Monday, 27 October 2014

Horror Selfies & A Crypt Full of Creepy News

It's Halloween this Friday, so I had to do an appropriately themed post. It's not all strictly horror, but everything has a paranormal or murderous theme.

The Horror Writers Association (HWA) has recently launched the Horror Selfies campaign, and they want yours. Their hope is to encourage people to read horror/dark fantasy, to watch horror films and TV series, or even to write horror. You can find featured horror selfies here

Want to see mine?


If you do your own, don't forget to include the #HorrorSelfies hashtag when posting on social media. Now on to creepy news.

The second season of Susan Kaye Quinn's life-draining future-noir, The Debt Collector has just started. If want to know what your life is worth on the open market, the start of season two, episode ten, is now available. If you've not read season one (the first nine episodes), I highly recommend reading it first. It's worth every penny (or cent).



The third book in Gwen Gardner's paranormal Afterlife Series, Secret Keepers has been published, which means you can now get all three spooky reads.



Do you like your science fiction with murderous entities, the Old West, and a good measure of steampunk? Book two in M. Pax's Rifters Series, The Initiate is now available. I've already read book one, The Rifters, and can't wait to get my teeth into book two.



Book two in the stunning The Mage Revealed series was published on October 24th. C.D. Coffelt’s world of magic started in Wilder Mage with the words “The earthquake wasn’t his fault. Not this time.” It continues in Mage Revealed, the second book of the three-part series.



Don't forget my own creepy short story collection, Passing Time: Nine Short Tales of the Strange and Macabre!

That's it for today. Have a creepy week, whatever you're doing.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Dorianna Release Day & Shiny New Covers

Catherine Stine, friend and member of my writing group, has a new release out today - Dorianna, a YA horror published by Evernight Teen. YA and horror? I cannot wait to read this one. Congratulations, Catherine.


Blurb

Internet followers, beauty, power. It all sounded good. 

Until it transformed into a terrifying reality Dorianna couldn’t stop. 

When her father is jailed, her mother ships Dorianna to her aunt’s house. Dorianna yearns to build a new identity, but the popular Lacey bullies her—mostly for getting attention from her ex, Ander. 

Ander takes Dorianna to Coney Island where Wilson, a videographer, creates a stunning compilation of her. She dreams of being an online sensation, tired of being plain and lonely, and vows she’d give anything to go viral. Wilson claims he’s the Prince of Darkness and offers her the beauty and fame she's dreamed of—warning her that a pledge has its downsides. Dorianna has no idea of how dire those consequences might be.


Buy Links




If you're on Facebook, Catherine and Bewitching Tours are holding an online party on October 29th to celebrate Dorianna's release. There will be lots of fun games and two guest YA authors.



Catherine also has fabulous new covers for her two Fireseed novels. Aren't they stunning?



That's it for this week. I'll be back on Monday. Happy reading and writing.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Will You Join Me for Afternoon Tea?

Today's post is radically different than my usual fiction-related posts. Good friend Holly Sinclair (you probably know her as Southpaw), has published a series of cookbooks. I jumped at the opportunity to take part in her Foodie Blog Tour when she announced it, and being British, chose her Afternoon Tea cookbook.

So, why not join me for afternoon tea? Perhaps I'll tempt you into trying some of Holly's delicious afternoon tea recipes? Also, one commenter on this post will win a free digital copy of this cookbook. To enter, just leave a comment. If you want to leave a comment but don’t want to enter, add “I hate food” to your comment. The winner will be announced October 31st on Holly's blog.




Before I share with you what I cooked, I'd like to say a little about using an eBook cookbook. I was really surprised at how much easier it was in comparison to a traditional cookbook. While I did have to do a fair amount of page swiping, I didn't have to weigh the pages down to keep them open like a traditional cookbook, and I didn't have to worry about getting any ingredients on the pages. A quick wipe with a cloth, and my Kindle was sparkling clean.


The Menu

Roast Beef Tea Sandwiches
Bacon Cheddar Eggs
Cornbread with Honey Butter
English Breakfast Tea



Roast Beef Tea Sandwiches

1/3 cup crumbled blue or Gorgonzola cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 lb sliced deli roast beef, finely chopped
1/8 cup minced sliced red onion
Butter or margarine, softened
6 slices white bread
Salt and pepper to taste 
Red leaf lettuce

Combine cheese, mayonnaise, and lemon juice. Stir in roast beef and red onion.
Lightly butter one side of each slice of bread. Spread beef mixture on top of
butter-side half of bread. Season with salt and pepper, top with lettuce, then
the remaining bread slice butter-side down. Trim off crusts, then cut into
triangles or fingers.


