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MindGames_med
Mind Games
 is the much awaited third installment in the new adult mystery series, Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective. Talented author Christine Amsden keeps delivering a great story filled with interesting characters, romance, mystery, and the paranormal, lots of it.

In this episode, Cassie still doesn’t know why Evan broke her heart two months ago, and the mystery gnaws at her big time. She decides to keep busy and make herself useful at the sheriff’s department. She also meets charismatic mind mage Matthew Blair…much to Evan’s distaste. At the same time, Eagle Rock is teeming with hate from the religious community, a reaction to the recent murder of a much-esteemed pastor’s wife by what the people believe was a sorcerer. The town is about to snap, with tensions between the magical and non-magical communities.

And in the center of all this, is Matthew, whom Cassie finds irresistible. But can she trust him? According to Evan, no way. But then, Evan isn’t the most objective person when it comes to Cassie. Evan and Cassie have a history, as well as a secret connection, that keeps them bound in spite of themselves.

Will Cassie discover the real culprit or culprits behind the pastor’s wife’s murder, as well as the real face behind the anti-magical propaganda and demonstrations? Most importantly, will she wake up and see Matthew for who he really is…and find the courage to face Evan for what he did to her—when she finds out?

I love this series and thoroughly enjoyed this instalment! There’s something about Cassie’s voice that makes her really likable. She has a good heart and is witty, too. But best of all, she is just an ordinary girl next door trying to do her best in spite of everything that happens around her—which is usually pretty remarkable, as is often the case in paranormal stories.

Her relationship with Evan keeps evolving organically and there’s a major revelation in this book about their connection and the secret behind their rival families. Matthew is a great addition to this episode, adding tension with his charismatic personality and inciting sparks of jealousy from Evan. The conflict between the religious and the magical communities is also well done.

Mind Games kept me reading late into the night, wondering what would happen next. If you haven’t read any books in this series before, I urge you to pick up book one first, Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective. The books are best read in order. You won’t be disappointed.

Purchase links: Amazon / Barnes and Noble

Connect with the author on the web: 

Website / Newsletter / Blog / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Google+

My review was originally published on Blogcritics

 

 

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I’ve been asked why I write about the darker side of life, involving subjects like drugs, personality disorders, abuse, neglect, and violence. My work is fiction but it’s based on a lot of things I have personally experienced, and the characters in “Vida Nocturna” come from vampires I have known.

I wrote “Vida Nocturna” in a two-year graduate workshop at the University of Chicago, where people from the industry sometimes visited to show us how publishing worked. It became clear to me that books weren’t getting published because they were good. They were getting published because they were predictable sales and the publishing companies could go back to their stockholders to report that they’d placed safe bets, which very often meant that they closely resembled earlier work. Books were chasing the market in a death spiral of creativity.

My daughter was reading “Twilight” at the time, and this, to me, was a prime example of what was happening in publishing. Vampires sell, and romances are half of the fiction market, so it wasn’t surprising that publishers were climbing all over each other trying to put out the next series about vampires in love. Meanwhile, the book my daughter was reading seemed to be telling her to date the spookiest, creepiest guy she could find.

My book, “Vida Nocturna,” is a response to that. Sara’s narcissistic father and borderline personality disordered mother left her helpless, drained and afraid, turning to horror and fantasy stories to escape her real life. In college she fantasizes that her spooky new boyfriend is a vampire because he’s pale and slender and stays up all night with a strange dark energy. By the time she realizes he’s a cocaine addict, she’s been “bitten” by the drug and become addicted, herself.

Sara has always escaped her real-world fears by reading fantasy and horror stories. Now, as a social-phobic college freshman, she enters a dark world where horror is not supernatural and fantasy is a trap.

Evil is contagious. Victims become predators, and every predator was once just like Sara. Imagining she’d be different was her first step toward them. Now, draped in the decadent ‘80s subculture, she’s rendered helpless by powers she never imagined.


