Saturday, November 26, 2016

Savvy Saturday: Exclusive Peek at Rita Bay's New Book Ely's Epiphany

Lexie slapped the dash of the Tahoe. “You’ve been silent the whole trip. You are going to tell me your problem before I get out of this car.”

Todd grimaced. “I know you’re pissed at me, Lexie, but it’s not right to dump my worries on you.”

He jerked when she stabbed his arm with a finger. “I’m going to sit here until you fess up. If I’m late to see Colonel Travers, it will be all your fault and I will never forgive you.”

He rubbed the sore spot. “Lexie, it’s personal and none of your business.”

He cringed when she sent him a hurt-filled look and whimpered. She bowed her head and covered her face with her hands. “I can’t leave you like this, but I’ll be in so much trouble.”

Todd knew he wouldn’t be able to withstand her tears. He would crumble and they both knew it.

“Okay, baby, just don’t cry. I’ll tell you what I can.”

She popped up impatient to hear the story. “Hurry, I don’t have all day.”

“It’s Ely. There’s something going on with him. He’s behaving strangely. Way too nice.”

She shook her head. “I’m not seeing it. He fixed a great breakfast. He’s making Christmas plans. Nothing unusual there.”

“I know differently. We’ve been together too long for me not to notice the signs. He said he was going to the restaurant yesterday, but he lied. I checked the GPS on his phone and he was miles away. I could narrow him down to the post but couldn’t get any closer. He was moving around.”

“What do you suspect?”

“I’m afraid he’s found someone else. He’s tired of me and is being nice to let me down easy.” His voice broke. “I love him so much, I don’t know what I’ll do if he leaves me.”

She threw her arms around him and kissed his cheek. “I love him too. Enough to know that he would never leave us. Don’t worry. I have to go now, but we’ll discover the real story soon. Love you.”

She jumped out of the Tahoe, waved as Todd pulled away, and then turned and ran straight into Colonel Cochrane’s chest. As she rubbed her sore nose, Lexie knew she was screwed.

About the Author
Rita Bay has worked as a Registered Nurse, educator and school system administrator. While juggling family and work, she has participated in archaeological digs, earned a black belt in Shotokan karate, prospected for gold and crystals, and camped across Europe. She lives on the Gulf Coast, except when she's in Atlanta, at least for now.

Rita is happily published with Champagne Book Group (paranormal, erotic mythology), Secret Cravings Publishing (contemporary M/F and M/M), Siren BookStrand (historicals). She posts random bits of trivia for lovers of American and European history and culture at Rita Bay's Blog at You can also grab this book on Amazon, Kobo, and at the Champagne Bookstore.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Savvy Saturday: Interview with Brantwijin Serrah and Serenity from The Pact

Hello Brantwijn! Welcome back! I hear you have a new book out, care to tell us a little bit about it?

B: The Pact is a supernatural fantasy western. A little bit Dark Tower, a little Firefly, a little bit Dresden Files. It's about a woman seeking justice for the murder of her mentor, going so far as to make a deal with a demon to do it. It's not a one-time deal, though; it binds her and the demon as partners for the rest of their lives. So it's going to be a long adventure.

And is this lovely lady you brought with you from that book? Care to introduce yourself ma’am?

S: I'm Serenity Walker, the aforementioned demon summoner.

Serenity, what would you say was your favorite part of your most recent adventure?

S: The story looks back on my past now and then, before I met D'aej--that's my demon partner--and while I was still learning magic. My favorite part, I guess, is my final night with my second teacher, Rook, when he initiates me into the order of most ambitious magic practitioners and knowledge-seekers, the Sons of D'Shaye. That was right before I made my demon pact.

In turn, what was the worst?

S: Hard to tell you that without giving to much away. Safe to say, though, I didn't appreciate the author throwing a giant scorpion at me about halfway through the book.

If you had to ask Brantwijn for just one thing, what would it be and why?

S: It would be just fantastic if maybe she could give me one horse, just one, who doesn't get eaten by a monster.

Now it’s Brantwijn’s turn: what would you ask of Serenity and why?
B: Keep a better watch out for monsters, genius.

Alright guys, it was nice talking to you. We hope to see more of your adventures soon Serenity!

S: Oh, you will. She doesn't let me get a lot of R&R.

