Friday, May 1, 2015

Guest Blog and Giveaway: Witch’s Moonstone Locket by Marsha A. Moore



Five wicked facts about the antagonist of Witch’s Moonstone Locket—Adara Tabard
by Marsha A. Moore

She’s the high priestess of Coon Hollow Coven in Witch's Moonstone Locket, the first in my series of Coon Hollow Coven Tales. Besides that, she’s a wonderful character for lots of reasons. Here are just a few:

Adara jumped out at me with her own set of unique problems that drive her peculiar ways of dealing with people. Following in her father’s and then her mother’s footsteps, Adara serves Coon Hollow’s coven as High Priestess. I have no doubt, she’d prefer me to say that she rules the coven rather than serving it. Her family has maintained a ruthless hold on the position for decades. Adara loves power. She craves it. Being named as high priestess fulfills her dreams…almost.

The one thing more important to Adara than power is love, which is something that evades her. Her mother, Grizela Tabard, was a hard-hearted woman who chided Adara for not performing better, not measuring up to her two sisters. After those sisters died young, before Grizela herself passed, the woman still failed to recognize Adara. After Grizela's death, she often haunted Adara in spirit form. All this makes Adara a complex character who has a lot on her plate.

Adara yearns not only for maternal love but romantic love. At the age of eighteen, she fell in love with a townie. Certainly this horrified her mother, but Adara was blind with love. The romance was short-lived, ending in a tragic car accident that cost lives and whatever shred of maternal love Grizela had for her daughter. Fearing Grizela’s wrath, Adara’s boyfriend broke her heart and left her with a deep void she struggles to fill today.

Adara has a passion for fashion. Coon Hollow Coven strictly adheres to the lifestyle of the 1930s when it was formed, and Adara enjoys being a glamour girl in the slinky period styles. Her closet is filled with bias-cut satin dresses that hug her womanly curves. Her jet black hair hangs over half of her face in a cascade of smooth waves from a dramatic side part. Stylish? Definitely, but it also hides a gash of a scar cutting across her cheek from a car accident that changed her life forever.

Adara has a witch’s familiar, a talking crow named Dearg. Although fairly reliable as her accomplish in evil deeds, he torments her with mean-spirited quips in clever vernacular from the 1930s. No one else would dare to be that brave, fearing retaliation by the high priestess. But only he knows what his mistress truly desires, and knowledge is power...especially in Coon Hollow!

Find out more about Adara's evil ways in Witch's Moonstone Locket!




Witch’s Moonstone Locket
A Coon Hollow Coven Tale
Book One
Marsha A. Moore

Genre: New Adult Paranormal Romance

Date of Publication: March 24, 2015

ASIN: B00V2DG0HG

Number of pages: 315
Word Count: 94,000


Book Description:

Twenty-three-year-old Jancie Sadler was out of the room when her mother died, and her heart still longs for their lost goodbye. Aching to ease her sorrow, Aunt Starla gives Jancie a diary that changes her entire life. In entries from the 1930s, her great grandmother revealed how she coped with her own painful loss by seeking out a witch from nearby Coon Hollow Coven. The witch wore the griever’s moonstone locket, which allowed whoever could unlock its enchantment to talk with the dead.

Determined to find that locket, Jancie goes to the coven’s annual carnival held in her small southern Indiana town of Bentbone. This opposes her father’s strict rule: stay away from witches. But she’s an adult now and can make her own decisions. She meets Rowe McCoy, the kind and handsome witch who wears the moonstone. He agrees to let her try to open the locket, but they’re opposed by High Priestess Adara and her jealous desire to possess him.

Desperate for closure with her mother, Jancie persists and cannot turn away from a perilous path filled with magic, romance, and danger. 


