Living Blond Trilogy: Diamonds Are a Teen’s Best Friend, The Seven Month Itch, How to Date a Millionaire
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Diamonds are a Teen’s Best Friend
Nessa Joanne Mulholland, aka Marilyn Monroe’s No. 1 teenage fan, is used to moving house. This time, however, she’s relocating in movie-star style—crossing the Atlantic on board the Majestic, headed for Paris from New York City. And it really would be in movie-star style if it wasn’t for the fact that she’s bringing her cringe-fest professor dad along for the ride (Dad’s specialization: human mating rituals—need Nessa say more?). Oh yeah, and sharing a cabin that’s five decks below sea level and next to the engine room. Still, at least Holly Isles is on board. Yes, really, that Holly Isles—star of stage and screen. Suddenly, things are looking up. Looking a little Marilyn, in fact, because events are strangely mirroring Nessa’s favorite movie of all time, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
As Holly Isles, world-famous actress, confides in Nessa over mocktails.
As Nessa coaches Holly in the amazing “Nessa’s Lesson’s in Love”—the ultimate man-catching rules to finding true and lasting lurv.
Nessa fall for Holly’s too-cute nephew, Marc. . . and
Cover your eyes!
As it all goes terribly, horribly, embarrassingly wrong.
There’s no doubting it. This is going to be one pitchy crossing.
The Seven Month Itch
Nessa Joanne Mulholland, aka Marilyn Monroe’s No. 1 teenage fan, is living the high life in Manhattan. Literally. Waffling and pancaking it up every morning (care of housekeeper Vera) in her soon-to-be stepmother’s Tribeca penthouse apartment. Things couldn’t be better. Or so she thinks, until things start to go terribly, horribly wrong, in true Nessa fashion. All of a sudden, she’s starting to feel the need to pull at her collar. Yes, it’s summer in NYC and things are heating up fast, including the professor and Holly’s wedding plans.
Along with Nessa as her dad’s too-gorgeous research assistant moves into the new family penthouse while Holly’s away filming in LA . . .
As Nessa gets dumped for “Doris Day” . . .
As Kent Sweetman decides he wants Holly back, wedding or no wedding . . . and
Bite your nails!
As the cupcakiest wedding ever hangs in the balance.
Phew! The temperature’s getting hotter by the second, heat rash is setting in fast—and everyone’s starting to scratch that Seven Month Itch!
How to Date a Millionaire
Nessa Joanne Mulholland, aka Marilyn Monroe’s No. 1 teenage fan, is about to become a big sister—twice over. Her movie-star stepmother, Holly, is very pregnant with twins when, suddenly, B and G (that’s Boy and Girl) decide they need to get away from it all.
Within hours, Nessa, her dad, Holly, her best friend Alexa, and tag-along cousin Nat are on a private jet and headed for some rest and relaxation Hawaiian style. Except that, on hitting the sand, there’s not a lot of rest and relaxation to be found. The penthouse apartment they’ve booked is suddenly unavailable, Holly’s blood pressure skyrockets, Nat is bronze-beach-boy crazy, and what’s with the three cute guys living upstairs?
At Nat’s crazy antics (will Nessa and Alexa really have to chain her to the apartment balcony to keep her out of boy trouble?)
When Nessa meets someone who’s had the life-saving operation her mother couldn’t have.
As two gorgeous babies make their way into the world . . . and
As Nessa finally gets things right . . . for once.
Read below for an excerpt:
“Is this the boat to Europe, France?”
Honestly, I tried to stop myself from asking the question, I truly did. In front of me, the porter guy looks at me as if I’m a thirteen (almost fourteen!)-year-old idiot. Beside me, dear old Dad looks at me as if I’m delusional (that’s because a lot of the time he actually thinks I am—he’s even had me tested to make sure I’m not). And he’s about to open his mouth to start in on me (again . . . sigh) when, behind me, I hear it—someone laughs. Right on cue.
I swing around quickly, my head zipping from side to side, trying to see who it is, but it’s practically impossible in this traffic jam of a crowd, especially when you’re as short as I am and your dad won’t let you wear a kitten heel, let alone rhinestones in the daytime. I bet Marilyn Monroe’s mother never said a thing about Marilyn wearing rhinestones in the daytime. Then again, Marilyn Monroe’s mother let her get married at sixteen and spent a great deal of time in a mental institution, so that’s probably not saying very much. I’m just about to give up on the searching thing when the crowd parts and someone dressed entirely in red, going out/in/out (in all the right places) and hips swaying, passes me by with a wink and a lift of one perfectly arched eyebrow.
“Honey,” she says, in the kind of voice that makes everyone turn and look at her. “France is in Europe.”
