INDIE SPOTLIGHT: Group Hex Vol 1 | #Horror #Anthology

Group Hex Vol 1

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The Great Lakes Horror Company presents this collection of 19 new and previously published horror stories from some of the best writers lurking on the chilling shores of the wild and wicked north. Cannibals, zombies, vampires, vengeful gods, psychotics and the supernatural are just a few of the terrifying things waiting for you in this collection featuring members of the Horror Writer’s Association Ontario Chapter.

Gathered here are award-winning best-selling authors, bold and bloody newcomers, and more than a few unhinged souls telling tales that will make your blood run cold.

Illustrated by celebrated genre artists, Group Hex Vol. 1 transports you to the hungry shores of future worlds, to the heart of mystical planes, and to the rooms of what seem like perfectly normal suburban houses…but they aren’t. And after reading these tales, you may never be the same again.

Featuring stories from:

  • Kelley Armstrong
  • Stephanie Bedwell-Grime
  • Crystal Bourque
  • Suzanne Church
  • Brian Clement
  • Karen Dales
  • Sephera Giron
  • Nancy Kilpatrick
  • Monica S. Kuebler
  • Shebat Legion
  • John R. Little
  • Stephen B. Pearl
  • Lou Rera
  • Andrew Robertson
  • Douglas Smith
  • Julianne Snow
  • Bill Snider
  • Christine Whitlock
  • Jonathan Woodrow

Group Hex Vol 1 is currently available in print from Amazon:

US | Canada | UK | Australia | Germany | France | Italy | Spain | India | Mexico | Brazil | Japan | The Netherlands

Coming soon in eBook!!

A REVIEW FROM MY COMMUTE: The Memory Collector — Meg Gardiner |#CrimeFiction

I feel like I’m falling behind in my listening since this is the last book on my list of completed audiobooks to review. That said, I may take a bit of a hiatus over the holidays to build that list up again for 2017.

So what have I just finished listening to? Meg Gardiner’s The Memory Collector — the second book in the Jo Beckett series!

2421292.jpgForensic psychiatrist Jo Beckett’s specialty is the psychological autopsy―an investigation into a person’s life to determine whether a death was natural, accidental, suicide, or homicide. She calls herself a deadshrinker instead of a headshrinker: The silence of her “patients” is a key part of the job’s attraction. When Jo is asked to do a psychological autopsy on a living person―one with a suspect memory who can’t be trusted to participate in his own medical care―she knows all her skills will be put to the test.

Jo is called to the scene of an aircraft inbound from London to help deal with a passenger who is behaving erratically. She figures out that he’s got anteretrograde amnesia, and can’t form new memories. As his thoughts drift away like tendrils of smoke, Jo finds herself racing to save a patient who can walk and talk yet can’t help her figure out just what happened to him. For every cryptic clue he is able to drag up from his memory, Jo has to sift through a dozen nonsensical statements. Suddenly a string of clues arises―something to do with a superdeadly biological agent code-named “Slick,” missing people, and a secret partnership gone horribly wrong. Jo realizes her patient’s addled mind may hold the key to preventing something terrible from happening in her beloved San Francisco. In order to prevent it, she will have to get deeper into the life of a patient than she ever has before, hoping the truth emerges from the fog of his mind in time to save her city―and herself.

What didn’t I like about this book?? Nothing—I loved it all! The story is fast paced and the characters are well drawn and likeable—at least the ones you are supposed to like! Centred around a misbehaving nano experiment, the scenarios this book explores has real-world implicaitons. Fantastic read!

Rating: 5 stars

SPOTLIGHT BLITZ: Hard to Regret | #Contemporary #Romance @Krispiewrites

Sexy Contemporary Romance
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Heiress Anna Wynn is hiding a secret – a secret that has blighted half her life and forced her to become an unfulfilled over-achiever. Even preparing for her wealthy family’s summer break in their idyllic New Zealand holiday house, Anna has to be all business and is strung tight as piano wire. Finding her bedroom appropriated by an over-muscled, overbearing, testosterone-soaked tower of annoyance is the final straw.
 
Dragged up under the callused thumb of his dirt-poor father, Jason Jones regrets his choice of security over his dream. His ambition to work as a freelance photographer has been ruthlessly suppressed in favor of setting up his own construction company. He has a pre-Christmas deadline looming on the current project, and the last thing he needs is constant surveillance by the owner’s sharp-tongued daughter – or the lure of her hot body and big blue eyes.
 
