Thursday, April 30, 2015

Adventures In Driving (Excerpt from JADE)

I had a reviewer recently that mentioned this scene from Jade and a few people told me they also got a kick out of it.

Jade does a lot of things well but driving is not one of those things.

Excerpt from Jade by Rose Montague:

    Once we arrived at the prison, we quickly switched places to
the vehicle the warden had left us, what looked like a brand new
Mercedes sport utility still with the temporary tags on it. The
others all beat me to the passenger seats. You would think somebody
like me could drive, what with great eyesight, super-sharp
reflexes, and excellent coordination. For some reason, I was just a
terrible driver. My few experiments with driving had resulted in
multiple collisions and terrified pedestrians. I hadn’t seriously injured
anyone and I didn’t want to. I especially didn’t want to hurt
the warden’s car. After several failed excuses I tried to settle on
the truth, telling them I had obtained a driver’s license through
less than standard means just so I could get this job. I had even
had to use a bit of glamour and witch magic to escape having to do
my driving training at the police academy. They insisted it was my
turn, and that I was a terrible liar. Big sigh.
   “Okay,” I said, “Seat-belts please.” I barely missed the little
gate house where you exit the prison and didn’t quite stop in time
at the crossbar and nudged it just slightly, fortunately not breaking
it. The guards looked at me through our tinted windows, just
shaking their heads as I painstakingly jerked the car back a few
feet so they could raise the gate.
   “You are a terrible actress as well,” Rolfe said, as I weaved
across the road leading from the prison, heading into town. Chris
and Sarah were in the back, Chris had his phone out and they
were trying to give me directions.
   “Can you just tell me to go north, south, east, or west for right
now?” I asked. I was having trouble focusing on the directions
and concentrating on not hitting anything at the same time.
As soon as we had reached the outskirts of town, a black
Explorer came out of nowhere and rammed us, hitting at my front
right side and sending me spinning. Instinctively I had turned the
wheels in the other direction and pounded the gas resulting in us
doing a 360 and I was heading back in the same direction, pedal
to the metal. I screamed, and for some reason decided punching
buttons on the console would help. Born to Be Wild started blaring
out of the stereo system, volume cranked to the max.
    Two more black Explorers came towards me from ahead. I had
built up some distance from the car behind us. I screamed yet
again, although I doubt anyone could hear me over the stereo and
jerked the wheel to my right, flattening a mailbox and sending
somebody’s trash can airborne. Some poor dog in front of me took
off. I barely missed running him over. I tore through the front
yard of about five homes, one had a really nice picket fence, now
with a Mercedes-sized hole in it. I could see some kids in the next
yard ahead, staring at me, eyes big, frozen in terror. I jerked the
steering wheel to the left this time, still with my foot all the way
down on the accelerator, I was probably going to punch a hole in
the floor, I was pushing so hard. The drivers of the two Explorers
flanking me looked at me as if I was crazy as I accidentally clipped
the lead one in the rear and the back one in the front, somehow
going between them, heading for what looked like somebody’s living
room across the street as I bounced over the curb, the rear
end coming three feet off the ground before slamming back down.
    The two Explorers I had hit went spinning, with the one that had
hit me originally crashing into them both, pieces of metal and
glass flying everywhere. A lady was looking out her front door,
only yards away, staring straight at me as I headed towards her .
I screamed again this time jerking the wheel to the right, running
into a thick row of hedges between that house and the next. That
must have done the car no good because the motor cut off, my foot
was still pushing on that pedal. The song ended and Rolfe reached
over and turned it off.
    We got out of the car, guns at the ready. The three Explorers
were a tangled, smoking mess and there was no sign of movement
from within.
   “Great driving,” Rolfe said.

Jade is the first book in an urban fantasy series with tons of action and a lot of humor. You can by a copy here:

Amazon Link

Monday, April 27, 2015

Peggy McAloon: Author Interview and Spotlight

Elle Burton and the Reflective Portals

by Peggy McAloon

I'm very pleased to be featuring Peggy McAloon and her book Elle Burton and the Reflective Portals.  As I was putting this post together I was struck by the series of amazing reviews she has received for this book on Amazon.  Not only is this book a great adventure for kids, it also has some important lessons to impart. 

 Elle Burton and the Reflective Portals” is the first book in the “Lessons from Fiori” series. It’s a Coming of Age Fantasy series about a young girl who encounters a winged creature from another dimension on her way to school. She soon discovers these winged creatures are everywhere. Their goal is to breathe the first breath of life into a newborn human to give them a kind heart and stay with the children until they reach the age of eight to help protect them from life’s complications.

