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Liquid Friday with author Steven C. Levi

This week we are featuring author and historian Steven C. Levi and his book The Cannabis Stampede.

But before we research Steven C. Levi’s book, lets find out what is his recommendation for a Friday cocktail.

0015-bloody-maryMy mixed drink of choice is a Bloody Mary. It’s got a snap while other mixed drinks are just, well, mixed drinks. ANY FRIDAY is a good day for a Bloody Mary — or a book review. My self-published book, available on Kindle, is The Cannabis Stampede.

Ingredients:
  • 4.5 cl (3 parts) Vodka
  • 9 cl (6 parts) Tomato juice
  • 1.5 cl (1 part) Lemon juice
  • 2 to 3 dashes of Worcestershire Sauce
  • Tabasco
  • Celery salt
  • Pepper
Preparation:

Add dashes of Worcestershire Sauce, Tabasco, salt and pepper into highball glass, then pour all ingredients into highball with ice cubes. Stir gently

Blurb:

With so many sides to the legalization of marijuana, how do you know who’s right?

Based on what is happening in Alaska right now, The Cannabis cannabisStampede is an on-the-ground, narrative nonfiction look at the legalization of marijuana told from 30 perspectives. These perspectives include the housewife, aging hippy, police chief, doctor, school teacher, historian, Evangelical, Republican, Democrat, liberal, conservative, THC refugee, and half-way house owner along with the people who will be making the money: pot delivery man, grower, importer and edible product inventor.

Excerpt:

Nevets Harrison

Writing history is like being married; no matter what you say you were wrong. It doesn’t make any difference if you are a white male economic historian, black revisionist, Japanese deconstructionist or a Filipino-Mexican-Aleut creative nonfiction novelist. Whatever you say will be wrong. No matter how it is written or how many footnotes bolster the claim, there will always be someone in the reading crowd who will swear that his great grandfather was not the drug smuggler your footnotes proved him to be and her great aunt Harriet did not die of a heroin overdose while working as a prostitute on the South Side of Chicago – she actually died in the Ladies of Charity hospice of multiple ailments while serving the needs of the unfortunates of varied ethnic persuasions.

The criticism was be never ending. That is the price of quality scholarship. They make no statutes to historians, only bruises. All historians ever receive for their effort are curses and kicks because everyone wants to recall the past as the good old days even though they were not that good and all everyone who lived them wants to remember are the two good moments and not the avalanche of catastrophes that caused them to the marry the wrong man, accept the worst job, buy the wrong house, take the wrong fork in the road, backslide the wrong addiction or taunt the IRS. Everyone has regrets but they are easiest to forget. What is easy to recall are the golden moments and those are called “memories.” The rest of life is called “wasted.”

It was because of this juxtaposition of reality that Nevets renamed himself. In print. At home and on his paycheck he was Steven but his articles listed the author as Nevets which, as it turned out, was an unexpected blessing because it kept the bores from finding his name in the phone book and on the Internet. Often the greatest philosophical value comes from the reverse. The reward of abiding by the seven virtues is avoiding the brake on your progress applied by the associated seven vices. Chastity may not make you the vice president; lusting after the president’s daughter might. But then again, over the long run, as the old Italian expression so aptly states, “if you marry for money you will earn every penny of it.”

Nevets was well aware that destiny is not a destination but a direction of travel. He never viewed his future from the distance but from the myopic. The first step on his long journey to the future began with a blank sheet of paper, an odd metaphor for a man who was focused on a monitor screen and not a spread of parchment. Odd it was, he always said, that he started his career where he would finish his life, under wood.

Historians make no friends; they simply collect critics. When the marijuana initiative passed statewide with a more than 70% of the vote, Nevets was the only public voice of caution. That 70% of the vote, he pointed out, was not indicative of anything because the voter turnout was the lowest in eight decades. Further, the only opposition to the initiative were the gadflies who were against everything anyway. Rank and file Republicans supported the effort because it brought money into the state treasury so there would be no need to raise taxes on every other industry and Democrats were in favor of it because it was another dimension of being pro-choice. The No Party registered voters were tired of the police spending their time arresting marijuana smokers who were only going to be released on their own recognizance by the courts. The courts were tired of the time they spent convicting marijuana smokers while meth labs were burning down apartment buildings and the police were tired of elected officials who talked tough about drug abusers and then expected special consideration for their DUIs. Everyone wanted a break from reality and the Marijuana Initiative did exactly that.

Nevets never passed up the opportunity to urge people to vote and read history. At the first he clearly failed in the recent election so he was not about to let the second slip by his newspaper column. Whether or not the legalization of marijuana was a good idea was immaterial. What was a bad idea was not to be aware of the consequences of the vote. History was better than a crystal orb when it came to seeing the future. The best advice for fortune telling was to look backwards because, as Winston Churchill famously stated, “the farther back you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” And in this town you did not have to look that far backward to see forward.

If there ever was a town based on the boom it was this one. At the beginning of the Second World War the community boasted a picture alaskapopulation of just under 5,000 people. At the end of the war, courtesy of the United States Army base, the town had tripled in size. The exploitation of the natural gas resources, coal seams and copper deposits in the hinterlands had required the city’s airport to triple in size and the teamster union to quadruple in population. Then came the construction boom. In addition to the prison and Air Force Base, there was a secret United States Navy military intelligence communication satellite complex that everyone knew about and a massive alcohol and addictive drug rehabilitation facility that no one knew anything about.

The road into town swelled to highway and then freeway and was still plugged with double-trailers loaded with nails, beer, girders and condoms. The cargo wing of the airport overspread the outskirts of town like a molasses being poured on a flat table. The only thing not coming by air or macadam was fresh water and clean air. The first was a bounty of nature courtesy of a shallow water table. It would last a century. The air was another matter: the exodus of clean air from the assault of smog proved that Gresham’s Law was multidimensional.

By 1965 the city of Anchorage had increased in size by a factor of ten from the Second World War and that was when the real trouble started.

All Virtues are linked with Vices. Patience, Kindness and Charity may be virtues but they can be overdone. Tough love, intervention and reporting charlatans to the IRS have their place as well. A better view of the Seven Virtues and Vices is to understand that they are, individually, at the extreme ends of seven continuums. Chastity can slide to Lust but not to Wrath or Pride. Envy can evolve to Kindness but not Diligence. But there is great difficulty with this metaphysical pairing because, in fact, the coupling was made in an epic poem by Aurelius Clemens Prudentius about 410 of the Christian Era when the Seven Virtues were easy for the poor to understand because they had no choice and the Seven Vices gave the poor hope that the rich who were indulging there in were going to “get theirs in the next life.” In fact, the Seven Virtues and Seven Vices are not on seven continuums but on the flip side of seven cosmic coins. Starving your family in the name of Charity is neither intelligent nor Christian while, on the other side of the coin, Avarice is not such a bad thing when the multibillionaire donates a substantial chunk of his fortune to worthy charitable causes. Philosophy – and real life – is complicated as all Virtues have their downsides while the vices have their upsides.

The same could be said of money, the seminal origin of the boom halibutthat transformed the city from a rural town to a metropolitan community. With the economic blooming came a population spurt and there was so much money it was, quite literally, running down the streets. All you needed to make a fortune was a cash registers. . Change was coming so fast that traditional transformation of the small business environment missed the twin steps of mom-and-pop to boutique and then the ethnic take over. Mom-and-pop stores simply exploded into big city takeover which were then swallowed by national chains. Ma and Pa retired to Florida while their kids left the state to universities they never dreamed they could afford.

The downside to this economic prosperity was a sizable snake in the grass. While everyone was making money hand over fist so fast that a cash register was a hindrance. That was because the money being made was in cash. The economic boom had come in the 1950s when everyone but blacks were doing well. No one had checking accounts. You were paid in cash ever Friday. You lived on credit during the week and paid your bills in cash on Friday. Everyone was doing it so it was OK. If you were a business, you had no receipts. Just as balance book of accounts. So when it came to taxes, you estimated what you had made, what you owed, paid the balance to the government in cash and that was that.

Well, ‘that was that’ lasted until 1956 when the IRS came to town.

And it came to town in a very big way.

Prior to 1956 the United States government had given no indication that it was concerned as to what happened in the city. After all, Anchorage was in Alaska and that city was a long way from anywhere important. In fact, more than one federal bureaucrat said that Anchorage was as far away from Washington D. C. you could get and still speak English. This was proof positive of the mantra of the federal bureaucrat that a city’s importance was indirectly related to its distance from Washington D. C. If Washington D. C. didn’t care what happened in Anchorage there was no reason to conduct business the way it was being done in Des Moines, Atlanta or Denver.

So the businesses didn’t.

And when the IRS showed up just after the back of winter had been broken in 1956, it could be said that the head of the pit viper in the grass made its presence known. Within three weeks there were a dozen Restraint of Trade federal law suits that included every industry from the rail yards to the flat lands. Every industry included the taverns, plumbers, electricians, grocery stories, taxicabs, restaurants, clothing stores, shoe stores, toy stores, pharmacies, labor unions, barbers and the wide range of people and businesses that called themselves doctors, nurses, naturopaths, healers, massage therapists, psychics, healers, psychic healers and healers of the psyche. There were only two industries that were not hit, the hospital because there was only one and the brothels because they did not exist in federal eyes. Everyone else, every other business in town, got the bad news by post. One day every business in town – except the hospital and brothels – were blissfully supplying and servicing the public with what it needed and wanted and the next day they were up to their armpits in an ocean of red tape.

That was the good news. When the IRS made its appearance, the waters went over their collective heads.

The United States government believed in what is known in boxing as the one-two punch. The first blow is to set the victim up for the second. The first punch was the Restraint of Trade document. What businesses in the city had been doing since the Second World War was meeting with others in their industrial ilk and setting prices. That is, in the early days no one wanted to drive a competitor out of business. The easiest way for everyone to make a living was to make sure that no one business was undercutting another. So all the bars and taverns set the price of beer at $.25 and every electrician in town only charged $.85 an hour. Paint, apples, clearing a plugged toilet and filling a tooth cost the same across the city. You did not get a better deal shopping around; you got the same deal.

While this was – and is – being done sub-rosa in every community across the United States, in every other community across the United States it is called “market forces.” In Anchorage it was called collusion. “Market forces” are legal; collusion is not. So on that fateful day in 1956, every business in the city came to understand that there was a difference between “market forces” and collusion and they, collectively, were on the wrong side of the economic concept.

The follow-up punch came quickly.

