Tuesday, November 25, 2014

My 50th Birthday Freebie!

It's the big Five-O. Yep. Fifty years ago today, I made my appearance in the world. I could get all philosophical and talk about how wisdom I've gained and how age is just a number. But I won't. Instead, I'm going to give away as many copies of Seeking Vengeance as I possibly can! Nothing like a sexy book to keep a person feeling young, right? Those guys on the right agree with me.

Get your copy of Seeking Vengeance for free on 11/25 & 11/26!

Vengeance takes on a whole new meaning in this romantic police thriller. 

Tormented with grief... 

Sam Brennan has one goal--vengeance. He's done playing by the rules imposed as a cop and goes rogue in his quest for blood. 

Scarred and wary... 

Molly Flynn balks when her brother Johnny dumps an injured Sam on her doorstep. As a paramedic, she feels compelled to help the man, and after all, he saved her brother's life, but as soon as he's able to ride his motorcycle, she wants him gone. She knows from the past that bikers only bring pain and shame, and now she has her young daughter Kelsie to protect.

Forced together...

When Molly's brother flees from the same biker gang Sam hunts, Sam is forced to put his own mission on hold as he takes Molly, Kelsie, and Johnny to the one place he feels they'll be safe--his cabin in the Northwoods.

Molly discovers the cabin holds more than safety, it contains all of the memories Sam holds dear. Drawn to the glimpses of the man he was before revenge consumed him, she longs to heal his heart, but will there be time for their love to grow or will he destroy it when he seeks vengeance? 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Beckoning Souls--New Ghost Suspense by J.R. Tate

I'm thrilled to present the latest release by J.R. Tate, Beckoning Souls.


Nathan Gallagher doesn’t believe in ghosts. As a fireman, he’s seen his share of dead people, but they never spoke to him before—until now. His marriage is great, and his relationship with his son is strong, but Nathan is sure that if he tells them that he’s seeing ghosts, it is a quick ticket to a padded room and a straightjacket. 

When the ghosts become violent and attack Nathan, his secret is revealed—except his wife doesn’t believe his claim about the supernatural. She demands he seek professional help. He knows he’s not crazy, but with no proof that the ghosts are real, he’s committed to a mental hospital against his will. The ghosts follow him, pushing him farther into a terrifying world he can’t find his way out of. 

With his marriage, his sanity, and even his very life at stake, Nathan needs to find out why the ghosts are haunting him before it’s too late. 

Here's a little excerpt from the novel to tease your curiosity:

I toss the bottle on top of the duffel bag and lay back against the pillows. It’s starting to get dark out and what is left of the sun peeks through the blinds. The tree limbs make shadows on the far wall and begin to move with the wind picking up outside. One limb hits the window, scraping against the side of the house. I stare at the tangled shadows on the wall and with each second, it seems it grows wilder, looking like a Halloween painting or decoration.
“Why?” A voice hisses, and for a second, I tell myself it’s just the wind. “Why, Lieutenant Gallagher? Why Mr. Fireman?” The voices change, but all still have a very eerie feel to them. Multiple whispers start to overtake my senses, and I can’t decipher the different voices within the mixture. I roll over on my side, close my eyes and pull a pillow over my head to try to get them to stop, but instead, it grows louder, the creepy shadows become three dimensional, and I feel something tug at my leg.
I try to fight through the fear and come to my senses. Right now is a good time to get down to the bottom of it, but I can’t control my heartbeat. The hand wraps around my ankle a second time and I try to kick it away to no avail. The grip is tight through my pants and whoever or whatever it is tugs so hard that I slide across the bed and onto the floor, hitting with a loud thud. My head collides with the hard wood and for a second, the edges of my vision grow dark and fuzzy.
The voices don’t stop. They continue to ask why over and over. They yell out my name. I feel nails clamp down into my leg again but this time I’m not going to let them get a good grasp. The room is completely dark now and I’m fumbling around on the floor with God knows what. The fingernails clench on so hard that it feels like I’m being stabbed with five knives. I feel liquid drip down. I’mbleeding. Damn it, Rose will accuse me of self-mutilation again.
Again they pull, and this time I slide across the floor. I try hard to grab onto anything to give me an advantage, but there’s nothing available and I’m out of reach to grab onto the bed. As I slip toward the hallway, I know the doorway is coming, and my body slams hard into the frame. It’s enough force to make whatever had hold of me let go. The pain is unbearable and I feel my consciousness waiver. Where are they trying to take me? To hell
I gather up as much energy as I can and try to crawl back into the room, but my body fails me. It’s been through so much in the past few days that it’s about ready to quit for good. I rest my head on the cold floor and close my eyes, hoping –praying- that whatever was here is gone now and will leave me alone.
Tears sting the corners of my eyes and I continue to hold onto the doorframe for safe measure. “What do you want from me?” I yell out, but this time, no voices speak. No hand grabs me. Instead, my vision goes black and stays that way.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Spiritwood, by G.J. Wise (Paranormal Horror)