Bacon Cheddar Eggs

4 large hard-boiled eggs
1/8 cup sour cream
2 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
2 tablespoons finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon chopped chives
1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar 
1 slice bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled for garnish 

Peel eggs, then slice in half lengthwise. Remove egg yolks and place in a bowl.
Set whites aside. Combine yolks with remaining ingredients, except garnish.
Spoon into egg whites. Sprinkle with additional bacon. 



Cornbread with Honey Butter

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup cornmeal 
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cups milk

2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8 inch square baking pan. Combine flour, sugar,
cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Whisk milk, eggs, oil, and
butter. Stir into the flour mixture until just blended. Pour into baking pan,
and bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out
clean. Cool on wire rack. For honey butter, stir honey into softened margarine
or butter at a ratio of 1:2. 


Review

Afternoon Tea was packed full of delightfully sumptuous recipes for a perfect afternoon tea with friends or family. The cookbook comes with a menu suggestion for each month of the year, which you can follow or mix and match as I did. In addition, there are chapters on the notion of afternoon tea itself and how to prepare the perfect cup of tea. All-in-all, a little gem of a cookbook.

The roast beef tea sandwiches, bacon cheddar eggs, and cornbread with honey were easy to prepare and tasted like heaven!


Holly Sinclair on Tea

I asked Holly to share a tea memory. This is what she had to say:

My first memory of tea has nothing to do with drinking it. It's about making it. Something about making sun tea in the summer as a kid brought me joy. It's so simple too. Big glass jar, fresh water, a bunch of tea bags, and the hot summer sun. Maybe it was checking on it throughout the day, watching the gradually color change and guessing when it would be ready. The funny thing is I don't remember drinking it, not when I was little. Now I do, and there is something a little special about the flavor of sun tea.


Afternoon Tea 



Afternoon Tea is a wonderful way to catch up with your family or enjoy an intimate gathering of close friends. This book offers a different take on teatime with seasonal thematic flavors for each month highlighting a different tea. Recipes included are for tea sandwiches, light appetizers, scones, tea breads, cakes, and pastries.

Cost: $10.00 print | $2.00 ebook
If you buy the print version of the book from Amazon, you get the digital version free.




Where to get it:


About the Author

Holly Sinclair, who goes by Southpaw on the Interwebs, finds cooking cathartic. The recipes she's created and collected grew into cookbooks. Holly's trying her hand at fiction and food seems to creep into most of her books.


Join Holly on the rest of her Blog Tour, each stop features a different cookbook and a chance for a free ebook!

You can join in the fun by signing up for the End of Tour Foodie Blog Hop!
Talk about a fond food memory, describe your disasters in the kitchen, post your favorite recipe or pictures of food, or do anything food related. Sign up here. 


Thank you, Holly. It was an absolute pleasure. That's it for this week. Happy cooking, my friends.



Monday, 13 October 2014

Visit Nine Twisted Earths With Untethered Realms #SpecFic

It's launch day for Untethered Realms' first anthology, Twisted Earths: Elements of Untethered Realms Book 1. This is an amazing collection of speculative fiction stories, and the first of four element-themed anthologies my writers group will be releasing.




Nine twisted stories from nine twisted worlds.


Contributing authors:


Angela Brown
River Fairchild
Gwen Gardner
M. Gerrick
Graeme Ing
M. Pax
Christine Rains
Cherie Reich
Catherine Stine


Twisted Earths is a collection of tales from Untethered Realms, a group of speculative fiction authors. The stories are as varied and rich as the types of soil on this and other planets—sandy loam, clay, knotted with roots and vines, dreaded paths through unexplored planets, and in enchanted forests, lit by candlelight and two moons. 

M. Pax, author of the series, The Backworlds and The Rifters spins a tale called Patchworker 2.0. Specialists with digital interfaces are the only ones who can distinguish between biological energy and mechanical pulses, and “patch” AIs, which hold the world together. Patchworker Evalyn Shore meets up with an AI with deadly intent.


Cherie Reich, known for her epic fantasy series The Fate Challenges and The Foxwick Chronicles, presents Lady Death. Umbria, a beautiful and powerful swordsmith, is given an impossible task by her brother Leon when he asks, “You are the assassin. Are you scared to destroy Death when you are up to your elbows in it?”

