Thursday, May 31, 2012

Welcome to the My Favorite Reads Giveaway Hop

Hello Muses (Nope Not Fallen Friends anymore :-D)

       It's that time again. And you know what I'm talking about. Giveaways! There are so many going on at the Muse this month, I'm not sure if I'll be able to keep up. Once again, I'm proud to be taking part in the My Favorite Reads Blog Hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not a Writer and Rachelle's Writing Spot. As with all of my contests, this one is open internationally!

     This time our giveaway features one of my favorite reads. And if you're a Cassandra Clare, Veronica Roth, or Julie Kagawa fan, then you are going to love this one! The winner will get to choose one ebook (Amazon or B&N) of their choice from either the Mortal Instruments, Divergent, or Julie Kagawa Iron Fey series. It doesn't have to be the ones pictured below. The thumbnails are there to represent each one of the exciting series.

     So you know what to do. Fill out the rafflecopter found below the book descriptions and have fun visiting the Seraphine Muse!

Technical Note: For some reason you will have to click on the post title to get the rafflecopter to show up. I'm working to fix this issue and am really not sure why it's happening. Thanks everyone.

Yours in Prose,

The Prizes:

A Cassandra Clare eBook of your choice:

A Julie Kagawa eBook of your choice:


A Veronica Roth eBook of your choice:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Spotlight on Morbid Seraphic Contributing Author Dominique Goodall

Hello Fallen Friends,

Welcome to Day 4 of our spotlight on the wickedly talented contributing authors of the Morbid Seraphic Anthology by Crushing Hearts & Black Butterfly Publishing. Today I'm happy to have author Dominique Goodall visiting the Seraphine Muse. She is the author of the short story From Hell, a horror short story.

If you're a fan of werewolves with a touch of horror woven into the mix, then you'll love Ms. Goodall's story. Get prepared to be frightened, but intrigued. And when you get to the surprise ending, there's a moral waiting to be discovered that should carry with you for some time after finishing it.

I admired the guts of Ms. Goodall's story. She does not mind being mean to her characters. But she still manages to show the humane side of them at the same time, a balance that many writers struggle to achieve. Read From Hell and don't forget to turn out the lights as you do. I dare you.

My rating: 4 wings

SM: What inspired you to write your first book?

Oddly enough, it was a program about dogs in the womb that I saw on TV. They explored the history of wolves- and oddly enough the first character and his introduction fell out fully formed. It was left to simmer for a long while before NaNoWriMo 2011 came around and I was inspired to write and finish it. It was the best thing I’ve ever written, and so far I have a lot more ideas on what I’d like to write in the future. (After finishing the series, as Echoes of Winter isn’t a standalone novel.)
My story for Morbid Seraphic was completely different- featuring demonic canines in a satanistic ritual which was fun – mainly because I was able to explore the darker side of my mind, and create a story which is ultimately about the betrayal of trust. You should never trust a creature that’ll eat you as soon as look at you- even with the sacrifice of someone a lot darker than you are.

SM: How did you come up with the title?

From Hell is the title of my Morbid Seraphic story, named for the fact that the mixtemque and hellhounds which feature are from there. The creatures mentioned are formidable, true foes of each other and all those who appeal to them for power which they never receive. Echoes of Winter is the sort of title I wanted for my novel, as it opened up a series for me with like-themed names. I’ve always loved names which do tell you what features, in a rather unusual name as long as it fits in well with the scene.
What books have most influenced your life most?

I was influenced by David Clement-Davies and William Horwood, both writers who have also worked well to write books with wolves featuring as a large part. It was David Clement-Davies who inspired me to try and write initially, bringing my love of wolves to life properly. Stephen King and Dean Koontz are the only other authors that I really enjoy reading, as both create storylines which are darker and more likely to twist the mind than others.

SM: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

Jess Owen has, the author of the novel The Song of the Summer King, due out this summer. She has set scenes up where there aren’t humans, where the animals rule supreme and where all the characters, like my own, have been made to be more anthromorphic. Mia Castile is also a new author, her first book, Generation I really caught my attention- enough so that when I had to message her and ask how long until the sequel!

SM: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I learned that I could actually put my mind to it, and create a story that is almost scary in its intensity. I’m a great believer in all things to do with canines and writing personalities for characters, along with maintaining quirks, voice and personality in a variety of ways over so many characters for however long the story demands being written for. I also learned that some characters will take hold of the story and drag it the way they want to go- making you their bitch until they are satisfied.

SM: What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life?

Research wise, my main challenge was in retaining the elements of believability in my writing. Despite writing certain parts, in any manuscript I’ve had to keep things realistic. Echoes of Winter contains wolves which are bigger than those we see now, but still about right for the environments. Literary wise, I’ve had to make sure that nothing I’ve written is plagiarizing someone else has worked on.

My only problem psychologically was making sure to keep the mood appropriate and make sure that the right characters get hated. There is nothing worse than hating a character then realizing they are the hero.

