Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Garden Dreaming and the New Year~

Here it is the dead of winter and I'm already dreaming about next summer's garden. If only this place weren't infested with rabbits. I feel like Elmer Fudd. If I want a garden, I've got to get serious about my rabbit problem.

Seems brutal, I know. But when you're driving down the driveway early in the morning and you see jackrabbits the size of small dogs running from your garden patch, you know sh*t just got real.  All I really want are some tomatoes and a couple of squash. Is that too much to ask?? I just gave up last summer, hoping the winter would kill them off, but it doesn't seem to be happening.

I've got the most amazing salsa recipe! And an Italian friend gave me an awesome pasta sauce recipe. I just want to grow the tomatoes. So here I am, trying to draw plans for a rabbit-proof garden, which I'm thinking is basically a rabbit-proof cage for vegetables.  If you've got ideas, I'm all ears!! And I have a few months to get it figured out.

Where's Wile E. Coyote when you need him?

Monday, December 21, 2015

A Reading Year in Review~

Happy Winter Solstice!

I've been reading up a storm this year. I've read 24 books, if you count A Christmas Carol, which is more of a long, short story. I know there are lots of readers who go through way more than 24 books in a year, but it's more than I've read in a long time. I made a concerted effort to read diverse literature with diverse protagonists or by under represented authors. Some of the books I enjoyed and others I didn't, but I still feel like I learned something from each book, even if it was just what I don't like in a book. Many of the books featured young protagonists, but not all were classified as Young Adult. Here are some of the best:

Books that Moved Me:

All the Light We cannot See by Anthony Doerr - while technically not YA, the book features two young people, a blind French girl and a poor German boy, living through World War II. Heartbreakingly beautiful work.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie - about a young Spokane tribal member growing up on a rural reservation in Washington State. Funny at times, but heartbreaking too.

Books that Made Me Think:

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot taught me a lot about genetics and tissue sampling I didn't know and actually made it fascinating.

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jaqueline Woodson  and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou were two memoirs I read, both about young girls growing up during pivotal points in history. They shared so much in common, I wrote a blog about it here.

Books That Made me Laugh:

None really, which makes me think maybe 2016 should be the Year of Funny Books. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens warmed my heart. If you've never actually read it, you should. I'd never read it before and it's absolutely charming. It's rather amazing that the moral of a story published in 1843, that wealth alone cannot bring you happiness in this life, is still a universal truth people need to hear today.

On this shortest day of the year, I'd like to close by wishing all readers, both young and old, will find real, true, lasting peace in their lives. Many thanks to my readers and reviewers. I wish you all the best for 2016~  Happy Reading!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Book Club Discussion Questions for Vessel

I recently crafted a short list of discussion questions about Vessel that are suitable for book clubs, book reviewers,  bloggers, and anyone else who likes to think about and/or discuss fiction. These are only to get the conversation started, but here’s what I’ve got:

1.   A catastrophic solar storm destroyed all electrical devices on Earth in Vessel. Do you think the human race could survive such an event? How?
2. In the future world of Vessel, Alana is a slave. We know slavery has been around for a long time and is still going on today. Could slavery ever be eradicated or is it part of the human condition forever?

3. Kinder behaves in strange ways throughout the story of Vessel. Do you believe his motives are benevolent or malevolent?

4. In Vessel, the Reticents “teach” their students by implanting a microchip in their brains and downloading information. Do you think such a thing might be possible one day? Why or why not?

5. Recks asks Alana at one point in the story where she wants to live. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?

6. What do you think happens in the sequel to Vessel?

Obviously, there’s no right or wrong answer to these questions. They’re meant to spark discussion, but I’ll give you my take on the answers.

1. Since I wrote the book, it’s probably already clear I think there’s a chance humans could survive a solar storm, but I think life would return to more of a hunting and gathering lifestyle. Things we take for granted, like modern medicine and life-saving drugs, would disappear. As a result, a lot of us would perish. There are many places that would be difficult to live without a reliable power source in the winter, which might favor people living closer to the equator. I also think its possible small pockets of humans could survive in very different regions, totally isolated and unaware of each other.

2. Regarding slavery, it seems like it’s been around in one form or another for a very long time. I wish I could say it could be eradicated, but it’s hard to see how.

3. Kinder was a fun character to write for several reasons. You never quite know what he’s up to or if he’s even a threat at all. He’s not 100% honest with anyone in the book.

