Friday, October 30, 2015

Free Books for Trick or Treat Reads!

To celebrate Halloween I'm participating in Trick or Treat Reads, the super fun hop hosted by Patricia Lynne.

This hop is definitely one of the best I've ever seen, as it's all about free books. Who doesn't love free books?

Happy Halloween! 

I'm giving away eBooks of Polar Night or The Ghosts of Aquinnah to anyone who leaves a comment between now and midnight on November 1. Just tell me which one you would like to have and the book will be yours. I will automatically send a Kindle version but if you need the .epub version for Nook instead just say so. Also, if I don't already know how to get in touch with you please leave your email address in the comment as well. I hope to hand out lots of books!

Also, my Polar Night prequel The Turnagain Arm is free on Amazon. So if you'd like that one to add to your trick or treat bag, just click here and pick up your copy. That will be free throughout the weekend.

If you're a fan of vampires, ghosts, or both, there should be something for you in one of these books.

And just a quick reminder that the Untethered Realms anthology Mayhem In The Air is officially released for Halloween! The anthology includes stories from ten Untethered Realms authors, including yours truly. Mayhem isn't free but it is just 99 cents so it's still a treat! To read more about the anthology and the stories included, visit our blog here.

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Listing Hop & Cardinal Sin Excerpt

I haven't joined a one-time blog hop in ages but when I saw this one on Bish Denham's site it was so simple I had to sign up.

Bish is hosting the hop to celebrate eight years of blogging (Congratulations, Bish!) and all we have to do is write a list. Seriously, that's it!

I decided to list my favorite animal rescue organizations, most of which I've encountered since I started this blogging and writing journey. Click on each rescue if you'd like more info on them.

1. Circle Tail, Pleasant Plain, Ohio
2. Best Friends Animal Society, Kanab, Utah
3. Tabby's Place Cat Sanctuary, Ringoes, New Jersey
4. Sunrise Farm Animal Sanctuary, Marysville, Ohio
5. Triple R Equine Ranch, Greensburg, Indiana
6. EARPS Exotic Animal Rescue & Pet Sanctuary, Brownsburg, Indiana
7. Hope for Paws, Los Angeles, California
8. Red Wolf Wildlife Sanctuary & Rehabilitation Center, Rising Sun, Indiana

So that's my list! One of the things I've loved most about learning more about animal rescues since I started blogging is that I've discovered so many different types of organizations. I had always thought of rescue in terms of dogs and cats but this list includes rescues that work with farm animals, "pocket pets" like hamsters, and even wildlife. There are so many amazing organizations out there doing great work that the list easily could have gone into the hundreds.

Thanks to Bish for coming up with such a fun and easy hop. For a list of all the participants, visit Bish's site here.

This week is the official release of the Untethered Realms anthology Mayhem In The Air, which includes my story Cardinal Sin. I thought I would share a brief excerpt from the story to kick off release week.

I screamed when they threw me into the mass grave with the dead patients. 

I was sure they’d hear me. But they carried on just the same. Before I knew it, they started throwing shovels of dirt on top of me. On top of all of us. 

“I’m alive!” I yelled. Or at least I thought I was yelling. How was it possible they couldn’t hear me? It wasn’t bad enough the idiot doctors had decided I was dead. Now these lumbering fools couldn’t even hear me?  

Just as I was about to give up, the shovels stopped and I heard a worker ask another “Did you hear something?” 

My still-beating heart filled with hope. 

“Hear what?” was the response. 

“Don’t know. Almost sounded like some poor sod crying.” 

Could it be? Did he hear me?

I yelled out again. “Yes! Help me!” 

“I don’t hear nothing.”  

“I guess I don’t either. Must have been a dog barking.”

“No!” I cried. 

The shoveling began again. 

If you want to read more of my story and the nine other stories in the anthology pick up Mayhem In The Air at:

Amazon ~ Google Play ~ Smashwords

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Mayhem In the Air & The Waverly Hills Sanatorium

We're getting closer to Halloween - the release date for the Mayhem In The Air anthology from Untethered Realms - so I thought I would share the haunted place that helped inspire my entry in the collection. If you've visited this blog before you know I love ghosts and haunted places!

