Archive for March 2016 | Monthly archive page

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USA Today bestselling author Jess Michaels

Jess Michaels is a USA Today Bestselling Author who began writing full-time in 1999 after her supportive husband encouraged her to follow her dream. She sold her first book in 2003 and since then has published 50 books (and counting). After many years of working with both big and small publishers, Jess is on her own . . . and loving it!

LP: You are both traditionally published and self-published – tell us when and why you began self-publishing?

JM: In 2011 I did a bit of self-publishing, but coming from traditional for so long, I just wasn’t sure what I was doing. So I went back to trad after the year for another couple. In 2015, I went back to indie publishing fully and will never go back. As for why, my experiences with traditional publishing were often incredibly frustrating. In the end, no one else will care as much about me or my success than I do. And I got tired of beating my head against the wall trying to get someone else to care or put any of that supposed “big publisher muscle” behind me.

LP: What are the pros and cons of self-publishing versus traditional publishing. Are you happy to continue doing both or would you rather do one over the other?

As an indie author, Jess Michaels works with a professional photographer to get just the right look for her covers.

JM: The advantages of indie publishing for me are being in control of the process, being able to change my plans on the fly, getting to publish more often and not having to answer to anyone else. The disadvantages are that it’s a lot of work. LOL I probably work 80+ hours a week AND I have a full time assistant. But I’m putting that time in for ME. So it doesn’t hurt quite as much. As for the other, let me re-stress: I will NEVER go back to trad. There is not enough money in the universe.

LP: You write erotic historical romance as Jess Michaels and you’ve also written paranormal fiction under the pen name Jesse Petersen. What drew you to both genres?

JM: I actually only write as Jess Michaels. I haven’t written as Jesse Petersen for a few years now and haven’t written as Jenna Petersen (my other pen name) for almost 5. I’ve always written very, very sexy historical romance so writing erotic historical made a lot of sense. I love the Regency period, I love my fans, I love my books. I have 13 ideas in my head for the next three years of books. So I guess that genre is just my passion.

LP: How do you “put bums in seats”? When it comes to getting your name out there and selling books?

The Wicked Woodleys Series: Forbidden (Book 1)

JM: I’ve been published for over ten years, so I have a really good solid fanbase. But I’m always working to grow that through various social media promotions and also through just writing books. Books sell books. So it’s just continuing to get that work done over and over and exposing more audiences to them.

LP: You’ve published several series including THE WICKED WOODLEYS AND THE PLEASURE WARS, Why do you write series books? Tell us about your various series, and what can an author—self-published (or otherwise) accomplish with a series?

JM: Romance novelists have always known the power of the series. I think I’ve ever only written two or three standalone books out of nearly 60 published. Now in my historical romances, I’m writing family series. So I don’t write one couple, multiple books, but maybe four friends or three brothers or things like that. Doing that helps the readers be more invested. They fall in love with a family rather than just one book and it drives them to buy the next one. It’s all about building desire.

Mistress Matchmaker Series: An Introduction to Pleasure (fan favourite)

LP: When you’re chatting with fans and readers, which book(s) come up again and again as fan favourites and why?

The Notorious Flynns Series: The Other Duke

JM: An Introduction to Pleasure comes up a lot, which was the first book in my Mistress Matchmaker series. People really love The Other Duke, too which was the first book in The Notorious Flynns series and my first in my return to indie, so that’s very cool!

LP: You’re a USA Today bestselling author. What are 3 KEY THINGS that newbies or authors who haven’t broken through yet should do when they release a new title, whether they are indie or traditionally published?

JM: I actually hit the USAToday with my third indie title of 2015 which was amazing! It’s been a goal for a long time and to do it on my own terms was joyful. As for key things: 1. Write. Write a lot. Write a lot of books. Edit. Never release a product that isn’t fully ready. But mostly write. WRITE WRITE WRITE. 2. Pick a genre and stick to it for a while. I see a lot of new authors jumping and that’s fine, except it makes it hard to catch an audience. So if you’re trying to find an audience to keep coming back, to build a base, pick something and stick to it for a while. At least 4-5 books. 3. Don’t expect overnight success. The idea of it is nice, sure, but long term success is more lucrative and satisfying. But it takes work to get there. So be ready to work.

Lords of Time Series: The Spare and the Heir

LP: Tell us about an indie author YOU like and why?

JM: My friend Jenn LeBlanc is becoming one of my favorite indie authors. She writes historical romance with interesting characters who are way out of the traditional box. It’s awesome to see someone build a career in a wheelhouse that traditional publishers would turn their nose up at.

LP: What’s the best piece of advice you ever got when you were starting out?

JM: To write. Honestly, it’s the best thing you can do to learn to write and to find success in a longer term scale. Having a huge backlist helps feed my front and vice versa. It helps contribute to financial success.

LP: What do you have coming up next?

JM: The last book in my Wicked Woodleys series, SEDUCED will be out May 17. You can pre-order exclusively from iBooks right now, with the rest of the pre-orders going up in early May.

Jess Michaels’ feline bestie

LP: Bonus: cats or dogs and why?

JM: Cats! We have a beautiful cat that is my lovely, sweet angel. I adore her and I hate that she’s getting older (her partner passed away in November)

Thanks Jess for joining us today!

