Monday, March 25, 2013

Don't Touch EBook Release Day!

Don't Touch is available on Smashwords today!

Dr Ryan Reign has unlocked a gift she calls a curse. Detective Jackson Prince and his partner need her help to stop a serial killer before he murders again.

One problem Dr. Reign can't touch or be touched. She's become a recluse never leaving her home for fear of what she might'see'. Jackson knows he has to help her accept her gift or there will be more deaths. 

It takes a woman's touch to catch a killer. 


 It had been months since she had ventured outside of her lawn. Ryan didn’t understand what was happening to her at first. Since the incident on her last day at work, she has tried to make sense of it. Or at least find out what it was and how to stop it.
            She sat at the computer nursing a cup of cocoa February in Florida was the dead of winter. It would be up in the seventies in another week but right now it was in the forties. Ryan was searching the net for the gazillionth time. VISIONS, VISIONS BY TOUCH, PSYCHIC were the search words she used. The screen blinked and an all too familiar list popped up. Near the bottom of the page was something different. “The Circle.”
            Clicking the link she waited not expecting anything. The site came up and they had all the usual. Tarot, crystals, books, psychic readings. “Usual BS, I could have just gone to Cassadaga for that.”
            Cassadaga fancied themselves the psychic capital. Might be, the entire town was palm readers, mind readers, astrologists, numerologist, you name the psychic brand and there was a store front for it. In the past they have had to block the town off on Friday the thirteenth and Halloween due to all the traffic and weirdness.
            Just as she rolled over to exit the page she saw a flashing box. “Have a question about your gift? No, I have a question about my curse though.”
            She typed in a brief description of her problem. When I touch stuff I see things. Am I crazy? Hitting send with her email, attached Ryan sat back and felt the sting of tears. How much more can she cry? Every day for the last who knows how long now she cried. About to sign off her mailbox blinked.
Hi Ryan,
            My name is Barbara. I have a gift like yours, it is called psychometry. Or object reading. You can see bits of others lives by touching things they touched. Especially when the emotions are strong.
            Ryan blinked psycom-a what? Object reading? Barbara went on to explain the positive and negative hands, one leaves an imprint the other can read it.  She shook her head and clicked reply. “I don’t care how it works. How do I turn it off?” Send. A few minutes later.
            You can’t turn it off. You can learn to control it. Which hand is your positive hand? The one you “see” with. It is usually the hand you write with. Use the opposite one more until you get control of your gift.
            “Get control! I want it gone!” She screamed furious. She hadn’t been able to go anywhere or even touch her sister without some kind of vision haunting her. Angry, she signed off and paced the floor.
            They pulled up into the driveway of an old Victorian home on the lake. Not many of these homes lasted through the ages but this one had been kept pristine. The detectives walked up the porch and noticed the furniture was covered in plastic sheets. Maybe the good doctor was gone on holiday, or playing a round of golf.  Thomas knocked on the door. The door opened a crack, he held up his badge. “Good afternoon, I’m Detective Thomas Lord and this is my partner Jackson Prince, is Dr. Reign home?”
            Ryan stepped back and wiped her face then opened the door a bit wider. “I’m Dr. Reign, is there a problem detective?”
            Jackson stepped closer to the door. “Dr. Ryan Reign?”
            Her eyes narrowed a bit. “Yes, Dr. Ryan Reign. Want to see my drivers license, Detective Prince or should I give it to his lordship?”
            Thomas shot Jackson a look then turned back and smiled warmly. “That won’t be necessary, I apologize we were uh… under the impression that…. Well what we’re here for is to ask you about one of the last cases you worked on.”
            She tilted her head a bit and glanced at the folder. “Which case?”
            Thomas opened the folder where she could see. “The murder of Jillian Hilliard.” The men watched as every bit of blood drained from her complexion. Ryan swayed and caught the door to stay upright. Jackson reached a steadying hand and she jumped back away from him.
            “Don’t! Don’t touch me! I’m… I’m sorry I can’t help you.” She slammed the door. Ryan leaned against the oak and slid to the floor sobbing hysterically as the vision she saw that day replayed its self. Only now it was worse she had a name to go with the horror she had to witness.

