#MondayMorningMusic – Through the Barricades by Spandau Ballet

I’ve been thinking about Germany lately – some of you may know that I was born there and spent the most important parts of my growing up years with Frankfurt as my playground.

I can’t yet divulge why Germany has been on my mind so much lately, but Spandau Ballet’s “Through the Barricades” always reminds me of how I grew up straddling different cultures, and they’ve all played a significant part in making me who I am.

I had a huge crush on Martin Kemp (SB’s bass player – he’s done some acting since… in The Krays, which got me fascinated with the twin gangsters long after my musical crush was established – and I believe he was on Eastenders for quite some time [which I’ve never actually watched…].

Anyway, two things come to mind when I think of Spandau Ballet… One was my first trip to London via ferry ride from Ostend, Belguim to Dover. Where I met a gent by the name of Liam Fairhurst, who I kept in touch with for years before we lost touch. No idea what happened to him, but he was in the British military. Ultimately, that’s a story for another day.

Spandau Ballet comes in on my return to Germany and home where I told everyone I’d bumped into Martin on the streets of London and we’d hit it off famously! I’m sure the story was far more detailed, but I’ll be damned if I can remember the specifics. I do remember at least a few people falling prey to blatant lies before the truth was revealed.

I also got to see them live at the Frankfurt Alte Oper (I think…) with CR (who’s been mentionoed on #MondayMorningMusic  here, and here) and FM and my brother. The highlight of the night was Martin picking up the note I threw down to the stage and waving blindly in my direction as he and the band walked offstage. I have no idea what the note said, except that it included my phone number.

I had some grand adventures over the years, that’s for sure. And I wouldn’t change any of them for the world.

Happy Monday, y’all. Here’s to a short work week, and Happy Thanksgiving to all celebrating this week!

Spandau Ballet – “Through the Barricades” Official Video

Spandau Ballet – “Through the Barricades” – a live, stripped down version with Tony Hadley and Gary Kemp, that I think is pretty amazing.

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Calling All Reviewers! Yours Truly on Netgalley

Mornin’, all!

I’m sorry for the disappearing act – I decided to go spend some time with out-of-town friends at the last minute, and so life has been day job and hanging out and not much else. Life should return to normal next week – I’m driving home today.

In any case, If you want to read and review Yours Truly, it is available on Netgalley. Click on the cover image to get there.

Happy Friday, y’all!

xo

KJ

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#ThirteenforThursday with Amey Zeigler

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Welcome author Amey Zeigler for this week’s Thirteen for Thursday

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What is the best book to movie adaptation?

Princess Bride, of course. William Goldman wrote the book and the screenplay. If you haven’t read the book, do yourself the favor and read it. It’s one of the books I read every year. Best.Book.Ever. You’re welcome.

What is your favorite childhood memory?

We lived in Alaska in my days of yore. My dad loved to fish every summer during the salmon run. Nearly all summer long we camped on the Kenai peninsula, going to bed when the sun set at 11pm and rising early to go out and fish or play again the next day. We always tent camped. My mom cooked over a propane stove. I can smell the propane, the chill in the air in the morning as she made hot chocolate. I can smell pinecones and tree sap. Back then if we weren’t on the boat, we had to entertain ourselves. Often my mom would hide in the car and read. One time, she decided to take us to the beach. The beaches in Alaska are black with volcanic silt, are pebbley and cold. It was a warm day for an Alaskan summer, probably high 60’s and the tide was out and low, like we walked out fifty yards and it was still up to our knees. Mom let us run out pretty far. We found huge snake-like seaweed with tentacles like a squid. We wrapped it around us and eventually dragged it to shore. We were all soaked in salty sea water and once out of the water had to get warmed quickly so hyperthermia didn’t chatter our teeth out. So we rushed to the van and stripped to our skivvies and rode back to camp in our underwear!

What is your favorite smell and why?

I love the smell of rain, but it smells differently depending on where you live. I grew up all over the United States. In Arizona, the rain smells like wet dirt, hot pavement and desert plants like rosemary and desert sage. In Alaska, the rain smells wet like the bank of a river, like fishing bait and mosquito repellant. In Virginia, it smells like old wood, mildew, dampness that seeps through the cracks of your clothing and houses, wet on mossy rocks and trees.

How far away do you live from your birthplace?

I was born in Colorado, but only lived there a year because we moved to Alaska, Georgia, California, Arizona, Alaska again, Virginia, Utah and then back to Arizona.  Then I lived in Europe for a year and a half, then after marriage, moved to Missouri for grad school. Now we live in Texas and we drove through Colorado Springs for the first time since I left as a one year old to visit a friend who lives there on our way to Yellowstone for a family vacation. It’s a 13 hour drive, but it took a vacation of a lifetime to return.

