Sunday, March 31, 2019


#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter A


Devil’s Dance: A Gripping Supernatural Thriller (A Nephilim Thriller Book 2) APRIL 1st SALE $.99 No Fooling


A former spy with a dark secret and a past he can’t outrun. A mysterious cult that steals beautiful teenagers. A looming battle between the forces of light and dark, and the girl who drags them into the middle of it all. 

D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review, says, “Readers who enjoy an injection of the supernatural rather than a story based entirely on otherworldly forces will appreciate just the right blend of paranormal tension and intrigue that bring this thriller to life…. [A] vivid, winning tale of a former couple’s confrontation with themselves, each other, and a wider-ranging threat that grabs the reader from the beginning and proves nearly impossible to put down. Thriller audiences will find Devil’s Den more than a notch above others in the genre.” 

[Pick of the Month – September 2018] WINNER: Pinnacle Book Achievement Award – Summer 2018 – Best Thriller Steven Cabbott sees demons, and has even had to fight a few. That might have something to do with his past. His mother killed his father when Steven was young, claiming he was a demon. He figured she was nuts. Now he’s not so certain. Sixteen years of silence between Steven and Kate, the love of his life, end with a cryptic one-word message: Help! A mysterious cult has kidnapped Kate’s teenaged daughter. Steven risks everything to save the young woman, but he’s caught in a fight between forces much larger than he can imagine. Can he overcome his own demons to save Kate’s daughter, or will they both fall victim to the Devil’s Den?

Buy on Amazon and in Kindle Unlimited


An amazing new technology engineered to make people smarter, a series of gruesome murders, and a mystery so dark, it threatens everyone. I’m a Nephilim, born of a fallen angel father and a human mother. This makes me special in ways I don’t fully comprehend yet. A war is brewing between angels and demons, and like it or not, we’ll all have to choose sides. I’ve chosen the side of angels, a curious decision for me, not only because I’m a killer, but because I enjoy killing. Still, an angel promised me that redemption is possible—even for me—and he needed warriors on his side. Did he tell me the truth? I hope so, but who can I trust? In a small, sleepy, tourist town, an old friend asks me to help solve a series of gruesome murders that have been plaguing the town, but these aren’t just random crimes. Somehow, they’re connected to this war between angels and demons. I prefer working alone, not having to worry about others, but I team up with a self-described anti-technology hooligan, and a beautiful bartender I immediately fall for. If only they knew what I know. The foe we’re facing is way more powerful than anything they can imagine. I must solve the mystery before it’s too late, because I’m certain of this one thing: everyone’s soul is at stake.

Amazon and in Kindle Unlimited

  Jeff Altabef lives in New York with his wife, two daughters, and Charlie the dog. He spends time volunteering at the writing center in the local community college. After years of being accused of “telling stories,” he thought he would make it official. He writes in both the thriller and young adult genres. Fourteenth Colony, a political thriller, was his debut novel. Shatter Point, a thriller, published by Evolved Publishing was his second novel. It won the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award for Best Thrill

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Chutes and Ladder: A Silicon Valley Mystery by Marc Jedel


image002Excerpt of Chutes and Ladder: A Silicon Valley Mystery by Marc Jedel

Marty Golden, protagonist in the Silicon Valley Mystery series, is known for his outstanding attention to detail, but sometimes his powers of self-delusion overwhelm even him. Here’s an excerpt from Chutes and Ladder. Readers can also get the first chapter free for any of my novels by signing up for my mailing list at

              After a few minutes, I felt someone staring at me but noticed no one nearby looking at me. I’ve never understood how you could feel a stare. Was that some remnant of powers from long-ago human evolution that had faded? What other superpowers had we lost? Were we ever able to fly? I got excited about this possibility and almost mentioned it to Meghan until I felt the stare again.
              Wary, I glanced to the side. A person painted all in gold was staring at me while he stood like a statue outside a store named Southern Treasures. I stared back, careful not to blink. Performers like him entertain the crowds by freezing long enough for a new fool to walk by before scaring them with a sudden movement. I was not going to be that fool. Not today, at least.
              I couldn’t hold it any longer. I blinked. This guy was good. He hadn’t moved or blinked in over a minute, unless he timed his blink for right when I did.
              “Why are you staring at that mannequin?” Meghan leaned over me to get a better look.
              Startled, I double-checked that she was looking at the same thing. “Are you sure that’s a mannequin? It looks like a real person painted in gold.”
              Meghan scoffed. “It’s missing ears.”