Mark D. Diehl has lived and worked in five countries. He met his wife Jennifer in South Korea and was chased out of the country by her powerful family and the police, and together they were stranded in Hong Kong with no income and no way home. (Read about this in the “Our Story” section of his blog at http://www.markddiehl.com.) Eventually he became a trial lawyer at a multinational law firm in Chicago, escaped that pitiful existence by attending a fiction writing program at the University of Chicago, and now lives and writes in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. 

http://www.markddiehl.com

http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/1463554060/ref=sib_dp_pt#reader-link

http://www.amazon.com/Vida-Nocturna-Mark-D-Diehl/dp/1463554060/ref=la_B008XKQ1NO_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1346174233&sr=1-1

More videos of author reading in Freeport, ME, with 40 attending:
ttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNsUP-MqehU&feature=plcp

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWgboqL0KP0&feature=plcp

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I thought it might be fun to share some of the lore that ties in with the world building in my Immortyl Revolution novels.  Although most vampire myths were spawned in Eastern Europe, a lot of evidence points to the legends first arising out of India.  When I was developing my series, I became fascinated with Indian religions, mythology, and folklore.  Indian myths and folklore give us many examples of vampire-like spirits and deities.  In the various regions are found a plethora of demons that inhabit cremation and burial grounds.  These bear a striking resemblance to the vamps of Eastern Europe.  Many of these are said to be the spirits of those who died an unnatural death, or a woman who died in childbirth.  Others are succubus-like creatures that drain men of energy, yet leave them with a feeling of euphoria.  It is likely that traders along the Great Silk Road and the gypsies carried these stories west.  In Greece, the tales gave inspiration to the Lamiae, or female vampire-like spirits.

One deity sometimes associated with vampirism is Kali, a fierce form of the mother goddess (Shakti).  Like her husband, Shiva, she both creates and destroys.  She’s often shown standing on his body, symbolizing that in the scheme of the cosmos the male principle is subordinate to that of the female.  Kali is usually depicted with dark blue or black skin and a third eye.  She wears body parts as jewelry and has a tongue that sticks out in defiance.  Her favorite places are battlefields and burial grounds.

Kali is often misunderstood in the West.  She is the goddess of time, not death as many think.  She slays only evil demons.  Symbolically, she annihilates the selfish impulses and ego that bind us to our material bodies.  Her aspect is fearsome, but she is called Kali Maa (Mother Kali) and is revered in many parts of India.  Kolkata (Calcutta) is sacred to her and named for the goddess.

Tantric cults often focus on Kali.  Tantrism is an older religious tradition than Hinduism, dating back to the time before the Aryan tribes migrated into India.  These groups center on Shakti worship and sometimes use sex and even blood in their rituals.  The idea behind this is to gain control over the body to capture divine energy and gain blessings.  The adepts of the ancient arts in my novels practice a form of tantra.

In my reading, I’ve come across only one group associated with Kali that was violent.  They were known as the Thugees.  This is the root of our word thug.  These devotees would waylay travelers and use them as blood sacrifices to the goddess.  The Thugees inspired the Kali worshipers in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.  They are by no means representative of the vast majority of her devotees.

Kali is the great mother, who protects her earthly children.

***

Denise Verrico is giving away a free ebook of shorts to every commenter at the blogs.  

She is also doing a tour wide grand prize basket consisting of a trade paperback of Servant of the Goddess, a Cara Mia t-shirt (XL), a set of posters (one from each book), a pen, a keychain, vampire notepaper and some other small items US entries only. 

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There are things in this world that can’t just be explained away, happenings that occur and evil that dwells in the darkest recesses of the Earth. Have you ever wondered what causes a darkness to settle over you, that eerie feeling that something just isn’t right? I know I have, and so has Detective Nikki Adams.

Nikki is a homicide detective for the Boston Police Department and she quickly discovers that there may be more to the Boston nightlife than good music and the corner bar. I’ve always admired women who stand up for what they believe in, no matter the circumstances. Nikki is bombarded with vampires, werewolves, and a dark secret her family has kept for generations, but she is still determined to do her job and keep Boston safe from the killer that is wreaking havoc on the city.

