Thursday, December 31, 2020

Happy New Year and Critters Annual Readers Poll nomination.

Here's to 2021!
Thank you for your support!

Critters Annual Readers Poll is going on and we've been nominated for
Best Review Site
If we've made you laugh or introduced you to a new author, give us a vote!

Poll closes Jan 14th

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Thank you ahead of time!

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Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Read the entire FLAME SERIES by Daniella Brodsky for only 99 cents!

Don't miss your chance to read the entire FLAME SERIES by Daniella Brodsky for only 99 cents! 

Flame Series Complete Box Set: Second Chance Romance Collection
by Daniella Brodsky
December 29, 2020
Genre: humor, romance
From #1 Amazon bestselling author Daniella Brodsky comes a delicious complete series box set of all three full-length novels from the Flame Series, full to the hilt with steamy, emotional, second-chance romance and heroes so hot you’ll need to turn up the air-con.

These sexy, swoony romances introduce you to:
One smoldering Aussie alpha soldier, one smokin’ Hawaiian-Irish ex-boyfriend who’s (unfortunately) hotter than ever, and a Billionaire Aussie with a broken heart who can melt panties in a single glance. Now grab that cold drink and prep yourself for three hot reads.

Book One: Keep Calm and Perfect Your Smolder
When my girlfriend’s best friend turns out to be my ex, the love of my life, I know the fates have aligned: I have to get her back. I have to show her that she was the path I should have chosen all those years ago.
*Warning: This story contains cheating.

Book Two: Aloha Old Flame
I did the right thing convincing Emma to sever her small-town tie to the island that would only drag her back. I knew her move to Paris would break our hearts, but she was off to bigger and better things and damn if I was going to be the one to stand in her way.

Back then, I was sure eventually, I’d meet someone else, the way people always did when they got older. We were just kids, and I was cocky. How could I not be with the way girls were literally lining up for me?

And for years, I’d convinced myself I was the hero in all this, until I couldn’t convince myself any longer.

Book Three: Insanely Hot, Then Not
It’s incredible, the way I can’t stop thinking about that curvy girl on the train with the sexy pixie hair. She’s the only thing getting me through the emotional minefield my father’s death has sent me walking through.

Imagine my surprise when she turns out to be the single mom standing in the way of me bulldozing my dad’s building--the only thing I’ve been desperately counting on for some closure.

What could go wrong?

*This box set contains three full-length romances with guaranteed HEAs. The Flame Series books have some crossover characters but can be read in any order and have no cliffhangers.
★★ .99 FLAME SERIES BOX SET ★★ 


About the author
Daniella Brodsky is the bestselling author of a dozen contemporary romance novels—one of which has been adapted by Disney as the film, Beauty & The Briefcase, starring Hilary Duff. (I know, right?!)

She writes sexy, swoony romance with hot alphas, which often takes readers into far-off destinations. This is because she’s lived all over the world, from New York to London to Sydney and Honolulu. She now lives in Australia, and lots of her alpha males are Australian because let’s face it: they’re hot. And the accent doesn’t hurt either. That’s why she married one.

Daniella is an adjunct Creative Writing Lecturer at James Cook University and edits and teaches fiction craft at her Captain Cook Studio. A native New Yorker, she lives in Canberra, Australia, with her husband, two daughters, and a beagle who has eaten so many things she shouldn’t have, she’s lucky to be alive. Stop by and say hello at her facebook page at https://bit.ly/2MUr0RC.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Baaart

I have a crafty sister-in-law *waves to Susie* and for Christmas, she made me Baaarts! She got a cool sheep pattern and added fangs to the one and made a set of batwings.

Here are pics of each Baart wearing the bat wings.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Excerpt: Law of the Heretic (Immortality Shattered Book 1) by Christian Warren Freed + giveaway

Law of the Heretic (Immortality Shattered Book 1) 
by Christian Warren Freed
January 14, 2018
Genre: Epic Fantasy
The Staff of Life has been lost for a thousand years. Imbued with the powers to dominate all life, the Staff can save or ruin the Free Lands. Many have sought out the Staff. All failed. Until now.

The time of peace is ending. Betraying his oath and bond, the Black Imelin murders former friends and sets out to find the lost Staff of Life. With it he will bring the Free Lands to their knees.

Author Christian Warren Freed brings a new world to life with Law of the Heretic. Filled with dangers, monsters, and creatures hidden for centuries, Immortality Shattered delivers the same intense action and character driven world building combined with his military experience that fans worldwide have come to enjoy.

A small band of heroes assembles but success is far from guaranteed. Life and death hang in the balance and the future is in doubt.

Start the epic journey of two men struggling with what they are and who they were meant to be.


The Golden Warriors slowed their approach to a walk as they entered the thickest part of the forest. Morningstars, lethal spiked balls dangling on chains, hung loose in anticipation. Every trooper felt it. Battle was about to be joined. The forest had grown deathly quiet. Even the wind stopped blowing. The Golden Warriors knew all too well the tactics of the former Aragothian army. They also knew that the advantage would remain theirs, so long as the troop remained mounted. 

Patting his horse’s neck in reassurance, more for his own sanity than for the horse, Aron lifted the face piece on his helmet. He swore he spotted the glitter of gold dangling from distant trees. Perhaps he was tired, allowing fatigue to influence his mind. Mistakes were commonplace in military operations. He stopped his horse and gestured Amean forward. Together they stared into the deceiving forest. Pale rays of sunlight threw light where otherwise dark would be, while casting shadows into the visible world. 

“I may be old, and a bit of a fool, but that looks like armor,” Amean said, without humor. 

Aron closed his eyes. His worst fears were being realized and now collided with the quiet urges of sleep already taunting him. “I feared this. Get five men to come with me. I don’t want the rest of the troop seeing this.” 

“The scouts?” 

Aron nodded.