G.J. Wise already has several short stories available on Amazon in various anthologies, and will be launching first novel, Spiritwood, on December 1st. To celebrate and kick off the launch, he is holding a book signing.
(George) will be celebrating the release of his novel Spiritwood. Legend has it that Spiritwood was named after ancient spirits living in the woods around town... The town soon discovers the legend is true.

Book Launch Open House:
Sunday Dec. 7th, 20142:00-5:00 pm.
 Silver City Suds
409 E. Northwater St. Silver Lake WI 53170.
Come join the fun!!! G.J. Wise will be there to meet all of you and sign your copy of Spiritwood. Books will be available for purchase.This is being held Open House style so stop in anytime between 2:00-5:00. Snacks provided/cash bar.

If you are unable to attend the festivities, please stop by the publisher's site, Damnation Books, or G.J Wise's FB page or Amazon author page to find out more about the book and where you can purchase your copy.

Author page on FB
Amazon author page

Here is a prologue for the book to whet your appetite:

by G. J. Wise

Sammy Harrington, his brother Virgil, Ned Broadski, and the Burleski twins, Wink and Dink, drove out to the Zanto farm for opening day of deer hunting.  Al Zanto expected the boys.  It had been the traditional whitetail spot for the Harringtons since Sammy and Virg were teenagers, when they started helping Al put up hay in the summer.
          It was a frosty morning and they crunched over the frozen grass in the pasture on their way into the woods.
          "Where you setting up, Virg?"  Sammy asked as he loaded rounds into his Winchester.
          "I'm head'n up the cabin way.  I'll pick a spot up that ridge there on the north side."
          "Nedly, where you headed?"  Sammy continued when they reached the top of the hill where the pasture ended and the forest began.  Ned was puffing and had to pause before speaking.
          "I'm gonna head to the north with Virg.  I'll find a spot on the next ridge over from him, dere."
          "Wink -n- Dink, where you boys going?"  Sammy asked, hanging the rifle over his shoulder by its strap.  "I was thinking a heading down to the bottoms here and finding a small knob to make my stand.  Seems all the deer I ever seen in these wood was heading down into the bottoms."
          "Think we'll move towards the south," Wink said, wiping his nose on his sleeve.  "There's that high ridge, with the rock face cliff, where I popped that eight pointer last season."
          "Yep."  Dink grunted.
          "Okay, guys."  Sammy said, pushing the top strand of barbed wire fence down low enough to step over.  "Why'nt you all walk in from either end of the valley around ten o'clock if you don't see nothing.  I'll be set up in there somewhere and maybe you'll push something my way.  I'll have coffee for you."
          "Ahright," Virg said, and started off toward the north along the fence line with Ned in tow.  "Good luck, boys."
          "Yeah, good luck," Wink and Dink said in unison as they turned toward the south.
          "I'll be watching for ya around ten."  Sammy said, as he started down into the valley.
          Sammy worked his way down the slope over the boulders and dead- falls, through the brambles and thick undergrowth, to the bottom of the valley.  He'd been through this part of the woods many times.  Last year during whitetail season he saw a large buck --ten or twelve points-- run down here followed by a herd of does.  The woods opened up at the bottom of the slope, leaving only mature trees with little undergrowth.
          He worked his way south down the valley floor, following a lively brook that churned along the western slope.  It was a beautiful morning, with the sun just cresting the hill, setting the trees ablaze in a halo of golden hoarfrost.
          Sammy saw plenty of deer sign.  He passed two large scrapes and one small one.  The few small trees that struggled for sunlight in the bottoms were rubbed clean of bark, and he saw several heavily used trails that converged into one.  This trail forked at the stream where it meandered around the base of a low hill near the bottom of the western rim.  The trail split to either side of the knob and Sammy saw a flat granite slab on top that would make a great stand.
          He started up the slope and noticed a red fox lying dead near the base of one of the trees that circled the mound.  It sent a shiver down his spine, just looking at the animal.  Its dead eyes, covered with a light film of dust stared up at the brightening sky, but when Sammy nudged it with the toe of his boot, it rolled loosely.  It had been dead only a short time.
          What really gave Sammy the creeps was that the animal had apparently chewed off its own feet.  All four paws were chewed off to the first joint and its mouth was smeared with blood.  Sammy couldn't figure it out and bent down for a closer look.  He rolled it over with his gloved hand --the other eye that had been on the ground was glued with bits of leaves-- searching for any other wound, or something that would help him make sense of this creatures death other than it eating its own feet.  There was nothing.
          He took off his glove and ran his fingers over the soft coat, grimacing slightly.  The carcass was still warm and suddenly he had the impression that those dead eyes came alive with a malign, dead-light.  The bloody muzzle drew back in a snarl and a sighing, fetid gasp, convulsed from its deflated lungs.  The fox appeared to writhe under his hand and snap at his fingers.  Sammy jumped to his feet with a yelp, and took two backward steps before he tripped over a hidden branch and sat down in the stream.
          "Son of a bitch!"  He said, then looked around foolishly to see if anyone had seen him fall.
          He looked to the dead fox and it was just that.  No life shone in its dead eyes, no breath filled its flaccid lungs.  It was just a dead fox.  One that died in some horrible, terrifying madness, but a dead fox nonetheless, and Sammy Harrington wasn't one to question the ways of nature.
          He jumped up from the stream, cursing his foolishness and plucking his wet shorts from the crack of his ass, then started back up toward the slab at the top of the mound.  He passed the fox without looking and headed up the hill.  Sammy noticed an unusual amount of animal bones littered the slope.  Sammy remembered, just before he was overwhelmed with nausea and the madness overtook him, that the bones of animals that die in the woods are consumed by mice and other small rodents and aren’t left lying around for very long.
          At first Sammy was sick.  His stomach did a quick flip-flop and the three eggs, sausage and hash browns he'd had at the diner, came up in a yellow/brown plume before him.  Then he started thinking that he should take his rifle and put the muzzle in his mouth and pull the trigger.  He sat down on the rock and shrugged off his blaze orange coveralls.  He put the muzzle in his mouth, tasting gun oil, and reached down to flip off the safety.  He was overcome with the wonder of it all, imagining the exquisite instant of pain he would feel as the hot chunk of lead first passed through the roof of his mouth, up through his sinus, then on into the soft tissue of his brain, turning the gray matter into gruel.  Seconds passed as he imagined the outcome, and a long string of saliva slipped from the corner of his mouth, landing on his hand.
          Maybe I should wait.  He thought, gagging on the barrel.  Maybe the knife would be better.  He pulled the rifle from his mouth and let it drop to the ground where it barked once, harmlessly splintering a sapling that grew near the slab.  He drew the hunting knife from the sheath at his side and held the blade up before his eyes like he'd seen Father Onefry do on Sundays with the Eucharist.
          "This is my blood," he whispered, and drove the blade of the knife to the hilt into his lower belly, "the blood of the new and everlasting covenant."
          He withdrew the blade and saw his pants darkening.  He brought the knife back down hard into his right thigh where the blade embedded in the bone.  He had to work it back and forth to loosen it.  Sammy didn't scream when he did this but someone standing near him would have heard him making a slight keening noise in the back of his throat.
          He raised the knife one more time and readied himself to drive it into his stomach when something occurred to him.  They'll be coming, he thought, and a crooked grin split his lips.  They heard the shot and they'll be coming to see if I got one.          With this in mind his wild eyes searched the ground for the rifle.  He snatched it up and lay down on the ground behind the rock.
          The next day the papers reported how Samuel J. Harrington killed his brother Virgil and a friend in a hunting accident, then in overwhelming grief took his own life.  What the paper didn't say, but Al Zanto related later that night at the Last Chance saloon, was that Wink and Dink showed up at his door all whey faced and shaking, saying that Sammy had gone bonkers and shot Virg and Nedly.  Al called the cops and then hiked back into the woods, against the advice of Wink and Dink, to see what was about.
          Al didn't get to close, but closer than he should've because he suffered nightmares of the sight up until the night he died at the Silver Cross nursing home. He found the three of them in the bottom of the first valley.  Ned was shot dead quick, once through the head, but Virg had done some suffering.  He had taken eleven rounds, probably all Sammy had on him, and most of them in the arms, legs and belly.  None of them kill shots.  Both of them boys were within thirty yards of where Sammy himself lay on top of the mound, like a bloody sacrifice on top of the stone, the knife protruding from his chest and gray loops of intestines hanging across his legs.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

New Audiobook! March Into Madness

Introducing March Into Madness on Audible.com.

I can't believe that I now have all of my novels available as audiobooks!

