Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Wednesday Briefs: Trapped in Time II: Chapter 2

Happy Wednesday, everyone. It's time for more flash fiction from the pens of the Wednesday Briefers! This week, since we're so close to Halloween, I suspect some of us have flavored their tales accordingly. Let's see, shall we?

Last week, as you'll recall, I began the sequel to Trapped in Time. Our gang find themselves in the Old West. But part of their group is missing! And who's the newcomer? Find out in Trapped in Time II: Chapter 2. Don't forget to see what the other Briefers have been up to. Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

Trapped in Time II: Chapter 2

“Excuse me, sir.” I hear a voice behind me, but I refuse to turn. It’s not Vittorio and that’s all that matters to me. Perhaps I’m not being very sensible, considering we’re in a strange place, and there is no telling whether we’ve landed amid friends... or foes. At the moment I simply do not care.

A hand falls upon my shoulder. I whirl in indignation and shrug it off, gathering myself to chastise this person. But before I can speak a syllable, my father has arrived upon the scene and he takes matters into his own hands. I bite my tongue instead.

“Good day to you, sir,” Vati greets the stranger. The man stands about Vittorio’s height. A redhead he is, with hair the color of fall leaves. And bright green eyes.

“Forgive my intrusion.” He addresses my father, but his gaze is fastened upon me, and I must resist the urge to tell him to go away, he isn’t wanted here. The stranger removes his dusty hat and clasps it in one hand, holding the other toward Vati. “I saw you all from a distance, and I was concerned that perhaps there was trouble here. I can see now that I might have been a wee bit hasty in my judgment.”

“Our only trouble is that we’re a bit lost,” Vati confesses. He takes the man’s hand and shakes it before adding, with a slight laugh. “Irish, are you, young man?”

“Born and bred,” the stranger confesses. “Flynn’s the name. Flynn Shaughnessy.” He turns to me and repeats his hand gesture. I intentionally ignore it. Vati nudges me, but I refuse to budge, and I hear him sigh. The stranger withdraws his hand after a few seconds and no response. “Of the celebrated troupe of Shaughnessy and Cutler, perhaps you’ve heard of us?”

Here we are, lost in the middle of nowhere, with Vittorio God knows where, and he wants to play guessing games?

“Forgive us, we are newcomers,” Vati apologizes. “You are an actor?”

“Indeed I am.” The more he talks, the more obvious his brogue. He swipes his hat through the air before him and bows from the waist, as if he is being received by the king or something. How ridiculous.

“I am Rolf Klein,” Vati introduces himself before indicating me, “and this is my son, Adalbert.”

“A pleasure to meet you both. Perhaps I can be of some help to you, Rolf? And Adalbert...” He gestures his hat in the direction he has come from. “My group is right behind me. I rode ahead to see if I might be able to render assistance. Would you care to travel along with us? Just to the next city,” he hastily interjects. It is on the tip of my tongue to tell him what he can do with his offer of assistance.

“That is most kind of you,” Vati replies.  

“It’s not just a matter of convenience, I have to admit. There’s been some trouble in this area. People have been attacked. Which is why I was concerned to see you traveling on foot as you are.”

“How far is the next town?”

“Not far now. Another day or two at most, in our wagons.” Again, I find him staring at me. I can’t help but think that if Vittorio was here, he would have sharp words for this arrogant Arschloch. “We’re to perform there. The troupe, that is. For how long, I cannot say. As long as people are willing to pay for our craft.” He grins again. I find his smile decidedly disconcerting.

“What is the name of the town, Mr. Shaughnessy?”

“Please, call me Flynn.”

“Flynn, then,” Vati accedes to the man’s request.

“Whistling Wind. An unusual name, I know, and a colorful one.”

“That it is,” Vati agrees. “Since you have been so kind, I must insist that you be our guest for dinner tonight.”

What? I jerk my head up sharply. What did my father just do?

“I would be most pleased, thank you.” Shaughnessy slaps his hat against his leg before returning it to his head. “Well, I’ll be riding back to my group and apprise them of the current situation. They’re not very far. We’ll join you before nightfall. Just keep your eyes open and you should be all right. This seems a good place to stop for the night. Have you weapons?”

“We don’t need weapons!” I fairly snarl.

Shaughnessy’s face turns somber. “These are troubling times, my friend. I wish that were not so, but it is. I’d lend you one of mine, but I have a feeling you’d be refusing my offer, now wouldn’t you?”

I make no response and he doesn’t wait for one.

