Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!


And in honor of my new paranormal romance series coming next year, here's an Inuit toast: "May you have warmth in your igloo, oil in your lamp, and peace in your heart."

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

My gift to you - Team Santa

By Christine Rains

"Team CA-23 is a go!”

The fat man wiggled and slithered down the chimney as if boneless. He popped out of the fireplace with a merry laugh. A puff of soot surrounded him and transformed to sparkling dust as it drifted to the floor.

Bobbo the cat started out of his nap and hissed. His gray fur stood on end and his claws dug into the couch cushion. He raced behind the sofa in a flurry of hairballs.

From the sleigh on the roof, an elf in a green cap flipped a switch for the camera. “CA-23 entry successful.”

The radio response was crisp as the new fallen snow. “Roger that, CA-23. How's he looking, Evert?”

Doing good. No chimney damage. He's placing the presents under the tree right now.” Evert leaned back, breathing in the cold night air. The images on the screen bobbed as Santa bent and set the many gifts out for the large family of six. “I think we got this one right.”

"Let's hope. Finn's still trying to repair the roof from CA-22's mishap.”

The mishap was letting Finn pilot anything.” Evert snorted. “But since his father has more stripes on his cane than the rest of us, he gets to do what he wants.”

Santa nabbed a sugar cookie from a plate and stuffed it in his mouth. He hummed and chewed as he started on the stockings. His beard caught the crumbs and sifted them out to appear on the empty plate.

"At least he made Finn do the repairs himself. Maybe he won't ask for his own team next year.” 

Evert chuckled. “Yeah, let him stick with cleaning up after the reindeer.”

As if he'd heard the joke, Santa's belly jiggled as he giggled and packed the treats into the last stocking. He then continued to stick stuffers into a nearby vase and potpourii dish.

"Crap.” Evert straightened and pressed a few buttons on the dashboard. With no response from Santa, he tried another set. “Hugo, we have a stuffing problem.”

Santa moved on to the chair, ripping open a pillow and filling it with gifts. 

"Dammit.” Hugo let loose a colorful string of curses. “What's he doing?”

"Just stuffed some pillows. Moving on to a potted plant.” Evert's fingers danced over the controls. 

Dirt and leaves splatted against the wallpaper.

"Have you tried telling him his job is complete? Or the adult out-of-sight escape command?”

"Both. He's not responding to either. It keeps saying his work is in progress.” Evert growled and hit a fist on the screen. “Come on, Santa. You're done!”

Santa bent and reached down to pick up something.

"The cat! He's going to stuff the cat!” Evert sent the commands again as Hugo frantically yelled over the radio.

Bobbo screeched and kicked, but the gloved hand had a firm hold of him. The other hand raised up, full of peppermints and chocolates wrapped in shiny red paper.

Evert slapped his hand on a large red button. The gleam in Santa's eyes blinked out, and he fell backward on the coffee table. The cat tore free and raced out of the room.

"Situation averted.” Evert groaned and rested his head against the screen. “CA-23 has been shut down.”

"Roger that.” Hugo sighed. “Clean up. A replacement is already on his way.”

A cold wind kicked up the snow and sent it spiraling upwards. The reindeer stomped impatiently. Evert could sympathize. When Santa had been alive, it had never been like this. Deliveries were made quickly and efficiently. No good child was ever forgotten.

"What make? Please tell me it's one of the Mistletoe line. At least the only bug they've exhibited is kissing too many surprised mothers.”

"Nope, the closet available is one of the Snowman clones.” Hugo replied, the apology clear in his tone.

"Great.” Evert grumbled and slid out of his comfortable seat. “He better finish our route before he melts. Team CA-23 leaving the sleigh for clean-up.”


Monday, December 21, 2015

Cloaked now available for pre-order

Add it to your 'to read' list!

Pre-order HERE!
Raised by an overly protective wulfkin pack, Daciana leaps at the chance to venture into the human world for her one-year independence ritual. But after someone steals the endangered bear cubs she’s been assigned to protect, she must locate them or lose her job and return home in disgrace. The sexy inspector on the case isn’t making this any easier. He knows nothing of her kind, and wulfkin rules forbid relationships with humans.
Newly divorced Inspector Connell Lonescu trusts no one but himself. He’s convinced relationships are a waste of time and thinks burying himself in work will ease the pain. Yet he’s attracted to the gorgeous and mysterious Daciana, even if there’s something slightly odd about her. Can Connell learn to trust the sexy but secretive woman?

I LOVE this cover! I'm honored to be one of Tania's critique partners, and let me tell you, this story is as rich and sumptuous as the cover. 

Friday, December 18, 2015

Friday Five for December 18, 2015

1. I had a bump in my writing this week because a nasty headache told me to nap Wednesday afternoon. I'm about 4000 words away from finishing  my novella. I'm going to try to NaNo sprint today and finish it before my son's Christmas break starts.

2. Christmas break is where I'll be headed, too, for the next two weeks. We stay at home, but I'm planning lots of fun family and friend activities including going to an indoor waterpark and the exotic cat rescue center. I have a couple of posts coming next week. One of them a flash fiction story gift to you from me!

3. I'm over halfway done watching Daredevil on Netflix. LOVE it. Dark and intriguing and the villain! I really like what they did with Wilson Fisk (Kingpin). That is the sort of story I want to write... and have HBO or AMC or Netflix make into a show!

4. My son is bringing candy canes in today for school to give out to his class. Yesterday, I asked him if he would like to make a craft out of it and dress up the canes like reindeer. He gave me this look that was ten years too old for him and said, "I'm in elementary school now, mama. We like candy canes without the costumes."

5. However you're spending this holiday season, enjoy! Have a very merry Christmas and I'll see you in 2016. It's going to be an amazing year.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Wicked Wednesday - stuff that stocking!

What does Santa stuff your stocking with?

My mom still buys stockings and stuffs them for my brother and I. My husband is very appreciative of this because that means he doesn't have to do it! Mostly she fills it with toiletries, treats, socks, and notebooks.

If I could choose what Santa put into my stocking, it would be books. (And chocolate!) While I do love paper books, I could get more if I had an electronic stocking to stuff with ebooks. I've read over 100 books this year and the great majority of them were on my Kindle.

Here's your chance to stuff your digital stocking! Mary Pax is hosting the Stuff Your Stocking Event. There are 17 free ebooks from MG to YA to comics and fantasy and sci-fi and paranormal romance. Even a cookbook! Plus there's a giveaway for a $40 gift card. Click on the link and give yourself some gifts.

Included in the event is your chance to get either The 13th Floor Complete Collection or Of Blood and Sorrow. All you have to do is join my newsletter. See that handy dandy little widget on the right of my blog? Just type your email address in and jingle-jingle! You can pick either ebook in whatever format you need.

Tawa also wants me to remind you that Fearless is always free. So many readers have expressed their love for her (and the story!) over the years, I might be posting a new Fearless story on Wattpad next year. Either a prequel to this one or a tale about another Fearless warrior.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Heart in a Box Review

Each heartbeat leads Joss closer a shocking truth that will change everything.

Joss Olstad wins the fight to switch from her private school to a public high to “find her pieces” she lost when the Indian artist father she never knew died. There, Joss struggles with a slutty friend, who flirts with her new love; Indian Culture Club girls who press her on her past, as well as her stoner mother’s lies back at home. Armed only with her handmade heart boxes that hold private messages, Joss’s search for identity leads her to a scary industrial section of Queens, and a shocking family secret that changes everything.

My review:
Joss Olstad found private school stale and stifling. As she starts at a public high school, she's determined to find herself amidst the diverse student population. Her hopes begin to crumble as one friend flirts with her boyfriend, the other Indiana girls act judgmental, and her hippie mother refuses to tell her anything about her father. Joss is losing herself even as she trying to find herself. A school project draw out the secret wishes of her heart, and she dares risk everything by going to discover a family secret that will either tear her world apart or make it whole.

This is my favorite young adult novel from Catherine Stine. It's an amazingly written story of a teenage girl trying to build her identity. Joss feels she cannot because she never knew her father or any of his history or family. I loved reading Joss' struggles in trying to find out who she is and how this helped her bloom into someone she did not expect. It's all at once genuine, sweet, heart wrenching, and wondrous. Sensational characterization and a tremendously moving story.

What a fantastic book for teens and adults. This should be on everyone's must read list!

Catherine Stine is hosting a Blitz Rafflecopter Giveaway with awesome prizes. Check it out on her blog here!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Friday Five for December 11, 2015

1. It's been another great writing week. I finished one novella and started on another. Yes, it might seem like I'm writing super fast, but these stories are already finished in my head. They're not that long. If I can get 2000 words in a day, I can finish this last one before the end of next week.

2. All my regular TV shows are on hiatus. Now I can finally finish watching Daredevil on Netflix and all those films I've wanted to see on DVD. Any recommendations of a new movie I should watch?

3. My son built a gingerbread house this week. Every year for the past five years, we've done this, and every year more icing goes into his mouth than on the house!

4. I've been doing some cleaning on my Twitter account lately. If you have an account, how often do you update the profile and unfollow tweeps who are inactive, spamming, or aren't following you?

