Trying to Find My Halloween Spirit, Settling for Autumn Adventures

 


I'm sorry my Halloween content hasn't been full of DIYs and haunted tales this year.

Even the Queen of Halloween has the blues. And the blues are definitely interfering with my orange and black feelings.

COVID really has me down. All my masquerade balls and fun events were canceled, which really hurts. Halloween is my season. 


I did have a mico- Tea and Witch Crafts party with two friends and my daughter during the first weekend of October. We made witch hats and brooms, had tea, and drank Witch's Brew Wine and mulled cider with a splash of rum. 





I've tried to keep the spirit alive and do all the Halloween things I can but everything I have goes into keeping the spirit alive in my home and for my family.  Halloween things may have been canceled but Autumn hasn't. 

For my birthday in September, we hit Spicer's Orchard outside Fenton, Michigan. Good grief it was packed. But they had all kinds of things going on. Food trucks, carnival rides. Basically a mini carnival at the orchard. Awesome, but way too busy for comfort even if there was no COVID. 

A couple weeks ago we took a boat ride to see the Autumn colors before packing the boat away for the winter. 


This past weekend we took a day trip to Lansing to drop into author Jenn Carpenter's new bookstore Deadtime Stories: True Crime and Other Books. Jenn is the author of Haunted Lansing and the woman behind A Festival of Oddities.


I signed a couple of copies of Haunted Flint and then my family explored the area.

Deadtime Stories is inside Thrift Witch an awesome vintage store that focuses on dark art and oddities. Another cool thrift store we found is Metro Retro.

My kids modeling jackets they got at the thrift shops
My kids modeling jackets they found at the thrift shops

We explored Old Town Lansing and enjoyed the fall colors and ended the day with a delicious dinner at The Creole Burger Bar & Southern Kitchen. Best grits I have EVER had. The cornbread was yummy (and I'm a cornbread snob). I had chicken and biscuits for dinner....OMG. So good.



If you ever make it to Old Town Lansing so you have to drop by these places.

And that's all the energy I have had to give so far.

So no DIYs or haunt posts right now. I'm sorry.

One thing I have learned during this pandemic is that spending time with the ones you love is more important than anything else in the world. We never know how much time we have left. So many people have lost their loved ones this year. I'm giving my loves as much of my time as I can. 

I hope that you have found some way to enjoy the season even though it is very different than years before.

I'm looking forward to a Halloween movie night with the family when The Craft: Legacy releases. And we'll have our annual family pumpkin carving night like we always do on October 30. I'm not sure what Halloween has in store for us. Trick or Treating is allowed in our area but my youngest is 14 and not really interested. He might change his mind though, who knows. 

Playing it by ear to see what's going on and the status of COVID. Right now cases are on the rise in Michigan. :-( 


Join the Live Haunted Halloween Spooktacular Facebook Party Wed October 21 10am-10pm EST


Join Bewitching authors as they chat about their books and Halloween.

Play games, win cool prizes including free books, Amazon gift cards, and more.

Author Schedule

10-11am Laura Bickle

11am- 12pm Catherine Stine

1-2 pm Celia Breslin

2-3pm  Susan Mac Nicol

3-4pm Nancy Gideon

4-5pm Roxanne Rhoads

5-6pm Happy Hour Mix and Mingle- Readers Can Ask Authors Questions

6-7pm Barb Jones 

7-8pm Tena Stetler

8-9pm Louisa West

9-10pm  Kim Richards

Dressing Up for Halloween- Author Guest Blog Residual Magic by Suzanne M Sabol


I love Halloween! I love to dress up and disappear into another identity. Plus, I am a sucker for a theme. I’ve been dressing up for Halloween for a very long time. Here’s me at 5 years old, dressed as what many would later claim is my real personality. 


 
Back in the day, circa 2009, my bestie and I would regularly attend a huge Halloween party in Columbus called Trauma. At first, Trauma was a fetish ball in the truest sense, there were vendors for everything from sex toys to clothing. There was a VIP room for the more intense flavors. But slowly, over time turned into a fetish ball/Halloween party. This is the last time we attended.
 


That’s me on the left. 

In 2015, I gave birth to a little girl and this just gave me license to do a lot of things that I would normally not have done, because- you know -I was an adult. 

This is us dressed as Owlette from PJ Masks and Luna Girl and Romeo (the villains, because I love villains). Some of this costume was because Scarlett, my daughter, wanted to be Owlette. The rest is because I made my husband dress up too as a group. 
 