In book one, Elle’s only ten. She soon discovers she can see the creatures because she’s been chosen as a human Guide to help the tiny winged creatures. Even more amazing, Elle is potentially the Guide spoken of in the ancient scrolls. Will she be the one to unleash the magic in the pendant she’s been given by Mother Blue in Fiori?

Elle faces the same social injustices with her friends in the book that far too many kids today struggle with. In book one, she deals with personal loss, an older friend who is being physically abused, and the class bully.

And a brand new Audible version


Q.  What inspired you to write a children's fantasy?

A.   I was an abused child. Back when I was small, no one talked about these things. It was considered something you shouldn’t ever discuss. What made things worse for me was trying to talk to my mother with hints I would have immediately followed up on as a mother, and having her make excuses for what may have caused my physical symptoms.

I was too humiliated to tell anyone for over fifty years. I believed I wasn’t worthy of the life other people lived. Once abused, a child grows into an adult who is easily taken advantage of by spouses, bullies, and employers.

A few years ago, I read some of the statistics about child abuse. Here are some of the most current numbers:

Every year more than 3 million reports of child abuse are made in the United States involving more than 6 million children (a report can include multiple children).
The United States has one of the worst records among industrialized nations – losing on average between four and seven children every day to child abuse and neglect

I decided this had to stop. Whatever we as the adults are doing, doesn’t work. The big movement of “Good Touch, Bad Touch” has been found not to work either. I will admit, when my back was rubbed, it felt good. It was the other things that happened to me that didn’t feel good. As a matter of fact, the pain was unbelievable for a seven-year-old child.

I struggled with what I might be able to do to help kids. I decided to create a role model who stands up to the social injustices our kids face every day:

Physical abuse, bullying, loss, kidnapping, etc., and put the stories in a book series.

I worked with Catherine Z. Gruener, a child counselor in the Chicago area, to use the characters in the book to provide a discussion sheet for the parent to use to discuss these social injustices with their children in a non-threatening way.

My goal is to get kids talking about the social injustices we have swept under a rug for far too long and come up with their ideas they can discuss with their parents and friends. We need to include the children in these discussions, so they are no longer afraid to come forward if they’re being hurt.

Q.  Are you working on a sequel or is there another book you are currently working on?

A.  The second book in the series: “An Elle Burton Book: Missing” is very close to publication. It continues the story from the moment Elle’s little brother JJ was kidnaped at the Dunn County Fair. She receives support from the winged creatures of Fiori in her attempt to bring her brother home. Will she be strong enough to fight the evil forces who want to prevent her from fulfilling the predictions made in the ancient scrolls? Is she the young girl who will help change the direction of the Earth and help protect our children?

Book three is also in the works, and should be out by the end of the year.

Q   I noticed you had some terrific reviews. Have you been pleased with the response you have received?

A.  It never occurred to me that women like myself would step up and admit their abuse after reading “Elle Burton and the Reflective Portals.” I have witnessed healing and relief in women who have read the book and who relate to Elle’s character and the children in the book who are also suffering. It takes courage for a child to stand up to bullying and abuse.

I addressed the issue of the class bully, Jimmy Backus, by using a real-life example of how I helped my son move beyond the daily taunts and beatings. The kids who have read the book are too young to write reviews (8-13). But, I have talked to several of them, and they love the way Elle stands up when friends are being hurt.

Q.  What life lessons do you want kids to take away from reading Elle Burton and the Reflective Portals?

A.  I want kids to understand that there is always someone out there who will believe them. We live in a world that is just beginning to understand the evil that lurks behind the closed doors. Unfortunately, the majority of abuse against children is done by friends and family members. That is the cruel truth that keeps many families from contacting the authorities. What wife wants to turn her husband into the authories?

I looked at my children as they grew into wonderful young men, and I couldn’t imagine keeping my mouth shut if anyone hurt them. We have taught our young women that children leave home, and we need to pledge our allegiance to our men. That can never be true whether the abuser is the mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, aunt, uncle, brother or sister. No child ever deserves to be hurt by anyone.

Q.  It looks like your book has great appeal for adults as well as kids. What would you say to someone reading about your book for the first time that might convince them to give it a try? 

A.  The Elle series has everything. It has a father who was killed in the Gulf Conflict. (Something kids are facing every day) Her mother fails to do everything necessary to protect her children due to her grief and post-partum depression. It includes beautiful grandparents and elderly friends who add a sense of duty and compassion to the story. The story meshes reality and fantasy beautifully and provides a role model for kids today who is the child I always wanted to be…we all did.

For any person who has been abused or bullied, Elle’s story will instill a sense of empowerment to go beyond the grief and begin the healing process. It’s never easy to talk about these things, but the message is that we need to understand we do not stand alone.

You can download the parental discussion sheet at no charge by going to

My website is at and the message there is “Hope”. That is the message and the lesson provided in the book series. 