Prior to 1956 the entire economy of the city had been cash. No one kept books the way such accounting was done in the other states. Receipts were a waste of time. Cash registers slowed business and double-entry bookkeeping akin to black magic. So no one kept receipts, did not buy cash registers and guesstimated their obligation to the United States government. After all, if you had no accounting books the United States government had to take your word for what you made and what you owed. Even more important, the United States government had been “taking the word” of the businesses in the city since the business had been operating since the 1920s so no one anticipated a change.

They anticipated in error.

Right on the heel of the Restraint of Trade charges came the IRS. Its agents arrived in force and proceeded, door by door. These were not a friendly calls. Each agent assessed the value of every business. Every agent assessed what the income of the business probably was and then compared it to what the business had filed with the United States Department of Revenue. When there was a disparity, the business was billed the difference. Then the bad news got worse. The debt owed was increase seven fold for the taxes not paid the previous years and, for bad measure, interest and penalties were tacked on as well.

The initial response to the federal oversight was three-fold. Every single one of the businesses hit with the Restraint of Trade charges and the bill for back taxes believed three things to be absolutely true: 1) they had already paid their fair share of taxes, 2) because of the isolation of the city from the rest of the United States the feds were lucky anyone was paying anything at all and 3) the way the city was doing business was the way business had to be done in an isolated quasi-frontier community.

So what was the problem?

The problem, the federal authorities stated in response to the list of three was 1) no you have not, 2) distance does not make you immune from taxes, and 3) you are not special.

If this had the extent of the problem then arrangements could have been developed with the federal government – known as the feds and usually swallowed with an expectoration. But if life were simple there would be no problems. First, because of the convoluted nature of doing business in an isolated setting, the businesses had developed unique methods to be efficient and profitable. One of them had been the printing of what were called bingles.

The usual method of paying one’s bills in the city had been to live on credit from week to week. Everyone was paid in cash on Friday so, on Friday, everyone paid their bills for the week. This was not a problem for most business because the numbers were large. That is, a housewife would get $10 worth of groceries during the week and pay the $10 on account on Friday. The grocer simply kept the housewife’s name in an account book and added expenses as the groceries were bought and zeroed out the account on Friday. If the housewife bought food three times a week, there were only three entries which was not that time consuming.

But what time consuming and prone to errors was dealing with the smaller items, the occasional shopping and children. If a child wanted a piece of candy she just went in to the grocery store had the piece of candy, $.01 put on the family’s bill. When the husband needed more tobacco he just put that $.08 on the bill and if the housewife was downtown and needed some dish soap for $.06 that was put on the bill as well. Multiply these occasional buys by 3,000 people and it was possible to make a mess of the accounting book.

To deal with the deluge of what would later be called nickel-and-dime transactions, the merchants in town became printing small aluminum coins which resembled currency. They were for the smaller purchases and were thus in denominations of penny, dime, quarter and dollar. These aluminum coins, called bingles, were not illegal in the eyes of the federal government because they were being distributed by specific businesses for the use in their specific businesses. But Washington D. C. was far away and children did not understand that an Anderson dime could only spent in an Anderson store. So the Ferguson store took Anderson and Sullivan bingles and three stores would occasional meet and exchange the bingles they had and made up for the difference in cash.

But there were real problems with bingles that only came light when the Restraint of Trade and the IRS became looking at the businesses of the city with a microscope. First, the use of bingles was so widespread that there looked upon as cash that could be used anywhere in town. They showed up in change for large purchases, could be used to buy stamps in the United States Post Office and were good as tips in the restaurants. If this had been the extent of the use of bingles, the feds could have continued to turn a blind eye to the exchange. As long as everything came out in the wash, no foul no harm.

But that was not the way the system worked.

In fact, the bingles were, in themselves, duplicitous. On one hand they had value when spent in a store. That is, when a young girl bought candy for $.01, an economic transaction had occurred. The young girl got a piece of candy and the store got $.01 in payment. But at the end of the week when the grocer paid his workers, he might pay them in bingles. On his books the payment of the $10 in bingles was recorded as a debt of $10 of American money. But the clerks were saying that since they were being paid in bingles which were not American money, they had earned no American money so they had no income tax to pay. Had they been paid in American money they would have had to pay taxes of that American money earned. But since they had earned no American money, they owed no taxes. Then the deception spiraled. The landlord did not count the bingles as American money received so their reduced his income tax. So too did the electrician and plumber, the taxi cab company and the tavern owner. Bingles were as good as cash to everyone – except the IRS.

Then the problem moved up the food chain. Larger ticket consumer items like cars, washing machines and even land were bought with a collection of American dollars and bingles. The bingles were accepted as legitimate moneys but not listed on the books as having been received. So a $300 automobile bought with $100 American dollars and $200 in bingles was listed as a loss of $200 on the car company spread sheet while the automobile dealership paid its employees in the $200 worth of bingles. Thus the dealership had an artificial loss on its books and its employees were listed as having been paid in cash. But at the end of the year the employees did not list the bingles as income which reduced their tax burden.

But this was chicken feed when it was compared to how the big money moved. Since taxes had to be paid on income, the big boys and big girls in town avoided income altogether by exchanging land instead of cash. If a debtor had a debt of $1,000, he sold a piece of property worth $1,000 to the debtee for $1. The income to the debtee was thus $1 and no taxes needed to be paid on the transfer. This, however, is a very simplistic way to view the transfer of money at the top of the food chain. To muddy the waters as much as fiscally possible, those transferring the property went to convoluted lengths to hide even the ownership of the property. This was relatively easy in the days before the internet and the impact of those transactions would not be felt for decades.

Fast-forwarding to 2010, Nevets was able to use the increasing power of the internet to trace some of the land transfers – and it was this research that made him persona non grata with realtors, land title companies and banks across the city. Truth is relative and often very expensive.

With the aid of the internet Nevets was able to piece together how land had been transferred to avoid income taxes and – at the same time – how much of that same land was transferred to and from the same person so the sale of a piece of property was a way to wash cash and, at the same time, allow the land to follow a circuitous route of $1 transactions back to the individual who wanted the cash washed in the first place. In simpler terms, suppose two individuals, George and Harry, have too much cash on hand and want to avoid paying income taxes on that cash. So each buys a piece of property from the other for $10,000. Now George has paid Harry $10,000 which is an income tax deduction. And Harry has paid George $10,000 so he has a $10,000 income tax deduction. Then Harry and George sell their respective properties to Sam for $1 each and Sam, in turn, sells Harry and George back the properties they just sold for $1 each. In the next round of transactions, Sam is one of the buyer/sellers and Harry or George will be the disinterested third party. When all is said and done, Harry and George end up with $10,000 tax free dollars in their pocket, a piece of real estate and no income to report.

To convolute the process Harry, George and Sam will make the paper trail even harder to follow. Before the Second World War there were three sets of land books. One was to record property that was in the downtown area. Another was for land in what would be called midtown and the third was for property that was out of town.

At least that was the logic.

The reality was that Harry, George and Sam were constantly shuffling the recording of their land transactions through the three sets of books over a wide range of dates. Trying to keep the explanation as simple as possible, the three men would be constantly juggling a dozen land transactions at any one time through a labyrinthine process that defied logic and made the actual ownership of the land impossible to determine. As an example, one plot of land owned by Harry would be sold to Sam who then sold the land to Harriet who then sold it to Richard who then sold it back to Harry.

Maybe.

That was because the sale of the land to Sam – which was downtown – was recorded in the out of town books three years after the initial sale. That is, the actual transfer of the lot from Harry to Sam was made on January 1, 1936 but it was not recorded in the out of town books until March 17, 1939. In the intervening years, the plot of land was registered as having been sold from Harriet to Richard in the downtown books on April 3, 1937 and recorded on May 3, 1938. The sale of the same land by Sam to Harriet was recorded in the midtown books on February 3, 1929 even though the actual date on the sale document was December 15, 1925. Completing the peripatetic lot of land, it was then sold back to Harry, the original owner in this example, on November 5, 1929 – which was seven years before the alleged initial sale – but not recorded as belonging to Harry until it was recorded in the out of town books on June 19, 1934. So who owned that piece of property on any one day between November 5, 1929 and the May 3, 1938 was impossible to determine. And this was just one piece of property. Multiply this baffling alleged sequence of sales and recording with a dozen pieces of property being juggled at any one time and it is easy to see that by the time the IRS arrived it was not possible to see who owned what.

But the dozen participants knew exactly what they were doing. The IRS does not tax land transfers. It only taxes income. Buying land is a tax deduction. So Harry, Sam, George, Harriet and Richard kept washing the cash through land transfers. Harry gave same cash to Sam which gave Sam income. But Sam then gave the cash to Harriet for land which made the cash Sam got from Harry a wash. Then Harriet bought land from Harry for the same amount and around and around the cash went, one hand washing the other and at the end of the day, no one had made a dime of income but everyone in the cycles of deception was getting rich with cash and land transfers. Even more historically and fiscally delicious from the point of view of the land jugglers, when the feds finally came to the frozen north in 1956 and dove into the murky waters of the land transactions, all they could do was seize the land being juggled. Thus, at the end of the day, the IRS ended up with two dozen pieces of property of dubious value which were owned by everyone – and no one – at the same time.

As an historian Nevets had no trouble understanding the historical lesson being presented in these land transactions. Even though he was looking at land transactions seven decades old, he understood the present day relevance. Even more important, he could see the shadows of the future starting to fall. It did not take an auger to see what was going to happen next. All one had to do was watch television.

Speaking at the chamber of commerce shortly after the Marijuana Initiative passed, Nevets stated that there was no such thing as the present. It was simply the razor’s edge of where the past meets the future. The problems of the so-called present had come from the past. The problems you do not solve yesterday become the problems you must face tomorrow. And you solve the problems of tomorrow by looking into the past.

For a specific example for the budding legalization of marijuana salesmen and saleswomen, he advised them to look at what was happening in the other states who were legalizing cannabis as well as the history of the city. He reminded them that the city had been founded on a foundation of covering cash transactions with land sales so no income was generated. Then he pointed to what was happening in those states where marijuana was finally legal.

The problem, he pointed out, was that marijuana may be legal as far as the state was concerned but it was still an illegal drug as far as the United States government was concerned. What this meant was that the banks could not be involved in any aspect of the new industry. On a street-level, this meant that you could not buy a marijuana product with a bank instrument like a check, debit card or credit card. It was a cash-only transfer.

It also meant that the companies selling marijuana had to pay their bills in cash. Their employees were paid in cash. Their electric bill was paid in cash. Their laundry bill was paid in cash. Their car payments were made in cash.

