The Pit and the Passion

She held her gaze steady, mainly so she could delve deep, deep into those chocolate eyes. Together with his sharp, angular nose and intense, almost predatory, expression, he reminded her of a peregrine falcon on the hunt.

The Pit & the Passion

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Kerry Blaisdell & Her New Paranormal Debriefing the Dead


Hyacinth Finch has got one foot in the grave, the other kicking ass.

With a name like that, Hyacinth Finch could be Miss Marple’s neighbor in St. Mary Mead! I gather she’s a bit more than that. Please welcome Kerry Blaisdell and her band of quirky characters from her new paranormal romance, Debriefing the Dead. Tell us more, Kerry!



Debriefing the Dead (The Dead Series, Book 1)

The only thing Hyacinth wants is her life back. Literally. She and her sister were murdered by Demons, leaving her young nephew, Geordi, to his father’s family in the brutal Sicilian Mob. Then Archangel Michael offers her a deal: recapture a powerful rock the Demons stole, and she can live long enough to find Geordi a safe home. Refuse, and she’ll continue up (or down) to the Afterlife.

So, slightly more alive than dead, she heads for Turkey and the Demons, taking Geordi, her mysterious neighbor Jason, and a sexy dead guy only she can see with her. But the hardest part won’t be battling Demons, meeting Satan, or dodging Middle Eastern customs—it will be later, when Geordi is settled, and Michael rips her away again. How can she abandon her nephew? Or can she outwit the Angel of Death himself, and stay with Geordi forever?

The Wild Rose Press (May 7, 2018)
332 pp
Paranormal Romance, Ghost Fiction, Urban Fantasy

Hierapolis, Turkey--City of the Dead

Excerpt (G): The Rock

As is so often the case, once I got going, it wasn’t so bad. Opening the first crate was tough, and I won’t say I didn’t cry at all. Vadim was a good partner, and a better friend. At least he’d died doing what he loved—sailing the Mediterranean, with a drink in his hand and two beautiful women at his side. He was a devout atheist, but if there’s any kind of afterlife, I’d like to think he’s still sailing and drinking, and looking for the next big catch.

I found a roll of paper towels on a shelf and blew my nose, then metaphorically rolled up my non-existent sleeves and dug in.

The more valuable items were wrapped in acid-free paper and sealed in airtight containers, which I didn’t bother to open, because Vadim had helpfully labeled them. His clear, bold printing noted statuary and relics, both Pagan and Christian, from the ancient Phrygian city of Colossae, near what is now Denizli, in southwestern Turkey. The general period was the first century, so any Christian items were very early. While this fascinated me intellectually, and I did have some experience with artifacts from Turkey, it was mainly because Vadim brought them to me. My own interests lie more in the Egyptians, one of the reasons we’d complemented each other professionally. But it meant I had little personal experience with anything of this kind.

It took several trips to move the best items, and a few more for the midlevel stuff, plus getting more boxes. By the time I got to the third crate, the sun was well past its zenith, but I’d reached the dregs. Items down here were either unwrapped, loose in the packing straw, or else carelessly covered with rough cloth to prevent scratching.

This crate wasn’t as full as the others, and it looked like I was on my final trip. Thank God. I’d had a quick lunch—veggies, hummus, cheese, and bread—but otherwise worked straight through. Lily’d called twice more, but I didn’t pick up. I’d call her back over dinner, when we’d have time to chat, and I could tell her of my sudden windfall.

I plopped my last empty box on the warehouse floor, then hung over the side of the crate to excavate the bottom. I found a few more canvas bundles and pulled them out, setting them in the box, then went back once more.

I thought I’d gotten everything, until my fingers brushed against something hard, wrapped in cloth, and oddly warm to the touch. I grabbed it and heaved myself out of the crate, then examined the bundle. It felt like a rock, heavy and solid. Most of the items in this crate were broken pottery shards, from vases and the like. Hard, maybe, but not heavy. Careful not to touch the item’s surface, in case it was valuable after all, I turned it over and shook the covering loose.

Sure enough, it was a rock. Plain, gray, ordinary. About half the size of an American football, shaped like an irregular pyramid, with jagged edges and flat-but-rough surfaces. The only unusual thing about it was its warmth. Like Claude Rousseau. Which is maybe why, against my better judgment, I reached out and touched the very tip of the rock’s pyramid.