Last year, and I can’t believe I got my husband to do this, Scarlett wanted to be Peter Pan and I was all for it. 

I’m dressed as Captain Hook, because of course I am. My husband is dressed as the Tick Tock Croc. He walked around the neighborhood in this costume. It was amazing. 


This year, we’re having a bit of trouble coordinating our costumes. Scarlett wants to be Nya from Ninjago and they just don’t make adult Ninjago costumes. We might have to get a little creative in our group theme.  


Residual Magic
Blood and Bone Legacy
Book Two
Suzanne M Sabol

Genre: Urban Fantasy, New Adult
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Date of Publication: 10/21/2020
ISBN: 978-1-64716-143-9
ASIN: 
Number of pages: 357
Word Count: 104,215
Cover Artist: Rae Monet

Tagline: To save Ev and Tag, Brittany must master the powerful magic of a goddess to stop a sorcerer from raising the Goddess of Carnage from manifesting through the cauldron.

Book Description: 

Brittany is a long way from the scared witch who watched a necromancer murder her mother. She’s grown and more powerful than even she realized as the sorceress she truly is. But all the magic in the world doesn’t mean anything if her best friend and werewolf, Everett Cooper, rejects her again. How many times can a person’s heart break? Brittany isn’t willing to find out. So, when another werewolf asks her out on an actual date, she jumps at the invitation.

Caught between two werewolves, Brittany will need all her friends when one of the pack goes missing. But nothing is ever easy, and magic has a cost that they may not be willing to pay. A trail of disappearances follow in Brittany’s wake, as someone tracks her every magical movement. But to what purpose? To what end?

Brittany has been powerful. 

Brittany has been patient.

Now, will Brittany be enough to save her friends . . . and the world?


Excerpt:

Chapter 1

Caught by Surprise

“I’m sorry, what did you just say?” I mumbled, as Tag’s question tumbled around in my head. My brain hitched, unable to follow. The kitchen island was a hard edge at my back as I clutched the sweating glass of soda tight in my hand. Huh, the refrigerator door was open. Did I leave that open? That’s such a waste of energy. Why was I worrying about the electric bill and the energy? God, Brittany, pull it together. Focus!

“I asked if you would like to go to dinner with me,” the werewolf asked . . . again. “On a date,” he clarified as if I hadn’t understood the first time. In all honesty, I hadn’t. I was staring at him with my mouth gaping open wide enough to catch flies but I couldn’t seem to snap myself out of a stupefied shock. His lips turned up in a teasing smirk that made my gut tighten and my brow crinkle in confusion.

“A date?” I asked, my voice uneven and hesitant as I considered. As many times as I’d dreamed of being asked that question by a werewolf—and I had, many many MANY times—the werewolf in my daydreams had never been Tag.

Stewart Taggar was long and lean, towering over my five foot six inches. I wasn’t a giant but I wasn’t tiny either. His red hair was more carrot than auburn but it seemed to shimmer when set against his bronzed skin. He was muscled but not bulky like a lot of the werewolves in the pack. He gazed down at me now in a way that was new or maybe it wasn’t and I just hadn’t noticed. He’d always treated me—I’d thought—like a little sister. Honestly, most of the pack did. Yes, I was only twenty-two and decades or centuries younger than most of the wolves and vampires but that didn’t mean I was a child. Tag wasn’t looking at me like I was a kid, that’s for sure. And I wasn’t sure how I felt about that development.

“Aren’t you a little old for her?” a gruff, clipped voice called from the kitchen doorway. Without my knowledge or permission, my body reacted to that voice in ways that made heat creep into my cheeks. Everett Cooper was three or four inches taller than me at most; lean and muscular. He seemed to be gaining bulk every day and it looked good on him. His sandy blond hair was styled away from his face, exposing the deep navy-blue of his eyes. His gaze fell on me like a weight, not crushing or overwhelming but comforting and all too familiar.

“That’s for her to decide, pup,” Tag responded, with an edge of condescension in his last word that surprised me.

Tag and Ev were friends, or at least had been, I’d thought. I wasn’t sure what was going on between them lately, but something was definitely up. Standing between them, I was ridiculously uncomfortable. Tension boiled in the kitchen until it was a physical heat against my skin as the two werewolves faced off. Sweat beaded on my upper lip. I was waiting for one of them to pee on me and mark their territory or something dumb like that. To be honest, I only wanted one of them to pee on me. Oh God, that didn’t sound right.

