Gluttony—About the Artist and Our First Illustration 1.0

We’re very proud to be working with artist Luke Spooner of Carrion and Hoodwink House. He has an innate ability to design the perfect cover with minimal direction. If you’re ever in need of artwork, check out his websites. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

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Luke Spooner, a.k.a. ‘Carrion House’ and ‘Hoodwink House,’ currently lives and works in the South of England. Having graduated from the University of Portsmouth with a first class degree he is now a full-time illustrator and writer for just about any project that piques his interest. Despite regular forays into children’s books and fairy tales, for which he has won awards for literary and artistic merit, his true love is anything macabre, melancholy or dark in nature and essence. He believes that the job of putting someone else’s words into a visual form, to accompany and support their text, is a massive responsibility as well as being something he truly treasures.

Luke has designed every cover for the Seven Deadly Sins series. He can be found on Facebook, and at his Carrion House and Hoodwink House websites.

 

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For his story, “When Your Number’s Up,” Michael Donoghue created an illustration. It’s a fascinating look at a possible future and a peek into the mind of a master storyteller. Examine the picture and then read his story in Gluttony. You won’t be disappointed. This is our very first illustration for SDS. We plan to add some more for the box set, due out Fall 2018.

 

Gluttony—Meet the Authors, Day 4

Next week, we’re going to have a release party on Facebook. We’d love everyone to stop by and say hello. There will be author interviews, some games and prizes, and a great way to network if you’re a writer. Hope to see you there!

Today, I’m presenting the final four authors in the Gluttony anthology. Stay tuned for our official release date!

 

Games by K.T. Stephens (Scrib: Katie Stephens)

Erica grew up a foster child, handed off from one family to another. In those early years, she learned to keep her mouth shut, take whatever meager food was offered, and never, ever play games. Erica eventually won a scholarship to college and escaped her orphan life. But one day, a letter arrives with a cryptic message—Do you want to play? And no matter how much of a wall she’s built around herself, Erica has to make a decision before her eccentric old landlady drives her crazy.

K.T. Stephens writes YA and children’s books and is especially enamored of the circus. Just mention acrobats and strongmen and she’ll jump headfirst into this world of magic, color and precision and take you with her. When she steps away from the big top, she works as editor, publisher and author on her pet project—Seven Deadly Sins: A YA Anthology—and writes adult literature under the pseudonym Katie Stephens. Although her two grown children live on opposite sides of the USA, she lives squarely in the middle of the country with her husband and two adorably obsessive felines.

Facebook         https://www.facebook.com/katie.stephens.169405

Twitter            @standardishue

Website           http://www.standardishue.com

 

Not One Less by M.J. Travis (Scrib: shazam)

Carlos and Louise are in love. Carlos will do anything for his “little hunny pot.” But after becoming infected by the deadly virus that has taken over their rural town, Carlos must do the unthinkable to stay alive. Will Louise stay with Carlos? Or will his strange new appetite drive her away?

M.J. Travis is a native southern Californian who began writing four years ago when her second child was no longer in need of constant supervision. Her love of books began at an early age. She mostly writes short stories for YA and children, but has just started to leap into the workings of a novel. She has previously been published in the Seven Deadly Sins series.

 

When the Wind Hits the Merlons by S.K. Watts

Evil and Baron Corvo de Corvis are synonymous in the small Italian town of Roccascalegna. After declaring ridiculous edicts to torment the people of his town, his depravity increases further by killing the town’s parish priest and re-instituting the most heinous of medieval feudal customs. When all hope is gone, the town is freed from living torture by the most unlikely of sources, and the Legend of the Bloody Baron is born.

S.K. Watts is a resident of Phoenix, Arizona. Happily married, and father of four daughters, Mr. Watts is a retired financial adviser and management specialist. He is actively writing a series of novels called The Watchers, and occasionally writes short stories to satiate the voices in his head. “When The Wind Hits The Merlons,” a thrilling tale based on a true story, will be his first publication, scheduled to be part of the Seven Deadly Sins YA Anthology on Amazon. Known for his comedic panache, this promising author prides himself on the ability to make a reader laugh out loud on one page, and gasp in surprise on another, a literary roller coaster of emotions.

 

What Lives in Shadow by Daniel I. Weaver (Scrib: Isaac Daniels)

Small towns have their secrets. Jake was destined for greatness and Dave was always there, living in his shadow. When Jake’s life starts falling apart, Dave has to emerge from Jake’s shadow and confront the monster behind his best friend’s deterioration before it’s too late.

