Christmas Horror Book: KRENGEL & THE KRAMPUSZ by M.C. Norris @mcnorrisauthor


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Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Supernatural Fantasy, Horror


kreng

The epic origin of a beloved holiday icon unfolds, as nine-year-old Klaas Krengel flees plague-ravaged Germania on a swashbuckling adventure across Medieval Europe to the remote ends of the earth, where he finds himself pitted against a gruesome host of adversaries, all resurrected from old Austrian lore. A bit of a spoiled brat, Krengel’s only friend is an insidious counterpart called the Krampusz, a blue-furred monster who suffers from a pronounced hoarding disorder.

Vexed by his half-brother’s lifelong privilege and pampering, the Krampusz enjoys nothing more than imperiling the boy through calculated misdirection, ultimately trapping him in the bottomless depths of the enchanted “Sack of Shadows.” Therein, a fantastic realm of weird and warring races demands a showdown between Krengel and its tyrannical ruler, a horrendous witch who alone holds a key to the connection between Krengel and the Krampusz.

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Excerpt:

Every bell in Bari had a unique tone and timing. Each was synchronized to the timing of a specific, daily event. The toll of a bell would prompt a skyward glance from anyone within earshot, to make a quick check of the sun’s position. The bells were so intimately linked to the passage of time that on the rare occasions when every bell in the city tolled at once, the experience rattled a Baresi to his very soul, stilled him in his tracks, for time itself unraveled and was strewn to confetti. The joyous crash of sound reverberated through the seaport’s writhing arteries to flush pigeons in dappled flocks that flashed in the sky like schools of minnows.

At midday on May ninth, the first day of the annual Festival of the Translation of the Holy Relics, Bari came alive with clanging bells. Starlings gushed from the clerestory windows around the pealing bell tower at Basilica di San Nicola, the final resting place of Bari’s patron saint. It was an imposing fortification, a somber hulk of ancient masonry that loomed darkly over the peninsula with its back to the Adriatic Sea. With its cruciform mass shouldered between Romanesque towers, it better resembled an English castle than an ordinary place of worship. And at times, it had served as such.

Across the bustling piazza from the seaward dormitories, a hooded figure emerged from the basilica’s Lion’s Portal. The brown fabric of his Dominican robes flapped in the briny wind, throwing back his hood as he skulked beneath the engraved names of those famous sailors who rescued Saint Nicholas from Myra, five hundred years ago. He jerked the hood back over his naked head and turned to face the wall. Head bowed as though in prayer, he reached into the sleeve of his tunic, and withdrew a steely dagger.

Cast upon the spike of shimmering steel, was a leering distortion of his broad face and blazing eyes. He lowered and tilted his chin, trailing his fingertips over his newly shaved scalp. It was another of the Krampusz’s bright ideas. Krengel smiled. He looked funny bald, a bit like Friar Otto.

In five months, he’d grown in height and width. Though they might’ve starved a passive child with their severe Dominican diet of broth and rye, what were Krengel’s lifelong failings, but symptoms of his indomitable will to have while others around him had not. Greed ran strong in both sides of his family. And it was no small irony that Krengel, now a custodian of the relics of a saint canonized for profound acts of generosity, had honed his naturally greedy edge to a perfect tool for survival. Since Christmas Eve in Rome, he’d grown meaner, stronger, and more formidable. Daily acts of theft and trickery against the hardened peasants of a foreign land had honed Krengel, right beneath the noses of his Dominican handlers, into perhaps the most dogged urchin in all of Bari.

Krengel lifted his tunic, glanced around the crowded piazza, and then sheathed the dagger back into a tight fold in his braies. He hitched up his secret contraption. The rope was itchy about his waist, and the weight of the invention had begun to chaff his flesh. The dangling wood blocks clonked between his knees. Should’ve wrapped them in cloth to quiet their knocking. Too late for any of that, now. This was the big day. Around front of the basilica, cartwheels rumbled against the pavers as guests and dignitaries continued to arrive.

He’d not yet spotted Cardinal Moretti, rumored still unfit to attend this evening’s festivities, deathly ill as he’d been. Moretti posed him little threat in his weakened condition, but he was indeed the one person in all of Italy who could possibly spoil everything by summoning for him at the critical hour. Thus, the first phase of Krengel’s plan for May ninth was simply to avoid Moretti at all costs, to meld into the visiting crowds and simply lay low until sundown.

“What in Heaven do you think you’re doing, back here?”

Krengel spun to find the rector glowering out at him through the Lion’s Portal. He seized Krengel by an ear and marched him along the wall toward the main entrance of the basilica. “We’ve been looking everywhere for you! Your benefactor has arrived!” The rector lifted him by his ear and flipped back his hood. “You’ve shaved your head. What is this?”

“I had lice?”

“Shush it!”

