Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Dark Dancer: Bad-ass Elves Tour

Okay, it's not really called that. BUT, I did have the pleasure of reading Dark Dancer by Jaleta Clegg and, in my opinion, it's pretty freaking bad-ass. I loved it, in fact, but since I'm a big fan of Clegg's storytelling, that wasn't a huge surprise. The book is delightful, however, and I am thrilled to have it and its author here on the blog today.
Please give them both a warm welcome!
Also, check out the rafflecopter at the end for chances to win!
(and I didn't know about the contents of the post below when I wrote this, I swear!)

Inspiring Worlds and Words

I have this friend who writes incredible fantasy stories. Ever heard of Frances Pauli? *cheesy grin* She doesn't really call them that, but that's what they are in my mind. She wrote a trilogy several years ago that caught my imagination and wouldn't let go. I wanted and needed to write my own version of her world.

A Moth in Darkness starts her Changeling Race trilogy. I love the title. I fell in love with her fairy world to the point I threatened to write fanfic about it. But I don't play well in other people's sandboxes. I tend to change things. I tucked the ideas away and let them ferment while I worked on other projects.

Then Frances wrote this new series that had me even more entranced. Unlikely, the first book in Kingdoms Gone, creates a completely different version of fairyland and magic. Yep, I was hooked. (Where is that next book?!?!?!) I wanted to play in a magic world with elves and pixies and fairies and airships and automatons (giant robots, oh yeah!). Wait, Frances didn't do the whole steampunk tech thing in her books.

But that's the point of writing my own stories. I don't have to fit it into anyone's rules. I create my own rules. I wanted airships. And elves with pointy ears and slanted eyes and magic and god complexes. And giant robots powered by magic and steam. And strange flying creatures that were not quite dragons. And a pirate captain who could have been Errol Flynn's Sinbad, if he were an elf in a wooden airship with a crew of elves, trolls, and pixies. I wrote Dark Dancer because I fell in love with the characters and the ideas and the world that grew in my head and I wanted to share it with you.

This is why I really write. It's because I want adventures and magic. And airships. Since those don't exist in the real world and Hollywood's versions irritate me, I have to find authors who write these stories if I want to read them. Or I have to write them myself. Because I can.

You can find a complete list of all my work at

Dark Dancer -
A strange prophecy haunts the Seligh lords, rulers of the Fey and controllers of all magic in the Summerlands, a prophecy that foretells their fall. At its heart, is a young human woman with no memory of her power or potential to destroy their world.

Available in ebook and print.
Smashwords (all ebook formats) -

Kindle -

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Writer Movie Review: Orange County


One of my absolute favorite writerly flicks is Orange County, a darkly humorous and often disgusting peek into one aspiring author's journey. Shaun Brumder finds a novel on the beach one day after his best friend's tragic surfing accident, and finds his purpose in the pages of the book. Determined to be a novelist, he sets his sights on Stanford and studying under the professor who wrote his inspiring novel. Enter Shaun's dysfunctional family and friends, a mis-matched cast of lunatics who manage to get in the way of his dreams at every possible turn. 

The movie drives us straight through every frustrating twist and leaves us laughing, cringing, and in the end sniffling happily at the message about redemption, family and the odd and often misunderstood manifestations of love and support in an ordinary (albeit effed up)  existence. 

I don't think you can go wrong with a cast that includes names like: John Lithgow, Jack Black, Catherine O'Hara, Harold Ramis, Lily Tomlin and Kevin Kline. Orange County certainly delivers a lot of fun,  laughter, a full share of touching moments, and in the end a deep message that will resonate with authors and non authors alike.

Though I truly appreciated the point from a fellow writer's perspective, this is really a movie for anyone who has ever looked askance at their own family and wondered how exactly they'd ended up in the center of so much crazy. 

I think that's most of us, really. 
If you grok, take some time to enjoy Orange County. 