SM: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Always try. It doesn’t matter if you work or not, everyone can write a book. Make sure you don’t just leave it hanging though. If you feel it could be published…then apply, apply and apply. You WILL get there eventually, and if you don’t then after X amount of rejections…just review your manuscript. Enjoy what you write. That’s the essential part of things; always remember to have fun with what you right! If you don’t enjoy it, no one else will!

SM: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Be honest. If you like something that I’ve written, find me and tell me. I’m available just about anywhere- be it on Facebook, twitter or on a blog.

And Now Ms. Goodall has a special treat for us. An excerpt from her upcoming novel.

Here is part of Spring Surrender, book two for Seasons of the Wolf.

‘It must have been a dream. That’s all the she-wolf could think as she walked through the still forest, filled only with the scents of her pack. She could almost see them running ahead of her, the soft fur of the two twins, Apollo and Artemis, glowing in the light from the moon. Baker was ahead with them, the tan outlines on her legs flashing in front of her eyes, Frazer’s heavier body alongside her own, Jessie and Vhenan just behind her. She was awash in her pack, the scents and sounds stilling her mind so her body could perform effortlessly.

It was only when she felt the sudden wash of breeze against her fur that she actually woke up. She growled softly before standing up and stretching, stepping over Jessie so she could go and drink. As she bent her head to the stream, she paused before drinking, looking at the changes in her body. She’d gained weight and confidence, and it showed in the way she held herself.

After she sated the stirrings of hunger in her stomach with the water, she shook. There was something…satisfying about a shake when you’d just woken up. When Singer sneezed, she inhaled water from where she was perched too close to the water. She frowned afterwards as water dripped from her chin, and she shivered. A paw swiped across the damp fur dealt with that – and it was then that she felt the tiniest tug on that innate leash, tying her to this area.

A pic of a few of Ms. Goodall's writing buddies:

Thank you, Dominique, for taking the time to connect with the Seraphine Muse's wonderful readers today. I wish you the best of luck in all of your writing endeavors and feel free to come back and visit us anytime!

If you'd like to find out more about Author Dominique Goodall, she can be found on the following sites:


Author page on Facebook:

The page for Echoes of Winter:



Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Spotlight on Morbid Seraphic Author Jana Boskey

Hello Fallen Friends,

    Welcome to Day 3 of our spotlight on the wickedly talented contributing authors of the Morbid Seraphic Anthology by Crushing Hearts & Black Butterfly Publishing. Today I'm happy to have author Jana Boskey visiting the Seraphine Muse. She is the author of the short story For Death. If you're a fan of retellings of mythological tales then you'll adore Ms. Boskey's version of Hades and Persephone's life post-kinda happy ending. There's battles, emotional struggles, sacrifice, and of course...romance. Ahh. In my opinion, the characters in this story could move on to bigger battles and troubles in a series. There was so much room left over for expansion at the end, that you will also find yourself writing to Ms. Boskey and asking for more.

My rating of Jana's story For Death...

Interview with Author Jana Boskey

SM: Do you have a specific writing style? 

I won’t lie to you, I’m not really sure if I have a specific writing style. I go back and forth between POV’s, I use a bunch of different wording, to me it almost seems that each story I write is so vastly different from the other in terms of style. I’m not entirely sure what it is. My writing has been compared to other big name authors by people I’ve had read my stories, but I don’t see my writing style being like those authors.

SM: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life? 

All of my dialogue I use in my stories have either happened to me, and I change them slightly, or have come from hours of daydreaming and creating scenarios in my head what I would’ve have liked to say to people. I use conversations I’ve had to make the story more real to me so I’ll know exactly what to write and how the story should go. Since I write mainly paranormal none of the goings on in my stories have actually happened, though I desperately wish they had happened to me.

SM: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? 

I would say Michelle Zink, the author of the Prophecy of the Sisters trilogy, and a Temptation of Angels series. She did this thing on Thursdays where we would all send in a sample of writing and then comment on someone else’s writing, giving them feedback, and she would also comment on it. She was the first person to help me realize I have some kind of talent. She hasn’t been there through every minute of the past year, but I know that she is always there in spirit. She is a constant rock for me, and I know that if I ever need her she’d be there to talk me through everything. She’s one of the few authors I know that actually talk to her fans, and that’s what I treasure most about her.

SM: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? 

They aren’t new new, but Kendare Blake, the author of Anna Dressed in Blood. I read ADiB a few months ago and just adored it. I never expected that she was going to reveal what she did in that story, so many twists that I had no idea how it was going to end. Her writing is so exciting, never allowing for a dull moment in her book. She’s someone I would keep an eye on, I can see her getting pretty big!

SM: Can you share a little of your current work with us? 

I’m currently working on a trilogy with Cesya Cuono, the author of Elemental Reality. I don’t want to give away too much, since it’s still in the very early stages of development, but it revolves around Greek mythology, and a few very important goddesses. Think of Sweet Venom meets Percy Jackson, with all the twists and turns of the House of Night series.

