Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Tombstone Ghost Cowboy by Ruthie L Manier


 

Tombstone Ghost Cowboy by Ruthie L Manier

Skylar Cummings never dreamed time travel was possible until she finds herself in a room with a gorgeous but calloused cowboy from the Wild Wild West. Researching paranormal activity in Tombstone, Arizona, Sky assumed she was witnessing a ghost, but she’d stumbled through a portal to the past.

Jesse Clarke is a nineteenth century cowboy who’s renounced love after a devastating heartbreak. Women only desire his money, so he’s better-off without them … until a mysterious woman materializes in his room.

After a string of disastrous events, Skylar creates dangerous enemies and discovers herself detained. Jesse is summoned to escort her out of town before a lynch mob develops, but an unquestionable chemistry is growing between them. Will Jesse help her attempt to return to the twenty-first century, or can he convince the feisty woman to build a new future with him?

“If you like adventure, time travel, and western romance, Tombstone Ghost Cowboy is an entertaining and enjoyable romance that will leave you wishing you could time travel to find a cowboy of your own!”

Book Review: I love the author’s passion and dedication to Tombstone, Arizona as she fell in love the Old West, Bird Cage Theater, Big Nose Kate’s Saloon and Lookout Lodge just to name a few.

While on vacation to Tombstone, Arizona the author’s creative mind started to put together this ‘Tombstone Ghost Cowboy’, time travel story, romance, and westerns all in one book.

There are twenty five well written chapters with characters that will grow on you. Chapter one starts out with main character Skylar Cummings on The Bird Cage Theater Tour. With an excited tease in her mind she chants under her breath, “Ghosts, ghosts, come out, come out, where ever you are.”

If you love a relaxing, enjoyable, fun, fast paced read, I invite you to join Skylar Cummings at Tombstone and she want her chant conjures up. Is Skylar ready for the adventure that awaits her?

To whet your appetite let me quote from Chapter Four where Skylar find herself pursued by Jesse Clarke (nineteenth century cowboy) which brings adventure and even danger into the mix:

“I’m consumed by this man when what I need to be doing is concocting a plan of escape. Wait a minute … how can this ghost cowboy’s heart beat out of control? Isn’t he dead … like centuries ago?
Before I can ponder on that any longer, we hear the distinct sound of shots being fired and horse hoofs pounding toward us. We turn back to peer over our shoulders. At least three riders, perhaps more, are riding fast as though there was a fire lit to the horses’ tails. It’s difficult to tell for sure with the dust storm their kicking up, but one thing’s for certain: they don’t look friendly.
“Damn! Hold on tight!” Jesse flicks the reins hard, and I feel his muscle-bound thighs kneeing Star into action to get him to run faster. I’m freaked out, trembling in fact, and nausea is showing its ugly face. I try to look behind me to see if they’re closing in.
“Keep your head down!” Jesse hisses through gritted teeth.
I curl up, trying to make myself as small as I can. My mind is whirling, thinking of all the horrible scenarios of how this horse chase could end.
I could be shot, or perhaps taken prisoner, beaten or, worse, raped. Deadwood pops into my head, and my sickness gets worse just thinking about it.
I turn my mind away from this line of thinking and push in thoughts of how I could help if we were to get captured. I wish I had my small purse gun, but it’s not even in this century. I’d ask Jesse to give me his pistol to fire at the bandits, but I gather without asking that it’s not an option. Perhaps he could slip me his knife, and I could tuck it in my dress. The hoofs are getting closer, and they keep firing their guns. Tears fill my eyes when I realize there’s nothing I can do to help.
I search Jesse’s face for any sign that he thinks we can survive, and all I spot is steal-headed determination. It scares the living hell out of me. Jesse would never give up nor give in. He’s a stubborn-minded cowboy from the 1880’s. Just like Tombstone is the “Town Too Tough to Die,” Jesse is a cowboy too tough to die. At least I hope that’s the case. Well, I guess he’s actually already dead.”

I, Theodocia McLean endorse Tombstone Ghost Cowboy (A time travel series) by Ruthie L Manier. This is a delightful romance that leaves you wanting more. I purchased this book from Kindle and this review was completed on June 26, 2017

Genre: Romance, Time Travel, Westerns


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Lover's Curse (The Hemocil Society Book 1) by Ruthie L Manier

Will this man 'Dark Eyes' free Carra's mind and break the Lover's Curse?

He comes to her in her dreams, a force of nature like none other. The gravitational pull is unbearable, drawing her towards him like a moth to a flame. His dark eyes are fathomless, haunting her day and night. Who is this mysterious stranger, with the hungry eyes that call to her? Has he come to make her one with his soul, his Eternalmate, or as a predator she his prey, is he here to finish the kill?

Carra has had it rough for the last seven years struggling with amnesia. She often gets the hair standing up on the back of her neck sensation as though someone or something hunts her. The problem is she doesn't know if this is a good thing or if she should be running. She fears the worst. If only she could remember...

Once she gives into her desire, which she assumes is inevitable, will there be any going back? Could this dream man have the tools to free her mind and end the Lover's Curse, or will he be her ultimate demise?

From the Author: Lover's Curse was my first published novel. It took me over three years to write it not counting the editing, cover and set up. I consider the book as my baby. The love Maximus and Carrabella felt for each other grew stronger with every word I wrote, and consequently I've had several people tell me they wish they had the same.

Genre: Romance, Time Travel, Paranormal, Witches and Wizards


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Lover's Salvation (The Hemocil Society Book 2) by Ruthie L Manier

A witch on the run...

After Issy's car broke down and she was forced to walk for miles to reach the nearest town, she practically fell into the Shitkick Bar out of the sweltering, Washington heat. Moisture glistened her delicate skin, her cheeks flushed a pale pink. She heaved huge gulps of air from the A/C above her head as though starving for the coolness it would bring. She leaned against the door as it creaked shut behind her, long, slim, parted legs barely held her small frame up. Her eyelashes fluttered down upon her skin As she brushed her damp hair out of her lovely face. Issy had no idea a room full of people witnessed her every move as she clung to to the door singing out the word, "Hallelujah."

A Va'atacos on vacation...
Marcus realized the beauty was in trouble from first glance. A woman on the run and in crucial need of blood. Her hunger filled the crowded room, weakness abundant throughout her slowed motions. Not good. If he sensed the woman's thirst, so did everyone else in the room. Marcus gathered she didn't possess much time before she collapsed to the floor, her mind slipping into the darkness. Without warning an overwhelming need came over him to help and protect this woman. From that moment on he vowed to defend her, no matter the cost.

Genre:  Romance, Paranormal, Angels, Witches and Wizards, Vampires


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Lover's Refuge (The Hemocil Society Book 3) by Ruthie L Manier

James the youngest of the Mantango clan needs his four brothers’ assistance and as always they’re armed and ready to defend their kin.

James fell hard for Mariah appearing before him so close he could kiss her full, sassy, lips smelling of cotton candy. Her stance is proud with the luscious body of a goddess. She’s covered from head to toe in a sheer body glove sprinkled with gold dust, darker gold in the more private areas making it hard for him to cast his eyes off her. He craved her from first sight, beautiful and feisty the perfect combination for a Va’atacos male.

Learning of her terrible past life, he has a burning desire to rescue Mariah and her daughter and won’t stop until the deed is done. He lost her once and now that she’s returned he swore he’d cross hell to fight the devil himself, before releasing her again.

Mariah didn’t reincarnate from the heavenly realm to find James in lust with the woman whose corpse she transferred into. Nor to discover that James rescued her child, Peach, only to be brutally attacked by the family responsible for her mortal death. Can she set her feelings aside long enough to reclaim a relationship with her daughter, bring the McCurry clan to justice, and rekindle the spark; she fears James might have lost for her?

From the Author: Lover's Refuge was a fun book for me to write. Using Northern State Psychiatric Hospital was the idea of two of my co-workers. It was the perfect place for James the youngest of the Mantango brothers to go and heal, while him and his brothers set a plan to get their vengeance. It's a historical land mark here in Sedro Woolley, Washington off of Fruit dale and Highway 20. If you ever get out this way you should go and tour the grounds and walk through the many paths, barns, and graveyard as the patients and the workers there did. It's said to be haunted and every time I've went out there alone I swear someone is watching me.

Genre:  Romance, Paranormal, Vampires, Werewolves and Shape-Shifters


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Cold Coffee Press Spotlight Interview With Author Ruthie L. Manier

Ruthie is an author of romance, paranormal, western, historical, time travel, and contemporary.

She lives in Washington State.

Loves dogs.

Her favorite past time is spending quality time with loved ones, camping, reading, writing and running.

But what really makes her heart glow is to sign her books for enthusiastic readers at farmer's markets, street fairs, book stores and holiday craft sales.