Favorite Line: Somebody's got to fill this up, or I'm going to jail.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

River tour with Skyla Dawn Cameron

I am thrilled to have one of my favorite people on the blog today. Author and amazing editor Skyla Dawn Cameron is touring with her book River. She has shared the soundtrack with us (with some amazing music selections, I might add) and a great giveaway that y'all are going to want to enter. 
Welcome, Skyla!


Defiant, nocturnal, moody–though River sounds like a typical teenager, she’s anything but. River’s a werewolf.

The life of an alpha female wolf was irrevocably changed the night she was attacked and bitten, and awoke confused, alone, and human. Three years later, thrust into a world where she doesn’t belong and living in foster care, River barely tolerates humanity and still doesn’t know who bit her or why.

But River isn’t as alone as she previously thought; someone’s been watching her, someone who holds the answers she’s been seeking. And though the human who changed her seems to be a step ahead of her at every turn, River is determined to beat his game and return to her pack and mate.

As if being stuck in a world she hates, with a life she never asked for, and faced with a destiny she doesn’t want wasn’t bad enough, River still must find a way to survive every human’s greatest challenge: high school.

eBook ISBN: 978-1-927966-02-0
Print ISBN: 978-1-927966-01-3

Release Date: August 25 (ebook), September 1 (print)

Buy Direct:

Nook and Kobo coming soon.

For a list of tour spots and to find out more about River—including the first seven chapters free—at

The River Soundtrack

I know music plays a part of Frances’ writing process, so when she kindly offered me space to talk here today, it seemed appropriate to share my own personal playlist from writing and revising River.

I finished my first novel when I was eighteen and still remember its lengthy soundtrack (epic traditional fantasy with the theme song “No One Like You” by Sarah Brightman); going back even farther than that, I was seven or eight writing “chapter” books (very short chapters) with zombies and monsters based on Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”. Music has been a part of my process for as long as I can remember, and obviously River was no exception.

I first wrote the book over an intense two week period in October 2003. Living with my boyfriend in my first apartment, there was no actual office space and we didn’t have a desk, so my big clunky PC and monitor were set up on a nightstand at the end of my bed. I spent thirteen hours a day writing, my legs folded up light a pretzel, with headphones on blasting the same songs on repeat for different scenes.

All was well until the very end of the book. During the final, deeply emotional scene, when I had headphones on and the same song on repeat, tears in my eyes...

My boyfriend strolled into the room and said, “Whatcha doing?”

I think I set him on fire with my eyes. He never, ever interrupted my writing again. Incidentally, we are also no longer together. That was safest for all parties involved.

The book’s soundtrack has stayed with me over the years, so much so that a few of the songs so deeply remind me of River and her journey that I can’t listen to them in any other context. Revising River for re-release in 2014 meant adding a few new songs to the soundtrack because they were too perfect not to have included. Here they are, with a note of the lines from the book or scene where relevant (otherwise assume it’s an overall theme song).

Stabbing Westward – “Television
River’s theme.

Linkin Park – “Numb
Daryl's theme.

Jeffrey Gaines – “In Your Eyes
(If you’ve read the book, you know this song has a prominent role.)

Blue Foundation – “Eyes on Fire
River stalks Daryl.

Sarah McLachlan – “Building a Mystery
(Both because River feels like her opponent is building a mystery, and also because David Usher is in the video and he looks a bit like I pictured Daryl.)

Florence + The Machine – “Howl
“Daryl tumbled but I was on him before he hit the ground, my lips parted in a half-howl, half-scream.”

Korn – “Alone I Break
River’s rage when she tears up her room.

Evanescence – “Haunted
River’s nightmares.

Angie Hart – “Blue

Gary Jules – “Mad World

Sheryl Crow – “Strong Enough
River’s other theme.

K's Choice – “Believe

Moist – “Leave It Alone
River mourns at her brother’s grave.

BOA – “Duvet” (acoustic)
“I’d rather drown next time than have you following me”/“I’d rather you be alive and hating me than dead”

Twinbed – “Trouble I'm In
“Fine. No more words.”

Poe – “Wild
Chase through the woods/final fight.

Lifehouse – “Everything
“...if I thought it would make you happy.”

Sarah McLachlan – “Fumbling Toward Ecstasy
“We don't need human words.”

