Monday, October 22, 2018

On Deadly Ground by July Belshe-Toernblom (based on a storyline by Thomas W. Starbuck) with excerpt, review and giveaway

Welcome to my blog and my stop on the tour for Deadly Ground.

Description of Deadly Ground by Thomas W. Starbuck and Judy Belshe-Toernblom
'Deadly Ground' – a riveting story about the human race under threat, with a rare DNA condition providing a second chance for humanity. A fast-paced novel that reads like an apocalypse movie with a biological viral disease, some romance, and aliens in the mix, centered on the unforgettable human main character AB, who becomes the hope for humanity’s regeneration.
By author Thomas W. Starbuck, whose storyline for “Deadly Ground” was adapted and written by Judy Belshe-Toernblom.

Praise for ​Deadly Ground by Thomas W. Starbuck and Judy Belshe-Toernblom

“Great concept…makes you think. Could history be repeating itself? Fast read. Anxious for the sequel.”- Peggy Holder, Amazon
“A really good book and definitely a page-turner. I really liked the characters which is so important to me when I read a book. And the story really makes you think a lot about the things that are going on around us throughout the world. This was a different type of book than I normally read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. This book has something for so many readers’ interests – some fantasy, some romance, some sci-fi. It’s also a quick read. I’m looking forward to the author’s sequel to ‘DeadlyGround’.”-Amazon Customer

You can find out more about the book and authors here: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Deadly Ground
T.W. Starbuck, Author

Excerpt 4 (Ch. 19) – 707 words

AB exhaled the words, “Not by the hair of my chinny chin . . .”
And then he passed out. He had survived himself and an attack of coyotes.
Days later and looking like a bad case of mummy wrapping, AB was still alive. He had wrapped his ribs by laying cloth on the floor and rolling over it. His face had healing scabs, and his arms were bandaged. He was a mess, but alive. However, he had added to
his look a gun holster with a loaded gun.
Now limping, he was using Vi’s pink cane to lean on as he raked through some of the burned rubble in his house. As he searched through the ashes, he found some small egg-like objects. When he cracked them open, he saw that they were the remainders of his burned family albums. There in his bandaged hand, he held his memory treasures of family’s and friends’ pictures. He looked at each one for a very long time, trying to make the memory come alive.
There were pictures of his college days with Clayton, the band they were in. Family pictures of himself as a boy and his brother.
As he pushed away more of the ash, he found the cover of the book of poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay that his mother had read to him as a child. Only the cover had survived.
He flipped the cover over. The inscription on the cover could still be seen. To Adam, may each morning bring you as much joy as you bring me. Love, Mom.
AB held the cover to his heart and cried. He had lost so much, and could find no reason to live, and yet he was still alive.
As he got up, his cane hit a box under the rubble. It was the metal box that his antique Dragoon pistols were in. He dusted off the box and opened it. The guns were dirty but still intact. He ran his hand over the barrel of one of the guns. He spit-shined it a bit. He then removed a bag filled with bullets from the box and loaded the gun. He spun the chamber a few times, and then he looked down the barrel. He slumped his shoulders. Depression had reached its peak. Nothing to look forward to and too much effort to even regain what he had.
AB slowly walked out on the half-burned deck and sat in his smoke-singed chair, gun in hand. AB was very much a man on the edge. He was no longer afraid to die. He put the gun to his head and scratched his head with it. He sat and looked at Winnie’s grave.
“You sure look peaceful, old girl—I miss you.”
The sound of gunfire from the antique gun echoed in the empty skies.
Lying dead was a coyote that had been trying to dig up Winnie’s grave.
“I told you, you sons of-a bitch to leave her alone. I’ll leave you there you as a reminder for your flea-bitten buddies.”
AB stared once again at Winnie’s grave. He got up and took the gun with him into the house. He walked over to the mantle and took Clayton’s vase off the shelf. He sat down on the couch and looked a long time at the vase. Then he went back outside and brought the vase with him. He sat back down in his chair, still holding the vase; and talking to Clayton, he said, “I’m sorry, I didn’t look for survivors longer, buddy. I’m just so tired and so lonely. I’m beat up.
I’m not brave enough to live this solitary life. I want to be with you all and my family.”
He put the gun to his head and began to shake and cry. He gritted his teeth and said, “Don’t cry, you jackass—there’s no one to miss, and no one to miss you.”
He steeled himself for the impact.
“This is the better way.”
He pulled the hammer back. His body shook as his finger tightened on the trigger.
Suddenly, a brilliant light flashed across the sky. It hovered long enough for AB to see that it was a spacecraft of sorts.

