23 May 2012

Blog Barrage: Antique Charming


The night he came home…forever.

Third-generation funeral director Lizzie Morton is about to have her dream realized. She has purchased the long abandoned Nichols Funeral Home and its upstairs flat, determined to restore the funeral home to its once former glory. But a late night visitor, Adam Nichols, claims the funeral home still belongs to his family. Lizzie scoffs at his odd behaviour and outlandish claims, but when a vintage photograph appears, she soon realizes, to her horror, that Adam Nichols did once own the funeral home—more than one hundred years ago—and now she has allowed this entity to pass into her home.


She heard it again.

The same time as last Friday night.

Three taps at her front door.

Lizzie muted the television, tossed the blanket off of her body and scurried out of bed. She slipped her robe over her shoulders and tied it securely, determined to find out who in the world would knock at her door at three in the morning. By the time she had reached the door the week previous, no one was there. The street had been dark and still.

It had to be a mistake. She had only recently closed sale on the long abandoned funeral home, determined to restore it to its once former glory. She had only been living in the upstairs flat for a few weeks.

As she hurried down the staircase, each step beneath her feet creaked in protest. There was no one visible through the peephole. She unchained the door and opened it just enough to peek around it.

No one was there, just like the previous week.

The street was dark and quiet. Not even the whisper of a wind could be detected. Only the cold dampness of the October night raised a chill on her skin.

Who was playing this weekly joke on her? Could it be the ghosts of some departed soul who had passed through the halls of Nichols Funeral Home sometime during the past century? A small smile crossed her lips as she prepared to close and lock the door. She was a third generation Funeral Director. Did she now believe in ghosts?

Before the door could close, a hand poked into the slight space and seized her wrist. A cry rose in her throat and she jerked backward, but the hand held tight and the door flung open.

The man emerged, shrouded in darkness. He was an ethereal creature, tall, and dressed in anonymous black. Only a streetlight glowed behind him.

“I’m home,” he announced.




Natalie-Nicole Bates is a book reviewer and author.

Her passions in life include books and hockey along with Victorian and Edwardian era photography and antique poison bottles.  Natalie contributes her uncharacteristic love of hockey to being born in Russia.

She currently resides in the UK where she is working on her next book and adding to her collection of 19th century post-mortem photos.

Visit Natalie-Nicole online at
Twitter: @BatesNatalie

22 May 2012

Caves of Etretat!

Happy Tuesday! Today, I'm welcomng Matthew Chatelain, author of the Caves of Etretat. Enjoy!

Welcome to my little old blog! Tell us a little about yourself.

Loved writing as a kid. Grew up. Dad said don't write, no money in it. Became used bookstore owner. Bad heart. Wife took over. Became househusband. Twiddled thumbs. Felt useless not making money. Decided to go back to being writer, childhood dream. Wanted to write a first book.  Got roped into a crazy historical mystery answering everything. One book ended up being four. Took five years of my life. Fifty-two, job's done. No limousine to publisher. No agent response. Self-editing, big lesson. Self-publishing, not too bad. Self promotion, new learning curve. Less time to write but faster at writing. Going good.

Thanks! How about your most recent (or upcoming) release?

I have written a four book epic action adventure series, 'The Sirenne Saga'. Book One 'The Caves of Etretat' and Book Two, 'The Four Books of Etretat', are now available.

In the first novel of the series, 'The Caves of Etretat', Paul Sirenne uncovers a lost family secret, leading him on a historical treasure chase, shortly after his father is found brutally murdered. Assisted by three friends via the internet and hunted by a serial killer, he ends up in touristic Etretat, France, on the trail of a hundred year old mystery, hidden in Maurice Leblanc's book 'The Hollow Needle'. Falling in love with Leblanc's great-granddaughter and running at a breakneck pace, he deals with puzzles, theories, codes and historical mysteries, exposing a secret war for control of a cave fortress in Etretat's chalk cliffs

In the second novel, (The Four Books of Etretat), Sirenne discovers the real reason for the hidden war: the secret of immortality. Becoming an immortal himself, Sirenne learns of the Abbey, a thousand year old organization dedicated to chasing the oldest immortal on earth, known as the Greyman. The Abbey has given Sirenne control of the caves and its secrets, apparently preparing him for a confrontation with the Greyman. Unfortunately, the serial killer who killed Sirenne's father, Weissmuller, has discovered this knowledge before Sirenne. Now an immortal and constantly dogging Sirenne's steps, Weissmuller seems to be playing a game of his own.

