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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Toil, Temptation and Trouble Blog Hop

To celebrate the release of Toil, Temptation and Trouble, four new urban fantasy shorts by Mocha Memoirs Press, fellow author Amy Braun and I have teamed up to spotlight each other and our work. In addition to the ongoing MMP Christmas in July Contest, there are some goodies in store for those readers who leave a message both her and on Amy's blog so read on.

Welcome, Amy!

Tell us a little about yourself and "Call From The Grave."

I’m a Canadian urban fantasy author who started writing when I was in middle school. I’ve always had a passion for reading, loving how words could take me to another world or another reality, making me feel like I was part of someone else’s adventures. It was kind of an inevitability that I started thinking about creating stories. I started with fanfiction, moved onto helping other writer friends with their work, played with my own imagination. A few years later, I realized how much I loved it. Writing brings me a joy I can’t even begin to describe. I honestly can’t picture myself doing anything else. I started my career professionally a couple years ago, and currently have one story out, Call From The Grave, but will have three other short stories coming out before the end of the year.

What do you write?

I’ll read basically anything that catches my interest, but I’ll always be an urban fantasy girl. If there are ways to mix monsters, demons, gods, genetics, magic, or superpowers into modern day life, I want to write about it. A lot of my work involves two main characters, typically siblings or close friends, one of whom is snarky and the other who is more reserved, working together to fight (and sometimes lose) impossible battles. I love dark, gritty writing, sarcastic dialogue, building new realities and worlds, and fill my work with hardcore action. The stuff I read is the stuff I want to write.

Where do you get your writing inspirations?

Honestly? Anything and everything. One of my best friends said I have an overactive imagination, and he could not have been more right. Ideas just seem to form in my head. I’ve taken inspiration from everything from comic book covers, to episodes of Supernatural, to my favourite authors. Usually it’s the details that catch my attention. I see or hear something that interests me, and I build on the “What if... ?” that follows.

What is the background on "Call From The Grave?"

When I read the submission guidelines for Toil, Trouble, and Temptation, I knew I wanted to challenge myself. I’ve always found stories with necromancy and raising the dead to be interesting, so I decided to give that a try. My original idea was to place my main character in a world I didn’t typically write: the 1920’s. It seemed like I had a great idea at the time– my character, Tessa, would have a quirky accent and would take revenge on the mobsters who killed her mother. I thought it was great. Then I started writing it, and it turned into a bunch of pieces I couldn’t fit together. I couldn’t get the setting right and there was too much melodrama. I tried to force it, but that didn’t help the situation. So I stepped back, didn’t think about it, then let the inspiration come on its own. Skip the dead mother thing, go straight to danger. What if Tessa was forced to summon a dangerous spirit? Say, someone who had been an assassin before their death. After I got that thought, the story practically wrote itself. I played with the idea of what it might be like for a necromancer to summon a spirit, how draining it would be and how she would essentially have to watch over it. I’m grateful my original idea didn’t work out, because I came up with something so much stronger and more suited to my style.

A hard metal gun barrel pressed into the back of my head. I glanced at the two muscle-heads behind me, wishing I had another power to send them flying. But alas, they were still alive, so my powers were useless. Ciro moved out of the corner of my eye, and I forgot all about the beefcakes pointing guns at my head. 
The silver-haired man scrutinized me, clearly unimpressed by what he saw.  
“You’re the necromancer?” 
Time to play dumb. 
“What? What are you talking about? What’s a necromancer? Who are you people?” 
Ciro stared at me, trying to see if I was lying. I hoped that was what he thought. I didn’t want any part of his gang or wicked plans. I’d rather be seen as what I was on the outside: A skinny, curve-less eighteen year old with long orange hair, blue eyes, and a face covered in freckles.  
Apparently, that wasn’t good enough. 
He took a step forward and loomed over me.  
“I’ll tell you this once. Do not lie to me.” 
I weighed my options. Tell the truth, and be forced to do some black magic. Lie, and get shot. In the end, I decided to stay quiet and let him talk. He was the big boss here anyways. 
“All you need to understand is that I know what you are, Tessa Sterling. And you are going to perform a spell for me.” 

