Writing My Way Home

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By A.J. Larrieu, author of BROKEN SHADOWS

I’m a Southerner by birth and upbringing, but for the past decade, I’ve lived in not-so-sunny San Francisco. Homesickness is something I’ve learned to live with, a low level of unease and loneliness that simmers in my head. One of the ways I’ve dealt with that feeling is by writing my way back home to Louisiana—there’s nothing like writing about a place to help you feel close to it. But with Broken Shadows, the third book in my Shadowminds series, I took a different path. Instead of writing my way back home, I wrote about the city that has—slowly but inevitably—become home to me.

There’s a famous quote by Tennessee Williams: “America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco and New Orleans. Everywhere else is Cleveland.” I don’t agree with this—every city has it a unique personality—but I do think it’s true that San Francisco has an unmistakable character all it’s own. And one of the things I became fascinated with while writing Broken Shadows was exploring how that character is changing.

San Francisco is growing. The tech boom has created a huge number of jobs in high-tech fields, and those jobs have fueled real estate growth that has changed the face of the city. Neighborhoods that used to be full of three-unit apartment buildings from the 1920s and cramped locally owned grocers are being reshaped to include high-rise luxury condo complexes and fancy gourmet supermarkets. It’s a big deal—and a controversial one. And it forms the backdrop of my hero and heroine’s own converging searches for identity.

I’m fascinated by the ways that place influences our senses of ourselves. The search for identity and purpose amid opposing forces is something I see this city grapple with every day, and I ended up being fascinating by the same sorts of forces at work on my characters. The setting of a complicated, changing city was perfect for a woman struggling with changing ideas about herself and where she fits in the world.

My heroine, Mina, is struggling with an identity crisis of sorts. A telekinetic who’s lost her powers, she’s unsure of where she fits in the supernatural world she was raised in. She’s tried to forget, but just like the unique personalities of San Francisco’s neighborhoods, the roots of her character can’t be wished away. In the end, she has to build something new out of her past and her hopes for her future. I hope readers will enjoy Mina’s story as much as I have, and maybe, like me, recognize a little bit of their own journeys in hers.

9781426899478-COVEveryone has a breaking point.

Mina Tanner was once a converter, a human with telekinetic and telepathic abilities. After a vicious mental assault by an evil shadowmind stripped her of her powers, she was forced to flee her home to escape her attacker. Now, she’s trying to start a new life in San Francisco, far away from any and all reminders of the gifts she grew up using.

But her precariously balanced “normal” life topples as her apartment and her job fall victim to a new luxury development. Jackson Herring, an old family friend and powerful converter, offers Mina his spare bedroom while she gets on her feet, and she agrees…reluctantly. Mina’s finding it difficult enough to adjust without a daily reminder of what she’s lost, especially when that reminder is six-foot-four, super-talented and gorgeous.

When a mugger attacks her and she somehow burns his hands, Mina realizes that despite everything she’s lost, she may have gained something far more powerful–and dangerous–than she ever imagined. And when the rest of the shadowmind community learns about it, Mina will find herself on the run once again.

Book three of The Shadowminds

Get your copy of BROKEN SHADOWS from Carina Press or your favorite ebook retailer:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GooglePlay | iBooks | Kobo


A.J. Larrieu is a Southerner in San Francisco, a scientist, and a lover of beta heroes. She is the author the dark, sexy Shadowminds series, which follows a group of ordinary people with extraordinary powers. She loves to hear from readers! Drop her a line at aj@ajlarrieu.com, friend her on facebook, or follow her on twitter. You can find out more about A.J. and her books at www.ajlarrieu.com.

Something Missing in Monster Haven

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By R.L. Naquin, author of DEMONS IN MY DRIVEWAY 

Hello! It’s me again! I think my books are coming out faster than I can write them. Demons in My Driveway is book five in the Monster Haven series. Five! That can’t be right. I just started writing them last week, didn’t I?

Honestly, this particular book addressed a concern I’ve been having about the world I’d created. When I started the first book, Monster in My Closet (available until October 27 for just 99¢!), I did so with the intention of populating the world with something different: A friendly closet monster, a family of brownies, an incubus, a skunk ape, and tiny fairies. As the series progressed, I added to the menagerie, and everything from a chupacabra to a thunderbird showed up.

I had one rule—no vampires, werewolves, or zombies in my world.

Now, I love vamps and weres, don’t get me wrong. And zombies are fine, though I have to admit, I’m a little tired of them. This wasn’t about disliking those creatures. This was about wanting something more. Something different.

And it worked, I think. How many books out there feature a pooka who looks like Danny DeVito and refuses to wear pants? Where else have you seen the Leprechaun Mafia force bad luck on people who refuse to pay their protection money? The rule forced me to think outside the box.

But. In a world where all of these things are possible, why aren’t there vampires, werewolves, and zombies? Their absence kind of contradicted the rest of what I’d created. If everything is possible, everything must be possible.

Demons in My Driveway addresses that question and puts it right. Of course, in a world where an under-the-bed monster wears a tutu and loves cotton candy, the vamps, weres, and zombies are going to be a little different from what you might expect.

Because that’s how I roll.

We’re almost done with Zoey’s story, folks. In fact, this one is more like the first of a two-part finale. Stick with me a little longer.

The world is about to change forever.

So, last chance. As I finish writing Phoenix in My Fortune, the final book in the series, is there a creature I’ve missed?  What would you like to see Zoey’s story is complete? Let me know in the comments and I’ll see if I can grant your wish.

Rachel-2014Rachel writes stories that drop average people into magical situations filled with heart and quirky humor.

She believes in pixie dust, the power of love, good cheese, lucky socks and putting things off until the last minute. Her home is Disneyland, despite her current location in Kansas. Rachel has one husband, two grown kids and a crazy-catlady starter kit.

Sign up for her newsletter for news, extras, and exclusive stuff: Newsletter

Hang out with her here: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter 


CARINA_1014_9781426899157_DemonsInMyDrivewayDemons in My Driveway:

Zoey Donovan—Aegis and co-opted protector of all things supernatural—is moving up in the Hidden world. Actually, she’s being dropkicked onto the front lines of a fight between the newly formed Cult of Imagination and Hidden governments everywhere.

The Cult is opening portals and unleashing demons, vampires and werewolves, growing closer to breaking the lock that holds back the zombie apocalypse with every world they crack open. Oh, and they want every last Aegis in the world dead, and a roving band of Hidden worshippers is only too eager to assist.

On the upside, Zoey finally has her mother back. But having another Aegis around—one with very different ideas on how to run things—is proving difficult. For their own safety, they’re stuck inside Zoey’s home. What was once a haven is now a prison, further straining maternal relations and alienating her reaper boyfriend. Taking down a cult and saving the world—again—would be a lot easier if she could go farther than her own driveway.

Carina Press Paranormal Romance sale!

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October is full of tricks, treats and spookiness, so we’ve got 10 spine-chilling, creeptastic paranormal titles for just 99¢ each until October 27! Whether you’re into ghosts, zombies, graveyards, or monsters, we’ve got a great read for you that’s less than a buck away. How long will you need to read them all?



(paranormal romance, urban fantasy)




DANCING WITH DRAGONS by Lorenda Christensen

(dragons, paranormal romance)



ALL FOR YOU by Dana Marie Bell

(angels & demons, paranormal romance)





(new adult, paranormal romance)

Quicksilver Dreams



REAPER’S TOUCH by Eleri Stone

(dystopian, fantasy, paranormal romance)





(angels & demons, erotic romance, paranormal romance)




A REASON TO BELIEVE by Diana Copland

(male/male, mystery, paranormal romance)





(paranormal romance, urban fantasy)




BITE ME by PJ Schnyder

(paranormal romance, shifters)

Fit muscular man exercising with dumbbell



NOBODY’S ANGEL by Stacy Gail

(angels & demons, paranormal romance)



Genre Spotlight: Urban Fantasy

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The paranormal and the every day intertwine in the genre of Urban Fantasy. Strange creatures and magic are just part of the every day life of the main character in any Urban Fantasy book. To help introduce you to this exciting genre, here’s a sneak peak and two upcoming reads, PLUS a look at why Carina Press fans love Urban Fantasy!

Helmut Goes Abroad by Matt Sheehan

helmutLife is pretty good for me, Helmut Haase, dashing detective and ladies’ man extraordinaire. I’m the industrious and charming half of the Fog City Detective Agency. My partner, Shamus O’Sheagan, is the most gifted and lazy Druid this side of the pond, but even he’s settled down with an Amazonian police officer. Together we managed to save the world once already, but our next case is hitting closer to home.

It all started when an old friend came to our door with a wild story about angel bones and necromancers. The bones belong to Azazel, former hero of the dreaded Cretan Empire, and the necromancers want to bring him back to life. The last thing anyone wants is Azazel to return and start another angelic war.

When Shamus locates our quarry in the Mediterranean, it’s bye-bye Wudong, hello luxury voyage to Capri, with a girl in every port and downtime to work on my fighting skills. Too bad such pleasures won’t last. Not with a coven of necromancers ready to fight us to the death over those angel bones and the fate of the world…

Read about Helmut and Shamus’s previous adventure in Helmut Saves the World, available now.


Demons in My Driveway by R.L. Naquin

demonsA Monster Haven Story, book five

Zoey Donovan—Aegis and co-opted protector of all things supernatural—is moving up in the Hidden world. Actually, she’s being dropkicked onto the front lines of a fight between the newly formed Cult of Imagination and Hidden governments everywhere.

The Cult is opening portals and unleashing demons, vampires and werewolves, growing closer to breaking the lock that holds back the zombie apocalypse with every world they crack open. Oh, and they want every last Aegis in the world dead, and a roving band of Hidden worshippers is only too eager to assist.

On the upside, Zoey finally has her mother back. But having another Aegis around—one with very different ideas on how to run things—is proving difficult. For their own safety, they’re stuck inside Zoey’s home. What was once a haven is now a prison, further straining maternal relations and alienating her reaper boyfriend. Taking down a cult and saving the world—again—would be a lot easier if she could go farther than her own driveway.

Why Readers Love Urban Fantasy

dangerouscallingThe characters are witty, gritty, and awesome.” –Goodreads review, Dangerous Calling by A.J. Larrieu

deathsdaughterI loved this book, everything about it and UF is definitely my category of choice when reading a book.” –Amazon review, Death’s Daughter by Kathleen Collins

These books can’t come out fast enough as far as I’m concerned.” –Goodreads review, Death’s Daughter by Kathleen Collins

witchlightThis steady to fast paced plot keeps readers intrigued with suspense, drama, magic, and romance.” –Amazon review, Witchlight by Sonya Clark

This paranormal urban fantasy mixes magic with technology for a riveting futuristic read.” –Goodreads review, Witchlight by Sonya Clark


Never miss out on the latest Urban Fantasy book. Click here for more!

The (Sometimes) Famous Side Character

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By Joshua Roots, author of SUMMONED CHAOS

I’ve always been a huge fan of Side Characters, the men and women of fiction who help the Hero/Heroine along the way. Playing a supporting role, they’re the ones who often get to say the things the Main Character can’t or won’t. Other times, they’re the ones who find an important clue that helps solidify the MC’s theory of whodunit.

The thing is, Side Characters sometimes get the short end of the stick since they are, on occasion, catalysts for motivation. Life is probably a little safer if you’re Hammer McThunder*, but what about Charlie Von Labcoat**, his fast-talking scientist buddy? The guy decides to work late in the lab only to be gunned down by international criminals bent on stealing the latest time-travel technology he’s been working on. Next thing he knows, he’s dying in McThunder’s arms. Sure, the MC gets to utter some awful catch phrase like, “It’s time to drop The Hammer” and then spends the next 200 pages hunting down bad guys, but that’s no solace to Charlie.

Poor, poor Charlie.

But not all Side Characters are under the Sword of Damocles. Sometimes they’re there to break up the tension. Add some spice to an otherwise dark situation. One of my absolute favorites has to be Zathras from Babylon 5. Stuck on a planet tending The Great Machine and with nothing but insects for conversation/food, the guy didn’t have a lot going for him. And yet, the few episodes where he appeared made a huge impression on me because he wasn’t 2-demnsional. The character had depth and humor, something that separates an outstanding Side Character from the ones that are Just Okay.

It didn’t hurt that he had some of the best lines in the series.

Side Characters can also serve as a point of reference for the reader by contrasting with the Main Character. Watson, no intellectual lightweight in his own right, is there so that we see the true extent of Holmes’ intellect. The fact that Watson is a deeply fleshed out person with motivations and desires, rather than simply being a story-prop, makes Holmes all the greater.

No matter what role the Side Character plays, the critical component for me is the connection. During the opening scene of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom when Indy’s partner, David, is killed, I remember thinking, “That stinks. Oh, hey Shorty!***.” There was no development and, as such, no sense of loss.

But Obi Wan? Oh man. Talk about a huge disturbance in the Force when Vader turned him into an empty robe.

In the end, Side Characters can make or break a story/series for me. Doomed from the start, used as a humor-tool, or serving as a reference point, I’ll struggle through a book if the supporting cast is lack-luster. But give me me a handful of well-defined, strong characters that I can connect with and I’ll gladly stay up till 4AM to gobble down every iota of awesome.

So what about you? What are some of your favorite side-characters and why?


Oh look, books!



Author Bio:

Joshua Roots

Joshua Roots is a former Marine, car collector, and beekeeper. He enjoys singing with his a cappella chorus, playing video games, and reading comic books. He is still waiting for his acceptance letter to Hogwarts and Rogue Squadron. He and his wife will talk your ear off about their bees if you let them.


Connect with Josh: Twitter | Website | Blog | Goodreads

*You can almost smell the testosterone wafting from this fake name.
** Alas, poor Charlie. I knew him, Horatio! Also, another made up name.
*** Shorty!

Get in the Car! No Time to Explain! — R.L. Naquin

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Are we really on book four of the Monster Haven series already? We must be, because here I am, back for another visit. You look great! Are those new shoes?

Golem in My Glovebox is a little different from the previous three books in the series. This time, I took Zoey and her reaper boyfriend, Riley, on a cross-country road trip. I’m not gonna lie to you. The research for this book was way more fun than it needed to be. I kind of overdid it.

Call it procrastination. Call it self-indulgence. Myself, I like to believe I did it for my readers. I’ve always believed the more ridiculous the story and characters are, the more realistic I need to be in everything else.

Okay. No. It was totally self-indulgence.

I went to AAA for a map and hung it on my wall so I could draw all over it. I Googled the heck out of all the locations Zoey and Riley visited. By satellite, I examined the Cadillac Ranch in Texas where ten cars are buried nose down in the desert, tailfins to the sky, waiting for tourists to spray paint them. I watched YouTube videos of an abandoned theme park featuring dozens of cracked and peeling concrete dinosaurs towering above the cameraman. I spent hours finding new places to go on the Roadside America website.

And I convinced my husband to join me on a trip to see the exact center of the contiguous United States.

It was magnificent. No, that’s a lie. It was a strange little island of grass in the middle of nowhere. The only things to see were the plaque declaring the location’s authenticity, some picnic tables and barbecues under an overhang, and the tiniest chapel I’ve ever seen in my life.

Center Chapel - RL NAQUIN

Center Chapel: Tiny, adorable pews in a tiny, adorable shed.

I swear, I would have made the trip for the chapel alone. It wasn’t too much bigger than an outhouse, and it contained a podium and four one-person pews. As weird as my books can get, I cannot make this up. Take at look at the photo. I was standing outside when I took it.


Center of the U.S.: Perfect for an ice cream social or a secret hangout.

Center of the U.S.: Perfect for an ice cream social or a secret hangout.


The true center of the contiguous U.S. isn’t actually located on this little strip of tourist-friendly land. It’s off to the right in the middle of a farmer’s field. Of course, I use this fact in my books. This is where the mysterious government, the Board of Hidden Affairs, is located. And that’s why Zoey and Riley have to go there—and why I had to go, too.

For you. I went for you. Truth in storytelling is so important.

It doesn’t hurt that I also saw a public restroom built to look like a giant toilet, the Garden of Eden, and the World’s Biggest Ball of Twine along the way.

Seriously. I love road trips.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve seen on a road trip? Can I get directions?

Golem in My Glovebox is available now at Carina Press and wherever great ebooks are sold.


In her role as Aegis, Zoey Donovan has rescued and cared for hundreds of monsters and mythical creatures. Now humans are the ones in need of her help. Someone with a personal vendetta against the Board of Hidden Affairs has kidnapped all the other Aegises in the country—including Zoey’s mother.

With the Hidden government in shambles and a string of deadly clues to follow, Zoey and her reaper boyfriend set out on a cross-country chase to stop the kidnapper from killing the captured Aegises. Along the way, they pick up a miniature golem who’s on a quest to find his humanity…and may be the key to solving the grisly clues.

If Zoey succeeds in defeating this new evil, she’ll finally be reunited with the mother she lost over twenty years ago. But if she fails, she’ll become the final victim.

About R.L. Naquin:

Rachel writes stories that drop average people into magical situations filled with heart and quirky humor.

She believes in pixie dust, the power of love, good cheese, lucky socks and putting things off until the last minute. Her home is Disneyland, despite her current location in Kansas. Rachel has one husband, two grown kids and a crazy-catlady starter kit.

Come hang out with her: Facebook Twitter Website & Blog Newsletter


Helmut Saves the World — Notes from a First-Time Author

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CARINA_0314_9781426898020_HelmutSavesTheWorldThis being my first book release, and the first of anything I have written longer than a term paper, I thought I would talk about my experience as a new author. First off, I’ll tell you a little secret. I’m not a real writer. That’s what I told my editor Jeff after he reviewed my original draft. I got C’s in high school English. I can’t spell. I didn’t know what a dangling participle was (I only kind of do now). So how did I end up writing a novella in the first place?

I’ve always liked sci-fi, fantasy and comic books, and I had the general idea for a comic or novel that I hoped to get someone else to write. So I started by trying to create a world based on ancient history, and spent quite a bit of time on Wikipedia researching ancient civilizations and their religious beliefs. My background of Catholic school upbringing didn’t hurt either.

Once I had a rudimentary universe built, I was sort of stuck. I didn’t know what to do with it. I’ve read enough books to know that a good story requires likable characters, but the idea of creating characters was daunting. So I cheated. I just based the characters on my lifelong best friend and myself. Now it’s not an exact match, but there is quite a bit of realism in their personalities, and many of Helmut’s stories and memories are based on my friend’s life. I changed the names (somewhat) to protect the innocent and the guilty.

Now I had characters, I just had to make them do something that was worth reading about. For that I fell back on my love of detective novels, specifically the stories about Nero Wolfe, written so excellently many years ago by Rex Stout. The mystery was never too complicated, and really was only the backdrop to the wonderful personality quirks of the two main characters, Archie Goodwin and Nero Wolfe, and the way they played off each other throughout the story.

Up until that point all I had done was Internet research and daydreaming. That was fun. Actually starting to write words on paper was bear. My first thirty or so pages were written longhand in a spiral notebook. I purposefully wrote it more illegibly than my usual chicken scratch, just in case my wife came across it and decided to try and read it.

I didn’t have any expectations for publication when I started, but I wanted at least a little validation. I figured the real version of my main character was my best bet for that.  My goal was simply to make him laugh, so I sprinkled the pages with enough one-liners and references to our favorite cult movie to keep him interested. After I had finished typing the first two chapters onto my iPad, I went over to his house to let him read it. The ten minutes of waiting while he read—he reads soooo slow—were some of the most anxious moments in my life. It was worth it though. He laughed, many times, which gave me the confidence to push on through till the end.

There are multiple references to a cult movie from the 90’s throughout the book.  The first to name the movie in the comments or the Facebook site will have the honor of knowing that their taste in fine cinema is first class.  Here is an excerpt from the book.

My name is Helmut Haase and I’m one half of the Fog City Detective Agency—specifically, the half that pays all the bills. My partner, Shamus O’Sheehan, mostly drinks beer and naps. I keep him around because he’s my friend, but also because he’s a Druid. I’m just a detective, and there are plenty of those in Wudong, the Confederacy of Hesperia. There’s not another Druid for miles.

We had it pretty good until the day we met Alek Pallas. He hired us to track down a thieving employee, and even though something was off, his big fat check was too much to pass up. But the man we found wasn’t what we were led to believe, and neither was Alek.

I’m talking shape-shifters, fallen angels and a conspiracy involving the vicious Cretan Empire. At least we didn’t die. Hope that doesn’t ruin the story.

Why am I telling you all this? Someday I’d like some credit for saving the world. Maybe not the entire world, and maybe not alone, but I still deserve a medal. And perhaps a cash prize.

Helmut Saves the World is available from Carina Press.

About Matt Sheehan:  Moody and sarcastic at the best of times, the author should not be conversed with prior to his morning cup of Joe.  Excels at sitting with his feet up, drinking beer or coffee, depending on the time of day, and reading—but has yet find someone willing to pay for that service.  Has always been, and will always be, his mothers favorite child.   Dreams of someday moving to a deserted island that supports coffee trees and hop vines.

Connect with Matt on Facebook  or Twitter.

Big Bad Wolf?

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Close your eyes for a minute. No, wait, don’t, because you’re reading my blog post and one presumes you want to keep doing so.

Pretend to close your eyes for a moment while reading this blog post and whisper to yourself, “Werewolf hero.”

What kind of image does that conjure?

A hot, sexy bad boy in leather, riding a motorcycle when he can’t run free in the forest? A gruff and hyper-masculine pack alpha determined to keep his people safe and in line? A borderline vicious anti-hero trying to control his literal inner demon? Somebody big and strong and scary enough to make anybody weak at the knees?

What about a nerdy scientist more interested in the biology and magic of the shifting process than howling at the moon and finding a mate?

I know, right? But even in wolf world, it seems like it would take all kinds. You need your alphas and your brooders and your sexy bad boys. But why wouldn’t wolves be scientists and dreamers and artists and, heck, grocers and accountants and nice male nurses (like in the SyFy TV show Being Human)?

They can…in my shifter world.

Marcus Delgado is a werewolf and a scientist. He’s a sexy scientist, of course, at least according to witch-in-hiding Katie Zhang, whom he encounters in the beginning of WITCH INTERRUPTED, my second book with Carina. It’s a paranormal romance set in the same world as PACK AND COVEN, where the speculative elements include wolves (shapeshifting) and witches (magic).

In fact, Marcus, because of certain events in his past, is obsessively curious about why witches change permanently into werewolves when they—spoiler alert for PACK AND COVEN!—have sex with one. However, wolves can never change into witches or obtain the magical powers and longevity of witches. Marcus is determined to find out why, and he decides Katie is the perfect person to assist him…whether she wants to or not.

The intelligence, focus and dedication of a less traditional hero like Marcus made him a very appealing character to write about and hopefully one for readers to meet. So many of the characters who tend to linger with me aren’t necessarily the alphas and the swashbuckling heroes. The clever, background characters, the scientists, the tech gals, the ones without bulging muscles and multiple guns and overriding need to control whatever disaster is going on around them—I remember those characters, too. I love watching them blossom when the story centers on them instead of the obvious alphas.

They’re complicated, layered, and surprising. And they’re smart. I just adore smart!

TV examples include: Simon Tam from Firefly; both Willow and Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Daniel Jackson from Stargate SG-1; Monroe and Rosalie in Grimm; and Chuck Bartowski from Chuck and his predecessor, Jake from Jake 2.0.

There are countless examples of these types of characters in literature and cinema, usually relegated to sidekicks or secondary characters. As an author, I get to make them the protagonists and find out what really makes them tick.

Who are your favorite brainy badasses and nerdy but awesome characters in books and TV?


Purchase WITCH INTERRUPTED at Carina Press.

About Jody Wallace:


The Many Faces of Tarot

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Karina Cooper's Tarot DecksDid you know that I like tarot? It’s true. I might have something of a problem.

The first deck I ever owned was the Arthurian deck, which you can see on the left side of the picture. I’ve had that deck for—wait, let me get the abacus out… okay, too long. Since I was a sophomore or junior, I think, in high school. I love tarot. I love the art, and the symbolism and the fantastic way it can help one work through questions one might have about life, the universe, and everything.

I had never, until now, successfully thought of a good enough reason to bring tarot into a book series. Sure, there’s all the usual methods—the fortune teller, the tarot as a method to figure out plot, and so on—but I really couldn’t settle on one.

Until Mr. Oliver Ashmore.

Tempered finally introduces Cherry St. Croix’s mysterious guardian, and I had so much fun with him. Cherry, fierce defender of reason and science over myth and magic, is suddenly placed face to face with a different kind of tool altogether: Tarot.

Tarot as Alchemical Tool

Wait, wait, I’m crazy, right? Well, a little bit. Here’s my overlap: in extreme short version, alchemy is the pursuit of perfection; perfection includes not just physical perfection (e.g., gold, immortality) but a perfection of the soul, too (e.g., Zen, or inner harmony, spiritual strength); Tarot is, in what’s commonly called the Fool’s Journey, about reaching the conclusion of a cycle beginning at the naive Fool and culminating in the completion of the World.

