Thursday, December 30, 2010

Affordable eBook Recommendations!

Are you ready for Fantasy and Science Fiction?


A Tale of Alterra, The World That Is

Elfhunter is the first of the tales of Alterra, The World That Is. It concerns the quest of an unlikely pair of heroines, Gaelen and Nelwyn, who are Wood-elves of the Greatwood Forest. They are hunter-scouts in the realm of King Ri-Aruin, and they have sworn to protect their woodland home, but they are drawn into a quest to defend all the Elves of Alterra as they seek to destroy the 'Elfhunter', a monstrous entity intent on exterminating the Elves until none remain. Along the way, Gaelen and Nelwyn are joined by other interesting characters as they make their way through the realms of Alterra in pursuit of the Elfhunter, whose true name is 'Gorgon'. What headstrong Gaelen and her gentle cousin do not know is that Gorgon is in league with the Dark Power, and that the forces of Evil have forged an entanglement between Gorgon and Gaelen herself. Now she and all she loves are in jeopardy, and only an inspired plan put forth by Orogond, a mortal man, can save her.

Winner of 2008 Reviewer's Choice Award: 'Best Fantasy'; 2009 'Best Series'.

.99 Cents!!!



King Sinther, his flesh made of stone, tyrannizes the enchanted Firefly Island. Swords and arrows break against him. Armies crash before him. All of Firefly Island, a land of magic and mystery, suffers under his cruelty.

But one girl, a simple slave girl, has magic that can stop him. Whatever Aeolia feels, she can make others feel: joy, sadness, hunger... even pain. If she hurt herself and shared the pain, she could hurt the mad stone king.

Can Aeolia escape King Sinther's assassins, defeat him, and save Firefly Island?




Darius and Dyla Telkur, royal twins, from one of the most powerful noble families on Otharia...

Add in an evil mastermind bent on eliminating the House of Telkur...

And a telekinetic assassin named fast can you run?

The idyllic life of royal teenagers, Darius and Dyla Telkur, from the planet Otharia takes a horrifying turn when their parents are murdered. With their cousin appointed as Regent until Darius comes of age, it doesn’t take the twins long to figure out that he’s bent on stealing their throne one way or another. To escape their cousin’s wrath and a false murder charge, they flee to the only safe place they know where no one will find them – the forbidden and quarantined planet Earth.

Safe on Earth for the moment, the only way for them to return home is to find an ancient 10K traveling crystal left behind by their Otharian ancestors who visited Earth 1500 years ago. Enlisting the help of a London university archeologist, they begin their search for the crystal from clues buried deep within the Arthurian lore of Merlin and Lady of the Lake. What they find instead is evidence of a secret trade pact between Otharia and Earth that was established centuries ago. Before Darius and Dyla can understand what it means, they’re in jeopardy again; this time pursued by those on Earth who want the secret to remain hidden. Who is behind the trade pact and what is being traded are the questions the twins need to figure out while trying to stay one step ahead of the Earth assassins.

Everything is connected, but time is running out for the royal pair. They must find the traveling crystal and open a portal home soon before their cousin is crowned the next Duke of Telkur and their lives are forfeited.

.99 Cents!!!



Set in the year 3040, Right Ascension explores mankind's place in the Universe, how we ascended to that lofty position, and the horrifying price of that ascension.

Humanity's struggle to assume a place of dominance within the galaxy is suddenly called into question when a sleek alien vessel arrives unexpectedly at Earth. Admiral Daniel Atgard and the crew of the Apocalypse embark on a mission to find these enigmatic aliens, but the focus of the mission quickly turns from finding answers to exacting revenge. Meanwhile, a belligerent species of reptilian warriors, seeking to avenge a previous defeat at the hands of the human-controlled United Confederation of Planets, takes this opportunity to plan an all-out assault on Earth. Faced with overwhelming odds and the terrible knowledge of humanity's most horrifying secret, Daniel must choose between honor... and humanity's very survival.




Space Junque is a novella, a paranormal romance

Edited by USA Today bestselling author Anne Frasier/Theresa Weir

The DOGs want to destroy the world. The gods want to make a new one. The trick is to survive both.

The world is on the brink of ecological cataclysm set off by the Oil Spill of 2010 and the Great Sea Level Rise of 2070. When the Defenders of Gaia set off dirty bombs in random cities, Char Meadowlark races to the airport to get off planet until the terror subsides.

Char's friend Mike Augustine secures her a place on the Imperial transport, but the DOGs strike before she can board. Jake Ardri, pilot of the shuttle Space Junque, rescues her and delivers her to the Imperial Space Station where Mike awaits.

When the DOGs' final onslaught goes global and the physical world threatens to implode, the ancient gods reemerge to stop humanity from annihilating all material existence. In this chaos, Char must juggle two men, orbiting eco-terrorists, and a goddess with her own agenda for a new world order.

Will there be room for love in flagrante apocalypto?

.99 Cents!!!



When half-bloods Harruq and Qurrah Tun pledged their lives to the death prophet Velixar, they sought only escape from their squalid beginnings. Instead, they become his greatest disciples, charged with leading his army of undead.

While they prepare, Harruq trains with an elf named Aurelia, to whom he owes his life. She is a window into a better world, but as war spreads between the races their friendship takes a dire turn.

Velixar orders them to fight alongside the humans, changing Aurelia from friend to foe. To protect her, Harruq must turn against his brother and fight the killing nature of his orcish heritage.

.99 Cents!!!


Stay tuned - tomorrow is Romance and Romantic Suspense!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Affordable eBook Recommendations!

Today's Recommendations - WOMEN'S FICTION!



Ariana’s Pride is an historical romance set during the Wars of the Roses. The story commences shortly after the Battle of Barnet where Warwick The Kingmaker was killed and Edward IV has just taken his throne back from the mad king, Henry VI. This one decisive battle affected the lives and attitudes of Ariana and Jeremy.

Ariana Devoe is the willful and arrogant daughter of Earl William. What happens when she finds that she has lost her home and family? Will she lose her heart, too, as she struggles to reach the elderly Baron to whom her father has promised her? Or will she throw away her chance to avenge her father’s death and regain her titles and estates to be with the dashing Jeremy?

Jeremy Gowen has lived most of his life in the Earl’s stables, but does not intend to end his days there. Aided by the stablemaster, once a soldier in the King’s service, Jeremy secretly learns horsemanship and sword fighting.

After the attack on her father’s castle, Jeremy finds Lady Ariana, lost and alone. He promises to take her to the Baron, but as their journey progresses, he is no longer willing to turn the woman he loves over to another man. Jeremy holds the secret which could make Ariana his, but he wants her to love him for his own sake.




Divorced mother of one, Tracy Campbell is trying her best to stay out of small town gossip. A mysterious lump on her throat is making it hard. Handsome Dr. Jeremy Nelson is making it harder.

.99 Cents!!!



Artist Katelyn Cross loves Greg Mazur and he loves her. He wants to be married but a previous relationship that went sour has made Katelyn overly cautious about any permanent commitment. And what about Greg’s first wife? He lost her to cancer and Katelyn worries that he’s only looking for a replacement. What’s a girl to do? Canoe down a river with five gal pals, camp out, catch fish, talk about life and men. The problem is, a river can be as unpredictable as any relationship and just as hard to manage. On their last day, when the river turns wild, the women face the challenge of a lifetime and find that staying alive means saving themselves first while being open to help from a most unlikely source. As Katelyn navigates the raging water, she learns how to overcome her fear of change in a world where nothing stays the same. When Katelyn returns to her garden, she’ll face one more obstacle and the naked gardener will meet the real Greg Mazur.

.99 Cents!!!


“Most people have everything they need to be happy.” The words latched onto some part of Skyla’s brain. She repeated the phrase to herself while she rang up books and stocked shelves. It had a certain resonance to it, but she doubted it was true.

Free-spirit Skyla Plinka has found the love and stability she always wanted in her reliable husband Thomas. Settling into her new family and roles as wife and mother, life in rural Wisconsin is satisfying, but can’t seem to quell Skyla’s growing sense of restlessness. Her only reprieve is her growing friendship with neighbor Roxanne, who has five kids (and counting) and a life in constant disarray – but also a life filled with laughter and love.