NOTE:  Sexual abuse is not discussed in the book, only physical abuse. Kids aren't stupid, they already know things happen to friends. Elle will give them the courage to stand up and give friends the support they need to get help and move beyond the social injustices that affect their lives. This is not something that's rare. It happens to our kid's friends on a daily basis.


Ms McAloon has worked with a certified child counselor to prepare a two-page discussion sheet that allows parents to easily discuss topics such as bullying through the non-threatening characters in the book. Her hope is to provide an open dialogue between kids or kids and their parents to help reduce the number of children who are hurt each year.

Peggy McAloon is retired from the field of commercial credit. Her first book, “The Art of Business Credit Investigation” was picked up by the Book Store of the National Association of Credit Management in the 80’s. It is currently out-of-print. She has also been a contributing author for “So What Do You Do? Discovering the Genius Next Door Vol 2” with New York Time’s Best Selling Author, Joel Comm (2014) and “An Anthology of Modern Fairy Tales #1” with Renee Alter (2015). The second book in the “Lessons from Fiori” series, “Missing” will be released in 2016 and a new Jess Gantry series will be released in the fall of 2015.

When she isn’t busy writing, she enjoys playing with her two rescue dogs, reading, doing watercolor art, and she is passionate about protecting our water resources. She and her husband love to travel and meet new people.

You can find out more at Peggy's website:

Monday, April 13, 2015

Marnie Cate: Author Interview and Spotlight

Remember: Protectors of the Elemental Magic

I remember being a new author and having my first book release.  It would have been great if hundreds of people just happened to stumble upon it and decide to give a new author a try. It would have been nice if I had legions of fans just waiting to get hold of my book.  It doesn't work that way in the real world.  People have to hear about it before they will buy it.  I had a lot of people help me get the word out and it's time that I pay it forward and feature authors I feel deserve the chance. The chance to have people read their work and enjoy it.  There are a lot of good books out there just waiting for that opportunity.

"I never asked for this gift. Nothing good has come from it ... Families are hiding their gift and running away to keep themselves safe. What good has this so called gift been to my family?" 

As the secrets unfold my world has become more complicated. How many secrets can one family keep before they come crumbling down on a person?

My name is Marina Addisyn Stone but Mara is what my friends and family call me. I had always felt that there was something missing and that nothing was permanent. Why would I feel that way? I was being raised with my little sister by my grandmother that loved and doted on me. Then, there was Cole Sands. Who could forget the blue-eyed boy that had stolen my heart. What more could a girl need? I always thought I was just being dramatic and that bad things do happen to people but that is part of life. People die. People go away. Little did I know that with one secret, my life would change forever and my new world would be surrounded by the world of elemental magic.

About Marnie Cate:  Marnie Cate was born and raised in Montana before adventuring to the warmer states of Arizona and California.  Her love of Dame Judi Dench and dreams of caticorns and rainbows inspired her to chase her dreams. One great sentence came to mind and the world of elemental magic and the humans they lived amongst filled her mind. With Remember, the story has begun.

Remember is a Young Adult fantasy/paranormal book, suitable for teens and adults.

Q.  I love the mystery in your blurb and I see this is going to be a series. How many do you plan and where do you stand now on writing the second one?

A.  I am just shy of 20,000 words in my second book in the series.  My idea was to have at least five books, but the ideas keep flowing.  The story has so many layers that I need need to be explored.  The second book is going to explain why they Drygens and Silvers have broken alliances. 

Q.  What books inspired you growing up and what made you choose YA/fantasy?

A.  What a difficult question to answer. I was a avid reader as a child.  I would read anything I could put my hands on.  Judy Blume was always a favorite. When my cousin bought Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews from a thrift store, I snuck it and fell in love with the story line and devoured all her books.  A good book should be read many times in my opinion!

Q.   Tell me about your writing process and routine.

A.  My current process for ideas is to talk into my iPhone's Dragon Dictation app and just talk. I had first tried voice memo and retyping, which was tedious.  I can't say I have a master plan for how my book turned out or how book two will end up.  I have broad images.  In Remember, I had so many ideas on how things would turn out to change my entire concept.   My writing routine can be a bit slack due to life but on a good writing day, I get up in the morning before my pay job and head to my local coffee shop.  I work out the words I had dictated while trying to not get too ahead of myself. 

Q. Tell me about your publishing experience. Did you try to find an agent/publisher for your book or did you always want to publish it yourself?

A.  I found out about Smashwords and thought self publishing would be easy.  While getting the book into print and ebook format was challenging at first, I feel like it was a good confidence builder.   With that confidence, I then decided to publish to Kindle and published a print copy through CreateSpace.  My next step is making my book into an audiobook.  Publishing a book is the greatest and most frustrating feeling in the world.  Dreams of just being able to write and not handle any marketing fill my head but the world of indie authors is so welcoming that I would have hated to miss this bit of the journey. 