And, as a bonus, the theme song for the sequel, Wolfe:

Johnny Cash – “Hurt

Skyla is also holding a spectacular giveaway. Jump in on the chance to win these goodies! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway is ONLY for US & Canada (due to the movie being Blu-Ray and the regions of Blu-Ray's and shipping costs over seas). Sorry.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Jester Prince tour with Voss Foster

It is my absolute delight to have Voss Foster here today for a stop on the tour of his newest release. He's chosen to feature a character that is near and dear to my heart, I suspect intentionally. Without further ado, I give you Foster's take on Coyote...

The dust flooded through the gateway, but it flowed around Harlan's invisible barrier, shielding the three of them. Whatever brought the energy, it now stood just in front of Harlan. Before the dust cleared, Toby saw the eyes. They glowed, just like any immortal's would. But these weren't human eyes. Almost no white, a golden-amber iris. The visitor blinked slowly.

As more dust settled, the silhouette cleared. Tall and broad, with a sharp, slanting nose. Definitely a man. He waved his head and the rest of the dust whooshed away. Dark, reddish skin. Native American, by the look of him. A fringed, leather jacket hugged his muscles, with pants to match. A beaded band held his waist-length, black hair into a ponytail. He smiled around at them. "Hello."

Harlan fell back in line with Zerga and Toby. The heat lifted away, but Madame Zerga's hand flew straight to her mirror. She nodded at the stranger. "Coyote."
-The Jester Prince

Coyote. As I said a couple days ago, I have a soft spot for tricksters. And Coyote is among my favorites. I eat him up in just about any media provided, and I happen to know that my blog hostess for today also feels quite the love for the Old Man. Coyote, the stealer of fire… and also the bedmate of many an unwitting woman. Revered, but only from a distance. Feared, but never to his face. Coyote is pure masculinity, all wrapped up in a glorious trickster. Plus, you know, he's a coyote. I grew up surrounded by coyotes. They're cool-looking critters.

I knew, when it came time to play with King Jester's children, the tricksters, Coyote would be in there. And it was important to me that his eyes were different, like a coyote's. Since he's King Jester's son, he has the same blue eyes as all of King Jester's other children. But, to try and set himself apart from everything else, he mimics the eyes of a coyote.

I needed him to be cool and sexual, but also have some level of tradition to him. But I knew he couldn't be as anachronistic as all the other immortals and half-breeds. I aimed for the seventies, a little bit. Or an updated seventies. Fringe jacket, leather pants, ponytail. On top of that, he had to be just a little creepy, and have just a little bit of a problem with Toby.

To find out what's really going on with Coyote, check out The Jester Prince, book Two of the King Jester Trilogy.

With the destruction of Zirkua Fantastic, King Jester, the spirit of discord, has been unleashed once more upon the Earth. Only Toby, a fresh, untrained immortal, and the other former members of Zirkua Fantastic dare to stand against his chaos. But their hold is tenuous, and they are only truly safe from his power within the bounds of their camp. King Jester grows more powerful and more dangerous with each passing day. But he's made one mistake. That mistake could be his undoing. He's stolen Toby's soul mate, Marley. When he discovers Marley's location, Toby knows what he has to do. He will rescue Marley, even if it means he has to face King Jester alone.

But the others don't let him go at it alone. Marley has information about the resistance. They can't afford to let him stay in King Jester's control. In desperation, the immortals raise an army to storm the compound. But will it be enough to challenge the embodiment of chaos himself? All they can do is hope. Hope and put their faith in love.

"No, I just came here to introduce myself."

Zerga grabbed Toby's hand. "We know you, Coyote."

