Coming Soon! IndieGoGo Campaign for The Power of Three by Lucy Pireel

It won’t be long before the Indiegogo campaign launches for

The Power of Three

(working title Origins Revealed)

cover campaign

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When a priest unleashes an evil that could wipe out all life on this side of the veil, werewolf Sakima Nutus and vampire Celeste Divinus must join forces to rid Earth of the demons released.

Sakima, the most successful vampire hunter in the history of all werewolves, must now work with Celeste, the last remaining pure blood who is more powerful than the strongest werewolves combined.

Both are born to lead, but only one can dominate.

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The funds raised will be used for

Editing

Cover art (original photography)

Cover Design

Marketing

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The campaign will launch January 27th and all donations will be appreciated, as well as any effort to help spread the word about it.

Featured Author – Stuart Land

Stuart-Land-Cambodia3-1Today Stuart Land, a very versatile author, visits my blog. I won’t fill the time we have with my words, but rather invite him to sit down and brace himself for some good, old-fashioned grilling. 🙂

Hi Stuart, Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions. I’d like to start with some personal stuff before we move on to talking shop. If that’s okay with you?

Well, I don’t have much of a choice since you have me chained to this chair.

I had to, you just kept running away and hiding!  You’ve had quite a ride through life, what do you think shaped you most?

That’s a hard one. My life has been like chapters in a book, so if I took out a chapter, I wouldn’t be complete. Each phase has helped shape me, both the good and the not so good. Each career I went into I fully immersed myself in, so each had a lasting effect on me. Also, I’ve been fortunate to have lived through a lot of American history, like the race riots in DC and Maryland, the anti-Vietnam riots in DC, the Haight-Ashbury experience, Martine Luther King’s March on Washington, and more. These things profoundly shaped my life.

What says more? A Picture, a thousand words, or a sculpture?

Ha! Tricky question, since I work with all three. For me, now, I’d have to say a 1000 words. That’s where I get the most pleasure. I love working with visual imagery, like making my own book covers. And of course, sculpture, which I’ve done for a very long time, and have my work all around the world. But telling stories is what I really love the most now.

If there’s one thing you are most proud of, what would that be?

Besides finishing each novel and screenplay I write, it would probably be helping other writers reach their potential.

Where would you rather live? Snowy mountains, or a hot, sunny beach?

Well, neither, since I live on the side of a mountain in northern Thailand, near Burma. I love snowy mountains, especial skiing on them, but I lived on or near the beach several times, in Venice, CA, Florida, and Thailand.

That’s the extent of how personal I intend to get. Wasn’t that bad, right?

These handcuff are itchy.

You’ll get used to that so stop twitching. 🙂 But, like I said before, you are here to talk shop. So, what is the title of the book you would like to talk about, and can you give us a small taster of it?

You mean I have to choose just one of my babies? That’s hard because I write in so many genres. Okay, I won’t talk about my vampire series, ORIGINAL BLOOD, that now has two books out. Or my Science Fiction novel, ENDLESS SKY, that just got nominated for Best Read of 2012 by the Paranormal Romance Guild. Or the other four novels. Instead, I’ll talk about EPIPHANY, my only speculative fiction story. 

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About the book

Doctor Sam Enright and his geneticist wife, Dorinda, face turmoil in their small town when a dozen adolescent girls show up pregnant at Sam’s office—and they’re all virgins. When their own daughter falls victim to the same fate, the Enrights rush to Homeland Security for answers. As the questions multiply, they realize they’re at the vanguard of a worldwide epidemic. When events escalate, a disparate group of international doctors, scientists, and mothers-to-be are brought together at Dorinda’s genetics lab in Middle America. They race to find the cause and meaning of the mysterious pregnancies, but every discovery reveals a new, worse scenario, leaving humanity’s very existence in question.

***

This story is very special to me because it seemed to have been given to me by the universe. I got the original plot idea after waking from a dream. I immediately wrote it down. I had the whole general story. However, I had no characters. There’s no story without characters. It took ten years for the characters to arrive. But they didn’t arrive through a dream. I just sat down and refused to get up until I wrote the first chapter. I’ve never has such a difficult beginning. Then, like a lightning bolt of inspiration, I had the first sentence. It was the most difficult first sentence I’ve ever written, and the most poignant.