Available at Amazon

Excerpt from Chapter One: Great Aunt Starla’s Cornbread

Warm rain mixed with Jancie’s tears, and she rose to stand beside her mother’s grave. Not ready to let go, she bent at the waist and her fingers followed the arc of her mother’s name—Faye Sadler—in the headstone. She knew the unyielding shape well. The word goodbye stuck in her throat. She’d said it aloud many times since her mother died almost a year ago, only to have the cemetery’s vast silence swallow her farewells. Rain beaded on the polished granite. Her hand, bearing her mother’s silver ring, slid down the stone and fell to her side.
If only she could’ve said goodbye to her mother before. After years of caring for her mom while she suffered with cancer, Jancie had missed the final parting moment while getting a quick bite of dinner. The pain still cut like a knife in her gut.
On foot, she retraced the too-familiar path toward her work at the Federal Bank. Although she’d landed a job as manager at the largest of the three banks in the small town of Bentbone, the position was a dead end. Within the first six months, she’d mastered all the necessary skills. Now, after a year, only the paycheck kept her there.
Jancie turned onto Maple Street. As usual, wind swept up the corridor, between old shade trees protecting houses, and met her at the top of the tall hill. September rain pelted her face and battled the Indian summer noontime temperatures. She zipped the rain parka to keep her dress dry, pulled on the strings of the hood, and corralled strands of ginger-colored hair that whipped into her eyes. Once able to see, she gazed farther into the valley, where the view spanned almost a mile out to the edge of town. Usually, farmers moved tractors across the road or boys raced skateboards and bikes down Maple Street’s long slope.
Today, on the deserted acreage just east of Bentbone, people moving in and out through a gate of the tall wooden fence breathed life into the rundown carnival. Surprised, Jancie crossed the street for a better view. She’d lost track of time since Mom passed. The coming Labor Day weekend in Bentbone meant the valley coven’s yearly carnival. She and her close group of girlfriends always looked forward to the cute guys, fair food, and amazing magical rides and decorations…even if her father didn’t approve of witches or magic. The residents of the sleepy town awoke to welcome a host of tourists wanting to see the spectacle created by the witches of Coon Hollow Coven.
Somehow, Jancie had forgotten the big event this year. Last year, she didn’t go since Mom was so sick and couldn’t be left. Jancie sighed and turned onto the main street toward the bank. She’d lost so much since her mother passed. Really, since the diagnosis of cancer.
At that time, four years ago, Jancie withdrew as a sophomore from Hanover College, a select, private school in southern Indiana near the Kentucky border—too far away. Instead, she returned to stay with her mother and commuted to Indiana University. Balancing hours with the home health care nurse, Jancie had few choices of career paths. Not that it mattered, since her remarried father expected her to find a job in Bentbone and continue taking care of her mother. Despite the sacrifices, Jancie loved her mother, who’d always managed money for a few special things for Jancie—a new bike, birthday parties, prom dresses—even though their income was tight. Mom had paid for her tuition and listened to every new and exciting college experience.
Jancie smiled at the memory of Mom’s twinkling brown eyes, that mirrored her own, when she asked about what happened during the day’s classes: if Jancie liked the professor; if she’d made new friends.
When she rounded the last corner, her thoughts returned to the work day. At the bleak, limestone bank building, reality hit. Jancie pulled against the heavy glass door, and a gust swept her inside. She peeled off the drenched jacket and hung it on the coat rack of her small, plain office. At her desk again, she took her position.
Through the afternoon’s doldrums, punctuated by only a handful of customers, her mind wandered to the carnival. She’d gone dozens of times before and loved it. But since Mom passed, nothing seemed fun anymore, like she couldn’t connect with herself and had forgotten how to have a good time. She organized a stack of notes, anything to put the concern out of her mind.
***
After work, Jancie drove her old blue Camry the five miles to the other end of town where she lived in her mother’s white frame house, the home where she grew up, now hers. Glad to own her own place, unlike her friends who rented, she’d made a few easy changes. In the living room, a new brown leather couch with a matching chair and ottoman. She replaced the bedroom furniture with a new oak suite for herself in what used to be her mother’s room. With pay saved from the bank, Jancie could remodel or build on, but she didn’t know what she wanted yet. Her great aunt Starla had told her to just wait and hold onto her money; she’d know soon enough.
Pouring rain soaked the hem of her dress as she darted between the garage shed and back stoop of the small ranch house.
Glad she’d chosen to get her run in this morning before work, she changed into cozy sweats, pulled the long part of her tapered hair into a ponytail, and headed for the kitchen.