The Bitter War of Always (Immortality Shattered Book 2) 

The Land of Wicked Shadows (Immortality Shattered Book 3) 

Storm Upon the Dawn (Immortality Shattered Book 4) 

About the Author
Website-FB-Twitter
Christian W. Freed was born in Buffalo, N.Y. more years ago than he would like to remember. After spending more than 20 years in the active duty US Army he has turned his talents to writing. Since retiring, he has gone on to publish 17 military fantasy and science fiction novels, as well as his memoirs from his time in Iraq and Afghanistan. His first published book (Hammers in the Wind) has been the #1 free book on Kindle 4 times and he holds a fancy certificate from the L Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest.

Passionate about history, he combines his knowledge of the past with modern military tactics to create an engaging, quasi-realistic world for the readers. He graduated from Campbell University with a degree in history and is pursuing a Masters of Arts degree in Military History from Norwich University. He currently lives outside of Raleigh, N.C. and devotes his time to writing, his family, and their two Bernese Mountain Dogs. If you drive by you might just find him on the porch with a cigar in one hand and a pen in the other.

Giveaway 
$25 Amazon 
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway! 

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Excerpt: Marked (Dark Kindred Spirits Book One) by Athena Floras + giveaway

Marked (Dark Kindred Spirits Book One) 
by Athena Floras
November 21st, 2020
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Romance
ASIN: B08MBNHBR7
Number of pages: 108
Word Count: 19 679
Cover Artist: Nicholas Mallet
When all hope is lost, love will find a way.

When there is darkness, seek the light…

Sebastian Falls has known his fair share of pain and sorrow in his life. His world is one filled with evil and danger. He’s learned to keep his emotions to himself and not let anyone get close. It’s the only way to not get hurt. But when he meets Ariel Olivier, the shy, awkward girl in his class, he wonders if he should continue to stay in the darkness. There’s something about Ariel that makes him want to let her in.

Ariel Olivier never knew when she got a tattoo on her eighteenth birthday that her whole world would change for the worse. From that moment on, her normal, mundane life turned into something sinister. An evil grows within her and it threatens to consume her and all those she cares for.

There is only one person who can help her vanquish what wants to destroy her, the alluring, mysterious Sebastian Falls. She can’t help but be drawn to him. He comes from the same evil world that is trying to kill her. Can she trust him and her growing feelings or let whatever dark power that is controlling her take over completely?


Excerpt: 
Ariel Olivier’s wandering mind never rested. It kept her occupied at the most inopportune times, like right now in her Humanities’ class. Mr. Brentwood’s monotone voice as he read a passage in the reference book on religion and its influence on politics was the driving force propelling her thoughts away from the subject matter. 

This was her least favorite class. She probably wouldn’t have chosen it if another Humanities subject was available in the same timeslot. But there hadn’t been, so she was stuck with this boring class and Mr. Brentwood’s unemotional and slow-paced teaching methods for the rest of the semester. 

The squirrel doing a balancing act on the powerline outside her window had her undivided attention at the moment. It seemed to stare at her, urging her to open the window to let it in. It was cold outside. The puissant wind blew the fur on its puffy tail, making it shiver. 

If she could do it undetected, she would have let it in. She hated to see it suffer. 

When the squirrel saw she wasn’t budging, it scurried farther down the powerline, searching for another opportunity to come into the building. 

She sighed, glancing down at her watch. There was only a few more minutes of class left and then her school day would be over. 

She couldn’t wait until she was out of the school. Throughout the entire day, she worried someone would realize it was her birthday and wish her best wishes. 

She hated drawing attention to herself. She was shy and reserved. She felt the most at ease when she could sit in class or in the library and not be seen or heard. Being invisible was what she thrived for, because it meant freedom without prejudice. No one could criticize her bad posture when she sat or how her hair curled untamed. Or how she wore only monotone colored clothes and hated patterns of any kind. 

She could be herself and not be judged for any quirks, odd habits, or preferences she might have. 

Mr. Brentwood flipped the massive textbook closed. The echoing noise it produced sliced into the silence drawing her out of her reverie. She blinked focusing on his words. 

“That’s the end of today’s lesson. I’d like you all to read the next chapter in the book and we’ll discuss it on Tuesday.” 

All of a sudden, he honed his gaze onto her and he smiled. “I almost forgot one very important thing to mention before you go.” 

She shifted her eyes and fidgeted in her chair. Somehow, she knew what he’d say next. She should have expected it. He always did it for all of his students. 

“It’s Ariel’s birthday today. She turned eighteen. Please wish her along with me a happy birthday.” 

All eyes turned to look in the direction Mr. Brentwood focused. Only a couple of the students knew immediately she was Ariel. The rest seemed to have noticed her for the first time, as if they never knew she existed before now. 

She felt her cheeks burning. She wanted to crawl under her desk and hide. 

* * * * 

Sebastian Falls witnessed the chaos from afar. He cringed noting the scene was stressing Ariel out. 

He didn’t know her personally. They’d been in the same Humanities class for the past month and had never spoken to one another. But from the frequent times he’d observed her from the back of the classroom, he could tell she was a lot like he was, an introvert who didn’t like talking in class. 

Too bad Mr. Brentwood hadn’t figured that out yet. The worst thing he could have done, he did. Drawing everyone’s attention to the fact it was Ariel’s birthday was freaking her out. 

Her cheeks turned beet red and she couldn’t keep eye contact with the students as they swarmed in and offered her happy birthday wishes. 

He even caught her eyeing the door. She obviously was contemplating running the hell out of there. If he were in her shoes, he probably would have been thinking the same thing, except his reason was different from hers. She was shy and awkward. He just hated crowds and wanted to be left alone. 

Grabbing his books, he made his way out, avoiding the traffic jam around her desk. It was getting too busy and too noisy for his liking. Peace and quiet were what he thrived for. He couldn’t get it at home, but he made damn sure to get it at school. 

