Friday, May 29, 2015

Spotlight Friday: Viki Lyn #m/mfantasy #angels #demons

by Viki Lyn
Redemption is my latest book written with Vina Grey, a m/m fantasy featuring angels and demons. In our world, angels have a difficult time handling human alcohol. They have their own liquor of choice = ambrosia which gives them a slight buzz. So when we wrote a scene where Uriel visits a gay bar in San Francisco, we had to come up with an appropriate drink – one that a besotted bartender would make for the beautiful angel.

To my surprise, we found the perfect cocktail – Angel Face! (Although jealous Izar muttered that Hot Devilish daiquiri would have been more appropriate!)

Angel Face Cocktail

1/3 Dry Gin
1/3 Apricot Brandy
1/3 Calvados

 Combine all ingredients into a cocktail shaker. Add ice. Stir well and strain into cocktail glass.

Viki and Vina
An introvert and artist with a healthy dose of skepticism about life and love =Viki. An extrovert and academic and a die-hard romantic =Vina. It was so not a match made in heaven. But Viki and Vina discovered a mutual love of traveling around the world, the paranormal, good coffee, and a healthy admiration for their respective creativity. Sitting in a coffee shop one day, they started brainstorming about story plots and Vince and John and the car crash in the bakery. A story was born. Vina writes the sappy romance and Viki tempers it. Between them, they managed to find their boys a ‘happily ever after’.

Thou shall not kill.
An angel who sins may never find love again.

 Archangel Raziel had no choice. He would break the Infinite’s commandment again to save his lover, Uriel, from a demon’s talons. Yet even the Infinite’s most trusted archangel cannot avoid punishment. Forced to go through the Cleansing, Raziel loses his memories and is renamed Izar, a Protector sworn to kill for the angels.
Years later, Izar is summoned to work alongside Uriel to capture a killer. Izar is shocked when his bloodlust spikes hot for the archangel. But a relationship between Protectors and angels is forbidden. As they rush to find the killer, their passion plays into the demon’s plan. Izar will have to choose between life and death if he is to save Uriel again.

Multi-published and award winner, Viki Lyn is a successful writer of gay paranormal and contemporary romance. After reading and collecting whatever she could get her hands on, she wrote her first male/male romance. And that was ‘it’ for her. She never looked back. Viki travels the world in search of inspiration. She considers herself blessed to have traveled to many of the mystical sites she had dreamed about as a child. Her travel experiences have been influential in creating her paranormal worlds. When she needs to relax, she calls a friend to meet at their favorite coffee house. When the chattering in her head goes off the charts, she plays one of her favorite RPGs on her PS4 and immerses herself in the world of dragons and magic.
Learn more about Viki Lyn on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

Vina Grey has lived in eight different states and if her family hadn’t grounded her, she’d be on the move again. So, instead she writes, living out her adventure-lust in her books. She made up stories in her head from the time she could register thoughts, so yes, there are many more books to come. Coffee, chocolate, Scotch, Kindle books, and traveling to far away lands are among her…ahem…very few vices. Actually they can be lands close by, too. But at the end of the day, to write a love story that makes a reader sigh with satisfaction–that’s what it’s all about. Vina Grey loves writing about romance. Two people finding each other, the two-step before they get together and the happily ever after -- really is the best story ever. Throw in some paranormal elements and she's in heaven. Vampires and cops, anyone? Her other love is traveling. From the deserts of the Middle East to the temples in Japan to the rice fields in Bali, she finds inspiration for her stories in every country she visits.
Vina loves to jabber away with anyone about books, so drop her a line. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.
Learn more about Viki Lyn and Vina Grey on their Author Facebook Page.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Friday's Spotlight: Meaning of Memorial Day #Veterans #author

I'm delighted to kick off Memorial Day weekend with a guest post from SS Hampton, Sr., author, veteran and all around good guy!

Today kicks off the Memorial Day weekend for a lot of us in America. SS Hampton, Sr. is an author, but today he addresses his Veteran persona. He shares the meaning of the holiday as well as a bio about him. Yes, he is a VETERAN!  Here are his thoughts on the day that pays tribute to those who have defended our country.

Today is Memorial Day. It is a 3-day weekend for much of the country—a weekend of family get-togethers, BBQs, and great sales. That is fine.

But please do not forget the real meaning of Memorial Day. Though there had been several local observances, a national Decoration Day was created by “an organization of Union veterans” on 5 May 1868, to be observed on 30 May of that year by the nation in “decorating the graves of war dead with flowers.”

 It was after World War I that Memorial Day came to recognize all of those who fought and died in America’s wars. From the American Revolution (1775-1783) to Desert Shield/Desert Storm (1990-1991), the total American combat deaths number 651,031; the greatest number of war dead was 291,557 suffered by the Greatest Generation during World War II (1941-1945) .
As for the Global War On Terrorism (2001-), or the Long War as some may call it, according to the Defense Casualty Analysis System, 5,363 men and women have died in combat.

