Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on November 11, 2017

Of Spice and Men: A Pancake House Mystery
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Alibi (November 7, 2017)
Print Length 280 pages

Synopsis

Lights. Camera. Murder? Wildwood Cove’s star turn is soured by a sneaky killer in this delicious cozy mystery from the USA Today bestselling author of The Crêpes of Wrath.

Bonus content: includes original recipes inspired by the Flip Side Pancake House menu!

With a Hollywood film crew in town to shoot a remake of the horror classic The Perishing, the residents of Wildwood Cove are all abuzz. Even Marley McKinney, owner of The Flip Side Pancake House, can overlook the fact that the lead actress, Alyssa Jayde, happens to be an old flame of her boyfriend. After all, the crew loves Marley’s crêpes—so much so that Christine, the head makeup artist, invites her onset for a behind-the-scenes tour. But when Marley arrives, the special-effects trailer is on fire . . . with Christine inside.

The cops quickly rule Christine’s death a murder, and Alyssa a suspect. Marley’s boyfriend insists that the actress is innocent, but when Marley sticks her nose into the complicated lives of The Perishing’s cast and crew, she discovers more questions than answers. It seems that everyone has a hidden agenda—and a plausible motive. And as the horror spills over from the silver screen, Marley gets a funny feeling that she may be the killer’s next victim.

Sarah Fox’s addictive Pancake House Mysteries can be enjoyed together or à la carte:
THE CRÊPES OF WRATH | FOR WHOM THE BREAD ROLLS | OF SPICE AND MEN

Guest Post

The Pancake House Mysteries follow the adventures of Marley McKinney, amateur sleuth and owner of The Flip Side pancake house in the seaside town of Wildwood Cove, Washington. Marley searches for clues and solves murders while serving meals and chatting with customers. The Flip Side’s chef, Ivan Kaminski, is a wizard in the kitchen, and diners have a long list of delicious breakfast foods to choose from whenever they come in for a meal. While I have several favorite dishes from The Flip Side’s menu, the following are my top four.

Maple Pecan Sticky Rolls

When Ivan added these to The Flip Side’s menu, they were an instant hit. Deliciously gooey with an incredible blend of cinnamon, maple, and pecans, Marley has serious trouble resisting these sticky rolls whenever a batch comes out of Ivan’s oven, and I can’t blame her one bit.

Strawberry Vanilla Pancakes

I have to make these at least once each year during strawberry season. The flavors of the fresh strawberries and vanilla blend perfectly together. Delicious with or without maple syrup, I will happily eat these pancakes for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Pumpkin Waffles

These waffles are a fall favorite of mine, although I’ve been known to indulge in them at other times of year as well. They have just the right amount of pumpkin flavor and when topped with maple syrup they’re absolutely scrumptious. I probably eat these waffles for dinner as often as I do for breakfast. At The Flip Side, pumpkin waffles are a popular seasonal item, available from the beginning of October into December.

Pumpkin Pie Crêpes

This is probably my all-time favorite item from The Flip Side’s menu. Another seasonal item, these crêpes keep the customers coming back for more and more and more. I love to eat these crêpes for brunch or dessert, but they can be enjoyed as a sweet breakfast as well. Topped with whipped cream, The Flip Side’s pumpkin pie crêpes are absolutely heavenly.

If you’d like to enjoy these delicious breakfast foods, the recipes for The Flip Side’s strawberry vanilla pancakes and maple pecan sticky rolls can be found in the second Pancake House Mystery, For Whom the Bread Rolls. The recipes for pumpkin waffles and pumpkin pie crêpes can be found in the third and latest book in the series, Of Spice and Men.

About the Author

Sarah Fox was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, where she developed a love for mysteries at a young age. When not writing novels or working as a legal writer, she is often reading her way through a stack of books or spending time outdoors with her English Springer Spaniel.

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November 6 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

November 6 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

November 7 – A Blue Million Books  – INTERVIEW

November 8 – T’s Stuff – SPOTLIGHT

November 8 – Book Babble – REVIEW

November 9 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 9 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

November 10 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

November 10 – Reading Reality – REVIEW

November 11 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

November 11 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

November 12 – Varietats – REVIEW

November 12 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

November 13 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW

November 13 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

November 14 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

November 14 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT

November 15 – Writing Pearls – REVIEW

November 15 – deal sharing aunt – INTERVIEW

November 16 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

November 16 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW

November 17 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

November 18 – Bookworm Cafe – REVIEW, GUEST POST

November 19 – Carole’s Book Corner – REVIEW

November 19 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

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Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Spotlight on November 11, 2017

Dressed To Kill: An Antique Hunters Mystery
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Tedeschi Publishing (October 12, 2017)
Print Length: 177 pages

Synopsis

In 1865, Elizabeth Keckley, Mary Todd Lincoln’s dressmaker, conspired to change the course of the Civil War. Crossing lines between North and South, the band of conspirators wove a plan that remained undiscovered for more than 150 years until Antique Hunter Anne Hillstrom finds one of Keckley’s gowns. She and fellow Antique Hunter CC Muller unravel the mystery that has left a trail of dead bodies, leading to the doorstep of their antique store, Great-Aunt Sybil’s Attic.

Dressed to Kill is the fifth book in the Antique Hunters Mystery Series. Rooted in history, the series reimagines real-life events blurring the line between fact and fiction.

About the Author

vicki vassWith a passion for shopping and antiques, Vicki Vass turned in her reporter’s notebook to chronicle the adventures of Anne and CC, two antique hunters who use their skills to solve a murder case.

Vicki has written more than 1,400 stories for the Chicago Tribune as well as other commercial publications including Home & Away, the Lutheran and Woman’s World. Her science fiction novel, The Lexicon, draws on her experience in Sudan while writing about the ongoing civil war for World Relief.

She lives in the Chicago area with her husband, writer and musician Brian Tedeschi, son Tony, Australian shepherd Bandit, kittens Terra and Pixel, seven koi and Gary the turtle.