“I’ll hurry back, in that case. I’ll make sure that you all stay safe, that I promise.” He gives me one final look before mounting his horse and galloping back the way he came.

“Godspeed,” Vati wishes him. My words are unprintable.


Here it comes. The lecture. He is going to remonstrate with me for my bad manners, and there is a part of me that knows I deserve to be chastised, whether I am ready to admit to it or not.

He reaches for my hand and squeezes it between his. I reluctantly raise my eyes to his face; it would be disrespectful to do otherwise.

“Please try not to worry so much. I know you miss Vittorio. I know you are worried about him. But he is a very brave man, and very intelligent. Have faith in him, and have faith in God that he shall reunite you very soon.”

These are not the words I had expected to hear. Feeling suddenly drained, I lean against him and he folds his arms about me, while I sob into his bosom.

“When did you get to be so smart?” I murmur. He holds me tight as I continue to cry.

to be continued

Now, go see what the other Briefers are up to!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Virutal Book Tour: Wild Times on Skidaway Island

Please welcome author Karen Dove Barr today. Not only has she answered my infamous Rick Reed questions, but she's going to tell us about her new release, Wild Times on Skidaway Island. Four randomly drawn commenters from her tour will each receive a $25 Walmart gift card, and one grand prize winner will receive an Apple iPad. The more you comment, the better your chances of winning. To find where the other tour stops are, go here.

The Questions and Answers
1)      You’re marooned on a small island with one person and one item of your choice—who is that person and what item do you have?
        If I were marooned on a small island the one person I would have to be with is my husband, Joe.
   He is in mid-stage Lewy Body dementia and cannot bear to be separated from me.
         It would have to be an island with electricity and Internet service, like Skidaway Island, because the one item I can’t stand to be separated from is my I-pad.

2)      Which musical would you say best exemplifies your life – and which character in that musical are you?
                I only can think of a few musicals;  the last one I saw was Seussical,  starring my granddaughter as the sour kangaroo.  One talent I am lacking, unlike my granddaughter, is the ability to carry a tune.   My life is way too mundane to be made into a musical.

 3)  Take these three words and give me a 100 word or less scenario using them:  insurance, owed, talk
      Since I am a criminal lawyer and my husband is a retired Allstate agent, I am extremely familiar with the scenario where the formerly insured person (usually young and without enough money) fails to pay his car insurance premium.  Then he is stopped for speeding, running a stop sign, or driving under the influence.
       I tell him to pay the insurance renewal, including what he owes for past due premiums.  He also owes my fee and court fines.  He talks to his parents who hopefully advance the money to pay all of the above.  
      I talk to the judge and spare him some of the consequences.

4)  What is your idea of how to spend romantic time with your significant other?
      I could make up some scenario about wresting the television clicker from my husband while wearing a negligee transparent enough for him to still glimpse the golf tournament through its shimmering folds, but to be honest, after 31 years of marriage, at ages 66 and 73, snuggling in bed on Sunday morning, me reading the comics, him ignoring the sports scores on TV, steaming coffee cups on our nightstands, is my idea of romance.

5)  When you start a new story, do you begin with a character, or a plot?
        Since I’ve never written fiction, I always start with a character.  As in my book that character may be an oak tree, an opossum, or often is me.

6) If they were to make the story of your life into a movie, who should play you?
        Any actress playing me would have to be a consummate nerd.  I’ve often been told I look like
Lauren Hutton, but since she is as old as me, a younger actress would have to come in to play my earlier years.  I had the long blonde hair typical of my hippie generation, then the Farrah Fawcett shag.

7)  Who’s your favorite horror villain and why?
        I’m a complete wimp.  I’ve never watched a horror movie.  I love Stephen King’s, On Writing, but not enough to risk being scared out of my gourd by reading his other books.

8)   Do you have an historical crush and if so, who is it?
  Pride and Prejudice.   I could identify with his reserve and I inferred, although Jane Austen didn’t come right out and say, that he was quite a looker.
    I would have to say Fitzwilliam Darcy in
9)  Is there a story that you’d like to tell but you think the world isn’t ready to receive it?
      Yes.  I’ve spent the last five years caring for my husband as his illness deepens.  Care-giving is a tremendous stressor, but a role more people are assuming as life spans increase.  You never know how you will react to the role.  I’m keeping a haphazard diary. Without knowing exactly how this will play out, I’m thinking of telling our story.  It’s too early for me to decide on a plot or ending.