Much to the dismay of her intrusive mother-in-law, Audrey, Skyla takes a part-time job at the local bookstore and slowly begins to rediscover her voice, independence and confidence. Throughout one pivotal year in the life of Skyla, Audrey and Roxanne, all three very different women will learn what it means to love unconditionally. With the storytelling ingenuity of Anne Tyler, the writing talent of Jodi Picoult, and the subtlty of Alice Munro, McQuestion offers a satisfying debut that proves she is a gifted portraitist, a natural storyteller and an author to watch.




A recently divorced woman trudges out of one small, Maine town and into an even smaller one, hoping to escape her pain. Instead she finds herself surrounded by people who are trudging on, just like her. Waiting for things to get better. Waiting for spring.

Waiting For Spring takes readers beyond the lighthouses and rocky beaches tourists visit and drops them instead into a rural Maine town that is filled with displaced factory workers who struggle with poverty and loss, yet push onward with stubbornness and humor.



Ovulation detectors. Hormone surges. Anxiety-ridden dreams. This is the world in which Annie Jacobs is thrust when she and her husband John receive a diagnosis of unexplained infertility. A 37-year old PR executive, Annie has wanted to be a mother since she first cuddled her Baby Tenderlove at age five. She is dreading another Christmas of relatives asking when they will be hearing the pitter patter of little feet, and Uncle Joe slapping John on the back, telling him to relax and take a cruise. Lots of people get pregnant on vacation, you know.

Across town, stay-at-home mom of two, Sarah Anderson, attempts grocery shopping with a toddler intent on hurling items from the cart at passersby. She notices a box of rice heading straight for a gray-haired head. Leaping across the aisle, Sarah grabs it, saving the woman from certain doom, or at least a minor head injury. Little Alex screams at being thwarted. The unknowing octogenarian shakes her head and admonishes Sarah for not knowing how to keep her child quiet in public.

"A Whisper to a Scream" is the story of two women on opposite ends of the child-bearing spectrum who come to realize the grass is not necessarily greener on the other side of the fence. A vivid portrayal of contemporary marriage and its problems, the novel speaks to a longing in all of us, a yearning that might start as a vague notion, but eventually grows into an unbearable, vociferous cry.


TOMORROW'S RECOMMENDATIONS: Fantasy and Science Fiction!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Affordable eBook Recommendations!



Real estate agent Toni Matthew's problems begin when her fiancé, Scott, is murdered. Having to bury the man she loves on the very day they planned to be married is almost more than Toni can take. Dealing with her loss becomes even harder when Scott's estranged brother, Brian, contests the will, threatening to take away her home.

After learning Brian is in deep financial trouble, Toni suspects he may be the one who killed Scott. Determined to find the truth and frustrated with the police, she begins her own investigation. Toni soon realizes she didn't know her fiancé quite as well as she had thought. Scott had been keeping secrets. Secrets that make Toni the killer's next target.

A lean, fast-paced thriller.

.99 Cents!!!



Two gunslingers, one little girl, a big bag of toys... and murder.

Mick and Casey McKee aren't exactly your average gunslingers. He's young and inexperienced, and has much too sunny a disposition for a gunman. She's younger, meaner, less experienced, but a much better shot.

When they get a job protecting the daughter of a stagecoach king--and her grand collection of toys--it seems like an opportunity to go someplace new. But after the wrong kidnapping, a murder, another wrong kidnapping, a couple of jewel heists and a few knocks to the head, Mick and Casey are left holding the bag of toys. Mick, however, is not as dumb as he seems, and as for Casey...nobody steals her gun and gets away with it.

HAVE GUN, WILL PLAY is a western whodunnit for fans of both puzzle mysteries and light adventure.




A simple domestic abuse case turns deadly when the alleged abuser is killed and Stephanie Ann “Sam” McRae’s client disappears. When a friend asks Sam to find Melanie Hayes, the Maryland attorney is drawn into a complex case of murder and identity theft that has her running from the Mob, breaking into a strip club and forming a shaky alliance with an offbeat private investigator to discover the truth about Melanie and her ex-boyfriend.

With her career and life on the line, Sam’s search takes her from the blue-collar Baltimore suburbs to the mansions of Gibson Island. Along the way, she learns that false identities can hide dark secrets, and those secrets can destroy lives.

Now with a BONUS excerpt from THE LIST by J.A. Konrath.

.99 Cents!!!


Rose, a widow and mother of three adult children, is a founding member of the Salton Symphony and one of a group of seven volunteers who call themselves the “Symphony Slaves.” As the story opens, she is in the hospital recovering from a concussion after being found unconscious outside her friend Judy’s house. Rose cannot remember how she got there, although she remembers finding Judy bludgeoned to death. This is only the first of several murders that rock the normally dull Salton, a Northern Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C.

Alternate chapters comprise segments of the killer’s journal in which she recalls her childhood and reveals the warped logic that enables her to eliminate those who threaten her hard-won lifestyle. She overcame her destitution with the single-minded ruthlessness that drives her to kill again and again when things go wrong. The journal converges with the narrative as the story progresses and shows the terrible fallout that can result from child abuse; but it also suggests that it is not inevitable—her sister is not a killer, after all. This woman’s intelligence and drive have worked for her and against her.

This psychological suspense, the first of a trilogy, focuses on the characters’ inner lives and the social constraints that bind them. Each Symphony Slave changes as her complacency is shaken by dark events she never imagined could touch a community like Salton. And the way it all ends . . . pleases no one.

.99 Cents!!!



Tortured. . . raped. . . executed. . .
No matter how much he drank, Gavin McAllister couldn't get the headline out of his head. Just words. He was a writer, made his living with words. The impact of the words directly correlated to the emotions of the reader. Words could be twisted, knives to open up wounds long hidden. Maneuvered to evoke buried nightmares. Bare the soul, expose the wound, and you had a best seller. Make them laugh. Make them cry. Above all, make them feel something. He was an expert at manipulating words for emotion.

But he'd seen the body.

It wasn't a story this time. This time it was personal. The demon of his nightmares had no name, but now he knew where to look for him. Glade Springs had secrets. And no one uncovered secrets better than Jacody ives.

.99 Cents!!!



Craig Edmonds, a successful stockbroker, reports the disappearance of his wife, Kirsty. What starts as a typical missing person's case soon evolves into a full-blown homicide investigation when forensics uncover blood traces and dark-blonde hairs in the boot of the missing woman's car. Added to this, is Craig's adulterous affair with the victim's younger sister, Narelle Croswell, compounded further by a recently acquired $1,000,000 insurance policy on his wife's life. He is charged with murder but, with no body and only circumstantial evidence, he walks free when two trials resulting in hung juries fail to convict him.

Ten years later, Jacinta Deller, a newspaper journalist is retrenched. Working on a freelance story about missing persons, she comes across the all but forgotten Edmonds case. When she discovers her boyfriend, Brett Rhodes, works with Narelle Croswell, who is not only the victim's sister but is now married to the prime suspect, her sister's husband, she thinks she has found the perfect angle for her article. Instead, her life is turned upside down, as befriending the woman, she becomes embroiled in a warped game of delusion and murder.




Three hunters of humans meet for the ultimate showdown at the TRUCK STOP.

Taylor is a recreational killer, with dozens of gristly murders under his belt. He pulls into a busy Wisconsin truck stop at midnight, trolling for the next to die.

Chicago Homicide cop Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels is a long way from home, driving to meet her boyfriend for a well-earned vacation. She pulls into the truck stop for a quick cup of coffee and stumbles into her worst nightmare.

Jack's no stranger to dealing with psychos, but she's got her hands full trying to stop Taylor. Especially since he's getting help from someone just as deadly; a portly serial maniac named Donaldson...

.99 Cents!!!



And as always, thank you for following my blog!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Affordable eBook Recommendations!

Happy Monday!

This is a unique week at Fiction for Dessert --

I'll be posting affordable eBook recommendations for those who love to read on their Kindles, Nooks or other eReaders, but don't want to break the bank doing it! I have read these books myself and so the recommendations are based on my personal reading preferences. I found them to be very enjoyable reads. :-)

Today's theme is HUMOR



Meet Alexis Stanton, a 5' 4" petite young woman with a yen for adventure. She grew up as a tomboy wishing she could have all the adventures boys could have. She has since decided that being a boy instead of a girl has its advantages, but being a woman is much better. Raised in a family with money, she was able to pick and choose her education. She had been schooled in everything from being a lady to courses with Special Forces instructors. Her desire for adventure and her boredom with her current employment and a strange 'HELP WANTED' ad causes her to quit. She finds that job she could "just die for"... and it looks like she just might!

