Saturday, March 30, 2013

NEW COVER Reveal for A Ranger's Tale!!

We had a blast last night at the reveal party on Facebook. The games were fun, the prizes were fab, and everyone agreed it was awesomesauce.

You can see some of the action HERE.

So, what do you think of this new cover? A lot of work went into it, with model Anastasia King posing for Caliphany, and photographer Chris Florio behind the lens. Cover designer Caroline Andrus put it all together beautifully!

I'll be doing a similar event with the second book in the series, Serenya's Song, so stay tuned for that announcement!

Next week we begin the A-Z challenge, and I've already got a week of great posts from some fine writers lined up. Don't miss it!

You can purchase your own copy of ART with its shiny new cover at in PDF and PRINT straight from my publisher at:

By the end of next week, it should be available on Kindle, and soon after that at all the other online venues!

Friday, March 29, 2013

March Giveaway Madness #21: Switching by Jody Kihara

Switching by Jody Kihara:

Every week or two, Terry wakes up in a different time. She’s been ‘switching’ - that’s her word for time traveling - for the past eight months, and she has no recollection of her life before then. She doesn’t know who she is, why she’s time traveling, how to get home, or even when home is. Then Terry meets some fellow travelers and finds out she’s not alone… and that there might be a way to get home. But the others have their own agendas, and Terry needs to be careful where she places her trust. She finds herself falling for one traveler, but a terrible secret bars his way home. Another traveler is growing desperate, and he doesn’t care who he uses in his attempt to get home… even if it puts them all in danger. Can Terry find a way home before he tries something dangerous? Or will he prevent her from getting home at all?

***For a chance to win an e-book of this YA time travel novel, please visit Jody's Facebook page at: Leave a comment there telling her which time/place you'd most like to travel to and why. The best answer wins! Contest ends 4/5/13***

EXCERPT from Chapter One

      I kept my eyes closed as I drifted awake, letting my other senses feel out my surroundings first. I was someplace clean, which was wonderful, and it had a nice homey smell, like a house or an apartment. And the silence was equally wonderful: no people coughing, muttering, or worse, tripping over me.

      The smart thing to do would have been to open my eyes right away, but waking up with a nice, safe, warm feeling was something that happened rarely, and I wanted to make it last. I luxuriated in those few moments of peacefulness, trying to ignore the fact that as soon as I opened my eyes, I’d have to figure out where I was. I lay still, shoring up my strength to face reality. Or whatever it was you could call my life, which was probably as far from reality as a person could get.

      I wished I could draw out my enjoyment of the moment, but there was a little thing called survival demanding my attention. Tentatively, I opened my eyes. I was lying on a sofa in someone’s living room, with gentle sunlight streaming through the window. A crocheted blanket covered me. It was an ugly blanket, at odds with the modern décor of the rest of the apartment. There were lots of wooden surfaces and plants, and light gleamed off the polished, pale wood floor. I pushed myself up on one elbow to look around.

      The lack of ornamentation told me it was a guy’s apartment. There were shelves with books and CDs (CDs, okay, first clue as to what decade I was in), a desk with a computer that looked like an old 486 — already, I was picking up on the rest of the clues.

      And then, on the coffee table in front of me, was the best clue of all: a newspaper. Happily, I reached for it. Saturday, September 20, 1992.

      The early 1990s — an okay place to be, I supposed, although in a way it didn’t make much difference. The plus side was that clothing-wise, I wouldn’t look like I’d stepped out of the wrong decade; pretty much anything went in the nineties. The downside was that my money wouldn’t go as far as it did in my last switch. I only had a few dollars in my purse, which would get me coffee and maybe a donut if I went someplace cheap.

     Then again, I was in an apartment, which meant there would be food! Was I alone; could I go rooting through the kitchen?

      I heard footsteps, and before I had time to prepare myself, a door opened.

      The guy gave a shout of surprise when he saw me. I almost did too; he was naked.