Her phone alerted her of a text, and she read the message from her friend Rachelle, always the social director of their group: R we going to the carnival?
Jancie typed a response. I guess. R Lizbeth and Willow going?
Yep whole gang. What day?
Don’t know yet. Get back to u. Jancie worried she’d spoil their fun. Even though they’d all been her best friends since high school and would understand her moodiness, she didn’t want to ruin one of the best times of the year for them. Since Mom passed, they’d taken her out to movies and shopping in Bloomington, but this was different. Could it ever match up to the fun of all the times before? “I don’t know if I’m up to that,” she said into open door of the old Kenmore refrigerator while rummaging for leftovers of fried chicken and corn.
The meal satisfied and made her thankful she’d learned how to cook during those years with Mom. Not enough dishes to bother with the dishwasher, one of the modern upgrades to the original kitchen, Jancie washed the dishes by hand and then called Starla. When she answered, Jancie asked, “Can I come over tonight? There’s something I’m needing your opinion on.”
“Why sure, Jancie. C’mon over,” the eighty-five-year-old replied with her usual warm drawl. “Are you wantin’ dinner? I made me some soup beans with a big hambone just butchered from Bob’s hog. My neighbor Ellie came over and had some. She said they were the best she’s eaten.”
Jancie glanced at the soggy rain parka and opted for an umbrella instead. “No, I just ate. Be right over.” Keys and purse in hand, she hung up and darted for the shed.
Five minutes later, she turned onto the drive of the eldercare apartments and parked under the steel awning where Starla gave her a whole arm wave from her picture window. Jancie made her way to number twelve on the first floor.
The door opened, and Starla engulfed Jancie in a bear hug, pulling her into the pillow of a large, sagging bosom. Starla smelled of her signature scent—rosewater and liniment.
Jancie had loved her great aunt’s hugs as long as she could remember. Stress and worry melted away, and she hugged back. Her arm grazed Starla’s white curls along the collar of her blue knit top embroidered with white stars—her great aunt’s favorite emblem.
“It’s so good to see you. Come sit a spell, while I get us some iced tea.” Starla pulled away and gestured to the microsuede couch decorated with three crocheted afghans in a rainbow of colors. “I thought we were done with this hot weather, but not quite yet. That rain today’s been a gully washer but didn’t cool things off much.” The large-boned woman scuffed her pink-house-slippered feet toward the kitchen. “Would you rather have pound cake from the IGA or homemade cornbread?”
Jancie laughed and followed her into the kitchen. She wouldn’t get through the visit without eating. “You’re just fishin’ for a compliment. You know your homemade cornbread is better.”
Starla arranged plates with thick slices of warm cornbread and big pats of butter on top, while Jancie transferred the refreshments to the aluminum dinette table.
“With your hair pulled back like that, you’re a dead ringer for your Ma. So pretty with that same sweetheart-shaped face.” Starla folded herself onto a chair beside Jancie. “You look to be getting on well…considering what all you’ve been through.”
“I’m doing okay,” Jancie said through a mouthful of the moist cornbread. She washed it down with a swallow of brisk tea that tasted fresh-brewed. “But sometimes, lots of times, I feel lost, like I can’t move on.” She ran a hand across her forehead. “I didn’t get to say goodbye. I spent time with her through all those years, and it shouldn’t matter, but it does every time I visit her grave and most every night in my dreams.”
“Oh, honey. I know it hurts.” Starla smoothed Jancie’s ponytail down the middle of her back and spoke with a voice so slow and warm, it felt like a handmade quilt wrapping around her.  “You spent all that time and gave so much. Just like when I cared for my husband some twenty years back. I know. I never got the chance to tell Harry goodbye either. Time will heal all hurts.”
Jancie looked down at the marbleized tabletop to hide her teary eyes. “I don’t think I’m ever going to heal, Aunt Starla. I don’t know if I can ever move on.”
“There is one thing you can try. I’d have done it, if I’d have known before decades softened my aching heart. Way back, I was desperate like you.”
Jancie looked into Starla’s blue-gray eyes, set deep inside wrinkled lids.
Her aunt leaned closer. “Not many know about this,” she whispered as if someone outside the apartment door might hear. “There’s an old story about how a member of the Coon Hollow Coven, one who’s recently lost a loved one, is made the teller of the moonstone tale.”
Jancie rolled her eyes. “That’s just a silly story, one of lots that Mom and Dad told to scare me when I was little, so I’d stay away from the coven. When the moonstone locket opens at the end of the tale, you’ll get your wish but also be cursed.”
“Oh no.” Starla shook her head and pushed away from the table. “Let me get Aunt Maggie’s old diary. I got this in a box of old family things when Cousin Dorothy passed. ” She lumbered to her spare bedroom and returned with a worn, black-leather volume only a little larger than her wide palm. Once seated, she thumbed through the yellowed pages. “Here.” She pointed a finger and placed the book between them.