Angela Brown is the author of the paranormal Shadow Jumpers and NEO Chronicles series. In her story, In The Know, Jacob, a loyal family man is struggling to stay out of debt when he’s hired to report on big plans for a future Detroit. He’s given a mysterious manila envelope with instructions to “open it alone” or pay the price. With switchback twists you won’t see coming, a debt of a much steeper cost is what he just might end up paying for his involvement.

Catherine Stine, author of the futuristic thrillers, Fireseed One and Ruby’s Fire, offers The Day of The Flying Dogs, a sinister tale of brilliant, troubled NYC high-school student, Theo. He experiences a day at Coney Island that includes drugs, delusions, a lonely capybara, Nathan’s hotdogs and a mind-bending lesson in our very twisted universe.

Christine Rains, known best for her paranormal series The Thirteenth Floor, gives us The Ole Saint, a story at once sweet, horrific and heartrending. Ezra longs to fit in and have boys stop calling him witch and freak, yet his unique supernatural skill sets him apart, and the last gift from The Ole Saint cinches the deal.

Graeme Ing, known for his young adult fantasy, Ocean of Dust presents The Malachite Mine, a gripping, scream-inducing ride. Whatever was Mary thinking when she accepted her husband’s gift of a most terrifying twenty-first birthday celebration in an abandoned Russian mine?

River Fairchild, author of her Jewels of Chandra series, presents A Grand Purpose. Rosaya and her cousin, Drianna are soon to be married off, but Rosaya is unhappy with her assigned match. She’s much more intoxicated by the older Firrandor, a wizard she hardly knows. When Rosaya is accused of killing an oracle boy, all bets are off, not only for her love, but her freedom.

Gwen Gardner, who pens the cozy paranormal mystery series, Indigo Eady, adds to her collection with Ghostly Guardian. Indigo and her rib-tickling ghost-busters must travel to a dangerous pirate-laden past in order to unearth a curmudgeonly eighteenth century spirit that is plaguing the Blind Badger Pub.

Misha Gerrick, whose War of Six Crowns series is forthcoming, gives us a story called Red Earth and White Light. Emily, a young ghost bride has long haunted a house. She longs to cross over into the afterlife, but she’s trapped in memories of lilies and betrayal.


Cover by: EDHGRAPHICS

Monday, 6 October 2014

World Space Week, Destination Star Trek, & Other News

Did you know that October 4th - 10th is World Space Week? Founded by the United Nations in 1999, World Space Week celebrates the contributions of space science and technology to better humanity. There are a multitude of organised events that take place across the world. You can find further details here

I'd like to add my own humble contribution. If you haven't seen or heard Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot speech before, or even in a long time, take a few minutes to listen. It still gives me goosebumps.


October 3rd - 5th was Destination Star Trek 3, which was held in London. I had planned to go. Unfortunately, various reasons kept me from attending. I'm now holding out for the 50th anniversary celebrations in 2016. You can read all about it here. In the meantime, this advert featuring William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy popped up on my radar. It's for a German advertising campagin, so you'll have to guess what they're saying (unless you speak German, of course). The language barrier doesn't really matter, though.


Other News


Talented author and friend, Julie Flanders has a new book release - The Turnagain Arm. Congratulations, Julie. I'm looking forward to reading it.

Polar Night's Aleksei Nechayev leaves war-torn Russia in 1917 and makes his way to Alaska. Settling in at a railroad camp, Aleksei comes up against an adversary who seems to know the truth about the newly-turned vampire's identity, and who soon gives Aleksei much more than he bargained for at The Turnagain Arm.


Cover design by Michael Di Gesu
Only 99 cents on Amazon Kindle

Book Blurb: 

Locomotive wheels screech to a halt. Potters Creek, Alaska is nothing more than a small camp set up alongside the tracks. A weathered sign dominates the scene.

The Turnagain Arm Saloon 

Est.1917

Only one passenger remains and exits.

The early afternoon full moon peaks through a shimmering snow fall as a shadow casts over each split rail. The wind howls, sweeping the cloak of a hooded figure. He follows   the tracks toward the distant saloon. A hulking man crunches through the snow, attracting his attention.

Calling out to him in a foreign accent, the townsman stops in mid step. The stranger catches up and engages him.

Until…

The man disappears under the stranger’s cloak.

Blood drips from his lips, and he wipes the remaining trickles from his mouth. After disposing of the body, the mysterious figure continues on his journey. He glides through the snow as if on a sleigh, leaving no footprints behind.