B: Whiner. What she means is, we've still got seven books to go.

When she isn't visiting the worlds of immortals, demons, dragons and goblins, Brantwijn fills her time with artistic endeavors: sketching, painting, customizing My Little Ponies and sewing plushies for friends. She can't handle coffee unless there's enough cream and sugar to make it a milkshake, but try and sweeten her tea and she will never forgive you. She moonlights as a futon for four lazy cats, loves tabletop role-play games, and can spend hours watching Futurama, Claymore or Buffy the Vampire Slayer while she writes or draws.

Brantwijn's books can be found on Amazon, at the Champagne Bookstore, Kobo, and at Barnes & Noble. You can also visit her on her website.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Savvy Saturday: Interview with Glenn McCorkhill, Co-author of Chatel’s Vision

Welcome to Savvy Saturday! This week we have an interview with Glenn McCorkhill, co-author of Chatel’s Vision.

Hello Glenn! We are exited to have you here on the Champagne Books Blog!

Very happy to be here, and thank you for this opportunity.

So, I hear that your journey to co-writing the second book in the Cheetah Princess series was a little odd. Mind telling us about it?

The review I wrote of Cheetah Princess in 2012 ended with the remark that I hoped a sequel might be in the works. The author, Joan Conning Afman, pleasantly responded. She said another book may follow, but had other new works that were occupying her time just then. About six months later we became Facebook friends and that’s when our journey began. Since the ending of Cheetah Princess left open the possibility the story might continue, I asked again if she had given it more thought. We discussed what might happen to the main characters if the antagonist, Vadent, found his way into their lives once again. After tossing around several ideas for what the sequel might entail, we got down to the serious business of putting it on paper.

How did co-writing the book go? Can you tell us a little bit about your fellow author?

It was a mess right from the start! We settled on writing alternate chapters, and gave it a good try for about six months. But with Joan being a seasoned author with many titles and experience under her belt, while this was my first real go at writing, trying to make our separate works mesh together into a seamless story proved a near impossible task. With little to show, we decided it was time for a new approach: I would write, and she would edit and mentor (for which I am very grateful!)

What was your inspiration for Chatel’s Vision?

Cheetahs have always been one of my favorite animals, and I’ve read many books that feature them. But the lead cheetah always seemed to be male, so I wanted a female cat to be the hero for once. And not born into the role, but coming from a simple background just like her owner, Chatel. Together, they could be swept up into a world unlike anything they had seen before, and come of age in the process.

Is this your first published work?

Other than a few sentences I managed to squeeze into an issue of Reader’s Digest last year, yes. But now that Joan and I have found a way to write together and make it work, we have more stories of all the Cheetah Princess characters in progress.

What would you recommend to a fellow aspiring author looking to be published?

Don’t be afraid to take a chance. Write reviews of your favorite author’s stories, and send them friend requests on Facebook. I haven’t had one author turn down a friendship offer. If they have a book signing in your area, go and meet them, even if it’s just to have a good book autographed by the person who put a large part of their life into telling the tale. And, if possible, try to experience as much in this world as your characters experience in theirs. If they go horseback riding and you never have, give it a try. Climb a mountain, paddle a canoe, do volunteer work. When it’s time to put your character’s adventures on paper, life will be the best teacher out there.

It was great having you Glenn, and we hope we haven’t seen the last of you.
Check out Chatel's Vision on Amazon, Kobo, or at the Champagne Bookstore.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Excerpt from Ely's Epiphany

Ely’s Epiphany
Lexie’s Guys, 2
Rita Bay
Erotic Contemporary Romance/M-M
Champagne Books:

Will Christmas bring a breakup or a new beginning for ex-Green Beret partners Ely and Todd?

Todd shivered as the cool air’s caress chilled his damp, naked skin, or maybe it was the anticipation of Ely’s arrival. He glanced at the sheets. He’d feel much safer if he could cover himself with one, but he wouldn’t dare. He felt vulnerable. For the first time in their years together, he was apprehensive about the evening. Ely had behaved out of character for several weeks, maybe even months. Nicer, much nicer, but that had only increased his apprehension. Events were approaching some culmination, but he had no clue what that might be. The uncertainty was hardest to bear.