Star Wars or Star Trek?

Original Star Wars.

What is your favorite scent and why?

Cool Water cologne. Way back in my sophomore year of high school, the Secret Garden Broadway musical (original cast) was touring in our city. I had a guy friend who was “off-limits” to me. I think my best friend liked him, but I kinda liked him, too. He ended up with the seat next to mine when we all went as a drama class. He wore Cool Water cologne and we had such a great time, jumping to our feet together, enthusiastically clapping for two standing ovations for their best songs. Whenever I smell that cologne, I am back in the Capitol Theatre, experiencing the show with my guy friend again.

What is the one thing you covet?

A girl’s gotta have some secrets.

What is your favorite time of year and why?

Spring, Summer, Autumn, or Winter? When I lived in Alaska with a long and snowy winter, I loved and anticipated Spring and it was late coming, sometime in June! Now that I live in Texas with long and hot summers, oh, how I love fall! It’s November and it’s still in the 80’s!

What is the one thing you wanted, but never got, as a kid?

A My Little Pony Castle. Imagine me, a little second grader, finding a My Little Pony castle hidden in the back of the car a few weeks before Christmas. I thought to myself, “My parents knew I wanted something this cool without me even telling them! My parents sure love me.” Turned out that my parents were hiding it there for another family. I had one disappointing Christmas morning. I wonder which of my friends got that My Little Pony Castle for Christmas…

If you could travel anywhere, where would it be and why?

My husband is planning a trip to Japan sometime in the next year. He used to live there, speaks Japanese and still has friends he’d like to see. I love Asian cultures and find them fascinating. I also have plans to set a book in Japan so I have to go for research, right? I wonder if I can take that out of my taxes…

Which famous person have you met, and what is the story behind it? 

I’ve met…

Alton Brown http://ameyzeigler.blogspot.com/2016/10/alton-brown-my-first-author-signed-cook.html

James Dashner  http://ameyzeigler.blogspot.com/2012/09/james-dashner.html

Eoin Coiffer http://ameyzeigler.blogspot.com/2012/08/artemis-fowl-by-eoin-colfer.html

Jody Piccolt http://ameyzeigler.blogspot.com/2012/07/jodi-picoult-comes-to-st-louis.html

Ally Condie http://ameyzeigler.blogspot.com/2011/11/ally-condie.html

and many, many more authors. http://ameyzeigler.blogspot.com/2016/09/signed-author-copies.html

You can read about how John Flannigan, called me a perky American girl. http://ameyzeigler.blogspot.com/2011/12/john-flanagan.html

If you had to dispose of a dead body, how would you do it?

I’d call my friend Jewel. She would know what to do.

Would you rather wear combat boots or heels?

I actually own a pair of Danner boots. My father bought them for me at a military thrift shop. When he first gave them to me, I rolled my eyes and wondered when would I ever use them. Well, I wore them this fall to muck out houses in Houston after Hurricane Harvey. Heels may make my legs look great, but those boots have saved houses.

Bonus Round

What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

Live in a foreign country for a year and a half, talking to people about their deepest feelings all day. I wrote a book that fictionalizes some of the crazier things we did. Once we painted a bathroom for service when a guy came in to take a shower. He didn’t even care I was in there and starting, well, bathing. Another time, a guy answered the door in nothing but some skimpy underwear. He invited us in for a chat.

What film or book gave you an intense emotional reaction?

The strongest emotional reaction I had from a movie was Charade starring Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant. I was in sixth grade, and Charade is a little intense. If you haven’t seen it, it opens with the murder of Audrey Hepburn’s husband who stole a quarter of a million dollars (it was the 60’s) from the US Government. All his friends he double-crossed are all after the money and think she has it. I couldn’t sleep that night. I loved it! It’s still one of my favorite movies because of all the suspense, twists and turns. And it doesn’t take itself too seriously–there’s some jokes and laughs. And it has a romance. I guess that’s why I like to write Romantic Suspense with some laughs.

Amey’s Online Playground

website: www.ameyzeigler.com

Amazon author page: www.amazon.com/author/ameyzeigler

blog: www.ameyzeigler.blogspot.com

Twitter: @ameyzeigler – https://twitter.com/ameyzeigler

Goodreads author page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17290110.Amey_Zeigler

Author Bio

I wrote my first mystery with my best friend in fourth grade. I wrote, she illustrated. It also had a cute boy in it with spiky hair (because that was the style back then). Not much has changed. I love mystery. I love romance. I love suspense. I love action, adventure and comedy. But I want it to have a happy ending.