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November 1 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

November 2 –  Valerie’s Musings – INTERVIEW

November 3 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 4 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, GUEST POST

November 5 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT

November 6 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST

November 7 – Bibliophile Reviews –  REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

November 8 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

November 9 – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers – CHARACTER GUEST POST

November 10 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – GUEST POST

November 11 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 12 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

November 13 – Maureen’s Musings – REVIEW

November 13 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 14 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

Posted in Anthology, christmas, Giveaway, Historical, romance on November 10, 2017

Title: Christmas in a Cowboy’s Arms

Author: Leigh Greenwood with Rosanne Bittner, Linda Broday, Margaret Brownley, Anna Schmidt, and Amy Sandas

Pub Date: October 3, 2017

Synopsis

The Beating Heart of Christmas

Whether it’s a lonely spinster finding passion at last…an infamous outlaw-turned-lawman reaffirming the love that keeps him whole…a lost and broken drifter discovering family in unlikely places…a Texas Ranger risking it all for one remarkable woman…two lovers bringing together a family ripped apart by prejudice…or reunited lovers given a second chance to correct past mistakes…a Christmas spent in a cowboy’s arms is full of hope, laughter, and—most of all—love.

The six authors participating in this anthology are: USA Today bestseller Leigh Greenwood, USA Today bestseller Rosanne Bittner, New York Times bestseller Linda Broday, RITA finalist Anna Schmidt, New York Times bestseller Margaret Brownley, and USA Today bestseller Amy Sandas.

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Authors

Leigh Greenwood

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Rosanne Bittner

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Linda Broday

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Margaret Brownley

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Anna Schmidt

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Amy Sandas

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Excerpts

In the wild and untamed West, it takes a cowboy’s embrace to see you through a long winter’s night. Stay toasty this holiday season with heart-warming tales from bestselling authors Leigh Greenwood, Rosanne Bittner, Linda Broday, Margaret Brownley, Anna Schmidt, and Amy Sandas

From “Father Christmas” by Leigh Greenwood

“If you’re going to shoot me, get on your feet first.  I’d hate to have it known I was killed by a woman so weak she couldn’t stand up.”

“I can stand up,” Mary insisted.  To prove her point, she threw back the covers and started to get to her feet.  Immediately she felt faint.

Joe caught her before she fell.

“I never met such a foolish woman in my life.  Stay in that bed, or I’ll tie you down.  You can shoot me when you feel better.  Meantime, you’d better give me this.”  He took the pistol from her slackened grasp.  “Next thing you know, you’ll drop it and put a hole through the chicken pot.  I’m not chasing down another rooster.”

Mary started to laugh.  The whole situation was too absurd.  Nothing like this happened to ordinary people.  She was ordinary, so it shouldn’t be happening to her.

She certainly shouldn’t be experiencing this odd feeling.  It almost felt as if she wanted to cry.  But she didn’t feel sad.  She felt bemused and bewildered.  Her brain was numb.  Here she was, completely helpless, and she had tried to shoot the only human who had come along to help her.

She must be losing her mind.

From “A Chick-a-Dee Christmas” by Rosanne Bittner

“Sadie Mae!”  Jake screamed her name as he made it around the other side of the small hill.  He couldn’t see or hear her.  All he saw was Tommy curled up on his knees against one of the boulders, a cougar clawing at his shoulder.

Jesus, where is Sadie Mae!  Jake had to kill the cougar, but the bullet could go right through into Tommy or even into Sadie Mae.  He could kill both of them!

“Grampa!  Grampa!” he heard someone screaming behind him.

The boys must be watching.  “Don’t shoot!” Jake ordered them.

It all happened in a matter of perhaps three seconds.  Jake knew he had no choice.  He cocked and raised his 30-30 Winchester.  A six-gun might not do the job … but the risk!  The risk!  The big cat was moving violently over Tommy.  Sadie Mae must be under him!  One of the other kids could be next!  He aimed … and prayed … and fired … cocked the rifle again … fired again.

 

From “The Christmas Stranger” by Linda Broday

Hank slowly tugged the long silk ribbon from around her neck, trailing the red fabric down one arm. He leaned closer. “There’s some mistletoe right over your head. I hope I’m not pressing my luck, but do you mind if I kiss you again?”

A happy, warm glow swept over her. “I don’t see anyone trying to fight you,” she whispered.

He pulled her up into his arms and drew the ribbon around her, tethering her to him. Sidalee had never felt more alive, more breathless, more…hot.

She tilted her face to him, feeling the wild beat of his heart that matched hers. He gently anchored her against the hard wall of his chest. The moment his lips touched hers, an aching hunger swept through her, turning her knees to pudding.

The yearning for him was so strong she clutched him to keep from falling in a puddle at his feet. One arm curled around his neck just under his hair. The strands brushed her skin like tiny feathers.

That’s when she knew she was falling in love with Hank Destry.

 

From “A Texas Ranger for Christmas” by Margaret Brownley

“Sadie, I care for you. I really do. I care for Adam, too. Is there a chance you and I can—?”

The question hung between them, the air taut with tension. At least he didn’t say love. Had he said he loved her, she would have been a goner for sure.

“No. No chance,” she said. Bad news was best delivered quickly and with as few words as possible.

He looked like she had hit him. “After last night I thought…”

“You thought wrong,” she snapped. Afraid of losing control, she curled her hands tight by her side. “All that fancy talk about retirin’ is just that—talk. You’ll always be a Texas Ranger. You won’t be able to help yourself. Rangers don’t make very good husbands. Don’t make good fathers, either.”

“I told you I planned on quitting and I meant it.”

She heaved a sigh. “Richard told me the same thing, and he’d lasted here at the farm three months. Three lousy months!”

“I’m not Richard.”

“No, but you’re one of them. Just like Richard and my pa. Pa promised to quit, too. But there was always another outlaw to chase. Another call to adventure.”

As a child she couldn’t compete with the lure of the rangers. But neither had she been able to compete as a grown woman.

Cole’s burning eyes held hers. “I’ll always be there for you,” he said, “And that’s a promise.”