You can find out more about Jess Michaels’ books on her website, and you can like her page on facebook, and pinterest. You can also follow Jess on twitter and her author page on amazon.

Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter and like our Lachesis Publishing facebook page.

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Richard Blacburn’s latest release is RISE OF THE GATEKEEPER

I’ve given many talks in schools and set up many a book signing and I’ve learned a few things along the way that I’d like to share with you here.

I try to plan my talks to coincide with topics that the teacher has covered, that way I’m giving concrete examples to help the kids in their studies. Even if it has to do with applying grammar techniques to make a story come alive. For example, I get a kick out of demonstrating how a sentence benefits from using the active tense, or “showing” the story by not using dialogue-tag adverbs. And many teachers forget that too!

image: www.medievalgears.com

Kids love to be entertained, so I always take along my historical silver coins and my medieval chain mail coat (jupon) and helmet. If there is time after the talk, I’ll let them try them it on so they can feel the heaviness of it and understand how difficult it was to wear it on a constant basis when fighting in battle.

Image: www.kitchendrawer.net

In Australia students like to have a writer’s autograph, so I have a ready supply of cards with the picture of my book cover and my contact info to give out that I can sign for them. I must admit, I get a bit of a big head at being asked for my autograph. I’ve had a number of students send me examples of their work for my comments. I always reply to them with positive and constructive feedback to encourage their writing.

Because of making these connections with kids in the schools, the kids will then show up at my book signings with the parents. At book signings I decorate my “lair” with my medieval armour to tempt any passersby. The good thing about such a display is, it shows what genre I’m writing in. So anyone not at all interested will stay clear. That saves me giving my time unnecessarily.

Image: www.alamy.com

When people approach, I have at least two different spiels. The first gives the generality of my books in a few seconds. If interested, I’ll expand with spiel number two. Sometimes I might have to answer the occasional “where’s the bathroom” type question. So I make sure to know that one!

I also find it’s great to do research ahead of time when giving talks in schools or setting up a book signing. If a shopping mall is having a special event on a particular week or day  – I’ll try to set up a signing for that day because I know there will be more traffic at the mall.

Sometimes you have to have a few tricks up your sleeve. I’ve had a shopper wanting to tell me, in only one short hour, how they had hand-written 100,000 pages of their life history and they were all of 20 years old! I’ve had people want to save my eternal soul if I would only listen for ten minutes. Then there are the re-enactment people. For them the past is their religion and if they can trick me into showing I don’t know what I’m writing about, they’ll verbally crucify me. What is a worry, is that there are so many of them out there. So be aware.

Before your first book signing, go to a few book signings to see what works and what doesn’t. I’ve seen writers sitting behind their books looking bored. I’ve even seen one doing the crossword in the paper. I always stand up behind my display. I look at passing shoppers and smile. I say ‘gooday’ as any good Australian will. If there is the slightest hint of interest, I ask if they enjoy reading medieval adventure stories. If they haven’t run away, I click into spiel one or two, depending on their reaction to my invitation to come over and see my books.

School talks and book signings take time and practice. But they are worth it because they put you face-to-face with potential readers, and in these modern times where everything comes at us in a flash on the internet, it’s nice to make that human connection. Especially when talking about history.

Richard Blackburn has written a three-book YA time travel/adventure series for Lachesis Publishing, called Guardians of the Gate, featuring a university student who travels back to Medieval England only to discover she has some amazing powers she never knew she had. Book 1 Dawn of the Sentinel and Book 2, Return of the Sentinel, and Book 3: Rise of the Gatekeeper. You can purchase the books at Lachesis Publishing, amazon, barnes and noble, kobo and iBooks.

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Our DEAL OF THE WEEK is the luscious Regency historical romance More Than Passion by JoMarie DeGioia. Book 1 in the Dashing Nobles series. AND IT’S FREE!!!

GET IT FREE ON AMAZON, BARNES AND NOBLE, KOBO AND iBooks or RIGHT HERE at Lachesis Publishing.

What It’s About:

Geoffrey Kane, Earl of Kanewood refuses to feel anything more than passion. Four years ago, his fiancée betrayed him and he has no desire to experience that again so when he meets the beautiful Rebecca Kingsley, it’s passion at first sight. And only passion.

Rebecca has led a very quiet life working for her father at a small country inn. When she meets Geoffrey she falls in love with him right away. But she’s only the daughter of a baronet and men like Geoffrey never marry country girls like her. Do they?

When Rebecca’s father tries to marry her off to a wealthy old man, Geoffrey intervenes and marries her himself. He wants her very much but he couldn’t possibly love her. Love is for fools. At least that’s what he tells himself. But a sinister enemy soon threatens to destroy all that Geoffrey holds dear, forcing him to face the truth.

His marriage depends on it . . .

And maybe even Rebecca’s very life.

EXCERPT:

The Raven’s Inn was surprisingly elegant. The brick structure was trimmed with dark green, its long windows sparkling in the late afternoon sun. Rebecca Kingsley was straightening the beautifully-appointed parlor of the inn. Her father, Thomas, insisted that all the rooms look fine. His father had been a baronet, but all that was left of the family fortune, as it were, was the inn. As a younger man, he’d traveled in the social circles of the ton and claimed to know what the gentry and lesser folk alike looked for in food and lodging. Many travelers stopped at the inn, and they expected service and accommodations as fine as any in London, or so Rebecca’s father insisted.