Actually, this last statement was not true, Nevets said mischievously to the audience. Since the banks would not deal with drug money – and he made artificial quote marks in the air with his fingers around the term drug money – as soon as the banks figure out who is in the drug business – again the quote marks in the air – those car loans might be called. And home loans. And when the marijuana workers can be identified by the IRS – which will happen when they file their income taxes – the banks can’t take their cash either.

So, Nevets warned the chamber members, be prepared for a journey into the past. The Marijuana Initiative will bring the state and municipal governments tax revenues, yes, but it is also going to create massive headaches. Now the multiplier effect was going to work in reverse. Just as every dollar spent with a credit card will turn over four or five times in the city, so too will the cash dollar spent. But the difference will be that the cash dollar is going to require more workers. The grocery story is going to have to hire extra people to handle the cash. The banks will have to hire more tellers because the cash from the grocery stores and the liquor stores and shoe stores will be legal tender even though drug money – once again the quote marks in the air – was used to tomatoes and beer and sneakers. Businesses that have never seen a hard dollar paid for their services, like doctors and dentists, are going to need a cash register.

And that was the good news.

The bad news was that an entire underground economy was going to develop, a cash-only economy. It will move a legion of wage earners off the grid, so to speak. They will not be able to tracked. They will pay the plumber and electricians in cash and the plumbers and electricians will underpay their taxes. Pilfering will go up. Embezzlement will go up. A black market will erupt because as long as there is cash involved people will find a way to dodge their tax bill.

Nevets than gave a sly smile because, as a quality speaker and historian, he know how to finish with a professional flourish. “And the city was return to its past. The big money will go into land – again. And you are going to see the same land shuffling schemes of the 1930s again. But this time it is going to be on a much larger scale. There are going to be millions in tax dollars that cannot be collected. Cash is hard to use today because most of us do not use it. We use checks and credit cards and debit cards. But the moment cash washes into the local economy like a tidal wave there are going to be all kinds of opportunities to get goods and services for less if you pay in cash. If you think we have a problem with the black market now, wait until the black market includes plumbers and dentists and liquor stores. To misquote Yogi Berra, it’s going to be deja-vu all over again.”

About Me:

Steven C. Levi is an Alaskan historian and writer.  A 40-year resident of Anchorage, he has 80 books in print and on Kindle. His nonfiction books on Alaska history include BOOM TO BUST IN THE ALASKA StevenGOLD FIELDS, an historical forensic investigation into the sinking of Alaska’s ghost ship, the Clara Nevada, as well as a history of Alaska’s bush pilot heritage, COWBOYS OF THE SKY. Levi believes that his books – both fiction and nonfiction – should be readable, understandable and educational. They must be all three for the reader to keep turning the pages. He is also dedicated to making history interesting to young readers. His MAKING HISTORY INTERESTING TO STUDENTS series on Kindle is a collection of eight books specifically written to teach middle and high school students what they are supposed to be learning in their history classes

Liquid Friday with author KM Fawcett

This week we are featuring sci-fi romance author K.M. Fawcett and her book CAPTIVE (The Survival Race #1)

But before we get captivated by K.M. Fawcett’s book, let us find out what drink does she recommend for our enjoyment on Friday evening.

Homemade CAPTIVE Cabernet IMG_0732.JPGSauvignon!  My husband and I, along with a group of friends, made our own wine at Grape Finale http://www.grapefinale.com in Flemington, NJ.  It was a fun 4 step process where we got to crush and press our grapes, rack (remove sediment from the barrel), and then bottle and decorate our wine with custom made labels. Mine was personalized with my book cover! The wine is delicious and made great gifts for friends and fun giveaways for readers!

So let us grab a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, pour some glasses, sharing with friends and kick back relaxing while we  take a closer look at CAPTIVE (The Survival Race #1):

Blurb:

AN IMPOSSIBLE JOURNEY The last thing Addy Dawson remembers is a blazing inferno and freezing river water overtaking her lungs. When she awakens, Addy finds herself on a Hi Res Captivestrange, alien planet, trapped in a cell with no doors, no windows– and to her horror– a naked warrior who claims to be her mate.

AN UNDENIABLE PASSION An alpha gladiator, Max is forced to breed and produce the finest specimens for the Survival Race, a deadly blood sport created by the alien rulers of Hyborea. To rebel means torture-or worse-yet Max refuses to become the animal his captors want him to be. But their jailors will not be denied, and soon Addy and Max find themselves unwilling players in this cruel game. Pushed to the limit, they will risk everything for the chance at a life free from captivity. And though fate brought them together as adversaries, Max and Addy will discover that when they’re together, there’s nothing in the universe that can stop them.

Excerpt:

Addy glanced around the dimly lit room—if you could call it a room. Actually, it looked more like a ten-foot box. There were no doors. No windows. Nothing.

Except for a miniature fireplace and logs centered on one wall, the body pillow bed in one corner and a large terracotta flowerpot in the opposite corner, the room appeared empty.

She crept to a wall and drew her hand up, down and across it, searching for a hidden doorknob or lever.

“If you’re looking for me, I’m over here.”

She jumped and spun to face the stranger but was tripped up by her hangover and stumbled into the wall. Righting herself, she tried for a casual smile but knew it didn’t pass for anything more than a nervous tic.

When the room stopped spinning, she noticed he had propped himself up on one elbow. His dark, shoulder-length hair and sleepy eyes enhanced his wicked attractiveness. He made no attempt to move closer. Of course, he made no attempt to cover himself, either, and his sheet had slid further down.

She forced herself to look at his eyes. Eyes that shone eerily in the dark like a cat’s. Eyes that appeared emerald.

Odd choice for colored contacts.

“Come here.” He lifted the sheet with one hand and patted the pillow bedding with the other.

Her heart rate revved as she stared at the parts of him beneath the sheet. “I…uh…I…umm.”

“Skittish little thing, aren’t you?”

The only way to stop gawking was to squeeze her eyes shut. “Who are you?”

“You don’t know?” His voice oozed disappointment.

Apparently they had gone through this already. So why couldn’t she remember? What else couldn’t she remember? “Did I—? Did you—? Did we—?” There was no polite way to ask if (a) she’d given herself to him under duress or (b) he’d violated her while she was unconscious.

“Mate?”

Okay, that was one way. Odd word choice but it sufficed. She nodded.

“No.”

She relaxed.

“Not yet.” There was no menace or presumption in his words. He spoke them casually, matter-of-factly, as if they’d already discussed sex and concluded they’d sleep together. When had she given him that idea? Her head ached trying to remember.

“I’m sorry. You seem like a nice guy, but I can’t…you know…do this.”

“Oh. First time, huh?”

“What?”

“Though judging your age, I wouldn’t have pegged you for a virgin.”

“Excuse me?”

“Relax.” The sleep in his voice gave the word a husky sexiness. “I’ll make sure you enjoy it, too.” He got up and strode toward her, eyes hungry and body very ready to make good on his word.

If her pulse was a car, the turbo just kicked in. “Stop right there,” she said, and he did. The surprise was evident on his face. With a body like his, he probably wasn’t used to rejection.

“Woman, this won’t work unless we’re closer. Much closer.” He winked.

She turned back to the wall, frantically feeling for that doorknob. But it was too late. He was behind her, towering over her. Sweeping the hair off her shoulder. Brushing his lips down the side of her neck.

A tingling sensation slid down her spine. “Stop it. I’m warning you.”

“I understand your hesitation,” he said between kisses. “But it’s going to happen sooner or later.”

Like hell it is. She pivoted around and kneed him in the groin.

Hey if you like it K.M. Fawcett was gratious to share with us the entire first chapter of her book.  Just follow the link below:

Long Excerpt

Buy Links:

All Romance eBooks  | Amazon  Barnes & Noble  |  Books A Million  |  Book Depository  |  Google Play  |  iBooks  | IndieBound  |  Kindle

About Me

K.M. Fawcett is the author of the thrilling sci-fi romance series, The Survival Race. She author+photoenjoys stories filled with adventure and strong, kick-butt heroes and heroines. Ranked 4th degree black belt in Isshinryu Karate and 3rd degree in Ryukonkai (Okinawan weapons), K.M. and her husband own a karate dojo in NJ. When not writing sci-fi & paranormal romances or working out at the dojo, K.M. is driving her children to drum lessons and ballet classes. Please visit her on Facebook, Twitter, and at kmfawcett.com to be the first to hear about her new books or to find out if she accidentally drops off her drummer boy at ballet classes.

Social Media Links:

Liquid Friday with author Aimée Marie Bejerano

This week we are featuring Christian YA author of inspirational, historical fiction and paranormal thriller/horror novels Aimée Marie Bejerano and her book Angelica: You Have Chosen Well.

But before we take upon the quest of learning about Aimee’s book, let us find out what is her favorite drink.

I’m a huge diet Coke lover. I started drinking it to help with chalky mouth DietCokefrom my medication, lol. Now, if you’re talking about an adult beverage, I don’t do social drinking or drink on a regular basis unless it’s according to

1 Timothy 5:23: “Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.” King James Version (KJV)

This basically means, if you have sickness in your stomach or other infirmities, to have a LITTLE wine to help. That’s precisely what I do. I have chronic digestion issues, diverticulitis and sour stomach. I also have chronic pain due to Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia. So, according manishewitzto God’s word, I drink a little wine to help, not to get a buzz or to get drunk. The one wine that helps me the most, is chilled Manischewitz wine. I put a lot of ice into it, I know this sounds strange, but it’s a very sweet wine. I only need a tiny amount and just as the Bible says, it completely helps my stomach or my body.  I started drinking it probably over 10 years ago when my mother reminded me of the Bible verse and encouraged me to have a little to help. I’m thankful she did because it does help me quite a bit lol. 

So let us grab a little glass of Manishewitz wine or a Diet Coke (for those who would rather abstain for tonight, and dive right into the pages of Aimée Marie Bejerano‘s book  Angelica: You Have Chosen Well:

Blurb:

“There are crucial decisions Angelica must make regarding her life and purpose.”

angelica“Will she expire in a jail cell? Will she select death for the One she loves?”
“Aimee’s descriptions of the era are done so well that you will feel like you are right there with Angelica. At times I was bold with her and other times, well most of the time, I wished I was as courageous in the Lord as Angelica. Don’t miss out on this truly inspirational read, geared toward introducing a very personal relationship with Christ as well as encouraging one in their faith to stand up for him no matter what life may bring.”- Victoria Simcox

One prophetic night of birth, shakes and shapes history as we know it.