      The door closed again. I sat up, making sure I was fully clothed. I was, of course; I never let myself fall asleep any other way. The strap of my backpack was hooked around my ankle, as it should be. My heart always skipped a beat when I checked to make sure it was there.

      Quick, think up a story, I told myself.

***For a chance to win an e-book of this YA time travel novel, please visit Jody's Facebook page at: Leave a comment there telling her which time/place you'd most like to travel to and why. The best answer wins! Contest ends 4/5/13***

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

March Giveaway Madness #20: Barer of the Ghost Nation by John Steiner

Barer of the Ghost Nation (Book Three of the Squad V series)
by John Steiner

Wanniukaga is the last of his people. No one else carries on his cultural traditions. It was the end of the world for the healer and spiritual leader. He is four hundred years old, and he is not alone. Afflicted by vampirism from those who slaughtered his nation, Wanniukaga is further burdened with the spirits of his people inside his mind.

Shattered by hard economic times St. Louis lays atop an older city whose people died out centuries ago, save for Wanniukaga who wanders its urban decay to this day. Locked in a struggle to preserve his people's traditions and adapt to accelerating change the healer must balance his many personalities. Two homeless teenagers befriend and help Wanniukaga through difficult times against other vampires responsible for the death of his people, evade religiously motivated amateur vampire slayers and confront a hardhearted Squad Five operator stepping outside the rules of his unit. 

***Please leave your NAME & EMAIL for a chance to win one of FOUR e-copies (PDF or Kindle)! Drawing 4/4/13***


The Ghost Nation went into a slouch with arthritic moving fingers offering a caregiver’s touch. His voice, too, poured heavily with sympathy, though the child couldn’t understand his words. “Easy little wanderer. No Wendigo spirit will harm you here.”
Despite his similar appearance to what he knew must’ve traumatized the boy Wanniukaga’s calmed the child with his voice and grandfatherly posture.
As he stood, the elder yielded to East Wind, who then turned to a stunned Kera. “I think you should take him inside and keep him warm.”
“Wha–!” she could barely get out. “It’s as if you weren’t you for a moment!”
Nodding slowly East Wind acknowledged her confusion. “We’ll talk about that later. You were right last week in that café. My name is East Wind Speaks.”
Ushering her swiftly inside with his hand, East Wind turned around and listened to the cold night breeze. Eddying currents wrapped around brick and concrete corners with hands of stalking bogeymen peeking from behind cover. Gusts skipped over rooftops as owls scouring the ground below for a fleshy meal, often producing long hooting sounds over metal tubes stabbing up from buildings. Subtler prowling currents brushed against aged sidewalk and cracked asphalt the way wolves once swiftly trotted and bounded across these lands.
Whirling his head around, East Wind sought out Jordan without finding him. A sharper scratch of gravelly dirt drew East Wind’s attention once more to what lay ahead. Taking a few steps forward he suspected that sound to be a distant footfall.
“Elder?” East Wind muttered just over his own breath.
A shuffle entered the Ghost Nation’s slower more carefully picked pace. Wanniukaga began a prayer meant to address evil spirits. “These are the lands of my fathers and their fathers before them. Here your vile seed will not sprout. To you and your kind there lay only barren and parched dust. I summon the Wind to silence your voice that you cannot whisper away the spirit of our people. I draw on the Earth to confound your feet and make you stumble. I call to the Water to wash away your filth and erase your path from the land. I hold the Fire to burn out your cold savage heart. Against my nation you will wither in winter.”
In answer, Wanniukaga heard only unintelligible gruff rasps. He knew the sound of wendigo unmistakably. More than fifty feet away two wendigo came forth from a pile of white man’s refuse, likely searching for rats, to see who had spoken. Unable to sense the strength of Wanniukaga’s medicine, which would’ve stolen their will, the pair of soulless unfortunates took off straight at him. Their bare feet pounded hard over rough asphalt, telling the healer and holy man they only recently lost their souls to the Wendigo spirit.
Reaching into a belt pouch, Wanniukaga encapsulated fire powder in his palm and fingers.