"But he doesn't." He stopped just a hair short of touching Toby's cheek, close enough that the tiny gust of wind danced across his ear. "Besides, you need a way to get in contact with me." He made a deep bow, his ponytail flipping up, the scent of cedar flying with the movement. "I'm your liaison. If you need to speak with King Jester about anything, you just tell me." He straightened himself and slipped the coyote charm from his shoulder. "Now, I just need to figure out who to give this to." He glanced at Harlan, glanced at Zerga, stared at Toby. Once he got his eyes fixed, he never looked away, didn't even blink. "I'm just really not sure who I can trust this with. It's a big responsibility." He dangled the charm in front of Toby, just out of his reach. As it hung there, the leather strap it hung from doubled in length. "Well, it seems like you should have it. Since it's so close." He slid it over Tobias' head. "Just send a little pulse of energy into that and I'll be here. Or wherever you happen to call me to."

"Thank you, Coyote." Harlan stomped one foot forward. "Now go."

He thwacked the back of his hand on his forehead, tossed himself back from the waist up. "Alas, I'm too weak. I'm just a mere half-breed. Traveling so far at such a speed drained me."

Harlan scoffed. "Then get King Jester to infuse some."

"I wouldn't dream of that. He's far too busy."

Zerga swooped around to the front, hot anger radiating from her body. "Then take some of my energy."

Coyote jumped back, laughing. "Now, now, I can't do that. If I walk out of here with some of your power, that would be a very clear breach of the oath King Jester made, wouldn't it?" Clucking his tongue, he shook his head. "No, I can't do that."

"Is there a problem?" Dart skidded through the entrance, swinging his tiny weight in a semicircle around Coyote, stopping next to Harlan. He flipped the gold coin high above his head as he spoke. "What's he doing here?"

"Just dealing with some business." Coyote pushed them all aside, worked his way toward the fire pit, a rough hole dug into the ground and filled with wood. Toby and the others stayed half a step behind him the whole way, until Coyote sat. Then every eye turned to Harlan. After a few seconds, Harlan sat. The others followed suit. Coyote clapped. "Wonderful." He flung fire into the tinder piled in the pit. "I hope you don't mind feeding me. I can't sustain myself on willpower like the rest of you."

"You want us to feed you?" Zerga sighed, her eyes gleaming even more than usual. "I wouldn't think that wise. If you eat our food, couldn't that put King Jester in danger? The oath?"

Coyote's whole body shifted. He sat taller, clenched his jaw. His eyes brightened, flashing the same blue as King Jester's for a split second. "I suppose it could." He stood. "I'll go hunting, then, and bring back my own dinner." He slipped away from the fire. As he moved farther from the flames, his body changed again. It melted, flowing into a loping, red-gray coyote. He glanced back, winked, and leapt over the fence, higher than any coyote should have been able to. Or anyone so "low" on power.

Wednesday, August 13th: Voss Foster: Demon Hunting and Tenth Dimensional Physics (
Thursday, August 14th: Siana Wineland: Siana's Place (
Friday, August 15th: S.Evan Townsend: Writing Thoughts (
Saturday, August 16th: Iyana Jenna: Iyana Jenna (
Sunday, August 17th: TR Goodman: (
Monday, August 18th: T. Strange: T.Strange (
Tuesday, August 19th: Frances Pauli: Speculative Friction (
Wednesday, August 20th: Jennifer Willis: Jennifer Willis (
Thursday, August 21st: Cathy Hird: Open One More (
Friday, August 22nd: J.J. DiBenedetto: Writing Dreams (

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


I'm delighted to have been asked to participate in GISHWHES!!
Go team WILDCA(t)SLovesMayth!
Here's your story. :)


Misha Collins leaned over the body. The open-mouthed stare on the dead girl's face told the story. Shock, almost instant heart failure. The perfectly circular red abrasions criss-crossing her face were also consistent.
"Same as the last three." He moved the flashlight beam down the alley wall, settled on a scattering of dust-colored debris. "Peanut hulls."
Beyond the light, something crunched. A squishing sound echoed in the darkness. Misha drew his revolver and focused, illuminated a pulpy, flapping pink mass huddled beside the wall. "We've got an Elopus infestation."
A man's voice chittered from the com on his wrist. "You get it?"
"Yes." Misha nudged the body with his toe and the big ears fluttered. It clutched a scrap of paper in its trunk. He removed and examined the photo.
"Call it in. They're after the Queen of England."

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Movies about Authors

I adore movies. Some days, don't tell anyone, even more than books. Is it allowable to admit that? Too late now, right?

Anyway, I'm particularly fond of movies about authors, or books even, so long as they are about books and not just movies based on a book. (which is fine, of course, but I feel a different animal altogether) I've made lists of these in previous posts, and recently posted a review of Authors Anonymous over at the Evil League of Evil Writers

And I liked it. 

So I'm going to do some more reviews of movies about authors and/or books and I'm open to suggestions. I have a few in mind to start, fist most likely will be a delicious flick I watched yesterday evening called The Grand Budapest Hotel. Which isn't exactly about authors, but has one as a character and is celebrating the work of one particular author. So I'm going to count it anyway because, hey, it's my blog. 

I'm also looking at Inkheart, Romancing the Stone, (and the sequel) Stranger than Fiction, and Misery...but I want to get to them all and we know there are a lot of them. So if you have one favorite or least favorite movie about a writer, let me know in the comments. If I haven't seen it, I'll make a point of watching and reviewing. 

And maybe y'all can give me your take on them too. 
I liked Authors Anonymous a great deal, as you can see if you pop over and check out the review, but I had some reservations/cautions on it too. 

Anyone else seen it that has a different take, feel free to share too, and in the meantime, I'll work on a second viewing of The Grand Budapest Hotel.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Cover Reveal: SEEN Princes of the Shroud book two

Just got the go ahead to share. :)

Princes of the Shroud
book two


coming in November
The Zharmae Publishing Press

Rowri is a priestess with prophetic dreams—and she’s dreamt of her soulmate. So when she volunteers to be the gifted bride in a peace negotiation between her own peoples and the Tolfarians, she is certain that the lilac-skinned man in her visions is the Tolfarian leader she is to marry.

But prophecy is never simple, and visions are never clear. Shayd, a seer and one of the Shrouded, is summoned to transport Rowri to her new husband-to-be. When Rowri sets eyes on his lilac skin, she knows she’s made a terrible mistake—one she’ll have to live with for the rest of her life if she wants to save her people and prevent war.

The two are drawn together, and the fates of two races hinge on the decisions they make. On the precipice of volcanic eruptions, galactic terrorism, and mercenary attacks, Shayd and Rowri must give up every hope of happiness for their people, or sacrifice everything for true love.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Cover Reveal: Cursed by Fire

My fantastic editor at Zharmae has her very own cover reveal today, and I am THRILLED to participate in it. The book sounds like a winner, and the cover is severely awesome. 
Introdcuging, Cursed by Fire, a debut book from Danielle Annett....

Title: Cursed by Fire
Series: Blood and Magic #1
Author: Danielle Annett
Designer: Mae I Design
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: January 201

Book Description:

It has been six years since the Awakening and peace in Spokane, Washington is still tenuous at best. The vampires and shifters are all vying for control of the city and the humans seem to be the ones suffering the consequences, or so it seems.

Aria Naveed has spent the last two years of her life fighting to make the many wrongs of the world right, but soon finds out that the humans aren’t as weak as they appear and may be a more terrifying foe than any of the other races combined.

When a stranger rolls into town with trouble on his heels, Aria finds herself trapped in the middle of a battle that could cost her more than she has bargained for as a fight for justice turns into an unexpected fight for her life.

Danielle Annett is a reader, writer, photographer, and the blogger behind Coffee and Characters. Born in the SF Bay area, she now resides in Spokane, WA, the primary location for her Blood & Magic series.
Addicted to coffee at an early age, she spends her restless nights putting pen to paper as she tries to get all of the stories out of her head before the dogs wake up the rest of the house and vye for her attention.

