Friday, December 27, 2013

D.M.Sears, Author and Baker

Today I welcome Diana Sears, author of Eden’s Mark, Book 1 of the Ellethny Series. Diana tells us a little about herself, and then give some insight into her new book.

·         Tell us a little about yourself.
            Let’s see, that is kind of hard. I usually don’t talk about myself, but since you asked…
            I am a mother to a 12 year old daughter. I start with that because she is my life. This whole book series began because of her (it was a bedtime story). We live in Mid-Missouri, which most of you probably think is boring, and you are right! However, I love it here, the country is peaceful.
            I am a baker on the side, when I am not working or writing, and recently was told my name about town is Cupcake Diana! I sing a lot, used to sing for weddings and such, now it is reserved for the unfortunate souls in my car and karaoke!

·         What inspired you to write your latest release?
            The Ellethny Series began as a bedtime story for my daughter when she was young. Her middle name being Eden, I thought it would be exciting for her. As the years went by, the story unfolded into this world that I never knew was inside my head. The voices began to scream at me until I wrote them down, gave them names, and a place to live. They are perfectly happy now.

·         Was there a certain moment of the book that was your favorite to write?
      I enjoyed the moments when Eden really has to think about things, come to terms with her life, her reality. We all have these moments and my goal was to create the link from character to reader, hopefully I did that.

·         Who is your favorite author?
     I have more books than I can count, so picking one is too tough. I will say, I read Eon and Eona by Alliason Goodman, Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and the four books in the Inheritance Cycle by Paolini at least 15 to 20 times a year, if not more. I am also an Anne Rice, Christine Feehan, J.R.R Tolkien, and P.C. Cast book lover too!

·         Tell us one thing about yourself that people would be surprised to find out.
     I am the biggest nerd you have ever met! I love Star Wars, Star Trek, Legend, Hobbit, and all those Sci-fi movies! My movie collection is full of them and that makes me happy. I also game, no really, WoW, Diablo 3, etc…love it all =D.

·         Do you have any advice for anyone hoping to write their first novel?
     Just keep at it! Nothing comes easy, and your first novel, novella, etc. is the same. You will find your groove and when you complete that work of art you toiled over forever, the feeling of pride and accomplishment will flood you!

Blurb: Eden's Mark, Book 1 in the Ellethny Series
What would you do if you had to save a world you knew nothing about?
Eden Arik was a typical teenager who lived the typical teenage life...until the pale eyes showed up in her dreams. The birthmark, Eden had always ignored, burned at the new nightmares, raising questions about her past. Eden finds out she is more than a mere human that is destined to save a world she never knew existed. Her only solitude is the woods behind her house where she meets a mysterious stranger with steel eyes. With the help of her guardians, two unlikely shape shifters, and a vampire who can bring her to her knees with one glance, Eden goes on to search the secrets of her past, present, and future. Along her way to discovery, Eden comes across Circenn, her grandmother, consort to the Darkness and the evil magic he possess. Circenn will stop at nothing to bring Eden to the darkness so she can harness her granddaughter's limitless power. Seduction, power, and death pave the way towards Eden's destiny and the fate of Ellethny.

Blurb: Eden's Darkness, Book 2 in the Ellethny Series
Time waits for no man, or so they say. Darkness has but a little time to find a vessel to inhabit so he can find his true form, only problem is...Eden is the key. She is tied to his future, giving him his true form, or casting him back into the shadows for another millennium. Circenn is mad with jealousy at the revelation and wants to destroy her granddaughter more than ever. 
For Eden, things just go from bad to worse. Terrifying nightmares of death and betrayal surrounds Eden, nightmares about her beloved. With a child on the way, she must protect the future ruler of her new home and raise an army to defeat Circenn and Darkness.
The life she hoped would be hers hangs in the balance in the second installment of the Ellethny Series. To be released in Feb/March 2014 from Solstice Shadows.
Excerpt from Eden's Mark 
When Gregor opened his eyes, my world shifted a tiny bit. The blood rushed through my veins and I felt it pool at my wrist. My skin tingled, my mark glowed a golden white. He sent back an expression of curiosity. I felt compelled to kiss him. I wanted, no, needed to kiss him. My soul reached out to his knowing he was meant for me alone. Our faces were closing the inch gap between us and I felt his cool sweet smelling breath on my face. My wrist pulsed out the faint golden light leaving an effervescent trail in my blood.
His lips touched mine; electricity arced down my skin fueling my desire. I pressed against him fervently as images faded in and out before me.
Excerpt from Eden's Darkness
The stone courtyard lay in the midst of large dead trees. The branches were gnarled and knotted, linking into the others forming a halo over the stone below. Night blooming flowers of scarlet and snow white covered the ground. Candles were abundant, placed in trees giving the glow of a thousand fireflies. The space held the presence of beauty and evil combined, just like Circenn. A large boulder had been placed in the middle of the courtyard, off to the left, a roaring fire blazed on.   
The sliver of moon showed her silvery beams on the giant flat rock. Linden and Bronie each had a prisoner in tow, bringing them to their fates, to the end of their lives as they knew them. Gregor struggled against his shadow bonds as he was pulled before Circenn and the vaporous figure of Darkness. Marcus had no need for restraints, he walked willingly behind Bronie, his face filled with longing and hopes to see Eve in the afterlife. 