Oh. My. God.
It’s one of those moments when you just know you’ll think up a zillion and two perfect things to say later, but instead you stand there looking like you’ve recently had a lobotomy. Especially when I realize that the someone is actually a Someone and that the woman now heading up the escalator to the biggest ship I’ve ever seen in my life is, in fact, Holly Isles.
Yes, the Holly Isles.
Actress. Goddess. Star of stage, screen and various tabloid magazines that you skim as fast as you can at the supermarket checkout because your dad will never let you buy them, Holly Isles.
Someone whistles. And this time, I don’t need to look around. This time, I know for sure it’s not for me. (Laughing, sure. Whistling? I am sincerely doubting it . . .) And because I don’t turn around, I don’t move for the guy. The one who smacks into my shoulder and says, “Excuse me. I need to get to my aunt.”
I follow his gaze directly up the escalator to Holly. His aunt? Holly is his aunt? Well, la de da. I go to give him my best “Get your filthy mitts off me, don’t mess with the outfit and don’t go anywhere near the hair, buster” look when my mouth drops even further. Hello, sailor! Cute boy ahoy! This guy is definitely related to Holly in a big way.
“Ah . . .” my dad exhales, the lecture he’d been working on giving me obviously forgotten. Funny, but he’s got the same kind of lobotomy look as me. And he’s staring straight at Holly.
It takes me a moment to get over the shock. When I finally do, my eyes move back from my dad to Holly’s form as she goes up, up, up (and I’m not alone, I think everyone on the dock is watching Holly go up, up, up). Slowly, I shake my head from side to side. I can’t believe it. I can’t believe Holly Isles just said that to me. And it wasn’t exactly the line from the movie I was thinking about, but then again, neither was mine. And I could probably go on watching her forever, my mouth hanging open (okay, so I only check out her nephew a few more times), except that Holly’s now out of sight and my dad has obviously returned to his old lecturing form.
“Nessa Joanne Mulholland.”
“NESSA JOANNE MULHOLLAND!”
“Huh?” I finally look up, only to see him looking down at something. At my chest. Ugh. Gross. What is he doing? He’d better not be doing any research on me. But then I look down too.
Oops. The tissues are escaping again.
I surreptitiously stuff them down my black-with-leopard-skin-trim top with one hand. “I’ve got a cold, okay?” I mutter. Geez. So much for Marilyn’s mother. I bet she never had to put up with this kind of harassment from her father, either. Except that no-one was ever quite sure exactly who he was. And, of course, Marilyn didn’t need to stuff, either, did she?
I sigh my second sigh of the morning. Life. It’s just so . . . unmovielike.
Witchling (Curse of Kin #1) by Ari Harper
Published November 29th, 2012
Nera is a normal teenage girl living in Ireland, or so she thought until she discovers the family secret.. now her world is forever changed.Descended from a long line of witches, she discovers she is the one who has to stop the curse that has taken the life of every girl before her.
And if that isn’t enough, she must learn to use magic from the man called Bones. He is the son of Mari, Queen of the Witches…and a god. It is Bones who has been entrusted to teach her the skills she needs to stay alive, which wouldn’t be so bad if he didn’t have an uncanny knack for pushing her buttons.
Can Nera succeed and resist the charms of the man who gets under her skin at every opportunity?
Changling (Curse of Kin Book #2)
Sully has been struggling to find his place in the group while Nera and Bones fight to keep him safe from those that are hunting him as they did his forefather before him, the last Irish wolf. When they discover who it is, the race is on to allow him to change but protect him at all costs.
To complicate matters, a new family move in next door to Nera and she fears the worst. As they introduce them to the locals, Bones and Nera try to work out why they seem different.
In the meantime, Bones is invited for dinner and her mother falls under his charm and tries to match make, a situation Nera wants to avoid at all costs. With the battle to save Sully foremost in her mind, the constant niggling from her mother is the last thing she needs.
“I think you’re a shape shifter, Sully.” His face was calm when he said the words.
We looked at him, and I think we were all stunned by what he said.
“Shape shifter. Seriously?” Sully asked. “What kind, exactly?”
“Witches and sorcerers who willingly transform into animals and back to their original form,” Bones said from the doorway in a deadpan voice.
I looked up at him, ignoring the way his lips curled into a small, secretive smile. His dark eyes met mine and he raised an eyebrow.
“Thank you, Bones. I couldn’t have said it better myself,” Jasper said.
Bones walked in and poured himself a cup of tea before coming over to sit at the table with us. We stared at him in disbelief. It was a change for me to be lost for words and I know he was enjoying it by the small smile making his lips twitch and the lights dance in his eyes.
“But you said witch or sorcerer,” Sully said. “I’m neither.”
