Several months ago, I was privileged to be a part of an anthology with twelve other authors called Dreams are Stranger than Fiction. The idea was to take a dream we’d had and turn it into a story.
Here’s the link on Amazon.
And also, the Prologue from my story, It Brings the Wind:
Old man Jefferies reclined on his front porch and filled a pipe with tobacco. He didn’t smoke often, but when he did, it was usually during the summer before September’s harvest. To say he was anxious would be an understatement. The season had been unusually dry and the impending rain was much needed. After lighting the pipe, he inhaled and closed his eyes. The breath was deep enough to make him cough, but when the smoke circulated through his lungs, he relaxed.
Today had been a hard one. Most of them were, but today’s work was grueling. He’d been in the field at sun-up, cutting a water furrow in preparation for the inclement weather. The afternoon was spent in another field, loading and unloading hay for his cattle. Though it was back-breaking and tedious, that was a job he enjoyed. Had bovine farming been a lucrative business in the little town of Rouler, he’d sell all his tractors and combines and trade them in for another five-hundred head of cattle. But in Rouler and throughout the entire South, cotton was King as was sugarcane, soybeans, and corn.
As usual, his wife had prepared an outstanding meal. Pork chops, squash and butter beans they’d grown themselves, and a pan of cornbread. Mrs. Jefferies was known throughout four parishes for her home cooking. They’d met and married as high school sweethearts, had four daughters, and at least a dozen grandchildren. Three or four great-grands too. Their life wasn’t without hardships, mostly financial, but overall, Jefferies thought it had been a good run.
“Want a cup of coffee?” Mrs. Jefferies’ head poked through the screen door.
Beads of sweat lined his forehead, but he couldn’t refuse the bitter chicory flavor he’d grown accustomed to having every night. “Only if you’ll join me, hon.”
“I’d love to.”
Seconds later, she kicked open the screen with her foot and passed the cups to him. Closing the wooden door was not an option. Not if they wanted to sleep cool tonight. The sun had been down for hours, but the temperature and humidity remained high. Having lived Rouler their entire lives, they should’ve adapted to it, but both still complained daily.
“This heat, I swanee to the Good Lord it gets hotter every summer.”
“Don’t I know it,” he agreed. “Supper was exceptional tonight, hon. I don’t know how much better you’re gonna get at makin’ that stewed squash.”
“You flatter me.”
In the pasture in front of the house, the cows bellowed and snorted, indicating their irritation. At first, their displeasure was limited to only a few, but soon, the entire herd seemed to be bawling at the same time.
“Wonder what’s got them stirred up?” Mrs. Jefferies asked, her head tilted to one side as if she could hear the culprit over the cattle’s distress.
“Not a damn clue, but I swear if it’s those kids comin’ to tip ‘em over, I’m gonna pump ‘em full of lead.” He stood and went inside, his footfalls heavy enough to be heard on the porch.
“They’re kids,” she called out. “Don’t you remember what it was like to be fifteen?”
After he returned with his shotgun, he clicked off the safety and tramped down the steps. “Barely. Have the phone ready to call the police. If I can’t shoot their asses, you can bet I’m havin’ them hauled off to jail.”
“I’ll be waitin’.”
Trudging through the gate, Mr. Jefferies entered the pasture, certain the herd was closer to the fence. He hadn’t brought a flashlight because the full moon had been enough illumination, but a dark cloud appeared in what he thought was a cloudless sky. The cattle’s grunts and groans grew louder. So loud that he wondered if they were in pain.
Mr. Jefferies started to call out for his wife, but as soon as he opened his mouth, the bellowing stopped.
With uneasy steps, he edged back towards the dim light of home, still unable to see his surroundings until he felt something warm and wet pool around his feet. Had he stepped in manure? The cloud disintegrated above him, and offered the full glow of the moon. Mr. Jefferies glanced down and his voice caught in his throat. He hadn’t stepped in manure, but the intestines of a cow, and around him lay the herd. The entire herd. Five thousand dead, disemboweled cows.
A bitter wind blew through the dry grass and froze it solid. Mr. Jefferies had never experienced air this bone-chilling cold in his entire seventy-seven-years, not even when he went elk hunting in Alaska and especially not in Louisiana in the summertime. His boots stiffened and when he tried to move, he couldn’t. Desperate, he fired off a warning shot, but it was too late. A grey mass hurled towards him, leaving nothing but a pool of blood and the gun.
Y’all, my dear friend and fellow author Sarah M. Cradit, is having a Memorial Day sale. I’m privileged to get to alpha read her books – chapter by chapter – and I can say without a doubt, she’s one of my favorites.
The storm of the century closes in on Summer Island, leaving Ana and the mysterious St. Andrews brothers cut off from the world. But as the snow intensifies, they quickly realize there are far more sinister dangers lurking.
For a limited time, get three House of Crimson & Clover Prequels for $.99! Now through June 2nd.
Hello Dear Readers,
Here’s a bit of what’s going on here with me in lovely Northeast Louisiana:
– on a personal note, my beloved Matsi passed away at the end of March. We miss her so much but know she’s free of pain and running and jumping and bugging her sister, Rayne, across the Rainbow Bridge in the Field of Flowers 🐺🌈💐 (Witch Dance reference if you’ve read it 😉) Love our sweet and brave girl!
– In book news, I am knee deep into the 9th (NINTH😍😍😍) Counterplay book, titled Missing. For those of you who follow the series, I’ll reveal a small spoiler – THIS is the book where we discover the Caissy Family Secret. No more diversions or Red Herrings, this is the real deal! I’d been looking forward to writing this scene for several years now and I wasn’t disappointed, and I feel pretty sure it will live up to the hype it’s been given over the past several books.
– Misplaced (Counterplay Book 7) or as I like to call it, the Hurricane book, has come back from my editor (shout out to the amazingly talented Emily Lawrence) and will be headed to my beta readers soon. I hope for a mid-June release date and I will place this one on pre-order so keep checking back for updates.
– Misdirection will be FREE for a limited time only! I’ve decided to take it off perma-free and set the prequel (Misaligned) to $0. So if you or your friends are interested in the Counterplay series, get this book for FREE while it last.
Misdirection: Book 1
– interested in Counterplay but don’t want to commit to all the books just yet? Check out my short story on Instafreebie. It’s less than 1500 words but will tell you all you need to know about the murder, sex, and intrigue that is this series.
Blurb – Helen invites an old friend to lunch, but she has more on her mind than simply catching up. Taking place more than thirty years before the start of the Counterplay prequel, Monster delves into the psyche of beloved Caissy matriarch, Helen, her tumultuous past with ruthless Bob O’Malley, and the tragic, abominable decision that changed and shaped both their families.
That’s about all in my world. Hope all of you are enjoying Spring!
From the USA Today bestselling fantasy author of the House of Crimson & Clover novels comes a chilling new historical fantasy series, Vampires of the Merovingi. Ancient lore, a vidid historical backdrop, and elusive, tantalizing mythical creatures await readers as they dive into the secretive, ancient, powerful world of The Saga of Crimson & Clover.
1789. Saint-Domingue. Hispaniola. West Indies.
Etienne de Blanchefort has seen incredible success as a colonial planter in the Northern Province of Saint-Domingue. Though uprooting his family from France a decade past was a gamble, life in the tropical West Indies has been good to him, his wife, and four children. With France embroiled in their great revolution across the Atlantic, he harbors little doubt he made the right decision for his family’s future.
Until, that is, the arrival of his fiend.
Etienne’s practical nature cannot reconcile what he knows to be true of his world with what he cannot ignore about the abominable creature haunting his family and the island.
Nor can he ignore his wife’s terrifying dreams that slowly steal her vitality.
Or Victorine’s burgeoning free spirit and wariness of their way of life.
Or Nanette’s curious, furtive behavior as she hides in trees.
Or Marius’ secret new friendship with one he cannot name.
Or Flosine’s unsettling drawings of a man from a time long before theirs.
Etienne’s fiend will not stay elusive for long. He has a request. A very particular, very important request, one that will change the lives of Etienne, his family, and his descendants forever.
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2CjkQ9G
This book was the first in a fascinating new series by Sarah M. Cradit. I have to be honest: vampires aren’t my most favorite thing to read about but this book blew my mind! Cradit’s masterful storytelling combines equal parts mythology, history, and imagination to create a hauntingly beautiful tale of intrigue and opportunity. I would recommend to all lovers of historical fiction as well as paranormal fantasy.
I’m so excited to share the 5th installment in the Counterplay series.
1. a wicked or illegal act.
2. a breaking of a moral or legal code
Two weddings are celebrated and for a season, happiness abounds in the Douglas and Caissy families.
Amid their loved ones, Millie and Rafe take a bold step together, determined to live their lives with no regrets. Reece and Layton marry and at Rachael’s request, begin caring for Graceanne.
While inquisitive Sloane continues her quest to find the root of hatred between the Caissys and O’Malleys, she discovers more than she bargained for, altering her view of Sol and Bob forever.
Still hell-bent on keeping Arianne from Gregory, Andrew makes a costly mistake when he’s blindsided by his feelings for another woman.
Unbeknownst to anyone, Lesley and Bob’s friendship grows stronger. With his guidance, she takes steps to reconcile with her mother.
Thanks to the O’Malleys, a long-buried secret comes to light for Millie and Jamie and the after-effects—disastrous.
The truth can’t stay hidden forever.
The time of reckoning is close.
Bait and bleed.
The Counterplay Series follows the Douglases, Adams, O’Malleys, and Caissys – four intertwined South Louisiana families and their struggle for power, love, and revenge.
More vendors to come!!
Life changes the most when it changes in an instant.
Nicolas Deschanel, playboy heir to New Orleans, has turned over a new leaf—and turned an eye to Lauren Weatherly, who is very unlike any of the women he enjoyed in the past. Their work to deploy field research teams to build the Deschanel family’s list of allies brings them closer, but each step in that direction also reveals truths about them both.
Charlotte and Julian carefully tail the Henry siblings in Paris, but Charlotte cannot deny she’s drawn to mysterious Lawrence, while Julian’s visions of the dangers ahead grow deeper and darker.
A Tempest of Discovery, book one in the thrilling new paranormal romance series, Midnight Dynasty, is available now:
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2yTu0a6
My review: As expected, the first installment in Cradit’s Midnight Dynasty series did not disappoint. In this book, we revisit some our favorite Deschanels (Nicolas, Colleen) and delve deeper into their family tree with the Fontenots, headlined by fierce Charlotte. Also we are introduced to the mysterious LaViolettes, a female-centered family with mysterious ties to our favorite magical family. Though it is a continuation of The House of Crimson and Clover series, it’s not necessary to have prior knowledge of those books to understand this one. If you enjoy a story with twists and turns and shocking endings, this is the book for you. Cradit’s delivery of mystery and intrigue is flawless. Five stars.