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OUR BOOK OF THE WEEK is the romantic suspense novel Give Me Shelter by Alexis D. Craig.

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What it’s About:

Inspector Eli Miller’s unspoken feelings for his partner, Bex, color his whole life. When his past comes calling, will it be the push he needs to seek a future with her?

Inspector Rebecca ‘Bex’ Mulcahy has lived long enough to know that love is a street con at best, and a dangerous distraction at worst. Any feelings she has for her partner Eli definitely fall into the latter category. Will her dedication to her job keep her from finding a possible future with Eli?

Their latest case is protecting Violet Burrell, a young woman with scars on her soul stretching back to birth, who inadvertently witnesses a shockingly brutal murder at the hands of a sadist. Violet is determined to testify in court. Her strength and courage impress Eli and Bex, who will protect her at all costs.

But it is Violet’s beauty and spirit that entrances Junior Inspector Atticus Randall. Atticus is also assigned to protect Violet, and while he knows he should ignore his growing feelings for her, he just can’t stop himself from falling for the brave beauty.

Life in the Las Vegas branch of Witness Protection has never been more tangled. When the emotional landmines start a chain reaction, everyone in the blast radius is going to need a little shelter.

EXCERPT:

AR escorted Vi out to the table on the balcony to enjoy their sundaes. He liked to take his lunch out here on occasion, just when he needed to get away from his desk for a bit but didn’t want to leave the building. His dedication was paying off, since Marco had started entrusting him with more and more responsibilities, as evidenced by the woman sitting next to him now with her eyes closed in bliss. “You really never had a hot fudge sundae before?”

She shook her head, and her expression hardened. “No. Not with my mother and certainly not with the nuns.”

He pondered her ascetic life and the choices she’d made from it. It was all there in her file, but he felt like an intruder or a stalker, knowing that much about a virtual stranger to him. He’d much rather know her as a person, beyond the story of sadness and neglect. “Violet’s a pretty name.” An inane statement, but he knew he was out of his depth attempting to tackle a subject so daunting as the life of Violet Burrell.

She shrugged and flipped the end of a pigtail over her shoulder. “It is what it is. Your parents really named you Atticus? They not like you or something?”

He snorted a laugh and put the spoon back into his ice cream. “They like to read.”

“To Kill a Mockingbird, I know.” She smiled shyly. “It’s a good name. Strong, valiant.”

The heat of the summer air had nothing on him. He saw her grin, and he felt his ears burn from a blush. “So what’s the verdict?” He gestured towards her rapidly diminishing sundae.

“I think I want to eat this for the rest of my life,” she said as she dipped her spoon into the plastic cup to fish out a peanut covered in hot fudge.

“That good, huh?” He watched her close her eyes and sigh as she licked the spoon, and he had to loosen his tie. The way she was enjoying her ice cream reminded him that his wasn’t going to stay frozen forever. He dipped his spoon into the plastic cup and then brought it to his mouth.

“Damn near better than sex.”

At her words, he found himself gulping down a large mouthful of ice cream, much more than he meant to, swallowing it quickly. “Oh hell! Ice cream headache!” The sharp spike of pain that it brought was quick and excruciating, but it served its purpose driving all thoughts of pursuing that line of questioning from his mind. As the throbbing ache receded, he noticed her hand on the back of his neck, trying to help by rubbing and massaging from the base of his skull to his shoulders. So much for virtuous thoughts. Nodding to show her that he was okay now, he reached in front of her and snagged her mysterious old green book from beside her purse as she returned to her ice cream Nirvana.

“Hey, that’s not yours,” she said around a mouthful, gesturing with her spoon. But, she made no move to retrieve it from him, so he felt comfortable perusing while she continued to savor her snack.

He opened the book at the place she’d marked, reading about a gameskeeper comforting the lady of the house, in a chicken coop, that led to so much more than mere physical release in graphic and frankly gripping detail. That was definitely not what he’d expected, and the fact that she’d been reading this book all this time did things to his already heated blood that made his mouth run dry and his ears start to ring.

“So . . . ?”

Her voice, smokier than before, startled him out of the words on the page. Her purple eyes were darker than he remembered, and he found himself lost for a moment before he caught himself. “It’s ah . . . definitely colorful.” He pushed the closed book back over to sit next to her purse, her bookmark still in place.

Vi smiled self-consciously. “It’s the language. It paints this picture like a smudged old photograph, beautiful and still kind of dirty.”

And that about described the thoughts he was having at that moment. “I could definitely see that.”

Like what you’ve read? You can get Give Me Shelter at Lachesis Publishing and on amazon.com, at Barnes and Noble and Kobo.

Alexis D. Craig has been a writer from early childhood, discovering her calling when she wrote the Thanksgiving play for her kindergarten class in Tucson, Arizona. After moving to Indianapolis with her family in 1988, she wrote a column for her high school newspaper and two novel-length stories before graduating at age sixteen from Park Tudor School. After attending Sarah Lawrence College outside New York City, she returned home to Indiana to be closer to her family.

Alexis works for a local sheriff’s department in the communications division. She spends her free time reading and writing romance novels and investigating haunted houses.

She lives with her husband and two very excitable beagles.

Connect with Alexis D. Craig on her website, and on facebook,  twitter and goodreads.

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I love checking out an author’s website to read about upcoming events and more importantly new books. One of my favourite romance authors is New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Eve Langlais. I happened to be looking at her site last month and imagine my surprise when I found out about a local romance conference happening in my own backyard!  The event, “Romancing the Capital” was described as “Swag, Prizes, Fun Events, Interesting Panels, A Book Signing, along with plenty of smiles and laughter!” I am an avid romance reader, but I have never attended a romance genre event or conference.  I could already feel the excitement and who could say no to meeting authors, winning prizes, and learning more about a genre you already love… Not I.

Cat Johnson, Eve Langlais, and Felicity Kates

Sadly, I was too late as the conference was sold out.  But being the go getter that I am, I decided to take a chance and e-mailed Eve Langlais directly to see if there were hidden tickets or a way I could volunteer. Unfortunately, there were no tickets or volunteer positions but she connected me with the RTC Facebook group where I found an individual who could not attend and was nice enough to sell me their tickets.

Apparently, Eve Langlais, who is a local Ottawa author, not only writes steamy romances but she throws one heck of an event!