4. Implanting a memory chip in your brain would be handy, don’t you think? Seems like it would be impossible, but scientists are already implanting electrodes in people to help stimulate paralysis victims’ muscles. I’ve even heard of studies where electrodes have been used to stimulate the brain to improve cognitive ability. I’d say anything is possible where human ingenuity is involved.

5. If I could live anywhere at all and money was no object, it would be on a beach, preferable a warm one with lots of tide pools, colorful fish, and gorgeous sunsets.

6. The story definitely continues after the events of Vessel, but that’s all I’ve got to say about that!

If you haven't read Vessel yet, you can find it on Amazon~

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Giving thanks~

It's been a crazy-busy year for me with lots of good happenings, but with set backs too.

My family and I were able to travel this year and had a lovely time.  My garden suffered terribly due to voles and rabbits. It produced almost nothing.

I worked very hard on publishing and writing this year - Vessel was published by a small press, and I self-published The Color of Water and a print version of Storyteller.  I also finished writing two new books and a rough draft of a third. I've queried far and wide, but no takers so far.

I've seen friends get married, welcome new babies, and say goodbye to loved ones forever this year. I've seen things in the news on television/radio/social media that make me question the sanity of the human race sometimes. It's troubling, but that's life. Change comes to all things and all beings. It's not necessarily good or bad; it just is.

Autumn is a natural time of change and it seems fitting that we take this time to think of the good in our lives and to give thanks for it. I wish you a season of love, the warmth of home and family, and above all, peace in your heart and in the world~

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Fantastical thinking~

I've been reading a high fantasy novel series lately. While I'm enjoying it, I'm struck by the amount of killing in it. The protagonist is a fifteen year old girl, but she acts like an adult so it bascially reads like adult fantasy.

The story actually jumps around several characters' points of view, all of whom are involved in life threatening situations that require fighting and lots of killing. One of the characters is a professional assassin that's apparently killed hundreds of men and continues to do so in these books. And of course, there are large battle scenes described in great detail, which again result in lots of deaths. 

Maybe I'm just not accustom to this kind of fantasy, but the level of killing is getting a little distracting and I find myself skimming past the chapters that describe the battles. They really aren't developing any characters anyway. Is it just me that finds all the battling and descriptions of killing a thousand different ways a bit dull after awhile?

What kind of fantasy do you like to read? Is the gore a necessary element? Does it come from the video game/role playing realm? I'd really like to know.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Claire Daly: Reluctant Soul Saver by Michele Brouder ~ Blog Tour

Welcome to my stop on the Reluctant Soul Saver Blog Tour!
Please read on down the page to learn more about the book and the author~

~About the Book~

Claire Daly: Reluctant Soul Saver by Michele Brouder
Publication Date: September 2015
Genre: YA, Paranormal Romance

When seventeen year-old librarian wannabe Claire Daly is dragged kicking, screaming and cursing from everything she loves—her mam, her cozy Irish village and the dreamy boy next door—to take up arms in the battle of good versus evil, she learns the hard way that sometimes you don’t get to choose your own destiny, destiny chooses you.

Claire’s life plan is simple: head off to university to get her degree in library studies, summon up the courage to tell her best friend Chas that she loves him and live happily ever after. She never once entertained the idea that she might possess divine powers, that she might be predestined to battle Hell’s demons, or, to complicate matters further, that another love of many lives past might turn up on her doorstep. But life doesn’t always go as planned, and when a co-worker is viciously attacked by a demon and her own family threatened, Claire must face the truth: she is called to a higher purpose and has no choice but to answer. Claire sets aside her dreams and begins learning how to deal with the Unholy once and for all. Armed with only a crash course in soul saving and her wits, she gears up for the ultimate show down in Hell. But will it be enough?

Find Claire Daly on Goodreads~

Purchase Links:
BAM | Amazon | B&N | TBD

Don't miss the .99 Countdown Deal on Amazon from Nov. 12-19!

~About the Author~

I was born in western New York, the oldest of 5. I've loved reading since I was very little. From the age of 9, I've wanted to be a writer. In high school, I wrote a lot of angst-ridden civil war dramas ala Gone With The Wind, knowing more about the Battle of the Bull Run than a normal teenager should know. I dabbled in writing after that but didn't get serious about it until 2006, when I decided that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
I've had many interesting jobs but my passion has always been writing.
I lived in Ireland from 2006-2013 with my husband and 2 boys. We moved back to the US and settled in Florida briefly (2 years) before returning back to Ireland in August 2015.

