Sick Like That by Norman Green – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Norman will be awarding an digital copy of Sick Like That to 3 randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

PI Marty Stiles was shot and paralyzed and is now in rehab, trying to decide whether to fight to recover. Meanwhile, his agency is being run by two women: the street-smart and savvy Alessandra Martillo, who’s the muscle, and Sarah Waters, a naïve, single mom, new to the job but who quickly becomes the brains. Though the two women grew up only a few miles from each other in Brooklyn, it might as well have been worlds apart. Now they’re partners, and for all their differences, are committed to their joint venture. When Sarah’s deadbeat ex-husband gets into trouble, Al would rather let him suffer, but she agrees to help Sarah figure out where he is and why another man has ended up dead.

This follow-up to The Last Gig features a tough and edgy, one-of-a-kind heroine—an entirely fresh take on the hardboiled women private investigators who dominate so many crime fiction classics.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Alessandra Martillo did not like Marty Stiles, she thought he was a pig, but if so he was a pig with many useful skills and she had learned a lot from him. In short, she owed him, and she hated that, which was why she sat on the hard plastic seat of a southbound A train that was headed for Coney Island where Stiles slumped motionless in a wheelchair and waited for death.

Death, it seemed, was taking her own sweet time.

Please, his sister had begged, tears in her eyes. Please . . . I flew all the way up here from Valdosta, he won’t even look at me, he won’t even press the call button for the nurse when he makes a mess in his . . .

Oh, Jesus, Al told her, uncomfortable under the weight of obligation. I ain’t trying to hear about that.

Please, oh God please, I’ll pay you what ever you charge, please just go talk to him, I can afford it . . .

All right all right all right, Al told her, not too graciously, but she knew it was something she needed to do. I’ll go. I’ve got business this afternoon, but I’ll get down there after I’m finished. About nine- ish.

Thank you, thank you, the sister told her, sick with gratitude. I’ll call ahead, I’ll make sure they let you see him, they won’t care if it’s late, I’ll make sure . . . How much do I owe you?

Don’t worry about it, Al told her.

Christ.

And they got hospitals all over town, Al thought, but no, they have to send Marty’s fat sorry ass to some rehab all the way down in Coney Island, God ever decides to give Brooklyn an enema, here’s where the bone goes in . . .

About the Author: Norman Green is the author of six crime novels, most recently Sick Like That. Born in Massachusetts, he now lives in New Jersey with his wife.

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Hell Holes by Donald Firesmith – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Donald will be awarding an autographed copy of the Hell Holes 2: Demons on the Dalton (US ONLY) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

It’s August in Alaska, and geology professor Jack Oswald prepares for the new school year. But when hundreds of huge holes mysteriously appear overnight in the frozen tundra north of the Arctic Circle, Jack receives an unexpected phone call. An oil company exec hires Jack to investigate, and he picks his climatologist wife and two of their graduate students as his team. Uncharacteristically, Jack also lets Aileen O’Shannon, a bewitchingly beautiful young photojournalist, talk him into coming along as their photographer. When they arrive in the remote oil town of Deadhorse, the exec and a biologist to protect them from wild animals join the team. Their task: to assess the risk of more holes opening under the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and the wells and pipelines that feed it. But they discover a far worse danger lurks below. When it emerges, it threatens to shatter Jack’s unshakable faith in science. And destroy us all…

Enjoy an Excerpt

IN THE PLANE
Once everything was stowed, I followed Mark up the short stairs and into the lavish interior of the business jet. Unlike the cramped commuter planes I usually took when flying up to the oil fields, the Embraer Legacy 500 made first class seem like coach. Either the executive funding our study was desperate to get us up there, or this was the only aircraft the company had left to send. Either way, I was happy for the unexpected upgrade.

Unlike typical airliners, the jet’s eight large leather seats were organized around four small tables, two on either side of the cabin. Each table separated two seats, one seat facing the back of the airplane and the other facing forward. Angie and Jill were seated in the first row of the plane leaving the second row seats facing forwards for Mark and me. I’d just sat down opposite my wife when she pointed her finger over my shoulder. Following Mark had prevented me from noticing the unexpected extra person seated in the rear of the cabin. With the satisfied smile of a cat having feasted on canary, there sat Aileen O’Shannon. I wondered whether Angie and Jill had selected this particular seating arrangement so they could glare at the weirdly bewitching beauty in the back. Of course, it may have been to keep Mark and me from being tempted to look at her instead of paying proper attention to our wives.

I got up and marched straight to the rear of the plane and said, “I’m sorry, but I never said you could come along on this trip.”

“You are?” she asked coyly. “Oh, my. You never said I could not come.” She gave me a stunning smile that I’m sure usually got her everything she’d ever asked for. “I naturally took your silence to signify agreement, so I packed my bag and cameras, and here I am. Lucky for you that I did; you wouldn’t want to get up there only to realize you needed someone to make a visual record of your discoveries. Besides, I know some of the discoveries the Russians made that they didn’t publish.”

The co-pilot walked up behind me. “Excuse me, Dr. Oswald. Can you please take your seat now? We’re on a very tight schedule, and Mr. Kowalski wants you in Deadhorse as soon as possible.”

I looked up front and saw that the cabin door was already closed, and the seat belt signs were on. Before I could answer, the plane began taxiing away from the hangar. Realizing that it was too late to rid ourselves of the reporter, I turned around and took my seat facing Angie.

“I see we still have Miss O’Shannon with us,” Angie said with a hint of irritation. “I thought you’d decided we didn’t need her.”

“I did,” I answered as the plane accelerated down the runway. “But the cabin door was already closed, and we were already moving.”

“Jack, you’re the leader of this study, and this plane wouldn’t even be here if it weren’t for you. The pilot would have turned around if you’d asked him to.”

“You’re right,” I admitted sheepishly, silently cursing my habit of not questioning authority figures, at least not unless it involved science.

“Well, what are you going to do about it?”

Suddenly and for no apparent reason, my annoyance with O’Shannon disappeared, and I felt an overpowering desire to keep her with us, with me. I twisted around and looked back at her. She was staring back at me with a knowing smile. God, she looked so mesmerizingly beautiful as her fingers provocatively played with the top button of her shirt. Of course, she should come…

“Jack… Jack!”

I jerked back around, my heart pounding as I felt my face warming. I was blushing from embarrassment and guilt. I was also confused, unsure of what had just happened.

“Jack, I was talking to you, and you just ignored me! What’s gotten into you?”