Snow Beast, the first in my new Dark Warrior series, delves into the world of the paranormal while inter-mingling my love for criminal justice. As a paranormal writer, I get to explore history, crime, and all the fascinating aspects of the unexplained. Setting the Dark Warrior series in Boston allows for a rich setting of history. My fascination with criminal justice is explored through the eyes of Nikki as she solves each case. Just to twist things around, Nikki discovers vampires are real.

Detective Stephanie Wills already knows this in The Christmas Present. Her family has been hunting vampires for years. She just doesn’t believe they are all bad. Stephanie’s life gets turned upside down Christmas Day when she is called in to her job with the Seattle Homicide Division, and there is a body drained of blood hanging suspended from the ceiling at the downtown art gallery.

Stephanie has to face her worst fears, and go vampire-hunting with her family before vampires drain the good citizens of Seattle. I live in the Northwest with my husband and son, and the area lends itself to mystery and suspense. With the sky darkened by rain clouds for most of the year, it’s easy to imagine the place infested by vampires. The Christmas Present is the first in a series called The Hunter Diaries, I look forward to releasing the next book Bite Me soon.

Taking these two brave women on a harrowing journey both dangerous, and full of possibilities, I hope you enjoy reading about them as much as I enjoyed writing them.

Excerpt The Christmas Present

Preview

Chapter 1

Large white flakes of snow floated down. Stephanie Wills stood on her back porch. Her finger trailed a path along the cold metal of the old wrought iron railing. It was Christmas Eve, and she was alone. The spot where her engagement ring had rested was bare.

Who needs men anyway? Stephanie raised the champagne glass to her lips. Not me. Nope. It had been the same all her life. One guy after another had left. Her damn family always chased them off, and Daniel was no different. She had waited this time, until she had a ring on her finger, and a wedding date set. It hadn’t done any good.

Stephanie’s brother had let the cat out of the bag, crashing in on their nice family dinner, looking like he’d been beaten and dragged through the dirt for a few hundred yards. She guessed that wasn’t far from the truth. Daniel had been fine with that part. It was when her brother yelled to secure the house, and her mother handed him a stake that things really started to turn.

The night ended with Daniel walking stunned from her parents home, after an all-out battle against a group of vampires. He’d asked for his ring back, and Stephanie was too proud to deny him. After all, who wanted to have a family of vampire hunters as their in-laws? A tear slipped down her cheek. She sniffed and wiped angrily at the tear, taking a gulp of champagne. Stephanie was giving up on men.

Christmas lights twinkled at her merrily. Perhaps she shouldn’t give up on men entirely, after all. They were so much fun to have around, most of the time. Maybe she could make a list; a New Year’s Resolution list. The New Year was just around the corner. People came up with lists all the time. Why not one for relationships? Knowing just what she would put at the top of her list, she wanted to get started.

Stephanie stumbled back into the house, glared at the Christmas tree in the corner of her living room, and made her way to the desk. Placing her glass on the desktop, she yanked open a drawer, pulled out a notepad, and rummaged around for a pen that would write. After several unsuccessful tries, she growled and marched over to her police jacket hanging from her coat rack. Stephanie pulled out the pen she knew worked, smiled at it, and sat down to write her list.

At the top, she scrawled Resolutions.

1) No settling for less, go only for eternal bliss – no more losers

2) Stay away from my family and all things supernatural

3) Lose 10 pounds

There. Stephanie racked her brain. She couldn’t come up with anything else right now, and her head was spinning. Glaring at her champagne glass, she pushed it back on her desk and stood up.

Maybe a good movie would take her mind off things? Wondering what was on the television she wandered over and pushed the power button on the remote. It’s A Wonderful Life flared on the screen and Stephanie grimaced. It was going to be all Christmas movies tonight. She flipped through the channels rapidly, and decided there wasn’t anything on that was going to make her feel any better. Powering off the TV, she leaned her head back on the arm of the couch. Perhaps she should just go to sleep.

Stephanie closed her eyes, and tried not to think of her fiancé, well, ex-fiancé. It didn’t help. Her head started to spin more. Restless, she popped her eyes open, and got up. Perhaps a good book would help. Her bookshelf called to her, and Stephanie pulled out her favorite. If she couldn’t find a man in real life then Nicholas would just have to do. Opening the first page, she began to read about the exploits of her favorite character, Nicholas Garreth.


About the Author

Serena Zane currently lives with her husband and her son in the Northwest. Working full-time at a day job, she also plays hard, and spends her free time studying the Middle Ages in a re-creationist organization called the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc (SCA). Much of her time is spent between training for heavy armored combat, learning about music in the 16th Century, and writing her novels.

Serena started writing at an early age with short stories, and poetry inspired by her mother, a strong independent woman who loves to help others, and wrote her own stories. Dark Hope was picked up and published by Southwest Publications in 2008.

In 2009 Serena became a member of Romance Writer’s of America, and has been working on her craft with the wonderful members of the Olympia Chapter. Though she does love the Middle Ages, and will most likely write a historical romance in the near future, she fell in love with the idea of writing a contemporary action/adventure romance while she was attending college to study Criminal Justice.

After months of working on homework assignments late at night that made her want to turn on every light in the house, she decided it would be a great idea to take some of the ideas running through her head and commit them to paper.

Serena has recently stared exploring the world of Short Story writing and will soon be releasing her first Short through Books To Go Now.

Link to author’s website or blog: http://www.serenazane.com

The Christmas Present

Books to go Now: http://www.bookstogonow.com/thechristmaspresent.html

Amazon Ebook: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006ASJQKQ

Amazon UK Ebook: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B006ASJQKQ

Barnes&Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1036585889?ean=2940013502369

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In this comedy of errors, a young lawyer, Bradley Harrington Chester III, is not living his dream. He has married a gorgeous woman against his parents’ wishes, and his less than stellar performance at law school has earned him a job in the New Orleans district attorney’s office, instead of at his father’s prestigious firm. On his first day there he meets up with Richard Bleddon, the self-confessed golden boy of that office, and a man who will go to any lengths to keep his position. Which is proven true when Brad usurps him by stealing his big case away, and Bleddon arranges to have him murdered.

Brad has gotten through life because of a winning smile, surfer-blonde hair, blue eyes, high cheekbones, and a body sculpted by Michelangelo. But when a monster car runs him down in the street, and leaves him hanging out in a throng of gray figures shuffling into a bright light, it seems that his winning days are over, until Count Dracula approaches him. The Count tells Brad he’s given up his evil ways, and now plays violin in a band called the Techno Zombies. But more importantly he’s looking for a lawyer, and he offers to save Brad’s life with a transfusion of his own immortal blood.

Julia Harrington Chester III is supermodel gorgeous, but she isn’t stupid. She knows that the fairytale is swiftly disappearing from her young marriage, and she isn’t going to take it. So when Richard Bleddon invites Brad and her to a swanky restaurant for a fancy meal that he pays for, she resolves to tell Brad that she wants a divorce, and she does, just before he is cruelly run down in the street, crushed, and mashed to death. She cannot forgive herself for being so insensitive, but this is only the beginning of her ordeal, an ordeal that will test the bonds of love, into death and beyond.

Everybody wants something. Something they will go to any lengths to get. It could be love, it could be money, it could be honor, or it could be just to preserve one’s good name in the face of ruin. What lengths would you go to, to get what you desire, and if it meant crossing the line and committing a crime; would you do it?

The New Novel By George Earl Parker
Is Practically A Movie Playing In Your Head!

www.georgeearlparker.com

About the author:

George Earl Parker is an Author, Singer/Songwriter, and an Artist. As director of the short film The Yellow Submarine Sandwich, included in Eric Idle’s pseudo-documentary of a band called the Rutles, Parker received accolades, awards, and a showing at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. His art has been exhibited in museums and galleries around the country, and three of his songs have climbed the European Country Music Association charts.

Vampyre Blood-Eight Pints of Trouble is his first novel. He currently lives in California where he continues working on music, and his second book. You can visit his website at www.georgeearlparker.com.

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