“She’s not going anywhere with you, old man,” Ev growled, squaring his shoulders. I perked up at that statement. I may be desperately in-love with Everett Cooper in a shameful and embarrassing sort of way, I wasn’t fool enough to lie to myself anymore about that fact. I was head-over-heels in-love with the idiot. That didn’t mean he could order me around like a piece of property. Because he couldn’t. I did not belong to him.

“Whoa whoa whoa!” I huffed out, throwing my shoulders back in irritation and raising my chin in defiance. I was a strong independent woman, darn it, and even if Ev was the man of my dreams, I wasn’t going to let him talk about me like a piece of meat.

Yes, Ev had kissed me a couple of weeks ago. Yes, it had been a-maz-ing. And yes, I’d said I would wait for him to figure his stupid, insecure, man-baby crap out. But it had been more weeks than I’d like to admit since our kiss and I was tired of waiting for this grown man to figure out what he was going to do with me. If anything. Maybe a little fire under his rear end would move his addled brain along. Or maybe he’d decide I wasn’t worth the effort and let me go. Either way, it was good to know . . . wasn’t it? That’s what I told myself, anyway.

Both men turned, meeting my heavy—okay, angry—stare. I was too young and too cute for heavy. I just didn’t have the menace behind any stare to classify as heavy. Feisty anger though, I could do.

“First,” I started, meeting Ev’s deep, dark, and penetrating gaze. Ugh, he was so cute. Shake it off, Britt. Pull yourself together. “You’re not the boss of me,” I hissed. Tag snorted in laughter and I turned on him, “Second, don’t provoke him.” Tag had the good sense to drop the grin on his face and appear suitably apologetic. “Third,” I said with a bright and cheerful smile that was actually true, and my smiles hadn’t been true for a very long time. “Tag, I would love to go to dinner with you.”

“What?” Ev erupted, wide-eyed surprise clear on his face as he took an aggressive step in my direction.

Ignoring Ev’s apparent surprise, Tag stepped in front of me with his back to Ev, blocking my view of the angry werewolf. “I’ll pick you up tonight at seven.” Clutching my hand in his, Tag squeezed reassuringly and smiled down at me in a way that made me feel like I was his whole world. Something about that expression made my insides flutter and I couldn’t help but grin back at him. I hadn’t expected that look in his eyes or my reaction to his attention. Did that make me an attention-starved idiot? Ugh, maybe it did.

“I’ll be ready,” I said, feeling giddy at the prospect of just being wanted. Yep, attention-starved idiot right here. He squeezed my hand again and strode by Ev, his head just a little bit higher.

“My shift starts soon, so I’ve gotta go but dress up tonight,” he said over his shoulder. “We’re going someplace upscale.”

“We don’t have to,” I said, suddenly feeling awkward at the thought of Tag spending money on me. Somehow, I didn’t feel comfortable with the idea of a fancy date. I could clean up, for sure, but I wasn’t very comfortable—like it wasn’t me but a bizzaro-world version of me.

Tag stopped, maybe hearing the uncertainty in my voice or wanting to drive the knife into Ev a little deeper, I don’t know. He turned to me and said, “You deserve the best, Brittany,” meeting my uncertain gaze with a self-confident grin. I blinked hard at him, seeing the man instead of my friend. It was the first time since we’d met—that I could remember, anyway— that he’d called me anything but “G”. He liked to refer to me as Glenda the Good Witch of the North because, by his own words, I had been all pink-fluffy-witchy-goodness when he’d first met me.

Tag continued, “You deserve so much more than anyone can or has ever given you.” With that last parting jibe, he left to go to work at the coroner’s office.

The front door closed behind Tag and silence descended on the kitchen. Uncomfortable and now, suddenly anxious, I turned and made my way around the overly large island toward the stairs. I took the long way around the island, clutching my soda close to my chest and letting the condensation soak into my shirt in an effort to keep as much space between me and Ev as I could.

“You said you’d give me time,” he whispered, sounding pained, or maybe that was anger. I couldn’t tell. Living in a house full of werewolves and vampires meant that nothing was really private unless you worked really hard to keep it that way. At that moment, I couldn’t decipher if he was protecting my privacy or his own.

“I did,” I agreed, turning to meet his now sea-foam green eyes. His wolf was close to the surface, magic flooded his irises with his wolf’s power. That show of power would have worried most people. But not me. I knew in my gut that neither Ev, nor his wolf, would ever hurt me. “I also told you not to wait too long or you might miss your chance.” I was so proud of myself, managing to get the words out without my voice shaking too much. I made my way around him with my shoulders back and my head high, looking to escape as quickly as my two feet would carry me.

