Thursday, October 22, 2015

New Release: Mysteries of the Macabre

Today, Alicia Dean is returning to tell us about a new anthology of Halloween stories. It happens that Renci Denham and Rohn Federbush, two of the other authors featured in the anthology are members of my local Romance Writers of America chapter, so when she asked for bloggers to feature this collection I jumped at the chance. Here's Alicia:

Since Halloween is just around the corner, I thought it would be fun to share a little quiz that goes with the season. This quiz also appears in the October issue of the Novel Notes newsletter I am in with three other author friends, Diane Burton, Kathy L Wheeler and Leah St. James. If you’re interested in receiving our monthly newsletter, go here:
We give a prize of a $25 gift card each month, plus, there are all kinds of interesting and fun things going on in the Novel Notes world.
Now, to the quiz and a blog giveaway. To be entered to win your choice of a print* or ebook copy of Mysteries of the Macabre AND a $5 Amazon gift card, comment with your answers (right or wrong, you’ll be entered). You can just use the format 1) a, b, or c (whichever answer you choose), etc.
*Only US residents are eligible for the print copy
Winner to be draw Sunday, October 25th

Trivia Questions:
1) Because of a tight budget when the first Halloween movie was made (1978), they had to use a cheap mask for Michael Myers. Was the mask a:
A) Hockey mask
B) William Shatner mask
C) Handmade by the director’s wife
2) Samhainophobia is the fear of:
A) Halloween
B) Ghosts
C) Choking on candy
3) What city holds the record for the most Jack O’ Lanterns lit at once:
A) Paris
B) Boston
C) New York
4) What did the people of Ireland and Scotland originally use as Jack O’ Lanterns on Halloween?
A) Turnips
B) Cabbage
C) A plant pot
5) So far in 2015, the most popular child’s costume is:
A) Buzz Lightyear
B) Princess
C) Ghost


1) Because of a tight budget when the first Halloween movie was made (1978), they had to use a cheap mask for Michael Myers. Was the mask a:
B) William Shatner mask

2) Samhainophobia is the fear of:
A) Halloween

3) What city holds the record for the most Jack O’ Lanterns lit at once:

B) Boston
Although, apparently the record has been broken by  Keene, New Hampshire with a total of 30,581   
4) What did the people of Ireland and Scotland originally use as Jack O’ Lanterns on Halloween?
A) Turnips

5) So far in 2015, the most popular child’s costume is:

B) Princess
And now, I’d like to share my latest release:
A Halloween Anthology – Six Stories by Six Authors
Authors Alicia Dean, Leah St. James, Alexa Day, Renci Dunham, Rohn Federbush, and Elvy Howard share Halloween mayhem in 6 short stories:
A masked stranger ~ Teen angst ~ Ghostly appearances
Hot Halloween sex ~ A tropical nightmare ~ Visions from the past

My story is Scarred:

Gothic romance 

Sometimes, the most haunting scars are the ones beneath the skin. 

When Natalie Jayne moved away from her home town ten years earlier, she left behind painful memories, along with Simon, the man she loved. Now, she's back on Halloween night to attend a memorial marking the one-year anniversary of the tragic passing of her childhood friend, Jessica. Rumors that Simon was responsible for Jessica's death unnerve her. Even more disturbing is her unsettling attraction to a masked stranger she meets at the event. Her gift may be the key to unlocking the truth, but will it also lead to heartbreak? 

Simon Cordell left his dark, empty home and headed deep into the woods. As usual, he was restless, filled with too many memories and no longer able to stand his own company. The nighttime suited him. The darkness and density of the woods helped hide his disfigured face…his guilty soul.
Light from a full moon sifted through spidery branches of the wintry trees. From the distance, the howl of a wolf filtered to him—eerie…haunting.
Frigid wind bit through his coat, but he welcomed the pain. Pain made him aware he was still human, that his tragic act from a year ago today hadn’t rendered him the unfeeling monster he sometimes felt himself to be.
The soft ground gave beneath his feet. Tree limbs whipped against him as he plodded through the thickets, scratching his exposed flesh. All welcome sensations. He was alive, although he had no right to be.
The sound of music and cheerful voices interrupted his self-recrimination. He peered between the trees where a faint light shone. As if he had no control of his own body, his feet took him toward the light…toward the sound. From the edge of the woods, he stood, staring at the mayor’s mansion. Guests in colorful finery exited vehicles and made their way up the path to the door.
Simon was about to step back, to fade into obscurity, when a particular guest caught his attention. His heartbeat sped up. He nearly called out her name but stopped himself just in time. Dark hair framed her pale face. Beneath her black cloak, the skirt of an emerald green gown floated around her. The woman paused for a moment and glanced in his direction. He slunk back behind a tree, pulse pounding. Had she seen him? He didn’t know. He did know that he had to see her. Had to get a closer look at the woman he hadn’t seen in ten years but had been unable to erase from his memory.
Doesn't this sound like the perfect Halloween story? Here's more about Alicia:

Award-winning, multi-published author Alicia Dean began writing stories as a child. At age 11, she wrote her first ever romance (featuring a hero who looked just like Elvis Presley, and who happened to share the name of Elvis’ character in the movie, Tickle Me), and she still has the tattered, pencil-written copy. Alicia is from Moore, Oklahoma and now lives in Edmond. She has three grown children and a huge network of supportive friends and family. She writes mostly contemporary suspense and paranormal, but has also written in other genres, including a few vintage historicals. She is a freelance editor in addition to being an editor for The Wild Rose Press.

Other than reading and writing, her passions are Elvis Presley, MLB, NFL (she usually works in a mention of one or all three into her stories) and watching her favorite televisions shows like Vampire Diaries, Justified, Sons of Anarchy, Haven, New Girl, The Mindy Project, and Dexter (even though it has sadly ended, she will forever be a fan). Some of her favorite authors are Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, Lee Child, Lisa Gardner, Sharon Sala, Jordan Dane, Ridley Pearson, Joseph Finder, and Jonathan Kellerman…to name a few.

Find Alicia here:

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Blog Tour: The Fourteenth Quilt

I am pleased to participate in the blog tour for The Fourteenth Quilt by Robyn Echols. Since I love to quilt I knew I wanted to read this Christmas story, so I jumped at the chance to review it. I'll let Robyn tell you about the book, and then I'll share my thoughts at the end.

About The Fourteenth Quilt:

Annie, Celia and Lynn are all that are left of the Relief Society quilting class, but they are still determined to make baby quilts for the new mothers at church. Annie, who is just south of eighty years old, calls the quiltsters (short for quilting sisters) together to ask for more. She wants to make lap quilts to give to some of the “forgotten” oldsters she sings to each week at the nursing home—something to wrap them in love at Christmastime. It’s a good idea, but the trio discovers that life and making quilts don’t always go as planned.

The quiltsters discuss recipes and quilting ideas including a crocheted cat mat to use up their fabric selvage and trim scraps, all of which they share in the book.

Sarah and Brian meet at the university. Their first date is after Sarah’s First Saturday Block of the Month class she attends with her mom at the local quilt shop. Their romance grows, and they plan their future together—a plan that will require them to be separated for six months before their wedding. But, can they bear to be apart that long?

What wraps together this Christmas tale? The Fourteenth Quilt. 

Excerpt #3:         (Learning Curve)

          Lynn had no sooner reached the middle of the next row than she ran out of bobbin thread. With a sigh, she lifted the unquilted fabric and stuck her head underneath as if she were an old-timey photographer focusing her shot. She opened the bobbin compartment and removed the spent bobbin.
          This is ridiculous! I can’t see a thing under here.
          Lynn unfastened the side tension clips and threw the fabric up over the top of the sewing machine while she exchanged the empty bobbin for a full one. As she refastened the fabric in place, she decided next time she would clip the top thread and slide the machine to the end of the quilt. Surely it would be easier to deal with threading needles and changing bobbins in the full light and without also fighting the fabric.
          Once Lynn replaced the bobbin and rotated the needle to catch the bobbin thread, she slid the foot pedal over several inches, grabbed the handles to the sewing machine tray, grit her teeth and started stitching.
          “I am going to learn how to do this right,” Lynn said. In an increasingly louder voice, she continued, “because I want my quilts to turn out looking nice and I don’t want to have to quilt on a tabletop where I have to fight pushing the fabric through the machine. And I paid a lot of money for this sewing machine and quilt frame and it is my present for my next birthday, anniversary and Christmas and I AM GOING TO LOVE IT!”
          But, I’m not there yet.
          The door swung open and slammed against the doorstop with a thud. Startled, Lynn lifted her foot to stop the machine and stared at her husband.
          “Did you need anything?” asked Del. “It sounded like you were arguing with someone.”
          “Uh, no. We’re doing just fine in here. But thank you for checking.”
          Del shook his head as he pulled the door closed.
          Lynn looked down at the frame and froze at the sight of the gold and white long-hair cat stretched out across the section of quilt secured between the two upper poles.
          “No you don’t, Archie, this is not your personal kitty hammock,” Lynn scooped up the cat in frustration. She carried Archie to the door and gently tossed him down the hallway as she called out to her husband. “Del, I don’t mind if you come in my sewing room, but please be sure you don’t let Archie in. I don’t want kitty fur all over my projects.”
          With a huff, Lynn once again approached the quilt frame.
          “I mean it,” Lynn leaned over and whispered with a determined voice to the sewing machine. “Just as soon as I brush some of this cat fur off this quilt, you and I are going to learn to work together. We are going to become real good friends. So you just get that in your motor casing.”

To see more photos that go with the chapter from which this excerpt was taken, please click HERE.

About Robyn Echols:

Robyn Echols has been writing since she was in junior high school. By choice, she spent most of her evening hours in her "dungeon", as her mother called her downstairs bedroom, writing stories, only joining her family in front of the television upstairs when her favorite programs were playing. She has spent hours learning and teaching family history topics, and focuses on history from a genealogist's perspective of seeking out the details of everyday life in the past.

Now Robyn resides with her husband in California near the “Gateway to Yosemite” and has fun researching and writing the books that she hopes will interest and entertain her readers. She writes Young Adult/New Adult and contemporary fiction under Robyn Echols and adult historical romance under her pen name, Zina Abbott.

The author is a member of Women Writing the West, American Night Writers Association, and Modesto Writers Meet Up. She currently lives with her husband in California near the “Gateway to Yosemite.” She enjoys any kind of history including family history. When she is not piecing together novel plots, she pieces together quilt blocks.

Author Links:

Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Pinterest

Quilt Gateway blog (See posts for September 2015)

Purchase Links:

My Thoughts:
I love to quilt, but I have too many other interests to do the kind of quilting Lynn does. Still, it was fun to read about her projects and the special Fourteenth Quilt that she makes. A fun feature of this book are the links to the author's blog so that we can actually see the quilts described in the story. The recipes included also add a nice homey touch.
There are references to LDS traditions that were unfamiliar to me, and I had to search for explanations. But the overall story is one that will resonate with anyone in the "sandwich generation" - when we're old enough to have grown children who sometimes don't make the choices we wish for them, as well as older family members (or friends) who need looking after. This is a nice addition to my arsenal of holiday reading.