My thoughts:
I enjoyed this little book.  At 157 pages and with such a compelling storyline, this is a fast read.  The author pulls you into the story with the descriptive language and then gives you interesting characters; all the while moving you into the thick of things with the threat to the entire human race.  
It's a page-turner!  It's a make-you-thinker!  
I wasn't sure about AB as the main character's name, but then upon learning that it was actually Adam, I started to wonder...then the chimera angle, and I wondered some more...
Well done!  A fastpaced, multifaceted read.  I am so pleased to have had the opportunity to participate in the tour, and I am looking forward to the next book!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Backup Plan by Jen McLaughlin - - - my thoughts...

Welcome to my blog!  It is my pleasure to feature
The Backup Plan by Jen McLaughlin

Amazon Blurb:
"THE BACKUP PLAN is classic new adult at its finest. With plenty of angst, drama and emotion, I seriously loved this romance!” ~ NYT bestselling author Monica Murphy
I’m beyond help...
I threw a football before I could walk. Everything in my life revolved around football–and I loved every second. I was a star. Until, suddenly...I wasn’t. Now everyone thinks I’m the monster who killed his best friend. I’m an outcast on campus, silent and alone. Then Taylor Selmer walks back into my life. When will she learn–I’m beyond saving.
I need to save him...
Chase and I used to be friends. But after the accident, nothing was the same. We used to have something special–until we didn’t. But he doesn’t smile anymore. Doesn’t talk. Doesn’t play. It hurts me to see him this way, and I will do everything I can to get him back in the game. Whether he likes it or not.

My thoughts:  
I enjoyed reading The Backup Plan.  It is filled with angst, drama and emotion, just as Monica Murphy says!  The characters are great and the storyline is edgy.   
Taylor is fantastic.  She is my favorite character in the book.  She is driven and no-nonsense, but compassionate and idealistic.  
Chase is troubled and dark, but yearning for something or someone to make his life a better place.
The rollercoaster ride of a journey that these two are on keeps you hoping for the fairytale happy ending, but you aren't sure it can happen.
Their relationship is as tumultuous as it is sweet; made more so by their past and their common, yet unknown to each other, desire to be together.  
The Backup Plan is a fast read with hoped for ending.  

Buy it HERE.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Happy Release Day! The Backup Plan by Jen McLaughlin

Check out The Backup Plan by Jen McLaughlin!

You can buy it HERE.


"THE BACKUP PLAN is classic new adult at its finest. With plenty of angst, drama and emotion, I seriously loved this romance!” ~ NYT bestselling author Monica Murphy

I’m beyond help...
I threw a football before I could walk. Everything in my life revolved around football–and I loved every second. I was a star. Until, suddenly...I wasn’t. Now everyone thinks I’m the monster who killed his best friend. I’m an outcast on campus, silent and alone. Then Taylor Selmer walks back into my life. When will she learn–I’m beyond saving.
I need to save him...
Chase and I used to be friends. But after the accident, nothing was the same. We used to have something special–until we didn’t. But he doesn’t smile anymore. Doesn’t talk. Doesn’t play. It hurts me to see him this way, and I will do everything I can to get him back in the game. Whether he likes it or not...