He walked into the hallway and leaned on a random locker waiting for the perfect time to act. He had no idea how long he’d have to wait—a minute, ten minutes, or even half an hour. But he didn’t mind. It would all be worth it in the end if everything fell into place like he planned. 

About the Author:
Website-Amazon -Twitter
Athena Floras is a wife and proud mother of three who loves to read and write suspenseful and romantic stories. When she isn't busy being a mom, she spends her spare time in her den, totally immersing herself into the whimsical, fantastical world of fiction. She hopes the stories and characters she creates will bring readers as much pleasure and entertainment as they have her.

Tweet 1: 
Marked is the first novella in the YA paranormal series Dark Kindred Spirits. It delves into magic & that fine line between reality and the sublime. Evil often weighs on goodness and vice versa, but when that balance is disturbed, things will get deadly. https://amzn.to/33yOsv4 

Tweet 2: 
When an evil begins to grow in Ariel Olivier & threatens to consume her & everyone she cares for, it’s up to Sebastian Falls to figure out a way to stop it. Can he save the girl he’s falling for before it’s too late? https://amzn.to/33yOsv4 #YA #ParanormalRomance #horror #Demons

Tour Giveaway 
$30 Amazon.com e-Gift Card 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, December 26, 2020

PNR Author Nicole Wells: The Gift of Writing + giveaway

The Gift of Writing
So there I was with a newborn in my lap, sleep deprived and 
awake between nursings. Writing. There was a story I was gifted with that suddenly wanted to be told, and whether I cobbled it together during the day on my cell phone or wrote in the wee hours of morning while my little one slept, I managed to get it all down in three weeks.

For almost a year prior, I had seriously dallied with the idea of writing, and since high school I had fancied the idea of one day becoming an author. While I was pregnant, however, the starts and stops on the world I’d honed since I was a sophomore never tugged the full idea out of me. Instead, I found myself with a complete, and completely unexpected, novel. It was a gift, and my welcome to the world of pantsing.

You see, I am a planner. A we-need-to-turn-this-car-around-because-I-forgot-the-kitchen-sink type of planner. I am not accustomed to waiting to see what my characters had planned, or discovering them as they slowly choose to reveal themselves. With UpSpark, I had only the first scene and the last scene, and it was a full tilt ride filling in everything in-between. What an exhilarating experience to let go of control! I had no idea I was capable of indulging this creative muscle, following it down whatever dark alleys it lead me, to come out the other end into euphoric sunshine.

And now the floodgates are open. I have so many ideas. More so, I have an addiction now. There is no comparable meter stick in my life to this whirlwind of simultaneous wonder, creation, and pride when I strap myself into the sofa, fire up my laptop “control panel”, and dive in to explore new stories, no holds barred.

Well, I guess you could say my kids are wondrous creations I’m proud of, and that’s certainly true, but my stories don’t make dirty dishes or laundry, and when they talk back, it only makes me laugh.

Speaking of, don’t tell my kids, okay? This is just between you and me. They have no idea I can let my hair down and go with the flow. And as much as I love and enjoy the community and friends that I’ve found with this endeavor, the stories that I have been so blessed to be able to share, and the opportunity to touch people with my words, it’s this discovery of these new pieces of me, at the ripe old age of forty something, that I truly treasure. What value would you put on loosing the binds that held you back all your life? I didn’t realize what constriction was, but I’ve gotten a glimpse of who I’ve been and who I am. For a little bit longer, just to be between you and me, this is my precious secret gift from writing, a new superpower of possibility: Mommy can do anything.

StarDust (The Five Elements Book 2) 
by Nicole Wells
December 15, 2020
Genre: New Adult Paranormal Romance
So you’ve got psychic powers, now what?

When superstar Aurora manifests telekinesis, her beliefs about everything are put to the test, even the ones about herself. Can she heal enough to let love in?

Brayden is an easygoing guy, until an Australian beauty steals his heart and turns his world upside down. The stakes get even higher when she threatens to expose a secret that’s been kept by his people for millennia.

Can they recognize their precious love for what it is, and save the world in the process?

Enter the world of the Five Elements with Aurora and Brayden's story.

This book contains some topics that may be triggering.


UpSpark (The Five Elements Book 1) 
"I get the feeling like I'm reading Fault In Our Stars Part 2." 
Winner of the Readers' Favorite 5 Star Award 

Chapter One 
Private Medical Practice 
Silver Spring, Maryland 
June 2017 
I'M WAITING IN THE EXAMINATION ROOM. I've moved from the exam table to the plastic chair at its side. I feel like I have more fortitude here. It's a little more familiar and less lonely than being elevated and exposed on the exam table. My mom is still in the waiting room. I didn't really think it would best for her to be here. I mean, Jesus, dad only died a year and a half ago. But what if it's positive? I wouldn't be able to drive myself home after that. And I couldn't ask a friend. It's just ... too much. Too personal. 

I also moved to the chair because every time I moved on the table, every fidget, every deep breath, caused that damn paper to crinkle, like a mocking echo of my nervousness. A refrain to my thoughts. I decided I could do without the added exclamation of the too-loud crinkle in the too-quiet room. 

My thoughts circle around and around, only pausing when I wonder how much time has passed. I refuse the temptation to check my phone, but then lose the fight to keep my eyes off the clock on the wall. It's been three minutes. Goddamn, but the brain can think a helluva lot of thoughts in three minutes. 

Happy birthday to me. 

My name is Enya. I'm 18. Newly minted. Just a couple weeks ago, actually. To most kids, that means another degree of freedom. Moving out of the house, entering official adulthood, starting the rest of their lives, maybe beginning the independence of college. To me, it means I get to take a test. 

A genetic test. 

I've been waiting my entire life for this test. No, I've been waiting my entire life for the results of this test. And I can wait a little longer. I think of not looking at the clock and end up looking at the clock. Another minute has passed. 