I love writing about different places because I grew up moving all around the United States. In my books, I want to explore the whole world.

Growing up, my poor mom had to be so patient with me as I always wanted to try new things. I played violin, drums, flute, piano, all before I was sixteen. I also discovered I don’t have much talent for music.

When people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I was afraid to tell them I wanted to write because I didn’t know how to write.

I am so grateful for my Sophomore year Honor’s English teacher who gave me a star and five points (highest marks!) on my personal essay in the category for Voice. I wouldn’t have hoped to have had enough talent to pursue writing otherwise.

I’d like to thank my college writing professor who gave me a C in Creative Writing: Short Story writing. I worked even harder on my own and published my first short story the next semester.

I adopt stray furniture left on the side of the road. I like to fix it up and give it a new home and look.

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#TellTaleTuesday with Tena Stetler and A Vampire’s Unlikely Alliance

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Welcome Tena Stetler for this week’s Tell Tale Tuesday!

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Colorado is my playground and we spend as much of the summer as possible camping in State and National Parks around the United States. The great outdoors ignites my imagination and feeds my muse.  What peaks your imagination?

Remnants of long deserted log cabins built on Independence Pass, during the Colorado Gold Rush, by early settlers unable to brave the harsh winter conditions?

A field of wild flowers where you can almost see the faery magic?

Camping at Glacier National Park, under the full moon listening to a wolf’s song mingled with sounds of other night creatures? Such was the scenario where my upcoming release A VAMPIRE’S UNLIKELY ALLIANCE was born.

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Book Blurb

Stefan is a Native American vampire, former assassin for the Vampire Council. In a twist of fate, he now DJ’s the midnight shift for a small radio station in Whitefish, Montana, on the edge of Glacier National Park where his secret is safe until…

Born in Ireland, Brandy now works as a park ranger and trail guide in the park. During a full moon, Stefan and Brandy’s paths cross in a near physical collision on a trail. Their attraction is immediate and undeniable, almost as if fate demanded it.

Their union was foretold long ago in Irish folk tales where vampires and gryphons, warlocks and demons, witches and faeries must work together for the good of man and magic kind. Is a trip to Ireland the key to unravelling secrets and returning the magic? And even more importantly, will their love survive the trip?

Sneak peek at the scene inspired by Glacier National Park in my upcoming release -A Vampire’s Unlikely Alliance

Jumping down from the boulder, Stefan landed silently on the balls of his feet and took off at a dead run, too fast for the human eye to detect. Tonight, his run covered several trails as the full moon rose over the mountain tops. Croaking frogs settled at the edge of a pristine mountain lake while an owl screeched overhead, winging its way through the night sky. This tranquil existence was very different from his previous life. Nevertheless, the premonitions that kept him alive as an assassin made him feel that things were about to change.

It was nearly midnight when he cut across the Sun Road to another trailhead, so intent on his goal that he nearly collided with an attractive young woman. He skidded to a stop, spraying gravel, rocks, and small twigs down the road in front of him. A pinecone dislodged and bounced along the road past her. Tall and slender, she had miles of fiery-red hair that hung down her back in a cascade of curls. Intense emerald eyes stared back at him as he attempted to regain his composure, not to mention balance. What the hell was she doing here at this time of night?

“Whoa.” She stepped lightly to the side to avoid the flying debris. “You really should watch where you’re going, especially at that speed.” Her voice scolded, but the smile on her lips teased. “Someone could get hurt.”

Pretending to pant, he shrugged, holding his palms up in surrender. “Just trying to get my run in before work. Stefan Talltree, at your service.” He stepped closer, leaned over in an exaggerated bow, and caught her hand, brushing his lips over the palm and wrist, inhaling her sweet scent. AB negative with a pulse of adrenaline. Perfect. Her pulse beat a tattoo against his lips. He backed away.

Her heart thundered as she drew her hand from his grasp. “The name’s Brandy. Pleased to meet you, Stefan.” Her smile reached up into her bright eyes as they swept over him with an appreciative glance, an experience he enjoyed.

Her voice had a hint of Irish lilt to it. He liked that too.

“Where do you work that requires you to report in at—” She glanced at her watch. “—midnight?”

Nostrils flaring, he paused. Blood? Not hers. The sound of Brandy’s voice brought his attention back to her and the situation at hand. “Oh, shit, I’ve gotta go!” He sprinted off, leaving her standing alone.