Okay, I'm hooked. So ladies and gentlemen, don't forget to enter the MMP contest. But to sweeten the deal, I've got some more urban fantasies to share. Leave a comment both here and on Amy's blog (where she is featuring me and "The Ultimate Test," for a chance to win a free download of  Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft (features my urban fantasy "Mishmash Magick") or Seers: Ten Tales of Clairvoyance (features "Dance with the Devil").

We'll announce the winners at the end of this week.

Monday, July 14, 2014

New Short Fiction: The Ultimate Test by Carole Ann Moleti

Mocha Memoirs Press is celebrating its birthday in the month of July 

My story is included in the four new titles in the Toil, Trouble, and Temptation line

The Ultimate Test was the first horror story I've ever written. I recall having a long discussion about it with my long term critique partner supernatural horror writer Andrew Richardson, who gave me a tremendous amount of support and encouragement. I scared myself by embracing all those dark thoughts. Since then, I've dabbled on the dark side with "The Dhampir's Kiss"in Bites: Ten Tales of Vampires. And of course, Boulevard of Bad Spells and Broken Dreams is a very dark urban fantasy heavily based on Santeria. Mishmash Magick in Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft and "Dance With the Devil" in Seer: Ten Tales of Clairvoyance are short excerpts of Boulevard adapted to a short story format.
  Of course, most of my fiction has a basis in real life—and I certainly have seen my share of real life horror riding ambulances and working in the ERs of hospitals in The Bronx, Harlem, and Washington Heights. I'll leave you to figure out what's real and what's not.

I'm very grateful to Nicole Kurtz of Mocha Memoirs Press, who accepted this story within a hour of submission. It had been shortlisted for at least two anthologies in the past that either folded or ran out of space.

Caution: This excerpt is mild but the story might be disturbing to sensitive readers.

The Ultimate Test

The sweet, floral essence of magic swirled through the botánica. Candles flickered in front of a riot of statuary.
"Muy buenas, mi amor." A shriveled woman hoisted herself from a chair in the corner and hobbled over.
"Hola, Señora." Aramis handed over a list of the herbs she needed. 
"¿Tu eres santera?" The woman's gnarled finger traced down the list. Her eyes narrowed to read the tight English script. 
"No. I study herbology. Las plantas." 
"One who use these do more than study, mi amor." The lines in the crone's face deepened with a broad smile. "Una bruja, tu estas." 
"Not only witches use herbs." If she associated with anyone who practiced The Craft, they would all be subject to discipline. Memories of wise women being brutalized and dragged from their homes tickled her brain.
"No ten miedo, mi amor. I no tell. Las santeras help las brujas. Somos hermanas. Sisters." She gestured Aramis into a chair and lowered herself into a seat.
Her attention focused on a bowl of cloudy water beneath the icons. She picked up Aramis' hands rubbed the palms. "Vengeance. You seek vengeance."
"Yes." Aramis followed as the woman wandered around the shop collecting several packets and tiny brown bottles. 
A pencil scratched as the santera totaled the order on a scrap of paper. "To aid you, burn this candle until it's done, then return to me so I can finish it and give you further instructions. $75.00."
Aramis took the black jar. The wax pillar inside swam in murky liquid that bubbled at her touch. She left a $100.00 bill on the

Join MMP's July Birthday Bash contest

Gift #1-New fiction! Four new titles will launch our TOIL, TROUBLE, AND TEMPTATION line.

Go to my Facebook page for the latest news on The Ultimate Test and the three other titles

Gift #2- MMP GIFT bag. It will include the following:
1.     A sample of MMP  books (both horror anthologies, a science fiction title, two erotic romance titles, and a fantasy title).
2.     A MMP tee-shirt.
3.     A MMP journal to write down your own inspiring ideas.
4.     Starbucks® coffee
5.     Other surprise goodies.
6.     All will be contained in a MMP cloth bag.