The life of a beautiful girl from Bethlehem, born that same prophetic night as Jesus, faces her final end when she is forced to decide either renounce Jesus and live or acknowledge Him and die.
Angelica was arrested and imprisoned, by Saul of Tarsus, for preaching on the narrow streets of Jerusalem. While awaiting a angelica2horrible death of stoning, she decides to write her life’s story which begins in Bethlehem when her father an inn keeper met a young couple one night. He had no room in the inn. All he had to offer them was a stable. Follow her on the journey of her life as she meets Bible characters and sees things her innocent eyes have never seen before.
Will Angelica’s life mission end in a prison cell…will she choose life or will she choose death for the One she loves?

This novel will make you walk away a believer and broken questioning the very core of your being. Are you brave enough to read it?

Excerpt:

Jesus has already suffered the ultimate crucifixion.  Rising again causes fear in the heart of the King, jealous of any arrival of a so-called “new king”.

Jerusalem is in utter mayhem, full of soldiers and stampeding horses, a complete panic. Those who believe in Jesus are arrested, imprisoned, and put to death by Saul of Tarsus.  He zealously persecutes the church, seizing men and women, called the ‘followers’ or ‘Christians’ for causing uproar.  The uproar, telling people about Jesus Christ, the One many speak of, Who was dead and His body stolen. The Christians however, faithful to Jesus, know better.

Early one dusky morning, a man saunters down a steep, stony staircase leading into a cold, underground prison where the walls seep of water.  A wretched, lingering scent reeks of death throughout the dark, damp and brisk prison.  Its walls hold the memory of those dying and having perished inside the grey and black encumbrance.

At the end of the stairs sits a wooden chair and a small, round table where a candle, dripping of wax, remains lit.  The only light illuminates throughout the darkened prison.  The man passes by the cells, to the right and left, holding men and women, who will be put to death for their crimes.  Their only crime is to preach Jesus Christ.  angelica youThe prisoners sing songs to the Lord, while many others pray, fearfully eyeing the man who passes their cell. Thoughts prick their mind, “Am I next?”  His armor clinks and his sandals sweep across the hard, stoned floor until he finally stops at the last cell of the prison.  Disdainfully, he looks down on one prisoner.

“Woman, I have what you sent for.”  Speaking abruptly and callously, there stands the prison guard, dressed in red and gold armor. He leers at the young woman through the cell bars.  She lies on a bed of hay, her legs tucked tightly to her bosom.  Her arms are crossed as she sleeps. Struggling to keep warm, her eyes barely open, from sheer exhaustion.

The woman of fair complexion snuggles, with a head wrap. She wears an off-white gown with a colored, striped sash.  In an unlit cell, lying in a puddle of putrid water, her hair shines like the sun, in long ringlets.  Her sky blue eyes distract from the obvious dirt and grime staining her body and clothing.

About Me

Reverend Aimée Marie Bejarano is a Christian YA Author of Aimeeinspirational, historical fiction and paranormal thriller/horror novels. She’s a country girl living in the great state of Texas. Aimée’s a musician and has worked with the youth for years. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, and gardening. Her inspiration comes from the Lord and delves into good books, movies and things of the supernatural and paranormal enlightening people to what God’s word says on the controversial subjects. On cool evenings, she loves taking leisure walks. Writing is not only a calling but a means to get away into the world of imagination. Aimée is an ordained Reverend and loves the youth, personal prayer and welcomes prayer requests.
Aimée began writing at the age of 16 when home schooled. A simple creative writing assignment turned into a book.

Liquid Friday with author Christie Adams

This week we are featuring romance BDSM  author and a 2016 Golden Flogger award nominee Christie Adams, and her latest book in the Club Aegis series,  called Passion’s Last Promise.

But before we dive in between the pages of her book, lets hear from Christie what does she like about the Mojito which is her  favorite  cocktail for Friday night.

What I like about a Mojito?: The combination of lime and mint, with the kick of alcohol! I first mojitibecame aware of the Mojito while watching Die Another Day (2002). A few years later, when I met a friend in Manchester UK for a meal at an upmarket hotel, that was my cocktail of choice, before a meal that included my first ever taste of snails!

And here is how to make a Mojito:

  • 50ml White Rum
  • 1 dash Soda Water
  • 2tsp Caster Sugar
  • 2 Lime Wedges
  • 1 Mint Sprig
  • Ice

Place ice in beverage shaker then add in the rum, 1 lime wedge and sugar. Shake well and serve over ice in a high ball glass. Top off  with a splash of soda water and garnish  with a slice of lime and a sprig of mint.

So let us kick back relaxing with this sinfully delicious cocktail while we learn more about Christie’s book Passion’s Last Promise:

Blurb:

Hers to protect…his to serve…

When a failed kidnap attempt leads to CEO Dr. Simon Northwood acquiring a bodyguard, passionslastpromise_400x6001he isn’t prepared for close protection specialist Ros Edwards, a former captain in the Royal Military Police. Experienced submissive though he is, having a woman stand between him and any further threat is completely untenable.

Assigned to protect the genius behind a project of national importance, Ros unexpectedly encounters the most delicious man she’s met in a long time. As a Domme, she’d love to play with him, but even if he weren’t in need of her professional skills, there’s no way he’s submissive.

A determined man. A stubborn woman. When passion flirts with danger, the last promise is the toughest one of all…

 

Excerpt:

“Problems, Miss Edwards?”

“Not at all, Dr. Northwood.” She turned towards him and slipped the smartphone back into her jacket pocket. “A minor logistical issue, that’s all. Is there something I can do for you?”

“I was wondering if we were still on schedule to depart for Oxford as planned.” From what he’d heard, Simon had his doubts.

“Of course, sir. As I said, a minor logistical issue.” She paused, fixing him with her coolly assessing gaze. “I was just about to make coffee—would you care to join me?”

He had a conference call in a few minutes, his third of the day, but Simon suddenly found himself more in need of a shot of caffeine, and another opportunity to try to goad her into going Domme on him. He’d been trying all week, and this morning was the closest he’d come yet. He strode over to the desk to call his PA.

“Alicia? Can you let Martin know that he’ll be handling the finance call in ten? Give him clubaegismy apologies—something’s come up that requires my attention elsewhere. Thanks.” He replaced the receiver and turned his attention back to his bodyguard. “I don’t mind if I do, Miss Edwards.”

She gave a brief nod in acknowledgement. He watched her disappear into the adjoining kitchen, only to hear seconds later the crash of breaking glass followed by the colourful and creative cursing he was coming to associate with his beautiful bodyguard. Simon headed for the epicentre of the disaster.

As if someone had flicked a switch, his nonchalant attitude came to an abrupt end. Ros was running her hand under the tap, washing away the blood oozing from a cut to her palm. Broken glass littered the counter and the floor.

Simon’s protective instincts kicked into action, sweeping aside all thoughts of provoking her again. He grabbed the first aid kit from one of the cupboards. “Let me help.”

“It’s all right, I can manage.”

“No—you can’t. What happened?”

To his surprise, she allowed him to take her hand in his. Strong and capable, it was at the same time neat and feminine, with short but immaculately manicured nails. No rings, but as he’d told himself the first time he’d checked, that didn’t necessarily mean anything.

“Kamikaze glassware.” Ros glanced up at the open cupboard. “When I was getting the mugs to make the coffee, I accidentally nudged a couple of tumblers. They decided to take their name seriously and try out for the Olympic gymnastics team. I can tell you now, their technique sucked.”

Simon pressed his lips together, trying not to laugh at the latest glimpse of her taste in humour. She’d caught him unawares like that once or twice before, with a little nugget of dry wit. “What were you trying to do? Catch them or juggle with them?”

She shot him a dark scowl. At that precise moment, she looked more like the recipient of a sense of humour bypass, then he realised she was more annoyed with herself.

“I was picking up the pieces. Some of the shards started slipping out of my hands and I grabbed at them on instinct. Stupid thing to do. At least it’s not my right hand.”

He quirked a questioning eyebrow.

“Trigger finger.” She waggled the digit at him. “Can’t pull a trigger if I’m bandaged up.”

“Or if you end up slicing through tendons.” Simon’s slightly harsh tone was a reflection of his discomfort at the way she spoke so candidly of using firearms. “A dustpan and brush might have been safer than trying to pick up the broken glass.” He nodded in the direction of the tall corner cupboard.

For a moment she looked like she was about to argue, but then the change in her expression and a tiny, careless shrug acknowledged the truth of his words. Simon turned his attention to her injuries. There were some superficial cuts but the main one wasn’t as bad as he’d first thought—she’d probably get away without needing any stitches in it. Having confirmed there was no glass in the wound, he pulled on some surgical gloves and ripped open a sachet containing an antiseptic wipe.

She was standing so close now. He tried not to be distracted by the calm rise and fall of her breasts, or the subtle floral scent of her perfume. He tried not to respond to her steady gaze resting squarely on him. He tried not to think of the probable reasons why a former RMP officer never even flinched at the sting of the antiseptic.

Having put a couple of Steri-Strips on the cut, he then made the move that was his downfall. It was the small, insignificant act of glancing up at Ros’ face. She was staring at his hands in rapt fascination, lips slightly parted, almost inviting a kiss.

Carpe diem. The Latin phrase blazed through Simon’s mind like a meteor. She hadn’t responded to provocation, so perhaps a different tactic was called for. He swept aside the memory of the altercation they’d had a few hours earlier, focusing instead on this moment.

Simon pulled off the surgical gloves with a snap. In a club, he’d never dream of doing what he was about to do—it went against everything he’d been trained for, but this was an opportunity he couldn’t afford to miss.

Before Ros could move away from him, he took her uninjured hand in his and raised it to his lips. Before his inner voice could convince him he was making a huge mistake, he pressed a gentle kiss to her palm.

“Dr. Northwood.”

He wasn’t expecting the sound of his name to send a delicious shiver through his body. The formality, though…just as guilty of that as she was, maybe even more so, but he wanted it to end. “Simon.”

Desire would be held back no longer—he claimed the sweetness of her mouth, and prepared to take his punishment for crashing through her boundaries…

About me:

After winning an erotic short story competition, Christie Adams waited over twenty years to follow it up with her first full-length erotic romance. The second publisher she christy adamsapproached picked it up, and after a brief spell with them, she moved into the exciting world of indie publishing.

When asked how she got into writing, Christie realised she’s been putting pen to paper—or fingers to keyboard—for longer than she thought. It all started in her teens, with stories featuring characters from her favourite TV shows—usually action dramas—but in her imagination, those characters were given a romantic life to go with the all-action one their audiences saw.