As he started down the trail, the tree branches swayed in the silvery moonlight, casting eerie shadows across the trail’s edge. The breeze brought with it the coppery scent of fresh blood mixed with sulfur. He turned for one last look at her as she wrinkled her nose before silently creeping into the wind, tracking the source of the stench.

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Buy Links

Available for pre-order at Amazon   Amazon UK , Amazon AU, itunes and Barnes & Noble. Release date November 29, 2017! Just in time for Christmas.  Reserve your copy today!

About the Author

Tena Stetler is a best selling author of paranormal romance. She has an over-active imagination, which led to writing her first vampire romance as a tween to the chagrin of her mother and delight of her friends. After many years as a paralegal, then an IT Manager, she decided to live out her dream of pursuing a publishing career.

With the Rocky Mountains outside her window, she sits at her computer surrounded by a wide array of witches, shapeshifters, demons, faeries, and gryphons, with a Navy SEAL or two mixed in telling their tales. Her books tell stories of magical kick-ass women and mystical alpha males that dare to love them. Well, okay there are a few companion animals mixed in to round out the tales.

Colorado is home; shared with her husband of many moons, a brilliant Chow Chow, a spoiled parrot and a forty-five-year-old box turtle. When she’s not writing, you can find her kayaking, camping, hiking, biking  or just relaxing in the great Colorado outdoors. During the winter sometimes she’s curled up in front of a crackling fire with a good book, a mug of hot chocolate and a big bowl of popcorn.

Website: http://www.tenastetler.com

Authors’ Secret’s Bloghttp://www.tenastetler.com/category/authors-secrets-blog/

My Say What Blog – http://www.tenastetler.com/category/my-say-what-blog/

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/tenastetler.author

Twitter Page: www.twitter.com/TenaStetler       

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14187532.Tena_Stetler

The Wild Rose Press: http://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/1264_tena-stetler

Amazon:  www.amazon.com/author/tenastetler

Newsletter: http://www.tenastetler.com/newsletter-signup/

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/tenastetler

Tribber – http://triberr.com/TenaStetler

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/tena-stetler

 

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#MondayMorningMusic – I’ll be There by The Escape Club

Heartache (2009)

By Tor Erik Gorud (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

A while back I posted a #MondayMorningMusic featuring Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” and how it reminded me of a dear friend of mine who died far too soon.

I’m not sure why – maybe it’s all the crappy news I keep trying to stay away from (I’ve put myself on a news moratorium for the most part, but shit still creeps in), or maybe it’s the funk I’ve fallen into as I sometimes do when I feel completely and utterly run down (thanks chronic health issues).

I know it will all pass, whatever the cause, but The Escape Club’s song, “I’ll be There” is the perfect song for my current state of being – providing solace as much as it does tears.

Love each other, people. Because one day you’re gonna wake up and it’ll be too late.

<3

KJ

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#TellTaleTuesday with Sandra Tilley and The Ghost and Mrs. Miller

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Welcome Sandra Tilley for this special Halloween edition of Tell Tale Tuesday!

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Not only is it TELL TALE Tuesday, IT’S HALLOWEEN!  The time for ghosts and goblins and ghouls…

And in the spirit of Halloween, I’d like to introduce you to Neil Miller, the ghost in my book, The Ghost and Mrs. Miller. Neil is not your normal, scary kind of ghost. Some people might even think he’s sort of friendly. Think Caspar–without the pudge. Neil wasn’t always a ghost. He was an accountant with charts and balance sheets and lists. Lots of lists.

Neil trains throughout his childhood for his senior year’s Most Likely to Succeed yearbook spread. And shortly after graduation, he marries his childhood friend and sweetheart Libby Carlisle. For nineteen years their lives follow their carefully documented plans: finish college, secure career, buy home, have children, live happily ever after. Somewhere during the Happily Ever After, Libby catches Neil at his office lip-locked with his hot assistant. However, bad turns to unbearable when on his way home, Neil’s car careens off an overpass, shifting his status from human to …well…ghostly.

The Ghost and Mrs. Miller is written in Libby’s POV. In the following excerpt, Libby encounters Neil’s new, other-worldly status:

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There’s been a mistake. He can’t be dead.

The cool light from the moon gleamed through the window over the sink. Neil sat like a still life painted in watercolors. The irises of his eyes, once warm and brown, faded to the color of desert sand. Blurred earth tones from the tile pattern on the back splash behind him softened the angles of his face. The hint of color in his blue, button-down oxford shirt and khaki slacks blended into a wash of pastels.