Connect with the Author:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest

Enter the giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway Information: Contest ends December 4, 2015
· One (1) winner will received a $25 Amazon Gift Card, a copy of Claire Daly: Reluctant Soul Saver, a book mark, a coffee mug, and some other stuff for 'readers' from the author (INT)
· Three (3) winners will receive a copy of Claire Daly: Reluctant Soul Saver by Michele Brouder (INT)

~Author Guest Post~

I asked Claire to tell us a bit about what inspired her book. This is what she said:

There was so much 'superhero' fiction out there- Harry Potter, Percy Jackson series, Skulduggery Pleasant to name a few. I suppose I was reading all of these books because of my son, who wouldn't have particularly been drawn to a girl (yuck) series. I started thinking about how I wanted to read about a girl with her own set of superpowers and I wanted her to be Irish (after all, it is where I live, it was my way of saying thank you to my adopted homeland). I wanted to read something along those lines.
· the main theme of good vs. evil on all levels, the battle within ourselves to do what is right even if it means sacrificing something that is important to us and of course the ongoing of good vs. evil on a much bigger scale

· faith - how faith can grow where there is none and how it can shine in a very dark hour

· loyalty - to the people we love: family & friends

· how you can make a connection with some people and it makes you feel like you've known them since before forever

· how humor can be it's own weapon: to protect yourself and to disarm other people

Monday, October 26, 2015

That Spooky Time of Year~

Of all the holidays, I think Halloween is my very favorite. I love the magical, fantastical element of it. I love ghost stories, spooky Gothic tales, and even the odd paranormal romance here and there. It's no surprise the first book I wrote begins in October, just before Halloween. I think I might have started writing it at that time of year too. Fall is an inspiring time to me. It's a time of change - the leaves on the trees change color, the nights grow cooler, and the sky becomes gloomy, foreshadowing the shorter days to come. The long winter's night is coming.

I thought I'd take this opportunity to share some of my favorite spooky books with you. I'm not crazy about horror, but I do love me some creepy suspense. If you need any reading recommendations this Halloween, pull up a chair.

One of my all time favorites is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. If you aren't familiar with it, it's the story of a young woman who's hired as a governess and goes to live and work in an old mansion called Thornfield. Thornfield is creepy. Her boss, Mr. Rochester, is creepy. His secret in the attic is even creepier, but Jane is absolutely fearless. She's a fabulous character.

I recently read Who R U Really? by Margo Kelly about a girl who faces an Internet stalker. It gave me the creeps so bad I almost had to put it down. Stalkers are a special kind of awful. Yikes!

Another book I've read within the last year is Fingers in the Mist by O'dell Hutchison about a girl who goes to live with her dad and finds herself in a creepsville cult. Thanks a lot, Dad!! You could have warned her. Geesh!

Another author who seems to have a special brand of creepy is Neil Gaiman. Try The Graveyard Book about a boy raised by ghosts in a cemetery. It's a beautiful little story. That and The Ocean at the End of the Lane have a wonderful, fantastical element I love reading. Not terrifying, but weird, scary, and even touching in a fun way. Gaiman is simply enchanting.

For a creature feature, I recommend The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker. These aren't your usual vampire/werewolf type monsters and they aren't out to kill everyone, but they are supernatural beings in trouble. I bet you never read a book about either, have you? Put two star-crossed, supernatural creatures together in turn of the century New York City, and what's not to like? It's a unique tale with a wonderful historical flavor.

So there's a few options for your spooky reading enjoyment. Grab a warm, fuzzy throw blanket, your favorite hot beverage, a great book, and enjoy your Halloween!

