BLOG TOUR: Remnants | #Crime #Mystery #Thriller #GuestPost @Carolyn_Arnold

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Why read the Brandon Fisher FBI series?

CAROLYN ARNOLD

If you find yourself intrigued by serial killers and fascinated by murder investigations, you probably love police procedurals. And if you also like getting inside the mind of a killer, exploring the dark and disturbing side of humanity, and you are an avid reader—or even if you only pick up a book a few times a year, actually!—you’ve met your match with my Brandon Fisher FBI series.

This serial-killer series isn’t like all the others out there in today’s entertainment world, though. When it came to writing this series, I wanted to do something unique, not only to make it stand out but to challenge myself and my readers. I wanted to dig deeper by tapping into the mindset of serial killers, and I wanted to do so with a rookie agent, not a veteran. Books in the mystery genre often depict a tough, seasoned detective or agent as the protagonist. I decided to flip that on its head and experience what it’s like to be a brand-new FBI agent.

In the first book in the series, Eleven, Brandon Fisher takes on his inaugural case with the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit and learns that an investigation can get personal quickly. In fact, he even comes to fear for his life and that of his wife’s. Readers witness him being trained by his veteran boss, Supervisory Special Agent Jack Harper, and get a front-row seat to his dealing with the heinous murders and the emotions he must deal with as a rookie.

As the series progresses, Brandon becomes more experienced, and he finds that nothing much surprises him anymore.

“With each new case, I wondered how the next would top the last, but somehow they always came to us more gruesome and depraved than the previous.” – FBI Agent Brandon Fisher

The Brandon Fisher FBI series can be enjoyed in any order, as each book stands alone, or you can start from the beginning.

And now a little bit about Remnants

Remnants-350-high-book-coverAll that remains are whispers of the past…

When multiple body parts are recovered from the Little Ogeechee River in Savannah, Georgia, local law enforcement calls in FBI agent and profiler Brandon Fisher and his team to investigate. But with the remains pointing to three separate victims, this isn’t proving to be an open-and-shut case.

With no quick means of identifying the victims, building a profile of this serial killer is proving more challenging than usual. How is the killer picking these victims? Why are their limbs being severed and bodies mutilated? And what is it about them that is triggering this killer to murder?

The questions compound as the body count continues to rise, and when a torso painted blue and missing its heart is found, the case takes an even darker turn. But this is only the beginning, and these new leads draw the FBI into a creepy psychological nightmare. One thing is clear, though: the killing isn’t going to stop until they figure it all out. And they are running out of time…

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Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 18 of Remnants…

TELEVISION WAS FOR THE WEAKMINDED, and he found the futility of sitcoms to be tedious and mind-numbing. His thoughts would always drift—as they often did anyway—to the freedom of the spirit, to being rid of the flesh that bound him to Earth. There was one program that held his attention, though, when he decided he felt like watching something, and that was the news. Events most people considered to be tragic, to be evidence of a world full of chaos, he rather enjoyed hearing about. The car bombs, the terrorist attacks, the murders—these things only proved how fleeting an earthly existence was and how the way one spent one’s time mattered.

When he wasn’t making sacrifices, he was usually thinking about them—either past offerings or those yet to come. There was a hunger that raged through him that made such sacrifices necessary, and the constant natter in his brain told him he was living his life with purpose and according to divine plan.

He went to the fridge, took out a bunch of grapes, and broke off a cluster. He put them into a bowl and then filled a glass with cold, filtered water. Sitting down in front of the television with the bowl of grapes on his lap and the glass of water on the side table, he was ready for the eleven o’clock news.

“Hey, honey.” His mother padded toward the sofa, wearing a robe over her pajamas and slippers on her feet.

He smiled at her, yet felt nothing for the woman who had given birth to him. And she knew how he viewed her, how he didn’t have the same feelings other sons had for their mothers, but she accepted him for who he was. She didn’t try to fix him when the rest of the world saw him as a freak.

He’d had no friends in school and was teased excessively for being different, but that was a small price to pay for being chosen. It had taken him awhile to fully realize his purpose, but once he had, there was no stopping him. He lived on a higher plane of existence than his human peers, one they couldn’t comprehend. He saw the entire spectrum from life to death and beyond.

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Carolyn-Arnold-Author-Photo-Hi-ResABOUT THE AUTHOR — Carolyn Arnold is an international best-selling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.

Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.

She currently lives just west of Toronto with her husband and beagle and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada.

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There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:

$10 Paypal Cash

Giveaway is International.

Ends July 17th at 11:59 PM ETRafflecopter

FIXING SYDNEY BLOG TOUR | #YA #Suspense #Romance @dianezparkki

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FixngSydneyCover-front-RGBSydney Sommer’s world fell apart after senior prom. Since then, her life had become a constant loop of unfortunate scenarios that kept her in constant fear of what might be lurking around the next corner. Her trust in others was at a standstill. Even those who were closest to her were held at a distance.

After serving active duty overseas, Jaxon Triggs moved away from his hometown, hoping the change in scenery would help him build a new future for himself. What he wasn’t expecting was to fall for a girl who was broken.

From the first moment Jaxon laid eyes on Sydney, he was curious. He became determined to do everything he could to break through the armor Sydney held around her so securely. His instinct to protect her and keep her safe kicked in as the dangers she encountered became more personal.

With dread always looming close by and secrets discovered, would Sydney be able to handle the new changes in her life yet heal at the same time?

Amazon | Kobo

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR — Diane Zparkki lives in the greater Toronto area. She is a working mom, and with her husband, she has raised three great kids. She is a thrill seeker who usually drags her family along with her.

Photo-120x180px-1She was never a big reader or writer in her youth—Coles Notes were her best friend through college. Her enthusiasm for reading came later in life when she joined a book club. She loved those books, but she wanted raw, simple, and happily ever after with a bit of get down and dirty. That was when her love for bad boys on a Harley was set in motion.