I reached out my hand. “Can I touch you?”

Neil held out his hands palms up. “You can try.”

I touched his hand. Only air. “Did you feel that?”

“No. Nothing.”

I leaned against the counter. “Are you a ghost?”

“I don’t believe in ghosts.”

I pushed my hand all the way through his chest. “How do you explain this?”

“Let’s say I’m a spirit.”

“So what is your spirit doing here?”

“I don’t know. The last thing I remember is hitting the overpass.”

I rocked my head back and forth. “This can’t be happening.” I pinched my arm, hard. “Ouch. What’s going on? I catch you with Sheri, and the next thing I know the police are banging on the door telling me you’re dead.”

“Don’t act so inconvenienced.” Neil squared his shoulders, and his eyes flashed a soft mocha. “Before I’m even cold, good ole’ Eli comes running to your rescue.”

I stepped into Neil’s glow. “What are you saying, Mr. Cheater?”

Neil sat taller and peered down his narrow, transparent nose. “We’re going there?”

I poked his chest but my finger stabbed air. “Oh, yes. I caught you with Sheri. And on our anniversary!” My voice reached its alto limit and scaled upward into the soprano range. “And you have the gall to accuse me of something? With Eli? Do you think I’m a complete idiot?” My pitch spiraled into a crescendo.

“That a rhetorical question?” Neil grunted.

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I love ghosts and ghost stories. In elementary school, my favorite ghost stories came from 13 Alabama Ghosts by Kathryn Tucker Windham and Margaret Gillis Figh. Then I moved up to all things Edgar Allen Poe. And one of my faves is “The Tell-Tale Heart.” I took my 7th grade students to a live performance, hoping to engender a love of literature. Or maybe I went for myself. J

The Ghost and Mrs. Miller contains humor; but it also deals with the pain of loss, anger, guilt, second chances, and redemption.

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On this All Hallows’ Eve of Tell-Tale Thursday, I find it fitting to end my post with Poe’s words from “The Tell-Tale Heart:”

“It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it haunted me day and night.”

Here’s to hoping a diamond of an idea haunts you day and night. J

Happy writing, my friends!

Visit me at SandraTilley.com

Like me at Facebook.com/sandy.f.tilley

Follow me on Twitter @SandyFTilley

The Ghost and Mrs. Miller can be found at The Wild Rose Press and Amazon.

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#MondayMorningMusic – Every Day is Halloween by Ministry

So, quick post today – mostly because I was out most of the afternoon doing Trick or Treating with the nieces and a nephew (the other nephew missed it this year, unfortunately, but next year I have no doubt he’ll be front and center).

I absolutely adore my nieces and nephews beyond measure, and they always, always set the world to rights, now matter what else is going on or how crappy I’ve felt or how bad of a mood I’ve been in. There’s just something about the hugs and kisses from the littles who haven’t yet been jaded by the shit life sometimes throws at you. Seeing the world through eyes that experience everything around them as new is the ultimate panacea for what ails.

Like the wee ones now, one of the go-to songs back in the day when I was feeling rather angsty and particularly outcasty was Ministry’s “Every Day is Halloween”. I hadn’t listened to the song in years, and stumbled across it today while doing something else.

If nothing else, ’tis the season. 🙂

Happy Halloween, y’all. What’s everyone dressing up as this year?

As a bonus, I fell over this cover version by Endless Sunder… what do you think? Worthy of the original?

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#TellTaleTuesday with Courtney Williamson Milford & Graced 1943

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Courtney Williamson Milford is back with her Historical Fantasy novel, Graced 1943.

Check out Courtney’s previous visit with Dot & the Nutrition Club

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When I decided to write The Grace Family Chronicles, I knew the series would be historical fiction with a touch of fantasy.  I have been told that “historical fantasy” is not a true genre, but it is the best way I can describe Graced 1943, and the rest of the series. The history is real, but the characters are fictional, and most of them have special powers called “Graces.”

I majored in American lit at the University of Florida, and have read many books about World War II, so I believed I could write about this era with confidence. I am constantly doing research, learning about topics pertinent to the books, ranging from the history of Irish Travelers in the U. S. to early 20th century Hungarian politics.

Graced 1943 starts out with Annelisa Grace-Betterman, a young mother weakened from recent childbirth, searching for her kidnapped infant son. She is Graced as a Locator, meaning that she can Locate a person by listening for his or her heartbeat. The sound of her son’s heartbeat draws her to him successfully.