The rector harried him to the main portal, where Cardinal Moretti was being lifted from his wagon in a sort of birthing position by a host of able-bodied Dominicans. The friars set him gently upon his unstable feet. He swayed weightlessly in the bullying wind, as though might at any moment be sucked off the earth and flung through the heavens. He lolled back his head and peered at the ecclesiastical assembly from beneath his fallen eyelids. The purplish growth in his lower jaw had swelled to the size of an onion, forcing his tongue to protrude like a newly hatched chick. He attempted to speak, but his lips produced only bubbles.

Krengel’s survival for five months in the favored hunting grounds of this predator was owed mostly to a bout of poor health that robbed Moretti of all but an infant’s strength, slackening the musculature of his face, not a day after Miso del Gallo. As a result, Krengel hadn’t suffered sight of the awful man since Christmas Eve, which was fortunate, but rumor held that Moretti’s health was steadily improving. So said the Dominicans anyway, who’d just this morning doted over Moretti’s latest accomplishment of peeling and devouring a boiled egg all by himself.

A breeze kicked up and snatched the mitre right off Moretti’s head, tumbling and spinning it down the street. But the friars supporting the feeble body of their guest could only look on in despair as they goaded him forward, one cautious step at a time. A silvery thread of slobber whipped from Moretti’s lip and bowed like a harp in the wind. Snowy wisps of hair all writhing on scabrous pedestals, Moretti looked for all the earth to be some deranged and ancient warlock, routed from his alpine rookery.

As the trio approached, Krengel bent his knees until he felt those wood blocks beneath his tunic touch the ground. He then stepped atop them and rose, oh so slowly, to his tiptoes, causing the special knot from which they were suspended to unwind. Through the fabric of his robe, he gathered the reigns of his makeshift stilts. Those milling around him were so transfixed by the precarious transfer of Cardinal Moretti that none seemed to notice that Klaas Krengel had suddenly sprouted a foot in height, looking quite enough like an adult friar, with his broad shoulders and shaved head, to pass before the myopic eyes of the monster.

Moretti made some unintelligible grunt as they led him past Krengel, swinging his disheveled head. Yellowed fingernails splayed as he reached for the boy, but groped naught but thin air. Those rattling claws sliced past his face without touching, only to rasp against the doorpost as they pulled Moretti inside.

Safe. Just as the Krampusz had promised.

So many friars were about for the Festival of the Translation of the Holy Relics, tending to all the dignitaries being housed in the monastic dormitories that a hooded man-boy on stilts could walk freely through the piazza, disturbing only a few pigeons. The first phase of his great caper was complete. Krengel grinned at the dull impact of his clopping stilts upon the pavers. By nightfall, he’d be comfortably seated aboard a ship destined for the Habsburg Netherlands, his mother’s homeland, where not even the Holy Roman Empire could touch him. But first, he needed a hostage. And not just any would do. His hostage was to be a man more celebrated in Bari than both Christ and Pope Alexander VI combined, a man with the power to lift an orphan right out of Bari.


About the Author:

headshot

M.C. Norris is an Active HWA member, whose first four novels, all published by Severed Press, are slated for release in fall of 2014: Deep Devotion (09/01/14), Krengel & the Krampusz (11/01/14), The Dread Owba Coo-Coo (11/15/14), and Nod (TBA).  His nineteen short stories have appeared in numerous anthologies, magazines and e-zines, including: Withersin, Wrong World DVD, Brainharvest Magazine, Pseudopod, Malicious Deviance, and Dead Bait.  M.C. Norris also won 5th in Chizine/Leisure Books 13th Annual Short Story Contest.

Connect With The Author:

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Featured Romance: A Season for Miracles & Unanswered Wishes by Elizabeth Cook – Howard @ECH_Beth


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Romance – Spiritual


a season for miraclesAt the age of 23 Maxine Matthews an inspiring journalist lost both her parents in a head on collision on Christmas Eve. Ten years since this tragedy, Maxine begins picking up the pieces. But to live she must face her biggest fear – the Holidays.
William Preston III a respected Architect and businessman too suffered a great loss. Although having a loving and supportive family he finds distance being the best way for him to cope.
How does one Christmas Eve bring them together? What needs to be reveled for two lives to live?

A Season for Miracles and Unanswered Wishes

Buy this book now! Free on Kindle Unlimited.

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Excerpt:

     No this can’t be happening, I tap the thermostat three additional times. Come on just click on. Shriving, I pull my iPhone from my robe pocket and look at the temperature for outside. Thirty-eight degrees, the coldest day in November so far. Returning to my bedroom I throw on my sneakers and head down to the basement.  Maybe the furnace pilot light went out, please let it be out. I can afford a match to relight it but anything more – right now I’m strapped.

     Standing now in front of my intimidating terrorizing problem, I begin pleading for mercy.  Come on rubbing the outside, don’t be anything serious please don’t.  As I stroke and plead I notice the body of the furnace is ice cold but oddly I see a fame at the bottom. The pilot light is lit but you are so cold. Unable to see completely under the furnace I make my way back up to the kitchen to get a flashlight. As I search the draws for batteries, I hear my cell phone ringing but nowhere to be seen. I follow the sound back up to my bedroom and find it where I left it, on my dresser.  One missed call and a voice message.