She scoffed. “Those are mighty pretty words. They were pretty when Papa said them. They were pretty when Richard said them, too. But you know what? They don’t mean beans.”

For several moments the only sound was Adam banging on the table with his spoon.

“Sadie,” he said at last, his voice thick with emotion. “How can I prove that I mean what I say? What will it take?” His tender eyes met hers. “How can I make you believe that I will never leave you?”

“You can’t,” she whispered. It near broke her heart to say it, but it was better to lose him before the first stirrings of love turned into something deeper. As hard as it was now, it would be so much harder, later. “You can’t.”

From “A Christmas Baby” by Anna Schmidt

Louisa Johnson was late slipping out of the house, but she knew Rico would be there waiting. She had come to a decision and she would not be denied, not even by her father—a man she had adored her entire life, but one who now stood in the way of her being with Rico. She had no idea how to make things right with her father. What she knew with more certainty than she had ever known anything in her nineteen years was that she loved Rico Mendez and he was devoted to her. If her father couldn’t accept that—couldn’t look past their differences and see Rico for the kind, hard-working man he was—then she would have to force his hand.

From “A Christmas Reunion” by Amy Sandas

Her voice hit him like a blow straight to his sternum. Warren took an instinctive step back. Old memories sliced through him like the sharp edge of a scalpel against raw flesh.

It couldn’t be.

They were hundreds of miles from where he had last seen Honey Prentice in Montana. That distance was the only thing that had made it possible for him to come back out West. He had assured himself there was no chance he’d accidentally run into the woman who had torn his heart from his chest all those years ago.

But her gasp as she stepped out into the room told him he’d been wrong.

She was as beautiful as she had been as a girl of seventeen.

And she was not happy to see him.

She crossed the room with long, swift strides that had her cotton skirts whipping about her legs. In an easy movement, she pulled the bearded outlaw’s gun from his belt before he knew what she was about and then turned the weapon on Warren.

Fire flashed in her brown eyes as she held the gun steady with two hands. “What the hell are you doing here, Warren Reed?”

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Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on November 9, 2017

Broken Promises (A Past Imperfect Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Between the Lines Publishing (August 15, 2017)
Print Length: 212 pages

Synopsis

Julia was in a search of a way out…a way back to herself.

The passing of her favorite aunt sends her to the small artist town of Grand Marais, nestled along the northern coast of Lake Superior. There she starts to weave the tattered threads of a new life, rediscovering her love of sketching, while running the antique shop, Past Imperfect. Everything is finally going right. Until a mysterious package arrives, tucked inside is an ornate silver letter opener bearing the initials E.C. along with an even more mysterious note. Julia’s natural curiosity piqued, but before she can discover who sent the letter opener, it’s found embedded in Tom Peterson’s chest. The tapestry of her new life begins to unravel as she is named a prime suspect. Now, left with few clues and a past not willing to let her go, Julia works to solve the mystery and the murder.

Infidelity through time and a curse that only she can break – once she figures out how.

Guest Post

Hi, I’m Julia Crawford and I own the Past Imperfect Antique shop in Grand Marais. If you’d told me a year ago that I would move to the North Shore, living just fifty feet from Lake Superior, to run an antique shop, I would have told you, you were crazy. Then again, maybe that’s how she wanted to happen. The she, I refer to is my Aunt Sadie. She owned the shop before passing away a few months ago. That’s how I came to be here. She left it to me. Aunt Sadie was a special lady. She just knew what someone needed, even if they didn’t know themselves. In my case, she knew I needed a change from an unhappy marriage. Have you ever found yourself doing something you swore you’d never do? Well, that’s what my marriage to Graham was. I was an artist, well-received by a few galleries and a full scholarship for graduate school in New York. It was like a dream come true. The idea of being in the middle of New York City, studying art and art history, and spending time at the Met. It was everything I wanted, but I never got there. Instead, I allowed myself to give in to Graham’s gently expressed concerns. That was the day I started to disappear. Julia the artist become Julia the wife. Being a wife isn’t a bad thing, but you should have something for yourself. My sketch pad and paints were replaced with china.

Ten years later, enter Aunt Sadie. I was devastated when I got the call about her unexpected death. She was the one person who understood and celebrated me for me. She loved antiques and used to make up stories about them when I was a child. I could happily listen to her stories for hours. Aunt Sadie pushed me to apply for graduate school. I think she could see what I was blind to. It’s true what they say, changes in latitude can bring changes in attitude. It took only a few days among the wonderful people here, for me to discover home.

Now sitting on the large flat rocks of Artist Point, I feel her sitting next to me, watching the afternoon tide crash against the rocks and saying, “It’ll all be alright now.” She’s right, I call this small artist community home. If you find yourself driving north along Highway 61, stop by and visit. The shop has something for everyone. If you find the “gone fishing” sign in the window, take the short walk to the water break, you’ll find me sitting on the largest red stone with my sketch pad. I’m happy to open the shop up anytime.

About The Author

Anne has always loved the North Shore, especially Lake Superior near Grand Marais. She lives there with her husband and two children. When bringing the Past Imperfect series together, Anne couldn’t think of a better place to have Julia’s shop. If you find yourself traveling through, stop by Artist Point, you may just find her sitting on the rocks.

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November 6 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

November 6 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

November 7 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW

November 7 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

November 8 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

November 8 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 9 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST

November 9 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT

November 10 – Deal Sharing Aunt – INTERVIEW

November 10 – Lori’s Reading Corner – GUEST POST

Posted in Giveaway, mystery, romance on November 8, 2017

BOMBSHELL

(What Doesn’t Kill You, #9)

An Ava Romantic Mystery

by

PAMELA FAGAN HUTCHINS

  Genre: Romantic Mystery / R-Rated

Publisher: SkipJack Publishing

Date of Publication: July 11, 2017

Number of Pages: 236

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Temp worker by day, lounge singer by night, single mom Ava is having a hard time breaking up with her long-distance boyfriend and making it without the support of her parents on the island of St. Marcos. Things improve dramatically when she lands a too-good-to-be-true job at a virtual currency exchange, where she meets a seriously sexy man, and goes to work for a boss so incredible he sponsors her on a trip to New York to record a demo. But when Ava stumbles across the raped and murdered body of a young woman, she recognizes her from a shared trauma back in their school days. Ava is devastated and throws herself into avenging the girl’s death. From that moment on, it’s one bombshell after another, going off closer and closer to Ava and the people she cares about most.

