Spotlight, Feature, & Excerpt: Witch of the Cards + Giveaway

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Witch of the Cards

by Catherine Stine
Genre: paranormal historical suspense
Publisher: Konjur Road Press
Date of Publication: March 16, 2016
ISBN 13: 978-0-9848282-6-5    
ISBN-10: 0-9848282-6-5
ISBN 13: 978-0-9848282-7-2  
ISBN 10: 0-9848282-7-3
Number of pages: 265
Word Count: 76K
Cover Artist: Mae I Designs

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Fiera was born a sea witch with no inkling of her power. And now it might be too late. 

Witch of the Cards is a supernatural romantic suspense set in 1932 on the Jersey shore. Fiera has left the Brooklyn orphanage where she was raised and works in Manhattan as a nanny. She gets a lucky break when her boss pays for her vacation in Asbury Park. One evening, Fiera and her new friend Dulcie wander down the boardwalk and into Peter Dune’s Tarot & Séance, where they attend a card reading. 

Fiera has an unsettling ability to sense future events and people’s hidden agendas. She longs to either find out the origin of her powers or else banish them because as is, they make her feel crazy. When, during the reading, her energies somehow bond with Peter Dune’s and form an undeniable ethereal force, a chain of revelations and dangerous events unspool. 

For one, Fiera finds out she is a witch from a powerful sea clan, but that someone is out to stop her blossoming power forever. And though she is falling in love with Peter, he also has a secret side. He’s no card reader, but a private detective working to expose mediums. Despite this terrible betrayal, Fiera must make the choice to save Peter from a tragic Morro Cruise boat fire, or let him perish with his fellow investigators. Told in alternating viewpoints, Fiera and Peter each struggle against their deep attraction. Secrets, lies, even murder, lace this edgy fantasy. 

From Lovers of Paranormal: “Interesting story of witches, deceit, secrets, romance and friendship. Fun and creative.”

 

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Excerpt:

If I only had a week in this glorious beach town, I wanted to catch up with sleep and plunge into as many escapades as possible—even bewildering, outlandish ones.

We walked in, to the jangle of Mr. Dune’s door chimes. I skated around, ogling the floor-to-ceiling shelves brimming with leather-bound books on cosmic mysteries, spiritualism, and witchcraft. Two immediate standouts were Ten Ways to Practice Mentalism and Dona Bella, Memoirs of a Southern Witch. These were my fare, similar to a favorite book at the public library—a tome on dark magic. The most stirring part was about each witch dynasty having its own grimoire, a sort of magical recipe book. I had no clue as to why dark tales tickled me so, and often wondered about my taste.

Still, I read everything I could get my hands on, even boring books that drifted me right off to the Land of Nod. At my nanny job, I was so desperate for stories I even read the tedious articles about cooking and how to throw a proper cocktail party in Mrs. Cuthbert’s Reader’s Digest and Home Arts magazines.

 Mr. Dune strode toward us. His handsome aura and towering presence intimidated yet thrilled me. He was dressed in crisp, charcoal gray pants and a vest with a double-breasted pinstriped jacket. “Are you lovely ladies here for the séance?” He held out a long, elegant hand, studded with a silver ring. I barely collected my wits enough to shake it and nod. Dulcie’s hand whooshed out and hardly touched his before she clamped it protectively back to her side.

No doubt about it, he was the most striking man I’d ever seen. His thick mop of dark hair tapered into long sideburns, rendering his jawline a tad dangerous. I guessed he was in his mid-twenties. When his coffee-brown eyes gleamed at me, my breath caught, and a heat greater than any moonshine fired through me.

We paid the dime admission. He escorted us to a round, wooden table with lion-footed legs where we joined a heavyset older couple and a reedy gentleman with thin, blond hair. His lime-fizz eyes darted over to Dulcie, and then away. Two empty chairs still beckoned.

Dulcie looked terrified, so I smiled at her. She calmed enough to take a seat.

Mr. Dune strode to the window, loosened the crimson curtains, and lowered their heavy velvet over the windows, lending the already-pensive storefront a mystical aura.


The allure of creepy, ramshackle beach towns as settings for dark fantasy:
What is it exactly that makes edgy beach towns the perfect setting for sinister fantasy and historical suspense? I’ve always been attracted to the dark side, and particularly to strange beach towns. So far, I’ve set two novels in them.

When I first moved to New York City after college and a stint out west, you couldn’t tear me away from the dilapidated boardwalks of Coney Island. This was back before the arcade was renovated, back when the sideshow by the sea with its sword swallower and human pincushion were on full display. It was when a hungry, dirty capybara was caged in a box that read: Only $5 To See the Biggest Rat in the World! This poor critter was a plot point in Dorianna, my paranormal twist on Dorian Grey. And no surprise, I set Dorianna in Coney Island, and installed a sexy villain in Wilson Warren. He was an agent of the devil disguised as a videographer who prowled the beaches, making girls into viral Internet sensations for a very high price.

Fast-forward to my novel Witch of the Cards, set in 1932, about Fiera, a sea witch who has a special talent with Tarot (and not just reading the cards). Of course,I set it in a shady shore town, in this case, Asbury Park, NJ. You see, I’ve been coming to this gentrifying coastal town for years and know it well—its sunny moods but also its spooky, moody shades.
Around the turn of the century, and up until around 1945, Asbury Park used to be the stomping grounds of the glitterati. There were grand concerts in the art deco Convention Center, and people dressed to the nines would stroll on the boardwalk at night. Then came the race riots of the 1960s and the economic crash, and the place fell into major disrepair. Its only remaining claim to fame was The Stone Pony, where Bruce Springsteen rocked into the limelight.

About twenty-seven years ago, when I first ventured into the Asbury convention center, there was a huge hole in its roof that seagulls flew in and out of. And there was only one lonely saltwater taffy store on the boardwalk run by an ancient lady who seemed to have stepped out of a Stephen King novel. In Witch of the Cards the taffy sold in the shop has very odd effects, and I installed an illegal speakeasy in the taffy store basement. I turned the (actual) Paranormal Museum on CookwellAvenue into a place to hold séances that often went horribly wrong.

In Witch of the Cards, even the ocean hides terrible secrets.

There’s something about the scent of saltwater and hotdogs, the splintered, salt-dried boardwalk and the scream of people hurtling down on the arcade rides that gets my blood charging and my imagination firing. What about you?
Here’s a snippet of a scene when Fiera and her date Peter venture down to the basement speakeasy in the taffy store:

“Perhaps I was far too gone, but I didn’t care. Peter and I danced and danced. The room filled with the overflow from the convention hall dance—young lovers, bootlegger types with wide ties and cigars, older women with twinkling earrings and heavy bosoms, even a prostitute or two. I thought so anyway, because they wore way too much rouge and came alone to sit brazenly up at the bar with the gin rummies.

This time I couldn’t say whether or not I stepped on Mr. Dune’s polished wingtips. This time, he probably couldn’t be sure if he knocked his bony legs into mine. We had many more nips of absinthe, and I wolfed down another green-swirl taffy and before I knew it, I was leaning provocatively against Peter and laughing like a wild banshee. 
 
I remember gaping up at him to see his black hair all disheveled and him mumbling indistinctly. And I, thinking that he was the most gorgeous human being I’d ever seen. I remember Dulcie grabbing one of my arms, and Peter grasping the other. I remember all of us howling at the crescent moon over the ocean, and the shocked sideways glance of the hotel proprietor as we all stumbled in. 
 
I recall pulling out the Tarot he’d given me, and laying them out on the bedroom rug. I recall babbling at him—about a witch and a swindler and a boat—not necessarily in that order. I can still picture his expression of shocked surprise but not at what.
 
And I remember Peter’s lips branding my forehead—how could I ever forget that—while shocks of his lush black hair dangled deliciously on my burning cheeks. The last thing I recall before things went dark was kicking off my shoes.”
 
Happy Season of the Witch,
Catherine Stine
 

About the Author:

Catherine Stine is a USA Today bestselling author of paranormal, urban and historical fantasy. Witch of the Wild Beasts won a second prize in the Romance Writers of America’s Sheila Contest. Other novels have earned Indie Notable awards and New York Public Library Best Books. She lives in New York State and grew up in Philadelphia. Before writing novels, she was a painter and fabric designer.

She’s a visual author and sees writing as painting with words. Catherine loves spending time with her beagle Benny, writing about supernatural creatures, gardening and meeting readers at book fests.

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Book Blitz: The Entrant, by Rock Forsberg

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The Entrant
by Rock Forsberg
Out September 28, 2021
Spit City Publishing
Science Fiction Adventure, Science Fiction

The ARL race crafts run on sonic speeds just a few metres from the track and race massive rollercoaster circuits all across the galaxy. It is the biggest sport under the federation.

Zane Silvering, the son of an ARL legend, races in a local antigravity league and dreams of making it big in the galaxy.

On his eighteenth birthday, after being kicked out of his team, an ARL team offers him a position as a substitute. Despite the warning signs, he seizes the opportunity, and boards a massive spaceship, the mobile base of a team competing for the galactic championship.

