amateur theatre, going to the movies, and being silly, witty and humorous.

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Connect with Josie
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Josie-Montano/88023619410
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JosieMontano
Website: http://www.booksbyjosie.com.au

Review: Soul in Present Condition by Mary E. Merrell

The Real Estate Paranormal Mystery Series
By Mary E. Merrell

Publisher: Morningglory

SiPC front_cover

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Review

In book three of the Real Estate Paranormal Mystery series, real estate agent Rosemary Fernandes faces a number of daunting tasks: she must serve her vampire master Marcus; lay to rest Benny, a ghost with a dangerous history; arrange the sale of a house to Marcus’ maker Lucila; and work to keep her day job going. In addition, she is trying to maintain her connection to her boyfriend Frank and show properties to an elderly Hispanic couple whose son may or may not actually be willing to buy the home he’s promised them.

This third book draws fairly heavily on the first two installments of the series — readers unfamiliar with Rosemary might want to start with House Haunting and Curve Appeal in order to keep up with all of the characters’ histories. However, even those readers who haven’t encountered Rosemary before will be charmed by the way Merrell weaves together the threads of the story; the author gives enough back-story to explain most (if not all) of the connections. The characters are, for the most part, nicely rounded, and the plot comes to a satisfying conclusion.

The text itself is occasionally marred by the sorts of errors that can jar a reader out of the world the author builds and that a careful proofreading should have caught (“their” in place of “they’re,” for example), along with a narrative tendency to over-explain information previously given in dialogue. However, Merrell’s entertaining take on what happens when the daytime world of real estate collides with the nighttime world of vampires is enough to make up for these kinds of problems — this is another enjoyable entry in an engaging series.

Score: 8/10 (4 stars)

~Margo Bond Collins

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Book One: House Haunting

Rosemary Fernandes is a divorced, naïve woman, determined to make it in the tough world of real estate. Keith Laumer is a ghost, eager to leave his earthly haunt. As a real estate agent and a womanizer in life, Keith is the perfect partner to teach Rosemary the ins and outs of the real estate business, and he’s perfectly willing to teach her anything else she wants to know.

Frank Perez is a tough guy tattoo artist with ah-so-wide shoulders, and a chest Rosemary can’t wait to get her hands on. He thinks she’s a tease, jerking him around with this ghost story. And it won’t bother the ghost if the tattoo artist just disappears.

Can there be a love triangle between a goodie two-shoes, a tough guy, and a ghost? And how long will Rosemary remain naïve and alive when her less-than-subtle sleuthing drops her and her friends into a sinister years-old plot?

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Book Two: Curve Appeal

Vampires are creatures of legend.

That’s what real estate agent Rosemary Fernandes thought until the day she started hearing them…the voices of lost souls. When Rosemary encounters the ghost of a murdered stripper, she feels compelled to help, but what happens when the ghost’s secret brings Rosemary to the attention of a serial killer?

The dead are drawn to Rosemary like magnets, but must it attract all the kooks as well? Marcus Lyon’s thinks he’s a vampire, and he wants Rosemary to be his personal assistant, his human servant. Rosemary ignores his crazy proposition until Marcus gives her an offer she can’t refuse. Can she work her business, run errands for the vampire and help the lost souls while staying ahead of a killer out for revenge?

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Book Three: Soul in Present Condition

Divorced. Check. Ghost Whisperer. Check. Human Servant. Check. Great. Check.

Real estate agent Rosemary Fernandes never expected to inherit the ability to communicate with spirits, and she certainly didn’t expect her gift to attract the undead as well. Now Rosemary finds herself ghost whisperer to the lost souls stuck at their haunts and human servant to a gorgeous but aloof vampire Marcus Lyons.

Benito Cruz died with a dangerous secret, a secret that connects the ghost to Rosemary. Can Rosemary send the spirit to his final resting place before his past catches up with them, and can she convince the vampire helping spirits like Benito is her destiny?

When real estate and the supernatural come together it is murder.