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PRAISE FOR BOMBSHELL:

“Just when I think I couldn’t love another Pamela Fagan Hutchins novel more, along comes Ava. She’s smart and sassy, with a story full of juicy plot twists. I enjoyed Bombshell from cover to cover!” — Marcy McKay, author of Pennies from Burger Heaven 

“To finally get a whole book of Ava’s beautiful voice and attitude was so much fun. And then to see that her outer armor was mixed with the very real insecurities and struggles that we can all relate to was magical. She personifies bombshell in every sense of word and I can’t wait to have her voice in my head again in Stunner.” — Tara Scheyer, Grammy-nominated musician, Long-Distance Sisters Book Club

“Entertaining, complex, and thought-provoking.” — Ginger Copeland, power reader 

Pamela Fagan Hutchins writes overly long e-mails, award-winning and best-selling romantic mysteries, and hilarious nonfiction from deep in the heart of Nowheresville, Texas and way up in the frozen north of Snowheresville, Wyoming.

Her What Doesn’t Kill You romantic mystery series is Janet Evanovich meets Sandra Brown and a smidge of Alice Hoffman’s practical magic, featuring a revolving lineup of interrelated female amateur sleuths. She is passionate about great writing and smart authorpreneurship as well as long hikes with her hunky husband and pack of rescue dogs, riding her gigantic horses, experimenting with her Keurig, and traveling in the Bookmobile.

Website * Blog * Pinterest * Facebook * Twitter

    Instagram *  Goodreads * Amazon Author Page

 

AWARDS

2017 WINNER Silver Falchion Award, Best Mystery

2016 WINNER USA Best Book Award, Cross Genre Fiction

2015 WINNER USA Best Book Award, Cross Genre Fiction

2014 USA Best Book Award Finalist, Cross Genre Fiction

2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Quarter-finalist, Romance

2013 USA Best Book Award Finalist, Business: Publishing

2012 Winner of the Houston Writers Guild Ghost Story Contest

2012 WINNER USA Best Book Award, Parenting: Divorce

2011 Winner of the Houston Writers Guild Novel Contest, Mainstream

2010 Winner of the Writers League of Texas Manuscript Contest, Romance

 

—————————————–

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FIVE SIGNED COPIES OF BOMBSHELL

November 1-November 10, 2017

(U.S. Only)


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1-Nov Character Interview Hall Ways Blog
1-Nov Guest Post Books in the Garden
2-Nov Review Texan Girl Reads
3-Nov Video Interview Texas Book Lover
3-Nov Guest Post Books and Broomsticks
4-Nov Review Momma on The Rocks
5-Nov Review Tangled in Text
6-Nov Excerpt Reading by Moonlight
6-Nov Guest Post Forgotten Winds
7-Nov Review Syd Savvy
8-Nov Scrapbook Page StoreyBook Reviews
8-Nov Scrapbook Page The Librarian Talks
9-Nov Guest Post Blogging for the Love of Authors & Their Books
10-Nov Review Chapter Break Book Blog
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Posted in Fantasy, Spotlight, Young Adult on November 8, 2017

Synopsis

“The metal horned unicorns are doomed!” That’s what Lauda Lead Horn wailed when she first saw the tribe’s new savior. OK, so his horn was not metal. . .and he did not have a magic power. . .and he was really a puny little runt. But doomed? Were things really that bad?

Well, things were pretty bad in the land of MarBryn. Magh, an evil sorcerer utilized unicorn horns and hooves to create his magical potions and spells. Those he used, to increase his power and to conquer everyone in his path. All of the unicorns from the Tribe of the Metal Horn were now gone . . . except for twelve survivors.

Before the blue unicorn was born, Numen told Alumna, the aluminum-horned oracle, that he had a plan to bring the tribe back home to Unimaise. His prophecy was, “Only the blue unicorn can join with the Moon-Star. Until then, no new unicorns will be born.” Blue was the last unicorn born. Twenty years later, his horn was still covered with a plain blue colored hide. There was not a glint of metal to be seen on it or his hooves. And he still didn’t have any magic. But he was no longer scrawny and he had his wits. Though no one else in the tribe thought he had a chance, Blue felt ready to make Magh pay for his evil deeds. And he went off to do it alone. That was Blue’s first mistake. If the entire tribe was not standing horn-tip to horn-tip at the proper time and the exact place to help usher the Moon-Star Spirit into Blue’s horn, he would die. Then, the rest of the tribe would really be doomed.

Readers will follow along two journey paths in this book. Blue is joined in his travels by his mentor Gaiso, the Stag and his friend, Girasol the Firebird as they try to find their way across a danger-filled MarBryn to Muzika Woods. The rest of Blue’s tribe is forced to follow another route due to Nix Nickle Horn’s unfortunate incident with a Manticore. Nix, the great unicorn defender must safely lead the way for Ghel, the Golden-Horned unicorn; Silubhra Silver Horn; Cornum the Brass-Horned unicorn; Steel Horned Style; Cuprum the Copper-Horned unicorn; Tin-Horned Tinam; Dr. Zinko; Iown the Iron-Horned unicorn and the others in an action packed adventure to their destination in Muzika Woods. Both journey paths converge there in the Nebulium Circle.

 

About the Author

I’m Sybrina. . .. . .Just one of millions of wannabe author/singer/songwriters out there but I hope, after reading or hearing my books and songs, you’ll think my contributions to the world have as much value as any other famous artist out there today.

Fame is all in being in the right place at the right time but at least with the internet and venues like this, all of us have opportunities to share our creativity with the world. I’m so happy that I am able to share my works with you. That is awesome!

The books I’ve written span a wide range between illustrated picture books, coloring books and YA novels to technical and how-to books. If you’re so inclined you can read a little bit about the inspiration for each one below.

