Friday, October 10, 2014

Guest Posts: Adrian J. Smith and Vincent Panettiere, Two Authors and Two Books

Guest Post by Adrian J Smith
2D 1 - Ashes Fall - Dark Scream Book Tours                                                     Author Image - MASTER - Dark Scream Book Tours

There’s a lot that goes into a name. I’m quite open about talking about names of characters and to picking them randomly as I go along for side characters, but I never pick a main character’s name randomly. That’s particularly important in this series. James Matthews is a woman—and that’s not a common first name for a woman. There’s even a joke about it in the first book.
James is a name that has always had a special place for me. If I was a boy, it would have been my middle name, and thus the middle initial in my author name became a “J” and I’ve always hoped that no one would ever ask me what it meant. In the two years I’ve been writing under this pen name no one has, so I’m counting my lucky stars!
James Matthews was supposed to have a more exotic name for a woman. She’s a bit exotic in looks and definitely does not fall into the norm. She’s a female firefighter who happens to be a lesbian, oh, and did I mention she has a special gift? She’s not your norm, and her name becomes that.
Addison, on the other hand, is a bit more normal. I have a special affinity for any name that begins with an “A” and thus my author name and her name must begin with a name. I also wanted a name that was gender-neutral to add a slight confusion in the beginning of book one, and a nickname for James to call her on the side.
Lily goes back to one of my best friends in high school, someone who inspired me to be creative and to go where I never thought I could go. I needed a name, and Lily’s legal name, as you find out rather quickly in Ashes Fall, is Alyssa. My good friend Lily in high school probably doesn’t even know I’ve named this character after her, but I think it suits her, and she would be most excited with the turn Lily takes (although, I will say, her name is based on my friend, the personality is the complete opposite of my friend).
Names are just as important as anything else that goes into a book. They have to fit the character, fit the personality, and they have to fit the author. A lot of people ask whether or not they should have a pen name, and honestly, they’re the only ones who can answer that question. My reasoning was simple—keep day job and night job separate, create a buffer for the two, and hopefully get away with writing lesbian fiction with my day job never finding out.
I gave myself a new identity. But what I’ve come to realize is I’m more myself under this pen name than I can be under my real name. It’s not something I quite expected, but I do sincerely enjoy it.

About The Author

Vincent Panettiere is a former literary agent, representing writers and directors in televIsion and film. At the same time he was certified by the Major League Players Association (MLBPA) to represent major league baseball players. Previously he was an executive with Twentieth Century Fox and CBS.
 A WOMAN TO BLAME is his first novel.
Previously he wrote and published The Internet Financing Illusion which investigated the dark side of the Internet and the scams committed upon unsuspecting businessmen.

About the Book

A thoroughbred race horse collapses and dies after finishing last in a race he was favored to win. Hours later the stallion’s trainer,  a young woman with a promising career, is found dead on a suburban Chicago beach.
A woman to blame? The police draw a facile solution - murder/suicide.
Mike Hegan, a veteran police detective being forced to retire on medical disability, refuses to believe the official version. His search for the truth
leads him to a promontory on a Caribbean island where scores are settled and lives lost.