Dead friend. Free fall. Girl Scouts. Can Uncle Marty untangle the mystery before things really get out of control?Juggling a budding relationship, demanding job, and mischievous nieces, Marty Golden struggled to keep his head above water — even before his friend’s death. Trying his best to be a good boyfriend and fun uncle, Marty had his own ideas for the weekend until his cunning sister tricked him again.Convinced his friend’s death was no accident, Marty tries to summon superhero powers but merely manages to bumble along as an amateur sleuth. When Marty’s cousin shows up, she wreaks havoc with his plans and pulls him into yet another mystery.As threats blossom, Marty doubles down now that his family’s involved. Besides, it’s poor manners to let your friend’s death go unsolved.Can Marty figure out what happened before a killer, or his imagination, gets to him?Chutes and Ladder is the second novel in a refreshingly modern mystery series set in Silicon Valley. If you like clever humor and wacky side characters, you’ll love this twisty mystery.

image005 (1)For most of my life, I’ve been inventing stories. Some, especially when I was young, involved my sister as the villain. As my sister’s brother for her entire life, I’m highly qualified to tell the tale of this evolving, quirky sibling relationship.
My writing skills were honed in years of marketing leadership positions in Silicon Valley. While my high tech marketing roles involved crafting plenty of fiction, we called these marketing collateral, emails and ads.
The publication of my first novel, Uncle and Ants, gave me permission to claim “author” as my job. This leads to way more interesting discussions than answering “marketing.”
My family would tell you that Marty’s character isn’t much of a stretch of the imagination for me, but I proudly resemble that remark.
Like Marty, I live in Silicon Valley and can’t believe that otherwise normal people would willingly jump out of an airplane and call it fun. Unlike Marty, I have a wonderful wife and a neurotic but sweet, small dog, who is often the first to weigh in on the humor in my writing.
Author Links
Purchase Link: Amazon 

March 25 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
March 25 – The Journey Back– REVIEW
March 25 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW
March 26 – My Reading Journeys – CHARACTER GUEST POST
March 26 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
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March 29 – Sneaky the Library Cat’s Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
March 30 – 4covert2overt  A Place In The Spotlight  – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
March 31 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
April 1 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
April 1 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
April 2 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
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April 3 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT
April 3 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
April 4 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
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Friday, March 29, 2019

NetGalley has two cool new reviews for DEFINED BY OTHERS

How can I request they visit AMAZON

Sleuthfest Advert - Copy
 Cristie U, Reviewer  ☆☆☆☆
Great read. The author wrote a story that was interesting and moved at a pace that kept me engaged. The characters were easy to invest in.
 Edna G, Reviewer ☆☆☆☆
Dang, This was seriously some harsh stuff to deal. I enjoyed and it shows what Facebook can do.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

THE WILD IN HER EYES a Novel by Karina Giörtz

Chapter One

The damp earth gave way under her feet and her palms landed in the brush and dirt to catch her. Rather than stop to find her footing, she dug in her fingers and clawed herself forward until her feet found the ground again beneath her. She stumbled breathless through the dark and willed her eyes to adjust to the black of night but feared what they might find there.

Nothing ahead could be worse than what I left behind, she thought. She held tight to this naïve thought. All her seventeen years may have been sheltered and filled with lavish luxuries like those only her father’s kind of wealth could provide, but she’d seen the chasm between the world her parents had created and the one beyond their fancy colonial home, built on a hill overlooking the heart of her hometown, or the extravagant parties and her exceptional schooling. She’d always been grateful to live life on her side of the divide, free of financial strain and societal struggles, far removed from the filth and unsavory sort that roamed the streets at night, begging for a handout they’d only have squandered away again come morning. Always, until tonight. There would be no going back. Her survival depended on traveling deeper into this dark night, uprooting herself from all that she knew was the only way to stay alive. Beyond that, nothing was certain anymore.