Unfortunately, the world is not a safe and secure place. Yet, we know that in our nation there will never be a shortage of uniformed volunteers willing to stand between unarmed men, women, and innocent children, and the senseless evil in the world.
On Memorial Day this year remember the “National Moment of Remembrance”—at 3:00 PM local time across the country, everyone is encouraged to take a moment to reflect on those who have given their lives for our country. Whatever war they fought in, all of those who made the ultimate sacrifice have names, whether those names loom large in history books or are known only to their families.
And some of us know the names of comrades who made that sacrifice during the GWOT.
Finally, if you have never heard Taps, the final farewell to fallen comrades, take a moment to listen. Take a moment to remember, and to whisper, “Good bye. And thank you.”

SS Hampton, Sr. is a full-blood Choctaw of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, a divorced grandfather to 13 wonderful grandchildren, and a published photographer and photojournalist. He retired on 1 July 2013 from the Army National Guard with the rank of Sergeant First Class; he previously served in the active duty Army (1974-1985), the Army Individual Ready Reserve (1985-1995) (mobilized for the Persian Gulf War), and enlisted in the Nevada Army National Guard in October 2004, after which he was mobilized for Federal active duty for almost three years. Hampton is a veteran of Operations Noble Eagle (2004-2006) and Iraqi Freedom (2006-2007) with deployment to northern Kuwait and several convoy security missions into Iraq.
He has had two solo photographic exhibitions and curated a third. His writings have appeared as stand-alone stories and in anthologies from Dark Opus Press, Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy, Melange Books, Musa Publishing, MuseItUp Publishing, Ravenous Romance, and as stand-alone stories in Horror Bound Magazine, The Harrow, and River Walk Journal, among others.
In May 2014 he graduated from the College of Southern Nevada with an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Photography – Commercial Photography Emphasis. A future goal is to study for a degree in archaeology—hopefully to someday work in and photograph underwater archaeology (and also learning to paint). He is currently enrolled as an art student at University of Nevada-Las Vegas.
As of April 2014, after being in a 2-year Veterans Administration program for Homeless Veterans, Hampton is officially no longer a homeless Iraq War veteran.
Hampton can be found at:
Dark Opus Press  -  Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy Publishing  -  Melange Books -

Amazon Author Page  -  Amazon UK 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Top Ten Favorites - No. 7 - Norway #travel

Having gone to Norway on a couple of cruises, there is still lots to see and do if we make it back again. The people are terrific and the beauty of the land is all around one. In fact, this is true of all the Scandinavian countries. 
Sailing through the fjord to get to our port of call, Geiranger.  The waterfalls are breathtaking!

 Husband had to pull me away from the view to get his picture...I mean really!

This is one SCAREY road! Yes, that curvy piece splashed across the middle is a road. At times looking down wasn't a option since the bus veered so close to the edge of the road....and yes, they have 2-way traffic on this little winding access.

Greeted by Sea Gulls as we sailed into the port of Bergen. This is a city I won't to explore more. I love markets and unfortunately the excursion we took only pasted by some terrific looking ones. Next time we'll venture out on our own.

What country do you think will be featured next time?

Monday, May 11, 2015

Partying at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society Event. #scotch #singlemalt

Last Wednesday evening found us at the Brown Palace Hotel Ballroom for the annual Scotch Malt Whisky Society scotch tasting. My husband is a longtime member and we've been to several tastings, but this one really rocked. So many people, so many choices to sample. Happy to report most of us had a great time. And from the people stopping by the membership table think it's safe to say Colorado has more Society members.

Here are a few pictures of the fun.

This is only a sample of the attendance.
Hate this is the same angle, but the other pictures of the mob blurred and that was before I started sipping!

The lovely Beth Rush at the Membership table taking a break from signing up new members!

Raising a glass to the Tippling Wenches. YOU ladies would have loved this!!!

I didn't drink scotch until meeting my husband. He exposed me to the single malt and I became a fan. From the numbers Beth shared on the membership growth over the past couple of years a lot of people have joined the fan club too!

What about you? Do you like a dram every now and then?

Friday, May 8, 2015

Spotlight Friday - Sam Cheever's Newest! #newrelease #sciencefiction

Sam Cheever's latest release and GIVEAWAY info!

In honor of this fun new release, Sam is offering readers a chance at a $100 Amazon Gift Card! Look for the Reader Appreciation Giveaway information in the back of each book! (Giveaway is available until May 11th)


She called out to him through time and space…an impossible dream…a hopeful imagining. Having heard her plea, he would not stop until he’d claimed her. 
Mavim aches for the woman he left behind on Sanguinoss. She was a princess, a member of the royal family of elite vamps. His Amante…his love. Though he dreams of her every night, and pines for her every single day, he knows he cannot have her. He believes her dead.