Are these my last minutes of freedom or the beginning of freedom? The shadow of a death sentence will either become real or dissipate. 

My eyes drift to the clock again. Thirty-two seconds have ticked by. 

I focus on benign facts. Did you know that about 300 million cells die every minute in our bodies? 

And that we replace about 48 million cells a minute? 

Or that every few years most of our body has recreated itself? 

Or that most of our body is made up of stardust? Everything in our bodies originates from stardust, which is still falling and still recreating us. There’s something beautiful in the impermanence of us from the eternity of stars. I wish that thought could bring me the reassurance it usually does. 

Did you know that I want to be a doctor? I know exactly the kind, too. I want to do Integrative Medicine. Yeah, all that kooky stuff. I love it. I really believe I've got my head screwed on a little tighter than my mom does since my dad died last year. I credit my getting acupuncture and homeopathy. People know it works, too. That's why it's so popular. I'm gonna be part of the movement that brings it to the forefront. 

Despite waiting for it, the double rap on the door startles me, and Dr. Yee strides in before I can recover. I could have chosen a different doctor to tell me my fate. A genetic expert in a comfy conference room. But Dr. Yee is my family doctor who’s a special combination of straightforward and kind, and I trust her. She grabs the black wheeled stool and sits, leaning onto the examination table, facing me. There is a computer screen hiding my medical records beside us, but she doesn't log in. I want her to. In my mind — I've prepared by imagining this playing out, and I used our prior visits as fodder for my fantasy — she logs in. She shows me what it says. Sometimes it's printed out; in my fantasy that usually doesn't bode well. 

She is staring at me now and I desperately, unreasonably, want her to show me the computer screen. I don't want her to tell me directly. Give me a buffer, let the windows to my soul have some privacy. But the only shutters to my eyes are my eyelids, and my face feels frozen, eyes wide. 

I observe a part of my brain that is having its own conversation, that's analyzing all her mannerisms, like a poker fiend making bets. Is that normal? I've had this doctor for as long as I can remember, and she knows me. And I know her. And she seems extra doctor-y today. I cannot marshal my thoughts, and a group of them tangent off, ping-ponging into a future of preordained death. Other thoughts perseverate on the computer screen, while the background conversation of Dr-Yee-is-wearing-sunshine-yellow-today-what-does-that-mean distracts me from her words. 

She leans even closer and paper crinkles. "Enya, I know you are prepared for any answer. You've had extensive counseling." 

I've had, and I'm not. My dad had Huntington’s disease. It’s a fatal disease that’s passed on to your kids. His mother had it and he had a fifty percent chance of having it, just like I have a fifty percent chance. My dad decided not to get tested, but I want to know. So I had to go through a lot of counseling to get tested. Since there’s no cure. It’s not a pretty way to go, but I’d like to prepare if I can. But I’m not prepared for this like I thought I would be. 

It's like when my mom gets her mammogram and then freaks out until the test results come. If there's cancer, it's been there. It didn't magically appear on the day of the mammogram. The test just brought the possibility front and center and she's out of her mind with worry until she gets the results. There's something in the knowing that makes fear manifest. Ignorance is bliss. 

So I’m here, willingly giving up my bliss, and freaking out. 

Because my dad started having symptoms on top of a midlife crisis and ended up killing himself. 

Because the knowledge catches up to you. It would be better to prepare. Dr. Yee said I’m prepared. 

"You are prepared for this," she repeats. The exam table paper crinkles sound their exclamation point, now like a cheerleading section, but I don't need an audience. She's staring, and I think she expects me to nod. I'm still frozen. 

"Enya, it's positive." 

Chapter 2 
THE BOTTOM DROPS OUT and there's a roaring in my ears. I think I'm going to throw up and I don't care. I couldn't move if my life depended on it. What life? Oh my God. Oh my God. 

She reaches out and grasps my hand, a tether keeping me from falling further into the abyss. She's modeling deep breaths and gently squeezing my hand and her eyes are trying to catch mine. 

"This isn't the death sentence it used to be. We have great treatments for the symptoms." 

OhmyGodOhmyGodOhmyGod. She's got to be wrong. Every test has its false positives, right? OHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGOD! 

"Enya, look at me." My body registers her words and follows her command without the compliance of my mind. Her kind brown eyes hold me steady. She hasn't moved, hasn't changed except to clasp my hand, since she first sat down. "Enya, take a deep breath in. And let it out." I siphon in air through stiff lips. I feel like a scarecrow, a mishmash of ill-fitting parts about to topple down. I'm shaking. My eyes are leaking. Deep breath, she is saying. My breath is a ragged and staccato in and out, like I'm learning how for the first time. I feel if I stop this breathing I will fall apart. I realize I am squeezing her hand when wetness plops on our grip. Deep breath. The echo of her words is resonating in my mind, like sounds heard under the ocean, registered but not received. Breath, breath, -athhh, -thhhhHH. 

Eventually, in the quiet of this rhythmic space, I see her again. Her image blurs, I blink a tear free, and I see her again. She squeezes my hand once more. 

"Enya, you are the same person you were when you walked in that door." 

We've talked about this. She's repeating things we've talked about. Like my wooden body, a wooden automaton mind numbly clasps onto the concept and holds it close. I nod. The ocean spills from my eyes, a river down my face. But I'm granite now, my face, my limbs, heavy, frozen, immobile. Cold and detached. Only a small section of my mind is whirring, not enough to run this body, but enough to grasp onto each lifeline of thought she feeds me. 

"There is no one hundred percent in medicine. We have best guesses. And our best guess is that you will be able to have a full and complete life. You can have a career and a family if you want." Yes, we have talked about this. I thought I was prepared. I thought I had taken it all to heart. But somewhere, some dark unconscious passage along the way, I skirted away from letting the possibility fully sink in, like thinking about it would tempt fate. I thought I was prepared, but this... this is riding out a hurricane on the makeshift raft of a door that is all that's left of the house you knew. 