D.M. Sears lives in Missouri with her daughter and one crazy cat. Her first paranormal fantasy, Eden's Mark, was recently published by Solstice Publishing. D.M. Sears is a Director of an early childhood center and bakes cupcakes on the side. She loves most genres of books and has just signed a publishing contract for Eden's Darkness, Book 2 in the Ellethny Series, which will be out Feb/March 2014. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Winter's Spirit

Today is my Wedding Anniversary. Sixteen years ago today, we visited the Town Hall, enjoyed a small gathering at our home and finished the evening off with some fireworks and a few drinks. As it was so close to bonfire night, we didn’t actually need to buy our own fireworks either. Luck was certainly on our side.

So, today got me thinking. What traditional gift should I buy for my husband? A quick bit of research informs me that 16 years means a gift made of wax. Well, that’s a handy one. I’m sure he’d appreciate a lovely scented candle. 

So I’m looking through the list and the previous fifteen years’ worth of gifts and just checking that he has been provided with everything. 

1.    Paper – Yes. I seem to have given him lots of paper in our first year of marriage. Usually till receipts for all the shopping I did.
2.      Cotton – Yes. I’ve bought him lots of shirts over the years.
3.       Leather – Yes. He has had the honour of seeing me with a leather bag or two.
4.       Fruit – Of course. I make sure to buy him some every week.
5.       Wood. Certainly. He has been the proud recipient of some super pieces of garden fencing.
6.       Sugar and iron. Sadly, no he doesn’t take sugar. However, I have more than made up for this by providing him with an iron (usually at the weekends) and many iron nails (usually used for his no.5 gift.
7.       Wool and copper. Jumpers – yes – there have been many. Copper –lots of coins – he has his own jar for loose change.
8.       Bronze and pottery.  I failed with bronze, but always provide him with at least one piece of pottery every evening with his dinner.
9.       More pottery and willow.  I think we’ve covered the pottery.
10.   Tin, aluminium. Yes. Often used to wrap his sandwiches in the absence of some Tupperware.
11.   Steel. Does the car count?
12.   Silk and linen. Bedding covered with that one.
13.   Lace. No comment readers.
14.   Ivory. No. Illegal.
15.   Crystal. We have some lovely wine glasses.

Wow. He’s one lucky man. Bet he can’t wait for the next 16.

Speaking of gifts, the heroine in my story, Winter’s Spirit, runs a gift store. It’s full of all sorts of exciting goodies. Come through the door with me now and have a look around. I’m sure you’ll find something in there you’d like.

Winter’s Spirit Blurb:

Winter McAndrew is on the brink of divorcing her philandering husband, Philip, when he dies in a car crash. One year later and with unfinished business; Philip is still earth bound and interfering in his wife’s love life. Trying to make amends isn't always easy when you're dead. Not only has Winter fallen for her old crush, Jack Tobin, but he also happens to be Philip’s cousin. With more complications than a woman needs at Christmas, Winter tries to find peace at her holiday home in The Lake District. However, when she finds herself snowed in with Jack; ghosts, old and new cause quite a stir. Will Winter get her man, or will ghostly Philip put an end to all her festive fantasies?


“Oh heck,” she muttered. Not only did the vase shatter, but so too did her sexy daydream. Would it ever be possible for her to get though one of these daytime fantasies without breaking something in the shop? Last week it had been a coffee mug, the week before, a china soap dish. It wouldn’t do to get her sister too suspicious.

“Tut, tut,” came the voice she was fast learning to hate. “Not another one of your smouldering day dreams I hope.”

She turned around to see Philip; floating somewhere between the fragranced soaps and bath bombs.

“I’m starting to get annoyed at you just turning up here uninvited, Philip. Can’t you send out a psychic calling card or something? Or even better, leave me alone.”

He grinned, displaying his still perfect white teeth. Sadly, death had done little to deteriorate his charming good looks. “I can’t leave you until the deed is done. Whatever it may be. You know full well I need to do my good act on earth before I can pass over.”

“Well hurry up and do it. It’s been a full year already. I thought you would have figured it out by now. Haven’t you any idea what it is you need to do?”

“No. I haven’t. Believe me, I wish I could. This situation is just as bad for me as it is for you. I didn’t ask for it. Or this.” He gestured towards his attire. “It’s bloody freezing at the best of times, but this week has been awful. The cold gets everywhere.”

“Perhaps you should have thought about your appearance before you died in a hospital gown. I’ve no sympathy at all. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to tidy this mess before Summer comes in.”

“Ah, yes. You wouldn’t want her to see the evidence of your day dreams would you? If only I could read your mind dear wife. I’d love to know who is occupying your thoughts these days.”

“Well let me assure you, it isn’t you. Now go.” He folded his arms sulkily and vanished into the ether.

“Good riddance,” she muttered, bending to pick up the pieces of the broken vase. Her occasional clumsiness could be explained away, but she shuddered at the prospect of explaining her dead husband’s haunting. 