“Brit,” he sighed, reaching for me, he caught my hip with the tips of his fingers. I froze at the touch as heat pooled in my center. My breath hitched in my throat and my fingers tightened around the glass. He made me stop and meet his questioning gaze instead of retreating up to my room like I desperately wanted. Ev and I lived in the same house with the vampire colony liege, the werewolf pack alpha, and their significant other—The Blushing Death. It’s a long and complicated story. Our living arrangement had made the last few weeks . . . awkward at best. “Brit, I—” he started but didn’t seem to know how to finish.

“Ev,” I said, wanting very much to ditch this mostly embarrassing and gruesomely uncomfortable conversation. “I’m not your mate. We both know it,” I said, the words sticking in my throat a bit. Werewolves had a mystical fated mate. Some werewolves found that mate over the course of their lifetime and some didn’t. Kurt, the pack Beta, had described it as a string tugging in his chest that linked directly to his mate’s heart.

Voicing the unequivocal fact that I was not Ev’s mate, made my heart break a little bit more each time I said it. Actually, a lot. It crushed me to my very soul. I cannot overstate this fact. Knowing I wasn’t his mate broke me on a foundational level. But the reality was, werewolves had fated mates and I wasn’t Ev’s.

He closed his eyes and breathed deep.

“It’s not fair to me to keep beating around this bush when nothing will ever come of it,” I said around the defeat lodged in my throat.

“You’re not Tag’s mate,” he growled as if that solved everything.

“No, you’re right about that,” I said, very proud of myself for not bursting into tears. “But I don’t love him,” I whispered, wishing desperately that I could suck those words back in. But I couldn’t. I’d said them out loud and to his face. There was no going back now.

His gaze narrowed on me in question and what I thought might be pity. I don’t think I could stand it if he pitied me. Before I could let that thought sink in, he asked, “Then why?”

“Because HE can’t crush me,” I answered succinctly. Blinking back the hot tears now flooding my eyes, I shifted my hip out from under his soft touch and made my way up to my room. Carefully, I closed the door behind me and finally released the tears I’d managed not to shed in front of Everett Cooper.

“Crying again?” a distant voice teased from my desk.

“Stay out of it, Cerridwyn!” I hissed, not wanting either of our voices to be heard by anyone. Everyone pretty much thought the succubus-witch that had killed ten people across Columbus and almost destroyed our house was dead. I hadn’t had the guts or the stomach to kill her. But I had managed to drag her soul out of her body and shove it into an amber amulet. Thinking back on it now, I’m not entirely sure I chose the kinder option. Maybe this was why the preternatural community thought sorceri were evil. Wynne certainly didn’t like being confined to the amulet. I was working up to telling everyone that I’d messed up on that one. Actually, I was trying to find a way to banish her so I wouldn’t have to confess my mistake to anyone. That seemed like a better idea. It was just taking longer than I’d thought. Especially if I didn’t want to destroy her soul in the process which I didn’t.

“So young and stupid,” she muttered loudly, clearly wanting me to hear her.

“I don’t need your two cents, Wynne,” I snapped. I’d come to my room for quiet but had forgotten about the nagging succubus currently residing in the amulet on my desk. How had I ever forgotten? The woman took every opportunity to gripe, badger, harass, or simply voice her opinions. I’d tried silencing her with my magic but it hadn’t worked. Sometimes my magic just did what I wanted with a single thought. Other times, I couldn’t do the simplest parlor tricks. My whole life, all I’d ever been told was how powerful I was. But since my mother’s murder, I haven’t been able to get anything to work right. It was either all or nothing at all. Unless, that is, I was cornered. Then everything seemed to work just fine.

“What two cents? I have no money,” Wynne replied, confused.

I smiled to myself at her confusion. Having been stuck in a vast wasteland of desert and mirrors the succubus-witch had dubbed the In-Between for more than a millennium, sometimes Wynne’s understanding of colloquialisms wasn’t up to scratch. I don’t know why I thought it was funny, but I did.

“Either way, it doesn’t change the fact that you are young and stupid. How many times have you cried over that boy? Too many to count by my opinion.” She huffed at me as if I was wasting her time. All she had was time. Plus, I was pretty sure she secretly loved it. I’d come to understand that Wynne liked to be needed. Who didn’t though? That was the point, wasn’t it? I wanted to be wanted and needed and it didn’t seem like Ev wanted or needed me at all. But maybe Tag did.

“Well, you’ll be glad to know that I have a date tonight,” I said, my chin high. I couldn’t keep the pleased grin from my face, even through the tears. When she stared at me, the words clearly not registering in her mind I added, “I’m going to be spending time with someone tonight in a romantic way . . . a man.”

“The boy finally became a man,” she grumbled and this time I wasn’t so sure she’d intended for me to hear her.

“Ev?” I asked, confused but continued on, “No, Tag. I’m going to dinner with Tag.”

“The soul stealer?” she asked, and I could hear the surprise and disgust in her voice. She almost spat to ward off evil spirits. I could almost see her bright blue eyes the size of saucers in astonishment from the small amulet.

“Wynne,” I said. “Redheads don’t steal souls. They just don’t.” I sighed. “But you know who does?” I asked and she was quiet for a moment, waiting. “Succubi. Succubi steal souls and that’s you.” When she didn’t respond—because I had her on that one—I said, “Tag is a nice guy. He’s steady. And he wants me.”

“Ahh,” she responded in a way that made my blood boil, as if she saw everything and I saw nothing.

“Ahh? What does ahhh mean?” I hissed, angry now. It felt good to be angry and show it. Turns out, I’d been angry for a while and keeping it pent up wasn’t doing me any favors. For some reason though, I felt completely comfortable showing anger to Wynne.

“Nothing,” she clipped, pleased with herself. “Just . . . ahh. Have fun on your . . . date,” she said with a snide lilt. And in the blink of an eye, she was gone, retreating back into her amulet to let me stew. I hated when she did that. She put just enough doubt in my head to make me second-guess everything. Wynne was just mean.

“I will!” I snapped at her, knowing full well she wasn’t listening. I plopped down on my bed and sighed. I would have a good time with Tag. I always had a good time with Tag. We were friends and I wouldn’t let Wynne’s nagging doubts cast a shadow on our date. This wouldn’t be weird at all.


About the Author: 

Suzanne M Sabol is the author of Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance. She is a graduate of The Ohio State University and has two Bachelor of Arts degrees with majors in Criminology, International Studies, Russian, and Political Science. She has a Master’s degree from The Ohio State University’s John Glenn School of Public Affairs. She is married with one child and lives in Columbus Ohio.

The Blushing Death Series and the Blood and Bone Legacy are published through Soul Mate Publishing. Editor, Debby Gilbert, can be contacted through their website at www.soulmatepublishing.com












 

 



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Halloween and Autumn Haiku

When it comes to writing, poetry is my first love. 

My very first published work was a poem when I was 10 or 11 years old. It was published in a local magazine. After that, I was hooked on writing and publishing my poetry. 

Throughout the years my poetry has appeared in newspapers, magazines, websites, and several collections and anthologies.

Sadly I don't write poetry as much as I used to. The pretty words just don't flow as easily as they used to. But Haiku, that I can still do. 

Below you'll find some of my Halloween and Autumn themed Haiku.

Enjoy.






 






Queen’s Ascension by Barb Jones - Haunted Halloween Spooktacular


The Perfect Monster Party for Kids

I love planning parties, so that’s why I am a Special Event Coordinator on the side, in addition to my many other facets.  This party was such a success for my kids (when they were smaller) and I’ve been planning Halloween parties each year for friends, family and strangers.  

First, know the age group of the kids.  This party is planned for those that are between 6-10.

Invites:

One of the most important steps in party planning is the invite.  This sets the tone.  I created my own invites (using the computer) that outlined all sorts of monsters (no so scary for the little ones but enough to entice the older kids).  

For this invite, I used the following wording:

Do you DARE join us for an amazing monster hunting party?  This is your chance to either slay all the monsters or chase the hunters…..

(Enter party details)

Provide your preference: Monster or Hunter (tell us when you RSVP)

D├ęcor:

Decorate the house or yard to the best you can to simulate monster hunting.  Allow enough room to hide, shoot those arrows, and run!  Yes, run!  That’s the best part.  For the parties, I have a collection of hanging spider webs, coffins, zombies, witches, a lifesize cut out of Van Helsing even.  Decorate your home, keeping with the theme as much as possible.

Guests:

Separate the kids into the two groups, hunters and monsters.  Because my daughter was 4 years older than my son, I hired her and her friends to be additional monsters (after all, it’s Halloween).  They dressed up as Frankenstein, Dracula, Witches, you name it.

Food:

Probably the most important part!  I had two tables: one for the monsters, one for the hunters.  Of course the monsters had foods like “Bloody Eyeballs” (which was simply watermelon scooped into balls), “Intestines” (fruit salad), “Human Fingers” (Hot Dogs),  You get the idea.

The Hunters had things like Hamburgers, Hot Dogs, etc.  

Of course, they could eat off the other table but I made sure each table was similar but definitely meant for the chosen character.  

Drinks were Gatorade, Bloody Water (Shirley Temple), Acid (Green Juice)

And of course, lots of candy.

Games:

The game is Monster hunting of course.  I let the monsters run around and the hunters had their gear.  The kids ran around for hours, stopping only to eat.  What was planned to be a 4 hour party turned into an 8 hour party because the kids had so much fun.


Queen’s Ascension
Blood Prophecy
Book Three
Barb Jones

Genre: Paranormal
Publisher: World Castle
Date of Publication: August 17, 2020
Print ISBN:  9781953271013
eBook ISBN:  9781953271020
ASIN: B08DKK66PM
Number of pages: 236 pages
Word Count: 86107 words
Cover Artist: Steven J. Catizone

Tagline: Bloodshed. Heartbreak. Revelation.

Book Description:

When the darkness was compelling and the heart knew no bounds, was there really a right choice? With Michael’s life hanging in the balance, Amber had a choice: save her star-fated love or keep on the crusade to unite the magical community.

For Amber, her fate was sealed even before her birth and it was her destiny to fight the great battle ahead of her. But, when it came to her heart -- her friends, her great love -- Amber’s torn. Not only was she the Queen, but she was a human in every sense of the word. She was vulnerable. And so the very people -- Chloe and Michael -- that gave her strength, quickly became her weakness. It wasn’t her fault she loved too much, was it?

Nevertheless, the Tall Dark Man had set a plan in motion that could threaten the very existence of the Blood Prophecy. Would he gather his dark forces and succeed in destroying Amber once and for all? Or, would she assemble her powerful friends and save the world?

Amazon     BN


Excerpt:

 Malakai, Seattle, Present Day

With the betterment of both Michael and Rae, Malakai was glad that they were well and fine; nevertheless, he needed some time to decompress. All the magical commotions that had occurred were too overwhelming for him. He needed some sort of release.

He enjoyed the brisk jog in the park, as he cut through the sharp wind of the cold night. But this did nothing to lift his spirits. He was happy that Amber’s smile finally met her eyes. That was all he’d ever wanted for her: happiness, that’s it. There was nothing more he could ask for—she was his priority. Yet, in the back of his mind, as in his heart, he couldn’t help but believe the ancient legend that he’d heard so long ago was the certifiable truth, as it was written in Eschmun’s scroll.

…her fate is tied to the true alpha of the wolves. A blood drinker will stand formidable, but it is the nature of the child to call upon the true alpha and bring him to the queen’s inner heart.

Could this be the truth? he often wondered as he traveled the world collecting artifacts and evidence supporting this notion. Yes, he’d crafted a reliquary, quite accidentally, and people assumed it was to keep the magic insulated, away from the humans. But that wasn’t the case, at least not for him.  He so wanted to believe, just from the sheer fact that it was said in the scroll. But Malakai was a man of logic, driven by cold hard data. Although wanting to romanticize that his destiny was tied with Amber’s, he needed confirmation. He wanted validation for the strong emotions he was feeling. 

***

Zaraquel, Seattle, Present Day

Walking the cemetery grounds as she so often did without the knowledge of her parents, Zaraquel wandered at a leisurely pace. She whipped out her phone and checked the time, which read midnight. Her brow quirked in confusion, as she had expected Loquiel some time ago. With her long hair styled in two braids and her bright red coat to keep her warm, she sat down on a bench.

She was elated that her best friend, other than the one that was currently running late, was alive and breathing. Rae had given Zaraquel a terrible fright, for she had never known the death of someone close to her heart. She shook, not from the cold, but from remembering the tragic vision she had of Rae’s demise.

A throaty growl awoke her from her thoughts. She heard the fast footfalls of someone, something, running toward her, and she put her fight training to use. Zaraquel spun around, so much so that her wings unfurled. But that did not deter the undead man from attacking her. His decaying flesh was a sight she instantly wished she could unsee, but she had to fulfill her duty and protect the people, which meant ridding the world of this monster.