Answers by Karen Dove Barr

Wild Times on Skidaway Island
by Karen Dove Barr



Wild Times on Skidaway Island, Georgia's Historic Rain Forest, details life in a unique Audubon-designated, ecologically friendly refuge. There, golfers pitch balls around endangered great blue herons, mama raccoons march their babies across backyard decks where once Guale Indians trapped ancestors of the same raccoons, and residents dodge alligators and rescue snakes.

Even the vegetation is wild. Three hundred-year-old oaks dripping Spanish moss and poison ivy surmount an under-story of wax myrtle and holly. Carolina jasmine, Cherokee roses, and endangered orchids grow wild in the rain forest. The book examines choices residents make when stared down by a bald eagle, when a red-tailed hawk mistakes a golf ball for bird food, when wakened at midnight by deer munching hibiscus. Wild Times on Skidaway Island educates about the species that residents must adapt to on this historic island.



Thickly needled pine branches intertwined with grapevine and poison ivy shaded the maritime forest on the northwestern prong of Skidaway Island as runners trampled fallen needles, seeking firm footing on soft mud paths, like furtive moonshiners from Modena’s past.          

Skidaway’s isolation by land but accessibility to knowledgeable navigators of the ever-changing marsh made it a perfect hideout for the manufacture of illegal whiskey even before January 16, 1919, when the Volstead Act transformed moonshining from a money-making side line into a get-rich-quick bonanza.  Prohibition began in Savannah in 1908, but by then tax-free alcohol business on Skidaway Island was a long-standing tradition.

Savannah Morning News' July 21, 1925 edition described Skidaway Island as “a veritable nest of moonshine stills.” The newspaper went on to say "agents swooped down on the salt water region Saturday and destroyed three stills in operation of a capacity of 210 gallons and another across the Island of 125 gallon capacity."

I bet the revenuers didn't get them all.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Karen Dove Barr, Attorney, was recently recognized by the Georgia State Bar for providing legal assistance to military families and service members.  She has practiced in the field of family law in Savannah for 34 years.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Guest Blogging with Rob Colton and a Good Reads Giveaway

Today I'm visiting with fellow author Rob Colton at his blog, talking about my new release, my revised Leonardo DiCaprio is a Vampire. Come on over and visit!

Also, I'm having a Good Reads giveaway! I'm giving away three print copies of Revelation! You have until my birthday, November 19th, to enter. Just go here and do what it says!  Good luck to you all!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Guest Blogger: M.A. Church

If you've spent any time reading my blog, by now y'all know my good friend, fellow author and co-author,
the one and only M.A. Church. She has a very special book coming out soon. It's called The Harvest, and she's gonna tell y'all about it. Take my word for it, you'll want to know all about it. Hey M.A., check out this new Coke machine I got for ya.  

Breeding programs?
And life-changing events that’ll take me on a journey that will lead to the love of a lifetime.

Life changed for all of humanity in the year 2050 when the aliens first appeared. The name of their planet was Tah’Nar—and it was dying. Originally, the Tah’Narians were an intersexed warrior race. Chemical warfare had essentially rendered them sterile. Many scientists, from all over the world, eagerly volunteered their assistance to aid the alien race. The benefits to our own world hovered foremost in the mind of every government official present at the meeting.
The Tah’Narians required DNA for their harvesting program. Since we couldn’t duplicate their technology, those males who were to participate had to be transported to their world, which, of course, triggered all sorts of questions from people. If these aliens were so advanced, why couldn’t they extract the needed DNA? Why did humans have to be taken off-world? The story had more holes in it than Swiss cheese.
After about a week of this, a press release from our government stated that the two strands of DNA were too fragile to be frozen and transported through space. The release claimed that the nucleobases—the four molecules  that form the genetic building blocks of DNA—would be damaged and might even disintegrate once the alien starships jumped to star drive, the method used to travel through time and space so quickly. People, however, could be protected in ways that extracted DNA couldn’t.
Agreements were reached with each government—and boy, didn’t that take a while—that these men would be returned to Earth once the program was completed. Here in the United States a lottery system was set up, and each young man between the ages of twenty-three and twenty-eight was assigned a number. Once a year, for the next five years, numbers would be drawn and a new set of one thousand men would be collected and escorted to holding centers.
Medical and psychological tests would be run on the subjects, and, if they passed the tests, they’d be transported to waiting spaceships. Other industrialized nations followed our example and set up their own lottery systems. Word soon leaked that only gay men were being targeted, but our government vehemently denied this accusation.
The media coined the expression ‘The Harvest’ for the times when the Tah’Narians would return to collect these young men. I was seventeen when the aliens first appeared, so my parents assumed I was safe. The final collection would be done before I turned twenty-three. I didn’t fall within the guidelines the aliens had established, so I thought I had nothing to fear.
I was wrong.
My name is Dale Michaels. A simple name, right? Nothing very memorable about it, that’s for sure. Or about me, either. I’m just a regular guy with average looks, a loving family who didn’t care I was gay, and good friends.
Just a guy.
Little did I know just how special I was to one Tah’Narian spaceship captain named Keyno Shou, or how he would change my life. *shakes head* Don’t think he swept me off my feet. He didn’t. What he did do was have me harvested below the agreed age limit, take me from my family, mutate my DNA so I could have kids, tell me I have a deadly disease, claim me as his mate, and destroy the life I knew.
I was not happy, to say the least. Pissed didn’t even cover what I felt. But what’s a guy to do on a spaceship orbiting Earth surrounded by a bunch of aliens with technology far more advanced than ours?
While I was still trying to figure out what to do or how to handle the attraction I have for Keyno, a bunch of men who were harvested revolted and tried to take over Keyno’s ship… and I got to see how deeply Keyno cared for me. I also met the person who staged the rebellion, the infamous gang leader, Colt 45.
And that was just the beginning of what was to come, lol. This is the beginning of my story; a story that’s action-packed, emotionally tough, and truly is the love of a lifetime.  

