Today We Have an Exclusive Excerpt from Nancy LaPonzina’s A Path Through the Garden

4489824A Path Through the Garden excerpt

Leyla Jo couldn’t take her eyes from the soft pink stones around the clerk’s neck.

The advisor put her hand to her throat. “Senora, you like these? They are pink tourmaline with the darker rubelle.”

“They’re beautiful,” Leyla Jo said. Somehow the gems called her to notice. The call was soft, undemanding. She knew what that meant. Pay attention.

The clerk continued, “A very effective energy medicine, no? When worn,” and the clerk spread her hands around her neck, “like this. Each gemstone’s shape affects the energy of the wearer Senora, and the ability to absorb the goodness of the gemstone. “I am,” and she seemed to struggle a short moment with her words, “I am a gemstone advisor. I work with other advisors here to determine which gemstones will be most effective for our patrons’ needs.”

Leyla Jo nodded. Made sense.

Hal spoke up, “Grazi, Senora. Could we look at a necklace, please?”

“Yes, of course. Let me show you one. My pleasure.” The advisor reached down behind the counter and slide out a soft earthen green box adorned with small, tiny pinecones across its top. She opened it and withdrew a beautiful silver link clasped necklace with five pink tourmaline gems and three rose-colored rubelle stones from its nest of pine needles.

Leyla Jo felt its energy the moment the box top opened. She accepted it from the advisor and placed the necklace around her neck. Hal was right behind her and moved her hair aside to close the clasp. It felt wonderful.

The advisor smiled and adjusted the small counter mirror for her to take a view.

“It’s lovely!” Leyla Jo hugged onto Hal’s arm.

“My gift to you, sweetie,” Hal said. “A perfect remembrance of Rome.” He smiled at the clerk and said, “I’d like her to wear it.”

The clerk smiled and began collecting the box and prepared to complete the purchase.

“Senora,” Leyla Jo asked but she knew the answer already, “for what condition does this aid?”

The clerk reached for her own neck once again and touched the necklace. “For family, Senora,” and her eyes glowed with happiness. She moved her hand under the lab coat. “My first,” and she softly patted the reason for the oversized lab coat.

Leyla Jo clasped Hal’s hand. “Perfect, Hal. Thank you.”

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Nancy’s Back With Leyla Jo from A Path Through the Garden

Today we’re welcoming Leyla Jo Jared from Nancy LaPonzina’s A Path through the Garden! Thanks for joining us, Leyla Jo.

So let’s get started, because our readers really want to know…

Everything about you! Tell us, where did you grow up? Is that the only place you’ve ever lived or have you moved around?

Though born and raised in Robeson County, North Carolina, I only pieced together my origins after participating in an archaeological dig at a new subdivision in Raleigh. That sounds strange, I know, but that’s how it happened. Meeting my archaeologist husband-to-be turned my life around. Through his research and the efforts of my best friend, my African-American ancestry blended to include Native American ancestry as well. I’m a country girl at heart and even though I have a professional office in the city of Raleigh, nature speaks loudest to my spirit.

What’s your current occupation?

I’m a Nurse Practitioner supporting holistic health care and alternative health remedies for my clients. I hold Reiki Second Degree certification. My practice includes Bache Flower Remedy Essences and gemstone work as well as metaphysical modalities including astrology.

What’s in your refrigerator right now?

Let’s see, skim milk, quinoa, a roasted chicken, spinach, tomatoes, celery, vegetable stock, pasta, blueberries and strawberries, lemon bars, and anniversary cake.

What smell do you associate with your childhood? Is it a happy smell?

The wonderful fragrance of acres of tobacco flowers from the fields surrounding Aunt Beatrice’s homeplace. As a tiny toddler, I couldn’t do much to bring in the crop but the heady smell of it warmed by the sun made me eager to get up and on with my day. The fields started on the other side of the driveway. From the porch, I could see the tobacco leaves golding up from the bottom. It was my job to check it from the porch each morning and let Aunt Beatrice know when I saw the first color. I wonder how helpful that really was.

What’s a typical Saturday morning like for you?

Yoga at dawn followed by a bowl of whole grain oatmeal with blueberries and maple syrup. Then a short walk in the woods with the baby where we collect things we find in the forest: pinecones, bird feathers, wildflowers, shiny stones, berries to bring to my office. I see clients in the office until noon and then we spend the rest of the day out in the meadow behind our home, picnicking, reading, and enjoying the day. Sometimes we see our neighbor and she lets us ride her horses.

Do you have any tattoos? What are they? If you don’t, would you consider getting one and what would it be?

Ahhh, being the health professional and an advocate of healthy lifestyles, I wouldn’t promote tattoos.

What is your most treasured possession?

A gift from Aunt Beatrice, a small woven Indian basket, one of the few things I ever had from the biological mother I never knew. I only place the most special things into that basket at any given time. I put the ancient pottery sherds we discovered at Nardi Point into it for safe-keeping.

Do you have any regrets? What are they?

I wish we could have had a baby sooner, and that Hal had been able to see him … hold him.

Do you prefer jeans or sweats? Flip-flops or sneakers?

To tell the truth, I like brightly-colored 100% cotton like FLAX clothing. It’s cool, the colors are amazingly vibrant if you want to mix and match and they can all be thrown into the washing machine. No dry-cleaning, fuss, or muss.

What is your greatest achievement?

Hands done, it’s the preservation of our discovery of Paleo-Indian Native American pottery at Nardi Point. Had we not gone against the construction company, this important piece of history belonging to every North Carolinian, as well as personal revelation about my ancestry, would have been lost forever.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I want to be able to maintain a healthy balance between my client hours and my personal life. I tend to get absorbed in my clients and large amounts of time can pass quickly before I realize it. There are only so many hours in the day.