He’d spent some time in the bathroom, longer than he probably should have. He wished he could have relaxed in the garden tub, but it sat broken under a tarp awaiting repairs. He rushed through a shower, dried off, and then rubbed Ely’s favorite scent into his skin. When he couldn’t put it off any longer, he returned to the bedroom and crawled onto the bed.

When he arrived upstairs, he discovered the duvet on his bed had been replaced by sheets folded to protect the bedding. Ely knew he didn’t like to ruin his bedspreads with their activities, but what could he possibly have in mind? His partner got a bit rough sometimes, but he occasionally liked it that way. He’d never feared one of their encounters, not even their first one when he begged Ely to take his virginity. His cock stood at attention at the thought of their first time together.

He’d brought Ely home from the bar, knowing what he wanted from him. He’d tossed caution to the wind, chancing public humiliation if he were exposed and discharged for homosexuality and consorting with enlisted personnel. It had been a chance worth taking.

The off-post bar manager called the Officer of the Day’s office for assistance with an unruly customer, even gave them Ely’s name. He’d recognized the name and volunteered to handle the incident on his way home. Everyone on post knew Ely, or at least his reputation. He was a Green Beret who was rated as a search and extraction specialist, but those with a top secret clearance knew he did far more. He carried out assignments for the government that government officials claimed they didn’t do, and he was the best they had.

He’d written a check for the damages and they’d left together. Outside the bar, Ely stood silently. It was obvious he was waiting for something. Eventually, he turned to walk away. Todd had managed a ‘Wait.’

Ely looked at him closely, clearly assessing him. ‘You don’t know shit, do you?’ All he could do was shrug and shake his head.

They hardly spoke on the ride home. His moist hands gripped the steering wheel of his new 1993 Mercedes 500SL. Sweat beaded on his forehead. His shirt was damp under his arms. His pulse raced. He’d forced himself to slow his breathing.

Ely sat beside him totally relaxed. He was certainly no worse for wear for having laid out a couple of dozen brawny blue-collar workers in the bar. He wore jeans and a T-shirt, but no one would ever mistake him for a civilian. He was massive, but his movements were sure and smooth.

Ely walked into his home—an off-post, high-end townhouse in one of Chicago’s most affluent neighborhoods paid for with family money—looked around, and said, ‘I don’t belong here.’ When Ely turned to leave, he’d been ready to cry. But Ely had stayed and introduced him to the gay sex he craved, even though—like Ely said—he didn’t know shit.

The next morning in his hot tub, they’d negotiated a partnership that was satisfying to both. They’d celebrated with Ely fucking his ass for the first time. The man had been patient and eased him into things. He smiled at his own ignorance.

“What’s so funny, Todd?”

He cringed and his cock shriveled. Ely had caught him again.

“You can tell me when I return.”

His partner stood at the foot of the bed, still dressed and holding two small coolers. He set the coolers under his cot, which made them off limits and walked into the bathroom. He heard the shower running. Ely was naked now. They’d showered enough together that he could anticipate his every move. The hot water his partner preferred streamed over the slick planes of his body. Ely soaped his hands and stroked his body, then slid his hands over his cock and balls.

Todd tensed as he followed the progress of his partner’s shower. His own cock was back at attention. He grasped his cock and ran a thumb over the tip. He spread the pre-cum over his shaft, and then…

“Starting without me, Todd?”

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Excerpt from The Pact

The Pact
By Brantwijn Serrah
Fantasy/Western Fantasy
Champagne Books:

She's walked a hundred thousand miles of old roads and forgotten country to catch her prey. But she has never walked alone.


The monk stood in wait for her, halfway up the aisle—appeared out of nowhere again, quick and quiet as a scavenging rat. He glared at her with eyes brimming with mean shock and disgust.

Witch,” he spat. “I knew it as soon as I saw you. Devil! Bride of—”

Serenity threw the sigh of fehu at him, the sign of the cattle’s horns, and it caught him high in the chest to send him stumbling backward. The power issued forth a bit weaker than usual. D’aej wormed about in her head, suffocated in the holy place, sapped by the wards against demons and hollowed out by the ravaging curses she’d twisted back in the tavern. But the spell cast the insufferable priest to the stone, striking him down with a callous resentment, and she stalked across the aisle at him.