From there, she progressed to romantic novels featuring characters of her own invention, but success eluded her until she spotted the short story competition in a magazine.

Christie lives in north-west England. When not at the day job, she can usually be found wrestling with the characters in her latest novel. Occasionally she finds time for sleep, and maintains her social skills through, among other things, regular attendance at a pub quiz, which forces her to think about other things besides plots and characterisation.

To find out more about Christie and her books, please visit her website (http://christieadamsauthor.com/) or email her at christie@christieadamsauthor.com.


 

 

Liquid Friday with author Cecilia Tan

This week we are featuring long time erotica writer and novelist Cecilia Tan.  The newest book Wild Licks, from her series Secrets of a Rock Star, makes it Cecilia’s 12th published novel . (Just released this August 2nd)

But before we dive down in between her pages, lets hear from Cecilia about a favorite cocktail to go along with this book.

I invented this cocktail to represent my hero! It’s based on the traditional Harvey Wallbanger (vodka, Galliano, orange juice) except Mal Kenneally, the rough-sex-loving hero of Wild Licks, is Maltoo dark and mysterious for a vodka drink, so I replaced the vodka with a smoky Irish whiskey. I’ve been trying whiskeys in place of vodka in a lot of drinks with good results. Vodka is boring to me. I like my drinks like my romance heroes, dark, complex, and full of flavor. Meanwhile, the heroine is sparkly and bubbly on the surface, and sweet to the core. When you put her and Mal together you get the perfect combination!

Mal’s Wallbanger Recipe:

  • 3 parts whiskey (preferably Irish but rye, scotch, bourbon, or even cognac can work)
  • 1 part Galliano herbal liqueur
  • 2 parts orange juice
  • Chill/shake and pour over a tall glass full of ice

Optional: add 6 parts soda water (after shaking) to make it a summer spritzer

So let us kick back and relax.  As this delicious sinfullness slides down our throat, bringing us to the verge of ecstasy, lets begin exploring  Cecilia‘s book Wild Licks:

Blurb:

Gwen Hamilton is always looking for a thrill. Not even running a secret BDSM club can fulfill her true desires. It’s only when he’s backstage at a rock concert and attracts the eye–and experienced hands–of guitarist Mal Kenneally that she finds that perfect wild_licks_200x300combination of danger and excitement she’s been craving. Keeping her real identiy a secret from him she revels in his uncompromising dominance by night, while by day he knows her only as Gwen, his arm candy for public appearances.

Gwen blows Mal’s mind with her enthusiastic submission to his harshest commands. Even though he has a reputation for never seeing the same woman twice, he can’t help being tempted by the mystery woman who fulfulls his every fantasy. When Mal discovers who Gwen is, he never wants to let her go. Finally he can indulge his absolute power. But dancing too recklessly on the razor’s edge could cut deeper than either of them bargained for.  

Excerpt of WILD LICKS by Cecilia Tan (Forever/Grand Central Publishing), August 2 2016 release date

By the time I arrived at the Forum, the concert had already started. Thank goodness Ricki had gotten us VIP parking permits and backstage passes. The VIP lot was next to where the band’s tour bus was parked—a massive thing with the rough logo painted on the side—and I could see a security guard standing outside a side door into the arena.

I clutched my purse to my shoulder as I approached him. He was wearing black and the band’s crew jacket, a lanyard hanging from his neck with a cluster of laminated passes at the bottom of it. “Hi, yeah, is this the right door? I have a backstage pass waiting for me,” I told him.

He looked me up and down. “Oh, really,” he said, as if he didn’t believe a word of it and was merely humoring me. “And who exactly would be responsible for putting you on the list?”

“My sister. Or her boyfriend. Axel Hawke? Perhaps you’ve heard of him?”

He laughed. “Try pulling the other one.”

“Okay, seriously, I’m Gwen Hamilton.” His attitude was really starting to piss me off.

Amusement twisted his mouth. “You know, honey, if what you really want is a good banging, plenty of guys in your hometown would oblige.”

“Excuse me?”

Tan_WildLicks_mal_gwen_quote“Okay, okay, I get it. You came all the way here to get some genuine, grade-A rock star dick. Which one do you want? I’ll tell you if you’re his type. The only one who’s off-limits is Axel. He’s monotonous and his girlfriend’s here to boot.”

“You mean monogamous and that’s what I told you—his girlfriend is my sister!”

“He’s into some kinky shit but I don’t think incest is—”

The door opened and a guy stuck his head out. He was long and lean with a partially shaved head. “Gilbert, you got a problem here?”

“Excuse me,” I said. “Have you got the guest list? Because I am on it and this dimwit thinks it’s funny to sexually harass me.”

The guy came all the way out with a clipboard in hand. “Name?”

“Gwen Hamilton.”

“You got ID?”

“Yes.” I dug my driver’s license out of my bag and showed it to him.

“All right, come with me.” He punched Gilbert on the arm. “Be nice.”

Gilbert rubbed his arm and held the door open. “Come on, Nick, how was I supposed to know she was on the list? She looks like every other groupie.”

“By checking the list,” Nick said, waving the clipboard. “She’s probably some fan club contest winner or something. Be nice or you’ll go viral on YouTube.” As the door shut behind us, he said, “My apologies, miss. Here.” In the hallway stood a podium on wheels. From behind it he pulled out a lanyard with a laminated pass on it, and he signed his name on the bottom with a Sharpie.

I slung it over my neck.

“When the band comes offstage, they’ll go through there to the green room.” He pointed down a hallway to the left. “Main party’ll be over there”—then he pointed to the right—“and if you want to watch the rest of the show, straight ahead.”

I thanked him and went straight ahead, the music getting louder as I went. There was a handwritten sign taped to the cinder block at a stairwell leading up that said Stage Overlook. Up I went.

As I was climbing the stairs, I was still fuming a little about what an asshole the security guard had been, but then it struck me: He had treated me like a groupie trying to sneak into a concert because that’s exactly what I looked like. He’d bought it. Even when I’d told him who I was, he’d either not believed it or didn’t know my name. That was possible; I was far from a household name. But a thrill ran through me as I realized how convinced he’d been.

I came out on an upper platform where a couple other people with passes around their necks were watching the show. Several of them looked like groupies and I wondered if the guard had been partly serious when he’d said some of the guys were “available.”

But I didn’t spend long looking at the other people there once I started watching the band. Axel, the lead singer, was at center stage, but on the side of the stage closest to me was the guitar player, Mal. We’d met once or twice in passing at industry functions. My impression of him from those occasions was that he never smiled and rarely spoke, looming in the background like a judgmental gargoyle.

On stage, however, he was animated, explosive, leaping into the air with his guitar and then landing, flinging his long dark hair forward and then flipping it back with a head toss. He still didn’t smile, but he matched Axel’s energy with a feral grimace as he sang, and then he sauntered out onto the long runway into the audience, playing a solo and practically humping the guitar as he went.

Pure sex. One hundred percent pure sex that walked on two legs and played the guitar. When that song was over, he tore his shirt off and flung it into the audience. His arms and chest looked like something from a fitness-craze infomercial: You, too, can have these abs! These biceps! I certainly wouldn’t mind if he let me touch them for a while.

I was so caught up in the performance that I didn’t notice the others had left the viewing area until the band was taking their bows. One of the women I’d seen before came back up the stairs just as I was trying to figure out what to do with myself. “Come on,” she said. “If you want to get picked, right after the encore is the time.”

Get picked? I wasn’t sure what she meant, but I had some ideas. I followed her downstairs and toward the green room. We passed several doors with paper signs taped to them: Vocal Warmup Room, Wardrobe, Band Only. She led me into a room that was unmarked.

About a dozen women were there, some drinking bottled water from a tray on a table, some applying new lipstick, some gossiping. A few sat on folding chairs, but most of them were standing. I took my own lipstick out of my bag to give myself some time to figure everything out.

“I’ve been with Samson before,” a woman with thick black cat-eye liner similar to mine was saying to another. “But he tweeted this morning that he’s got a cold, so I don’t know if he’s partying tonight.”

“Last night of the tour? You better believe they’re all partying tonight,” the woman who’d come back to get me said. She had red hair and a thick studded belt wrapped twice around her hips. “I don’t care if he does have a cold. I wouldn’t mind being the bread on a Samson meat sandwich.” She gave the other woman a high five.

Okay, so it seemed as if “getting picked” did in fact mean what I’d guessed—that is, being chosen for sex.

“What’s your e-mail again?” Cat-Eye asked. “I want some of those photos you were taking tonight.”

“Oh, sure. I’ll be posting them on my website, too.” The redhead dug in her purse and pulled out a stack of business cards with a photo of the band on one side and her contact info on the other. “Here.” She handed them around. I took one so I wouldn’t be the only one refusing.

I should go to the party, I told myself. I didn’t really belong here. But I was curious how long I could keep it up. When would someone notice I didn’t belong?

A third woman joined us, downing a bottle of water. She looked like she had been dancing, her thin T-shirt sticking to her skin in places. “Is it true Mal is really rough?”

“Never been with Mal,” Cat-Eye said with a shrug. “You figure with all the bondage and stuff in their videos that at least one of them is mondo kinky. Mal seems the type.”

The woman who had brought me downstairs shrugged. “I saw them in Indianapolis with a friend. She said he’s huge.”

“Pictures or it didn’t happen,” I put in, and several of the women burst out laughing.

“Yeah, no pictures but she did have trouble walking the next day,” she said, which caused even more laughter.

The roadie who’d helped me earlier came in then and everyone quieted down instantly. He had a flashlight in one hand. “Okay, pussycats,” he said. “Mal’s ready.”

No one moved.

“Are you seriously telling me none of you is into the kinky shit?”

“I am,” I said, starting to raise my hand like I was in grammar school; then thinking a wild child wouldn’t do that, I ended it with a snap of my fingers.

“Great. Come with me.”

I kept thinking any moment now I’ll chicken out. Little did I know I was in for the night of my life.

About Cecilia Tan:

ceciliaI write about my passions, which include baseball, erotica, gourmet food, martial arts, tea, and travel. I write fantasy, science fiction, erotic fiction, paranormal romance, urban fantasy, BDSM romance, and anything else that stimulates my imagination.

I’ve been writing fiction professionally for over 25 years and lately I’ve started racking up awards–kind of neat! I was awarded Career Achievement in Erotica and the Pioneer Award in Erotic Fiction in 2015 by Romantic Times. My BDSM romance SLOW SURRENDER from Hachette/Grand Central Publishing/Forever won the RT Reviewers Choice Award in erotic romance, and the Maggie Award for Excellence from the Georgia chapter of the Romance Writers of America. A bunch more are listed at my website.

