It’s Not Christmas Without…

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Happy Holidays, kittens! Yes, its that time of year again.  In the words of Billy Mack, “Christmas is all around.” The holidays always put me in mind of family gatherings, snow covered hills, warm fireplaces, and baking parties. Those little traditions without which it just wouldn’t feel like Christmas. So I’ve compiled a little list of things that make the season bright for The Belle…

1. Christmas movies.  The first thing I do to get in a Christmasy mood is to pull out the arsenal of movies for the season. Now I’m not talking about those cheesy Hallmark Channel movies that they start showing on Oct. 31st, but the traditional favorites. A Christmas Carol, It’s a Wonderful Life, and Love Actually are among the movies that get me in the spirit.

2.  “Do They Know It’s Christmas” by Band Aid. It’s true that there are hundreds of Christmas songs that the radio begins to play ad nauseum at the beginning of November, but this one is special. It perfectly conveys to me what Christmas should be all about. Not to mention it takes me back to Christmas when I was a little kid.

3. Making a thousand batches of peanut butter fudge. Fudge is probably my favorite Christmas treat. If you’ve never had homemade fudge, you’re really missing out. There are many ways to make it, but my preferred flavor is peanut butter. Later in the month I’ll post the recipe.

HollyAndIvy72dpi (1)I could go on for ages, but let’s get down to brass tacks. Another way to celebrate Christmas this year, for me, is to participate in this lovely blog hop with Mocha Memoirs Press. They’re featuring some amazing holiday reads this month including a brand new Naughty Klaus story from Drea Riley called “It’s Christmas, Cupid!” Also, Mistletoe Dreams is offered for $3.99– a bundle of three holiday favorites that are sure to melt your snowglobes. Plus a couple of holiday favorites from Siobhan Kinkade and Selah Janel. And if that wasn’t enough, MMP is hosting a HUGE giveaway of books, swag, and GCs to make your holiday bright!

So click on the button below to visit our holiday friends and don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!  Winners will be announced on Dec. 15th!!


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COVER REVEAL: Mistletoe Dreams Bundle

Happy Cyber Monday!  Yes, the Monday after Thanksgiving has become the Black Friday of cyber-retail.  That’s good for US because over the weekend while you were taking advantage of buying those new Kindle Fires for deeply discounted prices, the gals over at Mocha Memoirs Press were preparing a little bundle of joy to fill up those devices– The Mistletoe Dreams Holiday Bundle!  It features THREE steamy holiday IR romances that will keep you warm all season long.  Now, it doesn’t release until Dec. 7th, but you can preorder it RIGHT NOW!

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And speaking of filling up those devices, starting a week from today 12/7/15, TONS of authors are participating in the Season’s Readings Holiday Hop where they will be giving away eBooks, Amazon GCs, and swag that make perfect holiday gifts.  But I digress.  Let’s take a look at what books are going to be in the Mistletoe Dreams Holiday Bundle…

There’s no time like the holidays for love—whether you are rekindling an old love, finding love in strange places or just expressing a love of the ages. Follow these tales of love, laughter and holiday spirit in Mistletoe Dreams… 

 Winter’s Guard. . . 

 Five years after a broken engagement, Vicky and James have met again. Forced to work together, Vicky hopes to show James that what they had wasn’t all broken. All she wants is time to prove that their hearts hadn’t lied five years ago—they may have fallen in love during a dark moment in their lives, but that doesn’t mean they don’t belong together. 

A Trick of Frost. . . 

Two days before Christmas with her ex-husband, Rick, harassing her parents, Jaycee Froste needs a gift to lift her spirits. She stops in at her favorite restaurant, and it brings more than a hot meal. Jaycee finds herself seated across from one of the most annoying and handsome men she’s ever met. She would even consider letting him taste her stew, if he hadn’t stolen her reservation. With the holidays upon her, Jaycee decides the thing she needs to lift her spirits is J.C., a man who offers her so much more than she ever could have hoped. 

 Naughty Klauses. . . 

 Jessica and Nic have always loved the holidays and this year they are most definitely going to be on the naughty list. When you’ve got eternity on your side, it’s nice to liven things up with a little spice. You’ll never look at Mr. and Mrs. Klaus the same way again…

I don’t know about you, but that sounds like triple the fun for the price of one.  So without further ado, here’s the cover…

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COVER REVEAL: The Captive Queen

So I’m just a cover revealin’ fool the last few weeks.  What can I say?  I’ve been working diligently all year on books and shorties that they’re finally coming to fruition.  Plus, my friends all seem to have these wonderful new books coming out.  So the good news is, we’ll all have something to read over the holidays!