            Jackson shook his head as Thomas headed down the steps behind him. “I don’t understand, Jack, you were only trying to keep her from falling.”
            “I don’t’ think that was it. Every drop of blood drained from her body when you opened that file. What ever happened to her that day has that lady terrified.”
            That night Jackson couldn’t sleep. He had the sinking feeling this was going to get much worse before it got anywhere at all. 

 Grab your copy on Smashwords  for $.99 launch week special March 25th through 30th! 

Want to get a paperback copy or meet the author. Come see me March 30th at the Authors in the Park event Spring into Art! Get all the details here Events and Appearances  or AIP on Facebook 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Author Chat with Darby Davenport author of Walk Away With Me

Gladiator's Pen welcomes romance author, Darby Davenport, to the Ludis today as part of the celebration for the launch of her new novella, Walk Away with Me. You may know Darby under her other pen name, Emlyn Chand. So refill your cuppa and let's take a walk and chat with Darby. Don't forget to leave some comment love and enter the contest for an awesome prize pack.

You're fairly well known as a YA author, why did you decide to start writing romance as well?
My life-long love affair with reading knows no bounds. I find it hard to write in only one genre when I enjoy reading so many. While I plan to right much more YA (I have to finish the Farsighted series, after all), I'm also drawn to romance in particular. Who doesn't love a happy ending that leaves the reader feeling warm and cozy? My cheerful romances help to counterbalance my dark and brooding YA. Together, they form the complete picture of who I am as an author. I wouldn't trade either for the world!

What are you doing differently with one pen name versus the other? Are you worried that the two different names will fracture your author identity?
It's definitely scary starting all over with a new pen name. I have 9 books out as Emlyn Chand, and this is just my first as Darby. YIKES! My publisher and I decided it would be best for me to take on this new romance alias to protect my younger readers from accidentally picking up a book they shouldn't be reading. My Bird Brain Book series is for readers ages 3 and up, while Walk Away with Me is really only for the 18+ crowd.

At first it was difficult figuring out where Emlyn ended and Darby began, but now I've really started getting into the whole multiple personalities thing. Yes, I have to start over with my author brand, but on the other hand... I get to start over! I've learned so much since first releasing Farsighted back in October 2011. I now have the opportunity to do everything better, stronger, faster. Maybe the lessons I learned as Emlyn will unlock a higher success for Darby. I don't know what the future holds, but I'm so excited to find out!

What is your favorite thing about the romance genre?
The idea that no matter how bad things get, everyone in entitled to a happily-ever-after.

You dedicated Walk Away with Me first to your dogs and then to your husband—why?
As much as I love my husband, this book really was written for the dogs. The two dogs in the book are modeled after our three dogs at home. My Lhasa Apso, Rugby, played a huge role in my love story with my husband. In fact, during our early days dating, Rugby would get so upset when Falcon wasn't around that he refused to eat, to play, to do anything but mope around and try to electrocute himself by chewing on cables. True story!

Dogs are such loving, intelligent creatures, and it breaks my heart that so many of them are without homes. Walk Away with Me isn't just an opus dedicated to my dogs but to all rescue dogs. There's even a special section in the back of the book where I talk about my lovable mutts, how they came to me, and why everyone should consider giving one of these wonderful animals a second chance at life.

What kind of reader will enjoy Walk Away with Me?
Obviously, I primarily had a female audience in mind, but if fellas are willing to give it a chance, I think they'll find Charlie is a woman they can get behind. Lovers of animals, nature, Thai food, and Cesar Milan will also enjoy the story :-)

About Walk Away with Me
A man with a painful past, a woman who fears commitment, and a dog with only one more chance at life--together, can they find love?
What is Charlie Rockwell supposed to do when the sad Rottweiler's eyes connect with hers through the TV screen and work their way straight into her heart? She adopts him without a second thought or the slightest knowledge how to take care of the large, needy dog with the traumatic past.