Guest Post by Vincent Panettiere

I wrote my first short story when I was in high school. Of course I didn’t know how to write a short story and had never taken any courses  in writing. But I had written for my high school newspaper...So. I sent it to a “woman’s magazine”; the kind that used to be sold at supermarket check-out counters. Either Family Circle or Woman’s Day or both. Another first -it was rejected.
On one rejection slip was a hand written note that began “...though you are young...” don’t remember the rest but it was encouraging overall and I did keep it in my wallet - the way other high school boys used to keep a condom (As if!) - until it got moldy.
Unbowed, I showed the story to my high school English teacher who - because divorce was mentioned in the story - thought I had written a “cry for help.”
When my father learned I had written the story he bought my first typewriter which I still have - eons later - and which worked perfectly until I had it cleaned.
I wrote for my college newspaper and literary magazine - short stories, book reviews etc.
After graduating from college I wrote for a wire service and daily newspaper in Boston. It was somewhere around that time I decided I needed to get serious about a career and ended up in public relations. I was still writing but it was boiler plate stuff.
Years later I started writing screen plays and submitting them to studios in California. They came back too. A woman at one studio suggested I move to Los Angeles and give it a shot. I did and within a few years sold four film projects. None were produced. Quelle surprise!
Through a friend I was hired by a literary agency - then started my own. I figured I could combine my promotion skills with my ability to write. Ten years later I closed the agency wrote my first book The Internet Financing Illusion - a tour of the Internet underworld. From there it was another leap to my first novel A Woman To Blame.
Originally it was written as a film script - n.b. this advice - do not throw out anything you’ve written. The book is superior to the script and more fun to write.
I’ve recently finished a second novel.
What is the meaning of my long and winding road? Can’t tell as I am not at the end.
I often wonder if I had not “gotten serious” about starting a career perhaps I’d have written more books by now. We’ll never know.
I do know that it is very important not to give up; not to give in to the opinions of others - even if they out-stature you - i.e. professors, parents, friends, literary agents are in that category.
Be true to yourself (a blatant cliche) and trust yourself (another one). If you do that you’ll never have any regrets.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Guest Post: Deep Trouble by Jean Erhardt

Guest Post: Deep Trouble by Jean Erhardt

Guest Post

Award winning Southern author, Allen Gurganus, best known for his 1989 debut
novel, Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All, once wrote:
“The novelist needs both a dictionary and a cemetery. Graveyards offer more than
your eventual remaindered resting-shelf. Approached in the joyful spirit of
mortal play, they provide historic bullet points, bird sanctuaries, excellent
fictitious names, and the lifelong source of such sweet calm.”
Perhaps, Gurganus’ words were floating around in the back of my mind when I
accepted a position as a family service counselor at a cemetery in Portland,
Oregon. My job is to assist families with their preneed arrangements as well as
those who are at need. I spend a lot of time in the cemetery, or park as we call
it. Every day I am reminded of all of the many lives and stories that are
evidenced when I pass each grave and headstone, from Hattie T. who lived 103
years to infants who never took their first breaths.
I visit with those who have come to pay their respects to their loved ones like
Melanie S. whose young husband’s life was taken in a tragic car accident. She
brings along a CD player because he was a jazz musician and loved music, and she
sits for hours at his grave each week and listens quietly to Chet Baker, Dave
Brubeck and Ornette Coleman. Sam H. brings apples and leaves them on his
sister’s grave because he knows that the deer will come for them. Holly R., who
is five years, old recently lost her mother to breast cancer. She comes on the
weekends with her cousins and aunt who sits by the grave quietly as Holly and
her cousins run and play in and around the headstones.
Life and death, the inescapable circle, and everything that happens in between
is what we as writers are responsible to observe, absorb, filter, allow to
marinade in the juices of our own experiences and record. This is a weighty
responsibility, but one that can bring great satisfaction, even joy and,
occasionally more than a bit of humor.

About The Author

I was raised in the small rural town of Amelia, Ohio, about twenty five miles
out of Cincinnati. My younger brother and sister and I had a pony, a horse, many
great dogs and a couple of motorcycles. We raised a lot of hell. My father
served in The Big One at 17 and, after riding a motorcycle around Europe, became
a lawyer and later a judge. My mother worked as a homemaker and nurse, a skill
she had to use a lot with all of the injuries my siblings and I subjected
ourselves and one another to.
I wrote my first mystery story when I was in fourth grade. It was about a kid a
lot like me who heard strange noises coming from the attic and became convinced
that the attic was haunted. Eventually, the mystery was solved when she
investigated and found a squirrel eating nuts in a dark corner. It wasn’t a
terribly exciting conclusion, but my teacher gave me an A anyway.
As a teenager I worked at a lot of different jobs. I worked at a gift shop in
Gatlinburg, Tennessee, which is a frequent locale in my books. I was a swimming
instructor and a lifeguard where my primary goal was to never get wet. I did a
stint in a stuffed animal gift shop at the Kings Island amusement park where I
actually sort of met the Partridge Family when they shot an episode there. After
graduating from high school, I went on to attend Maryville College in Maryville,
Tennessee, a stone’s throw from the Great Smoky Mountains. There was some more
hell raising at college and I made some very good friends and occasionally we
have our own private reunions.
In high school and college I played basketball and I graduated from Maryville
College with a degree in Phys Ed. I went on to teach at Amelia Junior High, the
same junior high that I had attended. There was something a little weird about
passing by my old school locker every day when I walked down the hall as a
teacher. Plus, some of the teachers I’d had back when I was in junior high were
still working when I started to teach. Some of them had been none too fond of me
as a student and I don’t think they were much fonder of me as a teacher! I
coached the girls’ basketball and volleyball teams which was the best part of my
In my late 20′s I moved to the West Coast to get a broader perspective on life
or something like that. I ended up working in retail security, or loss
prevention, as it is now known, at an upscale Northwest retailer. I kept getting
promoted and with each promotion, the job became less and less fun. It was a lot
more fun catching shoplifters than sitting in endless meetings and crunching
budgets. After ten years of that, I quit to try my hand at some serious writing.
I wrote two books of fiction (not mysteries), Benny’s World and Kippo’s World,
as well as a book of not-especially-reverent poetry called A Girl’s Guide to God
and numerous short stories, articles and poems which have appeared in The Sonora
Review, The Quarterly, Word of Mouth, Blue Stocking and 8-Track Mind.
After that, it was time to go back to work. I got my private investigator’s
license and hung out my shingle. At first, I took a lot of the cheaters cases.
It seemed to me that if a guy thought his woman was cheating, he was usually
wrong. On the other hand, if a woman thought her guy was cheating, she was
almost always right. Eventually, I moved on to take mostly criminal defense
investigation work which often involved trying to figure out what the client did
and didn’t do and then minimize the damage of what they usually did do. There
were so many crazy ways that people could get themselves in trouble. In one
case, the attorney I was working for represented a wife who had gotten so
enraged about all of the time and affection her husband lavished on his pet
iguana that she shot the poor iguana and killed it. The husband was furious and
wanted the district attorney to press charges. The wife was eventually charged
with reckless endangerment and took a pretty sweet deal because even the DA felt
sorry for the fact that she was married to such a schmuck.
It was an interesting ten years. Somewhere in this time period I began to write
the Kim Claypoole Mystery Series, which was a great distraction and a lot of
fun. I liked the idea of having many of the same characters appear in each book.
So here I am now, working on the fifth book in the series.

About The Book

The Fourth of July isn’t going at all as Kim Claypoole expected. It starts with
a bang, including a run-in with a dead body, and ends with her juvenile
delinquent nephew, Little Bucky, disappearing from her double-wide trailer on a
souped up Suzuki.
When Little Bucky fails to return and no one seems concerned but Claypoole, she
sets out to find her wayward nephew. Nothing ever goes easy for Claypoole, and
her investigation soon involves several trips to Krispy Kreme, a visit to Jesus
Our Savior Bible Camp and some nasty encounters with a series of backwoods
characters, including hillbilly counterfeiters and a major league Smoky Mountain
dope dealer. In the midst of this chaos and while Claypoole is desperately
trying to keep a rocky romance on track, her kooky mother and redneck cousin
Alonzo show up for a surprise visit. Relatives, murder and love—all ingredients
in a recipe for Deep Trouble.


Website  | Facebook  |
Twitter  | Jean
Erhardt’s Amazon Author Page

Untreed Reads

Amazon US  |
Amazon UK
Amazon US
 Amazon UK


Please select the right giveaway link to use depending
on which month you are hosting.

July Giveaway

One signed copy of Small Town Trouble (US only)
One of Five E-Books of Deep Trouble (International)

September Giveaway

One signed copy of Small Town Trouble (US only)
One of Five E-Books of Deep Trouble (International)

October Giveaway

One signed copy of Small Town Trouble (US only)
One of Five E-Books of Deep Trouble (International)


November Giveaway

One signed copy of Small Town Trouble (US only)
One of Five E-Books of Deep Trouble (International)


December Giveaway

One signed copy of Small Town Trouble (US only)
One of Five E-Books of Deep Trouble (International)

January Giveaway

One signed copy of Small Town Trouble (US only)
One of Five E-Books of Deep Trouble (International)

February Giveaway

One signed copy of Small Town Trouble (US only)
One of Five E-Books of Deep Trouble (International)


March Giveaway

One signed copy of Small Town Trouble (US only)
One of Five E-Books of Deep Trouble (International)


Friday, July 4, 2014

Book Review: Ivy Vines Visions by Judy Serrano

ivy vines visons byjudy serrano cover July 4
Moving to Sedona was the only way Ivy could think of to start over. She would meet her high school sweetheart and work on making things right between them. Her psychic abilities were gradually becoming a curse and she needed a new start. Little does she know that when she applies for a waitressing job at a local, upscale French bistro, she will come in contact with the dark and mysterious Eli Dubois. What she doesn’t realize is she has just walked into the middle of the Vortex Murders, which involve a great deal of paranormal  activity. Elijah’s army of seers are being murdered, one by one, which seems to be magnifying Ivy’s special abilities.
Eli's best friend, Jake, arrives on the scene and reveals the secret that changes everything. With nowhere to turn, Ivy leans on the two men who offer her solace. And who is the old woman in the shroud? Is she a vision, a dream, or is  she real? Only time will tell.
Deus ex machina (pronounced [ˈdeus eks ˈmaː.kʰ], /ˈd.əs ɛks ˈmɑːknə/ or /ˈdəs ɛks ˈmækɨnə/;[1] from Latin, meaning "god from the machine"; plural: dei ex machina) is a plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly resolved by the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability or object. Depending on how it is done, it can be intended to move the story forward when the writer has "painted himself into a corner" and sees no other way out, to surprise the audience, to bring the tale to a happy ending, or as a comedic device.  (from Wikipedia)
Usually when deus ex machina is mentioned about a story it is not in a positive way.
HOWEVER, When you have Immortals, Seers, Psychics, Witches, and all kinds of Supernaturals,  deus ex machina seems almost natural.
Ivy Vines, (yes her parents had a sense of humor) has psychic visions. A gorgeous hunk of manhood who also is the Guardian of the Seers and an Immortal has his sights set on her. His best friend, a tender, caring man is assigned to her as her comforter. Ivy is thrust head over heels into a world that is  far removed from her mundane reality. Not only is she courted by the aforementioned gorgeous hunk of manhood but the Devil Himself wants her as a brood mare. Could things get any crazier?
The answer is yes, definitely. Things could definitely get worse.
Ivy Vines Visions by Judy Serrano is a thrilling paranormal, supernatural story. I recommend it to anyone who likes to read of  good looking men, intrigue, and to take a walk on the dark side.
Judy Serrano graduated from Texas A&M University, Commerce with a BA in English. She is a substitute teacher at her children’s school district and teaches developmental writing at a local college. She is also a freelance writer for certain on-line periodicals and does editing for indie authors. She is the author of The Easter’s Lilly Series, The Linked Series, and The Ivy Vines, Visions Series. Although she is originally from New York, she currently resides in Texas with her husband, four children, (all boys) and five dogs. She is also a singer/songwriter in her spare time.
Author of The Easter's Lilly Series and Linked
published by Black Rose Writing
Dallas Parenting
Dallas Book Reviews

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Spotlight: See You in Hell by Demelza Carlton

Spotlight on Demelza Carlton
About The Book A devilishly hot CEO. The angelic new office temp. A match made in Heaven or Hell? Melody Angel takes a job as a temp at the HELL Corporation. Surrounded by eternal bureaucracy gone mad, demons who love making life miserable, and dying for a decent coffee, it may take a miracle for Mel's mission to succeed. She must find out what evil plans Lucifer and his minions have in store and stop them, using any means necessary. Adding trouble and temptation to Mel's job is Luce Iblis, the damnably hot CEO, who has set his smouldering eyes on the new office angel and he's determined to claim her, body and soul. Can ultimate evil and angelic perfection escape a limbo of desire and find a paradise of their own? A tiny taste of what's in store "Do you know how long you've made me wait?" Luce lifted his chin. "Close the door." Mel turned and kicked the door shut with the sole of one shoe. The click of it closing coincided with her eyes meeting Luce's once more. "Now strip and get your arse on the desk," Luce instructed. Mel stared at him. He couldn't be serious, could he? "Every other girl in this building knows how to do as she's told. Do you know how many girls I've had on this desk? You should consider yourself lucky. The last one I had in here was so quick getting undressed that I managed to give her a full fifteen minutes of my time. At this rate, you'll be lucky to have five." Mel became transfixed by the timber desktop. "Did you wipe it clean afterwards?" "What?" Luce's face reddened. Mel Goes to Hell series • Welcome to Hell - A Short Story (#1 in the series) - Free Purchase Links

Amazon |Amazon UK |Amazon Canada | Amazon Germany |Amazon Australia | Apple |B&N | Kobo | Smashwords | Goodreads •See You in Hell (#2) •Mel Goes to Hell (#3) - to be released in July 2014

About The Author   Demelza Carlton has always loved the ocean, but on her first snorkelling trip she found she was afraid of fish. She has since swum with sea lions, sharks and sea cucumbers and stood on spray-drenched cliffs over a seething sea as a seven-metre cyclonic swell surged in, shattering a shipwreck below. Sensationalist spin? No - Demelza tends to take a camera with her so she can capture and share the moment later; shipwrecks, sharks and all. Demelza now lives in Perth, Western Australia, the shark attack capital of the world. The Ocean's Gift series was her first foray into fiction, followed by her suspense thriller Nightmares trilogy. She swears the Mel Goes to Hell series ambushed her on a crowded train and wouldn't leave her alone.

Author Links

Purchase Links

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Spotlight on Gabby: Angel of Death by Greg Sandora

Today's Author Spotlight is on Greg Sandora, he is touring with his book 'Gabby: Angel of God'.  Below you can find out a little about Greg, and also about his book, along with where you can purchase your very own copy of Gabby: Angel of God gabby_angel_of_god-3d3-400_dark_scream_book_tours

gabby_angel_of_god-author-250_dark_scream_book_toursAbout Greg Sandora

I'm originally from the Portland, Maine area and lived and worked there for years before moving to Southwest Florida.
My first book, Jack Canon's American Destiny: He's All In, is a Presidential Thriller, or some might say White House Mystery Thriller, packed with action and adventure.
I just completed the sequel to Jack Canon's American Destiny - which is titled Jack Canon's Women of the House: Love, Lust and Loyalty (A story of Kindness, Passion and Courage that can't be separated. It's has all of the same components of the first but leans toward a Presidential Romance, or White House Romance Thriller.
The sequel is just as action packed, but with a bit more spice than the first, some would say it's very sensual. Anyway both are available on Amazon now.
My stories are full of adventures, thrills, and romance, are fast paced and even have some hilarious moments.
The Jack Canon series will eventually be about 7 books, book three is tentatively titled, Jack Canon's Ghost Operative, it's a Presidential Agent Thriller and deals heavily in the shady dealings of the CIA, Global Terrorism, and the do-what-ever it takes spy mentality. Anyway the attitude of President Jack Canon is to make things right, No matter what!
My hope is to have people read the stories and let me know their thoughts. My dream is to write full time and return to beautiful Maine in the Summertime while spending winters in Florida. I probably share that goal with a lot of people.
My Dad and Mom were artists, my father painted and my mother wrote poetry and loved to garden.
Most Saturdays we loaded up the 1970 Chevy Impala to trek to a one man show somewhere or other. I took a different track graduating with a business degree; owning and operating an Award Winning Franchise Fitness Center. Currently a professional manager I am living in Florida with my beautiful wife and children, and following my passion.

What is Gabby: Angel of God all about?

Gabby, Angel of God is a Supernatural Romance Thriller that feels like falling in love!
The story starts out with a young widower, Bo, raising two small children and the three heartbeats that will change his life. Ride along as stunningly beautiful Gabby, takes this human man on the no-holds barred adventure of a lifetime!
If you've ever lost a loved one this story is for you!
A story of Peace, Love, Hope, Charity and the strength of Faith, you'll love Gabby, Angel of God.
Gabby, is gorgeous, powerful, and able to take on forces that would make the most powerful armies turn and run for their lives. You'll be addicted in no time!
Pure Adrenaline Rush!
Just when a young man feels he has lost everything he meets an angel and finds out that his life is just beginning. Gabby is an angel of God who shows him that life is always full of surprises, adventures and a lot more meaning than we can easily fathom. She shows Bo how to help others, be open to love again and find the hidden strength that lies within all of us. It is a story with heart and hope that will take you on an adventure of faith with one amazing angel.
Gabby, Angel of God will take you on one heck of a ride!
Gabby, Angel of God is a Supernatural Romance Thriller, it involves an angel, Gabby, short for Gabriella - Basically, a man during a visit to Bar Harbor, Maine encounters a beautiful angel named Gabby; quite accidentally, he is told - she wasn't supposed to make him aware of her existence. His purity of spirit, kindness and capacity for love has revealed her to him. Naturally he falls hopelessly in love with the beautiful creature, as humans can not resist angels. The book is titled Gabby, Angel of God, Guardian and Messenger (Keeper of the Peace, Love, Hope, Charity and Faith. She's quite something and they go on a quick but exciting adventure helping people in trouble. Gabby fits nicely in the Supernatural, Romantic Thriller, Paranormal and Time Travel genres.
Think Angel Encounter, Angel Romance Thriller, or Angel Adventure.
Gabby, Angel of God would fit into any of the following categories:
Angel Books Books About Angels Angel Romance Supernatural Thriller Romantic Thriller Book About Angels Angel Encounters Romance Novel Angels Everywhere Paranormal Romance

Where Can you Find Greg Sandora?

Purchase Links

Greg Sandora has a giveaway running whereby you have a chance to win a signed copy of Gabby: Angel of God
US Only Three winners will receive autographed print copies of Gabby, Angel of God.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Guest Post: Russell James, Author of Dark Vengeance

Chapter One

The fire left little of Galaxy Farm.

Only the old barn still stood. The glass in the central cupola reflected the moonlight like some low-output lighthouse. Three deaths had occurred in there: the sheriff, the crazy writer and Vern Pugh. Stories of barn hauntings already circulated throughout the nearby small town of Moultrie, Tennessee. Even before the fire took the main house, the triple homicide had sparked stories of the barn being haunted. Everyone in the nearby small town of Moultrie, Tennessee, accepted the tales as fact.

Later, the foreboding barn would no doubt be where the kids would go. Middle school boys on a dare. High school teens on a date. The only structure left on the fifteen acres would draw them all.

But the willowy woman who moved through the night didn’t give the barn a thought. She trudged up the long gravel drive to the ruins of the once-proud home. Three of the walls on the first floor still stood. Their ragged, burned edges were all that hinted an upper story had existed. That second story, and all that had been above it, now lay in a charred heap in the house’s open interior. Twenty-four hours after the blaze, the remains were cool, but the humid air was still redolent with the conflagration’s acrid smell.

The woman crossed the remnants of the front porch. The boards creaked with each hesitant step. There was no telling how badly the fire had damaged the joists below. Her research confirmed that the house had no basement, but even a short fall through to the foundation could break a bone.

Her long, open black duster flicked the edge of the gaping front doorway as she entered the house’s dead shell. Mounds of shadowy remains covered the floor. Jagged, broken rafters jutted from the pile like limbs of the dead in rigor mortis. Now shielded from the prying eyes driving along nearby US 41, she flicked on a penlight.

She played the bright, narrow beam across the wreckage. The legacy of the long-dead previous owner, Mabron Hutchington, would still be here somewhere. None of his supernatural works ever left the house after his death, not when his brother owned it afterwards, not when his nephew Vern inherited it and certainly not when Doug and Laura Locke had moved in last year. A tiny rural-Tennessee town like Moultrie would know.

Mabron had practiced his brand of dark magic here for years. It was Egyptian-tinged, but parallel to her own, tapping the same great sources of natural power.

She pulled aside a blackened board. Yellow eyes and a set of bared white canines flashed in the penlight’s beam. Her heart skipped a beat and she stumbled backwards against a wall.

The teeth did not move. She panned the light around them and lit a wolf’s head, long dead, taxidermied for eternal preservation. But the fire had seared away its hide and left just a blackened, clay-infused skull, two marble eyes and the menacing teeth.

She smiled at the welcome sign, a part of Mabron’s extensive collection of magic-infused taxidermy. When the house went up in flames the night before, Mabron’s possessed possessions had indeed still been here.

She moved the penlight to her mouth to free up her hands. Tossing aside some boards, she uncovered a collapsed wooden chest. She pried open the warped lid. A stack of charred papers, perhaps once books, filled one side. They disintegrated at her touch, as if whatever magic they once relayed wanted to stay out of her reach.

On the other side sat a collection of glass eyes, all sizes and colors. Each gazed off in a different direction, like a cyclopean swarm in search of an escape.

These tempted her, but they were unused. A proper talisman had to have already been infused with magic, already begun on that difficult path between the world of reality and the one that pulsed just under reality’s surface. The wolf’s glass eyes perhaps would do, but they carried a low residual charge. The optimal piece would be a personal item, something Mabron had kept close to him while he cast the spells he’d used to keep souls barred from the hereafter. Perhaps a ring, a watch, a pair of glasses.

She pawed through the rest of the cinders in the box and found nothing. She turned and shined her light into what had been the living room. A flash of silver winked at her from within a recess in the debris. She picked her way across the unstable wreckage and knelt at the location.

She pulled off her glove and reached blindly into the small space. Her fingertips tingled. Her pulse skipped a beat. She sensed that this object that called to her from across the ruined house was rich with magic. It had not been an object of it, but instead continually exposed to it, like iron magnetized by passing through an electric field. The house fire’s residual heat rose and enveloped her arm as she reached deeper into the debris. Her fingers touched cold metal and she snatched it.

She opened her fist in her flashlight’s bright glow and revealed a silver locket. Its delicate, detailed turn-of-the-century engraving implied it had been a woman’s, but the aura it exuded left no doubt that Mabron wore it during his most intense magic spells.

She popped it open. Ashes were all that remained of the pictures inside, as if whoever the locket had immortalized had fully passed from this world. But that did not matter. The magic mattered. And with its previous prolonged exposure, this talisman would be powerful indeed.

She snapped off her light and buried her treasure in her front pocket. She thought better of that and placed the chain around her neck. She flipped her long hair outside the chain and tucked the locket into her shirt. It nestled between her breasts.

From atop the barn, an owl puffed out two shrill hoots, as if warning that it was time to depart.

She hopped across the house’s remains and through the missing front door. Her open coat flew behind her like a cape as she broke into a run back to her car. With each stride, the locket bounced against her chest, little taps timed like a countdown clock on the greatest spell her coven would ever cast.

About The Author

Russell R. James was raised on Long Island, New York and spent too much time watching Chiller, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, and The Twilight Zone, despite his parents' warnings. Bookshelves full of Stephen King and Edgar Allan Poe didn't make things better. He graduated from Cornell University and the University of Central Florida. 

After a tour flying helicopters with the U.S. Army, he now spins twisted tales best read in daylight. He has written the paranormal thrillers Dark Inspiration, Sacrifice, Black Magic and Dark Vengeance. He has two short story collections, Tales from Beyond and Deeper into Darkness. His next novel, Dreamwalker, releases in 2015.

His wife reads what he writes, rolls her eyes, and says "There is something seriously wrong with you."  Visit his website and read some free short stories, follow on Twitter @RRJames14 or drop a line complaining about his writing to

About The Book

Laura and Theresa, the heroines of DARK INSPIRATION, are back fighting the supernatural again in the small town of Moultrie, Tennessee.

Three witches have summoned the longarex, a creature of Mayan myth, to sow vengeance in town and beyond. Each feeding strengthens the beast and soon the full coven will release it with a final dark ritual. Only Laura and Theresa have the combined skill and insight to stop the plan.

But Laura’s depression in the wake of the Galaxy Farm incidents has strained the women’s friendship past the breaking point. Two men enter their lives, one to help and one to hinder their uncovering of the coven’s plot. Hundreds of souls hang in the balance, including those of the ones the women hold most dear. Will they be able to heal their rift in time to save the town from the wrath of the longarex?


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