Wednesday, November 26, 2014

"Realm Walker" Series by Kathleen Collins: SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT & REVIEW

Realm Walker
Realm Walker Series

Book One
Kathleen Collins

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Carina Press

Date of Publication: October 28, 2013

ISBN: 9781426896545

Word Count: 76,000

Book Description:

An estranged mate, a mangled body and a powerful demon who calls her by name…

As a Realm Walker for the Agency, Juliana Norris tracks deadly paranormal quarry using her unique ability to see magical signatures. She excels at her job, but her friends worry about her mysterious habit of dying in the line of duty without staying dead. That's only the first of her secrets.
Most people don't know Juliana became the mate of master vampire Thomas Kendrick before he abandoned her seven years ago. Most people don't know the horrors she endured at the hands of the vampire he left in command. Most people don't know her true parentage, or why a demon on a world-threatening rampage has taken a personal interest in her…
Even as Juliana pursues the demon, it goes after all she holds dear—including Thomas, who is back to claim her for his own. But if she can't reconcile her past and learn to trust herself again, she will lose him forever.
Available at Amazon BN Harlequin Print

Death’s Daughter
Realm Walker Series
Book 2
Kathleen Collins
Genre: urban fantasy, paranormal romance
Publisher: Carina press
ISBN: 9781426898112
Word Count: 68,000

Book Description:
Juliana Norris, Realm Walker with the Agency, is an Altered. A fact that she runs up against every time she’s forced to work with human police officers, and their species-ist commissioner, on cases they can’t solve themselves. Which happens more than they would like to admit.
Her gift—the quality that makes her the best Realm Walker in the business, without boast—is the ability to read magical signatures. Whether the gift came from her father, the dark fae god of death, or the mage mother she can’t remember, is anyone’s guess. And when Altered children start going missing with only wild magical signatures as clues, her heritage is the last thing on her mind.
She can’t afford such distractions, and she definitely can’t afford to worry about the fact that her mate, master vampire Thomas Kendrick, hasn’t spoken to her since she saved him from a demon—maybe it’s because she had to stab him to do so. Because whoever is kidnapping these children must be very powerful to wield wild magic. Very powerful, and very dangerous indeed.
Available at Amazon BN Harlequin Print

The Making of Michael Bishop
A Realm Walker Short Story
Kathleen Collins

Genre: urban fantasy, dark fantasy

Date of Publication: August 30, 2014


Number of pages: 20

Book Description: 

Keep your distance. Don't look him in the eye. Feed him and leave.

Michael D'Augustino is a priest in the time of the Inquisition. Marked as weak for his refusal to torture those charged with sorcery, heresy, devil worship or worse, he's given another task. Feed the prisoner in the cell in the darkest corner of the dungeon. With the edict comes a set of instructions.

Ever obedient, Michael does exactly as he is told. Until the night his charge doesn't eat and Michael has to enter the cell to find out why. Instead of the beast he believes to be imprisoned there, he finds a man. A broken, tormented man who asks for help.

But all is not as it seems and, before the night is through, Michael will be changed forever.

Available at Amazon and BN

About the Author:

Kathleen Collins has been writing since Kindergarten. And while her ability has drastically improved, her stories are still about monsters and the people who play with them.
The rare instances that she actually finds some spare time, she spends it playing with her two boys. Three if you count her husband.
She is currently hard at work on her next book.


What did Sister Sinister think?
* * * * *
I give it 5 Stars!
* * * * *

REALM WALKER is exactly the kind of series that I'm a huge sucker for! I was given the opportunity to read these stories as part of the series' blog tour and I'm so grateful for that, because I adore Kim Harrison's "Hollows" series (and the many others in a similar vein) and this reminded me of that; but only in that both worlds rely on an interspecies agency to police the magic folk of their alternate earths.

In REALM WALKER, we have a half dark Fae, half Witch Realm Walker, an agent sent out to relocate, track down, and bring justice to the widely varied magic folk of the world. And lately, she's out trying to solve the ghastly murders and possessions caused by demons. But she needs help and not everyone offering is appreciated.

I absolutely give this series 5 glowy stars as I wait impatiently for more from Kathleen Collins.