Describe the perfect meal.

Being a Southerner, any meal featuring country style cooking including sweet potatoes, roasted chicken, collard greens, string bean casserole, biscuits, sweet tea, congealed salad, North Carolina style barbecue, and banana pudding sits fine with me.

Is there anything you’d like to tell your writer?

I love her. She listened to me when I spoke my heart and went through my greatest loss by my side. We cried tears of sorrow together, followed by tears of joy. You just can’t break a special bond like that.

Be sure to look up Leyla Jo in A Path Through the Garden and come back next week for an exclusive excerpt…


Alternative healer Leyla Jo Jared helps others grow their families, yet struggles with her own infertility. Archaeologist scientist husband, Hal Jared dearly wants to share the context and provenience of a multi-racial baby and feels guilty he has let her down. Hoping for a solution for their craving to become a family, Leyla Jo turns to her folkways heritage and explores natural plant botanicals.

When the archaeological exhibit the couple curates is compromised by international scientists from Rome, and the Director of the local Art Museum, the couple’s role in the professional, scientific community is severely challenged. After Hal falls ill, Leyla Jo’s desire leads to a conflicted crossroad … must she choose her husband’s health over their yearning for a child?

Now Leyla Jo must explore her path through the garden and travel her biggest journey.

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Please Welcome our July Author of the Month…Nancy LaPonzina!

So tell us, Nancy…
Are you a kitchen goddess or the queen of takeout? What’s your specialty dish or favorite delivery treat?

You could probably call me a Vegan goddess wannabe. I love preparing meals that use fresh farmer’s market ingredients, whole grains, dark leafy vegetables, tofu, almond milk … like my most of my characters. However, unlike them, I gained 10 pounds making the best healthful and delicious smoothies ever, and that was just for lunch. How does that happen? So I’m an edited Vegan and eat a healthful diet as much as possible.

You have a million dollars…What charity do you give it to and why?

Mental illness is terribly misunderstood in our society today. Through no fault of their own, afflicted children come into the world and like a time bomb, develop mental illness and any of its permutations. I’d contribute a million dollars to biological research directed to identification of the chemicals triggering the disease and NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness).

If you had to be stuck in one season perpetually, which one would it be and why? Would you prefer to live it in any particular place?

That’s a hard decision. Spring or fall? Which would I choose. Hmmm. Spring returns the sun and all things green and fragrant. It’s uplifting to the spirit and inspirational. But Fall? Nothing beats crisp apples, orange pumpkins, and the dazzling red, orange, and yellow leaves blazing their farewell until next spring. I suppose if stuck, I’d stick with fall!

What’s your…favorite fruit? Vegetable? Candy? Beverage? Sport?

I adore most fruit when it’s perfectly ripe and in season, but  lovely peaches, Bosc pears, and blueberries probably top the list. Spinach sautéed in olive oil, sweet potato anything, and asparagus are nice, too. In the past I’ve been known for my passion for AllSorts licorice candies, Twizzlers, and ice cream. Leyla Jo also makes THE very best Lemon bars. Yum! I’ll share her recipe if anyone is interested!

If you had an endless supply of money and could have the vacation of your dreams, what would it entail? Give us a stunning description of the event!

An around the world cruise in the most delightful onboard suite available.  You know, one of those so-called Owner’s Suites with a canopy bed, Frette linen bedding, a working fireplace, private gourmet chef, and a small staff to coordinate all the details. (Sigh) The itinerary would begin with an Atlantic crossing to London offering peaceful days of open horizon and uninterrupted writing, then continue on throughout the world. Only my publisher would know where I was!

You’re sitting at your desk or work area…look up! What do you see around you?

Directly above my desk is a bulletin board with inspirational and factual alerts about my current wip. A bookcase holding my many writing reference and wisdom books is to my right. Placed with love above that is my book altar. My book altar displays a mock cover for the current wip on a small wooden easel, and any objects I find along the journey that relate to the story. The book altar is like a 3-D collage of inspiration. To my back is an oversized wing chair in which I read manuscript pages aloud, and if necessary in which I close my eyes, too. The last piece is a small box filled with bits and pieces of technological stuff.

Do you know how to ski? Play polo? Ever been scuba diving? Would you go bear hunting if asked?

Haha … I don’t ski, play polo, or scuba dive, although I hold an orange belt in Taw Kwon Do. I’m primarily a word person which means I hunt words, phrases, and plots, research facts, and read and write. I have participated in archaeological digs. You’d be surprised to find  how much stamina a dig requires. Believe me, I sure was!

Did you enjoy language arts in school? Did you have a teacher in particular that encouraged you or recognized your writing talent early on?

Loved language arts. Everything fell into place so naturally, it all made sense. I loved the beginning of school each September as there would be a new “reader” for English class and I couldn’t wait to see all the stories. I also seem to have a natural gift for spelling through no work of my own, and I sure hope I never lose it. Smile. Mr. Henry Blair, my high school English teacher, was always super supportive. You see, sometimes when you love words and stories, you think everyone does, too. It’s inspiring when you’re made aware that writers are different from so many others, and that you need to work to improve your craft.

Whew…We’re thirsty now and we’re sure you are, too! It’s five o’ clock somewhere, so let’s have a drink. What cocktail or mocktail best describes you and why?

Well, like I’ve said, I really really love most smoothies … but really fresh minted Mojitos and sparkling wines are amazing, too! I’d like to be known for fresh and sparkling stories that entertain and satisfy. And then there’s ice cream sodas. Hmmm.

What are you currently working on? Do you have a small bit to share with us of your current project?

