Saturday, October 24, 2015

Hellhounds, Zombies, and Lich Kings (Oh My!)

Hellhounds, zombies, and lich kings - oh my!

Continuing with our October script, let me introduce you to another series I've enjoyed that possesses elements of the season - and that little scaredy-cat me can handle.

A few years ago, I came across Becca Andre's The Final Formula series and found myself immersed in a genre I never thought I'd enjoy - that containing zombies.

Yes, it's true.  My son is the one in the family who loves most things zombiefied.  In a world filled with the undead these days, I've never jumped on that icky and stinky bandwagon.  Too gross and creepy for me by far.  So I was surprised when reading the first in Andre's series, THE FINAL FORMULA, to discover necromancers controlling the leashes of the zombie world.  But here it is a little less creepy and a bit more funny.

The real aspect of this novel that intrigues me is the mystery surrounding our female protagonist, Addie, short for 'Addled Alchemist'.  It's a moniker given by James, the young man who saved her life after she survived the explosive destruction of the Alchemica Academy.

Every alchemist's dream is to discover the Final Formula - the key to eternal life - and a Master Alchemist will do anything to find it. Anything.  Thus far no one has succeeded, but the night of the Alchemica's destruction changes everything.  However, Addie remembers nothing from that night - not even her true name.  The only clues she has to her past are the hundreds of formulas still occupying her brain and the nine tattoo bands encircling her biceps, certifying her as a Master Alchemist.  She's only missing the final one.

But Addie no longer senses a pull toward discovering eternal life - if she ever did.  All she wants to do now is spend her days peacefully puttering away in a lab - without blowing stuff up, mind you - and using her alchemy skills to help humanity and restore the good name of alchemists around the world.

But Addie's hideout with the Huntsman brothers is soon discovered, and a professional extraction team descends on Portsmouth, Ohio to capture the only known survivor of the Alchemica Academy blast.  What Addie never anticipated was being rescued by the Flame Lord, one of New Magic's elemental leaders.  But the Fire Element has a secret too, and if that information gets out to the world, it could spell all out war between the forces of New Magic and Old.

And Old Magic's ways are controlled by the undead.

Necromancers have lived among the world for centuries and adapted to the modern world by controlling that most applicable field of business - funeral homes.  But if the modern world knew their deceased loved ones were being embalmed and buried - and sometimes 'borrowed' for more nefarious matters - the Deacon and his family might find themselves more than simply out of business.  Even so, there are those among Old Magic who will do anything to seize power, even killing off the Elements of New Magic if necessary.

Addie finds herself thrust into the midst of this battle - with alchemy holding the potential of being everyone's saving grace.

THE FINAL FORMULA is a mix of mystery, intrigue, humor, and even some romance for those who enjoy a little (or a lot at times) heat.  There's a joke in that word, but you'll have to read the novel to find out why.  There is one racy scene and a few instances of strong language, but the focus of this first book is on discovering who Addie really is and what she's really capable of in the world of alchemy.

And it's the mystery that kept me coming back for more.  Pick up your free copy today at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or wherever eBooks are sold.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Announcing a New Series!

Hello, dear readers!

A personal post to you tonight - and an update on the status of my upcoming humorous mystery series.

The first in the Before and After series entitled LOOK BEFORE YOU JUMP is coming along nicely. I'm nearing completion and have already begun first round edits with my critique group, as the critiquing process can be time consuming.  Once they've had a chance to thoroughly vet the manuscript, then my second round of edits will begin.

With some of the problems I had with the pre-order process of RISING FROM THE DARKNESS, the finale of the Deepest Darkness series, I've really debated whether or not I will go the pre-order route again.  We'll see what kind of time-frame I'm looking at once the initial round of edits are in and I have a better idea of exactly when I'll schedule LBYJ for release.

In the meantime, you can follow some of the quotes and tidbits of my new series by running over to my Facebook page HERE.  I really enjoy the direct and real-time interaction with fans that outlet provides.  Ask questions, comment, or just follow updates concerning my writing process.

Then watch soon for information on the cover reveal for LOOK BEFORE YOU JUMP.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Boogeyman Has a Name

If you want to up the creep factor this Halloween season, just pick up the third novel in JL Bryan's Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper series.  Of all five novels I've read thus far, THE CRAWLING DARKNESS has to be my favorite.  The mystery is entertaining and keeps you guessing, the history lesson of the Savannah area is intriguing, and the exploration of the character backgrounds really provide something to sink your teeth into.

Did I also mention this one is the creepiest?  On the verge of too frightening for me - but I made it through to the satisfying end.  I wanted to give myself a pat on the back, then hide under the covers for the remainder of the night just waiting for the sun-rays of morning.