“How dare you come into this place of worship!” he sputtered, crawling backward on his behind as she came closer. “How dare you—”

“How dare I?” she snarled.


“All I wanted was a place to rest for the night,” she snapped. “A room and a bed, and to be left alone. I didn’t come here to harm anyone. But somehow I get you, chastising me in the street, thinking to tell me what I can and can’t wear even while you sit there ogling, and I get your servants breaking into my room and burning years and years’ worth of study, and then I get a mob of your people screaming for my blood, planning on hanging me in the middle of the night. And you, padre, you have the gall to call me a murderer?”

“The Lord will repay you in kind!” the priest shrieked. “When you come here, doing the devil’s work! Wearing his symbol upon your breast! Whore! Devil’s whore!”

She leaned down and grabbed him by the front of his robes, pulling him up to meet her eyes. “You’re right,” she hissed. “I do the devil’s work. I wear his mark. I traffic with demons, and I command their power. So it might have been wise of you and your people not to piss me off.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Excerpt from Deception

Lanyon For Hire, 5
By John Paulits
Science Fiction/Space Opera
Champagne Books:

When a shipment of rators, goes missing, Lanyon is hired to find them and stop the Tellurians from using the powerful weapons.


Lanyon swept his gaze along the street before focusing on Jophena, who slowly looked left and right. Suddenly, she jumped back.

“I see them. Both of them. Come here, I’ll show you.”

Jophena peered into the window again while Lanyon stretched out above her.

“The…one…two…second table from the wall at the end of the bar. One man is wearing the green and brown, and the other is wearing the purple and blue.”

Lanyon located the two men Jophena indicated. “Okay, I see them. Get back.” Jophena stepped away from the window. “You said they had a room on the second floor?”

“Two rooms in an apartment. It has to be upstairs here.” Jophena pointed upward. “I told you. I heard them twice mention going downstairs to Ruar’s.”

“Would you recognize where they kept you if you saw it again?”

“Yes! I was in one room on a bed with a smelly, blue cover. Ich! It was disgusting. The room where they stayed had two chairs and a table and regular stuff…a place for food packs and water. Some of their clothes were lying around. Very sloppy people.”

Lanyon went back to the window and peeked inside. The two men sat, laughing heartily over something. Both men lifted their glasses and downed their drinks. Lanyon watched to see whether they would reorder. Lanyon detected a good-natured dispute over ending their evening or having one more drink. One man indicated to the other that the next drink would have to be the last, and they reached a jovial agreement. Lanyon moved back to Jophena.

“They’re having their last drink. Let’s see if you can find where they kept you.”

“They took me out the back way. We have to go around.”

Jophena led Lanyon to the end of the block. They turned right, and when they reached the dark space behind the buildings, turned right again, Lanyon now leading led the way and Jophena clinging tightly to his arm.

“I counted twelve buildings,” Jophena whispered.

“Good girl.” Lanyon hadn’t thought to do that.

A moment later Jophena said, “There. I remember one of those men tripped over a can, and he kicked it like the can tripped him on purpose. The room should be right at the top of those stairs.”

The stairway was too narrow for Lanyon and Jophena to go abreast, so Lanyon stepped ahead and reached back. Jophena took his hand as they climbed the stairs.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Excerpt from Chatel's Vision

Chatel’s Vision
A Cheetah Princess Novel
By Glenn McCorkhill and Joan Conning Afman
Fantasy/ Fantasy Romance
Champagne Books:

A king and queen’s desperate quest leads Chatel into the arms of a handsome stranger.


The clatter of rushing footsteps jolted Queen Dsanna awake even before the bedroom door burst open. She sat up, not quite awake, but knowing instinctively that something terrible had happened. She shook her head, trying to rid herself of the face—Vadent’s—that had invaded her dreams. Arshane, king by marriage to Dsanna, instinctively leapt from the bed, grabbed his sword from the side table and stood at the ready to defend his love.

But it wasn’t an enemy. It was two palace guards, supporting Jydee, the children’s governess, between them.

“What in blazes is this about?” roared Arshane.

Dsanna cast a quick look at her husband, his face a mask of confused emotions. His customary quiet confidence seemed to have deserted him.

“It’s the children, Sire,” the taller of the two green-garbed guards blurted. “They’re missing.”