After reading so many books, her mind started to create her first story, and she needed to get it out.

Fixing Sydney of the Branson’s Kind of Love trilogy is her first book, and she hopes you enjoy it as much as she has enjoyed having these characters running around in her head.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

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And now a guest post from Diane Zparkki…

Home Office of Diane Zparkki

My home office is located above my garage. It has a small alcove in the front and larger rectangular room directly behind it. In the alcove sits a grey sectional with a weathered side table that a television sits on. Across the way is a long desk which is placed up against the wall.

Printer to the far right. Above the desk are three display boards with each book I intend on writing for the trilogy. “Fixing Sydney” is completely full of pictures from the internet that I think would represent my character or songs that inspired a scene. My next book that I am working on has a few pictures of characters but that is so far all I have…Oh! Hold on, did I tell you that this is my vision of what my office would look like if I was a full time writer. My real office is wherever I pull out my computer. You see, I still have a full time job through the week. Writing is something I would love to do full time, but as a starting out author it does not allow me to quit my job quite yet.

My office hours consists of three days a week for an hour and half sitting in a Tim Horton’s  writing while my son is at soccer practice. Some days I have the privileges of a quiet house while my husband takes him. My forty minute lunches are spent writing or looking for pictures for my cover. My favourite day of the week is Saturday. You would think it is a rest day, but in fact it is my day to write without any interruptions. I leave the house at around nine in the morning and head over to my girlfriend’s husbands garage. Yes, you heard me correctly. I sit in a quiet office off to the side of an auto mechanic shop with my girlfriend and we write for the majority of the day. The room is painted blue/gray colour with a large fish tank off to the side. There are four worn brown leather wingback chairs that circle a round coffee table.   We have a few visitors here and there but for the most part it is the clicking of our laptops and conversations of what we are writing. The room can get quite full some days with all our characters hanging around.

At the end of the day which is usually around two or three in the afternoon. I head home to look at my empty space over the garage. My character boards (which I really do have) lean against the wall where I pictured they would hang. I hope some day soon I hope I will be able to set them up on the wall just as I described.

As anything great in life you have to imagine, put into action and one day it may just materialize.

A Monday for Anything: Guest Post with Dana Leipold #BlogTour #BurntEdges

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Today on the FlipSide, I have the pleasure of presenting a guest post from Dana Leipold, author of Burnt Edges. If you haven’t been acquainted with Dana yet, let’s take a moment to get to know her…

Dana-LeipoldDana Leipold is a freelance writer, author, and member of the Association of Independent Authors and Creativity Coaching Association. She has self-published two books: a collection of limericks in Dr. Seuss-style for adults entitled, Stupid Poetry: The Ultimate Collection of Sublime and Ridiculous Poems, and a non-fiction book entitled, The Power of Writing Well: Write Well. Change the World, to help writers get their message heard, create stories that connect, and leverage the power of writing well. In addition, she coaches other writers on story structure, messaging, and writing skills so they can achieve their dreams to become published authors. Leipold lives with her husband and two children in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Amazon Author Page | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads | Website

After hearing the book was based on true life experiences, there was a part of me that wanted to know what aspects of the story were actually true. This is what Dana shared with me…

Actually, the whole novel is based on real events. An important person in my life went through some of these terrible experiences and incredibly, came out a stronger person.

There are a couple of scenes in the book where the main character, Laurel, is molested by her father. I tried to write these as they actually happened, without getting too explicit. The thing that was interesting was how her father would react after the abuse…his guilt and shame would overcome him and he’d turn around and do something nice for his daughter. He would never acknowledge what happened however.

Of course, the father suffered abuse himself. Again his character is based on someone real and this man saw terrible violence in his home and when he went into the army. His only way to deal with all that violence was to drink and then abuse his own children.

What I really wanted to show in this story was the pattern of abuse that gets carried on within families without much thought. It just becomes the way life is lived but what happens when someone becomes aware of that pattern? That’s what the novel is all about.

Thank you Dana! Now let’s take a closer look at Burnt Edges.

Burnt-EdgesAbuse or an uncertain future. This is Laurel Lee Page’s choice when she is faced with an unplanned pregnancy at 18. Born into a broken family, all she has ever known is guilt and shame. No matter what she does or who she meets, Laurel appears to be living a condemned life but she is determined to find independence and freedom in spite of her family’s legacy of hatred and self-contempt. Can Laurel see that she is in a powerful position, poised to break the cycle of abuse? Set in Southern California during the tumultuous 1960s era, Burnt Edges is based on true events and proves that strength can be found even in the most horrific situations.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GoodReads

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And there’s a giveaway!!

There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:

5 Lucky Winners will each receive a $10 Amazon gift card.

Giveaway is International.

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A Monday for Anything: Guest Post with Belinda Frisch #BlogTour #TheMissingYear

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Today on the FlipSide, I have the pleasure of presenting a guest post from the fabulous Belinda Frisch. For those of you unacquainted with Belinda, let’s take a moment to get to know her a little better…

Belinda-FrischAfter fifteen years of working in healthcare, Belinda Frisch’s stories can’t help being medicine influenced. A writer of dark tales in the horror, mystery, and thriller genres, Belinda tells the stories she’d like to read. Her fiction has appeared in Shroud Magazine, Dabblestone Horror, and Tales of the Zombie War. She is the author of Cure, Afterbirth, Fatal Reaction, Better Left Buried, and The Missing Year. She resides in upstate New York with her husband and a small menagerie of beloved animals.

*Runner-up Halloween Book Festival 2012 and optioned for film, Cure

*Honorable Mention New York Book Festival 2014, Better Left Buried

*Amazon Top 100 Medical Thriller, Fatal Reaction

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And without further ado, I’ll turn it over to Belinda…

The Similarities between the Genres

What happens when you let a horror writer dabble in the romance genre? The Missing Year, which isn’t as far away from home as you’d think for this would-be death dealer. I’ve been asked to write a little bit about the similar elements in the horror and romance genres.