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jen McLaughlin 
Also writing as USA Today bestselling author Diane Alberts 

***Come back on Wednesday to see my thoughts on this newest book by the fantastic Jen McLaughlin!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Twenty-One Steps of Courage by Sarah Bates (review, interview, giveaway)

Welcome to my book blog ~ it is my pleasure to feature Twenty-one Steps of Courage by Sarah Bates

Twenty-One Steps of Courage by Sarah Bates
Publisher:, Inc.  (Mar 31, 2012)
Category: Literary Fiction, Military Fiction, Adventure, Realistic Fiction
Tour dates: Feb/Mar, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-61434-957-0
Available in Print, ebook, & Audiobook 280 pages
From award-winning author. In 2006, with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan raging, Rod Strong enlists in the Army to achieve the goal his father sought before he tragically died in the Gulf War. His objective: The Old Guard regiment, the elite Soldiers who stand as Sentinels at the Tomb of the Unknown in Arlington National Cemetery. Rod overcomes the obstacles that litter his path until an unexpected firefight in Afghanistan changes his life forever.

Praise Twenty-One Steps of Courage by Sarah Bates

“Sarah Bates professes not to know much about the military yet she tells an inspiring story that captures the true essence of what the military is all about — love of country — unit esprit de corps — family values — personal courage. Every high school student, every parent and all of the politicians in this country should read this book.”- Lloyd N. Cosby, retired Tomb Guard (Alexandria, VA, US)
“I…read the book and I cried A LOT–it was very heartwarming and extremely interesting. When you described the part about him fighting and saving his brother–I felt I was there–a sure movie deal I hope.”- Detra Hoffman (Los Angeles, CA)
“The book covers a lot: what to expect in boot camp and after, the amount of control that the military has over your life once you join, and the responsiblities and hardships that your decision to join places on your loved ones. It also explores camaraderie between soldiers, the pride that attends possessing a strong sense of duty and of self, and the rewards of follow-through. Twenty-One Steps of Courage is a well balanced story about military life. Not too left or right, it’s a good read, one that I would recommend to anyone.”- Caradae Linore (San Diego, CA)
“The author did a wonderful job portraying the feelings of an 18-year-old man. Although I’ve seen the soldiers marching at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, I was unfamiliar with the training and precision involved. I didn’t understand a lot of the military acronyms but that didn’t stop me from enjoying this story.”-Midnight Reader, Amazon Review

About Sarah BatesTwenty-One Steps of Courage by Sarah Bates

Award winning author, Sarah Bates’ fiction has appeared in the Greenwich Village Literary Review, the San Diego North County Times (now the Union-Tribune) and the literary magazine Bravura.
She is the author of ‘The Lost Diaries of Elizabeth Cady Stanton’, published in 2016, and co-author of the 2005 short story collection, ‘Out of Our Minds, Wild Stories’ by Wild Women. Bates was an English Department writing tutor at Palomar College in California for ten years. She privately tutors academic and creative writing students and is writing a new novel.
She is a Military Category Finalist for ‘Twenty-One Steps of Courage’, Next Generation Indie Book Awards, (2013) and 2nd Place Finalist, for ‘The Lost Diaries of Elizabeth Cady Stanton’, Unpublished Novel-Category, San Diego Book Awards (2015). It has since been published.
Sarah Bates lives in Fallbrook, California.

Buy Twenty-One Steps of Courage by Sarah Bates

Follow Twenty-One Steps of Courage by Sarah Bates Tour

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Feb 2 Review & Giveaway
Chris Amazon Review Feb 5 Review
Beverly’s Book Blog Feb 6 Review, Interview, & Giveaway
Beppe La libreria di Beppe Feb 8 Guest Review by Betty & Excerpt
Jas International Book Reviews Feb 9 Review
Katy Amazon Review Feb 15 Review
Kathleen Jersey Girl Book Reviews Feb 16 Review & Excerpt
Indie Authors Behind the Scenes WebTV Feb 20 1 pm est Video Interview
Dawn Bound 4 Escape Feb 20 Guest Review by Kate
Dawn Bound 2 Escape   Feb 20 Excerpt
Donna M My Life. One Story at a Time Feb 21 Review, Excerpt,  & Giveaway
Donna H. Girl Who Reads Feb 22 Guest Review by Sal &  Guest Post
Raymond Amazon Review Feb 23 Review
Elisha Rainy Day Reviews Feb 28 Review, Interview, & Giveaway
Darlene Amazon Review Mar 7 Review
Leslie StoreyBook Reviews Mar 21 Guest Review by Laura & Ex
My thoughts:  I wasn't sure what to expect when I agreed to read this book.  My newphew is a Ranger, so the story truly hits home for me.  I began the book with a bit of apprehension. 

