Saturday, February 27, 2021
Amihanna di Aetes is used to fighting, surviving, and relying on her strength to get through the hard times. She thought the worst was over when she accepted her engagement to Lorne ni Taure, the High King of the Aunare, and claimed her place as the future High Queen.
It should be easy to slide into her new role. How hard can it be living in luxury with your soulmate after growing up alone on the streets?
But the more she learns about the Aunare and their politics, the more she realizes that the true test of her strength is just beginning.
Amihanna di Aetes is in for the battle of her life if she wants the Aunare to accept her.
*In Command is a 65K novella that takes place between Off Balance and On Mission (Books 2 & 3 of the main Aunare Chronicles). The series can be enjoyed without reading this story, but you can’t enjoy this story without reading the series.
“Almya. I’m not wearing—”
A throat cleared, and I didn’t even turn around. “Roan. Best friend or not, I’m going to murder you if you keep coming in here.”
I glanced over my shoulder. Lorne.
He was leaning against the edge of the door, watching me with his aquamarine gaze that seemed to see through me. My heart picked up, and I could feel myself giving him a stupid grin, but I couldn’t stop it. “Hey.”
“Hi.” His gaze ran down my body and slowly back up, heating every inch of me. “As fashion-forward as I usually am, I think it’s probably best if you find something else for the meeting. Quickly.”
I turned back to Almya, who was still smiling—although now it looked too forced—and holding out two dresses for me to choose from.
She held one out a little farther, giving it a little shake. “This one would look lovely on you, and it’s perfect for the—”
I shook my head. “If you would just listen to me—”
“Amihanna. My love,” Lorne said softly. “I’ve been standing here for a moment, and I heard more than enough about what’s going on. The thing to remember—”
“Is that I hate dresses,” I said to Almya, hoping that she would listen. “Hate. Dresses.”
“That’s not what I was going to say.”
I turned to him, annoyed and struggling to remember that I wasn’t annoyed at him. “What?”
“The thing to remember is that you are the future queen. Not Almya.” He gave her a short, pitying glance before focusing on me again. “You decide what you do, what you say, what you wear.” He slowly walked toward me as he spoke. “So, put something on already.” He brushed a quick kiss on my lips.
Aileen Erin is half-Irish, half-Mexican, and 100% nerd–from Star Wars (prequels don’t count) to Star Trek (TNG FTW), she reads Quenya and some Sindarin, and has a severe fascination with the supernatural. Aileen has a BS in Radio-TV-Film from the University of Texas at Austin, and an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She lives with her husband in Los Angeles, and spends her days doing her favorite things: reading books, creating worlds, and kicking ass.
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Friday, February 26, 2021
Today's book drew me in way more than I expected...and I'm actually reading the entire set now. These characters are over-the-top in so many ways, sliding into almost a sort of cozy-reverse-harem category...a clean one, so far, too (and I'm most of the way through book three). It's such an odd mix of the usual RH trope and...well....cliche? Quirkiness? And yet, serious danger?
Anyway, it's Friday, and I'm determined to chop some thorn bushes along the edge of my pastures this weekend...or continue to read books four and five? I'm betting those bushes will still be there next week if I give in to temptation and continue to read on.
But instead of rambling, I'll let you read on right now!
The things I see aren’t for the faint of heart.
And I am no longer willing to ignore them. Not even when my family, and my best friend, tell me to keep quiet about what’s happening. They say people will think I’m crazy.
Maybe I am.
But the spirit haunting my professor’s house is definitely trying to tell me something, and I’m the only one who can see it.
The one person who can help me is my best friend's brother. But I don’t know if I can trust him or his friends. Or if I can step outside the protective bubble I’ve built around myself.
At this point it’s a toss up: the ghosts will kill me or my panic attacks will.
Either way, I figure I’m going to die.
Magic, mystery, paranormal and romance meet a character with tons of heart and a very quirky personality to create a gripping and yet easy read.