I’m the author of numerous other novels, many published as erotic romance with fantasy and science fiction settings, others published as sf/fantasy with erotic elements, some as erotica… which means I never know what to answer when people ask what genre they are. Fortunately here on Amazon they can be ALL of the above!

My work spans sexualities the same way it spans genres. I write heterosexual, gay, bisexual, and trans characters, and the eroticism runs the gamut from vanilla to bondage to transcendental magical sex.

I’m the author of the Magic University series, a four-book contemporary fantasy about a hidden magical school inside Harvard. The Prince’s Boy is my erotic gay high fantasy BDSM swashbuckling romance (not kidding). Daron’s Guitar Chronicles is my award-winning gay “coming out and coming of age in the 1980s” series. Struck by Lightning is my BDSM contemporary trilogy from Hachette. SECRETS OF A ROCK STAR is another three-book series of kinky rock star romances from Hachette. There is more in the works, too, of course! I’ll be starting an urban fantasy/paranormal series next year with Tor Books called THE VANISHED CHRONICLES.

In the erotic short story realm, I’ve been published everywhere from Ms. magazine to Penthouse to Nerve, and I’m in many, many anthologies and the Best American Erotica series. Susie Bright called me “simply one of the most important writers, editors, and innovators in contemporary American erotic literature.”

I’ve also edited many anthologies including Women of the Bite, Cowboy Lover, Sex In The System, Wicked Pleasures, SM Visions, for many different publishers, and many many books and ebooks for the independent publishing house I founded, Circlet Press. Those include Best Fantastic Erotica, Erotic Fantastic, Like an Animal, Like Crimson Droplets, and many others, both for Kindle and in paperback.

In science fiction/fantasy I have been published in Asimov’s magazine, Strange Horizons, Absolute Magnitude, and many other places.

I also write and edit baseball nonfiction under the name “Cecilia M. Tan.”

You can find out way more about me and my obsessions at http://www.ceciliatan.com

When I’m not writing, I’m traveling the world in search of foodie experiences, teaching martial arts, or geeking out about baseball.

 

 

 

Liquid Friday with author Diana Strenka

This week we are featuring historical fiction writer Diana Strenka, author of  Blackbeard’s Daughter  available now on Amazon Kindle.

But before we dive into her book lets find out from Diana what is her favorite cocktail.

My favorite cocktail is the strawberry daiquiri. I am not sure what the recipe is, as I am used to other people making it for me. But I enjoy drinking it near the beach, as it reminds me of summertime. 🙂

I absolutely adore history, and I have a special fondness for colonial America. I got the opportunity to visit Bath, NC, a few years ago. Blackbeard was rumored to have visited during his piracy years. The city has a special kind of magic to it that you can only experience by being there.

Not to worry Diana, we do have a recipe for you and for all of your fans:

Recipe:

  • 6 cups of ice
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 4 ounces frozen strawberries
  • 1/8 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup rum
  • 1/4 cup lemon-lime flavored carbonated beverage

strawdaiquiriIn a blender, combine ice, sugar and strawberries. Pour in lime juice, lemon juice, rum and lemon-lime soda. Blend until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve.

 

 

So lest kick back with this delicious beverage and learn more about Dian’s latest book:  Blackbeard’s Daughter

Synopsis:

Blackbeard’s life begins as a wealthy and privileged child who desires to be free from the confines of upper-class life. The murder of his beloved servant and the loveless marriage between his parents scar him emotionally. He eventually marries and has a child named Margaret. Her life takes one disastrous turn after the other as she confronts the perils of illness, murder, war, assault, and revenge. When her father decides to pursue a life aboard a pirate’s vessel, Margaret eventually joins him in an effort to save his life. Though unsuccessful, Margaret discovers the unforgettable treasure that her father has left her: love, laughter, and an unquenchable spirit for adventure.

Excerpt:

I showed up at Father’s door a few days later. I was determined. I had a mission. And blackbeardnothing would change my mind.
“Margaret, I advise – strongly – against you doing any kind of combat.”
“Father, they stole everything from me. I have nothing left.”
“Margaret, this is very dangerous.”
“Yes, well, life is dangerous. But I can’t sit around and let things continue to happen. Not anymore.”
Father sighed. He handed me four handguns. “The key, Margaret, is to never reload. Reload, and die. It’s much better to have several guns already loaded.”
“Alright.”
“Do you need to practice more?”
“No. I think I can manage. Thank you, though.”
“Alright. We are launching an attack on an English base due west of here. Will you join us?”
“You know I will.”
**
The next day, I prepared my weapons. I saw the English ship sailing straight for us. I knew we were in for a fight.
I boarded the ship first, screaming. The men appeared taken aback by this. An empowered woman, leading the charge against the enemy! I shot them point blank range, straight in the head.
“Miss, please!” one of them cried. “I can’t fight a woman!” I stared deep into his eyes, and shot him in his throat. He stumbled back, and then fell off the ship.
It was the quickest battle we’d ever had.
I stood over the massive body count I had accumulated. The pirates stared at me, their mouths gaping. But no one spoke.
“Send me the next one,” I demanded. “I want more.”
“Margaret, we need time to recharge.”
“I don’t care! Send me more!”
“We can launch some raids.”
“I’ll kill those men, too!”
“Margaret, you made me promise not to kill captives.”
I paused. I had forgotten about that.
“More attacks! More!”
Father had orchestrated some offensive moves to quell our English enemies. I lead the charge, screaming, picking off the men one-by-one. I developed a bit of a reputation among the pirates. They didn’t know what to think of a cruel, murderous woman. It went against all their sensibilities.
The more men I killed, the better. I considered it a trophy of my rage.
Father was able to terrify the Englishmen with his fiery beard. I, meanwhile, had to rely on sheer strength and power. But ultimately, we were the perfect pairing. No one could destroy us.

About author Diana Strenka:

books are a gift

I have a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, and a Master’s Degree in Education. I have dianaauthored and self-published several short stories on Smashwords and Amazon.   One such title is Rescuing the Titanic, a fictional account of the Californian arriving before the Titanic sank. I have also published several nonfiction articles for HubPages on medieval and renaissance historical figures. Feel free to click on the link below to access all 10 articles.

 

Liquid Friday with author C.P. Mandara

This week we are featuring erotica and dark fantasy  writer C.P. Mandara, author of Good as Dead, book one of the Dying to Meet You series.

But before we dive into her book lets find out from C.P. Manadra what is her favorite cocktail.

chocolate dessert isolated on white background

What’s my favourite cocktail?
A Blow Job. What else? Here’s how you do it – but beware – it’s a little messy 😉

What’s In it?

  • 1/4 oz. Bailey’s Irish cream
  • 1/2 oz. Amaretto almond liqueur

How To Mix

  • Pour the two liqueurs into a shot glass and top with whipped cream.
  • Place your hands behind your back, pick-up the filled shot glass with your mouth, and drink it.
  • Don’t use breakable shot glasses!

It is kind of hard to drink this delicious sounding cocktail while indulging ourselves in her book Good as Dead, but I am sure we can first take a shot (or more) and then dive down into her pages.

Good as Dead is now available on  Amazon for just  99 cents.

Blurb:

Six people want her dead.

Lainey Hargreaves has a secret that she must keep at all costs. It’s a secret that could change the face of the earth, forever. But not all lqf1secrets can be kept, and when hers begins to escape, she is certain that death will follow.

There is only one person that can extricate her from the mess she finds herself in. A vampire.

Mercer is that vampire. His quick, analytical brain will give them a head start against her assassins, but even he isn’t confident of success. He needs to discover what Lainey is hiding, unravel her secrets, and earn her trust. She will need to learn to obey his every order without question if they are to stand a chance of success.

And the best place to start? In the bedroom, of course. All women find him irresistible. All women except Lainey, that is, and she’s going to fight tooth and nail to deny the bright red spark that blooms between them.

She’s going to lose.

Excerpt:

“You will do as you’re told.”

He yanked on the curl he had captured and she had no choice but to stare at his mesmerising gold eyes. Swallowing at the invisible lump in her throat, she tried to force her head away from his dangerous gaze but could not break his hold over her. She wanted to roar in exasperation, for this mess could rival the Minos Labyrinth. She felt helpless and frustrated. They were two emotions she had very little experience with and she preferred it that way.

“Or what?” Lainey tried to bite back the retort but it was too late, the damage was done. When the vamp looked down at her, his eyes were rapidly darkening and his face was contorting with anger. She swallowed hard knowing she’d pushed him too far. Instinctively trying to back up, the wall was unforgiving and she smacked her head against it. His head was coming towards hers yet there was not a thing she could do about it. Wanting to scream, all that came out of her mouth was a pathetic little squeak.

He didn’t stop until his forehead rested against hers, his breath blowing heated little flutters against her lip. Her pulse immediately rocketed into orbit and her senses fled. She was only aware of his tempting soft lips, and a great urge to kiss them. For a second, she had a strangled moment of indecision, unsure whether she was willing her body to remain still or urging it to close those last few millimetres separating her mouth from his. Still stranded in torment, he smiled at her as if he knew the inner struggle she was having, and finally made the decision for her.

Pulling back abruptly, he put some distance between them by slamming both of his outstretched arms on either side of her head. It made her jump. Eyes which had licks of red and orange flames resting in their depths connected once again with hers, and although he was a little further away this time, it didn’t make him seem any less intimidating.

“A nice punishing kiss would probably keep you in line for a couple of days, I think. Should I bruise those soft sweet lips of yours and train them to worship mine? I have a feeling though that once I get a taste for you there’ll be no going back. Then again, seeing a lovesick doe-eyed look in those eyes wouldn’t be so bad. What do you say?” He unleashed the full power of his smile upon her and whilst there was no warmth behind it, Lainey got the message.

“No,” she whispered, immediately understanding what he had threatened. “I’ll do whatever you say, no questions asked.” She could not be bitten under any circumstances.

He huffed out a breath, and slowly removed his hands from the wall. Lainey sighed with relief as she had a little breathing space back but something akin to disappointment washed through her veins, and it horrified her. She could not feel this way, especially anywhere near a vampire.

“Well, I guess that spoiled all my fun for the evening,” he said regretfully. “But it should make the next couple of days rather interesting because at the first sign of disobedience, I’m claiming my kiss, Miss Hargreaves. Are we clear?” He raised an eyebrow and gave her a lopsided grin.

Lainey shuddered. “Crystal.”