She goes on, but trivial thoughts of my college applications occupy my stupid mind. It’s deteriorated into a hamster on a wheel, scurrying round and round. What a waste of application fees. What a waste of time editing all the application essays. What a waste... 

My brain sounds an alarm as it hears the word “anticipation.” This is medicalese for “it could get worse with each generation”. Such an ill-fitting, stupid word to take the place of “poor prognosis.” I remember talking about this too. It's because it was my father that had it, not my mother, that I might have it worse and symptoms might start earlier. 

Wow, the measure of good now is like a ruler through bug eyeglasses, some fractured thing repeating and magnified in its power over me, mocking what I used to know and how things used to be. 

She mentions my mother and I surface from the abyss of my thoughts. Do I want her to come in the room with me now? There is an appointment with the counselor to go to. We earmarked the time, but I'd hoped we wouldn't use it. It's strongly recommended I have a loved one with me. I fought it before, with all the hallmark independence of youth, but I see the sense now. I force my wooden head to nod. 

Dr. Yee cracks the door open and talks to someone in the hall. She doesn't leave me, she doesn't let go of my hand. I feel like an invalid with her concerned vigilance. I will never know what it's like to be old, but maybe I am getting a glimpse now. What weird thoughts. I think I am losing my mind. Maybe this is like being old too. I guess I'll never know.
Reviews: 
... In the captivating novel, UpSpark, written by Nicole Wells, many essential themes - such as acceptance, forgiveness, trust, and love - are fully explored.

This story has many exceptional aspects ... The author's ability to interweave these various themes into one engaging, fascinating story is truly amazing. She develops the main characters in likable and relatable ways, and each one imparts important lessons. The last chapters are unexpected and memorable. Author Nicole Wells notes the novel, UpSpark, is Book One of the Five Elements Series. Everyone who reads this gem of a book will certainly anticipate the second one! 
 - Deborah Lloyd for Readers' Favorite

Let me start by taking a moment to revel in the beauty of the name of this story, you won't get it right away, I didn't either, but reading this story, a story of absolutely everything. I'm at a loss for words.
- Bookstagram.reviews

This highly introspective novel will cause you to take a step back and look at what's really important. Via some complex characters with their own unique set of obstacles, Nicole Wells has crafted an inclusive novel that deals with some hard-hitting issues. The sensitivity is obvious, exploring the raw emotions surrounding coming out in a religiously devout family, and in dealing with the process of Native Americans being adopted into non-Native families. UpSpark is an elegant character-driven drama that will make you sob and smile, but mostly it will instill a sense of gratitude for whatever time we have. 
- Amanda Murello for Indies Today

About the Author

Nicole Wells had been guiding people spiritually for over 10 years. In UpSpark, she weaves in everything she's learned in an emotional heartwarming journey, with a psychic paranormal fantasy twist. An observer of people and life, she crafts inspirational romance stories that make you laugh and cry, reflecting our human condition with tenderness and hope. This New Adult contemporary romance is her debut novel.

Giveaway 
$25 Amazon 
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway! 


Double Movie Review: Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)

WW84 (2020)
Dec 25, 2020, Wide
Release Date (Streaming): Dec 25, 2020
Director: Patty Jenkins
Producer: Charles RovenDeborah SnyderZack SnyderPatty JenkinsGal GadotStephen Jones
Writer: Patty JenkinsGeoff JohnsDavid Callaham
Cast: Gal Gadot, Chris PineKristen WiigPedro PascalRobin Wright
Rating: PG-13 (Violence|Sequences of Action)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Runtime: 2h 31m
Production Co: DC Comics, Warner Bros., DC Entertainment, Atlas Entertainment, The Stone Quarry
Diana Prince lives quietly among mortals in the vibrant, sleek 1980s -- an era of excess driven by the pursuit of having it all. Though she's come into her full powers, she maintains a low profile by curating ancient artifacts, and only performing heroic acts incognito. But soon, Diana will have to muster all of her strength, wisdom and courage as she finds herself squaring off against Maxwell Lord and the Cheetah, a villainess who possesses superhuman strength and agility.

Review: KatieD
Getting 3 and 1/2 Sheep
Wonder Woman 1984 had a lot to offer, at times maybe too much fanny pack. But hey, they can come in handy! I decided to finally sign up for HBO just because of this movie. I'll binge-watch the hell out the rest of this month and cancel it soon. Took long enough to watch a blockbuster like this; I didn't care where I had to go. Just show me some Hollywood action already! All that said, I enjoyed seeing Gal once again get all decked out for WW. 

No matter what you may think of the movie overall, Gal does an amazing job of bringing this superhero woman to life. She is believable, likable, and a downright joy to watch in any movie she makes. Girl crush much? Yea, sure why not. She's freaking smoking hot and can act her booty off! I dunno what else to say except I like her and really want to hope she's just as nice in real life.

All the action I come to expect with movies like this, bad guys, and gals. Hard decisions for humanity to make and some funny, witty character banter. Overall a very enjoyable popcorn movie for a Christmas evening at home, in my pj's, with the family. I can't ask for anything more. Except, maybe more butter for my popcorn!

Review: SharonS
3 1/2 Sheep
Katie and I agree on this one.

My husband and I also got HBO Max streaming just to see WW84. But we are keeping it for a while because Godzilla vs. King Kong in May!

Now, my husband has a very biased opinion of Wonder Woman, lol. He gave it 4 1/2 sheep.

I was a teenager in the 80s, and even I will admit that 80s culture hurt your eyes! So much bright. The movie overdid the "HEY LOOK IT'S THE 80s!" *shoves it in our faces." It did calm down eventually.

