Lured with scholarships to a charter school in Idaho’s Sawtooth Wilderness, four normal teens find themselves trapped in a school for vampires. Drawn from different racial and ethnic backgrounds, the scholarship kids’ faith, friendship, and love are tested in this fast-paced, witty adventure.
Sixteen-year-old Kathy finds herself on the kill list of a Shoshone vampire who teaches Ethics for Bloodsuckers. Her pal Lionel is terrorized by his music teacher, an 18th century violinist who worked as a Mafia hit man so he could play at his victims’ funerals. With the entire student body thirsting for snacks, keeping the warmbloods alive presents a challenge for several quirky but ethical vampires. And when Kathy and Lionel are put on trial for murder in a vampire court, there are only three options: escape, die
trying, or join the undead.
This novel will delight all readers of fantasy adventure who thirst for humor in the vein of Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse novels. Indeed, Clarion review says, “Urban fantasy meets eccentric comedy in this unique and caustically witty conflict between vampire and human ethics.”
Loren Schechter is a retired psychiatrist who loves to write humorous fiction. He was very lucky in that he spent much of his career treating adolescents. His first novel was Murder in Millbrook, a cozy mystery. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with his wife Susan and dog, Amigo. Noanimals, senior citizens or vampires were injured in the writing of his novels.
A bald, barrel-chested man in a plaid shirt and jeans came onto the porch, shut the door firmly behind him and shook his head. Edna crouched behind the low railing, waiting to see if the woman would come out with his coat.
Stay inside and live, she thought, willing her message through the cabin wall. The white man is my prey, as I once was his. Stay inside and live.
She heard the man click a cigarette lighter into flame. She waited for his first satisfied exhalation, then vaulted over the rail.
His eyes went wide. “What the-”
Edna whipped the hard edge of her hand into his throat. His head jerked back. He gurgled like a man drowning. She punched his temple and caught him as he fell. Stifling her own grunt, she heaved him over her shoulder, then stepped off the porch into the
rain. She made her way downhill toward the river, avoiding the road. The man’s weight felt less burdensome than her urge to feed on him immediately.
Still, she walked until she felt him move. Then she laid him down carefully behind a clump of trees, straddled him and peeled back his collar. Resting one hand on his throat, she sang a song of gratitude until his eyes opened. She saw him trying to remember, to make sense of lying in wet underbrush, rain pelting his face, the dark woman sitting on him singing in a foreign language, her hand
caressing his aching throat.
“I apologize, cousin,” said Edna. “I do this only so that I may exist as long as the Creator God wills it. I have-”
The man tried to speak. She squeezed his throat until he gasped for air.
“Please don’t interrupt. White people do that all the time, but not tonight. I apologize that I have not yet purged all revenge from my heart. I do try, but I once was a warm-blooded human and was badly treated. You may be innocent of the crimes of your brothers, but we are all connected – and I need your blood to survive.”
The man struggled to push her off. She rode him as if he were a frightened horse, with her knees and the grip on his throat tightening. She bent over toward his ear and grimaced at the odors of smoke and alcohol that filled her nostrils, that she would taste in his blood.
“Do not struggle,” she whispered. “I will spare you the pain of waking up a vampire. I apologize for taking your blood, and your life.”
He bucked wildly as her teeth ripped into his neck, down to his carotid artery and vein. Too hungry to suck, she punctured the artery and opened her mouth wide to the stream of blood that shot forth. She rode him with her mouth at his neck, gulping down each pulse of salty, warm ambrosia as if the next swallow might deliver both a release from damnation and a heavenly life.
He gave out too soon. Never enough, she thought. She licked up the splatter, picked the corpse up and walked toward the river.
Thursday Morning Breakfast (and Murder) Club
When Clare Ballard sports a new bruise on her right cheek the day after a contentious town meeting, the ladies of the Thursday Morning Breakfast Club suspect her husband Roger of abusing her. That same day Hester Franklin, another breakfast club lady, is called to rescue her grandson Patrick after he is arrested for transporting drugs. Proclaiming his innocence, Patrick threatens that those who set him up will pay. Roger Ballard is high on his list.
But it’s when Lillie Mae Harris, the club’s leader, discovers the body of the local drug dealer on the nearby hiking trail, that the community is upended. Roger Ballard, the primary suspect, goes missing, and when his body turns up in his own back yard, Clare Ballard confesses to his murder. No one
believes she did it, but Clare insists she’s guilty and mysteriously refuses to talk to her lawyer, the police, or her family and friends.