As you all know, my book Huntress is about to release, becoming Little Red Hen Romance’s first full length release.  But lest you think we’ve abandoned the shorties, have no fear— a new batch will be releasing in December. And yes, they will be holiday themed.  Of course they will.

So I thought it would just be too much fun to do the next medieval Joanna story as a Christmas-y treat.  When we last left King Will and his lovely bride, she’d just revealed that she was pregnant.  Well, being a pregnant lady in the Middle Ages was nothing short of torture.  And being a pregnant medieval lady at Christmas… But our dreamy king will conspire with his closest confidante to make Joanna’s Yuletide wishes come true.

So without further ado (I love saying that!)…

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More on the release date and an official blurb that’s not nonsensical will be coming very soon! Until then… have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday to everyone that celebrates!

NEW RELEASE: Huntress by Alexandra Christian

Well kids, it’s been a productive year for The Belle.  I know it doesn’t seem like it.  You haven’t seen the name “Alexandra Christian” on anything since last November.  But I have kept busy with Little Red Hen Romance and the anthology of paranormal Sherlock Holmes stories, An Improbable Truth.  But FINALLY, I have a new NOVEL releasing under my own name!  Yes, the chicks over at Little Red Hen thought that dragon porn sounded like a GREAT idea.  No, I’m kidding.  It’s not porn.  In fact, Huntress is a fairly tame mainstream heat level romance with lots of high fantasy action to go with it.  Think Game of Thrones if there was no rape and they actually liked women.  In fact, the main character Thalia is a kickASS heroine.  But I don’t want to give too much away.  Here’s a blurb—

Every girl dreams of a fairy tale prince.       

Thalia is the Huntress, a dragonslayer from a barbarian tribe. But her dreams are haunted by her prince, a dark shadow who whispers delectable taunts in her ears and smells of crushed roses and ash. When she is captured and sacrificed as a symbolic “bride” to the most fearsome dragon she has ever seen, she wants only to escape into the endless dream of death where she and her dark prince can be together forever.

But princes aren’t always what they seem. And neither are dragons.

Huntress_1If you’d like to read more, there’s an EXCERPT here.

You can order Huntress NOW from Amazon, but the release is Dec. 1, 2015!  Just in time to fill up those holiday Kindle Fire HDs.  Guys will love the action, gals will love the smoldering sexiness of alpha hero, Malik. That is, if you’re like me and went to see The Hobbit movies just for Smaug.

COVER REVEAL: It’s Christmas, Cupid! by Drea Riley

Who doesn’t love a naughty holiday story?  I know I do.  Something about the sparkling lights of the Christmas tree, the spirit of giving, and that suggestive little twinkle in Old St. Nick’s eye just makes me long for the warm touch of that special someone.  Drea Riley is back on December 1st with a continuation of her Naughty Klauses series for Mocha Memoirs Press.  Her new shortie is called “It’s Christmas, Cupid!” and what a Christmas it will be!  Check out this blurb…

With Nick and Jessica cooling their heels in Key West the Klaus children are tasked with running Christmas. Nothing but shenanigans could come from this arrangement. Or murder if Jaq has to spend winter babysitting the son of Cupid. 

Amur new Jaq would rather kill him that speak to him. And he’d stand still and let her do it, but he’d prefer it to be  Ранняя смерть/Rannyaya smert’. Or as the French say “petite mort”. He’d willingly die a thousand times as long as it was between her thighs.

Doesn’t that sound delicious?  So without further ado, here’s the cover for your viewing pleasure….

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EXCERPT: Claimed by Three

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So it’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks.  The release of the Sherlock Holmes anthology has been an awesome wave, but now that the swells have calmed, its time to get back to brass tacks.  In the spirit of that, I wanted to feature a new book, Claimed by Three by Rebecca Airies.  I often like to excerpt books here on The Belle that I’m chomping at the bit to read for myself because after all– sharing is caring.  And we could all use some caring and stories of love these days.  So here’s a little excerpt for your enjoyment—


Sephanie wiped down the counter as closing time approached. She looked up when the door chime sounded. She saw three men entering the store. She recognized them immediately. Kassius, Teague, and Berenger. Since they were here, she’d guess Kassius’s father had a talk with them. She sighed and rested her hand on the dark blue countertop.

Damn, this was going to be awkward. She bit her lip and waited. They strode across the bakery. It was empty, so there was no one to overhear. She didn’t want to hear them apologize.