The Sirenne Saga is a four-book epic adventure following Paul Sirenne, an average man unknowingly manipulated into becoming the key in the final phase of a complex conspiracy spanning millennia. Inextricably woven into history, the series re-writes everything we know in a non-stop rollercoaster of a ride where nothing is ever as it seems.

Now for the fun. Llamas or camels?

Depends on which one spits most (or furthest, or accurately) ((Not sure which is most important. Perhaps a rating based on all three)). I tend to lean towards camels but strictly because of Monty Python's camel sketch. Remember the famous line: "Almost… uhm nearly… uhm, very close to, pretty much almost nearly one, I'd say." If you haven't seen the skit, the quote won't mean much to you, so sorry about that. Allow me to assure you that it is indeed funny, so you may permit yourself a sincere chuckle or two. It is definitely worth it.

You’ve just been cornered on the street by Steven Spielberg, who wants to make your book into an epic three part movie. Who’s going to play the leads?

Four parts. Main lead could be played by Chris Pine. Liam O'Flanahan, the irish conspiracy publisher should be played by Paul Giamatti. Jonathan Briar, the archeology  professor, could be played by Terry O'Quinn, the actor who played John Locke in 'Lost'. Problem is, my wife's with me when Spielberg corners me. She's eyeing me pretty bad, so I can't say who I'd really want for Raymonde Leblanc, the love interest. The one guy left, Fabian Coulter, Sirenne's young sidekick, needs a young actor but I'm too old to know any of them. I'm stuck in the sixties, movie-wise. Spielberg gets his henchman to pressure me, twisting my arm, but there's no way I'm going to expose myself any more. I do a backhand flip, getting out of the henchman's grasp and pull out a shiv, hidden in my belt buckle. I don't intend to use it, just to get Spielberg to back off, at least until I do some more research, or when I'm not with my wife. Spielberg gets it, giving me 'the wink', and goes down a side alley, his henchman slinking behind him. I get in my limousine and drive off, bothered by the whole incident but not sure why.

You’re the President of the world! What’s your first new rule?

Out with money. Second rule: enforced population control. Local living, local buying. Community life. Not many people like me. I don't care. I've fixed the world. I'll use the huge prisons built all over the place to house all tax, Wall street, and investment related workers. They can be 'retrained' for actual useful work.

If you could be locked into one of your stories, which one would it be? Which character would you be and why?

I've written a four book series. Most of the characters are recurrent. Paul Sirenne, the main character would be my choice. There are two very good reasons. Both of them are story spoilers, so I'm not going to tell you why directly. I can provide some acerbic clues: Clue One: In the end, it doesn't matter who I pick. Clue Two: There's really nobody else to compare him to.  Unfortunately, you may have to read to the end of the four book series to figure out if my clues are good or not. Sorry for the trick but there it is.

Here’s a box of Crayons. What are you going to draw?

First, I need to sharpen the crayons. I want a nice sharp tip. I need a light box and some translucent paper. A magnifying glass, because my eyes are gone.  I try to draw something but the stupid tip breaks. It doesn't matter anyway, because don't really care to draw with crayons. All I care about is perspective of the object, the light play, how it can be used to create illusions. Shades of black are best used for that. I toss the crayons and grab some sharp pencils kept for such an emergency. I draw an impossible triangle, Escher's masterpiece. One simple shape. Three offset shades of the same color. Assemble and, Voila! A two dimensional drawing that will twist your eye out, becoming three dimensional. It reveals the human tendency to create illusion where none exists. In that lies an explanation to mankind's biggest mystery. Read my series for more.

Where can we find you around the vast interwebs?

www.mattchatelain.com is my home. This link will send you to the audio excerpts for 'The Caves of Etretat': http://mattchatelain.com/the_sirenne_saga/sirenne_saga_audio_excerpts . This link will allow you to sign up for my contest to win signed books: http://mattchatelain.com/contestlinks . Leave me a note if you visit, love to hear from you.

And where might we find your books for sale?

My books (The Caves of Etretat, The Four Books of Etretat) are available as Ebook for $3.95 at Kindle and in hardcopy for $14.95 at Amazon.com. Links for both may be found at my website, along with some related links for free Kindle books.