My current wip is Yellow Pansies in a Blue Cobalt Jar.

Silver-haired professional bibliotherapist, Rhose Guerin, deals with a reluctant husband as she follows her heart to grow her private practice while dealing with a fading marriage. She must make wise decisions about her culinary chef daughter’s start-up restaurant, an old college love, and the man she married in order to get them all on the same page.

Author Bio:

Nancy LaPonzina is an award-winning author, writer, poet, and editor from the Southeast. She’s the author of the newly released, A Path Through the Garden (Rebel Ink Press, 2013) and her debut novel, Nardi Point. Both stories have been recognized by Chanticleer Books & Media as First Place finalists in their genre. Other writing includes articles, web-site content, and technical documentation. She lives in a small southern town where she volunteers, gardens, and writes. She loves archaeology, alternative health modalities, nature, the metaphysical, and her rescue Maine Coon cat, Copy.

Author Links:

Learn more about her at her website:  She can be found on Facebook here:, and on Twitter, here: @NancyLaPonzina.

Amazon Author Central:

Nardi Point Purchase Link:

A Path through the Garden Purchase Link:

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Monday Munchies…A Few Bits to Get You Through

2566835From War of the Gods by HL Wampler…

I stared out the only window in the cramped, stone classroom. Mr. Clarence Rhodes droned on about some nineteenth century British author. A light throb started at my temples and I wanted nothing more than to leave the class.

“Cara? Cara!” a voice bellowed at the front of the room.


“Are you with us today?”

“Oh. Um, yeah. Sorry, Mr. Rhodes.”

“Would you answer the question please?” he asked.

“What question?”

A few of my class mates snickered and my cheeks flushed.

“Perhaps if you spent as much time staring at the chalk board as you do outside you would know what we’re talking about,” he lectured.

“Sorry,” I mumbled, sliding down in my seat.

“Brittany, would you like to answer the question?”

“Of course,” the perky girl said, sitting up straight in her chair. “Washington Irving wrote The Sketch Book under the pseudonym of Geoffrey Crayon.”

“Correct,” the professor said, continuing on with his lecture.

Brittany looked at me and smirked. I rolled my eyes and looked back out the window. The migraine was getting worse and I couldn’t concentrate.

“What’s wrong with you?” Brandy whispered from behind me.

“I just don’t feel like being in class today,” I whispered back still staring out the window.


“Because nineteenth century literature isn’t very fascinating today.”

 “Alright, Cara, what’s wrong?”

“I told you nothing. I just have a migraine.”

“Mm hmm,” she mumbled, sitting back in her seat.

I sighed and shifted my gaze to the board. The remainder of the class seemed to drag on.

“Alright boys and girls, you’re free,” Mr. Rhodes said, closing the old leather book he was reading from.

I quickly shoved my laptop into my bag. Mr. Rhodes sat on the corner of his desk as the other students left. I smiled meekly as I walked past him.

“Um, Miss Grey, please stay.”

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Kenya, Malindi, tropical butterflies mating (FILM SCAN)From Seducing the Wild Butterfly by Vivian Proud…

Leaving the balmy August heat for the cool, artificial air of the San Francisco Airport, Crystal Channing found her way to the airline kiosk. After gathering her tickets from the mechanical cavity, she checked in her baggage and proceeded to the security gate.

Waiting and reading a book before her security check, Crystal was feeling blasé. Airports were exciting on the departing flight but on the return, she found them mundane and felt restless. She just wanted to get home to her cabin and her dogs in Cody even though she had enjoyed herself at Darlene’s wedding.

It was an exceptionally extravagant event; she was so happy for Darlene, her longtime girlfriend from college. The traditional Catholic wedding was at Saint Ignatius Church in the Inner Richmond with beautiful, historical architecture inside and out. The reception was at the St. Francis Yacht Club with a stunning view of the bay and Crystal had a wonderful time with her old Palo Alto roommate, girlfriend and fellow bridesmaid, Renee Lamont. It had been at least a year since she’d last seen Renee now that she’d landed an advertising position in New York.

But she was unsettled during the entire affair. She couldn’t help but think about Rusty at the wedding. Maybe she should have married him. But she couldn’t and she wouldn’t. He was the one I let get away.

Losing focus on her book, Crystal started people watching from her place in line. She was always so afraid to miss her plane that she was extremely early. She’d about two hours before boarding. She decided after she got through security she’d get a drink. She hated flying and an elixir might help her feel better.

Feeling a forceful gaze, she looked over to match it and saw him. She recognized him immediately, although his hair was now salt and pepper, mostly salt, and his face looked much older. It had been ten years since she’d last seen him and it brought back a flood of emotions. 

Surprisingly, he was walking toward her. He couldn’t possibly be coming to see me? But his direction was dead on and he looked at her with recognition.

Why is he coming over to my place in line? Or is he coming to see somebody else?

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6757664From Jagged Little Lies by Lorelie Rozzano…

The prison bars closed with a final clang. The sound reverberated through his jaw and down his back and echoed down the miles of endless hallways. The shouts and taunts began immediately. “Come here bitch.” “Yo boy, you be my bitch now.” “Hey pretty boy.” “Come say hello to my little friend.”

The catcalls were endless. The tones varied, but all were male. Declan shivered. How the hell had it come to this? Bars rattled next to his and he jumped. He couldn’t see them, their cells were lined side by side down the long hallway, but he’d caught a glimpse. Men of all shapes and colors stared at him. They’d been strangely silent as the guard marched beside him. Their only form of communication hand signals. His knees were still knocking from their easily discerned gestures.

