Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Nessie Strange on Reaper Madness and Being Thankful

I am so happy to have Nessie Strange on my blog today. In light of the season of thankfulness, one of the great pleasures I've had on this journey of being a writer in the internet age, has been all of the interesting and lovely people I've met along the way, often by chance, such as Nessie.

Nessie is a Massachusetts native and mother of two who has dabbled in everything from abstract painting to freelance sports reporting. She also loves a good story, whether it’s reading or writing one. Living Dead Girl and Reaper Madness, the first two novels in her urban fantasy Living Dead World series, were published by Etopia Press in 2014.

On the Web:

Becoming an author has been a remarkable journey so far for Nessie, as you can see:

Reflecting on Life & Being Thankful 

With Thanksgiving about to arrive, I think it’s as good a time as any to reflect on life and the things to be thankful for. Like many other people, I’ve had my share of hardships. An amicable divorce turned nasty left me feeling pretty battered a few years ago. I’ve struggled financially since then, teetering between just having enough to pay my bills and rent to wondering what bill I can postpone so I can put food on the table. It was never for lack of effort. I worked full time and had a decent wage, but mountains of debt from school loans, lawyer fees and the fallout from learning how to manage my own money have always kept me treading water. Some of it was my fault, some of it was unfortunate luck and bad timing, but either way it’s a sucky, stressful situation to be in. 

I got frustrated with a lot of things, including my own writing, and just couldn’t seem to produce anything good for the life of me. Then I was laid off in late Spring of this year, and I thought man--is this ever going to get better? During my time in the ranks of the unemployed I (of course) hunted for jobs, but I also took advantage of my much more flexible schedule to really focus on some writing. I hadn’t finished (or even written) anything substantial in a long time, and my first book, Living Dead Girl had already been out for six months. I wanted to finish the sequel, but needed to learn better discipline, find better motivation and get back into the groove. So I enlisted some of my writer friends to harass me into keeping up with deadlines.

I would produce at least one chapter every week or face dire consequences (not sure what those were, but the threat worked) and at the end of that week I’d send them to one of my writer friends. Something really clicked. I completed Reaper Madness in just over a month, and in the process, built back some of the confidence I’d lost in my own writing. Since then, I’ve been writing much more regularly and currently have many projects going. It took almost six months to find a job that would pay enough to support my small family. I’m still struggling financially as I begin to recover from paying the bare minimum (and in a couple cases not at all) that came from stretching my tiny unemployment check as far as I could. 

I won’t lie...it still sucks financially right now. But you know what? I can do this. I can make it through all of this, because I have before. I have two wonderful, smart, loving children who are both healthy. I’m healthy. We still have a roof over our heads. And even though sometimes it takes some strategic and creative juggling, I know I can pay what absolutely needs to get paid and keep them fed. I will find a way--I always do. And as I go along, I like to think I’m finding ways to do it better. 

I’ve got a great family. Friends. All kinds of wonderful people in my life, both in person and online. And then there’s writing. I’m not yet at a point where I’m making a substantial income from it, but I feel like I’m only at the beginning of that journey. I’ve found people who believe in my work. People who have helped shape it up for public consumption. Writer friends who have helped me navigate social media, and marketing, and provided considerable moral support. I think for every shitty thing that’s happened, there are many more good things. I look at my life, and despite the rough patches, I’m still happy. It’s not that bad. I’m still fighting for more. 

I look at some of the truly horrific and tragic things that happen in this world and I know my life could be much, much worse. I’ve had people ask how I could still go on after some of the things that have happened, but my answer is simple: I have to. For my kids, for myself. For that bright horizon in the distance. I still have so much to live for, and long ago I made the decision not to waste precious mental energy worrying about things I can’t control. I think, if I put everything in perspective, I have much more to be thankful for than not.

I think we all have much to be thankful for, Nessie, but what a great post!!! A truly remarkable spirit.