Forced to endure each other’s company in the small-town beach house, mutual frustration and undeniable chemistry pull Anna and Jason together for a few stolen days. Enemies become lovers – but how long before secrets are revealed that will change everything?
 
HARD TO REGRET is the first in Kris Pearson’s new Scarlet Bay series of sexy, funny and heart-warming romance novels and is intended for mature readers.
 
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About the Author — New Zealander Kris Pearson was born to write – at twelve she completed her autobiography – an easy subject which required no research. It filled a whole school exercise book!
 
Her first proper job was as a radio copywriter. After living in Italy and London she returned to the capital city of Wellington and worked in TV, radio again, several advertising agencies, and then spent many happy years as a retail ad manager. Totally hooked on fabrics, she followed this by going into business with her husband as a curtain installer. It was finally time to write fiction. In sixteen years she hasn’t fallen off her ladder once through drifting off into romantic dreams.
 
She writes sizzling contemporary romance, pure and simple. Well, maybe not that pure! They’re sexy stories about modern couples who fall in love and into bed along the way, just like real people do. She’s the author of fourteen novels, three of which were finalists in New Zealand’s Clendon Award. Four have been translated into Spanish.
 
The most widely distributed is ‘The Boat Builder’s Bed’. She gave away more than two million ebook copies of this to kick-start sales of all her others. Did it work? Beyond her wildest dreams. See them all on her website – http://www.krispearson.com
 
Contact Links
***
 
Giveaway
3 ebook copies of Hard to Regret
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SPOTLIGHT BLITZ: Running on Empty | #Contemporary #Romance @megbenj1

Contemporary Romance
3rd Book in the Salt Box Trilogy 

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She’s running her heart out to stay in the same place.
Ronnie Ventura has every reason to distrust Fairstein Productions: she’s had run-ins with their shows before. But Fairstein’s newest reality show offers Ronnie a chance to redeem herself from looking like a blonde bimbo. All she has to do is win a modified triathlon. Simple, right? Except this is Fairstein, and nothing is ever simple with them.
Ronnie’s boss at the Blarney Stone bar and café, owner Ted Saltzman, is a lot less convinced that another Fairstein show is just what Ronnie needs, particularly when he’s head over heels about Ronnie himself. But she’s determined, and he’s a man in love.
Ted becomes her running coach, which fans their budding romance to a fever. But can Ronnie’s newfound confidence stand up to the usual Fairstein plots? And can Ted find a way to keep his true love in Salt Box if Hollywood tries to steal her away again?
Purchase Links
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Other books in the Salt Box Trilogy:
 
Salt Box Trilogy, Book 1
 
Reality can be hotter than fiction.
Monica McKellar, associate producer of Finding Mr. Right, is desperate. One of the show’s bachelors has bailed one week before shooting starts. She not only needs a replacement ASAP, he has to get the temperamental bachelorette’s stamp of approval.
Fortunately there’s a hot guy right under her nose who’s a perfect fit. Unfortunately, he pushes all her hot buttons. Until the show’s over, her hands—and every other part of her body—are tied.
When Paul Dewitt signed on to write for the reality show, “Bachelor #10” wasn’t supposed to be in his job description. He fully expects to be cut early on, which will free him to focus on the real object of his attraction. Monica.
Instead, he’s a finalist, and they’re all packed in an SUV climbing the Continental Divide, headed for Salt Box, Colorado. Where stampeding horses, vindictive tabloid editors, and one capricious bachelorette’s waffling over suitors may conspire to end Paul and Monica’s romance before it even starts.
Warning: Contains hot sex on the sly, cold nights, creaking wicker couches, and a gypsy wagon that gives a whole new appreciation for the pioneers.
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Salt Box Trilogy, Book 2
 
Breakfast with benefits…
The reality show Lovely Ladies of L.A. should have launched Lizzy Apodaca’s catering company into solvency. Instead, when her carefully prepared appetizers mysteriously gave the cast on-camera food poisoning, she lost everything.
To make matters worse, her car breaks down in Salt Box, Colorado, a town not much bigger than a salt shaker. But maybe her luck is changing—the handsome owner of Praeger House, the town’s premier hotel, needs a kitchen assistant.
Clark Denham realizes his diamond in the rough is a polished gem when Lizzy steps up to save the hotel’s breakfast buffet after his temperamental head chef quits. It isn’t long before she’s winning his heart as smoothly and efficiently as she runs his kitchen.
Their relationship goes from simmer to rolling boil with the speed of a short order cook. But when a bevy of not-so-lovely ladies shows up in Salt Box, Lizzy’s past disaster threatens to flatten her happily ever after faster than a falling soufflé.
 