At just twenty years old, Rebecca had been working at the inn all of her life. Her mother died when Rebecca was just two, leaving no real memories. Thomas refused to speak of her and Rebecca had long since given up asking. The only thing he’d say was that she took after her mother in looks. This he always said in a gruffly, affectionate manner that never failed to surprise her. She supposed she inherited her fair skin from her mother, that and her thick raven-black hair. She could never see anything of herself in Thomas.

He never really gave her much notice. She worked as hard as the servants at the inn, keeping her own room as well as half of the rest abovestairs. Mary, the chambermaid, took care of the other rooms as well as seeing to the guests’ personal needs. Rebecca served the morning and evening meals in the dining room, as well, along with Emmy. Emmy was funny and kind and a shameless flirt. She never hesitated to share her experiences with Rebecca, who couldn’t help but blush. She listened, though. Closely.

Rebecca was usually free to go about her own business after finishing her chores abovestairs. But this afternoon, she polished the candlesticks and dusted the furniture in the parlor. As usual, she wore her hair plaited in one long braid coiled at the back of her head. Her simple muslin gown was a few seasons old and well-suited to her task. She paused to gaze longingly out the window toward the stables out back. Beyond them, she could see the gently rolling hills over which she so loved to ride. If she didn’t have to see to the parlor today, she’d surely be out riding her black filly.

From her vantage point, Rebecca could see two figures walking out of the stable’s wide doors. One man was slight of stature and fell in step behind the other. The man in the lead was tall with broad shoulders and dressed in a brown coat and tan breeches. He walked with a long, easy stride. Sun glinted off hair she fancied the color of honey. He had a strong profile, and Rebecca couldn’t tear her gaze away from him. What color were his eyes?

“Fool,” she chided herself. She turned back to her work, flicking her dusting cloth in frustration.

* * *

She moved with an easy grace through the dining room, her glossy black hair catching the light given off by the candles. Curls framed the perfect oval of her face and teased the back of her neck. Her simple gown hugged her lush figure, the skirt swaying over her hips as she walked. She carried a pitcher of ale, and Geoffrey couldn’t take his eyes off her as she moved from table to table.

A man’s voice broke through his reverie. “Fetchin’, ain’t she?”

“What …?” He hadn’t even noticed the gray-haired man who joined him at his table. “Yes.”

“Peter Jenkins is the name,” the slight man offered. “How do you do?”

Geoffrey shook the man’s hand. “Kane. Geoffrey Kane,” he answered. “Very well, thank you.”

The older man gave a flick of his head in Rebecca’s direction. “She’s Kingsley’s daughter.”

Geoffrey raised an eyebrow at that. This beautiful creature was related to the florid-faced innkeeper? Impossible.

Just then, the girl approached the two men. Her mouth curved into a smile for the older man before she turned her attention to Geoffrey. Her rose-colored lips parted as she stared into his eyes for a long moment. “Blue.”

Geoffrey blinked. “What?”

She shook her head. “N-nothing.”

Geoffrey could only stare at the girl, dumbstruck. Her eyes were the color of emeralds, and sparkled as prettily. His gaze fell on her lips as she flicked her tongue over them. Desire shot through him, want like he’d never felt before. Once again, Peter’s voice broke in.

“Rebecca, this is Geoffrey Kane. Kane, meet Rebecca Kingsley.”

The girl, Rebecca, curtsied in greeting after a brief hesitation. She seemed as off-kilter as he felt, to his amazement. After a moment, Geoffrey stood and bowed slightly. “Miss Kingsley.”

“I’m pleased to meet you,” Rebecca said.

Her voice suited her. It was soft and a bit husky. And damn sensual.

“Likewise.”

“Will you be staying with us long?”

If I can help it. “A few days, actually,” he said, smiling.

She gasped softly, the sound no more than a whisper. “Well, do enjoy your stay,” she said, shyly returning his smile.

She stared up at him for a moment longer. Finally, she filled his tankard. With a nod of her dark head, she continued on through the dining room. Geoffrey sank back down into his seat, his gaze glued to her form.

“Rebecca.” He breathed. “Becca.”

Like what you’ve read? You can get More Than Passion by JoMarie DeGioia right here at Lachesis Publishing.

JoMarie DeGioia writes historical romances with a touch of mystery for Lachesis Publishing. And her books are always on the steamy side. Her Dashing Nobles series follows the romances of four male friends in Regency London.

You can get JoMarie DeGioia’s books right here at Lachesis Publishing, or on Amazon, Nook, Kobo and Itunes.

Connect with JoMarie DeGioia online on her web site and on facebook and on twitter.

Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter and like our facebook page.

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THE AWAKENING by Sara Brooke: 

Renda Bloodmane, the heroine of the THE AWAKENING, is a likeable woman.  She is a quiet, bookish girl who prefers to live in the worlds that exist in the pages of a novel to the real world.  Renda’s life is turned upside down when she goes to visit her friend Bobbie Trillo in Georgia.  Renda is immediately confronted by the visage of a strange man staring at her from a window that should be empty.  Renda tries to explain her vision away, but it becomes impossible to ignore the ghosts of Trillo House when they come to her that night.   Ms. Brooke’s novel unfolds from here delicately intertwining romance and mystery.  Ghosts and spirits thrive in Georgia and Renda is forced to confront both in her friend’s family house.