Stakes: Whether the joining of a couple in a traditional romance, or someone risking their life to save another’s, both scenarios come with some kind of threat of failure. There has to be something at stake in order for there to be conflict.

Obstacles: What’s keeping the couple apart? What’s keeping the couple alive? Obstacles are universal. In romance versus horror, it’s the end result that makes the difference.

Resolution: Motivations revealed, obstacles overcome, there has to be some kind of resolution. In romance, it’s more often happy.

Love and romance are often at the heart of good horror story. Crazy, right? Romance humanizes characters, drives them to do things they wouldn’t normally do, and sometimes makes them act rashly. It also gives meaning to their deaths. Horror should still make the reader feel something.

In my Strandville novels, Zach Keller, my Nixon Center guard, has allied himself with Dr. Howard Nixon, the devil incarnate, in exchange for medical treatment meant to save his wife’s life. Scott faces certain death for Miranda, despite their tenuous relationship. In Better Left Buried the love between Adam and Harmony is what gives value to her otherwise troubled life. His feelings for her increase the stakes for the reader. Someone will notice if this girl doesn’t survive.

In The Missing Year, horror dresses as misfortune—as death come too early and the inescapable fate of terminal illness—as loss explored as one’s single greatest fear. While there is no gore, there is finality and an inescapable tragic consequence. There’s nothing more terrible than that.

Thank you Belinda! Now let’s take a look at The Missing Year… Don’t forget that clicking on the cover will take you Amazon!

The-Missing-YearThirty-four-year-old Blake Wheeler was everything Lila had ever wanted. A rising-star surgeon with his whole life ahead of him, Blake gave Lila ten perfect years of marriage before plunging her into the hardest year of their lives.

When a late night shooting leaves Blake in a coma, Lila is faced with a difficult decision: continue life support or let him go.

One year later, Lila remains unwilling to speak, in a private mental health facility where she refuses to move on.

Dr. Ross Reeves knows firsthand about loss, having spent the better part of five years burying himself in his work. Tasked with the challenge of breaking Lila’s silence, Ross investigates Lila’s past and her husband’s death, finding more to Blake’s murder than meets the eye. A series of mysterious coincidences has Ross wondering if Lila is acting out of grief … or guilt.

Amazon | GoodReads

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And there’re a #GIVEAWAY!!

There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:

  • 10 Kindle copies of Fatal Reaction or The Missing Year (winner’s choice)
  • 10 ACX audiobook codes for Fatal Reaction or Cure (winner’s choice)
  • A $25.00 Amazon gift card

Giveaway is International. Just click on the Rafflecopter logo!!

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A MONDAY FOR ANYTHING: Guest Post by John O’Brien – #WinterofZombie2014

Today on the FlipSide I have the pleasure of presenting a guest post by John O’Brien. If you haven’t been acquainted with John yet, let’s take a moment to introduce him…

IMG_00301John O’Brien is a former Air Force fighter instructor pilot who transitioned to Special Operations for the latter part of his career gathering his campaign ribbon for Desert Storm. Immediately following his military service, John became a firefighter/EMT with a local department. Along with becoming a firefighter, he fell into the Information Technology industry in corporate management. Currently, John is writing full-time on the series, A New World.

As a former marathon runner, John lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest and can now be found kayaking out in the waters of Puget Sound, mountain biking in the Capital Forest, hiking in the Olympic Peninsula, or pedaling his road bike along the many scenic roads.

Twitter | Amazon Author Page | Website

So without further ado…

Zombies You Say

John O’Brien

Hello there. I’m John O’Brien and I write the series, A New World. I just released a companion book to the series titled, A New World: Storm.
I’ve been asked more than a few times why I write about zombies or in this genre. Okay, I guess I should mention first off that the creatures in the series aren’t technically zombies, so I just close my eyes and nod. The post-apocalyptic world creates the ultimate survival situation. Or not, depending on your point of view. It’s in this world that I would spend most of my time daydreaming. The various situations, things that would arise, items I would need, how to gather supplies, and set up for long-term survival. In the midst of these wanderings, a story was born. It wasn’t until I was introduced to the zombie genre that I began to incorporate them into my ‘stories’. They threw an extra element of survival and danger into the mix. So, I pondered the slow-moving zombie hordes. Then, the idea of fast moving creatures entered and the story was born, itching to get out. Several of the situations I envisioned merged into one larger story. The more I delved along this line, the more it wanted to be told until I just had to sit down and begin.

Storm cover large5It is not about someone with super hero powers, but just a normal person having to deal with the sudden demise of the civilized world as we know it. Facing the situation with what he has at hand, and having to learn about everything that happened as he goes along. I wrote it in the first person so the reader could track along with his thoughts, the reasoning behind his actions, what he saw and reacted to, both in the physical world and inside of his head. The reader could trek along with him as he journeys through a post-apocalyptic world. And thus, Jack Walker was created. The thoughts that I have running in my head fused with Jack, but he also became his own person who surprised me at times. Okay, maybe not that much, but the other characters sure did. I like them and they all live within me. Jack, Lynn, Robert, Bri, Gonzalez, McCafferty, Bannerman, Frank, the lot of them. I still think about them often.

I generally try to stay away from reading within the genre as I don’t want to subconsciously take anyone else’s ideas. However, with that said, you can’t go wrong with stories written by Mark Tufo, Shawn Chesser, Armand Rosamilia, James Cook, Joe McKinney, Heath Stallcup, and a host of others.

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The stench of frozen rotted meat is in the air! Welcome to the Winter of Zombie Blog Tour 2014, with 10 of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of November.

Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don’t miss an interview, guest post or teaser… and pick up some great swag as well! Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them! #WinterZombie2014

https://www.facebook.com/events/1524813084430035/

AND so you don’t miss any of the posts in November, here’s the complete list, updated daily:

http://armandrosamilia.com/2014/11/01/winter-of-zombie-post-list-winterzombie2014/

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A MONDAY FOR ANYTHING: Protecting Caroline Blog Tour with Susan Stoker

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Today on the FlipSide, I have the pleasure of featuring a guest post by Susan Stoker, author of Protecting Caroline as she tours the internet in support of its release. But before we get to that, let’s take a moment and introduce her…

Susan-StokerSusan Stoker has a heart as big as the state of Texas where she lives but this all American girl has also spent the last fourteen years living in Missouri, California, Colorado, and Indiana. She is quite the romantic and even met the love of her life on “Hotmail classified” before online dating and sites like match.com even existed!

Susan has been reading romance novels since middle school and once crossed out the names of the main characters in a book and changed them to her own and to the name of her crush. She’s been writing scenes for years, developing her unique writing style.

Susan loves writing but her true passion is adopting dogs from rescue groups and shelters. Susan and her husband have had a total of nine “rescued” dogs since 2000 including a variety of basset hounds and bloodhounds. She has recently branched out and adopted a basset/terrier mix who acts more like a terrier than a basset (i.e. digging, eating a couch and being hyper).

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So without further ado, I give you Susan and…

The Importance of Happy Endings In Romance

I am a FIRM believer in happy endings in romance novels. I do not like the new trend of cliff hangers that make a reader buy three, four, five, ten…books before they get that HEA. I think most of know that life is NOT like a romance novel. We have to work, we get sick, we have to clean up vomit by our kids and we have to dust and vacuum…you get the picture.  Reading romances is a way for us to “escape” our reality for a bit.

We can read about heroines that are just like us in size, or the way we want to be. We can put ourselves in their world for a few hours. I laugh when I read reviews of my books that say, “This wasn’t realistic.” Um. Yeah. That’s the point. When people read paranormal books do they think to themselves, “this is crap, it’s totally not real”? I digress, but my point is that authors write what WE like as well. We write over-the-top heroines and heroes because it’s fun. Because it’s nice to escape reality now and then.

With that said, closing the loop in the story leaves the reader with a happy feeling. They are left happy in the knowledge that the people they’ve been reading about for the last few hours managed to get over all the hurdles us mean authors put in their way (ex’s, family, kidnappers, sickness, criminals, etc etc etc). I mean, if two people don’t end up together, is it really a romance novel?

Thank you Susan! Now let’s take a quick look at Protecting Caroline… Don’t forget that clicking on the cover will whisk you away to Amazon!

Protecting-Caroline**Protecting Caroline is a stand-alone love story. It is Book 1 in the SEAL of Protection Series**

Matthew “Wolf” Steel hated flying commercial. Luckily his job as a Navy SEAL meant he didn’t have to do it very often. He’d been unlucky enough to be assigned a middle seat on the cramped jet, but fortunately for him, the woman next to him was willing to switch seats with him. Hoping for a relaxing flight, Wolf was pleasantly surprised at the good conversation and sense of humor the woman had as they flew 36,000 feet over the countryside.

When Caroline boarded the plane to Virginia to move across the country for her new job she never expected to be seated next to the hottest guy she’d ever seen. She also never expected he’d be so easy to talk to. She knew he’d never be interested in talking to her if he hadn’t been trapped in the seat next to her, but it was a nice way to spend a long plane ride.

Neither Wolf nor Caroline were prepared for a terrorist hijacking of their plane, but if Caroline thought that would be the last time she’d see, or need, Wolf, she’d be sorely mistaken.

Start the SEAL of Protection Series with Caroline and Wolf’s story.

And there’s a giveaway too!!

You could win either an eBook copy of Protecting Caroline (INT) or a print copy of Protecting Caroline (US).

Click the Rafflecopter logo for entrance details!

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A MONDAY FOR ANYTHING: And They Lived Happily Ever After Blog Tour with Crystal Connor

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Today I welcome author Crystal Connor to the FlipSide to offer her perspective on something I’ve often asked myself as well as a wide range of authors and readers: Do happy endings belong in horror? But before we get to her thoughts, let’s take a moment to get to know her a little better…

Crystal-ConnorWashington State native Crystal Connor has been terrorizing readers since before Jr. high School and loves anything to do with monsters, bad guys, rogue scientific experiments, jewelry, sky-high high heel shoes & unreasonably priced hang bags. She is also considering changing her professional title to dramatization specialist because it’s so much more theatrical than being just a mere drama queen. Along with inducing insomnia within her readership Crystal also reviews indie horror and sci-fi movies for HorrorAddicts.net

Amazon Author Page | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads | Blog

So without further ado, here’s Crystal…

Hi Julianne! Thanks so much for hosting me today. Wow, should happy endings belong in horror? That is such a good question.  Because I love and prefer movies with endings like Alexandre Bustillo’s 2008 Inside and Miguel Angel Vivas’ 2011 Kidnapped, I want to say no!

But because I loved and cried at the end of Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth, and left the theater stunned and speechless after seeing Mama this question isn’t as easy to answer as I thought it would be.

I really like stories that don’t put everything in a neat little box at the end. I like it messy, with unanswered questions, a story that stays with me long after the credits roll and I close the book. Sometimes I think it could work even if it’s not the happy ending your hoping for. My goal for every story I write is to write an unpredictable ending and two stories from And They All Lived Happily Ever After! The Lazarus Antidote and Amber’s New Friend are the ones I get the most feedback for because readers were hoping for a different ending.  Let me see if I can explain without giving too much away.

It takes a minute for the ending of The Lazarus Antidote to reveal itself as being happy, I think the reason people are shocked at the way that story ended was because they’re so close to the main character and her struggle, that the bigger picture is lost, and I think that’s why people are so pissed off when they write me to vent over that story. Now I’m not complaining I love all of my fan mail, and even though I don’t answer everyone who writes me I do read all the my mail. But with The Lazarus Antidote there is really no way for respond.