I began with this scenario to show that Graced people are often targets of those who want to exploit their powers. In this case, the kidnappers mistakenly believe the baby to be Graced as a Midasian Multiplyer, which would give him the ability to Multiply wealth. Throughout much of the first book, Annelisa and a few other characters work on ways to protect her son, and the other Graced children, from kidnapping and other dangers.

Graced 1943 introduces most of the major characters who will appear throughout the series, which is heavy on adventure and drama. Rescue missions abound, and the characters, like most Americans at the time, contribute to the war effort, often making personal sacrifices. For example, Annelisa writes detective novels to entertain the troops, and raises her family alone while her husband, an astrophysicist, works in the atomic weaponry lab in Los Alamos, NM.

The Grace family is fabulously wealthy, due both to inherited citrus wealth, and to Annelisa’s father’s Grace as a Midasian Multiplyer. They live in a Miami Beach luxury compound called Gracestone, and they also have a secret private island off the south Florida coast called Cinq Terras. Habitually, they keep to themselves and solve their own problems, as many outsiders don’t understand Graces, and find Graced people peculiar.

The action sometimes borders on slapstick, and I stay away from sites like Auschwitz out of respect, although the characters do venture into miserable places, such as besieged Leningrad. Suspense is a key ingredient of the various storylines, many of which continue into the series’ next book. Graced 1943 climaxes in a cliffhanger, as do all the books in the series, other than the last one. I make sure to put this in the book descriptions so readers will be aware of it. I also keep the books priced low, and available on Kindle Unlimited, so readers will not feel like I am trying to force them to spend a lot just to find out what happens next.

The most important lesson I learned while writing Graced 1943 was to write to please myself. If I found myself bored with a passage or character, I eliminated it. This way, writing and revising was a treat, not a chore.

I also invented a tagline, which is NSR: Never Stop Reading. To me, the most important pastime for a writer, other than writing, is reading.

Blurb

Set against a backdrop of World War II, the Grace family and friends live in, and operate out of, Gracestone, a Miami Beach luxury estate. Most of them are “Graced,” meaning they have special powers: Navigators can get anywhere without a map, and are never lost; Incapacitators are never bested in a fight, and can turn any item into a weapon; Knowers can learn all there is to Know about any topic, just by concentrating on it for a few moments. There is no finite number of Graces, and a person can be Graced in more than one way,

In Graced 1943, the first book in The Grace Family Chronicles, the characters are focused on protecting the children of Gracestone. Kidnapping is always an issue, mainly because its patriarch, Henri Grace, is a Midasian Multiplyer, meaning her can Multiply wealth, and he has passed this rare Grace onto one of his grandsons. Greedy people, and even the U. S. government, target Midasian Multiplyers, hoping to exploit their ability to make money.

Like most Americans in the mid-1940s, the Grace family and friends are enmeshed in World War II, and the action moves to the atomic weaponry lab in Los Alamos, NM, and to Europe and South America, and then back again to Gracestone for Henri’s wife’s ill-advised Christmas Ball in December of 1943. Be warned: the ending is a cliffhanger, and it leads into the second book in the series, The Atherlings 1944.

This series has the feel of an old-fashioned radio soap opera crossed with a comic book and a war drama. The cast is large, and their lives intermingle, sometimes in surprising ways. Graced 1943 is a book for anyone who enjoys actions tinged with humor in a setting that features real history, and larger than life characters.

Excerpt

Back story: Cy, an Incapacitator who can never be bested in a fight, and Boris, a Russian Protector, are looking for Cy’s dead wife’s younger brother, Niko, in besieged Leningrad. They live in Miami, but are undercover, dressed as Soviet soldiers. Romnel is a triple agent sent by the U. S to see to their safe passage in and out of the beleaguered city, as long as they do not stay for more than 24 hours.

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The two men arrived at the building within minutes. Cy pushed open the apartment door that bore the number the doctor had given them.

“Nikolay Greys!” Boris shouted. The two women and men were home. They were unwashed, with open sores around their mouths that, fleetingly, gave Cy the impression that they had been eating something bloody. They were bundled up in winter coats, although it was not much under 60 degrees Farenheit in the apartment. They sat on the floor with their backs against the wall.

Otvali,” snarled one of the men, telling them to get out. Boris raised a hand to cuff him, but Cy signalled for him to desist.

On mertv,” the woman muttered, indicating that Nikolay had died. Seeing something sly in her eyes, Cy walked into the next room.

“Nikolay?” He knelt next to a skeletal boy, who lay on the floor. The boy gave a feeble nod.