About the Author: A computer geek by day, at night and on weekends Donald Firesmith writes modern paranormal fantasy, apocalyptic science fiction, action and adventure novels and relaxes by handcrafting magic wands from magical woods and mystical gemstones.

A computer geek by day, Donald Firesmith works as a system and software engineer helping the US Government acquire large, complex software-intensive systems. In this guise, he has authored seven technical books, written numerous software- and system-related articles and papers, and spoken at more conferences than he can possibly remember. He is also proud to have been named a Distinguished Engineer by the Association of Computing Machinery, although his pride is tempered somewhat worrying whether the term “distinguished” makes him sound more like a graybeard academic rather than an active engineer whose beard is still more red than gray.

By night and on weekends, his alter ego writes modern paranormal fantasy, apocalyptic science fiction, action and adventure novels and relaxes by handcrafting magic wands from various magical woods and mystical gemstones. His first foray into fiction is the book Magical Wands: A Cornucopia of Wand Lore written under the pen name Wolfrick Ignatius Feuerschmied. He lives in Crafton, Pennsylvania with his wife Becky, his son Dane, and varying numbers of dogs, cats, and birds.

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Praise Quotes

“I enjoyed my time in Firesmith’s world. I did not want to leave. I really got a kick out of it, and would happily come back for more. Recommended.”
MJ Kobernus, author of The Guardian: Blood in the Sand

“This book rocks.”
Barton Paul Levenson, author of Dark Gods of Alter Telluria

“a quick, enjoyable read. Full of action and fraught with danger”
Dave Robertson, author of Strange Hunting, Strange Hunting II, and The Brave and The Dead

“The book is an easy and quick read and an action-filled one that you’ll imagine as a TV series or a movie with no difficulty.”
Olga Núñez Miret, author of Escaping Psychiatry

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He Takes the Cake by J. Lynn Rowan – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will award a randomly drawn commenter with a $20 Amazon/BN GC. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Life is good for Tess Gardiner: Her Savannah, Georgia, bakery and cafe is thriving. She’s earned Master Pastry Chef status from the American Culinary Federation. And she’s attending a regional culinary convention in Charleston, where she’s been invited to sit on a small business panel discussion. The opportunity to tout her success will, hopefully, lead to bigger and better things in her professional life. As for her personal life? The relative contentedness she’s enjoyed for years receives a sudden jolt when she comes face to face with Tyler Brinks, the ex-boyfriend she summarily dismissed from her life eight years ago.

Tyler’s success as a highly-trained chef has launched him into the stratosphere. He already owns one ridiculously successful restaurant, and he’s aggressively working on plans for a second. But he’s never quite gotten over Tess, and he’s never really been sure what actually went wrong between them. So when a pastry and baking competition is announced for the week following the culinary convention in Charleston, Ty jumps at the chance to tempt Tess with the challenge of being his partner, giving him the perfect opportunity to remind her how good they once were together.

As the competition heats up in the kitchen, it soon becomes clear to Tess that Ty has more than cream puffs and cupcakes on his mind. And she can’t deny that her feelings for Ty never truly cooled, but have been simmering all these years, despite the way their relationship ended. Now Ty’s attention has her wondering—is this just the path to final closure? Or could this be a second chance at true love?

Enjoy an Excerpt

Ty comes to a stop a couple paces away and settles his hands on his hips. “Hey, Tess. Long time, no see.”

“Yeah, well . . .”

That’s got to be the lamest opener ever. I clear my throat, relieved that my voice is working at all, and muster up my pride.

But before I can come up with a real comment, Ty says, “I saw you listed on the small business panel discussion. Must be exciting.”

“This from a featured presenter.” Squaring my shoulders, I tilt my head slightly and jerk my chin at him. “You always walk around in your chef’s coat?”

“Only when I’m hoping to run into my ex-girlfriends at culinary conventions.”

The teasing note in his deep voice has my eyes narrowing. “Tyler—”

He holds up his hands, palms out, and chuckles. “Geez, I’m kidding. Calm down, Contessa.”

“Do. Not. Call. Me. That.” I grind the words out from between my teeth.

“Wow. Still touchy, are we?” He crosses his arms again and tips his head back while he surveys me. We don’t have a big difference between us in height, but whenever he does that, it makes me feel about five inches tall. “I was actually prepping for a demonstration, and was just taking a little break.”

Irritation slides through me, both at Ty as well as myself. I shouldn’t be letting the old hurts bubble up like this. I haven’t seen him in eight years. Even if we parted on the worst terms possible, he deserves the benefit of the doubt, as a fellow culinary professional if nothing else.

“Sorry.” I make a show of folding up the pamphlet, forgotten until now, and sliding it into my bag. The move allows me to break eye contact and re-center myself. By the time I look up again, Ty’s smirk is back in place. Hoisting my bag into a more secure position on my shoulder, I fold my arms in a mirror of his posture. “You’ve probably got a busy few days ahead. Odds of us running into each other again are slim, so . . .”

A knowing light flashes in his eyes, even as he offers a handshake. Against my better judgment and with only the barest hesitation, I accept.

Fires start popping up all along my nerves the instant our palms touch. By the time I realize my mistake, it’s too late to pull away.

Ty gives my hand a gentle squeeze. “Maybe I’ll see you around.”

He releases me, takes a couple steps backward, and gives me a wink before turning to walk away. I stand there, my hand still hanging in the air like a limp fish.

Maybe I’ll see you around?

Coming from Ty, that’s not a possibility.

It’s a promise.

About the Author:J. Lynn Rowan started writing stories as a small child, usually starring her favorite cartoon characters. Most of her work through middle and high school was filled with typical teenage angst and melodrama, and usually mirrored the books she loved to read. But eventually she found her own author’s voice and decided to seriously pursue a writing career.

Historical fiction remains J. Lynn’s “first love”, but she has enjoyed the journey to becoming an author of romance and chick lit. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Central New York Romance Writers, and the Historical Novel Society. She is also a teacher who tries to instill a love of learning, reading, and writing in her students.

When she’s not writing, J. Lynn enjoys travelling, gardening poorly but enthusiastically, studying various topics in American history for her own expertise, and channeling Julia Child every time she steps into the kitchen.

A native of Oswego, NY, she now lives in Charlotte, NC, with her own Romantic Hero of a husband and their little rainbow, affectionately known as Babycakes.