“What are you saying?” Dsanna cried, full awareness hitting her like a slap across the face. “Sandrissa and Adair? How can that be?”

The guards drew Jydee to a standing position between them. The woman staggered, hardly able to stand.

“Something woke me—although I never heard anything—I went to check on them, Your Majesty, and they were not in their beds. I didn’t hear a thing. I looked everywhere—”

Dsanna clapped her hands over her ears. “How could that be? The palace security—Kiboli?”

The woman could hardly get the words out, as tears streamed down her cheeks. “Kiboli is dead. We found his body on the stairs.”

Arshane staggered a few steps backwards. “Show us.”

“Oh, Mirelle, no...” Dsanna screamed. Feelings of dread slashed through her, sharp as a knife. Surely this was a nightmare. She rushed after Jydee and the guards, Arshane at her heels. They grasped each other’s hands.

“It can’t be, my dearest,” he breathed into her ear. “It just can’t be.”

She hoped with all her heart that he was right, but she stopped with a gasp when they came upon the royal cheetah’s long white body stretched across three steps of the staircase leading up to the children’s quarters.

She fell to her knees, her heart folding in on itself. She threw her arms around her beloved cat, tears cutting her cheeks like blades. Her face to his chest, she felt the faint pulse.

“He’s still alive,” she cried. She pointed to one of the guards. “Take care of him—now.”

But as much as she adored Kiboli, her lifelong friend and protector, she loved her children more. She scrambled to her feet and the royal couple raced up the stairs, chased by the two guards and the sobbing governess. The agonized Queen gazed around in disbelief. The children’s beds were rumpled, as if they had been slept in, but there were no children.

“Have you searched everywhere?” Arshane demanded.

“We have, Sire. There’s no trace of them anywhere.”

“Get the entire palace staff up here. Wake them all. Search every inch of the palace. On the double, now.”

The guards fled the room, and Jydee collapsed as her tears wet the marble floor. “I will never forgive myself for this. I never heard a thing.”

Arshane bent and lifted the distraught woman. “It was not your fault, Jydee.” He carried her to little Sandrissa’s bed and laid her down. “This was obviously a professional job. Nobody could have got past Kiboli.”

Monday, November 7, 2016

Release Day Tidings!

Happy release day once again! This week we have four great new books for you to try. Check them out below, and stay tuned for excerpts in the next few days.

Chatel’s Vision
A Cheetah Princess Novel
By Glenn McCorkhill and Joan Conning Afman
Fantasy/ Fantasy Romance
Champagne Books:

When a stranger shows up at the door of her parent's rundown farm, Chatel hopes her dreams have come true. But he seems consumed with a desire for wealth and power, and shows little interest in her.

However, his arrival will sweep her up into an epic adventure across Futurah, with her loyal pet cheetah at her side. She will encounter a king and queen on a desperate quest, accompanied by their own cheetah and a handsome young man who hopes to make her dreams a reality.

Lanyon For Hire, 5
By John Paulits
Science Fiction/Space Opera
Champagne Books:

Lanyon takes on the job of recovering a shipment of rators, weapons imported from Earth, which have gone missing from the spaceport. A not-so-merry chase begins as Lanyon has trouble detecting the true trail to follow from the false. Jophena, his 12-year-old friend from Selenia, tags along and the complications multiply. The Malcosian Over-minister then hires Lanyon to track down his daughter Meihon again, but Tellurians will have something to say about whether Meihon gets back home or not, and Lanyon soon regrets his decision to take on the assignment.

The Pact
By Brantwijn Serrah
Fantasy/Western Fantasy
Champagne Books:

Fleshlings and darklings… Rune-weavers and demons… When you walk in the land of the Reaper, who will survive?

Serenity Walker has cast runes for as long as she can remember. Her teachers call her a prodigy, and her secret studies hold the key to unlimited potential. Once an orphan left on an old woman’s doorstep, Serenity finally belongs. But when her mentor is murdered right in front of her, her hopes of a home die with him.

Her quest for vengeance leads her into a dangerous deal with a demon. Armed with its dark power and her own talent with the runes, she blazes a trail across the lands where ranchers and railroad men are kings, where the prevailing law is the law of the gun. To find the man who reshaped her past, Serenity offers up her future. She’ll face a world where weavers are hunted down to be hanged, whipped, or burned alive...but she won’t face it alone.