“Actually, Sully, you are.” Jasper looked at him with a grin spreading across his face.
“If that is the case, then how come he can’t do anything?” I wasn’t sure that I believed this.
“Same as it is with you, girl dear. You came into your craft when needs arose or when your body was in the right place with your mind. These things can’t be rushed. We can try to educate Sully as we did with you, but if he isn’t ready… well, it’s up to him really.” Jasper shrugged his shoulders.
“What makes you so sure that’s what I am?” Sully asked nervously, locking his fingers together.
“Bones reminded me what skills my sons had. It stands to reason that they could have passed something onto you, even if it isn’t as strong as it was for them,” Jasper said. He watched the emotions rolling over Sully’s face and smiled.
Bones watched also, but it was me not Sully that was in his sight and I could feel him in my head. My mind was racing, working, quickly sorting out the pros and cons of Sully being a shape shifter and what it could mean to us as a group.
Get out of my head. My gaze bore into his before he looked away, a red tinge creeping up his beautifully chiseled cheekbones.
“Jasper, tell us how this is going to work for Sully,” I asked. “If he doesn’t feel it yet, how much longer will he have to wait to change and when he does, how does he go about it?” I flicked my hair from my face and held out my hands toward him. “Like for example, what does he change into, and how does he change back, and—”
“Slow down, girl dear.” Jasper laughed at me, holding up his hand, palm up. “One thing at a time.”
“What I don’t understand, Jasper,” Brie whispered, her eyes shiny and wide, “is how the shape shifter, you know, does the shifting.”
“Quite simple really, Brie. It’s much like Nera and her ability to move things. She thinks it and it is. The same with shape shifting. Think it and it shall be. Well, that’s the general idea anyway,” Jasper said frowning at his own words.
“Do you mean that if I decide that I’d like to turn into a horse, I would just have to think of it and it would happen?” Sully looked back and forth between Jasper and Bones.
“Not quite,” Bones replied, looking composed once again. “You need to find out what your animal is to start with and that could take a bit of work. Do you remember what Rogan’s animal was, Jasper?”
“Yes, it was the wolf,” Jasper replied, keeping his gaze on Sully.
“Does that mean that the wolf would be mine as well, or would I have a different one?”
“It would be fairly safe to say that you would follow in his footsteps and have the same animal as your ancestor,” Bones replied.
From Jasper’s son Rogan down through the ages to Sully. His skills had come to him from his mother, the Lady Leona, youngest sister of Mari, Queen of the Witches. It was a great surprise to find that Brie and Sully were related to Jasper, but to find that some of his son’s skills could had come down to my friends was extraordinary to say the least.
When we were trying to find Sully’s place in our circle, we hadn’t thought that there would be a connection other than the bloodline. If we had taken more of an interest in the history of our ancestors, we might have had an idea earlier.
Read below for an interview from Ari Harper:
Can you tell us about your book, CHANGLING, in 10 words or less?
Changling is about Sully and his place in the group.
How long did it take you to write CHANGLING?
Not sure exactly because I wrote the first three books in this series together. I think all up it took me about six months non-stop frenetic writing.
We went from having a female on the cover of WITCHLING to a male on the cover of CHANGLING. Are they both from the same POV or are we now going to be in the head of a different character?
We stay in Nera’s POV through the whole series even though each book is centered around one main character and their ‘place’ in the circle of friends.
What was your favorite scene to write?
‘Spoiler alert’ When Sully has been wounded and has to change back. That took some work because it felt so personal for some reason. I really had to get into character for that one and you don’t want to know the things I got up to and the looks from my family as I acted out parts.
If you could cast anyone to play some of the main characters, who would you choose?
I would rather go with unknowns and give the books a chance to stand alone.
Did any music inspire you while writing CHANGLING?
For sure. I always, always put P!NK on my earphones and blast it over and over again.
Will there be another book after CHANGLING? Can we expect a trilogy or are you anticipating taking it further than that?
Treason is the next book in the series and it tells Brie’s story. I have to admit to bawling my eyes out in this book. It was gut wrenching to write some of those scenes. All up there are four books. Bones is the last book.
What is currently in your TBR pile?
I think it would be easier to say what isn’t? I’m a compulsive book whore, excuse my language. I never stop buying even though I haven’t read most of what I have on my kindle or from the pile of books next to my bed.
Ari is offering 1 ebook from the Curse of Kin series. The winner may choose which book they want.
Amy’s love life sucks. At college, she thought she’d found the man of her dreams, but then she hadn’t planned on his brother’s sadistic intervention, and after that night, Amy’s life was never the same. Deciding the only way to forget is to move on, she searches for comfort in the arms of other men, but the satisfaction she craves remains elusive. No amount of one night stands can replace her lost love.