For Amber’s New Friend, there is a happy ending but it’s not for who you think it’s for.  The response to Amber’s New Friend both in print and audio has been incredible and is by far a fan favorite and again I think it’s because of the ending that no one saw coming.

So I guess the answer to your question should happy endings belong in horror, I guess it depends on the story.  With everything that was going on in the movies Inside and Kidnapped there was no way in the world for those stories to end any other way than they did, and if the directors had somehow wrote happy endings to make viewers happy, I would have lost my damn mind, just like Annie Wilkes, demanding a rewrite… lol

And on the flip side of that coin, I would have been perfectly ok if Mama had a either a happier ending or a more tragic one.  But my personal choice the horror stories I love the most are the ones that don’t have happy endings.

Thanks again for hanging out with me today, this was a really good question.

Thank you Crystal – you’ve definitely brought up a number of good points!

Now let’s take a look at Crystal’s And They All Lived Happily Ever After

And-They-All-Lived-Happily-Ever-AfterOnce upon a time, in a dark & scary place, in a frightening land way too close to home…

Crystal Connor’s …And They All Lived Happily Ever After! is a collection of short fables not meant for children; but for those who enjoy the madness of nightmares.

In the ‘Queen’s Pawn’ you’ll visit a magical kingdom full of wonder and splendor only to come to the sickening realization that when the Queen had a message…she sends her pawns.

The perils of eating forbidden fruit have been cautioned against since the Book of Genesis, but will our urban princess in ‘The Apple’ heed those warnings?

Embark on a mystical and treacherous quest to reach ‘The Ruins’, located in place so sacred that is should never be visited by mortal man.

These are just a few of the adventures you’ll have as you explore the dark imagination of Crystal Connor. Fourteen short stories of horror, science fiction, and fantasy; 65,306 words of terror by a single author who clearly intends to one day be known as a Master in the genre.

Monsters, Women, and Villains (oh my)!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GoodReads

Book Trailer Link:  http://youtu.be/GHvrlWTDFOo

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Oh and there’s a giveaway too!!

1 Lucky winner will get a print copy of And They All Lived Happily Ever After! And the giveaway is International too!!

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A Monday for Anything: Killers and Demons II: They Return Blog Tour with A. F. Stewart

Today on the FlipSide, I’m hosting A. F. Stewart as she tours the internet in support of her new collection, Killers and Demons II: They Return. She’s written a very engaging guest post, but before we get to that, let’s get to know A. F. a little better…

AnitaA. F. Stewart was born and raised in Nova Scotia, Canada, and still calls it home. The youngest in a family of seven children, she has always had an overly creative mind and an active imagination. She is fond of good books (especially science fiction/fantasy), action movies, sword collecting, and oil painting as a hobby.

Ms. Stewart is an indie author with several published novellas and story collections in the dark fantasy or horror genres, with a few side trips into poetry and non-fiction. She has a great interest in history and mythology, often working those themes into her books and stories.

Twitter | Facebook | Blog

And without further ado…

Historic Settings for Horror

I love history, and I often use different historic eras as settings for my books or stories. So what do I see in the past that makes it such an effective medium for horror?

First, it’s fairly easy to establish a sense of drama and tension in certain historical settings. London in the Victorian Era for example, invokes an iconic image of gas lamps, fog shrouded streets and Jack the Ripper type terrors lurking in the alleyways, while medieval settings lend themselves well to a more supernatural dread, demons, witches and the like. History brings with it a built-in atmosphere and mood, which can be adapted nicely to fit into the horror genre.

The trappings of an era can establish a tone for the story, too. A reader expects a certain kind of behaviour from a top-hatted, finely dressed Victorian villain, actions far different from a rampaging, scantily clad, sword-welding barbarian, or an evil-minded alchemist in a black hooded robe. Clothes, especially period specific clothes, often make the character.

In my new book, Killers and Demons II: They Return, several of the stories have historic settings, and use the built-in ambience and characteristics to full advantage. I traipse to my favourite era for horror—the aforementioned Victorian era—in two of the stories, One Night in London, and Runner. The pair is a contrast in subject matter, with One Night in London having a straightforward historical background, and Runner bringing in a supernatural element, but both use the dark and surreal London streets and a less than savoury Victorian underworld to create a quality of menace in the story. However, my story How Do You Take Your Tea? does a bit of the opposite. It uses a Regency England setting as a contradiction to the villainy of its characters and plot. I mean, what could be more frightening and disquieting than evil in the world of Jane Austen? Be careful sipping your afternoon tea, poison may be lurking in that cup.

My last two historical stories, Suffer a Witch, and Up From The Ground, play with medieval locales and superstition. Suffer a Witch combines the unjust accusations of witchcraft with a bit of undead resurrection and revenge, leaning heavily on history to form its basis. Up From The Ground does much the same thing, using religion and a slice of medieval life as backdrop for a chilling paranormal horror story of possession. There is something decidedly perfect in the pairing of a medieval setting and a demonic invasion.

So that’s my take on history and horror. An ideal match made in heaven…or maybe in Hell.

Thank you A. F.! Now let’s take a look at Killers and Demons II: They Return… Don’t forget to click on the cover to be taken straight to Amazon!

K&DII MedEvil is back, with a greater appetite for death.

Killers.

Demons.

They lurk forever in the shadows, smile at you in the morning, and haunt your dreams at night. You can’t hide, you can’t run, and there’s no escape. You can only scream when they come for you.

Killers and Demons II:  They Return is a collection of thirteen tales, blending short stories and flash fiction, tales where the blood lingers on your tongue or spurts quickly from the swift cut.

The Villainous Roster:

Wade, every parent’s nightmare
Hannah and Mr. Greeley. Who is the victim and who is the villain?
Simon and Zoe, a married couple who are dying to be single again.
Norman and his “cookie” of a wife, Mabel.
Millicent and Jane, a delightful duo you shouldn’t invite to your Regency tea party
Amanda, who literally has a skeleton in her closet
Balthazar, the demon bounty hunter on the hunt once more.
Sarah, a young woman going through some changes and craving new tastes
Emmeline, burned as a witch, now back from the dead for revenge
Gabrielle, a woman haunted by shadows
The Dollmaker, she showers death, and an umbrella won’t help
Nightmare Demons, bent on driving a town insane
And then there’s Alice, a little girl locked in the basement by her Daddy…

Together they form a spine-chilling cadre of predators.

Did I mention there was a giveaway??

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Click on theRafflecopter logo to be swept away to enter!

An Aberrant Mind Blog Tour: Guest Post from Ken MacGregor

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Ken MacGregor has been traversing the internet talking about his quirky horror collection titled An Aberrant Mind. Today Ken talks about stuff up—writing to many of us—so without further ado, here he is…

Step Right Up, Folks!

Ken MacGregor

I’ve heard – well, mostly read a lot of people say that writing is a lot of work. That it’s excruciating and a horrible way to earn a living. That it’s agony to put words to the page.

I don’t think so. Well, okay, maybe it is for them, but not me. I enjoy writing. I love the process—from when the idea rattles around in my head to the first tentative words all the way through the editing.

All right, sometimes the editing is a pain in the ass, but the end result makes it pretty cool.

I love making stuff up. It’s fun.

Now, there’s this whole other part of being a writer that I didn’t really think about when I started. If I’d had the foresight to see it coming, I might have just kept writing for me and not submitting to publishers. I’m talking about the part where I have to try to sell my work.

Obviously, I don’t mind being paid to write. What kind of lunatic would complain about getting money for doing something they love, something they’d be doing anyway? But, no – that’s not what I mean. I’m talking about that thing where I try to get people interested in reading my stuff. The ‘Hey! Look at me!’ of self-promotion. This is how it feels to me:

I’m standing on the midway, clad in red, white and blue stripes with matching top hat, barking at the mothers, fathers and children whose mouths are caked with spider webs of cotton candy residue.

“Step right up, folks! See the amazing MacGregor pull ideas from thin air. Watch as he creates real human beings – and kills them!”

Or if you prefer a more urban analogy, I feel like a pimp (still with a big hat) sending my girls (and boys – this is the 21st Century after all) out to do filthy things with strangers while I sit back and collect the money. Sometimes the stories don’t sell and I have to slap ‘em around a little.

I don’t like this aspect of being a writer very much. It feels dirty to me, cheap and tawdry. I think this is probably the whole reason writers seek agents. So they don’t have to sully their hands with self-promotion. Any agents reading this might like to know that I’m not currently represented. Just sayin’.

You know what do I love, though, aside from the writing itself? Connecting with a reader. That moment when you log on to social media and someone you’ve never met has left you a note saying how much they enjoyed a story you wrote. That’s the best feeling. Knowing I made an impact in someone’s life, the way so many authors have in my own, is astounding to me.

So, if I can experience that, every once in a while, it’s worth having to hawk/pimp my stuff. More than worth it.

Thanks Ken! Now let’s take a look at An Aberrant Mind, tell you about the giveaway, and let you read an excerpt…

KenMacGregor_AnAberrantMind_FrontCoverABERRANT is defined as unusual, abnormal or different. The stories in this book not only differ from most of what you read, but also wildly from each other. A retired school teacher takes on an elder god and his minion; a werewolf picks fights with sea creatures; a neighbor’s lawn may be eating people. Twenty-two stories: scary, funny, weird and different.

In these pages, you will find darkness and fear, revulsion and terror. Mixed with it, however is quite a bit of humor. Sometimes both happen at the same time. So, open it up, join Jim as he fights off zombies with a potato cannon; witness the bloodbath reunion of the first man and his homicidal son; enjoy the monsters, the demons and the deranged.

A word of warning, though: you may never eat a bagel with lox again.

Available for purchase at:

Amazon:

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

CreateSpace

Smashwords

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KenMacGregorABOUT THE AUTHOR Ken MacGregor’s work has appeared in over fifty anthologies, magazines and podcasts. Ken is a member of The Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers and an Affiliate member of HWA. You can find Ken on Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook, and at ken-macgregor.com. Ken’s the kind of guy that, if he found himself stranded somewhere with you, would probably eat you to survive. Ken hopes you enjoyed the stories in this collection and that you sleep just a little less well because of them. Ken lives in Michigan with his family and two unstable cats.

Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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 GIVEAWAY!!!

Sirens Call Publications will be giving away digital copies of An Aberrant Mind by Ken MacGregor to 5 (five) lucky winners! Follow the link to enter for your chance to win!

Win 1 of 5 (five) copies of An Aberrant Mind by Ken MacGregor

***

An here’s the excerpt we promised you…

Killer Bagel

Carl woke up hungry. He rolled out of bed and into the shower, stale smoke and beer sweat sluicing off him and down the drain. As he dried off, the church in the next block rang the bell, as it did every hour. He counted them. Ten. He felt each one like a blow to the head.

“I am never drinking again,” Carl mumbled. It was his mantra.

Carl lurched out the front door; the sunshine lancing into his brain as he hustled to put on the sunglasses. Avoiding human contact, he made his way to Max’s Deli. His stomach craved bread, and his brain coffee. Thank god ten am was a slow time for Max. Early mornings and around lunchtime, it got very loud in there. Max himself was at the counter. He looked up and beamed.

“Mr. Carl!” Max always used “Mr.” or “Ms.” with his customers’ first names. It was oddly endearing. Carl gave Max a weak smile and ordered a large coffee and an everything bagel.

“So sorry, Mr. Carl,” Max said, regret clear on his face. “We had to 86 the everything bagels. Garlic and onion we still have; that’s as close as it gets. I give you the coffee for free, to make up for it, okay?”