Check out Nessie's books with their super-awesome titles:

Reaper Madness (Living Dead World #2)
by Nessie Strange

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Etopia Press
Date of Publication: November 21, 2014


Jen MacLellan can’t get the hang of being a reaper. She’s been separated from her lover, Jack. She's also stuck with that annoying telepathic link to her ill-tempered mentor, Sam. But when reapers start disappearing back on earth, Jen and Sam are recruited to help. Can they figure out what’s causing it before it’s too late?
Jack Norris has no memory prior to waking up on the half-demon Nulcifer’s couch six months earlier. As he begins to investigate his origins, he discovers a string of past lives, tied together by a beautiful, mysterious brunette. Does she really exist, and if she does, can he find her?
Fate reunites them after Sam falls victim to the attacks on earth. As they work to save Sam, can they rekindle what was lost? Or have things become too complicated…

Sam wasn’t kidding when he said I had no idea what I was getting into. And now, as I stared Death in the face—literally—from an uncomfortable black leather executive chair, it occurred to me for the first time that I was in way over my head. Between the pinstriped suit and dark, slicked-back hair, he resembled a character from The Godfather more than a deity who ruled over the dead and dying. Death was one scary motherfucker. And he was smiling.

“Care for a drink, Jennifer?”

I shook my head, but he rose anyway, retrieved two glasses from the cabinet behind him, and filled both with amber-colored liquid. “Relax, I’m not going to bite.”

That wasn’t what I was worried about.

“Now, how long have you been with us? About six earth months?”

I cleared my throat. “Ah yes. About that long.”

“I find it intriguing,” he said. “You have been telepathically linked to one of my reapers this entire time, yet you really demonstrate no capability when it comes to this job. One would think that would give you an edge, hmm?”


“You’d think,” I laughed. OK, I sucked at it. It was only recently I’d been allowed to travel back to earth to help retrieve souls. Sam did most of the work, while I trailed behind, like one of those ankle-biting little purse dogs. What I wanted to know was why he’d insisted I do the job in the first place. I’d never asked to be a reaper. It wasn’t like I wanted this.

“The occupation listed from your most recent incarnation on earth was a mortician, was it not? So you should be accustomed to working with the deceased and the sensitivities that go along with it.”

“These two jobs are absolutely nothing alike.” Shit. I’d reacted again, lost my cool because of something he said. Now that my brain had caught up with my mouth, the fire snuffed out and with it went my nerve. I needed to learn to bite my tongue. Considering the habit crossed over with me from my last life, maybe that was wishful thinking. “Well, I mean, because when I was a mortician, those people didn’t talk back to me.”

Death studied me. “No, I don’t imagine they did.” He scrunched his lips up, his brow furrowed—the only hint of emotion I’d seen from him—but it quickly faded. “What exactly is it that’s holding you back or hanging you up? I’m just trying to understand here.”

“Well, I guess some of it is that I feel bad for them. I want to make things easier, but Sam’s all about scaring them and intimidating and manipulating them. It doesn’t seem right. I mean, we’re their first point of contact with the afterlife; why does it have to be frightening?” I was doing it again. OK, I needed to breathe. “I just... I see the fear in their faces, and it tears at me. It doesn’t feel right. It’s not me.”

“Fear makes them more pliable. Which in turn, makes your job easier when it’s time to collect.”

“But I don’t...”

He held up a hand. “I don’t like excuses, Jennifer. You may not agree with all of the methods you have been taught, but you still need to learn them and be able to utilize all of them. Years down the line, when you actually have some experience, perhaps then you can develop your own strategies. For now, as a rookie in the division without a single reaping under your belt, you are obligated to follow the instruction of your mentor. Do you understand?”

Living Dead Girl (Novel/Living Dead World #1) January 2014

Add it on Goodreads

Love’s Not Viral (short story/Love Least Expected anthology) February 2015

Pre-order now:

Confessions of a Punk Rocker (Novel/connected to Living Dead World series) TBA 2015

Thank you, Nessie, for being on my blog today and thank you, dear reader, for stopping by :)
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving to all who are celebrating this week.


Sunday, November 23, 2014

It's A Season To Remember!

My weekend with lovely Noelle Clark continues with A Season To Remember. Don't miss this Christmas anthology from Noelle and three fellow Australian authors: 
Eva Scott, Susanne Bellamy, and Elizabeth Ellen Carter.

Four short stories on the Christmas theme, spanning time, places. Uplifting, funny, thought-provoking, heart-warming, ‘A Season to Remember’ will make your heart sing.