On a long awaited summer holiday, her sister hopes to change Amy’s luck, planning to find them both plenty of sexy fun on the hot summer nights. Sadly, an unforeseen turn of events threatens to drive a wedge into their sisterly love.
Read below for an excerpt from Kiss the Tiger:
The midday sun had heated the air to an unbearable level, and I understood why the word siesta existed in certain hot countries. In fact, it had turned into one of those days where the only thing you want to do is open the refrigerator door and stand in front of it. I couldn’t take it anymore, so I grabbed a quick bite to eat in the cool of the air-conditioned snack bar and returned to my room, intending to stick a film in the DVD player and chill out until the rays lengthened. The opening credits were rolling when there was a knock on the door. It couldn’t be the maid. When I’d returned, the bed was made and my top had gone to the big dumpster in the sky.
I pressed pause. “Who is it?”
What? Why? Had someone reported my drunken antics? Had Nessie not cleaned up my mess properly and the maid had complained? Mum would love the excuse that we were forced to go home because I got us thrown out of the hotel.
“Just a minute.” I quickly tied a sarong around my bikini bottoms and opened the door, mentally preparing an apology, and totally unprepared for the sight that met me.
Casually leaning with an elbow against the door jamb and one ankle crossed over the other was a familiar figure. His dark head lifted with a crooked smile.
Our eyes locked, and for one brief moment I was too shocked to speak. A warm tingling radiated out from my chest, down my arms and legs, and my body weakened. What was he doing here?
I managed to find my voice. “Manager, huh?”
“Figured you might not open up if you knew it was me.”
I’ll open anything you ask me to.
Josh’s eyes flicked past my shoulders. “Are you alone?”
I nodded. “Yes.”
“Can I come in?”
I stepped back on shaky legs, and he squeezed through the gap, brushing my arm with his as he passed. His electric touch gave my nerves another jolt.
He walked over to the balcony access and slid it shut. “Are you going to close the door?”
Hadn’t he just done that? I faltered for a second before realising what I was holding. “Oh. Yeah. Right.” I let go of the handle. The door latch caught, and I leaned back against the fire notice. I needed to sit down before my legs gave way, but the only place to sit was the bed, and as much as I wanted to, I couldn’t go there. He might get the wrong idea. So I went to the dressing table and perched on the edge, hoping it was strong enough to support me. An uncomfortable silence ensued.
Josh stared leisurely through the glass at the view, and I stared at him. The white cotton of his T-shirt was fitted enough to show the contours of his muscular back, and his hands in the pockets of his beige, linen shorts stretched the material tight across his buttocks. My mouth went dry with an overwhelming need to touch him. I couldn’t believe he was here, in my bedroom. If I’d fallen asleep again, and was dreaming it all, I didn’t want to wake up.
Finally he spoke. “You stood me up.”
“I wouldn’t say that.”
“Okay, walked out on me.”
“Girls don’t do that.”
I bet they don’t. “Did I dent your pride?”
He swung around, and with two slow, purposeful strides, he was standing in front of me, his nose six inches from my face. “No.” He angled his head. “I understand why you left. It was a shock for me too.”
I struggled to keep my breath even. “It was?”
“You were the last girl I expected to see.”
“Sorry to disappoint.” Why was I smart mouthing him when he’d done nothing to deserve it?
His lips curved into a smile. I’d never noticed his dimples before, but then I’d never been lucky enough to see them this close. “I wasn’t disappointed,” he said.
“Really? You’re not pissed you didn’t get the quick leg-over you were expecting?” Shut up, Amy, before your mouth ruins everything.
His eyes fell to my cleavage. “That’s Jacko, not me.”
The way he was undressing me with his eyes said otherwise.
An Interview with Joshua Jackson Star of ‘Kiss the Tiger’ by Raquel Lyon
Welcome Joshua. Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
Not much to say, really. *rubs chin* I come from an average working class family: Mum, dad, brother, conventional set-up. Mum’s an admin assistant; Dad’s an accountant. It’s pretty mundane stuff. If you’re looking for drama you won’t find it.
But things with your brother were pretty dramatic, no?
We fought. What brothers don’t?
I believe there was a little more to it than that. Tell us about the events that led you to be in Greece.
My brother’s always been a taker, but when he stole something from me, something very dear to me. It caused a big upset in our family. I was in Greece at the request of my parents. They demanded my brother and me reconcile.
And did you?
Haven’t you read the story? All I’ll say is that, although the conflicts I’ve had with Jacko have made me a stronger person, I’m through trying to make it work.
So Greece wasn’t a holiday for you.