The rest of the chapter came really fast, but when I t was finished. I was right back where I started. If you read the book, you will see what I mean. Still, since I can be pretty stubborn, I sat there until the words started flowing again. Once they did, I stayed up all night writing. The rest of the book wasn’t so easy because it required a huge amount of research, study, and interviews with experts in their fields. It’s the hardest book I’ve written to date. When it was done, I had some young girls read it to see if I captured their spirit, thoughts, and attitudes. I was much relieved when I got the thumbs up. Since then, I’m happy that mothers have also appeared to approve, even if the story freaks them out. It freaked me out too.

Did you have difficulty coming up with the title?

Actually, I did. I considered a longer title, but couldn’t think of one that wouldn’t give away the story. This title is great though, because when you’re finished the book, you’ll go, yeah, right.

Is there anything you don’t like about being an author?

Maniacal laugh that goes on for ten minutes. Probably what most authors dislike: taking time away from writing to do marketing, which I’m personally not so good at. The writing itself, including the research and even rewrites, I love!

What do you do marketing wise and what do you think generates the most attention to your books?

That’s a giant conundrum for me. I have no idea what works. One time I gave away a book on Amazon to see what that was all about. It was free for one day. It got 2700 downloads and went inside the top ten. Not one person left a review. Does that mean my book sucked? Not according to the 5 stars reviews I have received. I think people just like getting stuff for free, but never get around to reading it. Personally, I do three things when I look for a book. I check the cover, read the blurb, and read at least the first page. I can tell in one page whether a person can write or not. I try to do the best I can on all three of those things. Also, I like doing interviews, because the food is usually good. But that spotlight you have shining in my eyes…

Yeah, well there are certain things an author has to endure. 😉 Is there any food or beverage that is a constant factor in either your books or life?

Well, blood figures a lot in my vampire books. Other than that, I don’t get into food and drink enough to make it stand out. I leave that to chefs and RR Martin. In real life, well, I live in Thailand, so that should say a lot. But since I get to travel to other countries, like China, Cambodia, Laos, Bali, etc, I pretty much like all Asian food. Luckily, where I live there’s a vast variety of international food of very high standards, so I get plenty of Italian, Japanese, Mid-Eastern, and other yummy edibles. I’m not much of a drinker. Never drink wine or beer, so need to rely on friends if it turns up in a story.

What is your favourite dish and can you give me the recipe?

My favorite dish needs no recipe…it’s sushi.

NOM! Mine too! 

Okay, now that we have the mandatory questions out of the way, shoot your mouth off. Tell me whatever you want to blab about. But please no cats, dogs, or children. Make me laugh, or cry, or even envious. Tell me something no one has ever heard before from you. hehehe, love those little dirty secrets, real or make believe. 🙂

Well, let’s see…I’ve been in three military coups. One in Greece, and two in Thailand. While bad things happened to others, mostly the protestors or those fighting the soldiers, for me and other foreigners caught in the middle, the soldiers and the demonstrators alike, were all very nice. In all three situations, it was like a giant party. Of course the tanks in the streets and live bayonets were a little disconcerting. But the eerie thing was that all the soldiers were smiling. In Greece, I was on a boat when the coup started. One soldier threw his beer over the side of the ship, and it hit the rail and then my head. He and his friends came to my aid, making sure I was all right. Then they bought me a beer (the only beer I ever had) and we sat around talking for an hour, though no one knew what the others were saying. I’m pretty sure coups aren’t generally so heartwarming.

Usually, my best stories come when I’ve had a few cups of saki…or I zone out and write a novel for three to six months.

So, about these handcuffs…

Yeah, yeah, I’ll let you go, for now. 🙂 But you have to promise to come back and bring me a Spicy Tuna Roll! 🙂

Let me end by telling the readers they can find you online at:

Web site * Blog * Facebook * Linkedin * Twitter * Goodreads * Pinterest * About me

Tell me dear readers, do you like it when an author writes in more than one genre?

Featured Author – Sallie Lundy-Frommer

Author Photo_edited-1Hi Sallie, after a long lasting blogging relationship between us, I’m happy to finally have the author Sallie featuring on my blog. Welcome and let’s start with introducing you to the readers by answering a few personal questions. If you don’t mind?

