Saturday, May 31, 2014

Melissa Massey stops by Penny's Tales and talks about her new book, Decker!

In this first companion novel to the Earth’s Magick series, Decker tells his incredible, and sometimes painful, life story. For over 2,000 years, he has fought to survive and find his place in this ever-changing world. Beginning in a remote village in ancient Saudi Arabia, he takes the reader with him to Egypt, Rome, Gaul, Ireland, Scotland, Africa, and finally to the New World.  Earth’s Magick readers will relive Decker’s incredible adventures and his most intimate secrets.
* * * *
The cover art was created by Dustin Compton from Here's what he had to say about drawing Decker:
Immediately in my mind for some reason I imagined this hybrid from Old London and American Pioneer days so I was really excited and intrigued by him. He struck me as what people used to describe guys when they would say ''he's a man's man.'' I always admired those time periods so that was where my research initially started as well. - Dustin Compton

The book trailer for DECKER can be found here:
All of Mel's books are also on Goodreads:

Visit for social media links, news, blog, and forums where readers chat about the books!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Andrea Cooper stops by Penny's Tales with Sons of Dragons

Son of Dragons Book 2 Legends of Oblivion series

Blurb: In a time of false peace, the dead rise as soldiers for the Warloc’s scheme. For thousands of years he has stood ready for the final battle. Though the witch and her cursed Elvin have destroyed his physical body, now with his protégé, he has honed a new way to wage war.

Shunned by her own people and weary-hearted from centuries of lost loves, Elvin warrior Mirhana scours the land to silence the undead. Her heart has turned as cold as the sword she wields, until a prince seeks her aid.

Never has Prince Landon met a woman like Mirhana. Both beautiful and deadly, she haunts his dreams. The battle at hand becomes more enchanting than fighting to remain true to his unseen betrothed.

When a traitor emerges, new alliances are tested and the only remaining hope is to follow the prophecy and find the ... Son of Dragons.

Clean from the bath, Landon let the air from the open window dry his hair. Dressed only in trousers, he leaned against the windowsill.
He thought he smelled the hint of roses and heat on the breeze. Movement from the street below caught his eye. He leaned out, squinting into the night.
Torches lined the cobbled street corners. A cloaked figure waited. Then the innkeeper rushed outside. His hands flew in gestures as the figure nodded.
Then he pointed to the window where Landon watched. At the same instant, the cloaked figure followed his finger’s path to Landon. Green eyes that seemed to glow met his.
Landon jumped up and cursed when his head hit the bottom of the window. When he looked back, both figures were gone.
Thinking the innkeeper would send guards, he waited with his sword in hand and his stare riveted on the door. No one came. He must be getting paranoid, thinking there was a ghost or enemy around every corner. His eyelids grew heavy as he waited for a fight that failed to materialize. Finally, he rolled his shoulders back to ease out the tension.
Still, he couldn’t stop thinking about those piercing emerald eyes. They’d belonged to a woman; he could tell. There was intelligence and cunning in them. Her stare felt as though she saw through the façade he often wore as prince and to please others, and into his kajh.
A woman who was not afraid, but used to being feared. It unnerved him, yet excited him. His pulse quickened and his loins tightened at the thought of those eyes filled with passion for him.
Better get some sleep before the night was gone. Tomorrow, he’d tell Gillespie about what he saw. He doubted he could explain those captivating green eyes that continued to haunt him even now.

We are introduced to new and wonderful creatures, and meet up with those we know and love from the first book, as each character's unique role and journey begins to intersect... and each will have a pivotal role in the outcome of an epic battle that is about to take place. Deception, self discovery, and sacrifices will be made, as each character's true role is uncovered... and in these magical lands, nothing is at it seems…Still, the book builds on the last with new and enchanting worlds, exciting creatures, and breathtaking originality. ..A really fun read, and a complimentary addition to the Legends of Oblivion series!” 4 1/2 stars Moonrise Book Blog

Legends of Oblivion series:
The Garnet Dagger – Book 1 in the Legends of Oblivion series
Cursed in Shadow – Book 1.5 in the Legends of Oblivion series
Son of Dragons – Book 2 in the Legends of Oblivion series

Andrea’s Bio: Growing up in Houston, Texas, Andrea has always created characters and stories. But it wasn't until she was in her late twenties that she started writing novels.
What happened that ignited the writing flame in her fingers? Divorced, and disillusioned by love songs and stories. They exaggerate. She thought. Love and Romance are not like that in the real world. Then she met her husband and realized, yes love and romance are exactly like the songs and stories say. She is now a happy wife, and a mom to three kids (two boys and a girl).
Andrea writes paranormal and historical romance. When not writing or reading, one may find Andrea dancing in Zumba.
She believes in the power of change and counting each moment as a blessing. But most importantly, she believes in love.