I liked the plot...couldn't figure out how Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) was back, but it all makes sense now, lol. The movie was longer than it needed to be...but the story is all heart and feels. The movie will pull at your heartstrings and leave you with a smile by the end—an overall positive message during a not so positive time for people in the real world.

Not as good technically as the first movie, but if you are a Wonder Woman fan (or just a Gal Gadot fan like my husband), then it's worth checking out.

Be sure to catch the after-credit scene.!

Friday, December 25, 2020

YA Author Mark Rosendorf: My weird writing habit... + giveaway

They say every author has some weird habit when they write. For the most part, this is a true statement as creativity comes with quirks. I’m no different. My weird habit: I do most of my writing in the shower. I’m not sure why, but that’s where most of my ideas flow just like the water that hits my body from the faucet. Unfortunately, my ideas are like lightning—one bright flash, then it’s gone. That’s why I have notepads and a pen tacked up on the wall next to my shower. When I have an idea, I stick my arm out of the shower and write it down. It’s part of my writing process.

The Witches of Vegas is a story about a family of witches and their vampire mentor who hide in plain sight as magicians on the Vegas strip. It is an award-winning young adult novel that has taken its audience by storm. It was also, mostly, written on notepads from the shower. The same can be said for the upcoming sequel, Journey To New Salem, which is scheduled for an early 2021 release. Both stories are clean, and so it the author.

Every writer has a weird writing habit. Now you know mine. What’s yours? 

The Witches of Vegas (The Witches of Vegas Book 1) 
by Mark Rosendorf
August 5, 2020
202 pages
Genre: YA Fantasy
Where can Witches and their vampire mentor practice their powers without being discovered or persecuted?

By using their magic, the Witches of Vegas become the number one act performing on the Las Vegas Strip—a great achievement for them, but not so much for the magicians—who can't possibly keep pace.

Isis Rivera is the adopted fifteen-year old daughter of The Witches of Vegas. Zack Galloway is the teenage nephew and assistant to the last magician left in the city. Although they should be rivals, when Valeria, a four-hundred-year-old witch with a long-seeded grudge against humanity arrives in Sin-City, both teens act to bring their families together to stop the evil hag in her tracks.

But can the combined witches' powers and the ingenuity of the magicians be enough to stop Valeria from taking over the city and possibly the world?


Book Trailer: 


About the Author

Website-FB-TwitterMark Rosendorf 's writing is based on the personalities and experiences he has come across throughout his life, coupled with his own wild "if only I could do that" imagination. He is the author of the young adult series, The Witches of Vegas. He is also credited with The Rasner Effect series, a suspense/thriller trilogy published between 2009 and 2012.
Born November, 25th, 1974, and raised in Queens New York, Mark holds a Master's Degree from Long Island University's Human Development and Leadership program. He is a licensed Guidance Counselor for the New York City Department of Education's special education district. He began his counseling career in September, 2001. Prior to that, he worked in the hotel industry.

Mark has also moonlighted as a professional magician. Today, he teaches magic and Illusion to his students in order to teach teamwork while developing their confidence.

Having accomplished his goals of becoming an author, Mark decided on an early retirement from writing. Then, one night, at two a.m., a new and unique story shot into Mark's brain like a lightning bolt, screaming for him to write it. Mark found himself spending several nights taking notes on the characters and their stories. That is how The Witches of Vegas was born.
This is Mark's first young adult novel.

Giveaway 
$15 Amazon gift card, 
A print copy of The Witches of Vegas (US only), 
ebook copy of The Witches of Vegas (WW) 
-1 winner each 
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway! 

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Thursday, December 24, 2020

Happy Holidays from I Smell Sheep!

 I made a bunch of images and decided to use them all!!!

Have a safe and happy holiday!


We all made the nice list!




Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Excerpt: Call Me Dragon (Dragon Fires Rising Book 1) by Marc Secchia + giveaway

Call Me Dragon (Dragon Fires Rising Book 1) 
by Marc Secchia
Dec 10, 2020
Genre: Humorous Fantasy
Call me Dragon. It’s the last thing you’ll ever do.

Blitz the Devastator has never done a decent day’s devastating in his life. Fireless, artistic and shunned by his Dragon Clan, he struggles to pillage even the meanest village. A future full of misery and failure beckons.

This much is true until the day the burly brown Dragon successfully – imagine that – kidnaps the Princess Azania. As a black Princess of T’nagru, this spirited beauty is by definition the most unforgettable woman in the seventeen realms. Knights errant, men-at-arms and sundry Princes expire at her feet in drivelling worship.

Unfortunately, they all want his scaly head on a platter shortly thereafter. Goes with the territory.

To Blitz’s consternation, the royal nuisance refuses to behave herself and be a typical pampered Princess. With humour, unconventional flair and the odd stomp of her diminutive slipper, she sets out to reform her Dragon.

One question remains. Who will save the Dragon from the Princess?


Call me Dragon – Excerpt 'Dragon, fetch!’ 

Shortly, he heard a faint cry, “Dragon, watch out! Slayers at the lair!” 

Seven men twitched beside their chosen weapons. Aha! They had missed one – a net trap strung high in the trees. Hefting the trunk, Dragon threw it down upon the nearest trio of weapons. The men scattered with pathetic yells. It was a mystery to him how people did not like to be crushed by a falling tree. One of the Dragon bows fell and triggered itself. A seven-foot quarrel feathered in a tree branch right beneath one of the other lurking men. His reflex triggered the weapon; another quarrel hurtled into the lair’s dark entrance. 

Plucking up two boulders, Dragon threw them as best he could at the other bow emplacements but missed with both throws. Blergh! Useless. Another skill to master. Ducking back behind the ridge, he loped toward the Princess’ position, before changing direction abruptly to pour down the mountainside. Two swordsmen were almost upon her. Spying him coming, she whipped out of hiding with a wild yell. The talon blade sliced deeply into the foremost man’s thigh. Mid-swing, the second man found himself plucked into the air by a vengeful Dragon’s paw. He threw the hapless fellow high over the stream toward his fellows. 