Interview Questions:

What makes you proud to be a writer from the state of Washington? First of all, I was born in Yakima and raised in Union Gap, Washington before moving to the other side of the mountains to Mount Vernon, Washington. I believe it’s the most beautiful state in the country and I feel it’s a privilege to live here. Also with all the street markets and farmer market’s in the state there’s lots of opportunities for artistic people like me to show their work.

What or who inspired you to become a writer? Early in life writing was my best way of communication especially when I was afraid to tell my feelings, which was often. But then twenty-five years later one of my sons started having some serious issues. I worried about him night and day. He loved to write too. He kept starting wonderful stories but never finished them so I started writing again to prove to him that anybody can write a book and publish it hoping it would be enough to help him through. Well, once I started writing Lover’s Curse I remembered how much I loved playing with words and so I kept on writing! He on the other hand went to painting and he does it like a pro!!

Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and did you use it to your advantage? Yes, my environment and upbringing played a major role in my writing and yes I used it to my advantage. My early years were tough with my parent’s separation and then my father being shot and then paralyzed from under his arms down. I lived with my mom until I was six who went a little wild for a while and it was confusing for my eldest sister Debi and I. I wrote most of my stories about Debi to her dismay. Then we were moved to my grandparents’ house where my father also lived. It was difficult leaving all our other siblings who had came along after mom and dad divorced. I wrote about them too.  I ran away back to my mom when I was sixteen. Then I was married at eighteen and had my eldest child at barely nineteen. By the time, I was twenty-six I had three more. I forgot about my love for writing until the children were raised.

When did you begin writing with the intention of becoming published? It was about six or seven years ago around two thousand and ten.

What has been your most rewarding experience with your writing process? To actually finish the book and get it published and then to hear readers tell me how much they loved the story.

How many published books do you have? At this point the count is four.

Please list the titles of all your books: The Hemocil Society (series) book one – Lover’s Curse, book two – Lover’s Salvation, Book three – Lover’s Refuge. The next series is Tombstone Ghost Cowboy.

Please introduce your genre and why you prefer to write in that genre? I write fiction romance, paranormal romance, historical romance, western romance and contemporary. I love a good romance and I love fiction because I can dream up whatever comes to mind and make it seem real and believable.

What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors? Advice would be to stay true to yourself and your writing. To take suggestion from others like a grain of salt. Sell yourself as an author and always help others to succeed along the journey. Oops, I guess that’s more than one. Do you come up with your title(s) before or after you write the manuscript?

Which book title would you like featured in this interview? Tombstone Ghost Cowboy by Ruthie L Manier

Who is your favorite author and why? Hmm, there are so many I don’t imagine I could ever choose just one.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

One Night With A Duke: The Duke Series Book Five by Sandra Masters


 

One Night With A Duke: The Duke Series Book Five by Sandra Masters

Reclusive, cold as ice, the politically powerful Raven, Duke of Ravensmere, denies love after the tragic deaths of his duchess and baby. He is bound by his vow never to allow love to enter his heart again. Samantha Winston permits him to seek refuge in her carriage in a time of need, and what started as a kiss in the name of safety, becomes something more pleasurable and not so safe after all. In spite of every caution, his interest escalates into unexpected desire.

Samantha, a young widow with a secret, irreverent and high-spirited, has constructed impenetrable walls against all men. When she and Raven meet again, strong wills clash. Political intrigues and a dreaded nemesis place his life at risk, and Samantha finds herself in a dire predicament. All the while, passion soars.

Book Review: One Night With A Duke is the fifth book The Duke series. Author Sandra Masters sums up book five her series which takes place in London 1816 by this statement: “Can Samantha’s barriers fall with more kisses? Can Raven be released from his deathbed vow?”

Chapter one opens with action “The decision to walk to the gala had been a colossal mistake. The Tenth Duke of Ravensmere ducked into the shadows. Seven against one not good odds.”

Those who follow this series already know the well-developed characters and great story telling.

Whether you start with book one or book five you will travel back into a period of time where romance was divine and acts played out in the bedroom were expressions of one’s heart and soul. Let me draw you into the story with a delicious romance from chapter thirty three:

“Raven growled as she screamed his name over and over again and considered it a benediction. Then and there, he knew there would never be any other woman for him. Her every reaction became an aphrodisiac. He prepared to ascend into sublime bliss, plunged his manhood into her again and again, and before he could exercise any control, released his seed.

“Each thrust seemed to reward them with multiple orgasms. His voice roared in strong satisfaction, desperate to breathe in gulps of air. She was velvet. He was iron. The look of passion on her sweet face pleasured him. This experience didn’t disappoint. Not what he expected, and perhaps too much more. Raven felt her muscle tighten around him and contract, tighten, and then bind him yet again. She coiled around his shaft. Paradise attained. He didn’t want the moment to end. What man would?

“After a few long moments, he rolled off her and brought her close to him, their bodies naked and moist from their lovemaking. “I hope I wasn’t too heavy. Admittedly, I dealt with a few unexpected issues.” He kissed her forehead and fondled her silken hair. Raven gazed at her face when she leaned back in repose, skin kissed by the moonlight, her lips rose-colored and lust-swollen. Her hair now pooled into strands of red curls wound in laziness and reminded him of a burning forest fire as it crested. The flames of the fireplace’s glowing embers cast a color spell of reds, orange and yellow on her tresses, radiating and beckoning his fingers to romp through. He knew the touch of it would feel like silken threads. Fascinated, he stared as her finger teased away ward tendril away.”

I invite you to enjoy this book along with the entire Duke Series by romance author Sandra Masters. I am enjoying the entire series. I, Theodocia McLean endorse ‘One Night With A Duke’ as a refreshing Regency Romance set in the 1800s. At the end of this book, Author Sandra Masters will whet your appetite for book six titled The Blue-Eyed, Black-Hearted Duke. I purchased this book from Kindle on June 21, 2017 and this review was completed on June 23, 2017

Genre: Romance, Historical, Regency Romance


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The Duke's Magnificent Bastard (The Duke Series Book 4) by Sandra Masters

After three years in England, Thorn Wick, the duke’s bastard son, perfectly flawed, still fights for acceptance in his father’s world as a renowned Argamak Turk horse trainer. Just when he starts to believe in fairy tales, another obstacle looms to thwart his plans: on a dangerous mission to Barbados, Thorn is stunned when secrets are revealed about his mother. Will he exact revenge for the foul deed?

Alicia Montgomery, ward of the duke, is in love with Thorn. Strong willed and adventurous, she determines she can convince him to admit his feelings. But the reality of loving Thorn too much almost destroys her.

Can Alicia quell Thorn's demons and prove love can pave the way to their happiness?

Book Review: The fourth book the Duke Series is set in Porticio of Beckamhouse, London, England, 1820. The book opens with a romantic interlude between Thorn Wick and Alicia Montgomery.

Travel back into a period of time when men and women behaved elegantly and letters were more than mere words, they were the expression of one’s heart and soul. Let me draw you into the story with this quote:

“Chester announced that the visitor the Marquess of Montgate, had arrived, and he’d shown the gentleman into the room. She smiled a warm greeting to him.

“Dear, dear Alicia, I’ll be the envy of every man at the ball tonight. You look ravishing in that goddess-like gown. How will I keep all the men away from you?” He bent low and kissed her extended hand.

“I will assist by exhibiting the manner of a shrew if necessary. Now, Percival, give me a proper hug. I promise not to bore you about horses, but I will keep you engaged in conversation about my schoolmistress duties. I confess I’m worn out. I wonder how our tenants are able to cope with so many children without servants.”
Percival smiled. “We aristocrats do have some advantages.”

“That may be, but I look forward to our time tonight. Thorn gave you a letter for me?”

“Yes, he did when last we met.” He grinned. “He also gave me instructions that I was to protect you from any man who would try to woo you to a balcony or some such thing. Especially I’m to keep Claven, that scoundrel, a good distance from you. Please don’t encourage the rascal. I’m too young to die in a duel.”  He walked toward her. “Thorn’s much in love with you, my dear.”

“And I am with him.”

“Alas, it’s my sad fate to relinquish you. Here is his letter.” He withdrew it from his breast pocket.

“Now if you will direct me to the duke and duchess, I’ll extend my greetings while you read the contents.”

“Percival, you’re a good friend of his. I thank you. I’ll be with you shortly. Just follow the conversations, and they’ll lead you to the grand drawing room. Gordon is with them. I’ll join you in a few minutes.”
He turned to leave.

“Percival,” she called out. “Thank you for this wondrous gift. I shan’t forget you.”

“It’s my pleasure, Alicia.  Thorn is my dearest friend. I know how much he loves you, and I’m happy to help him attain his goals.” He winked, and left.
She ran into the library where she could read his letter in private. She carefully opened it and her heart lifted at its prose."