- Home (The Grimm Cases prequel novella)
- Origins (The Grimm Cases #1)
- Ghost (The Grimm Cases #2)
- Blood (The Grimm Cases #3)
- Hidden(The Grimm Cases #4)
- Balance (The Grimm Cases #5)
Get the first 3 books and the novella Home as a box set!
Mu is the box set collection which combines books 1-3 as well as the novella Home in one handy box set. You can buy it here.
And here she is...
Lyla Oweds is a paranormal romance author who resides in the beautiful Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania. She grew up near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and is a native of Baltimore, Maryland, and has a deep appreciation for the paranormal, hauntings, and Edgar Allan Poe. As such, she loves all things fantasy, mystery, crime, and horror.
She is the author of the Paranormal Reverse Harem series, The Grimm Cases and related novellas. She has also published the first book of Gloria Protean’s story, The Red Trilogy. You can find out more about her current and upcoming works at her website, http://lylaoweds.com.
When not reading, writing, or working as a web programmer, Lyla can be found doing adult-y things such as being a mom, decorating the house, and baking. She also frequently enjoys makeup videos, massages, wine, and coffee.
When was the last time you confronted the skeletons in your closest?
Immediately following book one, “Elephant,” Matthew “Matty” Smith awakens from his coma and discovers that his worst nightmare is all true: his grandmother, Jamie, and Derek have gone missing and his mother murdered his father and grandfather years ago.
With the hospital placing him on lockdown, including no visitation rights by his loved ones such as his best friend, Lisa, Matty finds himself deteriorating into a state of the abyss, consumed with the secrets of his family. Convinced that it was the ‘stranger’ who kidnapped his grandmother and friends, no one believes him. The hospital only believes that Matty is slipping into a toxic mental state, repeating the cycle of his family.
Until one day, Lisa helps Matty escape the hospital.
On the run from Dr. Brown, Officer Barry, and the town of La Crosse, Wisconsin, Matty and Lisa set off to find their friends and Lucia and for answers on who the ‘stranger’ is. Once they unmask who the ‘stranger’ is, Matty continues to unravel the deepest secrets of what was supposed to be forever hidden in the Smith family as well as the town.
This story is for those who feel their voice is unheard and for children, teenagers, and adults who never had the chance to heal from their pain.
DELICATELY, MATT’S EYES OPENED to a world of white haze. All the objects were silhouettes. That was until, Dr. Brown poked through the gust of blurriness.
“Thank God! You’re up,” he wheezed.
Matt peered around. The sunlight poured into Room 402, inch by inch. He was in the room as usual. The streaks of sunlight hit the edge of the hospital bed before it dazzled on his skin. His skin was cold and so…fair. Slimmer, shades of purple and pink concaved his cheekbones—a shade of baby blue muddled his skin.
“Ah,” Matt groaned, once Dr. Brown flashed a miniature flashlight back and forth at his eyes.
At least the reaction was a good sign—the teenage patient could see.
Then, a nurse closed the curtains. It was back to the darkened and sinister atmosphere that gobbled up Matt.
“I don’t feel too well,” he said, barely audible, as the middle of his bottom lips splintered with red.
Another nurse dabbed a tissue against his mouth. He took control of it, as though he was refusing another medical employee’s touch.
“It’s because you’ve been in a coma for four weeks,” Dr. Brown chimed in with his patient.
Matt scanned the room until his vision settled upon what should have been Captain Obvious to him. His wrists, ankles, and chest were no longer strapped to the bed. Instead, all three areas of his body were wrapped-up. The white puffy bandages resembled the texture of clouds on a springtime afternoon.
While Matt’s eyes grew lukewarm, he hoisted his noodle size wrists closer to his eyes. “Wha—Wha—What happened?” he asked.
“You had an anxiety attack and went into shock…” It seemed that Dr. Brown dreaded the moment, even though he had scripted out his dialogue for when Matt reawakened, like any good doctor would do.
“Sorry, it’s just…I’m not sure…Matt, I’m not sure just how much you remember at all.”
The outside world. It was breathtaking, as the cotton ball clouds sailed across the sky like ships out to sea.
“What’s the date?” Matt asked moments later.
It appeared that the truth cuffed at Dr. Brown’s heart. “August 5th,” he said.
Matt winced at the impossible and yet, the possible. He broke down into tears and sheltered his face. Just then, his palms met a rigid paper that was on the bottom of his lip. It made sense now—he was out of it, unaware of what was a possibility…and the impossible…
He cried even more.
“Your lip bled on and off. The white bandage cloth was too big.” Slowly, but surely, Dr. Brown reached out for his patient. He slid his fingers atop Matt’s hand and gave it a pat. “Thankfully Lisa brought in a Spiderman bandage. She said you’re a fan of the franchise. I heard there’s going to be another installment…”
Dr. Brown gave a nervous chuckle. Cat scrabbled onto Matt’s tongue, left speechless and almost…numb.
“You know,” Dr. Brown started again, “she comes to visit you almost every day. Usually around lunchtime. She’ll be real happy that you’re awake.”
He did not reply.
“Look, Matt, I know you’re exhausted”—Dr. Brown selected his words cautiously—“I get that. You’ll need more rest. I just hope you can talk to us. Whenever you’re ready.”
The pain took over Matt, as his leg gave a spasm. “I don’t understand how time flies by so…fast…”
“Your heart was beating in a peculiar pattern,” Dr. Brown said. “At first, it was pumping at a rapid rate. And then, it was beating…slowly. And then, it went quickly again.”
Off the doc’s studying look, Matt asked, “What?”
“I just can’t get that image out of my head. After Lisa was removed from the room, we discharged the bed straps from your body when you began to lose…You lost a lot of blood.”
Matt’s eyes descended to his wrists; his mind illustrated all the possibilities and what the memory for both Dr. Brown and his colleagues must have appeared like: nurses and doctors rotated and took his pulse, as well as patched up the holes where the blood oozed out.
For some reason, Matt saw it. He imagined that his own blood was a zombie-gut neon green, just like the classic horror films.
But it frightened him, and he shut his eyes to erase the horrific illustration. The image stayed with him anyhow.
“Matt?” Dr. Brown’s voice echoed through Matt’s state of horror.
“Where was I bleeding?” It was mostly rhetorical, as Matt tried to digest the imminent response. “Where was the blood coming from?”
When Matt’s eyes peeled open, they were red with angst. Dr. Brown pointed to the upper half of his patient’s chest.
“The scars,” Dr. Brown answered. “Lisa—she swore you were dead when she saw us trying to stop the blood.” He sniffled and coughed, as though the rest of the alphabet clogged up his throat. “We all saw the scars when the blood eventually…came to a stop.”
Matt glanced away. For a moment, he almost fooled himself while the tears streamed down his face.
Dr. Brown was tentative until, “A worldwide search was put out two weeks ago. Matt…” Compressing his fist with his mouth, he prevented a scream. “Matt…”
Cat got his tongue.
Matt noticed and watched as anxiety and pain consumed his doctor’s shaken body. Before the Spiderman bandage detached from Matt’s cherry rose lips, Dr. Brown ascended to his feet.
“Excuse me,” was all he said before he scampered out of Room 402.
“Dr. Brown?” Matt listened to his doctor’s fancy schmancy shoes swerve across the tile. The fretful voices of nurses and doctors echoed throughout the hallway as they called out for their boss’s attention.
“Doctor…” Even Matt’s voice was lost. “Brown?”
Wherever his doctor fled, Matt saw no other reason but to wait…and wait for him. He sniffled, and with a revelation, he gasped. He remembered…and his eyes returned to the cheese holes in the ceiling. ‘They’re missing…They believe you. You are not or will ever be alone again.’
Natalie Rodriguez is an award-winning writer, director, and mental health and anti-violence/trauma advocate based in Los Angeles, CA. In 2014, she graduated from California State University, Fullerton with a Bachelor of Arts in Radio-Television-Film. Her first experience in entertainment was an internship at the Conan O'Brien show and Peter Guber's Mandalay Pictures, where she worked at the offices of producers, Matthew Rhodes ("Cherry," "Men in Black: International") and Academy Award-winner, Cathy Schulman ("Sharp Objects," "Crash").
Natalie was also a panelist at events, including Google, Hispanicize, and YouTube, where she has shared her story as a writer, filmmaker, and a female working in the entertainment industry. Some of her previous writing work can be found in publications such as the HuffPost Blog, Thrive Global, Anxiety Resource Center, Opposing Views, NowThis News, Zooey Deschanel's Hello Giggles, The Mighty, and more.
In 2017, she founded her production company, Extraordinary Pictures, focusing on both films, television, digital series, and social issue projects. The company has a list of projects in its roaster, including development on a TV sitcom, "The D," which placed in top-ten for best comedy screenplays at Stage 32. At the moment, Natalie's second directorial feature film, "Howard Original," is in post-production and set for an August 2020 release date on YouTube Premium. The film is based on the award-winning short film about a washed-up screenwriter named Howard, who encounters more than just selling a story, a studio rejection, and writer's block when his pet cat comes to life.
Natalie's directorial feature film, "The Extraordinary Ordinary," which she also wrote, produced, and was the executive producer on, is making its round through the festival circuit. The film deals with young adults, mental health awareness, and the aftermath of trauma. The film won 'Best Film About Women's Empowerment' at the Glendale International Film Festival and scored nominations in Best Director, Best Female Director, and Best Picture. The film also had a sold-out world premiere screening at the Los Angeles Diversity Film Festival (LADFF), winning 'Best Performance' by the leading actress, Maddison Bullock. Further details on the project can be found @theextraordfilm, including recent film festival awards and nominations.
Her other screenplays and films have also been featured and placed in the final rounds at HollyShorts Film Festival, NALIP: Latino Lens Film Festival, ShortsTV, Stage 32: Comedy Screenplay, Beverly Hills Film Festival, Culver City Film Festival, Indie Night Film Festival, Hollywood Screenplay Contest, Table Read My Screenplay - Austin Film Festival, and others.
Natalie was most recently an ambassador for Jen Zeano Designs (JZD), a clothing company in association with USA Networks. While she continues to build her creative background, Natalie is always open to collaborating with other artists and advocates. Currently, she awaits the publication of her first young adult novel this April 2020, "Elephant," a story about four childhood best friends who uncover a family secret. The book was also a finalist at Clare Books' the Binge-Watching Cure II contest for 'Best Novel.'.
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Thursday, February 25, 2021
Janet Halfmann is an award-winning children's author who strives to make her books come alive for young readers and listeners. Many of her picture books are about animals and nature. She also writes picture book biographies about little-known people of achievement.
Recent titles by Janet include The Clothesline Code: The Story of Civil War Spies Lucy Ann and Dabney Walker; A Bobby-Dazzler of a Pouch!; The Story of Civil War Hero Robert Smalls (Chapter Book for Grades 3-7); Midnight Teacher: Lilly Ann Granderson and Her Secret School; Grandma Is a Slowpoke; Animal Teachers; Eggs 1, 2, 3: Who Will the Babies Be?; Home in the Cave; Star of the Sea; Good Night, Little Sea Otter; Fur and Feathers; Little Skink's Tail; and Seven Miles to Freedom: The Robert Smalls Story. Janet has written more than forty fiction and nonfiction books for children.
Before becoming a children's author, Janet was a daily newspaper reporter, children's magazine editor, and a creator of coloring and activity books for Golden Books. She is the mother of four and the grandmother of six. When Janet isn't writing, she enjoys gardening, exploring nature, visiting living history museums, and spending time with her family. She grew up on a farm in Michigan and now lives in South Milwaukee, WI.