You can learn more about Danielle on her website at or follow on on facebook at AuthorDanielleAnnett and on twitter @Danielle_Annett

“Mike you and I both know that that isn’t going to happen so why don’t you just tell me what fur ball they’re going to saddle me with.” I said as I collected my stack of papers and organized them into a semi-neat pile.
Mike noisily cleared his voice, “Uh hey Ari...”
“God I hope that whoever it is that he isn’t a complete moron. If I’m going to be stuck with a pack partner, the least they can do is send me someone competent.” Mike noisily cleared his throat again.
“What?” I asked, looking up from my desk.
I was greeted by a tall man standing just inside the office, casually leaning against the doorframe. He had tousled brown hair and steely grey colored eyes. High cheekbones and a strong jaw formed his masculine face and a hint of stubble dusted his jaw line, not enough to appear unkempt but just enough to give a roguish impression. Dressed in black jeans, a black T, and a black leather jacket, he oozed tall, dark and handsome with deadly intent.
“That would be this fur ball right here.” He said, an arrogant grin lifting the corner of his mouth. I let my head fall to the surface of my desk, then for good measure I gently knocked my forehead on its smooth surface, one, two, three times. Dammit I couldn’t believe I had just called him a freaking fur ball! I could feel my cheeks warm in embarrassment and did my best to hide it.
“You all done with the show?” He asked as I lifted my head from the desk. I glared at him for good measure and then allowed my head to connect with the desk’s surface once more before sitting up. rubbing the slight sting away “Yea, I’m done.” I told him. Well, at least this wouldn’t be as bad as I had thought. James was the only shifter that I actually personally knew and was one of the few individuals I considered a friend. I met James about six months ago at a shifter bar downtown, though at the time I didn’t actually know that it was a shifter bar.
A group of coyotes had decided I was easy prey and were giving me a pretty hard time. James had intervened before things got out of hand which basically meant that he stopped me from wiping the floor with their coyote asses and burning the entire building to ash.  It was probably a good thing that he had stepped in but I remember being furious with him at the time, I had really wanted to give those bastards a piece of my mind and show them that I wasn’t just some naive little girl. That was back when I was still cocky over my abilities. Things had changed since then and the thought was sobering. Now being a pyrokinetic was something I had to hide and honestly, that just plain sucked.
“So, you’re my partner?”
James nodded, his face going serious, “Yea I’m you’re partner, ready to do something reckless?”
I smiled at that, James knew me all to well.
Grabbing my messenger bag I followed James out of the office, aware of Mike’s unapproving gaze on my every step.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Let There Be Dragons!

The impending (like any minute) launch of the first Kundalis books marks my first step into the world of dragons. I've always loved them, always been a fan, but haven't incorporated any into my writing until now. I think, I was waiting for an idea that was a little bit oddball, a touch off plumb, and just a shade or two different.
I hope I found it, and I hope you all like it.
As always, I'm having a blast.

Introducing, the Kundalis Dragon Series:
Kundalis: book one

Title: Storm Dragon

Series: Kundalis

Author: Frances Pauli

Publisher: Zharmae

Release Date: June 19, 2014

Genre: NA, Urban Fantasy

  Karin knows she’s gone completely insane—nuts—absolutely batshit crazy, when 

she spots an insidious blue dragon twining through the trees at a rest stop in the Cascade 

Mountains. Despite agreeing to join her roommate at a psychic fair, she’s never believed in 

anything metaphysical. She’s pretty sure the Reiki treatment she succumbed to has brought on a 

frighteningly realistic hallucination—until they roll their mini-van in the middle of I-90, and she 

is rescued from the vehicle by the same monstrous blue figment of her imagination. 

  She awakens to find that she’s been delivered to a cabin high in the mountains instead of to a 

proper hospital. The “doctor” looking out for her is more of a new-ager than a physician, and 

the people who own the house, including the urban highlander version of Fabio, don’t have any 

intention of letting her leave.

  Faced with the unimaginable, and strapped to an all-too-real dragon, Karin must decide how to 

tame the beast or risk losing herself to it forever

Blog Tour Schedule:

6/19: Coffee and Characters: Promo Post

6/20: Pure Textuality Promo Post

6/21 Musings in Fiction Alley Promo & Review

6/22: Indy Book Fairy Promo Post

6/23: Seeing Night Reviews Promo & Review

6/26: Imagine! Create! Write! Promo & Review

6/27 Workaday Reads Promo Post & Interview (Later Review)

6/28: Deborah Jay Promo Post

6/29: WS Momma Readers Nook, PromoPost Giveaway

6/30 The Far Edge of Normal Promo Post, Interview (Possible Review)

7/1 Will Read for Coffee Review

7/2 Mad Hatter Reads Promo Post

7/3 Peanut Butter and Whine Promo & Review

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

Frances Pauli was born and raised in Washington State. She grew up with a love of reading 

and storytelling, and was introduced to Science Fiction and Fantasy at an early age through 

the books kept and read by her father.Though she always held aspirations to be a writer, she 

chose to obtain her Bachelor's degree in visual arts. The stories, however, had other plans for 

her. By the time she entered her thirties, they were no longer content existing solely in her head. 

Compelled to free them, she set aside her easel and began to write in earnest.Her original love 

of Speculative fiction led her into the realms of Urban Fantasy and either romantic or humorous 

Science Fiction, where she finds herself quite comfortable. Her tales feature fairies, aliens, 

alternate dimensions, and the wonders of space, usually with at least a touch of romance.

Frances currently resides smack in the center of Washington with her husband and two 

children. When not writing she dabbles in insane things like puppetry, belly dance and 

playing the ukulele. She collects rocks, and is a firm believer in good wine, fine chocolate 

and dangerous men.More information on Frances and her writing can be found at


The black cat crossed my path on purpose. I scowled down at it. Would it still count as bad luck 

if the beast was just messing with me? Amber eyes blinked up from the sidewalk. The kitty had 

been lounging beside the car in the next parking space, but when I tried to open my door it had 

stood, sauntered directly into my path and laid down there instead. Did it count if kitty wore a 

cutesy red bandanna and matching harness?

“Are you coming, Karin?” Steph already stood outside the driver’s door. She’d managed to 

leave the vehicle without supernatural interference, and now she leaned back in through the 

window, her auburn hair glinting in the last rays of August sunshine. Her round face crinkled into 

a grimace. “I have to pee.”

“Go ahead. I’ll catch up.” I watched my roommate bound away and cringed. I had to go too. 

We’d been in the car for over an hour and I’d polished off my water bottle a few miles back. 

Outside my window, the cat yawned, exposing needle teeth and a scratchy pink tongue. “Hey 

there, kitty.”

I pulled the lever on the van’s door and pushed the panel as far as I could without bumping the 

stupid cat. It yawned again then blinked and stared. Ridiculous. A cat on a leash had trapped 

me in the car at the only rest stop for another twenty minutes easy. I’d never make it that far. 

Too much water and road behind me. I sighed and made a soft hissing noise through the 

The cat didn’t budge, but the sound got its owner’s attention. A skinny redhead wearing yoga 

pants held the other end of the cat’s leash. She stood as far away as possible, chatting with 

the man in the car on the far side of her Volvo. When I hissed, she turned my way and the flat 

crystal around her neck sparkled.

We’d probably been at the same event. Everything about the cat’s owner looked like she’d fit 

in at a psychic fair far better than I had. This was my punishment for going, sitting here until 

my bladder exploded while psychic kitty and his mommy held me hostage. The woman smiled 

at me, then dropped her eyes to the sidewalk and frowned, tugging the cat’s leash gently and 

making a similar noise to tempt His Majesty away from Steph’s mini-van.

The black coat shimmered when he finally stood up. He wasn’t finished torturing me, though. 

His spine curved and he reached out for a nice long stretch, staring at me with his huge eyes 

and laughing his internal, kitty laugh while I fidgeted against the seat. At last, when he’d tired of 

my torment, he turned and walked as slowly as possible away from my door.

I popped out of the vehicle like a cork and sidled between the van and the woman’s Volvo. A 

second black cat stared out from the front seat. This one wore a pink collar and a tiny, feminine 

bow around her neck. Unbelievable. We’d stopped at the rest area version of the Twilight Zone 

in the middle of Washington State. Somehow, the Seattle psychic fair had knocked us through a 

metaphysical vortex and the weirdness had tried to follow me home.