And then it shrieked at me, the agony of centuries piercing my ears till I thought my skull would burst, electric shocks searing through my fingers, hand, arm, ripping through my whole body, gripping my lungs and squeezing until I couldn’t breathe. I flung the rock away, covering my ears and dropping to the floor, shaking, gasping for air, while still it screamed, on and on and on and on, until I lay huddled on the concrete, red fire burning in my head, blackness filling my soul.

Then everything went silent.

Praise for Kerry Blaisdell

“DEBRIEFING THE DEAD is everything I want in a book: a smart, wise-cracking heroine on a witty, sexy, can’t-guess-the-next-twist ride. Trust me, Kerry Blaisdell is your new obsession. I’m a huge fan!” ~Lenora Bell, USA Today bestselling author

“Filled with quirky characters, gorgeous locations and madcap mystery, it’s easy to overlook that at the heart of Kerry Blasdell’s delicious, rollicking romp of a story is a whip-smart protagonist whose love for her family leads her to strike a bargain with the Angel of Death. Archaeology meets international intrigue in this dazzling debut by an author to watch.” ~Teri Brown, award-winning author of Velvet Undercover

Buy Links


Direct Links:

Wild Rose Press – http://bit.ly/WRPKerryBlaisdell
Barnes & Noble – http://bit.ly/BNKerryBlaisdell
GooglePlay – http://bit.ly/KBDDonGPlay
iTunes/iBooks – https://apple.co/2GTHLL0

Kerry Blaisdell

About the Author

Kerry was born in British Columbia, Canada, and has since lived all over the West Coast of North America, including California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska—everywhere except Mexico! She’s a “computer industry” brat, not a military one, but moving so frequently meant she spent a lot of time reading, and later writing, great books. She has a degree in Comparative Literature (French and Middle English) from U.C. Berkeley, and a Master’s in Teaching English and Mathematics from the University of Portland. She currently lives in the gorgeous Pacific Northwest with her husband, two “kids” in mid-to-late adolescence, assorted cats and dogs, and more hot pepper plants than anyone could reasonably consume.



To connect with Kerry:

Very Occasional Mailing List: http://bit.ly/KerrysVOML to subscribe (to win free books and learn about upcoming releases).
Instagram – @kerryblaisdell 







Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Sea Turtles, Romance, Russians, Murder, & Money--Not Necessarily in That Order


Are you in the mood for a Florida romance complete with heros, heroines, corpses, and villains? Try my Mai Tais and Mayhem~~



Blurb:

Tessa Diamond, newly arrived on the Florida Gulf Coast and looking for something to occupy her time, rescues a baby pufferfish from a hungry gull. Her good deed leads her to the famous Mote Marine Laboratory of Sarasota, and she volunteers to help at the turtle rehabilitation hospital.

When she discovers a dead body where a live turtle should be, she is swept into a shady world of smuggling, Russian gangsters, and coded messages. She confronts murder, attempted ravishment, parrots, sea turtles and big fish, only to encounter blossoming romances at every turn, including one of her own. 

She is torn between Cameron Mason, tiger-eyed and handsome, and Dugan Trevally, sexy and dangerous, but before she can drop her longstanding opposition to marriage and accept her true love, she must face the possibility that one of them could be a thief, and even a murderer.


Excerpt (G): The Body

The alarm woke her at seven. Tessa threw on the Mote polo shirt and black golf skort she’d laid out the night before, grabbed the bagel and can of V8 she’d left on the counter, and shot down Gulf of Mexico Drive as the sun came up. The road for once was deserted, and she could revel in the breeze blowing her long hair over her shoulders and the scent of frangipani in the air. The soft gray sky held only a hint of the deep blue to come later, and the gulf lay becalmed by the evaporating night. She sang a country song as she drove. In her bones she knew this would be a glorious day, the first in a long time where she felt free of any guilt or sadness. If only she could whistle. If only I could carry a tune.
She parked in the aquarium lot and walked across to the Goldstein Center. Pulling out the key Pilchard had given her, she let herself in by the ticket booth. Pale, blurry light seeped in through the plastic sheeted tanks to her right. She went up the stairs and around the gift shop to the dolphin pool, rattling doors as she went. All was quiet and locked. A snort came from the pool. One of the dolphins raised his head and peered at her before diving back down.
Looks okay here. She checked her watch. Eight-twenty. The support staff should be arriving soon to open the gift shop and ticket counter. She walked back down the stairs. The turtle tanks lay to her right—two large shallow pools that at present held four sea turtles, one leatherback—Fred—two green turtles, and a loggerhead. She leaned over Fred’s tank. “Fred,” she called, “how are you? Feeling better?”
A black mass floated at the other end of the pool. Oh dear, I hope he’s not still sick. Worried, she skirted the other tank and ducked under the gate. The mass didn’t move. “Fred?” She reached out a hand to touch his shell and instead encountered something soft and mushy. “Fred?”
At that moment the overhead light flashed on. She swung around. From the hall came the voice of Henry Stillwater, the coordinator of the dolphin training program. “Who’s there?”
“It’s Tessa. Tessa Diamond. I’m the volunteer. I was checking on Fred, but something’s wrong.”
“What?”
Tessa turned around to look into the pool again and screamed.