The bars rattled again, this time accompanied by a low moan. The moan intensified and was joined by wet, kissing sounds. Disgust rose in his throat. Sweat was beginning to gather on his forehead and under his arms. It wouldn’t be long now. He shivered again. The noise he heard outside his cell was nothing compared to what he’d soon face.

Declan counted the hours trying to calculate how long it would be, before he’d be writhing on the floor. Six hours, at the most. But he could already feel it begin. His legs ached, as if the bone marrow were being leached from their very core. He was getting cold, clammy-cold and reached for the stiff prickly blanket folded at the end of his cot. Wrapping himself up the best he could, Declan huddled against the cement wall. The bed underneath him was every bit as hard as the wall he huddled next to. He used his breath to warm his hands, blowing warmth against his aching digits, hoping to lessen the stiffening. The blanket irritated his skin and prickled his forearms, closing his eyes he thought back.

He’d been so fucking stupid and awake for days. With a thick wad of cash, he was king. Christ he’d been invincible. Or so he thought. He’d just scored a shitload of the little pills he’d come to love. The tubular little soldiers rattled in his pockets, promising nothing but sheer bliss. Strangers’ names were on the labels of the pilfered bottles before they were carefully torn off and shredded. The image brought Miranda’s face to mind and he winced. He’d been such an asshole and she hadn’t deserved it. Her only crime was in loving him. He wondered if she’d been fired. He could see her, the ghost of her image haunting him. The look in her eyes as she sat in the courtroom staring up at him. She was never one to hide her emotions. Shock, disbelief, and confusion surfaced on her beautiful face. These first emotions quickly wore off however, leaving behind a portrait of pain and hurt. It was the last two that’d caused his Adams apple to bob.

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Welcome June Author of the Month, Anna Kristell

Many people have asked me how long it took for me to get that awesome first email that contained a contract for one of my books. Believe me, it’s an email that will change your life forever!

I began writing my first book about twelve years ago. But life sort of got in the way and I put it aside. Then about five years ago, I was sitting at home for the first time in many years without a job and bored out of my mind. My husband suggested that I finish the book to fill the time until I went back to work. So I dug it back out and started over. I took the first few chapters to my neighbor and asked her to read them and tell me what she thought. She did and told me to finish it. So I did. Then I wrote another one, and then another. I was accepted by an agent and then I started a new job and went back to the forty hour a week gig. The agent eadidn’t pan out and I sent the manuscript to a few pubs myself. One was kind enough to tell me what changes I needed to make. I got four chapters into the changes and life hit me with a big one. My husband was diagnosed with the big “C”. So the books and the idea of getting published were put on the back burner again. Several times over the next few years people would ask whatever happened with my books. My husband said many times that he wanted to continue with my dream. Then I fell and broke my right arm and, of course, I’m right handed. So two surgeries and one year later, I was finally able to use the arm again. Once again, the hubs asked when I was going to get busy and start submitting the books. Finally I pulled out one ms, reworked it and sent it in. Then another and then another. The contract for Unlikely Lovers arrived from Rebel Ink Press three days after I’d submitted it and the contract for Crossroad to Love  came one week later from Lazy Day Publishing. Needless to say, I was in seventh heaven. I sent Sunny’s Love in to Rebel Ink Press and lo and behold, another contract arrived in my email. By this time I was so stoked that I worked on another book and then another, and another… Since then, I’ve had six releases at LazyDay under the Anna name, one under a different pen name and six releases with Rebel Ink Press! I have about ten more projects on the back burner right now. I’m even going to attempt something other than a romance and Rebel Ink Press has agreed to be a part of it!

Anna Kristell is a small town gal from southern Indiana with a passion for romance. She has lived in Ohio, Oklahoma, and Texas, but returned to Indiana in 2005, where she resides with her husband. An avid romance reader since her teen years, it has always been her dream to create love stories of her own.Anna is the author of the Fab Five series from LazyDay Publishing, a continuing dramatic romance series depicting the lives of five women and their families and friends.She is also the author of several books not in the series, published by Rebel Ink Press, including Unlikely Lovers, Sunny’s Love, and Remember Our Promise, which is the first in the Promises Trilogy. Rebel Ink Press has also released three novellas, A Holiday Hideaway, If You Love Me, and its sequel, A Woman Like Her.When she is not writing, Anna can be found at her day job in the billing department of a local community mental health center, reading, traveling, or spending time with family and friends. Anna has a grown daughter and son and five grandchildren.

You may contact her at:


8482888REMEMBER OUR PROMISE (Book One Promises Trilogy)

Lily Wells has been in love with David Black since she was fifteen years old. When she was eighteen, he broke her heart, leaving her with a promise that the year they turned thirty, if neither was married, they would find a way to reconnect. As fate would have it, twelve years later, while she is in her hometown for her grandmother’s funeral, she runs into David. 
Still as breathtakingly handsome as ever, now a prominent Texas attorney, he makes it clear he’s a confirmed bachelor. After one perfect, romantic weekend together, Lily returns to her job as the acquisitions editor for a New York City publishing house, knowing that a life with David is still her heart’s desire.
Believing that to him she’s only one of his many female companions and that he has no recollection of the promise she’s clung to for the past twelve years, she goes on with her life in the Big Apple. She and David remain in contact with each other, however, seemingly growing closer. Will he break her heart a second time or is it possible that she’s misreading the signs?


As Lily looked up into the eyes of the man she’d loved since she was fifteen years old, her heart skipped a beat and her breath caught in her throat. Celia had been right when she said the years had been good to him. He was charisma, class, and sex appeal all rolled into one. The same brown hair and beautiful brown eyes, the same muscular body, it was obvious he worked out, and had remained athletic over the years.