Friday, October 23, 2015

M9B Friday Reveal: Horror/Halloween – YA Edition with Giveaway #M9BFridayReveals

Welcome to this week’s M9B Friday Reveal!
This week, we present to you the
Horror/Halloween – YA Edition
presented by Month9Books!
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!
Armed with a passion for classic B-grade horror movies, a script co-written by his twin brother, and a wicked crush on his death-obsessed neighbor; hardcore horror fan Jason Nightshade must finish his student film.
But his plans are derailed when the children of suburban Silver Creek start disappearing – his twin brother among them. Battling a possessed video camera, a crazy zombie dog, a monstrous bully, and a frighteningly broken down family life, Jason embarks on a mission to find his lost brother so the two can write an ending for his story.
As any horror fan knows, saving the day won’t be easy, as Jason finds himself forced to face the real world where death isn’t just a splash of fake blood on a camera lens.
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Ryan grew up in Park City, Utah. His fiction has appeared in Quarterly West, Paper Darts, Vice, Monkeybicycle and [PANK]. He currently lives in San Diego where he acts as Creative Director for the nonprofit literary arts organization So Say We All. He’s the co-editor of the anthology Last Night on Earth and founder of the literary horror journal, Black Candies.
Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram| YouTube
Bianca St. Germain works at a Night House, a place where vampires like the aristocratic Jeremiah Archer, pay to feed on humans, and she doesn’t much care what others think of her. The money is good, and at least there, she’s safe. Bianca also doesn’t care that the Night House is killing her. All she cares about is: nauth, the highly addictive poison in vampire bites that brings a euphoria like no drug ever could.
But when Bianca meets James, a reclusive empath who feels everything she does, for the first time, she considers a life outside of the Night House and a someone worth living for. But Jeremiah has decided to keep Bianca for himself; he won’t allow her to walk away.
As she allows her feelings for James to grow, she struggles to contain nauth's strong hold on her life. If they are to have a future, James must make her see what she's worth, what she means to him, before Jeremiah and nauth claim her for good.
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Rachel Tafoya studied creative writing while at Solebury School and was published in their student run literary magazine, SLAM. She attended a writing program for teens at both Susquehanna University and Denison University, and the Experimental Writing for Teens class and Novels for Young Writers program, both run by NY Times bestselling author, Jonathan Maberry. Rachel is the daughter crime author Dennis Tafoya.
Connect with the Author: Tumbler | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
Winter in Black Orchard, Wisconsin, is long and dark, and sixteen-year-old Vayda Silver prays the snow will keep the truth and secrecy of the last two years buried. Hiding from the past with her father and twin brother, Vayda knows the rules: never return to the town of her mother’s murder, and never work a Mind Game where someone might see.
No one can know the toll emotions take on Vayda, how emotion becomes energy in her hands, or how she can’t control the destruction she causes. But it’s not long before her powers can no longer be contained. The truth is dangerously close to being exposed, placing Vayda and her family at risk. Until someone quiets the chaos inside her.
Unwanted. That’s all Ward Ravenscroft has ever been. To cope, he numbs the pain of rejection by denying himself emotions of any kind. Yet Vayda stirs something in him. He can’t explain the hold she has on him–inspiring him with both hope and fear. He claims not to scare easily, except he doesn’t know what her powers can do. Yet.
Just as Vadya and Ward draw closer, she finds the past isn’t so easily buried. And when it follows the Silvers to Black Orchard, it has murder in mind.
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Sarah Bromley
Sarah Bromley lives near St. Louis with her husband, three children, and two dogs. She likes the quiet hours of morning when she can drink coffee in peace, stare into the woods behind her house, and wonder what monsters live there. When she’s not writing or wrangling small children, she can be found volunteering at a stable for disabled riders.
Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
The truck should have turned Libbi Piper into a Libbi Pancake—and it would have, too, if Aaron hadn't shown up and saved her life. The problem? Aaron's the local Grim Reaper . . . and he only saved Libbi's life because he needs someone to take over his job. Now, Libbi has two days to choose between dying like she was supposed to, or living a lonely life as Death Incarnate. Talk about a rock and a hard place. And the choice goes from hard to sucktastic when her best friend shows up marked: condemned as a future murderer. Libbi could have an extra week to stop the murder and fix the mark . . . but only if she accepts Aaron's job as Reaper, trapping herself in her crappy town forever, invisible and inaudible to everyone except the newly dead. But, if she refuses? Her best friend is headed straight for Hell.
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Elizabeth Holloway
Elizabeth Holloway is a writer of young adult fiction living in Southern Pennsylvania with her two teen children and their growing number of pets.
In addition to writing, she is a registered nurse, an avid reader, an out-of-practice artist, a karaoke singer, and music lover. She is still trying to decide what she wants to be when she grows up.
Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
Sixteen-year-old Caitlyn Foster never believed in the legend of the Redeemers. That was before the trees started to whisper her name. Before a murder of crows attacked the town. Before she and her family came home to find a bloody handprint on their front door, marking one of them as a sacrifice. As Caitlyn’s friends are ripped from their homes, she knows it’s only a matter of time before the Redeemers come for her. Caitlyn has the power to stop the terror, but she’ll have to decide if she’s willing to sacrifice herself to save those she loves.
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O’Dell Hutchison
O’Dell was born in a small rural town in Idaho. There were no Redeemers living there (that he knows of). After attending college in the Pacific Northwest, he found his way to the Houston area. By day, he is a Business Systems Analyst and at night you can either find him sitting at home, dreaming of random super powers he wishes he had, or directing plays and musicals at various theaters around Houston.
Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