As Serenity’s mission takes her farther than most weavers are willing to go, she’ll have to decide who her true enemy is: the wicked men of the world, or the powerful demon inside her.

Ely’s Epiphany
Lexie’s Guys, 2
Rita Bay
Erotic Contemporary Romance/M-M
Champagne Books:

For Todd Anderson, a West Point graduate from a wealthy family, it was love at first sight. Living with Ely wasn’t easy, but it was the only life for him. When Ely plays too nice, Todd fears his partner—his first and only lover who introduced him to the gay lifestyle and sizzling hot sex—is preparing him for a Christmas breakup. Will this Christmas be their last together?

Ex-Green Beret Ely Locklear survived a childhood filled with poverty and abuse by building a wall around his heart. Although the millionaire mercenary and entrepreneur has a family and partner who love him, the wall and rough edges remain. When his ward’s new Army Ranger husband shows him that loving someone isn’t a weakness, he wonders if it’s too late for a fresh start with his partner.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Savvy Saturday: Where to Find Our Authors in November

Welcome back to Savvy Saturday! I hope we didn't scare you away with our spooky story in October, but now we will be back to our regularly programmed schedule. That includes a post about where to find our authors for the chilly month of November. Take a peek, and see if there will be an author in your neighborhood soon.

Keith W. Willis will be at the Glens Falls Chronicle Book Fair on November 6th from 11:00am - 3:00pm at the Historic Queensbury Hotel in Glens Falls, NY. Over 100 authors & booksellers will be in attendance, with readings, panel discussions, and books for sale for all those readers on your holiday lists.

Keith is also appearing in a TV interview with Joe Nash of the Colonie (NY) Town Library for a segment of Meet the Author beginning November 5th and running through November 12th. But you can watch it anytime online at

Brantwijin Serrah has The Pact being released on November 7th, which is also the kickoff day for the blog tour (see her itinerary here), and the Release Day Facebook Party which starts at 3 pm PDT. Games and prizes will be hosted at the party!

Kay Latour has no events, but does have a blog. She will be posting a blog interview with Morpheus, Inc., writer group Friday, November 4th, 2016.

She is also going to do a short blog about her trip to Niagara Falls which is the home of the magically veiled town 'Harlow's Rock' from her book series, Witch on Parole, around the end of November.

Veronica Helen Hart will be at The Daytona BAMfest on November 10 from 4 - 8 PM. This is the fourth annual festival and it's growing. Being held at the Port Orange Chamber of Commerce, Riverside Pavilion, 3431 Ridgewood Avenue, Port Orange, Florida. See: for more details.

My regularly scheduled blog will appear in The Writers Vineyard on November 27th.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Tattle and Wrye column November 2016 edition




Wyre stares at Tattle’s red face and folded arms.  “Why all in a huff?”

“They wouldn’t let me take my turkey to church.”

“Why would you want to take a…. Oh, never mind, why didn’t they let you.”

“They said turkeys use FOWL language.”  Giggles at her quirky joke.

Wrye groans.  “Well, at least the police didn’t arrest your turkey for FOWL play.”

“So funny I forgot to laugh.” But she does then crooks her arms, “Ready to join me on our monthly Love of Literature Leap Reviews!”

“As a space turkey would say, Hubble, hubble, hubble, let’s go!”

Tattle gives Wrye a look that queries his sanity.

The eccentric duet take a gander at SILENT AUTUMN, a sci-fi romance by Veronica H. Hart.

“In 2179, Taylor Left Hand Female 8635 and Maximilian Male are fleeing the North like the White Rabbit late for a date.” Tattle hops like a bunny as if for emphasis. “However, it remains to be realized if they’ll be late or on time to warn the West that the pseudo-elected president of the North and the Chairman of the South plan to destroy the Chairman of the West to obtain sole power over food production.”

“You heard her right, ladies and germs,” Wrye announces in a Vaudeville-like tone. “We’re talking about a futuristic non-united American. North, South and West are separate countries, and like ole Abe predicted, there is nothing standing strong about them.  The North and South are fully corrupt with rigged elections and drugged food to keep the citizenship pliant and obedient and unexpectedly infertile.”

“Yup, babies are created with artificial insemination.” Tattle’s expression turns sour. “Even Taylor had provided two children in her teens, which is mandatory since the population had dwindled horribly.  Now that her contribution is completed, she is a top cosmetic designer, tasked with the responsibility of making women more attractive to men so they’ll…”

Wrye interrupts as he makes a few insinuating gestures along with his infamous eyebrow jiggle. “Oh, yeah, baby, time for the wild thing, the horizontal tango, the foxy trot, the…” Pauses, winks and adds,  “You get my meaning?”

“Geeze, I think everyone this side of the Milky Way gets your meaning.” An elaborate sigh escapes Tattle, before she continues, “Only, in the North and South they aren’t doing the horizontal whatever. They are controlled with microchip implants and drugged-up lives. Taylor, however, at an out-of the way power station overhears and tapes the North’s President and the South’s Chairman making their nefarious plans. Once they leave, she is discovered by secret service. Maximilian saves her from a fellow secret service agent, Randall, who disregards the respect for life law and wants to kill her.  Hence the escape, followed by encountering a woman who commits suicide upon delivering her baby. Just what they need, instant parenthood.”

Holding up an imaginary microphone, Wrye spits out his questions in newscaster style. “However, just why is Maximilian helping Taylor?  What is up with all the unique and unexpected groupings of people in the West? And will they be in time to stop a catastrophe?”

Tattle snares the pretend microphone. “Veronica H. Hart writes a fantastic sci-fi themed story as if it is a contemporary novel. The reader is so integrated into the plotline that you are experiencing it rather than just reading. Especially, once Taylor comes out of her drug induced fog when she stops eating government food. You can’t help but be impressed that this timid soul is actually fierce, courageous and exceptionally maternal.  I, also, like how the book keeps you guessing. You never know who to really trust, especially when they encounter groups of people that seem to be helpful, but…  Then there is Maximilian, who keep things close to the chest one moment and is completely open the next. It creates an emotional roller coaster ride. You know the type that plunges nearly straight down and also turns upside down.” 

“There is a serious underpinning to this story that keeps your heart racing and your thoughts riveted to the storyline.  If you are able to put the book down, you are still thinking about the possibilities that could happen. The writing is snappy and quick, and the twist and turns are unexpected. Yet, here and there a campy light-hearted moment occurs that makes you smile.  Only, don’t get too attached to that smile, soon you’ll be driven by the story’s intensity once more. Can’t wait to see more from Veronica H. Hart.”

Tattle and Wrye warp into TRAITOR KNIGHT, a fantasy by Keith W. Willis

“The instant you meet Morgan McRobbie, Knight Commander of the King’s Legion aka The Dark Knight… Da da da daaaaaaaaaaaaaa…,” Wrye expresses loudly. “You know he is going to be an interesting character.  Though heroic, he is certainly not your typical cookie cutter hero. He is the champion of the wars against the Rhuddlani invaders, and is more comfortable around a sword, or a dragon than a beautiful woman, which of course happens.”

“It is this dark-skinned half breed that comes to a beautiful damsel’s rescue. He is also the man everyone whispers had turned traitor against Kilbourne.  A cad?  A villain?  Not possible, is it? After all, he is so darn appealing.” Tattle fans herself and feigns a young girl’s swoon-sigh.  “Roguishly handsome, he also has a humorous bent, adopts an atypical attitude, with just the right amount of foibles.  You, also, can’t help but adore his very likeable, if somewhat show-off horse, Arnicus.”
“Upon reading, I started chuckling immediately.” Wrye offers his best deep-throated chuckle. “ It was inevitable considering the heroine stared at the about-to-be-toasted knight with disdain, while a terrifying dragon, who after a display of grandiose flames and fury, burps up a bit of steam and a few hiccups. Morgan didn’t defeat the dragon as much as the dragon appeared to be tired of the gambit.”

“Ah, but it is not all fun and games.”  Eyes narrowing suspiciously, Tattle studies the heroine.  “Though many suspected Morgan to be a traitorous knight to his King, finding this damsel-in-tenacity  alone in the woods, snack fare for the first dragon to be seen in three hundred years, one cannot help wondering if she, indeed is the real traitor. Of course, Morgan does wonder. Though she professes to be gathering flowers for her mistress Queen Gwyndoln, Marissa duBerry, lady-in-waiting is no shrinking daffodil.”