About the author; Deborah Melanie writes romantic stories, is the wife of a retired semi-professional footballer and lives in the historical town of Northampton.

Author’s Twitter Page ;

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Skunk Ape Semester

Miss Havana: (flashing a “come hither” smile at Mike Robinson): Oh, my, do I have a treat for all my lovely visitors today—and for me as well—an outstanding writer, the author of Skunk Ape Semester. Now, let’s be real, with a title like that, the book must be outstanding, right? So, I want to delve right to the heart of things … you know, get to the most important questions first if Mr. Robinson doesn’t mind. (Miss Havana leans forward, rests her elbow on the table and places her chin on her closed fist) Tell me, Mike, are you married?

MR (blushes): Ah, no, I'm not married. How is that relevant to Skunk Apes?

MH (flexing her shoulders forward playfully): I’m not entirely certain what a Skunk Ape is, Mike. Please tell me … and then I might be able to answer your question.

MR (looking incredulous): Even blondes know what a Skunk Ape is. Are you pulling my leg?

MH (shrugging and with an even blanker look than normal): Well, maybe not everyone.

MR (sighs): A Skunk Ape is a sasquatch … a Bigfoot.

MH (eyes lighting up and grinning as she glances toward the ceiling): I dated a guy with big feet once. It’s true what they say.

MR (rolling his eyes; shaking his head): Any chance we could get back on topic? I’d like to tell you a little about my book. It’s about a paleontologist and three students who go on a quest to find a Skunk Ape. They travel from place to place meeting level-headed and eccentric characters and, in seeking Bigfoot, Chupacabras, UFOs, goblins and lake monsters, they discover truths about themselves and one another.

MH (clapping her hands together; grinning from ear-to-ear): I knew a paleontologist once. His name was Jeremy and he liked to jump my bones. As a kid, he claimed that meeting a ghost would be more exciting than meeting a girl. I never believed that because he hadn’t met me yet. Too bad he married that Sheri Belhem girl before he finished college. I would have been a lot more fun.

MR (Snorts. Clearly irritated): I heard about that, but you told him your name was Beth. Jeremy is my main character.

MH (eyes wide open): Oh, dear. I hope he isn’t one of those loose-lipped guys who kisses and tells all the sordid details. What did he say about me?

MR (places hand on forehead, grimaces): Nothing … nothing good at all. As I was saying, my book is about an experience with a Sasquatch Jeremy Fishleder had when he was ten, and his subsequent quest to re-capture that moment as an adult.

MH (dabbing on face powder): Interesting. So, how would you classify your book? What genre?

MR: I’d call it a Literary Paranormal Road Trip. I try to go where no others have gone before.

MH (looking puzzled): You mean, like Star Trek?

MR: No, no … that’s not what I mean. All I’m saying is that my genres are unique. My novel, The Green-Eyed Monster is a horror-mystery, and The Prince of Earth is literary horror. My forthcoming Negative Space is uniquely genre-less. Honestly. Read it and tell me what exactly it is … if you can. It has elements of "coming of age" and "thriller," but those descriptions just don’t encompass all of it. You can read … can’t you?

MH (snapping her purse closed; curls upper lip and casts an angry glare): Of course I can read … I’m a substitute teacher. But I’m not teaching now. I’m learning. Do you have children?

MR (raising his eyebrows): I told you … I’m not married.

MH: Well, duh. The two aren’t necessarily connected. Are you evading my question because of child support issues? I can assure you, the IRS rarely reads my blogs.

MR (gasping; places splayed fingers over sternum): You are one messed up character, Miss Havana, I’ll give you that. No, I don’t have children. Unless you count brainchildren. They can be just as messy as the real ones, in a more metaphysical sense.

MH (Huffs): Well, I did like Jeremy, so your brainchildren must be pretty good. (She sighs) For an average-looking zoology professor, he had his moments. Why don’t you give our visitors a look into your book, a little excerpt to whet their appetite?

Mike Robinson
MR: Sure. Picture this:

The night is a bristly alive thing in the Florida summer, and it spreads from the shadows and comes in close and suffocating while concealing secrets rarely glimpsed. I was a kid when I encountered one of these secrets, barely a decade removed from my physical birth, and it was then that the real Jeremy Fishleder was born.

As I sat alone the smell returned but it was faint and hollow, so much so I initially took it as an imaginative perversion of some other smell, if not downright fabricated by my heightened, caffeinated senses.

I righted at the sound of disturbed foliage and snapping branches. Something big lurked on the fringe our backyard, just beyond the light of the back porch. Fortunately for the adult into whom I would later develop, my young fears weren’t big enough to drive me into the house, screaming and disrupting Mom’s phone call and who knows what else. At this point – God knows why, given the last month – curiosity trumped fear.

I waited and tried to peer past the foliage, then got up and went down the porch steps to the grass when something truly did make me halt in fright: the smell, oh God the smell, that sulfurous stench that was like a harsh olfactory whip, bladed and terrible, worse than anything I’d smelled of it prior.

There was something there. Two eyes glinted back at me from the brush, elevated in the darkness. I assumed it a deer, especially in the way the animal froze.

