Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things Book Blast!

We’re thrilled to be hosting Martina McAtee’s CHILDREN SHOULDN’T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS Book Blast today!

Title: Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things
Author: Martina McAtee
Publisher: Martina McAtee
Pages: 450
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

17 year old Ember Denning has made an art of isolating herself. She prefers the dead. She spends her days skipping school in old cemeteries and her nights hiding from her alcoholic father at the funeral home where she works. When her own father dies, Ember learns her whole life is a lie. Standing in the cemetery that’s been her sanctuary, she’s threatened by the most beautiful boy she’s ever seen and rescued by two people who claim to be her family. They say she’s special, that she has a supernatural gift like them…they just don’t know exactly what it is.

They take her to a small Florida town, where Ember’s life takes a turn for the weird. She’s living with her reaper cousins, an orphaned werewolf pack, a faery and a human genius. Ember’s powers are growing stronger, morphing into something bigger than anything anybody anticipated. Ember has questions but nobody has answers. Nobody knows what she is. They only know her mysterious magical gift is trying to kill them and that beautiful dangerous boy from the cemetery may be the only thing standing between her and death.

As Ember’s talents are revealed so are the secrets her father hid and those in power who would seek to destroy her. What’s worse, saving Ember has put her cousins in danger and turned her friend’s lives upside down. Ember must learn to embrace her magic or risk losing the family she’s pieced together.

For More Information

  • Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Book Excerpt:

She went lightheaded as the enormity of her words hit her, “Oh, God. This is like the part in the movie where you try to kill me, right? You are going to try to kill me and I feel too crappy to even try to run.”

She was talking more to herself now. She leaned back against the rusted mausoleum gates behind her, enjoying the cool metal against her skin. Her head was swimming, the stars above blurring in the sky. No, not now, she thought. It was happening again. Whatever had happened earlier in the cemetery was happening again. She could feel it rising up in her, that weird feeling like her insides were melting and liquefying while she could do nothing to stop it. Was this a panic attack? Could a panic attack cause what happened in the cemetery earlier? Maybe this was some kind of fight or flight adrenaline response.

She felt caged, trapped by her own body. It was all in her head. The ground wasn’t vibrating at her feet. There was no way she was really burning up in forty-degree weather. Even in her haze she could see him watching her. Maybe if she just held still, he would be quick about it.

Her head lulled on her shoulders. She was going to pass out. It would serve him right. Then he was just there, in her space, fingers cupping her face. She moaned at the feel of his cold hands against her overheated flesh. “And if it is, Luv? If this is the part where I try to kill you? What then? Are you going to pass out and take all the fun out of it? Or will you fight back?”

There was no mistaking the threat of his words, but he was close enough to whisper them against her skin like a promise. She couldn’t think straight. Her head filled with a sound like angry bees. She pitched forward, dropping her forehead to his shoulder, eyes drifting closed.

He was so cold; even through the layers of his clothes; his body seemed to emit this pleasant icy radiance that soothed her feverish skin. She wrapped herself around him, locking her arms. She buried her face against his throat, nose rubbing against his skin.

She felt his body go rigid in her arms. She didn’t blame him, on some level she understood sane girls didn’t try to cuddle their killers. But nobody ever accused her of being sane. She was the girl who played in cemeteries and talked to the dead. She was the girl with three therapists before she was twelve. She was the girl in flames and he was ice water; if she was going to die, she was going to have this first.

They stood there, bound together by her forced embrace. Those strange vibrations increased, building inside her like a living thing, a burning energy trying to melt her from the inside out. She could hear his ragged breath panting against her ear, could feel him writhing in her grasp, but she refused to let go. Could he feel it too?

She clung to him, knowing if she let go this peculiar energy would overwhelm her. She breathed him in, letting him anchor her as it kept building and burning, growing until it thrust from her with the force of a sledgehammer. He groaned like he’d received the physical blow, he may have fallen had she not been holding him to her. Finally, the world seemed to right itself. Her blood ceased to boil and the vibrations stopped. When her mind quieted, she became very aware of what she was doing.

She let go, shoving him back. Despite his size, he stumbled, blinking hard. They stared at each other, his confusion mirroring her own.

“What are you?” she whispered. “What are you doing to me?”