Daniel I. Weaver is a Pennsylvania native and has been previously published in Light at the Edge of Darkness and Dragons, Knights, & Angels: Issue 46.  A healthcare professional by day, Daniel much prefers reading and writing fiction, kayaking, martial arts, and cinema. With most of his children well on their way toward adulthood, Daniel finds himself with more time to pursue those passions and looks forward to publishing many more pieces in the future.

Gluttony–Meet the Authors, Day 3.1

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Can you name all seven deadly sins? Then you probably know the three left in our series are Wrath, Greed and Lust. Once Gluttony is released, another contest will appear on Scribophile and the process will start all over again.

If you’re a lover of books, and especially short stories, consider posting a review on Amazon or Goodreads. You don’t have to review the entire book—we welcome thoughts on any of our stories! Interested? Leave a message here, or email me at standardishue@gmail.com.

Enjoy reading about a few more of our authors!

 

A Dog in the Manger by Chris Kennedy (Scrib: shetlandcats)

Set in Florence at the height of the Renaissance, a father and son seek for truth in a new age of art and discovery, but powerful factions are at work in a city where display matters more than honesty and the rich guard their treasures with an iron hand.

Chris Kennedy writes for fun and enjoys twisting history into parables. His family tells him he’s a compulsive liar because he likes to make things up. When not researching his MA, he works for a modern communications company and dreams of retirement, which he intends to spend making up more lies and turning them into yet more stories for this excellent series.

 

Fatter by Tonia Markou

When her friend Beverly suddenly starts putting on more and more weight every day, Maxine tries to find the mysterious boy who cursed her. Will she be able to stop the curse before Beverly eats herself to death?

Tonia Markou is a Greek-German writer and recent Creative Writing graduate, currently working on her first YA novel. Basically being a big kid, she enjoys writing and reading fiction for young adults. Her short stories have appeared in Flash, and The Seven Deadly Sins: Envy. She’s the proud owner of a vast Converse Chucks collection, and dreams of someday also owning a beach house and a dog.

Twitter            @toniawrites

Website           http://toniapolis.jimdo.com

Facebook         https://m.facebook.com/toniawrites/

 

The Sleep-Over by Geraldine McCarthy

Set in Ireland, Arianna enjoys her Italian mother’s cooking a little bit too much. However, an invitation to a sleep-over at her friend’s house casts Arianna’s troubles in a new light.

Geraldine McCarthy lives by the sea in West Cork in the Republic of Ireland. She has a certain amount of expertise in the area of gluttony but was, nevertheless, surprised and delighted to be included in the anthology.  In a past existence she taught, lectured, translated, and researched.  Her humorous flash fiction “Lesson Plans” was published in The Fable Online earlier this year. She is especially interested in short stories and flash fiction.

 

Hymn of the Spider by Yvette O’Kay (Scrib: Katie Moore)

Living since the beginning of time can be both a gift and a curse. As the creature traverses through the centuries, she has long since learned that appeasing her delicate palate is the only way to ease boredom. Once lured into the web she’s woven, there is no escape.

Yvette O’Kay is a writing goddess who has been creating stories ever since she was a little girl. She is from New York and has been featured in two previous volumes of Seven Deadly Sins: Sloth and Envy.

 

Lady of the East by Shannon Leigh Rivera

Bastet has everything she could ever want—a beautiful temple and a city full to the brim with adoring devotees who worship her without fail. Yet the other gods have taken notice, especially the jealous Seth. What will Bastet do when she is forced to give up the one thing she loves the most in order to prove she is still worth the title goddess?

Shannon Rivera is the author of several published YA short stories, including The Selkie–published in Seven Deadly Sins: Envy. In addition, Shannon is also the author of the upcoming novel Of Rebels and Ruin—an Elven Steampunk/Fantasy series— the first book due out in 2017. Using her military experience, she has put a fresh spin on urban fantasy fiction, which includes the mashing of traditional fantasy, Asian mythology, Steampunk, romance, and science-fiction elements with the spy world. An experienced writer, Shannon has penned articles for gaming websites, military commands and her own fantasy fiction blog. Besides writing, she loves to teach, offering novel writing workshops to middle and high school students as well as homeschooling her four children. Shannon is a recent graduate of Southern New Hampshire University, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree summa cum laude in Creative Writing and English.

Website           shannonleighrivera.com

Facebook         https://www.facebook.com/shannonleighrivera/

Twitter             @fairsong

Instagram        https://www.instagram.com/fantasyfix/

Gluttony–Meet the Authors, Day 2.1

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Have you read our first three volumes of Seven Deadly Sins: A YA Anthology? You can find Pride, Sloth, and Envy on Amazon. But don’t fret if you don’t want to buy them one at a time! Once all the volumes have been published, there’s going to be a special box set containing every anthology. Whether you purchase one volume now or wait for the box set (due out Fall 2018), remember that all proceeds go to the charity First Book.

Presenting a few more of Gluttony’s authors!

 

One Little Bite by Guy Cheston

Sabine is an adolescent girl with an ice-cold personality. Trained by her uncle to become an assassin, her first test is to kill the reigning champion of the Warblust Annual Eating Competition in front of thousands of spectators, where two contestants eat to the death. The defending champion, Ronbo, is a local legend, five times her size, and likes to wipe his sweat on a rag and fling it at his opponents. Does Sabine even have a chance?

Guy Cheston lives with his wife and son in Richmond, Virginia. When he’s not reading, writing, or spending time with his wife, he likes to jog.

Twitter            @guycheston

The Makara by Susan Conner
Abby’s gone to a great deal of trouble, training the monster inside her belly to stay quiet when her brother does things like leaving red velvet cupcakes unattended on the kitchen counter. But what can she do when her monster won’t obey? She might just be opening up a whole closet full of secrets she had no idea her family was hiding.

Susan Conner is a desert dweller of Phoenix, Arizona, where she routinely escapes the heat and her adult responsibilities by drawing bizarre artwork and dreaming up endless ideas for young adult fantasy novels. She did a pirouette in the sky when she found out her short story was selected for inclusion in this anthology. This is her first fiction publication.

Hungry, Hungry Henry by Matthew Dewar

Henry’s doctor has put him on a diet and he feels like he’s starving to death. When a strange lady at the grocery store offers him an appetite suppressant, he jumps at the opportunity to not feel hungry all the time. The appetite suppressant works, until it doesn’t. Now Henry has a hunger even more ferocious than before.

Matthew Dewar hails from Perth, Australia, where he works as a physiotherapist and group fitness instructor. In his spare time, Matthew enjoys writing fiction, reading, and going for long walks along the beach with his dog. Gluttony will be his first official publication, with many other projects in the pipeline that will hopefully see the light of day soon.

Facebook:        https://www.facebook.com/matthew.dewar.10

Twitter:           @WriterDewar

When Your Number’s Up by Michael Donoghue (Scrib: M.P. Donoghue)

Today is the best, and worst, day of Wilbur’s life. Turning sixteen in the Kobe Tunnels means that he’s become an adult. No more school, no more crowded Elevator rides. But it also means that Wilbur can no longer be entered in the lottery. And what he wants, even more than living on the surface or improving the life of his sister, is the chance to eat a beefsteak for once in his life. Wilbur’s birthday turns out to be more eventful than he could ever imagine.

Michael Donoghue resides in Vancouver, Canada, but lives in his head. He works in public health, where he obsesses over hand washing. Michael’s fiction has appeared in various print and online anthologies, literary journals, and sci-fi magazines. However, his proudest fiction writing achievement occurred in grade eight, when he forged a note excusing him from gym class for the rest of the year.

Twitter            @mpdonoghue

Adventures in Wedding Saving by Joana Hill

Molly’s sister got married, and now it’s up to Molly to keep their family in check at the reception.  From making sure the buffet table isn’t cleaned out to making sure Uncle John doesn’t drunkenly breakdance himself to a broken limb, she’s got her hands full.

 Joana Hill is a creative writing graduate from central Maine who’s always working on her next piece.  When she’s not writing, she can usually be found playing video games or teasing her cats.  Her stories can be found in Vitality, the Seven Deadly Sins anthology series and on Smashwords.

Facebook         http://facebook.com/authorjoanahill

Twitter            @wordsteabottles

Blog                 http://www.wordsandteabottles.com

Gluttony—Meet the Authors, Day 1

Are you ready for another volume of Seven Deadly Sins: A YA Anthology? I certainly hope so, because Volume 4 is going to be released very soon. To whet your appetite for Gluttony (see what I did there?) I’m going to introduce you to our authors and their stories over the next few days.

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For my followers who don’t know the story behind SDS, our authors are members of the online writing site Scribophile. And within Scrib, a contest is held twice a year for all members who join the YA Authors group. A specific ‘sin’ is chosen, deadlines and guidelines advertised, and a panel of judges choose the winners out of all the entries. Then the fun begins: editing, proofreading, biographies, blurbs, formatting, blogs—everyone gets into the process of bringing an anthology to fruition.

Did you know our authors are from all over the world? As you follow my blog and read the author bios, you’ll realize we have a wide variety of cultural variances within the stories. This accounts for different word spellings as well as dialogue colloquialisms. Makes for an interesting read, doesn’t it?

Here are the countries/states our authors call home: UK (4: including Cornwall and London), Australia (2: including Perth), Canada (1), Republic of Ireland (1), and USA (11: including Arizona, California, Ohio, New York, Georgia, Texas, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Maine, Virginia). Our cover design artist is from the UK and our illustrator from Canada.

Welcome to volume 4—Gluttony!

 

The Gluttony Diary by Elizabeth Archer (Scrib: Eliza Archer)

Keeping a food diary can be a great tool to help you lose weight. Or can make you think you are in control when you are really losing control of everything. Soon your mirror and your scale are both telling you lies. A young girl finds trying to be a size zero may leave you with nothing at all.

Elizabeth Archer lives in Texas and dreams of other places and other worlds. She writes poetry, fiction and too many novels. Her current passion is fairy tales. She has been published in a variety of places, including two volumes of Seven Deadly Sins, A YA Anthology: Pride and Sloth.

 Twitter            @elizabetarcher

 

Saving Dad by Teresa Bassett (Scrib: Sylvia Stone)

Sasha’s dad has always loved his food, but since the tragic death of his wife, he’s really piled on the pounds. Then the voluptuous Rita arrives on the scene, and Sasha can only watch in horror as the pair of them wallow in gluttonous excess. As Sasha begins to doubt Rita’s motives, her fears for her dad’s health spiral out of control.

Teresa Bassett is a writer from Cornwall’s clay country, UK. She has written stories and articles for various magazines and anthologies, including a story for each of the Seven Deadly Sins volumes so far. Her time travel adventure novel The Time Crystals is scheduled for publication with Books to Treasure in 2017. A graduate of the University of Bath, she has worked as a foreign tour guide, translator and teacher. Her favourite times are spent ‘up on the Downs’ with husband Mark and rescued greyhound Jinty.

Website           http://www.teresabassett.co.uk

Blog                 https://treeandleafblog.com/

Facebook         https://www.facebook.com/Teresa-Bassett-119027158260032/

 

Nikolas the Brave by P.R. Blackburn (Scrib: Paul Blackburn)

When a routine refugee smuggling run amid a dark and miserable civil war ignites a particularly savage pang of guilt and self-pity, Nikolas finds himself faced with the same difficult decision as always: finally risk what little he has to make his escape with his best friend Mia, or conquer his fears and stand up to oppression and greed before it’s too late for them both.

P. R. Blackburn lives his life endlessly searching for that mystical creative spark that brings life to new worlds and new possibilities, be it in the form of writing, drawing, animating or coding. Currently exploring the great Australian continent, he works and lives out of his trusty van with his fiancée. Hailing from the UK, they are part-way through a spontaneous, life-changing journey across the globe.

Twitter           @PRBlackburn

Website          http://www.paulblackburn.co.uk/

Facebook        https://www.facebook.com/prblackburn1

 

Half-Eaten Dreams, with Crumbs of Hope by Callie Bradford

To Sarah, her part-time job at the bakery is just a way to earn some extra money for school. But to her best friend and coworker Colin, the job could be the key to unlocking his life-long dreams. When a self-absorbed boss threatens to ruin everything Colin has worked for, can Sarah help her friend bake up a miracle?

Callie Bradford spent much of her youth obsessively searching spider-filled basements for hidden doors and secret passageways. Despite her lack of success, she still hasn’t given up looking. Callie lives in Cleveland, Ohio, with her husband, a cat, and a one-eyed dog.

 

Juneteenth by Embe Charpentier

Malik can’t seem to stop self-destructing. When the court assigns him a three hundred-pound, live-in monitor named “Will Power” for twenty-one days, he decides that only mutual assistance makes sense. Let the rehab war begin.

Embe Charpentier spends her time teaching English and mathematics to high school students new to the U.S. Her novel, Beloved Dead, was published by Kellan Books, and she’s been published often on the Internet. She’s proud to have been included in previous YA anthologies Sloth and Envy, since she regularly sits on the couch doing nothing and is unduly preoccupied with the successes of others. She anticipates the addition of Gluttony will encourage the binge munching of taco chips and oatmeal cookies.

 

Website          http://www.embecharpentier.com

Twitter           @embecharpentier

Facebook         http://facebook.com/embecharpentier

Review: Yeager’s Mission by Scott Bell

Raise your hand if you remember my blog post from June 16, 2015. Anyone? Here’s a hint: Scott Bell’s new novel Yeager’s Law. Does that ring a bell? I hope so, because it’s a year later, and look who’s back!! Abel Yeager in a new adventure with his love Charlie and best friend Victor [Por Que]!!

 

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After a number of earthquakes hammer the Sierra Madre region of Mexico, Grupo Verdugo, a splinter group of cartel enforcers, takes control of the drug shipping routes through that territory. Caught in the middle, a small orphanage high in the mountains, desperate for supplies to care for the children and the battered earthquake victims, reaches out to Abel Yeager for help.

Yeager and his friend Victor agree to deliver the needed food and medicine. But Grupo Verdugo seems to have a special interest in starving out the clergy and forcing them to bend to their will. They send a man known as the Executioner to stop anyone daring to assist the people.

Yeager and Victor are in for the biggest fight of their lives as they are forced to move forty children, a dozen sick and injured patients, and one feisty doctor out of the mission and through mountains infested with vicious killers.

 

Scott Bell’s criminal justice background and ability to twist and pull the best from the English language results in another can’t-put-it-down thriller sprinkled with outstanding action scenes and plenty of humor. The combination is irresistible. I absolutely love Abel’s scenes with Charlie:

Charlie laughed, a low, throaty sound that sent another tingle down to his belly.

“Oh, and I think Por Que’s in love.”


“What? For real?”


“Could be. There’s this woman doctor here, even shorter than he is. About as big as a Barbie doll and about as cute. Anyway, our man Victor gets all goofy when she’s around. This could be the highlight of the trip—just watching him follow her like a lost puppy.”

Charlie laughed again, and they talked some more until Yeager yawned for the third time.

“Go to bed, big guy,” she said. “You’re going to need your rest when you get back.”

“You say the sweetest things.”

“Don’t be a smart-ass. Just get yourself back here with all your parts attached.”

“Especially that one.”


“Well, sure,” she told him. “Why else would I want you?”

 

What’s that you say? You want an action scene? Glad to oblige, partner!

“Hola, amigo.” Yeager stepped out of the truck, keeping the M4 hidden behind the door panel. The lead man hesitated, and Yeager shot him with a single three-round burst. The Roman candle of flame from the muzzle of Yeager’s weapon almost touched the man’s denim shirt.

Pivoting his weapon slightly, he took out the man on the far left. Spent brass spiraled and bounced off the pickup’s doorframe. The kick of the M4 pounded his shoulder like an old friend.

The first man he’d shot fell away, dropping in a dead heap. Yeager twisted right and squeezed off two quick bursts. Of the men on that side, one died instantly, blood spraying the car next to him in a fan. The other stumbled and tried to bring his weapon to bear. Yeager shot him with another controlled squeeze of the trigger. He searched for more targets with the M4’s holographic sight.

Nothing else moved. Elapsed time, from the first Hola to the last man down, was under three seconds.

 

If you like these tidbits, you definitely should look up this book to add to your library. Both books would be better. And the best scenario? If you contact Scott and send him your purchased books, he’ll autograph them and send them back to you. That signature is going to be worth a lot of money someday. I can feel it in my bones!

Congratulations, Scott, on another winner! I’m anxiously awaiting Book 3!

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Final Interview With Second Chance for Love Authors!

Welcome to the seventh and final post in a series of interviews with the authors of the Second Chance for Love anthology. In honor of Mother’s Day, our publisher, Melange Books, LLC, will have the eBook available for free on Amazon from May 7-9!

Today, I’m going to interview … ME!!

 

If you discovered a sealed box with “Katie’s memories” scribbled on the side, you’d find a lifetime of partially completed stories, plays and musicals. Katie Stephens has opened that box and writes both non-fiction and fiction, where she happily experiments with all genres. Although her grown children are scattered east and west across the country, she lives solidly in mid-America with two kitties and a husband who keeps asking when she’s really going to retire.

http://www.standardishue.com

http://www.facebook.com/KatieStephensAuthor

Twitter: @standardishue

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The Price of Silence by Katie Stephens

Even though Maggie and Rob are divorced, neither can deny the love they still have for each other. As they wonder why their marriage failed, Maggie’s artistic agent is determined to have her. Grant befriends her children in a bid to make her his wife, but will Rob stand aside and allow another man to take his children … and his soulmate?

STANDARDISHUE INTERVIEW

One of the questions I asked my fellow authors was to choose a favorite passage from any book they have published. This section comes from my story Faceless, about a circus sideshow freak.

Spark I

I eat my breakfast. The tumors inside my mouth and esophagus make meals . . . unpleasant.

“Can I ask you a question?” Tiny asks.

I swallow through the pain. “Anything.”

“How can you stand it?”

I clear my throat to hide the desperation in my voice. “It is my life.”

Tiny blinks, but keeps his eyes steady on mine.

Soon, we meander back to my trailer. “You want to watch me lift?”

I turn in a slow circle. The beauty of the day dazzles me. People buzz back and forth, worker bees swarming before gathering the honey for their hive. Water spraying from a hose glistens with rainbows in the early sunlight, sequined outfits drape nearby. On the midway, multicolored game booths stand as soldiers, awaiting every fool in town to try their luck.

I stare at the sideshow tent. My eyes water, changing the glittering view from crystal clear to an impressionist painting. Now I lay me down to sleep . . . I pray the Lord my soul to keep . . . If I should die before I wake . . . I pray the Lord my soul to take.

I blink and answer Tiny. “No, you go on. I think I’ll just lie down for awhile.”

 

Question: Have you ever had the feeling you were being watched?

Katie: Absolutely! Sometimes, I’ll even imagine I see things out of the corner of my eye but when I turn quickly, there’s nothing there. SPOOKY! I’ve found children’s hand prints on my windows (long after my kids moved on with their lives) and every once in a while, something will nudge my chair, as if to say “Stop daydreaming and write!”

Question: If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

Katie: Invisibility! I’m an observer, but many people are uncomfortable if you stare at them too long. Well. Enough said.

Question: Tell us something nobody knows about you.

Katie: I dated a foreign prince. Oh, and Leonard Bernstein kissed me after I sang a counter-tenor solo from one of his compositions, “The Lark.”

Question: What do you miss most about childhood?

Katie: The simplicity. I grew up in a time where is was fashionable for parents to sit on the porch after dinner and visit with the neighbors while the kids played on the lawn. Catching fireflies on a summer evening. Going to drive in movies. Actually getting to know your friends face-to-face. Holding hands with Rocky (third grade).

Question: What will you do if you have a time machine?

Katie: I’d be hopping around from place to place and time to time. History is so interesting–I’d love to explore the past!

 

Who says love doesn’t come around again? Second Chance for Love: Seven stories of single parents finding love, free Mother’s Day weekend (May 7-9) on Amazon!!

Twenty-five years of Kaitlin

May 7, 1991. I chose that date for my daughter to be born, mostly because I had gestational diabetes and my obstetrician wouldn’t allow her to go to the expected full term date of Mother’s Day. Kate was full of surprises and independent from the moment she entered this world.

Kate 1 early years

Brother Stephen wasn’t sure what was in my tummy, but he decided he’d better take care of his little sister. Oh, they had their moments of squabbling, but not as bad as it could have been. They adored each other and still do.

Kaitlin, Katie, Kate, Katie-Kate. So many nicknames as she went from a small child and through elementary school. I have to admit, I stole one from her and one from her brother–my tribute to them both. Every year, I would watch her and wonder what the future would bring.

Kate 2 Mid-years

Kate brought many things into my life: beauty, kindness, love. A compassion for others, human and animal. She can’t stand spiders nor most insects, but … we all have one flaw or another. I keep telling her that spiders eat the bad bugs that will bite her. Right?

Kate 3 Current

Now, approaching the celebration of her quarter century, Kate has met the love of her life–Karl. K & K, we like to call them. They’re amazing for each other, already have their life planned. The next chapter begins June 30, 2016.

Happy Birthday, my darling daughter. I love you so much.

Exclusive Author Interview with Tara Fox Hall!

This is the sixth in a series of interviews with fellow authors of the Second Chance for Love anthology. In honor of Mother’s Day, our publisher, Melange Books, LLC, will have the eBook available for free on Amazon from May 7-9! That’s starting today!!

I’m going to tell you about the irresistible and capable Tara Fox Hall!

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Tara Fox Hall’s writing credits include nonfiction, horror, suspense, action-adventure, erotica, and contemporary and historical paranormal romance. She is the author of the paranormal action-adventure Lash series and the vampire romantic suspense Promise Me series. Tara divides her free time unequally between writing novels and short stories, chainsawing firewood, caring for stray animals, sewing cat and dog beds for donation to animal shelters, and target practice.

http://www.tarafoxhall.com

http://www.facebook.com/Tara-Fox-Hall-151813374904903

Twitter: @TerrorFoxHall

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A Love for Michelle by Tara Fox Hall

Left by her boyfriend on the same night she lost her job, Michelle isn’t looking for love when she runs into Max and his two children while sledding. In a few short months, the new couple is inseparable. Then Michelle realizes she’s pregnant with her ex’s child. Will Max love her enough to accept a baby that isn’t his.

ProposeToMe

I’ve been priviledged to share another anthology with Tara, Propose To Me. Here is a blurb from her story, One Perfect Moment.

“The game we played led up to the kiss. Kind of a repeat of our first date, where we both wanted to kiss but held off until we couldn’t stand it anymore. We were never like normal teens, groping at one another the moment we got alone together. We were always telling jokes, and teasing one another, laughing at each other and the weirdness of the world. The more time we spent together, the more pregnant with meaning the pauses between our words became; the heated chemistry between us built ever stronger. We weren’t mature enough to know what to say, far too young to quote romantic poetry, even if we could have gotten past our shyness. So, we said nothing. But it was all there in our eyes—that pure longing—a wanting so strong it threatened to eclipse everything else. It only took looking into his eyes again tonight for me to want to give everything I am and take everything he has to offer …”

Who says love doesn’t come around again? Second Chance for Love: Seven stories of single parents finding love, free Mother’s Day weekend (May 7-9) on Amazon!!

Exclusive Author Interview with Caroline Andrus!

The burning question of the day: Who designed our cover? In the fifth post of this series, you’re going to meet not only a fellow author of the Second Chance for Love anthology, but also its cover designer! And, in honor of Mother’s Day, our publisher, Melange Books, LLC, will have the eBook available for free on Amazon from May 7-9!

I present to you the enchanting and brilliant Caroline Andrus!

caroline

Caroline Andrus was born and raised in the St. Paul suburbs where she now lives with her husband, two daughters, and Henry McCoy—her cat, who is actually a wild cougar trapped in a housecat’s body. She divides her time between writing, Facebook, designing, and managing her household. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, rocking out to the radio, and gardening (but only in the hot summer months.) She is passionate about both reading and writing teen fiction, and is pretty sure she will forever be eighteen at heart.

Website: http://www.CarolineAndrus.com

Blog: http://www.CarolineAndrus.com/blog

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CarolineAndrusDesigns

Twitter: @FaerieTears

2ndChanceLove_FINAL

Mr. Right or Mr. Right Now by Caroline Andrus

Celebrity photographer Rebecca thought her life was perfect, until she walked in on her husband and the nanny—in bed. A drunk phone call later, she’s managed to snag the most sought after male nanny in Los Angeles. Months later, at her best friends urging, she dives back into the dating pool, but will she end up with Mr. Right Now, or will she realize Mr. Right is already at home with her kids?

 

 

STANDARDISHUE INTERVIEW

Katie: Would you share a special moment from a story you’ve written?

Caroline: This is one of my favorite parts from my story in Second Chance For Love.

 

“Oh shoot!” She stared at the floor. “I dropped the darn back to my earring.”

She dropped to her hands and knees on the floor, searching for the tiny metal piece. Simon quickly joined her, his hands working across the plush cream colored carpet beneath them.

“Aha!” he cried triumphantly, his hand in a tight fist shot into the air.

“Thank you.” Her voice was a breath as she reached her hand out, palm open. Simon set the earring back gently on her palm, then with his other hand, closed her fingers around it.

“You’re welcome,” he said, his amber eyes staring deep into her blue ones.

There was a knock at the door and Rebecca started at the sound. She smiled apologetically and let him help her to her feet. As she turned her back on him to answer the door, Simon said something that caused her to turn back.

“Ollie is right. You really do look beautiful.”

She blushed and smiled at the floor. “Thank you.”

 

 

Katie: Do you believe in love at first sight?

Caroline: I don’t believe in LOVE at first sight, but I do believe in LUST or ATTRACTION at first sight, which can turn into LOVE. I believe to truly love someone, you have to know them, therefor, love at first sight doesn’t fit. When it comes to reading material, 99.9% of the time I hate “instalove” – where the couple falls in love instantly – but I’m willing to suspend believe when there’s a well thought out supernatural explanation. I’m a sucker for soulmates.

 

Katie: If you could go to the past or future, where would you stay and why?

Caroline: Can’t I do both???

I love the idea of visiting the past. I love the beauty, elegance, and simplicity of life before smart phones, automobiles and television. I fantasize about living in a little house in the middle of nowhere, living off the land, just my family and me, and a bunch of books. But…. I need indoor plumbing. And the Internet.

On the other hand, I’d love to visit the future and see what major changes have occurred. I mean, think about what life was like only a hundred years ago. I can’t even imagine the technological feats we’ll have accomplished in another hundred years. If I got to the future and robots had taken over all manual labor, giving humans more leisure time, yeah, I’d probably stay.

 

Katie: If you were to get a permanent tattoo done, what would it be and where?

Caroline: I’m terrified of needles.

When I was seventeen I was convinced having my belly button pierced was an awesome idea. My mom agreed to take me and pay for it to be done as my birthday gift that year. I blacked out during the piercing process. Within a year later it was infected and then closed.

If I ever got over my fear… In the past few years I’ve imagined myself with the Deahtly Hallows symbol from Harry Potter right tattooed near my collar bone area, sort of below my shoulder. I found an awesome photo of a girl who had that done on Pinterest. If I didn’t have the Deathly Hallows done, it would be something else relatively small. I love the look of tattoos when done well and with meaning, but I’m not sure they’re for me, mostly due to my needle fear.

 

Katie: What Internet site do you surf to the most?

Caroline: Hi, my name is Caroline, and I’m an addict. A Facebook addict.

In order to get anything done, I have to make sure to stay OFF Facebook. I also spend a good amount of time on Goodreads and also in Gmail. But really, Facebook is my downfall.

 

Katie: What do you miss most about childhood?

Caroline: Simplicity. No responsibilities. The “good old days” are what I miss most.

I had an AMAZING childhood. My mom was an in home daycare provider, so I was never without kids to play with. Even when the daycare kids weren’t there, I’m the 3rd of 4 kids. My childhood was loud, and playful, and just fun. Summer vacations were spent driving the four or so hours to Hackensack, MN in the back of my dad’s truck. No seat belts, just us kids sprawled in the back with blankets and a topper on the back of the truck. You could never get away with that these days! We’d stay at a resort on Birch Lake, my dad’s siblings and their families, plus my grandma and her twin sister, all stayed in cabins at the resort. It was a week or two of lazy days at the beach, on the boat, or in the cabins playing cards. Now that we’re all grown, these family reunions don’t happen anymore.

Sorry, I was lost down memory lane, what as the question again?😉

 

Katie: At the beach would you rather play in the sand, or play in the water?

Caroline: Sand.

I’m not a fan of water, unless it’s in a pool. I attribute this to a near drowning incident when I was about three that I don’t remember. Apparently, I got out of my dads boat, gave my sister the life jacket I’d been wearing so she could have her turn on a boat ride, and I must have fallen off the dock. My mom, who was in the boat, says they were already across the lake and she was frantically waving her arms and yelling at the family on shore, but nobody realized at first I was under water. She says finally my teenage cousin Sarah realized what had happened and jumped in after me. I didn’t hear that story until I was probably in my early teens, but my fear of water predated that, so I’m going with PTSD.

Lake water. * shudders* (And don’t get me started on my irrational fear of sharks in the ocean! I’m in a landlocked state.)

 

Katie: Do you prefer card games or board games?

Caroline: Both! If I had to choose, I’d pick board games. I love modern tabletop games like Pandemic, Ticket to Ride, Legacy: The Testament of Duke de Crecy and so on. I can’t afford to spend money on board games very often, so I’m fortunate to have friends who are constantly acquiring new games to introduce us to. The most recent one we played was Tokaido, a game of traveling across Japan and earning points for all of the “experiences” you have on your journey. I can’t wait until my kids are old enough to play the kinds of board games I love!

 

Who says love doesn’t come around again? Second Chance for Love: Seven stories of single parents finding love, free Mother’s Day weekend (May 7-9) on Amazon!!

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