This is the first romance I have read with a ghost as the romantic lead and that made it engaging. The hero in this story is the ghost of a mysterious and darkly handsome man who Renda feels herself drawn to. This ghost warns Renda that danger is lurking around every corner of the Trillo family house and that an evil is trying to destroy the Trillo family.   Renda is determined to save the family from this evil.

Ms. Brooke’s writing style is clear and steady as she guides  the reader deeper into the mystery at the heart of the haunted Trillo house.  Ms. Brooke’s novel is a little more romance driven than I usually read as I usually prefer ghosts and demons to true love, but the book is engaging and the romance is passionate.  I enjoyed this book immensely and would definitely suggest it for anyone who loves paranormal romance.

You can get Sara’s Lachesis Publishing release – The Awakening: Book 1 Bloodmane Chronicles at Lachesis Publishing, as well as amazon.com, barnes and noble, kobo, and iTunes.

You can Like Sara’s facebook page  – called, The Bloodmane Chronicles . Connect with Sara on facebook, on twitter @SaraBrooke8, and on her website. Sara welcomes feedback and questions from readers.

Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter and like our Lachesis Publishing facebook page.

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Cat Johnson not only has hit the New York Times bestseller list – she is a at Top 10 NYT bestseller! She is also a USA Today Bestselling author and the recipient of a Publishers Weekly starred review. Her contemporary romances focus on cowboys and Navy Seals. Cat’s books are so popular that Amazon invited her to create her own world on kindle. More on that later.

An “out of the box” thinker when it comes to marketing, Cat has sponsored bull riding cowboys and promoted her books using bologna?!? Check it out on her website.

Cat is known as a hybrid author – that is she is both self-published and traditionally published. She joins us today to talk about her remarkable publishing career and some fun stuff too!

LP: You are both traditionally published and self-published – tell us when and why you began self-publishing

CJ: I had some backlist books I’d gotten rights back to when the small press I’d been with sold. This was about the time that KDP and Smashwords (which distributes to Barnes & Noble and iBooks) had opened to authors to self publish. So I uploaded a few backlist books but didn’t pay much attention to them. They were shorter romantic comedy stories I’d written years before, and they’d already been out with a publisher, so I figured any sales I made was money I didn’t have before and I basically ignored those stories. I was too busy writing new cowboy and military romance for my publisher . . . until I’d read an article about how much money Selena Kitt was earning self publishing erotic romance. That’s when I decided it would be worth writing something new to self publish and see what it could do. That was Educating Ansley, a cowboy ménage. I very quietly uploaded it in May of 2011 and that 40K word story sold 6,000 copies in the first 6 weeks at $2.99. After that I was hooked.

LP: What are the pros and cons of self-publishing versus traditional publishing?

CJ: Control is a huge pro self publishing offers that traditional does not. I can be quick on my feet. I can make changes on a moment’s notice. I can write a story this week and have it in readers’ hands next week, rather than 2 years from now after the genre is flooded and the reader interest has cooled. I have the freedom to change my price to take advantage of a special event or promotion at Kobo or iBooks. I can tweak my metadata to see if something else works better than what I’m doing. Today’s publishing landscape is changing at the speed of light. Publishers (and that includes self published authors) have to be ready, willing and able to change just as quickly. The problem is the systems in place at most big publishers are not set up to do that.

But there are cons to self publishing as well. Self publishing at my level still does not have the legitimacy or the distribution that I can get with a traditional publisher. There are still people who equate quality with big publishing. And it is still easier to get stocked on shelves in stores or in libraries or for a booksigning with a trad pub book.

LP: What are the expenses involved in publishing your own book? How long does it take you to get a book out?

CJ: The costs and the time are both minimal. I am a control freak, so I do everything I can myself. My USA Today bestselling Hot SEALs series covers are done by me in Photoshop where I can play for hours to get my vision for the cover just right. By my manipulating and combining stock art photos, my covers can cost a few dollars rather than hundreds. I format the files and upload them myself to each vendor, which means there is no additional cost other than my time. I have a couple of trusted people who beta read and then proof read for me and can usually turn the book around in a few days so the time from when I finish writing to release is usually less than 2 weeks.

LP: You have your very own KINDLE WORLD on Amazon for your Hot SEALS series. Tell us about how that came about and what it entails.

CJ: About 2 years ago, Amazon began expanding its Kindle Worlds program to include romance worlds. Bella Andre’s world was one of them and I was approached by Amazon to write a story within her world. The relationship I built with the KW team throughout that experience, and the level of my sales, prompted them to offer me my own world. I couldn’t license Amazon my traditionally published series without worrying about being in violation of my contract but my SEALs are self published. The Hot SEALs KindleWorld launched in August of 2015 and was a huge success. It’s basically fan fiction of my Hot SEALs series that is for sale. Anyone can write in the world, readers or authors, as long as they follow the guidelines outlined. They can write new characters into my world, or if they have an existing series, they can write their own characters doing things alongside mine. It’s a lot of fun for my readers who want more Hot SEALs stories. It’s nice for the authors too, since we all band together to help promote the world. Those interested in writing a story can check out the world guidelines at catjohnson.net/kindleworlds and those who want to read the stories can shop the titles at catjohnson.net/shopkindleworlds.