About the Author:

Marsha A. Moore loves to write fantasy and paranormal romance. Much of her life feeds the creative flow she uses to weave highly imaginative tales.

The magic of art and nature often spark life into her writing, as well as watercolor painting and drawing. She’s been a yoga enthusiast for over a decade and is a registered yoga teacher. After a move from Toledo to Tampa in 2008, she’s happily transformed into a Floridian, in love with the outdoors. Marsha is crazy about cycling. She lives with her husband on a large saltwater lagoon, where taking her kayak out for an hour or more is a real treat. She never has enough days spent at the beach, usually scribbling away at stories with toes wiggling in the sand.

Every day at the beach is magical!






Amazon author page: amazon.com/author/marshaamoore

Goodreads author page  http://www.goodreads.com/marshaamoore 

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The Power of the Gods: Dreamwalker by K.A. M’Lady




Much of Viking history is shrouded in mystery and magic.  Old gods, old beliefs and stories written on tablets long after their heroes had passed from this realm.  The All-father – Odin, is associated with knowledge, magic, war and death.  Sacrificing himself, Odin hung himself from the great tree, Yggdrasil, to obtain the knowledge of the Runes.  For nine days he hung in the tree, pierced by his own sword, teetering in the realm of death, until the Runes accepted his offering. 

Equipped with their knowledge, Odin became the most powerful of the gods.  With this wisdom he learned the abilities to heal emotional and physical wounds.  To bind his enemies and render them and their weapons useless.   He learned to banish evil and malevolent practitioners of magic and thereby protect his people and their lands.  And he learned how to seduce and keep a lover, protect his brothers and to wake the dead.   

There was much to be said for love and destiny.  The Vikings took much stock in the words of their wise-men and their Seidr (witches.)  Gifts granted by the gods held great authority and power over this warring race, but were they fighting for gains or fighting to keep their way of life? 

Perhaps, only the gods know.


Dreamwalker
K.A. M’Lady

Genre:  Fantasy, Paranormal, Erotica

Publisher:  Mojocastle Press
Date of Publication:  3/8/15

ISBN:  9781601802057

Number of pages:  72
Word Count: 18138

Cover Artist:  Vanessa Hawthorne

Book Description:

In a time when legends ruled ~

Deep in the heart of the Kelljek Mountains the Wolf People of Elnorn follow the ways of Odin – living and dying by the sword.

An untried warrior king must find truth in the darkness ~

Gararic – warrior and ruler wages war against the dark arts of the Black Witch, Dianaria and finds he must battle for more than just his people’s freedom. Will he find the truth he seeks on the sweet taste of her lips or will treachery destroy him and his people?

To be set free, one only needs to dream ~

A Dreamwalker by birth, Dianaria knows her fate and her future lies with the warrior king. Can love conquer the shadows of betrayal and hate?

Mojocastle Press      Amazon       BN     ARe     Kobo


Excerpt:

Lightning and thunder danced through the sky in a symmetrical glow, roaring through the cliffs. Gararic hurried up narrow winding paths of loose shale. It would take him a morning’s time in good weather to get up the path to the Perch. With the storm riding the edge of the sky, he needed to be there sooner and by the looks of the storm clouds, their darkening, heavy weight would not hold for long.

As lightning continued to arc across the sky, illuminating his way in intervals, each step grew more precarious as the small stones beneath his feet crumbled and the incline grew steeper. Halfway up the rocky path, the heavens opened up, unleashing the storm in all its fury, pelting Gararic with sleet and rain and soaking through his garments within moments.

Thor’s Hammer! He quickened his pace, all the while keeping the opening to the cave in sight. In a flash of light bright enough to warm the heavens, a shadow appeared in the opening of the cave.

He paused to watch the light dance around the mountain, giving him an excellent view of the cave’s opening. Staring in disbelief, he cursed Dianaria freely. “Witch! I swear by Odin’s blood, if you have brought this storm to torment me, I will kill you with my bare hands.” His roar echoed off the mountain.

Is that not your wish?

Startled, Gararic turned on the trail, certain he would find her on the path beside him. But the path he climbed was empty. No one followed up the winding rocky pathway. No one could be seen in the valley below.

He reached for the hilt of his sword, certain the devil’s army was on his trail. When he looked back to the opening of the cave, it too was empty. He stood silent on the path; the icy rain sluiced down upon him, staring at the empty opening of the cave in disbelief.

“What do you know of what I wish, Witch?”

