Thursday, September 26, 2013

Isaiyan Morrison

Guest post and excerpt by Isaiyan Morrison












Character Profiles


First I'd like to thank you for having me on your blog!

There are a lot of characters in my novel, Deamhan, and today I'm happy to share one of them with you along with an excerpt from the novel.








Remy

Birth Name: Remy Durand

Sired: 1849

Sire: Julian

Affiliation: Lamia Deamhan

Height: 5'8

Eye Color: Blue

Hair color: Brown


Remy is the type of guy- well, Deamhan, that you wouldn't want to bring home to your mother, unless you wanted him to eat her.

As a Lamia Deamhan, violence is part of his nature. At the same time he loves to play the typical "nice guy." Females are instantly attracted to him and he uses his charm to induce them. Once they're head over heels and dangling from the tips of his cold fingers, he kills them, nice and slow.

His current obsession is Veronica, a human who recently arrived in the city on the search for answers to her mother's disappearance. She's number one on his "to seduce" list.









Veronica cleared her head free from thoughts and waited for the burning sensation to start but it never came. Instead Remy placed his finger in front of her mouth to quiet her.

“Shhh,” he said in a faint whisper that she heard underneath the music. Their dancing tempo increased while he dragged her along the dance floor.

“Let me go,” she pleaded to him.

“Do you think I’m going to hurt you?” he asked her in a soft voice. “And I thought I made a great first impression on you.”

She remained quiet.

“Would you care to join me at the bar? They have two for ones.” His brown hair was still pulled back in a ponytail. The smell of his new black leather jacket and expensive cologne radiated from him.

“Care to join me?”

“What do you want?”

They continued to dance across to the opposite end of the floor. He placed his hand behind her head and gently pressed her face in his chest. She felt his hard and cold body through his shirt. Her head began to throb slightly, and his words dilated sensually in her brain.

I want you.

What she wanted was to run from him, to break free through the crowd and toward the exit.

“I just want to get to know you more,” he replied. “You ran out unexpectedly.”

“I don’t like being threatened,” Veronica said.

He pulled her along the dance floor, spinning her around. He placed his hands back on her hips, and they continued their dark jig. “Sorry if I made you feel uncomfortable. That wasn’t my intention.”

“Then what is your intention?” she questioned.

He moved her in closer. “Like I said, to get to know you.” His body was lean, tight, and his muscles flexed when he moved his arms. “If I thought you were such a threat, you’d be dead already.” Small, loosened strands of his hair dangled, slightly touching her forehead.

Veronica suddenly felt infatuated with him. Concentrate, Veronica. He looked into her eyes, and she tried to look away. She felt her eyes drift to them and she wanted to rub her hands over his chest and up to his face.

Everything she knew about Deamhans disappeared from her mind. She left herself open to him, voluntarily pressing her face into his chest. She closed her eyes and opened her ears, hoping that he would exhale just once. He appeared different from her; not human. He became all she knew and all she wanted. No fear, no Deamhan, no Dark Sepulcher, and no search.

Yes. There was a search.

She blinked her eyes, refocusing back on reality and distancing herself from Remy’s orchestrated trance.

“You’re not scaring me.” Veronica’s lower lip quivered.

He chuckled slightly. “I’m not the one you should be scared of.” His grip began to wane. They stopped moving and she took a step back, free from his hypnotic restraint. He turned and walked away casually through the crowd. The rhythm of the music changed, and the dance floor started filling with people. She watched Remy sit on a bar stool and she glanced around, sensing her vulnerability while alone.

She followed him to the bar.

“I know how you Deamhan act.” She stood behind him. “And I know I can never trust a Deamhan.” Her mind reverted to the woman at the burnt home. Maybe he was working with her? Remy soon picked up on her thought.

“No.” Remy turned around and ordered a drink from the bartender. “I don’t have any minions.” He turned back to her. “If you want, you can be my first.”

Confused, she shook her head no.

The bartender returned, placing a glass in front of him.

“You’re right, you can never trust a Deamhan researcher. I don’t even trust Deamhan.”

Veronica sat on an empty stool next to him. He continued to look forward and sipped the dark liquid from his cup.

He was a Ramanga or maybe a Lamia. Either way, he can’t be trusted.

“I’m not a Ramanga,” he replied to her thoughts. “But I am a Lamia.”

Lamia. They had no sharp teeth like the Ramanga, but fed from their victims by mouth. As long as I don’t kiss him.

“Do you always do that?” he asked her.

“Do what?”

“Let me give you some advice, researcher,” Remy said slowly, “if you plan to hide your thoughts, you shouldn’t think. You should just ‘do’.” He sipped his drink and he looked forward, observing a female waitress from across the bar staring back at them. Remy briefly waved at her and she nodded.

“You see her?” He nodded to the waitress. “She’ll be my first meal of the night.” He placed his cup up to his lips and before taking another sip he spoke again. “And the other human behind her, near the back standing alone. She’ll be my second.”




Deamhan
Deamhan Chronicles

Book One

Isaiyan Morrison



Genre: Adult, paranormal

Publisher: Rainstorm Press


ISBN: 1937758400
ISBN-13: 978-1937758400


Formats available: Print. E-book


Cover Artist: John Cosentino


Book Description:

Her soft golden skin, her warm smile…these are the only images Veronica Austin has left of her mother who disappeared without a trace twenty years ago on the streets of Minneapolis while researching the Ramanga, the Lamia, the Metusba, and the Lugat. Known only as the Deamhan, they are a different breed from the modern bloodsucking vampire.

A stranger to this world, Veronica’s search for the truth about her mother’s unexplained disappearance takes her into their sinister and precarious world. She gains the trust of the only other human familiar with the Deamhan lifestyle. With his help she finds not only can the Deamhan not be trusted but it’s her own father, president of a ruthful organization of researchers, who has diabolically maintained that distrust.

Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/JvXvINwJpH0

Amazon













About the Author:

An avid gamer, writer, and lover of history, Isaiyan Morrison was born and raised in Minnesota. She moved to San Diego, California while in the Navy. After serving four years of active duty, she moved to Los Angeles.

After a few years, she moved back to Minnesota where she started to pursue her dream to be an author.

Besides writing, she also likes to read, surf the internet, watch movies, and play video games. She likes warm drinks, pico de gallo, and her love for cilantro is legendary.