He rushed her, shoving her against the concrete hard enough to knock her teeth together, “What did I do to you? What game are you playing? What are you? What was that? What did you do?”

She whimpered, feet scrambling for purchase as she realized he’d lifted her from the ground. Her heart thundered in her chest. He was fit but not big enough to haul her off her feet like that. She shoved at him uselessly. “Put me down.”

Her descent was abrupt, her heart lodging in her throat. His eyes narrowed, his hands tangling in her messy hair, tilting her head to the side. “Come on, Luv, you can tell me. I’m sure it’s eating at you, keeping this secret.”

He was insane. She opened her mouth to say so but her brain short-circuited as his nose traced along the column of her throat. “I promise, things will be so much easier if you just tell me,” he purred, his lips pressing the words into her skin. She moved closer to him. In her defense, she’d never been this close to a boy before; especially not one who looked like he did.

“We can do this one of two ways,” He inhaled her scent, pressing his mouth to the shell of her ear as he said, “I promise one is infinitely more pleasurable than the other.”

Ew. Oh, God. What was she doing? What was he doing? Seducing her for information? Threatening her? It really bothered her that she didn’t know the difference.

She needed to get it together. Her breath hitched in her chest. This was not how she saw herself dying. She’d had a plan. She’d written it down obituary style for a morbid ninth grade English assignment. She was supposed to die of obscenely old age in her enormous but tastefully decorated plantation home surrounded by her beautiful and ungrateful grandchildren.

He huffed out a laugh and she realized she’d said all that aloud. She was too scared to be embarrassed. Instead, she slapped at his hands ineffectively.

He stepped away so abruptly she staggered, pacing before her, “You’re seriously not going to tell me? You’re only hurting yourself on this one.”

“I don’t know what you are talking about,” she told him, “You’re crazy.”

He sighed heavily, his tone shifting as if speaking to a rather stupid child, “I’ll figure it out eventually.” He told her, pointing at her, “You don’t smell like a witch. You certainly aren’t a shifter.” Then he was back before her, gripping her chin, turning her head side to side, like he was examining livestock, “But you most definitely aren’t human.” Tiny hairs rose along her skin at his touch, “You’re trying my patience. What the hell are you?”

She pushed away from him, head throbbing with his words. “Stop with the grabby hands,”

She needed to think. He was clearly unhinged. She had very few options. She could run but she doubted she could outrun him. Her gaze raked across broad shoulders and a flat stomach, he looked like he did a lot of cardio. She could scream but there wasn’t anybody to hear her. Instead, she did what she always did when she was nervous…she babbled.

She’d watched a million documentaries on serial killers and the mentally ill. She could figure this out. Netflix was her friend. She wracked her brain, if he was a killer she had to make him see her as a person, tell him about her life, say her name a lot, make him believe people cared if she died, even if it was a lie.

But what if he was schizophrenic? He thought she wasn’t human. What was she supposed to do?

Orient him to reality? Play along with his fantasy? She should have paid more attention.

“What’s your name?” she heard herself say, voice breathless.

He arched his brow, tsking softly, expression bored. “I’m asking the questions here,”

“Just tell me your name,” she demanded, panic creeping back in.

“Mace,” the answer tumbled from his lips unbidden. He looked mystified, like his own mouth had betrayed him. He absently rubbed a spot on his chest.

“Mace,” she repeated, with a nod. Okay, it was a start. “So um, here’s the thing, Mace. I’m only seventeen and I don’t want to die.”

He gave her a look and a ‘fair enough’ shrug and gestured for her to continue, clearly amused by this turn of events.

She frowned, but soldiered on, “You can’t be much older than me so let’s just think about this for a minute, okay?” She raked a hand through her damp hair, “I’m not really sure why you want to kill me but my life has pretty much sucked up until now. Like so much suckage. I can’t even explain the level of suck, but I feel like, statistically speaking, that’s gotta change. I’m not trying to sound like a motivational poster but it’s supposed to get better. I’d very much like to have a pulse when it does,”

He narrowed his eyes at her, brow furrowed. He stepped forward.

“Stop,” she held up her hand, palm out, “Just listen,”

He stopped, looking at his feet then at her again.