The troll picked her up with nothing more than his teeth in her shoulder and shook her like a hellhound with a chew toy. She clenched her jaw in pain and let out a terrible keening groan as muscle and tendon ripped. She fought her base instinct to struggle, to squirm away from the source of the pain. If she did, she’d only injure herself further. Blood poured from the wound, staining the ground a horrible, vibrant crimson.
A growl tore through the clearing seconds before a brown blur flew through the air and landed on the troll’s back. Nathaniel. They all rocked forward with the impact and fresh pain lanced through her shoulder. The troll roared in anger, releasing Juliana’s shoulder by default and she dropped to the ground. She backed away, eyeing the two of them warily. The troll reached over his back, trying to grab Nathaniel who still had his teeth and claws dug deep into the beast. The wolf snarled, growled and shook his head as the troll danced around the clearing trying to get a grip on his attacker.
Juliana’s arm hung limp and worthless by her side. Pain burned through the wound and nausea rose in waves. Her head swam. She swallowed the acid down, sucked in crisp, cool air. She used her right hand to wrap her left arm around her waist in an effort to keep the shoulder from moving any more than necessary.
“Nathaniel,” she yelled as the troll ran backward into the trees.
He slammed his back with Nathaniel still attached into the trunk of a large oak tree once, twice, three times. The blows stunned Nathaniel enough that the troll was finally able to snatch the wolf and hurl him across the clearing. Her friend lay unmoving on the ground.
The troll locked crimson eyes on her and stalked across the clearing. She fought every impulse inside of her that told her to run and waited for him to come. One taloned hand wrapped around her throat and picked her up. Pulling her close, the troll roared in fury once they were almost nose to nose. She wrapped her legs around his waist to take the pressure off her throat. Juliana raised the Taser and jammed it into his ear. Not caring anymore if she fried his brain, she squeezed and held the trigger. His roar changed to one of agony.
He released her throat and raised both hands to his head. He stumbled backward in an effort to get away from her but her legs stayed clamped around his waist. She continued to pour electricity into him until he dropped to his knees. Only then did she put her feet on the ground and back away.
Her opponent stayed on all fours, shaking his head, trying to clear it. The air hung heavy with the scent of burnt fur and troll. As he rose to a kneeling position, she adjusted her grip on the weapon. From the corner of her eye she saw Nathaniel stagger to his feet.
The troll held up his hands in a gesture of surrender. “No more, Walker. I will go where you ask. Wherever you ask.”
Relief eased the tightness in her chest. She wasn’t sure she was up for another round of Taze the Troll. She ran her thumb along the side of her ring preparing to use it to call the portal tied to it. Then the troll began to laugh. A low sound at first, it quickly grew to a volume that made her ears ache. Great. She had fried his brain and now she had a crazy troll to deal with.
After putting more distance between them, she put her Taser away and drew her sword. It left the sheath with a ring of steel. She adjusted her hand on the grip. Nathaniel came to stand beside her, leaning his weight into her leg to let her know he was near. “You okay there, Mr. Troll?”
He opened his blazing red eyes and looked at her. “I’ve had your blood, Juliana Norris. It tells me things.” Apparently it told him her name, because she’d never given it.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

"Night of Pan" by Gail Strickland: SPOTLIGHT & GUEST POST!!!

Night of Pan, by Gail Strickland

Genre: young-adult, historical-fantasy

Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press

Date of Release : November 7, 2014

Series: Book One of The Oracle of Delphi Trilogy

Cover Artist: Ricky Gunawan


The slaughter of the Spartan Three Hundred at Thermopylae, Greece 480 BCE—when King Leonidas tried to stop the Persian army with only his elite guard—is well known. But just what did King Xerxes do after he defeated the Greeks?

Fifteen-year-old Thaleia is haunted by visions: roofs dripping blood, Athens burning. She tries to convince her best friend and all the villagers that she’s not crazy. The gods do speak to her.

And the gods have plans for this girl.

When Xerxes’ army of a million Persians marches straight to the mountain village Delphi to claim the Temple of Apollo’s treasures and sacred power, Thaleia’s gift may be her people’s last line of defense.

Her destiny may be to save Greece…
but is one girl strong enough to stop an entire army?

Find Night of Pan Online:

And now a GUEST POST from the Author!!
Thank you Sister Sinister for inviting me to join the conversation!