Warning: Contains salty dialogue, several servings of high-carb cooking, and a big platter of screaming-hot bedroom delights.
***
About the Author — Meg Benjamin is an award-winning author of contemporary romance. Her Konigsburg series for Samhain Publishing is set in the Texas Hill Country and her Salt Box trilogy is set in her new home the Colorado Rockies. She also has the paranormal Ramos Family trilogy from Berkley InterMix. Meg’s books have won numerous awards, including an EPIC Award, a Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Holt Medallion from Virginia Romance Writers, the Beanpot Award from the New England Romance Writers, and the Award of Excellence from Colorado Romance Writers.
 
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SPOTLIGHT BLITZ: Still Air | #Contemporary #Romance @freya_barker

Contemporary Romance
4th Book in the Portland, ME Series
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Deprival haunted her…
Regret troubled her…
Silence left her detached…
A life in the service of others is both penance and a blessing. She soothes her personal hell by pulling victims from theirs, helping them on their path to survival; never finding her own
When a crippling blow finally evaporates her last hope, the temptation to give up is strong. Still, she can’t find it in her to turn her back on those who need her: the innocent, whose rescue is her perpetual goal.
He was blind, but now he sees how his family has sifted through his fingers. The reality hits hard when his son becomes a stranger, slipping deeper into transgression. Concern has him call on the one person he fears will see his own failures all too clearly. A woman he’s kept his distance from for his own protection.
What appeared to be an incompatible pairing, turns out the unyielding bond needed to heal them all.
 
Purchase Link
 
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Check out the other books in the Portland, ME Series
 
Pain punished her. 
The bottle numbed her.
Guilt kept her trapped.
In the dark alley of a pub, the words “Please don’t” take hold of her heart and break the silence she seeks. Thinking herself beyond redemption, she tentatively grabs on to the slim thread of hope that unfolds inside of her.
Holding her secrets close, she can’t resist the comforting draw coming from The Skipper. The unconditional friendships it offers, the protective roof it provides, and the spark that its owner ignites in her–melting the frost off her heart, and slowly stripping away her resistance.
His life flows from one crisis to the next. Under the pressure of competition crowding him out of his family’s pub and the need to protect his children from the ruins of a bad marriage, he barely breathes. That is until a mane of strawberry-blonde hair and a set of big, pale blue eyes, shake him up.
He never expected the shadow of a woman he finds on the floor of his washroom to bring him the air―the balance and the light he’s been missing.
 
 
Innocence marked her…
Violation crippled her…
Love left her raw…
The life she carefully rebuilt is challenged when she is confronted with the sins from her past. The carefully applied protection is at once ripped away, leaving her exposed and vulnerable.
Her single night of indulgence with the silver-eyed stranger is only the beginning. He sees right to the heart of her and she is unable to ward off emotions that have been deeply buried. With the sting of betrayal still fresh in her soul, she’s surprised to find herself opening up to the honest integrity of the sharp-eyed, rough-looking biker.
When he lost everyone who mattered, he was left without roots and learned to be content simply living in the moment. Completely unprepared for the feisty blonde bartender with old pain marring her clear-blue eyes, he questions his own rules of detachment, as she unwittingly finds a way under his skin.
Appearances deceive and when the masks fall away, revealing deep, dark secrets, there is nothing left but to hang onto each other and survive the storm.
 
 
Violence corroded her…
Obedience defiled her…
Fear kept her chained…
Freedom is hard to embrace when she’s never learned to trust. Yet in the span of a second, she grabs a single opportunity and runs toward it. Straight into the sanctuary of a pub at the end of a wharf.
She doesn’t understand the concept of friendship. She’s never felt the connection of a relationship. She’s as innocent as the driven snow and yet tainted with corruption. Still, she finds herself surrounded by people who accept her, without even knowing the first thing about her. But one of them is determined to dig deeper.
He treasures his friends, yet he’s steered clear of committed relationships. He likes his life comfortably predictable and entirely controlled. Until it isn’t. For months he’s avoided interacting with The Skipper’s newest addition. Perhaps realizing that once he looked deeply into those liquid brown eyes, he wouldn’t be able to turn away.
When his present and her past puts them both on the brink of change, they are forged through fire as one.
 
***

About the Author — Freya Barker inspires with her stories about ‘real’ people, perhaps less than perfect, each struggling to find their own slice of happy. She is the author of the Cedar Tree Series and the Portland, ME, novels.
 