Son of Dragons Book Trailer:

Author Website:

Buy Links:
Son of Dragons Amazon:
Son of Dragons B & N:
Son of Dragons iTunes:

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

M. S. Kaye stops by Penny's Tales

Kindling the Past
by M.S. Kaye

Kindle is fighting to survive on her own, to break free from her possessive and violent ex-boyfriend, and trying not to let her best friend, Anna, know she’s in love with her husband. Most of all, she fights the visions she sees of the past—she doesn’t believe in that kind of stuff.
Then Anna is shot and killed.
In their grief, Kindle and Ty, Anna’s husband and Kindle’s Taekwondo instructor, grow closer. Although Kindle is careful never to let him too close, he helps her learn to accept that her visions are real. Eventually, the truth about Anna’s death breaks through into Kindle’s visions, and she must find a way not to let it destroy her.
Buy Links:

Author Bio:
M.S. Kaye has several published books under her black belt. A transplant from Ohio, she resides with her husband, Corey, in Jacksonville, Florida, where she tries not to melt in the sun. Find suspense and the unusual at
Contact M. S. Kaye at:

I fought the visions. My mother used to tell me my expression turned stupid when I had them, but I didn’t care about that so much anymore. I hated when the visions were true somehow, actual bits of the past. I didn’t believe in that kind of stuff.

Chapter 1: Fight
“She’s such a snob,” one of the young women whispered on the other side of the locker room.
I stayed faced away, trying not to hear their gossip. I tugged my jeans on and pulled my shirt over my head. When I glanced in the mirror to fix my hair, I barely saw the dark brown framing my fair skin—only the way the other girls looked at me. I bent over to pick up my shoes.
“The guys don’t even ask her out because she’s so stuck up.”
I didn’t understand why they thought like this about me, but I didn’t much care anyway. As soon as I had my shoes on, I threw my gear bag over my shoulder and walked out.
Master Trahem was on the workout floor sparring with Mr. Schmidt. Master Trahem’s uniform was starting to come open, and sweat glistened on his well-built chest.
I looked away.
“Bye, Kindle,” Mrs. Trahem said as I passed the front counter. “See you tomorrow.”
I smiled at her, one of the few people I reserved my genuine smile for. She was a big part of the reason I came in early to help every day, her and her atrocious typing skills. She always held her fingers above the keys like a fisherman wielding a spear, as if expecting them to squirm out from under her aim.
But honestly, helping with data entry was just an excuse—Mrs. Trahem was the best person I’d ever known, and I felt calmer when I was around her.
“You’ll be there early, right?” Mrs. Trahem added. She tucked her silky dark hair behind her ear. There was a grace to her movement. No wonder Master Trahem had married her so quickly. At twenty-nine, she was a few years older than me but looked just as young.
“Definitely.” Then I kept walking. Before I gave into the urge to turn and watch Master Trahem.
The girls from the locker room followed me out into the parking lot. I sat in my car and started the engine.
While I drove the forty-five minutes home, I fought to stay awake. At least traffic at nine-thirty at night was thin. I always missed rush hour. I left my apartment before six every morning and didn’t return until after ten. Being tired felt normal.
As I pulled up to my building, I examined each car. I knew to whom each of them belonged, as well as half my neighbors’ friends’ cars. The girl across the hall traded boyfriends every week. She drove me nuts.
I had no way of knowing what Chris was driving. I had to know which cars were supposed to be here in order to know if there was a new one. Most of my neighbors drove beaters like me, and Chris had always liked something flashy. But with him, I couldn’t depend on consistency. He was smart.
I recognized all the cars tonight. I parked under the streetlight and kept the door locked while I pulled my gear bag onto my lap and slipped the strap over my shoulder. Keys ready, I jumped out of the car and jogged up the steps. I hated apartment buildings in Florida. The halls were open, no security doors to block unwanted visitors from knocking on your front door, from lurking in shadowy corners.
Within about ten seconds, I was up the stairs, down the hall, and at my door. Just being able to move quickly without running out of breath was worth the cost of Taekwondo classes. I felt more confident, less scared.
My door unlocked, I glanced down the hall one more time then slipped inside. I closed the door, locked it, and flipped the lights.
I was not alone.
He was right there, tall, thick, and blond as always. I was seeing as clearly as if through acid. I blinked to make sure he was really there. I always did that. It was stupid.
Chris was always there.

