Dariel's World

Hi. I'm Dariel Raye, an interracial/multi-cultural paranormal romance, urban fantasy, and psy/suspense author, and every day of this journey is a learning experience. I'm also a counselor, musician, and animal lover. My stories are about all-conquering love and romance, and I enjoy hosting other authors as well. Enter a world where werewolves, vampires, multi-shifters, vamp-like Nephilim, Vodouin Fey, and all things paranormal capture our hearts...

You might also like to visit my website.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

The Age of Rudeness: 10 Necessary Additions to Unspoken Rules




A good friend of mine often says "we live in a time in which right is wrong and wrong is right." For me his meaning was immediately clear the first time I heard it because it seems that disrespect and lack of courtesy have almost become the norm. Yes, there are certainly still kind, considerate people, but have you noticed an uprising of rudeness? I definitely have. Sometimes I call these pet peeves of mine, but I think they should be rules of conduct, in no particular order. Here's my list. Some of these things have actually happened to me. Let me know what you think, and feel free to comment with some of your own:

1. If you're entering a room or elevator, boarding a train, etc., allow people to exit first. It's a right-of-way thing.

2. If you eat or use the last of something, the last cup of coffee at your office, for instance, it's your job to replace it, make more, purchase more, you get the idea.

3. When someone offers to give you something, even if you don't want it, say 'thank you.' Better yet, say 'thank you for thinking of me.' They didn't have to, you know, and next time they could have something you really want. If you act like a mannerless ingrate, they probably won't bother to offer you anything else. 

4. When you tell someone you're going to do something, make every effort to do it. If for a legitimate reason you can't, let them know as soon as possible. 

5. Don't say hateful, critical, or hurtful things just because you can. Children do that. I often hear people bragging about their 'straightforwardness,' 'honesty,' or their knack for 'speaking their mind,'  but adults should be mature enough to consider whether their words will be beneficial or detrimental. Sometimes this is simply a matter of making your point in a more constructive way, i.e., a suggestion without blame, and other times it's best to remain silent. It's called wisdom and self-control.

6. When you move something, put it back where it was, the way it was. Period.

7. Never show up at someone else's home without calling first. No, not even family. For all you know, they could be asleep, taking a shower, in the bathroom, or just not in the mood for company.

8. If someone is directly behind you when you open a door and go in, hold the door. don't just let it go as if you don't see them unless something's wrong your peripheral vision. Even then, you can feel someone on your heels so...Likewise, if someone holds the door for you, say 'thank you.' Don't just traipse in as if you think the door magically remained open for you. They didn't have to hold it. Like I just said, lots of folks don't these days.

9. I've noticed the arguments lately about service animals showing up everywhere. Just like pets don't belong everywhere, neither do kids. If, for some reason you have no choice and you have to take your child with you to some inappropriate place, it is your responsibility to make sure they behave. I recently had an experience where a group of women came into the theater with babies and toddlers. They climbed the stairs and went straight to the back, but a few minutes later they were eating loudly, talking, crying, moving about, and to make it worse, even the women were talking loudly. It was ridiculous. There was no way we could hear and enjoy the movie we'd paid for. Needless to say, we had to get a manager to remove them and they had the nerve to be angry.

10. Finally, and this is one of my biggest pet peeves. When someone shares an accomplishment with you, don't piss on it by interrupting them to tell them about someone else's accomplishment instead. It's like wearing a white wedding gown to someone else's wedding, or proposing at someone else's wedding. It's devaluing, rude, and a sure sign of jealousy. 

When I became a USA Today Bestselling author, I shared it with an older woman who attended my first book signing some years ago. She's not a writer herself, but I thought she would be happy for me. Her response was "Oh, that's wonderful!. You've been writing a while, haven't you? So-and-so (a person I don't even know, who doesn't even write fiction) just became a New York Times Bestselling author!" Stunned for a moment, I said "I don't know her," then walked away. 

So, with these 10, and believe me, they are just the tip of the iceberg, you can imagine how many more I can think of. I asked the question about pet peeves in my Facebook group a couple of weeks ago, so I will definitely revisit this topic in a future post with additional crimes of courtesy or the lack thereof. Life is hard enough without people attempting to bring each other down. What are some things you think should be rules of behavior?

Starting next week, I'll share some of the excerpts from our stories in "A Darker Shade of Evil: A Devils and Demons anthology." 

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

"Shayn" by Starr Huntress and Kate Rudolph


Shayn
Kate Rudolph, Starr Huntress
Publication date: August 13th 2019
Genres: Adult, Romance, Science Fiction
Shayn NaZade is looking for answers…
A Detyen father and Oscavian mother have left Shayn wondering whether he and his brothers will be forced to pay the Denya Price. Unamted Detyens die on their thirtieth birthdays, but will that hold true for someone with Oscavian blood? His question brings him to Oscavia where he finds his mate… and a whole lot of trouble.
Naomi’s a psychic, but she didn’t see this one coming…
Orphaned as a child and raised by scientists, Naomi’s mind is opened to all the secrets of the universe. But she can’t see the lies and betrayals standing right in front of her, and when experiments to control her powers take a dark turn she knows she’ll have to run. It’s just her luck that her instincts push her towards a charming blue alien.
A dangerous escape, a daring rescue, and scorching heat send Shayn and Naomi tumbling together as the denya bond ties them ever closer. But when the forces against them get too close, that bond will be tested to the breaking point.
Read Shayn today for fated mates, a heart-melting hero, and adventures that are out of this world!
Shayn is the seventh book in the Mated to the Alien series about a race of aliens doomed to die if they don’t meet their fated mates. The series can be read in any order and there are no cliffhangers!

Author Bio:
Kate Rudolph is an ex-derby girl who lives in Indiana. She loves writing about kick butt heroines and the steamy heroes who love them. She's been devouring romance novels since she was too young to be reading them and had to hide her books so no one would take them away. She couldn't imagine a better job in this world than writing romances and sharing them with her fellow readers.
Want to know when she releases a new book and get a free copy of The Alpha Heist?
Sign up to her mailing list to receive notifications of new releases and deals. The link can be found here: http://katerudolph.net/index.php/subscribe

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Thursday, August 15, 2019

"Million Miles Away" by Alice Bane


Million Miles Away
Alice Bane
(Million Miles, #1)
Publication date: October 5th 2019
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Science Fiction
For the past year, sleep paralysis has been little more than a thorn in Natalia’s side. That is, until she meets Korin, a strange but beautiful alien being who makes her question everything she knows about the universe.
Life-changing love almost feels like an invasion.
I won’t bore you with details about the mysterious medical issues I’ve had over the last year;
the sudden severe allergies to food and medication, the sleep paralysis. All I’ll tell you is that they turned my life upside down.
But I’m a rational person.
Naturally, I assumed that my mind was playing tricks on me when I saw the strange figures standing over me.
But it felt so freakishly real;
especially one face in particular that always stayed with me long after I woke up.
Something about him always drew me in and I knew he was different. He made me feel different.
All my life, romance has felt like something that was reserved for everyone but me. I’d accepted that the only love in my life would be experienced through my artwork.
Now I’m questioning everything I know about myself, about reality, and especially about love.

EXCERPT:
The girls would always tease me about how put together my life was. Sure, it looked good on paper; top-rated artist in my department, an amazing house which I always kept immaculate, and when I wasn’t working, I was at the gym. They seemed to think that I had a perfect life. They had no idea how much I envied them. They both had incredible relationships with gorgeous men who doted on them endlessly. They were always commenting on how jealous they were of my body, but they also never missed a chance to eat delicious foods that I couldn’t so much as smell without getting sick. They didn’t realize that my house was always clean because it was empty and sterile; just like the rest of my life.
I didn’t even have a pet. Ever since little Ivan died, I accepted that I wasn’t pet owner material. If I couldn’t keep a goldfish alive, what chance did I have with a more complex and emotionally dependent animal? Besides, with my work schedule, it would be cruel to even try.
“Before we get started with what we’ve got on today, I need to ask you guys a really important favor,” Abiola said, circling the desk to take both mine and Laura’s hands in hers. “The two of you have been such a huge part of my life. You’ve been there for me through all my family drama and I couldn’t love you more if you were my flesh and blood sisters.”
“Abi,” Laura pushed out her bottom lip. “That’s the sweetest thing you could possibly say.”
“Well, I would be so honored if the two of you would be my bridesmaids this spring. Please say yes!”
The three of us all wrapped our arms around each other in a sickeningly sweet display of female solidarity. I forced a smile and swallowed the lump in my throat as I imagined walking down the aisle on the arm of some random groomsman who had a wife or girlfriend somewhere in the church. This would be the second time I was a bridesmaid at someone’s wedding. The old saying ‘three times a bridesmaid, never a bride’ rang out in my mind.
“I would love to be a bridesmaid at your wedding,” Laura crooned.
I mustered the minimal amount of excitement I could get away with for the situation and said, “Me too. I love you, woman,” then patted Abiola on the back.
Abiola nodded and wiped at eyeliner from beneath her watering eyes. She was an old soul with a soft heart. She spent her weekends volunteering at a children’s group home. That was where she met her fiancé Trevor, and they bonded over their dysfunctional family situations. They would probably adopt a bunch of foster kids right after their wedding and live happily ever after. She deserved that; it was all she ever wanted.
“Okay ladies,” Abiola clapped her hands. “Today we’re looking for something we can use for the promotion of the OSA campus, which will be opening next year in Portland, Oregon. Boss says our primary focus is to attract engineering and architectural students for the Lunar-retreat that’s in the works.”
“So, where do we start?” Laura said, looking right at me.
“I am going to need to work up some concept drawings for the Lunar Resort. Also, if you could give me the clearest photos of the most beautiful views the Lunar Surface has to offer, that would be cool to show exactly what the students should be aspiring to be a part of. I want to see some dramatic landscapes with visible craters, maybe some rock formations. Anything to pull people in.”
“I’m on it,” Laura nodded and sat down at her touch responsive computer.
“I’ll go to engineering to get permission to use blueprints of the resort that you can use to make the concept drawings,” Abiola said, then turned and headed towards the elevator.
It was an exciting project. I used to fantasize that by the time I was ready to retire, I would be able to cash in on all the vacation time I had accrued and maybe even spend a few of my golden years at that resort. The thought of waking up in the morning and looking out the window to see the Earth just as we see the moon from down here always gave me a sense of calm.
Four hours later, all final decisions had been made on what I wanted to use on the project. Right on cue, my trusty assistants started complaining that they were starving to death.
“If I don’t get some corned beef nachos in me in the next ten minutes, I might actually die,” Laura said and stood up dramatically from her desk.
“I want waffles and bacon,” Abiola rubbed her belly.
I sighed at the memory of bacon; I would probably just have some raw vegetables and berries. I was still looking at my screen and inspecting one of the photos, trying to decide on how I would alter the image to bring it to life. My eyes burned. I clenched them shut and rubbed them, forcing them to rest. Eye strain was the enemy and this day was proving to be particularly difficult since I had hardly slept the night before. I couldn’t shake my anxiety about today’s social gathering after work. Stress and lack of sleep usually meant a big fat migraine, which was the last thing I needed at Laura’s party.
“I’m going to head to the chill room. I need a nap more than anything.”
“You better be rested for tonight’s festivities,” Laura wagged her finger at me.
“I’ll bring my party face, I promise,” I said. I stood up but couldn’t stop the oncoming yawn. “The fatigue is killing me.”
“Yeah, no coffee or sugar in your morning will do that to you,” Abiola said with a shake of her head. “I don’t know how you do it.”
“Well, it’s easy since a cup of coffee could put me in the hospital again, I guess.”
“Jesus,” Abiola pressed her fist to her mouth. “I didn’t mean to…”
“It’s fine, Abi,” I assured her. “I just need to get a little rest.”
The two girls headed down to the food court while I made my way to the sleeping pods. White, plush, and stacked like a honeycomb, they were an inviting image that screamed comfort. I smiled and breathed a sigh of relief to find my favorite lower level pod was unoccupied. Turning on the sound system, I selected a playlist I knew I could sleep through. Sometimes I would choose guided meditation tracks or audiobooks. Today’s selection was soft cello. Something about the deep tones helped me unwind no matter what was on my mind. I settled in, turning on the heated cushions and closing my eyes.
I practiced the deep breathing exercises the doctor had taught me as I pictured myself floating through a dark endless sky toward the moon’s surface. The pictures I had looked at for over four hours served to be the subject of my meditation. I inhaled deeply, focusing on relaxing my arms and legs. Exhaling, I imagined moving further out into space. In… and out…
As soon as sleep found me, I was swept up in a flurry of blinding light. My stomach turned as the light began strobing violently, causing me to feel disoriented. My body tensed as I realized it had been several weeks since I’d had an episode. Right on schedule, it hit me like a ton of bricks.
Oh no, no, no, no… I can’t deal with this right now, not at work!
I struggled to wake myself, I couldn’t move. The cold sensation of a smooth metallic surface beneath me was confusing. I felt my fingertips twitch as I tried desperately to flail any and all limbs that might respond to my will, but my body remained where it was. I strained to sit up or scream, but I couldn’t even open my mouth. I was trapped, overwhelmed by the weight of my chest collapsing in on itself. If I didn’t put every ounce of will I possessed into sucking air through my nostrils, I had a very real fear that my body would simply shut down, leaving my body as a cold stiff corpse which might be found hours later in my cozy little pod. Filling my lungs with intention, I gasped for air, breath after panicked breath, hoping someone would notice and wake me.
The strobing intensified for what felt like several minutes and when it finally stopped, there remained a constant blinding light that made my eyes water. Tears streamed from the outer corners of my eyes into my ears.
“Help… me…” I managed to whisper to no one in particular.
From the edge of my vision, a blurry figure leaned over me.
“Please,” I sobbed, trying to turn my head to get a better look at who it was, but I couldn’t.
My chest burned as my heart pounded out of control. I tried to calm myself by reciting the scientific facts about what I knew was happening.
During REM sleep, your muscles are essentially turned off to keep you from sleepwalking. When a person wakes up during REM, they are fully conscious but completely paralyzed. Usually, physical stimulation from someone rubbing or shaking them will pull the victim out of the purgatorial state. Unfortunately, living alone means I have no one to rescue me during these episodes, which can sometimes last for hours.
“Just close your eyes. Everything will be okay,” a distorted voice spoke through the fog of my half-conscious state.
Maybe my brain is morphing the cello music into a voice. Sleep paralysis is often accompanied by waking dreams or hallucinations, after all.
I thought I could force myself to come out of it but, instead, I moved even deeper into unconsciousness. It wasn’t like falling, but more like being underwater and sinking slowly. I struggled against what felt like a chemically induced calm. I tried again to force myself awake but couldn’t. The darkness swallowed me up and I finally surrendered to it.
To my surprise, I suddenly found myself vividly aware of two things; one, the fact that I was breathing without much effort, and two, I was no longer in my cushioned sleeping pod, but rather stretched out flat on my back on a cold metal surface. All efforts to move just made me realize that what I was experiencing was very different from the sleep paralysis I was familiar with. I could move my fingers and flex my wrists and feet. There were actual physical restraints fastened around my wrists, neck, forehead, and ankles that were preventing me from moving.
Blinking hard, I strained to look around at my surroundings. The entire room was reflective as if every surface and object was made from surgical steel. It was shockingly cold, almost like the inside of a walk-in refrigerator. I grunted, twisting my wrists in hopes that I could slip out the straps.
There was a continuous hum that was so low I didn’t hear it so much as felt it vibrating through my entire body. There was a spherical light that seemed to be floating in the air a few feet over me. The ceiling was high above that and almost too dark for me to make out anything but the vague shape of what might have been a reflection of myself and the rest of the room around me. I strained to see past the light so I could study what else I could make out in the reflective ceiling. My heart pounded in my ears as my attention was drawn to a distorted human shape in the darkness at my side.
A chill spread through my body as I realized that someone, or something, was quietly watching me struggle but I couldn’t for the life of me work out who, as the silhouette disappeared from my view the moment I noticed it. Even when I turned my eyes as far as I could, the dark corners of the room remained completely obscured. Regardless of the deafening silence and the fact that I couldn’t see anyone, I knew someone was there.




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Tuesday, August 13, 2019

"Taken By the Beast" by Conner Kressley and Rebecca Hamilton


Taken by the Beast
Conner Kressley and Rebecca Hamilton
(The Conduit #1)
Publication date: April 29th 2018
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Retelling, Romance
It’s not until a missing girl is found chained up in Abram’s home that this beauty realizes one of her romantic interests is a beast.
When I took this job at New Haven’s first ever Night Club, it was just to try to get on my own two feet. I hadn’t expected to fall for my boss.
Now, I can’t seem to stay away, despite all the warning signs he’s hiding something from me. It’s not until I find a missing girl chained up in his home that I realize he’s a beast. And by then, it’s too late.
Magic is real, and I’m really in trouble. My boss might chain me up next, and I think I’d like it.
This hot alpha male shifter is sure to be your new favorite book boyfriend in this scorching hot beauty and the beast retelling! See what fans of Celia Kyle, Ilona Andrews, and J.R. Ward are calling their latest paranormal romance addiction.
EXCERPT:
I shook my head. I didn’t want to stay here, in some place where they spun tales tall enough to make your best friend sleep with a gun under her pillow.
I didn’t want to be that person, not for anything. And something told me that if I stayed here long enough, I wouldn’t be able to help it.
No, I would go to sleep, wake up, collect the supplies I needed from town, and fix the stupid fence. Then I would get a job, save up like crazy, and make a break for it. Maybe I could call my (former) agent and beg him to take me back.
Hell, the Sears Catalog always needs models.
I punched my pillow, trying not to think about this ridiculous place, about all it had seen me lose.
“Idiots,” I muttered, climbing into bed. “They turn their town into a pressure cooker and then they make monsters out of thin—”
A sudden howling cut off my words.
Tensing, I threw off my covers and lurched for the window.
The sound was nothing. A dog, or something. I would prove that to myself.
I glared out into those goddamn woods. See, nothing. Absolutely—
A shadow moved between the trees, hulking and burly, but also tall. Too tall to be an animal.
I blinked hard, once, and then again. When I looked back, there was nothing there.
Stop it, Char.
This place would drive me crazy if I let it. It was nothing. An animal.
I got back in bed, trying to feel more New York and less New Haven.
But somewhere in the back of my mind, I couldn’t let go of the howl…or the markings…or the dead girl who looked just like me.


Author Bio:
New York Times bestselling author Rebecca Hamilton writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance for Harlequin, Baste Lübbe, and Evershade. A book addict, registered bone marrow donor, and indian food enthusiast, she often takes to fictional worlds to see what perilous situations her characters will find themselves in next.
Represented by Rossano Trentin of TZLA, Rebecca has been published internationally, in three languages: English, German, and Hungarian.
Author links:
Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter
--
Conner Kressley is a USA TODAY Bestselling Author. He is an avid reader and all around lover of storytelling. He's been obsessed with mythology, magic, and all the things that go bump in the night since he could remember. Also, pizza. But who isn't obsessed with pizza?
When he's not writing (or even when he is), Conner can be found in the western Texas watching old movies, geeking out over books (comic and otherwise)He loves hearing from his fans. So please, feel free to reach out on Facebook or through his website at connerkressleybooks.weebly.com
Author links:
Website / Facebook / Twitter

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Sunday, August 11, 2019

New Release: "Last First Kiss" by Jane Anthony





From best-selling author, Jane Anthony, comes a sweet, sexy, standalone, second-chance romance.

Jesse Dylan was my best friend, my first kiss . . . and my first heartbreak.

Watching him walk out of my life almost ruined me. But years have passed, and the pain of losing him has long since faded.

Or so I thought.

One glimpse in his cobalt eyes and those old wounds reopened. Jesse wants a second chance at what might have been, but it's too late. I'm with someone new. Someone safe. Someone who can't break me.

Yet the heart wants what it wants, and mine has only ever beat for the one who got away. I can't deny him. I can't resist him. He consumes my every waking thought and invades my dreams.

After all these years, I find myself wondering if I'll ever truly stop loving the boy who taught my heart to hurt.

Jesse abandoned me when things got too difficult once.

I'm about to find out if lightning can strike twice.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Cover Reveal - "Awakening" by Carissa Andrews


Awakening: Rise as the Fall Unfolds
Carissa Andrews
Publication date: November 12th 2019
Genres: Supernatural Thriller/Urban Fantasy
The multiverse is in shambles without all its pieces in place and the darkness is coming for them. Five angels have to pull a course correction—but they have to all agree first.
Morgan’s been a psychic, tasked with awakening angels in her dimension for the past twenty years. Finding this purpose and calling was a blessing… and a curse. She never expected it would lead her to a single supernatural suicide mission to save all of creation, with the final five angels at her side.
All they have to do is figure out the missing piece and how their individual angelic gifts fit together. Too bad their humanity is clouding their judgment and none of them can get on the same page long enough to make a coordinated plan.
When they finally realize the missing piece and how they fit into the puzzle, it means leaving behind everything they’ve ever known in the hopes of changing fate. The decision isn’t taken lightly. But if they don’t accept their roles and come together, none of it will matter.
If they fail, existence ceases.


Author Bio:
Carissa Andrews is a freelance writer, award-winning graphic designer, indie author coach, and internationally bestselling author from Crosslake Minnesota. She is the President of the Lakes Area Writers Alliance, a 501c3 nonprofit for writers in central Minnesota, as well as the owner of Author Revolution, LLC – an organization geared toward helping new authors navigate the waters of indie publishing. For 2020, Carissa has her sights set on becoming a NYT or USA Today Bestselling Author with her upcoming series, The Windhaven Witches. You can learn more about Carissa, her services, and her upcoming novels by visiting her websites: www.carissaandrews.com, www.authorrevolution.org, or authorrevolution.teachable.com

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Cover reveal: "Cabin 1 - Steele Shadows Security" by Amanda McKinney


Cabin 1
Amanda McKinney
(Steele Shadows Security #1)
Publication date: September 26th 2019
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense
**Full blurb coming soon**
From multi-award-winning romantic suspense author Amanda McKinney comes the first book in the steamy, edge-of-your-seat, three-part series, Steele Shadows Security…
Hidden deep in the remote mountains of Berry Springs is a private security firm where some go to escape, and others find exactly what they’ve been looking for.
Welcome to Cabin 1, Cabin 2, Cabin 3…


Author Bio:
Amanda McKinney is the bestselling and multi-award-winning author of more than ten romantic suspense and mystery novels. She wrote her debut novel, LETHAL LEGACY, in 2017 after walking away from her career to become a writer and stay-at-home mom. Set in small, southern towns, Amanda's books are page-turning murder mysteries packed with steamy romance.
Her books include the BERRY SPRINGS SERIES and the BLACK ROSE MYSTERY SERIES, with a surprise new series being released later this year.
THE CAVE, the seventh book in the BERRY SPRINGS SERIES, is scheduled to be released August 2019. Text AMANDABOOKS to 66866 to receive Amanda's newsletter and get the latest on new releases, promos, and freebies!

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Thursday, August 8, 2019

"Hybrid" by Rebecca Henry


Hybrid: Adapt or Die
Rebecca Henry
Publication date: August 5th 2019
Genres: Adult, Horror, Science Fiction
Agent Van of the CIA is sent to an Australian underground military surveillance base called Pine Gap. Agent Van finds himself thrown in a conspiracy cover up of an ancient alien race known as species X. He falls in love with Annika, a mysterious and uncommon woman who displays unusual abilities, leading Van to question her own origin. Mystery and horror explode around Agent Van during a cave diving exhibition to search for a lost colleague referred to as Agent One. The only clue for Agent Van and his team is a cryptic message carved on a wall inside the bleak cave that reads “Agent One is gone. No more Agent One.” Terror arrives as the agents are trapped inside the ominous cave. Agent Van soon learns that there is more to Pine Gap than Species X.
BOOK TRAILER:
EXCERPT:
A man in a white lab coat turned to me with a smile. A tie-dye bandanna held back his long, graying hair. Doctor Helix was an older man somewhere in his 60s, but still had the hippie heart of a Dead Head. Wiry in build, he was a dead ringer for Bob Weir. Doctor Helix flashed me a peace sign as he rifled through a stack of vinyl records on a desk. Selecting one, he drew a joint from his lab coat and put Sugar Magnolia on the record player, adjusting the needle as he expertly lit the joint with one hand.
“It’s always best to remember the dead with a tribute song and a little smoke,” Doctor Helix explained. “Makes the job less of a job, you know.”
I smiled, uncertain if he was talking to me, or maybe to himself.
He pulled back the sheet and blew smoke into the dull-gray face of one of the dead aliens. “Here’s to you, buddy,” he whispered, his expression soft. “Had some good times, man. I’ll miss ya.”
I stared at the lifeless body in wonder as I observed this new and unknown species of alien. The skin shimmered with hints of blue against its smooth gray complexion. Its closed eyes were set deep within a triangular-shaped face that tapered to a sharp point. The alien’s spidery limbs hung motionless over the side of the metal table. I studied the delicate, elongated fingers that nearly touched the floor, its thumb almost as long as its index finger. I was surprised at how humanoid it appeared; they didn’t look too different from humans, just more exaggerated in comparison.
“He was a friend of yours, Doctor Helix?” I questioned, watching him.
“You young kids and your formal titles,” he scoffed. “Man, call me Doc Do Good. I might be old enough to be your grandpappy, but I ain’t no old fart.”
I liked him instantly.
“Yeah, kid, he was my friend. They all were.” He was silent for a few beats before shaking his head. “Shouldn’t have gone down this way. Good people, man, shouldn’t have happened.”
My eyebrows shot up to my hairline. “You called the aliens people.”
“Well, hell, man,” he answered with a shrug. “They weren’t aliens to me. They were the same as us—better even.” Doc pointed to one of the cabinets lining the far wall. “Lab coats are in there, kid.”
I opened the cabinet, selecting from the wide array of liquid-proof radiation aprons, accompanied by radiation attenuation gloves. The Doc turned with an encouraging nod, indicating for me to suit up. Selecting one, I pulled it over my uniform of black cargo pants and shirt.
“Grab one of those lead face shields as well, kid. The ones with the lamp attached.” He touched his head, noticing he was absent a mask. “And kid, grab one more for me,” he called. “Don’t want any splatter getting in my eyes.”
I selected another face shield and passed it to the doctor. I’ve always been intrigued by autopsies. It’s fascinating to see the world inside our skin; the mechanics to the amazing anatomy that keep the human body alive and functioning. But I’ve always found alien autopsies unnerving. Those autopsies set me on edge. Seeing a new system—an unknown and usually much more complex structure of a living creature not from this earth—both astonished and troubled me. Every time I look inside an alien I am overwhelmed by the vulnerability of humans, how simple and trivial our bodies are compared to an extraterrestrial.
Doc rolled a free-standing surgical light over the cadaver of Species X as he activated his own head lamp and pulled down the lead acrylic shield to protect his face. He took out a recorder to begin his dictation.
“It’s the fifth of November of the year 2025. Agent Van and I are going to perform a Species X autopsy on Phylax Number 571. Number 571 is roughly seven feet, weighing in at 140 pounds.” Doc looked over at me, a scalpel poised in his hands. “Ready, kid?”
“Yeah, Doc, open him up.” I slid the shield over my face, ready for anything. I’d witnessed many autopsies, but this was my first experience with Species X.
With practiced fingers Doc sliced a smooth Y-incision into the alien’s chest, standard procedure during alien and human autopsy. A thick fluid oozed from the cadaver, and I coughed over the gagging stench, the taste of rotten anchovies coating my mouth. “Looks like thick cream,” I said as I rubbed the viscous substance between my gloved fingers.
Doc didn’t look up. “They don’t have blood like us, kid,” he explained as he worked. “I call it ‘lactrum.’ It has more nutrients than any mineral or vitamin we know of. Lactrum carries more genetic coding then all the species of our entire planet put together.” He paused to gaze down at the alien with what I imagined was wonder. “These guys could live forever, never aging, never falling sick with illness.”
Doc waved me closer. “Take a good look, kid. See how vulnerable our God made us compared to Species X.”


Author Bio:
Rebecca Henry is a newly published author. Her debut novel is The Lady Raven, A Dark Cinderella Tale, which was published in 2017. The Lady Raven, is for those who have an affinity for fairy tales retold with a link to witches, magic and the macabre. Her second novel, Louisiana Latte, a chick lit comedy was released February 28th 2019. Louisiana Latte, is a feel good comedy that focuses on the bonds of sisters, and how audacious life can be when you have a diva for one! Both books are available on amazon as well as Barnes & Noble.
Rebecca Henry is a world traveler living abroad in England. Besides being an author of two published books, Rebecca is also a podcast talk host on the show The Latte Talk. The podcast was inspired by her latest novel, Louisiana Latte and her diva sister Deb. She is a serious vegan, gardener, crafter, wife and mom who practices yoga. She loves to laugh, her drug of choice and loves all things witchy with a hint of the macabre. Her favorite holiday is Halloween and her favorite movie of all time is Practical Magic.

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Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Keto Alternatives That Work For Nonconformists




Keto is not the only game in town that leads to fast, effective weight loss. I know, I know. Keto is all the rave right now. Everywhere we turn there are recipes, articles, books, new menu items at restaurants, there's even a Keto Slimfast. Make no mistake - it works and it's fast. There are also the other tried and true go-to weight loss programs like Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, Medical Weight loss, even Atkins just to name a few, and yet...

There are folks like me who question EVERYTHING, and sometimes it pays off because I find great alternatives to whatever the popular, going thing might be. This is one of those times. First, I want to make it perfectly clear that I have the utmost respect for each of the diets I mentioned, but I knew from the beginning that they wouldn't work for me. These are the reasons I started researching for myself. You see...

1. I have a problem with anything that has too many rules.

2. Giving up entire groups of foods (Keto) is not something I ever plan to do.

3. Despite recent tweaks like the addition of more free foods, there's no way I'm realistically going to count calories, weigh foods, attend meetings, or pay membership dues for the rest of my life (Weight Watchers).

4. I don't plan to pay hundreds of dollars a month for prepared foods + membership dues (Jenny Craig and others like it), and

5. The last thing I want is to have to see another doctor every month to get shots and be told what I shouldn't eat (Medical Weight loss).

6. As a kidney patient who deals with chronic infections, pain, and restrictions, I can't always do what others can do so it has to be something safe, natural, and simple.

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My solution is intermittent fasting. Now, before you stop reading and call me crazy, let me explain. With intermittent fasting there are no required grocery lists, fees, expensive prepared meals, memberships and calorie counting, or doctor visits (although you should always check with your doctor before starting any weight loss plan). In addition, intermittent fasting is one of the easiest, most natural ways to lose weight and sustain the way of life. Sustainability is extremely important to me. Losing weight is much like relationships. Whatever you have to do to make it work in the beginning is the same thing you have to do to keep it working. You're allowed a few modifications, of course, but the principle is the same.

There are several versions of intermittent fasting: I'll call the first one basic intermittent fasting because it's the easiest, alternate day or AD fasting, the 5: 2 Fast Diet, and a number of others. I consider basic intermittent fasting the easiest because it simply extends the time most of us already naturally fast. Since we sleep for a number of hours - I hope you're getting your 7 - 8 hours of zzz's - intermittent fasting is natural to an extent. With basic intermittent fasting we simply extend that natural fast from the 8 hours we've slept by about 6 more hours. It's much easier to do than it sounds.

Basic Intermittent - Say your day starts at 7 a.m. If your first meal isn't until 10 a.m. and your last meal is before 7 p.m., you've got yourself a 15 hour fast just by shaving off a couple of hours that morning and a few that night. Even better, because this allows your body the time it needs to properly digest food BEFORE you turn in, your digestive systems gets to rest and repair itself during the night while you sleep. You'll have sweeter dreams and feel better the next morning. For more about this, visit this helpful site. 

AD Fasting - Alternate Day fasting is exactly what the name implies, except most of the research is based on 'modified' instead of complete fasting on your fasting days. You're allowed a maximum of 500 calories on fasting days, and every other day, you eat what you want. Here, you already know this, but I'll say it anyway. Whatever you want to eat still has limits or you'll ruin or slow down your progress. This is the version I'm trying right now with a few tweaks I learned while trying the 5:2 Fast Diet. Here's more about AD Fasting, including the benefits

The 5:2 Fast Diet - With the 5:2 diet, you choose 2 days a week to do a modified fast - 500 calories max for women, 600 calories max for men, and on the other 5 days you get to eat what you want. The same rule applies here about eating what you want. This one didn't work for me but it could have something to do with the chronic illness and my body's individual chemistry, but I did lose 8 lbs. of water weight the first few days. The second week was a bust, however, because my body refused to let go of anything else, and I mean that in the strictest sense of the word. Irregularity for days despite eating raisins, drinking in excess of 12 cups of water a day, and taking medication. That said, many people have been very successful with this one and I like the element of being able to plan that it offers you. Your fasting days can always be the same 2 days each week or you can switch them when you need to and still achieve great results. For more about the 5:2 Diet, click here. 

As I said earlier, these are just a few intermittent fasting plans. All in all, intermittent fasting is definitely worth checking out if you're looking for an easy, natural, and sustainable weight management lifestyle. Needless to say but I'll say it anyway, you'll have to tweak the plan to suit your individual needs and the needs of your body. Any fasting plan requires a few modifications to keep your body running smoothly while fasting, and there are some great resources for that, too. Every body is different. Here's one of my personal favorites. Do add more movement to your lifestyle if at all possible, and please check with your doctor before starting anything. I make no claims that these weight management plans work better than any of the other plans mentioned here, only that they suit my lifestyle better and I wanted to share them with you. I'll keep you posted on my progress, and if you decide to try one of these or have experience with one of them, please share. I'd love to hear from you. Best of luck!

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Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Winner Announcement!

Last week, "A Darker Shade of Evil," our devils and demons anthology, was a top contestant in Cover Wars, so as a bonus, we offered a custom made book cover! Winner of the book cover is Jane Ellen Owen. Congratulations!! Jane is also one of my newsletter subscribers and she is in my Facebook groupShe has already been notified. The book cover holds two 5-1/2 X 8-1/2 books so there's plenty room for your favorite book, iPad, Kindle, or Tablet. We have a few more of these custom, handmade book covers, so stay tuned for more flash giveaways :-)



Deadly demons, diabolical devils and other creatures of the night will hold you spellbound in this one-of-a-kind anthology. In a world of dark delights, they trifle in forbidden passion, suspense, and kick-ass battles. It’s all right here for you in this captivating urban fantasy and paranormal romance anthology!

Brought to you by USA Today and International Bestselling Authors, these stories of sexy alpha heroes and heroines will keep you turning the pages. Devils, demons and their lethal hunters will draw you into their conquests, twisted deceptions, scorching heat, and yes, even love.

Don’t miss A Darker Shade of Evil! One-click now will claim your copy!
* Heat Rating: Spicy to Erotic Romance
* No Cliffhangers
* Happily-Ever-After or Happy-For-Now

BUY LINKS:


"The Tracker" by Leslie Georgeson


The Tracker
Leslie Georgeson
(The Dregs, #1)
Publication date: February 16th 2018
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense
I’m a trained killer. An expert tracker.
I’ve done despicable things. My soul is damaged. My body impaired. That’s what happens when you are a soldier for The Company. I was discharged a year ago. Now I am a dreg. Worthless. With a bounty on my head. I’ve become a creature of the night, hiding in an underground maze during the day. Because I’m not ready to die yet.
She comes to me one night, needing my help to find her sister. The moment I see her, I want her. Her goodness calls to me, makes me yearn for the impossible. She brings life back to the deadness inside me. I’m no good for her. I will do nothing but corrupt her. But I’m a callous bastard. I can’t resist her.
I try not to care for her, but somehow she slips under my skin. She makes me weak. And there is only one thing in this world I am afraid of. Weakness.
I’ll never be good enough for her, so I have to finish this job and send her on her way.
Before she destroys me.
EXCERPT:
“Where are we? Why am I here? My head’s a little fuzzy.”
Gordon nodded. “It’s the drugs they gave you. You’ll get used to it eventually. Before long, you won’t even remember your own name. They’ll give you a new one, depending on your skills. That is, if you survive long enough to learn some skills.”
Liam’s heart pounded harder. That didn’t make sense. The last thing he remembered was…he searched hard for a memory of some kind, but only came up blank. He couldn’t remember anything except his name, and that had barely come to him. He clung to that memory, not wanting to forget his name.
Liam. My name’s Liam. Don’t forget it. Don’t forget.
My name is Liam. Liam.
I’m Liam.
Liam who?
No last name came forward. No middle name. Just Liam.
It would have to be good enough.
Liam.
How old am I?
He glanced down at himself. Faded jeans. Black hoodie. Converse sneakers. Wiry build. Not as old as Gordon.
He stared blankly at the big, redheaded kid.
How old am I?
Twelve.
He glanced back down at himself.
Yeah. I’m twelve. I think.
Panic gripped him again. He couldn’t be sure. What was going on? Why couldn’t he remember anything?
Gordon’s words finally sank home: It’s the drugs they gave you.
Liam’s heart rate kicked up even more, galloping in place like a tethered thoroughbred. Drugs? Who were they? What had they done to him? He shouldn’t be here. He should be home with…who? His family? Did he even have a family?
His head hurt, a fierce pounding that made him want to scream in agony. He clutched his head in his hands and groaned softly. “Why am I here? Why? I don’t understand.”
Gordon shrugged. “Why are any of us here? Because we’re expendable. I just hope you last longer than my last roommate did.”
Liam snapped his head up, the headache screeching to a sudden halt. “What happened to your last roommate?”
Gordon eyed him with a seriousness that made Liam flinch. “He didn’t survive the first round of tests.”
Tests? What tests? What was this guy talking about?
“This is freaking me out.” Liam jumped up from the bed. He paced across the cell to the bars. Staring out into the corridor, he shouted, “Help! Let me out of here! There’s been a mistake!”
A big hand gripped his shoulder. “Won’t do you any good, Liam. You can scream and cry until you’re hoarse. They won’t free you. You’re not a human being anymore. You’re a test subject. A lab rat.”
Liam spun his head around, his gaze locking on Gordon’s. “What do you mean? Who are they?”
Gordon sighed. “They are The Company. They own us now. From this point forward, you just need to concentrate on staying alive, because you can’t run, and you can’t hide. You’ll never escape.”
He gave Liam a sympathetic pat on the back and turned away.
“Welcome to hell, roomie.”


Author Bio:
Leslie Georgeson is the author of the popular military romantic suspense series, THE DREGS, the first of which was nominated for the 2018 TopShelf Indie Book Awards. She is also the author of the standalone mystery/drama NO SON OF MINE, the UNLIKELY HEROES romantic suspense series, and the paranormal/sci-fi romance series UNDERNEATH.
Leslie lives with her husband and daughter on a quiet country acreage in Idaho. She is currently working on The Enforcer, the final book in The Dregs series, and anticipates an October 1, 2019 release.

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Sunday, August 4, 2019

New release: "The Cave" by Amanda McKinney


The Cave
Amanda McKinney
(A Berry Springs Novel)
Publication date: August 1st 2019
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense
After getting trapped in a remote cave, two strangers must work together to survive while being hunted by a ruthless killer…
Life is full of surprises, rescue swimmer Owen Grayson knows that better than anyone, especially when he’s forced to take an indefinite military leave and return home to pick up the pieces of his dad’s latest mistake. As Owen struggles to settle back into his roots, he is called to a remote cave where he discovers the mysterious death of his uncle wasn’t an accident at all. As the clues begin to unravel, it becomes apparent that the cave is hiding secrets worth killing for… and everyone on site has a target on their back.
Coming off a bad break up and an even worse few days, Forensic Anthropologist Dr. Sadie Hart is brought in to excavate human remains found deep in the treacherous mountains of Berry Springs, in a cave rumored to be haunted, nonetheless. When her team stumbles upon a dead body before they even reach the cave, Sadie quickly realizes this is going to be no ordinary job—especially when she meets a particularly bull-headed Adonis who claims to be related to the victim.
A storm hits, trapping Sadie and Owen inside the cave with nothing but a flashlight and a small backpack with provisions… and someone who wants them dead. As the odds stack up against them, Sadie begins to fear she and Owen will become the next pile of bones found deep in the catacombs of Crypts Cavern…
THE CAVE is a standalone romantic suspense novel.
Only 99¢ for a limited time!
EXCERPT:
SHE WAS BEAUTIFUL. Alluring, magical. A commanding force who had a way of reminding you how little and vulnerable human life really was. How she could chew you up and spit you out without so much as a happy ending. She was powerful, relentless, unforgiving, and tonight, she was in one hell of a mood.
Owen knew her well. He loved her, respected her, and had found a home with her even though she’d take everything from him in a moment’s notice, then build him back up, only to destroy him again. She was addictive, an adrenaline rush second only to jumping out of a MH-60 Jayhawk at a hundred feet, then getting pelted with a 120-knot rotor blast. He’d seen the bodies she’d devoured in her wake, watched the friends and families cry. But the truth was, he’d be nothing without her. She’d made him into the man he was today. For better or worse.
She was a bitch of a mistress, and Owen’s gut told him they were in for a helluva fight tonight.
Owen buckled the waist belt, giving it a quick tug before moving onto the chest straps. The helicopter dipped, dropped, then slowly lifted again causing him to glance up at the pilot, Lieutenant Potts, who was laser focused on the controls glowing through the dark night. A flash of lightning streaked the sky in the distance, sparkling off the rain-streaked windshield. Up ahead, the lights of a capsized sailboat—the only light in the black, swirling water—swaying back and forth on its side, at the mercy of her angry waves.
Yeah, she was in one hell of a mood tonight.


Author Bio:
Amanda McKinney is the bestselling and multi-award-winning author of more than ten romantic suspense and mystery novels. She wrote her debut novel, LETHAL LEGACY, in 2017 after walking away from her career to become a writer and stay-at-home mom. Set in small, southern towns, Amanda's books are page-turning murder mysteries packed with steamy romance.

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