Freya is the recipient of the RomCon “Reader’s Choice” Award for best first book, “Slim To None,” and is a finalist for the 2016 Kindle Book Awards for “From Dust”. She currently has two complete series and three anthologies published, and is working on two new series; La Plata County FBI—ROCK POINT, and Northern Lights. She continues to spin story after story with an endless supply of bruised and dented characters, vying for attention!
 
Contact Links
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SPOTLIGHT BLITZ: Johnson Road Saga | #Murder #Mystery #Series

Murder Mystery, Crime Thriller

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Johnson Road Saga Two Book Bundle

Save 50% by order this bundle for only $3.99

Johnson Road

Hiding in plain sight, a predator stalks its prey…

Welcome to Peterson County, Alabama, mid-twentieth century Americana; a quaint, rural community on its journey to becoming the suburban utopia promised by the American Dream. By the time the dreamers realize they are trapped inside a nightmare, it’s too late.

Something has gone terribly wrong inside the dream – something evil – something on Johnson Road.

 

Peterson County Murders

CHASING A SERIAL KILLER From the moment they found the body, the hunt was on. Now that the FBI and US Marshalls were involved,  Sheriff Clifford Gaskin and Deputy Sean Willis were confident it was only a matter of time before they tracked down the murderer and brought justice to the people of Peterson County.

Detective Robert Stallworth wasn’t so sure. This was no ordinary criminal they were searching for. This killer was clever and cruel, but most of all, he was evil. Only hell itself could have produced such a monster, and this demon wasn’t going to stop.  He was having too much fun. Only the detective and the killer knew what this psychopath was capable of and what really happened on Johnson Road.

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Save 50% by order this bundle for only $3.99
***

About the Author — Clayton E. Spriggs works as a health care professional in Southeast Louisiana. Married with a son and two stepdaughters, he is an active participant in the Bayou Writer’s Club and a dedicated member of the Who Dat Nation (an avid New Orelans Saints fan). Johnson Road was his first novel.

 
Contact Links
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FRIDAY FICTION: The Game | #FreeRead

The Game

Betty raised her arm, brightly coloured ball in hand and hurled it at the stack of cans on the pedestal.

She missed.

“Fuck!” All heads turned in her direction, but Betty didn’t care. She’d been trying to win a silly purple stuffed monkey since earlier in the day. Handing over another wad of cash, she collected her balls from the gap-toothed carney who ran the game.

“Look lady, if you want to keep wasting your money, I’ll keep taking it from you.”

Betty continued to toss the balls at the stack, each time missing the mark. Her exasperation began to show in the way she tossed her hair over her shoulder and the huffing breaths she took every time she missed.

“I’ve got a game you can’t lose at. Do you wanna try that one instead?” The voice was accompanied by a dingy white gloved hand on her shoulder.

Betty looked at the hand and then past it to the crudely painted face of the clown. He smiled, but it didn’t reach his red-rimmed eyes. “You do? Can I still win the purple monkey if I play it?”

“Sure you can win that, but you could win something even better.” The clown laughed, then said, “If you dare.”

Betty studied the face for a moment before turning back to the game she’d been playing. Lobbing all three of her remaining balls in quick succession, she missed each time. “Okay, where’s this game?”

The clown took her hand, tightening his grip as she resisted and led her down the midway to a brightly coloured tent in one of the farthest corners. Pulling back the flap, he led her into the dimly lit interior. Music began to play, a haunting melody that permeated her mind, making Betty feel slightly ill at ease.

“Where’s the game?” Betty looked around the space and couldn’t see anything remotely resembling a game of chance. The only things in the tent were a chair and a table covered with a dark blue piece of cloth.

“Would you care to sit down?” The clown extended a gloved hand in the direction of the chair. “All will be explained in time.”

Betty looked at the chair, then at the clown before sitting down. “Okay…”

“The game is simple, in fact you’ve probably played it with your friends,” the clown paused to take the cloth from the table, letting Betty see its contents. “So what will it be? Truth or Dare?”

The table held two piles of cards, one labelled Truth, the other Dare.

“I don’t understand.” Betty looked from the clown to the pile of cards, confusion evident on her face.

“It’s simple, you pick a card, I read it and your answer or action will determine your prize.” He rested his hands on the table, studying her.

“What’s the catch?”

“There is no catch, my dear. You simply choose a card and we play from there.” For a moment the clown’s exasperation flooded his words, but he quickly hid it away.