When Claire Mallory’s father leaves, her mom moves them to a new town and into a dilapidated Victorian house.
The old house creaks and whistles, and smells well — like it’s been abandoned for years. But as the nights grow longer and the shadows take on substance, Claire wonders if the strange sounds and occurrences might be more than the house showing its age.
Just as things start to pick up in Claire’s love life, her mother becomes possessed. In an attempt to save her mother and their new home, Claire enlists the help of two boys, each of whom is interested in Claire for different reasons. As she chooses one boy over the other, something dangerous is unleashed, and the spirits make their move.
They aren’t content to moan and scream inside Claire’s house, or even control her mom. They want a taste of freedom, and she’s their key to getting it. But is Claire strong enough to fight off the evil spirits, or will they claim her and her mom before it’s all over?
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Vanessa Barger was born in West Virginia, and through several moves ended up spending the majority of her life in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She is a graduate of George Mason University and Old Dominion University, and has degrees in Graphic Design, a minor in Medieval and Renaissance Literature, and a Masters in Technology Education. She has had articles published in Altered Arts Magazine, has had some artwork displayed in galleries in Ohio and online, and currently teaches engineering, practical physics, drafting and other technological things to high school students in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. She is a member of the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) and the Virginia Writer's Club. When not writing or teaching, she’s a bookaholic, movie fanatic, and loves to travel. She has one cat, who believes Vanessa lives only to open cat food cans, and can often be found baking when she should be editing.
Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
Mark Stewart is one incident away from becoming a juvenile delinquent, and his parents have had enough. They ship Mark off to London, England, to stay with his eccentric aunt Agatha who is obsessed with all things Jack the Ripper. After a strange twist of luck, Mark is struck by lightning, and he wakes to find himself in 1888 Victorian London. His interest in a string of murders Scotland Yard has yet to solve make him a likely suspect. After all, why would a young boy like Mark know so much about the murders?
Could he be the ripper they've been searching for? Convinced the only way to get back home is to solve the murders, Mark dives headfirst into uncovering the truth. Mark's only distraction comes in the form of the beautiful Genie Trembly, a girl who is totally out of his league and who may have already caught the attention of the infamous ripper. To save her, he'll endanger both their lives, and risk being trapped in the past forever.
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Kit Forbes
Kit Forbes has been a lover of books, history, and all things paranormal for as long as she can remember. She lives in Western Pennsylvania with her youngest daughter and an assortment of cats who give new meaning to the world bizarre.
The hunt is on! Sixteen-year-old Bree Sunderland must inject herself with an untested version of her father’s gene therapy to become a werewolf in order to stop a corrupt group of mercenaries from creating a team of unstoppable lycanthrope soldiers.
When Bree went with her scientist father to Ireland, she thought it would be a vacation to study bog bodies. She never expected to fall in love with a mysterious young Irishman and certainly never expected to become the kind of monster her father said only existed in nightmares. Dr. Sunderland discovers that lycanthropy was not a supernatural curse but rather a genetic mutation. When they return home, her dad continues his research, but the military wants to turn that research into a bio weapons program and rogue soldiers want to steal the research to turn themselves into unstoppable killing machines.
Bree’s boyfriend Liam surprises her with a visit to the United States, but there are darker surprises in store for both of them. As evil forces hunt those she loves, Bree must become an even more dangerous hunter to save them all.
Bree will become the thing she hates, to protect those she loves!
'Predator' gives the werewolf legend a couple of new spins by introducing the Benandanti (an actual folkloric belief that certain families of Italy and Livonia were werewolves who fought against evil), as well as a modern scientific approach to mutation and the science of transgenics.
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Janice Gable Bashman
Janice Gable Bashman is the Bram Stoker nominated author of Wanted Undead or Alive and Predator. She is managing editor of the The Big Thrill (International Thriller Writers’ ezine). Janice lives with her family in the Philadelphia area, where she at work on her next novel. Visit her at janicegablebashman.com.
Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
Seventeen-year-old Grace Ann Miller is no ordinary runaway...
After having been missing for weeks, Grace is found on the estate of international rock star Gavin Vault, half-dressed and yelling for help. Over the course of twenty-four hours Grace holds an entire police force captive with incredulous tales of angels, demons, and war; intent on saving Gavin from lockup and her family from worry over her safety.
Authorities believe that Grace is ill, suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, the victim of assault and a severely fractured mind. Undeterred, Grace reveals the secret existence of dark angels on earth, an ancient prophecy and a wretched curse steeped in Biblical myth. Grace’s claims set into motion an ages-old war, resulting in blood, death and the loss of everything that matters. But are these the delusions of an immensely sick girl, or could Grace’s story actually be true?
Praefatio is Grace’s account of weeks on the run, falling in love and losing everything but her faith. When it’s sister against brother, light versus darkness, corrupt police officers, eager doctors and accusing journalists, against one girl with nothing but her word as proof: who do you believe?
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Georgia McBride
Georgia loves a good story. Whether it’s writing her own, or publishing someone else’s, story is at the heart of everything Georgia does. Founder of Month9Books, YALITCHAT.ORG and the weekly #yalitchat on Twitter, Georgia spends most of her days writing, editing, or talking about books. That is, of course, when she is not blasting really loud music or reading. She lives in North Carolina with four dogs, a frog, a parrot, 2 kids, parents and a husband. PRAEFATIO is her first novel.
Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Spooky Story for Halloween~