“Good.”

“Who are you?” There was a hint of fear in her voice.

“My name is Mercer.”

“Mercer who?” Lainey pushed her hands against his chest and he backed up a little bit, allowing her a chance to examine him.

“That’s all you need to know.”

Check out this and other books by C.P. Mandara on Amazon.

You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter or check out her  Website

About C.P. Mandara:

Christina Mandara was born in the UK, but has spent most of her life travelling the world. She speaks three languages and has been chiefly employed in the fields of finance and travel. Her favourite city is Sydney and her favourite holiday destination is the south of France.

In her spare time she’s usually cuddled up with a good book, exploring the countryside or baking in the kitchen. In fact, she loves her kitchen so much she’s one of few woman who wouldn’t mind being tied to it! Her first and foremost love is writing, however, and more often than not you’ll find her on a laptop spinning tales of romance, erotica or dark, paranormal fantasies.

Liquid Friday with Author and Host Eden Freed

Today we are featuring lite BDSM Erotica writer Eden Freed.

“First and foremost I would like to thank all the wonderful authors who have contributed to my blog so far.  I know many of you are having a blast at the #RWA16, I wish you success and lots of fun. You are all amazing and I could not have done this without you. For those readers who missed their posts, I’ll make it easier for you to catch up, just use the links below.”

belvedere“This week instead of just one featured cocktail I went with two.  Variations of both drinks often crisscross, so have a Hollywood Cocktail and a Raspberry Smash and think about our favorite starlet, Violet.  A couple of these gets me in the mood to continue her second adventure in the Acting the Part Series.”

Ingredients for Hollywood cocktail:

  • Strawberry / Lime Wedge for garnish.
  • Pineapple Juice
  • 1/2 oz Black Rasberry liqueur
  • 1 1/2 oz Vodka ( Belvedere or Chopin for the Top Shelf Crowd)

Preparation:

  • Fill glass with ice.
  • Pour vodka and liqueur to cocktail shaker with ice and shake well.
  • Strain into glass with ice
  • Garnish with lime and strawberry, serve and enjoy

Ingredients for Raspberry Smash (makes two):

  • 2 lime wedges
  • Sugar (for dipping)holl cock
  • 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
  • 6 tablespoons vodka
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups ice cubes
  • 1/4 cup chilled Champagne

 

Run 1 lime wedge around rims of 2 old-fashioned glasses. Dip rims in sugar. Place both lime wedges, raspberries, vodka, and 4 teaspoons astisugar in cocktail shaker; using muddler or wooden spoon handle, smash fruit mixture. Add ice; shake 10 seconds. Divide between glasses (do not strain), top with Champagne, and serve.

“Can’t wait to release book two, but in the mean time, take a look at book one “Violet Blooms” and get ready for things to get shaken up.”

chopinWhile we’re chatting, lots of our favorite characters will be back to shake things up in book two. Be ready for a virtual rollercoaster ride, as Violet perfects her art and gives the performance of a lifetime.  Kick back and relax for a moment with these delicious beverages, and read up about  Violet Blooms. (now also available on iTunes)

A young aspiring actress, majoring in Theater Arts in her last semester of school, must overcome mediocrity and learn to take direction in time to be discovered by a talent scout VioletBloomsActingThePart1during her final performance. Her new acting coach decides to teach her direction through a non-conventional method: introduction to BDSM. Will Violet have what it takes to learn the art of role playing or will she end up on the “casting couch?”
Here is an excerpt from our book:

Excerpt:

Jericho Blythe sighed, “Chase was right. You are a handful.  Let’s go back to rule number one.”  He opened another file, Rules.  “Rule one.  Speak only when spoken to.  I can train you better than any actress to anticipate and respond to direction.  I give orders.  You take orders.  It will be like dancing.”  He put an arm around my waist and I gasped.  “I’ll lead and you’ll follow.  If your timing is right, it will be beautiful and if something is off I will offer correction until you achieve perfection.  Perfection is what a director will expect from you.  He will not tolerate excuses.”

My eyes widened. Some part of my idle brain woke up and understood what he was talking about.  I backed away from him.  This was more than I bargained for.  I shook my head no.

“Rule three,” Blythe said.

“No way. You thought I was, that I was…”  I started laughing.

Blythe looked furious. His blue green eyes got squinty and the corners of his mouth turned down a little before I saw him reach behind the counter for something and walk toward the couch.  DSC02921Looking at his serious face made me laugh even harder.  I grabbed my middle with one hand and covered my mouth with the other.  My eyes began to tear from trying to hold the laugh in but it didn’t last long.  The thought that I could be into that, whatever it was, kink, was more than my fragile mind could take.  In a moment, I was near hysterical with laughter.

He sat down on the round red leather couch and pulled me over his knee. Slowly, Blythe explained that my actions required punishment.  He asked for me to consent to punishment.  I thought the better of shaking my head no and a little voice inside jumped out and agreed.  Yes! Yes, please!

I felt him lift the back of my skirt up and tug my panties down. Crack!  I felt a sharp but brief pain on my rear and then his firm hand rubbing the sore spot.  It was electric.  I was melting into the sensation, melting into his strong warm hand on my tender skin.  I didn’t understand why, but instantly I loved it.  You’re crazy. What are you doing, Violet?  Wake up, stupid!

The shock of what I was feeling had me up to my feet, pulling up my panties, and heading out the door. What WAS I doing?  I wanted to stay and I wanted to run.  My body followed the latter suggestion.  Blythe didn’t shadow me even though I wanted him to.  I walked quickly past people clueless to what had happened only a moment ago.  Their eyes seemed focused and restrained, but I felt as wild and reckless as the night.  I was down the block at the crosswalk before I decided to turn around.  My feet carried me back to the shop as though I no longer had a will of my own.  My owns thoughts DSC03024frightened me and I felt my heart beat in a quick rhythm trying to get oxygen to the brain that was clearly working against me, against the very nature of my being.  How could I want more?

Blythe was typing on the keyboard, when I opened the door. He picked up his head long enough to smile at me.  I bit my lower lip, wondering what was next.  My heart was still racing and my cheeks felt warm.  I needed reassurance.  Mentally, I was torturing myself for my excitement over something I had been told countless times was wrong.

My own mother, Barbara, never even raised a hand to me. Any time I made a mistake or irritated her, I spent some ‘quality time’ in the corner while she sat there chatting on the computer with her latest internet flame. Come to think of it, I spent an awful lot of time in the corner, maybe too much time. As I stood there pondering the misgivings of my childhood, Blythe looked up and spoke.

“Remind me to shackle you next time before you are punished. Fight or flight response is normal but I want you to be as safe as possible.  Feeling any better?”

“Yes,” I said but my mind was racing.

“Yes, Master Blythe,” he said.

“Yes, Master Blythe,” I repeated, slowly, almost vacantly. He handed the iPad back to me.

“Read through the rules. We’ll talk shop later.  Make sure you understand the rules first,” he said but what did any of it really mean?  How could I even know?  There was a part of myself that I was just waking up to, a part I didn’t even know was there hiding under my skin like a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Blythe was patient and waited for me to collect my thoughts. He stood there without any condescending looks or giggles.  I chewed on my lower lip confused and excited at the prospect of this new me I had found.

If you are interested you can get your copy from Amazon Kindle or  download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer.

To learn more about the author Eden Freed,  Just click here.

 

Liquid Friday with author Haven Cage

This week we are featuring Haven Cage, author of an adult, dark urban fantasy novel  Falter and  the first book in the Faltering Souls series.

But before we check out her book, let us hear directly from Haven on what cocktail does she recommend for tonight.

applePieMy favorite drink is Apple Pie on the rocks:

  • 1 oz. Vanilla Vodka
  • 1 oz. Fireball Whiskey
  • 4 oz. Organic Apple Juice
  • Pinch of Ground Cinnamon
  • Brown Sugar for the rim (Grind a little finer for more successful sugaring)
  • Optional: Cinnamon Stick for Garnish
  • Ice

I found this gem on Pinterest, credit belongs to Jackie of Vegan Yack Attack…super yummy!

I’m also very partial to Lemon Drop Shots: Sugar the rim of the shot glass.
Pour favorite Vodka, Gulp it down, then chase with a lemon wedge!

falter 2

In FALTER, a dark New Adult/Adult Urban Fantasy novel, Nevaeh Richards thinks she has found a chance to leave her homeless life behind. When the spirit of the only father she falter 1knows is wrongfully taken to Hell, Nevaeh is hurled into a world haunted by monstrous demons, rogue Guardian angels, love that is beyond her control, and a soul-threatening choice between the inherent evil inside her and the faltering faith she is struggling to grasp.

Nevaeh and George have lived on the streets as father and daughter since he found her, alone and unconscious, many years ago. When they start a new life employed at Joe’s cafe, Nevaeh experiences debilitating visions and frightening apparitions. Adding to the troubling path her life has taken, George suddenly becomes ill and an Animus demon takes his soul hostage in Hell. Unfortunately, the ransom may be more than Nevaeh can afford.

As Nevaeh spirals into this supernatural world, Gavyn—the handsome café-owner—tries to convince her that she belongs to a hidden race of people with God-given gifts known as Celatum, and she may be a key player in the Celestial war. However, even after all the otherworldly events she experiences, Nevaeh continues to deny her part in it all.

Meanwhile, Archard—a stranger she feels undeniably bonded to—mysteriously wanders in and out of her life, offering none of the answers she suspects he holds.

Will Nevaeh attain the faith it requires to fulfill her fate as a Celata and take part in the Celestial fight? Or will she give into the darkness that calls to her for the sake of George’s soul and damn herself to Hell?

Falter by Haven Cage (Excerpt)

I cursed under my breath and turned to walk away. My movement reflecting on the glass revealed a smudge on the smooth, translucent surface. I’d almost missed it. The smudge shimmered under the last sliver of sunlight inching its way out of Gavyn’s apartment. Its opalescent glimmer had a touch of gold, like mother of pearl on a seashell. The small, imperfect oval of film resembled a single fingerprint, yet there was no distinguishable print pattern.

I bent over to examine it closer, spotting a single fuzzy fiber sticking out from the center. It was creamy-white and soft as silk. I plucked the fiber from the spot and rolled it falter 7between my thumb and index finger. A familiar odor rose from the fuzz, pulling me into a vague memory. The smell was fainter than I remembered. It was intoxicating, indescribable, and invoked feelings that heated my cheeks to a rosy red.

I breathed in deeply, the vagueness of my memory clearing like rippling waters smoothing to expose the depths below. It was the same aroma from the bathroom on the first night of my stay here.

I closed my fist around the fuzz trying to place where it might have come from and how it got here. I opened my hand and lifted it closer to stare down at the small white strand, waiting for an answer to pop into my head. Finally, an “Aha!” moment. Down—the fuzz resembled down feathers. A bird must have flown to the sill and left the smudge and strand of feather.

I was happy to find a logical answer to at least one of my questions, though it didn’t render a reasonable connection to the familiar smell. I held up my palm and pursed my lips tofalter 6 blow the tiny feather away, but before the breath left my lips, the fuzz began to disintegrate. It crumbled into pieces so small I could barely see them, then drifted from my palm.

I stared at my hand in disbelief, flipping it over and back again, surprised by what I just saw. How does something just fall to pieces like that? It was solid when I held it—I was sure of that. This couldn’t be another trick.

I gulped, forcing saliva down my anxiety constricted throat. “George, do you remember a bird flying in? Did you hear any wings or rustling?” My voice trembled, afraid that I could be imagining this. I glanced over at the window. The smudge was still there. Not imagining.

“No, Nevaeh. What’s wrong with you?” He squinted, looking me up and down. Worry shadowed his face when he saw me standing by the window gawking down at my open hands, flipping them back and forth like I was losing my mind. I stopped flip-flopping the second I realized he was watching me and slowly lowered my arms to my sides. I forced a small smile to ease the stress I saw growing in the tight wrinkles on his forehead.

“Nevaeh…are…are you ok?” A wheezing came from under his gruff words.

“Do you remember when Archard left?”

“No, I think I had fallen back asleep before he went. Why?”

“You don’t remember him opening the window either?” My tone was as soft and calm as I could manage.

He coughed after every other word he spoke. “Dammit, Nevaeh, what is your problem with falter 5Archard, and what the hell is going on with the window?” His voice was louder and raspier than before, emphasizing that he would yell if he could.

“Nothing. Never mind. You need to relax. You’re using too much energy talking.” I tried to settle him back down and get his coughing under control.

“Well, quit asking me so many dag-blamit questions, and quit not telling me what they’re about.” The coughing subsided when his tone lowered.

I returned my shamed gaze back to the window, scanning the roof of the building across the alley, the narrow opening leading to the street, and the ground below. I was hoping to see something that could offer even the slightest clue of what left the evidence on the window. There was nothing. No animals, no people. There wasn’t even the empty boxes or trash you would normally see in an alley.

My eyes pulled back to the filmy smudge. The subtle shifting hues of the darkening sky outside brought the shimmering print to life. The faint afterglow from the dying day shined through the print and carried the colors out into a funnel of rainbows, flickering to falter 4the floor. Dust specks twinkled like tiny sparks as they swam in the air, swirling inside the light path.

My angst and confusion stilled while I stared at the beautiful colors. It was breathtaking. Warmth caressed my hand as I held it in the beam of light and let the colors reflect off my skin. Then, I noticed that the amount of flickering colors was quickly depleting. My eyes bolted back to the glass pane. The smudge was shrinking. Something invisible was wiping it off the surface of the window. Within seconds, the smear was gone. I touched the glass to feel for anything, any sign of the beauty that was just there. The surface was smooth and dry.

All evidence was gone without a trace, just as the fuzz had gone.

What the hell just happened?

This—the little insane things—made me feel alien in my own mind. I dropped to my knees to catch my breath and keep from hyperventilating—and for God sake, stop the room from spinning.

I thought about everything that happened over the past few days: the strange dream I couldn’t remember, the hallucinations, the vivid odors, the fast-healing burn, Layla’s cut, falter 3and the strange little things that just disappeared for no reason. They had to mean something.

Then there was Archard. In the instability of my mind, he drew me in.

My insides grew numb. I realized how much energy I had recently wasted trying to understand everything. Maybe I wouldn’t ever understand. I slumped against the wall, too exhausted to hold myself up anymore.

God, why is this happening? Haven’t I had enough confusion and humiliation in my life already? Am I even supposed to figure this out? Or, is this some sick joke you’re playing to teach a lesson to someone who doubts you so much?

Buy Links

http://www.amazon.com/Falter-Faltering-Souls-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01DDQVCJK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1461256470&sr=8-1&keywords=falter+haven+cage

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/falter-1

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Falter-Faltering-Souls-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01DDQVCJK

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/625043

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/falter-haven-cage/1123766464?ean=2940158096778

Other sites of availability include  AppleBarnes & Noble, Scribd, Oyster, Yuzu, Blio and Inktera (formerly Page Foundry).

Print edition is available on Amazon, or you can purchase a signed copy, as well as digital in any platform, directly from me at http://www.authorhavencage.com/buy-.html

To further learn about our author: Haven Cage, we have a wonderful interview below from Paperback Junkie:

Q:What inspires your writing?

Haven: I didn’t find my love of reading until I was around twenty-three years old. A friend gave me the first novel in the Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer and was hooked. After that, I researched Mrs. Meyer and found that a dream inspired her to write. I thought, “Hey, I could do that. I have thousands of crazy dreams locked away in my mind. Why falter 8not write a book about one?” I have always struggled with my spiritual side, not so much doubting my beliefs in God, but more myself and the “man-made” side of religion. I felt like writing would be a good way to work some of those inner demons and doubts out.

After years of learning the craft, and reading new books that opened my mind to the many worlds I could escape to, I finished my first novel. Now that I’ve nurtured my mind and soul into that of a writer’s, I don’t see myself any other way. This is who I am now. Though it’s still hard for me some days, I get a little better each day.

Q: Have you always wanted to be an author?

Haven: I had no idea that I would be an author as a child. Reading and writing was something I was forced to do in school, not something I did for fun. I was more of a visual arts kind of person, using paint and pencils to express myself, but looking back now, I know that I just hadn’t found the right book to spark the yearning in me. Thank God, I did later on!

Q: Who are your favorite authors?

There are so many authors that I admire and enjoy, but Leigh Bardugo, Karen Marie Moning, and Jamie McGuire speak to my soul and inspire me to be a better writer.

Q: What would you say to someone who is starting out as a writer?

Haven: Being a new writer myself, I would advise those following me to research everything on writing, publishing, networking they can. Get a good grip on the reality of it because publishing is an intimidating industry, and if you are not serious about it, you won’t get far, falter 9unfortunately. Discouragement is an emotion you will feel often, but I firmly believe that if you are diligent, you can make it. You may not have a fat wallet in the end, but it’s better to try and fail, knowing you gave it your best than avoiding the trials of being a writer when you could have been magical.

Q: Do you ever put any part of yourself in your characters?

Haven: My characters are very much based on fears and doubts that I have all the time. I also instill my sarcasm and emotions in them pretty regularly. On the flip side of that, they represent parts of me that I can’t be, or won’t allow myself to be, in real life as well.

Q: How old were you when your first book was published?

Haven: My release day is actually the day before my thirty-third birthday. I set it up as a new year’s resolution goal, determined to get this damn book published before my birthday!

Q: What books do you have out, and what are you planning for future publications?

Haven: I currently only have Falter up for publication, however, book 2 in the Faltering Soul series is under way. I also have the beginnings of a stand-alone novel in toe.

Q: What do you hope readers will take from your books?

Haven: I hope they find enjoyment in my story while considering the uncontrollable circumstances that drive people to make bad decisions. Life is not black and white, right and wrong.

Q: What do you do to get ready to write?

Haven: I am very much a creature that needs a good atmosphere. I mostly write at a fantastic local coffee shop, listening to rock music, and drinking the writer’s drug of choice…coffee! I personally don’t plan much when it comes to preparing. I’m more of a write-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of gal, leaving my outlining to a time after most of my thoughts are already on the paper.

Q: Do you ever get writer’s block? What helps you get past it?

Haven: I’ve been fortunate to avoid the dark abyss of writer’s block. If I do happen to be in a particularly difficult time of finding words, I tend to leave the work for a few days. Sometimes a little vacation can clarify the tunnel vision. This is also when the outlining comes in handy. I start going back through the chapters and summarizing them one by one, focusing on my plot and details. This usually brings me out of the slump.

Q: What is your favorite type of book to read? Does that type influence your books?

Haven: My favorite genres are fantasy and romance, and yes, it absolutely influences my own writing. I love being to get away from reality, to escape to worlds where anything is possible. As far as writing styles, I gravitate toward authors that use a lot of descriptive words. I need to play the scenes in my mind like a movie, which makes me a slower reader, but I enjoy it so much more.

You can ad more of Haven’s interviews on Book Readers Magazine

Fun Facts/ Favorites

  1. Food- Anything pasta
  2. Color- Purple (you can probably tell by all the purple I use in my graphics J)
  3. Sweet Treat- Dark chocolate
  4. Mixed Drinks- Forget the mixing, just give me some vodka and a lemon with sugar, or a glass of Duplin wine.
  5. Favorite things to shop for- Fingernail polish (not a big shopper like most girls)
  6. Number- Seven
  7. Book- Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning
  8. Movie- It’s impossible for me to answer this question…so not fair to make me choose only one.
  9. Song- I Am The Fire by Halestorm
  10. Favorite sport: Soccer

About Haven Cage

havenHaven Cage lives in the Carolinas with her husband and son. After many years of dabbling with drawing, painting, and working night shift in the medical field, she decided to try her hand at writing. Unfortunately, her love for books came later in life and proved to add a healthy challenge during her writing journey. Determined to hone her craft though, she soaks up as much information as she can, spends her free time tapping away in her favorite local coffee shop, and keeps a good book in hand whenever possible.

Years have passed since she began to write and sculpt her first novel, and now it is finally ready for debut. What began as a hobby has grown into a way of escape and the yearning to take her journey farther, her love for writing and reading deepening along the way.

 

Author Pages

Author site- www.authorhavencage.com,

Facebook- www.facebook.com/havencage/

@havencage on twitter

Instagram- havencage

Amazon-  http://www.amazon.com/Falter-Faltering-Souls-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01DDQVCJK/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Goodreads- https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29617606-falter?from_new_nav=true&ac=1&from_search=true

Smashwords- https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/HavenCage.

 

Cover Reveal for Jenn Nixon’s Mind: The Reckoning

Baldwin Bates has only wanted one thing since joining MIND, to take care of his friends and keep them all safe. While the MIND team is busy dealing with an emergence of psychic and alien activity, Bates takes his first solo assignment searching for a woman who claims to see the future, only to botch […]

via Cover Reveal for Jenn Nixon’s Mind: The Reckoning — fantasyandrealityblog