Thanks everybody for stopping by.  M. S. Kaye and I are swapping spotlights today.  Please take a minute and check out Her Cracked Heart at

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Kat Holmes stops by Penny's Tales

Happy Memorial Day!
I am thrilled to have Kat Holmes in the hot seat today!  Let's get started.....

1: Tell us about yourself and what makes you tick and what you like to do when you aren’t writing.

Well, I’m a total cat person. I have two and they make life quite an adventure. I also enjoy music and reading. I spend most of my free time either reading or listening to audio books.

2: Tell us about your family – married? Kids? Where you live!

I’m not married and I don’t have children, though my kitties qualify as my kids. :-) Currently I live in Alabama. I used to live in NJ and miss it. We don’t get winter down here at all.

3: What brings you instant joy? Do you have a pet peeve?

My mom and my cats are the joys in my life. My pet peeve would be people who park their carts right in the middle of the aisle and then take their time getting what they want, thus guaranteeing no one else can get what they want or get around them.

4: What about weekly TV show? Why?

Agents of Shield. I am a huge Marvel fan and I love anything connected to it.

5: What is the scariest situation you’ve ever been in?

Most recently? I had a stroke. That was scary.

6: If you could have any fantasy what would it be?

Oh that’s easy. I am totally in love with Jarmon and Garrick from N.J. Walters’s Tapestry series. YUM!

7: Now tell us about your book.

Seeker is book 2 in my Hekate’s Web series. It’s my take on vampires. The hero, Atu is charged by the goddess Hekate with finding a magical orb before their enemies get it. To do that he kidnaps human psychic Edeline Comstock. But she has a few secrets of her own and before everything is over she just might bring Atu to his undead knees.

8: Where did you come up with the idea for your story?

Well, its book 2 of a series. I am currently writing book 3. The idea for the series came about from my love of both Greek mythology and vampires.

9: Where can people find you?

10: Most important…where can we buy your book?

It’s available from Muse It Hot Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and quite a few other vendors too. :-)

Atu is an ancient warrior and vampire long in the service of his king. He has no desire for home or family. But when the Goddess Hekate tasks him with finding an ancient artifact before his enemies do, he is forced to enlist the aid of a woman who drives him crazy.
Edeline Comstock has the sight and has been cursed and reviled for it by her family. When she finds herself under attack from a monster, a dark and dangerous man is her only salvation, or he might be her destruction.
Forced to aid Atu, time is running out to uncover the secrets of the past. But a far greater danger stalks Edeline, one from which there may be no return.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Sizzling PR presents Andreas and Tempted in Tahiti by Bella Ross

Releasing May, 2014

Blurb: One determined Journalist….
Freelance journalist, Genevieve Parker, has just been handed the biggest story of her career. But there’s one problem…Going undercover as a submissive in one of the most exclusive BDSM clubs in the world was more than she bargained for. But that’s nothing compared to the man she meets there. Andreas Contos. Her assignment. Gorgeous. Powerful. Mysterious. Genevieve is fascinated…intrigued. But does her intense attraction and willingness to go places with him she’s never gone before sexually really have to do with writing her exposé? Feeling confused and overwhelmed, every instinct tells her to run before her professional facade comes crashing down…before she has to choose between obligation and desire….
One elusive billionaire…
Greek billionaire, Andreas Contos, is more than he seems. Between the powerful company he keeps and the secrets that lurk behind closed doors, trusting anyone is out of the question – especially the lush and sensual woman he just met. But there is something different about Genevieve – a guarded nature he’s anxious to penetrate. Unable to resist her, Andreas proceeds in taking her under his wing for the night to show her his world – a world of exquisite pleasure. As the two of them get deeper in exploring the eroticism of mind and body, danger watches them from the shadows…
Buying links: Amazon / Amazon UK /ARe /Kobo
Tempted in Tahiti – April 2014