SM: Do you have any advice for other writers? 

Never give up. I know it’s cliché and something most every author says, but it’s true. No matter how many challenges you have, no matter how many people that tell you can’t, no matter the amount of doubts you have in your mind; never lose sight of what you truly want. It isn’t only talent that helps you, or the story line, it is perseverance that makes someone successful. Never forget what you want, and always remember that you can do it, no matter how many odds are against you. You. Can. Do. It.

SM: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? 

If people actually read my stories then I would like to say thank you, above all else. Knowing that other people, excluding my friends and family, have read my work makes me extremely happy and feel very humble. If you liked what you read then I want to say, once again, thank you. It’s a scary thing, to send in your work, and sit at your computer waiting and wondering. So many questions fly through your head, ‘Do they even like it?’, ‘Am I really a good writer, or am I just fooling myself?’, ‘What if they don’t choose it, how will I handle this rejection?’. I’ve have so many heart attacks waiting for replies, and have never had to answer that last question, but I know it’ll come eventually, and I’m prepared for that. So when I get good reviews, or people tell me that I’m a great writer, a part of me takes that in and revels in the feel of it all. To know other people enjoy your work is a feeling that I can’t even describe. Others may get a big head, but me, I become happier with my life and where it’s going. And for the readers of my stories, you’re part of that happiness, something that I have lost over time but am slowly regaining. For that, I am forever in your debt.

SM: What is your favorite type of food? 

I had to choose this question. (SM: Excellent Choice, btw)  I love Italian. Pasta, pizza, calzones, I just love it all. I could live on Olive Gardens’ alfredo for the rest of my life.

Who is your favorite book boyfriend? 

There are so many that I can hardly count, but I must say I have a particular weak spot for emotionally broken men. Something about being able to fix and help someone heal makes me feel all warm. So my book boyfriend I would say would have to be Acheron from Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunters series. Ash is about as broken as you can get, and yet he still acts selflessly even though inside a war is waging. I am absolutely in love with Acheron, and it has nothing to do with that fact he is described as a sex god, even though that plays a part. If you haven’t read the book Acheron, read it, and you’ll why I love him, as there are too many reasons to list.

Places where you can stalk Jana online:

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Spotlight on Lisa Goldman Contributing Author in Morbid Seraphic

Hello Fallen Friends,

Today we continue with our spotlight on Morbid Seraphic authors. I'm very honored to have Lisa Goldman, the contributing author of the short story Illusions, visiting with us today. Now, on to the interview.

Hi Lisa. I must say that after I read the story Illlusions, I felt there couldn't have been a better title for the story. The characters had motives, goals, were well-layered and I didn't see the end coming at all. I guess it's safe to say that you had me caught up in the Illusion. LOL. This is a great story with a strong message. With so many books for teenagers geared toward glamorizing the one element the main character, Hannah, had to face in this story, it was refreshing to read one that took a different approach.

SM: What inspired you to write your first book?

I haven’t wanted to write since I could pick up a pencil as some authors tell you. In fact, when I was in high school, I was a math geek. I had six credits of math in four years and then went onto college and studied to teach math, which I had for a few years. While in college, I had a fantastic English teacher who inspired me to dabble in writing but it wasn’t until I had my kids that I really started to write. I used to watch a lot of TV in my spare time but I got bored with it. Then I read book after book until one day I woke up and decided to write Black Legacy. I wrote it in third person, took some online writing courses, rewrote it in first person and now, am editing it.

SM: Do you have a specific writing style?

I have two. The first is very simple: I usually write in first person.  The second is related to some of my favorite books.  Think of the Hunger Games, Immortal Instrument or Vampire Academy series where the author leaves a cliffhanger—something so shocking—at the end of a chapter that you can’t put the book down and are still reading in the early morning hours.  I love these types of books and likewise, I try to use this technique in my novels.

SM: How did you come up with the title?

My story in Morbid Seraphic is Illusions. I researched the angel and demons who appear in the book and their names are very specific but as for the title of the story, it didn’t come to me until I finished writing it. As with the definition of illusion, things aren’t as they seem from the beginning of my story but all will be revealed by the end.

SM: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Often my stories will have a central theme about prejudices, bullying or being true to yourself. Illusions is not an exception. Near the beginning of the story the main character, Hannah, reads a framed inspirational quote that says ‘don’t judge a book by its cover.’ It’s symbolic for the story in more than one way.

SM: What book are you reading now?

Most instances I’m reading more than one book at a time. Currently, that list is only two: Dark Light, an anthology which includes my short story Spider Whisper, and The Girl who Kicked the Hornets Nest by Stieg Larsson.

SM: What are your current projects?

I have strong outlines for a few short stories and a vaguer one for an anthology that is a collaboration from the authors in the Goodreads Paranormal and Horror Lovers group that I moderate. The anthology’s theme is based on distinct or cultural creatures. I put all of the short stories on hold until I finish editing my novel, Black Legacy, which is loosely based on a demon hunting society made of supernatural beings. I have its sequel, Keeper of the Spirits and part of the third book in the series written. There will be five, possibly six, novels total.

SM: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

I have four children and can tune out a lot of noise.  But finding time when it’s not too loud can sometimes be challenging. At the moment they are all in school but with summer just around the corner, it will be changing. Then I’ll get up insanely early to write.

SM: Do you have any advice for other writers?

If you really want to be an author, keep writing and reading. I have a friend who I met through NaNoWriMo, which is a contest where we try to write a 50,000 word novel in the November. I’ve meet my goal for the past two years. She hadn’t and admitted that she hadn’t fully committed herself.  I often compare her writing instance with a marathon. You need to stayed trained and commit to it each day even if it is only for thirty minutes. Sometimes, when life gets busy this gets hard, but if you strive you will succeed. 

SM: What is your favorite type of food?

My guilty addition is diet coke and chocolate. I don’t go crazy with it but need one of each a day.

Thank you Lisa for taking time to connect with the Seraphine Muse's wonderful readers today. I wish you the best of luck in all of your writing endeavors and feel free to come back and visit us anytime! 

You can stalk Lisa on the following sites …

Goodreads author page:
Goodreads Paranormal and Horror Group page:

Monday, May 28, 2012

Introducing Debut Author Nathan Squires

Nathan Squiers (The Literary Dark Prince)

Author of the short story, "S(a)TAN", from S.K. Whiteside's Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing anthology, Morbid Seraphic., as well as the Crimson Shadow series (book #1, "Noir", available now) and Death Metal (debuting from CH&BB in the Fall of 2012).

From Crimson Shadow: Noir's "ABOUT THE AUTHOR":

Nathan Squiers (The Literary Dark Prince) is a resident of upstate New York where he lives with his loving fiancé and two demonic beings that have, for the time being, chosen to disguise themselves as cats (incredibly demanding and out-of-control cats). Living day-by-day on a steady diet of body modification and potentially lethal doses of caffeine, he often escapes reality through novels, comics & manga, movies & anime, and (of course) his own writing. When he's not immersed in the realm of fiction (be it his own or someone else's), he can be found in the chair of a piercing studio/tattoo parlor or reacquainting himself with the real world (more often-than-not against his will). Visit Nathan and find out more about him and his work at

Let's Take a Moment to Get to Know the Literary Dark Prince

SM: Do you have a specific writing style?

~I'd say I write in a very visually gritty style. Life rarely is straight-forward and clean, and I see no reason to soften punches or tone down situations to numb just how gruesome things can get. I feel that readers understand this and, to some extent, feel cheated when an author cushions a situation simply to avoid offending them (in many ways, that's an even greater insult--to assume that people need to be protected from what they know in their hearts to be an undeniable truth). The same can be said for characters. People swear, people bleed, people are insane and tortured and sadistic. There's no reason to paint pictures of the perfect character, because if they're spotless in appearance and in psyche, chances are they have no history (and EVERYONE has a history). That being said, reality can be a tad boring, so I like to spice it up with a little supernatural gnarliness ;-)

SM: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
~I always approach a story with a theme or lesson that can be ascertained while reading it. For my story with Morbid Seraphic, "S(a)TAN", I wanted to take an otherwise mysterious character from my Crimson Shadow series and give him a dark backstory that mimicked biblical lore, but glorified who normally would be construed as the villain.
The idea of abandoning one's faith and community often elicits a negative response, and most (especially those with religious or social ties) may feel victimized in the process. However, with "S(a)TAN", I wanted to reverse the stereotypical perspective of "right" and "wrong".
One of the biggest things I've learned as a writer is that anybody can be made into a hero and anybody can be made into a villain, it's all a matter of who gets the spotlight in the story being told. I wanted to show a social pariah and a religious outcast as a hero.

SM: What are your current projects?
~I'm currently working on polishing the manuscript for book #2 of the Crimson Shadow series as well as some short stories that are tied in with the series. Outside of the series, I have the first book of Death Metal to (*ahem*) revamp, as well as a sequel to plan for it. Then, as always, are my comic book scripts.

SM: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
~My writing is very visual and inspired by the stylized movements in anime and comic books. Because of this, I often find myself searching for the proper sequence of words to depict the scene I see in my mind onto the page.

SM: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
~Only in my mind.
           SM:  That's quite all right. We're all armchair travelers at some point. :-D

SM: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
~I'd say that my writing teaches me to see the world from other perspectives. I know that sounds sort of obvious, but it's always enlightening to experience an event--even if it's scripted--through a different point of view. I feel very blessed in that regard; not many can live multiple lives at such a young age.

SM: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
~I'd want to let all my readers know that they're my reason for every word I write. Writing saved my life a while ago, and I vowed that it was what I was going to do with the time it had bought me. As any artist will tell you, they work for their audience, so any who read my work represent a portion of my purpose. Because I don't believe in calling my readers "fans"--a term I've always disliked--I'm honored to call any who follow my work as members of "The Legion" (playing along with The Literary Dark Prince theme). That said, I welcome any and all to be a part of The Legion.

SM: What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life?
~About two-years' worth of paranormal and mythological research was spent in developing the creatures in the Crimson Shadow universe. Past that, I had to do some research in biology and psychology to be sure things were realistic in how I approached telling the story. For "S(a)TAN", I needed to study and map-out the sequences and themes associated with biblical lore.

SM: Do you have a song that you'd consider the theme for your novel?
~For Crimson Shadow: Noir, I'd have to say it's a tossup between Chevelle's "The Red" and Hollywood Undead's "I Don't Wanna Die". For "S(a)TAN", I'd have to say the best song would be "I'm Only Human Sometimes" by William Control.

Thank you Nathan for visiting the Seraphine Muse today. I'm happy to have you as my co-contributor in the Morbid Seraphic anthology and wish you all the success with the Crimson Shadow Series. Be sure and take come back tomorrow to meet the lovely Lisa Goldman, contributing author of the short story Illusions.

Where to find Nathan"s Works online:

Purchase Morbid Seraphic:

Introducing Morbid Seraphic by Crushing Hearts & Black Butterfly Publishing

“Publishing for the Darkest of Hearts”

If you haven’t already heard, there’s an intriguing new publisher on the horizon. They are called Crushing Hearts & Black Butterfly Publishing, owned by Sarah Jane Davis. Is that not a super cool brand name? If you take time to browse through their catalogue, you’ll find intriguing covers, a wealth of diverse stories ranging from ghostly to angelic to the sinister & vampiric. And with a motto like publishing for the darkest of hearts, I have no doubt that the stories presented to readers will live up to such a claim.

A few months ago, I was fortunate enough to have a chance to chat with the charming owner, S.J. Davis. I sent her a note on goodreads and told her that I was going to submit my short story for her consideration. I was so excited that I didn’t stop to think how I probably shouldn’t be stalking publishers online and spamming them. But Ms. Davis took it all in good stride and politely responded to my email. Later, I thought: “Wow. Next time you really should go through the proper channels.” 

On May 1st, CHBB Publishing released Morbid Seraphic, the second of two hypnotic anthologies containing a collection of wonderfully written stories. This brings me to the exciting introduction of the Seraphine Muse’s first official spotlight week. Over the next six days, you will get to meet a different author from the Morbid Seraphic collection. There’ll be interviews, excerpts, bios…the good stuff. Plus, you’ll have the chance to win an epic swag pack that contains: a paperback copy of Morbid Seraphic and the Dark Light anthology, bookmarks, a gorgeous CHBB pen (to make your blogger friends jealous), a $10 gift card to either Barnes&Noble or Amazon, and one last surprise that will be revealed at the end of the contest. Is that an awesome swag pack, or what? So hit the button that says “Spotlight on CHBB Publishing” and let’s get the party started with an interview from Nathan Squires’s. 

Visit CHBB Publishing Online at:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The 2nd Annual Splash Into Summer Giveaway Hop!

Hello Fallen Friends,

    Today we're splashing into summer with a blog hop hosted by I Am A Reader Not A Writer. As with all of my contests, this one is open internationally!

The lucky winner of this hop will get to choose between one of the three fabulous ebooks listed below. What a way to start summer, right? Sitting beside the pool or by the ocean, enjoying a super cool read. Just fill out the rafflecopter found below the book selections and have fun!

On to the prizes:

Inescapable by Amy Bartol

Predestined by Abbi Glines -OR-

The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Interview & Spotlight with Deadly Eyes Author Michael Meyer

Making Connections Presents


James Cuffy, better known as Cuff, is living in paradise with his girlfriend, on the small Caribbean island of St. Croix, where the sky is as blue as Cuff's eyes, the ocean as pretty as Rosie's cheeks, where the gentle lapping of the waves is a lullaby, and the swaying of the palm trees is a dance. The sandy beaches are as white as sugar, and the horizon is a world away. St. Croix indeed is paradise, the perfect place for living, laughing, and loving.

But the sandy beaches and the turquoise sea can provide no cover from the deadly eyes of the unknown stalker pursuing Cuff. Murder leads to murder as he attempts to untangle the terrible web in which he has suddenly become entangled.

The twists and turns are relentless, the roads of the fast action leading in all directions, but time is running out, and Cuff, his faithful Rosie at his side, knows it.


These were not naked eyes, for the distance between these eyes and the beach bar at Cathy’s Fancy was too great for the naked eye to discern who was who. No, these eyes had planned meticulously. The eyes were glued to a pair of terribly expensive and unbelievably powerful Swarovski Optik binoculars. The balcony on which they now worked, taking in the scene before them, was the perfect place to see but not be seen. The powerful binoculars saw to that.

The distance, the palm trees, and the rays of the sun all helped. The position had been hand picked, after careful consideration. Every angle had been considered, and, one by one, they had all been discarded for one reason or another until this very spot, the perfect place to observe while not being observed, had been selected.

Yes, the eyes had seen it all. The eyes had seen precisely what they had hoped to see. They were like a master puppeteer. They planned, controlled, and observed, but from a safe distance. They did not miss a trick.

The eyes. The deadly eyes of St. Croix.

A Little about Michael Meyer:

I have resided in and have visited many places in the world, all of which have contributed in some way to my own published writing. I have literally traveled throughout the world, on numerous occasions. I have lived in Finland, Germany, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, on the island of St. Croix, where DEADLY EYES is set. I gained the wanderlust to see the world, to experience other cultures, at an early age, and this desire has never left me. If anything, it has only gained in intensity as I have aged. I try to travel internationally at least once a year. In the interim, I spend lots of time traveling around both my home state of California and other nearby states.

I spent my early years in the small town of Lone Pine, California, the home of almost every western movie, in addition to a wide variety of other genres, made in the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s. In fact, Hollywood still films parts of big-time movies there today. My dad, the town’s lifeguard at the time, personally knew John Wayne, Lloyd Bridges, and Lee Marvin, all of whom came to the town’s pool, the Memorial Plunge, at times to cool off after a hectic day of working in the sun. I was even an extra in a movie filmed there in 1957, MONOLITH MONSTERS, a B-cult favorite even today. I was ten years old at the time. Even though I resided in a small town hours from the big city, I was exposed to the excitement of action and heroes at a formative age, and, thus, my interest in writing novels of suspense such as DEADLY EYES was born.

As a recent retiree from a forty-year career as a professor of writing, I now live in Southern California wine country with my wife, Kitty, and our two other cats.

And now for something special. An interview with our spotlighted author!

How did you come up with the title? DEADLY EYES, I believe, is the perfect title for my Caribbean mystery. Life is indeed paradise on the small Caribbean island of St. Croix for Cuff, a laid-back transplant from the states, and his feisty girlfriend, Rosie, until the eyes of an unknown stalker ruthlessly pursue him for an unknown, but very deadly, reason.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life? Everything I write about comes from my own head, but bits and pieces of people, events, and places I have known have found a home in my books. I was an English professor at the University of the Virgin Islands, St. Croix campus, for four years, and I literally fell completely in love with the Caribbean, the calypso and reggae, the swaying palm tress, the white sandy beaches, and the casual island lifestyle. It is the perfect place to set a haunting mystery.

What books have most influenced your life most? I am a very eclectic reader. Most probably everything I have read has had some type of influence on me.

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members. I love life, and I try to live to the absolute fullest. I have traveled extensively throughout the world, having lived in a wide variety of places in the world: Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and the Caribbean. Every place I have visited has had some impact on me and on what ends up in my books.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? I miss terribly interacting with Cuff and Rosie, the main characters of DEADLY EYES, on a daily basis. I loved creating the repartee that comes between them. Though romantically linked, they remind me in a way of Maureen O’Hara and John Wayne, she being able to stand up to him in a way that most others could not. If I had to change anything, I would slow down the writing process, not wanting to come to the finish line. I miss them, but they are now happily living with their siblings on Amazon Kindle.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? I hate to come to the end of a book. I feel as if each of my books is my baby, and when they leave my nest, it saddens me, though I know that they have to now live on their own.

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)? I have traveled extensively throughout my entire life. There are few counties that I have not visited. The settings and locales of all of my novels are true. For instance, all of the local color in DEADLY EYES, and there is a lot, is authentic, since I actually lived on the island of St. Croix.

What was the hardest part of writing your book? Saying goodbye to it. I love the actual act of writing. I have never felt that it was work. I hope to write until I die. I love working with language, bringing people and places alive.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it? For DEADLY EYS, I learned, and I am speaking the honest truth here, that I fell madly in love with Cuff’s girlfriend, Rosie. She is sexy, smart, feisty, and quite independent.
Do you have any advice for other writers? Write what you would like to read, and be a reader as you write, not knowing precisely where things will lead in the end. Enjoy yourself. Have fun.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? The lifeblood for an Indie writer such as myself is word-of-mouth advertising. If you like my work, please let others know. Post reviews on my Amazon site and anywhere else you deem appropriate. I am a writer, not a salesperson. I am not very good at tooting my own horn. I depend upon others to toot for me. I have just set up a new Pinterest author’s page, and I would love to have readers repin my pins:

Do you have a song that you'd consider the theme for your novel? DEADLY EYES is a Caribbean mystery. If any one song could be used as a theme, it would be the Bob Marley classic, “Three Little Birds,” which, by the way, make it into DEADLY EYES. “Don’t worry, about a thing. Every little thing is going to be all right….”