Boris stood over Nikolay’s roommates, demanding to see their ration cards. Weak as they were, the men tried to fight, obviously believing he meant to steal them. When Boris raised his boot to stomp on one of the men’s hands, the woman called out for him to stop, and showed Boris what he wanted to see. There were five ration cards, including Kristiana’s and Nikolay’s.

Cy and Boris helped themselves to a blanket, Cy hoping that the insects he saw were fleas, rather than lice. They carried the boy, using the blanket as a stretcher.

Walking down the street in this manner, they did not attract much attention. One or two people glanced at them quizzically, then quickly looked away, as though they wondered why the soldiers would be bothering with the corpse.

On dolzhen byt’ synom,” Cy heard one of them say. “It must be a son.”

Cy and Boris were not optimistic about their chances of getting out of Leningrad while carrying the near-comatose boy. The longer they walked through the city, the more they realized how much they probably stood out, with their well-fed bodies and Florida suntans. Cy wished they had thought to get their hair buzzed short. The citizens of Leningrad were too starved and beaten down to take an interest in them, but Cy thought the soldiers at the mouth of the corridor leading out of Leningrad would be more alert.

As an Incapacitator, Cy knew if he could somehow turn the boy into a weapon, he could use him to overcome anyone. Devising a last-minute plan, the two men moved swiftly toward the barricade that stood at the mouth of the corridor.

Chuma!” Boris called out. “Dvigat’sya v storonu!” He was announcing that the boy carried plague. There had been rumors of bubonic plague in the city, although Cy did not think any actual cases had been reported.

The guards jumped back.

On zarazhen chumoy?” one guard exclaimed with alarm. “Zapisat’ yego!”  He gestured toward a large furnace that was used for burning refuse, and to keep the guard area warm. He wanted them to toss in the boy’s body, or at least Cy hoped the guard thought the boy was dead.

“Excuse me, but I’ll take care of this.” Romnel spoke through the open driver’s side window of the large black military Jeep in which he had just pulled up. He urged the men to hurry inside the car with the boy. The confused guards did not react.

Buy Graced 1943 from Amazon

Author Bio

I live in Windermere, Florida with my husband and three children. I have owned and operated a wholesale automotive fleet leasing company called Courtney Leasing, Inc. since 1991. I just started writing in January 2016.

I have a degree in English and a master’s in secondary education, both from the University of Florida.

I am writing a series called The Grace Family Chronicles. it is historical fantasy in that the history is accurate, but the characters have special powers called “Graces.”

I also write a children’s picture book series called Tales of Bark Story Land.

My other books include two additional children’s picture books, and two middle grade books. I am working on converting a book I wrote blog-style into a middle grade novel.

Thanks for your interest. NSR (Never Stop Reading.)

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#MondayMorningMusic – Born of Frustration by James

Funny story.

James is one of those bands I kept missing live for years. I was originally going to see them back when they played Lollapalooza, but didn’t get tickets when I heard they weren’t playing because Tim Booth messed up his back. Then they actually played and I’d missed it.

I can’t remember them playing in the states beyond that tour, although I’m sure they did, but when I *finally* saw they were playing the states in 2008, I was stoked – or I would have been, if the date I’d have gone to was while I was aboard the Queen Mary 2 on my way to Scotland for a year.

As luck would have it, though, they played Glasgow that December, and it was perfect timing – just after my classes ended until after the first of the year.

My only regret was forgetting to take my earplugs. The acoustics weren’t all that great and even with all the bodies, there wasn’t much else to soak up some of the sound, and the horns nearly broke my eardrums.

I lived off that one show until I was able to see them play in the States after I came back. I splurged on VIP tickets and took my brother with me. Had a blast at sound check, met some great people, and I got the chance to tell Larry I’d beat him up if he stole my Sharpie.

I say some weird shit when I’m tired and amped at the same time. 🙂

Happy Monday, y’all!

 

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#TellTaleTuesday with Debra St. John and Halloween at The Corral

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Author Debra St. John is here to share the story behind her novel Halloween at The Corral.

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I’m a big fan of series. Both to read and to write. When I finished my Corral Series, I wasn’t quite ready to let the world I created go. I wanted to stay and visit for a little while longer. So I came up with the idea of doing a spin-off series. I thought about what format I wanted to use and finally decided I would write several holiday stories. The characters in these stories would be characters we first met in the original trilogy. And all of the stories would take place, at least in part, at The Corral, the honky tonk bar I created and which the series revolves around. It’s modeled after the bar where my hubby and I met over twenty years ago.