“And that is just the opening draw of this magnetic story. There is just the right blend of fun, sinister play and manners-all-soooo-proper-when-at-court dalliances. If anyone can remember swashbuckler Technicolor Errol Flynn pirate flicks, it has the same wonderful tendencies of dark drama, flippancy and fun.  The dialogue is clean. The writing style, in this book, is smooth and direct. The author is one of my favorites.”

“I can’t say enough about the talent oozing from the storyline. There is never any down time with the plot, it keeps rolling and picking up steam. Keith is a story-teller puppeteer, just pulling our strings as we dance to his magnificent prose. Through it all, you see Keith’s unique writing technique. It is not an imitation of the ole Masters yet it is still fantasy at its finest with that wonderful wash of enchantment that brings out the possibility that magic can happen. I have read all of Keith W. Willis’ work, and I do believe TRAITOR KNIGHT is now my favorite.  Hmmm, that is until he writes a new book, that new one might end up taking top spot. Each book gets better!”

Another leap and the two review the paranormal SILVER CORD by J. C. Mead.

“Kat Cambridge heads for the deep south when her not-so-wonderful Catholic/Atheist husband has a heart attack and gives up the ghost.  Which is quite ironic considering a different ghost attacks Kat’s heart but in that goose-bump, hubba-hubba way.” Wrye leans forward and does the infamous eye-brow lift and wiggle.  “Once there, she absorbs nature and reconnects with her old wiccan practices.”

“The oooh yum-yum Scottish soldier specter might be just what single mom Kat needs, in a strange sort of way, to help her forget the nasty past as she makes a new start. Jess Greenleaf, also a single mom, joins Kat and the two intend to restore an old home.” Tattle tilts her head and scrunches up her face as she re-reads a few chapters. “Then again that ghostly owner might have another agenda.  His soul is drifting and he needs Kat’s and Jess’ witchy spell skills before he simply is no more.”

“Warning!  Warning!  Warning!” declares Wrye, waving his arms around like a derelict robot.  “Misdirection plans to take you on a little spin around, especially when Colin MacKay shoots an arrow of interest into Kat’s heart.”

“Ah yes, while Kat digs into the house’s history, this new hunka-hunka, all muscle and flesh and real-to-the-touch man reveals ghost-soldier’s identity.” Tattle's eyes widened, mouth forms an ‘O’ and she smacks the sides of her cheeks, going into full ut-oh mode.  “What a choice… Alive or dead? Who does she choose?  Surprisingly, the ghost seduces her right into his…  Oh, not going to read-n-tell.”

“Especially don’t reveal any of the lurking secrets or the humorous barbs,” Wrye adds.  “All in all J. C. Mead did an excellent job of making Wicca spells seem real, ghost more than a possibility, and has created characters that you want to hang with on a daily basis. Kat’s and Jess’ friendship is very believable, and the relationships with their children have naturalistic appeal.  They truly act like typical moms.”

“I like the well-paced writing style and how the story keeps you guessing.  There is plenty of romance but it doesn’t overwhelm the mystery, magic and momentum of the storyline. It totally held my attention. I found myself propping up my e-reader and following along even as I was cooking. Errr, yes, I burnt the chicken. Shame on you, J. C. distracting me that way.  Tsk… Tsk!”

“Oh, just go have some Mead and stop complaining, that is always Kat’s and Jess’ go-to,” Wrye says with a big grin.

“Seriously, this a great read, smooth plot, creative twist on what could have been an old theme, interesting and clever dialogue and appealing, ageless, realistic characters - even the ones you don’t like, you enjoy disliking them.  Great book, it is in my to-be-read-again pile!”

Hope you all enjoyed our jaunt into reviewing books by CBG authors.  Until next month, keep reading.

Happy Gobble-Gobble Day to those in the U. S. and a belated Happy Thanksgiving to those in Canada.

Dona Penza Rutabaga Tattle, Esq. and Associate Wrye Balderdash
of Blather City, Wannachat


Created and written by
Angelica Hart and Zi

Books by Angelica Hart and Zi

Books by Vixen Bright and Zachary Zane