Sometimes yielding to temptation is the only option…
Halle Blake has landed her dream job as creative director for M & G, one of the largest luxury goods conglomerates in the world. But before officially stepping into her new role, she decides to celebrate by taking off to Tahiti for some fun in the sun. While there she meets a tempting and gorgeous photographer who sweeps her off her feet. But upon her return, all tanned, revived and feeling fabulous, Halle comes face to face with the biggest shock of her life… 
Buying links: Amazon / Amazon UK /ARe /Kobo

About the author:
Bella Ross is a writer with many passions, two of which are writing and travelling. She wrote her first book (a novel) at eighteen a la Jackie Collins. But back then, unbeknownst to her, life was about to take her on a detour. As she set off on her new course, her dream of writing took a backseat and her entrepreneurial spirit flourished instead. But after many years of worldly pursuits, the urge to write returned and the time was right to follow her bliss.
She believes its never too late to follow your dreams/bliss.
Her books/stories are her first attempt at erotic romance. She loves the genre and its endless creative possibilities. She likes pairing bold and dynamic (Alpha) men with sexy and strong women – which in her opinion – make for a hot and sizzling combination. With her love of travel, it is no surprise that her ‘Wanderlust Series’ take place in glamorous capitals or exotic locales around the world. Its the perfect backdrop/setting for her characters to explore and indulge their lusts and passions, loves and desires.
When she’s not writing, she’s reading, or gallivanting all over seeking new inspiration, or people watching while enjoying a latte at Starbucks and jotting down ideas.
She loves to hear from readers, and looks forward to interacting through her social media channels. You can also sign up for her mailing list to be notified about new releases and promotional offers.
Follow Bella:

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Sizzling PR presents Elizabeth Otto's One Night With A Cowboy

One Night with a Cowboy
A Paint River Ranch Novel (#2)
By Elizabeth Otto

Blurb: One night is never enough…
Jobless, broke, and struggling to support herself and her invalid mother, paramedic Sophie Miller doesn’t have time or energy for a relationship. Especially with her mother’s clock ticking down. So when the sexy cowboy she meets at a carnival proposes a no-strings, one-night stand, she’s all over it. Until her one-night stand shows up again and turns out to be everything she’s ever wanted.
Tucker Haywood has his hands full running Paint River Ranch and trying to deal with all the changes pulling the rug out from under him. His past has taught him it’s better to keep women at arm’s length, for their sake. Stubborn and temperamental, Tucker doesn’t have a clue how to deal with a city girl who’s scared of squirrels and dirt.
So when Sophie gets under his skin, he has to do whatever it takes to push her away. Even if it means losing the part of himself he never thought he’d find.

One Night with a Cowboy:   AMZ:   B&N:   Kobo:

Author Bio:
Elizabeth Otto grew up in a Wisconsin town the size of a postage stamp, where riding your horse to the grocery store, and skinny dipping after school were perfectly acceptable. No surprise that she writes about small communities and country boys. She's the author of paranormal romance, and hot, emotional, contemporary romance, and has no guilt over frequently making her readers cry. When not writing, she works full-time as an Emergency Medical Technician for a rural ambulance service. Elizabeth lives with her very own country boy and their three children in, shockingly, a small Midwestern town.

Social Media:


Elizabeth Otto will be doing giveaways from her Facebook page throughout the month of May.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Lin Holmes stops by Penny's Tales

1.     Tell us all about yourself and what makes you tick and what do you like doing when you aren’t writing!

What makes me tick? Hang on a second. Okay, checked my pulse and it’s still thumping…so I guess my heart makes me tick!

Seriously…I’m a mom. That’s the best of who I am.

2.  Tell us about your family – married?   Kids?   Where you live!

I’m divorced…a mom of two. I co-write with my daughter, award winning Kat Holmes.

Where do I live? More often than not, it feels like I live “Down-The-Rabbit-Hole.

Where would I like to live? Many of my books take place in the mountains with few if any neighbors around. Someday.

  1. If you could travel anywhere in or out of this world, where would it be?

I’ve often fantasized about visiting Scotland. We have some lo-o-o-n-n-ng ago ancestors from there. I’d LOVE to see Pompeii…and of course the Anasazi ruins here in the US…The pyramids in South America…Petra…Nazca Drawings…I’m fascinated by history, especially the amazing remnants of technology supposedly beyond the capabilities of the times.

I’d also love to visit Atlantis and Lemuria…are they myth or legend? I believe in all myths there is a core of truth…so Yeah, I’d very much like to visit those two lands.