My name is Gail Strickland. My book, a YA historical fantasy called Night of Pan, is filled with Greek gods and oracles, mystics and visionaries. Night of Pan is a coming-of -age story about a young girl. You may have noticed there are a lot of coming-of-age books. Night of Pan is different. For one thing, there is no prom.

Let me ask you a question: Do you think the Oracle of Delphi in 5th century BCE Greece was a drug-crazed teenager manipulated by politically-savvy priests as many modern historians would have us believe? Or was she a wise visionary who helped save the cradle of democracy when the largest invasion the ancient world had seen attacked from the north—the Persian army, a million soldiers led by King Xerxes lusting after revenge for the death of his father at Marathon?

My fifteen-year-old Oracle, Thaleia comes of age in a time when philosophers created democracy, a time that shaped our western world more than any other. This is the same time in history that the movie 300 takes place. That movie presents prophecies from the Oracle of Delphi that I believe are inaccurate. As a Greek scholar in college, I translated the four prophecies we know from the ancient historian Herodotus and based my story on these four Persian oracles that all came true.

An army a million strong really did attack 300 Greek soldiers over two thousand years ago. This is all true, but the movie depicts Greece as defeating the Persians with only armed might and female warriors. These distortions of history teach that men controlled the world and that arms and might prevailed. That was not the whole story. Though the Battle of Thermopylae is in my book, my story isn’t about the kind of courage where someone picks up a sword and chops off heads. My book is about the courage it takes to know who you truly are.

Night of Pan tells the story of a simple village girl who is very brave. She is a fictional character based on the real Oracle of Delphi. Her name is Thaleia.

Thaleia lives in the mountain village Delphi—sacred center of the ancient world. Her parents and the town have her destiny mapped out for her. Uncertain who she is or what her destiny is, she knows the traditional path is not for her. She runs away when her father tries to marry her to a gross and much older man. Running free but unsure where to go, she follows mysterious flute music up Mt. Parnassos and meets the satyr-god Pan. He gives her a choice: Live forever in his magical meadow or return to Delphi to save her family, her home … all of Hellas. Thaleia decides to return.

Like any true hero’s journey, that’s when her troubles really begin.
The priests deny Thaleia’s visions and her wisdom. They manipulate the villagers’ fear to gain control and power. They are willing to lie and deceive and even betray the citizens to the Persians, so that they can claim power, wealth and prestige.

Thaleia discovers her own identity and power as she listens for the song of the universe. Like strands in a spider web, the song connects Thaleia to the earth and trees, the wind and stars and those she loves … and ultimately to the gods. Defying the villagers, priests and even death, she discovers that she is the true Oracle. Neither her parents nor the village priests want her to assume that role.

With wild poppies sprouting in her hair, Thaleia claims her identity as the Oracle of Delphi, the most powerful Oracle in all Greece and confronts the invading army as they march into Delphi to seize the gold and jewels and power.

Is one girl strong enough to stop an entire army?

About The Author 

While studying the Classics in college, Gail Strickland translated much of Homer’s ILIAD and ODYSSEY, Herodotus’ prophecies and THE BACCHAI by Euripides. Living on the Greek islands after college, she discovered her love of myth, the wine-dark sea and retsina. 

THE BALTIMORE REVIEW and WRITER’S DIGEST have recognized Gail’s fiction. She published stories and poems in Travelers’ Tales’ anthologies and the San Francisco Writer’s anthology. Her poetry and photography were published in a collection called CLUTTER. 

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Gail grew up in Northern California. She raised her children; was a musical director for CAT children’s theater; taught music in schools; mentored young poets and novelists and introduced thousands of youngsters to piano and Greek mythology. Gail is passionate about bringing the richness of Homer’s language and culture to today’s youth.

Find Gail Strickland Online:

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


 Welcome, friends! As some of you know, I had been 'down' with an illness that compounded an already chronic condition that I have, thus putting me more or less out of action for awhile. In an effort to get caught up with non-book-tour reviews, I decided to group the reviews I had waiting to be written, but unable to sit up long enough to write. So please read, enjoy, buy! I recommend them all.

 --Rebecca, your sinister (ha ha) sister

Didn't see your review here? Read the note at the bottom of this post! =D

  * * * * *
 Plagued: The Rock Island Zombie Counteractant Experiment
Plagued States of America #2
by Better Hero Army

Genre: Zombie Horror

* * * * *

Along with the first and third book in this series, I was gifted "PLAGUED: The Rock Island Zombie Counteractant Experiment" by the author and I had a pretty good feeling that I was going to love this series. Not JUST because it was a zombie book and I'm a horror genre junkie, but because I was intrigued by the titles and wondered what each one meant.