The entrance to Waverly Hills

When I first learned about the Waverly Hills Sanatorium near Louisville, Kentucky, I knew at some point I would end up writing about it or including it in a story in some way. While Waverly Hills is not mentioned in my Mayhem story Cardinal Sin, it did inspire the tuberculosis hospital where the story's character loses his life.

Jefferson County, Kentucky experienced a tuberculosis epidemic in the early decades of the 20th century, which led to the building of the huge sanatorium. Waverly Hills became a self-contained community, with its own zip code, post office, and farm to raise vegetables and livestock for its residents. The doctors and nurses lived at Waverly alongside the patients, which numbered into the 400s at any given time. The sanatorium opened for business in October, 1926 and served as a TB hospital until the 1960s, after antibiotics had rendered the facility obsolete.

It's not hard to imagine that there are lots of legends and haunted tales from those 40 years of operation. The fifth floor is considered the most haunted area of the hospital and is likely the floor where mentally ill TB patients were housed. Room 502 is the most popular room for ghost hunters to visit, as the head nurse committed suicide by hanging herself from the light fixture in 1926. In 1932, another nurse who worked in the room was said to have jumped to her death from the nearby patio.

The creepiest thing about Waverly Hills was the "body chute," a tunnel originally used to transport building materials during the construction of the hospital. Once the hospital was in operation, the tunnel was used for something very different. It became known as the body chute because it was used to remove dead patients from the hospital floors and transport them to hearses waiting at the body of the hill on which the sanatorium stood.

Researchers estimate that approximately 8,000 people died at Waverly Hills over the years, so there must have been lots of bodies going down that chute. It's no wonder the hospital is now a haunted hotspot, and considered one of the most haunted places in America.

Neither the body chute nor Room 502 play any role in my story, but they certainly are fuel for the imagination. I still have thoughts of writing about Waverly Hills and it may show up in another story someday.

Meanwhile, here is the blurb and story loglines for Mayhem In The Air!

Mayhem book blurb:

From Amazon bestselling and popular science fiction and fantasy authors comes Mayhem in the Air, a supernatural anthology of ten thrilling tales. Meet hot robots, hungry winds and the goddess of chaos. Explore alien planets, purgatorial realms, and a shocking place where people bury the living with their dead. Mayhem in the Air is the second, long-awaited story collection from the dynamic and inventive Untethered Realms group.


"A Strange Penitence" 
by Catherine Stine - A young artist pays a supernatural price when a drawing trip to North Carolina turns deadly.

"Mass Transit" by Graeme Ing - For Emily, mind over matter is not just a saying, but the gateway to her career among the largest starships built by man.

"A Tangled Weave" by River Fairchild - A TimePulse rips through the Great Tapestry of Life, leaving Earth’s history in a jumble, and Death and Chronos in a race to save the world yet again.

"Corrosive" by M. Pax - In a world ruined by pollutants, Bex sets off to establish a new homestead with her dreamy robotic man. Already farming her plot of land is another dreamy man with radical ideas, presenting new challenges as corrosive as the air.

"Saving Scrooge: A Short Story Prequel to the Saving Marley Series" by Gwen Gardner - Marley is sent from purgatory to save the soul of his old friend. Can he save his own in the bargain?

"The Silent Wind" by Christine Rains - A team of specialists must dispel a mysterious storm on an alien planet to prepare it for colonization. One by one the crew disappears until only a seasoned soldier remains. How can he battle a hungry wind that makes no noise?

"Paper Lanterns" by Cherie Reich: In order to keep his promise to his daughter, Mayor Alfred Merry must betray the woman he loves.

"Chaos. Hope. Love." by Misha Gerrick - Although Eris is the goddess of chaos, her life has fallen into a nice and comfortable routine. Until someone from her past shows up in her bookstore.

"Cardinal Sin" by Julie Flanders: Beleaguered hospital workers bury the living with the dead in the midst of a tuberculosis epidemic and a seething spirit vows vengeance from the skies.

"The Ark" by Cathrina Constantine -Plagued with memory flashes of fiery explosions and running for her life, Fallon emerges from a drugged stupor to find herself in an airborne Ark, and the earth below is a drowning wasteland.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Taking the Towel Back Out & More Realms Faire Games


Last week I wrote that I was throwing in the towel on my WIP after months of frustration with it. Apparently the WIP didn't like that idea, as right after I wrote that post I got inspired to go take the towel back out and work on the story. And to my amazement, I actually finished the first draft over the weekend! Once I started writing again I couldn't stop.

So I think that story still wanted to be told and I am more than happy to oblige it. I have tons of work to do as the first draft is garbage, but I am excited now about tackling it.

This story is a follow-up to Polar Night and Polar Day but is set in Chicago instead of in Alaska. The antagonist is a ghost this time, or a sort of ghost, who has connections to the Civil War. I came upon this photo on Twitter from the Chattanooga National Military Park this week out of the blue and it seemed like another sign that this story is meant to be finished. Isn't this a haunting shot? I love it.


I'm looking forward to being able to share more about the story in the coming weeks.

Thanks again to everyone who left comments on my post last week. I really appreciated all of the encouragement and advice!

The Realms Faire is getting closer and I am excited to spotlight a few more games today from my fellow participants.

House Bookworm - Riddle Me This
I am a book so popular they made a movie of me. Within the what if realms I lie. Horror? Fantasy? Or am I Sci-Fi? A riddle every day during the Realms Faire for you to take your best guess and have a chance to win a prize most splendid.
For your guessing pleasure, visit Cherie Reich's blog every day November 9-13 to make a guess and be entered for a daily prize.

House of the Hero's Dilemma - hosted by Tyrean Martinson
Hero's beware! Here at the House of Hero's Dilemma, a new cliff-hanging adventure will dangle new heroes above the depths of destiny or despair. In 100 words or less, a hero will face a danger in story form.
Each day, the people of Realsmdom will decide the fate of these heroes in three sentences or less. If fateful endings are giving answer in poetic form, an extra entry for prizes will be awarded.
Daily e-book prizes will be awarded via random name-pulling from the entries. Everyone is invited to participate.
People of Realmsdom, you have the power of storytelling might to decide the fate of the would-be heroes. Will they die in glory or shame, live in victory or defeat? It is up to you.

House Waibel - The Stockade Brigade
Warrants of arrest have been issued for select authors accusing them of witchery and wizardry. The pillory has been erected and the trial dates set.
Good people of Realmsdom, I call upon you to bear witness to these trials and offer your testimony for or against the author's crimes.
Points will be awarded for wordsmithing a comment in your best Olde English afore 8 of the clock in the Eastern time on the following scale:
5-Ye speak as one from the days of Queen Bess.4-Ye could pass muster as a Ren Faire cast member3-Ye could pass as a Ren Faire attendee2-Ye wouldn't be foolin' yer mother1-Ye stand out like the sun in a cloudless sky
An e-book will be given every day to the witness who scores the most points. Fear not, your daily score will be accumulated and the person with the highest score shall receive a special prize at the end of the week. So, brush off your Olde English and prepare to testify.

For all of the info on the Realms Faire, including a full list of this year's games, visit M. Pax here

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

IWSG & Knowing When to Throw in the Towel

Hello and Happy October! It's the first Wednesday of the month and that means it's time for another meeting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. If you aren't part of the group and would like to join in, visit host Alex J. Cavanaugh and add your name to the list. Everyone is always welcome!

This month I'm pondering when it's time to throw in the towel on a story that just doesn't seem to be working. As I've mentioned here before, I've been working, or trying to work, on a follow-up to Polar Day for a long time now and whenever I think I'm making progress the story stalls and I go back to being frustrated. Part of me thinks I don't want to quit on it when I've already put so much time into it, but another, bigger part of me feels like it just may be time to say enough is enough. For whatever reason, this story is not coming together for me.

The writing has started to feel like a chore and I don't want that. I think that may be the best indication that I need to let this story go. I have some other ideas I've been putting on hold because I was so focused on finishing this, but maybe I need to bring those ideas to the forefront and find the joy in writing again. I admit I haven't felt that joy for quite a while now.

Have you ever decided to say goodbye to a WIP that just wasn't working? How did you know when to throw in the towel?

In other news, due to a mistake in the original campaign, M.Pax has created a new Thunderclap for the upcoming Realms Faire. I know lots of people supported the first one and if you wouldn't mind adding your support to this new and corrected campaign we would be so grateful! Here is the link:

Thank you again for your support!