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Friday, January 25, 2013

Cover Reveal: STEAM by Jessica Fortunato

Hello lovelies, I have a special treat for you in time for Valentine's Day:

Steam is a new short story from author Jessica Fortunato.  Also from Fortunato is The Sin Collector, The Sin Collector: Thomas and the short story Banished which can be found in the Nocturnal Embers Anthology.  She lives in Pittsburgh PA with her family and ever-growing menagerie of pets.
You can find Jessica:
Find Steam, exclusively for Kindle February 1st, 2013!
Charlotte Amelia Caprice may seem like an ordinary girl.  She has a job she hates, a boss she despises, and zero romantic prospects.   Her friends call her Charlie, when she can keep one for more than a few weeks.  Though Charlie may seem ordinary, she is anything but.  Charlie doesn’t have a heart.  Instead, she has a steam driven machine in her chest, always making her feel less than human.  Gears and pistons have been using her own body heat to pump her blood for over a decade.  There is one small problem.  Her heart is beginning to break. When Charlie meets a brilliant man, one who could save her life, she must choose between being heartless and being alive.  A simple choice for some, but for Charlie living on steam isn’t easy.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Excerpt: A Prescription for Delirium

Today I'm giving you the first chapter of my recently published novel "A Prescription for Delirium." A few weeks ago I gave you a playlist and the blurb has been on here several times. Now you get more of a taste. 

Hampton, TX, Present Day

Not five minutes in this backwater town and I had a demon sniffing my trail. He scanned the room with the nostrils of his wide nose flaring. His hair lay plastered against his forehead in greasy brown locks. He towered over everyone, even the people standing, as he squeezed between the large round tables and the gathering at the bar. The frayed threads of his jeans and his leather vest matched the dress of the rest of the roadhouse.

I lifted my drink to my mouth and shifted to my second sight. Most people say the eyes are the windows to the soul. Those people can’t see auras. The lights on the walls dimmed, and the air took on a gray haze, like seeing things under water. Colors bloomed out from each human in the building, blending together in a rainbow. The demon was another matter.

The shaggy black dog the size of a pony stood semi-imposed on all fours over the form of the man. Flames blazed from its eyes as it scanned the room. Was there really a dog walking through a busy Texas bar? No. Demons had no corporeal form and had to possess physical bodies. This one chose a werewolf. Dio, I had a hellhound on my ass.

Talk about bad timing. Ose already had some of his minions patrolling. If it found me, it would go running to its master to let him know I was in town. My hunt was in danger of ending before it even started.

Breathe, Gabby.

I leaned forward and let my black curtain of hair obscure my face. The lid of the salt shaker twisted off in my empty hand and I knocked it over, allowing the grains to spill on the floor. The salt should cover my scent. I slid closer to the group at the next table until I looked like I belonged with them.

One of the men grinned at me, his aura a happy yellow orange. “Hey babe.”

I nodded and raised my glass, but kept my gaze on the hellhound. He paused at a man at the bar who had caught my attention, or more his aura did. A ghostly image of a woman leaned over him, whispering in his ear. My hand tightened around the beer mug, but the mutt moved on. I relaxed. The colors around the people in the bar faded, as did the ghost woman when my sight returned to normal. The haze remained, more from cigarette smoke. I turned my head to the front of the bar. One window and one door were not much of an escape route. Fifty feet of inebriated patrons stood between me and freedom.

Two of the three men I had been waiting for walked through the door. A familiar tingle ran down my spine. For a moment, I flashed back to a dressing room, staring down another Romanian hunter. We’d come across the same prey, though he thought it was a vampire. I inhaled, bringing myself back to the present. This wasn’t the twenties, I wasn’t in Paris, and these brothers weren’t Dimitri.
Both had his chiseled features and his straight nose, though their hair was more of a burnt sienna. The one in front wore his cut short and had a tuft on his chin. He towered over his brother, which meant he would be a mountain compared to my small height. The other kept his hair tucked behind his ears. He stood with his arms crossed, wearing a smirk to let the world know he knew everything.
They cast their eyes over the room. The tall one adjusted the glasses on his face and approached the man sitting at the bar. Several women watched them as they passed. A smile touched my lips. The boys knew how to dress to make an impression. Their leather coats and slacks spoke of sophistication yet still provided enough flexibility to move if needed.

I stood and nodded at the boys who’d been trying to talk to me. Rude, but it was time to work. Besides, they were too young for me. I straightened my red tank top and brushed any wrinkles from my jeans. I couldn’t approach them looking like a guttersnipe. A stool opened up on the other side of them. I took the seat and tried to look casual while listening in on the brothers’ conversation. The bartender stood in front of me, waiting for an order.

I pointed to a beer and leaned back to get a better look at the third man. His back remained mostly to me, giving me a glimpse of his bearded cheek and a ponytail a shade darker in color than the other two. Brother number three. I inched forward to hear better over someone’s bad rendition of “Bad Moon Rising.”

“Ader.” The tall man spoke in Romanian. “Your prison sentence hasn’t ended yet.”

“I got out for being brilliant,” the man at the bar said without turning around.

“Does the warden know that?”  the third one asked. 

If I remembered correctly, this generation of Van Helsings had four boys. Adam, the oldest, had passed away ten years ago. So that left Esais, Adrian, and Tres. The smirking boy had to be Tres he looked the youngest. Was Ader short for Adrian? 

Ader chuckled. The warden didn’t have much of a say.”

Esais, the tall one, pinched the bridge of his nose and closed his eyes. He shook his head, letting out a long sigh as he looked at his brothers.

Honestly,” he said. First you end up in jail, and now you’re breaking out. You haven’t changed.”
“You expected me to?” Adrian asked.

"Why are you here?” Esais asked.

“Same reason as you. Revenge.”

Tres crossed his arms. “Why do you even care? You were never around when we needed you.”

Adrian turned to face his brothers, causing both of them to gasp. A patch covered his right eye while the other stared hard at Tres. Esais reached out to touch Adrian’s arm, but he pulled away.

“What happened?” Esais asked.

“Not important.” Adrian turned back to the bar. “Who were you told to meet?”

“A woman named Gabriella Di Luca.”

“Any idea what this woman looks like?”

Esais glanced in my direction with hesitation and opened his mouth. 

I cleared my throat, raising my hand in a small wave. “Buna seara.”

Adrian and Tres turned their heads with near identical expressions of distrust. They didn’t expect someone to speak their native language here. I was a stranger invading their family circle.

Who are you?” Adrian asked.


“Convenient.” The word dripped with sarcasm.

We didn’t have time for this. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up. My gaze traveled to the table-filled area further in the room. The hellhound’s wiry form had disappeared through a large door to the right. The atrocious singing wafted through there. This would be a perfect time to exit.

“We need to speak, but not here,” I said.

“We’re not going anywhere with you.” 

“Ader,” Esais said.

Adrian looked back at his brother. “We have no proof she is who she claims to be.”

“He’s right. You could be a demon,” Tres said.

“Then you already revealed yourselves with your conversation,” I said. “Look, how much do you know of demons?”

“I’ve read several books on the subject,” Esais said. “That question doesn’t answer our doubts.”
“Do I fit the description you were given?”

Esais adjusted his glasses before nodding.

“Then, can we leave? I may not be one, but there is a demon here.”

Two turned their heads, their muscles tensing as they scanned the bar while Adrian kept his eye on me. The hellhound stepped back into the room and turned his head in my direction. His gaze locked on me, and he began shoving his way through the crowded tables and chairs.

I stood. “Too late.”

Like what you read? Be sure to catch more from Gabriella in "A Prescription for Delirium" available NOW on AmazonBarnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Dresden Revisited

A year and a half ago I wrote a post about my enjoyment of the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. Now I can say I've worked my way through all the books. I finished "Cold Days" during the holidays. It took me two days and I want more.

Over the course of the books, you really see all the characters grow, and sometimes in not good ways. The events that happen really have effects on them. But the book that really made this evident was "Changes." After what took place, Harry's life, hell, life around the world would not be the same. Harry can't go back to living in his basement apartment with his cat. But you also see how "Changes" really affected those around him like Murphy and Molly. Both were irrevocably scarred from losing Harry and now that he's back, things aren't the same. And I love that.

In a lot of Urban Fantasy series, I see the following: solve mystery/defeat monster of the book/have same relationship argument/gain more power/but don't change as a character. It kind of gets boring. That's one of the reasons I like the Dresden series so much. It shakes things up to the core.

Don't get me wrong, Butcher does have a few writing quirks I don't like. For instance, in some part when Harry goes off on a tangent about something I can see Butcher putting himself in the books. Still, I love the story and that's what matters.

So, which series do you love and why?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Review: DEAD RECKONING by K.A. Prekins

Premise (Taken from Goodreads):
Dead Reckoning is an historical adventure of piracy, love and revenge in the Caribbean in the Seventeenth Century.
Leo is born in Spanish Panama in 1659. When he is 12 years old he witnesses the violent rape and murder of his mother by three of the Caribbean’s most feared pirates: Tarr, Blake and Hornigold, and swears revenge at all costs.
Gabriella is trapped in an abusive marriage to a ruthless Dutch slave trader, who is in business with the same English cut-throats. She risks all to escape with her life.
Follow their exciting story as they face threat and challenge on the Caribbean Seas and pursue their quest of revenge; a quest that leads to a terrifying conclusion. But whose head is in the noose?

Note: I received a copy of this book in trade for a fair review.

I never read the first book, however, that was not a problem. This book pulled me in. We start with Leo who makes a vow of revenge after witnessing the death of his mother. Then we switch to Gabriella, trapped in an abusive marriage. I could really feel for her and was rotting for her through the whole book. Though she had never known anything but abuse, her spirit wasn't broken. In fact, she has a will of steel and a fierce independence that led her in and out of trouble.

There is plenty of action as you are taken for a ride on the high seas with a crew of mostly lovable pirates. The only real issue I had with the book is I felt the explanation of sailing got too detailed and took away from the story at some points. Still, not enough for me to put down the book.

Overall: If you like pirate adventures with a flame of romance, then you should read this book.

Pick up your copy today at:

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Supernatural Hunting Armory: Knives and Swords

I know what you're thinking. Swords? How antiquated. But sometimes a bullet just won't cut it with a supernatural creature. I mean, have you ever seen a vampire die to bullet wounds? If so, it's rare. Sometimes you can accept no substitutions for a good beheading. And if whatever you're hunting is still alive after having its head removed from its shoulder, well, you should run.
A Bowie Knife

So, we'll start with knives. While not the best for beheading, they are easier to conceal than a sword and can do some damage, such as the Bowie knife. This type was actually popularized and named after Colonel James "Jim" Bowie.
A Machete

Standing somewhere between a knife and a sword is the machete. This is a 12-24 inch cleaver like blade which was used to cut through rain forest undergrowth and cutting sugar cane. However, it is considered a sword because several militias and guerrillas have used it as a sword. In fact, the Brazilian Army's instruction for Jungle warfare developed a "jungle kit" that includes a 10 inch machete, a 5 inch Bowie knife, and a sharpening stone. Because of it's cleaver like blade it it perfect for separating the head from the shoulders of any pesky monster.
A "broadsword" with basket-hilt

In the Kate Daniels series, written by Ilona Andrews, Kate uses a broadsword names Slayer. Which she does a lot of. While she is not a hunter, she is a mercenary that tends to go after monsters. She uses Slayer very proficiently. Broadsword is a tern used for basket-hilted sword that became popular in the mid 16th century. It was termed broadsword because the blade was wider than that of the rapier which was also popular during that time.
A Sundang

And the last one I'm going to mention is the sundang, which Gabby from "A Prescription for Delirium" uses. The sundang is actually a sword variation of the kris or keris blade. Keris blades are more of a rapier. The sundang has a straight or sinuous blade and a particular hilt. It has almost lost its point so it is better for slicing that thrusting. Gabby practice Eskrima, usually with her sungdang and a knife in her offhand. Good for lots of bloodletting.

What swords or knives do you thing would work well for hunting supernatural creatures?

Want to know about Gabby and her hunting style? Pick up a copy of "A Prescription for Delirium" available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.