She punched him in the stomach as her father had taught her, but that did nothing to stop him from throwing his fists at her. She dodged his poor attempts at aiming for her and grabbed his arm, twisting him around so he fell to his knees. Her weight on his back caused the corpse to fall to the ground. It growled in anger, shaking its head savagely, as if it couldn’t wait to get back to its feet. Zaraquel, however, had plans of her own. She stood briefly to step on his neck to keep him from moving, and whispered a spell she’d learned from a book.

“Capite obtruncato intestinisque extractis.”

She heard the cracking of his bones, the stretching of his skin; with a pop! his head flew off, gore spattering in every direction. His body went limp, as it was before he had risen from the ground.

Zaraquel sighed in frustration as she walked off, disappointed from another unnecessary and unjustified kill. She continued to walk the grounds and felt a rush of warm wind, the kind she felt every time Loquiel was near. She turned and there he was, right behind her. 

About the Author:

Barb Jones is a paranormal thriller author, IT professional, and the mother of two fantastic children. She is known for her ability to create relatable characters and detailed settings without compromising her unique plots. When people have asked her who she is, she's been quoted saying, "It can be hard to write at times, but never give up on what you're passionate about." She's a mother, first and foremost, and an author and supernatural enthusiast after. She currently resides in Sarasota, FL, but is a Seattle native at heart. When she's not writing, she's traveling and looking for new inspiration for her books.













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Double Alchemy by Susan Mac Nicol - Haunted Halloween Spooktacular



EVERYDAY FEAR

Have you ever had that creepy sensation that someone was behind you when you look in the mirror…?

Carrie Benton kicked off her shoes, did a little twirl around her bedroom, and sank gladly into the armchair beside the bay window that looked out onto the street. She gazed down dreamily at the road below, still seeing Gerald’s tanned face smiling down at her, still feeling the gentle touch of his hand against her arm. She decided there and then that it had been the perfect evening. Nothing could mar this, she mused, and it would be even better in the morning when he came to collect her for breakfast and they would share the whole day, not just the evening.

Tosca chose that moment to make his entrance, his pitiful meow shaking her out of the dream world she was currently in. Carrie gathered the cat into her arms. ‘Hi there, cattykins, who’s hungry then?’ she crooned into his fur. He arched his back and playfully shot his paw at her. She giggled and set him down on the bed where he regarded her with an air of suspicion.

‘I am going to fix you some food,’ she teased, ‘right after I wash my face and get my dressing gown on. You’ll just have to wait a while.’

Carrie switched on the en-suite bathroom light and hummed to herself as she picked up the facial wash from the shelf. She heard Tosca scratching the coverlet of her bed in what she assumed was act frustration at being thwarted out of his food. ‘Not long,’ she sang out, ‘Then I’ll get you your dinner and I’ll tell you all about Gerald and our date.’

Carrie heard Tosca hiss as if to say,’ Damn your date, just fix me some food!’ and she heard a soft plop as the cat jumped off the bed. A minute later she shivered as she felt a sharp cold draft blowing through the bathroom. Darn cat, she thought, he must have squeezed through the bedroom door to the landing and left the door open.

Carrie smeared the facial wash over her face, mixing it with water from the tap. The soapsuds bubbled on her skin. As she splashed warm water on her face, she thought she heard someone behind her. She looked up into the mirror, her face dripping water.  Gerald stood there, framed in the entrance to the bathroom. She peered at him through a veil of soapy tears, thinking at first it was a trick of the light, or perhaps some water in the eyes making her vision blurry and unstable. It was only when she felt the quick bloody pain across her throat and smelt the scent of his Brut aftershave mixed with her blood that she realised, too late, it was Gerald and that her dream date had just turned into a nightmare.


Double Alchemy
Susan Mac Nicol

Genre: Paranormal/urban fantasy MM romance
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group
Date of Publication: 23/03/2014
ISBN: 978-1-941260-04-3
ASIN: B00J7FVYRC
Number of pages: 335 pages
Word Count: 110 000
Cover Artist: Boroughs Publishing Group

Tagline: The World in Shadow

Book Description:

Powerful yet tormented modern warlock Quinn Fairmont must initiate the silver-eyed Cade Mairston into the world of witchfinders, Withinners, and what can happen when two men fall truly, madly, deeply in love.