Dan Jenkins, the hero in Halloween at The Corral, is the first character I purposely put in a book with the intent of using in this spin-off series. We first meet Dan in This Feels Like Home, where he’s helping Jake Hawkins get ready to ride a bull. He gets one mention. That’s it.

All I really knew about Dan when I started his story was he’s a bull rider. When I decided to use his character in my Halloween story, I gave him a background very different than the bull rider he is today. My theme became, ‘You don’t need a costume to hide who you really are.’ Throughout the story, Dan is trying to figure out who he really is.

To help him figure that out, I brought in another minor character from the original series, Kelly. Kelly works at the local dry cleaners, but again, we don’t really know anything else about her. While Kelly tries to figure out who Dan really is, she adds the holiday flavor to the story: jack-o-lanterns, costumes, and holiday parties.

I didn’t purposely plan to pair Kelly and Dan, but it all worked out, and I was able to tell a fun Halloween story AND help Dan figure out who he really is. Along the way, Kelly found a man worthy of her heart.

The cover for this book is one of my favorites. Not only does it evoke everything fall with its brilliant colors, but with Dan’s face hidden by his hat, it really ties in the whole ‘hiding who you really are’ theme. From the moment I first saw it, I knew it was perfect!

Blurb

Kelly Harper has no interest in egomaniacs like Dan Jenkins. She also has no patience for the entourage of groupies who follow him while he basks in their attention. Her experience with her ex-fiancé has taught her to steer clear of guys like Dan who see women as no more than a pretty face to parade around.

Dan Jenkins is something of a local celebrity. His charm and good looks ensure he never lacks for female company, but truth be told, he finds their attentions shallow and superficial. No one bothers to get to know who he really is. Trouble is, Dan’s not sure he knows either.

Will Kelly be the one to figure out who Dan really is behind the good ol’ boy facade? If so, she just might discover a man she never expected—a man worthy of her heart.

Excerpt

“I enjoyed spending time with you today. I didn’t want it to end. You said I don’t talk to you like I talk to other girls. Well, you don’t talk to me like they talk to me.” He scooted closer across the bench seat. His breath fanned her face. “You don’t bat your eyelashes. Or flip your hair. Or smile like a beauty pageant contestant. You’re real.” His fingers brushed her cheek.

Her body hummed and her head buzzed like a sugar rush after too much Halloween candy.

“You got one thing wrong,” he whispered.

Her scrambled brain struggled to make sense of the words. “What?”

“Only sometimes, not many times, does it turn into more than flirting. And I wasn’t lying earlier. Even if it is more than flirting, I never bring women back to my house. I like my privacy.”

Great. She’d barged in and invaded the man’s personal space all day. “Why didn’t you slam the door in my face this morning?”

He chuckled. Low and intimate. Goosebumps chased down her arms. “I already told you. You’re different.”

His fingers wove through the hair at her nape. His mouth settled over hers and her pulse fluttered. Caught. Raced. Firm, yet soft, lips stroked hers. Even though her limbs went all melty, like the rich caramel center of a chocolate truffle, she wrapped her arms around his neck and sank deeper into the kiss. Which got better and better the longer it went on.

When Dan pulled away, all too soon, her breath was battered. Her heart raced. Every inch of her felt alive and aware. And wanting more.

“Do you want to come up?”

He kissed her again. Once. Softly. “Yes. But I’m not going to tonight.” The shadows hid his eyes, but his voice held the hint of a promise. There would be other nights. “We’ll take this slow. We’re still figuring each other out, remember?”

“Oh, I remember. And I am going to figure out who you really are, Dan Jenkins.”

“Good. Let me know when you do.”

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Halloween at The Corral is on sale for 99c this month!

Buy links

The Wild Rose Press / Amazon / Barnes and Noble

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The original Corral series, the holiday spin-offs, and the rest of Debra’s bookshelf can also be found at Amazon, B & N, and The Wild Rose Press.

The Wild Rose Press / Amazon / Barnes and Noble

Author Bio

Debra St. John has been reading and writing romance since high school. She always dreamed about publishing a romance novel someday. Her dream came true when she started writing sultry contemporary romance with spunky heroines and sexy heroes for The Wild Rose Press. Although she’s country gal at heart, she lives in a Chicago suburb with her husband, who is her real life hero.

Debra’s Online Playground

http://www.debrastjohnromance.com

http://www.heroineswithhearts.blogspot.com

https://www.facebook.com/debra.s.john.1

https://twitter.com/readDebraStJohn

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