In celebration of the upcoming All Hallow's Eve, I thought I'd share an excerpt from my newest paranormal novella The Color of Water. Set on the North Carolina coast, it's the story of Samantha who loses her dad at sea and finds herself trying to protect her mom from a supernatural beast most everyone else believes is a real human. Enjoy~

~from Chapter 8~

On the sidewalk in front of us, a man leaned on an iron fence, half hidden in a bougainvillea vine. I smelled him before I could really see him, a weird mix of pipe smoke and alcohol and something salty like seaweed. The silky voice told me who it was before he leaned forward into the light of a nearby house.

“Pardon me, miss. Didn’t mean to frighten you,” he said, reaching out two nut brown hands to Karla. As Teach caught her hands in his own, I saw a tattoo on his forearm in the moonlight – a blue demon stabbing a heart across his rippling muscle. He gently steadied Karla, ignoring me.

“It’s fine,” Karla said. “I should watch where I’m going.”

Teach stood there, holding onto Karla’s hands, staring deep into her eyes like a lover. No one was allowed to look at my mom like that, not while I was standing there.

“Do you mind taking your paws off my mother?” I said, forgetting any warning Matt might have given me.

“I’m only trying to help,” he said, releasing her finally. “Perhaps I can make it up to you?”

“No really, its fine,” insisted Karla, trying to move past him. He caught her by the shoulders, holding her close to him.

“Can I see you again?” he begged in an urgent whisper.

“Let her go, you creep!” I yelled.

“A little something to remember me by,” he purred in her ear, a chunky gold bracelet emerging from his jacket pocket draped across his thick fingers. I was sure it was the exact same bracelet I pitched in the ocean weeks ago. He moved to lay it over her wrist. Without thinking, I snatched it away.

“Run Karla!” I yelled as I pushed my mom’s shoulder. She took off toward home as Teach turned his eyes to me. Even in the dim moonlight, I could see his crazy eyes, aqua blue like some stormy Caribbean Sea.

“Give it back, Samantha,” he said like a parent to a naughty child, patient but annoyed.

“How do you know my name?” I stalled.

“I know many things about you. I know you foolishly meddle in things you know nothing about, for instance,” he said, moving toward me, his eyes locked on mine. His words stung me.

“What is this thing?” I said, holding up the chain. If it wasn’t Louise’s bracelet, it was just like it. “Do you give it all the women you plan to kill?”

Teach laughed, a low chuckle, still coming toward me as I backed away, stumbling over the cracked sidewalk into the street.

“You might say that,” he admitted. “But I don’t give it to anyone who doesn’t welcome it.”

“Who welcomes death?”

“You’re young. I wouldn’t expect you to understand. Now give it to me,” his tone growing more insistent. I held the bracelet behind my back.