“Okay…” She considered the pile before saying, “Dare.”

The clown picked up the top card and carefully turned it over. He smiled before reading it aloud. “Oh this one’s easy. Call the Game Master the worst insult you can think of.”

“Who’s the Game Master?”

“Well I am. So what are you going to hurl at me? And remember, make it good! You’ve got a lot riding on this…”

“A lot riding on it? What do you mean?” Betty shot a confused look at the clown, beginning to wonder what she’d gotten herself into.

“Your purple monkey—don’t you remember?” The clown laughed, as if to reassure her. “So what’s your insult?”

Betty looked at the clown as different insults crossed her mind. She could comment on his appearance, but that seemed too easy. He was a clown and a rather sad excuse for one at that. There was his profession; certainly there was an insult in there somewhere. None of that seemed enough though. In the end she went with something she knew would bother her if someone pointed it out…

“You smell like shit. And I mean you really smell like shit. From your costume to your breath. Actually it’s like shit and death; you know that smell when you find an animal after it’s died? Only worse.”

The clown’s over-exaggerated eyes widened as he laughed, his whole body shaking with mirth. Still chuckling, he responded, “You don’t smell so great yourself, sweetheart. That perfume you’re wearing can’t hide all those years living on the wrong side of the tracks.”

Betty bristled for a moment, drawing her arms close around her in a hug. As her shoulders slumped, she wondered who else could smell it on her…

“That was an excellent round! You definitely took on the dare and won.” He pulled a purple stuffed monkey from beneath the table and sat it on the top between the piles of cards. “Do you want to go for something bigger?”

Betty looked at the toy on the table, all the while wondering if she should continue. Her greed won. “Abso-freaking-lutely! What do I do now? Do I pick another card?”

“No, it’s my turn now.” He said it with such glee it made Betty wonder if she’d made the right decision. She watched as he picked a card from the Dare pile and flipped it over. “Tie your opponent to the chair. Oh, that’s easy enough!”

It took him only a few moments to overpower Betty, tying her to the chair with a nylon rope pulled from underneath the table. While she struggled, there simply was no way for her to have stopped him. She screamed, begged for someone to help her but the music in the tent only got louder, muffling her distress.

“Well that was easy, wasn’t it?”

“Fuck off you stupid asshole! Let me go!” Betty tried in vain to get him to untie her, but the gravity of her situation soon overwhelmed her. With tears streaming down her face she stopped struggling and looked up at the clown who now held her captive.

“That’s better. Now what will it be? Truth or dare?”

“Truth.” Picking a Dare seemed too dangerous to chance.

After picking up the top card, he read, “How scared are you right now?”

She looked at him, mascara tears winding a path over her cheeks and whimpered, “Very.”

The clown smiled in reaction and said, “Excellent! I think I’ll pick another Dare…”

Copyright © 2014 Julianne Snow

A REVIEW FROM MY COMMUTE: The Dirty Secrets Club — Meg Gardiner | #CrimeFiction

I feel like I’ve been on a bit of a crime fiction kick as of late and I’ve discovered a new favourite author in Meg Gardiner. My first audiobook with her was The Dirty Secrets Club and it’s not going to be my last!

imagesAn ongoing string of high-profile and very public murder-suicides has San Francisco even more rattled than a string of recent earthquakes: A flamboyant fashion designer burns to death, clutching the body of his murdered lover. A superstar 49er jumps off the Golden Gate Bridge. And most shocking of all, a U.S. attorney launches her BMW off a highway overpass, killing herself and three others.

Enter forensic psychiatrist Jo Beckett, hired by the SFPD to cut open not the victim’s body, but the victim’s life. Jo’s job is to complete the psychological autopsy, shedding light on the circumstances of any equivocal death. Soon she makes a shocking discovery: All the suicides belonged to something called the Dirty Secrets Club, a group of A-listers with nothing but money and plenty to hide. As the deaths continue, Jo delves into the disturbing motives behind this shadowy group―until she receives a letter that contains a dark secret Jo thought she’d left deep in her past, a secret that ends with the most chilling words of all: “Welcome to the Dirty Secrets Club.”

This is the first of a series where you’ll meet Jo Beckett, a forensic psychiatrist who conducts psychological autopsies to find out why a person died — Suicide? Murder? Accident? 

The Dirty Secrets Club was a fantastic book. The characters were believable, clever, and completely flawed in their own ways and the plot was orchestrated in such a way to keep you guessing until the last moment. Highly enjoyable listen!

Rating: 5 stars