As the heels of her boots stuck in the mud and her dress dragged along the ground, catching on brambles and ripping to shreds, whispers of nightmares still ahead hissed in her ears. She clutched at the branches that scraped her skin and she pulled herself onward. She was sure that by now he most certainly knew she was gone. There was no telling how quickly he would discover how she’d successfully escaped.

She pulled the worn wool coat tighter around her to insulate against the cold chill sweeping through the forest. A thick woven belt replaced most of the coat’s buttons, lost from years of use. She wrapped the sides of the long, rough material so it overlapped across her stomach and then retied the belt tighter without slowing down. She kept moving forward, but her thoughts drifted back to the woman who’d wrapped her in this coat. She and the woman, her housekeeper, had exchanged every article of clothing they both wore that night. She’d shed her gown of rose-colored satin and hand-stitched details, along with her polished white boots, and put on an olive day dress and shoes with hole-riddled soles and frayed black laces, one thicker than the other. She might have been stripped of her past tonight, but it was the other woman who’d paid the greatest price. She had sacrificed her future.

The wind burned her skin raw as tears smeared her cheeks. She hardly noticed the painful friction her hands caused as she swiped at her face. Somewhere in the distance she heard the howl of dogs. Her breath caught in her throat at the sound of the hounds, as bloodthirsty as their owner. She knew they were tracking her. She had prepared for this moment. Her shaky hands moved for the pocket sewn into the side of the dress as she silently begged her thundering heart to quiet, certain the dogs could hear the panic pounding in her chest. Her fingers searched the linen pouch until they closed over the cold, slick, raw beef and flung it far out to the right of her. She didn’t wait to hear it land. A cold sweat rushed down the crease of her back as her eyes stayed locked on the night sky and her legs kept running over the uneven terrain. Follow the North Star, she remembered. It would lead her to the water.
The creek was small and shallow enough to wade across, but the current was strong enough to cut the scent of her trail. It was a better way to outsmart the hounds than the meat she’d used to distract them. It would buy her time, but not much of it.

Her own panting rushed in her ears as she struggled for breath. Her lungs cinched from the icy air. Adrenaline pumped through her in almost unbearable surges of energy, making it difficult to control her body’s movements. The sounds of water lapping over the rocks along the shore went unheard until she held her breath to listen for the dogs again. Relief tingled through her in waves as she parted the brush with her arms and turned her slender body sideways to pass through. She was almost there now. Almost free. Just a few more feet and she’d be in the creek, washing away her trail and making herself invisible to the night and the monsters hiding within it—those on this side of the water, at least.

The sandy bank of the small river was softer than she’d expected and so she stumbled. Her hands landed under her and shards of small rocks dug deep into her palms, slicing her soft skin. She swallowed the pain and let it land in the pit of her stomach with all the rest of her accumulated hurt. The whole of it twisted in her gut like knives through her abdomen. Teeth gritted, she locked her jaw and forced down all that threatened to overtake her, until the numbness spread and she could feel nothing—nothing except the cold of the water rushing alongside her calves, then moving up around her thighs, until she passed the deepest point of the creek and waded through the dark, waist-high water. It silently coaxed her body to sync with the current and disappear forever in the flow of the creek. She was tempted to surrender and be free of this night and all the terrors that would live inside her mind forever after. Her eyes closed. She let her ankle give way to the current’s force. Until she heard
it. Her housekeeper’s voice rang in her ears, an echo of words lingering inside her. “You make this right. Whatever wrong comes of this night, you go out there, and you live, and you make it right.”

The sole of her boot kicked hard into the rocky ground beneath her, sending a dull ache through her heel. It felt good. It felt alive. In that pain she knew there would be no giving in to the current tonight. Not ever. Not when the cost of her freedom had been paid by another. She owed it to her housekeeper, to her father, and to herself to stay alive, to keep moving, to make things right, no matter how long it took.
The water began to sway around her, gliding past the curve of her body as if it understood somehow that it would not claim her. Her passage grew easier with every inch that moved her closer to the opposite shore. The cold slipped down her hips and past her knees until it pooled only around her ankles. She felt the squish of water inside her boots as they found dry land. She’d imagined herself collapsing from exhaustion as a false sense of security settled over her after crossing the creek, but she felt neither tired nor weak as she placed one foot in front of the other on the bank, with her shoulders straight, chest out, and head high. There would be no trace left for the dogs to find. There would be no trace left of her at all.


THE WILD IN HER EYES a Novel by Karina Giörtz

Check out my stop on The Circle: Taken blog tour!

The Circle: Taken
by Sage Sask
Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction
Release Date: February 2019


Abandoned at eleven with no memory of her family, Alexia yearns to learn her true identity. She embarks on a dangerous quest for the truth of her past. In the resulting battle between life and death, Alexia learns that sacrifice and revealing the gift she fought to keep hidden may be her only chance for survival.

A secret unearthed, a shocking betrayal, and a moment when lives hang in the balance leaves Alexia with only one choice. Will the decision determine her destiny or end her life?

Buy on Amazon 

The hard fist comes at the girl from the left. She throws her arm up. The fist slams against the bone above her wrist. She bites her teeth into her lip as the bone cracks. Pain radiates from her arm to every part of her body. She swallows air to silence her cry. Any sound of agony will lead to a reprimand. She is taking a deep breath through her torn lip, preparing to respond, when the boy pivots and slams his fist into her stomach. Bile rises in her throat as oxygen rushes out of her body. She doubles over, gasping for breath. Her broken wrist hangs limply from her forearm.
            “Breathe through your nose,” the instructor orders the girl. He looms over the group. His cool voice lacks sympathy. He motions for the boy to hold up both his fists in preparation. “Again.”
            There is a roomful of them. They range in age from six to sixteen - friends and siblings that have been raised together. Paired with someone of the same age, they fight one another. Every day, hour after hour, they train like soldiers. They test their strength on one another. Blood drips from the cut above the girl’s mouth. The skin around her right eye colors from pink to black. She swallows a mouthful of blood, nearly gagging on the coppery-tasting liquid.
            “Ready,” the girl insists. Losing is not an option. It was a lesson learned long before she could remember. “Again.”
            Sure the boy will go for her face; she raises her good hand and wraps her fingers into a fist. The silver ring her mother gave her years ago digs into her skin. The boy swivels on his heel. His foot strikes the base of her spine. The girl flies forward. Her head bounces off the wall. White spots dance in front of her before a black curtain of unconsciousness starts to shield her.
            “You are too weak.” The instructor shakes his head in disgust. “You will never survive,” he spits.
            His words are a bucket of cold water. The girl forces open her eyelids. The instructor towers over her, his thick feet spread evenly. At over six feet, he is a giant to her eleven-year-old self. Around them the rest continue in their battle.
            His disappointment cuts through her. She struggles to stand, desperate to prove him wrong. At last she finds her feet. She walks past him, toward the waiting boy. He is taller than her by a few inches, and stronger. He eyes her, curious. The girl nods once, as if in defeat, then pivots and slams her foot into the boy’s abdomen. He staggers back. The girl takes advantage and slices him across the leg with another hit. He falls to the ground. He grips his leg in pain. Sweat pours down his face.
            “It’s broken,” the boy whispers.
            His pain cuts through her. She winces at his agony. The girl goes to help him up, but the instructor stands between them. He glances down at the boy then back at the girl.
            “Finish him,” the instructor orders.
            The girl steps back, sure she has misheard. “What?”
            “Out cold. The loser should never be left standing.” He points to the boy. “Now. He is weak. You have the advantage.”
            On instinct, the girl shakes her head. She glances at the boy, who pleads with her silently not to hurt him. “I cannot.”
            “Cannot or will not?” the instructor demands. Around them the room falls silent, entranced by their exchange. “You think he would give you the same courtesy? You are a fool if you think he would spare you.”
            They are all watching her. She feels the instructor’s disappointment and disgust. Maybe, she fears, he is right. Maybe she is too weak.
            “He is my friend,” she whispers, trying to explain. “It is not right.”
            “There is no right or wrong in war,” the instructor seethes. “Only winners and losers. And you have shown your hand.”
            “No. She has shown her heart.” The woman who enters is dressed in all white.
            “Mama,” the girl says. She starts to explain, but her mother raises her hand for silence.
            “Sei forte, mia cara, si?” her mother asks in perfect Italian.
            The girl stares at her mother before assuring her she is strong. “Si, Madre, sono forte,” she replies.
            The girl’s mother offers her a broad smile before turning a cool gaze toward the man. “Enough for today.” She takes a clean cloth from her pocket and gently dabs at the blood on the girl’s lip. “You will resume tomorrow.”
            “She is failing,” the man argues. At the woman’s silence, he sighs, then nods. Without a word to the girl, he leaves them alone.
            “Mama.” Disappointed at her weakness, the girl starts to apologize, but her mother shushes her.
            “You’ll get better tomorrow and every day after that until it is time.”
            “Voy a ganar esta pelea.” The girl switches to Spanish. She promises to win the fight.
            Her mother insisted she master five languages in total. The girl practiced for hours every week until she was fluent.
            Her mother smiles as she continues to wipe the blood. The cloth touches a bruise. The girl winces at the explosion of pain. She quickly schools her face, desperate to prove her strength.
            “Bueno,” her mother replies.
            The girl wonders whether her mother is proud of her insistence that she will win or her refusal to show pain.
            “How many are sick today?” the girl asks when her mother falls silent.
            “Three.” The worry dances across her mother’s face. All around them their people are ill or dying from the serum. “We gave them the antidote, but there is little left …” She shakes her head and offers her daughter a smile. “We must focus on you. Soon the time will come.”
            Her words are more powerful than any punch in training. “What if I don’t want to go? To leave my family?”
            The girl wraps her arm around her waist and drops her head. It is the same question she has asked before, but each time, she silently hopes for a different answer.
            Her mother’s face contorts until the girl is sure she is staring at a stranger. Coldness replaces the warmth, and her mother’s eyes narrow in warning. “We don’t have a choice. You are the only hope. Do you understand?”
            “Yes, Mother,” the girl answers, a well-trained warrior. She will follow directions. Always.
            The woman grips her daughter’s hand and squeezes. The pain starts at the girl’s spine and travels like a speeding train toward the base of her skull. She imagines a white light to shield her from the pain as her mother taught her to do. The vision begins like a movie in a darkened theater. The girl closes her eyes and watches it carefully.
            The ocean water is cold. Deep within its recesses, the girl struggles to breathe. Her mother’s hands push her above the surface. She has started to swim when there’s a searing pain in her abdomen. Through the clear blue waters, she sees a throbbing red scar etched into her skin. She turns to ask how she got it, but her mother pushes away.
            The waves lap over the girl’s head. In the distance, she sees the shore, but it seems impossible to reach. With a deep breath, she pushes forward. Her arms swing side to side as her feet kick the water in perfect rhythm.
            The sun beats down on her as her feet finally touch the sand. She falls onto the beach, exhausted. She lays her hand on the scar. The broken skin burns. She searches the ocean’s horizon, but there is no sign of her mother. Other than the silver ring encircling her finger, she has nothing left from her life before. Tears course down her cheeks.
            The girl yanks her hand out of her mother’s. Immediately the vision starts to fade, along with the pain.
            “What did you see?” her mother demands.
            The girl tries to catch her breath. She searches for an answer about the vision, but nothing makes sense. “I’m in the water.” She looks up, expecting to see shock and surprise on her mother’s face, but finds neither. “I’m lost.” She fights the tears that threaten. “Why am I lost?” she begs.
            “Because it is the only way.”

About the Author
Sage Sask is a team consisting of a Washington Post, USA Today and Amazon charts bestselling author and a group of young adult writers.

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