Ethan Porter is not happy when a savage Rottweiler picks a fight with his mild-mannered Golden Retriever at the dog park. But his anger quickly dissipates when tears begin to form behind the eyes of the dog's beautiful owner--eyes that are far too familiar for his liking. Disregarding his instincts, Ethan can't deny her plea when she asks him to teach her the basics of dog ownership.
Can he ignore the fact that she bears a strong resemblance to his ex and finally learn to trust again? Will she find committing to both man and dog more exciting than the freedom of a single, unrestrained life?
Walk Away with Me is just $2.99 for the eBook and $9.95 for the paperback. Here are all the links you'll need: Amazon USAmazon UKBarnes & NobleSmashwordsKobo BooksGoodReads.
"Lovable characters, compelling plot, and an exciting twist that will leave you on the edge of your seat as Charlie and Ethan find their happily-ever-after." ~ Lucy Kevin, New York Times bestselling author of THE WEDDING KISS

 About Darby Davenport
Darby Davenport never believed in love--that is, until it happened to her. Now she's a firm believer that every story is a love story, and has taken to writing out her favorite romantic fantasies and sharing them with the world.

Darby, who also writes young adult and children's fiction under the pen name Emlyn Chand, lives in suburban Detroit with her own personal soul mate--fellow writer, Falcon Storm--and private zoo, which includes a music-loving Sun Conure, hyper-active Golden Retriever, and two scrappy little rescue mutts.
You can connect with her at

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Walk Away With Me Prize Pack! 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Embarking on Adventure

This update is filled with news! Last week was full of new adventures and there are more on the horizon just waiting for me to get there. Now where to start….

Don’t Touch Re-launch
Don’t Touch has an official re-release date… March 25th. So mark your calendar and be on the look out for more coming about the characters and locations in this exciting psychic thriller.

Due to a lovely migraine I didn’t get as much editing as I would have liked done but we’re on the tail end yay! So, my goal to start formatting didn’t get met but that’s okay, there’s time yet to panic get it done.

Authors in the Park March 30th!
I have my box and filling it with what I need for this awesome event. I have books to sell and some goodies to give away. If your in Florida mark your calendar to come and see me in Mt. Dora you can get more info on Authors in the Park on my website HERE.

AIP was also responsible for some of my adventure last week. I took part in a live Authors in the Park Panel on The G-Zone on Blog Talk Radio. My first radio appearance! I felt like a stumblin' bumblin' fool, but it was great fun. You can listen to the show below.

Write one article
Check! Another adventure undertaken was a visit to the Appleton Museum of Art in Ocala, Florida. I love art and could spend hours looking at the beautiful creations and bits of history. Instead of telling you about it go here and check out my article WorldPremiere of De Soto’s Florida Expedition Artifacts. If you like travel and reading about unique places please subscribe!

Awesome new adventure
This adventure will be continuing on for a long time to come I hope. I was invited by the fab Karen Cote and Coffee Time Romance mistress Karenne McConkie to become a member of the Coffee Time Crew!

I’ve been blessed to find and become part of some awesome groups and organizations. Coffee Time Romance is a fantastic place for both authors and readers. There are so many ways to get great book news plus contests (I’ll be working on a super fun contest with Lady Karen so keep an eye out for that news!)  and giveaways, free classes and books! Who doesn’t love coffee and books! So go to Coffee Time Romance and check out all the awesomeness.

Goals for this week
1. Finish editing Don’t Touch and start e formatting before I gain 10lbs on all this chocolate.
2. Write one article
3. Get more prep done for Authors in the Park. Holy cow, March 30th keeps getting closer!
4. Get more dark chocolate for desk drawer. I see a chocolate intervention in my future…
5. Find more adventure last week was crazy but fun!

How about you? Did you have accomplish your goals or have any new adventures?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Gladiator's Pen Reviews: Keldane the Cursed by Jeffery Hollar

Keldane the Cursed authored by Jeffery Hollar, is a fun quirky tale of a boy who is the son of the greatest wizard in the land, but… isn’t so great with magic himself. The book is a bit youthful for me I’m not a YA reader really but I enjoyed a few laugh-out-loud moments at Keldane’s expense as he gets into mess after mess with his companion, a vampire bat named Barnabus.

My son who is 15 also gave Keldane a gander. He said he enjoyed the read and would read more Keldane adventures.

The Gladiators give Keldane the Cursed four shields. 

Book Blurb
Did you ever wish you had the ability to use magic and cast spells to do anything you wanted to? Well, so does Keldane. Unfortunately, just being the son of the most powerful magic user the world has ever known doesn’t come with any guarantees. It’s not without very good cause he’s known to his classmates as Keldane the Cursed.

 The boy rose from the stool he’d been sitting on and bowed his back as he stretched. His spine cracked loudly with the relief of stiffness the stretch provided. He thought, for not the first time ever or even the first time today, ‘My father is going to kill me!’

His gaze returned to the pages of the enormous book on the workbench before him. The runes all seemed to flow together in a jumbled mess. With a sigh of frustration, he
slammed shut the cover of the grimoire. A plume of dust billowed from the ancient book causing him to sneeze violently and repeatedly.

“It’s no use guys. I can’t find what I need in this stupid book! I’ve been through it over and over and it’s just not here!”

He spoke to the two animals sitting on the table in front of him. The large greenish frog, Desmond, looked at him with a mournful gaze and croaked softly. The ginger cat, Lydia, looked at Keldane with a malevolent gaze, her tail swishing angrily from side to side.

“You guys KNOW transmogrification isn’t my best subject. I’d change you back in a second if I could only remember the bloody spell.”

The frog croaked more loudly and the cat hissed menacingly as if to say nothing was Keldane’s “best subject”. Although he was the son of THE most powerful wizard in history, Keldane was, unfortunately, so inept even his wizarding instructors openly referred to him as Keldane the Cursed.

*While it’s unlikely your father would actually kill you, I doubt he’ll be pleased with this latest in a long series of disappointments.*

The boy glanced up to the rafters at the immense vampire bat hanging there.
“Barnabas, you HAVE to help me!” the boy moaned, “You’ve served our family for over 20 years. There has to have been a problem like this happen before.”

*No, I don’t think any of your siblings quite managed an embarrassment of this caliber. Although I’m not especially hungry, I suppose it’d be easiest to just suck them dry and you can toss the remnants into the rubbish bin. No one need be the wiser.*

Neither the frog nor the cat was privy to the exchange between the boy and his bat, but they WERE both a bit on edge. Thusly, neither was as surprised as one might expect when the bat swooped down to feed.

Before Keldane could intervene, his friends took matters into their own hands, so to speak. Barnabas learned firsthand why they called them “catlike reflexes” as Lydia ignominiously slapped him out of the air. Desmond jumped on to the chest of the dazed bat and held him down while Lydia, daintily, tore his head from his leathery shoulders.
Both animals settled back on to the bench with expressions simply daring Keldane to protest.

“Yes indeed. My father IS going to kill me.” The boy mused as he plopped back down on the stool.

Where to find Keldane the Cursed and Jeffrey Hollar

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Editing and chocolate, lots of chocolate

I have been hard at work on the last edit of Don’t Touch in preparation for its March ebook re-launch. Editing for me is hellish. I’ve never been very grammatical, it just doesn’t come naturally to me. So, some days it’s a struggle as to which tense is proper or is that a hanging practiciple on the end of that sentence? *pulls out hair and grabs some dark chocolate to sooth the nerves.

Thank goodness for the discovery of a few awesome helpers along the way to boost my weak spot, and dark chocolate to ease the fried nerves.