Buy Links:

Ebooks only:

I Heart Publishing, 12/7/2015
Contemporary romantic suspense, M/F, 2 flames, Mystery
eBook 68,840 words; print 208 pp.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

"Intriguing" Penhallow Train Incident Review at NetGalley

"Four Intriguing Stars" for The Penhallow Train Incident!!!

Here's the review from NetGalley, posted April, 2018:


Featured Reviews  4 stars, April 2018
 Christy W, Reviewer
Four intriguing stars

Great plot that keeps you interested and well developed characters.

I voluntarily read an advanced copy.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Snow and Whiskey--Romance in Maine


I’m featuring my books that are published by I Heart Publishing this week. If you’re near Cocoa Beach the first week of June, stop by the Space Coast Book Lovers event at the International Palms resort. I Heart will have a table with information.


Blurb:

Catherine Killean is a woman on a mission. When her new husband disappears, leaving a suicide note, she is determined to find out why. She follows his tracks first to the North Woods of Maine, then to Florida, and back again to Maine. Along the way, she meets the tall, dark, gruff Holden Taggart, a Maine guide.

In her doubt and loneliness she is drawn to Holden, leaving her confused and adrift. What will happen when her questions about Jonathan are finally answered? Will old loyalty or new love triumph?

How about a little Maine romance:
 
Moosehead Lake
A Widow’s Walk opens in northern Maine, on the banks of Moosehead Lake. Most of the area was timber land and as such towns catered to the men who worked in lumber camps. Like Gold Rush towns in the West, many delights awaited them—including brothels. In this scene, the hotel the travelers are staying restored the original velvet hangings and inviting boudoirs. Catherine, staying in the Madam’s room, has an unexpected visitor.



Excerpt (R): Snow and Whiskey

A soft pawing at the door roused her. “Yes?” She caught her breath. Please let it not be Al again.
“It’s me.”
“Who?”
“Me, Holden! Open the door for God’s sake.”
She went to the door, but hesitated. “What do you want?”
The growl came low. “Open the damned door, Catherine.”
She opened it. He stood there massively, leaning on the door jamb. He smelled of snow and fire and whiskey. She took a step back. He took a step forward into the room and closed the door gently behind him.
“Holden, you’re drunk!”
“I am not,” he retorted with careful dignity. “I had a shot before coming here. For warmth.”
Catherine was too busy worrying about the precarious nature of his verticality to absorb his words. To steady him, she repeated, “What do you want?”
He stared at her, his eyes hungry. Her heart flip-flopped. Holden took another step toward her. She tried to move backward and stumbled. He caught her and crushed her in his arms, his mouth coming down on hers with savage desire. She put both hands behind his head and pulled him closer. His tongue began to explore, palpating her teeth, her lips, the sensitive little inside corner of her mouth. They rocked back and forth, tasting, touching.
Suddenly Holden pulled away and staggered to the window. “I am so sorry, Catherine. It’s true, I am a little drunk. I’ve been thinking about this all day, of you—” He turned. “I’ve never felt this way about any woman. Women are—”
He was not allowed to finish. Catherine took his hand and led him to the bed. She pulled his sweater off and unbuttoned his flannel shirt. She could not resist kissing the chest as it appeared, dropping kisses down as each button came undone. Holden stood stock-still. Catherine continued to his belt. She was determined not to think about the consequences of her actions. She just wanted it. Is that so awful?
She unzipped the jeans and followed the zipper down with more kisses. She could feel him trembling. Just before she made landfall he took her arms and lifted her up.
“Not yet. I want to see you first.”
He dragged the flimsy negligee over her head. She was too aroused to care that he would see her belly and her wrinkles. She waited, empty of conscious thought. A rushing sound and then, without apparent effort, she found herself on the bed clinging to Holden, hands roaming, squeezing, lips stuck to lips, eyes glued on each other.
She felt him enter her. She tried to stop caressing him so she could focus on this new and delicious sensation, but her need was too great. It had been so long since she made love like this. That first time—after the bear—it had been satisfying, but not earthshaking. He had been no more than a body, the instrument of gratification. This time, with Holden’s fingers, lips, skin on hers, thrusting inside her with a great, deep, elemental force that almost shattered her spine, the passion swept through her like a fierce wind through Key Largo. Then it was over.
No, it wasn’t. An instant only, before he resumed his delving into her body, driving in again and again until she couldn’t stand it anymore and her body escaped her, bucking uncontrollably against him.
They slowed imperceptibly, both loath to end it. Finally Holden came to rest on top of her, his lips still cemented to hers. When he let go and rolled to one side, Catherine reached for him, panicking. He’s going to get up and leave. She knew it. Like all men. Like Jonathan.
Jonathan. Oh my God. Where did all that passion come from? What had she let herself in for? It’s not the time or the place. Holden’s eyes were closed. She thought she would close her eyes too—just for a bit—and then they would think this out together.