“I’m a nice girl,” she told him, before frowning, “but maybe you don’t care about that. I mean, if you’re, like, a murderous psychopath, you probably aren’t super interested in my feelings, but what about yourself?” She reasoned, gesturing spastically to all of his…self, “You seem like the kind of guy who thinks a lot of himself.”

He cocked an eyebrow but said nothing. She was in turbo babble mode now, “If you kill me your life is over. You will definitely go to jail. I mean, look at me.” She gestured to her face, “I look like an ad for facial cleanser and girls who eat yogurt. Juries eat that stuff up. You’d probably get the chair.”

He looked a little dazed. “You make a passionate yet confusing plea, Luv,”

Her heart sank as he took a tentative step towards her, then another. He grinned as he advanced.

“Come on. I’m sure you don’t want to go to prison.” She whined, “You are way too pretty for prison. You’d make a lot of the wrong kind of friends in prison.” Stop saying prison, Ember, she begged herself. “Do you want those kind of friends? Of course, you don’t. We could be friends?” she finished lamely, face flushing with shame. Maybe he should just kill her. It would be less embarrassing.

He blinked at her, cheek twitching, “Aw, are you asking me to be your friend? One might question your judgment.”

Her hands fell to her hips, swaying on her feet. “Wow, not to put too fine a point on it, but I’ve only seen you twice and both times you were here,” she gestured to their surroundings. “You hang out in cemeteries because you have so many friends? Is this were your book club meets?”

“I can see why you have no friends,” he told her drolly.

She squinted as something glinted in the air above his head.

“I-” was all he managed before the object made contact with his head, sounding like a hammer hitting an overripe melon. He hit his knees with a groan, whatever he was going to say dying on his lips.

She looked at his crumpled form, unreasonably disappointed.

She’d really wanted to know what he was going to say.

About the Author

Martina McAtee lives in Jupiter, Florida with her teenage daughter, her best friend, two attack Chihuahua’s and two shady looking cats. By day she is a registered nurse but by night she writes young adult books about reapers, zombies, werewolves and other supernatural creatures. When she isn’t working, teaching or writing she’s reading or watching shows that involve reapers, zombies, werewolves and other supernatural creatures. Her debut novel Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things is set to release on August 31st, 2015. She is currently working on the second book in the series, Your Soul to Take, due to release in 2016.

For More Information


Character Interview: Des Fairweather from Jane Tesh’s fantasy novel, Butterfly Waltz

character interviewWe’re thrilled to have here today Des Fairweather from Jane Tesh’s new fantasy, Butterfly Waltz.  Des is a 27 year old musician living in Parkland, North Carolina.

It is a pleasure to have Des with us today at Beyond the Books!

Butterfly_C1_2Thank you so for this interview, Des.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

I’m very glad you invited me!  I do feel I was fairly portrayed in this book, although I wish I had been braver at the beginning and willing to take more chances.  But it all worked out in the end.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

When you talk about colorizing personality my author actually works with colors.  She tells me my name is a combination of gray, blue, and green, while Jake’s, my best friend in the story, is a contrasting black, red, and yellow.  I thought she might be a little out there with this, but she discovered there is a condition called synesthesia, which a lot of writers have, where they see letters as colors. She likes to have a balance of colors in all her books.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

I like to think I can help people who are in trouble.

Worse trait?

Sometimes I wish I could refuse Jake when he pesters me to join him tracking down his wild tabloid stories, but it’s hard for me to say no when a friend asks for my help.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

This is a very hard question!  I’ve been told I have soulful eyes, so an actor who looks like a younger Robert Downy, Jr., might be the one.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

In this story, I fall in love with an amazingly beautiful young woman who inspires me to write music. But she’s a magical creature, and I have a great fear and distrust of magic.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

I was okay until I walked into this perfectly innocent-looking forest that abruptly closed around me, and I was attacked by a huge snake.  I didn’t know how I was going to get out of this situation.  I’m still not sure exactly what happened.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

Jake’s lifestyle would drive me crazy.  He’s brash, loud, and believes in everything: UFOs, ghosts, zombies, you name it.  He lives his life at high speed and doesn’t mind breaking the rules.  I’m a rule-follower who needs peace and quiet.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

I don’t recall much of the ending, except that I’m writing more music.  I think you’ll see why when you read the book.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?