“Dragon!” 

Spinning upon his heel, he curved his body over the Princess. Whirr! A bolt skimmed off his scales. A fraction more penetration, and that would have been his guts. Azania threw her sword overhand, causing the hidden crossbowman to duck. He slipped and fell. Dragon helpfully caught him before he struck the ground. 

“So, what’s inside the lair?” he asked. 

“Not telling you a thing,” spat the scarred, dark-haired man. 

Dragon pinned him against the oak trunk with one paw, and spread the talons of the other. “Let’s just see about making you talk – Princess!” 

In a flash, he scragged her neck awkwardly as she plummeted into what had been solid ground just a moment before. A pox on their well-hidden trap! So sharp were his talons, her shirt began to rip as she dangled from his paw. He lurched forward to her aid, and discovered the stupidity of throwing himself headfirst into a deadly pit. Paws out! Somehow, he caught a stake with his forepaw before his weight completely slid inside. Just, just saved his blushes. Placing the Princess beside a wonderfully sharpened example of an implement meant to aerate a Dragon’s windpipe, he used his other paw to control his precariously balanced weight. Actually – pluck, pluck, pluck, like he was shredding a duck! 

Whirr! A quarrel skittered off his upturned behind. 

Azania’s eyes widened as he pretended to slide down into the pit with a loud but extremely fake groan. She had to duck into a corner as he folded himself up neatly, shovelling several other spikes out of the way. 

Glittering of eye, he hissed, “They could at least bother to construct a pit properly. How insulting.” 

“Don’t give them time to reload,” she hissed right back, wiping her brow in clear relief. “Let’s go, Dragon. I counted. All of their weapons discharged, save the net.” 

“Ooh, what a smart little Princess you are,” he cooed. 

She flushed. “Dragon!” 

Clutching her about the waist, he coiled his thighs and launched skyward. 

Immediately, the Princess shouted, “Beside the cliff!” 

“Got it. You were not supposed to –” 

Flashing toward the Dragon bow concealed behind a towering oak there, he readied his tail and whipped it forward. Man and weapon rattled together like peas in a pod in the narrow space. The man came off worse. 

“– leave the river!” he finished furiously. Hurling himself toward the copse of trees where the other Dragon bow operators still lurked, he realised belatedly that delicate Princesses did not crush small forests quite as well as fifty foot Dragons. He curled up, protecting her against his stomach as he attacked the next bowman with his backside. Squish. 

Ahem. 

The net triggered and soared uselessly toward the lair. Pleased by that result, he extracted himself from his inadvertent seat and charged around the trees with nothing like the poise he had just spent six weeks perfecting, spraying pebbles and water in a great wave as he fought and failed to regain his balance on the soft footing. In that time, the Princess sidestepped a hacking sword blow and left her dagger in a woman’s chest. 

At least one of them knew what she was doing. 

The last thug, the one he had abandoned in order to save the Princess, fled downriver as fast as his bandy legs could carry him. 

Beast and woman shared a wicked glance. 

With a brilliant smile, Azania stuck out her arm, and cried, “Dragon? Fetch!”

About the Author

Marc is a South African-born dragon masquerading as an author, who loves writing about dragons and Africa, preferably both at the same time. He's the author of 25 fantasy books in 5 languages including 10 rip-roaring dragon fantasy bestsellers. Dragonfriend won a Gold Award for Fantasy in the 2016 IPPY Book Awards.

When he's not writing about Africa or dragons Marc can be found travelling to remote locations. He thinks there's nothing better than standing on a mountaintop wondering what lies over the next horizon.

Giveaway 
$50 Amazon 
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway! 

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Movie Review: Ghosts of War (2020) on Netflix

Ghosts of War
Director: Eric Bress
Producer: Shelley MadisonD. Todd ShepherdJoe Simpson
Writer: Eric Bress
Release Date (Streaming): Jun 18, 2020
Cast: Brenton Thwaites, Theo Rossi, Kyle Gallner, Skylar Astin, Alan Ritchson, Matthew Reese
Rating: R (Strong Bloody Violence|Brief Nude Images|Language|Disturbing and Grisly Images)
Genre: Mystery And Thriller, Horror
Runtime: 1h 35m
Production Co: Miscellaneous Entertainment
Unseen forces terrorize five battle-hardened soldiers guarding a chateau deep in the French countryside.

 
My husband and I agreed to watch this one. We love supernatural horror type stuff. I can't remember the last time a "scary" movie actually gave me the creeps. But Ghosts of War succeeded! 

The acting was good and the story had me hooked until...the ending. I know what they were trying to do and it is a surprising twist but instead of taking that sharp left turn into OMG! it dropped off the cliff into WTF?

I've included the trailer and a 25-minute video explaining the ending... and the guy concludes it doesn't make any sense! This is such a freaking shame because it is really good until the ending.

So, should you see it? That's a hard one. It's on Netflix so you aren't losing any money and the first 90% is worth watching. I'll leave that up to you.

My husband gives it 3 sheep


I'll give it two ratings:
Before ending: 4.25 "cursed" Sheep


After ending: 2 "SMH" Sheep


SharonS


Tuesday, December 22, 2020

The Magic in Fire Anthology + giveaway

When did you first consider yourself a writer? 

Adryanna - Probably in eighth grade when I began my habit of writing stories in class. I think I knew then that I wanted to do the thing—though it took me many more years to actually do the thing.

Amanda - As soon as I put that pen to paper. I had an idea swimming around in my head and it was doing loops. I thought, if I wrote it down then perhaps the loop would stop. That didn’t happen but instead, the story expanded and now I have a decade of writing done.