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Among the Branded by Linda Smolkin – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Linda will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

While attending Valor of the ’40s, art director Stephanie Britain stumbles upon a flea market selling letters from the war. She buys a handful, hoping they’ll inspire the redesign for a client’s website at her branding and design firm. She’s at first drawn by the lost art of penmanship, but soon discovers a hidden treasure nestled inside declarations of love from homesick soldiers. Stephanie enlists a coworker to translate one and realizes it’s not a love letter after all. When a shocking discovery about a client causes Stephanie to question her principles and dedication to her firm’s business, she’s forced to make a difficult decision—one that could give her peace of mind, yet ruin her career in the process.

Contemporary fiction with elements of suspense, Among the Branded explores family life, an unexpected friendship, and moral conflicts that make us wonder what’s more important: our livelihood, or our beliefs.

Enjoy an Excerpt

It all started with the Moo Shoo Chicken, wreaking havoc on one of the moms in the upstairs bathroom. I felt for Jane, but had no desire to wear the shaggy costume meant for her. Svetlana stood next to me while the kids ran around, some playing tag, others spilling punch on the kitchen floor.

“Hey, guys,” she said, “put down the juice boxes, or somebody’s going to get hurt.”

She grabbed a sponge and bent down to clean up the mess.

“Rockin’ party,” I joked.

“More like raucous. Put a bunch of four-year-olds together, and I’m having a love fest with the linoleum.”

Sveta, as I’d called her for years, stood up and gave me a mischievous look, as if she was about to share some juicy gossip about a neighbor on her cul-de-sac. Instead, she asked me to take Jane’s place and dress up as Ripsie the Retriever. She asked twice then begged. It brought me back to when we first met, and she insisted I tag along for a Thursday-night Happy Hour.

“Why can’t you wear it?”

“Because I’m reading the book. And you’re taller—it’ll fit better.”

I washed my hands and reached for some pretzels. “Uh-huh, great excuse.”

There wasn’t enough birthday cake to make me agree. I’m claustrophobic, I could say. I’m allergic to dogs, crossed my mind, even though I had my own version at home, a German Shepherd named Ginger. But the more I thought about it, I couldn’t disappoint Sveta’s grandson, Evan, on his fourth birthday. So on a Sunday afternoon, I became Ripsie.

About the Author:Linda Smolkin always wanted to be a writer—ever since she saw her first TV commercial and wondered how to pen those clever ads. She got her degree in journalism and became a copywriter. Linda landed a job at an advertising agency, where she worked for several years before joining the nonprofit world. She’s the author of the novels Among the Branded (May 2017) and The Arrival of Elsa (March 2018). When not in front of the computer, she’s behind the drums (slightly) annoying her husband, son, and their 70-pound dog. She grew up on the East Coast and currently calls Virginia home.

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Her General in Gray — Interview with Linda Nightingale and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organied by Goddess Fish Promotions. Linda will be awarding Black Diamond Earrings and an eBook of Her General in Gray (International Giveaway) to one winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

If your book were made into a movie, who would you want to play your main characters?

I’m not much of a movie buff, frankly, and rarely remember the actor’s and actresses’ names. I guess I’ll have to go with my tried and true Johnny Depp for the hero and Cameron Diaz for the heroine.

How do you come up with the titles of your books?

Usually, the lead character who’s telling me the story to begin with, before the others walk onto stage, gives me the title. The story more or less names itself. When I’m having trouble, I consult my friend and author Toni V. Sweeney. I can trust her to come up with several suggestions from which I usually choose. Class Act Books (for whom Toni writes) is republishing my controversial dark fantasy Gemini Rising, renamed Gemini Unveiled, in November 2017. Toni came up with that title.

What does your writing space look like?

I dedicated a bedroom to my office. The desk with my laptop faces a window overlooking my backyard and a purple flowering bush just outside the window. My printer and bookcase are on the right. The walls are covered with angel prints, a tapestry of the Lady and the Unicorn and on the rear wall is my certificate for first place in the SARA Merritt Award with I, Lucifer, soon to be released by The Wild Rose Press as Gylded Wings.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?

I love to drive and enjoy events with my car club from twisty roads to get-together dinners for the club members. I also love to dress formal, get out the china and glass, and have formal dinner parties for my friends. Pass the champers please!

What is your favourite color?

Red, I think, but pink runs a close second.

What is your favourite pleasure food?

Ice cream. Guilty pleasure: Sometimes I sneak out of bed in the middle of the night for a few spoonfuls of ice cream or Marie Callander’s coconut cream pie.

What is your favourite season?

There’s something about each season I love. In south Texas, our seasons blur, so that you might get spring in winter and fall in winter. We had a two day winter this year. It froze and we lost plants, then it was spring, and now in March summer is creeping up on us. A humid affair, summer is…well, hot.

What is your favourite television show?

Poldark followed by Lucifer and Lethal Weapon, oh, and Game of Thrones and Outlander.

What is your favourite movie?

Last of the Mohicans

Who is your favourite actor?

Johnny Depp

What is your favourite song?

Memory from Cats.

What is your favourite comfort clothing attire?

Leggings and tunic

What books might we find on your bedside table?

The White Cliffs of Dover

Describe yourself in three words.

Insane, reformed dreamer, still dreamer.

Autumn Hartley purchases Allen Hall at a steal, but the northern lass gets far more than a beautiful plantation in the South Carolina Low Country. The house comes complete with its own ghost, a handsome and charming Civil War General—for the Confederacy. The stage is set for another civil conflict.

John Sibley Allen died in battle from a wound in the back, the bullet fired by the turncoat, Beauregard Dudley. The traitor’s reincarnation is Autumn the Interloper’s first dinner guest. Sib bedevils her date and annoys her with fleeting, phantom touches, certain he can frighten her away as he did previous purchasers. As time marches on, her resident ghost becomes more appealing while her suitor, Beau, pales in comparison. Autumn finds her ability to love didn’t perish in the divorce that sent her south seeking a fresh start.

After over a century in the hereafter, Sib discovers he is falling for none other than the feisty Yankee girl, but what future could a modern woman and an old-fashioned ghost possibly hope for?

Excerpt:

In an age of smart phones and tablets, she stood for a moment contemplating the past. The temptation was almost too much for her, but she’d started to fold the dress back into its resting place when a hand landed on her shoulder.

Sib’s voice was soft and tender. “The dress belonged to my mother. She wore it at a ball before the war. It appears to be in passable condition. Why don’t you try it on? I’ve imagined you so attired.”

“I’m a Northerner, remember? I’m surprised you offer your mother’s gown to me.” She turned, the green frock draped over her arm. “Where have you been anyway?”