Q.  It's hard to find readers when you are a new author. Sometimes just getting a reader to take a chance on a new author is very difficult. For those readers who are seeing this now, what would you say to them about your book to get them to take that chance?

A.  If you like a story with real characters (flawed, insecure, angry and determined), you will enjoy Remember. Mara is learning the secrets her family have kept regarding their gift of magic and the path that is taken to reveal everything has excitement, frustration and tears.  At the heart of my book is a message that we control the world around us and like Mara I struggle to remember that always.  

You can buy Remember at the following links

You can follow Marnie on Social Media

As I was putting this post together for Marnie, I was convinced to buy her book and I look forward to posting a review down the road. I Hope you will take a chance on a new author and do the same.

Monday, April 6, 2015

No Horns On These Helmets: Edited by Erin Lale

No Horns On These Helmets is a Viking-themed anthology featuring short stories from twenty authors. I wanted to highlight this book because it features several of my author friends at Eternal Press.

No Horns On These Helmets releases on May 1st, 2015 and is available for pre-order  HERE.

Description: Norse myths and legends reborn. An anthology of 20 of the best stories by science fiction, fantasy, and Heathen authors.

It is edited by Erin Lale, acquisitions editor at Eternal Press and Damnation Books. Erin is the author of the popular book Asatru For Beginners and she also has a story included in this collection.

Laura Dasnoit, author of Forgotten Legends and sequels. Her story is Victorious Girlfriend, which features some of the characters from the Forgotten Legends series. It's not extracted from the series but is a totally new story, and includes some back-story on the main character of Forgotten Legends. 

Tony Thorne MBE, author of Points of View and sequels. Points of View is near-future hard sf / high tech thriller and his short story is fantasy / paranormal horror. This author also previously published a short story in Erin's Time Yarns Universe anthology.

Garman Lord, author of Jalopic Park. Jalopic Park is thriller and his short story is a mystery. He's the head of a heathen religious organization that has overlap with interest in the Viking theme of the anthology.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Cris Pasqueralle: Author Interview & Spotlight

Cris is the author of

Destiny Revealed (The Destiny Trilogy Series Book 1)

Blurb:  Twins Jack and Maddie Austin are told they are wizards from a magical realm of existence. With little time to digest this information, their family comes under attack by the evil wizard Tardon.  Tardon kidnaps the twins' parents and disappears with them. The twins, led by their Uncle Benny, return to the magical realm to save their parents and learn the truth about their destiny.

Destiny revealed is a MG/YA fantasy suitable for kids and adults.  It has received 24 Amazon reviews with an average rating of 4.9 stars. Check out the reviews on this fantastic book.

Buy links:

Q. Tell us about yourself and why you decided to write. What did you read growing up and what books and authors influenced you to choose YA fantasy?

A. I am a retired NYC police officer and I live on Long Island NY with my wife and two daughters.  I've always been an avid reader, grabbing anything I could at an early age.  I chose to write YA fantasy because of my children's love of it. When they started reading Harry Potter I read along with them to see what the hype was about and quickly developed a love for the genre.   When fantasy began moving into stories about vampires, my daughter encouraged me to write a story about wizards, and The Destiny Trilogy was born.

Q. What is your writing process? Do you have a set time? How much do you try to write (daily or weekly)?

A. I still like to put a rough draft down on paper. Something about putting pen to paper really gets me in a creative mind set. I like noise in the background when I write, usually the tv and some kind of sporting event, preferably baseball.  I don't go by a set number of words to write each day, I wing it and work on finishing a particular scene.  Whwn I have to stop for the day, I like to end just before writing the next idea. This gives the idea time to grow in my mind, and ensures I won't be starring at a blank page en next I sit to write.

Q. Tell us about your publishing experience. Did you self publish or find an agent and/or publisher?

A. My publishing experience has been unique in that, I first self published Destiny Revealed for kindle, and it was seen by Braxton Cosby of Cosby Media Productions. He signed me for the entire trilogy, we pulled Destiny Revealed off amazon, re-edited it, gave it a new cover, and released it as an ebook, paperback, and audio.
Q. I saw you have some fantastic reviews. Do you have a favorite?

A. My favorite review was one I just received recently it called my book "something akin to Harry Potter" I couldn't ask for greater praise than that.

Q. What's next? Any new books coming and how is your progress coming on those?

A. Next up is the release of book two, Paths of Destiny, this fall.  Currently I am working on book three, and there are plans to develop Destiny Revealed into an animated film.