“Not until you promise to leave my mother alone,” I said, my voice quivering like a leaf in the wind. The energy radiating off Teach now burned my skin, like standing too close to an open fire.

“I don’t make bargains with little girls. What’s mine is mine,” he snarled, his skin tightening over his skull and then evaporating to reveal the bones underneath. His blue eyes burned like coals in the darkness, inhuman and unnatural. The heat felt like it would scorch my eyebrows off. I fell as he swung at me, screaming.

Happy Halloween!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Minotaur Blog Tour

Welcome my stop on the Minotaur Blog Tour! Be sure to scroll down and read the author's guest post about what inspired him to write the book.


Minotaur by Phillip W. Simpson

Publication Date: September 29, 2015

Publisher: Month9Books

“Where shall I start?” asked Minotaur.

Ovid made an expansive gesture with both hands. “Where else but the beginning of course.”

Minotaur nodded his huge head. “Yes,” he said. “Yes,” his eyes already glazing over with the weight of thousand year old memories. And then he began.

So begins the story of Asterion, later known as Minotaur, the supposed half bull creature of Greek legend. Recorded by the famous Roman poet, Ovid, Asterion tells of his boyhood in Crete under the cruel hand of his stepfather Minos, his adventures with his friend, Theseus, and his growing love for the beautiful Phaedra.And of course what really happened in the labyrinth.

This is the true story of the Minotaur.


Phillip W. Simpson is the author of many novels, chapter books and other stories for children. His publishers include Macmillan, Penguin, Pearson, Cengage, Raintree and Oxford University Press.

He received both his undergraduate degree in Ancient History and Archaeology and his Masters (Hons) degree in Archaeology from the University of Auckland.

Before embarking on his writing career, he joined the army as an officer cadet, owned a comic shop and worked in recruitment in both the UK and Australia.

His first young adult novel, Rapture (Rapture Trilogy #1), was shortlisted for the Sir Julius Vogel Awards for best Youth novel in 2012.

He is represented by Vicki Marsdon at Wordlink literary agency.

When not writing, he works as a school teacher.

Phillip lives and writes in Auckland, New Zealand with his wife Rose, their son, Jack and their two border terriers, Whiskey and Raffles. He loves fishing, reading, movies, football (soccer) and single malt Whiskeys.

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~Author Guest Post~

I’ve always been fascinated by monsters, an interest and love nurtured by countless books on myth and legend. My focus was always ancient Greece and in particular, their monsters.

History (or ancient history) is written by the victors. The story of Theseus and the Minotaur was disseminated by the Athenians who were the most powerful city state in Greece after the fall of Crete. Why then wouldn’t they paint their hero Theseus in the best possible light and the Minotaur as some horrible monster?

My latest YA historical novel, Minotaur, is a reimagining of the ancient myth. Did the Minotaur exist? If so, was he the monster that the myths insist he was? I like stories about underdogs, particularly ones from their perspective and this is Asterion’s (Minotaur’s story) told in first person perspective to the Roman historian, Ovid.

In terms of my journey as a writer, I submitted stories to magazines when I was a boy but never got anywhere. My teachers always thought I’d do something writing related as I was such an avid reader and did pretty well in the subject.

I completed a BA in Ancient History and Archaeology and an MA in Archaeology. I joined the army as an officer cadet. I then completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Museum Studies. I worked as a curator and archaeologist before travelling overseas. I fell into the I.T and banking recruitment sector in London and then Australia. It was when I was in Australia that I started writing fiction 15 years ago.

I was in my late 20’s then. I travelled a lot and used to email my escapades back to my friends. A few of these friends told me I should write a novel. I did just that, hiring a cabin in the woods (Wollombi, Australia) from my brother. But the novel (adult sci-fi) wasn’t very good.

I then completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Teaching and have been teaching for 13 years now. I started writing kid’s fiction to be used in schools. The publishers I work for like the fact that I’m a teacher and writer. It’s also good practice for writing novels.

I’ve had over fifty chapter books and four young adult novels published. My first young adult novel, Rapture (Rapture Trilogy #1), was shortlisted for the Sir Julius Vogel Awards for best Youth novel in 2012. Minotaur is actually my sixth novel. At the writing of this, I have just completed my eighth novel as part of my Masters in Creative Writing. This one is also a Young Adult novel based on Greek myth.