Brandon - I finished my first novel when I was fourteen or fifteen. By sixteen, I submitted it to a literary agency and won their 2010 Book-Length Award for $2500. Which they proceeded to deduct and put toward their editing fee. Neophyte that I was, I considered this the start of a writing career before checking the reviews on the people I was working with. I finished the following two editions of that story, grew up, scrapped all three books, and wound up waiting several years before the next inspiration hit me.

Brittany - When I held the first copy of my co-written novel. I was also pretty stoked when I received my first contract as a freelance ghostwriter.

Debi - I was eight years old when I showed my mom a “book” I had written and illustrated. I was nineteen when I submitted a piece to my college’s publication, and it was accepted and released in their yearly book “Fountains.” They held a book signing, and I got to sit in the common area and sign copies of the book I had helped create. THAT was the moment I truly felt like a writer.

Ilona - I wrote my first poem at age eight, and always thought I would do more. However, I never seemed to apply the words ‘writer’, ‘author’ or ‘poet’ to myself. I never been one for labels, maybe that’s why.

Jay - It was after I’d written The Full Life of a Robot but had decided to write more. I had heard of lots of people who never wrote a book, or wrote one and were done, so when I had gotten one out of my system and found my creative side no less quiet, I knew it was on.

Kieran - I wrote my first novel at fifteen, so that sealed the deal for me. Please don’t ask to read it though, it was terrible.

Laura - When I finished my first novel at fourteen. I felt like I had done something amazing and have been chasing that feeling as a writer ever since. Getting published last year only helped to seal the deal for me on never giving up on writing.

Serena - I think I've considered myself a writer as long as I can remember. A writer writes, right? But the first moment of validation for me as a writer was when a magazine publisher told me the quality of my writing was very good, better than most articles that were submitted.

Vicky - A lot of my passion and momentum that had built up through my university undergrad totally dissipated when I began my postgrad in teaching. I was working a lot, classes were understandably harder, life was just busy in general. I suppose I got swept up in the business and didn’t really have time to think about what I was doing. It’s only years later that I stopped to question why. My best grades and the classes I loved the most, were all literature-based. If I hadn’t been so busy plowing ahead, I would have realized I was on the wrong highway.

The Magic in Fire
December 1, 202
Genre: Fantasy Anthology
with stories by Victoria Young, Dragonness Wyverna, A. H. Serrano, L. R. Huseboe, Kieran McKiel, A. A. Warne, R. A. Darlinge, Aörali Eden, B. R. Storm, Ilona Krueger, Serena Dawson, Michelle Crow, J. T. Moriarty
*** 12 MAGICAL TALES IN ONE MASSIVE FANTASY COLLECTION *** 
Twelve stories - Thirteen authors.
One theme - The Magic in Fire.

FEATURING IN THIS ANTHOLOGY:
Victoria Young - The Doll Boutique
There’s nothing healthy about a tan – Melinda had heard the warnings and frankly, being stuck in a cramped white coffin was not her idea of fun. But when she wakes from the solarium bed in a dusty prison cell, Melinda realises she’s gotten herself into a tighter spot than she expected.

Dragonness Wyverna - Fire Under Water
Humans have come to the desert, and with them comes death. The oasis has been an indestructible black rock and shelter for the Desharihn fire sprites for generations. But when a band of humans arrive to mine the rock, it is up to Fia, the last Rahar sprite, to save the tribe from the humans’ immutable greed.

A. H. Serrano - Conviction by Fire
Blessed with the power of fire, Lhii Fuéra’s duty is to protect, but in the aftermath of a murder, she’s the one placed on trial. As the daughter of a great general, Lhii soon realizes that justice matters little among the powerful, and she’s faced with a choice: Become the victim or blame the victim.

L. R. Huseboe - Flames of Green
Jaer and his Knight Commander Kae, wander the thick forest in search of information about their missing spy. What they found was a battle against their century-long enemy, the Shaedyn. Will they prevail or face the same unknown fate?

Kieran McKiel - Hummingbird
Far from home and missing his love, Marco is fighting a war to end all wars. When hope seems lost, a strange entity appears with an offer to help him survive.

A. A. Warne - The Masters of Fire
The Masters of Fire were once a powerful brotherhood, but now only two of their brothers remain in the free world. Will they be strong enough to liberate their kin from the clutches of the Mad King? Or will an uncomfortable truth unravel their master plan?

B. R. Storm - The Harbinger
Since the beginning of Earth, Watcher has been tethered to immortality, waiting for the final soul to depart. The day finally comes and Watcher prepares for rest, but he’s confronted by the bringer of apocalyptic carnage.

Ilona Krueger - Song of my Soul
Always the realist, Felicity does not entertain anything that is unscientifically based. Her clinical assertions leave no room for magic and imagination. It is said, however, that Pride goes before a fall. And fall, she does. Is there salvation from the pit? Does she rise from the ashes? Is there hope for a new understanding?

Serena Dawson - A Spark of Courage
Prince Zabriel’s fire magic is weak, but Princess Maniela’s will to defy their cruel father is strong. Zabriel agrees to help his sister, and she leads them into a battle that will determine the fate and future of their kingdom.

Michelle Crow - The Flame
When Momma Courtney shows up on Prudence's doorstep and draws magical wards to protect the house from an impending attack; Prudence's reality is thrown into chaos as she discovers she's the last Flame Keeper. Now with the entire village's lives in her hands, can she save them from the body-snatching Ifrits with her untrained powers?

J. T. Moriarty - Petals of Autumn
As the legendary dragon, Flallemin, sets its sights on Goblin Birchwoods, Wedina has an impossible challenge: train the entire tribe. While there are plenty of shields, there’s only one sword and Wedina knows it’ll take more than might to deal with the hungry dragon.

Also featuring:
R. A. Darlinge & Aörali Eden - Fated Shadows

Giveaway 
$50 Amazon 
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway