Thursday, March 5, 2015

Cover Reveal: Age of Blood by Shauna Granger

Age of Blood (Ash and Ruin #3) by Shauna Granger

 Available 5/5/2015


Hope is a dangerous thing, but powerful. Hope keeps you going. Hope can keep you alive. But hope can shatter your world. Kat and Dylan have found a home, but the monsters are still out there. The pox and plague still ravage the world. They have hope of finding a vaccine, but their encampment isn't equipped to develop it. Dylan is still too weak from the pox to leave the encampment, so Kat must decide between staying by his side and protecting her last remaining family member as he leaves to find supplies. Separated for the first time since they came together, Kat and Dylan will have to fight their own battles to save what is left of their bloody world. Kat will have to hold on to hope that she has anything left to save and someone to come home to. If she can survive.


About the series:

World of Ash - book 1

WOA (1)

There are two inherent truths in the world: life as we know it is over, and monsters are real.
The Pestas came in the night, spreading their pox, a deadly plague that decimated the population. Kat, one of the unlucky few who survived, is determined to get to her last living relative and find shelter from the pox that continues to devastate the world. When it mutates and becomes airborne, Kat is desperate to avoid people because staying alone might be her only chance to stay alive. That is, until she meets Dylan. Dylan, with his easy smile and dark, curly hair, has nowhere to go and no one to live for. He convinces Kat there can be safety in numbers, that they can watch out for each other. So the unlikely couple set off together through the barren wasteland to find a new life – if they can survive the roaming Pestas, bands of wild, gun-toting children, and piles of burning, pox-ridden bodies.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Smashwords

Time of Ruin - book 2


The world has ended, and hope is the most dangerous thing left.
Battered and bruised after barely escaping San Francisco with their lives, Kat, Dylan, and Blue press north – desperate to reach the possibility of a new home. But strange, monstrous ravens are tracking the remaining survivors, food is becoming scarce, gasoline is running short, and people are becoming suicidal, making survival almost impossible. And the Pestas are growing bolder. Somehow, their numbers are growing. The further north they go, the harder it becomes to ignore the signs that they’ve made a fatal mistake. Kat must face the impossible truth that there is no escape, there is no safe haven, and their worst nightmares don’t come close to their new reality.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Smashwords

About the author:


Like so many other writers, Shauna grew up as an avid reader, but it was in high school that she realized she wanted to be a writer. She released the first installment of her Paranormal YA Series, The Elemental Series, Earth, on May 1, 2011 and has since released four sequels, with the series coming to an end with Spirit. In December of 2013 she released the first in her Paranormal Post-Apocalyptic trilogy (Ash And Ruin Trilogy), World of Ash. Be sure to also check out her newest series: The Matilda Kavanagh Novels about a spunky witch just trying to pay her rent in West Hollywood. Shauna is currently hard at work on one too many projects, trying to organize the many voices in her head. It's a writer thing.


About the Cover Artist Stephanie Mooney:


I am a 25-year-old graphic designer, artist, and aspiring author currently living in Cincinnati, Ohio. I’m a renaissance girl — a lover of all things creative and artistic. From the moment I learned to use my hands, I was writing stories about princesses and sketching ballerinas. I guess I never really stopped. Most of my training has been informal, and many of my skills are self taught. In 2006-07, I spent a year interning at a church in Louisiana where I worked in their art and design department. In July 2007, they hired me as one of their designers. I worked there for three years, gaining experience in graphic design, advertising, set building, event planning, and product design. From there, I began my career in freelance design. Many of my clients are indie authors looking for affordable cover designs. I love working with authors and getting excited about their stories with them. I’m still building my web portfolio, but I really enjoy designing and developing websites as well.


Monday, March 2, 2015

Plagiarism Happens

So, this happened...
Perfect Man screen shot
This is obviously an Amazon listing, describing a novel written by someone named Melissa Rogers. The listing rather prominently advertises 'bdsm' and 'alpha male' tags, and for several days it was a free download, with a ranking of around 5000.
So why is this a problem?
It's a problem because The Perfect Man wasn't written by Melissa Rogers. It was written by my friend Amanda Byrne, aka Radiodemon. (It also doesn't contain any bdsm, and the hero is more of a beta with strong alpha tendencies, but that's beside the point.) She entered her story in last year's Valentine's contest at, and she won. The entire story (not just the first 18 pages as shown here in "Part One") has been available at Literotica for free, although it will be taken down soon at Amanda's request.
Last Friday someone emailed Amanda, letting her know a chunk of her story had been published on Amazon under three parts. A Literotica reader saw the story, recognized it, and was thoughtful enough to contact Amanda about it. (So YAY for conscientious community members.) Amanda downloaded all three parts, the first half to 2/3 of the piece, just to confirm it was in fact her story. The other two parts were published under different authors' names, with similar cover art. All three were free, though as is apparent from the image at the top of this post, Part One is now priced at $2.99, and parts 2 and 3 appear to have been taken down.
Amanda contacted Amazon on Friday through their copyright complaint tool,and she's sent Amazon a cease and desist letter. She's provided them with as much information as she had. It's her story. The story has been up on under her log-in. She has a copy of the cancelled check for the prize money, Amazon acknowledged receipt of her complaint, but says it takes 5-7 business days for them to investigate the situation. 
That's five to seven days someone could be making money off of Amanda's work.
So this makes me mad, and not just because something shitty happened to a friend of mine.
Authors have their work pirated all the time. It's sort of an occupational hazard of publishing in the digital age.  I don't usually get too excited when I find one of my books on a shady "download for free" site, because I figure as soon as I send off the cease and desist letter, it'll disappear from one site and put up somewhere else.  I also figure if you're a big enough loser to download people's work from a pirate site, you deserve whatever malware or viruses come along with it.
But Amazon is different. Regardless of what you think of their business practices, most of us trust it as a place to shop. My experience with Amazon customer service has always been good, too, so it's appalling to me that they're slow to respond to the concerns of an author, one of the many who keep their machine running. It's bad enough that losers out there would rip off someone else's work, but when an author is lucky enough to uncover such blatant plagiarism, it's frightening to feel like you don't have back-up.
In a perfect world, Amazon would have pulled the listing down while they investigated the complaint, ensuring that no one would benefit from this fraud. In a perfect world, anyone stumbling on this listing would look at the ten one-star reviews and stay the hell away.
In a perfect world, cheaters wouldn't win.
If you're interested in reading all of The Perfect Man, I'll be sharing the listing when Amanda publishes it for real, and if you've got any advice on how to avoid situations like this, or what to do when they happen, please leave your thoughts in the comments. I'm putting this same post up on the SpellboundScribes blog, because I want people to know about what happened. Jump HERE for Amanda's own blog, to get her thoughts on the issues this raises.


Friday, February 27, 2015

Aloha, Baby (A Short Story Serial - Part 2)

Blue eyes, dimples, and a hot surfer's body means trouble, right? There's only one way for Katie to find out...

  Last week I posted the first section of my short story Aloha, Baby. If you didn't catch that post, jump to Part 1. Then come right back to see what trouble Katie gets into this week...

Losing seventy pounds was sure something to celebrate, but at the same time it created problems Katie never expected to deal with. Like, what to do when the hot-bodied surfer, Jack, turned out to be the DJ at her roommate's favorite dance club. Katie was positive he had ‘Trouble’ stamped on his butt. Didn't he?

Part 2

I stepped off the elevator carrying a white Styrofoam cup of frozen yogurt and smiled at my neighbor Darla out in the hall.
“Hey lady,” Darla said in her smoker’s rasp.
“Hey Darla.” I juggled my backpack and fished out my keys. Our building was surrounded by residential neighborhoods. From our fifteenth floor unit, we gazed over the tops of palm trees and red-roofed houses to the aqua ribbon of ocean at the edge of the world. Or that’s how it felt.
“You need a nice young man to take you to dinner.”
“Nope.” I glanced over my shoulder at her and laughed. “You do.”
Darla laughed too, a sound as wrinkled and leathery as her skin. She owned an extensive collection of old cotton bathing suits in graphic block prints and neon colored flowers. Straight from the sixties, they had built-in skirts, bullet boobs, and wide shoulder straps. She seldom wore anything else. Today’s choice had sunshine yellow hibiscus blossoms on a green background.
“Oh, I’ve done my time.” Darla punctuated her thought with a loose cough. “Miss Bitty and Stinker keep me busy enough.”
Miss Bitty and Stinker were cats. In my mind, they were the finishing touches on a perfect nightmare. In my ugliest fantasies, I ended up like Darla, living alone, dressing crazy, and talking to my cats all day. I wouldn’t be Meli’s roommate forever. Then what? It’s not like I had much hope of getting married. I’d had no practice with men. Seventy pounds ago it wasn’t an issue. Now, at size eight and with Meli coaching from the sidelines, it might be.
Our apartment was fairly standard. There was a short entry hall with a galley kitchen on the right and two bedrooms on the left. The kitchen was separated from the living room area by a waist-high counter. Two bar stools on the living room side to allow visitors to sit and watch the cook, if we ever cooked. We were more into Lean Cuisine frozen dinners.
Across the living room was a sliding glass door leading to the lanai. Our carpet was beige, the walls were beige, and our furniture was made from a pale polished wood. If it weren’t for the forest green couch and bright coral flowered pillows, the place would have resembled a bowl of oatmeal.
I plopped onto the couch and dug my spoon into the frozen yogurt, quickly shuffling exchanges in my head. Weight Watchers would prefer I wrote everything down and I would…later. Hula Girl, our dancing doll, was in her usual spot standing next to the TV. Flipping a switch made her hips swing and her grass skirt swish while the music box played The Hukilau Song. The rest of the time she listened to my problems and gave me advice about diet and exercise and stuff. Okay, so I talked to a plastic doll. Everyone’s got their little eccentricities.
Today she was quiet until I remembered Jack, carving the curl of a wave, his shoulders and chest broad and sun-kissed over a pair of those ubiquitous baggie shorts all surfers wore.
She smiled like the Cheshire Cat.
“What? I barely know him.”
Hula Girl just grinned at me.
Thank goodness Meli wasn’t home from work yet. If she knew I talked to a doll, I’d never hear the end of it.

A quick cloudburst right before sunset had cleared the air of most of the day’s heat, though it was still muggy in the apartment. The door to the lanai was open to let air circulate, and the smell of plumeria blossoms from the trees down below floated through the living room. That smell was my very favorite thing about living in Hawaii.
By the time Meli got home, the yogurt container was in the garbage, and I’d taken a shower. My hair was pulled up in a French twist and I had the curling iron in hand, creating a corkscrew cascade of bangs to frame one side of my face. Any hairstyle turned into an ongoing battle between my natural curl and the moisture in the air. My weapons were mousse, gel, and a tall white can of Paul Mitchell Super Hold hairspray, unless it was really muggy. Then I pulled out my big gun: Aqua Net.
Meli blew in, a four-foot-eleven whirlwind of Chinese-Filipino energy. “How you gonna get your tee shirt off with your hair all done up?”
At five-foot-six-inches, I always felt gawky around her. “Very carefully?”
“Lo-lo. You shoulda taken the shirt off first.” She shook back her waist-length black hair and crossed her arms, leaning against the door jamb.
“I said I’ll be careful.”
“Do it now so we have time to fix what you mess up.”
I mock-glared at her in the mirror before reaching for the hem of my t-shirt. She was going to yell at me even louder when she saw what I had on underneath. I wore a cheap bra I’d bought forty pounds ago. Now it was faded, frayed, and hopelessly baggy. Every time she saw it she ragged on me to get rid of it. I lifted the hem, carefully keeping the neckband of the shirt away from my hair.
“Stop right there.”
I froze with my hands at about shoulder level.
“This thing needs to go.”
With a snap, she unbuckled the bra. It stayed up because my arms were raised, though one boob popped out of the cup.
“Damn it,” I said under my breath.
“No, you damn it. You’re a pretty girl. You shouldn’t wear crap like that.”
I got the t-shirt off with a minimum of trauma to my hair before turning to face her with my bra at half mast. “No one sees it except you.”
“Even I shouldn’t have to see that nasty thing.”
“All right, I promise I’ll throw it away.”
She raised her chin and smirked. “No, sistah, you’re going to give it to me and I’m going to throw it away.”
With a heavy sigh, I dropped the bra into her outstretched hand and pushed past her out of the bathroom, trailing the t-shirt behind like a drooping tail.
“Now go put your dress on.”
“Yes, mother.” I let my bedroom door slam just a little harder than necessary.

Meli had a good job. She worked in the business office of a big law firm, Bernstein & Rowe, and made a decent salary doing it. Family connections helped her find the job, and family connections helped her get a deal on a shiny blue BMW. Family connections are key, whether you live in a small town or a big city like Honolulu.
My family connections went in a somewhat different direction. My dad was a Navy officer. He and my mom had moved to Honolulu when I was in high school. When they moved on to their next duty station, I stayed to go to the University of Hawaii. After graduation I couldn’t come up with a reason to move back to the mainland, so I took a job at one of the local hospitals. Every winter I took a trip to wherever my parents were living to get my cold weather fix. This year they were in Norfolk, Virginia, which was warmer than many places they’d lived. At least I’d had an excuse to wear a sweater.
While Meli finished getting ready, I caught part of an episode of Entertainment Tonight and wondered what it would be like to be famous. Hula Girl pointed out real surfers didn’t like artificial girls.
“So what?”
“What?” Meli called out from her room.
Actually, I’d been talking to the doll again. Hula Girl told me I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.
“Shut up already.” Oops. Out loud again. The doll was starting to get on my nerves. It was almost like she wanted me to get together with Jack.
Meli poked her head out of the bathroom. “Did you say something to me?”
“Let’s go.”
She came out of her room, running a comb through her silky hair. She wore a pair of dressy shorts with a black bustier top. In her high black pumps, she was almost as tall as me, at least until I put on my own high heels.
“You lo-lo. First I’m dragging you out against your will, and now you’re rushing me.”
“As if.”
Meli curled her lip and looked down her nose at me. “Shut up already.” The comb flew in the general direction of her bedroom. “I hope we can catch up with this guy Dave from work. He keeps trying to go out with me, but my mother would freak out if I brought a haole home. She only wants Asian boys for me.”
“So this isn’t a date?” The humidity made my scalp itch under my perfect curls. I had to keep reminding myself not to scratch it or, for sure, everything would frizz out, despite the layers of product and hairspray.
“Oh, no.” Meli made her eyes wide and shook her head, like a kid who’d been caught being naughty. “Did I mention he has a twin brother? Super cute, both of them. They went to Pepperdine to play volleyball and just moved here a couple months ago when Dave got the job at Bernstein & Rowe. I’m pretty sure his brother doesn’t have a girlfriend.”
I tried to ignore the suggestion in Meli’s words. If he was an athlete, he probably liked skinny girls. Even though I knew my strappy black dress said “Size Eight” on the tag, I still felt like an imposter.
“You’re not going to wear that watch, are you?” Meli pointed to my black Swatch.
“Um…maybe not.” I unbuckled it and tucked it in my purse. Meli was right. It didn’t go with the outfit. Without it, though, there was a pale stripe around my wrist.
Meli glanced at me significantly and raised an eyebrow. “Fix that.”

She was out the door so fast only Hula Girl heard me muttering about bossy roommates as I searched my jewelry box for a bracelet wide enough to work.

So do you think Meli will get Katie out on the dance floor? Check back next week and see!

Jump HERE for part 3.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Re-Release Celebration with Morgan O'Neill!

So a while ago I read a really fabulous book, Love, Eternally by the writing team of Morgan O'Neill. (Jump HERE for my review.) Well, you know the old saying, the only thing you can count on is change? Yeah, that one. It seems that things changed for Morgan O'Neill, and now they're re-releasing all three of their Roman Time Travel series. The new cover art is lovely and the stories are still wonderful, so I thought I'd give you a peek here on the blog so you can see for yourself...