Ashlyn Chase

Romancing the Capital 2017!

Romancing the Capital is a writer/reader conference which was held August 3rd to the 5th 2017 in Ottawa at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites Ottawa Kanata. Organized by Eve Langlais, this is the conference’s 3rd year and features an impressive line up of NY Times, USA Today & Amazon bestselling authors as well as new and upcoming talent.  Attending authors are from both Canada and the US, and represent the many facets of romance from historical, mystery to paranormal, LGBTQ & erotica- there is literally something for everyone.  While reading the schedule I even noticed that Lachesis Publishing own Ashlyn Chase  – who I met but totally forgot to get a picture with but will next year, was also an attending author.

The conference offers two types of tickets, meals, and non-meal and reader registration include, a registration bag stuffed with goodies,  access to all 50+ panels and events, as well as  coffee and pastries Friday & Saturday morning. The price is exceptionally low in comparison to most conferences and with the amount of swag – including some free books, it is well worth it.

The conference started Thursday afternoon with publishing and writing panels for aspiring, advanced /published authors but readers were also welcomed.   One of my favorite workshops was given by Deborah Cooke “I wrote a Book. Now What? Steps to Publishing”, which was very informative and gave you the opportunity to ask questions from a well known, long time bestselling author.

For the more advanced there were panels that focused on the business aspects of the publishing industry. One workshop titled “Indie, Publisher, and Hybrid: What’s the best Choice?” featured advice from authors Nathan Burgoine, Milly Taiden, Deborah Cooke, Elle James.

Ludvica Boota with Opal Carew and Sharon Page

Friday Panels had authors who wrote in the various sub genres within in romance and gave attendees a taste of the type of books that are in that category. One of my favorites was Dirty Talk with Opal (Carew) and Sharon (Page).   Not only did I win a penis shaped lipstick in my favorite shade or red, I also won a copy of Sharon Page’s novel Deepest Desires of a Wicked Duke! (And she autographed it for me.)

Other panels were “Romance that goes back in time”, “Exploring LGBTQ Romance”, “Bad Boy Athletes and Bikers”.  If there was something you didn’t know about the romance genre, I’m sure it was covered here.

If listening to a panel was not your thing there were also crafts and game rooms where you could hang out, have fun and win more stuff!! One unique workshop was given by Viola Grace called “Get Bento”.  In the workshop participants were given bento box sets as a gift and got a chance to make treats with her and chat. The “Goat Yoga with Pastries’ & Coffee” with Felicity Kates and Anne Lang was something I am sad to say I missed. But if on the schedule next year, I’m there.

Each evening ended with a themed costume ball. There was a Heroes Vs Villains ball and a Fairy Tale Monster Bash where you could win great prizes for the best costumes and shake your booty to the DJ’s set.   If you were looking for a quieter evening, there was also an author hosted room with games and prizes.

Saturday featured a book signing in the afternoon, which was also open to the public. There was an option to buy books from the authors as well as a mobile Chapters station were select books were being sold.

3 Days of Fun, Laughter & Friendship!

RTC 2017 was a well-organized, author accessible event where authors were happy to talk, take photos, answer questions, or to just have a good laugh with! I was incredibly humbled at how generous some of these authors were, with their time and the giveaways.  Like other attendees, I came home with bags full of books, charms, and jewelry, t-shirts, water bottles and other fun swag.

I had a great time discovering new authors and titles and also connecting with members of the local Ottawa Romance Writers Association (ORWA). I also met an aspiring author who happens to be my neighbor who I learned lived down the street from me in a home once owned by my childhood friend. Talk about six degrees of separation!

Although I was not able to attend the over 50+ workshops and panels, from speaking with other participants, everyone seemed to agree, there were no bad options.

Thinking about attending next year?

Book Early! This event sells out quickly. As per the Facebook post earlier and the RTC 2018 site, Meal tickets are sold out, but non-meal tickets are still available so stop reading this and go get one!

Connect with the Facebook group. Joining the group will keep you up to date not only on conference details but keep you connected with other attendees. Also if you couldn’t get a ticket, check the Facebook group because as they say “life happens” and someone might need to sell their ticket.

Desiree Holt

Cathryn Fox

Amy Ruttan

Attend everything you can. Like I said, there are no bad options and there is so much to do, see and learn.  Try it all!

Bring cash to the book signing. Check the Facebook page and the RTC 2018 site, but this year cash was the acceptable form of currency. Even the Chapters Mobile site only accepted cash.

Don’t Be Shy! Everyone is there fun and authors seemed more than willing to stop for pictures, chat, and Milly Taiden gave me a hug!

RTC 2018

The format will be slightly different. There will be a dinner and themed ball on Friday night and the event will end Saturday afternoon after the book signing.

I hope to see you there!

When: August 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, 2018

Where: Holiday Inn & Suites Ottawa/Kanata

Who’s Attending: Fantastic authors including several New York Times, USA Today and Amazon BestSellers

Ludvica Boota is currently in the publishing program at Ryerson University and is an intern at Lachesis Publishing Inc. Prior to her studies, she worked in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Her most adventurous experience was working for the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital in Dublin Ireland, where she was employed as a project officer but was never asked to deliver a baby. Ludvica holds an MBA from the University of Victoria and a B.Com from Carleton University.

When she’s not daydreaming about her next travel adventure, and perhaps her own HEA, she is usually immersed in a romance novel.

Connect with Ludvica on Facebook  / Instagram / Twitter  / LinkenIn

 

If you are anything like me then a visit to Chapters, the only “bricks and mortar” store available in my area, is always a welcome adventure. (Yes, books get me that excited…especially new books).  I love thumbing through their stacks while sipping my full-fat, full-sugar, vanilla-bean latte. (Don’t judge me!). As I peruse through the books I want to gobble up, the cost doesn’t cross my mind until I hit the checkout line. That’s when I thank the Visa Gods.

But, I’m going to ask you to put your imagination hats on and take a little trip with me into my favourite books store . . .

Imagine this scenario: I was in a Chapters/Indigo last week, sipping on my mocha-cha-cha-frappa-macha-latte and balancing a basket full of colourful items I couldn’t wait to get home: a cute tote bag with the words “Just Read” on the front and a neon-pink water bottle (one day I plan on going to the gym on a regular basis) along with a really cool travel journal made from recycled maps (one day I plan to travel the world) and a couple of plushy throw pillows (one day I’m going to re-decorate my bedroom). Chapters sells a ton of gift and decorative items and they are all carefully and artfully displayed in the area closest to the entrance and on your way to the cash registers. How can I resist?  But – here’s the twist in our story. As  I was walking to the checkout line, my eyes landed on a splashy display for a new release by one of my favourite authors. Hmm… the book was $9.99. I couldn’t believe the price! I mean, it was outrageous. I remember when a mass-market paperback cost only 5.99. I was livid. I grabbed a copy, and balancing my chi-chi latte, and my basket of home decor items in one hand, and the paperback book in the other, I marched up to the customer service desk. I tapped my foot as I waited in line, fuming as I got closer to the front. When I got to the desk, I barely gave the service clerk a chance to smile and say hello, before I launched into my tirade:  ” I am outraged!” I exploded. “I have bought many, many books here,” I continue, as I haul my basket of throw pillows, journal and water bottle and tote bag onto the service desk. I slap the paperback down on the desk in front of the wide-eyed clerk. And after taking a big slurp of my moo-moo latte, I say to her:  “This book is far too expensive! I am shocked at the price. This is the first title of a new series for this author. I demand that I get it for free. I don’t want to waste my hard-earned money if I am not going to like this new series.” The clerk gaped at me. She was speechless . . .

REALITY CHECK PLEASE!

C’mon – people! Would you do this in a clothing store? Nope. Would you try this in a shoe store? Nuh-uh. Have you ever thought about pulling this in a bookstore? Of course not! Because readers never think to go into a store and bargain for the books they want to purchase and stores would NEVER entertain the idea. So WHY WHY WHY do some readers believe it’s not only okay, it’s THEIR RIGHT to ask authors to either reduce their EBOOK prices or give them the book for FREE?!?!

Since ebooks burst onto the market in the late 1990s-early-2000s,  determining the price for an eBook has been at the forefront of an ongoing debate for authors, publishers, and readers. For me the answer to this debate seems quite simple, authors should be paid for their work. If an author or publisher chooses to put a book on sale or make it available for free – that’s great. If they don’t then that’s okay too. Just like any other product you buy – books cost money to make, and the publishing business is just that – a business.

However, when I spoke to a few indie authors I was surprised to learn that there are some readers out there who believe ebooks should be deeply discounted or free.

As a print and ebook reader myself I DID have an expectation of paying less for an e-book, until I did some research and figured out the truth of the matter. The before-me thought:  If there is no production or PPB (print, paper, and binding) cost, then shouldn’t that automatically result in a significantly lower price? The after-me realized: NOPE!

On average, ebooks are priced anywhere from $0 – $9.99 and in some cases higher ( Ahem . . .KMM Fever series *cough*…) depending on whether you have a traditional publisher or have decided to self-publish. On average, indie books are already priced lower than print between $0 -6.99.

And although the PPB costs are eliminated, there are still various costs associated with publishing an ebook, such as cover design, layout & formatting, editing (professional), marketing and other miscellaneous costs (legal, distribution, author assistant etc) all which will be shouldered by the author (or publisher). Also with fierce competition in the market, indie authors spend an incredible amount of time and effort marketing their work so that it reaches their readers, which includes offering free content and free ebooks.

What is a fair price?

That answer depends on a number of factors, in this case, the cost to produce, distribute, market and what the author deems is fair to her/his work. But keeping the above expenses in mind, the average ebook seems to be competitively priced ($0 – $6.99).

I am sure the debate about pricing will always exist in some form, and all the authors I spoke with agreed that while there are some who ask for free content, (and some readers can be very nasty about it – there are many blog posts and facebook posts out there by frustrated authors who have received emails from disgruntled readers about the cost of their books). But most authors have supportive fans who understand that this is their livelihood, their bread, and butter. After all, like the rest of us, writers do need to get paid and deserve to make a profit. Especially when you consider the time it takes an author to write and publish a book.

And in case you’re wondering about my little “scenario” at the beginning of this post, I did actually ask for a discount once. The employee chuckled, and then told me in a polite but strong tone that their store policy prohibits haggling on prices. Either pay for the book or leave it. I paid. Thank you, Visa Gods!

Not sure how to price your eBook…..

Whether you’re publishing your first novel or your 10th, sometimes it can be hard to know how to price your work or use the price as a tool to achieve your goals. Consider some tips below.

5 Factors to Consider When Pricing Your EBook

Research YOUR Market

The first place to start is by researching the market for your genre. For example, if you’re writing mystery you’ll want to look at other titles that are similar to yours and compare the prices. But if you’re writing a cookbook, depending on the type, aside from other cookbooks you may want to take other health or diet books that relate to your topic.

This research will help you to find a pricing range. EBook titles cost anywhere from $0-$9.99 and can sometimes climb higher depending on author, genre, and time of release. Generally for most novels $0.99 – $5.99 where you’ll find a sweet spot between $2.99-$3.99.  So be sure to do your homework. You want to price competitively, not too high or too low.

Other questions to consider is the demand for your genre. Is your genre part of a trend like colouring books or vampire novels? Is there a wide market or is this a narrowly targeted market?  Or you may have already built up a following. With built in demand and fans, you may be able to price higher.

“You Get What You Pay For”

That saying still resonates today for a reason. Price can signify to consumers the quality or exclusivity of a product or it can be used as part of an overall marketing strategy. Readers choose to purchase based on the perceived value of a product. For an author, the value of their work is not just the story they tell but it can also mean the length of the work, how many words? Pages?  Bonus material? Was it professionally edited? Graphics? All these things add value to the work that you’re selling and should be reflected in the price of your work.  Unless it’s on a promo from a subscription list like BookBub, I know when I buy something for $0.99 it may have typos, plot holes or be formatted terribly.

One thing about Kobo  I like is that aside from the page and word count it will tell you on average how long it will take to read the book. For me, that is one contributing factor to the value of a book. The longer the book, the longer I’ll be in the world enjoying myself.

For example, I discovered author Eve Langlais and her Lions Pride series on Kobo priced at $4.99 for 167 pages 49K words. For me, this is a quick fun 3-hour read.  As this author has developed lengthier titles, the price of her work has increased. Her newest title “The Assassin Next Door” is 71K words and priced at $5.99. An exciting 5-hour read for me that is already loaded on Kobo and waiting for me to gobble up.

Costs

This seems like an obvious consideration, however you’d be surprised how many authors will gloss over this because they love what they do.  Passion for your work is important but does not negate the cost that you’ve incurred in order to bring that work to the public. This will mean a little simple accounting.

When considering pricing your e-book you want to ensure the price you set will allow you to cover the costs (at least some). This will vary depending on what services you chose to use i.e. professionally editing, cover design and formatting, marketing. Estimating how many books you think you can sell will help you determine a price that will cover the incurred costs. Remember: Sales-Costs = Revenue

Price as a Strategy

Setting a pricing objective or strategy can help determine your price and contribute to your overall goals. Depending on where you are in your career, a first-time author or an established author with a huge backlist, setting an objective will help determine your price.

If you’re a new author you may be looking at building a readership by having readers try your work. Instead of giving your work away for free you may want to consider a lower price to gain traffic and readers through impulse buys. Or maybe you are an established author trying to sell your backlist before a new title comes out, perhaps a sale or promotional pricing for a certain time period would encourage new readers to try your work and allow the current reader to try older work while waiting for the new release. Thinking about starting a new series and hoping to “hook” reader, giving the first book for free or at a discounted rate is always a good enticement.

Using subscriptions lists such as BookBub and Freebooksy can help bolster your readership and potentially gain readers. It was BookBub that first introduced me to author Mimi Jean Pamfiloff and her King Series. I purchased the King trilogy box set, which was advertised on BookBub and priced at $.99.   I fell in love with both the series and author. I am now working my way through her backlist.

The VALUE of your work:

What does your work mean to you? As an Author, you work hard and a little bit of your soul is embedded into each book. More importantly, you still need to earn an income. Don’t under value, the time, effort, and creativity it takes to produce a book. Undervaluing your work may sell an extra copy but does not guarantee a sale and it might make you feel discouraged.

Ultimately, you, the author, need to be comfortable with the price you are setting for your eBook.

Ludvica Boota is currently in the publishing program at Ryerson University and is an intern at Lachesis Publishing Inc. Prior to her studies, she worked in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Her most adventurous experience was working for the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital in Dublin Ireland, where she was employed as a project officer but was never asked to deliver a baby. Ludvica holds an MBA from the University of Victoria and a B.Com from Carleton University.

When she’s not daydreaming about her next travel adventure, and perhaps her own HEA, she is usually immersed in a romance novel.

Connect with Ludvica on Facebook  / Instagram / Twitter  / LinkenIn

 

Amy Ruttan is a multi-published hybrid romance author who writes for Harlequin and as an indie author. Amy’s latest release is her 15th book for Harlequin Medicals.  It’s titled Convenient Marriage, Surprise Twins. It’s a marriage of convenience trope. The hero Andrew Tremblay is a Canadian who needs to stay in the country to help the heroine Dr. Lana Haole’s brother, so she agrees to a marriage of convenience. The twist is, they both are attracted to each other and just one night of passion leads to a surprise pregnancy.

Like many authors, who sit in front of their computer all day, Amy strives for a work/life balance. Today we chat with Amy about her work and about life and how she kicks butt both on the page and in her daily routine. Welcome Amy!

LP: Tell us how you became an author and why? I always loved storytelling.

AR: I had an over-active imagination and I loved to read. It was when I was reading the Little House on the Prairie books and my father mentioned to me that Laura Ingalls Wilder was a real person that I thought ‘Wow, I really want to do this!’ So started my process of creative writing, but I didn’t actively pursue it until 2006. I had my second child and he was ill. He almost didn’t make it and I realized how short life is. How fragile life can be and I didn’t want to regret not following my dream. That’s when I started pursuing romance writing (because I loved reading it) and in 2008 my first book was accepted by Ellora’s Cave.

LP: You are a hybrid author – you write both for Harlequin and independently – do you find that being an author has helped you in terms of work/life balance or has it created some unique challenges?

AR: Work/life balance was tricky at first. I was writing full time when I got pregnant with my youngest child and I foolishly thought I could still write and take care of a newborn. For me, because I know some authors can, I couldn’t. I was exhausted and my youngest child had a reverse sleep cycle. When he was about three years old I finally sold to Harlequin and instead of just writing and seeing if it sold through my first publisher, I had to learn to write to deadlines. That was hard at first. I wrote at night typically, so I had to retrain myself to work when the kids were at school and to write every day. Also, it’s hard to write some days when my sons are having a hard time. My eldest son has autism and my youngest has anxiety with some sensory issues. The school knows I work at home, so I would get calls interrupting my work day. Also, a few family and friends felt like because I was at home, I was available whenever they wanted to “chat” or do stuff. I’ve had to learn to ignore the phone when I’m writing, unless it’s the school. I lost a couple of non-writer friends to this unfortunately. They didn’t understand that I was working and running my own business being at home. Also, I have run into people who think romance writing is a formula and is easy to write.

LP: Take us through a typical day for Amy Ruttan – in terms of work/career stuff and life stuff – do you schedule everything in your life or are you more of a free spirit – and why?

AR: A typical day usually starts with me getting the kids off and ready to school. And this typical start will be changing slightly in the fall because my eldest is going off to high school. After the kids are off to school, I do a work out through Beachbody on Demand or Walk at Home after I walk our dog, but she won’t walk far. Then I can work. I try to get 2500 words a day before it’s time to pick up my kids from school. My youngest with the sensory issues has to be picked up and dropped off. My older two can get to and from school easily. Usually, during the school year, our nights are filled with after school programs. So I may be able to sneak in some more writing or answer emails in the evening, but not usually.

LP: You have been working on improving your health/weight. Do you follow a specific program or are you just focusing on clean eating and keeping active?

AR: I’m a member of Weight Watchers. It’s the only thing that’s worked for me consistently. I also try to get in at least 30 mins of working out a day and I do strive for 10,000 steps a day, but when I’m deadline that’s difficult.

Do you do a lot of pre-planning when it comes to meals etc… And does that help you stay on track?

Yes. I try to plan or think about what we’re going to eat because if I don’t, I usually end up eating unbalanced and fast stuff, which isn’t that great for me. I had my gall bladder out in 2015 and even though I don’t have a lot of side effects I don’t digest as fast as I used to. I get fuller faster, which is great, but if I over eat or eat really fatty food, even food that’s overly processed I get really ill. It’s just not worth it and I find I’m not craving the processed junk stuff any more.

What are three tips you can share that you do every day to maintain a healthy work-life balance?

Before pictures are great. When I feel down or think “what’s the point”,  I’ll look at those before pics of me and see how far I’ve come. Also monthly measurements and only weighing yourself once a week. I would get upset about weighing every day because your weight fluctuates. So I focus on what I’ve gained in my fitness level, how my clothes fit and inches lost rather than the number on the scale.

What are two or three snacks or meals that you absolutely love and that you think others will too. ☺

I absolutely adore every recipe I’ve tried on Skinny Taste skinnytaste.com and Drizzle Me Skinny www.drizzlemeskinny.com Drizzle is really great for if you want a cookie or a muffin. My daughter loves, loves, loves Drizzle Me Skinny’s Creamy Chicken Alfredo Bacon Lasagna.

What is your physical activity like? What do you do to stay physically active and how much time and days a week do you spend on physical activity.

I walk a lot, but I try and do 30 mins through Walk at Home or Beachbody on Demand. I’ve tried to be a member of a gym, but I can’t give up more of time to get there every day.

Do you have a goal when it comes to weight loss and physical fitness or are you just focused on the day-to-day keeping healthy?

My doctor once told me for my height I should be between a certain couple of weights and I’m aiming for the lower end of what he suggested, but mostly I focus on the fact I’m feeling better than I ever have, I have more energy and endurance. I recently did a 4km hike at the Pinery Provincial Park that involved a lot of stairs and climbing over the sand dunes. I managed to do it and keep up with my kids. Last year, no I wouldn’t have been able to do that at all. For me that was a huge accomplishment. I have a daughter who is a teenager and I don’t want to send her the message that I want to be skinny to feel better about myself. I’m very body positive and I reiterate to her that what I’m doing is for my health over appearances. She sees me eat pizza or fries every once and a while and that’s great too.

In ten years where do you want to see your life and career?

Well, I hope to be continuing what I’ m doing, because writing is my passion. I love my job. I hope I’ll have hit my fitness/weight goals and that I’ll be traveling more.

Amy loves to hear from readers. Connect with Amy online via her website, facebook, twitter.

Amy’s upcoming release is Navy Doc on her Christmas List which is part of the Christmas in Manhattan series. She’s also working on another Omega Team novella for a December launch. The Omega Team is part of Desiree Holt’s amazing Kindle World.

 

The LACHESIS PUBLISHING BOOK OF THE WEEK is the breathtaking historical paranormal romance MOON SHADOW by Patricia Barletta.

Get it at amazonbarnes and noblekobo, and iBooks. You can also get it right here at Lachesis Publishing (all formats) 

It’s the second book in a compelling new series called the Auriano Curse. A hero and heroine you will absolutely love for their courage and passion. Patricia’s first book in this series MOON DARK has recently won the Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence as well as the Gail Wilson Award of Excellence – Southern Magic.

What It’s About:

Solange Delacroix is a woman of dark secrets. She steals for Le Chacal, the King of Thieves, and is the mistress of the powerful and cruel Marquis de Vernoux. Orphaned as a child, along with her younger brother Gide, her life revolves around protecting him and surviving among cut-throat killers and power-hungry schemers in post-revolutionary Paris. But everything changes when she steals a moonstone pendant from the handsome Duke of Auriano.

Antonio D’Este, Duke of Auriano harbors his own secrets. Cursed by the evil sorceress Nulkana, he’s condemned to live half his life as Shadow. When a highwayman ambushes him and steals the magical moonstone that curbs the devastating effects of his family’s curse, he is determined to find the thief and take back what is his. Attending a salon in Paris run by the ravishing Madame de Volonté, Solange’s alias, he realizes she is the “boy” thief who stole from him. His need for revenge becomes entwined with desire for this beautiful woman.

Antonio and Solange come together in a dangerous dance of secrets, thievery, and passion. Hounded by the evil Nulkana, threatened by the ruthless King of Thieves, menaced by the cruel Marquis de Vernoux, their safety hangs in a precarious balance. Antonio seeks a piece of the magical Sphere of Astarte that will end his curse. Solange seeks freedom for herself and her brother. But when their quests turn deadly, will their love help them survive?

Find out more about Patricia Barletta and her books on her website: www.patriciabarletta.com.

Connect with Patricia Barletta on facebook: Patricia Barletta on facebook

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The Lachesis Publishing Book of the Week is LOVE AND HOPE.

Love and Hope features three beautiful novellas about about  hope, healing, and the power of love.

By USA Today bestselling authors Kayla Perrin and C. J. Carmichael with author Brenda Gayle. 

Proceeds from sales of this anthology will be donated to Ovarian Cancer Canada.

WHERE YOU CAN GET IT:

AMAZON: http://goo.gl/BHNaFZ

CHAPTERS/INDIGO:  http://goo.gl/J5Nt89

KOBO: http://goo.gl/nj6kC8

BARNES AND NOBLE: http://goo.gl/lON9wS Kindle AU http://tiny.cc/sveiey Kindle CA http://tiny.cc/fveiey Kindle UK http://tiny.cc/lweiey iBooks http://goo.gl/rjrusJ Print Amazon http://tiny.cc/tueiey ARE http://goo.gl/pz6D5v

LACHESIS PUBLISHING INC. http://goo.gl/tQgTlz

Twice and Forever by Brenda Gayle

Jill Bennett had her life planned out, and then everything changed. Soon after her husband’s sudden death from a heart attack two years ago, Jill’s daughter Rachel was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the very young age of 21. Widowed and scared, Jill threw herself into caring for her daughter 24/7. Now that Rachel is in remission, Jill is finding it hard to let go and give her some breathing room at home and at her new job working for a local vet named Grant Palmer. Grant has a knack for getting under Jill’s skin, especially where Rachel’s future is concerned. The last thing Jill has in mind is getting on with her own life. So why can’t she stop thinking about the handsome Dr. Palmer?

Devoted to Her Cowboy by C. J. CarmichaeL When rodeo champion Blake Timber returns home as the star attraction of the Sheep River Rodeo Days he doesn’t expect to find his nerdy high school friend Shelby Turner so beautiful and so not nerdy. He also doesn’t expect to find his grandmother, frail and wearing a headscarf. When Grams reveals she has ovarian cancer, Blake is shocked. He’s thankful that Shelby, who works in his grandmother’s flower shop, has been there for her. But he wants to take over the reins and get his beloved Grams the best care money can buy. In spite of his best efforts, his well-intentioned plans are met with stubborn resistance from both women. Adding to his frustrations is his ex-girlfriend Kelli-Jo Calhoun, who is the Sheep River Days organizer. Unhappily married and with a son, she seems hell bent on roping him into something that could put everything he cares about at risk—especially his growing feelings for Shelby.

Her Angel by Kayla Perrin Tasia Montgomery never thought she’d get “that” phone call from her mom. Stage four ovarian cancer. Tasia puts her job as a chef in a busy restaurant in Atlanta on hold, to go home to Miami to be there for her mother. When her mom passes away, Tasia is left with a huge burden of guilt, sadness, and loss. Now, she is tasked with the duty of packing everything up and selling the family home. She knows her mom didn’t want her to sell but what choice does she have? Her brother Andrew, who is living in Seattle with his wife and their baby, is as distant as can be. Just like their father, who up and left them when they were kids. But when Tasia meets Malcolm Robertson, the contractor her mom hired to renovate the house before she died, Tasia is drawn to him. Her mom treated him like a son and shared things with him that she never revealed to Tasia. Malcolm becomes a good friend to Tasia, but does she want something more with the handsome contractor? As Tasia, sorts through her mother’s belongings she makes a discovery about her mom that shocks her to her core, but will it make her see the truth of her own life or make her head back to Atlanta for good?

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Whether you’ve reached the USA today bestseller list or are an indie writer who’s written their first book, self-promotion is an important aspect of your writing career. Every book is a brand. Every author is a brand.  And with millions of eBooks on the market and more being published every day, exploiting every opportunity to be discovered requires some strategic planning.

One of the most effective ways that many authors have found success is by building a solid web presence. Whether it’s through their website, blog, newsletter, Facebook or Twitter accounts, connecting with readers on a human level, can help to expand your fan base and increase your sales. But in order to connect with readers, you first need to be discovered.

Discoverability simply put is the ability for your title or site to be found. Increasing your rankings in search results to drive more traffic to your site is one strategy to better your chances of being discovered by readers.

How do you increase your ranking in a web search?

Improving your rankings in major search engines requires a simple understanding of how they work. Whether it’s Amazon, Google, Bing, Yahoo, or Kobo, all search engines employ algorithms that return recommended sites or products that match the search query and rank them based on relevance and popularity.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a technique used to improve a site’s ranking position on various search engines list of results.  The idea is to use ‘search engine language’ to help search engines understand the meaning and context of your pages and as a result, increase the potential of your site being “picked up” and displayed in results.

As an author, one way you can accomplish this is by embedding frequently searched terms or keywords within your code or content, which get picked up by the algorithms when a user performs a search of those terms.

Content Value & Key Words

Does this mean that “If you build and embed it they will come.”…well not necessarily. Although having good content that is useful to your readers is essential, including frequently searched keywords and phrases, which would be relevant to a wide variety of search queries, can help to increase traffic to your site and improve your ranking. It can turn a good site into a better site.

When a reader performs an online book search in Google, using a generic term “Historical Romance Novels”, Google will search in books for all the titles that have “Historical”, “Romance”, “Novels” or a combination of the terms in the title or description. As an author who writes in that genre, having “Historical Romance” in either the title of my site, my book, or description could potentially land me in the list of results but this might be on the 10th page. Does anyone ever click through to the 10th page?

How to move up the search ladder….

Developing a list of keywords and phrases to describe your site and/or book is a technique that can aid in increasing your rankings in a search result. Because search engines measure how keywords are used on pages, which helps determine relevance, using broad terms such as “Historical Romance Novel” results in a higher number of titles 504,000 to be exact. But if your book is not just a historical but also contains a Cowboy hero, placing that term “Cowboy” in your titles, text, and metadata will help narrow the results. In this case “Historical Cowboy Romance Novels” netted 14,500 results, which seems like a lot, but essentially you just narrowed the competition for search results by 489,500 and improved your chances of achieving a higher ranking.

Like metadata that accompanies an eBook file, the same principle applies to SEO keywords —the more specific and clear, the more chances you have of being discovered by the search engines or by people searching for books via Amazon, Kobo or Apple.

Keep in mind that a description meant for a printed jacket may not necessarily make a good description for digital marketing.  When it comes to traditional marketing descriptions such as “A heart-warming tale….”  “Thrilling and suspenseful …” “Masterfully written…” work well, however, put them in a search engine and you’ll get thousands of hits. By intentionally choosing specific, popular searched key terms, that naturally flow with your book or site, you boost the chances that your title may display within the search results.

For example, by referencing other similar titles you can target readers in a specific genre. The description for your novel could be as follows  “in the style of The Couple Next Door and In a Dark, Dark Wood,  (the Author’s)  latest novel is a meticulously crafted and razor-sharp …” The search engine would pick up “The Couple Next Door” or “In a Dark, Dark Wood” and possibly display your title within the results of someone searching for mystery and suspense titles. Perfect! You’ve just reached someone in your target market.

You don’t just want any reader to find your book, but the right reader.

Remember you still want to create content for readers, not for search engines. Keyword stuffing can be detected by search engines and they will typically impose penalties on those sites by lowering rank and/or even eliminate the site from the search engine index altogether.

Concentrating on the quality of your keywords is crucial: good words increase your chances of discoverability and help your sales, poor words or over stuffing your content with irrelevant words hinders them.

If you are having trouble coming up with keywords and phrases, companies such as Moz and Google can help develop a list of frequently searched keywords and phrases that relate to your title/topic.

Here are 5 things you can do right now as an author to boost your Google SEO.

Keyword Placement

Keep in mind that when it comes to your website, placement of keywords is just as important as the words themselves. The positions with the greatest impact are in the page titles, body text headers, links to other pages, and meta tags.

Keep your website updated

Search engines are always looking for the most recent content. Keeping your website up to date, with original, accurate content will ensure that both search engines and users visit your site, which will help boost the popularity of your site

Links

Inbound, outbound links can also help the visibility and increase traffic to your site. Inbound links are those links which are coming to your website from another website (Facebook, Twitter, another article or blog post, publisher etc). Outbound links are links that connect to another site (Amazon, Kobo, other blog posts or helpful articles etc) Treat every link as an endorsement and make sure you choose links that are relevant to your site/topic. Focus on the quality and always include links to all social media profiles, publisher site, and where to buy your books.

Speed, Performance & User Experience

Speed is a significant factor when search engines evaluate your site. Not only do they consider how fast your page loads, but how well it functions and the ease of navigation for users. This means making sure all your links work and information on your site can easily found by visitors.

Mobile Friendliness

Considering that most Google searches are conducted from mobile devices, ensure your website is mobile friendly. Click Here and let Google test the mobile friendliness of your site.

And if you are new to creating a website and need a little help to get started, WordPress, Weebly, and Wix are free website builders that simple and easy to use.

Looking for more information about Search Engine Optimization check out Google Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide and Moz The Beginners Guide To SEO.

Ludvica Boota is currently in the publishing program at Ryerson University and is an intern at Lachesis Publishing Inc. Prior to her studies, she worked in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Her most adventurous experience was working for the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital in Dublin Ireland, where she was employed as a project officer but was never asked to deliver a baby. Ludvica holds an MBA from the University of Victoria and a B.Com from Carleton University.

When she’s not daydreaming about her next travel adventure, and perhaps her own HEA, she is usually immersed in a romance novel.

Connect with Ludvica on Facebook  / Instagram / Twitter  / LinkenIn

Images:

SEO Process: https://pixabay.com/en/seo-search-engines-optimization-592747/

In a Dark, Dark Wood: http://www.ruthware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/both-jackets1.jpg

The Couple Next Door: http://www.sharilapena.com/

 

 

 

 

The Lachesis Publishing Book of the Week is the brand new release TEMPTATIONS IN A TEAPOT by artist/author Laura Givens.

You can purchase wherever books are sold.

You can also purchase here at Lachesis Publishing Inc. and get 10% off (print or ebook) and WE will make a donation to The American Cancer Society this month.  Just use promo code: ACSdonate.

TEMPTATIONS IN A TEAPOT – WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

You are cordially invited to the most charming tea party in the land. Be sure to steep a cup of your favorite tea, and tuck yourself into a comfy chair. Lay out your most vibrant colored pencils and pens because it’s time to indulge. Featuring 50 tea-rrific designs, Temptations in a Teapot offers a delightful interlude to satisfy your creativi-tea: A Victorian tea for four; an elegant lady in waiting; a musical tea with just the right notes; a tea party with kitty; and a royal tea topped with a crown. You’ll discover these and more in this tempting teapot of images brewed just for you.

 

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It was all my friend’s fault. Well, not quite. It was her mother who introduced me to my two first loves: Jamie Fraser (Diana Gabaldon, Outlander) and Sebastian Lord St. Vincent (Lisa Kleypas, Devil in Winter).

It started with one book and then two and then before I knew it I was hooked. I wanted more. I would go to my friend’s house to hang out but my real motive was to talk to her mom so I could get more recommendations. Who was her favourite author? Who was her favourite romance hero of all time? Which historical time period did she love the most? I was brimming with questions. I had discovered historical romance novels and there was no turning back.

Back then (about ten years ago) it was word of mouth that enticed me to try new books and authors. Now, if I’m not sure what to read, all I have to do is Google “romance blog” and there are pages of sites listed. These romance review sites not only offer reviews on the latest romance books, they often feature interviews with authors, live chats, and unique giveaways. From Facebook pages to blog sites dedicated to the many facets of romance in every sub-genre imaginable, if you are a romance reader, chances are there is a blog out there for you.

The Social Influencer

Romance book review blogs are important to bloggers, authors, readers, and publishers.  Like a clever eco-system, the interaction between these players produces a benefit for all. With a wide targeted audience reach, romance blogs are able to do what careful research marketing takes months to accomplish, talk directly to the reader.

With countless book blogs online, of varying quality and popularity, there is a lot to choose from, if you’re a reader who has a hankering for romance. Smart Bitches Trashy Books, Romance Junkies and Smexybooks are well known throughout the romance community and have a large readership, which can be as important to book promotion as traditional media, but some of the smaller niche-oriented blogs, like Jessy’s Book Club or Dirty Girl Romance can be very influential as well to a particularly voracious readership.

But this connection is not one-sided. As Smexybooks contributor Mandi states, “I feel like review blogs are only for readers. I don’t expect my reviews to be read by authors or have any influence over authors. If I receive an ARC from an author or publicist, once I agree to review it, from that point on, my review is for my readers only. To be honest with our thoughts, we have to keep the author out of it. That is how we build up trust with our readers and how they can get to know the reviewers and their personal tastes.” As a bridge to the broader romance fiction community, romance blogs connect readers with not just their favourite books, but also to the romance authors themselves and to the larger romance community.

So is there room for another romance review blog?

In one word, YES! Romance blogs do more than just provide reviews; they are a social forum for both reviewers and readers to air opinions, on books, as well as trends and issues in the romance community. The issues might range from who your favourite romance hero is to the problem of book piracy. Romance bloggers blog because they have a passion for this genre and industry; readers follow because they share that same passion. But at the end of the day these romance blogs embrace the notion of a free-flow of ideas and of course, love for the genre. Romance readers are open minded, well-read and voracious. Because of this, there is always room for one more blog.

Although not all romance blogs are created equal, each brings its own unique brand to the market. As long as there is a continuous flow of new books, authors, and emerging sub-genres, there will always be readers craving their HEA with another Mr. Darcy and there will always be room for another book review blog.

Bottom line if you have the passion for the romance genre and love to talk and engage with others about all things romance, then yes, there is room for your voice, your blog.

Thinking about creating your own blog review site? Here are some tips from Smexybooks Romance Blogger Mandi:

Creating a new romance blog is like taking a slap shot through traffic and hoping you hit the back of the net. (Sincet we’re in the middle of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, this is my token hockey reference – #GoSensGo)  Not to worry, Smexybooks romance Blogger Mandi has some advice to help make your blog a super success.

Photo Courtesy pixabay.com

Honesty is the best policy

When writing your review, Smexybooks blogger Mandi’s formula is pretty simple, there isn’t one. “I don’t think there is necessarily a set formula, but the one thing every reader wants to know when reading a review is: why. Why did I like this book? Why did I not like this book? Once they hear the why, they want to know more details. You can set up the plot all you want, but the readers really want to know the why. I also think it’s important to mention how steamy (or not steamy) the book is, and if there are any important triggers that could upset a reader.”

Find your Voice.

When it comes to creating a successful blog, “I think you have to have a genuine voice. In my opinion, my readers don’t want to read constant promo or constant five-star reviews. Again, they have to trust the reviewer to be giving them honest thoughts, rather than a five-star review just to make the author/publisher happy. I think that is important for a successful blog. Otherwise, just have fun. Be silly or be serious. Whatever tone that makes the reviewer happy will reflect well on the blog.”

Read and Engage  

You need to create a buzz for your blog says Mandi, “Read. It sounds silly, but you have to read. And blog consistently. Get on twitter and chat about books as much as you can. Engage with others  – listen to other readers. And be yourself. Be proud of what you read and don’t be afraid to voice your honest opinions.”

Love in a Mist

So what’s my tip? Have fun.

As my favorite romance author Patricia Grasso told me in a recent interview “Writers do it for love first, and then they do it for money. Like ladies of the night.”  Well, so does the romance blogger and in most cases, minus the money. #wink

Ludvica Boota

Ludvica Boota is currently in the publishing at Ryerson University and is an intern at Lachesis Publishing Inc. Prior to her studies, she worked in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Her most notable experience was working for the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital in Dublin Ireland, where she was employed as a project officer but was never asked to deliver a baby. Ludvica holds an MBA from the University of Victoria and a B.Com from Carleton University.

When she’s not daydreaming about her next travel adventure, and perhaps her own HEA, she is usually immersed in a romance novel.

Connect with Ludvica on facebook.

 

THE BOOK OF THE WEEK is the science fiction/suspense thriller Hybrid by Lachesis Publishing author, Greg Ballan (Book 1 in the Hybrid series). 

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE at LACHESIS PUBLISHING.

You can also get Hybrid  at amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and kobo.

What it’s about:

Erik Knight, a small time private investigator, always knew he was different from everybody else. Keener senses, heightened awareness and an enhanced physical strength that could be called upon by his sheer will.

Erik becomes involved with a team of high profile investigators and local police trying to locate a girl who was kidnapped in the middle of a playground amongst dozens of adults and children. None of the adults saw anything and what the children claim to have seen is too far fetched to be believed. The search evolves into a full-scale manhunt into the dark and desolate woodlands of the Hopedale Mountain.

After a lethal encounter and a fatality, Erik, the investigators and police realize that what they’re dealing with isn’t a man and possibly isn’t of this world. What they’re dealing with is a sentient evil that has an appetite for young children.

EXCERPT:

“Erik!” Shanda whispered in alarm. “Something’s here, stalking the girls. I can’t see it, but I can sense it.”

Erik looked throughout the park grounds, focusing his vision, but he couldn’t see anything. Fifty yards away, the children played unaware of anything but their innocent fun. Erik walked quickly over to where the party was, Shanda following close behind him. As he closed the distance he noticed that his daughter was staring at something and pointing. Erik looked in the direction she was pointing and saw a patch of darkness. His mind shrieked with panic and he ran toward his daughter, screaming for the other girls to leave the park area. The girls looked at the direction Brianna was pointing at and froze. They were terrified, frozen into inaction.

After a quick sprint, Erik was beside his daughter. Several of the other mothers had gone to their children as they all pointed out the closing patch of darkness.

“Get your children back!” Erik commanded. “It wants your children.”

Mothers and children were panicking. Children were crying with fright as the afternoon sun seemed to dim and the temperature in the park suddenly dropped twenty degrees. Brianna hadn’t moved since Erik came by her side.

“What do you see, honey?” he whispered.

Brianna’s eyes were transfixed on the corner of the park. Her finger still pointed in that direction. “It’s a tall man, I think. I can tell that it wants me. It’s calling to me, Daddy. I’m scared. Please don’t let it take me. I can tell it wants to take me.” She screamed in mindless terror.

Erik reached behind his back and pulled his Ruger from its place of concealment. He wrapped both arms protectively around his daughter, his gun pointing in the direction of her finger.

“Bri, point me in the right direction. I won’t let it hurt you. No one is taking you anywhere.”

She gently guided his hands so that the pistol was aiming at the heart of the dark anomaly.

“Daddy,” she whispered, “it’s coming right for us.”

“Go back with Shanda and the others, now!” he told her.

“Daddy, I don’t want to leave you.”

“Go, honey! Please,” he whispered. “Shanda!” Erik shouted, breaking the eerie silence. “Take Brianna.”

Shanda came up quickly and took Brianna. “I can just barely see it, Erik; it’s just like you described. It stopped when you pulled the gun. All the children can see it, but the parents can’t. All they can see is the darkness, and they can feel the cold.”

From behind them, the ponies were shrieking in panic.

“All right, you two, get back!” Erik stood up. He holstered his weapon and began walking toward the darkness.

“I know you’re there!” Erik called out to the inky darkness. “Maybe you can hide from them, but you can’t hide from me!” Erik focused his eyes; concentrating his extra senses on the darkness as he continued forward. Slowly he saw the man-like figure materialize. The figure had stopped its approach and assumed an aggressive stance. Erik paused a scant twenty feet from it and assumed a basic combat stance he used in Kung Fu.

“You can’t have the children!” he shouted, his voice booming above the silence, challenging the being of darkness. “You can’t have my daughter or any other child here.”

The thing responded with silence. Erik finally saw the blood-red eyes looking right through him. He could feel the hatred, the sheer malevolence; yet, now he also felt desperation, a hunger that was beyond his ability to define. The hostility threatened to overwhelm him. Erik fought his own emotions, fought down his own fear and doubt. He knew he couldn’t defeat this thing physically, but he would not let it have his daughter or any other child there, not while he drew breath.

Like what you’ve read? You can get Hybrid right here at Lachesis Publishing or on amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and kobo.

To read some of Greg’s musings visit his writing page on facebook, for several short stories and pithy takes on yard work and homelife.

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