At one point she was sponsored to participate in video game tournaments. During that time she traveled to Canada, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, Iowa, Oklahoma, and Caribbean.

Her novel Deamhan, the first book in the Deamhan series, was accepted for publication by Rainstorm Press for release in mid 2013. She’s currently in talks to have the second book Sensual Appetite published by the same company.


Other novels the author has completed are The Carriers (Sphere Episode One,) The Bond (Sphere, Episode Two,) and Old Farmer’s Road to name a few.

She’s currently writing the third Deamhan book titled, Revelation, and Maris. The Brotherhood Files. 







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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Sebastiana Randone


Guest Post by Sebastiana Randone














A CAST OF DISTINCTIVE CHARACTERS


When first conceiving my characters for The House, I took myself back to the many fairy tales I had read as a child, and channelled some of the creatures and folk prevalent in those classic stories. By thinking of them as archetypes, I created a beastly and dipsomaniacal Lord, an analogy to the predatory wolf, a sensitive Lady powerless to find her true calling, an essence of the damsel in distress, and a troupe of personages that one never reads about in novels written during the (regency) era my book presides in. Such as is the diverse cast that inhabit my book; transvestites, homosexuals, rent boys, courtesans, poets, and of course a time traveller, to name some of this disparate ensemble.

Menacing gargoyles, half man/beast manifestations, another borrowing from the classics, clasp the walls of the house, while in contrast, and most unexpectedly, the interior is adorned by cherubim, goddesses and friendly hard to define souls, whose animated amiable eyes follow in sympathy. Upon the face of it, the beasts ‘guarding’ the ramshackle house symbolise unknown and potentially perilous encounters within. The accidental visitor is left with very little choice for shelter however, for the forest whilst enchanting, has an impending darkness that only wolves and predators revel in.

With a narrative that takes the reader into the Georgian and Regency periods, I purposely created players that I had never met in the books of Jane Austen, nor of those of her contemporaries. While the dramatis personae in ‘The House’ have walked the well trodden path of humanity, social mores of periods past would most certainly not have approved. This was the distinction I enjoyed exploring. Despite the fact that I worked diligently to give them a voice that belonged to that particular era, the aspiration was to write a story that portrayed a familiar humanity. I have been a passionate reader of classic novels for a long while, and the ones that engage me most profoundly are those that present a psychologically complex society. Regardless of the departure from reality that this fantasy novel affords, my aim was to fashion recognisable characters that have travelled throughout time.





The House
Sebastiana Randone

Genre: Adult fairy tale, regency romance, past-life romance, paranormal/fantasy, time-travel

ISBN: 978-1-4836-1371-0
ASIN: B00DAMPQ8Q

Book Description:

The House is the tale of a woman, who is so absorbed with historical novels that her own reality ceases to offer any hope of romance and beauty.

One day this dreamy idealist finds herself in a mysterious forest. How she arrived there is unknown. She encounters a ramshackle house, wherein magical rooms that transport to parallel worlds lay in wait. She is transported to historical England, where she interacts with a collection of character's whose dysfunctional lives become apparent immediately.

The first tribulation involves a nefarious lord, an archetypal embodiment of the monstrous creatures that often haunt fairy tales. The ramification of this confrontation sets the tone for the narrative.

Before long, the folly of disdaining her mundane reality is realized, and she desires desperately to return to her former predictable life.

A hidden portal finally enables escape from the austere Georgian dwelling. She is spirited back to the enigmatic house, where a journey to Regency London ensues. A large cast of eccentric identities present themselves.

One day a handsome, despondent poet arrives, following a period in Florence. His introduction to the time traveler offers promise of restoration and love. But upon the face of it, and much to his chagrin, this union cannot be consummated. There are a few more obstacles ahead before her destiny in this strange adventure is made apparent. In the end a past life connection starts to reveal itself. And like all good fairy tales, the ending is pleasing, even though the means of getting there are dark and at times, sinister.











About the Author:

Sebastiana Randone lives in Melbourne, Australia, and is from a dance background.

From an early age, Sebastiana developed a passion for reading, and from that moment has never been without a book.

The desire to write ‘one day’ had been pursuing for a long while. Finally that goal was realized with the debut release of “The House”; an adult fairy tale set in the Regency era.

Sebastiana is presently writing her second book; a paranormal romance novel based in New York late 1980’s.

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7030435.Sebastiana_Randone 







Friday, September 20, 2013

Margaret Daley


Guest post and excerpt by Margaret Daley











My Writing Environment
By Margaret Daley


I remember when I first stated writing back in the Dark Ages when I used a typewriter. I had my typewriter set up on the kitchen table. I’ve come a long way since then. I’ve advanced to a computer (and so glad I don’t have to revise a manuscript on a typewriter—a lot of work) and I have my own office with a door I can close when I want to keep the world out.

Have you ever tried to write and family members keep interrupting you and you lose your thought in mid-sentence? Or, you don’t have anywhere to spread your stuff out? There are times when I’m on a deadline that my office gets messy, but I don’t have to straighten up until I’ve sent my book off. I just shut the door so no one has to see the mess but me.

When I set up my office years ago, I put a lot of thought into its layout and furniture. I wanted something that inspired me and was comfortable. After all, I was going to spend hours and hours in that room. I spend more time in my office than any room in my house—even my bedroom. Okay, that may read that I’m a workaholic and I probably am but I have everything I need at my fingertips.








My office walls are painted hot pink with white trim. I didn’t know how I was going to like hot pink and thought if it didn’t work out I could paint over it. But I love the walls. I find the color is invigorating, and I haven’t grown tired of the hot pink yet. In fact, the color has grown on me.







Over the years I began collecting flamingoes. I love animals and flamingoes are hot pink. What better accent than that in my office! Now I have so many—from a giant six-foot stuffed flamingo to a Christmas tree with mostly flamingo ornaments on it. The tree is up year round. And if my cats leave the tree alone, the ornaments stay on it.








When I published my first book in 1981, my husband starting framing my books to hang on the wall. Now I have over sixty on the walls in my office. When I get discouraged, I can look at what I’ve accomplished in almost thirty years in the business.

How important is your workspace to you? For me it is my getaway where I can go to dream up stories to entertain readers. I usually read books for pleasure even in my office. I have a couch that is quite comfortable. I have been known to fall asleep on it.

What do you think is important in an office or a workspace?

Margaret Daley, an award-winning author of eighty-four books, has been married for over forty years and is a firm believer in romance and love. When she isn’t traveling, she’s writing love stories, often with a suspense thread and corralling her three cats that think they rule her household. To find out more about Margaret visit her website at http://www.margaretdaley.com.

Dangerous Pursuit is the first in a three book series called The Protectors. The second book is also out now called Dangerous Interlude. The third book, Dangerous Paradise, will be out in the next month.

Dangerous Pursuit's blurb:

Reading about danger never prepared Samantha Prince for the desperate phone call from her brother in Brazil that sent her from the safety of her New Orleans bookstore into the rugged, inhospitable Amazon in search of him and a hidden treasure. And reading about romance never prepared Samantha to resist the mysterious appeal of Brock Slader, a guide she hired to help her in her quest.

Alone with Brock in an alien world of orchids and anacondas, primitive headhunters and very up-to-date gunmen, she struggles to keep their relationship strictly business. Will Samantha survive the dangers in the jungle only to have her heart broken by a man who lives on the edge—no strings attached?

Dangerous Interlude's blurb:
Christmas in Austria

Schoolteacher and single mother, Anna Stanfield, has her dream come true when she wins a trip to Austria to ski in the Alps. She doesn’t think her vacation can get any better until she meets a mysterious man, Mark Prince, in Salzburg. But when she discovers she is trapped in his chalet, everything changes. Anna finds it hard to resist Mark’s charm, but she doesn’t know who to trust. Is Mark friend or foe?





Dangerous Pursuit
The Protectors
Book One
Margaret Daley

Genre: romantic suspense

ISBN: 9781301248940
ASIN: B00E7HNG6M
BN ID: 2940148824664

Cover Artist: Laura Marie Altom





Book Description:

Reading about danger never prepared Samantha Prince for the desperate phone call from her brother in Brazil that sent her from the safety of her New Orleans bookstore into the rugged, inhospitable Amazon in search of him and a hidden treasure. And reading about romance never prepared Samantha to resist the mysterious appeal of Brock Slader, a guide she hired to help her in her quest.

Alone with Brock in an alien world of orchids and anacondas, primitive headhunters and very up-to-date gunmen, she struggles to keep their relationship strictly business. Will Samantha survive the dangers in the jungle only to have her heart broken by a man who lives on the edge—no strings attached?








“Don’t worry. You won’t have an hysterical woman on your hands. I don’t go in for that.” Samantha’s voice held none of the confidence she wanted. She told herself that it was the humidity and strangeness of the jungle city. But in truth all her senses converged on the touch of Brock’s hand on her arm, his fingers a tantalizing combination of rough and gentle.

Brock released his hold on her but didn’t move away. He was only inches from her, his male scent mingling with the potent odors of the tropics carried on the moisture-laden breeze. The noise of Manaus surrounded them, but all Samantha could hear was the loud pounding of her heart that filled her ears.

“I knew a man who disappeared about six months back without a trace. There are a lot of stories like that, Miss Prince.”

“I’m sure there are, but I’ll find Mark. I would know if something had happened to him.”

The warm gleam in his eyes that made them appear almost silver was gone, replaced by a serious look that turned his gaze a dark gray like storm clouds. “It will be worse if you discover nothing.”

“Worse?”

“The jungle has a way of swallowing people up. You may never find out what’s happened to your brother. You may spend the rest of your life hoping for something that won’t happen.”

The thought sent a chill down her spine, in spite of the heat. “What has made you so cynical?”

“Reality,” he said in a clipped voice, his expression suddenly very closed. His stance forbade further discussion of the subject.

Samantha took a step back, trying to distance herself from his very masculine presence. “Are you saying I should hope to find my brother dead rather than not at all?”

Brock’s mouth thinned. His eyes narrowed. He didn’t need this. Why was he even standing here with her. His common sense told him it was dangerous to become involved with Samantha Prince and her quest. He needed to keep his distance. She reminded him of all the things he had left behind in the States: security, normalcy, order.

But looking at Samantha Prince at that moment stirred something in him he didn’t need or want—a protective instinct. Wisps of her fiery hair had escaped her bun and framed her face. Not a beautiful face by most people’s standards but definitely intriguing, he decided as his gaze took in the angry tilt of her head, the glint in her sherry-colored eyes, the frown on her full lips, the sprinkle of freckles on her upturned nose.










About the Author:

Margaret Daley, an award-winning author of eighty-four books, has been married for over forty years and is a firm believer in romance and love.

When she isn’t traveling, she’s writing love stories, often with a suspense thread and corralling her three cats that think they rule her household.

To find out more about Margaret visit her website at http://www.margaretdaley.com.

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/margaretdaley

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/MargaretDaley











Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Nick Kelly


Guest Post and Excerpt by Nick Kelly













If you could have any superpower, what would you choose?

Would you walk through walls, have super strength, or be able to teleport? Would you never age, control the weather, or have X-ray vision? Would you be able to run faster than cars, leap over eighteen wheelers, and kick harder than a cannon?

What if you weren’t the one who got to choose?

Leon “Catwalk” Caliber is a drifter, a former cop who simply wants to roam the slums of Los Angeles, take the odd job every now and then, and be left the hell alone. When a religious fanatic begins unleashing cyborg versions of the Four Horsemen on the city, Cat is the only one with a fighting chance to stop them.

Before Cat was a cop, he was an orphan, stuck in a wheelchair with useless legs, no family, and no future. Then, the police came calling with an unbelievable offer. They would give him cybernetic legs. He would be able to run, to jump, and to once again be whole. The catch? He would have to serve on the most dangerous squad in D.C. But, hell, what’s five years of service in exchange for a lifetime with superhuman powers?








Catwalk (from 2001’s “Independent Voices 3” by Peregrine Entertainment)
What happens when you drop an unwilling hero in the dark Downtown of Nitro City? Read for yourself:
_

Excerpt:

“Okay, Sweetie, open your eyes.”

Leon “Catwalk” Caliber takes a long drag off of his cigarette. The voice on the vidscreen triggers the same sick taste in his throat as the first time he pressed the play button. The series of events on-screen remains the same: the awkward smile of the girl in the frame, the sweet and self-absorbed tone with which the man just off-camera delivers his dialogue, the slight, excited shaking of the camera as she looks up at him. Once again he asks the young girl which hand holds the coin, even though only his left hand is extended. She’s nervous. Her shoulders are pulled up, and her arms are tight to her body. She shifts to accommodate the tight fit of her school uniform. She blushes, the ghost of Shirley Temple, complete with pigtails and storybook innocence. She giggles and touches the back of the man’s gloved hand with a finger. She’s correct.

It’s the right hand that wields the bone saw.

Catwalk stops the recording. The glass next to him is empty, the bottle of bourbon almost the same. The dull glow of the paused recording is the only light in the loft, save a few blinking sensors from the bay that hosts his motorcycle and gear. He stares mutely at the image on the screen. He already has the rest of it memorized. The girl survives for another two minutes and 17 seconds. She doesn’t suffer long. Thank whatever God she believes in that she doesn’t feel what happens next. This killer doesn’t keep his victims alive along. He saves the mutilation and sex acts until after they’re dead. He doesn’t get off on torture, just the rush of ending a life … even that of an eight-year-old girl.

Cat takes a hold of his whiskey tumbler, mindlessly raising it to his lips. The lack of liquid distracts him from the screen. The video was an unexpected test. Someone hoping to remain anonymous had paid a deposit for his services. The instructions were simple. Watch the video. Find the killer. Get vengeance for the victims. Get proof. Get paid.

His yellow eyes return to the screen. His lips curl into a sneer. After watching the recording once, he was willing to do the job for free. That feeling amplified each time he watched the girl die. Cat chuckles out loud. He’s curious at his reaction. This chit never bothered him before. Why now? Why her?

He stands and walks away from the screen. He needs a break. He stands and stretches. The muscles along his arms and sides are sore. His legs and spine don’t protest. They’re hard-wired into his nervous system. Thanks to modern cybernetic technology, he can leap from the sidewalk to the top of an apartment complex, and outrun most of the commercial vehicles on the market.

The benefits aren’t without a curse. His immune system has never quite solved the riddle of his experimental cybernetics. Treatment is painful and expensive. He could use the money this job would bring in.

Catwalk stands in front of one of the windows, listening to the endless clamor of sirens, screams and gunfire in the distance. He’s chosen a nasty part of Downtown. It’s dangerous, but it’s very private. As a professional hitman, that’s worth the risk.

Running his hands through his jet black hair, he ties it into its customary ponytail. He looks over his shoulder at the custom-crafted, armored helmet resting on the counter. The triangular yellow cat’s eyes stare back at him. Cursing under his breath, Cat walks toward the helmet and the armored motorcycle behind it with cold intent.

There’s work to be done.
_

To read on, pick up the eBook at Amazon, register for our 10 book giveaway over on Goodreads, and grab the original Catwalk comic.

So, if you could have any superpower, what would you choose?

(I love this question, and I openly admit it’s not mine to ask. Thank “A Surefire Way” author, J.T. Bock, for that one.)


One Love,
nK



Catwalk: Messiah 
Leon “Catwalk” Caliber Series
Book One
Nick Kelly

Genre: Sci-Fi

ISBN: 978-0-9852837-5-9



Cover Artist: Heidi Sutherlin





Book Description:

Nitro City, 2033.

Leon "Catwalk" Caliber left his cop job in DC behind, heading to the City of Angels to earn a living off the grid. He took a few odd jobs that called for his particular skill set – extortion, espionage, and the occasional hit – and managed to carve out a niche for himself among the Downtown dwellers.


All the changed when a new breed of MetaHuman cyborg appeared on the streets with explosive violence. Cat’s quiet existence is sent into turmoil when he finds himself right in the crosshairs. He must evade the assassin squads sent by a vengeful pimp, uncover the origin of these mysterious new mechs, and keep the cops off of his tail. Simple enough, except that the cybernetic technology that powers his body threatens to sever his humanity at any moment. Can the killer with a conscience find a cure, solve the case, get the girl, and live to see another day?






“Okay, Sweetie, open your eyes.”

Leon “Catwalk” Caliber takes a long drag off of his cigarette. The voice on the vidscreen triggers the same sick taste in his throat as the first time he pressed the play button. The series of events on-screen remains the same: the awkward smile of the girl in the frame, the sweet and self-absorbed tone with which the man just off-camera delivers his dialogue, the slight, excited shaking of the camera as she looks up at him. Once again he asks the young girl which hand holds the coin, even though only his left hand is extended. She’s nervous. Her shoulders are pulled up, and her arms are tight to her body. She shifts to accommodate the tight fit of her school uniform. She blushes, the ghost of Shirley Temple, complete with pigtails and storybook innocence. She giggles and touches the back of the man’s gloved hand with a finger. She’s correct.

It’s the right hand that wields the bone saw.

Catwalk stops the recording. The glass next to him is empty, the bottle of bourbon almost the same. The dull glow of the paused recording is the only light in the loft, save a few blinking sensors from the bay that hosts his motorcycle and gear. He stares mutely at the image on the screen. He already has the rest of it memorized. The girl survives for another two minutes and 17 seconds. She doesn’t suffer long. Thank whatever God she believes in that she doesn’t feel what happens next. This killer doesn’t keep his victims alive along. He saves the mutilation and sex acts until after they’re dead. He doesn’t get off on torture, just the rush of ending a life … even that of an eight-year-old girl.

Cat takes a hold of his whiskey tumbler, mindlessly raising it to his lips. The lack of liquid distracts him from the screen. The video was an unexpected test. Someone hoping to remain anonymous had paid a deposit for his services. The instructions were simple. Watch the video. Find the killer. Get vengeance for the victims. Get proof. Get paid.

His yellow eyes return to the screen. His lips curl into a sneer. After watching the recording once, he was willing to do the job for free. That feeling amplified each time he watched the girl die. Cat chuckles out loud. He’s curious at his reaction. This chit never bothered him before. Why now? Why her?

He stands and walks away from the screen. He needs a break. He stands and stretches. The muscles along his arms and sides are sore. His legs and spine don’t protest. They’re hard-wired into his nervous system. Thanks to modern cybernetic technology, he can leap from the sidewalk to the top of an apartment complex, and outrun most of the commercial vehicles on the market.

The benefits aren’t without a curse. His immune system has never quite solved the riddle of his experimental cybernetics. Treatment is painful and expensive. He could use the money this job would bring in.