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About the Author
Mary E. Merrell writes Paranormal Mysteries and Young Adult Urban Fantasy. She has worked many jobs, but always had stories in her head. It wasn’t until she went into real estate and walked into that old, vacant home that The Real Estate Paranormal Mystery Series came to life. Fortunately, nothing spooky happened at the furniture store, or the first book might have been, “The Haunted Sofa.”

Mary E. Merrell’s plots are smooth and slightly dark, and her characters sinfully sweet. Try a little guilty pleasure with House Haunting, the first book in The Real Estate Paranormal Mystery Series. One reviewer called it “A good start to a new series.”

Her Young Adult series, Affinity, is also humorous but deals with very real life themes. A reviewer said, “Love it. So different. A fun read.”

Mary E. Merrell lives in the Central Valley of California with her husband, two dogs, and five cats. She has two grown sons. When she’s not writing, she’s gardening or playing soccer.

Links
Twitter: @MaryMerrell7
Website: Mary E. Merrell

SoulIn

Spotlight On: DJ Swykert, Author of The Pool Boy’s Beatitude

Welcome to today’s guest author, DJ Swykert. Be sure to check out the excerpt from The Pool Boy’s Beatitude, below!

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Like my character, Jack, I have always been attracted to the great mysteries of life. While Quantum Mechanics continues to search for a Theory of Everything, so have I. And I can write with authority about addiction, rehabilitation and jail. If you add the desire for a real and loving relationship into the equation you come up with the story of The Pool Boy’s Beatitude. Though it is fiction, it’s perhaps the most cathartic piece of writing I have ever produced. Not only does Jack discover anomalies to the large physical world we exist in, but also poignant truths about his own personal little universe.

In his search for the God particle Jack Joseph has lost control of the most important particle of existence, himself. Jack’s intellect may have expanded at the speed of light, but his emotional development is mired in the darkness of addiction. Without change Jack is accelerating towards a personal collision that would render his interest in the cosmic one irrelevant.

Jack is a drop-out physicist cleaning swimming pools to support a lifestyle of addiction and detachment. He has a wife divorcing him, a wealthy woman seducing him and the justice system convicting him. Jack’s personal cosmos is spiraling out of control. When he met Sarah his universe further expanded. The Gravitational Constant he studied at university lacked the velocity with which their galaxies rushed toward one another. It was a life-changing Big Bang. A new and brighter Jack was created and he found his supreme happiness. But there was a lot of space junk in the form of addiction and legal consequences standing in the way of his pool-boy quest toward bliss.

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Pool Boy

Excerpt

I believe God thinks in numbers. Most of what I know best can be described with an equation, numbers predicting an outcome, relating the position, velocity, acceleration and various forces acting on a body of mass, and state this relationship as a function of time. And isn’t that what we are, what everything is: accelerated particles in space time.

And this velocity of motion is what creates gravity and holds everything together. But what creates the motion? I think about this shit all the time. Until I feel like I only know one thing: nothing.

I sat out on the grass and opened a bottle of Mad Dog 20-20. Drank it to the bottom, sucked it in like a black hole swallowing light. Alcohol goes through the brain in stages, first the cerebral cortex, the thinking brain. A friendlier, more daring person emerges, and becomes ever more creative, imaginative, as the drug continues deeper into the brain. Last to go is the limbic brain. That’s when you go numb.

I got ultimate this night, left the past, present, and flew into my future. It was brilliant, until in the morning, when I stared into the eyes of a cop. I realized I had evolved, I was homeless. Passed out on the lawn I had merged my present into my future and lost the past. I had become what I refused to change. There are no corners in a round expanding infinite universe. But I had turned one.

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The Pool Boy’s Beatitude can be ordered at bookstores or purchased directly from:
http://rebelepublishers.com/
http://www.amazon.com/
http://www.magicmasterminds.com

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About the Author

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DJ Swykert is a former 911 operator. His work has appeared in The Tampa Review, Detroit News, Monarch Review, Lunch Ticket, Zodiac Review, Barbaric Yawp and Bull. His books include Children of the Enemy, Alpha Wolves, Maggie Elizabeth Harrington and The Death of Anyone. You can find him at: http://www.magicmasterminds.com. He is a wolf expert.