“No, no,” Carl said. “Garlic is fine. I’ll pay for the coffee. Things run out. It happens. Don’t worry about it.”

“Thank you,” Max grinned. He yelled to the kitchen. “Drop a garlic! You want cream cheese and lox with that?” Carl’s stomach did a backflip when it heard cream cheese, but lox would be good. He ordered it that way and sat down on the cushioned bench, sipping the too-hot coffee in the to-go cup.

“Order up!” Carl’s head whipped around; he had been woolgathering, and the movement hurt him. Wincing, he got up, paid and left the deli, coffee and bagel in tow. A tiny wisp of steam rose from the sipping oval in the lid. This time, he remembered to wear his shades before he got outside.

Carl found an empty wooden bench in the park nearby. He sat down, set his cup next to him, making sure it was level and wouldn’t tip over. He opened the bag, removed the bagel; the lox were wrapped separately. Carl pulled the halves of the warm, crispy bagel apart and slid the pink fish inside. He brought the food to his mouth and took a bite.

When it hit his taste buds, he was shocked. Carl had never tasted anything so good! Ravenous, he wolfed down the rest. Carl sat there, stunned for a moment. That was delicious.

Mechanically, he lifted the coffee to his lips and drank some. It was cold.

The church bells down the street rang once. One o’clock? How could that be? He had been sitting there for two-and-a-half hours. Carl shifted his weight, and realized both legs and his butt had fallen asleep. The pins and needles were excruciating. But they were nothing compared to what came next.

Carl’s stomach clenched. He doubled over. It felt like a spear was in his gut, a big one. The pain migrated. It went lower. The pressure was awful and intense. Carl lifted his shirt to look at himself. Something was pushing against his abdomen. He could see it, bulging under his skin. Watching and feeling it move inside him made him puke. He lurched to the side, but a lot of it got on him.

The thing inside Carl moved again and the pain almost made him pass out. He fell to the ground, writhing, groaning. He was distantly aware of a voice nearby. A man was talking to Carl, asking him if he needed help, if he needed a doctor.

“Get it outta me!” It was all he could manage. The stranger put a hand on Carl’s shoulder. His other hand pulled out a cell phone and dialed 911.

“Oh god! Oh my fucking god!” Carl ripped at his belt buckle, tore it open. He pulled his pants down as fast as he could. The bystander backpedaled, worried that this man might be crazy.

Carl bucked off the ground, screaming. Blood flecks flew out of his anus and the other man gasped and backed even further away. Carl’s whole body went rigid. He screamed once more and passed out.

The other man approached Carl, morbid curiosity forcing him to look. There on the ground lay a blood-covered lump. It was round, bumpy and looked too big to have been passed by a human being. The man looked closer, leaning in.

“What the hell,” he said. He recognized it. A bagel. A bagel that had been chewed and swallowed. Somehow, it had put itself back together inside this poor bastard’s stomach and forced its way out. “Jesus.”

Sirens approached the park, followed closely by police and an ambulance. The man told them what happened, nodding when they looked at him like he was crazy.

“I know what it sounds like,” he said. “But, that’s what happened. I’m not going to make something up just ‘cause the truth sounds crazy.”

He tried to show them the bagel, but it was gone. Of course it was.

The EMTs loaded Carl into the ambulance. Before the doors closed, the man heard one of the EMTs shout, “He’s flatlining!”

The man looked at the blood on the ground. There was a lot of it. Still no sign of the bagel. He shook his head. Maybe I’m losing it, he thought.

Then, he saw it.

The bagel was sitting on the bench, next to paper cup with a plastic lid. The lumpy circle of toasted dough was still wet with blood, but there seemed to be less of it. How did it get there? What the hell is going on?

He took a step toward the bench, never taking his eyes off the bagel. He squatted in front of the bench, leaned in for a closer look.

The bagel moved. The man flinched, but stayed where he was. He couldn’t take his eyes off the thing. It moved again, a little. The man watched, fascinated. He was pretty sure no one had ever seen anything like this. The bagel was inching its way across the bench in his direction. The whole event was surreal and captivating. The man noted that it left a trail of blood on the wood and wondered how long the bagel would take to reach the edge.

Then, Bang! It flew into his face, covering his nose and mouth. He couldn’t breathe: garlic and another man’s blood and feces filling his nostrils. He pried at it with his fingers, but it was already forcing itself into him, filling his throat and sinuses.

The man choked and gagged and clawed at his nose and mouth; he had time to think, Well, this is a stupid and absurd way to die. Then he was gone.

***

Max looked up as the bells on the door chimed. He grinned.

“Ms. Jessica!” he gave her a friendly wave. “So nice to see you.”

“Thanks, Max,” Jessica Saunders said. “Do you have any sesame bagels left?”

“Oh no,” Max said, full of regret. “I’m so sorry. We only have garlic left.”

“Okay,” she said. “I’ll take one of those. Toasted with lox, please.”

***

Essence Blog Tour: Guest Post from Ela Lourenco

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Ela Lourenco has been touring the internet in support of her debut novel Essence. Essence is a paranormal fantasy with romantic twinges and I asked Ela about the world she created…

Essence: The Creation of a New World Order

Ela Lourenco

One of the greatest aspects of writing paranormal/fantasy is the artistic freedom that comes with it. The characters can be outlandish, otherworldly… Nothing needs to be based on the ‘real’ in terms of who, why, where, and when as long as the characters are credible in their interactions with each other.

I spent many a happy hour (paper all spread across the living room floor in disarray!) creating the various supernatural races that star in Essence – their backgrounds, their histories their individual magical powers… Even their religions and philosophies of life. In all honesty, I think I spent more time creating my world than writing the novel itself. The different races’ pasts and interactions with each other helped me add a depth and flavour to the main story while allowing me to keep the suspense going as new information was slowly trickled down to the reader. The many different rituals of the various races helping me to make the world in Essence a more credible place.