Book #1 begins on Biter's Hill, while this book takes place on Rock Island a month after the Biter's Hill catastrophe. We meet a new character, Army Ranger Lt. Mason Jones, and reconnect with an old friend when the muck hits the rudder and Mason's new appointment proves to be a deadly one.

I have to say that I loved this book even more than the first one, especially with the introduction to a secret science facility and a dead-eyed scientist that has no qualms about testing on zombies. Or people. This book ranks up there as one of my all-time favorite zombie novels.


    * * * * *
 Plagued: The Ironville Zombie Quarantine Retraction Experiment
Plagued States of America #3
by Better Hero Army

Genre: Zombie Horror

* * * * *

Along with books #1 & #2 in this series, I was gifted "PLAGUED: The Ironville Zombie Quarantine Retraction Experiment" by the author and I had a pretty good idea that I was going to love this series. Not JUST because they're zombie books and I'm a big horror genre junkie, but because I was intrigued by the titles and wondered what each one meant.

Book #1 begins on Biter's Hill and #2 at the secret Defense facility on Rock Island, while this book takes place around a week after the obliteration of Rock Island, at a relatively safe location in Biter's Bend. We rejoin Tom and zombie half-breed Penelope Hope (survivors from Biter's Hill), as well as Army Ranger Lt. Mason Jones (escapee from Rock Island), and other favorite survivors from the previous two books. Tom's father, Senator William Jefferson is all over the news, but this time it's not due to his war against zombies in the Plagued States. His helicopter has gone down in a quarantine zone and Tom is determined to rescue him. But he's going to need help.

Primarily told from Penelope's perspective, she and her friends will learn an awful truth about what she is, and that there are far more like her than anyone previously suspected.

As did the first two books in this series, PLAGUED #3 gets a rousing 5 Stars!

Read my review of Book #1, "PLAGUED: The MidAmerica Zombie Half-breed Experiment".

    * * * * *
 Protecting Their Mate
The Last Pack, Part One
by Mia Thorne

Genre: Erotic Paranormal Romance

* * * * *

I was offered the opportunity to read PROTECTING THEIR MATE, Part One (35 pages), the first part of a new Kindle Unlimited serial featuring a werewolf who knows very little of what she is, and why she is in a fever of need. It isn't until she is rescued from starvation, abuse, and imprisonment that she begins to learn that the fever inside her is a biological imperative. Ashley Todd is in heat.

Can I say that I feel a little naughty for having really gotten into this book? This might just be the first erotic book that I have read and itched to read more when it was done. Generally the language in books like this tends to make me twitch, and it did here too, BUT the writing was fantastic from Mia Thorne. Sexy, steamy, hot, and with a woman with some meat on her bones! I absolutely recommend this to anyone loving erotic paranormal romances!!


    * * * * *
by Iain Rob Wright

Genre: Apocalyptic Horror

* * * * *

**This is more of a shout-out to a horror author I really enjoy, as I've posted a review (but not blogged it) before.**

The Book Description:

Nick Adams is just a normal guy. He loves his family, appreciates his home, and covets his car. But he absolutely hates his job. Which is what makes it so difficult that not a single customer has come by his store today. It seems as though there’s a bug going around, something that has come out of nowhere and is keeping people at home. Still, it’s probably nothing to worry about. People get sick all the time.

And besides, things are finally starting to look up. Nick’s first customer of the day has just stumbled through the door…

It won’t be long before Nick’s entire life is turned upside down, sending him on a frantic journey through a ravaged world that will ultimately lead him 500 feet upwards to a hilltop amusement park. Is it the last safe place on Earth, or are the monsters at the top of the hill even worse than the ones below?



My thoughts: I absolutely loved this book. Loved it. It wasn't just another zombie apocalypse, hack/slash/run, it was deep in character and not hard to believe.

There were a lot of extra words that looked as if the author had forgotten to delete them and I itched to message him myself and offer to do it for free, but the writing was so excellent that I forgave easily. =D

   * * * *
by Prashant Pinge

Genre: Fantasy

* * * *

SCEADU: YOUR SHADOW HOLDS A SECRET was gifted to me by the author after I spotlighted the book on my blog, and I was thrilled to have the chance to read to review it.