Love, Eternally


A witch's ancient curse propels talented flutist Gigi Perrin back to A.D. 408, to the court of the depraved Roman Emperor Honorius and his admirable sister, Princess Galla Placidia. There, Gigi grapples with her disbelief about what has happened, and with the strange, new world of violent politics, social upheaval and barbarians straining at the very gates of an empire. Through it all, she must struggle with her powerful attraction to a pagan senator and military commander, Quintus Magnus, a man exotically different from anyone she has ever known. On the brink of a dark and war-torn age, Gigi joins forces with Magnus, battling to save a princess and her people, and ultimately finding love amid the chaos, before the fall of Rome.  

The Deets: 

Title: Love, Eternally (Book 1)

Author: Morgan O’Neill

Publisher: Time’s Arrow Productions

Publication Date: February 18, 2015

Genre: Historical/Time Travel Fiction


After the Fall 


After the Fall ratchets up the tension as time traveler Gigi Perrin and her husband, the Roman warrior Quintus Magnus, join forces with the Visigoth King Alaric to march on Rome. There waits Princess Galla Placidia, the admirable sister of the despicable Emperor Honorius. About to be forced into an arranged marriage by her brother, Placidia fears a bleak future, trapped in a loveless union. 

In an attempt to save Rome from barbarian invasion, Placidia puts aside her troubles and meets with Alaric’s delegation, which includes Gigi and Magnus, and the king’s second-in-command, the Visigoth prince, Athaulf. The attraction between Placidia and Athaulf is instantaneous and overwhelming, but theirs is a forbidden love, destined to fail because of implacable politics and impending war. 

Bound by a friendship that transcends time, Gigi and Placidia must do whatever they can to protect the men they love, after the fall of Rome.


The Deets: 

Title: After the Fall (Book 2)
Author: Morgan O’Neill
Publisher: Time’s Arrow Productions
Publication Date: February 17, 2015
Genre: Historical/Time Travel Fiction

Available from Amazon

Return to Me


Return to Me finds time traveler Gigi Perrin happily settled into twenty-first century life with her husband, the former Roman senator and military commander, Quintus Magnus. Gigi has resumed her successful musical career, playing the flute for her adoring fans, while making her first foray into Hollywood by creating the musical score for a feature film about the Roman emperor Nero. 

At the film’s wrap party, Gigi is presented with a gift to commemorate her work: an ancient Roman ring depicting the goddess Victoria. Stunned, she and Magnus recognize it as the very ring that brought them together, and the one subsequently stolen from her and lost in A.D. 410. How did it make its way back to them? Magnus believes the answer is clear; Victoria sent it as a warning about their dear friend, Princess Galla Placidia. They start researching what happened to Placidia after Gigi and Magnus time traveled from the barbarous fifth century. To their shock, they discover Placidia's life took a series of terrible turns, culminating with the murders of her children. 

Realizing they have no other choice, Gigi and Magnus prepare to embark on a perilous quest to go back in time and rescue them. But one ominous question remains – how can they save the children without altering the course of history? 


The Deets:

Title: Return to Me (Book 3)
Author: Morgan O’Neill
Publisher: Time’s Arrow Productions
Publication Date: February 17, 2015
Genre: Historical/Time Travel Fiction

Available from Amazon 

Morgan O'Neill


A chance meeting at a writers' conference brought Cary Morgan Frates and Deborah O'Neill Cordes together, two award-winning authors who connected because of a mutual love of time travel fiction. Collaboration ensued, the search for a pen name the first step in their working relationship. Their maiden names provided the solution - and "Morgan O'Neill" was born.

Cary and Deborah's backgrounds are uniquely suited to writing stories steeped in atmosphere and history: Deborah has a Master's Degree in history and is a dedicated genealogist; Cary is a talented linguist in French and is currently a student of Latin. They've traveled to Europe's ancient and medieval sites many times, with Cary living on the Continent for five years.

The Morgan O'Neill time travel novels have received a number of literary awards, including two finalist wins in the Booksellers' Best Awards, two semifinalist wins in the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition, first, second, and third place wins for the Mainstream Novel with Strong Romantic Elements category of the Golden Rose Contest, a top ten finalist award in the Pacific Northwest Writers' Conference Zola Awards Literary Contest, and a top ten finalist win in the Orange Rose Contest.


Contact Info