You must read the book to find out what this letter said and how Alicia responds.

I, Theodocia McLean endorse The Duke’s Magnificent Bastard by Sandra Masters. One Night with a Duke, is promised for release in 2017. I purchased this book from Kindle and this review was completed on November 6, 2016.

Genre: Romance, Historical, Regency Romance


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Thorn, Son Of A Duke (Duke Series Book Three) by Sandra Masters

At the age of seventeen, Thorn Wick made a promise to his dying mother that sends him sailing from Barbados to England to meet the man who sired him, the aristocratic Duke of Althorn, who never knew of his son’s existence.

Alicia Montgomery, ward of the Duke, develops a deep affection for the Anglo Indian who protects her from advances by other men. She wants him to acknowledge his feelings for her, but he insists on ignoring the chemistry between them.

Despite the intrigue, revelations, and revenge, will their passion and love for each other conquer all?

Book Review: The third book (mini novella prequel to book four) in the Duke Series is here and Author Sandra Masters delivers another true regency romance with Thorn, Son Of A Duke.

The book opens with Thorn Wick aboard his Majesty’s Ship en route to England, 1817. “Thorn Wick leaned over the railing of the ship. A queasy sensation roiled in his stomach as he watched the swelling of the seas. He closed his eyes and hoped he’d wake up and find himself in his sunlit room in Barbados on firm ground listening to island chants.”

Enjoy regal characters and superb story telling that will keep you invested in the plot. Let me share with you a passage from the book as tension builds at ‘London Wharfside’.

“Thorn stood by the railing and scanned an old road that gave access to wharves and docks on the north bank of the River Thames. The panorama before him amazed. Busy docks men and porters hustled large cases and bales from the ships to the waiting warehousemen. Men shouted while clerks with inventory lists directed longshoremen to the appropriate buildings.

“Sir Tomas, what is that large building to the right of us? Never have I seen such a large structure.”

“That’s the East India House owned and operated by the company. I would venture to say the wealth that passes within its portals is unsurpassed in the world. They are a powerful force with which to reckon. Fortunately, your forefathers had the good sense not to invest in India and chose Barbados.”
Thorn’s eyes widened at the activity; excitement overtook him. He didn’t know where to look first.

“Do you see that black coach with the Lion crest waiting?”

“Yes. Is that my father’s?” he asked with a bit of trepidation.
As they spoke, a tall aristocratic gentleman departed the coach, his beaver top hat and greatcoat an admission of his wealth. The coach driver was armed and one footman was on the back board. The other footman walked behind the man. A gold dome-topped cane glistened in the sunlight.

“Is that my father, Sir Tomas?”

“Yes, it is. He’s come to greet you personally.” Tomas grasped Thorn’s shoulder in convivial support.
“Just be yourself, Thorn. Everything will be fine.”
The gangplank was lowered, and the passengers prepared to depart. Thorn and Tomas waited for the others to precede them.

“Courage, little lion,” Tomas joked.

“I will need more than that,” Thorn replied, unable to keep his eyes off the aristocratic gentleman who waited patiently on the dock.
I now understand what my mother saw in him.
Thorn took a deep breath. “I’m ready, Sir Tomas. Let us greet the great lion.” He smiled with an inquisitive stare at the man who gave him life and wondered what future awaited him."

I invite you to follow this father and son reunion and see what lays in store for this son of a duke. Read the entire Duke Series by Sandra Masters at Amazon. Each book stands alone for your regency romance enjoyment. I, Theodocia McLean endorse Thorn, Son Of A Duke (The Duke Series Book 3) by Sandra Masters. I purchased reviewed this book from Kindle and this review was completed on March 10, 2016.

Genre: Romance, Historical, Regency Romance


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My Divinely Decadent Duke (The Duke Series Book Two) by Sandra Masters

Orphaned and abandoned by family, Lady Cassandra Montgomery yearns for love. Beautiful and innocent, she attracts the attention of a renowned rake, the Duke of Althorn. When her security is threatened, she offers him a proposal for an arranged marriage in exchange for his guarantee of safety for her and her ward. After her first taste of desire in his arms, she finds the sexual attraction irresistible. Finding herself in a family way, she leaves his home, unsure of his love.

The Duke is at first enraged by the brazen behavior, yet he sees Cassandra as a captivating caregiver for his mother and impossible to resist. He agrees. The arrangement becomes inconvenient because love and sex enter the equation.

Will she believe her husband truly loves her and return to his waiting arms?

Will the Duke admit his love and use his rakish skills to woo Cassandra back to his bed?

Book Review: Follow-up regency romance Once Upon A Duke with My Divinely Decadent Duke (Duke Series Book Two).

Back in London in 1822 arranged marriages of even royalty doesn’t mean the woman (seen as a possession) is secure in life or love, in fact the beautiful Lady Cassandra Montgomery yearns for love.

At the ballroom “Cassandra turned to her brother. “Brent Montgomery, Earl of Stratton. May I introduce you to his Grace, Duke of Althorn.”

Later “The Duke stared at the sun-dappled ocean from his balcony residence as the evening hour approached. The ever-present restlessness was his companion. He took deep breaths, prepared to harness his energy and put it to work for him. His beloved dog Clayo lay at his side. He knelt to pet her head. She was one of his prized possessions; there could never be a doubt of the indisputable fact. The animal gave him a lick on his hand. His gentle creature with the name of a temptress Egyptian Queen was dedicated in her affection for him.”

“The Duke decided to walk the beach again. This time he took Clayo, and his attire was indeed informal. He’d left his jacket at the villa, but was still dressed in his waistcoat appropriate to his rank. Crop in his right hand, he strode quickly. Although he would be loathed to admit it, he wanted to see if his Enchantress of the Sea would be out and about. He invited her the night before to walk along the beach, but she didn’t present herself. In his heart, he didn’t think she would tonight, but nonetheless, it didn’t hurt to ask. Clayo plodded alongside him and wagged her tail. He kept at their
“stick into the ocean” game, and she promptly retrieved. They played most of the time until either he became bored or Clayo tired.

His heart leaped when he saw Cassandra. This time the outfit was a dark azure skirt with the same white balloon sleeve blouse, a light blue jacket, and a fetching azure hat with her blonde hair tucked under it. The children were with her. Alicia, wearing a white ruffled dress with many petticoats, ran barefoot and giggled. A huge white bow accented her blonde braid so the wind wouldn’t whip hair in her face. Blue eyes that matched the sky, soft creamy white skin, and a delicate frame gave the girl an impish look. It then occurred to him how much Alicia resembled Cassandra. Could it be a coincidence? Or was there more to it? Was there a secret somewhere?

More than a romance story, it is an adventure told with remarkable storytelling, easy going to face paced reading, true to time period dialog and settings along with extensive research by Author Sandra Masters engages the reader in the search for true love between Lady Cassandra Montgomery and Duke Gordon Althorn.

Relax into a deep, hot bubble bath with a glass of red wine (or drink of your choice) and relax with romance as it should be. Author Sandra Masters states it best: “Every woman should have a divinely decadent Duke in her life.”

I, Theodocia McLean endorse My Divinely Decadent Duke by Sandra Masters as book two in this Regency Romance. I purchased this book from Kindle and this review was completed on February 6, 2016.

Genre: Romance, Historical, Regency Romance


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Once Upon A Duke: The Duke Series Book One by Sandra Masters

Serena, an artist and widow, has no desire for another husband. When she meets Geoffrey Austen, attraction sizzles to a scorch. Stolen days and nights ignite forbidden passion. Geoffrey asks Serena to be his mistress, but she wants commitment, love, and marriage, not an affair with a notorious rake.

Geoffrey realizes Serena might be the one woman who can care for his tortured soul, and maybe release his demons. The magic they shared is shattered when he learns she has been forced into an engagement with another. He vows to save her even at the cost of his own life.

Will Geoffrey’s gallantry prove he truly loves Serena?

If he survives, will Serena surrender all to him?

Book Review: Bring regency romance into your life with Once Upon A Duke. Each book in the Duke Series stands alone for your reading pleasure.

Warm, realistic characters in book one bring the reader back to London 1817. Lady Serena Worthington Durand is a strong independent woman ahead of her time, but she faces demons from the past. I quote:  “If Lady Serena could be granted one wish, she would ride off into the morning mist and vanish. That, of course wasn’t possible, but here in her favorite lakeside retreat, she could relax in safety.”

Legendary Duke of Sutton, Geoffrey Austen has a chance encounter with Lady Serena and I quote: “Allow me to introduce myself, Lord Geoffrey Austen, at your service.”  He swept off his hat and bowed. “I am Henry Worthington’s hunting guest for the week.”