“Hello Maxine this is April Jenkins, unfortunately I have to cancel our meeting for today, my friend needs looking after and I will be out of town for a few days. I will give you a call when I return”.

     My frustration level just rocketed to a ten, I needed this interview in order to complete my story.  What am I going to do, I was barely meeting the deadline with us meeting today. Shoving my phone into my robe pocket I head back down to the basement. Noticing the emergency switch on the wall I question if turning it off then on again would it rectify the issue, possibly resetting the furnace? Won’t know unless I try I tell myself and I push the switch down to the off position. I count one Mississippi, two Mississippi three Mississippi all the way to ten Mississippi then turn the switch back to the on position. Just then my cell rings, answering on the first ring with hope of Mrs. Jenkins reconsidering our meeting today.

Hello?

Good Morning Maxine

Mr. Preston…. William ah hello and just then a loud bang comes from the furnace Dam it

Maxine? Maxine is everything okay?

William I’m sorry this isn’t a very good time. My appointment canceled and now this damn furnace chooses not to work properly.  I’ll call you back a bit later. Not waiting for a response I press the end button on my phone and return to examining the furnace. Having no idea of how this thing works I feel around to see if a reset button could be found on the furnace itself and of course no luck. After several minutes I’m no longer able to sustain the cold. I return upstairs to the kitchen and turn the stove on, leaving the oven door open. Returning to my bedroom I put on a pair of thermal long underwear, a pair of sweat pants, a shirt and socks. I make my bed and organize the clutter on my desk. I then grab my computer and cell phone and head down to the kitchen where I will work for the day. Taking seat at the kitchen table I power up my machine, prop my legs up on the adjacent chair and begin searching for a repairman. Alpha Heating and Cooling open 24×7. Your fee will probably be 24×7 as well. I call the number listed. For a 24×7 business I receive voice mail. I leave a message. Stanly and Son Heating and Cooling located In Sunnyside. Hoping for a live person, when calling I find myself again leaving a voice message. I’ll call one more, Acme Heating and Cooling – at the beep please leave a message. Does anyone work on a Saturday anymore and better yet answer the freakin phone? Hopefully someone will call me back within the hour. Until then I’ll review my notes from my meeting with Bishop Atkins.


Author Website - Forever Beth Series

Ten Harlequin Romances To Read This Thanksgiving


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Ten Romances From Harlequin Books To Read this Thanksgiving 2

Have you been looking for some fun Thanksgiving romance books to read?

Your search is over!

I just love the holidays! The books on my nightstand are often a big mix, but during the holiday season there are always some holiday romances mixed in… if not dominating my entire table. In November, I love reading books with Thanksgiving mixed into the plotline. If you’re on this post, it looks like you do too!

Over the years, I’ve read a lot of Harlequin books. I really enjoy the variety of plots they offer. With a Harlequin (Mills & Boon in the United Kingdom) book in your hand and a very vivid imagination, you can go from an exotic location in Greece to a small town in Texas. And when the holidays are rolling in, you can always find a new and exciting romance to read with the holiday mixed right into the plotline.  Even Thanksgiving, as you will see below!

Now, it’s time for the books!


A LOT TO BE THANKFUL FOR

Ghostwriter Samantha Monroe has just arrived in Forever, Texas, to turn a remarkable woman’s two-hundred-year-old journals into a personal memoir. The Rodriguez clan welcomes her with open arms…and awakens Sam’s fierce yearning to be part of a family. But it’s the eldest son—intensely private rancher Mike Rodriguez—who awakens her passion.

Hiring Sam to preserve his great-great-great-grandmother’s story for future generations was Mike’s inspiration. He just didn’t realize how much he’d want her to be part of his family’s continuing saga. Delving into the past has made Sam hungry for a future—with Mike. The next move is up to him—if he doesn’t make it, the best woman he’s ever met just might waltz back out of his life forever!

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Honor, duty and loyalty drove Major Edith Clapton to risk her life flying Combat Search and Recovery in Afghanistan. Hunger, desire and lust drove her into the arms of Seth Hardin, a gorgeous navy SEAL she had airlifted to safety. Their epic one-night stand in the shadow of the Afghan mountains has left Edie facing the most important mission of her life: motherhood.

After sharing her news, Edie is stunned by Seth’s insistence on being a father to his child—and the bewildering feelings this practical stranger has stirred within her. This wasn’t part of her life-in-the-navy plan! Should she flee back to military life for a desk job and single parenthood? Or give thanks for this unexpected family?

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A BRIDE—AND A BABY!—UNDER HIS TREE!

RUST CREEK RAMBLINGS

Stop the presses! Can you believe there’s about to be another wedding in Rust Creek Falls? Yes, local cowboy Jesse Crawford is tying the knot with Maggie Roarke, that Hollywood lawyer who’s been flitting in and out of town for the past several months. Rumor has it their hasty nuptials might have something to do with Maggie’s brand-new baby bump…

We’re all for one big happy family, but we’re a little puzzled by this pairing. Maggie and Jesse couldn’t be more different if they tried—are they really ready to saddle up for the long haul? Stay on the trail, faithful readers, and let’s see if their baby-to-be can bring this new family together for the holidays—and ever after!

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She was home for the holidays…but jewelry designer Melissa Randall had no intention of staying in Rawhide, Wyoming. The sassy sophisticate had a life in Paris—one that didn’t include a meddling, matchmaking family or the sexy, sloe-eyed deputy they had in mind for her.

Down-home deputy Harry Gowan would never leave Rawhide; she’d never stay. He’d keep his bachelor heart out of her reach, memorize her pouty smile and practice kissing her goodbye. Harry held out hope, though; after all, the matchmaking Randalls were legend in these parts. But had they met their match in Melissa?

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After a devastating tornado ripped through High Plains, a two-year-old was found wandering all alone. Foster mother Nicki Appleton took in the little girl, her heart bursting with love and prayers. Now the storm’s aftermath has brought home the man Nicki once expected to marry, and Clay Logan claims to be a changed cowboy. But with her energy focused on a child she may not be able to keep, is there room for another kind of love in Nicki’s heart this Thanksgiving?

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Season of Bounty by Linda Ford

At first glance, privileged Kathleen Sanderson and cowboy Buck Donahue couldn’t be more different. Yet the bond between Buck and his adopted son awakens a wish in Kathleen for a family of her own—and a future they can build together.

Home for Thanksgiving by Winnie Griggs

All that stands between Ruby Anne Tuggle and a fresh start is an escort to Tyler, Texas. Rancher Griff Lassiter is too kind to refuse, but too wary of being hurt again to offer anything but friendship. Then a fever forces an unexpected detour and a chance to find the place they both belong…

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Army lieutenant Max Forrester is home on leave, and looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving with his sister, Melissa. Then he finds her fighting for her life in the hospital. All he wants is to protect his sibling…until another damsel in distress crosses his path. Someone’s stalking Tara Carmichael, Melissa’s social worker, and the danger she’s in is very real. Max knows she needs his help—if only he could find a way to protect both women at once! And Tara and Melissa aren’t the only ones in danger when the stalker’s true target is revealed.

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Heiress Penelope Lear came to Treasure Creek, Alaska, in search of adventure. And to prove to everyone she’s more than just a pretty face. But when she gets lost in the middle of the wilderness—in chilly November—Penelope needs help. Her rescuer? The mysterious man who’s been missing from town for months.

Tucker Lawson, a handsome former lawyer, is now a man of the land—and doesn’t want to be found. As Thanksgiving approaches, he promises to lead Penelope back to Treasure Creek.

But will he go as her groom?

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A frozen turkey dinner is just fine for former soldier and widower Evan Paterson. But his five-year-old daughter deserves better. So when she invites her best friend and her single mother to the Double P ranch for the holiday meal, Evan agrees. But not to a fix-up. Social worker Julia Saunders knows as much about heartache as he does, but Evan isn’t ready to love again. Until a duo of pint-sized matchmakers show two stubborn grown-ups what being thankful truly means.

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A feast she wasn’t expecting!

Clover Greene would sooner crawl into her oven than host family for Thanksgiving dinner. Yet another annual ritual of too much food, served with a side of criticism over “Clover’s Bad Life Choices.” This year, she needs to distract them all—with a handsome fake boyfriend. And she has the perfect guy in mind.

Contractor Erick Fields is the poster boy for sexy single dads, and Clover has been secretly crushing on him for ages. She certainly wasn’t expecting Erick to agree to her insane charade…or to add lots of hot, wicked sex to the deal. If they can pull it off, the worst Thanksgiving ever might give them something to be really thankful for!

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Adopted as a baby, Mei Clayton never felt like she belonged in her family. She left tiny Clayton, Colorado, the moment she could. Now, to fulfill the terms of a will, she must move home for a year. But when she reunites with handsome Jack McCord—the mountain-rescue expert she once secretly loved—she has to keep her distance. Their relatives have feuded for years. She’ll never fit in with the Claytons if she gives in to her feelings for Jack. Unless faith and love can help open hearts in time for Thanksgiving.

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Susie Carrigan needs help–fast! With her family playing matchmaker, she can think of only one man to turn to. Rancher and caring vet Tyler McCabe has always been there for her–anytime she needed a broad shoulder to lean on…or a warm body to heat up a cold Texas night. Now he has to stop her from making the biggest mistake of her life.

When his best friend asked him to run interference, Tyler didn’t think he’d end up putting his own heart on the line. He can’t let Susie marry somebody else–not when there’s a man right here in Laramie who loves her and plans to show her a Thanksgiving neither of them will forget…

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So we shared a little more than we had originally planned, but with these books it’s hard to stop at just one ten! Readers, what are your favorite Thanksgiving romance reads? Let us know in the comments!

Sweet Contemporary Romance Feature and Interview: A Thankful Heart by Melissa McClone @melissamcclone


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Sweet Contemporary Romance


a-thankful-heartLove at the Chocolate Shop Book 2

Release Date: 11/3/16

Publisher: Tule Publishing

Chocolate is better than men, and so are dogs. At least, that’s what Dakota Parker tells herself as she mends her broken heart and finds forever homes for rescue animals. So far, so good. She can indulge her love of chocolate where she works while her foster dogs provide her with the unconditional love she craves. What more does she need?

Seattle architect Bryce Grayson is counting the days until he can return home to the big city with his father in tow. That is if he can convince his dad to leave Montana. Bryce’s escape plan, however, goes astray when he meets Dakota. Her sweet kisses put the chocolate she sells to shame. Maybe he should be the one to move to Marietta, but could he be happy living in such a small town?

He has until Thanksgiving to decide.

Love at the Chocolate Shop series
Book 1: Melt My Heart, Cowboy by C.J. Carmichael
Book 2: A Thankful Heart by Melissa McClone
Book 3: Montana Secret Santa by Debra Salonen
Book 4: The Chocolate Cure by Roxanne Snopek
More books coming soon

Buy this book now at:

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Excerpt:

“Welcome to Copper Mountain Chocolates,” she greeted as she always did.

His shoulders were angled toward the opposite side of the shop, so she couldn’t see his face. Not everyone came right to the counter. Sometimes, people entered out of curiosity or to window shop. Others wanted a free sample or to warm up from the cold.

Dakota stirred the pot but found herself watching him.

He brushed a gloved hand through his sandy-blond hair. The short, messy style appealed to her more than the way he dressed.

An expensive-looking leather jacket showed off wide shoulders. A white collar peeked out the top. His khakis were creased. That amused her since she didn’t own an iron. A pair of polished loafers completed his outfit.

His attire screamed big city.

Definitely not from around here.

No tie, but he reminded her more of the men she’d dated who worked inside, often behind desks in offices, and wore ties. She preferred men who worked outdoors.

Cowboys.

A man who faced the elements every day, had a strong work ethic, appreciated animals, and knew how to treat a woman appealed to her at a gut level. The boots and jeans they wore were an added bonus. Not that she’d dated a cowboy or wanted to date one now.

She focused on the man, letting her curiosity and imagination run wild. Maybe he was a tourist from the east eager for a taste of the west. Maybe he was a CEO needing to escape a high-pressure job by escaping to a small town that moved at a snail’s pace.Maybe he was a witness in a big case for the FBI and hiding out until it was time to testify at the trial. Or maybe, and most likely, he was here because he liked chocolate.

“Would you like to try a champagne truffle?” She readied the tongs. “That’s what we’re sampling today.”

He turned.

Her gaze collided with a pair of killer baby blues that made her breath catch and birds sing. Well, birds would be singing if there were any in the shop. A good thing she hadn’t lifted the tray or the truffles would be all over the counter.

He was, in a word, stunning.

Dakota hoped she wasn’t staring openmouthed or drooling, but she found him as appealing as her favorite Sage creation—dark chocolate with almond and cherry bits.

His slightly crooked nose gave him character, making his handsome face more interesting and rugged. A nice contrast to his smooth skin. Dakota was a fan of the razor-stubble look, but perhaps there was something to be said for clean-shaven.

He stared at Dakota. “What?”

She held the tray and used the silver tongs to offer him a piece. Thankfully, her hands were steady. “Would you like to try a sample?”

Or me.

Whoops. Where had that come from?


Youtube Series Trailer:


 


About the Author:

melissa-mcclone

USA Today bestselling author, Melissa McClone has published over thirty-five novels with Harlequin and Tule Publishing Group and been nominated for Romance Writers of America’s RITA® award. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three children, two spoiled Norwegian Elkhounds and cats who think they rule the house.

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Interview:

How many books do you currently have published? 

42 books that range from one 9,000 word short story to a 65K word novel.

Are you currently working on a book? Will this be your next release?

I’m currently working on The Valentine Quest which will be out in February. It’s a sequel to A Thankful Heart and features the heroine’s younger sister.

What do you enjoy most about writing?

Does wearing pajamas while I work and having my cats net to me count? Seriously, I love bringing characters and stories to life. I see them as movies in my head, and my hope is to translate that into words so I bring a smile to a reader’s face.

What lessons have you learned since becoming a writer? Do you have any tips for new writers?

Read what you want to write. Make writing a habit because it’s hard to get back into the groove once you stop. Have your computer read your book back to you while you proof. You’ll be amazed at what you miss.

If you were to recommend your books to a stranger, which book would you advise them to start with? Why?

I have so many books that’s a hard question to answer. If they want a small town set on Mount Hood then I’d suggest Rescued by the Magic of Christmas which is the first book in my Hood Hamlet series about a team of volunteer mountain rescuers.

If they like contemporary westerns than Home for Christmas is a great place to start. It’s the first book in my Bar V5 Ranch series.

If they like contemporary romances with a Realty TV twist, then The Honeymoon Prize in my Ever after series might appeal to them. That book is free until November 21st!

Now it’s time to get to know you! What are some of your favorite books to read?  

I love reading Nelson DeMille! I buy his books in hardcover. Otherwise I read a lot of sweet romance. I also love Christmas stories.

What about television shows? Movies?  

I don’t watch a lot of television except in December when I’m addicted to the Hallmark Channels. My favorite movies are all from the Star Wars franchise so I’ll see those in theaters or if there’s really something the kids want to see. They took me too see Jungle Book for Mother’s Day and that was the last movie in a theater I saw. But I’ll be there opening day for Rogue One!

Can readers find you at any live events, such as book signings or conventions? 

I’m so busy with my kids I don’t get to many events. I did participate in the RWA Literacy signing in San Diego in July, but I have none on the calendar for 2017.

If you had to sum up your life as a writer in ten words, what would you say? 

Exhilarating but a hard way to make a living.


11/18 and 11/19/17 A List of Free Books For YOU To Read This Weekend


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Readers, read through the entire post below for our most recent e-book deals, featured books, free books to download and read, and author interviews! Once you’re done, share this list with your friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter so they can get some great new reads too. Authors, have a book you would like to promote? Click here.


Featured Books:

See these first!

Click on the links below to go directly to the spotlight page to read excerpts, author interviews, and more! Several of these are on a special promotional pricing, so don’t miss out on these featured books from both Indie and traditionally published authors! In addition, many of these are enrolled into the Kindle Unlimited program. After checking out our featured books, scroll down for the free books’ list.

If you’re not a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, check out the free trial by clicking here! New subscribers get thirty days free, and you can cancel at any time. With Kindle Unlimited, you can read an unlimited amount of books in this program.


 

 





Free Books!

The books below are free for a limited time on Amazon Kindle. These are legitimate freebies offered by the author and/or publisher. Always make sure to check the price before purchasing, as prices can change at any time. Simply click on the cover or yellow button to be taken to the Amazon page to download the books you want to read.



a heros curse

Essie Brightsday has never heard a rock basilisk scream. She has never worn magical armor, stood up to a queen, or run from dragons. Instead, Essie, her sarcastic cat Tigrabum, (just call him “Tig”), and her secretive family struggle to survive on their small farm nestled against the forbidding cliffs of the Valley of Fire.

But all that is about to change when a rebellion against the cruel interim ruler is sparked. Forced to flee for their lives, Essie and Tig lose themselves in the twisting labyrinth of the ancient lava flow. When Essie finds proof that the missing King Mactogonii may be alive, she is given the opportunity to help restore stability to the kingdom. But the course of her journey will force her to face her deepest fears and unravel the mystery behind her own blindness…if Essie can survive the encounter.

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From the streets of Melbourne to the bowels of Westminster, the delicate balance between life and death that is so painstakingly maintained by the reapers of The Order of Dark and Light is being tested by the return of an ancient threat. Tensions are rising within the hidden world of The Shadowlands and if this threat is not contained war will be inevitable. And the destruction of the human world is bound to follow in its wake.

Amidst this tension, eighteen year-old Sachi Manning is struggling to cope with the grief and guilt that has plagued her ever since her best friend was murdered six months earlier—that is, until she spots him seemingly alive and well and being held at scythe point by a hooded figure who looks more like a GQ model than the Grim Reaper.

Sachi shouldn’t be able to see through the glamours that shield Shadowlanders from the human world, so the reaper in question wants some answers. And so begins the craziest couple of weeks of Sachi’s life as she is drawn into a world of mysteries, magic, monsters, and mayhem, encountering dragons, faeries, soul-sucking demons, not-so-grim reapers, and even the Horseman of Death.

With a mix of heart, humour and hair-raising action, Out of the Shadows is the adventure of an afterlifetime, perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare and Paula Weston.

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From the funny author of Confection Connection, Christmas Bizarre and Kitchen Addiction!
More cozy comedy! And murder mysteries!
Spring is here–finally–and things are looking up! Our intrepid hero, Mina Kitchen, has a new car. Well–it’s new to her. And she even has a boyfriend or two lined up. But that’s because her BFF, Trixie, signed her up on Cupidsbow.com behind her back. Some prospective dates appear a bit odd–but never mind; it’s good to make new friends, right?

But all hope of smooth sailing vanishes when Mina hits another bump in the road: she loses her part-time job at Chi-Chi’s cosmetic counter. And Chef Jack hasn’t been scheduling her at Squirrel Run Acres lately, and her catering for James’ massage gigs are replaced by a new, full-time (and gorgeous) assistant. WTH?

To make matters worse, her financial calamities become outnumbered by the steady stream of corpses floating her way. Never mind the dead bodies pouring forth from her aunt’s church, St. Bart’s Episcopal–they’re experiencing a new take on mass exodus. Congregation members are trading up at the Pearly Gates quicker than a greased geezer through a glass casket–that is to say, they’re dropping like flies.

The grim mortgage reaper looms, when suddenly Mina’s solvency is rescued as she stumbles upon a full-time job. A rather peculiar job, with some definitely peculiar co-workers. Who try to kill her–and Chef Jack.

Can Mina finally climb out of her proverbial–and literal–holes? Or will she wind up getting backhoed alongside a maniacal murderer? And where the heck’s a Lavender Cosmo when you really need one?

Vinnie, her mini mountain lion-sized cat insists everything will turn out fine–but his idea of fine usually revolves around cans of Finicky Fare, and not much else.

If you’re looking for funny novels, chatty animals (in the guise of pets)–and recipes–read this book. Perfectly Pickled packs sit-com humor with stand-up dialogue, a murder mystery and suspense! You’ll cheer for Mina; hiss at the bad guys and sip your very own Lavender Cosmo along the way, courtesy of the author–the recipe’s in the back of the book, along with others, all vetted by Lund’s real-life favorite caterer, her husband, Chef Andrew.

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An angry, determined young man…. a dangerous mountain trail….

Matt is a driven mountain biker seeking a greater thrill with every new sponsored ride, each filmed in video and posted online. He has no patience for inexperienced, wanna-be outdoor enthusiasts, and makes no attempt to veil his contempt. When a high-stakes solo ride takes him on the rugged trails of South America, he battles altitude sickness and unfamiliar terrain, and finds himself confronting his own arrogant ego and self-destructive nature.

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The sizzling HOT novella that introduces USA Today Bestselling author Carole Mortimer’s all new series, ALPHA, contemporary romance with an added dash of suspense.

Stories of dark and compelling ALPHA men, who are used to taking what they want when they want it, and the strong and determined women who have no intention of being taken. Unless it’s on their own terms…

Finn Devlin is being stalked by his ex-girlfriend, and the last thing he wants or needs is to find himself stranded in a blizzard, four days before Christmas, with a woman he’s only just met but already knows he wants in his bed. Underneath him. On top of him. Any way he can get her!

Eva Shaw has no idea why Finn Devlin would choose to live alone in such a remote place miles from his nearest neighbors. One thing she does know, however—she isn’t the woman he’s mistaken her for. The woman he ‘hired’ from an ‘agency’…

While the blizzard continues to rage fiercely outside, the passion inside the house becomes even hotter and unstoppable. Taking Finn and Eva to new and undeniable heights of raw sensuality and desire.

While someone outside watches and waits…
Author’s Note: The novellas and full-length novels in the ALPHA series have sexier situations and more adult language than my other books.

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The Duke’s Mistress is the first story in Carole Mortimer’s Regency Unlaced series. Hot and steamy tales of Regency heroes and heroines, with a dangerous dash of romantic suspense, as only Carole can write them!

Carole has written over 200 books, in contemporary romance and Regency. She is the Recipient of the 2015 Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. She is a USA Today Bestselling author. Entertainment Weekly Top 10 Romance Author. 2014 Romantic Times Pioneer of Romance. Was recognized by Queen Elizabeth II in 2012, for her “outstanding service to literature”.

Author’s Note: Please be aware that the stories in the Regency Unlaced Series are more explicit in language and sexual content than my other books.

The young widow Lady Dorothea Fitzroy is bored with her life. Most especially so with her role as mistress of her brother’s household, and the endless round of society engagements this forces her to endure.

What Thea so badly needs is a secret and passionate lover, to become mistress of another kind entirely, and so add excitement and spice into her humdrum life. But where is she to find this handsome and inexhaustible gentleman?

Julian Remington, the arrogant and haughty 17th Duke of Blackmoor has no interest in finding a mistress for his bedroom or his home. He’s jaded, cynical, and distrustful when it comes to women. One woman, a woman from his past, has caused too much grief in his life for him to ever trust another.

Thea and Julian are about to be caught up in a passion for each other that blazes so fiercely, and so out of control, it is beyond the power of either of them to resist.

The Duke’s Mistress is the story of an arrogant duke and an adventurous young widow, caught up in their insatiable desire for each other, the vengeful woman who would like nothing better than to see Blackmoor suffer as she has suffered, and believes Thea Fitzroy to be the means by which she will achieve it.

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On a world devastated by plague – where the only way to survive is to run – a Federation Hunter must track a felon and return him to justice.
But there are obstacles to overcome, and those in power that do not wish him to succeed. Plus crazed survivors that roam a dead city.
Add a few escaped convicts, two vials of deadly spores, and High Councillor Stanger into the mix.
And the Hunter’s mission just became harder.

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Edwin Villiers, Lord Hyde and only child of the Earl of Clarendon, didn’t realize that women were sometimes disciplined with the birch until the day he was invited by his friend Hugh Stanley, Viscount Petersham and son of the Earl of Harrington, to witness the disciplining of Hugh’s sister Eleanor. While he’d known Eleanor as a young girl she had grown up to a beautiful but spoiled young woman who, even at the age of 18, wasn’t quite ready to make her debut. After being overly indulged by her mother for years, her father Lord Harrington has realized that he must take her in hand or risk her ruining the family’s reputation with her willful ways once she’s out in Society.

While watching the young lady receive a bare bottom birching Edwin finds himself having a reaction he’d never expected – a shocking arousal that awakens a new array of sensual desires in him. When Eleanor appears in Society a year later, having learned to pretend to the demure manners her father demands, Edwin starts to think about leaving his bachelor days behind and securing Eleanor as his wife. He knows that a sweet and generous person lurks beneath the spoiled manner she’s adopted in recent years, and he’s not at all adverse to administering the necessary punishments to bring back the Eleanor he once knew.

When Eleanor enters the marriage mart she already knows exactly what she’s looking for: someone who will love her more than she loves him. After watching her parents’ marriage she’s seen the power her father wields over her mother, who is worshipfully in love with him. Eleanor wants the jewels, the silks, the dresses, and she absolutely does not want to lose her heart. The man she’s looking for is kind, indulgent and will never threaten her emotional happiness. He’s certainly nothing like her brother’s rather rakish and dangerously handsome friend Lord Hyde, even if the man does make her feel strange yearnings that she’s never experienced before.

Unfortunately her father has little trust in his daughter’s supposed reformation, especially after her behavior at her come-out ball when he sees the men she’s chosen to attract – and her tactics for doing so. Sure that Eleanor is on the way towards ruining her reputation as well as the family’s, especially if she manages to snare a man without the gumption to combat her willful ways, her father marries her off to the overbearing and far-to-attractive Lord Hyde within the first week of her Season.

Never at a loss for long, Eleanor soon comes up with a plan that will make her a constant thorn in her husband’s side until he’s all too happy to allow her to live separately from him and manage her own life. Unfortunately for her, Edwin is just as determined to see his spoiled bride tamed and she finds his methods of discipline as disturbingly arousing as they are painful, but Eleanor has never been one to back down easily. Romance, punishment and pleasure abound as husband and wife test the limits of their new relationship and fight to determine what their future will be.

This book is contains graphic depictions of hot sex, consensual and nonconsensual spankings and birchings, and Victorian domestic discipline. If any of these things are offensive to you it is suggested that you do not download this book.

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A Gilded Age heiress. A vanished fortune. A long-buried secret.

“Pure perfection!”
–Book Boyfriends

It will take more than straight As to survive senior year.

Welcome to the Valley of the Moon—world-famous Sonoma County in Northern California. To its uber-wealthy residents, Sonoma is a dreamy paradise of rolling hills and stunning vineyards. But for high school senior Lana Goodwin, it’s hell on Earth.

She’s over being the poorest student at the posh Briar School for Girls. She’s totally over her dad’s failing vintage car business. And she’s BEYOND over her horrid former stepsister—and current classmate—Cressida Crawford, who lives to torment her.

Worst of all, it’s the tenth anniversary of her mother’s mysterious suicide. Now someone—or something—is trying to make contact with her. On the verge of graduation, Lana finds herself locked in a life-or-death race to uncover her mother’s long-buried secrets.

Can she claim her birthright before her future is snatched away?

VALLEY OF THE MOON is a modern-day fairy tale with some intense themes and plenty of romance. A contemporary YA romantic mystery recommended for ages 16 and up.

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A woman of words! A man of action! One hot mess!

She needs peace and quiet. He’s a distraction.
She wants to be left alone. He’s inevitable.
She has a writer’s block. He might be the cure.

The only thing Jessica Slade wanted was some peace and quiet, and to finally finish her book.
So, a place called A Drop of Paradise was supposed to do the trick. With its stunning sandy beaches, crystal clear, aquamarine waters and tropical sunsets, it was supposed to cure more than a writer’s block. But, when an unfortunate series of events leaves her stranded on a remote island with an overbearing, arrogant, roguish, but ruggedly handsome stranger, her life starts to seem much more like the romance novels that she writes about.
Broad-shouldered Mike Stone is irresistible, sexy and cooler than a mojito in your hand, and maybe even a perfect, muscled ideal for the cover of her next novel, but not all the imagination in the world could prepare her for what can happen between two strangers on a spit of sand, when sparks start to fly and anger turns to lust.

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