The wind silently whispered her seductive reply. Come and tell me, Gararic, Leader of the Chenia River Clan. Leader of the Wolf People of Elnorn. There are many things to know this night.

Chills of desire flowed over Gararic; her soft words danced over his body. “I’ll not barter with a dead woman!” He tightened his grip on his sword, angered at his body’s response to her.

Are you so sure? Your father was not so quick to turn me away. Her voice was sultry as a moonlit night.

Gararic cursed under his breath. An image of her in all her naked beauty, alone in the creek with winter surrounding her, instantly filled his mind. Cursing himself for a fool, he tried to let his anger rule him and turned his thoughts to his father’s death. He tried to let his rage turn to molten lava and spread through his veins, knowing it was the one thing that would keep her from affecting him.

She had killed his father. She sought to kill his people. Yet even now, she wished to barter with him for his soul. If he wished to be the victor of this battle, he could not let his baser needs affect him. She would use her womanly wiles against him if she could. And that he could not allow if he wished to live.

Amazed at her audacity, he vowed he would defeat her. He would see who was more cunning; the Witch, or the warrior. Aye, he would play her game. But it was a game that he was certain she would never win.

Bounding up the path, his anger fueling his every step, Gararic hastily made his way up the remaining length of the mountain through the snow, ice, and rain. By the time he finally reached the entrance, there was no sign of Dianaria, the cave appearing as dark as his mood.

“Too afraid to face me, I see?” He wiped the rain from his face and wrung it from the length of his sable hair.

The back of the cave burst into a brilliant red flame. Gararic jumped back, drawing his sword before him. The fire died down to a single flame. He was able to see the shadow of a woman reflected on the wall of the cave. Next to the fire stood the Witch, in all her dark glory.

At first he was unsure if she was real or another image, this time from a waking dream. His eyes narrowed, taking in the voluptuous figure before him. With her back to him, besides her lush curves, he could see the rich fall of her waist-length black hair.

She wore no cloak, and through the length and thickness of her hair he could see the glorious stretch of her legs, encased in boots to her knees. He recalled the visions from his dreams, and wondered absently if she ever wore clothes. Her feminine laughter startled him from his reverie.

“Do you intend to stand in the cold all night, warrior?” Her voice was soft and sweet as a gently flowing brook.




About the Author:

K.A. M’Lady lives in the ‘burbs of Chicago with her husband, her three children, and her beagle, Chevy. She’s gone to school to be a business assistant, a criminal investigator, and an insurance agent, but she’s more at home lost in the pages of mythology, myth, and fiction, in the worlds of possibility, with all the dark creatures that the night can hold. And she’s happily dragging her husband right along with her — though he questions her sanity at times.

You can find more of her mayhem on her website — www.kamlady.net. Or feel free to drop her a line — mladyfair12@yahoo.com. Sometimes, she does come out of the Darkness to answer her e-mail.








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Heuer Lost And Found by A. B. Funkhauser



ON PROVENANCE: WHAT MAKES HEUER TICK

Who we are and what we are depends on how honest we choose to be. At least that’s how my character Jürgen Heuer (pronounced ‘lawyer’) likes to play it out in life and death. Born in Bremen, Germany with summers spent in the Austrian Tyrol he is literally preprogrammed to be a romantic.

His mother, a dreamer raised on Schumann, palinka shots and weeping Hungarian violins demands it. “Love, my love, and desire—Sensucht—longing: These are the things that make the history, the things upon which great legends are built. Without these, you have dust in your mouth.”


Yet Heuer’s love for things musical “the cicada’s song” or lyrical “... her tangs of violet commixing with scents of must, like the old place back home in Europe” are squelched by history and a profound belief that he is “born bad” and cannot undo it.


“Small, both in mind and body, he had tremendous appetites, all of which skewed towards becoming more than what he actually was.” An apropos description not of the man, but of the father, Werner, whose tastes “... classic in [their] narcissism, embraced the moldy old ethos of ethnicity over geography, and, as such, he was first in line when Anschluss came to Vienna...”

Werner Heuer has no time for art or music: “For him, the rhythmic tapping of jackboots on pavement went beyond forced occupation; it was the end of the road after a long trek.