The Thursday Morning Breakfast Club ladies believe she’s protecting someone, and they vow to find out
who it is. Charlie Warren, the town’s homegrown policeman, using unconventional means, collaborates with the breakfast club ladies to draw out the real criminal. But danger lurks.
Alice Portman, the matriarch of the breakfast club, is struck down in her own yard and is sent to the hospital. Then others in the small community start to disappear—one after the other. As the ladies get closer to the truth, they get closer to the danger. With no time to cry over spilled coffee, they form a plan to capture the true culprits before someone else is murdered.
About the Author
After some thirty years writing everything from political encyclopedias to software manuals, Liz Stauffer retired from corporate life to write fiction, travel, and play on the beach. Since that time,
she has traveled extensively throughout the United States and the world. With her two dogs, Stauffer lives in Hollywood, Florida, where she owns and manages a vacation rental business.
When she spoke the words, her voice was so low it was barely above a whisper. The sturdy woman with short, curly red hair dropped the handset back into its cradle and began to pace, the phone still ringing on the other end of the line.
Lillie Mae Harris stopped at the front window, taking no notice of the white buds that were just opening on the two Bradford pear trees in her front yard, or the spring flowers peeping through the freshly hoed soil in the close- by flower bed. Her thoughts were of Clare.
She had the best view in Mount Penn from this window. On a winter’s morning she could see for some thirty miles out over the valley with the big blue sky as the backdrop. The night view was even more amazing, offering a shower of dancing lights in the distance competing only with the brightest stars.
It was now early spring and the vista had already begun to shrink even though the trees were just beginning to bud. Once the trees were filled out with big green leaves the view would pull in even more until fall when the colors exploded and the view once again took one’s breath away. But today the scenery did nothing to still Lillie Mae’s pounding heart or quell her shaking hands. She couldn’t stop worrying about Clare. Rushing back to the phone, she scooped it up, and punched in a familiar number.
“Hello.” Alice Portman answered in her sweet Southern drawl, after just one ring. Her Jack Russell terrier, Alfred, barked in the background.
“Clare’s not answering her phone this morning,” Lillie Mae said. “I’m so worried about her, Alice. I’m not sure what to do.”
“Settle down, Lillie Mae,” Alice said, shushing Alfred. “Why are you more concerned today?”
“You were at the water meeting last night,” Lillie Mae said. “You saw how Roger was acting. Yelling and screaming like an idiot. When he’s gotten that riled up in the past, Clare’s been his punching bag.”
“Well, yes,” Alice agreed, deliberately slowing the pace of the conversation. “But, Roger was just being Roger last night, dear. Just showing off. I didn’t see anything unusual in his behavior. Certainly nothing to make you so worried this morning.”
“He was acting worse than usual,” Lillie Mae insisted, still pacing the living room floor. “And I’m sure he drank himself crazy when the meeting was finally over. That’s the real reason I’m worried, Alice. You know how he is when he drinks. What he does to Clare.”
“Roger playacts, you know, when it suits him, Lillie Mae,” Alice said, her voice still soft and cool. “He knows he’s going to make a lot of money hooking people up to the public water in a few short months, but he wants to come across as the good guy to his neighbors, not the money grubbing fool that he is. He’ll use every wile that he has to seduce the community. If the project fails, which it won’t this time, he looks like he’s the man who stopped it. If it passes, he wins big time.”
“You’re probably right, Alice,” Lillie Mae said, calming a bit. “I know Roger is shrewd. If he wasn’t always out there trying to make a deal, he wouldn’t be Roger, I guess.”
“So, stop overreacting, Lillie Mae. What’s brought all this on anyway?”
“I’ve been calling Clare’s house all morning and nobody answers the phone,” Lillie Mae said. “It’s stupid, I know, but I picture Clare lying on her kitchen floor, needing my help. Dead, even.”
A sigh escaped Alice’s lips. “You’re way over dramatizing this morning, Lillie Mae,” she said. “Roger’s not even home. He drove by me in that stupid yellow Hummer of his while Alfred and I were out on our early morning walk.”
“That’s good to hear,” Lillie Mae said. “Stop imagining the worst, Lillie Mae. Clare’s probably out, too. It’s such a warm spring day. Doesn’t she usually go grocery shopping on Wednesday mornings?”