My author has told me my story is over, but if she ever decided to write another, I’d ask her to help me stop worrying.  Of course, she’s a big worrier, so I know where that comes from!

Thank you for this interview, Des.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

I appear briefly or I’m mentioned in my brothers’ books.  Jerry’s having all sorts of adventures with his wife, Madeline, in the Madeline Maclin Mystery series, and the author’s at work on Tucker’s story, which will be another fantasy.

I’ve enjoyed this!  Thanks for having me on Beyond the Books.



Visit Jane’s website at and her Facebook page,  You can also find her on Goodreads, Amazon’s Author Central,

Her blog is


When he helps his friend Jake Brenner, a tabloid writer on the hunt for a big supernatural story, Des Fairweather is swept up in a world of mystery and intrigue.  Despite his skepticism of the validity of the stories Jake is seeking, Des reluctantly accompanies Jake on his latest adventure—all with the promise that Jake can help Des secure an audition with the city symphony, a break Des desperately needs.

When Jake’s search takes the two out to the country to investigate an unusual phenomenon at the Snowden estate, Des encounters a startlingly beautiful young woman who claims to be magical.  That young woman is Kalida, a mysterious creature who has escaped from the people of the Caverns and renounced their evil ways.  But when Kalida is discovered, her people will stop at no end to get her to return to their world. Will Des be able to cast aside his fears in order to save Kalida….before it’s too late?

A mesmerizing tale that blends music, mystery and magic, Butterfly Waltz charms with its enchanting storyline and compelling characters. Resplendent with adventure, intrigue, and the allure of the supernatural, Butterfly Waltz is delightful.

Get your copy now on Amazon

Press release: Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with ‘Latina Authors and Their Muses’

For immediate release                                     
Contact: Lida Quillen
(423) 323-0183                                                                           
(September 25, 2015, Kingsport, TN)
Wisdom and Inspiration from Latina Authors in New Compilation
Latina Authors and Their Muses features advice from 40 women writers
As the Hispanic American population of the U.S. increases, with influences ranging from Mexico to Central America and the Caribbean, so does interest in literature inspired by those cultures. Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month by delving intoLatina Authors and Their Muses.
Award-winning author Mayra Calvani has now edited a collection of interviews with 40 Latina authors living in the U.S. and writing in English.Latina Authors and Their Muses is an inspirational and informative book focusing on the craft of writing and the business of publishing, one that provides aspiring writers with the nuts and bolts of the business.
I had the opportunity to meet Carmen Dolores Hernandez,  the book review editor at El Nuevo Día newspaper in San Juan, Puerto Rico, when she visited me in Brussels,says Calvani. Shed published some of my short stories and novel excerpts inRevista Domingo in the past, and I deeply admired her wisdom as a writer and woman of letters.
She mentioned the anthology she had put together back in 1997, Puerto Rican Voices in English. I ordered a copy and became absorbed by the candor and insight of the authors as they talked about their backgrounds, books, and writing, Calvani continues.
Wouldnt it be perfect to put together a similar anthology showcasing Latina authors writing in English in the United States? This book would not only showcase prominent figures but emerging voices as well, writers working on a wide range of genres from the literary to the commercial.
The result of several years of research and interviews is Latina Authors and Their Muses. Writing in genres ranging from the literary to childrens picture books to fantasy novels to chick lit, and more, this remarkable group of talented authors shares their passion and commitment to their craft and to sharing their stories with the world in spite of the odds.
Latina Authors and Their Muses is a celebration of creativity, the writers life, and the passionate quest for spiritual and artistic freedom.
About the editor:
Award-winning author Mayra Calvani has penned more than ten books for children and adults in genres ranging from picture books to nonfiction to paranormal fantasy novels. Shes had over 300 articles, short stories, interviews and reviews published in magazines such as The WriterWriter’s Journal and Bloomsbury Review, among others. A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, she now resides in Brussels, Belgium.
Discount price of 99 cents from Sept. 25th to Oct. 5th!
Get your copy today from Amazon or OmniLit
Book info
Title: Latina Authors and Their Muses
Author: Mayra Calvani, Editor
Publisher: Twilight Times Books
Genre: Reference/Writing Skills
*Print ISBN: 978-1-60619-063-0
    Format: 6×9 trade paperback; 340 pages; $19.95 USD
Distributors: Ingram, Baker & Taylor, Brodart, Follett, etc.
*eBook ISBN: 978-1-60619-062-3; $6.50 USD
    Format: ebook in pdf, ePub, Kindle, Mobi, PRC, etc.
Distributors: Amazon Kindle; Apple iBookstore; Nook; Kobo Books; OmniLit; OverDrive, etc.
Release date: September 25, 2015 ebook; December 15, 2015 print
LCCN: 2015952662
Chapter excerpt:

Book Feature: Cocktales: An After-50 Dating Memoir

CocktalesTitle: Cocktales: An After-50 Dating Memoir
Author: Morgan Malone
Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press
Pages: 264
Genre: Romantic Memoir

An After-50 Dating Memoir…or Eight Years, around Eighty Men, but not nearly Eight Thousand Kisses.

There I was. Approaching 50, widowed for 15 years, alone for all that time, except for two kids, one dog, a full-time legal career, a house, a mortgage, some dear friends…and a wish. I just wanted to feel like a woman one more time. Not “Mom.” Not “Your Honor.” Not “Sis.” But, a desirable and desired woman.

I knew I wouldn’t, couldn’t fall in love again. My heart was buried in a grave in Brooklyn. But, I could offer a sense of humor, big blue eyes and intelligent conversation. I wasn’t sure about kissing or anything else; it had been a long time and I was not sure that sex was like riding a bike (which I could no longer do, given a bad knee and too many extra pounds). I was willing to try. Would anyone be interested?

To my surprise, the cyber-world was full of men like me; men who were looking for a second chance at love or lust, with a real woman, a woman just like me.

Cocktales is the true story of my adventures and misadventures in the world of online dating. It is full of practical advice (never wear knee-high hose on a first date, NEVER), giggles, groans and my growth as a woman. I cried a few tears, I made plenty of mistakes, but I also made many friends. I even fell in love.

Join me on my journey. It is a roller-coaster ride I think you will enjoy.

For More Information

  • Cocktales: An After-50 Dating Memoir is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Book Excerpt:

Right before my forty-ninth birthday, I asked my husband if he minded if I had sex with another man. He didn’t answer me, so I persisted.

“Listen, I’m almost fifty years old, I know. Who would want me? I’ve had two kids and a hysterectomy. I’ve got stretch marks, scars and cellulite. And I know I need to lose at least fifty pounds.”

No response.

“It’s been a long dry spell, you know. Almost fifteen years. I think I’m entitled to at least one more orgasm that doesn’t come from something powered by a nine-volt battery.”

Still nothing.

“Okay, then, I take your silence to mean I am on my own in this. You don’t have an opinion one way or the other. Right?” Silence.

It was March and the Yankees were still in Spring Training so I knew so there were no distractions from current league standings or the pitching staff. His side of the bed was ghostly quiet. And empty. He had been dead for almost fifteen years.

I talked to him all the time. Not every minute of the day, but an ongoing dialogue in my head where I kept him informed of the day-to-day minutiae of our lives. I announced major developments then I waited for an answer. Call me crazy, but there were times when I heard his response in my head as clearly as if he had just spoken directly in my ear.

Sometimes, like now, there was nothing. Figure it out for yourself.

So, I turned out the light and sent a silent prayer Heavenward. “God, just once before I am over fifty, let me have sex with a man who wants me, let me remember how to do it. And let me feel. Amen.”

Interview with Mike Hartner, author of ‘I, Mary’

Mike HartnerMike Hartner was born in Miami in 1965. He’s traveled much of the continental United States. He has several years post secondary education, and experience teaching and tutoring young adults. Hartner has owned and run a computer firm for more than twenty-five years. He now lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, with his wife and child. They share the neighborhood and their son with his maternal grandparents.

His latest book is the historical romance, I, Mary.

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About the Book:

I, Mary 2Mary Crofter’s first trip on the water was just after her first birthday, when her parents came from her birthplace in Kilwa to Portsmouth. She’s been on several trips from Portsmouth to London and other places since. She loves the water and the water seems to love her. Can she survive on the water? Will people ever take seriously a GIRL as a sailor? Will she ever come off the water? If she does, will the lure of the ocean draw her back?