I Heart Book Publishing, June 6, 2016
Ebook: words; Print: 227 p.
Contemporary romantic suspense, M/F, 2 flames


E book only:



Friday, May 18, 2018

Beyond the Mist--Casi McLean's Mystery Romance in Audio

Please welcome Casi McLean. Her fabulous book Beyond the Mist (Book 2 of the Lake Lanier mysteries) is now available as an audio book. As a special treat, today we can hear an excerpt, narrated by the inimitable Amy Deuchler.


Beyond the Mist, by Casi McClean

Narrator: Amy Deuchler
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Time Travel Romance
Series: Lake Lanier Mysteries, Book 2
Release date: Mar. 26, 2017
Length: 8 hours 10 minutes

Blurb
Piper Taylor concedes she’ll never fall in love, until a treacherous storm spirals her into the arms of the handsome Nick Cramer. Unrelenting remorse over a past relationship haunts Nick, but he can’t deny the mysterious connection and hot desire Piper evokes.

The allure of a secret portal hidden beneath Atlanta’s Lake Lanier tempts him into seizing the opportunity to change his mistakes. But his time slip triggers consequences beyond his wildest dreams.

Can Piper avoid the international espionage and terrorism of 2001 New York, find Nick, and bring him home before he alters the fabric of time, or will the lovers drift forever Beyond the Mist?
Buy Links

AmazonAudibleiTunes

About the Author: Casi McLean

Award winning author, Casi McLean, pens novels to stir the soul with romance, suspense, and a sprinkle of magic. Her writing crosses genres from ethereal, captivating shorts with eerie twist endings to believable time slips, mystical plots, and sensual romantic suspense, like Beneath The Lake, WINNER: 2016 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence for BEST Romantic Suspense.

Casi's powerful memoir, Wingless Butterfly: Healing The Broken Child Within, shares an inspirational message of courage, tenacity, and hope, and displays her unique ability to excel in nonfiction and self-help as well as fiction. Known for enchanting stories with magical description, McLean entices readers in nonfiction as well with fascinating hooks to hold them captive in storylines they can't put down.

Her romance entwines strong, believable heroines with delicious hot heroes to tempt the deepest desires then fans the flames, sweeping readers into their innermost romantic fantasies. Ms. McLean weaves exceptional romantic mystery with suspenseful settings and lovable characters you'll devour. You'll see, hear, and feel the magical eeriness of one fateful night. You'll swear her time travel could happen, be mystified by her other worldly images, and feel heat of romantic suspense, but most of all you'll want more.
WebsiteTwitterFacebookGoodreadsInstagram

About the Narrator: Amy Deuchler

Amy is a Chicago-based voice artist and actor specializing in audiobook narration, e-learning, and radio or TV commercials. Amy is professionally trained in commercial and narration voiceover and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre from Marquette University and a Master's degree in Library and Information Science from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In her spare time, Amy also enjoys reading, painting, designing lights and scenery for theatre, and biking. She lives with her boyfriend and their two cats and a dog just north of Chicago.
WebsiteTwitterFacebook



Wednesday, May 16, 2018

My Amazon Trip--at Kay Phoenix's today



Please join me at Kay Phoenix’s lovely blog today. I’m talking about one of my favorite trips (and the subject of my current work-in-progress)—to the Amazon! As an added treat, read a new excerpt from my newest release The Pit and the Passion: Murder at the Ghost Hotel.


Thursday, May 10, 2018

Strange Tidings--Mystery, Magic, and Music from Jim Stein


Please welcome Jim Stein and his first (published) novel, Strange Tidings. Can you tell us a little of the background of your story?