.99 cents!!!



Sedona is given the opportunity of a lifetime: play an up-and-coming executive with all the trappings of wealth with someone else footing the bill. The catch: find out who is stealing company funds before the criminals find out that their program is being debugged.

Sedona runs into danger, the corporate glass ceiling, and an occasional chance at romance in her quest to figure out who is stealing money from Strandfrost. Unfortunately, Sedona is better at writing computer code than deciphering political vitriol, and if she doesn’t find a way to wade through the red tape and red herrings, she could lose both her job and her quarry!




A self-deprecating witch with the unique ability to reanimate the dead. A dangerously handsome warlock torn between being her boss and her would-be lover. A six hundred year old English vampire with his own agenda; one that includes an appetite for witches. The Underworld in a state of chaos. Let the games begin.

Life isn’t bad for psychic Jolie Wilkins. True, she doesn’t have a love life to speak of, but she has a cute house in the suburbs of Los Angeles, a cat and a quirky best friend.

Enter Rand Balfour, a sinfully attractive warlock who insists she’s a witch and who just might turn her life upside down. Rand hires her to help him solve a mystery regarding the death of his client who also happens to be a ghost. Jolie not only uncovers the cause of the ghost’s demise but, in the process, she brings him back to life!

Word of Jolie’s incredible ability to bring back the dead spreads like wildfire, putting her at the top of the Underworld’s most wanted list. Consequently, she finds herself at the center of a custody battle between a villainous witch, a dangerous but oh-so-sexy vampire, and her warlock boss, Rand.

.99 cents in December!



There are worse things in life than being dumped at the altar. Like being accused of killing your fake husband in a third world country where you can't speak the language, for example.

When Lizzie Mancini booked her honeymoon to the secluded Blue Bay Beach Resort on the small Caribbean island of Camus Caye she thought it would be relaxing to spend the week at an isolated couples-only retreat. But that was before she knew she’d be honeymooning sans groom. Touring alone, dining alone, and worst of all, having to explain to the resort’s thirty other guests why she was staying in the bridal suite alone—Lizzie was dreading it. But it still beat the alternative, eight more days hibernating in her empty apartment feeling sorry for herself.

Then Lizzie meets Michael, a gold-chained antiquities dealer who offers to play her husband for the week no strings (or sex) attached. The plan works perfectly until Lizzie spends the night with scuba instructor Jack, and Michael’s body washes up on Blue Bay’s pristine shore. Lizzie becomes Polizia Nationale’s number one suspect and the only way she can prove her innocence is to solve Michael’s murder herself.




A murder by beheading sends Alice Harte, reluctant real estate broker for thugs, running into the arms of Nigel Channing, a charming British con man.

This urban fantasy is set in Miami and London. Fans of Stephanie Plum will cheer for Alice as she watches her back in attempting to keep her head, while being stalked by Nigel's daft ex-wife and inept, but dangerous mobsters. Alice's world is filled with memorable characters strangely reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland. She's guided through her dangerous adventure by her own Cheshire Cat.

Nigel, a chubby John Cleese with serious dress-code problems, whisks Alice to England. Alice sees him as her White Rabbit rescuer. The plot trips along at a cracking pace with Alice flinging zingers like a drive-by shooter.

After Alice discovers a gangster's freshly beheaded body in his Miami mansion, she launches a desperate self-defense in a kangaroo court. The main witness against her is Algy Green, a bumbling cockney swindler who super-glues his bat wing ears to his head and commits perjury for theme park tickets. But in the middle of the trial a small piece of evidence opens her eyes.




Since her divorce a year ago, Susan Caraway has gone through the motions of life. Now she is finally coming out of her shell. Just when she decides on a makeover and a new career, her family members decide she's crisis central. First there’s her sister DeLorean who has come back from California with a baby, a designer dog, and no prospects for child support or a job. As soon as DeLorean settles in at Susan’s home, Susan’s son Christian returns from college trailing what Susan’s mama refers to as “an androgynous little tart.” Then there’s Mama herself, a southern lady who wrote the book on bossy. A secret from Mama’s past threatens to unravel her own peace. But not before Mama hurts her ankle and has to move into Susan’s home with her babies—two Chihuahuas with attitude. Susan would like to start her new job as a ghost tour operator. She would like to renew her relationship with Jack Maxwell, a man from her past. But Jack isn’t going to stand in line behind her needy family.


Stop by tomorrow for MYSTERY recommendations!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Looking for Affordable and Great eBooks for you Kindle or Nook?

Chances are if you have a Kindle, Nook, or other eReader, you're looking for books to download without breaking the bank. Today, on his blog A Newbie's Guide to Publishing, bestselling author JA Konrath posted a list of independently published, affordable eBooks that are selling thousands of copies each month. I've read several of these books myself and can attest to their quality. Oh, and I have to admit that my own Take the Monkeys and Run is on the list!

Here are some other sources for finding affordable, quality reads for your fun new toy!!!!

Daily Cheap Reads

The Frugal eReader

Kindle Nation Daily

Red Adept Reviews

Two Ends of the Pen

Merry Christmas and Happy Reading!!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Giveaway Wednesday: Two Kindle eBooks - TAKE THE MONKEYS AND RUN and THE CHRONICLES OF MARR-NIA

WELL - First, I have to announce that the Giveaway for UNDER WITCH MOON by Maria E. Schneider was the most entered contest I've had to date!!!! I hope all of you will tell your friends about Fiction for Dessert and our giveaways, because we'll be doing MANY MORE in the New Year. Spread the word!!

Okay, now for our two winners . . .

Are you ready???

The two people winning a Kindle copy of UNDER WITCH MOON are . . .

Meen and Julie Vineyard

I don't have email addresses for either of you, so please email me at so we can arrange for delivery.

IF you don't have a Kindle, NOT TO WORRY! We can do one of two things - you can download the Kindle app on your computer FOR FREE or we can give you a Smashwords coupon to receive the ebook that way. Also, if you prefer, we can arrange for your prize to be gifted to a friend or family member of your choice. But email me!!!

Because we had so many entries, I'll wait until Tuesday the 28th to hear from the winners. If I don't get an email in that time, I will pick another winner.


To Two Lucky Winners: a Kindle copy of TAKE THE MONKEYS AND RUN and THE CHRONICLES OF MARR-NIA, SHORT STORIES STARRING BARBARA MARR by yours truly, Karen Cantwell

Unfortunately, I can only offer a Kindle copies of THE CHRONICLES OF MARR-NIA, but can arrange for an ePub version of TAKE THE MONKEYS AND RUN for Nook owners, if necessary.

How do you enter?

Just comment to this post that you would like to be entered for this giveaway - again, there will be two winners, two eBooks each!

Good Luck!

As always, thank you for following my blog and . . .



Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sample Sunday

I hope you enjoy reading this opening sequence to my short story, "Missing Impossible," available in my short story collection, The Chronicles of Marr-nia, Short Stories Starring Barbara Marr.

"Missing Impossible"

We were on a stakeout. The very air around us was electric with the excitement of potential danger. On the edge of my seat with anticipation, my mind was ablaze with rich and vivid imaginings of what wild adventure might lay ahead.

Right. In the movies maybe.

Here, not so much.

We were on a stakeout alright, but it wasn’t exciting. It wasn’t even mildly interesting. I had hoped for more. I had hoped for sparking electric air. I had dreamed of anticipation and the need to calculate some necessary mission-oriented action at a moment’s notice. Instead, what I got was a cold cup of coffee in a stinky Buick while I sat shivering as the thermostat on the bank across the street read thirty-eight degrees. That was in the sun. We were in the shade. Damn!

“What’s that awful smell?”

“Dunno,” answered Colt. “Something in the trash, I guess.”


“In the trunk,” he said matter-of-factly, as if I would understand.

I didn’t understand. This required further inquiry.

“Why is there trash in the trunk of your car?” I asked, trying to disguise my disgust.

“Part of the routine, Curly,” Colt mumbled while simultaneously chewing a Boston cream donut. “Always check their trash. Once they put it on the street, its public property. I grabbed hers on the way over to pick you up – put it in the trunk. We’ll go through it later.” He sipped from his cup and swallowed down the last of his donut. I wondered if his coffee had turned to slushy ice like mine had.