More than a romance story, it is an adventure that will make your heart pound, your emotions run wild and your spirit soar.

The combination of remarkable storytelling, easy going to face paced reading, true to time period dialog and settings along with extensive research by Author Sandra Masters engages the reader in the life and times of Lady Serena Worthington Durand.

I invite you to light a fire, pour a glass of red wine (Sandra Masters would join you in the wine, but hers would be a white fruity glass) and relax with romance as it should be. Author Sandra Masters states it best: “Every woman should have a divinely decadent Duke in her life.” I, Theodocia McLean endorse Once Upon a Duke by Sandra Masters as a true Regency Romance that will leave you wanting more. I purchased this book from Kindle and this review was completed on October 7, 2015.

Genre: Romance, Historical, Regency Romance


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Cold Coffee Press Author Spotlight Interview With Author Sandra Masters

From a humble beginning in Newark, New Jersey, a short stay at a convent in Morristown, NJ at the age of fourteen, retiring from a fantastic career for a play broadcasting company in Carlsbad, California, to the rural foothills of the Sierras of Yosemite National Park, Sandra traded in the Board Rooms for the Ballrooms of the Regency period and never looked back.

Sandra wrote her first book at the age of fifteen. Romance is at best a gift and her passion is the Regency period. Admittedly, she would prefer to be the sister of a duke or an earl...perhaps even a princess? Or the other endless possibilities of a widow. Hmmm.

As a lonely only child, she used to read fairy tales and now she writes them. She admits freely she's an unapologetic story-teller.

Her debut novel was Once Upon a Duke, which received wide acceptance. She followed with Book Two, My Divinely Decadent Duke, a marriage-of-convenience story turned inconvenient when love and sensuality entered the equation.

Her third book, THORN, SON OF A DUKE, the prequel to her fourth book, THE DUKE’S MAGNIFICENT BASTARD is a 15,000-word teaser. She delineates Thorn's younger days as a half-breed subject to the malice of rock throwing native boys. At the age of seventeen, his mother extracts a death-bed promise for him to sail the ocean to visit his father, the Duke of Althorn, who never knew of his existence. On the island of Barbados, it wasn't the best of lives, but it was the only one he knew. Now, he was to face British aristocracy as the bastard son of a powerful, wealthy duke.

Book Four she lovingly calls "My Bastard" is a multi-cultural romance story of a young couple defeating all odds to have their love accepted. The gossamer thread of sensuality is woven through the tapestried story of their spicy, steamy romance. At times, the obstacles are daunting.

With Book Five in this series, ONE NIGHT WITH A DUKE, she accomplished her life-long dream of publishing this story into a reality. What did it take? Cutting the too-long epic by 57,000 words was a prodigious task. She worked like a dervish, so her Raven and Samantha could see the light of a publishing day. She gave them cameo appearances in each of her books so she wouldn’t forget that they begged to earn a place in the series. Seven years later, they made their long awaited debut.
Now, she's delighted to say that ONE NIGHT WITH A DUKE, has an official release date of June 21, 2017.

For a new author, it's been a whirlwind two years and it was nothing she expected, but everything she dreamed.

Book Six is a work-in-process and her writing takes a different path into a dark, brooding fantasy where supernatural powers assist in prolonging the adventures of The Blue-Eyed Black-Hearted Duke. What man could resist redemption from the beautiful ward of his, Miss Jaclyn? Possible release end of 2017.

Two months ago, Sandra broke her right dominant arm, so she is tested every day to manipulate fingers that used to fly across typewriter keys. Some days are good and others are not, but her grit and determination keep her going.

P.S. Sandra love bears of all sizes and shapes. However, she prefers to view the real life ones from afar.

Interview Questions?

What makes you proud to be a writer from California? California where I retired, but I've been a business world traveler, and do like the small town coziness where most of the people where I live know I'm a spicy romance writer. I'm just a little fish in a big comfy pond. I make it evident about the heat level (spicy/sensual/hot) so a reader will not be offended.

What or who inspired you to become a writer? I started writing at thirteen and when I entered high school, I knew what I wanted to be. My high school English teacher encouraged me and of course, I fell in love with Frank Yarby's Foxes of Harrow and that was representative of my preferred genre.

Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and did you use it to your advantage? I did enter a convent in New Jersey, a result of my Catholic elementary school.  I lasted three weeks. I was an only child and most likely a drama queen. From a child who had only two books and the Encyclopedia Britannia at my disposal, I now have over 863 books of all genres, but mostly Romance. I enjoy creating realistic characters, showing introspection, goals, motivation, and the hunger for something more than they have. Romance gives me the opportunity to write HAPPILY EVER AFTER endings.

When did you begin writing with the intention of becoming published? I decided that before I left the planet, I wanted at least one book (of the many I'd written) published. Five years ago, I joined Romance Writers of America and the local chapter Yosemite Romance Writers. Attended webinars, seminars, presentations, conferences, networked with other authors and aspiring writers, and in 2015 I published my first book ONCE UPON A DUKE with The Wild Rose Press.

What has been your most rewarding experience with your writing process? Letters from fans, e mails from other author friends, and the fact that I've showed my grandchildren that if you want to do something, try and try again and work hard and it will happen. For me it took decades, but worth the wait. Nothing I expected but everything I dreamed. Also, my husband who used to read mysteries wanted to help, so I convinced him to read romance. Now he's my plotster and I do work at this 8 hours a day 6 days a week. I stop at 5:00 p.m. and we enjoy a cocktail and discuss my characters. It has enriched our marriage!!!!!

How many published books do you have? Five Books, The Duke Series with The Wild Rose Press.

Please list the titles of all your books:
Once Upon A Duke
My Divinely Decadent Duke
Thorn, Son of a Duke
The Duke's Magnificent Bastard
One Night With A Duke
The Blue-Eyed Black-Hearted Duke (Release Date End 2017)

Please introduce your genre and why you prefer to write in that genre? I write spicy, sensual, hot Regency era novels. This encompasses 1800-1820 give or take a year. This was the Georgian era in England, and it was a time of elegant madness and maybe even self-illuminating. It was the time of the romp where pleasures were pursued, sometimes granted and sometimes denied, but there was passion and sensuality in the air. It gave way to the Victorian Era in stark difference to the Regency. I've written mostly about the aristocracy because I like to, but also because I think in another life I was the sister of a Duke, or a wealthy widow with privileges. This is not to say that this era did not have important issues in the nation to be dealt with, such as, woman's rights, poverty, the industrial revolution which galvanized the masses. Farm workers rushed to the city to make money and encountered disease and pestilence. Every human being has a story, I just prefer the happier, privileged ones that have problems, conflict, and eventually a happily ever after.

What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors? Two rules:
Rule Number 1: Never give up
Rule Number 2:   Don't forget Rule Number One.

Who is your favorite author and why? Judith McNaught, Mary Balogh, come to mind. Judith broke all the rules and touched your heart. Mary writes with her heart and is consistent. I know I've left a lot of amazing authors out, but it's only because my arm is hurting now. I broke it four weeks ago and I'm learning to type again.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Steel, Blood & Fire (Immortal Treachery Book 1) by Allan Batchelder


 

Steel, Blood & Fire (Immortal Treachery Book 1) by Allan Batchelder

On the march, around the campfire, and in the taverns, they tell incredible stories about Tarmun Vykers, the Reaper – how he’s never been cut in battle, how he once defeated hundreds of men by himself, how he exterminated an entire people over an insult. These stories make Vykers seem like a god, but he is a man, an arrogant, ruthless and bloodthirsty man. For all that, he may be the only thing standing between the human race and utter annihilation at the hands of the mad wizard who calls himself the End-of-All-Things. Against this backdrop, smaller, lesser folks struggle to fulfill their own destinies, folks like Aoife, burdened with a secret so dark she is driven to do the unimaginable and seek an alliance with fey powers no mortal has ever encountered.

Are you a fan of: Grimdark, Joe Abercrombie’s First Law series, Steven Erikson’s The Malazan Book of the Fallen, Glen Cook’s Chronicles of the Black Company, or Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicle? If so, grab your copy of Steel, Blood & Fire now!

Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Literature & Fiction, Horror, Dark Fantasy, Mythology & Folk Tales, Epic Fantasy called “Grimdark.”

Book Review: This book has a very well thought out plot engaging the reader in unexpected twists and turns including love stories and epic battle scenes involving twenty-four well developed characters.

Steel, Blood & Fires opens with unspeakable violence as Tarmun Vykers, A.K.A, “the Reaper” a legendary warrior is in the stocks (in bonds, under guard). One must be warned that this is a work of dark fantasy, horror and mythology with adult language and graphic violence.