“Here. All the time. I was simply playing along with your game of asking for my disappearance.”

She stiffened. “Don’t play games with me. My mother used to do that. It was disturbing and hurtful to a child.”

“You reveal more of yourself every moment, and I’m enjoying getting to know you. Very well, I’ll share something about me. My father—what do you call it today?—cheated on my mother. More than once.. I’d hear her crying at night. Thus, I would have been true to my wife.” Eyes sad, he nodded at the dress. “I’d like to see you in that, Autumn. We are becoming friends. She would have approved. I’ll assist with the buttons.”

“Turn your back. I’ll have to get undressed.” She motioned at him. “I’ve no desire for a ghost to see me in my bra and panties.”

He chuckled, his big grin enticing. “Such modesty. Actually, I was anticipating that view. Anyway, I’ve seen you in your underwear before.”

“You Peeping Tom!” She accused, shaking a fist at him. “Will I have no privacy? Do you follow me to the bathroom, too?”

“No, Ma’am.” He shook his head, his hair moving in soft waves. “I was simply in my bedroom when you changed into your nightgown.”

“It’s not your bedroom. This is my house, and don’t you forget it.” She glared at him.

He snapped a smart military salute. “Yes, commander.”

“Turn around.” She slid her sweatshirt over her head and slithered out of her sweatpants. “You are…such an annoyance.”

“Thank you. I couldn’t be more offended.”

A strange feeling of awe washed over her as she slid the beautiful gown over her head. “Okay. I’m ready for help with the buttons.”

The touch of his fingers filled her with an emotion she’d thought dead. A thrill actually rippled over her. Perhaps, because he was no threat. The General couldn’t break her heart as Chad had done. That dreadful affair seemed as far in the past as the dress of rustling satin. He was the VP at the agency, and their brief association and parting had twisted her feelings into knots.

“You’re tense.” Sib stroked her back. “I sense it isn’t the dress.”

“I’ll tell you later.” She spun, swirling the skirt. “What do you think?”

“I think you are the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.”

“You’ve got to be kidding.” A very sweet emotion seeped through her.

“Not in the least.” He offered her an old-fashioned bow.

Born in South Carolina, Linda has lived in England, Canada, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Atlanta and Houston. She’s seen a lot of this country from the windshield of a truck pulling a horse trailer, having bred, trained and showed Andalusian horses for many years.

Linda has won several writing awards, including the Georgia Romance Writers Magnolia Award and the SARA Merritt. She is the mother of two wonderful sons, a retired legal assistant, member of the Houston Miata Club, and enjoys events with that car club. Among her favorite things are her snazzy black convertible and her parlor grand piano. She loves to dress up and host formal dinner parties.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LNightingale
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Web Site: http://www.lindanightingale.com – Visit and look around. There’s a free continuing vampire story.
Blog: https://lindanightingale.wordpress.com/ – Lots of interesting guests & prizes
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Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Linda-Nightingale/e/B005OSOJ0U

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Gun for Hire by J.J. Montgomery – Spotlight and Giveaway


Long and Short Reviews welcomes J.J. Montgomery who is celebrating her debut release, Gun for Hire. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a copy of the book.

The job should have been easy—patrol a swank beach that serves as a backyard for Maui’s rich, kick out the riffraff, and get a tan in the process. But rent-a-cop Samantha Winters didn’t anticipate a deliciously grumpy cop, Sergeant Grady Roark, who comes down to the beach to bust her chops and instead leaves her breathless…and wondering why the one man who could help her seems determined to thwart her at every turn.

Grady is keeping secrets from Sam that have him walking the line between attraction and duty. But when Sam becomes the target of a shadowy organization, Grady will have to choose between the law and the temptation of a woman who has him breaking every rule he’s ever known.

The job should have been easy, but when the bullets start flying, Sam learns nothing is as easy as it seems when you’re a Gun for Hire.

Enjoy an Excerpt

“Why John Deacon, Sam?” Grady’s hands tightened on the steering wheel.

I threw my hands up. “It could be Jesus Christ himself signing my paycheck and I’d still be doing it for the same reasons! The job works for my family. What is your problem with John Deacon? And don’t tell me nothing—you owe me more than that.”

“Maybe I’m just jealous.” Grady stared ahead. “Like you said.”

My stomach did a loop. “Don’t use your charm on me, I’m immune—”

“You think I’m charming?”

“Hell no, I don’t! And particularly not when you’re avoiding my question.”

“But you said I had charm.” He tilted his head and gave me a long, sly look from the corner of his eyes. His teeth flashed white from that tanned face and I nearly had to fan myself when I realized I loved the feeling of Grady teasing me.

I threw my hands up in the air. “I give up!”

He wanted to talk about confusing? All I knew about Grady prior to this day was that he was six-foot-two of gorgeous and about as warm as a polar bear on the North Pole in January. And now—

About the Author:J.J. MONTGOMERY writes romantic suspense novels with a sense of humor. Her heroines are as smart as they are smart mouthed and the men in their lives are just trying to keep up. Gun for Hire is the first book in J.J.’s Maui Heat Series.

If you’d like to know more, including info on her newest book, where she gets her ideas, and how it’s possible she can’t use Facebook, please visit her.

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The Goddess’s Choice by Jamie Marchant – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organied by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jamie will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

In a world where the corrupt church hides the truth about magic, the fate of the joined kingdom falls on the shoulders of two young people from opposite ends of the social hierarchy.

Crown Princess Samantha’s life begins to fall apart when she starts seeing strange colors around her potential suitors. She fears that she’s going insane–or worse that she’s defying the Goddess’s will. Robrek is a lowly farmboy with incredible magical powers. He has been biding his time waiting to get revenge on those who call him a demon.

Thrown together by chance, they must overcome their differences to fight their common enemy Duke Argblutal, who, with dark magic, is slowly poisoning the king’s mind and turning him against his own daughter. Time is running out for those chosen by the Goddess to prevent the power mad duke from usurping the throne and plunging the joined kingdoms into civil war.

Enjoy an Excerpt

He returned to the horses, loaded the supplies on Wild Thing, and rode in silence to the abandoned stable. Robbie led the horse inside. When he lit the lantern he kept there, he let out a whistle of amazement. The horse was a bronze-colored mare that looked more like it was forged out of metal than living flesh! But the horse’s impossible color wasn’t the only thing that struck Robbie. Sores spotted the beast’s body; puss and blood oozed from under the saddle. The horse’s coat was matted with dried blood. Her ribs stood out in stark detail. How could anyone neglect a horse so badly? “Where could you have come from, girl?” Robbie could feel a wail building up inside the horse, so he hurried to take the armor and other equipment off her back, unsaddled her, and removed her harness.

