Tag Archives: Cocktail

Liquid Friday with author Paula Scardamalia

This week we are featuring author, book coach and dream consultant for People Magazine Paula Scardamalia and her book: Weaving a Woman’s Life: Spiritual Lessons from the Loom.

But before we even dream of looking at her work, let us find out what is Paula’s favorite cocktail that she recommends for us this Friday evening.

Mojito with Citron Vodka

My favorite drink, especially in the summertime, is a mojito. I love the bright summery taste of fresh mint from our yard mixed with the tang of fresh lime juice. And unlike some mojito recipes that use mojitirum, I use citron vodka. The drink holds good memories of playing with friends in San Diego several summers ago at a hotel bar that had a special on mojitos. When I ordered one the bartender said she’d run out of rum but would use citron vodka and that I would like it. I did. And that’s the way I’ve fixed my mojitos ever since.

In large tumbler:
Put 12 large mint leaves with the juice from ¼ of a lime.
Bruise mint in lime juice, and then fill glass with crushed ice
Add 1 1/2 oz citron vodka (optional)
Fill glass with Mist Twist (old Sierra Mist) and stir.

Find a comfortable spot, put your feet up, take a sip, and relax. Ahhhh!  Time to check into the book.

Blurb

“The thoughtful and challenging spiritual lessons found here may indeed draw from ancient myths and the timeless activities of weaving-a-womans-life-195x300women of wisdom—but any man lucky enough to encounter them will learn as much about his own life textures as he will of the intricacies of female experience. This is a gentle and instructive book that reconnects all of us with some of the deepest fabric of our shared past and living present.” ~Joanna Bull, Founder of Gilda’s Club Worldwide

 

 

Excerpt from Lesson Five: Intention and Perspective—Creating the Vision

“Remember how many of our favorite fairy tales begin with a woman expressing her heart’s deepest desire? Often that desire, as in Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Thumbelina, and Rapunzel, is a woman longing to give birth to a child. The story does not really begin until the vision or intention is expressed. Then magic happens.

In order to wind a warp for the loom, I must first express or envision what I want to weave. The “story” of my weaving will not come to a happy ending if I wind a narrow warp of seven inches, put it on my loom, and then decide after the warp is threaded and tied on that I want to weave a shawl that is twenty-eight inches wide. I must then either unthread that warp, putting it aside, and wind on a new one that is the required width, or I can weave off the narrow warp first and then put on the wider warp for that shawl. Either option wastes time, effort, and perhaps even yarn. I will not be able to make up this loss later.

For our lives to unfold like the fairy tales of old, we must express the intention or vision for our lives—our heart’s deepest desires.”

Weaving a Woman’s Life: Spiritual Lessons from the Loom, won several awards, including a Bronze in the Self-Help category in Foreword Magazine’s 2006 Book of the Year Awards.

About the Author:

Paula Chaffee Scardamalia, dream consultant for PEOPLE Magazine (Country), is an author, book coach, and tarot and dream paulaintuitive. Since 1999, Paula’s shown writers how to use tarot, dreams, rituals and other intuitive tools to write stories from the deepest part of their imaginations. She’s presented workshops at small private events on the East Coast, and at both national and regional Romance Writers of America conferences and meetings, at the 2014 San Diego University Writers Conference, and the International Women’s Writing Guild summer conference. Paula publishes a weekly e-newsletter on writing, dreams, and tarot, and is the award-winning author of Weaving a Woman’s Life: Spiritual Lessons from the Loom.

You can learn more about Paula by following the link to her Divining The Muse website:

divining

Liquid Friday with author Alice Orr

This week we are featuring a romantic suspense author Alice Orr and her book A Villain For Vanessa, (Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book 4)

But before we venture into her books, let us find out what cocktail is Alice’s favorite for a Friday night.

My favorite cocktail is a Cosmopolitan on the sweet side. I’ve been informed that Cosmos are no longer in vogue, but I’ll take the chance of being un-chic because I like the way they taste.

800px-CosmopolitanIngredients:

  • 1/2 oz Fresh lime juice,
  • 1 oz Cranberry juice,
  • 1/2 oz Triple Sec,
  • 1 1/2 oz Citrus-flavored Vodka.

Preparation:

Mix all the ingredient in a shaker with ice.  Strain into cocktail glasses.  You can garnish with a lime wheel.

A Villain for Vanessa by Alice Orr

A story of tangled roots and tormented love.                                

Two families are shaken to their roots. Vanessa Westerlo must find her roots. Bobby Rizzo aliceis torn between Vanessa and his true roots. They are all tormented by love – past and too present.  Meanwhile a man has been murdered. And that is the most tormented tangle of all.

Alice Orr is known for “Delicious suspense spiced with a love story.”  She does it again in A Villain for Vanessa.

A Villain for Vanessa is Book 4 of the Riverton Road Romantic Suspense series set in Riverton, New York. This book features the Kalli family and the fortunate people who find safety and welcome at the Kalli homestead on Riverton Road. A Wrong Way Home is Book 1 of the series and A Year of Summer Shadows is Book 2. A Vacancy at the Inn is Book 3 and introduces the Miller family of Riverton Road Hill.

A Villain for Vanessa – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 4

 

An Excerpt by Alice Orr

Suddenly, after two and a half decades of silence, Angela Kalli’s niece had decided to reappear. Bobby Rizzo’s legal training and life experience had taught him to ask one question when a person acts in an inexplicable way. What does she want? Whatever the answer might be, Vanessa Westerlo’s agenda was far down his list of priorities. He was here to protect Angela, even though experience had taught him something else too.

Family history is a tangled story with the truth nearly impossible to unwind. Many of those tangles had a secret at the center, like the secret at the center of today. He was the only person Angela had told about her niece’s arrival. She’d arrived at Bobby’s office a few days ago, more unhinged than he’d ever seen her.

“Why are you so upset?” he’d asked.

“You have to swear you’ll never breathe a word to anybody. Otherwise I’ll walk out now, and you can forget I was ever here.”

Angela perched on the edge of the chair by his desk like a frightened bird. He’d never seen her frightened, and he certainly didn’t think of her as a bird.

“If you are here as my client, I’m obligated to keep everything you say confidential.”

Talking like a lawyer to someone he cared so deeply about felt awkward, but it put her at ease.

“Then I am your client,” Angela said, settling down a little. “I need your help to bring my niece back into my life, whatever the cost may be.”

Bobby didn’t like the sound of that.

“What is it you want me to do?” he asked.

Throughout the conversation that followed, the voices of his common sense and legal judgement had screamed through his gut like a freight train telling him he was on a dangerous track. That train continued to roar as he paced the narrow airport terminal now, waiting for Angela’s niece to arrive.

alice-booksWas she coming to Riverton to continue the feud he’d heard about that day between her mother and Angela? Was Vanessa Westerlo here to take revenge? Or could she be motivated by idle curiosity? Angela cared so much. What if her niece didn’t care at all? Indifference would be the worst kind of wound to a heart as open as Angela’s.

“I won’t let that happen,” he said aloud to the empty terminal.

By the time the plane landed and taxied down the short runway, Bobby was on the tarmac and ready, his resolve as unshakable as if he were in front of the toughest jury of his career in a case he absolutely had to win. Then he saw her and something unfamiliar and unwelcome happened.

Bobby experienced a powerful ripple, like a seismic shift along a crucial fault line far beneath his controlled surface, threatening to rise and turn him suddenly less resolute. All because of a resemblance that couldn’t have been more obvious between the aunt he represented and loved like a mother, and the niece this young woman had to be.

Thick, dark hair was the first thing he saw, with a kind of life that seemed to spring from a vibrancy at the center of her. She was halfway across the distance from the plane when she turned her head quickly. Angela made that same move when she was impatient, as she could often be, even with him.

More often though, she’d been his encourager, the person who scolded him back on track when he strayed off course. Without her, he would not have won scholarships to college and law school. Without her, he wouldn’t be what he had become. He steeled himself against his first startling reaction to the striking young woman headed toward him now, who was so capable of causing Angela pain.

“Excuse me. Are you Robert Rizzo?”

ALICE ORR is the author of 15 novels, 3 novellas, a memoir and No More Rejections: 50 alice-pixSecrets to Writing a Manuscript that Sells. A former book editor and literary agent, she now follows her dream as a full-time writer. A Villain for Vanessa – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 4 is Alice’s latest novel. Here’s what readers say. “I was gripped before I was off the first page.” “After this story, I have become an Alice Orr fan.” Alice is known for “Delicious suspense spiced with a love story.” She does it again in A Villain for Vanessa.

Find out more about Alice at her website http://www.aliceorrbooks.com/.

Buy Alice’s Books at https://www.amazon.com/B000APC22E.

Follow Alice on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/aliceorrwriter.

And Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/AliceOrrBooks.

Liquid Friday with author Lynn Marron

This week we are featuring mystery and suspense author Lynn Marron and her book ORR: Fatal DNA (A Grace Farrington Mystery Book 2)

But before we venture into her book, let us hear from Lynn, what drink does she recommend for Friday night to go with our reading.

Drink? Usually cherry brandy when I’ve got cramps or can’t sleep. Otherwise, when I’m out, I love something sweet. And being a chocolate person and more of a sweet craver than brandyanything I love a Brandy Alexander. Yeah, these days it’s hard to find a bartender that can mix them, but they are an absolute dream, a chocolate soda  that gives you angel wings! (It goes down real easy, so be careful you won’t realize how powerful it is) The recipe on line says a Brandy Alexander, (served straight up without ice!), grated nutmeg, 3 cl (1 part) Cognac and 3 cl (1 part) brown Creme de cacao, 3 cl (1 part) Fresh cream. (If you are making it at home around Yule, try substituting eggnog for the cream). Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.(The recipe I found didn’t say it, but I think there should be crushed ice in the mixing cup, that’s what you strain out). Sprinkle with fresh ground nutmeg. And the place to drink it is Cobbs Mill Restaurant, it was originally a prerevolutionary grain mill in Weston, Connecticut. It is my favorite restaurant in all the world and shows up in my novels occasionally. Upstairs you sit and look out over the mill pond, but go down to the downstairs dining, to the small bar tables right alongside the waterfall. Sit at the little table, if you aren’t love, you will be soon. (Cobbs Mill closed, reopened–I was there with my husband and sons for my birthday this year–then closed again. Watch the website, they say its getting ready to reopen! Go, and you may see me there, holding a cream colored cocktail glass up high in celebration of all that is warming and sweet in life!

Blurb:

In ORR: FATAL DNA  I combine my love of seance and history with a hidden treasure that orr-fatal-dna-front-cover-023has been lost since the Revolutionary War, and a present day murder of a billionaire patron at Oyster River Research. Although Grace Farrington only wants to continue her pioneering research, one of her on again off again lovers is accused of murder, but in this book she had three intriguing men pursuing her. However, she also is the being persued by a cold blooded murderer. Finally the puzzles–two sets–are ultimately solved with some clever DNA sleuthing, psychic adventures, her cast of New England eccentrics.

Excerpt:

Oyster River Harbor, King’s Colony of Connecticut

July 15, 1778

Captain Elijah Dell squinted at the thunder clouds closing in over the slate-gray sound. Hours till sunset but rolling fog already obscured distant Long Island, an evil omen for this day’s work. White caps foaming the crests of growing waves that now pounded the beach sand. Standing closer to the sea, his daughter-in-law Rebecca stared out, paying no heed as the advancing yellow foam lapped over her boot tips. With such a Devil’s storm brewing, would Christopher dare it in only a two man sloop? Instead, should they take Elijah’s fishing boat tied back in the harbor? It would handle the waves but stand out in Wallabout bay causing the British to question. Nay. Elijah shifted his left arm again, orr-fatal-dna-023must’ve hurt it when the sail shifted, now it was numb and that added misery to the cold that sat on his chest, making breathing painful. Getting old, when all a man wanted was to be home soaking up warmth before his hearth fire.  But there was Eli– his youngest boy and Mae’s last living child. Now Eli suffered with the rest in that hell hole of prison ship under the decks, in stinking July heat: Eli, Samuel, Willy, and Jacob. If Christopher would sail to Wallabout this day, and he would for enough coin, then Elijah must crew no matter how badly he felt. Did they have enough to ransom Eli and the others? Elijah turned his eyes from the surf. Now in these times, he had to watch for dangers from the land too as his own former friends and neighbors might turn him over to the British as a traitor. Movement. He squinted, now he could see two figures coming out of the trees, down to the beach, two women in blowing capes. One unnaturally tall, Long Liz, his sister, her blonde hair streamingwith gray, and beside her trudging in the sand, that brown faced servant, Posey. Liz was his sister, but her husband Seth was a wealthy Loyalist, siding with King George, who would have them all hanged. Elijah sneaked a look to the whitening sea and curse softly. Over the dark, rolling water he could see the top of a sloop’s gray canvas sail. Better get Loyalist Liz out of here, before Christopher makes land. Elijah turned suddenly and felt dizzy, he had to stop and catch a painful breath, before he trod forward in the deep sand. Rebecca was hanging back as cold Liz’s imperial manner always cowed her. His sister waited above the black-green sodden mounds of seaweed at the high water line not wanting her fine linen cloak to get stained. As he approached, she looked directly in his eyes. Most women he always had to look down to, but Liz was his equal in ungainly height.

She spoke first. “Storm coming in.”

“Hear the red coats will be getting here first,” he said a bit coldly.

“Our King’s soldiers protect us.” Her voice lost some of its hauteur and held sisterly concern when she said, “You look terrible, Elijah, your face is gray.”

“Tis the poor light.”

“You’re an old man, who should be home before your firestead.”

“Even the flames are cold without my Mae.”

Liz looked away in shame. “I was not there when you laid your wife to rest.”

“Half the town of Oyster River was not there,” he said bitterly. “None of your good King’s friends showed up to respect a woman they’d known their whole lives.”

“They know your son for a rebel.” There was a silence, then Liz said painfully. “I should have been there…but Seth forbid it.”

Elijah nodded. “The Lord God has ordained that a wife must obey her husband. Mae would have understood that.”

Looking pained she said, “What would the Lord think of our town splitting so?”

“I seek no war with King or Rebel. I only wish to fish and be left alone.”

“But your son…”

scull“Eli listened to his fine friends. They joined a militia to battle the injustices of freeborn Englishmen not allowed to speak on their destiny, but a Connecticut Colony man should not have been fighting in New Jersey! Now Eli pays for his folly, rotting in a prison ship.”

“Then you know where he is?”

“Perhaps imprisoned in Wallabout bay with Jacob Hoyt , Samuel Chapel, and Willy Jamison. That’s where we think they took them after the battle.”

“Seth says the military will subdue Connecticut, as they have Boston and New York. When that happens, the rebels–or anyone who treated with them–will be expelled. Where will you go? The Indies? Not west into the dark forests with the painted savages…” She actually sounded pained…..

About the Author:

Lynn lives in Connecticut and has written radio and television scripts and texts for comic lynnbooks.  She lives in the woods… often avoids writing by talking to friends.  She talks to chipmunks, the squirrels, robins (spring), raccoons  (night),  frogs (summer), fish (fast), deer (seldom), tulip trees and occasionally large, intelligent rocks.

She can be contacted at lynn@lynnmarron.com

 

 

Liquid Friday with author David Ellis

This week we are featuring International Award winning Author, Lyricist, Poet and a Humorist: David Ellis and his book Life, Sex & Death – A Poetry Collection Vol. 1

But before we cross the line into his book, let us find out what cocktail does David recommend for this evening.

My drink would be a Gin, Elderflower & Prosecco cocktail because it is elegant and when drinking it I feel like I’m James Bond on an exotic island 🙂 I also have a very sweet tooth, so if I can’t have biscuits or cake then this will do very nicely.

gin_proseccoHere is the recipe:

Ingredients

  • 2 parts Gin
  • 1 part Elderflower Liqueur
  • Prosecco
  • Lime Wedges
  • Sugar (for the rim of the glass)

Instructions

  1. Fill a shaker with ice and add the Gin and Elderflower Liqueur. Shake to combine.
  2. Place the sugar on a small plate. Run a lime wedge around the rim of a martini glass and press the rim of the martini glass in the sugar to coat.
  3. Strain the contents of the shaker into the glass and top with Prosecco. Squeeze a lime wedge in the drink and garnish with an additional lime wedge.
  4. Serve immediately.

Book blurb:

Life, Sex & Death – A Poetry Collection Vol 1″ is an International Award winning volume, having won an award in the Readers’ Favorite 2016 Book Award Contest for Inspirational Poetry Books.
Life, Sex & Death” is all about exploring themes of Inspirational, Philosophical and Love/Romance. There is humour, art, wit, passion lifeand self help throughout all the diverse styles found in this book. My poems explore emotional depth of the human condition and try to make sense of the world, even when it is at its most extreme and unforgiving, there are still beautiful things to inspire us and give us courage. I write to give people hope and confidence in their lives, to take chances on the unknown and above all to love and respect themselves, along with sharing endless kindness with others.

Here is a sample poem from my poetry book Life, Sex & Death:

A Double Edged Sword (by David Ellis)

Pride can be a sword
That can stab you in the back
Don’t be the one
To take the fall
If confidence is what you lack

Hate can be a mistake 
A jealous enemy you can forsake 
Consumed by evil 
You derail your goals 
Hampering any progress you make 

Be proud of yourself 
Focus on all your achievements 
Look at how far 
That you have come 
The lives touched now have purpose 

Face your fears 
Your mind is now crystal clear 
An ocean of serene calm 
Where once was a storm 
Now you’re the pilot and the bombardier 

Asking for help 
Is not a weakness 
And neither is 
Helping others 

So wear your proudness 
On your sleeves 
And remember 
To inspire others 
As they have done for you 

A perfect circle 
That makes us all complete 
No need to compete 
No need for anger, fear, loathing 
Just love and peace

About the Author:

David Ellis is a Humorist, Lyricist, Poet, Short Story Writer and davidellisAuthor.  In addition to his poetry book, he has recently published a collection of his Flash Fiction and Short Story pieces in a collection called “A Little Bit of What You Fancy.”  He has also published a collection of Short Stories to donate the proceeds to Children’s Charities written by a variety of talented authors called “A Blend of Tea Break Tales”.  David has collaborated internationally on Poetic Duets with people from around the world. His current passion is to expand his Author Interviews section and he welcomes any enquiries from people who have published books that would like to be interviewed that wish to share information about themselves, their work and their own creativity tips.  He is a field reporter for The Nudge Wink Report where he writes spoof news articles.

His website contains many tips, tricks and techniques to inspire creativity in writers, authors, artists, photographers, poets and musicians.  The website can be found at www.toofulltowrite.com. His Twitter handle is @TooFullToWrite.

In his spare time, David enjoys Netflix, tea and biscuits and dreaming up endless puns to make people smile.  Indiana Jones is his spirit animal.  David tries not take himself too seriously and neither should you.

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 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 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.

 

Liquid Friday with Author Lisette Kristensen

This week we are featuring Dark Erotica author Lisette Kristensen. Her favorite cocktail is the Sidecar.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 ounce Cointreau
  • 3/4 ounce lemon juicesidecar 2
  • 1 1/2 ounces cognac
  • cocktail glass

Sidecar Instructions:

Shake well with cracked ice, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass that has had its outside rim rubbed with lemon juice and dipped in sugar.
The Wondrich Take:

The Sidecar is often singled out as the only good cocktail to come sidecar 1out of the long national nightmare that was Prohibition. And when you’re sipping one, you almost think it was all worth it. The luminous, golden-straw color, the perfectly controlled sweetness, the jazzy high notes of the citrus against the steady bass of the brandy. This is a drink whose suavité is beyond question — it’s the Warren Beatty of modern mixology. It’s so easy, in fact, to be seduced by this clever old roué that a word of caution would not be out of place here. These gents have a way of stealing up on you and — bimmo! (was thinking bimbo!!) Next thing you know it’s 8:43 on Monday morning and you’re sitting in the backseat of a taxi idling in front of your place of employ. In your skivvies.

 

So lets try this beverage, kick back and relax while reading about secondLisette’s  newest book: Facade’s Surrender (book 3 of the Dark Desire series) to be release on June 11th!  Hey! that’s tomorrow!

 

 

Here is an excerpt from Book 3:  Facade’s Surrender.

“She laid on the table panting, soaked in sweat and cum. Jocelyn lifted her head and there were two men right before with gorged unused cocks. She didn’t hold back the wicked grin. Both were handsome men, swarthy and dark. She took them to be middle eastern. Long hair, menacing dark eyes, with bodies well sculpted.  They weren’t as big, but their cocks were gorgeous.

firstThey gave her no time to react, both men dove at her. She laughed as their hands grappled with her body. One laid out over the table, his cock rose like a spear, she wanted to suck it but they had other plans.  Strong hands lifted her up and put her ass onto the man laying beneath her.  The other man stood before her, his eyes raked her body with such obvious lust, Jocelyn almost came on the spot.

She had an idea what they wanted, and she was crazed with lust. Rising off the one man, straddling his cock, while fingers wrapped to it. His moans deepened as she stroked it, pulling the head to caress her puckered dark star. She stared at the other man, cocking her leaking pussy at him. The man below got the hint and his strong fingers pulled down on her hips.  Jocelyn freed his prick and let him impale her ass.

Her cries echoed over the room, she held nothing back when his thick shaft filled her ass.  She trembled, spasm’s roamed through her body. Jocelyn was out of control with this dark burning need. She leaned back, spreading her legs, hooking her heels to the edge of the table. One of them crawled on top of her. Her arms wrapped to his neck.   Her pussy swollen from the early abuse, dripped with anticipation of being fucked again.

When he planted that cock into her, she moaned wildly. Two cocks filled her, they rubbed together like fire sticks and she wasted no time bursting into flames. The both found that rhythm, cocks fucking her in unison.  Hands from underneath grabbed at her tits, squeezing them viciously, tearing at her nipples. The other man focused on fucking her hard. Each thrust rode deep into her.  His crown punched at her core, bringing a heightened pleasure to race through her.

Jocelyn floated to the double hammering of cocks. Eyes rolled to the back of her head, letting every sensation of fingers, cocks take hold of her depraved psyche. She fucked back hard, the need to cum again roiled within her. Jocelyn found her deviant heaven, nothing thirdheld back. Her cries and begging for more filled the room.  The men grunted like beasts, sweat flushed over their bodies as the pace quickened.

A finger found her clit, she had no idea who it was, it didn’t matter. She screamed to the heavens when that thick coarse digit raked ruthlessly over her shivering pearl.  The cocks fucked her holes with a frenzy, Jocelyn no longer cared.  Burning sensations ripped across her, stars blinked across her eyes and that throbbing rush crashed down between legs.  She blew apart, shattered into a thousand shards of lust. Her body quaked and shuddered.”

Also available in this series are:

Book One, Unveiling Facade.  A short story setting the stage for Jocelyn’s future exploits.  UnveilingAvailable on Amazon and also on Smashwords.

 

 

 

Book Two, Facade’s Retribution.  Available on Kindle Unlimitedretribution

 

Book Three, Facade’s Surrender is now available at Smashwords at 99 cents. For Kindle users download the Mobi file. If you use Nook, Kobo or iBooks it will take a few days to arrive at those platforms.

Facade

 

About author Lisette Kristensen:  Lisette grew up in a home full of artistic types. Her brothers became professionals in painting and photography, while her father worked in TV and film. Reading had been a passion of hers, mostly historical fiction. It wasn’t until her father left laying around (bathroom no less) a trashy Nazi BDSM magazine that her desire to write kicked in. That moment changed her life and she dove headlong into the world of depraved/deviant erotica.

It took years before Lisette could put those stories that rambled in her darkest corridors to paper. Unveiling Facade is her first of many yet to come.

 

Liquid Friday With Author Di Storm

This week we are featuring Erotic Romance author Di Storm.  Lets hear from her directly about her favorite cocktail:

“My favorite cocktail is Long Island Ice Tea, until I  discover something new.”

Ingredients: Long Island Iced Tea - 1

  • ½ fluid ounce vodka
  • ½ fluid ounce rum
  • ½ fluid ounce gin
  • ½ fluid ounce tequila
  • ½ fluid ounce triple sec (orange-flavored liqueur)
  • 1 fluid ounce sweet and sour mix
  • 1 fluid ounce cola, or to taste
  • 1 lemon slice

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour vodka, rum, gin, tequila, triple longislandsec, and sour mix over ice; cover and shake. Pour cocktail into a Collins or hurricane glass; top with splash of cola for color. Garnish with a lemon slice.

 

Now that we heard from the author, lest grab a glass of this delicious sounding Long Island Ice Tea, kick back and relax while learning more about  Di Storm’s new release:  Yes Sir! available from  Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or directly from Green Ivy Publishing.

TEASER

A world of intrigue and deception. Underworld clubs with high-profile members. A powerful circle of friends, and strangers, who meet in select places where one must know the hidden path in

yessirEarly in her adult life, Jessika finds herself attracted to men who are more dominant: controlling, forceful, her superior. And somewhere down her path of exploring sensual feelings, it all falls into place—she needs a master, a man she can serve in every way. But the further she delves into the world of domination, the more she realizes a part of her is still empty.

Surprisingly, Jessika finds that missing ingredient in a man who is anything but dominant. He is a cockold—a man who finds eroticism in watching enjoy herself with others but knowing that she isn’t getting pleasure from him.

Yes, Sir is a journey of lost love, lost connections, and the struggle for self-control. Jessika finds herself experiencing drastic changes deep within. The reserved, quiet, and submissive person she once was—fading. She is becoming stronger, more vocal, and dominant, standing up for herself, and others. These changes create a roller coaster of conflict within, a transitioning woman who struggles with an ever-present and seemingly contradictory need to be controlled and mastered.

Yes, Sir is an erotic, sensual, and emotional journey, bringing you to places you did not believe truly existed—but they do!

About the Author

distormBio