She couldn’t stop herself from letting her gaze wander over their bodies. All three men’s gazes were locked on her. Berenger’s black hair hung around his face. He looked like he’d been more than a few days without a shave. The dark hair at his jaw was longer than normal. He’d probably been extremely busy at his skimmer repair shop.

She’d noticed if he was busy, he would let his beard go a little wild. That

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untamed look sent a thrill through her. Muscled, strong, and in shape from hard work, he led the way over to the counter. He didn’t look happy, but he wasn’t obviously angry.

 

“Hello, Sephanie. I think we need to talk.” Berenger placed his palms on the counter.

“This isn’t necessary.” She tried to forestall the coming apology. “I know what you’re going to say.”

“I doubt you do.” Kassius eased up alongside Berenger and braced an arm on the countertop.

His blue eyes sparkled with some emotion she couldn’t quite read. He was solid, muscular, and strong. Berenger and Teague were also fit and brawny. Kassius’s came from hard physical work in his groves and winery. In contrast, the jut of his high cheekbones and his aquiline nose gave him a refined look. His blond hair hung past his shoulders.

“I realize your father probably talked to you, but there’s no need for this.” She shook her head.

She glanced at Teague when he stopped on the other side of the counter. Teague epitomized the hard training and rough life of the PD. The sharp angles of his jaw and the lean muscles of his body reminded her of a warrior ready for battle. His black hair was short, but shaggy at the moment. He’d probably been growing it out since the regulations for PD on planet were much more relaxed than while they were in space. His light brown skin gleamed and tempted her to reach out and touch him.

“Yes, there is a need for it. We didn’t know you heard our conversation or you misunderstood what we were talking about that day.” Teague leaned closer to the counter. “We didn’t mean it in the way you took it.”

She glared at him. “I misunderstood? What other way could you mean it?”

“We didn’t like guarding you from possible danger, because you might be hurt by it. Yes, we had better things to do than sitting there keeping our distance. We wished we could take you out on dates and get closer to you, but we had to wait. We couldn’t keep our objectivity and watch over you if we became involved with you.” Teague reached over, cupped her chin, and gently turned her head until she looked at him.

She swallowed hard. She wanted to believe them, maybe too much. Without a doubt, she’d had feelings for them since she’d met them. She wanted to take the chance on them.

Although their appearance drew her eyes, it didn’t keep her attention. Their personalities and interactions together did that. She liked the way they backed one another up and always seemed to be there for friends and family. Sephanie came from a family with strong ties. That type of behavior was an important part of what she wanted from a relationship.

“We intend to court you, Sephanie.” Kassius stretched across the counter and clasped her hand. “Please come out from behind there.”

“You intend to court me? You don’t know me.” With a nod, she let him draw her down the counter and out from behind it. She pursed her lips to keep from smiling. She’d wanted to hear they were interested for a long time.

They stood in front of her but didn’t crowd her. She appreciated that. Even though she longed for physical closeness, they had some things to clear out of the way first.

BUY IT HERE:  http://www.amazon.com/Claimed-Three-Rebecca-Airies-ebook/dp/B016X8AT5S/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1447944418&sr=1-1&keywords=rebecca+airies


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Rebecca Airies lives in Abilene, Texas. She cohabits with two very demanding cats that are certain every flat space in the house belongs to them. She spends her time writing, fighting the cats for the laptop desk, and dreaming up new ideas. She loves creating fantasy, paranormal, and sci­fi worlds. She’s always working on at least a couple of stories, because those characters are so persistent. When not writing, you can find her playing cards with friends, reading, gardening, crafting, and playing video games. Everyday life might be normal, but the fantasies which inspire her writing are out of this world.

 Links:

Website: http://www.rebeccaairies.net

Blog: rebeccaslair.blogspot.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RebeccaAiries

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/RebeccaAiriesAuthor

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/115909284303775689058/posts

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Rebecca-Airies/e/B0096G9AUK/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_11?qid=1444915541&sr=8-11

GUEST POST: Thomas Fortenberry on Chasing Sherlock Holmes

Hey there kittens! HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!  On my blog today I’m hosting one of my authors from An Improbable Truth: The Paranormal Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. His name is Thomas Fortenberry and he’s a phenomenal writer!  He dabbles in spy stories and H.P. Lovecraft, two things I just love in a writer.  This article originally appeared on his own site:   http://thomasfortenberry.net/ but he’s letting me lift it for my own purposes today.