(Sallie shakes her head and motions for me to get on with it. She can’t speak, because I persuaded ehr to take a bite of my home-made chocolade truffels 🙂 )

Great! Right, would you say you’re a farm girl or a city slicker?

I’d have to say, I’m a little bit of both. I was born on a farm at home. I know right…{{smile}}, it sounds like something from Little House on the Prairie.
Nevertheless it’s true; my six brothers and three sisters where all born at home. We were poor as dirt and didn’t know it. It wasn’t until we moved to New York that I experienced what it was to be seen as poor and to feel poor. Anyway, as for the city slicker part, it’s a small part. So small, I don’t think it worth mentioning. My family thinks I’m a little slick because I was the first to attend college or go on for a masters, but that’s not slick. But I do enjoy shopping till I drop. Does that count as being a city slicker? {{grin}}

Just a tiny, little bit, but I wouldn’t worry about it. 🙂 Do you like huge family get togethers or do you celebrate happy occasions on a small scale?

Huge, tiny, ginormous or big, you name it. We do them all. Do I like them? Yes, to all, no matter the size. It’s so easy for families to drift apart nowadays. Our lives are so busy. We’re all plugged in and over scheduled in general, so if we don’t make the effort to see each other, it won’t happen. In fact, my family has been having bi-monthly meetings for more years than I’m willing to admit. We hang out, eat, joke, catch up, eat again (wink) discuss family trips and concerns. Sometimes it’s a large group, other times not. But we stay in touch!

I know you went to college and you are the person to go to when in need of a Master (or Bachelor) in Human Resource Management, but was there ever a time in your life when you wanted to be a …? 🙂 Tell me your secret career wish.

OMG, when I was young and full of ginger as they say, I wanted to be an actress. I loved to sing and act (can’t dance particularly well. That gene skipped me… :-). I even tried out for what was called at the time, the High School of Preforming Arts. Yeah, you might have seen the movie about the school, Fame. I didn’t get into the school and I learned very quickly, I don’t have skin thick enough for show business. In addition, I had obligations so I took the more practical route of going to college.

What came first, blogging, or fiction writing?

Fiction writing came first…:-) I carried the story of Yesterday’s Daughter around in my head for years. But, I finally listened to the voices and began to write. The story pretty much was effortless in terms of writing. I didn’t know anything about the publishing industry and learned and continue to learn as I go. After the book, came the blog, Facebook, twitter and the other accoutrements needed for the world of self-publishing.

Is there any food or beverage that is a constant factor in either your books or life?

That’s an interesting question. Hmmmmmmmm, I’d have to say there’s no beverage or food that shows up in my book. As for life, they’re not constant foods, but they are my favorite foods, pizza and lasagna….

What is your favourite dish and can you give me the recipe?

Okay, so I jumped the gun and named my favorite dishes… 🙂 . But I make a pretty good sweet potato pie. Here’s the recipe:

1 Unbaked pie crust

image from wikipedia

4 medium sweet potatoes
Mix 1/2 stick of butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
pinch of salt
1//2 tablespoon of cinnamon
1/8 tablespoon of all spice
1/8 teaspoon of ginger
1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg
1 teaspoon of Vanilla extract
3/4 cup evaporated milk
Boil sweet potatoes whole in skin for 40 to 50 minutes, or until done. Run cold water over the sweet potatoes, and remove the skin.

Mash apart the sweet potatoes in a bowl. Add butter, sugar, milk, salt, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon, all spice, ginger, nutmeg, evaporated milk, and vanilla extract…….then mix well. Beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth. Pour filling into an unbaked piecrust.

Bake at 350 degrees 60 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Enjoy!!!!!

I think I will! But it’s not why you are here, I’ve dragged you in to talk shop! So, what is the title of the book you would like to talk about, and can you give us a small taster of it?