The book introduces us to 9 year old Matilda and an ancient, leather bound book she came home from the library book sale with. What follows are the dreams, nightmares of slithery shadows suffocating her. But it's not until her parents and aunt are called away on an emergency and her two older cousins are left to look after she and her brother, that Matilda goes missing...

Transported to a world of fantasy and danger, Matilda and the others kids will be faced with more adventure and mystery than they ever could want, as they find themselves in Sceadu, a shadow land with a prophecy foretelling the destruction of the home they left behind.

Learn more by reading my spotlight on "Sceadu"; includes a Q&A from the author! And check back soon for an upcoming interview with Prashant Pinge!

  * * * *
Demon's Blood
by Shari Sakurai

Genre: Paranormal Horror

* * * *

I was given the opportunity to read this book by the author, this story revealing the darkness of vampires, and though they are not completely inhuman, they are not the romanticized version of vampires. 

Taku and his lover, Thane, were forced to flee from Tokyo in hopes of settling somewhere more peaceful and starting over, but that is not to be. Now in England, it seems that Thane still cannot control his violent urges and it soon gets them into a world of hurt.

While I enjoyed the book's darker, more traditional elements, what really did it for me was the inclusion of the Japanese culture and the author's skill in portraying it (I assume, as the extent of my knowledge in Japanese culture comes from my fascination with Japanese movies). Shari Sakurai writes wonderfully and I'd like to see more from her!

  * * * *
by Marilyn Peake

Genre: YA Paranormal Mystery

* * * *

I was delighted to be given the opportunity to read to review SHADE after I expressed my interest to the author. In love with her style after reading another book by her, I wanted to read more: even if it wasn't a horror.

Her name is Galactic Shade Griffin and she curses her mother for it. She's also not too keen on the string of boyfriends, drugs and alcohol her mother indulges in and Shade is desperate for distraction. She soon discovers it at her new school, where she finds friends and an outlet for her artwork. And that's not all.

Shade's new attic bedroom actually belongs to the ghost boy who haunts it and she's going to need his help.

SHADE is a novel about a teenaged girl suffering from a neglectful and abusive mother, which drives her to cut herself, and because of this, it might not be for everyone. It was emotionally challenging for me but not taboo, and this allowed me to enjoy the story and the girl it's about.

READ My REVIEW of "Mutation Z: The Ebola Zombies",
also by Marilyn Peake!

 * * *
The Awakening
Seraphina #1
by Sheena Hutchinson

Genre: Paranormal Romance

* * *

**I was given the opportunity to read "Seraphina: The Awakening" and the recently released book 2, "Seraphina: Initiation" as part of the series' blog tour.**

Sera is your average kind of girl, still living at home, feels like she's nothing special and maybe a little boring. Something is missing from her life; she feels incomplete. She's having dreams about a man she's never met and she has a crush on a cute coffee shop owner. So wouldn't it figure that her first date with him goes a little spooky haunted kitchen type of deal?

An accident triggers a change that alters her forever, and her mystery dream man just so happens to be real - and her guardian angel.

Unfortunately, I wasn't really drawn into the story and didn't invest in the characters. For me, Sera's miraculous (well, an angel WAS behind it) make-over turned me off. It felt like she wasn't good enough just as she was, and now she has no memory of her past to go along with her angelic new looks, super senses, and slayer powers. I did kind of like Jack and angel Nathaniel, though he went from being angry about his demotion to guardian angel to instantly in love at first sight. I'd have preferred a little more leading up to it. So even though the book didn't overly appeal to me, it WAS well written and WILL be exactly what many readers enjoy, so if you like Guardian Angel, good vs evil, paranormal romances, you should really check it out!

Please check out the spotlight I did on SERAPHINA; it includes an excerpt and Guest Post by the author!

 * * *
 Seraphina: Initiation
Seraphina #2
by Sheena Hutchinson

Genre: Paranormal Romance

* *  *

**I was given the opportunity to read "Seraphina: The Awakening" and "Seraphina: Initiation" as part of the series' blog tour.**

SERAPHINA: INITIATION picks up after the first book, with Seraphina a newly changed woman and moved in with her fallen angel boyfriend. She's still trying to adjust to life as a demon slayer, a woman with new looks and new powers, and her guardian angel Nathaniel must begin training her. It's good vs. evil, there are secrets to be revealed, battles to be fought, and more questions will be asked as the devil comes to town in his quest for Sera.