  1. What brings you instant joy?  Do you have a pet peeve?   (not necessarily about writing)

Seeing our elder cat curled up on Kat’s hip, both of them peacefully sleeping.

Do I have a pet peeve? Now that I live in the south, outrageously high sales tax on and clothing NOT exempt!

Groceries and clothing are NOT luxury items. They SHOULD be exempt!

  1. What about weekly TV show?  Why?

Since Mark Burnett brought American TV the wonders of REALITY TV, I rarely watch any of it…I mean seriously…BooBoo a star? Duck Dynasty? Why would I want to watch celebrity Reality TV?

I used to watch NCIS, but since the character of Ziva left…not so much!

  1. What is the scariest situation you have ever been in?

I grew up in the country… so it’s sort of a tie…collecting eggs each morning from hens with big attitudes. (They need to invent Kevlar gloves for egg collectors on farms.)

Bats…bats belong outside…not hanging from the door knob right across the hall from my bedroom door…knocking on my door when it go weird and tries to escape. (Bats make this horrific, unforgettable sound when a dad is beating them into submission with a broom.)

  1. If you could have any fantasy, what would it be?

I’d be perpetually a size 4 and never look older than 25. (I guess I need a clinically blind vampire.)

(I WANT THAT FANTASY, TOO!)  from Penny 

  1. Now, Tell us about your book?

THE PENDULUM SWINGS tells the story of Siri, an Egyptian slave woman owned by a Roman Centurion…mother of hid two illegitimate children, and the love of his life. Siri’s also a beautiful woman who’s caught the eye of her Centurion’s senior officer…a man who doesn’t like Siri spurning him, and his underling denying him what he obsesses over.

One night the senior officer catches her out on the streets of Rome, demands she give him what he wants…when she refuses, he buries his sword in her belly.

Moments later she awakens in a modern hospital in the body of another woman…a woman married to a handsome man who loathes her, and the mother of an adorable little girl.

At first she doesn’t know who she is…but as memory returns Siri does not understand why the man claiming to be the husband of the woman, whose body she now inhabits. How will she survive in this modern time with no one to care, no one to help? But, she decides, at least she had the little girl…she so ached for her two lost children back in Rome…she’d focus on her daughter…and ignore the handsome man who hates her.

  1. Where did you come up with the idea for your story?

I am drawn to the ancient civilization. The technology and sciences they had they should not have had has always intrigued me. Although very little of this story actually takes place in ancient Rome, Siri called to me. She needed her story to be told.

  1. Where can people find you? (give all your links)

My main blog…and I have 12 of them… is

With my daughter, I have an award winning review spot:

And my e-mail address is

  1. Most important – where can we buy your story?

Well, the best place is at Muse It Up Publishing. I have books on the Muse It Up and Muse It Hot sides of MuseItUp Publishing, Inc. The direct link to the buy page for THE PENDULUM SWINGS is

BLURB from The Pendulum Swings

When you wake up in a strange room, that's bad, but when you wake up in a strange body, time, and everyone hates you, that's REALLY bad...and terrifying.
What do you do when your last memory is being skewered to death and your next is waking up in the body of another, thousands of years in the future?
You set out to be yourself and win over these future beings of course, because for some reason, the gods of your time have decided this is where you are supposed to live out the rest of your life.
Follow Siri as she belly dances, laughs, and teases her way through the distrust of the woman whose body she now inhabits, turning an entire household of haters into her staunchest fans...except for him. Can she win him over, or is he determined to only see the shell of who she used to be?
Hey everybody - One lucky commenter will receive a PDF copy of this fabulous story.  Don't forget to leave your email address!   Thanks for stopping!

Friday, May 2, 2014

A look into the life of Christopher Mannino and his new release, School of Deaths

  1. Tell us all about yourself and what makes you tick and what do you like doing when you aren’t writing!

My life consists of visualizing dreams. My full-time job is as a high school theatre teacher, where I teach 200 students theatre history, acting, theatrical design and more. When I’m not working, I enjoy seeing theatre, acting, singing, and traveling. If I am away from the stage for too long, I miss it. I tend to burst into song just for fun, even in the middle of my classes. Theatre and writing are my two greatest passions, and I am overjoyed to share them with others.

2. Tell us about your family – married? Kids? Where you live!

As of my writing in this interview, I am unmarried. However, my wedding is in a month and a half. Lately, much of my “free time” has been spent in planning the wedding. I live with my fiancée Rachel, just north of Washington DC. We live literally one block from the city line.

