Tag Archives: Astraea Press

Wednesday Welcomes – Jessica Freeburg!

Living in Shadows Cover

Oooh! I’m so happy to be able to pick up Wednesday Welcomes with a fascinating ghost story! Living In Shadows is Jessica Freeburg’s debut novel, but she is definitely not a novice when it comes to things spooky! Enjoy! 🙂


Vivian is able to see things other people can’t; things like spirits, both good and evil. After a tragic accident, she begins a new life with her estranged father. While coming to terms with her own inner demons, Vivian realizes that she must help the lost spirit of a girl who disappeared in her new home 15 months earlier; her life depends on it.

Excerpt:

Vivian’s feet planted on the second step from the landing, causing her father to stop abruptly to avoid crashing into her back.

Rebecca was still walking toward the room. “I’ve always thought this pink room would be perfect for a girl.”

“Stay away from the door, Vivian. This shadow is evil. You can’t let it know you can see it!” Thane disappeared before the dark spirit could see him speaking to Vivian.

“Where’s your bedroom?” Vivian pretended not to know as she turned toward her father.

“It’s just at the end of the hallway,” he replied pointing away from the room where Rebecca was standing in the open doorway. She’d already flipped the light on. Pale pink wallpaper dotted with tiny white and fuchsia flowers burst into view behind her.

A shadowy figure darted across the dimly lit room like a large, black dog rushing to examine an unfamiliar house guest, pausing just inches from Rebecca. It was at least a foot taller than her, even as it stood in front of her hunched over awkwardly, partially hidden from Vivian’s view by the bedroom wall flanking the doorway in which her stepmother stood. Its head cocked sharply to one side as it seethed like an angry cat.

Vivian wanted to scream for Rebecca to get out of that room. Instead, she took a deep breath and said calmly, “If you don’t mind, I’d like to have a room closer to yours.”

Rebecca and her father exchanged looks. Vivian held her breath, while the vaporous shadow figure reached a jagged, bone-thin finger toward Rebecca’s face and gently stroked her cheek, its bulk still partly obscured by the wall that separated the room from the hallway. Rebecca shifted her gaze to Vivian, unaware of the touch.

Most people never knew the spirits were present. They didn’t hear them, they didn’t feel them, and they didn’t see them like Vivian did. Sometimes Vivian wished she was one of those people. Life would be so much simpler.

“Of course.” Rebecca flipped the light off as she stepped out of the doorway. The vapor sucked itself sharply back into the shadows of the room. An unearthly shriek pierced Vivian’s ears as Rebecca pulled the door shut behind her.

“We just thought you might like a bit more privacy, but there’s a room right next to ours.” Rebecca smiled at James as she walked past the stairs where Vivian’s body had rooted itself.

Vivian closed her eyes against the high-pitched screeching, as if not seeing would somehow stop her hearing, as well.

Buy Links:

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Jessica Freeburg Author picJessica Freeburg has always been inquisitive and loves the challenges of all that life, and the afterlife, has to offer. Her fascination with history and the paranormal fuels many of her creative works. She embraces the fringe and relishes in the examination of what others may take for granted. As the founder of Ghost Stories, Inc., Jessica has performed paranormal investigations at a variety of reportedly haunted locations. LIVING IN SHADOWS: BOOK ONE OF THE SHADOWS SERIES is her debut novel. Her second book, a middle grade nonfiction about the Holocaust will be released in the fall of 2016. She is a news correspondent for the wildly popular paranormal radio show DARKNESS RADIO. She also serves on the editorial staff of FATE Magazine and is the Assistant Regional Advisor for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators for the state of Minnesota. In addition to writing books, she enjoys working in screenwriting and documentary production. She lives in Lakeville, MN with her husband and three children.

Social Media Links:

Twitter: @jessicafreeburg

https://twitter.com/JessicaFreeburg

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jessicafreeburgauthor?fref=ts

Instagram: https://instagram.com/jessicafreeburg/

Author Website: www.jessicafreeburg.com

Ghost Stories, Inc. Website: www.ghoststoriesinc.com

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Graduations, Birthday Parties, and Broken Bones…Oh My!

broken footWhat a whirlwind spring! I’ve been away (says Captain Obvious), because Murphy’s Law struck again, and when I put more things on my plate, someone came along to heap more on top.

I’m not gonna be able to eat all that! I think I just need to lay down.

See? My life has spun so much that I’m mixing my metaphors. *DEEP BREATH*

What I’ve been up to…

I’ve done some local author appearances complete with reading excerpts in my attempt at the Irish brogue. I’ve played harp when I can at a weekly Open Mic.

If you're ever in the Tampa, FL area and need a photographer, look up the fabulous James Geiger. He's  very down to earth and takes beautiful photos. :)

If you’re ever in the Tampa, FL area and need a photographer, look up the fabulous James Geiger. He’s very down to earth and takes beautiful photos. 🙂

And, of course, I’m writing. I’ve gotten down the first twenty-three pages of my next book…because the story wouldn’t stop traipsing through my thoughts. This is my first book that’s not Young Adult. It’s a Historical Fiction centered on the lifting of Prohibition in America. Most importantly, it’s inspired by the true story of my great-grandpa who owned a restaurant/bar during the Great Depression. He doted on my Grannie, who was 10-years-old at the time. The trouble was, great-grandma was a bad alcoholic.

And so the story goes…

And Yet…

First and foremost, I’m a mom. Sometimes, my writer/musician life gets in the way.

Charlie graduated from VPK and “Exceeded Expectations” in everything scholastic despite having brain surgery halfway through the year. *fist bump*

Charlie grad William started our annual birthday sprint (three birthdays within ten days). I’ve learned a valuable lesson about birthday invitations this year. When sending them to kids whose parents aren’t in my phone’s contact list (which was most), don’t assume that most of them know what Emily Post teaches about “RSVP.”

Cue frantic indecision about how much pizza and cake to order.

And as if there wasn’t enough stress in THAT weekend…

The evening before William’s birthday party, Charlie decided to perform some kind of daredevil stunt. Ya take your eyes off them for a second! We were in the gymnastics room at the YMCA and he tripped. Yep. That’s it. However he did it, he managed to brake the end of one of his metatarsals near his toes.

If you don’t know what a metatarsal is, then clearly you haven’t read The Stone of Kings. <=== *that’s a hyperlink right there (hint hint)* 😉 Who knew I’d use the information for my own kid?

Then hubby had to promptly leave for a few days on an out of town business trip. No wonder I managed to pick up some kind of stomach bug the last couple of days.

What? You’re exhausted? Why? 😉

At least this month wasn’t nearly as bad as when Charlie had his neurosurgery.

Now that Charlie is casted and can join day camp with his brother, I will hopefully be able to crank out my new book.

In the meantime, unless the earth swallows me up, I hope to resume blogging. But it won’t take away too much from my novel-writing effort since I’m starting a series called “Grannie’s Memories.” I’ll post the anecdotes and interesting bits Grannie wrote down. These are things she remembered about being a kid during the Great Depression. I’ve been reading them over and over for background for my book. You might like them. Grannie was quite a character. 😀

Till then, would anyone like some leftover birthday cake? …please?

I’d Love To Hear From You!

Do you mix metaphors when you get over-stressed? Are you looking forward to a bright spot of peace that’s almost within your grasp? Do you know what a metatarsal is because you’ve read TSoK?

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A RONE Award Nominee?! Wow!

TheStoneofKings_500X750Last February, The Stone of Kings was given a 4-star review in InD’tale Magazine. Little did I know that 4 stars qualifies it for being nominated for the annual RONE award! That was a nice surprise in my email this morning. 😀 This is the first literary award nomination for one of my books and I’m beyond honored.

To be a finalist and have my book read and judged by a panel of professionals in the publishing industry, I need YOUR vote. TSoK falls in the Young Adult: Paranormal Category. You will need to log in and/or create a FREE account in order to vote. Voting for the category I’m in begins today and goes through May 10th.

To vote, please click HERE. Thank you!

And if you happen to notice other titles in the other categories by my fabulous friends at Clean Reads (formerly Astraea Press), such as S.G. Rogers, Calico Daniels, and Patricia Kiyono, I’m sure they would appreciate votes for their titles too. 😉

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Wednesday Welcomes – Lucie Ulrich!

DiamondsOrDonuts_453x680

Okay, this looks like a seriously fun read! Hmm, wealthy intellectual or sweet, hunky officer? Wow! What’s a girl to do? 😉


Sarah Alexander’s marriage to millionaire Logan Montgomery is put on hold when Logan is offered the opportunity to go on an extended archeological dig in Egypt. Though not happy with his decision, Sarah supports her fiancé, despite the fact she’s already given up her apartment and teaching position.

When Sarah’s best friend, Pippa, suggests Sarah move to Sunset Cove, she figures a new town, new job, and new friends are just what she needs to help her through the separation. If she’d known one of those friends would turn out to be kind-hearted, good-looking, well-built, Officer Kevin Jenkins, she might have figured a little harder.

Though Sarah goes out of her way to keep her relationship with Kevin on a friends-only basis, it’s clear their feelings for one another are teetering toward something more. Now Sarah must make the most important decision of her life. Will she choose the man who can shower her with diamonds or the one who isn’t able to offer much more than free donuts?

Excerpt

Sarah changed into her pajamas, pulled out the sofa bed, and crawled under the sheets. Sleep, however, didn’t come easily. She wanted to talk to Logan—needed to talk to him, but it wasn’t possible.

When sleep finally came, it was accompanied by dreams of missed phone calls, arguments, and misunderstandings. There might even have been a fight between Logan and Kevin, but it was all too blurry to remember. She awoke with a headache and heartache.

Pippa’s bedroom door opened and she appeared makeup applied, dressed and ready for church. She stopped short at the side of the couch. “Yikes! Who did you wrestle with last night?”

“Crazy dreams.” Sarah pushed herself to a seated position and ran a hand through the tangles in her hair.

Sitting on the edge of the bed, Pippa placed a hand on Sarah’s arm. “What’s going on?”

Tears clouded Sarah’s vision. “Guess I’m having a harder time dealing with Logan’s absence than I thought I would.” She blew out a breath. “I should be planning my wedding, not moving into a new apartment. Alone.”

“It’s barely been a month since he broke the news. Your reaction is normal. I’m sure it’ll get better with time.”

“He got mad at me yesterday.”

“Who? Logan?”

His harsh tone replayed in Sarah’s head. She nodded. “He was upset that I didn’t have dinner with his folks, and we parted on less than loving terms.”

“Oh, honey, I’m so sorry. You seemed to be having such a good time with Kevin that I never suspected anything.”

Her headache intensified. “Yeah, that’s another thing. I’m starting to feel guilty about spending time with Kevin. He’s a great guy and I like him a lot, but I’m afraid I might be giving him the wrong idea.”

Pippa’s eyes widened. “Like how? I know better than to think you’ve been flirting with him.”

“No, nothing like that.” Sarah thought back to last night and the other times they’d been together. Had she been flirting? Had he? “It’s just that I really like him. We’re so comfortable together, I forget he’s a gorgeous, well-built guy and I’m an engaged woman.

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LucieLucie Ulrich took her time becoming a writer. Not much of a reader as a child, writing was of no interest to her–until she joined a church drama team. The desire to write a skit, and not simply act out someone else’s was so strong, that once she started, she couldn’t seem to stop. That first skit led to her becoming the drama team director, then eventually, the performing arts director at a small Christian school.

Lucie’s first novel was penned under a tree in a field in Holland. Though her first, second, and third attempts never saw the light of day, parts of each of them became the foundation for “Broken Vessels,” her first published work.

No longer involved with the performing arts, Lucie enjoys going on photo shoots with her husband, and taking long (or short) road trips. She hopes to find inspiration as she and her husband explore the four corners of the United States.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/inspywriter

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LucieUlrich

Website: http://lucieulrich.com/

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Who Else Thought the Orc Read Shakespeare?

Orc blog pic

Original image of Uruk-hai_statue.jpg by Hermann Kaser from Derby, United Kingdom via Wikimedia Commons.

In Harp Lessons, Sarah’s Mom and her friend, Mary, tease each other about “leading the pigeons to the flag,” something that Mary garbled from the Pledge of Allegiance when they were kids. Originally, I wanted to use garbled lyrics from my grandmother’s cousin, Flossie, but it would have meant trying to obtain permission to mention copyrighted material, and my deadline wouldn’t allow it.

I always found her garbled lyrics hilarious. They had listened to “Catch Us If You Can” by Dave Clark Five. When the song was over, Flossie asked, “What’s a ‘sifyoucan?'”

Maybe it’s related to a snipe? 😉

The first several times I watched The Two Towers, there was a scene that just baffled me. Merry and Pippin are captured by the Uruk-hai and are on their way to Saruman. The night when the Uruk-hai insist on a break from their endless run, some of them suggest eating the hobbits.

One of the orcs (several of them voiced by the ultra-talented Andy Serkis), says a line. I hear:

“Just a mouthful. A pound of flesh.”

*giggle* I just can’t see that dirty orc sitting down with his copy of the Merchant of Venice and attempting to analyze the motivation behind Shylock’s blood thirst. And I don’t think that Tolkien would have agreed with that portrayal either.

Time to turn on the subtitles.

Oh! It’s “a bit off the flank.” Hahaha! That makes more sense.

I’d Love To Hear From You!

Did you hear what I did in that Uruk-hai scene? Do you know what a “sifyoucan” is? What are some funny ways you’ve misheard lines or lyrics?

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Wednesday Welcomes – Wendy May Andrews!

TheDukeConspiracy200x300

Since joining up with Clean Reads (formerly Astraea Press), I’ve discovered a new love for regency romance. I’m excited to read Wendy May Andrews’ newest release, The Duke Conspiracy! And honestly, who can resist that gorgeous cover?


Miss Rosamund Smythe, the only daughter of a baron diplomat, is finding the Season to be a dead bore.  After her stint at spying while in Vienna with her father, she wants a higher purpose in life than “just” being a wife.

His Grace, Alexander Milton, the Duke of Wrentham, wants a quiet life with a “proper” lady as his wife after the tumultuous childhood he had.  His parents had fought viciously, lied often, and Alex secretly wonders if he was even his father’s son.

Rose and Alex grew up on neighboring estates and have been best friends since she was four years old but a family feud has torn their friendship apart.

At a Society event Rose overhears a plot to entrap Alex into a marriage of convenience.  Her loyalty to their old friendship as well as her knowledge of the conspirator, Sir Jason Broderick, causes Rose to overcome her aversion to Wrentham in order to warn him of his danger.  Alex’s complicated childhood has caused him to despise all forms of deception so Rose avoids telling him how she knows so much about Sir Broderick.

When Rose is abducted by Sir Broderick to prevent her interference, Alex must deal with his own conflicted feelings to help her rescue herself. Can they claim their happily ever after despite the turmoil?

Excerpt

Alex gazed at his old friend in admiration. If anyone had ever told him he would be standing in Burlington House surrounded by Elgin’s Marbles debating with Miss Rosamund Smythe about who might be conspiring to entrap him into marriage, he would never have believed such a claim. But here they were. And she looked mighty fetching as she gazed up at him expectantly. He had to make an effort to remember what she had said. Oh yes, something about ideas to investigate. He wondered absently what she could possibly know about investigations and clues and all that. But she was right. They needed to have a direction. The only trouble was he was drawing a blank about any possible ideas.

All he could do was shrug helplessly. “I am so sorry, Rose, but I have absolutely no idea where to start. To the best of my knowledge I have never had any dealings with Broderick. I developed an instant dislike of the man upon first making his acquaintance, but I cannot even tell you why, as we have barely conversed.”

The duke was clearly flabbergasted over this development and was even slightly ashamed to not have a ready solution. Rose must have realized this. She hastened to reassure him. “Never mind about that. We both agreed earlier that the best place for us to start is with Lady Anne. That will have to be my job, as you will just be walking straight into their plot if you try to do anything about it. Now, I really must be going, so we must hurry and establish another appointment to meet up to discuss any of our findings. In the meantime, you should speak to your solicitors or man of affairs or whatever you might have along those lines and see if they are aware of any issues Broderick might have with you. Those gentlemen might know more on the subject than you.”

“How did you get so smart about such things?”

Alex was intrigued by the blush that spread over her face at this unanswerable question. The only thing she could offer was “My father is a diplomat,” with as much dignity as possible.

Alex allowed the moment to pass and was rewarded by the look of relief on her face. He hurried to make an appointment as they saw her maid approaching. “Would it be remarked upon if you come here again tomorrow or the next day?”

“Probably not,” Rose answered. “My mother never rises before noon and is really only concerned with how I spend my evenings. But you had best give me at least one day to try to make the acquaintance of Lady Anne, so let us say the day after tomorrow. That gives me a day and a half to gather as much information as possible. I shall start with my friend Lady Elizabeth. She is a font of knowledge about the ton, as well as being friendly with Lady Anne.” While she was speaking she fumbled with her drawing supplies, finally tucking them under her arm. “Wish me luck,” she concluded as she once more faced the duke.

The duke watched a myriad of emotions chase themselves across his companion’s face. He was unable to identify most of them, but he thought she looked rather wistful as she offered him a brief curtsy before she hurried away without another word.

Alex stood in the same spot for several moments, watching her retreating figure, wondering if she would look back before exiting the building. He was unprepared for the profound disappointment that swept over him as she strode away with purpose, never once glancing back in his direction. Slowly bringing his focus back to the statue she had been sketching, the duke allowed the entire interlude to play itself out in his mind. Giving his head a shake to rid himself of the melancholy that had befallen him, he followed in her footsteps and strode from the hall.

Buy Links:

Amazon:  http://amzn.to/18YsbHK

Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-duke-conspiracy-wendy-may-andrews/1121452824?ean=2940151488785

About the Author:

IMG_20150112_122101Wendy May Andrews has been reading whatever she could get her hands on since the age of five. She has been writing for almost as long but hasn’t been sharing those stories with anyone but her mother until recently. Wendy lives in Toronto with her own real-life hero. When not writing or reading, they love to travel wherever the mood takes them.

Website:

http://www.wendymayandrews.com

Social Media:

www.facebook.com/WendyMayAndrews

Twitter:  @WendyMayAndrews

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The Words of Wilder and Austen

Image via Wikimedia Commons.

William and I have been reading The Little House series together at bedtime. We’re halfway through Farmer Boy. He’s enjoys it, but I know when he still hasn’t wound down enough to listen.

So I wait…

…and open up my trusty Kindle.

I’m currently re-reading Pride and Prejudice. I absolutely LOVE this story. Oh poor, misunderstood Mr. Darcy! But guess who took an interest in what I’m reading?

William. Wait, what?

Weird.

Okay, enough alliteration. I was totally shocked that my six-year-old son wants me to read Jane Austen to him, but I’ll go for it. So I actually read passages like this to him:

“To Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner he was scarcely a less interesting personage than to herself. They had long wished to see him. The whole party before them, indeed, excited a lively attention. The suspicions which had just arisen, of Mr. Darcy and their niece, directed their observation towards each with an earnest, though guarded, enquiry; and they soon drew from those enquiries the full conviction that one of them at least knew what it was to love. Of the lady’s sensations they remained a little in doubt; but that the gentleman was overflowing with admiration was evident enough.”

I have no idea how much of that he takes in. Every once in a while, he’ll stop me to ask what a certain word means, but he seems to like the flow of the language. He’s asked for me to read it for the last several nights.

And I do a little happy dance inside. 😉

The thing is, I haven’t read the classics for a while. For the sake of my writing, I needed to read modern books. My first draft of Harp Lessons tried to emulate some of Austen’s flowery style and my editors had to chisel away at the manuscript to make it more stylistically pleasing for today’s audience.

I am nowhere near having the command of the English language that Austen did. But when I tried to pretend that I did?

Call the bomb squad!

The result was that my words were fit for weapons of mass destruction rather than to delight a mass of readers. I’m relieved to have had patient editors when I first learned the ropes. They were fabulous people to subject themselves to my pretentious words.

I am reminded of the journal I kept of my trip to England back in 2005.

Hee hee.

While describing the places I went, I was so wrapped up in the experience, I couldn’t resist using the word… wait for it… “alighted.”

Fortunately, I’m the only one who ever goes back and reads that journal. But maybe William will one day read it and forgive my attempt to emulate a favorite author. 😉

I’d love to hear from you!

Have you ever tried, crashed, and burned while imitating the writings of your favorite authors? Did it actually turn out pretty good? Do your kids like to read the classics? Do they “get” it?

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