5. The cats have settled in and learned my schedule. Since sitting on the keyboard or my lap isn't an option while I'm writing, one shelf on my desk has become the cat corner. I had to empty most of the stuff out of there except the secret candy stash box (which is empty) and the sonic screwdriver (even kitties dream of meeting the Doctor). We're all cozy and happy. We'll see what the cats think when we get a Christmas tree! Have a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Wicked Wednesday - writing for the holidays

(A Krampus monster from the local Krampus parade)

I don't just mean writing for Christmas holidays. I'm talking about any holiday. Groundhog Day to Easter to Halloween.

That specific time of year rolls around and writers get inspired to write about it. Write when the inspiration hits. Holidays bring up a lot of powerful emotions and memories. There is a ton of inspiration strolling around, too, like the Krampus. Use it to your advantage.

Yet there is one problem with writing a holiday themed story on that holiday: it will be too late to publish it for that time of year once you're done.

The way I've dealt with that problem is to push my muse ahead six months holiday-wise. I've already written a couple of Valentine's Day stories and one Easter piece. I'll start in on some summer stories next month.

This way, I have holiday themed stories set to send out to various venues with plenty of time to rise up in the slush piles and be seen by editors with still a few months to spare before the holiday itself. I send Christmas stories out in June and July. Publishers usually get loads of those ones.

And yes, I do get inspired to write seasonal tales during those particular times of year. It just means I have to sit on them a little longer before submitting. As I said, write when the inspiration hits, but submit with enough time for an editor to get to your story and comfortably fit you in their schedule.

Have you ever written a holiday themed story?

Monday, December 7, 2015

New Releases: A Clueless Woman, Heart in a Box, & Guardians of Telesma

Graduate student Lizzie Petrie feels more comfortable around books than people. Although an expert in the Hitler Youth, she’s a novice in love. Her former lesbian lover is blackmailing her, and not even those closest to Lizzie know the full story of their abusive relationship.
When visiting high school English teacher Sarah crosses Lizzie’s path at the campus, their attraction is instant, but not without complications. As they start to spend more time together, suspicions arise from both women in this sexy piece of LGBT fiction.
Plenty of good-natured teasing takes place between lovers as well as between PhD students in this lesbian contemporary romance. No relationship path ever runs smoothly, and oftentimes, those who can’t keep their mouth shut hasten necessary confrontation.
Lizzie finds herself buried in a mess of lies in this romantic comedy. The harder she tries to keep Sarah and the rest of her friends from finding out the truth about her first girlfriend, the more endearingly clueless she becomes.

Buy Links:

About the Author:
T. B. Markinson is an American writer, living in England. When she isn’t writing, she’s traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs, or taking the dog for a walk. Not necessarily in that order.
Mailing List:
Get the first book in the series, A Woman Lost, for FREE by signing up to TB’s Readers’ Group here.

Well, well, well. What do we have here?” If Meg hadn’t been standing right in front of me, I would have recognized her snide tone, even despite the fact that she’d dyed her once-blonde hair a rich, fiery red. “Getting drunk on a school night. Shame on you, Lizzie. What would Dr. Marcel say?” Meg’s companion helped her slip into a coat. Hopefully, that meant they were leaving and pronto.
Approximately 150,000 people lived in Fort Collins, and the one person I didn’t want to bump into ever, let alone with Sarah, was peering down at us.
“Hello,” was all I could force out.
Meg’s gaze wandered over Sarah’s face and upper body before settling on me. “What happened to only drinking at home?” She crossed her arms.
“I’m afraid I’m a bad influence.” Sarah came to my defense.
“I see.” An older man tugged on Meg’s arm. She wore a tight dress—not her usual jeans and J. Crew sweater. And she was with a man—very unusual. “Have a good night, Lizzie.” She turned each Z in my name into a weapon. “Oh, I’ll be calling you to discuss that financial situation you brought up last time.” She gave Sarah a final glare and rolled her eyes. Red-hot anger raged through my mind and body as I clamped my lips together to keep everything bottled inside. How dare she treat Sarah so flippantly?
I counted to ten before I said, “I’m so sorry.”
Sarah’s eyes darted across the room to where Meg and her companion were exiting into the darkness. “Is she a friend?”
I snorted. “Former ...” I’d been about to say girlfriend, but instead added, “acquaintance.”
“I’d use another word for her.”
I let out a rush of air. “Really? What would that be?”

* * * * *

Each heartbeat leads Joss closer a shocking truth that will change everything.

Joss Olstad wins the fight to switch from her private school to a public high to “find her pieces” she lost when the Indian artist father she never knew died. There, Joss struggles with a slutty friend, who flirts with her new love; Indian Culture Club girls who press her on her past, as well as her stoner mother’s lies back at home. Armed only with her handmade heart boxes that hold private messages, Joss’s search for identity leads her to a scary industrial section of Queens, and a shocking family secret that changes everything.

Catherine Stine is hosting a Blitz Rafflecopter Giveaway with awesome prizes. Check it out on her blog here!

* * * * *

An ancient prophecy. A doorway between realities. A woman destined to save a world—or destroy it. 

When Kate Ryan discovers an ancient artifact at a dig site, her life is changed forever. Swept across the boundaries of dimension, she’s plunged into an alternate world of magic, shape-shifting cats—and a prophecy calling for her death at the hands of the Guardian.

Draven, Guardian of Telesma, took an oath to kill the Outsider whom the legend warns will destroy his world. He hesitates as his attraction to this woman proves stronger than his sense of duty. Now he must protect his sworn enemy against his own people as he struggles to prove the prophecy wrong.

Kate faces an impossible choice. Stay and try to save those who refuse to accept her, or turn her back on them and the man who’s captured her heart? If she makes the wrong decision, will it bring about their destruction?

Stalk River Fairchild here.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Friday Five for December 4, 2015

1. I've had a good writing week. I finished a novella just before Thanksgiving and now I've started on another. I hope to have it done before Christmas.

2. Thank you to everyone who gave Lovelorn Spirits a shout-out last week. I didn't call on anyone to do so since it was going to be a crazy week for me and I wouldn't be online, but you guys amaze me. Cookies for everyone!

3. I met my Goodreads reading challenge goal! Yay! 100 books. My Kindle is heavy with several new ones that I've won lately too. I hope to get at least five or six more books read and reviewed before the year is out.

4. This evening we're going to Santa's Workshop at my son's school. We'll have dinner with other children and Santa. Then we'll make crafts and decorate cookies. To double our fun, the Krampus parade is on Saturday evening and the weather promises to be awesome. (Click on the link to see how cool it looks. My son isn't afraid of them at all!)

5. The big news in the Rains household this week is we adopted two cats from the local animal shelter. Thunder and Kelsey bonded while at the shelter, and they didn't want to separate them. Who can resist this adorable two-for-one deal? Thunder is only a year old and has the energy of a kitten. He's so good with my son. Kelsey is a one-eyed beauty and a sweetie. She's not a lap cat, but she loves her belly rubs.

(My son with Thunder on his leg and Kelsey coming to get a flicking tail!)

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

#IWSG for December 2015

The Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) is the brilliant idea of Alex J. Cavanaugh. The purpose of the group is to share doubts and insecurities and to encourage one another. Please visit the other participants and share your support. A kind word goes a long way.

The awesome co-hosts for this month are Sandra Hoover, Mark Koopmans, Doreen McGettigan, Megan Morgan, and Melodie Campbell!

Thank you to everyone who responded last month to my post. I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels like I need to write more faster and write more on top of that.

And while I sometimes do hear that nagging voice, I've had a good year. One novel and six novellas published. Plus a handful of short stories! Darn good year.

I want to hear all your happy stories. Please share something good that has happened to you this year in the comments.

Here's to a magnificent 2016 for all of us!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Reader (Rifters #3) is here!

With the rift closed for the season and no more monsters to fight, Daelin Long gets bored as librarian in the podunk town of Settler, Oregon. A job interview and her brother’s arrival present a tempting opportunity to escape, until her brother and her best friend, a ghost, disappear.

While Daelin searches for them, more mysteries pile up: dead people coming back to life, portraits of the town founders replaced with strange white trees, and people on the other side of the rift returning. It’s impossible. The portal that allows monsters from other universes to come to Earth is sealed until next summer.

The Rifters, a secret group protecting our world, believe the troubles are nothing more than the tantrums of an offended ghost. Daelin disagrees. If she’s right, the evil hell-bent on destroying Earth has new technology making the rift more deadly.

Before the monster summons the next apocalypse, Daelin must find it and destroy it.

Book 3 in the Rifters series.

Need to catch up? You can read books 1 & 2 in the Rifters series for free by becoming an M. Pax Reader. ENTER MY DIMENSION

Buy links:

Amazon / AmazonUK / AUS / CA / DE / FR / ES / IT / NL / JP / BR / MX / IN

The Reader Tweets & FB

People & ghosts are not what they seem. Is it a monster? The Reader #fantasy #scifi
A ghost with a bad temper & fake people. This town is strange. The Reader #fantasy #scifi

There's something wrong in the woods. Monsters or ghosts? The Reader #fantasy #scifi

Author Bio: M. Pax is author of the space adventure series The Backworlds, plus other novels and short stories. Fantasy, science fiction, and the weird beckons to her, and she blames Oregon, a source of endless inspiration. She docents at Pine Mountain Observatory in the summers as a star guide and has a cat with a crush on Mr. Spock. Learn more at