Here is the description of March Into Madness: Book Four:
After thwarting a disaster in the nation's capital, Mark Taylor captures the attention of the CIA. Mark doesn't trust the agency—not with his history with them—but he agrees to demonstrate the miraculous camera in the hopes of creating a team to help him ward off future catastrophe. 
Mark realizes too late that he should have listened to his gut instincts when he finds himself held in the bowels of DC against his will while agents of the CIA, intent upon learning the secrets of his psychic abilities, use him as a test subject.
Daniel Penz returns to narrate this volume and I couldn't be happier. As usual, he did a fine job on capturing all the emotions and voices of the characters.  (March Into Hell and Deeds of Mercy have a different narrator.) 

So, head on over to Audible and take a listen to the sample. 

In fact, here is the link to all of my books on Audible: My Audiobooks

Friday, October 24, 2014

Did You Know...? Great deal

I have made No Good Deed free for the next two days (10/24 & 10/25). Now, you might be saying, 'Big deal! Amazon has loads of free books.'

Ah, but No Good Deed has received over 230 Five-Star reviews. Reviews that say things like this:

Couldn't put it down. Stomach churning, suspenseful, some parts difficult to read, but, looking forward to reading the next book.
I know...you're thinking, 'Sure, that's great, but lots of free books also have fantastic reviews.'

But how many of them also have audiobooks? And how many of those have audiobooks that have Whispersync? What's that, you ask? It means you can go between the ebook and audiobook seamlessley. The ebook will open to where you left off listening to the audiobook automatically. That's a very cool feature, but what makes it even MORE cool is that the audiobook is only $1.99 if you already own the ebook. And guess what? Even downloading a free ebook counts! Crazy, right?

And here is a review of the audiobook version:
No Good Deed by MP McDonald was not a book I would typically pick up, but it was recommended by a friend. Once I started listening, I was pulled into the story of Mark Taylor’s experience with an unusual camera by the voice reading the story. Daniel Penz is undoubtedly the best narrator of an audio book I’ve ever heard, and I’ve been listening for over 10 years. Daniel manages to imbue just the right amount of emotion into the characters’ words for the listener to be able to not only visualize but also empathize with events, to become part of the story. 

Did I mention that the audiobook normally sells for $19.95 on Audible. And the ebook is usually $3.99. So, for a $1.99 you get both and save almost $22!

So first you go here:

No Good Deed (ebook)

Then go here for the audiobook:

No Good Deed (audiobook)

Friday, October 10, 2014

Apple Pie with Shortbread Crust~Mark Taylor's Favorite Dessert

In the Mark Taylor Series, there are a few instances where Mark is eating or thinking about eating apple pie. So, here's what I think he would consider one of his favorite desserts. Recipe after the excerpt from No Good Deed.
There was nothing to fill his time. He could sleep, but that brought pain. Not the kind inflicted by an interrogation. No, this was worse. It was pain born of loss and frustration. Despite the risk, he still craved the dreams sleep brought. He’d dream of food. Dreams so vivid, he’d wake to find his mouth watering. He’d lie still and try to fall back into the dreams, and sometimes, he succeeded.

It wasn’t just the food, it was the good times and happy memories surrounding the meals. Pancakes dripping with maple syrup at Boy Scout breakfasts. Fried chicken on Sunday afternoon after church. Lazy summer afternoons eating watermelon on the front porch while his mom hung laundry to dry. His dad waving away smoke as he manned the grill while Uncle Larry and Mark played a game of catch on the Fourth of July. The smell of the hot dogs, brats and burgers had tantalized them. Mark swallowed. Afterwards, they’d feast on apple pie topped with homemade ice cream. His mom would smile at him as he tucked into his dessert. It was his favorite and she’d made it especially for him.

The order you make this doesn't really matter. you could make the crust first and let it chill, or make the apple mixture first and set aside. Whatever you want to do.

Heat oven to 350 degrees

Shortbread crust:

2 cups flour
1/4 t. baking powder
1 c. butter (softened)
1 c. confectioner's sugar

Cream butter and powdered sugar together until smooth. Mix flour and baking powder. Add to sugar mixture. Mix until it forms a dough. It will be a little dry looking. That's okay.

Spray 13x9" pan with non-stick spray.

Press about 2/3 of crust into bottom of pan, pressing it with your fingers as evenly as possible. Save the other one third. Set aside.
Apple Filling and Caramel sauce:
5 apples (I used Granny Smith, but you could use any suitable for making pies)
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 t. apple pie spice
1 t. cinnamon

Peel and slice apples. When almost done, start butter melting in heavy sauce pan. (Should have deep sides as caramel will foam up at the end.)

Add apple slices to butter, stir to coat. Add sugars and spices. Let cook for about five minutes or until apples are partially cooked.

Put strainer over a bowl and strain apples. Return liquid to pan, save apples.

Add these additional amounts of butter/sugars:
1/2 c. butter
1/2. c white sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
a pinch or so of sea salt or kosher salt can be added.

Allow sugar mixture to come to boil, stirring occasionally. When it is boiling, stop stirring and let bubble for about 2 minutes.
1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 c. evaporated milk

Turn off heat after 2 minutes, and carefully add vanilla and evaporated milk. It could splatter so be cautious! Then add baking soda, stirring for a few seconds. Caramel will be light colored and foamy.

Put apples on shortbread crust, take remaining 1/3 crust and dot/sprinkle over apples. Drizzle desired amount of caramel over top and bake for about 30 minutes. (I used a glass pan, so I was able to see the bottom was golden brown--might bake faster in a metal pan.)

I saved some of the caramel to add to slices. It would also be a great topping for ice cream.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Who Needs A Contract?

The other day, I entered a bookstore--a huge bookstore, in fact. The biggest one in the area. I went up to the manager and demanded that they sell my books for me. Not for the price I'd had printed on the cover, but for a twenty percent discount. I figured that way, they would sell more because it looked like a great savings for the reader. Before the manager could reply, I ran out to my car and unloaded my stock into my grandson's wagon and asked one of the stock guys to wheel them into the back warehouse. I guess he was a little confused because he hesitated and looked at the manager. At that point, the manager asked me what in the world I was doing. As if it wasn't obvious! Duh! I said wouldn't it be a lot easier for them to ship books to my readers if they had the books immediately available?

They said they wouldn't stock them for me, and that if my books were already available in print via their website, they would forward the order to me, and I could fulfill it from my own warehouse. But I'm not very good at that kind of thing. I have another job, and kids and my warehouse, aka, my garage, is kind of messy. It might take me up to three weeks to fulfill an order. But the store--they have a huge warehouse right there! They could just slap a mailing label on that puppy and get it to my readers in a few days!

The manager's face had turned a little red by now. I wonder why? Anyway, he said to me, "Look, I'd love to help you any way I can, but we have to have a contract. What kind of terms are you looking for?"

He might have been really nice and all, but I knew what he was up to. He was trying to get me to commit to something, so I just ignored him and started approaching customers with my book. I told them that the newest one was coming out in a month and they could place a pre-order with the store. Trying to be helpful, I put a little sign on the checkout counter with the title of my book and ISBN, but no sooner was my back turned, than the girl manning the checkout register threw my sign away! (I saw it all in the security mirror. Ha! Busted!)

I couldn't believe how unreasonable this place was! I took a deep breath and tried to stay calm, but the unfairness of it all was really eating at me. If I can't sell these books, how am I supposed to make any money? I sent a quick, angry text off to the president of the store, and cc'd all my author friends so that they would also know what was going on. I was thrilled to see some of them also texted the president. That will show the big bad store that you can't mess with authors! We are united!

As you can imagine, I was through being nice--I shoved all the books off the table in the front of the store and started stacking the books from the wagon--the very same books they refused to take to the warehouse, on a nice prominent table. If they weren't going to stock them, I might as well have them front and center, right? But the manager ran over and said, "Whoa! You can't do that! We have a contract with that publisher to have those books on that table. If you want that space, you have to pay for it. And we really need a contract."

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaatttt?? You mean they are going to promote some other schmuck's book over mine? I made a big stink about it, but the manager still refused. He just wouldn't let up about that whole contract thing, but what does a contract have to do with it? These are books! This is a bookstore! A bastion of culture and all things literate. Do they really want to deprive the readers of the chance to read my books? Oh, the humanity!

The manager must have seen my distress because he said, "Look, we can put your book on the shelves, but if they need to be shipped, you have to do it, and no pre-orders. As far as terms go, we'll give you the deal that we give the other publishers, but we won't discount the books. As soon as possible though, we need to sign a contract. We can't just keep selling your books forever without one."

I said fine, but inside, I was fuming. How dare they tell me what I need to do? Don't they realize how lucky they are to have the chance to sell my books at all?

Okay, if you've made it this far, you think I'm either a lunatic or...well, just a lunatic, I guess. The above is just a vivid daydream that came to me after reading another post about the Amazon/Hachette dispute.
If you are confused, please see: http://www.thepassivevoice.com/09/2014/56299/ just one of many posts about the dispute between Hachette and Amazon.

If you're not confused, you've probably spent way too much time, just like me, keeping up with this dispute! ;)