In the year 2050, humanity finds out they are indeed not alone.

Massive space ships appear without warning above the capital cities of all major nations. The planet Tah'Nar is dying. Chemical warfare has reduced the once-intersexed warrior race to sterility. They need fresh DNA in order to reproduce and have an idea for a harvesting program... and so they turn to Earth.

Earth governments negotiate a lottery, and Dale Michael assumes he's safe since he's under the Harvest age limit. How wrong he is. He's illegally harvested and claimed by Tah'Narian starship captain Keyno Shou. From the moment Keyno sees Dale, he knows he must claim the spirited human male for his own. What he doesn’t expect is a spitfire with a mind of his own—and a deadly disease that will require a risky procedure to cure.

“Where the hell am I?” Soft sheets rubbed against my bare skin as I sat in the bed. My heart picked up speed. This wasn’t good, really not good. I was all alone and in a bed, someone’s personal bed. All sorts of horrifying images paraded through my head as to why I was there, but I wasn’t sore and there wasn’t any physical evidence, so rape wasn’t a concern. Yet. I needed to get out of the damn bed—that was top of the ‘do right-fucking-now list’. And God help me, I needed to get dressed—why offer up an easy target, after all?—and find a weapon.
I had worked up a good head of steam when another door in the room slid open. There stood the same Tah’Narian from before. Now that I wasn’t loopy from whatever they gave me, I remembered that these aliens had deeply tanned skin and were damn well tall. I wasn’t exactly small—I stood an inch or two over of six feet and weighed two hundred pounds—but most of them were bigger and taller than me, including this one. He had to be over six feet five inches of densely packed muscle—and my ass was still in bed.
“Dale, you're awake. Excellent.”
The white-haired Tah’Narian slowly advanced into the bedroom with me, his movements cautious. My mouth fell open. Of all the things I had expected, and I had built up a horrible list, this wasn’t one of them. My nerves actually settled down to just jumping madly.
“I-I can understand you. But how…? Why…? Um, what do I call you? Who are you? Why am I here? I shouldn’t be here. Ah, and where exactly is here? And what the hell am I doing in bed?” Okay, maybe I shouldn’t have pointed out that last one.
“Please stay calm, Dale. I mean you no harm. My name is Keyno Landium Shou. I think it’ll be easier for you to call me Keyno. Let’s start with the easiest thing first. While you were asleep, a translator was surgically implanted in your brain.” He walked farther into the room. “It translates over ten thousand known languages.”
“You… you… you... put something in my head?” That was his idea of easy things first? My hand shot up to my head, fearfully searching for an incision as I watched him.
“There is no incision. We have medical equipment that can regenerate tissue and leave no scar. I have a mirror if you’d like to see, check and make sure there is no scar.” He reached for a drawer by the bed.
Suddenly it struck me why he was so familiar with this room. This was his room, his bed—and here I was, sitting in it unclothed and completely at his mercy. Fear slammed into me again as the implications of that sunk in.
“God, this is your room, isn’t it? Oh, please don’t—” Shaking, I pulled the sheet up to my chin. It wasn’t much of a barrier, but it was all I had. “Please don’t hurt me.”
“I won’t hurt you.” Keyno froze by the bed, horror showing on his face. “Dale, never would I hurt you. You’re safe with me, understand?”
I didn’t answer, just stared at him, unsure what to say or what to do. He called this safe? What was his idea of safe, anyway? Bet it differed from mine. Maybe he needed to switch channels on that communication thingy.
“Okay.” Keyno took a deep breath when I didn’t answer. “Why don’t we just… tell you what. Would you like something to eat or drink? You’ve been asleep for nearly twelve hours.”
Was he kidding me? Eat? Anything I put in my stomach was going to make a reappearance. “Can I get dressed? I don’t have... all my clothes are... Jesus.” I wanted out of his bed, the sooner the better.
I huddled beneath the sheets, terrified of this creature that had overseen me being forcibly questioned and who had admitted to sticking stuff in my brain, suspicious, and more than a little angry. Why was he acting so nice and concerned? I had no reason to believe he was nice. Was this a trap? Was he trying to trick me for some reason? That guard had told me that I’d been chosen, and I’d been harvested illegally. Then the human doctor had told me that this alien had called me ‘my chosen’.
I had put two and two together and didn’t like what I’d come up with. I had many questions I needed answers to, but I didn’t know which one to start with and wasn’t sure I could hold on to my temper. Then there was the little problem of stark raving fear. But one thing I knew for sure—I wanted to be dressed. Sitting here naked had me at a distinct disadvantage.