***Please leave your NAME & EMAIL for a chance to win one of FOUR e-copies (PDF or Kindle)! Drawing 4/4/13***

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

March Giveaway Madness #19: Zombie Hunting Bites by Nicki Jacobs

Zombie Hunting Bites Serial #1 by Nicki Jacobs:

Zombies are hard to kill considering they are already dead. Blake kills at will to protect the zones. Ian works day and night to find a cure. When their paths meet one will be dead, well kind of dead.

***Please leave your NAME & EMAIL in the comments for a chance to win one of TWO Kindle copies of this zombie short! Drawing April 3***


     This was an ancient skill, a skill that Blake had a natural ability. Hunting deer and hunting zombies were much the same. The difference was, when you looked down the scope at an approaching deer your heart skipped a beat. Then taking in a deep breath, one would wonder at the majesty of God's creature. Zombies were a different story. You took no breath and aimed to kill without mercy. Blake slowed her breathing, then stopped breathing and let the arrow fly. It found its target right before she exhaled.

***Please leave your NAME & EMAIL in the comments for a chance to win one of TWO Kindle copies of this zombie short! Drawing April 3***

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

March Giveaway Madness #18: The Empire by Elizabeth Lang PLUS a Review by Me!!

***Please enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below for some fabulous prizes, including a Kobo mini! Drawing 3/31/13***

As part of Elizabeth Lang's virtual book tour for The Empire, I wrote a review of this fantastic story and included this tour stop as part of our March Giveaway Madness. To follow the rest of Elizabeth's tour stops, go to: to the review...

"It will be interesting to discover which will make you beg. Will it be the pain or the pleasure?"

This line from The Empire fits the book perfectly. From the very beginning, I empathized with Adrian Stannis, the brilliant scientist at the center of the story. The tyrannical government of the year 4045 (the Empire) believes him to be aligned with a band of rebels. They are determined to break Adrian's spirit and force him to construct a weapon that will destroy their arch-enemies, The Andromedans. They begin with physical torture of the most heinous kind--the kind that makes a man beg for death. When that fails, they bring in a 'psychostrategist', a man who's on par with Adrian's intellect, to manipulate him into cooperating. But no one, not even a mind-meddler, can foresee the events that will unfold.

Throughout it all, Adrian takes comfort in the beautiful Kali Mirren, a not-quite-human (Tellaran) with psi abilities. She can feel every ounce of the pain Adrian is put through, and works tirelessly to help him escape the Empire's clutches. With the help of lowly weapons tech Bryce, the trio must navigate the dangerous waters of a government gone bad while war threatens to destroy them all. 

I'd been wanting to read this book for a long while, and I'm glad I finally got the chance. Elizabeth Lang's writing cuts marrow deep. She doesn't hesitate to dig right down into the murky depths of the human psyche, showing us the full range of what men and women are capable of, from the downright despicable to the surprisingly noble. 

For someone like me, who's often leery of reading science fiction, I'm happy to say that The Empire has changed that. Sure, there are plenty of futuristic technologies going on throughout the story, but I never got bogged down with the lingo. Elizabeth blends it all in perfectly with the character-driven plot. Each and every character in the story came alive on the page, even the supporting cast. I had no trouble connecting with them, even the ones I grew to absolutely loathe! 

Of course, I connected most with the leads, Adrian, Kali, and Bryce. Adrian, the poor guy, is so intelligent, he's almost android-like at times in being unable to show emotion. All the torture he endures doesn't help that at all. Kali is his lifeline to humanity. She's a courageous woman to go up against such a juggernaut as the Empire for Adrian's sake. And Bryce shows his own fair share of bravery, despite being hesitant and acting more in his own interests for the better part of the story. 

The clincher, which should come as no surprise to those who know me, was the romance between Adrian and Kali. Their scenes together are heart-wrenchingly good and beautifully written. I love the dynamic of their connection. Adrian depends on Kali to connect him to humanity again, while  Adrian is an enigma for her by being so devoid of emotion. For a woman who feels everything from everyone all the time, I think she was attracted to Adrian partly because he's not constantly spewing emotional energy. She has to dig for it, to really seek out the man inside to know what he's feeling. And that makes for a fabulous love story, even in a sci-fi setting. 

If I could nitpick anything, it would be a few places where the POV switched abruptly and made me wonder whose head I was in, but just for a moment. And there were some typos here and there. However, these minor issues didn't draw me out of the story enough to detract from the experience.

My rating: a solid five stars *****

I'll definitely be reading the second book, The Rebels (available now), and the rest when they're finished. Thank you, Elizabeth Lang, for the start of a great new series. I'd recommend this book for any adult reader, whether you're a sci-fi fan or not. I think you just have to try it and see for yourself!

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Page Turner Book Tours is fronted by the face behind Read2Review Kate. Page Turner Book Tours has been put together to help promote authors and give something back to the writing world. Kate has put together a team of incredibly talented people to help with the project by incorporating their individual skills into making new, fresh and exciting promotional plans that we hope you agree are amazing. If you would like to book a tour with Page Turner Book Tours please check out their tour packages. If you would like to become a tour host with Page Turner Book Tours please check out their Tour Host page. You wont be disappointed!

Monday, March 25, 2013

March Giveaway Madness #17: Having My Baby by Tori L. Ridgewood

Having My Baby , an anthology by Various Authors:

"Tabitha's Solution" in Having My BabyTabitha has had the perfect pregnancy. She wants a perfect birth: all natural, with midwives, in the hospital (just in case). Her supportive husband Alex is by her side. So why does everything else have to go wrong?

This short story about first-time motherhood is based on real-life experiences -- both my own, and those of my friends. One thing about having babies is for certain: it's never what we expect it to be! What poignant, funny, or sweet baby stories do you like to tell? Please share your favourite true baby story in a comment below (with your email, please), and you could be the winner of the Swag Bag!

***Leave your NAME & EMAIL in the comments for a chance to win a fabulous 'swag bag' (see the prize list & photo below). Drawing 3/28/13***

 Tori is giving away to ONE lucky commenter a terrific prize pack! The Swag Bag (a lovely printed Romance and Other Dangers tote) will include:
- a handy Having My Baby key chain, featuring a picture of the cover AND bonus pics of her other published works!
- a collectible Having My Baby book-cover pen for poetry, stories, love letters, etc.!
- a signed print copy of Having My Baby, the anthology!
- Bonus Prize! A signed print copy of Midnight Thirsts, which includes Tori's novella "Mist and Midnight" -- the prequel for Wind and Shadow: Book One of the Talbot Trilogy, coming this April!
- and MORE! 


From "Tabitha's Solution" in Having My Baby (Melange Books, 2012):

“Honey, what are you doing with that shovel?”
Tabitha huffed and puffed, her breath coming in little clouds of condensation.  “What does it look like I’m doing?  I’m shoveling.”
Alex approached her with the caution of a bomb defuser approaching an unknown container.  “I can see that.  But sweetheart, you’re nine months pregnant.  Why don’t you let me do that?”
She glared at him over her muffler, without breaking her rhythm.  “I’m fine.  It’s just a couple of inches of snow.”
“Then why are you out here?”  He gestured helplessly.  
“I’m trying to get this baby moving!” Tabitha bent at the knees, forcing the blade of the shovel under a crust of snow by the walkway to their door.  “I figured, if I do a little bending and lifting, maybe it will get my water to break or something.”
She saw his hesitation and skepticism, and sighed.  “I missed out on the damned draw, all right?  I’m pissed off, and pregnant, and overdue, and I want to have this baby!”
Alex held up his hands.  “Hey, I respect that.  I’m just trying to help.”
Tabitha swallowed her crankiness.  She tried to smile.  “You can help by moving, dearest.”
Obediently stepping to the left, Alex watched her attack the next section of sidewalk.  “I brought you home some rotisserie chicken, with mashed potatoes.”
She didn’t stop moving.  “Super.  Go ahead and plate it, I’ll be down in about five or ten minutes.”
“Do you want a cup of tea?”
“I’d really love a martini, dirty.  But I guess tea will have to do.”  Tabitha relented as soon as the words were out of her mouth.  Dropping the shovel, she threw her arms around her husband, stretching to accommodate their winter coats.  “I’m sorry, I’m just in a bitch.”
“It’s fine, I understand.”  Alex rubbed the small of her back, in just the place she liked.  She made an appreciative noise, and he continued, “I mean, I sort of get it.  You’re tired, and frustrated.  We’ll get there soon.  But you really don’t need to be out here.”
“I promise, I’ll come down just as soon as I get this path cleared.”  She released him and thrust her belly forward.  “This baby is coming out tonight!”

***Leave your NAME & EMAIL in the comments for a chance to win a fabulous 'swag bag'. Drawing 3/28/13***

Extra! Extra! About "Mist and Midnight" (Midnight Thirsts, 2011) -- your Bonus Prize!

Charlotte Fanning, a professional artist and a natural witch, is on the run from the ruthless, malevolent vampire stalking her.  Fleeing the city for a remote former mining community of Talbot in northeastern Ontario, a chance encounter on the train with the maddeningly arrogant and ruggedly handsome prospector Pike Mahonen further complicates her fight for her life.  When it quickly becomes apparent that the bloodthirsty creature is closer than she thinks, endangering everyone around her, Charlotte and Pike discover that their love and passion for each other might be the only force standing between their friends and the gruesome death awaiting them in the abandoned tunnels beneath the town.  

"Mist and Midnight" is the prequel to Tori debut novel, Wind and Shadow: Book One of the Talbot Trilogy, coming this April! 

Friday, March 22, 2013

March Giveaway Madness #16: The Trinket Box by Katheryn Ragle

The Trinket Box by Katheryn Ragle:

The story of a young woman named Rebekah McKay, who receives a notice in the mail that her ex-husband has died a mysterious death in Scotland. Rebekah must go to Scotland for her daughter, Ashland. The trip turns into a journey Rebekah will never forget. Normally, people think that a trinket box holds jewelry. What’s inside this box will shock you beyond belief. The Trinket Box has comedy, horror, paranormal and yes of course a romance that brews between Rebekah and Michael Sanders, her lawyer.

Quote from Steven Dowell , author of The Legend of Souls Chapel: When Author Katheryn Ragle, told me about her book "The Trinket Box" I gasped! I literally gasped! Then when she told me it was based on a true story, I was in SHOCK! You will never guess what is in that Trinket Box! It certainly is like no Trinket I have ever heard of!

***Please leave your NAME & EMAIL for a chance to win a print copy AND a special surprise (US only). Drawing 3/29/13***

Excerpt (pg. 23):

      Normally, an envelope was an envelope but, the shiny gray texture of this one had caught Rebekah’s eye. The letter was posted from Scotland. Rebekah felt a shiver run down her spine. She carried the letter inside, picking up her letter opener from her desk, and opened the letter. The metal of the opener was cold; it reminded her of the key that hung on a chain around her neck. The same key that went to the trinket box that Madam Louisa had sold to her many years ago.

      The envelope was open now, but still Rebekah didn’t look to see what was in it. She just looked the outside over closer; examining the post mark closer. It had been postmarked a month ago. It’s as if I’m afraid to open it she thought. Memories flashed through her mind one after the other, like a slide show or something. Marco at the corner where she had met him, the Dairy Queen where they ate, their wedding, the beer bottles, the garage and then Sam’s dad’s office, and the men who had taken Marco away. I signed the divorce papers and sent them with Mr. Bates, what more could they want of me now? He sure isn’t getting visitation rights to Ashland after all these years. It’s just been too long. I waited patiently for years for Marco to get out of Rehab; to ask if he could come back home. But, there’d never been one word, nothing! I let my heart harden against Marco, to cover the pain in my heart, but still it festers like a crusty scab over a still fresh wound, at the mention of his name.

      Rebekah took a deep breath, and then she pulled out papers from the envelope. They were definitely from the McKay’s attorney. “Okay, let’s get this over with,” she said aloud. “I still have to get ready for supper with Tess and Sam. It only took a few minutes of reading before Rebekah let the letter fall to the floor. She sat with a blank look on her face, frozen in time. Marco is dead, her mind shouted, but why? How? She picked up the letter and read it once more. Maybe I missed something, she thought. Rebekah read the letter aloud this time and much slower. The sound of her voice; seemed to echo throughout the empty apartment. The letter quivered as she reread the letter. As she read her voice sounded young again, like the woman who was newly married so many years ago. Then she stopped the past coming back in a rush. Where are you taking him?” she’d asked. She cleared her throat, but still the words sounded frightened and weak, “I’m not that person anymore! I’m stronger now,” she spoke aloud. She read on: 

      Mrs. Rebekah McKay, as Ashland McKay’s mother, we are sad to inform you that Marco Craig McKay passed away on May 16th, 1985 at his home in Highlands, Scotland. Marco died at his home? He never wanted to go back to Scotland. He was supposed to be in New York. 

***Please leave your NAME & EMAIL for a chance to win a print copy AND a special surprise (US only). Drawing 3/29/13***

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

March Giveaway Madness #15: Vampire High School Book 1: Gregor Academy by Ian Hall & April L Miller

***ONE DAY ONLY!!! Download the short story 'VHS: The Turning of Alan Rand (FREE) and get the whole novel 'VHS Book One: Gregor Adademy' absolutely FREE! Just click the link below!***

'Vampire High School: The Turning of Alan Rand', a short story by Ian Hall & April L Miller

Alan Rand; 1957, New Jersey, USA.
Alan Rand has two distinct properties that attracted the attention of local vampire boss, Amos Blanche.
One; Alan's a real good looking boy, and Amos is looking for a new 'pied piper' to increase the number of attractive girls in his flock.
Two; Although he's a bit on the quiet side, Alan's got a nasty streak a mile wide.
Initially Valerie Lidowitz is despatched to tease Alan into the vampire fold, but her efforts do not go to plan.
To settle the situation, Amos decides to pay Alan a personal visit, and that's never a good thing...

***ONE DAY ONLY!!! Download the short story 'VHS: The Turning of Alan Rand (FREE) and get the whole novel 'VHS Book One: Gregor Adademy' (see the description below) absolutely FREE!***

Vampire High School Book 1: Gregor Academy
Gregor Academy in Northern Arizona, has one main problem; it's got a small population of vampires, hiding in its academic ranks.
Page one of this fast-moving vampire adventure, has Gregor Academy senior, Alan McCartney,(Alan Rand from the story above) being murdered by a local visiting cheerleader.
This is big enough news at the best of times...
But when they both turn out to be vampires...
And the act happens on the steps of the school at the Friday-night ball game...
AND it happens in the middle of the marching band, it's hardly a private matter.

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

March Giveaway Madness #14: Choice of One 'Promise Me' Series book by Tara Fox Hall

***Leave your NAME & EMAIL for a chance to win YOUR CHOICE of one print from the series AND a 'Taken in the Night' T-Shirt (Black, Size L). Drawing 3/27/13***

Promise Me (Promise Me Series #1) by Tara Fox Hall:

When young widow Sarelle McGarran finds the vampire Danial Racklan unconscious and hurt in her woods, intuitive concern quickly becomes passionate love. Together Danial and Sar work to overcome their own past heartbreaks, their vastly different lifestyles, and Danial's relentless enemies. Yet Danial needs more; an Oath of forever. But can Sar give Danial his greatest desire?


Broken Promise (Promise Me Series #2) by Tara Fox Hall:

Shocked at Danial’s betrayal, Sarelle returns to her old home to consider her options. Yet even as Sar plans a reconciliation with Danial, Terian arrives, confessing his desire. When Theo witnesses Terian and Sar kiss, he angrily confronts Sar, leading to startling consequences. Will Sar’s heart choose Danial, Terian,…or Theo?


Taken In The Night (Promise Me Series #3) by Tara Fox Hall

When Theo disappears, Sar is left bereft, the uncertain guardian of Theo’s newly born werecougar daughter, Elle. As months pass, clues emerge about Theo’s disappearance, yet the twisting trail ends repeatedly without answer. In her grief, Sar turns to Danial and hesitantly begins to build a life with him and Elle.


***Leave your NAME & EMAIL for a chance to win YOUR CHOICE of one print from the series AND a 'Taken in the Night' T-Shirt (Black, Size L). Drawing 3/27/13***

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

March Giveaway Madness #13: Wander Home by Karen A. Wyle

Wander Home by Karen A. Wyle:

Death is what you make it. . . .

Eleanor never wanted to leave the daughter she loved so much. The overpowering urge to wander -- to search, without knowing what she sought -- drove her away. She left little Cassidy in her family's loving care. But Cassidy and the others died in an accident before Eleanor could find her way home.

Now, they are all reunited, in an afterlife where nothing is truly lost. Places once loved may be revisited, memories relived or even shared. One may be any age suitable to the mood and moment. Surely this is a place where Eleanor and her family can understand and heal. And yet, the restlessness that shaped Eleanor's life still haunts her in death. Somehow, she must solve the mystery of her life -- or none of them will be at peace.

***Leave your NAME & EMAIL to win one of TWO e-books (PDF, mobi, or ePub). Drawing 3/26/13***


Chapter One

Cassidy stood tall and watched the wave approaching. Fifteen was a good age for confronting the ocean. That morning she had been five years old, playing happily in her sandbox;  from sand to beach, from beach to ocean waves, seemed a natural progression.

The wave loomed above her, glowing turquoise and green. She dove under the crest, through the surging water, and popped up behind the swell, bobbing in the follower waves. The water held her and rocked her; over the hiss and roar of the waves, she could hear the distant squawk of seagulls. All around was the smell of seaweed and salt and sunshine.

Once, her mother had held her, carried her, rocked her, surrounded her with love and safety. She had no idea how long it had been, but she remembered. Remembering, she let herself slip younger as she floated on the swells. But larger waves were coming, so she grew again, six, ten, sixteen; then caught a wave and rode it into shore.

Her grandparents and her great-grandmother were waiting for her. Great-Grandma was young today, slim and blonde and straight, standing like a dancer just before the music starts. Grandma Sarah and Grandpa Jack had chosen to be older, gray-haired, with the comfortable look of a couple who for years have weathered each other’s moods and followed each other’s thoughts.

Cassidy ran up the beach toward them. She slipped to eight years old as she reached them, so Grandpa Jack could pick her up and toss her in the air. The sun flashed in her eyes as she flew up, and again as she fell back toward his hands. He set her down again and flopped onto the sand, patting the space next to him. She sat, folding her legs tailor fashion; Great-Grandma flowed gracefully down to sit on her other side. Only Grandma Sarah remained standing, younger now, her hair in a long red braid.

Grandpa Jack and Great-Grandma both put their arms around her. Cassidy looked at Grandpa Jack. He was blinking as if he had something in both his eyes. She swiveled around toward Great-Grandma; Great-Grandma nodded toward Grandma Sarah.

Cassidy threw her head back, looking up at Grandma Sarah and squinting in the sun. Grandma Sarah squatted down in front of her. "Cassie, love, we have some news for you. Good, important news."

The seabirds were calling as if they wanted to be first with the message, whatever it was. Grandma Sarah leaned forward to kneel in the sand, reached out and took Cassidy's hands.

"It's your mother, sweetheart. She's coming. She'll be here soon. We'll all be seeing her again."

***Leave your NAME & EMAIL to win one of TWO e-books (PDF, mobi, or ePub). Drawing 3/26/13***

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