Hell, no. I had to work every damn day. Of course, things looked up after Amy arrived.
You first met Amy at college, correct?
What was your initial impression of her?
She had a great rack!
What makes you think I wasn’t being serious? *shrugs* Okay, she intrigued me.
Why did you give up on her so easily, back then?
After what happened, I thought I’d be a constant reminder. I couldn’t put her through any more pain.
Have you ever discussed what happened?
Not in detail. And we never will. Amy dealt with it in her own way, and we’ve moved on. Can we change the subject, please?
Okay. What do you love most about her?
That’s easy. I love the way she stares at me when she thinks I’m not looking. She acts all cool and aloof when, secretly, I know she can’t wait to get into my pants.
I can see why *blushes* How did you feel when you first saw Amy again?
The old feelings came rushing back. I knew I couldn’t let her go again, but I was nervous about how we would overcome the barrier of my brother.
That’s understandable. So, what would you say is the overall theme of your story?
*Silently contemplates the question* Sometimes life throws you a curveball, but never give up hope.
Tell us about your tattoo.
Oh yeah, you like it? I’ve had it since college. My mate and I got bored, one time, and decided to get inked up. I chose something that represented personal power and the ability to overcome obstacles. *chuckles* My mate put his ex’s name in a heart. He’s still regretting that one.
Yes, I bet. So, tell me. What makes you happy?
Being with my girl.
Naturally. Now, if you don’t mind, I’d like to do a quick fire five.
Where would your dream vacation be?
A secluded beach with only Amy for company.
What do you wear in bed?
Nothing, babycakes. *winks*
Who was your first love?
Three words that best describe you.
Persistent, loyal, *cocks eyebrow* sexy.
Who would play you in a movie?
Hmm… A young Rob Lowe would be good, or, I know, Colton Haynes. Yeah, he’s a cool guy.
What’s next for Josh and Amy? A beach wedding in Greece?
*laughs* Good one. No. Amy wants to return to Greece for a holiday, but I’ll be taking her to a different island, far away from my brother. At the moment, we’re both busy with our careers and enjoying life. As for marriage, let’s just say you’ll have to watch this space.
Well, thank you for the interview, Josh. I had fun.
No problem, sweetcheeks.
Urban Harvest contains tales of the paranormal from Alex Shvartsman, Laurie Treacy, Donna Ansari, Tara Hill, Laura Wenham, Andrea Stanet, Don Corcoran, Saif Ansari, and Sean Sakamoto.
In keeping with the spirit of harvest, all proceeds from this anthology will go to support City Harvest, an organization that feeds NYC’s hungry.
Sean Sakamoto is one of the authors featured in Urban Harvest: Tales of the Paranormal in New York City.
What do you like about writing in the paranormal genre?
Albert Camus famously said, “Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth.” If that’s true, and I believe it is, then paranormal, or any speculative fiction, is an even greater lie through which we can tell an even greater truth. I love the freedom to create any device to get at the heart of a story, and genre frees me to do that. If I need to explore how blind optimism can be dangerous, then I can create a virus that causes optimism and wreaks havoc upon the world. If I want to explore the sheer terror of being stopped and frisked by uniformed police, why not show my city under occupation by aliens who can grope my mind and broadcast my secrets? Genre, and specifically paranormal, give me a language for going deeper into the horror, adventure, or hilarity of the human condition.
What prompted you to write this story?
In my story, Ghosts of New York, 8 million ghosts are released from a rotten seam of rock in the dig for the second avenue subway line. Every New Yorker gets one ghost, and that ghost tells the truth about them to everyone nearby. I wrote this story because I often feel like I’ve got a ghost on my shoulder that whispers my worst fears into my ear. “Your writing sucks. You have no imagination. Everyone knows you don’t belong at this party. You’re getting too old for this kind of fun.” ad nauseum. One way I have found to get on with living my life despite these nagging doubts is to admit that some of them are true. My worst fears are true, and once I’ve been honest about it, I have nothing left to hide. Yes, I’m no Shakespeare. Yes, I’m getting old. Yes, I’m usually not the brightest guy in the room. That’s fine. Once I embrace the truth, as unflattering as it is, it has no power over me. I wanted to imagine a way for all New Yorkers to confront this, and have it literally play out. I wanted to take the power away from the ghosts that whisper in all of our ears.
What other things have you written/are you writing?
I was recently the story editor and associate producer on Star Trek: Secrets of the Universe. It aired on History, and it was a look at the science of Star Trek, and a glimpse behind the scenes and on the set ofStar Trek Into Darkness. I’m also writing an apocalyptic novel called Rictus, about a pharma virus that jumps the lab and infects the world with blind, relentless optimism.
Do you consider your writing character-driven or plot-driven?
I consider my writing idea driven, and then it’s up to me to make the plot fun enough, and the characters interesting enough to keep the reader interested. Ideally, nobody would spend any time at all pondering the idea behind my writing because the story is too much fun. I’m not trying to lecture or teach anyone anything, I just find that some kind of overall idea to explore is how I find my way into a story and then I need to tell it well enough that readers have a great time with it. Ideas are what get me writing, but my purpose is to entertain.
Do you plot ahead of time, or let the plot emerge as you write?
I plot ahead of time. I usually have a shot list of scenes that will get me to the end, and then I write my way through each scene. If the story is thin, I’ll add some scenes to help connect the major points, or flesh out a character. I have to work out the plot before I write because I find it too confusing to tell the story and work out where it’s going at the same time. That feels like multi-tasking to me, and I’m easily frustrated. If I feel like I don’t know where my story is going, I can easily become overwhelmed and get lost on the internet in full retreat. I need to break my story down into discrete steps and small goals to keep myself focused and prevent panic.
Do you have a writing mentor or inspiration?
I enjoy the podcasts Starship Sofa, and The Functional Nerds. Those are both great for keeping up with stories, ideas, and TV shows that are good. I’m always looking for more sources, especially for independently published fiction. I attended Viable Paradise, a Science Fiction and Fantasy writing workshop and I learned a ton while I was there. It really helped me understand how to write science fiction and fantasy for an audience and I’d recommend applying for anyone who wants to spend some time with great writers and editors and learn about the work.
When and how did you first become interested in writing?
When I was a kid, I remember sitting with a neighborhood friend and making up stories to pass the time. I was probably 13 or 14 and I realized then that I wanted to be a writer. I loved being able to let my mind run, and I loved the feeling of being in a new place that was being invented word by word. Since then, I feel most comfortable when I’m reading a story and it takes me over. I love the feeling of immersion in a world that was utterly constructed by an author. I seldom feel that way as a writer, but that is a feeling I want to provide readers. When I first became interested in writing, it was because I thought I had a lot to say and I wanted people to pay attention to me.
As I’ve grown, that has changed for me, thankfully. Now I want to give people something. I’ve shifted my internal focus from me to them, and I think my writing has improved as a result. It’s wonderful to be part of a conversation whether as a reader or a writer, and that’s all I’ve really wanted I think.
What’s your writing schedule? Do you have a favorite place to write?
I have time to write in the mornings, but I often squander it. I find it hard to focus, and I’m easily distracted. I’d love to bring more discipline to my schedule. I don’t have a favorite place to write, but I am thinking about finding one. I’ve got a great son, and wife, and a busy life, so I make time to write when I can. When I have to write something professionally, as I did with Star Trek: Secrets of the Universe, then I work every chance I get. But with my own projects I’m less disciplined.
I’m rewriting Rictus, which I hope to finish by Spring. I’m also co-publishing a series of speculative fiction with Saif Ansari called Slipstream City. In our first volume, Tales from Other New Yorks, we had stories set in New York City. Our next volume will contain stories on the theme of Occupied New York. The stories will all be speculative fiction, all exploring some aspect of life in New York City under occupation. The stories could be set in any time with any aspect of occupation that the author wants to explore. I’ll have a piece in there about New York City under alien occupation, with mind-probing checkpoints and the measures that ordinary citizens take to resist this dismal life. It should be fun, and I’m looking forward to seeing what other writers come up with for the anthology.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I want to thank Donna for putting this together. I hope we feed some people with the proceeds of this book. I’m very excited to live in a time when interested readers and writers can put together a book around ideas that excite them and connect on a kindle, or any e-reader. This is an amazing time for fiction and I feel lucky to be able to read so much great stuff nowadays.
The following is a short excerpt from Sean’s story in Urban Harvest.
Ghosts of New York
“Hey, loser! Outside already? Why not noodle on your guitar for a few hours at home and call yourself a musician?” The words were a whisper, but their meaning was loud and clear. Bill, a man in his late 30s, winced into the insults and kept walking down Grand Street, heading to the Delancey Street station.
“Great isn’t it? That moment of optimism before the coffee wears off?” The mist hissed as it formed into an oblong face inches from Bill’s nose.
“Morning, Spork,” Bill said. The mist ignored him, as usual, and continued its tirade.
“Going to an interview, eh? This is gonna be good. I wonder how long it’ll take ‘em to figure out you’re completely useless?” The voice came from a misty figure that hovered in the air, floating backward as Bill walked. It breathed its misty words just inches from his face. Bill called the ghost “Spork” because its forehead bulged like the back of a spoon and the wisps of mist that made up its head tapered into points like the tines of a fork.
Bill sighed. “Just…go back in that hole you came out of!” he shouted. A woman walked by, caught his eye, and gave a wary look of sympathy before she quickly passed him; a big-nosed wisp hovered by her side.
Bill wanted to pretend that Spork wasn’t striking a nerve, but he just couldn’t fake it this time. The morning coffee kick was just running out, as Spork had predicted. The bright future buzz that Bill relied on to get him out of the apartment was fading into the mid-morning crash, and he needed to stay happy for his first job interview in months. It was a perfect time for Spork, the ghost that haunted him, to show up. Perfect for Spork, anyway. Not so good for Bill.
“Are you going to tell them about the arrest?” Spork hissed into Bill’s face. The sprite’s breath was a cool mist with the musty smell of a subway tunnel on a damp day. Six months ago, Bill would have taken a swing at Spork, but it never mattered. None of the sprites ever reacted to anyone, aside from a moan when someone smiled. But that didn’t happen much anymore; smiles were in short supply. But talking to them? Useless, like yelling at a cloud. They just kept doing whatever they were doing, oblivious. Only, unlike a cloud, they tormented the people of New York City.
Andrés, why can’t it be enough that I love you? That I want to spend forever with you. Why must you expect so much more? I’m not ready for marriage and a family. I don’t know if I ever will be.
Christina, I need to know that what I’m putting into this relationship isn’t all for nothing. To me, you mean everything. But I won’t be your stepping stone. Because as much as it would kill me, if you refuse to commit to something more, I will walk away.
Will Christina ever be ready? Will Andrés stay or walk? Will their love endure or is it doomed before they even have a chance?
“I haven’t seen you in a while, Andrés. How have you been?”
My hands go clammy as I give the military doctor a blank stare. Why did I think it would be a good idea to come here? Oh, yeah, closure. That’s what I kept telling myself on the drive to the VA hospital. I wanted to let Doctor Barnes know I don’t need to see him anymore.
Because I don’t. I’m better now.
I wipe my hands on my jeans, trying to get rid of the excess moisture. It must be hot in here. I have no reason to sweat. No reason at all.
“I figured as much.” He crosses one leg over his knee, looking casual as he leans back against the upholstered leather chair, but there’s still that expectant look in his eyes. Despite the glare on the doctor’s glasses, I can see the man’s impatience. “How else have you been?”
This shrink is never one to waste time. He’s not afraid to pressure me to get to the point, which is one reason I have always liked him.
I sip from my water bottle, clear my throat, and then answer. “I haven’t had a bad dream in months.”
After the roadside bomb had flipped our truck and killed my best friend in Afghanistan, I couldn’t escape the nightmares that plagued me. Although the occurrence of those dreams slowed after I met Christina, they completely stopped three months ago, after my best friend’s wife, Letty, contacted me on Facebook. She’d written me a long letter apologizing for blaming me for James’s death. She’d even invited me to San Antonio for her youngest son’s birthday party. It seems I just needed Letty’s forgiveness for the nightmares to stop.
“That’s great news.” The doctor smiles wider this time.
I can tell this smile is genuine, and I release a pent-up breath of air.
Then the doctor hits me with the next question. “Are you adjusting to life as a civilian?”
“Oh, yeah.” I nod before sticking one clammy hand in my pants pocket. The little velvet pouch is still there, and though it takes up no more room than a wadded-up tissue, it feels heavy. The weight of it presses into my thigh. What’s worse is, the strain is somehow tethered to an invisible noose that is wrapped around my neck. Each day the pouch feels heavier, and the noose feels tighter, so tight I feel I may suffocate from the pressure. “I’m learning how to take over my uncle’s businesses.” I say the words I rehearsed on the drive over. “Working out and….” I pause and finger the pouch again. “I met a girl.”
I shift in my seat, trying to suppress my arousal as I envision last night in bed, when Christina’s long auburn hair had been fanned around my thighs. I can’t forget the expression in her emerald eyes when she looked up at me, flashing that seductive smile right before she took me in her mouth.
“You sound hesitant to talk about her. Are you having second thoughts?”
“No, never.” I vehemently shake my head before I force myself to stop.
Doctor Barnes has that look in his eyes again. Damn, he’s too smart for his own good. I remind myself I need to find a new shrink, maybe one a little less observant. Maybe one who nods and agrees with everything I say.
I avert my gaze, but I can’t escape the feeling Doctor Barnes can see through me, straight into my soul. But I came here to talk, didn’t I? No. I came here to tell the doctor I no longer need him, as soon as I get help with this one little problem.
I look the doctor in the eyes, take a shaky breath, and slowly exhale, even though the invisible noose is making it harder to breathe. “Ever since we moved in together, my family has been pressuring us to get married.”
He gives me a pointed look. “How do you feel about marriage?”
I answer without hesitation. “I love her. I’ll do anything to marry her. I even had a ring made, but I don’t think I have the nerve to pop the question.”
I shouldn’t have asked Tia for my grandmother’s ring. That was a bad idea. A very bad idea. We’ve only been together six months, and I’ll scare her off. Then I remember Tia wagging a finger in my face and clucking her tongue, telling me the church frowns on sex out of wedlock.
I don’t want to offend God, but I don’t want to lose Christina, either. Her parents were unloving and abusive. How can she possibly be ready for marriage and family after what she’s been through?
Slowly, I pull the velvet pouch out of my pocket, loosen the drawstring, and dump the ring in my palm. I hold the shining silver band beneath the soft glow of the overhead lights.
“The emeralds came from my grandmother’s wedding band,” I say to the doctor as I press the ring between the tips of my fingers. “They’re the same color as Christina’s eyes.”
“You said you don’t have the nerve to ask her,” he asks in an annoyingly impartial monotone. “Why?”
“It’s just….” I swallow against the tightening knot around my throat as I place the ring back in the pouch. “I’m afraid she won’t say yes.”
What happens when a major earthquake changes life as you know it and the boy you thought you hated ends up saving you? Three times!
Courtland Reese is the guy everyone hates and makes fun of because … well, he is weird. He communicates with animals. Strange or interesting, seventeen-year-old Adela Castielle can’t quite figure out, but when he saves her from being trampled by her own horse, she begins to understand him a little better and wants to learn more about him.
But, Max–her best friend/dream guy/someday-to-be-her-husband-only-he-doesn’t-know-it-yet–hates Courtland with a passion. Adela wants to know why, except neither boy is talking.
When Max leaves her stranded in his parents’ wine cave with his worst enemy, Courtland, after what the experts are calling a “megathrust” earthquake, Adela starts to question her loyalty to Max as steamy kisses in a dark damp cellar only fuel her emotions with more conflict.
But does she really have time to worry about that when fire, destruction and mayhem surround her?
Read below for an excerpt!
As Courtland stood, the legs of his chair scraped along the floor and the back of his knees pushed it out of the way of his tall frame. His dark green hoodie hung loose and unzipped, his jeans sat low on his waist. His hair was slicked back away from his face, different from the normal way it usually fell over his forehead, giving him the appearance of an ancient Native American warrior. If I wasn’t already in love with Max and Court hadn’t been so mean to me the other day, I might actually think he was hot, the way he walked up to get the book without saying a word, his gait easy but cautious as he sauntered past Max’s desk. One never knew what Max might do and Courtland had been the brunt of his antics more than once.
“Stop by the library on your way back and pick up a couple of the books they have on earthquake preparedness. There should be a good selection on the subject. Ask Mrs. Snow to help you; she’ll steer you in the right direction.”
Courtland strolled out of the room while Mr. Montgomery continued his talk about earthquakes.
Sometimes I felt sorry for Courtland, the way some of the kids made fun of his keen intuition with animals. This morning, I was still too mad at him to care much about that, though. My mind wandered back to Big Blue. I really wanted to ride him—maybe today would be a good time to do it. If Max rode with me, Courtland might stay clear. I scribbled a quick note in my binder, ripped the page out, folded it into a little square and handed it to Max while Mr. Montgomery wrote something on the board. He read it and folded it back up before sticking it under his history book. After flashing a smile at me, he nodded.
I sat doodling on the paper in front of me, making little swirling designs I thought might look good on a book cover, half listening to Mr. Montgomery when I felt a brush of material glide over my arm. I looked up to see Courtland as he strolled past me, back from his trip to the office.
All of a sudden, my desk jolted
My blogs: http://swblog.susangriscom.com
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I daydream often and sometimes my daydreams interrupt my daydreams. So I write to remember them. If I didn’t write, I think my mind would explode from an overload of fantasy and weirdness. To the annoyance of my friends and family, my characters sometimes become a part of my world. During my childhood, I would frequently get in trouble in school for daydreaming. Eventually, my vivid imagination paid off and I had the privilege of writing and co-directing my sixth-grade class play—a dreadful disaster, though not from my writing, of course, I must blame it on the acting.
I enjoy writing about characters living in small quaint towns and tend to lean toward the unusual and spooky.
My paranormal playing field delves into a different milieu, abandoning vampires and werewolves, but not discounting them. Someday I might like to write a novel about vamps and those furry creatures. But for now I like the bizarre mixed with romance. A strong hero or heroine confronted with extraordinary forces of nature, powers and capabilities gets my blood running hot.