Author bio:
M.A. Church lives in the southern United States and spent many years in the elementary education sector. She is married to her high school sweetheart and they have two children. Her hobbies are gardening, walking, attending flea markets, watching professional football, racing, and spending time with her family on the lake.
But her most beloved hobby is reading. From an early age, she can remember hunting for books at the library. Later nonhuman and science fiction genres captured her attention and drew her into the worlds the authors had created. But always at the back of her mind was the thought that one day, when the kids were older and she had more time, she would write a book.
By sheer chance she stumbled across a gay male romance story on the web and was hooked. A new world opened up and she fell in love. Thus the journey started. When not writing or researching, she enjoys reading the latest erotic and mainstream romance novels.

My links:
Twitter @nomoretears00

 Wow, I'm here to tell you the Harvest is a great book. It's very hot and exciting and a thrilling read.

Now, sit back and relax, M.A., I invited a few friends over. See the rest of you next time!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Guest Blogger Michael Rupured

Today I'm proud to welcome my friend and fellow author, the handsome and debonair Michael Rupured, to Full Moon Dreaming. He has a new release, After Christmas Eve, and he's going to talk about that. I read Michael's first novel, Until Thanksgiving, and I hope to write the review shortly. I look forward to reading this one!

It’s Alive!
Thanks, Julie, for having me on your blog to talk about After Christmas Eve. This is the last stop on my 11-stop blog hop to celebrate the release by MLR Press of my second novel. To win one of the 10 copies (ebooks) I’m giving away, comment before midnight tonight (10/25/2013) on any of my posts on the eleven participating blogs. Be sure to include an email address.
Fan favorite Philip Potter, a supporting character in Until Thanksgiving, takes center stage in After Christmas Eve. If you read the first book in the holiday series, you’ll enjoy a few cameo appearances and find out more about Uncle Philip. If you haven’t, don’t worry. The books can be read in any order. After Christmas Eve is a prequel, set in Washington DC in 1966. It’s a murder mystery/thriller with a little romance, a dash of humor, and a liberal sprinkling of gay history.
The coolest and most surprising thing about writing a novel is the way characters come to life. Of course, I’d heard writers tell of this kind of thing for decades, but I really didn’t know what they were talking about. To tell you the truth, I thought they were just making sh*t up.
In On Writing, Stephen King says the story is inside. The writer’s job is to let it out without messing things up too much. I took his words at face value. I mean, who am I to argue with Stephen King? But in the first draft of Until Thanksgiving, the story kept going off in unexpected directions as a result of something surprising a character said or did. After that, his words made more sense.
As I was writing After Christmas Eve, the characters kept running off with the story, leaving me in piles of worthless outlines, character sketches, and chapter summaries. Every time I thought I had a handle on the story, a character would smack me down to let me know who was really in charge. The road to the end of the story was long and hard.
I’m the polar opposite of the cage-fighter type. Getting beat up has never been my cup of tea, thank you very much. But I’m also a massive control freak. Rebellions by characters that I created pissed me off, until I learned to go with the flow.
Here’s the blurb:
As Philip Potter wraps up his last minute shopping on Christmas Eve, 1966, James Walker, his lover of six years, takes his life. Unaware of what waits for him at home, Philip drops off gifts to the homeless shelter, an act of generosity that later makes him a suspect in the murder of a male prostitute.