My latest effort is “The Blue Unicorn’s Journey To Osm. It is a book I started writing 30 something years ago and never finished. At the time, it was meant to be an epic fantasy along the lines of novels written by Tolkien, Piers Anthony, Ursula K. Le Guin and other amazing fantasy writers. I’ve pulled out my notes, dusted off the outline and began rewriting and expanding upon the 50 pages I had began. This story is now available as an Illustrated Book for teens and older readers in full color and in black and white, too. The black and white version is a “Read and Color” book. Read a chapter, then color the following pages. How fun is that? There is also a picture book for pre-schoolers called Unicorns From Unimaise – The Magical Metal-Horn Trobe. A longer version of the chapter book will soon be available as an Illustrated Novel with a companion glossary called, The Marbryn Compendium. All of the fantastic fantasy illustrations are by Dasguptarts. There is also a companion coloring/character description book, edited by Calyie Martin. It will introduce potential readers to the myriad of characters, places and things in the story.

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Posted in 4 paws, Review, Romantic Comedy, women on November 7, 2017

Synopsis

Is Christmas really the most wonderful time of the year? New Yorkers Robyn Lane and Sidney Bellows aren’t so sure.

Robyn has always dated struggling creative types. For once, her parents would love her to bring someone with health insurance and a 401(k) to their Chrismukkah celebration. Her actor boyfriend doesn’t qualify. While across town, Sidney’s professional life already belongs to her parents. She’s an attorney at her father’s law firm and she works tirelessly to keep her love life private. If she brings her lawyer boyfriend to their annual Christmas extravaganza, her parents will have the wedding planned by New Year’s Eve.

A mutual friend playfully suggests they trade boyfriends for the holidays. The women share a laugh, but after copious amounts of wine, decide The Boyfriend Swap could be the perfect solution. This way, Robyn can show off her stable attorney boyfriend and Sidney’s high-society family will take no interest in her flakey actor beau.

It’s a brilliant plan—in theory. In practice—not so much. When Will turns out to be the boy-next-door Robyn crushed on hard throughout her teenage years, and Sidney’s family fawns all over Perry like he’s an Oscar-winner rather than a D-list wannabe, one thing is certain: The Boyfriend Swap might just change their lives forever.

Review

What do you do when you don’t want your parents involved in your personal life? You take a pretend boyfriend home for the holidays….because we all know that is going to work, right? Wrong! Even worse? It might be your childhood crush dating the woman who has proposed swapping boyfriends.

I’m not sure that I would have ever thought to do something like this, but then I don’t have the family situations that Sidney and Robyn have that they think that swapping boyfriends is a good idea. The funny thing is that maybe this was a good idea and perhaps neither was dating the right person.

I identified with both Sidney and Robyn. Sidney for her controlling manner and hiding her feelings and protecting her heart. And Robyn, for her crazy creative side with a heart of gold. Then there are the guys – Perry (Robyn’s boyfriend) who is a wannabe actor but not serious about anything in life; and Will, Sidney’s boyfriend but Robyn’s childhood crush and is that crush dead or will it come back while spending several days together? You will find out when you read the book!

This story made me laugh, shake my head and even get a little misty at the end. It was a great culmination of everything that I like to see in a book. This author writes some great romantic comedies and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

We give it 4 paws up

About the Author

A born and bred New Yorker, Meredith Schorr discovered her passion for writing when she began to enjoy drafting work-related e-mails way more than she was probably supposed to. After trying her hand penning children’s stories and blogging her personal experiences, Meredith found her calling write chick lit and contemporary women’s fiction. She secures much inspiration from her day job as a hardworking trademark paralegal and her still-single status. Meredith is also the co-founder of Bookbuzz, a live author/reader event held annually. She is a loyal New York Yankees fan and an avid runner.

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Amazon

Posted in Cozy, excerpt, Giveaway, Monday, mystery on November 6, 2017

Scrapbook of Murder (An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Self Published (October 2, 2017)
Print Length: 171 pages

Synopsis

Crafts and murder don’t normally go hand-in-hand, but “normal” deserted craft editor Anastasia Pollack’s world nearly a year ago. Now, tripping over dead bodies seems to be the “new normal” for this reluctant amateur sleuth.

When the daughter of a murdered neighbor asks Anastasia to create a family scrapbook from old photographs and memorabilia discovered in a battered suitcase, she agrees—not only out of friendship but also from a sense of guilt over the older woman’s death. However, as Anastasia begins sorting through the contents of the suitcase, she discovers a letter revealing a fifty-year-old secret, one that unearths a long-buried scandal and unleashes a killer. Suddenly Anastasia is back in sleuthing mode as she races to prevent a suitcase full of trouble from leading to more deaths.

Excerpt

“Lupe called me at work this afternoon,” I told Zack. We had escaped after dinner to his apartment. Situated above my detached garage, it afforded us a spot out of earshot of my mother-in-law Lucille, whose contempt for Zack grew exponentially with each passing day. Being permanently saddled with the woman was hard enough on a good day. Today was not a good day.

Zack finished pouring two glasses of chardonnay and handed one to me. I wandered over to the sofa and curled up in the corner. He followed, taking a seat next to me. The seconds ticked by. He shifted his body to face me. I suppose he was waiting for me to say something further, but my brain had stopped sending signals to my mouth.

Zack continued to wait. And wait. And wait some more. Finally he asked, “Should I run an errand during this extremely long, pregnant pause, or are you planning to elaborate sometime soon?”

I heaved a sigh, then polished off half my wine before answering him. “She asked if she could come over this evening to talk.”

“About?”

I speared him with my best duh! look. “Isn’t it obvious?”

“You have to stop blaming yourself, Anastasia. You’re not responsible for what happened.”

Right. And the captain of the Titanic wasn’t responsible for steering his ship into a giant iceberg. “Carmen is dead because of me. How can Lupe not blame me?”

Lupe Betancourt is Carmen Cordova’s daughter. She grew up down the street from me. Years ago she occasionally babysat my boys. Now they often babysit her kids. Or they did. I doubt Lupe will want any of us Pollacks in her home ever again.

Two-and-a-half weeks ago Lawrence Tuttnauer, my mother’s sixth and latest husband, was arrested for orchestrating the cold-blooded murders of two of my neighbors, Lupe’s mother Carmen and Betty Bentworth. He’d never met either of them. His hit man had chosen them at random because Lawrence wanted my attention diverted from the suspicious death of his daughter Cynthia. I didn’t know it at the time, but I’d poked my nose into the wrong person’s business.

As it turned out, so had Cynthia, but she’d gone a step further and threatened her old man. So Lawrence did what any connected guy in New Jersey would do—he took out a contract on her. No Father of the Year Award for him.

Although I had no regrets over the role I’d played in bringing Lawrence Tuttnauer to justice, guilt consumed me regarding the deaths of Betty and Carmen—especially Carmen. Not that nasty Betty Bentworth deserved a bullet to the skull, but no one had shed any tears over her demise, unlike the neighborhood’s reaction to Carmen’s gruesome death days before Halloween.

It doesn’t help that every time I look at Lupe, I see a younger, thinner version of her mother. She’s a living reminder of my culpability in her mother’s death.

Mama and Lawrence married a month ago after a whirlwind courtship. She said he owned a commercial laundry. Turns out his enterprise laundered greenbacks, not linens, and he serviced only one client—the mob.

My name is Anastasia Pollack, and less than a year ago I led the life of a typical suburban, middle-class working mom. That all changed the day my husband dropped dead in a Las Vegas casino. I thought he was at a sales meeting in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I also thought we were debt-free with a comfortable nest egg squirreled away.

Instead, I discovered Karl Marx Pollack, now dubbed Dead Louse of a Spouse, had carried on a long-standing affair with Lady Not-So-Lucky. Karl not only gambled away our savings and our teenage sons’ college funds, he’d taken out a second mortgage on the house, failed to pay our taxes for the last few years, maxed out our credit cards, and allowed his life insurance policy to lapse.

Strapping me with debt equal to the gross national product of Uzbekistan wasn’t the worst of his sins, though. Nor was the homicidal loan shark he’d stiffed for fifty thousand dollars who demanded I pay up—or else. No, Karl’s worst sin was sticking me with a communist mother-in-law from Hades.

I stared into my half-empty wineglass, avoiding eye contact with Zack, and forced my brain out of stall-mode. “I asked Lupe to meet me here.”

“In my apartment?”

“I hope you don’t mind.”

The apartment used to be my home office. Zack is an award-winning photojournalist. Possibly a spy. Probably both. Anyway, prior to moving above my garage, he lived in Manhattan. However, he’d suffered through one too many police raids due to suspicious neighbors claiming he was operating a meth lab in his darkroom. He was on the hunt for a quiet suburban location without shared walls; I was desperate for rent money. The apartment over my garage fulfilled both of our needs.

Less than a year ago we were complete strangers. Now we’re much more—the one and only good thing to come out of Dead Louse of a Spouse’s betrayal.

“Do you want me to stay, or should I go run that errand?” asked Zack.

“You really have an errand to run?”

“No, but I’m sure I can find something to do.”

“Are you kidding? Don’t you dare leave me alone. I need all the moral support I can get.”

About The Author

USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and nonfiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Kirkus Reviews dubbed her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” In addition, Lois is an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry. newsletter at

Website * Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog * Twitter * Pinterest * Goodreads * Newsletter

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Check out the other blogs on this tour

November 1 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

November 2 –  My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

November 3 – Cozy Up With Kathy – SPOTLIGHT

November 4 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

November 5 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

November 6 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 7 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT

November 8 – Varietats – REVIEW

November 9 – Island Confidential – INTERVIEW

November 10 – Jane Reads – REVIEW

November 11 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

November 12 – deal sharing aunt – INTERVIEW

November 13 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

November 14 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

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Posted in 5 paws, Cozy, Guest Post, Monday, mystery, Review on November 6, 2017

A Deadly Éclair: A French Bistro Mystery
Cozy Mystery
New Series
Crooked Lane Books (November 7, 2017)
Hardcover: 320 pages

Synopsis

It’s always been Mimi Rousseau’s dream to open her own bistro, but it seems beyond her grasp since she’s been chased back home to Nouvelle Vie in Napa Valley by her late husband’s tremendous debt. Until her best friend Jorianne James introduces her to entrepreneur Bryan Baker who invests in promising prospects. Now, working the bistro and inn until she’s able to pay it off and call it her own, Mimi is throwing the inn’s first wedding ever.

The wedding will be the talk of the town, as famous talk show host Angelica Edmonton, daughter of Bryan’s half-brother, Edison, has chosen the inn as her perfect venue. Anxious, Mimi is sure things are going to turn south, especially when Edison gets drunk and rowdy at the out-of-towners’ dinner, but by the evening, things begin to look up again. That is until six AM rolls around, and Bryan is found dead at the bistro with an éclair stuffed in his mouth. And the fingers point at Mimi, whose entire loan is forgiven in Bryan’s will.

Now it’s up to Mimi to clear her name and get to the bottom of things before the killer turns up the heat again in A Deadly Éclair, the scrumptious series debut by Agatha Award-winning author Daryl Wood Gerber.

Review

If it is possible to gain weight by reading a book then this might be the book that could make it happen! The restaurant is a French bistro and the food is inspired by the French so you know it has to be good. The descriptions had my mouth watering and imaging the dishes being served.

The story flows along quite well and the cast of characters seems to be well fleshed out and adds depth and dimension to the mystery plot. I think my favorite character might be Jo, she is a force to be reckoned with as Mimi’s manager and all around go to woman. She is a woman with a plan and doesn’t stop to question what might go wrong.

The mystery itself has multiple layers and many moving parts. There were many people to suspect for various reasons and the how and why that was revealed at the end was a surprise (to me at least).

I think this is going to be a great new series and especially since there are many recipes at the end of the book for us to try.

We give it 5 paws up.