Colt Baron. He’s a private investigator. To know him is to love him. All women do. My daughters love him, my friends love him, my mother loves him – although that wasn’t always the case – and of course, I love him. Problem is, I have a husband. If that weren’t complicated enough, Colt and my husband, Howard, were currently roommates in a two-bedroom condo across town. Long story. I could write a book on that one.

My name is Barbara Marr. Most people just call me Barb, except for Colt, who calls me Curly. To state the obvious – because I have curly hair. The hair was once a sad mousy brown, but now belies my age as more and more dismal gray strands creep their evil way into the fray. On a good hair day with some wash-in color, I can look a tad like Sara Jessica Parker. On a bad hair day I look like Don King’s long lost white sister. But I’m forty-five years old and have birthed three children. Who cares about a little messy hair? Let’s face it – after a woman has presented herself panting and prostrate on a table with her legs in stirrups, with half the hospital staff viewing her wares every five minutes, a bad hair day is a walk in the park.

Back to the stinky Buick.

So there we were, Colt looking as handsome as ever with his yellow, wispy, want-to-run-your-fingers-through-it hair (nary a gray strand in sight), and me – old, cold, and grumpy – contemplating the idea of rifling through putrid bags of trash. So much for excitement. Unless we found an unclaimed winning twenty-million dollar lotto ticket stuck to that messy (ahem) feminine product, the prospect seemed way less than attractive.

“We’re going to go digging through someone’s trash?” I moaned, unable to hide the disgust any longer. “This isn’t exactly what I thought investigating would be like. Why did you drag me into this?”

“Drag you?” Colt glared me down. “You begged me, remember?”

“Well, ‘beg’ is a strong word.” Pouting now, I slumped further down in my seat, working my coat around me as closely as I could to stave off the inevitable hypothermia.

“Wanna donut?” Colt said, shoving a Donut King bag in front of my frowny face. I was too cold to eat – the act itself would require me to expose my hands to the frigid air and possible frost bite. I shook my head and shoved the bag away with my elbow.

“Boy, you’re Miss Personality today,” he said. “You want me to take you home?”

“No. I asked to be a part of this. I’ll stick it through. Just thought it would be a little more . . . interesting.”

“I told you it wasn’t exciting or glamorous work, remember? No Magnum. No guns. No red Ferrari. No car chases. This is it, Curly. Sitting, sometimes for hours on end, waiting for some woman’s lover to show up – or not – snap a few pictures if we’re lucky, cash a check. If the check doesn’t bounce, we celebrate with a Corona until the next client comes along.”

“Yeah, but you didn’t say anything about trash.”

“True. Sorry ’bout that.”

I looked at my watch and then out through the windshield at the two story garden apartment building we’d been surveilling. An hour and twenty minutes. She’d gone into that apartment an hour and twenty minutes ago. No one else had followed. I sighed and watched as my breath turned visible. In the arctic-like air, an hour and twenty minutes felt like a year and twenty days.

“What’s this chick’s name again?” I asked.

“Paula. Paula Duffy.”

“Her picture looks so familiar, but that name just doesn’t ring a bell. Why does her husband think she’s cheating?”

“This apartment we’re watching. She’s been renting it for over year. He only found out about it – accidentally – three weeks ago. She doesn’t know he knows.”

Now THAT was juicy info. Who can turn down a story like a woman gone bad?

“Cool,” I said. “You think her stud is in there right now or you think he’ll be along soon?”

“Bingo! Take a look for yourself, Curly – here comes stud-boy now.” Colt was pointing at the apartment while positioning his telephoto lens at the ready. Unraveling myself from my coat cocoon, I grabbed the binoculars from the floor to get a better look.

A taut, squat Asian man was knocking on the door. The frame was familiar, but I didn’t have a full view of his face. If only he’d turn around a little bit more . . .

“Colt! I know that man!”


“Give me that picture! Let me see her face again.”

Still snapping the shutter furiously, Colt threw the glossy colored photo my way. I looked at it, and immediately remembered who she was.

“It’s Parra!”

“Who? What?”

“Parra. From Tae Kwon Do. That man knocking on her door is Master Kyo. He owns the place. And she’s Parra – his shining star student. Parra is having an affair with Master Kyo! How fun is that?” I was beginning to warm up nicely. This investigation stuff was invigorating after all.

The door opened and Master Kyo stepped in. Unfortunately, it was impossible, even with the binoculars, to see who had opened the door.

“Curly, her name is Paula – not Parra.”

It took me a minute to understand what he meant, but then it all became crystal clear, and boy, did I feel stupid. Certainly, it sounded like Parra when Master Kyo spoke, but then again, when he yelled at me, it sounded like he was telling Bob, not Barb, to do twenty push-ups. I thought back over the many times I had called her Parra to her face. “Hi, Parra, how are you?” “Hey, Parra, great kick!” “Ow! Parra, that hurts – don’t kick so hard!” My face went red when reflecting upon my many Parra faux pas. And yet, she had never corrected me.

The door had closed, leaving us with nothing but the view of a dingy apartment once again. A few silent minutes ticked by.

“Did you get any good, incriminating pictures?” I asked finally.

“Dunno. We’ll stick it out here and wait for one or the both of them to leave . . .”
I didn’t hear the rest of Colt’s sentence, if he finished it, because at that very moment a virtual fireball tore through Paula’s apartment, sending her front door flying through the air.


Did you like this little excerpt from "Missing Impossible?" If so, you can read the whole story and five others in:

Friday, December 17, 2010

Book Video Friday!

Today I have two book videos for you!

First, is SOUNDS OF MURDER by Patricia Rockwell. I haven't read this mystery yet, but I plan to, since the premise is so unique!

SOUNDS OF MURDER introduces a different type of amateur sleuth—one who solves crimes using sound waves. Patricia Rockwell’s novel takes you behind the walls of academia and into the intriguing world of university politics and high-stakes research—a world Rockwell knows well from her over forty years of college teaching and research. Here’s a unique cozy mystery--full of excitement, humor, and romance.

And second is IMMORTAL by Lauren Burd. I really enjoyed this trailer, I think you will too.

The wound inflicted only a few minutes before was nearly healed. A small cut was the only sign that anything had occurred. I watched in disbelief as it finished closing and eventually disappeared.
“What are you?”

Gods, demons, vampires, eighteen year old Alina Taylor doesn’t believe in any of them, until she meets Samuel Grant and Duncan Michaels, and discovers a world that could destroy everything she loves.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Giveaway Wednesday: Under Witch Moon

It's that time a week again - THE GIVEAWAYS!!!!

Such fun (smile)

First, I want to announce the lucky winners of last week's giveaway, two eBooks -- Saved by the Glass Slipper and Dating a Spy Isn't All Fun and Games -- by Markee Anderson:

Mary M and Cindy!!!

Ladies -- email me at to let me know if you would like a Kindle copy or Smashwords coupon. As soon as I hear from you we'll arrange for delivery!


And now for this week's OFFER --

Two lucky winners will receive a Kindle copy of Under Witch Moon by Maria E. Schneider. Under Witch Moon was featured Monday, so if you didn't catch that post, you should. GREAT Chapter!

What if you don't own a Kindle? That's okay, if you win, we can send you a Smashwords coupon OR if you know someone with a Kindle, we can arrange for it to be sent to them as a gift.

How do you enter?

SO EASY - just comment to this post that you would like to be entered for a chance to win. Winner will be announced next Wednesday. And if you leave your email address, it's that much easier for me to notify you.

So - start entering NOW!

And as always, thank you for following my blog.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Excerpt: Under Witch Moon by Maria E. Schneider

Today's excerpt is CHAPTER ONE from Maria E. Schneider's newest novel, Under Witch Moon. I'm a big fan of Maria's and she's been featured here before both with a short story as well as an excerpt from her laugh-out-loud Sedona O'Hala mystery, Executive Lunch. Now, Maria successfully tackles the world of paranormal fiction with a dash of humor.

About Under Witch Moon:

Adriel should have known that with a werewolf, it never stopped with just one body. She would have gone to the police after witnessing Dolores' death, but she wasn't certain the killer she saw was responsible for the other murders. Besides, the police didn't believe in werewolves, and they weren't going to believe she was a witch either so what could she tell them?