Two men drive yellow Continentals. One is a killer, with the blood of at least six hustlers on his hands. Both men have secrets. And as Philip is about to discover, James had kept secrets, too. But James wasn’t trying to frame him for murder…

*This is the last of eleven stops on the After Christmas Eve Blog Hop. Excerpts appear in serial form along the hop, beginning with my post at

Excerpt #11 of 11
Someone pulled on Philip’s shoulder, tugging hard. He willed his body to cooperate and rolled onto his back. Ice slid from his eyebrows, down his cheeks, and into his ear. No wonder he was so cold.
A gloved hand touched Philip’s cheek. He heard a deep voice with a Southern drawl, sweet and slow, like honey. “Sir, can you hear me?”
Philip rubbed his lashes with shaking fingers and opened his eyes. The flashing lights played across the man who knelt beside him. “Yes,” he answered.
“Are you all right?” The man brushed snow and ice from Philip’s coat.
Philip glimpsed the stranger’s profile in the flickering light. He moved his legs, shook his arms, and moved his head from side to side. “Honestly, I’m not sure.”
“Can you sit up?” The man offered his hand.
Philip grabbed it, and with a lot of help, pulled himself into a sitting position. “Thank you, Mr…?” He looked up and stopped shivering. His breath caught in his throat. The handsome man who’d come to his rescue belonged in the movies.
The stranger gathered up the gifts scattered across the sidewalk and placed them in the tattered shopping bag.  “Beauregard Carter. Want to try standing up?”
Dazzling blue eyes peered back at Philip as his shivering resumed. He didn’t know when he’d ever been so cold. With less help than he’d needed before, Philip rose to his feet and stood trembling from the cold on quivering knees. “Philip P-p-p-potter,” he barked the words out as his teeth rattled together. “I d-d-d-d-don’t know w-w-w-what h-h-h-happ—”
“Your faggot boyfriend blew his brains out.”
Pain poured over Philip like a wave of boiling water. “No!” He wailed, pressing his knuckles into his cheeks. Cold chills racked his body and he would have hit the ground again had Mr. Carter not jumped to his rescue. Philip clutched the man’s lapels, sobbing and shivering. “Why?” He kept repeating the word, over and over as strong arms kept him from falling and steered him away from the curious spectators.
The crowd didn’t seem to notice, their attention focused on the apartment building’s entrance, watching as police came and went. Philip stepped away from the man, pulling a white silk handkerchief from an inside coat pocket. Cold impeded his speech. “I’m so sorry,” came out as a strangled moan. “Thank you for helping me, I’m forever in your debt, and don’t let me keep you any longer,” remained mere thoughts. Philip stared at the ground, fingering the handkerchief along the edge where his sister had embroidered his name in black thread.
“I’m not going anywhere, Mr. Potter, until I know you’re okay and have somewhere to go.” He grasped Philip’s arm. “You really don’t need to be alone right now.”
Responding to the gentle pressure pulling him forward, Philip fell into step behind Mr. Carter, the folded handkerchief slipping from his hand. “Come with me. My apartment is a block away. Is there someone you can call to come and get you?”
It took Phillip a minute to realize he’d been asked a question, and another to respond. He was shivering so much his teeth rattled. The answer came to mind right away, but was frozen in his head and couldn’t get out. Philip came to a stop to focus on answering his rescuer’s question. “M-m-m-mary.”
“Good,” the man said, grabbing Philip’s elbow. “You can call her from my place and warm up while you wait.”
Philip heard the words but had no sense of their meaning. He focused on lifting one foot and then the other, placing each back on the icy ground with care to keep from falling. Whether they walked a block or many miles, Philip couldn’t say. He placed his faith in the hand that led him through the silent night.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Virtual Book Tour: Twilight Over Moldavia

Please welcome acclaimed historical romance author Stephanie Burkhart, who is here to discuss her release, Twilight Over Moldavia. Stephanie will be awarding a coffee & chocolate bag: a coffee mug, a Starbucks gift card, Andes chocolates, magnets, and a Lori Powell original book bag (US only) to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. The more often you comment the better your chances of winning. To find the other stops in the tour, go here.