My Sis found this one while working on a research paper. Thank you Sis!!! Ginger is useable online or you can download it onto your system. It has a spell and grammar check. The grammar check is a bit more detailed than the one that comes in Word. Ginger works directly from your document you don’t have to open and import into an external program. Best of all it’s free!

This is the diagnosis for HALF. 
The Writer's Diet Test 
This handy site lets you see where you need to do some tightening on your manuscripts. Your novels fitness depends on the amount of adverbs, adjectives.. etc… that the writing contains.

Copy pasting a few thousand words into this online tool lets you know where you need to do some tightening and shaving pounds off your book. If only it was that easy to that chocolate cake off my hips.

Hopefully with the aid of my handy author tool box and a bag of dark chocolate edits will soon be at an end and the final formatting can begin so Don’t Touch can get its tush on the virtual shelves.

My ROW80 goals for this week are focused on getting her done and getting ready for my big event Authors in the Park.
1. Finish the re-edits on Don’t Touch
2. Start on e formatting of Don’t Touch
3. Start on preparations for materials for AIP on March 30th. (OMG That’s less than 30 days away!!!!)
4. Write one article
5. Take a breath, have a chocolate and try not to panic 

For more details about the March 30th festival of books and art go here Authors in the Park.

How are your goals shaping up? Do you have any editing tricks or tips you like to use? 

Friday, March 1, 2013

A Luring Murder of Author Stacy Verdick Case

No no, Stacy is  just fine, the murder is in the next Catherine O'Brien book. Stacy is here with us in the Ludis today to chat about her latest release A Luring Murder. Grab your favorite coffee treat and enjoy the chat. Don't forget to leave some comment love! 

Tell us three little known things about Stacy Verdick Case.
I collect gemstones, I eat salsa from the jar with a spoon, and I went to school to be a sound engineer in a recording studio.

We’re talking about A Luring Murder today. Can you tell us a bit about it?
I wrote A Luring Murder at the request of fans. Initially I had written a different book 2 for the series, but at the end of A Grand Murder the main character Catherine O’Brien is going on vacation with her husband. I kept getting emails and reviews that said I can’t wait to find out what happens on this vacation. The only problem was the next book took place several months later. After a friend of mine insisted that she had to know what happened on vacation I decided to write A Luring Murder. So this one is for the fans of the first book because they asked for it.

A Luring Murder is the second in a series. The first being A Grand Murder. What inspired this series?
I love series mysteries but there wasn’t a series for someone like me. I’m too old now to appreciate a 20-something bimbo running around with a gun who stumbles on dead bodies, while trying to find love, but I’m too young for the granny sleuth mysteries. Catherine is in between the two.

What are the challenges in writing a series verses a one off book?
Continuity is a huge problem. I end up having to re-read my books to double check eye color and back story details. I think the problem is I write by the seat of my pants and I’m not organized at all.  If I were more organized I would write these details down, but I never do.

The main character of your series is Catherine O’Brien, tell us a bit about her. Was she inspired by something in yourself or someone you know?

Catherine is irreverent. She has a tendency to say what’s on her mind without much in the way of tact. My sister swears Catherine is me, so I guess I need to work on the filter from my brain to my mouth (LOL). There are certain aspects to her personality that are like me, but I pull things from other people as well.

Why this genre?
When I started writing novel length fiction I started out in romance. Then an editor told me I had the highest body count she’d ever seen in a romance novel. She told me my romance fell down but suggested I focus on guy the mystery. It was handy information to have and I am very grateful to her for her suggestion.

In the books, we find out about Catherine’s coffee addiction what is your favorite coffee treat?
Quad shot, venti, caramel macchiato from Starbucks. I’m a complete addict.

What do you find most difficult and most rewarding in being a writer?
For me the most difficult thing is the social networking explosion. People expect you to be online and accessible. I’m a recluse. I love my privacy so I really struggle with the social promotion explosion. The most rewarding part is hearing people tell me they laughed out loud in public when they read my book. All I want to do is entertain people, so to have someone tell me they found an escape in my books is awesome.

Most writers are voracious readers. What are you reading right now?
I have 3 books going right now. On audio in my car is Married with Zombies by Jesse Petersen, on my Kindle is Decision Points by George W. Bush, and on my night stand is Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins.

Do you have any projects or WIP that you can tell us about?
I’m working on what will now be the 4th book in the series.  I don’t want to tell too much about it because it’s still rough draft so there will likely be major changes before this one hits the shelf. Then I have an idea for a book that is not part of the series, so I might take a short break from Catherine and Louise.

Where can we find Stacy Verdick Case and Catherine O’Brien?

A Luring Murder Excerpt 


When I went to bed last night, I was spooned against my husband on my first vacation in ten years. Never mind that the vacation, fishing at a Minnesota resort, is at the top of my personal list of hells.
By morning I was damp, shivering and alone under the covers. My husband, and two other men I’d never seen before stood next to the bed and stared at me like I was the prize winning pig at a State Fair.
Gavin, my loving husband, leaned into my ear and whispered, “There’s been a murder, Catherine.”
If there’s one word in the English language that could take you from zero to awake in less than a second the word is murder. I was on my feet and out the door in seconds.
Now I stood sentinel – playing gatekeeper to the crime scene and oracle to the sheriff and deputy of this podunk little town.
Thankfully, my duty would end as soon as the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension arrived. Then I could get back to my God forsaken vacation.
“Detective O’Brien.”
I turned on my heels to face the middle-aged man puffing his way up the hill toward me.
“You can call me Catherine you know, Sheriff. I’m not here in an official capacity. I’m a tourist in this town. Remember?”
His lips twisted up into a blushing, no-I-don’t-think-I-could-do-that, grin. At least he’d stopped calling me ma’am – the moniker he’d been using since my early morning verbal ice bath.
Sheriff Anderson held his baseball cap, with the local Sheriff’s department logo ironed on the front like a cheap truckers hat, in both hands and twisted the bill in a reflexive gesture. Anderson stared at me as if he’d forgotten why he’d come to see me.
“Have you come to release me from my guard duties?”  I said.
“Ah, sorry but no.”
I doubted very much if he were sorry. While I played goalie to the fiendish gawkers who just wanted a peek at the body, he campaigned for his next run at sheriff. Every local who approached with concern, and a smidge of morbid curiosity, left with the assurance that the case was well in hand and a suspect would soon be in custody.
Apparently, (since we hadn’t yet found any evidence that would help us track down a killer) the truth had no place in Sheriff Anderson’s reelection campaign. Anderson seemed to make up the details as he went along. He doled out lies to the locals as easy as a traveling carnival barker who claimed their midway games weren’t fixed.
“I was wondering,” he said. “If you know how much longer before the BCA arrives?  The resort owners are upset about us locking up their fish house.”
The fish house was situated near the beach surrounded by trees on all sides, and Mrs. Peterman had haunted the trees since early morning. Not wanting me to see her, Mrs. Peterman wove through the trees like a timber wolf hunting prey.
“Mr. and Mrs. Peterman will just have to get over it,” I said. “Even when the BCA arrives the fish house will be locked up for as long as it takes to gather all the evidence.”
Anderson screwed his hat onto his head then stuffed his hands into the front pockets of his jeans like a pouty child.
“Well, maybe I’ll just have Mrs. Peterman come talk to you about the fish house then.”
A cowardly answer, though not completely unexpected.
“You do that, Sheriff,” I said. “Was there anything else you needed?”
I hadn’t had coffee yet today, because my host for the next two weeks believes that tea is the preferred way to open your eyes in the morning. To me, it was what you drank when you had diarrhea.
My level of patience was directly tied to the amount of coffee coursing through my veins. My tank was dangerously low, and I was in no mood for Mrs. Peterman.

Did you enjoy the chat and excerpt? Have you read A Grand Murder? Let us know what you think Gladiators love comments :)