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Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Mike. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

I am multi-published. I, Mary was released on July 14, 2015, and is the third book in The Eternity Series.

Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?

I started with self-publishing because the first three books were part of a series called Hartners in America about my family genealogy, and that was not mainstream. I stuck with self-pub when I began The Eternity Series.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

My first book in The Eternity Series was I, Walter.  This was the first book that I had written specifically for the public, and it had been edited and vetted by some of the best people in the industry.   I was very pensive about how the public would react, and it took me several weeks before I, Walter’s were pinchable … i.e. I believed they were real.

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

With I, Walter I tried many things with promotion. I tried Facebook posts, tweets, virtual blog tours, news release wires, radio promotions, an the list goes on.

Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?

I think that I’ve been growing into my own as an author, and trying new things. I, Walter was 90% male voice, and I think I did a good job of getting his story told. But when I, James came last year, his story necessitated a 50/50 male-female voice.   And now, Book Three,

I, Mary was an attempt at a 90-10 female voice. It’s probably closer to 70-30, but Mary is the first attempt to write from the female perspective.

Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?

The publishing industry is in flux right now. It’s opening to allow indie publishers, and self-publishers.   And because of that, there are a lot of people that are watching their livelihood become much more difficult to justify. I think this cycle of change will be with us for the next ten or more years, and watching the iterations is the most amazing, because it teaches us how industries and people evolve.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?

Listening to the reviews and the comments from people who have read The Eternity Series.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Write, write, write.   Write what you are passionate about. And in the words of a friend and author Rachel Thompson: “Write what you want. You don’t need to justify your writing to anyone.”




Character Interview: Cassandra Brighton from Linda Lucretia Shuler’s literary novel, ‘Hidden Shadows’

HiddenShadows_medWe’re thrilled to have here today Cassandra Brighton, from Linda Lucretia Shuler’s new literary novel, Hidden Shadows.  Cassie, forty-five, recently sold her Houston boutique of Native American Art, “Spirit of the Southwest,” and moved to Willow City, a small community in a rugged corner of the Texas Hill Country.

It is a pleasure to have her with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Cassie.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

It took a while for the author to know who I really am. I don’t think Linda would mind if I use her first name; we’re close now. I think of her as a sister. Although I didn’t at first. I didn’t trust her then.

I’m a private person, really – full of dreams, musings, hidden fears. So much has happened in my life, so much love and so much sorrow – the kind that rips you apart. I’ve made some stupid mistakes, but who of us hasn’t? It takes a while to share these hidden parts of yourself, the good as well as the bad. We all are a mix, aren’t we? None of us perfect. All of us a stew of feelings.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

“Colorizing.” Hum. Now that’s a curious choice of words. To be honest, it’s hard to see oneself from another’s eyes. I never thought myself beautiful, although friends tell me otherwise. I’ve just turned forty-five, after all. Bits of gray in my hair, and some lines starting to appear under my eyes. As for my personality, Linda’s been relentless, digging right down inside me, forcing me to realize things about myself I didn’t understand before. Sometimes I think she goes overboard, like with my dreams. Dreams should be private, shouldn’t they? And here she is, spilling them to the world. Especially my visions of ancestors who once lived in this creaking old homestead. I can feel their spirits here, warm, kind – well, all except one. But I don’t want to talk about him.

What’s the next question?

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

My strongest trait? Lordy, give me a moment to think . . .

Perhaps my strongest trait is my sensitivity, my awareness of thing felt, but not seen: the  struggles of others, hidden within them; the spirituality of animals, such as the wolf who seems to have adopted me; the faint music of long-ago echoing among the hills; the soft footsteps and whispers of spirits within the walls of my ancestral home. It’s natural to me, this lovely way of responding to the world.

Worse trait?

My strongest trait is also, in a weird way, one of my weakest. I can be overly sensitive, easy to wound. My imagination often runs rampant, tossing me into a whirlwind of anxiety.