Catwalk stands in front of one of the windows, listening to the endless clamor of sirens, screams and gunfire in the distance. He’s chosen a nasty part of Downtown. It’s dangerous, but it’s very private. As a professional hitman, that’s worth the risk.

Running his hands through his jet black hair, he ties it into its customary ponytail. He looks over his shoulder at the custom-crafted, armored helmet resting on the counter. The triangular yellow cat’s eyes stare back at him. Cursing under his breath, Cat walks toward the helmet and the armored motorcycle behind it with cold intent.

There’s work to be done.










About the Author:

Nick grew up on sci-fi, horror flicks, Dungeons and Dragons, good music, and recycled comic books. He has been published internationally as a comic book author and musician. He’s spent over half his life on stage from New York to Las Vegas. He is outspoken, supportive, and willing to take a good kick to the ribs for the right cause. When not touring the world, Nick lives at home with his blushing bride (and co-author), Dr. Stacia Kelly, their son, and a rotating roster of cats and dogs.


twitter @Nick_Kelly







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More of the tour...

September 20 Interview
The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom
www.creativelygreen.blogspot.com

September 23 Interview
Roxanne’s Realm
www.roxannesrealm.blogspot.com

September 24 Guest blog
Mythical Books
http://mythicalbooks.blogspot.ro/

September 25 Spotlight
Books and Tales:
http://www.booksandtales.blogspot.co.uk/

September 26 Interview
Fang-tastic Books
www.fang-tasticbooks.blogspot.com

September 27 Guest blog
Reading In Twilight
http://readingintwilight.blogspot.com

September 30 Spotlight
Mila Ramos
www.jademystique.blogspot.com

September 30 Spotlight
Mommasez...blog
http://ccclubbs.com/














Monday, September 16, 2013

Brie McGill


Guest Post and excerpt by Brie McGill














Why I Love Byronic Heroes (Maybe Too Much)



Someone once told me, “I saw a bumper sticker that said, ‘chicks dig pale skinny dudes,’ and I thought of you.” Maybe it was because none of those picture-perfect, clean-cut boys on the football team ever dated me, or maybe it’s because I’ve always been a bit twisted myself; whatever the cause, I have an unyielding soft spot for the Byronic hero.

Lord Byron, official founder of the archetype, was cited by a lover as “mad, bad, and dangerous to know.” According to legend, he had a club foot, drank wine from a human skull, and had an affair with his sister. Byronic heroes are often moody and brooding, feeling grief over loss, guilt over a past crime, or disgust with a personal shortcoming. They may self-medicate in excess.

Hold on--wait--why is this so appealing, again? Isn’t pursuing a dude like this recipe for disaster?

(In some cases, yes; I recommend Amanda DeWees’s A Sea of Secrets for an interesting twist on this trope.)

As a connoisseur of epic plots, the traditional alpha male--as brawny, shiny, and glorious as he might be--is comparatively boring. His quest will undoubtedly follow the hero’s journey (which is still interesting, but, predictable). He has big muscley arms. He fights for what is right. The Paladin. Snore.

The Byronic hero, by comparison, is never out for good. He’s often out for revenge; he’s always out for himself; and you’ll often find him locked inside, lurking in his castle, crumbling tower, or coffin, because he is too busy obsessing over that pesky dark secret.

If he chooses to engage the plot, at some point, a Byronic hero is forced to confront what haunts him. The real struggle a Byronic hero faces is not with the external world--it’s not a dragon, it’s not a supervillain--it’s himself. It’s about finding the fortitude to look within, and find the parts of one’s own psyche that are dastardly, vicious, or weak. And he must wrestle them. He may or may not win.

The real struggle engulfing a Byronic hero, then, is the struggle to become a better person. It’s about the struggle to get up in the face of pain--all-consuming, soul-eating, nightmare-inducing pain--and keep going. That’s a fight worth fighting.

It also makes it a story worth reading, because everyone struggles with various degrees of personal truth.

In Final Fantasy VII, the player encounters Vincent Valentine sleeping in a coffin at the bottom of an abandoned mansion, which was his company’s go-to spot for secret genetic experiments. Vincent will join the team and agree to help save the world to atone for his sin of failing to protect the woman he loved, if... if the player can convince him to leave his coffin.

In If You Come To California, the young and naive Josie gets a job cleaning Mickey Solomon’s house--the house where he runs his illegal green card racket and smokes drugs in the bathtub with hordes of naked women. He’s terrifying; he won’t hesitate to shoot a man; yet, he is one of the only people Josie can count on in a world full of fake people, because he is moved by her innocence--something otherwise missing in his life.

There are too many captivating Byronic heroes in fiction to list--Anne Rice’s Lestat, Vampire Princess Miyu’s Larva, Castlevania’s Alucard. While a Byronic hero is well-suited to be a vampire, he also makes a magnificent pirate, like Jack Sparrow, or a formidable wizard, like Harry Dresden or Severus Snape.

Of course, not every Byronic hero wins his battle with the inner demons: consider the case of Anakin Skywalker. But even when they fail, Byronic heroes are unforgettable, because they fought an internal battle to which we can all relate.

There was a second bumper stick that made me smile. It read: “Quiet guys scream the loudest.” Millions of women across the globe drooling over Christian Grey must agree.







Brigham loomed over the youth, and with a sharp gesture of the hand, spit the booming command: “Aadima.”
The youth stirred from his drug-induced catatonia. He rolled his head to one side, the silver wired crown tipping forward, and slowly sat upright, confined by the bonds of the chair. His eyes fluttered open, brown, wide, and blank, reflecting an awareness scrambled.
He squinted, struggling to draw Brigham into focus. A moment passed: he shook the fog out of his head, and his posture stiffened, recognizing the man in front of him. He pounded a fist against his chest in salute. “Commander Brigham, Sir!”
Brigham looked to the screen; he glanced at his watch, and turned to Skirra. “Thirty-seven seconds. Note it.”
Skirra fumbled with an electronic notepad, trembling and tapping in her notes.
Brigham knelt on one knee beside the examination chair, and waved an intricate series of hand gesticulations in the subject’s face. “Greetings, Kain.”
The man sat rigid in the chair, staring blankly ahead.
Dvitiiya.” Brigham paired his command with a symphony of motor signals. “Disable.”
“Secondary Dvitiiya functions.” The youth spoke in an empty voice. “Disabled, Sir.”
“Kain.” Brigham climbed to his feet, clutching the back of the chair. “Tritiiya.”
The subject remained frozen in his chair, eyes glossy and unblinking.
“Damn you!” Brigham grabbed a flat remote from his pocket, pointed it at the man in the chair and clicked.
The youth moaned, violent tremors wracking his body. He convulsed and flopped in the chair, the leather bonds subduing him, holding him in place.
Skirra brought her hands to her head, watching in horror as graphs spiked and numbers soared.
“There are no uses for faulty machinery!” Brigham towered over the shackled youth, indifferent to his pain. “None! You remember that.”
Skirra glanced at the clock, and chewed her nails.
“Kain.” Brigham cleared his throat. “Load Tritiiya.”
The subject’s breathing slowed and he shifted his posture, sitting upright. He stared ahead, speaking in a monotone. “Tertiary Tritiiya functions loaded, Sir.”
“Kain.” Brigham waved his hand, and spoke in a thunderous voice. “Load Caturtha.”
“Identification confirmed: granting access to restricted Caturtha systems.” He mechanically rotated his head toward the floor, and spoke with eyes closed. “Proceed with instructions.”
Skirra slinked beside Brigham, and lifted a pair of clunky taupe goggles covered in a swarm of blinking lights. She leaned over the chair and rested the goggles on the bridge of the youth’s nose, and fitted the frames, one at a time, over his ears with a gentle touch.
“Kain, do you recognize the image of this man?” He drummed his fingers against the back of the chair.
“Recognition affirmative, Sir.”
“Spectacular.” Brigham joined his hands in a deafening clap. “Execute primary Caturtha commands, and target this man.”
“Target confirmed, Sir.” He stared in a daze at the lightshow provided by the goggles. “Requesting variables of mission duration, Sir.”
Brigham pealed his final command. “Caturtha functions will terminate when his Glorious duties are fulfilled.”





Kain
Sex, Drugs, and Cyberpunk
Book One

Brie McGill

Genre: Cyberpunk/Steamy Romance


ISBN: 148267324X
ASIN: B00CQ8BJLI


Cover Artist: Jeanne Quinn






Amazon



Book Description:

Counting days is irrelevant in the life of a well-to-do man, unless he counts the days passed in total service to the Empire. Salute. Submit. Shut up and scan the wrist. Therapists armed with batons and brass knuckles guide the derelict along a well-beaten path to Glory.

When human experiment Lukian Valentin escapes the Empire to save his crumbling sanity--through a grimescape of fissured highways, collapsing factories, putrescent sewers--he realizes the fight isn’t only for his life, it’s for his mind. Torturous flashbacks from a murky past spur him on a quest for freedom, while the Empire’s elite retrievers remain at his heels, determined to bring him home for repair.

Lukian needs one doctor to remove the implanted chips from his body, and another to serve him a tall glass of answers. Lukian attempts a psychedelic salvage of his partitioned mind, gleaning fragments of the painful truth about his identity.

A scorching, clothes-ripping rendezvous with a mysterious woman offers Lukian a glimpse of his humanity, and respite from his nightmarish past. It also provides the Empire the perfect weakness to exploit for his recapture.

To rise to the challenge of protecting his new life, his freedom of thought, and his one shot at love, Lukian must reach deep into his mind to find his true identity. To defeat the Empire, he requires the deadly power of his former self--a power that threatens to consume him.










About the Author:

Doctors suspect Brie developed an overactive imagination during childhood to cope with the expansive corn maze known as rural Pennsylvania. Unable to afford an operation to have the stories surgically removed from her brain, she opted instead to write them down.

Brie lives in British Columbia with her boyfriend and naughty black cat, somewhere not too far from the sea. She enjoys trips to the local farm, chatting with her long-distance friends on a rotary phone, and roflstomping video games from the nineties. 


Brie's favorite authors include Anne Rice, George Orwell, and Hunter S. Thompson.

Official page: www.sexdrugsandcyberpunk.com 


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Brie-Mcgill/129204760606726

Twitter: www.twitter.com/briemcgill

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7085769.Brie_McGill

Google+: https://plus.google.com/102373263520859406267/posts



More of the tour...

September 17 Spotlight
Let’s Start Saving Now –
www.letsstartsavingnow.com
Book Worm & More,
http://bookwormandmore.blogspot.com/

September 18 Spotlight
Traci Douglass
www.tracidouglass.net/blog

September 19 Spotlight
Share My Destiny
http://sharemydestiny.blogspot.com

September 20 Guest blog
The Snarkology
http://melissasnark.blogspot.com/

September 23 Interview
Fang-tastic Books
www.fang-tasticbooks.blogspot.com









Thursday, September 12, 2013

Ann Gimpel


Guest post and excerpt by Ann Gimpel...













The Psychology of Character Development


Since psychology is a comfort zone for me, it seems logical to blog about the psychology of character development. Have you ever wondered why some fictional characters feel so real it seems you could easily know them, while others feel wooden and contrived? Or worse, when an author builds a character who feels real up until they suddenly don't because of some event that simply jars your sensibilities; and you toss the book aside feeling cheated. Or, when you get partway through a book and all the characters feel alike? Or, they're two dimensional and it's difficult to understand why they're doing what they are. And you find yourself paging backwards to see if you missed something. Of course that's much harder to do with e-readers.

I'm sure all authors address character development a bit differently. Truth be told, I wish I could because the way my characters come to life is intrusive. Once "born", they run about in my head like little mad things. If I try to make them do something they don't like, they let me know about it in no uncertain terms. That's why I'm an "organic" writer. I've tried outlining my material and found it to be a waste of time when my protagonist simply thumbs her nose at me if I push her in a direction she doesn't want to go. Patiently explaining about the plot has proven meaningless. Besides, people think I've gone bonkers when they see me having conversations with myself!

Before I started writing fiction, I didn't understand this at all. Years ago when I read an interview by Diana Gabaldon when she complained about her protag, Clare Randall, simply refusing to cooperate, I just rolled my eyes. Now I understand perfectly. Apologies, Diana!
I suppose most of my books begin in my head with a protagonist. Once I have the protag, I need to figure out which setting would work best for them. Is it modern day America? Or do they live in a high fantasy world, or a science fiction one? They usually let me know right away if I've gotten it wrong. If I’m going for high fantasy where I need to do extensive world-building, I usually try to have at least some of that mapped out first. Maybe it’s a built-in deficit, but I find I cannot build both worlds and characters at the same time. The credibility of my story suffers if I try.

Characters are just like us--except they're larger than life. What that means is, while you and I might think about an unusual act of heroism, my characters will actually do it. Oh, they'll be plenty scared; but they'll mow right ahead in spite of it. When you think about it, a working definition of courage or heroism is action in the face of fear. If I have a character in a situation that would scare me, of course it scares them too. Unless the character is a sociopath. They aren't particularly sensitive to the feelings that plague the rest of us. Things like compassion, fear, honor, etc. Sociopaths manipulate others and are able to do so without much in the way of emotional fallout . . . at least to themselves. Everyone around them suffers terribly.

So long as we're on the topic of sociopaths, the very best books have well-drawn, three dimensional antagonists as well as strong protags. Without digging too terribly deeply, I can generally find something in any antagonist to at least try to link to a reader's sensibilities. Humans usually have mixed feelings about lots of things. It's important for characters to be able to see things from more than one point of view as well. That's one of the tools an author has to make characters feel believable.

While it’s fun to go to the movies and watch superheroes mow through one catastrophe after the next, guns blazing, readers want fictional characters they can relate to. From a reader perspective, which characters work best for you? Who have some of your favorites been and why?








Loren double parked the electric car outside the restaurant and shadowed them inside, along with the redheaded guard. “Looks pretty good.” Loren eyed the private, sound-shielded room. “I’ll be right outside, and John will be here, too, just as soon as he takes care of the car.”
Once reinforcements arrive, feel free to go hunt for your men,” Max said. “You must be worried about them.”
Thanks, boss. I am. Go sit down. I’ll scare up a waiter to at least get you a bottle of wine or something. John’s going off-shift in an hour, so there will be two new guards outside when you’re done eating.”
Thanks for letting me know.” Max pulled the door shut and walked to the table. Audrey had already seated herself and was sorting through the stack of papers, arranging them into piles. “It’s all right if you don’t work for a few moments,” he said, taking a seat across from her.
It’s better if I have something to, uh, take my mind off what happened. You asked if I’d gotten a chance to practice with the gun. The answer is yes. My brother sort of smuggled me into the cop shop gun range in the middle of the night a couple of times. But I’ve never been around anybody who was dead.” Her voice cracked. He saw her swallow hard. Max’s estimation of her edged up a few notches. Audrey was one tough cookie, even though she might not realize it. Most women would have dissolved into hysterics.
You did fine. Good thinking to be in front of the elevator door with your gun.”
Really?” She met his gaze with lovely hazel eyes that were shading toward green at the moment and rested her chin on an upraised hand. “I wasn’t certain what to do. I thought I should call the elevator back, but I didn’t want to subvert whatever you were doing. Then I wondered if I should take the stairs to a lower floor, but that wouldn’t have helped if you were still in the elevator… Ach.” She rolled her eyes. “Don’t mind me. I’m babbling.”
You did fine,” he repeated just as the door opened, and a waiter swooped in with a silver bucket holding a wine bottle and two glasses.
Good evening, sir and madam.” The waiter bowed slightly. He was in his fifties with a bald head and merry blue eyes. “The gentleman outside thought you could do with a spot of something relaxing. How does a cabernet strike you? If you’d rather have something different, I haven’t opened it yet.”
I’m sure it will be fine.” Max held out a hand for the bottle and inspected the label. “What’s on the menu tonight?”
The waiter rattled off a series of dishes while he opened the wine. Max glanced at Audrey. “What sounds good to you?”
She smiled warmly. “I’m used to whatever my ration coupons will buy. If it’s not too expensive, I’d love to have a steak.”
How would madam like it cooked?” the waiter inquired, arching a brow. He poured a jot of wine into a glass and handed it to Max.
Rare.”
Salad and rice or potatoes?”
Salad and potatoes, please.”
I’ll have the same,” Max cut in and took a sip of what was a very good wine. Rich and oaky, it had an enticing bouquet. “The wine is perfect,” he told the waiter, who immediately poured some into a glass for Audrey and added more to Max’s.
This is really quite wonderful,” Audrey said once the waiter left. “Everything. Not just the wine. I can’t remember the last time I ate out at anything but one of those diners where I flash my wrist computer at the glass cases, and it debits credits from my account.”
Enjoy it.” Max smiled. “You deserve to be pampered after what happened. I can still barely believe…” His voice trailed off. He needed to be careful not to say too much. “Um, what’s in those documents that’s so important?”
She leaned toward him. Her scent was even more intoxicating than the wine. He caught himself inhaling deeply and pulled away, aware of a pressure against his trousers where he was suddenly hard.
Audrey wriggled in her seat. She bit her lower lip and blew out a tense breath. Finally, she lowered her voice and murmured, “I probably shouldn’t do this, but I need to be honest with you. It’s all in my employment records anyway, but since I was here long before you were governor, well, you may not have looked at them… Cripes! I’m blathering like an idiot.”
Whatever it is, just go ahead and tell me.” Max felt oddly protective toward her, though he didn’t understand quite why. Worse, the moment his cock had gotten hard, his wolf had begun a steady patter of lewd side remarks that made Max want to throttle him.
There’s no easy way to do this,” she went on, her knuckles so white against the wineglass, Max hoped it wouldn’t shatter from the pressure. “If you decide I can’t work for you afterward, well…” she set down the stemware and spread her hands in front of her. “Not much I can do about it. I have shifter blood. Roughly 35 percent. Some of my relatives have been killed in this purge, so I’m not the most ardent supporter of the governmental edicts to round up shifters and imprison them.”
She sucked in a ragged breath and raised her gaze so she looked right at him. A combination of defiance and pleading etched fine lines around her eyes.
Miss Westen. Audrey. I’m not going to fire you. It’s all right. Thank you, for trusting me.” Deep inside, Max felt the wolf push him to say more, to tell her about the serum. To offer it up, for God’s sake. He resisted. “You told me that for a reason. I assume it’s related to the documents. Could you walk me through what’s in them?”
She nodded. “Sure. It’s intel about something called the shifter underground.” Her eyes flashed. “Frankly, now that I know about them, I’m on their side, but don’t worry, I wouldn’t ever say that publicly.”
Max listened as she relayed the story he’d lived for the past couple of days. Everything was there, including the serum that pushed cops with a low percentage of shifter blood into full-blown shifters. Before the series of intravenous infusions that law enforcement had forced on their elite tracker task forces, a person needed 50 percent shifter blood to morph into their bond animal. After the infusions, 10 percent was sufficient. Max had gotten unutterably excited by the prospect of thousands of new shifters to swell their ranks and perhaps turn the tide of the war in their favor.
Another set of nationwide reports detailed those same cops betraying their oaths and going rogue. Predictions about anarchy ran wild. By the time Audrey was finished, Max was ecstatic, but he couldn’t let it show. Everything he’d assumed would happen was playing itself out like a well-oiled machine. He couldn’t wait to let the underground know.
Well?” Audrey raised her gaze from the stack of papers and gathered them together.
Interesting material. I understand why it was classified top secret.” Max tried for a neutral expression. Just because she’d confided in him was no reason to let his guard down.
The door to their private dining room opened. The waiter pushed a cart laden with wonderful smelling dishes. Max’s mouth watered. He hadn’t eaten since breakfast, and it was pushing nine at night. For the moment, his sexual hunger receded, and he tucked into a succulent, barely cooked piece of meat.
Where do they get this?” she asked, cutting into her steak and chewing slowly. “None of the shops where I exchange my ration coupons ever have anything but ground or processed meat products.”
There’s a black market,” he replied around a mouthful of salad.
Her brows drew together. “So it’s real,” she muttered. “I never paid much attention.” Her mouth curved into a smile. She set down her fork and knife. “It’s so good, I feel like I should save what’s left and take it home. I’ve already eaten far more than I usually do.”
I can ask the waiter to box it up for you.”
That would be wonderful. Thank you.” She glanced at him shyly through long, dusky lashes. “You’ve taken the worst day of my life and turned it into something special.”
He wanted to move to her side of the table and gather her into his arms. Not only was Audrey one of the most stunning women he’d ever seen, she was level-headed and seemingly oblivious to how gorgeous she was. Max put himself on a tight leash. He had bigger problems to attend to than his non-existent love life. At least so far, Audrey hadn’t asked about O’Hare’s accusations in the elevator. Christ! Maybe she thought he was tossing the shifter epithet at her.
Max nodded to himself. It made sense. Likely, that was why she’d fessed up about her shifter blood.
Penny for your thoughts, boss?” She focused her alluring hazel gaze on him. In the low light, her eyes held a violet cast.
Nothing. Are you about ready to head home?”
She nodded. “I suppose we should. Tomorrow morning will come around early.”
He laughed. “Right you are, Miss Westen. It always does. It’s all right with me if you take a few hours off—”
She waved him to silence. “Nothing happening at home. The neighborhood’s gone to hell. I can’t even go out for a walk anymore. All I do is sit barricaded behind a bunch of deadbolts.”
Part of him wanted to bring her home with him, to his uptown mansion where she’d have gated grounds to roam. He cleared his throat before something untoward slipped out. “Let me find the waiter.” He realized he was still hard and pulled his jacket around to shield the evidence as best he could.
As if the waiter had been waiting right outside and could read his mind, the door opened before Max had gotten up. “Would sir and madam like anything else? A touch of dessert perhaps?”
You can box up the rest of the lady’s meal,” Max said. “You wouldn’t happen to have that delectable chocolate mousse?”
The waiter’s mouth formed an apologetic moue. “Not tonight, sir. We have lemon cheesecake, a cheese and fruit plate with brandy, or ice cream.”
Does any of that sound good?” Max glanced at Audrey. Her eyes were wide with delight.
Oooooh, it all sounds wonderful. I can’t even remember the last time I had real ice cream. That frozen crap they sell nowadays doesn’t even have any dairy products in it.”
Could you bring us a sampler plate with a little of everything?” Max asked.
Of course. Coming right up.” The waiter snatched their plates and left.
Not that I wouldn’t love something sweet,” she said a bit wistfully, “but I thought we’d decided it was late and—”
Max kicked himself. They had decided that—sort of. He was enjoying himself, and he didn’t want the evening to end, but that wasn’t the sort of thing he could—or should—say to his secretary. He shrugged. “You seem to finally be relaxing. After what happened at the office, you deserve a little R and R. You really can come in an hour or two later tomorrow.”
Her gaze softened. “Thank you.”