“I don’t think you’re a demon. But I don’t know what you are. By the look of the armor you must have been some knight’s lady. But what happened to him? Sores like these don’t form overnight. If he’s still alive, he obviously doesn’t deserve a lady like you. So how about it? Will you be my lady?” He paused at the sound of his own words. Milady. “I had a lady once. For one day, that is. My brother didn’t approve—I’m sure he wouldn’t approve of you, either.”

About the Author: Jamie began writing stories about the man from Mars when she was six, and she never remembers wanting to be anything other than a writer. Everyone told her she needed a back up plan, so she pursued a Ph.D. in American literature, which she received in 1998. She started teaching writing and literature at Auburn University. One day in the midst of writing a piece of literary criticism, she realized she’d put her true passion on the backburner and neglected her muse. The literary article went into the trash, and she began the book that was to become The Goddess’s Choice. She is now releasing an expanded edition of the novel. Her other novels include The Soul Stone and The Ghost in Exile. In addition, she has published a novella, Demons in the Big Easy, and a collection of short stories, Blood Cursed and Other Tales of the Fantastic. Her short fiction has also appeared in the anthologies–Urban Fantasy and Of Dragons & Magic: Tales of the Lost Worlds—and in Bards & Sages, The World of Myth, A Writer’s Haven, and Short-story.me. She claims she writes about the fantastic . . . and the tortured soul. Her poor characters have hard lives. She lives in Auburn, Alabama, with her husband and four cats, which (or so she’s been told) officially makes her a cat lady. She still teaches writing and literature at Auburn University. She is the mother of a grown son.

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Researching Tips by John Geers

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Researching tips

Research is the backbone of great fiction. Only when an author is willing to do and incorporate solid research will their story hit its target, the heart of the reader.

People. An author must be the ultimate people watcher. We study how people react. How they eat, play, sing, and cry. We look at the smallest quirks and most insignificant traits and note them. Then we gather it all and glue it back together to create realistic characters.

Locations: An author must travel. The most effective way to do this is to physically go to a place. If that is not possible, we speak with those who have been there. We read about the places in books and magazines. We watch documentaries on Netflix. We spend time there in our imaginations. Only then are we able to take our readers there.

Things. An author must experience what their character experiences. We eat ice cream on a summer day without a napkin. We ride a bike down a big hill on a rainy day, walk barefoot on hot asphalt, lay naked under a blanket of stars and sip strong whiskey. An author understands that every experience is riddled with nuances that are unknown until they are experienced. We know that this brings authenticity to the reader.

Work…Hard Work: Writing without pouring energy into research is an exercise in vanity. If you are not willing to do the work, you are have deluded yourself into thinking that you are the first writer in human history to write great works in the absence of research. Don’t be that guy.

Go forth and research.

Two couples from Madison, with entwined destinies, both seeking love, are connected by a single element: the ancient Siberian witch, Thuban-Pol. Her magic will either be their savior or their ruin.

Thuban-Pol is the latest in a lineage of Siberian witches. Their eternal aim is to guide humanity to true love. Their guiding tenet, “For love to bloom, these three endure: sacrifice, perseverance and suffering. But the greatest of these is suffering.”

Since the dawn of humanity, they have summoned countless couples, inflicting suffering with the intention to grow true love. They have never succeeded…but now they have their best opportunity in two couples from Wisconsin.

If they succeed, love will finally bloom for all of humanity, if the suffering inflicted on these couples doesn’t kill them first.

Read an Excerpt:

Slivered gray wood covered the outside. Macabre scenes carved like tattoos stretched from ground to gutter and marched around each corner in a black parade.

Clint stepped close to the dark images and put a finger to one. “It’s soft and squishy, like driveway tar in summer, but it doesn’t stick to my skin. Weird.” His finger went to his nose, and he said, “Interesting. Hey, sniff this stuff.”

Lucy pushed her nose forward and sniffed the carving. “Yum, smells like…” she let the scent tumble around her brain, “like peppermint and something else I can’t place, but definitely peppermint.”

“Check out these carvings of animals,” he said.

Real and imagined creatures prowled midst the gray slivers. Indigenous animals were well represented; the snowy owl, Arctic fox, caribou and ermine. Along with these were animals too strange to be from this age. Some warned. Others offered a wry smile of welcome. A serpent barred vicious fangs stained crimson, dripping pregnant bulbs of creamy poison. A grizzly bear smothered the head of a besieged she-wolf with one massive paw while tonguing the cheek of its pup. Wild caribou ran in stampede along the edge of a deep ravine, flirting with the abyss.

Woven among the animals were humans. Black eyes. Black bodies. Black forms. Black illuminated. A child held the face of its mother. A man raised a silver sword over the broken body of his slain foe. A son leaped into the arms of his father, reminiscent of the Prodigal Son, but on this wall, soaked in black, the anguish and joy were fresh. Sex was here too. Bodies engaged in all variety of forbidden acts, twisted and beautiful.

As the black parade marched on, frozen poses of pain pinched Lucy, forcing her tight against his chest once more.

A man groped the ground with orange coals where eyes once took in the world. A woman with a flapping tongue, split like the Serpent, hissed a song to the full blood moon. A young man pled for mercy, torn fingers lost in the gnashing teeth of his lover. A man pounded the ice above his head. A child wailed in the jaws of a terrible beast, eyes begging for a hero, a call for rescue swallowed by winter. A family huddled tight, defying flames that, in real life, would be their end. A woman slumped with blood and afterbirth at her feet, her ashen eyes stone, silence of mother and child scattered across eternity. A wrinkled face echoed hope, sealed behind tortured lips.
About the Author:

John Geers drew inspiration to begin his debut novel from a dream he experienced.

Hours spent in the caffeinated air of his favorite coffeehouse proved to be the perfect place to complete Emerge Beyond Circles.

John is a middle school literacy educator, where he inspires and is inspired by the writers of tomorrow. He is the founder and facilitator of his school’s Creative Writing Club. He is also a columnist for the online magazine Elephant Journal.

He loves a good story, being on the water, and witty puns. He can be found hiking the wilderness, biking big hills, sipping dark coffee, and looking for a chair in the mall.

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Sharing Rachel by SS Hampton, Sr. – Spotlight and Giveaway


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Burt and Rachel Markham are ordinary small business owners of a seed & feed store in a small Kansas farming and ranching community. Many years before, as young university graduates eagerly anticipating exciting overseas employment, a lifetime in Kansas was the furthest thing from their minds, particularly Rachel who was raised overseas and dreamed of going back. By July 2013 their twin 18-year old daughters, having graduated high school several months before, go east to attend a university. Burt and Rachel settle into their new life of an empty house and a predictable and unchanging routine that threatens to stretch far into the future. One summer evening Burt has an idea—but will Rachel accept the idea? If she does, will the idea add new excitement to their marriage, or destroy it?

Enjoy an Excerpt

A song of reserved exuberance began; the feminine voice rolled the sound of many of the French words. Rachel tilted her head to listen to the music.

“Edith Piaf, France’s premier singer back in the ‘60s,” she announced fondly. “She died of cancer. This song, it’s “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien,” or “No, I Regret Nothing.” It’s one of her most famous.”

She put her elbows on the table, folded her hands and rested her chin on them. She looked at Burt.

He listened. Maybe it was the title—the voice and music had a slow almost melancholy, and yet proud and defiant feel to it. The music and words added an authentic touch to the dim bistrot. If he closed his eyes for a moment he might be able to imagine a rainy night in Paris, sitting in a French bistrot with his wife in the shadow of Notre Dame Cathedral, overlooking the Seine River. Paris was a city he always wanted to visit; he knew Rachel and her parents had visited when stationed overseas.

“I’m not really hungry yet,” he said.

She nodded. “Like I said, after.”

Burt looked at the empty foyer. There was “After” again…

The waitress returned with their drinks.

“There’s not a wide variety of food because we follow the old European tradition of few selections, but each one is of loving preparation and excellent taste. Would you like to order something?…”

“Perhaps a little later,” Rachel answered. “We’re waiting on someone.”

Burt took a drink of his beer and glanced at the TVs. Sports and news. She took his hand in hers, tilted her head and continued smiling at him.

Maybe GentlemanNate wouldn’t show…

About the Author Stan Hampton, Sr. is a full-blood Choctaw of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, a divorced grandfather to 13 grandchildren, and a published author, photographer and photojournalist. He retired in 2013 from the Nevada Army National Guard with the rank of Sergeant First Class; he previously served in the active duty Army, and the Army Individual Ready Reserve (mobilized for the Persian Gulf War). He enlisted in the Nevada Army National Guard in October 2004, after which he was mobilized for Federal active duty for almost three years. Hampton is a veteran of Operations Noble Eagle and Iraqi Freedom, with deployment to northern Kuwait and several convoy security missions into Iraq.

He has had two solo photographic exhibitions and curated a multi-media exhibit. His writings have appeared as stand-alone stories and in anthologies from Dark Opus Press, Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy, Melange Books, Musa Publishing, MuseItUp Publishing, Ravenous Romance, and in Horror Bound Magazine, The Harrow, and River Walk Journal, among others.

As of April 2014, after being in a 2-year Veterans Administration program for Homeless Veterans, Hampton is officially no longer a homeless Iraq War veteran.

In May 2014 he graduated from the College of Southern Nevada with an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Photography – Commercial Photography Emphasis. He has been studying at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas with in a double major in Art and English. However, he is presently spending a cold, rainy Spring 2017 semester studying at a university in southwestern France in the shadow of the Pyrenees Mountains.

But, after 16 years of brown desert in the Southwest and overseas, he misses the Rocky Mountains, yellow aspens in the fall, running rivers, and a warm fireplace during snowy winters.

BN Author Page | Dark Opus Press | Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy Publishing | Melange Books | MuseItUp Publishing | Amazon Author Page | Amazon UK Author Page | Goodreads | Facebook

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Don’t Bury Your Beauties by Stuart Suffell – Guest Blog and Giveaway


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Don’t Bury Your Beauties by Stuart Suffell

When does one bury a short story so deep into the back of one’s wardrobe, that all of Narnia have read it – twice?

The answer is perhaps never. “Birthright”, my short story in the fabulous Behind the Mask: A Superhero Anthology, began life in a cold wet January in a small, slightly damp room, on the west coast of Ireland in the year 2014. After a hectic schedule for the previous six months, where my trusty laptop knew no creative endeavour, I had decided, enough was enough. I was a writer, (or so I’d told people), so I should write!

My laptop creaked opened and I sat there for some time, staring into space. I was about to close it again when an image appeared in my mind’s eye. A girl, alone, walking down a hard dirt desert road, surrounded by miles of emptiness. She looked like a young Sissy Spacek, and in hindsight it’s possible I had seen said actress in a scene like that somewhere back in time. Way back.

She was alone, but not exactly lonely. There was something awkward in her gait, like she was carrying an invisible burden on one shoulder, throwing her off balance. The burden played on her mind, yet she carried it deftly, accepting its presence. I knew in a flash that she was on the cusp of a change – on the sidelines of an unclaimed destiny.

And I wanted to know why.

Why on the sidelines? What was her burden? Why did she accept its weight? Why didn’t she leave it down?

The heat of the sun burned down on this girl’s back, and I saw her burden. A sunburnt back, but more than sunburned. Ravaged, red, raw. She had been scarred, but I did not know how.

But I started to write, feverishly.

She lived with her Pa, whom she loved dearly, but now a distance had grown between them. She lived in a shack, the yard littered with bits of machinery, car engines, homemade mechanical gizmos. But where? Twelve hundred words written and I did not know her address.

And so out came my mini globe (a cheap toy, but a handy one). I gave it a spin, and the Nevada desert jumped up too bite me.

I went onto Google maps. Ridgecrest popped out. I went in deep. No, too big. I knew she was from a smaller more rural town. I went deeper, and there it was Randsburg. Raggedly Randsburg. A one horse town, whose horse had died of thirst years ago.

So what next? Well, the dreaded research, that’s what!

I hate research, or anything that isn’t creative writing, but sometimes, (all times), it just had got to be done. And boy was I happy I did it.

An empty desert full of vibrant history. The fervour and fever of the gold rush, the displacement of native peoples, the KKK sponsored dances in nearby Johannesburg, and then, the gem, the thing that expanded the story, gave it an undercurrent, and an end – the tunnel, ‘known as Burro’s Tunnel, named after William ‘Burro’ Schmidt, the madman who’d spent thirty three years of his life carving it out of Copper Mountain, with nothing but a pickaxe’.

Who could have imagine such gems could exist in such a dusty dead desert? Certainly not me.

So twelve hundred words became six thousand by the end of the week. I was a hero, the world had been saved.

Except it hadn’t. Friends and fellow writers I shared my master piece with had responses that ranged from ‘meh’, to ‘is everything all right Stuart? I mean, you getting enough sleep ‘n stuff?’

But I knew this was the one. I knew it was a shift in my writing style. Dagnabbit, I found my writer’s voice! After all this time, I’d found that damned, elusive, ‘voice!’

And, I had. But I hadn’t found how to make it speak.

When a got a pretty detailed rejection from my intended publisher, which essentially echoed the comments of my beta readers, I decided it was time to hit the N button – the Nephew.

My dear nephew, Eoin (pr Owen) – hates reading. Despises it. Would rather pluck out his ‘nose hairs with a pair of pliers.’

But his skills with the ‘cross-out pen’ are second to none. He is ruthless to the point of awe, with as much concern for my feelings, as a scorpion might have for its prey. That which ‘bores’ Eoin, goes. Most of it anyway. 6000 words became 5000.

I submitted it again (the story went through numerous titles before Birthright). Again, thanks, but no thanks. Something was wrong.

My master piece was perfect. It was beautiful. It was downright pretty, damn it! And therein was the problem. I had diluted the central idea of the piece, the transformation of this strange girl. I had sacrificed urgency and tension for the ‘wonderful use of language’ accolades I knew would come. My nephew had said as much in his own eloquent inimitable way, (‘too much nonsense, Unc. Too much fluff.’)

My darlings had to die, and I, their father, had to kill them off, one by one.

5000 became 4400.

So I had my MC, her world, her burden, and her path to redemption/ destiny. She was a reluctant heroine – a reluctant super-heroine. But I needed something else. Some form of accelerator to give the story greater urgency. And then the other N came – nuclear. How can there be a superhero without some kind of nuclear fallout? How could there be a Fallout Man or Radioactive Boy without radioactive particles floating around the place? I decided there couldn’t. In such a world many would suffer, not least those yet to exist. A 100 words were added.

And “Birthright” was born.

So, the moral of this everlasting tale?

Don’t bury your beauties, reshape them until they shine through, and shine true.

Behind the Mask is a multi-author collection with stories by award-winning authors Kelly Link, Cat Rambo, Carrie Vaughn, Seanan McGuire, Lavie Tidhar, Sarah Pinsker, Keith Rosson, Kate Marshall, Chris Large and others. It is partially, a prose nod to the comic world—the bombast, the larger-than-life, the save-the-worlds and the calls-to-adventure. But it’s also a spotlight on the more intimate side of the genre. The hopes and dreams of our cape-clad heroes. The regrets and longings of our cowled villains. That poignant, solitary view of the world that can only be experienced from behind the mask.

Enjoy an Excerpt from “Birthright” by Stuart Suffel

Sara stalled her bike and parked on the side of the road some miles away from Joe’s place. She took a slim book from inside her jacket and opened it to a photo, which acted as a bookmark. It was the only photo she had of her mother.

In the photo, her mother was wearing dungarees and had her hair tied back. She was half-concealed under a cottonwood tree, her face and neck speckled with the blotches of shadow from the tree’s many leaves. She was smiling, but without showing any teeth.

As a child, Sara had thought that one had to smile with no teeth visible in order to be elegant. She’d practiced it herself for many hours in front of the mirror, until she’d come across the newspaper clipping that detailed her mother’s radiation poisoning—complete with graphic illustrations of tooth loss.

The photo was dated June 3, 2025, exactly five years after the start of the war—four and a half years after Sara was born. Her mother’s stance had a juvenile awkwardness, like a polio victim who had never stood before—likely to collapse at any time. It wasn’t just the radiation. The wings were heavier than they looked. They affected her mother’s balance when she was on solid ground. In the picture, the wings weren’t visible: They were folded back, like hair tightly brushed. Sara had sometimes wondered if her mother had been ashamed of her “blessing.”

Lily, her mother, was the first to get the poisoning. Soon others turned up at the medical center in Ridgecrest, their backs and shoulders bubbling like hot soup, yet none felt any pain. If anything, they each claimed to have felt healthier than they’d ever felt. Finally, one of the specialists sliced open her mother’s back to see inside. He and the other surgeons recoiled in horror as the two blood-wet wings unfurled before them. Not long after, her mother and the others were hailed as the salvation of the free world. In truth, they were the sacrificed.

In other parts of the world, it wasn’t wings. In some countries, it was dragon horns and a tail; in others, the legs and torso of a horse; in still others, multiple heads or arms. The scientists had said it was an “inverted psychosomatic manifestation of culturally inherited representations of the archetypical good or powerful.”

Each to their own crazy, Sara had once heard someone quip.

But growing up, Sara, like so many others, saw them as heroes. Real life heroes come alive from the comic books of old. Fearless, invulnerable superhuman creatures born from deep within the human psyche. Our childhood fantasies made flesh.

Some said the bombs were a blessing. There were even new comics made—graphic novels her father always corrected her—of the Birds, the Minotaurs, the Dragons, the Kali.

She had collected all of the Bird novels. They were heroes. Superheroes. Unbeatable. Impenetrable. Invulnerable.

But it turned out they weren’t any of these things.

About the Author:Stuart Suffel’s body of work includes stories published by Jurassic London, Evil Girlfriend Media, Enchanted Conversation: A Fairy Tale Magazine, Kraxon Magazine, and Aurora Wolf among others. He exists in Ireland, lives in the Twilight Zone, and will work for Chocolate Sambuca Ice cream.

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All other authors in the anthology

Kelly Link is the author of four short story collections: Get in Trouble, a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, Pretty Monsters, Magic for Beginners, and Stranger Things Happen. She lives with her husband and daughter in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Seanan McGuire lives and writes in the Pacific Northwest, in a large, creaky house with a questionable past. She shares her home with two enormous blue cats, a querulous calico, the world’s most hostile iguana, and an assortment of other oddities, including more horror movies than any one person has any business owning. It is her life goal to write for the X-Men, and she gets a little closer every day.

Seanan is the author of the October Daye and InCryptid urban fantasy series, both from DAW Books, and the Newsflesh and Parasitology trilogies, both from Orbit (published under the name “Mira Grant”). She writes a distressing amount of short fiction, and has released three collections set in her superhero universe, starring Velma “Velveteen” Martinez and her allies. Seanan usually needs a nap.