On second thought, maybe my worst trait is the reluctance to let go of the past. Memories, longings, hopes unfulfilled – these haunt me.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

Angelica Joli. I love her intensity, the graceful way she moves, like a panther. She has chutzpa too; I can’t imagine her sitting down and letting the world pass her by. And emotional! Everything she feels flits across her face; no words are needed.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Oh, yes. He’s gorgeous. Mercurial. Talented. Frustrating. Tormented, I think, by his past. Quick to anger, I suspect. I don’t know if he’s as quick to love. He chose someone else – a tight-lipped, icy queen who claimed him as her own.

I’ll let you discover the rest.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

To be honest, I was nervous from the beginning. I mean, couldn’t Linda at least give me a break?  I had to knock her in the head a time or two – or tried to, at any rate. She must have heard me, because she finally came around to seeing things my way.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

Guy, a tormented soul. Something about him scared me in the beginning. Still does, as a matter of fact.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

It surprised me. I mean, you make plans and life suddenly throws something else at you. But isn’t that the way it goes? Life is a journey toward the unexpected. I’m here, I’m healthy, I’m smiling. That’s all I’d better say.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?

I’d say, “Linda, write about me as I am now, not as I was when we first met.”

Thank you for this interview, Cassie.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

Oh, I would love to think so! However, there’s a kink: My ancestors are rattling around in Linda’s thoughts, demanding to be heard. I suspect she’s going to write about them next. Theirs is an interesting story, my pioneer forefathers (or is it foremothers?) and the dangers they faced so bravely as they settled in this wild corner of Texas. Since I’m part of them, I’m part of their story, too.



Linda Lucretia Shuler wrote her first story when she was six, Koko the Monkey, which she still has tucked into a drawer. Since then her stories and poems have appeared in anthologies and literary journals, and a handful of her plays have been produced in schools and community theatres.

Linda received a BFA in theatre from the University of Texas, and an MA in theatre from Trinity University while in residence at the Dallas Theatre Center. She taught theatre arts in college and high school for three decades, loving every moment and directing nearly a hundred plays in the process. She also wrote theatre arts curriculum K-12 for Houston ISD, conducted numerous workshops, and performed in community theatres.

Hidden Shadows, Linda’s debut novel, takes place in Willow City, a ruggedly beautiful section of the Texas Hill Country less than three hours from her home in San Antonio. Several other manuscripts are in the works, reaching across the genres. These include a prequel to Hidden Shadows, plays, and a collection of poems and a half-dozen different story ideas demanding attention.

Linda enjoys participating in Toastmasters, writer organizations, critique groups, and book clubs. She continues her love of theatre, delights in watching the birds flocking outside her office window, and is an enthusiastic fan of San Antonio’s championship basketball team, the Spurs.


Title: Hidden Shadows

Genre: Literary

Author: Linda Lucretia Shuler

Publisher: Twilight Times Books

Amazon / OmniLit / B&N / Twilight Times Books

Hidden Shadows is a story of connection: to the land, to our ancestors, to others, to ourselves – and to the redemptive power of love: 

Cassie Brighton, devastated by the accidental death of her husband, flees to a remote homestead deep in the rugged Texas Hill Country. Alone in a ramshackle farmhouse steeped in family secrets, Cassie wages a battle of mind and heart as she struggles to overcome the sorrows of her past, begin anew, and confront the possibility of finding love again.

What people are saying:

Hidden Shadows is a wonderful novel of a women’s journey of self-discovery and search for purpose. The characters will win your heart (and sometimes break it) in this beautifully written and satisfying story of loss and renewal.”

Sandra Worth,

Award-winning author of The King’s Daughter: A Novel of the First Tudor Queen

In the Spotlight: Trail Mix by Paulita Kincer

About The Book
TitleTrail Mix
Author: Paulita Kincer
Publisher: Oblique Presse
Publication Date: August 30, 2014
Format: Paperback / eBook (.mobi format for Kindle)
Pages: 220
ISBN: 978-1312462502
Genre: Women’s Fiction / Travel / Adventure
Buy The Book:

Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE

Book Description:
In the tradition of Wild by Cheryl Strayed, comes a novel of two suburban women who decide to hike the Appalachian Trail, escaping their lives as moms and wives in search of nature, adventure, and the ultimate diet plan.
How does a woman know what she wants after spending 20 years thinking about her husband and children? Sometimes it takes a distraction from everyday life, time to examine the forest before the trees become clear. With no previous camping experience, Andi and Jess begin the 2100-mile odyssey from Georgia to Maine. The friends figure life on the trail can’t possibly be worse than dealing with disgruntled husbands, sullen teens home from college, and a general malaise that has crept up in their daily lives. At the very least, the women are bound to return home thin.
Book Excerpt:
trickled down
Jess’ nose. Her
sodden boots plodded along, squooshing the mud with each step.
“Why did I do this?” She threw her head back,
her face raised in lament to the sky. The hood of her rain poncho slipped off.
The empty forest around her offered no answer, just a steady rain. Then, far
above the treetops, she glimpsed a bolt of lightning streaking toward a nearby
mountain and heard an answering boom of thunder. She cringed and scuttled
faster down the trail.
For nearly two hours, since the wind first
whispered its urgency through the leaves, and the raindrops began to fall, Jess
had been hiking through the thunderstorm with no place to stop and dry off. No
place to get warm. No offer of coffee or a dryer where she could heat up her clingy
socks. She walked alone on the Appalachian Trail.
Like being in the middle of labor and deciding
she didn’t want to give birth after all, Jess could not turn back. Well, she
could turn back, but she would find only more of the same — woods and rain and
an endless trail.
This adventure
was all Andi’s idea. As Jess trudged through the forest in the unrelenting
rain, she blamed her best friend and hiking companion, Andi, who had pushed the
hike as a great way to lose weight. And, when Jess’ teenagers took off for the
summer leaving a big gap where the role of mother used to be, she thought a
hike with Andi might fill that space. Andi, who, with her long legs, strode
ahead, maybe miles away by now, claiming she had to hurry to the nearest
shelter to keep the tent dry. Andi had tucked Jess’ poncho around her pack
before presenting her back for Jess to return the favor.
“See you at the shelter,” Andi had called.
“Only about three miles farther.”
In the city, a three-mile walk might take 45
minutes, an hour if she stopped to window shop. Here, in the mountains, it
could last days as she climbed up peaks and descended into valleys. Oh, who was
she kidding? She would never walk three miles in the city. She would get in her
car and drive.
The thunder crashed louder, and Jess eyed the
spiky greenery of a large fir tree. She could take cover under the tree, be a
little bit sheltered. Even as she considered taking refuge, she stumbled past
the tree, walking, walking.
Tears joined the rain on her face. She felt
trapped. No exit ramps in sight. She could only continue to walk.
The wind ripped at her poncho as she climbed
slippery stones that had been placed to form stairs. At the top, the wind gusts
grew stronger and tried to push her back down. She hurried on along the ridge.
Her walking poles dug into the mud that edged the rocks along the path.
On this crest, she stood exposed to the wind
and rain and lightning. Rhododendron bushes lined the trail below, but the only
plant that dared to peek through the crevices on this crag was a lone sycamore
tree. If Jess could escape this bare slope, the trees ahead would provide an
arching umbrella across the trail. As she started to descend with the trail,
her boot slid across a slick stone, and she toppled backward in slow motion.
She wheeled her arms, trying to right herself, but could not stop the plunge
until her backpack hit the ground, and she landed – thump – on top of it.
was supposed to be a diet plan, not a death sentence
, she thought, lying on her back like a turtle
on its shell, her arms and legs sprawled helplessly at her side. I may drown. The downpour pummeled her
full in the face, but she lacked the
energy to sit up, free herself from the 30-pound pack, heft it onto her back,
and start the hike again.
As the rain doused her face, she slipped one
arm from her pack and turned onto her side, away from the sky. For just a
moment, she allowed herself to rest, curled into the fetal position beside her
pack. A tingle began in her spine, and, in the moment she pondered why—everything
went black.
 About The Author

Paulita Kincer is the author of three novels, The Summer of FranceI See London I See Franceand Trail Mix. She has an M.A. in journalism from American University and has written for The Baltimore Sun, The St. Petersburg Times, The Tampa Tribune, and The Columbus Dispatch. She currently teaches college English and lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her husband and three children.


Connect with Paulita:
Author Website:
Virtual Book Tour Event Page

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