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Monica Corwin: The Pressure of A Series End (FREE BOOK and Excerpt)
Wednesday, January 13th, 2021

First, I’m going to spill the tea on myself. I published On a Red Horse, the first book in my Paranormal Romance Series titled Revelations, back in 2015. On a Pale Horse, the fourth and final book in the series, just released here in 2021. For a traditional publication this schedule wouldn’t be so uncommon…but for the indie market where readers value quicker turn out from their favorite authors, it’s ages.

I’d like to say I don’t know what happened to make me stall out so hard on OAPH, but I found the last book in the series to hold so much pressure. It started by re-reading the other books and marking them up by category (plot loops I needed to close, random character descriptions I’d forgotten) and by the time I sat down to work on OAPH I sort of froze up. Information overload. Sadly, a common occurrence with ADHD suffering folks like myself.

I’d put so much pressure on finishing the book, on getting it done, that I tricked my brain into thinking it was a much more momentous task than it really turned out to be. Will my readers love the end? Dang I hope so. Will this happen to me again? Probably. Can I overcome it? Absolutely.

We live in unprecedented times right now. No matter where you stand in the world things are not running at your usual normal. So I wanted to take a tiny moment to give you permission to extend yourself some grace. Give yourself a hug, make yourself some tea, and know that when accomplishing something is difficult, take a minute and you’ll figure it out.

And cue segue into talking about OAPH. In this book, Hades (yes that one you are thinking of) wants to move his relationship to the next level with his long-time partner, Death (the horseman of the apocalypse – but she’s a lady). So, against a backdrop of lots of end of the world shenanigans, Hades enlists the help of Death’s (Cloris’s) ex-girlfriend, Persephone. And obviously, sparks fly all around.

See what I did there…I needed to finish my book…Hades needed to finish er…well…anyway.

Here’s a bit of an excerpt for you to try out…

Hades made coffee with shaking hands. They quaked so hard; he had to press them into the cold granite countertop to steady himself. He would have finished it with Cloris last night. He wanted to. He needed her in a way he couldn’t express. And yet, she still held back, still feared hurting him, or that he might equate her with Hel. He swallowed the flash of images that rose to his mind at the thought of Hel’s name and focused intently on making his espresso.

He hadn’t been able to stop the flashbacks, but he was learning to deal with them. A couple years ago, he even started therapy, but not a soul knew that other than his therapist. They’d been working through his imprisonment. Obviously, he’d changed the story for a human audience, and it had been helping. Now he couldn’t figure out how to convince Cloris he was ready for her. And he feared making her wait a thousand years for him had threatened whatever future they might have together.

Moments like this made him want to be human.

People’s reactions to him unsettled him, and Cloris had stopped reacting to him within weeks of them being locked together as horseman and seal. So, he could barely get a read on her in any situation. Hell, she could have stopped wanting him ages ago and simply maintained a façade to avoid conflict. Cloris would fight when it came down to it, but she did not enjoy conflict. If Cloris got involved, it would be to put a stop to whatever was going on.

Charon, the middle-aged, hulking former boatman, shuffled into the kitchen in his bunny slippers, and Hades handed him a mug. “I already made it,” he said, pointing to the pot.

Charon narrowed his eyes at him

“What? I can make coffee,” Hades said in a huff.

The man stood and waited, and when Hades poured the coffee, Char gave a satisfied nod before wandering away. Charon had nowhere to go once the Underworld changed into Hel’s realm. He considered himself a servant of Cloris and Hades, but they never saw him that way. Occasionally, he’d play security at the club since his shoulders were the width of most doorframes and his height unsettled most. Other than that, they left him to his devices, which included Netflix binges of Gilmore Girls and reading Manga.

It was a simple arrangement. Cloris entered the kitchen past Charon and squeezed his arm on the way. She stopped dead in front of Hades and eyed his hand holding the coffeepot.

“Did you make that or did Charon?”

Hades suspected they didn’t like his coffee. “Charon did.”

She raised one perfect eyebrow, calling him out on the lie without a word.

“Fine. I did. What’s wrong with my coffee?”

“Nothing at all, My Love.” She grabbed his mug off the counter and took a sip. “One just needs to brace for impact when drinking it.”

*~*~*

The Revelations Series is now complete and Books One through Three are all on sale until the end of the week. The first book is FREE!

✨ Book One ✨ On a Red Horse
https://amzn.to/2MTzGcZ
Free this week only!

✨Book Two ✨ On a White Horse
https://amzn.to/2MOBP9M
$0.99 this week only!

✨Book Three ✨ On a Black Horse
https://amzn.to/3oCpXG9
$0.99 this week only!

✨Book Four ✨ On a Pale Horse
https://amzn.to/3qcHXqP
BRAND NEW RELEASE!

If you want to keep on top of sales and information you can follow me on Facecbook at http://www.facebook.com/monicacorwin , Instagram at http://www.instagram.com/rosetyper9 , or Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/monica_corwin

Thank you and don’t forget to take a moment to breathe!

Anna M. Taylor: Do You Believe In Ghosts? (Contest)
Thursday, December 17th, 2020

UPDATE: The winner is…Carol Cox!
*~*~*

I realize when I ask, “Do you believe in ghosts?” I’m really asking, “Do you think there’s anything stronger than the grave?” A Roman Catholic colleague of mine had someone ask her why she prayed to her dead grandmother. Her response was she didn’t believe death could kill all that love. No way was that connection gone. I agree with my friend. I believe love is stronger than the grave and that love wants to work to our benefit. That love is stronger than the evil often attributed to ghosts by the likes of Henry James and Edgar Allen Poe. Even phenomena like poltergeists are considered rare and tied to the unresolved issues of the living.

I was always attracted to the idea of friendly spirits who want to be helpful. Be they the ghosts from the TV show Topper or cartoons like Casper the Friendly Ghost. As a kid, my heart always broke for Casper when the kids he was playing with were dragged away from him by scared screaming parents. Maybe growing up in the turbulent ’60s and knowing people rejected people like me because of the color of my skin had me identify with Casper on a level I wasn’t aware of.

I know my belief in help from beyond the grave is firmly rooted in my belief in the resurrection. But I’m also sure my belief in helpful ghosts has been shored up by the various movie versions of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Published in 1843 as “A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas” Dickens had a similar themed story in his 1836 novel, The Pickwick Papers, entitled “The Goblins Who Stole A Sexton.” In that story a selfish sexton is visited by goblins who help him see the error of his ways much like the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future helped Ebenezer Scrooge see the light. Between you and me ghosts are much more appealing than goblins.

My interest in ghosts has led to loads of research about the parapsychology realm. For instance, I learned there are five types of ghosts: the interactive personality, ectoplasm, poltergeist, orbs and funnel ghosts. Who knew? Most stories naturally focus on the interactive personality, but I’m intrigued to learn more about the other four. I came across the Louisville Historic tours has some cool photos of each if you’d care to check them out: https://louisvillehistorictours.com/the-5-different-types-of-ghosts-with-photosThey’ve even got a video purporting to capture an orb: https://louisvillehistorictours.com/ghostorbs.

It’s also nice to know I’m not alone in my interest in manifestations from the other world. I went to ParanormalSocieties.com and have discovered thirty-five paranormal societies I intend to check out here in New Mexico.

So how about you? Do you believe in ghosts as a quantifiable reality or the stuff of fantasy and wishful thinking? Share your thoughts in the comments. I’d love to give someone a chance at a $10 Amazon gift card. Hope your holidays have been merry and bright.

A Little In Love With Death

Ten years ago no one — not even the man who said he loved her — believed Sankofa Lawford’s claim she had been brutally attacked by a ghost. Ten years later an assault on a new victim brings her back to Harlem to a mother going mad, a brother at his wits’ end and a former love who wants a second chance. Sankofa longs for her family to be whole again, for love to be hers again, but not if she must relive the emotional pain created by memories of that night.

Mitchell Emerson is convinced science and reason can account for the ghostly happenings at Umoja House. He resolves to find an explanation that will not only satisfy him but earn back Sankofa’s trust and love. Instead, his own beliefs are shaken when he sees the ghost for himself.

Now reluctant allies, Mitchell and Sankofa learn her family was more than a little in love with death. Their search for the ghost draws them together but discovering sixty years of lies and secrets pulls them apart. As their hopes for happily ever after and dispersing the evil stalking Umoja House slip beyond their grasp, Mitchell and Sankofa find an unexpected source of help: the ghost itself.

Excerpt from A Little in Love with Death…

Mitchell swallowed hard. Ten years hadn’t lessened the effect of Sankofa’s beauty on him. Photos in various alumni newsletters showed the gray in hair that had once been charcoal, the roundness in a face that had once been slender, the tiredness in a gaze that had once been energetic. He’d expected his ex-lover’s effect on him to be just as diminished. His shoulders suddenly drooped, weighed down with the loss of what might have been.

Harlan Montgomery Jr. clapped Mitchell on the back.

“Here he is, Langston. I told you Mitch would respond to our S.O.S.” He peered into Wanda Lawford’s room, shuddered then addressed Langston again. “How’s Auntie doing?”

Langston shrugged and averted his gaze.

Sankofa crossed her arms and glared. “As well as can be expected.”

Mitchell cleared his throat. Ten years hadn’t changed how emotion colored the Lawford siblings’ light complexions. Embarrassment darkened Langston’s. Anger still set Sankofa’s ablaze.

Harlan smiled, unfazed by the hostility she poured on him. “It’s good to have you back in Harlem, Sankofa.”

Sankofa uncrossed her arms. “I’m not glad to be back.” She turned her sharp glare on Mitchell. “And I won’t be staying long.”

He touched the side of his face where her scowl scraped his cheek, half expecting to find blood. He remembered how her eyes sparkled like sunlight through honey when she smiled. He would receive no smiles this trip. And rightly so. She had no reason to be glad to see him.

Buylink:
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Anna M. Taylor website: https://annamtaylor.webs.com
Anna M. Taylor FB Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/annamtaylorAuthor
Anna M. Taylor Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Anna-M.-Taylor/e/B0894LFCTV?author-follow=B0894LFCTV&

Ara Geller: Russian Folktales, Invitation to Explore, and a New Anthology (Excerpt)
Monday, December 14th, 2020

A girl goes into the forest in search of a cannibal witch and comes out with a skull lantern full of magic coals.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

If you haven’t, don’t feel bad about it. Popular culture has been so thoroughly saturated with Disney-goggled fairytales, that anything outside the scope of televised fables naturally flies under the radar. Naomi Novik and Katherine Arden, among other fantasy writers, have been doing magnificent work bringing forth Slavic and Russian-influenced tales to the mainstream book market, but so much remains unexplored.

Especially within the realms of Romance and Erotica genres. Nobody likes a raunchy adaptation of Beauty and the Beast better than I do. But Little Red Riding Hood has been ridden by the Big Bad Wolf so many times, no wonder the poor dear can’t find her way to her Grandmother’s house.  I’m not saying these trusty, good old fairytales should be forsaken, gods forbid. But while Cinderella and Hansel and Gretel continue to fuel fine taboo tales, why not take a peek at another pantheon of fairytale characters?

There are damsels, there is distress, and sometimes they are coupled, but often in unexpected ways that make you raise your brow, thoroughly intrigued. (I’m looking at you, Marya Morevna! Who has the most powerful warlock in Russian folklore locked up and chained in one of their rooms? And why? I have so many questions!)

There are Bird-Princes, and Grey Wolves, and Baba Yagas, and clever, tough heroines that deserve a chance to shine.

I hope I’m doing my (small) part in the short story, “Vasilisa and the Tale of Tales,” published in the collaborative project Perfect Potions: An Anthology.

Interested in a sneak peek of “Vasilia and the Tale of Tales”? I’ve got you covered:

Suddenly, Lisa felt a chill run down her spine. Leaves rustled above their heads and she slapped a hand over John’s mouth to keep him quiet. But she could feel him tense as well, his body preparing for a fight, his heartbeat receding into a quiet drum. It’s been three years, but she was still attuned to the slightest shift of his body.

She tried not to think about his body.

The air was full of a new smell – feral fur, sweat, the scent of death, and endings. Softly, a rumble rolled through the treetops. Thunder, Lisa thought at first, but something was off. It was alive.

A purr.

And the sound of chafing chains.

“Carrion-eater,” John hissed.

“Skoromokh,” she whispered, her eyes trying to pierce the dark foliage above her.

She had never met one in person. Supposedly, one — or many — have visited her mother when Lisa and her sister were born. But mother never spoke of that.

All Lisa knew was common knowledge — they took many shapes, had sharp teeth and a silver tongue, and an uncanny tendency to appear when tales were about to start or end. They fed off tributes offered by hopeful or fearful parents, or, if no tribute was offered, on the dead bodies left in the wake of the Tale. They were the Order of Skoromokh, the Tale-tellers, the Witnesses. They took no sides but carried the Tales to the end.

The air hummed with static electricity, raising the small hairs on the back of her neck on end.

“I prefer Scholar Cat,” said a dark voice.

The voice was followed by the appearance of two rows of sharp glistening teeth stretched into an impossibly wide grin. Then, out of the darkness slowly emerged an enormous striped body of a feline. It sprawled along a branch high up in the tree, a golden chain looping from its neck all the way around the tree trunk.

“What are you doing here?” John asked.

The Cat smiled unpleasantly but said nothing.

Lisa felt her heart tighten in her chest. There were no tributes to feed it here. But soon, there will be dead bodies aplenty. “Our tale is coming to an end,” she said softly.

The Cat’s smile widened further, and she grew nauseated. She looked at John, finding him watching her, his face pale but his eyes steady. He tore his eyes from hers and looked up at the creature.

“It’s not over yet,” he stated.

The Cat cackled, standing up and stretching sluggishly, its body rippling with grace. Finally, with a flick of its tail, it slipped along the branch further into the darkness.

Lisa swallowed hard, apprehension creeping into her heart. She tried to shove it down, looking at John in hopes of reclaiming the anger that’s been driving her for the past years. Instead, she saw something dark in his own eyes, familiar and unnerving. She looked away, squeezing her eyes shut. Not now.

“Was this what we were supposed to find? The Carrion-eater?”

She shook her head, looking down at the stalling app on the screen. “I don’t know.” She looked up at the tree, but there was no trace of the sinister feline. His chains, however, were still in place, spiraled around the trunk and from hanging from the higher branches. Lisa frowned.

“Yeah,” John murmured. “Weird.” He took a step forward, as if he would go around the enormous tree, to follow the Skoromokh.

Lisa instinctively jerked on the chain, pulling him back. “Where do you think you’re going?”

He stumbled for the umpteenth time and then righted himself. When he turned to her, it was obvious he had had enough. She saw him plant his feet apart, and when he pulled on the chain, she realized she’d made a mistake. She tried to pull back, to keep her footing, but he was stronger than her, and no magic chains undid that. He pulled her slowly, methodically, watching her.

Something dark coiled in the pit of her stomach, dissolving into a burst of butterflies. She was already too close, but he gave one final yank on the chain and caught her deftly, pressing her body to his with an arm around her waist. His blue eyes were midnight black, full of promises made, full of purpose, and the intoxicating nightshade of desire.

When he spoke, his voice was rough and low and reached out into the dormant nooks of her heart with practiced ease. “Where can I run from you, Lisa?”

*~*~*

Don’t forget to get your copy of Perfect Potions: An Anthology, available on Kindle and in paperback.

Together with 14 other writers, we explore potions in all their glory, and I dive headfirst into the world of Russian folktales. The anthology may not be erotic, but it’s chock full of romance of the finest kind, guaranteed to make your heart flutter. Who knows, maybe you’ll meet your new favorite author among the line-up?

Come follow me. I’m a hoot!

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Rochelle Bradley: Dragonfly Wishes
Monday, October 26th, 2020

I’ve noticed something. Something freakish. Everywhere I go I see dragonflies. Not just cute pictures or shirts, but actual flying bugs.

Multiple symbolisms and legends surround the history of the dragonfly. The dragonfly is seen as a symbol of change since it transforms, much like a butterfly. 2020 has been a year of change.

My prince suggested I notice the insects because I’d been working on my newly released novella Dragonfly Wishes. Since it was in the forefront of my mind, I saw dragonflies everywhere, like when you get a new car, and suddenly, there seem to be a million on the road like yours.

One large dragonfly flew up to me in the parking lot at a home improvement store. I was out of town in the mountains, nowhere near water or warmer temperatures. However, I learned one nickname for the dragonfly was the “Globe-skimmer.” It can fly long distances and each of its four wings can move independently. The dragonfly is a beautiful creature with a colorful body and iridescent wings.

Fall 2019, I was asked to join a fairytale anthology. “I can do this,” I told myself and accepted the offer. As time wore on, my confidence eroded. Writing Dragonfly Wishes was a big change from my romcom comfort zone. “I don’t write fantasy” and “how can I be funny?” were my two biggest arguments. Was it too much change? But in the spring Kyan began talking to me. Yes, my characters do speak to me. Ideas started scrolling through my head, and I fell in love with the story concept.

In my Grimm fairy tale retelling, Kyan is a dragon shifter who enters our world through a magic portal. When he visits he transforms into a dragonfly. Talk about change: from the largest beast to an itty bitty bug. He has to learn to cope with his other-worldly, gargantuan surroundings. Kyan also wants to help Arianna resist her overlording uncle, but he finds it hard to do as a small insect.

Change can be a good thing, sometimes scary, too. Like Kyan, I had to overcome my self-restricting ideas and strive to rise above them.

Be on the lookout for dragonflies on the winds of change. I’m watching for them and more good things on the horizon.

Dragonfly Wishes (and 8 other fairy tale retellings) in Whos the Fairest? A Sisters Grimm Anthology: https://books2read.com/whostheFairest/

Dragonfly Wishes paperback: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1947561111

Once upon a time, there was a fisherman and his wife scratch that

Once upon a time, there was a fashion designer and a dragon shifter from another world

Arianna Travers creates clothing that brings joy to others. Haunted by her mother’s disappearance and tormented by her overlording step-uncle, Arianna desires to escape reality even if it’s only through the tip of her charcoal pencil.

A royal of Ellehcor, Kyan the dragon shifter spies the forlorn beauty through a magical window to another world. To meet her face to face, he leaves the sanctuary of his home realm and enters the portal, transforming into a dragonfly.

Things don’t go as planned when Kyan becomes entangled in spider silk. Arianna discovers the little blue dragonfly and rescues him. As a reward, Kyan offers to grant her wishes, but before Arianna can make a wish, the Overlord steals it from her.

As Kyan and Arianna’s relationship blossoms, so does the breadth of the Overlord’s wishes. Kyan strives to save Arianna from her uncle and his devious plans, but what can a dragonfly do?

About the Author

I’m from Cincinnati, Ohio but now live in Dayton. I live with a big black kitty and an orange tiger kitty, a plated lizard, my daughter, son and my prince.

I write fairytale retellings and romantic comedies because the world needs more laughter and love.

Make sure to check me out!

website: https://rochellebradley.com
Amazon Author Page: https://amzn.to/32CmDlX
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Anna M. Taylor: The Celebration of Discipline (Contest)
Thursday, October 15th, 2020

UPDATE: The winner is…flchen1!
*~*~*

Discipline? Uh oh. Where is this erotic romance writer taking us now? As usual to a place you never expected to go.

When I was an associate pastor at the First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica NY I became friends and colleagues with Reverend Nancy Schaffer. Rev. Nancy was FPCJ’s pastoral care associate. She headed the pastoral care ministries of visitation and social service outreach. To keep these activities from being something on a to-do-list, she guided the congregation and us on staff in the care of self and one another through spiritual awareness and practice. She taught this A-personality, right-brain clergyperson to appreciate the mystical side of Christianity in ways I never had before. She slowed my rapid NYC pace via the stillness of labyrinth walks accompanied by the music of mystics like Julian of Norwich. From her, I experienced the power of Lectio Divina prayer and guided meditation.

One year, she used Richard Foster’s book Celebration of Discipline as our Lenten study. In it, Foster describes twelve disciplines, i.e. spiritual practices, that help us experience transformation in our encounters with God. Foster outlines twelve disciplines in three categories: Inward (meditation, prayer, fasting, study), Outward (simplicity, solitude, submission, service) and Corporate (confession, worship, guidance, celebration). We also had a workbook that helped us individually and in small groups go deeper into the book as well as share what we were learning.

Searching for something else, I recently came across the book in my garage. Intrigued by the table of contents I’ve dedicated a week to each of the disciplines. I’m relearning how powerfully each discipline can anchor me in the reality of the spiritual, a reality Mitchell Emerson, the hero in A Little In Love With Death, finds he knows very little.

The week I focused on meditation I experienced once again the slowing down of Rev. Nancy’s labyrinth walks. By meditating on nature, I appreciated anew colors in flowers that had always been around me. I hadn’t realized how many blues the sky contained. I heard music in the different bird calls and trills that I’d never really listened to before. Through a technique called “palms up, palms down”, I experienced relief as I verbally released negative things weighing on me with my palms down and received positive things freeing me to relax and enjoy life with my palms up. Another technique had me sit quietly with a word or a phrase for a set period of time and just be. If something came to me during the time, fine. If nothing came to me, that was fine too.

This week I’ve delved into study and already had my preconceived notions of what study is blown to smithereens. I look forward to what the next few weeks have in store.

I’d love to hear what is helping you connect with something deeper or stay grounded during this anxiety-ridden time. Please share in the comments what’s helping you for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card.

A Little In Love With Death by Anna M. Taylor

Ten years ago no one — not even the man who said he loved her — believed Sankofa Lawford’s claim she had been brutally attacked by a ghost. Ten years later, an assault on a new victim brings her back to Harlem to a mother going mad, a brother at his wits’ end and a former love who wants a second chance. Sankofa longs for her family to be whole again, for love to be hers again, but not if she must relive the emotional pain created by memories of that night.

Mitchell Emerson is convinced science and reason can account for the ghostly happenings at Umoja House. He resolves to find an explanation that will not only satisfy him but earn back Sankofa’s trust and love. Instead, his own beliefs are shaken when he sees the ghost for himself.

Now reluctant allies, Mitchell and Sankofa learn her family was more than a little in love with death. Their search for the ghost draws them together but discovering sixty years of lies and secrets pulls them apart. As their hopes for happily ever after and dispersing the evil stalking Umoja House slip beyond their grasp, Mitchell and Sankofa find an unexpected source of help: the ghost itself.

Get your copy here!

Excerpt from A Little in Love with Death

“‘Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities, against spiritual wickedness in high places.'”

            Mitchell leaned forward in the chair across from Professor John Mortimer. The neat and tidy mid-Century chrome, light wood and primary color surfaces defied the stereotyped clutter attributed to eccentric college professors.

            “That’s your realm more than mine, John. You’re the philosophy and religion professor.”

            Mortimer leaned back, his fingertips steepled. “But it’s why you sought me out, why you’re talking to me about this.”

            “Granted, but as I’m not in the camp of Biblical literalists, I don’t know how to interpret that verse.”

            Mortimer smiled. “Perhaps you’re more comfortable with Shakespeare? ‘There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophies, Horatio.'”

            Mitchell shook his head. “Nope. That’s equally unhelpful.”

            Professor Mortimer laughed. “Too metaphysical for your scientific tastes, Mr. Soon-to-be Commissioned Lay Pastor?”

            Mitchell shrugged. “Too metaphysical for someone who recently just put religion back in their portfolio.”

            Mortimer leaned a forearm across his desk’s glass surface. “So why don’t we start with the answer you want and work our way back to the truth?”

Mitchell dry scrubbed his face. Could he accept his answer wasn’t the truth? He studied his friend. A scientist and an evangelical believer, John Mortimer was Mitch’s bumblebee: the thing defied all the reasons for why it shouldn’t exist by its very existence.

Buy links: Amazon – Get your copy here!

*~*~*

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M. A. Monnin: Music as a Muse (Recipe)
Friday, October 9th, 2020

I brake for great songs. Not literally, but when I’m driving, I tend to station-surf, hunting for a song that lifts me up and reflects my mood. Between FM, satellite radio, the cd player, and yes, even a cassette player, there are plenty of options in my car. I’m constantly searching for songs that make me feel—feel happy, sad, romantic, or amused. One tune that I block out all else to listen to is “Samba Pa Ti” by Santana. Something about those notes evokes yearning and sensuousness, and lifts my soul to a satisfying high.

So when I answered the submission call for short stories involving a supernatural connection to jazz for the anthology All That Weird Jazz, I knew the story I wrote would involve a song that pulled the main character in, a song like “Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak, or “Still Got The Blues For You” by Gary Moore. A song that takes the listener to another world. A Siren Song.

In my story “Siren Song“, Hawk Hathaway’s soul is touched by a song, too, one that leads him to a life-changing dilemma. He listens to local jazz at The Gimlet Lounge, a bar above an old speakeasy, sitting in the dark, sipping on drinks served to him by attractive bartender Greta, who with her pierced eyebrow, plaid skirt, and biker boots is both from a different world and so out of his league.

For myself, listening to music while enjoying a refreshing drink (alcoholic or not, I’m not partial), soothes my soul and provides a calming effect that I appreciate more than usual during this troubled year. Here is a cocktail with a history as old as The Gimlet Lounge, and I’ve included a non-alcoholic version as well. It’s one of my favorites.

The French 75

The French 75 is a champagne cocktail that has been around since the early 1900s and got its name from the French artillery gun used during World War I. I enjoyed several of these when The National World War I Museum in Kansas City served them at their exciting evening events that commemorated the 100th anniversary of the end of The Great War. They are typically made with either cognac (French brandy) or gin. For cool fall and winter nights, I prefer them made with brandy, but on hot summer nights, a French 75 made with gin is particularly refreshing.

Serve in a coupe or flute. Makes one serving.

French 75

½ oz. cognac
½ oz. lemon juice
½ oz. simple syrup
3 oz. Champagne
Twist of lemon peel for garnish

Fill a shaker with ice and add cognac, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Shake, then strain into glass and top with Champagne. Add lemon peel.

French 75 Mocktail

3 oz. Tonic water
2 oz. Sprite
Twist of lemon peel for garnish

For the mocktail, pass on shaking over ice because both of the ingredients are carbonated. Instead, pour ingredients directly into a flute or coupe, and stir with a swizzle stick. Garnish with a twist of lemon peel.

The tonic water adds dryness to the drink, and there is no need to add lemon juice since Sprite already has lemon flavoring. I use Fever Tree Premium Indian Tonic Water.

Enjoy your drink, turn on the stereo or stream your music of choice, and if you have no dilemmas of your own to ponder, why not check out Hawk Hathaway’s in “Siren Song“?

Cheers!

All That Weird Jazz

Jazz. A music of improvisation, of passion, of its very own kind of magic. Considered by many to be the only truly original American form of music, it has since its birth in a smoky room somewhere also been tied to the strange, wrapped up in the supernatural, associated with the occult, at least in hints and shadows. Pro Se Productions now brings together several of the most innovative writers in genre fiction today in ALL THAT WEIRD JAZZ, telling the tales of the unusual between the notes, the magic behind the music.From straight up pulp action to ghostly noir to a dragon who digs Jazz more than anyone else, ALL THAT WEIRD JAZZ takes love for this unique musical styling to an all new level, complete with adventure, thrills, and even a chill or two.

Paperback Link: https://www.amazon.com/That-Weird-Jazz-Kimberly-Richardson/dp/B086Y3ZX4F/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=All+That+Weird+Jazz+M.A.+Monnin&qid=1601673703&s=books&sr=1-1

Ebook Link: https://www.amazon.com/That-Weird-Jazz-Kimberly-Richardson-ebook/dp/B086XGZN6J/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=All+That+Weird+Jazz+M.A.+Monnin&qid=1601673870&s=books&sr=1-2

About the Author

A. Monnin is an AF veteran and avocational archaeologist. She lives to travel, and can’t wait until her next foreign trip. Egypt, the French island of Guadaloupe, and the Balearic Islands are all on her agenda.

You can find her here:
Facebook: MA Monnin
Twitter: mamonnin1
Instagram: M.A.Monnin
www.mamonnin.com

Brenda Whiteside: Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll (Contest)
Monday, September 28th, 2020

UPDATE: The winner is…bn100!
*~*~*

The 1960s were turbulent and passionate and colorful. Since the first time I put pen to paper, about thirteen years ago, I’ve wanted to write a story set in those vibrant days. But until recently, every time I tried, my efforts seemed weak and whimsical at best. And then I visited a town I’d all but forgotten about.

In the Black Hills of central Arizona (yes, I said Arizona), Jerome hangs on the side of a mountain as it has since the mining days of the 1800s. Once known as the wickedest town in the west, Jerome all but died out in the 1950s. The population dipped to under 100 people. Then the hippies discovered the abandoned homes and buildings and settled in to create a ghost town full of art and wine. No new buildings are allowed within the city limits unless they are constructed on existing foundations and must resemble the surrounding buildings. Jerome looks much like it did in the 1920s.

Me in a haunted hotel in Jerome

I love this place. Jerome became my fictional Joshua. The inspiration came alive for me, and The MacKenzie Chronicles resulted.

In the pages of the first book, Secrets of the Ravine, I was able to tell a 1960s story of those early hippie settlers that has an impact on the mystery that unfolds in today’s world. Each of the three books will tell the story of one of the MacKenzie siblings whose parents met in the 60s hippie heyday, stayed in Joshua, and raised Magpie Muse MacKenzie, Harlan Muse MacKenzie, and Elidor Muse MacKenzie. Dad Frank Harlan MacKenzie is an artist of metal and wood. Mom Susie Muse is a mystic, empath, aura reader, with all of the wonderful mind-expanding fascinations of the 60s. Their children have inherited both artistic abilities and mystical talents in varying degrees. Those gifts will help them solve murder and mystery in each book.

Do you believe in intuition? Empathic vibrations? How about clairsentience (“clear feeling,” describes someone who receives intuitive or psychic information through their tactile sense and emotions)? I do and have had some real-life experiences. Care to share yours with us? Please do. We’d love to hear.

Contest

I’d like to invite you to read the first chapter of Secrets of the Ravine. Find it on my web site here: https://brendawhiteside.com/secrets-chapter-one.

Give me a one or two-sentence review right here, and I’ll enter you in a drawing to receive an eBook. No matter what you think, you have a chance to win. Let’s leave it open for a week, and I’ll draw a winner on October 5th out of those who comment about the first chapter.

Secrets of the Ravine

When a ringer for her long-dead love walks into her life the same day skeletal remains are found at the edge of town, Magpie MacKenzie can’t ignore what the universe is telling her…solve the mystery, or become the next victim.

Lawyer Zack Peartree’s life is orderly and entanglement-free until he visits purportedly haunted Joshua, Arizona, and meets free-wheeling shopkeeper Magpie. Despite experiencing troubling visions and odd moments of déjà vu, Zack’s instantly drawn to Magpie and to the unsolved murder which troubles her so.

Using clues from her father’s past and Zack’s déjà vu moments, Magpie and Zack race to solve the mystery, avoid a murderous fate, and to discover their future…together.

BUY LINKS:
https://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Ravine-MacKenzie-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B08GPRFJBT/
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Secrets-Ravine-MacKenzie-Chronicles-Whiteside-ebook/dp/B08GPRFJBT/

About the Author

Brenda Whiteside is the author of suspenseful, action-adventure stories with a touch of romance. Mostly. After living in six states and two countries—so far—she and her husband have decided they are gypsies at heart, splitting their time between Central Arizona and the RV life. They share their home with a rescue dog named Amigo. While FDW is fishing, Brenda writes.

Visit Brenda at https://www.brendawhiteside.com
Or on FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/BrendaWhitesideAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/brendawhitesid2
She blogs and has guests: https://brendawhiteside.blogspot.com/
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003V15WF8
Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3972045.Brenda_Whiteside
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/brenda-whiteside
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brendawhitesideauthor/