In modern London there lurks a warlock, Quinn Fairmont. Dangerous, powerful, tortured, sharing his body with the soul of an ancient Welsh sorcerer, Quinn is never alone—and never wholly himself. He fights against all those who would exploit his kind. He takes pleasure where he can find it.

In the forest of Hampstead Heath, Quinn’s hometown, Cade Mairston appears to him like a waking dream. Lithe, lean and silver-eyed, he evokes feelings in Quinn unlike any other: lust with true affection, immediate and shocking. Cade is clearly more than he seems. And yet, if a man of the world, Cade is innocent. He knows nothing of warlocks, witchfinders or Withinners. He knows nothing of what he is, what he might be, or what he might feel. For him, the story is just beginning. Magyck, peril and passion await. More awaits in book two…



They lay beside each other in Cade’s bed, snuggled under the covers together. It was a large king-size bed, one they’d made the most of it that evening. Quinn turned and regarded Cade with drowsy eyes as his fingers trailed soft patterns across his chest. Cade caught his breath at Quinn's lazy touch, his body still jazzed up from their love making. Quinn fingered the small metal piercing in Cade's left nipple with lazy indolence. Cade's hands caressed Quinn's stomach, lingering on an ugly, puckered three-inch scar which stretched down to his left hip.

“You seem to be getting used to this whole situation,” Quinn murmured. He caressed the nipple piercing. "And this was a nice surprise. You didn't have it in the other night.  I think I explored you enough to know you don't have any more anywhere." He grinned wickedly as Cade's fingers pinched his hip.

Cade laughed softly. “I took it out for the benefit dinner. It doesn't fit well under a dress shirt. And as for all this -I don’t believe it all myself.  But I don’t seem to have a choice. You’ve made that quite clear. And I have to say it’s not all that much of a hardship. You’re a pretty personable and sexy guy and to be honest, this just feels –so right- somehow.” He licked a wet tongue down Quinn's shoulder and grinned as Quinn lost his breath.

Cade murmured, “I saw you in the paper with a man called Adam Carnover.”

Quinn started and looked at Cade with hooded eyes.

Cade watched his eyes. “Is he still in your life? The papers seemed to think you were getting married. “

Quinn leaned over and kissed his forehead softly. “I wouldn’t be here with you if I was with another man. Adam isn’t in my life any longer.”

“What happened?”

Quinn frowned, his face dark. “We had a difference of opinion and decided to go our separate ways.”

“Was he like me, or was he normal?” Cade asked curiously, glad that the man was no longer around but still intending to find out more about their past relationship.

Quinn was still. “He was normal, nothing like you,” he said shortly.

Cade could tell he really didn’t want to talk about his ex. Wisely, he let it rest for the moment.  “Another thing you haven’t told me. Who was that man I saw in the forest that evening? Was that something to do with you?”

Quinn’s eyes narrowed as if debating what to say next.

 “Are you going to tell me?” Cade watched him closely. He reached down and grasped Quinn's semi erect cock. "Or do I have to suck it out of you like I did earlier?"

Quinn gave a low laugh and sat up, the bed covers draped across his waist as he leaned back against the headboard. "As much as I find that idea very appealing, I think I need to recuperate first. I don't think I've got any moisture left in my body after that very intense blow job. But please feel free to repeat the experience in a little while."

About the Author:

Bringing lovers together, one book at a time

The official stuff

Susan writes steamy, sexy and fun contemporary romance stories, some suspenseful, some gritty and dark and hopefully always entertaining. She’s also Editor in Chief at Divine Magazine, an online LGBTQ e-zine, and a member of The Society of Authors, the Writers Guild of Great Britain, and the Authors Guild in the US. 

Susan is also an award-winning script writer, with scripts based on two of her own published works. Sight Unseen has garnered no less than five awards to date and her TV pilot, Reel Life, based on her debut novel, Cassandra by Starlight, was also a winner at the Oaxaca Film Fest.

The ‘unofficial’ stuff…

She loves going to the theatre, live music concerts (especially if it’s her man crush Adam Lambert or the divine Cumberbatch) walks in the countryside, a good G and T, lazing away afternoons reading a good book, and watching re-runs of Silent Witness.

Her chequered past includes stories like being mistaken for a prostitute in the city of Johannesburg, being chased by a rhino on a dusty Kenyan road, getting kicked out of a youth club for being a ‘bad influence’ (she encourages free thinking) and having an aunt who was engaged to Cliff Richard.

I'd love you to stalk me so here you go..  










LinkedIn  https://www.linkedin.com/in/susanmacnicol/ 




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