My book is Yesterday’s Daughter

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Itunes | Kobo | Amazon | Junglee | B&N | SW | BooksaMillion

and you can read an excerpt below:

Malachi had gone very still as cold panic ran through his veins like a locomotive. Trigon started to speak when he noticed that Malachi had paled and was holding his breath. “Malachi, what is it?” he asked. The Guardians stared at him and then he let out a howl, in so much anguish that it burst all the glass in the room, exploding the windows as he fell to his knees. The Guardians spun around believing they were under some new kind of attack but saw nothing to explain Malachi’s condition. Stunned silence then filled the room, no one breathed unsure of what was happening or what to do.
The nerves of the Guardians were drawn tight like bows about to be launched. Their eyes were glowing, sweeping the room, searching the shadows, listening with focused intensity, searching for threats. Maybe the Harvesters had a new weapon.
Trigon carefully stepped closer to Malachi and tentatively placed one hand on his shoulder. He whispered the question quietly; afraid of what he might hear to bring such a reaction from Malachi. “What is it, friend?”
Malachi looked up and Trigon recoiled at the grief and horror in his eyes. He said one word, “Sapphira.” They all looked at each other, their unease growing. They all knew his life mate had been killed in the maturing chambers long ago. Why was he calling her name now? Why this murderous rage? Had he lost his mind?
“What about Sapphira?” Trigon asked unsure of what Malachi was trying to say. Malachi’s breathing had returned but he sounded like a wounded animal, his breath ragged and uneven. Unable to find the words, he thrust his mind out to share information with Trigon. Trigon stilled and the Guardians knew that Malachi was giving him information directly. Trigon’s face tightened in concentration from the onslaught of information. As the seconds passed, the Guardians grew tenser.

Did you have difficulty coming up with the title?

Nope, the title, like the story came to me in my dreams.

If you would have to change the genre in order to be able to publish it, what would it be then? i.e. would you conform your work to suit the market?

No, the story is the story is the story. I didn’t choose the genre, it chose me. I have no idea how I would change it nor would I want to alter a story that was “born” the way it is.

What do you do marketing wise and what do you think generates the most attention to your books?

For marketing, I blog, facebook, tweet and run promotions. I’m so open to suggestions…

Ah, yes, so am I, hence my question. I’ll let you know when I’ve found the answer. Okay, now that we have the mandatory questions out of the way, shoot your mouth off. Tell me whatever you want t0 blab about. But please no cats, dogs, or children. Make me laugh, or cry, or even envious. Tell me something no one has ever heard before from you. hehehe, love those little dirty secrets, real or make believe.

You may want my dirty secrets, but I won’t share any….:-) What I will share with you is I’m finishing a romance thriller, Strong Chance of Showers. I’d expected the sequel to Yesterday’s Daughter to come first, but inspiration didn’t take that path. Stay tuned for its release date.

I most certainly will, Sallie! Thanks for being a guest today and answering all my questions. Feel free to come back when the new release is eminent.

For now all I want to tell the readers they can find you online at:

Sallie’s BlogWebsiteher facebook fanpageSallie’s Personal facebook page, on Google+TwitterPinterestGoodReadsShelfari, and she has a video on Youtube 

I would like to ask the readers if they could see themselves blogging, writing, editing, and maintaining a social life with their family without going nuts?

Book Blast and Giveaway – Portals by Maer Wilson

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I’m glad I can help Maer Wilson on this happy day with the release of …
PORTALS

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AMAZON | PAPERBACK

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For supernatural detectives Thulu and La Fi, “normal” is a relative term. La Fi is a medium, Thulu is a finder, and their usual clients are already dead.

But when their friend Reo is shot, and a group of stranded angels show up at their house for help to find a missing child, things are striking too close to home.

And now the portals that let the magical races return to Earth have started opening on their own.

With trips off-world, a kidnapped psychic and changes to their own abilities, Thulu and La Fi are hit with a lot more than they usually handle. Of course, their magical friends are there to help, but even they may not be enough to save an increasingly unstable Earth.

Portals is the sequel to Relics and is Book 2 in The Thulukan Chronicles.

I am reading it at the moment and to give you a heads up, my review will be, and I’m not even finished yet, a big, phat, five star one. Wait for it to show up on here, my site, Amazon, Goodreads, Booklikes, The Writer’s Shack, and The Book Junkies Weebly Review site.