If you enjoy Guardian Angel romances, good vs evil paranormal battles, you just might want to check it out!

Read the spotlight I did on SERAPHINA: INITIATION; it includes an excerpt and Guest Post by the author!

* * *
 Viral House
by Joe Sharp

Genre: Horror

* * *

VIRAL HOUSE isn't about your everyday, run-of-the-mill haunted house, as recovering alcoholic Paul soon discovers. Along with Cheryl, a woman he meets in a bar who is searching for her missing brother, Paul will go looking for a drug dealer peddling more than just street narcotics.

And it's all going to go down on Orchard Street, in a house infected with a hive mind virus that wants to assimilate all who enter.

A pretty decent book but definitely not what I was expecting.

WHEW! So I *still* did not get to all of the reviews I have to post, so I will be doing another Catch-up day on Nov. 24th, and will feature titles by authors J.C. Andrijeski, Robert Evert, Irene Helenowski, T.L. Onyx, and more! I also have interviews coming up with Nikki Rae, Richard Alan, Prashant Pinge, Irene Helenowski, and T.L. Onyx!! So STAY TUNED!!!!! 

And thank you.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

"Billy Lovecraft Saves the World" by Billy Lovecraft: SPOTLIGHT & REVIEW

Billy Lovecraft Saves the World
by Billy Lovecraft 

Genre: middle-grade, action-adventure, paranormal, horror, science-fiction 

Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press 

Date of Release: November 13, 2014

Cover Artist: Andy Garcia  

The last thing Billy Lovecraft’s parents sent him before the crash was a photo of something on the wing of their plane.

Now he’s stuck with a horrible and heart-breaking mystery: What was that awful creature, and why were his parents targeted? 

It’s up to Billy to gather a team of like-minded kids and lead them through a dark new reality where the monsters are real, not everyone is who they seem to be, and an ancient alien wants to devour the world. 


About The Author:

Billy Lovecraft is the young leader of the Cthulhu Detective Squad, which he formed after the death of his parents when he was twelve. He is a writer, scientist, occult scholar, and frequent savior of the world. The things in his basement will give you nightmares.

Find Billy Lovecraft Online:
Website | Twitter | Goodreads 

What did Sister Sinister think?
* * * * *
I give it 5 Stars!
* * * * *

I was given the opportunity to read this book as part of the Blog Tour, and I had a strong suspicion that it would be a fun read. I was delighted to find that I wasn't wrong.

Billy Lovecraft is a 12 year old boy with an awful secret and a dangerous legacy left behind by his parents after their untimely demise. Armed with a warning and a gruesome, frightening photo of what possibly killed his parents (a nod to the Twilight Zone?), Billy approaches a group of his fellow students with a proposition and a hope. Let's form the Cthulhu Detective Squad for real!

With plenty of money from an insurance settlement to fund their wild expeditions, Billy teams up with his new friends to solve his parents' murder and learn the secrets of the second basement.

BILLY LOVECRAFT SAVES the WORLD is funny and clever, full of Lovecraftian horror for the middle-grade  reader, but also for just about anyone who wants to enjoy an action-adventure told from a 12 year old's viewpoint. I highly recommend this one!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Casual Curses and Meticulous Magic by Lee Roland: SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT, & GUEST POST!!!

Casual Curses and Meticulous Magic
The Gramarye Series
Book I
Lee Roland

Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Highland Press
Date of Publication: September 24, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-9916439-2-9

Number of pages: 292
Word Count: 92,000

Cover Artist: Iris Hunter

Book Description:

What happens when a dysfunctional witch and a tough PI work together to save an aging apartment house filled with ghosts, dragons and one oversexed house plant?
Spirits, spells and mayhem…Magic rises in the Gramarye

Melian Devlin is a witch who often resorts to exotic and slightly illegal methods of acquiring money to maintain the 300-year-old Gramarye, the stone apartment house that’s her heart and home. Her life is a series of skirmishes that occasionally end with her behind bars.