Author Allan Batchelder has done very well laying out this book with easy to follow headings (much like the way a play production might be laid out). The story pivots back and forth from what is happening with his main characters:  the legendary warrior named Tarmun Vykers, Aoife Cestroenyn (An A’Shea or “Mender,” sister of Anders), D’Kem (a washed up Burner), Janks & Company, Long, A.K.A, Long Pete, Spirk Nessno (An idiot and friend to Long), Anders Cestroenyn (the self-proclaimed “End-of-All-Things) and Arune (A spectral Burner who shares Vykers’ body).

I would like to share a quote from this book that will help draw you in without spoiling the story. This quote come from one of the the chapter four headings titled ‘The End, On the March’.

“After seeing his general off, Anders climbed a small hillock and surveyed his host. What they lacked in training and skill, they more than made up for in numbers and ferocity. Either his magic had worked especially well upon his unwilling draftees, or humans were all more savage than they cared to admit. Looking out upon them, he saw them huddled in large, teeming masses around myriad bonfires. They were always ravenous for food, of course, but also for sex and violence. The End-of-All-Things would be happy to destroy them all, once they had served their purpose.
Pivoting to his left, he held out his arms and a slave laid the infant into them. It was a funny looking thing, this child. And would get funnier still, by the time Anders was through with it. He had decided, after some thought, that it was time he created something for a change. He would be the end of all things presently in existence, but this child would be the first of his new race, beings made especially to serve and obey him. Worship would not be required, as he felt he would probably kill large numbers of them whenever he got bored. Perhaps he should also create a competing race and pit them against one another!”

A must read for those who want to remain on the edge of your seat.

I, Theodocia McLean endorse Steel, Blood & Fire is book one in Author Allan Batchelder’s Immortal Treachery series. I purchased this book from a Kindle format on June 11, 2017 and wrote this review on June 15, 2017.


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As Flies To Wanton Boys (Immortal Treachery Book 2) by Allan Batchelder

You are Tarmun Vykers, the Reaper, laid low by a sorcerous wound and languishing in a sick bed for years until your services are unexpectedly required again, and the means to get you back on your feet rather conveniently appears in the person of Her Majesty’s first mage…

Cindor, the kingdom’s most experienced wizard and a skilled politician. Can you trust him, and what is the price for his help?

And what of the beautiful healer, Aoife, who insists on accompanying you on Cindor’s quest? Surely, she’s not as emotionally aloof as she pretends, and, if not, what is she hiding?

Long Pete, too, is caught up in Cindor’s web. The wizard has plans for Long and his crew that may save the kingdom, but tear friendships asunder.

Ride with the half-crippled Reaper again, as he crosses a monster-filled sea and a dark and threatening continent to engage in the most unusual battle of his life and uncover an unthinkable secret.

Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Literature & Fiction, Horror, Dark Fantasy, Mythology & Folk Tales, Epic Fantasy called “Grimdark.”


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Corpse Cold (Immortal Treachery Book 3) by Allan Batchelder

Betrayed by his closest friend, someone who has also stolen his most precious possession, Tarmun Vykers wants revenge.

Kittins wants revenge, too, against the all-powerful Queen, who’s been manipulating and dictating his every move for far too long, to devastating effect.

Long Pete wants revenge against the slavers who murdered his wife and even now hold his only child captive.

And many others too numerous to count want revenge as well, for slights both real and imagined.
One thing is certain: punishment is coming.

Follow the Reaper again, as he fights through the worst winter in ages to deal out revenge that leaves his victims corpse cold.

Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Literature & Fiction, Horror, Dark Fantasy, Mythology & Folk Tales, Epic Fantasy called “Grimdark.”


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The Abject God: Immortal Treachery, Book Four by Allan Batchelder

Vykers once killed some of the Emperor’s soldiers; now, the Emperor has crossed the sea with all his legions to exact a revenge that will impact not only the Reaper, but Kittins, Spirk, Eamon, and even the Virgin Queen herself. Meanwhile, pieces to the puzzle of Vykers’ origins begin to fall into place, revealing people and purposes both unexpected and heretofore unimaginable. And then there is the long-suffering Long Pete, who must now contend with an utterly reshaped reality that threatens his very existence.

Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Literature & Fiction, Horror, Dark Fantasy, Mythology & Folk Tales, Epic Fantasy called “Grimdark.”


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Cold Coffee Press Spotlight Interview With Author Allan Batchelder

Allan is a professional actor, educator and former stand-up comedian. In addition to Steel, Blood & Fire, As Flies to Wanton Boys and Corpse Cold, he's also written plays, screenplays, online articles, dialogue for computer games, greeting card sentiments and more.

Steel, Blood & Fire has been praised by Kirkus, Midwest Book Review and Fantascize.com. Allan holds a Master of Fine Arts in acting from the National Theatre Conservatory and a Master's in Teaching from Seattle Pacific University. He is a huge fan of Shakespeare, Steven Erikson, Joe Abercrombie, Glen Cook, George R.R. Martin, Tad Williams, and R. Scott Bakker.

Allan lives in Seattle with his wife and son, where he enjoys walks on the beach, reading in the garden and puttering around on his computer. Oh, and naps. He LOVES naps. In fact, he's probably taking one right now.

Interview Questions:

What makes you proud to be a writer from Seattle? I’d never really considered a link between my work and my hometown, but it is true that Seattle has the most well-read populous of any major American city. That said, I suspect my stuff isn’t highbrow for most of my fellow citizens! J Maybe my hometown finds its voice through the character Aoife, a sort of goddess of the forest. And then again, maybe not.

What or who inspired you to become a writer? Throughout my life, whenever I’ve come across something I’ve really enjoyed, I’ve felt a need to participate in some way. And so, I became an actor, and then an opera singer, a stand-up comedian, a teacher, a writer. I don’t claim to be brilliant at any of these things; I just wanted to be part of the action. So, having been an avid reader all my life, I began writing stories in middle school and continued through grad school. Finally, I decided to “get real” about it and write a novel.

Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and did you use it to your advantage? Well, my parents exposed me to a lot of art – plays, operas, ballet, museums – and we watched a heckuva lot of Mastepiece Theater, for whatever that’s worth. I just developed a passion for creativity and self-expression.

When did you begin writing with the intention of becoming published? In 2013, I was in a gaming group, and I finally said, “You know, instead of sitting around playing these stories, I should write one. Or several.”

What has been your most rewarding experience with your writing process? The fact that people around the world read and enjoy my stuff just blows my mind. How unexpected! How thrilling!

What has been your most rewarding experience in your publishing journey? That’s a tough one. Self-publishing is a pain in the posterior! I guess I’d have to say finding and working with my cover artist, a woman in the Philippines. It’s amazing how creative endeavors bring people together, even from halfway ‘round the world.

How many published books do you have? I have four out and am currently writing the fifth and final novel in my first series.
Please list the titles of all your books:
Steel, Blood & Fire
As Flies to Wanton Boys
Corpse Cold
The Abject God
The End of All Things (coming in 2018)

Do you come up with your title(s) before or after you write the manuscript? In three of the five books, the title came from dialogue within the stories. The other two were predetermined.
Please tell us the genre of each of your books. My books belong (I think) to a subgenre of Epic Fantasy called “Grimdark.” The books of George R. R. Martin and Joe Abercrombie

Please introduce your genre and why you prefer to write in that genre? Grimdark is like fantasy in a foul mood – it’s grittier, darker, and meaner. It often involves sprawling stories, casts of thousands, and more moral ambiguity than you could ever shake a stick at if you lived for a thousand years.

Which book title would you like featured in this interview? Steel, Blood & Fire – the first book in the series, Immortal Treachery

What was your inspiration, spark or light bulb moment that inspired you to write the book (one book) that you are seeking promotion for? I wanted to try my hand at writing an anti-hero protagonist, someone of legendary ability but infamous character. I wanted him to endure an Odysseus-worthy journey of self-discovery, and I wanted to balance him with a vast cast of “ordinary” folk, to explore the way the hero and the everyman each tackle similar (though not identical) challenges. But for all that intellectual folderol, I mostly wanted to have fun, to create something fun.

What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors? In the past, I’ve been somewhat flippant about this type of question, because I don’t know that I’m in a position to give advice, just based on the fact that each person’s experience is so unique. There are a few commonalities, sure, but on the whole, it’s a journey each of us takes on our own. I guess the most valuable thing I can say is, “You CAN do it.”

Who is your favorite author and why? I’m afraid I’ll sound terribly pretentious, but really, I’ve been a fan of Shakespeare since I was twelve. I’ve performed in about twenty productions of his plays, and I’ve directed another six or so in various schools. In terms of contemporary writers, I guess I’d have to say Stephen King. I started reading his books in seventh or eighth grade, and I drifted away for a couple of decades, but I’m completely back in his corner again today. Plus, I really like the person he seems to be.


Monday, June 5, 2017

The Witch Within Her by Nick Iuppa



The Witch Within Her by Nick Iuppa

The Witch Within Her (sequel to Taken By Witches).

SEXY, STUNNING, RELENTLESS HORROR

A possessed child is caught in a war between witches!

Spanning centuries of horror and witchcraft, the powerful sequel to Taken By Witches tells how Babcia Czarownica, the greatest of all witches, does battle with far more seductive members of her craft. She must confront a lustful priest, a predatory lover, a vengeful undead beauty, and the unspeakable evil hiding at the top of Rapunzel’s Tower... all to save her beloved grandson and his family from utter annihilation. And she must accomplish all this while sharing the body of an eight-year-old girl.

Book Review: As a fan of Nick Iuppa’s books I can say without hesitation that his latest release ‘The Witch Within’ is another great “sexy, stunning, relentless horror” that brings a ‘Grimm’s Fairy Tales’ feel with an adult theme.

‘The Witch Within Her’ is the sequel to ‘Taken By Witches’. Even without reading the first book the author’s writing is so good that you can jump right into the book and enjoy the well-developed characters, and complex story with twists and turns that include the old fables of Hansel and Gretel and Rapunzel.

Author Nick Iuppa includes a wonderful introduction and summary that will refresh your mind and continue the story on from ‘Taken By Witches’. This is storytelling at its best as both books are centered on a tale being told by an evil warlock to an old gift store owner named Michalowski in the village of Zakopane Poland.

With eighty-three fast paced chapters, this novel is nearly impossible to put down. The evil witch Babcia is obsessed with and will use any measure to protect her beloved grandson Niko from any harm that might befall him even to the point of living inside the body of his little daughter, Joy.

If you want an adult fantasy horror witches tale, this is a must read. I always share a quote to draw you into this author’s writing style without spoiling any part of the story. So here goes.

Quote One: “Twisted branches seemed to claw at the windows of John Hunter’s Ford Crown Victoria as it struggled up the deeply rutted gravel road that led to the upper cabin at Crystal Lake. Perhaps the branches were trying to unlatch the door and catch hold of him, Hunter thought for a crazy moment, pull him out from behind the steering wheel, drag him into the marshes that stood along the sides of the road, plunge him down among the gnarled roots and hold him under till he drowned.
Christ, what’s happening to my mind? He wondered.

Quote Two: “Mother Black’s garden was not unlike other witch’s gardens hidden away in the San Fernando Valley. There may have been as many as a hundred of them at that time, planted mostly by witches who were forced to accompany their families into the California sunshine. Occasionally, a young woman of Marla Morrison’s coven succeeded in making things grow and using them to expand her knowledge of The Craft. But the real successes were the old crones who took their work seriously and limited their ambitions.

That’s how it was with Mother Black. Sally Fukes had found her deep in the mountains of Tennessee and told her all about her adventures in Hollywood and how her friend Marla had died at the hands of Witch Babcia who now inhabited the body of Niko Madonie’s daughter.

Mother Black hadn’t known much of Babcia’s long history and so she wasn’t concerned. Until now!”
I invite you to read this tale, but if you repeat it, be careful of youngsters who might be listening.
I, Theodocia Mclean endorse The Witch Within Her (sequel to Taken By Witches) by Nick Iuppa as an adult fairy tale. I purchased this book from Kindle on May 24th and this review was written on June 1, 2017.


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Esteban Meets Alicia by Nick Iuppa and John Pesqueira

As two escaped convicts and the worst sandstorm in recorded memory descend on the little town of La Sentencia, Arizona, Esteban Dorantes encounters a mysterious and beautiful woman. She advises him that (like his great, great grandfather before him) he must set off on a quest in search of the fabled seven cities of gold... to save La Sentencia. She adds that she too has a quest... to find the man who murdered her.


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Esteban's Quest by Nick Iuppa and John Pesqueira

Magical Madness

A fireball launches itself from the Arizona desert leaving behind three camels, a magical jukebox, and a five-year-old girl who only speaks Italian.

Soon, the nearby town of La Sentencia is reeling from a series of disasters. The copper mine, which supports the town, shuts down leaving most of the population unemployed. Massive sandstorms batter the place. And then the Devlin Lucero shows up. He seduces a pretty substitute teacher and then uses her to spread greed, anger, and vengeance everywhere.

In the face of all these trials, Esteban Dorantes decides to retrace the steps of his great, great grandfather, who once led a quest to find the Seven Cities of Gold. Aided by the camels, the wisdom of the little girl, and the spirit of the magical jukebox, he hopes to locate a great treasure and bring it back to save La Sentencia.

Esteban is accompanied by Ceci Moreno, his old high school sweetheart, the only person in town who doesn't think he's a madman. But Ceci is still in love Gabriel Romo, another dreamer who somehow feels he can bargain with the devil to save the mine and the town.

Wacky, scary and spectacular, Esteban's Quest blends science fiction, Aztec lore, classic horror, and offbeat humor into an unforgettable tale of love, destiny, magic, and redemption.

Book Review:  Step aside Indiana Jones. There’s a new adventurer in town. Esteban Dorantes may be a little more reluctant, but he has an even greater sense of destiny than even Dr. Jones. Dorantes is goaded by the desperate needs of his impoverished hometown and visions of his great, great grandfather... an African slave who once led Spanish Conquistadors on the first quest for the Seven Cities Of Gold.

The story opens in the Arabian Desert where a wall of wind a mile high and a hundred miles wide, roars though an oasis carrying off a husband and wife team of archeologists but leaving behind their five-year-old daughter.

We move to La Sentencia, a small town in Arizona, which is devastated by its own windstorms and other disasters including the immanent closing of a copper mine... the only business in that part of the state.

What’s the link between these two desolate desert locations... the little Italian girl who suddenly shows up on the winds of a sandstorm to advise the residents in Arizona? And then there’s an ancient artifact that may have been left by space travelers. Does it hold the key to the building of great earthly civilizations... and the salvation of La Sentencia?

Esteban Dorantes must have some sense of all this as he decides, at the little girl’s bidding, to takes up his great grand-fathers quest for The Golden Cities and save his home town in the process.

The novel’s fifty-six chapters of action-packed adventure may surpasses some of the greatest quests ever told, with its Aztec lore, science fiction spacecraft, magical jukebox, a destiny that spans generations, horror, humor, three camels, talking coyotes, a very sexy substitute high school teacher, the devil himself, and, of course, a love story.

I invite everyone to read Esteban's Quest and experience this compelling tale for themselves. I, Theodocia McLean endorse Esteban's Quest by Nick Iuppa and John Pesqueira. I purchased this book from Kindle and this review was completed on July 26, 2016.

I encourage you to purchase other books by the team including: The Carlos Mann Trilogy (Alicia’s Ghost, Alicia’s Sin, Alicia Bewitched) and Avenging Adelita (romance), in addition to the stand-alone novels by Nick Iuppa include Bloody Bess And The Doomsday Games (fictional horror drama featuring ancient vampires, teenage romance, and a top-secret military project) and Taken by Witches (a modern horror story based on Grimm’s Fairy Tales).


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Taken by Witches Group

Taken By Witches by Nick Iuppa

When he was a child, Niko Madonie was terrified of his over-protective grandmother. Somehow he knew she was a witch possessed of overwhelming supernatural powers and determined to save him from the real and imagined dangers of the modern world.

Now a successful writer in Hollywood, Niko is helping create an animated version of Hansel and Gretel while he struggles to protect his beautiful young wife from sexy, New Age witches who hope to sacrifice her to please the ancient crone.

This is an epic horror romance set against a background of legends, with complex villains, a magical young couple, and a storyline straight from the darkest pages of the Brothers Grimm.

Book Review:  If you have ever thought that reading Grimm’s Fairy Tales to your children or grandchildren might frighten them, then you’d better keep the lights on while reading Taken by Witches to yourself.

Author Nick Iuppa asks questions you might not ask aloud. “Do witches exist; where does their power come from, and to what ends will they use it?”

Masterfully written, this multifaceted story begins in the small Polish village of Zakopane high in the Carpathian Mountains. A warlock skillfully tells the story to a shopkeeper and his young daughter after he returns a collection of gruesome masks that the shopkeeper once sent to America so they wouldn’t fall into the hands of the Nazis. The masks are all images of the same woman, a witch named Babcia (pronounced Bob-cha) the Polish name for grandmother.

The warlock’s story begins with a young boy named Niko Madonie who realizes that his grandmother has supernatural powers that terrify him up until the day she dies. As an adult, Niko marries and becomes a successful writer in Hollywood. But even there he is haunted by memories of Babcia and he finds he must struggle to protect his wife from new age witches who decide to sacrifice the beautiful young woman to please the ancient crone.

Imagine Babcia’s evil smell: (the stench of blood sausage mixed with the spicy sweetness of gingerbread) and realize that ancient history doesn’t always stay in the past. Centuries after Niko’s grandmother lost her first baby to medieval witch hunters, she bears a new family to a new husband in a new land, America. But even in this future place and time, she remembers the vow she made when the infant was murdered: “Atrocities to her loved ones will never happen again,” no matter what the consequences.

Author Nick Iuppa has impressive credentials as the former Creative Director of Paramount Pictures’ Digital Entertainment, Head of Apple Computer’s Learning Technologies Group, and Writer for the Wonderful World of Disney.

I, Theodocia Mclean endorse Taken by Witches by Nick Iuppa as a modern horror story based on Grimm’s Fairy Tales, which first brought the essence of ancient witchcraft into America’s bedtime stories. Nick’s other novels include Alicia’s Ghost, Alicia’s Sin, Alicia Bewitched, Bloody Bess And The Doomsday Games, and Avenging Adelita. I purchased this book Kindle and this reviewed was completed on November 12, 2015.


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Bloody Bess Group

Bloody Bess And The Doomsday Games by Nick Iuppa

"Nick Iuppa loops a brilliant mix of technology, romance, military lore, and vampires into a terrifying, sexy spree in the Swiss Alps. The details are 3D. If you're looking for a heart-pounder, this is it." S.B. Stinnet

The castle of 15th century duchess Elizabeth Laskaar looks down on the little Swiss village of Murdenwald and the secretive military complex nearby. There, the UN hopes to end world conflict with a vast military simulation that will dramatize the apocalypse that will follow the next major war. To head the project, they hire notorious Hollywood producer Donald Vito, master of explosive action adventures, who still mourns the murder of his teenage love in the 1950s.

Vito and the simulation team use new technology to build hundreds of virtual soldiers and terrorists you can touch, speak to, and reason with. But they also begin to feel the influence of Elizabeth Laskaar. She’s often called Bloody Bess – the first real vampire – because she maintained her youthful beauty by slaughtering her maidservants and bathing in their blood.

Recklessly inspired by their surroundings, the team creates a virtual vampire that soon takes on the characteristics of Elizabeth’s magnificent, long-dead husband. Soon, he and Bess stalk the compound, seducing everyone working on the project, until vampire blood surges beyond the humans to the virtual characters with unthinkable consequences. In the end, perhaps, only the power of Vito’s long lost love can save humanity.

Book Review:  Bloody Bess And The Doomsday Games is a magnificent fictional horror drama featuring ancient vampires, teenage romance, and a top-secret military project. The Doomsday Games, as the project is called, involves a team of international scientists, engineers, and military personnel who gather in the ancient town of Murdenwald, Switzerland, to do no less then put an end to war.

Nick Iuppa developed a cast of authentic and unique characters like Elizabeth Laskaar (Duchess of Hungry) known as “Bloody Bess” to her victims in 1580 in the small village of Nyirbator Hungary. She prowled the streets of Murdenwald seeking out young women to murder so that she could bathe in their blood. Her husband Ferenc, some say, is still the director of the town’s ancient library. A most beautiful man with midnight blue eyes, he waits for naïve young women to come to his tower and aid him in his evil work. Then there’s Donny Vito, the world’s greatest film producer, called upon by the U. S. President to breathe life into the Doomsday Games. Elli Capadonico is the girl Donny loved in his youth; she fell victim to Arnie Cudgel, an obsessive young man with both romantic and sadistic intentions. The cast also includes scientists, mathematicians, military personnel, writers, artists, technicians, Chu Yun Trang (the director of a rogue nation seeking to build nuclear weapons), and a myriad of simulated characters who populate the virtual Armageddon.

Nick’s highly descriptive writing takes the reader from the Middles Ages to a 1950s high school romance, to mysteries surrounding the ‘knowledge’ held in the ancient Murdenwald library, to the International Simulation Center itself where the final challenge becomes solving “the God Problem.” Nick weaves these stories together so skillfully that the separate lines merge to become plot twists in an amazing and unexpected ending.

The author, Nick Iuppa, is the son of a prominent Rochester, New York doctor. Nick attended the University of Notre Dame and did his graduate work at Stanford. Nick’s first job was at MGM Studios in Hollywood where he worked on TV specials with Dr. Seuss and Chuck Jones (creator of the Road Runner). He also had the privilege of writing for the Wonderful World of Disney, working as an instructional designer for Eastman Kodak, leading Bank of America’s in-house TV production group, managing the Learning Technologies Group within Apple Computer, and finally returning to Paramount Pictures in Hollywood where he designed Internet entertainment and built Hollywood-style simulations for the military.

Nick’s extensive travels to Europe have inspired some of his characters and settings. His work history, technical knowledge, and experience have given him the tools and concepts for his novels.
I, Theodocia McLean endorse Bloody Bess And The Doomsday Games by Nick Iuppa for the creative genius of the Doomsday Game. I purchased this book from Kindle and this reviewed was completed on October 2, 2014.


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Avenging Adelita by Nick Iuppa and John P. Mendoza-2016 Group

Avenging Adelita by Nick Iuppa and John P. Mendoza

A tender romance with a ticking time bomb at its heart.

There’s a bomb on this train. It will explode before you reach your final destination...because you murdered my wife.

University professor Tom McKeever has just lost his wife Adelita to cancer. But the more he thinks about it, the more he realizes she didn’t have to die.

The faculty and administration of the university where he teaches in Mexico played a major role in causing her death.

Now, Tom relives powerful memories of his life with Adelita as he and the rest of the faculty take a train ride into the mountains. He plans to gain revenge by blowing up the train, killing all those who have wronged him and everyone else on board… including himself.

Book Review:  Nick Iuppa, Author of ‘Bloody Bess And The Doomsday Games, has teamed up with John P. Mendoza to bring us another fast-paced, action suspense thriller that will keep readers turning pages and biting their nails.

There’s a large cast of unique characters, many of whom are confined to business class cars on the Copper Canyon Railway as it speeds through the Grand Canyon of Mexico, unaware of the impending man-made disaster that’s about to shatter the serene environment.

Somewhere in the process of grieving for his lost wife, Adelita, his “warrior woman” love, Professor
Tom McKeever walks a thin line between reality and golden memories that keep pulling him back into his her beauty, delicious aroma, and open arms. The gut wrenching knowledge that there was an experimental cancer treatment that might have saved Adelita’s life, had it not been for the decisions of one man, is more than Tom can bear. The need for revenge seethes like red-hot embers but conflicts with thoughts dredged up from a Catholic School upbringing: “Vengeance is mine, saith the lord!”

Time is running out, but somehow the collateral damage begins to seem more and more defensible... a justifiable murder suicide. Is it? Find out; come ride the rails into Copper Canyon when time is definitely not on your side.

I, Theodocia McLean endorse ‘Avenging Adelita’ – by Nick Iuppa & John P. Mendoza as these two authors give the reader what they have come to expect; great descriptive writing, with dialog and startling transitions from present to past and back again placing the reader in the mind of this widower. I purchased this book from Kindle and this review was completed on December 15, 2014.


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Alicia's Ghost by Nick Iuppa and John P Mendoza-2016 Group

Alicia’s Ghost by Nick Iuppa and John P. Mendoza

Carlos Mann Trilogy

"IT’S WONDERFUL; I LOVE IT! I love the characters. And Alicia, OMG, she's so real I think I know her.” B. Escamilla, Palo Alto, CA

"Every time I thought I had it figured out, there was a new twist to the story. I couldn't put it down. Great read!" C. Gallagher, Chicago, IL

LOVE, OBSESSION, MURDER, DEATH, MANNEQUINS, RATTLESNAKES, DRUG LORDS, CHINATOWN, GHOSTS...AND THE WORLD’S MOST HAUNTING HEROINE!

The astoundingly beautiful Alicia has ended her modeling career in Mexico City, married the love of her life, helped pay his way through college, settled into a comfortable life in Los Altos, California, and now she’s dead... MURDERED.

Her husband, Professor Carlos Mann, has wrapped himself in an obsessive-compulsive disorder to hide from that fact. But when Amy Joy, one of Carlos’s students, is sold into slavery by a Chinese mob that traffics in Asian girls, Alicia returns with a vengeance.

Can Alicia save her man, foil the human traffickers, and destroy her murderer? Overwhelming supernatural forces stand against her. But, hell, that just makes her stronger!

Told in the voices of Carlos and Alicia Mann, Alicia’s Ghost is a funny, imaginative and thrilling ride through the human and spirit worlds of Mexico and the American Southwest.


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Alicia's Sin by Nick Iuppa and John P. Mensoza-2016-Group

Alicia’s Sin by Nick Iuppa and John P. Mendoza

Carlos Mann Trilogy

“One damn inventive thrill-ride of a story!” Suzanna B. Stinnett, author of Starship Interlude
REVENGE, MURDER, ADULTERY, OBSESSION, GHOSTS, GYPSIES, TIGERS, WITCHES, FREUD, MYSTERY, DRUG LORDS, CHINATOWN, MEXICO, VIENNA... AND THE SPANISH INQUISITION!

To avenge her parents’ death, sadistic sex trafficker Tiger Joy sends deadly assassins after Carlos and his beautiful ghost wife Alicia. The pair escapes to Cancun where they battle witches and drug lords to help their friend Señor Popcorn win the love of his life. But the Afterlife Judges aren’t happy with Alicia’s temper, and they send her off to anger management therapy with the ghost of Sigmund Freud.

In old Vienna, the spirit of a seductive crown prince tempts Alicia, and then she’s captured by gypsies who put her on display in the Ghost Chamber of their traveling carnival. Alicia commits an unforgivable sin, and it finally gives Tiger Joy the perfect chance for revenge.


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Alicia Bewitched - by Nick Iuppa and John P. Mendoza-2016 Group

Alicia Bewitched by Nick Iuppa and John P. Mendoza

The Third Carlos Mann Adventure Logic Professor Carlos Mann sets out to murder Tiger

The Third Carlos Mann Adventure

Logic Professor Carlos Mann sets out to murder Tiger Joy in her prison cell.

Unfortunately, the gorgeous queen of human traffickers captures him and ships him off to the Yucatan, where the evil witch, La Bruja, uses all her powers to try to weaken and destroy him.

Meanwhile, Alicia calls on friends both living and dead to help save her husband, and in the process she learns many terrible secrets that were born in the days of the great Mayan Empire … secrets that could save or even destroy Carlos and Alicia.


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Nick Iuppa

Cold Coffee Press Spotlight Interview With Author Nick Iuppa

Bio Quote: “I grew up in Rochester New York; my dad was a prominent doctor there. I attended the University of Notre Dame and grew up to marry the prettiest girl in Rochester... by far. (We’re still married.)

I always wanted to work in the movies. My graduate program at Stanford got me an internship at MGM and I worked on TV specials with Dr. Seuss and Chuck Jones (creator of the Road Runner). I became good friends with both of them. Later I wrote for the Wonderful World of Disney. I left Hollywood for a while and worked for Eastman Kodak as an Instructional Designer, Bank of America as manager of their TV studios, Hewlett Packard Television as manager of their creative group, and Apple computer as manager of learning technologies. When my boss at Apple went to Hollywood, she took me with her. I was back working in Hollywood again... but was still able to live in the San Francisco area.

I commuted to LA every week and used the accumulated miles to visit Europe a lot. That’s why some of my books have realistic European settings. At Paramount Pictures I designed Internet entertainment and built Hollywood-style training simulations for the military. Through all of this I was writing novels, but I could never get them published even though my friend Dr. Seuss worked with his publishers on my behalf. I found a tech publisher and sold lots of books about the technology on which I worked, but that wasn’t really what I wanted to do.

When I left Paramount I started writing novels so that I could build my own worlds. My first sci-fi novel was about a high tech simulation like the ones I worked on for the army, but this simulation had futuristic technology and was invaded by vampires. I first called it Virtual Vampires but eventually published it as Bloody Bess and the Doomsday Games.

I also wrote other horror novels inspired by Stephen King's deep, creepy characters. Now, I work with a writing partner, John Pesqueira and even though I do all the writing, his participation in story development makes things much simpler. I love creating characters and letting them tell me where the story should go.

These days, my favorite person is Esteban Dorantes who is the driving force in our newest novel Esteban’s Quest. I tell a lot more about my writing experiences and ideas in my blogs at http://www.nickiuppawrites.com and http://www.nickiuppawrites.com

Interview:

What makes you proud to be a writer from San Francisco, Silicon Valley? San Francisco gives me a built-in atmosphere for my stories. Everyone loves the place. So it’s easy for me to write about exotic locations all within driving distance. It has also given me entre to Hollywood, Stanford University, the Sierra Nevada mountains, and the surrounding desert. I also worked for several high tech companies so I can add that element into my stories. And this locale rounds out my experience growing up in Upstate New York and going to college in the Midwest.

What or who inspired you to become a writer? My father was a well-know doctor and a world war two hero. But I could tell that he really wanted to become a writer. He talked all his life about the books he wanted to write. But he died relatively young and never got a chance to do it.

When did you begin writing with the intention of becoming published? When I was in grade school I wrote a book that the nuns told me they wanted to get published but never did. When I developed a fast friendship with Dr. Seuss, I tried to get several children’s books published. But it wasn’t until I retired that I decided to write full time and make a concerted effort to get published. I had written and had published (By Focal Press) many technical books, but I really didn’t like doing non-fiction. Writing fiction is what I really enjoy.

Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing, and did you use it to your advantage? I still set parts of my books in Upstate New York. I feel that I know the area very well and can write to the time and place and create that period.

Do you come up with your title before or after you write the manuscript? I came up with the title Management by Guilt, in the 70s and then wrote the book. It was my biggest success, picked up by Fawcett Books and released by them in paperback. I’d like to say I never come up with the title first, but in fact all 3 of the Alicia books started as titles before I even knew what they were about.

Please introduce your genre and why you prefer to write in that genre? I love writing horror novels. I was afraid of the Horror genre all my life, never went to horror movies, had nightmares all the time, which is why I may be good at writing it. I’ve written several blogs about this topic and they are up on my blog site. I wrote an autobiographical novel and showed it to famous screenwriter Bill Idelson. The only chapter he liked was the one in which I told how my grandmother always reminded me of a witch and how I was scared to death of her. In the novel I wrote under his direction I explore our relationship under the assumption that she was one of the most powerful witches who ever lived. Several people read my horror novels and suggested that I try the genre Magical Realism. It brings supernatural elements into everyday life. Esteban’s Quest is far more magical realism than horror.

How many published books do you have? I have published seven novels, six technical books and one humorous management-training book.

What was your inspiration, spark or light bulb moment that inspired you to write the book that you are seeking promotion for? My writing partner, John Pesqueira, mentioned a film he saw that portrayed Esteban Dorantes, the man who led the first quest for the Seven Cities Of Gold. He was an African slave, not a Spaniard. We did some research and found that he was a very interesting character. Then we wondered what would happen if he actually found the mythical land and came back to tell his great, great grandson how to get there. After that we just started adding supernatural and sci-fi elements, flying saucers, sandstorms, the devil, and on and on.

What has been your most rewarding experience with your writing process? I love rewriting. Getting the first draft of a chapter down is painful, but once it’s there I can polish endlessly, that may be why people tell me that my writing is so easy to read, because I polish it maybe twenty times before I think it’s okay.

Have you had a negative experience in your writing career? If so, please explain how it could have been avoided? All those rejection slips before I finally decided to self-publish.

What has been your most rewarding experience in your publishing journey? I put an e-mail link in the back of my books and asked readers to send messages if they liked the work. Every one of those messages that shows up is the greatest thing I can think of. Just like finding a new positive review on the amazon page, just like holding one of my books in my hand for the first time.

What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors? A good, original story is everything. And they can probably build one from their own experience or personal dreams or nightmares. It has to be unusual and simple, something that readers can grasp in a single sentence. But almost as important, are good characters. It’s easy to write shallow characters who are only in the story to make something happen. You need complex character who may have doubts about everything they do. That complexity is what catches the readers’ attention.

Who is your favorite author and why? Stephen King, because of the depth of understanding he provides for his characters. Also his book On Writing is a manual on how to write. I follow religiously.

Is there anything else that you would like to share with us? There are mountains of background details in my blogs. I try to make them short stories about my experiences in Hollywood and as a writer. Also, I almost died of some lung disease when I was 25. That was the subject of my first bio novel, which I later rewrite as the witch horror story I told you about. However, I really don’t like to talk or write about that period of my life and promised at the start of my blog that I wouldn’t deal with it.

Please add questions and the answers to any questions that you believe your readers would like to know.
  1. Do I ever fall in love with my female characters? Every damn time.
  2. How hard is it to kill off characters you love? It’s murder in every sense of the word.
  3. How erotic your novels? My editors hold me down or there would be much more sex. Alicia is a little sexy. Bloody Bess has several very sexy scenes, and some very romantic ones. Some of my as yet unpublished novels are much more erotic.
  4. Do you write romance novels? I read them for background, but there is generally too much action and adventure and horror for my novels to be considered pure romance.