But the life of an ARL racer isn’t as easy as he thought. The crafts are raw and powerful, the competition relentless—also inside his team—and the game sometimes gets dirty. Just to get to race, he has to beat some of the galaxy’s best racers.

And there’s more to the team than racing: a group of them run secret missions for the enigmatic owner. Soon Zane works night-shift as their getaway pilot.

When the day and night jobs meet, he must step out of his father’s shadow, and race, not only for the glory, but for his life.

If you like underdog stories, awe-inspiring galactic trekking, and high-adrenaline racing, The Entrant will keep you strapped to your seat until the finish line.

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Author Bio:
Rock Forsberg is a science fiction author. He loves awe-inspiring stories and started writing so that he could create epic worlds and stories of his own. He has also written songs, poems, and short stories, both in English and in Finnish. He considers writing to be a long game, with a lifetime of learning, and dozens of novels to write.

A dual citizen of Finland and Australia, he splits his time between Helsinki, Finland and Sydney, Australia. If he not writing, he’s reading, keeping fit (he’s a health geek), playing guitar, or enjoying time with his family and friends.

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Book Blitz & Excerpt: Inked & Sweet + Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Megan Slayer will be awarding a Prize pack with a necklace made by the author to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Inked & Sweet
By Megan Slayer
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance

Dante Malachi screwed his life up to epic proportions. His addictions nearly killed him before he hit rock bottom. Getting kicked out of the Malachi family was his motivation to clean up his act, but leaving his old life behind meant leaving her, as well. Rona’s the one he never forgot.

Rona never wanted to see Dante again. She blames him for the bad in her life — but also most of the good. When he comes back into her orbit, she knows she has to let him in — or get rid of him for good.

When a bomb threat throws them together, it’s up to Rona and Dante to decide if they want to extinguish the desire between them or reignite their fiery passion.

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Read an Excerpt

Copyright ©2021 Megan Slayer

One year later…

Dante pulled into the Brass Pole parking lot for his nightly shift. For the last year, he’d worked his ass off to prove to the owner, Bruce, that he could do more than look menacing at the door. He didn’t mind being a bouncer, but he’d rather work steadily with the books. Bruce allowed him to fix the mistakes in the books twice a week, but Dante preferred his time in the office, rather than at the door. The impulse to steal money never quite left him, but there wasn’t the ready cash like at his family’s clubs. Besides, he needed the job and responsibility.

He left his clunker of a car and walked into the club. Bruce stood behind the bar, rather than in his usual spot with the bouncers.

“Bruce.” Dante clocked in. “Where’s Mick? Out again?” The regular bartender wasn’t always reliable unless he was behind the bar.

“He quit. Met a girl in Sutton and left. Something about the great peanut butter and jelly sandwiches,” Bruce said. “I have no idea what the hell that means, but it’s got to be code for something. That man always talks in code about sex.” He rinsed glasses, then left them on the towel.

“Could be.” He’d never heard of sex referred to as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but whatever. “Do you have someone lined up as a replacement?”

“Not yet. I’ve got some guys coming in for interviews tomorrow.” Bruce wiped a tall-boy glass. “I’d have you fill in, but I’m sending you upstairs.”

“You are?” He’d graduated to doing the books those two nights, but hadn’t tended bar in six months.

“The books are fine and can wait another night. I’ll be down here at the bar because you’re not supposed to be this close to booze. No, I’m going to have you serve upstairs. Nothing stronger than soft drinks, so it’s not hard. Besides, I trust you up there. Everyone wants to go up there to watch the action, and I know you’ll actually do the job,” Bruce said.

“Oh, you know it?” He’d do exactly what he was told to do because he needed to prove to himself and everyone else that he could handle the job.

“You’ll give me lip, but you’ll do the job.”


About the Author

Megan Slayer, aka Wendi Zwaduk, is a multi-published, award-winning author of more than one-hundred short stories and novels. She’s been writing since 2008 and published since 2009. Her stories range from the contemporary and paranormal to LGBTQ and white hot themes. No matter what the length, her works are always hot, but with a lot of heart. She enjoys giving her characters a second chance at love, no matter what the form. She’s been nominated at the LRC for Best Author, Best Contemporary, Best Ménage, Best BDSM and Best Anthology. Her books have made it to the bestseller lists on Amazon.com.

When she’s not writing, Megan spends time with her husband and son as well as three dogs and three cats. She enjoys art, music and racing, but football is her sport of choice. She’s an active member of the Friends of the Keystone-LaGrange Public library.

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