You can find more info about the book on my website: https://www.janethalfmannauthor.com/the-clothesline-code.
I scramble to my feet, snatch my phone off the carpet and barrel upstairs to my parent’s room. In my excitement, I forget to be stealthy and sound just like that herd of elephants my mom loves so much. I stampede through the door and spring onto their huge, fluffy bed.
“Oof.” Comes from Dad.
“What?!” Comes from Mom.
“Can I go to the pool with Robyn?” Comes from Me.
“What time is it?” My mom groans, as she rolls over.
I can’t answer that because I still haven’t looked at the time. I start to turn my phone back on, but Mom is quicker. She reaches over and adjusts the clock so she can see the numbers.
“Cat Anderson!” She turns the clock so I can see the glowing numbers too.
I clear my throat.
My mom stares at me with laser eyes that are so powerful, they may give me male pattern baldness when I’m older. Lucky for my hair, my dad distracts her. He lets out a snorting snore that is loud enough to reach Seattle. People there are probably looking up at the sky wondering what in the smorgasbord that sound was.
Mom nudges Dad so he will roll over, taking the noise with him. We watch until he starts breathing like a normal person again, then my mom snaps her eyes back to me.
I run my fingers through my hair, twirling a strand around my finger.
“It’s the last day of summer.” I say, in a small voice. “I hear the pool is very nice this time of year.”
My mom sighs herself back into her pillows. “I know it’s the last day of summer, and I know you’re excited, Cat.” She gives me a sympathetic look that can’t be good for my plans. “But this conversation would make a whole lot more sense in a couple of hours.”
“A couple of hours!” I exclaim. “The day will almost be over in a couple of hours!”
Mom levels me with a look. “It’s 6:00.”
“6:17.” I turn her clock, so she can get another look at the numbers.
Mom sighs again, all the way from her toes this time. “Cat, my point is that nothing is open this early. The mall doesn’t even open for about three hours.”
“Oh, sure it does.” I wave a hand to get rid of her silly sentence.
My mom’s left eyebrow rises just a notch.
I nod to emphasize my words. “You know! They open it super early for all those old ladies to walk laps. The mall is open, but the stores aren’t.”
“Okay.” My mom looks at me, her eyes trying not to wrinkle in the corners. “I’m wondering how you know this. Do you often go to the mall before it opens so you can walk with the old ladies?” A smile curls the corner of her mouth upwards and her eyes lose the wrinkle battle.
She is totally teasing me.
This is so not the time for teasing! Doesn’t she know that the lasting memory of my whole summer hangs on this one day? I shake my head, making my hair fly in front of my eyes. I stop to smooth it back into place. “That’s super weird, Mom.”
“I thought so, too.”
“Anyways.” I wave my hand again, up and down and all around, to help us get back on subject. “The pool. It opens at like 7, I think, that’s 40 minutes from now. It will take me that long to get ready. Then, it takes some time to get there, so that should work out perfect, am I right? Can I go, please? This is the last day of summer! I can’t waste a single minute!”
My mom slips down her pillows, like she’s a balloon that just ran out of air. One long, excruciating silence later, she pokes my dad in the back. She does it a few times before he jerks around to face her.
“Andrew, what do you think about your oldest child going to the pool this morning?”
My dad’s eyes are squinty slits. He tries to open them all the way but gives up before it happens. “Is it morning? Are you sure the sun is up?”
“Yeah!” In my enthusiasm to prove it, I spring off the bed to the window and pull up the blinds with a little too much force. The blinds slam against the top thingy and wave across the window like a banner. The room floods with light.
Hello daylight savings time.
Wednesday, February 24, 2021
This book also has an educational portion to help teachers, parents, friends, and family help explain the different types of service dogs to children. In addition, proceeds from this book go to funding the real life Operation Freedom Paws that accomplishes similar stories like the one told in this book every day.