He spoke to Celia, and to Jody, but when his eyes came to rest on Lily’s face, he froze for just a second. Quickly regaining his composure, he smiled and said, “Lily Beth, is that you?”

“Yes, it’s me.”

He sat down beside her. “Wow, how many years has it been? Are you still in Chicago?”

“I left there three years ago to take a position with a publishing house in New York City,” she informed him.

“New York City, that’s pretty impressive.”

He smiled at her and her knees turned to jelly. All the confidence and sass she’d acquired over the past twelve years went out the door with one smile from this man. Weakly, she returned the smile, hoping he hadn’t noticed the effect he still had on her.

He ordered a beer and began to talk to the others at the table. After a while, he looked at Lily again and asked, “Care to dance with an old flame while you’re in town, Lily Beth?”

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Monday Munchies…A Few Bits to Get You Through

From Tunneling for Revenge by Travis Sharpe…

Monday, April 4, 2023, 6:15 a.m.

From atop the gently sloped roof of a souvenir shop, Alex watched Drake.  He could tell the old man was uneasy, and the fact made him smile.  Alex never grew tired of the sense of power he gained from this type of reconnaissance work.  His prey could never spot him, but they generally could feel his presence.  He supposed he was granted this power simply because he deserved it.

The old man had started the entire mess leading to the fall of Alex’s beloved compound.  Everyone who participated in General Jack’s capture would be dealt with, and Alex would see General Jack set free.  Drake’s death would be the first step, but the old man’s death must happen quietly.  He didn’t need any trouble from the authorities in Belize. 

Hopefully, the other bastards in the United States would learn about the old man’s murder shortly after Alex made it out of Belize.  Drake would die first, and Alex hoped that would make his other targets a little nervous.  By the time he killed the second one, the others would get the picture.  Alex wanted each of them to suffer before they died.  He didn’t have time to drag this murder out, but he still planned to make Drake’s death excruciatingly painful when the old man came home from his walk.

Alex’s preferred method of killing, shooting his victims from a meticulously prepared location, wouldn’t be sufficient for the old man. 

Based on what he’d seen over the past two weeks, Drake would be home from his morning walk in about three minutes.  Alex slid down to the edge of the roof, dropped the ten feet to the sidewalk, and slinked over to Drake’s house.

Alex peered through the shrubbery at Drake’s front door.  He could see Drake shuffling through the house.  The plan was to wait for the old man to take a nap, get in the shower, or settle down and watch television.  When one of those activities had Drake occupied, Alex would enter the house and make Drake’s last few hours on earth as miserable as possible.  If the old man had just minded his own business back in September, Alex’s compound would still be intact, and he would have no reason to be here now.  Unfortunately, that was not the case.

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3368153From A Woman Like Her by Anna Kristell…

Dillon Brant stared at the cell phone on his desk again. He’d looked at it at least a dozen times in the last hour. Picking it up, he looked through the contacts, found her number, and stopped himself once again. Forcing himself to focus on the contracts on his desk, he skimmed through the pages, put his signature on the last page, and placed them in the box outside his office door for his secretary to take care of.

As he sat down in the leather chair behind his large, oak desk, he sighed. Aloud he said to the empty room, “What is it about that woman? I can sit here and negotiate big deals for this construction company, but I can’t push one little button on my phone to call her?”

He attempted to concentrate on the blueprints for his next big project, but finding it to be an impossible task, he stood up. Walking past his secretary, Tina, he mumbled, “Be back later.”

“Sure, boss,” she replied without looking up from her work.

He hopped in his shiny blue Ford F-150 and drove off. He kept driving until he arrived at his favorite fishing spot at Eagle Creek Park. Getting out of the truck, he walked for a while before finding a spot to land. As he sat down on the lush, green grass, Dillon pulled his cell out of his pocket. “It’s now or never,” he told himself as he once again found her number in his list of contacts. This time he pushed the button.

As it rang, he almost chickened out and ended the call, but when her velvety sweet voice came on the line, he said, “Amy, hi, it’s Dillon.”

“Dillon?” she asked. “Is everything all right? I mean it’s not Adam and Ashley again, is it?”

He chuckled. “No, as far as I know, the two lovebirds are still basking in wedded bliss. I expect to be told I’m going to be an uncle at any time.”

“Whew, thank God. Those two have really put me through it the past few months. I haven’t heard from Ashley but once since they patched things up, so was hoping that meant they were making up for lost time.”

“Yeah, they almost blew it, that’s for sure. I’m glad they worked it out,” he replied, thinking of his brother and sister-in-law and the problems they’d faced in their marriage recently.

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4613671From Nowhere for Christmas by Donna Steele…

Jeannie Teague looked at the steam rising from under the hood of her car with a sinking feeling. The battery on her phone was dead as well. At least it wasn’t dark or freezing. Taking a deep breath, she stepped out of the car and lifted the hood. Oh yeah, this was not good.

She wrapped the sleeve of her thin jacket around her hand and tried to loosen the cap on the radiator. Steam hit her wrist and she yanked her hand back, cursing. Then she looked up to see a sheriff’s car pulling up behind her.

“Problem, ma’am?”

Ah a whiz kid, she thought. “Yes.”

He unfolded himself from the car and she stepped back. He was well over six feet and that seemed to be the width of his shoulders. She’d never really thought of herself as small. She topped five foot seven, but wow. Maybe it was the uniform that made him so tall.

He moved closer and, using the rag she hadn’t notice in his hand, removed the cap. Steam spewed for a couple of seconds and he smiled down at her. “I think I see the problem.”


“It’s a POS.”

She wanted to bristle at that, but it was too true. “Well, that’s one of the problems.” She started to brush back the dark curly hair that had escaped the clip, but changed hands at the pain. He spotted the burn on her wrist.