Creating my own worlds and races allowed my imagination to run wild and free and to become absorbed into the story myself – I was the mother, they my children in a sense. The more intricate and complex the details of my world became, the more I bonded with what I wrote – invested in what would happen to my characters next. The fact that I got to depict the world as I would like it to be in my own fantasies was an added bonus though… Who wouldn’t enjoy the omnipotence of that, even if only in writing?

Thank you Ela! Now let’s take a closer look at Essence… And there’s a giveaway and an excerpt to follow as well!

Essence_ElaLourenco_front_coverKatra is a Fae Hunter in a world once ravaged by a terrible war. Having lost all memory of her childhood and rightful identity, her duty is now to protect the tentative peace brokered by the varying races of the supernatural world.  When an evil darkness begins to spread, draining young witches of their power, Katra must find a way back to her true past in order to save the future.

Enduring many trials as ever-increasing powers awaken within her, Katra must also struggle with the mixed emotions her new partner, Blade – a Black Dragon – is rousing within her. Together they must battle the shadows that plan to devour the world they know and prevent its decent into another thousand-year war.

Can Katra hold onto her strength as the truth of her very being begins to unravel? Can she bear the weight that ancient prophecy has placed on her young shoulders? Or is her destiny to regain her true self, only to lose the world she is sworn to protect?

Available on:

Amazon: US | UK | Canada | Australia | Germany | Italy | Spain | France | Japan |India | Brazil | Mexico

CreateSpace

Smashwords

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

iTunes

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ELA_ESSENCEABOUT THE AUTHOR – Ela Lourenco lives in sunny Scotland with her two daughters and husband. She has a passion for reading and all things supernatural, particularly where there is a whodunit involved! Ela can often be found in the kitchen baking yet another cake as she ponders her next story.

Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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And there’s a giveaway!

Sirens Call Publications will be giving away digital copies of Essence by Ela Lourenco to 5 (five) lucky winners! Follow the link to enter for your chance to win!

Win 1 of 5(five) copies of Essence by Ela Lourenco

***

And here’s the excerpt of Essence you’ve been promised…

From –

Chapter 1

Katra

Maya worried about Katra when she was hunting, despite knowing how tough she was. Katra was part elemental, part fae and already a powerful witch. It wasn’t a lack of faith in her abilities but the unanswered questions that niggled at her. Elementals and fae both matured magically at eighteen, but Katra was almost twenty-one and her powers were still growing, and at a speed Maya had never seen before. That, together with Katra’s inability to remember anything before the day they met, was a constant source of worry. Something had obviously happened to her, but what? And who was involved? Despite her trust in the council Maya had never registered Katra as an official hunter, she didn’t want anyone to find out about her yet. There would be too many questions, especially if they saw her violet eyes and silver hair. Not greying hair, pure liquid silver… Maya had never seen anything like it, and neither Katra’s fae nor her elemental heritage could justify the colour. She had taught Katra how to glamour the day after she arrived and as far as the world knew Katra was just another brown-eyed brunette. A gorgeous one, no glamour could change that, but at least she stood out less.

***

“Ouch,” Katra rubbed her sore hand as the backlash from the spell hit her fingers. She smiled at Maya, “I’m ok I just wasn’t prepared for the kickback.”

“Your powers are growing too fast,” Maya spoke, as if talking to herself, “they should have stopping growing by now.”

Katra released another fireball spell. This time the ball of fire grew as big as a basketball when she lobbed it at the dummy in the training room. With her other hand she drew an ice spell which covered the fireball and neutralized it before she set something on fire, again.

“Well done!” Maya clapped, “At least your control is growing too… but I still think we need to figure out what’s happening here. I don’t know what any of this means…”

“It’s not a problem Maya,” Katra shrugged. “The more power I have the better I can do my job. You should be less worried not more.” She grabbed a towel and wiped off the beads of sweat on her face. “I should grab a shower before I head out, and I have to get my stuff ready,” she called over her shoulder as she went back up the stairs. Maya went into the back of the shop. They didn’t keep regular shop hours as most supernaturals were nocturnal. Not because they couldn’t go out in daylight or anything as Hollywood as that. They just simply preferred coming out at night, and they didn’t need as much sleep as humans so the day could feel quite long. In fact, vampires didn’t need sleep at all if they fed regularly.

Once she was sure that Katra was in the shower, she pulled out a box from the back of the bottom shelf. Inside was a large grey pearl. She closed her eyes and placed her fingers on it.

“Maya?” a deep voice whispered in her head.

“It’s me Antonio,” she thought back at him as the pearl linked their minds together.

“Is something wrong?” he sounded worried, “We were not due to talk until next week.”

“I don’t know… I have a bad feeling, there is a darkness coming. I’m worried about Katra. She has been having those nightmares again. She tries to laugh it off but I can see the shadows in her eyes.”

“When did she start having them again?” Antonio asked.

“She has been having them for a month, they are getting more vivid and her powers are growing so fast I can’t keep up. I think it’s all connected… Antonio, I have to tell her the truth.”

“You cannot!” he burst out in her head, “It is not safe! You don’t know what it will do to her!”

“She has lived with me for over two years! I know her; she is strong, and she will handle it! I know the dangers, but isn’t it worse if she remembers by herself?”

“What about Jessie?” he asked. “Don’t you think she will look for her once she knows?”

Maya shook her head. “Antonio, Katra is a smart, independent young woman… of course she will want to find her, but Jessie is almost eighteen. She is almost fully matured, once she is, it will be safe.”

“What about Katra? You keep telling me that she is still growing in power even though she’s older.”

Maya sighed. “I don’t know Antonio… there is much we don’t know, but we owe them what we can tell them. I’m tired of lying.”

“Maya, she will be twenty-one in a week, and Jessie will be eighteen. Please wait until then at least. I hate lying to them too…” Antonio sighed. “I’ll speak to you next week.”

Maya took her fingers off the pearl and dropped it back into the box.

Thank you Ela!