Twilight Over Moldavia
by Stephanie Burkhart



Romanian unification is on the horizon and the spirited Crown Princess of Carpathia, Caroline, would prefer to ride horses and archery to embroidery and dancing. Complicating her life is her recent discovery that she's a witch.

Prince Stefan Sigmaringen travels to Carpathia to meet Caroline. He discovers he has much in common with her. He also learns that a strange man, Timon, has an unnatural interest in him.

Upon Stefan's engagement, he overhears his mother confessing to a horrible secret – she cursed him in order to conceive him and Stefan will become a werewolf when he turns eighteen. There is a condition to overcome the curse, but it will require Stefan to draw on all his inner strength and Caroline, her courage. Can they break the foul enchantment and secure their future or will Stefan give himself over to the lupine curse that haunts his family?



Caroline spun in the direction of the noise, effortlessly drawing an arrow and hitching it to her bow. A horse neighed, and bushes about fifty meters ahead of her rustled.

Someone was there, watching. But who? A blast of adrenaline rocketed through her. She wasn't about to let her guard down. It wasn't wise of her to be looking for Edwina's scarf with the Sigmaringens due to arrive today, but she believed in following her heart. She prayed on this occasion she hadn't been reckless. Spying a hint of color among the leaves, she let the arrow fly, determined to protect her ladies.

"Ow!" A man's deep voice shouted.

Caroline grimaced. She hoped she hadn't hurt anyone. Her arrow had merely been intended to scare away whoever was watching, not to harm them. Racing forward, she parted the bushes and came upon two young men around her age, both in riding clothes.

Caroline's gaze fell upon the young man on the horse. Their eyes locked. Her cheeks warmed, and some indefinable spark passed between them that heated her body. Oh, she had noticed several handsome guards under her father's command, but this man was different. His malachite eyes spoke of duty, the same sense of duty she harbored, yet hinted at a desire for mischief. His cheekbones were sharp, giving him an almost lupine appearance. He had an air of authority about him, a commanding presence that demanded respect.

His square jaw tensed visibly, and her gaze drifted down his leg. Her arrow had ripped his riding pants and blood trickled from a small flesh wound.

Concern flooded through her. She dropped her bow, pulled her scarf from around her neck, and rushed forward.

"I'm so sorry." The words gushed out as clumsily as she moved. "I didn't mean to harm you."

His mouth spread into a thin-lipped smile. Was he displeased? She couldn't blame him. Still, he said nothing. Caroline placed a hand on his thigh, and a rip current of energy shot up her arm. The space around him glowed brightly, and deep, unspoken desire flamed inside her.


She shook off the sudden, possessive thought and wrapped the scarf around his leg. The blood stained it, but she applied pressure with her hand and the bleeding stopped. Her heart beat a wild tattoo. His leg was well muscled, exuding power. When she looked back up at him, she couldn't deny that he was a handsome man with a beautifully proportioned body that heated her body with desire from their shared touch. She felt alive in a way she couldn't explain. But what man could ever desire the outdoorsy Crown Princess of Carpathia?

"What's your name?" he asked in a rich, deep voice.



AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Author Bio: Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 dispatcher for LAPD.  She was born and raised in Manchester, New Hampshire.  She served 11 years in the US Army and currently calls Castaic, California her home. Stephanie was married in Denmark in 1991 and has two young sons. She adores chocolate and is addicted to coffee.  She writes paranormal, contemporary, and steampunk romance and has two children's books published with 4RV Publishing.









Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Wednesday Briefs: Trapped in Time II: #1

Happy Wednesday once again, and welcome to another edition of the Wednesday Briefs! This week's the prompts are: "Who the fuck made you emperor?" or use a tootsie roll pop or use the evil eye or "My Aunt Fanny has bigger boobs than you do!" or "You win some, you lose some..." or use a pirate, a gentleman, and a sheep or make a reference to any REM song or "She/he asked you to do what?" or "The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind" or "Two plus two equals what?"

As you'll recall, last week I ended No Way Out, at least as far as posting it here. This week I'm starting something new. Well, sorta new. It's the sequel to Trapped in Time. For right now, let's call it Trapped in Time II. Don't forget to check out the other Briefers, whose links follow my tale. Enjoy!