“Steam got you. Come here.” He headed back toward his cruiser and with nothing else to do, she followed. He pulled a bottle of water from the door pocket and opened it. The cold wetness caused her to catch her breath, but it felt good. Small blisters had already formed.

The officer, who was R. Nelson according to the name tag on his pocket, pulled out a first aid kit. He gently smeared a blue gel over the burn.

“How’s that?”


He nodded. “I don’t need to see your license, but how about your name?”

“Jeannie Teague.”

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Today We Proudly Welcome Sean Tilary to Rebel…

Playing Twenty Questions with Sean Tilary

Which comes first, the story, the characters or the setting? 

I would to think that the characters come first in my stories.


Are you in control of your characters or do they control you?

I like to think that my characters evolve on their own. I try to steer them in the direction I wish for them to go, but their characterization is always fluid.


How do you come up with the titles to your books?

I try to take a central theme or object of the story, however, sometimes a good sounding title just hits me.


What did you want to be when you grew up?

It varied. There were times I wanted to be a cop, other times I wanted to be a scientist. My dreams were very fluid.


Are you working on anything at the present you’d like to share with us?

I am working on a number of things, namely my first full book, I also have other short stories that I work on.


Do you have any strange handwriting habits, like capitalizing all your “r”s or dotting your “I”s with heart (or anything like that)?

Not at all. I find that these types things tax my patience.


You can erase any horrible experience from your past. What will it be?

The time I was car sick in a car load of my friends.


When you looked in the mirror this morning, what was the first thing you thought? 

How much I wanted to stay in bed.


What were you doing at midnight last night? 



What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten? 



What do you want to know about the future? 

When will we start traveling to other planets.


What’s your heritage?



What’s your favorite pizza? 

Pepperoni and green peppers.


What’s one thing scientists should invent? 



What do you do to relax and recharge your batteries? 

I like to go motorcycle riding, fishing, hunting, and sci-fi conventions.


Have you always wanted to be a writer?

No. I have only started writing in the past few years.


If you weren’t writing, what would you be doing?

Probably carpentry or some other form of creation.


Fill in the blank favorites (two word max!) - Dessert. City. Season. Type of hero. Type of heroine. 

Chocolate. Dallas. Winter. Anti-hero. Hard-nosed.


What question would you love to answer that I didn’t ask?

What is your favorite book.


Tell us about your current title.

My current title is about a fantasy world without magic. The magic is replaced by alchemy. Alchemy itself can act in a number of ways. It can change ordinary objects into other worldly things. There is an alchemist for a hero and he has a friend that is more into the finer things in life. Their adventures will take them into dangerous situations. The stories will be episodic in nature with a book in the distant future.

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Welcome our May Author of the Month, Nick Santa Rosa

My Journey to Publication

By Nick Santa Rosa

I was born in a log cabin in East Los Angeles.  Somewhere along the line I got it into my head I might have some ability to tell a story so started writing things down.  Later, when I went to school I was able to convert my early gibberish to actual words and eventually grouped them into grammatically correct sentences.  Meaning and purpose came later.  However, it would be another few years before I could get my words out into the public eye (who was pretty irritated because getting stuff in your eye is just uncomfortable).  In the meantime, I joined a really strange online writers group where I managed to get a few things noticed and placed in anthologies (there’s nothing more anonymous than an anthology, in my opinion), for which I was typically paid in copies of the book.

When Facebook was created I was initially skeptical.  Who would want a book of faces?  But I was converted by the prospect of lush virtual crops and vacuous friends.  At one point I reached out to make a few more friends.  This was before Facebook started getting picky about that kind of thing.  At the same time I started a blog (okay, I’m engaging in time compression) where I posted some of my little gems.  One of those friends (not the vacuous kind) read one.  I think a couple of others have read them, too, but not many.  In any case, she suggested I develop one of them further and submit it to an editor.  At the time I didn’t have any editor friends so was still skeptical but she was convincing and I accepted the challenge.  The rest, of course, is one of those high school classes I didn’t do well in.  Still, since my first publication with Rebel Ink Press (Dead Love: February 2013) I’ve had twelve short stories published with three more in the pipeline (as of this writing) and a novel in the works (these RIP people are persuasive!).

I think the hardest part of this whole writing thing is coming up with cover art.  Don’t you?  As a writer I have definite ideas of what I’d LIKE to see but finding exactly the right face or image is hard.  Really hard.  It’s so har … wait.  Never mind.  I’ve enjoyed working with Rebel Ink Press.  I’m sure at least one person over there has wanted to strangle me but living on the other side of the country does have advantages.

Stop me if I’m digre –

Nick Santa Rosa Bio

What can you say about a guy who doesn’t exist?  Well, I suppose you can make stuff up.  For example, it would be easy to say Nick Santa Rosa is a self-effacing kind of guy who always puts others first and only writes because … you know, even I don’t find that interesting.  Forget it.  The truth is, I’ve made up so many things about the guy it’s hard to keep track of it all.  But that’s the thing about being a fiction writer.  Right?  You make stuff up and people just go with it.  It’s kind of a heady feeling and I like it.  It’s fun.  I’ve been doing it since I was a kid, really.  Making stuff up.  With that in mind:

Nick is a self-effacing guy … wait … is an elderly gentleman living in the southwestern United States with his wife, five children, a dog, a cat and an orange tree named Melvin (only some of which is true).  He enjoys walks on the beach, hummingbirds, a good scotch (preferably from Islay), a nice cigar, hockey, soccer and buttons.  He’s a pretty basic fellow, really.  His hobbies include photography and reading.  He was classically educated by the California State University system (GO TITANS!).  His first published piece (title: Night Shift) appeared in an anthology in the UK in 2005 for which he was paid £40, all of which has been spent.  Small literary successes have come along since then, most notably in 2013 when he was picked up by Rebel Ink Press and began his current streak of minor fortune.