*          *          *          *          *


Within a short period, he convinces Vasyl, the owner of the saloon, to hire him. Aleksei charms everyone he meets. But soon mistrust enters every tense line on Vasyl’s face as others disappear, and his wife falls under Aleksei’s spell.

The classic game of cat and mouse continues, but who will win?

Is a mere mortal any match for Aleksei?

A spark ignites within Alexei after yet another of Vasyl’s attempts to disgrace him.

This man knows of me. He must be a witch. Aleksei laughs. You are no match for me or my plan.

About the Author: 




Julie Flanders is a librarian by day and a writer all the rest of the time. Julie is also a television show addict with a particular fondness for Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead and a slightly obsessive sports fan who cheers for the Ohio State Buckeyes, the Cincinnati Reds, and the Cincinnati Bengals. She is a life-long animal lover and an animal rescue advocate and shares her home with her rescued dog and cat.

Julie’s published novels include the paranormal thriller Polar Night and the historical ghost story The Ghosts of Aquinnah. Both are available from Ink Smith Publishing. Polar Day, the sequel to Polar Night, will be published by Ink Smith in January, 2015.

Julie is a proud member of the speculative fiction writing group Untethered Realms. Meet the rest of the group and explore their books at the Untethered Realms website.

Please visit Julie at her website at julieflanders.net or contact her by email at julie@julieflanders.net. She can also be found on Twitter at @JulesFlanders.

Enter to win one of two prize bundles featuring a $15 Amazon.com gift card and an ebook copy of The Turnagain Arm. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Gwen Gardner has revealed the next two covers in her Indigo Eady Afterlife Series, and today is the launch day for Book 2, Ghostly Gallows. Congratulations, Gwen. I love these book covers.


Ghostly Gallows is available here:  Amazon / B&N / Google Play / iTunes  


Wow. So much awesomeness going on in the space and publishing worlds. I can't keep up with it all. Do you have any news you'd like to share? Are you taking part in World Space Week? Were you at Destination Star Trek 3 or have you been to a Star Trek Convention? I'd love to hear your Trek stories.

Friday, 3 October 2014

White Lady Blog Tour & Competition

I have writer and musician, Jessica Bell rocking it on my blog today. She's just released the spine-chilling, psychological thriller White Lady. Congratulations, Jessica.


GUESS THE TRUE STATEMENT & WIN JESSICA BELL'S THRILLER, WHITE LADY! (Statement #38)

To celebrate the release of Jessica Bell's latest novel, WHITE LADY, she is giving away an e-copy (mobi, ePub, or PDF) to the first person to correctly guess the one true statement in the three statements below. To clarify, two statements are lies, and one is true:

The following is a line from the book:

a. the stench is seriously sickening
b. it stinks like dried blood
c. it reeks like yobbo puke

What do you think? Which one is true? Write your guess in the comments, along with your email address. Comments will close in 48 hours. If no-one guesses correctly within in 48 hours, comments will stay open until someone does.

Want more chances to win? You have until October 31 to visit all the blogs where Jessica will share a different set of true and false statements on each one. Remember, each blog is open to comments for 48 hours only from the time of posting.

If you win, you will be notified by email with instructions on how to download the book.

Click HERE to see the list of blogs.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

*This novel contains coarse language, violence, and sexual themes.

Sonia yearns for sharp objects and blood. But now that she's rehabilitating herself as a "normal" mother and mathematics teacher, it's time to stop dreaming about slicing people's throats.

While being the wife of Melbourne's leading drug lord and simultaneously dating his best mate is not ideal, she's determined to make it work.

It does work. Until Mia, her lover's daughter, starts exchanging saliva with her son, Mick. They plan to commit a crime behind Sonia's back. It isn't long before she finds out and gets involved to protect them.

But is protecting the kids really Sonia's motive?

Click HERE to view the book trailer.
Click HERE for purchase links.

Jessica Bell, a thirty-something Australian-native contemporary fiction author, poet and singer/songwriter/guitarist, is the Publishing Editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal and the director of the Homeric Writers' Retreat & Workshop on the Greek island of Ithaca. She makes a living as a writer/editor for English Language Teaching Publishers worldwide, such as Pearson Education, HarperCollins, MacMillan Education, Education First and Cengage Learning.

Connect with Jessica online:

Website | Retreat & workshop | Blog | Vine Leaves Literary Journal | Facebook | Twitter


That's it for this week. I'll be back on Monday. Until then, happy reading writing.