Eschewing his parents’ hang-ups, Heuer does his best to build a life in America that is, by all accounts, immensely successful and hardly lonely. But it is contrived. Dodging promotion, cruising the outer banks that frame society, he keeps to himself, except when he toys with the lives of others. When a young colleague joins the firm Heuer takes action, not swiftly, but slowly, the way he likes it: “The decision to ruin a young man half his age was taken lightly and on purpose, as if giving weight to the decision conferred unjust power on the youth. To Heuer, it was personal, but also a test to see if he could actually do it.”

All business, Heuer reminds me of another character, Irmtraut Weibigand, currently under construction in POOR UNDERTAKER, a work in progress. A woman of business, she wrestles with secret doubts about the veracity of her citizenship, place in the community, and the integrity of the people she tries to call friends. A raucous Chamber of Commerce luncheon exacerbates this, when she rises in defense of her frenemy Hartmut Fläche, whose effete manners and pomposity alight the simmering hatred of fellow Chamber member Conrad Hickey. Defending Fläche’s right to exist, Irmtraut loses her cool as she’s reminded that she’s as ‘foreign’ as he is even though she has been a part of the community for nearly thirty years. Well read, she cannot help but think of Shakespeare’s monster Caliban from the Tempest making a subtle but conscious comparison to her own place on the ‘island’ that is Portside, Michigan. Thinking back to her mother, her provenance and her roots, she is cut at the knees, reminding herself that no matter how fine she becomes, she will always wear homespun.

Like Irmtraut, like Werner, Heuer wrestles with his identity which takes centre stage anno domini. His inane Germanity  no longer an issue, Heuer wishes only to be cared for and remembered.






Heuer Lost And Found
Unapologetic Lives
Book 1
A. B. Funkhauser

Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Fiction,
Metaphysical, Paranormal, Dark Humor

Publisher: Solstice Publishing

Date of Publication:  April 23, 2015

Number of pages:  237
Word Count:  66,235

Formats available:  Electronic, Paper Back

Cover Artist: Michelle Crocker

Book Description:

Unrepentant cooze hound lawyer Jürgen Heuer dies suddenly and unexpectedly in his litter-strewn home. Undiscovered, he rages against god, Nazis, deep fryers and analogous women who disappoint him.

At last found, he is delivered to Weibigand Brothers Funeral Home, a ramshackle establishment peopled with above average eccentrics, including boozy Enid, a former girl friend with serious denial issues. With her help and the help of a wise cracking spirit guide, Heuer will try to move on to the next plane. But before he can do this, he must endure an inept embalming, feral whispers, and Enid’s flawed recollections of their murky past.

Is it really worth it?



Available at   


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Reviews:

Fresh writing filled with rich vocabulary, this story features a vivid cast of colourful, living-breathing characters. This one will keep you reading late into the night until the final page.—Yvonne Hess, Charter Member, The Brooklin 7

Ms. A.B Funkhauser is a brilliant and wacky writer …Her distinctive voice tells an intriguing story that mixes moral conflicts with dark humor.Rachael Stapleton, Author, The Temple of Indra’s Jewel and Curse of the Purple Delhi Sapphire

The macabre black comedy is definitely a different sort of book! You will enjoy this book with its mixture of horror and humour. —Diana Harrison, Author, Always and Forever

Heuer Lost and Found is a quirky and irreverent story about a man who dies and finds his spirit trapped in a funeral home with an ex-lover who happens to be the mortician. The characterization is rich the story well-told.—Cryssa Bazos, Writer’s Community of Durham Region, Ontario, Canada


Author A. B. Funkhauser strikes a macabre cord with her book "Heuer Lost and Found". I found it to have a similar feel to the HBO series "Six Feet Under".--Young, Author, A Harem Boy’s Saga Vol I, II, and III


Short Excerpt:

Enid Krause nee Engler had made her way down to the embalming room where he lay waiting for her. She paused on her way to dither over some emails and, he noted with approval, to check out Kijiji for vintage GTO’s. Next, she mucked about with the coffee maker, juicing up her brew with two bags of pre-packaged Columbian. This, he noted wryly, was not the wisest thing to do when one’s hands were already shaky. It was apparent to him that she liked her booze as much as he did, and if she were to play around with sharp things, she stood a good chance of facing him sooner, rather than later.
“It is here that you must speak to her,” the lamp intruded, muddling his thoughts and destroying his pleasure. He did not like this popping in and out at will inside his head. He hoped her powers were limited to audiences in the basement, but not so—she was a body trapped in a house she did not choose, yet her spirit travelled, permeating the mind at will. “If you want to move on, it must be so. Put things right, mein Schön.”
He frowned at her use of ‘Schön.’ It was his term of endearment, yet she took it for her own, as if her right to trample him escheated once he agreed to do her bidding.
Make amends. Sure. The Holy Moly Book of Hooey said so, but to which place would he go thereafter? The land of milk and honey, where everyone ran around in bed sheets? Or the other place, where no amount of sunscreen would help? “Neither,” the lamp said confidently, her words ironic, because she was a lamp and obviously hadn’t been anywhere. “To your purpose,” she said, twisting him in the direction of Enid, who muttered under her breath as she fumbled with her earrings.
He grinned, longing to see what she would do next: Fraulein Engler was obviously struggling over his dramatic return, and for good reason. They had not parted on the best of terms. She wept sentimentally in the coroner’s suite—woman’s tears—much to her colleague’s chagrin, and now she was dragging her feet like a shotgun bride. Walking alongside her, he thought about theatres and floorboards and actors moving from mark to mark, their steps mapped out strategically on the floor with sticky tape. “This is why people spend so much time and money on make believe, Mächen,” he said. “It’s so much better to watch.”

Enid managed to get past the door that separated the O.R. from Weibigand’s outer hall, where she was greeted by the buzz and hum of a big fan that would keep his stink off of her. He concentrated on the noisy traffic that was her brain: like car tires spinning, rubber burning, a lonely heart hammering, and an incomprehensible fear. He was in despicable shape and it would take every ounce of skill to bring him to heel.

About the Author:

A.B. Funkhauser is a funeral director, fiction writer and wildlife enthusiast living in Ontario, Canada. Like most funeral directors, she is governed by a strong sense of altruism fueled by the belief that life chooses us and we not it.

“Were it not for the calling, I would have just as likely remained an office assistant shuffling files around, and would have been happy doing so.”

Life had another plan. After a long day at the funeral home in the waning months of winter 2010, she looked down the long hall joining the director’s office to the back door leading three steps up and out into the parking lot. At that moment a thought occurred: What if a slightly life-challenged mortician tripped over her man shoes and landed squarely on her posterior, only to learn that someone she once knew and cared about had died, and that she was next on the staff roster to care for his remains?

Like funeral directing, the writing called, and four years and several drafts later, Heuer Lost and Found was born.

What’s a Heuer? Beyond a word rhyming with “lawyer,” Heuer the lawyer is a man conflicted. Complex, layered, and very dead, he counts on the ministrations of the funeral director to set him free. A labor of love and a quintessential muse, Heuer has gone on to inspire four other full length works and over a dozen short stories.

“To my husband John and my children Adam and Melina, I owe thanks for the encouragement, the support, and the belief that what I was doing was as important as anything I’ve tackled before at work or in art.”

Funkhauser is currently working on a new manuscript begun in November during NaNoWriMo 2014.




  

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Spotlight and Giveaway The Witch’s Daughter by Ron D. Voigts

   






The Witch’s Daughter
A Cavendish Brown Mystery
Book 1
Ron D. Voigts                

Genre: Paranormal Mystery

Publisher: Champagne Book Group   

Date of Publication:  March 2, 2015

ISBN:  978-1-77155-176-2
ASIN: B00U0W28LC

Number of pages: 219
Word Count: 72K

Cover Artist: Ellie Smith

Book Description:

Investigative reporter and recent widower, Cavendish Brown, is unemployed and floundering. Coerced into returning to his childhood home by the town's eccentric matriarch, Cavendish finds himself involved in murder, deceit, and a not-so-subtle attempt at matchmaking.

Joined by Jane, a disturbed psychic, and Alexandra, a young Goth woman with uncanny abilities, they follow leads into the hills of West Virginia to catch the killer. A sheriff who shoots first and asks questions later makes solving the case difficult for the trio. Adding further complications is an ex-girlfriend with a mob hitman on her trail who seeks Cavendish’s help.

Immersed in a never-ending spiral of clues and secrets, he must unlock the darkness that surrounds the enigmatic Jane, stay ahead of the law, and come to terms with his own grief.


Available at  Amazon    BN   Kobo  Champagne Books

Excerpt:

I stood on the spot with the shovel we had found earlier, staring at the ground where Jane told me to dig. My heart pounded in my chest, and I considered whether this was a good idea. “If a body is here, it might have been buried a hundred years ago. People do die and are buried. It could be sacrilegious to uproot somebody. There are laws about doing things like that.”