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Let me tell you a bit about Maer

Maer Author

After a successful career being other people, and later teaching others the many tricks of that trade, Maer Wilson has decided to be herself for a while. Turns out she’s a writer. She’s always loved stories, especially fantasy, mystery and sci fi. Maer was born in the Year of the Dragon and has a dragon-themed room in her home, but sadly no dragons in the back yard. When she’s not writing, Maer plays online video games, teaches college and reads. She also co-hosts the literary podcast, MythBehaving and writes for two gaming fansites. Maer lives in the high desert of Southern Nevada with her two dogs, a chihuahua and a poodle. Portals is Book 2 in The Thulukan Chronicles. You can find all books and novelettes in The Thulukan Chronicles at Amazon. You can visit Maer’s website at http://maerwilson.com/.

But you can also find Maer on:

AmazonFacebookTwitterGoodreads, and Pinterest.

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I love reading excerpts before I decide to buy a book, or not. If you do too, below is a part of the book for you to peruse. Let us know what you think after you’ve read it.

That night Parker had popped in to wake us at two in the morning to tell us our best friend, Reo, had been shot. The young ghost was distraught and panicked.
“They’re on the back porch! You have to go help.”
“Where is he?” I asked groggily, as I jumped out of bed.
Thulu was instantly awake beside me, although he didn’t seem any more alert than I did.
“Back porch.” Parker enunciated each word in slight exasperation. “Go, please!”
Thulu looked at me, and I told him what Parker had said. Thulu can read lips, but even with a night light the room was too dark.
Thulu threw off the sheet and we both ran from the room. I was briefly glad we’d been wearing PJs.
Heart pounding, I took a few precious seconds to check on our three year old son, Carter. His night light showed him blissfully unaware of anything. Whatever happy dreams he was having made him smile slightly in his sleep. I sighed in relief that he wasn’t having another of his nightmares.
Downstairs, Thulu had turned on the kitchen and porch lights. In spite of the panic moments before, none of the three people on the porch seemed frantic when I joined them.
Thulu looked relieved, Reo was on the floor, but seemed stoic, and Sloane knelt beside him, brow furrowed only slightly in concentration as he dealt with the wound.
My heart rate slowed down and my own fear started to slowly dissipate. My heart gradually dropped from my throat back to its accustomed place in my chest. Still my hands were shaking, and I felt the slight chill from outside. The porch was screened in, and the late August day had been hot, but the night brought a cool breeze that made its way along my arms.
The scent of flowers from the backyard didn’t quite mask the smell of the blood that pooled on the porch floor around Reo. Sloane, his partner and an elf, had already removed Reo’s jacket and shirt. A bullet lay on the floor, and I could see the shoulder wound was already healing and closing up. In a few moments, only the blood would remain as evidence that he’d been shot.
Reo’s face was white. The strain showed around his brown eyes and his handsome face had the sheen of sweat on it. His short brown hair that was usually spiked, lay damp and flat against his head, but he gave me a shaky smile.
“Bastard ruined my favorite jacket.”

Since Portals is the second of the Thulukan Chronicles you might want to check out the first too. You can find the first book ‘Relics’ at Goodreads. See what others thought of it, or get your copy straight from Amazon (paperback or Kindle edition).

You can watch this interview about Relics with Maer on DailyMotion to see for yourself why you should get into this series.

Maer Wilson – Relics by talkstorytv
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And then there is the Rafflecopter giveaway.

ENTER TO WIN!!!!

Book Tour and Giveaway – Confronting the Demon by Ciara Ballantyne

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Today, a bit late, but better late than never (sorry Ciara and Kriss for being late), I host the tour and Giveaway for 
Confronting the Demon by Ciara Ballantyne
A book I’ve read and reviewed. You can find the review here.
But I also jumped to the opportunity to interview the author. 🙂 Below you can read how that turned out.
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Hi Ciara, Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions. I know you must be very busy right now with the tour and stuff so I won’t waste any time dilly-dallying.

Tell me, would you rather ride a horse or a dragon?

Oh my god, now there’s a real stumper. I’d never even thought of that. I love a beautiful horse, but who wouldn’t take a dragon if they could? Unless I get flight sick, and then I might change my mind…

Are you a more analytic person or do you act on impulse?

I am totally an analytical person. I would rather die than act on impulse. OK, maybe not quite, but you get the idea. My personality type is known for planning, and then planning in case the plan for when things go wrong, goes wrong…

How does an David Eddings fan become a financial service lawyer? I mean, what went ‘wrong’? *wink*

Ha ha . See above. Also, I figured writing wasn’t going to get me a lot of money (at least it was unlikely) so I thought a good back-up plan was in order. Something that pays the bills, you know? Plus I like to argue. And be right. So far law is really working out for me on those counts!

Now a few fast questions, one-word answers please.

Sweet or savoury? Sweet

Wish for or have what you want?  Have

Staying or moving? Staying

Organised or go with the flow? Organised

Complain or act? Act

Fight or flight? Fight

Revenge, hot or cold? Cold

And then, why you are really here? Chance.

What is the title of the book you would like to talk about?

Confronting the Demon

Of course! Silly question, never mind me. Tell me, did you have difficulty coming up with the title?

A little. It had the working title ‘tentacles’ for a very long time. It’s not like me to not have a workable title from early on, and this one I had to sit down and think very hard. It’s about demon, but it’s about more than that, it’s about facing one’s personal demons, and I wanted a title that spoke to the external and internal conflict simultaneously.

Can you tell me how you celebrate finally getting that tricky chapter (or para) right?

Wow, people do that? It never even occurred to me. Usually I allow myself to go on and write some other part of the book that’s not so hard 😉

What do you do marketing wise and what do you think generates the most attention to your books?

If I knew that, I would be a millionaire by now, because I could sell the trick to every other writer out there. I think ‘being visible’ is what sells books, but you need an amazing amount of visibility for any sales. So for every hundred people who look at your book, only a very small handful buy – that’s called conversion rate, the number of interested people you actually make a sale to. My conversion rate is around 1.5 – 2% which isn’t bad for a debut book from an unknown author with no backlist which has only been available two months, but I tell you what, the other 98 people who looked and didn’t buy? They are depressing. I tweet my book as much as I can without being in people’s faces, but honestly I feel better about making sales to people I connect with – they feel like a better return for effort. I’m sure all or most of the sales I made this week were just to people I followed and interacted with. So there is no golden rule – only hard work, and hit and miss.

Is there any food or beverage that is a constant factor in either your books or life?

Tea. I have a mild caffeine addiction, and if I don’t have my tea in the morning, I get a headache at 3pm. I quit once and don’t ever intend to do it again – caffeine withdrawal is not fun. But I love my tea. I have about a dozen varieties of black tea at home. I only do black tea, not herbal varieties. My current favourite is Orange Pekoe, which is a black tea despite the misleading nature of the name. Given a choice, I only drink Twinings.

What is your favourite dish and can you give me the recipe? Does it have anything to do with tentacles? Deviled octopus perhaps?

Ha ha, you’re assuming I can cook? There are two things I can cook, and one of them is lamb roast and the other is the second little-known traditional Italian spaghetti Bolognese recipe. I suppose you could imagine the spaghetti as tentacles… I actually don’t eat seafood. Maybe the tentacles is a reflection of some subsconscious fear!

This is the recipe for the spaghetti Bolognese:

  • 500gms of mince
  • 2 onions
  • 2 carrots
  • Other vegetables, such as celery, optional
  • I x 800gm tin of tomato soup
  • 120gms of dry spaghetti
  • Butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • Sugar

Place the mince, the tomato soup, the carrots and onions (diced), any other optional vegetables, a chunk of butter, and 1-2 teaspoons of sugar to a large pot. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cover the large pot and simmer for an hour (on an electric stove – gas is trickier. I use a simmer mat and simmer for 30 – 40 mins, and it needs to be stirred frequently to avoid burning to the bottom of the pot). Stir occasionally.

Add spaghetti. Break into whatever size you prefer. Cook for a further 30 mins uncovered (or until the spaghetti is done).

It’s pretty easy, and virtually cooks itself. I thought it was spaghetti bolognese done ‘Aussie’ style until an Italian told me it’s actually an Italian recipe, but more ‘home-style’ than the version most people know.

Sounds delish and like something I can try to recreate! Thanks for that. 

Okay now that we have the mandatory questions out of the way, shoot your mouth off. Tell me whatever you want the blab about. But please no cat’s, dogs, or children. Make me laugh, or cry, or even envious. Tell me something none has ever heard before from you. hehehe, love those little dirty secrets, real or make believe. 🙂

Ha, something no one has ever heard from me before? You have GOT to be kidding! I’m known for my rants. Can’t keep my mouth shut, including maybe sometimes when I ought. Give me something that I can take an opinion on, and provided that I actually care about the subject matter, I’ll be off and running before the starting gate opens. I recently travelled to Dallas and met some writer friends while I was there, and after I left a few have been heard to say they miss my rants – and I even thought I was rather subdued while I was there.

What can I tell you?

Here’s a few things that aren’t well-known outside certain circles:

I hated reading before about the age of eight, and my change of heart is due to my third grader teacher, Mick Kelly, who was a retired Australian Rugby League footballer from the local team, the Penrith Panthers.

I was a quiet, shy, retiring little girl who didn’t say ‘boo’ to anyone before about the age of eleven.

All the daughters of both sets of grandparents married men named ‘Robert’. So my maternal grandparents had three daughters who married men named Robert, and my paternal grandparents had a son named Robert and their only daughter married a Robert! My poor husband is so confused.

I met my second husband online, but not through a dating website – just a random encounter on Yahoo! Messenger before Facebook and Twitter really took off.

I hated social media and refused to join any platforms, until I had to for my writing, which was 2011. I’m still not a huge fan of Facebook, which for some reason seems to encourage people to behave more stupidly than usual, but I’m totally addicted to Twitter.

I do not suffer fools gladly.

I love Scotland. If I could live there six months of the year, and Australia the other six, I totally would.

I’m not sure there’s much left to say after all that!

Apart from giving us the places where we can find you online then? So readers, here they are:

WEBSITE†|††GOODREADS†|††FACEBOOK†|†TWITTER†| PINTEREST

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The gates to hell are thrown wide when Alloran is betrayed by his best friend, Ladanyon, and framed for forbidden magic. He is hunted by the guards and the wizards both, tormented by the gruesome murder of his friends and loved ones, and crippled by fear for the living.

Now Alloran must face his demons, or damn the woman he loves.

Also featuring bonus short story ‘A Magical Melody’

Genre – High Fantasy (17+)
Length – 110 pages
Published – September 24th
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What early readers are saying about the novella

ìBallintyne gives wonderful descriptions and I found myself becoming lost in the magic of her words in a picturesque world with every turned pageBella Doerres

ìThe power-packed action will leave you breathless and the eerie suspense will make you chomp on your own nails, beware!î†Satarupa

ìWith imagination and detail that paints a full scene for the mindís eye, Ciara takes us on a short but exciting journey into a world of magic, love and demons from hell.ì†Miranda Wood†of†DustyKattís Stuff Reviews

ìI actually enjoyed a good fantasy novel that didnít take days and days to read, but still offered the opportunity to get caught up in its world and story.î -†Tracy Riva†Global eBook Awards Judge

“This story wasn’t quite what I expected; it was better! The first pages surprised me, reminding strongly of THE WAY OF SHADOWS by Brent Weeks (the scenes, setting and story feel). I was immediately drawn in.” – Dr. S. Drecker

“I will be recommending this to all my paranormal addicts.” – Leanne Herrera

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Alloran stared at the alley mouth, mallet hanging slack in one hand and chisel in the other. This wasnít yesterdayís alley. It was a different one, but it felt the same. Like seventh-circle demon. Like hellcat, now that he recognised the feel of one. Gooseflesh covered his bare arms. Did a shadow move in the darkness? A cat? Something else, something bigger than a cat? Surely, there couldnít beÖ Ladanyon wouldnítÖ.

Yes. He would. The man heíd once known, the man whoíd been his best friend for nearly a century, wouldnít. But the man heíd become, after summoning a few demonsñhe would. His footsteps dragging, Alloran ventured deeper into the alley.

Once he looked, the body, hidden beneath a thin blanket of rotting food and assorted garbage, wasnít hard to find. It was a man this time. He nudged food scraps off the corpseís face.

The victim had jade eyes, a nose too big for a bearded face, and almost invisible blond brows. The details hit him with the force of a hammer blow. A wizard. A mentor. A man heíd known all his life.

His knees hit the ground and his bones turned to water from the shock. The wizard, Mandron, lay close enough to touch with his belly sliced open by teeth sharper than any blade and his entrails gnawed on. The rest of him left to rot. Sweat dripped down Alloranís face. Another victim of a hellcat. Another victim of Ladanyon. What was the chance that Ladanyon coincidentally killed two people he knew and accidentally left them somewhere he would find them?