Release Date:  November 17, 2014  -  Available now
Free download from Smashwordshttps://www.smashwords.com/books/view/493542

‘Three Ships’ by Elizabeth Ellen Carter

An adventure romance set in the early 19th century on the Devon Coast. Laura Winter lives on St Joseph’s Rock, a tidal island that is home to a lighthouse that protects Ashton-on-Sea. On a late November day a violent storm brings not only the handsome Lieutenant Michael Renten but also a clutch of pirates bent on wreaking mischief.

Excerpt from Three Ships

Laura’s father watched her shoulder the long coil of rope.

“I’m not happy, dear girl. I should be the one going down there, not you.”

She gave a pointed look at his injured foot. The way down to the beach was not sheer but it was no gentle slope either and the footing would be treacherous. “Well, needs must,” she replied firmly. “I’ll be back quickly.”

His response was a grimace. He secured the trailing end of the coiled rope to Acorn’s saddle.

“Watch your step, Laura,” he admonished.

Trailing the rope out as she went, Laura picked her way with caredown the side of the hill where the low-growing grass was slick. She grew up here and knew the cliffs well enough to treat them with respect. The saltiness from exploding waves filled her nostrils. She could even taste it on the back of her throat.

The beach filled and emptied as the waves churned in.

She scrambled over one rock, then around another to reach the man. The hem of her skirt darkened in the splashing water.

Still a few feet away, she called out.

“Sailor! Sailor, ahoy!”

The man remained still.

Laura looked back up the thirty feet to where her father peered back, concerned. He called to her but his words were ripped away by the wind.

Her only choice was to approach the man.

The sailor’s shirt was torn and shredded, the sodden fabric dark and clinging to the contours of his back. His black hair whipped in the wind like the damp grass around the chickens.

She touched his cheek. His skin was cold.

It might already be too late!

Laura drew a deep breath and grasped his shoulders.

“Come on sailor, time to wake up,” she said hopefully, shaking him.

The man obliged her with a groan; Laura matched it with a sigh of relief.

“Help is here,” she said.

The man raised himself to his elbows and looked blearily at her. It was hard to determine his age. He seemed much younger than her father but older than Dickie Wells.

“Where are you hurt? Your back? Your legs?”

The man sat up gingerly, shaking his head at each question.

“We’re going to haul you out,” she said.

The man looked her up and down and flashed her a quick smile, his pale blue eyes twinkling with sudden merriment.

“My guardian angel…” he rasped, interrupted by a hacking cough. “Where is the rest of your heavenly choir?”

‘Sands of Time’ by Noelle Clark

Kitty faces her first Christmas without the love of her life. She looks back with fondness on the memories of Christmases past and, with the love and support of her grandson Joe, finds inner strength to face the future with anticipation. Kitty realises that, as she gets older, time passes so quickly. Although sad and happy memories flood through her on this special Christmas day, she chooses to embrace every moment of life.

Excerpt: Sands of Time

They were nearing Kingfisher Island. Not a grain of the tract that joined the small sandy cay to the mainland was visible. A couple of small boats were moored along the deep channel on the southern side of the causeway, with people fishing from them. The boats bobbed up and down on the whitecaps, sometimes disappearing from view, then emerging again.

“Just over there, please, Joe. Near that clump of mangroves.”

Joe pulled on one oar, turning the bow of the boat towards where she pointed. Within a minute, she heard the sand scraping against the keel under the boat. Clamping her hand on the gunwale for support, she stood carefully and jumped over the side, landing in knee-deep water. Joe shipped the oars and joined her, the water not even reaching halfway to his knees. He grabbed the pointy prow and pulled the boat up onto the beach.

She gazed around her, the familiar sight of the few remaining stumpy mangrove trees, and the covering of pigface on the small dunes bringing a lump to her throat. The mauve star-shaped blossoms of the coastal succulent groundcover looked exactly as they had done for all these years. Nature’s legacy, constant and predictable, unlike humans, whose term on this planet was fleeting. For a moment she recalled the faint, salty perfume of the little dune succulents whose strong roots helped the sandy hillocks from washing away with each tide. When crushed, they emitted a soft waft of delicate scent. Not for the first time, she wondered why they’d been given the hideous name of pigface.

Joe’s outstretched hand appeared before her eyes, inviting her to take it. She refocused her vision, reached out, grasped it, and took a few steps through the water and up towards the sandy beach. Joe tugged gently on her hand, helping her to stand upright in the choppy waters which made the little boat bob roughly. A cascade of spray caught them both in the face as it slapped against the side of the wooden boat with a thud. They laughed in unison, blinking at each other through salt-filled eyes.

“Gotcha, Nan.” Joe’s smile, always so generous, beamed at her. She smiled back, raised her arm, and wiped her face with the sleeve of her blouse.

He held on to her hand until she reached the dry beach, then he stretched into the prow of the dinghy and pulled out an anchor attached to a sturdy rope, walked further up the beach, and buried it firmly into the sand. When it was secured, Joe turned and retrieved the picnic basket and the rest of the things they needed for their visit to the island, and deposited them where the low dunes met the beach. She walked to the picnic basket, leaned over and opened it, took out an old blue blanket, and spread it down on the sparse tufts of grass. Ignoring her sand-encrusted feet, she stepped onto the blanket, sank back on her elbows and gazed dreamily up at the cobalt sky.

‘All That Glitters’ by Eva Scott

Molly is a modern day Cinderella, second best to her half-sister Aimee and never measuring up to her step-mother’s expectations. Now Aimee has the chance to marry an elderly millionaire and Molly is expected to keep the man’s grandson, Connor Rathmore, from sabotaging the event. Handsome, charismatic and very, very sexy - how is she going to keep him from sabotaging her heart?

Excerpt: All That Glitters

“Well, are you ready?” She sounded rude but it was all she could manage to say. On the way over to pick him up she’d been too preoccupied to consider him at all. Instead she replayed the conversation she’d had with her stepmother. After receiving a reprimand for arriving late, Maria had grilled her over Connor Rathmore and found her answers less than satisfactory. Then the lecture started on her appearance. Where were the shoes? She’d kicked off those horrible expensive shoes at the airport and hadn’t given them another thought. An unforgivable act in her stepmother’s eyes. It was impressed upon her that she must try harder and remember her sister’s happiness. Of course. Molly loved her half-sister, Aimee, despite the fact the girl was spoilt rotten. Underneath all the embellishments she really did have a good heart. It wasn’t Aimee’s fault she’d been raised to be a life-sized doll.

She appraised the man before her. She steeled herself not to react to him. When he’d opened the hotel room door, more primal male than any man she had ever encountered, something unexpected happened to her. Bam! Right to the heart. Very inconvenient and impossible, the idea could not be entertained. Not for a millisecond. The consequences would be devastating.

“Good evening to you too.” He bestowed what she assumed was his best killer smile. “Shall we go?”

He stepped through the door, so close the heat radiating off his body hit her like a furnace. Her natural reserve began to melt. The scent of him was so… masculine and her knees wobbled as she caught her breath. Moving away wasn’t an option, even if she tried.

He smiled as if aware of the effect he had on her. Without looking back he strode towards the elevator and pushed the button. They stood in silence side by side while they waited. The animal magnetism between them shimmered, increasing with every passing second.

Molly’s senses scrambled. She stumbled into the lift. This situation would need careful handling. The man beside her must not guess his presence caused a meltdown. Her attraction to him created a complication she did not need. Just one week. Please help me make it through this one week. If her stepmother suspected an attraction between Molly and Connor, all hell would break loose.

‘A Touch of Christmas’ by Susanne Bellamy

As Starship Bluefire settles into orbit around Earth, Captain Andra Veluthian anticipates meeting her favourite human, Colonel Nick Madigan. Have his efforts to save the planet succeeded? And if so, will she lose any chance to be with him?
Knowing Andra’s fascination with all things Terran, Nick has planned a surprise for her. After all, it is Christmas, the season of giving. But when Earth’s leader and the Gravlarian captain spend time planet side, the temperature soars.

Excerpt: A Touch of Christmas

Starship Bluefire – Log entry #1878 Orbit established around Planet Earth. Local time: 0715 - 22 December 2525 AD

“Reverse thruster off. Docking complete, Captain.”

Captain Andra Veluthian ordered her viewing screen to retract, rolled her shoulders then rested her head against the padded headrest of her Conforma-chair and looked at the view. Framed by a huge window on the bridge, planet Earth appeared close and surprisingly whiter than on her last stopover two years earlier. Through breaks in the dense cloud cover she could even discern the long coastline of what Earth dwellers used to call South America and, just appearing on the western edge across an expanse of ocean, was the island continent they called Australia. Home of the wombat, wallaroo and one handsome colonel.