Thanks for dropping by! Any other thoughts?

We all wonder where conspiracies start. Is there something real behind them? What about vampires? Are they real? What is real in the end? Can anything be proven to be real… or is it all illusion? If you are inside the illusion, what argument can you use to prove it is an illusion? Even if it is an illusion, so what?
What if all illusions, all conspiracies, came from the same place? What if you knew where that place was? What would you do? Read my series to find out.


In 2007, Canadian bookstore owner Paul Sirenne is suddenly thrust into a quest for answers, when his parents are found brutally murdered, their bodies cut up and shaped into the letters H.N. Finding a note inside his father's copy of 'The Hollow Needle', by Maurice Leblanc, Sirenne is determined to uncover the roots of his long-forgotten family secret.

He heads to the town of Etretat, France, on the trail of a hundred year old mystery hidden in the pages of the 'Hollow Needle'. Falling in love with Leblanc's great-granddaughter, he deals with puzzles, theories, codes and historical mysteries, leading him to believe that Leblanc held a secret war against Adolf Hitler, fighting for the control of an incredible complex of caves hidden in Etretat's chalk cliffs.

'THE CAVES OF ETRETAT' is the first in a four-book epic adventure following Paul Sirenne, an average man unknowingly manipulated into becoming the key in the final phase of a complex conspiracy spanning millennia. Inextricably woven into history, the series re-writes everything we know in a non-stop rollercoaster of a ride where nothing is ever as it seems.


EXCERPTS (Please choose only ONE to use with your post):

Excerpt one

While I drove toward my father's place, my rear view mirror allowed me the occasional glimpse of a familiar vehicle and its driver, Norton. His companions were nowhere to be seen. Perhaps he was intent on protecting me but I doubted it. His comments had seemed disjointed to me, despite the circumstances. Everything he said had come across insincere, as if he were following another agenda. I resolved to ignore him for the time being. Let him do his watching.

To some, police protection might seem comforting. To me, it felt like an irritant. I preferred to mind my own business and for others to do the same, even in dire circumstances. That way I hurt no one and no one got hurt. I almost changed my opinion when I arrived at my father’s house. Even Norton's company would have been preferable to that of my own thoughts. I hurried up the entrance staircase and stopped in front of the door, taking a deep breath. I felt frozen in place, unable to open it.

Breaking the spell and forcing myself to move, I removed the police tape with a trembling hand and entered, closing the door behind me. I looked around the entrance hallway. Everything looked normal but it felt wrong, empty, too quiet. I walked into the living room and there it was: the bloody outline of the H and the N. I was horrified by the bloodstained dots after each gruesome letter, knowing what had left those imprints.

Seized by a sudden, irresistible impulse, I ran to the kitchen, filled a large bucket with hot water and picked up a heavy bristle brush.

Those stains had to go!

I returned to the living room, trying to stay calm, to think nothing about what the stains represented. I knelt down, splashed some water on the floor, and began scrubbing the dark stains. I didn’t care if I scratched the wood. At some point, I started crying in great, wracking sobs, the tears streaming down my cheeks, dripping onto the bloodstains on the floor.

By the time I was done, my tears had dried, evaporated by a burning resolve unlike any I had before. I did not know how, I did not know when, but I would catch that monstrous killer. He would pay for what he had done.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Born in Ottawa, fifty-two years ago, I have been the owner of a used bookstore I opened in Ontario, since 1990. I have been writing since I was ten. Beginning with poetry, I quickly moved on to short stories and non-fiction pieces. I stayed in that format for many years, eventually self-publishing a franchise manual (How to Open Your Own Used Bookstore), as well as a variety of booklets, such as 'How to Save Money at Home', 'Build a Greenhouse with Style' and the ten booklet series of Eddy Brock, Brockville Detective.

Having semi-retired from the bookstore, I embarked on the project of writing my first serious novel, which I expanded to a four book series after discovering an incredible mystery hidden within Maurice Leblanc's books.

My interests are eclectic. I like Quantum Physics, Cosmology, history, archaeology, science in general, mechanics, free power, recycling and re-use. I'm a good handyman and can usually fix just about anything. I'm good with computers. I love movies, both good and bad, preferring action and war movies. I can draw and paint fairly well but am so obsessed with perspective and light that I cannot think of much else. I am too detail oriented. Takes too long to finish anything.