Titus Moran is a no-nonsense PI who makes big bucks busting insurance fraud schemes. So how did he wind up in a tortuous battle to keep Melian out of jail? Did the delightful young witch with her gray eyes and magic at her fingertips enchant him—or does the Gramarye hold greater mysteries.
Titus will enter a new exciting world when he joins Melian in her quest to save the Gramarye. Melian will fumble along in her usual impulsive way, leaving a trail of disasters behind her. If they’re lucky, they might survive.

Chapter 1

Melian Devlin considered her arrest late Friday evening an ill omen, a portent of dire thingsto come. At the very least, it would ruin her weekend. Her bad luck had continued after her arrest when she’d found herself standing before Judge Franklin P.O. Merkle. Merkle’s exact words were, “You again?”

He’d set her bail at an obscene five thousand dollars.

Psychic readings weren’t illegal in the City of Ashburn, Florida, but selling magic potions skirted the legal line of medicine, hence her arrest. And then there was the sticky issue of not having a business license—again. Minor infractions. So why did Merkle have such a burr up his ass? Maybe because he was working late on Friday? The malicious cop with an aversion to psychics hadn’t helped either.
Standing behind bars at ten o’clock that night, listening to her Great Uncle Will royally chew her butt, confirmed Mel’s dismal assessment of the situation.
Psychic?” Will’s deep voice rumbled the word. His tired eyes watched her from a weather worn face. “Mel, honey, you ain’t no psychic. You’re a witch. You’re supposed to use magic.”
He shook his head. “I understand why you can’t get a regular job, but can’t you find something irregular you’re good at? Or at least something legal?” He glanced over his shoulder and pitched his voice lower. “You should’ve marked a cop soon as he walked in the door, then spelled him out of making an arrest. You’re allowed basic self-defense. I taught you that.”
Mel winced at Uncle Will’s words. He had taught her. She was simply incredibly incompetent at casting spells and making potions, and utterly terrified of making a mistake. What if she hurt someone? Pretending to be a psychic and selling a few harmless herbal elixirs was easier—and safer.
They’d put her in a simple holding cell inside the precinct station after she’d seen the judge. The arrangement gave detainees a chance to post bail before they moved them to the main jail downtown, something Mel had hoped to avoid. Prospects didn’t look good.

The sparse cell had a single bench bolted to the floor and air filled with the odor of acrid, nose-searing bleach. Her cellmates, two tough prostitutes, sat on the bench staring straight at the wall. Imperfect witch she might be, but she could still deal with the bullying they tried when she first came in.
Will, please,” Mel begged. “Go talk to Milo for me. Give him an IOU. I’ll get the money some way.” Milo the Bail Bondsman, her father’s second cousin, usually handled her bail. Milo hadn’t returned any of her numerous calls.
Yeah. Sure.” Will laughed, but it didn’t sound funny. “Gettin’ money some way is what landed you here. I can hear Milo now. Cousin Melian? She told my Granny Panopoulos to put all her money on a horse named Show-Too in the third race and—”
I told her thirty dollars to show on the number three horse, not… Oh, hell.” She wrapped her hands around the bars to steady herself.
Granny Panopoulos had cried to Mel about not being able to pay her mortgage and buy food in the same month. She figured Granny could lose thirty dollars and learn an excellent lesson about the futility of gambling. How was Mel to know the woman had fifty thousand dollars tucked in her mattress and a persistent bookie looking over her shoulder? Oh, right, she was supposed to be a psychic.
Okay, girl, here’s the deal.” Will shoved his hands in his pockets like he always did when he had to deliver bad news. “I’ll get you out on Monday—” “Monday?”
Yep. I’m not going to call Milo on a Friday evening or ruin his weekend. And I don’t trust anyone else.” Will’s head bobbed. His sorrowful expression tore at her. His eyes remained bright and his mind-dagger sharp, but time had worn his aging body. He loved her, and she shouldn’t have troubled him.
Ya’ know Mel...” He sighed. “Honey, you’re twenty-seven years old. Couple of days and nights in jail won’t hurt. ‘Bout time you learned a lesson. Past time, in fact. While you’re there, think about having to stay longer, what might happen then.” He turned and shuffled out of the room.
Mel leaned her forehead against the cold hard bars. What a stinking mess. She wasn’t a true psychic, but the power, the magic she lived by, occasionally gave her glimpses into the situations surrounding people. A haphazard thing she couldn’t control, but between it and the potions, she made a little money—as long as some cop with an attitude didn’t arrest her.
Mel had paid little attention when the nervous young man with dark, curly hair entered her low-rent storefront room four hours ago. He had a sweet, shy smile and almost pretty face. Not a hint of a cop in him. He paid her forty dollars for a reading and asked her if he would ever find true love. His precise words. “True love.” That alone should have tipped her off. She felt sorry for him and tried to sell him a magic potion. Only a twenty-dollar mixture of Vitamin B and Ginseng, but with the power of suggestion, it might be enough to adjust his outlook on life. He was far too good-natured and attractive to be alone. Then his partner had charged in and gleefully busted her. It didn’t take much to make some cops happy.