'Cause the boogeyman is coming for a visit to a closet near you.  And no, I'm not talking about cuddly blue and green monsters who pretend to be scary.  In THE CRAWLING DARKNESS, the boogeyman has a name - a fearfeeder - and its power grows as it feeds off the deepest fears of its victims.  In most cases, children.  One moment it is a chainsaw wielding madman with a mask carved from strips of human flesh.  The next it is a nest of flesh-eating alien beings.  

It also embodies Ellie's greatest fear - the one that got away, but not before putting her boss and mentor Calvin into a wheelchair.  When Ellie's and Stacey's newest case returns them to a familiar street, Ellie knows she can't stop until this entity is destroyed for good.

But a fearfeeder takes on many forms, making it almost impossible to discern its true identity - and therefore capture it.  And it isn't immune from using dirty tricks to trap the team, turning the hunters into huntees.

A lovely three-story Victorian has been converted into three apartments and a small studio in half the basement.  The remaining half is a commons area with washers and dryers for the residents.  But something else lurks behind the locked furnace room door, crawling out at night like a giant spider from its lair.  In their investigation, a chance glance behind the door reveals an ancient well that was only covered over instead of filled in.  But someone has uncovered it.

And nameless evils crawl up from the darkness.

With Calvin's help on this case, the three investigators must come face-to-face with their deepest fears.  Ellie must weed through centuries of history to discern the truth about the evil occupying the land and discern who the faceless and nameless fearfeeder truly is in order to stop it.

Before another child vanishes in its clutches.

Pick up a copy of THE CRAWLING DARKNESS for your eReader from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and anywhere eBooks are sold.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Water Floods the Shadows

Since I'm such a fan of ELLIE JORDAN, GHOST TRAPPER, I thought I might take you on another journey with author JL Bryan this October night.  The fall weather seems to have disappeared in favor of summer again, but the ghostly offerings remain like an unquenchable spirit.

Even though the mystery is somewhat lacking in this sophomore release of the series, COLD SHADOWS is still a good story with enough chills, spills and bumps in the night to make you sleep with the lights burning bright.  The spills come from water, water, and more water flooding the shadows of the household in this second book, so be sure and grab your life jacket.  We also have the chance to see a little more of Ellie's backstory and her connection to the mysterious ghost who killed her parents.

The Pauldings are a kindly couple who have fallen on hard times and are forced to accept the graciousness of extended family, with the understanding they will spend some money fixing up the once grand Georgian home.  But when their rebellious teen-aged daughter secretly dabbles in the dark arts, she unwittingly awakens the sleeping spirits with secrets of their own.

Thirteen-year-old Juniper gets a wake-up call when her temper rises and objects go crashing about the room, the books on her shelf tumble off, and her clothes start flying out of the closet.  Is it simply the overactive imagination of an angry female on the verge of womanhood, a young girl searching for attention and significance, or something more malevolent?

Seven-year-old Crane is quiet and shy, unlike most boys his age.  Shortly after having moved into the old house, he develops a fast kinship with two imaginary friends.  Only problem - they might not be so imaginary after all.  And that makes Crane not-so-ordinary.

It's up to Ellie and her sweet and silly sidekick Stacey to discover the truth behind what really happened one horrible and frightening Christmas season - before the Paulding's son becomes the next victim.

Join me in reading COLD SHADOWS this Halloween season.  You'll never be able to look at a pond the same way again.  Or a belt.

Read the story to find out why.

You can pick up COLD SHADOWS at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and anywhere else eBooks are sold.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Pursuing the Paranormal

As in my last post, this is the month for all things spooky.  October is well underway and Halloween is fast approaching.  So if you're looking for something horrifying and horrible - look elsewhere.

However, if you are as big a scaredy-cat as I am, join me for a milder version of the ghoulish and ghostly with JL Bryan's ELLIE JORDAN, GHOST TRAPPER.

I came across this series a few months ago after finishing my latest novel and discovered the first book was free for my Kindle.  I quickly downloaded books two through four and am happily awaiting the release of book five later this month.  One thing I appreciate?  The books are mostly well edited and allow us to follow along with the story progression as it happens (showing), with little telling - except for some necessary fodder for those of us who are a bit paranormally-challenged.  They're all told in first person from Ellie's perspective, so there are no issues with jumping POV within a scene.  Each book is a standalone story, however there is still a continual theme and backstory to Ellie that we see a little more of with each passing novel - translation:  best reader experience if read in order.

The other thing I appreciate?  As a certified scaredy-cat, the books are focused more on the mystery surrounding the haunted properties of Savannah, Georgia and their netherworld inhabitants instead of simply about the creepy-crawly things that go bump in the night - though there's still plenty of that too, to satisfy the paranormal aficionado.

Ellie is a twenty-six year-old paranormal investigator, something rather uncommon among those who are of the scientific mindset.  When exploring a new client's property, she is first and foremost a scientist searching for practical and worldly explanations for the problems her clients face.  But Ellie knows there are some things out there that defy the norms.  At the age of fifteen, she witnessed firsthand the power of the paranormal - and she's determined to fight back against those entities that would threaten a child.

Calvin, her boss and a former police detective, was the investigator on her parents' case all those years ago.  Because he couldn't get rid of her, he hired Ellie when he retired from the force and taught her everything he knows about investigations and ghostly presences.  As true retirement now approaches, he drops a bomb on Ellie's lap by making her the lead investigator and saddling her with a too-perky, ghost-hunter wannabe.

As if Ellie's life needed anymore drama.

But they get more drama in spades with their next client - and it's not Stacey's fault.  A family has moved into the ramshackle three-story Marsh mansion, hoping to fix it up and operate the property as a bed and breakfast.  But within days, their daughter Lexa is complaining about noises keeping her up at night - and the terrifying face of a woman who says only one word.


The parents believe it is all the product of an overactive imagination - until they start experiencing horrors of their own.  But the family can't leave.  Their entire life savings is tied up in the old mansion.  Their last hope lay with Ellie - and she is determined not to disappoint.

Until they find this haunting might be more than they can handle - and Stacey threatens to tuck tail and run away from the evil lurking between the veil.

So if you've a stomach for the supernatural this Halloween season, consider picking up a copy of ELLIE JORDAN, GHOST TRAPPER available free for your eReader at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and anywhere eBooks are sold.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Fun, Foibles, and Frolicking Phantoms

A chill is in the air.  A nip at the nose.  The wind moans across the moors.  The moon has eclipsed, and I hear a howl in the distance.

Yep, it's October.  You know what that means, don't you?  Halloween is on the horizon.  In honor of everything gusty, ghoulish, and ghostly, let's spend this month exploring some of my favorite books of the paranormal.

No, I'm not talking of the vampire and werewolf variety.  More like spooks and specters.  We all know by now that I'm a bit of a chicken when it comes to the creep factor and horror is definitely not my thing.  Therefore, the novels I'll be sharing are of a tamer variety, something with a bit of mystery and only a touch of the chills.

Our first outing of the month fits that description perfectly - and offers a heaping helping of humor to boot.  Years ago, I came across Kathleen Bacus' Calamity Jayne series and almost fell out of my boots laughing.  The humor throughout the series is constant, self-deprecating, and extremely irreverent.  Even though I always prefer to read a series in order, the third novel fits our paranormal pursuits best.  Since I bought them so long ago, the publisher has changed, which means the covers have changed (I liked the old ones better) and the titles have changed (I liked the old ones better here too).  However, the stories are still rootin'-tootin' good fun and that's what matters most.

The third book in the series CALAMITY JAYNE AND THE HAUNTED HOMECOMING (once called Ghouls Just Want to Have Fun) takes our intrepid cub reporter Tressa Jayne Turner from a story on homecoming king and queen to that mansion on the hill that has nearly made every brave resident in Grandville, Iowa wet themselves - Haunted Holloway Hall.

As the rumor goes, Miss Loralie Amelia Holloway was left jilted at the altar after her father paid off the proposed groom and made him disappear, leaving virginal spinster Loralie to spend her years wandering the family estate in her faded wedding gown clutching a bouquet of blood-red roses.  In death, she still purports to wander the grounds almost two hundred years later as the Lady in White, scattering rose petals and humming the wedding march while pining for that no-good, long-lost lover.

So why would any self-respecting (ha), hard-nosed (double ha) reporter go traipsing around the old three-story Victorian mere weeks before the veil between this world and the afterlife is at its thinnest?  To get the story, that's why - the biggest story this side of the county fair.  Or maybe Tressa will settle for a simple autograph of the greatest horror writer to ever come out of a small town.

But roadblocks stand between her and Ms. Elizabeth Courtney Howard - namely one Shelby Lynne Sawyer, the six-foot queen candidate to her four-foot king candidate, commonly referred to as Sasquatch and Tom Thumb.  After all, Shelby was the one who brought the story of the author's homecoming to Tressa in the first place, and she'll take it right over to the competition if Tressa tries to cut her from the interview of a lifetime.

Yet even though Lizzie is supposed to be staying at Holloway Hall with her assistant and driver, no one has seen hide-nor-hair of the reclusive writer as she works to finish her final masterpiece.  And all of Tressa's efforts give her zilch - except a little piddle in her panties from repeated brushes with Loralie.  But Tressa's not one to give up easily, not even when smoking hot Rick Townsend tries to distract her with clenches and kisses on the porch.

Hmm....maybe he'd have better luck with a chocolate cake.

Check out this load of fun, foibles, and frolicking phantoms this month.  Available on AmazonBarnes and Noble, and wherever else eBooks are sold.