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Carrie Vaughn is best known for her New York Times bestselling series of novels about a werewolf named Kitty, who hosts a talk radio show for the supernaturally disadvantaged, the fourteenth installment of which is Kitty Saves the World. She’s written several other contemporary fantasy and young adult novels, as well as upwards of 80 short stories. She’s a contributor to the Wild Cards series of shared world superhero books edited by George R.R. Martin and a graduate of the Odyssey Fantasy Writing Workshop. An Air Force brat, she survived her nomadic childhood and managed to put down roots in Boulder, Colorado.

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Cat Rambo lives, writes, and teaches atop a hill in the Pacific Northwest. Her 200+ fiction publications include stories in Asimov’s, Clarkesworld Magazine, and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. She is an Endeavour, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award nominee. Her second novel, Hearts of Tabat, appears in early 2017 from Wordfire Press. She is the current President of the Fantasy and Science Fiction Writers of America. For more about her, as well as links to her fiction, see her website.

Website

Lavie Tidhar is the author of the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize winning and Premio Roma nominee A Man Lies Dreaming (2014), the World Fantasy Award winning Osama (2011) and of the critically-acclaimed The Violent Century (2013). His latest novel is Central Station (2016). He is the author of many other novels, novellas and short stories

Kate Marshall lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and several small agents of chaos disguised as a dog, cat, and child. She works as a cover designer and video game writer. Her fiction has appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Crossed Genres, and other venues, and her YA survival thriller I Am Still Alive is forthcoming from Viking.

Website

Chris Large writes regularly for Aurealis Magazine and has had fiction published in Australian speculative fiction magazines and anthologies. He’s a single parent who enjoys writing stories for middle-graders and young adults, and about family life in all its forms. He lives in Tasmania, a small island at the bottom of Australia, where everyone rides Kangaroos and says ‘G’day mate!’ to utter strangers.

Michael Milne is a writer and teacher originally from Canada, who lived in Korea and China, and is now in Switzerland. Not being from anywhere anymore really helps when writing science fiction. His work has been published in The Sockdolager, Imminent Quarterly, and anthologies on Meerkat Press and Gray Whisper.

Adam R. Shannon is a career firefighter/paramedic, as well as a fiction writer, hiker, and cook. His work has been shortlisted for an Aeon award and appeared in Morpheus Tales and the SFFWorld anthology You Are Here: Tales of Cryptographic Wonders. He and his wife live in Virginia, where they care for an affable German Shepherd, occasional foster dogs, a free-range toad, and a colony of snails who live in an old apothecary jar.

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Jennifer Pullen received her doctorate from Ohio University and her MFA from Eastern Washington University. She originally hails from Washington State. Her fiction and poetry have appeared or are upcoming in journals including: Going Down Swinging (AU), Cleaver, Off the Coast, Phantom Drift Limited, and Clockhouse.

Stephanie Lai is a Chinese-Australian writer and occasional translator. She has published long meandering thinkpieces in Peril Magazine, the Toast, the Lifted Brow and Overland. Of recent, her short fiction has appeared in the Review of Australian Fiction, Cranky Ladies of History, and the In Your Face Anthology. Despite loathing time travel, her defence of Dr Who companion Perpugilliam Brown can be found in Companion Piece (2015). She is an amateur infrastructure nerd and a professional climate change adaptation educator (she’s helping you survive our oncoming climate change dystopia).

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Aimee Ogden is a former biologist, science teacher, and software tester. Now she writes stories about sad astronauts and angry princesses. Her poems and short stories have appeared in Asimov’s, Fantasy & Science Fiction, Daily Science Fiction, Baen.com, Persistent Visions, and The Sockdolager.

Nathan Crowder is a Seattle-based fan of little known musicians, unpopular candy, and just happens to write fantasy, horror, and superheroes. His other works include the fantasy novel Ink Calls to Ink, short fiction in anthologies such as Selfies from the End of the World, and Cthulhurotica, and his numerous Cobalt City superhero stories and novels. He is still processing the death of David Bowie.

Sarah Pinsker is the author of the 2015 Nebula Award winning novelette “Our Lady of the Open Road.” Her novelette “In Joy, Knowing the Abyss Behind” was the 2014 Sturgeon Award winner and a 2013 Nebula finalist. Her fiction has been published in magazines including Asimov’s, Strange Horizons, Lightspeed, Fantasy & Science Fiction, and Uncanny, among others, and numerous anthologies. Her stories have been translated into Chinese, French, Spanish, Italian, and Galician. She is also a singer/songwriter with three albums on various independent labels and a fourth forthcoming. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland with her wife and dog.

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Keith Frady writes weird short stories in a cluttered apartment in Atlanta. His work has appeared in Love Hurts: A Speculative Fiction Anthology, Literally Stories, The Yellow Chair Review, and The Breakroom Stories.

Ziggy Schutz is a young queer writer living on the west coast of Canada. She’s been a fan of superheroes almost as long as she’s been writing, so she’s very excited this is the form her first published work took. When not writing, she can often be found stage managing local musicals and mouthing the words to all the songs. Ziggy can be found at @ziggytschutz, where she’s probably ranting about representation in fiction.

Matt Mikalatos is the author of four novels, the most recent of which is Capeville: Death of the Black Vulture, a YA superhero novel.

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Patrick Flanagan – For security reasons, Patrick Flanagan writes from one of several undisclosed locations; either—
1) A Top Secret-classified government laboratory which studies genetic aberrations and unexplained phenomena;
2) A sophisticated compound hidden in plain sight behind an electromagnetic cloaking shield;
3) A decaying Victorian mansion, long plagued by reports of terrifying paranormal activity; or
4) The subterranean ruins of a once-proud empire which ruled the Earth before recorded history, and whose inbred descendants linger on in clans of cannibalistic rabble
—all of which are conveniently accessible from exits 106 or 108 of the Garden State Parkway. Our intelligence reports that his paranoid ravings have been previously documented by Grand Mal Press, Evil Jester Press, and Sam’s Dot Publishing. In our assessment he should be taken seriously, but not literally. (Note: Do NOT make any sudden movements within a 50′ radius.)

Keith Rosson is the author of the novels THE MERCY OF THE TIDE (2017, Meerkat) and SMOKE CITY (2018, Meerkat). His short fiction has appeared in Cream City Review, PANK, Redivider, December, and more. An advocate of both public libraries and non-ironic adulation of the cassette tape, he can be found at keithrosson.com.

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