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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

Cameron Allie: Welcome to Clayridge (Plus a FREE short story and CONTEST)
Monday, September 27th, 2021

UPDATE: The winner is Debra Guyette!
*~*~*

A corn maze on one of the spookiest nights of the year sounds like fun, right?

But once you get inside those tall stalks there’s no breeze. The air gets thick and heavy, despite the fall weather. And be sure to watch your footing. Those big fat rain drops might turn that path your on into a slick mud slide. But that’s all okay, too, right? One hour to get out of this maze, and the last one out buys the beer for the rest of the night. All you have to do is NOT be the last one out.

But what if you don’t come out at all?

Hidden deep within this corn maze is a magical portal, and on the other side…? A realm full of creatures of myth and legend and campfire stories. If you’re lucky, you’ll make it through the forest and into the city.

Let me be the first to welcome you to Clayridge, with this informative, albeit, unnerving guide.

A mortal’s guide to surviving in Clayridge:

Clayridge: Generally a safe place, protected by a large stone wall, enchantments, and the Guard. Wander outside of this city and you could find yourself in peril quite quickly.

Witches: Generally helpful, good for purchasing spells and enchantments to keep you safe. They can also read your fortune via cards, runes, tea leaves or a palm reading, though they tend to think that sort of thing is for the tourists.

Werewolves: Don’t be in the forest after nightfall or these beasts will surly find you. They walk on two legs, transform at will (so long as the moon is in the sky), and enjoy hunting.

Vampires: Beware of these seductive creatures, they can lure you in with a Blood Lust spell and spend days, months, or even years keeping you as their pet and pleasure snack. Dangerous creatures. Be wary.

Sirens: Okay, so you may want to keep a safe distance from the fountain in the center of town. Those half-fish, half-woman creatures that live inside it will lull you in with their song. They’ve been known to break up marriages, ruin relationships, and cause all kinds of trouble. If you value your relationships heed the warning signs and avoid these hormone driven creatures. You’ll likely just become addicted.

Dwarfs: Small in stature, great skill at building weapons, toys, and pretty much anything. They make great drinking buddies too.

Harpies: If you see one of these half-bird, half-woman creatures, well, you’re likely already dead.

Demons: Their appearance depends on their sub-species. Winged, horned, black mist. Does it look dark, dangerous and deadly? Then it probably is. Also, they generally work for vamps, and are often up to no good.

Gargoyles: These guys are cool AF. Stone through the day, flesh and blood after dusk. Generally work as nighttime labourers around the town, particularly at the theater, but don’t be fooled, they possess wicked warrior skills.

Fairies: Cute. Helpful. Playful. Strong work ethic.

Pixies: About as fun as a nest full of hornets. You don’t want these pests in your home. They’re difficult to get rid of without the aid of Pixie Repellant. You can pick up a bottle at The Broomstick.

The Divide: A nasty town full of undesirable creatures. Vamps, demons and werewolves are commonly found here. For a steep price you can purchase your very own mortal, for whatever wicked purposes you might devise.

The Guard: Hellhounds make up the guard, serving as peacekeepers and law enforcers. They’ll protect the people of Clayridge with any means necessary. Huge hounds with matted black fur, ghostly tails and glowing eyes, they look scary AF, but that’s only because they are. Dangerous? Only if you’ve don’t something wrong.

Love Spells, Full Moons, and Silver Bullets

Love Spells, Full Moons, and Silver Bullets is available for pre-order. I hope you enjoy the following excerpt. I’ve also included a link to my newsletter. Subscribe now and you’ll be gifted a FREE short story, Arrested Valentine, which has an exclusive sneak peek for Love Spells, Full Moons, and Silver Bullets, that’s currently only available at the end of Arrested Valentine.

What the story is about…

What do you do when your ex’s werewolf boss wants to feast on the mortal you’ve sworn to protect?

Quinn was unaware of the love potion her meddling cat dumped into her tea, so when Ian Hannigan ends up injured on her property, she thinks she’s dealing with another mortal, not the man who can help mend her heart. Her life becomes a balancing act as she attempts to keep him safe, while hiding secrets better left buried with the dead.

In a realm filled with things that go bump in the night, Ian didn’t expect to find security and happiness in the arms of a green skinned witch, yet for the first time since his parents tragic car crash, he’s found some measure of peace. The rumors he hears in Clayridge aren’t pleasant, but Ian knows there’s more to Quinn than what people would have him believe. If he’s placed his trust in the wrong hands he’ll be paying with more than just his heart. He’ll pay with his life.

Contest: comment on this post for your chance to win a super cute tea cup bookmark!

 

Read an excerpt…

“You didn’t have to send your….” Alec paused, a grin in place as he seem to search for the right word, “…pet away. Is that what the mortal is, Quinn? A pet?” Before Quinn could jump to Ian’s defense, Alec kept going, every word stoking a fire in her. “You’ve never kept a mortal before. That’s not like you. Getting a little bored and lonely way out here by yourself?” He used his hands to brace himself on one of her Adirondack chairs, leaned closer, and whispered suggestively, “I could have helped you with that.”

Quinn blinked, then narrowed her eyes. He was baiting her. “Cut the bullshit. What do you want Alec?”

His shoulders slumped and he released an exaggerated sigh. “You Quinn. I’m here for you.”

“Aww,” she said with as much mockery as she could muster. “Let me just kick Ian out and you can come on in.”

“Your sarcasm is noted. Give me a chance Quinn. We could be great.”

“Could have been great. Past tense, Alec.” Turning to her fire, she dismissed his offer. “You’re the one who walked away.”

He was stealthy when he moved. His hands came to rest on her shoulders as his lips caressed her ear. “I still remember the way you feel, the look on your face when you come.”

The creaking of her front door told her that Alec’s overfamiliarity hadn’t gone unnoticed by their audience. Quinn spun away from him. “Well, you should forget it. What happened between us is over and there’s no going back.”

He was silent for a long moment. Behind him the door to the cabin closed again. Inside the curtain fluttered. She hoped they couldn’t hear the conversation. Maybe Lucifer had directed Ian to a different activity to keep him occupied.

Finally, Alec met her gaze. “I never stopped loving you.”

Seventy-five years ago a confession like that would have made her weak in the knees. Even in the height of their passion he’d never told her he loved her. She’d been the only one to utter those words, and then he’d crushed her silly infatuation. Grandma had warned her. The pack always came first.

With her grandmother’s voice in her ear, she straightened her spine and took a deep breath. “What do you want, Alec?”

She saw his jaw clench, in that same way it had whenever he had to do something he didn’t want to. But like a good little beta he followed orders. “Draven wants the mortal.”

Hands on her hips, she stood immobile. “No.”

“He’s willing to trade.”

Quinn huffed. “Oh, this ought to be good.”

“You give up your pet and I promise you’ll never be alone again.”

“Because you’ll stay with me?” She laughed. “Is that it? That’s Draven’s big trade? You for the mortal?”

That jaw, the one she’d once kissed and fawned over, clenched even harder. “Come on, Quinn! Think this through. You get what? One year with your mortal. Then he’s going back through that portal. Okay, maybe he stays. Best case scenario you get what? Sixty years before he’s worm food.”

Quinn swallowed. She didn’t want to think about that. Of course she’d out live him, but what about all the time they’d have together. They could both enjoy that.

“How long afterwards would you renege on your bargain? How long before Draven calls you back to the fold?” She crossed her arms over her chest, and stepped closer to the fire. “I’d rather die alone in this cabin than spend eternity with you.”

His jaw tightened so much that Quinn worried he’d break his teeth. Baring those pearly whites, he snarled, “Careful, Quinn, or you’ll end up a bitter old hag just like your grandma.”

“Get off my property!” She waved her hands, shooing him off the platform. “Get lost or the next time you transform you might just find yourself turning into a toad. A great big fat one with warts.”

Alec snickered, and stopped his backward momentum. “You always were a spitfire, Quinn.”

She was unprepared for his next move. With wolf-like reflexes he grabbed her arms and pulled her to him. Her chest hit his with such force her breath flew from her. His lips crashed against hers. In an instant she pushed him, shoving him with all her strength.

If not for his animal agility, he would have fallen on his ass, but instead he landed stealthy on his feet. “Think it over, Quinn. We were amazing once. We could be again.”

“I’m not turning him over to be slaughtered like some lamb.”

All traces of humor and anger fled his features. With severe sobriety, Alec’s gaze drilled into hers. “Seriously, Quinn, watch out. Draven is relentless in this. He will get your mortal. I don’t want to see you get hurt in the process.”

His concern was worrying, and as Quinn watched his retreating back she had to wonder just how far Draven would go in his attempts to get Ian. Her land was protected, and when he was with her she’d keep him safe. The town was secure enough, but still Alec’s visit was alarming.

Quinn doused the fire with a few shovelfuls of snow, before marching to her cabin.

Once inside she ripped off her boots and tossed her cloak on a peg. She stalked across the floor, tossed the rug aside and using a chant, unlocked the safe hidden in a compartment beneath the floorboards. She lifted out an old six shot, double barrel revolver, two pistols with double-stack magazines, and a sack filled with gold coins, setting it all on the floor before closing and securing the safe. Next she went to the cabinet near the door that housed her rifles. Unlocking it she pulled out a long barreled rifle. She set each one down on the counter top next to the mug of coffee that Ian had been sipping from when she’d walked in the door.

“You know how to shoot?”

Ian frowned. “You’re scaring me, Quinn.”

Lucifer leapt onto the counter. “Me too. What’s going on? I didn’t think that kiss was shotgun worthy.”

Straightening, Ian glared. “He kissed you?”

Quinn checked the chamber of the revolver, stalling as she thought through her answer. “He’s my ex, and he’s not the one I’m worried about. The kiss was not welcomed.” Her gaze was hard when she repeated. “Do you know how to shoot?”

“No.” He looked down at the guns. “Who are you worried about?”

She snorted. “Draven.”

Ian’s face paled. “The one who slashed me?”

Nodding, Quinn looked away. “He’s going to come after you, and we need to be ready.” She glanced at Luce. “Can you apologize to any customers that might come by today? Ian and I need to make a shopping trip.”

“We went to town last week,” Ian objected, with visible confusion.

“We’re not going to town.” She pocketed the sack of gold. “We’re going to see a dwarf about some silver bullets.”

Pre-order Love Spells, Full Moons, and Silver Bullets by clicking here

Sign up for my newsletter and receive a FREE short story. Get Arrested Valentine now.

About the Author

Romance author Cameron Allie grew up in a small town north of Toronto. As a child she loved stories, and after reading her first romance novel at age fifteen, her dreams of writing became singularly focused on the love story. She is currently living in Ontario with her husband, their young daughters and with their cat, who is constantly trying to interrupt the writing process.

Connect with Cameron:
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Andy Carley: Pure Magic (Contest + Excerpt)
Wednesday, April 28th, 2021

UPDATE: The winner is…Dana Zamora!
*~*~*

Spring has sprung—at least here in Northwest Georgia! The flowers are going crazy. There’s green as far as the eye can see, and of course, the yellow haze of pine pollen coats everything. We’re joyfully wheezing and sneezing our way through the days with runny eyes and runny noses as we embrace the wonder of spring.

Here on the farm, spring means BABIES! Our first calf dropped last night—a little late, but better late than never. We have four new chicks that will augment our four old ladies who supply us with eggs. Piglets should be coming in another few weeks. The energy of spring is like nothing else. It just lifts your soul when you walk among new life, full of possibility and hope.

I think creating a story is like that too. It starts as a baby idea, a kernel of thought. Then, it starts to grow, sometimes not even consciously, until it defines itself. Sometimes, it rises in my brain, fully formed with crystal clear images and parades around like a gaudy Vegas side-show until I give it my attention. Other times, it whispers and nags, slipping into my dreams as half-formed ghosts, only revealing itself clearly when I focus solely on it.

Then, the magic starts. Just like that buzzing lift of spring, the story takes root and blooms—and it’s the most amazing feeling in the world. It’s why I’m shamelessly addicted to writing! Like any infant, you don’t know what it will be when it grows up, but breathing life into a story is like experiencing spring over and over!

One of my book babies releases today! Thank you, Delilah, for letting me drop by and celebrate with you wonderful folks!

Pure Magic Contest

I’m offering a giveaway of an ebook copy of Pure Magic, a multi-author anthology that features my story—Hecate’s Hand-Me-Downs. To enter, leave a comment about your favorite part of spring! I’ll pick a winner on May 1st!

Hecate Rigby wants nothing to do with magic or being the witch she was raised to be. But, when Cate’s forced to return to Ravensdale after her Grandmother’s death, she soon finds out her Grandma led a double life—one that will change Cate’s life forever. The Hammer of the Gods is missing, and Cate was the last one to have it. Will she step up, embrace her powers and her heritage, and find the hammer before it falls into the wrong hands and plunges the world into war?

Grab your copy here: https://books2read.com/pure-magic

Here’s an excerpt from Hecate’s Hand-Me-Downs:

Rook squawked and puffed his feathers up.

In a voice that shook the walls, he announced, “Behold, the God of the Forge.”

He flew down from his perch and landed in front of the door, bowing his head with one wing spread out to the side.

I spun around to see a man shuffle into the store and stop short of the mess. Despite his twisted legs, he towered over me and seemed to suck up all the available space. His t-shirt read ‘Save an Anvil, Bang a Blacksmith’ and stretched to its limits over his massive shoulders and muscular chest. I glanced down at his legs. His knees touched, and his pigeon toes canted in at an awkward angle.

The dichotomy of his top and bottom halves would have distracted me, but his bedroom brown eyes snagged my attention.

Goddess help me, but I’m a sucker for a brown-eyed boy.

The man wore his dark brown hair long and pulled it back in a simple ponytail gathered at the nape of his neck. His body screamed bad boy, but his eyes whispered tenderhearted dreamer.

Rook squawked and pecked my ankle. “Show some respect.”

“What?” I gave myself a little shake and put a smile on my face, reminding myself that it was bad manners to stare.

“Hello, Mistress Rigby.” He nodded at me as his gaze swept over the disarray in the shop, and his mouth turned down with a frown.

I drew a breath to launch into my ‘we’re closed’ speech, but he cut me off.

“I’ve come for the hammer. Bring it to me, please.”

The command in his voice was unmistakable, and my patience, brown eyes notwithstanding, found its end. I didn’t like his tone.

“The hammer isn’t here. A tall, beautiful, scary lady beat you to it.” I put my hands on my hips and mirrored his frown. “As you can see, we’ve had a bit of a…” I trailed off, not knowing what to say. Finally, I just said, “We’re not open.”

“Rowen Rigby, Sentinel and Guardian of the Crossroads, do not play games. I will have the Hammer of the Gods as I am its rightful owner.” The man seemed to get bigger, and his voice filled the shop.

Magic crackled in the air. Pieces of the puzzle clicked into place.

Rowen had not been remiss in my arcane education. I knew mythology as well as spell casting, herb lore, and healing magic. Though I hadn’t embraced the craft after leaving home as an adult, the lessons still lingered in my mind. The Hammer of the Gods, Rook’s announcement of the God of the Forge, and the man’s palpable power all came into focus. Impossible as it was, Hephaestus, Son of Hera, God of the Forge, and Olympian outsider, stood in my shop.

*~*~*

Stalk me (it’s not as kinky as it sounds!) for more giveaways, games, and fun: https://linktr.ee/andycarley

Beth Caudill: A Writer’s Inspiration Begins at Home (Contest)
Wednesday, December 30th, 2020

UPDATE: The winner is…Colleen C!
*~*~*

Nearly twenty years ago, a white doe roamed the forests south of Raleigh, NC.  A true albino, the deer was a ghost bounding through the trees. She walked the miles around the protected lake, the pride and joy of the town in which she wandered.

But life is never safe. Humans paved roads, mowed down trees for houses, and children filled the air with their screams and squeals. One night the white deer tried to cross the road but never made it with her two babies.

This doe had been named the town mascot. As such it was a beloved member of the community. The town raised funds to stuff and eventually house the deer. Before a permanent home could be built, it was located in the local high school and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.

In time, the deer returned to her natural habitat. But she still wasn’t safe. Vandals burned the structure and the deer’s body. Once again the town raised funds to repair the stuffed animal and eventually it found a home at the Nature Center in White Deer Park.

When my family bought our current house, we were told the tale of the White Deer. She became the inspiration for my Capricorn character in my final Zodiac Shifters story. There aren’t many myths surrounding red-tailed deer, but the White Stag is one of the most well-known.

Whether he is a part of the Fae’s Wild Hunt, the Guardian Protector of the forest, or a messenger of the Gods, the White Stag is very powerful. But what happens when humans cheat and use magic to hunt? Will the stag be able to outrun them, even injured? Find out in Sundered, the third and final story in my Willows Haven series.

Sundered

For years, reluctant earth witch Daphne Lowe has feared the strength of her powers. When she loses control, people are harmed. She already ruined Deputy Sheriff Stanford Morgan’s life once, when their relationship ignited his dormant magical powers and turned him into the legendary white stag. Getting involved with him again would just hurt him more. She has to ignore her feelings for him, and hope that someday he’ll stop loving her too.

Except the paranormal sanctuary of Willows Haven needs Daphne and Stanford together—she must anchor the town’s mythical willow trees, and he serves as guardian. Only then will the town’s supernatural residents be safe from the outside world. Trapped together by a snowstorm, Daphne and Stanford have a second chance at happiness if they can resolve their past issues.

When a dark witch invades the town, a final test of their commitment emerges. To succeed, they’ll have to truly trust in each other and embrace the power of their love.

Can a second chance at love survive vengeance from the past?

Book Landing Page: https://bethcaudill.net/books/zodiac-shifters-willows-haven/sundered/
Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08Q4GW2ZT
iBooks – https://books.apple.com/us/book/sundered/id1544021765
Barnes and Noble – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sundered-beth-caudill/1138441189?ean=2940162910534
Kobo – https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/sundered-7
Google – https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Beth_Caudill_Sundered?id=f3ANEAAAQBAJ

A print version will be available in the new year.

Giveaway

For a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card, leave a comment telling me your favorite character from Disney’s Bambi.

About the Author

Although Beth grew up in West Virginia, she currently resides in North Carolina with her husband, two sons and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who makes an excellent lap warmer. Blending the analytical and creative sides of her brain, she delights in creating fantasy worlds for others. She loves fairy tales, fantastical creatures, and stuffed animals.

Author Website: http://BethCaudill.net/
Author Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/cEp6b1
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Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00538IWEU
Bookbub Author Page: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/beth-caudill

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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Ane Ryan Walker: Thanksgiving — So much to be thankful for and so many things that can and will go wrong. Count on it. (Recipe)
Sunday, November 24th, 2019

Psst! My apologies to Ane! I’m posting this a day late. My mother went into the hospital on Friday, so we’re a bit upside down at Devlin house! Enjoy the post!

*~*~*

I am fully aware The Holiday is not quite here, but this year will be the first time I’ve had the opportunity to cook Thanksgiving dinner for my family in about five years. When I retired, my husband and I opted to travel the country, living fulltime in our RV, clearing our bucket list and volunteering in State parks. That five-year trip was an exceptional adventure. Now, as I get ready to move back into a “Brick and Stick” house and wait for the delivery of my personal belongings from storage, I’m recalling the incredible number of disasters—both imagined and real that happened over the fifty odd years when I was in charge of the kitchen, menu, turkey, etc.

So, what I’d like to do is share a few ground rules guidelines that might help you get through the holiday with less stress and, hopefully, a little more peace on earth.

Again, and this bears repeating: What can go wrong usually will.

Typically, it takes about five days to thaw a 24 lb. turkey. I found out the hard way, that this feat can be accomplished in about two to three hours. It requires a large, clean cooler. Place the cooler in a bathtub. Fill it with lukewarm water, immerse the frozen turkey and spin until the water cools. Dump the cold water and begin the process again. Repeat until the turkey thaws.

You’re wondering how I know this. One year, when newly a nurse and far from my hometown, several of the single nurses decided to have a “friends” holiday. Since our employer provided each of us a turkey, as a group, we donated the excess birds to a local church for their holiday food drive. We also opted to split the Thanksgiving “on call” hours into eight-hour shifts. At eight AM on Thanksgiving Day, the nurse relieving me from call handed me a frozen turkey. That’s right. 24 lbs. to be cooked by 4 PM.

My friends and I survived with a few adjustments and had a terrific holiday. But I learned a few things that day which have served me well over the years. These are not really rules for holidays but think of them as guidelines. Please use what you can and ignore the rest.

When you have a galley kitchen in a tiny apartment, people don’t usually invade your space. Unless they really want to help you cook. Make a plan and stick to it. Check back with the people who agree to help with the cooking to make sure you stay on the same page.

This Frozen Turkey event exacerbated the control freak in me. I never approached a large gathering or a family holiday in the same frivolous way as I did on that single girlfriends Thanksgiving.

Rules Guidelines for Holiday Survival

  1. Don’t panic.
  2. Plan ahead.
  3. Clean out the fridge before the big day. This will assure the storage containers are clean and available.
  4. Make a list of things you can cook ahead that will not suffer in reheating. Desserts, rolls, snacks, are an excellent choice.
  5. Assign side dishes, dessert, etc. to relatives who want to help. This only works with reliable people who will stick to your plan.
  6. Remember your company will probably show up early, to assure them a good parking spot.
  7. Be prepared for people who want to help in the kitchen on the day. Leave chores you can trust them with and set up for them. I usually set the table but don’t add napkins, silver, serving spoons to the table. I assemble these things on a tray. Assign the chore, relieve the stress on the kitchen and appreciate the help.
  8. When you assign side dishes to relatives, be specific about what you can cook. You cannot cook your turkey when friends and relatives show up expecting you to manage the cooking or reheating for 120 side dishes at different temps while you are cooking turkey. Remember, 1 oven, 1 microwave, 1 toaster oven, is usually all that’s available. In a pinch, you can empty the dishwasher, turn on the drying cycle and load the reheated food into the top rack while you manage shifting other sides around for reheating. Rolls do okay but keep an eye out for food drying out. Short term use.
  9. Make sure you have extra foil and plastic wrap on hand as well as containers you don’t need to have returned. I buy a pack of easily forgotten containers at the Dollar Store, along with a multipack of shower caps. The shower caps are great for covering pies, cookies, and individual plates. I think you get twenty for $1.
  10. Remember, the oven is only so big. In an apartment you might not be able to fit a giant bird in there. Two birds are better than one. Double the dark meat. Two wishbones, need I say more? You can cook the smaller birds back to back. When you carve and serve the first, slip the other precooked turkey into the oven while your guests are enjoying the first bird.
  11. If you’re also having a houseful of company, make sure you plan for a good breakfast. I usually do an egg, sausage, and bread casserole assembled the night before, cooked first thing in the morning and served with fruit, coffee, and sweet breads. This breakfast is hearty enough to keep the family satisfied till dinner is ready midafternoon. It holds up well for stragglers, too.

And I’m including a real southern recipe for Corn Pudding just in case you can’t take one more year of looking at the green bean casserole.

Corn Pudding Recipe

¼ cup of all-purpose flour
1 Tbs. sugar
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
3 cups fresh or frozen corn, drained, and divided
3 large eggs
2 cups whole milk
¼ cup unsalted butter melted
1 ½ Tbs. scallions chopped, optional

Grease and flour an 8×8 baking dish or casserole dish of the same size. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Stir together flour, sugar, salt, and pepper, set aside. Pulse one cup of corn in a food processor until smooth. Set aside. Whisk eggs in a large bowl, then stir in flour and milk until combined. Whisk in melted butter and corn puree, add scallions and the rest of the corn. Stir to combine well. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and bake in preheated oven until puffed and lightly browned. Takes about 40 minutes. Sprinkle the top with chopped scallions if desired. Enjoy. FYI, this dish is delicious served hot or just warm.

Happy Thanksgiving!

About the Author

Ane Ryan Walker is an author and adventurer who believes in Angels, Demons, Witches and Magic. She recently settled in Alabama, after traveling the country with her husband and living fulltime in her RV. Ane is a member of Romance Writers of America©, Greater Houston RWA, and Women’s Fiction Chapter of RWA.

Born and raised in the great northeast, she writes a fictional series Survivors of Salem, about the witches who survived the Salem Witch Trials. She is also currently working on books about fulltime RVing.

In addition to Return to Angels Cove, look for the second book in the Survivors of Salem, The Covenant.

HARVEST MOON is here! (New Release)
Tuesday, November 5th, 2019

I have a new release! WARNING: This one’s not for the faint of heart. However, if you’re ready for a very spicy ménage that involves some beasty-demon sex, this one’s for you! Hope you enjoy it! And remember, if you do read it, reviews are always appreciated!

Harvest Moon

Harvest Moon

In Jefferson Parish, deep in the bayou, is a place called Bonne Nuit. Off the beaten path, isolated by swamp and connected to the sea, there the Beaux Rêve Coven thrives.

Five witches…Too many demons to count…

Radha’s sister witches become concerned when her health begins to fail. Her sleep is never restful, but they are unable to pinpoint what is wrong.
Khan, a jinn who’s been tasked to serve as her guardian, has watched her restless sleep and believes he knows the answer. Her dreams may be haunted by a demon set on draining her of power. As much as Khan loathes the idea, he seeks an old enemy, a vanir, whose magic should allow him to enter Radha’s nightmares to slay the Mare, an enemy bent on taking advantage of Radha’s vulnerability to make her his own.

Until the vanir arrives, Khan and the satyr who is her other guardian must keep her safe—even from their own lustful natures.

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