Strange Tidings is set in New Philadelphia, a post-apocalyptic suburb not far from where I grew up. I’ve always been intrigued by Native American lore because my mother was part Cherokee—I am not, due to being adopted. Still, the mystique remains and may have contributed to Native American legends being central to Strange Tidings.    

I wrote the first half of the story during NaNoWriMo 2015, starting with just a few notes about Ed, the main character. Another month of hard writing and year of revisions brought Strange Tidings to publication.

This is the third novel I have written and my first published. The story is fresh and light, with a bit of mystery, magic, and music that should appeal to teens through adults. I hope you consider picking up Strange Tidings or one of the other fine books showcased here. As always—Happy Reading!

Now, tell us what the story’s about.

The apocalypse didn’t arrive with nuclear war or a plague of zombies, just a quiet virus that sterilized most everyone and put humanity's future in jeopardy. Fifty years later, seventeen-year-old Ed Johnson plies his musical talents in New Philadelphia, jumping at the chance to help launch a coworker’s band. But Quinn, their beautiful bassist, is inexplicably cold toward him, and other strange things are afoot.

In spite of a growing unease, Ed shrugs off being stalked by a crazy, old Native American and a frightening crone. But when nightmare creatures threaten his sister, Ed discovers he is bound to the strangers. To get out of this mess, he must enlist the help of his friends and Quinn, who harbors her own dark secret.

But there is little time for Ed to discover the true power of music and save them, himself, and perhaps the future of the human race.

Series: Book 1 of Legends Walk
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Fantasy, YA
Length: 79,625 words / 312 pp print length
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Publication Date: 26 Feb 2018

How about an excerpt?

Excerpt (G): The Witch

“Pete, get up!” The crumpled form didn’t move. I glared at the old woman. “Witch!”
“Temper, temper,” she mocked and flicked her wagging finger at me.
Spikes of pain drove into my skull, like a dozen tiny ice cream headaches had flown from her hand. I think I cried out. I dropped to one knee and grabbed my temples, trying to remember my plans. The hem of her long, black cloak swept toward me. I looked up through a red haze of pain and saw her arm was still extended, her cloudy eye sighted down its length.
With a thwack, a silver rectangle hit her beneath the chin. She flinched back at the impact and frowned as the remote control clattered to the floor.
“Keep off my brother!” Piper yelled.
The witch turned. I didn’t wait to see what would happen. I managed to get my brain into gear and my right hand into my pouch. I flung a bag of salt as hard as I could. My aim sucked, but, in my defense, barbs of pain still blossomed behind my eyes. The plastic bag hit the wall between the two women and pretty much exploded. I’d perforated each bag so they would hold together for a throw, but fly apart on impact. Crystals spattered against the witch’s clothing. It didn’t seem to hurt her, but she snarled and shielded her eyes, so the stuff must have some potency. Even better, the pain in my head winked out. I groaned in ecstasy, but my relief was short lived.
“Subdue them,” the woman called over her shoulder. “Leave the boy alive.”
I looked to where she turned, expecting to see some apparition. There was nothing. The witch backed up to the wall and brushed at her cloak. I heard scrabbling, like Max’s nails on the kitchen floor, and pushed to my feet. Pain seared into my left calf. I swung the butt of my rifled down, and it connected hard with something, something invisible. The pressure on my leg ceased. Blood seeped from jagged tears on either side of my jeans. I had been bit. My attacker scuttled past me, heading toward the couch and Piper.

Reviews:

  



Great excerpt! Where can readers find the book?

Buy Links:







Hyperlinks:

 Tell us about yourself and where we can find you.

About the Author:

Jim Stein grew up outside Philadelphia and entered the Navy through Penn State’s NROTC program. His hunger for stories that transport readers to extraordinary realms developed early. He writes speculative fiction advocating the underdog and embracing protagonists with strong moral fiber, often overlaid with supernatural elements and a few dark twists. When not writing, Jim puzzles over social media and how the heck introverts deal with self-promotion. He and his wife enjoy road trips in the motorhome, visits with their son and daughter, and simply seeing to the home front. Broken pinball machines also tend to sneak into the basement looking for TLC, and the fishing kayak does call out from time to time. Jim lives in northwestern Pennsylvania with his wife, Claudia, and his muse, Marley the Great Dane.


Contact Links:

Blog: on website 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JimSteinBooks  @JimSteinBooks

Hyperlinks:  Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads