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Thursday, October 30, 2014

How I Met the Headless Horseman By Jocelynn Drake

 


To celebrate the release of the Final Asylum Tales book, I wrote a short story about the time Gage met the Headless Horseman on Halloween.  Strange things tend to happen when you wander through Low Town …


I generally think the world is a scary enough without needing to embellish stories, particularly those aimed to scare.  Isn’t it enough that we’ve got vampires, shapeshifters, and trolls — all of whom can shred a human in the blink of an eye?  Do we really need to invent more horrors?  Of course, when it comes to Halloween, I guess anything goes.

It was All Hallow’s Eve a few years back and I was sitting in the Cock’s Crow, watching a rugby match on the television while nursing a beer.  The bar was quiet.  I was near closing and most people had already left for another bar or a costume party.  I had no plans and was enjoying the quiet after the chaos earlier in the evening.

Dolan stood behind the bar, chatting with some regular while drying some glasses.  The minotaur looked relieved that the night was nearly over and the bar was still in one piece.  Catching his eye, I held up my empty beer bottle and gave it a little shake.  He nodded and dropped the towel he’d been holding before reaching into the cooler to get me a fresh beer.  I slid to my feet and crossed the short distance to the bar where I set down my empty bottle and picked up the fresh.

“Last call,” he said as he tossed out the empty.

“Sounds good,” I replied.  Reaching into my back pocket, I handed Dolan my debit card.  “Close out my tab.  It’s time to head home.”

Dolan snorted, turning to ring up my three beers.  “Yeah.  Be careful.  All the lunatics are out.”

My laughter was trapped in my throat as the front door was thrown open and a large headless man walked in dressed in black with a head tucked under his right arm.

“Hey Lester,” Dolan called as he turned back to hand me my card and receipt.  “It’s last call.”

The head sighed and his shoulders slumped as he walked over to the bar.  “That’s fine.  I just need a quick one before heading home.  Give me a single-barrel on the rocks.”

The headless body approached an empty stool a couple down from me at the bar and set the head down on the shining surface before dropping heavily on the stool.

“Damn it, Lester!  Head off the bar!  I just wiped everything down,” Dolan growled as he turned around with the drink.  He slammed it down and picked up his cleaning rag.

The body grabbed the head and placed it on the neck with a practiced ease.  The accompanying sucking noise was something I could have done without hearing, but then I had seen and heard worse.

Lester picked up his drink and downed half of it while I focused my attention on my new beer.  He sighed again with relief and reached into his pocket, pulling out a ten dollar bill to throw on the bar for Dolan.

The minotaur snatched up it and went back to wiping down the counter.  “You know, you should talk to Gage,” Dolan drawled, jerking one large horn in my direction as he spoke to the former headless man.  “He’s pretty good with tattoos and potions.  I bet he could get your head to stay on.”

The stranger slowly turned his glass with his blunted fingertips and he looked at me.  His eyes were brown and surrounded by a web of lines and wrinkles that were accompanied by threads of gray through his brown hair.

“Human?” I asked.

He snorted, straightening on his stool.  “Of course!  You think I’m some pixie?”

“You’re the first human I’ve ever seen who could remove his head.”

“Yeah,” he grumbled, deflating before my eyes.  “Doubt there is too many like me around.”

“Curse?”

Lester grabbed his drink and downed the last of it with a small wince.  “Yeah, not that I did anything to deserve it.  My great-great-grandfather – or something like that – pissed off a witch.  Probably killed her cat.  Anyway, she cursed him so that his head would fall off every Halloween.  Of course, the curse is hereditary – follows down the line to every first-born son.  The curse will leave me and pass on to my son in ten years when he reaches eighteen.”

I nodded, shoving my debit card and receipt in my wallet, while pulling out a business card.  My first thought was that he should be grateful the witch didn’t make something else fall off every Halloween.

“I can’t get rid of the curse, but I think I’ve got a potion and tattoo that could lock your head to your neck,” I said, sliding the Asylum business card across the bar to Lester.

He picked it up and frowned.  “Well, I don’t know about getting a tattoo.  That’s kind of dangerous, right?”

“No more than you losing your head,” I said as I stood.

“I’ll think about it,” he said and I knew his answer was already “no.”

I shook my head as I pushed away from the bar.  With a wave to Dolan, I walked for the door.  “At least be sure to tell your son he’s got that option when the time comes.” I called before walking out of the bar.

Lester wasn’t going to come see me because he had found a way to make the curse work for him.  Judging by the black attire, he was probably renting himself out for Halloween parties and fake haunted houses.  As long as the curse was helping pad his wallet, he didn’t feel the need to have his head permanently affixed to his body.

I just hoped he didn’t lose his head as he made his money.


Demon's Fury
The Asylum Tales
Book 3.1
Jocelynn Drake

Publisher: Harper Voyager Impulse
Release Date: October 14, 2014
ASIN: B00HYMDS8S

Book Description:

Jocelynn Drake continues her successful urban fantasy series, Asylum Tales, with Demon’s Fury, set in a world where elves, faeries, trolls, werewolves, and vampires walk free among humanity.

Powerful warlock and tattoo artist Gage has managed to escape the magical Ivory Towers who terrorize the rest of humans and monsters – but at a price.

Now he must join forces with his nemesis Gideon to stop an unknown entity who is using old magic to commit gruesome murders. And if that’s not keeping him busy enough, an investigator recruits Gage to help her track a killer … who might be targeting tattoo artists.

Available at Amazon


Demon's Vow
The Asylum Tales
Book 3.2
Jocelynn Drake

Publisher: Harper Voyager Impulse
Release Date: October 21, 2014
ISBN 006235941X
ISBN13: 9780062359414

Bestselling author Jocelynn Drake continues her urban fantasy series with the second installment of the Final Asylum Tales, Demon’s Vow.

Book Description:

Tattoo artist and warlock Gage is having a rough week. He’s trying to track down a mysterious murderer in Low Town while also chasing a powerful entity using forbidden Death Magic across the nation.

When Gage discovers the two forces may be trying to unite, the stakes get even higher. With Gideon’s help, Gage is determined to stop the murderers before anyone else gets hurt – including his girlfriend, Trixie.

Available at Amazon


Inner Demon
The Asylum Tales
3.3
Jocelynn Drake  

Publisher: Harper Voyager Impulse
Release Date: October 28, 2014
ISBN 0062359428
ISBN13: 9780062359421

Gage is a powerful warlock in Low Town, where elves, faeries, trolls, goblins, and vampires walk free among humanity. But there are two dangerous entities murdering families and children, and Gage needs to stop them before anybody else gets hurt.

When Gage discovers a demon locked away it offers him access to dark magic in exchange for its freedom – a dangerous opportunity, but one that could save his loved ones. Gage must choose between what is right and what is easy … except he’s running out of time.

Available at Amazon


About the Author:

By day, Jocelynn Drake is a clean-cut financial editor, picking apart stories about Wall Street and the global markets. But in her free time, she writes about a dark underworld where vampires and warlocks rule.

The author of Dark Days and Asylum Tales series, she lives in Florida with her husband, dog, and cat. When she's not working on her next book, she's usually hiding from the sun by playing video games.




https://twitter.com/JocelynnDrake

October 13 Guest blog
Fang-tastic Books

October 13 review
trips down imagination road 

October 14 Guest blog
Jill Archer

October 14 Spotlight
Aly's Miscellany

October 14 Spotlight
Deb Sanders

October 14 Spotlight
Triquetra Reviews 

October 14 Spotlight
Sapphyria's Book Reviews 

October 14 Spotlight
SBM Book Obsession

October 14 Interview and review
happy tails and tales 

October 14 spotlight
Book Purses & Reviews

October 15 Spotlight
Paranormal Book CLub
Http://www.paranormal-bookclub.com

October 15 Spotlight and reviews
Lissette E. Manning 
http://www.simplistik.org/lissetteemanning 

October 16 Guest Blog
Preternatura

October 17 Spotlight
Geeks In High School

October 20 Interview
Romancing the Dark Side

October 21 Spotlight
Aly's Miscellany

October 21 Review
trips down imagination road 

October 21 Spotlight
Sapphyria's Book Reviews 

October 21 Spotlight
Triquetra Reviews 

October 21 Spotlight
SBM Book Obsession

October 21 Spotlight
Deb Sanders

October 21 Spotlight and review
happy tails and tales 

October 22 Guest blog
Urban Fantasy Investigations

October 22 Spotlight
Share My Destiny

October 22 Interview
Diane's Book Blog 

October 23 Spotlight
Book Liaison 

October 24 Interview
Roxanne’s Realm

October 27 review
Paranormal Romance and Authors That Rock

October 28 review
trips down imagination road 

October 28 Spotlight
Aly's Miscellany

October 28 Spotlight
Kristy Centeno

October 28 Spotlight
Triquetra Reviews 

October 28 Spotlight
Sapphyria's Book Reviews 

October 28 Spotlight
SBM Book Obsession

October 28 Spotlight
Deb Sanders

October 28 Spotlight and review
happy tails and tales 

October 29 Spotlight
Lisa’s World of Books

October 30 Guest blog
Creatively Green

October 31 Spotlight
Mila Ramos

October 31 Spotlight
Emma Weylin

November 3 Interview
Angel’s Guilty Pleasures

November 3 Review
Sapphyria's Book Reviews 


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Spotlight and Giveaway Midnight Magick by Katerina Martinez




Midnight Magick
Book 1
Katerina Martinez

Genre: Paranormal Romance/ Paranormal Mystery

ISBN-13: 978-0958303200
ISBN-10:0958303207
ASIN: B00NS3LXPM

Number of pages: 149
Word Count: 51,643

Cover Artist: Katerina Martinez

Book Description:

"Lonely witches get up to no good."

Amber Lee has a decent life: she lives in a great house, she's about to start school again, her best friend Eliza is pregnant, and the pair of them are Wiccans with a healthy bond. But ever since Eliza moved out of Amber's house and in with her boyfriend Evan, Amber's been feeling a growing pang of loneliness in her chest.

When Damien, a stranger to her town, mysteriously comes into her life bringing with him all manner of strangeness, everything changes. Damien shows Amber a side of her she never knew existed, and ignites in her a spark she hadn't felt in a long time, but he's haunted by a dark secret and a purpose which may prove fatal to them both - and by the time she realizes it, there's no turning back.

Midnight Magick will take you deep into a world of witchcraft and mystery, where bonds are tested, hearts broken and lives lost.

Available at Amazon  Amazon UK  Amazon CA

CHAPTER 1

I was sitting cross-legged on the main counter of a bookstore on Rosella Avenue one cool autumn afternoon. As blades of orange light from the setting sun cut through the gaps in buildings across the street I somberly thumbed a silver Triquetra—a three cornered trefoil knot with a circle around it—not much bigger than a quarter.
Angular shadows crept across the floor growing larger and more predominant with each passing minute. Copper dust motes hung in the air, twinkling without a care in the world. Even though I’d been fiddling with my mom’s old charm for a good half hour, the metal was still cool on my fingers. After years of having it hanging around my neck I couldn’t believe I’d just broken it.
 “—don’t you think?” asked Eliza.
“Huh?” I pocketed the pendant and came back down from my thoughts.
“Are you even listening to me, Amber?”
“Totally… what did you say?”
Eliza sighed. “That girl? The one who drowned in her pool?”
“What about her?”
“They closed the case today. They say it isn’t suspicious anymore, writing it off as an accident.”
“Accidental? I thought they had a suspect and everything.”
“They did, but they didn’t have enough evidence to convict. Don’t you think it’s all a bit weird?”
I shrugged and feigned disinterest, but the grim topic gave me jitters. People didn’t normally die suspiciously in my neck of the woods, but this was the second one this year. The first was another girl. She hung herself from a withered birch at the heart of the forest. I saw the pictures. God how I wish I hadn’t.
“Can we talk about something else?” I asked, “How’d that fight with Evan go last night?”
“The fight?” Eliza planted a copy of Jules Verne’s ‘Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea’ on my lap. I wasn’t expecting it. “Go put this on the shelf, will you?”
“Yes, master,” I said. I hopped off the counter and wiped my hand on my grey dress as I searched for the book’s proper home among the shelves. “So? What happened with Evan?” I asked through the aisles.
Eliza grunted. “It’s this thing with Mordecai.” Mordecai was her tabby cat. “He’s been wheezing a lot. I asked Evan to take him to the vet yesterday for a check-up and he didn’t do it, so we had a big stupid fight.”
“How does that turn into an argument?” I slotted the book between a pristine copy of Moby Dick—a personal favorite—and A Journey to the Center of the Earth
“Because! It just does,” said Eliza.
I walked around the aisle and caught her stacking books from a box marked “OLD” on a high shelf. Her tank top crept up her stomach exposing her flat belly as she stretched. No bump yet. Evan and Eliza always fought over silly things but it’d gotten worse ever since she found out she was pregnant. I could never say that to her face, though; she might charge at me with a step ladder!
“You guys will be fine,” I said, “You’re fighting because of the baby. Babies bring stress.”
Eliza shot me a scowl. “When did you become Doctor Phil?”
I smiled. “I’m just saying, you guys never used to fight about stuff and now you are. What’s changed? You’re pregnant.”
Eliza closed the box. A puff of dust exploded forth in defiance. “And he’s still a jackass sometimes,” she said.
“Oh come on, a little ice cream and a kiss in just the right spot and the fight will be history.”
Eliza moved the box into a small closet nearby and smiled to herself. “Yeah, okay, I’ll give you that. Anyway, let’s get finished up so we can get out of here.”
The doorbell tinkled. Evan’s silhouette broke the faint sunlight and crept into the store as quiet as a mouse, eyes to the floor. I smiled as he arrived and gave him a light peck on the cheek.
“Hey Evan,” I said, “How’s the cat?”
“On meds,” he replied, though he wasn’t looking at me, but rather at the visage of annoyance itself glaring from; behind me. “But he’ll be okay.”
Eliza had black, poker-straight hair which fell to about the small of her back. Her pale skin and cobalt eyes gave her an Ice Queen kind of air, but her round face and button nose gave away her heart of gold. Evan, meanwhile, was tall—taller than Eliza—and nicely put together. She’d get on her tiptoes to kiss him. It was cute.
“That’s great! Eliza was just telling me. I hope he gets better soon.” I gave the pair a winning smile. “Eliza, I’m gonna go through the new stock and whatnot. I’ll be in the back. Let me know when you’re ready to lock up,” I said.
Eliza nodded at me and then glanced at her man. He approached her like someone would advance on a stray cat they wanted to pet; slowly and cautiously. They started to speak as I disappeared into the back room.
We didn’t get any new stock today; I simply figured they needed to talk. Besides, I knew she’d appreciate the space. Luckily I wasn’t stuck in a tiny room entirely without purpose. Inside my backpack I had a bunch of brand new textbooks and more stationary than a girl knew what to do with, ready for my first day back at the Raven Hall University.
Lost in the plethora of pens and notepads my back to school kit comprised of, I almost didn’t notice the sore thumb on the oaken desk. I had to double-take before the words written on its spine, and the image on the front, struck a chilling chord.
The giant squid on the cover of Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues stared back at me from atop the table. An old copy, just like the one I’d placed on the shelves moments ago. Why did we own two of them?
I plucked the book from the desk and advanced toward the door to the main room. Evan and Eliza were still there. Their muffled voices told me the discussion still hadn’t finished. At least they weren’t shouting. No one wants to be caught in between these two when they shout. It’s like watching cats fight. I’d know.
I slid out of the back room and snaked my way silently down the closest aisle. The lovebirds went quiet as I approached my destination. I’d slip the book in next to its sister so they can spend time together before someone buys one and separates them again. When I found the nook where I’d placed the original copy, I froze. The two books flanking Mr. Verne were still there, but the absence of a book between them made them slant into each other like tired lovers.
“Dammit,” I said, under my breath. I wish I could’ve dismissed the strange event, pretended like I’d imagined the whole thing, but in truth this kind of thing had happened before.
With the delicacy of someone trying not to disturb sleeping children, I slotted Jules Verne into its rightful place and decided that this time I would be cleverer than whatever specter enjoyed playing tricks on me. I snapped a shot of the books with my smartphone and double checked the image to confirm, smiling smugly at the triumph of technology.
Making my way back, I wondered if our repository of books was haunted. It’s an old building built on an old street in an old town. And I’m sure a lot of old people live in the apartment block above. I could ask Mrs. Peters on the second floor. She’s probably as old as the building itself, or at least that’s what her musky perfume suggests.
A sudden pleasurable moan made me dart back into the aisle just as I was about to waltz into the open. I peered around the corner and was met with a scene like something out of a fantasy. My heart raced. Eliza would’ve easily spotted me if I hadn’t any wits about me.
Eliza sat on the counter, her legs wrapped around Evan’s waist. Their lips locked in a passionate kiss. I glanced toward the front door, which they were in full view of, and hoped for their sake no one would come in.
Evan picked Eliza up by her thighs and carried her out of sight, to the back of the historical section which accumulated the most dust. The bookstore already smelt of lust, and listening to Eliza’s giggles brought a flush of warmth to my cheeks. I thought about that night a few months ago when the three of us called down the Moon Goddess and experienced each other intimately. It was my first time with two other partners, but I was glad they were my best friends.
The door to the office was only a few feet from where I stood, backed up against an aisle. The store had been quieter when they were talking. Now that Eliza’s moans rang off the walls I entered the safety of the back room without being spotted. I emerged a few moments later into the middle of a warm embrace between true soul mates.
“Look guys, why don’t you go home?” I asked, “I can lock up.”
“Are you sure?” asked Eliza.
“Absolutely. Get out of here.”

I’d grown used to hiding my green eyes from them. They had something I’d always wanted to share with someone else; a connection. Happy for them though I was, lonely people will yearn, and lonely Witches will get up to no good; ask my ex-boyfriend.

About the Author:

My name is Katerina. I love to read and write, and until now I've been cooped up in a desk job with nothing to do but drift away on a sea of corporate bull until I do what is expected of me (marriage, kids, etc).

Eventually I decided that enough was enough, so I took a chance and wrote a book; my first book. Then I mulled over my options and chose to self-publish with Amazon, panicked over the "Publish" button for a few hours, and waited patiently for my book to show up on the listing.

Now I'm here, part of this big, wide world, trying to meet other people like me - folks starting out in the self-publishing business or just fellow authors/ readers who share my kinds of interests!

For those of you starting out, I can tell you, it's a rollercoaster. None of it is easy. And even if your work doesn't sell, at least you can be proud that you put yourself out there and took that step!





Amazon Author Profile: www.amazon.com/author/katerinamartinez   

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Interview: Karma by Donna Augustine



1. Please share a little about yourself, your genres, any other pen names you use.

I’m just your average coffee addict, with an overactive imagination. Donna Augustine is the only name I use and I write urban fantasy because it’s what I love to read. Something about imaging all sorts of secret occurrences that could be happening right beneath the top layer of our reality is incredibly appealing to me.

2. Have you ever based your book or characters on actual events or people from your own life?

In a way, most of what I write is pulled from inspiration around me. In particular, I like to pull little habits from people I know and then give them to my characters. I sneak my own traits in, as well. Probably the funniest example of this is with Fate, in Karma. Everywhere he goes, he leans on things and takes up too much space. That’s actually a trait I have a problem with. I’m forever finding a surface to lean upon or somewhere to kick up my feet.

3. Is there a theme or message in your work that you would like readers to connect to?

I wasn’t intentionally trying to impart a message in my books but I do tend to always circle the wagon around actions and consequences. It’s not from some lofty moral high ground or looking to impart some secret wisdom, because I don’t claim to have any superior knowledge. It’s probably because as I’ve watched people throughout the course of their lives, it’s always amazing to me how some decisions made with the best intentions can have such negative ramifications. There are so many times in life when there isn’t a right answer. I’m always fascinated by how people handle those moments.

4. What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?

I’m not sure it would be surprising but I can be very volatile.

5. When you’re not writing what do you do? Do you have any hobbies or guilty pleasures?

I’ve never tried a craft I didn’t love. One of my current favorites is felting little creatures. Sometimes I’ll do tutorials and give them away on my website.

As far as guilty pleasures, I’ve got a ton of things that might fall into that category and I don’t feel a drop of guilt about any of them.

6. Of all the characters you’ve ever written, who is your favorite and why?

Probably Cormac, from The Keepers. He was a bit of a bastard in the beginning and very morally ambiguous but changed because he fell in love. I’m a sucker for a bad boy turned good.

7. What is next for you? Do you have any scheduled upcoming releases or works in progress?

Jinxed, book two in the Karma series, will be out by November. I’m already working on the third. After that, I’ve got some more ideas brewing but I’m not sure what will claim me next.

7. What is in your to read pile?

There are a couple of books I can’t wait to get my hands on. One is Burned by Karen Moning and the other is Visions in Silver by Anne Bishop. I’ll be taking a day off to read those as soon as they hit Kindle.







Karma
Karma Series
Book One
Donna Augustine

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Strong Hold Publishing

Date of Publication: July 9, 2014

ISBN: 0692248463
ASIN: B00LMNRWQ4

Number of pages: 344
Word Count: 72,000

Cover Artist: Donna Augustine

Book Description:

People say karma's a...well, you know. Personally, I don't think I'm that bad. It's not like I wanted this job. I wasn't even in my right mind when I accepted it. 

Now, I'm surrounded by crazy coworkers like Lady Luck, who's a bit of a tramp, and Murphy's Law, who's a bumbling oaf.

But the worst is Fate. He's got a problem with transfers like myself and I have to see him constantly. It's unavoidable, since we're hunting the same man, my murderer.

Available at Amazon



I was immediately drawn into the story and once I started I couldn't put it down. I can't wait for the next book in the series. ~ Review by BookGirl

About the Author:

Donna Augustine’s lifelong ambition was to become the crazy cat lady. Unfortunately, when family allergies cut short her dream of living in a house full of furries, she turned her ambitions toward writing. Combining her love of fantasy, scifi, horror and romance, she tries to string together interesting twists on urban fantasy.

A native of New Jersey, when she isn’t writing, or overdosing on caffeine, she can occasionally be spotted in disguise at the local dog park.



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Spotlight on The MacInness Legacy Series





The MacInness Legacy Series

In 1692, an innocent man accused of witchcraft hangs in Salem, Massachusetts. His death reignites a deadly feud between the descendants of two ancient Scottish clans—MacGow and MacInness, which leaves the MacInness clan descendants cursed. Any man who weds a MacInness is destined to an early death. The MacInnesses have one century to lift the curse and reflect it back upon Clan MacGow. One hundred years later, triplet sisters separated in childhood, are being drawn back to Salem. The have three months to refine their unearthly talents of fire, sight, and healing, and break the deadly curse…or lose the men they love forever.

The Fireweaver
The MacInness Legacy
Book I
Julie Moffett

Genre: Historical Paranormal Romance

Publisher: True Airspeed Press, LLC
Date of Publication: June 27, 2014

ASIN: B00LCS4TEM
Number of pages: 279

Cover Artist: Su Kopil

Book Description:

From best-selling author Julie Moffett comes THE FIREWEAVER, the first book in a historical paranormal romance series about sister witches written in conjunction with her own sister, Sandy Moffett.

Bridget Goodwell is the daughter of one of Salem’s most prominent Congregationalist ministers. Although Bridget is almost twenty-one years of age and long past the prime age of marriage, in three months time she will finally wed Peter Holton, a wealthy law student from a respectable family. Bridget’s future seems secure and bright. Except for the fact that Bridget is hiding a terrible secret. She is able to set things on fire by willing it so. All of her life she’s successfully hid her unnatural ability from family and friends. But just three weeks before her wedding, her secret is threatened when her childhood nemesis and first true love, Benjamin Hawkes, sails back into town with trouble on his mind.


Available at Amazon   BN   iTunes  Kobo
Excerpt The Fireweaver:

Salem Village, Massachusetts
October 31, 1692

Priscilla Mary Gardener was about to hang.

After twenty-one years of life, it would end here on Gallows Hill, not far from her home, with a rope around her neck and a suffocating black wool hood draped over her face.
How ironic that death would embrace her now. Blessed with health, youth, and vibrancy, she had never given herself leave to contemplate her own demise. But during these past two weeks she had been forced to ponder death and the fragility of life. She did not want to die. Even as she stood precariously over a rickety trap door with a noose around her neck, she still dared to hope there was a possibility she might be saved.

But it was not to be.

It saddened her that not one of her neighbors or friends came forward to speak for her, to challenge the preposterous claims that had been made against her. Not one raised their voice in protest against her execution. She was alone and condemned. The thick rope weighed on her neck, chafing her skin. Her wrists were tied behind her back and rubbed raw. At first, her arms had ached fiercely, but now only a dull pain throbbed. Her legs were unbound, but she feared moving even a breadth lest the trapdoor open and hasten her demise.

Priscilla drew in a painful but steadying breath, and reflected upon her life, one that had once been blessed and good. She’d had a husband who had loved her, and a mother and father who had adored and sheltered her. As death neared, she saw that little else mattered. Breathing became more difficult beneath the hood. Cold sweat trickled down her temples and neck, causing her to shudder uncontrollably. Perhaps, if God were truly merciful, she would suffocate beneath the black hood before they ever got on with the hanging. If not, she prayed her death would be quick and clean. She had no wish to suffer a long and agonizing death while the people she had known all her life looked on, wondering, whispering.

Priscilla supposed it was almost time now. A man on the scaffold said something, but she couldn’t make out the words through the hood. She was no longer certain if she were breathing. She felt light-headed, weak, as if she had already taken leave of her body. A hand pressed into the small of her back and she heard more mumbling. Then the noose tightened around her neck just as the trap door opened. Priscilla felt herself falling and then yank to a stop as pain exploded in her head. The pain passed and there was nothing but a suffocating stillness.

Was she dead?

Without warning, the chilling darkness turned to light, shocking her senses. When her vision cleared, Priscilla could see a body swaying from the gallows a short distance away, the horrid black hood still in place. It seemed so insignificant—a tiny black dot against the enormous gray-tinged skyline. Yet as she watched the body sway, she sensed something was not right. Inexplicably her sight became riveted on the black hood as if beneath the coarse, woolen fabric lay the answer to her death. Somehow she willed her spirit forward until she almost touched the hood. Her hand trembled as her fingers brushed against the coarse fabric.

Did a dead person’s hand still tremble?

Steeling herself, she yanked off the hood in one swift motion.

“John!”

Priscilla woke in terror, screaming her husband’s name. Thrashing out, she reached across the bed, seeking the warmth and comfort of his body. For a moment, poised precariously between a dream and reality, she felt her husband beside her, solid and familiar. She could even smell the oatmeal soap that had stubbornly clung to the rough but steady hands of a master carpenter.
She squeezed her eyes shut and crushed a pillow to her chest, clinging to the memory and scent of him. But the tighter she clung, the looser her hold became, and his memory slipped from her grasp as did the last vestiges of her dream.


She opened her eyes, alone in the bed. A profound sorrow clutched at her heart, twisting and turning until she could bear no more.

The Seer
The MacInness Legacy
Book II
Sandy Moffett

Genre: Historical Paranormal Romance

Publisher: True Airspeed Press, LLC

Date of Publication: July 6, 2014

ASIN: B00LLNFLAE
Number of pages: 300

Cover Artist: Su Kopil

Book Description:

The Seer is the second book in The MacInness Legacy Series, written by award-winning sisters Sandy and Julie Moffett. The story garnered Sandy a Lories Award for Best New Paranormal Author.

After an innocent man accused of witchcraft hangs in 1692 Salem, his death reignites a deadly feud between the descendants of two ancient Scottish clans—MacGow and MacInness. The peaceful MacInness descendants are left tragically cursed. Any man who weds a MacInness is now destined to an early death. The MacInnesses have one century to lift the curse and reflect it back upon Clan MacGow. One hundred years later, triplet sisters separated in childhood are being drawn back to Salem. They have three months to refine their unearthly talents of fire, sight, and healing, and break the deadly curse…or lose the men they love forever.

Alexandra Gables needs no man to run her life. Educated, witty, and wealthy, she is the only child in a family with a long line of prominent scientists. Despite her gender, Alexandra intends to continue that heritage and let no man stand in her way. But her father, anxious for grandchildren, teams up with an old friend whose equally stubborn and brilliant son, Pierce Williams, has no time for a frivolous woman to slow down his life. When Alexandra is sent to Salem to help the elder Williams catalogue and sketch a scientific collection for the Royal Society of London, she has no idea that she is being dangled as marriage material for Pierce. Both are firmly determined to ignore each other, but Alexandra is drawn to Pierce’s quick wit, irresistible charm, and enviable engineering skill. However, close encounters with Pierce trigger an increase in the strange prophetic visions she has had all her life––visions that have no scientific basis or explanation. When a vision reveals the destruction of a ship Pierce designed, built, and will sail on, she must risk a deepening love for Pierce against the loss of his life and all her future dreams.


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  Excerpt The Seer:

Salem, Massachusetts, May 1792

“’Tis a bleak morn to be enterin’ this witchin’ town,” a grizzled sailor mumbled as he assisted a young woman into the unsteady longboat.
Cold, sticky air ripe with rolling fog enveloped the seas abeam Salem, a place haunted by its persecution of witches nearly one hundred years ago. Though infamous in history, the thriving seaport now drew the educated and adventurous. Alexandra Gables, debarking the schooner Defiant, was no exception.
“Surely you do not believe in such endowed humans as witches,” Alexandra countered, mildly amused that people still maintained such unenlightened beliefs. “Even Salem has professed shame for the hangings. I do recollect they offered legal apologies and restitution to families of the victims.”
The sailor’s sun-hardened face, days distant from the blade of a good razor, crinkled in doubt. “Me mariner ears hear many a tale, ma’am. But no doubtin’ by me, every tale entwines a true fact. There be witches in Salem.”
She nodded politely and glanced up at the Defiant, searching for signs of her tiny companion. Crimson spears of sunrise cast a reddish glow on the fog-draped schooner. A truly enchanting morning, if she allowed such a persuasion. But enchanted was not the word she chose.
The ocean rolled gently beneath her feet inducing flutters in an already tentative stomach. She stepped toward the stern of the longboat thankful that the trip to shore was a brief one. She settled near the coxswain and tucked the fullness of her cotton skirt and petticoat discreetly onto her lap. Above, a covered birdcage attached to a rope descended slowly from the schooner deck. An oarsman handed over the cage and placed it beside her on the seat plank.
“Wha’ creature ye ha’ in there, Mistress Gables?” the Scottish born sailor asked, puzzled by the cage. “It no’ moves like a bird.”
“You are most clever, sir. ’Tis not a bird, but a creature I call Newton. He resembles the fabled companion Black Sam used to keep.”
The man’s eyes widened at the pirate’s name as he took a seat facing her and set his oar. She easily noted his desire to hear more. “I see you are familiar with Black Sam’s exploits.”
The deep-voiced coxswain behind her bellowed, “Aye, Mistress. Any sailor worth ’is salt has heard of ’im and ’is stormy demise.”
He switched his attention to squeezing in the last of the passengers and casting off from the schooner. Not until the oars dipped cleanly into Salem Harbor and he had steered clear of the ship, did he lean toward Alexandra again. “I ne’er heard sailors speak of any animal on ’is ship.”
“Not just any animal, but a small, rugged, resourceful creature,” she replied. “Tales say ’tis why Black Sam kept him. He discovered the creature when filling water casks at anchorage in Hispaniola. Some claim the two locked stares not sure who appeared more fearsome.”
The coxswain and oarsman stared with curiosity at the covered cage. As though in response, Newton shifted in his cage, banging his tail against the thin metal. The men jumped, and Alexandra fought to hide her amusement. With dramatic hesitation, she lifted ever so slightly the edge of Newton’s cover.
Orange-brown eyes set in a rough jumble of green scales glared out at the men. Like a true thespian, Newton inflated his scaled beard to display a row of short spikes. The men gasped and she lowered the cover.
“That be a devil’s creature,” the oarsman puffed and glanced suspiciously at her fiery hair she had properly tucked beneath a hat.
“’Tis simply a reptile,” she countered. “A French philosopher traveling from Cap-Haïtien gave this specimen to my father.”
A sudden shift in temperature brought the discussion to a halt. A quiet foreboding made its presence known in the foggy shroud. Every rhythmic slap of the oars into the harbor brought the longboat closer to shore and deepened her building unease. She knew of no possible reason for these dark feelings. Past scientific forays with her father into the western woods of New York and the wilds of Nova Scotia had offered far more danger than this trip to Salem.
Strange, but some internal voice foretold that the danger didn’t arise from bears, snakes, or Indians; it emanated from someplace far less obvious, from the very essence of Salem—or even from her own soul.

The Healer
The MacInness Legacy
Book III
Julie Moffett

Genre: Historical Paranormal Romance

Publisher: True Airspeed Press, LLC
Date of Publication: July 14, 2014

ASIN: B00LU2DYAU
Number of pages: 305

Cover Artist: Su Kopil

Book Description:

From best selling, award winning author Julie Moffett comes the third book in a historical paranormal romance series about sister witches written with her sister, Sandy Moffett. This book was nominated for a PRISM and a HOLT.

One hundred years after the witch trials in 1792 Salem Massachusetts:

Gillian is the daughter of a well-known Salem physician Zachariah Saunders and his wife, Mary. Years ago Gillian’s father was accused of improper medical behavior, and the family was ostracized to the nearby town of Gloucester. There Gillian became her father’s apprentice, learning all she could about medicine, botany and the healing arts. She was frightened, but intrigued, when she discovered she had an unusual ability to heal small, wounded animals by simply touching them. Her strange ability is put to the test when a young and handsome doctor is dragged to her door near death. Gillian makes him well again, but in the process falls hopelessly in love. It is this love that returns her to Salem and brings her face to face with the mother and sisters she never knew existed. Now she must overcome her past and help her newfound family work to lift a century-old curse before it destroys the men they love.


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Excerpt The Healer:

Salem, Massachusetts
October 1792

The sea lured Spencer Reeves like a siren calling to her lover.
He smiled in response as his small vessel, a skiff named the Rosemary, swept atop the glossy waves, leaving Salem Harbor behind. A strong, whipping breeze blew across the water, carrying the faint scents of sea salt and cod while a brilliant orange sky encompassed the New England coast in a spectacular sunset. He took a deep breath of air, lifting his face to the wind and embracing the stinging October chill.
“There’s nothing like a sail on a brisk autumn eve, is there, Spence?”
Spencer turned to his friend Charles Harrington, who sat lounging back against the gunwale, his legs stretched out in front of him. “Nothing. It’s the perfect end to an otherwise long day. All too soon enough we’ll have to dock the skiff for the winter. But not yet.”
Grinning, Charles pulled a small flask out of his breast pocket, popped it open, and took a long drink. He handed it to Jonathan Duttridge, the third member of their small crew, who took a deep pull and passed it to Spencer.
Spencer declined. “No. Someone has to remain in full control of his faculties in order to sail us back home and not on into Gloucester.”
Charles frowned. “Always the proper physician. Must you be incessantly wed to your profession?”
“Only when I sail…and, of course, when I perform surgery instead of leaving it to an incompetent barber. I have no intention of going as far as Gloucester this eve.”
Jonathan snorted in disapproval. “What would be wrong with a trip to Gloucester? I met a pleasant young lady there once.”
“Pleasant, indeed.” Charles chortled. “Need I remind you, we were at a house of ill repute? I’m sure she’ll remember to be pleasant if you come calling again with coin.”
Jonathan pursed his lips and Charles snatched the flask from him, taking another swallow. “Come on, Spence, if you refuse to partake in the spirits, then let’s see how fast this lady can go.”
Rising to the challenge, Spencer adjusted the sail and angled it into the wind. The skiff picked up speed, gliding deftly across the water.
As Salem became a dot on the horizon, Spencer felt the tension of the day released. He also had a long, though productive day. His father had personally commended him on the excellent sutures he had made on the tiny hand of three-year old Mary Brewer. He had correctly diagnosed and treated old Sam Forsythe for a mild case of gout. His own confidence as a physician was growing daily, as was the trust of the patients he treated while apprenticing with his father. But as his patient list and the number of people depending on him grew, Spencer found that he recently spent more time worrying about his work and less time visiting with friends and reinvigorating his body and mind. Today he had decided to ignore those needs no more. He’d sought out his friends, and now they were all reaping the rewards of a revitalizing sail.
They chatted companionably until dusk deepened. Spencer slowed the skiff and had Charles lit the small lantern that sat wedged between two wooden planks at the front of the bow. The light cast ghostly shadows over the men.
“Take a look at that, would you?” Jonathan pointed toward land, where a few scattered lights blinked along the shoreline.
“It looks like a cottage.” Charles came to stand beside Jonathan. “How far are we from Gloucester?”
“A good distance yet.” Spencer squinted. “It’s rather peculiar, but the structure seems to be neither in Salem or in Gloucester, but somewhere in between.”
“How odd,” Jonathan murmured. “I didn’t know anyone lived out this far.”
“That’s because it doesn’t house human inhabitants.” Charles took a swig and laughed.
Jonathan sniggered. “Then what exactly does the cottage house?”
Charles waved his arm in a grand gesture, and spoke in an eerie dramatic voice. “A small, but malevolent coven of witches. Beautiful, alluring witches, but evil just the same. Spence, what do you think?”
Spencer watched the dim lights wink and glow in a fascinating pattern. Someone had placed candles in the windows, as if beckoning to strangers. A chill skittered up his spine, raising the hairs on his arms and the back of his neck.
“Frankly, I think we should beach Charles here. Let him visit the cottage. Maybe the witches can cure him of his unremitting obsession with women.”
“Ha! No thank you, Spence. That’s one obsession I prefer not to be cured of, thank you very much. I rather think we should leave you there, Spence, so you can have a life outside your respectable but utterly tedious practice.”
Spencer tipped his head. “Tedious or not, I assure you, my life is quite full. Besides, am I not partaking of some leisurely activity at this very moment? Although some might question if being with you two truly counts as leisure.”
“Oh, it’s leisure all right.” Charles slid backward, his hip thudding against the hull as the skiff picked up speed from a sudden gust of wind. “Is not our company much sought after in Salem? Are we not fortunate to have a lady such as the Rosemary at our disposal?”
Spencer grinned. “On the last point I shall not disagree.”
“Speaking of ladies, Charles.” Jonathan swiped the flask from Charles’ grasp. “What’s this I hear about you being caught with your hands up Anna Wendall’s skirts?”
“It was an accident, I swear.” Charles lifted his hands innocently. “We were taking a stroll when she tripped and toppled into my arms. Her considerable weight caught me off-balance and we both fell to the ground. In my haste to help her up, I became entangled in her skirts. It’s not my fault her derrière was exposed to several passersby. I’ve been told it was quite a spectacle.”
“Her derrière, or your hands extracting themselves from her considerable flesh?” Spencer asked dryly.
“Very amusing.” Charles pressed his hand in an exaggerated fashion against his chest. “You wound me by disparaging my honorable intentions toward Mistress Wendall.”
Jonathan chuckled. “That’s a damn fine accounting of what happened, Charles, and I’d stand by it, if I were you. Especially when word of the unfortunate incident reaches her father. After all, most of Salem knows that you are constantly on the lookout for dastardly ways to take a quick peek beneath the skirts of any young lady.”
They all laughed and further debated the finer points of Anna Wendall’s derrière until an abrupt gust of wind caused the boat to lurch to one side. Concerned with the boom swinging, Spencer yelled, “Watch your heads.
“A storm seems to be brewing.” The wind whipped against the sail. “Where in the hell did it come from? We’d better head back to Salem.” He worked the tiller and sail as the vessel began to roll drunkenly from side to side.
“Would it not be more prudent to go on to Gloucester?” Charles yelled over the howl of the wind.
“If my calculations are correct, we are still about halfway between each town.” Spencer slid two steps to his left. “The storm seems to be coming out of the north from Gloucester. If we head back for Salem, perhaps we can outrun it.”
A jagged flash of lightning lit up the sky, leaving a trail of crackling sparks in its wake. Thunder boomed around them as the sky opened up and rain poured down in untamed fury. His view of the shore and horizon rapidly diminished.
Spencer clung to the wood rail, his skin tingling, his breath coming in shallow, fast gasps. “We have to put her into the waves or she’ll capsize. Help me get her hard aport.”
Charles and Jonathan scrambled to aid him, but a wave crashed into the craft, slamming Charles’ head into the boom. He nearly slid overboard, but Spencer dragged him back by the collar of his shirt and dumped him on the deck. Charles sat up, rubbing his skull. Thunder boomed again, this time so violently that even the skiff shuddered.
“Hell and damnation!”
They brought down the sail and Spencer fought with the tiller. His fingers slipped on the wood, and he narrowed his eyes against the onslaught of blinding rain. Spencer knew they were in imminent danger of capsizing.
Jonathan screamed. “Look out!”
Spencer glanced over his shoulder, his eyes widening at the enormous wall of water coming toward them. The wave slammed into them, crushing the boat like a toy. The skiff disintegrated beneath his feet, and the water reached up and yanked him under the white foam.
With barely a gulp of air in his lungs, Spencer flailed about, kicking hard against the undertow that threatened to drag him to his death. His right leg tangled in a rope, twisting his ankle and slamming it against something hard. Hot pain shot up from his foot along the right side of his body. In a moment of startling clarity, Spencer realized he was on the brink of death.
His last thought before blackness enveloped him was not one of despair, but one of hope that at least his friends would make it to safety.


Bewitching
Salem’s Academy for Ladies
Sandy Moffett

Genre: Historical paranormal romance

Publisher: True Airspeed Press, LLC
Date of Publication: August 5, 2014

ASIN: B00MGYX1GS
Number of pages: 108

Cover Artist: Su Kopil

Book Description:

Multi-award winning author Sandy Moffett brings to life historical Salem in this first novella of a series.

The Salem witch trials may be a hundred years past, but Constance Sedgewick and her two aunts run Salem’s Academy for Young Ladies, where any rumor of strange occurrences could ruin their excellent reputation. So when pictures start falling off walls, dishware unexplainably cracks, and odd things start to happen, Constance discovers her strong, arcane powers are taking on a life of their own. When her aunts share the cause, Constance isn’t sure she can withstand the cure.


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Excerpt Bewitching:

Salem, Massachusetts 1790

Constance Sedgewick stood in the front hall of Salem’s Academy for Young Ladies considering the repercussions if she summarily changed Phoebe’s mother into a mute.
“Phoebe has no need for learning numbers,” the woman huffed. “Such foolish knowledge wastes her precious time.”
Constance crossed her arms. “On the contrary, I have not found it so.”
“Humph, why, you haven’t even been able to secure a husband.”
A fiery ire rose from within and might well have exploded forth had a crashing thud not sounded down the hall. Constance whirled to see the damaged portrait of her father lying askew on the floor. The air sizzled with magic. Aunt Gwendolyn, blessed with frequently erratic spells, must have overheard the unkind comment.
Constance, doing her best to control her true emotions, drew a long breath and turned back to Phoebe’s mother.
“I do recall your family operates the English Goods store. Have you ever considered, heaven forbid, what would happen if your husband should become incapacitated? Who would calculate the shop finances?”
The woman straightened proudly. “My son will run the business someday.”
“Your son is barely nine years of age. What if this sad event happened tomorrow?”
“How dare you suggest such a thing.”
Constance gently put a hand on the woman’s arm and guided her to the front door. “Think of Phoebe’s knowledge as insurance in times of difficulty. Do you wish a sharper to steal your business blind because you lack knowledge of numbers?”
The woman, apparently recognizing the attempt to remove her from the manor house, firmly planted herself across the threshold. “I see the merit in your point, but she must be prepared for society and a proper husband. Attention is required in social skills, music, and the arts. Could you not allow her to concentrate more on those talents?”
“We treat all our young ladies equally. And I do believe my aunts do an admirable job of teaching the arts and personal etiquette. We produce well-rounded young ladies here. But if you think Phoebe will be better served at another establishment, I will gladly assist with her transfer.”
Phoebe’s mother grew pale. “But there are no others in town with your reputation.”
“Then, we shall be pleased to keep her as a student. You must understand, though, we are quite set in giving our young ladies a thorough education.”
Constance stepped away from the woman and took hold of the sturdy wooden door. While smiling pleasantly, she slowly moved her hand, hidden behind the door, in a shooing motion.
“I must get back to my students. If you have any further concerns, feel free to return after lessons today.” She swung the door shut as Phoebe’s mother stood with a surprised and puzzled expression.
The poor woman probably wondered how she had moved the few feet from the threshold onto the porch. Constance giggled at the image. Oh, the small pleasures of witchcraft. On occasion it posed a great burden, but other times proved a blessing.



About Julie Moffett:

Julie Moffett is the award-winning author of fourteen published novels in the genres of historical, paranormal fantasy, and time travel romances, and action/adventure mysteries.

She grew up as a military brat (Air Force) and has traveled extensively. Her more exciting exploits include attending Kubasaki High School in Okinawa, Japan, backpacking around Europe and Scandinavia for several months, a year-long college graduate study in Warsaw, Poland and a wonderful trip to Scotland and Ireland where she fell in love with castles, kilts and brogues.

Julie has a B.A. in Political Science and Russian Language from Colorado College, a M.A. in International Affairs from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and is nearly finished with her M.Ed from Liberty University in Virginia. Able to speak Russian and Polish, she worked as a journalist for the international radio station, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Washington, D.C. for eleven years, publishing hundreds of articles. She now works as a proposal writer and research advisor for a defense contractor in the Washington, D.C. area.

Julie is a single mom with two sons, who keep her quite busy. She belongs to Romance Writers of America and Washington Romance Writers where she served six years on the organization’s Board of Directors. She was also the Market News Columnist and Feature’s Editor for the organization’s monthly newsletter, Update, for eleven years.


Twitter: @JMoffettAuthor





About Sandy Moffett: 

I write fast-paced stories full of adventure, unique characters, mystery and suspense. I've published two novels with Kensington Publishing Corporation and have placed and won writing contests as both a published and unpublished author (ex. National Reader’s Choice finalist (published), RWA Golden Heart (finalist). I am a member of Mystery Writers of America and several national and local writing organizations.

I'm a hydrogeologist by training with an M.S. in geological sciences and have taken additional engineering graduate coursework. I've taught at a university, worked on a project for the Air Force Flight Test Center, worked as a design engineer for a civil engineering firm, and have done computer modeling and field studies as a hydrogeologic consultant. I've studied in England and Italy, traveled to South Africa, Egypt, and South America, and still travel to places of interest all over the world so I can make my stories richer.

Website (writing as Sandy Parks):  http://www.sandyparksauthor.com/

Twitter: @SMoffettAuthor




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