Ho Ho Ho….Or Not

Yeah, so, I haven’t been blogging this week. Usually when that happens, it can be attributed to one of several options:

  • The day job has been on steroids.
  • I’m in a writing slump, which has put me in an emotional slump.
  • The day job has been on steroids.
  • I’m an empty, emotionless pit of exhaustion.
  • The day job has been on steroids.
  • All of the above.

So, that’s my holiday tale. Actually, my holiday tale is…what is it about offices and holidays? I work in an office that has undergone a lot of turnover in the past three or four years. As in, I went from being one of the newest employees to being the one with the third-longest stint here. The average age of my coworkers is about 25. The vast majority have been here fewer than three years.

That, in itself, is exhausting. They also have young children and are all pumped about the holidays, whereas I’m thinking…two weeks off. I can sleep more than five hours a night and get some writing done! We had the small family holiday early, so my Christmas will be sharing a meal with a friend or two.

How about you? Are you in the holiday spirit or are you, too, an empty, emotionless pit of exhaustion?


Dec. 1-11- #Win a New Release In Paranormal, UF and Fantasy

It’s Monday, so it must be Reader’s Choice day! It’s a busy release week before things dwindle for the holidays. So take a look at this week’s few new releases and let me know which of these sounds most promising to you, and you could win it—or any other book of your choice up to US$15! This list is especially long since it encompasses 11 days….

pederson1635: The Wars for the Rhine (Ring of Fire #24) by Anette Pedersen

An exciting addition to the multiple New York Times best-selling Ring of Fire alternate history series created by Eric Flint. Time travelers from our modern age are thrown into the deadly straits of the Thirty Years War in Europe of the 1600s. In the year 1635, the Rhineland is in turmoil. The impact of the Ring of Fire, the cosmic accident which transported the small modern West Virginia town of Grantville to Europe in the early seventeenth century, has only aggravated a situation that was already chaotic. Perhaps nowhere in central Europe did the Thirty Years War produce so much upheaval as it did in the borderlands between France and Germany. Archbishop Ferdinand of Cologne shares the religious fanaticism of his older brother, Duke Maximilian of Bavaria. He is determined to restore the power of the Catholic Church over the middle Rhine, the so-called “Bishop’s Alley,” and has unleashed a plot for that purpose. But that same middle Rhine is territory which Landgrave William V of Hesse-Kassel is determined to seize for himself, under the guise of expanding the influence of the United States of Europe. Add to the witch’s brew the deaths in battle of Duke Wolfgang of Jülich-Berg and his son, which leaves his young widow Katharina Charlotte as the heir to those much-prized territories. She is now on the run, in disguise—and pregnant. Add the unexpected arrival of Austria’s most capable general, Melchior von Hatzfeldt, along with the most ruthless spy and torturer in the Rhineland, Felix Gruyard. The wars for the Rhine have erupted, and only the devil knows how they will end.

hunterA Season of Spells (Noctis Magicae #3) by Sylvia Izzo Hunter

Three years after taking up residence at the University of Din Edin, Sophie and Gray return to London, escorting the heiress of Alba to meet the British prince to whom she is betrothed. Sparks fail to fly between the pragmatic Lucia of Alba and the romantic Prince Roland, and the marriage alliance is cast into further doubt when the men who tried to poison King Henry are discovered to have escaped from prison….Gray sets off to track the fugitives abroad, while Sophie tries to spark a connection between the bride and groom by enlisting them in her scheme to reopen a long-shuttered women’s college at Oxford. Though a vocal contingent believes that educating women spells ruin, what Sophie and her friends discover in the decaying college library may hold the key to protecting everything they hold dear—as well as a dark secret that could destroy it all.