LP: Based on YOUR OWN experience. How much TIME do you spend each day doing marketing and promotion (over all and including social media, newsletter, booking ads etc . . .)

CJ: This is my fault, because I will choose promo and marketing over writing every day, but it’s probably 10% writing and 90% everything else, which includes keeping abreast of changes in the market, posting and reading on social media, handling email, newsletters, blogging and creating graphics. I try not to feel guilty about that ratio being so skewed because all that other stuff is important too. But I do need to learn to focus better and prioritize the writing.

LP: You’ve published several bestselling series including RED HOT AND BLUE, STUDS IN SPURS and OKLAHOMA NIGHTS. Why do you write series books? Tell us about your series. And what can an author—self-published (or otherwise) accomplish with a series?

CJ: Series are not only fun for authors to write but they are huge sellers. And I am NOT talking serials where there is basically a cliffhanger at the end of each installment and you have to get the next book. I’m talking about a connected series that shares a world, where there is an HEA or at least a HFN at the end, and the story is complete.

All of my series stories can standalone but readers love to read them all because it’s fun to catch up with the hero and heroine from the past books. Or to see the hero’s best friend you’ve come to know and love get his happy ending in the next book. Once I get to know the characters and the setting I like continuing with them, and series allow that. Red Hot & Blue and the Hot SEALs series are military romance. The Studs in Spurs, Oklahoma Nights and Midnight Cowboys series are about modern day cowboys. Visitors can find all my series listed at my site at CatJohnson.net, along with other fun stuff like quote graphics and recipes.

LP: You’re a Top 10 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. What are 3 KEY THINGS that newbie authors should do when they release a new title, whether they are indie or traditionally published?

CJ: 1-Write the next book! 2-And then write the next one after that. 3-And then release those books, steadily and predictably, promoted in advance so the readers know what to expect from you and when. Then do it all over again. Rare is the author who can make a living, or a career, on one or two or even three books. I’ve found the best way to sell the last book is to release the next one. Breakouts and anomalies aside, a career in publishing is a living thing. You don’t keep feeding it, it’s gonna waste away and eventually die.

LP: Tell us about an indie author YOU like and why?

CJ: I love Cristin Harber. Our genre and writing voices are very similar and I love how she approaches the business with a combined analytical savvy and creative enthusiasm that is rare.

LP: Bonus Round: Between your COWBOYS and SEALS: 

Who would take a gal out to dinner at a fancy restaurant and who would make her dinner at home?

CJ: My SEALs would take me out (they eat bad food so often, they’d want something nice from a restaurant) while my cowboys would definitely cook . . . probably steaks they raised themselves on the ranch.

LP: Who would pick up his lady’s dirty tissues from the floor when she’s sick in bed and who would give her a back rub instead?

CJ: SEALs fear no germs! And I’m thinking they’re neat freaks, at least judging by the way they clean their weapons. Cowboys are very hands on. They’d be using all that hand strength they’ve built fixing fences and such for a nice back rub.

LP: Who would seduce his lady with sweet words whispered in her ear and who would seduce with a sexy growl?

CJ: Cowboys are sweet talkers with their darlin’ and baby girl and even a well placed ma’am. SEALs aren’t going to waste time with words. A growl will do.

LP: Who would bake a birthday cake for his lady’s birthday and who would surprise her in his birthday suit?

Cat Johnson at one of her many book signings

CJ: I think SEALs can be overachievers at times, and I think going the extra mile to bake their lady a cake might be just the thing he’d do to show his prowess in all things. A cowboy would get right down to the business of delivering his gift—him. Naked.

LP: Thank you!

CJ: Thank you for inviting me!

Connect with Cat Johnson via her website, on facebook, twitter, pinterest and instagram.

 

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Open a book and you better be prepared to take a journey. And like all journeys, some are more nourishing to our souls than others. Some offer a key to our cage when we need an escape to a magical fantasy land, others offer us a grim look at the things that scare us the most, and some are there to remind us that everything is going to be okay, that we are not as alone as we think. There are lots of books that have had an effect on me—certainly too many to name all of them. We lovers of books all have too many to fill a single page (or seventy). Here are a few that found just the right spot in the little place I like to call ‘my soul.’

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King – Part memoir, part writing treatise, Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft was suggested to me by a fellow author and mentor when I was at college and quickly became one of the most pivotal books in my growth as a writer and to some degree, a person.

The Thief of Always by Clive Barker – Want a good coming-of-age story? This is it. While more well-known as a horror writer and pioneer of the tales that became the Hellraiser franchise, The Thief of Always shows that Barker can pen a book that speaks to young adults just as powerfully as his horror novels speak to lovers of the macabre.

The Crow by James O’Barr – Graphic novels are books too. Any other argument is null and void. That is why The Crow by James O’Barr makes my list. It seemed to leap off the shelf at me in a time when I sorely needed a good escape. In many ways, The Crow is the ultimate love story, as well as being the ultimate revenge tale too. Beautiful for the stylistic artwork and touching for its emotional tale of love transcending death, The Crow has since developed a cult following (especially due to the sad events surrounding the movie adaptation). Pick up the special edition of this one which has added content (including a dedication to the late Brandon Lee by O’Barr) that is not in the original and one of my favorite sequences ever, “An August Noel.”