She kept her eyes and ears open while she tried to help her latest client escape the clutches of a voodoo witch, but things went from bad to worse when more bodies turned up. She was greatly relieved when she met White Feather, an undercover cop. Unfortunately, he wasn't convinced she was innocent of all wrong-doing.

It was going to take every spell she knew and a few she hadn't tried to solve the murders and stay alive.

Books on the Knob said this about Under Witch Moon: "..had me laughing out loud...I raced right thru it past all the twists and turns to the very end. I'm glad to see this one marked as part of the Moon Shadow Series...I hope that I'll be reading more about Adriel in the future."

And now, CHAPTER ONE from Under Witch Moon:

Being a witch isn't easy. It's smelly, grueling work. I'm not talking about magic. Magic is a power that comes from natural forces. I'm talking about witchery, the chemical reactions for spells. Mind you, I dabble in magic; most witches do, but the bulk of my work involves a lot of formulas. It's a chore like any, much like caulking a house--messy, stinky and the results don't last forever.

Yes, spells wear out. They sometimes glue themselves to the wrong thing or dry too fast or don't dry at all. When I'm finished, I need a bath and in some cases, just as paint needs turpentine, I need special solutions to rid myself of the chemicals that have made themselves at home on my person.

At present, I was working on a spell for protection. It was an easy spell and thankfully cleaner than most. Salt, a purifier and element that worked well against rogue spirits, was the main ingredient. While it was wonderfully effective, it was unfortunately, quick to break down. The main job of a witch in this case was to make sure the salt didn't degrade too quickly. Rich patrons paid me to mix it in gold or silver.

I preferred silver myself. It provided additional protection against evil spirits, including vampires and shifters. Gold was better for other types of spells, plus it was coveted by all, which meant that patrons expected me to include a spell of illusion so that the protection object didn't get stolen--but those same clients wanted the object to be beautiful, so it was therefore coveted by anyone who happened to see it anyway.

Being a witch was indeed an onerous task. If people accepted us, they wanted the impossible. If they didn't, they wanted to burn us at the stake.

Never mind all that. The important thing when working with metals, as I was now, was to make certain of its purity. I didn't care if a customer told me he dug it out of a mountain with his bare hands under a full moon. Santa Fe, along with most of New Mexico, was chock full of old Aztec gold and silver, and let me tell you, those people could imbue nasty spirits like no other.

I had to burn my entire house to the ground once when working with contaminated gold. I still looked over my shoulder on moonless nights, because I wasn't certain I contained the evil spirit back in that lump of gold.

My new house had a special room made from concrete walls covered in adobe brick, covered in stucco. Mud had the wonderful ability to soak up any number of bad things. Stucco had only one important feature--chicken wire. When coated with the right ingredients, the wire provided a nearly complete mesh of protection against many a magical ill. I only wished I had been able to dip the mesh into silver such as I was using now, fresh from the U.S. minting office.

The mint did a great job of removing impurities, along with any bad spirits. Of course, in doing so they nearly removed silver's strong ties to mother earth. Part of my job was to make sure the silver linked again with the purity of earth. I melted it, salted it and strung it ever so carefully into magical fibers. The magic came from mother earth; it was part of the silver. And in truth, any witch worth her pay added a certain magic of her own, a heartbeat tied to mother earth, an aura if you will--the magical quality of life.

The process of mixing, steaming, melting and salting took several days and exquisite timing. Moreover, when those things were done, I had to weave the silver thread into a careful pattern inside my chosen fabric. Given the trouble the woman was in, Dolores Garcia should have sprung for a fifty-strand liquid silver necklace instead. Such a necklace contained far more silver and wearing it would be an obvious message to a courting werewolf that she was not interested.
I finished my client's shirt on the night of a full moon, making sure the silver threads were placed correctly. As with any project, it felt good to finish, but I was tired. I planned to deliver the shirt the next day, but as I left my workroom, the phone rang.

"Adriel!" a voice sobbed my name and then choked to silence.

"Dolores?" I asked, although it could be no other.

"You must help me! Tonight. It's a full moon. It's…I can't control it, I saw him! I must have the shirt, finished or not, I can wait no longer!"

"Tonight?" Dismay colored my voice.

"It's a full moon! He's watching me, he's…" Her voice trembled with emotion.

"Oh for--"

"Please," she begged, naming a price that I could not afford to refuse.

"Fine." I sighed and then rolled my eyes as she dictated directions to a "safe" location. She insisted the exchange take place in the middle of the desert down in an arroyo so that we didn't stand out in the moonlight. In my mind, it would have been far less suspicious had she come over for a cup of coffee--or even met me at a donut shop.

Whatever. I had an image to uphold, and if the customer wanted me to traipse about the dusty desert after midnight, I just added it to the charge. If she didn't show up after keeping me up most of the night, I'd not only curse her, I'd sell the shirt to someone else, her silver or not.

I got traipsing. With the full moon, I managed to reach the location without too much trouble despite the fact that the spot Dolores had chosen was a mile from any paved road. To her credit, she was on time. From the looks of her though, I was a lot more agile in the dark.
She wasn't any older than me; somewhere in her twenties. She should have been able to easily avoid the prickly cactus, creosote and rocky terrain, but as she approached, she was limping rather noticeably.

She slid down into the arroyo and without ceremony, thrust out a tote bag weighted nicely with money. "Do you have it?" she whispered.

"You won't be able to wear this shirt every single day," I warned, prepared to sell her a kerchief as an additional security measure. "A werewolf is a dangerous--"

"Shhh," she shushed, despite the desert location.

"This shirt will be effective, but I would advise you to purchase some additional protection," I said, exchanging the plain wrapped package for the bag of money.

She grabbed the brown paper bundle from me and held it to her heaving chest like a long-lost teddy-bear. "At last!"

I frowned. I was accustomed to people being grateful, especially in the case of fending off evil, but her elation was almost giddy. "It will keep the werewolf away. Once you start wearing it, he will know that you know what he is. It will make it clear you are not interested."

She spun around in a circle, full Spanish skirts swirling around her legs. In addition to the dress, the idiot had actually worn sandals. Had she worn jeans and hiking boots like I had, maybe she wouldn't be limping.

"He will be mine now," she declared lustily. "I can date him without fear."

"What?" I forgot she wanted to keep our meeting a secret. "Are you crazy? He's an animal!"

"We're all animals! He just happens to be two animals, his were-person and his…person-person."

"That would be were-wolf," I emphasized. "Not were-person. The whole point is that he is an animal at times, with animal instincts and animal reactions."

She flicked long hair over her shoulder. It should have been as luminous black as mine from the usual mix of Spanish and Native American blood in the area, but she had bleached a gray streak across her forehead. Eagerly she gushed, "He's a person and very intelligent. I'm sure that I will be safe now."

"Nonsense." I shuddered at the thought of dealing with a werewolf in beast form.

She drew herself up tightly, thrusting out rather over-sized breasts. "Are you saying the protection I'm buying won't work?"

"Oh, the protection works. But you do realize that the werewolf will sense it, and it will automatically make you an enemy, especially to the wolf."

"He's human! He'll know that I need to be protected from the wolf. He'll be…attracted to the danger!"

"No. Animals are not attracted to danger. They run from it or they fight it."

She smacked away my hand as I reached for the goods. I had decided not to sell it to her.

"His human part will be wildly attracted to me!"

"Fool!" I declared. "His human part--"

She turned away in a swirl of skirts and ran.

Who in their right mind wore a skirt out in the desert? Some women had no sense.

Apparently I was one of them, but for different reasons. When Dolores had approached me about protection from a werewolf, I had hoped to keep her away from the animal, not bring her to it. While I worked on the spell, I kept my ear to the ground. Dolores had been keeping her distance from all men. Since I couldn't know who in her community was the actual werewolf, it only stood to reason that if she were interacting with none of them, she was indeed concerned for her safety.

"Drat your silly hide." I hurtled after her up the side of the arroyo. Catching her should be easy. She gimped along, tripping in the dark. Her legs would be good and scratched and the skirt full of rips before she made it home.

I lunged at her, but missed. She was too stupid to stay where the path was clear. Worse, her limp made her run and weave like a drunk.

I dashed forward again, making a flying tackle at her legs. The skirt, with its billowing mass, misled me. I ended up on the ground with a large armful of material. "Stop, you fool! The werewolf is a dangerous animal!"

She yanked hard, showing desperation that should have been saved for the werewolf. "No!" The skirt was already half shredded from her run through the desert. It gave way with a low rumble of protest. "He'll be mine!"

I was left in the dirt holding a fistful of brightly colored material while she made it to her truck and peeled away into the darkness.

Thankfully, in my pocket was the kerchief I had also made her--intending to tell her to wear it on her person at all times. The silver in the kerchief was from the same batch as the shirt. If I worked quickly, I could use the silver to make a witching fork, track the shirt, and steal it back. Maybe without the false sense of security, she'd give up her wildly stupid plans.

I sighed. It was obvious I could not enlighten her. Mind you, I had nothing against werewolves. I had no problem befriending their human side, but werewolves were werewolves. The animal instincts were there, and so was the animal power. While wolves have been known to fight on the side of humans, it was usually against a common enemy. They were still wild animals, with goals and instincts all their own.

I grumbled my way to my feet and pushed back the dark strands that had loosened from my ponytail. I had time. The moon would still be nearly full for the next couple of nights. No one would date a werewolf this close to a full moon. It would be even stupider than believing a mere shirt of silver and salt could save someone who jumped into the teeth of a wolf.

I took myself home to begin work on a witching fork. Since the silver was from the same batch as the shirt, my witching fork would act like a tuning fork. Only instead of music, the closer I got to the shirt, the better I would be able to hear the song of the mother lode.

My body demanded at least a few hours of sleep before concentrating on the difficult task of wrapping silver threads along a willow-branch fork. Every silver strand had to be exactly the same length and weight on each side of the fork. I didn't want false readings in the middle of the night while breaking into private property.

* * *

It took until dusk the next day before I was ready with Dolores' address in hand. A quick check with Lynx, my friend who lurked in the shadows of Santa Fe's streets, assured me that Dolores' parents were in town enjoying dinner. Lynx didn't come out of the shadows, but I could hear him chuckle. "I keep them busy for you," he whispered. "I pick up my pay tomorrow night."

"Make sure I have at least two extra hours," I whispered back into the darkness.
He didn't answer, but I knew he would be happy to make sure they were delayed while I visited the Garcia's hacienda on the outskirts of Santa Fe.

The trip, even after I stashed my dusty blue Civic on an unrelated side road and hiked up the short driveway to the house, took me under an hour.

The stucco estate was to my liking, mimicking the pueblos from the ancient past, with adobe walls forming a stepped design from the first to the second floor. The stepladder formation was a very good thing because the witching fork was pointing straight up.

I approached the walled-in garden with trepidation. At only five-five and maybe a half, I couldn't reach the top of the wall, not even on my tiptoes. I hated climbing. It was strenuous work, and I wasn't the most graceful of creatures. Thankfully I wasn't fat or the nearly six-foot barricade would have won.

The top was rounded, which kept me from piercing various body parts, but it was damned hard to balance on the thing once I straddled it. I wouldn't die if I fell, but as I shimmied toward the window ledge, I cursed the wall for not being high enough to allow me to easily reach the window.

I was sure of my destination. The fork was singing louder, a subtle vibration along my fingertips.

I clutched at the side of the house and groped upwards toward the open window. There wasn't going to be an easier entry. I put one foot in front of the other, took a deep breath and jumped.

Don't get me started about witches, broomsticks and being able to fly. I didn't know how to fly yet, and no witch in her right mind would use a broomstick these days. Why bother when there were more comfortable objects to levitate? If I ever learned to fly, I was going with a nice Arabian rug. Whoever spelled those magic carpets understood comfort.

I caught the sill with only one hand, flailing desperately. My next mistake was to try to climb with my hiking boots. Planting my feet on the wall pushed me away from the window. My hand scraped painfully across a metal rim before losing what skin was left to the stucco.

"Aeii!" I couldn't contain a stifled scream. My left foot landed on the wall, but the right kept sliding. A large chunk of adobe broke off under my boot and took me with it. One leg went left, the other right. I sat astride the wall like a drunk on a broomstick. One leg was painfully tangled in a rose bush.

"Why couldn't they have planted nice, safe, lilac bushes against the house?" Stifling a groan, I got up and used the side of the house to keep from falling again. If I kept sliding down and knocking chunks of the wall away, the Garcia's were going to end up with no wall. I would end up with no legs.

I jumped again, this time muttering the ingredients used in levitation spells. I didn't have any of the ingredients with me because the only one I was sure about was lodestone, but the list gave me confidence.

More stucco knocked free as I clutched the sill and dug my boots into the wall. The metal cut into my hands, but I kept climbing until I had a leg over.

It was then that I smelled him. Had he been in his human form, I might not have caught the strong scent, but wolves have a unique muskiness. A small light, maybe from a night light in the attached bathroom, gave off just enough of a glow to throw shadows.

"Aztec curses!" I swore in disbelief. "She wouldn't! The moon is practically full…"
One leg over the sill, I dared not move until I had my bearings. There was no sound of breathing other than my own, but if the man had turned werewolf, there had been an emergency or danger at the very least.

By the moonlight and the night light, I saw him. He was in the corner, half-changed to his coyote form. Most werewolves in the area were coyotes; at least the native ones. I hadn't known if I would be dealing with a local or not, but the color of his fur was definitely the dirty-blond of a coyote.

"It would be easier for you to escape as the wolf," I said softly, showing him that I was all about cooperation. I edged to one side of the window to give him plenty of room.

He let out a panting groan from the effort and pain of changing. His growl was a feral moan, but still a threat.

"You'll need to hurry," I advised. If I could talk him into leaving, I stood a better chance of coming out of the experience alive. His face was furry, but not much more than an overgrown, bushy beard. Ears were still poking through, but rapidly disappearing.

Because he was mostly human, I could see why the situation with Dolores had turned into such a problem. He was young. Very young. Eighteen if she was lucky. The barely grown man probably hadn't known how to deal with a flirtatious woman dabbling where she didn't belong. Perhaps he thought he could live in both worlds. Perhaps he was simply too young to understand she had been after him because he was a unique trophy prize.

"I would never have sold her the shirt had I realized she sought to control you with it. You have my apologies."

He was miserably human, shivering uncontrollably in the corner.

"You need to leave," I urged again. "Quickly." I moved away from the window without touching anything.

He bolted, buck naked, for freedom. I wasn't going to stop him. More stress might cause him to revert back to full wolf form, and that stupid I was not. Instead, I looked for the shirt.
It wasn't on Dolores, since she was completely naked. The problem with fabric protection was that it could be taken off and she had, after all, invited the werewolf into her bedroom. Had she somehow thought she could have sex with a werewolf partially clothed?
The scene in front of me was unpleasant, but for a panicked wolf, surprisingly lacking in blood. He had killed her, but crushed her throat rather than ripped it to shreds. There were more than a few deep scratches, as if the coyote had been trying to scramble away rather than do serious damage. From what was left of the shirt, it looked as though Dolores might have tried to wrap him in it.

The wolf had not been amused by the protection spell. I had seen at least two burns, one on his arm and another across his chest.

When it had finally rid itself of the touch of the garment, the coyote had soiled it with urine, destroying any of the spell that hadn't burned itself up when it came in contact with his skin. The silver that was left would have to be purified. Depending on the wolf's abilities…well, it was probably best buried.

I scanned the room one last time. There were two fancy shopping bags on a chair in front of the dressing table. The plastic one was the easy choice.

I held my nose as I bagged the shirt. I would have sighed, but didn't want to breathe deeply. Being a witch was a messy job. Being a witch wasn't easy. I had a bad feeling that retrieving the spelled shirt wasn't going to be enough to keep myself out of further trouble.



You can purchase it now from Amazon:

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sample Sunday

Across the blogosphere, it is Sample Sunday - Authors are posting samples of their books on their blogs for readers. Sounds like fun to me, so . . . .

Here is a sample from Chapter One of Take the Monkeys and Run:

The sky was black, my toes were numb and I was a lunatic.

Forgetting that our recent October nights had turned colder, I had set out on my mission barefoot. I had no idea what the thermometer said, but the ice cold brick beneath my unprotected feet told me plenty. And my worn-thin-through-the-years knit jammies were certainly no match against the biting air. Evidently I had left my brains in the house along with my shoes and down-filled parka. Indiana Jones, our orange Tabby, followed me and purred while he rubbed against my legs, offering a tinge of warmth at best.