  1. If you could travel anywhere in or out of this world, where would it be?

Either Rivendell or Hogwarts, both would be amazing.

  1. What is your favorite all time movie?

Just one? Really? It’s very hard to narrow down a single movie, but I’d probably pick The Princess Bride. Other all-time favorites include Howl’s Moving Castle, The Incredibles, and Lord of the Rings: the Return of the King

  1. What about weekly TV show? Why?

My favorite TV show is unfortunately not a weekly one, and in the three seasons there have only been nine episodes. The show is BBC’s Sherlock. I find the writing, cinematography, and acting to be wonderful, and I love the modern spin on classic Holmes stories. For weekly TV shows, I’d probably say How I Met Your Mother for two reasons, one it’s hilarious, and two, I tell really, really long anecdotes myself- in fact my students over the summer, where I teach at an elementary-age theatre, used to call me Ted Mosby.

  1. What is the most scared you have ever been?

I was in a bad car accident on the Capital Beltway (a highway that circles Washington DC) during college, and saw my entire life pass before my eyes. For two years following the accident, I refused to drive. I’ve since recovered, but it was frightening.

  1. If you could have any fantasy, what would it be?
It would be wonderful if my book was so popular that it first became a bestseller, then was turned into films, then was hired by Disney to be adapted as a stage production. In this fantasy, Disney asks me to write the stage version and to design the sets. I mention Disney specifically, because they have more money than any other Broadway-based company. What ever I wished to design, would happen, with no budget restrictions. To be able to design a set and write a script for a show based on my book would be my ultimate dream come true.

  1. Now, Tell us about your book?

Can a timid girl find bravery as the first female Death?
Thirteen-year-old Suzie Sarnio always believed the Grim Reaper was a fairy tale image of a skeleton with a scythe. Now, forced to enter the College of Deaths, she finds herself training to bring souls from the Living World to the Hereafter. The task is demanding enough, but as the only female in the all-male College, she quickly becomes a target. Attacked by both classmates and strangers, Suzie is alone in a world where even her teachers want her to fail.
Caught in the middle of a plot to overthrow the World of Deaths, Suzie must uncover the reason she’s been brought there: the first female Death in a million years.
SCHOOL OF DEATHS, a YA Fantasy novel, will be released by MuseitUp Publishing as an ebook on May 2nd.

  1. Where did you come up with the idea for your story?

The idea for School of Deaths emerged when I was finishing my graduate degree at Oxford University. I spent four months abroad, far from everyone I knew. Every week, I traveled somewhere I had never been before. I would climb castle ruins in Wales and visit cathedrals in England. One of my favorite trips was to Tintagel Castle in Cornwall. I crept to the cliff face of Barras Nose, a stony peninsula jutting into the North Sea and overlooking the ruins of Tintagel, which some believe to be the birthplace of King Arthur. It was dawn, there were no other people in sight, and I had to struggle against the wind, fighting to keep my balance so I didn’t crash into the ocean. I imagined being buffeted by winds, alone, and what that would do to a character, and came up with the character of Suzie, alone in a world of men, buffeted by sexism.

Returning to Oxford, I envisioned Suzie alone in a strange school. The idea of a school of trained Reapers appealed to me, giving a fantasy edge to her story. In an early draft, the school of deaths resembled Oxford. However a beta reader told me, very correctly, that Oxford was the inspiration for JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series. I eventually changed the setting drastically to avoid that parallel.

  1. What is your favorite thing about writing?
In his book, On Writing, Stephen King compares writing to telepathy. I can take an image from my dreams, a fantasy that exists only within my imagination, and transfer that image directly into a reader’s thoughts. Such communication is only possible to this degree through books. I can convey Suzie’s inner thoughts, share the smells and tastes around her, and share an entire new world through the written word. That is the true magic of books, a magic that is real.

  1. What is your biggest pet peeve about writing?

I have a few, including the shrinking publishing industry. With self published books, there are more books than ever on the market, yet the number of readers continues to shrink.

That’s a peeve, but my biggest pet peeve related to writing is actually a criticism of the American public schooling system, which I am a part of. Common Core, a new government mandated program forced onto all of the school systems is designed, among other things, to make reading such a chore, that fewer students will be reading for pleasure. It is frustrating to write when so many are working to make reading less desirable. Hopefully, kids will still find pleasure in books, despite the new system.