Colonel Nicholas Madigan, political leader and guiding hand in Earth’s struggle against extinction.

Last visit, the fair-haired colonel had set more than a few hearts pounding among her crew. Including hers.

                    ~About The Authors~

Elizabeth Ellen Carter
A future with words was always on the books for Elizabeth Ellen Carter who started writing her own stories when she ran out of Nancy Drew mysteries to read at the age of ten. Using her mother’s Olivetti typewriter with all italic keys, she spent endless school holidays making up her own (italicised) stories and then using the Dewey Decimal System to arrange and categorise her bookshelf.
Somewhere around the age of 13, she determined to become a journalist and at 17 was awarded a newspaper cadetship. She covered news, council, education and health but had the most fun as an entertainment and features reporter covering film, TV and music.
Best of all, she met her husband at the newspaper and, together, they started a small award-winning media, marketing and advertising agency. Today, she works as marketing manager for an international organic skin care company.
In 2012, Elizabeth also returned to the keyboard to write stories (and found laptops are so much better than manual typewriters).
Her debut novel, Moonstone Obsession, was shortlisted for the 2013 Romance Writers of Australia’s Emerald Awards for unpublished manuscripts.
Elizabeth is a member of the Romance Writers of Australia, the Australian Romance Readers Association and the Gold Coast Writers Association. She is currently published by Etopia Press.
Noelle Clark
Noelle Clark is an Australian author of contemporary romance and commercial historical fiction novels. Her books weave romance, intrigue, and adventure into colourful, exotic, and interesting locations around the world. Widely travelled, Noelle uses real life experience of places, culture, and people as a backdrop to her stories, giving the reader an authentic taste of the location. Her novels feature strong, mature heroines and heroes, who—often without knowing it—are ready for new beginnings.

She lives close to the sea and shares her home with two cats and two dogs. She has two grown up children, and five very small grandchildren. When Noelle's not writing and travelling, she plays guitar, tends her vegetable garden, enjoys the company of family and friends, and—of course—reading.

Noelle is a member of Queensland Writers Centre; YON Beyond Writing Group; Romance Writers of Australia; and Australian Romance Readers Association, and is currently published by Etopia Press and Secret Cravings Publishing.
Website:  www.noelleclark.net
Eva Scott
Eva Scott writes contemporary romance set in her homeland of Australia and historical fiction set in the Ancient World. Her books offer passion and adventure in some of the most beautiful and intriguing places in the world. Her heroes and heroines are strong, sassy and ready to rise to their challenges, and learn a little bit about themselves along the way.
Having lived overseas for several years, Eva returned to study Anthropology before heading off to live in Papua New Guinea for a year. There she met the love of her life, author G.W. Gibson, who was stationed there with the Australian Defence Force. The rest is history, romantic history.
She now lives on the Redcliffe peninsula with her husband, small son and an assortment of animals. When Eva is not writing she enjoys mentoring first-time authors, cooking up a story, practising yoga and getting out on the bay on her stand-up paddle board.
Eva is a member of Romance Writers of Australia; North Lakes Writers Group; Queensland Writers Centre and Australian Romance Readers Association. She is published by Musa Publishing and Harlequin Escape.
Susanne Bellamy
Susanne is an Australian author of contemporary and suspense romances set in exciting and often exotic locations. Her heroes have to be pretty special to live up to the real life one she married. He saved her life then married her. They live on the edge of bush land on a mountain in beautiful sunny Queensland, Australia with two children and their dog.
Paris will always be one of her top spots, and she fell in love with Scotland when they visited the west coast (nothing to do with fine single malts!), and recently had her first real trip to Italy--tick off one Bucket List item!  She has enjoyed New Year in Kathmandu and trekked in the Annapurnas, sailed in Ha Long Bay on a junk, and stayed on a floating hotel beside a tethered elephant in Thailand. The Peak in Hong Kong and Mt Faber cable car ride in Singapore are favourite spots. Susanne loves travelling to new places and exploring the culture and history, and meeting new people. These experiences are gradually being incorporated into her stories.
Her as yet unrealised dream is a trip into Earth’s orbit.
Susanne is a member of RWA and enjoys mentoring new authors. She is published with Escape Publishing, and will be a 2015 release author with Entangled Publishing.