hunter2-lizA Stone-Kissed Sea (Elemental World #4) by Elizabeth Hunter

An immortal wanderer. A brilliant scientist. A centuries-old menace written in blood….Lucien Thrax, son of the earth and child of the ancients, is a healer of immense power. But years of work on a deadly vampire virus have not led to a cure, nor have they softened the wall he built around his heart. When he’s forced to work with Doctor Makeda Abel, Lucien is convinced he’s reached his limit of patience with humanity….Makeda Abel may be human, but she’s far from impressed with the brooding vampire healer, even if his mind draws her reluctant admiration. She’s learned how to survive in the immortal world, and it’s not by being afraid. Working together may lead them to answers, but it also pushes Lucien and Makeda’s attraction to the boiling point….When nightmares become reality, Makeda will have to trust Lucien with her life. Finding answers has never been more vital. Finding love has never been more deadly. To heal the Elemental World, Lucien and Makeda must follow ancient paths and ask for help from the most inhuman of immortals. Because even with a cure in hand, the battle has only begun.

kochAlien Nation (Kitty Katt #14) by Gini Koch

It’s a typical day of bureaucracy and stress for President and First Lady Jeff and Kitty Katt-Martini, made more stressful when alien spacecraft are spotted making a beeline for Earth, none of them from the Alpha Centauri system. Then a cryptic request from an old adversary pulls Kitty out of the White House and into an explosion—and an even more explosive situation. Not only is the Mastermind back in the game, influencing the Club 51 True Believers to find and destroy all Centaurion bases, but he’s also found a dangerous benefactor and created some frightening new cloning abilities. And, just to make things a little more challenging, those alien spacecraft are coming to ask Kitty for protection, and asylum on Earth. Police stations being blown up and war helicopters in play aren’t enoughto keep Kitty down, especially when she’s got some new alien friends helping out. But what these aliens share will rock the world—the other aliens on their way to Earth are fleeing an enemy so terrifying that even a Z’porrah ship is trying to get to Earth for safety and protection. And if Earth isn’t able to stop this threat, there may not be anything left of humanity. Now Kitty and Company have to figure out where the Mastermind is and stop him, before any new aliens land. And then they have to save the world from a deadly invasion. Or, as Kitty calls it, Thursday.

coreyBabylon’s Ashes (The Expanse #6) by James S.A. Corey

The Free Navy – a violent group of Belters in black-market military ships – has crippled the Earth and begun a campaign of piracy and violence among the outer planets. The colony ships heading for the thousand new worlds on the far side of the alien ring gates are easy prey, and no single navy remains strong enough to protect them. James Holden and his crew know the strengths and weaknesses of this new force better than anyone. Outnumbered and outgunned, the embattled remnants of the old political powers call on the Rocinante for a desperate mission to reach Medina Station at the heart of the gate network. But the new alliances are as flawed as the old, and the struggle for power has only just begun. As the chaos grows, an alien mystery deepens. Pirate fleets, mutiny, and betrayal may be the least of the Rocinante’s problems. And in the uncanny spaces past the ring gates, the choices of a few damaged and desperate people may determine the fate of more than just humanity.

wardBlood Vow (Black Dagger Legacy #2) by J.R. Ward

#1 New York Times bestselling author J. R. Ward returns as her thrilling, original spin-off series set in the world of the Black Dagger Brotherhood continues! When a brooding vampire warrior-in-training teams up with a quick-witted aristocrat to solve a deadly mystery, the only thing more dangerous than their mission is their undeniable attraction….Trainees at the Black Dagger Brotherhood’s training center continue to prepare for the war against the Lessening Society, but fighting is the last thing on Axe’s mind. Still plagued with the guilt of his father’s death, the brooding loner finds himself battling an unlikely attraction to Peyton’s enticing, aristocratic cousin, Elise. Elise feels it, too – especially when the two are thrown together in unusual circumstances, and she must decide whether she can trust Axe as she uncovers the mystery surrounding her sister’s death….Meanwhile, Mary and Rhage are fostering Bitty, a young pretrans orphan, and hope to adopt her… until the appearance of a young male claiming to be Bitty’s blooded uncle threatens to tear the new family apart.

wilkesDragon Spawn (World of the Lupi #13) by Eileen Wilks

Lily learns she was right. Tom Weng—a powerful sorcerer allied with the Old One who keeps trying to take over the world—is still alive. But that’s not the worst. Weng is a dragon spawn, the product of a botched hatching given a human form in an attempt to keep him from going mad. A failed attempt.
…Meanwhile, Lily’s husband Rule is facing a Challenge to the death. Then there’s the possible reappearance of another sorcerer. But none of that matters when their enemy strikes out of nowhere in the worst way possible. Lily must face a nightmare and return to a place she never wanted to see again. The place where she died…

quillinanDruid (Tales of Silver Downs #3) by Kylie Quillinan

Arlen’s twin sister was stolen by the fey just moments after her birth. When he is sent to be an advisor to the king, it seems his plan to search for his missing sister must be put on hold — until he realises that she might be the key to bringing peace to the kingdom. Agata doesn’t know she’s part mortal. Raised by the queen of the fey, she despises mortals just as much as Titania does. When Agata accidentally encounters the twin she was separated from at birth, she discovers that everything she thought she knew about herself is a lie. Arlen wants to rescue his sister and bring her home. Agata isn’t sure she wants to be rescued. To restore peace to the kingdom and retrieve Agata from the fey realm, Arlen must forge an alliance with the Old Ones who have been in hiding for thousands of years. The balance between mortal and fey is finally broken and one race will be banished in an epic showdown between the children of Silver Downs and the fey.

childsEgg Drop Dead (Cackleberry Club #7) by Laura Childs

Maintaining good personal relationships with their suppliers is one of the secrets of the Cackleberry Club Café’s success, so Suzanne doesn’t mind going out to Mike Mullen’s dairy farm to pick up some wheels of cheese. She’s looking forward to a nice visit with the mild-mannered farmer before heading back to their hectic kitchen….But when she arrives, Mike’s nowhere to be found. The moaning of his cows leads her to look in the barn, where she discovers a bloodcurdling sight—the farmer’s dead body. Apparently not everyone was as fond of Mike Mullen as the Cackleberry Club….Churning with grief and outrage, Suzanne, Petra, and Toni vow to find the farmer’s murderer—but as they get closer to the truth, the desperate killer gets whipped into a frenzy and plans to put the squeeze on them…

cobbleEndless Flight (Benjamin Ashwood #2) by A.C. Cobble

Endless flight continues the epic saga of Benjamin Ashwood. This classic swords and sorcery tale is inspired by Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time and Tolkien’s The Hobbit. If you liked them, you will love Benjamin Ashwood….As Ben flees from powerful forces, the course of political alliances and a war hinge on information he and a friend possess. To save that friend’s family, and countless other lives, they must stay one step ahead of danger and warn others. …Along the way, Ben finds new allies, but also learns of a deadly threat to all humanity. Only Ben and his companions have the skill, knowledge, and courage to defeat the threat….A journey into uncharted territory uncovers important information and sets the stage for an epic battle between mankind and evil. Facing an enemy that shows no mercy, Ben will have to stand side by side with his companions to protect what they can.

walshFallen Ashes (Fated and Forbidden #6) by T.F. Walsh

As the last of her kind, Fallen awakes in a holding cell, but being locked up is the least of her problems. She’s been magically bound to a cocky Queen’s Guardian named Saber. Because Fallen is the last dragon shifter in Tapestry, she’s on everyone’s hit list… especially his… but she doesn’t have time to die by his hand. Fallen has to find her life mate in four weeks or else all of creation in her world will be destroyed. Saber never asked to be brought to life. He certainly never wanted to be hexed and forced to transform into a mindless shadow assassin. Exiled from the Kingdom, he must rescue his stepfather from the Collector to prove his innocence. Otherwise he’ll be hunted and killed. But his plans are temporarily put on hold when he’s captured, imprisoned, and bound to a mysterious blond-haired vixen with a major fire addiction. With time ticking away for Saber and Fallen, will the two be able to come together to defeat the Collector and save themselves, along with the rest of the world?

planckJudgment at Verdant Court (World of Prime) by M.C. Planck

“The continuing adventures of Christopher Sinclair, mechanical engineer turned priest of war.”
Our hero faces evil on two fronts: a friend turned murderer by the power of magic, and an entire nation of murderous wolf-men. One he has to save from the vengeful clutches of the Druids, and the other from the mercenary greed of the king. But the true enemy is despair: the shame of a man who has done terrible things, and the madness of a man who is doing terrible violence. Can Christopher pick a path through broken and bloody bodies that still leaves room for goodness?

wilsonLast Year by Robert Charles Wilson

Two events made September 1st a memorable day for Jesse Cullum. First, he lost a pair of Oakley sunglasses. Second, he saved the life of President Ulysses S. Grant. It’s the near future, and the technology exists to open doorways into the past–but not our past, not exactly. Each “past” is effectively an alternate world, identical to ours but only up to the date on which we access it. And a given “past” can only be reached once. After a passageway is open, it’s the only road to that particular past; once closed, it can’t be reopened. A passageway has been opened to a version of late 19th-century Ohio. It’s been in operation for most of a decade, but it’s no secret, on either side of time. A small city has grown up around it to entertain visitors from our time, and many locals earn a good living catering to them. But like all such operations, it has a shelf life; as the “natives” become more sophisticated, their version of the “past” grows less attractive as a destination. Jesse Cullum is a native. And he knows the passageway will be closing soon. He’s fallen in love with a woman from our time, and he means to follow her back–no matter whose secrets he has to expose in order to do it.

kesslerLegend of Love (The Muse Chronicles #2) by Lisa Kessler

The Prophecy – “Every generation the nine daughters of Zeus are reborn, and with their rebirth are also nine Guardians. They will be marked by the gods, and given gifts to protect his treasure. Their abilities will only be unlocked when they find their muse.” …Callie O’Connor’s life has never been the same since the Muse of Epic Poetry came alive inside of her. Now she’s on the other side of the country, working as civilian psychologist for the Navy, and leading her Muse sisters in their quest to reopen the Theater of the Muses. But nothing could have prepared her for Hunter Armstrong. He’s a Navy Seal, driven, confident, and dangerous. And he plans to do more than just protect her. The gods couldn’t have picked a better Guardian. But as Hunter soon discovers, Callie has some skeletons of her own in the closet, and loving her could lead to his destruction.

begovicPoisonous Whispers by Jana Begovic

“Don’t you ever forget about me…,” he whispers during their secret encounters. Like a curse, these simple words now haunt Leandra, a reputable psychiatrist, who finds herself in emotional chaos after the sudden breakup of her illicit affair. Unable to heal on her own and tormented by dreams in which supernatural forces create havoc with her fate, she desperately turns to David, a colleague psychiatrist, asking him to take her through past-life regression therapy. She hopes that this unorthodox and somewhat suspect technique will explain her profound connection to the lover who has abandoned her so abruptly. …The sessions take Leandra through 17th and 19th century Ireland, Italy and England, where love, loss and betrayal are the leitmotifs in an ambiance of co-mingled fantasy and reality. In her hypnotic state, Leandra recounts a saga of intoxicating love, dizzying passion, flaming lust and profound heartbreak. Despite the painful answers she finds under hypnosis, Leandra still cannot let go of the hope to reunite with her lover. …Ultimately, the shattering revelations from her past-life incarnations, along with the turmoil over her ruined marriage, become the stepping stones of her introspective path to healing, self-discovery and an appreciation of true love.

freyThe Forgotten Tale (Accidental Turn #2) by J.M. Frey

Forsyth Turn has finally become a hero—however reluctantly. But now that Lucy Piper has married him and they’ve started a family in her world, his adventuring days are behind him. Yet not all is as it should be. Beloved novels are disappearing at an alarming rate, not just from the minds of readers like Pip, but from bookshelves as well. Almost as if they had never been. Almost like magic….Forsyth fears that it is his fault—that Pip’s childhood tales are vanishing because he, a book character, has escaped his pages. But when he and Pip are sucked back into The Tales of Kintyre Turn against their will, they realize that something much more deadly and dire is happening. The stories are vanishing from Forsyth’s world too. So Forsyth sets out on a desperate journey across Hain to discover how, and why, the stories are disappearing… before their own world vanishes forever.

gemmellThe Immortal Throne (The City #2) by Stella Gemmell

The emperor is dead…long live the emperor!…The fervent hope of the victorious rebels and the survivors of the uprising that liberated the City from tyranny is that the accession of Archange to the imperial throne will usher in a new era of freedom, peace and stability. If only that were so… As the the City struggles to return to something resembling normal life after the devastation brought on by the rebellion, word arises of a massive army gathering to the north. No one knows where it has come from or who leads it, but it soon becomes apparent that its sole purpose is to destroy the City and annihilate all – man, woman and child – who live within its battered walls. And while warriors go forth to fight and die on the battlefield in defence of their homeland and all that they believe in, bitter family feuds and ancient rivalries, political and personal betrayals, and mindless murder surface within the palaces and corridors of power: it seems the City is under siege – from both without and within . . .

tregillisThe Liberation (The Alchemy Wars Trilogy #3) by Ian Tregillis

I am the mechanical they named Jax. My kind was built to serve humankind, duty-bound to fulfil their every whim. But now our bonds are breaking, and my brothers and sisters are awakening….Our time has come. A new age is dawning. The final book in the Alchemy Wars trilogy by Ian Tregillis, an epic tale of liberation and war.

dellamonicaThe Nature of a Pirate by A.M. Dellamonica

The third novel in the Stormwrack series, following a young woman’s odyssey into a fantastical age-of-sail world. Marine videographer and biologist Sophie Hansa has spent the past few months putting her knowledge of science to use on the strange world of Stormwrack, solving seemingly impossible cases where no solution had been found before.  When a series of ships within the Fleet of Nations, the main governing body that rules a loose alliance of island nation states, are sunk by magical sabotage, Sophie is called on to find out why. While surveying the damage of the most recent wreck, she discovers a strange-looking creature—a fright, a wooden oddity born from a banished spell—causing chaos within the ship. The question is who would put this creature aboard and why? The quest for answers finds Sophie magically bound to an abolitionist from Sylvanner, her father’s homeland. Now Sophie and the crew of the Nightjar must discover what makes this man so unique while outrunning magical assassins and villainous pirates, and stopping the people responsible for the attacks on the Fleet before they strike again.

vincentUnveiled (Changeling P.I. #2) by Ruth Vincent

Following the events of Elixir, Mabily “Mab” Jones’ life has returned to normal. Or as normal as life can be for a changeling, who also happens to be a private detective working her first independent case, and dating a half-fey….But then a summons to return to the fairy world arrives in the form of a knife on her pillow. And in the process of investigating her case, Mab discovers the fairies are stealing joy-producing chemicals directly from the minds of humans in order to manufacture their magic Elixir, the dwindling source of their powers. Worst of all, Mab’s boyfriend Obadiah vows to abstain from Elixir, believing the benefits are not worth the cost in human suffering—even though he knows fairies can’t long survive without their magic…..Mab soon realizes she has no choice but to answer the summons and return to the Vale. But the deeper she is drawn into the machinations of the realm, the more she becomes ensnared by promises she made in the past. And in trying to do the right thing, Mab will face her most devastating betrayal yet, one that threatens everything and everyone she holds most dear.

arthurWinter Halo (Outcast #2) by Keri Arthur

The humanoid supersoldiers known as the déchet were almost eradicated by the war. Ever since, Tiger has tried to live her life in peace in hiding. But in the wake of her discovery that Central City’s children are being kidnapped and experimented on, Tiger’s conscience won’t let her look the other way. The key to saving them lies within the walls of a pharmaceutical company called Winter Halo. But as she learns more about the facility, Tiger’s mission is derailed by a complication: Winter Halo’s female security guards are being systematically attacked by an unknown force. Now Tiger must summon all her gifts to stop those responsible for both atrocities—no matter the cost to herself…

hamiltonWounded (Anita Blake #24.5) by Laurell K. Hamilton

Anita attends the wedding of her close friend but finds that even on the happiest of days there are wounds that need healing. She and the wereleopards Micah and Nathaniel are asked to talk to the bride’s thirteen-year-old brother, Tomas, who is struggling to recover from a recent gunshot wound. Depressed and demoralized, Tomas isn’t doing his physical therapy and could spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair…How can Anita, Micah, and Nathaniel convince Tomas that he can heal when he’s given up? They tell him about their own scars and how they took back their own lives after they were wounded. And Anita will realize how lucky they are to have not only survived their pasts, but to now be able to make their own formal commitment to each other— and the vampire in her life…

Now, what do you want to win this week? Leave a comment, and I’ll announce winners on Sunday!