  1. Where can people find you? (give all your links)

  1. Most important – where can we buy your story?

Amazon link not available yet

Can a timid girl find bravery as the first female Death?

Thirteen-year-old Suzie Sarnio always believed the Grim Reaper was a fairy tale image of a skeleton with a scythe.  Now, forced to enter the College of Deaths, she finds herself training to bring souls from the Living World to the Hereafter.  The task is demanding enough, but as the only female in the all-male College, she quickly becomes a target.  Attacked by both classmates and strangers, Suzie is alone in a world where even her teachers want her to fail.

Caught in the middle of a plot to overthrow the World of Deaths, Suzie must uncover the reason she’s been brought there: the first female Death in a million years.

Chapter One

The Girl Who Looked like Death

She wanted to scream but no sound came. She wanted to run, but her legs wouldn’t move. The hooded man grinned.
Suzie’s heart pounded as she opened her eyes. Laughter echoed in the back of her head. The terrible laughter she heard every night. She wiped the sweat from her face, pushing aside the sheets. Sunlight spilled into her room from between frilly curtains. Mom would be knocking on the door to wake her soon.
She turned to one side as the dream started to fade. Every night the same nightmare. Every night she heard the laughter. The hooded man with a scythe. The feeling of complete terror.
What did it mean?
Above her clock radio, a worn teddy bear stared at her with its single eye. She pulled the bear to her chest and clutched it with her bony fingers.
Suzie Sarnio. The hooded man had written her name down. He always wrote it right before the laughter began. The man looked like Death. But why would Death have a stammer?
“Suzie,” said Mom, knocking on the door. “Come on, you’ll be late for school.”
“I’m coming.”
Suzie changed, staring at the mirror in her pink-wallpapered room. Each rib stuck out from her chest; she counted all twenty-four. The skin on her face stretched tightly over her skeletal face, and dark patches surrounded each of her gray eyes. As much as she tried to comb it, her long black hair tangled into stringy knots. Her arms hung from her shoulders like twigs, and her legs looked too weak to hold her up. In the past few months, she had lost nearly half of her weight. She glanced at an old picture, taken last year, on the first day of seventh grade. A chubby, pigtailed girl with freckles smiled back at her from the photo. Her braces gleamed in the sun, only a month before their removal. Suzie sighed. She opened the door, looking for a moment at her room. She didn’t want to start another year of school. Slowly, she turned around.
“Hey, squirt, watch out,” said Joe.
“Sorry.” Joe was a pest and a bully, but he was her big brother, and Suzie supposed she loved him.
“Get your skinny butt out of the way already. We’ve got a run before school.”
“Today’s the first day—”
“After last year, coach says we have to practice early.”
Suzie stepped aside, watching the bulky frame of her brother lumber downstairs.
“Later.” He winked at Suzie. “Have fun at school.” He ran out the front door, slamming it behind him, while Suzie went to the kitchen and sat down.
“I’ve made you a special breakfast,” said her mother, carrying a plate and a glass of orange juice.
“Let me guess, something big.”
“I’ve made three eggs, two slices of sausage, four pieces of toast, two slices of bacon, a bowl of oatmeal with raisins, and a doughnut.”
“Mom, I keep telling you, I eat as much as I can.”
“You’re skin and bones, literally. Your father and I are worried sick. You have another appointment with Dr. Fox after school today. Did you take your pills this morning?”
“No, Mom, but I will.”
Suzie gave up arguing. Her parents, friends, and doctors were wrong. She didn’t want to lose weight. Everyone kept talking about anorexia, about eating disorders. The strange thing was Suzie ate more than she ever had before. She ate twice as much as any of her friends, hardly exercised, and certainly never—what was the word the doctor had used—oh right, purged. Gross. No, the way Suzie ate, she figured she should be fat. Only she wasn’t.
Suzie managed to eat most of the massive breakfast. Her stomach ached, but maybe a little would stay this time. She wiped her mouth, rubbing her fingers across the bones of her face. Doubtful.
“Are you ready for school?”
“Yes, Mom.”
“Go brush your teeth, and I’ll be in the car. Don’t forget, we’re picking you up at one for your appointment with Dr. Fox.”
“Yeah, I know.”
“Today’s your first day of eighth grade. Isn’t that exciting?”
