Thursday, April 30, 2015

Blog Tour: Occult .45

Date Published: June 1, 2014

Preston Cobb is always looking to make a quick buck selling any kind of gun he can get his hands on, but when the denizens of the weird west get in the way, Preston's his own best customer. Now collected in one omnibus, join Preston as he faces an ancient evil in the snowy Sierra Nevadas in ABOMINABLE, finds romance and bloody mystery in Nevada mining country in SILVER MOON, and squares off with the undead south of the border in DEAD TO RITES. Finally, Cobb finds retirement more exciting than he'd like in an exclusive bonus short story: GUNRUNNER TO THE STARS.

Purchase Links

Amazon (Available on Kindle, paperback, and as an audiobook)


A compilation of adventures for Cobb. He encounters a wide variety of characters throughout the course of the novel. I love the fact that Cobb's personality stays the same and we can be invested in him and follow him through each short. 

Nick Carcano spent his childhood pulling cactus out of his feet and listening to coyotes howl in the California high desert. He speaks rusty Mandarin and Spanish. When he's not writing his day job involves literally saving the world, which sometimes involves shooting zombies, but usually involves a lot of e-mail.  If you like dim sum, RPGs, sci-fi, or corgis, you should be his friend.  He’s currently working on The Big Weird One a series of sci-fi/horror short stories set during WWII and will release his first novel, Boom: A Wild West Heist, in fall 2015. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Release Day: Crossing Danger

Date Published: April 27, 2015

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Shelby Nichols isn’t your average soccer-mom turned private investigator. She’s more on the quirky side with a little wild thrown in. That’s because a near-fatal gunshot wound to the head left her with the ability to read minds. This lands her in all kinds of trouble, and this time is no exception. Helping a reporter, Billie Jo, get the low-down on a case is just the tip of the iceberg. When her best friend’s niece goes missing, Shelby is pulled into a conspiracy that involves the police and the leader of a violent drug ring. Add to that a stranger in town with ties to the mob-boss she works for, along with a known assassin out to kill him, and Shelby is crossing danger at every turn. Will she find the answers in time? Or will this be her last adventure?


I stood inside the small women’s locker room dressed in white drawstring pants that ended several inches above my ankles, and a robe-like top that crisscrossed to close in front. Luckily, I wore a black tank top underneath, since there wasn’t anything besides a white belt to hold it together.
I tied the belt in a knot and let out a breath, hoping I’d done it right. The white training uniform was a bit stiff, and worse, felt like a poufy marshmallow around me. I let out a disgusted huff, knowing that I looked like the womanly version of the Pillsbury dough-boy.
Billie Jo waited just outside the door, but it was hard to step out there dressed like this. Did I really need to do this? Especially since I’d know what everyone was thinking about me? Reading minds often came in handy, but not in situations like this.
Of course, the fact that a serial killer had recently taken me hostage and nearly killed me certainly helped. It was time to learn some self-defense, so nothing like that could ever happen to me again.
So what if I looked silly, and that with my ‘superpower’ of reading minds I’d know what everyone thought of me. I could take it. Besides, I had to start somewhere, right?
I took a calming breath and opened the door.
Billie smiled encouragingly before glancing down at the way I’d tied my belt. Her brows drew sharply together, and she was thinking it looked like a disaster. No way did she want me out on the mat looking like that. “Here…let me help you with that. Tie it this way…” She demonstrated how to do it, then pulled it tight. “Okay. Now you’re good to go.”
“Um…thanks,” I said.
She didn’t miss the embarrassed flush creeping up my neck and was thinking I should just suck it up and be grateful she was there to keep me from looking like a dork. With an indulgent smile that contradicted her thoughts, she turned and led the way to the mat.
Swallowing my pride, I followed behind, noting that her black skirt-like pants with the waist-high belt looked ten times better than my outfit. Compared to her, I looked like I was still in my underwear and had forgotten to put my pants on.
A vision of getting out there and everyone laughing at me crossed my mind but, given how Billie made sure my belt was right, I didn’t think she’d let me embarrass her like that. Still, once we got to the mat, I let out a relieved breath to find I wasn’t the only one wearing white training pants.
Billie did a quick bow before stepping onto the mat, so I bowed as well. I followed her to stand in a line before the teacher, or Sensei, as everyone called him. He wore the same black pants as Billie but, on him, they seemed more dignified and masterful. He was also a big, tall and brawny kind of guy. With his long, gray-black hair pulled back into a ponytail, he intimidated the crap out of me.
He caught my gaze and nodded a cool greeting while I tried to hide my jittering nerves. After he introduced me to the rest of the class, we began with a few stretches and warm-ups. Then he taught us that the most important part of Aikido was learning how to fall safely and then roll around to get back up.
Besides Billie, there was only one other woman in the class. Her name was Melissa, and she was a second-degree black belt like Billie. With the two of them paying special attention to me, I began to relax and actually started to enjoy myself. Even the rolling-around part didn’t seem so bad. They showed me some basic techniques, and my confidence grew.
Near the end of class, Sensei asked if I had any questions, so I blurted out the one thing I’d been thinking about all night. “Yeah. I was just wondering…if someone was to get me in a choke hold with his elbow around my neck and started dragging me backwards, would I be able to get away?”
His gaze caught mine, and his eyes narrowed. He was thinking that, from the fear in my eyes and the tone of my voice, it probably wasn’t a rhetorical question. No. I had the look of someone who’d been there, and a spike of anger rushed over him. He’d seen it more times than he liked, and it always made him furious.
“Yes you can. I’ll show you how.” He turned his gaze to Melissa and asked her to help him demonstrate the technique. Since she was about my size, and he was huge, I was interested to see how she could possibly take him on and come out on top.
He stood behind her and clamped his elbow around her neck beneath her chin. “The first thing you do is tuck your chin down so they can’t choke you.” She did this, and Sensei proceeded to explain how she needed to pull down on his elbow and step back, then grab his wrist and forcefully push outward with his elbow still bent. “At this point, you will break his arm.”
Whoa! That sounded pretty awesome, and I couldn’t help smiling with wicked delight. He demonstrated the technique a few more times, adding different variations to the attack, and then asked me to practice with him. Him! The biggest guy in the class!
I nervously licked my lips and, as he put his arm around my neck, that feeling of helplessness washed over me. But he patiently talked me through the moves and, after breaking his hold a few times, confidence replaced my fear. I even forced him to the mat once. Who would have thought? By the end of class, I was pumped. This was the right place for me, and I could hardly wait to come back and learn more.

About the Author

As the author of the Shelby Nichols Adventure Series, Colleen is often asked if Shelby Nichols is her alter-ego. "Definitely," she says. "Shelby is the epitome of everything I wish I dared to be." Known for her laugh since she was a kid, Colleen has always tried to find the humor in every situation and continues to enjoy writing about Shelby's adventures. "I love getting Shelby into trouble...I just don't always know how to get her out of it!" Colleen lives in the Rocky Mountains with her family. Besides writing, she loves a good book, biking, hiking, and playing board and card games with family and friends. She loves to connect with readers and admits that fans of the series keep her writing.

Author Links

Twitter: @ColleenHelme

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$25 Amazon Gift Card

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Saturday, April 25, 2015

PROMO: For the Love of a Gypsy

Historical Romance
Date Published: April 17, 2015

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Can she betray the Gypsy clan who saved her for the love of a stranger?

Martine Petrulengo is stifled by the traditions of her adopted Gypsy clan. They gave her new life when she was left all alone. And now she is expected to marry in order to forge clan allegiances. When she nurses handsome and charming Lord Declan Forrester back to health, she is lured by the seductive idea of life outside of the clan—and the prospect of love with the Irishman.

Can he prove his innocence in order to claim his Gypsy?
Lord Declan Forrester trades prison bars for a loveless marriage in order to save his soul. And now he’s trying to prove his innocence not only as a traitor, but that of his wife’s murder.  When the lovely and beguiling Martine saves him, he falls in love for the first time. Yet, the obstacles of his past seem insurmountable.

Martine and Declan must fight tradition, prejudice and the haunting ghosts of their past in order to fight for their love and ensure their future.


A rider urged his horse forward. He wore a leather doublet of a quality she’d never seen. The black hide was pierced with metal and thick stitching formed elaborate Celtic designs. Regal and rich. His breeches hugged his thighs so closely ’twas indecent, but that didn’t stop her gaze from venturing along the hard expanse of his legs. Heat crept up her neck and flushed her face like a flame.

He tipped his head in her brother’s direction. Martine gasped.

The stranger from the glen.

“We’ve business,” was all he said.

Rafe nodded, but didn’t twitch a muscle. Martine wanted to run from the confrontation, hide in her grandmother’s berth safe from the bewitching blue eyes of the intruder. But her feet stayed rooted to the ground.

Och, this man was handsome. Strong jaw, brilliant eyes, and a broad mouth composed a man so striking. His face was a composite of hard planes of granite that matched the intense glare of his eyes.

The man sighed and his comrades inched closer to his side. They dressed as he did, except their clothing lacked the obvious quality she could see stitched in the leather of his.

“The villagers are concerned with your presence, Gypsy.”

She could feel the tension in the tight line of her brother’s shoulders, taste the anger in the air that hummed about him and the stranger. His jaw clenched and he remained silent.

“I’ve come to ask you to leave. Gypsies bring foul memories to Riverton.” His voice was rough, husky, as he commanded her brother.

Rafe stepped forward. She knew he wished to throttle the tactless man. “We’re Tinkers. Men and women with skills and trade.”

“And itchy fingers if Lady Bannon’s sheep have say of it,” the man behind the stranger spouted. The other men chortled and slapped the man on the back.

The stranger held up his hand and was rewarded with instant silence.

Her brother shrugged, a harmless action unless you were Rafe Petrulengo. “My clan has no need of other people’s sheep.”

Martine took a step forward.

The stranger’s head snapped in her direction.

He leaned forward in his saddle. “You’ll leave my land, or pay the consequences.” His tone brooked no room for argument.

“We’re people of the land, trainers of dogs, and masters of horses.”

Her brother’s words seemed to befuddle the stranger’s friends. They looked to one another, smirks creasing their faces. If only they knew her brother’s genius.

“I’m Lord Declan Forrester, Earl of Riverton,” the stranger pompously said. “This is my land—and you are to leave.”

Rafe bowed deep at the waist, his extended arm almost grazing the dirt before him. “As you wish.”

“Be gone by morning. ’Tis all the time I’ll give you.”

A shiver ran up her spine at the cold gruffness of his voice. He clucked his horse forward, a magnificent animal, well-muscled with a gleaming coat of black.

Martine was so aware of the lord’s presence, her skin tingled. And she knew without looking up that trouble was about to ensue. He stopped the horse before her and just sat. When her gaze met his, the lord nodded his head and gave a mocking salute.

She sighed, not knowing why she was reacting so unlike herself, why she was enthralled with the stranger.

With a nudge to his horse’s side, he was off without a backward glance at her or her brother.

One look at Rafe and she knew he’d witnessed what had transpired. Rage boiled in his dark eyes and tension pulsed his jaw. He tapped a pointy leather boot against the packed earth. The women of the clan weren’t to be appraised by Gajos. Especially a Gajo who’d ordered the Kapo to leave.

No matter, she thought with a smile of satisfaction. Lord Forrester had acknowledged her, and the realization swept through her with unparalleled warmth.

About the Author

Madelyn Hill has always loved the written word. From the time she could read and all through her school years, she'd sneak books into her textbooks during school. And she devoured books daily. At the age of 10 she proclaimed she wanted to be a writer. After being a "closet" writer for several years, she sent her manuscripts out there and is now published with Soul Mate Publishing. And she couldn't be happier! A resident of Western New York, she moved from one Rochester to another Rochester to be with the love of her life. They now have 3 children and keep busy cooking, watching their children's sporting events, and of course reading!

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3 ebook copies

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Monday, April 20, 2015

Blog Tour: The Dead Room

Post Apocalyptic 
Date Published: March 11, 2015

322 years after the apocalypse, the world has changed, but her people have not. Secrets, lies, and manipulations endure among a small group of survivors taking refuge on an island in the Northern Pacific.   

 No one knows what claimed so many lives over three centuries ago, and no one asks, except Ashley Wortham. She can feel the secrets all around her, begging to be uncovered.   

But the nine elders who govern the island guard their secrets jealously. They believe the islanders know what they need to, and they hide their secrets behind a ruse of peace. But when Ashley, and her best friend Mason, go down the rabbit hole, no one is prepared for truths they uncover. What will they do when they discover the downfall of humanity lies within their own island, deep inside the dead room?

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The body lay on a two-piece metal pyre in the center of the clearing.
Nothing more
than the skeleton of a table, the pyre was simply used for the display and
transport of the bodies. Burning the dead was a custom from the time before.

The corpse’s blue cotton, long-sleeved shirt was buttoned all the way to
the top to
hide his injuries, and the matching navy slacks had recently been pressed.
With his
hands folded over his abdomen, Wesley looked rather dashing. Ashley wished
her match
had actually been dashing in life.

She wondered who would wear that outfit next. Nothing was ever wasted on
the island.
Not even the clothes of a dead man. She herself had worn the clothes off a
woman’s back. Squeamishness was a luxury no one could afford.

Although “new” clothes were made on the island, from animal skins and the
grown in the farmlands, they were typically reserved for the higher
doctors, and the like. Cotton was difficult to grow in the cold climate,
and the
clothes were made entirely by hand. Once it had been worn and patched a
few times by
those with power, new clothing was eventually passed down to the lower
branches of

But, it wasn’t just clothing that moved on after an islander died. All of
belongings were redistributed among those in need. The dead’s family
wasn’t allowed
to keep anything they didn’ tneed. Sentimentality was a lost emotion to the
islanders. Reusing everything was essential, even if the previous owner
was a dead

It had only bothered her once—the first time she’d seen one of her
father’s outfits
on another man. Even then, at the tender age of ten, she’d understood it
was bound to
happen eventually. She just hadn’t expected it to happen so quickly. Only
a week
after his funeral, she’d spotted one of her neighbors walking down the
road in her
father’s clothes. She ran to him, hoping her father’s scent might still
linger on his
shirt. But the man neither embraced her nor offered her any sympathy. He
only looked
at her with wide eyes,the horror and disgust plain on his face.

Death on the island was such a strange thing. She’d lost track of how many
she’d been to in her lifetime—at least one a month. Unexpected deaths,
like that of
her match, added to the average.

Only three of the losses had actually meant something to her—her mother,
her father,
and now Wesley. Her father’s funeral was, of course, devastating, made
more so by the
fact that they’d shared the same first name. Everything the elders said
about him
could have also been applied to her. How they were thankful for “Ashley’s
life,” how
they wished “Ashley peace.”It sent shivers down her spine.

Once, she’d asked him why they shared a name. His mother’s name had been
Ashley, he’d
explained, as had her mother, and her father before that. On and on, down
the line,
the name had traveled, until it had reached Ashley. And one day, as was their
tradition, it would go to her own child.

The funeral for her mother, who had been taken by a simple cold that
escalated into
something much worse, was nothing more than a hazy memory. Still, Ashley
missed her
mother terribly and felt incomplete without her. She searched for her
whenever the
jasmine got caught on the wind, because her mother had loved to wear the
behind her ear.

Wesley’s funeral was a problem. She wasn’t entirely sure how she felt
about it. The
loss of her parents had left her feeling completely alone. She’d hoped to
find love
again with her match, but he’d left her terribly disappointed.

Now that he was gone, her emotions warred with themselves. Relief was the
player fighting for space in her mind. Relief to have escaped the abuse
and the
pressures of being the next elder’s wife. Guilt came in at a close second,
but not
because she regretted killing her match.

It was because her best friend was being blamed for it.

Stephanie Erickson has always had a passion for the written word. She pursued her love of literature at Flagler College, in St. AugustineFL, where she graduated with a BA in English. She has received several honors in her writing career, including recognition in the 72nd Annual Writer's Digest Competition. 

After graduation, she married and followed her husband in pursuit of his dream. The Cure and The Blackout were written to reignite Stephanie's passion, when she found the time. Now that he is settled in his career, it's her turn to devote more time and energy into writing.

Stephanie currently has 4 projects planned for 2015. Her latest release, The Dead Room, is a post apocalyptic set on a lonely island 300 years in the future. 

Stephanie, of course, loves to read and write. She also enjoys living on the beach on the Florida's Treasure Coast. Most of all, she and her husband are in love with their baby girl.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Blog Tour: Melanie's Evanescent Journey

Journey (The Sonar Series #1.5)
New Adult Paranormal Romance
Date Published: April 25, 2014

True Love may cost a price, if the greater good preordains that you are the sacrifice.

There are always two sides to a story. Melanie Wilhelm's begins after she moves from Australia and starts her senior year at Cashmere High. On her first day, she bumps into a mysterious guy, and they form an instant connection. They become friends and he shares his deepest secret with her. As they grow closer, their relationship amplifies and becomes binding. Strange things occur, but instead of worrying, Melanie's feelings intensify.

The excitement of New Year's Eve approaches, and so does Jason's most devastating revelation of all. She learns his ultimate truth and is now spun into his chaotic web. The danger rises and hard choices must be made. By being with Jason, Melanie may have to sacrifice more than her heart. It may cost her life.

Melanie's Evanescent Journey ties into books one and two of The Sonar Trilogy. From spiraling twists to devastating plots, her journey will make you question fate and true love. 

Is fate something you can control? Some believe it's in the hands of what you behold.


A Great insight into Melanie's point of view. It was nice to see from her perspective after reading the first installment and I think it highlighted her as a character and helped readers understand her motivation. 

It was a great growth and I am glad that we had this brief look at her before the next novel. 

I have wanted to be an author since I was fifteen years old and grateful to have accomplished this dream. I have three wonderful children and a husband who defines the person I am today. I work full-time as an Ultrasound technologist in Sugarland, Texas.
I have very vivid dreams and a wild imagination. I like to read, watch tons of TV shows, and movies. I’m addicted to romance and get a thrill out of action and suspense. I write New Adult Fantasy, Sci-fi, and Paranormal-Romance. 
In the Sonar series it was fun to explore different elements of Sci-fi romance and create various realms of powers for my characters. I want to show my readers that Sci-fi can be fun, but also traumatic. I hope you guys enjoy the Sonar Series. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

PROMO: A New Dawn

Contemporary Romance
Date Published: 3/29/15

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Endings always lead to new beginnings.

Dawn Delaney must forge ahead when her marriage crumbles. But for this formerly rich Mrs., entering the working world, and possibly dating again, makes her feel like a fish out of water.

Bradford Shaw has a soft spot for curvaceous Dawn from the moment he sees her. Brad senses she’s scared of a romantic relationship after all she’s been through. But he’s going to show her that after a dark period in one’s life, there’s always a new dawn.


Chapter One

Two Years Earlier

“You’re wearing my favorite lingerie.”

Dawn Delaney cringed at her husband’s words. There was no awe in Gary’s voice. The words fled his lips as if he were reading the weather report.

She tried to fight the panic demanding to take over. She had to contain her emotions if she wanted to seduce her husband of over eighteen years. She wore an expensive white La Perla bra and panty set that framed her curvy shape nicely. Her skin glowed from a generous rubdown of mango and papaya body butter. Dawn could smell the vanilla fragrance she’d spritzed at key spots on her body. If Gary walked a bit closer, he’d be able to smell it too. But so far, Dawn’s efforts had no effect.

She wasn’t a size six, seven, or eight for that matter. And after years of marriage, Dawn wasn’t too keen on wearing the revealing lingerie when one of her regular nightshirts was more comfortable. Still, she made the effort.

Gary strolled over to the La-Z-Boy recliner in their bedroom and picked up the Clarks shoebox. He’d asked Dawn to buy the black leather shoes for him earlier that day. She’d called him while shopping at Pentagon City Mall. It’d save him the trouble of driving there later in the week. As usual, Dawn obliged his request.

She watched as he examined the Clarks, turning them upside down to take a look at the soles. New shoes held Gary’s interest more than their marriage—their old marriage.

Dawn stood waiting. She recoiled further because she knew she deserved better treatment from Gary despite being a stay-at-home mother and a housewife. But what was she to do? She wanted for nothing because of him.

She sighed and rested both hands on full hips. Another man would devour me right now, she thought. Dawn tried to squelch the desire she still had for Reginald. The fling with the contractor, though physically satisfying, only made her more confused about her marriage.

Dawn thought about the good times she and Gary’d had in the past. How he used to make love to her two and three times a day. She thought of the grand way he’d proposed to her and the utter feeling of bliss that had consumed her when she’d said yes. She thought of their daughter, Sherine, whose simple existence comforted Dawn. Gary and Dawn had raised a great kid together, who’d soon be off to college when summer ended.

They had to get their marriage back on track. It was one thing to miss Gary, who often travelled, while Sherine had lived at home. But Dawn couldn’t imagine being alone in the family’s spacious house with no one to talk to.

It was the memories of the good times that made her hang on.

She cleared her throat. Gary finally put down the shoes. He sighed and put his hands in the pockets of his Armani pants. His jacket wasn’t on. Dawn knew that it was downstairs, hanging on the back of a kitchen chair. Gary always took off his jacket and placed it on a chair as soon as he got home. It was a constant in an otherwise impulsive man.

“Why don’t you go take a quick shower and then let’s have some fun?” Dawn rested most of her weight on her right foot, tilted her head, and smiled seductively.

Gary exhaled and adjusted his tie. “I don’t think this is working for me anymore.”

“Excuse me?” Dawn straightened her posture. She couldn’t have heard Gary correctly.

“Us.” Gary moved his hands back and forth in the air. “I want a divorce.”

Gary, please. But the words didn’t come out. Anger temporarily muzzled Dawn. She felt it surge. “You’ve chosen your mistress over me,” she spat.

Gary shook his head. “It’s not that.”

“That WASN’T a question.” Dawn’s chest heaved up and down. She felt like she couldn’t breathe under the pain pounding down on her. “You told me…promised me, that you’d end things with her.”

“We’re different people now, Dawn.”

She shook her head. “You’re the one who changed.”

Gary shrugged. “I guess money can do that to you.”

Author Link

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Release Blitz: Storm Surge

Date Published: April 14, 2015

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Kalen has escaped from Morinvale, but at a heavy price. Blind and crippled, the best hope for his people is for him to choose a new Rift King, forfeiting his life in the process. With his failure to broker peace between Kelsh and Danar, war is inevitable. For the first time in a thousand years, the Rift prepares to ride into battle.

Choosing his successor is only the beginning of Kalen’s troubles: his Guardians have turned against the Code and Covenant. Instead of securing the Ascension of a new Rift King, they’re doing everything in their power to ensure Kalen’s survival, even if it means the destruction of the Six Kingdoms.

To make matters worse, the skreed conjured in Morinvale aren’t just growing stronger. They’re breeding, and they aren’t picky about what—or who—they’ll eat.


Kalen’s rage flared, fueled by the First’s fury. “That’s one thing I’d like to do before I die,” he snarled.

 “I’d like to kill every last one of those Blood Priests and stick their heads on spikes.”

“How barbaric.”

“I wouldn’t want to poison the poor nibblers with their filth.”

“How kind of you. Won’t you save a few for us?”

Kalen snorted. “The offer’s open. If you want to be the Rift King, you’ve my blessings without question. Then you can do whatever you want to the Blood Priests.”

“Kalen,” Maiten growled.

“I’m blind and crippled. I’m in no position to stop an assassin. That’s just the truth. I might be good, but I’m not that good. I don’t know of anyone who is. You understand, don’t you?”

“How can you be so calm about this? You’re talking about your own death!”

Kalen sighed. It used to scare him, and that fear had driven him to do anything necessary to survive. The years had, like the wind on stone, worn him down. “I told you, Maiten. You’re one of my oldest friends, you know that. You’ve known it from the beginning of my reign. I’m tired. It used to frighten me. Sometimes, it still does. You know what they say about Rift Kings.”

“People say a lot of things about the Rift Kings. That doesn’t mean any of it is true, Your Majesty.”

“The Rift Kings aren’t served out of love. They never were. They never will be. It’s always out of fear. There’s a reason for that our—there’s a reason our voices aren’t heard among the songs of the ancestors. What’s left?”

Maiten was quiet for a long time before he said, “You’re different.”

Shaking his head while laughing, Kalen replied, “No, I’m not.”

About the Author

RJ Blain suffers from a Moleskine journal obsession, a pen fixation, and a terrible tendency to pun without warning.

When she isn't playing pretend, she likes to think she's a cartographer and a sumi-e painter. In reality, she herds cats and a husband, and obeys the commands of the Ghost of Tsu Dhi, the great warrior fish.

In her spare time, she daydreams about being a spy. Should that fail, her contingency plan involves tying her best of enemies to spinning wheels and quoting James Bond villains until she is satisfied.

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Blog Tour: Secret Somethings

Romantic Suspense / Satire 
Date Published - February 15, 2015

Marriage is bliss for newlywed Jude Clayton. Lord knows she could use it. After years of battling a destructive mental disorder, she’s hungry for some sense of normalcy. Little does she know, she will find the complete opposite with her new husband Bryce. On the surface, Bryce Clayton is every woman’s dream—make no mistake about it. Handsome, intelligent, wealthy and accomplished, Bryce only has one problem. An obsession. 
Poor fragile Jude knows nothing about her husband’s “extracurricular activities.” What she’ll discover about herself in the process is much scarier than anything either of them can imagine. Jude, with her grotesque sense of humor and her many mental abnormalities, has developed an obsession of her own.
As their unconventional “romance” blossoms into a toxic relationship, truth and lies clash. And some begin to wonder: Is Jude a helpless victim to her husband’s deceitful ways or is she a dutiful accomplice?

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July 21, 2009

The first thing I loved about him were his hands.
Bryce Clayton had talented hands—strong fingers, perfect knuckles—beautiful in every way. That man had anorgasmic touch. That’s what I’d like to remember forever, first and foremost. My husband had glorious hands, but they were also weapons. They were destructive beasts that destroyed everything they touched. Including me. 
When they reveal the crime scene photos of his body, the only thing I can focus on are those infamous hands. Long broken fingers drenched in blood, tattered fingernails and gnarled knuckles. I can hardly stomach looking at them. I slump forward in the metal chair, clutching my stomach to quell the nausea.
Soft light spills from the florescent beams overhead, drawing beads of sweat from my scalp. Moisture drips like melting paint across my forehead, making me feel like I’ve been embedded in the sun. This is a side-effect of guilt.
“Mrs. Clayton?” the cop utters. “If you’ll work with me, we can get this over with and you can go home.”
Though my eyes lay fixed on the gruesome photos of my husband’s pale corpse, I nod. He proceeds, “Good. Now, we’ll be recording this interrogation for legal purposes, so I’ll need you to state your full name before we begin.”
He reaches across the table toward his recorder and presses a single button: play. We settle in the silence for a moment and I feel his eyes on me, watching then judging. He has already made up his mind about me. Cops are designed to think the worst of everyone. I’d be offended if I didn’t agree with his assessment of me.
When he looks at me, I’m sure he’s sees the same thing every outsider sees. Stupid, homely, little suburban bitch. I’m a walking advertisement for everything that’s wrong with the twentysomethings of today. Spoiled brats with their heads lodged up their asses. Stupid bitch. I see it in his eyes. This man resents me.
“Go ahead, state your full name,” he orders.
I clear my throat, fidgeting with my fingers to distract my rampant thoughts. As I forge the courage to face him, my eyes are swollen with tears, but I’ve not cried a single tear yet and it scares me. What kind of woman doesn’t react to the death of her own husband? A woman like me? I didn’t think I could be so cold…until now.
“My name is Judith Lillian Clayton.”
“And why are you here today, Mrs. Clayton?”
“Your men arrested me. They say I've been a very bad girl,” I say and for some reason I expect him to laugh at my distasteful quip. Instead, I hear a light sigh as if he’s suddenly growing impatient with me. Guess I picked the wrong time to crack a joke.
“For better clarification, give me specifics. Why are you here?”
My heart, it chugs, coagulating blood in my chest cavity. It hurts. Everything hurts, even the strands of my hair. I’m a pulp of walking pain. Hollowed out like someone has eviscerated my insides with an ice cream scooper.
“I killed my husband,” I say.
“When did this incident occur?”
July 20, 2009. The final day of our honeymoon.”
“I need you to tell me every single thing that happened on your honeymoon,” he says. “Starting with day one.”
“To understand, you’ll have to hear everything,” I say.
“Meaning what exactly?” he asks.
“My husband was a very complicated man, detective. He was absolutely brilliant, but he was also his own worst enemy. He was a bastard, a jackass and an unapologetic asshole, but against my better judgment…I loved him. To understand why he’s dead, you need to know our secrets.”
He pauses, but eventually replies, “Then give me the whole story.”
“You might not like me very much after I tell you this story. Sometimes I don’t even like myself when I think about it,” I say. “So I want you to listen because I won’t be repeating a thing.”
“Are you intentionally being vague, Mrs. Clayton?”
“Not intentionally, no, but I can only tell you what I remember. And that in itself might not be very credible,” I say. “Youwill have to fill in the rest of the pieces from there.”    
“Just try your best. We have all day. Take your time.”

With a lump in my throat, I nod and say, “Yes sir.”

Amber has been writing for as long as she can remember. Yes, she knows how awful her fifth grade plays were, but she didn't care as long as she had to the power to explore her imagination in the darkest ways possible. She grew up in the south where she ate a lot of BBQ and spent too much time reading.
Some would argue that she was an odd child (and an even odder adult) With her morbid sense of humor, Amber has aimed to be as true to her writing as she can by exploring the darker sides of humankind. She loves psychological thrillers and offbeat plots. Her characters might be unlikeable. Her plots might take disturbing twists and turns, but she tries (as always) to explore the most tragic parts of life with as much humor as possible.
Her favorite authors are Gillian Flynn, Liane Moriarty, Tana French and Laura Lippman.
Her favorite movies are dark, suspenseful and (sometimes) romantic. Though she hates most romantic comedies, she absolutely loves (500) Days Of Summer, The Spectacular Now and The Fault In Our Stars.

Twitter: @rozkae

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