 But when Mavim intercepts the ghost of a communication from his lovely Fania, a communication which was probably engaged weeks or months earlier, he realizes she might still live!
Can Mavim find the only woman he’s ever loved and save her from an evil nemesis who covets her for his own and will stop at nothing to have her? Or will he finally look into his lover’s eyes…touch her satin skin…only to feel her slip from his grasp all over again?

Mavim AgDurness closed his eyes and set his jaw against the ravening blood lust. His stomach growled its need, the muscles around it tightening as it twisted hungrily. He’d gone longer and longer without taking sustenance of late, so the debilitating hunger had become a nearly constant companion over his months on the primitive planet. Though the surface of the thriving alien planet called Earth was covered in walking, talking edibles, snacking from them was like eating nothing but mealfollows. All empty calories and no real sustenance.

Mavim snacked only when his body absolutely demanded it. And then only quickly, in the dark, with such a sense of revulsion he could barely keep the blood from boiling back up and spewing out on his shoes.
Always when he fed, he would see her face. So pale, so perfect. It was his undoing. For Mavim, no other female would do. None could take her place.

So he suspected he would simply fade away over time, as was the Sangui way of dying. And be launched into the sky for his final journey to Maja, protector of souls. Then his pain would finally end.
The comm unit spat sparks and sound flared briefly from it. Mavim’s head snapped up in surprise and crashed against the underside of the console. He swore in several intergalactic languages and pushed out from under the console, grabbing his tools as he moved into the open.

 The ship’s communications had been fried when they crossed the atmospheric barriers to Earth, and he’d been trying to get them working again for months, scavenging resources from other parts of the ship and trying to repurpose things he’d managed to locate on Earth.
It had been long since the Sangui had heard from others of their kind. Though only a relative few had managed to escape the dying planet Sanguinoss, the small band of elite vampires living on Earth were keenly aware of the existence of others who’d escaped before the infection took them down.

And even more keenly aware of those who hadn’t managed to escape.

The lights on the comm flared to life and a blurry figure appeared briefly before snapping into blackness again.
It had spun too quickly through the visual cogs within the unit to be recognizable, but Mavim had been able to tell it was a woman.

Lights flared again. The same shape, slightly clearer this time, exploded onto the screen. “Mav...” Renegade star spikes ate the rest of the transmission, turning the words she spoke to a garbled mash. But Mavim had heard enough to make his pulse jump. He dropped his tools and slammed a hand over the comm, quickly adjusting levers until the image he’d seen flashed past again and then snapping a lock on the transmission before it could fitz away.
The pale oval staring back at him was marred by filth. The rich mahogany brown of her curls lank with oil. But the lush, cranberry lips were unmistakable.

The soft lilt of her bedroom voice distinctive.
Mavim had heard it every night in his dreams since he’d risked life and future to place her mangled form inside a burial capsule and send her on her final passage to Maja.

“Mav… Help… Gleschutions have tak…”
And there the transmission faded away, leaving behind only the terrified gaze of the woman he loved above all else. And the horrifying realization that she was in danger. And that she’d risked everything to try to get word to him.

Mavim touched the screen, tracing it with a shaky finger as tears slipped hot and unnoticed down his cheeks.
Blood tears.

Tears of deep, unending agony.
Then the comm blinked out again and her visage was ripped from his sight. Mavim threw back his head and roared, mad with the agony of her loss. Yet again.


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Friday, May 1, 2015

Tom Olbert Dishes on His Genre #sciencefiction #genreevolving

Science Fiction – An Evolving Genre

by Tom Olbert

 Speaking as a writer who primarily works in science fiction, I am painfully aware that the genre holds extremely limited appeal for the public.  The genre has dropped out of popularity. Most of the general public doesn’t take SF seriously.  Kid stuff, they assume.
 Maybe it started out that way, but the genre is evolving.  The science fiction that has won current popularity in books and their big screen adaptations is the sub-genre we call post-apocalyptic science fiction (PASF).  Stories that offer tortured young heroes and heroines struggling to find their purpose in dark, dystopian future worlds run by cold, duplicitous adults.  And, if aimed and written properly, science fiction can be an excellent canvass for expressing such social themes and depicting characters who thrive in them, because it has no set limits or boundaries.
The writer creates the world that is needed to illustrate the point and to channel the development of the protagonist.  The challenge is in making that world seem relevant to an audience that tends to be skeptical of the genre.  To be taken seriously, SF has to escape the stigma of glitz and gadgetry and offer stories that are actually character-centered.  The setting must frame and present the character, not just use the character to present itself.

One particularly dark and stinging PASF franchise is the CW’s “100” T.V. series, set in a post-war irradiated wilderness grown over the ruins of Washington D.C.  Based on the Alloy books by Kass Morgan.  A century after a nuclear war, the last survivors of humanity (or, so they think) live under harsh Draconian rule on an orbiting space colony beset by rapidly dwindling resources.  They send a hundred of their incarcerated juvenile delinquents down to the surface to find out if it’s habitable.  Turns out it is, but already inhabited, by two other groups of survivors.  Warlike, savage tribes who live in the forests, and a technologically advanced but isolated society that’s lived inside a mountain bunker for the past 97 years.

 Character development is strong and intense, weaving through dark themes of society-building, tribalism, leadership dynamic, and such timeless moral themes as justice, capital punishment, and war.  It’s a raw, gritty look at human nature in its purest form, and it spares us nothing.  Its strength is definitely in its lead characters.  Most notably Clarke, the teenaged daughter of the space colony’s chief medical officer (a mother who betrayed Clarke’s father to execution at the hands of the regime, justifying it for the greater good.)
Thrust into circumstances beyond her control, Clarke reveals natural leadership ability and swiftly rises to power in her group.  She soon has to face wrenching moral decisions that seem to echo the dark days of World War II.  When the outwardly civilized, seemingly cordial mountain people start performing horrific Mengele-like experiments on the outsiders, draining their bone marrow in hopes of gaining their immunity to the radiation, Clarke must form an uneasy alliance with the savages to save her people.  Clarke learns of an impending missile attack from the mountain through a spy she has on the inside, but decides not to warn her people about it, knowing it would tip off the enemy, robbing her side of the critical advantage.  She must live with the guilt of her decision as dozens of her friends die a horrible fiery death while she gets herself to safety.  A plot-point obviously alluding to Winston Churchill’s alleged similar decision at Coventry.  When Clarke’s ally makes her own deal with the enemy, selling Clarke out to save her own people, Clarke must throw away the rule book to save her friends.  She takes hostages and personally executes a prisoner just to make a point.  When the enemy leader still won’t release her people, she makes the deliberate decision to commit genocide.  Her hand pauses dramatically over the switch only a moment before she presses it, releasing deadly radiation into a bunker full of people, including innocent children and conscientious objectors who tried to help her people.  The resulting nightmare scene of pleasant, family oriented cafeteria dining dissolving into excruciating death, bodies blistering from the radiation, women and children dying, conjures shades of Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

 “I tried to be one of the good guys,” Clarke later tells her mother.  “Maybe, there are no good guys, Clarke,” mom replies.  It’s not that everyone is out for number one, you understand.  They’re all just doing their best to save their own people.  Which is, of course worse.  The story is a dark mirror of the world in which we live, but the characters have more life than that.  We care about them, and they bring the dark lessons to life for us because their pain and conflict and love and hate for each other are potent.

In my SF novella “Black Goddess,” I combined theoretical quantum physics with the dark yearnings of a morally conflicted Gulf War vet who has lost his faith and becomes obsessed with finding the core of darkness at the beginning of time.  The story deals with the real-life agony of torture and what it does to the soul, and asks the timeless questions of whether primal evil truly exists, if life is anything but blind chance, and if there is a God.  At its core is a simple yearning for love.

“Beneath her black head scarf, her dark eyes stabbed through him with a flaming hatred.  Then…nothing.  Like a black abyss where a soul had been a micro-second before.  A strange kind of peace.  More than that, a oneness. 
That look in her eyes.  In his dad’s.  It was the same as he’d seen in Lark’s memory…in the eyes of that kid in Uganda who’d held a knife to her throat.  But, he hadn’t harmed her.  Something had stopped him.  When their eyes had met…something in her had pulled him back from the abyss.”

 To read more on Black Goddess please click a vendor's name
Mocha Memoirs Press  -  Amazon
Tom Olbert lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts; cradle of the American Revolution, and home of University egg heads and kooky liberals.  He loves it there.  His work has most recently appeared in Musa Publishing.  Previously in Mocha Memoirs Press, Eternal Press, and such anthologies as Ruthless, Fading Light: An Anthology of the Monstrous, Something Wicked Vol II, In the Bloodstream, and Torched. 

 When he’s not working or writing sci-fi or horror, Tom volunteers for causes he cares about.  He comes from a most interesting family; his mother, Norma Olbert is currently self-publishing a biography of the life of Tom’s dad Stan Olbert, a retired MIT physicist and veteran of the Polish underground during WWII.  Tom’s sister Elizabeth Olbert is an artist, art teacher, and avid lover of horses.
Learn more about Tom Olbert on his blog Other Dimensions.