Recipe

Traveling Meal

Madeleine cookies

For A Deadly Éclair, I wanted to include a cookie recipe that was simple to make yet pretty. I think cookies are always a bestseller at any party, don’t you?

I was reading up on French classics, and Madeleine cookies came to mind. They are cakelike cookies that are baked in special molds. I found my mold at William Sonoma—12 to a tin. The mold gives the cookie a delicate shell shape.

Now, according to one “account” (we know not all accounts are true), Louis XV named the cookie Madeleine to honor his father-in-law’s cook Madeleine Paulmier. He first tasted them in Lorraine in 1755 and introduced them to court, and they became the rage. True or not true? Do you care?

They are a perfect ending to a perfectly French meal.

FYI, this is our last stop on the traveling meal. Indulge yourselves! I’ve provided a regular and a gluten-free recipe. It’s also in the book! You have an exclusive first-look.

Last but not least, what is cardamom? I discovered that is a spice made from the seed pods of various plants in the ginger family. It has a strong, pungent flavor.  A substitute for cardamom is equal parts cinnamon and nutmeg.

Orange Cardamom Madeleines

(Makes 12)

For the cookies:

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon good-quality honey
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs

For the glaze:

  • ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

Directions

Brush molds of a madeleine pan with butter; set aside.

Make the batter:

  • Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat, and stir in honey and vanilla. Let cool 10 minutes.
  • In a small bowl whisk flour, baking powder, cardamom, and salt; set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees, setting the rack in the center.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together sugar and eggs. Gently fold in the flour mixture until combined. Add the butter mixture and fold until combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes.
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared madeleine pan, filling each mold halfway. Tap pan on work surface to eliminate air bubbles. If necessary, use moistened fingers to press the batter into the mold.
  • Bake until cookies have puffed and the edges are golden, 7 to 8 minutes.
  • Transfer the madeleine pan to a wire rack; let the cookies cool slightly. Unmold the cookies onto a rack, and let cool completely.

Make the orange glaze:

In a small bowl, stir together sugar and orange zest and juice until the glaze is smooth and thick. Using a small pastry brush, paint the ridged side of each cookie with the glaze. Let set 15 minutes.

Cookies can be stored in a single layer in an airtight container up to 3 days.

 

Orange Cardamom Madeleines

Gluten-free Version

(Makes 12)

For the cookies:

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon good-quality honey
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup sweet rice flour (or a gluten-free blend you enjoy)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon xanthan gum

For the glaze:

  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

Directions

Brush molds of a madeleine pan with butter; set aside.

Make the batter:

  • Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat, and stir in honey and vanilla. Let cool 10 minutes.
  • In a small bowl whisk gluten-free flour, baking powder, cardamom, salt, and xanthan gum; set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees, setting the rack in the center.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together sugar and eggs. Gently fold in the gluten-free flour mixture until combined. Add the butter mixture and fold until combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes.
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared madeleine pan, filling each mold halfway. Tap pan on work surface to eliminate air bubbles. If necessary, use moistened fingers to press the batter into the mold.
  • Bake until cookies have puffed and the edges are golden, 7 to 8 minutes.
  • Transfer the madeleine pan to a wire rack; let the cookies cool slightly. Unmold the cookies onto a rack, and let cool completely.

Make the orange glaze:

In a small bowl, stir together sugar and orange zest and juice until the glaze is smooth and thick. Using a small pastry brush, paint the ridged side of each cookie with the glaze. Let set 15 minutes.

Cookies can be stored in a single layer in an airtight container up to 3 days.

Facebook Giveaway

From Daryl:

I’m offering a book giveaway (winner’s choice of 1 from my published paperbacks) every day of this traveling feast. To enter today, tell me what is your favorite cookie?

BY THE WAY, don’t miss out on the French Bistro-themed BOX I’m giving away on my Facebook Author page.

About the Author

DARYL WOOD GERBER writes the nationally bestselling Cookbook Nook Mystery series featuring a cookbook store owner who is an avid reader and admitted foodie, set on the coast of California. As AVERY AAMES, she pens the Agatha Award-winning, nationally bestselling Cheese Shop Mystery series featuring a cheese shop owner amateur sleuth, set in the fictional town of Providence, Ohio. Daryl’s short stories have been nominated for the Agatha, Anthony, and other awards. Daryl also writes stand-alone suspense: Days of Secrets and Girl On the Run. Fun tidbit: as an actress, Daryl has appeared in “Murder, She Wrote” and more.

Find Daryl here: Website * Blog * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads

Find Avery here: Website * Blog * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads

 

Tour Giveaway

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Check out the other blogs for the recipes featured there

November 1 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews

November 2 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book

November 3 – Brooke Blogs

November 4 – A Holland Reads

November 5 – Jane Reads

November 6 – StoreyBook Reviews

November 7 – Back Porchervations

Posted in excerpt, Middle Grade, Spotlight on November 5, 2017

Synopsis

Pounce and the Riddle of Fire is a middle grade fantasy novel. It tells the story of a tiger-folk cub that undertakes a grand quest to earn his name of maturity and the right to lead the tribe. The quest he is given seems impossible. How could anyone find the lost Saber tribes of the Eastern Jungles? And if he doesn’t, he’ll be banished forever.

With no other choice, Pounce begins his journey across the treacherous realm of Fire, but soon finds he is not alone. A human girl with a secret and two gazelle-folk trying to reach the city of Torch View decide to join him. The four unlikely companions find themselves battling elemental monsters and fierce Fire creatures. Unable to turn back, Pounce must rely on the help of his new friends to uncover the secret of the Riddle of Fire as he continues his quest.

This fantasy adventure is the second book in the Battlemental universe and combines action and humor to show that people from different backgrounds often make the best friends. Several interior illustrations depict the heroes and some of the strange creatures they meet.

Excerpt

Sneer had a forty-yard lead on me. He raced toward the side of the mountain that sloped straight up to the cave mouth. Going in from that direction made it more likely that the mother Slam-Slide would see him approaching, but that also allowed him to use his longer stride to quickly outdistance me.