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Monday, May 21, 2012

Promo Spotlight for Helens of Troy by Janine McCaw

by Janine McCaw


“The Gilmore Girls meet Buffy the Vampire Slayer”

Fifteen year old Goth-chic Ellie has a lot of explaining to do. She’s just moved to the small town of Troy, fought with her uptight mother Helen, met the boy of her dreams and found a dead body on her sexy “new-age” grandmother Helena’s porch.  All on the first night!

But Ellie’s not alone. Helen is hiding something. Helen knows all about the kind of eerie dreams her daughter is having — the dreams that show the whereabouts of the missing children of Troy — because she’s had them herself. But she’ll never admit it. Not while Ellie’s sex-crazed friend Ryan is safely behind bars for the murders. Helen knows what it’s like to be attracted to dangerous men.

Then there’s the little matter between Helena and Gaspar BonVillaine, the teenaged vampire who is learning to feed on young prey. Now that he’s caught Ellie, he doesn’t know whether he wants to kill her or turn her to the dark side and keep her forever. Helena should have finished him off when she had the chance.

To survive the vampire feeding frenzy surrounding them, mom Helen needs to come to terms with her own insecurities and deal with the gifts she has. Helena must learn to ground herself for the good of mankind and more importantly her own family. And Ellie has the toughest choice of all. Ellie must decide whether its time to let her own childhood go and become the woman she is destined to be, one of the ageless and timeless “Helens of Troy”.

Author Janine McCaw (Olivia’s Mine, Feb. 2006,) has written this 100,000 word novel, the first in a fantasy series about “the Helens”. The three generations of gatekeepers will take the reader on a trip to a realm mere mortals fear to visit alone, and they’ll make her want to stay a while. 

Excerpt from Helens of Troy:


Helena LaRose dragged the body out of the house and rolled it up and across the canopied swing on her front porch. First went the feet, then the torso. By the time she got to its flailing head, the rules of motion took over, and the corpse moved itself. Its weight caused the creaky three-seater bench with the weathered cushions to rock, hitting Helena straight in the kneecaps as it swung forward.

“Easy there, Sport,” she said, reaching forward and slowing the swing to a halt. “There will be no swingers on the porch tonight. I’ve got a reputation to maintain.” If the corpse was trying to get one more kick at her, it would have to do better than that.

Taking a step back to observe her handiwork, Helena knew that something wasn’t quite right in Deadville. “I should have thought more about this,” she said to herself, struggling to prop the body upright. “He’s just not a looker.” His lifeless arms flopped around her, hitting her in the head. “Son of a bitch,” she sighed.

She brushed back a strand of dark hair that had fallen in front of her eyes, and put her hands on her hips in exasperation. Moving cadavers around had certainly been a lot easier when she was younger.

“Do you need some help there, Helena?” asked the old man who had been silently viewing the entire scene from the sidewalk. “I don’t think he’s obeying the laws of physics. I’m pretty sure dead weight isn’t supposed to move around.”

She jumped. There was nothing worse than being caught in the act. She had hoped to keep things undercover a little longer. Timing never had been her thing.

She turned and gave her neighbor a wary smile. “I’m afraid you’re going to have to sit in the rocker today, Mr. Wagner. I know you’d prefer to stretch out on the swing for a bit of a rest on your afternoon walk, but it’s occupied at the moment.”

“So I see,” Mr. Wagner said, taking it all in stride. He sat down in the pine rocking chair next to his usual spot. “I guess I could break from my routine just for today.”

“Thank you,” Helena replied.

Mr. Wagner glanced at the body and pouted. “You’ve covered him with my blanket. The one you always give me to use. Do you think you can get me another one? I’d take it from him, but there’s just something unsettling about using a blanket that has covered a dead guy.”

“I’ve got another blanket ready for you, Mr. Wagner. It’s in the front hall. Cotton. I know wool makes you itch. The newspaper is there, too. I’ll get them both for you.”

“Don’t get old, Helena,” he sighed. “It’s a bitch. Stay young and beautiful like you are.”

Helena laughed. At fifty-eight, she was hardly young, but there was some kind of ageless beauty about her that was hard to dismiss.

“Young is a relative thing, but thanks, Mr. Wagner. How about I put the kettle on for us while I’m inside?”

“Can I have regular orange pekoe today?” he pleaded. “None of that herbal stuff?”

“Do you really think you should, Mr. Wagner? The anti-oxidant level is so much higher in the rooibos I blended for you.”

“Helena, stop being the naturopath that you are and give an old man a decent cup of tea. I’ll sign a waiver if you like. I rely on a little caffeine to keep my eighty-three year old heart pumping. I like coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon and a stiff shot of scotch at night. Write that down in case your doctor books don’t cover the real secret to a long life.”

“That won’t be necessary, Mr. Wagner,” she laughed. “Just don’t let it get around. It’s bad for my business. I spend a lot of time telling my clients that peppermint tea is the elixir of life. You’re right though, peppermint schnapps may be closer to the truth.”

“Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder,” he winked wryly, smirking at his pun. There was nothing wrong with Mr. Wagner’s mind. He was sharp as a tack.

Helena watched him stretch his age-spotted finger in the direction of the body.

“Your man there, he’s got a problem,” he announced. “His leg has slid down to the floor. They’re the first things to go, you know. Legs. For me it was the knees. Do you want me to make him sit up so the kids don’t trip over him later tonight?”

Helena didn’t hear him. She was staring towards the house, her mind evidently elsewhere.

“Hello? Earth to HEL-EY-NAH...” he said slowly, emphasizing each syllable of her name. “I SAID, do you want me to fix him? Are you going deaf? Do I have to shake you senseless? That’s what people do to me when I have my hearing aid turned down too low.”

He tugged at her skirt. A very short skirt that showed off her magnificently toned legs. He knew that would get her attention. It certainly got his. He might be an octogenarian, but certain things still worked. As much as that thought may have bothered some women—hell, it might have downright creeped them out—he often flirted with Helena and she didn’t seem to mind it in the least.

Helena turned her head back towards him. “I’m so sorry, Mr. Wagner. Honestly, I don’t know where my head is today. I had all this running around to do this morning, even before I got started getting the house spooked-out for tonight. I guess I tired myself out, putting up all the Halloween decorations. If you could help me with the body, that would be wonderful.”

“I like the cobwebs you put up. You didn’t have to buy them though, I have plenty at home I could have lent you.”

Expecting a witty comeback from her, Mr. Wagner was concerned when he didn’t get one. “Is everything okay, Helena?”

She cocked her head slightly and took a slow look around her front property. “Yes, although the hairs on the back of my neck seem to be a little over-active today. I can’t put my finger on why that is. It must just be the occasion. I love Halloween, don’t you, Mr. Wagner?”

“It’s a lot more fun since you moved onto the street,” he admitted.

“The house is really going to look spooky this year. I’ve rented some strobe lights and a fog machine from a special-fx place in the city. You’ll have to come by and see it tonight. I think it will be quite something.”

“I’m sure it will be. I’m a big fan of your Halloween house, you know that,” Mr. Wagner said. “I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

“Thanks, Mr. Wagner. I’m just a little worried. Most of the neighborhood kids are getting older now. They’re harder to impress.” She looked at her watch. “I thought I’d be done setting up by now, but Mr. Death-warmed-over, he’s just not co-operating.”

“Dead men are like that,” Mr. Wagner said.

“It’s not just the dead men,” Helena laughed.

About the Author:

HELENS-OF-TROY is the second novel completed by Janine McCaw.  For the Vancouver-based novelist it is the continuation of a dream, and the fruit of years of working in a different creative realm.

McCaw’s deep understanding of compelling plots, widely appealing characters, natural dialogue and strong story arcs comes directly out of her early career in the film and television industry. McCaw’s skills as an observer started early when her family uprooted from the City to small town Ontario – and she became the classic fish out of water.  Writing down her thoughts became an outlet as she scribbled her way through childhood, while she also developed her observational skills and visual eye with photography.  A die-hard hockey fan, McCaw studied Cinematography at Humber College, and was headed for a career as a cameraperson covering professional sports when she landed an internship in a broadcasting services company. 

McCaw excelled in the television distribution arena.  She joined Thomas Howe & Associates and moved with that company to Vancouver, where she distinguished herself with her talent for identifying the right product for the right market, and her people-skills in negotiating contracts. After furthering her professional development with several high-profile Canadian entertainment companies, she parlayed her reputation as a leading Cable Programming specialist into her own boutique firm.  Formed with a partner, Dark Horse Ent. specialized in finding, and selling, niche Canadian television series - entertainment, information and variety - around the Globe.  McCaw also acted as an independent executive producer on award-winning television Classic Car series,  CHROME DREAMS, and as a distributor for series including ENTRÉE TO ASIA, and AT HOME WITH HERBS.

In high demand as an insightful, humorous and engaging guest speaker, juror and analyst for festivals and trade forums around the country, McCaw also spent large amounts of time traveling abroad to television markets.  Writing relieved the stress of constantly being on the road.  Increasingly, she turned her main hobby into outlines for novels, and finished fleshing out the characters, plot and dialogue for OLIVIA’S MINE, a fictional account of a young bride’s struggle to make a life for herself against the backdrop of the disasters that hit Britannia Beach, British Columbia in the early 1900s.  The book was released in 2006 and continues to be sold at the British Columbia Museum of Mining.

HELENS-OF-TROY was released early in 2012.  McCaw is also currently developing eight other stories for novel form.  All set on the Pacific North West and in Canada’s North, they include the murder mystery A LITTLE FIRST DEGREE,  a feel-good trilogy THE INN AT HAZY WATERS (Northern Exposure meets Fantasy Island), and PUMPER an action romance that has already garnered interest as the basis for a feature film.     



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