Trapped in Time II: #1

 The sun beat down upon us like a hammer upon an anvil—relentless and fierce.  This heat is different than that of the jungle. Far less humid and much dustier. The dust flies about us whenever the wind rises, choking us, making conversation optional. It is a good thing that we have water, hopefully enough to reach the next watering hole, and after that civilization, such as it is.

My head is numb, although not because of the heat, but because of what has occurred. Prior to this, we were all trapped in time in a prehistoric jungle, amidst dinosaurs and other fabulous creatures never before seen by man. Then Myron used his magic to pull us forward in time, to bring us home,  but something went very wrong, and things did not work out as intended. We ended up in the wrong time and place—and  now my Vittorio is missing. So is Kitty. And my pennyfarthing. Much as I miss them, it is Vittorio my heart aches for, a pain that pierces my very soul and leaves my nights sleepless.

Let me try to make some sense of this. Perhaps by ordering my thoughts, I will gain some relief from my sorrow, although I doubt that is so.

Vati, Myron, Charlie, Mary and I are somewhere in the time period that I have heard referred to as the Old West. Except it is not so old now. But it is very dirty.  Big open spaces, as far as the eye can see. Tumbleweeds and heat. Except at night, when the temperature drops.

We were lucky. After we’d first arrived, we spotted a group of travelers in a wagon train. They were very kind and gave us what they could spare in the way of food and water, and clean clothes.  Even a horse, to carry our provisions. We probably presented quite the sight to them. Especially Mary. None of them had ever seen a monkey before,. Luckily, Mary was on her best behavior and didn’t frighten them.

They said they were on their way to California, the land of milk and honey. They told us where we are, too. Apparently this is the Arizona territory. And the year is 1881.

Perhaps I would be more interested in this living, breathing history lesson, were I not so worried about Vittorio. At first, I assumed he was somewhere close by, and I ran about in aimless circles, searching for him, screaming his name, until Vati made me stop.

I think it has been about a week now since we first arrived in this place, I cannot be sure. I find it hard to worry about the passage of time, or much of anything else. Sometimes I worry that I am losing my religion, as well as my reason for existence. Vittorio was my everything. Is my everything. Wherever he is.

I trail behind the others. Vati leads us, naturally. Myron and Charlie walk behind him. They alternate between carrying Mary and letting her scamper on her own, close beside them. Sometimes she sits atop the horse, whom we have named Frederick. Charlie is in charge of him. He seems to have an affinity for him, and the horse shows his affection with nuzzles along Charlie’s cheek.

I am not anti-social, I simply wish to be left alone with my thoughts. The closeness which had recently sprung up between myself and Myron has turned cold. I just cannot speak to him right now, and yes I cannot help but blame him for what has occurred. Charlie maintains a buffer between us, but Myron keeps his distance, and I am happy to leave it that way. Vati tried to talk to me about it at first, but even he has given up. But whenever we make camp, he is there beside me, and his silent strength is my only comfort.

Lost in my thoughts, I look up to find Charlie approaching. “Rolf says we will stop here,” he tells me. I glance around. This is as good a place as any, I suppose. There are a few trees; they’ll afford us a bit of shelter.  We can make a fire so I can cook. I don’t eat much myself, but I still feed the others.

“Doll...” Charlie lays a hand upon my shoulder. When I don’t look up immediately, he clears his throat until at last I meet his eyes. “We will find him. Do not worry, please.”

I nod, afraid to trust my voice

“Myron is sorry, Doll, very sorry...”

I know that too, but I cannot concede the point. Not yet.  I stubbornly drop my gaze to the ground. He gives me a hug and leaves me alone.

Already I feel the warmth of the sun begin to recede and I shiver, both from the cold and the idea of spending another night without Vittorio. It has occurred to me that he might be in another time entirely, and in that case he maybe lost to me forever. I close my eyes against the hot tears that threaten to fall. Vittorio would hate to see me cry. He’d tell me to be brave, to never give up hope. He would not fall apart like this. I am weaker than he is, I am afraid, more...

What’s that? I hear the rhythmic thumping of hoof beats. It cannot be Frederick; Charlie has him, and is taking care of him. No, this is coming toward us. For a moment my heart thumps loudly as I imagine my Vittorio has found me, he’s racing toward me even now, and we shall be reunited momentarily.

I swipe at my eyes, and raise my face to the approaching rider as he gallops our way. It isn’t until he reaches us and dismounts that I get a good look at him. This is not my Vittorio, this is a stranger. I kick the dirt in my frustration and turn away from him in disappointment.

to be continued

Now go see what the other Briefers are up to!

 Until next time, take care!

♥ Julie