Website:   http://www.mattchatelain.com
Facebook page:   http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=100003486781507



Matt will be awarding a $20 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour as well as to the host whose post receives the most comments (excluding his or the host's) during the tour.

17 May 2012

Guest: Leia Shaw

Happy Thursday! My guest today is Leia Shaw. Enjoy!

Tickling Your Funny Bone

I wouldn’t call myself a comedy writer, but humor plays a big role in my books. In my life, actually. As a parent of a child with special needs, I often tell people if I wasn’t able to laugh at myself, and sometimes our situation, I’d have slit my wrists a long time ago. Ha ha, just kidding. A little dark humor for ya’. But for me, laughter is that important. It’s even got a healing quality to it. Having a good laugh releases endorphins that give us a bit of a high. Like a natural upper. Many times when I’m feeling down, I’ll say to my husband, “I need a good laugh, do something funny.” To which he blankly stares. Then I roll my eyes and call my best friend.

So what does this have to do with writing? Well, I think for the upcoming generation of readers, humor is essential – even if you write deep, dark, and serious material. We live in an ADD society. The audience for long, flowery narration like Jane Eyre is, for the most part, dwindling. And new readers are picky. If they hit a dull spot, they put down the book. And if they put it down, it’s very hard to get them to pick it back up. This generation moves fast and they want their books to also.

Again, where does writing humor fit into this? Well, one of the things I try to do is, when I have to inundate a reader with a long description or a backstory, I make it funny. That way it entertains the reader as well as giving necessary information without hitting a lull.

Now I’m no expert, and admittedly I didn’t do much (or any) research before writing this post, but in my mind there are several types of humor. Some you’ll be great at, some not. In my opinion, it’s better to use what you got than try to be good at everything. Maybe you already know what suits you best or what comes most naturally to you – if so, awesome and run with it. If not, I’ve listed the types (which I just made up) below along with an example of each. Take a look at what you find most funny then experiment with how to add more of it in your writing.

And I apologize that all the examples of humor are from my books. Number one, it’s my own material so I don’t have to worry about copyright infringement. And number two, I’m lazy.

Dry humor:

Marcelo knew from experience, human women did not like being ordered around by men. His queen had taught him that when she’d tried to kill him only a few months ago. And all because he’d forced her to drink blood and steal the throne from her twisted father. Women were so temperamental.


“Your ego is legendary. It’s like its own entity. No, really. We should name it.”

Dark humor:

“We’re not so different, you and I. You believe your loose morals dictate the right people to kill. I don’t.” With the knife, he cut straight through her shirt. “That’s the only difference between the hunter and the hunted.”
She rolled her eyes. “Is this how you’re going to torture me? Spewing philosophical bullshit? I prefer the knife.”

Silly humor:

“So? You made a good choice for once in your life,” James said. “Good on ya’. What do you want? A cookie?”
Maddox grunted. “She wants an apology, dumbass.”
She narrowed her eyes. “Now I want two apologies.” Folding her arms across her chest she added, “And a cookie.”

Visual humor:

When he crouched down into a fighter’s stance, he looked like a sexy tiger ready to pounce. When Sage did it, she looked like she was sitting sideways on an invisible toilet.


“You’re a bossy little thing.”
“Me bossy? Ha! That’s funny coming from you.”
“Down here there’s a name for a creature that taunts a bigger one.”
“What’s that?”

Pop Culture humor:

“Thanks for that, boy genius. Where’d you graduate from? Hogwarts School for the Mentally Unbalanced?”


It had only been six days since she’d frozen in fear when the werewolves had attacked her and Marcelo. What a long way she’d come since then. Now…now she would have faced them with courage instead of cowering behind a man. Her head would be held high, bow in hand, strength down to her feet rooted on the ground. Yes, she was fae. She would never run and hide again.
Just then a giant snarling ball of muscle, fur, and teeth lunged at her from the trees. Oh, the irony.

Physical humor:

The next stall over is decent but cramped. It’ll have to do. I lift my dress and begin the process of liberating my curves from the torture device called Spanx. I grab the waistband and yank. And yank and yank. Down, down my body. At my hips, I reach some resistance. I wriggle them back and forth but the stall is so narrow I knock into the walls. I widen my stance, hovering above the toilet. Balancing on my too small heels proves challenging. I grunt and curse under my breath. Sweat drips down my nose. But I am going to get these damn things off if it’s the last thing I do.

Taking a more aggressive approach, I shove my hands under the waistband around my hips and pull down as hard as I can. Then I hear a loud rip and freeze. I look down. The lacy red underwear Nick got me is torn through at the side.

“Shit!” I hiss. “Shit, shit, shit.”

The sound of a throat clearing comes from the stall next to me. Double shit! Someone walked in between my grunts and thumping about? It probably sounds like I’m giving birth in here.

Witty humor:

Umm…I don’t really specialize in this. I mainly use low brow and crass.

So. What’s your favorite type of humor to read and to write? Do you have examples you’d like to share? Leave a comment below and we can all laugh at you…er, with you.

08 May 2012

Caressed by Night

Happy Tuesday! Even though I'm home sick, it's still a happy day since I can crochet and write. Another reason: an interview from Amanda Greene! Enjoy.

Welcome aboard! Tell us a little about yourself, please.

Where to start…I’m 23 years old and live Southern California. I’m working on B.A. while I work part time and write any chance I get. I’ve published 2 books of my Rulers of Darkness series and have a total of 6 planned.

What about your latest release?

Caressed by Night (Rulers of Darkness #2) is my newest release. Dimitri and Kerstyn story is told in this installment, an ancient vampire king comes back from the dead to claim his mate…. Well, the truth is everyone thought he was dead for nearly 400 years, but he is back and ready for revenge and to find his woman. Kerstyn had no idea where her life is headed after she loses her job, her car dies on her, and her closest friend tosses her out of their apartment – What is a girl to do…find a hunky vampire king. What else?

Ok, let’s get down to the fun stuff. If you were stranded on a lush tropical island, and all of your basic needs were met, what two items would you have with you? What person would be with you? Remember, you’re stuck there for an indefinite period with only each other to occupy the time.

To be honest, I would like my husband to be there with me. He is a very resourceful/handy man (my own military guy) and we could have a place like the Swiss Family Robinson. Oh, yeah, I also love him. If I could have electricity and Internet, I would need my laptop – I’m chained to the thing. But really, more paper and pens then I would know what do with would work since I would have to write or I would go crazy.

If you could play opposite any of your lead characters, which one would it be and why?

I would love to play opposite Gabriel. He is brooding, dangerous, loyal to a fault, and hot. Is there any better male lead?

If you could lead any of your secondary characters, which one would it be and why?

I would be Gwen, a vampire warrior who can kick some serious butt.

You’re locked in a closet with Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, three paperclips and a string. How do you get out?

Um…why would I want out? I find all of those people attractive.

Name five things you can do with a pencil.

I can flip it in the air (brining surprising amounts of amusement, if I remember elementary school correctly). I can use the eraser to draw things on the cover of my paper note pads. Let me think, oh, if I were in Buffy I could use it to stake a vampire. I can do something boring like sharpen it and, naturally, write with it.

Who’s your favorite character from your book(s)? Why? Don’t worry, we won’t tell.

I love all my hunky heroes and sassy heroines, but I would have to say I favor Hadrian and Gabriel. They are both complicated characters, wounded, brave, mysterious and deliciously dangerous.

Where can we find you around the vast interwebs?

I can usually be found hanging around Facebook and browsing Goodreads.

What about your books? Where are they being sold at?

My books are in both ebook and print format. You can download it from Kindle and Nook, All Romance Ebooks and Erotic Escapes Ebooks, or visit your order it print from your local Barnes & Noble.

Thanks for dropping in! Any last words?

Thank you for having me here today. I really enjoyed the interview. I wish everyone happy reading!



Barnes & Noble


Erotic Escapes Ebooks

Lulu (Print)


You Tube


4.5 Stars from Night Owl Reviews – A Night Owl Reviews Top Pick!

5 Howls from Bitten By Paranormal Romance

4 Roses from Romancing the Darkside

4.5 Stars from PRUF Reads


Amanda J. Greene is an erotic paranormal romance author. When she is not writing, she can be found playing the role of a full time university student, who works part time. She lives in Southern California with her very supportive, military husband and their sweet cocker spaniel.