Suzie didn’t answer. What would her friends say? She’d spent the summer avoiding them, dropping out of camp and swim club. She was embarrassed. She honestly didn’t want to lose weight, and didn’t have an eating disorder, but she appeared skeletal.
She brushed her teeth in silence, dragging her feet. She put on her backpack and got in the car.
“Honey, you’re nervous, but you’ll be fine. Tell people you’ve been sick, and—”
“I’m not sick, Mom. If I was sick, the doctors would cure me. If I had an eating problem, they’d work with me. I eat more than ever, and I hardly exercise anymore. This doesn’t make any sense.” Suzie wiped a tear from her eye.
“Are you sure this isn’t because of Bumper?”
Bumper. The family beagle for ten years. He had died three months ago, about the time Suzie had started losing weight. Mom believed the two were connected. Dr. Fox agreed. Sure, Suzie missed Bumper, but that wasn’t the problem.
“No, Mom, I was sad for a little while, but I never changed what I eat. If anything, I eat more now.”
“Susan, you’ll be all right. I promise. Your father and I will continue to get the finest doctors, until we figure out what’s wrong with you. Remember what Dr. Fox said last time? For now, the best thing is to go to school and be around other kids.”
She sighed. Mom still didn’t understand, and if Mom and Dad didn’t relate, her classmates would be even worse. They pulled up in front of school, and she gave her mom a quick peck on the cheek.
“Don’t forget. One o’clock.” Mom smiled, trying to hide the strain in her eyes.
“Okay, Mom.”
“Suzie, my gawd, you look like death.”
Crystal hadn’t changed. The smiling redhead with large blue glasses and the ever-present smell of cherry bubblegum was her best friend. She was grateful Crystal had spent the summer away. “Did you have a nice summer? How was Colorado?”
“My summer was great. Colorado’s cold. Geesh, what happened to you, Suzie?”
“I’ve been sick,” said Suzie. Not a complete lie, obviously something was wrong with her, but she didn’t know what.
“Sick?” Her voice lowered to a whisper. “You look like you’re dying.”
“I’ll be fine.”
“Crystaaal. Suzieee,” shouted a voice from across the parking lot.
“Oh gawd, it’s Monica,” said Crystal. “Let’s go inside quick.”
Suzie and her friend started to walk away, but the tall, lanky girl with small eyes caught up to them. Monica. She wasn’t too bad, if you ignored her whiny voice and her inane stories.
“Hiii guys,” said Monica. “I missed youuu this summer. Did you lose weight? The funniest thing happened the other day…”
Suzie realized the worst of the day was over. She got teasing looks from the kids and concerned frowns from the teachers, but like Monica, most people were too wrapped up in their own little world to pay any attention to her. Even Crystal eventually stopped asking questions.
“Tell me again, do you like the way you look?”
“I’m sorry, what?” she asked.
Suzie snapped to attention. The day had blurred by, and she was sitting in Dr. Fox’s office, wearing a hospital gown.
“Suzie, I asked if you like the way you look?”
Suzie was cold and annoyed. The office smelled of bleach, and the fluorescent light overhead hummed like a dying fly. Dr. Fox glanced up from her notes and smiled a dry, lifeless smile she probably practiced in front of a mirror.
“No, Doctor.” She repeated the same answers she had given last time, and the time before. “I despise the way I look. I’m a damned skeleton. You can see every bone. I love to eat, I don’t purge, I hardly exercise, and I actually feel fine.”
“Yes, that’s the strangest part,” interrupted Dr. Fox. “Every test seems to indicate that you’re at the peak of health. No lanugo, no joint issues, no skin problems, and your stomach and the rest of you are actually functioning fine. I’ve almost completely ruled out anorexia, but your weight is still drastically low. It’s like your calories are vanishing into some other dimension.” She laughed. “My husband wishes that would happen with me.”
“May I get dressed now?”
“Susan, I will get to the bottom of this. I have called a specialist in from the West Coast, from San Francisco. He might be able to shed some light on this condition. Your mother and I set up the appointment for next Thursday.”
“May I please get dressed now?”
“Yes, yes. I’m sorry I can’t do anything else for you.” Dr Fox sighed.
None of them knows what’s wrongTo them I’m just another puzzle to solve. She dressed and gave Mom a smirk, turning up her lips on one side to show she was unhappy. Mom smiled and shrugged.
“We’ll figure out what’s wrong, honey,” Mom said. They lied; no one knew.