The Road by Cormac McCarthy – I’m not sure why this book affected me so much. Maybe it’s because I’m a fan of the post-apocalyptic sub-genre and maybe it’s because I grew up watching The Road Warrior one too many times, but regardless, it touched me deeply. A powerful story of a father and son trying to make it to a safe haven in a post-apocalyptic world where food is scarce and kindness is even harder to find, this book, in this humble writer’s opinion, is McCarthy’s best work to date, if only because it stands out from his normal wheelhouse.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – I’m a sucker for 1980s nostalgia. Cline and I would probably get along well because this book is dripping with pop culture references. It is something Cline does extremely well weaving into his story. When I picked up Ready Player One, I was pleasantly surprised to be not only thoroughly entertained, but also because the book found the kid in me again. This book reads like part The Goonies and part Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, combined to create a story for all ages.

Morgan Chalfant is a native of Hill City, Kansas. He received his Bachelor’s degree in writing and his Master’s degree in literature from Fort Hays State University, where he now teaches writing.

You can purchase Ghosts of Glory by Morgan Chalfant at  Lachesis Publishing, Amazon, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble.

Connect with Morgan Chalfant on facebook, tumblr, and twitter.

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Our LACHESIS PUBLISHING DEAL OF THE WEEK is For a Short Time  (New Adult contemporary romance) by Lachesis Publishing author Lori Lapekes

GET IT FOR .99 CENTS (or less) at Lachesis Publishing  or on amazon, barnes and noble, and kobo.

For a Short Time is about a young woman who goes through many changes in her life, including realizing whom she truly loves.

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

Keri has no idea who she really is anymore.

Raised in the Midwest, where catching frogs and shoveling manure is common practice, then spending several adult years traveling the country and hob-nobbing with celebrities and the elite, Keri returns to her roots. She now lives in her sister`s basement, wondering just who she really is anymore.

After a peculiar meeting with the Quinn cousins, Keith and Jeremy, Keri is determined to capture Keith`s attention. An actor, a tall, compelling man, elusive, even abrasive at times, Keith is particularly intriguing to a woman like Keri who is accustomed to capturing the heart of any man she`s ever wanted. Yet it was Jeremy, the humble cabinet-maker and owner of a misshapen dog named Scalawag, who leaped into a bon-fire to rescue a scrap of an old coat that had sentimental value for her.

Following two episodes with the facial disorder, Bell`s Palsy, and after Jeremy has moved out of state, possibly to run from his heartbreak over her, Keri finally realizes not only who she really is─but who she needs to become.

But is it too late . . .

EXCERPT:

“It can’t be over between us, all the signs were there for you to finally be the right one for me,” Keri insisted.

“What signs?” Keith asked.

Keri stared into his shadowy face. Clinging tatters of mist drifted across it, obliterating his eyes for one moment, his mouth the next moment. The fog was cool and clammy to the skin in the dismal mist.

“The signs,” said Keri. “You know, the signs.” But, suddenly, she couldn‘t think of a one.

He turned his back on her, and began to fade away into the mist.

“Keith, come back!” Keri said. “I‘ll remember them, I know I will. It‘ll make a difference!”

But Keith continued to shrink into the fog. Soon he was only a dark patch in the distance, then that was swept away by the wisps of lonely swirling mist.

Keri was left in silence. A silent world of emptiness and chill.

“Keith . . .” she whimpered, “come back, I need you . . .” Only silence.

Keri heard her heart beating against her chest.

“Keith.” she whispered, tears trailing down her cheeks. Her knees went weak, and she sunk into the ground. “Don‘t leave me, I need you, don‘t leave me.”

“Straighten up, Keri,” came a voice behind her.

“What—who?” Keri asked, and slowly turned around. It was clearer where he stood, almost as though the sun was ready to break through the mist that was strangely falling away from him.

Jeremy.

“Please, stand up,” Jeremy said again. Something about the tone of his voice, oddly authoritative yet gentle at the same time, made Keri gather her strength and stand.

“Come here,” Jeremy said, and held out his hand. “

Keith left me,” Keri sobbed, but found herself drawing nearer to Jeremy. He seemed spectral as she stared at his hand, his comforting hand, and it drew her closer. When she reached him, she took his hand, and he pulled her close.

A jolt of something indescribable, joy mixed with peace and an incredible calmness pulsed through her at Jeremy‘s touch. He held her hand tighter, pulled her closer, and Keri began to quiver as she found herself face to face with Jeremy, gazing into wonderful eyes radiating a calm assurance and wisdom she had never before encountered. Heat raced through her and her legs became weak.

Jeremy‘s eyes glimmered. It paralyzed her to stare into them. Those eyes seemed to search into hers, gently probing, as though trying to connect with her soul. Keri became lightheaded, intoxicated, the poison of Keith‘s rejection now drained away.

“You‘re going to be all right now,” Jeremy said, and his voice seemed to roll like thunder and yet felt like a breathy whisper at the same time. It echoed as he continued, and suddenly the fog parted and a warming blaze of sun fell across them.

“I‘ll stay with you,” said Jeremy. “You don‘t have to be afraid anymore. You can finally be yourself.”

Those words flowed through Keri in cascades of relief. Finally, finally she felt it. She couldn‘t quite grasp what it all meant, but a weight had lifted.

“Thank you, thank you, Jeremy,” Keri said, gulping in great breaths of air. “What would I do without you? You‘re the one I need, you‘re the one I was meant for all along”

At those words, Jeremy smiled. Keri‘s eyes strayed toward his lips, and lingered there. His mouth smiled, his eyes smiled, and Keri was sure his heart smiled, too.

And so did she. Keri let go of his hand, and slowly wrapped her arms around his neck. He put his arms around her shoulders and drew her tighter to him. When they fully connected, the warmth of their touch was explosive, and Keri could scarcely control herself. She closed her eyes and suddenly, tantalizingly, his lips were pressed against hers. She gasped inwardly as the warmth and movement of his kiss sent shivers down her spine and into her toes. At first Jeremy‘s kiss was sweet and gentle, but as it became more urgent, its passion leached all of the strength from Keri‘s limbs until she was practically hanging limp in his embrace.

All she could think was—how did he learn to kiss like this? Was it the way it was supposed to be when two people were genuinely . . . in love?

No—it couldn‘t be! Jeremy was just her dear friend, like a brother, really.

Yet . . .

“Aunt Keri, get up!” said a wee voice far, far away. “You promised to play opera lady with me this morning.”

“What?” Keri moaned.

There was a soft shaking on her shoulders. “Aunt Keri, Keri, get up, sleepyhead! Take the pillow off your face.”

Reality crawled back to Keri in a lazy wave. Jeremy‘s embrace vanished, and the scene dissipated into fragments as Keri awoke, reluctantly pulling herself from the dream. Only a dream.

“Jutht a minute, Kate,” Keri mumbled. “Have thum patienth.”

“What?” Katie asked. “You sound weird.”

“It‘th the pirrow on ma face,” Keri said, rising slowly as she removed the pillow. “I like ta thleep like dat.”

Keri noticed the oddity just as Katie‘s eyes bulged at her.

“What‘s wrong with your face?” Katie cried.

Keri‘s hand flew to the right side of her face, which felt heavy and numb. It seemed dragged down, contorted. She could barely see out of her right eye.

“There‘s drool coming out of your mouth, just like Rover‘s,” said Katie. “I think your pillow got too heavy! It melted your face!”

Keri tried to gasp, but her mouth would not work correctly. It seemed weights were pulling her lip down on the right side, making it lopsided.

Dear Lord . . . had she had a stroke?

She flung off her blankets, twisted to the side of her bed, and sat up. It seemed her right arm worked fine, as well as her leg. And she could think clearly. But the horrified look on her niece‘s face confirmed the frightening fact that something was drastically wrong.

If you want to read more you can purchase For A Short Time at Lachesis Publishing FOR ONLY .99 CENTS  or on amazon, barnes and noble, and kobo.

Connect with Lori Lapekes on her web site and on facebook.

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook. Follow us on twitter.

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Jessica Penot‘s THE ACCIDENTAL WITCH takes you to a small town, in the moody, wooded landscape of Alabama, where a psychologist named Phaedra Michaels, works tirelessly at a local hospital, trying to help the desperate and troubled souls in her town.

Phaedra’s life is like the lives of many women, she’s recently divorced and battling a penchant for junk food and pop, but as the story progresses Phaedra discovers that she has a lot more to worry about than a few pesky extra pounds. She finds out her mother, who abandoned her as a child, is in fact a witch. And she inherited Mom’s talents.

When evil demons start showing up in town, Phaedra has a real fight on her hands to not only keep herself alive, but to keep the town safe from harm.

Phaedra possesses a wonderful sense of dry, self-deprecating humor that has you chuckling as you travel with her on her dark adventures. She is an immensely relatable character and a very refreshing change from the sometimes “hysterical” female leads that you may come across in paranormal romance novels. Instead, Phaedra is clever and down to earth as she goes through her metamorphosis from small town psychologist, to small town psychologist and witch!

THE ACCIDENTAL WITCH is vividly and thoroughly entertaining. My only criticism (and this is probably because I am a hopeless romantic at heart) would have been for Jessica to spend a bit more time on the Phaedra/Fred relationship to allow it to simmer a bit more.

This is a novel I would highly recommend for those who are interested in delving into the mystical world of the paranormal and who also love a damn good story.

You can buy Jessica Penot’s THE ACCIDENTAL WITCH right here at Lachesis Publishing or at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and Kobo.

Connect with Jessica Penot online on her web site and on facebook and twitter.

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Today is March 8th, International Women’s Day. Let’s celebrate women authors around the world. Let’s celebrate men and women who make a difference in the lives of children. Celebrate literacy and education. All over the world.

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OUR DEAL OF THE WEEK is the delightful historical romance (Regency romance) The Spinster and the Earl by Beverly Adam, and it’s FREE!

You can download the The Spinster and the Earl for free at Lachesis Publishing, amazon, Barrnes and Noble, kobo, and iBooks.

What it’s about:

Book 1 in the Gentlemen of Honor series

She was known as The Spinster of Brightwood Manor, and that suited Lady Beatrice O’Brien just fine.

She was happy being a spinster; happy running her father’s estates while amassing a fortune of her own; happy tending to the needs of her community; and most of all, she was happy not having a man around to tell her what to do.

But when Beatrice accidentally shoots her new neighbor, the Earl of Drennan, her life turns upside-down. Suddenly, this very arrogant gentleman, who also happens to be charming and attractive, makes himself at home at Brightwood Manor, and proceeds to court her!

Beatrice knows one thing for certain. Marriage will complicate her life. But falling in love? That’s an entirely different matter.

EXCERPT:

Faith, he really was one of the handsomest specimens of manhood she’d clapped eyes upon since the war against Boney started, despite that nasty looking scar he wore. She had to admit, even if he were a bit of a tiresome bore, he was pleasant to look upon.

Distracting herself from the sight of his almost bare chest, she nervously recited by rote her planned introductions. “Sir, I am Lady Beatrice O’Brien, mistress of this house. And this delicate beauty standing beside me is our healer, Mistress Sarah Duncan. I must add she’s the same witch who had the kindness to sew your leg up for you.”

Wise Sarah gave a deep curtsy and smiled warmly at him. Her light blue eyes, the same shade as bluebonnets, sparkled down at him in warm welcome.

“Indeed,” he said looking in astonishment at the lovely vision. She didn’t appear to be someone who’d choose to seek out the more unsavory parts of life, let alone be seen boiling a cauldron of eye of newt under a full moon.

“Mistress Sarah, you must amuse our patient here sometime with tales of how you manage to stay aloft at night on your broom,” said the lady of the house with a bemused smile. “I must tell you your patient is vastly interested in such witchery and would be delighted to be instructed about your more unusual practices.”

“Now, Lady Beatrice.” The pretty healer laughed in feigned indignation. For most of her life Wise Sarah had lived under superstitious peasant eyes. She knew the numerous wild tales concerning her adopted mother and herself.

“I’ve told ye before that we modern day hexes don’t use those uncomfortable conveyances anymore. Why they proved to be far too drafty and terribly dangerous to ourselves. What with one good gust of wind there’s been many a good hex that’s gotten herself lost over the North Sea.” She laughed and winked impishly at the lady of the house, relishing the silliness of her own tale. She and her adopted mother had never touched a broom, let alone tried to make it fly, except to clean their plain plank floor.

“Nay, dear lady and lord, we modern sorceresses ride about in smart pony carts these days like the rest o’ ye mortals. It being far saner and safer. Though ’tis true, less romantic.”

The stranger smiled at her quaint explanation, flashing a row of healthy teeth. “But all the same, ma’am, despite your being a witch. Demme, if I’m not grateful for the service you’ve rendered me by tending to my leg.”

The pretty healer blushed under the handsome English stranger’s praise. “It was nothing, sir. Truth be told, it was mostly Lady Beatrice here who did the work, putting your leg back into place and binding it tight like she did. Aye, ’tis she you ought to be looking to when giving your thanks.”

His arctic blue eyes turned themselves upon his nemesis, the lady of the house, or the “vanithee” as he’d heard the servants refer respectfully of her in whispers. She stood proudly erect wrapping her title as lady of the manor about her like a protective cloak. Her bright green eyes the same shade as new leaves, carefully watching and observing his every word and gesture, her body rigid in anticipation to what he would say. It would be quite easy for him to slight her in front of the wise woman if he wished. But he did not.

“Tell me, is there no master of the house to greet me?” he asked, wondering if the lady was married, intrigued by her apparent aloofness. It was as if she had no one but herself to answer to for bringing home a stranger. Would not someone, her guardian or husband perhaps, wish to speak to him? To assure himself that such an unknown English stranger would not bring harm or scandal to his household? Surely there was someone?

“Aye, there be one,” the lady answered. “My father, Lord Patrick O’Brien. He is the master here. He’d like to have greeted you in person, but at present himself is suffering sorely from the gout and begs that you excuse him. In his absence, he requests that you accept his daughter’s welcome.” She then gave a short bob, in lieu of a proper deep curtsy of welcome, which was normally the due she gave to guests in her father’s house.

His eyes narrowed, he’d not missed the slight. “Ah . . . yes.” He nodded with understanding, his voice liquid cool, chilling the peat-heated room. “Considering that it was a member of his household who shot me off my mount that would be the least one could expect him to do. Don’t you agree, my lady?”

She gasped, stepping towards the ungrateful English dolt. She clenched her hands at her side, ready to give him a proper show of her famous spinster temper. “If ye’d only taken the time to look before ye leaped, we wouldn’t have had to put ye in this bed. And I’d not be saddled with the obliging care of ye!”

“Please, Lady Bea—,” intervened Wise Sarah, placing herself strategically between the attacking hostess and her wounded patient. “Behave yourself! Now what will your da say when he up and learns you tried to attack this wounded gentleman? And this time in pure aggression, if you please. One would think that you truly wished him harm.”

Chastised, Beatrice obediently took a step back. The last thing she desired was to have her father’s wrath fall upon her head. He’d warned her that if another one of her notorious escapades brought any disgrace upon the family name, he’d see to her punishment himself. A dire threat she knew he would follow through with if she were not careful.

She sighed audibly, her hands were tied. She could do nothing to dislodge this ingrate. And once more she regretted her part in acting the Good Samaritan to this English pudding-headed lout. She ought to have left him in the muck and mire where she’d found him, instead of seeing to it that he was brought here and properly tended.

Like what you’ve read? You can download the The Spinster and the Earl for free at Lachesis Publishing, amazon, Barnes and Noble, kobo, and iBooks.

Connect with Beverly Adam online on her blog and on facebook and on goodreads.

Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter and like our facebook page.