None. Every part of this had been planned, right down to the finest detail. Sweat broke out on his forehead. Ladanyon knew too much. He must be watching, watching and playing, as a cat does

with its food. Alloranís gaze darted up and down the alley as if Ladanyon would pop out of an alley or appear on a rooftop.

Nothing stirred.

The corpseís fist held a rolled-up piece of paper. With trembling fingers, he pulled the note loose and unrolled it.

How do I surpass you? Let us examine the matterÖ. I have mastered the minions of hell and enslaved them to my will.

The paper fell from his numb fingers and fluttered away.

Jealousy? Was that all? Thirty years had passed since Alloran gave up research. Ladanyon had nothing to prove, given he made every discovery worth mentioning since then.

Alloran wiped sweaty palms on the coarse fabric of his pants, his hands coming away filthy from the dust embedded in the cloth. The bodies would just keep stacking upñuntil Ladanyon ran out of things he had mastered better than Alloran. He backed out of the alley.

ëWhereíd you run off to yesterday?í

Alloran jumped and spun around, bringing the mallet up reflexively as his stomach sunk. The sight of Dek, even with his arms folded and a scowl plastered across his square features, elicited a sigh of relief.

ëWhatís the matter with you, man? Yer white as a sheet.í

Alloran affected a frown. ëDonít like dead bodies. Donít like violence. Got the heeby-jeebies. Supposiní they come back?í

That was true enough, as far as it went. Everyone thought heíd Choose martial magic when he came of age if only because of his height and the breadth of his shoulders, but heíd never been interested. What he wanted to know was ìwhyî and ìhowî. Why and how for everything. It was a pursuit more dangerous than martial magic as it turned out. He licked his lips and tried not to look at the alley. This was what too much curiosity brought.

Dek was staring at the alley, squinting in the sunlight. Alloran slapped him on the back before the mason could connect the alley and his partnerís nerves.

ëWe got work to do, aye?í He gently tried to steer Dek towards the statue. ëWhere íave you been all morniní anyway?í

Dek turned away from the alley. ëAnsweriní questions for the hell-damned city guards, which is where you woulda been if you hadnít run off faster ían a deer.í

ëDidnít know nothiní. Donít wanna know about no bodies or talk to no guards.í Turning his back on the alley and its gruesome contents, he strode back towards the statue and hauled himself up on to the scaffolding. His arms were cold despite the heat of the summer afternoon, and he rubbed them. ëTopís all done, I reckoní. Weíll be needing to break all this down and get started on the bottom half.í

Alloran slapped the rough timber with a gloved hand, trying to shunt the corpse and its message from his mind. Eyes that werenít there bored into his back. At least, he hoped they werenít there. To be sure, he glanced over his shoulder, scouring the edges of the square for movement.

Dek clapped a hand to Alloranís shoulder, causing him to flinch and fumble his mallet. ëHey, you got a parcel, did you know?í

ëA parcel?í Alloran lost his battle with the mallet, jerking his foot out of the way just in time. ëFrom who?í

Dek shrugged. ëHow should I know? Came in the regular delivery. Down there.í

Alloranís gaze followed Dekís nod. A crate sat at the foot of the statue. Heíd been so pre-occupied with the alley, the corpse, and Ladanyon that he didnít even notice. Stomach twisted in knots, he swung down from the scaffolding.

The crate was nailed shut. His breath whistling through gritted teeth, he seized a claw hammer and wrenched the nails out.

He removed the lid. A scream clawed its way up his throat and choked off into a whimper. The topaz eyes of a sorceress stared at him from a face locked in death. The pain of the crate lid falling on his toes was a distant thing.

Ismyn. Nearly eighty years ago, she was his first lover. He stepped back and stumbled, landing on his arse in the dust. Dek yelled from somewhere nearby, but the words were meaningless.

Recently dead. Her complexion was still the colour of clotted cream, and death hadnít filmed her fixed gaze. Straw filled the bottom of the box, absorbing blood from the stump of her neck, and more blood matted the ends of her red hair. Another scroll poked from rosebud lips.

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