“Maybe,” Lillie Mae conceded. “Or she could be in her garden, I guess.”
“She’ll call you back when she gets to it,” Alice said, a hint of impatience in her voice.
“I doubt if she does.” Lillie Mae’s voice broke. “She rarely calls me anymore. We’ve been such good friends for so many years and I miss her, Alice. I wish I knew what I did wrong.”
“Clare’s changing, Lillie Mae. She’s getting stronger. Give the girl some space.”
“I’ve noticed a change, too,” Lillie Mae said, “since Billy went off to university. She does have more confidence, I’ll give you that.”
“Have you written your article on the water meeting for the Antioch Gazette, yet?” Alice asked. “I thought it was due today.”
“Not yet,” Lillie Mae confessed. “I’ve been too worried about Clare.”
“Maybe being busy will take your mind off things that are not really any of your business,” Alice said.
“I guess you’re right,” Lillie Mae said. “Clare’s a big girl and can take care of herself.”
“I know that well,” Lillie Mae said, then suddenly turned serious again when her thoughts returned to Clare. “I’m walking down to Clare’s to check things out before I start on the article. I need to make certain she’s all right, or I won’t be able to concentrate on my work. Do you want to come along?”
“No, you go on, if it’ll make you feel better,” Alice said. “You can fill me in on the details at dinner this evening.”
* * *
Roger Ballard’s yellow Hummer was not in the driveway when Lillie Mae arrived at Clare’s house a few minutes later, but Clare’s Ford Escort was. That was good news on both fronts.
Lillie Mae walked around to the back of the large white two-story house trimmed with neat green shutters, to see if Clare might be working in the garden as she often was at this time of the day. She paused when she heard Clare’s voice through the open back door. She sounded angry. Or was it scared? Lillie Mae couldn’t tell for sure.
As she approached the back of the house, Lillie Mae could see through the screen door that Clare was on the phone, her back facing the door. Ready to call out a greeting, Lillie Mae stopped when she heard what Clare said next.
“No, don’t come over here. I’m fine.”
A brief pause.
“There is nothing for you to worry about. It was an accident. Really. Roger didn’t touch me. I told you the truth about what happened.”
“We have to be careful,” Clare said, her voice quivering. “If anyone finds out what we’ve done, it would be a disaster for both of us. Roger would kill us if he knew or even suspected.”
A stab of guilt pricked Lillie Mae’s conscience. She stepped back around the side of the house and then called out a belated greeting in her loudest voice.
“Clare, are you home? Lillie Mae here.”
“Just a minute Lillie Mae,” Clare called back. “I’ll be right there.”
Lillie Mae could hear rustling in the kitchen and what could have been Clare whispering something and then hanging up the phone. Clare’s big black tomcat was at the door mewing to get out, making it impossible to hear the rest of the muffled conversation.
Clare stood at the door a few seconds later, flushed and anxious. “Thanks for stopping by, Lillie Mae,” she said, brushing a strand of dark-brown hair behind her ear as she pushed the door open with her other hand. The slight smile on her lips was not in her bright blue eyes. “What a beautiful bouquet you have with you.”
“It’s for you.” Lillie Mae stretched the vase out toward her friend.
Clare took the flowers from Lillie Mae, then ushered her into the large country kitchen. “Come in and tell me the news,” Clare said, without much enthusiasm. “Would you like a cup of coffee?”
“That would be nice,” Lillie Mae said.
Clare busily arranged an impromptu coffee while Lillie Mae took a seat at the table. Watching her friend as she prepared the table, Lillie Mae was struck again at how attractive Clare was despite her years with Roger. A large-boned woman, Clare could easily be a plus-size model with curves in all the right places. Although she must be in her mid-forties by now, Lillie Mae thought she could pass for a younger woman. Only her son Billy, now a freshman at the university, gave her age away.
Clare set the table with raisin-nut muffins, butter and jam, and a plate of strawberries and fresh pineapple, then poured the coffee in the mugs at each of their places. She had set the flowers in the center of the table. Sitting down opposite Lillie Mae, she passed her the plate of fruit. “These are the first strawberries out of my garden. I picked them this morning.”
Lillie Mae took one of the deep red strawberries from the bowl Clare had passed her, and popped it into her mouth. “That’s good,” she said when she had swallowed. “So sweet for an early spring berry.”
“Sweet berries always come after a cold winter.” Clare picked up a berry and tasted it.
It was then that Lillie Mae saw the bruise on her left cheek.
“That bastard,” Lillie Mae said. “What did Roger do to you?”
“Roger didn’t do anything to me, Lillie Mae,” Clare said, her hand flying to her face. “Right!” Lillie Mae exclaimed. “Roger never touches you, does he? In all the years I’ve known you, you haven’t had one bruise or broken bone, thanks to Roger Ballard, have you, Clare?”
Clare looked Lillie Mae squarely in the eyes, and said very slowly, enunciating each word. “Roger did not do this to me, Lillie Mae. It was a stupid accident I did to myself.”
“Right,” Lillie Mae said again, this time muttering under her breath.
Clare blushed. “I’ll tell you what happened if you give me the chance. You’re so judgmental, Lillie Mae. You jump to the worst conclusions with very little information, and you always have to be right. I’m not a needy little girl anymore. I can take care of myself.”
Lillie Mae stared at her friend, shocked by the outburst. “I’m sorry.”
“Do you know what I hate the most, Lillie Mae?” Clare said, ignoring her friend’s apology. “The pity. I can see it in your eyes and I can’t stand it. Why do you think I’ve been avoiding you lately?”
Tears sprang to Lillie Mae’s eyes.
“Clare I didn’t realize—again, I’m sorry,” she said, truly repentant. “Tell me what happened last night, and I promise I’ll believe you.”
Clare looked at her friend for what seemed like a full minute.
“It was so stupid,” she finally said, as if the earlier conversation hadn’t taken place. “I went to bed around ten o’clock and went straight to sleep. It had been a busy day and I was tired. When I woke up around midnight and Roger wasn’t home yet, I got worried. As you know, when Roger stays out late, he usually comes home drunk.”
Clare glanced at Lillie Mae, who was nodding, but didn’t wait for her to say anything. “Most of the time he falls asleep on the sofa in his living room, but, on the rare occasion, he wants to talk to me. All I have to do to avoid him is hide in Billy’s room. Roger never thinks to look for me there. So, last night when I was moving to Billy’s room, I didn’t turn on the lights in case Roger came home just then, and I tripped on an old pair of Roger’s boots that he had left by the landing. I fell and hit my cheek on the wall. That’s what happened, Lillie Mae. As I told you before, Roger didn’t touch me.”
“So it really was an accident.” Lillie Mae said, thinking that indirectly Roger was as responsible for the accident as he would have been had he made the blow himself. “Is there anything I can do for you?”
“No, Lillie Mae, there’s nothing I need from you or anybody. I’ve told you it’s not a big deal. I’m fine. I’m fine. I’m fine. Please, let’s not talk about it anymore. Okay?”
“Okay,” Lillie Mae said, wondering who else Clare had been trying to convince it wasn’t a big deal that morning.
The phone rang, the shrill noise blasting through the tension in the air. Clare turned pale. She looked over her shoulder at the phone, than back at Lillie Mae. “I’m not going to answer that,” she said with a nervous laugh. “I’ve been getting so many crank phone calls lately.”
Lillie Mae moved her eyes from Clare to the phone, but remained quiet.
The ringing stopped as quickly as it had begun. Clare inhaled deeply and clasped her hands, but Lillie Mae could see they were shaking.
“Let’s go outside, Lillie Mae,” Clare said, jumping to her feet. “It’s way too pretty a morning to be sitting in the house. Besides I want to show you my garden. The onions, carrots, and the spring lettuce I planted last week are already peeking through the soil.” Clare picked up a bowl off the counter. “Let’s pick some strawberries for you to take home.”
Lillie Mae glanced back over her shoulder at the phone as she followed Clare out of the house.
Liz has been kind enough to offer a paperback for giveaway! Head on over to the Rafflecopter for your chance to win!
ORIGINS PROMOTION & GIVEAWAY
John Mitchell’s life in the small Midwestern town of Mill City Wisconsin is about to change forever. The animals in his lab at the Neuro Science Research center suddenly die, he learns gut wrenching news about his wife of ten years and the most important meeting of his career gets canceled when his boss mysteriously disappears.
After accidentally injecting himself with a serum made from the instructions scribed on a seven-thousand-year-old artifact John discovers he has new abilities and new blood-chilling enemies. He and his wife Jenny are soon running for their lives from the terrifying figures that will stop at nothing to protect the serum’s seven-thousand-year-old secret and retrieve the artifact needed to finish their plans.