But the smell grew. Deep and musky. Wild.

Then the lighted eyes rose -- it was definitely taller than a deer. Maybe six feet. I stepped back. We stared at one another across a gulf not only of species but of spirit, two entities from two different dimensions suddenly intersected.

The eyes rose a final time as it stood its full height, and for a long second all of civilization drained from me. It was gargantuan.

And cautiously, it came forward and the light drew it further and further into form.

The thing emerged from the fringe of the backyard and I stepped back. Our eyes remained dead-locked and I could see them better, see them deeper and they were orange-tinted, small citrus gleams alien but identifiably terrestrial, even twistedly empathetic. The animal was bipedal, more erect than most people I see, and so goddamn massive – to my child brain, a Rose Parade float. All functions in my young body came to a standstill. It was like a childhood fantasy thrust upon me, a trespassing dream lost in reality, and I had no reaction other than a strange sensation that straddled the line between awe and terror.

The creature stood and looked towards the house, then back into the warm syrupy wilderness from which it had come stomping. The odor held firm and strong, a noxious force field. It opened its mouth as if to yawn and I could see long wet canines. Then the mouth closed sharply and the head – which was fastened directly to the shoulders with no discernible neck – slanted back and from the depths of its throat issued a burst of whooping noises that ranged from fleeting to full, long and slow. Its body responded to each whoop with a tremble that ruffled the lengthy silver-blue hairs hanging like coarse tinsel from its skin.

Then it turned, moved, and was gone.

Hurrying back inside, I went for the first visible person which was my father. Though I stammered and was probably somewhat incoherent, he was patient enough to bring it out of me.

“What’s wrong, Jeremy?” he asked.

MR: Does that pique your interest, Miss Havana?

MH: Sounds wonderful, Mike. You’ve got my attention, and apparently the attention of others as well. I loved the reviews below.

"One of the best books I've read this past decade." 
------ Leslie Ann Moore, award-winning author of Griffin's Daughter

"I loved this book! Are you interested in the weird and unexplained? SKUNK APE SEMESTER by Mike Robinson’s a page-turning road trip--a journey of the mind, heart, and spirit. I was captivated from the first page, and I learned a lot. Most of the stories in this novel (other than Bigfoot) I'd never heard of before. You'll like the characters and feel like you took this fascinating journey with them."
------ Syrie James, international bestselling author of The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen and Dracula, My Love

“‘On the Road’ meets ‘The X-Files’!”
------ Marla Miller, author and columnist

"A love song to Fortean Americana....a truly unique book."
 ----- Richard Freeman, author / researcher

MH: I’ll read Skunk Ape Semester, and then review it here on my blog in the near future. I look forward to it. How would our visitors find you?

MR: That’s an easy one: Readers can find the book at But here’s a question that’s not easy. This blog is part of a scavenger hunt. Your readers need to answer the following question at to be eligible to win: What phony name did Miss Havana give Jeremy when she toyed with him in college?

MH: Hey … I don’t tell anyone my real name until I get to know them better … and the phone number I gave him was for the IRS.

Thanks for reading!

James L. Hatch 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Secrets of the Subplot

James Hatch, I thank you for hosting me on the website with my favorite name in cyberspace. I’ve got a few literary thoughts to offer as well as info on my new novel, The Maxwell Vendetta, and I hope your readers will enjoy the thoughts and, of course, buy the books. Yes, books, plural. The Second Vendetta is the sequel to The Maxwell Vendetta and they’ll make a great pair for your library. Anyhow, here we go:

Secrets of the Subplot

There’s lots of ink devoted to plot technique, but relatively little to the subplot. It also seems to me that contemporary writers pay scant attention to this opportunity not only to spice up the action, but to add dimension and depth to their work.

The still-reigning subplot king is the bard of Avon. From the Toby Belch-Maria-Aguecheek-Malvolio action in Twelfth Night to the Laertes-Ophelia-Polonius family dynamics in Hamlet, Shakespeare knows how to keep us so involved in the secondary action that we sometimes forget what’s happening with the main characters. But never for long. In the end, he always brings the two streams of action together in a way that not only complements but enlarges and influences primary plot and character. In Twelfth Night, the humiliation of the Puritan Malvolio serves as a warning to those who would overreach and pervert the course of true romance such as that of Duke Orsino-Viola and Sebastian-Olivia. In Hamlet, of course, Laertes becomes the instrument by which Hamlet not only accomplishes his goal of avenging his father’s death, but fashions his own demise as well.

A more modern example is F. Scoot Fitzgerald’s use of Nick Carraway as the narrator of the title character’s rise and fall in The Great Gatsby. So skillful is Nick’s storytelling that it’s easy to forget that he’s romanticizing the image of a narcissistic gangster with a perverted idea of love. In that sense, the book is as much about Nick as about Gatsby. However, Gatsby carries the story, and important as he is, Nick’s part in the action is a subplot, an essential element without which the story would not have happened as it did, but is nevertheless background. Gatsby & Daisy are the characters we remember. Nick brings them together, and Nick helps Gatsby cover his and Daisy’s hit and run. But Fitzgerald is not satisfied with only one subplot. It’s a character from a second—George, the husband of the hit-run victim—from killing Gatsby and bringing the whole edifice tumbling down. We, the readers, view Gatsby’s death, then, not so much as martyrdom, as Nick does, but as rough justice. The point here being that 1) Without the subplot(s) the main plot could not survive; 2) without the subplots the view of Gatsby as a victim of his romantic yearnings would remain untarnished.

Different though they are, the common thread running through all these works is that the subplot operates parallel to the main action, but merges with and becomes vital to the finish. Furthermore, the subplots add color and dimension to the ideas and themes which would be impossible without them.

I offer here an illustration from my own work, not because I count myself in the ethereal realms of these masters, but because I believe it’s important to study and learn from them. Plus, of course, I want to plug my book.

In my recently released historical thriller, The Maxwell Vendetta, Andy Maxwell sets out to quash a vendetta that threatens to wipe out his prominent family and destroy their Sierra Nevada Ranch. The inciting incident is the murder of his younger brother on a San Francisco sidewalk in the summer of 1908. Along the way, Andy runs into a Chinese underworld lord named Charley Hung, to whom said brother owed a considerable sum, which Hung wants to collect from Andy. Andy goes through some harrowing adventures to escape Charley and his henchmen early in the book, then proceeds to his main mission of defeating the main agent of the vendetta, one Michael Yellow Squirrel. Near the end of the book, just when it appears Andy is about to accomplish his goal, Charley’s minions show up again at a most unexpected time and place and put his entire scheme in jeopardy.

True to the principles I’ve outlined above, these subplot characters become essential to the book’s finale, and (I hope) help add some texture to this novel that is more than an action-adventure-romance tale, but one with some telling insights into such matters as racism and political corruption as they manifest not only at the turn of the last century, but even today.

Give it a go at, & don’t pass up its sequel, The Second Vendetta at

Biography—Carl R. Brush

Carl Brush has been writing since he could write, which is quite a long time now. He grew up and lives in Northern California, close to the roots of the people and action of his historical thrillers, the recently-released The Maxwell Vendetta, and its sequel, The Second Vendetta. A third volume of the trilogy, set in pre-gold-rush San Francisco is nearing completion. Its working title: Bonita.

You can find Carl living with his wife in Oakland, California, where he enjoys the blessings of nearby children and grandchildren.

Journals in which his work has appeared include The Summerset Review, Right Hand Pointing, Blazevox, Storyglossia, Feathertale, and The Kiss Machine.  He has participated in the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and the Tin House Writers’ Workshop.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

It’s the Cover Reveal for ‘Volume Seven of Memoirs of a Gigolo’ by Livia Ellis!

Welcome to the official cover reveal of Volume Seven of Memoirs of a Gigolo! The story continues as Oliver enters into a world parallel to his own.

Oliver Adair. Beautiful on the outside. Damaged on the inside. One bad decision followed by the next leaves him broke and out of options. When propositioned to sell his body he enters into a parallel world of sex for hire. Oliver embarks on a journey that will force him to confront his demons, answer for the sins of the past, and become a man.

Connect with Livia:

•           Blog –
•           Facebook -
•           Twitter -

Buy it now:
•           Amazon US -
•           Amazon UK -
•           Riverdale Ave Books -

•           Smashwords -

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Miss Havana Strikes Again

Interviewer: Today we welcome Miss Havana, the lead character in The Substitute; Oh, Heavens, Miss Havana!, The Training Bra and The Trophy Wife. It’s good to have you here Miss Havana.

MH: I’m sure it is. By the way, who dyes your roots? They look great. I can hardly see any grey at all.

Interviewer: Ah … this interview is about you, Miss Havana, not me. Tell me, do you get killed in your new novel like you do in all the others?

MH: You know, that’s a hard question to answer. I mean, my daughter, Lilith, did overdose me on chloroform … that came pretty close … except the Most High weighed in and saved me. I’m not sure if I’ll be killed off permanently during the edit cycle or not. Those editors can be brutal.

Interviewer: I see you have dyed your hair too. Aren’t you normally blonde?

MH: That’s a viscous rumor. I’m only blonde when my host is blonde. That’s the thing about spirits—it’s hard to wrap your hands around something that isn’t really there. As The Trophy Wife, my host is Cuban. She’s a knockout with beautiful ebony hair. I try to do her justice … you know, by not acting too blonde.

Interviewer: So you are The Trophy Wife. Based on your other books, I’m a little surprised by that. Whose trophy are you, anyway?

MH: Well, what a lame question. God’s of course. We have a child together too, but that wasn’t very satisfying, considering the whole Immaculate Conception thing and all. It’s not just me. He said Mary wasn’t all that satisfied either.

Interviewer: You had a child with God? How is that possible? Wasn’t your last mate Lucifer? Isn’t Lilith your daughter with him?

MH: I see … you are not a believer. Anything is possible with God.

Interviewer: No, no … that’s not what I meant. I mean … how could … He … consider you … a trophy?

MH: Now see here, a lesser person might take that line of questioning personally, but the answer to your question is simple. He likes me. I’m pretty.

Interviewer: You’re pretty. That’s it? That seems a little shallow.

MH: Well, there are those other things. I did stop the rise of the Antichrist in The Substitute … and I became the Angel of Death in Oh, Heavens, Miss Havana! … and I prevented the apocalypse in The Training Bra when I broke up the horsemen. Those guys and girl don’t like each other anyway. They don’t like Lucifer either. Come to think of it, they didn’t like me much, if you can believe it. Although interfering with those events really got under Lucifer’s skin, God apparently appreciated my effort, even if most everything was an accident.

Interviewer: So God … does He love you?

MH (batting her hand across her face like chasing away a gnat): Oh, you are primitive, aren’t you? Of course He loves me—He loves everyone. The problem really wasn’t God’s love, but the issues associated with showing up pregnant. My sterile husband became suspicious right away.

Interviewer (flipping pages of notes): Oh, that had to be bad. It says here you are married to Samuel Jackson. The actor?

MH (looking disgusted): That Samuel Jackson is a liberal; my husband is a conservative. No one gets them confused … except possibly you. Yes, I would say the experience of showing up pregnant could have gone better. I suspect Joseph had the same issues, but hey, that was a long time ago.

Interviewer: Can you tell us a little about your new baby?

MH: You mean, Angel. Oh, she was a very sweet girl … while she lived. I have to talk to the author about that. He keeps killing off people I get close to. That just doesn’t seem right.

Interviewer: He killed your child? What kind of rat would do such a thing?

MH (nodding agreement): You’re right. Nailing her to the side of a barn seemed a little extreme, even to me. On the up side, he did replace her with two little girls Jackson and I adopted, fraternal twins we named Lily and Angel. They are the stars of the next novel, Sisters.

Interviewer: Will your children continue the battle between good and evil like you have … since the beginning of time?

MH: You must mean my brief stint as Eve. Yes, those were good times, but that’s the topic of another novel still being formulated. I think it might be called, In the Beginning.

Interviewer: We’re just about out of time, Miss Havana. Thank you for stopping by today.

MH: My pleasure. And, for those who wish to stay just a bit longer, I’ve provided an excerpt below from The Trophy Wife. The scene takes place when my daughter, Lilith, who inhabits the body of Lily, and her rotten boyfriend, Fred, Jr., who is haunted by Lucifer’s right-hand shadow creature, Waldo, attack me with caramel sauce and feathers. Of course, I strike back later, and the cycle of attacks just get worse and worse until someone dies. Isn’t that how it always works?
They laid in wait for almost forty-five minutes before they saw Miss Havana walking toward the garbage bin with her evening trash. They had pre-positioned their supplies, and the moment Miss Havana stepped into the dumpster enclosure with her trash, Fred Jr. sprinted to the gate and locked it from the outside with the chain and padlock. Miss Havana heard the chain rattle and turned to look. “Hello. Is someone there?”
Snickering came from outside the fence, and then the deluge began. Two focused beams of caramel sauce rained down on her from out of nowhere. She screeched and tried to cover her hair with her hands, but to no avail. The sauce kept coming … and coming … and coming. And when the downpour stopped, it rained feathers.
She could hear receding laughter, a man and a woman, before she heard screeching tires … and then nothing but silence. She spit feathers from her mouth and grumbled low, “It had to be Lily. That bitch!”
When she tried to leave she realized she was locked in. She had left her cell phone in the apartment, and began to shake from both anger and cold. The stench of rotting garbage made her want to gag. She slipped to a sitting position in one corner and looked into the dark celestial dome toward the stars. “Oh, God, please help me. This girl is driving me crazy. Remember the angel I asked for? I could sure use that now. Are you out there?”
She bowed her head as tears slipped down her cheeks. At first her sobs came softly, and then they grew louder. She cried like she had never cried in her entire life. Her tears flowed like an open hydrant. She felt alone, despondent and helpless, and began thinking of Sister Elizabeth’s words, “You can always work at Saint Mark’s.”
She took a deep breath. Yes, she did have options. Maybe she should consider them.
Just then she heard Jackson’s voice. “Miss Havana? Are you in there? Hello?”
“Jackson? It’s me,” she yelled. “I’m locked inside this damn fence. You don’t have any bolt cutters with you, do you?”
She heard a loud thump followed by some scraping sounds, and then Jackson’s smiling face appeared at the top of the fence. “Evening, Ma’am. Can I be of assistance?”
She looked up without standing. “That’s a fool question, Jackson. Get me out of here.”
“Okay, give me a minute.”
She heard the chain rattle again, followed by, “Hum, it’s chained up pretty tight. I’ve got to go to my car.” She heard him snicker before saying, “Stay where you are. Don’t leave.”
She put her head in her hands. “Oh, my God. I need rescuing, not a comedian.”
In a few minutes Jackson returned. She heard the high-pitched whine of a battery-operated power tool, and could see sparks flying through a small slit in the fence. It looked like Jackson was playing with a Fourth of July sparkler out there. In another few moments the equipment went silent and Jackson popped open the gate. “Hello. I heard someone in here needed the fire department. Is that right?”
With her head held low, Miss Havana slinked out of the enclosure. Feathers covered her from head to foot. Jackson shook his head. “My goodness, Ma’am, looks like you plum been run outta town.”
“Very funny,” she said dryly. “I don’t know whether to hug you or slap you.”
Jackson took a step back. “You could use a shower … then I could use a hug.”
The hot shower never felt better. Miss Havana scrubbed the feathers and caramel sauce while Jackson kept reaching in to remove the feathers clogging the drain. It was a two-person operation he enjoyed, especially the view from where he sat. He thought it best to wait until she completely cleaned herself before questioning her. She didn’t seem too receptive at the moment.
About thirty minutes later she turned off the water and glanced down at Jackson. “Towel, please.”
He handed one in. “Ah, heck. Looks like the show is over.”
She asked the question foremost on her mind when she stepped out. “Why are you here, Jackson? I thought you were on duty tonight.”
He grinned. “Terry owed me a favor. I asked him to fill in for me so I could ask you out for dinner. Are you up for that … or do you just want to ‘stick’ with what you’re doing?”
He thought the comment was clever, but she just glared before her face softened. “More than anything, I want to be held. Are you up for that?”
“Sure, but I’ll owe Terry big time if I’m not back in two hours.”
“Terry’s a big boy,” she said as she let her towel drop and began dragging him toward her bedroom. “He can handle it.”

Thanks for reading!

James L. Hatch

Saturday, May 25, 2013


I just moved into a new apartment. There were a few spooky goings-on and it reminded of a time earlier this year when I drove down to San Antonio on business. I went last year as well and, before I left, I did my research on which hotel would be the best choice. After much deliberation and combing, I decided that the Days Inn two exits from my office building would be perfect. It had free internet and breakfast and that’s really all I could ever ask from life.

However, this year, the hotel seemed different. Of course, since my planning was so flawless last year, I felt no need to alter my sleeping arrangements, so I arrived at my Days Inn, only to be greeted by a very different feel. The sign in front read “Days Inn – San Antonio As Seen on Sci-Fi … Under New Management” I thought very little of it, since I had important issues on my mind—such as chicken bacon ranch subs and Batman—and I proceeded to park and enter the office.

Although the ambiance of the hotel felt different, it was nice. It had almost a touristy air about it. The staff was very relaxed and friendly with an odd sense of theater, as if they worked at a theme park or something instead. They reclined in the lobby eating ice cream on sticks until, having been alerted to my presence, they sprung up and got about their jobs. The front desk lady asked me about my trip and where I’m from and all of the usual banter as she took my debit card, gave me my key and told me my room number. I bade her “adios” and took off into the night to embrace my new temporary shelter.

As I approached my room, I felt an odd chill climb up my spine. I am usually terrified of sleeping in hotels alone, so I forced the feeling from my mind. I am, after all, a goddamn man, and I sauntered into my hotel room as confident as I cross most thresholds.

The room took me aback. The sheets on the bed looked like they had been tossed off as if someone just woke up. The furniture was moved around. The water was running in the bathroom. There were half-empty Dr. Pepper bottles all over the room. Assuming I had been given the key to someone else’s room, I immediately left and set off to rectify this mistake with the front desk.

I spoke to the front desk lady. “Ma’am, I do believe you gave me the key to an occupied room. If it wouldn’t be too much trouble, might I be moved to a different room?”

 “Of course, Sir! I am terribly sorry. Let me take a look.”

 At the moment, some man ran over to her with an alarmed look on his face. He asked me, “Which room were you placed in?”


 He turned to the girl. “You know better than to put a customer in that room.”

“I’m sorry, Boss, I guess I forgot. It was the last vacant room with a single bed.”

I said, “It wasn’t vacant, there was definitely someone there.”

“No, there was not. The room is not occupied. It is haunted.” He said with an ironic degree of candidness.

DAFUQ!” I orated eloquently.

“Yes, haunted. Robert lives there. He is our resident phantom. He is why we are famous! He is always up to mischief.”

“Does Robert like Dr. Pepper?”

“Oh yes. Robert LOVES Dr. Pepper. We have bottles go missing from shipments ALL the time.”

“I’d like a different room, please.”

“You just can’t make people happy sometimes.”

Not having noticed the attendant’s snarkiness due to my processing the ectoplasmic data dump I had fallen victim to, I walked to my new room, which, much to my chagrin, was two doors down from Robert. If he saw fit, he could merrily skip over to my room, diffuse through the door and decorate my room with fear-induced excrement that would be rocketing from my heinie.

There was good news, however. Like the girl said, Robert’s room was the last vacant single room, so my new room had two beds. If Robert DID decide to sleep over, he would have his own bed. I’ll be damned before I play big spoon to a pernicious poltergeist.

So just recently, after waking up for the first night in my brand new place, I remembered hearing the door open to my bedroom during my slumber and I guess I had dismissed it and chalked it up to the air conditioner or something similarly innocuous. But when I opened the fridge to make a protein shake for my breakfast, I saw my box of coke zeroes had been turned upside down and there were cans everywhere and some stacked up in the door.

A jolt of fear went through me and I looked around the room. There was no place for someone to break in. The windows were closed; the door was locked. All of my valuables were still where they should be. And then I thought, dammit, Robert, I don't have any Dr. Pepper.