He’s currently at work on his first novel but will continue to produce short stories and hopes to one day meet the Dalai Lama.

Contact Links:



Facebook Author Page:




Purchase Links:


Barnes & Noble:

Excerpt #1:

LA Dick Med ResL.A. Dick

Another fuckin’ day in paradise.  It’s been like this every day this summer without let up.  I’m here to tell ya I’m gettin’ damned sick and tired of it.  Day in, day out, sunshine, warm weather and clean air. Topeka, right?  Not on your life!  L.A.

Someone once wrote a song about how much he loves it here.  Bullshit, I’m tellin’ ya.  I remember when the smog blocked the view across the street.  Didn’t much like that either but at least I had somethin’ to bitch about.  Now it’s perfeck and no one believes me it ain’t.

I guess I should be happy I got breath to bitch with.  Couple a years ago I wouldn’a gone outside on a bet for fear my lungs’d collapse.  Then they passed that “Clean Air” bill.  A big win for them fag tree-huggers.

If that ain’t enough they up and pass a “Anti- Gun” bill and that about takes care a crime.  The ones where guns is used, anyways.  A big win for those fag pacifists and fuck me, thank you very much.  I’m a private dick.  Believe you me, it don’t got quite the same effeck tellin’ some bozo to “hold it right there” when he knows I don’t got no heat backin’ me up.  But I do what I can.

Open Book-med resExcerpt #2:

Open Book

Paul turned on his computer and signed into the account his wife didn’t know about.  He’d created it as someplace he could play games without friends and family teasing him.  That was just about three years ago and, for the first two and a half, exactly what happened.  Over the last six months, or so, it changed.  The games had gone untouched for months.  No doubt his crops were withered on the vine and his top scores long since eclipsed.

None of that mattered, though, as he watched the screen paint with agonising slowness.  His lack of patience was rewarded when he saw the red ‘1’ highlighted at the top left corner, above the e-mail icon, indicating a new message.

He clicked the menu.

Natalie’s name appeared at the top of the list.  Her message read: LOL.  How did you guess?

It was her response to a silly joke, from the night before, about the new profile picture she’d uploaded.  It stunned him with its sharp focus and gorgeous eyes.  What he’d wanted to say was she was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen and he wanted to marry her, right now, right away, never mind they were both married and lived thousands of miles apart.  Sure, their families wouldn’t understand, and the kids, both of hers and his three, mostly grown, would disapprove.  Small obstacles like that could be overcome.  What he wanted to say was he’d fallen in love with her at some point in the past he couldn’t pinpoint and didn’t care to.

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Monday Munchies…A Few Bits to Get You Through

OneTear_Cover2.200.300From One Tear by Denisea Kampe…

“Is that everything, Mrs. Melbourne?” A burly, aging man with LOU embroidered on his pea-green uniform shirt quickly scratched his signature across the bottom of the embark sheet.

Mrs. Melbourne. What Madi always would be yet was no more.

“Yes, I think that’s the last of it.” She accepted the clipboard and added her signature under his messy scrawl, finalizing her fate.

Almost six months had passed since her husband had come home in a flag draped box. Sometimes it felt like an eternity since that early autumn morning when casualty assistance had knocked on her door and sometimes it was still just as painfully fresh as it had been in those first few hours. The sadness that settled over her for weeks on end had, however, eventually and unexpectedly been replaced by hate and anger. Feelings Madi never fathomed she would feel. And in spite of her assigned grief counselor’s belief it was anger rising from the fact she’d been left behind, Madi knew better. Her absolute loathe for and fury with her husband stemmed from the harsh reality of Gage not leaving her, but leaving her in a dire situation that wasn’t likely to get any better any time soon. The one thing she’d learned from the whole horrible experience was men were not to be trusted. That and, at least in her experience, therapists were idiots. She’d stopped going to grief counseling after three sessions of being talked to like she was a six year old who’d just had to flush her goldfish and opted to deal with things on her own.

After watching the moving truck pull away taking with it all her worldly possessions, a wave of uncertainty washed over Madi as she drove her Lexus past the Hopkinsville city limit sign. But surprisingly, a few miles down the road, it eased in spite of the daunting awareness she’d left everything she knew behind. Of course, it wasn’t so much what she knew that was the issue. It was what she still didn’t know.

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6175914From One Dead Christmas by J.L. Oiler…

Holly had always disliked Christmas, but this season she was really pissed off. Of course, someone killing you just at the height of the shopping season tended to do that to a girl. Hell, she had spent most of the first week of her death locked in her apartment certain that parts of her anatomy would begin to rot and fall off. Thank goodness her new BDF, best dead friend, Kelli had brought her up to speed on all the fact and fiction of being one of the undead.

Being dead did not change what you could do with your life; it simply meant you now had more time to do it. There were currently three zombies on Senate, a few high dollar lawyers, and at least one super model. The need to worry about age spots or wrinkles was gone, because you did not age as long as you maintained a fleshy diet. Of course, the irony that prior to death she had been a devout vegetarian was not lost on her. Her last boyfriend had referred to her as a man-eater when they had broken up, now she guessed that name was literal. The most important fact was that if you managed to eat your maker you never had to worry about decaying. That was tagged high priority on her to do list. According to Kelli, she had to pull that off by Christmas or she would start getting smelly.

She figured she should probably feel bad planning to kill and eat Roger, but it was no more then he deserved. After all, what type of person invites a girl to dinner and then makes her the main course. She could be thankful he had only torn out her guts, some hang-up about his ex girlfriend most likely. Holly could imagine what would have happened if he had decided to move their French kiss to the next level.

As it was, there were worse things than being dead. Like telling her mother that not only was her biological clock slowing down, it was dead. You would think the fact Holly’s older sister, Paula, was a baby-making machine would have satisfied the woman’s need to be a grandmother. Her mom honestly expected her to also spit out five bundles of screaming joy. It wasn’t that she disliked her adorable demon spawn nephews, she loved all of them immensely. Nevertheless, what woman in her right mind shoots out five babies before the age of twenty-three? Thank God, the doctor had tied Paula’s tubes after the last one.

Tapping the pen on the counter as she thought, Holly looked at her list. Kill Roger, buy gifts for demon nephews and rest of family, and tell mom no more grandkids. Throw a full time job down at Joe’s Bar and Grill into the mix and it made for one hell of a holiday.

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2194594From Scars by Nick Santa Rosa…

I think of my life in two distinct parts.  The accident separates them into neat parcels.  Or, more correctly, separates me into pieces, which has made pieces of my life.  Whereas, before the emergency workers pried me out of what was left of my car, I ran my sales office like I was still twenty-something, worked out at the gym three times a week and slept a full eight hours every night, now I’m lucky I can walk upright, much less lift a dumbbell, and I get maybe four hours of sleep, at best.

Kathy has been great about it.  Very patient.  Which is good because I’ve given her plenty of reason not to.  After every operation, while I was flat on my back, I got demanding and ill-tempered.  I snapped at her for no good reason other than she was in the room and I had no-one else to take it out on.  And, ever since the first time I came home from the hospital, I’ve barely been able to stand having her in the same room when I get dressed.  Especially when she has to help me.

One night, the air was hot and muggy.  Kathy would have filled a bowl with water and wiped my whole body, if I’d asked.  Instead, I got up from bed because I was too uncomfortable to just lie there, went into the bathroom and took off my shirt.  I was wringing the washcloth for the third time when the bathroom door suddenly opened.

“Oh!  I’m sorry.”

The door closed quickly, but I recognised the voice.  Tess, Amelia’s friend in town for their ten year high school reunion.  It took a couple of minutes to get over the sudden intrusion, and my heart to beat normally.  I put my shirt back on and headed to my bedroom.  As I passed the living room, I saw her sitting on the couch.

“Sorry, Tess.  The bathroom’s free.”

“I’m sorry, Mr. Neel.  I didn’t notice anyone was in there.”

“It’s okay.  I should have locked the door.  I used to, all the time, but since the kids moved out, I got out of the habit.  Anyway, you can use it now.”

“Mr. Neel?”  She kept her voice down.


“Can I ask you something?”


“Your back – ”

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All Romance E-books Bestseller…Hope 22 by BethAnn Buehler

1336182In the aftermath of losing his wife and unborn son, professional quarterback Brody Jackson turns to his faith, making a vow to live a life that will honor those he’s lost. Yet on a field of endeavor where outrageous antics get a player noticed and if it feels good, do it often seems to be the maxim, walking the straight and narrow path can be a hard thing for a guy to do.

Whitney Ryan is in the mother of all slumps, struggling to watch as her player ranking dips into double digits. With three weeks to go until she’s slated for her next tournament, Whitney would rather be anywhere than on the tennis court and under her mother’s constant glare. When Whitney decides to run away from her responsibilities, her resolve is firm-she doesn’t need anyone getting in her way, especially a know-it-all with problems of his own.

When two household names holding widely varying views on how to live life in the spotlight and measure success are thrown together, is there any hope they can call a time out and find middle ground?


Whitney Ryan rolled over and pushed the covers back, determined today was the day she was running away. Forget the ratings. Forget the standings. Forget her coaches, trainers, handlers, sponsors and freeloading on again, off again boyfriend. She needed a break.

Sure, her parents were going to be upset. It was unavoidable. But as of late, even they’d started treating Whitney like more of a commodity and less of a person, leaving Whitney to feel like it was all about tennis all the time. And when she didn’t play well? When she was human and actually made a mistake? Life got even worse. Sadly, Whitney’s current streak wasn’t a positive one.

As she packed a canvas duffle that could easily pass for a bag full of training gear just like the one she’d carried to the gym a million times before, Whitney made sure to keep her routine the same. She didn’t dress differently than she did any other day she kept an A schedule: breakfast at home, cardio workout till ten, court time between eleven and three and strength training before dinner.

Making her way downstairs, Whitney chatted easily with the household staff and even took time to scratch the ear of one of the two grey tabbies that claimed her childhood home. She’d definitely miss her cats. And she’d miss the spread. Food. It was truly her favorite vice.

She didn’t get to enjoy much of the junk her friends grew up surrounded by as a result of her mother having a chef on staff, but Donaldo managed to sneak in sugar and the occasional pastry, especially when Whitney’s mother wasn’t home to see her indulge. To hear her mom tell it, the lure of sugar wasn’t something to be messed with and as such, it was all but outlawed in the Ryan home. At least Whitney had the family chef in her back pocket. Donaldo was a soccer fan. That made everything easier.

Entering the dining room on high alert, Whitney sighed heavily when she saw only one place setting, all paper, gracing the top of the polished mahogany table purchased to seat twenty. Of course Marta, their housekeeper, knew Whitney had to eat and run on A days which meant breakfast would consist of yogurt, a protein shake, fruit, a power bar, energy supplements and her vitamins, all portable. Thank you, Marta! Now all Whitney had to do was pray Donaldo made something treacherous for her on the sly and she’d be on her way.

Purchase HERE

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