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AVAILABLE NOW!

I’m pleased to see you’ve made it through the fog-shrouded streets of London to cozy little 221-B. Now, take a cup of tea and pack your pipe, gather round the fireplace in a comfortable chair, and let’s talk about our dear old friend, Mr. Holmes.

There is cause for celebration as a new anthology has arrived, An Improbable Truth: The Paranormal Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. I am proud to admit I contributed a tale to it.

I had an absolute blast writing a story for this collection. It was an opportunity at which I jumped, because Sherlock Holmes is one of the literary icons I have spent a lifetime admiring, yet who rarely become available to explore or write due to ever-increasing (-ly insane) copyright laws. I am still waiting on a chance to have adventures with Doc Savage, for instance. Just recently I thought I had an opportunity to write a James Bond tale, but it turns out I had to be Canadian. So close, yet so far north of litigation. As my Grandfather explained to me as a child, Ca Nada means, “Nothing here.” I expect nothing there for me, Mr. Bond.

Therefore, you see, these chances can be extremely rare. The case of Sherlock Holmes is newly won as he has entered the public domain this year. Voila! We write.

Crafting Sherlock Holmes tales have a few intrinsic difficulties. Most obviously, there is the mystery. Sherlock Homes is the world’s most famous detective, hence, this will be crime story that needs solving. But, more on this in a moment.

Next is the fact that these are period pieces. Luckily I love history, so in my case this proved quite fun. Any excuse to research a given era or culture. I read up on English history, specifically the Victorian and Edwardian Eras. My challenge was not to get lost in all the details. For instance, when Holmes and Watson needed to get across town, I started researching different types of conveniences, and then found myself studying styles of carriages, how they are pulled and how they are made, and then begin thinking of ways to include in the story a certain stitching in the seats, or wheel and axle, or breed of horse, and… you begin to see. It is always a matter of trimming back hundreds of hours of research into a few pertinent details rather than, literally (ar-ar), a flood of historical proportions.

Then, the most wonderful portion is also the most difficult. The attraction of these types of serial tales is the characters themselves. From pulp adventures to cozy mysteries, these are self-contained universes. Half the fun of reading one is to get to see what Fritz cooks for Archie and Nero’s dinner, or what Monk and Ham are fighting over this week while Doc is ensconced in his lab developing his next great invention, or what tomb Amelia and Radcliffe are exploring when the next corpse is discovered. It isn’t just the mystery that draws us in, it is the familiar banter between Holmes and Watson in the comfort of their 221-B domicile. This is what I loved writing, but also what I found most daunting, because it was not my own world and yet I had to honor it explicitly. Therefore, I reread every Holmes short story and novel in preparation for this write. That was the best way to pick up the flavor of their speech and nuances of their relationship. Because, in my opinion, it is paramount to honor these characters as they are created and the world they inhabit.

Furthermore, whenever possible and for my own enjoyment, I mention or embed characters from other worlds in most of my stories and did so here. I love writing cameos. So several non-Sherlockian people were featured in this tale, some from my own writings and some from others. Enjoy hunting those “Easter eggs,” as my children say. In this particular tale, since this was an historic Holmes horror, the confluence of subgenres lent itself to certain types of crossovers.

Now, back to the mystery. I love mysteries, but in the case of Sherlock Holmes it is a wee bit difficult to write simply because he is the Great Deducer (Deduceretur) or Cluemeister (to coin some fun). That is, how do you craft a mystery when the protagonist is constantly figuring it all out before you want to reveal it? Hard times, indeed. Nevertheless, it is a joy to write with such a vibrant, intelligent character. Also, since this had a slight supernatural vibe to it, I was able to keep Sherlock in the proverbial dark, exploring unknown territory as well.

All in all, a fantastic time. I hope you enjoy reading the stories in this new anthology as much as we did crafting them.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Thomas Fortenberry is an American author, editor, reviewer, and publisher. A Pushcart Prize-nominated writer and history teacher, he has also judged many literary contests, including The Georgia Author of the Year Awards and The Robert Penn Warren Prize for Fiction. A lifelong fan of Sherlock, mysteries, and Pulp Era adventures, he is very honored to participate in a crossing of two of his favorite “worlds,” that of Sherlock Holmes and the Cthulhu Mythos.  He can be found strolling the internet on his website: www.thomasfortenberry.net.


EXCERPT From “The Hunt of the Red Boar” by Thomas Fortenberry

Another cry arose from the tortured soul below and I could tarry no longer, pondering my strange weapon of choice. I ran down the stairs to face our threat.

Downstairs I found Holmes engaged in a struggle. The Lord of the manor was wrestling with my friend, bending him back upon a table whereupon a young lady was strapped. Wild-eyed, black hair bristling atop his head, the tall Lord Eoforred looked to be quite insane. He was throttling Holmes and slavering somewhat whilst making incoherent sounds. It might have been articulations, but if the sounds were words all I could fathom were random noises, like snarls and grunts. I fully believe, to this day that this once noble man had gone stark raving mad.

A naked lady, obviously Eoforred’s maid, was tied to the table. For modesty’s sake, I tried to look away. As I did my eyes were drawn to a book in the corner. It was a large volume, lying open upon a stand near the head of the table like a Bible in a church. Only this was no Bible. My vision seemed to be pulled into it, as if it were a well drawing me down. My blood froze and my breath caught, for most bizarre of all, from its pages there emanated an eerie darkness. A living shadow rose into the air. This shadow seemed to shift and grow, almost like some figure attempting to stand.

I was terrified beyond words, but the young lady’s screams wrenched me from my reverie. But she screamed with ample cause. A… thing was crawling up her naked body. It was a creature, a living nightmare of slimy, grayish-green skin. It seemed to be like an octopus, only more odious. It crawled upon a writhing mass of appendages from a large, ornately-carved ceramic bowl placed between her bound feet. The thing moved in a sinuous manner up her chest, smearing the blood-soaked pentagram carved into her flesh. It wrapped its tentacles around her neck, and constricted her flesh. Her scream abruptly ended.

GUEST POST: Horror, Suspense, and Urban Fantasy by Gail Z. Martin

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I’m so privileged to have the talented Gail Z. Martin today talking about horror, suspense, and urban fantasy as part of her Days of the Dead Blog Tour!


How do you decide whether a book is horror, suspense or urban fantasy? Does it matter? Do you care?

I categorize ‘suspense’ as something like The Woman in Black or Rose Red—creepy and atmospheric with a lot of implied threat and monsters in the shadows so that your imagination does the rest. Personally, I favor these over the blood and gore fest kind of movie. I like the way the tension builds.

In many ways, I think the suspense movie is the darker cousin of a mystery. You think something is wrong, but you don’t have the information to prove it, so no one believes you, not even you—until it’s too late. Usually, there’s an old scandal or injustice awaiting long-delayed vengeance. Often, the protagonist is drawn in against his/her will but not actually kidnapped or taken by force. The main character doubts intuitive warnings, and by the time he/she is convinced that something bad and spooky is going on, it’s too late. Suspense specializes in the movement you almost see out of the corner of your eye, the shadows that are a little too dark, the chair that rocks by itself. The individual images aren’t horrific in and of themselves, but they play on your nerves, building a sense of impending doom from an enemy you still haven’t seen so you don’t know how to fight.

I’ve heard it said that horror creates a sense of helplessness which is key to the impact. The monsters are bigger, the blood flows in rivers, and especially toward the ‘goreno’ end of the genre, too much is never enough. Horror plays on revulsion as much as helplessness, with a dependence on the demonization of physical deformity that may cue primal reactions but doesn’t live up to our enlightened best.

Horror is also often heavily moralistic. Teenage sex leads to dismemberment. Not reading your map carefully leads to death by cannibal hillbilly. Not being where you belong results in really bad stuff. Teenage girls should never answer the phone when they’re alone in the house. In that sense, they are the inflated version of the warnings you probably got from your mother. Lock the doors. Don’t talk to strangers. Make sure your cell phone is with you and charged. Check your gas tank and tire pressure. Don’t be alone in dark places. Break the rules and bad things happen.

Some experts say that horror is one way we as a culture deal with DEADLY CURIOSITIESuncertainty. (I’ve never heard if it’s just Americans, or everyone. We might just be weird.) Supposedly there are studies that prove that when the economy is bad, monster and horror movies come back into vogue. Maybe it’s a way for us to project our real-world worries (that we can’t do anything about, thus making us feel helpless) onto the silver screen, where we still feel helpless but it’s okay because it’s just a movie. Gotta love catharsis.

And then there’s urban fantasy. To me, urban fantasy borrows a lot from suspense (as well as noir/detective) and adds in elements of horror. That can be played for laughs, as with Kevin J. Anderson’s Dan Shambles zombie detective, or played with British wit, like Simon R. Green’s Nightside, or played for straight horror, like the early Anita Blake books and some scenes in the Harry Dresden books. (One reviewer who read my Deadly Curiosities urban fantasy complained it gave her nightmares!) Urban fantasy plays on our uneasiness about the big city (or our qualms about how well we really know our neighbors, even in a small town like Sookie Stackhouse’s Bon Temps).

Urban Fantasy gives us much worse explanations for the movement in the shadowed alley than a mere purse snatcher. The genre tells us that while we might be safe in the light, the night is still ruled by beings much older and hungrier than we are. The use of ancient mythological figures and monsters as well as beings like the Fey and vampires reminds us that humans are a young race and that we don’t know nearly as much as we like to think we know.

To me, I think the scariest thing that suspense, horror and urban fantasy provides is knocking our pride down a few pegs. We don’t know everything. We don’t have it all figured out. We aren’t really top of the food chain. Money, power and privilege isn’t worth a flying rat’s ass if you can’t outrun a zombie. Gated communities won’t keep out the walking dead. The things we put our trust in to save us can’t rescue us from the worst situations. Maybe now and then, we need a horror movie to remind us of that.

Pass the popcorn.

My Days of the Dead blog tour runs through October 31 with never-before-seen cover art, brand new excerpts from upcoming books and recent short stories, interviews, guest blog posts, giveaways and more! Plus, I’ll be including extra excerpt links for my stories and for books by author friends of mine. You’ve got to visit the participating sites to get the goodies, just like Trick or Treat! Details here: www.AscendantKingdoms.com

Book swag is the new Trick-or-Treat! Grab your envelope of book swag awesomeness from me & 10 authors http://on.fb.me/1h4rIIe before 11/1!

Trick or Treat! Excerpt from my new urban fantasy novel Vendetta set in my Deadly Curiosities world here http://bit.ly/1ZXCPVS Launches Dec. 29

Treats not Tricks! Enjoy a super-scary excerpt from my Jonmarc Vahanian Adventure Monstrosities http://bit.ly/1ZG0TMW

Trick Or Treat from my friend John Hartness’s Quincy Harker series Raising Hell Chp 1  http://bit.ly/1MEMFSQ

More Treats! Dragon’s Lure excerpt http://www.sidhenadaire.com/books/DLEmberling.pdf

Plenty of tricks! And excerpt from my Retribution Deadly Curiosities short story in the Athena’s Daughters anthology http://w.tt/1sipN0O

About the Author

Gail Martin, Dreamspinner Communications
Gail Martin, Dreamspinner Communications

Gail Z. Martin is the author of the upcoming novel Vendetta: A Deadly Curiosities Novel in her urban fantasy series set in Charleston, SC (Dec. 2015, Solaris Books) as well as the epic fantasy novel Shadow and Flame (March, 2016 Orbit Books) which is the fourth and final book in the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga. Shadowed Path, an anthology of Jonmarc Vahanian short stories set in the world of The Summoner, debuts from Solaris books in June, 2016.

Other books include The Jake Desmet Adventures a new Steampunk series (Solaris Books) co-authored with Larry N. Martin as well as Ice Forged, Reign of Ash and War of Shadows in The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, The Chronicles of The Necromancer series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven, Dark Lady’s Chosen) from Solaris Books and The Fallen Kings Cycle (The Sworn, The Dread) from Orbit Books and the urban fantasy novel Deadly Curiosities from Solaris Books.

Gail writes four series of ebook short stories: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures, The Deadly Curiosities Adventures, The King’s Convicts series, and together with Larry N. Martin, The Storm and Fury Adventures. Her work has appeared in over 20 US/UK anthologies. Newest anthologies include: The Big Bad 2, Athena’s Daughters, Realms of Imagination, Heroes, With Great Power, and (co-authored with Larry N. Martin) Space, Contact Light, The Weird Wild West, The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, Alien Artifacts, Clockwork Universe: Steampunk vs. Aliens.

My Love Affair with Sherlock Holmes, or How I Became a Sapiosexual

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As is pretty obvious from my blog, I’ve written a lot of romance in my day.  Of course anyone who knows me personally thinks that my romantic endeavors is pretty funny.  I’m the girl who prefers gory horror movies to RomComs.  My husband and I express our love usually through a series of expletives.  So the fact that I’m a closet romantic is a source of much jocularity for my family and friends.  Of course, the one thing I have in my corner that makes my romances unique is my love of super geniuses. No, I’m not being affected by a full moon.  Yes folks.  My name is Alexandra and I am a sapiosexual.

A sapiosexual is defined as a person who is sexually aroused by intelligence.  A lot of women are obsessed with meatheads that have rock hard abs and powerful thighs.  Not that those things aren’t nice, but I do love a man who can read.  And if he has a really big….. vocabulary then so much the better.

Which brings me to Sherlock Holmes.  Now, Sherlock would scold us all soundly for being affected by the moon OR sexuality.  However, my new release this month ISN’T a romance. I’m not actually the author.  I’m the editor of a new book of paranormal Sherlock Holmes stories called “An Improbable Truth: The Paranormal Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.”  The reason why I was so excited to do this project was because I’ve been in love with Sherlock Holmes since I was ten and saw Nicholas Rowe in the Spielberg movie “Young Sherlock Holmes.” And what’s not to love?  He’s super-intelligent, funny, irreverent, and physically adept. It’s also one of the only portrayals of Holmes that contains a plausible romantic storyline that also explains why there hasn’t ever been a romantic storyline.  I think that part of the reason for the popularity of Sherlock Holmes these days (other than the inexplicable beauty that is Benedict Cumberbatch) is that intelligence is a rare commodity at the moment. At least it seems that way given the barrage of reality TV, Kardashian updates, and freakshow television we’re assaulted with on a daily basis.  Sherlock is a breath of fresh air in a world that stinks of stupidity.  Our anthology seeks to highlight Holmes’s genius while at the same time calling him out on the fact that sometimes– shit happens and there’s no viable explanation.  And I think my authors accomplish that goal quite effectively.


If you love Holmes or are a sapiosexual– check out the teaser below:

Click me to PREORDER NOW!!
Click me to PREORDER NOW!!

In An Improbable Truth:  The Paranormal Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, 14 authors of horror and mystery have come together to create a unique anthology that sets Holmes on some of his most terrifying adventures.  A pair of sisters willing to sacrifice young girls to an ancient demon for a taste of success, a sinister device that can manipulate time itself, and a madman that can raise corpses from the dead are just a few among the grisly tales that can be found within these pages. 

You can also hit up the “An Improbable Truth” tab for excerpts!


Be sure to visit the other ladies on the Full Moon Blog Tour!

Now, down to brass tacks.  The ladies over at Broad Universe are hosting a little contest where you can win books, swag, and all manner of goodies.  All you have to do is click the Rafflecopter widget below to enter! Winners will be chosen on NOVEMBER 10, 2015.

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GUEST POST: 5 Tips for Writing a Humorous Novel with Karina Fabian

NeetaLyffe_ILeftMyBrainsinSanFrancisco_audio_MEDWith all this talk of horror and mayhem lately, I thought it might be nice to feature an author who not only knows her way around a horror novel, but can also make us DIE laughing.  Get it… DIE laughing?  Ahem… anyway, here today at The Belle, author Karina Fabian is going to be educating us on the art of comedy as featured in her new audiobook release, I Left My Brains in San Francisco.  So without further ado…


I’ve always enjoyed being silly. I fell in love while trading puns with a new friend who is now my husband of nearly 25 years. At work, I’ve been known to put our skeleton in funny places, like the bathroom stall for “private time.” When I was asked to write a zombie story, I got into a silly mood, and the story, “Wokking Dead,” ended up being more an apocalypse of puns than undead. However Neeta Lyffe (say it out loud) was a character of such character that my publisher asked me to writer her in a novel. Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator won awards, and now I’ve written the second, I Left My Brains in San Francisco, which comes out in audiobook this month.

Not everyone can write funny stories, nor does everyone want to. But if you’d like to try to make someone graffaw in a library or snort soda out their nose while reading in a cafe, here are some tips:

  1. Make Yourself Laugh. I mean it. If you don’t enjoy your own jokes, why bother writing them? You should laugh when you read your own work. If it’s not funny to you, how can it be funny to anyone else?
  2. Keep your pacing. Just like a comedian needs to pace his punchline, you need to pace the humor of your story. Be sure you set up the joke but don’t overstate it. Get the punch line in and give the reader a chance to laugh. Hit them with a surprise.
  3. A novel is not a series of jokes. It’s a story. Just like no novel is all dialogue or all long descriptions of the scene, a humorous novel is not all slapstick and comedy. In fact, properly placed seriousness can make the jokes all the better. My funniest novels have serious things happen in them. Sometimes, they are quiet moments to let the characters (and the reader) catch their breaths. Sometimes, they are the tragic consequences of what was a humorous scene. Other times, they are touching moments or intense action. You might say it’s a yin-yang kind of thing, but it adds depth and complexity, which makes a better novel all around.
  4. Don’t force the humor. Sometimes, all the machinations in the world will not let a joke go through in a novel, even when it seemed so funny in your head. Cut it the way you would a bad description or laborious dialogue. Also, be careful that your humor, especially political/social/religious humor, doesn’t cross the line to insult (unless that’s what you’re going for, but then be prepared for it to not be so funny after all.)
  5. Don’t expect everyone to get all your jokes. I’ve had critiquers who did not understand my humor. I’ve had editors try to fix the manuscript by changing punch lines (or punch scenes) to funny pieces they did not get. Even “Neeta Lyffe,” which I thought was a pretty obvious pun, has to be explained sometimes. (And pronounced. It’s like Need-a-Life, not Need a Lift.) Having said that, if too many of your beta readers don’t get the joke, then you should rethink it.

Laughter has been shown to reduce tension, exercise the cardiovascular system, and encourage a more positive outlook. Writing funny stories promotes good health! (Or so I tell myself when I skip the gym to write.) The great thing is, you get to share the benefits with others. So go write funny! And if your funny bone needs a workout, consider I Left My Brains in San Francisco. It’s even in audio, so you can listen to it while you run!


About I Left My Brains in San Francisco

Zombie problem? Call Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator–but not this weekend.

On vacation at an exterminator’s convention, she’s looking to relax, have fun, and enjoy a little romance. Too bad the zombies have a different idea. When they rise from their watery graves to take over the City by the Bay, it looks like it’ll be a working vacation after all.

 Enjoy the thrill of re-kill with Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator.

Excerpt:

Survival Hardware hadn’t seen such a rush of customers since the last Armageddon prediction coincided with Black Friday.

Manager Clint Sanders rubbed his hands with glee. Oh, Marley, if only you hadn’t gotten drunk and decided to go zombie hunting. Was it only last Christmas?

He hurried to Customer Service, crafting an announcement in his mind.  “You want to live!  We want to live!  That’s why you are going to file calmly to the back if you need a suit.”

Yeah.  Sense of urgency, plus that “We’re in this together” crap.

He got to the counter and nodded at Bitsy, who had rung up a chainsaw and a half-crate of bleach.

God bless survivors. Clint continued to the back.  Out of habit, he checked the exit door, even though it was always locked from the outside.  He needed to delete Marley’s old code from it.

He cleared his throat.  “Listen up!  You want to live!  We want to live!”

The exit door clicked.

“That’s impossible!” he declared.  The store fell silent.

“Boss?” Bitsy’s voice ended in a squeak.

“That’s not what I meant!  Security team to customer service!”

He reached under the counter for a shotgun.  Bitsy grabbed the chainsaw.  They had filled them that morning—another example of the excellent service at Survival Hardware.

The door swung open, and the zombiefied remains of his late business partner, Marley, staggered through.

Clint to blasted him with the shotgun.  The impact knocked the Marley out the door.

Clint used the gunsight to scan the parking lot.  “He brought friends!  Call Nine-One-One.  I’m putting this place on shutdown.”

“Screw that!  I’ve been prepping all my life for this!”  With a howl of challenge, Bitsy dashed out the door.  She swung low and decapitated her former boss before moving on.

Thundering footsteps signaled the customers following in her wake.

He gaped at the carnage while Dirk called 9-1-1.  It’d be too late by the time they got there.  All that’d be left was to clean up the zombie parts and get the customers back in to pay.

God bless survivors.

Find I Left My Brains in San Francisco (also available in audio) HERE:

Damnation Books: http://www.damnationbooks.com/book.php?isbn=9781615727643

Amazon: http://amzn.to/Nzm01L (paper) http://amzn.to/OBBmkL (Kindle)

More about it at http://zombiedeathextreme.com


About Karina Fabian:

Winner of the Global eBook Award for Best Horror (Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator), Karina Fabian’s writing takes quirky karinachainsaw2tales that keep her–and her fans–amused. Zombie exterminators to snarky dragons, things get a little silly in her brain. When she’s not pretending to be an insane psychic or a politically correct corpsicle for a story, she writes product reviews for TopTenReviews.com and takes care of her husband, four kids and two dogs. Mrs. Fabian teaches writing and book marketing seminars online.

Website: http://fabianspace.com, http://zombiedeathextreme.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/karina.fabian

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/#!/KarinaFabian

Google +:  https://plus.google.com/103660024891826015212

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/10981939-karina-fabian