With that said...
Sarah Bates tells us the story of a young man with a dream.  His dream is complex and the road to achieving it is hard, filled with battles of many kinds.  

As a mother, my heart was filled with so many emotions while I read the story.  The story of a boy: searching for his brother, attempting to fulfil his mission to honor his father, trying to believe in himself, do the right thing and reconcile all this with his desire to live a life with his love.

Sarah builds characters that are easy to invest in and the story flows.  We follow Rod on his journey from enlisting to his final walk.  The pages turn easily and I found myself lost in Rod's courageous battle.  

Well worth a read.  
Thanks Sarah for joining us for an interview:

* When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

When I was a high school sophomore, I had a job after school each day that interrupted my sleep. I tried to stay alert through my classes but each afternoon I nodded off during my English course. When my teacher threatened to drop my grade I asked for makeup work. “Write some poetry,” she said. I did and have never stopped writing. Although I no longer write poetry, that incident set my path.

* How many jobs did you have before you became a writer?
A couple, maybe…while I interviewed for jobs in advertising agencies. My career in advertising ultimately led to freelance non-fiction writing followed by fiction, which is my primary writing objective now.

* What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
My habit of creating a Time Sheet on which I log the hours I write might be more of a necessity for me than a quirk. If I’m headed to the end of a novel, that Time Sheet is the whip snapping over my head!

* Where do you get your ideas or inspiration for your characters?
Ideas often emerge unpredictably. Sometimes I jot down an idea and never pursue it, other times the idea grows in importance and might become a novel or a short story. Characters are all around me, all the time. A fictional character might have the mannerisms of a friend, the physical description of a stranger.

* How do you decide what you want to write about?
If an idea is compelling and I become obsessed with it, a story usually surfaces.

* What books have most influenced your life?
The Bible has influenced my personal life: my ethics and attitudes. Beyond that, books by authors Thomas Hardy, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Raymond Carver, and contemporary authors Stewart O’Nan, Colum McCann, John Jakes, Tim O’Brien, Donna Tartt, and Barbara Kingsolver influence my writing life.

* What are you reading right now?
I am fascinated by the historical novels of John Jakes and am coming to the end of The Kent Chronicles. As I usually do when I find an author I can learn from, I plan to read everything else Jakes has written.

* What do you like to do when you are not writing?

Few days go by when I am not writing so I’ll answer in that context. To get my mind off a particularly knotty writing dilemma sometimes I binge watch cooking shows on TV or pull weeds in my garden. If I’m really stressed, my husband and I take a day off to wander around San Diego County where we live, or if that’s not enough, we fly someplace to site see.

* What is your favorite comfort food?
Pasta with basil pesto and anything made with fresh tomatoes.

* What do you think makes a good story?
Conflict, believable characters, perfect word choices makes a good story.

* Who would you consider your favorite author and why?
My “favorite” author is usually the one I am obsessed about at the moment. However, I always go back to Fitzgerald when I need to remember how a well-told story can influence a reader.

Fun random questions:
• dogs or cats?
• Coffee or tea?
Coffee for sure.
• Dark or milk chocolate?
Dark chocolate, ummmm.
• Rocks or flowers?
Rocks. I return home with a rock as a souvenir of my travels.
• Night or day?
Day. I’m up when the morning sun hits the horizon of my back yard.
• Favorite color?
• Crayons or markers?
• Pens or pencils?

Pencils. I have a coffee mug full of sharpened pencils that I offer to the members of my writers’ critique group. 


Friday, December 15, 2017

Book Tour: Bitter Harvest series by Ann Gimpel (with guest post from the author!)

Welcome to my book blog and my stop on the 
Bitter Harvest Series tour!

Guest Post from Ann Gimpel!
Thank you so very much for inviting me back to your blog. I hope your holidays are rich in family and love.
Elements of Great Storytelling
I’ve thought about this a lot lately since I ran into a spate of uninspired books, both on my Kindle and in Books on CD. I will say, though, that in the latter format, a gifted actor reading an audiobook can make even a mediocre story come to life and can gloss over awkward grammatical constructions so they aren’t quite as noticeable.
I’m a sucker for character-driven stories. It goes without saying characters need to be three dimensional, which means they have thoughts, feelings, and actions that are congruent with their personalities. In my opinion, if a book doesn’t have characters that reach out and grab your heartstrings, then it’s DOA. It can have the most inspired plot in the world, but it’s wasted if readers don’t care about the characters.
Alrighty, so we have decent characters. Maybe not great characters, but they’re good enough you want to pick up the book to see what they’re going to do next. Plot determines the next moves in a book. Plot is basically the story that the book tells, but it’s how we get from point A to point B that weeds out talented writers from the rest of the pack. Brilliant plotting is tightly woven, and the writer’s hand is all but invisible. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been somewhere in a book and something happens that just screams “convenient plot twist.” As an aside, this is why all writers need someone—crit partners, publishers, editors—to be a fresh pair of eyes. No matter how seasoned a writer is, he (or she) can’t see the foibles in his own writing. Not all of them, anyway. Another plotting issue is plot threads that go nowhere. They look intriguing, but the writer just never gets back to them.
Corollaries of plotting are pacing and tension. The plot has to move fast enough to draw a reader along, yet not so fast as to lose them. Of course certain genres, like horror, have a whole lot more tension than most romances. But even romances—the good ones—have at least one big, dark moment when it seems like the hero and heroine will never be able to bridge the gap between them. This introduces tension and draws readers into turning pages to see what’s going to happen next.
I write the same type of fiction I like to read. For me, it’s fast paced, with strong characters that collide with one another. Lots of passion. Lots of angst. Big, dark moments that are really big and truly dark. In a lot of ways, writing isn’t so different from being a psychologist. Not everyone will like what I write. I don’t expect them to. Likewise, I always told my patients that the first couple of sessions were “getting to know one another,” and seeing if we were a good match. Just like I’m not the right author for everyone, neither was I the right therapist. That’s just common sense, really.
What sings to you in books you read? Why do you adore your favorite author? If you had to pick great characters versus great plot, which would it be? 

Bitter Harvest
Book One
Ann Gimpel

Magic shattered the world, but the worst is yet to come.

“Provocative and engaging. A fast-paced, supernatural ride.” Michelle Fox, NYT Bestselling Author

Book Description:

The sea may have been a harsh mistress, but Viktor longs for the challenges of wind and weather, for the sound of waves crashing over his hull. Turned by a Master Vampire, he hates what he’s become, but there’s no escape. Not from Ushuaia that’s turned into a city of bones, or from the Vampire who rules him.

Ketha and eleven other Shifters traveled to Ushuaia to harness the power of an eclipse and were trapped there when the world turned upside down. Ten years later, they’re staying one step ahead of Vampires who blame them for the cataclysm.

With her luck running low, Ketha turns her badly depleted magic on the Vampire assigned to lock her away and gets sucked in by her own spell. Maybe magic can’t save the world, but love might be able to salvage what’s left.

Author Store     Amazon     BN     Kobo     iTunes     Google Play

Deceived Excerpt:

.....Ketha woke in the middle of a dozen Vamps. Iron burned her skin where manacles circled her ankles and wrists. If she’d thought the smell was bad before, it was an absolute reeking horror now. Vampires smelled of blood and death and rot. How could any Shifters worth their vows align themselves with these bastards? Taking care to be stealthy, she glanced about an oval room, inlaid with wood. It had a church-ish feel that was clinched when she spied a Christ figure attached to one wall.
Close to a dozen Vamps crowded into the space. All of them held an eerie beauty, but Ketha wasn’t fooled. Their striking good looks ran less than skin deep. Skilled, ruthless killers, they counted on blood to survive. Living blood. Blood tapped from dead things ran a poor second.
The back of her head throbbed painfully, and she shut her eyes to buy herself time to think. Maybe no one had noticed she wasn’t unconscious. The Vamp standing nearest kicked her, right before he ordered her to wake up.
She flinched away from her attacker. Eyes flickering open, she regarded the one who’d struck her. Long, dark hair fell around his perfect face, and he augured fog-colored eyes her way. Ketha edged beyond easy reach of his booted feet into a sit, awkward because of her bound limbs. She didn’t waste words telling him she was already awake, or that no one could rest easy in their midst. She stared at a newly dead rat clutched in his hand and beat back a knowing smile. If they were using rats for blood, the Vampires were in as desperate a predicament as she’d assumed.
“You’ve captured me,” she sneered, opting for defiance. “Now what? Do I get to be everyone’s dinner?” She swung her head from side to side, encompassing the room full of Vamps. “At least remove my shackles. If I’m going to die, I’d rather face you as a wolf.”
The rat-wielding Vamp didn’t answer.
“I’m Ketha.” She held onto her slender advantage and flowed to her feet. Once she got her balance, she folded her arms as best she could beneath the swell of her breasts. “Rat got your tongue?” She jerked her chin at the rodent still clutched in the Vamp’s hand.
Before he could answer, she kept right on rolling, taunting him. “If you’re going to kill me, get on with it, but know this—” She summoned what magic she could, given the iron circling her wrists and ankles. The air about her shimmered with the blues and golds unique to her castings. “You will never escape Ushuaia without us.”
The Vamp faced off against her. “What makes you think we want to escape, Shifter?”
Ketha shrugged, favoring him with the full force of her gaze. “You like it here? Soon there won’t be anything left to eat or drink, and then all of us will die. Even Vamps. But if you’re good with that”—another shrug she hoped spoke for itself—“I suppose there’s nothing to talk about. Go on.” She made shooing motions with her bound hands. “Get on with it. I’m prepared to die. We don’t have too many more months here at the ass end of the world before none of us will be left. Take a chance, Vampire. Face my wolf.”
The Vamp smiled coldly. “I’ll pass. I suppose you have the answer to all our problems.”
“I do.” Ketha let a small, secretive smile play about her mouth. “But I’ll never tell you. Funny thing about being captured. It quiets the tongue.”
The Vampire’s chilly expression didn’t change. “Show some respect. No one addresses me that way.”
“It appears I just did.” Ketha tossed her shoulders back. She’d be damned if she’d let the blood-sucking bastard intimidate her. “You need us. Unfortunately, we need you as well, but what I had in mind was equal partners at a conference table, not being knocked over the head and dragged here.”
Satisfaction warmed her when a vein throbbed in the Vamp’s temple before he crushed the rat to bits of bone and tissue, splattering her with blood. Apparently, she’d gotten to him. What that meant remained to be seen. He summoned one of the others, a Vamp named Viktor. Ketha watched with interest when the other Vampire—clearly some minion—didn’t race to comply, but took his sweet time making his way to where they stood.
Another gorgeous man. This one had copper-colored hair that fell to his shoulders. A high forehead, square jaw, and emerald eyes made him movie star dazzling. Ketha bit down on her lower lip to force her thoughts away from his allure. Like the other Vampires, he was dressed in a motley collection of rags. Either they couldn’t sew—or they had no idea how to create garments that resisted decay.
As Viktor drew near, she assessed him with magic and shielded her surprise. He didn’t feel anything like the one with bloody rat remains on his hands, and the characteristic rot smell was absent Moving with the unholy speed characteristic of his breed, Rat-Vamp slapped cuffs atop her manacles and snapped, “Take her to the caves,” all but shoving her into Viktor’s arms.
Viktor latched a hand firmly around Ketha’s elbow, focused his attention on the other Vampire, and asked, “What then?”
Rat-Vamp sent a sharp look his way. “Lock her up and return. I’ll decide her fate once she tells us whatever she knows about escaping Ushuaia.”
“I already explained how that would happen.” Ketha made her tone pointed. No reason to be subtle around these fuckers; they didn’t deal in nuance. “At a conference table as an equal. So long as you hold me captive, my wolf and I will die before we help you do anything.”
Rat-Vamp shifted his gaze her way. “It appears we’re at a stalemate. Perhaps some cell time will alter your perspective.”
“Don’t count on it.”
She turned her magic toward Viktor, wanting to know what was in his mind. The answer shocked and thrilled her. This one was different, malleable. It wasn’t her imagination that he’d dragged his heels reacting to Rat-Vamp’s command. Viktor might be her ticket to freedom. He might actually let her go—if she played her cards right.
“Lead out.” She hip-butted him to spur him into action. “This room stinks of Vampires, and it’s giving me a headache.”
Rat-Vamp snarled and lunged for her, wrapping his hands around her shoulders and shaking her until her teeth rattled. “Never forget who runs things in Ushuaia. This is blood’s dominion. My dominion.”
Ketha stood her ground. “Funny, but I thought I and my Shifters were in charge. Besides, if you were going to kill me, I’d already be dead.” Ketha could’ve said more. Could have voiced her suspicion that he was intrigued by what she’d said, but she opted to keep her mouth shut. The sooner the weak one left with her, the sooner she’d be free.
Rat-Vamp drew back his lips and extended his fangs, bloody from his earlier skirmish with the rat, but he didn’t say anything further before Viktor herded her from the room.
“Remain quiet,” Viktor said sternly and shepherded her toward a stairwell. “Vampires have excellent hearing.”
Ketha took a chance. Easy enough since she had nothing to lose. Could he hear telepathy? Now was as good a time as any to find out. “I’m sure they do, and you don’t want them to know what’s in your mind. Lucky for you, Vamp magic can’t hold a candle to mine, even bound as I am by iron.”

They’d started down stairs dimly illuminated by long-unwashed windows. A startled look flashed across his face, and it gave her hope. “Son of a bitch. You heard me.”

Bitter Harvest
Book Two
Ann Gimpel

Book Description:

A small group of Shifters sails south from Ushuaia, determined to assess what’s left of the world. A Vampire attack, a possessed priest, and a gateway to Hell mean fallout from the spell gone bad that pinned them in Ushuaia for years is far from gone.

Back on a ship again, Juan reconstructs what’s always been a comfort zone. The sea is the only life he’s ever known—if you don’t count the ten years he spent as a Vampire. His new magic, fueled by a bond with a mountain cat, brings its own set of challenges, but they pale in comparison with the white-hot need knifing through him whenever Aura is anywhere close.

A historian by trade, Aura deals in prophecies for her Shifter pack. Attraction for Juan ignited when they fought the Cataclysm, but she figures he left a string of broken hearts during his years as chief navigator on cruise ships. They have to work together. A self-indulgent affair could ruin everything. She does her damnedest to keep distance between them, but the ship’s not big enough to escape yearning for a future together.

Author Store     Amazon     BN     Kobo     iTunes     Google Play

Twisted Excerpt:

“Watch it!” Her cat was near the surface, and a snarling hiss punctuated its words.
Aura ground to a halt. She’d pulled well ahead of everyone else with her leggy stride. Viktor and Ketha strolled with their arms wrapped around each other as lovers often did. Karin and Rowana brought up the rear, chatting.
“Watch what?” she asked her bond animal.
“I caught a whiff of wrongness. Check for yourself.”
“What is it?” Ketha pulled up next to her. “Why’d you stop?”
“My cat thinks something’s not right.”
Viktor slipped the rifle off his shoulder in a fast, fluid motion that spoke to his familiarity with it.
Aura shut her eyes, urging her senses to preternatural sharpness. Something unpleasant and eerily familiar zapped her. She curled her hands into fists and dug deeper. She had to be wrong.
Before she was through dissecting what she sensed lay beyond, perhaps in the barracks a couple hundred yards away, Ketha muttered, “Shit! It isn’t possible.”
Aura opened her eyes and gripped the other Shifter’s arm. “You picked up on Vampire emanations, right?”
Ketha nodded, eyes wide with disbelief. “How? They’re all supposed to have transformed into humans or Shifters.”
“Why are you talking about Vampires, dearie?” Rowana asked. She and Karin had finally caught up with them.
“I have no idea how,” Aura gritted out the words, “but they’re here.”
Karin narrowed her eyes to slits. “Vampires? Don’t be ridiculous. The Cataclysm altered them, removed the Vampire mutation in their DNA.”
“Or not.” Rowana twisted her face into a grimace.
“Check for yourself,” Ketha told the other two women.
Aura scrubbed the heels of her hands down her face, urging rational thought, and then scanned the place that felt menacing one more time. “It’s not quite right for Vampire, at least not the Ushuaia variety,” she muttered.
“Not exactly,” Ketha agreed. “But there are at least two of whatever they are, and their emanations are closer to Vamp than anything else.”
“The question of the hour,” Viktor said, “is whether we move forward or retreat. It’s a group decision.”
Aura thought about it, and when she spoke, her words came hard. “We left Ushuaia to figure out what was left in the rest of the world. If we turn tail and run the first time we encounter anything, we may as well never have set sail.”
Viktor grinned wryly. “Spoken like a true explorer. Shackleton would have been proud of you.”
“I remember reading about him,” Aura muttered. “If this is Grytviken, isn’t he buried here?”
“He is, indeed,” Viktor said. “His grave is on the far side of the post office, but only because his wife told the ship with his remains to bring him back here. I guess he was quite the philanderer, and she wasn’t interested in footing the expense of bringing his cheating ass home.”
“Interesting,” Aura said, “but we’re stalling. My vote is to see what the hell feels like Vampire.”
“Mine too,” Rowana said.
“I’m in,” Karin said. “If we could survive Armageddon against the Cataclysm, how hard could this be?”
Viktor cocked his head to one side. “Depends. If they’re Vamps, only beheading with iron will do them in.”
“Maybe they’ll be friendly.” Ketha screwed her face into what might have been a hopeful expression, except it came off more like a grimace.
“Friendly and Vampire in the same sentence is an oxymoron,” Viktor said in a flat, dead tone. “It appears we’re all game, so all of you get behind me and stay close. Deploy your magic. It’s still far more finely honed than mine.” He shouldered the rifle. “If I have to, I’ll use this. It should at least slow them down.”

About the Author:

Ann Gimpel is a mountaineer at heart. Recently retired from a long career as a psychologist, she remembers many hours at her desk where her body may have been stuck inside four walls, but her soul was planning yet one more trip to the backcountry. Around the turn of the last century (that would be 2000, not 1900!), she managed to finagle moving to the Eastern Sierra, a mecca for those in love with the mountains. It was during long backcountry treks that Ann’s writing evolved. Unlike some who see the backcountry as an excuse to drag friends and relatives along, Ann prefers solitude. Stories always ran around in her head on those journeys, sometimes as a hedge against abject terror when challenging conditions made her fear for her life, sometimes for company. Eventually, she returned from a trip and sat down at the computer. Three months later, a five hundred page novel emerged. Oh, it wasn’t very good, but it was a beginning. And, she learned a lot between writing that novel and its sequel.

Around that time, a friend of hers suggested she try her hand at short stories. It didn’t take long before that first story found its way into print and they’ve been accepted pretty regularly since then. One of Ann’s passions has always been ecology, so her tales often have a green twist.

In addition to writing, Ann enjoys wilderness photography. She lugs pounds of camera equipment in her backpack to distant locales every year. A standing joke is that over ten percent of her pack weight is camera gear which means someone else has to carry the food! That someone is her husband. They’ve shared a life together for a very long time. Children, grandchildren and three wolf hybrids round out their family.

Find Ann At:

Don't miss out on a single stop on the tour - check out the tour schedule below!

November 1 Share My Destiny

November 2 Marsha A. Moore

November 7 Books,Dreams,Life

November 13 Book Crazy Scrapbook Mama

November 15 Urban Fantasy Investigations (Guest Blog)

November 17 Traci Douglass

November 20 Megan Morgan

November 30 Vicky at Deal Sharing Aunt

December 1 Saph’s Books

December 5 Ramblings of a Book Nerd

December 11Reads 2 Love 

December 13 T's Stuff

December 15 Beverly's Book Blog

December 19 JB's Bookworms with Brandy Mulder (Character Interview)

December 22 Lisa’s World of Books
December 29 Roxanne’s Realm