Alex sat on the chopping block. She took a long draw on her cigarette, exhaled the smoke and watched it linger in the still air. “I’m sure whoever it is won’t mind.”

How stupid would it sound to tell anyone I was out in the woods with a chain smoking Goth girl and a psychic who could divine the past by touch, digging up a body? If one was buried here, it may lead to a story. The headlines would read “Editor, Goth Girl and Psychic Dig Up Civil War Hero.”

I took a deep breath and scooped out the first shovel of dirt, paused and peered in the hole. No body. I dug and tossed a few more spades full. Nothing. I scooped out more earth, still finding nothing. My pace became less ginger. Dig. Toss. Dig Toss. Dig. Thud!

Whatever I hit seemed solid. I worked the shovel more carefully, taking smaller bites of dirt. Something pale contrasted against the dark earth. Using the tip of the shovel, I moved aside more ground until I exposed something long and slender. I’d seen skeletons pictured on anatomy charts at the doctor’s office and more than a few body parts while in Afghanistan, doing a stint in the Army, but I was no expert on bones. “I found a tibia or maybe a femur.”

Alex tossed her cigarette, ran over to the hole and stared into it. She knelt down and brushed back dirt with her hand. “It’s a root.”

“Can’t be.”

She grabbed it, and what looked like a bone bent as she tugged on it. I knelt next to her and examined it closer. It sure looked like a root.

Jane, who had been poking a stick at something in the grass, came over and pointed to a spot about two feet over. “Dig here. Not there.”

I repositioned myself and began digging again, wondering how many more roots I would dig up that looked like bones.

The air grew heavy, and my clothing damp as I dug. The sounds of the forest became distant, and all I heard was the shovel striking the ground and my heart beating. The last time I’d worked up a sweat digging a hole was boot camp at Fort Jackson. I didn’t like it then, and my current sentiments were the same. I tossed a shovel full of dirt and spotted something.

Rather than shout for Alex and discover I had found another root, I took it and rubbed the soil away. Definitely this had to be a bone. Picking through the dirt, I found more bones, like from a chicken.

Alex came over and looked down into the hole. “Phalanges or metacarpals.”

Surprised she’d know the correct names, I stared at her. “Really?”

“I took an anatomy class in college.”

I stepped back and let Alex pick around in the hole. She found more small bones and sorted them on the ground until they began to form the arrangement of a hand. “I’d say a body is buried there.”

Alex took the shovel and removed dirt from the excavation. She took her time and paused occasionally to peer into the hole. Where I was a bulldozer plowing through the soil, she worked more like a seasoned archeologist on a dig.

As a reporter on the Gazette, I often teetered on the fine line separating legal from criminal. My informants were druggies, boosters and mechanics. I’d done interviews at crack houses, brothels and chop shops. When I came to Maiden Falls, I figured those days were behind me. Things here would be safe, mundane and predictable. Yet, here I was, digging up a dead body.

Alex found more small bones and placed them with the first ones. “Hey, we keep this up we’ll have a complete Mr. Bones in no time.”

A chill passed through me. This was a Frankenstein movie, and we were the grave robbers. We’d take the body parts to the mad scientist and get a bag of coins. Things could not be creepier, and I really didn’t want to see a dead body, even if the flesh had already gone to the worms.

We took turns digging, and I worked more cautiously. Alex did the detailed stuff like cleaning the dirt off the bones and arranging them with the others. She named them as she found them. Humerus. Ulna. Clavicle.

“Were you pre-med at college?”

“No.”

Jane sat in the grass nearby and watched. She seemed indifferent about the body we unearthed, and I speculated what conditions had molded such a strange being.

“Look here.” I pulled back a tattered shirt and pointed to a broken rib. “Looks like someone shot him.”

Alex looked closer. “Maybe.”

“Do you have a better explanation?”

The trauma of seeing exposed human bones no longer seemed as threatening. I stood back and let Alex continue the exhumation. I feared the moment when we’d get to the head. A grinning skull with hollow eyes gave me a chill.




About the Author:

Originally from the Midwest, Ron D. Voigts calls North Carolina where he and wife have a home just off the Neuse River. Ron’s writes dark mysteries with a supernatural flair, but his reading in more eclectic tending towards whatever catches his interest. When not writing and reading, he enjoys watching gritty movies, playing games on the PC, and cooking gourmet meals.  





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