I squinted into the darkness. “Three thirty in the morning. Am I totally insane, Indy?”


“Thanks for the vote of confidence.”

Yes, I’m a grown woman and I talk to my cat. What’s the big deal? My cousin Samson the psychiatrist tells the family I’m delusional and should be medicated. Pshaw I say. Samson has a psychiatrist of his own as well as a far more disturbing obsession with large farm animals, so I severely doubt his legitimacy. As long as Indiana Jones talks to me, I’ll keep talking to him.

My name is Barbara Marr. I’m not a lady coroner, bounty hunter or crime scene investigator. I don’t fight vampires, werewolves or flesh-eating zombies destined to destroy humanity. Even worse, I don’t knit, sew, bake gourmet goodies for sweet English ladies or refinish houses then flip them for a profit. In fact, I lack a veritable encyclopedia of talents and accomplishments. I have managed to give birth to three children, but when my teenage daughter looks at me like I’m an alien from the planet Freak, I wonder at my parenting abilities.

Then of course there is my marriage. Not long ago I would have bragged to anyone about our solid bond. True love. True fidelity and commitment. That was before Howard dropped the bomb and moved out. So perpetuating matrimony can be added to the list of things I don’t do.

When reviewing the list of lifetime achievements for which I am proud, being mother to my three girls sits at the very top, followed by the time I saw Yul Brenner in a convenience store and discreetly let him know he had ketchup on his chin. He was so thankful that he autographed a bag of Fritos for me.And most recently I got familiar with the video camera again and shot a music video with my daughters. We called it Four White Girls Do Madonna. I posted it on You-Tube and got over twenty-five views. It was very exciting. Still, I’m not exactly setting the world on fire.

So when Howard left, I decided it was time to resurrect my dream and write about movies. I love the movies. Old movies, new movies, musicals, dramas, comedies, westerns, action, science-fiction, and anything starring Meryl Streep. Some years ago, in between changing diapers and potty training, I had bought a domain name,, with the intention of building a movie review website. I kept the domain name, but got side-tracked by little things like ear infections, strep throat, pre-school, elementary school and baby number three. Now, with my life deteriorating before my eyes, the time had come to take the bull by the proverbial horns and start anew.

After putting the girls to bed, I needed a way to keep my mind off Howard. I plotted and planned a grand design. The website would contain reviews of current release movies as well as DVD releases of older classics. I would also have a weekly blog where I waxed enthusiastic on different subjects of the cinema. Since I had just recently watched a Men of Mystery Film Festival on the Classic Movie Channel, my first blog title would be, “Charlie Chan or Sherlock Holmes? Whodunnit Better?”

At two a.m., I was too tired to think about the website, but too upset about my marriage to sleep, so I turned on the TV. Movie fare included The First Wives Club, A Bill of Divorcement, An Unmarried Woman and The Breakup on HBO. Disgusted, I turned off the TV, turned out the lights and contemplated learning voodoo so I could hex Howard with a festering urinary tract infection.

By three a.m., I had been crying for at least twenty minutes when I heard the rumble of a truck outside my bedroom window. Suddenly, I had something else to occupy my frazzled mind. The truck was back at House of Many Bones.

And that was how I ended up outside on a cold, fall night with no shoes on.

If you liked that, come back next Sunday for another sample!

And as always, thank you for following my blog.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Book Video Friday!

This is a GREAT book video with over 600 views on YouTube. The novel is Jobless Recovery, by LC Evans - an author to keep your eyes on. She's going places, this one is.

Here's a description of Jobless Recovery:

Dave Griffin is a poster boy for the American consumer. He drives a blood-colored Behemoth model SUV, has a new home in the suburbs, a beautiful girlfriend, a computer programming job, and all the benefits that come with middle class life in America. Then Dave's employer replaces American computer programmers with cheaper imported labor in order to increase company profits. Soon Dave is out on the street. But he still believes in the system. All he has to do is bring the problem to the attention of the media and the people in Washington to get results. This move only deepens his trouble.

Meanwhile, Dave's friend Joe Tremaine, a former FBI agent who lost his job after suffering a head injury, is struggling to stay sane. Cynical Joe knows better than to trust anyone in Washington or in corporate America. He embroils Dave in his fraudulent money-making schemes, and when Joe decides to educate the powerful senator who has been the driving factor in eliminating American jobs, his plan goes awry. Can an unemployed computer jockey manage to keep Joe--and himself--out of jail? Or will the oddly-shaped bundle in the back of Joe's truck lead the cops to haul them both to the slammer?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Giveaway Wednesday: Two eBooks by Markee Anderson

It's my favorite time of the week: Giveaway Wednesday!

First, to announce the winner of last week's Giveaway, a paperback copy of On Maggie's Watch by Ann Wertz Garvin.

Are you ready? Okay, here it goes . . . .

And the winner is . . .


I have your email address PringlesPalo, so will be contacting you soon to arrange for shipment of your prize. Thanks for entering! And come back for more giveaway contests too.

NOW -- On to this week's giveaway:

One copy in ebook form of Saved by the Glass Slipper and Dating a Spy Isn't All Fun and Games, by Markee Anderson to TWO LUCKY WINNERS. That's right, each winner will get a copy of each of those two ebooks and will be able to choose from either Kindle book or Smashwords ebooks.

(for those without Kindles - you can very easily download a Kindle book to your computer and read from there, so you can still enter and get some really fun books!!!)

Haven't entered my Giveaway before?

Need to know how?

Easy as pie -- just comment to this post that you would like to be entered for a chance to win these great books. And if you leave an email address, I'll be able to contact you easier. If you don't want to leave an email address, you can still enter, just be sure to check back next Wednesday to see if you won!!!

Are you ready to win?

Okay, start entering!

And, as always, thank you for following my blog.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Excerpt: Saved by the Glass Slipper by Markee Anderson

It's Excerpt Monday, and I'm very pleased to be giving the readers at Fiction for Dessert, a tasty treat of romance in the form of an excerpt from Saved by the Glass Slipper by Markee Anderson. A truly fun read.

Here's a little description:

Someone is chasing Amy Watson in the small western Florida community. After running into an adorable man named Mark Dallas at the beach, she realizes he's not all he seems to be, becoming almost like a superhero to her. He has bodyguards from his business—a gaming software company named Madcap—and seems to know all the big shots in town. But when she confronts him, he just says he's an ordinary programmer. When a dead body is found in Amy's apartment, it's time that Mark sets the record straight, leading them on a scavenger hunt around the nation to find out why Amy's being targeted. Could it be because she's collaborated with the NSA to tell them how to do their job, or maybe her ties to the Department of Homeland Security to explain how to find terrorists without racial profiling? Or maybe it's a simple game of cat and mouse, hunting for something long lost. Regardless, Amy and Mark are on the run, to save her life while she gains the infamous glass slipper in Mark Dallas' world.

And now, from Saved by the Glass Slipper:

I had to get away from the man in black, chasing me down the sidewalk in downtown Devon, Florida. Something like this always happened in the movies—but not in my life. The mild-mannered bank teller decides to take a break at the beach nearby and wham!—she's attacked by a huge man who's always dressed in black—usually at night. It would be cool to see it on the big screen, but this was different. This was reality, it was lunchtime, and I was the victim.

Running into the middle of a busy street, I knew the man in black with the big dark eyes wouldn't be stupid enough to follow. While I waited on the yellow lines, cars blasted their horns as they passed. This wasn't exactly one of my brightest ideas, but being chased by a muscle-clad man isn't an everyday occurrence either. As I glanced back at him still standing on the sidewalk from where I'd started, he glared at me, then watched the traffic pass by.

When the traffic light changed, I finally got a break, so I dodged waiting cars and ran to the other side. Some Asian men on the sidewalk watched me approach, but I ignored them, checking for the big man in black running after me.

Taking off down the sidewalk, I ran south, dodging pedestrians. The small town was crowded for a Friday morning in May, a small break in time between Spring Break and summer vacation. Located on Florida's west coast, Devon was a small often-forgotten town between Fort Myers and Naples.