On the run and searching for answers they are thrown into a world of ancient secrets, esoteric mysteries and a clandestine underground race when they become trapped in a cavern deep under the ruins of ancient Babylon. As millions of people around the world suddenly begin disappearing they learn the horrific news of the inevitable extinction of the Human Race.
S. E. MEYER has been studying ancient civilizations and religions from around the world for over ten years. He has a passion for stimulating conversation and debate within these topics. Hobbies include playing guitar and anything to do with the outdoors or gardening. He lives with his wife and two sons in the Chippewa Valley of western Wisconsin.
Link to local news magazine published article: http://volumeone.org/articles/2013/07/02/5824_in_the_beginning
Link to Book on Amazon: http://www.amzn.com/B00CEKDQO6/?tag=indiestyle-20
Win one of two copies of Origins! Click the link below!
After struggling for several long months, Jason and Sarah Wyatt are expecting a healthy baby boy. How could they have ever known that the young child growing in Sarah’s womb is the banished soul of the youngest archangel of heaven? His crime so unspeakable that it seems unreal. The archangel Gabriel has sworn to watch over him, for he alone knows the truth about why the archangel Omega would defy his eldest brother, Michael, and bring the Antichrist before God. Could one act of kindness save the darkest of souls?
Brandon Godbee resides in Houston, Texas with his family. After graduating from high school, Brandon’s creative spirit and love of singing drove him to major in music. Angel Omega: Imprisonment is Brandon’s first work in writing and he is currently working on Angel Omega: Shattered Soul the next installment in the series.
Brandon has been awesome enough to offer up TWO signed paperbacks of his book. Click the link below to be taken to the Rafflecopter page. Ends 6/29. USA ONLY!
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Burning Sage by Deena Remiel
Sage Wilcot, an accomplished scientist, has set her sights on her lifelong obsession, studying the volcanoes of the island of Santorini. Once there, though, she gets more than she bargained for. The dormant volcano is waking and shaking things up in the process.
An enigmatic stranger—from a mythical ancient city—comes to her rescue and challenges her to believe in the unbelievable. Will she take the huge leap of faith for love’s sake or stay cloistered in her fortress of certainty and solitude?
“Well, now what?” She brushed the sandy grit off her hands and sloshed her way to drier land. “I’m here. On a grumbling volcano. Alone. What the hell was I thinking?” She shook her head at her own audacity and stupidity.
“You were thinking of me, perhaps? I can only hope.”
Sage spun around at the sound of the low-timbered voice. “Emmanouel?”
He stepped out of the shadowy darkness and outstretched his arms in a welcoming gesture. “In the flesh. And you, Sage, are too, I see. Looking splendid.”
“Yes, much less dusty and grimy. It’s amazing what a shower and some clean clothes can do.” Really, Sage? That’s your big comeback?
He laughed lightly and sauntered closer to her. “So were you?”
“Was I what?”
“Thinking of me.”
“In a way.”
“In what way?”
“Why is that?”
“You disappeared on me earlier. You were following me out of the hole we were in, and then when I went to introduce you to a colleague, you were gone. I could have used some backup on my story about my face being injured and how you fixed it with that watery stuff of yours. See? It’s all gone. No cut, no bruise….”
“Just beautiful, soft skin that I long to touch.” His husky voice sent thrilling pulses through her body and a tingly sensation across her skin. He reached out, and with the back of his hand, tried to caress her cheek. Barely controlling her burgeoning lust, she stepped back.
“Now cut that out. I’m trying to be angry with you.”
“I’m sorry. Go ahead.”
“Well, I can’t now. You kinda fizzled it out of me.”
“Oh, good. So now I can touch you, yes?”
“No!” she huffed, and stepped farther out of his reach. “You can tell me where you went and why you’re here now. How did you know I’d be here?”
“I never left. I can never leave.”
Win one of 5 copies of Ghost of a Chance by Deena Remiel.
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About the Author:
It was the mystique of Arizona’s history and landscape that called to Deena and catapulted her career as an author. When she’s not writing romance and urban fantasy in the wee small hours of the morning or in the deep, dark of night, Deena teaches language arts to middle school students. She currently lives in Gilbert, Arizona with her husband and two children, but New Jersey will always tug at her heartstrings. She believes in angels and loves connecting with her fans, so find her at deenaremiel.com.