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Katherine Eddinger Smits: Have You Visited the Psychic Capital of the World? (Excerpt)
Wednesday, October 13th, 2021

Mediums are the main attraction in one of my favorite places, Cassadaga, Florida. If you want to communicate with a loved one who has passed away, this is the go-to town.

As you walk along the quiet streets, many of the homes are Victorian with wide porches and colorful gingerbread trim. Others are more like cottages or bungalows. The atmosphere is peaceful and serene, and you see signs outside the homes advertising psychic readings

A fascinating bookstore offers the schedule for the month including tours, healing and massage services, orb photo opportunities, educational sessions, and so much more.  This is the perfect place to begin learning about Spiritualism and the history of the town.

A historic hotel dominates the smaller businesses and residences. Its 1920’s style luxury immediately brings about a sense of a slower, simpler pace of life. It’s supposed to be haunted, but the ghosts are friendly!

Even if you don’t see a ghost during your stay, you can get a tarot card reading, experience a reiki healing session while reclining in a crystal bed, or have your aura photographed.

I could go on and on about this charming location, which is only about 20 miles from Daytona Beach, but truly in a different world.

My recently released novel, Witch Trial Legacy is set in Cassadaga and surrounding areas and is the first in a collection where romance collides with supernatural suspense.

The Cassadaga Collection: Witch Trial Legacy

If you are a fan of Tricia O’Malley or Kay Hooper, you’ll love The Cassadaga Collection: Witch Trial Legacy.

 Get your copy here!

Sybilla Sanborn must break a centuries-old curse before everything she cares about goes up in smoke.

Sybilla is a nurse gifted with the ability to heal with her touch but cursed with visions of future tragedies she cannot prevent because no one heeds her warnings. With help from the mediums of the spiritualist town of Cassadaga, Florida, she learns she is descended from both the first person executed for witchcraft in this country and the man who accused her.

Conn Ahern is an Iraq war vet dealing with pain and PTSD while working as a paramedic and struggling to save the ranch his grandmother founded. He’s an atheist who wants nothing to do with the people of the town.

When Conn and Sybilla meet, sparks fly, but not always in a good way, and their relationship fans the flames of jealousy and revenge in someone who doesn’t want them to work things out.

During a séance, her ancestor’s spirit reveals how Sybilla can rid herself of the curse and save Conn, but the price may be too high.

Here’s an excerpt that shows Sybilla meeting with a medium and experiencing a past life regression where she views what happened to her ancestor:

This time she didn’t even make it up the sidewalk before the door opened. “Did you glimpse me from the window again?”

“Nah, this time it was my psychic power.” Mr. Bennett said it deadpan.

Not sure if he was joking, she nodded and followed him inside.

Today he sported a blue and yellow Hawaiian shirt over tan pants and sandals. He carried a tray with a pitcher of ice water and two glasses into the living room and set it on the coffee table. “Okay, you’re familiar with the drill by now.” He gestured toward the recliner.

She sat there, and he settled in the other one. “The initial routine will be the same as the previous sessions. First, a short prayer, then I’ll put you in a state of deep relaxation. When you’re completely open, I’ll guide you to younger times in your life. Eventually, we’ll return to previous lives or those of your ancestors. The process is a little like hypnosis, except I won’t be giving you suggestions or commands. Instead, I’ll guide you to remember past incarnations. Time is not a concept of the other side, so during a session, we could move backward or forward from the present. Who you were, and who you are, and who you will be are all the same. Only our mortal minds need to sort events into before and after. So, whatever happens to you, go with it. All right?”

She touched her butterfly necklace. “What if I get scared or find out something terrible? What do I do?”

“Trust me. If you tense up or I think you’re becoming frightened, I’ll bring you to the here and now. Remember, none of what you see or hear is happening in this lifetime, but the past and can’t harm you. Are you ready?”

“Let’s do it.” She leaned back, closed her eyes, and listened as Mr. Bennett said the invocation and guided her through relaxing by contracting and releasing the muscle groups in sequence from her feet up to her neck and face. An odd floating sensation went through her as if she hovered a few inches above the chair.

His calm, soft voice surrounded her. “Now, I want you to remember a time when you were young and happy. Tell me about it.”

“My birthday when I was five. I had on my princess gown with a tiara in my hair. Mommy looked so beautiful in her white slacks and lacy top, like a queen. The cake was white with white icing and gold candles. Everything at the party was white and gold. So lovely.” Sybilla sighed. The day had been one of her best, before the visions and the fear.

“All right. Imagine yourself as a toddler.” He paused. “Now as a baby.” For a moment he remained silent again. “Now, go further, all the way to the womb.”

Imagining myself in utero is silly. No one can remember before they were born. Black nothingness, although warm and safe.

“Let your mind drift to before this existence, to when you manifested as someone else, someone with a different name and a different body, a man or a woman, adult or child. Do you remember?”

Something happened.

*~*~*

She viewed the world from a different perspective as if she were shorter. Her chubby body was that of a child. Young, maybe six or eight. She stood in a cell beside a woman who wore an ankle-length, black skirt with a white apron, and a dark, long-sleeved blouse. The woman wept and sobbed into a handkerchief.

Mother. She clung to the woman. “Don’t cry. I love you. What’s wrong?”

Rough hands gripped her shoulders from behind and plucked her from the woman’s arms. “Mistress, say goodbye to your daughter.” A male voice, cold and harsh.

The woman clutched her and hugged her hard.

The man with the cruel grip dragged her away.

She wailed. “No, let me go. I want my mother.”

The man lugged her out as she kicked and screamed, and her mother shouted, “Damn you, Matthias North. You bear false witness against me. Though I am no witch, I condemn you and your line forever. No one will ever again believe you or anyone descended from you for the rest of time.”

“A witch you are, proved by the curse that falls from your foul mouth, evil one.” The man spat on the floor.

When he reached the outer door of the jail, he handed the struggling child to a woman. “Take her and find a family to care for her until she is grown. The witch hangs tomorrow.”

About the Author

Katherine Eddinger Smits is a direct descendant of Susannah Martin, one of the victims tried and executed for witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692. With a master’s degree and over 20 years of clinical social work experience, Katherine addresses real-life issues of self-acceptance, body image, relationship dynamics, fears, and phobias through stories of fantasy and romance which include mages, mermaids, and magical creatures. Mystery, suspense, and a little sex add spice to her books.

Other books by Katherine Eddinger Smits:
Water Dreams, Love’s Siren Song, Book I
Water Desires, Love’s Siren Song, Book II
The Sea Witch and the Mage, Sirens Series 1
Siren Descending, Sirens Series 2

Social Links:
Sign up for my newsletter and I’ll send you an exclusive short story. I email newsletters once or twice a month and always include contests. http://katherineeddingersmits.weebly.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KatherineSmits.author
Word Siren Blog: https://katherinesmits.wordpress.com/
(Group Blog) Pen Dames: https://pendames.blogspot.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/katherinesmits

COWBOYS is out today! Just $0.99!
Tuesday, October 12th, 2021

Cowboys: A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology

Just $0.99!!
Order your e-copy here:
Kindle | Nook | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play

We (all 15 authors!) are very proud of this edition! Click on the cover above to read more about the stories in this anthology. They’re all spicy and fun and all feature cowboys—whether riding a horse in Texas or wrangling space creatures. We set the price low, not because we didn’t think people would be willing to pay a higher price, but because we want to share it with as many people as we can. There will be a print edition very soon. So, get your copy! The eBook costs less than a cup of coffee—even the straight, unflavored cup! Remember, I have a short story in this volume, too! One related to my Cowboys on the Edge series…

Also, please visit the Collections website for the next wee while. Starting tomorrow, the authors will be sharing photos that depict an aspect of their stories, plus, there will be contests! 

And reviews are always much, much appreciated! ~ DD

Coming Tuesday! And a Contest!
Sunday, October 10th, 2021

On Tuesday, a brand new “collection” arrives! Have you pre-ordered your copy? It’s 72,000 words of sexy goodness—all centered around COWBOYS—and it’s just $0.99!!! The authors are eager to share their stories, and we have some fun planned for the release. There will be contests; authors will be sharing snippets from their stories; and did I say contests? Where? Over at my Collections website. Go check it out now! While you’re there, be sure to subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss out on any of the fun!

Cowboys: A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology

Contest

You can check out the first five of my Boys Behaving Badly collections by clicking on the covers. And yes, they are all just $0.99—not because they’re not worth the full price, but because the authors of these stories want as many people as possible to devour their stories! They’re a great deal and great way to find new-to-you authors!

Comment for a chance to win the download of your choice of
one these anthologies!  There will be three winners!

Rogues Blue Collar Pirates
Stranded First Response: A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology

EmKay Connor: The 5 Best Thing About Fake Dates
Friday, October 8th, 2021

There’s nothing artificial about the popularity of the “fake” trope in romance books. Phony fiancée, temporary wife, stand-in wedding date, boyfriend-for-hire, fake affair. Its popularity isn’t limited to books; how many fake relationship romantic comedies can you name? Here are a few to get you started:

While You Were Sleeping
Overboard
The Proposal
Can’t Buy Me Love
To All the Boys
Leap Year
Green Card
The Wedding Date

Earlier this year, I signed up to write in a fake-date themed anthology. Picture me rubbing my hands in glee, and then picture me doing a happy dance when I learned the story also needed to include a holiday angle.

A holiday fake date—two of my favorite tropes. The story was already loaded with potential for fun, but I ramped up the humor and complications by setting my story in a small town filled with nosy neighbors and interfering friends.

Unwrapping Archie is one of 22 stories in Holiday Fake-Out, a 99¢ limited-time anthology headlined by Heather Graham. It’s the story of Archie Caddel and Anabelle Cypress, best friends since kindergarten, who find it convenient to let their family and friends assume there’s more to their relationship than just friendship. However, on their annual trip home for the holidays, their lie spirals out of control until the truth catches up with them. Things are further complicated when the close-knit townsfolk of tiny Joy Ridge, Pennsylvania, decide to give them a nudge in the right direction.

Let me tell you the 5 best things about writing a fake romance. I hope you’ll share what you enjoy most about reading these romances and check out the Holiday Fake-Out box set!

  1. Forced Proximity – Part of the farce is pretending to be in love, or at least infatuated, with each other, which requires the hero and heroine to act like a couple. That often means sharing the same bed, traveling together, or otherwise being joined at the hip.
  2. Friends to Lovers – taking a couple who think they’re “just friends” on a journey to romance is so much fun to write because the characters are just as surprised by the turn of events as readers.
  3. It’s Complicated – While faking a relationship seems like a simple solution to whatever problem the hero and/or heroine is dealing with, the plan is bound to fall apart at some point. Upping the stakes, shifting priorities, discovering what really matters in life can only happen after the (fake) happy couple has dealt with lots and lots of complications.
  4. Fake It Til You Make It – “Oh, you mean we have to hold hands and kiss and maybe do some other juicy stuff to convince everyone we’re a real couple? Twist my arm, baby. Especially when the hero is sizzling hot and irresistible, and I’ve secretly been fantasizing about him for years!” said every fake romance heroine ever.
  5. I Didn’t See That Coming – Most fake relationships only require the farce to last for a limited time. Tensions rise as the hero and heroine get closer and closer to the end point, wondering if maybe the romance is real, debating whether they should take a risk and admit they’ve fallen in love, questioning the possibility of a happy ever after instead of a temporary thrill. As an author, driving my characters and the readers to the edge and then wrapping up all the loose ends into a neat little bow is especially satisfying.

About the Author

EmKay Connor is the author of sexy, sassy contemporary romantic fiction infused with quirky humor and engaging characters. Her over-the-top, instalove, escape reads are set in tropical locations, rustic locales, glamorous destinations, and friendly small towns where her heroes and heroines discover passion and fall in love. For more information about EmKay Connor and her books, visit her website at http://sexysassyromance.com/

A day in my life… And open contests!
Wednesday, October 6th, 2021

Defending EvangelineI finished writing Defending Evangeline yesterday! Woot! It’s longer than my usual story, and it about killed me!

Today will be a busy one. I have to do a final readthrough before I ship DE off to my sister. The story “lives” in her Brotherhood Protectors–Team Trojan world. As soon as I finish that, I’ll be editing one final story for the Cowboys: A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology, which releases October 12th! Then it’s straight to another author’s story I have to wrap up the edits for by Friday! Yes, a big busy day!!! Oh, the glamorous life of an author-editor!

Tomorrow, I start another book with a VERY SHORT deadline. Yeah, I’ll be typing until my fingers are little stumps—oh, wait! They already are! But enough whining.

Let me know what stories you’re looking forward to reading, not just mine! And be sure to enter the contests I have listed below. They’re still open!

Open Contests

  1. Story Cubes — Tell me a story (Contest) — Win an Amazon gift card!
  2. Candice LaBria: Falling Hard (Contest & FREE in KU!) — Win a FREE book and get a FREE read!
  3. How big a deal is Halloween? (Contest) — Win an Amazon gift card!
  4. Have you pre-ordered your copy? Defending Evangeline (Contest + Excerpt) — Win an Amazon gift card!
EmKay Connor: It’s not too late! Authors collaborate to raise money for 9/11 20th Anniversary
Monday, October 4th, 2021

This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon in Washington DC, and the crash of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Carina Alyce, an author and physician, wanted to do something to honor the memories of those lot that day.

Twenty years ago, those heroes went up those stairs and never came back. We can never replace what was lost, so we can at least do our part to preserve their memories.  ~Carine Alyce, author and physician

After posting an open invitation for contributions to a box set of first responder romances, fellow authors EmKay Connor, Karigan Hale, LoLo Paige, LC Taylor, and Samantha Thomas joined the project, Heroes with Heat and Heart: A 9/11 Charity Anthology. Each wrote a separate story featuring front-line heroes such as ER physicians, firefighters, police and sheriff officers, wildland firefighters, and S.W.A.T. team members.

Each of the authors had a very personal reason for wanting to be a part of the anthology.

Carina Alyce joined the anthology because she worked for years in the ER side-by-side with many firefighters and EMTs.

EmKay Connor, a former Navy wife who lived on a military base in Washington, DC, during the 9/ll attacks and aftermath, believes in honoring those who serve and sacrifice for the USA.

Karigan Hale chose to participate to honor the amazing first responders that not only were heroes during the attacks on September 11th but also during the recent pandemic.

LoLo Paige joined the anthology because she supports all firefighters who put their lives on the line daily.

LC Taylor, a former police officer who is married to one, was inspired to participate because she has worked alongside police officers and firemen for several years

Samantha Thomas calls participating in the anthology a “privilege” that allowed her to honor the New York community, as well as family and friends that work as first responders, in all capacities, every day

To date, more than $1,400 has been raised to support the 9/11 Memorial & Museum in New York City (https://www.911memorial.org/). All royalties—100%—generated during the months of September, October, and November will be donated. Supporters can subscribe to the charity anthology newsletter to track donations and support the heroes of 9/11.

Heroes with Heat and Heart

Heroes with Heat and Heart is available on Amazon/Kindle Unlimited for $3.99 and the gorgeous print copy is $20.

For more information and more first responder hero romances, join the Heroes with Heat and Heart reader group on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/1243950246047530

Have you pre-ordered your copy? Defending Evangeline (Contest + Excerpt)
Saturday, October 2nd, 2021


I have new books coming soon. One, in particular, I’m pretty excited about. Defending Evangeline exists inside my sister Elle James’s Brotherhood Protectors world. It’s one of five books in the Team Trojan stories inside the series. I have an excerpt to share. The minute Zeke and Evangeline meet sparks fly (Pssst. It’s a very sexy read!). I’m sharing a hint of it below! Enjoy! Poor Zeke’s in a bad way. 🙂

Defending Evangeline

A sharp-edged, disgruntled former Green Beret who needs to find redemption finds himself attracted to a woman hiding dangerous secrets.

Zeke Turner still can’t get his head wrapped around the fact he’s been all but booted from the job he loved. Angry over the fact Trojan Team took the fall for their leadership’s failure, he’s relieved that he and his buddies appear to have landed on their feet, still together, having been hired by the Brotherhood Protectors, but he doesn’t trust this move will end well. Once burned, twice shy is his motto—and he was never very trusting in the first place.

His first protection job doesn’t leave him feeling any surer he made the right decision, but he’s keeping his dissatisfaction to himself, keeping his head down…until then he bumps into a dark-haired angel in Fool’s Gold, who manages to both attract and intrigue him. He knows something’s not right, that Evangeline Carré is scared and hiding secrets. With his protective instincts going into overdrive, he’s determined to unravel the mystery surrounding her while keeping her safe, even when she swears she doesn’t need or want his help.

Pre-order your copy here!

Contest

For a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card, let me know if this story is one you look forward to reading! Let me know how you like the excerpt! Do you love ex-military men who put everything on the line to save the women they love?

An excerpt from Defending Evangeline

By early evening, they’d heard from Cage and Sawyer. They’d finished up installing all the tech at the cabin and were heading back. Jake had outfitted Zeke with weaponry, and a satellite phone, as well as one of the tracking pendants. They’d use the cover of darkness to spirit Evangeline away from the lodge, with decoy vehicles to distract anyone who might try to tail them.

Right now, he was climbing the stairs two at a time to bring Evangeline down for dinner. The team was using a room reserved for parties for their meal rather than their usual staff-only table in the dining room to keep Evangeline out of the public eye. Clint was watching the entryway and stairs to ensure that he got her downstairs without being seen.

It was a lot of cloak and dagger shit, but after Evangeline had spent the afternoon confined in her room, Jake and RJ were sure she would appreciate some company and a taste of normalcy.

Zeke had showered and changed half an hour ago, and RJ had stopped by Evangeline’s room to let her know what the plans were for the evening meal. He paused and rubbed a hand over his hair, making sure nothing was sticking up, then knocked on her door.

Evangeline opened it a few moments later.

Every thought in his head flew at the sight of her, replaced by an instant surge of lust. Although dressed casually, her jeans were dark and tailored to hug the length of her surprisingly long and slender legs. Her feet were encased in short black leather boots with three-inch heels. On top, she wore a teal-colored sweater that looked as soft as a cloud and molded over the curves of her perfectly sized breasts. The collar of the sweater draped downward, and there was a deep narrow slit in front that showed just a hint of her cleavage. She’d left her dark hair down and wore only the lightest application of makeup. She didn’t need any of it. The woman was gorgeous. Way out of his league. And suddenly, he felt awkward, like an oafish Shrek, as he stood before her.

“You look nice,” he said, wincing inside because she looked much more than nice, but he would likely have garbled a stronger compliment.

She blushed as her gaze roamed his body from his chest to his toes and back up to his face. “You look nice, too.”

Her lips parted, and he had the urge to duck down and kiss her. Fuck, I’m in trouble. Instead, he held out his arm. “Ready to head down?”

She stepped out, closed the door behind her, then took his arm and walked beside him as they headed to the stairs.

“Were you bored as fu—bored,” he quickly corrected, “staying in your room all afternoon?”

“Yes, I was bored as fuck,” she said, her words sounding almost comical coming from her mouth. She glanced sideways, revealing a teasing smile.

He cleared his throat to keep from laughing. “I spend all my time with other guys. I don’t have to think so much about what comes out of my mouth.”

“I’m not a fragile princess or a prude. I won’t judge you, Zeke.”

He stayed silent as they descended the steps, determined not to trip over his own feet and bring her down with him. At the bottom of the stairs, Clint gave him a wink and signaled the “all clear” as he took her past the dining room to the smaller party room.

“I’ve put you all to a lot of bother,” she said softly.

They’d reached the door. Zeke turned toward her. “Stop. This is what we do.”

“For money,” she said, her eyes filling. “And you should be paid. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to reimburse you for everything—”

“Stop.” He pulled her against his chest. “We’ll get paid. Just not by you. The Brotherhood Protectors make bank for their paying jobs, but they also have benefactors who fund jobs where people can’t afford to pay for the protection they need. We don’t turn down someone who’s needful for lack of money.”

She leaned back her head. “I hate this. I put myself in this position. No one should feel sorry for me.”

“No one does. We feel concern—for your safety. And you do not deserve what’s happening to you.”

She dropped her gaze but didn’t step out of his embrace. He liked how she felt pressed against him, soft and warm. Her fragrance, a hint of a light exotic floral, filled his nose, and it was all he could do not to tighten his arms around her.

“I think they’ll probably wonder what’s keeping us,” she said, peeking up at him again.

He didn’t move his arms. “You ready?”

Her eyebrows drew closer. “Not yet,” she said, then rose on her tiptoes and kissed the side of his mouth. When she lowered again, she cleared her throat. “I am now.”

Shocked, Zeke slowly let his arms fall away. Evangeline turned and opened the door. He followed her and quickly schooled his expression into an impassive mask.

Why had she kissed him? Okay, so it had been on the corner of his mouth, not directly on his lips. Maybe it was how she kissed friends. Maybe it was some French-Canadian thing to kiss your bodyguards.

His mind was blown—and not just from her quick, over-in-a-second gesture—but from the memory of the slide of her body up his, her breasts rubbing his chest, her belly lightly grazing his cock as she’d risen.

Now, he was breathing through his nose to calm his heart and keep his unruly dick from showing how much he’d liked the feel of her rubbing up and down his body.

And maybe he hadn’t hidden his lust very well, because while they were calling out greetings and standing to offer her a chair, there were sly glances from his teammates as he followed her, a hand on the small of her back, which he hadn’t realized he’d placed there, until now.

That she allowed it and didn’t draw away only made things worse for his poor dick.

Relief filled him when she sat and he was able to quickly take a seat beside her. He was perspiring. Likely his cheeks were darkening. He reached for the glass of water at his place setting and downed half the glass before he swept his gaze around the room at his team and gave them a fierce glower.

Soft chuckles followed, but Zeke was saved from further ribbing by the swinging door opening and Gunny, followed by RJ and her friend JoJo, bringing in the food.

The smell of sizzling steaks filled the room, and Zeke’s stomach growled. Happy for the distraction, he glanced sideways at Evangeline, who was looking back at him.

Their gazes locked. A pale flush of pink crept across Evangeline’s cheeks, but her lips curved into a small smile.

His irritation with his friends died down as he smiled back. “Looks like it’s steak,” he said, cursing his stupid tongue. Duh.

“After all I ate for lunch, I’m surprised I’m suddenly ravenous.”

Jesus. The way she said that last word had him thinking about all the things he was truly ravenous to consume—her sweet curves, her cries.

Maybe his expression gave him away, because her blush intensified…