About the Author:

Lee Roland is a full time writer who lives in North Central Florida. She loves the peaceful rural area where she shares a home with three small dogs who think they are pit bulls and an evil cat with sharp claws.
Lee writes stories of urban fantasy and paranormal romance where strong men and women battle the wickedness hiding under the surface of the modern world. Her characters are passionate in life and love and are formidable enemies to the malevolent criminals in their worlds.

Her first series, the Earth Witches, was published beginning in 2011 by NAL. Her website, offers samples of the Earth Witches books and information on their world. There are short stories and news of any upcoming books and events.

Rules for Magical Worlds
A Guest Post by Lee Roland

The curious mind of a creative writer determines the rules when he or she builds a magical world, and sets the stage for larger than life characters to act out their stories.
The most exciting and enchanting things happen, though, when someone breaks the rules. What if a witch grew sharp teeth and started sucking blood? Or a furry and fanged werewolf dressed in a suit and went shopping at the mall? What if a demon started cuddling, feeding and adopting stray kittens?
In some instances, the rules for a magic world are clearly stated. Take Melian Devlin, witch-heroine in Casual Curses and Meticulous Magic. She’s trying to explain magic to her soon to be lover Titus Moran. Titus has no idea of the wild enchanting world she’s about to dump on him.
First and biggest rule, don’t use magic to hurt non-witches. Regular people like you and your mom have no defense against it.” Mel lowered her eyes. “Magic can kill. We can only use it for self-defense or survival.
Second rule? We’re not supposed to use magic to gain personal wealth. That draws too much attention. We live secret lives—for good reason. History will tell you that. Witches have always been on the ‘somebody get a rope’ or ‘let’s build a nice big fire’ list.”
Melian’s problem? The bad guys keep breaking those rules and circumstances force her to take radical action.
Melian offers other rules that are a bit more oblique.
I know. You’re going to have a bumpy ride at first. Everything is connected in magic, Tiger. Everything. Only thing that changes is the distance and angle.”
Everything is connected in magic. That’s often a big one. It’s the “figuring out” the connections drives the protagonists toward a goal.
Too often, magical rules are determined by television and movies. One person, after reading a scene in a book said, “Vampire bodies? But that’s not right. Vampires turn to dust when they’re staked.” The reader closed the book because it didn’t follow his version of the rules.
One question asked of magical novels, “Is it urban fantasy or paranormal romance?” More rules to deal with. It seems as if the focus of romance is the love story and saving the world is an afterthought. Urban fantasy saves the world first, and sometimes people fall in love. Both genres are great, but some readers feel the need to slap a specific label on a novel and put it in its place.
If a reader approaches each novel with an open mind and allows the writer to develop their world and guide the protagonists through the maze, that book can reward the reader with all the creative energy the writer can offer. That’s what it’s all about. The reward. Forget the rules and enjoy the story.

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Note About Upcoming Reviews

Due to a spate of health issues, I have recently been unable to sit up long enough to do more than post a couple of tours in the last few weeks, thus my regular book reviews have fallen off. Because of this, I have decided to post two handfuls of reviews in one great big post on the 17th, Nov. to catch up, but also to give myself a few more days to recover.

So if you are one of the authors waiting for a review from me, check your email and/or reviews on the 17th, and thank you dearly for bearing with me. <3

---Rebecca, your sister sinister 

EDIT: Due to a scheduling conflict, the date of the massive review post has been bumped to the 19th. On the day I post, I will contact the authors by email to let them know. Thank you for your patience.