Gift #3-Black Friday sale in the summer-All Christmas and holiday stories are .99!

Gift #4-Sizzling Deals for HOT summer nights-All erotic romance titles are $2.99 or LESS!

Gift #5-Select science fiction, fantasy, and horror titles are $1.00 or 0.99.
$.99  or $1 Horror, SF, and Fantasy titles:
Drink My Soul by Rie Sheridan Rose
Descent into Madness by Michael LaRocca
Still Another Day by Janet Eckford
Dragon’s Champion by Wynelda Ann Deaver
Huntress by Siobhan Kinkade

The Soul Cages by Nicole Givens Kurtz

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Cape Cod Vacations & Conservation Day - Saturday July 12

Warm memories wash over me as soon as I drive down Route 6A on the mid-Cape.

As a young child, my family vacationed there when there were hippies in Provincetown and they offered sunset horseback rides on the dunes. We had a family reunion in Hyannis, have ridden the ferries to Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. and bicycled from P-town to Race Point and along the Cape Cod Rail Trail. Whale watching turned out to be very sea-sickening on one trip in a "light chop," but the other two times we got to see them breaching and spouting. I've missed shark sightings by a day or two but recently there have been lots of sea lions right off Nauset Beach. I took a surfing lesson recently at Nauset, though I have not attempted to water ski in a very long time.

This year is very special. Kayaking With Kids is out! I wished I'd had a guide like this when my kids were little, and a Facebook page to ask questions, get advice, and share tips. Three years ago, Paine's Creek was devastated by winter storms. Run off washed then entire parking lot into the marsh. Pieces of it are now down as far as Saint's Landing. The sand is so eroded there is hardly any of the beach you see in these images left. The vegetation, once lush mature beach plums and dune grass are decimated. Last year, the beach was closed while work was done to create a filtered culvert to prevent the same thing from happening again. 
Over the years, my family has picked up as much asphalt as we could but there always seems to be more. 

Please join me to get it all out as we help this gorgeous salt marsh heal and return to its former glory.

Here is the schedule of events: 

Meet and Greet at Drummer Boy Park 9:30am-2 pm   (Brewster Chamber of Commerce Table).

Pick up a pail and shovel, while supplies last. I will be signing books and discussing ecology and environmental issues in eco-tourism.

Then join me at Paine's Creek for kayak rides for the kids. Once we can access the marsh we'll have collect our debris and weigh in. Certificates will be distributed to each family.

To end the day we'll take a sunset nature walk on the flats

I will have special gifts for every family that participates in the clean up, including downloads of Kayaking With Kids and a sample of what's in store for readers of my forthcoming Cape Cod paranormal romance-set in Brewster-The Widow's Walk. 

My book - Kayaking With Kids can be found here:

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Kayaking With Kids & Conservation Day, Saturday July 12

The Kindle version of Kayaking With Kids  is uploaded and should be live very soon. The print books arrived today and signed copies are on their way to the Cape to the retailers who have agreed to stock it. Beach pails, stickers, and postcards are all on hand.

Here is my schedule of events for next week: 

Thursday July 10 - Arrive in Brewster. Go Kate's for lunch (fritter and chowda special) and Cobies for dinner (clam  strips and a big bite of my daughter's burger).
Cobies for dinner (clam strips)

Friday - Check in at all the retail outlets and the Chamber of Commerce to deliver signed books
Go Kate's for lunch (fritter and chowda special and a sip of whatever flavor of shake my daughter picks) and

Conservation Day, Saturday July 12

9:30 am  Festivities begin at Drummer Boy Park and continue until 2 pm.

Books will be for sale. Check in at the Brewster Chamber Table.

My husband will man my table while I inflate the kayak and get set over at Paine's Creek. I will offer rides for the kids as the tide starts to go out and hopefully this folks who got beach pails at the park will come along for a clean up and nature walk on the flats.