Ergo, alchemy utilizes tarot.

Want to know more? Mr. Ashmore has you covered. See how deftly he manipulates his addled ward into giving alchemy more of a chance than she has been willing until now. Watch as our intrepid heroine struggles for a eureka! moment that has, so far, eluded her.

Have you ever had your cards read? Are you a collector—of Tarot, that is, not of bounties (although far be it from me to judge)—or perhaps just idly interested? Or are you one of those who favor the deification of reason and science over that of the more esoteric arts?

Tempered: The St. Croix Chronicles

Tempered: the St. Croix ChroniclesForced out of London’s coal-blackened streets, Cherry St. Croix is faced with her most difficult undertaking yet: sobriety.

At long last, my guardian, the enigmatic Mr. Oliver Ashmore, has revealed himself—and his order is clear: I am to be dried out at once, regardless of my wishes.

I loathe the country estate I am imprisoned within. Footsteps follow me, voices call for me, and my sanity wavers. In my fevered dreams, I am haunted by those I failed, while waking proves no protection from the ghosts of my reckless past. The craving for laudanum plagues me. I require a distraction.

To unravel the alchemical mysteries of my mother’s family, I must rely on Ashmore’s tutelage. I am lured to the art and drawn by the secrets my guardian possesses. Yet the deeper I delve, the more I believe that something dreadful disturbs these haunted corridors. In my madness, I fear that what it wants most…is me.

Available now from Carina Press! Or you can read an excerpt here.

Want to find me on the web? I’ve got you covered:

The End?

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The Volatile Amazon is the final book in the four-book Alliance of the Amazons series.

 photo Volatile_Amazon_final_zpsa18a6c92.jpg
In many ways, I’m thrilled with its release. I strongly believe fans of the series will love the way Sarita’s story brings together all four books—from the Amazon sisters, to the goddesses, to the enemy they’ve hunted for so long.

On the other hand, I’m sad. To bid my Amazons adieu feels the same as saying goodbye to dear friends. Sarita, Gina, Megan, and Rebecca are just as “real” to me as any person I’ve known. I’ve lived and breathed their ups, their downs, their triumphs, and their tragedies.

So where do I go from here?

That’s a complicated question…

I have so many new stories swimming through my mind, I can now take the time to get to know all those characters the same way I became engrossed in the lives of my Amazons. There will be one big change for the time being—my focus is shifting.  photo rulesofthegames_zps1c51c4ab.jpg
Instead of writing urban fantasy—which I dearly love—I want to churn out a few more contemporary romances. It seems I have my greatest success in that genre. For example, my Carina Press contemporary romance, Rules of the Game, recently  photo holtimage_zpsf5820068.gif won the HOLT Medallion for best novel with strong romantic elements. It’s also a finalist for the Aspen Gold Readers’ Choice Award, the Heart of Excellence Readers’ Choice Award, and was a Golden Quill finalist. Rather hard to stay away from that kind of appreciation for my stories!

So if you’re looking to read more “Sandy James” books, keep your eye on releases in the contemporary romance arena. This might be “the end” of the Alliance of the Amazons, but there are plenty more stories full of tears, laughter, and love on the way!


The Volatile Amazon

Sarita Neeraj has never felt like a real Amazon. Compared to the obvious strengths of her sisters, her Water powers seem small as her stature. She’s determined to prove herself–unfortunately, all that gets her is captured by an enemy.

Ian serves a twisted goddess, preferring this to an empty afterlife. He’s taken Sarita hostage to coax the other Amazons from their safe haven. But in his ancient Scottish castle, the passion and love Ian finds for Sarita resurrect his honor, until he chafes at the dark will of his mistress. 

Sarita has finally found happiness–but before she can enjoy it, she’s “rescued” by her furious sisters. To save Ian from destruction at the hands of the Amazons, Sarita must risk wielding magick that could change her very nature. Only then can she prove the Water Amazon is the strongest of the four–and save them all from destruction.

Meet Earth, Fire, and Air in The Reluctant
Amazon, The Impetuous Amazon, and The Brazen Amazon.

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