Even though all of the cubs in the village had been told how dangerous it was to play anywhere near the Slam-Slide cave, the warning had only served to increase our interest. I had climbed nearly to the top enough times with Tumble and Doze to know that if I scaled the back side of the mountain I would eventually come across a rough path that led to the cave.

That was a great idea except for the fact that the rocks on the backside of the mountain were loose and if I made one mistake I’d tumble down the rocky cliff and probably die. But that was my only chance to beat Sneer. There was no way I could keep up with him in a straight-out race.

“I guess Pounce is giving up on the challenge already,” one of Sneer’s friends called out. The laughter from the rest of the group followed me as I sprinted to the section of mountain I was familiar with.

The first fifty feet weren’t any real problem. Plenty of large boulders had crashed down the mountain and I was able to spring from one to the next, going higher and higher with each leap. One of the rocks rolled out from under me as I pushed off from it. I flailed with my claws and managed to sink them into a mountain cleft above me.

My chest heaved as I struggled to catch my breath, but I refused to let that slow me down. Sneer had to be close to the top by now—unless he planned to charge straight into the cave. And nobody was that stupid.

By the time I climbed half-way up the mountainside, my arms and legs burned with the exertion. If I hung from the rock in an effort to rest I might not be able to continue climbing and Sneer would win the challenge. I pushed myself to continue.

I reached up to pull myself over a ledge and my claw slid along the stone, causing me to lose my balance. One second I was scaling the side of the mountain like an eight-legged rock monkey and the next I’m hanging from one claw. A fall from this height wouldn’t hurt me—it would kill me.

Deep in my chest, a roar swelled in power until I couldn’t contain it any more. I let loose with a sound that felt as if it shook the very stone in front of me. Renewed strength, however temporary, flowed into my arms and legs. I reached up and grabbed the ledge with my other claw and pulled myself up.

There was just enough room on the ledge for me to rest on my side. I gulped great lungfuls of air and hoped I didn’t pass out and fall over the edge. My mind screamed that I needed to move. Every moment I stayed here put Sneer closer to winning the challenge.

With my arms and legs still aching from the climb, I managed to stand up and slide my feet along the thin stone path. My muscles trembled with each step. With my night vision, the path ahead of me shone light gray against the blackness of the sky.

After about twenty feet, the path widened enough for me to walk as long as I kept my shoulders twisted away from the mountainside. I was still breathing heavily when the trail leveled off and joined the broad, open area in front of the cave.

My breaths sounded like a tornado in my ears. Any moment now, I expected the mother Slam-Slide to hear my panting and wheezing. If she did, I had nowhere to go . . . except down.

Then I spotted Sneer. He was nearly to the mouth of the cave, slinking from boulder to boulder. His head turned in my direction and his eyes locked with mine. He froze in mid-slink. The jaw-dropping, wide-eyed expression he gave upon seeing me was worth every bit of ache and strain it took to reach the top of the mountain before him.

He mouthed, “Eat my smoke.”

Without waiting for me to respond, Sneer tensed his muscles and charged into the cave. I hadn’t thought he was that stupid, but apparently I was wrong. A moment later, a thunderous bellow sounded from inside the cave. It was the kind of blood-thinning roar that any Saber would be proud to have made.

Except it wasn’t a Saber roar. That was the Slam-Slide mother announcing her intention to turn Sneer into tiger paste.

Sneer bolted out of the cave, running full speed down the incline.

The Slam-Slide flew after him, sending chips of stone flying everywhere as her massive hooves struck the mountain rock. She was at least ten feet tall, had dark brown skin that was cracked like dried mud, and a pair of shiny brown horns that were lowered to skewer her foe. Slam-Slides were humanoid creatures of Earth and despite her large size she was less likely to trip and fall going down the mountain than a Saber.

Sneer was in some serious trouble.

I watched as the Slam-Slide lurched forward and slammed her fists on the ground. A wave of stone rolled down the mountainside, tossing Sneer in the air. Fortunately for Sneer that put him farther away from the upset mama battlemental. As long as he kept running he should be able to outdistance the Slam-Slide.

And while the two of them were busy getting to know one another, I snuck inside the cave and searched for the skull-shaped birth fragment that would permit me to win the challenge. Fragments were scattered everywhere. It took more time than I wanted to spend inside before I found the right one—and the baby Slam-Slide.

The oversized baby was standing almost on top of the necessary birth fragment. I shuffled forward, hoping a slow approach would keep me from scaring the young battlemental. Apparently, that wasn’t really a concern. The Slam-Slide baby screeched at me and then wobbled forward on unsteady legs.

These guys were some cranky battlementals.

I stepped off to one side as the young Slam-Slide lunged at me. The Slam-Slide hit the cave floor and slid a couple of feet. I reached down and grabbed the fragment and was almost out the cave entrance when the baby started wailing. It sounded like a couple of rocks being scraped against one another.

Climbing down the rocky face of the mountain would be trickier than making the trip up here. If I took the same path as Sneer and the Slam-Slide I could veer off to one side to avoid being seen and then sprint to the finish line. Besides, Mama Slam-Slide seemed pretty focused on catching Sneer.

Using my legs to slow my descent just enough to avoid tripping, I sailed down the path. Up ahead of me, Sneer dodged a clumsy attempt from the mama Slam-Slide to grab him. He looked in my direction. I smiled, waved, and continued past him.

The slope leveled out. A few hundred yards ahead of me stood the Saber gathering that had been watching the contest. They were still too far away for me to see the expressions on their faces, but their body language told me that none of them were particularly happy to see me win.

Then I heard a scream.

About the Author

RANDY LINDSAY is a world traveler. Which sounds impressive until you realize the worlds he visits exist only in his mind and on the pages of his novels. He claims to prefer this method of sightseeing because he can stop at any time, go to the kitchen, and indulge his ice cream addiction. When he isn’t busy making things up he likes going to movies with his wife to watch what other people have made up and plays board games with his children who are in the habit of making up the rules as they go along.

Website * Facebook * Twitter

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