At the next intersection, I turned west on another sidewalk, finally able to see the Gulf of Mexico in front of me. I could feel the man in black lessening the distance between us and glanced back to verify my thoughts. For some reason, the Asian men were behind him by about a hundred yards, making me wonder if they were going to the beach, too. But why would they run? The ocean wasn't going anywhere. Maybe they were just tourists, excited to be here.

Once I hit sand at the end of the brick building, I turned a corner and ran smack-dab into a beautiful specimen of a man with blue eyes and short brown hair.

He stopped me with both hands on my shoulders before I bowled him over. "Slow down."

"Sorry," I said, then gasped, moving to run past him.

He grabbed my arm and held me back. "Are you out jogging?"

"Not exactly." I looked behind me. The man in black wasn't there but I was sure he was hiding somewhere.

"Why are you running, then?"

"Someone's chasing me." I extracted myself from his grasp and took off down the beach. Running for all I was worth, I knew I could outrun the man in black. I'd practiced running distances for some time, in case something just like this would happen. I knew it was just a matter of time, but never thought my chaser would be so large and evil looking.

The adorable man caught up then ran in front of me right just as I reached the water line. He was a fast runner, because I'd been in training for a while.

"Stop!" he yelled, trying to breathe.

I pushed past him. "I can't. I'll be killed."

He took hold of my hand and pulled me toward him, gasped for air, and searched my face with his eyes. "Why?"

I wished I'd had my purse with me for defense, just in case. He was stronger than I was, because I couldn't pull myself from his hand. I leaned down to catch my breath for a moment, then stood up. "Are you a serial killer?"

Mr. Adorable began to laugh. "No. What's going on?"

I sucked in some air and faced him. "There's a huge man in black chasing me. He looks like a murderer."

The man searched the area behind me, letting go of my hand. "There's no one there."

I spun around. The beach was empty, except for a few families with kids, about a hundred yards away from us. "Where did he go?"

He looked at me as if I were nuts as I faced him again. "I have no idea. I'm friends with the local cops if you need help."

"I don't know what I'd tell them. How can I prove someone's after me if they've disappeared?"

"You're right. If you said anything, it would look like you're crazy. Have you eaten lunch yet?"

The man in black was chasing me and this guy was thinking about lunch? How odd. I should've said 'no' and gone back to work, but for some reason, I felt safe with this man. I doubted the man in black would return when this guy was near me. "No, I wasn't going to eat lunch. I was just out to walk on the beach, but someone else had other ideas." Reaching down, I took off my flat shoes and poured out the sand. Running in a skirt wasn't fun, but at least I wasn't wearing heels.

As soon as I replaced my shoes on my feet, the man grinned, grabbed my hand, and shook it. "The name's Mark Dallas, and I'd like to take you to lunch." He watched me for a minute. "That is, if you'd like to come with me."

"Oh, I can't impose—"

"No imposition whatsoever and I promise." He checked my left hand. "No husband coming to hunt me down, so you're free, right?"

"No, no one…anymore. I'm free."


"It's a long story, but definite history." The guy's smile was endearing, and I couldn't refuse those eyes anything they wanted. I had to remind myself to be wary. "I'm Amy Watson, by the way."

He rested my hand in the crook of his elbow and walked with me up the beach toward a small hotdog shop. "I guess I'm just lucky to be here over lunch today. Otherwise, I wouldn't have been able to save you from whoever was chasing you."

"I guess so."

He glanced my way. "Why were they chasing you?"

I could only imagine, but this guy didn't need my baggage or any of my secrets. If someone was willing to chase me for it, he certainly didn't need to be involved. "I have no idea. I'm a nobody. It's not as if I have money hanging off me or anything." I turned toward him. "You're not friends with the man who was chasing me, are you?"

He pointed toward himself. "Me? Do I look like someone who'd be friends with a chaser?"

"Not really. I just have to make sure you're not a serial killer or something."

"That's the second time you mentioned that. But, think about it. If I'm friends with the police, could I possibly be a serial killer? I highly doubt they'd consider the police their friends."

"How do I know you're friends with the—"

A cop walked out of a shop right near us, as if right on cue. "Mr. Dallas! How are you doing today?" He shook Mark's hand and smiled.

"Oh, I'm fine, Craig. Hope the kids are doing better."

"Yes, they're fine now. It was just the flu. Take care." The policeman walked back the way I'd come from around the corner.

"I stand corrected," I murmured. "How do you know him?"

"Oh, the whole police station comes over to work to make sure we're safe. We feed them donuts to guarantee they'll come back." He leaned closer to me. "They're suckers for donuts, especially the filled ones."


About Markee:

I live in Wisconsin, with a husband, three teenagers, and a few pets. Because my life is kind of boring, (at least it is when the kids are in school) I live vicariously through my characters. Wouldn't it be nice to go back in time and relive the wonder of new love and romance? My husband doesn't know the meaning of romantic, so I'm trying to teach him what women like...and I firmly believe men could have whatever they wanted if they only read romances and took notes. I also think every man should take a Romance 101 class, filled with wonderful romance novels. Their wife or girlfriend has to rate them at the end of the class. Wouldn't the world be a nicer place if that were true?

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Future of Books - eReader Revolution

I have to admit - I was one of those people who never thought I would like an eReader. "I like my paperbooks," I said. "Love the feel of them. The smell of them. I think those eReader screens would hurt my eyes." But as time went by and I started to see more people reading from Kindles and Sonys and Nooks, I began to get curious.

Then I got one.

Mothers Day, 2010. My husband gave me an iPad. Now, truth be told, I use the Kindle app for my iPad and purchase all ebooks from the Kindle store - I personally prefer Amazon's site for book selection. It's SUPER user friendly and helpful in terms of offering ideas for future reading. But that's off topic. And quite frankly, if my husband hadn't bought me the iPad, I would have a Kindle instead.

Why I now LOVE my eReader.

1) It's easy to take anywhere, so I ALWAYS have a book with me.

I can't tell you how many times I've been somewhere, not knowing I would have to wait longer than 2 minutes. I'm not the kind of person who can just sit and twiddle my thumbs. I HAVE to be doing something every minute of the day. For those impromptu waits, I have my eReader ready - books loaded.

2) Notice I said, "books loaded." PLURAL.

This is the thing I love most! I have very eclectic taste in reading. Sometimes I'm in the mood for a mystery, other times I might want to be reading something more serious - a piece of women's fiction maybe or a biography, and yet other times, I may just want something silly and fun. Well, with the eReader, I can load a book anytime, anywhere. Right now, I have over twenty books on my iPad Kindle app, ready and waiting to be read. So when I'm stuck at the car repair shop waiting forty minutes when they said it would be five, I pull out the eReader, decide what reading mood I'm in, open the appropriate book and I'm in business.

3) Ease of purchase.

Someone mentions a book I should be reading - I don't have to wait for the next time I'm out near the bookstore. I have the bookstore at my fingertips. Now when someone says, "You should read this book," I pull out my iPad, go to the Kindle store, pull up the book, look at the description, read a few Customer Reviews and if it looks like the kind of book I want, I CLICK, and *VOILA* I have a book. It's a miracle I tell you. A miracle.

4) It's not cumbersome.

I never really realized how cumbersome a paper book can be until I started reading on an eReader. Now, there's no turning pages, no losing my place (the eReader starts right back up where you left off!), and I you want to get in that SUPER comfortable position for a good long read, the eReader makes it even easier on you because now all you have to do is CLICK that little button to move to the next page. No longer do I have to pull my arm out of it's warm nook to turn the page. I can have my finger on that button, and in a nano-second, I'm on the next page.

There are probably a million other reasons why I love my eReader, but I won't bore you by blathering on and on. Those points are the biggest for me and I just thought I'd like to share today.

As for finding GREAT books at GREAT prices on my eReader, I love to find websites that dedicate themselves to advertising BARGAIN eReads. On of my favorites is Daily Cheap Not only do they list eBooks under $5.00 several times each day, but there is a great data base of wonderful books to search by genre. This site is definitely one to check out.

There's no doubt in my mind that eReaders are the way of the future, but that the FUTURE is here NOW. Soon, they'll be as commonplace as iPods and probably even cell phones. Kids in school won't have text books anymore, they'll have eReaders - no more heavy backpacks to carry. Same for Colleges and Universities.

That's the way I see it anyway. Only time will tell! In the meantime, I SURE AM LOVING MINE!!!

Have a happy weekend everyone!

And as always, thank you for following my blog.