Wolf Born
Underground Heat
Book 2

By Ann Gimpel
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books
ISBN: 978-1-62210-030-9
Genre: Paranormal Romance










In a futuristic world where shifters keep their friends close and their enemies closer, passion flares hot and sweet.


Book Description:

In a futuristic California that’s almost out of resources, Max leads a double life. A Russian wolf-shifter, he heads up the State of California as its governor—and the shifter underground. He took on the governorship to help his people. Threatened with genocide, many shifters have gone into hiding. Some blame Max and the underground for their plight, rather than the governmental edict that’s meant death for so many.

Audrey works for Max. Unlike most humans with low levels of shifter blood who bless their lucky stars they avoided the purge, she wants to be a shifter. If she could find a way to finesse it, she’d quit her job in a heartbeat and go to work helping the shifter underground. The only sticking point is Max. She’s been half in love with him forever.

Against a dog-eat-dog political backdrop where no one knows who their allies are, Max and Audrey spar with one another. Max fears she’s part of the group trying to kill him. Audrey has no idea about Max’s double identity and worries she won’t be able to walk away from their fiery attraction to help the underground.

After a second attempt on his life, Max faces critical choices. Should he follow his head or his heart?










About the Author:

Ann Gimpel is a clinical psychologist, with a Jungian bent. Avocations include mountaineering, skiing, wilderness photography and, of course, writing. A lifelong aficionado of the unusual, she began writing speculative fiction a few years ago. Since then her short fiction has appeared in a number of webzines and anthologies. Several paranormal romance novellas are available in e-format. Three novels, Psyche’s Prophecy, Psyche’s Search, and Psyche's Promise are small press publications available in e-format and paperback. Look for three more urban fantasy novels coming this summer and fall: To Tame a Highland Dragon, Earth’s Requiem and Earth’s Blood.

A husband, grown children, grandchildren and three wolf hybrids round out her family.

www.anngimpel.com

http://anngimpel.blogspot.com

http://www.amazon.com/author/anngimpel

http://www.facebook.com/anngimpel.author

Twitter: @AnnGimpel (for Twitter)