Thank you for reading.

Here’s the link to my new book and there is an excerpt below.
Here is my email –
And my facebook author page.
I’ve also included a little PG excerpt from my book – hope you enjoy it.

Flames licked every wall of the once-beautiful Victorian home. The fire danced and made every hue transform into a dark orange. David knew exactly what to do. He felt more comfortable in a fire than out of one. A loud crack sounded above his head as a support beam gave way. Its heavy descent ended abruptly in the sturdy, solid palm of David’s broad hand. He effortlessly tossed it aside and continued searching the house.

Between the crackling of the burn, David’s ears caught a strangled cough. A child. Probably a young girl. He could hear her in one of the bedrooms in the back hallway. He sturdied himself. His self-contained breathing apparatus allowed him to stand tall without the smoke filling his lungs. The muscles on his back hardened, preparing to support whatever burden he was called upon to bear.

“Hello? Is anyone there?” David didn’t want to waste time searching each room. He needed to know exactly where she was.

“I’m in my room,” a tiny voiced choked out through sobs of fear. David checked, but the door was jammed. The hinges may have warped or the walls become compressed together due to the fire eating away at the studs and ceiling. Fire can kill in so many ways. 

“Step away from the door,” David shouted. With a mighty shove, he broke the door open quickly and cleanly. A lonesome young girl lay on her bed, clasping a teddy bear wearing a red ribbon, while fire ate the room around her.

“Are you ok, Sweetheart?” David asked gently. . He would have liked to stop and check her for injuries, but there just wasn’t time.

“I want my mommy. I am so scared.”

“It’s ok, Honey. I know where your mommy is. I am going to help her save you. Is it alright with you if I pick you up?”

The young lady nodded and held her arms into the air, one still holding tightly to the teddy. David gently lifted her to his chest, flexing his biceps until his arms were solid as oak. She was wrapped in armor.

David walked back the way he came, it was imperative that they leave the building as soon as possible. It might fall any moment.

The house creaked at David, warning him of the impending collapse. He lengthened his stride. She mustn’t know what danger she was in. David had made her safe now. That was his purpose.

He was too late. Just as the light of day could be seen through the front door, fire ate through the ceiling and it came crashing down, blocking their way with embrous debris. The scream of the child’s mother was muffled behind the mountain of white-hot wood, insulation and sheet rock, obstacles fire had placed in his way. Ceiling tile and a large wooden board clashed with David’s back. The plank snapped on his trapezius. He felt no pain. This was his job. However, the sound of the crash caused the child to bury her face in David’s chest. He hated her to be afraid while he held her.

He turned around. Homes like this always had another door. He marched through the kitchen, shielding the child from spark and flame. He found it. The side door. It stood near the cooking appliances and the danger of electric shock kept most of the emergency response team clear of the area. David, however, had no choice.

Without a hand to open the door, he stepped back to ready his kick.
“Hold on, Honey. We’re almost there. Protect Teddy.”

A wicked snap resounded through the house and the door flew through the air into the back yard. The breeze of freedom wrapped their bodies in cold and comfort.

From the front, the snap could be heard clearly. Police held on to the woman, her screams echoing down the street. The house trembled and cracked. With a belch of smoke, her home imploded into rubble.

“NOOO!! God, no!! My baby! Why did nobody get my baby?” She screamed accusatorially at the firemen and police who stood idly watching fire steal her world from her.  The news reporters had nothing to say. The cameras just rolled on.

“The Fire Chief, David Conlon, was in the house, Ma’am. He went in after your daughter.”

“He went alone?!?! Why was he trying to save her alone!?!? Where are they?!?!”

The team hung their heads while the fire hose rained life-saving water down upon the house. It would be hours before the firemen and EMT’s could retrieve and transport the bodies from the smoldering ruins.  Despite the ruckus, a silence stole the minds of the spectators between the sobs of the mother.

At that moment, bursting forth from the cloud of smoke and water and despair, an angel walked calmly into the street, a little doll cradled in its arms. A wave of cheer and celebration erupted from the crowd. Where once there was silence and sadness, joy and hope popped like fireworks.

David handed the baby to her mother. Tears of joy streamed down her face and she petted the little girl’s face with kisses.  He peeled off his hat and mask. His black curly hair framed his face. The ash-blackened silhouette of his SCBA encircled his brilliantly blue eyes. She gasped at the beauty of the man that saved her only child.

“Thank you so much. You have no idea what you did for me today. You are my hero.” Her thankfulness welled up within her. This man was her savior. Without him, she would have said goodbye to her daughter instead of hugging her.

“Please don’t, Ma’am. It’s just my job.” David accepted the gratitude, but he did not bask in it. He did not do what he did for the “thanks.” He smiled a little smile at the woman and kissed the girl on the crown of her forehead.

Without an ounce of pride or boastfulness, he turned and walked away. The excitement faded. The police and rescue teams retreated. The mother took her child to start a new life elsewhere. Fire rested to attack another day, and David returned to his home alone. He cleansed himself of the ash, treated his wounds and waited for another chance to do the only thing on this Earth he knew how to do.