Thanks for stopping by today!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Honor's Debt from Noelle Clark

New from fabulous Noelle Clark, author of Rosamanti and Let Angels Fly, comes the much anticipated series, Robinhill Farm.

Book #1 Honor's Debt is OUT NOW from Secret Cravings Publishing. Isn't this a gorgeous cover?

Here's what it's all about:

On a quest to make amends for a long-ago indiscretion, Honor unexpectedly discovers the one thing she’s been missing in her life.

Honor Quirk arrives in Ireland excited—and a bit anxious—about meeting up with the estranged family of her late great-grandmother. The welcome from the residents of Robinhill Farm, Dermot and Bryan, is confusing and far from comforting. One is warm, the other aggressive. The outwardly antagonistic Bryan makes it very clear he doesn't want her there, branding her a gold digger.
Dermot, on the other hand, is delighted to meet her.
But Honor is no pushover and stands up to Bryan, letting him know that his bad attitude and trail of baggage have nothing to do with her. Despite their confrontational and hostile relationship, an undeniable attraction to each other creeps insidiously into the house on Robinhill Farm. They both desperately try to stifle the sparks, but living under the same roof makes it impossible. Unable to cope with the turmoil of living with Bryan, Honor runs away, straight into the arms of a charming newfound friend, Sean, who offers her a home—and love.

Shattered, Bryan finally takes control of his irrational belief that all women are evil, and fights to bring back the woman he loves. But is it too late?

 “Now, then.” His gaze settled on her, a confused expression on his face. “Are you feeling better?”
She nodded. It was inevitable that now he was ready for her to explain why she was here.
“Honor, I don’t flatter myself to think that you’ve suddenly decided that you’re madly in love with me and came here to bonk my brains out.” He paused as if he waited for a reaction. “So I’m assuming, from your very…emotional state…that you are running away. From what—or who—is a complete mystery to me.”
She cupped her hands around the mug of tea and bit her lip.
“Of course, I may be totally wrong. If you did come here to bonk my brains out, I am very, very, happy.”
She glanced up and caught the twinkle in his lovely, green eyes. Despite her current state, she could not stifle the smile that twitched at the corners of her mouth. With a rush of affection, she pushed her chair back, and came around the table towards him. His chair scraped across the floor as he stood up, and they hugged.
After a minute, she pulled back and looked up at him. “Sean, you are…a very lovely man.” Her voice cracked.
“But…?” He raised one eyebrow.
“But…” She took a deep breath. “Appealing as it sounds, I didn’t come here to bonk you silly.”
His exaggerated expression of disappointment caused a small bubbling laugh to burst from her.
“I…need some time away from Robinhill Farm. I’m wondering if I could…”
He grabbed her and lifted her off the floor and spun round and round in the small kitchen.
“Yes! Yes! A thousand times, yes!”
“It’s just for a week or two. I’ll cook for you. Clean for you. Help you with the sheep.”
“And you’ll have lashings of unbridled sex with me too, won’t ye?”
Her laugh rang out, and her affection for Sean made her heart swell. She reached up and kissed his cheek. Sean was so uncomplicated. And so…unrelated. It certainly was a tempting proposition.
“Hm, I’ll think about it.”

Buy Links for Honor’s Debt

About Noelle Clark
Noelle Clark is an Australian author of contemporary romance and historical novels. Her books weave romance, intrigue, and adventure into colourful and often exotic locations around the world. Widely travelled, Noelle uses real life experience of places, culture, and people, as a backdrop to her stories, giving the reader an authentic taste of the location. Her novels feature strong, mature, heroines and heroes, who—often without knowing it—are ready for new beginnings.

She lives close to the sea and shares her home with two cats and two dogs. She has two grown up children, and five very small grandchildren. When Noelle's not writing and travelling, she plays guitar, tends her vegetable garden, enjoys the company of family and friends, and—of course—reading.

Contact Links
·         Website  
·        Facebook
·         Twitter @noelle_clark
·         Amazon 
·         Goodreads 

Thanks for stopping by!